Lethal Lava Land

Lava crocodiles? We're in trouble!

Juni: Why is it that every video game has lava in it?
Francis: Technically that's not true. There's no lava in Halo. And in Metroid, it's molten magma.
Spy Kids 3D: Game Over note 

A stage in a video game, particularly platformers, that takes place in a volcanic area or another area with pervasive heat, such as a flaming tower or factory. There are also variants that have a Green Hill Zone or Lost Woods level that is on fire. Almost always features large lakes of liquid lava. The puzzles and challenges in such an area generally revolve around navigating around flames and lava. Generally, the player will be fine as long as he doesn't touch the molten rock, and may be even able to boat across it on some vehicle. Of course, if they do fall into lava, it won't be pretty.

The music in these levels tends to be percussion-heavy and angry and/or mischievous sounding, often with a tribal-sounding chant. Usually comes late in the Sorting Algorithm Of Threatening Geography.

May be a volcano located in Prehistoria.

A Sub-Trope of Lava Adds Awesome. Contrast Slippy-Slidey Ice World. Hailfire Peaks is what you get when you combine this trope and the previous one.

Video Game Examples:

  • Kanatia Volcano in Bomberman Hero, especially Magma Lake and Magma Dam; you take damage constantly when in the regular area, but you can avoid damage and regain life by entering little ice crystal zones.
  • The old SNES SWAT Kats video game had one of these on the last level, as well. Complete with lava fireballs shooting up in circular patterns to be dodged/avoided.
  • The volcano level in Jurassic Park for the Sega Genesis.
  • Stage 4 of the already punishing Ultimate Ghosts'n Goblins for the PSP is a particularly enraging Lethal Lava Land called Scorch Mountain. The biggest threat here isn't even the lava — it's the frequent earthquakes from eruptions that stun you for 3 whole seconds! These can be avoided by simply flyingnote  to stay off the ground, but then there's Pterodactyls to deal with... Thankfully, this Stage has only one part before the boss.
    • Ditto for Stage 4 in the original Ghosts'n Goblins and Stage 3 in Super Ghouls'n Ghosts.
    • Stage 2 of Ghosts'n Ghosts has one point where both the floor and the ceiling are swathed in flames.
  • Stonefang Mines in Demons Souls. Home to the Lizardmen, a draconic god, and home to That One Boss: the Balr- I mean, the Flamelurker.
  • Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain: Dark Eden, a land twisted beyond recognition in a project of the guardians of nature, energy, and states. And then it starts raining fire... This may not be a case of Convection Schmonvection, since Kain and the creatures there are all unnaturally resilient, and the world's foundations are rather loose by this point anyway. This trope is also used in the Dark World version of Nosgoth seen from Nupraptor's keep.
  • The sixth level in Bujingai starts as a series of caverns which eventually brings you into a volcano. And you must reach the top in order to finish the level.
  • The MSX2 version of Contra has two Magma Areas.
  • Dark Souls has the Demon Ruins and the first half of Lost Izalith.
  • Evolva: Levels 6, 7, and 8. There's also a single Lava Pit in level 5, but it's extremely easy to avoid it in contrast to the ones in later levels.
  • The first half of the second stage in Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu.

Action Adventure

  • The inner circle of Atlantis in Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is a volcanic crater with fountains of lava pouring from the walls into the bottom of the crater and a massive god-producing machine in the very center.
  • A.I.M. (Artificial Intelligence Machine, or Mech Minds if you're Russian) has the Volcano sector, where one must avoid vapor geysers, electromagnetic fences, ravines, and lava lakes of varying sizes. Not to mention the hostile gliders, who are more powerful than previous sectors.
  • The planet Ortega in Space Quest III, which, much like the Io example below, has its surface constantly reshaped by volcanic eruptions. It's also lethal to land there without first putting on Thermo-Weave Underwear. And even then, a fall into the lava pits below nets you a Have a Nice Death.
  • King's Quest: Mask of Eternity: The Barren Region. You WILL get tired of hearing Connor scream when he falls into the lava.

Fighting Games
  • The Soul Calibur fighting games often include a stage where the fighters are going at it on a rock floating in a river of lava. A ring-out involves the player falling in with a dramatic splash of flame, and yet they're perfectly fine come the next round.
  • In Godzilla Unleashed, the impact of evil space crystals causes Seattle to become one of these, with a volcano erupting next to the city and smothering much of it with lava as well as birthing Obsidius.
  • The "Volcanic Rim" stage in Street Fighter IV, which is located in Hawaii, and features an erupting volcano and fighters battling atop solidified lava.

First Person Shooters

  • In World of Warcraft, you have Searing Gorge, Burning Steppes, and Shadowmoon Valley (the Outland version; the one on Draenor is a Green Hill Zone). There's also the Blackrock Mountain dungeon complex which, along with including the infamous Molten Core, has what appears to be a volcanic crater right in the entryway.
    • For that matter, the dwarf capital city Ironforge has...well, a giant forge, filled with molten iron, right in the center. One would think the city would be a giant Dutch oven, but you know what they say about that. Back in vanilla it was deadly to fall into, but now anybody can survive for long enough to teleport out from it using your Hearthstone. Classes with healing capabilities and mages with their fire protection can survive indefinitely. And if you don't have any means to teleport out of there, magma becomes a Mercy Slap On The Wrist.
      • At some point they put up invisible walls to keep players from offing themselves in the forges.
    • The starter instance of Ragefire Chasm.
    • Mount Hyjal in the Cataclysm expansion, the southern and lowest part of the zone has become a Lethal Lava Land due to Ragnaros the Firelord re-emerging to burn the World Tree. Lakes of lava, walls of flame, islands of rock, elemental giants of magma and a rare volcanic turtle. Patch 4.2 introduced the Firelands raid dungeon and the Molten Front daily quest area, which are this trope all over.
    • Frostfire Ridge in Warlords of Draenor is a mixture of this and Slippy-Slidey Ice World.
  • The Karamja Volcano in RuneScape.
  • The volcano zone of Monster Hunter is pretty much the Prehistoria volcano played straight. It does, however, avert Convection Schmonvection: without the right equipment, the player will take damage just by setting foot in the area.
  • EverQuest's lavaland is aptly named Lavastorm.
  • The planet Oricon in Star Wars: The Old Republic is almost entirely covered by a vast ocean of liquid rock. The small habitable island that players can actually explore is only kept stable by a mixture of advanced technology and sith sorcery.


Puzzle Games
  • Meteos has three fields/planets that fit this mold in different ways; worth noting is that they don't always follow the "angry-music" rule. Firim is a fiery planet that's home to pyro aliens and features a rock and roll soundtrack, Jeljel is a magma/brimstone-infested Planet Heck accompanied by an Ominous Music Box Tune, and Hotted is a cube-shaped planet made out of molten and glowing-hot iron where synthesizers play the level's music.

Racing Games

  • Act IV of Diablo II is fought in Hell, which is probably as Lethal Lava Land as you can get. However, the lava actually behaves the same as walls and there is no way to step on it.
  • Diablo III has lava landscaping in several non-Hell areas, including Leoric's dungeons and the lower levels of Bastion's Keep. You can't fall into the pits, but a typical trap has periodically-erupting lava underneath a grate floor. Don't be standing there when it goes off.
  • In NetHack, some of the Quest sub-levels feature lava. And towards the end of the game the player has to pass through four "elemental" levels, one of which is fire, which of course means lava. If you have fireproof water-walking boots, you can stroll around on the stuff, and all those highly flammable scrolls will be just fine.

  • Lava levels appear in some Mario RPGs.
    • Thwomp Volcano in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
    • The Barrel Volcano in Super Mario RPG.
    • Mt. Lava Lava from Paper Mario. It's amazing Mario doesn't catch on fire...
      • The lava must be paper as well, obviously.
      • In addition, Bowser's Castle has lava areas, but if you shut off the flow, it cools well enough to walk on instantly.
      • Also, Rawk Hawk's training area (i.e., the send up of Bowser's castle from SMB) has its lava pits.
  • Final Fantasy:
  • Chrono Cross has Mt. Pyre.
  • Although there was no lava, there was a desert in the first Golden Sun which fulfilled the same purpose. While walking on sand a meter steadily fills, and if it reaches full the party will take a shot of damage. Rinse and repeat. Speaking of rinse, the meter could be emptied by finding oases hidden by mirages in circles of stones.
    • A more direct example of a lava-filled environment is the underground portion of Taopo Swamp.
    • The second Golden Sun actually has "Magma Rock", filled with puzzles that involved altering the flow of... you guessed it, magma!
  • The cavern leading to the fire temple in Bravely Default. Doubles as That One Level to its excruciating length, strong enemies and treacherous terrain.
  • The Romancing SaGa Series used this: Mt. Tomae (RS 1), Komulune Volcano (RS 2), Fire Palace of Aunas (RS 3)
  • Tales of Eternia has Efreet's Gorge, where even the supreme water spirit of the world isn't able to protect you indefinitely: once Undine's power runs out, you start taking damage instead.
  • Tales of Phantasia has a cave where Claus makes contract with Ifrit and Odin's Tower, where Flamberge can be found, assuming Nymph's rings are equipped on everyone to survive the heat.
  • Red Mountain in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, which doubles as the source of the monster threatening the world.
  • Mehrunes Dagon's world in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Also, Boethia's conveniently similar realm of Oblivion. Heck — all the realms, except Paradise and the Shivering Isles.
    • Though (unlike Morrowind) it is never confirmed that it actually is lava — given the kind of places the Realms of Oblivion are, and given the kind of people Boethia and Mehrunes Dagon are, oceans of red water that hurt you if you enter it is no less likely than rivers of molten rock. In fact, it's explicitly established that Dagon's realm is cold, despite the fact that to all appearances it shouldn't be.
  • The Temple of Pyrynn in Skies of Arcadia.
  • The Primitive Cube in Blue Dragon.
  • You actually take damage from this level in Odin Sphere if you don't use cooling potions.
  • The Bard's Tale has an area actually called "Obligatory Lava Level".
  • In Mass Effect 1, the planet Therum features large lava flows which, of course, the Player Character can stand right next to without difficulty but cannot touch so much as the edge of a tire to without bursting into lethal flame.
    • The Mass Effect 2: Firewalker DLC pack includes several worlds full of lava (as you might have gathered from the title). Fortunately, the eponymous hovercraft is perfectly content in even such hostile conditions.
  • In a possible homage to World of Warcraft, the dwarf capital of Orzammar in Dragon Age: Origins is apparently set in a volcanic region, as are parts of the Deep Roads apparently at random. Oddly enough, the actual volcano you see the surface side of is quite safe. Aside from the Bonus Boss you can summon there.
  • The Sea Cave in Dragon Quest II.
  • Stark Mountain in Pokémon Platinum.
    • Don't forget Mt. Chimney in Pokemon Ruby And Sapphire. In Emerald, they even added a cave underneath Mt. Chimney, filled with even more lava, and it actually comes with a lampshade from one of the Team Magma grunts!
    • Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 is at it again with Reversal Mountain, at least in White Version. In the other, the area is filled with water. It's no surprise you can find Heatran in there after you get the Magma Stone.
    • Mt. Battle in Pokémon Colosseum and Citidark Isle in Pokémon XD also count.
  • The Ys series has this in most of its games, eg Burnland/Moat of Burnedbless in II, the Ilvern/Alcaino Ruins in III/Oath, Fire Mountain in Mask of the Sun, the Lava Fields of Nelgal in Dawn of Ys, parts of the Ruins of Amnesia in The Ark of Napishtim, etc. In most cases, you can't even fall into the lava, due to Edge Gravity or insurmountable barriers.
  • Mt. Zublo in Breath of Fire III.
  • The Magic Knight Rayearth SNES game features such an area.
  • The Rapax Rift in Wizardry 8, home of the titular demon-like Rapax.
  • The Ring of Fire, and some eye of the north caverns, in Guild Wars.
  • The Fire Spring in EarthBound.
  • Eternal Sonata has the Wah Lava Cave, though the only "danger" other than the enemies within is that they might catch a cold from going from one extreme of temperature in the Sharp Mountains to the other.
  • In Lords of Xulima there's Vilak, the volcanic homeland of the demons. Without a divine artifact to protect your party, even going near the great lava lake will cause significant damage with every step.

Shoot 'em Up
  • A little different, but in Star Fox 64, Solar (the Sun) is a lethal lava land, and the intense heat causes you to steadily lose health. Your team members take damage too, but since they can't be healed mid-mission the level designers made it so they only take some heat damage near the beginning for some dramatic effect, otherwise they'd all be dead one-third of the way through the mission.
    • Certain parts of the DarkIce Mines are like this (particularly underground), as well as the Volcano Force Point Temple in Star Fox Adventures.
      • Oddly enough Fox only catches fire if he falls in the magma, yet does not die instantly or melt. Also, he is set ablaze, but if he can douse those flames, he'll be fine.
  • The Touhou series finally gets one in the 11th game, Subterranean Animism.
  • Burning Heat in Gradius II, the Fire Stage in Gradius III, and the second half of the Volcanic Stage in Gradius IV. The Volcanic stages in most of the games, while they have erupting volcanoes, are more of standard Death Mountain or Underground Levels.
  • The Phoenix Mountain/Volcano in Kid Icarus: Uprising.
  • In Galaxy Force II, Mission 2 takes place over a lava planet, with fiery plumes erupting from the surface in arcs.
  • Chapter 4 (Fire Devildom) in Phelios.
  • In Elemental Master, the Fire zone takes place on platforms surrounded a lava sea, with waves of fire shooting up from underneath, along with the occasional volcano spewing rocks across the player's path.

  • Marathon has a few of these, most notably "Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire!" in which you have to wade through lava and stay alive, and "Six Thousand feet Under, in which failure to avoid the lava results in death, along with a few in Marathon Infinity, particularly "Eat the Path" and "Whatever you please," which are both freakin' weird.
  • Many levels of Descent involved lava at some point. However, there was at least one level where the entire thing was lava. Being the first game, lava behaved differently.
  • The planet Brimspark in Descent II. And yes, the heat of the lava does drain your shields.
  • The Stone Rain level in Shadow Warrior.
  • Level 6-1 in Medal of Honor: Frontline has a giant blast furnace that you can knock Nazis into and watch them get crisped.

  • Dwarf Fortress lets you build a Lethal Lava Land. Not only does it give you a useful source of heat for forges and obsidian for building, it lets you drown your foes (or dwarves) in a sea (or river, or waterfall...) of molten rock.
  • MySims Agents has the Fire Room, with both lava pits and flame jets. You can't walk or jump into either; the latter is part of the temple's puzzles, and the former just can't be crossed unless there's already a bridge there.
  • One of the three final missions for Sky Odyssey takes place in an active volcano. As the player you have to fly in there while it's erupting in order to reach the games final goal. On top of lava plums that you have to dodge, you also need to avoid rockslides and lightning generated by the volcano.

Sports Games
  • Deep Inferno from Pangya. Complete with pyroclastic flows for "rough", lava pool "water hazards" and lung-clogging ash filling the air. Did I mention this is a golf game?
  • Lava Dome in Backyard Football, which has lava on only one side.

Stealth-Based Game
  • At one point in Sheep, Dog 'n' Wolf, you get a time machine that allows you to go to the prehistoric past. This past seems to be this.

  • These levels also exist in the Fire Emblem games, specifically Fire Emblem 7, 8, 10 and 13.
  • Starcraft II has a level that floods with lava every few minutes. Just to be mean, all the resources are in areas that flood. In a nice touch, the local fauna is programmed to flee to higher ground in the seconds before the lava arrives, except for the Brutalisk, who may be more focused on killing your team than evacuating the flood. One achievement requires you to kill the Brutalisk in this fashion.
    • The planet Char is also a Lethal Lava Land in most of its incarnations, except for one appearance in Heart of the Swarm that shows an acid swamp. Lovely place, that Char. Probably the most impressive example is "The Belly of the Beast", which takes place inside a series of tunnels and lava tubes dug into Char's surface. Your job is to plant seismic charges that will flood the whole place with, you guessed it, more lava.
    Raynor: Lava and zerg. Two of my favorite things.
  • Devil Survivor: In later days, one of the areas, initially the Diet Building, becomes "contaminated" and lava-filled potholes will appear. You can't walk in them though. And later, when you fight Jeze-FUCKING-bel, the area in front of her is a lake-turned-lava-pool, and ending a character's turn in it will damage that character's team unless its party is immune to fire.
  • Barathrum from Total Annihilation, although this doesn't actually have much effect on game play aside from the fact that you can't build naval units given that the 'seas' are made of lava.
  • Shows up pretty regularly in LEGO Rock Raiders. And they are much despised because your miners don't seem to realize that cutting corners across lava isn't a bright idea.
  • A number of levels in the Dungeon Keeper games feature lava heavily. You can build bridges across it though, and some creatures can walk through it unharmed or fly over it.

Wide Open Sandbox
  • Minecraft has the Nether, in which the only three sources of light are glowstone, randomly burning netherrack, oh, and did I mention the oceans of lava as far as the game can render?

Non-Video Game Examples

Collectible Card Game

Comic Books


Tabletop Games
  • An official expansion pack for the miniature war game Heroscape gives you everything you need to design your very own Lethal Lava Land!
  • Some of the planes in Dungeons & Dragons fit this trope, particularly Gehenna, the Elemental Plane of Magma, and some layers of the Nine Hells. As usual, alternate-realities have their own laws of lava-physics to excuse Convection Schmonvection.

Web Comics

Alternative Title(s):

Fire Level, The Fire Level, Lethal Lava Level