"You need a Level 13 Quest Key to open this flimsy wooden door. Would you rather just kick it open? I mean, I really don't see why you should have to go try and fight that giant dragon and shit when you could just open it with your hands. The wood is really decomposed. But it's your choice, chief. The last two guys decided they wanted to try and get the key. Where are they now? Fucking dead."One of the Stock Video Game Puzzles. A locked door blocks the main characters' way. You have to find the key. Of course, even if the locked door is a wooden gate with a tiny padlock on it, you can't just bash it down or blow it up. No, not even with the tac-nuke you've been carrying around. If the key is a Plot Coupon, you've got a Broken Bridge. If the key is actually present, but The Key Is Behind the Lock, the Paper Key-Retrieval Trick may be called for. If the key isn't physical, but instead linked to defeating all the enemies in a room, it's an Inescapable Ambush. Compare Solve the Soup Cans. May require the attention of a Master of Unlocking, but if even he can't get past it without the key then you've got a Plot Lock. Subtrope of Lock and Key Puzzle.
open/close all folders
- In The Legend of Zelda series:
- The majority of the dungeons in the series have several doors which can be locked by any one of several keys. There is also generally a "Boss Key" leading to the room which will contain the Boss Battle. And in Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, the Boss Key is so huge that it actually slows Link down as he has to lug it all the way to the door.
- There are doors in some of the towns that are always locked and you'll never be able to get into. This mostly happens in the N64 games. Oddly enough, in Castle Town of Ocarina Of Time, during the day, one of the doors in the back alley is locked. At night, it's open, and you can enter, but no one is home. If you want to talk to the person that's there, you have to go inside at night, play the Sun Song, and then the guy is there. The worst part? He doesn't have anything important to say.
- Killer7 has its share of locked doors, but no keys or alternate routes. The trick? One of the playable characters (which you can freely switch between), Coyote Smith, is a thief who knows how to open locked doors without keys.
- Though not very door-like, the Barrier Glyphs in Ecco the Dolphin fill the same function. It's also a somewhat cheeky example, since there's clearly enough space around any given crystal for Ecco to squeeze through. There's a tool-assisted speedrun of the first game out there wherein the player actually manages this. Repeatedly.
- Cave Story likes using locked doors to obstruct the player's progress. One door is rusted shut and has to be blown up — but first, there is a Fetch Quest which involves getting a key to open another locked door. In the Fan Remake, you actually get to open this door with your missile launcher instead of finding its key.
- In Evolva, starting from level 7, you'll need to find some coloured disks (either lying on the ground or dropped by enemies) that serve to open the doors with a circle on its top of the same colour.
- Riven subverts the latter variety: at one point you find a locked door, incapable of being opened by any means ... and can simply crawl under it.
- Shivers was set in a museum, all of whose doors were controlled by nearby logic puzzles. In context, this was not entirely unreasonable, as the setting was meant to be a sort of puzzle theme-park. The sequel, however, is set in a town where almost every door is similarly locked. The player even encounters a diary with an entry deriding a "newfangled lock" (that is, the kind that actually uses a key).
- Parodied and defied in Discworld II. Rincewind, upon encountering a locked door, launches into a tirade about how he'll be expected to go on a series of Fetch Quests to persuade a character to give him the key, and eventually demands that the bearer of the key just hands it over to him. He does, only for it to be revealed that the locked door was on a false wall around which Rincewind could simply have walked.
- Present in the Nancy Drew video games. Nancy usually encounters at least one door and when trying to open it, says "It's locked". The deadpan way she delivered the line in (as well as how easy it was to trigger it multiple times by mistake) was made into an Ascended Meme with later games having in-game advertisements for devices to unlock doors and Nancy always delivering the famous "It's locked" line.
- Crash Team Racing: the Adventure Mode has doors on The Overworld that leads to other adventure maps, but in order to open them, you have to beat the boss race in the map to get the boss key. Some doors will only open with more than one key, including the door to the Final Boss race with Nitros Oxide, which requires all 4 keys.
First Person Shooter
- The game tends to hang a lampshade on the second variety by mentioning a backstory in which protagonist Gordon Freeman and Barney Calhoun usually competed for who could find the most interesting way to retrieve Dr. Kleiner's keys when he locked himself out of his office in Half-Life 2. It also has the former category as well, with some doors locked with retinal scanners Freeman himself isn't cleared for. However, while doors are indestructible, tiny padlocks can be shot or bashed.
- Parodied (along with the Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence) in Concerned. 'White picket fence' (and 'tuft of grass') being, of course, a reference to Smurf Rescue.
- Usually, if you end up on the other side of a locked door, it will open from that side, creating a Door to Before. Not all that helpful in a primarily linear game though.
- Deus Ex:
- Many locked doors in the original game have a strength value along with a lock value. Strength value determines how much punishment they can take before breaking, whereas lock value determines how many lockpicks you'll need to open the door. You could also just find the key to the door to open it as well. There are some doors that are unpickable and indestructible, and require a key to open, or for the player to find an alternate route.
- This holds the same for Deus Ex: Human Revolution, except all doors have keypads now, and there is not a mechanical lock in sight, so no lockpicking. They can still be blown open with explosives or a lot of bullets (ammo is limited, so the former is more efficient). Most of them anyways.
- Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy: at one point, when faced with a Locked Door, Kyle Katarn, who hastarred in this sort of game before, snidely comments to the player character, "They always lock the doors. You'd think they'd've learned by now." and later, "The console for opening the door is probably hidden in some room twelve floors up ... how does that make sense?" He also says in the tutorial level that "When you're out on a mission and you find a locked door, look for the guy in charge. He usually has a key."
- In Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, there is a locked door that Kyle cannot open at all, even with a lightsaber. But a random citizen of the town comes out of the door. If timed right, it is possible to get into the house when the door is opened, leading to a room where Max from Sam and Max can be found hanging out holding a blaster. If attacked, Max will go beserk and chase Kyle endlessly firing the blaster like crazy.
- Lampshade Hanged in Serious Sam and Serious Sam 2. NETRICSA sometimes makes references to this. Also in Serious Sam 2, Sam, after encountering another locked door and after NETRICSA's announcement of that, says "If I had a dime for every key I found.".
- Subverted in Redline, where doors generally aren't an issue as the whole game takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. At one point, though, while infiltrating an enemy base you come across a locked door. Instead of wasting time searching for a key, Mission Control just tells you to blast it down with a rocket launcher.
- PAYDAY: The Heist has a few doors that can only be opened with a key or key card. The majority of the doors are locked and cannot be opened. Other doors or barriers require a bigger tool like a drill. This is retained in PAYDAY 2, but also introduces doors that can have its locked picked open. Other doors can also be blown off their hinges by using C4 and other doors can have their locks shot off.
- In the Silent Cartographer mission in Halo: Combat Evolved, the Covenant stop you from entering the map room by simply locking the doors.
Hack And Slash
- In Diablo II, while not necessary to the plot, locked chests required generic keys to be open. The hero, despite having the strength to vanquish the three prime evils, is incapable of opening these chests without a key. (Unless they're an Assassin.)
- Fable gets worse about this with every game. In Fable I, only large doors were impossible to bash open and even those could often be picked. In Fable II, the stealthy option is eliminated, but they can still be forcefully bashed open. In Fable III, your monster-killing, nigh invincible hero must politely knock and hope for a response.
- In City of Heroes there are — incredibly rarely — locked doors during instanced missions, where the player needs to defeat a specific random enemy to receive the key. Most people tend to defeat every enemy they see anyway, so it's not really a problem.
- Perfect World has some dungeons where the door will not open unless you kill a miniboss. The first time this takes place, it's in the level 29 dungeon Hall of Deception, and it appears very frequently afterwards.
- There's a lot of Locked Doors in World of Warcraft, mostly dungeon doors. Those require specific keys to open, which are obtained from various sources, such as quests or loot from mobs. Alternatively, most of them (but not all) can be opened by a Rogue with high enough Lockpicking skill, by a Blacksmith's Skeleton Key, or an Engineer's Seaforium Charge. Also, in order to prevent people from not being able to resurrect, dead players' ghosts CAN walk through these doors, which makes it possible for some dungeons to be accessed without a key, blacksmith or engineer. All of these doors also have a lever on the opposite side, allowing a non-rogue, engineer or blacksmith to leave. On busy days, and especially before expansions when it could take ages for people to gather for a dungeon, it was sometimes possible to get in by just waiting around at the door until somebody else wanted to leave.
- Unlocking a series of these is a major part of the Dungeoneering skill in RuneScape. Some doors will only be unlocked by a specific colour and shape of key, some require a skill to "unlock", some require puzzles to be solved and others necessitate the slaughter of every living non-PC thing in the room. It is a very rare door in Daemonheim that isn't looked in some way, shape or form.
- In Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project, the forcefields are deactivated using keycards. Duke's responses to the players attempts to deactivate these fields lampshade this trope; he complains about having to find keycards to open doors to finish levels, which has been standard of the Duke Nukem franchise since the original PC trilogy.
"Somebody's gonna pay for makin' me find these mother(beep)in' keycards!"
- In Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, you're going to find a few Locked Doors/Gates in almost every mission of the game. However they're not as bad as other examples, as they're generally opened by either hitting a nearby switch, defeating all of the nearby enemies, or (in a few rare cases) using a Rabbish to activate a pair of lights by the door.
- Mega Man ZX: in the levels, you might find different colored doors that need different colored keycards that leads to other areas. As you only get those keycards by beating bosses, and this game is a Metroid Vania, the doors also serve as a way of streamlining the plot sequence.
- The 7th Guest (and its sequel The 11th Hour) is duly infamous for taking the similar tack of unlocking doors in response to the player solving a totally unrelated set-piece Solve the Soup Cans puzzle somewhere else in the room, such as a game of "Lights Out" with bizarre triggers. The game would also re-lock some doors depending on how heavily the player abused the in-game help guide in order to skip puzzles altogether, sometimes making the whole game flat-out unwinnable.
- Averted in NetHack, where any skeleton key can be used to unlock any door, and any door can be bashed down if the character is strong enough, chopped apart if they have an axe, or splintered with a Force Bolt spell (though any of these makes noise which can alert nearby monsters). Note that it is generally a bad idea to break down doors to shops. The shopkeeper does not like it at all.
- In Slash EM, one of the three items necessary to complete the game is behind a series of unbreakable doors which can't be opened by ordinary skeleton keys, requiring the player to possess two out of the three artifact keys to get past them.
Role Playing Game
- With The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, no matter how physically powerful a character is, how big his or her weapon or powerful his or her spells, a locked door is indestructible. Some indeed require a specific key, although most can be picked, magically or with actual picks. Several ruins have doors which are opened by pressing a block on the wall...somewhere in the ruin.
- The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall locked doors can always be bashed open, usually to the cacophony of "Halt Halt Halt" if your character is in a city or house at the time. It can't be helped, though, because your lockpicking skill is crippled and there are no keys in the world.
- Averted in the Ultima Underworld games. Sturdy doors can be bashed, lockpicked or opened by magic, bypassing the need for the key. Massive doors cannot be bashed, but only a few cannot be lockpicked or magically opened.
- In Ultima VI one could blow up even plot relevant doors with a powder keg, unless they were magically locked which merely required an "unlock" spell. Interestingly, even with non-pickable key-specific locks; one could cast the "lock" spell and then the "unlock" spell to open them without destroying them or hunting down the key.
- In the original Pool of Radiance many locked doors could be opened with lockpicks, with the Knock spell, or simply by bashing them a few times.
- In the Avernum series:
- Almost all locked doors could be picked open, naturally or magically, or bashed open. Some, however, required a lever/switch/button to be pushed/pulled, or a special item to be unlocked. The levers were usually in a place that makes sense, close to the door with easy access for those who should be there, but hard to get to if you shouldn't be.
- Unlock Doors at level 3 opens everything that has a door script on it.
- In Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel, characters can both pick locks and use weapons to bash the lock of a door open. However, there are still some doors that cannot be opened in either way, such as the entrance to the Black Vulkar base on Taris, resulting in a long tedious sidequest involving a Twi'lek and her Wookie friend.
- After the End of the world in Final Fantasy VI, every single door in Narshe is locked... even though there are only two people left in town at all. You can't even find keys for them, but you can look for a master
thieftreasure hunter to pick them for you.
- Done in the Fallout series, which often makes it infuriating when coming across doors you cannot lock pick.
- Usually, you have to find the key for the door, which may be located in a completely unmarked area on the map, if the NPC decided to get themselves killed wandering around out there. In most areas of the earlier games, explosives are a good alternative. Looking to get the T-51b armor in Fallout 3? You're going to need 3 keys to access it.
- In Mama Dolce's there are two very hard locked doors there which lead to brick walls, and a "Requires Key" gate that leads into the void.
- In the first two installments, some doors could be opened by brute force and/or explosives.
- If you manage to brave the implausibly lethal levels of radiation around Vault 87's entrance, you'll only find that the door is "Inaccessible". To you at least; the Enclave enters the vault this way in a cutscene.
- There are also multiple instances of very hard locked doors being nothing more than a shambling piece of broken wood that the Character could simply jump over or push hard enough.
- In Final Fantasy III, although there are some locked doors, by simply putting someone with 'thief' as their job at the head of the party, they can pick the lock, and get through.
- Sweet Home has a few locked doors that Emi can unlock, a few that require special objects, and a few that lead to nothing and aren't meant to be opened at all.
- In Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura lockpicks and lockpicking spells work on most doors (and chests). Sledgehammers or axes are also effective for characters with high strength, and tech-savvy characters
- In Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos, most locked doors require a key to get through. However, there are some that can be lock-picked open if your Rogue skill is high enough. Similar to the Silent Hill example above, if "you failed to pick the lock", you can always try again; if "there is no way to pick this lock", you need a key. There are even a few areas in the game where you're required to break through walls to proceed. Also, treasure chests can be bashed open with a weapon, but doors can't.
- All locked doors in Tales of the World: Narikiri Dungeon 3 can be opened by using a Lockpick Set item or by the main characters in a Thief costume.
- Pokémon has keys in most of its games. Sometimes you find them lying around. Other times you have to find that one NPC who will drop it. And then there's the time where you have to scale a radio tower, then get a key to the city underground area in which case you have to navigate that, simply to get ANOTHER key, to open up a door in the same radio tower.
- Anyone who has played Neverwinter Nights knows the dread phrase. Interestingly, one of the doors did have the key under the mat. You could literally open the door within a second of picking it up.
- Dragon Quest series is known for having locked doors and chests. Different kind of keys open different kind of doors, and the highest level key can open all doors.
- The Game Maker Unlimited Adventures has the classic key-locked doors. There are also "locked wizard" doors, which have to be opened with the Knock spell. There are also ordinary "locked" doors, which are useless—a player character must bash through or pick the lock each time (done as a skill roll), but these rolls are so easy that a locked door will stymie only the most pathetic of low-level parties, and even then they can just move away, then move back and try again.
- Parodied in Serious Sam: The Random Encounter. Sam encounters a locked door and complains about how he hates puzzles. Then he picks up the key, which is sitting on the ground nearby, and remarks that he found that puzzle quite enjoyable.
- Eye of the Beholder has a handful of locks that you can pick, but only on the second level; and if you happen not to have a rogue in your party, the game adds extra keys so that you don't need to pick them.
- Dark Souls might be very Metroidvania like in level and world design, but it doesn't have the permanent power ups instead using lots of keys, lots of doors, and lots of doors that can only be opened from one side (Albeit they are permanently opening). The Master Key is the only starting gift worth using as a result of this.
- Mass Effect frequently has these, but usually no keys. Some doors have Plot Locks, while others are opened with Shepard's hacking skills.
- Ecco the Dolphin had a variant where Ecco had to find the glyph with the correct song, which he would then have to go and sing to the barrier glyph so it would fall away and he could pass. The annoying part was, screw up or have to backtrack for some reason, and the dang glyph would re-appear.
- A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: The Four Winds Fortress has four locked doors, one for each Bandit of a Wind, whose key is dropped upon their defeat by combat. Darius, the Bandit of the West Wind, drops the Old Key to get into the Old Avishun Tower to defeat him again to drop his key to his section of the Four Winds Fortress.
Stealth Based Game
- In Splinter Cell, while many locks can be picked or forced, there are some doors which won't open because they are "jammed".
- The Resident Evil series is infamous for having maze-like layouts in every building imaginable, usually locked in surprisingly archaic fashion.
- The first game has doors that Jill, the Master of Unlocking, can open with her lockpick, but every other door requires a unique key since her lockpick apparently doesn't work on those types of doors. The novel handwaves it by stating the special locks are too complex for Jill to use her lockpick on. Jill can also pick open locked desks with ease while Chris is forced to find small keys to open the same drawers. The locked desk concept is also carried over to Resident Evil 2. There, the locked door phenomenon is explained as a fad by the city developers for crazy games.
- Averted in Outbreak, as some locked doors can be broken open after taking a good enough beating.
- In Silent Hill, if a door is "locked", it can eventually be opened, if the lock is "jammed" or "broken", it's permanently locked.
Third Person Shooter
- In Crusader: No Remorse, all but the most heavily-armored blast-doors can be bypassed by applying enough high explosives. Doing so will, however, set off an alarm and send waves of foes your way - not to mention that you may well miss other important or useful things in the areas you thus bypass. But it's undeniably realistic...
- Since Red Faction allows you to destroy the walls, if you see a locked door, you can just blow a hole around the door and bypass it. In one scene, you are instructed to do so, but if you have trouble getting past it, the Reverse Mole will unlock the door for you. In practice the big complaint levelled at the game was that so many doors, floors, and office cubicles were made of magic stuff that's immune to your earth-shaking rocket launchers, to ensure that the player couldn't break the key-fetch procedure or run away from a boss fight.
- Inverted in MDK. Instead of flimsy locked doors that can't be blown open, even though you're armed with nuclear weapons, you'll find twenty-foot-tall, two-foot-thick steel monstrosities that can ONLY be opened with nuclear weapons.
- Doors in Jet Force Gemini are usually locked in one of the following three ways: By the life force of all the Drones and Airborne Squadrons that have to be dispatched beforehand, by requiring a key (in this case, a colored electronic card that matches the color of the seal that acts like the door's lock), or by requiring a specific item that is exclusive in access and use to one of the playable characters (a crowbar so Juno can enter the trap doors, a traditional key so Vela can open the door that leads to a mine in Rith Essa, a pair of goggles so Lupus can open a door that leads to a very dark room, or simply the presence of Floyd so he can allow the current character to open a door leading to a minigame dedicated to Floyd himself).
- In Resident Evil 4, padlocks can be removed with a swing of the knife and most fences can be jumped over, an exception being a certain Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence with a Locked Gate.
- In Shining Force II:
- Try to enter any house in Ribble besides the northernmost one. Any one at all. The citizens will not be milling about until you enter the mayor's house and go through the little cutscene. This is also the only way to open the church and shops, as well as get a new Force Member.
- Inverted in battle: If out in the open, you cannot enter a town in order to get out of battle if one is nearby (Unless using Egress or Angel Wing). Similarly, if a battle is in town, in the second game, at least, no party member can leave the map to enter the castle, any house, or leave town.
- Dice Funk: The party spends an inordinate amount of time trying to get through the service entrance of the Pickman Academy.
Austin: Foiled by a door!
- Jagged Alliance 2 has a number of locked doors, sometimes leading to important objectives but morte often just barring access to useful loot. The keys can occasionally be found in the possession of dead enemies, but more often than not you're going to have to force it with a crowbar (heavy, takes up inventory space), lockpick kit (better hope you've got a team member with relevant skills) or if all else fails explosives (expensive to ship in and hard to find). You could also attempt to Shoot The Lock Off, but this rarely if ever actually worked. The v1.13 mod makes this process a bit less painful by adding a combat knife that doubles as a crowbar and a multi-tool that can be used for lockpicking, both of which are smaller and lighter than their vanilla counterparts, and specialist door-breaching ammunition for shotguns that can One-Hit KO any mechanical lock.
- The Fire Emblem series has locked doors in nearly every game. Typically, a key is required to open them, but in most games a thief can open doors without the need for keys (In some games they require a lockpick to do this, but most of the time thieves can do it without needing any items at all). Sometimes doors will open on their own due to events, and sometimes enemies or NPCs will open doors by themselves. Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn also allowed you to bash doors down with your weapons, but this could take several turns depending on how much HP the door had.