Locomotive Level

Welcome to Orient Express. We're arriving at destination any time now. For now, please enjoy luxurious travel.

Gordon: New Yorkers talk like they're all big and bad, but I bet they don't deal with half this shit on the subway!
(soldiers continue shooting at him, he returns fire)
Gordon: The next time I hear someone complain about their commute again, I think I'm just going to punch them in the face.
Gordon Freeman, Freeman's Mind

It's very common for our protagonists to find their way onto a train. After all, it's a prime location for adventure. You're stuck in a confined space, and you're unable to leave once the train is moving. You may have to show your ticket or passport, you may be held up by a bunch of robbers, you never know who you're going to meet, and nobody is ever completely sure if that strange-looking toilet door is correctly shut.

After you've run around on the train for long enough, the only way left to go is up, often leading to a Traintop Battle. The music will often have a gallop rhythm.

Not to be confused with Rail Shooter. See also Sinister Subway.

Examples:

  • Contra: Hard Corps had this as one of its stages, ending with a Humongous Mecha boss. Shattered Soldier also had a train top stage with a Humongous Mecha as the boss, in an obvious homage to Hard Corps.
  • Several levels in the Mega Man X and Zero games.
  • Charge Man's stage from Mega Man 5. It's worth mentioning that Charge Man himself is an anthropomorphic train.
  • One level in the original Blood. And several levels in its sequel.
  • Gordon Freeman spends a lot of time on trains, although never during active gameplay. Half-Life famously started with him in an elevated tram; Half-Life 2 had him arrive in City 17 on a train; and in Episode One, he and Alyx hitched a ride on a Combine train, and later used a rebel-operated train to escape from the city. Also, the level On A Rail of the original game did involve active gameplay for Gordon
  • One level of Ape Escape 3 took place partially in/around a train.
  • Wario Land:
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • The first planet encountered in the "Toy Time Galaxy" level from Super Mario Galaxy has a large model train on it.
    • Chapter 6 in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door took place mostly on a train.
    • The Perplex Express in Mario Party 8, whose gimmick is that a Magikoopa sometimes comes by and scrambles the order of the cars, shifting the board and everyone's positions.
    • Super Mario 3D World has three train levels: two military trains captained by Pom Pom, and one made of gold that is a bonus level.
    • Several of the stages of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker take place on a moving train, requiring the player to explore inside, outside, and on top of the cars.
  • One of the Doc Ock fights in the Spider-Man 2 game took place on a train, and by proxy a portion of the film of the same name did as well.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog games:
    • Sunset Park Act 3 from Sonic Triple Trouble. The boss is the engine itself, which fires spiked cannonballs at the player.
    • In Sonic Adventure, in the middle of E-102 Gamma's Hot Shelter level, Gamma must travel across a pair of high-speed cargo trains, the rightmost of which is loaded with badniks. When he hits the switch on the rightmost engine, it will take him to the center of the base, where an upgraded E-105 Zeta is waiting for him.
    • In Sonic Shuffle, the fourth board, Riot Train, is set on a runaway train. Occasionally, freight cars would couple to or uncouple from the train, and the final mini-game involves Sonic and his friends pushing the train back to stop it from falling off a cliff.
    • In Sonic Heroes, either Rail Canyon or Bullet Station had this as part of the level.
    • Radical Train in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has three: You hitch a ride on a train and steal its cargo, you're on a motorcycle keeping up alongside the train, the last is on a jetpack flying around the train. There are side-missions where you can drive a train, but nothing interesting happens. At all. Unless you intentionally crash the thing.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The ghostly train to the afterlife from Final Fantasy VI, which is a boss in itself (and can be suplexed).
    • Final Fantasy VII has the team take a train, only for the guards to catch up with them, leaving our heroes to make a dash for it. There also is a haunted area named the Train Graveyard, full of derelict trains.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII there's the Timber Owls SEED mission (plus a bossfight) that takes place on two separate trains.
  • A good chunk of the second Professor Layton game, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, takes place on the Molentary Express, the most luxurious train in the world.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, as the name suggests, has some of these.
  • Unreal Tournament, AS-HiSpeed.
  • The original Viewtiful Joe has a train sequence in the latter half of the 5th world.
  • Skies of Arcadia has a train sequence as well while escaping from the Big Bad who slowly causally walks towards you.
  • Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project Has the start of one of the levels on the roof of a train and later (possibly in the same level) there is a boss fight on top of a much shorter train.
  • GoldenEye (1997), imaginatively titled "Train," which has Bond battling through a converted missile train in order to save Natalya.
  • The From Russia with Love game had a level that began on a train and led to a station - also titled "Train".
  • A level in Everything or Nothing.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures games:
  • In the Animaniacs video game for the Sega Genesis, in the second half of the Western Level, the Warner Siblings travel aboard a train. The boss of the stage is Ralph the Guard. During the first encounter, the Warner siblings must toss pies at him from an oven in the bakery car, while he tries to do vice-versa to them while riding a rail-mounted segway. In their second encounter, the Warners reach the engine. They must fill it with coal so it can outrun Ralph.
  • The game of Back to the Future III.
  • Jedi Academy had a level where you had to disarm a bomb on a crowded train, and then stop the bad guys from ramming it into the station.
  • Uncharted 2: Among Thieves has a few levels that take place around a train going up toward Shangri-La.
  • Mirrors Edge, where Faith surfs the train, in addition to one Train Escape.
  • Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow had a level where Sam Fisher has to infiltrate and interrogate someone on a train. He inevitably ends up on top of the train, and the sides, and the bottom.
  • The Last Express was set entirely on a train. The Orient Express, to be precise.
  • Act 2-1 in Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos
  • TimeSplitters Future Perfect features a train level in the 1960s.
  • The first boss of Persona 3, Priestess, hijacks a train you're investigating. Also a Time-Limit Boss.
  • One level in Final Fight takes place in a metro train as well as station.
  • Part of one of the final dungeons in Secret of Mana takes place on an undead-infested metro train.
  • Resident Evil 0 starts out on a train infested with leeches, OH and the undead. Then it crashes into a mansion full of the things. Talk about a lousy trip.
    • The climactic battle with William Birkin in Resident Evil 2 takes place aboard an escape train fleeing the (naturally) self-destructing Umbrella lab.
  • One level in Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation.
  • One level in Commandos 3, where you're recovering some paintings.
  • Shining Force III had a whole chapter about sneaking onto a train, people talking about trains, fighting in the train and then a big fight on top of the train for good measure. This was your standard medieval themed RPG so it makes sense it was such a big deal.
  • The Egypt stage in the NES version of Strider begins with a train ride to the pyramid in question.
  • A mission in Zone of the Enders: the 2nd Runner involves chasing a train before it can deliver a deadly payload to the Redshirt Army. But since you have to destroy said train, it plays more like a Battleship Raid.
  • The second mission in Time Crisis 2.
    • As well as the last part of the second stage in Time Crisis 3.
  • The climax of Gears of War has you work your way up a train, fighting off every kind of Mook and Miniboss the game can throw at you, before the confrontation with the Final Boss.
  • Broken Sword has one; it Bait And Switches a Traintop Battle, only to have you climb back down into another carriage to stop a gunman shooting Nico.
  • Medal of Honor: Frontline has a level in which you must fight your way through a Nazi armoured train to reach the Big Bad at the far end. Excitingly, you can use its mounted guns to blow up other trains as they pull alongside.
  • Sector 3 of Jumper Two features Ogmo thrown on a train by the Conductor. Of course, the train was designed for a very luxurious travel.
  • Jean-Bison's trainyard in Sly 2 Band Oo Thieves features several Train Job missions.
  • Heather Mason has to fight through a Sinister Subway train full of monsters in Silent Hill 3.
  • You find yourself amidst a Train Job in Red Dead Revolver while going to Brimstone.
  • One of the Boss Battles in Banjo-Tooie takes place on board Chuffy the locomotive.
  • Snake's Revenge has this.
  • The first level of Victoria's world in LittleBigPlanet 2 takes place on a train.
  • One level of Rocket Knight Adventures has your jetpack-wearing armor-clad laser-sword-wielding possum riding a little hand-car-thingie along the rails as he tries to catch up to the evil robot train with ray guns and clawed arms. Best boss ever.
  • Dissidia Duodecim has the Phantom Train from Final Fantasy VI as a level. The characters fight inside one of the cars and the seats are breakable. It's easily the most confined arena in the game, but it more or less works since the walls become partially transparent whenever doing otherwise would interfere with the camera.
  • Shadows of the Empire has the Ord Mantell Junkyard level.
  • Klonoa 2: Dream Champ Tournament has this for the second area.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time has the "Bury My Shell At Wounded Knee" level, set in a Western-timed train.
  • Alice: Madness Returns has the Infernal Train level.
  • In Th3 Plan, a heist game, one of the first stages is on a train going through a very long tunnel.
  • Cactus McCoy has several levels on a train. And it's AWESOME.
  • Monster Tale has one of these levels.
  • A non-video game example from One Piece: Between Water 7 and Enies Lobby, the Straw Hats have some confrontations as they travel across the sea on the Sea Trains, the Puffing Tom and Rocketman.
  • Distorted Travesty has one, of course. It then parodies it by having the train's interior be an Absurdly Spacious Sewer.
  • All of the Hudson Soft game Stop The Express.
  • One level in the first installment of Soldier of Fortune.
  • Red Steel 2 has a train level which involved lots of working your way through carriages then finding the way is blocked and having to go up on the roof, then finding that way is blocked and going down through the carriages again. Interestingly your movement is hampered by the constantly swaying train.
  • Not quite a strict Locomotive Level per se, but the Macbeth mission in Star Fox 64 features a train which the team is trying to destroy. If one successfully flips all eight paddles and then manages to shoot the switcher-lever, the result is the gratifying spectacle of the enemy locomotive smashing into the supply depot, destroying the whole thing. If one doesn't manage to do so, then the locomotive, which tows a heavily armed "kite" mech, serves as the level's boss.
  • The Battle Subway in Pokémon Black and White and the sequels. Made worse because The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard and frequently becomes That One Level.
  • Red Dead Redemption has two such missions, both of which have the player manning a gatling gun on one of the cars to fend off enemies attacking the train.
  • Desert Demolition Starring Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive has a level like this, entitled, Choo Choo Terrain.
  • Road Runner's Death Valley Rally for the SNES has a circus train level, entitled, Train Runnery, with various circus animals either helping or hindering your progress.
  • McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive has a circus train in the first half of the second world.
  • The arcade game Western Express (released as Express Raider in North America) is another game that takes place entirely on train themed levels. It also has a western theme.
  • Prior to the above, an arcade game called Wild Western involves protecting a train from bandits.
  • The first real dungeon in Tales of Xillia 2 is a train being raided by terrorists. It seems like a normal enough scenario initially, but things get weird halfway through...
  • Team Fortress 2, as with any Source engine game, has loads of community created content and maps, one of which is a map called ctf_convoy that takes place on two massive missile carriers careening through a canyon.
  • The House of the Dead: OVERKILL (and by proxy the spin-off Typing of the Dead Overkill} has a level called Scream Train, a possibly reference to Resident Evil 0, it features a large double story over-night sleeper filled with zom-er, mutants.
  • In Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, the Solar Sailer in The Grid takes on an appearance similar to a freight train.
  • In The Matrix: Path of Neo this is what the second Sinister Subway level turns into. It's filled with Ominous Visual Glitches and A Glitch in the Matrix.
  • Act 2-2 in Vanquish.
  • Grimrail Depot in World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor.
  • Before the final showdown in Yo! Joe! Beat the Ghosts, the player has to pass through a metro train ridden with enemies. For obvious reasons, this level is much shorter and simpler than any other.
  • The eighth level of Cool Spot is entitled "Loco Motive", and given Spot's diminutive size, takes place on an electric train set.