In video games with wide open worlds built on revisiting the same locations over and over
, there are certain places that you can only enter once and never again. Sometimes this is because the place no longer exists thanks to being a Doomed Hometown
or a Collapsing Lair
. Sometimes it's because the plot keeps you out of it. Whatever the reason, these are places that can never be returned to.
The items inside the dungeon are frequently Lost Forever
and there are often times that you can only fill up your Monster Compendium
by grinding there.
In order to qualify a game must be generally be open to backtracking
and not just have a linear advancement through it.
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- In the first Xbox Ninja Gaiden, you can't go back to the Ninja fortress of chapter 1 nor in chapter 3's airship since it crashes.
- In addition to the obligatory Collapsing Lair at the end of each game, the Resident Evil franchise has a number of destroyable locations that occur mid-game, such as the Hospital in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, the part of Rockfort Island in Resident Evil: Code: Veronica where Claire starts out (destroyed shortly before her escape), and the train in Resident Evil 0. The only exception thus far is the very first game and its remake, where the entire mansion and its outlying grounds are fully available to explore right up until you confront the final boss.note
- The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass has the fourth dungeon, the Ghost Ship. It has a The Dev Team Thinks of Everything moment: if you leave without taking its Heart Container, the only item in the dungeon relevant to 100% Completion, it is sent to you via mail to avert it being Lost Forever.
- In Cave Story, Waterway is accessible only from an area whose entrance shuts permanently after a certain point. Depending on which story-path you take, the entire Labyrinth may become inaccessible.
- The insides of Demon Whale in Alundra 2, which becomes unavailable after the thing turns back into a normal whale.
- Ōkami has the Moon Cave dungeon that cannot be accessed again once your defeat Orochi and leave it. There is also Oni Island, the miniature sections of the Imperial Palace, the Sea Dragon's body and Past Kamiki. This is generally not frustrating since these areas only contain Vendor Trash, but no important secret item — with one exception to the spoilered area, which has a dog to feed. If you overlook this on your one visit to that area, you cannot get 100% Animal Tome completion.
- Ōkamiden, the sequel to Okami, is not so forgiving. It has the Five-Story Pagoda, the Moon Cave (again), the Underground Ruins, and the Ice Cavern, all of these contain unique items that are needed for 100% Completion.
- Kingdom Hearts has Oogie's Manor in Halloween Town. After defeating Oogie Boogie, he merges with his manor for another fight. Thus the manor is destroyed afterwards, as well as all its treasure—including a Red Trinity Mark that, if missed, can't be recorded in the journal. The Updated Re-release moved that Trinity Mark to fix the issue.
- The Final Fantasy series has plenty of these.
- Final Fantasy II has Emperor Palamecia's cyclone castle, which dissipates once he's defeated. Unfortunately, the cyclone also wiped half the towns off the world map before that, so here it's not just dungeons that get the worst of this trope. The towns are still visible on the map, but they are completely wrecked and cannot be entered.
- Final Fantasy III has a floating Hyne Castle, which after finishing gets planted into a forest you're not allowed to get back to.
- Final Fantasy IV has the Tower of Zot, which collapses once finished with, as well as the Giant of Bab-il, and the Tower of Bab-il's two parts. Unlike the first two, the Tower of Bab-il actually remains on the world map—it's simply closed off.
- In Final Fantasy VI there's the Imperial Camp, Phantom Train, Magitek Research Facility, Sealed Cave, Floating Continent, and Cyan's Soul.
- And Kefka's tower, but only half of it.
- Final Fantasy VII has several locations that can only be visited once to name of. Sectors 1 and 5 reactors, Shinra Headquarters (won't be revisited again until the raid late in disc 2, and can't be revisited after that), Cave of the Gi, Corel Prison, Temple of the Ancients, Gaea's Cliff (and by extension the Whirlwind Maze), Underwater Reactor, and Midgar sector 8 during the raid.
- In Final Fantasy VIII, there's Dollet Communications Tower, Galbadia D-District Prison, Missile Base, Galbadia Garden (during the attack), Great Salt Lake and Lunatic Pandora (only visited twice) leading to almost all locations inaccessible due to Time Compression. Not to mention the Laguna dream sequences.
- Final Fantasy IX: Evil Forest, the Ice Cavern, Cleyra, Fossil Roo, and all of Terra (including Pandaemonium).
- Final Fantasy X has Home which is destroyed immediately after leaving, the Bevelle temple and the Via Purifico (which are blocked off).
- Final Fantasy XII has several, and in an uncharacteristic act of kindness, the programmers indirectly tell you which ones by giving you a prompt about not being able to leave them until you finish them when you try to save in them:
- Nalbina fortress which is only there in the prelude due to it being destroyed.
- Rabanastre Palace during the heist.
- Nalbina Dungeons which is only accessible during your escape.
- Several airship dungeons including the Leviathan and Shiva.
- Draklor Laboratory in Archades.
- Due to the linear nature of Final Fantasy XIII's first ten out of thirteen chapters, every single area visited then is one time only.
- In both MOTHER 1 and EarthBound, Magicant vanishes. In the first game, Magicant can be revisited prior to completing a particular subquest; in the latter, it's a true One Time Dungeon with a few special items that can be Lost Forever.
- MOTHER 3 uses a Chapter system, but most dungeons and areas in the game can be revisited in at least one later chapter (although the enemy types and layout will change with the plot). The major exceptions are the Attic Dungeon in Chapter 4, which becomes inaccessible once the Chapter ends with its completion, and the Thunder Tower, which is only accessible in Chapter 5 because the story at that point involves infiltrating and destroying it.
- The Distortion World in Pokémon Platinum. The initial, plot-relevant area is one-time, anyway; you can enter it again later, though it's a different section of it.
- N's castle in Pokémon Black and White is destroyed and can not be revisited. It can in the sequel, though.
- The dungeons you explore in the future and The Nightmare in Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Explorers
- Subverted to a degree in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity. While the Glacier Palace and the Magnagate dungeons used to reach it can't be visited again through normal methods, it's possible to temporarily be warped into them for a few floors while exploring specific dungeons in the post-game.
- The S.S. Anne in Pokémon Red and Blue.
- In Chrono Trigger:
- The Black Tyrano fortress in 65,000,000 B.C. is destroyed when Lavos crashes into it. Mt. Woe in 12,000 B.C. is no longer accessible after the chain breaks and it falls into the sea. The Ocean Palace in 12,000 B.C. is no longer accessible after Lavos awakens, destroying it and the Kingdom of Zeal.
- The Black Omen is also a possibility, depending on which time period you finish it in. Completing it in the earliest time period (12,000 B.C.) prevents you from finishing it in the other two (600 A.D. and 1,000 A.D.) Going from the most recent time period to the oldest allows you to complete it 3 times total.
- In Breath of Fire I, Nanai and the dungeon beneath it are destroyed after you leave. Neither Mogu nor Mote's dream dungeons can be re-entered once you complete them. The Goddess' Tower is also destroyed after Jade releases the Goddess.
- Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga has the entire beginning of the game; specifically, Mario's house, Peach's castle (where you fight Bowser), Toadtown Square, the Koopa Crusier, and the small bit in Stardust Fields before the Border Jump minigame.
- All story dungeons in Hyperdimension Neptunia.
- Twice in Xenoblade. First, a good chunk of the Ether Mines in Colony 6 becomes unavailable after the boss has been defeated; and well after that, it ups the ante by locking away the entire freaking Mechonis, i.e. the other half of the game world, after it's been destroyed.
- The beginner dungeon in Dubloon cannot be accessed after Bradley curb-stomps you. Thankfully there is nothing in this dungeon that can't be acquired anywhere else.
- In Ys IV(both versions), the raising of the Ancient City causes certain dungeons to be destroyed or rendered inaccessable. After the city of Kefin reappears in V, the desert town is buried by a sandstorm, and the dungeon under Xandria collapses while you're escaping from it. In VI, the Romun Fleet is destroyed by Galba-Roa after you're finished there, and Zemeth Sanctum also is destroyed by the Ark's revival.
- The Golden Sun franchise has a few:
- In the first game, the very first dungeon, Sol Sanctum, becomes inaccessible after you've completed it.
- Dark Dawn has multiple Points of No Return, but two stand out for completely opposite reasons. The first one is the Clouds of Passaj, which come immediately after the second Point of No Return and the only one where the game warns you ahead of time that there's no going back after this point. note After getting through the Clouds, you can't reenter them. The game's fairly merciful, though, in that the only treasure chests in the area contain common items that can easily be bought in item shops. The second, far more insidious one is the Belinsk Ruins. There's nothing to indicate that once you have the band play Arangoa Prelude, you won't be allowed to leave Belinsk until you complete the Ruins and even less to indicate that once you do, you'll have to leave Belinsk by sea when you entered it by land, and furthermore that Arangoa Prelude was in fact the third PoNR and that leaving Belinsk after the Grave Eclipse has started is the fifth, since you also can't go back into the Ruins after you've beaten their boss. There are two special summons that are only available during this time, as well as one Djinni and some fairly nice items in the dungeon's chests.
- Eamon: the Beginner's Cave (on the game's Main Hall disk) is accessible only once. The game checks when the player tries to access it; only a true beginning character is allowed to enter, and a player who finishes the cave is no longer a beginner.
- Pre-Searing Ascalon in Guild Wars invokes this via Doomed Hometown. Leveling all the way to 20 here is the only way to get the Defender of Ascalon title.
- In MapleStory once you leave Maple Island, you can't go back. That ship inexplicably only goes in one direction. The game blends this with Guide Dang It and Lost Forever, because there is a special quest reward that will boost your HP recovery while resting that you can only get by sticking around.
- World of Warcraft: Cataclysm introduces several in the form of Doomed Hometowns for the Worgen and Goblin races. It is possible to return to Gilneas, although there is no longer anything there (and that means absolutely nothing, no NPCs and no enemies, which arguably makes an already Bleak Level even creepier). However, Kazan and the Lost Isles are completely sealed off once you leave.
- City of Heroes is generally very good when it comes to backtracking, as you can replay most story arcs and badge missions at will via the Flashback System. However, Praetorian Characters get hit by this trope hard. The first three Praetorian zones can be revisited at any time, but the story arcs can never be replayed once you outlevel them. The Praetorian Alignment Badges and Temporary powers are Lost Forever if you don't have them when you leave. This is due to an issue with the game's Karma Meter.note Praetoria used to be a much more extreme example of a One Time Dungeon. When the zones were first released, leaving Praetoria at level 20 meant leaving it permanently. There was no way back! Things have gotten much more relaxed now.
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has the Painted World area and a dream sequence that can't be returned to. Closing an Oblivion gate destroys that instance, although it's possible (and indeed likely) to find an identical map behind another gate, but completing the main quest line permanently closes all the gates, cutting off access to Oblivion entirely.
- In Knights of the Old Republic 2, Goto's Yacht cannot be revisited, as it is destroyed after you complete it.
- In Fallout 3, completists would be advised to grab the collectible Energy Weapons bobblehead during the brief Raven Rock sequence, since once the door shuts behind you, you're never getting back in there.
- Same for Vault 101 and the Medicine bobblehead, although you get to revisit one final time in the "Trouble on the Homefront" sidequest.
- The Anchorage Reclamation simulation in the Operation Anchorage DLC, and the Mobile Base Crawler in Broken Steel are also only accessible once.
- You can go back to Mothership Zeta after completion, but only parts of it; most of the lower half of the ship, including the two optional areas, is locked after the "Among the Stars" quest, and once you teleport to the Death Ray Hub, the teleporter breaks, locking you out of the Weapons and Experimentation Labs.
- The Dead Money DLC of Fallout: New Vegas cannot be visited after it is completed (partly due to the Sierra Madre casino being destroyed via Load-Bearing Boss), unlike the Old World Blues, Honest Hearts and Lonesome Road DLC. It's not a problem in the PC version, though, as you can use the noclip console command to find a door that takes you back.
- Diablo II: The Cow Level can only be played once per difficulty level.