troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Took a Shortcut
Kuzco: No! It can't be! How did you get back here before us?
Yzma: Uh... [beat] ...how did we, Kronk?
Kronk: Well, ya got me. *pulls down chart showing the situation's improbability* By all accounts, it doesn't make sense.
Yzma: Oh, well.

Let's say you're playing a Role-Playing Game. You enter a dungeon using your special bloodline and navigate through waves of vicious monsters, get past several devious puzzles, and avoid all sorts of nasty traps through your psychic powers and reflexes of Bruce Lee. As you defeat that huge dragon guarding the Cosmic Keystone, you walk through the door and find... your love interest lying on the ground and her kid brother on crutches mourning over her... wait, how the hell did he get here? For that matter, how did she get here, either?

That's simple. They just took a shortcut. This is the ability that every NPC gains when he or she leaves NPC Academy. Considerations such as amount of distance or the physical capabilities required mean nothing to video game NPCs. If they are needed for a plot point, they will appear where they are needed at just the right time even if it means bypassing all sorts of trials well beyond them. Going beyond this, some NPCs even have the ability to just materialize and dematerialize right in front of the player's eyes. It's rare an explanation is given for why they are capable of this.

One possible explanation is that somehow any main character is a Weirdness Magnet, so only they ever get attacked by monsters and otherwise held up.

Very, very common in video games of all types. A subtrope of Offscreen Teleportation.

Compare Already Undone for You, which is when the NPC used the "shortcut" to get past locked doors and kill monsters, yet somehow left the doors locked and the monsters alive behind him for you to deal with. Contrast Ridiculously Difficult Route.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Film 
  • In a non-video game example, in Shrek 2, Shrek, Donkey, and Fiona have to travel to the Kingdom of Far, FAR Away, which apparently takes an exceedingly long time. Yet when Shrek is arrested after drinking the Happily Ever After Potion, his whole gang back at The Swamp (where it's already getting dark) somehow not only gets to him in short order, but gets back in order to get to the Muffin Man on Drury Lane with a "big order to fill", and then back to Far, Far Away, all in time to save Fiona from the love potion by midnight.
  • Lampshaded in The Emperor's New Groove, where Yzma and Kronk are struck by lightning while jumping a pit, causing them to fall. Even so, they still arrive to the lab before the protagonists do. The lampshading takes the form of a pull-down map showing both groups' routes, with Yzma's ending at said pit. They acknowledge that they have no idea how they got there first and that by all accounts it doesn't make sense.
    • The video game adaptation has similar moments. In the final levels, taking place in Yzma's lab, Pacha keeps appearing at certain points of the game. Kuzco theorizes, "You must have eaten your way through a wall."
  • In Young Frankenstein, after having lots of trouble getting the secret passage to work, Frederick and Inga descend to Victor's private laboratory, where they meet Igor. When asked how he got down here:
    Through the dumbwaiter. I heard the strangest music, and I just sort of followed it down. Call it... a hunch! Ba-doom chee!
  • In Big Trouble in Little China, when the good guys storm the villain's underground temple, the main characters get seperated from good sorcerer Egg Shen and his martial artist backup and take an elevator upstairs to confront the evil sorcerer Lo Pan. While being chased by Lo Pan's most powerful henchman, they stumble upon Egg Shen looking down at them from a hole in the ceiling overhead, ready to throw them an escape line. When asked how he got up there, his response: "Wasn't easy!"

     Live Action TV 
  • Another non-videogame example is Heroes, where driving from one side of the United States to the other is treated as absolutely trivial.
  • Phil, the host of The Amazing Race always manages to film various promos at task locations and then still be well ahead of the Racers in order to meet them at each Pit Stop.
  • One incident originally considered by most fans to be a Plot Hole in Xena involved Xena leaving Gabrielle behind and setting off on a long journey to China, only to discover Gabrielle already there when she arrived. A later episode explained how this happened and made it a relevant plot point.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Due to a continuity error, Tasha Yar does this at the end of "Symbiosis." She remains in the cargo bay when Captain Picard and Dr. Crusher walk out the door, across the corridor, and into a turbolift. It takes them directly to the bridge, where Tasha is already at her station.

     Video Games 
  • A rare example of it working in the player's favor comes in King's Quest VI, where Alexander needs to get his hands on a fake genie bottle to swap for a real one. Alexander has no way of knowing what the real one looks like (having never been inside the castle where it resides), but the player does, having seen it already in one (optional and hard to get) cutscene.
  • In Illusion of Gaia, one level requires you to fight through a lot of monsters, do a ton of running jumps that requires Will's extraordinary abilities to perform, and otherwise should be inaccessible to a normal human being. Yet when the plot calls for it, one of the kids that is established as being rather weak (both physically and mentally) is able to walk in through that very same door that Will came in through.
  • When you find the super-battery plans in Day Of The Tentacle, Dr Fred appears from a corner of the room with no access. After he goes off to the time machine, Bernard asks "How did you get over there?"
    • That's a tame example too: people constantly walk off one side of the screen and reappear on the other. It's occasionally given an "Um..." beat, but no one really says anything.
  • In Streets of Rage, you would battle your way though armies of Mooks alone (or with another player) and the other characters would appear for the cutscenes, then vanish again.
  • Big Joe, a goofball NPC from Xenogears, keeps turning up in high security areas and the like for no real reason.
  • In the original Tomb Raider, each time you fight Pierre he takes a certain amount of damage and then runs off out of sight before disappearing. The thing is, he disappears the instant you lose sight of him which means he can potentially run behind a small pillar to escape. The remake Tomb Raider: Anniversary has a Shout-Out to this by having him do the same thing during a cutscene.
    • Most games in the series feature places that Lara Croft is implicitly or explicitly said to be discovering for the first time in centuries ... and they are all crawlng with human enemies when Lara gets there. A particularly notorious case is that of the Maria Doria levels of Tomb Raider II, in which Lara is exploring a sunken ship - with human enemies popping out from every corner. A few of the games do avert this - Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation does not feature any human enemies deep within the tombs Lara explores.
  • In Wild ARMs Jane gets around the map with ease offscreen, but in order for the protagonists to get to her home, they have to obtain the one-of-a-kind unique vehicle only found near the end of the game.
    • Even worse is Martina in Wild ARMs 3. Despite being a little girl with no weapons or combat experience, she manages to traverse the deserts of Filgaia and reach places that require the use of a Sandcraft or an Airship all on her own.
  • NPCs in City of Heroes come in a couple flavors. Some will just dematerialize right in front of your eyes as you rescue them. Some will run back to the entrance of the map on their own, but gain the ability to not attract the attention of any enemies along the way (even if they were kidnapped by them in the first place). Some will require you to escort to the door, but what is never explained with any of this is how they are able to get back to civilization from places such as tiny deserted islands, forests full of monsters, or even alternate friggin' dimensions.
    • Similarly, in World of Warcraft, NPCs frequently fail to attract the attention of wandering monsters (unless, of course, you're on an Escort Mission). Particularly bad when, say, you've just freed a guy from a spider's web in the middle of a giant nest of giant, giant spiders, and the NPC goes "W00t! Thanks!" (literally) and runs off... through the spiders. Apparently trusting so much in his NPC ability that he doesn't even pause to go "Whoa, I'm surrounded by spiders and obviously not out of the woods yet...." On the other hand, who can argue with the lack of an Escort Mission when it might logically have been there?
  • Navigating the world of the Pokémon games requires the use of hidden machines (HMs), special items that allow Pokemon to perform actions outside of battle (such as cutting down trees, pushing boulders, and scaling waterfalls). These items are implied to be quite rare and can only be used once the local gym leader is defeated. Despite the fact that the games constantly throw Broken Bridges in your way that can only be circumvented by using the HMs, all random folk seem to have no problem going from town-to-town at a moment's notice.
    • Not to mention how Blue/Green manages to beat EVERY SINGLE GYM before you, even though he gets his first Pokemon at the same time you do.
    • You, the player, are actually able, and sometimes required, to invoke this trope with the Fly HM.
  • Rather beautifully played with in Shadow Hearts: Covenant; when you run into the Recurring Traveler Magimel brothers in the Neam Ruins, they complain about having had to go through all of the dungeon's puzzles in order to get there ahead of you.
    • From The New World plays it mostly straight, where that gay couple appears everywhere ahead of you.
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police
    • The unnamed TV Studio Director from the Telltale games is able to teleport between sets in the studio, depending on where the titular protagonists happen to be. As expected for the game, Sam Lampshades the ability at the first available opportunity.
    • Sam & Max themselves, given that they are able to drive their (apparently normal) car to seemingly anywhere (including the moon!) in a matter of minutes, with no explanation.
  • Rogue Galaxy is absolutely ridden with this. One particular example includes a frail and sickly woman and her child, who are searching for her husband who just happens to be a member of your party, of course, appearing in a lot of places. These places include factories filled with rampaged robots where even the police forces are wary of entering, plazas where the random encounters include aggressive junk colossi, and even haunted and cursed castles that you had to personally unseal to get in!
  • Played with in both Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. The main character must reach a destination in adventurous ways by solving various puzzles, and once they arrive, another character that they'd left at the starting point walks in, telling them that there was a shortcut. After that, the shortcut becomes usable.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the Pokémon Trainer does this in the adventure mode, hiding out in the background while his mons go through all sorts of traps.
    • This is also quite strange in many moving stages, such as Port Town.
    • Often the Trainer will have a platform in the background platform that follows the stage.
  • Parodied in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. The character giving your introductory tutorial (Jack) says he'll meet you up ahead. The only way to progress is to lockpick a door. As you approach the door, you hear breaking glass. When you open the door, Jack is standing by a broken window in the room, and remarks, "Uhh... Shortcut."
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, you can have a race with the running man, but no matter how fast you are and despite never seeing him pass you, he will always be present at and end up beating you by "one second" to the finish line. This was done because the developers couldn't think of any reward to give the player for beating him, ergo, there's no way to win.
    • A similar character called the Postman appears in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. At any given time, he can be found in five separate places in Hyrule, even if you teleport directly from one to another. In one such case, he's at the bottom of a pit guarded by a small army of just about every enemy there is.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages, Ralph dashes away from the Oracle of Ages and the guy with the Harp of Ages, and yet somehow still manages to find his way four hundred years into the past. Linked games can make this weirder, with Rosa somehow finding her way into, and then out of, the past with no explanation. Ambi, who is from the past, can wind up in the present in Seasons, though at least she mentions she asked Nayru to send her there. Maple appears in both time periods as well, commenting that she flew through "some weird portal".
  • Resident Evil, so, many, times. One wonders why the other characters are carrying around spare wolf emblems, tiger eyes and hexagonal cranks let alone get past all those deadly creatures. Gets even worse when it's a child around eight doing it while you've just had to walk through the horde of the undead. Partly understandable with Wesker and Barry in the first game as Wesker would probably have extra keys and maybe gave some to Barry.
    • Not to mention the fact that in almost every game in the series, other characters can explore areas that are closed off to you, usually because of moving walls, secret passages, and doors that require specialized keys hidden in obscure and inconvenient places. How Wesker/Barry, for example, got into the crypt in the remake before you unlocked the door is a question with no apparent answer. Ditto the Chained Creature, who can apparently navigate the entire mansion grounds despite the fact that it's in shackles that constricts it movement considerably and most of the important places in the game are sealed off with locked doors the player inevitably gets the keys to. Ditto Steve in Code Veronica, who gets ahead of you without the items needed to open the pathways.
    • The Dark Id of Let's Play fame notices this a lot in his playthroughs. Hilarity Ensues.
    • Ada turns up ahead of the player character a lot in Resident Evil 4, despite the game's very linear nature. Possibly justified in that she has a Grappling-Hook Pistol.
      • In fact, when you play the shorter game "Separate Ways," which features Ada's storyline as it runs concurrently with Leon's, you find out that this is exactly the case.
      • The Merchant is either a case of You ALL Look Familiar or he somehow always stays one step ahead of the player with enough spare time to set up gun shops or shooting galleries. Some odd places he meets the player include the bottom of a spiked pit, and behind a giant door that had to be blasted open by a cannon.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, a certain side-quest gives you the option to either have a corrupt Watch captain assassinated or locked away. If you choose the latter, he will eventually break out and attack you at a random point, armed only with a silver dagger. Hilariously, this can happen anywhere in the game world, including at an Ayelid ruin filled to the brim with nether liches and skeletons.
    • In The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, one merchant/innkeeper quest involves killing harpies in a dungeon (they want just the harpies killed?) but, later, you are asked you to save a mercenary who had been hired before you to perform the same task. Who wasn't there the first time.
  • Something similar happens in Fallout 3, during the "Replicated Man" sidequest. A short period after starting the quest, you'll be approached by an android-sympathizer who urges you not to enslave the missing android. The character starts out in Rivet City and will follow you throughout the entire game world until she catches up to you, and so can appear in any location including in the middle of nowhere, deep inside a Deathclaw-infested death town, or in the middle of a battlefield between Super Mutants and Talon Company. Amusingly, she DOES NOT take a shortcut, and instead travels through the game world normally just like you do. As a result, she'll often cross paths with and get attacked by random monsters just outside your line of sight (however, she's invincible until she talks to you).
    • your father, James, who, if you follow him to Rivet City will fight anything along the way, and will not die. Yes deathclaws, radscorpions, molerats, bloatflys, everything.
    • The Enclave enter Vault 87 through the main door, despite the astronomical radiation levels and the impassible(to the player) outer entrance door.
  • Castlevania
    • As Alucard puts it in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, "The castle is a creature of chaos." It's as good a justification as any for how the NPC population beats you to the next stop - to them, the castle had more straight paths.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia. Shanoa frequently rescues villagers - including frail old women, children, and cats - from monster-infested locales, with each and every one of them saying that they'll head back to the village on their own... and then arriving there far quicker and presumably easier than Shanoa ever could. While some are found right at the exit of an area, meaning travel to the village wouldn't take too much time, but considering you find one girl in a hidden room in an underground, underwater cavern from where getting out would take a long, long time of swimming underwater... yeah.
      • It's implied that villagers all have Magical Tickets, allowing them to teleport back from the village right from where they're found, but if they're actually using them or not is never said. Then again, they're all descendants of the Belmont family, so it makes sense they'd be badasses.
  • Final Fantasy II has at least two of these:
    • You go on an arduous quest to get a magic torch that will allow you to enter Kashuon Castle. When you finally get in, you discover that you were beaten by a guy who had the sense to rappel inside instead of hunting down the stupid torch.
      • The whole reason you need to do this quest is because this guy, who is only one capable of opening the door without a key, is not in your party. He gets a What the Hell, Hero? speech if you go back to talk to the princess, since she blames him for Josef's death on the mission to retrieve the torch.
    • You travel all over the world to get the special items that will allow you access into a tower. When you get to the top of the tower, who do you find waiting for you? The wimpy white mage. No explanation is given.
  • In Final Fantasy IV DS, the character formerly known as Namingway always seems to be one step ahead of you, despite being a cute little bunny travelling by himself in a world chock full of nasty monsters.
    • Its because he has the "no random encounters" augment.
  • In Final Fantasy VI, Kefka somehow manages to beat you to the Esper World despite the only known path to reach the gate was still lined with all the traps.
    • Likewise, Locke has ransacked the Phoenix Cave treasure chests and is found at the very bottom by the time you get there. Inexplicable, since the cave is rigged with paths and obstacles that can only be overcome with two separate parties.
    • At the very end, after defeating Kefka, any characters that you left back at the airship (if you recruited all 14 members, at least two will be left behind) suddenly run into the site of the Final Battle just so they can accompany you on the way back and take part in the credits. In their defense, all the switches and traps in the tower have been turned off by the invading parties, so these characters probably took advantage of the clear paths.
  • Final Fantasy X has Yuna and her team of Guardians battling monsters all the way on a dangerous pilgrimage. This doesn't stop a variety of NPCs, including a rather meek nun and a simple merchant, from following her and even arriving before her at certain places. This is justified. The party is only followed up to the Calm Lands, which means the followers had to cross to Macalania, which is relatively safe compared to end-game areas, except for the odd Malboro or Basilisk here and there. Yuna and her team only encounter more dangerous foes when they go off the normal pathways of Spira (Bikanel Island or Mount Gagazet for example) or are facing boss monsters. In FFX-2, there's more shortcuts throughout Spira than before, and in general the areas are logical in where you see the harder foes (major pathways across Spira, such as the Moonflow or Mi'hen Highroads, are pretty safe, while out-of-the-way areas like Macalania are more dangerous.) Also, they can simply run from monsters as is pointed out by a boy at chocobo road.
  • Shannon of Quest 64 appears in every Inn and some other places. Although it becomes obvious near the end of the game how she does it, it makes no sense for a very long time.
    • You can also teleport with wings for all but one ruined town to save time. Shannon's somehow there too, but this one isn't explainable...
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge, Sally will be waiting at the end of the Hinterlands, even though Jack has to unlock several doors and fight through several monsters to reach it himself.
    • Mr.Hyde will appear in Christmas Town before Jack, even though before Jack arrived there was no door, thus there was literally no way to get there.
  • In Quest for Glory II, Ad Avis teleports to Iblis just before you reach him.
  • Justified in Silent Hill 2. You run into little girl Laura several times, and she seems totally unaware of the monsters running around. This is because she's a little kid, and as such doesn't have the issues the rest of the cast does, which is why the monsters manifest. To her, Silent Hill is a regular town.
    • Played straight in Silent Hill 1. It's not clear how Kaufmann managed to get to the Resort Area before Harry did, considering that the only way to get there is to go through a sewer that was locked until Harry bashed the gate open. With Cybil, it's justified as she specifically says she followed Harry through the sewer after noticing the gate was cut.
  • Zivlyn Bane in Skies of Arcadia. No matter how secluded, how secure, how impossible it's supposed to be to get to a certain area, even if you're supposed to be the first people to have reached the place in centuries, There will be one treasure chest in that dungeon where you have to fight him over a piece of Vendor Trash. Even in the heart of the Negative Space Wedgie. (Perhaps he's a stowaway on the Delphinus. It's the only explanation.)
  • Paper Mario: When the repetitious annoyance Jr. Troopa shows up yet again near the end of the game outside Peach's Castle. You've spent the entire game getting the Plot Coupons needed just to get to this place, and yet he gets there apparently without any problem. When Goombario examines him with the Tattle ability, he lampshades this by saying: "You've got to love this guy's effort, Mario. To follow us all the way here? What dedication! Come to think of it, how do you think he got here, anyway?" Of course, it is never explained.
    • Done twice in the same dungeon in the second game. In the final dungeon, no matter how quickly you get to the final room, Grodus will always get there ahead of you, despite probably entering after you and apparently having to go through the same traps and obstacles (although there's a few theories on how this is possible; it's implied that because he tricked you into opening the door, he followed you in and went down the stairs after you solved the puzzles, leaving behind the Shadow Sirens as a diversion). Secondly, after defeating Grodus, Bowser and Kammy Koopa will fall from the ceiling and fight you, so while you had to go through traps, Bowser just smashed his way through.
    • Also in that game there's the "Pit of 100 trials". Throughout the dungeon there's the same guy who seems to get ahead of you even though you pass him repeatedly. He literally claims to know the shortcuts and, for a small fee, will let you "take the shortcut" down some levels. He makes you cover your eyes, so you don't see that he can freaking teleport.
    • There's also another version of this present in Super Paper Mario, where Mario's ability to flip between 2D and 3D is a unique or very rare ability that he's been given. We still often see objects and people in the 3rd dimension with no explanation as to how they flipped, and people and objects in places that can only be reached by flipping to 3D.
      • Intersecting 2D planes, maybe?
  • Cave Story: No matter where you go, Curly Brace will get there ahead of you. However the shortcuts appear rather tough on her, since she's usually heavily injured by the time you get there.
  • Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World has this at the end of the Temple of Lightning, where after getting three different forms for your one-of-a-kind Sorcerer's Ring, you finally unlock the door to Tonitrius' core...only to find that Decus and an NPC researcher are already there.
  • In Serious Sam II, a simba shaman even says "I think I'll take a shortcut" when teleporting out.
  • In one stage of Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune, your opponent, Gatchan, appears to quit in mid-race, coming to a stop. A few kilometers later, he reappears from an off-ramp just in front of you...even though he slowed to a stop in his Toyota Celsior and had to drive through non-highway roads while you barrelled through twisty tunnels at over 200 km/h.
  • In My Sims Agents, there's an area that you have to get to in order to meet "Mr. Suckers", at the request of Clara, a girl at the beach. First you have to gather the elements of a tea party and show them to her, at which point she sets off. If you haven't done anything over there yet, you then have to move a rock so you can use it to jump higher up, move the rock again so you can get up even higher, move two blocks into a stone wall so that you can use them as steps so get over it, pick a lock, and cross a tide pool. When you arrive, you find that Clara is already there. You can ask her how that was possible; she says she got a ride from Mr. Suckers, a kraken who loves tea and whom she's learned how to understand.
  • How did that lone druid end up at the end of the labyrinth, crawling with demons and seeded with deathtraps and forcefields that even a rescue party including a seasoned warrior, an experienced adventurer with a gun, a talented sorceress and two other guys could barely survive? That's one of the many unanswered mysteries of Albion.
  • Dragon Quest VII has the Sphinx, which the enemies have supposedly taken over. You still can't get past a locked door and reach any bosses until you solve a puzzle, which is almost standard for video games, but you can't even try to solve the puzzle unless you provide a Plot Coupon which is unique in the game and which the player has.
  • In Half-Life 2, Alyx will always arrive before the player, regardless if she has to infiltrate a heavily-guarded enemy stronghold or navigate a battlefield armed with only a pistol. Although the game often shows that her mastery of Le Parkour allows her to take more obstacle-free paths that walking tank Gordon Freeman is unable to access.
    • The game's narrative also does a good job of setting these up, generally realizing she needs to meet up with Gordon when she's already near/at the obstacle that serves as your rendezvous.
    • This is also practically the G-Man's signature move. Even in the first game he would show up in places he couldn't possibly have reached by conventional means and seemingly vanish into thin air. Justified in that he seems to be some kind of extra-dimensional traveler.
  • Magnus does this a few times in Jet Force Gemini. "I move pretty fast, I know."
  • At the end of F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, you fight your way through a city infested by Replica Soldiers and supernatural monsters to make your way to the Telesthetic Amplifier chamber at the heart of the Mega Corp.'s secret base that will give you the power to defeat Alma. Suddenly, Corrupt Corporate Executive Genevieve Aristide shows up, shoots your partner, and screws up your entire plan. Exactly how a 50-year-old suit armed only with a pistol managed to make it alive through a city turned into Hell On Earth, while you barely made it through even with superpowers and a squad of crack Special Forces operatives on your side, especially considering she needed your help getting past every other tough situation she got herself into earlier in the game, is never really explained.
  • Averted in Golden Sun - The Lost Age. The party travels through a cave which contains several seemingly useless puddles. You later learn that the party was followed by a Water Adept, and if you think about it, those puddles are necessary for him to get through on his own.
    • And in a similar case in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, a trail of water puddles can create a shortcut around a particularly long dungeon, answering the question of how an NPC group (with a Water Adept) was able to beat your party (without a Water Adept) to the end without solving any traps. Later on, when you get a Water Adept in the party, you can use the shortcut to your heart's content (which is handy, since the plot blocks off the previous way you got through).
    • It's often played straight by the villains. Notably, Saturos' party is able to enter Venus Lighthouse despite none of them knowing Reveal, which is required to open the doorway. Their successors, Agatio and Karst, are able to navigate the Jupiter Lighthouse without the aid of a Jupiter Adept, despite needing one being the reason Saturos kidnapped Sheba to begin with.
  • In Singularity, mild-mannered, unarmed physicist Dr. Barisov somehow manages to get around just as well as your character, a heavily armed special forces soldier, despite the island of Katorga-12 being a virtual Death World crawling with homicidal mutants. This is especially jarring if you factor in all the Apocalyptic Log journals telling how all the other inhabitants of the island ended up hunted down and killed by the mutants in the days following the explosion of the Singularity. There's also the fact that it's heavily implied that Barisov managed to survive on the island for 50 years, and even went around building upgrade stations at various key points to help your character out.
  • In Professor Layton and the Curious Village, Layton and Luke enter a mysterious tower through a wall opened by a key, and ascend floor by floor through puzzle-locked gates... yet they run into NPCs from the town, and wonder how they got there. It turns out that the entire population of the town, save Flora and Bruno, are androids, and each is part of the Baron's test to see who would best be able to care for his daughter. This makes a few scenarios more plausible.
  • Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals (Nintendo DS version): half the party gets teleported ahead, and the rest needs to follow them down a lava-filled temple. You need to drain some of the lava to be able to go lower, yet the teleported members were already down there.
  • Perfect Dark inverts this when Joanna is escaping dataDyne HQ. Cassandra De Vries and some of her henchmen stop you on the top floor - she starts Monologuing with you for a while before her henchmen open fire. She then leaves through the only exit to the roof. After beating the henchmen, Joanna leaves through the same exit where there's no sign of Cassandra on the roof - until she gets to the helipad, where Cassandra then appears behind her.
  • In God of War II, the Captain of the Spartan army somehow manages to work his way past the traps and enemies of the Palace of the Fates in order to encounter Kratos.
  • One quest in The Reconstruction involves trailblazing a previously untraveled mountain pass. One of the obstacles you face is a camp of bandits. This is Lampshaded in the narration.
  • Lampshaded in Math Blaster Ages 9-12. You play the game with a single Blaster-Pal, but during each playthrough's Very Definitely Final Dungeon the other two show up. The Blaster-Pal you came with asks them how they got here so fast. One of the best responses comes from Blasternaut:
    Blaster: We took a cab.
  • Several times in Mass Effect 3:
    • Played with in Prologue: Earth. The young boy somehow gets from one high-rise building to the top of an adjacent building just before Shepard and Anderson arrive. A few minutes later, the boy gets to the evacuation shuttle just as Shepard boards the Normandy. Since none else ever sees him and he appears in Shepard's dreams later, its not clear if he's even real.
    • During the Ardat-Yakshi Monastery mission (and if she's alive), Samara somehow makes it past waves of Banshees and gets to key locations before the player (Falere, the bomb). That said, the game does provide an explanation for at least some of her ability to get around faster then the party.
      Shepard: Could you learn to float down off a rail like that?
      Kaiden: Well, not in the next ten minutes.
    • During the walk to the control panel inside the Citadel near the end of the game, Anderson somehow makes it to the control panel ahead of you, even though (a) the location he tells you he landed in is nowhere to be seen, (b) there is no visible path besides the one Shepard travels, and there is only one way and one way only to said panel, (c) Shepard can be halfway to the panel before Anderson finishes describing the surroundings of the room he landed in, and (d) he doesn't bother to wait for you before venturing on ahead, and gets controlled by the Illusive Man just as you arrive. This did not go unnoticed by the fans.
  • Lampshaded in Edna & Harvey: The Breakout when you convince an NPC to help you with repairing a car. He tells you that he will wait for you in the garage, even though the only way to get there leads through the same room you will probably go to next. Edna asks if he is able to teleport himself, to which he replies that either he is able to or the developers were just too lazy to draw a walk cycle for him.
  • The Minstrel from Romancing Saga appears in almost every town in the game, acting as Mr. Exposition and party ditcher. Though it appears he's Elore the lord of all gods, whose job is to guide you to beat the Big Bad, so the teleportation may be justified.
  • Dragon Age: Origins gives no explanation whatsoever how Sandal Feddic (the lyrium-addled dwarf boy who enchants things for you) managed to beat the Warden and party to the entrance to the boss room of The Very Definitely Final Dungeon. Also unexplained is the room full of butchered darkspawn corpses you find him in. Cue Epileptic Trees.
    • Oh, the corpses do get an explanation, straight from Sandal himself: "Enchantment!"
  • Zacharie, the Meta Guy merchant in Off, mentions when you meet him that "[he'll] always find [himself] in places you're going to visit before you arrive." In addition, in area 1 Zone 3, he says he'll race you to area 2, offering a free item if you beat him. When you arrive in area 2, he's already there, and mentions that you had no chance of success because it was scripted (but he gives you the item anyway).
  • In the postgame of Pokémon X and Y, Malva tells you to hurry to your next destination while she continues to lounge around in her chair. When you get there, she is already waiting for you, but actually gives you kudos for getting there so fast.
  • Pops up in a couple of places in World of Warcraft in the Siege of Ogrimmar'' raid, especially near the end when Thrall is already there to confront Garrosh after you defeat the previous boss, with no apparent way he could've gotten past that.

     Webcomics 

     Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons, of course, parodies/lampshades this trope in "Two Dozen And One Greyhounds." Confronted by Mr. Burns in his mansion, Bart and Lisa dive into the laundry chute to escape. When they get to the basement...
    Lisa: Quick! Let's get the —
    Burns: Going somewhere?
    Bart: That's impossible! How did you get here first?
  • The pilot episode of Jackie Chan Adventures: "I took the stairs."
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: The laws of physics are optional for Pinkie Pie, so she does this whenever it suits her. Rainbow Dash may be the fastest pegasus in Equestria, but that makes no difference if Pinkie wants to find her. Wherever Dash goes, Pinkie is already there, waiting for her.

Tier SystemRole-Playing GameTrauma Inn
Third Person FlashbackAcceptable Breaks from RealityTrauma Inn
Continue Your Mission, Dammit!Gameplay and Story SegregationUnderrated And Overleveled

alternative title(s): Take A Shortcut
random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
70581
1