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"Master, I have completed the design for base security; these doors only open when you hit them with the Flaming Sword!"
"But no one in my army uses flaming swords."
"That's what makes it secure!"
— A conversation between a constructor of a Supervillain Lair and his boss in Zero Punctuation, Strider (2014)

One way to control the plot of a video game is to place barriers in the hero's path. A destination may be unreachable without access to water transport because the main character has Super Drowning Skills. You may need to become immune to fire before moving on because the next level is set in a Fire and Brimstone Hell environment. Perhaps you need to enlist the help of a specific NPC, or acquire a specific item, in order to get past the annoying guard. Or you may need to perform some special ability while standing on a pad or marked floor.

Sometimes, the item, ability, or skill isn't needed again. But, in other cases, it becomes a key part of the main character's inventory, and gets used all the time. Another example: you can't get to the other island without a ship, so any plot event that happens on the other island can assume you have a ship. Thus, the game developers suddenly start throwing quests at you that require you to hop back and forth between islands like a bored tourist, and continue to do so for the rest of the game. In extreme cases, the entire game dynamic may change after you obtain this one critical item or ability, because you are now well-equipped/powerful enough to handle challenges that would have been insurmountable before.

This is a subtrope of Broken Bridge. While Broken Bridges railroad you to the plot by requiring that you complete certain tasks before new areas open up, this trope is about railroading you to the plot by requiring that you have the necessary skills and abilities to move forward and open up new areas. This trope is a staple of the Metroidvania genre of video games, though it shows up in other genres as well.

See also But Thou Must!. For something that requires you to be at a certain level to proceed before it kills you, see Beef Gate. When this is combined with an offensive ability it's a Utility Weapon.


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    Action-Adventure Games 
  • In the arcade game Bubbles you control a scrubbing bubble in a sink, and advance to the next level by sending your bubble down the drain. But you have to grow your bubble big enough before you can go down the drain; if the bubble is too small, it'll pop.
  • The exploration gameplay of Aquaria is wholly built upon this. You spend most of the game collecting abilities and shapeshift forms that let you explore previously inaccessible areas, most of which are linked to the starting zone. This actually forces your progression into a more or less linear path. For example, near the beginning, you get a telekinesis-like ability, allowing you to explore passages blocked by boulders — by pulling them away. In some other passages, your path is blocked by currents streaming towards you; you move on to explore them after learning a form in which you can swim against currents.
  • The Batman: Arkham Series games use this to prevent sequence breaking. Notably in the first game, he left his Explosive Gel in the trunk of the Batmobile.
  • In Beyond Good & Evil there are locked doors and other obstacles that require a certain tool (or hovercraft equipment, or sidekick) to overcome. Sometimes, the item needed to escape from a room can be conveniently found in the same room.
  • In Blaster Master, the passage to each subsequent stage requires an upgrade earned by defeating the Mutant Boss of the current stage.
  • As is normal for Castlevania-styled games, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has a couple of cases of this, such as an ability which allows you to move obstacles out of the way, or the ever-popular double jump. One which stands out as a Guide Dang It! moment, however, is the Aqua Stream ability, which is dropped from a perfectly normal jellyfish enemy and is necessary to move through the Underground Waterway at first. Thankfully, its drop rate is exceedingly high when it comes to shards, at 10% base.
  • In Carrion, several entrances from the Frontier area to other areas require abilities gained from earlier levels, such as Photokinesis from the Botanical Gardens to bypass the door sensors that shut the entrance to the Leviathan Reef Base if tripped.
  • Castlevania games generally tend to give you the Double Jump fairly early — you'll need it constantly for the rest of the game. However, many of the upgrades are also used only once or twice.
  • In Hellfire (an expansion pack to the original Diablo), you cannot reach the insect hive until the farmer character knows you well enough to talk to you about his problems (and then to give you the explosives you need to create an entrance to the hive).
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets:
    • In the PC version, you cannot get into some game areas until you are taught specific spells in class.
    • You cannot use Spongify pads to jump until you are taught the Spongify spell, but various Spongify pads outside the castle are visible throughout the game.
  • Hollow Knight uses this heavily, as expected of a Metroidvania. One of its early manifestations is the path from the first area (Forgotten Crossroads) to the second (Greenpath) being blocked by an Elder Baldur which retreats into its invulnerable shell when you get within melee range, forcing you to learn a magic attack to pick it off at a distance. There are also helpful visual cues for many of the spots which you will need the Desolate Dive or Crystal Heart abilities to get through: glass floors or Chunky Updraft for the former, bits of crystal stuck in walls for the latter. The black barriers which you need the Shade Cloak to get past provide the most obvious use for that late-game ability; annoyingly, one of the areas thus blocked off is the part of Fog Canyon where you can obtain the area map from Cornifer.
  • The metroidvania La-Mulana has plenty of this, but also has a particularly evil subversion: the Scalesphere can only be obtained after passing through a pool of water that drains your health due to you not having the item. This is actually more likely to trip up experienced metroidvania players, who will assume the item needs to be found elsewhere before proceeding (unless they're the type to attempt Sequence Breaking on the first run).
  • Happens several times in the Legacy of Kain series.
    • In Blood Omen, the Wolf and Mist forms could reach inaccessible areas, the Disguise and Beguile forms could be used to interact peacefully with humans, and the Energy Bolt and Control Mind spells could be used to press inaccessible switches.
    • In Soul Reaver, Raziel generally needed the ability gained from each of his brothers to reach the next one.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • As a series hallmark, almost every dungeon in the series from A Link to the Past onward will have puzzles that can't be solved without the item found in their respective dungeon and bosses will probably need you to use that item to beat them. In addition, one dungeon's item may be required to enter the next dungeon (or even sometimes the section of The Overworld it lies in).
    • A Link Between Worlds averts this trope by having all key items in a store waiting to be purchased, while Breath of the Wild averts it by giving you every essential puzzle-solving ability in the introductory area. The only exception in the latter is the Paraglider, which is needed to get off of said introduction area, as it is surrounded in all directions by a steep drop.
    • A common design is to use this trope to hide a Broken Bridge. For example, in Oracle of Ages, the second dungeon gives Link Roc's Feather, which gives him the ability to jump. To get to the third dungeon, he is required to have an NPC build him a raft to access the island the dungeon is on. There are some pits Link must jump over to access raft-builder's house, requiring Roc's Feather. If Link leaves the second dungeon after obtaining Roc's Feather but without completing the rest of the dungeon, he will still be unable to obtain the raft, despite being able to talk to the NPC.
    • Notably averted in The Legend of Zelda. All of Hyrule, save for two screensnote , can be explored from the start. Doing so, however, is likely to get you killed.
    • The trope is prominent in the remake, BS The Legend of Zelda, where it interestingly combines with Broken Bridge. Certain obstacle-clearing items or events only appear or occur during certain broadcast weeks (for example, the Candle is needed in order to access the western portion of the map, but is only sold after the first week). One could wait until a later week and try to sequence break, but this defeats the purpose anyways, and the player only having one hour a week, or certain items becoming unobtainable.
    • The Master Sword in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is absolutely required for fighting Ganondorf's dragon form. In the event that you managed to go that far without getting the sword, Zelda in her Light Dragon form will have it for you and let you pull it out without a struggle. This is a big contrast to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild where the Master Sword was completely optional to obtain.
  • The LEGO Adaptation Games give you characters with the required abilities to beat each level of the story mode, but almost all of the hidden collectibles require an character with a different ability to be unlocked and this used in Free Play/roaming the hub world. For example, silver items generally require someone with an explosive to destroy and gold items require some form of rapid fire or laser to destroy.
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid: Samus can only do four things without items; run, jump, flip and shoot. You need the Morph Ball to even get past the first few screens, and the Missiles and Morph Ball Bombs to get anywhere. She also needs the Hi-Jump Boots and Ice Beam to access certain areas and attack the Metroids in Tourian.
    • Super Metroid:
      • You need various abilities and equipment to proceed, as par for the course of a Metroidvania-style game. The Morph Ball, Missiles and Bombs to get beyond Crateria, and the Super Missiles, Speed Booster (or the Ice Beam if you prefer—you at least need one or the other), Power Bombs and at minimum three energy tanks are absolutely required to finish the game.
      • There's one point where it's combined with Some Dexterity Required: if you wind up in the optional section where the Etecoons teach you the Wall Jump (and if you happen to save your game there), you must become at least familiar with the ability to escape. This isn't too difficult, but it's notably one of the few places where good control and execution is necessary to advance, as opposed to merely making the game easier and enabling Sequence Breaking.
    • Metroid Fusion puts icons on blocks which you need a specific ability to destroy.
    • In Metroid: Samus Returns, certain abilities acquired from Chozo statues, like the Spider Ball, are needed to gain access to new areas and others that were previously inaccessible.
  • Minit: The player has to find different items in order to overcome various obstacles. As an example, the player starts with most routes past their house blocked by shrubbery, which can be cut and moved past once they acquire the sword.
  • Used very frequently in Ōkami. There are places very early on in the game that require some of the final Brush Techniques to enter.
  • Onimusha: The second and third games have certain doors protected by a colored, tumor-like Genma called Mozun. In order to unlock said areas, you have to find the right Oni Weapon and use it (examining the Mozun will always tell you what kind of elemental Oni Weapon you need). The fourth game, Dawn of Dreams has certain levels containing special locks or iron doors or walkways that can only be used by one of your party members.
  • Applies not to you, but to your minions, in Overlord. Can't pass fire without red minions, or poison without green ones! You can go through water, but only blue minions can safely follow you, and if there's a gate-opening wheel on the other side you're just too lazy to turn it yourself.
  • Pikmin: A standard feature of the games has the player encounter obstacles and hazards barring access to collectibles, Plot Coupons, new areas or other forms of progression, which require the use of specific pikmin types' abilities to cross. Specifically, blue pikmin can swim and are needed to explore flooded areas, red pikmin are fireproof and are needed to navigate fire hazards, yellow pikmin are immune to electricity and are needed to tear down electrified gates, white pikmin are immune poison and are needed to cross areas laced with toxic gas, rock pikmin are needed to break apart glass walls and crystals and flying pikmin are needed to access objects on high ledges. The ability barriers go further in some cases; one boss in the game can only be damaged after getting hit by a purple pikmin.
  • Rakuen: The paths to the later areas of the game are blocked by bamboo and boulders in Morizora's Forest and barricaded wooden doors in the hospital. The Axe is required to chop past the bamboo and the doors while the Pickaxe is needed to break the boulders down.
  • The Vocaloid fan game Singular Stone has certain areas that required a specific character's ability or a copy of the Air Ball item for a specific character :
    • Most of South Coast requires Rin's flight to access, her ability which unlocked at Level 9 and requires her Level 2 Skill Stone.
    • Luka's Level 3 Skill Stone is only reachable from a blocked gate that's located underwater in North Lake, which only accessible to Len to bomb after finding a copy of Air Ball for him.
    • To fight the D.O.P.E, the Old Relics must be in snowing mode, but the platform where Miku can transform into Snow Miku to change the weather is accessed via an underwater portal, which requires her copy of the Air Ball item. She also must be at least Level 16 to create the ice platform required to access one of the portals.
  • Strider:
    • The NES game: Flashing red wall? You need the Magnetic Boots to walk up it. HP-draining water? Requires the Aqua Boots, which you must Wall Jump to reach. Uncrossable spike pit? Jumping upgrade required to proceed. Low passageway? You need to acquire the sliding ability.
    • Returns with a vengeance in the 2014 remake. Closed-off vents? Get that Slide Attack! Icy-blue spinning doors? Need the Ultra-Cold Cypher to freeze them. Yellow-glowing doors? Must use the Explosive Cypher to burn through. Suspiciously weak grates in the ground? Gotta pound 'em with Downstrike! Purple magnetically-locked doors? Guess this Magnetic Cypher will come in handy!
  • Subnautica accomplishes this by making several areas impossible or at least severely impractical to access without the right equipment. For example most obviously, extensive exploration of deep underwater biomes becomes easier after you craft an air tank, then a bigger tank, then a rebreather and then finally submersibles. Another example is the wreck of the Aurora, which requires a lead-lined diving suit to protect from the radiation leaking from the ship's damaged fusion reactor.
  • Tomb Raider (2013) was set on one big island location. However, Lara was unable to explore new areas until she acquired the required gear to proceed. As these were found as the story went on, they could also count as Plot Coupons
  • In Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, Lara periodically has to receive skill upgrades (grip strength, running speed, etc.) to overcome obstacles as the game progresses.
  • Treasure Hunter Man 1: The ability to damage enemies for Kill Enemies to Open doors is achieved by finding the Starter Weapon of a sword.
  • Tribal Hunter has a couple of skills that are needed, along side getting the first weight level upgrade. The Wall Jump is used a lot in later stages and is granted pretty early on, while the Ground Slam skill is mostly seen use in the caves but still has use as a combat skill. The weight level upgrade is required due to a door that's tied to a pressure switch in the Crystal Mines that requires Munch to have over 450 pounds of fullness, but his base full capacity can only go up to 440 until he fights the Slime King and gets the weight level upgrade from them.
  • ZanZarah: The Hidden Portal: There are several types of obstacles blocking the main character's path. Getting through them requires a fairy of that element and a magic elemental card to boost its powers.
    • Nature fairies can remove thorny bushes.
    • Stone fairies can destroy giant boulders.
    • Air fairies can use swirly air currents to let you walk on air.
    • Fire fairies can protect you from burning alive in underground lava tunnels.

    Eastern RPG 
  • Bug Fables locks access to areas in later chapters from abilities that are gained through the story. Most noteworthy, Snakemouth Den cannot be returned to until after learning Kabbu's Dig ability, and Vi's Fly is needed to access the Termite Capitol and a host of other areas. In the case of Fly, Vi had this skill the entire time and just refused to use it until Queen Elizant II orders her to. It is possible to reach the spot where Fly is normally first used before advancing the story to that point, and Vi will simply refuse to fly Kabbu across the gap to continue.
  • Chrono Trigger requires you to get the Epoch, a time machine that allows you to travel to a time period that has been otherwise sealed off from you. Once you have it, and especially after it is later upgraded, it allows you to clean up the remaining Side Quests and Bonus Dungeons much more quickly.
  • In Dragon Ball Z The Legacy Of Goku 2 and Buu's Fury, certain areas can only be entered by certain characters having reached certain levels. This is evidenced by the number they must be at, bearing a color associated with the proper character (blue for Vegeta, green for Piccolo, orange for Goku, etc.).
  • Epic Battle Fantasy: Used in Epic Battle Fantasy 4 and Epic Battle Fantasy 5. The axe, torch, hammer, ladder, and three kinds of boots will be obtained throughout the games. Deliberately patterned after Pokémon:
    • Epic Battle Fantasy 4: You even get achievements called "Used Cut", "Used Flash", "Used Rock Smash", and "Used ...Ladder?". Non-player characters at Goldenbrick Resort in EBF4 call the stepladder "legendary" since there is only one in the entire world.
    • Epic Battle Fantasy 5: This installment adds an additional number of items such as the shovel and a second type of hammer, but also the items that are necessary only for extra loot, like the Cloud Boots.
  • Final Fantasy III has a `you must be this short to enter' feature — certain areas are accessibly only through tiny doorways, only available once a member of the party has the 'mini' spell.
  • Golden Sun features various psynergy (psychic-magic) powers that are required to solve puzzles or remove barriers. Most notable is Grind from the second game, which is almost never used after its first use to break the rock barriers that separate the oceans.
    • Similarly, Lift is used maybe once or twice to get into Magma Rock, which the first used quite a bit more.
  • In Kingdom Hearts III, your Gummi Ship must have a sufficient Speed Stat in order to challenge the superboss battles in the first two areas. Attempting to access them with a slower Ship causes the Gummi Ship to turn around.
  • Mario & Luigi:
  • Paper Mario, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door and Super Paper Mario has this with the obstacles cleared by partners' abilities.
    • The first two Paper Mario games also have upgrades for Mario's Boots and Hammer. The Boot upgrades enable Mario to perform a Ground Pound, as well as jump higher. The Hammer upgrades allow Mario to break sturdy blocks in his path.
  • Phantasy Star III makes use of caverns to transport your party between various worlds. To keep you from advancing too far too soon, several of them are locked and require specific gemstones to enter; you acquire those either from Inexplicable Treasure Chests or from recruited party members.
  • During the first six generations of Pokémon games, HM moves were Utility Weapons necessary to reach plot-specific areas. Each game has certain cities and localities you can only reach once you have taught one of your Pokémon a certain HM and gained the Gym badge that allows you to use it outside of battle. Every entry that requires HMs has Cut as mandatory for the main storynote , with Surf and Strength being close behind. However, you can obtain Pokémon that know the HM moves by trading instead of finding the HM, allowing for some minor Sequence Breaking, such as skipping the S.S. Anne in Gen I. Many players use a designated HM slave or two to carry the required moves, as while some are powerful attacks you'd want on your Pokémon (Surf is one of the most powerful Water-type moves in the game), others are near worthless (in battle, Flash was a 70% accuracy status move during Gens I-III, with much better moves being able to do the exact same thing). On top of that, you can't just overwrite them with another move; you need to talk to a special NPC you generally meet late in the game in order to delete any HM moves.note 
    • From the seventh generation onwards, you no longer need to teach your Pokémon HM moves. This trope still remains in play, however, as you now receive separate items or abilities (such as Ride Pokémon) that accomplish the same goals without using up moveslots. Meanwhile, former HM moves became TM moves that can be freely taught and removed from a Pokémon's moveset.
    • Pokémon Sword and Shield limits what creatures you are allowed to capture in the Wild Area depending on the amount of badges you have.
  • Constantly in Radiant Historia. Need to defuse magically-hidden bombs? Swap timelines and learn to see invisible things. Need to sneak into a heavily-guarded area unnoticed? Swap timelines and trick a villain into showing off his Teleport Spam so you can copy it. Need to find a way to bypass an enemy's ability to paralyze you? Swap timelines again and talk someone who's beaten him into teaching you how they did it.
  • A mainstay of the Wild ARMs series where characters use tools to pass certain obstacles. The location where they are introduced often requires extensive use of the tool which was never required before that point.
  • in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 the field skills from blades are mostly used for side quests and hidden items , but there are a few spots in the story that require it , and may require you to upgrade the skills by doing certain tasks or get more blades.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 3, there are two abilities that can only be unlocked after completing the required Hero quest that are required for story completion: climbing vined walls, rail grinding. Two others are gained during their required Hero quest, but are not necessary for story completion: walking up flowing sand dunes, and crossing poisonous areas without taking damage.

    Fighting Game 
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate:
    • Getting around the map in World of Light requires specific spirits to bypass some roadblocks, such as rocks that need to be blown up or bridges that need repairing. This can get a bit strange when you have five different spirits clearly identifiable as magicians, but not the specific one that can enlarge some mushrooms for you. Fortunately, the game automatically informs you an obstacle can be disabled once you obtain the appropriate spirit.
    • Downplayed with the challenge battles themselves. Certain stage hazards and conditions can be neutralized by the right support spirits to make the fight much easier, which the party screen draws your attention to. For example, a battle in fierce winds with water you drown in almost instantly is much easier if you first get the nearby supports that grant wind resistance and immunity to drowning, but the fight is winnable without them.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • BioShock has specific obstacles in the game that require you to find a certain plasmid in order to progress to another area, like the block of ice that needs to be melted by finding the Incinerate plasmid.
  • Half-Life 2: Episode One used this relatively early. To make sure you have a gun, the door has a padlock and you don't have a crowbar. Mainly done to ensure people picked up the gun right by the door, since it is a bit dark in there, and it could go unseen. The commentary reveals that the dev team calls this a "gate". And, ironically enough, there's an achievement in the game for grabbing that gun, hitting the padlock with it, and then never using it or any other bullet-shooting gun for the rest of the game — it's called "The One Free Bullet" and literally everything else that happens can be taken care of with controlled application of a crowbar, gravity gun, or explosives.
  • Shortly after acquiring the Leichenfaust 44note  in Wolfenstein (2009), the player must use it to lift a gate they need to pass through to get to the rest of the level. The game earlier uses this trope to introduce the player to each of their new Veil powers:
    • The only exit to the room in which the player acquires the Thule Medallionnote  is through a Veil Door.
    • Shortly after acquiring Mirenote  the player must navigate through a series of hallways with deadly projectiles flying down them. Doors that open only for brief periods, often in the form of force fields that temporarily short out, become relatively common obstacles from this point forward.
    • As soon as the player acquires the Shieldnote  crystal, the ability activates as they are swarmed by gun-toting enemies. Shield is also needed to exit the level, as the player must get past environmental hazards like arcing electricity and jets of steam that the power blocks.
    • The exit to the room in which the player acquires the Empowernote  crystal is blocked by a force field - a force field which the player can now shoot through to destroy the controls on the other side. As with Mire, blocked doors like this one also become common after this point.
  • Wolfenstein: The New Order has a wide variety of chains, metal plates, and fences that must be cut through with the Laserkraftwork, and only start appearing after you get your hands on it.
  • The second to last level of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood requires the player to use the Laderoboter, a utility walker found at the beginning of the level, to smash through various gates. The player abandons the vehicle immediately after completing the level.

  • Devil May Cry:
    • In Mission 9 of the first game, one gate can only be opened by striking a torch on fire using Ifrit.
    • In Devil May Cry 2, some paths can only be traversed after you obtain specific Movement Devil Hearts for your Amulet and Devil Trigger form.
    • In Mission 14 of Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, a white-flamed Combat Adjudicator blocks your way to the main path, ensuring the player to pick up and use the Beowulf nearby to destroy it.

  • In The Adventures of Rad Gravity, Volcania is accessible after completing Cyberia, but you can't progress there until you have the Teleport Beacon from much later in the game. Sauria and Turvia can be completed in either order, but the boss of Vernia can only be defeated with the Crystals from Sauria.
  • In Banjo-Kazooie, you cannot so much as get into Gruntilda's Lair without knowing all of Bottles' moves from Spiral Mountain. Not that they're needed to actually get inside; Bottles himself simply will not let you enter the lair if you don't know them. This is really for your own good, as you wouldn't be able to accomplish very much without them. Played straight with the Talon Trot, which you need to get beyond the first section of Gruntilda's Lair. You also need the Shock Spring Jump in order to open Clanker's Cavern.
  • Banjo-Tooie
    • The game does this to limit progress through the Hub Level. You need to have learned Grip Grab to get into Plateau, Fire Eggs to get into Pine Grove, Split Up to get into Cliff Top, Talon Torpedo to get into Wasteland, Springy Step Shoes to get into Quagmire, and Claw Clamber Boots to enter the Cauldron Keep. Even the in-game cheats don't get around these requirements.
    • The Zubba hive in Cloud Cuckooland presents a variation. You're not allowed in unless you demonstrate you can shoot a target 20 times in 10 seconds, which effectively means You Must Be A Bee To Enter.
  • In Bionic Commando, different groups of Areas require specific Communicators (which you must select at the beginning of a level in the NES version, unlike in the remake, where they are automatically equipped) to unlock their doors, you need the Flares to illuminate Area 4, Area 14 requires a passcard to enter, Areas 6 and 7 are blocked by barriers that require the Rocket Launcher and 3-Way Gun, respectively, to pass, and Area 3 in the remake requires that you have the Power Claw from Area 6.
  • In the second level of Little Nemo: The Dream Master, Oompi says, "You're going to need the lizard's help to get through this next area." This alludes to a passage that is otherwise too narrow for Nemo to enter.
  • In Mega Man, you don't need to pick up the Magnet Beam in Elec Man's stage to beat Elec Man, but you do need it to finish the first Dr. Wily stage. And since it's stuck behind some blocks that can only be broken with Elec Man's or Guts Man's powers, you either need to beat Guts Man first, or play through Elec Man's stage twice.
    • From Mega Man 2 on, any required item is earned by beating a Robot Master, thus ensuring the player has all the tools necessary to complete the game. Later games featured additional items the player can find or purchase, but they're not strictly required.
    • In Mega Man ZX, the room leading to Area F is locked by a ceiling switch that you must hit with Model ZX's or HX's Saber attack or by shooting upwards with Model FX.
    • Mega Man ZX Advent has three instances of this, with entrance to the plot-important levels gated by acquiring the transformations of the available Pseudoroids before new ones can be unlocked. First, you need Model A's Wall Jump to reach the areas above the Train area. Second is the Oil Field, which has a gate locked by three switches conveniently blocked with obstacles matching each of your forms. Third is the Quarry area, which is hidden behind contraptions that the forms acquired since the last gate are needed to overcome.
  • In Mirror's Edge Catalyst, certain parts of the map are inaccessible until you unlock the MAG Rope's abilities to pull you upwards or dislodge debris blocking the way.
  • Ori and the Blind Forest uses this trope in typical Metroidvania style. For sheer-walled shafts you need the Wall Jump or Wall Climb; to break the blue barriers you need Charge Flame; other-colored barriers need to be destroyed by a like-colored enemy or their projectile, sometimes via the Bash ability; to cross large spike pits or gaps you need Double Jump, Bash, Glide, or a combination of all three; and for the wooden post switches and certain breakable floors you need the Ground Pound. Furthermore, in the Updated Re-release, certain secrets in the main game are locked until you have the new Dash and Light Burst abilities acquired in the Bonus Dungeon.
  • Certain stages of Phineas and Ferb: Quest for Cool Stuff have areas that cannot be accessed until Phineas and Ferb have obtained a specific upgrade for their A.T.T. If the player tries to enter these areas without the right upgrade, Phineas will refuse to go any further and turn around. If a stage requires an upgrade they don't have, the player won't even be allowed to enter the stage at all until they've built it.
  • Happens fairly often in Ratchet & Clank via Gadgets that are required to beat certain level paths, especially in the first three games. Players who are thorough with level exploration however never encounter this as they find the required gadgets and Infobots well beforehand through the course of normal play.
    • The first game in particular has a chain that can stretch across half the games levels if you didn't play them thoroughly. To get to planet Hoven, you need to find the Infobot on Orxon as Ratchet. To do that, he needs to pick up the O2 Mask on Pokitaru via a minigame. That minigame needs the Pilot's Helmet, which is found on planet Gaspar. The Infobot with the co-ordinates to Gaspar is on Batalia, but you need the Grind Boots to get to it. The Grind Boots are bought from a scientist who is found on the Blarg Tactical Research Station.
    • Also in the original game, players will have a 50/50 chance of running into this early in the game. Novalis has two paths which unlock new worlds, one to Metropolis and one to Aridia. However to complete all of Aridia's three paths, you need the Swingshot, which is found on Metropolis. To make the issue worse, Metropolis unlocks Eudora at the end of one of its paths, which requires the Trespasser to beat. Where do you find that? Why, at the end of the path on Aridia that needs the Swingshot, of course! Needless to say, unless you've memorized the level order and logistics perfectly (or just play through all of the paths), there's a high chance you'll run into this issue.
    • In Going Commando, to get access to Planet Siberius, you need to do a lot. On Oozla, you need to go right for the Tractor Beam, and left for the coordinates to the Maktar Resort. On Maktar Resort, you can go right and use the Tractor Beam to solve some puzzles and get to the Jamming Array, which gives you the coordinates to Barlow, while going left and doing the tournament will give you the Electrolyzer, as well as the coordinates to Endako. On Endako, the right path takes you to Clank's apartment, where you can find the Swingshot and Grind Boots, while the left path, which requires the Electrolyzer, will allow you to rescue Clank. On Barlow, going up the ramp will take you to a section where you need the Swingshot, and continuing that path will allow you to buy the Thermanator, while the cave path ends in a Door to Before next to a gap that you need Clank to jump over. Completing the Hoverbike race that's across the gap will give you the coordinates to the Feltzin System, and completing that will give you the coordinates to Notak. On Notak, going across the bridge and following the path will take you to a room that you need the Thermanator to complete, and it will eventually continue to a chemical factory that you also need the Thermanator to complete. At the end of the factory, you can finally buy the coordinates to Siberius.
    • In Ratchet & Clank (2016), you need to find the Hydrodisplacer on Aridia to get through the sewers in Blackwater City and get the Trespasser, which you need to get through a door on the Blarg Tactical Station. You'll also need the Thruster-Pack to get through Kalebo III, due to a Thrusterbolt that requires it.
  • While levels that require an ability to clear always give you the ability right before you need it, Sonic the Hedgehog games since Sonic Colors have generally had bonuses hidden behind gates and platforms that need clever applications of the games' various Color Powers use to breach. Since they're single-use, this often requires picking up the power and then finding a way hold onto it instead of using it when you're otherwise supposed to. In Colors, this would also mean passing by paths you can't access the first time you play a stage, and then replaying it again after unlocking that ability in a later stage.
  • Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! had this in the form of swimming, climbing, and the headbash move. The abilities had to be purchased from Moneybags in order to complete each hub area, and some orb sidequests also required them, meaning you may occasionally need to backtrack to previous areas for 100% completion.

    Puzzle Games 
  • In Antichamber, it is mostly played straight with the different block guns. Sequence Breaking is possible, but it tends to require considerably more ingenuity and dexterity than the intended solution.
  • Humorous example in DROD: Gunthro and the Epic Blunder. In this Prequel, the player controls Beethro's grandfather Gunthro, within a Framing Device of Beethro narrating Gunthro's adventures to his nephews. At one point Gunthro needs to cross shallow water, and Beethro suddenly remembers he could do this all along. In the next chapter, Gunthro needs to return to his homeland and deal with some infiltrators. The entrance to their hideout is in a room he passed through before, blocked off by shallow water.
  • This is literally the case in the Katamari Damacy series; the larger your katamari becomes, the larger the stuff you can roll up. Levels frequently have barriers with signs on it stating a size number, which you can't roll up (or thus explore beyond them) until your katamari crosses that threshold.
  • In each game of the Uncle Albert's Adventures series, you need to collect permanent tools to access some places.

  • To descend into the deepest parts of the main dungeon in Ancient Domains of Mystery, the player needs to pass a wall of fire blocking the down staircase, which requires an artifact called the Chaos Orb of Elemental Fire that is also required in the endgame. And it's just as well that the wall forces the player to be that tall get the Orb, because otherwise no sane person would enter the Tower of Eternal Flames where the Orb, massive equipment destruction, and rapid immolation for the newbie player resides.
  • Earlier versions of NetHack had an endgame set in Hell, and if you entered it without Fire Resistance you were instantly burnt to a crisp. There are many ways to obtain said fire resistance, but any means will work. (These days, getting anywhere near the endgame without a bucketload of resistances is merely mostly suicidal.)
  • Sometimes in Water's Fine, when diving, you will be met with a collection of rocks that completely block your path. In such instances, which get more and more likely the deeper you dive, you need bombs/bomb shells to break through and advance.

  • In Roots Of Pacha, some rooms in the cave system are blocked off until you receive the totem powers or acquire the tools needed to enter them.

    Survival Horror 
  • Alien: Isolation will allow you to proceed beyond certain doors (some plot-related, others only for collectibles) after you upgrade your access tuner. The same for some sealed passages, you will require to upgrade your gas torch to an ion torch and then a plasma torch before being able to cut them open.
  • Eternal Darkness occasionally puts force fields emblazoned with a rune in your way. Acquiring the rune pictured and approaching the barrier dissolves it. Most of the game's puzzles then become about finding the correct spell and the power level necessary to bypass or eliminate obstacles that are put in your path.
  • This happens all the time in various Resident Evil games (most notably in the earlier games), often with either a crank or valve handle.
  • The service elevator in Silent Hill 2's hotel only allows one person to enter without baggage.
    • You can't even take a few pieces of paper onto it with you.
  • Sweet Home (1989) gives each member of your party a unique item that is used to solve the many puzzles in the game: Kazuo's lighter to burn certain objects, Asuka's vacuum to restore frescoes, Taguchi's camera to reveal hidden clues on said frescoes, Akiko's first aid kit to cure status ailments, and Emi's key to unlock doors. With Permadeath in place in this game, the loss of even one party member can make some puzzles unsolvable, forcing you to either find an item that can replicate the dead party member's function (taking up your very limited inventory space in so doing) or find another way to proceed.

    Tabletop Game 
  • In Castlevania: Nocturne of the Tabletop, some events will require you to jump high, cross gaps, or even turn into mist to proceed. If you can’t complete the event, it’s left on the board to be completed later.

    Western RPG 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun, your party is unable to explore a particularly volcano-y cave without every member wearing Rings of Fire Resistance. Aside from their obvious advantages involving the resistance of fire, these items are only really necessary for this part. Take a ring off and your character will slowly burn to death.
  • Baldur's Gate II: as a druid, before you can get your stronghold and its related quests, you also have to be a level 13 character to attempt to challenge the rite of passage. It may take a lot of time because the druid xp requirements for levels 13 and 14 are higher compared to other classes.
  • Different obstacles in the Fade during Dragon Age: Origins each require different alternate forms, which are obtained from lost souls somewhere in the dreamscape. The rat can go through rat holes, the spirit can go through portals, the golem can smash large doors, and the, er, burning corpse can walk through fire.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Downplayed in Morrowind, where you must levitate to reach the upper levels of Telvanni mage towers. If you haven't bothered to train your Alteration skill, this can be a hindrance to advancing in many quests. Luckily, potions of levitation are found in abundance and several items enchanted with levitation spells are given to you through quests. (Including one given to you as part of the main quest right before you're required to enter Telvanni towers for the first time.) You can also brew your own potions or make your own enchanted items.
    • To access the summit of the Throat of the World in Skyrim, you need to learn a specific Shout in order to part the blizzard that will otherwise rapidly drain your health. Said Shout is only learned as part of the main questline, barring you from the area until you make a certain amount of progress.
  • To enter the Fallout: New Vegas DLC Honest Hearts, you need to be carrying an inventory load of 75 pounds or less, while it's 100 pounds if you have Speech and Barter skills of 50 or more or have the Strong Back perk. In Lonesome Road, you need a Science skill of 75 to access the Hopeville silo mainframe and unlock the way forward.
    • In both cases, any progress-blocking effect is dulled by the fact that skill magazines and chems are quite plentiful in game.
  • Lands of Lore 2: Guardians of Destiny contains lots of areas that can only be accessed if the hero is in the form of a giant beast (allowing him to shove obstacles out of his way) or a tiny lizard (allowing him to slip through cracks). The hard part about this is that, for a good chunk of the game, you have absolutely no control over when he transforms or which form he changes into if and when he does.
  • Might and Magic had, throughout the series, the need to learn a skill to be able to cross water (or, in some games, to cross water without taking damage — not much of a problem with a stream, insurmountable for an island some distance from the coast). In I-V and X, this was specifically waterwalking, and in I-V you also had skills to cross forest and mountain regions. In VI-IX, the different map structure meant that flying worked equally as well as waterwalking (which meant that VIII had four separate abilities that all allowed it, thanks to keeping the spells while also having racial abilities that could be honed) — generally, by the time you needed to cross water chances were you already knew a fitting spell.
    • The straight example would be Perception in VI. There was one plot-critical dungeon which doors could be opened only by someone with Expert Perception - otherwise the doors not only wouldn't open, but also damage you. This could be easily rectified by learning the skill and training it, but unfortunately the skill was pretty useless outside this moment.
  • Spore Creatures: At regular intervals, the player will be stopped by a long stretch of hazardous ground that cannot be crossed until the player obtains a certain pair of legs that will provide immunity to the given hazard. The earliest example of this is in the third region of Tapti, where the Bushley legs are required to cross a path of thorns.

    Wide Open Sandbox 

    Non-Video Game Media 
  • In A Game for the Fool, the System locks Wei Wuxian out of going near the Burial Mounds as he is neither strong enough or near the plot to survive it.

Alternative Title(s): You Must Be This Tall To Enter