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Beef Gate

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Heheh, "Beef" Gate!

"Overall responsible for the most novice explorer deaths. Skilled explorers need not fear it."
Monstrous Codex entry on the Great Lynx, Etrian Odyssey III

You can go wherever you want... but if you try to go anywhere out of order, the game will kill you.

Later areas are guarded by disproportionately powerful enemies who will beat you down if you approach them too early. As a player, you're supposed to recognize this as a sign to leave and return later. With any luck, you'll be ready for these challenges by the time the game actually intends for you to reach them.

If you are actually able to defeat them early on, perhaps via some sort of Outside-the-Box Tactic application of a Useless Useful Spell, clever strategy, or just sheer luck, you will enjoy a massive boon in experience, money, and Item Drops intended for much later in the game. It can also be fun to beat them for Sequence Breaking purposes as well.

The other way to defeat a Beef Gate, of course, is excessive Level Grinding — in games that allow you to.


This trope is nearly omnipresent in MMORPGs, which generally use the Level Grinding necessary to survive in a new area as their primary advancement mechanic. In Wide-Open Sandbox RPGs that don't employ Level Scaling, this trope exists by default; being able to go somewhere is distinct from being able to survive there.

Note that if the way is guarded by an enemy that is simply invincible until you get a specific Plot Coupon and you cannot sneak past another way, it qualifies as a Broken Bridge instead. However, given how some RPGs abuse Event Flags for Railroading the player into completing objectives in a preordained but nonobvious order, the line between the two tropes may be blurred a little when a previously Hopeless Boss Fight becomes winnable.

Compare Cash Gate, where you need Global Currency instead of XP to advance the plot; Fame Gate, where you need to gain in-universe notoriety instead; NPC Roadblock, where you can't kill the character to advance; and Kill Enemies to Open, where locks and barriers somehow open themselves when the right creatures are defeated.



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    Action Adventure 
  • In Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, going left initially is an easy way to get butchered by way-too-powerful enemies.
  • In The Guardian Legend, Corridor 3 is a huge leap in difficulty over the preceding areas, as well as housing one of the hardest bosses in the game, so be sure to acquire as many upgrades as you can before taking it on.
  • In Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, it is possible to run from the very beginning of the game all the way to one of the two major cities of Rathir and Adessa on the far end of the western half of the map. That's far from recommended, though, as not only do enemies get progressively tougher the further east you go, but the paths out of the starting forest of Dalentarth is guarded by a high-level Crudoch. That being said, if you're good enough at the game, have forged some broken-ass equipment, or abuse Reckoning Mode, you can cut through or avoid the worst of these enemies.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda is one of the earliest examples of a Wide-Open Sandbox, with nothing stopping players from entering any area on the overworld from the start of the game and fighting enemies that can kill them in one hit. Of course, it is possible to survive if the player is skilled enough.
      • The Lynels that populate the Death Mountain area in the northwest of the map. They're by far the nastiest enemies you'll find in the overworld, with the red Lynels taking 4 hits from the Wooden Sword to kill and the blue ones taking about 6, and both varieties shoot a sword projectile that requires the Magical Shield to deflect, while dealing a hefty 2 hearts of damage when they hit with their sword beams. A single one can easily slaughter a beginning player, and you will find swarms of them in the northwest, effectively keeping the player out of that region until they acquire some more hearts, the White Sword, the Magical Shield, and preferably the Blue Ring.
      • The Manhandla that is the boss of Level 3-1. Manhandla is incredibly hard to kill with any weapon weaker than the White Sword; it has four different heads to kill, and each one takes four strikes with the Wooden Sword to destroy, and it gets progressively faster and harder to dodge as it loses its heads. If you haven't gotten the White Sword (or don't know about Manhandla's bomb weakness) you aren't going to have an easy time finishing that level. To a lesser extent the Zols that heavily populate 3-1. The White Sword kills them easily, but the Wooden Sword splits them into two Gels and then they respawn every time you leave and reenter a room.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild goes further, with absolutely every area in the game being accessible after the Great Plateau, including the final dungeon. The only true limit to player exploration are environmental hazards and enemies.
      • You can go straight to the final boss within fifteen minutes, but as you can probably imagine, fighting it with just bare-bones equipment, three or four hearts, a single-layer stamina wheel, having to go through all four Ganon Blights first, and with Ganon at full health instead of half, is almost impossible. In the true spirit of the trope, successfully doing it anyway will uptier every chest in the game with a weapon in it, making completing the rest of the story much easier, and even just going into the castle (filled with the strongest enemies in the game) will net you Royal series and Royal Guard series equipment, possessed of some of the strongest stats in the game.
      • In a first for the series, Hyrule Field (which leads to said final boss) is an example. It's directly north of the starting area, but it's full of Guardian Stalkers, which are fast, have a long sight range, are virtually immune to normal weapons and fire a laser that will One-Hit Kill a starting-level Link. If you want to get past them, you need to explore quite far into the world to get a weapon capable of easily destroying them, explore a slight amount to gain access to horses (which will let you outrun them more easily), or learn how to play Dead Man's Volley.
      • The game's first real mission is to get to Kakariko Village. The intended route has the player follow the main road, along which you'll find an inn you can rest at if you're near death, some horses you can tame to quicken the trip, and valuable knowledge from NPCs — and you'll also meet Hestu, who can expand your inventory. If you try to go for a more direct route by going around the Dueling Peaks, which would cut off a significant loop of road, you will meet two fully-functional Guardian Stalkersnote  and a Stone Talus. Carrot and stick, indeed.
      • To a lesser extent, several shrines (A Major Test of Strength) are nothing more than a fight with a Guardian Scout IV, which all carry three weapons from the Guardian++ series. Guardian++ series equipment is very powerful. So are Guardian Scout IVs.
  • Metroid:
    • Kraid's Hideout in the original game is accessible by an obvious use of an early power-up, but if that's the last power-up you've obtained, you'll be quickly torn apart by the enemies behind the first door you step through, and if you manage to make it through those, Kraid himself will demolish you. The sensible approach is to travel through all of Norfair and Ridley's Hideout collecting the goodies first, especially the Screw Attack, Ice or Wave Beam, and Varia Suit.
      • Metroid: Zero Mission changes it so that Kraid's lair is easier and more natural to take on sooner and Ridley's is harder to get into.
    • Both Super Metroid and Metroid Zero Mission have rooms with extremely hot temperatures that will deplete health quickly. While these are generally meant to be impassible without the Varia Suit, skilled players can navigate these rooms quickly enough to avoid death, allowing them to access some powerups early.
  • In Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, you'll need to defeat The Hammer of Sauron about halfway through the main quest in order to open up the Sea of Núrnen. He will be an extremely difficult foe if you've been speeding through the main quests (likely attempting to open up the invaluable Branding powers which can only be learned in Núrnen) and haven't been bothering to gain XP to develop your other powers.
  • In Mystik Belle, you can reach the Rat King as soon as you have the Dash ability, but if you take him on too early, you'll quickly get slaughtered.
  • Lampshaded in PokéPark 2. There's a huge Krookodile guarding the gate from the Cove area to the Arbor area, whom you have to beat in a battle to pass, and he says something like "if you can't beat me then you have no chance in the next area". You can beat him at any level (it's not a high-difficulty game) but he's much easier with leveled-up moves.
  • You can try a speed run through Quest for Glory I. If the ogre doesn't kill you (you can run past him with speed or the right magic), then the kobold will. And if you somehow manage to kill the kobold (possible as a magic user with a lot of mana potions), then you'll get slaughtered when you get to the Brigand Fortress. And if, through some miracle, you manage to get through the Brigand Fortress, Baba Yaga's quest, which sends you to the graveyard at midnight, will likely cause you to run into some difficulties from the incredibly tough monsters that lurk in the night.
  • Rabi-Ribi, like many Metroidvania games, attempts to prevent you from going just anywhere you want by imposing obstacles that require a later ability to overcome. If you get past those with secret techniques, the enemies in the area you just snuck into will likely be significantly powerful for your current stats. Fortunately, while Sequence Breaking may put you up against Mooks who can kill you in three or four hits, bosses scale according to number of items collected or current story chapter (depending on the type of Dynamic Difficulty you chose at the start of the game).
  • Shantae: Going directly left of the First Town results in your being assaulted by a pack of nagas — they move quickly, shoot homing screech attacks, and they have huge amounts of health (moreso at night). You'll need powerful attack items, more health, and possibly one of the optional strong attacks to survive. Or you can sneak by with Vanishing Cream, but you'll meet a Broken Bridge anyway.
  • In Star Control II, if you try to leave the solar system without first visiting the starbase near Earth, you are forced to fight off enemies continuously everywhere you go. (About every 5 seconds on average.) This did not stop people from managing to beat the entire game in this state, a task which is even harder than it sounds due to the fact that, among other things, no starbase means no speed upgrades or weapon upgrades, and the game has a time limit.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess: The fifth level has a suspension bridge leading to King Valerian's palace, guarded by a heavily-armoured ogre who doesn't move in any way. Even with Xena standing right in front of him, he doesn't budge at all, instead preferring to guard said bridge and prevent anyone from crossing. The only solution to take him down is to attack a nearby beehive and lure a swarm of killer bees into attacking the ogre, and then cross the chasm while the ogre is distracted.

  • Tombs & Treasure, the NES port of Asteka II: Templo del Sol, added in some Beef Gates to what was previously a very open-ended adventure game. In this case, this was done to prevent players from trying to solve puzzles "out of order"; the game outright tells you when you're strong enough to defeat a particular monster if you examine them, and the player gains experience points both from combat and solving puzzles, so when a monster is sufficiently weak compared to you, you should have access to everything you need to progress effectively.

    First Person Shooter 
  • The Borderlands series:
    • A persistent element in the first game Borderlands, since level disparity is really important; you'll know very quickly if you've wandered into a location too early, as enemies that are 3 or 4 levels stronger than players will usually wipe the floor with said players in one or two attacks.
      • If you go the wrong way during the introductory missions against Nine-Toes, you'll run up against badass Skags twice your level.
      • The DLCs you can visit pretty anytime. It is possible to go shoot some Level 10 zombies in the first DLC with a Level 3 character. You might be able to speed run right through it, and do some quests to level up.
    • In Borderlands 2 you can access Lynchwood right off the bat from reaching the Dust. You'll also run into heavily-armed bandit badasses with twice your average level when you step off the train, including Bruisers who can One-Hit Kill you at said level.
  • In Destiny 2, the leveling system gives any enemy the potential to be a beef gate. Each player has a light level, which is based on the strength of their gear. Meanwhile, all enemies have a recommended light level. An enemy whose recommended level is 10 levels above the player will have a sword next to their title, and take much less damage from the player. 20 levels or higher is denoted with a skull, and the enemy will take virtually no damage. If the difference is greater than 50 (indicated with a pair of question marks), the enemy will be completely immune to the player's weapons and abilities.
  • In Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, on Dark Aether, you can find giant indestructible Ing called Ingclaws. Any room with active Ingclaws drains your health at a phenomenal rate until you get the Dark Suit. Later, you run into the Ingstorm, which does the same thing and is only nullified by the Light Suit.
  • In one Half-Life mod, Mega Maze, you begin at the entrance to the titular maze. If you choose to turn on noclip mode or lower the gravity and hop up to the top of the building in front of you, you're greeted by a sign that says "You should not be up here, haxor". Cue a super-strong Headcrab with tons of HP named the "haxor killxor" jumping out to reinforce the point.
  • In S.T.A.L.K.E.R. heading into the restricted area of The Bar without authorization will result in you getting marked as an enemy of Duty followed by being quickly gunned down by guards.
  • In Pathways into Darkness, after unlocking the doors on the Ground Floor, you have the choice of descending to either "Wrong Way", which is actually the right way, or "Feel The Power", where you will be overwhelmed by hordes of Oozes, which you lack the firepower to deal with at this time.

    Four X 
  • Master of Orion — The Guardian of Orion serves this purpose in the series. The system it guards (of the same name) is an incredibly fertile paradise and the best possible world you could settle, but the Guardian will utterly trash anything sent into the system with its top-tier weaponry, ensuring that Orion is denied to everybody until one player gets a significant fleet with enough of a technological edge.
  • Stellaris:
    • Space stations prevent empires from wiping out their enemies with an early game Zerg Rush. Each empire spawns with a space station in orbit around its homeworld that's many times stronger than beginner-tech fleets; by the time you become strong enough to overcome them, everybody (theoretically) has a fighting chance against each other.
    • Sleeping Fallen Empires have highly advanced tech and significant military, that they will easily crush any upstart Empire early-mid game. That said, their might still pales to what a Crisis can bring, so taking them on in battle is a good way to test whether your Empire is ready for galactic dominance.
    • The Guardians from the Leviathans DLC can be this if positioned in a particularly annoying spot. Say a Dimensional Horror sits nice and tight in the only star system connected to other star systems via hyperlanes — unless you defeat the thing, the route is blocked because the monster will shoot down and any all small ships send along thanks to having infinite attack range. Worse if it's an Ether Drake, Stellarite Devourer or Spectral Wraith — not only do they qualify as this trope, but annoying one of them makes them really angry, and they will go on a galaxy-wide genocidal rampage shortly after.

     Idle Games 
  • Zombidle's bosses have a time limit that limit how much damage you can do to them, failing to deplete all their HP sends you back to the previously beaten level of housing. Bosses that apear after finishing a world are even worse, as you then need to go through an entire iteration again before you can face them.

    Interactive Fiction 
  • In the text-based game of The Hobbit, your path is blocked briefly by trolls, who will eat you if you try to fight them. Normally, one waits for daybreak so that they'll turn to stone, but very rarely they can be killed by Thorin and Gandalf. It's also possible to get into their cave early without the key by breaking the door, though by the time you get Sting, they'll have petrified.

  • Asheron's Call has way too many to comprehensively list.
    • Venture too far out of town, even the starter towns, without buffs and you will get ripped apart by the level 50+ monsters. Thankfully the starter towns have a much larger 'buffer' zone with lower level baddies and the line is very clearly marked with 'Shadow Stones'. The (these days) very quick level progression very soon leaves this moot though.
    • A few of the endgame areas don't have quests to 'flag' you for entering them. An example of this is the Mhoire Graveyard. Venture too far outside the Hall of Metos, an older lowbie dungeon, and you'll find the graveyard and level 200+ monsters. Even the area immediately around it is populated by level ~100 monsters.
    • Even being too cocky in trying to access the upper-end areas is usually cause for immediate death. Think you're prepared for the level 200+ baddies near the Lost City of Neftet? Until you're ALSO level 200+, have both normal augmentations and luminance augmentations, and have every skill and stat maxed, doubly so if you're playing a mage, think again.
  • Most content in Billy vs. SNAKEMAN can be attempted before you're powerful enough to actually get through it. An excellent example is the Discords, about a third of the way through the r00t plotline. Being strong enough to breeze through the entirety of older plotlines isn't enough to guarantee a full 1% chance to defeat Discords.
  • Champions Online plays the trope straight in certain ways while subverting it in others:
    • While different maps are level restricted and can only be accessed after you've reached a certain point in the main questline (or a certain level), once you reach them the entire maps are open to you, and it's very easy to wander into areas your character is woefully unprepared for.
    • The sidekick system allows a player to bring another one to his current level without granting them any extra benefits. This allows low-level players access to high-level missions while still keeping them underpowered (as most of the stat benefits come from gear rather than levels). It gets even worse if the player you're sidekicking to decides to leave or is disconnected. Now you're trapped in a high-level area with a low level character and challenge deliberately set for more than one player.
    • The worst part is that being skilled enough that you're able to beat the challenge anyway means that you'll get a high boost in XP and money, but any gear or special items you find will be specifically tied to the area's level rather than yours, which means you can't use them until you reach that level anyway.
  • City of Heroes
    • There is nothing to stop level one players from entering the higher-level city zones — even Peregrine Island, where even the random purse-snatchers have an average level of 50 or so.
    • The sidekicking system, which allows you to temporarily bring one teammate up to your level (but without granting them new powers) would be nigh-useless if all zones were level restricted. This system makes it much easier for friends to play together without worrying about out-leveling each other.
    • Unfortunately, since dying sends you to the geographically nearest hospital and not the last one you visited, there are areas (Independence Port, for one) where you can be take two steps in, be cut down, and wake up halfway across the zone with 40+ high-level mobs between you and safety.
  • Earth & Beyond institute a few rather cruel examples as a result of its all-players-evolving-storyline. As each patch advanced the story all old story missions were obsoleted and space changed to reflect the new status quo. When the V'rix invaded this meant that a couple formerly low levels zones, including one important noob planet, suddenly had certain nav points (and the entire planet) populated by high level and highly aggressive enemies. Unfortunately, the devs failed to account for all of these changes and some quests required to obtain new skills still directed young players to these same nav points.
  • EVE Online is perhaps the embodiment of this trope. As soon as you create your character, you can wing it for the nearest low security space. Except of course, your tiny ship is more likely to be blown up by marauding players rather than NPCs.
  • EverQuest had, back in the days before the Plane of Knowledge, a few of these.
    • Kithicor Forest to Highpass Hold was, in the early days, a killer. Kithicor is a newbie zone in the daytime, but at night swarms with level 45+ undead.
    • The run from Steamfont Mountain to Greater Faydark ran through the Lesser Faydark — an extremely treacherous zone that is mainly low-to-mid level but roamed by some extremely strong higher level monsters, including of course the brownie scouts which have a habit of "snaring" (lowering the run speed) of players they attack.
  • Final Fantasy XI
    • If you want to go anywhere after the first twenty levels on a new character, you'll be needing to make a Stealth Run through a Beef Gate. This is worse for players from Windurst; the easiest way to reach the Valkurm Dunes — the usual leveling grounds from Lv.10 to Lv.20 — is to cross a freaking ocean on a boat occasionally infested by very nasty monsters. Hope you set your Home Point once you get there.
    • It gets easier once you hit Lv.20 and are able to apply for your Chocobo License. Although the amount of time you can spend on a Chocobo is limited, enemies won't attack you; the only way to die on a Chocobo is to be caught in an Area Of Effect spell aimed at another player.
      • Additionally, there are areas that Chocobos will refuse to enter, and you must dismount and enter on foot. These are usually the interior areas, like castles and caves.
    • Simply reaching your experience party's camp often requires avoiding monsters within one zone, let alone multiple zones. Valkurm Dunes and Qufim Island are good examples of this, particularly the latter due to dangerous undead creatures wandering at night.
    • For the most part though, a character can travel almost anywhere in the game provided they are good at avoiding mobs and/or have access to the items or spells that give the effects of Sneak and Invisible. Many quests and missions in the game require you to travel to areas that are beyond your ability to pass safely through in a reasonable amount of time without avoiding aggro.
  • Final Fantasy XIV isn't too cruel with its beef gates while leveling since you can clearly see an enemy's level once it pops into view. Of course, don't be too surprised to see a gang of enemies whose levels are nearly triple of the levels of other enemies several yards away. And all bets are off once you start tackling the level 50 dungeons.
    • That being said, a few of the early dungeons will function as gear check dungeons, and in this edition of the actual check is usually the first boss and previous area. Sunken Temple of Quarn for example is nearly impossible without over leveling unless you have your job unlocked and the stat buffs that come with it.
    • The Binding Coil of Bahamut has several, mostly in the form of "ADS Spheres". All of which having a charge mechanic that will either wipe the party, or throw out huge amounts of damage only over geared players can survive.
  • The Gaia Online MMORPG, zOMG!, pretty much allows players to wander wherever. Oh, sure, if you try to go anywhere but south of Barton to start, guards will stop you, 'cause you aren't strong enough, but that doesn't stop you from walking into suicidally tough areas the long way. In fact, this is pretty much the main reason anyone hangs around to orb farm.
    • It is/was difficult to enter Bass'ken Lake if not close to the recommended level because the Outlaw Pup den was near the entrance and spawned mobs of the beasts.
  • Guild Wars doesn't do this often, but there is one point early on in the slow-building Prophecies campaign that stands out. From the last town in the second major area, you can continue on into the next area and continue fighting level 8 and 11 enemies; or you can take a side exit into the back end of the penultimate major area, which is full of level 24 enemies packing elite skills, level 28 bosses, giant ice wurms, etc. If you're playing through the campaign normally, you'll have tier 2 of 7 armor, no elite skills, limited access to normal skills, no access to other campaigns, and be considerably below the player max level of 20. Oh, and you'll have a max of six party members to take into an eight-man zone. Of course, there are players you can pay to run you down to the town down there with no risk to yourself...
    • It's possible to enter an area with Mursaat enemies before ever infusing armor. Since facing them without infused armor would mean a quick death (unless you bring a lot of healers and/or send you heroes to the front), only after getting infused armor on a story mission (or alternatively, by going to the northernmost part of Mineral Springs, which requires to fight hordes of tengu) you would have a chance against them.
  • Guild Wars 2 holds one of the most extreme examples. In the Wayfarer Foothills, the Norn starter zone (level range 1-15) there is an exit to Frostgorge Sound, notable for containing one of the highest level dungeons in the game, one of the highest level events (Take down the Claw of Jormag), and being one of the highest level zones (73-80). To put this in perspective, to even get to a similarly leveled zone anywhere else in the game, you have you cross through the entirety of the Human lands, then cross five or so more zones before ending up in the zombie-infested lands of Orr. Also in Guild Wars 2, all starting areas are connected to a 'safe zone'. Every safe zone has an Asura gate that can be used to go to Lion's Arch. In Lion's Arch, there is a man standing outside a boat who will offer to take you to Southsun Cove. Southsun Cove is an area made exclusively for characters who are at max level. That is to say, YOU CAN GO FROM ANY LEVEL 1 ZONE TO A LEVEL 80 ZONE WITHOUT FAST TRAVEL IN 15 MINUTES. Just don't expect any mercy from those giant crabs once you get there. (And just to throw insult on top of the kind of instant death involved, there are plenty of intra-area warnings when venturing into tougher areas on the same map, warning players that they're stepping into places somewhat nastier than they were. However, many of the warnings sound suspiciously like quest-givers, without the usual quest-giver dialog options.)
  • The Lord of the Rings Online has North Chetwood, a rather low-level area with Mooks that range from levels 10-14 (and an easily avoidable Boss in Mook Clothing at 15). However, there is a path that leads to the Weather Hills, filled with regular Mooks with levels around 20, and Elite Mooks which are at level 55.
    • The game later almost breaks this trope in Angmar. If you attempt to cross a certain part of the swamp, your character literally gets scared to death (translation: your "dread" gets so high that it paralyzes your movement and decreases your "morale" until you have none left). A certain quest in the storyline has to be beaten before you can cross this area. Of course, you can still power-level your way through the storyline quests if you so choose, but that does mean there's virtually no way a player can get there without leveling up.
    • To gate content that hasn't yet been added to the game, the east bank of the Anduin is lined with level 65 raid-calibre stealth-breaking archers. Characters with the highest Morale in the game last 2-3 hits against them, and it's seemingly impossible to aggro just one, keeping players on the west bank, in Lorien.
    • The Blue Mountains, a level 5-15 starter area, has an high 40s dungeon, which new players can simply wander into, and instantly die. There are a couple of high level mobs just outside the dungeon, giving fair warning, but high level players tend to kill them on their way in. There's another dungeon in the Barrow-downs, with the same set up.
      • To make matters worse, there's a low level quest that involves going to just before those high level mobs and turning left instead of right. It's not at all clear from the description which way you're supposed to go, requiring you to metagame and realize that there's no way a quest of your approximate level should have purple-named ("insanely more powerful than you") mobs in it. And even then, if you can see them to realize their threat level, they can see you too.
    • Rivendell is a peaceful haven, but reaching it means running a gauntlet of mid 30s animals, typically done well before players are able to fight their way there, but only once. After that, they can use the stables for a safe ride.
  • MapleStory
    • At the bottom of the clock tower in Ludibrium, there's two paths, and in the last area sits a boss that is almost impossible to avoid, and whose level is guaranteed to be over Level 130. However, the thief class in this game comes with Dark Sight, which protects from physical and touch damage from monsters, but at levels lower than maximum it reduces speed. Hence, any thief with enough speed-enhancing equipment can literally walk through the right-hand one, Thanatos, and get to an area where the only notable feature is a locked door leading to an even stronger, and much-more-famous, boss at the extreme bottom of the clock tower.
    • In general, you know you've reached a place you shouldn't be yet when all your attacks miss and a single touch from an enemy almost (or actually does) brings your HP down to 0.
  • Pandora Saga's game world opens up between level 20-25 (out of 50). Only the monsters in the shared maps between the factions' capitals are anywhere below level 40 while those in the open PK regions and the faction exclusive maps are massively overpowered for their level. Needless to say even a full party of capped players can wipe against world trash on a bad day.
  • Perfect World has one third of players start out with the ability to fly, and a wide open map. What prevents you from going to the end-game city? Why, the part where you'll get flying level 80s on your tail. Taking the wrong fork in the road or following a small canyon can likewise have a level 10 player walk straight into level 100s. There is usually warnings, though.
    • Special mention: Everyone in the Human race starts out slightly north of a bridge going over Originia River. Here's a tip: Don't cross that bridge. Really. Because on the other side of that bridge, there's highly aggro level 40+ mobs. And if you die there, you'll be warped to a higher-level city. Keep in mind that it is easily possible to go there at level 1 before you get any teleport points. If you're female, you might get lucky enough to have a free ride back to Inn of the Eagle, but if you're male, well, good luck not attracting aggro.
      • Speaking of Originia River, if you're Tideborn, you're using Tideform instead of flying, and you have to get to Etherblade fast, use Originia, not the ocean. Why? Because the ocean steers right around Mount Lantern, which is one of the few areas with higher-level water mobs. Yeah.
  • Ragnarok Online can be like this if you happen to enter the wrong map. It doesn't help that the higher a monster's level is, the more likely it is to attack you on sight. Then there are mini-bosses and MVPs, which spawn intermittently on what could otherwise be fairly safe maps. Turn the wrong corner without expecting it, and you'll be dead before you can even register what hit you.
  • RF Online has its fair share of these. It does impose a level 40+ restriction on most areas, but even if you meet the minimum level requirement, you're still gonna get your ass kicked pretty hard. Why? Not only do most monsters here can do enough damage to rearrange your face and a good portion of your upper torso, but they come in swarms. It also doesn't help that there is usually no alternative route, and the fact that they have either a slow-spell or have ridiculously ranged guns.

    Beast Mountain and Elan are the worst cases. In the former, there is a must-do quest to find a tiny little tube. sounds moderately challenging? When you get there, you are faced with flying hornets that kill you in one hit (and are only a few pixels big from normal distance) that comes wholesale, as well as numerous other bugs that lurk in the tall grass (who alert stronger, more docile mobs nearby).

    When you have sufficient level you can simply walk across the map, but that's only at levels 60 and above, whereas the aforementioned Quest caps you at level 50. Elan also has such a quest, where you must kill a mob that only spawns one at a time, surrounded by equally strong but useless to you mooks. In addition, even if you have hit the maximum level and are wearing the best set of equipment, and is the tanker class, you'll still have a hard time trying to survive in that place.
  • Nightmare Mode dungeons in The Secret World are guarded by a golden entity known as the Gatekeeper. Unlike most Beef Gates (who you simply have to defeat), the Gatekeeper is designed specifically to test a character's ability to perform a specific role. DPS characters have to meet minimum DPS and kite a trash mob around. Tanks have to keep the Gatekeeper and a set of trash mobs from landing a single hit on a summoned DPSer. Healers have to keep a tank and allies alive, including one who deliberately stands in a fire patch. Since The Secret World doesn't have levels, the Gatekeeper functions as a Gear and Skill check for anyone who wants to try the harder content.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic there is nothing really stopping you from visiting any planet once you get your ship. Except each planet has a recommended level rating, telling you what character level enemies and quests on this planet are geared for. So heading to Belvasis (lvl 44 recommended) just after getting your ship around lvl 15 is not a good idea. Also, each planet has heroic areas which are designed for group play and the average mook in this area is elite level at least. Then on some planets you can visit the opposing side's territory, like on Tatootine, but beware the lvl 50 champion NPC troops of the opposing faction who are there to obliterate your ass.
    • To say nothing of the higher-level players most likely hanging around waiting to gank your sorry hide.
  • World of Warcraft has several.
    • The high level zone of Plaguelands located right next to the undead starting zone. There is a gate that separates the zones and some high level NPCs guarding it, so most players should probably realize they shouldn't go there, but nothing prevents them from doing so, and running into Extremely Pleasant Bears. The Cataclysm expansion, Western Plaguelands has been reduced in level and reduced the gap. However, the at the level 10 the players would be questing in Tirisfal, the gap is still plenty enough.
    • Redridge Mountains (one of the early zones for Alliance players) is similarly connected (via a big intimidating-looking gate) to the much-higher leveled Burning Steppes.
    • On the other hand, there are a number of zones when there's no such forewarning. Ashenvale is a particularly notable offender, since that zone is smoothly connected to a much higher-level zone (Felwood) with no warning gateway. Only sign that you're heading for a bad time is lovely forested area transitioning to a scorched, corrupted hellhole.
    • Similarly, don't try going from Duskwood into Deadwind Pass at less than level 40, unless you have a deathwish or can run very fast. Ironically, there's a quest available around level 40 that requires you to do exactly that.

      Doubly so on a Horde character: There's an Alliance town in your way that's tricky to bypass. The horde actually have quests to go there around level 30, (better get that mount you could get when you dinged 20, you'll need it!) and having to run from far south through an Alliance Zone, completely through a hostile town, and then through Deadwind. On top of that becomes the quest you get from there to Kargath which either requires you to go back through that town, up through the opposing faction's starting areas, and then through level 50 zones with far more mobs than deadwind, or you get the longest run in the game. The horde is not happy.
    • The infamous "Wetlands death run," a route that night elf and draenei players originally had to take in order to get to the Alliance capitals in the Eastern Kingdoms for the first time. It was called that because most players go there at fairly low level, since Darnassus and the Exodar are practically ghost towns, and the zone they had to go through is filled with mobs roughly twice their level. Patch 3.0.2 eliminated the death run once and for all by redirecting the Auberdine-Menethil ship to the newly implemented Stormwind Harbor.
    • Anyway, it was always possible to avoid the whole thing by swimming. Assuming you avoid the hammerhead shark and the murlocs in Menethil Harbour's waters, the rest of the journey is completely safe (if incredibly long and boring) until you hit the level 10 murlocs guarding the Westfall coast. (This way, you'd actually end up going through the place where Stormwind Harbor is now - before they built it. You have to admire the human builders for turning the towering, vertical, wall-like cliffs that used to be there into a harbor just like that.)
    • Before Cataclysm, the hostile furbolgs of Timbermaw Hold would easily mop the floor with low-level players attempting to leave Moonglade for Felwood or Winterspring. Since the revamp of the old world, however, they are merely unfriendly to new players and do not attack first (still, said low-level players are likely to immediately run into hostile mobs of around level 50 immediately after exiting the cave). The furbolgs can be befriended at higher levels.
    • Ashenvale and Duskwood (both mid-20s zones), and the Hinterlands and Feralas (both mid-40s zones), each contain a little side area in which a raid-boss-level dragon is guarded by several level 62 elite dragonkin. If you're a young'un out exploring the zone to see what's there, you'll be in for a nasty surprise.note 
    • This is basically the function of "gear check" bosses that appear at the start of some dungeons, such as Brutallus or Vael. These fights require the raid to put out a very high amount of damage in a very short amount of time while not getting killed by periphery attacks. The message is if you aren't well equipped enough and coordinated enough to beat this thing, you have no business being in the dungeon — they're typically the second boss or so, so you can still throw yourself against one before it and gear people up.
    • Back in Vanilla WoW (and again in Classic), Alliance warlocks were basically forced to run through a Beef Gate at Level 20 to get their succubus summon; the questline was found in the Barrens and Ashenvale, leading to the following wonderful options: either you had to run the length of Loch Modan and the Wetlands to get to Menethil Harbor and take the boat to Ashenvale, then run through the Barrens (a Horde zone at about your level), or you could run though Duskwood and Stranglethorn Vale to the very south tip, dodging Level 40+ mobs and players as you went to get to a boat that way. Bear in mind that in Vanilla, you did not get a mount at level 20, so all this had to be done on foot, and it's a long distance even without enemies.
    • Prior to the Cataclysm, starting Tauren had two choices once they arrived at Camp Taurajo in the Barrens: Either take the long and insanely boring walk north to the Crossroads (Without deviating from the road), or head south and die painfully.
    • Also prior to the Cataclysm revamp every map in the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor had areas populated by elite mobs designed for group quests. Most were zone level appropriate and didn't pose TOO great a danger to a solo player accidentally wandering into their range, but others were lore areas which never held any quests or were entrances to higher level dungeons, and could quickly flatten even an unexpectant level 60. Examples include: the eastern area of Wetlands around Grim Batol, a 20-30 zone with level 60 elite dragonsnote  guarding a lore heavy location; northeastern Stranglethorn Vale around Zul Gar'ub, a 30-45 zone with a level 60 raid dungeon; and north central Feralas around Dire Maul, a 40-50 zone with a level 60 dungeon which was added roughly 1/3 through classic.
    • It's entirely possible for a freshly-rolled level 1 character to hop on a ship in Stormwind or zeppelin in Orgrimmar that takes them to Northrend, where the weakest enemies are around level 70. Needless to say you won't get very far from a friendly city before you get reduced to fine, red paste.

  • Subverted in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest. The pathways to the Lost World are guarded by Klubba, who will only let you through if you pay his tolls. There is an option to fight him, but selecting it will result in Klubba automatically smacking you with his club, sending you back to the map screen. This is purely for effect, as the club does not actually hurt you in any way.
  • In Hollow Knight:
    • Kingdom's Edge can be reached with the Tram Pass from Deepnest before you even enter the City of Tears, however, the enemies here will wipe the floor with you unless you have upgraded your Nail, life meter, and Soul meter as high as possible beforehand, and preferably have most of the special skills.
    • Deepnest itself is likely to lay the smackdown on underprepared players, being a dark maze crawling with literal Demonic Spiders that one can get hopelessly lost in without the Lumafly Lantern. In addition, the main entrance is guarded by the Mantis Lords, who are very difficult to beat with the default Nail, which is why Quirrel recommends visiting the Nailsmith in the City of Tears first.
  • In Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Windswept Wastes is meant to be explored after collecting the Wisps from the other dungeons, since only then does the door to Windtorn Ruins unlock. You can visit the Wastes earlier to learn the Burrow ability and pick up a couple Heart Container fragments and Shards, but be warned, the enemies and hazards are much more damaging than in previous areas. Likewise, Mouldwood Depths, especially on the Hard difficulty setting, is optimally tackled after clearing Baur's Reach and Luma Pools, in that order.
  • Invoked by nearly every Ratchet & Clank game in Challenge Mode, where even the starting enemies will have enough health to shrug off the fully-upgraded Rocket Launcher you just used to take down the final boss. To get defeat them you need to purchase Mega versions of your old weapons, which are hugely expensive. These can only be afforded with the aid of the Bolt Multiplier you start Challenge Mode with, making this a combination Beef Gate and Cash Gate.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Anno 1602 gives the three CPU rivals' ships more cannons than the player's has, thus making it impossible to swiftly dispose of all competition before the game really starts. In addition, two opponents also have much larger ships than the player's default one (resulting in even more cannons and better storage capacities), although this is made up for by their slow speed.

    The player might be able to sink the ship of the opponent sized as their own one, but even being successful in that will cause the player's ship to be heavily damaged, making it sail at a much slower pace, thus crippling any kinds of vital trade and exploration processes.
  • Dawn of War: Dark Crusade. Once you grab the Pavonis territory, you can attack any territory you want, however the stronghold territories still require you to control one of the bordering territories first. It's still a wise idea to attack the other territories for additional troops, though. You're gonna' need all the help you can get.
    • Dark Crusade and Soulstorm both had the final fortress with some sort of beef gate in the actual missions. In theory you can just go straight up and kill whatever is the target for that mission. In practice, this is suicidal, as not only does the opponent have a horde of units (almost five times the amount you are allowed to have in said mission) guarding the damn place, it also has numerous "attack waves" that are apparently independent of it's normal cap AND usually the relic unit already at said gate. You can, however, subvert it all by playing as an artillery-heavy army (namely Imperial Guard) and just lobbing shell after shell at the target until it's good and dead. Made easier by the fact that some maps have your base located almost right next to the enemy base, separated by a wall and a semi-convoluted maze (which the artillery bypasses).
  • Dawn of War II has Angel Gate, a mission requiring you to repower the massive gate and, optionally, its defenses, before the Tyranids can rush it. The mission is unlocked roughly halfway through the campaign and is one of three main objectives you're given, which can theoretically be given in any order. However, one of the other two main objectives will give you your last squad — a Dreadnought. Even with all six of the generators powered on, Angel Gate's defenses are inadequate against the literally hundreds of Tyranids (along with four to six Carnifexes, which are each the size of a small building) that will attack your squads. However, having a twenty-foot-tall undead armored walker levels the playing field quite nicely.
  • In GrimGrimoire, the situation is inverted in one particular level. You are the beef gate, you are given your first use of a Chimera — the 2nd toughest unit in the game. Hooray!!! Unfortunately that single Chimera and a handful of Fairies are all you get, plus the Chimera is constantly bleeding off health with no way to restore any. Even worse, your enemies are all Sorcerous creatures — units that deal extra damage to the Chimera. The Chimera basically has to block and outlast hordes of Imps (easy enough), the odd batches of Demons (these are brutal and can rip chunks out of the Chimera if your Fairies don't gun them down quickly enough) and worse yet a single Dragon — which is the toughest unit in the game (it comes at the end when your Chimera is already badly hurt. A full power Chimera will always lose to a full power Dragon, so your Fairies need to really fight hard). Elsewhere beef gates are common given the game's almost puzzle-like nature, you can either use your units' special abilities to turn the tide or amass a massive force to smash your way through.
  • Total War: Shogun 2 — You can attack the Ashikaga Shogunate at pretty much any time you want prior to the point where they turn on you anyway, which will actually save you some trouble with having Realm Divide declared on you twice. But God help you if you go for broke will be crushed. Utterly.

  • Ancient Domains of Mystery blocks the player from endgame areas by sticking unreasonably powerful monsters at the entrance. There's the Tower of Eternal Flames, the steel golem(s), the Eternal Guardian, the ancient karmic wyrm, the assassins' lair, the underwater cave... The small cave is the reverse, scaling its difficulty based on a multiple of player level. The higher your level, the harder it gets.
  • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, there are locked doors on specific floors of specific dungeons that lead to rooms filled with treasure. However, said rooms are also inhabited by Pokémon that are typically much, much stronger than the ones roaming around outside. For instance, the first one you can stumble across is in a dungeon that only has level 6 Pokémon outside, but is filled with level 55 Pokémon that will completely wipe the floor with you without proper preparation. They also conveniently give you a key to open said door a mere few dungeons after it's encountered, meaning many a player is likely to meet a swift demise in this fashion.
  • In Auroch Digital's Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night, the follow-up to Games Workshop's Chainsaw Warrior, the Warrior has to travel from the Jungle, to the Lost City and finally the Pyramid where the Nigh-Invulnerable Darkness is hiding. The Jungle and the City have random "Guardians" at the end of their level that must be killed to proceed, additionally Guardians also guard random temples that give you special abilities if you beat the Guardian. If you can't defeat a Guardian at a temple, then you had better hope you get an Equipment Drop soon because you're not likely going to survive the end of the level. The randomly selected Guardians are far beyond the zombie, cultist and mutant mooks you normally fight and they have a limited form of Contractual Boss Immunity that makes them immune to getting netted or smokescreened. While fighting a Mother Jaguar or a Suicide Cultist is annoying, monsters like the monstrous, hard-hitting and heavily armoured Temple Guardian or the nearly indestructible Slime are almost as bad as fighting the Darkness itself. Hopefully you have something suitably horrifying in your arsenal like the CES (a neuron destroying device that'll One-Hit Kill anything short of the Darkness, but you take damage) or FBW Missile or some powerful weapons like the XM600 Sniper Rifle.
  • In Rogue Legacy the player can freely explore the entire castle, from the starting area to the depths of the final zone, however the enemies located in the more advanced zones will make quick work of lesser geared characters.

    Role Playing Game  
  • 10,000,000:
    • In this game, you could theoretically run from the first dungeon all the way to the last. There are reasons why it's better to start in later dungeons as you unlock them (most notably, later dungeons have higher score multipliers, making it much faster to reach the coveted ten million points), but beginner players who try to make it to dungeon 2 from the start will have their run ended by a T. Rex. The boss has an absurd amount of health and every hit it deals takes away a half-screen of progress, meaning you can maybe survive one attack before game over. It's notably tougher than the bosses of the next four dungeons. You'll need to craft better weapons, train your physical might, and brew potions before you can beat it. When you face it after some training, you'll be dealing more damage, have a chance for critical hits (dealing big bonus damage) or magical effects (immobilizing the T. Rex by freezing it and/or poisoning it to drain its health), and have a chance of blocking or dodging its attacks. All that training, just to open a door to a place you unlocked ages ago.
    • Also, the Treants, who play a similar role in the later dungeons. The enemy's trading card says something like, "Treants are Purposefully Overpowered to make the player feel good when they finally can beat one". One of the loading screen tips merely says, "Treants OP", and upon killing one for the first time you receive an achievement called, "Who's OP Now?".
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura utilizes this in the main quest, which if you've proceeded as straight-forward as the story appears to be, will lead through the familiar rats and wolves smack into a high level golem that will shatter your weapons and armor. The main quest's difficulty levels off and evens out for quite awhile after rather than starting lower and increasing gradually, but this spike in difficulty forces you to engage in Level Grinding by searching out and undertaking dozens of wholly irrelevant quests, and/or trolling for random encounters.
  • The Avernum series has plenty. Your party is basically capable of wandering wherever they feel like going. If they head into an area they aren't prepared to enter, a roving monster is likely to kill everyone in a few turns, maybe even in one!
  • In Baldur's Gate, the Durlag's Tower is a brilliant example of this in level design. Theorically, you could access this dungeon from chapter 1 if you stumble in it by chance, but if your level isn't good enough, you will be trashed instantly. To prevent unexperienced players with unleveled characters to get only frustration and unwinnable fights midway through the dungeon, two very hard to kill battle horrors guard the entrance. The narrow path also prevents players to simply run away and avoid the fight. If you kill those battle horrors, you are ready to challenge the tower. Otherwise, reload and return later. Better explained here.
  • In the Old Hunters DLC for Bloodborne, the very first enemy you should run into serves as a good indicator of how ready for the DLC you are. For most of the game he will be able to murder your health if he can hit you and takes a fair amount of hits himself. It's not until near the end of the base game that you will be ready to take him out easily and thus be ready for the rest.
    • A skilled player versed in dodging enemies can find a lot of goodies by dodging every opponent on the way to Ludwig. While you likely won't be able to kill Ludwig if you're too weak, the drops you can find, including the Beasthunter's Saif, the Amygdala Arm, the Beast-Cutter, a metric ton of Madman's Knowledge and blood-stone shards, and access to a series of new garments, can allow a low-level player to walk away with some useful weaponry and the materials needed to power up what they have. In fact, only a few things can't be collected, such as the Gatling Gun, which is in the hands of a Hunter far too dangerous to handle at even high levels.
  • Breath of Fire II: You can theoretically return to Gate almost immediately after getting Spar in your party. You are only actually supposed to return to Gate much much later, and the encounters in that area prove it.
    • It doesn't really help that the game sort of implies that you're supposed to go there ASAP, due to the huge deal they make about returning there to investigate a strange phenomenon midway through the game.
  • Chrono Trigger.
    • The bucket at the End of Time, which you can reach about three or four hours into the game. Using it takes you to the final boss. Odds are you don't actually want to use it until you've made it through the actual plot, unless you're using a New Game Plus.
    • On the other hand, using this gate to access the final boss earlier than you "should" is key to seeing most of the dozen or so alternate endings.
    • To get to the final boss even earlier (it can be the first battle of your game!) in the New Game Plus, all you have to do is step on the other side of Lucca's teleporter. This isn't available outside of New Game Plus, however — and unless you did a lot of Level Grinding the first time around (or went through the first few Bonus Dungeons in the DS remake), you might not be up to the challenge then as you only have two party members at that point.
      • Or even just one party member if you progress slightly further in the story.
  • Dark Souls I has three routes—five if you start with a Master Key—which you can take out of the Hub Level right after the tutorial, but only one is balanced for a starting player. The rest are full of enemies that are difficult to evade with knowledge of the areas, much less fight when you’re there for the first time, plus environmental obstacles that will take specialized gear and/or trial-and-error with few checkpoints inbetween.
    • Stray into the route of the graveyards, and the skeletons will kill you with their high resistance to most damage types, bleed-inducing weapons (which reduces your HP by a set amount once the bar is filled), and ability to parry. If the player is lucky or tenacious enough, the Graveyards also contain giant skeletons, which are even tougher. If the player is still foolhardy enough to progress, the next area, Catacombs, have the super tough skeletons reassemble themselves on the spot when killed, until the necromancer controlling them is killed (unless you use a divine weapon, which are impossible to get right off the bat).
    • Take the elevator down and you end up in New Londo Ruins, where your enemies are ghosts. You need a specific consumable item just to be able to damage them or even block their attacks, and even with the item, your starting equipment is hardly adequate to kill them. Should the player still manage to make their way through the hordes of ghosts, they'll find that the place is, for all intents and purposes, useless to visit at this point in the game. First of all, half the area is totally inaccessible without a key given to the player by the area's sole NPC, who will only give it up if he is shown a particular plot item that is received about halfway through the game. Second of all, if the player gets the key by murdering the NPC instead, they will find that the other half is filled with Darkwraiths, who make the ghosts above look like soft fluffy tissues. Finally, even if they manage to kill the Darkwraiths, the player will find that it is impossible to fight the area boss without another plot item that is dropped by a different boss.
    • Players that selected Thief as their starting class and/or selected Master Key as their Gift can unlock a door to go straight to the Valley of Drakes or Blighttown. The former is a narrow cliffside path where Wyverns and the Undead Dragon spews area-of-effect lightning and poison attacks. Wandering too far into Blighttown will only get them flattened by the Infested Barbarians and their Large Clubs.
    • Going through Darkroot Basin to bypass the Cash Gate locking off half of the Darkroot Garden will lead the player headlong into a pack of Crystal Golems (tough but negotiable) and the Hydra, which will murder weaker players with an artillery barrage of homing water blasts.
      Interestingly, Darkroot Basin has two other entrances themselves gated off: The aforementioned Valley of Drakes is one. The other entrance, accessible after the game’s first “intended” area with the Master Key, is guarded by Havel the Rock, a Mighty Glacier of a man who will slowly chase you, power through anything you throw at him, and usually smack you dead with one hit if you try anything funny.
    • The "Artorias of the Abyss" DLC has one in the form of the Sanctuary Guardian, an unskippable boss that is the first thing you fight upon accessing the DLC. While the DLC is only accessible fairly late game, it is also significantly harder than most areas in the base game, so if you cannot handle the Guardian, you obviously are not prepared for the rest of the content.
  • Dark Souls II has a fairly difficult Red Phantom sitting outside the Undead Purgatory, seemingly to discourage you from fighting the fairly difficult Executioner's Chariot boss unless you can handle him. That said, Artificial Stupidity and certain quirks of level design mean he's very vulnerable to being shot to death. Amusingly said phantom and the preceding Zerg Rush of enemies are likely to pose much more of a threat than the boss itself.
  • The Cathedral and Farron Keep in Dark Souls III are guarded by pairs of fairly tough mini-bosses. Additionally, there's a late-game boss you can intentionally provoke into a fight in order to gain access to Lothric Castle three bosses early, although since the Dancer is feared at the appropriate level it's probably best not to unless you are very confident in your skill.
  • In The Denpa Men 2, while you are free to explore the entire ocean as soon as you get the boat, you'd be wise to stay out of the dark water or the continent of Afairyca. Both are home to extremely dangerous and powerful enemies — including the notorious Dark Mists from the first game — that will beat you into a pulp until you've level your way through a few other dungeons first.
  • Digimon World, the abudant Broken Bridges are there for a reason. If you know what you're doing and fix one or two right away without training your partner at all, you will most likely get Curb Stomped very fast. Most of the time the game is courteous enough to give you actual Beef Gates instead of just Mooks that are way out of your league... at the price of you being incabable of running away from the battles, since they are against recruitable Digimon.
  • Digimon World 3 has this all over the place. The very first one happens as soon as you leave the town you start in; take the left path on the central park and you'll end up near a shore where you find mostly Coelamon around. They will attack first and defeat anything you throw at it with one attack.
    • The Knightmons are even more ridiculous. No matter what you do, you can't defeat them, unless you got the 4 colored ID cards.
    • There's also a Digimon that blocks your path when you try to enter the Amaterasu server. While you can become strong enough to take it in an even fight and (presumably) beat it normally, the battle ends after one round and you're forced to find an item to get past him.
  • The Divinity: Original Sin games are rather nonlinear in nature - however, there is still a rough "order of events" so to speak, enforced primarily by enemies that will outlevel the player. The level curve is very rough in these games, with enemies about 1-2 levels above varying between "Difficult, but doable" to "A death sentence if you try to engage".
    • In the first game, the player will go into another zone called the Luculla forest. Easily, some events can be accomplished and sidequests can open up - but if one wanders too far (that is, outside the town) they will easily end up getting attacked by enemies that are way too high level to be fought now. This obviously is done to show the player that they should instead do something first.
    • The second game is much more blatant about using beef gates to loosely enforce an "order of events", primarily in its second act. You will enter around level 8-9, but if you wander too far you'll end up getting enemies that are level 10+ and thus end up having to constantly backtrack to find something that you can actually survive.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Dragon Age: Origins:
      • A very nasty band of bounty hunters waits for you in the narrow path leading to the gates of Orzammar, which was intended by the developers to be the last main quest to be completed. This was a problem, however, because an important NPC in a character's personal quest is waiting outside the Orzammar gates. Worse yet, the sword you receive as the reward for that personal quest seems like it would be very nice early in the game, but is not even good enough for Shop Fodder by the time you can access it without resorting to exploits.
      • Another beef gate is a knight who challenges you to a duel early in the capital of Denerim. Unfortunately, beating the knight is deceptively easy, doing nothing to prepare you for the later pseudo-random one-time encounter with a small army of well-entrenched archers while traveling between Denerim districts.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition:
      • The third game has High Dragons which act as Bonus Bosses; but you can encounter the first one (which isn't even the game's weakest one!) on your starting area, and the path to reach it is guarded by drakes which spawn infinitely while their mother circles overhead bombarding the player with hard to dodge fireballs, as a warning for newbie players who might try to press on.
      • Also the starting area has some Fade Rifts that are guarded by high level demons, starting players who might think that they should be capable of closing all the starting area's Rifts would be in for a nasty surprise.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest I:
      • The difficulty progression basically relies on this. Generally-speaking, whenever you see a bridge, you can bet that the enemies on the other side of it will be significantly-stronger than the ones you've been fighting. Woe be unto the poor, cocky traveler who ventures beyond those bridges unprepared. You don't even have to go that far to get slaughtered. Just start the game and walk south.
      • The reason you can't rescue the Princess the first time you enter the Marsh Cave early on in the game (other than the fact that the door to her cell needs a key to unlock) is due to the powerful Green Dragon that guards her cell, which will utterly slaughter you if you are foolish enough to try to take it on without lots of level grinding and equipment upgrades.
    • Dragon Quest IV, known as Dragon Warrior IV for its NES release outside of Japan:
      • This game in general has an extremely steep enemy growth rate (which, with the insane enemy encounter rate and coupled with Artificial Stupidity in Chapter V, accounts for its Nintendo Hardness), and you are expected to level grind in between events — the manual gives recommended levels for each point in Chapters I-IV, and they aren't too far off, either. Even if you do things in order this game can be difficult, especially if you don't grind in between events, but on occasion, the game lets you access areas where you aren't yet supposed to go, and if you choose to go to these places — yeah.
      • In Chapter IV, you are placed on a large continent on which you can go anywhere you please from the start, though you can't fight the Chapter Boss until you've done everything else first and you can't leave the continent until you've beaten the boss. Problem is, you're going to die really horribly if you stray too far from where the plot tells you to go.
      • In Chapter V, once you get the boat, you're free to travel the world map — only a few areas can't be accessed. This can be exploited to get some overpowered equipment for your characters. Just be sure not to walk to far inland on continents you aren't supposed to be on, because the random encounters will make you die really, really fast. Some areas on the map will pit you against the Demonic Spider Chillanodon, a group of which is capable of wiping out even properly leveled characters in a single turn, if you get on the wrong side of the A.I. Roulette.
    • Dragon Quest VI mostly averts this. However, the well in Somnia in the second world houses part of a dungeon for characters around level 25. You're around level 12-15 when you first find it.
    • Dragon Quest VIII has an apparent Beef Gate in the very first dungeon, but you can intimidate the foe into letting you through without a fight. The much more dangerous Beef Gate is Khalamari, a plot-required boss that hits much harder than all previous enemies and regularly strikes both of your party members for large amounts of damage.
  • Dragon View allows the player after a certain point to travel anywhere in the game world their heart desires (barring a few areas only accessible by teleport symbols.) Venture too far off the plotted line, however, and you're likely to be annihilated by high-level encounters.
    • Even if you follow the plotted line, the game doesn't even wait until the second major dungeon to throw one of these at you. In one of the early towns, you're told that there's a bow and arrow hidden in a nearby cave. Sure enough, north of the town is a cave with the bow in the very first room. But if the player goes any deeper into the cave they encounter a gargoyle they can only do chip damage to and who can wipe them out in only a hit or two.
  • At one point in EarthBound (1994) the plot forks, with you being told to go to either Scaraba or Fourside. You're supposed to go to Fourside, and if you try to go to Scaraba, then you run into the Kraken.
  • EarthBound Beginnings
    • There is a very significant difference between the level at which you can wake the dragon in Magicant and fight it and the level at which you should. Although, the gulf narrows significantly when you realize the boss lacks Contractual Boss Immunity to One-Hit Kill and HP to 1 attacks, of which you'll almost certainly have access to at least one by the time you're able to fight it.
    • Another example that's half this and half Broken Bridge: you can try to simply walk through the tunnel from Merrysville to the next area without clearing the path for the train. You just really don't want to. It's even Lampshaded by a talking skeleton you find halfway through the tunnel.note 
  • Elden Ring has the Tree Sentinel, a behemoth paladin on horseback skulking around the first not-bonfire as Schmuck Bait. You're intended to progress through the game a bit first and come back once you have your Cool Horse Torrent so you can actually evade his attacks, but that hasn't stopped most players from trying to take him on solo and getting their teeth kicked in.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In Morrowind, due to the almost complete lack of Level Scaling in the game (which is unique for the series, and for Bethesda games in general,) the local fauna will serve as this to any underleveled players who veer too far off the main quest path early on. Certain areas, such as inside the Ghostfence, are full of end-game level creatures right off the bat and will continue to serve as beef gates until late into the game. It is possible to avert (or at least downplay) this trope by Min-Maxing your character at the start and knowing where to look in order to quickly acquire high quality gear (which, like enemies, also does not level scale.) A few specific examples:
      • The Samarys Ancestral Tomb lies just a few steps off the road between Seyda Neen and Balmora. It contains the Mentor's Ring, a legendary artifact that boosts Intelligence and Willpower with a constant effect. However, the tomb is guarded by an Ancestral Ghost, who cannot be harmed by unenchanted, non-silver weapons (which is likely all the player will have access to if accessed early on in the game.) Using spells, sneaking by, or making a side-trip to acquire a weapon which can harm the ghost are recommended.
      • Also not far from the First Town is the cave of Assemanu. It contains the Robe of St. Roris which, in the unpatched version of the game, has a constant effect Restore Health and Restore Fatigue enchantment, essentially giving the wearer a powerful Healing Factor and making the wearer near-invincible to anything other than a full health One-Hit KO. The cave is a Sixth House base full of mid-to-high level enemies though, which even for a min-maxed starting character will be extremely difficult to defeat. (For a stealthy character with a few potions of invisibility though...)
      • Both expansions, Tribunal and Bloodmoon, are designed with higher-level player characters in mind. Wandering straight into the sewers of Mournhold, for example, will see you tangling with goblins, who have deceptively strong weapons capable of killing a lower-level PC in one or two hits. This is especially frustrating as Tribunal kicks off by having assassins attack you in your sleep, and this will continue with a high random chance of them attacking every time you sleep (which you need to do in order to level up). While you don't have to travel to Mournhold to stop the attacksnote , the game doesn't tell you this, leading many players to believe they must travel there and brave the sewers (along with the goblins and legions of assassins) to stop the attacks. The island of Solstheim (added by Bloodmoon), by comparison, doesn't reach out and demand that you visit, giving you time to build your character up to tackle the endless stream of wolves, bears, and naked Nords it will throw at you.
    • Oblivion:
      • Oblivion scales most enemies to the player's level, but trying to get too far ahead on the wrong quest can easily result in some rather unpleasant encounters with higher level vampires, necromancers, giant fish, etc.
      • The Shivering Isles expansion has the Gatekeeper, an enormous axe-handed golem guarding the gate into the main part of Sheogorath's island. It's nearly impossible to beat him in a straight-up fight, so you have to win a mini-quest in order to kill him and move on. Later on, you rebuild him to fight off the invaders to the Isles, essentially making him a Beef Gate on your side.
      • Umbra is set at level 50, regardless of your own level. There is a quest to defeat her that becomes available at level 20, but she is present from the start. Killing her yields a legendary (though evil) sword which remains awesome even at high levels.
    • Skyrim:
      • Skyrim has these in the form of Giants, who are suicide to fight at low levels without a LOT of preparation. Also, on top of having Fallout 3-style scaling, the game will occasionally throw a much more difficult enemy or two in a dungeon with everything else leveled scaled, just to keep you on your toes. One particularly rough example occurs if you try to reach High Hrothgar early on, as several dangerous enemies (sabre cats, ice wraiths, or ice wolves) will appear at the base of the mountain, and further up you'll find a frost troll (a foe suitable to a character at level 15 or higher) blocking your path, which probably kick the crap out of you if you're on your own or not well-equipped. Some smart tactics will let you bypass the troll; you can even run straight past it and lead it to the Greybeards, who will deal with it in short order.
      • One that most people don't see coming (and probably uses this trope the hardest) is the end room of the first major Companions quest. The entire dungeon leading up to it contains nothing more dangerous than a Draugr Wight (which is usually exterminated by your essential questgiver ally). The last room, however, starts by spawning 8 lowish level Draugr, plus a Draugr Scourge, which is a tough fight on its own for most low level players. Beating that, however causes the game to sic 5 more Scourge, and a Deathlord (who can use the 'disarm' shout) at the player. The only real way to win the fight without having gone through a substantial portion of the game is to kite them around the edge of the room using the flames spell for about half an hour.
      • You'll hit a Beef Gate early on if you wander too far in Whiterun or Falkreath from the start without either good gear, some levels, or a companion. Venturing too far off the road in Whiterun and not paying some close attention to your surroundings will get you a faceful of angry sabrecat. Doing the same in Falkreath or the Rift early on will lead you straight into the aggro range of the game's resident Demonic Spiders, bears. Further out from Whiterun, sabrecats and bears become regular occurences along the roads as well. A better-armed player won't have much trouble tackling them by themselves or with an ally, but then you start regularly crossing paths with snow bears and frost trolls...
      • The main questline has a couple of these further along. Most notably is the quest to reach Sky Haven Temple, where midway through you find yourself overlooking a massive camp of magic-slinging Forsworn natives (numbering at about twenty at least), and they'll have several Briarhearts and Hagravens among them. Even with a couple of invincible allies along for the ride, this battle is pretty brutal. As if that's not enough of a warning to the player that they need to go bulk up a bit before they go further into the main quest, a dragon will then drop in midway through the battle to join in the chaos.
      • Some dungeons have set minimum levels, which means that enemies in that dungeon will always spawn at that level or higher. A sudden surprise appearance of a couple of Draugr Deathlords in the first couple of rooms is a very quick and blunt way of informing a low-level or unprepared player that they are not ready for what lies deeper down.
  • Etrian Odyssey is madly in love with this trope. For one thing, it's the entire point of the FOEs. Beyond that, certain special cases that are even mentioned in game (usually in the form of a "you get the feeling that the monsters in this area are much too powerful to fight" message or a quest all about having to get something from its lair while absolutely not drawing its direct attention) include Wyvern in Etrian Odyssey, Salamox in Heroes of Lagaard, the Primordiphant in Beyond the Myth, and typically the first aggressive FOE that the player encounters for each game.]
  • In Evil Islands, there are a few throughout the game, worth noting a couple of dragons in Gipath and an Imperial Guard in Suslanger.
  • Fallout series
    • Fallout had this as a consequence of being fairly non-linear. 60-80% or so of the towns will be hard for a few levels if you don't visit the starter towns first, but they are all about the same level of difficulty to get to in the first place. Thus, most of the game is unlocked as of level eight or nine, except for the very end-game parts. In particular, it's a straight shot to reach the Military Base (one of two endgame areas) if you just keep walking west from the starting area... but if you roll even one random encounter during that period, chances are you'll get reduced to a reddish smear by a Super Mutant's minigun.
    • Fallout 2 has a strategy for sneaking into one of the end-game areas and doing the sidequests there by employing talking skills and running away from any actual fight. This can get you very advanced weapons, the second-best armor in the game, and a mountain of XP that would be a fair reward for near-end game characters, but is utterly insane for starting characters. (One quest gives you 20,000 XP. Starting characters can get five levels from that.) That said, if you happen to hit any random encounters on the way to said end game area, especially the Enclave Patrols (who wear Power Armor and wield energy weapons or Big Guns)you will die horribly. Expect to reload repeatedly to pull it off.
    • In Fallout: New Vegas your goal is to follow the trail of the guy who shot you in the head and left you for dead. Said trail ends in the eponymous city, which can be seen clearly from the town you start the game in, and the Honest Hearts DLC(the only one feasible for a low-level Courier) starting point is also near there. However if you try to travel directly there, you'll get ripped apart by Deathclaws or stung to death by Cazadores, and lastly there is a slightly "weaker" gate in the form of a dozen Giant Radscorpions if you head into the pass heading north from Yangtze Memorial and making it past that puts you right in front of the aforementioned Cazadores, forcing you to follow the trail properly (which involves looping all the way from the west side of the map down and around counter-clockwise until you reach New Vegas in the north) and grind levels. This entry-level beef-gate can be circumvented by experienced sequence breakers, however, allowing the player to make it to New Vegas directly through the danger zone and skip or put off roughly half of the game's plot.
      • This, and many other Beef Gates in the game, is due to the principal modder responsible for Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul (one of the most illustrious mods for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion) being a member of the development team.
      • Interestingly, the game is all too happy to point this out in dialogue, with numerous "DANGER" signs, and even by having a robot chasing you down to warn you of the impending likelihood of disaster, so it is really more of a hint that it is not The Other Game; if you just run and gun and explore instead of soaking up the plot, you will die horribly. In short, being too savvy about the normal M.O. of Bethesda's games will be your downfall.
      • Later in the game, one of the Great Khans' sidequests ("Oh, My Papa") and an unmarked quest for Sloan both take you straight into the Goodsprings-New Vegas danger zone, to a limestone quarry overrun by Deathclaws and including an Alpha Deathclaw. However, by the time you're taking these quests, you should be ready to deal with a few deathclaws.
      • Another major beef gate is Primm Pass, which is guarded by a highly perceptive Blind Deathclaw, with packs of vanilla Deathclaws beyond it in the vicinity of Deadwind Cavern, another of their strongholds. Unlike the above two, you can't sneak or mountaineer your way through, due to unclimbable slopes and the Blind Deathclaw's ability to detect you even when equipped with a Stealth Boy. Like the above, the pass is a straight shot from where you start (Primm) to where you're supposed to be headed (Novac) — the intended, longer method of getting there is circling around south through the Nipton area and following the various roads.
      • Trying to shortcut from Novac to Boulder City? There's a literal nest of Cazadores along that path. Stick to the road again.
      • And if you attempt to go straight from Primm to Nipton rather than following the highway or the railroad, you'll run into Jackrabbit Springs, which is home to a group of Super Mutants who can easily curbstomp a low-level player. Mutants also guard Black Mountain, another potential shortcut to Vegas.
      • A slightly weaker beef gate comes in the form of Scorpion Gulch. The scorpions within said gulch are mostly the weak but deadly Bark Scorpion. However, there just so happen to be Giant Radscorpions in the area, which your newbie gear is unlikely to be able to effectively damage. Ouch.
      • Vault 22 is blocked by an army of Cazadores (of course), thanks to even more unclimbable slopes. By the time the average player is sufficiently armed to get through, they'll be powerful enough to one-shot nearly every enemy in the Vault itself.
      • The Divide in Lonesome Road is accessible right after you leave Goodsprings, but you don't have a snowball's chance in hell there unless you're at least Level 20. Same to a lesser extent for Dead Money and Old World Blues, whose access points also appear early in the main questline, Old World Blues especially as it starts at the Mojave Drive-in, just south of Nipton. Although if you do pull it off (which is certainly possible if you're using the gear the Divide gives you), it creates a separate problem: you just gained about 15 levels and have gear more powerful than the rest of the game, and now everything is too trivial to be a real challenge.
    • Fallout 4:
      • Typically any areas where Deathclaws are prevalent are meant to be explored when you're a higher level, with hopefully better gear as well. If they're not around though, any enemies with a skull by their name should also give you a hint that you're probably not strong enough for this place yet. It's not that they can't be killed; you'll be at an extreme disadvantage if you attempt to fight them, such as doing less damage to them than an enemy that's about your level or lower.
      • The early portion of the main quest has you traveling southeast from Sanctuary Hills, first to Concord and then to Diamond City. If you take a fairly direct path to both places, the enemies along the way are quite manageable for a low level player. However, if you venture too far from that path, the game will randomly spawn high level Yao Guai nearby you as you travel. At a low level and with the fairly weak early-game weapons, they will be a massive challenge to defeat.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy II
      • This game seemed to have some sort of unnatural hatred for cohesive world map design, and ended up combining a serious case of this trope with incredibly poor directions. The people in town A say that you should visit town B. Outside of town A lie featureless plains and forests in all directions and nothing preventing you from going anywhere, leaving you to have to take a wild guess which way town B is. If you guess wrong, you will be first-turn annihilated by the very first random encounter in the area surrounding towns M, N, and O that you just accidentally approached. It is not at all unlikely for a new player who, quite understandably, doesn't know which squares house which monsters, to have their very first encounter in the entire game be with a Behemoth. On the other hand, maybe that's fitting for such a tough game.
      • Not only that, there were definite ways to get significantly out of your league even in places you were supposed to be. At one point, you have to sneak into an occupied town to rescue someone. The way the game handled the occupation is that it looked and acted like a normal town, except that talking to anyone led to their calling you "Rebel Scum!" and triggering a normally impossible battle. This battle is key to the games many disc one nukes by defeating them for decent equipment to fuel your grinding (and after a bit, using its higher level to increase your stats faster).
      • Even worse, going too far immediately south of the starting town activates a Peninsula of Power Leveling filled with high-level Demonic Spiders. You will die if you attempt to fight them at game start since they largely only take magical damage and you don't get real spells until the third or so town.
    • Final Fantasy III has two optional underwater dungeons accessible as soon as you get the submarine. Both are full of random encounters with monsters way stronger than those in the areas you're meant to go, and one of them has a nasty boss guarding the only item you can find there. The stuff you can get out of these caves is very powerful compared to what's otherwise available to you, though, and they're both pretty short areas.
    • Final Fantasy IV has Eblan Castle. You can go to it the first time you get an air ship. If you can actually survive the stuff inside, you get some very powerful equipment meant for close to the end of the game.
    • Final Fantasy V
      • The basement of Walse Castle, which can be accessed very early in the game and contains a decent Time spell and a great accessory. The only random encounter in the area is the Jackanapes, which has 666 HP and very high strength, can cast Moon Flute to Berserk your whole party, and always gets a back attack. They can easily tear apart a normally leveled party, and appear as formal random encounters in a dungeon much, much later in the game.
      • Then there's the Cleft of Dimension. In theory, once you reacquire the airship (which is a short way into the third "part" of the game), there's nothing stopping you from going straight there. In practice, without getting the legendary weapons, along with the experience you'll get in the process, you probably won't get far.
    • Final Fantasy VI
      • The game more or less ends with this, with the final dungeon accessible almost immediately into the second half of the game. You'll probably want to find the rest of your scattered party and build some levels first, though.note 
      • It is possible to get a relic that completely disables random encounters (but is exclusive to an optional character). The Final Dungeon also happens to lack mandatory boss fights on all but one of the routes and is filled with tons of goodies...
      • The same game also has a part with Locke in the occupied Town of Figaro, with his way constantly being blocked by the powerful HeavyArmr monsters. It is technically possible to beat them, but would need extensive grinding and loads of healing items.
    • Final Fantasy VII has this trope in the form of the Midgar Zolom, a giant serpent that would crush your party (at that level, of course) if you tried to bypass Kalm and headed straight for the next dungeon. Once you'd been through the long flashback scene in Kalm, though, you'll find that you can get a materia that lets you capture Chocobos. A Chocobo will be fast enough to give the snake the slip. It is possible to just randomly walk past it on foot though.
      • With a small amount of level grinding, it is possible to beat the monster, and with the Enemy Skill materia, you can acquire the spell it uses to ordinarily kill your entire party. This Disc-One Nuke can thus be acquired very early in the game, and allow you to blaze through a good chunk of it pretty easily.
      • Either way, there is a Broken Bridge if you don't watch the long cutscene anyway, so even speedrunners can't skip it.
    • Similarly to Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VIII allowed players to go straight through the final castle to the Big Bad without unlocking most of their action commands. Since Ultimecia has more hit points than a small planet, and any party member who gets KO'd is lost forever, you're probably going to want to solve all or most of the castle puzzles and get your abilities back. (Furthermore, if you're into 100% Completion, the castle bosses can supply you with any Guardian Forces you haven't collected during your quest — including Eden, which was previously held in a remote area by an unbelievably tough Bonus Boss.)
    • Final Fantasy IX combined this with a Solve the Soup Cans puzzle. Taking the wrong exit from an early cave (in spite of an ally's warning) would lead the player to an uninteresting plateau with really, really nasty random encounters. Until the player gets an airship and can use it as a convenient Door to Before (as the aforementioned ally is part of a quest) there isn't anything that the player can do on the plateau other than fight thunder dragons, so presumably the overpowered bad guys were there to tell you to turn around and come back later.
      • Of course, taking advantage of Quina's Limit Glove spell can render this plateau to be a fantastic location for level-grinding. Plus, one of Freya's later abilities deals more damage based on the total number of dragons you've defeated over the course of the game...
    • Final Fantasy XII:
      • Assuming you haven't opened one of the totally random chests that prevent it from spawning, it is possible to find and enter the Necrohol of Nabudis much earlier than recommended to grab the Zodiac Spear. It's very difficult as it involves dodging large amounts of very nasty enemies, but it can be done. This method is however removed in the Zodiac versions, which don't allow you to get the weapon until very late to the game.
      • Many of the optional Espers are likewise protected. It's theoretically possible to fight Adrammalech, Zalera or Cuchulainn shortly after Belias, but the enemies in their areas will kill you before you even reach them without massive Level Grinding. In Zalera's case, you need to finish a quest requiring you to access the other bank of the Nebra river in Dalmasca Estersand, but the monsters there are on par with those in Mosphoran Highwaste and way over your probable level, and that's before mentioning your actual trek through the second part of Barheim Passage to reach Zalera, which is populated by enemies on par with those in Sochen Cave Palace.
      • The very first time you visit the nomad village in the Giza Plains, you may or may not talk to a child that mentions that they are told to stay close to the village, lest werewolves get them. They are in fact out there, by the southern exit of the Plains, and will oneshot you three times over if you aggro them by accident at your current power level. Judging by their level, you're supposed to confront them after the events at the Tomb of Raithwall, but ironically, when you do reach there, the rain season has come to Giza Plains and they are nowhere to be found.
      • Zertinan Caverns is supposed to be visited after the events at Draklor Laboratory, but can be accessed as soon as you leave Dreadnought Leviathan. If you try to access it before you're supposed to, however, be prepared to be curb-stomped in 10 second or less.
      • In Golmore Jungle, don't go off the path. You will find numerous horrifying surprises, such as hellhounds that are ten levels or so above you. In packs.
      • Also, at the end of Golmore Jungle, there is That One Boss. However, it is hypothetically possible to go around it, by going through the Feywood, and then going to Paramina Rift. However, the Feywood is littered by traps that can kill you easily and populated by a number of monsters that are even higher leveled than the aforementioned hellhounds, including adorable little rabbits that spam status-inducing attacks. If you do attempt this route, be prepared to have a few Float Motes and run!
      • Some hunts can be unlocked way before you can expect to survive in zones they're located in. You can get the White Mousse hunt at level 20, but at that stage the area it's in will probably be neck-deep in giant toads that you can barely scratch, but which can kill you in a few hits. Marilith can be unlocked before accessing Raithwall's Tomb, you won't even get there before getting shred to pieces. Roblon hunt is accessed after setting for Archades, but its location is in Nabreus Deadlands and in secret path with almost endlessly respawning skeletons.
      • Theoretically, it's possible to access the lower section of Lhusu Mines (everywhere after the second locked gate) once you reach Hunter's Camp in Phon Coast, and the highest parts of Great Crystal (Sirhru and Uldobi) and Phase 2 of Henne Mines as soon as you finish the events at Giruvegan. These places are the endgame dungeons and swarmed with 60+ level enemies, which, by the way, are higher than the freaking final boss.
      • In Zodiac Age, you may want to grab Scathe and Masamune, which are now located at the end of Lhusu Mines where second fight with Gilgamesh takes place. As mentioned above, this place is an endgame dungeon which you definitely don't want to visit unless you have gone through Pharos at least.
    • In Final Fantasy XIII, pretty much ALL of Chapter 11 is one the moment you arrive. You see, you're shown where the next story event is, but if you try to go there, you'll run into Behemoth Kings. Get past the Behemoth Kings and you'll run into Boxed Phalanxes. Get past those and you'll find Hecatoncheir. The game heavily encourages you to do sidequests until you've leveled up enough to handle these, and in fact lays out a 'trail' of sidequests that serves as a rough tour of the area, even with a few brief cutscenes.
    • Dissidia 012 , the Brutal Bonus Level Confessions of the Creator opens with the objective to go rescue a moogle in the Chasm in the Rotting Land. You could head there right away, only to find it a multi-level dungeon full of Level 40 enemies at best and Level 80 enemies at worst, and after you complete it you're sent to fight a Level 95 Warm-Up Boss guarding new areas with level 90+ enemies. Uless you did some Level Grinding outside story mode, your characters are probably in their 30s, maybe 40s, and you have nowhere near enough money to afford them proper equipment. On the other hand the rest of the world is full of gateways featuring enemies levels 40 through mid-60s, plenty of trade accessories and Shop Fodder for trading, and a short distance from the Chasm in the Rotting Land is another multi-level gateway with Level 70-90 enemies.
  • Flawed Crystals lets you tackle any of its six main areas in any order. However, a few discourage you from attempting them early:
    • The Forge, unlike other areas, starts at tier 4, so you will need to either get a few other gems first or do a lot of level grinding before you stand a chance of completing it.
    • Pearl. Though her area isn't any more difficult than the others, her Boss Battle is brutal at lower tiers, as it's a Wolf Pack Boss rather than a Flunky Boss with easily-dispatched Mooks. This is intentional according to the developer, who believed it made more emotional and narrative sense to force the player to wait before rescuing Pearl.
  • Technically, in Freelancer, once you get past the initial Broken Bridge you can go wherever you like between missions. Surviving is another matter.
  • Geneforge 5 had these on almost every single map, usually guarding alcoves of treasure and upgrades. These creatures so spiked in difficulty for the area even combat oriented characters would have to progress elsewhere, then backtrack (if they remember) just to see what could be hidden there, and by then the XP rewards were insultingly meager. There were a few early areas prowled or populated by the terrors of the world so overpowered it would take half the game before the characters could feasibly quest there.

    Geneforge 1 & 2 also had these, as opposed to the Broken Bridge style of 3 and 4. Going the wrong way from the early zones would swiftly lead to being up to one's ass in clawbugs and other mid-game enemies.
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age has two major examples, both of which require noncombat accomplishments to defeat.
    • At Gaia Rock, you can head straight to the lair of the Serpent with only Move and Growth. However, it will regenerate 200 HP at the end of every turn unless you clear the maze inside of the mountain so sunlight will shine in and weaken it to a more reasonable 30 HP per turn (for context, the only other boss to regenerate 200 every turn is the stupidly-hard Bonus Boss). This requires, among other things, Whirwind and Reveal.
      • On the other hand, with a New Game Plus, it is possible to simply kill the Serpent in the first round of combat.
    • In order to access Lemuria, you need to defeat Poseidon, a giant merman, after figuring out the correct path to follow to avoid getting caught in the currents and kicked out. However, even that won't help, because in order to even deal damage to him you need a special weapon which has been broken in three and scattered around the Eastern Sea, and then reforge it.
  • The first two Gothic games are practically made out of this trope, with many areas filled with monsters which are too tough to fight until you are strong enough. In a slight twist, many of these areas aren't essential, and contain nothing more than the strong monsters and perhaps some nice treasure, meaning that you can avoid these obstacles by simply not going there — though you may need to XP gained by defeating the beef gates in order to beat stronger ones that are guarding plot-essential areas.
    • The third Gothic game is somewhat more merciful about this, since it's possible to go almost anywhere in the game without some sort of barrier stopping you, but even though its possible to take advantage of terrain, archery, and magic to allow you to conquer some Beef Gate areas before you should, it's still dangerous to attempt at best given the same wolves that could murder you at level one are no less capable of killing you at level 50 if they manage to get the drop on you.
    • Risen does much the same, although the monsters are technically beatable — they just take so little damage per hit, and do so much damage when they hit you, that you'll need to be incredibly precise in your parries. If you can kill them (or, occasionally, if you can outrun them), you can often get useful items much earlier than you're supposed to.
  • Grim Dawn had your prison sanctuary cut off from the Arkovian Hills by a broken bridge. The Arkovian Hills are supposed to be reached in Act 2 but if you collect enough Scrap and Iron Bits you can have the bridge repaired. Only to find yourself instead of fighting mindless weak zombies, you'll be going up against a horde of bandits with guns and magic. But survive them and you can get much better equipment before you even go against the Reanimator (the first major quest of the game).
  • The Super Doom Shrooms and Blue Antoids in The Halloween Hack. Impossible to defeat, but can still be avoided.
  • In Haven (2020):
    • Yu and Kay are confronted by a trio of Hornets on the Isle of Chogedon. These brutes are much tougher than prior mook encounters, only have a short window to be Overloaded before they get back up, and can paralyze Yu and Kay with their Flow Jammers. If this happens to both of them, they are recaptured by the Apiary. So you better have leveled up at least three times by this point.
    • After pacifying Katefulai, the Birble Palette Swap, on Benadon, she offers you a ride to Sosarow in the swamp biome. Beware, the monsters here are significantly stronger than those in the plains biome, and will likely crush underleveled players.
  • Elfin from Legaia II: Duel Saga is a boss fought at the end of an early dungeon, most notable for the exact level you're supposed to beat her at. At level 9, you get a fourth Art Block, allowing you to use more complex attack techniques, and at that point Elfin isn't particularly threatening. But if you attack her before grinding to that level, you won't have the damage output to defeat her before she beats you into the ground.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II and IV have these monsters on the field called cryptids that when they first show up, they will be at a higher level than your own characters. Trying to fight them for the first time will just get players killed. In fact, the characters lampshade at how strong the enemy is and warn players to not fight them until they're strong enough to take them on. Killing them however gives players the "Lost Arts" quartz that are some of the most powerful arts in the game.
  • The Super Nintendo The Lord Of The Rings, Vol. 1 places Hobbiton and Bree two small screens away from one another: cross a bridge, turn north at the crossroads, and you're in Bree. However, to force you to go through the Old Forest and Barrow-downs, the game places a Ringwraith at the crossroads. By time you've finished going through the roundabout route, the Ringwraith is gone. Arguably brilliant, because, why did Frodo and company go through the Barrow-downs in the book? To avoid the Ringwraiths!
    • The PC version did this as well, but there was a way to get past the Ringwraith and leave by the road. Following the book up to that point had you encounter some Elves and learn the command word Elbereth, which caused a Ringwraith to flee from battle.
  • Aside from the locked temples, many areas in Lords of Xulima are technically fully accessible from the moment you first set foot on Xulima. The reason it's usually better to progress in the recommended order is this trope: The entrances to areas you shouldn't be in yet are guarded by enemy groups that'll wipe out a low-level party within seconds.
  • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga blocks most areas by requiring certain abilities to enter, but you can wander any part of central Beanbean Kingdom freely. If you don't mind dodging the enemies that can two-shot you and have more complex attack patterns. Successful evasion yields some rewards, such as uncovering the Warp Pipes that save legwork later.
  • Mario & Luigi: Dream Team has the hermite crabs that you can fight in Mushrise Park right outside of Wakeport. A Toad even warns you not to challenge them if you're at low levels, however their attacks are fairly easy to dodge (except for one) and won't attack if you knock off their coconuts (making a first strike crucial) because they'll use their turn to gather more coconuts. Once you realize how to fight them, you can level grind enough to effectively make this a Disc-One Nuke that makes the next three boss battles laughably easy to the point you almost feel bad for the boss.
  • The Undernet works like this in most Mega Man Battle Network games. The first game makes it particularly easy to kill yourself this way; the Undernet looks like the regular Net, and most of it's accessible starting about one-fifth of the way through the game. If you're determined and lucky enough, you can penetrate to the deepest Undernet zone at this point, getting tons of money and some murderous chips for your trouble.
    • In Battle Network 6, you can access a very dangerous part of the Undernet from a secret entrance about halfway through the game. There is even a Bonus Boss there, one whose stats are so high that he (and the enemies in the entire area he resides in) might as well be considered post-game material. It is very possible to defeat him as soon as you gain access to the area, but you will need very good reflexes (his attacks consist of Stuff Blowing Up almost everywhere).
    • Protectos in Battle Network 2 show up in the Bonus Dungeon as a fixed inescapable encounter, must all be deleted in one attack, and count down to an explosion that can easily take out Mega in a couple of hits. They serve as a form of Puzzle Boss guarding some of the area's greatest treasures, and pretty much requires the player to have a good combo (or a specifically built folder) to destroy them and advance, as opposed to what they could suffice on in-game. The same goes for the Numbers in Battle Network 3, trading the explosion for a very painful retaliation if struck out of turn.
  • Might and Magic is heavily policed this way, and doubly so in the classic games. You can get almost anywhere right at the beginning (though forests and mountains act as Broken Bridges until you learn the fairly easy skill to get them), though in some cases you need an access key to enter specific dungeons or towns. However, if you go off the beaten path (the main roads in II, the Western Continent in III, into the dungeons in IV or anywhere in V) too early in the game, you will find yourself in the middle of monsters you can't handle. For extra irony, The Very Definitely Final Dungeon in V is accessible right from the start of the game: no skills or pass needed, just a death wish.
    • Might and Magic X seems to avert this one certain ruin notwithstanding, resorting to Broken Bridges.. at first. Once you reach Second Act, basically every path where you're not supposed to be is guarded by these and it stays that way until you reach Karthal. Special mention goes to The Lost City which has 3rd floor protected in such way, making you think 4th floor will be the same... but 4th one is manageable and actually holds a plot critical item.
  • After beating the Wind Guardian in Nocturne: Rebirth, the next three dungeons will be unlocked at the same time, even though the recommended level for each one is different. This isn't as extreme as most examples, since the familiar system allows you to recruit the enemies from stronger dungeons earlier than you should, though their high levels means they can't be used to fulfill the weaker dungeons' Brave Clear conditions.
  • Paper Mario:
    • In the first Paper Mario, Kent C. Koopa appears to be this to anyone trying to return to Koopa Village after Chapter 5. Fortunately, there's a hidden path in the sewers to get around him, but if you try to go through him, he will annihilate you if you aren't well-prepared, or perhaps a bit lucky. He can be bribed into letting you pass if you him 100 coins each time you wish to do so.
    • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door:
      • Gus, a guard who is somewhat difficult to defeat early in the game, but can also be bribed. Beating him is usually doable, though, and gets you some good experience and cash. You also get the privilege of having him bitch at you for being a Sociopathic Hero after the fight and every time you talk to him; he even says something new every chapter.
      • Once you get the Plane Curse early in the game, there's nothing preventing a player from getting to the bottom of the Pit of 100 Trials except progressively stronger groups of enemies. Pit runs before beating the first boss have been done.
    • In Super Paper Mario, there is a Pit of 100 Trials in Flipside, and a second, harder one in Flopside. As was the case in The Thousand Year Door, there's nothing to stop a player from entering and clearing a pit other than the progressively stronger enemies that are encountered within. The Flipside Pit can be entered as soon as you obtain Boomer. The Flopside pit, which contains even stronger enemies, cannot be entered until first clearing the pit in Flipside.
  • Phantasy Star I: Once you get your spaceship, for a time the original game will not attempt to police you with anything but this trope, including things like "directions", "subtle clues" or "the slightest hint whatsoever". Unfortunately, it has not "locked the gate" with very high level monsters, and the spell you need to get into (but not beat) the final dungeon is unlocked at a very low level. If you don't know where to go, you'll soon be able to go everywhere, which makes it even harder to go in the right direction.
  • In Pokémon Red and Blue you can enter the Diglett Cave as soon as you arrive in Vermilion (and theoretically before facing the second gym leader Misty and her Lv. 21 Starmie). However, the wild Diglett roaming there are at Lv. 20, higher than the Pokémon used by trainers at that point, and they sport Dig, an extremely powerful Ground-type move. The cherry on the cake is that you may run into a Lv. 31 Dugtrio there, who is extremely fast (which lowers your chances of fleeing as well as letting it attack first) and very powerful, which means all your Pokémon will likely be defeated unless you're horribly overleveled. You're supposed to go there after beating Misty, exploring S.S. Anne and beating the third gym leader Lt. Surge.
    • Alternatively, you can go into the cave with a few Great Balls, catch one of the little bastards, and sweep all of Vermillion Gym (including Lt. Surge and his overpowered Raichu) with it.
    • Made even worse in the GBA remakes, where Diglett and Dugtrio have the ability Arena Trap, which prevents you from running away or switching out. And attempting to use Repel to safely skip the battle with Misty in this case wouldn't work, due to the mechanics behind Repel, unless your team is strong enough that you wouldn't need to skip her in the first place.
    • Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire allow you to go to the bottom portion of Route 123 (from Route 118). Be careful; the opponents will have Level 35 Pokémon, while yours will only be around 25-30. There is no warning of this sudden level jump.
    • The Wild Area in Pokémon Sword and Shield is where a trainer can run into higher-leveled Pokemon than they're ready to face if they venture too far away from their destination. This can get you destroyed if you're not prepared, and unlike the other Pokemon games, they cannot be caught for a Disc-One Nuke with a lucky pokeball until you have enough Gym badges to catch their level range, such as 1 Gym badge being level 25 for the max they can be caught and 3 Gym badges being level 35.
    • Alpha Pokémon serve this purpose in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, being Pokémon significantly higher-leveled than anything else around them. Alpha Pokémon are alert, aggressive, will chase you down as far as they're physically capable of, frequently found at bottlenecks and other choke points where it's difficult to impossible to sneak by, and can flatten your team with no chance to fight back. The background music is also replaced with a tense-sounding tune whenever you get too close to one, the game telling you to back away. The ones that spawn at pre-determined areas, for the most part, guard regions you're not required to visit yet. Late-game story points require you to deal with them, but by then, your Pokémon should be strong enough to reliably fight them.
  • There are several places in all three Quest Of Yipe games where the path is blocked off by a monster who needs to be defeated to proceed. In some cases, the monster will respawn if you leave that screen and go back.
  • In Ravensword: Shadowlands, there's no level-scaling in the game, and you're free to go anywhere you want, so if you try to go somewhere when you're not yet ready to handle the enemies there, then prepare to have your ass handed to you.
  • In Rune Factory 4, the player can simply waltz into Leon Karnak (the second-last dungeon before Rune Prana) as soon as they have access to Obsidian Mansion (one of the early dungeons in the first plot arc), aside from when an impassible gate blocks it very briefly for plot reasons. However, at this point the enemies in Leon Karnak are at least five times Lest/Frey's level, and they could send them to the clinic by breathing on them.
  • SaGa:
    • Romancing SaGa 2 had the Canal Fortress Gate, a door guarded by 4 regenerating monsters. Each time you take down one or two, they will respawn. Even if you manage to kill them all and destroy the gate, allowing you to enter the fortress, you won't be able to recruit the City Thief Class. You'll also have trouble finding your way around the fortress, and if you leave the area and try to get back in, you'll have to repeat the fight. Pretty much all the 7 Heroes except the first Kujinshi Battle is a Beef Gate.
    • Romancing SaGa 3 Had the Red Dragon Ruler at the start, and the Abyss Naga at the Point of No Return, Huang City.
    • In the Playstation game SaGa Frontier if you are playing as Asellus, you are required early on to fight low-level monsters on certain nearby mountain path. Strangely enough, if you go just a little bit further up the path than necessary, you will find a huge monster guarding a door. This monster is a big time Bonus Boss that guards a small area that contains even bigger boss and ending-altering potential. If you can pass the two guardians, you rescue a human girl. Without rescuing this girl you cannot get the fully human ending. As you are ending Asellus' story you climb this path again, but with infinite luck you could take on these bosses early...
  • In Sailor Moon: Another Story, going on places before the game tells you to can be brutal; Specially during Chapter 2, where you play as one character per time, and the tougher enemies will One-Hit Kill you before you can act.
  • The SNES version of Shadowrun had the Caryards section. To move on, you had to either pay the King to let you leave, or challenge and kill the King in the arena. Which you could attempt to do at any time, but good luck on that without abusing that glitch that makes him freeze in place.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne has a special cursed hallway in the Second Kalpa of the Labyrinth of Amala that reduces your health by half every couple steps you take, causing you to drop to one HP in a matter of seconds, filled with enemies that you normally wouldn't fight until the end of the game that will wipe you out should they ever manage to hit you. You're supposed to go down this hallway after beating Beelzebub in the Fourth Kapla to activate an event to continue in the dungeon, but should you manage to get to the end of the hallway, the NPC at the end will congratulate you and reward you with a good 200,000 Macca.
  • Suikoden:
    • Suikoden
      • The Kobold Forest. You are not supposed to go there until it is time to meet the elves, but the mobs there can be killed easily with a Fire Rune, leading to you characters being many levels ahead of the game. It really helps with the upcoming That One Boss in the next dungeon.
      • Another example of this can be found at the very beginning of the game, in which your Level 1 main character can exit his home town without a party and encounter mobs 10-15 levels above his own. Most of these mobs can slaughter your hero in one hit, but there are some manageable, lower-level mobs mixed in that can set your character many levels ahead of the game. Then look at your feeble, Level 1 party members and laugh at them when you're whisked off to the first dungeon.
      • It gets even better. You can climb the nearby mountain at the very beginning of the game — which is filled with enemies who will one shot the entire party. Make it to the top, and the NPC who normally gives you a fairly useless Rune will instead give you A rune that doubles the EXP for anyone who equips it as a reward for your Sequence Breaking.
  • Suikoden II had an example of this that was strange enough that it might not have been intentional: near the beginning of the game, when you are still just an orphan with a couple of mercenary friends, you can approach the gate to one of the last areas of the game, Matilda. The gate is locked, and guarded to boot, but for some bizarre reason, you can push it. That is, you push the entire gate back a few feet, allowing you to slip through the sides, into an area significantly over your level. You don't have a chance against any of the enemies, but if you can run far and fast enough, you can make it alive to a small town you weren't supposed to reach for a few dozen hours, and there you can recruit a couple of characters you weren't supposed to meet until then. Said characters start at levels proportionate to the area, meaning you can use them to power-level your other characters to a ludicrous level before you pick up the main quest line again. And, if one were to theoretically do the sidequest that features said characters, they'll join the party permanently. Having Futch and Humphrey on your side makes the early game a lot easier.
  • Superhero League of Hoboken has an extremely literal example: while you can, in theory, explore the entire game world from the beginning of the game, encounters get progressively more difficult the farther you get from your headquarters. If you try to go too far south, you'll encounter a party of other superheroes limping away from combat and warning you about "Steroid Men". If you keep going south, you'll run into them yourself: three dudes so high on steroids that if they get wounded, they can flex their muscles to staunch the bleeding. It's possible (though very unlikely) to defeat them with sufficient grinding when you can first access them, but the easier solution is to increase your party size by completing chapters, or get enough Treading Water skill to bypass them entirely. If you do manage to beat them early, the game breaks wide open and allows for significant Sequence Breaking.
  • Tales Series examples:
    • Tales of Symphonia — Similar to the Suikoden II example, it is possible for players early on who navigate the higher-level areas successfully to recruit Sheena early. Interestingly enough, this doesn't cause Sequence Breaking — instead, a Broken Bridge will kick in and make you do the Asgard Ranch and the wind and light seals before Palmacosta and the water seal, merely rearranging two parts of the Journey of Regeneration (and giving you a few new scenes and some new Relationship Values-building scenes for your trouble). While doing so makes the game more difficult since the new areas are intended for a party 5-10 levels higher, it's hardly impossible. You will, however, screw up the pacing of the customized weapons, and Palmacosta and the water seal will become ridiculously easy afterwards.
    • In Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, there's a room in the Iselia Human Ranch where you can open a shutter and get a card key that will lead you to some new equipment, unfortunately, behind the shutter is also a random encounter that will curb stomp you with ease without a ridiculous amount of level grinding (or just coming back to the ranch later on in the game, though at that point your equipment's much better than what you get.) Fortunately, you're allowed to run away from the fight, at which point you can quickly grab the card key and get the hell out of the room before it starts chasing you again.
    • There's absolutely nothing preventing you from going through the Uncharted Sandstretch fairly early on in Tales of Graces aside from enemies that are absurdly strong and still pose a challenge at endgame levels. There's no Sequence Breaking though, as the Uncharted Sandstretch and the dungeon at the end aren't visited during the plot, just sidequests.
    • The Xagut Floodmeadow in Tales of Xillia connects Nia Khera and Xian Du. Xian Du isn't visited until the party is about 10-20 levels higher than they were the first time you visit Nia Khera, and the Xagut Floodmeadow monsters are an appropriate level for the point in the game when you visit Xian Du. If you try to cross it anyway though, the path is blocked by a fallen tree.
    • Tales of Zestiria shows every miasma-filled location to be this. The miasma affects the party during and outside of battles, and the enemies are a lot stronger than the party. But the worst part is that one of the encounters found is the Final Boss himself! Encountering him in these locations results in a battle the player cannot escape from, and will likely result in a Game Over... however, should the player manage to defeat the Final Boss here, they are rewarded with unlocking the Bad Ending.
  • In Trinity: Souls of Zill O'll, a number of missions are stalled because you have to rise further in rank as a gladiator — which means defeating a powerful boss. You can attempt to take the challenge on any time (and there's an achievement/in-game title for defeating arena enemies that are at least 3 levels higher than your own), but each time you fight in the arena you must put up an entry fee. On later rounds in the arena, this is a sizable fortune that you stand to lose so better start grinding.
  • Two Worlds: Enemies become progressively more powerful the further you go from the starting village, so if you try to explore in the wrong direction too early on you'll quickly find yourself being overwhelmed by enemies that are way out of your league.
  • In Ultima IX there is a dragon in the serpent spine mountains, who tries to prevent you from wandering too far off track until you can handle it. The area past him isn't actually particularly high level — he's more there for plot reasons.
  • A lot of great equipment in Vampires Dawn, including some of the Vampire Weapons, is available in forests, mountains, dungeons or several other areas that are accessible from the world map as soon as you get the Bat Spell. If the enemies there didn't cut you to pieces you'd be able to get some of the strongest weapons in the game very early on. Similarly, the red Elras Chests are non-combat Beef Gates. One Vampire Shield is hidden in a chest in Asgar's own castle, but you're unable to open the chest until you have much higher intelligence stats.
  • In Wasteland, it is technically possible to enter the Guardian Citadel very early in the game, but impossible to defeat the inhabitants until much later.
  • Video Game/Xenoblade:
    • In Xenoblade Chronicles, while not exactly beef gates because they don't guard anything, the player will encounter level 70 enemies and higher very early in the game, when the party levels are 25 or even lower. Not all of them will attack you on sight, but if you encounter one that will, you'd better run.
    • The secret second part of Tephra Cave becomes accesable after the Mechonis Core event, at which your party will probably be around Level 70. The enemies in there are in the mid-to-late 90's.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X: While there are always higher-levelled enemies hanging out in every corner of the world, there are several areas that can only be accessed through narrow passageways that are guarded by unmoving, unusually tough opponents. While it's possible to sneak past them, the regular enemies within these areas are generally just as tough or even tougher.
  • In the Ys series, if you wander anywhere you're told not to, like the Abandoned Mine in the first game, you're dead meat. Bosses also often act as beef gates, forcing you to level grind or obtain the Sword of Plot Advancement, etc. However, you can still pull off some Sequence Breaking by running from enemies that'll one-shot Adol in the mine until you get the Silver harmonica, the Silver Armor which is the second best armor in the game, and the Timer Ring which cuts enemy speed in half. If you can make it out alive, you'll gain a significant lead for the first two dungeons and early grinding.

    Turn Based Strategy 
  • Starting from the second game, the Disgaea series features alternate versions of almost all of the storyline maps (Referred to as the Dark World in 2, and X-Dimension in 3 and 4) that feature enemies far stronger then the ones normally there, even earliest maps having enemies of levels comparable to those of the endgame chapters. These can be accessed very early in the game, but with proper tactics (Generally involving the application of Status Effects and fusing monsters together via throwing), some of the maps can be cleared, and the equipment and EXP rewards they grant will allow one to breeze through the main storyline, and give them a fighting chance against the maps where tactics alone aren't enough.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics A2's Cinquleur missions. You can take the first one ("The Red King of Cinquleur") as soon as you reach the second town, which should be around level ten if you avoid the plot and do every sidequest you can first, but the actual mission is to take down a level 44 enemy. Should you pull this off, it proves to be the first in a series of missions against all of Cinquleur's colored kings, each 11 levels stronger than the one before. Thus, the second mission in the chain, "The Blue King of Cinquleur", pits you against a level 55 enemy, and so on. If you can pull that off, all you need to know about the final mission in the chain is that it's called "The Five Kings", and that the titular five kings have all been promoted to level 99. Every mission in the chain can be accessed the second you complete the mission before it, meaning that the only thing stopping you from doing the entire chain as of the second town in the game is your ability to not die trying.
    • The worst part isn't even the levels of the Cinquleur clan; it's the fact that each one of them makes use of an extremely powerful combo of abilities and items, ranging from the Black King (a Moogle Black Mage who absorbs fire, ice, and lightning damage, can heal himself with his spells, and is immune to regular attacks) to the White King (a Nu Mou White Mage who has access to the Blood Price passive, which Nu Mou ordinarily can't get, and who can freely spam the most powerful spells in the game)!
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening has the sidequests where you can recruit the main party's kids from the future. They're available roughly halfway through the game, after Lucina tells Chrom about them. However, not only are the enemy units in these sidequests higher-leveled than your team is likely to be, there's an additional reason to do these later; the kids will have better stats and skills if you get them with higher-leveled parents.
    • Lunatic Mode has random Risen encounters on the world map be in promoted classes with near-max stats right from the beginning of the game, so you can't take away the mode's difficulty by Level Grinding early.
  • Fire Emblem Fates has an unusual example with the first unique chapter (chapter 7) of the Revelation route. Not only is it the game's sole Fog of War chapter, most of it is spent with Corrin as the only source of offensive power. There's actually no real way to prepare for it, but it does get a lot less daunting if you're already familiar with the game's mechanics. The idea is to try and encourage players to play at least one of the other routes first (thus gaining vital story context) before moving on to Revelation.
  • Beef Gates are very common in Heroes of Might and Magic series. The very first map in the first game, the Claw, specifically says "The griffons will protect you until you're ready to move on". The other three players (controlled by the computer) will never attack the griffons until you take them out, at which point they will freely attack and control your settlements. You can even get messages about two of your three opponents being knocked out of the game before you fight the griffons.
    • On any map these usually guard a high level artifact spawn, a rare creature dwelling, or a extremely powerful mine (usually a gold mine). They tend to be a small number of extremely powerful end-tier creature. The good news is there is usually only one or two in the stack, meaning if you somehow have a hard counter for it or recruited enough people to form a large enough army, you could take the stack early on. The bad news is, if you wait till the point you can amass a army large enough to take on them normally, the stack would have increased in size since then, and the artifact is usually not worth it anymore.
  • Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume has multiple paths, of which the C path will easily destroy anyone not in New Game Plus. It pits you against enemies that are of a far higher level than your party should realistically handle (unless you invoke the Plume, but that requires more party members than you're given and immensely cripple you in otherwise difficult, yet beatable, battles) for a long while.
    • The A path is worse, given that you can't even Plume anyone for the difficult fights. It's thought to be impossible to complete it without using NG+.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown throws several of these at you to ensure you're not resting on your Research levels. You should have lasers by the first Terror Mission so you can reliably two-shot Chryssalids, Carapace by the Mutons to resist their firepower...
    • Woe is you if you develop the Hyperwave Relay, and you do not have at least one Firestorm in your Hangar. This makes The Overseer craft appear regularly, and it eats up the regular interceptors like candy. You have to get busy building the Firestorm, STAT. Meanwhile, as you build it (or wait for missions to even get the stuff to build with), the Overseer keeps appearing on radar, and you have no choice but to ignore it. This makes your monthly rating go down the toilet, and there's nothing you can do about it.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Fantasy Life has a weird variant in the Ancient Ruins, a late-game area. The mobs in the first half of the area are somewhat tough, but nothing to write home about. However, the second half of the area is gated by three VERY tough bosses that can pose a problem even for characters that have Heroe'd several Lifes, as the game before that point isn't exactly hard. You need to kill these bosses to continue advancing in several Lifes (Golden Dragon for the Paladin Life, Calamitus for the Mage Life and Gigante for the Mercenary Life). If you can kill those bosses, you're pretty much guaranteed to be able to kill anything else on the Ruins, as the mobs after these Beef Gates aren't much tougher than the ones in the entrance of the area.
    • Running into a Beef Gate at some point is inevitable, no matter what job you choose. Eventually you'll run into an enemy who blocks you from advancing in a Life, as some areas are blocked until you kill the monster in front of the door. Each Life needs some rare resource that can only be found in such areas. Your choices are either to give up on whatever they're guarding or start a combat-based Life to eventually kill the Beef Gate.
  • Ghost of Tsushima: If you try and visit a major mission area before the game says you can, a message will appear on the screen, reading, "WARNING! Entering an Area of Overwhelming Enemy Forces", before you are annihilated by a barrage of arrows and a swarm of enemies.
  • The Godfather: There's no Broken Bridge, so you can immediately access all parts of NYC after completing the first few compulsory plot missions. If you can take over the intended-for-lategame Fronts, you can really roll in the dough. Are you really sure you want to, though, given your initially poor stats?
  • While Grand Theft Auto III (and Vice City) used a literal Broken Bridge to prevent you from accessing later areas, later versions in the series simply triggered an inescapable high wanted level with an in-story justification. These persisted until you completed enough missions that the requirements were lifted. It is quite a sad sight, crawling ashore after the long swim to Las Venturas, only to see the entire police force charging out of the shrubbery while the whine of helicopters grow overhead.
    • Of course, people find their way past the bridges. In 'Vice City', the docks have an open gap a bus can be pushed through. Jump on it, get to the docks and drive to the other side. Bazookas are now yours. Another 'Vice' example involves the military base. Soldiers don't like random civilians wandering around. However, a cop uniform is gained in a mission. Soldiers like cops.
  • inFAMOUS tries this. There's no reason to sneak into the power outage areas off hand except for excellent XP grinding, but the game makes you not want to by placing auto guns on every street corner which magically vanish when the power comes back on.
    • inFAMOUS 2 acknowledges that Beef Gates can be fun, with the trophy "Knock Down in the Blackout", which requires defeating 50 enemies in an area that hasn't had power restored yet.
  • Artdink's naval exploration game Neo-Atlas 1469 has a lesser example of this if you're trying to reach Zipangu within 30 years by going westwards. You'll encounter stronger pirates, krakens and the unique King Kraken. Early in the game your basic ships have 0.6 combat power and you only have 1 or 2 fleet permits, so you'll get skunked going west. Things change when you get the 3rd fleet permit, while having one admiral go for Zipangu through the much safer east — the remaining 2 admirals can bait enemies out of position and leap-frog your way out of the danger zone. You can come back for revenge once you find the 4th admiral (who's a combat specialist) and discover the technology to build better Galleas (the main line of warships) and find some special cannons.
  • [PROTOTYPE] has the USS Ronald Reagan, the location of the final battle, stranded very close offshore from New York. In story you will end up there anyways, however you can get aboard with intense effort before that, but getting anywhere near it results in being shot by incredibly powerful 1 hit kill missiles (or close 1 hits if you have near max health ups), making getting onboard mainly a suicide mission. Once you land onboard you're okay, although there's nothing to do yet due to the story.
  • In Red Dead Redemption, you can't swim so you can't get to areas you're not supposed to be in yet, most notably the river separating the US and Mexico. Once you're almost done with the Mexico section, a bridge opens up that allows you to come and go freely between the countries. In its prequel, you can technically get into the other half of the state of West Elizabeth (there's also an early mission there) and the entirety of the state of New Austin where I took place before they open up but you'll be swarmed with bounty hunters and law enforcement which makes it impossible to do anything. If you spend too much time/ get too far in New Austin, eventually a sniper will kill you and you'll be spit back out in the half of West Elizabeth that you're allowed to be in.
  • Rune Factory 2: Once the second generation begins, you have access to most areas of the four dungeons, including straight access to the bosses. The monsters are stronger, but you can run past them to the boss area. And once there, said bosses will swiftly murder you if you try to tackle them immediately.note 
    • Similarly, in Rune Factory 3, you can access all four of the dungeon areas immediately (though the bosses won't appear without the appropriate event flags). You can also take on the next Bonus Dungeon after completing the previous. All the areas have suggested levels and going into battle there without appropriate leveling up will probably see you KO'd before you can even use a healing item.
  • Although you can take on gangs in any order in Saints Row 2, the Ronin are clearly meant to be the last you tangle with, as they are backed by a corporation, and their vehicles, though lightly armoured and small, are very fast racers, and their 'top soldiers' have a higher ratio of automatic weapons. They can be upon you in seconds, and if you are tangling with them on foot, they might catapult you into the air with their cars.
  • Scarface: The World Is Yours: It's entirely possible to drive around to areas with tougher, better-armed gangs. Though even if you defeat them with your puny, puny weapons they will return because the area isn't officially unlocked yet.
  • Starbound lets you explore any planet in any system that you have enough fuel to reach once your ship is repaired, but high-threat planets (which hold valuable ores and better loot) often house creatures which can kill you in a single hit, and traps capable of draining your Health very quickly. Radioactive, Fiery and Frozen star systems also can be accessed before you have the necessary suit, but environmental damage will drain your health and pile up to a deadly treshold within a minute.
  • Terraria:
    • Skeletron and the Dungeon Guardians. If you try to enter the Dungeon without killing Skeletron (who is the "normal" beef gate) the deadly Dungeon Guardians will come to get you. They are giant, spinning skulls that move REALLY fast, insta-kill you if they touch you, have 9999 health, and enough defense that all attacks are reduced to 1 damage. Players have still found ways to kill them, making them a Bonus Boss, as there is no reward for killing them except an exclusive vanity item.
    • The Wall of Flesh serves as a beef gate to hardmode. Once the player is ready to take on new challenges, they can summon the boss, and if they succeed in defeating it, they will be treated to a new world of content containing greater challenges and greater rewards.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The board game Talisman is made of three rings, the easy outer ring, harder middle ring, and the final stretch ring. Moving from one level to the next requires some sort of test. The middle ring can only be accessed by fighting the Sentinel or by acquiring an axe and getting to a woods or forest. The central ring can only be accessed by bypassing the Portal of Power, requiring a direct test of your Strength or Craft. Each space in the central ring is another test of your stats before you can make it to the Crown of Command.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade, White Wolf somewhat encouraged storytellers to use werewolves to keep vampires in the cities. Though the Gangrel, being intended to be the setting's "werewolves" before the separate gameline was written, have an "understanding" with them.

    Non-Video Game Examples 

Anime & Manga

  • Cardcaptor Sakura: In Episode 3, Sakura encounters the Watery card, which causes trouble at the local aquarium. Despite how close it is to Sakura's house, Kero-chan attempts to convince her not to try and capture it, for it's too powerful and aggressive for her to confront with her lack of cards on hand (only three out of fifty-two). She successfully captures it anyway, by locking it in a freezer and freezing it using the Windy card. Because of the circumstance, it also doubles as an Early-Bird Boss.
  • One Piece:
    • Due to the way that the Great Pirate Era started, the danger level of the various seas is sorted out this way; the farther along the Grand Line you are, the tougher the opposition you'll face. The Blues are mostly safe seas where only a very few even have Devil Fruit powers; most people with such abilities go to the Grand Line to seek their fortune. Paradise is the first half of the Grand Line, and it's a warzone for all sorts of hardcore pirates who are out for One Piece, kept in check only by the Marines and the Seven Warlords. Finally, the second half of the Grand Line, the New World, demonstrates why the first half is nicknamed "Paradise." Only the hardest-core of pirates can thrive there, dominated by the Four Emperors who rule over multiple territories, and their crews will annihilate any pirates who cross over to the New World without having developed the skills needed to survive there.
    • In specific plot events, beef gating happens twice. First time is when the Eleven Supernovas arrive at Sabaody Island, the gateway between the Paradise and the New World. They are the rising top dogs of the first half of the Grand Line. They meet one Marine Admiral and are immediately wrecked. Next time is two years later, after they all took some time to level grind and cross over without big trouble, some pirates from the newer generation coming with them. Caribou, wielder of a powerful Logia fruit and one of the worst pirates of his generation, gets easily one-shotted by both the Straw Hats and later on by an Elite Mook from one of the Emperor's crew, passing by on a bureaucratic errand.

Comic Strips


  • Homestuck: Beat Mesa, a game construct used to reset failed Sburb sessions, is guarded by a large number of towering, powerful monsters, among which a handful of giclopses and a large flock of flying basilisks are the weakest members, to prevent all but the most powerful players from reaching it.

Western Animation

  • Adventure Time: It's shown the last functioning human colony on Earth is protected behind a colossal automaton which indiscriminately prevents anyone from entering or leaving with deadly force. Finn's mother, Minerva, justifies its continued presence by saying "if we were strong enough to get past him, we wouldn't need him".
  • Samurai Jack: A being known only as the Guardian guards a portal to the past from anyone who wishes to use it. The only exception would be for The Chosen One who can defeat him in single combat. Jack, naturally, fights him in order to become that chosen one. He fails, though the episodes' end implied that an Older and Wiser Jack will succeed. However, with the return of Season 5 years later, Surprisingly Realistic Outcome happens and it turns out the Guardian has long been slain by Aku and the portal destroyed.