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Border Patrol

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Samos said not to swim to the island.

"It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a Grue."

The Border Patrol is a monster or other hazard introduced specifically to provide an in-universe reason for why the player isn't allowed to wander too far off the game map without resorting to an immersion-breaking Invisible Wallnote  or Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence. This often takes the form of an Invincible Minor Minion that you have to run away from, or an obvious environmental hazard that you can't survive. Sometimes this will be an Instakill Mook. Sometimes the Border Patrol monster can actually be killed, though it's just as likely to respawn if the game designers anticipated your violent yearning to be free. When done well, the player is deterred by the dangerous thing and returns to the field of play. When done badly, the player character is unavoidably killed by the whatever, with no explanation as to what they did wrong or why they were just killed.


Can be Nightmare Fuel if unexpected (or even when it is expected). If it returns you to a particular location when it catches you, it's also a Mook Bouncer. For some reason, sharks are really popular as this.

Naturally, savvy (and glitch-happy) gamers just love figuring out how to get around these.

See also Beef Gate and Broken Bridge where you are expected to be able to bypass the monster or obstacle, but not right away. Compare Boundareefs, where the monster is replaced by an impenetrable line of rocks. Related to Drop-In Nemesis. Not to be confused with members of the US Customs and Border Protection Agency.



  • Each of the first three Jak and Daxter games featured one: a lurker shark (pictured above), a perimeter defense robot, and a purple tentacle, respectively. The perimeter defense robot from II can be destroyed by a well timed Dark Bomb. However any attempts to explore further from the land will be halted by a fall into a Bottomless Pit.
  • The Ratchet & Clank series also uses hungry fish in areas with water you're not supposed to be in.
  • Gothic II has a friendly sea monster come a-calling when the hero tries to swim too far from the island chain he starts on. And if the player survives this somehow and keeps going forward, the game will also throw piranhas at them for good measure.
  • In a desert area of Space Quest, there was a patrolling sand worm that would instantly eat you if you wandered away from where you were supposed to be. Gamers who misinterpreted this as a puzzle spent some time trying to kill the sand worm by various means.
    • Go out of bounds outside the Deltaur, and the defenses will blast you into space dust.
    • Ditto for Space Quest III, where there's a snake that eats you if you wander off course.
    • And Leisure Suit Larry and the goon in the alleyways, as well as the taxis whenever you try to cross the road.
    • And, heck, many Sierra adventure games pulled variations on this theme. King Graham could find himself sailing straight into the maw of a sea monster. Not to mention the general perils of swimming in oceans.
    • However, in King's Quest III there is no border patrol, but the desert to the west is simply endless (as is the ocean to the east, but that will cause you to drown rather quickly).
  • Sand worms play a similar role in one level of Star Wars Jedi Academy: they'll try to eat you no matter where you go, so long as the path taken involves walking on the sand.
  • Since you could only drown if you were underwater, Half-Life 2 upgraded the alien leeches from the first game and placed them in water near coastal areas. They start out causing little damage, but the number of leeches increases the further you swim out, creating a sort of exponential damage curve that makes it impossible for you to survive to reach the edge of the map or skip parts of the level.
    • Since buyers of the game also gain access to the Source SDK, you can see specifically how this border patrol is managed. The entity used to enforce the border is literally called "trigger_waterydeath". In a handy bit of Script Breaking, spawning the Airboat via console allows you to avoid it entirely.
  • Dear Esther, a Source Engine mod turned stand-alone game, has voices that whisper "Come back" if you swim out to sea. You drown and respawn if you persist.
  • In Treasure Trove Cove in Banjo-Kazooie you could kill Snacker the shark (who prefers one-liners to one-hit kills). He respawned after a short period of time, though.
    • But Treasure Trove Cove still needed an Invisible Wall, because that was one of the levels that allowed Kazooie to take flight. Poetically, it was the level where Kazooie learned to fly in the first place. Areas such as Clanker's Cavern, Freezeezy Peak, and Click Clock Wood also allowed for flight, but those areas were more "naturally enclosed" than Treasure Trove Cove was, and thus they didn't have such a need for invisible walls. Moreover, Treasure Trove Cove tantalized the player with valuable items that were placed in the ocean, right where Snacker the shark swims.
  • In Infamous and Infamous 2, Cole MacGrath has a weakness to water; any amount greater than a puddle will cause him to electrocute himself. Since Empire City is an island and New Marais is in the middle of a swamp, leaving either city becomes impossible.
  • Xenoblade has nothing to limit how far you can swim in the ocean surrounding The Fallen Arm, but go too far and you'll run into Ether-polluted water that drains your health VERY quickly.
  • In Crysis, if you swim out too far from the lovely North Korean/alien infested island, you get devoured by a HUGE shark. Not kidding. Try it.
    • Also there are ships that can see you from a mile away the moment you walk out of the game's borders and, get this, fire missiles at you. Yeah.
    • If you somehow avoid the shark and the enemy battleship, your own superiors will vaporize you with your suit's killswitch for straying outside the mission area.
  • Ōkami has the crazy water dragon. It is actually possible to bypass the water dragon using the lily pad brush power, but damned if it's not really, REALLY difficult to do.
    • As the story progresses, the dragon became less of a problem with the help of Orca, who was faster than the dragon (and immune to its attacks anyway). Later on the dragon is killed, allowing the waters to be traversed safely.
  • Far Cry has the player get one shot killed by a helicopter that appears, when normal helicopters take at least 4 seconds of constant fire to kill him.
  • Cauldron 2 on the ZX Spectrum had invincible lethal bats which prevented you leaving the castle in which the game was set.
  • SkiFree has extremely fast Yeti that chase after and eat you if you travel too far in any direction. Little known fact: It is possible to outrun it by pressing f.
  • World of Warcraft uses a combination of border patrols and triggered effects. Most of the coasts are patrolled by elite sharks, and if you swim past them you get a "fatigue" debuff that kills. Prior to the Cataclysm areas that had not been fully implemented would apply a "no man's land" debuff that teleported explorers out and "Guardians of Blizzard" that death-touched the over-eager.
    • Certain "fatigue" areas can actually be passed over with the highest level of flight speed. Examples include flying between Teldrassil and Darkshore, or between Vashj'ir and Stormwind. The sharks can be avoided by walking on water or by being high-level enough to kill them, but the fatigue debuff is unavoidable; Even player ghosts succumb to it.
    • Funnily enough, there was one quest (part of the long-since defunct Scepter of the Shifting Sands quest chain, specifically the Blue Scepter Shard branch's "Draconic for Dummies" sub-chain) which required the player to reach an island normally inaccessible because of the Fatigue mechanic. The solution was to obtain a swim-speed buff (which a nearby NPC provides after a short, optional quest) to reach the island before the player died to the Fatigue.
  • In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Grand Theft Auto IV, players who try to skip ahead to the other cities before the plot grants them access (indicated by literal Border Patrols - the bridges to these cities will be closed off and some cops will be standing behind the boundary) will find themselves suddenly slapped with a six-star wanted level, and usually be gunned down by police and/or U.S. Army helicopters shortly thereafter (I was just going for a swim, officer, honest!) They'll continue to chase you even if you go back into an open zone, but at least there you can access unlocked Pay 'n' Sprays and safehouses to help you lose your wanted level.
  • In Grand Theft Auto V flying too far out to sea, or piloting a boat too far out to sea, will cause the engine to cut out and, if in a boat, the vehicle to sink. If swimming, you are more likely to be killed by a shark than reach the map edge. Even trying cheats like Invincibility and Skyfall, you will eventually die and hit the invisible wall.
  • In Mercenaries, the edge of the map is designated a restricted area, and staying there too long (about five seconds) triggers a barrage of missiles from "Allied Command" that is impossible to avoid and does enough damage to kill you instantly, even if you're driving a tank when it hits.
    • It is possible, however, to dodge the rockets. It takes a lot of luck and one of the Russian Mafia's twin-bladed combat helicopters from the second map area. You have to wait until they start firing, then spin the helicopter backward between the rockets. If you avoid them, you're free to fly until the second wave comes a few seconds later. If you survive again (say, using the godmode cheat), you'll run into an invisible wall.
  • Scarface: The World Is Yours has a shark eat Tony whole if he swims too far out. Boats are easily available, though you're shit out of luck if your boat happened to explode in the middle of the ocean and you survived the blast because you knew that shark was coming...
  • In Beyond Good & Evil, there are occasional barriers than can be bypassed, Zelda-style, with various upgrades to the hovercraft. However, attempting to cross the farthest-out barriers results in a warning, followed by non-damaging shots that blast you back within the borders of the area.
  • Halo:
    • Some of Halo 3's multiplayer maps had this. For example, "Sandtrap" takes place in a large desert map with no apparent barriers other than a few posts sticking up. You're more than welcome to cross past them, but once you do, explosions will start happening all around you, almost always resulting in instant death. However, if you are driving a fast enough vehicle, you can actually outrun the explosions, making for a quite entertaining race. Eventually, however, you will come across an Invisible Wall.
      • The Mythic maps added some more instances of this trope in "Sandbox". Much like "Sandtrap", obelisks will gun you down once you cross the warning borders. The only real difference is that the walls at the end of the level are visible. However, there's a hidden skull in the death zone. You can pick it up by going into Forge (the level editor) and building an explosion-proof tube. Alternatively, with practice, you can dodge the blasts while in monitor mode, allowing you to move a teleporter out to the skull for pickup after you die.
      • There's also the turrets of "Snowbound". While nowhere near as powerful as the ones in "Sandbox", they are quite deadly. Again though, you'll come across an Invisible Wall if you manage to bypass it (Hint: put a bubble shield over it or yourself).
    • In 3, certain levels in both the campaign and multiplayer have invisible instant-kill barriers that prevent you from going out of bounds or shortcutting. Games from Halo: Reach onward have an out-of-bounds timer that requires you to "Return to the Battlefield" in 10 seconds or die.
  • Betrayal at Krondor had this in some places that were supposed to be inaccessible for the particular chapter you were playing. This was a case of "you can kill them, but they respawn instantly" (the game at least was fair and warned you if you clicked on the enemies that "there are too many of them, we can't beat them").
  • The first level of Prince of Persia 2 has a lame example of this: walking to the right on a certain screen in the first level will lead to a Sound-Only Death.
  • The Chicken Island levels in Tak and the Power of Juju are surrounded by water inhabited by Electric Jellyfish.
  • In Mass Effect, if you stray beyond the boundary of the current planet you're exploring (roughly one square kilometer), you'll get a radio call from your ship's navigator that you need to turn back. If you keep going, though, you get picked up and dropped back off at the starting point.
  • The old Motocross Madness games for the PC had some kind of invisible Border Patrol, and they came packing some serious heat. Maps were usually cordoned off within Insurmountable Valleys...except, for a determined player, they were surmountable. If you managed to climb up and ride more than a few feet into the vast flat wastelands outside the valley, you would get blasted away by an invisible cannon, and then comically plummet back to the stage to a stock "bomb dropping" sound effect. Arguably an instance of highly aggressive Invisible Walls.
    • ATV Offroad Fury also used this method of Border Patrol, as well as all of the other games in the Unleashed saga and beyond.
  • From Zork: It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue. A simple solution to prevent would-be adventurers from stumbling about in the dark, rather than finding the light source they were supposed to. The earliest versions of the game featured bottomless pits in which you could stumble. However, it was an imperfect solution as they would appear in illogical areas, like a darkened attic. This is referenced in Zork Zero, the chronologically earliest game in the series, which starts out using bottomless pits, but eventually you manage to seal the bottomless pits forever — driving out the grues inside and creating an even worse menace.
    • A Shout-Out to this occurs in The Journeyman Project: If you walk up the pitch-black maintenance transport tunnel, the tram runs you over, and the Have a Nice Death screen says "Well, at least you weren't eaten by a grue!" Also, if you enter the main Mars Colony or go out of bounds at the World Science Center, you will be "Caught By Security".
  • Every Battlefield game has a commanding officer instruct you to return to the battle or you will be shot for being a deserter; after 10 seconds, you'll take fast constant damage until you either die or return to battle. Especially diabolical if you do this in a transport aircraft or aircraft carrier and doom all of your teammates too.
    • This was actually used as a griefing tactic in Battlefield 2, mostly to allow the pilot of an attack helicopter to kill the gunner only, by pointing just the gunner (who sits in front) on the edge of the border, waiting for them to die then picking up the friend you wanted to be the gunner.
    • In Battlefield: Bad Company, when crossing the map border, you receive a radio message that enemy artillery is active in this area. Although it makes less sense after the squad goes AWOL.
  • Similarly, Star Wars: Battlefront has some guy either warn you that deserters will be shot (even if you're the Emperor) or just say "Get back to the battle!" Unfortunately, you just die instantly, rather than slow draining health as in the above example.
  • Risen has a sea monster appear, grab, and presumably eat the protagonist (though all you get to see is a Gory Discretion Shot in the form of a fade to black). Immediately afterwards, the protagonist respawns in the beach with no ill effects. In fact, there's even an achievement for getting caught enough times by the sea monster.
  • The various MechWarrior titles have enforced a similar system, with two lines (orange and red) visible on your radar. Crossing the orange line triggers a warning; crossing the red one triggers explodey death and often a chewing-out.
    Battlemech computer: Cowardice will not be tolerated.
  • Spore includes a giant sea monster that will swallow you whole during Creature phase if you try to swim too far out into the ocean, even if you're flying a hundred feet above the water. There used to be a glitch where you'd start the phase in the ocean and get eaten whenever you tried to swim to land.
    • Also, in the cell phase, it's possible to get a huge cell attacking you. Whether or not this is a glitch or some form of border patrol isn't known.
  • In Return Fire, if you fly your helicopter off the edge of the map, you hear a sonar sound followed shortly by a submarine surfacing beneath you, which fires a heat-seeking missile that never misses and is a one-hit kill. It can, however, be dodged infinitely.
  • Zelda-like Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy featured the water-surrounded city of Abydos. Since Sphinx can swim, however, they filled the water surrounding him with electric eels that made the water an insta-kill. Oddly, the Hub Level is also water-surrounded, but doesn't do anything about it—you just hit an Invisible Wall.
  • The 8-bit-era wireframe game Cholo was set in a post-apocalyptic world, and venturing into an area where the radioactivity level was too high for your shielding would cause your droid avatar to take damage over time. You guessed it: the edges of the (square) map were highly radioactive. (As a point of interest, by using the aeroplane or leadcoat droids, you could get over the edge of the map before receiving terminal damage. Whereupon, you would wrap around and appear on the other side of the map.)
  • Might And Magic IX had an example after a ship wreck with tons of sea serpents that not only swarm you if you swim towards them, but would shoot at you while you were at the shore, making running away the only practical option.
  • The Sea-doo racing game Splashdown features giant squids which grab your racer and fling him crashing back towards the map if you wander too far.
  • Commissars will shoot you dead in the Soviet campaign of Call of Duty if you run from the battle - though unlike other examples, this actually was Truth in Television, as deserters were "kill on sight" for Soviet Russia.
    • In addition, several levels in the Call of Duty series were lined with minefields around the combat zones. In one level set in Cherynobyl, wandering off the path would result in getting hit by a 'lethal pocket of radiation.'
    • In Call of Duty: Black Ops III, the wallrun and boost jump features make it rather easy to escape multiplayer maps, but being outside the bounds for more than 3 seconds will get you killed by... something.
  • Straying too far from the main area in the text adventure New York will get you murdered.
  • Fallout 3 features this trope when trying to get into Vault 87 — the only way there is a roundabout path through Little Lamplight. If you try to take the direct route there, you'll find out the hard way the door got hit straight-on by a nuke, and start absorbing ludicrous amounts of radiation — as high as 3,000 rads/second (for comparison, taking increments of 200 rads will weaken your skills, and exceeding 1,000 rads is fatal — meaning you can die by standing around for 0.3 second. This is the single most irradiated place in the whole series) It turns out that this is all for naught, too. Even if you have enough Rad-Away and Rad-X to nullify and reduce radiation, the way to your destination is blocked by an inaccessable door.
    • In the original Fallout, you took damage from dehydration if you wandered off too far without stopping at known locations, unless you carried water flasks. The second game in the series dropped the idea, but still had powerful random encounters near late-game areas. In both games, the entire world map was accessible to you the moment you left the starting location, so some system (easily subvertible with enough knowledge and/or luck) was necessary to prevent too early exploration and diverging from the intended path.
    • The Old World Blues DLC for Fallout: New Vegas features forcefields around the Big MT Complex that will teleport the player back if they go past.
      • In Dry Wells, unlocked by nuking Legion territory with the Lonesome Road add-on, there is a crater where one of the missiles hit; entering this area causes instant death via kill barrier (rather than near-instant death by radiation).
      • The main game combines this with Beef Gates, where if you wander off the plotted line at a low level, you'll be massacred by Demonic Spiders such as Deathclaws, Cazadores, Radscorpions, or Nightstalkers.
  • In [PROTOTYPE], trying to cross one of the bridges to the mainland will get you bombarded by an off-screen air raid. However, trying to cross in the water will inexplicably stop your air powers from working and then jump you back to the land for no discernible reason (they give what would be a plausible reason not to be able to cross the water, but it would only make sense if the water killed you). Also, trying to use the helicopter to get out will result in a warning to turn back and then getting blown up.
    • It is possible to dodge the bridge's air raid long enough to reach an invisible wall. If you try to just swim away from Manhattan without using the bridges or vehicles, then you'll also meet with an Invisible Wall.
    • In addition, trying to get to the Reagan aircraft carrier before it comes into play in the story (only possible with a hammer throw) will lock the Reagan's rather powerful cannons on you. These knock you back substantially and will one-shot you if you don't have the upgrade that puts you in overdrive upon death.
    • The jumping happens in any deep water, for no apparent reason. It also takes the character a few seconds to jump out, even in the ponds and streams of the parks (which can't be the 30-40 feet deep that time suggests).
  • In The Darkness, attempting to go into the subway tunnels on foot eventually results in a train running you over. The Darkness warns you once and if you ignore it and keep going, splat.
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 will blast you with the Ion Cannon on the more open maps if you go a-wandering. The firing delay means that if you're driving a manta flat-out, it's possible to taunt it into firing and only taking survivable splash damage.
  • A temporary one can be found in the Lothlórien area in The Lord of the Rings Online. You first have to gain the elves' trust to enter their forest. If you choose to ignore the guard's warning, you get pincushioned by arrows raining from the treetops the moment you try to cross the small river.
    • There's another one on the borders of the Anduin. The only way in or out is by using boats — if you try to swim the river, orc archers on the far side will kill you dead. The boats are gated by a quest chain, so that only those who buy the Mirkwood content can reach it.
    • In Angmar, there is a line of Watching Stones that applies quick-killing damage-over-time effects when you cross it. The "wall of death" was a rite of passage for many when the game was released. Like others, completing a quest line will allow you to cross the line.
  • In Far Cry 2, if you wandered off the edge of the playing area, your character would faint from dehydration, and inexplicably wakes up back within the borders of the map. If you drove off the edge in a vehicle, you'd faint, then wake up within the map's borders with the vehicle missing.
  • As mentioned above, the new Bionic Commando has a tendency to kill you with radiation if you actually try to explore the city the game takes place in.
  • In RuneScape, you can enter a dark area without a light source if you want to, but you won't be able to see shit, and you'll also be attacked by a horde of unseen tiny insects that rapidly take your health down.
  • The first Mercenaries game had Allied jetfighters and Naboo starfighters from Star Wars (LucasArts published the game) attack the player relentlessly if he/she tries to swim out of the game's boundaries.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 0079: Rise From the Ashes for the Sega Dreamcast used simple common sense: If you left the mission area, so would your team, and the mission would be aborted.
  • The Borderlands series:
    • The first game, Borderlands 1, had one consisting of a warning by the Crimson Lance, warning you that if you go any further, you WILL be bombarded. Going any further results in you losing some money and being transported to the nearest New-U Station. Many areas have impassable cliffs (up or down) to keep you in. Some also have high-powered looking turrets with double laser sights that lock on to you if you approach the edge.
    • Borderlands 2 also has the Turrets Of Doom in the same way as its predecessor.
      • It also played with the trope a bit, with several quests which require you to grab an item placed just out-of-bounds. So you need to quickly grab it and retreat inbounds before you are instantly killed by the border turret.
  • In Resident Evil, if you try leaving the mansion through the front door you'll be stopped by a zombie dog that's always waiting there, even though you could just shoot it.
    • The Gamecube remake has one of the dogs enter the mansion if you open the front door, with several more dogs visible outside. After killing the dog that comes into the mansion, your character will refuse to open the front door again.
    • Resident Evil 2 has two instances of this. Once you have entered the Police Station property, a group of zombies will be pounding on the gate from the other side. Even if you shoot them through the bars, the game won't let you go back out because it's simply too dangerous to go back out onto the streets. Later on, you find another exit (near where you find the valve), but opening the door just lets a handful of zombies inside and won't let you open it again. The implication here is that outside that door there's just too damn many zombies.
  • In G-Nome, players are restricted to within the game area by the Orbital defense kill zone. Should a player wander too far outside, a computer voice will warn the player. If the player continues, the computer will say, "Have a nice day", and the player's mecha will be destroyed by a huge laser blast, presumably from a space-based weapon.
  • A Russian FPS Truth About the 9th Company reenacts a combat that took place in the War in Afghanistan. If you move too far away from the action zone and cross an invisible border, the game abruptly and summarily ends as you are court-martialled for desertion.
  • The Saboteur: Some borders of the map that aren't blocked by mountains or water appear striped on the map and are named as 'War Zones' if you enter them. They do indeed look like battlefields, containing anti-tank barriers, scorched vegetation, and ruined buildings. Protrude too far into these zones, and fighter-bombers fly over and drop insta-kill payloads and bullets on you. This is particularly jarring because on any difficulty below 'Feckin' Hard' your character can take an inordinate amount of punishment. If you survive this (relatively simple as the bombs are inaccurate), you'll eventually meet an Invisible Wall.
  • In FreeSpace, flying too far from the origin on the coordinate grid results first in a message that you are leaving the zone of engagement, then a suddenly self-destructing ship.
  • In the second Realms of Arkania game, Star Trail, you come to a large city besieged by orcs. At first, they let you approach, but will then insist on confiscating your equipment before letting you in. If you resist and choose auto-battle, the game will chastise you for thinking your small party could defeat an entire army of orcs and kill you. If you try manual combat, you'll face a huge force of wave after wave of orcs, but even if you somehow win (such as by cheating), the game will still state that you're overwhelmed and your only option is to comply or be killed.
  • In Soldier of Fortune II's Colombia levels, if you fall too far behind or go too far ahead of your allies, they will yell "Execute him!" and shoot you dead. Worse, there's a glitch that can get them stuck and make the level unwinnable.
  • Alone in the Dark:
    • In the first game, the thing outside the front door, and the Chtonian Worm that blocks the secret passage from the basement (which you need to unlock anyway to get back in later).
    • In the second game, you'll be shot dead via drive-by if you try to leave the mansion grounds.
  • Pilot Wings: "Stay Inside of Course!" If you keep going, you get "Out of Course" and fail the event.
  • In I, Robot, saucers patrol the edges of the shooting sections, making it a very dangerous place, should you wander there.
  • In Ragnarok, the world is bounded by an endless ocean. If you go into it, however, the world serpent Jormungandr appears and gives chase. He is lightning fast, completely unkillable, and will one-hit kill you if you come close to him or attack him (even from the other side of the screen, despite having no ranged attacks); the only escape is to rush back into the world proper before he reaches you.
  • In the first Gears of War, going into dark areas gets you eaten by the Kryll (killer bats). Unfortunately, going through dark areas before the Kryll get to you is required at some points of the game.
  • Dead Meets Lead is infamous among Steam gamers for employing malaria as a deterring agent for players who so much as stray off the beaten path!
  • The original Air Force Delta features a level involving flight through a large canyon to reach the main target area; flying above the canyon's cliffs would result in a barrage of surface-to-air missiles spammed toward your plane until it's finally shot down.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: As with many other MMOs, attempting to go outside the map boundaries results in a warning and then gradual damage, in this case in the form of a stacking damage-over-time debuff that kills you at five stacks (somewhere between ten and twenty seconds). This is occasionally justified by implying that you are heading into a lake/ocean, or that the weather is taking a turn for the worse: on Tatooine a sandstorm kicks up, and on Hoth and Ilum a blizzard appears. In a handful of cases, it is necessary to head into these zones to find certain hidden collectibles; usually you only need to traverse a nominal strip intended to fool you into thinking there is nothing there, but at least once you need to come within an inch of your life to claim your prize.
    • In the Operation Explosive Conflict (an Operation being an instanced dungeon designed for eight to sixteen people) the group at one point needs to pass through a series of trenches as there is a full-scale battle implied to be occurring in the background. If a player should somehow scale the sides of the trench, an Exhaustion Zone warning will show — and a few seconds later the player will be killed instantly by what appears to be an orbital strike.
    • In one place in the plotline, it's actually required to go through an Exhaustion Zone to complete the plot mission. In the last main plot mission for the Imperial Agent storyline, there's an area that, when you enter it you get the "Exhaustion Zone" debuff and start to take damage. . .but the only way to complete the mission is to run through it at top speed.
  • Armored Core, since its first iteration, lets you know helpfully where the map boundaries are, even if you do not actually possess a radar. Traditionally, the boundaries have a green line, in which crossing it triggers your onboard alarm system. Cross the red line, you fail the mission. The game treats it as if you have forfeited the mission/battle and thus kicks you out, usually with no penalties, except for storyline-important missions, which do boot you all the way back to the Title Screen. Vertical boundaries are, however, a bit vague, and getting Mission Failed from flying too high is an all too familiar problem.
    • This rears quite an ugly head in Armored Core 4, in which most of its map boundaries are too restrictive, cf., "A Swarm of Red Eyes" mission, where you have to kill mini drones by the boatload before it reaches a launch station. Not only your room to maneuver is too small, you cannot chase it all the way back to the launch station. Frustration ensues. To make matters worse, the standard double line markings are replaced by a single line, with two types of alarms. Failure to head back means instant failure, even if you edge just that slightly too far.
    • In Armored Core V, the lack of radar means the devs must denote the line somehow. The result is a very obvious yellow-and-black boundary lines which kills you upon straying too far. The issue with height restrictions still plague the game, as some maps feature buildings taller than the map boundaries (Upper Area/Executive Sector is notorious for this), so continually trying to climb will result in your death. This is not to say that players don't get savvy, but the problem is there.
  • In Max Payne 3, if you wander too far from your principal during an Escort Mission, a mook will pop up from nowhere and gun him/her down unceremoniously.
  • If you go out of the battle zone in Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, your HUD starts to get fuzzy and the CO tells you to return to battle. Disobey, and it's Game Over.
  • In the Wave Race series, going outside of the boundary buoys or going out of the water will trigger a countdown. Fail to get back in bounds in time and you will get disqualified (and, if you're playing Championship Mode, a zero for the course).
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Although The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker has a large, seemingly limitless ocean overworld, the overworld does have its limits. Ordinarily, Link can't sail past set boundaries outside the map (the King of Red Lions, Link's boat, stops and turns around automatically) but if Link swims instead, he can pass the original boundary until he drowns and respawns at the nearest land. However, with cheats, one can have Link swim even farther out...until Link drowns anyway. Yes, even with cheats that let Link swim forever, he still drowns at a set distance that the player cannot reach without cheating. Granted, there's nothing at that distance away from the map, but there's still an insurmountable obstacle that one cannot even reach in normal play.
    • Breath of the Wild has winds that push Link back if he tries to go too far out to the ocean or desert, with a mini-sandstorm being added in the latter for extra measure. If the player just rushes past these, or tries to go past another boundary (such as the mountains by the edge of the map or crossing the giant canyon to the north), the game will just throw an Invisible Wall and a "You can't go any farther" message.
  • Paper Mario: The Origami King has a chapter taking place on the open sea. When you try to cross the maps borders, a giant Blooper rises from the sea holding a big sign with a red cross on it to tell you not to go any further.
  • In Spongebob Squarepants Battle For Bikini Bottom, if you go outside of the dotted line in any level or the Hub World and stay there for too long, Hans the Live-Action Hand (the one from the theme song) will come and take your character off the screen, respawning them at the start of the level or the nearest checkpoint, depending on where you were beforehand.
  • In Sonic Generations, Modern Sonic can run along the surface of Seaside Hill's ocean by boosting, but going too far off the main path will prompt the giant Chopper from Green Hill to snap him up after a couple seconds.
  • Steambirds has AA guns with very long range and huge damage that shoot you if you get too close to the edge of the map (though fortunately you can see their firing range).
  • The Assassin's Creed series has the Animus acting as the Border Patrol. Since you are reliving the memories of your ancestors through a virtual machine, it would make sense that straying from the places said ancestor actually traveled to would cause a game over.
    "Area not available in current memory. Desynchronization imminent."
  • Star Control II had the Slylandro Probes. Although they appear throughout the game (as occasional encounters in Hyperspace), if the player leaves the Sol system before helping the starbase, they will literally swarm over the player's ship in an attempt to convince him to return to Sol. It is extremely difficult - but possible - to actually play the game like this anyway. The Border Patrol is removed once the starbase is repaired, though.
  • Ace Combat series has had some form of this throughout the series. Leaving the boundaries of the map (minus in games which on one side would let the air craft Return to base) logically result in the player abandoning the mission, with mission control asking what's wrong (resulting in Mission Failed). Almost all of them have a mission requiring the player stay below the top edges of a Canyon or Altitude limit, otherwise they'll be targeted by highly accurate, and powerful Surface to Air Missiles, or Super Weapon that will take them out in one hit (The latter of which, is often part of a mid-mission update).
    • Another one, featured more recently in the series, is the addition of that particular game's residential Rival Ace Squadron chasing after you until you successfully egress from the mission area, essentially acting as an Advancing Wall of Doom. To help encourage the player to retreat, the enemies A.I. is tuned to max, fly aircraft that typically far outperform your own, (and they often are in a Super Prototype or at least a real world 4th+ Generation or higher, or have ECM jamming), and perform maneuvers you only wish you could pull off to shake off any lock on weapons, and infinite HP should you manage to hit them with some other weapon, such as your aircraft's Machine Gun, or if New Game+ play through, your own Super Prototype with access to special weapons such as instant hit Lasers or Rail Guns. The correct response, is to immediately point your nose in the direction to escape the battlefield, and hit the afterburners until you reach safety. And they tend to all focus on you specifically, meaning when attempting to engage them, you will be constantly bombarded with Incoming Missile Alerts, and forced on the defensive if you suddenly don't want to get hit by a half-dozen missiles at once (which will destroy any aircraft on anything but the easiest settings.)
    • Another, more realistic mission type seen more recently, is stealth-based in which the player's aircraft must avoid an enemy early warning radar network to either launch a surprise attack, or perform recon for a future mission. The higher you fly, the more area area the radars cover. But flying lower let's you slip below, and between the radars coverage. Detection means game over.
  • In Sir, You Are Being Hunted, lingering in ponds or the ocean for too long will get you attacked by the tentacled Bog Creature.
  • Some levels of the first Serious Sam game have the player receive sunburn damage when wandering too far into the desert. In Serious Sam 3, walking too far into the Egyptian desert attracts a Sand Worm that will eat Sam.
  • In The Talos Principle, approaching the end of the world (usually in the ocean) causes the display to start to fragment and glitch, with Elohim speaking a continuous Broken Record increasing in volume until the player gets too far out and is reset to the shore.
    Elohim: In the beginning were the Words, and the Words made the world. I am the Words. The Words are everything. Where the Words end, the world ends. You cannot go forward in an absence of space. Repeat. In the beginning were the Words...
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day has a minor example of this. Trying to get inside the Wasps' hive in the Windy level before you're required to will trigger a huge, jump-scaring caterpillar-like monster to hurt Conker.
  • In Seymour Goes to Hollywood, a spiritual successor to the Dizzy games, at the start Seymour can either go right toward the studio or left into a busy road. The road is impossible to cross, until you get the lollipop item and use it to stop the traffic.
  • The upcoming dinosaur game Saurian will feature mosasaurs in the Inland Sea that will devour your player dinosaur if you swim too far out. (Word of God says the role they play will be similar to the aforementioned Snacker the Shark.) Though it's been implied via concept art that it's possible to lure them on land and beach them.
  • Sunless Sea: Trying to go too far in any of the four cardinal directions will trigger a horribly damaging event that will sent you straight back to one of the nearest available ports. However, all four events have heavy ties with the story, and the "badges" you get (which are more like marks on your being) are necessary for the Golden Ending.
    • Try to go too far North, and you'll find out some horrendous Alien Geometries are in play; after endless days and a freezing journey that will wreak havoc in your crew, you will end up arriving at either Avid Horizon or Frostfound anyways, because There is Only One Way North.
    • Try to go South, up Adam's Way, and you'll find out the Mountain of Light is bleeding into it, and that blood is horribly corrosive to metal ships, forcing you to turn back or sink. And no, the Elder Continent authorities will not sell you a ship that can survive that.
    • Too far to the East, and after a bit of traveling you'll be forced to turn back, as some unknowable force threatens to crush your vessel if you try to keep going. However, if you've made adequate preparations for this, the aforementioned Force will let you in, triggering the path to the above Golden Ending.
    • Try to go West through Barnsmore's Gap, and the Dawn Machine will Mind Rape you and your crew, forcing you to return.
    • A variation that keeps Captains off the zee-floor when terror is too high, in the Zubmariner expansion, is the Constant Companion. It will smell your fear through the hull, will emerge from the zeefloor when you least expect it and will chase you to the ends of the world until you surface, kill it or die. And since killing it is something reserved only to late mid-game and beyond due to its high HP and heavy damage, and it's close to impossible to battle it without taking nasty damage, it's best to just write off submersion until your terror is back under control.
  • Cognitive Dissonance: The Semi-Invincible Claws in Old Saturnae. They are always in deep water, to make you have to go the long way around. If you beat one, you get a literal Bragging Rights Reward, the "Braggart's Coin" with its Flavor Text being "For those who win battles they aren't supposed to."
  • In Destiny, straying from the path or lagging behind during a mission spawns nigh-unkillable high-level enemies with instant-death attacks, such as Hallowed Knights.
  • Subnautica:
    • The world of the base game canonically takes place entirely within a volcanic crater. Leaving the crater and entering the Crater Edge-biome that surrounds the game's world will spawn up to three adult Ghost Leviathans, the second-largest hostile creature in the game. They have a different AI than the baby-Ghost Leviathans encountered in the natural course of the game, will home in on the player regardless of your radiated noise level, and will immediately lose interest once you've crossed back into the play area.
    • Below Zero has a unique white variation of the Chelicerate at the boundaries of its map, serving the same role as the Ghost Leviathans from the base game. Three of them chase you until you leave the World Edge.
  • Dishonored and Dishonored 2 keep the player from swimming too far away from Dunwall or Karnaca by filling the waters with aggressive hagfish.
  • In Horizon Zero Dawn, if you go too far into the edges of the world, the game will warn you to turn back, then automatically reload from the last checkpoint if you keep going.
  • Early games in the Gundam Vs Series have a border around the battlefield; crossing it gets you a warning from Mission Control ("You're leaving the mission area, return immediately!"), but if you go too far out the game takes control of your mobile suit and forces you back within the border. Making matters worse, you aren't given Mercy Invincibility during this "auto-pilot" (unless your robot was knocked down and therefore would have gotten Mercy Invincibility anyway), meaning you could very easily be attacked by enemies while it was happening. Thankfully the developers realized how annoying this all was, and the borders were replaced with Invisible Walls after Gundam vs. Zeta Gundam.
  • Fe has a river-dwelling fish that devours Fe if they go out of bounds via water, usually to prevent players from reaching areas that the plot hasn't directed them to yet.
  • In Slender: The Arrival, exploiting a glitch to get out of bounds results in the message "Not even a bug in this game will save you from me", followed by Slendy teleporting to your location and accosting you, and the "I Escaped?" achievement.
  • Anti-Idle: The Game: If you stay in the Dark Portal area in the Battle Arena for 10 seconds before moving to another area, The Guardian will spawn. It can instantly kill low level players.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2, like the later Grand Theft Auto games, sets your Wanted Level to Maximum when entering restricted zones, resulting in lawmen shooting at you on sight. In the main story of the game, you're allowed to visit all of the states of New Hanover, Ambarino, and Lemoyne. You're allowed to visit half of West Elizabeth but not allowed in New Austin. If you manage to evade the law in West Elizabeth and make it into New Austin, an invisible sniper will One-Hit Kill you. You're free to roam the entire map in the Playable Epilogue and in the online mode.
  • In Ghost Recon Wildlands, higher-ranked provinces are guarded by SAM sites that will shoot your aircraft down like a fly, and more heavily patrolled by Unidad forces on the ground.
  • In Ghost Recon Breakpoint, you will get shredded by a swarm of drones if you try to leave the archipelago. This is actually justified as the same swarm of drones is why you were forced to land on the archipelago with no way out.
  • Octavia in Halkegenia Online was an in-universe example of this, before being transported to the world of The Familiar of Zero.
  • In the boardgame Robo Rally, any robots moving off the game board are automatically eliminated by some kind of unseen mega-laser.
  • In LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, swim into areas you're not supposed to swim, and you'll get eaten by sharks or crocodiles, depending on whether you're by the sea or in a swamp, respectively.
  • The Aldwych level in Tomb Raider III has several subway tubes you go through to progress and backtrack. Going beyond the intended point will have a subway car suddenly appear in front of you and hit you for a One-Hit Kill. There's no way to avoid them or getting around them.


Video Example(s):


Xen Leeches

If the player attemps to swim into the ocean, leeches will start to swarm Gordon Freeman on sight and bite him to death in several seconds if the he doesn't get out of the water.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / BorderPatrol

Media sources:

Main / BorderPatrol