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Broken Bridge

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medibot: A wall composed entirely of plot.
Kung-Fu Jesus: The most powerful substance known to video game characters.

An obstacle that prevents you from progressing to the next Adventure Town and advancing the plot further. Once this plot advancement has occurred, the bridge is fixed. Named for one of the most common methods, a bridge that's out/fallen.

This is often a method of "Railroading", as it allows the game designers or GMs of Tabletop RPGs to follow a specific path until the plot has reached the desired point.

Not necessarily a literal bridge — the trope applies to any random obstacle that exists just to keep you from going Off the Rails. Some of the more common non-bridge examples:

  • Avalanche or large boulder blocks the mountain pass.
  • An NPC Roadblock, where a person blocks your path or refuses to allow entry past a certain point.
  • Impassable body of water, and the boat is currently unavailable.
  • A Locked Door blocks your path, and cannot be opened, bypassed, or destroyed until you get the proper key.
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  • Adorable little kid asks for your help with some random task, like saving his lost brother or finding medicine for his mom. One or more of the members of your party (usually The Chick) will feel pity for him and, since they can't resist random chivalry, demand that you stop and help. If you try to leave anyway, they'll whine and stop you.
  • You've been declared an outlaw in a particular place, and can't return there until you've cleared your name.
  • You're supposed to meet an NPC in a particular place, but they either haven't arrived yet or have gone off somewhere for a brief while. They won't show up until after you've wandered around town for a while and gotten yourself into trouble.
  • You've commissioned an NPC to make an essential item or perform some other task for you, but they warn you that it's going to take a while. Since you can stand around for days or weeks without the requisite time passing, the time elapsed in-game is instead measured by the plot advancement.
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  • A strong enemy that is utterly invincible against your abilities stands in your way. If you follow the plot railroad properly, then you will either get an upgrade that allows the undefeatable enemy to become beatable, someone else will come along to defeat it, or it will wander off.
  • A puzzle thwarts the player's progress until a "correct" solution is discovered. Common in adventure games, and usually accompanied by the player's character saying I Can't Reach It or Informing the Fourth Wall.

If you're lucky, the removal of the broken bridge will logically follow from solving the Fetch Quest (i.e., the person who removes it will be the one you helped in the fetch quest), but many game designers aren't that devoted. Often the fetch quest is just a Solve the Soup Cans puzzle, and the broken bridge just happens to be solved independently while you're off retrieving the girl's necklace or whatever. Another logical solution is to use The Great Repair on a damaged transport.

If the heroes go off to fix the bridge, there may be villains to defeat or some plot twist revealed.

Tool used by designers to keep you on the One True Sequence. Event Flags are how they implement this. A poorly-designed broken bridge (from a mechanical standpoint) will often be the victim of clever gamers. Don't go crying if there's an Empty Room Psych on the other side though.

May overlap with Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence, if the characters should logically be able to bypass or remove the obstacle but can't because the plot says so. Border Patrol is a variant on the "impossibly strong enemy" idea mentioned above. In mythology, a similar concept is called Threshold Guardians and finally the Beef Gate for when the threshold in question can be overcome if your character(s) have become strong/skilled enough to overcome the aforementioned threshold.

While they both use monsters, Beef Gates are different in that a Beef Gate could be beaten by Level Grinding, skilled play, or exploits. If the monster is made of invincibility until the plot says otherwise, it's a broken bridge.

If something appears to be a broken bridge, but never actually lets you by at any point in the game, see Missing Secret. Ability Required to Proceed is a subtrope of Broken Bridge. In this case, gaining new powers serves as a way to "repair" the bridges and move forward in the game.

If a broken bridge or other obstacle prevents you from returning to earlier areas, it's a Point of No Return. Compare Inescapable Ambush.


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    Action-Adventure Games 
  • Blaster Master tends to have wide maps and supposedly be non-linear, but you still have to travel though the levels and beat bosses in an order because you don't have required equipment and upgrades for your tank that let allow you to traverse though levels freely.
  • Dungeon Siege II has several broken bridges (in some instances literal bridges) that either stay broken, forcing you to go the long way around, or send you on a quest to figure out how to repair the mechanism that extends them over the chasm.
  • Ecstatica starts with the player entering a village only connected by a bridge, and trying to head back will result in the bridge breaking, even though in the final cutscene the bridge is restored and perfectly usable with no explanation.
  • The Firemen has this in spades — most of the length in any given stage comes from trying to find your way around jammed or locked doors, or piles of rubble. Completely justified in this case since you are working your way through a burning chemical plant. Also lampshaded when the player character (the fire unit's chief) calls the architect out on the convoluted design, unreliable doors, and lack of fire safety measures.
  • In the first God of War, there's a drawbridge that works perfectly, but somebody on the other side refuses to lower it because he's afraid of all the monsters on Kratos' side. The solution? Go get Zeus' Lightning and kill him, which causes his corpse to conveniently fall on the lever that lowers the bridge.
  • In the Western GTA clone Gun, the main character is trapped in the initial town because the only bridge over the canyon was destroyed by Native Americans and he can't progress until he undertakes a mission to protect the bridge builders from further attacks.
  • Landstalker has the classic version of this, which you are informed of just as you leave the first town.
  • Legend of Kay features a very literal broken bridge: the items you have to go get in the Fetch Quest are precisely the items needed to extend the bridge.
  • The Legend of Zelda games are quite fond of this. You will very often find paths blocked by boulders, pits, etc., that usually require a specific dungeon treasure to get past.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: In the beginning, guards block all paths that don't lead to the castle until after you've rescued the princess.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has a couple of interesting subversions, such as a literal Broken Bridge that will not be fixed until after you figure out how to cross over it anyway, and an NPC who can be commissioned to do something for you that, when he tells you to wait a few days for it to be done, actually means it. No plot advancement necessary. Just wait a few days, really. And you can speed this up with your ocarina. That said, the game does have some classic broken bridge scenarios, such as King Zora being directly in the way of getting to the third Spiritual Stone dungeon until you bring him a note from his daughter that convinces him to move out of the way, Sheik standing directly in front of the Master Sword's pedestal to prevent you from returning to the past until after you've cleared one Temple, various Kokiri boxing you in during the beginning of the game until plot points are fulfilled, etc.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask:
      • The Groundhog Day Looping has a variation where a pass blocked by a rock would, if you waited for workers to clear it, only be opened after it was far too late. You had to show up with a huge bomb once you unlocked it and blast it open ahead of time.
      • You want to go the Swamp? Just dandy! Wanna go to the mountains? Well you have to shoot down an icicle with an arrow (found in the swamp) that breaks the ice blocking your path. You wanna to go the beach? Well you're going to need a horse (which can only be gotten by going to the mountains to get a big enough bomb to unclog the path) to jump over a fence. Wanna go to the canyon? Get ready to write this one down. You're gonna need to find the horse to hop over fences, then ditch the horse and use the hookshot to get past a cliffside, and then, here's the kicker, use ice arrows to freeze octoroks so you can cross the river. (Fortunately, as with OoT, when you reach a new area you can learn a warp song that flies you back as often as you want.)
      • At the beginning of the game you're stuck in Deku scrub form, so the guards bar you from leaving town because it's too dangerous outside the walls...until it's too late and they have bigger things to worry about. You can only pass by completing the first quest, retrieving your Ocarina of Time and escaping deku scrub form. However, even once you do this, the guards will continue to stop you from leaving town if you're in the wrong form.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games: While the games often allow minimal sequence-breaking in the form of collecting items in a dungeon, ignoring the boss, and moving on to the next dungeon, there are a few hard-wired Broken Bridges that stop this for no discernible reason. One of the most frustrating examples is an old man NPC in Oracle of Seasons who is supposed to give you a jewel used to access Tarm Ruins; for no adequately explained reason, he will refuse to speak to you if you have not collected a certain number of the game's otherwise useless MacGuffins, the Essences of Nature. This is in spite of the fact that Link's only goal in this game is to collect the Essences; there's no in-universe reason why he should need to collect them in a particular order, and there are no plot events that would be missed if the One True Sequence were broken.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess has at least three literal examples. In two cases, you even have to use the game's portal system to literally go get the bridge yourself.
      • You go all the way to the first dungeon near the beginning of the game, but its entrance is blocked with boulders. Sometime between the Ordon children in the woods plot and purging Faron of the twilight, the boulders get replaced with a web you can burn with your lantern.
      • In the first case, if you save and quit at the wrong time after the bridge is stolen, you will be reloaded on the wrong side of the bridge, making the game Unwinnable, as all other paths are blocked by indestructible barriers or other broken bridges at this point.
      • Another one happens in the Forest Temple, where Ook cuts down the central bridge with the Boomerang and you have to rescue the captive monkeys throughout the temple to cross.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap: Boulders, grass, and people block off all passages away from the path directly north to the castle. New areas can only be accessed once the player gets an item or skill that remove the obstacles.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass does this right at the beginning. As soon as you're told (and allowed) to go off to the east, the bridge crumbles from an earthquake. The two people you can talk to about it say "Oh, the bridge is broken? Well, the only safe thing to do is to wait for it to be repaired, don't even think of going up north..."
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Downplayed. When you first emerge on the Great Plateau at the very beginning of the game, you find that the cliffs are too steep for you to safely get down. You need to complete the four Shrines on the Plateau so that the Old Man will give you his Paraglider. But once you have gotten the runes from the Shrines and the Paraglider from the Old Man, there's nothing, besides your upgradable stamina and the occasional Beef Gate, keeping you from traveling to any place in Hyrule, including The Very Definitely Final Dungeon. You can make a beeline straight for the Final Boss with nothing but your underwear, three hearts, and swinging whatever weapons you scrounged upon the way... and it's actually possible to win.
  • LEGO City Undercover has not one, but two bridges that you can't pass until you complete the "Kung-Foolery" mission — the first is being repaired, and the second has someone refusing to move their boat from beneath the bridge.
  • Ōkami: Used a couple of times, most directly in the form of 'curse zones', which (if stumbled into) turn the background rather trippy, and slowly chip off Amaterasu's health (unless escaped from, or her 'health-bubble' runs out). There are also a couple of literal broken bridges, some of which you immediately fix.
    • One interesting example is the broken staircase that leads to Orochi's lair. Amaterasu must travel through a set of caves as an alternate way to reach Orochi. The interesting part is that, much later on, Amaterasu winds up traveling back in time to before the staircase was destroyed and uses it to confront Orochi again, this time without getting sidetracked.
    • Also, there is the held-up bridge at the City Checkpoint and the closed bridge in between the Commoners and Aristocratic Quarters. Funnily enough, they were invented by the same person.
  • The Simpsons: Hit & Run inverts this trope by having the bridge blocked off at the end of the game. The final level takes place in the same area as levels 1 and 4 but part of the circuit is blocked off, leaving a direct route that most of the missions focus on going from one end to the other (and sometimes back again). The signs at the blockade indicate that the in-world reasoning is due to the current crisis.
  • Villages in StarTropics will typically feature somebody guarding the exit so that you can't leave until some requirement is met. In the first village on C-Island, for example, the guard prevents you from entering the cave until you speak to everybody in town (even the ones who have nothing helpful to say), after which he suddenly recognizes you and allows you through.
  • Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace has a literal one: In the fourth level, Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Jar Jar are only a bridge away from Theed Palace. It promptly gets blown by a Trade Federation Tank, and Obi-Wan is forced to find a way around through the Theed Gardens, where the droids are landing. The following level has this as well, when Obi-Wan and Amidala are immediately separated from the others and are forced to take a longer route to the hanger.
    • Fridge Logic kicks in when you realize that Padmé was already through and the "Queen" that Obi-Wan is protecting was the decoy.
  • Titan Quest fairly early on has a literal bridge that would make it possible to cross a river from the first major geographical area in the game world (Greece) into another one that you go to later... if it wasn't broken. The bridge even has some workmen pretending to be hard at work to rebuilt it whenever you talk to them.
    • As for why the bridge is broken, the bridge workers claim it was destroyed by a Cyclops — who turns out to be Polyphemus and is just ahead in the next area.
  • Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion: Parodied in one section of the game, where you're unable to progress past an NPC's "specifically placed box collection", and they assure you "They're totally not here to keep you in the level or anything, that would be wackyyyyyy!"

    Adventure Games 
  • The Ace Attorney games use this in abundance during the investigation sequences. Advancing the story is typically a result of speaking with the right people. However, to ensure the game never becomes unwinnable, people tend not to appear until the player has obtained all the necessary evidence. Perhaps the most notable example is your client at the detention center, who will always initially be "away in questioning." Once you talk with the right people and gather the requisite information and evidence, however, he's finished and ready to let loose The Reveal. What a coincidence. In one case, there actually is a broken bridge that can't be crossed until the player does other things before it is fixed.
    • In Escape from Monkey Island, Guybrush is framed for a crime and stuck on Lucre Island because they give him a cursed Voodoo anklet. It would become very uncomfortable if he tried to leave.
  • One in Fantasy Quest takes the form of a literally broken bridge, which you eventually fix with a bow, hammer and nails.
  • In The Game of the Ages, a wide desert keeps you from progressing until the plot sees fit to offer you a horse and a map.
  • King's Quest I has a bridge guarded by a troll, and to cross you must find a billy goat, just like in the fairy tale. Another area is cordoned off by uncrossable water, and you have to hitch a ride from a condor to reach it.
    • King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder! has possibly the most aggravating example in the series: a single POOOOIsonous snake blocking the road to the mountains. Graham could easily just walk around it, but instead the player has to spend about half the game exploring elsewhere until he eventually comes across an item to get rid of the snake: a tambourine.
  • The tornado in LOOM, which you can easily cross when you get the right spell.
  • In the first installment of The Legend of Kyrandia there are several broken bridges that stop you getting to the next area until you have completed a specific thing, ranging from an actual broken bridge that is repaired by an NPC to a frozen cave mouth and several bottomless pits.
  • In Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, You can't leave Scabb Island until you run Largo LaGrande off the island.
  • Through much of Night in the Woods, parts of Mae's hometown are blocked off by construction workers.
  • Peasant's Quest has a guard blocking the way, which requires certain conditions before he lets you up to fight the final boss (basically, three quarters of the game is to prove to this guy that you're a for-real peasant).
  • In Rhiannon: Curse of the Four Branches, there are a lot of these sorts of obstacles that limit where you can go. Some can be circumvented by the player directly; others (a locked gate, a fallen tree) are resolved automatically once you progress far enough in the game (a key delivered, distant chainsaw-sounds of road crews at work).

    Driving Games 
  • If you progress too fast in the World Tour of Forza Motorsport 4, you may come across a message telling you that you have no legal cars for the next event. It won’t tell you what cars you need, or any information other than to continue earning XP. Somewhat justified, in that the reward cars for levelling up will generally satisfy the upcoming requirements. But if you don’t go to the event list and clear some unrelated events, you’re stuck.
  • Certain games in the Need for Speed series:
    • Need for Speed: Underground 2, Most Wanted 2005, and Carbon do it by blatantly plopping a "holo-barrier" with glowing padlocks in the roads that connect the boroughs.note  Once you clear one of the campaign tiers, you get a message that simply says the next borough is open. Sort of makes sense, since the game also uses holo-barriers to define the corners at road intersections. The 2012 Most Wanted doesn't have this, unless you did not buy the Terminal Velocity Pack DLC (which contains the Hughes International Airport area), in which case it will be blocked by a holo-barrier and a prompt telling you to press a button to buy the DLC will appear on the screen if you get near it.
    • Ironically, a broken bridge at the end of Most Wanted 2005 is what allows you to escape the police at the game's final climax as you jump over it. Even so, the road with the broken bridge (the only one leading out of the city) has its own figurative broken bridge: being blocked off by boulders until you get a call about the bridge three minutes into the final chase.
    • Need for Speed: Undercover has no limitations on where you can go, allowing access to all four "boroughs" from the beginning of the game. However, since you're trying to infiltrate specific criminal organizations, races and missions are restricted to that gang's borough until you've "cleaned up" and moved on. During races, there are a number of inexplicable road dividers painting the race pathway, and casually blocking off roads for illegal street races.
  • Zigzagged in SnowRunner. There are several roads blocked by rock slides, fallen bridges, and blocked tunnels. However, only two of these can't be circumnavigated (the bridge between the town and garage in Black River and the tunnels between the Drowned Lands and Quarry maps in Taymyr). Circumnavigating the other ones usually requires driving on an almost impassible dirt road (especially for larger trucks), so repairing the bridges makes the route easier rather than possible. Also justified in that the reason the bridges get repaired is that you're the one delivering the materials to repair them.

    Edutainment Games 
  • All over most of The ClueFinders games. Especially when you consider that it's good material for Alphabet Soup Cans.
    • In 3rd grade, you have to complete a bridge to get across a slime river, then the final activity is a bridge-building activity similar to Dominoes where the words have to have something in common with the word they are touching. (Such as synonyms or antonyms, etc)
    • In 4th grade, the player has to spell words to form a catwalk.
    • The Dominoes-esque games and Spelling Catwalks is re-used in 5th grade, along with a hanging lampshade:
    Owen: "Why is it that wherever we go, we always find large pits to cross?
    • 6th grade features building a bridge by putting plants with dates in the correct order.
    • Search & Solve: Later in the game, the player has to build bridges out of Tantrix tiles to form a line of one colour from one end to the next.
    • The Incredible Toy Store Adventure: One has to decode words on toy crocodiles so they could form a bridge.
  • Most of the castle in Slime Forest Adventure is blocked off by having unimportant NPCs in the way. Sometimes justified, as the NPC will be a guard who will flat-out tell you that this section of the castle is off limits. Other times, not so much, as the NPC will just be a "confused old man" who can't remember where he's going, so he just stands there, in your way.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Borderlands 1: These take two forms. First, there are the area transition stages, which usually don't work until a quest unlocks them. Most of these have a Claptrap next to them who tell you that "your DNA Sequence has not been cleared for this area." In Rust Commons East, however, there are a pair of literally broken bridges (well, raised bridges, anyway) which can't be lowered until you've finished a certain part of the main quest.
  • The Call of Duty series has these in spades, as the player can't open doors and must wait for a superior officer to open them for him. It also features other variations such as minefields and 'pockets of radiation' keeping you on the Plotted Line. However, the conclusion of Call of Duty 4 takes this to a ridiculous extreme. It's set aboard an airplane in mid-flight, and the level starts by the strike team using a cutting torch to cut a piece of the roof of the lower floor so they can drop in from above. The team then progresses across the entire plane, up the back stairs to the second level, and moves back across the plane to where the hostage is being held. It's not enough that there is a staircase leading directly here blocked by a couple of suitcases, but as it turns out, the end room of the level is directly above the start of the level. Thus, the strike team started the level in the hostage's room and cut a hole to the lower floor of the plane, just to work their way back to where they started.
    • Sometimes, the plot creates broken bridges such as doors locking behind you, forcing you into a more dangerous alternate path.
  • Clive Barker's Undying: Sure'n you'll be hearing Patrick's Oirish brogue declaring a door to be "Stuck!" or "Won't budge!" an awful lot, boyo.
  • Doom³ is pretty much a series of broken bridges strung together into a storyline. As well as actual bridges there are security doors needing high level access codes, transport machines that need to be activated, malfunctioning machines that need to be deactivated and plot coupons that must be collected. In all cases the thing you need is some distance away, through the hordes of zombies, imps and assorted other nasties and just over there — yes behind the large salivating creature with the mean look on its face.
  • In the Exeunt Omnes level of FEAR a pair of Bouncing Betty landmines blocks your path. Shooting them will only take out the fuse box and block the way again with electrical discharges, so you have use a nearby Air-Vent Passageway instead and deactivate the electricity from the other side. At other times, your immediate path is blocked by security shutters, immovable furniture, insurmountable fences, jammed doors, etc.
  • Half-Life 2: Episode Two: Several examples. In the beginning, Gordon and Alyx stop in a communications shack to try to contact the headquarters of the resistance, and in the back of the shack is a "locked" door that cannot be opened for any reason, which, after the communications have taken place, mysteriously swings open on its own.

    Episode Two also features a literal broken bridge, near the end of "Freeman Pontifex"; it's not otherwise an example of the trope, though, since the bridge's only relevance to the plot is that the player has to retrieve a car from the other side of it and jump (in the car) back.
  • Halo Infinite: The space in the open world which can be freely explored gradually expands as you complete story missions. It is possible to get to other areas early with some trickery, but otherwise, the four main landmasses in this game are disconnected, with bridges extending to connect them either once you're reached them in-story, or via a switch if you've crossed the gap.
  • One level from about halfway through Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy involves the protagonist heading to Coruscant to talk to a guy who's accused of selling black-market assassin droids. The level starts with him blowing up the bridge between the landing pad you start at and his office; almost the entirety of the level is running alongside other buildings and pathways to try and get around the destroyed bit.
  • Medal of Honor: Frontline: In Eye of the Storm, the last truck you have to destroy doesn't appear until you acquire the delivery schedule. Destroying it collapses part of the scenery, creating a bridge to the next level. In Yard By Yard, you have to clear each checkpoint for the medical truck before the door to the next part of the level unlocks. In Derailed, the door to the last area and exit is locked until you blow up the fuel depot, at which point it magically opens. Allied Assault also has a few locked doors that are opened in scripted events, either by enemies or allies. In one level, your path is blocked by an impassable window until an enemy tank blows up the wall. The tank level has a number of literal broken bridges to railroad you.
  • Quake II: Due to the nature of the game, progression is locked in different ways that the player must circumvent: broken bridges, invisible walls, key-locked doors, permanently-locked doors that must be circumvented or destroyed by completing objectives, deadly laser walls, forcefields, forcefield-protected doors, you name it...
  • Subverted in the mecha-anime-based FPS Shogo: Mobile Armor Division . At one point in the game, you need to get through a gate, and the old lady who lives in the control building stands in front of the open-lever, refusing to let you pull it until you've found her missing cat. You can solve the problem by finding her cat, yes... or you can shoot her in the head (and her enraged husband, who is no more dangerous), then pull the lever yourself. There are no story penalties for doing this, and indeed the game makes no further mention of your heinous crime at all.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky featured a literal broken bridge. Not much of an obstacle in an open-world FPS game, right? Wrong. The player character went beyond Super Drowning Skills and even touching the water with the tip of your toe meant instant death. You needed to find a guide that would lead you around it.

  • City of Heroes has security gates throughout Paragon City that formerly kept characters out of hazard zones if they weren't high enough level. With the Issue 16 changes to the sidekick system, most now allow characters of any level through. Ironically, the only one that still works looks like it shouldn't: the shattered, unmanned gate that leads to The Hive, home of the Hamidon.
  • Final Fantasy XI is pretty bad about these. Most often show up in the form of a cliff that can't be climbed up but can easily be jumped down in order to force 1-way access to "secret areas" in zones. To access these areas the player must take very long out-of-the way routes through other (usually dangerous high level, and often require passing doors that need multiple people to open) zones. One has to wonder why no one has bothered to build a ramp or ladder in the literally thousands of tracked in-game years that have passed.
  • Final Fantasy XIV is more forgiving with its broken bridges. At the beginning of the game, players start out in one of three regions: Thanalan, the Black Shroud, or La Noscea. For all intents and purposes, players are locked into their starting region until they are given clearance by the local government to travel by airship to the other regions by progressing the story. In theory, it is possible to travel between Thanalan and the Black Shroud by foot, but that entails moving through high level areas that you may not survive should you draw a monster's aggro. La Noscea, on the other hand, is an island nation, and you won't be able to swim to the other regions. Beyond these regions, other areas are locked out by story progression and whether you have the expansion needed to enter newer areas such as Ishgard or Othard.
  • Occurs a few times in Gaia Online. For example, the entrance to the The Very Definitely Final Dungeon is sealed off for most of the game because It's a whirlpool, and you'd drown without the Water-breathing blessing you get from the ruins. Most broken bridges can be avoided by crewing with a player who already has completed the requirements to pass it.
  • Guild Wars has a lot of these in the factions and Nightfall campaign. Factions uses doors to stop people entering mission outposts before they have completed the primary quest leading to that outpost. Nightfall will block players from entering regions ahead of their point in the story. Both games also use doors during missions, to keep the mission area smaller than the explorable area it takes place in.
    • These techniques were not used in the original campaign, leading to a thriving economy of high level players getting payed by low level players for their Sequence Breaking services, such as the Droknar run which made use of a long, dangerous path which nevertheless led straight from a low level to a high level area with no story missions in the way.
  • In the browser-based MMORPG Travians, the hero is forever running on paths, a game mechanic that probably makes the game much easier to program (since you don't have to deal with as many possible path-finding options). However, this gets really irritating when you get to the Broken Bridges, since they're a broken cart in the middle of the path and a stick in the middle of the path... and it's obvious that the hero could just step sideways onto the grass and waltz around them. Or take the shortcut from the top of the screen to the bottom across the grassy field, avoiding the path entirely. But the game won't let you.
  • Wakfu has four nations, and you're meant to do the bulk of your early adventuring in the nation you first immigrate to; you're given a passport that only allows you into your own country (having in this respect somewhat reduced functionality compared to real passports), while the other three are closed to you once you've made a choice. There are routes from within your own nation to take you to the other three, but they're cannons that shoot you there, and you need to make the gunpowder yourself (which will take extensive adventuring to find ingredients, and a certain amount of level grinding to level up the proper skills high enough).
  • World of Warcraft:
    • The Stonewrought Pass barred off Searing Gorge from the much lower-level Loch Modan. Unusually, the quest for the key required you to enter the zone by another path (a long roundabout path through Badlands or Burning Steppes, or picking the lock, or having another player open it) and kill a specific monster there. It was a great timesaver in the early game, but became of little relevance once Searing Gorge had its own flightpoint.
      • The gate is now kept open, but the same NPC who (grudgingly) granted you the key still guards the pass and pretends she can stop players from passing. Old habits die hard.
    • Areas that exist in canon but are not used in-game are often given a long-term version of this. The path from Eastern Plaguelands to Quel'Thalas was completely blocked off by boulders before Quel'Thalas was created in the Burning Crusade. A similar situation existed with the Greymane Wall barring Gilneas which opened in the Cataclysm expansion. Most of these were accessible if players were creative enough, there just wasn't anything to do there.
    • Several dungeons are full of these. Grim Batol, for example, has at least four. While it sounds annoying, it's actually a very effective way to keep the dungeon linear and simple, allowing story events to play out as needed and stopping the group from dispersing and getting lost (a common problem in early dungeons, especially Blackrock Depths).
    • Kologarn in Ulduar stands in a chasm, blocking the way from the first part of the dungeon to the second. Ironically, once he is broken, he becomes the bridge. In a similar vein, the Firelands has a magic drawbridge leading to Ragnaros. The player has to kill a boss to make the lever clickable, the lever then makes the bridge appear. The Throne of Four Winds had a similar mechanic, where the player had to defeat all the minor bosses in order to get to the major boss's floating platform. Icecrown citadel also had teleporters that functioned as this: so that players had to kill the bosses in the canonical order at least the first time around. Afterwards it functioned as a way for players to conveniently farm loot from specific bosses, without having to do the entire raid.
    • that being said, for some reason the entire continent of Kalimdor has zero of these until the Uldum region (blocked off by a wall until level 85). This was a bit of a problem before the recent level-scaling change, because low-level players could easily get to high level zones without realizing what they were doing. Nowadays,the monsters scale to the player so it's not a big deal.

  • In Fancy Pants Adventure: World 3, the NPC variation of this trope appears in Pirate Cove. A number of enemies decide to make a pyramid to block your progress, as during that part of the game, you can only defeat enemies with Goomba Stomping or a running slide, neither of which will fetter the pyramid. Instead, you have to search underwater for a pencil, used as a sword to knock the enemies down.
  • In Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, there's an island you need to get to from your hometown. There's a boat there, but you can't use it unless you talk to the right NPC after completing a mission involving him in the nearby jungle. You can try to swim, whereupon a fish eats you. There's a segment on the island set over a lagoon, and the only way around the lagoon is on your hover-bike. You can swim it too, but guess what happens then?
    • Then, you run-jump like the hounds of hell are nipping at your heels and don't screw up. You can actually get around doing that, if you're fast enough. (Hint, you get three steps before you fall in and get eaten)
    • The series was rife with these. Fixing them in The Precursor Legacy was Keira's job and the main reason for hunting power cells. Renegade had invulnerable security walls around Haven City that you had to get the right clearance to go through; hilariously, they were just as broken for the Krimzon Guard, meaning that you could set off an alarm and watch as the KG jetbike slammed into it and exploded. Wasterlander had an array of interesting gadgets and super powers that you needed to get before you could enter certain areas.
  • La-Mulana:
    • The Feather which gives you a Double Jump, is resting on the Surface in plain sight. What blocks the path to it is a blue giant named Algol, invulnerable until you've obtained a specific item buried deep within the ruins.
    • Even straighter examples are the Endless Key, Pochette Key, Dragon Bone, and Crystal Skull. Unlike most other items, these give you no new abilities; their only purpose is to remove several Broken Bridges scattered across the game world.
    • A more literal example is a room in Hell Temple which is impassable until you figure out how to make a bridge appear. Of course, right in the middle of the bridge is a Fake Platform to fall through.
  • The Metroid games are usually pretty flexible, but now and then a Broken Bridge creeps in:
    • Metroid: The entrance to Tourian is cut off by a very high ledge with a hole that only the Morph Ball can squeeze through, with an acid pit below it. Normally, you have to kill Kraid and Ridley to activate their statues near the entrance, which will create a bridge across when you shoot them. A very skilled player can get across by using luring an enemy into the room, freezing it with the Ice Beam and Morph Ball Bomb jumping off of it.
    • Metroid II: Return of Samus has a hazardous liquid that rapidly depletes your health and can only be drained by killing all the Metroids in an area. One section of liquid near the end of the game even has a set of spikes added to the end of the tunnel to prevent a Dungeon Bypass. Metroid: Samus Returns introduces the Hand Wave that the Chozo built several shrines that control the liquid in order to contain the Metroids underground; Samus must bring a certain number of Metroid DNA samples to the shrines to activate the draining.
    • In Metroid: Zero Mission, if you try to explore Norfair without collecting the Power Grip, you find an invincible biological wall. The only way to destroy these things (as you had to figure out earlier) is to grab some bugs and make them eat it. There are no bugs around, so you have to go get the Power Grip instead — and when you come back, the wall is gone.
    • After Metroid Prime was utterly violated in its first release, Retro made some changes for future versions. Most of these were just bug fixes, but one was a blatant cheat. The Player's Choice version prevents you from getting the Plasma Beam before the Grapple Beam... by magically locking the necessary door. There's no message explaining the lock, but if you see it, you know what you were trying to do. Go get Grapple, you damn outlaw.
    • The Metroid Prime games can actually be pretty bad in this department. There's a lot of materials that can inconveniently only be broken by one certain weapon. There's always free side quests, but the main plot uses a lot of these.
    • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes has two examples that occur in in the same general area (Sky Temple Grounds). If you go to the Plain of Dark Worship before you obtain the Dark Suit, you'll discover that the seemingly unguarded Missile Expansion in the tower of Ingworms is actually 'guarded' by a huge cluster of Ingclaws. Ingclaws don't actually attack, but without the Dark Suit, the vapor that Ingclaws produce tears through your health at a frightening rate. This one is optional, and players might obtain the Missile Expansion later and not realize the hazard. Later in the game, the Ing Reliquary is completely covered in an Ingstorm that has a similar effect, and requires the Light Suit to safely pass through. Unlike the previous example, this one stands between Samus and one of the Sky Temple Keys and is not optional.
  • Psychonauts has a literal broken bridge before the first level. In order to prevent you from wandering around camp before you even enter the first level, the bridge that connects the rest of camp with the kid's cabins area is broken, and Ford will always be "fixing it" until you happen to complete Basic Braining. There's also the lake — you need to get to one of the docks out in the water for one of the levels, but since Raz can't swim, you need to find an Oarsman's Badge in order to use a boat...

    Another Broken Bridge is inside Waterloo World. You have to get a carpenter to fix it before moving your pieces across.
    • Though it should be said that the player can cross the rivers just fine. It's just that the level doubles as a board game, so only the pieces aren't allowed to cross them.
  • Ratchet & Clank has a ton of these, especially in first two games, and the most of gadgets serve no other purpose that to get around them. Getting an item required to get past one Broken Bridge frequently required others; for example in first game, to get O2 mask to explore a planet with deadly atmosphere you need to finish a jet fighter mission, which requires a Pilot Helmet, which is located on a planet the coordinates of which are accessible only with a Grind Boots.
  • In Sonic Adventure, the game prevents you from not only sequence breaking, but also playing stages out of order. One instance is when the Egg Carrier shoots down the Tornado I. Sonic ends up back in Station Square and Tails in the Mystic Ruins. Easiest thing to do is hop back on the train and go to the other locations, right? Wrong. At that point, you find out a strike is going on, conveniently preventing the two heroes from reuniting. Thus, Sonic has to deal with Amy Rose and ZERO while Tails goes to find a Chaos Emerald to power his newest plane.
  • Moneybags in the Spyro the Dragon series. Throughout Ripto's Rage, you must pay him in order to access some bridges, portals, etc. It's the same way in Year of the Dragon, except that he goes a step further and charges you to access the other playable characters. At the end of Year of the Dragon you get a chance to get revenge and retrieve all the money he extorted from you. He only appears once in Enter the Dragonfly, and in A Hero's Tail he does not directly block you from going places, but operates a chain of item shops where you get supplies. Given the humor style of the Insomniac trilogy, this does get lampshaded during the second game.
    "I've found that the elevator business is one of my most profitable... behind bridges of course."
  • Tomba! 2 has a giant ice pig early on Kujara Ranch. It guards the entrance to Kujara summit, and he cannot be destroyed by any means... Unless you use the Fire Hammer on it.
  • In Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, some levels change wherever a particular level is beaten; for example, the tide rises in Rice Beach replacing quicksand with water pools and revealing the first Treasure; defeating a certain miniboss in Teapot Mountain causes the floating "teapot lid" island to crash down into the mountain.

    Puzzle Games 
  • God of Thunder features a literal Broken Bridge, so you must track down a bridge repairman. It quickly turns into a Chain of Deals.
  • In the first dream world of Obsidian, the chief of an office building you're in extends a bridge to his office for a meeting. It crashes into an Atlas statue midway and remain stuck, upon which said chief tells you to fix it by going through the proper channels. With the place being filled to the brim with unhelpful bureaucrats and miles of red tape, and having to literally climb the walls to get around, the way to fix the bridge is impossible to do legally, and you instead have to ally yourself with a group of rebels to find a way to get to the bridge, by scaling the Bureau's Atlas statue.
  • In Portal 2, trying to explore areas that are not where the game is trying to railroad you into, often leads into discovering instant death triggers and invisible walls. Sometimes blatantly annoying, as the jump to the platform that kills you instantly for no reason at all might be shorter than some jumps you perform regularly while performing tests.
  • In Riven, there is a raised drawbridge you encounter early on with an apparent trigger button on the near side... which doesn't work until you figure out a way to turn on the steam power to the island, and by then you've managed to get to the other side by another path.
    • A recurring theme in the Myst series, in fact; the only way to fix a broken bridge is by circumventing it, and the only reason to fix a broken bridge is that you're going to be backtracking once or twice and it's nice to have a shortcut.
  • Silvertale has a literal broken bridge which, just like every other obstacle, requires finding the necessary materials by playing match-3 levels.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • In Age of Empires II the first mission of the Joan of Arc campaign leaves you separated from your destination by a conveniently broken bridge, requiring a ridiculously long slog with a ludicrously tiny army.
  • B.C. Kings starts the game with a broken bridge, to justify a tutorial of heading to a different map and collecting resources. Once the bridge is repaired, you get to head north, build your main base, then crush the enemy.
  • In the first Soviet mission in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, you're in the midst of invading Washington D.C. when you come across a broken bridge. To get across, you need to train an Engineer to repair it. All in all, this broken bridge takes no more than a minute of your time to cross and isn't that big an obstacle, but it does teach the player the crucial gameplay mechanic of using engineers to repair structures and bridges.
  • In Company of Heroes, several skirmish maps feature literal destroyed bridges, which can be renovated by engineers, sappers and pioneers. This process is somewhat lengthy and potentially expensive, but oftentimes the strategical advantages gained by this process can grant the player a more direct route to victory, so it's essential to start work on one side of the bridge before the enemy.
    • In the US campaign, however, there is a broken bridge in the truest sense of the trope, which gets blown up (alongside your supposed recon) in the opening cutscene by a remote-controlled Goliath, and forces you to make a large u-movement over another river crossing.
  • In the second tutorial mission of Warcraft III, a Broken Bridge separates the player's orc base and the human village. The humans always finish repairing the bridge immediately after the player completes the first main quest.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • In Albion, a guard is blocking the entrance to the office of the local mining town's leader, only saying You shall not pass! You won't get pass him until you need to speak to the leader directly.
  • Anachronox: "Someone's on fire just around the corner. This area's closed off until he puts himself out."
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura uses this (sort of) to get past the first town you visit. To cross rivers while walking on the world map, you generally have to use bridges marked on the map. The first town is in a triangle enclosed by two merging rivers and a mountain range. The only bridge is blocked by a group of thugs demanding a toll; you have to pay, fight (hard) or talk (also hard) your way past them to continue on.
  • Avencast: Rise of the Mage has a particularly immersion-breaking example: Once the player character finds the Plot Coupon potion necessary to defeat the Big Bad, he can't go farther into the level without picking it up. If the player tries, the door forward locks itself and pops up a reminder to add the potion to the character's inventory.
  • Ahriman's Prophecy: Problem: the bridge isn't actually broken. There's someone standing on it, but you can just walk around them. The person disappears after you rescue the princess anyway, thus proving it isn't intentional.
  • Baldur's Gate: The bridge into the eponymous city will only open once you've done some other quests.
  • BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm has these pretty much everywhere:
    • First, you’re stuck in Reddit until you’ve found the missing ship captain, and you can’t reach the dungeon where he is until you’ve found the rest of his crew.
    • The bridge out of DeviantART is blocked by barrels until you’ve fixed the local river crisis.
    • When you first visit Wikipedia, the east exit is blocked by a crime scene and a crowd of bystanders.
    • The fourth chapter’s boss is blasted into the sky and ends up crashing through a bridge in the next area. Luckily you don’t need to go that way yet, and the bridge is “fixed” by the time you do. (Actually they just lay a plank of wood across the gap -– good enough).
    • The Hype Train’s ticket booth has a huge line that doesn’t clear up until the plot says it’s time for you to ride the train.
    • You can’t climb The Spire until one of the locals agrees to escort you, because it’s a sacred tower and off-limits to strangers.
    • Lastly, there’s a pair of towns that can’t be visited until the epilogue, with guards in place to keep you from getting into either of them beforehand.
  • Brave Hero Yuusha: A whirlpool prevents entrance into the northern ice area with the Whale.
  • Bravely Default:
    • The intrepid heroes steal an airship quite early on... but it can only land in water, and there's just one inland sea that hasn't been turned into a festering corrosive, so you have to go there first. And then an enemy comes aboard to break the flying part, so they're stuck sailing around that area until they fix the Water Crystal and can traverse the ocean without ruining their ride.
    • There are several caves which you can bring your party to, only for them to refuse to enter because they don't see the point — i.e., it's not important to the plot yet.
  • Chrono Trigger: there is a literal Broken Bridge that is repaired as soon as you've progressed enough.
    • ...Though the soldiers still block your way until you make a brief sidetrip to the castle.
    • There is also an example of a Broken Bridge mechanic in the opening scenes with Marle, when you stop for candy, Marle will constantly stop if you try and run away. If you do, this is used against you later in your kidnapping trial.
    • And yet again with the Haunted Castle near the end-game. It's in disrepair, so you have to get a group of guys to repair the holes in the floor. You have to repeat this several times because of the monsters that must be killed for them to progress.
    • The Lost Sanctum in the DS version contains a literal broken bridge in 600 A.D. that will only be completed once the Reptite Village in 65,000,000 B.C. is saved from the Archeofangs.
  • Justified in Dark Chronicle — you couldn't go around all the hazards because you can't get a train around boulders or broken bridges.
  • In Dark Cloud 2:
    • There is a drawbridge in the middle of Palm Brinks. It remains raised all during Chapter 1, blocking you from the other half of the town. However, in Chapter 2 it is lowered, and it is never raised again for any reason.
    • Furthermore, the train tracks just past the stations in Chapters 2, 3, and 4 are either blocked by boulders or broken, preventing the train from going to the next Chapter's area. The train's crew works on repairing the track while you explore the dungeon, rebuild the future, and defeat the boss. Coincidentally, they finish fixing the track right after you do everything that needs to be done in that area.
  • Dark Souls II: While most of the game favours the Beef Gate approach — even the pit into the Grave of Saints and the Gutter is useable without finding Laddersmith Gilligan if you have enough HP and the Silvercat Ring — the Shaded Woods contains two: the entrance is sealed by the petrified form of Rosabeth of Melfia, and the Shrine of Winter within it will only open if you gain the four Great Souls or have a soul memory of 1,000,000+.
  • One of the quests in Darkstone involves a literal broken bridge. It becomes necessary for the resolution of the quest for your character to reach Bartaman's Island, which is accessed only by a small broken bridge. There's a man wandering around with an axe who is willing to work in exchange for food. You have to steal a fish out of a fisherman's basket and give it to the man, who will then repair the bridge for you.
  • Destiny Of An Emperor somewhat lampshades this. In the town of Bo Hai, half of the town is initially blocked off from the party by a woman who is standing in the path and pining for a man named Xu Zhe. When you recruit him and bring him to her, she'll snap out of her funk, and will suddenly realize that she is blocking the only path through town (apparently for the first time!) Then she'll apologize and allow you to pass. (Amusingly enough, if you leave the town afterward and come back in again, there she is, pining, until you bring Xu Zhe to her again. Short memory?). You also can't get to Xu Zhe at first because he's behind a cave-in which requires gunpowder to clear.
    • Dong Zhou blocks your path out of the first area until you defeat the Yellow Scarves.
    • Zhao Yun blocks your path into Guang Zong until you have defeated the other fortresses and rescued his sister.
    • Between Jian An and Hui Ji the enemy has built a canal which must be filled before you can progress.
    • An old man blocks the bridge into Shu. If you talk to him before defeating Ji Zhou and recruiting Zhu Ge Liang (whose house can be visited early but he won't be there till you conquer all of Zhou, half of Jing Zhou, and return to the village the game started at) he won't let you through.
  • Digimon:
    • Digimon World has an actual broken bridge blocking off access to the eastern part of File Island, which can only be fixed after the player finds Coelamon, at which point Jijimon says the inhabitants of File City got around to fixing it. The west has a pile of boulders from an avalanche, which only clear away once Meramon's dealt with.
    • Played for laughs and only explained after it's opened in Digimon World DS. Almost all of the Digital World can be reached through a warp in front of the main building of the Hub Level. The only exception requires the player to pass through the Chaotic Gate, which is the inconspicuous piece of floor a plot-important NPC was standing on which you're unlikely to have realised by this point was a warp.
    • A less amusing variant is from Digimon World 3. The bridge to Amaterasu City is guarded by a squad of Knightmon which can't be beaten by any attack unless you show them the relevant passes.
    • Dawn and Dusk use these in the form of walls of data, used to prevent you going too far off the main path if the mission only requires you to explore part of a zone, or to make sure you don't gain access to parts of the game you shouldn't be able to access yet when using the warps.
      • Though, even after you completely beat the game several data walls will remain in the Data Zone. That's propably because it would connect all the areas and turn it into a gargantuan maze.
      • There is also a Starmon in the Coliseum that blocks the way to a teleporter, saying that it's forbidden to unauthorized person. You actually never get the permission to use it, and Starmon will not let you pass even after completely beating the game.
    • Digimon World -next 0rder-: The way to the Ohguino Wastelands is blocked off by... a massive pile of sand, which GrapLeomon needs to remove, which requires a small Fetch Quest to accomplish. Apparently the player cannot just climb over it, or have their partner carry them.
      • The bridges in Faulty Ex Machina aren't working properly, requiring going the long way around (i.e., across the other side of the map) to get to the control center.
  • Lampshaded in Dink Smallwood mod Crowns of Stone.
    Dink: I don't think I've ever seen a bridge that isn't broken.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, there's a literal broken bridge in the Deep Roads that never gets fixed because it's possible to just go around it. There are also several paths that are blocked by fences, barriers, rubble, locked doors, and NPCs with arbitrary reasons, until some sort of advancement in the plot. Most of the reasons make at least some sense, such as "you must obtain permission/a key to come here". Some, however, are completely ridiculous. During the first Denerim plot it is impossible to enter the Alienage because a riot is being put down. The same guard who stops you the first time will then cheerfully let you through during the second Denerim plot, even though this time round there is an outbreak of plague and the king is secretly selling its citizens as slaves.
    • The third game, Dragon Age: Inquisition, also has plenty of literal broken bridges. You need to return to the War Table and spend Power to have your engineers repair them to proceed to the other side. In addition, all main story missions are also blocked behind having to pay Power to access them, acquired from closing Fade Rifts and completing side quests.
  • Dragon Quest series
    • Lampshaded in Dragon Quest IV, in which a sign reads "The bridge is here for everyone's enjoyment. Please don't destroy it."
    • In Dragon Quest VI, you cannot enter Turnscote before completing Mt.Snowhere because a man stops you at the entrance. Luckily, he pretty much tells you where to go.
    • In a weird and inventive version of this trope, Dragon Quest VII had a broken bridge that would be fixed "tomorrow". Of course, the world is stuck in a "Groundhog Day" Loop, so "tomorrow" doesn't come until you fix that little problem.
    • An irksome string of these starts in Dragon Quest VIII when you find a magic ship. It's stuck on the shoreline, and you have to go to the Trodain Castle to find out more about it. This far into the game, you might have forgotten that the bridge to the east of the castle is gone, so you must keep going past where you found the magic ship. Obviously, information on the magic ship would be in the library, but when you arrive at the castle courtyard, the front entrance of the library is blocked by impassable vines, and the side door is locked from the inside, so you have to use one of the other entrances (potentially missing the chest with a map of the castle) and find the library that way. When you find the book regarding the magic ship, a door to the Moonshadow World opens, which you can enter to ask the soon-to-be-irrelevant NPC Ishmahri for help. He attempts to cast a spell with his harp, but it breaks. You now have to find the Moonshadow Harp for him, which another previous NPC will tell you is in Ascantha. When you get there, King Pavan shows you to the vault where the harp should be, but it's been ransacked. You then need to go through the tunnel in the wall, which leads to a peninsula with the entrance to the next dungeon, a mole tunnel. Here you have to defeat Don Mole to reclaim the Moonshadow Harp, which Ishmahri will then use to carry the magic ship onto the water, finally enabling you to use it.
    • Also in Dragon Quest VIII, your route back to Trodain is blocked by a LITERAL broken bridge. The real irony is that one of your party members is the one who destroyed it.
    • In Dragon Quest XI many are featured in the game from landslides to the traditional broken bridges. Though most are there to prevent you from reaching certain areas too early. After Yggdrasil falls most of these paths are opened to allow you to reach areas that are otherwise inaccessible without a boat.
  • Ecco the Dolphin has barrier glyphs, which force you to retrieve the correct password song before you can get through. Without it, they'll repel you and the message will read "YOU MAY NOT PASS YET".
  • Enchanted Arms is a notable subversion: Early in the quest, a general blows the hell out of a bridge which you need to cross. The epic quest you have to undertake to bypass this obstacle is walking down to the riverbank and swimming across. The game does feature legitimate broken bridge-type scenarios, but this one subversion makes them all worth it.
  • In Etrian Odyssey on the first floor of the Labyrinth, a guard stands posted at the entrance to a particular area to keep you from progressing to the second floor until you wander the rest of the current floor and create a perfect map for it to prove your worth (or something to that effect), despite the fact that there must be a million maps of the first floor created by the countless other exploration groups that came before you. It should be noted that drawing your own maps of the floors as you go is half the work of the game, with the other half being the encounters you can face. Justified with almost the same quest in the sequel. The guards explain that if you can't survive long enough to draw a map of the first floor, you're guaranteed to die if you go any further.
  • Fable I:
    • Several locations can be reached only through Cullis Gate Portal Network connections that are only enabled for the Hero at certain points in the main quest line. The Witchwood connection only opens when the Heroes' Guild dispatches him there; the Hook Coast connection needs to be brought back online by feeding it undead souls; and the Hero has to summon a Ghost Ship to Snowspire to reactivate its Gates manually. The latter was Invoked by Scythe to prevent the Mole in Charge Maze from tracking him there.
    • The wealthy gated community of Bowerstone North, and, by association, the region to which it acts as a chokepoint, are off-limits to the Hero until a specific point in the main quest line, when he gains sufficient renown to be admitted.
  • Played with in Fable II, where there is a broken bridge destroyed by bandits. However, instead of finding an important plot point, you easily just dive into the water that the bridge was over and take a detour through a dungeon full of hobbes. Also, before completing the first quest, the road to Bowerstone is blocked by guards, as it has been overrun by Bandits.
  • In Fallout 2, the player character's home village is eventually wrecked by the big bad. Not that there was much to begin with. The only way into the village was on a rope bridge over a canyon. Guess what happens to that bridge.
  • In Faria, a guard won't let you cross the bridge to the second town without the king's permission, though that can be easily obtained. Later in the game, the broken bridge leading to Riria has to be repaired by using a Mysterious Seed (don't ask why).
  • In Final Fantasy, the main characters are trapped on one continent until they defeat Garland and save the princess. Their reward: the king finally fixes that Broken Bridge to the north. Later, you have to bring an explosive to dwarves so they can build a canal.
    • Parodied in 8-Bit Theater, where the the Light Warriors decide that "King Steve's Kickass Bridge" is an incredibly sucky reward for saving a princess.
  • Final Fantasy III is just a string of Broken Bridges.
    • First, there is a massive rock in the way. The only person who can destroy it has been turned into a ghost along with everyone else in Sasune and Kazus.
    • Next, you need to Get on the Boat, but there's a sea monster in the way.
    • Then there's a whirlpool in the way of your boat...
    • Followed by two fangs that have been stolen...
    • And then you get put in prison...
    • After that, you need to lower the water level for the next Crystal.
    • Then your ship gets chained up...
    • ...and to fix it, you need the Floating Shoes.
    • Then you end up in the middle of a Civil War when your airship gets shot down.
    • Then you have to wake up Unne.
    • And then you need to use the Invincible to get the last Fang.
    • And then you can finally get to Dorga's House and get the keys for the Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • In Final Fantasy IV, Mt. Hobs is blocked by a pillar of ice and Mt. Ordeals is blocked by a pillar of fire. The right spell-casting party members destroy these obstacles at the appropriate times.
  • In Final Fantasy V, a door in ExDeath's castle leads to upstairs. Early in World 2 you're captured, subsequently break out, and will find the door is locked. A few minutes later, you find ExDeath has erected a huge energy barrier field around the castle, and you cannot get anywhere near it. Some time later, you go through the process of disabling the barrier by climbing a huge tower, defeating an inter-dimensional wormhole, and a friend sacrifices himself. Should the party, in grief, decide to go see ExDeath right away and let him have a piece of their mind, they'll find their progress impeded by the same locked door. Later on when the party member really goes to challenge ExDeath, the door has been unlocked for no reason whatsoever.
  • In Final Fantasy VI you cannot enter the imperial palace because a massive robot bars your way. If you're foolish enough to fight it, you'll find you can do no damage, and your death is assured unless you run away.
  • Final Fantasy VII did the "commission-an-NPC-to-do-a-job-for-you" gambit — attempting to ignore Cosmo Canyon caused your vehicle to break. While you can run around on the Overworld Not to Scale without it, you can't cross the river you need to cross to head towards the next town, Nibelheim, without it, forcing you to enter Cosmo Canyon, where a man in a builder's hat will fix your buggy free of charge and only get it finished when you've finished the Backstory-important quest in the town.

    In a strange case, if the buggy breaks down and you don't talk to the guy, it will magically be fixed. If you enter Cosmo Canyon willingly, the buggy never breaks down, but the same guy will offer to fix it for you!
    • Additional FFVII broken bridges include the typical "you can ride the ferry from A to B, but not until after beating the boss and the plot sequence in this town (Junon boat)"; this is then reversed with the tactic of having the ship out of commission and unable to return, forcing the player to explore the western continent rather than immediately high-tailing it back to safer areas. Once sufficient plot is completed, the ship is again available. This process is repeated with other vehicles and methods of travel in the game.
    • A variation of this pops up after leaving Midgar. What you're supposed to do is head straight for Kalm so the party can regroup and Cloud can tell the story of the Nibelheim Incident or rather his version, of the incident. Try to skip this and you'll find your path blacked by a Midgar Zolom. Where this trope comes into play is the method to get past the beast (riding a Chocobo) won't become available until after Cloud tells his story. And even if you somehow manage to sneak past the Zolom, your Party members will tell you to turn back in the next area.
  • Final Fantasy X uses this contrivance also, whether it is plot-limited ferry rides, transportation between areas that cannot be backtracked, or simply having characters standing in locations and preventing further progress (such as in various areas on the Mi'ihen Highroad and Mushroom Rock Road, at least until specific plot points have been concluded.
  • Final Fantasy XII, which allows the player to explore a much larger and interconnected world than most previous Final Fantasies, employs this trope nearly everywhere to keep players from getting too far away from the plot. The route is blocked by tree, a "roiling mist" is too thick to pass, an Imperial edict prevents you from entering the further deserts, a ferry has mysteriously stopped working, boulders blocking, and so on. Largely averts Solve the Soup Cans, however, in that the opening up of the areas figures in neatly (if oh-so-conveniently) with the story. However, in some instances extremely dangerous areas, such as the Garamsythe Waterways (the stronger area with Malboro Overkings) or the Zertinan Caverns, are accessible at points when the player might not be sufficiently leveled to survive them.
    • Hilariously, in The Zodiac Age, there are several licenses on each class's grid cut off from the rest of it, requiring either a Quickening or an Esper to bridge the gap. The latter is a little problematic because an esper can only be assigned to one person at a time, and if two people need a certain esper to access one of these "floating" licenses, well...
  • Final Fantasy XIII features Taejin's Tower, a literal Broken Bridge connecting Gran Pulse to the highland areas of Oerba and beyond. It is some sort of space elevator/Tower of Babel thing, only the elevator cars are out of alignment and the power is cut, and there's a Beef Gate Physical God roaming around inside for players to deal with. There are also several earlier instances of this (the game is notorious for the linearity of the first half of its plot), including more literal broken bridges in the first area ("The Hanging Edge"), only these bridges are flying bridges that the party boards, rides while fighting bosses, and then jumps off of when reaching their destination.
  • Fortune Summoners has the literal broken bridge as a connection between two cities. You can't access it until the plot demands.
  • Golden Sun:
    • Golden Sun:
      • One drawbridge is stuck up because the guy who would gladly lower it for you is transformed into a tree. Coincidentally, the villains you're chasing are at the place you need to go to cure the guy's curse.
      • A cuter example of a "broken bridge": "There are puppies playing here. Let's not disturb them." (or words to that effect)
      • There's also a a literal broken bridge (you see a bunch of NPCs headed toward it, when the bridge is broken by a Psynergy Stone crashing into it, propelled there by a volcano; the NPCs turn around and head for a bandit-infested town, causing problems down the line) that prevents you from accessing an area you'll reach by an incredibly roundabout way too early. The bridge is repaired once you reach it.
      • An aversion after you cross the inland sea. You can literally reach the final town before going through all the relevant plot. It's not easy, though, and most of the events won't activate.
    • Golden Sun: The Lost Age has a single boulder that blocks the only sea passage to the East and the rest of the game. The Psynergy to remove it is in Lemuria, which requires a puzzle to get to and defeating a boss. The boss is invulnerable until you find a weapon that's been broken into three parts in three separate dungeons and fixed by an NPC in a fourth area.
    • Carver's Camp in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn takes this to literal extremes. The bridge to Bilibin has been severely damaged (as in, the middle plants are missing), and repairs are suspended due to the Vortex nearby. Carver uses a Lumberjack Bridge variant to catapult across the gap and away from the Vortex, but nothing significant comes of it. Sadly, you never get to see the bridge repaired, as the Konpa Ruins get blockaded off once you're through them and Border Town is on lockdown due to armistice. The game has too many to count, but that stands out in particular.
  • Grandia II had you attempt to get across a massive crevasse via a Sky Rail which won't depart until you had saved the town from the curse of food not having any taste.
  • In Haven (2020), the protagonists regularly run into broken bridges, sometimes literally, while exploring Source to find the parts for their ship. Such as uncrossable chasms due to islets splitting apart, forcing an alternate route, aerial Flow Threads that require you to upgrade your Hover Skates, NPC roadblocks that can only be dislodged with the Flow Burst, and buried Flow that must be dug up by the Daiko to unlock new bridges.
  • King's Field II (the first one released in the US) had one or two of these in the form of NPCs who would block your way into an area (sometimes just a house, but a key item would be inside) until certain tasks were completed. Because the NPC characters were not invincible (though the significant amount of damage required to kill one and the lack of a proper death animation suggests that this vulnerability may not have been intended by the developers), ruthless players could slash their way through instead.
  • Knights of the Old Republic:
    • While searching for the Star Maps, the game will always prevent the player from just heading straight to it. Most of the time, this is well-justified. This isn't always the case, however. On Dantooine, the ruins containing the Star Map are initially locked. The doors will mysteriously open by themselves after you're promoted to Padawan, which only happens once you've taken care of Juhani, as part of a quest with no connection to said ruins. On Korriban, the tomb where that world's Star Map is located is on the other side of a local Sith Academy. The only way to get to the other side is to join said Academy, but even then, the Tomb itself remains locked (for no apparent reason) until you've done enough sidequests to impress the Academy's leaders, who will take you in there to pass a final test.
    • Twice, the player will encounter impenetrable force fields that can only be opened by a certain party member, who will refuse to help you unless you do something for them first. On Taris, the character is Mission Vao, who won't open the back entrance to the Black Vulkar base unless you rescue Zaalbar from slavers. On Kashyyyk, the character is Jolee, who will refuse to join your party until you've cleared out some Czerka goons camping near his hut. The latter case is undeniably the worse one, since there doesn't seem to be any reason for a shield to be there at all other than to force the player to recruit Jolee. At least the shield on Taris is in a tunnel, but the one on Kashyyyk is in the middle of a forest, so there's no reason why you couldn't just climb one of the path boundaries and walk around it, if it weren't for the invisible walls.
    • Taris as a whole is a long line of Broken Bridges, but also a serves as a perfect example of why this isn't necessarily a bad thing, since every step is Justified in-story, either by the setting or being a logical progression from the last one.
    • Late in the game, the Temple on the Unknown World where Bastila is being held captive is blocked, again, by an impenenetrable force field. This time you have to win the favour of one of two local native tribes, who will use their magic chants to disable it.
  • In The Legend of Dragoon, a path to a house in one town needed to progress the plot is blocked by a house cat. Hopping over the cat or picking it up is entirely out of the question for our band of armored legendary heroes, and in the end the cat must be lured away by placing food nearby.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky and many other games in this franchise has the protagonist stop the player from proceeding if they're in the middle of an important event mission or that they are currently undergoing an area Guild mission.
  • Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals (pictured above) has a lot of these. The first five or six towns are connected by warp shrines; each time, something prevents you from moving on until the next quest is done: locked door, broken bridge, royal permission...
  • Lunar: The Silver Star has two literal broken bridges that need NPCs to fix. Fixing the first bridge, connecting Caldor Isle to the mainland, requires a Fetch Quest. The second bridge, in Meryod, is actually broken by your party when they try to walk over its rotten planks.
  • Luxaren Allure:
    • The bridge leading from Erdengard to Castle Darkloft gets destroyed by the Big Bad after the prologue.
    • Later the Ichor Bridge, leading from Parvian to Springsmouth, gets destroyed in a monster attack. Karuna lampshades it:
    Karuna: Another bridge in ruins. I wonder if Aurelie has a thing against bridges or something.
  • Magi-Nation featured this in the Game Boy Color game, where the bridge in question needs to be built. In order to do that, you must first obtain a specific Dream Creature, which essentially means seeking them out and beating up enough of them to get enough randomly-acquired animite to have someone forge it. Once you get it, the bridge can be built... and collapses immediately afterwards. Some bridge.
  • In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, there's a bridge that will remain broken (they're fixing it as fast as they can, honest!) until you talk to the Sledge Bros. who will charge you with getting a Hoohoo block so that they can make the Mario Bros. a pair of hammers. In fact it is more than that. You have to speak to a few certain NPCs, as well as witness Fawful block your path with a stone statue that you need the hammers to break (the Sledge Bros. aren't even home until this happens). There's also a broken bridge, both literal and in the form of large stone barriers, in Beanbean Castle Town, that blocks access to the eastern half of town until you clear Chucklehuck Woods.
  • In Mass Effect 2 you start in the same system as the Omega 4 relay, which leads to the Collectors' base. However, unlike other relays, you don't have the option to jump through since you are informed that no non-Collector ship that passed through the relay ever returned and thus presumably your crew won't cross it until they have a better idea of what's on the other side. This turns out to be a wise decision since the aforementioned base turns out to be in the Galactic Center. You remain unable to cross the relay until you aquire a piece of technology that allows the Normandy to use it without being sent flying into a black hole.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda: On Havarl, there's a massive viaduct in the middle of the level, but the only bridge across it is out, and there's no way to climb it. Fortunately, the Roekaar reactivate the bridge from their side, in their crazed desire to get at and kill Ryder. Later on during Jaal's Loyalty Mission, the Roekaar blow up a different bridge, and Jaal starts suggesting taking a different route. This time, Ryder can just jump across the gap.
  • Mega Man Battle Network uses this a lot. Sometimes it's justified, sometimes it's not, and sometimes you can only stare in wonder at the lunacy. An example of the last is in the sixth game, Central Area 3. The hub of that game's internet with direct access to every other net area except the Undernet. Sky area is blocked by a cloud, ACDC area is blocked by a guy behind a desk asking for a pass, Green area is blocked by a tree, and Seaside area is blocked by a puddle from a leaky pipe.
    • Though the leaky pipe is fixed after you beat Blastman.EXE the first time, Mick finds a penguin and brings it to the school in the game, and you have to find a plumber navi to fix the pipe so you can find out about the penguin.
      • Nothing can justify the fact that the guy who asks for the pass later turns out to be papier-mache. DIGITAL papier-mache. You could have walked right by at any time.
  • Might and Magic X features two examples: a bridge blocked off by a guard while they clear away the rubble from a bandit attack and scout the area for any remaining bandits (he disappears once you complete another, non-bandit-connected, quest for the lord of the attacked castle) and a city which is in lock-down until you enter the city (via the sewers — you can't get in before the right point) for the main quest. The actual broken bridge remains broken throughout the game, and only serves as a shortcut once you get the ability to walk on water.
  • In Miitopia, In Wetland Way, Neksdor, the path to the east is blocked by a pile of boulders when you first visit the area. Only by befriending the Genie you can get rid of the boulders.
  • Monster Girl Quest has the storm preventing travel between the Ilias and Sentora continents, and the mountains along the coast of Hellgondo that prevent ships from landing there. To bypass the former, you need to find a magical bell that allows a ship to sail in even the roughest of weather, while the latter requires you to go through an entire quest to awaken a Garuda Girl to fly you across.
    • The sequel, Monster Girl Quest: Paradox, has the same broken bridges and adds even more, such as the pile of dirt and the fire outside the entrances to two of the Tartarus (requiring you to recruit Gnome and Salamander to clear them away). It's more egregious here because it's now possible to recruit monsters, including monsters that should be able to fly, swim, tunnel under or otherwise bypass these obstacles.
  • Mother series
    • EarthBound will put everything and its [[{{,Pun}} mother]] in your way, including policemen, rocks, ghosts, timid cactus people, even a traffic jam in the middle of the desert. And let's not forget inexplicably placed statues. However, to its credit, it lampshades it liberally. The police force in Onett repeatedly talk about how their claim to fame is that they are constantly erecting road blocks, to the point where they don't actually bother to deal with real crimes. They actually do have a broken bridge in Peaceful Rest Valley when you arrive. Guess what gets repaired by the time you've rescued Paula?
    • Mother 3 often uses the Ultimate Chimera, a boss that instantly kills you without even entering the battle screen. Also the following, in a few places: "There are ants at your feet. If you go any further you might step on them." The ants are not even visible, and they're just gone by the time you're supposed to go to those places.
  • In the first act of Neverwinter Nights 2, the player must go through a lengthy quest chain just to gain very limited access to the closed Blacklake District of Neverwinter (only two plot-relevant buildings). In the second act, the district is conveniently opened to everyone without the player's intervention.
  • Omega Quintet has dense walls of Blare blacking off deeper areas of dungeons that your Verse Maidens can't clear, but mysteriously disappear when you've proceeded far enough through the plot. The Hand Wave is that the Quintet's actions are weakening to overall Blare corruption and causing these barriers to fall along with it. There's also roiling black-and-white clouds that never go away, although these are pretty obviously a no-so-Invisible Wall at the entrance to a zone (necessary because pretty much everywhere without them rewards you for exploring backwards from your starting point).
  • Of course, the Paper Mario games use this trope often. In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, the 'gatekeeper' form of it is lampshaded by Goombella's fourth-wall breaking comments about Twilight Town's gatekeeper:
    Goombella: "There's a guy like this in every town, huh? If there weren't, you'd go wherever you want and beat the game so fast... Hee hee! Never mind. Let's never speak of it again.."
  • Parasite Eve has a few broken bridges. One example is when Aya goes to the basement of the hospital, Eve cuts the cables on the elevator Aya is in and to make sure Aya stays stuck, Eve slashes the power cables to shut off the power to the building so that the other elevator won't work and some of the doors are sealed due to no power. If that wasn't bad enough, trying to take the stairs will make Eve come and collapse them. You'll spend a good portion of your time looking for fuses and card keys before you can go back upstairs.
  • In Persona 3, several floors throughout Tartarus act as dead ends which halt progress through the dungeon, but each becomes a regular floor after the relevant plot-related events occur. While not necessary to advance in the game, in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon of Persona 2, there's a section of the dungeon that holds a valuable item. Unfortunately for you the door is guarded by a powerful demon called Ahzi Dahaka, which is invincible against ALL attacks, even almighty (!!). The only (and vaguely hinted upon) way to make it killable is to equip Faeriedone on an active party member, and then attempt to fight it. Faeriedone and the enemy have a conversation, which berserks the character who summoned Faeriedone but makes the Ahzi Dahaka vulnerable to attack. It becomes a Boss in Mook Clothing (though rare encounter) soon after you beat it.
  • Phantasy Star IV: A forest of carnivorous plants blocks your path to Garuberk Tower. Attempting to cross it will ensue a boss fight with the carnivorous trees. Fallen plants will be instantly replaced by more plants growing from the ground, making the fight unwinnable by conventional means. The correct course of action involves fleeing the battle (which is the only boss fight in the whole game when you can run away), and returning later with the Eclipse Torch from the local temple which gets conveniently stolen in front of your very eyes.
    • Not to mention a literal broken bridge, between the starting towns and Aideo which is repaired after you get Rika, a wall of rock which you need a character to blast through, town guards that won't let you procure medicine, and numerous other examples. This game's full of them!
  • Pokémon is a prime abuser of this trope, using it quite often and in quite ludicrous fashion at times.
    • The worst is when a uniformed Mook will stand in front of a door and effectively block your way; even though he isn't any different from the other sixty Mooks you just took down.
    • And the fact that you can't seem to fit between two people. As if they're so fat that you can't possibly, say, crawl between their legs. Or just ask them to move.
    • And then there's the mandatory HMs Cut, Surf, Rock Smash, Strength, Rock Climb, Dive and Waterfall. All of them are there to cross Broken Bridges, but can only be obtained after certain plot events and (almost) always require a Gym Badge to use outside of battle.
    • Surf and Fly are particularly egregious. Everyone else in the game just seems to swim wherever they want, plus you can only use Fly to return to already visited locations.
    • Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow/FireRed and LeafGreen
      • You can't leave Viridian City unless you deliver Oak's Parcel because the exit is blocked by an old man. In the Japanese versions he's passed out drunk. Why can't you just walk around him? In the American release he's merely grumpy and hasn't had his coffee. Amazingly, by the time you obtain the Pokédex, the man has had his coffee and will let you pass.
      • The guy outside Pewter City leading toward Route 3 and Mt. Moon won't let you pass until you win the Gym's badge. Although he kinda-sorta implies he's blocking the way for Brock.
      • There is a sapling blocking your path to Lt. Surge's Gym. The only way around it is to do a sidequest on a ship in order to obtain the Cut HM, which will allow you to remove the tree. (Instead of, you know, sucking in your stomach.) One has to wonder why anyone would plant a tree in front of their door anyway. And why it comes back every time you leave or enter a building.
      • In order to reach the top floor of the Pokémon Tower, you must have the Silph Scope, otherwise the Marowak there will remain as a spirit that your Pokémon will be too scared to attack.
      • You actually have to bribe a guard of a "closed road" to Saffron City with drinks which can only be brought from a specific vending machine in a specific town, or in the remake, a nice cup of tea. To share, evidently, as the city was blocked on four sides.
      • Speaking of Saffron City, the entrance to Silph Co. will be blocked by a Team Rocket Grunt until you have defeated the grunts in the Pokémon Tower in Lavender Town, which will cause the grunt in front of Silph Co. to conveniently fall asleep. The other grunts blocking the other buildings (most importantly the one blocking the real Gym) won't go away until you defeat Team Rocket in Silph Co.
      • Let us not forget the most quintessential of all "broken bridges": SNORLAX! AGH! Snorlax is an extremely large and extremely lazy Pokémon that decided to take a nap in the middle of busy roads. The only way to wake it up is with a Pokéflute, which can only be obtained from Dr. Fuji.
    • Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal/HeartGold and SoulSilver
      • On your quest to deliver a mysterious egg (because apparently a pair of old folks are too senile to tell if an egg is edible or a Pokémon egg), two trainers are in the middle of a battle and blocking the path that would lead to Violet City. Once you're done with the egg business, however, their battle has finished.
      • Just like in Pewter City in Gen I, a guy outside Violet City won’t let you pass until you defeat the local gym leader. Either these guys honestly have nothing to do with their time other than denying people access to the road beyond, or they are secretly being hired by the Gyms to try and bring in more competition.
      • The Pokémon Sudowoodo is blocking the crossroad between Violet, Goldenrod and Ecruteak. To wake it up, you have to squirt it with water — and no, you can't get your Totodile to use Water Gun on it, you have to obtain a particular Squirt Bottle from a certain NPC. The woman won't give you the bottle until you defeat the Goldenrod Gym Leader. Why? Because it's too dangerous to give a 10-year old with mons that could destroy cars a watering can! (Think about how much damage that could do in the wrong hands!) Not to mention that, to even get to that NPC, you have to go all the way from Violet City to Union Cave, Azalea Town, and Ilex Forest, plus the routes in-between. In terms of geography, that's a detour through nearly half of Johto just to get around a damn walking tree.
      • Mt. Silver is this as well. There's a guard who won't let you in because 'Scary strong wild Pokémon live there', until after you beat the Elite Four and Champion and talk to the professor, who will then call ahead to tell them to let you through. However, the Pokémon aren't really any stronger than what you've already faced. You probably would end up on the wrong end of a Curb-Stomp Battle with Red, though, if you went in too early.
      • What's in Kanto really isn't that tough, but you can't go there either until you defeat the Elite Four.
      • Access to the western half of Kanto is blocked by the Snorlax napping at the entrance of Diglett Cave and the flotsam blocking the beach south of Fuchsia City. Only half of the Kanto Gym Leaders (Surge, Erika, Misty, and Janine) are available to fight initially, and the others (Brock, Misty, Blaine, and Blue) cannot be reached until the power plant crisis is resolved and you gain the Expansion Card needed to deal with the Snorlax. The southern beach won't open up until you approach it from the other side.
    • Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald/Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire
      • At the very start of the game, your mother won't let you out of your room until you set your clock. This made sense in the original game as the clock is what determined time in those games (although only a few mechanics actually use time in these games; mainly berry growth, Shoal Cave's tides and evolving Eevee into Espeon or Umbreon), but its a meaningless activity in the remakes as those games uses the Nintendo 3DS's clock to determine the time instead.
      • A Pokémaniac won't let you take the western exit from the second town because he's found some rare Pokémon footprints and doesn't want anyone disturbing them. He won't be finished examining the footprints until you get the Pokédex. Amusingly, it turns out that they're his footprints.
      • One exclusive to Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire: there's a lineup of archaeologists wanting to see the cave paintings in Dewford Cave. They prevent you from delivering the letter to Steven until after you get the Knuckle Badge.
      • A sandstorm prevents you from taking a shortcut through the Impassable Desert and catching some useful Pokémon until you get some goggles.
      • In another one added by the remakes, a Bird Keeper on Route 120 will say it's too dangerous to go ahead until you've beaten Winona.
      • Three Wailmer owned by a Team Aqua/Team Magma Grunt block off the route east of Lilycove City until you defeat the villainous team in their hideout. Particularly egregious in Ruby/Omega Ruby, since Team Magma owning Water-Types (which Wailmer is) makes no sense.
    • Pokémon Diamond, Pearl and Platinum:
      • Random people block your way for no legitimate reason. Route 212 is blocked by a reporter and a cameraman from the northern side, even after you've beaten Hearthome City's Gym. And they disappear once you reach Solaceon Town (in Diamond and Pearl) or Pastoria City (in Platinum). All this does is make you take a longer path. No badges, no special events, nothing.
      • Route 210 is blocked by a group of Psyduck, which you could defeat easily, but instead you have to get a Secret Potion because they have headaches. (Then again, with other Pokémon media's implication of what happens when a Psyduck gets a headache, they'd probably curbstomp you. That or there's just a metric ton of them.)
      • A man next to route 222 won't let you pass because of a blackout in Sunyshore City until after you've beaten the Big Bad. (Slightly justified by the fact that it was caused by Volkner, meaning it would've shut down the gym.)
      • In Platinum, a battle is blocking the entrance to Canalave City if you manage to Surf there before picking up the HM from Celestic Town.
      • Also in Platinum, after you escape from the Distortion World, you're placed outside the entrance to Turnback Cave. Cynthia just happens to be standing in front of the entrance, and will remain standing there until you defeat her at the Pokémon League.
    • Pokémon Black and White hilariously don't even try coming up with good reasons anymore.
      • When trying to exit Opelucid City from the east before defeating the final plot portion, a policeman stops you and says "There is something ahead, and the road is closed now." It's like they just gave up.
      • Also, if you try and get to Opelucid before going back to Relic Castle, your path will be blocked by two Plasma Grunts who talk to each other about how they're currently doing things at Relic Castle.
      • If you try to leave Nimbasa City to the west, two guards will stop you and say that the bridge is being checked. Elesa has to use some political muscle to lower the Driftveil Bridge so you can head onward once you've bested her.
      • If you try to enter Pinwheel Forest to head to Castelia City before fighting Lenora, you will be walled off by more Plasma Grunts. Also serves as Foreshadowing, as they steal the Dragon Skull once you've defeated Lenora, and not a moment sooner.
      • You can't enter Chargestone Cave outside of Driftveil City until you've beaten Clay and gotten the badge. There's a Galvantula nest in the cave mouth, and it's only after you beat him that he'll show up with his Krokorok to take it out.
      • The roadblocks do feel particularly egregious in Gen V. In earlier games much of the limit on your progression was due to terrain obstacles that required an HM, so a Pokémon could get you past them, but in Black and White there's only one point early in the game where you need an HM. Instead there's a ragtag of random reasons to limit your progress. Oh, and some of the earlier games gave you a fair bit of choice in the order you tackled things in, for example in Gold and Silver you can choose which of Mahogany Town or Olivine City to visit first. Black and White keep you strictly and obviously on-rails, due to the map itself being more linear than previous games.
    • Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 are just as bad. They really seem to have given up on legitimate ideas for roadblocks.
      • Since they use mostly the same map as Black and White, but have you access areas in a different order, there are a lot of extremely lame excuses to prevent you from accessing certain areas. At one point your progress is blocked by a line-up of random dancing fat men, who lampshade the whole thing by stating that they're there for no reason at all and will eventually leave, also for no reason.
      • Not too far from the line of fat men, the road to Nimbasa City is blocked by a random line of boulders. And just in case you were wondering, there's even a worker nearby that explains that they can't be moved with HM Strength for whatever reason. Only after you finish everything else in Castelia City will Colress show up, explain that the boulders are actually Crustle, and pull out the device necessary to wake them all up.
      • At one point, entering a new town cuts off your path back out by having an elevator break.
      • Attempting to leave Castelia to the east results in a guard telling you to bugger off since the bridge is being inspected for the first time in two years.
      • You're actually allowed to enter Chargestone Cave this time before you fight Clay... However, you can only access a part of the first floor; the rest of it will be blocked off by Bianca and a random worker until you get the Quake Badge.
      • Of the five bridges in Unova, three of them are inaccessible until postgame: Skyarrow Bridge is undergoing the aforementioned inspection, Marvelous Bridge is under maintenance, and Tubeline Bridge is in the middle of a social experiment to see how many people can fit on it.
      • Another pair of Plasma Grunts block off the Giant Chasm while having a conversation about the group meeting up at Route 21, which is a clue to get you to return to Seaside Cave and use the Colress Machine that you got a short while back to get a Crustle to move out of the way and open the path to where the Plasma Frigate is docked. That's a Broken Bridge inside another Broken Bridge, and a reference to an earlier Broken Bridge.
    • Pokémon X and Y:
      • The first time you come to Lumiose City, you'll find workers telling you there's a power cut, preventing you from exploring entire parts of the city. Though this one, at least, is justified by an event that's discovered later in the story. As a note, however, there are random NPCs that will randomly walk past the workers without a thought. The other cases are really egregious.
      • A girl blocks your path to Cyllage city just because she dropped some fossils.
      • Some hipsters stand talking in front of the gate between Lumiose and Route 15, refusing to let you past because you're not cool enough to know about route 15.
      • The return of Snorlax sleeping on a bridge.
      • Or just some guy telling you you should talk to the local Champion.
      • One gate is blocked by two workers stating that wild Durant had just ravaged the path ahead.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon has a few roadblocks.
      • There are literal roadblocks that are manned by Island Trial volunteers. They'll only open them if you have the appropriate Z-Crystal.
      • Likewise, Kahuna Olivia of Akala will keep you from sneaking to KoniKoni City early via Diglett's Tunnel until you have the Grassium-Z crystal because the tunnel's full of Diglett that are getting out of hand.
      • An NPC obsessed with using Stoutland Search in HeaHea City will block off different parts of the city until you've completed the trials.
      • Sudowoodo return as a roadblock for those trying to go south of the Paniola Ranch. Only you can't battle and capture them. They'll only go away when you've acquired the Waterium-Z crystal.
      • As usual, there's an NPC who prevents you from accessing the rest of Poni Island until you've become champion.
    • Pokémon Sword and Shield:
      • There are two ways through Route 1: a straight path directly from Postwick to Wedgehurst, and a side path with tall grass. On the first time in the zone, you have no Pokémon, and are advised to stay away from the grassy path; on the second time, a flock of Wooloo are taking a nap in the middle of the road, forcing you to take the detour.
      • Shortly after that, when you take the train to Motostoke, the train is forced to divert because of a flock of Wooloo on the tracks.
      • Throughout the entire game, Team Yell members will constantly block the way forward wherever you go, forcing you into a very linear experience. It'd be more forgivable if that happened a few times, but almost EVERY roadblock is just Team Yell. Using the same two models every time.
  • Resonance of Fate takes this trope Up to Eleven. The game takes place in Basel, a tower big enough that it contains several cities, but pretty much all of the walkways are powered down so you'll have to restore them with energy hexes. Certain chokepoints or areas are blocked off with coloured hexes, required an appropriately-coloured energy hex, which of course won't be available until you're far enough into the plot.
    • Some side-quests in the game are even based around fixing the Broken Bridgeyness of Basel, to the tune of 'fix me a path to <place>'.
  • In Secret of Mana, the hero is banished from his hometown after pulling the Mana Sword from its resting place, as this action is seen to have brought disaster own the town; in other places, further progress is blocked until you have found the correct weapon (the Axe to chop down rocks and the Whip to jump gaps that have poles on either end).
    • Why did he pull the sword out, you ask? He needed it to clear away some Insurmountable Waist Height Shrubs, of course.
  • Realms of Arkania: Star Trail half-follows this trope. You can murder a local in Gashok to gain a couple powerful weapons, but if you don't clear your name, bad things will happen: you'll be lynched if you stay the night in any inn, and trying to enter or leave will require you to fight past half a dozen armed guards.
  • Skies of Arcadia has pretty standard broken bridges in terms of RPG mechanics. What makes them noteworthy is the design of the game itself; as a game taking place on a World in the Sky that gives you a Global Airship at the start of the game just to get around, the bridges are obviously going to be a little more visually unique than other games. Sky rifts (hurricane force wind paths that essentially form mid-air walls) and stone reefs (Asteroid Thickets in the form of floating walls) are the two main types. Upgrades received over the course of the game that allow you to bypass these bridges include a ship-sized Harpoon Gun, an engine strong enough to punch through the winds, and altitude modifications that allow you to travel through the top of the stratosphere.
  • In Suikoden II, there is a block on the Matilda Kingdom because the leader is being a Jerkass. However, if you push on the block, you can go from Muse to Matilda at level 7, and, with enough luck and skill (not to mention massive Level Grinding), gain Humphrey and Futch out of sequence.
  • In Super Mario RPG, Bowser's Keep is rendered inaccessible by a literal broken bridge, which cannot be crossed until the end of the game when you are able to use a floating bus to travel there.
  • Most of Tales Series games have some sort of a broken bridge appearing, but some of the games implement it in more unusual ways.
    • Tales of Rebirth plays the broken bridge scenario for laughs. The Dark Wings decide to destroy the game's first bridge, to stop Veigue and co. and show their mightiness. Which is pretty mean and evil... until the bridgebuilders show up and get pissed off because of it. They force the Dark Wings to fix the bridge themselves. You still have to take the long detour to get to the city over the bridge, but at least you know those responsible for it are being properly punished (the bridge eventually gets completed and saves a lot of walking later).
    • Tales of the Abyss Inverts thee trope THEN plays it straight by repeating the scenario of The Dark Wings destroying the first bridge in the game to prevent their pursuers from catching them, only this time AFTER the main characters have crossed in a carriage carrying Luka and Tear "to the capital", at which point they learn the capital in question is that of Malkuth, the nation Luke's Kingdom of Kimlasca is at war with, preventing them from turning around immediately.
    • In Tales of Zestiria, if you try to head into an area you don't belong in yet, you might find it blanketed in incredibly dense Malevolence which slows down your movements outside of battle and cripples you in battle. If you somehow manage to get further into the area, you might end up running into Heldalf with obvious results if you're foolish enough to try to get past him in your weakened state and a Bad Ending if you somehow defeat him.
  • In Trials of Mana, as soon as you get Vuscav (by which point you'll have four out of eight elementals), you're told where the remaining four elementals are. You can get Undine and Salamando in either order, but a bush blocks your path to Luna for no apparent reason until you get those two. And a giant flower blocks the path to Dryad, which can only be removed by using Luna.
  • In Ultima IX, a boulder blocks the way to Yew until completing a quest, when Lord British magically makes it disappear. The rest of the world map must be accessed by completing dungeons and gaining a ship, due to the Avatar's Super Drowning Skills.
  • Vampires Dawn features several freely explorable dungeons which may seem like Beef Gates, but practically every chapter of the storyline has a point where you simply can't progress unless you've done everything in order.
    • You can enter Shadow Forest as soon as you've eavesdropped on the knight in Uruya's brothel, which can be done as soon as you get the Bat Spell. But you won't be able to open the door in the cave before you get the key in Tradan.
    • Given enough grinding and listening to the old couple in Limm, you could fight your way through Abraxas's lair in the mountains as early as you please. Only to be stopped by a magically locked door, the key for which you only obtain after fighting Molona.
    • You'll never be able to meet the cult in Asdion before talking to the vampire on the jungle island. The cult leader then provides you with the item you need to find Abraxas's tower –- which you weren't even able to see before, let alone enter.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, new areas of the Los Angeles region become accessible when your business in the main quest first takes you there, after which you can travel to them freely. The Taxi that transports you between areas can be justified as acting on your boss's orders, but there's no explanation for the sewer tunnels not working until the story allows it.
  • In Wandering Hamster, there are rocks blocking the path out of town until you talk to James. These are explicitly referred to as "Plot Boulders." If you look at them before you talk to James, there will be a message saying you must do so. If you then talk to James, he denies they ever existed. Yeah, it's that kind of game.
  • Simultaneously parodied, lampshaded and averted in The Witcher. At one point in the game, there is a literal Broken Bridge that you cannot cross. Geralt (the player character) points out that the bridge is over a stream that doesn't look very dangerous — it should be crossed very easily without a bridge. Lastly, while you can complete a quest for the craftsman who is supposed to repair the bridge, the repair will not be completed for several more months — you, the player, never get to see what is on the other side, because you leave quite soon anyway.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt initially seems to play this straight. The bridges across the Pontar are closely guarded by the Redanian army, and you need a pass to get across. You will eventually get a pass if you advance normally through the main quest. But you can subvert this if you like, because you can do a short side quest that starts at the very foot of one the bridges and acquire a pass as a reward. In reality, however, this trope is fully averted, because... at any time, you can just dive into the river and swim across (or find a boat), with no ill effects whatsoever.
  • The World Ends with You: at any given time, many areas are blocked off with Some Kind of Force Field. This makes sense in-game, as it's about people forced to play a game where they're largely led around like rats in a cage. Only the Reapers, the ones running the game, have the Keypins necissary to break the forcefields... Which leads to this trope being Double Subverted in the third week. Your partner there is a former Reaper, and he still has his keypin, which lets you pass some walls and pull the In-Universe version of Sequence Breaking. But then you run into walls you need a higher level keypin to break, forcing you to defeat higher-ranked Reapers and take their keypins to progress.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles series
    • In Xenoblade Chronicles, there are exactly two literal Broken Bridges, one in Makna Forest which leads to Valak Mountain where you can't get the quest to fix it until after you've found a way around it, and a broken teleporter where you have to save the worker who was supposed to fix it from monsters in a story quest. All other broken bridges are locked doors or NPCs blocking the way until you complete the required part of the story.
    • Averted in Xenoblade Chronicles X. From the moment the game lets you off the leash, you're quite welcome to explore everywhere you can reach — not just Primordia, but Noctilum and Oblivia if you so desire. You can even hoof it to those islands way out in the north sea if you like — you can't swim across the open ocean, but there are sandbars and shallows to traverse. The only areas off-limits to you are realistically so, since nobody from NLA is getting there without Skell flight modules.
  • Shows up in Xenogears, where the completely impassible obstacle is... a child's stuffed animal. The characters immediately declare that they must find the child and get her to move it, otherwise they'll never be able to pass. To add insult to injury said "stuffed animal" is actually a sentient creature that is capable of speaking and understanding human speech and yet just decided to remain in front of the door despite people wanting to get in for no apparent reason.
  • In Yandere Simulator, Ayano is stopped from going into the boy's locker room by an invisible wall. She can go into the boy's bathroom, but she's considered to be trespassing.
  • Ys:
    • Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished ~ Omen has invisible doors that require the Mask of Eyes (which has the side effect of making enemies invisible) to pass through. Another "broken bridge" in II isn't really broken, but you must first rescue the bridgekeeper's son before he'll admit that the bridge isn't actually broken and lower it (the villains had threatened to kill his son if he let Adol pass).
    • In Ys III, your passage through Valestine Castle is blocked by a statue that later becomes a boss; you must find the Bracelet first to pass.
    • Ys V: Lost Kefin, Kingdom of Sand has a similar Bridge to Before that doesn't get fixed until you've been to the other side the long way.
    • Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim opens with Adol on Quatera Island, which used to have a bridge to nearby Canaan Island before it was sabotaged. The only way to Canaan is through an underground tunnel; the bridge isn't rebuilt until much later in the game, becoming a Door to Before. In a bit of a relief from "Sorry, you have to wait here, and don't think about going via X", nobody knows about the tunnel until the game's first boss smashes through the wall in front of it.
    • Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana has various terrain obstacles (including a literal broken bridge) that cannot be passed until a certain number of castaways have been recruited (on the grounds that it will take at least X people to clear the obstacle — at one point you need slightly more people because one person refuses to work and thus doesn't count), as well as others that cannot be passed until Dana does something (usually planting a prayer tree) to alter the past.


    Simulation Games 
  • Freelancer first prevents you from leaving the New York system by not giving you the access codes to the Jump Gates. You can travel to the California, Colorado and Texas systems after clearing the third mission; however, you can't travel to the rest of the Sirius sector until you clear the fifth mission, only to declare you an outlaw in Liberty until you clear the game. In addition, you must also be above a certain level in order to be able to get a job at some bases, thus rendering many systems accessible but useless.
  • Graveyard Keeper has both literal and figurative broken bridges, obstacles and questlines that prevent the opening of certain areas of the, avenues for expanding your production and increasing your income, or simply added convenience.
  • Harvest Moon has a few. For example, Harvest Moon: A New Beginning has two giant spaces left and right of your farm blocked off. Half of the town itself is blocked off until you progress far enough in the game. And those are only a few examples.
  • Stardew Valley, being a Spiritual Sucessor to Harvest Moon also has a few:
    • The Mines are blocked off by a landslide and isn't cleared until the 5th day of your first Spring (which is your fifth in game day).
    • The path to the train station and the Spa are locked until an earthquake on the 1st day of your first summer clears the path.
    • The Secret Woods are blocked by a fallen tree which you can't break until you have the Silver Axe.
    • The Sewers are locked until you get the key after donating 60 items to the Museum.
    • The bus to the desert is broken down, and there is a literal broken bridge to the Quarry, both of which require completing bundles at the Community Center (or Joja Community Devleopments) to fix. After you gain access to the bus, you need to find the Skull Key on the 120th floor of the mine before you can access Skull Cave.
    • Finally, the Witch's Hut is inaccessible until after you complete all the Community Center Bundles or Joja Community Development Forms, which then unlocks the quest to unlock the area.
  • X-Universe:
    • In X3: Terran Conflict and its expansion pack, the inner Sol system is unlocked progressively, starting with Mars, by playing through the game's main plot. Justified in game, as the Earth State is extremely isolationist and protective of Earth and its Torus Aeternal; any ship — Terran or not — that uses a trans-orbital accelerator without the proper credentials will be hunted down by AGI Task Force flotillas, or in Earth, instagibbed by the Torus's point defenses.
    • In the Xtended Terran Conflict total conversion Game Mod, the universe starts out relatively small as most of the jumpgate network is still offline. As time passes and the solar systems are colonized, jumpgates begin to activate in waves, expanding the universe.
    • In X Rebirth, the universe starts with the jump gate network shut down following the Guilt-Free Extermination War of X3: Albion Prelude, but it begins to reactivate and open up new systems about every half-dozen missions in the plot. Prior to this, you are limited to one solar system, Albion. Using one of the Multiple Game Openings allows you to skip the plot entirely and start with all systems already open.

    Stealth-Based Games 
  • Because the majority of Assassin's Creed takes place inside a computer interpretation of Desmond's ancestral memories that requires Desmond to complete one set of memories to unlock others, areas that cannot be accessed are simply blocked off by transparent walls of DNA memory codes. Although never stated outright in the game, it's implied that, because Desmond's ancestor did not go to the part of the city at that particular time, there are no memories to fill in the city.
  • Metal Gear Solid has the stairs and the elevator in the Comms Tower. The stairs have been smashed and the elevator is out of order, both done on purpose to force Snake to the roof where Liquid and his Hind D helicopter are waiting for him, and the elevator "mysteriously" begins working once you shoot the Hind D down. It turns out a group of enemy soldiers were just holding the elevator at the first floor, and they decide to let the elevator work and deal with Snake themselves after he takes down the helicopter.
  • In some of the alternate canon "Snake Tales" of Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, the game map is round, so there should be two routes to each sector. At least one of the missions sees the game regularly close the door leading to the quick route to force the player to go the long way.

    Survival Horror 
  • Clock Tower 3 uses what is possibly the most flimsy broken bridge of all. This LetsPlay describes it quite well. Alyssa is a girl who was violently pulled through time by magic, and ends up in London during World War II in the middle of a bombing run. She then runs towards a concert hall, but can't enter because a flyer on the door says "Entry by invitation only. The Management." Let me reiterate. Bombs are going off in the streets. She has seen no one besides ghosts. There is no magic seal or anything on the door. And she still won't enter because she doesn't have an invitation.
  • Death Park: In the game, you come across the bridge with a big part of its floor missing.
  • Mini DAYZ has actual broken down boats on the east cost of every island, each requiring a different item in order to repair and travel to the next island. While it’s technically not necessary to keep traveling islands - and indeed the game’s objective is to survive at all costs - the RNG nature of distributing loot each day in the towns/cities/military bases doesn’t guarantee you’ll get everything you need to survive, sometimes forcing you to travel to the next island or die from mundane reasons (e.g. starvation). Furthermore, each time you travel to a new island, the loot you find becomes higher quality, albeit you must now contend with stronger zombies and bandits who are sometimes armed with firearms.
  • Resident Evil series
    • In Resident Evil 0 and Resident Evil 4 broken bridges actually force you to keep going. Though Leon needed to go on I'm sure Billy and Rebecca would have rather got out of the freaky leech filled mansion. RE 4 is also notorious for breaking bridges behind Leon, thereby preventing the player from returning to previous areas. Most notable are the bridge out of the village, the castle drawbridge, and the boat ride with Ada.
    • In Resident Evil – Code: Veronica, there is one room protected by a metal detector, and to enter you must place your metal items in a box that is not connected to any of the normal item boxes. Don't leave anything behind, such as the fire extinguisher, which is required to fix another (semi-optional) broken bridge later, or they will be lost forever when you pass the Point of No Return. Same with any items you are carrying when you play as Claire for the last time.
  • In the Silent Hill series, the Genius Loci frequently creates broken bridges with Bottomless Pits, walls that weren't there before, locking doors, and insurmountable waist-height obstacles, to railroad the player through town. The earlier games would tell you flat-out that a door was totally inaccessible by stating the lock was jammed and drawing an "X" over it on the map.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Final Fantasy Tactics A2 opens up new areas as you progress through the story missions. While the mission in question is fair deal (for instance dealing with the bandits blocking the way), you can only get the mission after you got far enough in the story. Additionally, most regions also contain hidden subzones that only become accessible after you do the right mission, often also spawning a sudden surge of new quests that involve the area. Oh, and there is a literal broken bridge, too, but it's just a shortcut and not mandatory.
  • Fire Emblem Jugdral has this and NPC Road Block. You can't across a few areas without capturing castles in the order because of the closed gates or the water tiles. Sometimes, you can't proceed to a new area without witnessing your NPC allies getting slaughtered by the enemies first.
    • Taken to ridiculous extremes once you get flying units. They should be able to simply fly past the roadblocks, right? WRONG. There are yellow tiles in the place of the normal blue/green tiles to represent the tiles you could fly on if you were allowed to. Justified in Chapter 3; you can't go to the area near a certain castle because stationing troops there would be breaking a promise and an act of war.
  • Parodied in Act 2 and 3 of Inscryption. An NPC literally tells you that he won't fix the bridge leading to the rest of the world until you defeat a boss.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, the Monobeasts serve this purpose by blocking off access to the other islands. After each chapter, Monomi clears away one of the beasts, allowing access to another island.
  • Fate/stay night has some of these situations too. In each route, there's an event where you'll be killed if you don't have enough points with the heroine. In the cases of Rin and Sakura, it's not at all obvious that this is the reason — and in Rin's case, the Tiger Dojo chooses that moment to be very unhelpful (albeit hilarious), turning into a parody of radio advice shows.
    • There's also the issue of unlocking the routes in the first place. You must see the ending of Fate to unlock the early-game choice that sets you on Unlimited Blade Works, and you must see one ending of UBW to be able to trigger Heaven's Feel. It has to be an actual ending, too. Bad Ends or Dead Ends don't count.
  • Little Busters!:
    • Inverted with the original heroine routes, excluding Rin and Komari. Once you complete a route for one of the other four heroines, a critical choice needed to unlock that route will be grayed out until the player completes Refrain, which requires the player to complete the routes of all six original heroines before it can be accessed.
    • The routes for the Ecstasy heroines in the Updated Re-release remain locked until the player completes Refrain. Saya's route in particular requires Riki going into school on the night of May 15th. While the choice is available from the start, if Riki chooses to go into the school before completing Refrain, he'll be locked out of the school. Similar to the original heroines, after completing Saya's route, her route becomes inaccessible until the player completes the routes for Sasami and Kanata.
    • This trope is lampshaded by Riki during Sasami's route, when the two are unable to leave the school due to being trapped in an artificial world similar to the one created by Kyousuke and the others in Refrain.
  • In Tsukihime, you'll sometimes find yourself unable to avoid death on a given day. Why? Because of something you did one or two days earlier; if you'd acted differently then, you'd get a choice now. Sometimes there's a clear connection, but not always. For instance, a certain battle in Ciel's route can only be won if Shiki keeps his glasses on and tries to make peace — but if he misbehaved the day before, he's simply not offered this choice. Fortunately, the hint corner usually helps.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Crackdown and its sequel, unusually for sandbox games, subvert this. All three islands are accessible from the start and the player is free to complete any of the game's main objectives in any order they choose. The restriction comes from the fact that the enemies are tougher on the second island and even tougher on the third, and the player will not have the skills or the weapons to take them on. In addition, the buildings get higher on each island, so lower level players won't be able to climb them.
  • Genshin Impact has the entire Japan-inspired nation of Inazuma subjected to "A Nation Closed By Storms". The entire nation is surrounded by magical storms, and will force players back to a location on the mainland if they were trying to enter without completely the requisite quest, or back to Ritou on Inazuma if they try to leave without a teleport. This example is especially egregious in that players making the trek through icebridging (where one freezes water with ice powers of certain characters), not only can they reach another major island - giving the impression that island travel through icebridging is possible - but they're finally sent back to shore once they're so close to Inazuma's shores that details begin to resolve. No warnings are given ahead of time, resulting in the player losing potentially an hour or more of monotonous icebridging unceremoniously.
  • The Godfather thankfully averts this. While at the beginning the game is clearly set up like GTA in a section-after-section of the city way, after some poking around the player can very quickly discover that they can get to any point on the map even at the start of the game. Played regrettably straight in the sequel, however. A surly ticket agent refuses to speak with you until you've beaten Carmine Rosato, only after which you can go to Florida. There is a similar issue with Cuba. Furthermore, some fronts just don't register on the map until a certain point in the plot is reached.
  • Grand Theft Auto series:
    • Grand Theft Auto III prevents you from heading to the other boroughs of the city before you're supposed to with the oh-so-popular broken bridge (the first is blown up by your starting escape, but the subway is out, too.). Of course, once you complete the required missions, it's fixed. There are ways to circumvent this, but since the other boroughs aren't "activated" until the bridge (and later the subway) is fixed, they're empty save for traffic and thus completely pointless.note 
    • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City also prevents you from reaching the west island by issuing a hurricane warning, causing every bridge to be closed. Once you finish the required missions, the hurricane warning is cancelled due to the storm in question changing course to miss Vice City entirely. note 
    • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has a series of broken (or closed) bridges that block you from the rest of the state, initially from an earthquake warning. The in-game explanation is that the police told you to not leave town, you appararently become fugitive at that point. It is possible to cross over by swimming (and in one case by executing a particularly spectacular stunt jump) or even commandeering a train and driving it backwards (for some reason, it can only break through the rail blockades this way), but your wanted meter immediately shoots up to four stars, and won't go down as long as you're in the restricted area (plus, if you chose to take the train, the cops will blow it off the tracks, forcing you to get off it).
    • Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories handles this a bit better; as a prequel to GTA 3, it's set when the bridge and tunnel are under construction, and the ferry workers — about to be put out of a job — are on strike. It's still essentially the same trope, but the issue is worked into the plot, with the Mafia manipulating the union throughout the strike. Also, the timing isn't quite as nicely convenient as usual; there are still several feet missing from the bridge when you first cross it, forcing you to make a daring stunt jump to lose the police.
    • Grand Theft Auto IV handles this very simply; at the beginning of the game, the Mayor has raised the terror alert to "Magenta", or some such colour, and the bridges are closed as a result. You can run the blockade (or simply walk across one bridge that remains open to pedestrians), but you get an instant 6 star rating for your trouble. This is (slightly) handwaved in-story as Niko is an illegal immigrant. Johnny and Luis, the stars of the DLC, are Americans and are under no restriction even though Niko is at the same canonical point in time. Strangely, however, the broken bridge appears to only apply to Niko. Computer-controlled pedestrians can cross back and forth at will (at least via the several pedestrian bridges), and in the DLC The Lost and the Damned, which is set concurrently with the main game, the player can travel cross the city at will even during missions where Niko was restricted!
    • Avoided in Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars — you can cross any bridge to any island at any time. (Though the cops are still called if you pass without paying a toll bridge; this is the only GTA game in which there are tolls charged.)
    • Averted in Grand Theft Auto V, the entire map is open from the start. However Los Santos closes off for a period of time for Michael and Trevor after Trevor goes rogue and takes Martin Madrazo's wife, and Martin responds by having his underlings target both characters with heavy gunfire the moment either character enters Los Santos city limits until his wife is returned to him. A few locations still trigger wanted levels if entered before certain parts of the game, however.
  • inFAMOUS:
    • Like many wide-open sandbox games, Empire City is made up of three islands connected by damaged or raised bridges, which get repaired or lowered as the player progresses. The game strands Cole on the island of Neon, where he fights Reapers. A certain amount of plot later, and he's stranded in the Warrens, where he fights Dust Men. Then he helps repair the bridge between the two, and can travel freely between them. And so can the Dust Men and Reapers. A few missions from then on involve the two factions fighting for dominance.
    • A more subtle example is the use of power outages in sections of the city. While Cole can technically go to these places, he has no source of recharging himself and is quickly killed.
  • In Postal 2, you will be limited to a few areas on the first day with road tunnels to other parts often closed off with construction signs. Each successive day, new areas open, until the entire map is open on Friday. This also applies to certain buildings which are inaccessible until the day they become necessary. This actually had the disadvantage of limiting the open sandbox nature of the game since the player must beat several days worth of quests to open areas, and some buildings are only accessible during their relevant errand.
  • [PROTOTYPE]: The bridge is never broken, but anyone who tries to cross it during quarantine will get a massive missile strike rained down on them. Surprisingly however despite the amount of missiles, the bridge cannot be damaged. Attempting to cross over before the quarantine comes into full effect just results in an obvious invisible wall at a certain point of every bridge. The game even tries to discourage exiting via bridge progressively, such as stalling the camera's position at a certain point, disabling gliding and air-dash, etc.
  • Red Dead Redemption has literal broken bridges that prevent you from accessing areas of the game (Mexico, West Elizabeth) before you've completed missions that unlock those areas. Trying to get past them will cause John to demonstrate his Super Drowning Skills. This is despite the fact that, in a lot of places, the river between New Austin and West Elizabeth is narrow enough that he could probably jump across with a decent run up.
  • In Red Faction: Guerrilla, you are prevented from reaching the final sector (Eos) because the only way to reach it is through the Free Fire Zone. The name is pretty self-explanatory. A large part of the storyline missions involve finding a way through it.
  • Snoopy's Street Fair for the iPad has two of these. The player has to get rid of a wasp nest before expanding the fair to the east, and then dispose of a fallen tree before expanding to the west. Each of these actions requires the player to reach a certain level, spend several thousand Snoopy Coins and either wait a few days or (for a faster expansion) spend a few Snoopy Dollars.

  • Lampshaded in this Adventurers!! strip.
  • Homestuck features a literal broken bridge on this page. It's there presumably to prevent the player from facing his final boss too early, though Terezi has another plan to engage in a bit of Sequence Breaking.
    • ...demonstrating that sometimes the broken bridge is there for a reason.
    • In Problem Sleuth, doors are frequently blocked by gigantic stone busts of Owen Wilson, Ben Stiller, and Snoop Dogg for no apparent reason.
  • In Kid Radd, at one point the title character and two others are traversing an RPG called Mofo. They discuss skipping a good deal of the game, which is meant to build their characters up for the ending; they themselves don't need/can't use the extra levelling. Naturally, they run into a literal broken bridge, and have to spend several hours questing just to get past it.
  • This The Way of the Metagamer comic.

    Web Original 
  • College Saga parodies this (and many other tropes): "A huge chair blocks your path." The chair is regular sized, made of plastic, and could be walked around if the heroes would walk on grass.
  • There's an entire Twitter feed dedicated to archiving screenshots of Broken Bridges in video games, "we don't need to go there now".

Alternative Title(s): Invisible Plot Wall