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Container Maze

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You'll never guess what the stage's
Start-to-Crate Rating was.

Callie: So many containers... I wonder what's inside them!
Marie: Wouldn't it be rad if it was all Squid Sisters merch?!

Our heroes find themselves at the docks. The baddie or monster is lurking somewhere nearby; unfortunately, there's a whole mess of shipping containers piled up everywhere, forming an environment like a maze. The containers all look similar, so searching for the target is confusing for both the heroes and the audience. There could be anything lurking around any corner, or in any of the containers...

Any environment with a large quantity of similar-looking stackable items is a great candidate for one of these, e.g. packing crates in a warehouse, or cardboard boxes in a storeroom.

For an added bonus, it can sometimes be set in a rail yard, where the maze may start shifting at any time and quite possibly crush either the pursuer or the pursued.

Not to be confused with a maze that's meant to contain something (Labyrinth of Crete).



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  • One of the BMW Films The Hire short films features a brief car chase in one of these. The hero tries first to hide in between the containers by turning off his engine and lights (presumably to demonstrate how easy it is to turn on and off the headlights), only for the bad guys to spot them and a chase to re-ensue.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Occurs in the Sailor Moon episode where Sailor Venus is unveiled. The Sailor Warriors and Tuxedo Mask have to navigate the stacks of massive crates and shipping containers at Tokyo Harbor to reach the location of the tied-up fake Sailor Moon (who is really Zoisite in disguise, but the heroes don't know that and think that they are rescuing an innocent civilian). After Zoisite has revealed himself, he chases an injured Tuxedo Mask through the stacks of crates inside a warehouse.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Future War features this with cardboard boxes. Subverted when one character just smashes through the wall of empty boxes.
  • Batman Begins, when Batman is hunting mobsters by the docks.
  • Area 51 in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has a looser version of this.
  • Hanna has a chase scene in this kind of setting.
  • The A-Team: The climax occurs a dock loaded with containers, as part of an elaborate Shell Game.
  • This Island Earth isn't an example, but the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew treat it like it is:
    Tom Servo: Joe, I'm in one of these boxes. Find me!
  • Welcome to the Punch (2013). A clue written on the hand of a murdered witness is Punch 119, the number of a shipping container in a massive container yard where the final denouement/shootout takes place.
  • In the Brazilian film The Elite Squad, a container maze is used to train candidates for operations in the narrow streets of Rio's slums.
  • Dave Made a Maze centers around one of these, that being what the "Dave" of the title made. Specifically, he made a cardboard box in his apartment, but inexplicably got "lost" in one. When his friends come to get him out, it turns out it had in fact become a sprawling cardboard labyrinth (complete with death traps and its own minotaur) for seemingly no reason.

  • Worm: The setting for the Undersiders fight with Über and Leet is a huge abandoned shipping site filled with old shipping containers. The duo ambushes the Undersiders to take the team's loot acquired from an earlier bank heist. The setting is apropos given that they're a duo of video game-themed villains.
  • In The Quillan Games Bobby is attacked by quigs and chased by Dados through one of these.
  • Done intentionally in The Zombie Survival Guide. A zombie attack takes place on a crowded dock. The workers make a maze of packing containers to stop (or squash) the zombies.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Crystal Maze: One game in series 6 was a maze of stacked barrels, through which the contestant had to carry a small barrel on a long chain, which would only fit through the right gaps in the stacked barrels.
  • Doctor Who: In "Planet of the Ood", the Doctor and Donna wind up pursued in a warehouse full of shipping containers. Donna gets caught, but then the Doctor ends up in a chase after the sadistic head of the guards decides he's always wanted to try using the large grappling crane against a person...
  • Primeval episode 4.2, involving an extended face-off with a prehistoric crocodile.
  • The cargo hold of Red Dwarf is portrayed as such.
  • Torchwood once had to find an incapacitated Gwen in one of these.
  • A common occurrence in Criminal Minds. Typically, they are either looking for a killer or trying to locate a victim: or both. One unsub was actually trying to blow up the docks as a political statement, so the agents had to find and distract him while the bomb squad diffused his explosives. The trope has also been invoked in other places such as a university library (with movable stacks).
  • Used several times in Grimm; given that it is set in Portland, this is unsuprising.

    Video Games 
  • Doom:
  • Lots of the levels in Half-Life (and its expansions) are this trope. Warehouses full of crates, yards full of shipping containers... Half-Life 2 has at least one. Black Mesa carries on the tradition but fixes some of the more aggravating parts.
  • At the end of Heavy Rain, the Origami Killer can chase Madison through one of these.
  • The dockyard level in the original Max Payne, which also has some overhead cranes and forklifts to contend with, making it somewhat mobile in spots.
  • In Metal Gear Solid the fight versus Raven, you have to hide between the crates that all look alike and take him down by firing at his back.
  • One of the later levels on Resident Evil 5 is like this.
  • A number of ship and warehouse maps in City of Heroes. Also shows up in Independence Port.
  • In inFAMOUS the Dust Men have basically constructed a fortress out of shipping containers in the Warren, with the flat sided sides preventing Cole from being able to clamber up them as he can with regular buildings, forcing him to fight his way through the maze until he can reach a ladder up on top of the crates which he then has to navigate without falling.
  • A big part of Total Overdose.
  • The second Army of Darkness tie in games. Those damned mouth-portals...
  • In one mission of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, you have to remove explosive crates from a burning warehouse maze, with paths becoming blocked as the fire rages.
  • Parts of the Factory and Control Center in WinBack, also occasionally using Mobile Maze elements.
  • Metroid: Other M contains a Boss Battle in a location like this.
  • Two secret levels from Super Mario Galaxy 2 involve helping a Gearmo burn crates in order to obtain a Power Star.
  • Dead Space 2 features a locking dock chock full of shipping containers. Oh, and a dozen or so raptor-like necromorphs.
  • GoldenEye (1997) has a few levels like this, notably "Depot" and "Train".
  • Perfect Dark has "Area 51: Rescue" as well as a multiplayer level based on the same ("Warehouse").
  • Driftveil City's Cold Storage in Pokémon Black and White. Made extremely frustrating by all the Frictionless Ice you have to navigate to get through it. And on top of that, you have to navigate it twice. Once during the game, and again post game because one of the Seven Sages is hiding there.
  • The Soldier of Fortune series has these in New York (first game), Prague, and Hong Kong (both second game).
  • Jurassic Park: The Game sees Gerry having to run around and jump across the top of one of these in order to dodge a Tyrannosaurus rex.
  • The Minecraft Game Mod BuildCraft. You can't walk through pipes, and they will get in your way.
  • In the Bonkers video game for the Sega Genesis, Mr. Big's stage takes place in a warehouse filled with crates, which are scattered out like a maze. Mr. Big has hidden a bomb set to explode in the warehouse, and in order to defuse it, Bonkers must find the pieces of Fall-Apart Rabbit in various crates and put them together so Fall-Apart can defuse the bomb. As the levels progress, Mr. Big's mouse henchmen will navigate the warehouse to try to get Bonkers, so Bonkers must take them out by pushing crates at them.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines has a small one on the Elizabeth Dane Ghost Ship. It's a Stealth-Based Mission: the challenge is to investigate a suspicious shipment without being spotted by police officers, which would threaten the Masquerade. You can easily bypass the whole thing by sneaking to the ship's bridge and looking through the CCTV instead.

  • Plush and Blood has the two protagonists brought in a box before the Evil Overlord. They manage to escape into the warehouse beginning on page 26, and proceed to play hide-and-seek with thirty or so mooks among the rows and rows of crates. Fox and Grey later open one particular crate to discover Katt inside it. She's rather persnickety at first, but otherwise fine.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • One theory has the original Labyrinth in Minoan Crete started out as this. Originally a basement for storing Amphoras of wine it kept on being expanded farther and farther until it became a horribly complicated mess.