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Continuing is Painful

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You're out for the count. You exhausted your last life or last ounce of energy and your character is done. Game Over, dude. Have a Nice Death! No problem, you'll just continue and try again, right? Not quite! The challenge is beefed up even more and the game is even harder than it was before you were defeated, whether it is starting without power ups or the like. This trope usually applies to games that use a health bar system or life count. If this gets bad enough, the only way to beat the game might be to start all over and do it without a game over.

Despite the high cost, this is still an example of Death Is Cheap in games where loss equals death, since it means that returning from the dead is nearly guaranteed despite its disadvantages.

This is a sub-trope of Death as Game Mechanic, which covers all sorts of changes and affects death can have on gameplay beyond making the game harder or undoing your progress. The opposite of Death Is a Slap on the Wrist and Mercy Mode. Contrast Anti-Frustration Features, where dying makes the game lower the difficulty for you. If continuing takes you back to a much earlier part of the level or game, that's Checkpoint Starvation. This trope is a frequent cause of an Unstable Equilibrium, since it's a mechanic that inherently makes the game progressively harder when you're already doing badly.



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    Action Adventure 
  • If you die in the Warrior Cats fangame Warrior Cats: Untold Tales, you have the option to have the medicine cat revive your current character instead of starting with a new character. This costs five Reputation. Reputation is basically a does-all currency that is in incredibly low supply, and you need it to eat, drink, and heal yourself. That five reputation you'll spend to revive is a considerable amount, and the game will be even harder without it.
  • Dying in Illusion of Gaia sends you back to a checkpoint with half health. Apparently the game thinks that if you couldn't beat the boss at full health, you'll have a better shot with half of your health missing.
  • If you die in Fester's Quest and hit continue, you still have your upgraded weapons, but you start back at the beginning part of the game, which is very annoying. You have to go through those sewers again. And the buildings.
  • In Spiral Knights, if you die, you have three options: get resurrected by having another party member sacrifice half of their HP to give to you, spend Energy (which can be bought with real money, but slowly regenerates naturally), or just give up and return to the Lobby. Spending Energy seems okay for the first 2 or so deaths, but each time you die, the cost doubles...the decision to turn back after already spending lots of energy on multiple revives is a difficult one, indeed.
  • In Too Human, it first appears that Death Is a Slap on the Wrist. Although your current equipment is damaged, the penalty is rather trivial as you can always switch them or warp to the Hub Level for repairs. Losing your combo level leaves you less powerful and isn't as easily remedied, but isn't insurmountable, either. Then the realization sinks in that the dying animation with the Valkyrie coming down takes a good 45 seconds and can't be skipped, so if you die a lot, it actually starts to make you not want to play anymore. There's actually an achievement for dying 100 times, a testament to the fact that you've wasted over an hour repeatedly watching your corpse being carried off.
  • Sub Mission, a 1986 submarine game from Mindscape, pit you against an underwater warlord holding two hostages. If you failed, one of the hostages would be deleted from the disk — permanently. Continuing Is Not Only Painful, but very quickly Impossible.
  • killer7 somehow straddles the border between Death Is a Slap on the Wrist and this: When one of the Smiths is killed, you start over at the nearest Harman's Room, with no penalty apart from not being able to use the same Smith again — unless you pick Garcian, the 'cleaner', and trek back to where you died to pick up their body. This is particularly irritating, because Garcian is armed with a dinky pistol that can't be upgraded at all, and if he goes down, the game is over for good. Thankfully, playing as Garcian makes fewer enemies appear, but it's still easy to make a level unwinnable in killer8 mode if a character dies behind an enemy that only that character can kill with ease.
  • Zombies Ate My Neighbors does this for Password Saves. As you progress, you gain a password to use to continue from that level if you decide to play later. However, continuing from a password won't keep all the guns and items you collected, so the only way to make some real progress is to start from the first level each time you want to try to beat the game. The game also has 40+ levels for you to clear. Good luck!
  • Oh, Henry Hatsworth. As if it wasn't enough that you only get checkpoints when the game loads a new map (and these maps can be long, people), the game resets your Super Meter to 50%, a decent (but not remarkable) amount, and gives you a new Puzzle Realm board on the bottom. So, all those items (including hearts and even 1-ups) you collected on the top screen but forgot to activate on the bottom screen? They're gone! Did you enter a new map with a full Super Metre ready to unleash Tea Time on all the pathetic mooks you could get your hands on? Too bad, sucker! This kind of dickishness is indicative of how the rest of the game treats you, too.
  • Dying in Jak II: Renegade or Jak 3: Wastelander would't restore your ammo back to when you hit the checkpoint. For Jak II in particular, this made certain Missions much harder to complete past your first try, as you had already spent all the ammo for your good weapons on the first attempt and couldn't stock them up anymore. Having sparse checkpoints didn't help.
    • A glitch in the Final Boss of Jak II: Renegade meant that, though the game was saved when you reached the third phase, dying would take you back to the first, with all the ammo you had when you started that phase. Thus, every time you die on the third phase, your ammo would deplete for further attempts. Only one kind of ammo can be restocked during the fight, and it is for a generally weak gun, thus the boss gets increasingly difficult the more you fail at it.
  • In the NES version of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, if Indy dies after collecting the Sankara stones, he will lose them and have to track them down again before he can move on to the next level.
  • Castlevania:
    • The original Castlevania on NES is rather nasty with this trope. Each area is divided into three stages, and dying takes you back to the beginning of the current stage. Losing all your lives makes you restart the area from scratch. Both situations have their disadvantages; continuing means you have to retrace all those steps while preserving your life count; however, this is also required to gain certain advantages. In most areas, the Game-Breaking, boss-slaughtering Holy Water only appears in its first stage. This is especially horrible in the fifth area (Stages 13-15), where dying on Stage 14 or 15 means you'll have to fight Death the hard way. Also, your whip gets downgraded back to the weak leather whip, and while the normal-length chain whip is usually in the first candle you destroy, you need to rack up 8 hearts again just to get the long chain whip.
    • While Castlevania II: Simon's Quest allows you to literally respawn in the same spot you died, it also drops your heart count to zero. This can be a real pain in the ass when you're trying to save up for a whip upgrade, since hearts are used for currency and ammunition. Especially so if you're trying to get all the endings, since they're determined by how much time passes. Having to re-grind for an essential item or whip upgrade can potentially break your chances should night fall, forcing you to wait until the stores re-open. Luckily, this is much less of a problem when it happens inside one of the mansions, as the In-Universe Game Clock only runs when outdoors, giving you as much time as you need to regain your hearts until you exit.
    • Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse is even worse than the first game about this, thanks to the ludicrously ramped-up difficulty, (especially in the NES version). The levels are longer and, unlike in the first game, are brutal the whole way through rather than mostly at the end, which means each Game Over is going to force you to retread a lot of insufferable aggrivation. The final level, however, curiously averts this: When you die against Dracula, you are sent back to the second section, before the pendulums and the Goddamned Bats, where Trevor can pick up an axe, which is very useful against Dracula's third form.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In the original The Legend of Zelda, continuing will result in Link's life only being 3 hearts full for the next round. Potions and/or fairies that were consumed during whatever battle killed you don't come back either. And you have to find your way back to where you died from (often) somewhere outside the dungeon. The dungeons are structured so that it's not as painful as starting at the beginning of the level in a more linear game, but death can be a real nuisance.
    • In Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, noted to be the most Nintendo Hard of the series, you respawn in the temple in which you begin the game. This means it's a long and tedious walk, sometimes through several mandatory mini-levels that will chip away at your health and magic, to get back where you were. You also lose all of your experience pointsnote , and any 1-Up dolls you picked up can never be collected again. Also, fairies, potions, etc. are all one-time-use items that cannot be stored. However, cleared palaces remain cleared, and within the level you were playing, any needed items, keys, etc. remain in your inventory. Averted in the seventh and final level, the Great Palace, where getting a Game Over simply puts Link back at the start of the dungeon instead of all the way back to the Northern Palacenote .
    • Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: Wand of Gamelon have this, too. Whenever you die, you waste the lantern oil and ropes you used before.
    • It's a rare occurence, but a case of this trope can occur in Ocarina of Time if you get killed by a Like-Like. Normally, if a Like-Like eats your shield or tunic, you can just kill it to get them back. If the damage from the Like-Like kills you, though, those items are gone. Shields are easy to buy back, but the Goron and Zora tunics are stupidly expensive. In fact, there's no way you can afford a replacement Zora tunic without the Giant's wallet upgrade. Lose the one King Zora gives you and don't have the upgrade? Have fun completing the Water Temple without the Zora tunic!
    • Majora's Mask is particularly punishing in the way it handles continuing and saving. If you lose all of your hearts, you respawn from the last entrance or exit you passed through, but time does not rewind to account for this: the clock will resume from the point at which you died. If the moon crashes into Termina, all of your progress from after your last save will be lost. There are only two ways to save the game: through owl statues (which allow you to continue right away, but can only be loaded once), or with the Song of Time (which can be loaded at any time as many times as you want, but resets your progress and causes you to lose nearly all of your items and rupees note ).
    • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, dying means losing all the items you've rented and having to pay the in-game money to rent them again. Hope you like a long trip back from Ravio's Shop every time you mess up in the first half of the game! The only mercy is that you're teleported there should you choose to continue. Or you can just quit and restart with said items intact, but that obviously loses a lot more progress. Subverted when you cough up the extra money needed to buy the gear, which adds it to your inventory permanently. Once you buy them all, Ravio even encourages you to die as much as you want.
  • In Metroid, no matter how many energy tanks you've found, if you die (or even if you start an old game by putting in a password), prepare to hunt down some health, as you only start with a mere 30 HP and no Energy tanks.
  • The Legend of the Mystical Ninja has places in most towns where you can write a logbook that acts as a save point. You can die and restore from the save point with no problem, but the issue with that is that, upon entering a new town, you first have to find said building (when Everything Is Trying to Kill You, even in towns), and you'll likely be drained from the boss fight that came beforehand. If you die before reaching the save point, you can either restart the previous stage (or previous two stages, since one or two towns don't have logbooks at all), or restart from when you first entered the town...which costs you everything, including the Heart Containers you could only find in previous stages that are now Permanently Missable.
  • In Spider-Man vs. the Kingpin, using a continue caused the in-game clock to fast-forward two hours, giving you less time to get all the keys needed to disarm the bomb. If you lose all of your health, and continuing would put you over 24 in-game hour time limit, you don't get to continue: it's Game Over.
  • In a fresh level of Windmill Software's Digger, the monsters (similar to Pac-Man's ghosts) move predictably around a series of pre-dug tunnels, in which you can camp for them and drop gold on their heads with relative ease. But once you've lost a life, they roam freely around the mess of dug-out holes that you've made for them, with few gold bags left with which to trap them, making it much harder for you to clear up those last few gems.
  • Getting continues is very easy in the SNES Animaniacs game, and continuing dumps you off at whatever section you game overed at, and you even get to keep your coins, too. However, continuing forces you to go on with only one Warner Bros (in a game where getting back your lost siblings either requires you to quit the level you're on to go back to the water tower, or roll an incredibly rare combination on the slot reel), which means you'll just be burning through continues really quickly at that point (and losing a sibling without getting a game over at least gets you dropped off at a checkpoint and doesn't force you to redo the entire section over again, not to mention that getting some of the pieces of the script require you to have all three characters).
  • Ghost 1.0: Ghost loses all of her Energy Cubes whenever she dies, and in Survival Mode she’ll lose any power-ups and secondary weapons that she’s collected as well. She can retrieve a limited number of power-ups and one secondary weapon by returning to the spot of her last death, but god help you if she died by falling into a laser pit or a shredder.
  • In Tanzer, a single life and three HP is all you get and healing items are rare. Between levels it is possible to recover health and save progress in exchange for money, but the cost is prohibitive and you'd need to clear a good chunk of the game fair-and-square to save even if you refrained from purchasing any of the much-needed abilities.
  • In Mystik Belle, Death Is a Slap on the Wrist on Normal difficulty, but on Hard, fainting sends Belle back to the Council Chamber at the start of the game and resets her EXP meter, forcing you to grind all over again.

    Adventure Games 

    Fighting Games 
  • In Streets of Rage 3, for every 40,000 points you score in one life, you earn a star (3 max) which upgrades your dash attack. Losing a life takes away one star, and you have to gain 40,000 more points to get it back. Made even more frustrating that the enemies do more damage in non-Japanese versions of the game, making losing a star quite likely to happen.
  • In the Beat 'em Up Fight'N Rage, if you're playing on Hard or a higher difficulty and get a Game Over, upon continuing, you will be booted back to the beginning of the stage. Considering how effective the waves of enemies are at ambushing and stunlocking your character(s), maybe you should restart the run if this happens to you on one of the final stages. Downplayed in Easy or Normal, where you go back at the start of the section instead.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • The series does this for single player mode by cutting your score in half if you continue after being defeated. This can be extremely devastating to players who are aiming for the best score. Melee and Brawl used this trope again and took some of your coins if you continued (except Brawl's Adventure Mode, where you lose half of the stickers you collected in the stage instead). On top of that, you'll get a Game Over automatically if you don't have enough coins to continue. Continuing also often locks the player out of an unlockable character, as some of those require no continues as a condition to be challenged. Lastly, the games also give you one point for every continue, so that the high score keeps track of how many times you continued to get it in the 1's place.
    • Super Smash Bros. Brawl: If you use a continue in the game, you'll get a 20,000-point penalty in addition to getting your score cut in half, making it a more serious blow to anyone going for a high score.
    • Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U: In Classic Mode, accepting a Continue when you lose takes away some of your prize money, a few of your earned rewards (from 1 prize at difficulty 2.0 up to 5 at 9.0), and automatically lowers the difficulty by 0.5. This last part is particularly infuriating for anyone going for the Challenge for beating Classic on 9.0, because a single Game Over anywhere in your run (including Master Core) means you're totally screwed.
    • Downplayed in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, since you don't need to spend money to increase the intensity before starting. Instead, you can only start Classic Mode at a maximum of 5.0 intensity, but the intensity will increase during the game depending on your performance. Continuing after a defeat will reduce the difficulty by 0.5 and reduce your final rewards unless you use a Classic Ticket. Even if you do, however, you will not be able to finish the game with a 9.9 intensity level.
  • Street Fighter II. Your punishment for continuing? You score a single point. This might not seem so bad, but since all other points are scored in multiples of 100, this single point remains a visible stain on your honour for the rest of the game, and anyone viewing your initials on the high score table can see how many times you continued to get there. And if you think you can just continue 10 times to round out the ones digit, the lowest score normal action in the game earns 100 points, so you'll need to continue at least 100 times to avoid anyone knowing that you continued at least once.

    First-Person Shooters 
  • In Wolfenstein 3-D, if you die, you lose all of the points you accumulated in that level, and any weapons you had beyond your pistol. Also, your ammo is reset to 8 bullets. Hope you saved.
    • Duke Nukem 3D is slightly more forgiving — you're only reduced to 48 rounds of ammunition for the weakest weapon in the game. Though on a more serious note almost every level contains every weapon in the game somewhere, usually at least a few close to the start, and enough ammo to kill everything in it. That doesn't stop it from being much harder than your first try.
  • In Doom, after you respawn, you will start the level with what you have at the beginning of the game, which is the pistol with only fifty shots. On many levels, especially in episode 3 and beyond, this rendered death incredibly painful, if not simply making the game downright Unwinnable. If you die to the Spider Mastermind in Dis, you've just lost your BFG9000 and Plasma Gun, and there isn't quite enough plasma ammo inside the actual map to kill the Mastermind on a second trynote . On some bad custom levels, this is as good as a death sentence, as there are numerous monsters between you and some new weapons.
    • The same is true for other games on the Doom and Build engines. It's especially painful in Blood, the only one on either engine where you don't spawn with a gun.
      • However, several console versions averted this by letting you respawn with all of your weapons. This may be to do with the lack of game saving, not only mid-level but in general — essentially, it automatically reloads from the start of that level.
  • In the "Nazi Zombies" (nowadays known simply as "Zombies") mode of Call of Duty: World at War, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and Call of Duty: Black Ops II, getting downed in multiplayer can get you and your team in a very sticky situation. Disregarding recently added Perks in the DLC maps and any Easter egg bonuses, when a player is downed in multiplayer, all of their Perks are taken away, leaving them quite vulnerable when they are revived if they were relying on Juggernog for extra health. It's even worse, though, if the player is not revived: When they spawn back the next round (assuming the rest of the team survived the rest of the round), the player spawns with nothing but an M1911 pistol and a few standard frag grenades; nothing else. In either situation, depending on how many points the character had when they were downed, this could potentially screw over the entire match for the whole team.
  • Both Left 4 Dead games do this when you die and come back in a closet or in the next map. When you die and come back, you have a weak tier 1 gun, a pistol, and only 50% of your health. This is generally not too crippling since the game usually has guns and ammo all over the place. However, the sequel randomly inverts this in The Passing, where players respawning in closets occasionally get a free M60.
    • But Left 4 Dead 2, on the other hand, also has defib units which, despite all logic, revive dead players no matter what killed them. In Campaign mode, they're good to have around. However, using them in Versus mode will inflict a 25 point penalty for the team, regardless of whether or not you actually make it to the saferoom, in addition to the reduced health defibbing normally gives.
  • Borderlands 2 usually runs on Death Is Cheap, with your only penalty for dying being a small fee. But on Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode, the fees grow considerably and as you'll be dying a hell of lot more in this mode, you can quickly find yourself completely broke and unable to buy ammo. Additionally, the enemies have huge health boosts making some bosses take forever to kill. If your whole team goes down they get all their health back.
  • When you die in Descent (which will likely happen a lot), all your weapons (save for the level 1 dual laser cannon) are scattered about your death point, both primary and secondary. On top of that, you lose some of your missiles! Although you lose a life in the process, the main upside is that your shields and energy are restored to 100%.
    • Descent 3 counts your deaths and save restores in each level to display on the post-level results screen, but removes the lives mechanic from the first two games.
    • In any case, Save Scumming is an option for those who like to keep all their stuff, at the cost of fewer shields and less energy.
  • To varying extents in the BioShock series:
    • In the first two games, you are returned to a Vita-Chamber with all of your ammo, first aid kits, and Eve Hypo, but slightly less than full health. Depending on how far the last Vita-Chamber is from where you died, you might have to do a lot of retracing your steps.
    • BioShock Infinite ups the ante a bit by taking a fair bit of money whenever you die (although you don't really die, Elizabeth just revives you until you become separated in Comstock House). The "Clash in the Clouds" DLC has two variations: if you die with a purchasable extra life, you are returned to a safe part of the level and the enemies ignore you until you start shooting or moving around too much. Die without the extra life, however, and you have to either restart the entire sequence of stages from the beginning or forfeit your ranking to continue. If you choose the latter, your health, salts, and ammo are replenished, but all surviving enemies regain theirs too and you respawn (roughly) where you died. That means if you died fighting a Handyman, dying several times in a row, sometimes taking damage before you have full control of Booker, is entirely possible.
  • In Destiny and Destiny 2 there are certain areas of various gametype that forces a reset to the last save point if the entire team is killed. For the most part you have unlimited revives but ammo for your weapons and special abilities remain the same as when you last died. So a team could unload all their super attacks, heavy and special ammo in an encounter, still die, and have to start over without those resources available. There have been some items given to players that can help refresh ammo and eventually raid banners are placed that will restore all ammo and ability energy to full before a significant encounter such as raids and dungeons.

  • When you use an item in the Devil May Cry games, it's used for good, and if you die, you will have to do the sequence (or the entire level) again without recovering the items you already used. The first game has very strict consequences on continuing compared to the sequels; dying without a Yellow Orb would force you to go back and load a save file. On the other hand, if you have any Yellow Orbs, you are forced to use one when you die, as opposed to having an option to deny, and being able to quit, retry and go shopping as later games would allow. Then again, the games do all they can to discourage constant use of items.
  • Fire Emblem Warriors has a "Classic" difficulty option that allows players to play the game similarly to mainline Fire Emblem games, where defeated characters don't immediately come back for the next map. Understandably, given the spinoff's Genre Shift, this doesn't mean Permadeath, but once the option to revive fallen characters in the Temple is unlocked, the cost to bring them back to life is significant — 300,000 gold and 10 Gold items (usually obtained by defeating heroes or raising their Support levels), along with any money spent in the Training Room to bring their levels up to speed with everyone else.

  • In Dream of Mirror Online, dying not only takes 10% off your EXP bar, but also reduces the durability of your items. This is very painful considering that if you preferred to train solo, you would have to buy several sets of the same armour to keep yourself well-defended at all times (you unlocked a new set of armour every 5 levels). As if that wasn't enough, your EXP bar could actually go into the negative if you were too far away from the next level. You wouldn't level down, though.
  • In Ultima Online, when your character dies, you have to wander around as a ghost until you find a shrine, player, or NPC who can resurrect you. When you get resurrected, you would generally have none of the inventory you were carrying when you died (i.e. armor/weapons/spell reagents), be at very low health, and if you wanted to get your stuff back you would have to return to your corpse before it rotted away over the course of fifteen minutes. If you died alone in an isolated or dangerous area or got killed by another player, you usually wouldn't be able to make it back in time, would simply die again before you could recover your possessions, or would return to find your corpse looted of all its valuables. Thankfully, there were a few exceptions - "blessed" items would stay with your ghost instead of your corpse, and the game implemented "item insurance" that made items temporarily blessed in exchange for being a gold sink. (Coincidentally, this happened about the same time that they ramped up the importance of having high-end equipment a lot.)
  • Korean MMO driving game Drift City inverts this: missions become slightly easier if you fail them. A time limit adds an additional second or two, number of crashes permitted increases by one; whatever the conditions are change slightly in your favor.
  • City of Heroes has a slap on the wrist version with XP Debt, which can be seen as your "hospital bill." Until you earn enough XP to pay it off, you only keep half of the XP and the other half goes towards paying off the debt. However, there is no XP debt before level 10 or in certain areas, and deaths inside missions give only half the debt that you'd get dying outdoors. Also any Patrol XP that you've earned while offline will pay off the debt passively, and Patrol XP that you already had saved up will pay off the debt before you even get back up. Originally, XP Debt was cumulative, so each death would increase the amount of debt to the point that XP Debt could be equal to your current level, and further deaths felt like a step backwards.
  • In Phantasy Star Online, if you died you would be stripped of your current weapon (normally your best) and all the money you were carrying. So you would have to travel through the whole level (thankfully the enemies remain dead after you kill them) to collect your items, hopefully you had a backup weapon handy. This became doubly annoying with online play as people would wait for you to die, steal your best weapon and your money, then disappear.
    • Or they would hack the game to kill you and steal it.
      • And what's even worse, if you were playing the Dreamcast version, and the power went out...
  • In most cases death and resurrection in Guild Wars punishes the player with a cumulative 15% Death Penalty to health and mana. This means that with each subsequent death the character becomes easier and easier to kill, leading to him (and in some cases, the entire party) being unable to finish the mission.
    • In hard mode, if the entire party (Including AI-controlled henchmen and heroes) all achieve the full 60% Death Penalty each, then the entire party is then sent back to the previous outpost they visited, and all progress towards vanquishing every enemy in that zone is then reset. Ouch.
      • That being said, killing enemies allows you to work the Death Penalty off, and some items remove Death Penalty (candy canes take away 15% of your DP, while Four-Leaf Clovers randomly remove 5-15% DP from the entire party).
      • Some items remove ALL death penalty from your party. The red and white candy canes remove all death penalty from a single character, and the Powerstone of Courage removes all death penalty from all party members, and gives a 20% morale boost (which is pretty much the exact opposite of death penalty, raising your stats instead). Needless to say, Powerstones basically allow you to avert this trope entirely, should your team run into major trouble and get wiped repeatedly.
  • Dead Frontier is relentless to you even if you're a gold member. You walk out deep into the city for a loot run. You got beaten pretty bad, so your health is at critical. You've accumulated $1,000 worth of loots. Suddenly, a zombie spawns behind you and slaps you upside the head, killing you. After waiting two tedious respawn minutes, you awake at the outpost. You find all $1,000 you had with you gone, your health respawns at critical, and you're starving. Walking back out into the city is basically suicide, since one more hit by a zombie will kill you. Need to buy some medicine and food to get you going again? Better have a few thousand dollars on you (medicine is EXPENSIVE), oh wait, you don't, because you lost all your money when you died. Oh well, better start hours of looting again to get that money back. Combine this with the occasional random Aggro Spike, Made of Iron Boss Zombies, the fact that all your stats are cut in half when you're at critical health, and you've got a recipe for Skyward Scream inducing deaths. If you're a Gold Member? Your respawn timer is lowered to 5 seconds, and you suffer everything else as per normal.
  • Urban Dead is an odd case where death can be either meaningless or excruciating. Die as a survivor, and you have to play as a zombie until you can be revived by another player. For players who like playing both sides this is no problem. For others, depending on the climate of the place where you died you may be able to walk two spaces to a designated revive point and be up in a few hours or you may have to trek across two suburbs, spending two AP per move since you're probably a low-level zombie.
    • Zombies used to have an extremely nerve-wracking one — high level survivors got a skill called "Headshot" which originally made you lose all your unspent experience points when they killed you. On top of the normal 10 AP penalty for standing back up, equivalent to a fifth of your day's actions. Due to the nature of the game it is nearly impossible to actually reduce your odds of being killed once every night as a zombie (it's all a matter of how populated your current location was with each side), at least without fleeing to an area with no survivors (and thus no XP). Combine this with game mechanics that quickly sap all your AP while searching for survivors (and the aforementioned AP penalty for dying) leaving you with little to actually attack with unless very lucky, and the result wasn't pleasant. Eventually the game's creator reduced the penalty on low level zombies, then changed Headshot to an extra 5 AP penalty instead of experience points (more immediately useful for the survivor, less painful for the zombie), and added a skill for zombies that reduced the base AP penalty for death by 90%, greatly relieving the pain.
  • In Tera, dying takes a huge hit to your stamina — which is strongly tied to your combat effectiveness and can generally only be replenished with downtime in appropriate locations — and has a chance of destroying one of the enhancement crystals slotted to your weapons and armor. An EXP penalty would arguably be less painful.
  • Originally Star Trek Online had no death penalty at all. Your ship blew up or you were incapacitated on the ground, and just respawned. Players complained. So, they implemented a Damage/Injury mechanic. On Advanced and Elite difficulty you have a good chance of getting one of three levels of Damage/Injury that can make continuing much more difficult unless you have Regenerators/Components suited to the Minor/Major/Critical level they can get. This can be anything from losing a few points in your Shields power levels to a completely disabled system, or worse.
  • In The Lord of the Rings Online, dying does not cost you your valuable XP, but causes a significant amount of wear down on your equipment (at least 15% of total durability) and inflicts Dread, which will reduce your maximum HP, MP, DPS and Defense depending on the severity of the curse.
  • Dungeons & Dragons Online follows a similar system to The Lord of the Rings Online above (not surprising as they were created by the same company).
  • Death in MUDs places you back at a spawn point in your character's home town, which could be far, far, far from where your corpse, and everything on it, will be left. This is accompanied with a loss of about half the advancement made since last level, which may be bad enough, and of course, all gold. Even in MUDs with a storage system for contingency equipment, it's not going to be your optimal equipment, because that's what you'd be sensibly wearing at the time you risked your life and lost it. If no storage, then you go scrambling naked, perhaps across deserts and swamps for double the fatigue cost and half the movement speed, along the path you'd cut earlier when you set out which is now peppered with random threats, and back into the maw of death that had already gobbled you up when you were in top condition with your best equipment. And who would you expect to find standing over your remains, should you survive to make it back, but the same damn bastard who killed you? This is assuming the area isn't populated with corpse eaters to eat your corpse and scavengers to collect all your inventory and scatter it all four corners of whothefuckknows. Yeah, continuing is painful.
    • Depending on the MUD, death can range from this to a slap on the wrist, and on some MUDs, it can vary even depending on the situation of your death. On Discworld MUD, for example, you get 7 lives (any more you have to buy, with the price for the first rather high and growing quickly), you lose all the unused experience (big problem if you've been numberchasing and lose all those hundreds of thousands of XPs just as you're about to go advance) and your stats get big penalties (for weaker characters, this might mean that you're not strong enough to get everything from your corpse). On the other hand, you can get your fairy godmother to transport you and your corpse to a safe place before reviving you (although she won't do it for free for more experienced characters), there are ways to restore your stats quickly and even get some of your experience back (although that depends on your fellow players' goodwill and skill). Unlike other MUDs, you also don't usually have to worry about looters (unless you're a playkiller).
      • This has spawned one of the most useful player organizations, the Rescue Recovery Unit (RRU), who upon death, can be called to retrieve your corpse, rez you with a specialized priest spell (basically, you get back some of those unused XP) and some are powerful enough to retrieve you from even a dangerous zone.
    • In the MUD Tibia, the penalty for dying is ten percent of your cumulative experience, as well as your backpack, which probably contains thousands of gold worth of runes and loot, as well as having a ten percent chance of losing each item you're wearing. This can be avoided by wearing a one-use amulet that probably costs more that any one thing you're wearing anyways. Oh, and every single one of your skills also decreases. At higher levels, players can watch half a dozen levels and a month of their lives go to waste in a single moment of lag.
    • In the MUD Retro MUD, this is both averted and played straight. Usually, death only penalizes you up to a maximum of 500k to 1 million experience and an easily removed scar. For comparison, a high level player will have probably spent 150 million or more over their career. The "usually" is because that minimum only applies if you don't have enough for your next level, which means that if you have a lot of experience on hand, you can lose much more. Also, you also have a chance to take statistic damage (or lose training, which costs even more experience and gold), which is greater if you have a lot of scars. The damage is easily treatable...but if it's not, your next death may make it permanent. Finally, it's possible to lose levels from experience loss, and if you lose three levels you are force reincarnated. This starts you over and forces you to choose a new race and class, although you keep most of your experience. The tax for the force reincarnation is extremely high: that 150 million you spent? Cut about 15 million off that, and reduce that by a third. NOW it's hurts.
    • ThunderDome has always been proud of its brutal difficulty, and death is no less easy. Death can result in permanent Constitution loss, until your character has too little Con to even log in; Con-death. The chance and amount of Con-loss increases with age, as does the cost of buying back that Con, to the point that after buying up to maximum at great expense your next death could still be permanent. Without Con-death, continuing leaves you naked to run through hazardous mobs and hostile environments to retrieve your gear. But mobs can loot your corpse themselves, meaning you'd sometimes have to gather groups of high-level players to help retrieve it. Other mobs can eat your corpse, leaving your gear scattered and unidentified for other players, or scavenging mobs; if you die around both wandering carnivores and scavengers, no-one would be able to find where all your gear could possibly wander. Then there are Death Traps that make your corpse completely inaccessible, since you'd die again entering the same room. And then dying in a river could wash your body all the way out to the ocean, where even players with the vast-and-difficult-to-acquire skillset and equipment to survive deep sea diving wouldn't be able to guess where to start digging.
    • In MUME (Multi Users in Middle Earth), you lose experience when you die, and killing monsters of the same type awards less experience the more familiar you are with them (ie. the more you've killed of that type). Since monster familiarity is not reset when you die, earning back the experience is going to take more kills than getting it the first time. If you die too much, you can eventually reach a state where gaining experience at a decent speed is pretty much impossible.
  • EverQuest has one of the hardest death penalties ever. Experience loss (although that could be lessened with help of a cleric), plus, every piece of equipment and inventory remained with your corpse, forcing you to recover it while naked or using sub par secondary equipment. Furthermore, if you failed to recover your corpse within 3 hours, all of the equipment vanished forever (this was later eliminated with the addition of a graveyard zone, where old corpses appeared after vanishing regularly). What makes this especially harsh is that you need a decently geared group to even deal with minor monsters in the dungeons, and, in some cases, not even invisibility allowed you to go through them, meaning you had to recruit help from other people just to recover your corpse. Fortunately, it was possible to recover corpses with the clever use of invulnerability spells and with some creativity (and re-dying a few times in the process).
    • Exception to this: dying in lava. Unless you could recruit the help of a necromancer — which was frequently expensive — your corpse was just lost.
    • Exception 2: Dying in some high tier zones (Plane of Hate, for example) virtually meant you had lost your corpse, since there was almost no way to survive entering it without dying, if naked. The only possibility was to use a two minute window to resurrect a couple of people, and try to hold out against three minor enemies (every single one capable of destroying an unprepared raid), while resurrecting the rest of the people. The problem is that you have no way of knowing when that two minute opening occurs, so this was mostly a luck-based mission.
      • Veeshan's Peak was even worse, since not only could all the aforementioned problems happen, Verant Interactive deliberately upped the difficulty by disallowing the Game Masters and Guides from helping in any way. Bugged mob? Corpse stuck inside the background? TOUGH SHIT.
    • Everquest's penalties for dying slowly got less severe until they finally did away with corpse runs all together. The exp loss can still be pretty painful, though.
    • In Everquest 2, there was originally a variation on corpse runs for "life shards". You would slowly regenerate 50% of your lost exp, but to regenerate the other 50% you had to go retrieve your life shard from where you died. This mechanic was removed fairly early on, some time between the first and second expansions. Now all that happens is a rather pitiful 0.5% regenerating exp loss per death and damaging your armor by 10% forcing you to pay to have it repaired.
  • In MapleStory, once you leave Maple Island, dying takes off 10% of your EXP bar. This is not to be taken lightly, as you need massive amounts of Level Grinding just to gain one level.
  • RuneScape's penalties for death used to be brutal for the unprepared. Upon death, you'd lose all but your 3 most valuable items (the item's worth was not determined by its Grand Exchange price ("street price"), but by the amount you'd get by selling it to an in-game shopkeeper. For example, most high level items sell for a very small amount of coins in the shops, but their street price are often in the millions). This was made even worse by the fact that a stack was not counted as a single item when being kept on death, so if you died with a million coins and nothing else, you'd respawn with 3 coins, dropping the rest at the point of death. Some items were also never kept on death, and if you were "skulled" (recently attacked another player in the wilderness or entered the Abyss), you'd drop all of your items on death. To remedy this, gravestones were added. They last for up to 15 minutes unless blessed by a player; once blessed, they last for an hour. In addition, the process for determining which items to drop upon death was changed. Not only is the item's value determined by the street price, but the player can also choose which items they would like to keep, and some items will never drop on death. On top of that, a later update now allows players to reclaim their items from Death for a fee if they prefer (or if their gravestone's timer runs out), though gravestome timers were nerfed to accomodate for this. Of course, dying in the Wilderness just results in your items being dropped like they originally were.
    • Despite being intended to alleviate this trope, the aforementioned changes to the death system can sometimes make dying just painful as the original penalties. If you are carrying lots of high-level armour and weapons at the time of your death – not horribly uncommon at high-level boss encounters – expect a reclaim fee upwards of several million coins unless you are wearing a very specific ring at the time of your death. And if you try to go back to your gravestone and die before reaching it, everything Death was holding onto will be permanently destroyed, likely setting you back months or even years worth of progress.
    • This is place straight and averted in Old School as an Ultimate Ironman. You lack access to a bank, meaning you need to keep all your items in your (pitifully small for the job) 28 space inventory, not counting equipped items. If you unintentionally die in a bad area, or get killed by another player, your inventory is gone. Permanently. You only have the three items that were considered the most valuable by the game. However, an intentional death is a common strategy, as your items remain on the ground for an hour after death and remain unseeable by other players because of your Ironman status. This makes dying a valuable way to fill your inventory with useless quest items or venture somewhere dangerous and not need to worry about the actually valuable stuff.
  • After hitting level 10 in Dark Age of Camelot, you tend to lose a good chunk of EXP for every death.
  • The MMORPG Flyff takes a few percent off your experience whenever you get killed. Very off-putting if you get killed while trying to level-up, especially when you end up losing everything you gained in the last hour. Not only that, but you're almost certain to have a long trip back to wherever you were fighting monsters (and have to deal with loading times if you died while underground).
  • In the MMORPG PlaneShift, death was originally a slap on the wrist, with the only penalty being a run through the Death Realm and starting back at your race's spawn point. Some people were abusing this by using death as a shortcut to get back to their spawn point quickly, so they added a new penalty, Dakkru's Curse, which cuts all your stats in half for 30 real-life minutes. If you have too much stuff you might not even be able to move at all.
  • In World of Warcraft, using a spirit healer means losing 25% durability to everything both equipped and in inventory (meaning LOTS of gold in higher levels), and a resurrection sickness penalty for up to 10 minutes depending on level, during that time in which your combat skills are heavily reduced (Player groups typically kick out anyone with resurrection sickness rather than wait for it to expire, since they're essentially useless while suffering from it). If you just look for your corpse (or are revived by a friendly healer), death is just a slap on the wrist of 10% damage to equipped items only, with no further penalty.
    • Just an interesting note, during the beta test of World of Warcraft, you suffered a 100% loss in durability to all of your items when you used a spirit healer.
      • The default 10% don't apply if you die to another player though, probably to lessen the frustration when you get killed by much higher level characters (or ambushed by another player while low on health from fighting monsters). Some classes can also kill themselves to avoid that penalty. Finally, you automatically revive at the graveyard without penalty under some circumstances (namely, when developers foresaw possibility to die in a place you wouldn't be able to get to on foot).
      • One of the new guild perks can lessen the amount of durability damage by a small amount.
    • Most WoW players will probably never consider doing this, as 99.9% of the time, they will want to retrieve their corpses and get back into the action right away. But a little known fact about WoW is that, after about one week, the game server will automatically revive dead player characters without any additional penalties — if they are still dead when they log back onto it. Sometimes this can even happen when the servers are restarted for maintenance/patch day.
  • You die in EVE Online, you lose your ship, all modules fitted into it and the cargo, and then you are thrown into a defenseless pod. If you die in a pod, you lose your implants and your clone. With expensively fitted big ships and good implants, the total cost is measured in billions and that's only on a personal level. Losing an inter-corporation war is even more costly. You'll also lose skills that you've trained, and re-training them can take months. If you had all your eggs in one basket, it's almost as if you had to restart the entire game. However, if you took precautions and flew a cheap, insured ship, didn't use implants and kept your clone contract up-to-date, then Death Is a Slap on the Wrist.
    • You only lose skill if your ship gets blown up, and then your escape pod gets blown up, only if your clone is not updated. (And this can only happen through PvP, as NPCs will not attack pods.) Even then, if you get to the wreck of your ship within about an hour, and it hasn't been looted, you can get about half your cargo/modules back.
      • Still hardly a slap as it can take a good long while to get a new ship, all the modules, rigs, and consumables back together.
      • And if you are flying a Tech-3 ship, you will lose from 1 hour to 5 days of skill training, even if your clone is perfectly up-to-date.
    • When your ship or pod is blown up, the attacker of your ship gets a detailed report on everything that was on your ship or pod, called the killmail. The killmail is often posted on a public killboard for bragging rights. Every killmail bleeds valuable intel out to the enemy that are simply looking for easy targets to hunt down(on a personal level/small scale), or trying to develop countermeasures to your new ship fittings and tactics(on a larger scale). If the enemy pays attention, continuing the fight does become harder on top of your material loss.
    • O Game is similar. People sometimes spend months building fleets only to wake up with the entire thing destroyed.
  • Earth & Beyond was a minor example where 1 death wasn't necessarily bad, but multiple deaths could add up to undesirable effect. For the most part death merely meant being towed back to whatever station you had registered, if you died on the other side of the galaxy this could mean over 30 minutes of flight 20+ load screens to get back to where you were. You also incurred an "EXP Debt" which caused EXP gains to be halved until the debt was paid off. Not so much a problem if you paid that debt off with Combat EXP, but Exploration and Trade EXP were rare commodities and having any gains on those halves was indeed painful. The real pain came in terms of equipment damage. All gear came with a % quality rating which effected its stats (vendor default being 100%, max crafted being 200%, and dropped varying from 80%-120%): higher quality weapons fired faster and did more damage, shields and reactors regenerated faster, and activated devices lasted longer. Each death had a chance to reduce any equipped gear's quality, and there was no way to "repair" an item. Craftable gear could be dismantled and rebuilt, but at max level there was no guarantee of the outcome % and people paid top dollar for those managing to turn out a 200% level VIII/IX item. Additionally there was a chance when dismantling to lose components, for rare items some of the components were virtually irreplaceable and their loss meant no rebuild was possible. Non-craftable gear (which was also usually non-tradeable) could never have its quality repaired, if multiple deaths caused its quality to drop too low your only option was to get a new one to drop.
  • There's a 10% EXP loss (which becomes 8% after level 24 and caps at 2400 per death) when you die after a few levels in when playing Final Fantasy XI. Lose enough EXP, and you can level down. Considering all equipment, abilities and spells are based on levels as well as having Clothes Make the Superman in this game, losing a level at certain points can cripple your character. It's easier to get EXP in this game compared to before, but the threat of leveling down means one thing: learn to play this game, or pay for it.
    • However, the above is what happens if you choose to NOT continue (return to homepoint). If you are revived or use a Reraise effect, you regain a value of exp and can regain levels (50% restored for Raise 1, 90% restored for Raise 3). However, upon being raised, you are Weakened, and your HP and MP are at fractional maximums for five minutes. If you are killed and raised again while weak, you go into an unnoted Double Weak status, which applies further penalties. Recovering from Weak can make or break some major fights (though some strategies in longer fights actually have scheduled party wipes at the battlefield entrance to buy time to reraise and full heal for the second half).
    • It's probably worth noting that, if the current system would bother anyone, the original system in FFXI would leave them choking on inchoate rage. Originally 10% of the maximum exp for the next level would be lost at any death (being low level does not protect you!) and the benefits of resurrection were substantially lower. Further, this exp loss was not capped. This translated to a player at level 75 losing (44,500 * 0.1 = 4,450) exp in a time when, with a full party of players, gaining anything over 2,000 exp per hour was considered reasonably good, with legendarily good parties making up to about 6,000 exp per hour. This system essentially led to most players being unwilling to attempt even moderately challenging content without proven competent players and a person's reputation and gear becoming extremely important as one death fest could result in hours and hours of mindless exp grinding.
  • Final Fantasy XIV attempts to avoid the trope but still holds onto it in some degree. Dying causes the durability of your gear to be reduced and you'll be forced to return to your home point, which can be really bad if you had traveled really far. If you decide to wait and have someone revive you, you'll suffer the Weakness status, which cuts your max HP, MP, and your stats by 15% for one minute and it can't be cured. Going down a second time while under Weakness and being revived after puts you under the Brink of Death status, which doubles the penalties to 30%. An update changed it so that HP and MP no longer decrease upon being revived, but main stats like strength and intelligence are reduced by 25% and 50% upon a Weakness/Brink of Death penalty. In either case, your performance in battle will heavily suffer. Having a total party wipe against a boss, however, causes the boss' HP to be fully restored, which effectively erases any progress your team had made against the bossnote .
    • Some of the harder Bonus Boss fights make it so that even being in a position where a party member needs to be revived can be a serious setback. In the Weapon's Refrain trial, if any player gets incapacitated while fighting the Ultima Weapon, it will add to the boss's Limit Break meter. If it reaches 100%, it starts suspending players in the air one-by-one and one-shotting them while leaving their bodies out of reach for healers, guaranteeing a Total Party Wipe.
    • The Eureka content mimics the EXP penalty and level down system from Final Fantasy XI. If you are knocked out and return to the starting area (you're also forced to return there if you aren't revived in 10 minutes), you'll lose a portion of your EXP. The higher your level, the more EXP you can lose. Lose enough EXP and you'll level down. If you are revived, you won't suffer any EXP penalties. Your level in Eureka solely determines your overall battle performance, so a level down can really impact how well you can fight and defend yourself.
    • Similiarly, but in a far more kinder way, to Eureka, the Save the Queen questline of Shadowbringers has a similiar mechanic with Mettle, which increases as you do fights in the Save the Queen areas like the Bozjan Southern Front and Zadnor, and reaching certain thresholds of Mettle allows you to rank up, unlocking more zones, quests, and Lost Actions. Dying in these areas always reduces Mettle, but going back to a spawn point instead of being revived by a player gives a much bigger penalty; however, you can't actually Rank Down, so the penalty at most makes you grind more for your next Rank or your next Valor boost if you're at max Rank.

  • Getting killed in The Goonies 2 makes you lose keys, bombs, and Molotovs. They are randomly dropped from enemies after you first get them, so, you'll definitely be grinding some more for them.
  • In the unlicensed NES game Crystal Mines, your miner robot starts off with a blaster that can only fire one shot and has a very short range. There are upgrades in the game which you can collect that permanently increase the blaster's range and amount of shots it can fire as well as bombs that can destroy obstacles and enemies. However, as soon as you die once, all those upgrades and bombs you collected are lost which leaves your robot in worse condition than if it hadn't been killed.
  • In Mario vs. Donkey Kong, all normal levels are split into two stages, and dying takes you back to the beginning of whichever stage you were on. However, upon beating the first stage, your leftover time is added to the time you have on the second. Unfortunately, if you die even once on the second stage, that time bonus is eradicated, which effectively means you cannot reach the score goal. Worse yet, the game docks you another life when you quit to try the whole level over again.
  • Losing your weapon in later levels of Adventure Island can render the game completely unwinnable, as there are many areas after restart points with undodgeable enemies and no weapon replacements nearby. "Guess you just gotta commit suicide (with all your lives)".
  • In Shinobi for the Sega Master System, dying would cause your life meter (which could be extended to almost insane lengths) to reset back to its default, and you'll also lose any weapon power-ups you've obtained. This can be particularly annoying in the levels with the bottomless pits. Good luck fighting those dive-bombing enemies in level 5-2 with a crappy life bar!
  • In Konami Wai Wai World, it costs 100 bullets to revive each dead character. This isn't too much of a chore unless everyone dies, and continuing only gives you Konami Man, Konami Girl, and half the bullets you had. (Much like hearts in Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, bullets function both as currency and secondary weapon ammunition.)
  • Dying in Purple takes away any weapon the player had, and if Checkpoint has been reached, also possibly denies a chance of getting 100% Completion for that stage, since Check Points are sometimes located past the Point of No Return.
  • In Maximo: Ghosts to Glory, the titular hero's got a deal with The Grim Reaper. Every time Maximo is killed, Grim appears to claim his soul. Paying Grim a death coin allows you to continue. Unfortunately enemies seem to become more numerous, and armor powerups/potions become scarce. And Grim will start demanding more death coins to continue if you happen to die a lot. When he cannot pay the toll, it's curtains for Maximo.
  • In The Legend of Dark Witch, continuing after death erases all of your built up Tres.
  • In both the original and the new Donkey Kong Country games, everything is easier when both Kongs are free. However, when you restart from a checkpoint, you start off with only one Kong. Unless they were generous enough to place a DK Barrel right next to the checkpoint, you're gonna have to grin and bear it and try making it through the difficult segment again with just the one.
  • The NES Ninja Gaiden games are very cruel about this. If you die while fighting a boss, you get knocked back to the beginning of the previous level. If you lose your last life while fighting the boss, there's a good chance you'll get booted all the way back to the beginning of the act.
    • Worse, dying on any of the final bosses automatically boots you back to Act 6-1.
      • Cinematic introduction of bosses refill your life bar. Facing the same boss again after a previous failure does not.
  • Valis
    • Super Valis IV on the SNES. Your life meter increases with your score, as though it's Experience Points. Sensible enough by itself. Continuing reduces your score to zero. Sensible enough by itself. But when you combine the two ...
    • The PC Engine Valis games can suffer from this in their later levels, owing to the increasing scarcity of power-ups.
  • Every single Sonic the Hedgehog game since Sonic Adventure 2 (except for Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations) will reset your score to zero every time you die. To add insult to injury, every level is ranked at the end, so if you die at any point past the first checkpoint, expect an infuriating "E" rank as you reward for getting to the end. Dying close the beginning of the level gave you enough time to make up your score, but dying near the end (or even worse, at the last checkpoint) would make sure you got nothing but an "E". A "D" if you're lucky. The time bonus and ring bonus simply aren't enough to make up for the raw score you get over the level.
    • Die once on the final boss of Sonic (3) & Knuckles, and you get no rings for your next attempt. What's worse is that, in order to get to this boss, you have to go through a long stage, then fight a boss which utilizes a frustrating gimmick that can take some time to get to work. What makes this a problem? The timer doesn't reset. Have fun beating that boss with ten seconds left on the clock. It's not a problem with the True Final Boss though.
    • In Sonic Heroes, nearly every level in the game is a 10-15 minute marathon (the Chaotix mission for Mystic Mansion approaches half an hour) — sure, none of the jumps are individually particularly hard, but you have a good chance of messing up one somewhere along the line. Good luck A-ranking the Hard mode, where each level is 10-15 minutes of raw Platform Hell where you can die if your Light Dash causes you to Blue Tornado instead. It gets infuriating trying to complete such long levels without dying (AND making sure you're doing well enough to get the A Rank you're trying to preserve).

      As you progress through levels, hitting checkpoints and killing enemies, your teammates will gain levels, up to level 3. When you've got a full team at level 3, destroying enemies is a joke and platforming can be done quickly and smoothly. But if you die, you are sent back to your last checkpoint with all three of your team members at level 0. If you couldn't do it at level 3, be prepared to try again with the clunky, slow and weak abilities of a level 0 team.
    • Sonic Unleashed is even more brutal. While score is reset, the time isn't. In the nighttime stages, score is even more important than usual. Sonic is slow as a Werehog, which means your time bonus is pretty useless. A death takes such a heavy toll on your score, that most levels in the game can be S ranked purely by not dying, regardless of any other effort placed on killing enemies or getting score. On top of that, dying will bring you back with an empty unleash meter.
    • Sonic Colors doesn't reset your score but unfortunately, it doesn't reset the time back to 0:00 (or whatever it was when you most recently hit a checkpoint) either. It continues from what it was when you died. So it's still painful.
    • Dying in Sonic Generations negates you from earning an S rank in that stage, plus keeps whatever time you had when you died. In the challenge acts, while time is the only factor for S ranks, you'll likely have to start over from the beginning to get them, since you probably won't make it in time.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Bros. 3 resets all the stages you cleared in a world if you lose all your lives and continued, forcing you to do them all over again (although the toad houses and slot machine games are restored as well). However, mini-fortresses cleared (and the doors that clearing them unlocked) and rocks smashed on the map stay cleared, and if you've made it to the airship, it will still be present as well.
    • In 2-player mode, when someone loses their last life, only the stages cleared by that player will have to be done again. This can lead to some interesting situations.
    • Super Mario Bros. has you start at the very first level of the game should you lose all your lives unless you know the continue code, which isn't in the manual. Died at World 8-4? Have fun getting back there from World 1-1!
    • Similarly, Super Mario Bros. 2 makes a one-way trip back to the beginning the price of running out of continues (though not lives; you can start from the beginning of the world instead of the game after a Game Over, but only twice. And warp zones are harder to find in this one!)
    • Getting a Game Over in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins causes Mario to lose all of the Golden coins he currently has in his possession, requiring him to re-fight the bosses to get them again.
    • A Game Over in Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 causes you to lose one of your treasures, and you must retrieve the lost treasure again.
      • If you had no treasure when you get a Game Over, you lose half the gold from your bank instead. This is actually a lot worse than losing some of your treasures as gold is much harder to come by; Lost treasures can easily be recovered by simply replaying the level you found it in, which takes only a few minutes at most. Recovering the lost gold, in comparison, can take hours (or a lot of luck with the betting minigame).
      • Also, losing a life costs you all the coins you got in that level so far. Of course, you'll probably get them back upon redo.)
  • Any character using the Blaster in the Super Star Wars games will lose the upgrades for it if a life is lost. This can make completing the level much harder since the default Blaster is extremely weak.
  • Mega Man:
    • In the majority of the Mega Man (Classic) games, dying during a boss battle would mean respawning right there (assuming you've got extra lives)... minus the special weapon ammo and Energy (or Sub) Tanks that you had used, reducing your chances of success by a lot. It became really annoying if you had a lot of lives stacked, as you had to lose them all in order to regain your powerups and get a fighting chance.
    • In the Mega Man Zero series, dying knocks three points off of your mission score. This is perfectly fair. However, dying also removes any points you'd accumulated from destroying enemies. God forbid you try to perfect-run the final stage.
      • As additional punishment, you lose points not only for the retry, you lose points for damage and the time spent getting back up to where you were. If you were going for the EX Skills, you've got a lot of ground to make up after you die.
      • Even if you don't care about your rank or EX Skills, dying can still be a problem for new players because the game overs in the Zero series are handled differently compared to other Mega Man games. If you lose all your lives, you don't get booted back to the stage select screen with a new stock, you have to restart from your last save. If you saved with no extra lives, the game could get much harder since you then couldn't rely on in-stage checkpoints until you got more, and the series is hard enough as it is. Sometimes, even if you still managed to beat a stage, if you died a lot and had no extra lives left, it would be better to simply reset and try to beat it again with more lives than to save and continue in that predicament.
      • Played with in Mega Man Zero, where running out of lives and continues on a mission doesn't just cause a game over, but rather, the plot continues to the next mission, just with minor plot details changed to accommodate for Zero failing. However, if you KEEP losing, the rebel's base is attacked, and the game pits you against a boss from much later in the game, who you most certainly are not skilled enough to fight if you've lost enough for him to show up this early.
      • The Zero/ZX Legacy Collection actually inverts this trope entirely, via a new feature: a checkpoint system called "Save Assist". If you activate it, then the lives system will be ignored and instead you're given checkpoints that you need to step into. They will act as both a quick save system, in case you need to turn the game off and aren't near a terminal, and as a unlimited lives system. If you die, it'll roll the game back to the last checkpoint you passed, with full health and Weapon/Biometal energy. Doing this also undoes any damage or time wasted between the last time you reached a save-point and your death(Thus, you dont get more damage penalty or enemy score reset), making it LESS painful to reach rank A/S and obtaining those EX skillsnote , as well as avoiding the need to get extra lives/have save files or restart the level from scratch. You are also not penalized in any way or form for using this system.
  • The Wizards & Warriors series for the NES had fun with continues. The first game allowed you to continue indefinitely, at the cost of losing all your points. The second game completely shifted that, by only giving you two continues for the entire game, although you could collect addition lives to prolong that inevitable game over. In addition, once you reached the halfway point in the game, you immediately lost one of your continues if you had two remaining. And the last level did not allow continues at all. The third game was by the far the most sadistic: three lives for the entire game, at fifteen or so hours for a first playthrough. No continuing allowed. Which makes it particularly frustrating when you're at the final boss with one life remaining, and the boss kills you, forcing you to start from the very beginning.
  • The Berenstain Bears' Camping Adventure plays around with this. The game doesn't have level checkpoints and you can continue from the spot you are upon losing a life, So the game compensates for this by booting you all the way to the start of the game upon getting a Game Over, as you have no continues at all.
  • In The Swindle, dying on a mission loses all the money you'd picked up and costs you the thief in question - which can be a real nuisance if they have a high experience bonus. It doesn't help that losing a day hurts a bit when you only have 100. Also, if you fail the final mission, you need to save up and buy access to it again. It's not cheap. And you still have that time limit.
  • Crash Bandicoot (1996) has an unintentionally unique example of this: the save system doesn't remember how many lives you have. While not a problem in the early portions of the game, every level after the second boss is difficult enough to make this a problem, because if you turn the console off, loading up the save later will give you the default amount of 3 lives. To make things worse, you are taken back to the last level you saved the game in, which isn't always the last level you actually got up to. The end result, historically, is that many PS1s were left on overnight simply to preserve the collected lives.note 
  • The International version of Bomberman Hero steals your Bomb Count, Firepower and, most annoyingly, your health upgrades when you get a Game Over! While the first two can easily be regained, the last one cannot as you need 200 crystals to get one upgrade! note  Woe betide the Bomberfool who loses their last life during the endgame Boss Rush, thus making everything ten times harder. Even worse, if you turn off your Nintendo 64, You'll still lose everything meaning that you essentially need to beat the game in one sitting, without Game Overing if you don't want to grind! This is thankfully averted in the Japanese version, which keeps your upgrades no matter what.
  • B3313: In most of the areas, dying will drop Mario at the basement area with red mist in a deliberate attempt to confuse the player. As such, it can be a pain to find your way through the maze again. Running out of lives will then reset the game to the usual Mario face screen, but it's possible to overflow the life counter into negative values to prevent it. This is important to know in case you need to deliberately get Mario killed in the areas with different respawn locations.

    Puzzle Games 
  • The Darker and Edgier Bomberman: Act Zero had a 100-level single player mode, where you, in each level, effectively played Bomberman-style deathmatch against various other AI-controlled Bombermen/women, but you had a health meter. You could regain health, but ONE death alone would be enough to send you back to the title screen with no saves whatsoever.
  • In Bomberman games, dying is really bad during the single player as you will lose every ability-based powerup such as the 'Bomb Kick', 'Power Glove, and 'Line Bomb' skills. Thankfully you keep all the stat boosting powerups you had at the very least, so you still have a chance. Lose your last life, though... and every last one of your powerups are gone.
    • Continuing from a Game Over on the regular stages is already incredibly painful, as you're literally back to level one — strength wise. And depending on the game, it can easily take up to a dozen levels or more to get back to your original strength. Though painful, it is not too big an ordeal with perseverance and a good bit of luck. Get a Game Over to a Boss, though? You are absolutely SCREWED, as most bosses in the typical Bomberman games do not drop any powerups at ALL. Have fun killing that difficult boss now with only a single bomb with the weakest blast radius and NO way of empowering yourself. You may as well start the game all over at this point.
    • The Japanese version of Bomberman 64: The Second Attack! one-ups all the other games by taking away all of your power-ups after one death! The American version remedies this by adding a lives system that allows you to die three times and keep your powers.
    • This is especially painful in Saturn Bomberman, where the only way to save your game is to get a Game Over, so you can't even save without losing every single power-up.
    • Hell, even continuing to the next level after beating the last takes away some of your best power ups in certain games, though technically that takes the sting away from this trope.
    • In multiplayer games, dying usually causes your power ups to appear randomly throughout the stage for the remaining players to collect. As some later entries in the series give you a chance to return to the game (with no power ups) by tossing bombs from the sidelines and taking out another player, this somewhat fits the trope. Of course, the player you just killed drops all their power ups...
      • Of course, all powerups are destroyable. This means you may accidentally destroy some of your old powerups in the process of killing someone to get back into the game. This also means if you don't intend on getting back, you can deliberately destroy your old treasures to ensure no one gets them.
  • Especially true for hardcore Super Monkey Ball players. Want to reach the expert extra stages? That's completing anything from 30 to 100 difficult levels without using a single continue (the last ones of which get insanely hard).
    • The epitome of this trope is Super Monkey Ball Deluxe's "Ultimate" Mode. Normally, this mode only contains 210 stages (yes, "only" 210 — all 40 beginner, 70 advanced, and 100 expert stages) but has a real total of 300 if you factor in all the extra stages. Even if you choose to start with 99 lives, it's a huge challenge reaching the last set of stages, Master Extra, which begin at stage 291, and this is only because the last 100 or so stages in the game will eat up your lives like no tomorrow. And even if you do reach stage 291, it's not unlikely you'll lose at least 396 lives on the following Master Extra stages.
    • What’s even more to Super Monkey Ball 1 for the Gamecube, is that Master cannot, generally speaking, be unlocked as a separate mode. If you only have 3 lives and 5 continues (before using Play Points to get more), it's a huge and more rigorous challenge playing through Expert and Expert Extra without continuing, meaning it which will most likely be drained while figuring out the right techniques to beat each level, and if you run out, at worst over 15-20 minutes of effort will be deemed WORTHLESS.
      • To add insult, in Super Monkey Ball Touch and Roll, there are NO continues after losing all of your lives, even though you can get a lot of extra lives for every 10 bananas collected. But if you run out of lives and get a “game over”, you’ll have to start from the very beginning of that world.

    Racing Games 
  • In Forza, if you spin out, good luck trying to catch up with the competition. Even better if simulation damage is enabled and you plow into a wall, wrecking your engine.
  • TrackMania - If you fall off the track or get stuck somewhere, you can respawn at a checkpoint, but your race time will be worthlessly slow, forcing you to restart at the beginning of the track. Thankfully, it takes 3 seconds top to restart a track.
  • Similarly, respawning after a crash in Nitronic Rush and its Spiritual Successor Distance will also take up time, which can make getting gold medals on particularly difficult tracks annoying. Moreso in the Challenge levels, where one mistake is an automatic loss.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • What happens when your character dies in Crusader Kings usually depends on a variety of factors, including your inheritance laws, the number of relatives with claims on your title(s), the stats of your heir and so forth. If you're lucky, you can placate your rivals with gold or land, imprison some of them and redistribute their land or fight down a minor rebellion and be on your way as the new ruler of your dynasty. If you're unlucky your country is plunged into a decade long succession war, several of your vassals will declare independence, and neighbouring rulers will take the opportunity to invade provinces you are no longer able to defend.
    • If you die with a Gavelkind succession law, all of your land is divided evenly among your children, only one of which you'll control. If you have a lot of kids, this can leave you with a single county. If you have multiple titles of the same tier at your highest tier (i.e. multiple kingdoms as a King) then at least one of them will end up splitting off from your control entirely, which can complicate things significantly.

    Rhythm Games 
  • The CS (PS2) version of beatmania IIDX 7th Style had a Master Mode, which challenged the player to play through the entire songlist except for murmur twins. This is a feat that takes roughly 3 hours to complete. However, failing any of the 89 songs marks your Master Mode save data as "Failed", and the only thing you can do with it is to delete it and start over.

  • In Baroque, when you die, your level is reset to 1, you lose all your inventory items, you lose any brands or parasites applied to your character, and you lose any stat gains from sources other than level-ups. All you get to keep is any items you had the Collector hold and the Angelic Rifle. And you'll die. A lot. How much? Much of the game's plot is told to you in conversations and cutscenes that are triggered by your character dying. The real kicker? This happens if you succeed in clearing the dungeon as well, which you will have to do at least a few times to get to the story's end. After a while, the game starts to feel like some "Groundhog Day" Loop that only applies to you.
  • In the original Diablo, dying in multiplayer to a monster (rather than a player) would result in you dropping all your equipped items. When fighting a particularly mean boss monster, that would get painful even if another player didn't come across your gear and steal everything in the meantime.
    • Made easier in the sequel, where your stuff is "stored" in a corpse that only you can loot—plus you can simply quit and your corpse will be moved to town (unless you're playing hardcore).
    • On higher difficulties, dying also levied experience penalties, 5% of the experience towards your next level in Nightmare difficulty and 10% in Hell difficulty, which would be halved if you later retrieved your corpse. These ranged from negligible (most of Nightmare difficulty, especially if you got your corpse) to the obscene (a character approaching level 99 who dies in Hell would lose a month or more of experience grinding if they retrieved their corpse; if not, it could easily be enough to just give up on grinding that character, taking the 98 and being satisfied with it).
  • In The Binding of Isaac you can get an item called "Dead Cat." This item gives you 9 lives. 9! In a game where getting one extra life is pure luck! The only catch? Your health is reduced to one heart after every respawn. Good luck getting through the later levels, where damage takes an entire heart!
    • Heavily averted for The Lost from Rebirth onwards. Since he starts with literally no hearts to his name, he can take a total of 9 extra hits before going down.
    • It's also a part of the Guppy item pool, a very useful transformation which allows Isaac to fire off a Blue Fly every time his tears hit an enemy. And they can do double the damage of Isaac's current strength. Depending on the items you can get in your current run, you could easily clear out entire rooms and even bosses within mere seconds.
  • The Mystery Dungeon series uses this with varying degrees of sadism.
    • When you die in Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer, you're sent back to the starting town, knocked down to level 1 and stripped of any equipment, weapons and armor you hadn't the foresight to store. This is the standard for most Roguelikes that don't have Permadeath, including games such as Azure Dreams and Izuna (which at least spares you the level drain — when Izuna complains about losing her stuff in the second game, Shino tells her to be grateful that she keeps her levels!).
    • Downplayed if you have the Undo Grass in Shiren the Wanderer 5. If you die while holding it, you can simply choose to go back to town with everything except for your levels (which usually get reset back to level 1 anyways regardless of whenever you cleared the dungeon or not). Allies also still keep their levels even when they die, in exchange for leveling up slower than you.
    • In the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games, if you, your partner or any special NPCs in your party (or, in Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, your leader) die and you have no Reviver Seeds (the in-game equivalent of the aforementioned Amulet of Lifesaving) on hand to save you, you will be forcibly teleported from the dungeon you were in. This not only forces you to start from the first floor but you will lose all the money you carried and some of your inventory items, usually the best ones.
    • This can actually potentially be inverted with the SOS mail mechanic. Should another player rescue you, you can continue where you left off. You can then go ahead and send a Thank-You mail.
    • For the really unlucky or foolish, invoking Kecleon's Wrath prevents any chance of a rescue attempt by other players, and turns your entire inventory into Plain Seeds, the item which a reviver seed turns into after it's been used. Useless and not even good for Shop Fodder.
    • Likewise, losing in any of the Chocobo's Dungeon games boots you out of the dungeon, and all of your cash and items on hand that aren't equipped or stored away are lost.
  • NetHack, normally a textbook case of Permadeath, has the Amulet of Lifesaving, which is an automatic continue if you had the foresight to actually wear it (which randomized appearance complicates). The problem is, it crumbles to dust when you're revived, and that gnome with the wand of death is about to zap you again—-many players advocate saving the amulet slot for a source of reflection or other ways to avoid death in the first place instead, especially due to paranoia about the Random Number God.
  • ADOM also has amulets of livesaving, but they're extremely rare, and You have to find one to save Khelavaster, and gain access to the Trident of the Red Rooster and the various secret endings.
  • Dying in The Persistence causes you to lose every single gun, grenade, melee weapon, and gadget you've collected on this life and sends you right back to spawn. The layout of the game resets and with that, every enemy you killed respawns.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light can be either this or Death Is a Slap on the Wrist, depending on your party setup and plain old luck. When your party gets wiped out, you return to the last place you saved, even keeping things like found items and experience points. However, unless you have a freelancer in your party (and you're not likely to unless you're in the very early game and haven't gotten any crowns yet, or are grinding for gems) you lose half of a randomly selected category of gems. Losing a fairly common gem, such as rubies or emeralds, isn't too bad, especially if you don't have much of it. Losing rare gems like Amethysts or Diamonds? That hurts.
  • In Resonance of Fate, if you are defeated, you can chose to "continue and restore HP" (which costs you some money), or "continue and restore Hero Gauge" (in case you were foolish enough to enter a serious battle with a less than full gauge — and, of course, it costs significantly more). The price of these ressurections go up as the game progresses, but never really become crippling...unless you entered the wrong Danger Zone. Those are areas with challenging monsters that you cannot escape from, so if you find yourself severely overmatched, you might end up having to continue a LOT of times, which winds up as a pretty steep bill...
  • Later instalments in the Might and Magic series uses this trope. After your entire party dies or is knocked unconscious, you "narrowly escape death" by waking up in the starting town with 1 HP, 1 Mana, and all the gold you had on your person gone forever. Of course, since its a PC game and you have unlimited saves, you can always load a recently saved game instead of continuing to save yourself the hassle. In the early instalments, it was simply an end-of-game situation.
  • In Mount & Blade, one defeat could mean the extermination of your whole army, and the loss of some or all of your equipment and a good chunk of your money. Depending on whether you had a castle with reserve troops, money in the bank or replacement weapons in a chest, this means being set back from some hours to the whole damn game.
  • SoulBlazer takes away all of your gems (MP) when you die. This is very minor until the very end of the game, where you can't hurt the final boss without magic.
  • In Gothic, death is permanent, but NPCs who are not inherently hostile but whom you've managed to annoy will generally knock you out instead. This reduces you to one hit point, and if you're wielding a weapon at the time, you'll drop it - and they'll steal it, along with half your money.
    • In the second game, Gothic 2, you lose all of your money instead of just half. Since these fights can be quite predictable if they're part of the story, they can be rendered painless by sheathing your weapon and dropping your money on the floor before engaging.
  • Being defeated does not always kill you in Treasure of Tarmin. Sometimes, you will be warped back to the start of the level you are on. However, you will lose anything that isn't held in your two hands, as well as some of your maximum War and Spiritual health. If you have really valuable items in your possession (such as the Special Books), you can drop them on the floor before approaching an enemy that is liable to do this to you. They'll still be there for you to retrieve, if you survive.
  • E.V.O.: Search for Eden lets you pick up at the level you left off if you die, but you lose half your EVO points, which are a combination of EXP and currency. They're used for buying upgrades and for mid-battle heals, and they take a while to build up, so losing half is detrimental.
  • The Final Fantasy Legend is a rare example of an RPG using Video-Game Lives. Each party member is given three hearts, and if any of them die, they you will need to spend one of their hearts at a House of Healing to revive them in addition to the usual fee. If they have no hearts, they can't be revived. You can buy hearts for party members, but they are so expensive that you're better off retiring and replacing party members that can't be revived anymore.
  • The original Romancing Saga doesn't use LP system and HP isn't healed up after a battle like its sequel. If you're running low on potions and have a few friends getting knocked out, it's painful to move on since there are usually like 10 more enemy troops on the screen approaching you.
    • Romancing SaGa 2's LP does not replenish by staying at the inn. It's not okay to have a lord running low on LP during an important mission, which can sometimes render the entire quest uncompletable by the next lord.
  • Many Korean RPGs give you a painful exp penalty for dying, making the level grind that much more annoying. Some even strip you naked, leaving you to run around in your underwear.
  • Demon's Souls punishes a player death by turning them into "Soul Form" if they were in Physical form when they died, reducing the players life from that point to ~50% of their life while alive. The player loses all the souls (the game's currency, as well as the only means to level up and strengthen the character) they had collected up to that point if they are unspent. As a final kick to the pants, if the character was alive when they died, the world they were in shifts towards "Black World Tendency", which makes the enemies and bosses more aggressive and have more HP, as well as (at near to pure black WT) causing "Black Phantom" enemies, which are harder versions of their standard counterparts or Evil versions of human NPCs, to appear in various parts of the worlds. The only silver lining is item drops are better and more souls are earned per kill, but good luck.
    • You can get your souls back if you can reach your original corpse on your next life, but if you die AGAIN before reaching it, they are gone for good.
    • Demon's Souls is both this and Death Is a Slap on the Wrist at the same time depending on how much you risk; since the main loss is souls, if you use them up when you can to keep your count relatively low, death loses you little (outside of the tendency change if you are in body form), and, as you never lose anything else, if you found valuable items and opened some shortcuts death can even be a net gain for you. On the other hand, in the worst case scenario you could lose tons of souls, waste most of your consumables pointlessly and need several minutes of gameplay against tougher enemies to get back to where you were.
  • In some of the Boktai games, you can continue by taking out a 200-SOL loan from Dark Loans. Of course, Dark Loans charges 800% interest...
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Averted when the Player Character actually dies. You simply reload your last save and pick back up from there, with the only loss being of any progress since then. Nothing else changes in the game world.
    • Played straight with continuing if you have a bounty and are caught by a guard. You'll be given three options: pay the fine (set based on the crime you committed), go to jail, or resist arrest. Paying the fine isn't too bad of a penalty for anyone other than a brand new starting character thanks to the series' Money for Nothing. Going to jail causes one of your skills (chosen at random) to atrophy. Again, nothing too horrible. However, choosing any option other than "resist arrest" causes the guard to confiscate any stolen goods you are carrying (which may be a much bigger problem). Thankfully, you can steal them back from "evidence" chests in nearby forts, guard houses, and jails, but this can still be painful.
  • Neverwinter Nights (D&D again) likes to punish you for kicking the bucket with a significant portion of your wealth and XP subtracted on your return to life. You henchmen could regularly drop dead with no problems however.
    • The first add on pack had a magic ring that consumed special gems instead in the first act, but after that...
    • The second add on had a similar idea with the 'relic of the reaper' both of these could become expensive if you died to often.
    • However, you can always save and reload.
    • Neverwinter Nights 2 completely averts this trope, however. Death is truly a slap on the wrist. Party members — including the main character — don't actually die, they suffer a Non-Lethal K.O. and stand up with one HP when combat is over with no ill effects.
      • Although not in the second expansion Storm of Zehir. A teammate that suffers a Non-Lethal K.O. will bleed out and die if left untreated, whereupon if you don't have a divine spellcaster who can revive them, you have to take them to a temple and pay the priest to do it.
  • Baldur's Gate, whilst when your main character dies, it's an instant game over (he's child of a god of death, soul goes into big essence jar where your teammates can't get at it to revive you because of that, you're up to date.) but if your mates die, you have to find a shrine, and fork over the dough to resurrect them. This is quite cheap (relatively) at first, but the cost increases with each level.
    • There still are some ways to get Killed Off for Real: petrification isn't one of them, but if a petrified character is hit with an area of effect spell (or an enemy AI just decides to smack the statue around), the statue will explode, which prevents the character from being revived, ever. If a character takes enough damage in a single hit when they die, they explode into gibs and cannot be revived, ever. Characters that are hit with a specific spell are permanently removed from the game, unless you have a Freedom spell, which will bring them back (and Freedom is a high-level spell that has limited usefulness otherwise). Characters that are level-drained below level 1 are permanently dead. If any of these things happen to the main character, regardless of whether or not it kills them (the "remove from game" spell, for example), it's an instant game over.
    • In the sequel, the druid Jaheira can get a specialized version of the Raise Dead spell (which is normally barred to druids) that restores the subject to life but tacks on some stiff stat penalties that go away over time, making the character all but useless until then.
  • In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, continuing in Normal Mode isn't too painful (continue from where you left off). In Hard Mode? Ouch. Because you're straight back to the title screen, with all data since the last save point lost. Add some very long cutscenes (and mostly unskippable) before giant bosses, and oh boy is dying a pain.
  • A minor example in Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals and Lufia: the Legend Returns . While reviving fallen characters is quite simple, getting knocked out completely drains their IP meter, which can be annoying if you were saving IP for a boss fight (particularly in the latter game).
  • The Pokémon games used to take away half your money when you lost a battle, even when you reach the money cap of $999,999. It was a pretty good reason to agree to have your mom save a quarter of the cash you earn in the second-generation games. Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen removed the "lose half your money" punishment and instead made you lose money based on the number of Gym Badges you have and your highest level Pokémon, which carried on into future games.
    • Pokémon Legends: Arceus takes this even further. Now, even attacks outside of battle can take you out. If you bite the dust due to fall damage or take too many hits from wild Pokémon attacks, you will drop some items in your satchel as well as money. This can be later averted if you or another player manages to locate your satchel, upon which the recovered items will return to storage.
  • Many early RPGs like Dragon Quest I or Breath of Fire I and II cut the amount of gold on person in half if you are fully defeated.
    • This has continued even in modern Dragon Quest games, with many of them also only resurrecting one party member and making you pay full price to get the rest back, meaning you'll lose even more money if you can even get your whole team back. On the plus side, you get to keep all the experience you got so far, which is unusual in RPGs. There's also the fact that if you accumulate a lot of gold, you can store it (in multiples of 1000) in a bank, which is unaffected by your untimely death. Dragon Quest IV also features the Iron Safe in Torneko Taloon's chapter, which prevents him from losing money when he dies (it is unfortunately lost after his chapter is over).
    • Final Fantasy VI actually inverts this trope: you're bumped back to the last point you saved, and you lose any money or items you've gained since you last saved, but you get to keep all your experience gained. On the other hand, you don't keep level-up bonuses from Espers, so if those are important to you, it might be better just to reset.
  • Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII: You don't actually get a Game Over when Lightning is defeated; your EP Ability/Items menu is brought up automatically, where you can use a Phoenix Down or the Arise EP ability to bring her back. If you lack both Phoenix Downs and enough EP for Arise (or haven't unlocked it yet), your only option is to escape the battle... which costs you an hour on the in-game clock outside of Easy mode. The entire game is a Timed Mission that caps out at thirteen days; if you run away often, you're gonna be VERY pressed for time.
    • Ironically however the game as the whole is an inversion — if you run out of time you get a new game plus that's the same as when you beat the game, outside the ability to choose hard mode or make a NG+ yourself from the arc.
  • In Breath of Fire III, a character killed in battle will automatically be revived if you win. However, that character is thereafter penalized by having his/her maximum HP reduced. This effect is temporary (resting at an inn removes the penalty), but for much of the game, every HP tends to be precious, and inns can be a long distance away.
    • Wild ARMs 3 does the same, but you can use a Nectar right away to restore your lost HP.
  • The Golden Sun series can make continuing a bitch if you lack the proper items, spells, or money after you suffer a loss in battle. When you are defeated, you are thrown back to the last town you passed through, which can mean lots more annoying Random Encounters on your trek back to the dungeon you were in previously. Your main character is the only one standing with one HP while the rest of the party is still at zero HP. If you lack any Water of Life or your party does not have the Revive spell, you will have to "donate" money to a healer (since resting at an inn does not revive fallen allies) so he can revive a fallen ally. Not only does the price scale with the party's level, a battle loss results your current coinage being cut in half. If you combine all these factors in the game's beginning where you usually don't have the right spells or items to revive the party and lack money and goods to sell for a quick buck, the game can become Unwinnable.
    • Even worse, in the first game, at a point where you will only have one or two Waters of Life (assuming you've been searching all the random boxes and barrels you come across), you can die and get sent back to a fairly out of the way village. While this usually wouldn't be too much of a problem, as reviving is fairly cheap at that point in the game, everyone in the village, including the healer, is currently a tree. So you'll have to trek a loooooong way back to get those characters healthy again. You better hope all the enemies you encounter are willing to let you run on your first attempt...
  • EarthBound (1994) penalized you for continuing after a defeat by sapping all your PP. Not only that, but also whatever quantity of money you have with you in the moment of your death is cut by half. Also, the continue only revives Ness, and you have to carry the ghosts of the rest of the party to the nearby hospital to be revived. However, for all the penalties the player suffers for continuing, there is a saving grace: The ATM system means that no amount of money needs to be lost.
    • In the sequel Mother 3, death is not nearly as painful as Earthbound, although you lose your location and any items you used since the last time you saved, your entire party regains all their HP and PP, and you keep any EXP/levels gained and any money earned in storage with the save frogs, and owing to their abundance you have little excuse for keeping and subsequently losing significant amounts of money on your person. This makes running into enemies with reckless abandon a profitable way of both Level Grinding and Money Grinding.
  • Flash game Monsters Den and its semi-sequel Book of Dread penalizes players who let their whole party die, by removing an item from their inventory and the least expensive item from each character's equipment. At early points in the game, and depending on your luck and resource management, enough deaths can make the game absolutely impossible to progress further in.
  • Dying in Dark Souls I without a Ring of Sacrifice equipped means respawning at the last bonfire you visited, reverting to Hollow, and losing all of your souls and humanity. You can get the souls and humanity back if you collect the bloodstain that appears where you died, but if you die again before reaching it, it's gone for good. And getting there usually isn't easy, since most enemies respawn when you rest at a bonfire, meaning whatever killed you the last time is more than ready to kill you again. Additionally, a bonfire that you haven't kindled will only fill your Estus flask partway when you respawn.
    • Dark Souls II ups the ante by reducing your Hit Points by exactly 5% of your total every time you get killed until you stop losing them at 50% mark (25% if you're wearing a specific ring, but that takes up an inventory slot for no other benefit). Only way to recover them is to restore your humanity. To counterbalance that, enemies you have killed 15 times stops respawning. But on the other hand, that means you can't grind souls forever. On the other hand again, you can force them to respawn using Bonfire Astetic... which makes them harder to kill and more intelligent along with bigger numbers... but makes them give out more souls when killed... but then they are even harder to kill on New Game Plus...
    • Dark Souls III is a little more generous than the first game: instead of treating humanity as the default and punishing you for dying by losing it, the equivalent state - being Embered - is treated more like a Super Mode that you lose by dying. Additionally, there's no messing about with kindling bonfires; they're either lit and working at full power, or not. It's still possible to lose a lot of effort to an unlucky hit on your way back to recover your dropped souls, though.
  • Zigzagged in Super Mario RPG. Dying and continuing allows you to keep the experience points and level ups you earned, meaning you can even game it to repeat boss battles for the high experience rewards. On the other hand, Mario's basic Jump attack is a Magikarp Power that permanently gains power with every enemy defeated by it: its power resets to zero when you die and continue, negating all the hard work you put into farming said attack into being the most powerful attack in your arsenal. Whether or not this game is an example of this trope depends on whether or not you're aware of the Jump attack's attribute and choose to use it.
  • Wizardry. Did a character die? It's going to cost a ton of cash to revive that character at the temple, and it will permanently lower their stats, and on top of that it can sometimes fail, reducing the character to ashes (Permadeath).
    • Before any of that could happen, your surviving characters (or a whole new party, in the case of a Total Party Kill) have to wander into the maze that killed your former badasses and retrieve the bodies! What's more, if you take too long doing it, the bodies will have disappeared. The manual says monsters drag them away and eat them.
  • Arkandian Legends: If you die, you'll get "slightly weaker", and that may mean things like losing 10 max HP.
  • The Power Pro-kun Pocket baseball series had a dating sim and a RPG scenario on most games. A general rule before the DS installments is that a game over will erase the player's save file, and resetting to avoid this is penalized around 3 times before the game erases the save anyway. Eventually, infinite continues were enabled but the increasingly high penalties to player attributes and inventory will result in a worthless ballplayer once the scenario is cleared.
    • Power Pro-kun Pocket 3 allows the player to put their custom characters in a Minesweeper game. If you trip on a mine, that character is gone. The game mocks you and shows all the items you lost before displaying the game over screen. It also does not allow resets.
    • Crossing into the sports genre, all games since Pawapoke 5 allow the player to register custom characters in My Pennant mode, a series of over 200 sequential baseball matches to improve their stats and perks. Each character can only be entered once, and only a single reset with a small penalty is allowed.
    • Normally, you'd need to invest three to five hours in a given scenario to earn a custom character. To make My Pennant easier to access and custom teams quicker to build, Pawapoke 13 and 14 had a scratch card betting minigame for building custom characters. The player has to pick 3 out of 9 spots on up to 10 cards, but getting a X mark sets the minigame back to zero.
  • Genshin Impact: If you lose a boss battle, then you will respawn somewhere nearby. If you used up all of your health items, then you will have to go out and grind for the ingredients to make some more before you retry the boss. There is no save/load system, only quit and restart, so going back to a previous save is not an option.
  • Pathologic 2 is framed like a theatrical play, albeit one with all the dangers and needs of real life. When the protagonist dies, the play's director replaces him with an understudy, and so on, ad infinitum. However, each actor is progressively worse than the "Artemy Burakh" that got the original part: this is represented by incremental penalties to your health/hunger/exhaustion meters that can never be removed. One penalty is miniscule, but as they stack up (and they almost certainly will) more than half your health can be lost. And no, it isn't the sort of game that permits Save Scumming.
    Loading message: Each death has consequences- on you, mostly, but sometimes on the world itself.

  • Strike Gunner (SNES): Your main weapon on hard mode is a single Vulcan that fires so slowly that your chance of getting a Game Over in the first few seconds dramatically rises to 95%. And when you die once, all the main weapon upgrades that you collected are lost and you go back to using that weapon.
  • In Cho Ren Sha68k, dying makes you lose all your powerups (and resets your bomb counter to 3, which is good if you have less than that but bad if you have more), not to mention your score is reset if you continue. Worse, lives, bombs, and your shield all count for points at the end of a level. Worse still, while in the earlier levels the triple-item trick (sit in the middle of a small ring of three items for a few seconds to get all of them) is simple, doing this without using a bomb or your shield in later levels is all but impossible. The levels are already hard enough when you have sufficiently upgraded, but the powerups (which are much less frequent now) are much harder to get to without dying and losing them, thanks to your weaker gun and lack of a shield.
  • This is particularly evident in Warblade. Players will often survive for many hundreds of levels, and then lose all their lives at once. This is mostly because some powerups, including the ultra-expensive Super Autofire and Alien Lock, are destroyed, your weapon is downgraded one tier, and all of your other stats (except, oddly, Bullet Speed) take a minor beating. It's no wonder that, even though it's certainly not Bullet Hell, shields are the items you buy more than anything else.
  • In Adventures of Dino Riki, Dino Riki's primary weapon is throwing rocks which are unreliably slow but can be replaced, via weapon upgrade, with Tomahawks, Boomerangs, and finally Fireballs. Unfortunately, dying reduces him back to using rocks which leaves him at the mercy of fast-moving enemies.
  • Die in Fantasy Zone, and you lose all of your upgrades, even those you had in reserve. On some bosses, you have pretty much no hope of winning if you lose to them once. Time to start over!
    • Though in Fantasy Zone II DX, you're sent to a shop that sells only engines if you die to a boss so you can repurchase that extra speed you lost. You're still stuck with the Twin Shot and Single Bomb weapons and no special weapons though.
  • After continuing in Alien Soldier, any increase of maximum ammunition and health goes away. You pretty much need the extra capacity in order to survive.
  • Losing a life in Thunder Cross and its sequel makes you lose ALL your options, firepower, and speed ups. At least it doesn't kick you back to a checkpoint.
  • Unlike most Shoot 'Em Up games where your Smart Bomb stock got refilled when you died, Heavy Weapon makes you lose all your Nukes on death. Good luck fighting a boss without them...
    • Even worse was when you got destroyed via a One-Hit Kill when you had full shields. You also had to collect those back too!
  • In the Metal Slug series, dying makes you lose credit for any Prisoners you rescued beforehand.
    • Continuing doesn't directly reduce or reset your score, and that for once isn't necessary; missing out on prisoner and huge finish-stage-with-a-Slug bonuses are big enough penalties. And then at the end of the game, you're shown how many continues you used up.
  • Dying in Contra made you lose your current gun. This is bad if you've been running around with the Spread Gun and have to rely on the pea shooter to kill the boss. Luckily, the pea shooter became more powerful in Contra III. Additionally, being able to switch between two weapons meant that if you swapped out the weapon you wanted to keep before you died, you could have it on your next life.
    • And worse, Super Contra (arcade) had the weapon upgrade system, where you must collect two of the same gun to get its full power, and the powerups were fewer and farther between.
    • Contra 4 does this as well: rare good weapons, rarer powerups, one hit kills, and a brutal difficulty mean that beating the game on the "real" (read: insanely hardcore) difficulty entails just quitting to the title screen if you take any damage in the first 30 minutes. Beyond that, it's anyone's guess.
    • Newer installments of the Thunder Force series have a similar penalty. Amongst veterans of the series, switching to a less useful weapon in a near-death situation isn't just a trick; it's common sense.
  • Alpha Mission II slowly downgrades your ship each time you die, and unlike other shmups of its kind, doesn't give you any power-ups when you continue. Do bad enough, and you'll spend the entire endgame not being able to kill anything with your wussy pea-shooter and spending about 5-10 minutes on bosses.
  • The Darius series is especially painful to die in. In games where you have gauges showing how many times you've powered a weapon, dying will reset these meters back to zero. For example, the shield powerup starts at "Normal" level, and takes 5 shield upgrades to get it to "Super". When you die at the highest level at "Normal" (as in, one more will get you to "Super"), the counter resets, and you need to collect them all over again. And in Darius Gaiden, dying powers your shot down immediately to the previous level, and to the initial popgun when you die again, and the later levels become Unwinnable if you lose your wave shot. This means doing well in the initial stages crucial to survival
    • Most Darius games however, make it easy for you to keep your dumb bomb upgrades, which, in Darius Gaiden, becomes a homing missile in the top level (and actually does contain quite a wallop). Also, in G-Darius, when you continue, the powerups given alternate between regular powerups and full-bar powerups for ALL upgrades. Not to mention that the shot is also given a bar powerup unlike in Gaiden, which means once you get the wave shot, you will never lose it no matter how much you die.
  • Some games that make you respawn in place if you continue make you restart the level instead at certain points in the game, such as the last stages of Aero Fighters 2 and 3 or the last 3 stages of Varth: Operation Thunderstorm.
  • And then some games will outright disable continue after you meet certain conditions, like Salamander 2 (after the first loop), Mushihime-sama (Ultra mode), and Darius (on the last zone).
  • Inverted in Triggerheart Exelica, where the bosses tend to be easier, with only one form, if you continue. 'Course, it's because you forfeited your score and medals gained when you do so.
  • Amiga game Project X did this, with a Gradius-style powerup system. Dying halved all your powerups, which could mean a single death removed over forty hard-earned powerups from your stock. It didn't help that the mid-range ship started out with a gun so weak you had a hard time killing anything at all.
  • Border Down did this very, very purposefully with the Border System. When you start the game, you are given a choice of three difficulties: Border Green for easy, Border Yellow for medium, and Border Red for hard. Choosing a harder difficulty allows for a higher score, but there's one special mechanic complicating things. If you're on Green and you die, you Border Down to Yellow. If you die on Yellow, you Border Down to Red. And if you die on Border Red, it's game over.
    • Inverted, on the other hand, with actual continues because you keep your score, keep your progress on the Stage Norm meternote , and you start at Border Green regardless of what border you started the game with.
  • The old space shooter Stargunner decreases your weapon power every time you die. Powerups aren't very common, and generally whatever killed you was strong enough to do it again, only better thanks to your steadily diminishing damage output (as if the game wasn't hard enough already).
  • The Arcade modes in Tyrian behave the same way as Stargunner, although replacing the lost level of firepower is easier due to a good portion of the enemies dropping purple balls that power up your front cannon if you collect enough (and some of the big enemies drop lots of them). Note that this only applies to the arcade modes and that getting killed in Full Game mode means you'll have to retry the level from the start, but you won't lose anything (the exception being that most of the secret levels kick you out if you die in Full Game mode, robbing you of the opportunity for a retry).
  • Chicken Invaders (like Space Invaders, only with a really silly plot involving chickens) causes you to lose all powerups when you die.
  • Continuing in various Shoot Em Ups (among other arcade games) will often implement a scoring penalty. Your score will reset to zero. Or, you will get a "mark of shame" on your score, adding 1 to the ones digit in your score. e.g. a score of 500,250 means you did not continue, while a score of 2,145,233 means you continued three times. Some games, like Ikaruga, do both.
    • In the original Gauntlet, your score is cut in X+ 1 when you continue (or otherwise get health from a coin), where X is the number of times you continued. e.g. if your score is 200,000 and you continued 3 times, your final score is 50,000.
    • Some games will let you enter your name/initials if you achieve a high score on any credit, and some others will only allow name entry on first-credit scores. Yet more games will rub salt in the wound by either nullifying scores earned up to your current credit (and sometimes, even your current credit, like in RefleX) or recording those scores anyway but under a preset name, preventing you from marking your high score with your name.
    • Similarly, some other games, like the House of the Dead series and Confidential Mission will dock you points for losing a life, and even more for continuing. In fact, in the latter, your score can drop into negative numbers, and when it does it will turn red to emphasize how much you suck.
  • Continuing in a Touhou Project game is bad. It invariably flushes your score, frequently adds a mark of shame in the form of a +1, and almost always locks you out of the good ending (only averted in the Phantasmagoria games). And in 10 through 12 it sends you back to the start of the stage with two lives in stock. Since the games are generally based on saving up lives for the final boss...
    • The eighth game, Touhou Eiyashou ~ Imperishable Night, is even worse for this. Continuing costs you Time, and taking too long automatically earns you the Bad Ending. Continue once before the end of Stage 5 and you can't access Final B, the game's true final stage. Oh, and if you run out of lives in Final B you don't even get the chance to continue - you just get the bad ending by default.
    • On the other hand, the Touhou games are a bit forgiving: in all but one of the games that feature power and in-place continuing, after losing your last life a bunch of full-power icons fly out of you. You can grab them after expending a continue (Touhou Shinreibyou ~ Ten Desires just sets you to full power as soon as you continue instead). Touhou Chireiden ~ Subterranean Animism takes the concept a step further and does this when you lose your last reserve life (so you're still alive, but one more hit is game over).

      The exception is the second game, which sets you to zero power. The second game also makes gathering power difficult, and makes being at full power especially important. Continuing just isn't worth trying.
  • The NES game Silver Surfer. Die once (and it's ridiculously easy to die), and you lose all of your powerups, making the rest of the game and probably the current stage unwinnable.
  • Gradius:
    • The games lose half its challenge without invoking this trope. Feel like slamming headfirst into that Bacterian Core Fighter? Have fun amassing your power-ups again.
    • In Salamander (Life Force) and Gradius V, you at least get the chance to respawn in place without having to go back to a previous checkpoint. This even allows you to get your Options back, if you can catch them before they float away.
  • R-Type also costs you all your power-ups if you die, though it's more minor since the maximum you could have in the first place is six plus speed boosts. And it's even worse than Gradius, difficulty-wise. In R-Types Delta and Final, at least, you get a first-level Force device awarded automatically on the lowest two difficulties. If you lose all your lives and continue, your score gets flushed.
  • In Einhänder, playing as the secret Schabe fighter allows you to collect gunpods to upgrade your weapons from a single machine gun up to a far more powerful quad machine gun with extra missile shots. However, since you cannot choose any gunpods to start with, ANY time you die, your weapon level is reset to 1. This can be quite problematic in later levels. And in those later levels on hard mode? Good luck...
  • Star Fox 64. Get killed by a boss even when you have full upgrades? Well, get ready to fight him again, but with half your lifebar and one-third your firepower. That oughta help! Star Fox: Assault is guilty of this as well. Continuing is especially painful when facing the improved Star Wolf on Venom. Couldn't beat them with the best firepower upgrade? Try doing it with your weak default laser. It doesn't help that you are immediately thrown into the fight.
  • Die in Raiden, and you lose all your power ups unless you find a pixie, who gives some of them back upon death.
  • In Raiden V, you get to keep your powerups after death, but continuing resets your score, which determines which story path you take and which of the Multiple Endings you receive.
  • Depending on your general experience level in Faxanadu, death can carry a very stiff penalty. When you die, your HP and MP are fully restored, but you lose all of your experience points and Golds up to a certain point, which is determined by your title. If you've earned enough experience to receive a promotion, but get killed before you reach a guru to promote you, all of the extra EXP is lost. For example, player with the title of "Fighter" has 5000 EXP, a little bit more than enough to earn the rank of "Adept". If the player loses his/her life at that point, their EXP level would reset to 3500, the minimum required to reach the rank of Fighter.
  • In Sky Smasher, you lose all shot powerups when you die, and you can respawn right before a boss. At least you get three missiles, which should be enough to cut through any immediate wave of enemies.
  • Hydorah is a shoot 'em up that lets you save your progress, but only a few times. To earn more saves you must get skilled enough to defeat the latter bosses. Dying in general also drops weapon power by a third.
  • Chaos Field is a Boss Game shoot 'em up where using credits after losing all shields (.e. lives) will wipe your current score.

    Simulation Games 
  • Robot Arena, if you lose even once, you might as well just quit and start over. You start out with just enough money to build one robot with a small amount of parts, but repairing damage on your robot costs money, and robot deaths are final, meaning that if your robot is destroyed, you have to replace it. You will never have enough money to replace your robot, because the prize money you get is always just barely enough to do some minor repairs and purchase a few upgrades, and you aren't allowed to go back to previous fights and grind for money.
  • Elite Dangerous makes you go back to the beginner spaceship (the Faulcon deLacey Sidewinder) if you can't pay up on insurance after being blown up, and even if you can pay up and get your Imperial Clipper back, you still lose all of your hard-earned cargo, bounty vouchers, and exploration data (which can add up to millions in profit being lost).
  • No Man's Sky Zig-Zags this. While dying on foot means that you respawn in your ship's Lifepod without any ill effect, dying in space (which occurs whenever your ship is destroyed) means that you're now stuck with a basic, FTL-incapable spaceship (the aforementioned Lifepod) and a prayer that you'll have enough Units to afford a new spaceship at the local Space Station.
  • In Steel Battalion, if you lose a VT but manage to eject, you have to buy another VT. If you can't afford one, you are fired and the game deletes your save. It also does this if you fail to eject before the VT blows up.
  • The last mission of X-Wing Alliance has you flying through the framework of the second Death Star. Not only is this the hardest stage in the game (flying and tight spaces don't mix, people), but the obstacles randomize every time you restart.
  • In Dwarf Fortress it is possible to reclaim a fallen fortress. On reclaiming, all perishable goods are rotten, livestock dead, and non-perishable items marked off-limits until you claim them. Aside from this the fortress is likely to house the same threat that wiped out the original population, such as poisonous blood coating the floors, Forgotten Beasts wandering the halls, and berserking dwarfs.
  • Even the Harvest Moon series dabbled in this (thankfully, only once). In HM DS, if you passed out from exhaustion - this usually happens in the mines where creatures attack you and the best weapon against them eats lots of energy - when you woke up the next day half your gold would be gone, and your fatigue gauge would be half-gone.
  • In the old DOS game Descent, when you die, all of your nifty lasers and missiles you spent so long collecting are left over where you died. If you planned for this, there will in almost all cases be a clean path from your starting location to your death spot, but in multiplayer it means that whoever killed you takes your stuff. Also, concussion missiles and energy powerups will disappear if you don't pick them up quickly, although other stuff won't.
  • Zombie Apocalypse simulator Project Zomboid gives you a cruel continuation option: After death, you can spawn another character in the same persistent world. Your new character will be able to retrieve the last one's equipment and take up residence in his or her safehouse — provided you can survive long enough to reach them. Depending on how long the first character survived, your new (unskilled, unequipped) character may be starting in world without electricity, running water, or scavengeable supplies.

    Third-Person Shooters 
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising also uses the 'cut your score in half' mechanic (which is really annoying if you're going for the high score challenges) but what's even worse is that dying automatically bumps your difficulty down. Why is this such a bad thing? Because higher difficulty means better loot, which you will need if you ever want to stand a chance in multiplayer or later levels on Intensity 9. And the lowered difficulty even de-powers the loot you already obtained before dying! Not only that, some levels have seret areas hidden behind "Intensity Gates", gates that will only open if you play on a specific difficulty. Playing on Intensity 8 and die just before the 8 marked gate? Sorry, you're on Intensity 7 now, no gate for you!! And then, of course, there are the challenges that require a specific intensity level... This Intensity system was the direct inspiration for the one in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.
  • In Gears of War 3 Horde Mode, you can continue at the current wave after a Total Party Kill. However, it resets to the condition that your defenses and money were at the time you died, so each time you are spending a little more money and starting off a little less defended. On any wave higher than about 25, surviving more than one restart is nigh-impossible.
  • In Vanquish, continuing from a checkpoint causes you to lose your weapon upgrades, but restarting from the beginning of a level has you retain the upgrades you had when you entered.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • If a playable unit in Dark Deity is knocked out, they gain a "grave wound" (a permanent stat penalty) related to how they fell; for example, a fatal magic attack would take a point or two from their own magic power. Although it's less painful than outright dying, it can easily lead to the unit becoming too weak to fight back at all.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Due to Permadeath (and a bit of Video Game Caring Potential) in the games, character deaths are usually very painful. Your best unit dies to a crit because the Random Number God hates you? just lost him/her. You usually can keep going, but it's hardly worth it. And don't even think about resetting in 6, 7, or 8 in order to try and save that character. Since the game auto-saves after each combat result (including the random number seed), you'll just end up watching them die the same way all over again. The only way to save them is to restart the entire level from scratch. Averted in later games in the series, where playing in "Casual Mode" would just cause the defeated unit to retreat from the battle instead of being lost forever. Jeigan will still chews you out if you fail to keep people 'alive' during battles, though.
    • Fire Emblem Heroes is very painful in a different way. Defeated characters don't die permanently, but lose ALL experience and skill points gained from that particular map. And losing a map still costs stamina, which is very limited in the late game. Thankfully this was alleviated later on as EXP is kept even if a character falls and with an increase to the stamina cap, grinding became much less taxing. However this trope still applies to quests involving completing maps with all characters alive, as regardless of if one or three characters fall in a map, you are not completing the quest and since these usually involve story or training tower maps, they still cost stamina to play.
  • In Runes of Magic, dying is an automatic 10% durability penalty, as well as 1/20 of your total XP needed to reach the next level in debt and 1/200th Total XP as TP debt, starting at level 10. While in debt, 70% of ALL of the XP/TP you earn goes to paying off the debt. Debt can be reduced if you have a Priest or Druid in the party to pick your sorry ass off the ground. Durability loss is still crippling to your ability to fight after one or two deaths if your gear is all overdura (101+ base dura), more so if it slips into the -20% power boost range (at about 50% durability). God forbid you slip to -80%, in which case it is absolutely impossible to kill ANYTHING at your level, as even the stats Lv 50 people put on their gear is outclassed by stuff a Lv 25 can get via random monster drops.
  • Toyed around in Super Robot Wars. In one post-interim save skit (which gets you to quit the game), Shu Shirakawa tells the player that the more they save, the game will get more difficult, as in encouraging you about "Next time, finish the game in one go, if you lose or even screw up, restart from the beginning". It's a lie.
    • The trope plays straight in latter games where Mastery system exists. Failing a mission strips off another opportunity to get a mastery, and thus going to the Hard mode. In some of the games, they leave you with any experience and gold you've gotten, but in some games they don't.
  • Similar to Fire Emblem above, XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM 2 institute Permadeath: any soldier killed in action remains dead. This can prove costly, as the loss of experienced soldiers will force you to rely on Rookies, who have poor aim and no outstanding strengths. This can result in greater loss to your forces, which will force you to use more Rookies. The difficulty doesn't scale with experience or squad size, either: the aliens will continue to improve, and if you're careless and keep losing good soldiers, you may end up screwing yourself over completely. This goes double for Ironman mode, which disables manual saving, so you can't rely on Save Scumming and will have to commit to any errors you make and losses you suffer.
  • In Yggdra Union, retrying a map lets you keep your card's power and character experience, but it disables you from getting +2 MVP, which is more important than your levels. Also, it prevents you from getting a nice item later on.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monster Coliseum, winning a fight but losing monsters in the process will render them unavailable for the following battle. You can get around this by losing or surrendering a match, which makes all of your monsters available again.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Monster Capsule GB, losing a battle when in an RPG world results in you getting kicked out of the tabletop game and forced to go through the story again; this also prevents you from rescuing all of Yugi's friends. Similarly, if you win a battle but lose a monster in the process, that monster is lost forever.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • In Radiation Island your respawning point is always the last place you slept for the night. If you last bedded down in a hut surrounded by zombies and rabid wolves, you've got a problem, because you can't fast-travel with mooks around, and they will wait for you to come out instead of wandering away. Doing this in Adventure mode means you'll respawn with everything except whatever you were holding when you died. Hope that wasn't your only machine gun. Dying in Survival mode is worse: everything you're wearing or carrying drops to the ground, leaving you naked and defenseless. If you were unlucky enough to die to some Schmuck Bait, kiss that stuff goodbye.
  • Dying in Minecraft is virtually inevitable and can easily set inexperienced players back to square one. All items you were carrying or wearing are scattered around your point of death, and you are sent back to either your game's spawnpoint or, if you were able to build one, your bed in the overworld. If you can remember where you died and retrieve your items in a timely fashion, death can be a Slap on the Wrist. But...
    • Respawning is immediate. If you died at night (one of the most common ways to die to monsters), you'll respawn at night. With no weapons or armor. In the middle of nowhere, if you didn't build a bed yet. There's no penalty for dying a second time (as in, say, Dark Souls), but waiting out the night won't be pleasant either way.
    • Dropped items despawn after five minutes, but only while the chunk they're in is loaded. If you respawn very far away, no pressure: get your bearings, gather up a fresh set of armor and weapons perhaps, and set off when you're ready. But once the items are within your maximum draw distance, the clock is ticking. Hope you died someplace with a memorable landmark, or you could walk right past it enough times to make it despawn... or just never find it at all. Not to mention that if you made a map, you probably had it with you when you died. This is especially painful if you died while exploring deep underground (the other most common way to die to monsters) since caves tend to sprawl out every which way and it's easy to get lost. Strongholds and mineshafts are no exception either.
    • God forbid you die by falling into/getting hit by lava, or a pit of fire, or by bumping into a cactus. Fire, lava, and cacti all destroy any items that touch them. As can explosions, so make sure you don't set off a creeper when you get back.
    • With the addition of experience points to the game that serve as skill points for enchanting tools and armor, dying also means you lose all the experience points collected except a few levels' worth that drop alongside your items. Have fun Level Grinding!
    • As of 1.8, some zombies will pick up items they found lying on the ground, including yours. If they die, they re-drop the item. But they could also despawn within seconds, leaving behind nothing. And guess what, zombies spawn in two of the most common places to die.
    • Multiplayer adds several elements to the game, either subverting or re-enforcing this trope. Minecraft has no inherent goals; multiplayer games can be treated in several ways, and these depend on both the players and server operators. In addition to all of the above about the single-player mode:
      • Players can be extremely competitive, even if co-operation is typically employed. The game normally announces the death of a player to everyone, and if the location or vicinity of the death is known, there could be a race to steal the dead player's items. Especially true if another player was directly responsible for the death.
      • For regular chests, there are no protections from theft by other players, either, which can make it tempting to carry your most valuable items on your person. This, obviously, must be weighed against all of the risks mentioned above.
      • In a subversion, server operators may set the keepInventory variable, in which items are not dropped nor lost on death. This prevents other players from stealing items, and turns the game into one where Death Is a Slap on the Wrist. This may even cause players to routinely die on purpose to return to their bed, especially after looting a lucrative cave without ensuring a safe path to and from.
  • Terraria is similar to Minecraft, with differences between difficulty levels:
    • Softcore mode: You only lose half the money you're currently carrying. It's quite easy to avoid this, by keeping all your money stored in a chest or a safe, as your money isn't needed when you're exploring. 1.3 made it even more pointless to be carrying money on your person as you can now buy from vendors using the money stored in your piggy bank, safe or Defender's Forge. On Expert Difficulty, enemies can loot your coins from you and despawn, so you can't get the coins back from them.
    • Medium-core mode: You lose everything you're carrying, including items. This can be problematic if you managed to die while deep underground, as the items might be very difficult to reacquire worse, so if it's in lava though, unlike the above example, items that are blue or above or white level items like obsidian, clay pots, fire blossoms and their seeds, won't burn in lava. Also like the above example, items will not despawn until you either hit the dropped item cap or save & exit from the world which despawns all dropped items.
    • Hardcore mode: Permadeath. Everything you were carrying or wearing, everything in your safe, piggy bank, and Defender's Forge and all your mana and health upgrades are lost forever. However, you can create a new character in the same world, and retrieve anything you had stored in a chest.
  • Grand Theft Auto 2 let you save in churches whenever you wanted, so long as you could pay the church 50.000 dollars. Bearing in mind that it takes a LONG time to accumulate that much money, and money is the only way to clear a stage. Either way, you would lose all your weapons every time you died or got busted, which led to lots of reloading. San Andreas averted this by letting you keep your guns if you dated certain girls.
    • Grand Theft Auto IV lets you keep your guns unless the cops arrest you, in which case they realistically disarm you as part of police procedure. The cops are not very likely to try to arrest you past the first star though, and half the time you can escape the hold-up. Since you are not disarmed if you go to the hospital, it's to your advantage to always go out in a blaze of glory if possible.
    • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has respawning guns right outside your door, if you do certain fetch quests. Relatedly, you could save after the accomplishment of any difficult task, but too much saving in San Andreas creates a "can't beef up my stats by exercising" glitch. Sigh. Luckily, later patches corrected this.
    • There was an option in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories where after respawning at the hospital, there was an option to buy back all the weapons you lost for about $1500. Because of your businesses automatically giving you money each day, it meant you didn't lose much if you were making enough money.
    • Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, when you're arrested, has the police confiscate all your guns and the drugs you have on you (which might represent thousands of dollars of in-game money.) Since guns are relatively hard to acquire, and getting killed features neither of these penalties, it leads to an odd situation where, when in danger of being arrested, the smart thing to do is try to get killed instead. Which, oddly, makes it more tempting to cause more ruckus around the city, since police will be more likely to try to kill you than to arrest you at 4 stars or higher. So in summary: it's more dangerous to go around with 2 stars and get busted than to get 6 stars and get blown up by a goddamn tank. Blaze of glory indeed.
  • Dead Island delivers a cash penalty to players each time they die, and any weapon damage sustained will still be there when you respawn, regardless of its condition upon reaching the checkpoint. This was especially bad prior to the game's patch, where an Escort Mission was near Unwinnable because of a particularly difficult ambush that left many players with no cash to repair their broken weapons.

  • Fork Parkers Crunch Out: If you run out of time before development of the game is completed, you have the option to continue from the Game Over screen. However, if you continue, you will lose all the upgrades you gained, meaning you have to somehow save up more money on the later, harder levels.

Non-Video Game Examples:

Anime & Manga

  • Each time Homura from Puella Magi Madoka Magica rewinds the timeline, the person she's trying to save from death just gets more and more karmic potential loaded on to her and her previous friends grow more distrustful to her. Therefore, each time Homura hits the Reset Button, her goal gets progressively more difficult and her beloved's tragic fate gets written in stone deeper and deeper.
  • Sword Art Online focuses on a series of VR MMORPGs with less-than-VR consequences. However, for the situations when that's not the case, this trope usually takes effect. ALfheim Online, for instance, has a system where stats are increased with use rather than via gaining levels; getting killed in-game results in a "death penalty" that lowers the player's stats. The first episode in ALO has Kirito take down two players in PvP, and a third pass up on fighting him as well because he's getting close to a certain stat threshold.


  • The movie The Butterfly Effect takes account of this trope as well, with the protagonists condition worsening permanently with each "restart" due to multiple memories.
  • Edge of Tomorrow has a "Groundhog Day" Loop where the protagonist goes back in time every time he dies. And because of that, he always wakes up shocked and flinching from whatever killed him before.
  • The film Happy Death Day invokes this; the protagonist keeps coming back to life on the morning of her birthday, but every time she is murdered that evening, she wakes up 'again' showing signs of what killed her, creating the possibility that she will eventually die and stay dead after taking too much damage.
  • Ready Player One (2018) depicts 20 Minutes into the Future world where everyone is obsessed with a massive online game world called The Oasis. Players can respawn if they die in the Oasis, but they lose all their coins, items, and character customizations. Given how ingrained the Oasis is into the real world's economy and most people's general lifestyle, "Zeroing-Out" is a lot more painful than it sounds. The film's opening features an office worker attempting suicide after dying in-game.


  • One of the Xanth novels involved a video game, and it used this trope. When you play the game a second time, there's no way to avoid whichever threat wiped you out the first time you played.
  • The Gam3: Despite being virtual reality, dying in-game is serious business due to a huge list of penalties. Includes: Loss of all credits the player had at the time, loss of levels, permanent decrease of all stats, decrease in skill proficiency for all skills, and the chance of unlearning abilities. Powerful items also tend to drop when a player dies, and memory loss has been mentioned.
  • In the webnovel Ark dying in-game reduces all stats, and this effect stacks. While the debuff can be removed by defeating enemies, if the player levels up before doing so the stat loss becomes permanent. At the start of the story, Ark was forced to spend weeks farming easily-defeated mice that gave no XP or loot to restore all of his stats. Additionally, if defeated by a player there's a chance that they will steal an item from you, with an increased chance using certain buffs. Griefers will camp a player's spawn point and kill them repeatedly with these buffs, destroying their stats and leaving them naked.
  • Beesong Chronicles: People who die can automatically resurrect at the nearest shrine, but being resurrected immediately deducts a thousand coins per level. Furthermore, resurrection is never guaranteed, and up to the whims of the gods. Dying within a month of a previous resurrection is basically a guaranteed Permadeath.

Live-Action TV

  • In Ace Lightning, a show about the characters of a fictitious video game coming to life, the heroes noticeably have it a lot rougher when it comes to being defeated. The villains will eventually just respawn after their health regenerates, but a hero will be imprisoned in the realm of the game until their allies still on the outside find and combine a pair of the game's Plot Coupons to summon them again.
  • Losing all four contestants in The Chase lets them continue for a possible prize of £1000 each. However, not only is this far lower than the sum they likely would have won if they'd succeeded to begin with, but they only get to choose one contestant to play for said money in the final chase, severely handicapping their chances of winning.
  • In the Retro Game Master TV Show, continue limitations are one of the biggest problems Arino might face in games.

Tabletop Games

  • 13th Age makes continuing painful not just for the person who died, but for the Cleric casting the resurrection spell. A given cleric can only cast resurrection five times in their life. The first time always goes off without a hitch, and can be cast in the middle of combat. Each subsequent casting takes a longer time, and leaves the revived character in worse shape; by the fourth casting, the character is out of of commision for a month or more while they recover. The fifth casting only has a 50% chance of even working, and always irrevocably kills the caster. No sane cleric would cast resurrection a fifth time, and thanks to a 50% chance of higher backlash, no sane cleric would cast it on someone who has died more than four times. Hope you saved those recoveries!
  • Dungeons & Dragons has several different ways of penalizing characters for being brought back from the dead, depending on which edition is being played.
    • 2nd Edition had a "limited continues" system in that, short of direct divine intervention, someone could not be raised more times than their Constitution score. Period. End of story. The 5th level raise dead spell also cost a point of Constitution (permanently), required a relatively intact corpse, left the patient only barely alive (i.e., don't cast it in combat) and couldn't be used on Elves (canonically because they didn't have souls); the 7th level resurrection did not cost Constitution, could be cast on virtually any remains, brought you back at full strength, and could be used on anyone - the only real penalty (aside from the "limited continues" issue) was that the spell could be very expensive to cast (or have cast).
      • Raise dead also required a character to roll against his "System Shock" score, and resurrection required a roll against the character's "Resurrection Survival" score (both scores were determined by a character's Constitution score, Resurrection was always the better of the two).
    • In 3rd Edition, when a character dies, he can be brought back with a simple raise dead spell, available as early as 9th character level to divine casters. However, doing so means the dead character loses a level, death being traumatic and all (i.e., there's signal loss between here and the afterlife). If the character is 1st level, they lose a point of Constitution instead. Resurrection is no better for this, though it does allow one to work with things other than relatively well-preserved mortal remains. Only true resurrection can bring a character back without some sort of issue, and that's a spell requiring either an exceedingly powerful magic item or a 17th-level caster...and 5,000/10,000/25,000 gold pieces' worth of diamonds for each spell, respectively. To put this into perspective, an average person (a 1st level NPC) in this world has about 25 gold pieces of wealth, in total.
      • This can be sidestepped, however, as the game contains a spell called revivify which is a level 5 spell like raise dead, but only costs 1,000 gold worth of diamonds to cast and doesn't make you lose any levels or stats. The catch is it must be cast within a round of death, and you come back close to dying again (so unless healed quickly that's exactly what you'll do). There's also revenance, which is a level lower and doesn't have any cost; it brings the target back with half HP (but you can just heal them) and they will get minor bonuses against whoever killed them. The window is wider for this spell, at a round a level (a round is six seconds). The catch? One minute per (their) level later, they die again. But as nothing stops you from bringing them back, most forms of death can be efficiently dealt with via revivify and possible revenance. This actually isn't a Game-Breaker, as by the time you can reliably use these, you'll mostly be dying from things these spells can't bring you back from (like instant death spells and having your body vaporized).
    • There's also the Reincarnate spell that can serve as a poor man's Raise Dead. The monetary cost is much less (1000 gp) but it has the same painful side effects and you come back as a randomly-determined race, which may be detrimental to or downright incompatible with your build.
    • The official Living Greyhawk campaign for third edition Dungeons & Dragons incorporated various player screws involving death. The harshest was unintentional. To promote fairness, missions gave set xp and gp rewards. Also, again for fairness, groups had to jointly pay for a fallen party member's Raise Dead (the idea being that they get rewards as a group for success, they should be penalized as a group for failure.) But, what this actually meant is that if your companion died and you did not, you lost significant gp which could not be regained. You were forever behind the curve on equipment capability.
    • 4th edition just applies a -1 to almost all rolls until the character reaches 3 "milestones" (basically, six encounters, including noncombat ones). There's also a cost for materials, which gets more expensive for higher level characters (500 gold pieces for levels 1-10; 5,000 for 11-20; and 50,000 for 21-30).
    • 5th edition keeps the material cost at 500 gold pieces regardless of level, but applies a -4 penalty to almost all rolls that is reduced by one for each long rest the character takes. That means that being resurrected in town is fairly harmless, while being resurrected in the field can be a significant handicap. Fortunately, the "revivify", "resurrection", and "true resurrection" spells all return in this edition, which all can bypass the death penalty.
    • Pathfinder makes dying a bit less painful than 3.5. Instead of causing the character to actually lose a class level and the associated abilities, Pathfinder's negative levels are a penalty to all rolls that the character makes and to their maximum HP; characters at level 1 instead suffered 2 points on Constitution drain, in a similar fashion to 3.5. Unlike the penalties from 3.5's revival magic, the character doesn't have to just accept the fact that they have these penalties, as the negative levels or Con drain can be removed through certain healing magic. The downside is that the magic needed to remove negative levels or Con drain also require expensive components, so your party needs to pay several thousand gold for the spell to bring you back, plus another thousand gold per negative level. And that's assuming that the party has someone who can cast the spells themselves, otherwise you have to pay someone to cast the spell for you on top of the component costs.
  • The Shards of Alara expansion in Magic: The Gathering has Lich's Mirror, which effectively gives you a fresh start if you were to lose the current game. However nice a new hand and 20 life may seem, though, you've removed all of your resources from the battlefield. Unless you planned ahead and eliminated your opponent's resources beforehand, expect them to swing you in a couple of turns.
    • Inverted with Karn Liberated. His ultimate ability literally restarts the game. However instead of causing an endless loop of the same thing, he puts anything he exiled under your control, including other people's creatures, enchantments, artifacts and so on. If you did a good job of protecting him while he was exiling stuff, you can end up with anything from a decent advantage to an army that can beat your opponent's face in during the same turn.
  • In Paranoia, you start with a "six pack" of clones, which activate in sequence as the previous ones die. You can buy another set of clones, but they'll have defects, such as being color-blind (fatal in that setting).
  • In Geist: The Sin-Eaters, a Sin-Eater can be repeatedly rescued from death by the Geist bonded to their soul. However, not only does someone else die in their place, they suffer a permanent drop on the Sanity Meter, which makes it harder for them to control their powers and can ultimately let the Geist spirit take over their body for good. Unfortunately, the Sin-Eater doesn't get a vote in whether the Geist chooses to resurrect them...
  • Villains & Vigilantes, since it's based on superhero comics where death is usually just a temporary setback, will usually allow a dead player character to be resurrected unless the player doesn't want to bring them back. However they go back to level 1 if this happens.

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