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Door to Before

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"Oh, no. Not this room again! I don't understand! Why do we make rooms that can't be accessed connect to other rooms that can't be accessed?"
Gordon Freeman, Freeman's Mind

So, you've hacked and slashed your way through a dungeon and possibly passed a Point of No Return or two. You have reached the final room and taken the MacGuffin, and are now ready to leave this place.

The only question is... how? There's no way the game designers will make you backtrack through all the corridors you've cleansed all the way to the entrance, right? And sometimes it may even be impossible, as the original route has been blocked.

Luckily, there's a conveniently placed door, right there in the final room, just waiting for you to open it. You go through it, and voila, you're at the entrance, right where you started, saving you the trouble of returning here the long way. That's the Door to Before: an Anti-Frustration Feature that keeps you from having to waste time going back through a dungeon you've already cleared.

More often than not, you may even recognize the door as a Locked Door from before, which would be very convenient if you had a way to open it from the other side before you went the long route, saving you all the trouble. Of course, it's initially always impossible even with a BFG in your arsenal, but once you easily open the door from the other side, it will usually remain open, giving you quick access to the area that once used to be so hard to reach. If a bug allows you to open a Door to Before from the "wrong" side, it's a Dungeon Bypass and can lead to Sequence Breaking.

If they really want to tease you, the game designers may even replace a locked door with an Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence that's just too high to climb from one side, but once you reach its other side, there's something that allows you to climb and jump it and thus have a shortcut to a previously explored area.

Of course, search-and-rescue missions will never have such convenient shortcuts — instead, the player will have to bring the rescued prisoners all the way to the original entrance... and the corridors that you already fought your way through once will probably be repopulated with Respawning Enemies.

If you utilize your newfound MacGuffin to create a new exit, it counts as a Metroidvania.

These are a favorite of Speedrunners, as it's quite common for games to have glitches that make it possible to open the one-way doors from the wrong way, skipping minutes to hours of gameplay.

Not to be confused with Time Travel. Also, note that this trope pertains geographical or physical examples of shortcuts. If the instant return to a previous area is provided by an item or special feature, then it's an Escape Rope.


Note: non-Video Game examples go at the end.

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    Video Games 
  • Alba: A Wildlife Adventure: Around the nature reserve and (to a lesser degree) the castle, Alba can often open a door or build a bridge or ramp that gives her access to an area that she had to walk around the long way to get to.
  • Averted in Albion. If you aren't teleported back to the entrance once you reach the end of the dungeon, you have to walk all the way back. Thankfully, this only happens in smaller dungeons.
  • Alundra 2 does this a couple of times: In the first room of the Ox Tank dungeon, there's a conspicuous locked door that turns out to lead to the boss room, and the Demon Whale spits you back out once you complete the dungeon inside of it. In addition, each of the three ancient ruins dungeons contain warp pads to the other two.
  • When you need to get back to the surface of the asteroid in Alpha Prime, you go through the mining station's living quarters, only to pop out of a vent back at the beginning of the game, and thus the surface of the asteroid.
  • Asheron's Call always has portals to the surface at the bottom of a dungeon.
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • The hidden tombs in Assassin's Creed II contain elaborate, time-consuming jumping puzzles. The final room of each tomb contains a convenient door leading directly outside.
    • Averted in Revelations, where we never see any doors/passages inside the final chamber. This makes it unclear how Ezio manages to escape, having on at least one occasion destroyed the way in.
    • All the jumping puzzles in the Ezio trilogy are made slightly less annoying by Ezio opening a Door to Before at fairly regular intervals, in the form of causing ladders or bits of masonry to fall such that you can climb back up if you fall off.
    • The series' signature Leap of Faith move was added to the game so that players who climbed up to high viewpoints had a fast way to get back down to the ground.
    • Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag: A couple of the pirate dens which can only be entered through underwater caverns have this. The exit is clearly visible from outside but can't initially be reached due to its higher elevation.
  • Baldur's Gate
    • In the original game, in the Cloakwood mines, there's an elevator that goes down from the surface to the top level of the mines but no deeper. From the bottom level, you can call it all the way down to go up.
  • Borderlands does this constantly with ledges that you can jump off of, but not climb up to. Finished all the quests in a dungeon? Just look for the 8-foot ledge you can drop from to be back at the starting point. Borderlands 2 adds one-way Fast Travel stations, often placed right before a boss, these let you skip the long dungeon run you just made to get at the boss and just teleport back to sanctuary, and pick up more quests.
  • Breath of Fire III has a normal version; after going across the ocean and stepping into a teleporter on the other half of the world, you wind up back at Steel Beach in the Freighter; the door was locked on the other side when you first entered when retrieving the parts to fix the boat. And an inversion of this combined with Peninsula of Power Leveling; One of the destinations in the above Portal Network is a room in a container yard full of nasty monsters, the exit blocked by a giant crate. After Crossing the Desert of Death, you enter the container yard from the outside, where Garr can easily push the crate aside.
  • Carrion: A number of levels have DNA capsules that grant the Villain Protagonist monster a special ability which will allow them to remove or bypass an obstruction blocking the way back to the entrance of the area. Activating certain Save Points will cause Meat Moss to break open the ground or nearby structures, often opening an area back to the previous one for easy access.
  • In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, after exploring a large portion of the castle, you find yourself on the far side of a wall you passed very early in the game. There is a conveniently placed cannon that you can use to blast the wall down. There is no reason or use for the cannon other than blasting down this wall.
  • In Chrono Trigger, when you finish most boss battles, there is an easy way back to the start of the dungeon.
  • City of Heroes:
    • If you successfully complete a mission, an "exit" button will appear in the compass window. Click it while anywhere in the mission interior and you somehow find yourself outside instantly, even if you were totally surrounded by hostiles a moment ago. Conversely, the game also follows the search-and-rescue example in the trope definition to a T. You've just slogged through anywhere from two to five floors to rescue Dr. Helpless Scientist and then have to lead them all the way back the way you came to the front door, almost invariably fighting off waves of ambushes along the way. And forget about using stealth powers to avoid detection on the way out. Your rescuee can't see you either!
    • The "stealth" portion has been fixed by an update. Rescuees can still see you when you're stealthed, but, because you're escorting someone, being stealthy is much more difficult, resulting in a massive penalty to your stealth ability. So if you invisibled yourself past all the mobs, get ready to fight them all on the way out.
    • There's a good reason why players using the Mission Architect vastly prefer to use the old "release the captive and let them find their own way out" option instead of "escort back to the entrance".
  • Cris Tales has an incredibly long example of this: a large door can be seen towards the end of St. Clarity Sewers in the second chapter. You will not pass through that door until the final chapter of the game, when a secret passage is discovered where Crisbell finds where Father Miguel had killed the Mother Superior and dumped her corpse. That large door provides easy access back to the main city area of St. Clarity.
  • The Nancy Drew mystery game Danger on Deception Island had one of these underneath the lighthouse. Of course, to open it, you had to make your way through a branching underground cave.
  • Anor Londo from Dark Souls. Your first run through is a long and winding ordeal with lots of detours across perilously high scaffolding, eventually breaking into the main castle through a side window, but by the time you reach the fog gate to Ornstein and Smough you can create a path that's a straight shot from the bonfire at the far end of the map all the way to the boss with only a few easily-avoidable Sentinels standing in your way.
  • In the PC game Darkstone, when you complete any one of the four-level dungeons, you actually do have to make your way back through the entire thing to the exit. This is, however, made easier by using the game's list of places visited in the dungeon; you just click on "Level Exit" and your avatar will promptly run the shortest route through the level to the stairs leading up.
  • There are many times in Dead Space when you can take a shortcut to a previously visited location, often through previously locked doors opening up, but the occasionally enemy breaking through the door occurs as well.
  • In a stroke of mercy (instead of annoyance), Demon's Souls is designed with shortcuts you can activate at various points through the level so you can return to your corpse after your recent and inevitable death. Its Spiritual Successor Dark Souls continues this practice. As you unlock more and more areas, this becomes necessary to get anywhere. It also creates a large network of places, all of which can be accessed a short distance from Firelink Shrine.
  • Densetsu no Stafy 4 has one in each level in the form of the Warp Monks and Warp King, Jizō statues whose main function is to let you return to the level's entrance once you've completed the objective. The Warp Monks are small gray statues that are dressed differently depending on the area, and are usually found in rooms with level-important objectives. Talking to them will allow Starfy or Starly to warp to the Warp King, a large, golden statue that is found near the entrance of each level. Levels with multiple objectives or collectables spread across various rooms will often have multiple Warp Monks for convenience.
  • In the Deus Ex trilogy, you can usually destroy, lockpick and/or hack a door, but if you don't have the firepower/resources/skills or it's simply inadvisable to do, there's usually a secondary path to the objective, and when you backtrack to the door, it is commonly unlocked from the other side.
  • Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening: In Mission 8, obtaining a key item opens one of Leviathan's intestines that leads you back to its stomach, the starting point of the mission.
  • Devil May Cry 5: This is one of the level design's ways to minimize backtracking. When you're exploring a crossroad or an alternate path to discover some Secret Missions and collectibles, there might be a shortcut or tunnel somewhere near the end which lets you return to the main path without retracing all your previous steps. In Mission 10, Dante will even lampshade this trope after you go to the spot where Secret Mission 7 is located and jump off the ledge, pointing out that he returned to a familiar spot, and that the Qliphoth has bizarre paths.
  • The original Diablo has these for each of the three latter areas: the Catacombs, the Caves, and Hell. Diablo II has the Waypoints which act just like this, but are explicitly magic, justifying the trope some. Diablo III also features the waypoints, and has small waypoint stones at the end of optional dungeons that send you straight back to the entrance.
  • In Dishonored's third mission, to reach the Golden Cat the first time, you have to go through an abandoned hotel and do a fair amount of roof hopping and guard dodging, but once you find the Master Key inside, you unlock the VIP Exit, which leads back to Granny Rags' cellar hideout in the Distillery District. Later, in the Flooded District, to retrieve your gear from the Greaves Refinery, you have find and fill a Whale Oil Tank to activate a stairway to the roof, sneak past a squad of Assassins, then descend a few chains while fighting off Weepers. Once you get your stuff back, you can exit through a roller door near ground level.
  • Every dungeon, even most of the sidequests, in Dragon Age: Origins has a convenient passage back to the start once you find the room with the big plot reveal/boss fight. And if it's not an actual passage, it's an "Are you ready to go back?" dialogue option with the freshly rescued NPC.
  • Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime has one of these back to Boingburg every time you beat one of the major bosses.
  • Dungeon Master has a stairwell spanning the levels past the Tome of the Firestaff. Each floor can be opened on the outside with a skeleton key, except for Des (the large "arena" level) which is opened from the inside with the switch, and the bottom-most floor which requires the winged key from inside the stairwell.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Averted early in the series in most cases, forcing you to backtrack through the dungeon in order to get out (barring the use of a magical means, like a teleportation spell).
    • Morrowind averts it for the most part, but has two prominent exceptions:
      • At one point during the main quest, you must break into the Ministry of Truth, the hollowed out moonlet floating above Vivec City which the Tribunal Temple uses as a maximum security prison for heretics and blasphemers, in order to break out an ally. You're told to bring two Divine Intervention Scrolls and once you've found your ally, you use them to escape without having to backtrack through the prison.
      • In the Tribunal expansion, at the very end of the expansion's main quest, you are teleported into Sotha Sil's Clockwork City. It's a long journey through winding halls full of strong fabricants and numerous deathtraps. At the end, you find Sotha Sil dead and must deal with the real Big Bad of the expansion, the Face Heel Turned and completely Axe-Crazy Almalexia. After you defeat her, you find a ring on her corpse which allows you to teleport between the Clockwork City, Mournhold, and Vivec.
      • The game also allows you to avert it yourself in any dungeon if you so choose, by using the Mark and Recall spells. The spells work by casting "Mark", and then casting Recall to return to the place you cast Mark at any time. The Almsivi and Divine intervention spells (or scrolls) also teleport you automatically to the nearest Tribunal Temple or Imperial Cult shrine, respectively.
    • Oblivion:
      • Oblivion has these in the vast majority of dungeons and caves (especially quest-related ones as well as Ayleid Ruins) throughout the game. Sometimes the door can be easily traversed from either side, but is hidden in such a way that you would have to be especially observant, or know exactly where to look, to bypass the level.
      • A particularly extreme example is found in the Mehrune's Razor DLC. After going through a load of ruins, caves, and dungeons, fighting your way through a small army plus a few other foes, you finally reach Mehrune's Razor. After taking the weapon, a secret door will open and it leads right to the outside through a hidden underwater passage. It takes about 30 seconds to leave the dungeon but it takes about an hour to get there.
    • Skyrim:
      • These are ubiquitous in Skyrim's caves, ruins, and dungeons. They mostly take the form of doors barred from one side, sliding stones which require a lever to be pulled, and doors to outdoor overlooks (which allow for Fast Travel), etc.
      • One such overlook built into a Dwemer ruin seems to be made solely so you can fast travel afterwards, as it leads directly to a balcony overlooking the side of a mountain. Unless the devs expected you to slide down the side of the mountain (in which one slip could very likely kill you), there is no way to actually "exit" the balcony without going back inside and walking to the entrance.
      • A notable example is in Swindler's Den, where the "door" to before is actually an open, normally unreachable passage from the last room. However, one can abuse the rock wall beneath it to jump up, which makes the quest involving this dungeon a much simpler affair.
      • Normally, to fight the Dragon Priest Volsung in Volskygge and claim his Cool Mask requires you to make your way through the dungeon to the top of the mountain to reach his sarcophagus. However, you can bypass the whole ordeal by simply climbing the mountain from the outside, which doesn't even require any glitch exploits to achieve.
  • The Etrian Odyssey series has made it a staple to include hidden shortcuts in dungeons that can't be entered when you first come across them, but, when after a lot of exploration you look at your map and see you ended up on the other side of the wall, you can "break open" the shortcut, not only offering a much faster way back but more importantly giving a much quicker way forward the next time you enter the dungeon. These conditional 2-way shortcuts were fairly uncommon in the first game, but by the third game, having a shortcut between the entrance and exit of a dungeon floor is almost guaranteed and most floors have 3 or 4 other shortcuts. The first game also has a shortcut right before the True Final Boss all the way back to the entrance of the dungeon, giving the player a chance to save the game before plunging in.
  • Fairune: In the overworlds, there are pushblocks that can be pushed into nearby rivers to make bridges to earlier parts of the area, as well as switches lowering pillars that block the way leading back to earlier parts of the area. In addition, every battle arena where you rescue a Fairy also has a teleporter leading to the center of that area, in front of the Entrance gates.
  • Fallout:
    • Fallout 3 has quite a lot of these, but the most jarring example is in the Broken Steel DLC where after going through the Satellite Relay Station, which is on a separate map west of the Capital Wasteland, you return to the latter through a door... up a friggin' mountain, at an incredibly small niche in the rocks that you cannot get back up to after jumping off it. Later, to reach Old Olney Powerworks, you have to go through a series of Deathclaw-infested utility tunnels followed by a ruined building, but the exit leads out of a previously locked manhole near where you started. The Powerworks itself has a backdoor to the Tesla Coil room that can be hacked if you've maxed out your Science skill.
    • The Presidential Metro in Broken Steel has a back door to the Capitol Building that can only be opened once you reactivate the power in the former, during the final story quest, "Who Dares, Wins". Useful if going back to restock gear, since the Air Force Base is on a separate map from the Wasteland, which means no quick-traveling from there.
    • Other examples include the Dunwich Building, the National Guard Depot, the National Archives (if you pass Button Gwinett's Speech challenge), the Statesman Hotel, the Chryslus Building basement, and the Germantown Police Station in Fallout 3, the Sea Cave in Point Lookout, and the REPCONN Test Site in New Vegas. In some (but not all) cases, the door can be opened by picking a lock or hacking a termnal, or an upper floor can be reached with precise jumping, allowing you to bypass the entire 'dungeon'. Subverted by the Bomb Storage in Fort Constantine, where the outer doors can be picked, but the inner door is unpickable, and can only be unlocked with Tara's key, which to reach, you have to get Dukov's, Dave's, and Ted Strayer's special keys during "Shoot 'Em in the Head" to enter the bunker from the other side.
    • Fallout: New Vegas:
      • Vault 22. You have to go through four floors, unlock a door and wander through a cave to reach the computer terminal. At which point a NPC appears to fix the elevator so you can easily travel across all the floors. However if you have a high repair skill you can fix it yourself, happily take it down to the lowest level, then only go through 1 room and a corridor to get to the terminal.
      • Dead Money has many examples. The Puesta del Sol Service Route, once unlocked with the Foreman's Key, can be used as a shortcut when escorting Dean to Puesta del Sol South. Another shortcut back to Puesta del Sol North is through a ruined store reached by jumping down to a ledge from where you drop off Dean. After dropping off Christine at the Switching Station terminal, a nearby elevator leads straight back to ground level. In the Salida del Sol North area, one of Dean's secret stashes is found by jumping into a Cloud-filled courtyard whose only exit is a key-locked gate back to SDS South, which can also be a shortcut when returning to the main Villa from the belltower.
    • Fallout 4:
      • Vault 114 has a double door to before. First, after rescuing Nick Valentine, he unlocks a door back to the vault entrance, which is in fact the only way out since you entered the vault through a one-way hole. After dealing with Skinny Malone, Nick shows you to a trapdoor leading directly to the surface, which saves you the trouble of going back up through the subway station.
      • As in Vault 114, the basement of Parsons State Insane Asylum is in initially entered via a one-way drop, so the only way out is the previously deactivated elevator to Jack Cabot's office in the administration area.
      • In the "Call to Arms" quest, after venturing to the bottom of the Arcjet Systems experimental rocket facility to retrieve the Deep Range Transmitter, you take a previously-disabled elevator from the Control Room back to the surface.
      • In "Curtain Call", you have to climb the many floors of Trinity Tower to rescue Rex Goodman and Strong, but take a shortcut down via the window washing lifts.
      • The raider hideout in Andrews Station has a trapdoor at the end leading to a sub sandwich shop back above ground, which you can also use as a backdoor if you raise your lockpicking skill to Master beforehand. Another DTB can be found in Eddie Winter's hideout during Nick Valentine's companion quest.
      • "Hole In the Wall" has you travel through the Mole Rat-infested Abandoned Laboratory of Vault 81 to obtain a cure for the plague-infected child Austin, then after meeting Curie and obtaining the medicine, there's an elevator next to her room leading back to the main Vault entrance.
      • Many Fallout 4 locations have chained or barred doors. You can't bust through from one side but on the other...just remove the chain or unlatch the bar and voila. Time saved backtracking.
      • The Railroad HQ has an exit tunnel locked from inside with both a terminal mag-locked door and a chained door. Similarly, their former Elaborate Underground Base, the Switchboard, has a back elevator to the basement of the Slocum's Joe shop in Lexington, which you may accidentally discover from the wrong side while it's deactivated.
      • In The Vault-Tec Workshop DLC, the Northeast Sector of Vault 88 has stairway blocked by a wooden barricade. Once you activate the Workshop in that area and clear the barrier, the path leads to a secret above-ground exit via a pharmacy at University Point. The North Sector also has a back door from the subway area to a manhole near Milton General Hospital.
      • After sufficiently repairing the USS Constitution in the quest "Last Voyage of the USS Constitution", a lifeboat elevator provides direct access to the top deck.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • One way Waystones at the ends of a few dungeons in Final Fantasy XII, except without the easy return option: "By this, return ye to [wherever you came from]. By other means, return ye here."
    • Done in Final Fantasy VI; after opening the Sealed Gate, hitting Kefka, releasing a few Espers, and watching it seal back up, a one-way Door to Before appears in the anteroom to take you back to the first room.
    • Also done in Final Fantasy VIII during the Galbadia Missile Base mission. Bizarrely, the door only opens if you set the self-destruct timer to twenty minutes or less; otherwise you have to backtrack.
    • In Final Fantasy X, late into the game, you gain the ability to board the airship from any save point. It's not exactly a way back to the beginning of the dungeon (you have to travel back there if the airship doesn't drop you off right in front of it), but it's a nice escape if you need to restock on supplies.
    • Final Fantasy XIII: Taejin's Tower during Chapter 11 is a long, convoluted puzzle that involves rotating each floor to align with the elevator shaft, so as to continue your ascent. The dungeon itself is long, arduous, full of Demonic Spiders, has multiple side-quests within and ends with That One Boss. Mercifully, the tower fully re-aligns itself so you can travel to any floor upon the boss' defeat. Also, at the end of the Very Definitely Final Dungeon, three warp gates are provided for you; one to the Final Boss, one to the beginning of Eden (the previous chapter's Dungeon Town) and one to the base camp on Pulse for some last-minute grinding.
    • Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII: The Temple of Chaos: If you speak to an NPC just before the boss, she will create an exit which allows you to dodge the boss, and also to return to face him later without having to grind your way through the whole Temple.
  • The levels in God of War do this a lot. Kratos will often run by a door that is locked, and then much later, no matter how far out Kratos has traveled, you will end up walking through that door. One example in the first game is when you walk by a gravedigger in Athens digging a grave. Much later you climb out of Hades on a rope, and find the rope leads up to that same grave.
  • All 4 campaigns in Guild Wars end with the character winning the final mission, going to a "victory celebration area", than leaving that area to an earlier outpost. The most fitting example is probably the Nightfall campaign, where the last few missions involve the character getting taken to a realm in another dimension, fighting through several missions to finally kill the Big Bad, than leaving through a portal to the big city on the starter island.
  • Half-Life: The original is the subject of the page quote.
    • The original Half-Life is ridden with both "door" and "fence" varieties. Usually, once you get to the other side, you have to press a button or remove a bar to unlock it.
    • Half-Life 2 has at least a couple doors that are blocked because there's a couch or something keeping them from opening. When you get to the other side, you can gravity-punt it out of the way.
    • The most blatant comes early in the original, where you're forced to do the 'We've Got Hostiles' chapter just because one security guard who could have opened a door didn't think to grab a shotgun while being attacked. Oh, and there is a scientist near this shotgun who could've helped, or at least pushed a button while his buddy scientist screamed at him to do it.
    • This concept is referred to as a "loop" in game design, at least by Valve. This section of the Valve Developer Community (a wiki for using Source's Hammer level editor) explains the reasons for using them, and advantages/disadvantages of their use. Link.
  • In Harvest Moon: Animal Parade there's this. In the mines and in the forest you can go back the way you came and the game will give you the option to leave the place or just go back to the previous area.
  • When a destroyed Generator in Hero Core lowers a nearby Barrier, it will occasionally create a shortcut to a previous room.
  • Hob lives and breathes this trope. Very often the switch to open a door/drop a ladder is tantalizingly visible from the other side, and reaching that switch requires platforming/combat/puzzles.
  • The world of Hollow Knight is full of gates or normally-looking walls that you can take a long path to approach from the other side to either hit the switches that keep those gates open or destroy the support beams holding those walls in place, creating convenient shortcuts. The elevator down to the city from the Forgotten Crossroads outright blocks the way across until you unlock it from the other end.
  • ICO starts out deep within a castle's catacombs, then works its way into an Escort Mission that takes Ico and Yorda through a game-long flight across a full-scale island fortress. They navigate inconveniently gaping chasms, death-rigged rooms, puzzle-based chambers and basically tour the whole building — ramparts, gardens, cemeteries — to unlock the one escape door. When you finally open the doors, she gets kidnapped, so you have to climb your way back to where you started out at the catacombs for one last fight.
  • Insomniac Games:
    • Many levels in the Spyro the Dragon trilogy, particularly Year of the Dragon, are structured like giant circles; there's always a wall you can now smash, or an elevator that can only be activated from the far side of the level, or a Whirlwind that's now active at the start of the level.
    • Every level in Ratchet & Clank is designed similarly. If there isn't a door, there's a teleporter, or a taxi, or some elaborate underground pod system. The large variety of ways the player can get back to the start is part of the fun in the earlier games, even when you know full well why it exists in the first place (in the case of the taxis, they also show off the level). This was actually a point of praise when the series started out, since platformers were infamous at the time for forcing the player to backtrack, so having convenient ways to return to the start was considered a luxury, let alone relying on them to always be there in every level.
  • I Was a Teenage Exocolonist: Boss events, which are typically in remote areas of the exploration maps, turn into stations from which it's possible to get transported back the colony once completed.
  • In Killer7, there are doors that would normally lead to later areas more quickly, but are locked from the other side, so the Smiths have to go through the long route. Upon reaching that other side, the door can be opened by Coyote.
  • 'The Great Cave Offensive' in Kirby Super Star begins in a room with tiles on the floor that are different than the floor; After making it through the labyrinth, collecting treasure and defeating bosses along the way, you find a bomb block that destroys the tiles leading you back to the surface where the game started with a Warp Star ready for you.
  • The entrance to the Vulkar base in Knights of the Old Republic requires the player to seek an alternate way through the rakghoul-infested Undercity sewers. There's also the exit from Ludo Kressh's tomb in the sequel, although it isn't visible from the other side.
  • La-Mulana has something like this in the Hell Temple: Taking a ladder in one room will bring you back up to the first screen, with no direct means of return. However, the player hasn't reached the goal at this point, and if they use it, they'll have to go all the way back through the temple again. (The game really does not want you to get to the end.)
  • Left 4 Dead has a Door To Before in No Mercy 3 after a crescendo for people that got yanked outside by a Smoker so that they can go through the door their team opened instead of going through the normal way all over again. The door was very glitchy and could be broken to bypass the event entirely. When the campaign got ported to Left 4 Dead 2, the door was even glitchier since any melee weapon could instantly break it. After several patches, the door no longer breaks, but Valve apparently forgot about players that use a Grenade Launcher, thus the door can still be broken if you have that weapon.
  • A good number of The Legend of Zelda games have made use of this, which happens when Link grabs the Triforce piece, instrument, or whatever other quest item he beat the dungeon's boss to get.
    • In Zelda II: The Adventure of Link:
      • Each of the first 6 palaces has a back door just past the final room, leading back outside.
      • When you get the hammer, the boulders blocking access to the southern part of the western continent are no longer an issue. This becomes very important when you continue: you can reach the southern area without having to pass through a cave and swamp area (and all the attendant battles you'd have to fight).
      • There are some other, more minor examples as well, such as the Water Walking Boots.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: Beating the boss transports you to the dungeon exit, but returning to the boss' room later can leave you stranded, forcing you to use the "teleport me back" magic item (or save and exit).
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time:
      • Beating a boss opens up a portal in the ground, which takes Link back outside. Later Zelda games have continued this trend.
      • Many of the game's boss chambers are located fairly close to the dungeon entrance—the rest of the dungeon revolves around acquiring the key and/or the MacGuffin that allows you access to the boss chamber.
      • Goron City has a shortcut back to the Lost Woods once you have the Bombs to clear it. Zora's River has one as well. These are useful for Young Link to return to those destinations prior to growing up and learning the warp songs (due to Save-Game Limits, the game has Young Link reappear in his house in Kokiri Forest if, in the previous session of the playthrough, the game was saved and quit outside a dungeon).
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker does this in the Earth Temple right after Link obtains the Mirror Shield, as the small passageway he and Medli unlock afterwards takes them back to the central room of the first floor, in which the shield comes into play for access to the second floor. Another example involves the underground maze beneath the fireplace of the Private Oasis, after Link claims the Triforce Chart found there (in this case, the jails to before are opened by pressing switches with the Skull Hammer).
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap: This applies to the overworld map. Picking up certain items or approaching from the other side allows one to open up shortcuts that bypass challenging enemies and puzzles.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess:
      • There's the elevator down from Gor Coron's chamber. If you plan on going straight into the Mines and never returning to the chamber after you beat Fyrus, you'll never need it, but hey, there's the option.
      • After obtaining the Zora Armor and Water Bombs, both of which are required for the Lakebed Temple, you can open a shortcut back to Lake Hylia from Kakariko Graveyard (it becomes handy after you bring Prince Ralis to the village, as from there the way back to Lake Hylia is very long otherwise).
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword uses the trope differently: In this game, the overworld itself is a series of puzzles that must be overcome in order to reach any significant destination; once solved, these obstacles can be reconfigured in such a way that it's much easier to get past them when you need to go that way again. For example, there are several cliffs in the Faron Woods with round logs at the top, which can be pushed off to land at the bottom. Link can then use them to climb the cliff on subsequent visits.
  • In Level 9's text adventure Lords of Time, there's an exit in each era that leads straight back to your time machine; it's usually located near to where you've solved the final puzzle of the era.
  • Manifold Garden: Throughout the game, with a few prominent rooms being revisited several times in this way.
  • The Marathon series often uses these, sometimes they're useless (Arrival), other times they're required to exit the level (Two Times Two Equals, Ingue Ferroque, All Roads Lead to Sol), or are a convenient shortcut back to the main area after new passages have opened (No Artificial Colors, Where Some Rarely Go). In some cases (Cool Fusion), you really do have to backtrack the long way.
  • The Metroid games thrive on this trope. In the Metroid Prime Trilogy, especially, it's common for players to traverse the same area 4 or 5 different times, with new paths to/from it available to them each time.
    • In the first Metroid, the "normal" path to Kraid has you descend the leftmost shaft of his hideout, through the false acid pool, bomb the floor in the purple hallway to reach the green hallway with the fake Kraid, then drop through a false floor to the antechamber of the real Kraid's room. To exit, you climb the rightmost shaft via a column of respawning blocks, which leads you through a missile door to an out of reach ledge back in the central shaft. With the Ice Beam, however, you can use frozen Rippers to reach the door from the opposite side for a shortcut. The hideout also has two one-way Morph Ball passages exiting from the lower halls.
    • Super Metroid:
      • After you defeat the boss of Maridia (though a few rooms before the boss chamber, rather than the boss chamber itself), you can return to the area near the upper entrance. Though you'll probably be going a different way to continue the game, the passage is helpful when circling back to collect items that lie beneath one-way sand pits.
      • The escape sequence takes you behind Mother Brain's room and through the rest of Tourian as it's exploding, then give you a flat path to run down and inadvertently charge up your speed booster. Speed booster blocks allow you to charge through without knowing it — leading you right back to the escape shaft from Metroid, which you came back down through at the beginning of the game, allowing you to enter the former location of the Tourian base from the wrong side.
    • In Metroid Prime, after defeating Flaahgra and reclaiming the Varia Suit, the door you entered the Sunchamber through is blocked by vines, so you instead have to descend the Sun Tower, which conveniently deposits you near the elevator to Magmoor Caverns. You later have to come back to the Sunchamber via this route once you have the Spider Ball to obtain the Artifact of Wild.
    • Another random example in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes — after going up an elevator in the Ing Hive and transporting back to Sanctuary Fortress you go through this dynamo area, letting you save the game. You continue onward to the temple, then backtrack slightly and go a different way. Then you fight the Spider Guardian, and once you've beaten it, you find there is another exit at the top of the battle arena, which leads to a morph ball tube which suddenly ends and drops you — right back at the room just after that first elevator. You don't have to use the portals to get back, as you have the Spider Ball (the lack of which is what made you go into Dark Aether in the first place.)
    • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption rarely uses this, as the multiple landing sites for Samus' gunship already reduce the backtracking (when you reach one, you can call your ship, enter and from there choose your next destination). However, it is still done in the Pirate Homeworld through the subterranean metro stations that connect the main playable areas, as some of those allow you to return to the necessary parts without needing to backtrack the normal way.
  • Milon's Secret Castle has this in each of the accessible rooms from outside the castle. The only difference is that you actually have to find the door by blasting a bubble at its location, and then find its key.
  • Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge: In order to find the buried treasure on Dinky Island, you have to collect a bunch of crackers and feed them to a talking parrot in order to get directions through the jungle. When you get to the treasure, Herman Toothrot shows up and tells you that you could have just taken the shortcut.
  • The Curse of Monkey Island: To cross the Brimstone Beach, you have to make a bridge of wet towels to avoid burning your feet on the hot sand. At the end of the beach is a gate that lets you go around the beach instead. When you get to Skull Island, you can only reach the smugglers' cave by falling off the top of the cliff and using an umbrella to glide down to the entrance. Once you're inside the cave, you find a secret back door that cannot be opened from outside.
  • In MySims Agents (Wii), there are two cabins in the Mid-Mountain Slopes area. The first one you'll see is locked. The one you can enter from the outside can only be accessed once you provide Rosalyn with documentation that convinces her to let you use the key to the gate. This, in turn, requires you to boost the satellite's signal. Once in that cabin, you have to go through a maze of a mine, which ends... in the first cabin you saw, where a bit of evidence is. Now you can unlock the door.
  • In the old server complex in The Nameless Mod, there is a door that is just out of reach. When you go through the entire level, it is the door that will take you back to the entrance.
  • Napple Tale is entirely literal with the trope. Levels that end with boss fights incorporate a door that, should the player chose to open it, leads back the the level select screen. This serves two functions. First, it marks a point-of-no-return and gives players who don't want to challenge the boss a way to continue playing. Second, while players are encouraged to visit levels multiple times, the bosses are only fought once, so the door becomes the new level exit.
  • The Hordes of the Underdark expansion for Neverwinter Nights features a dungeon that has a locked door at the entrance. Normally this is a door to before that opens from the other side once you complete the dungeon. However, if you have a character with enough points (a lot) in lockpicking it is possible to unlock the door from the entrance and skip straight to the end of the dungeon.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 mostly averts this: after finishing your business in a zone, you're usually offered to be teleported out if it would take too long to return "manually". It's simply assumed that you walked back the same way you arrived, just off screen. The Temple of Seasons in Arvahn is one straight example with a Door to Before, and thanks to a bug, you can just pick it with the Open Lock skill and head from the entrance straight to the MacGuffin, skipping the entire dungeon.
  • In Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, there are literal doors and elevators that grant the players access to previously explored areas. These doors to before are locked the first time around, but, once unlocked with a key or keycard, they can be used in whichever direction the characters want, serving as a useful shortcut. An improvised variation includes the players jamming one-way doors (like the one without a number in the hospital room) so they can backtrack.
  • Nox: The training level. The ogre village level is an odd example of a search-and-rescue mission that does have a Door to Before — namely, the front gate that can only be opened from the inside.
  • Ori and the Blind Forest: The Black Root Burrows in Definitive Edition has a backdoor to Gumo's Hideout conveniently situated next to the Spirit Well, which is useful when returning for missed or previously unreachable items or secrets, since the Hideout lacks a warp point of its own.
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps:
    • The optional Midnight Burrows area has a breakable wall leading back to Howl's Den, providing a shortcut to the Combat Shrine there.
    • Baur's Reach has a shaft blocked by an ice barrier preventing access from the wrong side, which leads to the Spirit Trial area and a back door to the soup vendor's hut in Wellspring Glades. Useful for the step of the Hand to Hand sidequest that requires you to bring soup to a freezing Moki up in the Reach.
    • One exit from Luma Pools, only reachable with the Swim Dash, leads to a Disconnected Side Area of Inkwater Marsh adjacent to the Wellspring overlook, containing a Life Cell Fragment and Energy Cell Fragment.
    • Near the end of the Hand to Hand quest, after placing the Map Stone in the Windtorn Ruins, a destroyable wall drops you outside in the lower Windswept Wastes, saving you a long and difficult trip back.
  • Many dungeons in Outward end with a treasure chamber that contains a door or other blockade that can be opened, allowing the player to quickly return to the overworld. This is especially useful because treasure chests restock periodically, and some dungeons act as shortcuts between overworld locations that would otherwise be difficult to traverse, so there's actually a reason to keep using these doors once they're opened.
  • Persona:
    • Persona 3 has the warp points that let you teleport to any other one, including the one conveniently located at the entrance.
    • In Persona 4, the savepoint prior to a dungeon boss doubles as a teleport back to the entrance. Conversely, any time you enter a dungeon, you have the option of starting from the first floor, or going straight to the last floor you reached.
  • Pikmin: This becomes a necessity in the series, due to the time limit. You can spend one or more days exploring a particular area and, at some point, find and enable a shortcut (be it blowing up a hard wall with bombs, building a wooden bridge, or the like) so you can resume your exploration the following day.
  • The Pokémon games have those ubiquitous ledges. You can hop down them, but not up, and they're often used as one-way shortcuts. Many Gyms also have puzzles that must be completed in order to reach the Gym Leader, but their completion sometimes opens a second route that makes a direct path out of the gym. Alternatively, the Gym Leader may have a handy nearby warp tile back to the entrance.
    • Pokémon Red and Blue and its remakes:
      • In the original games, the Power Plant had a second exit next to Zapdos, allowing you to easily leave the building. However, there is no logical explanation as to why it would take you back to the entrance, giving the impression that you could just simply go up right next to Zapdos. In FireRed & LeafGreen, the exit will instead take you to an actual second exit that can be seen outside the Power Plant. This exit is of course blocked by a one-way ledge. In Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, the exit is removed. Instead, there is a teleporter that will take you back to near the entrance.
      • Not present until the Let's Go games, there is a teleporter pad in Sabrina's chamber that seems to not be connected to the maze. This pad will take you back to the entrance to her gym.
    • In the Pokémon Gold and Silver remakes, defeating or catching Mewtwo in Cerulean Cave reveals a ladder behind Mewtwo, which leads to an island on the first floor behind one of the aforementioned ledges, not too far from the entrance.
    • In all versions of Johto, Blackthorn City, the town in which you get the final gym badge, is connected to a pair of very long, narrow mountain paths consisting nearly entirely of one-way ledges. Its southern terminus deposits you a stone's throw from your hometown where you began the game so long ago.
    • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire and its remakes:
      • The one-way teleporter on the 7th gym, Tate and Liza's gym. After a rather annoying puzzle where you have to ride one-way floor panels and flip switches to get to the gym leaders (or in Emerald's case, make you press on the same switches a few times to make a clear path to them), they leave you a teleporter pad that leads to the front. In the remakes, instead of a teleporter pad, you have a psychic path that will take you directly back to the entrance.
      • One doorway in the deepest part of the Seafloor Cavern inexplicably takes you through another doorway back to the entrance room, but only if you're going in that one direction. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire re-arrange the room such that you no longer get shoved through it by a water current. Yes, you often got to it by accident. Instead, you now access it on a small area of land that is outside the currents on one side of the room.
      • Pyrite Building in Pokémon Colosseum has a one-way door in the starting area. Behind it is an elevator leading down from the rooftop. Unfortunately, this door always closes behind you, so you have to take the long way up every time you want to go to the roof, or to Pyrite Cave, whose entrance is on the roof.
  • In Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor there is an interesting example: Early on, when you visit the elve's hideaway, there is a tunnel in the cliff-side, however when you first investigate it its completely walled off. Later, as you progress through the ruined city you find passages that lead to the surface, all out through that tunnel, which is an incredibly useful tool compared to traversing the immense dungeon in order to leave and sell your junk. Oddly, the tunnel is on the opposite side of the surface map from the dungeon entrance, and many of the passage ways are on the far end of the dungeon (So it becomes something like so: Surface Passageway -> Entrance -> Inside Passageway). The passageways, are however two-way, so once you find them, you rarely have to go back to the main door unless you have to explore more of the main halls on that side.
  • In Portal, shortly after Chell escapes being dropped into a horrible pit made of fire, she slides through a tube into a test chamber she had already completed somewhat early on in the game and must go through it again to move on — solving it in a different, unintended way.
  • In Ravensword: Shadowlands, the game features exactly one example of this, at the end of the troll caves. It leads you to a balcony from which you can jump down near the house of the person who sent you there. Just don't break your legs while doing so...
  • In Red Dead Redemption, John initially travels to Mexico on a smuggler's raft down the Rio Grande, while taking fire from enemies on the riverbank, in an event that takes several minutes to get through. When he gets to Mexico, he can travel back to the U.S. by going over an enemy-free bridge, or fast-traveling instantly.
  • In Relicta, many levels have switches that, once the player can get to them, will activate an elevator or disable a force field, allowing the player to get back to that spot easily.
  • The Resident Evil series just loves doors apparently only held shut by a simple latch or deadbolt on one side.
    • In Resident Evil 2, after you place the gear in the police station's clock tower and retrieve the final chess key for unlocking the sewer entrance, a dust shoot (garbage chute) leading back to the basement is revealed.
    • Resident Evil 0 makes more use of this trope than any of the rest in the franchise, partly because of a gameplay mechanic change: There's no Item Storage Box anymore, you just drop your weapons and items right on the ground to be picked up later. To make backtracking easier, you find tons of shortcuts to earlier parts of the game. Even near the very end, it's possible to go right to the beginning part of the mansion from a simple elevator.
    • The novelizations subvert this trope, as the characters have no compunctions about blowing open a door with a shotgun, though it does take a few shells to do so. And in the remake of Resident Evil for the GameCube, Barry Burton does blast open a locked door during the (no-longer-dreadful) Jill Sandwich sequence, making it an example of Cutscene Power to the Max, since you can never do that yourself.
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. As you search Ashina for your master, you finally locate him in the center tower of the castle. In the castle, you find a secret ninja door that leads all the way back to the Buddhist shrine you start at after the tutorial. By the time you get there, you are about a third to halfway through the game (assuming you didn't do the memory sequence or sidetrack yourself). The entrance itself is a thin wooden board that your weapons should be able to shatter to splinters, but you can't harm it in any way.
  • The Silent Hill games have these in spades.
    • Silent Hill 2: In the hotel, to get behind the door to before, you have to first use a service elevator that requires you to leave all your items on the shelf, then to unlock it, you must use a lightbulb obtained from a tin can so you can see the lock.
    • Silent Hill takes advantage of its violation of the rules of physics and reality to have some really unnerving instances of this trope. Another example from the second game is when James descends an impossibly-long stairway to an underground prison, going down well over 500 feet(and then jumping down several very deep holes and taking an elevator), and once he reaches the prison's exit, the door opens to the lake outside the town, at ground level. No stairway similar to that leading in was ever ascended.
    • In the first game, there's a door on the second floor of Nowhere that leads back to the first floor, with no visible descent in between. This door is required after you shut off the power.
  • Skies of Arcadia features plenty of these, among others at the end of the Temple of Pyrinn, where a secret passage opens up, and Moonstone Mountain, which let's you exit through a previously sealed door.
  • The elevators in Skyhill act as this, allowing you to bypass several floors to keep your hunger down.
  • In Soldier of Fortune II, you take a long circuitous path through the Prague Hotel, itself containing several useless doors to before, to reach Dr. Ivanovich, then it's just a short run to the back door from there, which dumps you in an area you traversed in the first level.
  • Splinter Cell: Double Agent
    • In the second JBA Headquarters mission, accessing Emile's quarters without alerting him requires climbing out Enrica's bathroom window and traversing a small outside area, after which you can unlock a glass door back to the main hallway.
    • In the third JBA HQ mission, you have to follow a winding hallway through a high-security area to reach the Surveillance Room and Moss's office. A one-way drop from the Surveillance Room window leads back to the entrance courtyard.
  • Spongebob Squarepants Battle For Bikini Bottom would have cardboard boxes at the end of each stage that would take you back to the beginning. They would also appear at various points throughout the stage. The Sponge Bob Movie Game, which came out a year or so later, uses the same boxes for end of the level sections and for the puzzles hidden around the levels themselves.
  • Subnautica has a series of mysterious alien arches that can teleport you around the map. Of course, the ones that connect the surface with the deep can't be activated until you reach the deep arch by another means.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, the beating of a boss usually sends you outside automatically, but not so with the defeat of Cortez. However, the room before the ship then has a convenient way back to the shore of Keelhaul Key, if only you can get past that newly-cracked wall. Indeed, since you have to go back to Cortez to ask for his help almost immediately, it comes in handy twice over. In addition, every tenth floor of The Pit of 100 Trials contains a Warp Pipe that takes Mario back to the top.
  • In Super Paper Mario, Mario receives a Return Pipe, which will always transport him back to Flipside Tower when used, much like a Warp Whistle, although it doesn't work in a few certain areas. Also of note is that after clearing a chapter, Mario's group will travel through a dimensional door back to Flipside or Flopside. On every tenth floor of the Pit of 100 Trials (both the ones in Flipside and Flopside), there is a Warp Pipe that will take Mario back to the entrance, useful since the aforementioned Return Pipe doesn't work in the pit.
  • The Mario & Luigi series often puts several sets of iron bars, walls or any other kind of Locked Doors that can only be opened from behind all over every single dungeon. They usually lead to a big room with a Save Point or a health-recovering spot. This way, you don't have just a shortcut to the last room, but to basically any large area in the dungeon which is worth being searched for secrets.
  • The Moria Gallery in Tales of Phantasia has a switch halfway through pulling which opens a staircase straight to the first level, and another one at the end of the dungeon which goes straight to the previous, making a very convenient shortcut to the exit. When you return to this place 150 years later, those switches are still on, meaning the newly discovered parts of the dungeon are accessible straight away.
  • Stray: Several spots that must be reached by long climbing sequences have a shortcut back down, such as a bucket lift or a series of drops that are too tall for a jump.
  • Tales of Symphonia offers this option in the last dungeon, provided that you don't go straight for the last boss right away. Upon reaching the last area, a bit of hunting will provide you with a key item called the Sacred Stone that allows you to warp between the entrance of the last dungeon and the area right before the final boss. Also, there are a couple dungeons that you must pass through to get into some towns, like the Meltokio Sewers.
  • Many puzzles in The Talos Principle have either a wall that retracts the moment you pick up a sigil, a ladder or a fligth of stairs leading to a one-way drop near the puzzle entrance.
  • In 3D Dot Game Heroes, each of the six dungeons has a portal right before the Boss Room that will take you back to the entrance when activated. The final dungeon (a combination of Marathon Level and Boss Rush), has one on each floor.
  • While not usually seen 'before' due to the linear level design, many temple buildings in Titan Quest come with a backdoor or stairs that lead from the most guarded and sacred center straight to the outside.
  • The Tomb Raider series employs this trope often. If some long and convoluted puzzle room doesn't finish by dropping you right back at the start of the level with MacGuffin safely in hand, usually from a ledge you didn't even notice the first time, then the level designers were asleep. For example, in the Coastal Thailand levels in Tomb Raider: Underworld, you exit the final sub-ruin through an underwater tunnel with a pair of stone doors at the end - that comes out into the sea just a few metres from where you started the level set.
  • In Tony Hawks Underground 2, there is a door to before at the end of Downhill Jam. In the original version of the level in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, it instead leads to you ending the level early. The same is true of The Mall in Tony Hawks American Wasteland, where jumping through the boxes takes you back to the start of the level, not ending it like in the original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. The reason is that both these levels were originally designed as racing levels with a definite beginning and end, and the ends were left in as the programmers forgot to take them out.
  • Many dungeons in Torchlight II offer a red 'Portal to Surface' at their end, which will take players straight back to the dungeon entrance at the surface. This saves players the hassle of wandering back through the (usually still-depopulated) dungeon levels. As many optional dungeons have quest-givers immediately outside, this also simplifies completion of sidequests.
  • Unchained Blades has a lot of these throughout the Titans, with doors barred on one side. Often, once you've gotten through a floor once, these unlocked doors will allow you to get to the next floor almost instantaneously when traversing the Titan again (most egregiously on the first floor of Titan Slon, where the staircase to the second floor is literally two tiles away from the entrance, with the one tile between them being a door that was initially barred from the side near the staircase).
  • In Undertale:
    • There are elevators which are "in use" and inaccessible until you reach the point where they lead to. A particularly notable example, however, is a bird that will ferry you over a three-tile-wide river. The resulting cutscene takes approximately 20 seconds and has its own triumphant musical theme. There's also the River Person, who doesn't appear until you reach Hotland, at which point you can get them to take you between there, Waterfall, and Snowdin.
    • Subverted with the elevator in the Hotel that is said to go straight to New Home - none of the elevators in New Home actually take you back there, presumably it leads to an area that is not shown to the player. Even in the Playable Epilogue, you'll have to backtrack through New Home and the CORE and use the elevators in those places as shortcuts, since the Hotel elevator is still in use.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines has a particularly irritating example: after slogging your way through the Los Angeles sewers in search of the Nosferatu warren, you find a tunnel in the back of the Nosferatu primogen's room leading straight out into the Los Angeles mausoleum.
  • Spy missions in Warframe involve infiltrating data vaults, avoiding traps and sensors that will set off alarms, in order to reach a central terminal that must be hacked. In most cases, once the vault is completed, a previously locked door will open that leads directly from the terminal back to the vault entrance.
  • Near the beginning of Tynesoft's Wizard's Spell for the ZX Spectrum, you encounter a locked door you can't open. It's an exit from the underground caverns containing the spellbook you're looking for, and can only be opened from the other side.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • The Deadmines are a weird example. Even though you enter them through a house in the town of Moonbrook and keep going downwards all the way through, the one-way exit from the final cave (which you can't access from the other direction because you can't jump that high) takes you to a hill above Moonbrook.
    • Several Burning Crusade instances have shortcut exits after the final boss, sometimes leading to an exit portal (Botanica, Deadmines), others lead to shortcuts leading back to the entrance portals (Blood Furnace, Underbog)
    • Likewise, several Wrath of the Lich King dungeons were either largely circular in design (leaving the final boss room right next to the entrance) or went upwards for the most part and let players jump down into Soft Water to reach the entrance. Later expansions did away with the shortcuts as most people used the Looking For Group function.
    • Totally bypassed by the Looking For Group functionality which will teleport you into an instance, and then return you when finished no matter where you are.
    • A number of the later dungeons, and being refitting in some of the larger old dungeons, have portals available so that if you get killed in one of the latter parts of the dungeon and have to reenter the main entrance, you can at least partly teleport past all the stuff you have already cleared.
  • In both Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished ~ Omen and Ys IV: Mask of the Sun, Adol finds himself Locked in a Room at some point, then Dogi the Wallcrusher smashes a hole in the wall leading back to the beginning of the dungeon. Some of the games give you a warp item to quick travel to previous areas, which may stop working after the Point of No Return.

Non-gaming examples:

    Anime and Manga 
  • Uncle from Another World: The dungeon with the Wand of Salvation has a secret door like this, leading from the final chamber with the Wand to the entrance. When Alicia's party enters the dungeon along with Uncle, he figures it out immediately, being a Genre Savvy video game fan. He promptly uses a spell to find and open the door, bypassing the entire dungeon much to Alicia's disappointment. He feels so bad about this, he erases the party's memory and drags them back to the start so they can clear the dungeon properly.
    Films — Live-Action 
  • In an example that either inspired or was inspired by this trope, Conan and his party end up right where they started in Conan the Destroyer by smashing through a wall.
  • National Treasure:
    • When the Big Bad leaves the heroes stranded in an underground mine shaft while he tracks down the next clue. Ben notes that the first thing the builders would have done after completing the first shaft would have been to cut a secondary shaft to promote air flow and decrease the danger of cave-ins. They quickly located the second and unguarded exit... which happens to be in the hidden Treasure Room.
    • In The Book of Secrets After barely surviving the booby-trapped and decaying corridors leading to the treasure, complete with three complicated counterweight devices, the group leaves by a corridor that's only a few yards from the surface. The explanation here is that the corridor allows the temple to be flooded and drained at will.

  • Ascendance of a Bookworm: At the start of Part 4, Rozemyne has to acquire her Divine Will feystone for her schtappe. The entrance is a cave, but her Divine Will is very far inside, which exhausts her Delicate and Sickly body so much that she collapses after getting it. As she later learns in Part 5, there is a door that leads directly to the location in which she acquired her Divine Will, that opens specifically for those who would otherwise have to make a very long trip to said location, and it's right near the cave's entrance. She could have avoided walking all the way there if the curriculum had not change to prioritize students getting their Divine Will as early as possible.
  • In the Doom novels written by Dafydd ab Hugh, the Marines knew they could bust through doors with their missiles. They went the long way around because they needed to save the missiles for the crazed 'Hell Knight' enemies.
  • There's an example of this in the WIP Gender Swapped novella in Chapter 3. Jess notices Tess leaning against a door which was noted didn't have a doorknob. Later, after a couple hours, an elevator ride, a Monty Python skit, and several other random events that take place behind the scenes of the hotel. The two eventually end up on the other side of the door.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Lost has something similar. The Losties spend about half of the first season trying to get into the hatch (and after they finally get it open, they have to abseil down as the ladder is broken). Once inside, it turns out there's a door leading outside.

  • In Williams Electronics' Defender pinball, opening the Stargate enables a gate in the right outlane that returns drained balls to the plunger.

    Tabletop RPG 
  • Dungeons & Dragons. At the end of EX2 Dungeonland, a door in the Mad Feast Hall (the last encounter) takes the PCs back to the Magic Mirror house where they first entered the adventure.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons plays this for laughs when Mr. Burns decides to shut off power to Springfield. With Mr. Smithers, they enter a passage behind a bookcase through Burns' office, slide down firepoles, gain access to a vault via retinal scanner, and reach the main power room...where they then shoo off a dog who got in through the room's broken screen door.

    Real Life 
  • Most movie theaters, concert venues, circuses, etc. have one-way exit doors. The way in is guarded by ticket checkers and generally lined with concession stands. The way out, on the other hand, is designed to be as quick and simple as possible, in order to more efficiently get the venue cleaned and ready for the next group of paying customers.
  • The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, CA has several rooms with one-way doors, forcing you to take the long way around to get back out. Justified, given that the house was built according to a conflicting mishmash of directions received through séances by Sarah Winchester.
  • In Nicaragua, there is a volcano that takes quite a bit of time to climb up but is easy to get down: You get a board to race through the sand like you would on a snowboard. Nobody has built a ski-lift. Yet.
  • Barnum used this in his American Museum, famously having signs "This Way to the Egress." Naturally, the egress was the exit, not an attraction, and some of his patrons were suckered outside where they'd have to pay to get back in. He exploited Refuge in Audacity.
  • The Hampton Court Maze has a one-way door allowing people to exit the maze more quickly once they've reached the center.