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Dungeon Bypass

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Screw it, I want that cheese now.

"Obstacle course? Mo' like ka-boom course."

So the villain is feeling quite secure in their dungeon/castle/tower/fun house/generic headquarters. The path to their location is filled with a maze of twisty little passages, all alike, each filled with death traps and Elite Mooks that would quickly kill the heroes, or at least inconvenience them by a lot and let the villain escape if they need to.

... but the heroes just fly up to the top of the tower where they are. Or blast a shortcut to their place (not coincidentally, blasting the villain in the process as well). Or enter an overlooked route. Or bypass the dungeon altogether and arrive right at the finish. All that dungeon preparation? Wasted. If the villain hasn't been taken out yet, they might complain about how these things were supposed to go.

Can sometimes be a Cheese Strategy, especially if the game itself revolves around solving these kinds of puzzles.

Makes players of RPGs, Action-Adventure, and other such games with dungeons wish they could do something as easy. Occasionally, they can. This usually results in Sequence Breaking. Some games have made Anti-Frustration Features where after you finish the dungeon, a teleporter appears teleporting you back to the beginning to save you an exhausted trip.

However, a Beast in the Maze could make a dungeon bypass a bad thing for the heroes. The creature hunting them is no longer restricted in its movements and sometimes it was the maze's difficulty to maneuver in that was the only thing keeping the heroes alive.

Compare with Cutting the Knot, There Was a Door, and "Open!" Says Me.


    open/close all folders 

  • An advert for jeans saw a man and a woman running through a series of walls, and by extension, rooms. Parodied in the title sequence of early series of Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.
  • A similar commercial for Frosted Mini Chex involved timing a boy on getting through a maze as fast as possible. The boy's hunger is so strong that he gets dragged through every wall in the maze like a magnet instead.
  • A commercial for United Healthcare showed a senior couple approaching a huge hedge maze that represented their enrolling in Medicare. They tell their United Healthcare representative "I don't know how we're going to get through this." Her solution: They get into a tractor and plow through the maze.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The only way anyone gets around in Bleach.
    • Zaraki Kenpachi will inevitably bust through the walls of the Seireitei's labyrinthine layout whenever he's trying to go anywhere. Not that it matters, he'll still get lost in the end. Why it doesn't occur to him to just jump over the walls is anyone's guess.
    • Las Noches appears to be built with this trope in mind: it is stated that the foundations and the pillars holding the different floors together make it easier to travel through the floors by busting one's way through without collapsing the entire castle.
    • Notably averted once Yhwach claims the Soul King Palace for himself and rebuilds it into Wahrwelt; he restructures the very atmosphere of the place so that the Shinigami can't use Shunpo to just fly towards his palace.
  • Cannon Busters: In Madura City, when Sam is trying to find and rescue Philly from the Fetter, she determines his location and calculates the best route to reach him. Said route involves entering her Cannon Buster mode, obliterating everything between her and Philly, and creating a straight path.
  • Both subverted and played straight with the Maze Card in Cardcaptor Sakura; trying to fly over the walls causes them to grow (or turns the maze into an Escher masterpiece), but the Moon Bell knocks down the walls in a straight line.
  • The Cat Returns:
    • The King's henchmen put up fake walls in a maze to make sure the heroes can't find their way to the end. However, the Baron realizes a wall is fake, and the kicks it down—which, since the henchmen had unknowingly set themselves up like dominoes, causes a chain reaction of falling walls until they form a pathway straight to the exit.
    • Muta tries this earlier by climbing up the walls of the maze, but it turns out the guards expected that.
  • Dungeon Friends Forever: Chapter 5 opens with a description of how Van makes his way through Ryuuka's dungeon on a daily basis: Brute Force. Van's clearly established to be strong enough to take on all the monsters en route, but this sequence also shows him charging straight through the obstacles and traps, such as puzzle doors, in exactly the same way.
  • In the Tower of Heaven arc of Fairy Tail, Jellal taunts the heroes on the intercom and challenges them to fight their way up to top floor of the Tower of Heaven, where he will be waiting. Natsu decides to skip that, steps outside, then he and Happy attempt to just fly to the top. Unfortunately, Fukuro intercepts them and knocks them back down, then calls them out for "cheating".
  • In Fate/Zero Kayneth el-Melloi turns the upper floors of the hotel he's renting into a fortress filled with magic traps and summoned monsters. The highly pragmatic Emiya Kiritsugu simply levels the entire building with explosives.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Ed transmutes a Death Course into a perfectly inoffensive hallway.
  • Faced with a 60 floor tower filled with traps and monsters, Goblin Slayer and temporary party members Spear Man and Heavy Warrior proceed to climb the walls of the tower rather than enter.
  • In a short story of Haruhi Suzumiya, the SOS Brigade are stuck acting out a typical Medieval RPG in simulated space. Not only do they bypass a lot of dungeons and battles (by threatening an NPC, no less), but the biggest use of this trope is found when they reach the final dungeon, still at level one and probably lacking all the key items and skills they need to beat the last boss. The solution? Mikuru accidentally casts two doomsday level spells at once, completely demolishing the entire castle and the Big Bad with it. And the hostages they were supposed to rescue.
  • Hunter × Hunter:
    • During the Hunter Exam arc. Gon and his companions (plus Tonpa "The Rookie Killer", a Smug Snake who was acting like The Load on purpose) are near the exit of a tower full of traps when they come across a branch. The "easy path" goes straight to the exit, but the door to the easy path will only open if they leave two members of their group behind and chained to the wall. The "hard path" will allow all of them to exit, but will take too long for them to make the deadline for escaping the tower. However, the two exits are next to each other, so after some thought and a lot of effort, they manage to break through the wall separating the easy path and the hard path.
    • Gon also did this in a later story arc. He and his friend had been manipulated into a mansion by a tough enemy talented in anticipating their movements (and who knew where the doors were). The heroic duo started kicking through the walls...
    • One expert rock climber in the Hunter Exam tried to circumvent the tower entirely by simply climbing down. Unfortunately for him the skies around the tower were patrolled by man-eating giant birds.
  • In Episode 6 of the Lapis Re:LiGHTs anime, α (Alpha) finds herself trapped in a Haunted House that's being magically distorted to be Bigger on the Inside. Her solution is to use her Prehensile Hair to slice through the fragile wooden and plaster walls, walking straight back to the foyer.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, when Quattro learns that the heroine has found out where she is, she tries to console herself on the fact she's in the core of the ship while Nanoha's in the Throne Room, two places separated by many doors, swarms of drones, and a huge maze of corridors. She then notices Nanoha pointing her staff at the floor and powering up for a Blaster 3 Divine Buster, and promptly realizes that she is screwed. Made even more impressive by the fact the ENTIRE ship is covered by an anti-magic field... So the beam had to be also powerful enough to resist the anti-magic effect.
      Quattro: "She's going to just blast through the walls? Oh dear mother of God...!"
    • Exemplified by a fan comic, which also features two other examples. Fate, being an obedient good girl, just solves the maze, while Hayate follows the literal directions but not the spirit, and walks around the outside of the maze to the other exit. (Hey, it never said you had to enter the maze.)
    • This is foreshadowed in the very first episode of StrikerS, where Nanoha uses Divine Buster to break through the walls when rescuing Subaru from a fire. This is what Quattro is flashing back on when she realizes Nanoha's intent.
    • Teana repeats the feat in StrikerS Sound Stage X, having learned Starlight Breaker from Nanoha. This time, however, she's opening an escape route for Subaru from the outside.
    • An Ascended Meme as of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha INNOCENT, which has Nanoha traveling in exactly this way through a computer-generated maze of buildings.
  • In Medaka Box: Abnormal the Student Council must descend 13 floors of goons to reach their objective. When presented with an elevator to take them down immediately, they decline. However, later in the arc they try to use it, only to be cut off by a group of henchman saying "Only a cheater would attempt to use this route!".
  • In a rare example where this was the intended solution, Anos Voldigoad of The Misfit of Demon King Academy designed a secret passage in his dungeon that had no hidden doors or secret mechanisms or teleportation device, just a solid wall in front of it. To access it, one just has to be physically strong enough to break down the wall, which Anos does by walking straight through it. Apparently, this was the only surefire way to thwart detection magic and guarantee his most valuable treasure would remain undiscovered during the 2000 years it took for Anos to reincarnate.
  • In Mission: Yozakura Family, Shinzo upped the Yozakura's booby traps in an attempt to keep Kyoichiro out, but the latter was so pissed at Taiyo that he simply tore through all of them instead of dodging them.
  • One Piece:
    • Occurs during the Enies Lobby arc. The crew has to reach the top of a courthouse tower and Zoro, whose sense of direction rivals Ryoga Hibiki, is having a tough time finding his way. Eventually he realizes he merely needs to go up, and launches his Tatsumaki attack (straight upwards windcutting tornado) and clears a path upwards for himself, inadvertently sending Chopper and Nami up as well. Afterwards, Sanji presumably has the same idea and crashes through the room just after Zoro climbs out. At the same time, Usopp — uh Sogeking — gets himself thrown to the roof from outside by a giant he had recently convinced to switch sides.
    • Earlier, in the Alabasta arc, Sanji invokes this trope by realizing the easiest way to get to the clock tower in this maze of a city is to kick through the walls of every building in his way. This later comes back to bite him in the ass when he overhears townsfolk complaining about the repair work they'll have to do.
    • Much later in the series, several members of the Straw Hat Pirates find themselves in a spooky forest with animate trees that rearrange themselves to keep Luffy and the others lost inside. Luffy's solution is to simply destroy every tree that gets in his way — before long, the trees realize there are too few of themselves to trap the main characters in any non-obvious way. Not long after that, they just let the Straw Hat Pirates travel through however they want, as the trees are now the ones terrified of the pirates.
  • In One-Punch Man, Dr. Genus activates traps on floors 1 through 8 of The House of Evolution- but Genos decides to simply vaporize the entire building at once and be done with everything. Turns out there was a basement though. Saitama calls him out on poor sportsmanship, and kinda wanted to see whatever challenge the villains may have had (if any).
  • Overlord (2012):
    • Discussed in regards to the Great Tomb of Nazarick's teleportation system. If any invaders were to find and kill Aureole Omega, the NPC in charge of teleportation within Nazarick, they would have full access to the entirety of the Tomb, turning it from a Nintendo Hard Marathon Level into a far simpler affair, allowing raiders to easily leave, restock, and return to where they left off, or just travel straight to the 10th floor.
    • The route between Feo Jera and Feo Berkana in the Aserlisia Mountains is marked by three deadly trials - the Great Chasm, a sea of magma and its Lavalord Anglerfish, and a massive labyrinth that spews toxic gases. When Ainz and company were traveling to Feo Berkana to reclaim the dwarven capital, they simply flew over the Chasm and the lava sea. As for the labyrinth, he applied poison resistance to his non-undead comrades and used a spell to find the best route through.
  • Slayers:
    • In the manga version of the villainess had filled a five-story building with mages and warriors capable of matching Lina. Instead of going through them, Lina just flies straight to the top of the tower where the villainess was.
    • One of the OAVs does this too, with an underground dungeon a demon generates. Lina just blasts downward through all the floors, and comments that it's kinda stupid that the monster is always at the bottom floor of these things.
  • The second season of Space Battleship Yamato has a rather funny example. Chased by the Andromeda and confiding in the superiority of their navigator over the Andromeda's computer, our heroes try to lose the pursuer by flying through the Asteroid Belt... Only to find the Andromeda waiting for them on the other side, her commander being smart enough to fly around it at a faster speed the Yamato could keep in the belt.
  • In Sword Art Online, when Kirito and Asuna are looking for a house on Floor 22 to buy, they stumble onto Argo and a Wizard of Oz-inspired Quest. Since their levels are miles above that floor's, the three of them use shortcuts like jumping on balconies that they aren't supposed to be able to reach.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! R: Seto Kaiba does this twice. First, he lands on the roof of the building in his Blue-Eyes Jet rather than Duel his way through the lower floors. As he Duels the first card professor, Mokuba hacks into the security system and unlocks the door, making the Duel for the keycard superfluous. Kaiba announces he simply needed a warm-up before Dueling Yako.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh!: In the Duelist Kingdom arc, the Paradox Brothers use a card which forces Yugi and Joey to have their monsters navigate a maze in order to reach the brothers. Though the brothers are nominally bound by the same rules, their monsters are specifically designed to allow them to break the rules of the maze: a Ambushing Enemy, a Drill Tank, and a tunneling Sand Worm are among the ways they don't have to follow the rules. Yugi and Joey attempted this themselves by summoning Black Skull Dragon so it could fly over the maze's walls, only for the brothers to say flying is not allowed. In the end, Yugi played a card that allowed him to teleport Black Skull Dragon all the way to the end of the maze so it could defeat the brothers.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters: Yugi and the gang get caught in a maze until Tristan unlocks Shovel Crusher, allowing them to smash their way out.
  • YuYu Hakusho: Hiei, Kurama and Kuwabara give Yusuke a boost to help him reach a window in Suzaku's tower on top of Maze Castle, enabling him to fight Suzaku while they work their way up to him.

    Comic Books 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Search, Azula attempts to cut down on traveling time by burning down a forest.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes: One obstacle course consisted of huge metal pistons that the hero was supposed to dodge. Blok just walked through calmly, letting the pistons shatter against his rock-hard skin.
  • In a one-off story about the Rhino, he suffered from a midlife crisis and attempted to try to get smarter (so that heroes like Spider-Man wouldn't treat him like such a joke). As part of this, he had a scientist perform an experimental procedure on him to increase his intelligence before being made to run through a maze to see if it worked. Being The Juggernaut, he simply smashed his way through the maze walls until he found the exit, but he then discussed the results with the scientist using metaphoric terminology that were far beyond his previous ability, showing that he had indeed gotten smarter.
  • In Superman: Ending Battle, Superman gets trapped inside Bunny, a Living Ship, by Hank Henshaw, the Cyborg Superman. Trying to bust out is nearly impossible, because the inside is an ever-shifting dimension. Supes fires his heat vision at the wall and keeps pouring it on. Since metal conducts heat, the heat travels everywhere and the ship overheats and shuts down.
    Cyborg: You're already twenty miles deeper into the ship than when you started... Make that forty. I can fold Bunny back in on herself indefinitely, a technorganic Moebius Strip. We're going to be at this for a very, very long time.
  • X-Men: In Kitty Pryde's first Danger Room session as a member of the X-Men, she's so terrified that she simply closes her eyes and becomes intangible, and then walks straight across the room to the finish line, passing harmlessly through every obstacle.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Along Came a Spider has the Nova Cats pull a rather surprising one of these after having a vision reinterpreted rather firmly. Instead of fighting their way through the Federated Commonwealth, they broker a deal with them, allowing them a clear route straight to Terra.
  • When Naegi tries to ensure that Everybody Lives in And Again, one of the biggest roadblocks he runs into by the end is how Monobear only gives them access to the higher levels of Hope's Peak after a murder. The answer? Make their own way up with the entire arsenal of a SHSL Soldier.
  • In Diaries of a Madman, Navarone has to confront a warren full of diamond dogs at one point. Instead of a prolonged campaign against them in a whole warren of tunnels, he simply takes a set of changelings and asphyxiates the lot via fireball. Despite preventing a lot of deaths in the end run, this does not have a good result on his mental health. Later on, a somewhat simpler situation involves him avoiding a trek through the sewers and a confrontation with a variety of mob bosses by simply rushing to the boss and teleporting out.
  • "Scry and die" is an important tactic in Dungeon Keeper Ami, since various types of teleportation magic are available, and there is no known way to block scrying without divine-level magic. Ami generally resorts to filling rooms with selectively opaque magical fog, so that scrying at least won't learn much. After recruiting Jadeite, who can use Dark Kingdom style teleportation, she makes use of the tactic herself, notably when she has him chase another Keeper all over the place, killing the Keeper's host bodies.
  • Mentioned in Enslaved where a castle made with several twists and turns (so many that it can take half an hour to move from one floor to the next) was designed to keep out invading Germanians. Said Germanians just burned the castle down instead.
  • Being a Lyrical Nanoha fanfic, it was probably inevitable that this would happen in Game Theory. Although surprisingly enough, it's not Nanoha but Quint Nakajima doing the bypass. When one of her opponents puts up magical barriers to try to block her path, she goes through the unmagical walls instead.
  • In Harry Tano, both the heroes and villains exploit this trope in order to try getting the Philosophers' Stone. Ahsoka takes advantage of the Runes that shield Hogwarts and disrupts technology being powered down to send in a Magitek LAAT/i Gunship to the floor where The Mirror of Erised is stored at and cuts through the ceiling with her Lightsaber, and instead of figuring out how to retrieve the Philosophers' Stone from the Mirror; she simply steals the whole mirror. Meanwhile Landon Greengrass goes through the main entrance and through each and every trial in the way... by casting Bombarda on every obstacle in his path.
  • The issue of The Third Floor Corridors' effectiveness in protecting The Philosophers' Stone is brought up again in If Wishes Were Ponies by Twilight Sparkle when she is informed by Albus about the threat of Voldemort attempting to steal the Stone. Twilight bypassed the initial rooms by phasing through the doors. Twilight then readjusts the existing traps to make them substantially more difficult than they were before, along with incorporating an Age Line at the main entrance to prevent Voldemort from Mind-Controlling the students to throw them at the traps. It doesn't even work since Elly was able to shapeshift into a beetle to sneak through the cracks in the walls to try finding the Mirror of Erised after it was moved into the final chamber and accidentally takes the Philosophers Stone from the Mirror; unaware of what it even is. Followed later by Professor Quirrel utilizing the Book-Walking Spell to smuggle Harry Potter past the Age Line through a painting after capturing him.
  • In Juxtapose, the USJ Incident is completely avoided thanks to Izuku rescuing Kensei from Tsuchigumo, preventing the information leak that led to the attack. However, this also has long-term ramifications, as the League wasn't humbled by its defeat there, leading it to perform an even more ambitious assault on the whole of Musutafu, home of Yuuei.
  • The Legend of Cynder Series: This is one of Cynder's favorite tactics. Pretty much the only time she doesn't fly over hordes of enemies or dangerous places is when it would be more dangerous to fly than fight.
  • An accidental example occurs in Metallurgy during the Heroes vs Villains exercise. Momo booby trapped both entrances to the room she and Tokoyami are in along with every major chokepoint, stairwell, and blind corner, on top of using blackout curtains so Tokoyami could use his Quirk at full power. Izuku and Katsumi come in through the roof and just happen to land in the very room their opponents are in.
  • The Night Unfurls: Provided that there is an easier method of infiltration of a target location, it will be used.
    • Rather than strolling through the main gate, or directly attacking it in any way, Kyril and the Black Dogs infiltrate the Black Fortress via a secret passageway/culvert at the base of the southern wall. This is a downplayed instance, however, as they are still met with resistance, but they get through nonetheless.
    • Kyril invokes this trope during the Liberation of Ansur Arc, when he is trying to find a shortcut to enter the mercenary compound where Maia is held captive. While it is true that he can steamroll anything in his way without dying, the more time he uses to kill things outside, the longer Maia is in trouble. His fears turn out to be well-founded — he did manage to find a shortcut with Grace's help, but he arrives a bit late to stop Michelle from violating Maia.
    • Also invoked by the Black Dogs, who are looking into old sewer routes to enter the city of Ken while bypassing the majority of its defences.
  • In the Pony POV Series:
    • this is purposely subverted as part of Canterlot Castle's security, the whole place is teleport proofed, except for Dragon Mail since it works by completely different rules (and trying to use it to teleport a pony of excess mass is potentially deadly).
    • Played with during the Rumors Arc. While the CMC fight their way up the World Tower, Featherweight climbs up on the outside, through he's taunted by his inner demons on the way up (but that might be just in his head). Once he gets to the top, however, he has to stealth his way through the whole place and absolutely avoid detection.
    • The heroes are offered a 'cut directly to the top' elevator. Applebloom, having been told fighting Nightmare Diamond head on is suicide, goes alone, forcing Sweetie and Scootaloo to actually go through the 100 rooms of puzzles to catch up. This is because You Are Too Late, and Diamond already destroyed the press (she finds another way and Featherweight and Button Mash's intervention helps save the day), so the defenses were unnecessary at that point.
  • The Rise of Darth Vulcan:
    • In the Castle of the Two Sisters, after a few false starts DV proceeds to bypass the palace traps by blasting through doors and walls with magic.
    • When they rob a train to steal the World Mirror, his way through the train is blocked by a magic force field. He blows the roof off the car he's in and climbs up on top of the train to proceed— only to end up face to face with Pinkie Pie's party cannon. It gets unpleasant.
    • Boss Hoss tries to escape retaliation by hiding in an armored luxury car in his own cargo train, with heavily armed stallions in the cars before and aft. The thestrals sent to deal with him simply disconnect the cars, wheel it down a side spur and peel it open like an orange.
  • The Serpent Empress: In an omake, Hancock and Sandersonia quickly make their way through Impel Down via the former simply stomping through each floor in succession. This not only gets them to Ace faster than the prison's forces can respond, it also leaves them a way out that can't be blocked since they can fly and the prison guards can't.
  • Team Inferno in A Teacher's Glory take out several underground Oto bases by shooting fire and wind techniques down the air vents to turn the bases into ovens that take weeks to cool.
  • After being separated in Vow of the King, Captain Unohana gets fed up with the traps and changing hallways of Las Noches and levels the entire area with a high level kido.
  • In What's in a Hoard?, Izuku bypasses the entirety of the obstacle course in the Sports Festival by flying over it, winning by a huge margin. Both Izuku and Present Mic lampshade that the course wasn't made with flyers in mind.
  • During the Mewtwo arc of Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Ash's group briefly consider using their Pokémon to brave the storm to get to New Island, until Anabel decides that it'd just be easier to teleport them there, making them the first to arrive. As Mewtwo watches them, he admits he didn't expect that, but decides to allow it.
  • In Voyages of the Wild Sea Horse, during a Davy Back Fight against the Foxy Pirates, one of the games is called "Blind Man's Blunder", which involves players attempting to navigate a maze blindfolded whilst their crewmates shout out advice. One of those participating is Ryoga Hibiki: after spending five minutes going in circles, he gets so fed up and embarrassed that he just starts randomly smashing through walls until he stumbles into the finish zone first.
  • In When Reason Fails, it's played with since it is by accident. The principal of UA intended for the Special Exclusion Zone to be found by solving the various clues scattered throughout UA. Izuku's Cabal find it by getting teleported there by a Demi Power when they only wanted to get home.
  • White Devil of the Moon: Nanoha, like she would do in the series proper (as this takes place before StrikerS), just blasts a hole through Beryl's base to find her rather than deal with an unfamiliar floor plan. That's when Beryl realizes that Miyuki was serious about Nanoha being a threat to her and gets her own Oh, Crap! moment.
  • In With Strings Attached, Jeft pits the four and the Hunter against the essentially impregnable Twisted Temple and the death-touch-wielding Brothers of Doom. The Brothers have left two small windows open to lure stupid invaders into the temple. Unfortunately for them (and Jeft), this is a golden opportunity for Ringo to prove once and for all that no, he is not useless. He telekinetically removes each Brother one by one and drops them in a large box that John made out of ice.
  • Discussed in Worldwar: War of Equals. During the first meeting to get Switzerland to join the European Coalition, the Swiss government is confident of their military being able to hold off the aliens by using the Swiss mountains to act as a fortress. The plan is then mocked by the Swedish Prime Minister and EC representatives storm out of the meeting, since mountains are a terrible defense for space-faring aliens who can just fly over.

    Films — Animation 
  • Lampshaded in The Emperor's New Groove, where Pacha and Kuzko have to cross a jungle and a castle and the secret passages to reach the Secret Lab, to find Yzma and Kronk already there despite earlier falling down a canyon in the rainforest.
    Kuzco: No! It can't be! How did you get back here before us?
    Yzma: Ah...uh... how did we, Kronk?
    Kronk: (pulls down a map of the dotted lines from the previous scene) Well ya got me. By all accounts it doesn't make sense.
  • In Superman: Doomsday, when Lex Luthor's clone of Superman turns on him, Luthor retreats to an armored panic room that is lit by red lights (Superman needs yellow sunlight to retain his powers) and holds a pair of kryptonite encrusted gauntlets. Luthor attempts to lure the clone Superman in, but he merely locks the door, rips the entire panic room out of the building, and casually drops it to the ground a hundred stories below.
  • At the end of Wizards, the two titular mages face off for a final battle. After centuries of fighting we're expecting a long, drawn-out climactic fight. Instead, the good guy mage says "Let me show you a little trick mother taught me when you weren't around. Oh, and I'm glad you changed your last name you *&$^%@!" At which point he pulls out an antique handgun and shoots the bad guy. Real short fight.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, once Ralph discovers the golden medal at the top of the tower in Hero's Duty, Ralph bypasses all the traps and Cy-Bugs by climbing the wall to the top.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Xenomorphs pull this one on the heroes in Aliens. After the humans supposedly barricade all the doors and air ducts, the Aliens just climb above the dropped ceiling.
  • In Casino Royale (2006), while the mook is going through a building under construction with Le Parkour, James Bond just goes through walls, shoots down an elevated platform for it to fall, even smashes through several obstacles with a bulldozer...
  • In The Deserter, Kaleb and his men enter the stronghold of the Devil's Backbone by scaling a mesa that stands fifty feet away from the rest of mountain range, and using a block and tackle to haul up their equipment and mounts. The Apache don't bother guarding the mesa as they don't think anyone could get from it to the range proper. Kaleb constructs a Rope Bridge from the mesa to the range, granting them a backdoor to the stronghold.
  • Godzilla vs. Kong: Reaching the center of the hollow Earth is made out to be a huge ordeal, requiring a specialized vehicle, and even a powerful kaiju like King Kong has trouble getting in. When Godzilla needs him to return to the surface though, he simply blasts a hole straight through the Earth.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy has two examples: while Peter, Drax, and Groot had to fight through an army of Sakaran soldiers to reach the bridge, Gamora simply blasts a hole in the ceiling/floor and jumps up to stand beside them. A minute late, Rocket pulls one better by just ramming his ship into the bridge windows.
  • A meta example in In the Name of the King, which is based on Dungeon Siege. There is a literal Broken Bridge encountered by the party early on, which, in the game, forces you through a haunted crypt, a dwarven mine, and a mountain range. In the film, Farmer ziplines over (or at least, halfway over because the rope was slack). He falls in the gorge and is picked up by the kings army instead. Admittedly, this saves hours from the films run time and eliminates several scenes that have no reason to be there if you're not farming loot and XP.
  • The town borders in In Time are guarded by massive road barricades that you need to pay a toll booth to get lowered. Later in the film, Will and Sylvia plow their car through the toll booth itself to get through.
  • In Jurassic Park, after finally getting the lock systems working so they can seal the control room from the raptor trying to kill them, she just jumps through the giant window right by the door.
  • In Kingsman: The Secret Service, Eggsy manages to escape a locked room filled with water by destroying a mirror which he recognized was also a window.
  • Labyrinth:
    • Subverted shortly after Sarah enters the labyrinth, she asks directions from a small sentient caterpillar. "Don't go that way. Never go that way," he tells her, at which she thanks him and heads off in the opposite direction. When she's gone: "If she'd gone that way, she'd'a gone straight to that castle."
    • Which turns out to be good advice as Sarah probably wouldn't have succeeded without going through The Hero's Journey learning how to defeat the goblin king and assembling her Five-Man Band first.
  • Averted in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The Fellowship tries to go around Moria via a mountain pass, but Saruman awakens the mountain of Caradhras, causing an avalanche of rocks and snow that blocks their way, causing our heroes to have to backtrack and go through Moria anyway.
  • In Ready Player One (2018), Parzival discovers that this was how to beat the first challenge the entire time. After hearing a recording of James Halliday mentioning a desire to "go back", he decides, at the next race, to hit reverse at the starting line. He ends up finding a secret passage that bypasses the whole race and takes him to the finish line.
  • In Red (2010), when Frank infiltrates the CIA headquarters, he comes across a secure door with an electronic lock that is impossible to hack. He gets through by punching a hole in the wall and manually unlocking the door from the other side; since the facility was built by government contractors, Frank knew the lock would be state-of-the-art technology, but the drywall surrounding it was put in by the lowest bidder.
  • Played for Laughs in Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Little John stands on a bridge and demands Robin fight him to pass. Achoo points out that the river beneath "ain't exactly the Mississippi". Or even a river, for that matter; "stream" would be generous. All while hopping from one side to the other.
  • Star Trek:
  • In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, at one point Sarah is trapped by a SWAT team in a clean room. John, watching on cameras, declares there's no other way out of that room. So the Terminator punches through a wall and pulls her to safety. Then he blasted a hole through another wall with his grenade launcher.
  • In X-Men: The Last Stand, both Kitty Pryde and Juggernaut take the direct route to Leech's chamber. Kitty runs through the walls by phasing, while Juggernaut runs through them by running through them.

  • Some Choose Your Own Adventure-style books have hidden endings that are not linked to any of the storylines — the only way you'll ever find them is by flipping through the book to see all the endings without following the storylines.
  • Lone Wolf:
    • This is actually the only way to beat the maze in the seventh book, Castle Death. One monster shorts out the overhead force field with its death throes, enabling you to climb up its corpse to the maintenance gantries. Trying to fight your way through the maze leads to certain death. Conversely, if you possess the proper skill, you can cheat in a different way — namely, when asked to pick one of two archways to pass through, you ignore them both and break through the weak spot in the wall between them, escaping the maze. Still, there is no "fair" way to beat the maze — all paths within the maze lead to those two arches, and both of those arches autokill the player if he chooses one.
    • In War of the Wizards, there's no way for the Army of the Freedom Guild to defeat Shasarak, and in particular his unleashing an army of the dead against them. The only way to beat him is to use a teleportation effect to scry-and-fry him when his guard is down.

  • The Big One features a nested example of a Dungeon Bypass within a Dungeon Bypass. Faced with a situation where German occupation forces occupy most of Europe and it will require a massive effort over a period of years (with horrifying American and Russian Army casualties) to drive them back, the U.S. elects to destroy Germany directly by means of a nuclear attack aimed at its war production industry. (This is Truth in Television in that the plan used in the novel was actually that formulated by the U.S.A.A.F in 1941) Within that Dungeon Bypass is a second one; the Germans had built a comprehensive air defense system that was capable of inflicting severe casualties on any air force that tried to fly through said defense. The U.S. used the B-36 bomber whose high-flying capabilities allowed it to simply fly over the defenses (again, Truth in Television since the B-36 could fly 5,000 feet higher than even the best-performing German fighters and well over the threat of anti-aircraft guns and the missiles that existed at that time).
  • Bolo: As Bolos grow bigger and heavier (in their later versions rivaling the size and mass of World War I battleships), the concepts of 'obstacle' or 'barrier' become less meaningful — they blow everything in their way up, iron it flat through the sheer weight of their passage, or both.
  • Ciaphas Cain:
    • In Sandy Mitchell's novel The Caves Of Ice, Cain, THE HERO OF THE IMPERIUM, and the fireteam he's deployed with come across a tunnel with recognizable signs of being carved by an ancient civilization ( specifically, the Necrons). Cain immediately orders the tunnel to be sealed off with explosives. When he returns to the spot some time later, however, he finds that a hapless ambull has tunneled around the rubble.
    • Earlier in the same book, an ambull came out of the tunnel wall to attack Cain who was "safely" in the middle of the party. This, of course, gave him an (unwanted) opportunity to show off what a badass he is with his chainsword.
    • Cain in general is quite fond of invoking this trope, thanks to the melta carried by his sidekick Jurgen. A weapon designed to blast through tank armour is certainly capable of creating a new doorway in just about anything.
    • Near the end of Choose Your Enemies, Cain, Jurgen, and two inquisitors need to get to the center of a hedge maze. The Chaos ritual in progress at the center is warping the maze, leaving no path, and Jurgen's melta would just torch the maze and everyone in it (including Cain, Jurgen, and the two inquisitors). Cain calls on his innate sense of direction and his chainsword to carve his way through.
  • In Codex Alera, the Vord bypass an impenetrable Canim fortification by tunneling underneath it to attack them from behind. It took the Canim completely off guard because the Vord had enough reserves to continuously attack the front while tunneling behind.
  • In one of the Dinotopia spin-off novels, the Main Characters find themselves in a Lost City inhabited by Troodon samurai (just go with it). The Troodon challenge the humans to different contests to win citizenship, one of which is a race through an obstacle course. The human, Andrew, wins by bypassing the course and just running down the strip of land between his course and his opponent's, because there isn't a rule against it. This becomes very popular, and although the rules are immediately changed, "Pulling an Andrew" begins to occur in other activities around the city as well.
  • Discworld:
    • In Ankh-Morpork, which is primarily built on Ankh-Morpork, a man with a pickaxe and good sense of direction can walk from one end of the city to the other by knocking down walls — presuming he can breathe mud. Specifically the Patrician's Palace, as demonstrated in Guards! Guards!. In Night Watch, Vimes expects a tactic just like this... so he boards up the basements around the barricade ahead of time.
    • Cohen does this in the Imperial Palace in Interesting Times, helped by the fact that walls are made of paper.
  • Subverted in Doom. Fly gets fed up with hunting for key cards and fighting monsters over them so he blasts a door open with a few rockets. This is the only locked door he ever destroys: he meets the barons of hell shortly afterward and they can withstand four to six rockets apiece. From that point on rockets are reserved for emergencies and "boss fights" so he and Arlene run the dungeons looking for key cards. One time he suggests the option to Arlene to avoid entering a maze of unnatural darkness to find the key. Their rocket supply is dangerously low so they brave the dark maze instead of risking taking the next baron without ammo. They encounter a baron in the maze and they kill it for the key. Running the dungeon cost them all their rockets when the Dungeon Bypass would have used a few.
  • In Esther Friesner's Elf Defense, our heroes are stuck in a magical semi-sentient hedgemaze, which has just separated the college professor being pursued by a dragon from the elven prince who actually knows how to fight a dragon. No problem: the Welsh au pair calmly picks up a sword and proceeds to chop her way through the first hedge in the way. The maze, not being stupid, immediately opens a clear path for her.
  • Emberverse: In Dies the Fire by S. M. Stirling, some outside force suddenly causes electricity to stop working all over the Earth. In Oregon, the main (human) villain begins establishing a brutal fiefdom, and orders the construction of a well-defended fort blocking an important pass. Fortunately for the heroes, hang-gliders still work just fine, and they land a strike-force on the fort's roof and breach the defenses from the rear.
  • In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry takes a shortcut through a maze by blasting through the hedge in order to rescue Cedric. Yet it takes a spell and quite some fighting with the branches just to open a small hole.
  • The protagonist of The Ion War was sent, as a test, into a maze — inside a furnace, with a five-minute timer on the device protecting him from the heat. He discovered that the walls weren't anchored, and toppled them like dominoes. He still wound up having to do an Indy Hat Roll to get to safety before the protection deactivated.
  • The trope is discussed in The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force from Star Wars to describe the three different branches of the Jedi Order in something known as "The Locked Door Test": which entails that a Jedi is trying to get past a locked door to the other side. A Jedi Guardian specializes in their martial prowess and skill with the Lightsaber; when faced with a locked door, they would ignite their blade and cut through it. A Jedi Consular seeks mastery and understanding in both the Force and in Diplomacy and would forego using their Lightsabers only as a last resort; they would mind-control a guard to open the locked door for them. A Jedi Sentinel is more well-traveled having spent years or decades away from the Temples to pick up useful skills that other Jedi might often frown upon; they wouldn't use a Mind Trick or their Lightsabers, they would resolve to Slice into the doors control panel to have the Door unlock for them, and leaving not a trace of their presence afterwards.
  • Legacy of the Aldenata: In When The Devil Dances and Hell's Faire, the "Screaming Meemie" units accompanying the 7000 ton "Bun Bun", tend to take full advantage of the passage of the SheVa smashing everything in its path flat. The resultant path is still impassable for wheeled vehicles, but for the tanks traveling through the impressions that each section of SheVa tread leaves isn't a problem.
  • In The Mysterious Benedict Society, the final test which the main characters are put through in order to qualify for the mission is a maze of identical rooms. Reynie identifies a pattern of arrows (there are several different arrows in each room, each pointing different directions), while Sticky blunders through at random, memorizes the route instantly, and completes it perfectly when he tries again, but Kate simply opens up a heating duct and crawls straight through.
  • The Italian novel Per Puro Caso ("Purely by chance") is about the discovery of a gene that immensely increases intelligence. When its effects are tested on mice in a maze, they jump over its wall and run out of the lab.
  • In Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth, both the heroes and the villains are searching for Ariadne's String, which allows a Dungeon Bypass of the famous Labyrinth of Classical Mythology, which is now much larger, and beneath all of the United States of America. Luke finds it, but Percy works out another Dungeon Bypass, a "clear-sighted" mortal, who always know the way through the Labyrinth.
  • In Robert Asprin's Phule's Company series, the Omega Mob tends towards solutions like this. The key example comes in the first book, where Phule's troops (a gang of misfits that were already considered too irregular for the Space Legion, which is already an irregular military force) are going up against one of the finest military units in the galaxy in a series of competitions. The second event is the challenge course, which is to be run "under combat conditions" with full military gear. The regular Army unit runs the course perfectly, setting a spectacular time as they do so. Phule's company literally destroys the course, blowing down walls, cutting away barbed wire, and in general using their full military gear to wreck everything that gets in their way, and get away with it through Loophole Abuse and because the rival commander was too damned impressed to push the point - and because he admitted that if he had to get his troops across a real battlefield with such obstacles in the way, he probably would have done the same thing.
  • In The Pillars of Reality, when Mari is captured and locked up, Alain breaks into the dungeon simply by walking right through the walls with magic. However, he then lacks the strength to do the same for their escape, leaving him stuck in the dungeon too. He admits that he didn't think it through properly. Fortunately, he does have enough strength to create a hole big enough for Mari to tamper with the lock.
  • In the Beverly Cleary Young Adult novel Ralph S. Mouse, the kids build a maze for Ralph to run. Ralph climbs on top of the walls to look for the cheese, to the annoyance of the kids (who were building the maze to see how smart Ralph was in the first place).
  • In the Ravirn books, Clotho at one point seeks to keep Ravirn and Cerice imprisoned in her maze by making it imitate a quantum computer, thus causing all the gateways to be simultaneously open and closed, and thus impassible. Ravirn, however, is a minor chaos power, and more than capable of simply forcing the superposed gates into the 'open' state where it's convenient for him.
  • In The Sapphire Rose by David Eddings, the heroes attempt to use captured minions to lead them through the deathtrap maze, only to realize that the minions don't know the way either. Finally, they discover that the maze has movable walls, so its layout can be changed at any time. Furthermore, there isn't any route through the maze, because it's only a diversion. Since the walls are loadbearing, they try going up through the ceiling, and there they find the direct route to the Big Bad's lair.
  • Spy School: On his first day at the eponymous school, Mike goes around the hi-tech obstacle course rather than going through it. His teacher is unamused, but has to concede that in the field, an agent is expected to take the quickest and safest route to stopping the villains.
  • Star Wars Legends: In one novel, Han Solo remarks that he "never saw a maze that couldn't be greatly simplified with a good blaster". This was probably inspired by Leia's way of getting herself and her rescuers out of a very tight situation in A New Hope. Granted, it landed them in a garbage masher, but it still counts for something.
  • In the Thousand Sons novel Ahriman: Unchanged, Magnus the Red’s faction of Thousand Sons know that Ahriman is returning to the Planet of the Sorcerers and start preparing their defenses for his arrival. They send out daemons to watch for incoming fleets, their own fleet is ready to repel Ahriman’s, and they even reconfigure the planet’s geography to make a land invasion of the City of Towers impossible. Ahriman circumvents these defenses by using a ritual to teleport his entire force right into the heart of the City from a planet halfway across the galaxy, with their cataclysmic arrival throwing the defenders into disarray for good measure.
  • A maze is a Leitmotif in Mary Stewart's Touch Not the Cat, and the climax is when the Villain with Good Publicity leads the Damsel in Distress heroine into the center of a complicated hedge-maze. The misunderstood hero uses hedge clippers to get to her.
  • Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker: Vasher uses Nightblood to demolish walls in the royal palace in order to reach his target Denth. It's not a straight example because it's not a dungeon but the effect is the same.
  • The Wheel of Time has Travelling and Skimming, which should be enough to bypass most dungeons, but Rand's secret of dealing with people who know that they're more clever than he is would have made Nanoha proud, in a horrified sort of way.
  • In Who Moved My Cheese?, after Cheese Station C has been emptied, Hem and Haw chisel holes in the wall to see if more cheese is behind the wall.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Bones did this once. A real dead body was found in one of those Halloween haybale mazes, so Booth kicks the bales down and cuts a straight path to and from the parking lot. Apparently, he was the only one to even consider this, as everyone else appears rather shocked.
  • The premier episode of Burn Notice has a drug dealer feeling secure behind his armoured, reinforced door. Narrator Michael Lampshades the trope when he shoots through the ordinary thin wall beside the door, wounding the dealer, then busting in through another wall where he'd previously removed the exterior sheeting so it was only the drywall he had to break to enter.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Mance reveals in "The Children" that, having seen how meager the Night's Watch's defenses are, he simply sent a few hundred climbers a short way down the Wall to avoid the defenders entirely.
    • In "The Door", the Children of the Forest attempt to defend their home by conjuring a Ring of Fire around it. As the White Walkers are immune to fire, they simply walk through it. Their Wight minions are not immune to fire, so they dig a tunnel under it.
  • In Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger vs. Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie, the Gokaiger have to climb all the way to the top of the Big Bad's tower to rescue Gavan, but once he's free they simply blow a hole in each of the successive floors to get them back to the ground level. Then, adding injury to insult, they pull out their BFG and fire it upwards, taking out a large section of the castle and killing all the bad guys they bypassed.
  • In an episode of The Librarians, magic causes a video game to superimpose itself over reality. Ezekiel takes on the role of the player while the rest of the team are escort targets. Any one of them dying results in returning to the save point (which Ezekiel originally mistakes for a "Groundhog Day" Loop). After eventually determining there was no possible way to safely conclude the escort, he finds a place where he can climb onto the roof of the building they're in and totally bypass the escape portion, glitching and crashing the game in the process.
  • Red Dwarf:
    • From the episode Rimmerworld comes this exchange:
      Lister: Why don't we scrape away this mortar here. Slide one of these bricks out. Then using rope weaved from strands of this hessien, rig up a kind of pulley system. So then when a guard comes in, stands on a tripwire, gets laid out. Then we put Rimmer in the guards uniform. He leads us out. We steal some swords. And fight our way back to the bug.
      Kryten: Or we could use the teleporter.
    • Again from "Duct Soup". The crew crawl through the ventilation shafts of Starbug after the ship apparently goes offline. Kryten made sure the doors were functional but didn't explain this until they got back.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Happens in the episode "The Serpent's Lair":
      Bra'tac: The shield generators are far below, there — in the very bowels of the ship. We must climb down several decks, through the length of the ship. Then, taking our weapons, we must—
      O'Neill: (shrugs and tosses grenades down the shaft; the generators explode; he looks back at Bra'tac) Grenades.
    • In a later episode, Sam, Jonas Quinn and Jackson are trying to find the Eye of Ra, and have spent most of the episode puzzling out how to find the compartment it's in. When they do find the compartment, there's another set of locks... but they're running out of time, so Sam just blasts through it with her P90.

  • In "The Rapture of Ridley Walker" by Clutch:
    There is no safe way out of here
    No passage below the dungeon

    Myths & Religion 
  • Older Than Feudalism: In The Bible, rather than attempt to get through the heavily defended and fortified walls of the city of Jericho, Joshua and the Israelites paraded around the city for days before blowing their trumpets. This caused the walls to crumble completely. With the divine help of God.
  • In Greek Mythology, Theseus tied his string to the end of the maze, dropped it, and it rolled down, where he just followed it until it eventually led to the minotaur. While not technically a bypass, he did circumvent the whole dead ends thing that a maze is supposed to have.
  • In some parts of Sweden, fishermen used to believe that every village was infested with little invisible gnomes, whose main desire was to get out on the sea. To do this, the gnomes would follow the villagers around. If a fisherman didn't get rid of the gnomes before going out in his boat, it would mean terrible bad luck. So how did they get rid of the gnomes? Easy: Dungeon Bypass! Every fishing village would have a labyrinth (mostly a simple spiral) built from rocks as big as a head or so. Before going out, the fisherman would walk all the way to the middle of the spiral, the gnomes presumably trailing him. When he reached the middle, he would simply run across the stones, down to his boat, and cast off. The gnomes, too small to jump over the stones, would have to take the long way out of the spiral, and would be too late to sneak on the boat. Though one wonders why no gnome ever got the idea of waiting by the boats...

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech:
    • An unconventional but still viable strategy when it comes to urban combat. Don't even bother with streets—shoot or simply shove your way through the buildings instead. A lance of Battlemechs can carve through buildings, even reinforced ones, at an impressive rate. An Awesome can level a strip mall in as little as 10 seconds—that is to say, one turn.
    • Battle Armor and Conventional Infantry can take cover inside of buildings, making them substantially harder to harm because the building they're in absorbs some of the damage from attacks that hit them. Thus a common strategy for dealing with such situations is to shoot the buiding until it collapses on top of them, which both deprives them of cover and causes significant damage by itself.
  • In the Deadlands adventure Fortress o' Fear, the players are sent to locate a portal to the Hunting Grounds within Devil's Tower. If they enter near the base of Devil's Tower, it's a long and arduous journey through labyrinthine rooms and dangerous monsters. However, they have the option of hiring an Ornithopter pilot in City o' Gloom who will offer to fly them right on top of the tower, which is much closer to their destination and a lot less hazardous. Oddly enough, the adventure seems to push the players in this direction, essentially encouraging them to bypass the detailed dungeon they'd created.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • A notorious tactic is the "scry and die", in which the player characters use divination spells to locate the Big Bad, then cast a teleport spell to ambush him wherever he happens to be, bypassing any and all elaborately prepared defenses he has set up. The "Mind Blank" spell is a hard counter to this — only deity-level power can scry someone under its effects. Unfortunately, as an 8th-level spell, your Big Bad needs to be almost that powerful themself to keep it running. For game balance reasons, editions up to 3.5 largely had to make the choice between "scry and die is possible" and "ambushing the players isn't". Later editions decided to just sacrifice a little balance and realism to focus on making the adventure fun to play.
    • The 3.5 splatbook "Complete Arcane" adds Anticipate Teleportation, a spell specifically to counter this strategy. Its duration is 24 hours, just like Mind Blank, but it's only 3rd level, because instead of giving the complete mental protection Mind Blank offers, it just warns you of an incoming teleport and holds the would-be ambusher for a round. The Greater version at 6th level gives three rounds instead; enough preparation to ensure that the Curb-Stomp Battle experienced by the would-be ambusher is the opposite of the one they expected.
    • In 3.5, 5th level Druids can summon Thoqquas, which can tunnel through solid stone and explicitly leave a usable tunnel. This is especially notable because at 5th level, you normally can't teleport yet, so the DM may not expect shenanigans like this.
    • Many RPGs have so many ways of doing this that it may be futile to try to list them all. There appear to be two main reasons for this: first, many games include countless different spells whose implications are often poorly thought out (though some of this is intentional: there's actually a D&D spell called "passwall", which creates a temporary hole in a wall of your choice). The second reason is many games try to write rules for every conceivable situation, including tunneling through a wall with a battle axe.
    • In fact, in Dungeons & Dragons Edition 3.5, all materials stronger than paper are allotted a hardness score, which dramatically reduces damage dealt to them. Weapons made out of Adamantine, however, ignore the hardness of objects unless they're built from materials equal in strength or stronger than Adamantine. This makes tunneling through a stone wall with an Adamantine Greatsword almost pathetically easy. There are also combat maneuvers which ignore hardness, in case you don't have an adamantine weapon.
    • However, in fourth edition D&D, items and walls no longer had a hardness rating, which means that a weak but determined character could punch through them.
    • Fifth Edition simply treats items like characters in terms of armor class and hit points.
    • It is quite easy for PCs to end up rewarded for this: most strong doors are made up of an expensive material, so simply using "disable device" or other methods to take it off its hinges winds up quite profitable.
    • Tomb of Horrors:
      • The remake tries to avoid letting players do this. It has replaced all of its Adamantine Doors with "Spell-Hardened Steel as Hard as Adamant, but loses its magic if you dismantled them." It also creates infinite hordes of demons that do nothing but repair the walls and reset traps all day and attack anyone who attempts a Dungeon Bypass.
      • At least one group of adventurers has made it through without a single casualty by having a team of dwarves dig around the traps and obstacles with non-magical mining equipment over the course of several weeks. The writers planned for ethereal travel, melding into stone, magical defenses, teleportation, etc. but never expected an ordinary pickaxe and a group of patient, careful adventurers.
      • Another amusing way groups bypassed the dungeon in the original was to completely skip the dungeon and merely steal the doors, 1000 cu. ft. of solid adamantine and mithral, probably worth more than all the treasure in the tomb itself. Also fixed in the 3.5 remake by having the doors merely by magically hardened steel that loses its magic once removed.
    • The Dungeoncrasher Fighter variant in 3.5 is actually designed to do this, as the name suggests. On top of its much-loved "super Bull Rush" that slams opponents into walls until their bones liquefy, it also gets, by 6th level, a +10 bonus to checks to break objects and a +4 to dodge or resist traps. Many Dungeoncrashers get through dungeons by simply breaking everything in them.
    • Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen: The catacombs beneath Kalaman Castle are a winding, meandering place. When the party goes down there, they'll find that Lord Soth has smashed his way through several twenty-foot-thick walls, a door, and a sarcophagus to take the most direct route to the tomb furthest from the entrance. Sadly, the tunnels he smashed open are unstable and will collapse if the players try to use them, forcing them to take the scenic route.
  • Exalted: Solars with the correct Charm can bypass locked doors by walking through them, and more veteran ones can remove the walls by punching people through them. Meanwhile, those with dematerialization effects can just stroll through walls, and experienced Infernals can just load up Pellegrina's Fury and erode away everything in their path. Of course, the point of Exalted isn't about whether the heroes can make it through the dungeon, it's about whether they should, and how they intend to solve the long-term problems that led to the dungeon attack in the first place.
  • Mage: The Ascension doubles down on this with cooperative spellcasting, where the players sit in a circle and add effects to a spell until it fails or becomes too difficult to add further aspects or power. This means that a single character with access to the correspondence sphere (which allows scrying) means that the party can drop the majority of its offensive power on an enemy without showing up themselves to potentially be exposed to danger. Especially dangerous since in the Old World of Darkness the various types of supernatural creatures had no way to resist each others' powers, effectively making this the point where the Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards thing became completely insurmountable in any kind of mixed campaign.
  • Mage: The Awakening made major changes to no less than four fundamental mechanics solely to prevent this tactic: draconian limits on spell combination, severely reduced power when adding sympathetic magic, cripplingly specific prerequisites for scrying (to the point where you can barely scry anything you don't have regular physical access to anyhow), and scry targets have what is usually a near-unity chance of noticing the spell from their end. Joint casting was also removed entirely and replaced with an assist-boost mechanic. That's how unambiguously game-breaking and impossible to stop from the GM's end the tactic was.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has several game mechanics that allow you to put your forces behind your opponent's lines, such as infiltrating, outflanking, and deep striking. The Apocalypse and Planetstrike supplements also provide special strategic assets and stratagems that can also help your forces bypass defensive lines. Also, if you happen to have fast skimmer transports, you can literally just fly over enemy lines.

  • In the BIONICLE (2015) Netflix series Journey to One, Onua finds a maze underground in his search for his Elemental Creature, Terak. Rather than try and solve the maze, being the Toa of Earth and all, he decides to just run straight through it, which works surprisingly well for him.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Little Busters!, one of the routes in Ecstasy feature a dungeon. You have to pass through it three times during the story, but you only have to navigate through it twice, because on your third pass you are given a heavy machine gun which is used to simply blast a hole on the ground on every floor as a shortcut to the next one.
  • Muv-Luv Alternative: The BETA bypass the Japanese defensive line between Kansai and Kanto by walking across the ocean floor and Storming the Beaches at Sadagoshima, while mounting a simultaneous attack on the line itself to pin any possible reinforcements. A third attack on the Suez Canal, which blocks BETA advancement into Africa which is feeding much of humanity at this point, forces potential American reinforcements to leave Asia to hold the more critical theatre, sealing Japan's fate.
  • In The Pirate's Fate, the Infinite Cafe is a Pocket Dimension of sorts consisting of a maze of endlessly repeating rooms identical to one another, and has been known to drive prisoners totally mad. The intended solution to escape is to stop resisting, calm down, and enjoy it for a while. It's a Secret Test of Character intended to teach patience. In one of the routes, however, Mila can get out by simply smashing through the floor and willing herself to escape thus learning the opposite lesson.

  • 8-Bit Theater:
    • Black Mage is able to complete an obstacle course by blowing it up. There isn't a rule against it, so he passed.
    • Invoked unsuccessfully much later in the comic. Upon arrival at the Temple of Fiends, Black Mage suggests that the Light Warriors land their airship at the top of the temple, crushing a few floors in the process and "killing their way" downwards, as he put it. Red Mage disagrees, mainly because the airship's autopilot (designed by omnipotent Jerkass elder Mage Sarda) had been pre-programmed to land them at the entrance and their previous attempts to manually control the airships given them were uniformly disastrous.
  • Bob and George has this happen with the Wily Castle in almost every game retelling. Some of the Robot Master stages, too.
  • This strip of Captain SNES: The Game Masta shows what's likely the ultimate example of this trope, where Magus, accompanying Mario, simply blows up the 7th castle from outside.
  • This strip in Chasing the Sunset involves threatening the dungeon into submission:
    Leaf: For all we know, the walls may be alive and move to trap us.
    Ayne: In that case, I suggest we just break through the walls until we find the way.
    Walls: (shift light and dark bricks around, spelling "GO" with a big arrow towards the party's destination)
  • Gort in Darken quickly tires of a confusing maze and its shifting walls and creates his own access route.
  • At one point in Exterminatus Now, our heroes are trying to end a minor zombie problem (not yet up to a full-fledged Zombie Apocalypse). After entering the tomb, Virus begins musing on how they'll have to track down a series of improbable objects to get through a specific door, which is chained shut. Lothar snaps the chain, and everyone walks off.
  • Used frequently in The Fourth by Skärva and company. It helps that villains know all the secret passages and maintenance tunnels to avoid the puzzles and traps they set up in the dungeons.
  • Inverted for laughs in one strip of Full Frontal Nerdity, Frank is trying to set up a campaign in a city that will be full of intrigue, mystery, and political maneuvering. The guys however, refuse to play along because they absolutely HATE any of Frank's campaigns based on political intrigue because they are far too complex and they're sick and tired of trusted NPC's always turning traitor and insist that they're going to the nearest dungeon. Nelson tells Frank to just let his plot work itself out and they'll attack whoever is saying "Hail Hydra" when they get back.
  • Girl Genius: While the rescue party is stuck in the labyrinth beneath Sturmhalten they are discussing how they are going to need to backtrack and go deeper when they reach a dead end. Krosp then hears singing and the Jagers happily use the sound to dig and punch their way into the castle dungeon above them which leads them directly out of the mess.
  • Goblins:
    • Duv attempts this (using slave labour to dig a hole) in order to gain an Artifact of Doom which will restore her lost power. However, she only manages to bypass the hundred-foot-high gates, rather than the whole dungeon. Why did she have to do it? The keys to the gate are INSIDE the dungeon, since the group of adventurers that previously used it... died midway.
    • Tempts Fate is fond of this trope. Being who he is Tempts uses it even when the normal route is safer, because he doesn't like it safe.
  • Andrew's "order" ability in Gunnerkrigg Court ends up doing this, even without him consciously attempting it during the quest simulations. It causes the MacGuffin to spontaneously appear at Andrew's feet before the plot of the simulation can even begin, much to his frustration and Parley's annoyance.
  • Homestuck: Why go in a dungeon when you can pull it apart?
    • In one scene, Tavros is insisting on going all around a dungeon and doing lots of puzzles to learn the story of the world they have been brought to. Vriska, his partner who does not care about the game's story, quickly becomes psychotically 8ored as a result. She gives Tavros a map with all the temples captioned with things like 'snore' and 'zzzzzzzz', and his eventual destination circled, ordering him to go straight there.
    • Earlier, Terezi gave John the code for a rocket pack so that he can skip building his house up past the second gate and zoom all the way to the seventh gate to sneak into the palace of the supposedly slumbering Denizen of his Land. It didn't end well, but Terezi didn't expect it to.
  • In Housepets! 5,000 B.C. Tarot is able to use mana she obtained from Karishad to teleport directly into the inner sanctum of Pete's temple. Though later on in "Temple Crashers II" she doesn't have that and they need to grind their way through the traps and monsters like the first time they were there.
  • Insecticomics 646 (during the spoof of Labyrinth), Sideways sticks Thrust in the titular maze, only for Thrust to beat him back to his prisoner: "I'm a jet and you didn't put a lid on your maze, idiot."
  • In Kevin & Kell, Danielle, a Defector from Decadence who left Rabbit's Revenge, thinks she's safe in the Dewclaw house basement because Kell, a skilled predator, lives there and Rabbit's Revenge wouldn't risk facing her to reach her. Two members then tunnel into her room.
  • Knights of the Old Coding:
    • Subverted in this strip, the map of the levels the heroes have to go through is explained, but an alternative is suggested:
      CG: Why don't we simply cut across the gentle and harmless plains between the Forest of Peril and Makil's stupid stronghold?
      Link: Yeah?
      Kuros: Because he'll be expecting that!
    • But as the heroes find out during the confrontation with Malkil here, not only had newcomer Simon used the above tactic to quickly catch up to them, Malkil confesses that he "never would have expected that!"
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Early on in the comic, the eponymous adventuring party skips two levels of a dungeon by taking the service stairwell.
    • After making a Deal with the Devil that grants him/her ultimate arcane power, Vaarsuvius teleports directly into Xykon's throne room. Made even more awesome because the entire surrounding area was magically shielded from any attempts to teleport in, and Vaarsuvius powered through anyway.
  • Discussed and then averted In Our Little Adventure when Julie's group tackle the dungeon where the first Magicant Piece is believed to be. This aversion is because they want the treasure they think they'll find in the remaining towers.
  • Several times in Ruby Quest. One time they did this (smashing open a wooden door with a crowbar) is in the quotes page.

    Web Original 
  • The RinkWorks game Maze Maker generates a random printable maze. The same website allows visitors to submit altered screenshots from the site as "RinkWorks Graffiti" (see here). Needless to say, it's quite popular to use this in Maze Maker graffiti. More specifically, one of the early "Graffiti" images was a maze with an extra wall drawn in, rendering the maze impossible to complete in the normal sense. A significant number of later Graffiti images are Graffitis of the original altered Graffiti maze.
  • The SCP Foundation is fond of this trope in general, but special mention goes to the attempt to simplify exploration of the steel labyrinth found in SCP-432 using an acetylene torch. Subverted when the Beast in the Maze bursts through the hole and expresses its displeasure at their ingenuity.
  • This trope is on the list of Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG
    50. Not allowed to use thermodynamic science to asphyxiate the orcs' cave instead of exploring it first.

    Web Videos 
  • A popular online meme says that the entire plot of Lord of the Rings could be averted if the Fellowship would simply do this by having the eagles fly the Ring to Mount Doom and drop it in. The Spoony One once delivered an epic rant explaining in detail why this wouldn't work.
  • When the Game Grumps are playing Zelda's Adventure and are lost because the walkthrough they were using ended prematurely, they get contacted by a Speed Runner who gives them instructions on how to beat the next dungeon, including the hilariously counter-intuitive advice on how to beat Pols Voice: "hit it for two minutes". While there is a ring to obtain in the dungeon that makes them die faster, going out of your way to get it is actually slower than just wailing on the thing for that long.
    Dan: THIS IS SPEED-RUNNING?! Is it possible Maxwell's just fucking with us?
  • In JourneyQuest, Perf and Nara accomplish this on the Temple of All Dooms, by accident!
  • Oxventure's Dungeons & Dragons party, the Oxventurers' Guild, has a particular gift for this. GM Johnny Chiodini has often lamented the way that the Oxventurers can reduce a simple social interaction to utter chaos in under a minute, burn half an hour on irrelevant digressions, but can also locate any way to get past a dungeon in seconds. "Tower Rangers", in which they managed to throw an entire layered deathtrap of a tower into chaos without even entering combat once, was particularly notable.
    Johnny: And that's the story of how you all climbed the outside of the tower, because I'll never learn.
  • During The Runaway Guys' playthrough of Sonic Adventure, Emile uses Tails' flying to break the Windy Valley race against Sonic wide open by flying off the racetrack until Tails reaches the island where the Chaos Emerald is.
    Jon: Hi, Sonic! You are the fastest thing alive! I'm the cheapest thing alive.
  • One RWBY Chibi sketch starts with Yang using this method to "solve" a panic room exercise- by punching a hole in the wall. Winter, supervising the lesson, angrily tells Yang that she was supposed to solve the riddles and clues to get out. The end of the sketch has Yang using this method to get into the boys' panic room.
  • In Vaguely Recalling JoJo, Tower of Gray crashes the jet onto the ocean liner where the heroes would have encountered Dark Blue Moon, killing its Stand User and skipping that chapter of the story. Instead, Jotaro's group washes ashore along with the runaway girl who was also supposed to be introduced in that chapter.
  • The Yogscast often wind up doing this accidentally in their Minecraft videos, since the Yogscast Complete mod pack has so many devices, jet packs, magic spells and explosives that the modders of individual dungeons couldn't predict.

    Western Animation 
  • The Awesomes: In an Indiana-Jones-themed episode, the group encounters a huge maze separating them from their objective. Prock starts to strategize the best way to tackle the maze. He barely notices when Frantic runs through it as super-speed, Muscleman bashes straight through the walls, and Hotwire and Impresario fly everyone else over.
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • In the episode "If You're So Smart Why Aren't You Rich?", when faced with a deathtrap maze of The Riddler's design and time running out, Batman commandeers one of the maze's flying robots (the Hand of Fate) to bring him to the Riddler's would-be victim. Needless to say, The Riddler calls him out for "grand scale cheating."
    • Another episode had Batman clear Mad Hatter's maze made of giant cards by climbing up and running along the top.
  • The opening scene of the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "They Call Him Mister Ed" had Edd setting up a massive cardboard maze and placing Chunky Puffs (Ed's favorite cereal) at the exit. It was supposed to be an experiment of sorts, with Ed being the guinea pig (Edd even timed it), but Ed, simple-minded oaf that he is, simply runs through all the walls in a straight line to get to the cereal. Edd even complains "That isn't how you go "through" a maze!"
  • In the The Fairly OddParents! episode "Operation F.U.N.", when Timmy and his friends Chester and A.J. were in a reformatory, and when they were doing the obstacle course, Chester says that they don't have enough time to climb the wall. A.J. had a good, but risky idea. Crossing to the other side of the wall by simply walking around. Timmy and Chester did the same.
  • In an episode of The Fantastic Four (1967), Diablo learns the hard way that a panic room is no match for The Thing:
    Diablo: He'll never get me now! This door is made of titanium! And with my timelock... (Thing busts through the wall)
  • Subverted in an episode of Futurama; Leela's having a Training Montage, in an army base. Zap comments she could've just run around all the obstacles.
  • Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures: The title character is stuck in a death maze within Quest-World, his dad's enormous virtual reality. He quickly comes across some snakes who turn things they bite into stone, and wastes little time into goading them to transform one of his hands and one of his feet; he uses these to tear down the maze's imposing grey walls for an easy exit.
  • Kid Cosmic: In the episode "Kid Cosmic and the Pyramid Puzzle of Pain", Jo bypasses the pyramid's challenges by using the stones to cheat. Unfortunately for her, the pyramid doesn't approve of her circumventing the challenges.
  • In a Halloween episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse the gang finds a barrier of giant candy corn blocking their way and use a rope to pull themselves over it, except for Goofy who just eats through it.
  • In one of the segments in the Mickey Mouse (2013) Halloween special "The Scariest Story Ever", Donald Duck does this repeatedly in truly Gordian fashion... with a baseball bat:
    Narrator: Many a man had gone insane [in The Maze], their minds lost in the—
    Donald: (Bashes a path through the maze walls while shrieking in Angrish)
    Narrator: ...They still had to find a way through the castle doors. They were locked, solid oak, and one foot thick: obviously crafted by the—
    Donald: (Bashes down the doors while shrieking in Angrish)
  • Done by Wildwing in an episode of Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series when the Ducks find themselves trapped an an alternate universe based on fantasy tropes. Faced with a huge stone maze, Wildwing simply uses his grenade launcher to blast their way though.
    • After using his mask to find the fastest way through the maze, minimizing the amount of walls they had to blow up.
  • Averted in the second season premiere of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. When Rainbow Dash tries to simply fly over the royal labyrinth to find the stolen Elements of Harmony, Discord makes her wings disappear to stop her. And then it turns out that the Elements were never in the labyrinth to begin with, meaning the mane six could have just bypassed the entire thing.
  • Subverted in an episode of Popeye; Popeye and Bluto are charting a course. Bluto wants to go around all the perilous obstacles, but Popeye scoffingly draws a straight line through them.
  • In Reboot Captain Capacitor asks Matrix how they are going to get over the wall to the prison. Matrix simply shoots it and they just walk in through the hole.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Treehouse of Horror V"'s spoof of The Shining, Bart escaping a hedge maze by chainsawing through the walls.
      Bart: Hey, I found a shortcut through your maze.
    • Another episode subverted this when Homer tries this trick and finds an electric fence inside the corn maze.
    • Barely in the scope of this trope, but in another episode Mr. Burns and Smithers use their security clearance to advance through thick steel doors and other obstacles that can only be opened through retinal scanners and the like, only to see a stray dog at the destination who entered through the back door. The back SCREEN DOOR.
    • And in another episode, when Marge was doing the tests to join to the Springfield Police Force, in one of them, she tried to climb a wall, but she has problems with it. Chief Wiggum notices that all the women had the same problem, that they don't use the door to cross the wall.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: From the unfinished "Crystal Crisis on Utapau" arc: When trapped on a Separatist ship, Obi-Wan and Anakin decide the most expedient method of getting to the hangar bay to escape with their giant Kyber Crystal (note: small ones are used in lightsabers; the big ones would later be used for the Death Star's superlaser) is to use its unusual energy attack to blow holes through the ship's corridor walls.
  • Static Shock: In "Static Shaq", Static locks Hyde, Kangorr, and Ferrett in a room and magnetizes the door so they can't break it down. They escape when Kangorr breaks through the floor.
  • Subverted in Teen Titans. Faced with a maze inside Raven's mind, Cyborg and Beast Boy try the usual tricks — blasting the walls and flying over them — but are thwarted — lightning strikes anything that tries to fly over and the walls prove to be unbreakable — and forced to go through.
  • The Tick, after trying to fairly complete a death maze, makes a clever mythical allusion to the Gordian knot, and starts busting down walls.
  • In the second episode of Xiaolin Showdown, Omi, the enthusiastic combat monk, sets a record for the obstacle course, leaping through and beating down the obstacles to reach the target. But next to go is Clay, the stalwart Earth monk, who notices that the course is arranged in a circle. When the clock starts, he beats Omi's time by turning and walking all of ten feet from the starting line to the target.

    Real Life 
  • The Trojan Horse is history's most famous example. Forget trying to break down the mighty Trojan Door or Walls, we'll convince them to open the Door and let us in!
  • The Israeli army has developed tactics for urban warfare that probably count as an example of this trope. Instead of going through booby-trapped streets and narrow alleys in which troops may be exposed to sniper fire, Israeli soldiers literally walk through walls, using explosives to create passageways through houses and other buildings.
    • This sounds not dissimilar to an event on the Green Line in Nicosia (the divided capital of Cyprus). Reputedly, the local Turkish contingent were suspected of discreetly expanding a blockhouse so it extended into the UN secure zone. The local UN commander responded by going on patrol one morning... driving a bulldozer.
    • In actuality that tactic (often called mouse-holing) predates both of the previous examples. According to The Other Wiki this was used as early as the Battle of Stalingrad.
    • Taken to an extreme in the 2009 Israel/Gaza conflict. According to the accounts of some Israeli soldiers, Hamas gunmen and suicide bombers attempted to lure them into houses most likely rigged with booby traps. Instead of taking the bait, Israeli soldiers simply just knocked down the houses with bulldozers.
    • Also, American troops in Iraq often face insurgents who, when charged, run and hide inside a building they hope to defend, at which point the Americans promptly call in an airstrike. The situation's so common it's earned its own unofficial acronym. (AWR, for Allah's Waiting Room.)
  • In World War I, the Germans executed the Schlieffen Plan: the indirect invasion of France via Belgium, and nearly reached Paris. Some French generals had proposed to do the same thing in case of a war with Germany, but the French never adopted it.
    • The war ended in 1918 when the Germans realized that the Italians were about to do it on the largest scale ever: the Central Empires' plan called for Austria-Hungary to negotiate peace and Germany to fight through the winter and get good conditions for the peace, but then the Italians collapsed the Austro-Hungarian Empire and got unlimited access to their territory, meaning that the Germans had to give up to the German Revolution happening in the meantime and surrender before over one million soldiers marched all the way to Berlin effectively uncontested (most of the German army was stuck in France, and what remained back home was tied up with the mutinies).
  • World War II:
    • The popular version of the Battle of France is that the Germans executed a massive Dungeon Bypass by invading through Belgium to avoid the Maginot Line. If that's your preconception, then the actual history subverts this: the French built the Maginot Line precisely because they wanted the Germans to go through Belgium. But the French expected this would be the northern Belgian plains, so they sent their best forces there, while the Germans executed the true Dungeon Bypass of the campaign by going through the Ardennes forest in southern Belgium, which the French believed could never be penetrated with mechanized forces. See the Useful Notes entry on the Maginot Line.
    • The Maginot Line worked exactly as intended - it prevented attack from the east into the French heartland and was never penetrated. A Real Life example of Gone Horribly Right.
    • Another WW2 example: When the Allies were pushing into Germany near the end of the war, the depleted German army were trying to drag it out into city fighting in each town along the way, and were trying to coerce the populace to fight to the last man. Upon taking fire from the town, the Allied troops backed off to a safe distance and called in artillery strikes to reduce the entire town to rubble. When they reached the next town in line, they were usually greeted by the Mayor waving a white flag and the few remaining German troops having either fled the area or been haphazardly captured by the civilians as a sort of bribe for the Allied army.
    • Averted by the Market-Garden operation. It would've been a bypass if it had succeeded, as it would allow going around the Siegfried line. However, the operation failed. Out of 41000 airborne troops deployed, 17000 died. Oh, and the Nazis punished the Dutch who supported this operation, letting thousands of them starve to death the following winter.
    • Happened (again) on a larger scale (much, MUCH MUCH larger scale) during WWII when the Americans dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki rather than fight their way across Japan.
      • B-29s, including the bombers that dropped the A-bombs, were the first mass produced pressurized aircraft. This allowed them to fly much higher than competing designs, so high in fact that they could simply fly over Japan's air defenses and the air defenses couldn't attack back.
      • The United States military's plan should the Japanese government not have surrendered unconditionally when it did was to drop a third nuke - on Tokyo.
    • The entirety of the Allied island-hopping strategy: why dig Japanese garrisons out of every little island they've taken when you can cut them off from reinforcement, bomb anything they could use to attack you directly to rubble, and simply move on to the next island. (Stranded Japanese soldiers continued to camp in their outposts for years, sometimes decades, afterward, since they received no new orders and couldn't trust radio broadcasts saying the war was over — if their radios even still worked.) Of course, when they needed to clear out an island for whatever reason (Iwo Jima, for example), the result was a dungeon adventure akin to the Tomb of Horrors. The Allies attempted the same strategy in Italy with the Anzio landings to outflank German-Italian positions further south, but failure to properly exploit the opening gave the Axis time to respond: they held the Allies at the beaches long enough to withdraw to the north and establish a new defensive line.
    • During the Soviet advance on Berlin, the Nazis built three enormous Flaktürme (flak towers) around the city that doubled as emergency shelters for thousands of people. These were effectively castles with 3.5 meter-thick reinforced concrete walls ringed with heavy flak turrets that could depress to sweep the streets below. They proved impenetrable even to heavy bombardment from tank squads, so the Soviets ended up just ignoring them and going after juicier targets, then negotiating a surrender from the Flaktürme later.
    • Defied by Rommel and the Normandy landings on D-day. Rommel correctly guessed the general area and type of beaches the allies would try to land on and insisted on having them fortified. It's quite possible that without Rommel the D-day landings would have been opposed by a tiny group of German troops playing football or sleeping in lawn chairs, without any obstacles or bunkers.
  • In the city of Telmissus in Asia Minor, an ox-cart was said to be tied either to a post or its own shaft with a fiendishly complicated knot by the cart's owner, a man named Gordias; the knot itself became known as the Gordian Knot. It was said that whoever could untie the knot would conquer the world. Alexander the Great managed to untie it by cutting it in two with his sword. (This is the legendary version usually told; the real version is not so simple. In a sense, the story as told is something of a Dungeon Bypass for the story as it actually happened.)
  • Police SWAT teams discovered that getting past a door with many locks on it was a problem, so they just use a shotgun to blast out the hinges.
  • The Berlin Airlift. The Soviet Union attempted to force the proto-NATO powers to let them occupy West Berlin by cutting off all supplies coming into the city from the West by road and train. Instead of trying to recapture a corridor of land between West Germany and West Berlin, allied nations decided to just fly over by taking advantage of a prior treaty with the Soviets requiring them to allow air travel from West Germany to Berlin: if the Soviets interfered with these, they'd give the West an unambiguous Pretext for War.
  • When the Mongols decided to conquer China, they faced the Great Wall, a series of fortifications designed specificially to keep them out. Rather than fighting their way through it or riding around it, they took advantage of the Song Dynasty's unstable political climate, made a few allies within China, and bribed their way in.
  • A similar tactic got the Crusaders, and later the Turks, into Constantinople. It's a heavily walled city, but if
the emperor needs an army and you happen to have a horde of barbarian mercenaries for hire...
  • Undermining, or digging a tunnel underneath an enemy fortification to collapse it or blow it up from below.
    • While the Siege of Kazan in 1552 was your typical siege involving thousands of troops (with the Russians outnumbering the defending Tatars) and hundreds of cannons, the city was only taken when the attackers secretly dug a tunnel under a defensive wall and planted charges, blowing a huge hole in it. Later, Ivan the Terrible, who commanded the Russian forces, decided to safeguard Moscow from the same tactics by ordering basements to be built under each defense tower with copper plates mounted on walls. During sieges, people with good hearing would be sent into these rooms to listen for sounds of digging that would be amplified by the plates.
    • Also attempted by the Ottomans during the 1683 siege of Vienna, who attempted to dig underneath the city's walls and then detonate explosives to collapse them. Reinforcements from the Holy Roman Empire and Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth arrived in the nick of time to relieve the siege and decisively crush the Ottoman army, with the "Winged Hussars" of King Jan III of Poland leading the way in the largest cavalry charge in recorded history.
    • During the siege of Petersburg in The American Civil War, the Battle of the Crater was supposed to have been a Dungeon Bypass, and it would have worked if General Burnside had been allowed to stick with his original plan: big explosion, specially-trained troops from the United States Colored Troops go around the crater (as opposed to into it), bypass the remaining defenses, and open the road to Petersburg. And then General Meade stepped in, replaced the well-trained USCT regiments with others that had no idea what would happen, denied Burnside the use of an electrical detonator so that his engineers had to use an umpty-thousand-foot-long rope as fuse, and...yeah. Oh, and Meade managed to deflect all of the blame onto Burnside, too.
    • In World War I:
      • The Battle of Messines saw the British dig under a series of hills fortified by the Germans and blow them clean off the map. The craters left behind have since filled with water and become large ponds.
      • On the Alpine front, the Italians blew the top off of the mountain Col di Lana to dislodge Austro-Hungarian forces entrenched there. It caused grievous casualties to the Austrians but didn't shift the front much: the Italians advanced onto "Col di Sangre" ("Blood Mountain") to find that their enemy had also fortified the mountains behind it.
  • One of the factors that contributed to the Fall of Constantinople (thus the Trope Namer for Istanbul (Not Constantinople)) was the failure of the Naval Blockade by the Christian defenders of the city. Not because Sultan Mehmed II broke through the blockade with his famed cannons, but because the Sultan transported his fleet overland: he ordered the construction of a road of greased logs across Galata on the north side of the Golden Horn, and rolled his ships across.
  • The above example is also one of the reason the infamous Vikings were such feared raiders and capable traders. Their light, flat and yet sea-capable boats, could be lifted out of the water and transported over short distances on land with relative ease, essentialy allowing them to go from shoreline into rivers or from river to river, saving time or bypassing defences. One of the most famous examples was using rivers in todays Schleswig-Holstein in Germany. By moving short distances over land between rivers they could go from the eastern sea to the norther sea and vis versa, bypassing most the entire coasts of Schleswig-Holstein and Denmark saving weeks or months of travel along dangerous coasts.
  • A typical tactic of siege warfare is to dig a tunnel under the wall of the besieged fortress / city and then collapse or blow it up to destroy the wall under it, or to just dig a tunnel inside and open the main gate by surprise.
    • The siege of Rochester Castle, for example, involved digging a mine under the wall, then slathering it with the fat of forty pigs and setting it on fire. The heat-induced expansion of the stone and the ignition of the wooden foundations caused a section of the wall to collapse. This was amplified and dramatized in Ironclad by burning the pigs alive.
    • The "blow it up tunnel" was adapted to trench warfare twice:
      • The first was in the The American Civil War, with the Battle of the Crater: Union general Burnside decided to try it and then, as the Confederates were still stunned by the explosion, have general Ferrero's black division charge at the sides of the crater to breach Petersburg's defence lines. Sadly, due to Meade protesting the use of black troops for political reasons, Ferrero's division was replaced at the last moment with Ledlie's 1st Division, with the drunkard general failing to brief his men on the battle plan. Ledlie's division failed to charge immediately after the explosion and charged into the crater, and was massacred when the Confederates regrouped and started shooting in the crater.
      • In World War I the British army reused the tactic at the Battle of Messines, where they detonated nineteen such mines under the German trenches. Between the much greater quantity of more powerful explosive used, a numerical superiority of almost two-to-one, accurate artillery and tank support and the troops charging in right after the explosions, the attack was successful.
      • Mining under the other side's trenches to blow them up was quite a popular move in World War I by both sides - Messines was just the biggest and most well-known example. (Incidentally, not all the mines were set off. Six were left (older accounts list fewer); one had been put out of action by German countermining and it was decided that the others were not needed after all. One of them was dug up after the war, one of them was struck by lightning in 1955, and the other four are still there...
      • The masters of this kind of warfare during World War I were the Italian and Austro-Hungarian mountain troops, that found smarter to dig under enemy-held mountains (mainly the ones known as Italian Tooth and Austrian Tooth facing each other on the Dolomites) and blow them up rather than trying a frontal assault. Usually there wasn't enough explosive to actually blow up the mountain, just the piece the enemy was on, but the final mine to explode was fifty tonnes of TNT that did collapse part of the Italian Tooth... Just in time to force the Italian to not detonate the equally large they had just completed right under the Austrian Tooth. After that, the (locally raised) troops stopped for fear of blowing up the whole mountain range and their homes with it.
  • North Korea has dug a number of invasion tunnels as a means of bypassing the hideously-fortified DMZ (among other things, it currently stands as the world's largest minefield) if they ever invade South Korea. Four of these have been discovered so far. There may be even more.
  • Many people who are concerned about security concentrate on securing their door so it can't be broken into by buying a metal door and/or putting a dozen locks on it. Some take the next logical step to put bars on their windows. However, these strategies tend to leave glaring weaknesses. Doors may have all the locks in the world but if the door is installed so that it swings outward rather than inward, it will leave the door hinges exposed. The pins holding the hinges together can easily be removed with a screwdriver and a hammer.


Video Example(s):


Blaster 3 Divine Buster

Nanoha blasts Quattro from halfway across a massive starship.

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Example of:

Main / DungeonBypass

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