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Easy Level Trick

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Going low is for peasants and Goombas.

There are many types of video game levels. Some are easy. Some are moderately hard. Some are hated by many people for being too damn hard. But some have a really easy way to beat them. A level that would normally take an hour to beat or high effort. But if you Google the level, stuff will come up, namely, people claiming that they beat it in 10 minutes tops. Tricks may include exploiting glitches or flaws. If a target time or score is far too good to get the conventional way, the game could be hinting that this method exists.

Some players feel that this method of clearing a level isn't considered "truly" beating it, or call it outright cheating. Sometimes this is acknowledged in-game due to the trick skipping items that are part of 100% Completion, but in other games skipping the level makes no difference at all.


When portrayed in other mediums, it's usually to show that someone is really good at the game. If that person's character is friendly, they'll explain the trick to someone having trouble with the game. If less friendly, they'll take the controller, call them a noob, and do the trick themselves. Using a fictional trick in a real game is a symptom of Pac Man Fever.

Common in Real-Time Strategy games, Stealth-Based Games, Adventure Games, Puzzle Games, and any genre that has objectives other than "totally destroy your enemies".

Compare Sequence Breaking, where you skip part of a game's story, Outside-the-Box Tactic, where you can exploit overlooked strategies for your own advantage, Cutting the Knot, where you're supposed to win with precision but can just headlong charge to the same results, and Dungeon Bypass, where you can cut a lot of distance. Sometimes overlaps with Offscreen Start Bonus. Speedruns rely on these, more often than not. If this trick can be applied to any level and wasn't intended, it's a Game-Breaker.


Do not confuse with Peninsula of Power Leveling.


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    Action Adventure 
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time:
      • The infamous Water Temple features a trick that lets you bypass the locked center room door: after draining all the water, you can jump from the entrance and land on the middle ledge, then light the torch to open the door into the center room.
      • The Spirit Temple also has a sliding climbable wall, with spikes on both sides. Obviously a painful timing puzzle, right? Nope, just Longshot your way up to the top section!
    • Defied in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and its Roll Goal mini-game. It's possible, via building momentum, to "jump" the ball across gaps and reach the goal in spite of skipping large portions of the maze, but Hena will fail you anyways, pointing out that you didn't technically complete the whole maze.
    • Hyrule Warriors:
      • The "Guard the allied keeps with your life!" missions become incredibly easy in Legends and Definitive Edition if you give your fairy the Repair Technician skill and use it in an otherwise problematic keep, allowing you to mop up the enemies you need to kill as the mooks fail to take down the fortified keep.
      • The "All Attacks are Devastating!" missions are often seen as extremely difficult... until one realizes that your bow is just as devastating. Simply target an officer, let fly, and move on.
      • Likewise, in the "All Attacks are Devestating!" missions and the "X Rule: Don't Get Hit!" missions, you can use a weapon with the Regen skill, which slowly regenerates your health. Because of your Last Chance Hit Point, even one heart per second of regen is invaluable. It's even more useful in "Definitive Edition" thanks to the Damage Taken score recalculation.
      • And speaking of Regen, it works all the time, even in "No Healing" missions.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Yiga Clan members in their base giving you hell with their One-Hit Kill attacks, not to mention that you're completely potato at stealth? There are three tricks to this: you can A. toss a banana in a Blademaster patrol's path and scoot off as they scoot off to devour the fruit, or B. craft some Ancient Arrows after activating the Akkala Tech Lab, draw aggro on a patrol, then insta-kill the Blademasters before they can do so to you. There's also a way to get on the rafters, which makes things easy as all you need to do is throw some well placed bananas below at a guard or two and glide to safety.
  • The Tomb Raider III level Thames Wharf requires Lara to spend an hour traversing a complex series of underground puzzles in order to get from the roof of one building to the roof of another. Or she can just, y' know, jump across and be done in ten seconds flat.
    • There are many more, if less blatant examples of this in the early Tomb Raider series, due to the compact nature of the levels and a simple but very consistent engine that treats every surface the same. Many a custom level designer can attest to that the tiniest oversight might result in an unintended shortcut.
  • In Enter the Matrix, one level has you evading an army of Smith clones around a city. However, the entire level can be bypassed simply by heading right at the start of the level instead of left, as the game tells you.
  • The 2001 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde PC game had a trick where if you left the room after encountering the final boss, he'd de-spawn, allowing you to beat the game easily.
  • Godzilla: Monster of Monsters! has two very well known tactics that make the levels much easier:
    • Purposely killing off Mothra on your first turn. Yes, she is such a complete millstone that the game is easier without her. Sure it means being ganged up on in later levels, but Godzilla levels up faster if he's the only monster so it balances itself out.
    • Letting enemies attack you. Normally when you move beside an enemy you're given the option to fight them, and if you say yes you'll do battle with them at the end of the stage. If you choose no, this will force the enemy to waste their turn simply to start the battle you didn't start during your turn. You still fight the enemy as normal, but now when the fight ends (either when you win or if the fight times out) it's your turn: this means you can move a space away and back to replay a level and replenish health before continuing the fight, and it also means another enemy can't move in to declare an attack and beat your weakened self down. It also means Varan, Baragon, and Hedorah can't "retreat to the next field" if the battle is going in your favor, since they can only do this if the fight times out and it's the enemy's turn. This is basically the only way to defeat King Ghidorah, since he loves to trap you in the corner and just drain away all of your health and replaying levels between battles to restore yourself is your only option to survive.
  • Tokyo Jungle: In Act 12 of the story mode, as a Tosa (dog breed) you try to reclaim your territory from the hyenas. All the lions and hyenas on the map will attack you, and eventually you come up on a pack fighting an old, scarred lion, and both animals will attack you. You get to the boss, and he runs, leaving you to fight two mini-bosses. Defeat them, and you have to fight a sabertooth tiger boss, which can spam it's powerful special attack if you fail to dodge it even once. Defeat it, and you finally get to face the final boss for this mission...which is an over-powered hyena, but if you don't beat him in one try, you have to fight the sabertooth again! This mission, while it still can be frustratingly difficult because of all the bosses, gets much more doable if you realize you can just simply and easily run past many of the hyenas and lions without fighting them, stop next to a carcass for a few minutes for food and to let your health replenish when you've been damaged, find a secret, hidden Pet Medicine on a balcony, and eat the sabertooth for another secret Pet Medicine.
  • In Pico's School, Casandra turns into a hulking alien for her final battle. You're intended to alternate between preventing her from using her Eye Beams while dodging projectiles she throws and blasting her weak point, but shooting out the boiler behind her exposes her back to the police crowded outside the school. The ensuing shootout automatically chips away at her health, leaving only the projectiles and eye beams to worry about.

  • The door to Dr. Fred's lab in Maniac Mansion has a four-digit code. To get this code, you could fix broken wiring in an attic by having a friend switch off the circuit breakers in the basement, use a flashlight to see the broken wires, fix them with tools, go up to another attic, open a wall safe which contains an envelope, open the envelope (and in order to avoid screwing up a different puzzle you'd best steam it, but not with pool water because that's radioactive and will kill you), get the quarter therein, use the quarter to play the Meteor Mess arcade game and use the high score as the combination to Dr. Fred's lab. Or you could skip all that and simply punch in '0000'.

    Beat 'Em Up 
  • Double Dragon: The second boss (Chin) can be skipped in the NES version thanks to a programming oversight. If you go far enough back down the ladder to came in from, the boss will be removed from the level data to save RAM, and the game will treat it as if you defeated him.

    Card Games 

    Driving Game 
  • Twisted Metal
    • Figure out a spot where the AI cars won't come or shoot you and half of the levels are done and done. The worst offender is the second game, where 6 out of 8 levels can be beaten simply by camping at a good hiding spot where enemies will come to you but cannot hit you, and one of these levels can literally be won by finding shelter and going afk while the enemies fall off the map one by one.
    • The other half of the levels can typically be beaten by finding a loop through the level with plenty of cover and just driving in circles shooting enemies in front of you with a freeze missile and your choice of power-up ordnance.
  • Destruction Derby 2 and its supposedly "hardest" arena, the Death Bowl with an instakill pit at one end. Drive away just right and all of the enemy cars will instantly ram each other into the pit, giving you a victory in about 5 seconds.
  • Gran Turismo, particularly Gran Turismo 4, lets you utilise a trick where you drive as close to the wall in a corner as possible, and then steering along the wall, allowing you to get round turns with outside walls much faster than if you braked and steered normally. With practice, you can use this in the rally races without triggering the '5 second penalty' for heavy contact. The technique falls just outside Game-Breaker territory, as not many turns on the tracks actually have walls, so you'll still need to drive properly most of the time (tough luck for those stuck on the Nurburgring challenges). One event, the Costa di Amalfi, has nearly EVERY turn like this, allowing you to power past your opponent easier, earning the bonus car (with a sale price of 250k credits) in about 10 minutes. And you can repeat it as many times as you like, meaning you could earn a ridiculous amount of cash within a couple of hours of starting the game.

    Fighting Game 
  • In Dragon Ball Xenoverse, the Parallel Quest "Dangerous Duo! Warriors Never Rest" is the preferred mission for farming XP, provided the player has reached 6-star PQs (which makes it perfect for speed-levelling one's newer characters). It's a standard Dragon Ball Fetch Quest mission, except that rather than dealing with hordes of enemies, this one only has one opponent: Broly, which means it's worth a lot of XP. Additionally, mirroring the plot of Second Coming, the player will quickly get support from Videl, Trunks, Goten, and finally Gohan. Broly will always go after one of these four first, meaning he won't attack the player unless the player makes a nuisance of himself. This means that all one has to do is retrieve the three Dragon Balls as quickly as possible while completely ignoring Broly, which will end the mission and rake in tons of XP, especially thanks to the bonuses earned for not taking damage and completing the mission quickly.
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has two World of Light battles that can be done much easier than intended:
    • The first is Snorlax, a fight against a completely passive, but giant King K. Rool with 500HP, regeneration, and a one-minute time limit. The enemy won't move in any way except to avoid drowning, so this is usually a straight DPS check... or you can throw him onto Kapp'n's boat when it appears. The giant hitbox touches the blast line before the AI thinks to jump off. (This one was fixed in a later patch.)
    • Another is The Imprisoned, a giant, passive King K. Rool (again). Less HP this time, but after a few moments, a Ghirahim assist trophy spawns to attack you. You can either dodge the attacks and focus on K. Rool, knock out Ghirahim for a few moments of peace... or charge straight at K. Rool with Bowser, who can push him off the stage before Ghirahim even spawns.
  • In numerous Arcade and SNES-era Mortal Kombat games, you could land two or three free uppercuts on your opponent by just crouching. They would, without fail, just walk within range and take the hit a couple of times before changing tactics and instead keeping their distance, but a couple of uppercuts is a pretty savage chunk of their health bar to lose making the battle much easier.
  • BlazBlue: Central Fiction: The boss version of Hakumen in Grim of the Abyss mode can use his Astral Finish whenever he likes, which basically means that any time you attack him there is a risk he will intercept it with a counter that causes him to automatically win. However, grab attacks cannot be countered, so abusing your grab makes the fight massively easier. This is especially good for characters like Platinum and Bullet who have dash attacks that end in grabs, making it easy to close the gap. Alternatively, with a bit of luck/grinding, you can find the Grimoire skill that disables your enemy's ability to use Astrals.
  • The King of Fighters XIII: The twin final bosses live up to SNK's tradition of being intolerable to fight, but can be easily caught in a loop by certain lunging command grabs (Vice's Splash and Mr. Karate's Shoran Kyaku). Simply repeat the move with the right timing and they will stand up simply to get knocked down over and over. They also struggle against Daimon's Jiraishin, a full-screen low-hitting attack that they never see coming.

    First Person Shooter 
  • Doom 64:
    • Map 24 No Escape requires you defeat the Cyberdemon(s) in a caged area, which won't open until you complete all of the required tasks necessary to open the gates. There is a gap in the cage where you can fire bullets, shotgun shells, or Unmaker laser shots. If you can defeat the Cyberdemon(s) within that cage, the level ends. Granted that you can calculate how many ammo boxes are in the level afterwards, you can start that next level with full ammo.
    • The Lost Level's Map 39 Final Judgment has the same gap at the end of the level. If you are fast enough with the required fully powered Unmaker, you can defeat the Sister Ressurrector (Mother Demon clone) before she touches the teleporter in a small gap. It is highly recommended to speed run this level, consdering that you have the invincibility powerup.
  • Halo: Reach:
    • The mass driver section from "The Pillar of Autumn". The Covenant will begin maneuvering once you get close enough to the mass driver, regardless of whether or not you are in it. Your objective also only mandates that you kill the cruiser. So, use the mass driver for cover until the cruiser is in position. Then hop inside it and take out the cruiser with one shot, rather than subjecting yourself to the storm of Covenant aircraft. Even better, you can use well-timed concussion rifle blasts to get yourself into the driver at the very start of the section, allowing you to shoot down most of the enemies before they even land.
    • In the same game, Nightfall can be skipped by simply running past most of the enemies, since there's only one Broken Bridge in the whole level- and that itself can be easily bypassed using a forklift glitch that enables the player to leap through a gate blocking their path.
  • Metro 2033 has Biomass, which can be defeated easily by going counter to most of your instincts, and instead running ahead rather than trying to fight alongside Miller in the Escort Mission. Simply run ahead until you reach the safe area where the amoebas cannot reach you, and wait there for Miller to show up. He's tough and has a great weapon, so he'll most likely survive. With the hard part out of the way, all that remains is to use the crane, and then you've won.
  • The Serious Sam games were full of these. There are any number of levels where you can avoid the big climactic fight, or at least make it a hell of a lot easier, by either rocket-jumping to an inaccessible ledge, or running off to a great distance so the huge crowd of enemies comes after you in a long, thin, easy-to-pick-off stream instead of converging on you all at once.
  • While not exactly making it faster, an Escort Mission in Goldeneye 007 can be made much easier by "cleaning up" the whole bunker before opening Natalya's cell.
    • While not exactly easy to pull off, it's possible to beat Aztec level without killing Jaws and without even operating the open/close exhausting bay terminal. If the player attracts the yellow jump-suited guards in the corridor between the room with the terminal behind the glass doors and the exhaust bay and returns to the room and hides in the back, it's possible that the guards will open the glass doors and Bond can use the guidance data and recover the launch protocol and finish the mission in any place within the level (even in the exhaust bay), as the level has no defined exit. It's not quite clear if this is a glitch or not as the level normally has no exit too. This trick is very popular among speed run players.
  • In the N64 Bond game The World Is Not Enough, the first level involves infiltrating a bank, getting the contents of a lock-box, retrieving lost money, and sneaking around without setting any alarms off. However, A glitch exists where the player can in the beginning of the level either trigger the alarm (a convenient button on a nearby wall) or use the stun or dart function of Bond's watch on a bank guard or a civilian, collect the equipment and walk out of the bank with a "mission cleared" in under 20 seconds.
  • In the original No One Lives Forever, you had to fight the burly Magnus Armstrong... with just your fists. The trick is to wait until he slams the ground for an AOE attack, run up to him, and jump on top of him. He won't move (because you are already next to him) but won't be able to reach you, either, with his fists. You, on the other hand, will be able to hit him if you duck—one boss down.
  • Deus Ex
    • The first mission (Liberty Island) can be skipped less than three minutes in by picking up a gas grenade (which is conveniently located in a crate right near the entrance to the UNATCO base) and throwing it at the base's front door, which causes a guard to run out and investigate what's going on while you walk in unchallenged. The game actually acknowledges this possibility.
    • Most of the NSF Generator mission can be skipped if, when coming to New York for the first time, you take a crate of dynamite from the subway station, walk it over to the locked warehouse by the 'Ton Hotel and blow the front door open.
    • When you first arrive in Hong Kong, instead of looking for Gordon Quick, you can walk over to Tonnochi Road, use LAM-jumping to get to a high-up walkway, kill Maggie Chen with a GEP rocket from outside her window (resolving an entire quest chain), break into the MJ12 facility from the top floor, take the Dragon's Tooth Sword and return it to Max Chen at the Lucky Money to finish the entire questline in the area.
  • Half-Life
    • In Half-Life, the entire "We've Got Hostiles!" level can be skipped if you stop the fleeing scientist and get him to open the locked silo door, or exploit dodgy hitbox detection to open it yourself. Similarly the "Power Up" level can be skipped by climbing over blocks obstructing the exit. Naturally these are in pretty much every Speedrun.
    • Nova Prospekt in Half-Life 2 has three Hold the Line segments, and while the first and third are manageable the second is a nightmare that can easily overwhelm a player who isn't constantly vigilant throughout the whole thing. Thus an array of alternate strategies emerged, like bringing more turrets from the earlier segment, stacking boxes in front of some of the entrances to restrict enemy movement, or literally hiding in a cupboard and waiting until they go away. Most recently, the strategy used is to shove yourself through the floor with a turret.
  • The Meltdown heist in PAYDAY 2 requires you to take at least six (all eight on higher difficulties) cases of nukes to a far-off train car before the group can escape with the loot. The items of desire are incredibly heavy, slowing anyone carrying them down to an ungodly pace. Forklifts nearby can be used to move the cases a bit faster, but even then it'll take numerous trips to secure six of the cases, and even more for all eight. Easily-missable is a muscle car hanging out nearby, which the group can commandeer to make the job of moving the items much faster. Lampshaded with an achievement received for finishing the job without using the car: "There Was A Car?!"
  • MAP16 ("Protean Cybex") in Hacx can be completed in a split-second. The exit switch is hidden in the floor, and is supposed to rise out after you trigger four switches throughout the level. However, the pseudo-3D Doom engine does not take the Z dimension into account when deciding whether a switch is in the player's reach, so if you simply face towards where the switch is and press the Use key, the level ends.
  • Titanfall 2: The level Into The Abyss features a factory making prefabricated buildings. You have to fight enemies while using Le Parkour to move along conveyor belts without being crushed by the machines. Normally you have to get off of whatever piece of building you're standing on and fight some enemies before you can get through to the next section, but the last chunk of the factory can be bypassed if you just stay in a house as it's being built. It makes great cover, you don't need to get out, and other than turning a little, doesn't encounter any hazards.

    Hack And Slash 
  • In Magicka, That One Boss consists of fighting several groups of Elite Mooks on a series of floating islands. It's irritating because you can easily be knocked off, but on the other hand you can blitz through almost every battle by using a water spell to punt them off the edge.

  • It's since been fixed, but World of Warcraft dungeon Zul'Aman has a gauntlet you had to run up of continuously spawning mooks to tag a witch doctor at the end to stop. Or, you could target him from a distance and send a hunter or warlock's pet up (since NPCs can climb walls PCs can't) and pull him down the hill to be killed at leisure. Several other dungeons and raids have similar gauntlets that can be bypassed in this manner, some 'fixed', some not.
  • In Guild Wars Factions, the Gyala Hatchery mission requires players escort a group of turtle hatchlings while defending them from waves of enemies, with the number of surviving turtles determining the rewards. Quickly leaving the start area prevents the escort starting and the players can then clear the majority of enemy spawns without endangering the turtles. However, while this method makes it easier to win, it's arguable as to whether or not it's an easier way to play the mission itself, as it's much more time-consuming and requires some planning due to lacking the NPC reinforcements.
    • Prophecies has a number of instances, likely due to the first campaign being not as tightly designed.
      • The Nolani Academy mission has a lengthy segment where Prince Rurik must be escorted and protected from a large number of random enemies and later a large Charr army. However, there is a fork in the road where Rurik goes one direction and will stop in a safe spot if not followed. The players can then proceed down the other path which skips nearly the entirety of the remaining enemies and leads straight to the final boss, whose death ends the level.
      • The final battle in the Dunes of Despair can be made much easier while at the same time completing one of the hardest bonus objectives. Ordinarily the players must defend a fortress from waves of Forgotten attackers and siege worms until a timer ends. However, it's possible using a specific set of skills and weapons to get the entire party outside the fortress before the gates open. The players can then kill all of the Forgotten mobs, complete the bonus objective, and map the ordinarily inaccessible area without any time constraints. As a result the only enemy to worry about once the siege starts are the worms.
      • The Augury Rock mission consists of a fight against a Mirror Boss. Players quickly determined how the AI worked and broke it over their knee. The easiest strategy to beat it requires casting only one skill and then just standing still while the boss kills itself.
      • The Ice Caves of Sorrow has a segment where the player is intended to be running from a large group of Mursaat while fighting through large groups of White Mantle and Stone Summit. However the Mursaat follow a set path and can be triggered while the players are in a safe spot; the Mursaat will eliminate most of the Stone Summit before dying to siege weapon fire, leaving players to clear a scattering of White Mantle.
    • In Eye of the North the Genius Operated Living Enchanted Manifestation mission involves protecting kilns from waves of Destroyers. If the players avoid the kilns at the start of the level the waves will not trigger, allowing players to clear a majority of the level's enemies at their own pace. Once the static spawns are removed, the kilns are activated and it's a trivial matter to eliminate the spawning waves.

  • A common Game-Breaker on early pinball machines? Picking them up. Since pinball's a physical game, this meant that moving the machine could move the ball where a player wanted it to go. This led to pinball machine makers to make their machines too heavy to pick up, and introducing the "tilt" mechanic which is an instant ball loss if the machine is moved too violently.
    • Another common trick that works well with most modern games is to complete a difficult mode or objective by stacking it with a Multiball. With more balls in play simultaneously, not only does it make it easier to complete said objective, but it also widens the margin of error significantly, since you remain alive as long as at least one ball is in play. Some games, like Monster Bash, even encourage this tactic by stopping all active mode timers whenever a Multiball mode is running, giving you as much time as you need to complete them as long as you can keep at least two balls in play.
  • Williams Electronics' Tales of the Arabian Nights requires the player to complete seven Tales and collect a magic jewel from each. However, if you have at least one Wish available, you can ask the benevolent jinn to instantly give it to you.
  • In Cirqus Voltaire, reaching "Join the Cirqus" requires completing all nine Marvels, one of which is the extremely difficult and time-consuming "Defeat All Ringmasters" Marvel.note  Or you could simply complete the other eight, significantly easier Marvels, and then hit the Menagerie enough times for it to spot you the Ringmaster Marvel,note  thus opening up "Join the Cirqus" with considerably less effort.

    Platform Game 
  • Kid Chameleon:
    • Whispering Woods II has the end flag of the level visible from the start of the level, with the player only separated from the end flag by a thin line of metal blocks. Ordinarily, you must go around the entirety of the level to get to the flag, but if you keep the Berserker helmet from a previous stage, you can charge into the steel blocks, push them aside, and beat the stage in just a couple seconds. The player gets bonus points for beating the stage in this manner.
    • There are a number of stages which are easily beaten with the Cyclone Helmet, which allows the player to fly through the air; the flag on some of the stages is almost directly over the starting point, allowing the player to simply fly upwards and complete the stage in a matter of seconds.
  • Several levels that are otherwise extremely hard in Super Monkey Ball 2 can be beaten by just running in a straight line, usually either because dangerous objects will narrowly miss you or because you can bounce over the holes & bumps in your path by building up enough momentum.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Act 3 of Scrap Brain Zone from the original Sonic the Hedgehog is generally considered by players to be by far the hardest level in the game. That is, unless you use the shortcut at the beginning, upon which it becomes easily beatable in under a minute.
    • In Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Tails can skip most of Sky Sanctuary Zone (including two of the three bosses) by flying.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
      • In Sonic's game, there's a logic puzzle where you must speak to a bunch of guards and use their clues to figure out which of them is actually the Captain. Or, you can be lazy and just keep talking to the first guard — the one who gives you the puzzle in the first place — because he is the Captain.
      • In Silver's game, Dusty Desert has a puzzle where you must navigate a giant billiard ball around corners and obstacles, into a pocket at the end of a long corridor. You have limited time, and a limited number of times you can manipulate the ball, before the puzzle resets and you have to start over. Or, you can glitch through a door by using Silver's telekinesis on a crate, and skip the puzzle entirely.
      • For Rouge's segment in End of the World, you can skip the entire level by climbing and flying from pillar to pillar to the end.
    • Sonic Adventure
      • The final section of Sonic's Lost World can be defeated by spin dash jumping after the first wall tile puzzle (it will leave you standing at the switch to trigger the ring chain to light dash to the end).
      • Large swaths of Ice Cap with Sonic can be cut out by using some creative jumping (the first area can be passed by dash jumping on top of the archway leading into the first cave up to the rocket and with some very precise jumping, you can reach the switch to activate the thin bridge in the second area).
    • Sonic Adventure 2 had two of these, both relating to Knuckles and Rouge's "find the items" stages.
      • In the original Sega Dreamcast version, performing a Spiral Upper as Knuckles or Screw Kick as Rouge would "suck in" all objects within a certain radius of the character - including Master Emerald shards, keys and Chaos Emeralds, even if they weren't accessible. This saved a lot of time on stages that had shards etc. inside containers that couldn't be broken open normally, especially in Security Hall - normally you would have to find out which floor the safe is on that you want to open, go up to where the switches are and press the correct colour-coded switch, then go back down and dig in the middle of the safe to open it. With this trick, however, just stand in front of the safe where the Emerald is and Screw Kick to instantly get it. This glitch was fixed in the Nintendo GameCube and HD remake versions of the game.
      • "Hard Mode" of Knuckles and Rouge's stages, while featuring more enemies and obstacles, always had the items in the same places every time. As such, once a player knew where the items were, it just became a matter of getting to them and grabbing them as fast as possible; in effect, the "Hard Mode" stages were easier than the normal stages.
  • In Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame, the first temple level can be made very short by doing a Leap of Faith from the first platform the Prince would otherwise have to drop down from.
  • Mario Adventure, a full hack of Super Mario Bros. 3, has an auto-scrolling level in Desert Dares where you need to survive the attacks of a bomb dropping Lakitu for a long time. It seems absurdly difficult, enough to make one put down their controller and leave Mario to die. This is how to win, as the Lakitu and Mario's starting position are placed just right so that not moving won't get you hit. It does not look that way when playing the level.
  • Getting a blue Yoshi in Super Mario World can let you skip any level, other than fortresses, castles, ghost houses, underwater levels, and levels without a koopa shell of any kind. Getting the feather for the flying cape can also let you fly right over many early levels and even some of the Brutal Bonus Levels.
  • The Platform Hell Kaizo Mario World offers a feather as a reward for the infamous Special World... only it's positioned so that you can't get it without being forced to reset. It can be obtained successfully, however, with some very precise movement.
  • Donkey Kong Country
    • Donkey Kong Country 2 had a roller-coaster race that was very hard to get first place in; unless you go backwards after jumping on the cart, which gives a huge speed boost well worth the time to get it. Levels in the first and second worlds had secrets that let you skip them, but those are Dungeon Bypasses.
    • Similarly in the first one, the stage Stop and Go Station has you constantly flicking timed switches in order to not be attacked by a whole cave full of invincible enemies (which temporarily fall asleep when the switch is tripped). It's considered one of the harder levels in the game because of this, although a shortcut leading to just before the end of the stage exists, simply by going left and back into the entrance immediately at the start.
  • In Mega Man 2, on the final level you can simply hold right the moment Mega Man teleports in and jump at appropriate spots to skip the whole gimmick of the level: needing to time your movement to avoid leaky acid.
  • In Mega Man X1, there's a section of Sigma's first fortress that's full of springs. The springs launch you toward the ceiling when you step on them, making the section rather difficult, but if you just use the dash feature you bounce from spring to spring avoiding enemies and zooming past the lasers, landing at the end without a scratch. You can also use the supercharged C. Sting weapon to become temporarily immune to damage and quickly pass through.
  • MDK 2 has one in Max's final stage. The next-to-last section before the boss involves climbing up a large tower by using the self-recharging jetpack Max just got to very carefully land on outcroppings from the tower. Or, if Max stands on a non-descript section of the floor around the tower, an elevator will rise out of the floor and take him to the top of the tower.
  • In the original Crash Bandicoot (and the remake) there are two particularly challenging levels: Road to Nowhere and The High Road. Both require you to go along a rope bridge and complete a series of challenging precision jumps with little to no room for error. Or, you could just jump onto the ropes on either side of the bridge and walk along them to the end.
    • Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex has a level where, immediately after starting the time trial, hitting a certain button on the controller would teleport you to the end of the level.
  • There is a particularly grueling mission in Jak II: Renegade where you're forced to escape Water Slums with the piece of Seal of Mar from neverending stream of Krimzon Guards on a maze of wooden bridges while being ambushed by dropships at every crossroad that shoot at you with pinpoint accuracy should you approach them. Going by water isn't an option because Border Patrol shows up and kills you. However, by advancing and quickly alternating punch and jump so you'll punch any soldiers approaching you'll confuse dropship guns into them being unable to hit you, which makes this level much faster and much easier.
  • Super Mario Bros.
    • In Super Mario Bros. 3, you can skip the entire naval stage in World 8 by simply swimming under the ships.
    • Super Mario 64 DS has a lot of these, both the intentional and unintentional kind. For the intentional kind, the first Chain Chomp mission in Bob-omb Battlefield can be beaten by ground pounding the post three times and avoiding its attacks... or you could just run straight through the fence behind it with Luigi's vanish cap ability. Or just smash the post in one hit as an invincible Mega Mario/whoever equivalent. For every other mission in the game, the 'easy trick' was simply to use Luigi and backflip, since it basically let you glide gently down to just about anywhere from a high enough pointer.
    • In several of the underground stages of the original Super Mario Bros, if you're Super Mario or Super Luigi you can just break through the ceiling the first chance you get and skip large chunks of the stage that way.
    • Super Mario 3D Land has World 7-1. The Goal Pole is up on a cliff right in front of you, and you must dive into the water below it to swim through a cave network to reach the top of it... Or with a Tanooki Suit (or even some skillful regular jumping), you can just scrape over the top of the cliff from the start point and finish the course in under 10 seconds.
    • Super Mario 3D World has platforms and doors that move by tapping them on the game pad's touchscreen. Turns out you can tap other things as well to make a level or part easier. Flipswitch puzzles not your cup of tea? Just tap the switches instead of hopping around on them! Tired of chasing bunnies around? Tap them to make them stop! Venus Fire Trap bothering you? Tap a fireball to reflect it back! Etcetera, etcetera.
    • Super Mario Bros. 2 has 4-3. If you're using the Princess or Luigi, then once you've made it across the large chasm at the beginning (not a difficult feat), you can pretty much skip the entire rest of the level with a properly-timed jump.
    • Super Mario Maker and Super Mario Maker 2 only allows a player to upload a level if they can complete it themselves, to prevent players from uploading impossible levels. However, a very easy workaround for this restriction is to use invisible blocks and doors and/or pipes to create a hidden path to the exit that only the level creator could expect to know about, dubbed a "dev exit", while the rest of the stage is either obscenely difficult to complete or outright impossible. This is such a well-known exploit that most players know to check the beginning of the stage for such exits, and some developers even add trick dev exits to levels just to troll people looking for them.
    • Super Mario Odyssey has quite a few:
      • The notoriously difficult volleyball mini game. In normal gameplay, it can be a bit of a pain given how far the ball flies after every hit and how you need 100 points for an extra Power Moon. However, if you use Cappy on his own when playing via co-op mode (and leave Mario off the side of the court), then it becomes an absolute cinch, since Cappy is about twice as fast as Mario and can easily reach the ball at any point in the game.
      • Another infamous mini game is the jump rope in New Donk City, which also requires a full 100 jumps to get the moon. This is normally exceedingly difficult, not only due to its unforgiving nature, but because it is very easy to throw off the rhythm by accidentally entering into a double jump. The solution? Do it on a moped, which has the exact same jump no matter how hard you tap the button. The hardest part is lining it up in a good position to start the game, but once you do, it's a cakewalk.
      • It also has one of these in every Koopa race in the game. Whether it's an alternate route, a handy enemy to Capture or obvious shortcuts the Koopas don't take, there's always a sure fire way to win by a country mile. This is especially obvious in the Snow Kingdom, where despite the Koopas racing round a somewhat lengthy track with various obstacles, the simplest path is merely to jump off a cliff, then bolt across the freezing water at full speed towards the goal beacon, taking advantage of the handy tornado placed right below the cliff with the finish line.
      • One glitch allows you to abuse the physics of Mario's frog capture to bypass the entire final Brutal Bonus Level, though this glitch was fixed in an update. It's still possible, however, to bypass a large chunk of the stage, including the most difficult section, with some skillful Glydon flying.
  • 1001 Spikes has several instances where you can break or push blocks and stand on crumbling ones to open shortcuts. One particularly notable example of this is in world 2-5 where you can skip about 75% of a very tricky level.
  • In Yoshi's Story you have to get thirty fruits to win a level, most levels have only 60 fruits in them. However, some enemies (usually Shy Guys) will turn into Lucky Fruits if you ground pound near them while you are Super Happy from eating 6 of the same fruit in a row. Level 6-3 "Ghost Castle" is normally one of the hardest levels in the game, it features lots of Boo enemies that chase you and lots of Bottomless Pits. However, the room right after the second Miss Warp which is in the second area of the level has a bunch of Mini Boos that turn into Lucky Fruits when you are Super Happy, and there is even a hidden Super Happy Fruit in the level you can get by ground pounding on a very obvious spot! If you turn Super Happy in this room by eating six Lucky Fruits or by using the hidden Super Happy Fruit you can get all 30 fruits in one ground pound! Plus since you just ate 30 of the same fruit in a row and it was the Lucky Fruit worth lots of points, your score will be good too!
  • Donkey Kong '94 has objects that can be temporarily placed around the field when Mario touches their default location. If part of the object is placed over a gate, it will jam the gate open if it's trying to close. There are several levels where the level can be made much simpler by quickly grabbing a temporary object as the level starts and making sure a gate stays open, or making a switch that controls multiple gates have one particular gate stay open. This might have been intentional - a much later level requires the player to do the same thing to another door controlled by a lever.
  • Magic: The Gathering's Shandalar spinoff had a final boss with 100 life plus another hundred for each difficulty level. (You, by contrast, started with 10, minus two for each difficulty level, but you could gain more through side quests.) But even at 400 life, ten poison counters kill him. So does making him run out of cards.
  • Earlier Lego Adaptation Games allowed you to bypass a lot of puzzles and/or access minikits earlier than intended by just strategically parking a vehicle and using it as a step-ladder. Later games disable jumping when on a vehicle to prevent this.
  • In Broforce, some levels can be bypassed entirely by tunneling through the ground with the right characters.
  • Yoshi's Island DS: The ending of World 3-7 has you outrunning a platform-destroying ball with a lot of timed jumps to avoid falling in the lava below or getting stuck (and thus killed) against the other platforms. The natural choice is to bring Baby Mario for his running ability, especially given the setpiece's similarity to World 1-3. However, it's far easier to do with Baby Peach. Her Parasol Parachute makes the precision jumps much easier, and while the ball will get extremely close it can't catch you as long as you keep moving. It also reduces the player's feeling of being rushed, which also helps with the jumping.
  • The dreaded yeti boxing minigame in Spyro: Year of the Dragon can be effectively cheesed by just pounding out quick jabs as fast as possible, due to the way the opponent's AI works. When you block he tries to attack around your blocks, but when you're on the offensive he just throws out attacks at random, two of which are too slow to connect before your attack hits him. 66% of the time you'll win and you have unlimited retries, which is worlds easier and less frustrating than doing it the "proper" way.

    Puzzle Game 
  • The infamous "We all fall down" levels in Lemmings have an easy shortcut that works in pretty much every version of the game except the DOS version. You have to get 20 (later, 40, 60 and 80) lemmings down from a height with only diggers; the canonical solution is to click on every lemming, and try again if you miss even one. The shortcut is to turn the release rate to about 30 and make one lemming dig a single pixel after the previous one, releasing him and making a step that the lemmings can walk down. The single-pixel requirement is tough, but you can keep trying with the next pair of lemmings without having to restart, so it's still much, much easier than the normal solution.
  • Some rooms in Quantum Conundrum can be quickly completed by exploiting the quirks of the game's physics and collision-detection.
    • "The Path to Higher Learning": Rather than collecting three batteries to create a stable path produced by a row of DOLLIs, it's possible to simply get on top of the DOLLIs and cross the gap by jumping from one to the other.
    • "Not Your Typical Sushi Bar": Rather than jumping from conveyor belt to conveyor belt by manipulating various safes via the provided dimensions, it's possible to stand on top of one while it's rising. When you hit the roof, the safe squeezes to the side, causing it to move horizontally toward the exit, and can be rode there safely.
    • "Through The Glass Flooring": Rather than collecting various extra dimensions to form a floating bridge from safes, the nearby support beams have one-inch ledges you can safely stand on. By jumping to this ledge, and edging along it, you can reach the same destination while eliminating much of the busy work.
    • "Choose Wisely": Rather than collecting all four batteries so you can activate the two buttons, select the Fluffy Battery at the start. Place a safe against the wall near the vertical conveyor belts and another against a stud in the wall near the fan, before switching to Normal. Use Fluffy to place the first safe on the nearby button and immediately switch to Normal; the safe near the fan will have been blown down the hall and land on the button.
    • "Beginning of the End": With careful timing and luck, it's possible to float the first safe in the level to the rotor and spin it up without ever leaving the first room.
  • Portal test chamber 14 can be solved in about 30 seconds using a clever fling and a portal next to the elevator. In the developer's commentary, they note that this originally came up in play testing, but since the solution was arguably more difficult to perform than solving the level straight, they christened it the "ninja solution" and left it in.
    • The existence of this trick becomes a double edged sword in Challenge mode where the gold trophy requires you to beat this test in less than ten seconds which requires extreme precision on every detail of everything you do.
    • After the first encounter with a rocket turret, you reach a pipe that's just slightly too high to jump into. You're supposed to use a portal to redirect a rocket to break open a glass tube transporting Companion Cubes, then stand on one of the cubes. However, you can also fetch any of the other physics-enabled objects in the level - a favorite being a chair from the office where the rocket turret appears - and stand on that.
  • The final score challenge in BoxBoy! can be completed by grabbing all the points at the bottom of the level, then climbing to the top-right to enter a secret area filled with points. For added fun, the shape of the points turn the place into a HAL room.
  • Untitled Goose Game:
    • The game can have one section of its final challenge completely neutered through glitching it beforehand. It's rather easy to get "Wimp" stuck in the phone booth if you place several other objects in it beforehand (such as an open umbrella) and keep harassing the TV store owner when they're trying to free him. Should they be in this state and the final task begun in the same play session without resetting the world, they'll remain there, letting the Goose take a wide berth around the lady shopkeeper and trivializing the High Street part of the run.
    • If that's not easy enough, you can bypass the entire final challenge by carrying the bell to the gate that leads to the beginning area and glitching it through the gate by repeatedly dropping and picking it up while wiggling against the gate. Now you're free to cruise unbothered through the entire area, as the townsfolk don't care about you if you don't have the bell, and retrieve it from the other side of the gate mere seconds from your final destination.
  • In Antichamber, there's the puzzle "Link In a Chain Reaction". See, you COULD set up a complicated fuse system to get through and get the red gun, OR you could just quickly get the block just to the right of, then just to the left of, then just below, the middle block, and walk to the door, pushing against it until it momentarily opens.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • In the original Command & Conquer, the AI would not directly target walls, and walls counted as structures when it came to building placement locations (new structures could only be placed adjacent to other structures). As such, a lot of 'base vs base' missions could be won simply by building a wall across the map from your base to theirs, and then using more walls to seal the enemy inside their own base.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2:
    • In an early allied level you had an hour and a half to destroy a giant Soviet mind control device in Chicago. It starts with some jet pack troopers and some assault ships. The jet packers are to destroy two artillery batteries to let the destroyers past. The destroyers are then supposed to clear the ground for a base. But the device could be attacked by the destroyers and skip the base building.
    • In the Allied mission where you have to defend Pearl Harbor, there's a friendly AI controlled base that's scripted to get invaded and destroyed by the Soviets after a couple of minutes have passed. However, if you're quick, you can get one of the amphibious transports over full of combatants to take out the Soviet landing force either before they build a base or right after they deploy their MCV.
    • The second-to-last Soviet level where the enemy has control of half the map and is constantly attacking you, and also hax mind control units. You start off with a few Kirovs, giant blimps with lots of hit points. To win, you only had to destroy the Kremlin, and the top left line of the map had little anti-air defense. If you wish to preserve your base, a second tactic involves sending out your entire starting force to destroy the first enemy base to the east (including the nuclear plants powering most of the enemy's defenses on the map), and using your Kirovs to make the main pass to your base impassible by having them bomb the site indefinitely. Then you can build up your forces at your leisure, as the stakes have been dropped from a continual pounding of three-to-one to two-to-one, who can't even get their forces to reach your base. Yet another trick involved placing Tesla coils on the cliffs directly north of your base early (typically by sacrificing your Kirovs to destroy the enemy ones in place), which pick off most attackers with relative ease.
    • An Allied mission protecting Einstein's lab has three soviet MCVs roll onto the map accompanied by troops. By quickly telling your starting troops to intercept the MCVs at the very start of the mission, it's possible to take out at least two of them, if not all three, right away.
    • One Soviet mission requires you to defeat invading Korean forces. However, if you're fast, you can intercept their MCVs before they even set up a base.
    • The last allied mission: You need to take out 4 elite level apocalypse tanks, 2 AA canons, two tesla coils and 2 sentry guns., while being attacked by huge waves of tanks supported by an Iron Curtain (make vehicles temporary invulnerable) and a nuclear silo. The range of an IFV loaded with Chrono-Legionaries is slightly greater than that of the Apocalypse tanks, and once you get your first shot with those babies, enemies are helpless until rescued or killed, and prism tanks work wonder against stationary defense. So 3 IFV + 3 chrono legionaries + 1 prism tank + 1 chronosphere = easy win.
    • In the Yuri's Revenge expansion, the second Soviet mission can be won in under five minutes. According to the mission briefing, after some Allied chokepoints are fried, you need to set up base and fight your way to Einstein's lab and blow it up. In truth, take the troops you are given as soon as you get control, hug the right, then bottom sides of the map, and head for the bottom left, until you see some roads leading to some hilly areas. Go up those roads, right past three Allied bases, and the only things guarding Einstein's lab are a Mirage Tank and maybe some soldiers. Just cap them in the face and shoot the lab to win in under 3-5 minutes as opposed to the PAR time of an hour and a half.
    • The final Allied mission of the same expansion involves Yuri having access to both Allied and Soviet superweapons, which lets him destroy your Construction Yard in one hit. Rather than having to prevent this or rebuild the Conyard, the Prima strategy guide recommends letting him fire the superweapons and then using a Chrono Legionnaire unit on your own Construction Yard - units that are in the process of being erased from history can't be harmed. The weapons hit, kill the Chrono Legionnaire and the Conyard reverts to existence unharmed. Rinse and repeat until you've taken out the superweapons.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert:
    • Soviet mission 3, where you normally need to chase an enemy spy all across the map before finally cornering and killing him. The secret is that your attack dog units run faster when an enemy is targeted — so fast, in fact, that they can catch the spy within seconds of the mission starting. (Of course, the victory cutscene still shows the spy dying to a firing squad.) Alternatively you can use the long-range grenade glitch to destroy the structure the spy is hiding in without triggering the scripted event of the spy fleeing to the next part of the map. This causes the spy to enter the map from the east, with your soldiers right in his path.
    • Soviet mission 5 requires you to destroy an Allied base sans a Radar structure, which you have to capture, and then destroy all Allied units and buildings remaining. Problem is there is a huge island full of resources and the Allies will ship off an MCV onto that if the player builds a submarine production structure or closes in with tanks. Once the island is fortified, the Soviets have almost no way to destroy the sprawling base except with heavy losses when landing. OR they build an airfield to paradrop some infantry on the island, wait for the MCV to land and abuse Scratch Damage from the 5 soldiers with assault rifles to destroy the MCV before it can unpack and become a problem. Cleaning up after that is very easy.
    • The last Soviet mission has another one, though it's really more a requirement for some. Since the Allies constantly get reinforcements by sea landing at 3 beaches and those units immediately home in on your base (in fact, 2 of the beaches are right next to it), the player constantly has to deal with pesky artillery and other things. Unless the adjacent building mechanic gets abused via building long chains of ore silos to base crawl to the beaches and then build a sea wall out of submarine factories, which works since the Allied transports delivering the units are unarmed. Side effect is that the amount of structures required for it to work also makes submarines take less than a second to produce.
  • The final mission of Emperor: Battle for Dune would normally require simultaneously fending off three enemy bases while mounting an offensive on the mission structure located past a narrow canyon jam-packed with powerful defenses. Alternatively, you can simply produce a group of Fremen stealth troops, move them straight past enemy lines, have them attack the target, then position them out of range of its slow-firing defensive cannon, move them back to attack, then rinse and repeat to win.
  • Red Alert 3: One Imperial mission starts you with Yuriko and a few guards to retake the city of Yokohoma, which then turns into a brutal (and timed, for that extra middle-finger flavor) mission where the Allies send high-end units pouring into your badly-defended and overextended base. You can, however, send Yuriko into the Allied base before rescuing the Imperial buildings, as the Allies don't build anything before then. Go around defenses, take out the generators, and you can even take out the Soviets that pop up halfway through without too much trouble.
  • Empire Earth:
    • The infamous second Russian level where you are being attacked from all sides and your enemies have a bottomless pile of all resources. But to win you just need to destroy their capitols. If you make two 3 Titan bombers and spend civilization points on upgrading their speed and hit points, you can win in less than 10 minutes.
    • A later mission has you be betrayed by your robotic overlord and switch with the enemy base. If you destroyed all your buildings, they'll get a rebuilt one, but if you severely damage them instead...
    • Most pre-WWI (the point where melee units are no longer available) missions are this thanks to Artificial Stupidity: the AI will chase the first unit it gets shot by, so it's possible to drag entire armies after a single archer while they completely ignore the rest of your army shredding them to bits until the archer dies. You can complete Alexander's campaign without losing a single unit this way.
  • Empire Earth II: The skirmish AI has no problem sending huge waves of units at you, but they're severely shackled by the fact that they don't expand as much as they could or use overwatch production. By sending most of your citizens to claim territories and build universities early in the game, you can ensure that your units will have a technological advantage by the time they meet (sending planes against a medieval city is not an uncommon occurence), and continuously producing units will let you dogpile enemy armies with relative ease (especially since multiple territories increases your population cap.
  • In one scenario of the Yamato campaign in Age of Empires, the goal is to destroy an enemy Government Center guarded by a large number of siege engines. The quickest way to do this is to send a few villagers to draw fire near the building in question. Thanks to the catapults' Artificial Stupidity, they will fire shots that hit their own Government Center while being easy for your villagers to dodge, winning the scenario for you.
  • Age of Empires II had a late-game Hun mission that required you to destroy three cities and survive a counterattack from the Roman army, which spawns in when the third city is destroyed. However, if you know that there is a placeholder unit hidden on the map, you can break the script and skip the fight with the Roman army.
    • In the Montezuma campaign, there's a mission where you're supposed to sneak about Tenochtitlan before raising an army to break in and destroy the wonder the Spanish are building in the occupied city. However, if you rush past the castle you're supposed to sail around early on you can charge right up to the wonder unopposed and destroy it without having to do much fighting at all.
  • Starcraft II
    • A level involves using a small Protoss base, potentially two, to push through a horde of Zerg enemies and bring Zeratul to 4 heavily defended spots. However, it is possible to beat the mission in less than 5 minutes, as Zeratul can Flash Step across chasms, and is fairly durable in addition to being permanently invisible and able to stun the few units capable of revealing him. It helps that Zeratul is healed to full health upon reaching an objective.
    • The mission in Meinhoff, which is a tense Hold the Line-style mission against massive waves of slow-moving but numerous infested terrans. Ordinarily, part of the difficulty is that your forces are woefully poorly developed; usually you can only field infantry and light vehicles. However, it's possible to hold off doing the mission until you have Siege Tanks, whose artillery cannon will cheerfully chew up the entire attacking army, bit by bit, or mass Reapers, who do horrible things to both units like zombies and the structures they spawn from.
    • "The Dig" is a Hold the Line mission where you have to protect a laser drill until it tears down the Xel'Naga temple's gates from two heavily defended Tal'darim bases. These Tal'darim bases launch increasingly stronger attacks, eventually sending several late-tech units while your only heavy-damage unit by then tends to be the Siege Tank (which has only just been introduced), requiring using the drill to take out the strongest units (while making the mission last longer). This mission gets almost entirely trivialized by Sequence Breaking and waiting until you can field Ghosts or Spectres with the permanent cloak upgrade. The Tal'darim never bring Detectors in their attack waves, so a row of these cloaked units easily walls off (and kills) everything they can bring bar Colossi or air units, which can be handled by Missile Turrets, Marines and Marauders without much issue.
  • In Starcraft I, one mission involves getting an SCV to a beacon, the idea being to destroy the base between the two. Or, you could use the Science Vessel you're given to repeatedly cast Defensive Matrix on the SCV as he runs towards the beacon, shrugging off tank and battlecruiser fire alike. Time elapsed: less than a minute.
    • In a Starcraft fanmap, you have to hold off huge, repeated swarms of Zerglings for fifteen minutes. It's a very difficult map... until you realize that the AI ONLY uses Zerglings, so you can simply lift off a building, then read TV Tropes until you win.
  • Dawn of War
    • In Dark Crusade, the Instant Win Conditions for all the strongholds except for Eldar is to destroy a specific building or kill a specific enemy. You could fight through all the enemy forces and end the mission in a messy glorious free-for-all... or you could use the Imperial Guard's Defog of War ability and blast the target to bits with a Basilisk barrage from halfway across the map. Or sneak in a fully upgraded Tau Commander (which is permanently invisible and has enough firepower to easily kill everything that can detect it) and Cherry Tap the target from a safe distance. Or in some cases teleport in the Necron Lord, and transform it into a Nigh Invulnerabile 50-metre tall Grim Reaper to destroy the target.
    • Most strongholds in Soulstorm are convoluted affairs where you have to go back and forth across the map to destroy several key structures, then attack the main base afterwards. The Tau, however, have access to powerful Barracuda fighters, which can simply fly over the terrain, level the buildings, and open the way for the final assault in one tenth the time.
    • Soulstorm's Dark Eldar stronghold starts off as a Baseless Mission where you rescue your troops before being able to build a base. However, the Dark Eldar don't attack or use their soul powers until you've built one, so all you need is to take your stealth troops to the Dais Of Destruction and start beating on it (they have almost no detection).
  • Age of Mythology mission 19, "Watch That First Step", has the Instant-Win Condition of killing Kamos. You have access to flying transports called Rocs, either building them yourself or finding a free one in the bottom of the map, so you can just load them up, hug the side of the map until you get to the top where Kamos is, and kill him without having to fight anyone else.
    • In the Titans campaign, mission 7, Betrayal at Sikyos, you are tasked with defending your base for a certain amount of time against waves of zerg-rushing myth units spawned by the indestructible titan (which also spawn two weaker ones when the primary is destroyed), whilst at the same time, your ally must defend himself against another enemy's attacks. Whilst you could build up your base defences and hope that your ally survives, you can instead train a few rocks (aerial transport units), load up your workers and mission-critical heroes, and fly off to your ally. Once there, you will be out of reach of the titan and as an added bonus, the enemy attacking your ally is also allied with you, and the way to your ally's base is through a narrow mountain pass that can conveniently be walled off. After that, you just wait for the timer to finish.
  • Grey Goo (2015) has a Beta mission to defend three resource extraction points scattered across the map, which is a tense enough Hold the Line mission as it is with everything spread so thin, with two bonus objectives. One essentially turns the map into a Timed Mission which becomes impossible if you lose even one of the resource points, the other requires you to destroy the enemy base, which you're discouraged from doing due to its awe-inspiring walls of defensive turrets, with all the victory-relevant structures in one cluster in the middle. Except... there's a cliff nearby that puts artillery units just in range of the enemy refineries, and destroying those knocks out power to half the base's defenses, including everything in range of the base itself.
  • The Rise of the Witch King, an expansion for The Battle for Middle-earth 2, has a final mission in the campaign which is supposed to be a slow, prolonged siege of Fornost, the last (and well-fortified) stronghold of Arnor. However, it's possible to just run the entire starting army up through the city, ignoring all enemies, to gain vision inside the citadel. Then, rather than trying to break down the huge gates, it's possible to use every summon power inside the citadel, and use all the short-term super strong summons to break down the objective. Total time: about 5 minutes instead of 45.
  • In Rome: Total War, the campaign AI will sometimes move the entire garrisoning army of a city save one unit just outside of the city. (It is unknown as to exactly why it does this.) This presents an interesting opportunity should you have a nearby army of your own with some artillery and/or a spy in the city who can open the gates for you. When you assault the city, the enemy's main force will appear as reinforcements on the very edge of the battle map while you are free to position your troops much closer to the city. Simply storm in and capture the town square from the one unit remaining in defense. If you're quick enough, you can capture the city and win the battle by holding the town square without ever engaging in the enemy's larger force. It will still be treated as a loss by that larger force and they'll be forced to back away from your newly won city on the campaign map. This strategy allows massive cities which normally take 30-45 minutes to capture at the cost of many troops to be captured in about five minutes with minimal casualties.
  • Ashes of the Singularity has a mission in the first campaign, Dreadnoughts. The idea is to learn the titular behemoths' place in the Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors be defeating several splinter-faction ones on your way to assaulting the enemy nexus in the first truly massive battle of the campaign. There are two things that make this considerably easier, though. First, the splinter dreadnoughts are mutually hostile and the enemy takes a while to build up any forces that can take them on, just leave a few alive and they'll hold the points for you just fine. Second, the substrate nexus is within artillery range of your own HQ area and the Substrate can't repair building HP. A radar upgrade and a line of long-range turrets will result in the Nexus being gradually beaten down with minimal effort.

    Role Playing Game 
  • Baldur's Gate
    • It is possible to export characters into a file and later load it for new playthroughs, so that you won't have to roll again all the stats. Alternatively, you can directly import a character from a savegame. However, the latter method imports the XP and the items of the character as well. It is quite easy to leave Candlekeep with a level 10 fighter wielding +3 weapons and armours...
      • If you use modifications like Baldur's Gate Tu Tu or Trilogy, which import the whole content of the first game into its sequel and allows a continuous playthrough from Candlekeep to the end of the saga, you will also get the XP cap limit and the weapons of Baldur's Gate II with its expansion pack. You can then go straight to the endgame boss of Baldur's Gate and solo him in a few minutes with a lv40 godlike character wielding nuclear weapons... not talking about all previously powerful monsters, dragons, demons and undeads, now reduced to silly kittens. To a good extent, even the endgame boss of Shadows of Amn becomes terribly easy with a character from the end of Throne of Bhaal.
    • When you end the Prologue, you find yourself in the wilderness with no money and no valuable weapons. Hidden in a tree on the road where you start Chapter 1, you can find a diamond that boosts a lot your cash. It is normally hard to detect and acts as a quasi-easter egg for those obsessive players that click every pixel hoping to find something. The trick comes with the Enhanced Edition, where you can press a button to show if there are crates or other selectable objects in the map, thus allowing everybody to discover quite easily the diamond.
    • Most enemies have spells encoded on items that have limited timers, so by not pausing the game in places like the Temple of Bhaal or the Northern Island, bosses becoming much weaker in time due to their protection spells running out. Alternatively, you can simply walk into a room until a spell dissolves.
    • Sometimes monsters follow you between rooms. Although this might appear to increase the difficulty because you are constantly chased, it actually makes the game easier because you can divide enemy forces and kill them one by one.
    • If Drizzt can be surrounded by NPC party members (it will take a full party of CHARNAME plus the 5 Non Player Characters and can be a bit tricky to accomplish as he wanders hasted) and then Reform until all former members become neutral, his attack will be limited to close-range melee. In that situation, Drizzt can be killed with either a ranged or long-range melee weapon with total safety for the CHARNAME. Only natural 20 rolls will hit him and none of those will register as critical hits since Drizzt is immune to those. A sizable reputation loss will result from his death.
      • It is also possible to play tag with Drizzt around the lake, using the Boots of Speed to evade his strikes. Drizzt's pathfinding in Baldur's Gate is not that great and he can get stuck in the middle of the lake, with the player on the other side. For wizards, using Dimension Door to cross the lake is advised. The player can then pepper him with arrows or ranged spells with impunity until he dies.
    • Algernon is a portly old man on the second floor of Feldepost's Inn in Beregost. He wears what appears to be a Nymph's Cloak but it has nearly unlimited charges of Charm, which requires a very high Save vs. Breath Weapon to resist. The quest involving Algernon's Cloak does not trigger until the player arrives in Baldur's Gate, but the cloak itself is available as early as Chapter 1. Most parties would not know Algernon has the cloak, as typically only an evil-aligned party would murder Algernon and discover it, and thieves would not know some random man in an inn would possess such a powerful item. The cloak can be used to charm almost any character in the game, allowing them to reveal information while under the charmed effect (Baldur's Gate II removes these dialogue strings, preventing players from conversing with charmed/dominated characters) and also allowing one to command them in battle. This even applies to characters far beyond the player's level and abilities, allowing some battles to be won fairly easily so long as the target fails the saving throw.
    • Take a potion that is restricted to mages like Heroism. Put the potion in one of your inventory slots, and put a usable potion - like a healing potion to the next inventory slot. Pause the game. Right click on the healing potion, choose "drink". When on the inventory still paused, switch the places of the two items, and the restricted item WILL be used/consumed. This is possible with other restricted items as well.
  • Baldur's Gate II
    • When a new game is started in Shadows of Amn, a cutscene begins with Irenicus where the player character has no items. Items imported from Baldur's Gate are removed by a script at the start of this cutscene. However, there is a brief period where the player has control right before cutscene mode goes into effect. The screen is dark and because the character starts out in a cage, he/she cannot move. A quick player can pause the game during this period of freedom, and dump all items on his/her person. This avoids having the items wiped by the script and allows them to be requipped after freedom is restored. The Double Rings of Wizardry won't work if this method is applied. This makes early game (not only the initial dungeon) a lot easier, especially if you deliberately set up a character with specific powerful items to import. However, this exploit was fixed in Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition. Might be Game-Breaker.
    • The game has many quests where you have to face beholders, which are powerful and capable of killing your party in two seconds. However, you can buy in a shop a magical shield that reflects their attacks, making you nigh invulnerable against them. This can actually break many sections regarded as among the hardest in the game, to the point that some players consider it cheesey. The beholder lair in the Underdark can be traversed like a hot knife cutting butter. The most blatant example is an early quest against a powerful blind beholder called the Unseeing Eye. Since your party is not leveled up enough until much later, a direct confrontation is suicidal. To defeat him, you are supposed plot-wise to enter new dungeons facing many new monsters and finaly assemble a magical rod that will heavily weaken the beholder. But with the reflecting shield you can ignore everything and simply destroy him without difficulty.
    • Multiple enemies and bosses, including at least two dragons, start out non-hostile and go hostile later in the game, giving you a perfect opportunity to have your thief carpet the ground with traps. This also works on Kangaxx, with one particularly funny anti-Kangaxx strategy being to booby-trap both the spawn area and the wall a bit of a way behind him, triggering his One-Winged Angel second stage in two seconds because his first form gets pelted to death by traps, and then using the Ring of the Ram to push his demilich form into the second area.
    • Imprisonment is usually effectively a one-hit kill, but your Slayer form is immune to it. 2 Reputation is a low price to pay for denying it to certain bosses.
  • Two Worlds II has multiple bosses that you can see before you actually start the fight with them. Killing them before passing the point where the fight starts removes the trigger that has them count as defeated, but it's entirely possible to shoot them full of arrows until they're almost dead and then start the fight, since it doesn't heal them.
  • Dark Souls:
    • Picking up the right starting gift can make certain early parts of the game easier. The Black Firebombs will allow you to kill the Asylum Demon immediately without picking up your gear and nets you the Demon's Great Hammer. The Master Key opens various doors in the early game, sparing you the need to explore dangerous areas for their respective keys. It also allows you to grab a decent sword for Faith builds and a shield with 100% physical block and good fire resistance very early (though said loot is guarded by an Undead Dragon).
    • The Ceaseless Discharge boss looks very intimidating, being a giant demonic lava monster. But it can be defeated very early in the game simply by grabbing the robes it's guarding, baiting it into trying to punch you, then running back to the fog gate. Done right, this will lead to the boss trying and failing to jump over a large gap leaving it clinging helplessly to the edge. At which point you can strike its hand at your leisure, finishing it off.
    • The infamous Anor Londo Archers are intended to be defeated by running up as quickly as possible and dodging the arrows your way so that you can take them out one at a time. Or you can just make sure you have a bow and a bunch of poison arrows. Simply position yourself so that their arrows are deflected by the railings and fire two or three poison arrows at them. Then sit back and wait for them to expire.
    • The Capra Demon can be easily dispatched by lobbing several Dung Pies, a consumable that inflicts the deadly toxic status effect, over the boss fog at him.
    • Chaos Witch Quelaag can be a tricky boss especially if you don't have good fire resistant gear. However, she is much easier if you break out of the habit of locking onto enemies. Her real weakpoint is her human upper torso (which can't be locked onto) — aiming arrows or sorceries at her torso will stun-lock her, making her much more manageable.
    • In a similar vein, Artorias can be made less dangerous by manually aiming at his head and firing an arrow at him while he's preparing to buff himself. This knocks him out of it and briefly stuns him, giving you an opportunity to attack (and ensuring he doesn't get his power boost). You can also try staggering him by dealing sufficient melee damage, though this is riskier.
    • Seath the Scaleless can only be harmed after you destroy his Primordial Crystal. However, if you bait him into destroying it himself with one of his own attacks, he spends a few seconds getting mad at himself for falling for your trick. This can be especially helpful if you're trying to cut off the tip of his middle tail for the Moonlight Greatsword.
    • Sen's Fortress is extremely dangerous due to a plethora of death traps and powerful enemies. However, it can be made considerably easier by finding a somewhat hidden bonfire that requires you to roll off a roof through a hole in a fence outside. This bonfire ensures that you don't have to go back through the death traps in the fortress again if you die to the enemies outside of the fortress.
    • The Iron Golem is generally considered a joke by the community because he has two such strategies. In the first, if you stagger him, he'll fall on his ass, but if you position him correctly, he'll fall off the cliff. In the second, you can summon Black Iron Tarkus, who can easily 1v1 the golem presuming the it doesn't throw him off the same cliff.
    • Manus is normally a very challenging boss with high health, punishing physical attack combos, and devastating Abyssal sorceries. However, the entire fight with him can be bypassed if you look carefully at the hole right before the fog gate. Just like with the Bloatheads earlier in the cave, you can see Manu's eyes glowing. If you aim your bow just right, you can simply make Manus into a pincushion. Actually killing him this way will take a good bow and hundreds of arrows, but it's certainly much easier than actually fighting him directly.
  • Dark Souls II:
    • Enemies have a maximum number of spawns instead of coming back infinitely, meaning that levels in general get easier and easier as you kill more and more enemies.
    • Heide's Tower of Flame has several ways to make the level easier. First, the Dragonrider can be baited into falling off his platform if you didn't activate the levers, or shot full of arrows so you can kill him with one blow if you did. Second, most of the enemies will follow you forever, meaning that you can kite them back to the first arena, which is both comparatively large for the Flame Tower and very close to the bonfire for easy recovery if you do mess up; plus, often groups of enemies will follow you at different speeds, letting you deal with them in smaller groups.
    • The giant Basilisk in the Shaded Woods has a very low aggro range, at least in an unpatched game, so you can just shoot it to death and it won't react.
    • There's a hidden bonfire down a side path about fifty feet from the Rotten's boss fog in Black Gulch, significantly shortening the gauntlet of bullshit poison-spitting statues you need to deal with.
    • Mythal, the Baneful Queen, is very susceptible to two specific elements of her own level. First, if you set the windmill on fire in Earthen Peak, the poisonous pool in her boss arena and the one immediately outside it are both drained, meaning she can't heal over time and you don't need to wade through venom to fight her. Second, Jester Thomas, the NPC summon directly outside her arena, wields pyromancy, which she is extremely vulnerable to.
    • Subverted with the Lost Sinner boss fight. The actual trick - lighting up her boss arena so you can stay locked on - is pretty straightforward, but actually getting the key you need to do it is like pulling teeth and requires you to defeat another fairly difficult boss. First, you need to go to the room below the Servants' Quarters in the Lost Bastille and use a Pharros Lockstone on the contraption. This will gain you access to Belfry Luna, which is covered in Bellkeeper Soldiers and is a heavily invaded area thanks to the Bellkeepers' covenant. Once you've reached the top of the Belfry, fought the Red Phantom there, and rung the bell, the Belfry Gargoyles boss fight becomes available, at which point you probably die a bunch of times. Once you beat the Gargoyles, there's a ladder to the side of the bonfire that leads down to a fight with a bunch of undead dogs and a quick Red Phantom with a lot of reach; the Bastille Key is on a corpse behind him. Scholar of the First Sin made it easier by having the key available only after the Ruin Sentinels, making it less of a hassle to obtain it.
    • There are several large containers in the Iron Keep that are full of water, which raise your fire resistance if you roll through them - very useful given that the Iron Keep is half submerged in lava and the first boss there is called the Smelter Demon.
  • Dark Souls III:
    • Different burial gifts can change the difficulty level for early areas fairly significantly: the Fire Gem can give you substantial advantages through the zombie-infested early game, for example.
    • The first Boreal Outrider Knight, a difficult Mini-Boss, can be relatively easily baited into falling down a lift shaft to its death.
    • The Road of Sacrifices has a summon for the mad phantom of Holy Knight Hodrick, who lacks the laser-focus on the player that invaders usually do; while he'll happily follow you, he'll pick fights with everything he finds on the way - allowing you to slam him into tough enemies like the Exile Watchdogs or Yellowfinger Heysel.
    • The Cathedral of the Deep has a few fights that get a lot easier if you can take out the Thralls, and a tough Mini-Boss who can't get through the door.
    • AI red phantoms in Farron Keep, a famously difficult area, tend to spawn in a basilisk-infested area of the swamp. The Seed of a Tree of Giants makes red phantoms vulnerable to environmental creatures, and you can get one for free if you get lucky in Firelink Shrine.
    • The Fire Demon's Mini-Boss arena is full of skeletons who don't like it much, and you can even trick it into picking a fight with the Mimic right next to it. Because the Fire Demon attacks so much more slowly, it usually loses.
    • The giant crossbow in Smouldering Lake is usually a pain in the backside, but you can bait it into killing the Carthus Sandworm for you.
  • Alciel in Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne likes to kill off your party by using an HP to 1 move followed up by a normal attack. Since his only method of finishing you off is physical, and he has no way of dispelling Tetrakarn, setting Tetrakarn up results in Alciel killing himself very quickly.
  • Fallout 4: If levelling up by playing the game sounds too much like hard work, then exploit the item duplication glitch to get huge quantities of the required items, and craft Molotov Cocktails (15XP each) until your fingers bleed. This can get you up to Level 100 in about six hours of determined effort.
  • Final Fantasy X:
    • Evrae is universally considered a That One Boss due to powerful attacks, notably poison breath that inflicts, you guessed it, party-wide poison, an ability to turn your party members to stone, and all of that was exarcebated by the absence of your white mage during this battle. There are however Al Bhed Potions that heal everyone in active party for 1000HP and cure Poison, Silence and Petrify. However, they can be used only with 'Use' command (not 'Item', which is for traditional Potions and similar items), but in the level just before you could find a Special Sphere that allows to activate a special ability (which 'Use' is) by any party member as long as it was activated by someone else. Rikku has 'Use' by default, so you can activate it for someone else, and with having more members using Al Bhed Potion, the battle becomes significantly easier.
    • Blitzball is mainly a minigame, but there is one match that is mandatory and it can be difficult. However, if you can get to one point over the other team, you're good - if you travel back to your own goal and swim around in circles, the AI gets confused and won't go after you, and you can just run down the clock until you win.
  • Pokémon:
    • In the original Pokémon Red and Blue, Erika's Gym could be easily defeated by any Grass/Poison type (of which there are plenty). The computer would constantly try and inflict poison on your Pokémon, despite their secondary typing rendering them immune. While doing so, they wouldn't actually be attacking, and they would never stop trying because the AI never runs out of PP in those games.
    • Lusamine's Bewear in Pokémon Sun and Moon is a juggernaut with potential to sweep entire teams on its raw power. However, its only attacking moves are Normal and Fighting type, so any Ghost type will No-Sell 100% of its damage. In your second encounter it learns Pain Split, but Pain Split can't kill and only draws out the inevitable defeat.
    • In Pokémon Emerald, Brawly's Gym team is completely incapable of damaging Shedinja. Some of the other Gym Leaders only have one Pokemon that can damage it, such as Wattson being helpless after you defeat his Voltorb (which knows Rollout). More significantly, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire's Delta Episode ends in a Bonus Boss that is also incapable of damaging Shedinja, meaning the only thing preventing you from catching it is whether it Struggles itself to death first.

    Rhythm Game 
  • For Pump It Up players who are sufficiently heavy, there are two ways to play Pumptris Quattro's S17 chart: Actually hit the steps in time (i.e. the proper way), or—noting that preemptively holding down a hold arrow carries no penalty and that all of the steps in this chart are holds—sit down with your hands, feet, and butt holding down all five panels for the duration of the chart and obtain the easiest all-Perfect run ever.
    • Averted in Pump it Up XX, where that trick is no longer vaid.
  • Rhythm Heaven Megamix:
    • If you need easy Aces during the "Exhibition Match" minigame inside the "Extreme Sports" challenge? Just watch your Mii's head in the top left corner bob five times, and on the fifth time, make sure that the Mii's head is at its lowest.
    • Having trouble with the Machine Remix's "Rhythm Tweezers" sections and "Ninja Bodyguard"? Just practice alternating between the fast pulls with the D-Pad and A button.
    • Want a Perfect on "Cosmic Rhythm Rally"? Just keep pressing/tapping... and hold that steady pace for nearly two minutes.

    Shoot Em Up 
  • In Super Thunder Blade, if the difficulty is set to Hard, the player can hide in the upper-right corner and continuously fire to avoid being hit for three levels.
  • Darius Twin's Zone A can be safely completed up to the boss by simply parking your ship so that it's overlapping the Player 1 score counter.

    Stealth-based Games 
  • Dishonored 2 has one at the very first level. Once you get out of the Dunwall tower, you have to go through the streets crawling with hostile guards without any powers or your trusty crossbow... or you could jump onto a carriage passing overhead and ride to the end of the level with some acrobatics on the way.
  • Hitman (2016) has one in the Marrakesh level. You can choose to infiltrate the heavily guarded military compound or simply poison General Zaydan's meal, wake up a sleeping waiter and have him deliver it to him.
  • Thief: The Dark Project:
    • In the intended way of playing the game, you hide in the shadows, avoiding every contact, and slowly explore. However, since enemies are stupid (particularly zombies) you could often dodge and skip them all by simply... jumping. You will be even faster and the guards will always miss you. Many speedruns exploit a lot this trick. It works best when you already know a level, so you can simply constantly jump towards your objective and complete the mission while all the enemies are packed together pursuing you. With a little boldness you can also do this while exploring a new level. If you are overrun by too many enemies or you need to think about what you must do next, you can simply jump to a safe hidden place and wait for the area to be clear. Note, however, that some levels require you to stealth anyway to fulfill an objective, i.e. the beginning of "Assassins" or the ending of "Into the Maw of Chaos".
    • Level 9, titled "Return to the Cathedral", requires you to steal a powerful artifact inside a haunted cathedral full of undead creatures and then exit. After you grab it, you will discover that the entrance has been closed and magically sealed. You will have to find another way to escape. Here starts the true level, its longest and hardest part. However, you can cheese the level by putting a skull or a rock that blocks the entrance door. When you return with the artifact, the door will be technically locked (you can click and hear the sound of a locked door), but the skull will have blocked the door from moving, leaving the entrance open. Other tricks exploit a glitch that lets you die passing through walls, thus counting as "exiting" the cathedral, or leaning through the door while shooting fire arrows. Experienced players can complete the level in a minute (there are even 30 or less seconds speedrun video on YouTube!). The downside is that you won't grab loot, so the next level will start without cash for items and arrows. Note that Thief Gold solved the trick by doubling the mass of the door so that nothing will stop its automatical closure.
  • One room in Metal Gear has an entrance at the south end of a room and a locked exit at the right. If you press "right" upon entering the room, the engine will decide you are in a door and facing right and take you through the exit. This room is the penultimate boss fight in the game.
  • Elevators in Metal Gear Solid sometimes take a moment to arrive, but pressing the button again after calling it will immediately open the doors and allow you to get in. While minor, it makes getting on them a lot easier and makes many areas, particularly the first floor of the Nuclear Warhead Storage Building, where weapons are disabled and being spotted results in an unavoidable game over (they lock the doors and flood the place with gas), much easier and less stressful.
  • Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes:
    • For some reason, Vulcan Raven has issues aiming downwards. Meaning you can lie down, equip the PSG-1, and pick him off without him realizing he's shooting above Snake.
    • The lasers in the gas corridor of the Tank Hangar can be shot out if you grabbed the thermal goggles or know where to shoot.
    • The backtracking mission with the PAL key can be made much easier if you have good reflexed and leveled up your grip, as you can reach a hidden steam and liquid nitrogen pipe on a ledge in Rex's hangar rather than having to backtrack all the way to the Blast Furnace and the Warehouse. The kids love this one!
  • In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty when tasked with defending Emma on the oil bridge with a sniper rifle, Snake tells you to radio him if you need help. You'd expect this to come at some sort of cost or not be of much help, but no: on easier difficulties he literally does all the work for you, and all you have to do is take out Vamp at the end. Harder difficulties force you to do at least some of the work, but it's still worlds easier than attempting to go it by yourself.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
    • The fight with the Shagohod tank can be resolved fairly quickly by shooting out the treads so it can't move at all. The game, of course, doesn't tell you this.
    • A lot of areas, as well as the battle with The Pain, can be made much easier by answering "I like MGS3" at the beginning of the game which gives you the brown face paint that gives you unlimited oxygen (not that the game bothers to tell you this). Most enemies can't see you underwater, no enemies can follow you into the water (save for crocodiles, but they're rare), and The Pain is completely unable to harm you when you're submerged, giving you a handy safe space in a lot of areas.
    • The Fear can be taken out in seconds if you think ahead and bring some Poison Dart Frogs to the battle. Let him drain his stamina attacking, throw them to the middle of the room, let him eat them, finish him off with your tranquilizer gun. This takes about a minute tops.
    • Shooting the End in the back when you first encounter him saves you an ungodly amount of time later on if you're not especially good with the sniper rifle. The Ocelot unit that takes his place can be gunned down or sneaked past with relative ease.
      • Alternatively, you can set your console's clock forward so The End will die of old age while the game is off.
  • The first two acts of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots can be made much easier by allying with the force that's battling Liquid's PMCs, either by helping them or finding a uniform: it turns an entire stealth section of Act 1 into "welcome to our base, take whatever you like!" and most of Act 2 into a casual walk to the mansion while the PMCs fight another enemy force. Act 3 can be made a lot easier by wearing civilian clothing, non-wanted face camo (such as Campbell, Drebin, any of the B&Bs), carrying no weapon, and complying with the first PMC that sees you: they'll halt you, pat you down, let you go, and now none of the PMCs will regard you as a threat unless they happen to spot you using a weapon later.
  • A large number of missions in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain can be skipped by doing exploits or simply having prior knowledge of the level:
    • All of the Wandering Mother Base Soldier Side-Ops can be done in seconds by obtaining the Koi no Yokushiryoku (Love Deterrence) cassette, setting the iDroid's speaker to loud, and playing it in the vicinity of each crazed soldier. They will stop their wandering, wander over and salute you, allowing Snake to easily Fulton them. This can also be done by using the Cardboard Box with the Peace Idol artwork (obtained at Mother Base) on the front.
    • Both Mission 5 ("C2W") and its Mission 33 Subsistence recycle can be completed in seconds. Just destroy the comm outpost's anti-air radar beforehand so you can deploy directly to the outpost in the helicopter, then shred the three transmitters with the helicopter's mounted machine gun.
    • Mission 11 ("Cloaked in Silence") can be easily ended nonlethally by calling in a supply drop right on top of Quiet. It takes out half her stamina bar and can be done as soon as you've tagged her position.
    • Mission 12 ("Hellbound"): The entire journey from the Serak Power Plant to Central Base Camp can be skipped if you know that you can jump in a cardboard box at the Delivery Point and transport yourself there.
    • Mission 27 ("Root Cause"): If you know where the prisoner is beforehand, you can ride to him on D-Horse immediately and pick him up before he gets in the truck and crashes. The level can be beaten in two minutes or less with this trick.
    • Mission 30 ("Skull Face") can be cheesed by riding D-Walker and carrying a Ballistic Shield on your back. All you have to do is speed through the base and stop for nothing until you reach the stairs at the very back. Doing this will net you an easy S-rank in record time.
    • Mission 32 ("To Know Too Much"): It is trivially easy to ride to the intel agent and extract him before the search team reaches him if you know where he is beforehand, and the area can be easily left without anyone being wiser.
  • In the final mission of Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, your target for assassination periodically stops to watch some soldiers practicing with guns. Throwing sneezing powder at a soldier will result in said target being killed by an errant gunshot. A spoiler-free first play of the mission can take well over an hour. With the trick? About two and a half minutes.

    Survival Horror 
  • In Resident Evil you could totally fight that massive snake, or you can literally duke around him to grab the MacGuffin and leave, as you never need to go into that room again and the snake doesn't come out until a scripted proper boss battle later. The Nintendo GameCube remake tweaked this in Chris's favor however, in an attempt to better balance the two: Chris is free to just run in and leave but if Jill wants that delicious assault shotgun she must save Richard and stand and fight with him until the snake is defeated.
  • In the 2002 Remake of Resident Evil you can kill the Crimson Head Prototype 1 in a single shot as Chris by equipping the Flash Grenade, letting it grab you, and firing. This will save you tons of ammo and damage as Chris's strongest weapon at this point is the shotgun which takes around 12 shots to hit the thing and won't stagger it.
  • A minor but much-advertised shortcut exists in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis where one of the rewards for fighting the Nemesis for the first time was being able to take Brad's ID card and save yourself having to explore the first floor of the Police Station looking for Jill's card after wasting a ton of ammo taking the bastard down. Of course, you can also choose to fight the monster, grab Brad's card, and run to the station without actually fighting the Nemesis or firing a single bullet at him...
  • The lava chamber in Resident Evil 4 has three fire-breathing dragon statues that you must disable by killing the cultists operating them. You can go the obvious route by juking them and then sniping the guys from behind their cover, or you can look up at the chains each statue hangs from, notice the D-ring couplings keeping them attached, and shatter each coupling with a single handgun bullet.
  • Alien: Isolation
    • Running is almost always suicidal since you will attract the alien with your noise. However, if you press the crouch and run buttons, with a little practice you can run without making any noise at all. This technique is a must-do for many speedruns, although it breaks the atmosphere.
    • Mission 16 requires you to stealth your way through many armed security guards, eager to kill you. However, there is a hidden switch that allows you to free an android that will engage the guards for you if you lure it in the main hallway... just beware that it will be hostile towards you too.
    • Mission 10, "The Trap", you are supposed to lock sections of the space station and lead the alien to an ejectable pod. The mission is divided in three sublevels. In the first sublevel you are tasked to trigger shutters designed against piracy, in an attempt to imprison the alien in an isolated section of the space station. The xenomorph will obviously make the process difficult. However, you can actually lock the alien between a shutter and a closed door at the very beginning of the level, thus preventing it from disturbing you for the rest of the level! This specific shutter is the one above the stairs. Simply toss a flare in front of the door, make some noise to attract the alien and hide. When it comes, it will investigate the flare. If spacing is right, he will be exactly in the tiny space between the shutter and the door. You then can sneak to the sealing device and trap the xenomorph! As this video shows, hilarity could potentially ensue. You will still have to complete the objectives and lock the remaining shutters as intended by game-story and developers, just without any enemy around. Note however that after you seal all the required shutters, and trigger the sequence in the server room where you become trapped inside and must wait for Ricardo to undo everything to get free (the alien is supposed to escape too), the xenomorph will script-spawn. It will follow you in the second sublevel in Gemini Solutions as well, which you will access soon afterwards.
    • In survivor mode, the map "Loose Ends" requires you to escape from an elevator. However, the elevator is off power and its door closed. The player is supposed to go to a nearby comm stat to reinitialize energy, which triggers the alien to come looking for him, and then backtrack to the elevator and escape. However, due to a bug, the player can "lean" inside the elevator and manage to press the button to win the challenge even with door closed, thus completely avoiding to go to the comm sat room and escape from the xenomorph.
    • Mission 5 has the player being locked down inside a medical bay, looking for a passcode to enter a new area. When the passcode is found and the player leaves the room, a script triggers the entrance of the xenomorph from a vent in front of the player. You are supposed to hide under a bed precisely on your right and then play the game as always by hiding, moving and distracting the alien until you get out. This level is considered by many players as one of the most difficult parts of the game. The trick is: the alien entrance is so slow that you can simply ignore it and go to the locked door, enter the password and leave that section when the alien starts to patrol. You still have to find a keycard in the new area before reaching an elevator, however. But sometimes it is possible to even do this without ever meeting (again) the alien in the meanwhile, especially if you toss a flare before the scripted alien entrance, thus gaining 30 more seconds while you enter the code, recover the keycard and go to the elevator from an unnoticed door nearby without backtracking.
  • In Five Nights at Freddy's, looking at an animatronic with your camera will delay its next movement a bit. From night 3 onward, when Freddy starts to become active, you can prevent him from getting anywhere close to your office simply by constantly raising and lowering the Show Stage camera all night. Doing so will not only hold Freddy in place for most of the night, but it also helps prevent Foxy from making a run at you. You'll still need to keep an eye on your doors for Bonnie and Chica, but seeing how Freddy is more dangerous than either of them, it makes the latter half of the game significantly easier. While this won't work as well in 4/20 Mode, you can prevent Freddy from attacking you by focusing on Cam 1B (which is where he jumpscares you from), locking him in place and preventing him from getting to you.
    • Nights 1 and 2 can be completely negated simply by closing the left door and doing absolutely nothing else. The only two enemies who can attack you from the right door are Freddy and Chica. The former doesn't move on those nights, and the latter can only kill you if you raise your camera.
    • The camera-freeze trick is absolutely essential to Ultimate Custom Night's 50/20 Mode, taking it down from 'completely impossible' to just 'monstrously difficult and heavily RNG-dependent'. You use it to stall the prize corner animatronics, as well as anyone else who might attack from that hall (the other hallway animatronics can be countered by sound cues or pattern recognition, and as for other animatronics that need camera attention... deathcoin one and hope the others play nice).
  • In the indie horror game GOHOME, you can find a griffin hiding in a certain area, and it will carry the player character straight to their house. This is handy, because you don't have to spend your time evading spirits to get home. When the town turns dark, however, the griffin will fly away if you try and get it again, meaning you're on your own this time.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • Most levels in Freedom Fighters have an alternate path to the objective with only a handful of enemies present, enabling you to bypass a massive setpiece. In fact, at higher difficulties, the entire gameplay is finding tricks to bypass or ambush enemies to net you an easy win. You are part of an irregular guerrilla fighting force, act like it!
  • The very final boss of Rambo III on the Sega Genesis is a combo encounter of a tank and a helicopter. If you destroy the chopper first, it crashes onto the tank, taking it out as well.

    Turn Based Strategy 
  • Fire Emblem
    • Some maps can be completed in a single turn with a Staff-wielder with a high Magic stat, one heavy-hitter, a Warp Staff, and a Dancer.
    • In Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, the final chapter was beaten in 3 turns using the Geosphere (which hurts all units, friendly and enemy alike) and a few Fortify staffs. Throw in a Warp staff to send a Falchion-wielding Marth to take out the final boss and suddenly it has become the easiest chapter in the game. Alternatively, just warp someone with good strength and a crit chance up to the final boss. He can even be one-shot with luck.
    • The final boss in Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade can be killed in one round if Game-Breaker Canas or 11th-Hour Ranger Athos crits with a Luna tome. Oh right, Nils possesses a ring that has the power to increase Canas or Athos' crit rate for a turn.
    • The best speedrun for Radiant Dawn involves using high movement, high damage, decent chance to crit Haar, pointing him at the boss and pulling a One-Hit KO in a single turn before the enemies get a chance to move.
    • Paralogue 22 in Fire Emblem Awakening has your squad fighting alongside an NPC against a squad made entirely of exact copies (skills and stats) of the squad you fielded (though with some of the best weapons in the game) plus a copy of said NPC. Field plenty of weak units plus a Glass Cannon or two, and you've just turned the battle into a Rocket-Tag Gameplay. In a turn-based tactics game.
    • Fire Emblem Fates:
      • Chapter 12 of the Birthright route consists of a bunch of narrow paths over water that don't all connect to each other. What the game wants the player to do is hit the Dragon Vein in the middle of the map to freeze over the water... the problem with this is the huge number of enemies between the troops and that Dragon Vein. The player can try that... or they could simply pair the Avatar up with one of the fliers and get to the escape point in 2-3 turns.
      • Conquest Chapter 25 forces a Sadistic Choice on the player. Option A: Beat the terrifyingly powerful Ryoma in single combat. Option B: Make your way through hordes of Master Ninja with Inevitable End, which causes their debuffs to stack and turn your most powerful units into pudding, and get to Ryoma with the rest of your squad within 20 turns (or he'll start beating on the Avatar, returning to Option A, but even worse). Or you could equip your Avatar with the level 15 Wyvern Lord skill Swordbreaker, which gives them a flat +50 Avoid against any sword user. Suddenly Ryoma turns from champ to chump.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses has Chapter 20 of the Golden Deer route or Chapter 19 of the Black Eagles’ Church branch, where Byleth and their army storm the Empire’s main castle to battle with the Adrestian Emperor, Edelgard. With the nature of this battle as a Disc-One Final Boss, it should be expected to be a massive climax, with a giant enemy army featuring all sorts of classes, including demonic beasts, and a surprise appearance of Dedue as an ally. However, due to the start position having the player’s army already halfway through the castle, and Edelgard not having any really special abilities, one can have a user of the Warp spell easily send a strong unit straight to the throne room, and let them whack the boss in one turn.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic 2
    • The eighth mission of Archibald's campaign is a very difficult slugfest if you play the mission straight. You start an entire week behind as you need to find a town to develop in the first place, meanwhile your opponent starts with three fully upgraded towns right from the get-go, as well as several heroes with fantastic stats. Oh, and they have their own private island with all the resources they would ever need. However, if you took the time to beat mission 7 first, you gain the ability to get any stack of dragons on the map to join you, which turns this mission into an absolute curbstomp. Instead of capturing the nearby town and building it up, all you need to do is head to the north section of the map as fast as possible, grabbing any stacks of dragons on the way, then proceed to whoop the ass of any enemy heroes/towns you come across. If you do it quickly enough, you can make it to one of the enemy's towns before the one week time limit runs out.
    • The final mission in Roland's campaign can very much be That One Level if you play the mission straight, even moreso if you got the ultimate crown instead of reinforcements. If you chose to get reinforcements, and have a crapton of Black Dragons in tow, it's possible to take the boat near Roland's starting location immediately and head for Archibald's castle. It will be a tough battle, since normally you're supposed to defeat everyone else on the map and build up your army first, but if you pull it off you can finish this mission in about 3 weeks flat.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Monster Capsule GB, Seto Kaiba, the hardest fight in the game, can be rendered a Zero-Effort Boss if you bring a Dragon Capture Jar into the fight, which sucks up enemy dragons. Since his team consists of nothing but dragons, you can win without doing anything.
  • The final postgame Liberation Mission in Mega Man Battle Network 5 is littered with impassable Barrier Panels, generates enemies that easily qualify as Demonic Spiders, and is so chock full of Dark Panels that it would be extremely time-consuming to work through the stage. However, in the Colonel version of the game, ToadMan's abilitynote  and can also cause an ally to liberate through Barrier Panels, getting the key behind them far earlier than the level expects you to do so, quickly opening up a lot of the stage for maneuvering and dramatically reducing the average number of phases spent completing the mission.
  • The World 1 Boss of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle Rabbid Kong, can be thoroughly defanged if you figure out the trick. Have Luigi or Rabbid Peach deploy a sentinel aimed at Rabbid Kong. It's immune to 90% of his damage and frees up the characters to move much more safely.
  • Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising has "Two-Week Test" where you're tasked with holding the line for 14 days against far superior odds. However it's a deployment map where you start with no units, so if you never build anything and just keep ending your turn all the enemy's vehicles will rush forward and clutter all around your properties not sure what to actually do. You can't lose by being routed if you have no units to rout, and you can't lose by capture because the enemy infantry can't get past their own vehicles to reach the HQ. You win by doing absolutely nothing.note 
    • Days of Ruin has the Trial Map "Fire and Water". You can go around capturing cities and building a force capable of overwhelming the enemy's... or you can recruit a single Infantry unit and make a beeline for the enemy HQ to capture it uncontested in a whopping six turns, since it's extremely close to one of your bases and is too far away from the enemy bases to be defended properly. Thanks to the adjusted scoring mechanics, this is actually a viable S-Rank strategy - you'll get a Power score of 0, but your maxed-out Speed and Technique will make up for it.
  • Valkyria Chronicles 4 has the chapter 15 battle "Versus Ausbruch". The intended method of playing the game is to abandon your initial camp to escape a pincer attack, then play a deadly game of ring-around-the-rosy as you chip down the enemy supertank while fleeing from two combined bosses's worth of deadly attacks. However, the mission's actual objective is only to destroy said tank, and there's very little between it and your starting position, meaning it can easily be hammered down by your grenadiers or massively buffed shocktroopers on turn 1.
  • Several bosses and battles in Odium:
    • In the city level, at one point you find yourself up against a large squad of soldiers, who can attack you from all sides... except you can simply deploy the "Attracting Device", which has the function of forcing all enemies (even human ones) to do nothing but walk mindlessly towards the device, unable to attack you until they reach it. And in that particular battle, the battlefield is particularly big, making it trivial to pick off the enemies one by one before they finish crossing the entire map.
    • The Messiah boss is stuck to a wall, but immune to ranged weapons unless attacked from the front, forcing you to get in melee range... Except, if you push two particular crates into two particular locations, it suddenly becomes completely unable to attack.
    • The final boss is not immune to tranquilizing (which makes an enemy unable to do anything at all for several turns). By the time you fight it, you'll easily have enough items to keep it tranquilized for the entire battle.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Grand Theft Auto
    • The series often forces the player to hunt down antagonists before battling them. Occasionally, it's possible to kill the antagonists before or during the hunt—for instance, Ryder in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas can be killed with a sniper rifle before he reaches the speedboat he's supposed to flee in. In Grand Theft Auto III, a racing game pits you against three other vehicles to collect points all over the city. The game fully allows you to explode all three vehicles just as the count down starts, say with the Rhino, and collect the points at your leisure.
    • A lot of the escort missions force you to make sure your vehicle doesn't blow up while roaming gang cars are shooting from you at all angles. You could either have mad skills in driving... or just drive off road and avoid rival cars altogether.
    • In one of the first missions in San Andreas, you have to follow a train in a motorbike with Big Smoke in the back seat shooting bad guys standing on top of the train. The shortcut is to get the bike, run ahead of the train, climb a concrete rail and a bridge, stop at the roof of a building and jump on top of the train as it passes. Now shoot at will. But there's a time limit for this technique, as there's a certain bridge passing over the train that knocks you from the top of the train. Alternatively, tap the accelerate button instead of holding it to make the bike go faster, which is also an Easy Level Trick on any bike races.
    • In IV, the co-op level "Hangman's Noose" anticipates most players will grab one of the armored SWAT vans that pull up to make the difficult drive to escape the airport and the permanent 4 star wanted level. It does not anticipate a player simply running off to collect a nearby Blackhawk helicopter to pick up the NPC and fly him comfortably to his destination.
    • Another mission in GTA III involves following a suspected traitor's taxi at a safe distance so that he isn't spooked. It can be finished much easier by using a taxi yourself and picking him up, at which point you can just drive him to the checkpoint.
    • In yet another GTA III mission, you have to throw a grenade through a window to flush out an enemy, at which point he drives out of a nearby garage, and you have to chase after him and do enough damage to his car to make it explode. Or you could just park a bus or a garbage truck in front of the garage, blocking him in, then toss a grenade to destroy both vehicles.
    • How to kill Chunky Lee Chong? Chase him down the street and hope he doesn't make it to his car? Or steal his car and run him over while he's trying to figure out what happened?
    • A mission for Donald Love has you protecting a friend of his from the colombian gang as he slowly drives along a pre-determined route. The easiest way to win the mission? Doing absolutely nothing. Staying put and letting him drive on his own will result in him reaching his destination without any complications.
    • Four Iron mission from Avery Carrington requires you to kill a target on the golf course, which confiscates all your weapons on entry. Unless you wait with the mission (since it's optional) until you get access to boats and helicopters, in which case you can simply snipe him from the distance without ever passing through the main gate.
    • Ambulance missions in San Andreas moved even further into That One Sidequest territory, since every new level reset the timer, making it impossible to build up a reserve like in previous titles. Unless you did them in Angel Pine (the village you're dropped into after The Green Sabre mission), in which case all targets spawn within the village, seconds from one another.
    • Hunter helicopter makes Vigilante missions a breeze, since the criminals can't shoot back at you and its turret auto-locks onto targets, has unlimited ammo and can shred a car in seconds. Made doubly easy in San Andreas if you start the missions over the Bone County desert (where Hunter spawns after you get all golds in Flight School) since the flat, empty terrain eliminates the need for precise manuvering between buildings, which was the main challenge of the mission in Vice City.
    • Have problems nailing the motorcycle jumps in G-Spotlight? Drop the motorcycle after the first jump and find a helicopter.
    • Vice City features a mission where the player is tasked with stealing a tank from an army convoy traveling through the city, which would require damaging the door on the tank enough to hijack it, all while surrounded by soldiers and the tank in question. Or you could just stay near it until the tank's driver is ordered to stop and get his superior officer some donuts at a predetermined spot, leaving the door wide open.
  • You're expected to win the fight with Johnny Vincent in Bully by taking out all his goons so Petey can use an electromagnet to take away Johnny's bike and then beating him in a fistfight (opening you up to his highly damaging Megaton Punch attack), but it's significantly easier if you leave at least one of his mooks standing and instead snipe at him with your slingshot while he rides in circles.
  • In Dead Island, the mission Waterdance requires you to turn off the electricity preventing you from reaching the petrol station roof. However, instead of going here, there and everywhere in order to turn off the power, just drive the nearby truck to the smaller roof, hop on top, and break through the glass, granting you instant access to the station.
  • More a minigame than a level, but still required to progress in the story. In Final Fantasy VII, at one point you need to use a dolphin to launch Cloud up to a rafter. You could spend ages positioning and repositioning the dolphin in order to eventually find the perfect spot to launch Cloud, or you could just launch Cloud right away without pressing any buttons. You'll miss, but launch again from where Cloud lands and you'll land on the rafter.
  • A few story maps in Disgaea can be beaten instantly by throwing an enemy Prinny at a specific location, causing a chain reaction of explosions that destroys all the enemies. Note that not only is this the easiest way to beat these maps, it's also the intended way.
  • The 70-man battle near the end of Shenmue is one of the toughest and definitely the biggest challenge the game throws at you. However, if you don't follow Gui Zhang's trail of asskicking and simply hang back in the starting area, it becomes a breeze; enemies trickle in slowly enough that you can take them out one or two at a time, without having to worry about getting overwhelmed.
  • Dead Rising 2 has Case 5-2: The Getaway. It features a battle with a helicopter where you need to winch it down with a crane and then throw something at the rotors to damage it. Of course, due to a programming oversight the projectiles shot from the normally harmless Toy Spitball Gun were coded as thrown objects rather than projectiles or bullets, and it has enough range to hit the rotors without winching the helicopter down. That's right, you can shoot down a helicopter in seconds by shooting a Nerf Gun at it.
  • In [PROTOTYPE], certain sidequests task you with destroying military targets, granting points based on what you destroy. You're supposed to target military vehicles that spawn to kill you, but the game counts vehicles even if no one is in them. This means you can hijack vehicles, park them nearby, then blow them all up for an easy score boost.


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