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Elevator Action Sequence

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When Captain America offers you a chance to get out of the elevator, you should take it.

"Before we get started, does anyone wanna get out?"

Some places are just designed for epic fight sequences. The lush scenery, the rippling wind in the Badass Longcoat, the Greek choir blaring triumphantly in creepy tone...

And then there's the Elevator Action Sequence.

There are advantages to the Elevator Action Sequence which make it so common in fiction. The main one is that it forces an arbitrary restriction on the heroes: in a game or movie with many wide-open spaces, elevators (even large, moving ones) tend to be static areas from which it is impossible to escape. The situation forces characters into a fight whether they like it or not, and also moves everyone automatically, so that we can pay more attention to the battle than where they're going. That people on an elevator must be going somewhere is naturally a foregone conclusion.

Sometimes the elevator in question is an inclined elevator, where the elevator moves along a diagonal plane instead of straight up and down.


This tropes is most common in early nineties Beat 'em Up games, which often used a moving platform rather than an enclosed elevator, allowing the player to throw enemies off the side. Although those games are out of vogue these days, examples can still be found occasionally in platformers, Action games and RPGs.

Often parodied by having two combatants fight their way inside the elevator, then calmly wait for the elevator to arrive before resuming the fight.

Lift of Doom is a specific variant, usually found in Platform Games.

This trope is not to be confused with Elevator Going Down, which is another form action entirely. Its polar opposite is the lack of action in an Uncomfortable Elevator Moment.

Compare Elevator Escape, where the action comes from the villain or monster reaching through the closing elevator doors. See also Evil Elevator. Sister trope of the Cable-Car Action Sequence. Has nothing to do with the Elevator Action series of video games, which has you fighting people pretty much everywhere except the elevators.



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Non-Video Game examples

    Anime & Manga 
  • A truly epic example of the inclined elevator form pops up in AKIRA, eventually becoming an explosive Mêlée à Cinq as various parties first try to ride, prevent, and/or beat the elevator to the bottom of the shaft, and then try to get back to the surface in one piece. The sequence may be the Trope Codifier for the inclined elevator variant in general, and understandably inspired many imitators and shoutouts — the room at the end of one such fight in Half-Life 1, for instance, is a direct recreation of the base of the elevator from AKIRA, matching up perfectly with a panel from the original manga.
  • Shows up in Hellsing, but since it is Alucard, it's more of a Elevator Massacre Sequence. Bonus points for the chapter actually being called "Elevator Action".
  • Heavily implied in Afro Samurai, when Brother 1 starts machine-gunning the elevator Afro and Ninja are in while standing on it. The doors open at the top of the mountain to reveal that Afro apparently killed him somewhere on the way up. Apparently.
  • A brief one occurs in one episode of Noir. A mafia boss enters an elevator with two bodyguards. A couple floors later, the elevator stops, Kirika and Mireille step in, shoot the bodyguards, shoot the boss, and then leave. Given their targets never get a chance to react, it's more Elevator Execution than Elevator Action Sequence.
  • In K: Return of Kings, Seri and Izumo infiltrate a formal party hosted by the villains, and end up fighting mooks in an elevator, in fancy clothes. Yes, it's brilliant.

    Films — Animation 
  • The fight between Emperor Zurg and Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story 2 took place entirely on the top of an elevator car.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • An inclined elevator version occurs at the end of the 1986 crime drama 8 Million Ways to Die, with the climatic shoot-out taking place on funicular.
  • Aliens. Ripley and Hicks run for the elevator leading to the landing pad. They push the button and there's a moment of suspense when the doors don't close... then they do until an alien does a Deadly Lunge from the corridor outside, forcing the doors open again. Hicks fires at point black range, killing the alien but spraying acidic blood over his body armour.
  • Black Angel Vol. 1: When Ikko is fighting her way into the penthouse where Chiaki is holed up, a gang of yakuza thugs who have being trying to stop her fall back into the lift. They breathe a sigh of relief as the doors start to close, thinking they have escaped her, only to realize as the doors finish closing that she is in there with them. Cut to the outside of the lift and the sound of gunfire.
  • Such a fight happens in Borat between two naked guys. They were interrupted, and the witnesses (not actors or extras!) couldn't seem to believe what they were seeing.
  • In Danny the Dog, the final action sequence features a few moments of fighting in a tiny bathroom, with both combatants mere inches from each other.
  • In Die Hard with a Vengeance, the hero unwittingly enters an elevator with no less than five mooks disguised as law enforcement. The mooks make a number of gaffes, betraying that they are neither Americans nor cops, before McClane notices that one of them is wearing a familiar badge. An elevator gunfight ensues.
  • Dressed to Kill has the brutal murder of Kate take place in an elevator.
  • In Drive there is a literal Curb-Stomp Battle in an elevator in which Driver brutally stomps in the head of a Mook.
  • Flash Point has Ma vs. Tiger, wrestling over a gun.
  • Internal Affairs (1990). The protagonist, Internal Affairs officer Raymond Avila, is riding the elevator in the police station when the doors open to reveal the antagonist, Dirty Cop Dennis Peck, who delivers a brutal beating.
  • James Bond:
    • In Diamonds Are Forever, Bond starts a fight with smuggler Peter Franks in an elevator and ends up killing him outside it. A damn small elevator — might as well have been a phone booth.
    • A minor subversion occurs in GoldenEye: the elevator reaches its destination and the doors open, revealing Natalya apparently unconscious on the floor as a guard walks in in confusion. Cue Bond dropping down from the ceiling and smashing him into the wall while Natalya gets up!
    • In Quantum of Solace, Bond dispatches four guards in about as many seconds while riding an elevator. While handcuffed!
  • Junior G Men, a 1940 serial, has one between the heroes and the Order of the Flaming Torch.
  • Men in Black II has a semi-example when Jay, Kay, and the worms raid MIB headquarters to confront Serleena. When they take the elevator down to the main level, a robot starts firing aimlessly into the elevator, while the heroes are hiding on the ceiling. When the robot runs out of bullets initially, Jay uses that chance to get out of the elevator and make his way down to save Laura, and the worms climb out the top to reach the power controls. Kay then attracts the robot into the elevator, hits the close button, drops a bomb, swings out, and lets the bomb detonate inside with just the robot getting caught in the blast.
  • Hitman: One action scene takes place on top of a moving elevator, between the main character (played by Jet Li) and an assassin trying to kill him. The assassin ends up accidentally falling into the elevator's gears and is minced to bits.
  • In Ip Man 3, a Thai boxer confronts Ip and his wife in an elevator leaving a doctor's office, so Ip must defend himself and his wife in an enclosed space.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Captain America: The Winter Soldier provides the page image and quote. All too aware of his Super Soldier abilities, the antagonists attempt to capture Captain America this way. Cap gets on the elevator, then several "friends" from his special ops unit join him. The elevator stops twice more to let on apparently innocuous suits plus some more soldiers until Cap is hemmed in on all sides. Realizing from their body language that something is wrong, he delivers the Pre-Asskicking One-Liner seen in this page's quote, then beats everyone up.
    • Avengers: Endgame includes an aversion as Call-Back to this scene when Captain America travels back to to the Battle of New York in 2012 to retrieve the Mind Stone from Loki's scepter. He gets into an elevator with the same S.H.I.E.L.D./HYDRA soldiers and tells them the Secretary told them to give the scepter. Just when it seems a similar fight is going to break out, instead Cap leans into Agent Sitwell's ear and says, "Hail HYDRA." Shocked, the HYDRA forces give him the scepter.
  • The penultimate duel in Merantau takes place in an elevator.
  • Ethan Hunt, after being slipped a pocket knife, waits until his restraining gurney enters an elevator to make his escape in Mission: Impossible III. He disables three guards (one with a telephone, yowch) while still strapped to his stretcher.
  • The short film Night Watch consists entirely of three goons trying to kill a man in an elevator. They fail.
  • Oldboy has one we don't actually see. Oh Dae-su walks into an elevator full of mooks, and the very next shot is the elevator opening up and all of them fall out, badly beaten, while Dae-su walks out nonchalantly.
  • Allie and Hedy have round two of their climactic fight in Single White Female in the elevator.
  • Smokin' Aces features a battle between two characters wielding handguns on an elevator. Both are pretty much shredded.
  • Sonatine has a gunfight in an elevator full of innocent bystanders. There is a lot of collateral damage.
  • Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith has an Elevator Shaft Action Sequence on board the Invisible Hand at the beginning.
  • Taken has a fight around an elevator that ends with a crime boss getting shot inside the lift... which then goes up, where a party is being held.
  • There is a rather memorable Elevator Action Sequence in Terminator 2: Judgment Day as Sarah, John, and the T-800 escape from the mental institution. The T-1000 attempts to sword-thrust its way into the elevator at several points.
  • In They, Sam takes the elevator in a final attempt to evade the monsters coming for him. They get him anyway.
  • Total Recall:
    • The elevator fight sequence in the original Total Recall, complete with its rather gruesome ending as Richter (Michael Ironside) gets crushed by the ascending elevator, leaving his hands behind. There's also an escalator fight scene earlier in the movie — being unable to dodge while stuck on the escalator, Arnie's character has to use a corpse to block bullets coming from up and down.
    • Total Recall:
      • The 2012 remake features The Fall, a massive elevator that shoots through the Earth at breakneck speeds. The climax takes place onboard it, and even features a zero-gravity gunfight.
      • Before that, four people (well three and a robot) fight in small elevator, ending with the lift exploding when the bad gal leaves a bomb behind
  • Deliberately downplayed in The Usual Suspects. Kobayashi is riding the elevator with his two bodyguards. The lights go out, and the elevator is lit by twin flashes, then enters a windowed section of the shaft which reveal no bodyguards and two blood-splatters on the glass behind Kobayashi, who looks up to seen McManus pointing a silenced pistol, telling him to push the button for the roof.

  • The Dresden Files: Storm Front features an incident near the end where a big nasty monster is trying to kill Harry while he's in his fifth-floor office. He bolts for the elevator on the logic that it has big steel doors, which works okay until the giant scorpion jumps down the shaft and starts ripping through the roof. Harry Dresden being Harry Dresden, he uses a wind spell to lift the elevator to the top of the shaft, crushing the bug against the ceiling, then throws up a shield to survive the landing. He says in a later book that the elevator's never been the same since.
  • Matthew Reilly:
    • Contest has a fight in an elevator shaft — beneath a descending elevator.
    • Area 7 is set in a base with a large aircraft elevator. There is a sword fight in it... using pieces of broken aircraft instead of swords.
  • Star Wars Legends: Discussed and ultimately subverted in Timothy Zahn's novel Scoundrels. A captured prisoner being escorted upstairs via turbolift recounts various reasons why, despite the trope's popularity, trying to subdue his captors while in the lift is a bad idea — surrounded by enemies, nowhere to run, with an unknown fate waiting at the end of the ride. The turbolift does make an excellent place to undo his restraints, though... and the turbolift lobby an excellent place to spring his ambush. At that point, his captors will have a heightened sense of security and he can see for himself whether there are additional guards in the lobby to worry about.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Altered Carbon. In "The Wrong Man", Ortega and Abboud step into an elevator with their prisoner Dimitri, only to be followed in by a hitman disguised as a police officer who frees Dimitri, leading to a rather bloody fight that ends with one policeman dead and the other severely wounded. In a later episode, the protagonist finds himself in an elevator with that same hitman, and suggests they cut straight to the fighting. (They don't).
  • Arrow:
    • "Brotherhood" includes an action scene which, in a single long take, follows Thea Queen and Andrew Diggle along a corridor, into an elevator, down a floor, and along another corridor, beating seven bells out of each other all the way. During the portion of the fight conducted within the elevator (at brutally close quarters), both fighters are thrown off balance by its movement.
    • In "Welcome to Hong Kong", Oliver Queen has to break into a PLA garrison, starting with him dropping from a ceiling hatch into a freight elevator and fighting the four soldiers inside.
  • Blue Bloods: Danny Reagan and Maria Baez corner a pair of potential suspects in an elevator they all are sharing in a season 7 episode. Rather than simply pin them to the wall and cuff them (they had the positional advantage as the two got onto the elevator with their backs to the police), they draw their weapons, which only cause the other two to pull out their own guns and results in a shootout that only fills about twenty square feet of space, leaving both of the suspects dead at the scene.
  • Cannon: In "Dead Pigeon", two thugs are dragging Cannon out of the Big Bad's office to take him somewhere quiet to dispose of him. As the elevator doors open, Cannon punches one of the thugs in the face to drive him away from the doors. He jumps in the elevator as the second thug grapples him and gets dragged in, as the doors shut in the first thug's face. The scene then cuts to the doors opening in the ground floor and a bruised and battered Cannon steps out over the body of the unconscious thug.
  • Community: In the sixth season episode "Modern Espionage", the dean is attacked by rival paintball players in an elevator. This scene is a parody of the elevator scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which was directed by The Russo Brothers, the director/producers of the first five seasons of Community.
  • Continuum: The second-season finale features a prolonged fight between Kiera and Travis, beginning in a corridor before moving into an elevator, and finishing on the roof of another elevator.
  • Deadliest Warrior: One of these happens (in a normal elevator, though, not a service elevator) in Episode 5, "Mafia vs. Yakuza".
  • Gotham: The Season 2 episode "A Bitter Pill to Swallow" at one point features Gordon getting ambushed by an assassin in an elevator, and having a brutal fight as it continues making its way up.
  • Human Target: Chance slides down an elevator cable while shooting a handgun downward against the security chief of an evil corporation wielding a shotgun who's in the elevator. Once inside the elevator, they lose the guns and fight hand-to-hand, eventually with a metal cover and railing used as impromptu weapons.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Luke Cage: Zip tries to kill Shades in a freight elevator. "Try", as he decides to try strangling him from behind rather than just shoot him in the head. After a lengthy struggle, Shades is able to get his hands on a henchman's gun and kills both of Zip's men, then marches Zip out onto the roof and kills him as well.
    • Iron Fist: Danny Rand fights his way through a hallway full of hatchet-wielding thugs while one of them tries to drag Joy Meachum to the elevator. The fight continues into the elevator, ending when they get to the lobby.
    • The Defenders. In the final battle Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Danny Rand are escaping in an open cage elevator, when Murakami and other Hand mooks climb up after them, leading to a brief fight scene before they are thrown out. And it's a long way down...
    • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: While trapped in a virtual reality, Daisy Johnson beats up an elevator full of HYDRA agents.
    • The Punisher. In the final episode, Frank Castle has just been involved in a shootout with Pilgrim before he grabs Amy as a hostage and ducks into an elevator. As the doors close, another elevator opens to reveal several police officers who've turned up to investigate the shooting, so Frank rushes them before they can draw their weapons, leading to this trope.
  • Person of Interest. In a Batman Cold Open, John Reese steps into an elevator with three men and casually reveals that one of them is cheating on his wife, who has hired the other two men in the elevator to kill him. Needless to say this trope ensues.
  • The Professionals. In the climax of "Kickback", Bodie gets into hand-to-hand combat with an Italian terrorist in a factory that ends up in a birdcage-type freight elevator. Further suspense is provided by another terrorist waiting for the slow-moving elevator to arrive on his level so he can kill Bodie with a submachine gun.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Occurred between Cameron and a strangely flexible female Terminator. Even funnier when interrupted, as both have fake blood all over them.
  • Treadstone. CIA agent John Bentley is suspected of having been turned into a Double Agent via brainwashing, so he handcuffs the station chief and takes his friend hostage so he can get out of the building. His friend sardonically congratulates him on having made it to the elevator, when two security officers enter and then get a radio message ordering them to detain Bentley...

    Web Animation 
  • The Dorkly Bits short, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Elevator Troubles" features a businessman named David Crussman interfering with the Turtles' battle against the Foot Clan soldiers in the elevator of the Technodrome from the SNES port of Turtles in Time, which includes holding the door open for the soldiers, and eating the pizza the turtles were planning to use to refill their health.
  • Happens twice in Madness Combat:
    • In Redeemer, which ends with Hank shooting out the cables and climbing the rest of the way up.
    • Briefly in Consternation, cut short by Tricky landing on top of the elevator and smashing his way through, forcing Hank to retreat.
  • RWBY: Season 2's episode "Dance Dance Infiltration" has Cinder get into an elevator with two guards at the CCT Tower. When she arrives at the upper floor, both guards are knocked out.

    Western Animation 
  • This is not so rare in Code Lyoko with the elevator leading to the Lab and Scanners. Usually, the heroes reaching it and closing the door in time give them some reprieve from XANA's latest attack — but sometimes the enemy slip in too for a good scuffle. And the elevator doors offer little protection against some of the most advanced of XANA's specters, that can actually make their host phase through walls.
  • There's an epic one of these in Invader Zim's episode "Game Slave 2", which ends with Gaz killing Iggins by letting him plummet to his death fifty stories down.
  • Star Wars: Rebels:
    • "Rise of the Old Masters": Kanan yanks two stormtroopers into a lift to be beaten up, which is heard, not seen, with the door closed on the fight.
    • "An Inside Man": Kanan and Ezra, disguised as a stormtrooper and scout trooper respectively, wind up in a small elevator with Agent Kallus. When he reveals he knows who they are, Kanan and Ezra start beating Kallus up before he can explain he's The Mole.
    • "Zero Hour": An offscreen one, when Kallus beats up the stormtroopers ordered to throw him out an airlock. We see them going into the elevator, Kallus smirking, and the doors close. When we come back, the doors open and Kallus is taking off his handcuffs with the stormtroopers behind him, unconscious.
  • In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode "The Foot Walks Again!" Rocksteady and Bebop, along with a few foot-soldiers, break into an Earth Protection Force complex to steal stuff. Inside they have a brief scuffle with EPF soldiers on an inclined elevator.

Video Game examples

  • Aliens features one early in the game, with the added caveat that you have to protect the cables from the Xenomorphs on the way down or suffer a lethal fall.
  • Heavy Barrel has two stages that comprise of mainly traveling up on a large elevator. Which passes by multiple flights of stairs and cannons. No surprise as to what happens...
  • Averted by the video game X-Men 2: Wolverine's Revenge. Several times you use a very large freight/vehicle elevator by yourself, but there's never a fight in it.
  • SAR: Search and Rescue have a level on a descending elevator platform, where you need to let it reach the bottom while fending off hordes and hordes of mutant enemies crawling from the sides.
  • The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning has several of these when you storm Cyndar's castle.
  • Gungrave:
    • The path to the Stage 5 boss has Grave fending off waves of enemies while riding an elevator/lift thingy.
    • One level in Gungrave: Overdose takes place on a giant AKIRA-style elevator.
  • Appear in Metal Slug 4, and done in reverse in Metal Slug 5, where the elevator descends instead of going up.
  • Contra:
  • The "Mad Doctor" level of Mickey Mania has a part in which Mickey fights skeletons entering an elevator as it goes up.
  • There is an inclined elevator in the "Rugged Ridge" of Cuphead where the elevator goes down while enemies attack you.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • In Devil May Cry 2, the factory stage contains battles where you are swarmed by Flambats while riding inclined elevators. There are also short elevator battles while climbing the sky-scraper leading to Arius.
    • Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening features elevator fights with an emphasis on speed. Mooks drop down from above, and if you don't knock them off or kill them quickly enough, the elevator will falter and send you back down to the bottom of the shaft. It's the main challenge of Secret Mission 4, but the Hell Prides are in their Devil Trigger state by that point.
    • In Devil May Cry 4, there are fights inside the elevators of the Order of the Sword HQ, but the elevators only move after you clear out the enemies, and some elevators are actually stuck regardless of the battle inside.
  • In Phantasy Star Online Episode II features a long battle against Olga Flow down an elevator shaft.
  • The second area of Time Crisis is set on a cargo inclinator/funicular. Crisis Zone has an elevator sequence in the office building level.
  • Metroid: Other M has an elevator in Sector 2 where you fight a swarm of space pirates, then a boss makes its first appearance of four. Thankfully, on subsequent jaunts to this elevator, it's completely devoid of enemies and exists purely for transport back to the entrance of Sector 2.
  • There's one of these in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance R-04.

    Beat 'em Up 
  • Crisis Beat has a level where players made their escape into an elevator. Climbing to it's top, they are assaulted by a horde of Sharp-class enemies which they must defeat while standing atop the descending elevator.
  • Streets of Rage:
    • The first game has a very memorable outdoor elevator stage as its penultimate level.
      • Also made hilarious by the graphical effect of the special attack. In-game, the characters could call in what were effectively drive-in air strikes to clear a stage. In all previous stages, the cut scene involved panning left to the car driving up and launching the missiles, then panning back over to the players to show the damage. In the case of the elevator level, however, the camera pans all the way down the elevator shaft and then left to the show the car and missiles fired, then pans back the same way before exploding as usual.
    • The fourth, seventh and eighth stages of Streets of Rage II all have these sequences, proving that this kind of action scene can have staying power even when overused.
    • It also appeared in the third and fifth stages of Streets of Rage III. This game is the only other time in the series the outdoor elevator or bottomless pits return.
    • 26 years later, the elevator returns in Streets of Rage 4. In stage 9, the heroes attack the villains' base and ride the lift, doing the usual head-cracking along the way (this time with breakable glass windows). On the top floor is an old ally, but he's not in the mood for a reunion.
  • Final Fight:
    • The second scene of the Industrial Area stage is set on a lift where the player must enemies dropping from above before the boss fight with Rolento. The stage was missing in the SNES port, but included in all the other versions.
    • The Italy stage (where Rolento is the boss) also had a similar scene in Final Fight 2.
    • Final Fight 3 also has such a scene.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game has a descending inclined elevator in the Technodrome where giant marbles roll past trying to squash you.
    • Another elevator battle occurred in the SNES port of Turtles in Time, where you fight several waves of enemies as you ascend five floors.
    • Same thing in Hyperstone Heist, only this time the elevator is going down.
    • There is an elevator level in TMNT III: The Manhattan Project... on the outside of a building.
  • The Simpsons arcade game from the early 1990s has a sequence where you're riding an elevator, and mooks jump onto it at regular intervals, which you can either dispatch as normal or just throw them off.
  • This also occurs toward the end of Michael Jackson's Moonwalker.
  • One of the last levels of Fighting Force takes place on an exposed lift with bad guys dropping in left and right. One of the earlier levels has the villain's penthouse elevator as a level. Very huge, with many items to smack the bad guys with. Both elevator ride times have in no way correlate with the size of the building they are in.
  • Occurs in Alien vs. Predator (Capcom) with both mooks and a rogue Predator.
  • And in the Run-and-Gun-style Aliens game, you have to kill the mook aliens before they cut the elevator cables.
  • Seen in the last levels of Viewtiful Joe 1 & 2.
  • Happens once or twice in Cadillacs and Dinosaurs .
  • The final area of the 2nd level in Batman Forever for SNES/Genesis.
  • Almost every Splatterhouse game involves some level where the hero is on a huge freight elevator with what seems to be a million floors, bashing monsters to a bloody pulp. The 2010 remake has a special element added: while you're fighting the monsters, they're attacking the elevator's engines. If they destroy both of them, the chains give way and you die.
  • The first level of Super Double Dragon has a fight in a glass elevator car. The enemies were originally supposed to break the glass, but due to the game being rushed, the animation was left out in both versions.
  • A inclined elevator ride exists in Stage 2 of the arcade game based on Bucky O'Hare.
  • Marvel Super Heroes has one.
  • Undercover Cops features one in the second level.
  • MadWorld has one in the last level called The Tower, before fighting the final boss.
  • Tokyo Beat Down has a couple of elevator sections in the later parts of the last stage.
  • Astro Boy: Omega Factor has an elevator ride in the middle of the second stage.
  • The final stage of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game begins with this.
  • In Castle Crashers, there's an inclined elevator ride filled with baddies in the Industrial Castle.
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance has two:
    • The Helicarrier, which takes place on the outside, so when Spider-Man throws a goon off, it's half a mile plunge to a splattery death.
    • The next level, the Omega Base, has a traditional elevator fight... with the inclusion of a Big, Bulky Bomb you must defuse or else it blows up - and if you and your teammates are at low health, you all die.
  • Battle Circuit has one on giant... plate... things.
  • Captain Commando has a very brief one on the last stage.
  • Time Commando: In the Future, an elevator ride gets interrupted twice by enemies.
  • The Sailor Moon Beat 'em Up for the Mega Drive has a fight on a looooong elevator. The rising platform is open on one side, allowing enemies to be flung off it.
  • In 8th Man for the Neo Geo, The Very Definitely Final Dungeon begins on a platform that rises very slowly for almost three minutes while Mooks constantly descend on it in twos and fours.
  • There are two instances of this in Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster's Bad Dream. The first is in the Space Station, wherein the elevator goes up with each wave of enemies defeated, and the second is in Montana Max's factory, wherein the elevator goes down with each wave of enemies defeated.

    Fighting Games 

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Half-Life contains an inclined elevator fight, with a shoutout subtle enough to double as a Genius Bonus: the room at the base of the elevator is a faithful recreation of a panel from the manga AKIRA, which appears at the end of a major fight on a similar inclined elevator.
  • Half-Life 2 and its expansion Episode 1 both have scenes where you ride a slow moving elevator and fight off enemies from it. In addition both the two aforementioned and its most recent expansion, Episode 2, have parts where you must fight off enemies while waiting for one to arrive. A particularly memorable moment occurs when the Big Bad is ascending in an elevator-ish thingy, and you have to climb up to the top to meet him before he gets away. Kind of a reverse elevator action sequence.
  • Black Mesa also subverts this- while one elevator sequence does have you fighting off headcrabs that jump down after you, a second one later in the game is completely uneventful, and can even be skipped due to a physics glitch. It is later played straight with an elevator battle in the last chapter before the Final Boss.
  • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes: One of the multiple fights against Dark Samus takes place on an elevator. The first few moments of the fight take place as the elevator is moving upward and the rest of the fight takes place in the room where the elevator stops.
  • Halo:
    • Halo: Combat Evolved subverts the Elevator Action Sequence after referencing it in a segment called "But I don't want to ride the elevator!" All FPS fans know what happens when you climb onto a large, slow-moving elevator. Thankfully, the ride is uneventful.
    • A good portion of Halo 2 occurs on various moving platforms, both horizontal and vertical. Some rather scrappy examples include the elevator sequences on "The Oracle" and "Quarantine Zone" (both of which involve the Flood), the gondolas on "Regret", and the diagonal lift in "Cairo Station" (though this time it's the enemy using the elevator).
    • Halo 3 has one or two short examples in the mission "The Covenant", though they mostly only have enemies if you failed to kill them in the prior room. On some difficulties, that's not so implausible.
  • Subverted in Left 4 Dead. There is a massive Hold the Line sequence while waiting for an elevator to reach you, but once you actually get inside you get pretty much the only uninterrupted peace in the game (provided that a Tank doesn't get trapped in the elevator with you...). This actually happens more than once in the game, but never more than once per scenario. Interestingly enough, when you're in an elevator, it doesn't just give you a bit of breathing room, it also depicts the ascent realistically: going from the fourth floor to the twenty-eighth floor near the end of the "No Mercy" episode takes about sixty real-time seconds, with each floor being counted off. Although when played in versus the players occasionally have to deal with special infected dropping down onto the roof from above.
  • This exact same scenario also occurs in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. While in Montreal you must hold the line against enemy soldiers while waiting for a very slow funicular to arrive.
  • The arcade game Revolution X had a level that featured a freight elevator, and all sorts of goons shooting at you as you tried to get to the roof.
  • In Ion Fury a boss fight against the Mega Brutalizer Twins takes places on an inclined elevator as it is ascending.
  • First Encounter Assault Recon:
    • In FEAR, there is a brief Escort Mission where the Point Man has to protect Alice Wade while traveling up to the rooftop for extraction. During this time, the Replica troops are forcing the elevator to stop on each floor. Fortunately, the Replica want Alice alive and thus are unwilling to throw grenades into the elevator, and won't assault the elevator itself, so it is possible to simply stay in cover and wait it out. The Muzak from Ipanema is included.
    • In the sequel, Project Origin, there's a long, drawn-out battle with the Replica as Beckett travels to Still Island via Armacham's underground tram system, which involves a crapload of Replicas attempting to first assault and then, in desperation, smash Beckett's tram car off the rails.
  • In the release version of SUPERHOT, one of the levels in the middle of the game takes place inside an elevator. Three mooks have pistols at your head at the start of the level, and it's your job to take them out. Once the elevator doors open, two additional mooks with shotguns await you from beyond the doors.
  • One section of Turok takes place on a massive elevator. The problem? You're swarmed on all sides by enemy troops, and the elevator itself goes excruciatingly slow. Your companion even comments on it: "There's a lot of them! Can't this thing go any faster?!"
  • In the last level of the second episode in the first Quake game, the enemies teleport while the elevator goes down for you to pick up the rune.
  • Several appear in Doom mods. One example that comes to mind is the short elevator descent in the beginning of Memento Mori's "Kinetics", where a marble platform with the player moves down and keeps going past shotgunners hidden in wall niches.

    Mecha Games 
  • The Virtual-ON stage Death Trap (Vertebrate Shaft in Oratorio Tangram) is just a single massive elevator — with bouts of combat thrown in the middle. Oratorio Tangram also features the Ascent Corridor, which is also equally-huge, and seemingly in an open area, which makes you wonder where it is, and where it's going.
  • MechQuest has one optional quest with a very long elevator sequence consisting of a hundred floors worth of random mech attacks and monsters that come after you hand-to-hand.

  • On Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn one of the storyline's main antagonists Gaius Van Baelsar is fought on an elevator. This is followed up with another battle on an elevator against Ultima Weapon. Interestingly both battles happen not only on different elevators but different types of elevator.
    • One of the Turns of the Binding Coils of Bahamut also took place on an elevator, but it wasn't exactly evident during the fight.

  • Both Ninja Gaiden Sigma games have at least one elevator fight.
  • Various Mega Man games feature such sequences.
    • A notable example is Jakob from Mega Man X8, which is an entire level set inside a space elevator.
    • The Giant Elevator stage from Mega Man Zero 3 had Zero fight against Tretista Kelverian in a descending elevator.
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, toward the end, has a prolonged fight against sand monsters in a Azad's elaborate elevator. The third game also features such an elevator, and Farah mentions she'd love to see the one in Azad. The Prince is less enthused at the prospect.
  • Stage 4 of the NES version of Super Contra has one of these.
    • One route of Contra: Hard Corps combines this with Collapsing Lair and Space Elevator — more specifically, pursuing Deadeye Joe and surrendering to Bahamut's forces has the latter use the Alien Cell to create the Big Magnum, a superweapon that can devistate continents. Bahamut self-detonates his base, forcing the player to escape into said elevator, where Dr. Geo Mandrake attacks in a robot.
  • Played with in the Final stage of Gunstar Heroes.
  • And similarly done in at least one level of American Dragon: Rise of the Huntsclan. The similarity is even lampshaded by Spud just before one of these levels starts.
  • Happens a couple of times in Kirby Mass Attack.
  • Round 2 of Shinobi III: The Ninja Master incorporates a fairly extended ascending-elevator action sequence. The final level has a similar elevator ride, only not as long.
  • Ultimate Chicken Horse:
    • The Mansion has a small elevator that must be called using a button.
    • The Nuclear Plant has a large elevator that starts automatically.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Disgaea 4: In Chapter 8, the Hades Party goes to the human world to pursue Judge Nemo, and take a cargo lift below ground. This stage in particular has a nasty Geo Effect, "Mighty Enemy" that makes the enemies invincible. It is combined with "Ally Damage 20%" to force the player to find an alternate strategy.
  • Final Fantasy:
  • Also, Chrono Trigger's final dungeon. Annoying because you have to go up again and meet the same frigging enemies.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • A minor variation can be found in the first game: the platform moves horizontally rather than vertically.
    • Then played straight in the second one with the Crooked Ascension.
    • The "Space Paranoids" world has another horizontal one. Similiar to the above-mentioned Devil May Cry 3 example, you have to destroy the enemies quickly or the platform overloads and you have to start over.
  • In Skies of Arcadia, the last non-bonus Vigoro fight takes place on an outdoors inclined elevator leading to the Big Bad's Elaborate Underground Base.
  • In Marvel Ultimate Alliance, the lift in the SHIELD Helicarrier is filled with Doombots and Ultron drones. And bombs at regular intervals that require a Quick Time Event to disable.
  • Avernum 5 does this twice with lifts. On one, you fend off hordes of rats that are jumping onto the lift, and on the other, enemy archers take the opportunity to fire at you while you can only respond with ranged attacks.
  • Fallout: New Vegas: In a first for the series, the Lonesome Road DLC has you descending on a lift platform to a nuke silo, with explosions and Tunnelers popping in and out spontaneously.
  • Mass Effect 3 has Shepard and company fighting their way through an elevator shaft during Cerberus's invasion of the Citadel.
  • Sa Ga Frontier: Lute's final battle takes place on an inclined elevator stopping every now and then so Spriggan (Final Boss) can equip new parts.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles: early in the game, the Faced Mechon "Xord" comes back from the ether river he fell into and attacks Shulk and the group while they are riding the elevator. The trope becomes subverted in that Xord, while damaged, is still the biggest threat. It is then played straight once the dismantled Xord teeters off and falls down the shaft, causing a massive ether explosion. It's a wonder that, as the elevator only slowly starts to leave in the same cutscene, Shulk and co. manage to get away from the blast in the next cutscene.

    Stealth-Based Games 
  • Metal Gear Solid:
    • The first game has two of these. There's one where you fight a group of soldiers in stealth mode aboard an elevator, and another where more soldiers simply leap onto an inclined elevator that Snake is using to leave. In either case, the restricted environment forces Snakes into combat — something normally discouraged in this game when dealing with regular mooks. Though, in the second one, at least, you can melee the mooks over the edge, though you won't get the items they drop.
    • Strangely, although there are plenty of elevators in MGS2, and at least one in MGS4, this trope is never used again.
    • The boss fight with the Four Horsemen (previously known as Ultrabox) in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake takes place in an elevator.
  • The final mission of Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow, set on a dam, has an elevator ride where you have to take out the Big Bad's Doomsday Devices.

    Survival Horror 
  • Dead Space:
    • Most of the elevators are fairly small and thus do not have much in the way of action. So when you get to a very large elevator in the mining area of the ship, its just natural that your first trip down involves necromorphs dropping down on you from all directions. The first elevator, although not directly an Elevator Action Sequence, certainly plays like one. You get into the elevator after running for your life from the first encountered necromorphs, the doors close, you're safe, and then the doors are torn open and a necromorph lunges, only to be decapitated by the doors forcing themselves closed.
    • Dead Space 2 continues the tradition. In one rare event you open the elevator to find an angry necromorph trapped inside. In a later sequence you ride a large elevator outside of the space station and have to deal with large necromorphs not only smashing through the windows to get at you but also your limited oxygen supply after the elevator depressurizes, if you take too long to kill them you'll run out of air.
    • Subverted in the Severed DLC for Dead Space 2. At one point, you come along a large elevator in the mining tunnels and begin a slow descent, when everything suddenly stops. It's quiet, your only light source are flashing red lights on the lift, and players are likely expecting an oncoming onslaught of Necromorphs. This atmosphere remains for a solid minute. Cue the brakes failing out of nowhere and the elevator falling at full speed towards the ground, an unholy squeal emanating from the grinding metal as you make your way down. Double Subverted when you end up fighting Necromorphs on the elevator anyways - you just have to do it hanging upside-down off the edge.
  • The Resident Evil series has had several elevator action sequences — as in Metal Gear Solid, it's used to force the player to fight in a game which otherwise does not encourage mindless combat.
    • Resident Evil 0 has Rebecca forced to take on a tyrant outisde a cargo elevator. Billy isn't there to help you, and no convenient, helicopter thrown grenade launchers either.
    • Resident Evil 2 has you fight William Birkin on a cargo elevator, while it's actually moving. The remake also has Leon fight Mr. X on a moving inclined elevator.
  • One of the most annoying enemies in Silent Hill: Homecoming is introduced when several of them ambush Alex in a hotel elevator.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • In UT2k4 Mod Alien Swarm, There are several large elevators. Every single one of them has a huge fight associated with it. The first is accompanied by awesome music and slow-motion for the entire fight. The "stand-alone" Source version of Alien Swarm has the same, with the visuals lifted directly from Metal Gear Solid.
  • Max Payne:
    • The last level of the first game has a variant; the first elevator you make use of has a glass panel in the roof, and if you look up it you'll notice that the security team have rigged the lift shaft with Claymore mines, which you have to set off with gunfire. (Must've been cheap or past their use-by date.)
    • There are a few other elevators in-game, including quite a long one a bit later in the same level, but they're a welcome few seconds of relative peace to reload and let the Vicodin kick in. Except for the one where the helicopter starts shooting at you, and you have to leap from that elevator to another one in order to escape.
  • The Hitman series plays with this: elevators are a perfect place for sneaky, quiet assassinations. You could also have shootouts in them, but not recommended if you want a good rating.
  • Resident Evil 4 had one elevator, near the end of the castle. You were ambushed by groups of monks from above, and the best way to deal with these tightly-bunched groups of enemies was via shotgun.
    • Resident Evil 5 has a huge spiraling elevator that involves two fights (one after going down and another when you are going back up).
    • Resident Evil 6 has a large circular space with two separate lifts moving on their own separate tracks. The four protagonists are split to a pair per lift and enemies both drop onto the lifts and snipe from a distance.
  • The final segment of Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion's escape sequence takes place in the Spinal Phase, which consists of a massive elevator leading out of the facility. While riding the elevator, you have to face off against a partially-sanitized Agent 3 before you can finally escape to the surface.


Video Example(s):


Streets of Rage 4 Elevator

A battle in Stage 9's elevator.

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Example of:

Main / ElevatorActionSequence

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