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Escape Sequence

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"The SA-X is mimicking you at full power. You can't face it. If you see the SA-X, just run. Don't think about fighting... [...] Stay away. If you see it, just run."
AI Commanding Officer, Metroid Fusion

A particular form of Gimmick Level in which the player is faced with an enemy they can't defeat, and must flee from them. Often this enemy will reappear from time to time, prompting another Escape Sequence. Frequently, especially if the enemy has made repeat appearances, they will appear as a boss toward the end of the game, in some situation where the player can now defeat them.

Compare the Advancing Boss of Doom, in which a Boss Battle begins with the player unable to fight the boss and having to flee, but after a certain amount of running, something will shift the balance of power, allowing the player to turn the tables and finish the job. Not to be confused with Collapsing Lair, which usually occurs at the end of games, and basically requires you to get out of the Very Definitely Final Dungeon alive after defeating the boss.

See also: Indy Escape, Advancing Wall of Doom.


  • The Dahaka in Prince of Persia: Warrior Within pursues the Prince until he reaches water, which the Dahaka cannot pass through (being made of sand). Notably, the Prince gains the ability to fight the Dahaka only in the good ending.
  • Happens a lot in the early chapters of Half-Life 2. In the first couple of chapters, Gordon has to flee through tenement buildings, across rooftops and over railway lines. Once he gains the crowbar and clubs a soldier to death for his 9mm, however, he can (mostly) stop running. Later, during the Route Kanal chapter, a Hunter-Chopper makes repeated appearances, forcing Gordon into sewers and similar to escape. Then follows an (amazing) airboat section in which dropships zoom overhead and you flee through the canals. After that, you encounter the Hunter-Chopper again, but are able to engage it in a Boss Battle with your Vort-enhanced pulse rifle.
    • Episode II also had the Hunter-Chopper chase you as you fled in the muscle car. Once you reached the resistance outpost you can put on a clinic hurling the choppers mines back at it.
  • Mirror's Edge made a whole game of the concept. With parkour!
  • Enter the Matrix did this with the Agents at early levels and with dozens of Smiths as the story went further.
  • Done very effectively in Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth.
  • Metroid Fusion does this with the SA-X. While the SA-X is generally a Hopeless Boss Fight, it turns out that your superiors want the SA-X alive, so they tell you to run away from it even when you've gotten strong enough to give a good fight. For your last mission, you have to destroy all the X on the space station by crashing it into SR-388, and the final obstacle on the way to the control room is the SA-X.
    • Of course, it's still invincible until the story calls for you to kill it, as the SA-X's last appearance prior to the fight is before you get the Plasma Beam, which is needed to damage it.
  • Metroid Dread heavily advertises this, with seven EMMI robots that are invulnerable to all of Samus's weapons hunting her down. Throughout the game, whenever Samus is in an "EMMI Zone", she must simply avoid and run away from the EMMI until she locates the temporary superweapon that will allow her to break their armor.
  • The first level of Another World ends in a 'flee from the boss' sequence.
  • In Silent Hill 2, Pyramid Head's first couple of appearances involve you (and later, Maria) running away from him.
  • Crash Bandicoot loves this, featuring at least one running-away level (whether from a rolling boulder or a dinosaur or a herd of stampeding jungle creatures), and usually more, in each of the first four games.
  • You run away from a troll in the PS1 version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
  • Given Sonic the Hedgehog's main ability, this naturally shows up in his games several times.
    • The first level of the Hero Story in Sonic Adventure 2 has Sonic running from a large truck piloted by G.U.N. near the end.
    • The first stage in Sonic Adventure, Emerald Coast had Sonic running away from a killer whale as it tears up the docks behind him. Most of Amy's levels involved her evading the evil, nearly invincible robot Zero.
    • Sonic and the Secret Rings has Sonic chased by three dinosaurs at the start of one world.
    • Lost Jungle in Sonic Heroes had a sequence during the last portion of level where Sonic and Shadow had to swing on vines to escape from a giant crocodile.
    • The entire final Stage of Sonic Colors, Terminal Velocity is this. Eggman's mind control ray is experiencing a critical failure, creating a Hyper-Go-On black hole, so Sonic, Tails, and the Wisps decide to hightail it out of there. The result? Sonic has to blaze through Act 1 while avoiding Eggbots and the unfinished nature of Eggman's Space Elevator, then face Eggman in a climactic duel, and then outrun the black hole for Act 2. He doesn't quite succeed in that last regard, but the Wisps save him, so it's all good.
    • Sonic Generations features the return of City Escape and the GUN truck, except that it Took a Level in Badass. Specifically, it now has jet engines, Mecha-Mooks that it can dump on you, and three giant saw blades. There are even a couple of points where it completely destroys houses in its attempt to kill Sonic.
  • Super Mario RPG has the chase to Marrymore Chapel, in which Mario is both chasing and being chased - the villain is in front of him, but the Mooks are behind him.
  • Super Paper Mario has Mimi. When she transforms at the start of Chapter 2-4, she has an invincible barrier, and you have to flee into a maze. If you stay in one room too long, she suddenly appears there, and "MIMIMIMI..." appears as a warning. Once you find Merlee, however, Mimi traps you in a bathroom. But Merlee casts some sort of spell to remove her invincibility, making her beatable, and an actual fight.
  • Super Mario Odyssey has a moment after the final boss where Mario captures Bowser and uses him to escape the moon caves, which are crumbling by smashing through rocks and Moon Rocks.
  • Happens in Baldur's Gate one when the main character dreams about Sarevok.
  • Resident Evil:
    • The eponymous Nemesis of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis practically turns the entire game into this. It can only follow the player so far (usually a room or two) and can be temporarily "killed" nearly every time to cut the chases short. Doing so isn't encouraged (except to get bonus items) thanks to ammo rationing, but still.
    • Resident Evil 4:
      • There's a giant statue modeled after Salazar that chases you, complete with Collapsing Lair and Press X to Not Die.
      • During the game's finale, Leon and Ashley have to escape quickly from the military island before it explodes. They flee with quickly driving a motorboat across a subterranean river.
    • Resident Evil 6 has a few in Jake's campaign. First is the main one which references Nemesis, and similarly isn't defeated until the very end. There's also a minor example involving a tank in the same campaign.
  • The giant hermit crab that seems to have been designed by Orks in Metal Slug.
  • The game of the movie for Dinosaur had a Dryptosaurus which one couldn't defeat, and had to trick off the cliff through a highly convoluted maneuver.
  • "Lair of the Beast" from Sly Cooper And The Thievius R Accoonus. At the halfway mark, a giant snake monster appears and chases you through the swamp, destroying the path behind you.
  • One occurs in World of Warcraft Wrath of the Lich King patch 3.3, it involves your 5man party plus one AI heroine (Jania Proudmoore for Alliance, Sylvanas for Horde) as you try to escape from the Lich King who keeps creating ice walls that your NPC ally has to destroy as he keeps sending undead minions at you. He can be damaged while advancing, but he has far too much health to be killed within the escape sequence. (Unless you used a bug to lead him in circles in the starting room instead of a planned course. In that case killing him "just" takes ages and he drops nothing.) It is not until the final encounter of the expansion's last raid that you finally fight him head-on.
    • There's also some solo quests where the Lich King appears, and he starts casting Wrath of the Lich King. Run.
  • It occurs during the 'Ruined Zoo' section of Super Smash Bros. Brawl's Subspace Emissary, where you run from the Pig King Statue.
  • There are a few levels in Beyond Good & Evil where Jade has to outrun the Alpha Sections with no chance of retaliation due to their vast combat superiority, especially that part where she infiltrates their HQ and gets away with a few dozens of Pearls.
  • Escape is an objective in many Fire Emblem chapters. It is most common in the 5th game, where the enemies give good reason to flee.
  • Soul Nomad & the World Eaters had an example of this near the beginning, if I understand the trope correctly. Only after having your ass handed to you and running away a few times do you get the power to actually kill one of the World Eaters. (Unless you've been through New Game Plus a few times...). The game also has the level that marks the first appearance of Thornedike. Any decently leveled party however is going to clear this one quite easy.
  • The Abandoned Mill level in Castle Crashers.
  • Advance Wars: Day Of Ruin has a mission where you have to get an AI controlled unit to the far left of the screen and escape.
  • A Mega Man Fangame, Mega Man Scramble, is built on this concept.
  • Near the end of the Rescue Arc of Skies of Arcadia, you have to flee from Lord Galcian.
  • The "Rambi Rumble" stage of Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, in which King Zing, the world's boss, chases you to the end of the level.
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns:
    • Crowded Cavern; even though you can't control your speed to outrun Mama Squeekly, you still have to dodge her attacks as she chases you to the end of the level.
    • Muncher Marathon has Donkey and Diddy escape from a rapidly-growing swarm of spiders. Touching one of them means instant death.
    • The end of Crumble Canyon, in which you have to outrun a giant flaming Tiki ball (which can kill you in one hit) while maneuvering through a series of obstacles.
  • Most all of the boss races of the Freeware Game Runman Race Around The World.
  • One of the doors in Baby Bowser's castle in Yoshi's Island features Tap Tap the Golden chasing you in an insanely annoying auto scrolling area.
  • A giant worm in the first Penumbra game acts as a sort of living Advancing Wall of Doom in one section, completely filling the passage behind you. You can't outrun it, but not far ahead there's a flimsy support pillar that lets you bring the ceiling down on its head.
  • In Dead Space you're required to run from a genetically enhanced necromorph. Though you are able to chop it up like most enemies in the game, this one regenerates to continue the chase.
  • In Breakdown, you come face to face with The Dragon, Solus a couple time prior to the actual boss battle. He is completely invincible in these sequences, and will block any punch you happen to throw. Your only choise is to run.
  • Stage 5-5 of Jumper Two has Ogmo being chased by GostBot with a relatively huge bouncing... blade? Roller? Boulder? thing. Both kill Ogmo on contact, but reaching the end results in GostBot kidnapping Ogmo.
  • Ifrit does this in Eblan and the Tower Of Babil in Final Fantasy IV: The After Years — random encounters have a chance of having Ifrit in them, and those that do you had better run the hell away from, or else.
  • Parasite Eve: After the Final Battle versus Ultimate Being.
    • The 3rd Birthday: Anytime the Reaper appears, except for the last time where the soldiers are bringing in The Berzerkers. The BGM is even an arrange of UB's theme.
  • Fatal Frame 2: When Sae's ghost appears after Mio drops her camera.
    • Heck, the Fatal Frame series in general does this with each Big Bad. Most of the game is spent periodically having to flee from them, since there's no way to fight them until the final battle.
  • A hilarious example in Alice: Madness Returns where you navigate Queensland while occasionally fleeing from the Executioner who was earlier mentioned to be invincible. Then you reach one point where you face it in a cutscene where the tables are turned. Cue the following Oh, Crap! moment and subsequent literal Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • There's a giant bear to run from in Kao the Kangaroo: Round 2, avoiding pits as you go.
  • Inverted in Gradius: The Interstellar Assault for the Game Boy. A boss runs away from you, all the while soaking up your shots until it stops to actually fight back.
  • Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb pits you against one of the main antagonists as he drives a giant drilling machine through the underground labyrinth that leads to the titular tomb. It being immune to damage, the only way to survive is to run from the machine (avoiding the falling sections of the floor) until you finally whip-swing over a chasm and let the machine fall in.
  • The final level of the Spider-Man game on PS1 has you running from Doc Ock infected with Carnage's symbiote through a repetitive set of tunnels. A useless "pressure" meter fills up on the right side of the screen; it serves no purpose as falling too far behind will end with you getting caught and needing to restart the level.
  • The iOS game Temple Run is just one big escape sequence. You have just stolen an idol and now have to run out of a temple to escape demon monkeys.
  • In the "Fortress of Kellar" expansion of HeroQuest (a board game based on Warhammer Fantasy), one "level" gives the bad guy player (like a Game Master, except that they're supposed to be trying to beat the heroes within bounds of the rules) permission to spawn mooks from the entrance every turn after the players get a bit of distance. Given that the only thing limiting the amount of mooks that will spawn is having enough figures, and killed figures become available again, there's no other option than to escape.
  • The NES Godzilla Creepypasta has the Big Bad, Red, chase the player down at the end of every chapter.
  • Stage 5 of Battletoads for the Game Boy had the player running on foot from Brain Damage. Stage 5 of Battlemaniacs had a Minecart Madness escape from an enemy with a buzzsaw similar to the Clinger Winger stage in the original Battletoads, though that counts more as Advancing Boss of Doom since you actually fight the Hypno Orb at the end.
  • Canabalt is a purely this trope, as your character runs from... something... by Roof Hopping until you screw up.
  • Any time you encounter the Ultimate Chimera in Mother 3. You're explicitly told when you learn about it that engaging it is a very bad idea, and should you ignore the warning, the game doesn't even bother giving you a chance to defend yourself.
  • Slender is nothing but this trope. The entirety of the game is spent running from the Slender Man while trying to find eight pieces of paper... and for each piece, he gets closer...
  • Subverted in The Witcher. There's one boss (a giant insect queen) who you can't kill in a direct confrontation. The solution? Run away from it and attack the cavern's support pillars to bring down the ceiling on it.
  • The Witch's House: There are few monsters in this puzzle-based game but they are all of this sort, as Viola has no way to fight them. The ending is the best example, where you must escape the physical form of the Witch. This involves running back through a significant section of the house, as well as avoiding obstacles that open up in front of you. The True Ending is unlocked by taking a diversion to pick up an item before making it out.
  • Psychonauts has a lengthy underwater segment where Raz can only flee the "Jaws" First-Person Perspective of a monstrous lungfish.
  • Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven has two of those right in the beginning of the game. The very first mission requires Tommy Angelo to drive away from Morello's henchmen and leave them behind, and that's under constant gunfire and in a slower car. The second part of the second mission sees unarmed Tommy running from two pistol-armed thugs through sidestreets to Salieri's bar.
  • Ecco the Dolphin:Defender of the Future had a level where the titular dolphin had to outswim an enormous electric eel.
  • Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War has a mission in which, after you and your squadron are framed for treason, you escape execution by stealing a group of BAE Systems Hawk training jets. Justified in that you could trash your pursuers if you wanted—let's be honest, you're the Demons of Razgriz—but you've been falsely accused and are only trying to escape and exonerate yourself, not commit fratricide.
  • Final Fantasy XII has the escape from Ba'Gamman and his crew in the Lhusu Mines. You CAN be overleveled enough to defeat his crew, but it's unlikely (as there's four of them, they hit hard and fast, and have enough HP to out-tank you) and gives no reward aside from an alternate cutscene. It's far easier to run for it.
  • Guild Wars has this pop up in several missions.
    • The Great Northern Wall ends with the party running away from an army of Charr. It's not difficult to outrun, with the only danger being a single spawn of mobs along the way, but the fact that a second group spawns from another spot as you approach your goal makes things more tense.
    • The final section of Ice Caves of Sorrow is a long winding path the party mush run ahead of a group of Mursaat which is too large to fight. the path is populated with several groups of hostile Iron Summit and White Mantle as well as siege weapons, making constant fighting a necessity.
    • The introductory quest for Eye of the North has a timed sequence where the party is pursued by a large number of Destroyers. The only way to escape before the timer ends is to not fight.
  • Jedi Academy actually has two, both optional (you have to complete four of five side missions between plot-advancing ones, and do all to level up your Force powers) one where you have to save prisoners from a rancor by drawing it off. You can technically kill the rancor, but it's a long battle with the constant threat of being instantly killed, and it just respawns instantly in the centre of the level. Then later another sprawling level where a Kaiju-sized invulnerable mutant rancor rampages after you while you desperately fight cultists until you can lure it into a trap and kill it.
  • In Undertale, on your second and third encounters with Undyne, she starts throwing spears at you and you have to run. Fleeing from her boss fight repeatedly until you reach the second room in Hotland is the only way to win the fight without killing her.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines has The Griffith Park werewolf, which functions as this trope. You're trapped in a small arena with it for three minutes and have to survive that long, and nothing you do to it will harm it.
  • Divinity: Original Sin has a brief sequence in the Luculla Mines, where the Conduit sicks her Death Knights on you. Since the Death Knights are literally indestructible at that point in the game (you only find means to kill them later in the plot), you have to disengage and outrun them until you can use the Flee command. Thankfully, this is quite easy to do, since this particular batch of Death Knights is unfinished and has about half the speed of the regular ones.
  • In Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, the first encounter with the Sahelanthropus features Snake trying to avoid it and rendezvous with an escape chopper where he'll have the fire power to stop it, all while carting Huey on his back.
  • Devil Survivor:
    • On Day 6, one stage allows you to escape the Yamanote loop lockdown instead of defeating the enemies. Doing so results in a Non Standard Game Over in which angels obliterate everyone within the lockdown perimiter and strips all of humanity of their free will.
    • One of the Day 7 routes has you escaping the lockdown as a mandatory objective, with similarly disastrous results in the game's worst ending, with demons taking over the world that turns out to be not much better than the lockdown you just escaped.
  • The prologue of Luigi's Mansion 3 ends with King Boo trying to trap Luigi in a picture frame, just as he did with Mario, Peach and the Toads. Since Luigi is defenseless at the moment, all you can do is run to the end of the hallway and escape via falling down a laundry chute. And don't let King Boo catch you, or you'll get a Non Standard Game Over where Luigi gets framed, spending his last moments screaming in terror.
  • Struggling has the protagonists Troy and Hector step out of an elevator only to attract the attention of a giant, hungry, guinea pig-like abomination. As they are Conjoined Twins and a lump of flesh with only two arms, they have to resort to running back into the elevator and slamming the door shut before they're devoured.
  • Ori and the Blind Forest in addition to the Rise to the Challenge sequences in the Ginso Tree and Forlorn Ruins, has two instances of fleeing from the Big Bad Kuro. The first is a Corridor Cubbyhole Run immediately following the Ruins, the second is while escaping from Mount Horu, which also incorporates a fiery Advancing Wall of Doom.
  • In Ori and the Will of the Wisps, the giant Sand Worm in Windtorn Ruins is the only creature in the game that is never fought directly, only fled from. At the end of the chase, it brings the ceiling down on top of itself. The Foul Presence also pursues Ori during the Wellspring escape, but the real threat is the Advancing Wall of Watery Doom, and it is later fought as a boss when it takes control of Kwolok. The Feeding Grounds have you evade Shriek in a Corridor Cubbyhole Run similar to the first game.
  • In Starcraft II Wings Of Liberty, the Secret Level involves first fighting your way through to a lab with Hybrid in People Jars, and then fleeing to the extraction point from one that wakes up. You have no hope of damaging it; at best, you can throw some special grenades to slow the monster down.
  • The second level of Dawn of War II: Retribution for all campaigns sees your heroes being chased by a Baneblade (a tank with no less than ten different weapons systems) that periodically plows its way through the scenery to attack you. It's defeated at the end by killing the targeting cogitators of several heavy turrets nearby, causing them to attack the tank.
  • A decent number of LEGO Adaptation Games feature a few level segments where the characters auto-run to escape a threat that can't be directly fought, whether it's a giant monster or a Zerg Rush of smaller monsters. These segments usually have a few collectables that are easily missable, and you can't try for them again without restarting the level (though more recent LEGO games allow the selection of individual level segments, including chase scenes, so you don't need to replay the ENTIRE level if you miss something).
  • In Anarcute, the level Marmo Street in Anarland consists of a mad dash to the goal while outrunning the unavoidable Brainwash Patrols. They don't have any particular invulnerability, but their sheer numbers against your mere three rioters makes it virtually impossible survive a fight without the cache of batteries at the end of the level.
  • This happens in every level of Pizza Tower after beating the Pillar John. It appears to just be an ordinary countdown, but if you let it run out, Pizza Face appears and chases the player down. Beating the last Pillar John after beating Pizzahead will trigger one that has you escape the entire tower, otherwise it's all coming down on you.


Video Example(s):


G.U.N. Military Truck

In "City Escape", G.U.N. sends a truck as large as both sides of the road to capture Sonic.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / EscapeSequence

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