Follow TV Tropes


Eternal Engine

Go To
Stop interfering with progress!

"what does this factory make? nobody knows!"

A vast factory complex or machine that can fill up a building, a city or even a whole planet. Its purpose may not be readily apparent, probably due to the sheer size of the thing. Pumping pistons act as elevators or crushers, conveyor belts cover half the floors, and you can expect something to try to squash you flat sooner or later. Needless to say, this would not be a fun place to work. The Eternal Engine may be the insides of the Forgotten Superweapon, or Polluted Wasteland for a technologically inclined Big Bad. In either case, you usually run into it as one of the final stages.

Enemies are usually Mooks, Mecha-Mooks, even more Mooks, sentry guns, and, probably more than any other level save Lethal Lava Land, the environment itself. Expect conveyor belts to end over Bottomless Pits, pipes leaking superheated steam, if not fire, exposed electrical conduits, and huge vats and/or nasty spills of fluorescent green chemicals and toxic waste. Also expect a hall of giant alternating pistons. Expect hectic, intense and sometimes electronic music to match the level theme.


Not surprisingly, Eternal Engine often fills in for, or is combined with, Lethal Lava Land. In which case, either the machine runs on Geothermal power, or it may have vast bodies and such of molten metal rather than lava. Expect Convection Schmonvection to play out in full force either way.

Named after a stage in Sonic Adventure 2 (which was actually in a giant space station if you want to get technical, but it sounds cooler, so be quiet). In games with space age settings, this level will likely take place on an Industrial World.

See also No OSHA Compliance, Nightmarish Factory. Also see Womb Level, the living version. If the player is responsible for the existence of the factory, see Factory-Building Game. You may also have been looking for Perpetual Motion Machine or Enormous Engine.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • The Steam Castle from Steamboy. Not only is it ridiculously complicated on the inside, with giant pistons and wheels, but also incredibly dangerous on the outside as it freezes whatever it flies over.
  • Blame takes place in a world where there is no non-artificial environment at all. It is revealed that the world is essentially one massive Dyson Sphere.
  • Clockwork Planet has the aptly named Clockwork Planet, which is actually Earth completely transformed and mechanized with gears. The planet's surface is nothing but gears that are constantly turning, and because of this, the human civilizations built on top of those gears are isolated from each other like islands, with the only efficient way to travel between them being by aircraft. The planet must be kept maintained at all times by master clocksmiths since those gears control all of its functions, ranging from weather to even gravity. A single system malfunction or failure can result in disasters threatening the lives of millions, if not the entire population of the planet outright.

    Comic Books 
  • After Superman comes back to life during Reign of the Supermen, he joins Steel and Superboy in assaulting Engine City, a gigantic engine built over the ruins of Coast City by Mongul and the Cyborg Superman.
  • During the JLA's "World War Three" story arc, Superman invades the eternal engine an intergalactic threat named Maggedon has sent to Earth.
  • War World, former base of the Sinestro Corps.

  • Perhaps the Ur-Example is the one below the city in Metropolis.
  • The ancient underground Krell machinery, which was a cube roughly 20 miles by 20 miles by 20 miles, in the sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet. A single machine with a volume of 8,000 cubic miles, and full of fusion reactors. The amount of energy output is enough to power all of a (long dead) civilization's needs, or blow the planet to smithereens if set to overload because humankind is not ready.
  • Star Wars:
  • In the 1997 version of The Borrowers, a milk-bottling factory is this from the Borrowers' perspective.
  • V'Ger in Star Trek: The Motion Picture is a machine so vast it could (as Uhura and McCoy say) "hold a crew of tens of thousands...Or a crew of 1,000 that are ten miles tall," and the 'Enterprise' spends a large portion of the film inside it. When viewing V-Ger's holographic memory, Spock sees a "machine planet' which he speculates may be V'Ger's homeworld.

  • In Andre Norton's Uncharted Stars, the Forerunner factory world to which the star map bowl led, which was the source of the zero stones.
  • The Death Gate Cycle featured a floating island-machine, the Kicksey-Winsey. This machine is so vast and complex that in the centuries after its designers had abandoned it, the enslaved dwarves left to run it have turned their acts of maintenance and assembly into a religion; they no longer understand why the machine does anything, but have managed to keep it operational.
  • The Young Jedi Knights series and some other Expanded Universe books include the rocky planet Mechis III. The entire planet is covered with droid factory complexes and during the reign of the Empire it was even owned by a single company, Arakyd Industries. Less than 100 biological employees live on the planet, the rest of the population is millions of droid workers. And yes, Mechis III has plenty of volcanic activity, so it has elements of Lethal Lava Land as well.
  • In Roger Zelazny's Jack of Shadows, there is a Machine at the Heart of the World (the purpose of which is to stop the Earth from rotating).
  • In Timothy Zahn's Spinneret humans stumble, by sheer chance, on a huge alien machine hidden inside a mountain, which has been dormant but active for millennia. It turns out to be a gigantic extruder, which absorbs any metal in and on the planet itself to make super-sticky string, originally destined to shield a whole solar system from detection. It houses enormous amounts of machinery, not to mention an artificial environment for the original workers and at least one fully working spaceship.
  • In The Ship Who Won, the "magic" discovered on an alien world is powered by an enormous weather-control system inside the planet, which the mages are abusing to cast "spells".
  • Ember in The City of Ember is not all engine, but between the generator and the pipeworks a lot of it is made up of constantly running machinery.
  • The eponymous device from The Tar-Aiym Krang (from Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth universe) is outwardly a monolithic building three kilometers high...which actually extends deep into the interior of the planet on which it's located, and includes certain layers of the planet's atmosphere. It's also 500,000 years old, and still functional.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Babylon 5, the Great Machine of Epsilon III was an homage to Forbidden Planet. It is seen in the episodes "A Voice in the Wilderness", "The Long, Twilight Struggle", "Voices of Authority" and "War Without End". Homage in the sense of a 1990's remake complete with giant vertical shaft with elevator globes.
  • The Doctor Who 16th season story The Pirate Planet, which was also Douglas Adams' debut as a writer for the series, features a hollow planet that crushes other planets to exploitatively harvest their raw materials to move their entire world from place to place in the universe. The Doctor must undertake some very risky maneuvers in order to shut it down.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Clockwork Nirvana of Mechanus is an entire plane of existence made up entirely of cogs and axles the size of towns, cities, continents and worlds, endlessly spinning and grinding to unguessable purposes. Naturally, Clockwork Creatures live there.
    • Planescape: On a much smaller scale, the Foundry is a huge factory in the Lower Ward of Sigil that was the headquarters of the Godsmen. Unlike most examples of this trope, it had a known and useful purpose (it made all metal goods needed in the city except weapons) but it could still be used in any adventure that called for an Eternal Engine.
  • Exalted:
    • Autochthonia is an entire pocket dimension of this, consisting of masses of tubing, cables, gears, conduits and continent-sized machine blocks working towards purposes its inhabitants can barely even guess at. It's also a god. And it's winding down.
    • There's also the lower levels of the Imperial Manse, a superweapon capable of annihilating small countries with a shot. It was built by Autochthon (the aforementioned god, although he's technically a Primordial, which is a step up), who can't be harmed by machines, so he didn't really think to put up much in the way of safety around the giant gears, pistons, plasma jets etc.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Many of the Imperium's typical "manufactora".
      • Calling one a "small city" is a severe understatement for some of the bigger ones. Then you have the Forge Worlds, which are entire planets covered with factories and industrial facilities.
      • Forge Worlds tend to have employment force roughly the same as population of a small hive world. Then there are Industrial Worlds which are roughly the same, but most of the labor is automated.
    • Necron tomb complexes often carry this theme, though Necron technology bears little resemblance to human tech, or anybody else's for that matter. Case in point being the World Engine.
  • Magic: The Gathering: Mirrodin is an entire plane made out of metal in which most of its inhabitants have metal as a part of their bodies. Unfortunately, this made the plane a prime candidate to be a new base for operations for the cyborg Pyhrexians, leading them to remake the world into New Phyrexia.

    Video Games 
  • Bug Fables: The Honey Factory mixes this theme with Hornet Hole. The area is normally the bees' main production center, but a mechanical malfunction sends its defensive procedures into overdrive and traps the player party, two other adventurer groups and the factory's staff inside by locking the factory down. The players need to rescue other characters and reopen the factory while navigating a complex system of moving platforms that become electrified as part of the defense system and dodging the swarms of bee-shaped robots and mechanical turrets that defend the complex.
  • Bounty Hunter is a game set in the Star Wars Legends universe during the build-up to Attack of the Clones, starring legendary bounty hunter Jango Fett before he became a legend and portraying his rise to prominence. During the course of the game's story, Jango must pursue an important bounty through an industrial district of Coruscant, on the trail of the Bando Gora and their death stick factory which is hidden amongst dizzyingly-massive meatpacking plants resulting in a Slaughterhouse Fight at one point.
  • Dwarf Fortress: In the Let's Play Battlefailed, the reactor system is called the "Eternity Engine". It literally is, being a perpetual motion machine.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Every game has at least one of these, sometimes more than one:
  • Final Fantasy: The series frequently displays this trope, with quite a few of its games being set in a Steampunk environment.
    • Final Fantasy IV: The part when the party enters the Giant of Babil. As a humongousMecha, the setpieces inside are full of moving mechanical parts.
    • Final Fantasy V has the oddly named underground ruins of "Catapult" beneath Crescent Island where the crew finds the airship. Though it's inhabitants are long-since gone and the lower levels have become home to monsters, the gang along with Cid and Mid turn the upper levels into a headquarters and maintenance bay for their ships.
    • Final Fantasy VI has the Magitek Research Facility in Vector. Conveyer belts, a trash dump, and big glass tubes of chemicals with Espers inside, being drained of their magical energy courtesy of not-so-mad scientist Cid. All set to the track 'Devil's Lab', which can only be described as industrial rock with piston percussion, growling electric bass and organ, and strings. Kefka's Tower also has shades of Eternal Engine in it.
    • Final Fantasy VII: The Mako Reactors function as this setting, with Nibelhelm's Mako Reactor having lots of plot-important fluorescent green chemicals. Two reactors in the opening of the game and a third underwater in the final third are dungeons.
    • Final Fantasy VIII has the Lunatic Pandora, which is mixed with crystal.
    • Final Fantasy XIV is very fond of this type of setting, using it often in dungeons and raids, including the Aetherochemical Research Facility, the Fractal Continuum, and the Alexander raid series (which combines this with Battleship Raid and Womb Level, since the raid takes place inside Alexander).
  • Horizon Zero Dawn: Cauldron facilities are essentially this; vast underground complexes designed to process raw materials to churn out robots to maintain the terraforming process. By the time of the events of the game, they've been running for around a thousand years.
  • Commander Keen: The second installment is set entirely within the Vorticon Mothership, while the fifth installment is set entirely within the titular Armageddon Machine. Both settings feature hazards like beam shooters, fire pistons and hot tiles, as well as evil machines (cannons in the second game, generators in the fifth) that have to be disabled so the titular character succeeds on his mission. Some levels from the third and sixth episodes are mechanical as well, as they're respectively the bases of operations for the Vorticons and the Bloogs.
  • Banjo-Kazooie: Rusty Bucket Bay, Grunty Industries, Nutty Acres and Logbox 720. The former two levels rely on pollution-based hazards that can harm the main characters upon contact, as well as mechanical enemies like living bolts and oil tanks, and also have mechanical bosses (Boss Boom Box and Weldar, respectively). Nutty Acres is a mechanical approach to the Green Hill Zone setting, where several of the seemingly-organic features present are actually man-made. Lastly, Logbox 720 is a futuristic reimagining of the interior of the Xbox 360.
  • BioShock features Hephaestus, described by the soundtrack as "the Engine City." It's an enormous power plant that funnels geothermal energy (and what looks like magma) through colossal engines to power all of the underwater city of Rapture. However, it's not especially "eternal," as, like all the rest of Rapture, it's in the process of falling apart, and one of the missions involves strapping an EMP bomb onto one of the engines.
  • Lighthouse: The Dark Being has the Volcano Lair of the titular Dark Being. It has a fully functioning mining facility and a massive geothermal steam system, though the sprawling maze of tracks inside the place is questionable. It's also polluting the surrounding environment, which is partly why you're sent there in the first place. If you've gathered enough items, you can also blow it all up with a Time Bomb.
  • Castlevania: The Clock Tower in most games. Castlevania: Bloodlines has a relatively modern factory level. Not too surprising, since the game takes place across Europe during World War I.
  • Crash Bandicoot: Many games have these types of stages, typically as either the last level or close to it.
    • Crash Bandicoot (1996): The third quarter of the game consists mostly of this (levels such as Heavy Machinery, Cortex Power and Generator Room), with Crash roaming through Cortex's enormous power plant which, on the surface, doesn't seem to serve much of a purpose other than to dump tons and tons of radioactive sludge into the nearby oceans.
    • Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back: The Piston It Away, Rock It, Pack Attack and Spaced Out levels, which take place aboard the Cortex Vortex. In the second and third mentioned levels, you're navigating through gravity-free areas with a space suit. In the first and fourth, you're venturing across an entirely mechanic setting populated by robots, pistons, shrink rays, and lab assistants, among other hazards.
    • Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped has a lot less of this; the only clear examples are the arenas the player fights N. Tropy and Neo Cortex in, and the two "future" stages (which overlap with Tomorrowland).
    • Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex: Every fifth level, often combining it with the element utilized by the warp room's boss fight.
    • Crash Twinsanity: The Iceberg Lab levels, combined with Slippy-Slidey Ice World and in the last one Gangplank Galleon. Also the final stage, Ant Agony, and some other parts of Twinsanity Island.
  • Epic Mickey: The Gremlin Village and the It's a Small World ride are filled with gears, steam-leaking pipes, and generic steampunk elements. Both cases are justified, since the Gremlins are all mechanics and most, if not all of the rides in the Cartoon Wasteland probably use outdated technology. (Except for Tomorrowland, of course.)
  • Donkey Kong:
  • Ecco the Dolphin features Welcome to the Machine, a giant alien meat grinder and the Scrappy Level to end all Scrappy Levels. It makes a slightly less insane return in the sequel Tides of Time. Defender of the Future has about a quarter of the game be one of these due to the Man's Nightmare levels, which has you following the process of mining rocks for crystals to the end result down the factory line, over the span of multiple, multiple levels. Not half as annoying as it sounds because the place is designed so well.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, the extinct Dwemer created all manner of these in their complex underground cities. Justified, as they were known to bend the laws of nature to make their creations last, powered their cities with magical enchantments and geothermal energy, and created centurion Mecha-Mooks to guard and repair their cities. The Dwemer themselves disappeared thousands of years ago, apparently as the result of tampering with the heart of a dead god. Many of these still-working "engines" can be seen in Morrowind and Skyrim where Dwemer ruins are plentiful.
  • Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard and its remake The Fafnir Knight have the fifth stratum, Heavenly Keep. It's a highly advanced building run by the Overlord (the game's Big Bad), and has features like conveyor belts, food dispensers and (in the remake) remote bombs that are harmful to the explorers but can be lured into F.O.E. to kill them. What makes this dungeon stand out, besides its Schizo Tech nature, is that all other strata in the game are The Lost Woods in different seasons.
  • F-Zero from GX onwards features Lightning, a heavily polluted industrial complex just outside Mute City. It is so polluted, in fact, that the sky is perpetually blacked out with a blanket of thunderclouds that also double as flashing lights that mess with the player's visuals.
  • Genshin Impact: During the course of Childe's Story Quest, the Traveler and Paimon end up accompanying Childe as they delve into an old Kaenri'ahn factory Domain where Ruin Guards were made and stockpiled, while taking Childe's little brother Teucer on a tour of Liyue. According to Childe, the Ruin Guard factory has been more recently used by the Fatui as a lab, albeit under the auspices of a Harbinger named Dottore. Parts of the assembly line are evidently still active, and the Ruin Guards are still highly lethal. The Traveler and Childe must race to catch up to Teucer once he excitedly runs off, before he gets hurt by one of the activated Ruin Guards or the Domain's Malevolent Architecture.
  • Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine has a kind of ancient-stones version on several levels.
  • Jet Force Gemini has the three cargo ships that are stormed respectively by the three main characters: S.S. Anubis (Juno, though Vela tried to take control over it until she was kidnapped), Sekhmet (Vela, this time succesfully) and Spawnship (Lupus). These serve as the dungeon levels of the game. There's also the Spacestation, a wrecked vessel that has been stranded in outer space for a long time, but it's only accessible during the latter half of the game and plays more like a Mini-Dungeon.
  • Kirby:
    • Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards features one as the fourth level in the game's resident Slippy-Slidey Ice World, complete with giant machines trying to crush you, robots, rooms full of molten lava, and inexplicable giant animals floating in tanks of water, which might be bizarre toys if the Christmas theme of the earlier levels is any indication. Earth apparently fell into a nuclear winter... during winter.
    • Kirby's Return to Dream Land: The penultimate world, Egg Engines, which looks positively Robotnikian.
    • Kirby: Planet Robobot: Most of the stages are industrialized, which given the game's theme is something to expect.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: The Great Bay Temple combines this with Down the Drain. It's a highly advanced cistern whose machinery works with the mechanical energy provided by the Great Bay's water. Link has to activate several color-coded engines to bring water onto certain parts, allowing him to reach places that wouldn't be accessible otherwise.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword combines this with Shifting Sand Land and Tomorrowland with the Lanaryu Mining Facility. In the present time, the whole place fell into disuse since several years ago and is filled with sand pools; but when a Timeshift Stone is active, anything within its domain's radius will come back to an active state, including advanced gizmos like electric barriers, conveyor belts, and wind-operated platforms.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild uses this theme for all four of the main dungeons, what with you traversing the innards of one Humongous Mecha after another. You have to use the map to manipulate different components of the Divine Beasts to solve some of the puzzles, ranging from simply rendering new areas accessible to activating titanic waterwheels or completing giant electrical circuits. This also extends to the Final Trial dungeon added by the Champions' Ballad DLC.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Bros. 2: The Tower levels are reimagined as factory-like warehouses in the All-Stars and Advance remakes of the game (they're just traditional castle-like towers in the original version, likely due to graphical limitations).
    • Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins: Mario Zone is a large, mechanical statue modeled after its homeland's former ruler (Mario). Since Wario took over the land, this zone has been taken by the Three Little Pigheads, and Mario must reach and defeat them after venturing through various mechanical traps and hazards.
    • Super Mario 64 has Tick-Tock Clock, set within the interior of a large mechanical clock. Mario has to tackle gizmos and obstacles like conveyor belts, rotating cogwheels, cubed setpieces that move periodically, and a minute hand that can lead him to one of the stars.
    • Super Mario Galaxy has Battlerock Galaxy, Buoy Base Galaxy (a bonus level) and Dreadnought Galaxy, particularly in the 2-D sections. In them, Mario has to avoid hazards like laser barriers, electrified beams of light, multiple active cannons and enemies like Bob-Ombs, Sentry Beams and Tops. They double as Remilitarized Zone levels.
    • Super Mario Galaxy 2 has Chompworks Galaxy, a foundry run by Chomps and Gearmos. Many of the puzzles revolve around dealing with Chomps in different ways, while also bringing back the Spring Mushroom in the second star mission.
    • Super Mario 3D Land has Level 7-3 and Special Level 7-4 which are both mechanical levels set inside a giant clock. Special Level 4-1 takes place here as well, but it focuses entirely on fighting enemies while a large platform transports Mario and Luigi to the exit area.
    • Super Mario Odyssey: There are plenty of machines to be found in the Wooded Kingdom, as well as in the energy plant of Metro Kingdom. In both worlds, Mario can find and possess a tank enemy known as Sherm, which is capable of shooting projectiles to attack other enemies and destroy certain walls, and in the latter level this is used to defeat the boss Mechawiggler to restore peace in New Donk City.
    • Super Mario RPG has Smithy Factory from the original game as one of these types of areas, and it's also an Ominous Floating Castle. The X-Naut Fortress in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door also has aspects of this.
    • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, there is a train station that seems to be abandoned and has elements of this. Some parts of the Palace of Shadow are this as well.
    • Mario Party:
      • Mario Party: Luigi's Engine Room. Lampshaded, as the announcer says "This is the Engine Room, but what kind of Engine Room is it? I have absolutely no idea!"; the mystery of what the machinery is exactly powering up isn't solved until someone becomes the Super Star (it turns out that the engine is powering a flying machine of some kind).
      • Mario Party 9 has the second board, Bob-Omb Factory. The characters drive through the specific areas of the facility, and as they do so they must deal with Bob-Ombs that deduct the number of mini-stars from the character currently in charge. There are conveyor belts that can change the current path, making navigation more difficult. The boss is King Bob-Omb.
  • Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon: The Old Clockworks is like this, except that it's (mostly) shut down.
  • Mario Kart DS has a course based on Tick Tock Clock from Super Mario 64, and makes a return in Mario Kart 8. True to its Clockworks Area setting, it features all sorts of gizmos and mechanical setpieces that, depending on the case, can be either an ally or a hindrance to the drivers.
  • Mario Kart Wii: Toad's Factory, a race course from Mushroom Cup, features some elements of this trope, being a factory with crushing machines, conveyor belts, a steam room, and bulldozers that move back and forth periodically across a mud path at the end of the course.
  • This is the main theme of Wario Land 4's Ruby Passage. All of the levels in this set of levels have a mechanical theme to them: The Curious Factory is an industrial factory with many compressors, the Toxic Landfill is a garbage dump exposing the dark side of industrial progress, 40 Below Frisge takes place in a giant walk-in freezer storage area, and Pinball Zone is a giant pinball machine riddled with mechanical traps.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man (Classic) examples: Metal Man's level in Mega Man 2, Spark Man's level from Mega Man 3, Dust Man's level from 4, Mercury's level from V for the Game Boy, Junk Man's level from 7, Grenade Man's level from Mega Man 8, Plug Man's level from 9. All of them justified by Wily's Mad Scientist nature.
    • Mega Man X has Flame Mammoth's factory. With inconveniently placed conveyor belts that crush rubbish for no particular reason. Mega Man X6 also has Metal Shark Player's stage as one of these.
    • Mega Man Zero usually fit 2 or sometimes even 3 into each game.
    • In Mega Man ZX, the entire world itself is cybernetic to an extent.
  • Metroid:
    • The entire setting of Metroid Fusion is a Biologic Space Laboratories research station, a huge space station that simulates a variety of natural environments, thus most of the levels have a few Eternal Engine aspects to them. This also applies to the Bottle Ship in Metroid: Other M.
    • Happens frequently in the Metroid Prime Trilogy games, to varying degrees. Magmoor Caverns in the first falls into the "combined with Lethal Lava Land" variety, and the Phazon Mines have their fair share of machinery obstacles. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes features the technologically-themed Sanctuary Fortress, and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption has the Steampunk-inspired region Skytown on the planet Elysia (complete with enemies with names like "Tinbots", "Steambots", and "Steam Lords"), and the Pirate Homeworld (a planet shrouded in acid rain, and the biggest base of operations of the Space Pirates). Metroid Prime: Hunters has Vesper Defense Outpost, Celestial Archives, and a section in Alinos with Samus going via morph ball into a boiler and dodge its eternal workings while trying to find an artifact.
    • In contrast to the mostly stony, low-tech ruins on other Chozo worlds, the ZDR colony from Metroid Dread has many factories and other mechanical structures. This is especially true for Dairon, which is a biological research site that is entirely artificial in design and primarily features robotic enemies.
  • Nicktoons Unite!: The EvilToyCo. Factory in Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots is an gigantic factory churning out legions and legions of evil Living Toys. You effectively spend nearly all of the game in it.
  • Oddworld:
    • Sekto's Dam in Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath is basically what you would get if you mixed a dam, bottling plant, and DEATH. It's one of the few areas with Bottomless Pits in the game. Sekto keeps two large reactor type objects that he apparently uses as weapons right next to his desk, which like most equipment in an Eternal Engine, will explode if you shoot it enough. Apparently he either really wants to be a Load-Bearing Boss, or he doesn't care about his own safety.
    • There's Rupture Farms 1029 (a meat packing factory) from Abe's Oddysee, Necrum Mining Company (a series of mining tunnels), Fee Co. Depot. (a mass transit hub), Slig Barracks (a military base and training grounds, the headquarters itself count as this trope), Bonewerkz (a bone processing factory), and Soulstorm Brewery (a drink bottling facility and torture facilty) from ''Abe's Exoddus", all of which are impractically huge for their stated functions.
    • Munch's Oddysee tones down the sheer scale of the facilities, but Vykkers' Labs (a combination R&D laboratory, security installation, and factory) housed in a Flying Saucer /Cool Airship hybrid certainly counts as this trope.
  • Portal: The behind-the-scenes sections the Aperture Science Enrichment Center, excepting the (scarce by comparison) office areas. Portal 2 goes further, where apparently the entire facility's operations is to churn out products for testing against other products. While there are facilities to manufacture products (indeed Wheatley apparently was able to design and mass produce his own robots) there seems to be no way of shipping them, only to continue sending them back into tests. GLaDOS and Wheatley also seem to have little else other than to continue testing for their entire lives.
  • Prey (2006): Most of the game takes place in a planet-sized Eternal Engine. The aliens live in a giant artificial sphere in which every room, corridor and passage is strewn with wires, pipes and machinery of all sorts (not always inoffensive). Of course, since the sphere also has a biological component, parts of it also take place in a direct biological counterpart to an Eternal Engine, with loose pools of digestive juice, sphincter doorways, bleeding walls, vomiting sphincters, Body Horror Mix-and-Match Critter-weapons, Mook Maker sphincters, and that sort of fun stuff.
  • Quake II: The factory level is a large complex in which human and mechanical parts are cut'n'pasted together (with no anesthetic...) to form Strogg soldiers. The machinery has more psychological effects and less gameplay consequences than most Eternal Engine environments, but the player is required to avoid a giant crusher or two and step on a few conveyor belts. Activating the human-mulching machines is optional.
  • Quake IV lets you go through a similar factory, with a twist: you are the one strapped to a platform and being Stroggified.
  • Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc features a level called Hoodlum Headquarters, an elaborate factory base full of lava.
  • Rayman Origins features one of these complete with molten metal.
  • Ristar: The aptly named Planet Automaton is an entire planet made out of machines and populated by robots.
  • Knights of the Old Republic: The Star Forge, the final level, is an ancient, giant, evil Force-powered factory that draws its power from the star it hovers above.
  • Sparkster: The image at the top is of the Steel Works level, although it's far from the only Eternal Engine level in that series; at least half of the levels in that series could be considered variations on the concept.
  • Tales of Symphonia has one, the Welgaia escape route, within the Tower Of Salvation. It has the slippery aspect of a Slippy-Slidey Ice World, due to it being in space, and thusly having zero-g sections.
  • Tales of Vesperia has Ghasfarost, the Tower of Gears.
  • Tomb Raider has loads. Natla's Mines, Offshore Rig, Fool's Gold, Lud's Gate, Shakespeare Cliffs and Kazakhstan's Project Karbonek.
  • World of Warcraft: The Gnome capital city-turned-dungeon, Gnomeregan, is a giant Steampunk factory city.
    • The same game also features the interdimensional spaceship(s) of Tempest Keep (including the Exodar, which serves as the Draenei races' home area), although the hazards normally inherent to Eternal Engines do not show up here, limiting the use of the design to be mostly thematic in purpose.
    • Various bits and bobs of Titan technology can be found throughout Northrend. Many of them seem to be gigantic engines of some kind, though very few of them are working.
    • The ruins of Uldum are less about gears and more about beam emitters, computers and robots made out of stone.
  • An Untitled Story: The FireCage is an abandoned but still partly operational underground factory or power plant of some kind. The pools of molten metal or rock found here and there give it elements of Lethal Lava Land.
  • Jazz Jack Rabbit: The planets Tubelectric, Letni, Orbitus, Technoir, Dreempipes, Industrius, Deckstar, and the Megairbase and the Twin Battleships. Also the abandoned lab levels in Jazz Jackrabbit 2.
  • Shadow Complex has an area like this. Justified in that the purpose of the factory is explicitly explained as building the mechs and weapons.
  • Dungeon Siege and its expansion Legends of Aranna both feature these, both populated by Goblins, themselves mechanical creatures. The former is the goblin's home, and the latter is the great clock you've been heading for the entire game.
  • Blue Dragon: There are a couple massive ones, and at the end of the game you find out the entire planet is one. The term "Eternal Engine" itself is used to refer to the Ancient machine's power sources.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Planet Quartu from Ratchet & Clank (2002) and the Great Clock from Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time. Both have similar origins.
  • Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil features the factory levels in Volk, constantly churning out bombs, planes, and, apparently, soldiers for Volk's neverending civil war. The Maze of Memories level may qualify as well, though the 'machinery' all runs in the background, and doesn't seem to affect gameplay at all.
  • Pokémon has quite a few.
    • The Kanto and Johto games have the Kanto Power Plant, a large electrical plant crawling with Electric- and Steel-type Pokèmon and which serves as a lair for the legendary electrogenic bird Zapdos.
    • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire feature New Mauville, whose engine problems can be a minor mid/late-game plot element (Wattson asking the player character to check it out is what gets them in there).
  • Terminal Velocity (1995) has the Moon Dagger in episode 1 (essentially a huge spaceship), and the massive supercomputer planet which makes up the last two levels of episode 3.
  • Phantasy Star Zero: The entirety of the Arca Plant levels. Mechanical enemies, machinery in the background that becomes larger and more complex, and a giant robot at the end who more than counts as a That One Boss to a degree that the final boss and bonus boss seem like child's play in comparison.
  • Transformers: War for Cybertron: The planet Cybertron is worth noting, since the entire game is set inside, outside, and on top of a massive eternal engine. It even features a level inside another character who is himself an eternal engine.
  • Jumper: Sector 6 of Jumper Two takes place in The Boss' factory of OgmoBots. Ogmo can, and will, interfere with production while finding the way out. The Boss even tries to make the place as dangerous as possible for Ogmo.
  • Turok: The Primagen's Lightship and the Oblivion Warp Portals from Turok 2 would both count. However, the Portals are more true to the aesthetics of the trope, as each one contains a healthy dose of grim, industrial architecture complete with pumping pistons, steam valves, chains dangling ominously from the ceiling, pits of magma and all the other goodies. The Campaigner's Fortress from the first game, which is partially accessed towards the end of the seventh level and makes up almost all of the final level, also counts.
  • Aquaria: The Sun Temple is a clockwork Eternal Engine; you can even pilfer the key and use it to decorate your cave (which inexplicably has chambers constructed in the style of every locale you visit, including the Sun Temple). In spite of having supposedly been abandoned for quite some time, it's still running and shows no signs of decay; possibly the clockwork sea life lurking around are automated maintenance staff, keeping one another wound as well as making sure the temple stays in working order, after their masters are long dead.
  • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors had a recreation of the ship Gigantic/Brittanic's engine. Of course, it's only as imposing as the Real Life one is.
  • Shadows of the Empire: Xizor's Palace, complete with giant gears that Dash must navigate.
  • Obsidian: In the "Metal" segment of the Spider Realm, a factory involves freshly created robots mining a piece of ore, throwing it onto the conveyor belt to make more robots, and then jumping off a cliff, presumably to their deaths. For good measure, when you first enter this level, the process stops, and your goal is to start it again. At least this example has an excuse of being based in a dream world.
  • Lunar: The Silver Star has the Grindery, which you later explore in Lunar: Eternal Blue as "Taben's Peak".
  • Breath of Fire has Obelisk (Breath of Fire I), Highfort (Breath of Fire II), and the remains of Caer Xhan and Station Myria (Breath of Fire III).
  • American McGee's Alice: The Mad Hatter's Realm is a massive, floating structure of Clock Punk machinery that mostly seems to be devoted to making Body Horror and tea.
  • Legend of Kalevala has an underground factory area underneath the first area. It's full of Floating Platforms, and it's the first place where you'll find Lava Pits. This area is one of the tip-offs to the protagonist that the former inhabitants of Kalevala were a very intelligent civilization.
  • The Baten Kaitos games have the city of Mintaka, which is built out of pipes that are constantly emitting steam of some sort. Origins refers to it as 'machina' and discusses the ethics it presents. Origins also has Tarazed, which is a man-made airship the size of a continent.
  • Journey to Silius: Stages 4 and 5, which include crushing pistons, falling crates, moving Spikes of Doom, pits of molten metal, and conveyor belts. And the latter is an auto scroller for some reason.
  • Resonance of Fate has Basel, which is not only an Eternal Engine (of gears!), but is also the entire Overworld Not to Scale in which where the game takes place, and is apparently the last bastion of human civilization. Not so eternally however, it's at its last legs by the game's start.
  • BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm: Her World, the last dungeon, overlooks the vast network of machines building Arianna's new reality.
  • Battlezone II Combat Commander: The planet "Facility", in the mod Forgotten Enemies. The planet is covered almost entirely in machinery, with huge cranes, fuel tanks, and heat sinks dotting the surface. The atmosphere is tainted green, and the only exposed land is brown, lifeless rock.
  • Super Mario Fusion Revival: World 6-F1 (RGB Factory) is a fortress level taking place in a high-tech factory with three distinct areas: a red area (lava and fire), a green area (overrun with plant life), and a blue area (a swimming area). This is a key hunt level with a central hub that leads to a boss fight with Dobkeratops of R-Type fame.
  • cat planet: One area is an industrial sector which intends to only kill its visitors as far as anyone is concerned.
  • Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus: A couple of levels in Sir Raleigh's fortress take place in the engine rooms, complete with enormous cogs and gears, fiery furnaces, and electrically charged fan-blades.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures games:
    • Buster's Hidden Treasure has a factory as its final world, complete with various robot enemies, spikes, electric reactors, a lava-filled floor in the third act, and various spinning gears, wrecking balls, and platforms Buster must maneuver across to get past them.
    • The third stage of Tiny Toon Adventures 2: Montana's Movie Madness is entitled "Future Flick", and takes place in a movie of a futuristic utopia. Enemies include robots resembling Roderick Rat, and midway through the stage is a Nintendo Hard hovercar driving sequence. The boss of the stage is a robot that resembles Montana Max.
    • The second act of the fourth and final world of Scary Dreams/Buster's Bad Dream takes place on the elevator to Montana Max's factory, complete with an Elevator Action Sequence. The third act takes place in the basement, and the final boss is a giant tank shaped like Monty's head.
  • Looney Tunes games:
    • Taz-Mania (Sega) has a robot factory as its second world. Various hazards include spinning blades, furnaces, hammers, laser cannons, tunnels that shock you which you have to find the right switch to temporarily turn them off with, and decoy switches that shock you when you pull them.
    • In Bugs Bunny: Rabbit Rampage, Level [really long math formula] takes place in an ACME factory. Here, Bugs has to deal with robot enemies, smashing mallets, and Wile E. Coyote, who serves as the end-of-level boss.
  • Meat Boy features the Salt Factory, which features buzz saw launcher, salt and even rocket launcher.
  • Spiral Knights: Many areas, particularly the Ironclaw Munitions Factory. Given the constructed nature and the ever-shifting mechanized innards of Cradle, the whole planet is arguably an Eternal Engine.
  • Batman: Arkham City has the Steel Mill. A very realistic example, too. The only Lethal Lava Land type area is the furnace you go through when you start off. Everything else, well, the mill is just the base where Joker is hiding out and isn't running, making this a Subverted Trope. Batman has to make things run himself to get through it, hitting switches and getting (more like making) a gadget that lets him fire Remote Electric Charges to power devices. The conveyor belts are completely still, even, except for one secret area where you complete a batarang mini-game for a trophy.
  • Chrono Trigger has you go through one on your first trip through The Future. Although it's a factory, you're required to go through it to power a machine in a different location. You can ride conveyer belts, operate cranes and fight rogue construction bots. There's also one much later in the game, although it isn't an actual factory. It's called Geno Dome, or in the Japanese version, Genocide Dome. Halfway through the level, you find out exactly what the factory is running for: Humans systematically being murdered so that only robots are left to rule the world.
  • In A Boy and His Blob, the first 4 levels of the fourth world are this.
  • The Simpsons games:
  • In Vice: Project Doom, the eighth level is an industrial complex with conveyor belts and surging electricity everywhere.
  • Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs has the titular Machine. This time, we do find out what it makes (vitae, Manpigs, and industrialized human sacrifices and the power that comes from them), and the PC and the Machine's controller (actually the machine itself) argue throughout the entire game.
  • The Space Hideout in Something Else, because the graphics are ripped directly from Scrap Brain Zone Act 2, another Eternal Engine level.
  • La-Mulana features the Tower of Ruin, especially in the remake. In the original, the mechanical basis of the level isn't quite as pronounced because there's no moving machinery. Naturally, there's magma everywhere, but that's justified because it's located right behind the game's local magma world.
  • Castle Red features the Machine Tower, a massive complex of concrete and steel, with electrified floors. Margaery claims that its parts were pulled out of time and combined together to form the tower.
  • The Cat in the Hat has two: A Clock Punk level called Grandfather Clock, and a Diesel Punk level called Mechanical Madness.
  • Super Robot Wars Z: The An Ares's strongest attack in Tengoku-hen involves summoning a gigantic machine with plenty of gears and whipping his hapless foe into it. They suffer countless offscreen agonies and spit out, causing plenty of damage.
  • Cthulhu Saves the World: The semi-final dungeon is the Marsh Foundry in Innsmouth, where Cthulhu will have to deal with several conveyor belts before the showdown with his rival Dagon.
  • Shovel Knight: Tinker Knight resides in a clockwork tower which, as one might expect, is full of conveyor belts, gears, wind-up mice and various other enemies and obstacles themed on machinery.
  • In The Fairly OddParents: Shadow Showdown, the level "Take It on the Chin" has the Chincinatti Waterworks, which is where the second half of the level takes place. The first half is dedicated to getting into the waterworks.
  • The Flintstones: The Rescue Of Dino & Hoppy: Much of the final level is taken in up in the 30th century, complete with The Jetsons' theme song as the background music, and a cameo by George Jetson himself. The final boss of the game is Dr. Butler, who has captured Dino and Hoppy.
  • In Battleborn lore, the lower settlements, near the Jennerit throneworld Tempest's surface, are full of industrial facilities, refineries, massive wind turbines, mines and work camps of the Thrall. Giant tether-elevators connect the lower settlements to the floating cities known as Echelon above, and these giant tendrils reach to the sky across the planet.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky has a Magitek version of this buried underneath the kingdom's capitol. It serves as the final dungeon of First Chapter. It's revealed in the Second Chapter that its large size is because it's actually a giant channel for space-warping energy, which for unexplained reasons requires huge proportions to focus the energy properly. It's also played a bit more realistically, most of the area inside is made of hallways and empty rooms, which were presumably material storage rooms and staff quarters.
  • Home Alone: The Licensed Game for the Sega Genesis has the Ultra Modern House, a futuristic-looking house with a robot security guard that shocks Kevin, Harry, or Marv if it catches them.
  • Blender Bros: Most of the levels have some aspect of this, such as Shelltarl being set in underground missile bunkers and Fog being set in a space base. The game is set in the far future and takes place mostly on various futuristic planets, so most of the worlds have a high level of technology.
  • Inside has one in the last third of the game. The engine itself isn't ever seen apart from shockwaves created by it that move through a gigantic hall and tear the main character apart unless hiding behind certain surfaces. It is unclear what it does or if it even does anything at all.
  • Miitopia: The Sinister Plant is a minor dungeon filled to the brim with withered wires that continuously shed sparks and old console-like machines. Oddly enough, the Miis encounter a dragon there. The Sterile Plant also counts, and it is rife with robotic enemies.
  • The Secret World: The Manufactory dungeon/ The secret manufacturing hub of the Orochi Group hidden deep beneath the company headquarters in Kaidan district Tokyo, all their cyborg soldiers, war engines and other Magitek devices are built down here. The place looks big enough to take up the entire district plus the surrounding waterfront, and it's hinted that you only see a relatively small part of it when you venture inside — no surprise, given that the place is essentially supplying all the armaments and vehicles needed by Orochi forces all over the world. Unfortunately, it's been taken over by the Black Signal, who isn't much interested in letting you investigate the goings-on down here.
  • The Messenger (2018) has the final level, the Music Box, featuring pistons, vents blowing hot steam, conveyor belts, and saw blades moving back and forth on tracks. All synced up to the background music, no less.
  • Blinx: Forge of Hours, the last world before the final boss, features lots of spikes, gears, machinery, and lots and lots of molten metal.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Super Smash Bros. Brawl: The Island of the Ancients in the Subspace Emissary. It's a large floating landmass where the local advanced technology is being used by the Ancient Minister's army of R.O.Bs. to mass-produce Subspace Bombs.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: The Power Plant in World of Light is an electrical power plant, powered by Zapfish from the Splatoon series. In order to proceed through the plant, you have to solve puzzles involving using said Zapfish to power bridges throughout the facility. The area is home to the spirits of electrical and robotic videogame characters, and completing it unlocks the Electric-type Pokèmon Pichu as a fighter.
  • Your mission in Factorio is to build a factory to make yourself a rocket to escape an alien planet. Sounds simple enough, right? And it is... until you realize your factory must expand to meet the needs of your expanding factory. After all, to build that rocket factory, you need another factory, and then another factory to build that one. Then you also have to make youself your own military-industrial complex to defend your factory from the bugs. It's no wonder many players wind up having no idea how their factories work past a certain point.
  • Spider-Man: Mysterio's Menace has the Empire Metals Foundry, filled with molten pools, cogs and buzzsaws, and Chemcorp, filled with sparking electric wires.
  • Bug Fables has the Honey Factory next to the Bee Kingdom Hive. Originally, the bees produced and stored honey the traditional way, but they eventually automated most of the process. The factory is full of conveyor belts, electrified platforms, and malfunctioning security robots.
  • Toy Story games:
    • Toy Story has "Inside the Claw Machine", which serves as the game's tenth level. This level takes place in the claw machine at Pizza Planet. As he tries to find Buzz, Woody must dodge hazards such as spinning blades, falling tokens, and exploding diodes.
    • Toy Story 2 has "Elevator Hop", "The Evil Emperor Zurg", and "Airport Infiltration", which serve as the tenth, twelfth, and thirteenth levels, respectively. The first two take place in an elevator shaft, and the third takes place in a baggage handling system.
    • Toy Story 3 has the junkyard incinerator.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge has Episode 12, "It Won't Fly!". The level takes place inside Baxter Stockman's secret laboratory, which acts as the production facility for the Foot Clan's Mecha-Mooks (such as the iconic Foot Soldiers and Mousers) and mutagen. Obstacles are comprised of exposed electric cables, giant industrial fans, laser turrets and freezing turrets.

  • In Homestuck, the planet in the medium LOHAC (Land of Heat and Clockwork) is a sort of Eternal Engine, with the vast majority of it being lava, gears, and metal building skeletons.

     Western Animation 
  • Transformers: The planet Cybertron. In its various incarnations it's depicted with all kinds of huge machinery all over the planet, with good reason — the entire planet is a Transformer. Then there's Unicron, whose insides are an even more literal take on the Eternal Engine Planet trope, and his tentacle horror Japanese cousin Dark Nova. The later US comics from Marvel also introduced the Decepticon War World.

     Real Life 


Video Example(s):


DKCR Factory 7-2

A giant factory with conveyors, crushers and the like.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / EternalEngine

Media sources: