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Inconveniently-Placed Conveyor Belt

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Mel Schlemming is not having a good day.
Exacerbating the situation, Mario said, is the seemingly arbitrary placement of the hazards. "I could see why, if you're in a factory, you might find yourself jumping around on dangerous conveyor belts moving in different directions," he said. "But why would you have conveyor belts in a castle? Or in the middle of a forest?"

In Real Life, conveyor belts, escalators, moving walkways and similar conveyances are part of certain specialized environments, and serve the function of moving things in a convenient direction. In video games, conveyor belts can show up anywhere: in the middle of a forest, in underground catacombs, etc. These belts don't move in a logical direction. They carry pedestrians into Spikes of Doom or drop them down Bottomless Pits. Multiple conveyor belts move in opposite directions to trap players.

In short, the conveyor belt in video games often serves the purpose of hindering instead of helping its user.

This is almost always a sub-trope of Malevolent Architecture. (It could be some sort of Benevolent Architecture, but don't count on it.) Justified by the Rule of Fun, though it can get irritating on occasion, particularly when used with other, nastier hazards like Spikes of Doom, Smashing Hallway Traps, Descending Ceilings and the like.

In top-down games, a conveyor belt will often act as a Broken Bridge, going too fast for you to be able to run against. It's a one-way trip unless you can find a way to shut it off, reverse it, outrun its effect, or somehow become immune to its effects.

Occasionally overlaps with Conveyor Belt o' Doom, which may get adapted into this trope in Licensed Games. Common feature of an Eternal Engine level.

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    Video Game Examples: 
  • Action 52: Even the Active Enterprises game Cheetahmen managed to contain them. Due to Action 52 being a bug breeding ground, results were messy.
  • The Adventures of Rad Gravity: Effluvia and Telos are full of these, especially the latter. The former also has a Conveyor Belt o' Doom you have to rescue your Robot Buddy from.
  • Baba Is You uses the conveyor belt to introduce the "Shift" property. Due to the Rewriting Reality theme of the game, you can manipulate the level's rules to let you move belts around or apply "Shift" to other objects. The puzzle then becomes figuring out how to make these belts convenient.
  • The second episode of BackDoor includes an abandoned factory with a bunch of conveyor belts. One room uses one as a Broken Bridge, while another room uses them to form a maze.
  • Batman has dealt with them numerous video games, including both NES Sunsoft games.
  • Beyond Dark Castle: "Black Knight's Brewery" has conveyor belts to jump on and off as part of a homage to Donkey Kong.
  • Bionic Commando Rearmed has spiked conveyor belts in Area 9.
  • Blue Dragon has conveyor belt puzzles, in which you will generally need to flip a switch to make them go the opposite direction, since it's not possible to actively move around on them, for some weird reason.
  • The Castles of Doctor Creep has these as one possible obstacle. Generally you need to find the switch to control them, so that they are stopped or set to go in a certain direction. Sometimes the switch will be impossible to reach, in which case it generally acts as a one-way path (since it's moving too fast to run against; if you try to run against it, you'll slowly get pushed by it toward the end).
  • Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow has a habit of taking this trope and laughing at you with it. Conveyor belts are not all too common in the game, but once you meet them (in the clock tower), they make you wish they did not exist. The belts alone are not dangerous, it is the combination of being attacked, risk of getting stoned and landing in a spike pit. Not fun especially since a stoned character takes a crapload of damage from the spike pits. The things return with a vengeance in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, and throw in collapsing platforms to make it even worse!
  • Cheese Cat Astrophe Starring Speedy Gonzales: In the Sega Master System and Game Gear versions, the penultimate incarnation of Sylvester has him operate an exercise bike atop one of these. Speedy must toss bombs at Sylvester to damage him, while avoiding the lightning that strikes.
  • Chip's Challenge: Among the hazards is conveyer belts (known in-game as force floors), frequently leading either backwards in the level, or into another, more fatal hazard. But there's a powerup (suction cup shoes) that lets you negate their effects.
  • Chrono Trigger has several in the future factories, with limited control over where you can get off. It even works against the villains, as Ozzie discovers when he dumps two mooks on conveyor belts that lead to Bottomless Pits.
  • Code Name: Viper: The drug warehouse has them, some of which can lead you directly onto a bed of spikes.
  • Conveyor belts are common in the Eternal Engine and Tomorrowland levels of the Crash Bandicoot games, and often have an enemy either hovering in their midst or waiting at the end, making things more difficult for Crash. For extra sadism, sometimes a hazard (such as a very hot metallic setpiece or an electric barrier) is added to the combo as well.
  • Donkey Kong
    • Donkey Kong: In the second stage of original arcade game (omitted from many home versions due to memory constraints), several floors are conveyor belts. By themselves, they're not very difficult to deal with, but the presence of the Evil Living Flames originated from the burning pipes complicate things, as the flames are unaffected by the belts' motion.
    • Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!: The first level in KAOS Core, "Konveyor Rope Klash", has Dixie and Diddy traverse a forest with several ropes that flow towards a specific direction, transporting the Kongs forward (though a few of them flow backwards). The high number of enemies along these ropes, especially Buzzes, makes navigation difficult, especially due to the speed of the ropes' flow. Reflexes are vital to dodge any enemy or hazard whenever required.
    • Donkey Kong 64: The level Frantic Factory has conveyor belts in some sections. One of them adds trash compactors as well, so the only one who can go through them is the eponymous character when he's using the invincibility barrel ability.
    • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze: In the World 5 level (Fruity Factory), several conveyor belts transport gigantic watermelons (which are uniquely cube-shaped instead of elliptical), and some of them are placed between pits with grinders that crush other fruits. Others have large axes that cut the watermelons, which make them even more dangerous.
  • Double Dragon: This game and its sequel are rife with these towards the end, when they turn into platform games.
  • Dynamite Headdy: Diagonal ones appear in the Terminate Her Too level, with switches to change their direction.
  • Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard: Conveyor belts are present in the fifth stratum (Heavenly Keep). The player's party characters are forced to work around these things to navigate through a dungeon that is already made difficult by the tough enemies present.
  • Everybody Edits: This is averted, even though you can get conveyor belts, they don't do anything.
  • Exile III: The golem factory was a maze of these. In the Avernum III remake, this puzzle was replaced by one involving mirrors and laser beams, probably because it was possible to cheat your way past some of the conveyors using combat mode.
  • Exit Path: Much of both games' levels consist of these. Central seems very fond of using them as Conveyor Belt o' Doom.
  • Transport belts in Factorio not only move products but also the player and enemies that stand on them, meaning careless factory layout can result in this trope. On the other hand the player can place belts to be inconvenient for the 'enemy', pushing them away from the defenses.
  • Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout has yellow floors with pointing arrows that move your Fall Guy (usually away from the finish line). The "Fruit Chute" event is the most extreme example: most of the course is a giant sloped conveyor belt, and players are bombarded with giant fruit that will knock them down and allow the conveyor to move them far away while they can't do anything until they get up.
  • The Flintstones: The Rescue Of Dino & Hoppy has conveyor belt platforms in the Future stage. The Flintstones: Surprise at the Dinosaur Peak has them as well.
  • Gremlins 2: The New Batch for the NES from stage 3-2 to the end. This game used almost every common hazard (except solid clouds) which filled one of the most inhospitable office buildings in the world.
  • Half-Life has these in the Residue Processing level; Gordon has to ride them but beware of furnaces, Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom and other hazards.
  • Harry Potter: Puzzles and Spells: Some stages have gems on a moveable track which advances after each move. This can move items exactly where you need them or put them just out of reach depending on how the board changes.
  • Haunting Ground: Had one during one of the last boss fights. It doubled as both an instant Death Trap, and as the only way to kill the boss, by getting him onto it.
  • Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures: Featured in the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom game, as well as the Temple of Doom portion of this game.
  • Infernal Runner had a number of conveyor belts, which often led the player into crushing gears or Spikes of Doom.
  • In The Itchy and Scratchy Game, Scratchy operates one of these in the final battle against him.
  • Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu: Jackie encounters these most notably in an ancient temple with surprisingly modern technology while punching and kicking his way through everything.
  • Jet Force Gemini has two rooms in S.S. Anubis having each a large slope where a wide conveyor belt operates. In the first room, they're moderately fast but can be overcome with some jumps and perseverance, though it's ideal to instead climb through the boxes placed sideways and kill the enemies allocated in them. In the second room, the conveyor belt moves so fast that it's impossible to overcome them, as the forthcoming area is meant to be explored by Floyd (a flying drone) during a minigame dedicated to him.
  • Jet Set Willy pulls a twist: The belts in the game make the player character walk them instead of dragging him. Ramps can also be set to behave like conveyor belts, sending Willy hurtling down to his doom.
  • Journey to Silius: Most of the final stage consists of jumping between conveyors, with falling crates and autoscrolling to add to the misery.
  • Jumper Two has a lot of them in Sector 6. The Level Editor that comes with the game allows for putting conveyor belts in as well.
  • Keith Courage in Alpha Zones has conveyor belts all over the place in both parts of the last zone.
  • Kirby: Sometimes conveyor belts happen to be in one of these games.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past has some dungeons with conveyor belts, and an incredibly difficult boss battle occurs on a floor that is fully made of one (and surrounded by spike traps that also move from one side to another). The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds has them only in Thieves' Hideout, though they're more manageable thanks to the switches that invert their directions.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening: Conveyor belts are a common asset in dungeons, but their most prominent appearance is in Key Cavern. They make combat against enemies more difficult, especially against the Pairodds due to their habit of teleporting as soon as Link approaches them and then shoot a projectile at him in retaliation. Using the Pegasus Boots (once they're acquired in this very dungeon) makes the job much easier, but until then the conveyor belts will be a hassle.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: The conveyor belts in Lanayru Mining Facility are first seen non-functional after many decades, like everything else in the dungeon. However, they operate once again when a Timeshift Stone regresses them in time, and while some are little more than a nuisance others can potentially drag Link into a bottomless pit. The conveyor belts in the Lanayru room in Sky Keep invert the trope: Their placement is very helpful for Link to shoot the eye targets one by one as they carry the Timeshift Orb from one side of the room to the other.
  • Life Goes On features these in multiple levels; sometimes as a hindrance, sometimes as a solution to the puzzle of the level. Many having switches that allow you to alter if they have spikes or are walkable which allows you to transport corpses around to hit needed Pressure Plate and whatnot.
  • LittleBigPlanet has these in the Bunker, surrounded by electricity. And then there's the wheel, which is similar, in that it's a big rotating wheel and you are inside it. Surrounded by electricity.
  • Mega Man series:
    • In Mega Man 2, a large number of the platforms in Metal Man's stage work as conveyor belts, including the floor of the Boss Room.
    • And Flame Mammoth for those who played Mega Man X.
    • Those who have obsessively played the classic series will think of Knight Man's stage from Mega Man 6 and Proto Man's castle from Mega Man 5, examples of conveyor belts being located in castles. Then again, not much beyond handwaves have ever been given to justify stage layouts in the series.
  • In Metal Morph, some of the conveyor belts are especially inconvenient in that they occupy the edges of small platforms.
  • The Arcade Game Mirai Ninja takes this to extremes by having one level made almost entirely out of conveyor belt and spinning gear platforms.
  • Mr. Robot features many of these obstacles around the ship Eidolon. Sometimes they seem to serve a sensible purpose like transporting boxes, but others just...there for the puzzles.
  • In Rockman 4 Minus Infinity, there are two sections are dedicated to these in Dust Man's level. The first one had debris falling onto it. The second had holes in them; luckily, Eddie points them out to you.
  • Monster World IV had conveyor belts that were also small, moving, Floating Platforms.
  • In Moon Crystal, mines have conveyor belts hanging usually midair.
  • The fourth dungeon in Ōkamiden, the theatrical Playhouse, is filled with conveyor belts marked with arrow symbols colored orange and green. It's impossible to override them.
  • In Pepsiman, the first part of the Pepsi Factory area is entirely running along conveyor belts that run in either or neither direction while dodging things sliding along or falling onto them, as well as avoiding the inexplicably placed Bottomless Pits.
  • Persona 2 has the Abandoned Factory which is full of random, still-operating conveyor belts. Some seem to be logically placed in loading areas for moving heavy items to and from storage, while others exist just to provide one-way paths blocking off sections of the factory, teasing you with their presence until you're high enough level to open the doors into those other sections.
  • Pokémon Some gyms and dungeons have tiles that send the character moving in a straight line until the next tile or obstacle.
  • Portal 2: Most conveyor belts have an ostensible function ("The Turret Redemption Lines are not rides. Please exit the Turret Redemption Line."), but one in particular, late in the game, is deliberately set up this way as a Death Trap. Or, as the Big Bad puts it, more of a "death option", as opposed to confronting him in his lair, where he will most definitely kill you. If you wait, he spends upwards of three or four minutes trying to convince you to fall for it, and is very pleasantly surprised if you do.
  • Prince of Persia: The SNES version features conveyor belt floors in several levels, which is bizarre for a game set in "Arabian Nights" Days.
  • Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask: The Toy Robot minigame has conveyor belts in many of its levels; while some of them are helpful for the player to work out the route to land exactly at the exit spot, others have only the purpose of mess up with said route, or even prevent the player from reaching the exit from certain positions. Two of the hidden levels are mazes made up entirely of these. Interestingly, the conveyors appear to be non-functional, but they do activate when the robot lands in them in its current turn's last step.
  • Purple has several conveyor belts, some of them including timing puzzles..
  • Ratchet & Clank: Both the original and Going Commando have movement sensitive conveyor belts. When Ratchet's moving on them they sense his direction and move to speed him on his way.
  • Rengoku: The 4th floor in the second game is filled with conveyor belts. While it makes traversing the floor faster, it can hinder the combat.
  • Revolution (1986): There are conveyor belts that can hinder the bouncing ball by moving it in the wrong direction.
  • Conveyor belts in Ring Fit Adventure are common obstacles found in many courses. You get a bit of XP for running through a conveyor belt going the opposite way. It is a fitness game, after all.
  • Satisfactory: As your factory grows in size and complexity, traversing it will probably start to feel like running an obstacle course made of conveyor belts unless you did a fair bit of planning beforehand. Eventually mitigated by the ability to build elevated walkways and, later, a jetpack.
  • Shantae and the Pirate's Curse has a lot of these in the Abandoned Factory, placed around Spikes of Doom, Bottomless Pits, and falling ice blocks. However, some of them are actually helpful since you could use them to charge up Risky's Boots for an obstacle destroying Dash Attack.
  • Shining Wisdom has annoying grids of escalator panels in the crypt, usually interspersed with gnashing floor traps.
  • Shovel Knight: Tinker Knight's stage features conveyor belts prominently. The color of the belt indicates the belt's direction.
  • Sonic The Hedgehog:
  • Eggmanland from Sonic Unleashed had super-fast conveyor belts pushing you backward, as well as laser walls along the belts that you had to jump over or duck under. The bombs that were carried along the conveyor belts.
  • SoulBlazer:
    • Half the time they're slowing you to a crawl and the other half they're making you overshoot your mark or run straight into bad guys.
    • The very first true boss fight had three such belts. Though at least they were as helpful as you made them be there.
  • Stinkoman 20X6 has a couple, but none are more inconvenient than the ones on Stlunko, the Level 3 boss.
  • Super Mario Bros:
    • Super Mario Bros. 2: The final stage includes more than a few series of conveyor belts (some Of Doom, some not). For extra difficulty, enemies are either unaffected by them, or clever enough to keep their pace when walking over them.
    • Super Mario Bros. 3: A couple fortresses feature them, and they're often placed above spikes or lava pits (which makes those of the last world's fortress very dangerous). They cease to operate when a POW switch is activated.
    • Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins: The third stage of Mario Zone has conveyor belts in narrow passageways. Mario has to duck while being transported to avoid touching the ceiling's spikes.
    • Super Mario 64 has conveyor belts on Tick Tock Clock. Whether these become an ally or a hindrance will depend on the time shown in the clock of the level's entrance by the time Mario enters in.note 
    • New Super Mario Bros.: All games have fortresses and castles with conveyor belts (and in New Super Mario Bros. 2 the castle of World Flower has switches that allow them to change their orientation). Sometimes it's not the conveyors themselves which provide the inconvenience, but the steel boxes being transported on them (as jumping over them is harder this way than if they were on the static floor). Also, in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, several ground pieces spin, and usually hide pipes from rushing players.
    • Super Mario Galaxy: Conveyor belts are frequent in the first mission of Toy Time Galaxy in the Engine, and one is also present in the third mission. They wouldn't be a big problem aside from their moderately high speed, except you have to cross them while using the difficult-to-control Spring Mushroom powerup.
    • Super Mario 3D World: The level Bullet Bill Base in World 6 has conveyor belts in the walls instead of the floors. They're designed so Mario and his friends can climb them with the Super Bell powerup. Conveyor Belts also appear in the level Captain Toad Gets Thwomped, where they're more difficult to deal with because Captain Toad himself is slower and can't jump.
    • Super Mario Maker: Among many other classic Mario setpieces, conveyor belts appear for their addition in levels. They are specifically modeled after the ones seen in the New subseries, and have been retroactively adapted for use in the styles of the games that didn't have them originally. Super Mario Maker 2 adds diagonal belts, as well as those whose direction can be toggled with ON and OFF switches.
    • Mario Party 3: In the Mr. Mover duel board, there's a large conveyor belt connecting the duelists' starter spots. Stepping on it takes the player to one of the spots, and the board's rules forbid them from trying to override it. Its direction is indicated by its current color (it will take players to the left if it's colored blue, or to the right if it's colored red), and at the start of every turn the belt will swap from one color to the other, thus also changing its direction.
    • Mario Party 4: In the minigame Money Belts, one character is placed on a pink conveyor belt above and the other three are in a longer green conveyor belt below. The objective is to avoid falling down as the conveyor belts move and drag large cookies and candy; in the process, they can grab coins and money bags.
    • Mario Party 6: The minigame Conveyor Bolt plays it straight during day, and averts it during night. During day, one player is using a hovering cloud chariot to drop lightning bolts onto the other three players, who must not only keep an eye on them to avoid electrocution, but also the incoming spikes that are protruding from the floor... which in turn is moving to the left because it's a a large conveyor belt. During night, the conveyor belt is turned off and stands still, but now the solo player must avoid the lightning bolts dropped by the other three players from their respective cloud chariots.
    • Mario Party Advance: The minigame Dreadmill has a solo player run through a treadmill filled with spiky traps, and dodging them is difficult because the conveyor belts mess with the character's timing (not helped by some of the spikes moving back and forth as well), and they periodically reverse their respective directions as well as their speeds. In Shroom City mode, the character must make it to the end under a time limit.
    • Mario Party 9: The minigame Player Conveyor challenges the players to navigate a maze of conveyor belts to reach the goal in the center. Once the player steps on a belt, they cannot move until they reach the end of it, so they must determine the correct path to take to reach the goal. Additionally, these belts can lead to Warp Pipes that bring anyone who enters them to the opposite corner, or they can lead to a ! tile that will launch anyone who steps them back to the outside of the playing field.
    • Wario Land II has a few of these, mostly in the factory levels; as do Wario Land 4 (also in the factory levels, where they become more annoying when Wario has only one health left and tries to climb a set of conveyor belts with enemies on), and Wario Land: Shake It!.
    • Mario Power Tennis: One of the themed courts is made up of conveyor belts, which require you to constantly stay on the move and impart unexpected trajectories to bouncing balls.
    • Mario Kart Wii: In Toad Factory and Coconut Mall, there are conveyor belts whose color communicate the drivers their direction, alerting them of whether or not to go across them: The ones moving forward glow green, while the ones moving backward glow red. After the first lap, these belts are prone to swapping colors and directions, so each driver has to keep an eye on when to take a different path.
    • Mario Kart 8: Some tracks, like Cloudtop Cruise and Big Blue, have sets of conveyor belts placed beside one another and going different directions. Per function, the ones going the same direction of the course give you a slight boost; the ones going against the course slow you down slightly.
  • Super Metroid: Initially, all the machinery in Wrecked Ship, including the conveyor belts in the floors, is turned off due to a lack of electrical power. But after the defeat of Phantoon, the power is restored and all conveyor belts are turned on. Depending on the direction you're going at as you navigate across the area, they either boost your speed while running or become a hindrance to deal with (even with the Speed Booster).
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl: This is one of the items placeable in custom maps, giving the player the option of placing them inconveniently when building a sadist stage.
  • TaskMaker: One of these shows up in the tutorial level. The game instructs you to go over to a switch to turn off the belt. Interestingly, this actual trap only shows up in one place in the game — and all it's blocking off is a small pile of Skeleton Keys amid loads of garbage.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has loads of these in Area 4, in combination with Spikes of Doom and instant death fire pits.
  • Ultimate Stuntman: It is not explained why in walking sections, there are conveyor belts hanging mid-air and just being out of place.
  • Undertale: Hotland has a lot of these. Sometimes they're useful, as they help you get to places faster, but sometimes they're not. In some rooms, you're required to get to certain areas on one of these, but there are also lasers that will hurt you if you don't stay still, which is impossible to do on a conveyor belt.
  • VVVVVV: One of the areas feture conveyor belts. They're indicated by still arrows on a surface.
  • Wave Race: The original installment for the Game Boy has marked arrows in the racetracks that act like conveyors, even though they don't look like it. While they try to keep the drivers on the course, they may inadvertedly make one clash against a nearby object if they're trying to take a curve too tightly.

    Non-Video Game Examples: 
  • In The Angry Birds Movie, the landing ramp of the pig's flagship is a conveyor belt that is prone to malfunction, to hilarious effect.
  • Animal Yokocho: Non-game example: in this anime, Mr. Yamanami fixes up Ami's room to be a jungle with a hot spring-sauna deep within. After Ami realizes that they've been walking an illogically long distance within her room, the camera zooms out to show that they'd been walking on a treadmill the whole time.
  • The board game Robo Rally takes place in a factory, so the belts have some reason to be there. However, some of them are arranged into swirling maelstroms of death which tip anything on them into bottomless chasms. (To say nothing of the pushers, crushers, lasers, and radioactive goo.)
  • Parodied in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The gang is trying to stage a scene in which kittens on a conveyor belt are being taken toward a chopping knife. Before they can start filming, however, they break down into arguments about how unbelievable the premise is.
  • Twitch Plays Pokémon: Since the premise is essentially several thousand people using the same controller at once, a single misstep in places where the game has these, undoes hours of tenuous cooperation.


Alivel Mall

Why does this random mall have so many conveyor belts?

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / InconvenientlyPlacedConveyorBelt

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