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Locked Door

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"You need a Level 13 Quest Key to open this flimsy wooden door. Would you rather just kick it open? I mean, I really don't see why you should have to go try and fight that giant dragon and shit when you could just open it with your hands. The wood is really decomposed. But it's your choice, chief. The last two guys decided they wanted to try and get the key. Where are they now? Fucking dead."

One of the Stock Video Game Puzzles. A locked door blocks the main character's way. You have to find the key.

Of course, even if the locked door is a wooden gate with a tiny padlock on it, you can't just bash it down or blow it up. No, not even with the tac-nuke you've been carrying around. And when you find the key and open the door, sometimes, you won't be able to use that key again.

If the key is a Plot Coupon, you've got a Broken Bridge. If the key is actually present, but The Key Is Behind the Lock, the Paper Key-Retrieval Trick may be called for. If the key isn't physical, but instead linked to defeating all the enemies in a room, it's an Inescapable Ambush.

While a literal door and key is the most ubiquitous way to present this trope, this trope can also apply to other objects, such as the "door" being a forcefield and the "key" being an item that turns off the forcefield.

Compare Solve the Soup Cans. May require the attention of a Master of Unlocking, but if even he can't get past it without the key then you've got a Plot Lock. Subtrope of Lock and Key Puzzle.


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    Action Adventure 
  • In ANNO: Mutationem, most areas have a locked door that are usually opened by doing a Hacking Minigame or traversing around until it's unlocked from the other side. At The Consortium's underground base, the locked doors require key cards hidden throughout various rooms.
  • In The Legend of Zelda series:
    • The majority of the dungeons in the series have several doors which can be unlocked by any one of several keys. There is also generally a "Boss Key" leading to the room which will contain the Boss Battle. And in Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, the Boss Key is so huge that it actually slows Link down as he has to lug it all the way to the door.
    • There are doors in some of the towns that are always locked and you'll never be able to get into. This mostly happens in the N64 games. Oddly enough, in Castle Town of Ocarina Of Time, during the day, one of the doors in the back alley is locked. At night, it's open, and you can enter, but no one is home. If you want to talk to the person that's there, you have to go inside at night, play the Sun Song, and then the guy is there. The worst part? He doesn't have anything important to say.
  • Killer7 has its share of locked doors, but no keys or alternate routes. The trick? One of the playable characters (which you can freely switch between), Coyote Smith, is a thief who knows how to open locked doors without keys.
  • Ecco the Dolphin had a variant where Ecco had to find the glyph with the correct song, which he would then have to go and sing to the barrier glyph so it would fall away and he could pass. The annoying part was, screw up or have to backtrack for some reason, and the dang glyph would re-appear.
  • Eastward: Locked doors are common in several dungeons, usually requiring a key from a Treasure Chest to open it.
  • Cave Story likes using locked doors to obstruct the player's progress. One door is rusted shut and has to be blown up — but first, there is a Fetch Quest which involves getting a key to open another locked door. In the Fan Remake, you actually get to open this door with your missile launcher instead of finding its key.
  • In Evolva, starting from level 7, you'll need to find some coloured disks (either lying on the ground or dropped by enemies) that serve to open the doors with a circle on its top of the same colour.
  • Legacy of the Wizard: Meyna's dungeon zone has an obscene amount of these. Don't venture forth without the Keystick.

    Adventure Game 
  • Riven subverts the latter variety: at one point you find a locked door, incapable of being opened by any means ... and can simply crawl under it.
  • Shivers (1995) was set in a museum, all of whose doors were controlled by nearby logic puzzles. In context, this was not entirely unreasonable, as the setting was meant to be a sort of puzzle theme-park. The sequel, however, is set in a town where almost every door is similarly locked. The player even encounters a diary with an entry deriding a "newfangled lock" (that is, the kind that actually uses a key).
  • Parodied and defied in Discworld II when Rincewind, upon encountering a locked door, launches into a tirade about how he'll be expected to go on a series of Fetch Quests to persuade a character to give him the key, and eventually demands that the bearer of the key just hands it over to him. He does, only for it to be revealed that the locked door was on a false wall around which Rincewind could simply have walked.
  • Present in the Nancy Drew video games. Nancy usually encounters at least one door and when trying to open it, says "It's locked". The deadpan way she delivered the line in (as well as how easy it was to trigger it multiple times by mistake) was made into an Ascended Meme with later games having in-game advertisements for devices to unlock doors and Nancy always delivering the famous "It's locked" line.

    Driving Game 
  • Crash Team Racing: the Adventure Mode has doors on The Overworld that leads to other adventure maps, but in order to open them, you have to beat the boss race in the map to get the boss key. Some doors will only open with more than one key, including the door to the Final Boss race with Nitros Oxide, which requires all 4 keys.

    First Person Shooter 
  • Half-Life:
    • The game tends to hang a lampshade on the second variety by mentioning a backstory in which protagonist Gordon Freeman and Barney Calhoun usually competed for who could find the most interesting way to retrieve Dr. Kleiner's keys when he locked himself out of his office in Half-Life 2. It also has the former category as well, with some doors locked with retinal scanners Freeman himself isn't cleared for. However, while doors are indestructible, tiny padlocks can be shot or bashed.
    • Parodied (along with the Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence) in Concerned. 'White picket fence' (and 'tuft of grass') being, of course, a reference to Smurf Rescue.
    • Usually, if you end up on the other side of a locked door, it will open from that side, creating a Door to Before. Not all that helpful in a primarily linear game though.
  • Deus Ex:
    • Many locked doors in the original game have a strength value along with a lock value. Strength value determines how much punishment they can take before breaking, whereas lock value determines how many lockpicks you'll need to open the door. You could also just find the key to the door to open it as well. There are some doors that are unpickable and indestructible, and require a key to open, or for the player to find an alternate route.
    • This holds the same for Deus Ex: Human Revolution, except all doors have keypads now, and there is not a mechanical lock in sight, so no lockpicking. They can still be blown open with explosives or a lot of bullets (ammo is limited, so the former is more efficient). Most of them anyways.
  • Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy: at one point, when faced with a Locked Door, Kyle Katarn, who hastarred in this sort of game before, snidely comments to the player character, "They always lock the doors. You'd think they'd've learned by now." and later, "The console for opening the door is probably hidden in some room twelve floors up ... how does that make sense?" He also says in the tutorial level that "When you're out on a mission and you find a locked door, look for the guy in charge. He usually has a key."
  • In Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, there is a locked door that Kyle cannot open at all, even with a lightsaber. But a random citizen of the town comes out of the door. If timed right, it is possible to get into the house when the door is opened, leading to a room where Max from Sam and Max can be found hanging out holding a blaster. If attacked, Max will go beserk and chase Kyle endlessly firing the blaster like crazy.
  • Lampshade Hanged in Serious Sam and Serious Sam 2. NETRICSA sometimes makes references to this. Also in Serious Sam 2, Sam, after encountering another locked door and after NETRICSA's announcement of that, says "If I had a dime for every key I found.".
  • Subverted in Redline: Gang Warfare 2066, where doors generally aren't an issue as the whole game takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. At one point, though, while infiltrating an enemy base you come across a locked door. Instead of wasting time searching for a key, Mission Control just tells you to blast it down with a rocket launcher.
  • PAYDAY: The Heist has a few doors that can only be opened with a key or key card. The majority of the doors are locked and cannot be opened. Other doors or barriers require a bigger tool like a drill. This is retained in PAYDAY 2, but also introduces doors that can have its locked picked open. Other doors can also be blown off their hinges by using C4 and other doors can have their locks shot off.
  • In the Silent Cartographer mission in Halo: Combat Evolved, the Covenant stop you from entering the map room by simply locking the doors.
  • 8Bit Killer features several doors which cannot be opened until you bring Interchangeable Antimatter Keys.
  • The ones in BioShock Infinite are undone by Master of Unlocking Elizabeth, as long as Booker has lockpicks for her to work with.
  • Duke Nukem 3D featured several doors with electronic locks. These doors cannot be opened without the appropriately-colored access cards.

    Hack And Slash 
  • In Diablo II, while not necessary to the plot, locked chests required generic keys to be open. The hero, despite having the strength to vanquish the three prime evils, is incapable of opening these chests without a key. (Unless they're an Assassin.)
  • Fable gets worse about this with every game. In Fable, only large doors were impossible to bash open and even those could often be picked. In Fable II, the stealthy option is eliminated, but they can still be forcefully bashed open. In Fable III, your monster-killing, nigh invincible hero must politely knock and hope for a response.

    Interactive Fiction 
  • The Interactive Fiction game Bureaucracy, written by Douglas Adams features the oddest method of getting through a locked door ever seen in a computer game. You knock.

  • In City of Heroes there are — incredibly rarely — locked doors during instanced missions, where the player needs to defeat a specific random enemy to receive the key. Most people tend to defeat every enemy they see anyway, so it's not really a problem.
  • Perfect World has some dungeons where the door will not open unless you kill a miniboss. The first time this takes place, it's in the level 29 dungeon Hall of Deception, and it appears very frequently afterwards.
  • There's a lot of Locked Doors in World of Warcraft, mostly dungeon doors. Those require specific keys to open, which are obtained from various sources, such as quests or loot from mobs. Alternatively, most of them (but not all) can be opened by a Rogue with high enough Lockpicking skill, by a Blacksmith's Skeleton Key, or an Engineer's Seaforium Charge. Also, in order to prevent people from not being able to resurrect, dead players' ghosts CAN walk through these doors, which makes it possible for some dungeons to be accessed without a key, blacksmith or engineer. All of these doors also have a lever on the opposite side, allowing a non-rogue, engineer or blacksmith to leave. On busy days, and especially before expansions when it could take ages for people to gather for a dungeon, it was sometimes possible to get in by just waiting around at the door until somebody else wanted to leave.
  • Unlocking a series of these is a major part of the Dungeoneering skill in RuneScape. Some doors will only be unlocked by a specific colour and shape of key, some require a skill to "unlock", some require puzzles to be solved and others necessitate the slaughter of every living non-PC thing in the room. It is a very rare door in Daemonheim that isn't looked in some way, shape or form.

    Platform Game 
  • Two of these in stage 4 of Blaster Master, where the key is the boss's item as opposed to something for the tank. The second door has to be opened from the other side too, meaning you'll have to jump out of the tank, up the ladder, and down the platforms to get to the lock.
  • The Game Boy Color Blaster Master: Enemy Below will have a locked door in each stage, requiring a key (or later in the game, two) found elsewhere in the stage to open.
  • In Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project, the forcefields are deactivated using keycards. Duke's responses to the player's attempts to deactivate these fields lampshade this trope; he complains about having to find keycards to open doors to finish levels, which has been standard of the Duke Nukem franchise since the original PC trilogy.
    "Somebody's gonna pay for makin' me find these mother(beep)in' keycards!"
  • In Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, you're going to find a few Locked Doors/Gates in almost every mission of the game. However they're not as bad as other examples, as they're generally opened by either hitting a nearby switch, defeating all of the nearby enemies, or (in a few rare cases) using a Rabbish to activate a pair of lights by the door.
  • Mega Man ZX: In the levels, you might find different colored doors that need different colored keycards that leads to other areas. As you only get those keycards by beating bosses, and this game is a Metroid Vania, the doors also serve as a way of streamlining the plot sequence.
  • Purple features a few doors opening which requires an appropriate screwdriver.
  • In stage 3 of Maldita Castilla, you can find a key which opens a door in the dungeon a few floors below holding one of Moura's tears. There's also one blocking your way through stage 5, the key to which you can find several rooms back. Miss it (probably by dying) and you'll have to go all the way through the forest again.
  • In Quackshot, Mexico, Egypt, and the Viking Ship all have a door blocking off the dungeon area. Donald Duck has to go to another stage to find the appropriate key and then come back to unlock it.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Bros. 2: There are numerous locked doors, mostly within the castles and dungeons. Getting the key to the door is a challenge in of itself, because Phanto will continuously hound the characters as long as they have the key.
    • Super Mario 64: Locked doors appear in Princess Peach's Castle, with the first leading to the basement and the second to the higher floors. The keys are guarded by Bowser; and in the remake, the extra playable characters are locked behind doors that are opened with the keys of the added bosses.
    • Super Mario Maker originally only had regular doors, but a post-release update added locked ones alongside the Interchangeable Antimatter Keys that open them. They are present in the base content of the 3DS version as well as Super Mario Maker 2, with the latter one also bringing back Phanto by way of the Cursed Keys (the ones they guard) after an update.
    • Locked doors are frequent in the Yoshi's Island and Wario Land series. In the former case, it's not limited to fortresses and caves - some of the minigame huts have their entrance doors locked and need a key to be opened.
    • Mario Party: In the minigame Key-pa-Way, all four players have to team up to take a key into a large lock to open a door guarding a big loot; and while they do so, they have to avoid being caught by a team of mechanical Koopas (not Mechakoopas, as those don't have spiky shells). Winning this minigame rewards all players with 10 coins each.
    • Mario Party 2: The game's boards feature shortcuts and alternate paths that can only be accessed by opening locked doors. This is the utility of the Skeleton Keys that can be purchased in Item Shops.
    • Mario Party 3: In addition to the locked doors found in the boards (and which can be opened with the Skeleton Keys), the minigame Locked Out has the characters grab the keys that open the doors in the front side (only the keys with the same marks as the doors' designs will work); each door can only be unlocked and entered by one player at a time. There's always one door fewer (and, as a result, one correct key fewer) than the current number of players, so it's guaranteed that at least one player will fail to get past the current room in each round, which ends in their elimination. When only one player remains, or if that player is the only one who manages to enter a door when time expires, they're declared the winner.

    Puzzle Game 
  • In Professor Layton games, there's blocked passage that won't open up until the player has solved a certain amount of puzzles before being able to progress.
  • The 7th Guest (and its sequel The 11th Hour) is duly infamous for taking the similar tack of unlocking doors in response to the player solving a totally unrelated set-piece Solve the Soup Cans puzzle somewhere else in the room, such as a game of "Lights Out" with bizarre triggers. The game would also re-lock some doors depending on how heavily the player abused the in-game help guide in order to skip puzzles altogether, sometimes making the whole game flat-out unwinnable.

  • Averted in NetHack, where any skeleton key can be used to unlock any door, and any door can be bashed down if the character is strong enough, chopped apart if they have an axe, or splintered with a Force Bolt spell (though any of these makes noise which can alert nearby monsters). Note that it is generally a bad idea to break down doors to shops. The shopkeeper does not like it at all.
  • In Slash'EM, one of the three items necessary to complete the game is behind a series of unbreakable doors which can't be opened by ordinary skeleton keys, requiring the player to possess two out of the three artifact keys to get past them.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In Daggerfall, locked doors can always be bashed open, usually to the cacophony of "Halt Halt Halt" if your character is in a city or house at the time. It can't be helped, though, because your lockpicking skill is crippled and there are no keys in the world.
    • In the rest of the series, no matter how strong a charater is, no matter what weapon they have or what spells they know, doors cannot simply be destroyed. Some indeed require a specific key and most can be picked. In Morrowind and Oblivion, there is also the "Open" spell which serves as a magical lockpick with the spell's strength determining how high level of locks it can open. Oblivion and Skyrim also have puzzle locks in some of their dungeons, such as those requiring blocks to be pressed, switches to be flipped, or statues/symbols to be lined up. These locks cannot be bypassed in any other way besides being solved.
    • Infuriatingly, one in-game book excerpt that shows up in both Oblivion and Skyrim brings up the classic example of high-quality locks bypassed due to flimsy wooden chests as something the author has encountered, something the player will never be able to do themselves.
  • Averted in the Ultima Underworld games. Sturdy doors can be bashed, lockpicked or opened by magic, bypassing the need for the key. Massive doors cannot be bashed, but only a few cannot be lockpicked or magically opened.
  • In Ultima VI one could blow up even plot relevant doors with a powder keg, unless they were magically locked which merely required an "unlock" spell. Interestingly, even with non-pickable key-specific locks; one could cast the "lock" spell and then the "unlock" spell to open them without destroying them or hunting down the key.
  • In the original Pool of Radiance many locked doors could be opened with lockpicks, with the Knock spell, or simply by bashing them a few times.
  • In the Avernum series:
    • Almost all locked doors could be picked open, naturally or magically, or bashed open. Some, however, required a lever/switch/button to be pushed/pulled, or a special item to be unlocked. The levers were usually in a place that makes sense, close to the door with easy access for those who should be there, but hard to get to if you shouldn't be.
    • Unlock Doors at level 3 opens everything that has a door script on it.
  • In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel, characters can both pick locks and use weapons to bash the lock of a door open. However, there are still some doors that cannot be opened in either way, such as the entrance to the Black Vulkar base on Taris, resulting in a long tedious sidequest involving a Twi'lek and her Wookie friend.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy III, although there are some locked doors, by simply putting someone with 'thief' as their job at the head of the party, they can pick the lock, and get through.
    • After the End of the world in Final Fantasy VI, every single door in Narshe is locked even though there are only two people left in town at all. You can't even find keys for them, but you can look for a master treasure hunter to pick them for you.
  • Done in the Fallout series, which often makes it infuriating when coming across doors you cannot lock pick.
    • Usually, you have to find the key for the door, which may be located in a completely unmarked area on the map, if the NPC decided to get themselves killed wandering around out there. In most areas of the earlier games, explosives are a good alternative. Looking to get the T-51b armor in Fallout 3? You're going to need 3 keys to access it.
    • In Mama Dolce's there are two very hard locked doors there which lead to brick walls, and a "Requires Key" gate that leads into the void.
    • In the first two installments, some doors could be opened by brute force and/or explosives.
    • If you manage to brave the implausibly lethal levels of radiation around Vault 87's entrance, you'll only find that the door is "Inaccessible". To you at least; the Enclave enters the vault this way in a cutscene.
    • There are also multiple instances of very hard locked doors being nothing more than a shambling piece of broken wood that the Character could simply jump over or push hard enough.
  • Sweet Home (1989) has a few locked doors that Emi can unlock, a few that require special objects, and a few that lead to nothing and aren't meant to be opened at all.
  • In Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura lockpicks and lockpicking spells work on most doors (and chests). Sledgehammers or axes are also effective for characters with high strength, and tech-savvy characters
  • In Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos, most locked doors require a key to get through. However, there are some that can be lock-picked open if your Rogue skill is high enough. Similar to the Silent Hill example above, if "you failed to pick the lock", you can always try again; if "there is no way to pick this lock", you need a key. There are even a few areas in the game where you're required to break through walls to proceed. Also, treasure chests can be bashed open with a weapon, but doors can't.
  • All locked doors in Tales of the World: Narikiri Dungeon 3 can be opened by using a Lockpick Set item or by the main characters in a Thief costume.
  • Pandora's Tower: The Red doors that cannot be opened during the first playthrough, and can only be opened with the Crimson Key (available during the New Game Plus). Other doors require some puzzle solving to open.
  • Pok√©mon has keys in most of its games. Sometimes you find them lying around. Other times you have to find that one NPC who will drop it. And then there's the time where you have to scale a radio tower, then get a key to the city underground area in which case you have to navigate that, simply to get ANOTHER key, to open up a door in the same radio tower.
  • Anyone who has played Neverwinter Nights knows the dread phrase. Interestingly, one of the doors did have the key under the mat. You could literally open the door within a second of picking it up.
  • Dragon Quest series is known for having locked doors and chests. Different kind of keys open different kind of doors, and the highest level key can open all doors.
    • Temporarily averted in Chapter 4 of Dragon Quest IV for the time that Oojam/Orin is a Guest-Star Party Member. His brute strength allows him to bypass normal locked doors by breaking them off their hinges.
  • The Game Maker Unlimited Adventures has the classic key-locked doors. There are also "locked wizard" doors, which have to be opened with the Knock spell. There are also ordinary "locked" doors, which are useless—a player character must bash through or pick the lock each time (done as a skill roll), but these rolls are so easy that a locked door will stymie only the most pathetic of low-level parties, and even then they can just move away, then move back and try again.
  • Parodied in Serious Sam: The Random Encounter. Sam encounters a locked door and complains about how he hates puzzles. Then he picks up the key, which is sitting on the ground nearby, and remarks that he found that puzzle quite enjoyable.
  • Eye of the Beholder has a handful of locks that you can pick, but only on the second level; and if you happen not to have a rogue in your party, the game adds extra keys so that you don't need to pick them.
  • Dark Souls might be very Metroidvania like in level and world design, but it doesn't have the permanent power ups instead using lots of keys, lots of doors, and lots of doors that can only be opened from one side (Albeit they are permanently opening). The Master Key is the only starting gift worth using as a result of this.
  • Mass Effect series frequently features doors that are locked, but usually without keys. Some doors have Plot Locks, while others are opened with Shepard's hacking skills.
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: The Four Winds Fortress has four locked doors, one for each Bandit of a Wind, whose key is dropped upon their defeat by combat. Darius, the Bandit of the West Wind, drops the Old Key to get into the Old Avishun Tower to defeat him again to drop his key to his section of the Four Winds Fortress.
  • In Miitopia, the Miis can encounter these in the overworld. These doors require specific key items to open. In the post-game, they can still run into these in quests (these require single-use keys found inside particular treasure chests), though depending on the dungeon's layout, a door there can either bemandatory to be open to proceed to the dungeon's end or entirely optional.
  • Dubloon features a few gates that can be opened only by dragging Interchangeable Antimatter Keys on them. Another example is a gate blocking the way to Atlan Island dungeon; opening it requires a pair of fangs, each taken from two sea serpents.
  • Live A Live: The Trial of Keys, Oboromaru's personal dungeon is all about this. It's a underground labyrinth full of locked doors that can only be open with the keys dropped by an enemy that only appears if the ninja is in the party. The objective is to acquire 4 special keys named after The Four Gods that will unlock the path to the Murasama blade, Oboromaru's ultimate weapon.

    Simulation Game 
  • In FTL: Faster Than Light, upgraded door system adds an IFF system which prevents hostile boarders from getting through doors without shooting them while still allowing friendlies to freely waltz through. Hacking a system reverses said IFF system for all doors leading to the system's room, allowing boarders to pass freely while the crew struggles with entering or leaving (this lock stays only as long as the hacking system is active). Hacking a door system allows for temporary reversal of IFF for all doors on the ship.

    Stealth Based Game 
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has a tricky door. Just remember to disguise yourself as a scientist before attempting it. Or hide.
  • In Splinter Cell, while many locks can be picked or forced, there are some doors which won't open because they are "jammed".

    Survival Horror 
  • The Resident Evil series is infamous for having maze-like layouts in every building imaginable, usually locked in surprisingly archaic fashion.
    • Resident Evil has doors that Jill, the Master of Unlocking, can open with her lockpick, but every other door requires a unique key since her lockpick apparently doesn't work on those types of doors. The novel handwaves it by stating the special locks are too complex for Jill to use her lockpick on. Jill can also pick open locked desks with ease while Chris is forced to find small keys to open the same drawers. The locked desk concept is also carried over to Resident Evil 2. There, the locked door phenomenon is explained as a fad by the city developers for crazy games.
    • Resident Evil 4: Padlocks can be removed with a swing of the knife and most fences can be jumped over, an exception being a certain Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence with a Locked Gate.
    • Averted in Outbreak, as some locked doors can be broken open after taking a good enough beating.
  • In Silent Hill, if a door is "locked", it can eventually be opened, if the lock is "jammed" or "broken", it's permanently locked.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • In Crusader: No Remorse, all but the most heavily-armored blast-doors can be bypassed by applying enough high explosives. Doing so will, however, set off an alarm and send waves of foes your way - not to mention that you may well miss other important or useful things in the areas you thus bypass. But it's undeniably realistic.
  • Since Red Faction allows you to destroy the walls, if you see a locked door, you can just blow a hole around the door and bypass it. In one scene, you are instructed to do so, but if you have trouble getting past it, The Mole will unlock the door for you. In practice the big complaint levelled at the game was that so many doors, floors, and office cubicles were made of magic stuff that's immune to your earth-shaking rocket launchers, to ensure that the player couldn't break the key-fetch procedure or run away from a boss fight.
  • In MDK, instead of flimsy locked doors that can't be blown open, even though you're armed with nuclear weapons, you'll find twenty-foot-tall, two-foot-thick steel monstrosities that can ONLY be opened with nuclear weapons.
  • Doors in Jet Force Gemini are usually locked in one of the following three ways: By the life force of all the Drones and Airborne Squadrons that have to be dispatched beforehand, by requiring a key (in this case, a colored electronic card that matches the color of the seal that acts like the door's lock), or by requiring a specific item that is exclusive in access and use to one of the playable characters (a crowbar so Juno can enter the trap doors, a traditional key so Vela can open the door that leads to a mine in Rith Essa, a pair of goggles so Lupus can open a door that leads to a very dark room, or simply the presence of Floyd so he can allow the current character to open a door leading to a minigame dedicated to Floyd himself).

    Turn-Based RPG 
  • In Shining Force II:
    • Try to enter any house in Ribble besides the northernmost one. Any one at all. The citizens will not be milling about until you enter the mayor's house and go through the little cutscene. This is also the only way to open the church and shops, as well as get a new Force Member.
    • Inverted in battle: If out in the open, you cannot enter a town in order to get out of battle if one is nearby (Unless using Egress or Angel Wing). Similarly, if a battle is in town, in the second game, at least, no party member can leave the map to enter the castle, any house, or leave town.
  • The Fire Emblem series has locked doors in nearly every game. Typically, a key is required to open them, but in most games a thief can open doors without the need for keys (In some games they require a lockpick to do this, but most of the time thieves can do it without needing any items at all). Sometimes doors will open on their own due to events, and sometimes enemies or NPCs will open doors by themselves. Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn also allowed you to bash doors down with your weapons, but this could take several turns depending on how much HP the door had.

    Wide-Open Sandbox 

  • Dungeons & Dragons, module B9 Castle Caldwell and Beyond has two locked doors in one adventure that are explicitly immune to the knock spell, and cannot be picked either. The first also counts as a Plot Lock to require the players to find the other exit, and the second requires scouring multiple rooms for the only key (specifically the one searched last.)
  • Jagged Alliance 2 has a number of locked doors, sometimes leading to important objectives, but more often just barring access to useful loot. The keys can occasionally be found in the possession of dead enemies, but more often than not you're going to have to force it with a crowbar (heavy, takes up inventory space), lockpick kit (better hope you've got a team member with relevant skills) or if all else fails explosives (expensive to ship in and hard to find). You could also attempt to Shoot Out the Lock, but this rarely if ever actually worked. The v1.13 mod makes this process a bit less painful by adding a combat knife that doubles as a crowbar and a multi-tool that can be used for lockpicking, both of which are smaller and lighter than their vanilla counterparts, and specialist door-breaching ammunition for shotguns that can One-Hit KO any mechanical lock.
  • Stigmatized Property: The door to the bathroom is locked from the inside. You need to climb in through the window to get inside and unlock the door.

Non-Video Game Examples:

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum: The one locked door in the whole of Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital is the one leading to Room 402. As a result, it's become one of the most infamous paranormal hotspots in the building, and even rumoured to be cursed. Since none of the group has the key, their only option is to break the door open.

  • The gamebooks Ghostly Towers and Ghost Train feature many locked doors, which have to be "unlocked" by placing a transparent key with holes over the page, which reveals which paragraph to turn to next. If you don't have the right key, sometimes your party forces the door open, or goes through the window instead, but then seeing a ghost usually follows.

    Web Original 
  • Parodied in this Dueling Analogs strip.
  • TheGameOverthinker brings up locked doors as an example of how realism isn't always the best thing in games.
  • In the The Legend of Zelda: The Abridged Series, after getting the Mega Crush Hammer, Link and Navi skip all of the puzzles and just bash open the doors with it.
  • On Critical Role (and subsequently its Animated Adaptation The Legend of Vox Machina), doors are recurring and formidable foes. They have caused the intrepid heroes to waste time, lose spell slots, and even accidentally injure themselves. The peak of this was the time Vax, Percy, and Scanlan tried to get into a church in Whitestone, upon which they did all of the above.
    • The adaptation changed it to the three guys (Team Backdoor) trying to break into Whitestone Prison. The indignities suffered by the characters: Vax is unable to pick the lock, calling it "a thing of evil". Scanlan accidentally cuts himself on a dagger he was using to help Vax's lockpicking. Percy fell out of the window he was trying to break into because the building was rattled by Scanlan's Foot note  ramming into it. Finally, the door is opened... because a guard was dumping out a chamberpot. The contents landed squarely on Vax and Scanlan.
    • Liam O'Brien (who plays Vax) theorizes that the party's spectacular bad luck with locked doors is because you can only pick the lock or break the door while being forced to rely on dice-rolling for the outcome. Dealing with people is comparably easier because there are so many options. The behind-the-scenes book The World of Critical Role even lists doors in the section about NPC enemies.
  • In Trials & Trebuchets, the party's frequent bad luck with locked doors has become something of a Running Gag.
  • Dice Funk: The party spends an inordinate amount of time trying to get through the service entrance of the Pickman Academy.
    Austin: Foiled by a door!
  • In Cool Kids Table game The Wreck, Captain Lazy Boy encounters three notorious ones over the course of the story: the linen closet, the cabinet, and the locker. The game system, "The Ghost Ship Enyo", is designed as a read-aloud text adventure which means that each door requires a specific method to open—none of which are encountered by the players. Despite their attempts to experiment with other items they have, all three doors are immune to stepping stools, stuffed pigs, and having water poured on them.
  • There Is No Epic Loot Here, Only Puns: After filling the second floor with many different monsters and obstacles, Delta creates three locked doors in front of the boss room, and entrusts six keys to various guardians around the floor. Some require combat, others require puzzle-solving, giving adventurers a choice at each stage. The doors are strong, but technically not indestructible; however, breaking them down instead of obtaining the keys may result in the boss suspending the default rule of Thou Shalt Not Kill.