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Locked Out of the Fight

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Why didn't he just cut through the generators?note 

"Meyer's big pal was Benny Siegel. Benny loved a good fight. Even a bad fight. But they wouldn't let him in on this one."
Lucky Luciano, Mobsters

This is when characters are accompanied by some allies, but the plot requires that they are somehow forced to fight without those allies. This is typically done by somehow physically preventing the allies from doing anything.

There are lots of methods for achieving this. A door which the hero walks through could suddenly slam shut and lock itself before the allies can follow, leaving the hero alone. The roof can collapse, with the hero being the only one who ends up on the dangerous side of the rubble. The hero can nobly tell the allies to swing across a deep ravine first, only to have the rope break before the hero gets a turn, just as the pursuing villain shows up. Everybody could be caught in an explosion, with only the hero and the villain remaining conscious. It's frequently some sort of Plot-Driven Breakdown. Or whatever - the point is that although the hero brought help, a Contrived Coincidence has removed that help from the fight. The allies may be able to see the fight, and may be able to shout encouragement, and may even be able to do small things that assist the protagonist, but they're unable to actually take part directly.

This is done when writers want their main character to be accompanied through the plot by some friends and allies, but also want their main character to fight a bad guy one-on-one, without being helped. For one thing, it increases the sense of danger, especially if the method of incapacitating the allies leaves them in trouble if the protagonist loses. It also allows a protagonist to demonstrate toughness and skill more effectively than if it's a team effort defeating the villain can seem a bit less heroic if you gang up on him in a six-to-one fight. And sometimes, it's just thematically or narratively appropriate that the protagonist defeats the villain alone. Locking characters out of the fight is an option which allows this.

There are several related tropes which can be used instead of this one. Instead of a using contrived coincidence, you can make it deliberate by saying that This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself, having the villain order his mooks to Leave Him to Me!, or having everybody agree to Combat by Champion. Or instead of locking the support staff out of the fight, make them just plain useless in it or establish a reason why the hero is the only one capable of victory. And of course, if there's an extremely powerful supporting character who needs to be kept well away, you may be forced to kick them out of the story for a while, which may or may not take the form of an extended invocation of this trope. You can also avoid the issue altogether by having the character deliberately not bring allies at all, because I Work Alone.

In Video Games, this may be combined with a Duel Boss.

Sub-trope of Involuntary Group Split. See also In the End, You Are on Your Own, Deus Exit Machina, and "Rear Window" Witness.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Digimon Adventure 02, the season one gang has been back in action for a while, but The Powers That Be wanted the new kids to fight their own battle in the Grand Finale. This is achieved by having the dimension gate everyone is charging towards close after the season two kids are through but the season one kids aren't. The old guard must watch from the sidelines.
  • Villainous example in Girls und Panzer: Miho's final plan negates Kuromorimine's numerical superiority by having a heavy tank block the entrance to a closed courtyard after she and Maho's flag-tank have entered (knocking out the opposing flag-tank is an Instant-Win Condition). It buys her enough time to decide the match one-on-one rather than being overwhelmed by multiple opponents and knocked out.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: In End of Evangelion, Asuka fights the Mass Production Evangelions alone, as Shinji is kept from participating as Unit 01 is covered in the cement-like substance bakelite. This does not end well for Asuka, and when Unit 01 finally goes into berserk mode, Shinji arrives just in time to see Asuka being eaten, causing him to snap and trigger The End of the World as We Know It. Of course Fan Dumb has Shinji just moping around during the battle.
    • Interestingly, the manga adaptation tweaks this in a way that allows Shinji to succeed instead. It doesn't help much, but combined with a number of other changes in the manga's series of events, this does pave the way for Shinji to make his final decision far more firmly than in the movie.
  • In the finale of the first Record of Lodoss War OVA, Parn's allies are forced to hold off monsters one by one, leaving him to fight the Big Bad one-on-one.
  • Snow White with the Red Hair: Mitsuhide finds himself locked up after being framed listening to the attack on Sereg as his friends fight and die. The perpetrator, who framed him, is ultimately unable to kill his true target because Hisame went against orders after being injured and freed Mitsuhide to join the fight, which the perpetrator was not expecting. The trauma of being stuck in a cell listening to the attack and unable to help sticks with him long after and messes up his ability to sleep without being in the same room as friends.
  • In Unlimited Blade Works, during the battle at Kotomine Church, Tohsaka Rin and Saber are kept from participating in the battle between Shirou and Archer due to Archer summoning oversized swords which prevent them from moving.
  • On Yu-Gi-Oh!, this is one of the effects of certain Shadow Games or the Seal of Orichalcos—preventing outsiders from interfering with a duel in progress.
  • During one battle of the Dark Tournament in YuYu Hakusho, some finagling by those in charge locked Hiei and Genkai out of one round, leaving Team Urameshi with three people (one critically wounded). They still won, in part due to Kuwabara.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman:
    • This happens twice near the end of the Reign of the Supermen part of The Death of Superman storyline. The first instance traps Superman and Steel separated from the Matrix Supergirl and forced to face Mongul alone. The second, Superman purposely seals himself, Eradicator and the Cyborg Superman in the Engine Room of Engine City to protect Supergirl, Superboy, Steel and Green Lantern Hal Jordan from Kryptonite Poisoning.
    • As the climactic battle of Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? approaches, several of Superman's fellow heroes arrive to help, but are kept away by a Force Field until it's all over.
  • At the climax of the Inferno (1988) storyline in X-Men, the mansion blows up, leaving only Longshot conscious to face Sinister and Polaris. A bit of an aversion though, as Longshot was not the main focus of the story arc; though it was a natural extension of his luck-based powers he would be standing after an explosion. The other X-Men wake up one by one during the battle and join in, leading to a This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself showdown between Cyclops and Sinister.

    Fan Works 
  • Ace In The Hole (Persona 5): In Shido's Palace, the traitorous Akechi shoots a switch on the wall to drop the bulkhead doors, preventing the other Thieves from providing any backup for Ken as their battle begins. However, this only lasts for half of the fight; the rest eventually break through the doors and join in.
  • Aeon Entelechy Evangelion: Thanks to an untimely transfer, Asuka ends up unable to assist the other pilots against Mot.
  • This happens repeatedly to Varric in Beyond Heroes: Of Sunshine and Red Lyrium, in ways that players of Dragon Age: Inquisition will recognize from the game's plot. As hard as he tries to remain at the Inquisitor's side (owing to his Declaration of Protection), sometimes things happen which prevent him from being with her, and the plot waits for no one.
  • Discordant: During the final battle of Harmonics, this appears to happen to Discord himself. Key word being appears; he intentionally tricks everyone into believing this is the case.
  • In An Extraordinary Journey, Giles and Wesley are prevented from helping Buffy, Faith and Kennedy in a fight against Sineya, the First Slayer. This also serves as a Secret Test of Character for the pair, which they pass by deciding to find some way of joining the fight despite the cost it requires them to pay.
  • Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox: During the first round of the businessman's tournament during the Endgame Arc, Han and Yugito are both seriously injured by their respective opponents, while Fuu winds up dead at the hands of hers. This leaves Naruto without any allies during the rest of the tournament.
  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, during Kyon and Haruhi's (and later Nonoko's) fight with the Combine, Koizumi is unable to join because he cannot enter Kuyou's shadow song, and Nagato has to stay in the club room to stall Emiri.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Happens temporarily in Captain America: Civil War: when Iron Man is chasing after Bucky in the climactic fight, he lasers the ceiling and causes rubble to fall, preventing Captain America from following him. Cap has to find another way to the fight.
  • In Conan the Destroyer, the heroes infiltrate an evil wizard's tower to steal a Plot Coupon. When Conan enters a room with full-length mirrors covering each segment of the wall, a pane of one-way glass slams down behind him (naturally, it appears identical to the other mirrors when viewed from inside the room), allowing the wizard to summon a monstrous brute which Conan must defeat alone (fortunately, Conan is able to figure out that the mirrors are the monster's Achilles' Heel).
  • Subverted in The Dark Knight Rises: Batman and Catwoman fight their way to the heart of Bane's hideout in the sewers, but a gate suddenly closes and locks Batman in alone. It turns out Catwoman sold him out to Bane.
  • In the Dungeons & Dragons (2000) movie, after Ridley and Snails enter the castle to fight Damodar, Marrina tries to enter but a force field stops her. Norda tells her "This task they must complete alone."
  • Clint Eastwood movie Gran Torino.
  • In The Karate Kid Part II, Daniel is trapped on a platform with the villain, separated from Mr. Miyagi and the rest of the village by a moat that's only a few feet deep (seriously). Because of this, he has to fight the enemy himself rather than letting Mr. Miyagi do it like he does in every other fight in the movie.
  • In Labyrinth, Sarah turns down help from her friends when she goes to face the Goblin King. She insists that she has to face him alone because "that is the way it is done." They accept this rationale.
  • Star Wars:
    • In the final fight of The Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan is cut off from the fight between Qui-Gon and Darth Maul by some ominously glowing force fields, and as such, can't help.
    • Obi-Wan gets locked out again in Revenge of the Sith when Dooku knocks him out and crushes him under a platform.

  • For a stretch at the end of Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files novel Fool Moon.
  • Harry Potter:
    • In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the challenges require both Ron and Hermione to stay behind, leaving only Harry to actually reach the stone and fight for it.
    • Similarly in Chamber of Secrets, Ron is left behind Harry when the cave they are in, which leads to the chamber, collapses and separates them.
    • And in Goblet of Fire, where Harry has to go it alone as the contestant in the Tri-Wizard Tournament.
    • Harry himself gets locked out near the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when Dumbledore uses a silent spell to immobilize Harry while the face-off with the Death Eaters occurs. Harry realizes the Dumbledore really is dead when he finds he can move again, meaning that the person who cast the spell is dead.
  • This is kind of what happened during the big battle in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which is described from the perspective of Susan and Lucy, who did not take part in it like their brothers did.
  • The Companions of the Hall get a convenient window into the crystal tower that Drizzt's and Entreri's Duel to the Death takes place in, in Paths of Darkness. This means they get to see the awesome duel, but it also means they can only stand by and watch Entreri punch a fist-sized hole in their friends's chest.
  • In the War of the Scars in the second half of The Saga of Darren Shan, the only vampires who are allowed to kill the Lord of the Vampaneze (the other sort of vampires) are the three chosen Lord Hunters, and only the Lord can kill any of them. Why Because Mr. Des Tiny said that if it goes any other way, whoever breaks these rules will lose the war. Really he just wanted to make histwo sons, Steve and Darren fight as leaders of opposite sides.
  • In Nick Kyme's Warhammer 40,000 novel Salamander, at the climax, Dak'ir fights Ghor'gan alone, his comrades having been cut off. When Pyriel could come to his aid, he sends him after Nihilan, and thus they, also, are trapped alone in their fight.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In "The Prodigal" episode of Angel (series 1, ep 15) the titular character arrives to warn a friend's father that the people in his apartment are vampires. He begs the father to let him in, but he refuses. The vampires attack the man, leaving Angel vainly banging against the force-field which prevents vampires from entering a private residence uninvited. He watches as the man is murdered, only gaining entry upon his death.
    • In Origins Cyvus Vail erects a magical barrier to keep Angel from intervening while Connor fights Sahjhan.
  • This has often been used in the various Star Trek series.
    • The Original Series did it several times to set up situations where Kirk had to face the episode's Big Bad alone. Some of the more obvious cases:
      • In "Arena", the Metrons took only the captains from the Enterprise and the Gorn ship, to face each other in single combat.
      • In "The Devil in the Dark", Kirk and Spock set off alone to hunt the incredibly fast, incredibly lethal monster of Janus Vi... and then they separate to follow a pair of parallel tunnels. Guess who winds up facing the monster alone after a cave-in blocks the tunnel he's following?
      • A variant appears in "Day of the Dove": after twenty or so Klingons are beamed aboard as survivors from their wrecked ship, an alien entity that feeds on hatred also comes aboard. In order to set up a situation where the Earthmen and Klingons are evenly matched, the alien traps most of the Enterprise crew belowdecks, leaving only twenty or so to fight the Klingons.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation did this at least once, in the episode "Darmok". Picard is taken from the Enterprise to meet an alien ship's captain one-on-one, on an otherwise-deserted planet, and the alien ship actively prevents the Enterprise crew from contacting their kidnapped captain.
    • Star Trek: Voyager several times, most memorably in the episode "Tsunkatse." Janeway does it to herself in the finale.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Cage and Hell In A Cell matches, although sometimes people still manage to find ways to interfere in those.

    Video Games 

In General:

  • A common mechanic in virtually all MMORPGs. Used in boss encounters to prevent players from fleeing a wipe and to prevent "graveyard rush" tactics of dead players running back to rejoin the fight. The unfortunate situations arise if someone pulls the boss before all players are inside the battle area. Some games use a delayed barrier, activating ~5 seconds after the boss is pulled, to help prevent such occurrences, but this won't help if someone was briefly AFK. It does however give time to run outside the boss arena in the event of an accidental or Leeroy Jenkins pull.
    • In the early days of Final Fantasy XIV players found a way to use these barriers to their advantage. The barriers not only locked out players, but trash mobs as well. Speed Runs relied on tanks aggroing and training all trash to the boss area and standing in such a manner that when the barrier went up upon boss pull by a dps, the barrier would lock out the trash. This dropped all aggro on them and allowed the group to bypass killing anything but bosses. Square attempted to put in locked doors and key mobs to prevent this behavior, but savvy groups learned which specific mobs held the keys and still speed through with minimal killing. Later dungeons would abandon this and made enemies much stronger so tanks couldn't try the old tricks. The developers also made some dungeons that would block the party's progress until they killed all enemies, basically forcing them to actually fight them before reaching a boss. It was also fairly common for impatient players or trolls to pull a boss before everyone was ready, potentially locking the unprepared players out of the fight. A patch during Stormblood changed the mechanic so that anyone who got locked out can simply teleport directly into the fight. Being knocked out and returning to the start won't allow you to warp to the fight however.
  • Major game mechanics in a lot of multiplayer team-based titles revolve around invoking this.
    • League of Legends has different types of crowd-control abilities, designed to disable certain members of the enemy team to stop them fighting back. Veigar has one move that drops a ring near him, stunning anyone who walks into the sides. This doesn't stop ranged attacks.
    • Having your Spies disable enemy teleporters can invoke this in Team Fortress 2. The extra 20-30 seconds it takes to walk to the frontline rather than teleport there can guarantee the opposition control over a contested point.

By Title:

  • Baldur's Gate does this a couple of times, too. Although most of the time you can circumvent the rule somewhat by buffing the protagonist up before the encounter in question begins.
  • Betrayal at Krondor: Despite having a mixed team of at least one spellcaster and warrior as your protagonists almost without exception during the rest of the game, in the final battle you face the end boss - a powerful magician - with just two magicians, Owyn and Pug. Gorath is left behind because he'd be less helpful and more of a burden in a straight-up magician-vs-magician fight if it comes to that, and hurt their chances of reasoning with him if it doesn't.
  • In Cave Story, on two separate occasions, Curly Brace gets knocked out just before a boss fight. (On the second occasion, after a short while, she does get up and help you.)
  • Dragon Age:
    • A version of this happens in Dragon Age: Origins, twice! Once during the fight with the Werewolves, where the Elven elder paralyses all the powerful Werewolves and forces you to fight him with just your team, and again at the Anvil of the Void where only hostile golems can move. Subverted if you have Cleanse Area, which will free the paralyzed friendlies.
      • And played straight during an optional encounter in the Brecilian Forest, where you find a campsite which knocks out all but one of your characters. Whichever one is left standing will then have a solo fight with the demon who set the trap. However, it's easily subverted if you have an ability to freeze the opponent, or you're a spirit healer who can revive the unconscious members.
      • Also played straight during a sequence when you are attacked by a Sloth Demon and your party is locked in the Fade, usually in an And I Must Scream or Lotus-Eater Machine situation.
    • In Dragon Age II, this happens during the quest to rescue Feynriel from his own nightmares. Not only does it lock out any companions who are not brought along, but throughout the quest, the demons present will cause some companions who are brought along to turn on Hawke. The result is that they will have to be killed (which doesn't hurt them since everyone's dreaming - it just makes them wake up), so the party for the final battle is much smaller than when the quest began.
      • Also seen in the Mark of the Assassin DLC, which allows Hawke to only bring two of their companions along for the duration (since Guest-Star Party Member Tallis takes the third slot). At a certain point in the plotline, the two other companions are separated from Hawke and Tallis, and miss everything up to the point when they're reunited. (We are, however, treated to a short scene of the companions searching for Hawke and Tallis, which - depending on who the companions in question are - can range from sniping to friendly banter to ship tease.)
    • Happens in one particular quest in Dragon Age: Inquisition. During "Here Lies the Abyss," the Inquisitor and their currently active party, plus two guest star party members, will be trapped in the Fade. The rest of the companions (who, in most quests, are just sort of assumed to be Behind the Black) are left behind and have no way to help them.
      • Also happens in the final fight of the main quest, as Corypheus causes it to take place in midair. Only the companions in the active party will be brought along; the rest are unable to reach them until after it's over.
  • Dragon Quest III:
    • The Hero is the only one allowed to enter the dungeon called the Gaia's Navel.
    • Erdrick and his comrades are blocked from interfering with Ortega and King Hydra's fight in the final dungeon.
  • Final Fantasy XII: One optional boss has the spell Telega, which sends one of your party members to the X-Zone and works as if they'd been KO'd or Petrified. Unlike KO or Stone, it cannot be reversed by an ability, spell or item — the only way to get the party member back is leaving the room.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, one of the last missions separates your party's leader and the enemy's party's leader from their armies via a magical barrier for a one-on-one duel. On the other side of the barrier, the rest of the characters still fight, but both sides are incapable of interfering with the duel.
    • This is also done on Chapter 23 in Fire Emblem: Awakening. Chrom and Robin fight Validar while the rest of the party is fighting a bunch of mooks, with a barrier in between them. For half the fight, anyway. After "defeating" Validar, the barrier goes away and anyone can fight him.
    • Happens again at the end of Fire Emblem Fates. In both the Birthright and Conquest routes, your final battle with the older brother you betrayed sees them lock you in a room for a Duel to the Death. Of course, your guys can break into the duel, causing the older brother to yell at you.
  • In Golden Sun: The Lost Age, Agatio and Karst make use of one of Jupiter Lighthouse's traps to separate Mia (who they believed would be their most dangerous opponent, due to her healing magic and Mercury Psynergy) from the rest of the group. Garet ends up falling in as well, leaving Isaac and Ivan to fight Agatio and Karst two-on-two.
    • They try to pull it again immediately after by having the group send Felix alone to the top of the tower to meet them and light the lighthouse. Piers decides to accompany Felix anyway, again leading to a two-on-two situation when Agatio and Karst predictably try to backstab Felix. Ends up getting subverted as the battle drags on, with additional party members joining in after every turn until all eight protagonists get to the roof and scare the duo away.
  • Locke gets separated from the rest of Fireteam Osiris when confronting the Master Chief in Halo 5: Guardians. This ultimately allows Chief to escape. Fridge Logic seems to indicate that the rest of Osiris could have made the jump between the platforms to get to Chief and Locke using their thruster packs.
  • Kingdom Hearts frequently does this to set up a Duel Boss:
    • In Kingdom Hearts: When Sora is rushing up the stairs to fight Riku/Ansem in Hollow Bastion, he passes the top of the stairs safely but Goofy (and shortly afterwards, Donald) are blocked out from the arena by an invisible wall. The same thing happens when he fights some of the end-game bosses.
    • In Kingdom Hearts II, the fight with Roxas starts with Donald and Goofy getting blocked by Samurai Nobodies - and then Sora gets transported to a dreamscape inside his own heart. Luxord teleports all of Sora's friends away to fight him one-on-one. Xemnas teleports Sora directly to him for their first fight.
    • In Kingdom Hearts III, Sora, Donald, Goofy and Aqua head to Land of Departure to rescue Ven. Vanitas then shows up to take him. Despite Sora's concern for her as she was only recently freed from the Realm of Darkness, Aqua feels she's been seen as weak too often and decides to face Vanitas herself, erecting a barrier around her and Vanitas. This trope backfires on her, as not only does it stop Sora from interfering with the fight, but it also stops him from saving Aqua when Vanitas knocks her down with a cheap shot. Sora helps Ven wake up in time for Ven to shatter the barrier and save her.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: The third phase of the final boss fight has Link and Zelda on horseback chasing after Ganondorf. Once he falls, barriers pop up separating Link from Zelda, and he has to fight him alone.
  • Shows up a few times in the Mass Effect games.
    • The first time is in the Mass Effect 2 DLC Lair of the Shadow Broker, where the final confrontation starts with the titular character hurling a big chunk of furniture at the group. Shepard pushes Liara (who's a special party member for that DLC only) out of the way, but the other party member will be struck by it and is conveniently knocked unconscious for the duration of the fight. Justified if the third party member is one of the squishier characters like Tali, Mordin, or Jack, less justified when used against tougher party members like Jacob or Garrus, and flat out silly if the third party member is Grunt.
    • It also shows up in Mass Effect 3 when fighting the Reaper on Rannoch, as Shepard is stuck on a ledge away from the other party members. Here it's much more justified and given that infantry weapons are completely useless against a Reaper to begin with (Shepard is using a targeting laser to call fire from orbiting ships), the other teammates wouldn't have been any help to begin with.
  • Mega Man:
    • In Mega Man X2 and Mega Man X3 notably, Zero will arrive in the last level, declare he is 'Going ahead to destroy the core.' and will 'catch up to you later.' Also mentioned in the Mega Man X5 intro stage and after the final battle.
    • Arguably, Mega Man Zero does this as well when the three Guardians only show up after Zero has beaten the three forms of Omega.
  • The final battle in Planescape: Torment begins this way with the Nameless One being separated from his entire party upon entering the Fortress of Regrets and eventually arriving to find the Big Bad standing over the bodies of the party members that he had slain in the meantime. You can choose to face him alone or trick him into leaving for just long enough for you to resurrect the entire party!. Or just talk him down.
  • Used in Sa Ga Frontier when you fight Rouge as Blue: It's supposed to be a 1 on 1 magician battle.
  • Shadow Hearts: Covenant and From the New World do this during the Man Tower and He-Man Sushi sidequests respectively. During the last segment, each member of the party holds off one of the challengers, leaving Joachim/Hilda (depending on the game) to go on ahead.
  • Sly Cooper:
    • In Sly 2: Band of Thieves, Murray ends up fighting Rajan alone because Sly has been incapacitated, and Bentley is trapped in a crashed helicopter, which keeps him from being captured in the aftermath.
    • Later on, Bentley ends up facing Jean Bison alone because Sly and Murray are too big to escape their holding cell through the pipes.
    • The endgame for Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves have Sly being forced to face the Cooper Vault alone, including against the Final Boss, because Bentley and Murray don't have the skills needed to complete the trials.
    • During the third chapter of Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, Murray ends up separated from the rest of the gang, and finds himself facing The Grizz, with the rest of the gang having to watch from behind an ice wall.
    • In the next chapter, Penelope slams the gate on Murray to separate him from Sly. It's made clear she intends kill them both out of hatred, with Sly first because of intense jealousy.
  • If you chose to play with both Sonic and Tails, the latter will not join you for the Death Egg stage of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, or the final battle of 3. The only way to have Tails at either of these points is to, well, be playing only with him. The Doomsday zone of Sonic & Knuckles (Accessible only with Sonic the Hedgehog 3 attached as it requires the combined games' Super Emeralds) is playable only as Super Sonic regardless of having Tails along, whose game ends at the Death Egg zone right before it.
  • StarCraft the Arbiter's Stasis ability (and the Mothership's Vortex in the sequel) will disable a group of enemies for a time, preventing them from attacking or being attacked. This lets you lock half the enemies out of the fight while you kill the other half.
  • Repeatedly abused in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Not only with doors and things, but even a special Cut Scene Power To The Max force power that some bosses use to literally paralyze everyone in the party other than you.
  • An interesting variant is exemplified by the quicksand scene in Time Crisis 4, where the players are sucked into the pit and have to fight terror bites while NPC Captain Rush is bothered by more traditional foes at the top.
  • Undertale: At the beginning of your fight with Mettaton EX, Dr. Alphys Gets locked out of the room.
  • This is stock fare in World of Warcraft, barriers generally go up once a raid boss is engaged, sealing players in so they can't run, and sealing people out if they weren't ready.
  • The final boss battle in Xenosaga 2.

  • There's a bit in Dominic Deegan where the party is rushing toward the main villain of the arc, but various lesser villains pop out to stop them, with the effect of slowly reducing the party's members ("You guys keep going - I'll hold him off!") until only two people made it to the center ring.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Elliot is separated from Grace and Sensei Greg by the Taurcanis Draco grabbing him (or rather her) and flying through the ceiling. It promptly lets go but then proceeds to fly away. Elliot chooses to chase it rather than let it potentially rampage unimpeded leaving Grace and Greg to deal with the other threats.

    Web Original 
  • Inverted in Grandmaster of Theft. Cassidy Cain uses this as a strategy to isolate Narcissa Richmond away from her bodyguards.
  • Done in several different ways in "Boston Brawl" in the Whateley Universe. Phase is the only one who ends up in the sewers (not by choice, either) and so has to face the zombie army by herself. At the same time, Bladedancer insists on facing Vamp alone, locking Carmilla out of the fight... but this get subverted when Bladedancer gets her ass kicked and Carmilla has to step in anyway.

    Western Animation 
  • ReBoot:
    • At least one episode involved Bob not reaching a descending Game Cube in time. Games cannot be entered once the Cube touches down, so he was forced to wait outside while the binomes inside lost the game and the entire city block was deleted.
    • Similarly Played for Drama in "Game Over": AndrAIa and Frisket are trapped behind stained-glass while Enzo fights against the user in a Mortal Kombat parody.