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Luck-Based Mission

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So luck-based, they cut it out of Mario Party.
"If no mistake have you made, yet losing you are... a different game you should play."
Yoda, Shatterpoint

A bane to many gamers, the Luck-Based Mission is a section in a game in which winning depends on luck. The worst examples completely remove skill as a factor. Regarded as frustrating at best and often an infuriating stumbling point, the games that actually feature this as a requirement are thankfully few, but still, they're present. Save Scumming is a requirement.

A particularly repellent form of Luck Based Mission is one where the game mocks you for failure. As if it's your fault that the Random Number God is displeased. Then again, inciting the Atomic F-Bomb tends to help a few types of people vent their frustration on anything other than an unrelenting computer. (Others threaten it with the junkyard.)

This trope is particularly vexing for speedrunners; gamers can pour as much practice as they want into perfecting skill-based portions of the game, but that won't stop their speedruns from being ruined by one bit of bad luck. Ditto with score attackers, who find that a significant portion of their points come from luck-based elements.

A Sub-Trope of Fake Difficulty. Sister trope to Timed Mission and Escort Mission. Cousin trope of Trial-and-Error Gameplay. Has a very high chance of being That One Sidequest, and might be rewarded with That One Achievement.

As ever, though, Tropes Are Not Bad, since a game can have a luck factor without being unfair to the player. Some games are meant to have Gameplay Randomization so you can adapt to it, the game may point that what is coming next is going to be decided on your luck, or a videogame can have elements of gambling. In certain multiplayer games, particularly Party Games, the game being somewhat luck-based can be very helpful; not only does it give a fighting chance to less experienced players (who, in a party-game setting, may be picking up the game for the first time), but it also protects egos by virtue of allowing players to blame their losses on the Random Number God rather than lack of skill. This is why these elements remain prevalent: they may not be truly fair, but they can still make the game more fun.



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  • In order to get one of the life containers in Alundra, you need to guess the correct color in a roulette game five times in a row. To get one of the gilded falcons, you need to do this three more times. Even understanding the algorithm that the game uses to select the color (The opposite location to where the light ended up last round, plus or minus up to 2), you still only have a 40% chance of guessing right on a typical round. Fortunately, once you pull it off once, you'll have all the money you need for the trial and error needed on the later attempts.
  • Laura's final quest in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia requires you to complete one of the games super-hard bonus dungeons, at the end of which the needed item MAY spawn. If you don't get an Alexandrite from the final chest, you have to run the entire bonus dungeon again...unless you exploit a ludicrous glitch to get to the chest which is mere inches from the entrance, but tantalizingly out of reach.
  • The freeware game La-Mulana has one in its hidden bonus dungeon the Hell Temple, success in three of the final rooms depends on both luck and high levels of skill; it could take one try or 5 hours to complete and if you mess up on any of the three you have to restart, after you defeat a couple of annoying enemies of course. Luckily, there are a few, uh, "strategies" to get through the first room without actually doing the luck parts. You're still screwed with the second one though.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • A Link to the Past:
      • There's a buried Heart Piece that costs 80 rupees for 30 seconds of digging in a vast field. Thankfully there is a good source of income in the Light World version of the nearby village, and it's not uncommon to find more than your 80 rupees back. And if you're not above glitching, you can speed up the process with your boomerang.
      • There's a Heart Piece in a treasure chest game: open 2 of 16 chests for 30 rupees a try.
    • Ocarina of Time:
      • There's one Heart Piece where the player must pay a slowly moving grave digger 10 rupees to dig in certain areas he walks across. What the grave digger finds when he digs is completely random, from a few rupees, to the valuable Heart Piece, and even nothing at all. Due to the nature of this, getting this Heart Piece can be a quick and painless walk to the graveyard at night or an extremely long and arduous affair that wastes all of your rupees.
      • One treasure chest game. You must progress through a series of five rooms, each of which contain two treasure chests. One chest contains a key to the next room, while the other contains a rupee (the value of which is dependent on how far you've progressed), which will end the game if found. If you can successfully find five keys in a row, you'll reach the sixth and final room, which contains a Heart Piece. Fortunately, you can come back once you've obtained the Lens of Truth and use it to see inside the chests without having to open them.
    • Majora's Mask:
      • There is a minigame where you must make your way through a randomly-generated maze within a set amount of time. The walls of the maze will only rise once you're close to them, which can make things a bit disorienting if you're not careful. Of note is that if you initiate the game while wearing the Goron Mask, you can play for a Heart Piece. Fortunately, the maze itself isn't all that big, and most players tend to succeed within their first few attempts. However, there is no surefire path through the maze that can be exploited, meaning that it technically boils down to luck.
      • There's also the Doggy Racing mini-game, in which you must bet rupees on which of the fourteen dogs you think will win the race. Picking the first place dog will yield you triple your bet, while second place will give you double. Placing third through fifth gives will return your bet, while anything lower is a loss. If you can win a total of 150 rupees (either from a single race or across a streak), you will be awarded with a bonus Heart Piece. While it's possible to use the Mask of Truth to hear the dogs' thoughts to give you an idea of how well they'll perform, there's still a chance that even the most enthusiastic-sounding dog will place between third and fifth. Good luck to anyone who doesn't know about the Mask of Truth and its use in this mini-game.
    • Oracle Games:
      • There's two particularily annoying Heart Pieces. One of them drops randomly when you run into Maple the witch; the other comes from a Gasha Tree. There are rings that can be worn to increase the chances of these random drops, but they're still rare. Try to collect all 64 rings in these games and keep your sanity intact. Probably more than half of them are gotten sheerly through blind, dumb luck—even some that are won as prizes from mini-games. And a few are so rare you'll have a better chance of winning your local lottery than obtaining the particular ring in these two games.
      • To get the Boss Key in the Mermaid's Cave, the player has to pull the correct lever in a certain room; the wrong lever makes a bunch of snakes fall from the ceiling. Each lever pull also resets which lever is the "correct" one, such that the player could theoretically have to attempt the lever-pull indefinitely.
      • In Oracle of Seasons, to get to the 4th floor of Ancient Ruin, you have the same puzzle as Oracle of Ages above but with a pair of floor switches instead of levers.
      • ...and shortly after that, you have Manhandla, whose body moves in random directions, and whose only vulnerable spots are the mouths that randomly open to shoot at you and are only vulnerable to the boomerang... the slowest weapon in the game.
    • If you're a completionist, The Wind Waker can drive you insane with the battleship-esque minigame. It's bad enough that you have to win it once to get a heart piece, then a second time to get a treasure map. But if you want to get a second treasure map, you have to beat the game in less than 20 moves. Be prepared to run out of rupees very quickly.
    • Nearly all the puzzles in Four Swords Adventures boil down to being presented with several items, only one of which you can hold at a time, and taking a blind shot-in-the-dark guess about which one you'll need to solve a puzzle found later in the level with absolutely zero hints whatsoever. Expect to do a lot of Backtracking which gets old pretty quick. Granted you can can just use a walkthrough, but since this mechanic was intended to be a guessing game it still counts, especially for players who prefer to not use walkthroughs or strategy guides.
    • While not required to get anything useful, Skyward Sword has the Thrill Digger minigame, which functions just like Minesweeper... except that with a single exception, the indicators tell you two possibilities for how many traps are around. Two blue rupees next to each other could mean they share a bomb, they share a bomb but one also has one to the side, they share two bombs...
    • In Hyrule Warriors, some Adventure Mode missions have an event where two cuccos appear in a random base and start fighting. If you try to stop them, you'll get locked in the base with them and risk taking tons of damage until they calm down. If you ignore them, they'll take over the base and head out to steamroll other bases. The mission to get Ruto's third level weapon has this event happen three times, and the mission's difficulty changes significantly depending on how nice the game decides to be with where the events happen. If they're all on the north end of the map where the enemy bases are (or even better, an event occurs in a base that was already lost to the cuccos), the mission will go fairly easily; if they all spawn on your side of the map... good luck getting A-rank.
    • The "Under a Red Moon" shrine quest for Breath of the Wild requires you to perform an action on the shrine pedestal during a Blood Moon. Simple enough, right? Only one problem: Blood Moons occur completely at random and the player has no direct way to trigger one.note  The player's only recourse is to either go on to other things and warp to the nearest fast travel point the moment they finally see one, or to camp out at the pedestal and wait doing nothing until it finally triggers. Although, there's one moon-obsessed NPC at the Dueling Peaks Stable who will tell you if a Blood Moon will occur that night.
  • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes has the Boost Guardian. The thing ricochets around the tiny arena it's in like a pinball. It's completely impossible to predict where it's gonna be next, and you're constantly taking damage from being in the Dark World. In addition, the health refills for the fight are located in four pillars around the room, which can only be destroyed by the boss. Beating it requires that it not hit you excessively, and that it break open the pillars when you need health refills rather than breaking them all right away and wasting the health pickups.
  • In Shounen Kininden Tsumuji, the dartboard wheel mini-game has a Heart Container as the top prize, getting it requires to hit three red marks on the wheel, which are given a small hit box and on very rapidly spinning wheels.

    Action Game 
  • The missions in the two Lost Episodes in Asura's Wrath. It starts off simple, but in one mission, you have to beat them under 40 seconds (which is a very strict limit), and in another, you have to beat them without taking a single hit! Also, the last mission against Akuma is to beat 10 consecutive matches against him, slightly recharging your health with each victory.
  • Broforce has a particular game mechanic where you are given a random series of characters to play a mission. Given that the characters have vastly different mobility and firepower, spawning with the wrong series can make an otherwise normal level all but unbeatable, and conversely spawning with the right one can make it possible to end the level without losing a single life. Compare Cherry Broling to Snake Broskin: Cherry moves at a hobble and has the best upwards mobility at the cost of having the worst horizontal mobility while Snake moves as fast as a regular armed bro but has a hang glider that, when figured out, acts as the cape in Super Mario World granting Snake the ability to breeze through levels if used well. In the final levels specifically against Satan's Deathfield form, Snake can easily leave it in the dust while Cherry... it's best to keep dying until you get a better bro.
  • Cave Story has a corridor in the Bonus Level of Hell where blocks, both large and small, rain down upon you dealing ten damage each completely randomly, and you have to kill or avoid small angels flying around too. It's probably safer to take five damage from the angels and use the Booster 2.0 to blast across the area while you still have Mercy Invincibility. Those playing on Hard in the Nicalis ports (or a 3-life run in the original version) have an especially rough time; while the entire Bonus Level of Hell becomes Harder Than Hard, the aforementioned corridor's Luck-Based Nature is fleshed out in full. All it takes is a bad combination of blocks that the player could not possibly have forseen, and boom goes the protagonist.
  • Devil May Cry 4: Secret Mission 4 requires you to find 99 hidden Red Orbs within a given time. Although the orbs are collected as bundles or caches, their locations and amounts are randomized every time you attempt this Secret Mission. Depending on your luck, you can easily complete this mission by finding two large Red Orb caches near the starting point, or the game might force you to do it the hard way by finding three caches, with some of them placed above the tight pillars of the second floor.
  • The Top-down shooter stage from Gunstar Heroes on the Game Boy Advance can be placed in this category. The damage you take is high already, but even if you make it to the attack helicopter at the end of the section in that stage, it all boils down to whether or not the missiles, laser, and submarines fire anti-air shots hit you, and if you get hit once, the entire screen will be flooded with bullets and you'll die as your helicopter is such a large target. This makes the only possible strategy for this boss be spray and pray, hoping that you will have a little energy left for the last section of the stage.
  • The Russian indie game Hammerfight features the unfortunate addition of "siege bombs", which are an instant kill if they touch a character (including you), and even if they miss, they have an insanely huge blast radius and can easily take off half the players health from a half screen away. Their power is balanced out by their high price (making it Too Awesome to Use). The NPCs, however, have no such qualms about throwing one at you, especially when you are an inch from their face and cannot possibly dodge it in time. It is especially infuriating in Arena, where at higher levels you must fight a constant stream of enemies, any one of which could end your game immediately through a single suicidal siege bomb toss.
  • Pandemic 2 plays like a luck-based mission most of the time. You can play more or less perfectly, but whether you can win or not will come down to whether one or two isolated regions seal themselves off before they get infected. They usually do, and apart from trying again (and hoping you start in one of these areas) there's nothing you can do about it. The most isolated area, Madagascar, has achieved Memetic Mutation status. The Kongregate-hosted version of this game acknowledges the fact with a President of Madagascar Badge.
  • Averted with Plague Inc. where, while Madagascar would still close their everything if a dog so much as sneezed, you still had options to get in. One such way was with the parasite: one such evolvable trait turned it into a Puppeteer Parasite that could slam an infected plane into Madagascar regardless of their border status. Even if your disease lacked an ability to get into a country, there was also always the chance you'd get lucky and get a popup reading "the disease has somehow infected [a country]!" — basically the game's way of saying you have no way of getting into this country now so we gave you a freebie.

    Adventure Game 
  • The lava pit in Broderbund's Mask of the Sun. At a certain point in what had previously been more or less an illustrated text adventure, the player is confronted with a pool of lava, with a stepping stone that rises and sinks into the lava rapidly. You're given a choice between jumping to the stone, and then to the other side of the pit ... or retreating back to the poison gas room you just escaped and die. But even if you choose to jump, there's still a VERY good chance you'll end up with "splash and burn" and die. The stepping stone moves so rapidly (much like rapid eye-blinking) that timing doesn't even enter into it ... it's dependent on luck. Furthermore, it became clear that it was the only way to proceed.
  • Because the behavior of NPCs in Addison-Wesley's The Hobbit PC game (in the 1980's) was randomly determined, the whole game could be considered a Luck-Based Mission. There's a possibility the roaming vicious warg could be captured by the wood elf long before you get to the wood elf's dungeon. And if said warg kills the only person capable of unlocking the jail door and you end up on the wrong side of that door, the game's unwinnable. Even worse, NPCs will sometimes randomly refuse to obey your orders for no good reason. Bard the bowman is the only one who can kill the dragon, but if you order him to do it and he says 'No', the dragon will kill you right away.
  • A lot of things in Chulip are up to Lady Luck. The items you get from digging in the trash are random, there's a chance that the Underground Resident you're trying to kiss just won't Viva, and even the act of using the Fast-Forward Mechanic may cause the Poor Boy to lose hearts.
  • In The Feeble Files, when Feeble tries to escape from a max security prison, he has to go back and forth a few times between several floors, and each of those floors has a guardian android periodically show up to check for any escapees. He visits the different floors completely at random, so it's down to pure luck as to whether he just so happens to show up on a given floor while you're still on it.
  • Gold Rush!, one of the lesser-known Sierra adventures, has a few places where you can randomly catch a lethal disease, or get swept away while crossing a bridge. The death message even informs you, "there was nothing you can do; sometimes terrible things happen." And indeed, there is no way to prevent this other than to restore. Thankfully the chances of it happening are rather low. When it does happen, though, the only recourse - as EVERY guide out there will point out - is to load a game from BEFORE you made the action that results in you leaving Brooklyn and leaving town on a different frame. Restoring from before the last action that you were healthy won't cut it [unless you catch the disease right after leaving Brooklyn].
  • Zork:
    • The Crown Jewels puzzle in Zork III. In order to steal what you need from the museum, you have to wait until the guards leave. But there's a chance that a guard will randomly walk in and kill you. There's no way to hide, and there's no warning that it's going to happen. And if he kills you during this sequence, it's 'Game Over', since at this point the player is out of the Dungeon Master's reach (the Dungeon Master usually gives the player another chance when dying).
    • In Zork II, the game's antagonist, the Wizard of Frobozz, often randomly shows up to cast spells on the player. These spells are annoying, but harmless ... usually. The exceptions to 'usually' are what turn this into a luck-based mission, as it's possible for the Wizard to cast 'Fall' (causing you to fall) or 'Float' (causing you to float) while you're in the hot-air balloon. If he shows up at the wrong moment and casts these spells, the player will lose the hot-air balloon forever and be unable to complete the game.
    • The first Zork had two Downplayed examples - fighting the troll and fighting the thief. Fighting the troll is so early in the game that a restart if you fail is a relatively minor annoyance. The thief is a Nintendo Hard brutal boss fight, but the game is designed so that you have a better chance of confronting him and winning at the end of the game.
  • The bomb-disarming Mastermind puzzle in The Journeyman Project. You have to solve three levels, with an extra color added each level. If you miss too many times, you go back to square one. If you take too long, the shield generator's radiation kills you.
  • King's Quest V. Just look what happened to this guy! Mordack randomly shows up in his castle to kill you, and if he appears you're dead, no matter what.
  • Leisure Suit Larry:
  • To get to the last challenge of the Big Fish hidden object game Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst, you need to collect seven keys hidden around the mansion and take them to the cellar. The keys are easy, there's one in every room, you just need to be able to find it. The difficulty is that the game will randomly select which rooms you may go into for the keys. If none of these randomly-selected rooms are in the basement, you have no way to get to the cellar. The game auto-saves as you go along, so when you reach the end of the game after hours of playing and you can't win there's nothing to do but start over from zero and play all the way through again.
  • The poker section from the original Police Quest. You do badly, it's game over. Fortunately, the VGA remake makes it skippable.
  • One of many, many examples in a long line of evidence that Sierra personally hates you, the original EGA version of the original Space Quest has one segment where you need to turn $30 into about $240, and the only way to do it is to be really lucky with the slot machine in the bar. Aside from you being just as likely to lose money as to win, there's one special configuration which, when hit, makes the machine shoot a laser and kill you. You have to save scum to get past this part.

    Beat Em Up 
  • The beginning of the last level in the original Double Dragon has you walk along the side of the brick wall. Some of the bricks pop out and hit you for massive damage. There's no pattern, thus, no way to tell which brick is going to pop out next. And once they do pop out, they do it so quickly you cannot dodge. Your best bet is just continuously jumping and trying to get past the wall as quickly as possible... except you also have to time it so that you don't get hit by the spear the statue standing right next to the wall thrusts at you.

    Driving Game 
  • Burnout:
    • A long vehicle like a bus pulls out in front of you, there's nothing you can do to prevent a crash. On time trials, this can make a track Unwinnable. As of Burnout 3: Takedown, however, all traffic in hotlap-based races is completely scripted every time, in career at least. You can still get pretty boned in other modes, though.
    • Sometimes the Signature Takedowns that appeared in Takedown and Revenge are still an example of this, though. Some of the ones involving crashing opponents into static bits of the environment are easy enough: you find your landmark, you happen upon your hapless victim, you push said victim into the landmark. Bingo, the game gives you credit for the Signature Takedown. Your weapon is timing-which you don't have when you're tasked with Signatures involving crashing opponents into, say, trams or buses. Both are moving, neither are alone in traffic, and both are interspersed in obstacles. Even if you and your opponent are in the right position for a takedown, should another car or a lamp post or something get in the way and the car crashes into THAT? Regular takedown, back to square one. In Revenge, particularly, there was one involving crashing an opponent into a tram-a tram that liked moving into a little chute in between two narrow walls a lot. Finally, because their appearance isn't scripted (they're just coded so that they appear down certain roads on certain tracks, not precisely where or when) they might not show up with the main pack of cars at all.
  • Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit: Some championship events may have traffic that could crash into you if you were leading. This is also the case in the 2010 remake, which can make certain events in the career a huge bone-shaking pain.
  • The final mission leading to the best ending of the original Driver videogame involves driving The President across New York City while dozens of hitmen and corrupt cops in nigh-indestructible uber-fast cars try to ram your car off the road and reduce it to a wreck. Since the hitmen cars are so much faster and tougher than yours, the only way to complete the mission is if you're lucky enough that the AI cars wreck themselves as you scream across town. The mission is nearly impossible without an invincibility cheat (and you can still die by flipping over with invincibility on).
    • Every time-based mission requiring you to evade the cops while reaching your destination (Read: The majority) was luck-based. If a cop spawns too close to your destination, you have to detour and will run out of time.
  • An interesting example in Gran Turismo. In some restricted events there can be a car far superior to the rest of the grid and your own. For example, in the World Classic Car Series (where most cars have 100-200HP) you could be driving a respectable 2000GT knowing you'll certainly win, but if you're unlucky you could find an AC 427 S/C has arrived to ruin your day.
    • In Gran Turismo 5, a lot of the seasonal challenges feature a single lap to a difficult track (Nurburgring Nordschleife or Suzuka are the regulars) in which you start last and have to finish first. This can become either Unwinnable if the car starting first is a fast one or Easier Than Easy if it's a turtle holding back all the others.
  • One of Kirby Air Ride's objectives involves getting all 3 pieces both the Hydra AND the Dragoon in a single City Trial session. The session can only last 7 minutes max, so good luck finding a SINGLE piece of EITHER machine.
    • City Trial in general can consist of this since power ups and vehicles pop up randomly, so there's no guarantee that you'll find a decent assortment of power ups or one of your preferred rides.
  • This is a common criticism of the Mario Kart series. The Rubber-Band A.I. keeps you from gaining too much of a lead in the higher difficulties, so it's all-too-common to get nailed by a bunch of non-dodgeable attacks like Lightning Bolts and Blue Shells RIGHT before the finish line and go from first to the rear of the pack out of sheer dumb luck. This is because the game is designed so that anyone can win if they can race decently, but means that players are rewarded for lucky item handouts rather than skill.
    • In addition to the above, Mario Kart Tour features weekly and bi-weekly challenges for stars, and getting enough stars grants the player extra rewards (like coins and tickets to level up your karts, drivers, or gliders). Some of these challenges fall into this - for example, if Use a Lightning pops up, best of luck triggering it, because it's the rarest item to get, has a very low probability of turning up, all of the gliders that boost its appearance are Ultra Rare, and the game has an internal timer that prevents the item from even appearing at the beginning of the race as well as making it impossible to appear if someone got one (even if not yet used) within the last 60 seconds.
  • Rad Racer, a cross country racing game on the NES, falls under this due to when and where other cars spawn and if they swerve into your lane. Touching them from the side will send your car flying sideways and into an obstacle off road, costing you time.
  • A lot of the faster races in Ridge Racer 3D took advantage of fixing the much-maligned ancient collision mechanics of previous Ridge Racer titles, then took advantage of it way too much. Since everyone now loses very little speed when colliding with each other or not scraping walls for a very long time, even mid-game races can turn into outrageous three-or-four-machine melees wherein cars are overtaking one another, going far, far faster than they should-which you can't do in kind. This means you may keep some nitrous for yourself to break away from the pack and win a race...only to have the rubber-banding kick in and have a truck twice as tall as you zip past at what must be 300 MPH.
  • In Wipeout Fusion, there is an elimination challenge where you have to destroy a large number of enemy ships on the racetrack. The tools given to every ship to fight this battle: grenades (weak), rockets (beyond weak), quakes (massive damage to EVERYONE in front of you). Weapon pads rarely provide a quake, but there are 15 ships rolling the dice so quakes will go off every few seconds, obliterating your opponents. After half a lap, the pack of 15 ships will have been reduced to about 2 or 3. Which would be nice, if you didn't have to kill 5 enemies to win this challenge. Your only chance is to get a quake from the first or second weapon pad, and happen to use it at the right moment so it finishes off 5 ships. You get no second chance.

    Edutainment Game 
  • Lionel Trains Presents: Trans-Con! is an Edutainment Game dealing with the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. The player has a choice of which side to start building from: Central Pacific or Union Pacific. Central Pacific has a much shorter route, however the second map of their route requires the player to pass through mountainous terrain. You have the option of tunneling through, which is expensive, or blasting the path, which is cheaper, but carries a chance of injuring workers. If you don't find the right spot to tunnel through as quickly as as possible, trying to cheaply blast through can and probably will lose you all your workers, and therefore the game, before you've even finished crossing the mountains.
  • Buzzy the Knowledge Bug: Let's Explore the Airport got very carried away with this. It has an arcade-styled minigame called Lost Luggage, where the goal is to get each correctly colored suitcase into its matching bin. You would do this by taking control of conveyor belts and other mechanisms. The game's 99th and final level, being a developer-induced Kill Screen, plays this trope straight. It has six chutes all of the same kind, where if you put a suitcase down a chute it could come out of any of the other five in any four directions. There are several unchangeable conveyor belts that will lead it into a bin. If the wrong color lands in it, you have to restart the level. The problem is, you have no control over where it goes, and every odd is stacked against you in every possible way. Didn't think this could get worse? You have to be this lucky four times. Even worse, if you do get past it somehow, you won't get a victory screen or anything new and exciting to celebrate beating the whole thing. Instead, you'll be sent back to Level 1, while being able to play any level you want since beating the penultimate level.
  • On rare occasions in some of the early Carmen Sandiego games, despite your best effort, you may simply not be provided with enough evidence to narrow down which crook you're going after, especially since a few crooks happen to share multiple traits. The best you can do at this point is to request a warrant for one of the possible suspects and hope that you guessed correctly upon apprehending them. If not, back to square one. Thankfully, later entries in the series fixed this issue.
    • On that note, if you haven't solved too many cases, and one of your possible suspects happens to be Carmen herself, you can cross her off your list, since she doesn't ever commit a crime until you have a lot of experience under your belt. Just be sure you know when exactly Carmen has a chance of showing up before you dismiss her.
  • In The ClueFinders Search and Solve Adventures, one mini-game you find early on involves Trial-and-Error Gameplay, since that is after all, the entire point of the minigame. You have to guess the rows and columns, represented by colors and shapes. (The points on the grid are colored shapes) And you have to get certain points so you can get past the game and get a reward to continue on. Problem? All it's randomized...all the spaces on the grid you have to hit could be all clustered in one corner, and the first choice you pick happens to be right on the other side, in a row and column that won't help you. You'd also be surprised how hard the 9-guess levels can be.
  • Odell Lake has the insects and insect larvae and the chub, if you can eat that. There is always a small chance that one of those items will conceal a hook. Fillet of mackinaw trout, anyone?
  • The Oregon Trail is one whole luck-based game. Characters will randomly get sick, and may even die immediately, giving little time to allow for recovery. Crossing the rivers is luck-based, too; fording a river isn't, as you shouldn't really ford a river more than three feet. Floating a wagon across carries the risk of tipping over, causing the loss of your items (and some of your people!). Even the ferry carries a very small risk — it can break loose from moorings or tip/sink. In other words, as in history, nothing is guaranteed in this game.
    • In Oregon Trail II, if you're unlucky enough, the wagon can tip and drown a person in as little as a foot and a half of water. You can tip even on "not too steep" hills. And hunting carries the risk of an (sometimes instantly fatal) accidental gunshot or animal attack for your leader. If he/she dies, it's game over. God help you if you get caught in a blizzard with "no progress", low/no food, few draft animals, and nothing to trade.
      • While frustrating, this is very much Truth In Video Gaming. A number of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan were drowned when Humvees flipped into shallow water. If you are underneath something extremely heavy like a wagon when it flips, you really will drown in 1 foot of water before they can get it off you.

    Fighting Game 
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy has some of these, mostly relating to the Battlegen system.
    • Crash course: Battlegen produces unique items for synthing weapons/armor/accessories based on what the player does in battle, the "standard" set of 'gens are five items made in four ways: inflicting Bravery Break, landing an HP attack, using an Exburst, and damaging the stage/slamming the opponent into the wall, ground, or ceiling. However, battlegen is never guaranteed—you only ever have a chance of generating the item when performing the above actions. That's the luck-based, here's the mission: In campaign mode, there are enemies who demand, if the player wants the highest score possible, that the player cause battlegen to occur within ten seconds of starting the match. Not even factoring in the Spiteful A.I. who seems to know the player's motivations and will run away instead of fight and give you a chance—the player can still do everything "right" and just be out of luck. If you're going for 100% Completion, time to restart that board!
    • There's an achievement for battlegen-ing five items in one match—and you can only ever generate one of each individual item per match. Thank God for the Stiltzkin opponents and their unusually long list of possible battlegen items, as they turn this achievement from "nigh impossible" to merely "hugely aggravating." The sequel makes battlegening a lot less frustrating: getting generic opponent-based items is a lot easier and there's only 3 of them per character, you don't need to battlegen the more common items first to be able to get the rarer ones and there's no DP anymore, meaning nothing requires you to succeed in a battlegen within a time limit.
    • If the player is deep in the Lunar Whale or Blackjack course, that is to say, running gauntlets of random enemies 20 to 50 levels above the level cap, the player's survival can quickly wind up luck-based: Did the computer give the opponent the best equipment in the game, or merely a motley assortment? Do they have accessories that complement their strengths, or worthless ones? Is their summon godly, or horrible? Is their CPU-behavior set to a playstyle the player can counter reliably? There's no way of knowing unless you fully commit yourself to fighting the opponent. Start praying.
  • Some of the Parallel Quests in Dragon Ball Xenoverse are like this, mostly the ones where you fight Super Saiyans. Super Saiyans have unlimited Ki so they can spam Ultimate Attacks, during which they're mostly invincible; for players this is balanced by making Super Saiyan a temporary transformation, but computer opponents often have it as a permanent status, so the fight becomes a question of "will the computer decide to let me damage it, or will it stunlock me with nonstop Kamehamehas?" And attempting to get a specific clothing item or skill causes the randomness to stick out extra hard. For the best chance at items and skills dropping, you must complete optional tasks in order to get an Ultimate Finish. Trouble is, in addition to the item/skill drops being random once the quest is finished, it's totally random whether the optional tasks will even present themselves to you in order to get an Ultimate Finish! For example: In order to unlock the ability to turn Super Saiyan, you have to fight Piccollo, then Gohan, then Vegeta, and then Krillin and Goku will show up. If you defeat Krillin first, Goku has a CHANCE to turn Super Saiyan, and then if you defeat Super Saiyan Goku, you have a CHANCE of the Super Saiyan skill dropping. If you defeat Krillin first and Goku doesn't change, tough luck! Start the mission over and fight through everyone again.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • Mortal Kombat (1992): Additionally, fighting Reptile not only requires a double flawless victory followed by a fatality, but the player must "Look to la Luna"; there's a random chance of seeing objects fly across the moon. The player can only challenge Reptile if this occurs.
    • Mortal Kombat II: Although luck isn't strictly required to win the fights against Shao Kahn or Kintaro, it certainly helps. Both have tremendously powerful and versatile movesets that can allow them to hit you for massive damage from all the way across the arena with very limited ability to dodge or block. They both also have a tendency to stop and taunt in the middle of combat. If you're lucky they'll stand around taunting like idiots the whole battle, allowing you to slowly chip away at their health bar with ranged attacks. If you're unlucky they'll charge in immediately and spam their most powerful moves at lightning speed until you die.
    • Mortal Kombat 9: There's a mode called "Test Your Luck", where a slot machine determines what additional stipulations are added to a match. These extra rules range from inconsequential (rainbow blood, Zombie Kombat) to game-changing (no arms, poisoned health, disabled super meters). These missions appear at regular intervals in the Challenge Tower, where they also determine your opponent.
  • Obtaining all the skill cards in Sonic Battle is this. Emerl the customizable robot gets a random skill after each fight, which may be a duplicate of one you already had since skill cards can be traded between players. Early on, this does give you enough new skills to replace some of the near-useless default skills, but later on you'll mostly get duplicates. The skills usually are copied from whoever was just fought, but if he gets a "rare" skill, it may have nothing to do with who you were fighting, and may have nothing to do with fighting at all. It's possible to fight against Amy and Cream only to unlock parts of Shadow's color scheme, which you will likely never use unless you like spending your skill points on turning a fighting robot into a color-based Virtual Paper Doll.
  • Clearing the tutorial in Soulcalibur III requires the player to guard impact (counter) the instructors moves while he randomly switches between high and low attacks 5 times in a row (getting hit makes you start over). The problem is that the medium attacks he uses are too quick to guard after it starts (so you need to guard before he starts) and all but a handful of characters are too slow to get out of that block and counter in time when he DOES execute a low attack, meaning the mission requires the player to be lucky enough to make a correct "prediction". To add insult to injury, the characters that ARE quick enough have this mission stupidly easy. (note:Completing the tutorial with a character unlocks their Ancient weapon. The only other way to unlock the weapon involves reaching and beating Olcadan with that character. Which means you'll fight Night Terror.)
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Items in general make some tasks this. If a bomb spawns in front of your attack that's another multi-minute attempt at the 100-man-melee down the drain. For this reason, competitive players and tournaments often shut off items.
    • Super Smash Bros. Melee:
      • The Trophy Lottery, in which you spend coins to possibly obtain a new trophy.
      • There's a minor one that can make That One Sidequest much easier to deal with. Adventure Mode features one level patterned after The Legend of Zelda, where the player needs to find the Triforce in order to clear it. There are five potential places for it to spawn, and a Dark Link fight is positioned at the four places where it didn't spawn. Two of the locations are at places where the player can check them without triggering a possible fight (which is shown by a Master Sword in a pedestal rather than the Triforce hovering over it), with the other three situated beyond one of the first two (thus, if the Triforce is in one of those, you have to go through at least one Dark Link to get to it). The fights aren't necessarily hard, but if the Triforce is in one of the first two positions, and the player avoids the very slow Mooks in the area, they can get the Switzerland bonus, otherwise known as one of the hardest stage clear bonuses to get (all of which must be earned to get a trophy for 100% Completion). Some players will quit and restart Adventure Mode multiple times just for the chance at that bonus.
    • Super Smash Bros. Brawl:
      • Getting all the trophies requires you to use trophy stands on every kind of enemy in Adventure Mode, including bosses. Of course, these stands are rare, and (just like Pokémon) you have to weaken the enemy in order to catch it, so it doesn't always work. Raising the difficulty level and using certain stickers will raise the chance of getting a stand, but it's still annoying when you hit a boss too hard, kill it, and you have to go through the whole level again for another chance, and if the stupid bastards hit a conveniently-spawning Koopa Shell or a Blast Box with a stray attack of their own and thus end up dying without you being able to do a Goddamn thing about it. Playing with a friend can greatly help: one keeps the trophy stand and keeps distractions away, while the other whittles down the boss's health.
      • Brawl does away with the Trophy Lottery seen in Melee in favor of a shooter game that's just as addictive in order to get trophies and stickers. However, it is still random whether or not new trophies even show up. The Mew Trophy is an especially bad case. It's bad enough you have to fight multiple characters at once while getting worn down, but the combinations are random and can range anywhere from easy peasy to downright lethal.
      • And then there's the stickers. At least with the trophies you can aim for specific ones when using the stands or in the shooting mode; with stickers, apart from a few that you get for completing challenges, you have no way of knowing which sticker you'll get each time you grab one. Thus, the only way to get them all is massive amounts of sticker grinding, and once you're near the end you could spend hours doing it and not get anything new.
  • The fight with Jinpachi in Tekken 5 comes down to this. Jinpachi has an attack that comes out almost too fast to block, interrupts any attack you perform, stuns you, and forces you to stand. He also has a fireball that takes off massive amounts of your health and which he can use multiple times in a row. The only way the player can win the fight, short of spamming Forward-Forward+Square, is if Jinpachi's AI decides not to use the "stun palm" - if it does, it will always chain the stun into waves of fireballs and wipe the player out.

    Light Gun Game 
  • GHOST Squad's third mission has a prompt where you must pick from one of three cottages in hopes of finding McCoy, who has been kidnapped by the terrorists. One cottage holds him and will end the segment without further resistance, one cottage has a few enemies to shoot and a hostage that you shouldn't shoot, and one cottage has a Hand-to-Hand Combat scene worth a substantial amount of points. Which cottage holds which is randomized on every playthrough and the only hint you get is that the cottage with white smoke holds McCoy; if you want the most points out of this segment you still have only a 50% chance of getting that chance.

    Miscellaneous Games 
  • The iOS game Lego Minifigures is a game where you need to match up a minifigure's head, legs, and torso. The problem? All of it is luck-based. It plays exactly like a slot machine, and the only way to add a minifigure to your collection is to hope that it will somehow get it right. If not, you have to keep spinning.
  • The Find Mii minigame on the StreetPass Mii Plaza. Each Mii you find or hire with play coins has a different spell depending on what color of shirt they wear. The 12th room of the tower is completely dark and the only way to progress is to have a hero with a white shirt so he can use his spell to light the room, all other heroes just leave when they see the darkness. Meaning you'll have to wait until you come across someone with a white Mii or until the game gets generous enough to give you one when you're hiring. Oh, and all other heroes before the white one will be lost. Thankfully, you only need to light the room once.
    • This has been somewhat averted in Find Mii II, since now you can re-hire people you've tagged with Street Pass. You still need to have found Miis of the color required in order to do it, but once you have at least one, it becomes a lot easier (especially since the new obstacle rooms may now require 2 Miis instead of one).
  • The web-browser game PokéHeroes has the Game Corner, and the game unlocked at Level 7 is the Concentration Game. However, besides Game Chips, there is a particular kind of prize to get: the Retro Eggs consisting of Chikorita, Cyndaquil, Totodile, Hoothoot and Sentret. Simple enough, but there is a catch: the chances of even obtaining a Retro Egg is very low, with the chances increasing if you make less wrong flips. However, since the game is random, you better hope that after you are done matching all of the pairs that you get the Retro Egg. But, another catch is that if you do not have a empty space, then it is back to the matching pairs in hopes of getting the Retro Egg.
    • There is also the Lugia Egg Voucher and the Lake Trio Egg Vouchers. Getting the Lugia Egg Voucher is hard enough, considering that getting 4 Pokémon to match the result gets you the voucher (or a shiny one, for all 5) but the Lake Trio Egg Vouchers are just extremely hard. You need to waste 100 Gold Game Chips on the Legend mode and hope that you will get three 7's, or you will be back to interacting with Pokémon and Pokémon Eggs to try again.
  • Many Hugo the TV Troll games have a final stage where Hugo has to choose the correct key to open a treasure chest or pull the correct rope to lift a cage which his family is trapped in. There's no indication of which is the correct one and if you choose the wrong one it's game over.
  • Any arcade game with a prize at stake, no matter how much the designer claims it to be a game of skill. The cabinets come with hidden mechanics that the arcade operator can tweak to rig the odds of winning regardless of how perfect someone plays, because they would not be able to profit if too many people kept winning. A classic example is Stacker, a game where you line up rows of blocks on a tower by pressing a button to stop it from moving left and right. The minor prize row is easy to reach for any experienced player, at which they could either keep going or accept the prize, but the last row before the major prize is rigged to jump ahead of the tower no matter how precisely one times the button press unless the Random Number Generator decides to let the player win (common advice is to never play after watching someone win the major prize).
  • Action 52 is notorious for its enemies spawning in random places and shooting at random times.
    • Especially Micro Mike where sometimes a screen will be flooded with so much enemies that slowdown and death is unavoidable. There's also a small round bullet type of enemy which spawns randomly at random part of the screen, sometimes appearing behind you, making a hit unavoidable. It's even worse, given the Action 52 collision detection. Chances of even completing the first level is about 1/50 while the rest is up to skill.
    • Bad enemy combination can result an almost instant game over in Hambo.
    • As The Angry Video Game Nerd demonstrated in his review, in some games the bosses sometimes won't show up at all, forcing you to reset. And some games simply crash at some random point.
  • Racing missions in Lego Marvel Superheroes. You're racing in New York City with randomly generated NPC vehicles of varying sizes and speeds. You can lose, even if your vehicle is fast and you don't go off-course, if there's a giant bus in front of you.
  • Plants vs. Zombies: Heroes literally has their final Plant and Zombie missions being completely luck-based. Professor Brainstorm on the plant missions has absolutely nothing but Eurekanote  in his deck. Depending on his draws, you can win very easily with him getting stuck with nothing but underwhelming zombies and tricks to even losing just because he conjures a card with Dino-Roar. Citron on the zombie mission, though, is much worse than Professor Brainstorm. Not only does he runs a powerful bean deck, the rule of gaining one card from the entire game each turn and gaining 2 sun/brains each turn allows Citron to play whatever card he conjures easily. If you try to circumvent his beans by using rushing, he can conjure a Kernel Corn or any legendary that can change the game in his favor. What's worse is that if you do manage to beat these final luck based missions, you win absolutely nothing, and you are then doomed to repeat the same mission over and over again.
  • Progressbar 95: Hardcore mode (or any higher difficulty in Progressbar NOT) can occasionally rely on luck, as you better hope that the red segments don't drop in a way that makes it impossible for the progressbar to avoid them or pop-ups don't trap the bar without any time to close them.
  • The fan remake of Streets of Rage has this for the final level if you defeat Robo X. You have 3 minutes to disarm a bomb in the building or ignore it and try to escape and beat Shiva before the bomb explodes. To disarm the bomb, you have to find a room with a computer console which you can destroy to disarm the bomb. To get to the bottom floor, which is your escape route, you have to find a key card. The 3rd and 2nd floors each have 3 rooms. 4 of them are trap rooms filled with mooks and electrical traps. The other 2 contain the computer console and a treasure room filled with money, health items, and the key card. However, don't be fooled into thinking that once you know where the rooms are that you can go to them every time you play this level. The game randomizes what rooms will have the key card and computer every time you play this level. Oh, and don't forget you only have 3 minutes to actually figure this out before you're blown to bits and get the Bad Ending.
  • VGA Miner: Hazards can pop up anywhere in the mine. Hope a cave-in or a spring doesn’t park itself in the way of the elevator shaft or directly underneath the outhouse, since you have to dynamite directly under there to get the diamond ring.

    Party Game 
  • Family Game Night 3 featured video game versions of various Hasbro games, one of which was Mouse Trap. ANY achievement related to Mouse Trap was innately luck-based as Mouse Trap is simply rolling dice until someone wins.
    • In addition, the game featured a Yahtzee-like card game which is basically making poker hands until someone wins. While this game allowed for SOME strategy, the achievement for making 6 hands in a single game is essentially luck based as all you can do is HOPE you are dealt better cards than your opponents.
    • The achievements for winning Spin-To-Win (in the Game of Life) and pulling over another player for speeding (rolling a 10) are innately luck-based as well.
    • One of the Wii games has a minigame that quite literally amounts to "Russian Roulette with catapults".
  • Every round in Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is focused on skill and luck. However, there are certain aspects where luck plays a much larger role in obtaining the crown.
  • Mario Party is one big Luck-Based Game, justified since it's a digital board game and most of the physical versions of them have a luck factor, and the game is designed to be mindless fun with your friends and not something competitive.
    • Pictured in this page is an example of a cut minigame that was very honest about its luck-based nature, going by Toad's description.
    • Mario Party: Buried Treasure is heavily luck-based, despite looking like a skill game on the surface. Players need to dig through the earth, racing to find a randomly-located treasure chest. If a player starts close to where the chest happened to spawn, there's a pretty good chance they'll win unless they're an idiotic AI. God help you if the chest spawned far from your character's starting point.
    • Mario Party 2:
      • The game started the tradition of featuring several minigames that are mechanically identical to Russian Roulette with four players, beginning with "Bowser's Big Blast," where four players press down plungers, one of which will cause the Bowser head to explode. Subsequent installments in the series would introduce minigames like like "Stacked Deck" in the third game (twelve cards on the table, four are hiding Bowser symbols) or "Pier Pressure" in the ninth (ten fishing rods, three have hooked sea urchins).
      • "Day at the Races" is a Battle Minigame that works like horse race betting: players have to pick between a Bob-omb, a Boo, a Thwomp and a Whomp, and have to hope for the best that their choice ends up winning the race.
    • Mario Party 3:
      • This game sees the introduction of the Game Guy Space: when someone lands on it, the eponymous Game Guy (a Shy Guy with a gold mask) appears, and forces the player to gamble away ALL their coins to play one of a select special minigames entirely devoted to luck, with no choice on whether they want to play at all or how many coins they want to spend. If they win the game, the player will receive double the amount of coins they had to spend (or more depending on the multplier); if they lose, they don't get their money back and end up with 0 coins. Players with hundreds of coins could either come out on top or find themselves on the bottom when landing on this space.
      • The minigame Merry-Go-Chomp operates in a similar way to a gambling roulette. The four players are in a circus where they approach a spinning circular platform divided into five colored segments. Each player has to select one of the segments and stand there, meaning that four areas will be filled and the fifth one will be empty. The platform then starts spinning, and when it stops a Chain Chomp will grab the player that stands in front of it, disqualifying them from the minigame.note  The remaining players form a row once again to choose their next spot in the platform (which will now be divided into one area fewer than before) so they're in position and the platform spins again, and the cycle continues until only one player remains. There's no way to predict the moment when the circle stops spinning, so only luck will make the winner prevail.
      • Two LPers of the game - in their third round - came up with a hidden block on the first turn. Containing a star. It went downhill from there.
      • The Runaway Guys had what is arguably the biggest stroke of luck in regards to hidden stars ever recorded: Chuggaaconroy has found 2, NintendoCapriSun has found 1, and ProtonJon found THREE STARS IN ONE 20-TURN GAME. The latter only needed to buy ONE star in the entire game, at which point he ended up with SIX.
      • Watch this game here. Rawrzaur wins the ENTIRE game without EVER buying a star himself. He won through nothing but sheer dumb luck, and the reactions of his friends who were playing alongside him are as would be expected.
    • Mario Party 4:
      • Goomba's Greedy Gala has a roulette in the centre that determines which quadrant of the board you go to (although the scales can be tipped); and to progress around each quadrant, you have to win a dice-rolling game against Goomba or be sent back to Start.
      • Panel Panic. The minigame has the four characters chosen select one out of the ten floating tiles available, all numbered from 1 to 10. After everyone has chosen their tile, the rest of the playable cast plus Bowser will show up and everyone will have to roll a dice, with the numbers rolled indicating which tiles will be destroyed and which characters will fall to the abyss, being eliminated from that round. For each tile destroyed, a number is removed from the dice block. The cycle continues until only one character is left or until everyone has been eliminated.
    • Mario Party 5:
      • Get a Rope is the literal version of luck-based mission. Pull a rope and hope you get the better result than the opponent. Completely luck-based; you don't even have to press a button. It's also a Battle Minigame, so say goodbye to any coins you wagered if you lose.
      • Vicious Vending is a minigame where each character turn a handle to get either a single coin, multiple coins, nothing or a Thwomp that crushes them. There's no way to predict what you'll get after you turn the handle.
    • Mario Party 6: The minigame Pitifall has two dueling characters choose between three tightropes, and only one of them will be able to take its character into a safe platform, while the other two lead to a pit. In case neither character chooses the right tightrope, they will both fall down, but then a Flu Guy will rescue one of them at random and declare them the winner.
    • Mario Party 7:
      • The minigame Deck Hands has all four players play with a deck of 13 cards, each having a specific number that indicates its value (the numbers go from 1 to 13). Each player has to pick a card, and the number shown in it will determine how many points that character earns. There's no way to tell how much a given card is worth, so every choice is blind no matter what. In the end, each player will get up to three cards, leaving one unchosen, and whoever has the highest total score wins. What makes the luck factor of this minigame so concerning is that this is a battle minigame, so if you're too unlucky you may end up choosing the lowest-valued cards and remain in last place, making you lose all the money wagered as a result.
      • The Bowser minigame Slot-O-Whirl! has a solo player play with a giant three-slot machine whose items shown are three colored Bowser faces (red, green, blue) and a gold key. The player has to line up three keys in order to earn that object and open the exit door at the end, but that's easier said than done: Every time the player manages to get a key figure in a slot, the next one will roll faster, so it becomes less a matter of good reflexes to stop the slot at the exact time and more of a lucky pinpoint. And the time limit is 30 seconds, further complicating the issue.
    • Mario Party 8: Cut from the Team is a completely luck-based Battle minigame. Players take turns cutting ropes from a selection of ten ropes, three of which are rigged to launch the player if they are cut. There is no way to know whether the rope you cut will be safe until you cut it.
    • Mario Party DS: The minigame Chips and Dips, fittingly for its gambling-based theme, relies solely on luck. Each player selects a facedown card from a scattered deck; when everybody makes their choice, one by one the cards are flipped, and the number shown by each card will determine how many chips will be stacked on the spot corresponding to the character who chose it. The next deck comes to distribute the next batch of cards and the process is repeated, and so on during three rounds. In the last one, one of the cards will show Bowser's face, and if someone inadvertently chooses it then the number of chips in their stack will be reduced to half (plus one if the total is odd-numbered). When the minigame ends, whoever got the highest stack of chips wins.
    • Mario Party 9:
      • At the end of Story Mode, it's you, an AI partner that hates you, and two smarter than your partner A.I.s that, if they win, make you start the level ALL over. The kicker, the Boss minigames (the ones with the most mini-star value) are pure dice rolling. Expect Shyguy and Magikoopa to have improbable luck and win both of these while your "partner" ruins your chances of winning by getting you fourth and then getting third themselves.
      • In Pinball Fall, players are given a choice of five different balls at the top of a large hill, then they all roll down the hill, and whichever ball reaches the bottom first is the winner. On the way down, there are a variety of obstacles that slow the balls down, such as bumpers, holes, and the other racers. While the player is given a view of the course before the game begins which they can use to predict which ball will make it down fastest, they have no control of the balls on the way down, aside from ability to shake the Wii Remote to free their ball if it gets stuck in a hole.
      • 10 to Win is a minigame where players take turns picking panels to determine whether they, their rivals, the current leader, or the player in last will have their platform raised a certain amount. The first player to reach ten points is the winner, but the players have no idea what they're picking until they do it.
      • In Mecha Choice, players are being pursued by a swarm of Mechakoopas, and have to choose one of three doors to escape from them. Every time, however, one of these doors leads to a dead end that causes the player to lose if they pick it.
      • Manor of Escape challenges players to find the correct doors to reach the bottom floor of a mansion to get out. While the players can look at the doors their rivals pick to more easily complete the process of elimination, there is no way to know where any of the doors lead until someone goes through them.
      • Pier Pressure gives players a choice from a series of fishing rods on a pier. The goal is to pick a rod that will catch a Cheep Cheep, but if the player picks a rod that catches an Urchin, they lose.
      • In Whomp Stomp, players are placed on a rotating platform with one player placed directly in front of a Whomp. In each round, players can choose to add either one or zero to the counter in the center, then rotates one player at a time until the counter hits zero. Whichever player is unlucky enough to land in front of Thwomp when the counter hits zero will get crushed underneath and lose a point, while the others will all be free to attack the Thwomp with a ground pound to earn points. Whether players choose to add to the counter is not revealed until after all players have made their choice, so whether any given player should choose to add is a pure gamble.
      • Bombard King Bob-omb challenges players to pick one of four Bob-ombs to throw at King Bob-omb to score points. The Bob-ombs come in three different sizes, with the largest ones being worth three points, and smallest ones only being worth one. However, the catch is that if more than one player picks the same Bob-omb, the characters will bump into each other when they run over to pick it up, and no one will get to throw it. There's no way to tell which Bob-ombs the other players have picked, so all you can do is pick one and hope for the best.
      • Bowser Jr. Breakdown is a luck-based boss fight. The entire fight consists of rolling a Dice Block to light up the dots on the gauge at the top of the screen in hopes of landing on an increment of 3 so you can score points by attacking Bowser Jr. However, if the player is unlucky enough to land on a Bowser Jr. panel, Jr. will get a chance to roll his own Dice Blocks for a chance to attack that player, costing them points. Unlike the Whomp and King Bob-omb mini-games, there is absolutely nothing the players can do to influence the outcome.
      • In Bowser's Block Battle, the players' scores are determined by which characters land face-up on the Dice Blocks that Bowser throws at them. However, players can manipulate the outcome, as they are given ten seconds to pick up any Dice Blocks they want and throw them to try and land them on a different face.
    • Mario Party: Island Tour: The minigame Pachinko Wizard has each character try to guess where a Spiny Egg from Lakitu will fall, and then choose a different spot to stand in the hopes that the falling object won't hit them. Since one of the rows of spherical obstacles is waving left and right, it's almost impossible to predict where the Spiny Egg will fall, so it's ultimately a matter of being lucky. Whoever gets hit will be disqualified, and the remaining three characters have to repeat the procedure until only one remains (and as fewer characters remain, so will the number of spots, which will therefore grow bigger in width and thus make the predictions riskier). The last remaining player wins.
    • Mario Party 10: In Bowser's Bogus Bingo, Team Mario must choose from a series of 3x3 bingo cards with images of different characters on them, after which Bowser will roll a die five times to determine what characters will be marked. For every bingo the players get, Bowser gets to take one heart from that player. If Team Mario is lucky, Bowser can waste his rolls on repeats of the same character.
    • Mario Party: Star Rush:
      • Fruit or Foe. In this minigame, players take turns picking from five different houses in hopes of finding a Shy Guy with a plate of apples. At best, players can get a Shy Guy with five apples. At worst, they can get a Chain Chomp that gives them nothing. There's no way to know where the best Shy Guy is until he's found.
      • Kamek's Card Tricks can become this in Toad Scramble mode if a player goes into it with a team of Allies. It's a memory game where the players are shown a series of cards with both up and down arrows on them, with the objective being to pick cards with down arrows to pull back on a slingshot to launch balls at Kamek to score points. Human players have no control over what cards their computer-controlled allies pick, however, so they might hurt the player by picking up arrows, or worse, the Kamek cards, allowing Kamek to attack the player and cost them points.
    • Mario Party: The Top 100: Some of the revisited minigames are reliant on luck instead of skill or reflexes, and the game acknowledges this by classifying them within the Lucky category. The most notorious one is Deck Hands, from 7.
    • In the first six games and Mario Party Superstars, the Chance Time (and equivalent) spaces can change who wins in one turn because one of the outcomes is swapping stars.
  • Sonic Shuffle:
    • Some of the mini-games can only be won by pressing the right button. These include "Sonicola", where you must choose one of five cans of soda from a vending machine, hoping not to get the one shaken up by Dr. Eggman, and "Egg in Space", where Eggman is imprisoned in a rocket jail cell and you have to find the right switch to launch it.
    • Certain mini-events can only be won by certain characters. One of the most notable is the mini-event where Eggman plays a tune that makes your character fall asleep on the next turn. Only E-102 Gamma is immune from this effect, due to being a robot, and he even fights back by locking onto Eggman, firing at him and chasing him away.
  • In Tweety and the Magic Gems, some mini-games are this, such as "Big and Small", where you have to guess whether the next card drawn will be bigger or smaller than the last one, and "Next Color", where you have to guess whether the next card drawn will be a red, blue, green, or black one.

    Platform Game 
  • Impossible Mission 2 had an infamous ending sequence: in the final room of the game are 3 identical computers. Using one of them will win you the game. The other two will instantly end the entire game regardless of remaining time or lives. Which computer is correct is randomised each game and there are no clues, in the game or in the manual, to tell you which is the correct computer. And you can't restore, so you'll have to start again from the beginning. This was likely done to hide the fact that, as with many Commodore 64 games, the ending was awful.
  • Zombie Tsunami has this mechanic as well, thankfully, since a good chunk of its missions are at least partially luck-based (like amassing 30 zombies, partially down to the layout of hazards and powerups, or making a certain background appear, completely random).
  • An already Nintendo Hard freeware game by the name of Dungeon (download link) is this taken to its logical extreme. Depending on your computer's name, your username, your RAM, and your hard drive (and maybe even your Operating System), the game picks a bug to inflict on you. This can range from merely changing level names around to making the game completely unwinnable due to fast enemies or spikes being one pixel taller. "Bugless" version is here
  • The game Alex Kidd and the Enchanted Castle for Sega Genesis takes place on Planet Paperrock. Accordingly, the player has to play Rock, Paper, Scissors to gamble for power up items, at a highly increasing cost over the course of the game. Each boss fight is a series of Rock, Paper, Scissors matches.
    • Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom also revolves boss fights with Rock, Paper, Scissors, but goes a step beyond. If you win a round, your opponent's head starts spinning and for the round to count you have to guess which way they'll be looking when you press the D-pad. They had to do the same thing if they won a round, but still...
      • There was at least one case where they dropped you a hint: a character tells you that another character in the game "hates scissors," meaning that he'll always choose Paper in the first part. Though you still have to randomly guess which direction he'll look in the second part.
  • The last encore level of BattleBlock Theater is made almost entirely of exploding platforms. There are tons of cannons firing down at you at all times & their shots move fast enough to come on screen during a jump & kill you during that same jump. Dodging a projectile usually requires you to stop or jump at which point you usually either get hit by a line of projectiles from out of nowhere or fall in acid because the platform under you exploded. The timing of the shots is randomized to some degree too.
  • In Cuphead, the reason Dr. Kahl's Robot and Cala Maria are so difficult is they both share annoyingly random tactics that tend to turn winning their battles into a matter of luck rather than skill. The nature of their attacks can, at pure random, put you in a scenario where taking a hit is unavoidable, meaning whether or not you win depends on how many times this happens to happen. Cala Maria isn't so bad since it's only her final phase where this happens, but Dr. Kahl's Robot hits you with this every step of the way.
  • Donkey Kong Country: Fishing minigames, such as that in the GBA remake of Donkey Kong Country, often have a luck component to some degree. The worst ones are almost entirely luck-based.
  • I Wanna Be the Guy has Dracula. He's the only completely randomized boss, and can be an incredibly difficult fight, even by IWBTG standards.
  • The first special stage of Kaizo Mario World requires the player to perform a leap of faith over (essentially) a Bottomless Pit and hope that a fish jumps up at the right place for them to bounce off and continue. There is no set pattern to how the fish appear at all, meaning the jump comes down to pure luck. As Wugga said during his Let's Play of the level:
    "How is this good gaming design?"
  • The emerald/key hunting missions in both games of the Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 can come down to this, especially in the latter title. The worst case is Security Hall. In any other hunting levels, if you take too long, you just don't get as good a rank, at least on the first mission. Here, if you take too long, you lose a life. The fourth mission imposes a time limit with the same penalty on all stages, making the hunting stages a definite example of this. At least the fourth missions are optional with regard to finishing the stories, but you still have to beat at least one hunting stage with a time limit in order to progress.
    • Ironically this is averted for the 5th Hard Mode missions which makes them cake walks. In line with being harder, the emeralds are kept in very hard to find and difficult to reach locations... however said locations are always the same, so you could easily take a huge amount of time to complete with an abysmal rank your first time, then retry and get a fast 'A' now that you know where to go.
    • The final battle against the Finalhazard can turn into this, depending on where the red welt appears on the boss's body. It could be near the head or the tail, which are easier to reach, or in the middle of the body, where you're more liable to get knocked back by the pink eggs or lasers.
  • At the end of Kid Klown In Crazy Chase, you're presented with ten locks. You've collected five keys over the course of the game. One of the locks works. There's no indication as to which one it is. Basically, it's a 50-50 shot... and if you get it wrong, the game gives you the worst possible ending and calls you an idiot. Now consider that getting the good ending requires a No Death Run where you also collect all the extremely missable cards, all of which you have to accomplish before this point and which failing at this moment turns into the worst ending anyway, and you have a lot of SNES controllers getting snapped in half.
  • In Mega Man X5, there are two ways to prevent the space colony Eurasia from crashing into the Earth, but their odds of success can only be manipulated to a point. The laser will almost never succeed no matter what you do, and the space shuttle will sometimes fail even if you gathered all its parts. You can also affect it with who you've been playing as for most of the game, someone who uses Zero a lot has a better chance of him not succumbing to the virus, as the game won't remove him due to how frequently he's used.
  • New Super Mario Bros. has a minigame where you collect 1-Up cards hidden in blocks. Getting the multiplier card too early can be bad, as it doubles your current total upon finding it. Also, finding the Bowser card will end your game.
  • The Simpsons: Bart vs. the World: The "Find the bat in the coffins" minigame. Just three coffins and you have to pick the right one.
  • The boss of the Asteroid Coaster in Sonic Colors. Beating him isn't hard, but you have only a ridiculously small chance of netting a high enough score for an S-Rank. To maximize your score, you have to use the Rocket Wisp every time the boss warps away (and the Rocket Wisp randomly appears from crates the boss throws at you and sometimes doesn't show up at all). And destroy all of the component parts of the boss before destroying his core (using the finicky homing attack). And collect lots of rings (and keep them to the end of the fight, which means you can't get hit at all). And rack up the quick step bonus as much as possible (constantly jerking Sonic back and forth whenever he isn't attacking). And, of course, be quick about it (take longer than 2 minutes and you may as well start over). The odds of all that coming together is astronomical, and has next to nothing to do with your skill.
  • The mobile app game Subway Surfers gives you various missions to increase your ability to get a high score in the game. Most of them are fine, but every so often you'll get a mission stating "Collect 3 Magnets in a Single Run" or similar. These missions are entirely reliant on the item appearing during the course of your run. Fortunately if the Random Number God is not with you, you're able to spend coins to skip that particular mission.
  • In Super Mario Sunshine, one mission involves visiting a casino and getting a triple 7 on two slot machines. One of them is not too bad because you can use F.L.U.D.D. on the individual reels until they land on a 7, but for the other machine all three reels will spin at the same time so you have to spin the triple 7 by chance. In the process you might also roll a triple Boo, which will cause a Boo to spawn into the level.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989) Area 5, the boss of the Area (the Technodrome) can be at the end of one of three caves. You have no way of knowing which one it'll be in short of trying each one and hoping it's there. Making this even worse is the fact that it's most likely (a one-in-two chance) to be at the end of the furthest, most difficult cave.

    Puzzle Game 
  • The hardest levels of Angry Birds can often become this, with victory hinging on the direction a singular block falls.
  • The latest version of Solitaire (Klondike, specifically) that comes alongside Windows Vista has the audacity to inform you that you've lost, even when it deals you a literally unwinnable game. It doesn't help that it now keeps a running tally of wins and losses.
    • Free Cell, in contrast, has only one Unwinnable game out of the ~32000 it will randomly deal.
  • The independent game Osmos is built entirely out of this trope. While the developers claim that the eat-blobs smaller than you and avoid bigger ones that eat you gameplay has a strategy to it, in reality (especially in the later levels) the only strategy involved is to reload the game constantly until you get a starting position that has blobs you can actually eat.
  • There are times where the only way to move forward in a Sudoku game is to guess. Fortunately, there is no losing in Sudoku, just having to backtrack to undo the incorrect guess.
  • Candy Crush Saga, a game that is also similar to Bejeweled, has some levels which can be incredibly frustrating, but later levels introduce Candy Bombs that will go off after a set amount of moves. However, some levels have them so tightly set up that it is almost impossible to take out the bomb in the set amount of moves unless if the candies are there.
  • Catherine is overall a puzzle game that is lacking in requiring luck, since stacking blocks to form a staircase is overall more a logical activity. That is until Stage 9 of the game, where Mystery Blocks are added. These blocks have red curtains around the sides and will randomly transform into any of the block types when you step on them, so they could do no harm by turning into regular or heavy blocks, help the player advance faster by turning into a springboard block or utterly ruin everything because they turned into spike blocks or black hole blocks which spell insta-Death and Game Over for the player.
    • The final boss and its stage is worse! Not only does the final stage feature several Mystery Blocks, but one of the boss' form of attacking is causing randomly chosen blocks in the vicinity to randomly change their type... repeatedly. So there's an even higher chance that your lovely progress is ruined because he changed the block you were on and you could not dodge what it turned into fast enough.
  • In Elemental Story, getting 5 star monsters in normal roll or evolution slabs as random quest clear drops requires an absurdly large amount luck.
  • Immortal Souls is a sort of cross between Puzzle Quest and Bejeweled, where you have to match up colored tiles to take down matching color armor on your enemies. Meanwhile, using the wrong color on the wrong armor is much less effective. As a result, getting the right tile/armor matchup can make a battle a breeze, while getting the wrong one can make a battle drag out over multiple turns. And unlike you, your enemies never miss and always deal the same amount of damage. Then add on some enemies which have two or more different armor colors (usually bosses or the Templars), and it can take either grinding your attack stats or repeated attempts at getting good luck to win. Argh.
  • The Impossible Quiz is virtually unwinnable on a first playthrough for even the cleverest thanks to its Insane Troll Logic questions. And then some of the questions have a different answer every time, making it a luck based mission even if you memorized the answers.
  • Some of the levels in Lemmings fall into this. There's a stage in which the Lemmings fall into a 1-pixel wide gap between two pillars. Due to the AI of Lemmings walking forward until they hit a wall and then turning around, this causes the Lemmings trapped in this gap to change their direction every single frame. In order to beat the level you need to get the Lemming to bash through the right pillar, one of which will create a path to the goal once destroyed while bashing the other one will result in your Lemmings falling into lava. Due to the fact that the Lemmings will bash whatever they are currently facing it's impossible to time this since they're changing directions far too rapidly to read.
  • In Minesweeper: Since the boards are psuedo-randomly generated, you can easily end up with situations where there's no way to logically determine where the remaining mines are, and whichever square you click has an equal chance of containing a mine. Since the board is fixed after the first click of the mouse, you don't even get the mercy of Schrödinger's Gun. On top of that, some bootleg versions of the game are luck-based right from the very beginning — as the field is entirely obscured at first, it's perfectly possible to step on a mine in your first move. In the standard Windows version of Minesweeper, the game is configured so that you cannot possibly hit a mine on your first move (i.e. the playing field is generated based on your first move to avoid generating a mine there). This is easy to see when the number of mines greatly exceeds 50% of the playing area when custom fields are generated, yet you still can never lose until the second click. Other renditions, however, are not always so fortunate. Regardless, any moves other than the first can easily be luck based. Some incarnations of Minesweeper go the other way and avert this trope entirely: they generate the board based on your first click and ensure that there is a logical solution.
  • Puyo Puyo can be this at times, especially with higher levels where the pieces drop almost instantaneously and the AI is ruthless. But the most egregious example is the Endless Fever battle mode. Due to the offset mechanics, nuisance Puyo will not drop if you can clear just one group of four, making it easy to survive a very long time. Due to the margin time mechanics, surviving a very long time will eventually lead to a scenario where clearing just one group is enough to wipe out a full tray of warning Puyo and completely fill your opponent's tray. At this point, it is literally a matter of "whoever gets a piece that can't clear anything first, loses".
  • The item crafting and spell learning mini-games in Puzzle Quest: Challenge Of The Warlords. You are almost completely at the mercy of the board's configuration when it comes go gaining the requisite number of anvils or scrolls to gain the sought item, and if you run out of legal moves, the game ends and you have to start over.
    • The final battle with Lord Bane - especially if you're primarily a magic user: Bane literally gets stronger as the match goes on, thanks to his ludicrously low-cost stat buffing spells. You basically have to pray your spells don't get blocked (too much) and you don't get uber-cascaded into oblivion. If Bane gets rolling early, you're meat, not matter what class you play as.
    • The sequel, Galatrix, runs with this: adding time limits to the Gate Hack mini-games (and the cascades that would help you in battle work against you, since the clock keeps running and you can't make a move until they stop) and junk blocks to the rest or the mini-games.
  • Perhaps this is not the experience all players will have, but Reset Generation feels as though the entire game is built around luck and coincidence. If the right items drop in the right place, it's easy for anyone to completely wipe out the other players. Much of the time there seems to be very little strategy required at all; if a particularly useful item drops into your territory and you're able to defend it from being destroyed by cannon shots (an easy task), your opponents won't stand much of a chance... Unless an equally useful item falls into THEIR possession.
    • Plumber is actually a very broken character in this regard. Items are usually the difference between victory and defeat, and his power allows him to fetch nearby items without actually walking to them, basically giving him weighted dice as far as item drops go. Basically, he's the High Priest to the Random Number God. It certainly doesn't help that he can grab a full-power-charge item, taking away his opponent's chance to grab it, and then grab another one as he pleases.
  • Many a run of Tetris has ended because the game denied a piece crucial to recovering out of an otherwise-unmanagable stack, something that could've been avoided with a different roll of the RNG. This is why newer games, such as Tetris: The Grand Master and official Tetris games falling under the "Tetris Guideline" use randomizers tailored to curbing piece droughts. Professional Tetris matches attempt to mitigate this by playing a version that ensures both players have the exact same piece order. They can still get killed by RNG, but they won't lose because their opponent got better RNG.
  • The entire game of Trash Panic on PSN is luck based. It is a physics based Tetris style game, but the objects do not have uniform dimensions like the blocks of Tetris, but consist of things like guitars and toilet bowls, making this game very very difficult.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Age of Empires has an example: In the Babylonian mission Lost, you start on an island with several archers and a priest. You have to go to the north of the island, use the archers to kill all but one archer on a second island, use the priest to convert a priest on the other island, immediately use that priest to convert the remaining archer that opens fire the moment the priest is converted, hope the priest can convert the archer before the archer kills him, and then use the archer to attack a transport at the northern end of the second island to send it towards the first so the two priests can work together to convert it.
    • Or, just use your own priest to directly convert the Transport Ship. It might only work on the expansion, though.
  • Atom Zombie Smasher is a grand example of this. The game randomly places zombie infestations, spawn points, and even what mercenaries are at your disposal during a given battle. The game could be over before it even started.
  • In Bokosuka Wars the outcome of a battle between two units is determined by random chance every time. While units with a higher power level have better odds of winning, it's still entirely possible to lose units to the weakest enemies in the game, and if King Suren loses only once, it's Game Over. It's entirely possible to reach King Ogereth at the end of the game and fail to have any of your remaining units defeat him.
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun: There is a Nod mission where you have to send a small force through GDI infested territory to recapture a Scrin ship, then storm Vega's base to retrieve the Tacitus. Getting the Tacitus is a matter of sending your two Attack Buggies in, praying all the forces attack them, then sending a Scout Cycle in to destroy the train car and finish the level. If any of the enemy units opened fire on the Cycle, you were screwed.
  • Certain missions in Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars depend heavily on chance.
    • One of the most painful ones is Operation Stiletto, a Nod mission where you have to capture the Construction Yards/Drone Platforms of four separate bases, all intact. If any of the Yards/Platforms are destroyed, you automatically lose. The problem is that the GDI and Scrin forces are fighting each other, and will gladly destroy their opponents' bases, including the buildings you need to protect, forcing you to simply hope they don't break through each others' lines until you can build up your forces enough to stop them.
    • The 6th Nod mission. You had to do a suicidal run into the middle of an enemy base in order to pick up a package with a small, fragile strike team with no reinforcements, and then reach an evac helicopter on the other side of the map - all while being harassed by enemy patrols. It basically came down to praying that the enemy would ignore at least one of your units while you make the escape to the helicopter, or else it'd be gunned down helplessly.
  • The underrated game Constructor, upon reaching certain stages in house construction, would make certain demands of you to build X number of houses/facilities on one estate with X features. However, it also imposes varying arbitrary quotas on how many houses of each type you're permitted to build. If, upon reaching the penultimate stage in the game, it asks you to build the wrong type of house, the quota will forbid you from building enough and you'll be sacked (Read: Taken out of your headquarters in a coffin while you're sleeping and buried alive).
  • Dark Reign has several:
    • In mission 5, as the Imperium, you have to destroy a Freedom Guard base while preventing them from destroying the Water Extraction Compound, located in their base. They attack it when you breach their defenses, so you have to be ready to charge in and destroy everything quickly. However, you have no way of knowing what they've got in the way of units, so you have to pray they don't have half an army ready to destroy it.
    • In mission 8, once again as the Imperium, you have to flee your base, which is hopelessly overrun, and take a MacGuffin to an extraction point to receive reinforcements. However, the only way to do this is to hide out on the lake west of the base, wait for the Freedom Guard to finish destroying the base and leave, then move back through the wreckage. However, if the Freedom Guard army catches a glimpse of the transport or any other units heading out onto the lake, the army won't leave the area. Considering the MacGuffin is both sluggish and armored with tinfoil, it's almost impossible to get through. And god help you if you run into a marauding Spider Bike.
    • In the final level, the Tograns' survival is dependent entirely on what the Imperium does. If they attack your base too early, you'll be obliterated. If they attack the Freedom Guard too aggressively, they'll punch through and destroy the Orbital Defense Matrix, which is the only thing preventing the activation of an Imperium Kill Sat (read: Non Standard Game Over). If they don't attack the Freedom Guard enough, the Guard will attack you. And if the Guard and Imperium attack at the same time...
  • Europa Universalis III lets the player play ANY nation that is implemented into the game and existed historically during the time period. This includes historical strategy gaming mainstays like France, England and the Netherlands, but also tiny minor nations like the Irish kingdoms of Leinster and Connaught. Playing one of the Irish minor nations basically depends on little other than whether England will want to annex all of Ireland early on, and whether England gets into enough trouble with the French, Scottish and Burgundy.
    • This is valid for any country in any given game made by Paradox team. There are almost no certain things here, even for mainstays. From the moment you start the game, it's alternative history of humankind. Random events can make or destroy continent-spanning empires in few years (or weeks in Hearts of Iron). Random Number God is one of most important factors in battles, sometimes more powerful than technological, numerical and tactical advantages and God help you if you don't have those advantages. Later add-ons for EU3 take it to extremes in terms of succession. It's entirely possible to inherit half of the continent via sheer luck and a single, long-forgotten pact... or to see a powerful empire being balkanized into a bunch of laughably weak states after a succession mess or revolt created by a sighted comet.
    • Playing as a weak or very minor country tends to be a Self-Imposed Challenge not because of the skill needed to succeed, but because it's usually sheer luck that allows you to stay afloat for the first century or two.
  • Pikmin 2's Challenge Mode has a luck-based level called Concrete Maze. It has 3 floors. You have a strict time limit on each floor. The first floor is a maze with randomly placed destructible walls blocking most of the dead ends, a key behind one of the randomly placed walls, & a buried exit behind another one of the randomly placed walls. The buried exit will only emerge after you get your pikmin to take the key to the ship (which takes a really long time if the key is really far from the ship). The second floor is like the first floor but it's bigger, it has way more paths, & bomb carrying spiders randomly fall from above to suicide attack you & your pikmin. All you have to do on the third floor is throw your pikmin into flowers to get more pikmin & have your pikmin get some treasure for you that's laid out for you. That floor is really easy if you don't assume you need to be careful about which colors of pikmin you get from the 3 flowers (which change colors every few seconds so going for specific colors takes a while).
  • In the Police Quest: SWAT 2
    • Terrorist campaign, one mission requires you to give food to a newspaper editor before she'll cooperate with your primary objective. SWAT is the only source of food, but they might randomly refuse to give you any before ending negotiations and storming the building, guaranteeing a failed campaign and mandatory mission restart.
    • Getting the Golden Ending in the SWAT campaign requires collecting all the right evidence throughout the game. Since each mission has certain elements that are randomised, it is very difficult to get all of the required evidence and more often than not, most players will find the Chief of police being forced to resign in the ending.
  • In Pyramid Rising every level has a goal called "gold time" that gives your city some new building or enhancement. In some levels, meeting this goal is only possible if the correct purchases show up at the right times at the port.
  • UFO Aftermath base defense missions, which randomly scatter your men. How does trying to take on whole squads of laser-toting aliens with your weakest member because the rest of the team is in a different room sound?

    Rhythm Game 
  • The whole point of the Vegas character in Audiosurf, whose powers are the ability to shuffle the board and generate random powerups.
  • DanceDanceRevolution:
    • DanceDanceRevolution SuperNOVA's Stellar Master mission mode often has mission requirements that are entirely luck-based—i.e., playing multiple songs in a row with a (randomly-selected) onscreen character of the same gender.
    • The end of the song "Tohoku EVOLVED" has a jump that comes at the end of the song, preceded by a sudden spike in scroll BPM to 1020, and is always randomized to be one of four "corner" jumpsnote . Because the chart is scrolling so fast, hitting it boils down to hitting one corner jump and praying that it's the correct jump. For those who played the song as an Encore Extra Stage in DanceDanceRevolution X3, with a one-point lifebar, this means that no matter how well one played up to this point, you had a 75% chance of failing the song.
  • In Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock, there are a few segments called "Guitar Battle" in which you face off against a computer (or player) opponent and play for power-ups to use on one another. These power-ups, ideally, are used to make the other person fail the song or at least prevent them from obtaining power-ups of their own. The luck-based success is against the final boss on the Expert difficulty - if one is lucky enough to both have a non-fatal power-up used against them at first and then acquire a 'whammy attack' power-up of their own, the boss can be promptly defeated much, much more easily than via any other power-up combination.
  • Pump It Up NX2 and NXA have a World Max mission with the song Deja Vu. At specific parts of the song, the chart can change into one of multiple patterns. Unlike most instances of this trope, this chart is actually a popular one.
  • Sound Shapes has Death Mode, in which you must collect notes spawned one by one randomly over a map, within a ludicrously tight time limit, to go along with the instant-death enemies, projectiles and inability to touch most surfaces. One attempt can see three or four notes spawn right next to one another, others having notes appear on the other side of the map. Even a perfect run of certain spawning patterns cannot possibly be done within the timer.

  • ADOM
    • Some examples will merely require a lot of grinding if you're unlucky. For example, the dwarven elder asks you to kill a random creature, which may be disgustingly rare or far more powerful than you can handle until much later in the game — this locks out most of the rest of his quests as well. The road to the Ultra Endings and the Trident of the Red Rooster is especially infuriating: Gaab'Baay wants a boar skull which first requires a rare wilderness encounter with a boar and then a random corpse drop, and then she wants a scroll of danger which is also quite rare. Saving Khelavaster requires an Amulet of Life Saving, which is so rare that it's better obtained with a Wish, and Wishes are so rare there may be no practical way of obtaining one before this part of the game, particularly if you get unlucky with the pools in Darkforge. This last one can become practically unbeatable, though never in principle since you could always get an extremely rare drop.
    • Especially near the beginning, some quests and objectives are genuinely incompletable with bad luck because they have failure conditions or are almost guaranteed to kill a character who gets unlucky in a specific way, usually both. (And no Save Scumming in the original mode of this game; dead is dead.) Trying to reach all possible objectives right at the beginning requires a very unlikely string of lucky breaks: Find the Goblin Camp in a random wilderness encounter before reaching level 3. (And by the way, moving around the wilderness consumes game time very fast, affecting the last item on this list.) Go to the Small Cave and find the stairs down and the waterproof blanket before reaching a too high level and/or dying — the difficulty rises all the time with each level. Kill Kranach the raider lord in a random wilderness encounter before reaching level 6. Rescue the cute dog in the Puppy Cave before four days have passed.
      • You can't complete the raider quest if you don't get the encounter before level 6. You might starve or unwillingly level up from other encounters before that happens. You might also be too weak to survive against the raiders when you encounter them, regardless of tactics.
      • Exaggerated Trope: The puppy quest is, just by itself, a string of challenges dependent on luck. Most characters will not be able to complete it other than by retrieving the puppy's corpse. On the second level, you have to get past a nest of giant ants. You might just be able to stroll to the next level without running into them (or find a huge rock to block their nest), or they might be right between you and the objective. Low-level characters might be completely unable to kill giant ants, or have to take so long the puppy dies. There used to be an underground river in the cave as well, meaning you'd have to be really lucky to get past without taking a lot of drowning damage and getting your items rusty, but that was thankfully removed. Then there's the cavernous level near the bottom, where the monsters just keep coming at you and can be quite tough. An ogre mage generated at this point will kill most player characters, although at least that's rare. (That is, ogre mages are rare, not being killed.) Again, you might just be able to walk into the next cavern and go right down, or you might search the whole area before finding the stairs down at the opposite end. If you get to the next level before four days have passed, the puppy will be generated alive... in a level with hostile monsters. It seems to have at least 50% chance of being killed before you find it, even if a river isn't randomly generated on this level, which it might. (It's presumably possible to enter the level at this point to generate the puppy alive and then quickly leave and come back later at a high level when you can just teleport straight to it.) Also, you might instead run into the vault full of monsters in the level first, which usually means either dozens of weak opponents you have to deal with — or a random vault with dozens of sometimes powerful opponents. Anyway, if you do manage to find the puppy, then you just have to do an Escort Mission back across all the dangerous places just mentioned, to get it back to town.
  • The Binding of Isaac is an action game at heart, so it should be theoretically possible to win on skill alone. The No Damage Runs you can earn achievements for completing, however, are not: Some combinations of room layouts and enemies are literally impossible to get through safely unless you happen to have the right powerups. So if you're going for those achievements, not only do you have to be 100% perfect at the game, you have to pray you never encounter one of those rooms. (Thankfully, taking damage through other luck-based means, like getting a pill that turns out to be a "Bad Trip", don't count against them.)
  • Dwarf Fortress, on the whole, is a strange fusion of luck and skill, with luck most noticeably determining just how stupid your dwarves will act (EG: dodging by leaping off a cliff). However, the truly luck-based missions enter when either noblemen make demands or someone has a strange mood; will you be lucky enough to have the requisite materials on hand? Will you be lucky enough for them to exist within the world? It is quite possible to generate a world with next-to-no iron in it and have someone demand steel furnishings. And if none of your neighbours have iron, you can forget about trading for it...
  • FTL: Faster Than Light:
    • Don't come across any weapons during your playthrough? It's possible and it make the end boss nearly unwinnable (or completely unwinnable if you started with a ship without any kind of missle weapon or some other way to bypass the end boss' four layers of shields).
    • It's also possible to come across a fleeing ship and fail to hit its before it escapes, resulting in accelerated Rebel advancement.
    • The Crystal Cruiser is absolutely notorious for this. It requires you to find an event that is exclusive to certain sectors, followed by another event that is also exclusive to certain sectors, then finding a specific sector so you can jump to the hidden sector to unlock the ship. This is because the unlock is considered a colossal Game-Breaker.
  • While most roguelikes (like say NetHack) have a fair bit of luck involved in winning, Dungeon Crawl takes this to the extreme in the early portions of the game. All classes start out woefully under-equipped (mages don't even carry a backup weapon) for a long expedition, and worse, survival early on relies heavily on two things: being lucky enough to find some special equipment (finding something like a dagger of venom can help immensely), and being lucky enough not to encounter any of the many unique enemies you can encounter from level 2 of the dungeon onward (it would not be unusual to see Sigmund as well as another unique enemy on the same level). Once you've levelled up a bit and built up equipment, it gets a bit more manageable, but the early game can be outright unwinnable if it decides to screw you over because of how limited your options for escape are.

    Shoot Em Up 
  • The Web Game Zombo Buster Rising has a boss that's a huge step up in difficulty from the levels due to this trope. His AI uses abilities randomly- spawning a crypt that spawns a constant stream of 1hp zombies, summoning a zerg rush of the game's Elite Mooks including at least 3 Giant Mooks, healing all the mooks on the screen, or taking a step forward (if he gets too close after 4-5 steps, he instakills you with a massive punch). Heaven help you if he decides to step forwards a few times in a row, or if he spawns two waves contain over 5 giant mooks in a row- it becomes nearly impossible to win. If you're lucky, he wastes his turns doing the healing move when there aren't that many mooks around.
  • E4: Every Extend Extra Extreme. Getting high scores, especially in the timed mode, depends largely on getting enemies to randomly spawn in fortunate enough positions that you can rack up chains in excess of 2,000.
  • Heavy Weapon has multiple "waves" for each level. Each type of wave contains a fixed set of enemies, and lasts for about half a minute. The luck part comes on the fact that each "wave" is chosen at random, so you may be fighting powerful enemies over and over again if you're really unlucky.
  • In Parodius for the MSX, the second stage ends in a game of Rock–Paper–Scissors. Lose, and you're back to the beginning of the stage.
  • Sigma Star Saga has this bad with its random encounters, in which you are beamed into one of several different ships for battles. The problem is that there are a few larger ships that are difficult, and in some cases, impossible to navigate between enemy fire and yes, even natural terrain. There are even a few encounters throughout the game where it takes place completely within a very small corridor, roughly half the height of the larger ships.
  • Star Fox
    • In the original SNES Star Fox, there is a secret boss in the form of a slot machine. It can only be defeated by hitting three lucky 7s. Depending on how nice the RNG feels, this can take 30 seconds or five minutes, and on rare occasions, more than an hour. And even if you do win, your reward is essentially a perpetual "THE END" screen.
    • Getting a medal on Star Fox 64's Sector Z stage is a matter of praying that the game registers one of your shots on each missile as the killing shot, and not those of your allies who are also shooting the missiles with sustained laser fire.

    Simulation Games 
  • Ace Combat:
    • Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War's Mission 12b, "Four Horsemen,". Even if you actually pull off your anti-radar site attack runs flawlessly, there's no sure 100% guarantee that your wingmen will — and if they don't, everyone's attack run has to be aborted and started over. (At least you're the only one who can directly cause a mission failure here.)
    • The above mission is rendered somewhat more trivial if you know to take the A-10 in advance, since it's capable of flying low and slow enough to give you a window to abort the attack run and turn clear without getting spotted if one of your wingmen fails. A large amount of the difficulty of this level stems from the vast majority of the game's supersonic jet fighters being too fast to pull away from an attack run at the last second without either pulling up (and thus getting spotted) or shooting past the radar (ditto) - both of which are problems avoided by the A-10.
    • Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation carries on the tradition with Mission 13, "The Liberation of Gracemeria". The bulk of the mission is a long and difficult air-to-ground mission, but that's only to sap your strength in preparation for fighting Ilya Pasternak. Ilya flies the game's super-fighter, which has 12-shot swarm missiles that are sometimes literally undodgeable, and your low health by the end of the mission means that even one of the missiles will probably kill you. And on top of this he takes about five times the damage of any other opponent in the game, is faster and more maneuverable than you even if you're flying the same fighter he is, and surrounds himself with dozens of tiny, lightning-fast drones that confuse, distract, and fire at you. On top of that, his fighter is stealth, which means you will randomly lose radar lock on him and target one of the UAVs instead. It's almost impossible to win unless you catch him away from the UAVs.
      • Sure, The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard there and any player can only wish their Nosferatu performed like his, but the fight isn't luck based at all. It's quite possible to reliably evade the missile spam every time if you're good enough, even on the highest difficulty.
    • Subverted several times in Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown: several times you are more or less forced into a fight with "Orange Wingtips", Mihaly, the enemy ace pilot. Every one of these fights is a "fair" fight, but Mihaly is a such a good pilot that he can dodge your missiles or even shoot them down. However, if you're good enough, you can still hit him, even repeatedly. The subversion is that hitting him does nothing: all of his appearances except the last one are scripted. The first time you encounter him, hitting him twice will force him to withdraw, but he'll also leave after a few minutes anyway. By his final appearance, you're mostly likely waiting for something to happen that ends the battle, but it's actually an entirely fair fight...and he's just as hard to hit as he was before.
  • Animal Crossing games have paintings, and generally the only person who will sells them is Crazy Redd. And guess what? Half the time the painting is a fake. Know what's worse? You don't find out until you've tried donating it to the museum. And of course, don't expect a refund.
    • Thankfully averted in New Leaf, where fakes have subtle differences separating them from the real ones. However, it makes an old one stand out far more, namely having the piece you need be the real one. To make matters worse, usually only one out of Redd's four pieces of art are real, making the chances even lower. It is possible to find two pieces of art that are genuine (one artwork that's always genuine and one that has a fake version, but it's the "genuine piece" of the week), but the chances of this happening are extremely rare and you can only buy one per player at a time.
    • The other collections can be this as well, of course; fossils, insects and fish all have different degrees of rarity per individual specimen, and are more or less randomly selected. This extends to furniture as well as their availability is randomized.
  • In Cook, Serve, Delicious!, any of Crazy Dave's bets which involve making a certain amount in tips. Even if every item on your Active Menu has the Big Tipper bonus, whether or not you win the bet depends entirely on whether or not the customers actually feel like tipping, which is, of course, completely random.
  • Dragon Vale has some rather nasty luck-based gameplay where dragon-breeding is concerned. Most pairings have more than one possible result, and which you get is entirely random - with the really desirable and rare dragons often having very low odds. If you don't get the one you need, you still have to wait several (real-life) hours for the breeding to be completed so you can try again. You can somewhat increase the odds of rare dragons being born by purchasing the Epic Breeding Island, but for the really rare ones, you're still chasing some very low percentages.
    • In the most obvious cases, however, it CAN be seen as a Perseverance-Based Mission instead - if you keep at it, you WILL get an ultra-rare Rainbow Dragon sooner or later. But where the time-limited Seasonal dragons are concerned, luck becomes a very real factor - if your bad luck stays that way for long enough, time will run out on you and the seasonal dragon will be lost forever. Or at least for a year. Unless, of course, you were trying to breed the ultra-rare Leap Year Dragon, which was only available for about a week around Leap Day... in which case your next chance will come around in four years or so. Shoulda' sacrificed a goat to the Random Number God, better luck next leap year...
  • Some locations in Growing Up are only unlocked in certain routes, such as the Sky Tower Observation Deck in Jake's route and the Alley Way in Charles', Alex's, and Wendy's routes. Since the classmates you'll meet are randomized with every playthrough and you can only meet three in one life cyclenote , you better hope you meet the one you want if you plan to learn the skills offered by these exclusive locations. Even then, you have to make the right dialogue choices to unlock them.
  • Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns:
    • Triggering date events (called "flower events" here) reaches this level. Whereas in previous games, triggering date events could come down to being in the right place, at the right time, under the right conditions, Two Towns adds the modifier of having a choice of locations for your "dates." There's a chance the proper option to trigger the flower event, rather than a regular date, won't come up. (Though since dates are the best way to improve your relation with a bachelor/ette, it's feasible to brute-force the events.)
    • In the same game, villager requests - especially those of A or S-rank. Often, the request will be for items you don't have, can't get in time or simply can't get period (like asking for gems or metals before the mines are open or asking for processed items when you don't have any of the Maker Sheds yet). Presumably, the player is intended to use the online connection to get the items from someone else, but that presumes you can find someone who has what you need, when you need it.
  • In Hometown Story, triggering many friendship events requires to either sell or deliver the right item at the right time. A large portion of these items are sold by a travelling merchant that shows up once a day and only has a handful of them at a time. Because of this, his stock can range from "Hey, it's that thing X asked me for just yesterday" to "Finally. I've been keeping my eye out for this for two months.". Since making money is fairly easy, a recommended strategy is to just buy all the request items offered as soon as the player can afford it, even if none have been requested yet.
  • Idol Manager:
    • The two story mode objectives that require to rank within the top five and later first place in the sales chart. While both objectives are easier to reach when more sales are made, the actual number of sales needed can have suprising variations. There are some months on which the group's latest single will rank surprisingly high despite not having hit four digits in sales just because the competition didn't do well either, while there are others where a few thousands of sales won't get the player in the top ten, let alone the top five.
    • One of the factors that can help the submission to have an idol group sing at the closing ceremony of the Summer Athletic Games is submitting a song with a combination of components (music genre, lyric topic and choreography style) that will appeal to as many jury members as possible, with the ideal being one that had good metrics upon its release. The deadline for the submission is enough to produce a new song for that sole purpose, but the jury's combination of preferences is randomly generated. The jury members may like song components that a player who has been focusing on a limited selection of them hasn't even unlocked yet. If the overlap between the player's existing output and the jury's preferences isn't a problem, there is no gurantee the best combination the player can produce will be something able to sell well; the three ways song components evolve as their quality enhances is becoming more appealing, less alienating or more alienating to various demographics. The only way to completely circumvent this is to have all possible song components maxed out before being asked to submit the application for the closing ceremony, which is a surprise Timed Mission for a player going into story mode blind.
    • If the Player Character's group makes it through the application process, the next challenge will boil down to getting no new scandal points until the Summer Athletic Games start. Failure can potentially be caused by having the bad luck of getting one of the random events that are the hardest to solve without creating a scandal during that period.
  • Kitty Powers' Matchmaker:
    • The flirting and chocolate minigames involve playing Rock–Paper–Scissors and finding the right chocolate, Minesweeper-style, respectively. It takes a little logic to predict the best outcomes, but winning them mostly boils down to luck.
    • In Kitty Powers' Love Life, resolving a couple's argument is done by playing blackjack against the other party, who is controlled by the AI. You can cheat to exchange your card for another one of higher value, but you have to be lucky with the cards you draw to win the argument.
  • In Mini Motorways, challenges where the upgrades are a mystery or only one is given every week can either make or break a run because they rely on luck to get the upgrades you want.
  • In Pocket Stables, the horse's starting position and even which rival appearing can sometimes be a determining factor on whether you win or lose the race. Save Scumming is one way to change the position and rivals, and because the game doesn't penalize you for it, it makes it very tempting.
  • Rune Factory 2 has the following quest: Super Training Plan: Luck! (thank you, Cammy, for making my non-existent luck stat go up in a game of ROCK-PAPER-SCISSORS)
  • In The Sims 2, career chance cards can be like this. The player is presented with a scenario and must choose between two choices or ignore it.
    • This is a literal Luck Based Mission: although you're presented with two choices (along with ignore), neither one is necessarily correct: when you make your choice of the two options, you have a 50% chance of succeeding. The Sims 3 continues the tradition, but there's a lifetime bonus available that changes chance card options to an 80% chance of succeeding.
  • Mission 8 in Startopia has two goals: Hire 12 Zedem Monks and convert 12 other aliens. You will lose the mission a few times because the game won't give you 12 Zedem Monks before your opponent does.
    • This assumes you make it past Mission 2, which requires you to cure 100 patients from diseases without accumulating over 10 deaths. Pray to The God you don't get a flood of infected aliens or get an endless supply of low-skill greys with no decently-skilled ones, or else you'll invariably accumulate 11 deaths and fail the mission ridiculously fast. fortunately, the next 5 missions are less luck-dependent.
  • Several GUILT missions in Trauma Center: Under the Knife, due to the wildly unpredictable behaviors of some of the parasites.
    • Deftera is prime example of this trope, because if the like-colored guilt refuse to separate, you will lose.
  • In Virtual Horse Ranch, the results of Gymkhana events have one rule: horses with higher training level place higher than horses with lower training level. Otherwise, it's completely random. In a rare not really bad example of the trope, it's a decent way to make money if you're no good at training for the skill-based events.
  • War Thunder. Completing tasks is a matter of either Boring, but Practical or Difficult, but Awesome, depending on the type of the challenge. But all of them involve some degrees of unpredictability. For example:
    • You can be tasked with killing 4 attackers in air arcade battles, but if they are not present in the enemy team or they spawn only when you finished all your crews, there is nothing you can do. Things might get frustrating if the task requires you to rely on someone else to accomplish a result, like scouting targets that are successfully killed by a teammate.
    • Certain ground maps have spawn areas that are unprotected, and the opposite team can easily snipe from covered positions, sometimes even from the beginning of the match. Then there is sunlight which can be directly in your eyes, disturbing your vision, depending on the side it is positioned. Pray you get the good spawn.
    • Sinking ships in naval battles requires aiming skill, but also a bit of luck, as your shells won't be perfectly directed and whether they miss, they hit an armored citadel, or they detonate ammo, can be a matter of a few meters.
    • The system of uptiers and downtiers is just a matter of chance. You can be blessed or damned because of this, as the battle rating compression means that most engagements aren't balanced.
  • Wing Commander IV had this built into gameplay in the form of missiles, which 1) could maybe be distracted from you by judicious use of decoys, and 2) if they hit you, were either a whole lot of damage or a One-Hit Kill. This meant that a large part of whether you won a particular mission depended on how lucky you were with the Decoys you dropped: be lucky and you won, be unlucky and you could easily run out of Decoys and die; and both times you were piloting your fighter just as well.
  • The X-Universe games have the "Retrieve Stolen Ship" mission category. The idea is, somebody's ship was stolen from dock and they're paying you to retrieve it. Trouble is, any time the ship in question isn't a corvette or frigate, recapturing the ship requires you to force the pilot to bail out ... which is a completely random event.

    Sports Game 
  • Ace Fishing combines this with Timed Mission, with the aptly-named Time Attack Mission sidequest. The game generates a list of 3 specific type of fish that the player could earn gold for catching. However, while you do need skill and proper equipment to reel in the fish, whether or not you'll actually encounter them before the time runs out is up to chance.
  • Madden NFL offers several in their "Madden Moments," which allows you to try to replicate some great moments in NFL history. The reason they are considered "great" in the first place is because they were so improbable. Specifically:
    • One of the most infamous is Madden 2002's recreation of the Heidi Game from 1968, which was impossible. You control the Oakland Raiders, down 39 - 29 (even though the real-life game was only a 3-point deficit) to the New York Jets - the team that would go on to win that year's Super Bowl - with only 1:05 left on the clock. Fortunately, you have all three timeouts. Still, you have 65 seconds to score two touchdowns and grab an onside kick. Nintendo Hard doesn't even come close to describing it. (Note: the Raiders won the actual game by the score of 43 - 32 with the help of a 43-yard touchdown and a fumble return for a touchdown on the kickoff.)
    • Also impossible was the final game in the Great Games series, which featured the Atlanta Falcons' 30 - 27 overtime win in the 1998 NFC Championship game against the Minnesota Vikings. You have to stop the Falcons' Morten Andersen, one of the most accurate kickers in history, from making a rather routine 38-yard field goal. Good luck blocking it - even lowering the AI's ability to kick field goals doesn't help.
    • Another was bringing the Indianapolis Colts back from a 31 - 17 deficit against the New Orleans Saints in Madden 2011. You have the ball, 4th and goal from the Saints' 5 in Super Bowl XLIV. Two timeouts and 50 seconds to work with. You'll need to score quickly and either grab an onside kick or cause a fumble — no easy task on either side. Have fun.
  • In Wii Sports, how many errors you get (either not catching the ball, or not pitching what you inputed) will determine who the winner of Baseball is more than actual ability.

    Survival Horror 
  • The chase sequences in Clock Tower: The First Fear and Clock Tower rely quite a bit on luck just so you'll rarely find a guaranteed way to escape the killer. When running you can randomly trip or fall down stairs which slows you down and drains your health, which prevents you from surviving a direct conflict if it drops too low. When you manage to hide there's always a chance he'll figure out where you're hiding, which at best can just resume the chase but sometimes results in an unavoidable instant death. Grabbing something from the environment to attack him with might work just fine, but he might also shrug it off if it were nothing. Some of his ambush points are randomly generated as well: you might pass through a room a solid half a dozen times before he leaps out of a locker or the pantry, scaring the bejeezus out of you.
  • There's a very neat subversion in The Evil Within. One puzzle involves inserting a plate into a locked door with the correct side facing outward to avoid a horrible death via impalement. A journal entry you find in front of it mentions a random, 50/50 chance of success, as there are no hints as to which side is correct. The unfortunate writer of the note didn't survive their attempt, which in fact is your clue: the side without that victim's blood spattered on it is the correct facing.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's:
    • Happens a good deal in Five Nights at Freddy's. Bonnie and Chica might wander away soon after they show up at your door or they might decide to camp out there for a while, forcing you to expend power keeping them out. Foxy may rush your door several times even if you check on him frequently, draining your power in the process. Freddy might take his sweet time playing an Ominous Music Box Tune before jumpscaring you when the power goes out (giving the clock the chance to tick over to 6 AM), or he might cut it off early, and in the later nights he may or may not stay on stage for a while and not bother you for the beginning of the night. It's especially noticeable in 20/20/20/20 mode, where even if you do play perfectly, you're going to have to rely on the animatronics playing nice to survive (and if you don't play perfectly, you're not gonna live to run out of power). It's been analyzed in-depth by this data miner who has concluded practically everything about how the animatronics move is luck-based: it's actually theoretically possible on Night 1 for Chica or Bonnie to move straight to the hallway at break-neck speed and then refuse to leave until you run out of power (if they moved at every random chance until they reached the office, and then didn't move at every random chance to leave) or for Freddy to get into your office and never attack (once he's inside he'll only attack 25% of the time every second if the camera is down). "Theoretically" in that it's as unlikely as winning the lottery jackpot, mind you. He also theorizes that 20/19/19/20 mode would actually be harder than 4/20 mode, as 4/20 mode means animatronics always move at every available opportunity including their next opportunity to leave the doorway (thus allowing you to know exactly how long they'll stick around), unlike in 20/19/19/20 mode where there's a chance they'll remain for longer.
    • In Ultimate Custom Night, 50/20 runs live and die on several pure luck elements, most notably Original Foxy, Funtime Foxy, Toy Freddy, and Rockstar Bonnie. All four must be pacified through the cameras, but you also have to keep one specific camera active for most of the night to stall Circus Baby, Nightmare Bonnie, and Nightmare Mangle. You have to do what you can to take care of them early, then ignore them entirely and desperately hope they hold out until the end of the night. Thankfully, you can make things a little easier on yourself by using the Death Coin on one of them; it's recommended you use it on Funtime Foxy, as he's the only one who can kill you after you reach 6 AM.
  • Each night in Five Nights at Vault 5 has this factor to an extent. Many aspects of the robots are randomized, and so are the terminal alerts, meaning that you can get screwed up by bad internal dice rolls. Such as an alert going off where there's an enemy robot lurking around, or an enemy who you successfully fended off by closing a door in their face has moved not too far away from you. However, the game autosaves frequently, and after it loads, there's a good chance you might get a more favorable result this time.
  • The final section in Fredbear and Friends has some of this. For one, Endocluser and Fredbear both have independent prowling cycles, and the only way to escape the former is to run away at full speed, meaning you might end up ramming yourself face-first into Fredbear. For other, after you find the camera clue Fredbear seems to teleport to a random point of the stage, meaning that as you're searching for the next one, he might pop up right behind you, Jump Scare-ing you and forcing you to re-do the entire section.
  • Resident Evil 4:
    • There are a few items in preprogrammed locations. The rest of the items dropped by enemies and hidden in boxes or barrels are somewhat random. The game keeps track of how much ammo, money and health the player has left and decides what defeated enemies drop accordingly. The game even keeps track of how well the player is doing; defeating a lot of enemies without damage will make it more likely that the game will spawn more and harder enemies, keep taking a beat down and the game takes pity on you. One part that is completely random are the eye gems that the Novistadors drop; for a while it was thought that the color dropped depended on the color of the monster's eye at death, but this has been proven false; whether or not you ever find a second Blue Eye depends entirely on the Random Number God's mood in a given playthrough.
    • The Waterworld stage in The Mercenaries to some extent for HUNK and Leon, largely because their lack of stopping power to deal with Super Salvador. The amount of damage he can take before flinching can vary wildly from a well placed shotgun or spray to the face to multiple grenades or exploding barrels. It sucks seeing the futility in trying to slow someone who can instant kill you just by being next to you.
  • Resident Evil – Code: Veronica's battle mode features a slot machine at the halfway point that hides a special weapon or ammo type for each character, along with a roughly 20% chance of instead finding a Joke Item in the form of a diary written by a mouse. Most characters can make do with this, as they already have a decent weapon loadout, but if you're playing as Wesker (who only has a knife) and he ends up finding the stupid diary instead of the magnum —which he can't defeat the boss withoutthen he's completely screwed.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • Dark Void allows you to hijack the enemy Flying Saucers by boarding them, ripping off an access panel and then beating the pilot. This takes some time, as you have to periodically dodge turret fire and avoid getting shaken off. This would be a pretty straight-up test of skill, not even that hard, but... The luck aspect comes from the fact that if the Artificial Stupidity collides with something while you're doing this, you get hurt, and there is no way to abort the boarding sequence if you're about to die. This means you essentially have a random chance of dying without any way to stop it, especially on higher difficulties that make you easier to kill.
  • Gears of War has the first Berserker fight. Berserker is faster than you and has charge instant kill to start with. In one third of playthroughs, she'll immediately charge over Dom after the cutscene, leading to a Game Over. If this doesn't happen, you have to lure her to run into the doors, opening them for you. Not dodging the charge leads to instant death. You have to do this three times. Then you get her in the graveyard, where you have to kill her - a charging enemy - with a satellite which takes five seconds to align and fire (at least, it stunlocks her). You have to do this three times as well. And the whole mission has a time limit. Well, it is the hardest segment of the game, not counting the final boss. And there are three Dog Tags scattered around. Good luck getting them with that monster breathing on your back.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising has a sidequest version with the chamber to unlock the Gemini Orbitars. The chapter itself (Chapter 6) isn't difficult, but the chamber will only open if Pit defeats Dark Pit in one particular room and then explores said room. However, there's only a 50% chance on any given playthrough that Dark Pit will spawn in the room (and Dark Pit can't be lured into said room from a different spawn point, either). If Dark Pit doesn't spawn there, then the Gemini Orbitars can't be unlocked on that run through the level.
  • Splatoon's Salmon Run mode has a bit of this:
    • The mode doesn't allow you to select your own weapons, giving you one from random pool of four that changes alongside the stage rotation every day or two. Usually, you'll at least know what four weapons these are, but sometimes even this is left up to chance, with the only certainty when you see those four green question marks being that at least one will be a Grizzco weapon. In addition, at the start of each wave, you and your teammates will randomly swap weapons. So if you suck with ranged weapons, you better hope that the game doesn't saddle you with a Charger or Splatling on a round where the rest of the team really needs a good ranged player to defeat far-off Boss Salmonids.
    • Each wave has a chance of altering the water level of the map, increasing or reducing the available space, as well as triggering a random event such as Mothership, Grillers, or Glowflies. May the sea help you if you get the latter during high tide.
    • Splatoon 3 introduces the King Salmonids, boss enemies that headline special "Xtrawaves" that have a chance of occurring at if your team manages to complete all three normal waves. Fighting a King Salmonid rewards the player with fish scales that can be exchanged for items at the reward exchange counter, and you get scales win or lose, though winning naturally nets you a bit more. However, there are three separate types of scales, bronze being the most common and gold being the rarest. Silver and especially gold scales are rare items that are weighted to drop more frequently on higher hazard levels, but receiving either is not guaranteed. Meaning there's a chance that a team that manages to complete an Xtrawave at the Profreshional+ ranks might only see a payout of bronze with paltry amounts of silver, while another team may be lucky enough to receive gold scales despite wiping, running out of time or fighting the boss at a lower rank.
  • Every bot-battle (except space-battles) in Star Wars: Battlefront is very luck based. No matter how much you pwn the enemy, your chances of winning are still kinda slim. This is mostly based on the sudden incompetence shown by your teammates.
    • Another harsh example is the Jedi Academy. You spend all the time covering the last three bookshelves, and, in the last minute, get overwhelmed by Jedi popping up out of nowhere, and, if you get hit once, you lose, if not, you win. The Jedi respawn in that last minute at random, too, meaning one time, you are safe in the middle of the room, the next, you get a saber through the heart from the guy spawning behind you.
  • Syphon Filter
    • "Convoy" from Syphon Filter 3 is one of the hardest levels in the franchise because Ellis' (Gabriel Logan's teammate) survival is mandatory. Unfortunately, it is also out of the player's control, the player can have 100% head shot accuracy in the gameplay and Ellis can still die if random enemy sniper nailed him in the head. The only thing the player can do to finish the level is by making Gabriel Logan kill all enemies quickly and progress forward while hoping that Ellis survives long enough until the level ends.
    • Completing all objectives in par time on the second Belarus mission in Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain is a coin toss, since Ivankov's papers are in one of three randomly chosen locations. Sometimes, the guard with the papers can completely fail to spawn.
  • Warframe is rather notorious for this. Want to build a new weapon? Time to hope the resources you need will drop. Looking for a rare mod? Good luck finding it with all of the useless ones cluttering up the drop tables. The Warframes Vauban and Hydroid are particularly egregious examples. Vauban's components can only be obtained through random alerts; miss them, and you probably won't get another chance at that part for a couple months. Meanwhile, Hydroid's frustration comes mainly through the multiple levels of RNG you'll need to put up with. To even access the boss that drops his parts, you'll need to farm certain rare enemies for four different kinds of beacons that each require different quantities, all to craft a key to access the boss's mission. Once you've done that, you need to hope that the boss drops the part you need, or else you'll have to fight him again (and woe betide you if you've run out of keys). There's a reason these two are the only Warframes the fans consistently recommend buying with Platinum.

    Tower Defense 
  • Cursed Treasure 2: Going for a brilliant rating on Level 20. With two lighthouses (requiring seven cut-outs each to turn them from foe-helpers to weapons), two pirate ships (requiring ten cut-outs each to sink), close water shortcuts for diving and airborne foes, one lousy mana pool, and only two places for the powerful crypts (one of them not available until you have used cut-out once to clear the trees and thrice to clear away a sacred stone that blocks building there). Unless enough foes drop mana potions to enable frequent cut-outs (and meteor to eliminate Iron Guard champions), you will lose that Brilliant rating. The original version was even worse by not having a mana pool.
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time:
    • The Poncho Zombie may or may not be wearing a metal grate under his poncho. If he isn't, he goes down fast. If he is, he's as tough as a Buckethead. Better hope you have plant food/instakills if many grate-wearing ones appear in a wave.
    • Two of the Endless Zones are like this. Big Bad Butte will kill you after ten levels if you don't have a multiple-attack plant to deal with Chickens and a backwards-firing plant to deal with Prospectors, and Terror From Tomorrow will kill you as soon as you reach a level that hits you with more than one Gargantuar Prime at once, if you don't have an E.M.Peach to paralyse them and an Imitater to halve its recharge time.

    Turn Based Tactics 
  • Getting the best outcome of Fallout Tactics' Springfield mission usually boils down to the AI failing to kill its unarmed hostages or you succeeding at a lucky hit that knocks down one of the units responsible for arming the bomb on the power plant. Stealth and picking the right troops to cover each objective helps to some degree, but once the bullets start flying it's really just down to the dice.
  • The 2013 version of Space Hulk can devolve into this, based off of several criteria: where, and how many, Genestealers spawn each turn; how many Command Points you generate in a turn; and where randomly-placed/facing Terminators spawn in. Technically, since everything short of "move to this spot" is determined by a roll of the dice this applies everywhere, it's most obvious in the above areas. One mission may flood you with more enemies than even multiple Terminators on Overwatch can handle and you die in 2-3 rounds; you then might replay and merrily march to the mission objective without significant hassle.
  • In most of the Suikoden series, fights are fair. Even Pahn's duel with Teo in the first game is winnable if you take a few precautions. Then Suikoden II comes along. Normally the major battles are fair and you lose only when it's scripted. However, one of the fights involves saving Ridley from an ambush - if he falls, you fail. It's possible that the low-defense Ridley Unit will be defeated and captured before your other units even appear on the map.
    • Fortunately, it's possible to rescue Ridley at a later date if you fail here. In fact, the dialogue for the next mission assumes that you failed - they will discuss Ridley's rescue while he's standing right there. (Someone screwed up the dialogue epically for this mission, as it also mentions "Valeria's unit" even if you chose to recruit Kasumi instead.)
    • Major battles in II as a whole are luck based, since most units can only take two points of damage and it's mostly/all luck whether an attack will damage or notnote . The only reason why people don't complain about it much is because most of the major battles are still easy, as most of the major battles are not actually about force-on-force combat, but doing the right thing at the right time (or waiting for a certain number of turns) until a scripted sequence ends the battle for you: most major battles are heavily scripted. The only issue is that if one of your units is defeated in a major battle, there's a random chance that the commander of that unit will permanently die, and be removed from the story.
  • In the original X Com UFO Defense, as well as the sequel, base defense missions are the absolute worst possible tactical mission: your forces start scattered throughout the base, and the aliens can invade from the access lift/airlock and any hanger/sub bay. On a well-designed base, you can hold them up at the access lift/airlock while you gather your forces. On the initial base, you're in deep trouble, as the aliens have at least 4 available, widely-scattered access points, and your forces are not cohesive. In the original game, you're also restricted to the first 80 weapons/items in the base storage, which means you might be facing off against Mutons or Ethereals with basic rifles or pistols. And if you fail the mission or abort, the entire base is lost.
    • Adding to the difficulty is that once the aliens know where a base is, they always know where it is. Fending off an XCOM base attack only means that it's a matter of time before the aliens attack it again (as little as 14 days). Later upgrades make this an unfair fight - for example, adding Disruptor / PWT defenses (at least two of them) and a shield defense (which allows all defense systems to fire twice) will reliably kill Battleships - and this can even be to your benefit as ships killed this way will count towards your monthly score, but if you don't have the defenses, you'll have to deal with increasingly frustrating base defense missions.
  • It's possible to play X-COM: Terror from the Deep and never encounter Calcinites (re-animated diving suits), because they never spawn in the same mission as the more-common Lobstermennote . However, an autopsy on a dead Calcinite is required to research and develop advanced melee weapons, which makes fighting Lobstermen a lot easier.
    • In order to get advanced armor (that is, any armor), you need to research a Deep One corpse. Deep Ones only show up on Terror Missions with Gillmen, and there's a non-zero chance that the first terror mission in the game will actually be conducted by Aquatoids (who bring Calcinites with them instead). Deep Ones eventually show up at Synomium sites later in the game and alien base attack missions, so you're not locked out, but if you fail to complete a terror mission, or at least get a Deep One corpse in the early game, Gillmen will quickly be replaced by the other alien races on Terror Missions, and you won't be getting new armor for a loooooong time.
  • The 2012 reboot X Com Enemy Unknown has become memetic for how players react to the chances to hit based upon the Random Number God, complaining about soldiers missing 90% chances to hit or even 99% chances to hit, while aliens crit with 30% chances, for great frustration during a playthroughs. A common catchphrase is "that's X-com, baby!" to ironically deal with such accidents. Expect also a lot of Save Scumming except in Iron Man mode. Often, players will complain that they missed four 75% shots in a row, expecting that they would have at least hit 3 out of 4 times. This is actualy a case of people incurring in the Gambler's Fallacy.
    • This is actually downplayed or even subverted at normal difficulty, since the game stealthy buffs your chances without informing you while also nerfing the aliens (their A.I. Roulette also has a random roll for doing something stupid like moving out of cover, and their chances to hit greatly decrease the more soldiers you lose). Players actually get used for having more luck that they should have. When they go to higher difficulties, numbers are true, and suddenly it's painful and many people think that the numbers became rigged against them, when it was actually the opposite.
    • The sequel XCOM 2 has become infamous for how it rounds chances to hit, so that a 99.5% chance to hit is displayed as a 100% chance to hit. This means that there is a non-zero chance to miss, which will first or later happen to the many players who will then complain on websites like Reddit. Further perks or hidden values might cause 100% shots that are impossible to miss to be actually slightly less than 100%. Hilarity Ensues when soldiers miss from point blank, because in such cases either you cry or you laugh. There is a mod called "perfect information" that should avert this, except rarely it can bug. Of course, the opposite also happens, and aliens might rarely miss shots that you would have bet to be certain hits.
    • Your soldier is facing an alien right in its eyes, and you only get a 45% chance to hit? That's X-com, baby!
    • Soldier recruits have their stats assigned within a range of values that make them on complex equal, but differently specialized: those who have better aim, those who have better mobility or endurance etc. It could happen that you might get 5 recruits in a row with poor aim while you need somebody to take the sniper role.
    • Furthermore, after recruits level up for the first time, their class is randomly assigned by the game, except for the first four recruits which are spread among the four classes. You can imagine how frustrating can be when your soldier with poor aim is assigned to the sniper class. Firaxis changed when the outcome is decided as after a mission is completed because players heavily savescummed before ending the battle, then vocally complaining because the outcome didn't change. Averted in the Long War mod, which allows you to choose which class you want.
      • In Enemy Unknown, this process is weighted depending on the number of classes already assigned: those with 0 live soldiers are prioritized over classes with exactly 2 live soldiers, and those with 0 or 1 live soldiers are prioritized over classes with exactly 4 live soldiers. Therefore it's hard to get four snipers in a row, and you could try to manipulate the outcome by making your chosen soldier to get xp and level up when you estimate the possible result, although still not optimal.
      • In Enemy Within, after the first four recruits are promoted, the game creates a deck of 4 cards of each class (16 cards total). It then randomly discards 3 of those cards and picks, also randomly, a card of the remaining 13 to determine the class while generating soldiers, discarding it afterwards. When there are no more cards on that deck, a new set of cards is created by the preceding rule.
    • With the "Not Created Equally" option activated before starting a new game, new recruits have their values totally random, meaning you can get walking gods of death that are Master of All or fearful mediocre monkeys that are Master of None. You can also choose to have the perks they get when leveling up to be randomly assigned, something that could royally screw up your campaign since certain builds are too important.
    • Random mission that spawn at the same time, forcing you to choose one (averted in the Long War mod). This can be painful if they spawn in countries with high panic level, since ignoring a mission will raise these values, and when they get too high a country might withdraw from funding the X-com project. You might decide to focus on the country with high panic levels and ignore the one which would grant a new veteran soldier upon completion, but what if two countries have already extremely high levels of global panic?
    • Critically hit soldiers have a small chance to not die immediately, but rather lay down wounded for some turns before bleeding out. You ought to hurry if you want to save them.
    • Your barracks are filled with wounded soldiers, and you only have fresh unskilled recruits available. It would be really bad if a terror mission spawned now, right? Well, that's X-com, baby!
    • "Others see a 99% chance to hit, I see a 1% chance to miss. Thanks XCOM." (source).
  • A perfect strategy and mastery of the numbers can still get turned on its head when the Random Number Generator gets ornery on you in Yggdra Union, especially if you're trying to get a fast clear bonus on a mission and secure bonus equipment (which can require you to plan to lose some fights). A unit with a high Luck stat will get "flash" (critical) strikes frighteningly regularly and turn a sure-thing battle against you entirely too easily. Of course, having a lot of Luck on your side grants you the same consideration...

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is pretty good about this during the story missions. They're hard and at times incredibly frustrating, but they're usually the same every time. The side missions are a different story. Rampage and Riding Shotgun missions are entirely based on where the enemies spawn. The lottery is, obviously, a lottery. Finding dealers and security cameras can only be accomplished through aimless driving. The list goes on. Fortunately, maps and guides exist.
    • Oddly enough, the lottery, obviously the most luck-based section of the game, is actually fairly predictable. To be more specific, if you buy enough of the more valuable tickets that have a chance to provide you with a safe-house, you may make a temporary loss but if you keep it up over time, you're virtually guaranteed to make a profit eventually. Take it from someone who spent about an hour trying for that safe-house: Bring enough seed money, and the tickets are infinite and easy cash. How the manufacturer stays in business is anyone's guess... On the other hand, money means nothing in that game anyway considering how ridiculously easy it is to get thanks to the idiot-proof drug trade that tells you exactly what to do at any given moment to make tons of cash. Which is just as well since the actual missions give hardly a pittance to compensate.
  • Several Missions in Grand Theft Auto III, due to the Stanton/Shoreside bridge opening and closing on a timer, relied on a fair amount of luck. Unless you took the tunnel, but that's just downright suicide if you're in a hurry.
    • Perhaps not so much luck based as The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard, but one side-mission involving the collecting of a line of dropped items became near impossible after a certain point in the game when the Mafia becomes aggressive to you. The mission takes you right through their primary neighborhood and they blow you up near instantly with their shotguns.
    • Rampages in Grand Theft Auto III (and its sequel, Vice City) typically require the player to destroy a certain number of gang members/vehicles within a time limit. These are very luck based as targets appear at random. Also, since vehicles and pedestrians often only spawn in the area when the player isn't looking their way, these rampages often have players frantically maneuvering the camera around, willing more targets to appear.
    • Joey Leone's final mission takes this to unfair levels: It's simple enough: you're the getaway driver for a crew of bank robbers. You drive them to the bank, the robbers go in, they come out, you evade the police and drive them to a safehouse and you get $10,000 for every robber who makes it back alive. It's that last part where the mission gets tricky: as you're just the driver, you can't do anything about the actual robbery and occasionally one or two of the robbers can die before even making it back to the car, reducing your take significantly. Worse yet, all of them can die during the robbery, which nets you an automatic mission failure for something that was beyond your influence.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV features a number of missions requiring the player to evade the police. This requires the player to escape a large circle of coverage where the cops are looking, if a cop car is nearby the cops will see you and the circle will re-center. This leads to a situation where the player must escape the circle while praying that a cop car won't spawn right next to them, making all that work escaping the circle completely void. Either that, or they must escape into the Pay and Spray, hoping a cop car doesn't spawn there, as unlike previous games in the series, the Pay and Spray won't work if a cop sees you go in.
  • The "Supply Lines" mission in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, in which the player must use a remote-control plane to take out five targets moving around San Fierro and return to the starting point before running out of fuel. The mission is impossible unless the second target spawns very close to the first- if you take too long to reach it, the last three targets will have spread apart by the time you reach them, and you won't have enough fuel to destroy them and make it back to base. Thankfully, the post-Hot Coffee release fixed this mission so that fuel only depletes when the gas button is pressed, making it much more manageable.
  • Minecraft:
    • The ever-useful Iron and Diamond ores are randomly scattered underground. Unless worldgen mercifully spawned you above a pre-generated mineshaft, expect to do a LOT of digging before finding any considerable amount.
    • Prior to the Pretty Scary Update, note  finding Slimeballs was also tough, since they can only be obtained from Slimes, which were surprisingly rare, and only spawn in large enough caves in the bottom ground layers. Even if all conditions for their spawning are satisfied, there still are several other monsters that can spawn in their stead.note  The Pretty Scary Update simply allowed them to spawn in Swamp biomes at night.
    • In order to start growing pumpkins and melons, you have to either find their seeds (a random drop from chests in a mineshaft, which isn't even guaranteed to spawn near your starting area) or wild grown ones (melons in jungles, pumpkins in several biomes including forests, plains, hills and taiga). Since melons are used in healing potions, and pumpkins are necessary to build all kinds of Golems, you need some luck if you want either of them. Once you get that first seed, you're set for life, but that first seed...
    • Even just starting the game can be ruined by poor luck. Spawn in an ocean biome? Just as in reality, oceans are enormous, even if you're not playing in a Large Biomes world. Trees, for obvious reasons, only grow on land. You need wood to, well, do anything in this game. You'll save a lot of time and effort just starting over if this happens.
  • There are three types of Events (side missions) in [PROTOTYPE]: War, Kill, and Movement. Each gives a medal based on completion time (War, Movement) or kill count (Kill). Depending on the Event, this can either be fairly easy or absurdly difficult. One Event in particular is the Raid War Event, which requires beating the enemies in 1:25:00. As if being limited to the crappy grenade launcher weren't bad enough, skill plays almost no part. Your enemy is actually the game itself. The game will, more than half the time, screw you over by either a) withholding reinforcements (namely a tank which will take out the enemies faster than you can hope to in the time limit) or b) withholding the enemies (by not spawning them). Other Events are better because they're either more generous with time, more generous with spawns, or let you use your powers.
  • The gambling challenges in Red Dead Redemption II are these, obviously. Challenge 8 in particular is frustrating for many players. It requires hitting 3 times and winning a hand of blackjack. You have to do this 3 times. Even if you get five cards, the dealer could win or tie. There are players who got it in 20 minutes, and others that have spent hours with only 1 win to show for it. The other challenges have some degree of skill involved, but this one is almost entirely luck based.
  • The later levels of Activities in Saints Row definitely qualify; Level 8 Drug Trafficking is nearly impossible when three or more FBI SUVs are ramming the dealer's vehicle at once, into other vehicles, and you still have to get across the entire city to the next buyer. The luck lies in if you can dive out of the burning vehicle, not die when it explodes, heal yourself before the Feds ventilate you, revive the dealer (who invariably gets blown up with it), take a new car, and do it all over again thirty seconds later. Unless you're an expert at picking off drivers from the passenger's seat of a moving vehicle, these missions will drive you crazy.
    • Insurance Fraud. You're on a road and your goal is to get hit by cars. These cars spawn at random intervals in random numbers. You only have a few minutes to get to the scoring goal (in the later levels, over 100000 dollars worth of points), and you don't even get the insurance money to make up for that horrible activity.
      • It's a different story when you venture onto a freeway. The endless flow of speeding oncoming traffic makes this side mission ridiculously easier than if you pick an street-level intersection as instructed. Still, it's a matter of luck for the game to direct you to a district which has a freeway.
      • Also, take a helicopter to the mission start location. Get in it immediately after start, fly up to max elevation over the freeway, and dive out. Aim for a car. Congratulations, you just got half the money needed to win the highest level.
    • The Mayhem activities in the second game require a good amount of cars spawning, a good bonus car being chosen, a good region being chosen (each location randomly chooses one of several regions, some of them much better than others), and the police not constantly ramming into you and knocking you down. Have fun.
    • The Escort Activity. You drive a prostitute and her john around while a "Pleasure" meter builds up. When it is maxed out, you win that Level of the challenge. You are sometimes tasked with a secondary objective, such as driving to a club, during which you do not accrue any more Pleasure until it is done. Collisions, stopping the car, or firing your weapon on other vehicles will reduce your Pleasure meter. You are also being pursued by news vans who are attempting to get footage of your passengers. This fills a "Footage" meter, which ends the Activity in failure when it is maxed out. The Footage meter does not diminish. At the higher levels, you can still outdrive the news vans if you are skilled, but groups of vans will spawn randomly along your path as you escape the initial ones (much like how the police continue to spawn when you have antagonized the law). You WILL be crashed into (both reducing your Pleasure meter and increasing the Footage meter) unless you are lucky enough to have the news vans spawn with enough distance for you to try to avoid it.
      • Fortunately both Insurance Fraud and Mayhem are made easier if you "cheat" by using aircraft. For Insurance Fraud, you can get a head start on points and instant 100% adrenaline by stealing a plane and jumping out over the destination suburb. And the attack helicopter, armed with a Chaingun and Annihilator RPGs, makes Mayhem a lot easier.
  • In The Simpsons Hit & Run, while a fairly minor example, many missions still have a significant luck factor to them. For example, missions which involve following, escaping from, or destroying an enemy vehicle are much easier if it just so happens to crash on its own, which can happen.

Non-video game examples:

    Board Games 
  • Many board and card games, especially those intended for younger childrennote , are based entirely on luck, with no skill whatsoever. War, Old Maid, Go Fish, Clock Solitaire, Chutes and Ladders, the Game of the Goose, and Candyland are prime examples.
    • And many games that have some skill have rules that allow Unwinnable situations to arise by pure luck. An example is Sevens: if you have five Aces and Kings (or cards forming chains leading into Aces or Kings), you can kiss any chance of finishing first goodbye, and if you have all eight terminal cards (all four Aces and all four Kings), you will not go out. The flip side is if you happen to have a hand exclusively containing 5s, 6s, 8s, and 9s, you can manipulate the field however you please. If the game just happens to be Shichi Narabe (the Japanese version of Sevens which places a limit on how many times you can pass), you can force everyone to pass three times with such a hand and force them out without them being able to play a card.
    • There is a reason why Candyland is usually the first instance in which a child figures out how to cheat to win. It doesn't take long for the kid to figure out how to stack the pile with purple cards.
    • Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, and so on often explicitly have the rule "the youngest player goes first." This stacks the deck in favor of the child winning. Obviously, anyone old enough to figure that out is also probably old enough to only play such a game to entertain a young child. Tropes Are Not Bad.
    • By definition, any game in which you have a roll dice to accomplish something is luck-based. There's a multitude of games that allow you to mitigate dice rolls (think of Dungeons and Dragons, where your result on a 20-sided die is then modified by adding or subtracting various modifiers), but in the end, the roll itself is strictly down to luck.
  • Battleship is somewhat more strategic than the games above, and there are even computer programs that can play it fairly effectively by calculating the right odds. Nonetheless, the majority of any given game is going to come down to being lucky enough to hit the right square early on.
  • Betrayal at House on the Hill: The Exploration phase is your party exploring the house blind, triggering random events and finding random items. If you're lucky, the heroes will end up with the MacGuffin needed to win before the haunt starts, with multiple stat bonuses and good items. If you're unlucky, the MacGuffin might be on the other side of the house behind a horde of monsters under the Traitor's control, and you've lost stat points from the random events. If you're really unlucky, the Haunt might start on the first turn.
  • In Burgle Bros. the layout of the tiles is random, and can greatly affect the difficulty of the mission. For example, the Service Duct and Secret Door tiles can create a useful connections, or they can be in spaces that were already adjacent. As another example, the stairs to the roof can be easy to reach, or they can be in a distant corner of the top floor.
  • The Game of Life has large depths and lots of mechanics, but the winner, especially in a 2-person game, is mostly determined by the salary drawn when you choose a career at the beginning of the game. If you get a bad draw, say $50k, and your opponent gets $90k, then almost half the game will pass before you have a chance to correct this, and it again comes down to luck. It's almost impossible to recover from that sort of setback without hoping for random luck causing you to step on the half-dozen "trade salary card" squares strewn across the board.
  • While it's not entirely luck based, Pandemic can mess you up very quickly: the game requires you to put a certain number of "Infection" cards in the draw deck, and to properly shuffle the deck so that they're more or less evenly spaced. But that doesn't mean that you can't get two Infection cards back-to-back, and if that happens, you're screwed: either there will be too many outbreaks at once, outbreaks will feed on each other to cause a cascade, or you'll run out of contagion counters and lose.
  • Mouse Trap (1963): The outcome is always determined by die rolls. Even assembling the "trap" is determined by die rolls. Versions of the game from the 70s onward introduced cheese pieces that give the player a chance to maneuver other players' pieces, but obtaining them and moving other pieces are still determined by rolling a die.

  • The king's justice system in "The Lady, or the Tiger?" is a simple Door Roulette — open one door and a tiger springs out and kills you; open the other and a woman walks out who becomes your new wife. It's "fair" in the sense that you have a 50% chance of acquittal, but it's unfair in the sense that your life depends on blind chance. And incidentally, if you're already married, that's just too bad — you have a new wife now.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Several Barry-and-Enright game shows use luck in their bonus games:
    • The Joker's Wild: The contestants spun a giant slot machine, whose windows would reveal various cash amounts ($25 to $200), but also hidden in there were cards with the face of the Devil. Finding a Devil card before earning $1,000 ended the round and forfeited the accumulated money, while spinning three of the same amount was an automatic win.
    • Tic-Tac-Dough had "Beat the Dragon," where the objective was to uncover cash amounts to achieve a total of $1,000 or more, or screens reading "TIC" and "TAC" on a 3-by-3 game board before revealing the space concealing a dragon. Completing the former objective won the cash and a bonus prize package (finding "TIC" and "TAC" meant you got enough "DOUGH" to reach $1,000 automatically); finding the dragon first lost everything.
      • On the CBS Daytime version, the goal was different: you had to find a hidden Tic-Tac-Dough on the board before finding the dragon (whether X or O); each safe square was worth $150 (the player could quit at any time), and finding the hidden pattern meant you kept all money accumulated and won a prize package (the dragon still meant you lost everything).
      • This was turned on its head in the 1990 version with Patrick Wayne, where you had to also find a hidden Tic-Tac-Dough pattern, but this time, you chose which symbol to try to find, and stopped the shuffling Xs and Os to set up the game; the first successful pick (where the chosen symbol was found) added $500 to the pot, with each subsequent occurrence doubling the pot (the opposite one added nothing). The dragon still cost everything, but if the pattern was found with the chosen symbol, the game and the pot and the prize(s) were won; if the dragonslayer turned up, the pot was doubled and the prize package was awarded. If the dragonslayer was found off the top, however, the player won $1000. Sometimes, however, one would need the dragonslayer to win, because the shuffling could leave the player with no way to make a Tic-Tac-Dough with the chosen symbol. This version was derided, however, for having a dragon and dragonslayer that rapped their purposes (given that it was 1990 when it was on, and rap music was big then).
    • Bullseye: The contestant had an allotted number of spins (either seven or 10, depending on when in the run the episode aired) to avoid "being struck by lightning" in one of the three windows. Finding a lightning bolt ended the game automatically with nothing won. Saving grace is that finding a bullseye allowed you to freeze that window. If that was the window where the lightning was, you were scot free though you wouldn't know it. Getting bullseyes in all three windows doubled your cash total (or awarded a flat $10,000 if you did it in one spin) and won you the game.
    • The syndicated run of Break the Bank (1976) had a bonus round in which eight of the nine celebrities had cards with cash ranging from $200 to $1,000; the ninth celeb had a "BUST" card, which wiped out that round's winnings, though not the main game total. Collect $2,000 or more without finding the "BUST" and your total was boosted to $5,000.
  • Bruce Forsyth's Hot Streak, a short-lived '86 ABC game with the host's name in the title, had the format of having to pass a word down a line of 5 teammates (male or female) by describing it so each player can guess; the luck here comes from that fact that players were not allowed to repeat any important words that were used before, nor could they pantomime, or even say the word or any part of it, as one unlucky ladies' side did here on this broadcast, which cost them a chance to win the game, and also, the other teammates had headphones on before their turns in the line, so they had no way of knowing what words were used, which led, quite a few times, to unintentionally using words that those players did not know were used (if a player used a word that was already used, or committed any other violation, the Family Feud buzz-in sound played, and a light bar flashed on the team's podium to indicate thereto). Compounding all of this was the fact that only the winning side kept what was earned in the game, so if you were unlucky enough to commit a violation or run out of time, the scoring stopped right then; the other side could then be lucky enough to hit a Hot Streak (the show's description of a perfect round, with all four teammates getting the word with no violations) or get further along in the line. Also, whichever side played a word only had 40 seconds to do it in, increasing the pressure, so fast thinking and memory were required.
  • Deal or No Deal is entirely luck. Contestants pick one briefcase with a random amount of money and eliminate other briefcases with random amounts of money - with no way of telling what's where. The only decisions contestants get to make are when the banker periodically calls and offers to buy their briefcase for the average (rounded off to the nearest $100 or so) of all the remaining money values leaving the contestant to decide to make the deal or not. There was exactly one non-luck based outcome on this show: One contestant inadvertently broke the cordless phone prop that the host used to call the banker - the banker then lowered his offer by $10 to compensate for 'expenses'.
  • The short-lived British game show The Colour of Money was built around this trope. Pick one of 20 ATM's, each stocked with a different amount of money from £1,000 to £20,000, and let it count up until either you stop it (banking the money) or it runs past its limit (which gets you nothing for that turn). If you can reach a target amount (randomly drawn and always at least £50,000) within 10 turns, you keep it all; if not, you leave with nothing.
  • Lampshaded by the very concept of the British game show Fluke. The whole thing was based entirely around luck, and at no time could skill, stamina, strategy, knowledge or anything else have any impact on the outcome (a sample example of a question: "I interrupted Bob Holness reading Jurassic Park the other day. Was he reading page 609 or 610?"). As an example, if the end game came down to a decisive final question, it was decided by a literal coin-toss.
  • Red or Black?, a group of 1,000 players participate in games where they need to choose the right outcome — red or black. The endgame involved guessing whether a ball, launched into a giant roulette wheel (in Series 2, a "vortex"), will land in a red space or a black space.
  • The Amazing Race has at least one "Needle in a Haystack" task per season, though they're usually put in Detours so teams don't have to do them or non elimination legs or before leg equalizers. If a high performing team gets eliminated because of an unavoidable one, expect fan backlash to result!
    • Perhaps the most famous instance of this were the hay bales of Season 6. If you do the math, there was actually a seven percent chance of finding a clue if you started up the hay bales. The percentage did increase when you reduced each haybale, but there were 270 out there to begin with. Poor Lena & Kristy were out there for over 10 hours and were eliminated by Phil in the field, when Lena refused to stop unrolling Haybales. When the hay bales were revisited in Season 15, it was thankfully more merciful, but there were still one or two teams unrolling haybales for hours while another had to unroll only a couple to find the clue.
    • And sometimes, all that separates two otherwise equal teams is one team drawing a hypercompetent cabbie at the airport, while the other draws a cabbie that doesn't know how to read a map.
  • During the early seasons of the original American Gladiators, the final Eliminator round had a channel for each contestant, one of which randomly had a Barrier Warrior at the very end, hidden behind a paper wall. In other words, one contestant got a free ride while the other had an extra obstacle. Effectively, this turned what was supposedly a game of skill into a game of chance.
  • Legends of the Hidden Temple, the temple is largely based on luck. You won't know where the temple guards are until you find them.
    • There are three guards, and two contestants on a team. Each contestant could have earned a "Get out of Jail Free Card" from an earlier skill-based mission. The problem was that after two guards, the first contestant was knocked out of the game, and the second one had to retrace the steps of the first one. That means, counter-intuitivly, that it's better to hit two guards early on. That way the second person has less of the Temple (maze) to re-do.
    • Far more random than the guards, is that the order of the rooms you have to complete the rooms and the location of the Temple Treasure which unlocks all the doors semi-random. That means you might get quick easy puzzles like "Turn the wheel" or you might get The Shrine of the Silver Monkey. (Try looking on youtube for "The Shrine of the Silver Monkey")
  • Minute to Win It is hard enough on its own, but its Million Dollar game Supercoin definitely qualifies. You have to bounce a quarter off of a table and get it into a water jug 15 feet away with a 1.75-inch mouth (barely larger than the quarter itself). It'd be difficult enough even if you could aim properly, but because you have to bounce the coins off the table, you have virtually no control over where those quarters are going. Few have come close; none have succeeded — aside from the host of the Turkish version, that is.
  • The Price Is Right. Skill is not able to help you with all of the Pricing Games. If you can get it to 50/50, that's great. Otherwise, you really have to hope the Random Number God is with you.
    • The Wii/PC game... well, let's start by mentioning that the price of the prizes fluctuate BETWEEN GAMES. Pen and paper will not save you.
    • The items featured do not follow MSRPs, auction records, or any other normal way to determine an object's price, so the main game is like this too. The strategy for the main game boils down to making a lowball estimate or 1 cent, as the winner is the person who guesses the highest without going over their price, and anyone who overestimates the price is instantly eliminated. Justified, however, because if The Price Is Right DOES follow any normal pricing scheme, it would allow contestants to game the system by researching in advance. Most of the side games, however, provide multiple chances to guess an item's price with hints along the way, so contestants can at least make educated guesses.
  • The bonus round of the game show Save to Win. There’s a shelf with 20 items, each with an amount of money behind it ranging from $500 to $1,000. The winning team picks two items, and they win whatever amounts they uncover. If the amounts match, the money is bumped up to $5,000...staggering odds for such a small payout. No one ever won the $5,000, but that didn't stop their clip show from faking a grand prize win anyway.
  • In Squid Game, the fifth round of the Deadly Game ends up being this. Players have to cross a bridge made of 18 pairs of glass panels. Only one panel in each pair is capable of supporting the weight of a player (two, specifically), while the other shatters almost instantly. Before the game starts, the players have to choose the order they'll go in, not knowing what the game is when they pick. Because of the way the game is structured, the players who go first have almost insurmountably high odds of dying. One of them, a math teacher, calculates his odds and realizes that they are less than one in thirty thousand, and he had two panels cleared for him already. As expected, the only survivors of the game are the last three players in the pack.
  • Captain Picard believes in this, and that there's no shame in losing when things are simply out of your control, as said by this quote from Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.
  • Many obstacles in Takeshi's Castle are essentially luck-based.
    • The penultimate one ("Final Fall" a.k.a. "The Man-Eating Holes") is entirely so: there are five pits, three lead to the castle, the other two of them hides a guard (in disguise) - if the contestant chooses one of them, he/she is eliminated.
    • "Sumo Rings" - where the contestant wrestles an opponent, it's decided by what colored ball they pull from a box. It could be: Animal (a strong man), an actual sumo wrestler, Spud (a man in a potato costume), an Emerald Guard, Jo, or a pathetically weak man.
    • "Tug of War" - in the second version the contestant must choose to pull a certain rope without knowing what's on the other side. It's been a bulldozer, an elephant, Yoroi, an actual cow, etc.
    • "Roulette" - contestants dig in a pit for discs to tell them where they sit on a giant roulette board. The number, color or odd/even the ball lands on is eliminated.
    • "Prod" - a one-time game where a contestant from a team jousts a randomly chosen person with lances over a pit.
    • "Nautiball" - another one-time game where the contestants are randomly put into teams and play against a randomly chosen group. Possibilities: a professional volleyball team, Emerald Guards or women in swimsuits.
    • "Skittles" - contestants are in giant bowling pin suits (the positions are chosen by randomly picking a card) and a Rainbow Warrior pushes a giant bowling ball down a hill towards them. Sometimes the ball misses all of them; most commonly it'll hit the few at the back edges or the person at the front. The middle back person has the highest chance of success.
    • "Knock Knock" - a contestant has to run through a series of walls that have a choice of doors. Some are paper (two of them), one in the third wall has a net (meaning he's lost) and one or two are wood (if a contestant breaks a wooden one by running too hard into it, he gets to go through). This only counts when contestants play one at a time; when they play all together the first one hundred or so go through.
  • Played for laughs in a That Mitchell and Webb Look sketch involving the adventures of Agent Suave, a Tuxedo and Martini super-spy being sent on a luck-based mission to a casino where all the games were things like "Guess The Weight Of A Fruitcake".
    "M": And Suave? Good luck.
    Suave: I don't need luck.
    "M": ... You're going to a casino.
    Suave: Oh, that's right, yeah! Fingers crossed!

  • Many of the more recent pinball machines have at least one mission where a number of shots become available on the playfield and only one (or sometimes two) will earn points and advance the player towards the Wizard Mode or a multiball. Downplayed, however, in that choosing the wrong shot will not penalize the player in most cases, and in all others, the player is welcome to try again if they lose. Examples include "The Tale of the Flying Horse" in Tales of the Arabian Nights note , "Find the Gopher" in Tee'd Off note , and "Landmark Hotel" in America's Most Haunted note .

  • Rocher Hotel features the recurring game What's the Verdict?, in which guests have to answer incredibly silly true-or-false questions supposedly about themselves. Players have to be either incredibly lucky or at least funny- and the latter sometimes isn't even enough.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Most of the villains in Sentinels of the Multiverse have strategies to dealing with them, and while they may get lucky plays that screw you, there are ways to mitigate it. Not so much with Wager Master, who constantly drops in new win and loss conditions. It's not unheard of for Wager Master games to end in victory or defeat before the heroes even get a turn. Kaargra Warfang also has a bit of a reputation as this, given the vagaries of the Favor and Title systems, but WM is the most notorious.
  • Blood Bowl gets accused of this. Almost every action more complicated than moving across open ground requires a dice roll, and almost every type of dice roll has a Critical Failure outcome that immediately ends the player's turn. It's to the point where Nuffle, the god of chance, is venerated In-Universe for his influence over the game. The truth is the player has control over which rolls to take and what order to do them in, and prioritizing which chances to take first is a key part of any team's strategy.

  • Tamagotchi:
    • The left/right game on certain devices has a coin flip decision as to which direction your Tamagotchi will face.
    • Obtaining Lucky Unchi-Kun on the Tamagotchi Angel is pure luck - it is decided if an Obaketchi 2 can evolve into it the very moment it is born. Unless of course, you get Sabotenshi/Kitsutenshi's rare farewell screen or you completely ignored your angel for a solid week from birth to uhh... Pooifying. Not even neglect. You have to completely ignore the poor little guy and press no buttons throughout its entire life.

    Web Video 
  • Jet Lag: The Game: The first fork in season five has a path featuring challenges of fixed difficulty, and another path with a luck factor. For each challenge on the luck route, the difficulty is determined randomly upon arrival, such as digging a hole with parameters set by a six-sided die.


Video Example(s):


Forbidden Memories

Footage taken from a video essay by ThaRixer. (<br><br>Yu-Gi-Oh!: Forbidden Memories is notorious for the unforgiving RNG it has, and the final gauntlet of battles exemplify that. They all have cards that cannot be beaten by anything that the player has access to (especially since this game does not have effect monsters which, in any other YGO game, would let cards with lower attack power at least stand a chance). And to make matters worse, they have ways to make sure those cards are drawn. Beating the game means getting lucky several times in a row.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / LuckBasedMission

Media sources: