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Magical Mystery Doors

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A recurring Stock Video Game Puzzle of the eight-bit NES era, it is the Platform Game equivalent of The Maze. The player will be placed in a small room littered with doors. Entering a door will lead you to another room packed with doors, or a dead end, or the start of the stage, or a small moon orbiting Jupiter. Generally, only one door in a far-away, hard to reach room will be the "correct" door that leads the player out of the maze. Be sure to keep your eyes open for little pickups to find for 100% Completion in case several of those are lying somewhere in a dead end.

See also Door Roulette. Super-Trope of One of These Doors Is Not Like the Other (the variant where the correct path is hinted at).

The Beatles song, album and film Magical Mystery Tour is the Trope Namer. Don't confuse with the Scooby-Dooby Doors, although those are also mysterious.


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    Action Adventure Games 
  • The Goonies II was all about this. Two side-scrolling maps were connected entirely by a massive labyrinth of mystery doors... which was presented in first-person.
  • The classical game of Hunt the Wumpus is set in a random maze that isn't even guaranteed to have bidirectional doors.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, you must go through Magical Mystery Corridors in the Wind Fish's Egg to get to the final boss. Fortunately, you can find a book in the library that tells you the exact order in which you must take each path to reach it (it's randomized each playthrough).
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, there is a very Lost Woods-esque region of the Temple Ruins containing Magical Mystery Paths. In this case you have to talk to a NPC elsewhere in the area who will tell you the correct order of paths to take. To make things trickier, you also need to change to a specific season each time you head down a path.
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time features a rather surreal section near the finale, in which the Prince must cross two rooms each with a set of eight doors. Only one door allows him to move up into the next area; taking any other door will send the Prince back to the entrance, with him commenting on what the hell is going on.
  • In Legacy of the Wizard, the pictures of Princess Celena can be used as teleporters using the four crowns. Usually not advised unless you know exactly where they go.

    Action Games 
  • In the NES version of Astyanax, the penultimate level, Thelenea Castle, is a maze of doors. The trick to getting out of this one is to find the doors that are guarded by skeletons.
  • Monster Party has a set of Magical Mystery Doors about two-thirds of the way through the game. While you're struggling to determine which door will end the pain, you'll be fighting animated pairs of pants with a baseball bat. Yes, it's that kind of game.
  • Each area in the NES Rambo game is connected by small pads marked "S" and "N", but it's anyone's guess as to where they actually lead.

    Action RPG 
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance has one with a unique twist. At one point, Doctor Doom (now with A God Am I powers) creates a system like this, where entering one door would spit you out of another one instantly ala Scooby-Dooby Doors, with Doom's laughter mocking the player every time this happens. So how do you beat it? Go back the way you came. It will spit you out in the next room.

    Adventure Games 
  • In the interactive fiction game Adventure (a.k.a. Colossal Cave), there are two mazes, one where all you see is "twisty passages all alike" and one where all you see is "twisty passages all different". Or, if you're paying attention, you might notice different all twisty, passages little. That is, in the "different" maze, each room actually has a different description - but they read like the same sentence at a casual glance.
  • Indiana Jones and His Desktop Adventures has the occasional puzzle where there is a number of dark tunnel entrances around a rocky mountain, etc. and each tunnel entrance will redirect you to another. The connections aren't always two-way, either.
  • Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge has one of these near the end. You have a hint, though, in the form of a cryptic song you've got written down.
  • In the Nancy Drew computer game Curse of Blackmoor Manor you have to navigate a centuries-old maze where the rooms move. The quickest way to solve it involves opening and closing doors without stepping through. Also, one of the rooms can kill you.
  • The Perils of Akumos offers the agonizing sandstone caverns. The official guide urges players to draw their own map, which eases matters from "impossible" to merely "difficult." What is remarkable is that the cavern is only actually made up of 16 locations.

    Beat 'Em Up 
  • Renegade has Magical Mystery Doors in the very last stage. Pick the wrong door and you're taken back to the beginning of the stage. Pick the right door and a thug with a machine gun jumps out of nowhere and kills you with a single hit, taking you back to the beginning of the game.

    Eastern RPG 
  • Born Under the Rain: In the Sphinx of the Northern Sands, there's a Portal Network of teleportation tiles to navigate through. Going through the wrong one sends the party back to square one.
  • Child of Light has one in the quest to aid Oengus' clan from an inescapable labyrinth. The trick is to take the door with a symbol that matches the one on the shield carried by the background statue.
  • A small section in one of the two added dungeons in the DS remake of Chrono Trigger has another teleport section where you need to guess which one leads further.
  • EarthBound (1994)'s desert monkey maze, with monkeys blocking hallways demanding various foods and trinkets before they will move out of the way, just so you can get to another room with more monkeys demanding more trinkets that are located in a hallway guarded by some other monkey.
    • EarthBound Beginnings had Rosemary Manor, each room had two doors, both doors leading to a long hallway with stairs, leading to ANOTHER room with two doors. If the player takes the right path, it will lead them to a haunted piano.
    • Mother 3 has, as part of The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, a maze of bathroom doors. Some just lead into bathrooms (that either contain unusual toilets, contain enemies, or are occupied), and some lead into another hallway with more bathroom doors. Some of the bathroom signs will attack you.
  • In Faria, the last area before the final tower is a set of no less than thirty Magical Mystery Caves whose seventy-odd interconnected portals span several islands.
  • Final Fantasy and its aptly-named Castle of Ordeals.
  • Final Fantasy XII has the Great Crystal. It is one of the few areas in the game without a map and contains some of the most useful items in the game. It's also compulsory. There is one way out, and one save point. And attempting to make a map on one's own will likely end in tears, for the area names are a code in goddamn Sanskrit. And it has gates that block the way unless the player turns off corresponding mechanisms, usually in a far off room. And then the gates will close back up anyways if the player doesn't get to the gate in time. Is anyone surprised that this is possibly the most reviled level in the game?
  • Mega Man Battle Network 4 and 5 each have one of these. In each case, you jack into an object that isn't connected to the Net and doesn't have its own unique network, just a seemingly endless series of featureless maps with warps leading to other featureless maps with warps leading to—you get the idea.
  • Nearly every Pokémon game, including some of the spinoffs, have a Magical Mystery Teleport Tiles Portal Network section somewhere, usually in the bad guy's hideout, such as:
    • The Psychic Gym in Pokémon Red and Blue/Yellow (and later repeated in FireRed/ LeafGreen), where there are nine rooms, the entrance and the leader have one teleporter each, and the rest have four, each going to a separate room. Oh, and all those other rooms? Each has a Jr. Trainer. Strangely, you can brute-force the tiles by just going to the one on the same side as you, avoiding the line-of-sight of each trainer, getting to Sabrina easily.
    • There are also Magical Mystery Doors on every end of each room in Turnback Cave on Pokémon Diamond and Pearl/Platinum. And they're randomized each time you go through the cave. However, there are occasionally pillars that appear in a new room to tell you you're going the right way.
      • FireRed= / =LeafGreen also have a cave like that, down in the Sevii Islands.
  • The first Star Ocean features a set of fast-moving slimes. Some will trigger battles, some will warp you further on, and some will punt you back to the beginning. Luckily each "puzzle" only spans a single room, but it can get frustrating.
  • Ys has the teleporting mirror mazes in Darm Tower.

    Miscellaneous Games 
  • In Glider 4.0 and Glider PRO, this puzzle typically appeared in the form of Magical Mystery Ducts. The original example was "Monty Hall," the 40th room of Glider 4.0's "The House," where out of the four ceiling ducts, three led to previous rooms and one led to the second part of the house.
  • Hotel Mario had a lot of these. Some lead up, some lead down, and it isn't always clear which floor they'll lead you to.
  • The Puzzle Branch of the Minecraft adventure map Diversity has a section where you need to enter the right doors in sequence, according to a cryptic code.
  • The online pet/game site Neopets once included a Magical Mystery Doors puzzle as part of a plot (a periodic site event). The building containing the doors was known as the Temple of 1,000 Tombs. A detailed explanation of the puzzle and the entire plot is still available here.
  • The entire point of Lucky Tower.
  • Ah, Yume Nikki and its Magical Mystery Warp Tiles. Subverted in that there is no "right way out"; getting lost in the maze of doors is itself the objective.

    Platform Game 
  • In the NES game 8 Eyes, half the stages are designed like this, turning the game into a sadistic Möbius Strip where you run past the same scenery over and over until you resort to a handy issue of Nintendo Power.
  • The final planet in The Adventures of Rad Gravity has a magical mystery teleporter maze, which can by mostly bypassed via teleport glitching.
  • Atlantis no Nazo is one long and frustrating exercise in this trope, including hidden doors that can only be revealed by throwing bombs or falling into them during the death animation.
  • The final level of Commander Keen: Aliens Ate My Babysitter contains one of these. You appear to enter the same room with four doors twice, then back out where you started. Then you notice that the Blooglings in each room are colored differently. VGA graphics make the difference between green and yellow subtle.
  • A very simple version of this appears early on in Crystal's Pony Tale.
  • Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures plays this trope with statues rather than doors...But then, nearly every level in that game is an extremely annoying gimmick level.
  • Any teleporter in Kid Chameleon can send you...somewhere. More frequently "Elsewhere" (the name of a great deal of mini-levels), sometimes backwards, sometimes necessary to advance.
  • Kirby Super Star has the second half of planet Skyhigh in "Milky Way Wishes". Most of the rooms contain enemies, one has a Mini-Boss, and a few contain pickups — and one of those pickup rooms has an Invincibility Power-Up which will make the fight with Kracko a lot easier.
  • In The Legendary Axe, the 5th Zone is made up of an annoying series of corridors and rooms with one-way doors at each end. Alternate doors are obtained by falling down the pits near the end of some of the corridors.
  • The penultimate stage "Simba's Return" of The Lion King game.
  • Level 15 of the SNES adaptation of Prince of Persia has these.
  • The first of the new Prince of Persia (2008) games has two rooms pretty much made of doors, which if you didn't go through the right two just sent you around in circles. The only clue to the correct doors was the sound of water splashing as you walked by them.
  • The coffin maze in the penultimate level of The Simpsons: Bart vs. the World.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
    • In Sonic Adventure, in Amy's version of Final Egg, there's a room with five doors. A random one of these doors leads to the last part of the stage; the others lead to dead ends with blue hovering robots. In Sonic Adventure DX, one mission in Mission Mode requires you to hit a button, then find a flag within a few seconds. The flag is hidden in a random one of the dead ends, and if you go down the path that takes you to the next part of the stage, you have to start the stage over in order to complete the mission, or just the section if you didn't hit the checkpoint.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) offers a slightly watered-down, but no less annoying, variation of Magical Mystery Doors on the way to the old Soleanna palace using portals.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Bros.: The final stage of the game has pipes that operate this way: Each area has several pipes, one of which will take you onward, and the rest of which will take you back to the beginning of the level. There's actually a subtle clue there, though: It's always the pipe after the pool of lava.
    • In Super Mario Bros. 3:
      • The first fortress of World 3 has several doors that drop you into water, leaving you to swim back to the only door you can reach from here, which returns you to the beginning of the area.
      • The World 8 fortress from the same game consists of two long sets of rooms linked by doors. The door to the boss room is opened by a P-switch in the opposite area.
    • Super Mario World: Several of the Ghost Houses in the game, especially the last one, require figuring out which door is the one leading to the main exit, or even a secret one. All other doors often lead to useless rooms or even respawn the player back to a prior area.
    • Super Mario 64: Big Boo Battle in the DS remake requires you to follow King Boo's Evil Laugh to find the right path to his boss arena.
    • New Super Mario Bros.: There's a section of the game where you're perplexed by a series of doors. The only way to discover where they lead is to test each and every one of them. Fortunately, it's much shorter than most Magical Mystery Doors segments tend to be in NES games.
    • New Super Mario Bros. U uses this for most of the Big Boo's Haunt stages. Either the doors are illusory, or you need to hit a switch so you can pass through a now fake wall to reach a hidden door.
    • A minigame in Mario Party 4 has this with the pipes, too.
    • Mario Party 9: The minigame Manor of Escape places players on the top floor of a haunted mansion, with each floor having six doors. The objective is to reach the bottom floor before anyone else. Every door is connected to another door, but only one door per floor will bring the players down a level.
    • Paper Mario 64 and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door both have this in the final dungeon. Both times there are two floors, and on both sides of each room, there is one door on each floor, making three doors to choose from when you ignore the door you just came out of. The solution is the same in both games: It's always the door with a lit torch next to it, and it's always on the right side.
    • Super Paper Mario has this in the second world. Oh, and there's the added bonus of a literal Demonic Spider with Nigh-Invulnerability that comes to kill you if you stay in one room too long. The rooms are often hard to navigate.
  • The final level in Tempo for the 32X used this. Oddly, the player had to skip the first two areas through easily noticeable elevators and then go explore a maze of doors. At the end, the player is presented with four doors. The game tries to trick the player into entering the second, but the right door is the fourth.
  • ToeJam & Earl: Panic on Funkotron included an area with mystery doors as part of level 15 (The Bottomless Pit). Most doors take you to a variant of the same area, distinguishable by different plants and different characters that appear. Only one door in one of these variants leads out of the maze.
  • Stage 12 of Vampire Killer has a maze of doors connecting a bunch of corridors, most of which wrap around. (The corresponding stage in Castlevania for the NES is straightforward and practically a Boss-Only Level.)
  • In Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster's Hidden Treasure, the third Factory level's first section ends with Buster coming across several doors. Only one of them will take him to the second section of the stage, as the others will take him back to the start of the first section.

    Survival Horror 
  • Haunting Ground has one of these during the finale. Fiona must traverse a series of identical rooms by going through one of two exit doors. Each are colored differently every time, but the disclaimer near the beginning of the section is vague enough to allow for some trial and error.
  • Silent Hill: Shattered Memories has one towards the end. It's not that difficult when you realize you just have to go into the doors surrounded by icicles...but try to figure that out on the move, while you're being chased by enemies and running like hell.

    Western RPG 
  • The Troll tomb in Might and Magic VIII is this - a series of octagonal rooms with one to four doors. Of course, there is a map to inform you where you are, but with a small twist - the dungeon has multiple floors with superposed rooms and the map does not show the altitude you're on. Thankfully, the dungeon is small enough, so this is only a mild inconvenience.

    Non-Video Game Examples 
  • A rare literature example appears in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It's the antechamber of the Department of Mysteries.
  • Film example: Yellow Submarine has some Magical Mystery Doors. This is determined when hunting for George and Paul. It takes multiple tries and a close call with a train to find the door Paul is behind...
  • The Holodeck's Video Mode in the Star Trek: The Next Generation pinball machine is this, in which the player must steer a ship through a tunnel that has various junctions in it. Everything is pre-programmed, however, so people who have played it a lot can memorize exactly where to go to maximize collecting the various rewards scattered around in it.