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Minecart Madness

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Stock Platform Game level in which you ride in a minecart, and have to dodge various obstacles and enemies. The track is usually broken, with gaps to jump over, and possibly multiple routes. You usually only have limited controls, with the main one being the ability to jump out of the cart or make the cart itself jump (don't ask how you do the latter), and others sometimes included, such as being able to slow down or speed up.

While this usually takes place in an Underground Level, in a minecart, it can also take place outdoors as a roller coaster in a theme park pastiche.

The Trope Namer is one such level from Donkey Kong Country.

See Rollercoaster Mine for the non video game counterpart (which this was inspired by). Compare to Slide Level, which is a level where you go down a slope to reach the end.



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    Action Adventure 
  • In La-Mulana, the boss fight against Ellmac, guardian of the Temple of the Sun, is set entirely in a minecart chase. Oh, and Ellmac happens to be a screen-filling frilled lizard who spits fireballs, a la Bowser.
  • LEGO Indiana Jones also has a mine cart level, obviously from The Temple of Doom. The famous scene in question was also recreated in the arcade game adaptation of the movie by Atari Games.
  • Tomb Raider III. In this case, the main objective is to get the minecart to go fast enough to jump gaps, but not so fast as to fly off the track and kill Lara. Lara can bash switches with a convenient wrench to change tracks.
  • Taz-Mania for Genesis.
  • Appropriately enough, the Harry Potter games have levels like this whenever you go to Gringotts - dodging collapsed pit props and trying to catch coins. It's an even worse setup for a bank than the book version, at least they kept the money in vaults...
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap uses this, as can be seen in the page image. It is also used in both Oracle games, as well as in Spirit Tracks (in the Fire Temple) and Skyward Sword (in the Lanayru Shipyard). Tri Force Heroes has level 3-4 called Hinox Mine; even the end-of-level boss is fought on a mine cart. Breath of the Wild also has numerous minecarts around the Eldin region that are powered by Explosion Propulsion.
  • You'll be riding in one in Alundra 2, after the second proper boss battle.
  • Shadow Complex has a mine area with a cart. You use it to gain momentum in order to reach the other side of a pit. There's also a secondary mine cart area right near the bottom of the map, acting as a shortcut, but you'll have the friction dampener by then, making it more useful to just run at insane speed down the corridor.
  • Rusty has a Breather Level with a minecart ride over lava.

    Action RPG 
  • Final Fantasy Adventure has a dungeon the hero riding around on a mine cart, using his chain flail to activate the track switches in a precise sequence to get to where he needs to be.

    Adventure Game 
  • Minecraft: Story Mode As one would expect from a game based on Minecraft there is a action sequence where the player needs to dodge ghasts firing at the party while rolling along in mine carts.
  • Myst has an underground mazerunner running on rails in the Selenetic Age, which relies on sounds for each cardinal direction to enable you to navigate, which makes it, without going to Mechanical Age first, That One Level.
  • Lighthouse: The Dark Being does this with a train inside a cavernous volcano. The train's also fitted with a crane, toolbox, and a drill.
  • The primary mode of transportation in the RHEM games.
  • The designated Mines area of Pajama Sam No Need To Hide When It's Dark Outside plays this straight. Although the one mine cart there is a living character named King.
  • Nancy Drew: Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon ends with the protagonist escaping a mine this way. It has no hazards except a time limit: the player must follow a specially-marked path to avoid crashing.

    Arcade Game 
  • The Konami Arcade Game Labyrinth Runner had this in the "truck" ride to the castle entrance.
  • Magical Truck Adventure has this as the main gimmick which sees the two heroes chasing a pair of villains (or being chased) via pump rail carts.
  • Rail Chase: Both games are literal Rail Shooters in which the player careens down a railway on a minecart, shooting at enemies either in their way or coming after them.

    Beat Em Up 
  • Battletoads has such a level. It kills players systematically.
  • The thought lost game Bio Force Ape, when recovered, was discovered to have a strange one: the second level is set in mines, and you can jump into a minecart...but it just scrolls automatically, you can't die and it seems to be one of many elements solely put in to demonstrate how great their programming was.

    Eastern RPG 
  • Grandia has a cutscene like this early in the game.
  • Final Fantasy VI features both the vanilla mine cart ride, as well as two other water-related segments (a raft ride and an ocean crossing) that function similarly in terms of mostly forced travel.
  • Golden Sun:
    • The first game has you solving several puzzles to traverse the Altin Mines by mine carts.
    • Dark Dawn has them as a stock puzzle element. That is, you'll encounter minecarts way more often than you'd like to.
  • Brave Fencer Musashi had an incredibly tough, speedy Minecart Madness scene. Many players have died many times while going through it.
  • Dragon Quest V has a cave with obstacles that require a mine cart to make jumps and require the right tracks to switch.
  • Mother 3 was planned to have one back in its Nintendo 64 incarnation; indeed, that particular sequence was pretty much all over the gaming news of the day. When it finally emerged on Game Boy Advance, no such sequence existed.
  • One of the minigames in the Rugged Mountain area of the Pokémon Dream World has you guiding a Sableye along a mine cart track to collect gems.
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: The Saecelium Mine has minecarts that you ride in to traverse the area.


    Fighting Game 

    First Person Shooter 
  • "On the Rails" in Half-Life has an electric cart that crashes off the tracks at the end if you jam the throttle forward. The finale of Ravenholm in Half-Life 2 has a mine cart with spinning blades on it that you can use to decapitate all the zombies nearby. Also done in Half-Life 2: Episode Two when exploring the abandoned mine with the Vortigaunt, where you fall down a hole and land in a big mine cart that goes careening out of control down a sloped track, smashing through wooden structures and slaughtering zombies in its wake before finally sending you down a deep pit and landing in a pool of water. There's no racing, shooting, or dodging involved (or at least not any required).
  • There's a level portion in TimeSplitters: Future Perfect like this. Only with Headsprouters who like to grab at you from the ceiling instead of gaps in the track. You end up being hurled out of the cart anyway when the plot demands it.
  • "Enemy Mine" (no, not that Enemy Mine) in Medal of Honor: Frontline is an Unexpected Shmup Level on a minecart, as well as an homage to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
  • The 1999 trailer for Duke Nukem Forever revealed that the game was supposed to include some of these.
  • Soldier of Fortune has a short mine cart sequence in Sudan.

    Full Motion Video 
  • Time Gal. In one segment Reika has to ride a mine cart through an underground area, while bending left and right and sometimes having to jump up or down out of the cart to avoid obstacles.

    Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game 

    Maze Game 
  • Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures, where you have to shoot obstacles out of the way to clear the way for Pac-Man, and other than that can only speed up. You also have to shoot Pac-Man to get him to jump over obstacles.
  • Even Bomberman includes this in a few stages of later installments. However, these mine carts are usually powerful enough to crush anything in the way, while keeping the guy riding that safe... at least if the track has an end.

    Platform Game 
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Paper Mario has some rather straightforward mine cart rides in the Cragnons stage. The time-limit for being 3D is suspended while Mario's on the cart, which is useful since there's a split track you can't see in 2D mode.
    • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga has a mine cart minigame called Mysterious Mine Carts which has to be played on the trip down Hoohoo Mountain. The game is run by a beanish old man who is also sure the cave is full of treasures.
    • Paper Mario: Sticker Star has some considerably less straightforward ones, including a couple of segments that require paperization to complete—one of which it isn't immediately obvious that this is the case for until you've missed the jump a few times.
    • Super Mario RPG had one of these as a sort of minigame after completing one of the dungeons. In between sections of sidescrolling, some parts used Mode 7, and you had to hold left or right to make the correct turns. The only penalty for going off the rails was the loss of a bit of time as your car slid back onto the track. Since there was a reward for beating the current record, it was advantageous to miss a few turns and jumps.
    • The fan-made sequel to Super Mario RPG, Legend of the 5 Pendants, mixes this with it being a Timed Mission.
    • The first two Mario Party games have a minecart racing minigame. You and your teammate must tap the A button to gather speed, and must lean the cart in the corners. If you go too fast or don't lean properly, you'll fall and lose the game.
    • Mario Kart Wii features the Wario's Gold Mine track, apparently takes place on one of the roads that mine carts use, though you drive your normal vehicles and instead dodge mine carts in some sections.
    • New Super Mario Bros. Wii has a stage in World 8 where you ride atop skeletal snake-dragon platforms that act like real-world roller coasters; they slow as they go up the track and speed up as they go down, and there are a lot of gaps, dips into molten lava and jumps over lava fountains. It's a pretty hard stage, and the snake-platforms screeching like demons every now and then doesn't help.
    • Yoshi's Story actually did this with Chinese dragon heads.
    • Some of the levels of Super Mario 3D Land feature large green monorails that are operated by having the player step on two large arrows facing either end of the monorail, causing it to go in the direction the arrow points. If the monorail moves over a geyser or a lava eruption it will bounce up and land on a higher track. Also, the final level of the game had you go through Bowser's castle on a skeletonized version of these.
    • Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker has segments of certain levels with this. Since Captain Toad can't dodge enemies or their projectiles like he normally can, he has to throw turnips at them to neutralize the threat.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Underground Zone, the first zone of the Game Gear version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, has some mining cart segments. Because this is adapted from the Master System version by just making the player's window on the world smaller to fit the smaller screen, later parts of this level are incredibly frustrating. In the same game, a later level, Gimmick Mountain also has mining cart segments, one of which is needed to get to the goal sign in Act 1.
    • In the Genesis version of Sonic Spinball, the first stage, Toxic Caves, has a segment where Sonic must ride a mine cart that will take him to rooms where the second and third Chaos Emeralds are held. To access them, Sonic must first pull the switches that unlock the paths to these rooms. There are also pinball flippers that act as switches by changing the direction of the mine cart. If Sonic collects the second and third Chaos Emeralds before he collects the first, the mine cart disappears and Sonic falls straight into the slime vat where the first Chaos Emerald is held.
    • Sunset Park Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble has Spin Coaster.
    • In an inversion, the main villain of Tails' Skypatrol is a witch who rides around in a mining cart.
    • Sonic Heroes has mine cart-esque sections within Mystic Mansion.
    • Twinkle Snow from Sonic Advance 3 features mine cart section as well.
    • Sonic Rush Adventure featured a stage with minecarts; the second act even switched the camera's perspective to behind-the-back 3D during one of them.
    • Formerly, Act 2 of Lost Labyrinth Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 4, after it received a poor reception. Although it still appears near the end, its motion controls were scrapped. The iPhone version of the game still has this feature, while the console versions retooled the stage into a Blackout Basement.
  • Donkey Kong Country:
    • The series features a number of such levels. These include some straight version on minecarts, along with roller coaster-based levels and at least one on a sled. One was even a race; you had to win first place by causing your opponents to plunge to their demise to get that stage's Video Game Hero Coin. The levels came in two flavors, one type has the cart itself jump and the other has you jumping out of the cart.
    • Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest has carnival versions in Target Terror and Rickety Race and a haunted version in Haunted Hall.
    • In Donkey Kong 64, you can lean left and right during the minecart sections, and use this to choose between two paths where it splits on occasion. In the final ride, very hidden in the seventh world, you also have to hop between tracks with your minecart to dodge various obstacles, including the attacks of the Demon Resident.
    • Donkey Kong Country Returns features even more minecart levels, with more than just broken tracks to deal with. Hazards include falling crystals, crumbling platforms, and one miner mole actively tossing bombs onto your track to blow holes in it. You can at least tell the two varieties of carts apart: Minecarts loaded with blue crystal ore won't jump when you do, because DK rides on top of them rather than sitting down inside. One boss is even fought on a train of minecarts.
    • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze has these yet again, this time using the 2.5D perspective to feature curving tracks and parallel rails that you have to jump back and forth between. One level in particular combines this with Lumber Mill Mayhem.
  • Kirby had his share of minecarts as well. The Great Cave Offensive, one of the games packed into Kirby Super Star had one segment between each of the four major areas. These segments are rather relaxing, actually, as there's no need to dodge enemies; they all die when you run into them. Plus, hitting walls destroys the cart but leaves Kirby totally unharmed. It becomes a little more difficult in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards where you have to jump over rocks and gaps in time.
  • Naturally, Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures had this as the penultimate level of the "Temple of Doom" portion of the game. It was, of course, Nintendo Hard — making even one mistake would be a one-hit KO. There's also Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine which featured a minecart sequence as an homage to said scene from Temple.
  • The Smurfs (1994) by Infogrames had a mine cart level late in the game (Act 11) where you must control a minecart to get it safely across the tracks. While jumping was not possible, the hero had to crouch under obstacles and activate all switches under the penalty of reaching an insta-kill dead-end.
  • LittleBigPlanet also allows you to create your own minecart and rails with the help of Level Editor. There's little to no limitation what you can do with your homemade minecarts, you can always take it Up to Eleven by creating anti gravity minecart, automatic train station, walking minecarts, weaponized railway gun fully armed with explosives, and more.
    • The Canyons level "The Mines" also features various minecarts that you use to traverse, primarily at the beginning.
  • Rocket Knight Adventures had one of these at the end of its second stage.
  • In I Wanna Be the Guy, you have to survive a minecart ride in order to reach The Guy's castle.
  • Captain Comic 2 has a mine cart level early on. The mechanic is reused with some additions later in the game with a sledding section.
  • The freeware game Within a Deep Forest suddenly had one of these very briefly in Markstone Ridgemine. Getting back was easier.
  • The Trolley in Tomba! 2 is this trope as That One Sidequest.
  • Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex has several, most notably "Compactor Reactor", which has a mine cart segment lead into the main level (as well as the Gauntlet of the level).
  • Cyclops's levels had long mine-carting sections in Spider-Man/X-Men: Arcade's Revenge.
  • Quackshot features minecarting sections as part of the pyramid and the Ducky Gang Hideout. Not really surprising, considering the game's premise is basically "Donald Duck as Indiana Jones".
  • The Legendary Starfy has a few areas within Glitzem Grotto where Starfy, Moe, and Bunston ride some very broken minecarts (the brakes don't work). The stage's tagline is even "Like a Speeding Minecart"!
  • Two words: Dark. Savior. Your character, the mine cart, and -everything- are rendered into bad polygonal models(the game usually used sprites for the characters), and the jumps are frequently hard to see due to the camera(which also constantly gets blocked by the scenery) and there are no checkpoints. It's That One Level.
  • Armored Armadillo's stage in Mega Man X1 has several brief minecart moments. On the first and last ones in the level, you must jump off of the cart before it falls into a Bottomless Pit.
  • Banjo-Tooie has Glitter Gulch Mine, where at you must race a character in a mine cart twice.
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers 2 had a western-themed level which included riding on several mine carts.
  • The Lion King game's Can't Wait To Be King level is just like this, except replace "mine cart" with "ostrich". After Simba goes through the hordes of monkey-flipping and giraffe-hopping, Simba must ride an ostrich and can only either make himself and the bird duck, have the bird jump, or jump as well. Many a gamer who played this game will remember this well because this is probably as far as most of us will ever get in the game without skipping levels.
  • In Pitfall The Mayan Adventure there is a level like this. It isn't very kind on you if you make any kind of mistake.
  • Final level of world 1 in Gish features one of these. Although you don't have to take the mine cart if you don't have to.
  • Seen in a Lucky Luke game, Desperado Train for the Game Boy Color. Despite being Nintendo Hard (aptly enough), may be the Best Level Ever once you get used to it. If you wanna give it a try, the password is Gun, Gun, Sheriff Star, Horseshoe. Also present in the PS1 Lucky Luke game.
  • Bagman aka Gilligan's Gold.
  • World of Illusion features this as a co-op level with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, where the two players must time their jumps to power the cart through the mine.
  • Animaniacs has one minecart level where the primary danger is the pursuing Ralph. It ends with the minecart soaring into the air ... and passing directly in front of the full moon.
  • Mine Catastrophe in Something Else. Luigi has to use Minecarts to make it to the end of the level. According to a Message Box, Luigi is dumb enough to fall through the holes between planks.
  • The Pinocchio Licensed Game has a level involving jumping onto and off of rollercoasters on Pleasure Island.
  • Ducktales has minecart rides in Transylvania. But not in the actual mine level.
  • Yooka-Laylee has one minecart section in every level, courtesy of Kartos the talking Minecart.
  • Scrap Garden has a level in which Canny rides in a mine cart.
  • Giraffe and Annika has a segment in which Annika rides a minecart through a lava-filled cave.
  • Stitchy In Tooki Trouble: There's at least one level in the game in which Stitchy rides a minecart.

    Rail Shooter 
  • The entirety of the rail shooter arcade games called Rail Chase are this, you are riding a minecart shooting enemies in your path.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Brütal Legend has a twisting mine cart track through the Dry Ice Mines area. The mine carts don't move, but you can drive the Druid Plow down the tracks if you please (Indeed, one of the Race missions has you doing exactly that.)

    Rhythm Game 
  • Harmoknight has a few levels like this, where you ride a "Cymbi-Cart" which resembles a Cymbal-Banging Monkey. You can extend the cart's wheels/legs to pass over obstacles and collect notes that are above the track, and use the cart's cymbals to crush enemies.

  • You can create your own in Dwarf Fortress. In its simplest form, mine carts are just a faster but more efficient way of hauling goods. However, with its complex physics, you have to take care of carts accelerating to very fast speeds, derailing and other kinds of fun.

    Run And Gun 
  • Gunstar Heroes has the level and boss fight against Green, the entirety of which is spent in a seizure-inducingly fast cart. Most of it is horizontal scrolling, with some vertical sections in the boss fight, and double-jumping reverses the gravity for your cart.

    Sports Game 
  • Referenced in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, of all places. In a secret area in the Canada level, there's a minecart rail that can be grinded on, causing the player to smack into a minecart which zooms off down the track. Grinding the rail to the end scores a bonus called "Obligatory Video Game Minecart Sequence".
  • The Kooky Kraken in Backyard Skateboarding.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • Resident Evil 4 has one of these. Unlike most examples, jumping off the cart, or with it, for that matter, isn't exactly an option until the end of the ride.
  • Gears of War has a scene where you split up with player 2 and ride a mine kart. You use a gatling gun attached to the kart to shoot down locusts, and sometimes ride alongside player 2.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Terraria:
    • Players can place minecart tracks to ride minecarts on. Tracks can also randomly generate underground; you can dig up these tracks and use them yourself if you don't want to hunt for more Iron or farm more Trees to build your own.
    • Here's a video showcasing true Minecart Madness. This world-tour round-trip rollercoaster took 100+ hours to build and spans the entire game world, including many Underground areas.
  • Minecraft has craftable minecarts and placeable tracks, both useful for transportation and for custom roller coasters. A recent update grants you single-used minecarts armed with TNTs, which can be used as makeshift artillery.
  • The first Hebereke game, Ufouria, a NES Metroidvania, has a mine area, which naturally has mine cart rides.
  • Red Dead Redemption has one mission where you escort a minecart that's carrying a gatling gun through a mine. Once you reach outside, a short ride on the cart awaits.

    Non-video game examples 
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disney Theme Parks is the rollercoaster example of this, taking the rider through an exploding mine at one point.
    • Six Flags: Over Georgia has the Mine Train.
    • Six Flags: Wild Waves / Enchanted Village also has/had one of these.
    • The long-gone "Flight To Mars" at the Seattle Center.
    • The sounds of the ride were recorded and used for the scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom for the scene where Indy, Short Round, and Willie escape from the Thuggees' mine on a cart whose track wildly winds over lava pits. The ride and Temple of Doom are most likely what inspired the numerous video game levels.
  • A Pinball example: Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure has the "Escape in the Mine Cart" Video Mode.
  • The Mine Level in 3-D Ultra Pinball uses minecarts to move the pinball between playfields.
    Mission Control: "Ride the rails, cadet."
  • 101 Dalmatians (1996): In a Setting Update, Roger is a video game designer rather than a songwriter — part of the film's Dénouement shows that his skills have improved by showing off the final level of his game, which is a 3D minecart escape sequence.

Alternative Title(s): Minecart Mayhem


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