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NPC Roadblock

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Don't try to walk through those gaps either. Your footsteps will wake them up.
Weird place to put a block... Wonder what's in it... Maybe I should stay here and stare at it for a while...
Zeekeeper Mascot, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team

A Non-Player Character that prevents the Player Character from passing through a certain door or passage, effectively blocking it off. This means that the player will have to accomplish some task to gain access. The question of why the protagonist can't simply force the NPC to move is rarely brought up.

A Sub-Trope of Broken Bridge. A favorite tactic of the City Guards. See also Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence. Can lead to a Chain of Deals. Compare and contrast Beef Gate, where the character will simply kill you instead of just stopping you, until you can kill it.



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    Action Adventure Games 
  • Alice: Madness Returns has a lot of obstructive characters in the London areas, forcing you to go through scripted areas.
  • Jack from Cave Story blocks the doorway to mimiga cemetery due to fungi outbreak out there. Telling him that Toroko has been kidnapped will make him move out of the way.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The old man in the original The Legend of Zelda won't let you go past the entrance of Ganon's lair until you get all pieces of the Triforce.
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link has the River Devil who blocks the north-south road of Eastern Hyrule. In order to get rid of him you must play the flute.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time:
      • The two kids who block the exits to Kokiri Village at the beginning of the game. The passage they're blocking is pretty big, so they sidestep back and forth, always standing exactly in front of you. Mido does the same at various points: first to stop you from going to meet the Great Deku Tree unless you have a sword and shield on you (even though the Deku Tree himself summoned Link, but then again, the Tree is infested with monsters), then after you finish the Deku Tree dungeon for some reason (you just need to talk to him to make him move, though), and finally when you venture into the Lost Woods to get to the Forest Temple as an adult (again, he will move if you talk to him).
      • The ridiculously fat King Zora who blocks the entrance to Zora's Fountain, and takes an extremely long time to move out of the way once you free him. Other characters in the game pull off the same living Broken Bridge stunt, but none with quite the elan of King Zora. Fortunately, most can be bypassed by various glitches.
      • The first time you become Adult Link, Sheik will stand in front of the Master Sword's pedestal, preventing you from returning to Young Link's timeline. Only by completing the Forest Temple will Sheik move from her spot.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: In Clock Town, guards block all four exits and refuse to let Link through when he's a Deku Scrub ("It's too dangerous out there!"). When he becomes a human again, they initially block him, but relent when they see that he has a sword. If Link happens to be a Goron or Zora, they won't even attempt to block him.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures has the Village of the Blue Maiden. In front of the Seeker's Guild HQ, there's a long line of obstructing NPCs blocking the way to an agent. To actually talk to the agent on the other side of the line, you have to use the Pegasus Boots to crash into the wall and scatter the NPCs and go through the gaps before they manage to return in line. The game also has a woman obstructing another important house. To get in you actually have to manually push the woman to the side.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap:
      • Once you beat the first dungeon, you are unable to get past the guard blocking the west exit until you learn the Spin Attack. He, and the guards blocking the north and east exits, will run/walk parallel to you, preventing you from passing. Similarly, before going to Hyrule Castle for the first time, NPCs block off each of the town's areas so you have to follow Zelda around.
      • Once the endgame starts, guards start appearing in various places around Hyrule Town, telling you that it's too dangerous to proceed. Bafflingly, one such soldier is placed in front of the entrance to the library, leading one to wonder exactly what's dangerous about it.
    • The "line of NPCs" trope gets its fair share of use too: both The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword have a strangely cohesive group of NPCs blocking access to a specific area (a long queue for water blocking South Hyrule Field in TP, and a bunch of women chatting after laundry was done blocking the residential area of Skyloft in SS).
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild:
      • The Gerudo guards keep Link from entering Gerudo Town unless he's Disguised in Drag. You can climb the walls and try to jump into town anyway, but they'll still detect you and throw you out.
      • One shrine in the desert is blocked off by a dehydrated Gerudo who has decided to drape herself over the Slate reader, forcing you to return to the city to get her a cocktail so she'll move out of the way.
      • The shrine atop Gut Check Rock is guarded by a Goron, who will not let you enter until you pass his challenge.
  • Spectrobes averts this trope by having every last NPC being both intangible and immobile.
  • Subverted in Beast's Castle in Kingdom Hearts II. The wardrobe is standing in front of a door. You can push her out of the way, but if you wake her up doing so she'll complain and move back into position. Move her fully out of the way and then she'll wake up and engage you in a friendly chat.
  • In SoulBlazer, a mole in GreenWood won't budge from in front of another mole until you give him a ribbon that belonged to his beloved. Once you do so, he literally vanishes; the "trapped" mole explains that he was a ghost and had no idea what had happened to him before giving you the Shield Bracelet.

    Adventure Games 
  • In the Hamtaro game, Ham-Hams Unite! for Game Boy Color, in one level, there's a hole you need to get through to get Cappy, but there's this one hamster who gets in the way and won't let you through, because he's "scared".
  • Peasant's Quest has a guard blocking access to Trogdor's mountain for most of the game, until Rather Dashing can convince him that he's a peasant.
    Guard: "You're not dressed like a peasant, you don't stink like a peasant, and you most certainly are not on fire like a peasant!"
  • The Secret of Monkey Island has a man in a troll costume blocking the path to Stan's Used Ship Emporium and Captain Smirk's Pirate Gym until you give him the item he is looking for.

    First-Person Shooters 
  • In Medal of Honor: Frontline, two guys block your path upstairs at the Golden Lion pub, and you must tip the piano player to play a song to distract them.
  • Often happened unintentionally in Marathon thanks to the terrible AI of the friendly NPC "BOBs". The developers had this to say on the subject: "BOB jam? Apply grenades liberally!"

    Platform Games 
  • In Banjo-Kazooie, Wozza the Walrus is scared of Banjo, and will not allow the bear entry into his cave. If you approach Wozza while Banjo is transformed into a walrus, Wozza will happily retreat into his cave, allowing Banjo to enter the cave when he turns back into a bear.
  • Banjo-Tooie:
    • In Mayahem Temple, Officer Unogopaz will not let Banjo and Kazooie into the Kickball Stadium, as only Stonies are allowed inside. After Banjo and Kazooie turn into a Stony, Officer Unogopaz will still recognize the duo, but will allow them inside the stadium anyway due to the Stonies being low on players.
    • In Terrydactyland, a member of the Unga Bunga tribe will be blocking the entrance to the Oogle Boogle's cave. Only by scaring him away with the roar of the Daddy T-Rex transformation will this guard leave his post. Another Unga Bunga is blocking the entrance to his own tribe's cave. While this Unga Bunga will allow Banjo and Kazooie into his cave, he will not permit them entry if they are wearing the Springy-Step Shoes.
    • In Hailfire Peaks, Biggafoot is blocking access to a pair of Claw Clamber Boots, which you need to reach Chilly Willy's area. Biggafoot can't even wear the boots, and will only kick you if you get too close to him. Hang around near Biggafoot long enough and one of Chilly Willy's attacks will hit Biggafoot's over-sized foot, forcing the yeti to hop away in pain.
  • The Gargoyle in Conker's Bad Fur Day is guarding the stone bridge that leads to the Windy area, and won't let Conker in. Thus, the eponymous character will have to come later with a weapon (a frying pan) to get him out of the way.
  • Cuphead: King Dice acts as this, preventing Cuphead and Mugman from reaching the next area until they've completed the current one. Oddly and epically, he has a Villain Song explicitly for this role.
    ''I can't let you pass, 'cause you ain't done everything. Bring me those contracts, c'mon bring 'em to the king!
  • There are three examples in McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure, each one requiring Ronald to give up several of his magic jewels.
    • In the Circus Train level, Ronald has to give the jewels to a captured Birdie so that she can break free from her cage and fly away, opening the hatch leading to the top of the carriage.
    • In the Pirate Ship level, Ronald has to give the jewels to Grimace, who is blocking the doorway and is so tired, he can hardly move.
    • In the Alien King's spaceship, just before the final battle with the Alien King himself, Ronald has to give several jewels to the Guard so he will fall asleep and he can set the Fry Kids free so they can form a bridge for him to walk across.
  • Nearly the entirety of Kao the Kangaroo Round 2 revolves around collecting enough coins to bribe the guard who is blocking the way to the Big Bad's ship. If you try to walk by without paying, he shoves you away. No, you cannot just knock him out, even though throughout the game you defeat lots of other mooks like him with no problem.

    Puzzle games 
  • Spelling Jungle: Elephants and Zebras. Both stand in the way until they're bribed; Elephants have to be pushed out of the way and will return to their original location when it wears off, while Zebras have to be led away and stay where they are when the bribe wears off.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Dark Souls III has High Priestess Emma, who will give you the items needed to get to Lothric Castle when the plot wants you there, and no sooner. You can sequence break by killing her... if you don't mind having the Dancer of the Boreal Valley (That One Boss even when fought at the appropriate level) turn you inside-out repeatedly.
  • EarthBound:
    • There is a maze made of NPC cultists. You have to shift certain ones aside by talking to them (though some of them get angry and battle you).
    • It's Lampshaded in the first town with the Onett Police Force, who are famous for their road blocks and proud of it. One cop even claims they're going for the record, while a number of other NPCs complain about how pointless and stupid the roadblocks are and wish the cops would actually do something worthwhile with their time.
  • A Running Gag in the Touhou Mother crossover are the "ants at your feet", which block paths for plot reasons. The player characters refuse to step on them because that would kill them (they don't seem to think of stepping over the ants... or flying). This is Lampshaded repeatedly throughout the game, such as when they are found in a building ("What? Here? Get back to the forest!") or when they give you a gift near the end for being kind enough to never step on them. This is a direct reference to Mother 3, which often blocks off areas you aren't supposed to visit yet with the same message and for the same reasons.
  • Done unintentionally in Earthbound Beginnings. In the town of Merrysville you can find an NPC walking in front of the Department store, and there's a chance that he might stop right in front of its entrance, preventing you from going inside, thus forcing you to wait until he moves again.
  • Pokémon is all about this.
    • The cranky Old Man in Viridian City won't let you pass until his coffee takes away the grumpiness. (In the original he's drunk and needs to wait until he's sobered up.)
    • The guards at each of the four entrances to Saffron City won't let you through at all, simply saying that the road is closed. Bizarrely, you can't pass through until you share one of the beverages you can get from the vending machines atop the Celadon City Department Store, at which point they will automatically let you through, saying they will share the drink with all the other guards. And the only hint the game gives you as to how to make them let you pass is when they say "Gee I'm thirsty, though..."
    • When Saffron City is under siege, several buildings are blocked by Team Rocket members standing in front of the door. Bizarrely, you can only get past one when he falls asleep and somehow moves one square to the right (Or in Yellow, randomly disappears instead).
    • A man prevents you from entering Cerulean Cave/Unknown Dungeon (where you find Mewtwo) in R/B/G/Y until you're the Pokemon League Champion because there are dangerous Pokemon inside. Said NPC is rather famous among the Pokemon fans, both because of both this very blatant case, and because of the fact that his black hair blended spectacularly with the door behind him, leading to the nickname "Afroman."
    • Sometimes a stubborn Pokémon blocks your path in the same way. In Kanto, at least one Snorlax can be found sleeping in an inconvenient place, and won't budge until you play a Poké Flute at it (when it returns in Gold nd Silver, you instead use a radio station playing the Poké Flute's song). Johto in Gold and Silver used Sudowoodo, an impassable "dancing tree" until you spray water at it with a special water bottle. Sinnoh in Diamond and Pearl have a horde of Psyduck blocking a path until you bring them a special potion to cure their headaches (these ones don't need to be fought).
    • In Pokémon Gold and Silver, a police officer in Kanto's Radio Tower (formerly Pokémon Tower) will not let you ascend to any floors above the first, no matter what else you do, citing tightened security measures in the wake of the Goldenrod Radio Tower hijacking earlier in the game.
    • In the same games, there is a salesman in Mahogany Town that sells Rage Candy Bars at the Eastern exit. The problem is that he feels the need to get in your way and push you back towards town if you try to walk past him just so that he can sell them to you, whether you buy his stuff or not. What's even more ridiculous is that he'll still do this even when it gets to the point in the game where he's planning to pack up and leave since the stock's run out. In other words, he's still blocking up traffic just to tell us he's run out of the stuff he was blocking up traffic for in the first place.
    • Similarly, there is a NPC at the south exit of Violet City who will not let you pass until you defeat Falkner, Violet City's Gym Leader. Fortunately, he will give you a free item, Miracle Seed, once you do.
    • In Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, there's an NPC in the very first town who won't let you leave to the west because he's sketching some rare Pokémon footprints and doesn't want you to step on them. Later on it turns out that they were actually his own.
    • In the fourth generation games, there's a man that blocks access to Sunnyshore City because... there's a blackout. Exactly why that would make it dangerous to go to the city is a mystery.
    • And then there's someone who escorts you to see Brock's Gym. Several times. As in, until you actually beat him, the bastard will not let you onto the next route.
    • Another particularly annoying one: in Platinum you're chasing a criminal who just SET OFF A BOMB. He leaves the vision of the player, but if you follow the path which you saw him leave from, you come to the entrance of a lakefront blocked by two generic men with cameras saying "we're filming the lake." Guess where the whole evil organization sets off another bomb...
    • Diamond/Pearl: you've just gotten the bike, and you want to go back to Floaroma Town to check the trees you smeared with honey. Cue an NPC who wants you to go on the Cycling Road and simply will not let you pass until you go down it and come back. What's especially funny is that there doesn't appear to be any reason for him to be there - he's not even preventing you from Sequence Breaking, because you are trying to go back the way you came.
    • A very obnoxious one in Pokémon Black and White involves a policeman standing at the entrance to a post-game route who refuses to let you past. His reason for not doing so? "There's something up ahead and you can't go through here." Nothing in the entire Pokemon canon hints as to what this mysterious "something" is.
    • In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, in a borderline Lampshade Hanging of the ridiculous extents that this trope can go a group of guys are blocking off the northern path to Black City/White Forest, claiming to be dancing for no reason and that someday they will disappear for no reason. In the same game, there are several instances where the enemy is blocking the path, perfectly awake, yet you are unable to fight your way past, despite doing so throughout normal gameplay.
    • In Lumiose City in Pokémon X and Y, when you first enter there will be all these mechanics stopping you from accessing a good bit of the town because of a blackout (which you won't be fixing until after you get your fourth badge). With the wonky camera angles in the town, it's safe to say you'll want to punch them in the face after the 9000th time they get to you. It doesn't help that the lights in the buildings just behind them are clearly working just fine, and NPCs pass between the open and closed zones freely.
    • Red in Twitch Plays Pokémon Red walks in just the right place when the Burglar sees him and approaches him, so after the Burglar is defeated he just stands there, blocking the way out, as Red was in between the wall and a table. This is very problematic, since in Pokemon NPCs don't move after they are defeated...
    • In Pokémon Sun and Moon along with the sequels, an NPC in Heahea City keeps you from accessing half of the city because he's searching for items and refuses to let you pass until he's done. Later, Hau blocks the fastest route to Professor Kukui by standing on a bridge and looking around for the professor (who's maybe thirty feet away), forcing you to walk around the entire outer edge of the park to reach him.
    • Justified in most instances in Pokémon Sword and Shield, as the people blocking your way forward will almost always be Team Yell Grunts. Their mission is to slow down every Gym Challenger except for Marnie, which means they will prevent you from progressing until certain event flags trigger that cause them to go away...after which they will obstruct your path again a little bit further down. It also explains why other characters can freely travel about—they allow non-Challengers to pass through. Notably, after defeating Team Yell's leader, Piers, Team Yell Grunts stop blocking your path.
  • In Tales of Phantasia, there's a crab in the Alvanista port that is there specifically to block your access to a chest (at least in the PSX version). Talking to it cause Cless to lash out at it.
    "What do you want from me, crab?!"
  • In Star Ocean: Till the End of Time there is a particular NPC in Airyglyph who just seemed to not get the point that you need to get through that door, dammit!
  • Live A Live features a sort of puzzle in the Prehistoric Chapter. You come into a room with one caveman. You talk to the caveman, and another one shows up. Now both are running around frantically. Talk to one of them and a third one will run in. Keep this up and eventually the room will be overrun with cavemen running around, making it quite hard to navigate. This is not a large room, by the way. Finally, your goal is to talk to the twentieth cavemen (this despite the fact that all of them are identical). If you get it right, you'll get a reward and all but one of the cavemen will leave. Get it wrong and they'll just leave, making you start over. Try to leave the room in the middle and you'll find it all but impossible.
  • Affectionate Parody RPG Maker game Jay's Journey has a guard that is rigged to only walk back and forth through a narrow corridor (which is a shortcut out of the area that was accessible earlier in the game). When Jay speaks to this guard, he tells the guard to move... but is only met with a single useless phrase over and over again.
    Guard: We're renovating the tower!
    Jay: That's nice. Could you move? The shortcut's over there.
    Guard: We're renovating the tower!
    Jay: ...stupid NPC.
    • And later, if you decide to take the staircase at the other end of the shortcut up...
      Guard: We're renovating the tower!
      Jay: Are you STILL here?!
  • In Paper Mario 64, you cannot leave Shiver City during the whole murder mystery segment. Penguins will be blocking both the pipe back to Toad Town Tunnels, as well as the eastern exit out of town.
  • Happens in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door: An irate Zess T. will block a door to the west side of Rogueport because you stepped on her contact lens. You can order a replacement lens immediately after the incident, but if you forget to, you won't be able to purchase one until after Chapter 1, leaving her blocking your way for some time.
    • During Chapter 4, there is a guard blocking the gate out of Twilight Town who will not let you pass without the mayor's permission. Your partner will even remark on the situation. When you go to ask the mayor for permission, he will have turned into a pig, and be unable to help you. Fortunately for you, the gatekeeper will then also turn into a pig, and will be unable to stop you from passing through the gate.
  • In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, there are multiple large Koopas standing in areas just narrow enough that you can't go around them. You can't do anything with them until Mario and Luigi learn the fire dash maneuver, which allows them to ram the Koopa so hard that he gets knocked over, after which point he gets up and stands in a more convenient location.
    "Derr...No matter what you hit me with, you can't knock me down!...I think."
  • The Code Geass RPG for Nintendo DS has a few instances of guards blocking item boxes (including the one containing the Guren Mk-II Kai parts). Talking to them goes into a Geass sequence: ordering them to sleep or dance permanently blocks the item, while ordering them to commit suicide or go home clears the way.
  • Chrono Trigger:
    • Geno Dome, in the far future, contains a one-eyed guard bot that won't let you through to claim a key. There's no slipping past until you find a deactivated unit of the same model, give it a jump, and lead it back to short-circuit the guard and lock them both into a permanent staring contest.
    • Another example occurs early in the game right after Crono's jailbreak, when the guards chase the party into Guardia Forest and cut off the exit. What makes this example particularly Egregious is that you were flattening guards left and right not two minutes ago.
  • A particularly funny example in the Medabots RPGs for the GBA. In the first town, there are four exits leading to other areas. Four NPCs will be standing in front of them for no apparent reason, going away as the plot progresses. One of them is actually justifiable, as the path is still under construction and it can be assumed the guy was hired to stay there. The others? "I heard Medaropolis has huge markets! I wish I could go shopping there someday!" One assumes that her rationale is that if she can't go, then no one else will, goddamnit!
  • Slime Forest Adventure has moving NPCs, one of which found its way into a corridor. That NPC mentions he doesn't know which way he's going, and despite being able to move, will never leave the corridor when pushed using the whistle. Other NPCs also block access to other parts of the castle.
  • Lampshaded by a guard in Arieda Village in the Fan Translation of Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys:
    "Even though you know our leader, I still can't let you pass for no reason."
  • One of these in Secret of Mana blocks the way back to the main character's hometown. You can exploit a glitch to get past him, but all that's there is a shop selling weak early-game equipment and a bunch of NPCs repeating the same dialogue you heard back in the beginning.
  • In Diablo II, Kaelan and the nameless second guard block the entrance to Jerhyn's palace in Lut Gholein until the player completes the Tainted Sun quest, after which they step away.
  • Played with in Yume Nikki, you can stab every single NPC Roadblock with a knife, but everything comes with consequences.
  • In Miitopia, the Serious Soldier won't let you go to Greenhorne Castle (and thus, the rest of the game) until you get the Mayor's Introduction. In the demo version, he marks the end of the demo, even if you gave him the aforementioned key item.
  • Undertale:
    • When you first enter Hotland, a duo of Royal Guards are blocking the way to a side path which turns into a shortcut after you explore further. You can't fight the guards here, but they show up later in another area to fight you. In the Genocide route, which transforms your character into a fearless killer that scares most of the population away, the guards' temporary presence here is replaced with Some Kind of Force Field.
    • In a few scripted events, a NPC's presence temporarily prevents you from backtracking until the event is really over (not just seemingly over), most obviously Alphys at the end of the Core.
    • In Deltarune, an NPC in the Hometown library (or "Librarby" as it's called there) tells you that there are some interesting books to read upstairs. Unfortunately, they're blocking the way to said stairs, so you can't go up there. In Chapter 2, you'll be able to go up there... only to find that same NPC now blocking the way to the rest of the room, so you can only read the books on 2 of the shelves.
  • Ultima III has a rather odd example where you need to talk to a vital NPC who is nevertheless blocked off by other, neutral NPCs. The only way to get past them is to murder them in cold blood.
  • Dink Smallwood feature an NPC blocking a bridge to the second continent, demanding two gold for passage (money isn't featured in the game at all until the player is "allowed" to cross it). You are free to try and punch him set him on fire, all he'll say is "Did something touch me? A fly, perhaps?"
  • Cthulhu Saves the World:
  • In Octopath Traveler, several hidden items and treasure chests are guarded by NPCs standing in front of doors. Nonetheless, you can actually do something about it: Either have Olberic challenge the NPC to a duel or have H'aanit sic one of her captured monsters on them. Regardless of the way, once the NPC is defeated, you'll gain access to the building they were blocking.
  • When you first arrive in Lakeview Valley, one of the central paths is blocked off by a gigantic cow who's gotten stuck in some debris. The cow doesn't appear to be in any immediate distress, happily eating the nearby grass... which is just as well, as the equipment necessary to extract her safely won't arrive for several days. The player can opt to speed up the process by taking matters into their own hands...

    Survival Horror Games 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Shadowrun. The presence of living creatures (including plants) can block travel by astral entities. Some companies use walls of ivy or even a soup of astrally active bacteria to block astral intrusion into their facilities.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • The Shining Series is covered with this trope blocking doors and leading the party down paths where events are taking place.
    • The first Shining Force has an interesting bug in the first town where two guards who actively block your path can themselves be blocked by a fellow townsperson, letting you leave town earlier than intended, without the rest of your starting party.
    • Early in Shining Force III, a bomb goes off and you're expected to rush back to your HQ. There are two routes but the first one is blocked by a civilian who when talked to comments on being too shocked to move, apologizing, and asking you to take the long way around. This is so you'll trigger a cutscene with the main characters from Scenario 2.
    • Shining Wisdom has this in a form of a tutorial for the sprinting mechanic; where your grandpa blocks the way right at the start and the only way to get past is to run full speed at him knocking him over and almost breaking his neck. Grandpa spends the rest of the game in bed because of this.
  • Fire Emblem Jugdral has yellow NPC units that will block you from entering a new area until your lord seizes a certain castle.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Monster Capsule GB has this in the RPG worlds. Some NPCs just won't move until you either convince them to leave or find ways around them.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Dronejam, NPC Barricade


Abe Lincoln Must Die!

Trying to enter the War Room too early will get you thrown out of the White House by Chuckles.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / NPCRoadblock

Media sources:

Main / NPCRoadblock