Follow TV Tropes


Planet Heck

Go To
Jim tries to escape Development Hell.
The infernal realm is often by definition unconquerable and inescapable. This doesn't sit well with videogame designers, who abhor not being able to shoot up things that look like they need shooting up. Consequently gamers are occasionally treated to going to Hell, killing everything, and coming back out. This is possibly the ultimate logical conclusion to the Rule of Cool, or the Sorting Algorithm of Evil going off the scale.

The epic finality of Hell makes it a good location for The Very Definitely Final Dungeon or the Bonus Dungeon, but that's by no means universal.

Compare Bonus Level of Heaven. Almost always leads towards a To Hell and Back scenario. Also see Lethal Lava Land, an often similarly themed stage that usually doesn't actually take place in a Fire and Brimstone Hell. For a level that's a figurative hell, see Brutal Bonus Level.

Not a Lighter and Softer version of "Planet Hell or of "Hell Planets."



    open/close all folders 

    Action Adventure 
  • Cave Story's Sacred Grounds level, the hardest area of the game, is only accessible if you've fulfilled a number of obscure requirements. Beat it to get the best ending. Despite the name "Sacred Grounds", everything is dull red or orange-red and covered in spikes, and it's filled with evil angels. It's lampshaded, too, which is the only reason it's on this page with the name "Sacred Grounds". If you head right from the entrance and drop through the floor, you can read a sign that quite literally says "Welcome to Hell!" Of course, most Speedrunners just avoid it entirely...
  • The video game adaptation of Dante's Inferno is set among the Circles of Hell as envisioned in The Divine Comedy.
  • Ganbare Goemon 2 had hell as a secret level with Dracula and Kabuki as bosses. The entrance is an amusement park apparently.

    Action Game 
  • In Evil Dead: Regeneration, in the last level Ash and Sam (Ash's half Deadite midget sidekick) are sent to a cyclopean alternate dimension, that looks a lot like hell. Complete with waterfalls of blood. They then kill the crazy doctor and save the girl. But, she turns out to be a Deadite! So Ash kills her, a portal opens, and our hero is sucked into the portal and sent God knows where.
  • God of War: This happens in most games in the series.
    • God of War involves a level in Hades once the main character died.
    • In the prequel, Chains Of Olympus, the last half or so of the game takes place in Tartarus, which is essentially Hell.
    • God of War III revisits Hades twice, once in an early mission to kill the god Hades and once near the end to kill the Three Judges of the dead before the final showdown with Zeus.
  • Devil May Cry: The first three games have had (near-)endgame levels set in the demon world.

    Adventure Game 
  • The Secret of Monkey Island features caverns near the titular island that shift positions, smell of sulfur, have strange growths of hands, eyes, and mouths, where the walls constantly drip with blood. Tourists used to line up for hours to see it.
  • The Season 2 final episode of Telltale Games' Sam And Max takes place in Hell. The entire place is a bureaucratic nightmare.

    Driving Game 

    First Person Shooter 
  • Doom is the archetypal example, with the player tasked with stopping an invasion of demons at their source, after fighting them off at a series of Mars bases. In Doom II, it's the same thing all over again, except this time you fight them on Earth before going to Hell, and this time you actually destroy Hell, and afterwards idly wonder where bad folks will go when they die.
    • Doom 3 plays this about as straight as you can get, with a trip to hell and back in the middle of the game. But it was pretty Cool.
  • Spear of Destiny, the Mission-Pack Sequel to Wolfenstein 3-D, has its last level take place in Hell and feels somewhat like a forerunner to Doom. Given how id Software decided to use this level as inspiration for their newest game after an attempt to do an Aliens-based FPS fell through, it sort of is one.
  • id Software's pre-Wolfenstein FPS Catacomb Fantasy Trilogy has its last levels in hell, with some really big scary demons!
  • The entirety of Painkiller takes place in Purgatory, and only at the very end of the game does the player actually reach Hell itself. Where you fight Lucifer amidst a diorama of man-made horrors and wars frozen in time.
  • The Darkness gives you two bonus levels of Hell for the price of one! One for each time Jackie kills himself; the second time so he can go confront The Darkness directly, in its own realm. It's never explicitly stated to be "Hell", just where The Darkness lives, which is close enough as to make no difference.
    • But didn't the darkness buy a one way ticket to hell and back?
  • Level 6 in Will Rock is called the Underworld of Tartarus, which is reached by descending in a loooong pit and features deep caves and pits of magma. It has, however, several dungeon areas and places in the surface.
  • The final objectives of Hellgate: London are the invasion commanders on the other side of the eponymous Hellgate. Perhaps the least colorful example, as it appears to be a monotone rocky valley.
  • Paladins has the Abyss, the Realm's equivalent of Hell. Instead of fire and brimstone, the Abyss is a purple void filled with floating gothic architecture.

    Fighting Game 
  • Hades from God of War (mentioned above) is made into a playable stage in Playstation All Stars Battle Royale.
  • One of the secret wrestling rings from the PS1 video game WCW Thunder is titled Hades and is pretty much the standard depiction of Hell with fire, brimstone, and blood.

    Hack And Slash 
  • The Diablo series regularly has its protagonists descending into the bowels of Hell to kick demon ass for its final acts.

  • In Guild Wars, the "Elite" bonus zones are the Underworld (realm of the cold/death god Grenth), the Fissure of Woe (realm of the fire/war god Balthazar), The Deep (lair of the demon Kanaxai), Urgoz's Warren (home of a giant fungus-monster called Urgoz), and the Domain of Anguish (realm/prison of the insane ex-god Abaddon and various and sundry demons and mad spirits).

    Platform Game 
  • The Trope Namer is Earthworm Jim, where the second level, "What the Heck?" takes you to a planet of Fire and Brimstone Hell to face off against Evil the Cat. The background music? Night on Bald Mountain. You know, that one scene with the demon rising from a volcano in Fantasia? That one. Then it changes impromptu (complete with Record Needle Scratch) into the, according to the manual, most evil music genre in the whole universe: Elevator music. Peppered with screams of agony.
  • La-Mulana has a Hell Temple with even more stringent requirements, and its difficulty outdoes the already-hard rest of the game by a couple of orders of magnitude. And just to add insult to injury, completing it 'rewards' you not with a better ending, but with Squick Fuel. It doesn't help that the Hell Temple has background music that will ring in your ears and drive you to despair as you fall into Lands of Hell over and over again. And all this is topped with the fact that if you don't know how to activate the checkpoints or any of the secret passages, every time you screw up and get dropped into the Land of Hell, you are sent back several rooms. Worse still, to get to the final room, you have to traverse the entire temple three times, carrying three mutually exclusive items in your inventory.
  • Apogee's Monster Bash starts its second episode off in three of these levels, with demons accounting for a large percentage of the enemies. The third one in the set is a boss fight with a demon's hand trying to stab you with a pitchfork.
  • The last galaxy in the Japanese version of Super Mario Galaxy is known as Hell Prominence. Naturally, this was changed to Melty Molten for the English language releases, despite the other language versions giving the level similar names to the original.
  • The last level of Eversion. Actually, the ending suggests that the entire game takes place in a Lovecraftian equivalent of Hell; everything except World X-8 was an illusion caused by dimension distortion.
  • Super Meat Boy has the aptly named Hell World which is pretty much this.
  • Jazz Jackrabbit 2's last levels are set in punny named hell levels that include ripped graphics from the Earthworm Jim example above.
  • The second part of Red Mountain in Sonic Adventure appears to take place in Hell.
  • Super Paper Mario manages to combine this with Bonus Level of Heaven in Chapter 7. You start in the "Underwhere" (hell) and climb up to the "Overthere" (heaven) throughout the course of the chapter.
  • "Thy Farts Consumed" from The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures is explicitly set in Hell, complete with Doom references.
  • Giana Sisters DS: About half of World 8 takes place in a maze of lava-filled caverns. The time limit even increases from 300 to 666.

    Puzzle Game 
  • The final battle of Puyo Puyo (1992) is against Satan himself, appropriately set in Hell.
  • Jeljel in Meteos seems to be themed on fire and brimstone, if the visual style and the sound set of the original game is anything to go by. In addition, it is literally a planet. It's somewhat different than most applications of this trope though, as Jeljel is under threat of an Earth-Shattering Kaboom (as is most other civilized planets in the galaxy), and single-player modes involving it are about its inhabitants fending off annihilation.

    Rhythm Game 
  • The final venue in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock takes place in Hell after the player's manager Lou, who is actually the devil - Lucifer - in disguise, sends the band there for refusing to perform on Celebrity Has-Been Dance-Off and threatening to fire him for even suggesting it. The band must then perform for the Legions of Hell and eventually face off against Lou in a climactic guitar battle to redeem themselves. The song in question? A rock version of "The Devil Went Down To Georgia", appropriately enough. Afterwards, Hell EXPLODES and the band ride out on flying motorcycles. Then you get to play the hellish bonus song Through The Fire and the Flames during the credits.note 
  • Um Jammer Lammy's penultimate level has Lammy dying from slipping on a banana peel and waking up in Hell, and sulking away while fake credits begin rolling. Fortunately, she gets mistaken for the guitarist for a demon rock band, and ends up making a deal with the lead singer to be brought back to life. The NA version heavily Bowlderises this, right down to changing a line foreshadowing it in the first level.

  • In the 2010 version of Dwarf Fortress, you can literally dig your way to hell.
    • Naturally, players were already planning to invade Hell almost as soon as they knew it was there. Sure, Toady knew it was coming and tried to make it as hard as possible with almost as many demons as your memory can handle, but it still happened; at least one fortress managed to not only colonize it, but use the ominous glowing pits as garbage dumps and grow mushrooms down there.
      • And the community wasn't impressed until the fortress was self-sustainable. DF Fans are hardcore.
  • Dungeon Crawl has three of these, all optional (although many players who want to win will try the Abyss):
    • Hell, consisting of four conquerable themed branches: the Iron City of Dis, Tartarus, Gehenna and Cocytus
    • The infinite, regularly randomly regenerated Abyss. As of 0.12, there has been a large reduction of the "hell" aspect, and the "chaos" aspect has been played up instead, leading to most monsters encountered being EldritchAbominations. Some monsters will banish the players there and it is possible to spend a very long time to find an exit in the extremely chaotic always-changing layout.
    • Pandemonium, an infinite number of randomly generated levels (plus 4 unique levels) that you can only visit once each.
  • The Binding of Isaac has Sheol as the final floor of the vanilla game, and otherwise a lategame floor in its expansions. It's less "molten and red" and more "black with skulls and blood," but it still houses several demonic enemies and Satan himself.

    Role Playing Game 
  • Baldur's Gate II. Twice.
    • In addition to the final showdowns, CHARNAME can visit the Abyss a third time in BG2 and needs to pay at least five visits to their personal hellish sub-realm in ToB. Then again it is D&D, where a stroll through Hell is the high-level equivalent of a morning constitutional.
  • The Shin Megami Tensei series have gone there so often, it's probably got a condo there.
  • Some of The Elder Scrolls games. The main quest of Morrowind involves an expedition into the domain of Dagoth Ur, often described in-game as "the devil". Though he's "the devil" only because he was on the wrong side of the event that made some other guys "the gods". Several parts of Oblivion takes place in Oblivion (specifically Mehrunes Dagon's realm, the Deadlands), with lakes of fire and lava and dead bodies hanging from the ceilings; to close the Oblivion gates which pop up outside each city, and (optional) in the countryside, you have to enter them, fight to the top of a tower, and take the magical gem sustaining the gate. In the Shivering Isles expansion, you go to the realm of the Daedric Prince of Madness (the eponymous Shivering Isles), Sheogorath which is just an island with gigantic mushrooms and surreal fauna.
  • Occurs, somewhat, in Jade Empire. After the Treacherous Advisor kills you, the Water Dragon guides you to her defiled temple, where if it is purified, she can resurrect you. However, its defilement has drawn demons intent on bringing their master, a nameless entity of pure evil from outside the cosmic order.
  • SaGa Frontier. In Blue's quest, the twist is that the reason for the main quest was so that you could become powerful enough to keep Hell from invading the universe the rest of the game is set in. However, you don't accomplish this by defeating the King of Hell, but by engaging him in an endless battle which neither of you can win — the game ends "midway" through it, with the apparent implication that it just continues forever: Sealed Evil in a Duel.
  • In Final Fantasy II, the last dungeons; Jade Passage and Pandemonium Castle, takes place in Hell. If the party talks to the NPC Paul, he flips out, calling the lot of them insane before wishing them safe passage back (this being the latest in a number of increasingly incredulous reactions to the party's destinations from him).
    • In Dawn of Souls, the Soul of Rebirth mode has the player take control of four party members (or almost party members) who suffer Plotline Death during the game. They wake up in what appears to be Jade Passage, and later Pandemonium, and go about figuring out what's going on. Turns out that they were actually in Raqia, and then Arubboth, the heavenly counterparts to Jade and Pandemonium. So this second part subverts this trope and reveals itself to be a Bonus Level of Heaven.
  • The UnderNet in the Mega Man Battle Network games is sometimes this, sometimes a villain base, or a Bad-Guy Bar at its lightest.
    • It was only like that in 1. There was then the WWW Zone in 2, the Secret Area (really) in 3, Black Earth in 4, Nebula Area in 5, and the Graveyard in 6. The first three were a sort of noncanonical extension to the main plot, and the last three were just Internet Hell (Graveyard even had gravestones for all the bosses of the series, along with yourself and everyone else you knew). All of them contained the Bonus Boss, Bass.
  • In Might & Magic VII, the Pit is a place resembling a Fire and Brimstone Hell that is a Planet Heck if your characters are allied with the Path of Light. If you're on the Path of Dark, however, the place is the Player Headquarters.
  • Mephisto's Realm in Marvel Ultimate Alliance.
  • Riviera gives you a bonus level in Hell (accessible from the menu) after you complete the game, no ifs, buts or dancing about theology. Interestingly, you're given generalised stats and a good selection of weapons instead of the ones you had when you finished.
  • The second half of Super Columbine Massacre RPG! has the Columbine killers being sent to Hell, which is one part Dante's Inferno and ten parts Doom, complete with demon soldiers, shotguns, and the BFG. It ends with the two killing a Cyberdemon and becoming Satan's minions, upon which they watch and mock the memorial service for their earthly massacre.
  • Muramasa: The Demon Blade features a nice jigoku level, replete with oni galore. Really freakin' tough oni that take tons of damage and rarely flinch.
    • Strangely, there's really no fire there, and the demons are relatively friendly. The first area's gimmick is Down the Drain, and the second's is Blackout Basement.
  • The Reaches from The Way (RPG Maker).
  • Dokapon Kingdom has Heck as the last area in Story Mode. Overlord Rico makes the Gates of Heck appear somewhere in the kingdom, and the players have to travel down into Heck and beat him up.
  • The Temple of the Elder Gods from A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky is a two-for-one deal. It's split into two sub-dungeons, one of which is a Bonus Level of Heaven and one of which is Planet Heck. (It's a dreary Underworld place rather than the Christian Hell, however.)
  • The second half of Super Columbine Massacre RPG! takes place in Hell, and brings with it more difficulty as you go from gunning down near-defenseless students and teachers at Columbine High School to battling demons straight out of Doom who can actually fight back. The Villain Protagonists, who are huge fans of Doom, are ecstatic about being able to live out their favorite game for real, and ultimately become Satan's minions after fighting their way through him and his demons.

    Shoot Em Up 
  • With all the spirits, demons and otherworldly characters wandering around the Touhou universe, it's not surprising that a few of the games have the characters traveling to the Netherworld (and, predictably, "befriending" the inhabitants via More Dakka). Although this isn't the Western Hell, it's indisputably the Realm of the Dead. So far Reimu's been to Makai (Highly Responsive to Prayers, Mystic Square, and Undefined Fantastic Object), Yuyuko's Netherworld (Perfect Cherry Blossom), the Sanzu River and the Yama's realm (Phantasmagoria of Flower View), Hell (Highly Responsive to Prayers and Subterranean Animism), and Heaven (Scarlet Weather Rhapsody).
    • Ironically, the one Windows game that was actually situated in (a former) Hell had the Extra Stage in a shrine.
    • The 12th game, Undefined Fantastic Object sees Reimu returning to Makai one more time. Since her first visits there occurred before the Continuity Reboot, this didn't sit too well with fans who have been clamoring for the PC-98 characters to return.
  • Zombies Ate My Neighbors has several bonus levels at least one of which takes place in Hell complete with lava and fire pits.
  • The "danger zones" in Legendary Wings.

    Sports Game 
  • In Tony Hawk's Underground 2, the level one can unlock by passing Career mode has three sections: a space station, a South American temple, and Hell itself. In spite of this, however, it's not a big deal; There aren't any goals to accomplish, or anything.

    Third Person Shooter  
  • In Rune the player dies at the beginning of the game, is resurrected and has to fight his way out of the underworld. Upon doing so, he immediately has to turn around and fight his way back in in order to stop an evil plot, and then fight his way back out again afterwards.
  • At one point in Fur Fighters a puppy is sent to hell in a ritual organised by the Big Bad, Viggo. You can rescue him by jumping through a portal which takes you to "The Bad Place" as it's called in-game, where you fight the reanimated skeletons of all the enemies you killed in the previous levels. In a fairly unique twist each of the six playable characters has their own personal hell that they have to overcome, such as Rufus, the grizzled veteran of the team, having to relive the war he fought in before the events of the game, or Rico's more light-hearted hell where he has to make his way through a city without wearing any pants.

    Turn Based Strategy 
  • The Bonus Dungeon in La Pucelle: Tactics. It's called "the Dark World" in the English translation; originally it was simply "Hell."
    • Disgaea takes place mainly inside the "Netherworld", but it has several bonus levels in alternate Netherworlds, one of which is the same one from La Pucelle.

    Visual Novel 
  • Depending upon player choices, a significant portion of the endgame of Animamundi Dark Alchemist has protagonist Georik Zaberisk passing not only through Hell but through Purgatory and Heaven as well in an affectionate recreation of Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy, complete with Art Shift to what looks like dark-ages wood carvings of scenes from the aforementioned work.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Minecraft has the Nether, an alternate dimension based on the Fire and Brimstone Hell. After building an obsidian portal and lighting it with any source of fire, the player can enter, explore and mine a world of caverns, oceans of lava and forests of giant mushrooms populated by floating ghost-demons, flaming smoke plumes surrounded by spinning rods, cubes of lava that hop around, and zombie pigs. Wait... what the hell?
  • Terraria has "The Underworld" at the bottom of the map. It's literally made up of lava, piles of ash, and Hellstone, and is populated by living lava blobs, demons, fire imps, and bats made of flame. So, yeah, basically hell. It's also where the player summons the Wall of Flesh, the boss required to unlock the second half of the game.
  • Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell Takes place in hell. Much of the map is recycled from previous Saints Row games so we have a downtown hell and slums of hell etc.

Non-Video Game Examples

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU: Apokolips, an infernal planet which is filled with burning fire pits. Pain, death, and hopelessness are the norm there. Its inhabitants are Always Chaotic Evil New Gods who are the embodiment of evil, most notably its ruler Darkseid.
  • Hack/Slash: Nef, which is not so much literally Hell as a dimension with demons in it. People don't necessary go there if they die, but those who know about it still call it Hell anyway.
  • Marvel Universe: Mephisto's Realm. It is not another planet so much as it is another dimension that looks like a Fire and Brimstone Hell complete with a Satan Expy who is really just a mystical being that happens to be named Mephisto. For all intents and purposes, it's Hell but without the religious implications and inescapabaility, allowing the heroes the ability to punch their way out.
  • Requiem Vampire Knight: Resurréction is the hell where people goes after death. Is shown to be an spheric planet like Earth (but inverted, the areas that are water on Earth are land there and vice versa) with its own moon.

  • Necroscope: The third book shows that vampires come from a hellish planet connected to Earth by a "gray hole". Albeit for the natives of that planet Earth is hell.
  • Revival shows that every single human being goes to the same place after death: a hellish planet ruled by ant-like monsters that enslave the human souls and worship a horrible spider-like Eldritch Abomination.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Stargate SG-1: The Goa'uld System Lord Sokar was considered particularly vile even by the Always Chaotic Evil Goa'uld standards, and over the millennia he shifted his persona from matching the Sokar of Egyptian Mythology into one based on Satan. As part of this, he transformed Netu, the moon of his capital world Delmak, into a literal Hellhole Prison.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Expect any campaign to reach this at some point. For bonus points, in 4e the Nine Hells are shaped like a planet, are about as big as Earth IRL, and float in what seems to be outer space. This is noted in one strip of What's New? with Phil and Dixie; that Hell ain't what it used to be if the rest of the party can physically breach it to rescue you.

     Western Animation 
  • Earthworm Jim: The trope namer appears, more or less unchanged from the videogame version, as the base of operation of Evil the Cat. We also get to witness the unspeakable tortures the damned are subjected to: the Pit Sharp Cornered Coffee Tables, a DMV Office, and most terrible of all: the TV Network’s Conference Room.

    Real Life 
  • A real-life example comes from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The set they used when depicting barren or hostile planets was nicknamed "Planet Hell" by the staff. It was so named because it would regularly reach 110-120 degrees F (43-48 degrees C) during shooting, quickly wearing out the cast and crew.
  • To save some time, let's just say every planet or moon that does not have an atmosphere would be Planet Heck to us. A list of notable planets that are the heck of hecks:
    • Venus has been compared to Hell. Given that it's hot enough to melt lead, the atmosphere is crushing and unbreathable, and it rains battery acid, this is expected. Carl Sagan even said that it's probably the closest thing our galaxy has to hell.
    • Io is both a moon of heck and a real world Lethal Lava Land. It's a planet sized erupting volcano as it consistently erupts lava over it self due to the gravity of the Jupiter and the other moons squeezing its interior.
    • For Mercury, pick your poison: 800 degrees F on the day side or -330 degrees F on the night.
    • Mercury or Venus cannot hold a candle to the presumed properties of some extrasolar planets orbiting close to their stars. Take your pick: Lethal Lava Land-scale temperatures in the dayside (always dayside because of tidal locking), or almost absolute zero temperatures in the night side (always night side), probably with volcanism galore there too. And all of this without including surface gravity twice or more that of Earth and/or a dense atmosphere that may give the entire planet the same hellish conditions plus crushing atmospheric pressures that make Venusian ones a joke. For example, H D189733b is a gas giant with an orbital period of just 2.2 days, i.e. a "hot Jupiter", 5400 mph winds, and rain of molten glass.
      • COROT-7b. It's so hot that most of its daytime surface is covered by lava, it rains *rocks*, and most of its atmosphere consists of molten rock, and the nighttime side? 50 degrees K and covered in ice.
    • Some Orthodox Christian views of Hell describe it as a place of eternal darkness, where even the fires meant to burn forever are hotter than the hottest furnace, but dark, invisible, and the place is so barren that eternal hunger and thirst await the unfortunate soul. This fits rather well to the surface of a neutron star.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Hell Level


Thy Farts Consumed

Thy Farts Consumed is a Hell-like world in Game Land full of hit-demons and massive lava sharks where the Nerd fights the Devil.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / PlanetHeck

Media sources: