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Point of No Continues

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EXTRA STAGE
We will send you back to the 26th century on a solo mission. Can you make it back to the year 2501? You will only be allowed 1 fighter. You will have no chance to Continue. Good luck, pilot.
R-Type Final, mission description for Extra Stage F-C

So you're playing through a game, and let's face it — you haven't been doing great. Good thing you can continue — except during this part; usually this is near the end of the game. Here you can't continue nor can more players join in for you to bypass the inability to continue in the case of cooperative multiplayer titles, unfortunately.note  Instead, when you lose, the game will be entirely over and all the progress you have made so far will be completely lost!

Mostly seen in Arcade Games where Continuing is Painful by having any scores reset to 0, to stop players with lots of coins in their pockets from bribing their ways to victory by credit-feeding (and something of a Scrappy Mechanic for cabinet owners who would have liked to earn that extra revenue, apparently a way of gaming highly disliked by some development and publishing companies). In older console games, it could provide additional incentive to continue paying for rental copies. Otherwise, it simply leaves rookies unable to cheese the final stages. In all cases, it can also show up when facing the True Final Boss. If there's a long leg at the end of the game where you can continue, but doing so takes you all the way back to the start of the leg, that's just a form of Checkpoint Starvation.

Compare Out of Continues, which can be invoked via this trope. But if a game has a Mode of No Continues, that falls under Final Death Mode.


Examples:

Action-Adventure

  • Primal: In most cases, if Jen runs out of health in human form, Scree can bring her back by using one of several Rift Gates in each world, if he hurries. When you're in a boss battle, however, this is not an option. Lose a boss battle, you're dead, there's no coming back.
  • In the Japanese version of Raimais, after you reach the final round where you have to face Dr. Molto, you have only one chance! Lose all your life gauge and the game is automatically over and the game will trigger the credits sequence.

Beat 'em Up

  • Streets of Rage would disable player 2 from joining the game if player 1 reaches the final level. This was done to prevent solo players from cheating by continuing as player 2 if they used up all their continues as player 1.

Fighting Game

  • Bloody Roar series:
    • In Bloody Roar 3, you can continue playing should you lose a bout as often as needed, up to until you reach the end boss, Xion. But if you manage to clear Arcade Mode without continuing, no rounds lost, and a total score of 750,000 or higher, you'll face the game's secret boss, Uranus, immediately after your bout with Xion. You can't use continues should you lose to Uranus — that will cause your game to be over instantly and for real!
    • The final boss of Bloody Roar 4 will also cause your game to be over on a total loss and is an even bigger SNK Boss than Uranus, unless you're using Uriko.
  • Eternal Champions: The Eternal Champion himself gives you only one chance to defeat all of his forms. Lose and he'll send you back in time just like he'll do if you win... without the knowledge to prevent your death.
  • Guilty Gear XX:
    • Dizzy's story mode route diverges depending on whether the player wins or loses against one opponent: Boss Mode I-No.
    • In later updates starting with Slash, hidden boss Order-Sol gives you only one shot and you can't continue against him. Your game will be permanently over if you totally lose! (Though this actually doesn't count as a strike against the player; the game will merely progress to the staff roll that normally plays upon defeating I-No. It is also possible to make use of a second controller and interrupt the match if things are about to go south.)
  • The King of Fighters series:
  • In Pit-Fighter, downplayed by the fact that the surviving player will still be able to use as many continues as they see fit, when you reach the final stage with your friends, there'll be an extra "Elimination" round where you and your friends will have to face each other. Only one can fight the champion. There aren't continues here, for the losers, there will be Game Over!
  • Street Fighter series:
    • The original Street Fighter can place this anywhere, allow you to continue/be challenged by another human player even in Thailand (the final country) or entirely disable such abilities altogether through the machine's DIP switch settings.
    • The ability to continue is disabled when you get to face the final boss in Street Fighter Alpha 3; you even get a cutscene of Bison using your fighter to power the Psycho Drive should you lose against him (incidentally, it's also Bison's ending). If you're playing as Bison, you'll face Ryu instead, and losing will give you his ending.
    • In Street Fighter IV, losing to Akuma or Gouken in Arcade Mode causes your character's ending to play without offering a chance to retry. This extends to their Shin forms in Super, and to Evil Ryu and Oni (and their Shin forms) in Arcade Edition.

Platform Game

  • One of the few Anti-Frustration Features behind the thoroughly Nintendo Hard Beauty and the Beast: Roar Of The Beast was that it provided unlimited continues... up until the Final Boss battle with Gaston, at which point the game kicks the player back to the title screen upon losing their last life. Not helping matters is that this battle is followed by a Brutal Bonus Level with little margin for error and No Ending outside of the credits sequence.
  • Cannon Dancer has a less severe example of this: normally, continuing revives you right where you died with a full set of lives, but doing so in the final level (which is a Boss Rush) sends you back to the beginning of the level.
  • ESWAT in the Arcade silently disables continues and 2nd player join-ins in the Final Stage.
  • The Fairyland Story (the Ur-Example) does not begin to offer continues until you get past its first 7 Rounds... but once you reach that title's final 3 Rounds, it stops continues completely!
  • In the final section of Namco's Marvel Land, where Talmit is escorting Wondra out of Mole’s lair, you have only one life, as the rest are exchanged for points before the section. Lose and you’ll have to start the whole game from the beginning.
  • You can't continue in Rastan once you reach its 6th and final Round.
  • Rainbow Islands only permits continuing past certain points (island 7 on the arcade original, island 5 on the PC version) if you collect the big brown book from the secret room on said island.
  • In A Robot Named Fight, all saves will be cleared once you enter The Beast's Guts.
  • The arcade version of Rygar has 27 Rounds, and cuts off continues starting at Round 21.
  • In the final segment of SegaSonic the Hedgehog's final level, Eggman's Tower, continuing and having any more players join in is impossible. Likewise, if you fail to complete the Escape Sequence at the end of the level (which is caused by Eggman setting off his tower's self-destruct sequence and fleeing when confronted) within 20 seconds, you must restart the game from the beginning regardless of if you have credits left.
  • The arcade version of Shinobi denies you continuous play once the Final Mission begins.
  • Once you reach World 9 in the original FDS version of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, you get reduced to only 1 life and you can no longer use the ability to continue should you lose! Downplayed in that you can still earn extra lives.
  • Downplayed in Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster's Hidden Treasure, where continuing normally puts the player back at the map screen, with Buster's icon on the level they were in. During the final factory stages, if the player has to continue, then they are instead put back at the first factory, with any of the other three factories made unavailable again.
  • Downplayed in Toki. Regardless of how many quarters you have handy, once you reach the final stage, the game limits the number of times you can continue to five before you finally lose the ability to credit-feed.
  • The arcade versions of Wonder Boy and its sequels disable continuing in their final stages. Worse, the second game's Sega Master System port removes continues entirely.

Racing Game

  • In RoadBlasters by Atari Games (not to be confused with Road Blaster), if you can make it to the final rally, it simply tells you "one chance", indicating that you can't use continues at that point.
  • In Continental Circus, you can't continue once you reach the final race; should you fail to qualify or run out of time in this race, you get an instant Game Over.
  • In Special Criminal Investigation, after clearing the fifth stage and arresting the boss of the criminals, he explicitly says that you have 30 seconds left to save Jennifer (the major's daughter) in the sixth and final stage from the Warehouse which is about to explode. In the sixth stage, continues are disabled, so by failing to save Jennifer under 30 seconds, you get an instant Game Over and the game will trigger the bad ending, showing the Warehouse that explodes along with Jennifer where she'll have to meet her terrible fate.
  • In Top Speed/Full Throttle, if the continues option is enabled through DIP switches, the game does not begin to offer continues until you get past its first stage... but once you reach the final stage, continues are disabled completely!

Rhythm Game

  • The original DJMax Technika allows you to continue from the beginning of the stage you failed if your Life Meter empties out... unless you're playing the last stage of Technical Mixing or are playing Platinum Crew mode, in which case you're immediately greeted with the Game Over screen. Later games prohibit continuing at all.

Roleplaying Game

  • Cyberpunk 2077 disables loading saves and instantly cuts to the credits if you die during "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", so you better be prepared after jumping through all the hoops to get the job in the first place.
  • Odin is responsible for the battle-retrial function in Final Fantasy Legend II. Once you defeat Odin, the battle-retrial function will be lost!
  • NieR: Automata has two of these points, one at the very beginning of the game. Dying before defeating the first boss results in a Non-Standard Game Over and having to restart the entire game from the very beginning. After you defeat the first boss, however, you're finally given the chance to save, and allowed to resume play without reloading a save when you die, since the ability to do so is justified in-game by 2B and 9S uploading themselves into a spare body using their AI backup at the Bunker. This allows the player to retain their money and items, though they have to return to their corpse to retrieve their chips. Once the Bunker is destroyed early on in Route C/D, this option is no longer available, and dying results in a flat Game Over and having to restore a previous save.
  • In Planescape: Torment, your character will revive each time he's killed, and the major part of the game is about figuring out why. Once you get to the Very Definite Final Dungeon, this is no longer the case. Due to that place being closed off from the rest of the multiverse, you get a handful more continues (one per ally you've brought), and then it's curtains.
  • Dying while in the penultimate dungeon of Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse prevents you from continuing like in the rest of the game. Downplayed in that you can still save and load freely within the dungeon, so it becomes a matter of being diligent with saving.

Shoot 'Em Up

  • Touhou series:
    • Stage Final-B of Imperishable Night does this. Given that this is the True Final Boss' stage that can only be reached by not using any continues, this is both better (it only makes sense) and worse (good luck getting any practice) than usual.note 
    • Extra Stages prevent continuing completely. Flandre in Embodiment of Scarlet Devil even breaks the fourth wall to lampshade this if you're playing as Marisa. This does mean that anyone who says they've cleared an Extra Stage did so on one credit, but it also means you can't use continues to practice, making learning Extra Stages and their bosses more difficult.
  • You can't continue nor can a second player join in once you get to one of the Final Zones in the original Darius, the Trope Codifier.
  • In the NES version of Ikari Warriors, players can resurrect themselves by pressing A-B-B-A. That cheat code is rendered unusable at the end of level 3.
    • The same cheat code can be used in the NES port of Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road, except that it instead stops working once the final boss is reached.
  • The last level of Thunder Cross and its sequel do not allow any continues.
  • In Hellsinker, you have one continue; but you lose it after visiting the Shrine of Farewell.
  • After assembling the legendary Golden Warpship in Solar Jetman, you only get one chance to escape the last planet with the ship intact. If it gets shot down or crashes, your game will be over.
  • R-Type Final takes this to an exaggerated level. You are given only one life and no continues at clearing the 10-minute long Stage F-C. As a One-Hit-Point Wonder, a single hit means your ship will explode and... Game Over!
  • Salamander 2 locks you out from continuing once you reach the Harder Than Hard second loop; but it still allows second players to join in... up to until you clear the final stage again or lose all your lives being solo, of course!
  • ZeroRanger probably takes this trope to its logical extreme. When you go to destroy the Lotus Jewel, the game literally breaks your continues. The number of continues lost is the number of lives you have for the fight. Lose them, and your save file is gone.
  • The arcade game Legion Spinner '87 cuts off your ability to continue once you've engaged the Final Boss.
  • In the arcade game Finest Hour, when you reach the Final Boss and your machine overheats, you cannot continue.
  • In Burning Force, if you lose to the Final Boss, you get an instant Game Over with no option to continue.
  • Exaggerated in NAM-1975, which doesn't allow you to continue nor allows a 2nd player to join in once you reach the Final Boss and gives you the bad ending should you lose all your lives by that point!
  • In Gradius IV, the game stops allowing you to continue when you reach the ninth (and final) stage. Lose your life there and it's Game Over!
  • In Cobra-Command (1988) you have unlimited continues, but only in the first loop of the game. From the second loop onwards, the game "SILENTLY" disable continues. So, if you die in that point, it's immediately Game Over!
  • Same thing for Exzisus where you have unlimited continues but only in the first loop. From the second loop onwards, die on your last life by that point and the game is immediately over!

Stealth

  • In Metal Gear Solid, if you die during the torture sequence, you can't continue. Ocelot even tells you "there are no continues, my friend."

Third-Person Shooter

  • Forbidden Forest restarts the game completely if you lose against the Demogorgon at the end.

Other

  • The original Arkanoid is the Trope Maker. You can't continue anymore once you reach Round 33, which houses DoH (the Final Boss); should you lose to him, your game will be over for real, even if there are still credits available.
  • BloonsTowerDefense: In the 5th game in the series, once you complete the round required to beat the difficulty you're playing, the ability to save is disabled. The 6th game would revert these changes, allowing you to save anytime you want.
  • Buckshot Roulette: If either player's number of charges gets to two or lower in the final round, the power lines connecting them to the Magical Defibrillator are cut, meaning that receiving another shot will kill them.
  • Tower stages in Elemental Story have no continues. Instead, players can access them again (for free after 24 hours) at the highest level which has been cleared before.
  • Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters disallows using continues in the final stage, and gives a 30 second notification that it's the last chance to add credits for extra lives and bombs.
  • A downplayed variant occurs in Genpei Tōma Den. Once you reach the halfway point where the path branches a second time, continuing, which previously allowed you to restart at the stage you died in, brings you back to the halfway point.
  • PAYDAY 2:
    • Pro Heists can't be retried or restarted. If your crew fails the heist, you go back to the lobby to choose a new contract.
    • Additionally, several heists have a "Point of No Return" near the end, which triggers an infinite police assault until you escape. Since you can't trade hostages to respawn in the middle of an assault, if you go into custody, you're there for good (unless you happen to have Stockholm Syndrome).
    • Some heists, such as Car Shop and all Escapes, have a variation of the "Point of No Return" that is a timer. If it runs out and you haven’t completed the objective, the heist will end in failure and you will have to start over.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse: In a game against OblivAeon, if one of your heroes is incapacitated, you can put a new one into play. However, if Rainek Kel'Voss is still on the table when OblivAeon is defeated, he takes over as the fourth and final phase - and at that point, you stop being able to replace defeated heroes. If you lose all your heroes after Voss takes over, you lose.
  • The original Steel Gunner stops continues and second player join-ins completely once you reach the Final Boss; if you die against him, it'll be an instant Game Over for you.
  • In Super Adventure Rockman, losing to Shadow Man and Gemini Man gives you no chance to continue.
  • In Target Terror, the last leg of the Hijacking mission warns you that you can't continue, though you can use credits to replenish your life meter.
  • In the board game Talisman, players can respawn after losing all their lives. But once someone reaches the Crown of Command, dead characters stay dead.
  • The arcade game Time Soldiers disables continues on the final stage.

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