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Portal Endpoint Resemblance

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Above: The "mountain" that serves as the portal. Below: The actual mountain the portal takes you to.

When a magical Cool Gate that teleports people to other places shows up in the Hub Level or some other general area, there's an occasional tendency for the area around it to heavily resemble the target destination.

This goes beyond merely a sign or a photograph telling or showing travelers what to expect — the overall resting place of the portal looks like the endpoint in miniature. So a portal to a snowy mountain will be located in an icy chamber resembling a snowy mountain itself, or a portal to a mystical forest will be in an old tree in a small garden.

The in-story reasons for this aesthetic similarity vary. Sometimes the long-gone creators of the portal deliberately put a facsimile of the destination at that end so that visitors would have a better idea of what that destination was for the sake of Ragnarök Proofing. Other times this is the result of it not being a No-Flow Portal: sand, water, magical energy, or whatever else is on the other end will leak through and reshape the area. And sometimes, the eccentric owner of a portal-filled lair just wants to spruce up the décor around the portals.

Much more common in video games than other media, especially in the Collect-a-Thon Platformer genre, as this lets players know what to expect from upcoming levels in a Show, Don't Tell manner. See also When Dimensions Collide, where aspects of one reality are more generally brought over into another world. Very closely related to Overworld Not to Scale, which also depicts the "entrance" to a level as essentially the level itself in miniature.


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  • Banjo-Kazooie: In the first game, the nine worlds accessible from Gruntilda's Lair are entered from rooms that look like them, often complete with fake painted skies resembling those in the worlds. So Treasure Trove Cove is entered through a beach-like room complete with a fake pirate ship, Gobi's Valley is entered through a palm tree on an outcropping in a room full of quicksand, Mad Monster Mansion is entered through a steepled building in a gloomy graveyard, etc. Interestingly, this destination resonance is also true of the areas around the Jiggy murals you must fill in to open the entrances, even if the murals and entrances are far from each other; for instance, the mural to open Freezeezy Peak is in a very icy room that's on a completely different floor from the actual entrance.
  • Banjo-Tooie follows the same logic as its predecessor (minus the whole "magic portal" part, as the levels are physically connected to each other in a mundane manner), although it also extends to the Disconnected Side Areas that link the levels together. For example, you can get from Hailfire Peaks to Grunty Industries through an oil pipeline found in the snow mountains that leads to the factory's waste disposal room.
  • Braid: The worlds are accessed through doors located in rooms of Tim's house that are colored similarly to the worlds themselves. For instance, World 2, the Green Hill Zone, has light blue backgrounds and bright green grassy platforms, and is accessed through Tim's living room, which has light blue walls and bright green furniture and wooden beams. The worlds also tend to have other aspects of the rooms, like furniture and accessories, as large parts of the geometry and backgrounds in a Macro Zone manner. There are also jigsaw murals in the rooms that provide further visual tie-ins with the worlds — but because the jigsaw pieces needed to fill in the murals are found in the worlds themselves, you won't see the visual resemblance until after you've found the level exits.
  • Crash Bandicoot:
    • Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back uses these for the portals into the various levels, although it's more fitting to say that they're themed after the various biomes the levels share as there's not much to distinguish the levels in each set. The only exceptions are those in the fifth Warp Room (which are very industrial) and the secret Warp Room, which uses a single set of rings.
    • Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped features a unified warp room that branches into various paths, each having a portal that can take Crash (sometimes Coco) onto five levels. The portal's surroundings are each modeled thematically after at least one of the five levels available (except for the portal of the third path, as the walls are decorated in the style of the Chinese levels, but there are no levels set in China there).
    • Crash Team Racing plays with it: while four of the five Hub Levels thematics are centered around one or two of their four tracks, subtle details around these tracks' portals refer to them (Roo Tubes being on a dock, Tiny Arena being inside an igloo, etc.). The most blatant example is Citadel City which rooms are decorated to fit three tracks thematics while the fourth is placed at the exterior with a blimp above the portal, and the "boss garage" is right in front of it to show where it will happen.
    • Crash Nitro Kart takes it further, as all the tracks have this around them in a more or less obvious way. For example, Terra (as you can see here) has its beach track on the littoral, its jungle and ruins track surrounded by greens and totems (and the boss level in front of it to show it will happen on it), and its temple track surrounded by what appears to be the ruins of a temple (and the arena track in front of it to show it will happen in a similar location).
  • Donkey Kong 64: The lobbies leading to the 8 levels look like the levels themselves. The Angry Aztec entrance looks like a sandy temple, the Frantic Factory entrance looks like a room in a factory, Crystal Caves is accessed from an icy cave, and so on.
  • Drawn to Life: The four world gates in the first game bring characters to different locations in those worlds. Fittingly, the gates themselves are themed — the Snow Gate is covered in snow and leads to wintery levels, the Forest Gate is covered in vines and leads to forest levels, the Beach Gate has a palm tree and shells, and leads to tropical levels, and the City Gate is covered in ivy, like the kind that cling to city walls. The final gate is the only one that breaks this mold, being one that the player has to color in and design themselves.
  • Earthworm Jim 3D: While the Hub Level takes place inside Jim's damaged worm brain(s), the level entrance gates all feature environmental elements of the level in question. They're also accompanied by a giant meditating cow wearing appropriate headgear to the level's theme.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: The area near an active Oblivion Gate always has the red sky of the Planes of Oblivion and might take on features like volcanic rock, fragments of Daedric architecture, and Fantastic Flora. Only the sky returns to normal when the Gate is shut down.
  • Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko: Most level entrances are located in dedicated rooms that resemble the level in question, though the portal itself is always the same model of a gigantic television set.
  • LEGO Dimensions: The Adventure World portals on Vorton are each modeled after the specific franchise they lead to, most likely so players can easily tell which portal goes to which franchise.
  • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption: The teleportation device that takes Samus to Bryyo Ice is found in a room that is similarly iced over despite being located in the otherwise hot Bryyo Fire.
  • Minecraft: The Nether Update adds Portal Ruins as randomly created structures that can occur in both dimensions they connect. In the Overworld, they consist of obsidian and magma blocks that are both naturally rare there but common in the Nether, and netherrack that before the update is only found in the Nether.
  • Myst:
    • The Ages in the first game are accessed through books found in areas that evoke the Ages themselves. The Stoneship Age book is on a ship that you need to raise from the water, the Mechanical Age book is inside a giant gear, the Channelwood Age book is found in a room accessed through a big hollowed-out tree, and so on.
    • Myst V: End of Ages: A variation: in the hub world of the game lie four bubbles that take the player to other Ages. However, inside each is a view of the world that it leads to, with a pedestal that actually takes the player to the world. The original intention was for the player to end up in the world they chose as soon as they stepped in and then stepped outnote , but, due to gameplay limitations, the pedestal instead acts as the transport activator.
  • Invoked in Outer Wilds. When the Nomai built their Portal Network, they designed the towers containing the portals in the network's hub to resemble their destinations, so that the tower with the portal to storm-wracked Giant's Deep resembles a waterspout, the tower linking to the Earth-like Timber Hearth resembles its tallest mountain and contains several trees, and so forth.
  • Psychonauts 2: The doors in the Collective Unconscious have pictures of things relating to the person whose mind you're going into. Loboto's Labyrinth has Loboto's face on it, Bob's Bottles has plants around it, etc.
  • Spyro: Year of the Dragon uses themed portal gates for the first time. For example, the portal to Sunny Beach is a giant scallop.
  • Super Kiwi 64: The Hub Level not only shows the thematic features of the levels it grants access to, but when the kiwi approaches the entrance to a level pair, their shared music will play as well before the kiwi goes through them.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario 64: While the Portal Pictures to the various worlds are mostly located in standard rooms, Jolly Roger Bay is found in a blue room with several aquariums.
    • Super Mario Sunshine: The multi-colored M portal that takes Mario to the second world, Ricco Harbor, is placed in the wall of the Shine Sprite shop, which is itself a harbor. And the portal that takes him to Gelato Beach is located in a lighthouse facing east, in the beach of Delfino Plaza.
    • Super Mario Galaxy: Most galaxy domes in Rosalina's observatory avert the trope, as they're based on the specific areas of what was originally her house (a bathroom, a kitchen, a bedroom, etc.), instead of the galaxies you can access from them. However the Engine Room plays it straight, because many active mechanisms and gizmos can be seen in it, with a Gearmo maintaining it, and one of the galaxies you can be launched onto from it is the mechanical Toy Time Galaxy (it being inhabited by multiple Gearmos also helps).
  • The Talos Principle: The Hub Level leads to three halls themed after Ancient Rome, Ancient Egypt and Middle Ages Europe respectively, each housing multiple portals leading to levels based on these periods.
  • An Untitled Story: The final dungeon, Black Castle, is reached through a portal surrounded by black architecture similar to the one inside the castle itself.
  • Yooka-Laylee: Each of the portal books that leads to a different world is located in a room themed after the book's world. For example, the entrance to Glitterglaze Glacier is in a room filled with snow and crystals, while the entrance to Moodymaze Marsh is found in an area overgrown with swamp plants.



Video Example(s):


Pizza Tower Freezerator

A rare Video Game example, the level title card for "Refrigerator-Refrigerador-Freezerator"

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Example of:

Main / EpisodeTitleCard

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