The Escort Mission is the bane of all gamers; having to lead an NPC who seems hell-bent on finding their demise. Every so often, however, you'll get an NPC you need to lead to a destination who actually seems capable of taking care of themselves. In the most extreme of cases, it's less that you're escorting the NPC and more that the NPC is escorting you.
Unfortunately, this usually means that you are the squishy bullet magnet in need of protection.
There are a few reasons to use this trope: The most obvious is to highlight how badass the NPC is, in particular if it's a single character, or a small group against an army of enemies. Conversely, it can also highlight how weak the player character is against enemies you can't fight off alone. Finally, having other characters escort you can give a break in the action, or change the gameplay up.
Sometimes, the reason you are being escorted is not one of weakness, but because the character could not find the destination without help. This is especially common in cases where a new path opens only if you have the proper escort with you.
Inverse of Escort Mission.
- In Ōkami, Kai of the Oina Tribe escorts you through Yoshpet, the forest of confusion. She isn't really necessary—unless you lose all sense of direction. However, she stops and waits for you if you get sidetracked.
- One mission of Mega Man Legends has you being escorted by Roll in the Support Car. The car is invincible and can be used as a shield against the Bonne Family's tanks and turrets, and ultimately smashes open the gate for you to access the first Sub-Gate. Enjoy it: it's the only vehicle mission in the game where said vehicle isn't made of tin foil.
- In order to approach the Divine Beast Vah Naboris in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild without getting struck by its lightning, Link has to stay within the circle of protection that Riju projects with the Thunder Helm as they're towed along on shield by Sand Seals. This means having to keep pace with Riju and steering with care, while getting in range to shoot bomb arrows at the feet of the Humongous Mecha.
- Dead Rising 2: Case West has you teamed up with a fellow survivor throughout the whole game. However, unlike the survivors from the vanilla game, this time it's Frank West who's covered wars, you know. You're very quickly told by the game that Frank doesn't need your help, outside of you giving him weapons sometimes, and that he's protecting you a lot more than you're protecting him:
Frank West helps alongside Chuck. You can give Frank weapons and he'll be able to use any weapon you find. These aren't the first zombies Frank has encountered. He can take care of himself.
- One mission of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has you tasked with charging through a train overrun with enemies and defeating the monster that's controlling it, a massive demon that has possessed the engine, and all with only five minutes to do it. It'd be tough, but you have Zangetsu backing you up through the level. Yeah, remember the samurai who probably kicked your ass about 10 times before you finally beat him? He's on your side for this one casually doing 350 to 400 hp damage to your 30-50 depending on your weapon.
- A very early prologue chapter mission of Gatling Gears has a huge helicopter gunship of The Empire you're working for escort you, and it makes pretty short work of the durable enemy Freemen turrets, but halfway through it becomes an averted escort mission once it's forced to pick up and carry a power generator but is also invulnerable to enemy fire. Since your character defects to the Freemen later, this also means you'll encounter the very same huge helicopter gunships later in the game... as rather tough enemies.
- The first tutorial level in .hack//INFECTION has Kite being escorted through a basic dungeon by his friend Orca, who's teaching him how to play The World. Orca is level 50 and can basically 1-hit kill anything you meet. This pleasant state of affairs continues until you come face to face with Skeith...
- You may want to keep one of your earlier saved games in Infinite Undiscovery around, because there's an inverted Escort Mission near the beginning of the game, where you are rendered completely unable to attack due to carrying an injured companion, and the AI must escort you to your destination. Too bad they only escort you halfway to your destination. Then they all leave and you're stuck having to run through the last area totally helpless...with a dragon shooting fireballs at you.
- Kingdom Hearts has a couple of these.
- Near the end of Kingdom Hearts, Sora loses the Keyblade, and Donald and Goofy are forced to join the Rival Turned Evil, leaving him with only a wooden sword that doesn't even deal any damage. Sora now must completelynote rely on the world-specific companion for survival. Fortunately, that world-specific companion just so happens to be the Beast. His Keyblade and friends come back at the first boss battle of that world, but Beast sits the battle out.
- Similar scenario and even in the same location happens in Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, where Maleficent breaks Sora's keyblade at the end of previous level. This time however your companions stay and the gameplay shifts towards you issuing them orders when advancing through the world. Sadly, this time you get the keyblade only before the final Boss Rush of the Hollow Bastion.
- Around the quarter point of Kingdom Hearts II, Sora must escort Queen Minnie to the throne of Disney Castle. The throne sits in a massive audience chamber flooded with Heartless that can seize Sora with bolts of electricity. Fortunately, Queen Minnie has a Reaction Command activated just by getting close to her, and Final Fantasy fans already know their job got a lot easier when they learn that Reaction Command is called Faith. Getting across the audience chamber in the period between the end of the escort mission and the cessation of Heartless in Disney Castle is actually harder than getting Minnie there.
- King's Quest III - Rosella is escorting Alexander back to the palace. She's perfectly fine with the stairs and the crevices in the landscape. He can still fall to his death. This is cranked up in the AGD remake with firepits and an unstable rock bridge.
- The Last Guardian is to the Reverse Escort Mission as ICO is to the traditional; an entire game of two people guiding each other through Ruins for Ruins' Sake
- The final stage of Emergency Call Ambulance has your ambulance being accompanied by a squad of police vehicles, which will remove key obstructions along the road for you.
- Final Fantasy:
- Final Fantasy VII has this for the flashback in Kalm. Cloud is a twig, while Sephiroth nukes everything.
- Final Fantasy XII has this for the tutorial level. Reks is with a small army that contains several generic soldiers that have infinite potions and will instantly use them on you if your HP is low and a captain that hits very hard with his sword. It's practically impossible to die for this part.
- In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn you go up against Jarod and two cronies, with Micaiah alone. However, immediately after the battle begins, the Black Knight appears, and proceeds to wreck the shit out of the enemy reinforcements; your task is to use the Black Knight to protect Micaiah. Unfortunately the enemies who have ranged weapons will prioritize attacking Micaiah if they can reach her, and unlike most Fire Emblem escort missions, you can't simply have the Black Knight carry Micaiah through the mission.
- Pokémon Diamond and Pearl downplays this. In certain areas (Eterna Forest, Iron Island and Stark Mountain), you get another trainer following you, helping you through what would otherwise be a hard dungeon and healing your Pokémon after every battle. However, one could possibly clear these areas without help, they're just there to make life easier for you.
- Golden Sun: Dark Dawn's tutorial has the first two Main Characters escorted by their fathers, the Main Characters of the first game. They can, and will, one-shot anything they face, but are under AI control.
- Half-Life 2: Episode 1 is noteworthy for its "Lowlife" chapter, a dark, underground level with (at least to begin with) very little ammunition for Gordon to use. You're being escorted by Alyx, who needs no ammo, which means that you spend the first half of the level illuminating enemies with your Ten-Second Flashlight so Alyx can shoot them.
- Halo 3 has the final assault on Truth's sanctum, where the Master Chief is being protected and escorted by wave after wave of Flood. Unfortunaly, those bastards will attack you after killing Truth, and they're numerous.
- In Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix, when you're heading off to the extraction point in Colombia, you're plot-wise escorting a team of American military and a rescued POW. In practice, though, they're the ones escorting you they're invulnerable and absolutely lethal with their gunfire, having better aim than the terrorist mooks. If you bother with following their pace and staying behind them, the stage is a total cakewalk.
- Sentry Bots in Doom 3 will escort you to a certain point of the map, and in one instance unlocking doors in the way that you can't open yourself. They chew Hell's forces up and spit them out to such a degree that you don't have to lift a fingernote in the core game when a fight happens and one's with you. The same doesn't quite go for the Resurrection of Evil Expansion Pack's campaign, though, where you're set up against higher tier enemies like Revenants and Commandos in Sentry Bot sections, so you need to get your own pound of flesh to make sure the bot survives to the end. Thankfully it provides a handy distraction for you to get in close with the Super Shotgun.
- An early, skippable mission in Modern Warfare 2 orders you to "follow Makarov's lead". By "follow", the game means "watch as he shoots up an airport full of innocent civilians and optionally assist him."
- Medal of Honor: Underground has one of these for the first mission. You play as French Action Girl Manon Batiste and you fight with your brother through the Milice-infested streets of Paris to secure a truck full of ammo for the French Resistance. He has an MP-40, a much better weapon than your dinky pistol, and he is a pretty good shot with it as well. He only really needs your help whenever he gets overwhelmed or needs to bend down to pick a lock on a door. Then he is caught in an ambush and killed, leaving you to seek refuge in the catacombs and the aid of the Resistance.
- One potential threat to Innsmouth Academy in The Secret World is an entire basement full of not-yet-activated familiars of the type who are rampaging feral over the grounds. One quest has you meet the surviving student, Carter, as she slips out to clear the basement out. As Carter will tell you early on, she's "tougher than she looks", and while not quite invulnerable is entirely able to both tank and kill the enemies (you still can be useful during a couple of fights). The problem is that Carter has control issues: She really needs you around just to be there, and the heavier stuff in her arsenal is entirely indiscriminate. The critical step in this mission is to first develop defenses against her and to be ready to use them.
- In World of Warcraft, there's a Northrend escort quest featuring an Adventurer Archaeologist by the name of Harrison Jones, who escorts you out of the catacombs.
- It's zigzagged with Prince Farondis. On the one hand, the player is the one escorting him and if you fall behind he insists that he can't do this without you. On the other hand, he proceeds to One-Hit Kill every enemy you'll encounter along the way, often before you even have a chance to attack them.
- A few quests in the Final Fantasy XIV expansion Heavensward require teaming up with Alphinaud and/or Yugiri. While neither one has the greatest AI, they're both fairly sturdy and useful. The former, especially, functions about as well as a typical healer in a Pick-Up Group, making the quests he accompanies you on much easier.
- Some missions/challenge acts in Sonic Generations have one of Sonic's friends help you get through a mission with a usually impossible level design, by pressing a button to make them appear temporarily and help out. For example, in Amy: Taking the Leap Together, Amy uses her Piko-Piko hammer to push Sonic higher than normal.
- World in Conflict: In one mission, you only initially have command of a small force consisting of light units and repair units. Later on, you hook up with another allied force under AI control which has much heavier weaponry able to stave off Russian assaults. A good portion of the rest of the mission involves you relying on the AI to protect your vulnerable units while you keep the AI's units repaired and ready to fight.
- Wings of Liberty: One mission has you steal a ginormous warmachine called the Odin, which then proceeds to wreck four Dominion bases under AI control. Your role is to send the occasional SCV to fix it up (or Science Vessel, if you have them) and produce Wraiths to take out air units.
- In ADOM, the First Town's carpenter has wandered into a nearby dungeon, so you have to go there. A few levels down you find a healer. At the bottom of the dungeon is the carpenter, altered and driven mad by The Corruption, so now he's on the side of the monsters. You have to catch his attention, then start running back upstairs to the healer, with him following and taking potshots at you all the while, hoping that you don't get stuck in a corridor between him and another monster.
- Ace Combat
- In what is possibly the first example of the "being escorted" concept in flight sim history, "Grand Flight" from Ace Combat X2: Joint Assault has the player flying the personal Boeing 747-200B of Olivieri Life Insurance CEO Andre Olivieri in order to get the man through the Turkish region of Mora, which is filled to the brim with Valahian forces. This mission may be the game-stopper of the Ace Combat series, outclassing even Four Horsemen from The Unsung War', because 1) The 747 is slow and has average armor, 2) you're forced to fly into a ravine to avoid the insta-kill SAM network in the area AC 5 style (Ghosts of Razgriz), 3) there's gunboats & choppers everywhere, and 4) if you manage to escape the Mora ravine, you have to survive a fighter jet ambush at the end. Yes, it's as difficult as it sounds. And don't even get me started on Ace difficulty...At least, Olivieri gets the dubious honor of being killed by you, the player, at the end of the game. While he's on foot. With man-sized anti-vehicle weaponry.
- Ace Combat: Assault Horizon has a mission where the player's squadron is assigned as the dedicated anti-ship wing for an air-to-sea mission, meaning your plane selection is limited to dedicated attacker aircraft. While they carry all the bombs you'll expect, they also handle terribly, have very limited air-to-air abilities, and most damningly cannot enter Dogfight Mode or counterattack if an enemy initiated DFM on you. Fortunately they have decent armor, and your AI escort wings place appropriate priority on taking out anything focused on you. Amusingly, the player actually plays the part of a Leeroy Jenkins Escortee during this mission, as your airstrike paths tend to plow right through the enemy's defenses headlong and clearing objectives is the best way to make enemies leave you alone.
- Alan Wake has this happen to you twice. The first is when Alan is escorted in the woods by Mott Alice's kidnapper after Alan loses his stuff when the lift crashes. And because you don't like each other, he doesn't give you a weapon, only a flare, so you really need to rely on him. The next time is when you're escorted by Sheriff Breaker, who totes a pump-action with unlimited ammunition to escort you. But before that, she gives you two guns, a flashlight and plenty of ammunition and batteries.
- In one mission in The Last of Us, Ellie has to escort an injured Joel to safety (with the player controlling Joel).
- Most of Resident Evil 4 is an Escort Mission proper (and one of the few done properly to boot), but for one period of the game Leon is being escorted by Mike piloting a UH-1N Twin Huey gunship armed with twin Gatling Guns and Hellfire Missiles.
- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain opens with an emaciated Venom Snake, who's barely able to walk at first, being escorted out of a hospital under siege by XOF troops by a man named Ishmael who's later revealed to be the real Big Boss.
- In Jedi Academy, then Vjun stage, you are followed around by your teacher, Jedi Master Kyle Katarn, who's far more capable of defeating the enemies in the level than your character. Well, if you play normally, you'll probably kill more of them than he does due to being more proactive, but he's almost invulnerable against them, whereas you're facing the normal level of challenge.
- Fallout 3:
- The Lyon's Pride faction of the Brotherhood of Steel will likely be escorting you through the DC Ruins during the quest "Following in His Footsteps". The quest comes early in the game, so you probably aren't likely to survive against the numerous Super Mutants (and a Behemoth) otherwise. If you sequence break the story, though, you'll have to go it alone when you decide to pay a visit to GNR later.
- Much later, Liberty Prime escorts you and the Brotherhood into Project Purity, making short work of the Enclave defenses while you mop up whatever he leaves behind.
- Gothic likes to invert escort missions by having other NPCs escort you. When the normal order is the mission, if your NPC partner gets too far away, however, his character can go spastic trying to find you or may even un-spawn. For some missions, the tendency of this NPC to vanish accidentally was anticipated and he will appear at the last waypoint, waiting for you (Escort to the Sect Camp and Escort to the New Camp missions).
- The solution to one "get someone's support" mission in the Sect Camp is to instigate another person to "escort me to [this part] of the camp".
- In Mass Effect 2, there is a sequence during the Suicide Mission where you have to take a path full of seeker swarms. In order to not be attacked and captured by them, you have to pick a squadmate to keep a biotic barrier surrounding you and two other squadmates. If you step outside of the safe bubble they create, the swarms will instantly begin to drain your shields, then your health. If you pick the wrong escort, one of your team is taken by the swarms while picking an escort who's not loyal to you will result in them being killed.
- In The Witcher 2 Phillipa takes owl form multiple times to help you through the deadly mists that are spawning an undead army. Leaving her bubble of protection causes you to take damage rapidly and die.
- In Grand Theft Auto IV, after you become friendly with Dwayne; you can call some guys to escort you.
- In some plot missions in X3: Terran Conflict, you may get an order to escort a convoy that starts in another sector, where the convoy spawns the moment you get the order, but the enemy only spawns when you arrive in the sector the convoy is in. So if you stay away and never see the convoy, the enemy never spawns and they get to their destination unopposed. Mission complete.
- The first real mission of Gun has you defending a steamer from an army of renegades and would be difficult, since all you have is a weak six-shooter, rifle, and bowie knife. Thankfully Ned White, who happens to be equipped with the strongest rifle available in the game, is leading the way and covering your back. He never misses and can one-shot enemies. Unfortunately he's Too Cool to Live.