In a party-based game or even multi-unit strategy game, a level or mission in which the player controls only one character — often the main hero on a solo escapade. Many RPGs will start in this mode before the hero meets other party members, so starting sequences don't count — but all further "one person left alone" sequences do. Doesn't count if the rest of the team isn't player-controlled but is AI-controlled and helps the player automatically; the character has to be really alone. Single duel-type fights have their own tropes; this is about a whole longer level to be completed with a single character.
Might be because the hero performed a Sneaky Departure; maybe This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself or In the End, You Are on Your Own; might be as a result of the whole team being involuntarily split, scattered across the world or even dying as a scenario requirement; might be a side character completing a quest/mission of their own.
Might lead to a Duel Boss (though just a solo fight, without a solo lead-in, wouldn't qualify for this trope).
See Solo-Character Run when it's the player that decides to play with only a single character, for the added challenge.
- In Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak, you control Hamtaro and Bijou throughout the game with two exceptions. In the beginning, Hamtaro is sent to find Bijou who joins him on the quest. At one point in Boo Manor, the two are separated when Hamtaro falls down a trap door. Bijou must operate on her own to save him, made more disconcerting given that the elevators in the area demand at least two hamsters to reach the buttons. Therefore, she is trapped unless she and Hamtaro reunite.
- Beyond the Beyond forces Finn to go solo when it comes time for him to complete a plot-important Prestige Class quest.
- Ryu's Journey to the Center of the Mind in Breath of Fire III.
- Bowish Island in Dubloon, thanks to the high concentration of the Navy, can be explored only by Ricky without drawing suspicion from guards (and drawing stupidity from them instead). All enemies that are present there can be quickly taken out with Ricky if you know their weaknesses.
- Chrono Trigger:
- If you try to bust out of your prison cell in Guardia Castle before your execution, you'll be on your own as Crono until right before you fight the Dragon Tank. (Otherwise, Lucca will come bail you out right before it can be carried out.)
- Upon camping out with all six of her traveling partners after recovering and repairing Robo from Fiona's Shrine, Lucca wanders off alone and finds a portal leading to an ill-fated incident involving her mother years earlier.
- Dark Cloud has various floors in each dungeon where only one character is allowed to act.
- Dark Cloud 2 also has a few plot-related times where only Max is present to act. Upon reaching the summit of Mt. Gundor and destroying the Fire Squall, Monica hops aboard the Death Ark to fight Gaspard, leaving Max by himself to attack the ship itself from his Ridepod. The first few levels of Zelmite Mine also count, as Monica had to return to her own time at the end of the main story.
- At the very end of Dragon Quest II, both of your comrades step aside as you walk the final few steps before being crowned the King of Midenhallnote .
- EarthBound has Poo completing his training, Ness' trip to Magicant, and the epilogue from where Ness drops Paula off back at Polestar Preschool.
- Various instances in Mother 3:
- Flint, when he needs to bust out of the village prison to attend his wife's funeral, and then when he goes out to find his son Claus (until Alec joins him partway to Drago Plateau). Though, those who accompanied him on various tasks in general differed from point to point.
- Salsa, when assigned by Fassad to distribute some Happy Boxes. (Fassad himself only accompanies you for that one chapter, but for the great majority of the events therein.)
- Lucas, when leaving Boney on a treadmill to do some work in the Clayman mine.
- Boney on Argilla Pass, in order to look for the Jar of Yummy Pickles that the party drops along the way.
- Duster, upon briefly resuming his role in DCMC on the second floor you visit inside the Empire Porky Building.
- And finally, Lucas in the final battle, after the Masked Man knocks all his friends out pre-fight...
- ...followed by you, as the words "THE END", to walk around in pitch darkness while talking to everyone from the game's main cast, after Lucas pulls the final Needle and awakens the Dark Dragon, ushering the destruction of the Nowhere Islands.
- Various instances in Mother 3:
- When Cecil's ship in Final Fantasy IV is attacked, he ends up alone on a beach.
- Early on in Final Fantasy V act 2, Galuf goes solo to rescue his imprisoned comrades.
- Final Fantasy VI - Locke doing a solo investigation in South Figaro, as well as Celes being on her own after The End of the World as We Know It.
- In Final Fantasy VII, Barret temporarily leaves the party to fight his Forgotten Friend, New Foe Dyne in Corel Prison.
- Final Fantasy VIII, Zell has to navigate the D-District prison alone to save the rest of his teammates.
- Happens in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, where Marche has to run away from Llendar until Cid rescues you.
- In Final Fantasy X, your party gets thrown in a dungeon. You start as Yuna and start looking for your other party members (Rikku, Tidus and Wakka get their own underwater section, as they're the only ones with swimming animations).
- Late in Grandia II, Ryudo is dropped alone (save for Skye, who only ever accompanies him non-playably) deep below the Birthplace of the Gods, in order to test his strength against Valmar's influence. The epilogue also counts when Roan seeks to meet his old friends three years after the main story.
- In Live A Live, the chapters vary wildly in opportunities for party formation, but in the one chapter that sets its protagonist up with a party near the outset, a certain cathartic incident leaves Oersted to adventure on his own for the remainder of the chapter.
- In Lunar: The Silver Star, the party is reduced at several points in the story to just Alex and one companion (not counting Nall), and twice Alex gets left alone. The first is when Alex has to go through the Cave of Trial before entering Vane for the first time. The second is after Ghaleon pulls a dramatic betrayal.
- A few examples from the Super Mario franchise:
- Several sections in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga take one brother out of picture and have you go solo for a while. The longest one is when Mario gets Bean Fever, and Luigi must go through Guffawha Ruins solo to retrieve Crabbie Grass to cure him.
- Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has a sequence in Chapter 4 where Mario gets his identity stolen and loses all his partners due to Doopliss stealing Mario's body and turning Mario into an unknown purple entity.
- As well as some areas in Bowser's Inside Story.
- The fight against Jonathan Jones in Super Mario RPG can become a duel between Mario and Jones, with the teammates of both parties standing on the sidelines as cheerleaders. It can be skipped if Mario is downed at the halfway point of the fight and not revived, or if Jones' flunkies aren't defeated. Later on, there's a fight against Valentina and her fat bird guard Dodo and Dodo whisks away your middle party member for a one on one fight. Unlike the fight against Jones, there's no way to avoid this and it is game over if the lone party member is defeated in their sequence.
- In Makeruna! Makendou Z, each of the girls are shot to sleep during their first confrontation by Honmayanaa, and you take control of Hikari's dog Sabi to wake each of them back up (and see what they're dreaming about while you're at it).
- Opoona has a segment right after the Disc-One Final Dungeon, where you suddenly have to solo your way through a desert as Poleena. Thankfully, you are soon joined by a Guest-Star Party Member, but you still spend a significant amount of time alone.
- Late in Phantasy Star IV, Chaz must venture alone into a cave to retrieve the Elsydeon sword. There is also a sidequest in which Chaz suddenly gets separated from the party in a small test to see if he's worthy of getting the Megido tech.
- In Scenario 34 of the Earth Route of Shin Super Robot Wars, Domon has to pursue Master Asia all by himself.
- In Tales of Phantasia, if you fall into an early trap of the final dungeon, Cress wakes up alone in a dark dungeon and has to run around the area filled with monsters in an attempt to get his teammates back.
- This is what you are left with after Tales of Symphonia has presented you with a FaceHeel Turn, a Distressed Damsel, and five successive Heroic Sacrifices in the span of one lengthy dungeon - and there's still a couple of floors for Lloyd to traverse solo. There's a Z-skit on those floors where he mentions that it's tougher being alone.
- The World Ends with You puts a twist on this at the beginning of the 3rd week: Since Neku cannot find a partner due to Kitaniji taking the entirety of the player base as Neku's entry fee for the week, he is incapable of fighting, so when he does get into battle, it's represented by all of his pins being disabled, so all he can do is escape battle.
- Annoyingly for a game based on tactically positioning your squadmates, Rainbow Six Vegas 2 has a segment where your squad goes off to join the first game's protagonist, leaving your character to complete a level which has more in common with Splinter Cell then anything else, made more difficult by the game's (relative) lack of stealth mechanics. This is the Scrappy Level for a reason.
- Star Wars: Republic Commando generally has a Solo Sequence in every level (i.e. a proud total of three): on Geonosis, you start off alone but rendezvous with the rest of the Delta Squad shortly thereafter; the proper solo sequence on Geonosis comes when your squad boards the droid control center and has to disable four key systems simultaneously; in the second level, you spend almost the entire first half of it alone before reuniting with other Deltas; and in the final level, you have to go solo against a Geonosian nest because the other Deltas are already manning turbolaser turrets.
- In Grimms Notes, the AI-controlled featured heroes in Beanstalk/Shadow Tower events had to fight a bunch of enemies alone in order to get a stronger weapon. These were the only times the game let you control them manually during said events.
- World of Warcraft uses this trope as well, with solo scenarios introduced in Mists of Pandaria.
- Final Fantasy XIV has a lot of solo instances where the player has to fight by themselves and they can't progress if they're in a party with others.
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3's Uprising expansion has a whole mini-campaign tailored around Yuriko Omega, Japan's hero unit.
- StarCraft II - one mission has the player turn the tide of an AI-controlled battle using a single Ghost unit.
- The Tihark Orchard and Augury rock missions in Guild Wars.
- A few missions in Warcraft III, using an individual hero and limited units. The custom map Defense of the Ancients kicked off an entire genre based on itself.
- In Mega Man X8, you switch between two out of three characters per mission.
- The opening mission is a tutorial that switches between the three playable characters. X is first, then Axl shows up as assist, with the two of them trudging on together until X teleports out and Axl has to continue alone, before rendezvousing with Zero. Again, the two of them would breeze through the mission but Axl will disappear and Zero has to handle things on his own until X returns and they continue the tandem up to the intro's Boss.
- In Hard Mode, Vile, the Mini-Boss of the final level, will attempt a Taking You with Me with one of your characters, leaving that character's fate uncertain. Your other character has to traverse the rest of the final level alone, up to partway through the first phase of the Final Boss battle, where the other character rescues you from the Boss.
- In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, an ambush by the villains ends up separating you from your partner, forcing you to endure both a short dungeon and a potentially tough Wolfpack Boss solo before some unexpected help arrives.
- Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War has a single level that you have to complete without your three wingmen (and any weapons). Justified by the nature of the mission, namely, high-speed stealth recon.
- Late in Fire Emblem Gaiden, Alm is forced to enter the vault inside Duma Temple alone and undergo a series of trials to claim the Falchion.
- Dragon Age: Origins has the "Lost in the Fade" section of "Broken Circle", which the Warden has to navigate on their own, optionally freeing the rest of the party for the Final Battle of the level against the Sloth Demon.
- Some dungeons in Exile and Avernum have you choose a single party member to send in.
- Both Knights of the Old Republic games have plenty of moments where you control either one party member or the main character alone. This includes the final battle in each game.
- Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords: At one point on Nar Shaddaa, one of your companions, Atton Rand, is ambushed by two Exchange assassins in a bar and has to defeat them on his own before rejoining with the rest of the crew. Also, the ending sequence sees Ebon Hawk crashland on a devastated planet, scattering the party, so almost each member gets to wander on their own for a bit before reconvening at The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
- Mass Effect 2 has a few Shepard-only side missions available as DLC: "Normandy Crash Site", where Shepard has to wander the eponymous location alone, contemplating the deaths of the soldiers under his/her command; "Overlord", where Shepard has to fight the Final Boss alone after being thrown into Cyberspace while the rest of the squad are trapped; and "Arrival," where Shepard performs an espionage mission that ends in the destruction of a solar system. Also, a short genre-shift plot mission where you play as Joker.
- In Planescape: Torment on a couple occasions. In one instance, it's because navigation of the area involves being repeatedly struck dead by lightning traps. The Nameless One is immortal (or rather, can come back to life indefinitely), so he can get past this, but is kind enough to tell his less-than-immortal teammates to not follow him in.