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Space Zone

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It's ya' main man, Knuckles
And we in Meteor Herd!
You ready to go into space?
Help me get the Emeralds!
— "Space Trip Steps", Sonic Adventure 2

Space, as presented in video games, tends to follow certain basic conventions:

Movement is usually along only two directions, as per 2-D Space. Gravity mechanics often play a role in navigation; sometimes you might jump a little higher due to lessened gravity, but oftentimes the player floats freely around the level. Some games go further an incorporate involved gravity mechanics that affect how the player can move around larger objects.

Setting-wise, this may take place in a space station, among densely-packed asteroids or on a planet or moon surface where the atmosphere is missing. Flying astroids and shooting stars are often appear as hazards. Common enemies include space aliens and UFOs. In the Sorting Algorithm of Threatening Geography, these levels occur fairly late; usually, they are either the final level or a post-game area, and getting here may involve a dedicated sidequest.

Needless to say, this is a subtrope of Artistic License – Space. If the zone appears at the end of the game, it's an Astral Finale.


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    Action Game 
  • No More Heroes III: Over the course of the game, there are special Mini-Boss fights, as well as the second phase of the Rank 10 boss fight (Mr. Blackhole) and the entirety of the Rank 9 one (Gold Joe), that are set in outer space. With the exception of the latter boss, for all others Travis is always piloting a mecha to fight them, and can maneuver it smoothly to dodge their attacks. Gold Joe, meanwhile, is fought on-foot inside his spaceship, in a battlefield made up of stone cubes and a pink electrical fence.
  • Overcooked!: The final levels in both games are set in space. In the first game, it's largely set in a space station, while in the sequel, it's an alien planet. Mostly, it's just for looks, as the space theme doesn't really contribute to the level gimmicks for either game.

    Artillery Game 
  • Angry Birds Space: The game's primary gimmick is that it is set in a series of Asteroid Thickets, usually with the player's birds on one planetoid and the pigs' fort on another. In contrast to the other games, where thrown birds follow a basic ballistic path, here they either shoot off in a straight line into the inky black or are pulled along by the gravity of whatever rocky bodies may be in the way. Making use of gravity wells to slingshot birds and curve their paths so that they can get to spots that you can't aim for directly is a central gameplay element.


    Fighting Game 
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Final Destination is a platform floating in front of a nebula in space, which then transports itself (and the characters and items on it) to different dimensions over time.
    • A good number of Star Fox stages fit this trope:
      • Sector Z, which only appears in Super Smash Bros. 64, takes place on the Great Fox as it flies through space. The lack of neither air nor gravity presents a problem, but Arwings occasionally fly by to shoot at fighters.
      • Lylat Cruise is set on a spaceship called the Pleiades, which flies through the Lylat System over the course of the battle. The ship carries the players through a number of spaceborne sights, including a pitched battle between two space fleets, an asteroid belt, a skirmish between the Space Fox and Space Wolf fighter teams, and a pass through the outer atmosphere of the planet Corneria. The fighters never have problems with air, gravity or lack thereof during this stage.
      • Orbital Gate Assault is another Star Fox stage set in space. It takes place primarily on the Great Fox, but certain parts require the fighters to balance of flying Arwing starfighters. Again, gravity and air aren't concerns — the primary dangers are getting shot at by passing fighters or falling into the Great Fox's exhaust flames.
    • Mario Galaxy takes place on the surface of a Baby Planet small enough to have a noticeable curvature. Projectiles and thrown characters will fly along the curve of the planet instead of following straight paths, while a variety of planetoids and literal space ships pass across the starry background.
  • Playstation All Stars Battle Royale has Dr. Nefarious pull a section of San Francisco from Resistance into space without so much as a Gravity Screw (indeed, the stage remains functionally identical).

    First Person Shooters 
  • Duke Nukem 3D: The Lunar Apocalypse episode is set on either a space station or the moon.
  • Halo: Reach features parts of the level Long Night of Solace being exposed to vacuum (complete with muffled noises) and having lower gravity. Two multiplayer maps (Anchor 9 and Condemned) have areas with a similar mechanic, being both on board a space station.
  • Quake II has a secret level on a low gravity space station.

    Party Games 
  • Mario Party:
    • Mario Party: Eternal Star in the original game takes place on a giant star up in space that Bowser has broken apart and vandalized with graffiti. The board is unlocked after Bowser steals every Star the heroes had collected across their parties, meaning that they have to navigate the board's teleporter maze and challenge Koopa Kids to dice-rolling minigames to retrieve them.
    • Mario Party 2: Space Land takes place on a space station being attacked by Black Hole Bowser, who fires a Bowser Coin Beam across the station after charging up his satellite. Also present are Thwomp/Whomp criminals and Snifit Patrol police, who chase each other around in flying cars while pushing away any players on their path. This board returns in Mario Party Superstars.
    • Mario Party 5: Future Dream is a trio of space stations that are traveled between by using rocket ships and air taxis, or more mundanely blue-colored teleport panels (as the former two require landing on Event Spaces). The south station is featureless gameplay-wise (other than the transport rockes), but the northwest station has an Event Space which invites a player to ride a spinning car to get coins, while the northwest one has an Event Space that invites them to test their luck with a slot machine to earn a capsule.
    • Mario Party 6: The Solo board Astro Avenue is a series of tiny planets and space stations where UFOs can carry the player forward.
    • Mario Party 8: Bowser's Warped Orbit is a space station parked above a star, with paths and directions controlled by Bowser. It serves as the Star-stealing board of the game, with players using special candy to attack other players as they pass by.
    • Mario Party 9: Bowser Station is another Bowser-themed space station that players fly above on a spaceship. They can take detours to nearby colonies for bonuses in-between the boss fights with Bowser Jr. and Bowser.
    • Mario Party: Island Tour: Rocket Road is a Super Mario Galaxy-themed board that goes through a rainbow-colored linear path (similar to the Rainbow Road tracks of Mario Kart fame), and where players acquire Booster items to race to the finish line. The Boosters can be obtained in many ways, including winning minigames.
    • Mario Party 10: The Rosalina board in amiibo Party is designed to resemble space, and includes a variety of references to the Super Mario Galaxy series, including crystals filled with Star Bits, a giant Launch Star event, and figures of Lumas, Star Bunnies, and the Starshroom.
  • 4th Dimension Space, the fifth and final board from Sonic Shuffle. This stage is one of the few in the Sonic series without a space station.

  • The Adventures of Lomax: The last world looks like pieces of moon's surface suspended in space. Despite its looks, the world functions just like the previous worlds and there's no difference in gravity and such.
  • The Adventures of Rad Gravity: The Asteroid Belt, where Rad must propel himself with his gun in zero gravity.
  • Bobby's World: Bobby sees his rocket amongst the mess in his room, which sends him to the first level. This level is a space world where Bobby fights alien creatures and rides his spaceship to battle a giant alien creature.
  • Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back: In the levels Rock It and Pack Attack, Crash is exploring a space vessel with zero gravity, so he has to use a space suit to move forward. He also chases Cortex in outer space in the Final Boss battle.
  • Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice: The seventh chapter takes place on a path that goes through outer space, and connects the game's netherworld with the human world (Which exist as separate planets, contrary to what the names may imply).
  • Garfield: Caught in the Act: The PC version has "Alien Landscape", a sci-fi-themed level that takes place in outer space.
  • Kirby:
    • Kirby's Adventure: Most of Rainbow Resort's levels are set in outer space, with some Slippy-Slidey Ice World elements added to it, especially in the GBA remake, Nightmare in Dream Land.
    • Kirby & the Amazing Mirror: The ninth area of the Mirror World, Candy Constellation, is set in an asteroid belt and a mechanical construct built in the Mirror World's starry skies.
    • Kirby: Squeak Squad: The final world, Gamble Galaxy, is set outside of Kirby's home planet, Pop Star, courtesy of Meta Knight's Halberd in order to pursuit Daroach after he was possessed by Dark Nebula.
    • Kirby's Epic Yarn: Space Land is primarily this, with Future City, Stellar Way, Outer Rings, and parts of Moon Base taking place outside in space.
    • Kirby and the Rainbow Curse: The third and final levels of Purple Fortress, "Wonder Space" and "The Final Battle", are set in outer space, right after the first two levels being set in a factory.
  • Looney Tunes games:
    • Bugs Bunny in Double Trouble: The final three levels take place in outer space. Marvin the Martian may be unrelated to Dr. Sam's hunt for a brain but manages to easily escalate things quickly. You first race against Marvin on a space scooter, then you traverse through Mars on a UFO, and finally, you need to "rescue" the dynamite plunger and switch Marvin's lasers into reverse so that it blows up Mars instead of Earth.
    • Bugs Bunny: Rabbit Rampage: Level 2001 takes place in outer space. Bugs must make his way through a fleet of spaceships, while avoiding the Instant Martians and red Bob-omb lookalikes.
    • Daffy Duck in Hollywood has the fifth world, "Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century", based on the 1953 short of the same name.
    • Desert Demolition Starring Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote: The end of Wile E. Coyote's bonus round at the end of "Red Rock Rondevous" has him riding rockets through space, and, when he reaches the very end, Marvin the Martian can be seen shooting at Bugs Bunny.
    • Road Runner's Death Valley Rally: The fifth and final world, "Quantum Beep", takes place in outer space. Wile E. has teamed up with Marvin the Martian to create the Solid Tin Coyote, which serves as the game's Final Boss.
    • Speedy Gonzales: Los Gatos Bandidos has Galactical Galaxies, which serves as the sixth world of the game.
    • Taz in Escape from Mars: Taz travels to different planets, but the world that suits this trope the most is Mars, the first world in the game, as it takes place in Marvin the Martian's zoo. A very unusual choice for a first level and one that sets some pretty strange standards about what's to follow.
  • McDonaldland games:
    • McKids: CosMc's retreat take place entirely on the moon, with low gravity.
    • McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure: The first half of the fourth and final world takes place on the moon. Ronald and his friends crash their rocket looking for the treasure when it is revealed to be in space, and thus give up the hunt for a way back home. With the lack of gravity, Ronald is able to jump twice as high as before. The second half of the stage takes place inside the spaceship of the Alien King, who has captured Ronald's friends and is guarding the treasure.
  • Mega Man 5: Star Man's stage takes place in a space station. In the starting area, meteors fall down and can harm Mega Man. There are also many Spikes of Doom in the ceilings.
  • Monkey Shines: The world "Spaced Out", which is loaded with flying saucers, aliens and robots. Gravity Screw is averted.
  • Rocket Knight Adventures has a shoot-em-up level in orbit towards the end of the game.
  • Sesame Street: Countdown: The fifth level takes place on the moon. With the lack of gravity, The Count is able to jump twice as high.
  • Snoopys Grand Adventure: The third world, "Lunar Surface", takes place on the moon, where the goal is to rescue Lucy. Enemies in this world consist of robots. The boss of the world is a giant robot that resembles Lucy, who chases Snoopy throughout its level.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog includes both space station levels (usually with reversed gravity) and True Final Bosses in outer space that require Super Sonic.
    • Sonic Adventure 2 has a bunch of levels and several boss fights set in and around the Space Colony ARK. The ones inside the ARK also count as Eternal Engine levels (one of them is even the Trope Namer). There are even different Gravity Screw mechanics in different levels. Meteor Herd and Cosmic Wall have low gravity, Crazy Gadget has switches which change the direction of gravity, and Mad Space consists of multiple tiny planets which each have their own gravitational pull. The rest just have normal gravity. And, as always air is never an issue. Interestingly, everyone in the game with the exception of Knuckles has Super Drowning Skills, so they can't breathe in water, but they can breathe in space. note 
    • Sonic Colors: Starlight Carnival and Asteroid Coaster are mostly set in outer space, unlike the other zones which take place in multiple planets.
  • Superfrog: "Project F" is a shoot-em-up space level, but World 6 after that is set on a space station in platformer space.
  • Super Mario Bros.
    • Super Mario World: The secret Star World takes place on a star, and three of its levels have a starry sky background based on outer space.
    • Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins: The Space Zone is the Trope Namer, and also the first space-themed world in the series. In the levels, Mario wears a spacesuit, and the gravity is lessened. The boss is Tatanga, who was originally the Final Boss of the first Super Mario Land.
    • Super Mario Sunshine: A few of the secret levels in the game have a space background.
    • Super Mario Galaxy: The game takes place among sets of rounded and irregular planetoids floating in deep space; Gravity Screw is a central theme to movement, and enemies include a variety of weird little aliens, robots and UFOs. Space Junk Galaxy consciously displays the setting the most among the main levels (as the others mix it with a different setting, for the sake of variety), consisting of a field of debris and drifting starships against a galactic backdrop.
    • Super Mario 3D World: The respective maps of all four secret worlds in the game are space-themed, though only Worlds Star, Flower and Crown have actual space-themed levels (World Star has Rainbow Run, Super Galaxy, Honeycomb Starway, Cosmic Cannon Cluster and Captain Toad Takes A Spin; World Flower has Blast Block Skyway; and World Crown has Champion's Road, Captain Toad's Fiery Finale and Mystery House Marathon), and it's also in World Star where Rosalina can be unlocked to play as her. There's also the earlier Beep Block Skyway (the original version of World Flower's Blast Block) from World 4.
    • Super Mario Odyssey: The Moon Kingdom is set on the Moon which also has a hot and molten interior. There are also the secret areas set on the Dark Side of the Moon and the Darker Side of the Moon.
    • Mario Adventure has World 5, Starry Slopes.
    • Newer Super Mario Bros. Wii has the second half of the seventh world, Starry Skies (the first half, Sky Mountain, is Death Mountain). Gravity is lessened in the first few levels, in a nod to Space Zone from Super Mario Land 2; later levels (including the fortress and castle) have normal gravity.
    • Something has A Day in Space. This level is unusual because it is also a Green Hill Zone. However, it is a Brutal Bonus Level because there are lots of Munchers and flying Koopas to dodge.
    • Super Mario Fusion Revival: World 6 (Outer Nebula) is Science Fiction themed, taking place in outer space, on alien planets, space stations, and spaceships.
    • Yoshi's Island:
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose!: The last stage takes place in space. It is based on the episode, "A Quack in the Quarks" from the cartoon series, and most of the enemies are characters that appeared in that episode, such as the Stormtwoopers. The final boss is Duck Vader, who attempts to zap Buster with a giant laser, which Buster must snatch from him and zap him with. At the end of the game, the stage is revealed to have been filmed in a studio, and Duck Vader is really a costumed Plucky.
  • Xain'd Sleena: Cleemalt Soa (Saturn in other variants) is a moon that features floating, non-moving asteroids, bottomless pits that kill you instantly, and a cool background with Saturn and its rings floating in the black, star-studded sky.
  • Yooka-Laylee's fifth world, Galleon Galaxy, is set in an outer space world with pirate elements. The level's boss is a colossal planet aptly named "Planette", where you fight her in the duo's sailboat form.

    Puzzle Games 
  • Kuru Kuru Kururin: The levels in World 7 (Star Land) take place in outer space, showcasing rockets, UFOs and planets of varying colors and sizes in the background. The levels feature walls shaped like octagons, small dots or diamonds that are placed very close to each other, thus requiring Kururin to move around very carefully. The third levels also has mazes and corridors with lots of springs, which mess up with the orientation of Kururin's ship.

    Racing Games 
  • Cel Damage: There are three space levels, including one set on a space station, and one where you drive directly on the rings of Saturn.
  • Mario Kart: Most of the Rainbow Road courses are set in a winding ribbon of rainbows in planetary orbit, which bottomless drops on all sides. In Mario Kart 8, it takes place in a space station.
  • The PlayStation release of Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit has a hidden course set on a space station.
  • Sonic Drift 2 has Milky Way, which serves as the fifth track in the Blue GP. The track is a linear one that leads to the Death Egg, which serves as the sixth and final track.
  • Star Wars Episode I: Racer: The Oovo IV courses run through an asteroid penal colony, and include zero gravity tube sections.

    Role-Playing Games 

    Shoot Em Ups 
  • Star Fox: The Lylat System is a relatively narrow corridor of space with Invisible Walls keeping the player from moving out-of-bounds. The player can generally only fly in one direction.
  • Gradius, R-Type, and all their variants and spinoffs. Special mention to the Genesis title Whip Rush. Several levels feature segments where your titular starship flies up, down, and even backwards, all while obediently facing and shooting to the right. It requires getting either missile or flamethrower powerups to be able to shoot in the direction you're going.

    Sports Games 
  • Golf With Your Friends: The Space course appears to take place in a space station. There are lots of vents, black hole-like things, clear tubes, and windows providing a view of space.

  • MechWarrior: Living Legends: The map "Extremity" takes place on a rapidly spinning asteroid near a bright star. Gravity is significantly reduced to the point where Power Armor players can stay permanently aloft with their regenerating Jump Jet Pack, and due to the rotation the level's ambient conditions change over the course of the match; at night, the temperature drops and the atmosphere freezes into lakes, while at daytime the temperature rises to dangerous levels, the lakes boil off and a steady stream of gas vents from the surface. The community map "Deepspace" is a more straight example, set in a zero-gravity asteroid field where vehicles are limited to the Space Plane fighters and powered armor.
  • Theme Park World contains a level that is actually called "Space Zone" as one of the four park themes.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Jet Force Gemini, despite its intergalactic setting, takes place primarily on different planets and the interior of large space vessels. As such, the only two levels that properly display this setting are the Spacestation (a wrecked, derelict vessel stranded in outer space) and the Asteroid (the one Mizar is taking to planet Earth, and also the Very Definitely Final Dungeon).
  • Warframe: Once you get your archwings, you get access to several missions where you use them to fly in freefall through asteroid thickets and over the hulls of spaceships. These missions feel very much like a different game, what with your equipment being replaced with archwing-exclusive weapons (Even your warframes' abilities are replaced with archwing-specific abilities!) and any mods found there also being specifically for archwing equipment.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Terraria: If you go high enough up in the sky, you eventually reach space where gravity is much weaker.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Space Level, Lylat System


Fourth Ring of Furon

The last of the levels in Path of the Furon is a level that takes place on (or at least orbiting) the Furon Homeworld.

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