Zoey: Man, I love Steam.
Francis: Yeah, steam's alright, I guess.
Steam vents are somewhat common as obstacles in video games. Typically, they produce a cloud of hot steam right in front of themselves; this is the actual obstacle.
Such obstacles range from being minor inconveniences to being damaging. They are typically static or intermittent obstacles, but seldom move around, since the pipes attached to them don't. They may become Goddamned Bats if their hit detection is badly programmed. If they are minor inconveniences, they act as such by causing Interface Screw.
If the vents are being pushy rather than harmful, see Vent Physics.
- A number of these occur in Batman: Arkham City.
- Brave Fencer Musashi has an area outside Grillin Village known as Steamwood Forest, where random steam pipes spew high-pressure streams of hot air. Some shoot out steam at regular intervals to provide temporary obstacles, and others continuously fire to create impenetrable barricades. After you repair the system that regulates the steam vents, Steamwood (you have to do this twice during the story), the vents cease to be a problem.
- Sporadically used in The Legend of Zelda games. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess not only has a few around Death Mountain, but while it's enveloped in twilight, a Goron even laments that the appearance of one particular fumarole makes the path "impassable".
- Metroid Prime: Steam vents produce steam that can clog up Samus's visor temporarily.
- In the intro level for Super Metroid, Samus needs to escape a space station, while avoiding gushes of steam coming out from practically everywhere. If you get hit by the steam, you lose precious time to escape.
- Happens again during the escape from planet Zebes, only the steam's escaping from the ground itself.
- ODT: Escape, or Die Trying had a level where pipes constantly leaked steam. And you had to use the pipes for moving.
- Mirror's Edge had steam vents in a few levels, requiring you to stop, find a nearby valve, and shut it off. The lengthy valve-turning animation turned these into some of the game's most irritating obstacles, as this is a game built around going fast
- Usually these vents will kill you if you try to just pass over them, but there's one in the Pirandello-Kruger level which will only cause mild damage, if it hurts you at all, allowing you to entirely skip turning the associated valve.
- In the iOS version, these kill you faster than getting shot, and appear fairly often in levels that take place indoors.
- Some in LEGO Star Wars, at least the ones that release very cold air.
- Tomb Raider: Anniversary: Damaged pipes occasionally blowing bursts of steam are seen in Natla's Mines. The steam is blown at regular intervals, meaning Lara can easily climb past. Should she get hit, she'll merely lose some health, while staying attached to the pipe.
- Infamous has a couple of sections where Cole MacGrath must avoid some vents slewing some steamy ooze.
- In the third level of Viewtiful Joe 2, an air vent serves as an obstacle in a puzzle. There are two settings you can activate. Either can block the path below, or let you ride the wind inside it, depending on which side you come from.
- They appear in both Half-Life games. You have to time your passage through some, but others are static and you have to find a valve to shut them off with.
- There is a steam vent puzzle in Duke Nukem Forever that doubles as a Take That! at Valve Software.
- Blood II's obligatory sewer level consists near-entirely of finding switches to turn off a series of steam vents blocking you from crossing a bridge to the exit.
- Played around with in First Encounter Assault Recon - steam itself is rarely directly harmful to you, but half the time when you do see it something invariably explodes near it and replaces it with fire, which is the real obstacle you need to get around.
- These appear in Rise of the Triad in both static and moving versions.
- Medal of Honor: Frontline has a couple of these, most prominently in the U-Boat level... which doesn't actually make a whole lot of sense.
- Remnants of Skystone has steam vents as obstacles, despite their supposedly having been untended for nearly two hundred years, often acting just to make you schlep all the way around to try a particularly tricky threading-the-needle series of spikes and nasties.
- Guild Wars 2 features this as one of the more common obstacles in Inquest and Aetherblade bases. All cause some damage while a few will knock down the player as well.
- There are a few of these in the construction zone level of Kendo Rage.
- Super Mario Bros. 2 has whales in World 4 that spray geysers of water out of their blowholes. Touching the water spray from the side is dangerous, but standing on the spray is safe.
- Mega Man 5 features damaging puffs of steam appear in Wave Man's stage. They also appear in Neptune's stage in Mega Man V.
- Variation: Battletoads has vents producing small puffs of poisonous gas that travel a short distance before dispersing harmlessly.
- There are a few steam vents in the Inferno Cavern of La-Mulana, especially along one vertical shaft that hides a way to the chain whip upgrade.
- Maze Of Galious has spots on various platforms that produce periodic bursts of steam.
- Another World had deadly steam vents in the area where you're rolling your way through pipes.
- This is often used in the Sonic the Hedgehog games.
- Batman Returns for the Sega Genesis has annoying steam vents throughout the collapsed building level.
- Rastan uses the fantastic equivalent of gargoyle-like stone blocks that release jets of blue flame.
- In Rock 'n' Roll by Rainbow Arts, explosions act like this; they can occur when the player sets off bombs, but it's far more common for them to naturally occur on certain tiles at a constant interval.
- StarCraft II features these on a number of multiplayer maps - they do no damage, but serve to break line-of-sight.
- One springs up in Martian Dreams once you've gotten the steam power working. It prevents you from shortcutting to the exit, and that's all.
- The dungeon rooms in Dot Hack GU sometimes will have these alongside other booby traps. They reduce your SP when you're hit.
- One mission in Mass Effect 2 takes place on an abandoned space station where the only real danger are a few damaged pipes that emit powerful jets of steam.
- Undertale: The steam vents in Hotland are actually useful, as the steam rising from them helps you jump between platforms. However, there is one puzzle where the directions in which the steam vents send you keep changing depending on where you land, and getting past it can take a while. There is also another room with lots of platforms with steam vents that can be quite hard to navigate your way around.
- Thunder Cross II has them in the fourth level. Unlike most of the examples on this page, you can destroy them.
- In the World Adventures EP for The Sims 3, this is one of the traps in the tombs.
- In Metal Gear Solid, there's a blast furnace full of leaky pipes where you can pick up the optional body armor.
- Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth has several. They are damaging and can cause interface screw if they are releasing toxic gas; they are part of a puzzle in one location where they need to be turned on in the correct order.
- A puzzle late in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis involves shuffling active leaks in steam pipes. Successfully clearing a path nets Jill the Rocket Launcher.
- Penumbra has a number of ruptured steam pipes, and one area is an entire grid of steam vents with a gated-off valve, that you have to cross in the right order.
- Odium has you activate a steam vent to remove some slime off a walkway. The steam then becomes an obstacle itself, to be deactivated by a different switch.
- Doctor Who: "The Rebel Flesh". The lower levels of the factory suffer from this. For bonus points, it's Hollywood acidic steam to boot.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge: When Lisa is running through the old power station, several of her routes are cut off when Freddy causes scalding steam to be blasted across her path.