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The Maze

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You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike.
You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike.
You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike.

The Maze is that which makes it difficult to get from point A to point B.

Technically, mazes in video games are usually labyrinths. A simple maze consists of nothing more than a series of rooms through which navigation is not straightforward: a simulation of a paper maze or actual labyrinth.

Mazes often show several of the following traits:

  • Asymmetric: Rooms that are geographically adjacent do not necessarily connect; moving east from Room 1 goes to Room 2, but turning around and going west from Room 2 goes to Room 3 instead. Traditionally, this characteristic is indicated by describing the maze as "twisty".
  • Homogeneous: Every room in the maze looks identical to every other room, making it difficult to tell which room you are currently in.
  • Nondeterministic: The passages are essentially portals that teleport you between rooms at random. It may be possible to simply blunder into the exit by doing this ... unless the maze is also:
  • Tricky: The only way to reach the desired exit is to follow a specific sequence of directions; taking the wrong path will send you to a random room or straight back to the entrance.
  • Invisible: The maze exists within a single, seemingly empty room with the walls being invisible, requiring you to explore and try to memorize where the walls and passages are.

The standard way of solving a maze — a symmetric maze, at least — is to draw a map. In a static maze, you can always find the exit by keeping a fixed hand on a wall at all times when you walk forward from the entrance.note  But when the rooms are also homogeneous, the player will need ways to identify specific rooms; one standard way, at least in text adventures, is to drop a different item in each room (hoping you won't need those items later, of course). A tricky maze usually incorporates some kind of puzzle which either renders the maze deterministic, allowing the player to deduce the path through it (for example, if a wrong path sends you straight back to the entrance, you can quickly chart out the "correct" path to take by trial and error).

If you're lucky enough, however, you weren't ever intended to navigate the maze blindly in the first place; you're supposed to meet up with an NPC guide and/or acquire directions at some plot point before going in.

If the maze is not homogeneous, then it's very likely that the correct path to take is the one that is the hardest/takes the most effort to get to.

Many mazes are livened up with monsters, traps, and/or treasure. Some of the monsters may be mobile, others stay put and wait for you to find them. A Dungeon Crawler is a game that consists of only mazes filled with monsters (with occasionally a town area at the beginning).

The Mobile Maze is a subtrope. See also Maze Game, Big Labyrinthine Building, Magical Mystery Doors, Unnaturally Looping Location, The Lost Woods and Hedge Maze.

Not to be confused with the former prison in Stroke Country.

Video game examples:

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    Action Adventure 
  • The Legend of Zelda franchise loves labyrinths:
    • The Legend of Zelda:
      • The Lost Woods and The Lost Hills, in which the same map of trees and rocks with four exits will loop until you follow the correct sequence of paths or exit in a specific direction.
      • Level 8 in the second quest is unique in that the maze itself is the big challenge to the labyrinth. The labyrinth has the Goriya/Rope/Stalfos enemy theme, but it's also got more secret passages than any other level in the game, including a half dozen or so one-way passages, and a lot of automatically locking doors to force you back to the beginning if you take even one misstep.
    • In Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, the route to the fourth palace is a maze of narrow stone corridors going in and out of a network of caverns.
    • Link's Awakening:
      • To get to the final boss, one has to conquer the homogeneous maze in the Wind Fish's egg; completing the trading sequence reveals the solution.
      • The Mysterious Forest had a tricky and asymmetric maze part protecting the key to the first dungeon. However, only one room exit was rigged. If you try to exit north to the chest containing the key, the Raccoon will tell you that you're going to get lost. If you continue anyway, you'll end up in a completely different area of the forest. Using some Magic Powder on the Raccoon will help you solve this puzzle.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time:
      • The game redoes the Lost Woods sequence in 3-D, using dark tunnels instead of paths. But this time, it provides a clue: following the sound of a song will tell you which path to take. Fake paths are also identified by having a slight back gradient to them, and make a sound when hit by a Slingshot pellet.
      • Even with a map, the Water Temple provides a very complex layout, as each of its main floors fork into specific branches, and some of them can only be explored when the water is at the appropiate level.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask has the Woods of Mystery, a Tricky-type maze whose path changes depending on which of the three days you enter it on. Fortunately, getting to the end is only a matter of following the monkey that will always be there.
    • Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess include roomless variants, wherein you have to follow a specific path through a sand/snow/other-swept map to avoid being transported back to the entrance.
    • In Twilight Princess there's also the room full of falling floor blocks in Hyrule Castle. Listen carefully and you'll hear ghost rats, which clues you in to what you need to do: use your wolf senses to kill the rats, and follow the pointing ghost soldiers.
    • Oracle of Ages has an outdoor version that is asymmetric and tricky: a trio of mischievous fairies are scrambling space in the area, and you have to find them to get them to return it to normal so that you can reach the exit. Seasons has an homogeneous maze in a wood past the Tarm ruins.
    • Twinrova's "dungeon" in the linked game in the Oracle games. The game only slightly hints at the solution. Namely: do not follow the direction of the eyes in the statues (ex.:if there's an eye each for facing east, west and south, the player must head north).
    • The final dungeon of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker includes a maze on the second floor. There's actually an easy way to solve this maze: When a Phantom Ganon is killed, pay attention to how his sword falls; its hilt will point in the right direction.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, this is what awaits you inside the pyramid on the Isle of the Dead — complete with the talking, mournful skeleton of an explorer who died trying to find his way through. In order to succeed without spending a few hours in trial and error, you must first find a way into the island's graveyard and get the solution from the tombstones.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild once again features the Lost Woods as a tricky maze. Keeping in line with the more open-world design of this game, you can technically walk between any trees in any direction, but taking the wrong path will put you back at the entrance. There are also three "Lomei Labyrinth" areas that are homogeneous stone mazes; activating the local Sheikah Tower to get a map of that region will make navigating them a bit easier because the paths are open to the sky, but there are still hidden passages not shown on the map.
  • The early PS2 classic Primal had a hedge maze, which is solvable using the left hand rule. Lampshaded when the main character remarks "Eugh, mazes suck," on encountering it. After you've found your way through it to a lever which opens a straight path to the exit, she also asks, "Why didn't they just leave it like that?"
  • Anyone who remembers Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode will also remember the horribly frustrating maze sequences scattered throughout the game, including one maze purposefully built to be unsolvable (supposedly a decoy within the context of the game.) This detracted so much from the game that the publisher actually included maps to the mazes in the manual in an effort to disarm the ire of most gamers unfortunate enough to play it.
  • Many levels in the Ecco the Dolphin series consist entirely of mazes. Notable examples are Welcome to the Machine from the first game and Four Ways of Mystery from Defender of the Future.
  • La-Mulana has the invisible teleporter mazes in the Confusion Gate and Chamber of Birth.
  • Technically, every level in Air Fortress after the first is non-linear, but they don't get truly mazelike until Level 4 (Where the teleporters first become asymmetric - taking a teleporter at Location A will take you to Location A', but even if there's a teleporter at A', which is far from a certainty, said teleporter at A' is almost guaranteed not to take you back to Location A.), and especially so at Level 6.
  • The villa stage of Castlevania 64 has a nasty hedge maze you have to run through while being chased by two animate hedge animals and a Frankenstein's monster armed with a chain-saw. Of course you only have to explore about an eighth of the maze and, if you know where to go, will likely get through before the chain-saw monster even shows up. If you know where to go.
  • Stage 4 of Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth has a series of rooms connected non-simply by doors. Worse yet, many doors are one-way; attempting to go back the way you came will dump you off elsewhere. If you manage to find a couple keys and use them on the right doors, you can skip the stage's midboss.
  • The Meandering Forest in Brave Fencer Musashi. Also a part of Spring Wood in its sequel, Musashi Samurai Legend.
  • The final NORAD mission of WarGames Defcon 1 have the players attempting to locate the WOPR headquarters, located in the Omaha Desert, which has been converted into a maze. It's one of the most frustratingly difficult levels, not because it's hard, but because it's so darn repetitive! Lose a unit halfway through the maze, and it's repeating the whole maze-crossing process, over and over again...
  • Several levels in Warriors of Might and Magic, including the Trials in the third level, the City of Magic and part of the Temple of Depraved.
  • Tomb Raider:
    • In the commentaries for Tomb Raider: Anniversary Toby Gard, the designer of Lara for Tomb Raider 1, said "Don't make mazes. They just confuse people and they get lost and frustrated."
    • He also spoke of trying to get this across to the level designers in TR1 (1996).
    • Tomb Raider II has an optional hedge maze in Lara's home with a switch for a secret room if you find a certain area inside it. Anniversary also has another optional manor house maze.
    • Tomb Raider III has a maze in the form of the Caves of Kaliya, frequently regarded as a Scrappy Level, although it can at least be gotten out of in about thirty seconds maximum if you know where to go. A later level, Lud's Gate (the definitive Scrappy Level of the game) has an underwater maze. Finally, while the other elemental chambers in Lost City of Tinnos contain interesting and appropriate challenges, the air-themed chamber offers a rather underwhelming conventional labyrinth.

    Action Game 
  • The garden in Brain Dead 13 is an example of this. There's a specific sequence you have to go through or else you will die. To make matters worse, most of the areas look exactly the same, and sometimes you are allowed to go in the wrong direction, only to be given a choice of new directions which will all kill you.
  • The Woods in Friday the 13th for the NES (Guide Dang It!).
  • Sensory Overload had the Biochemical Storage Area, an homogeneous and nondeterministic maze where "your ability to remember where you are is impaired" due to a chemical leak. Required to get the optional Silencer item, and any secret items you missed earlier.
  • Koei's Warriors series (Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors, and Warriors Orochi) have ocassionally featured maze-like areas on certain battlefields. Although static and logically connected, the scenery tends to be homogeneous and the game cripples your ability to steer via the simple and effective step of completely disabling the minimap, and usually putting in enemies for you to get turned around while attacking. Fortunately these tend to be fairly small, fairly brief, and usually allow the map to function as usual once you've made it through the first time.
  • The Matrix: Path of Neo has an asymmetric, nondeterministic and tricky maze as one of the Merovingian's tests. Enter one door, it goes all the way to the other end of the maze, you get lost and try another door, just keep getting lost until you find the right door.

    Adventure Game 
  • The original Colossal Cave had at least three mazes and possibly more depending on the version you played (including the woods in the initial outdoor area, a near-homogeneous maze (each description is slightly different), and another that was purely homogeneous (the "maze of twisty little passages, all alike")); it also had Bedquilt, a nondeterministic room at the heart of a mazelike area. The mazes included a vending machine, a wandering pirate who could steal your loot, a wandering mean little dwarf, and a treasure chest (belonging to the pirate).
  • The all-alike maze's description was recycled for the maze from Zork. Zork's maze included a troll guarding the entrance, a stationary ghost with a bag of gold, several exits leading to different areas, and a wandering thief who would take your valuables if he met you.
    • Zork also had a second maze in a coal mine. Watch out if you bring any burning torches in there.
    • Zork II had a carousel which would dump you into a random room each time. Not exactly a maze, but it made mapping the game layout a bit annoying.
    • Zork II also had an infamous maze with a heavy wooden stick and glowing plates set into the floor. You could swing the stick and it would make a "whoosh!" noise. Non-American players had a hard time figuring out the maze was a baseball diamond, and the stick was a bat. You had to swing the bat and run the bases. This inspired the most amusing entry in Graham Nelson's Bill of Player's Rights (from The Craft of the Adventure):
      16. Not to need to be American.
    • Zork III's maze was complicated, in that it was an 8x8 grid where you could push some, but not all, of the walls around. You could take a shortcut out, but it was at the expense of an item you need to win the game.
    • Beyond Zork had a small maze which automatically extinguished your light when you went in. The maze was also inhabited by monsters called lucksuckers, which drained your luck stat, unless you carried good luck charms, which would cause the lucksucker to drain the items instead of you. (It also contained grues, which, presuming you had the right items and sufficient stats, allowed you the unique and satisfying experience of being able to kill the damn things for once.)
  • The Monkey Island games regularly recycle this trope. They are always tricky — every time they appear, directions through the maze are acquirable, this being the expected solution. They are also often non-deterministic without the directions.
    • The forest on Melee in The Secret of Monkey Island (both a stalking and a map following puzzle) as well as the underground cavern on Monkey Island.
    • The skeleton door puzzle and Dinky Island forest in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge''
    • The Mists O' Tyme Marsh in Escape from Monkey Island as well as a stalking trip in the jungle.
    • Tales of Monkey Island got the forest on Flotsam that is a puzzle three separate times, the two first times requires following instructions from maps and the third requires folding a map to fold the forest itself.
  • King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow featured the Greek mythology-based catacombs. Each room is virtually identical except for the number of doorways, and it's too dark to see into the next room until you enter it (which can prove deadly if the next room has a deep pit).
    • Speaking of King's Quest, King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder! had two mazes, but in one, you can simply follow someone to the exit (the second time, anyway...), and in both, you have compass to show which direction you're facing, making it a little easier to map out the maze on paper.
  • Space Quest II: Vohaul's Revenge has a nasty maze. You can only see a few steps in front or behind because the only illumination is a gem you carry with you. Take a wrong turn in one particular place and the Cave Squid will eat you. Mapping it out on paper is a must. Space Quest V does it again with a maze where you're viewing from only one frame, and elevator shafts are hazards in between levels.
  • The Infocom text game Leather Goddesses of Phobos had a maze requiring you to hop, clap, or say "Kweepa" every so many moves or be devoured; players found this so annoying that a later version of the game included a cheat code allowing you to skip the maze entirely.
  • In Quest for Glory II, the main city, Shapeir, consists largely of mazes of hallways and doors. It gets easier once you buy a map, but just reaching the moneychanger to get the local currency and buy a map is something of a pain, even with a few pointers as to where she is and some elements within the "maze" to break up the monotony (silly things like some of the doors turning out to be painted on the wall).
    • This, of course, was the game's implementation of copy protection. The game came with a map of the city.
    • The fan remake gives the player the option of taking away the streets that don't have anything important on them, making travel much less confusing.
  • Spellcasting 101 has the tricky type; "the maize" was really just a 5X5 grid of rooms that had a letter marked on each one. You have to spell out "THISWAYOUT" to progress
  • The sewer pipe maze in Koala Lumpur: Journey to the Edge. Fairly basic as mazes go; you have to explore the whole thing to complete the level.
  • The first game in The Legend of Kyrandia series has a particularly obnoxious maze midway through the game that forces you to repeatedly backtrack in order to have enough fire berries with you to light up otherwise dark rooms. The berries decay with each move you make, and if you don't have one when you enter a room, you instantly die. The only way to get more is through sparsely scattered bushes in the maze, but there is no way to know where they are beforehand, resulting in a lot of backtracking as you go back and forth fetching more light sources hoping to make it to the next bush before they all go out.
    • Kyrandia 3's jungle maze also attained Scrappy Level status. The navigation is completely unintuitive, and once in a while you get infested with fleas and scratch yourself to death.
  • The maze behind the church in Uninvited. More friendly than your usual ones, as in spite of being difficult, there are plenty of landmarks to remember your way by. And you get a free ticket out, once you're done.
  • Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders has several mazes, most of which are easily mappable, and certain others that are random but that you automatically get out of after three rooms.
  • Sorcerer has a three-dimensional glass maze, that you solve by transforming into a bat (so you can use sonar to locate the walls). Add a bit of gratuitous mapping. The twist is that you also have to go back through it, but it changes shape when you do, and you get a monster chasing you (at least until the first pit, where it falls to its doom). This second part is skippable, though: use the "provide for your own resurrection" spell outside the maze, then be killed by the monster. The spell doesn't teleport your possessions, to prevent this from solving any other puzzles, but there's a different puzzle to get that treasure out because you can't carry it as a bat.
  • The Sewers of Ankh-Morpork in Discworld Noir are Tricky, and you will go round in circles (thankfully through only three rooms) until you go into werewolf mode and follow a scent trail.
  • Broken Sword II, in the jungle.
  • Douglas Adams' game Bureaucracy has two mazes. One is the airport, which is nondeterministic. The signs are lies; never go where they say your destination is.). The other is asymmetric, contains over a thousand rooms, and finding the directions requires one to solve a particularly nasty puzzle.
  • Photopia has a great example of a tricky maze: You're wearing a space suit. After a set length of time, you're told that the cooling unit on the suit has broken down, so you remove the suit to avoid overheating. As you do so, you feel the cool breeze on the feathers of your wings. Yep, you could have flown over the maze at any point. And as you take off into the sky now, you remark on how complicated the maze is, and how you never would have been able to navigate it on foot.
  • In Atlantis: The Lost Tales, the challenge of the champions. Made harder by the fact that spaces are unsafe even when the Minotaur isn't there.
  • The online text adventure game Alagaësia Adventure has one. You play as the drawf who warns the people of Tronjheim in the Eragon book. It can be played here.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1984) features what looks like a maze that is both Asymmetric and Homogeneous. You're inside Arthur Dent's brain. Dropping anything to mark a path results in that item vanishing forever and resulting in a Non-Standard Game Over once you're out. There is no actual path—the solution involves going through five rooms without getting stopped by an electrical synapse, then removing Arthur's common sense when it appears.
  • Five feature in Veins:
    • The aptly named Doors Labyrinth has doors leading to similar-looking rooms.
    • The Syringes Labyrinth is one big room with several paths connecting to other paths.
    • The Syringe Maze in turn leads to a first-person maze where you must choose the correct path.
    • The Matrix world is of the invisible walls variety.
    • The Music Labyrinth is a homogenous variant, with identical rooms and only one of the four exits leading to the right path. The answer for each room is written in the center, but you will need the Glasses effect to see it or it will be too small to read.

    Driving Game 
  • A rare driving game example from Mario Kart 64, in the form of Yoshi's Valley. There are a lot of twisting roads leading to other twisting roads, some longer than others. It gets to the point that the position counter essentially has a seizure trying to keep track of where you are. To the point where the position counter doesn't even show anyone. It's replaced with ?'s until racers cross the finish line for the last time.

    Fighting Game 
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl has The Great Maze as its final Subspace Emissary level. Be thankful you have an auto-mapping feature, as unlike most other mazes you have to explore every nook and cranny and kill every copy character and boss to open the way to the final battle. Once you complete the map, though, you realize it was incredibly simple the whole time. It's a single contiguous loop with a multitude of dead-end "branches", making it essentially impossible to actually get lost.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Final Doom: In The Plutonia Experiment, there's "Hunted", a sprawling maze of wood walls and automatic doors where the player is hunted down by a pack of eighteen Arch-Viles.
  • In the Descent series:
    • Every single level is a maze'', and a three dimensional one at that, with all the Mind Screwiness that implies. Not only is it easy to become lost, these levels are plagued with secret passageways, hidden traps, and frequently entered Mobile Maze territory. The game does have an automap feature, which fills in rooms as you go, but the later mazes get so complex and twisty that the automap becomes almost impossible to read. The sequels include a Guide-Bot that can... well, guide you, although the more hardcore players can ignore that feature to explore on their own.
    • Descent is one of the pioneers of the six-degrees-of-freedom game, so you don't even have a consistent "up" to orient yourself with.
    • Given how levels are constructed, it's possible to create 4D levels for Descent. Yes, there are user-made levels that exploit that capability.
  • The randomly-generated Labyrinth in Pathways into Darkness, as well as the Guide Dang It! teleporter maze near the end of the game.
  • The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games have a few conventional instances of these, mainly underground laboratories. Areas full of anomalies usually form open mazes that require you to navigate around normally-invisible hazards. One notable instance occurs in Call of Pripyat, where an NPC leads you to an objective that entails weaving through a maze of Burner anomalies. Watching how he navigates it in the preceding cutscene reduces the amount of time spent tossing bolt around to decipher their locations.
  • Wolfenstein 3-D has these in spades. E2M8 has a maze of push walls in which a sign is hidden: "Call Apogee, say Aardwolf." This was intended for a cancelled contest. Another maze must be navigated to access the third secret level, which in turn is an homage to Pac-Man.
  • killer7 has two real ones ( Ulmeyda's boss arena in Cloudman and the Lost City in Alter Ego) and a fake one (in the Freaky Fun House in Encounter).

    Maze Game 
  • The Pac-Man series of arcade games all take place in mazes filled with food.
    • Pac-Man World 2's penultimate stage, Ghost Bayou, is a giant environmental maze.
  • Snail Maze is a game built into certain models of the Sega Master Systemnote  where you guide a snail through twelve mazes within a time limit. Subsequent levels reduce the time available, giving a progressively lower margin for error.

  • Satirised, naturally, by Kingdom of Loathing. One of the optional quests involves a "strange leaflet" which plunges the player into a text-based adventure, in which is a classic forest maze. It doesn't matter which way you go—eventually the game itself gets fed up with the maze and fast-forwards to the bit where you get out.
    • But used straight in the Violet Fog and Louvre puzzles. Thankfully, they aren't too annoying.
    • The Hedge Maze in The Naughty Sorceress' Lair also counts.
    • And more recently, the really nasty volcano maze.
  • City of Heroes has numerous mazes: whole zones like the Sewer Network and Abandoned Sewer Network, parts of zones like the forests in Perez Park and Eden, and lots of mission maps.
  • The Labyrinth in Rusty Hearts. Unlike the other dungeons up to that point, the labyrinth is separated into six "rooms", and you can only exit the dungeon after entering six doors, after which you're automatically teleported to the Boss Room no matter which path you take. Later on, you find that the real exit is behind a wall that requires two ballista shots to break down, but you normally only have enough time to shoot one. After acquiring a certain item from Estel, you'll be given enough time to find the right path to destroy the wall and find the way out of the Labyrinth.
  • RuneScape has quite a few mazes in it.
    • Tarn's lair is a maze with multiple floors and several booby traps. It is harder than a lot of the other mazes because the game only allows you to see the room you are currently in.
    • The game used to have a random event where the player would be kidnapped by a mysterious man and locked in a maze. This was one of the random events that were supposed to disrupt cheaters using programs to play the game for them. It has now been removed from the game.
    • The quest Dragon Slayer requires players to go through Melzar's maze, the house of an insane necromancer where the player must kill enemies to get the keys to the next room and the enemies get tougher in each room and using a key on the wrong door sends you backwards.
    • The Dungeoneering skill is trained by travelling through a massive dungeon with 60 randomly generated floors. The player gets bonus points for unlocking every room on a floor. One of the puzzles the players may find is a maze room where the player must get to the center as quickly as possible or poison gas will be released into the room. Another puzzle the player may find is a portal maze where the player takes damage with each portal they go through.
    • The Tree Gnome Village is surrounded by a hedge maze to keep invaders out.
    • The chaos altar dimension contains a maze that the player has to go through before using the altar unless they teleport directly to it.
    • The chaos tunnels, one of which is a shortcut to the chaos altar, are a massive dungeon of tunnels filled with random enemies from all over the game, connected by portals which sometimes malfunction and send you to the wrong tunnel.
    • The Jade Vine Maze, as the name suggests, is a maze made up of the vines of a plant which the player has to climb all over.
    • The lava maze in the wilderness is a very simple maze that leads to the layer of the king black dragon. They later added a teleport shortcut to the king black dragon so players would not need to go through the wilderness (where other players can attack them), although the fight with the KBD becomes easier if the player does.
    • The quest "Sliske's Endgame" requires that the player go through an enormous, cryptic maze called Sliske's Labyrinth that is very difficult to complete without a guide.
  • In World of Warcraft, the "Endless Halls" portion of the "Riddle of the Lucid Nightmare" is this. By consuming the ashes of a long-dead evil Mogu sorcerer, the Player Character finds themselves in a labyrinth, with the end goal being to bring five colored orbs to the matching runes. Since this labyrinth is randomly generated based on player ID and the weekday, it's deliberately designed so that no pre-made map can ever be made. In addition, one of the rooms is a teleport trap, transporting the player to a random room.

    Party Game 
  • Mario Party 4: The alliteratively-named Team Treasure Trek puts all players into a stony labyrinth, and divides them in two teams (it's a 2-vs-2 minigame). There are two treasure chests and two keys, all encased within color-coded boxes. For each team, the objective is to navigate the maze and find both a specific chest and the key that opens it, making it so one player holds the chest while the other approaches them with the key (this is because characters can only hold one object at a time). If a player gets lost (which is likely to happen for first-timers), pressing X or Y will display the maze's map and their location, but they cannot move while viewing it. The first team to open their chest wins (and will make the maze's walls retract, thus making the whole area wide-open); but if nobody manages to complete the objective in 60 seconds, the minigame will end in a draw.
  • Mario Party 5:
    • The minigame Whomp Maze pits two dueling characters in a special maze challenge. The exit is at the right while they start at the left, but as soon as they approach the seemingly-empty central area they'll be obstructed by Whomps who emerge from the metallic ground. Indeed, this "wide" area is a maze whose walls are the Whomps who pop up when the characters approach them, and the key to win is to figure out the sequence of directions to follow in order to reach the other side. Once a player succeeds, all Whomps will pop up to reveal how the maze was like. If no one makes it to the goal after 30 seconds, the minigame ends in a tie.
    • The minigame Mazed & Confused is a labyrinth made of electric barriers, and the goal for all four characters is to be the first to reach the central spot (whose tile is marked with a star drawing) while avoiding contact with the electricity (as it would stun them). The catch? The maze's configuration changes every few seconds, so they must exercise extreme caution while moving around. The first player to reach the center wins, but if no one manages to do so after 45 seconds, the minigame ends in a tie.
  • Mario Party 7: The minigame Battery Ram has two pairs of characters transporting a long battery canister across a toy-themed maze. The two characters have to navigate through the paths of the maze while working out how to make the canister fit through them. At certain points the character in the back side has to backtrack in order to help the character in the front side position the canister into diagonal corridors. The first team to take the battery to the rocket at the goal will win the minigame (and also enjoy a liftoff ride together).
  • Mario Party: Star Rush: House Of Boos places players in a maze where they must run around to collect coins. However, there are also Boos chasing after them, and the Boos can phase through walls without adhering to the maze's layout.

    Platform Game 
  • B3313:
    • The corridors, gateways, lobbies and actual stages are tangled together with multiple route options and secret doors.
    • By using a flip jump followed by a backwards wall jump, you can climb over the wall in the Peaceful Uncanny Courtyard and find a hedge maze leading to the Funhouse. The Windy version of the Courtyard features a different maze where you must find a special plaque and stand on it to collect a Star.
    • The Funhouse is a large set of colorful wide corridors with no apparent exit. All the doors are hidden, so the player must keep hugging the walls to break out.
  • Super Mario Bros. series:
    • Worlds 4-4, 7-4, and 8-4 of Super Mario Bros.. 4-4 has you going through a castle that will be endless until you pick the correct fork. 7-4 makes you get a sequence of three paths right or else you restart the whole sequence. Finally, 8-4 is a complex network of warp pipes that will have you experiencing déjà vu if you enter the wrong pipe, or don't enter a pipe by a certain point.
    • Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels has Worlds 3-4, 6-4 and 8-4, revisiting the Unnaturally Looping Location concept of the first game's maze castles. The game also has the "tricky" type in some levels, where you must find a secret beanstalk or warp pipe to escape the infinite loop.
    • The final castle in New Super Mario Bros. has alternate paths. Pick the correct path, and you move on. Pick the incorrect path, and it's back to the beginning of the maze section for you. New Super Mario Bros. Wii revisits this with the second castle, but adding auto-scrolling.
    • Super Mario 64 DS has a hidden level where the player can face a certain boss to free and unlock Luigi for use in gameplay. The player must follow a certain pattern to reach him, but the player can hear where the boss's laughter is coming from.
  • The Super Metroid ROM Hack Super Metroid Redesign has a Lost Cave area, similar to The Lost Woods in the original The Legend Of Zelda.
  • Mega Man Star Force 2 has a variant: Each area has four exits, but each room has some kind of clue as to which way to go, and most incorrect exits immediately lead to a dead end, where you get ambushed by viruses then turn back. Harp Note will also appear if you are on the right path.
  • The Lion King has a maze in the second-to-last stage "Simba's Return". Some of the doors lead to a drop, making them one-way.
  • I Wanna Be the Guy has the Labyrinth of the Guy.
  • Version 1.7.3 of Eversion replaced the final dungeon (which previously just had random Eversion occurring throughout the level) with such a maze—the map wrapped around itself if you kept going, black death fog prevented you from backtracking, and solving the maze meant that you needed to Evert to different levels in order to progress forward.
  • Bug! features three prominent ones. All three required Bug to activate a switch, and then find the now-unblocked exit.
    • Quaria Scene 2 had a 3D maze filled with confusing slopes where you had to activate a switch (3-D maze).
    • Burrubs had a particularly irritating one that didn't have enemies, however, most of it took place behind Obstructive Foreground and the only indication of where you were was the camera's vertical and horizontal scroll.
    • The final part of Arachnia Scene 3 had a 2-D maze, filled with loads of annoying respawning Mooks. At least it was possible to see the paths due to the area being flat.
  • Rockman 4 Minus Infinity has Wily Castle Stage 3. In it, you have to recover the powerups stolen by Snatchman and rescue Kalinka Cossack. Fortunately, there are collectibles that can make the maze easier to navigate.
  • The second half of Yoku Man's stage in Mega Man Unlimited starts off with a maze that sends you backwards if you go the wrong way.
  • Area 4, the Airport in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES). A system of fenced-off manholes requiring you to go through a series of Platform Hell passages, arriving frequently at dead ends and backtracking through the same Platform Hells before finally reaching the merciful end boss.
  • Mighty Bomb Jack has a largish maze in the twelfth level. The second crystal ball (and the Sphinx key to its room) is hidden within this maze, whose entrance is itself hidden.
  • Ecco the Dolphin and its sequel love this trope, not surprising given you're swimming underwater as a dolphin. Ecco's sonar is real handy in the tunnels.
  • Something series:
    • The Maze of Ice Cubes in Something, which can be hard because of the ice physics.
    • The Mysterious Maze in Something Else. You have to find the right doors to escape the maze.
  • One of the bonus games in Tiny Toon Adventures Buster Busts Loose is a maze-like game involving Babs Bunny at Elmyra's house, trying to rescue her friends note , who are all trapped behind locked doors. For each friend she rescues, the player earns an extra life. The game is over if Babs rescues all her friends, runs out of time, or gets caught by Elmyra, Dizzy, or Arnold.
  • In the Toy Story Licensed Game, the eleventh level, "Really Inside the Claw Machine" takes place in a maze deep within the claw machine. The level is a 3D maze similar to that of first-person shooters like Doom. Howver, what sets it apart from them is that this level has no enemies to attack Woody. The goal of this level is to find eight Squeeze Toy Aliens and bring them to the chutes. However, Woody can only hold one Alien at a time. This level has a time limit, as Woody has only 180 seconds (three minutes) to find all eight Aliens and return them. The quicker Woody completes the level, the more bonus stars he will be rewarded with.

    Puzzle Game 
  • Cliff Johnson's games The Fool's Errand and At The Carnival include a few mazes, some of which are tricky because of the twists provided for each maze (usually hidden passages or invisible walls, but also teleports). At least one was kind enough to show the shortcut after you finished it.
  • Myst: There's a maze that revolves around sound cues? Unfortunately, the solution to the sound cues in question are from a different age, so it is entirely possible that you've never heard those cues before. If you don't have a save game outside of this age, you have to brute-force the maze. Luckily, the maze is constructed in a way that a bit of trial and error will allow you to figure out what the sound cues mean, even if you didn't hear them in the other age.
  • Lighthouse: The Dark Being, in Sierra's attempt to catch up with Myst, tried creating a similar maze, albeit in a straighter fashion. Aside from having a tool box, crane and a drill to get around various obstacles, largely the train you're in is sent around curving and criss-crossing railroad tracks inside a volcano. Oh, and your computer's processor speed determines how fast the train will be moving at any given time.
  • Chip's Challenge: Being a puzzle game that evokes several classic tropes common in its genre, it features levels with uniquely-designed mazes. For example, level 13 (Southpole) is a maze made of Frictionless Ice where Chip can only take turns when he reaches a warm tile, level 16 (Cellblocked) features recessed walls that prevent backtrack and thus will force Chip to restart should he meet a dead-end, level 57 (Strange Maze) is a multicolored maze whose walls are made up of other setpieces (including trapped enemies), level 67 (Chipmine) is entirely covered of walls that can be either real or fake (though unveiling the fake ones leaves their paths permanently visible, so it's not as bad as it sounds), level 88 (Spirals) revolves around navigating through a maze of thin walls while escaping an incoming swarm of random-moving enemies, and so on. There's even one level near the end with a maze where the majority of walls are permanently invisible, but there's a way to figure out its layout by paying attention to the paths' shapes.
  • The RHEM games are full of these, although each one has its world mapped such that it could very well be one giant maze, given that occasionally you have to make a circuitous loop and then shut a door or flip a switch, then go back to the other side to see the results.
  • The mansion basement in The 7th Guest contains a maze filled with long, narrow, featureless corridors that may or may not lead to a dead end (complete with Scare Chord and a taunt from the disembodied voice of the antagonist) and twisting corridors that serve to disorient you. Fortunately, you can find a map of the maze on a rug in another room. Hope you have a photographic memory.
  • The Journeyman Project Turbo features a maze in the Mars Colony time zone, with possibly the best music in the whole series. You have a Mapping Biochip which tracks where you've walked to find your way out. The catch is you only have 8 minutes of oxygen in a mask you're using, and if you don't get out in time the music slows down and you can hear yourself breathing hard accompanied by an increasingly loud heartbeat.
    • Pegasus Prime remade this maze with much more aesthetic detail and a few other hazards, but only sounds in place of music. Fortunately the 2014 Director's Cut version restored the awesome music.
  • Labyrinthine Dreams is a series of mazes tied in with the story. There are mazes where you can not turn left, where you can only travel in certain directions from certain spots, where you have to step on every tile without backtracking, where you slide until you hit a wall and the monster mazes where you have to outmaneuver an enemy to step on a certain tile.
  • Mysterious Journey II has an infamously difficult one near the middle of the game. It's a maze of tiles hidden by a layer of mist, which you can only map out from underneath. Stepping on each tile produces a sound, and lights around the field make points for a grid that the maze can fit to. But one misstep causes the whole structure to scramble into a new form. Fortunately, completing your first trip through the maze permanently disables the mist and allows you to move through the structure at will.
  • The Labyrinth of Time features several mazes alongside the regular game environment. One particular maze, called the "Surreal Maze", cannot be tracked by your map, and it's a matter of trial and error to find the way out. All of it is justified, though, seeing as the whole game is based on the mythological labyrinth of Minos, and the ghost of Daedalus was enslaved by Minos to build the entire complex.
  • Obsidian has a tricky one in the Bureau Realm. This one consists of 9 glass cubicles in a 3x3 grid, and the doors into and out of each one requires a certain amount of color-coded access cards - red, blue, and/or yellow, with other sets given back in exchange. The goal is to reach the office of Pre-approvals in the back left corner, but that needs 3 black cards, which can only be found in two adjacent offices. If you mess up, you can leave any of the cubicles through the outer wall, but doing so requires you to give up all your cards. On the plus side, the Vidbots there always have something hilarious to say, and there's some goofy Muzak to keep you company.
  • Of course, Grow Maze takes place inside a maze.
  • Uncle Albert's Adventures:
    • Uncle Albert's Magical Album has a maze made of spider web which the player must make a fly cross. The maze has a spider in the middle which approaches the fly each time it touches a wall.
    • Uncle Albert's Fabulous Voyage has a small maze in the Amazon forest where you must guide a caterpillar with a leaf up to a plant to find the numbers for a code. The difficult part is that the caterpillar must avoid being eaten by two tarantulas.
  • Zampanio Sim is nothing else but layers and layers of different mazes.

  • The second half of levels in NetHack consist largely of mazes. Players are not driven further insane because these are plain labyrinths, easy to navigate because characters at this point tend to be either in rude health or dead, with breakable walls. Each level has at least one minotaur.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Bug Fables has the Forsaken Lands, a very hazy area where taking the wrong path will send you back toward the start. There's also a maze-within-a-maze screen where you have to pay attention to the direction of glowing mushrooms to know which direction to walk.
  • The unofficial dnd computer game was maybe the first RPG to be set largely in randomly generated mazes, inspiring more famous followers like the popular Wizardry series. Each dungeon level is filled with twisting corridors, forks in the road, dead ends, and no map to help you find your way in or out. This was back when the norm in tabletop RPGs was for players to draw their own maps of the dungeons their game-master described.
  • Knight Bewitched:
    • On the way to the reunion of the Witches, there's a maze created by one of Gwen's sisters to keep intruders out, and the party has to find and turn off 4 levers to get past it.
    • There's another one in Morgoth's lair, which is more mind-bending since it seamlessly loops in itself and contains several block pushing puzzles.
  • The '80s Wizardry series popularized the Dungeon Crawler, in that it was only mazes filled with monsters, with a single town at the top.
    • Ultima and The Bard's Tale Trilogy borrowed from and inspired Wizardry. For a recent addition to the genre, see the ''.hack games.
    • Wizardry VII: Crusaders of the Dark Savant features the Isle of Crypts. It's quasi-homogeneous due to the graphics of the time. Part of the place is a 3-D teleporter maze. There are plenty of Guide Dang It! puzzles. You had best have been thorough exploring some areas previously, or you won't be able to progress past certain points without objects that didn't have any use at the time. Hordes of horrible monsters live here, too, including the Superbosses. Sure, it's The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, but good God it's a pain.
  • Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland has the Deku Forest. You can pay someone to put signs revealing the right path throughout the forest. There's also a hidden chest in there, but that one you'll have to find on your own.
  • Six-degrees-of-freedom RPG shooter NeonXSZ occasionally has mazes as the format of the Challenge Arena stages.
  • Super Mario RPG features one of the more famous mazes in gaming history, the Forest Maze. Like the Zelda examples, one must follow a certain pattern to reach the exit. The music is quite good though, and clearing it does unlock Geno (who has the most powerful attack in the game) so it's not totally pointless.
    • The hint to solving the maze is also obvious, though it is one of those "blink and you'll miss it" moments.
    • There's also a man in town who will give you directions to an optional treasure cache to the tune of "left, left, straight, right"... in an isometric game that has all area transitions on diagonals. This is one of those puzzles that will take you two seconds or twenty minutes. Follow them from Mario's perspective on the ground.
  • The Temple of the Ancients in Final Fantasy VII. The Great Glacier is another example from the game. It's very easy to lose your way, especially since you get dumped right in the middle, and the paths which take you to each area are rather misleading. The last area even rotates constantly, and were it not for the fact that you could drop flags behind you, would be nearly impossible to navigate. At least you get automatically booted to the next area if you take too long.
  • The Tomb of the Unknown King in Final Fantasy VIII. A map of the dungeon shows that it's actually relatively simple in design. However, the real problem lies in the intersections.
  • Final Fantasy XV:
    • When you are in Altissia, your party members will complain that it like a maze.
    • The Crestholm Channels dungeon has a confusing multi-level layout, full of locked gates and one-way passages. Skilled (or overlevelled) players may find that reaching the boss monsters is much more of a challenge than beating them.
  • The third level of Watcher's Keep in Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal is a complete Mind Screw of a maze, even including antimagic or wild magic rooms and warring demons amongst the twenty or so rooms, and portals which don't lead back the way they came. It is possible to figure out the way out from the journal of an insane man (contained within the maze) though the information in it can be a little vague.
  • The Rubikon Project in Planescape: Torment was a homogeneous variety. To its credit, however, it was perfectly rational to navigate.
  • Phantasy Star II is composed of elevator mazes of ever increasing complexity, to the point where a dungeon contains over 100 elevators. Combined with the relatively small view of the surrounding area, the game gets frustrating very quickly.
  • The Lost Cave in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen.
    • Also Turnback Cave in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. It's nondeterministic, each exit taking you to a random room. The only way back to the entrance is to either return through the door you entered to the room from (which warps you back to the start) or pass through 30 rooms without finding three pillars. If the player does find three pillars in 30 rooms, the next door they enter will bring them to Giratina's room.
    • The Underwater Ruins in Undella Bay in Pokémon Black and White. Made worse by the fact that you pop back up to the surface after 100 steps.
    • The Winding Woods on Kalos Route 20 in Pokémon X and Y, where the paths twist and turn in very strange ways and sometimes lead to different places depending on what direction you take.
    • Haina Desert in Pokémon Sun and Moon and Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon will send you back to near the entrance if you don't follow the proper path. Combined with the dead ends you can find, it really makes the desert feel like an endless Sea of Sand if you don't know your way across.
    • The Pokémon hack Pokémon Snakewood has Madio Cave, of which the main area is a room with about 8 cave exits and a couple ladders, which for the most part just lead to a different entrance in the exact same room. If they don't, they'll either lead you to a room with 4 ladders which have a chance of leading you back into the room from earlier, or an identical version of it with a different tileset. Oh, and if you don't have the Flash HM, have fun trying to navigate the whole thing with reduced visibility.
    • The Fuchia City Gym is a single large room containing a maze of invisible walls in all appearances across multiple generations. During generations one through three, invisible walls are indicated by tiles with white dots in the corners, allowing the player to navigate around them without much trial and error.
    • The Ecruteak City Gym is likewise a single large room with a winding path. In its original incarnation, the entire room is a giant teleporter leading back to the beginning with only a single invisible path leading to the gym leader. Unlike with the Fuchia Gym, this path is entirely invisible and has to be guessed based on the positions of the gym trainers. In the remakes, the path is visible but mostly hidden in darkness. Some parts of the path are lit by the gym trainers, but their lights go out after their defeat and the player has to navigate around them by memory to avoid getting teleported back.
  • EarthBound, like all of its takes on RPG tropes, has a very strange version of this. The major maze in the game takes place inside of a man who was converted into a gigantic, living, humanoid dungeon.
    • Before that is Moonside, a creepy city filled with invisible walls and NPCs who teleport you around.
  • In Mother 3, the Mole Crickets live in a ridiculously complex maze of twisty, criss-crossing corridors and ladders leading to multiple levels. Even with a map, solving the maze is virtually impossible (this is even Lampshaded by the character who gives you the "totally useless" map) until an NPC tells you the secret - whenever you reach a fork in the path with the option of turning or going straight, always turn. That's all there is to it.
  • Salerno Academy in Valkyrie Profile is a particularly devious version, as you must run around the level, changing perfumes to get past certain plants in a specific order. You must be very fast, as the perfumes wear off quickly.
    • Of course, the Salerno Academy is *nothing* compared to the horror that is the Clockwork Mansion: a five by five grid of rooms, with different configurations of entrances and exits... in which every single room but the one you are in and the one you just left rotate 90 degrees each time you walk between two. And the shortest known solution involves a complex looping path.
  • Golden Sun 2 uses this in all the Rocks, but a notable instance is in Gaia Rock, which one must use the Psynergy "Grow" on plants in the middle of each room to make them grow into plants which point the way to the boss chamber. It is nigh-impossible to get there otherwise; all the rooms are almost identical.
  • Mobius Desert in Digimon World 3.
  • Breath of Fire III had an interesting variation on this. Instead of all the rooms looking the same, they had a completely featureless desert that spread out in all directions. The key to getting through it was to wait until night and navigate by the stars. If you went the wrong way, you'd just run out of water and teleport back to town before you got anywhere.
  • Wild ARMs 3's final dungeon had many sections that were basically guessing which door was the right door. Getting it wrong would send you to a random room, usually the beginning of the maze itself, but after staring at the background while randomly guess which room was what for about 10 minutes, it becomes surprisingly easy to get disoriented. Also, the bonus dungeon, The Abyss, is basically around 120 floors of mazes in where you have to collect all the blue crystals (restores VIT and ECN both) on each floor in order to unlock the teleporter to the next floor.
  • The bonus dungeons in Wild ARMs 5 are giant mazes with the exception of Cocytus.
  • Trials of Mana
    • The game has a Hidden Elf Village hidden within the maze-like Lampbloom Woods. To solve it, you wait until it's night and then follow the trail of glowing flowers (though it's not too hard to brute-force the correct route, since all but the final set of paths have monsters on it if you went the right way).
    • Charlotte/Kevin's path has the Jungle of Illusion near the end of the game, in which you find the correct way via the tones that played after you picked which way to go.
  • Many old Western RPGs, including Dungeon Master and Lands of Lore, consist of nothing but mazes. In the latter, even in areas where it doesn't make sense, such as woods or a swamp.
  • Sword of Mana's Clock tower and Mount Illusia (one had bells that had to ring in a certain pattern and the other had stone faces that had to have a pattern of expressions) Not entirely mazes, but the sequence to getting the answer was very difficult, and often required you to go backwards to experiment.
  • Lost Odyssey has the Snowfields of the Northern Land, a maze of identical intersections, the only difference being the random direction in which the wind is blowing magic particles. Getting to the end requires going where the magic particles are coming from 5 times in a row. Any other move leads to yet another random intersection (and resets the counter).
  • Dragon Quest I and Dragon Quest III both featured an area that had an infinite loop hallway. Dragon Quest was in Charlock Castle if you took the wrong staircases on your way to fight the Dragonlord. Dragon Quest III had an easily avoidable one in Floor 1 of the Navel of the Earth that really only became a problem if you deliberately went that way.
  • The Monster House in ClaDun has rooms like this. The first floor is a teleporter maze, and the second floor is an extremely large room where killing certain enemies on one side opens up a door on the opposite side.
  • Vagrant Story has the Snowfly Forest and the Bonus Dungeon Iron Maiden B2.
  • Might and Magic VII:
    • It has one in the form of the Barrows, where each room has only one door, but up to four possible exits depending on what levers inside it are pulled.
    • It also features a literal example in Nighon. Inhabited by Minotaurs no less.
  • Riviera: The Promised Land has one in chapter 3 with homogeneous rooms and a tricky two part puzzle involving changing seasons and following directions on signs which have increasingly more of their lettering worn away. The whole thing is optional and easily missable, and aside from getting a few items the only aim is to get out again, making it an especially frustrating experience even by maze standards.
  • Paper Mario: Sticker Star features The Bafflewood, a tricky-type forest maze where any wrong turn sends you back to the beginning. This is, however, a fairly small, simple maze, and the game is kind enough to put signposts on which you can stick stickers to keep track of where you've been. What sets this maze apart is a sign at the start that keeps track of how many times you took a wrong turn and displays this as if it were a warning to the next person unfortunate enough to come through.
  • In Faria, the towers are very difficult to get around at best, with most of them being full of dead ends, one-way passages and confusingly numerous staircases. (The Phantom Tower makes up for its lack of all these with a homogeneous Wrap Around floor plan.) The caves (especially the first) are more classically mazelike, and the Random Encounters and lack of lighting don't make them easier to get around. There's even one of the overworld's landmasses (the one containing Shilf) arranged as a topographically ridiculous maze of isthmuses.
  • In Fire Emblem Gaiden, thanks to the addition of towns and dungeons to explore, you have the Lost Woods. You actually start the maze about two rooms from the exit, and about three rooms from the entrance to a story-related village, but in order to get all the treasure, you'd have to navigate the entire place and fight all the enemies, which could be tricky thanks to the existence of "lost squares", rooms which endlessly repeated themselves until you exited through the direction you came in.
    • The dungeon reappears in Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia as The Lost Treescape. The layout of the dungeon is labrynthine, and while it initially appears to have five exits, four of these loop back to the same shrine, which then connects back to each of the four exits. The proper exit to the Sage's Hamlet is the one furthest into the maze from where you started.
  • Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu has an asymmetric tricky maze at the very beginning of the game.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has Shalidor's Maze, located in the aptly named dungeon of Labyrinthian, where past generations of Arch-Mages endured trials to prove they were worthy of the title. The Dragonborn can optionally solve the maze, which is relatively straightforward but requires magical knowledge to get past its traps and tricks.
  • In Holy Umbrella, the Royal Tomb consists mostly of identically-sized chambers, each with no apparent entrance or exit. However, the Light of Brilliance will let you see in the space immediately around you which walls and floors are false.
  • Interplay's 1990 adaptation of The Lord of the Rings featured mostly very open environments. The portion of the Old Forest between Buckland and the Withywindle River, however, is a maze so large and complex that the bird's-eye view barely helps. It is static, unlike its counterpart from the book, but the sameness of the tile graphics still makes getting lost very easy. It's worth mentioning that this maze is technically optional. In the book, the Hobbits left the Shire through the forest instead of taking the road because they were afraid of being caught by Black Riders. In the game, you do encounter a Rider on the bridge, but it's not impossible to drive it off and just walk straight to Bree.
  • The passage leading to Dedan's office in OFF. It's in a series of identical rooms, the key to navigating them being to listen to which entrance has the loudest music.
  • Epic Battle Fantasy series:
    • The northwestern end of Lankyroot Jungle (and the map as a whole) in Epic Battle Fantasy 4 is a maze that leads to some valuable loot and a set of hard, optional challenges. A sidequest is needed to get a scroll containing the directions to get there, and the scroll has to be in the player's inventory for it to work — the scroll's item description will still give the correct order when hovered over in a certain window, but following that order will not do anything.
    • Epic Battle Fantasy 5 has two in the Deluxe version:
      • The Mineshaft Maze is a series of tunnels near No Man's Land that loops around itself horizontally and vertically, with Lance's "Round Earth Theory" comment implying that this is because it wraps around the entire world somehow. It contains two sub-rooms with puzzles, and one room housing the Superboss Neon Valhalla. As an Anti Frustration Feature, saving in this area (outside of the sub-rooms) will bring the party back to the entrance if they quit and re-enter, to prevent from getting lost inside it.
      • The Great Sea in Update 2.0 opens with a series of screens in the open ocean and a few landmarks. It's meant to be solved through trial and error, but turning on the navigation options will put arrows pointing in the right direction. At the end of the maze is the proper Great Sea area, which has a Nostalgia Level and a series of challenges with the gimmick of only having one party member.
  • Tales of Symphonia has a maze area in the Palmacoasta Ranch. Interestingly enough, the way through the maze was to go on the path with the least foes.
  • Ys

    Shoot 'em Up 
  • Gunstar Heroes: Black's infamous "silly dice maze" stage, which plays out like a game board and the players take turns rolling dice to advance in rooms.
  • Kolibri: Most of the non-autoscrolling "puzzle levels" take the form of mazes, which get more and more elaborate as the game progresses, culminating in the gargantuan labyrinth known as Remission.

    Sports Game 
  • Cubyrinth in Mario & Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games.

    Survival Horror 
  • Blue Stinger has a maze of ice blocks in the cold storage area. Unlike most other mazes in video games, it features absolutely no landmarks, not even treasure or enemies. It is possible to bypass it entirely by raising the temperature high enough that all the ice will melt, but going through the maze means not having to face a rather difficult mini-boss.
  • Castle Red features an extensive Hedge Maze, which is intentionally disorienting and full of strange and bizarre imagery.
  • One of the levels of Chicken Feet features a barnyard-themed maze which you have to sneak through while avoiding the rampaging chicken.
  • Salazar's courtyard in Resident Evil 4.
  • The final area of Silent Hill, called "Nowhere", is essentially a miniature maze with various locations smashed together from all over the game, and a few doors blatantly not leading to where you entered them from.
  • There is a small segment on Silent Hill 2 where you are inside of an underground maze with multiple holes that allow you to keep going deeper.
  • One round of Vacation Game involves running through an underground maze to escape the monster on the island.
  • Vanish: You play as a nameless person thrown into an underground water main filled with monsters and constantly changing walls which are implied to be alive. The goal is to find the exit before the monsters catch you.

    Visual Novel 
  • Cafe Rouge makes the player navigate from the main locations (home, school, the cafe, and Valon's house) by clicking direction arrows to go from street scene to street scene. The problem is that there are only three different scenes, which frequently repeat, so unless the player memorizes the order early on, it's incredibly easy to spend several minutes floundering around lost whenever the location changes (which happens regularly each chapter). And then, one of the paths includes a chase sequence in which you die if you make a wrong turn.

Non-video game examples:

    Anime and Manga 
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Tin Labyrinth have the titular labyrinth, built under the Hotel Burinkin, which Nobita, Shizuka and their new friends Sapio and Tap needs to cross to find the Burinkin laboratory and stop a robot uprising. They're guided by one of Sapio's gadgets, a robotic guide-mouse which leads them in and out of the lab, but when Hotel Burinkin gets assaulted by the robot army causing sections of the maze to collapse, the guide-mouse ends up being crushed by falling rubble and destroyed, leaving everyone trapped in the heart of the maze.
  • Saint Seiya: The House of Gemini is an infinite corridor that warps time and space. If you're lucky, you'll find an "exit" that drops you at the entrance to the House once again. The only way to escape is to either ignore everything your senses tell you and charge headlong into a wall, or somehow defeat the master of the House —the Gemini Gold Saint himself— so the illusion ends.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!'s Legendary Heroes arc and the Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters series both contain mazes. The first has monsters, and they meet a guide who shows them the way. The second has monsters and findable items. Honda finds a Capsule Monster that can break through the walls of the maze.
  • One of the Clow Cards Cardcaptor Sakura has to capture is called the Maze. At first it looks like a typical Hedge Maze. Try to use a Clow Card to cheat your way out of it though and it starts looking more like an M.C. Escher painting.
  • In Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, one sits right underneath the city of Orario, called the Dungeon. It has multiple floors, with monsters getting stronger per floor. They also grow out of the walls.
  • Yuureitou: There's an underground maze filled with booby traps beneath the clock tower's mansion and it's said there's one under the clock tower too.
  • In Urara Meirocho, Team Natsume-ya has to navigate the Belly of the Serpent, a cryptic labyrinth filled with traps, where they are required to retrieve a hidden key arrow to pass the Rank 9 promotion examination.
  • In GO-GO Tamagotchi! episode 7a, the Tamagottsun causes DoriTama School to become a big maze. Mametchi and his friends, to make it out of the school, have to travel through narrow passageways with lots of dead ends at first, but they eventually have to walk through a massive space of rooms and staircases, and later they enter a room with a bunch of doors and have to figure out which one to go through.
  • In Yaiba: the third Trial of Ryuujin is the Corridor of Wisdom: the heroes have to navigate an humongous underground maze containing both traps and, at the very end, a special, dragon-shaped mechanism that makes huge boulders roll alongside a set of corridors, generating gusts of wind that make the group's torch burn faster: in order to pass the test, they have to find the way out before the flame runs out. Eventually Musashi realizes that the traps only spring as they try to backtrack and thus realize that the exit, in truth, was the entrance all along.

    Asian Animation 
  • Flower Fairy: In Season 1 episode 13, a fairy teleports An'an, Kukuru, and Qianhan in a large maze to trap them. The three spend the next episode trying to find their way out.
  • The wolf camp in Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Mighty Little Defenders has a big maze filled with traps as one of the challenges its visitors are required to pass to make it to the top of the structure. Those taking the challenge are supposed to find the exit to the maze while making sure the balloons on their head (carried over from the camp's previous challenge) aren't popped.

    Comic Books 
  • Gaston Lagaffe: Whose bright idea was it to put Gaston in charge of the library anyway? Two months later, the place is in such a mess than Fantasio needed spelunking equipment, complete with food and radio, to go fetch a book. In a later story, Gaston has turned it into a literal maze for his coworkers to enjoy (they do, until Prunelle comes along).
  • Motu Patlu: In issue 346, Patlu has to get through a maze to find his jet.
  • Destiny of the Endless' realm is the "Garden of Forking Ways", a fluctuating landscape which warps four-dimensional space, traversed by forking paths, where tresspassers are doomed to wander around until their deaths. Lobo and Supergirl are the only ones who have managed to navigate their way out of the Garden in The Lords Of Luck storyline, and it was only because Lobo's superpower is the ability to track down people across the universe, so he ignored the shifting geography and zeroed in on Destiny's presence... and because Destiny actually wanted to meet them.
  • In Superman storyline Reign of Doomsday, the inside of Lex Luthor's spaceship is a dimensional labyrinth full of tunnels and shafts which simultaneously go on endlessly and twist around.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: The Red Panzer forces Wonder Woman to run a basement maze with a homing missile chasing her.

    Fan Works 
  • In order to break a world record, Calvin makes one of these, dubbed the Monster Maze, in Calvin & Hobbes: The Series.
  • Bringing Me To Life, being a fanfic of both The Matrix and The Matrix: Path of Neo, has a maze level based off the video game.
  • Soul Eater: Troubled Souls: The second trial Maka and the others face on Cobra Island is a maze. At first, they had to pick one out of four doors to enter the maze and then go through it, which has all sorts of traps and tricks waiting for them. However, some of the group members use their abilities to make the task relatively easier.
  • Owl Castle, in Sleeping Beetle, is a Genius Loci that turns itself into one of these in order to keep Lydia from finding specific rooms.
  • The Haunted Mansion and the Hatbox Ghost Fan Verse establishes that the Haunted Mansion's deeper corridors (which the guests are not allowed to go into, for their own safety) begin to twist and turn abstractly, and that there are many, many more of them than the house could possibly contain from the outside. Wander in too deep and you might even end up in the Endless Staircases, which aren't even part of the Mansion anymore — they're an Escher-style set of stairs that connect haunted locations all over the world and beyond, located in their own pocket dimension. Only the Hatbox Ghost seems to know his way around them.
  • Cranes: Star City and Gotham's streets are labyrinthine because the architects had a feud and made the streets the opposite direction of each other. It makes getting lost a near-certainty, and telling who is an out-towner a breeze. Magic seems to be involved as well.
  • Maybe the Last Archie Story: The interior of Mad Doctor Doom's lair is a twisted, non-Euclidean nightmare of twisty corridors, stairs which come down from the floor, doors fitted in the ceiling, and shifting walls.
    Archie wondered if he dared take another step further.
    The castle interior before him seemed composed of stone bricks, but the perspective was skewed. If he made a motion to his left or right, forward or backward, it seemed to shift, as if a camera lens was doing special effects. There were...well, there were stairs in the distance that came down from the ceiliing, or down walls, and doors in the floor and ceiling as well. There were arches that were placed where arches were not meant to be, and Archie could have testified that, in some areas, the walls subtly moved.
    How in the blazes was he supposed to even walk in such a place, let alone find Sabrina Spellman?

    Film— Live-Action 
  • The premise of the Cube movies is based on this trope (specifically, of the "tricky" variety). In Cube 2: Hypercube, one of the characters is a game designer, and complains that the makers of the Hypercube stole his "variable time room" idea.
  • Labyrinth, with monsters, tricky passages, obstacles, trail markings being useless, and a time limit.
  • In Once Upon a Spy, Big Bad Marcus Valorium has constructed an elaborate maze beneath his observatory headquarters. He uses a Trap Door to drop Tannehill into it where she is forced to play a Deadly Game of Cat and Canary against his henchmen Rudy and Greta, with Valorium guiding his henchmen through the maze while Tannehill's partner Chenault guides her.
  • Pharaoh: The labyrinth where the priests of Egypt keep the country's gold stores, which they control. The bulk of the plot involves Ramses the pharaoh wanting to seize the gold to finance his war and his reforms, but only the priests know the way in.
  • During the Light Cycle battle in TRON, one of the enemy programs tries to make Kevin Flynn crash his bike by leading him into a maze-like structure formed from the solid light trails left by the other bikes. Fortunately, given how skilled Flynn is at the game "from the other side of the screen", he's just skilled enough to make the quick turns necessary to get out.

    Folklore and Mythology 
  • Older Than Feudalism: The Labyrinth of Crete in Classical Mythology. It was a maze so tricky that even its architect Daedalus himself almost got lost in it. It became the home of the Minotaur, a Half-Human Hybrid monster, which would eat anyone who entered it. Theseus would live to escape the Labyrinth of Crete after being given a ball of thread by Ariande so that he could unfurl it and leave it behind him as he walked through (and killing the Minotaur), placing a continuous marker for him to follow on his way out.

  • The gamebook Invaders of Hark features a particularly vexing maze as one of the obstacles between you and the princess
    • It gets that from its predecessor, Badlands of Hark. That gamebook included a lethal swamp maze so treacherous that even the instructions warn you about it, and beating it was one of the highest point awards in the game. In fact, both these gamebooks could count as The Maze altogether - in the first one alone, you could die by making a bad choice in section 1, and beating either book requires you to make some seemingly terrible decisions.

  • In Shades of Milk and Honey, the garden of Jane's home has a labyrinth of hedges, for purely decorative purposes. Jane knows her way through it, and uses it as hiding place if needed. It's a plot point, as she overhears something important while hiding from others there.
  • In Wen Spencer's Tinker, Tinker's Anxiety Dreams always feature one.
  • In Lisa Goldstein's Walking the Labyrinth, the magical secret society The Order of the Labyrinth is based around the idea of a labyrinth. Originally the labyrinth was a metaphor until Lady Westingate built a real one in her basement. The rooms in the labyrinth change and show scenes from the character's memories. Molly and Fentrice must walk the labyrinth in order to understand more about themselves.
  • In The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin, below the temple is a labyrinth.
  • The realm of the Eelfinn and Aelfinn in The Wheel of Time is an incomprehensible complex of nigh-identical rooms similar to many seen in video games. It's more or less impossible for mortals to understand the layout. In book 12, Mat is able to lead an expedition to a specific goal using his unnatural luck as a guide by rolling dice and deciding which path to follow based on the outcomes. In several cases, the correct passage happens to be the one they just came out of.
  • The Maze Runner. A group of teenagers whose memories of the outside world have been wiped are trapped in the middle of a Maze whose configuration changes every night, with monsters called Grievers patrolling the corridors after hours. After two years, they are no nearer to solving the Maze than they were at the beginning. Then, the organisation behind the Maze ups the ante, forcing the kids to find a way out - or die.
  • In the Star Quest juvenile sci-fi Roboworld by Terrance Dicks, our heroes are captured by robots preparing for a Robot War. As a demonstration they release Kevin into a Mobile Maze, but he refuses to play and just sits down on the spot. They try to frighten him by making the walls shrink to a coffin-sized box, then when this doesn't work they send Robot Soldiers to fire at him at random. Kevin gets round this by charging directly at one, then ducking into the hatch from which it appeared, leaving the confused robots to fire at each other. The watching robots conclude that Humans Are Superior after all, much to the annoyance of their creator.
  • In The World of Ice & Fire, the Free City of Lorath was built on the ruins of incredibly ancient and mysterious stone mazes. Nobody in the whole of the world knows anything about who built them, save that their bones were so large they might have been half-giant. Yandel and other scholars refer to this people as "the Mazemakers".
  • Books in the children's series Usborne Young Puzzles very often have a mazes as puzzles the reader has to solve to continue.
  • The Marvellous Land of Snergs: A large underground network of caverns and passageways links the Land of Snergs with the monster-filled country across the river.
  • The Mummy Monster Game: In book 1, in order to retrieve the first leg of Osiris, the player must find their way through a maze, which is also occupied by mummified mice, one of which catches the attention of Amy's cat Spy and causes him to run off after it and get lost. The pyramid where the body of Osiris is kept is also a giant maze.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Amazing Race 5 finale had the racers go through a maze as one of their tasks.
  • The Money Maze (1974-75), a short-lived ABC game show; it didn't last long because A: it was put in the 4:00 PM slot, which was often preempted by affiliates, and B: it cost too much time and money to put up, film, and take down the maze set.
  • Masters of the Maze (1994-96) on what was then The Family Channel; it was more like Britain's Knightmare, with a video game theme, less chroma-key and more props, and an educational bent.
  • American Gladiators had an event named, yep, The Maze. Navigate through while trying not to run into the dead ends and hidden gladiators waiting to ambush you and impede your progress with blocking pads, all before time runs out.
  • A canine version, the "Mixed-Up Maze", was a round on That's My Dog!. The dog had 45 seconds to get through a maze riddled with dog toys, water bowls, huge troughs of dog food, and the like.
  • In Dracula (2020), Dracula's castle in Wallachia is explicitly described as a labyrinthine construct so good at trapping people forever that the Count calls it "a prison without doors".


  • Of course, there are entire games dedicated to solving mazes. This Java program generates mazes in 4D. Expect to spend half an hour solving a 3x3x3x3 maze.

    Tabletop Games 


    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series: "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?" has an in-universe example with Riddle of the Minotaur, a game created by Edward Nigma which ends up being stolen from him by Pointy-Haired Boss Daniel Mockridge, and seen played by Dick at the Bat-Cave. Later, Nigma, who has become The Riddler, leads Batman and Robin into a maze based upon the game wherein Mockridge is held captive.
  • The Great North: In Season 2 "Good Beef Hunting Adventure", as part of the Beef Hunt, the Tobins and Honeybee have to go through a snow maze Beef created. When the others are having trouble figuring how to get out, Ham and Moon realizes the maze is based around the maze they created for their secret pet mouse and they both work together to help everyone get out by remembering the correct path.
  • A Dog and Pony Show in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic features an implicitly Tricky example: the Diamond Dogs' lair is a confusing maze of tunnels, and the Mane Cast has no idea which way to go to find Rarity. It's solved by Twilight mimicking Rarity's gem-detection spell, and following the path with the most gems.
  • Ninjago: While inside the video game "Prime Empire", the ninja brave a deadly maze in "The Maze of the Red Dragon" to obtain the first Key-Tana blade.
  • Visionaries has Leoric, Ectar and Feryl get lost in a maze in the first episode. However, thanks to Feryl's heightened sense of smell, they are able to find the exit, which turns out to be right next to Merklynn's Shrine.

    Real Life 
  • London is notorious for its maze of streets. Walking around the city and trying to navigate is not even in the same country as intuitive, and your best bet for navigating is memorising the Tube layout. The tube map is a very abstracted map, which means that some stations that look close together in the map are a long way apart, and some that look widely separated are virtually on top of each other.
  • Boston likewise is a maze of streets, but not quite to the extent that London is. The old joke is that all the planners did was to pave over the old cow paths.
  • While Seattle has a fairly straightforward grid layout for most sections of the city; actual navigation is far less logical. For starters, the city is broken up into 4 separate sections by terrain features that do not allow traffic to pass (lakes, steep hills), but must be navigated around (often by going through an entirely different part of the city), as well as a major interstate highway bisecting it down the middle. On top of that, the city core is broken into three sections, the streets from each not intersecting normally. This is due to those regions being historically owned by three different people, who all hated each other and refused to cooperate in street layout (and only one of them actually paid for a surveyor to make sure his section's streets ran as close to north/south as possible with the topography), leaving later generations to kludge together some way to get drivers from one section to another. And to make matters worse, many areas of the city, particularly the core, are rife with one-way streets; some of which are one-way permanently, others of which are one-way (or even inaccessible) only during peak commute hours. This makes navigating anywhere in the city severely counter-intuitive for those not familiar with its extremely idiosyncratic layout.
    • Within Seattle, Pike Place Market is almost a real-life Diagon Alley; the old buildings have multiple floors, few staircases or ramps leading up and down, twisting alleyways, near-hidden passages that may or may not connect to the main drags, stores and day-stalls in odd niches; be in the mood to explore if you have to go there. Even to a local, it's never the same place twice. And then we have the interesting (and mostly-off-limits) network of tunnels and passages under the city dating to the 1890s.
  • Ditto for New York. You will get lost if you're not familiar with the road and subway layouts.
    • At least outside of Manhattan; the majority of Manhattan is on a grid system with the streets and avenues numbered and ascending as you go north (for streets) and west (for avenues). It takes surprisingly little practice to be able to quickly figure out a location based on the cross street, and walking is typically speedy enough that you can walk across literally the entire island to your destination and (as long as you don't go too far north or south where the grid starts to break down) get to an unfamiliar area by just following the numbers.
    • On the other hand, the subways don't necessarily follow an especially orderly or straight path and even for locals, talking any route beyond the one that you regularly take to certain destinations (like work) will be made much easier by checking a map.
  • Cities in Israel are like this. Getting around in the country is easy. Getting around in the city is hard. Even if you have a map of the city, street names aren't visible until you're already in the intersection, if they're even there.
  • Hospitals can be very easy to get lost in.
    • Likewise, universities. And for the same reason: it's often easier to get funding to add a new wing to an existing building - and a wing onto that, and a wing onto that - than to erect a brand-new one, even if it means the facility winds up looking like a labyrinth inside and a tangle of brambles from above.
  • The county of Los Angeles can be like this even for people who live in the area. That's because the county is actually a large collection of smaller cities and towns that have geographically spread out until they're geographically pushed against each other, resulting in a continuous network of roads and train tracks that stretches out for dozens of miles in every direction with no rhyme or reason as each city has its own system. On top of that, the adjacent counties of Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, and to a lesser extent Kern have also spread out to connect with Los Angeles (and San Diego with Orange), resulting in the Southern California Megalopolis, continuous urban surroundings taking up literally thousands of square miles. There is a reason why the Thomas Brothers maps for L.A. and its surrounding areas are thick books rather than fold-out maps. The highway system was meant to facilitate traveling but has become a maze of its own, with dozens of highways snaking around the region like spaghetti and ridiculously complex junctions like the Four Level Interchange (whose name speaks for itself) and the East L.A. Interchange (where four highways meet with ramps for most possible combinations).
  • Sydney. People from cities with grid layouts such as Melbourne and Adelaide have been known to cry when driving through Sydney's web of one-way streets, nigh-impossible to use curved roads and sudden stops, an artifact from Sydney's founding in 1788. It doesn't help that the city itself is a quarter of the size of the Netherlands, with this layout continuing all throughout.
  • In general cities that follow a grid layout (most of them in the Americas) are confusing for people used to cities that don't (most of them in Europe) and vice versa. While the grid (with streets numbered rather than named) may seem the most logical way to organize stuff to Americans, many Europeans navigate by landmarks and place names much more than by cardinal directions. And in many new world cities "everything looks the same" to European eyes.
  • Perhaps the most glorious example of this is Managua in Nicaragua, a city of roughly two million with nothing as much as street names for all but major arteries. The city is neither laid out along a grid nor does it follow any other discernible logic ever since an earthquake knocked down what used to be downtown in 1972 and the city has been sprawling into the countryside ever since. Locals navigate by "landmarks" (in fact even the postal system works this way, so a letter should be addressed X blocks south Y blocks east from this and that rather than Z-street) which may include traffic lights and it is surprisingly common for people to give directions by landmarks that don't exist anymore. Oh and you can't rely on any subway map because Managua has no subway and the buses only got a (semi-official) map in the mid 2010s when some volunteers put the data into Open Street Map.
  • This page offers strong arguments that the Winchester Mystery House, rather than being designed to confuse ghosts, was methodically planned out by Sarah Winchester to serve as an architectural and numerological puzzle-maze, based upon her Baconian and Masonic philosophy.


Video Example(s):


Snow Maze

As part of the Beef Hunt, the Tobins have to go through a snow maze.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / TheMaze

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