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Tide Level

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"The sudden and irregular changes in the water levels are a rare phenomenon found only in this area. The cause is as yet unknown, and is the subject of much research throughout the academic world."
Salmonid Field Guide, Splatoon 2

A level or world in a game in which some type of liquid or object or hazard rises and falls in intervals. This comes in 3 flavors:

  1. Water Height: Water (or something which a character is able to swim in, like Mega Mack) rises and falls throughout the level and is sometimes needed to reach certain treasures, all while affecting the floating platforms on top of it. Usually found in Under the Sea or Palmtree Panic levels. Compare Rising Water, Rising Tension.
  2. Lava Tide: Lava (usually, sometimes it's something like poison or lots of enemies) rises up and down, usually indicated by scorch marks or an abrupt change in color on the platforms. For extra difficulty, the platforms may sink. Usually found in Lethal Lava Land levels.
  3. Spiky Scenery: This one is that the platforms themselves are the hazards. May involve the platforms sprouting spikes, turning glowing-hot, baddies bursting out of the platforms, etc.


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    First-Person Shooter 
  • The Marathon 2: Durandal level "Bob's Big Date" starts in a room with greenish water that rapidly fills and drains while enemies shoot at you from above. Fortunately, flipping a switch in another room keeps the water at waist level.

  • Super Mario Galaxy: Melty Molten Galaxy has a hidden star that has you collect Silver Stars on a planet that has a rising and falling lava tide.
  • Pump Works from Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story is this. It involves Bowser guzzling water on the outside to allow the bros. to swim around by filling it with water, as this is his body's version of the kidneys (they process liquids.) It also changes some of the enemies there: Bubble Bloopers are in the Pipe Works when it's wet and Dry Bloopers (which are essentially dehydrated Bubble Bloopers) when it's dry.
  • Mondo in the Special Zone of Super Mario World is the water version of this trope.
  • Super Mario 64 has Wet-Dry World. There are multicolored devices interspersed throughout the level that raise the water to their level when touched once and drain it back to the previous level when touched twice.
  • Megaman 4: In Dive Man's stage, water rises and falls at regular intervals in some sections. You must use the extra jump height from rising water to help you navigate the stage, but beware spiky sea mines which float on top of the water.
  • Megaman 7: Burst Man's stage is filled with some orange liquid which rises and falls. Unlike regular water, Mega Man floats to the surface of this goo. You have to use this to reach high platforms at high tide, but the goo drains far enough at low tide to drop you into Spikes of Doom at the bottom.
  • Megaman Zero 3: When the water rises in Volteel Biblio's flooded library, it makes contact with exposed power cables, shocking anything in the water, but it is safe to pass through the water as it falls below them.
  • Celeste: Parts of The Core involve the threat of a lava pool below, and a ceiling of ice spikes above. You flip switches to toggle which one advances and which recedes, and this whole section is basically a constant rush to the next switch before the lava or spikes get too far.
  • Banjo-Kazooie has a subverted example in Click Clock Wood, which has the lake in the level change depending on the level's season.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has Chemical Plant Zone, a level filled with a pink substance called Mega Mack which drains your air faster than normal water does.
  • Castle of Illusion: In the Genesis and Mega Drive version, one part of the ancient ruins is a corridor that periodically floods, drowning you when it gets deep enough. You have to rush to the next elevated platform whenever the water lowers.
  • In Tiny Toon Adventures 2: Montana's Movie Madness, the Samurai Saga has a rising and falling pool of One-Hit Kill water in the bath house. Buster must travel across the lower path when the water is at its lowest, but get to higher ground when the water rises.
  • In Stage Three of Rocket Knight Adventures, there is a rising and falling pool of reflective lava that instantly kills Sparkster if he falls into it. Since crystals block the view of certain platforms, Sparkster needs the lava to see his reflection and cross the platforms safely. He also needs to charge his jet pack and time his charge perfectly so that he can safely make it under the lower paths when the lava is at its lowest. Later in the same stage. Sparkster comes to a rising and falling pool of water, and he needs to charge his jet pack, timing the charge perfectly so he can make it under low spiky ceilings when the water is at its lowest.
  • Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped: The level Tomb Wader has the water rising up and down at intervals in certain sections. Crash cannot swim, so that when the water goes up, he has to quickly find a tall footing or a floating platform to keep himself safe.
  • This can be invoked by players in Super Mario Maker 2. When making a course in the Forest or Castle themes, you can choose to set the liquid level, how fast it goes up and down, and the maximum and minimum heights it can reach. The liquid is water for Forest, lava for Castle, and poison in the night version of Forest.

    Role Playing Games 
  • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire has Shoal Cave, a cavern that alternates between high tide and low tide during different parts of the in game day. During high tide, you can use Surf to reach areas normally too high to get to during low tide, and during low tide, the flooded parts of the cave drain out, allowing you to walk in them. There's even a secret Slippy-Slidey Ice World accessible at low tide where one can find the then-elusive Snorunt.
  • Golden Sun: The penultimate puzzle in Kolima Forest involves moving logs around an empty basin, then flooding it to walk across the logs to new areas.
  • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn: Ayuthay can be fully explored once you fix the Alchemy Well to lower the water surrounding it, letting you access some underwater items and revealing a heretofore-unseen dungeon.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • In StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, the mission "The Devil's Playground" is set on a planet that is flooded with lava every few minutes. Essential resources are found only in the flood zones, requiring the player to rush their gatherers in and out of the affected areas in a timely fashion, which is made possible by the Terrans' mobile bases.
  • The Treacherous Currents level in Hey! Pikmin has a tide system, forcing Olimar and his Pikmin to make a balance between underwater and land mobility.

    Tower Defence 
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time has the notoriously difficult Big Wave Beach levels, in which the sea periodically inundates the area you have to defend, requiring you to support most plants with lily pads and causing some of the zombie types to become more dangerous.


Non video game examples:

    Tabletop Games 
  • Pathfinder: Xin-Grafar is a long-lost City Of Gold — which is to say, magical canals of molten gold overflow at regular intervals to fill the city walls, courtesy of a buggy defense mechanism. Players need to get in and out before the cycle repeats or have some means of surviving the horribly lethal conditions.
  • Old Kingdom: The Afterlife Antechamber of Death takes the form of an infinite misty river divided into nine "precincts", each with its own unique hazards. Necromancers have to sprint through the Third Precinct or else be caught up in a sudden surge of water that will carry them deep into Death and distort them into monsters.
    Real Life 
The Mont Saint-Michel monastery in France is cut off from the mainland at high tide, with many a pilgrim or besieger drowned by the incoming water (proverbially said to be as fast as a galloping horse).


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