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Underground levels, carved out of endless expanses of rock, are among the favorites of video game designers, primarily because they can shape these tunnels and cavities to any sizes, shapes and lengths they desire without having to resort to the Insurmountable Waist-High Fence.

Sometimes known as the Underworld, this setting appears frequently as a direct contrast to The Overworld as it is where the hero goes when he enters a cave or falls in a hole. It could be an Empty Room Psych, a full fledged dungeon, or anything inbetween.

Visitors may encounter Bottomless Pits, falling rocks and stalactites, breakable walls, giant mushrooms, lava, underground lakes, and/or minecarts. Visitors will probably not encounter stalagmites, because game designers prefer flat, uninterrupted floors for the characters and enemies to walk along (at least, outside of traps; stalagmites show up quite often as the cavernous version of Spikes of Doom). Enemies typically include giant bats, Mole Men, Big Creepy-Crawlies and Rock Monsters. The music often gets more low-key and adds drums and bass.

In most cases, light is strangely never a problem — it might be darker than usual, but you've always got enough to see by (maybe there's some sort of glowing fungus). Oddly enough, although spiders are common, Cobweb Jungles are not.

An extremely common variant when it overlaps with Crystal Landscape for a crystal cave, featuring quartz and precious gems gleaming wall-to-wall with All-Natural Gem Polish. No one ever considers mining them out, because they're just there to look cool. And wouldn't you know it, sometimes the crystals are ice crystals.

The RPG version is usually either a fairly difficult dungeon with little reprieve, or the very first one, used as an introduction.

May at times overlap with the Absurdly-Spacious Sewer or Blackout Basement. If there are people living there, see Underground City and Beneath the Earth. May also encompass the literal Underworld, though that usually gives it elements of Lethal Lava Land or Big Boo's Haunt. For the opposite, levels taking place in the sky, see Levels Take Flight and Level in the Clouds.


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  • Metal Warriors: The second half of the sixth mission takes Stone into a deep underground base located beneath the plateau found in the jungle where the first half took place. On top of its maze-like design, there are passageways that periodically unleash electrical discharges which are harmful upon contact, as well as a pool of magma that frequently unleashes geysers.

  • Eternity: The Last Unicorn have the Jotundrir caverns, a network of caves filled with monsters.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past has Turtle Rock, which notably doesn't have any man-made (or even divine) design like the other dungeons, so it's more like a very extended cave.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening: Three dungeons in the game display this setting: Bottle Grotto, Key Cavern, and Catfish's Maw; the first is in a cave near a swamp, the second is underneath a brick building, and the third is a building underneath Martha's Bay.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has Dodongo's Cavern, the Fire and Shadow Temples and Beneath the Well. The former two are set inside the volcanic Death Mountain, so they also qualify as Lethal Lava Land dungeons. The latter two are placed in the underground of Kakariko Village, and them being overrun by undead creatures makes them Big Boo's Haunt locations as well. The Shadow Temple also overlaps a little bit with Gusty Glade with the active fans that require the use of the Iron Boots to resist their push, while one fan leads to Bongo-Bongo's lair in the heart of the temple.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask has the Gibdo Well, which connects Ikana Canyon with its Ancient Castle. To progress there, Link has to deliver items to the mummified Gibdos while wearing the Gibdo Mask (and while doing so, he has to keep an eye on hazards like a torture device that only Deku Link can overcome and some annoying enemies).
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker has the aptly named Earth Temple. Since the number of light sources is finite, Link and Medli have to reflect the available light to the dark areas where it's required.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap: Aside from the Cave of Flames (which is a volcanic mining cave), there are walls scattered throughout Hyrule that can be dug into with the Mole Mitts, leading into tunnel mazes of diggable earth that may serve as shortcuts to other aboveground locations or hide secrets. Many of them are quite extensive.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has the underground village where the Mogmas live, located in Eldin Volcano. Aside from some fire-breathing enemies that hide within small holes, it's a safe location.
  • Project Eden is almost entirely set underground. This being a scifi game, underground means "abandoned and decaying ruins of the megacity that now spans above" rather than "damp caves". Occasionally overlaps with Beneath the Earth, as a few game areas are inhabited by neutral NPCs.
  • Star Fox Adventures: Once the speeder bike in the Darkice Mines passes a certain point, the rest of the level is cave. There's also the underground field of Thorntail Hollow, where Fox has to look for white mushrooms (White Grubtubs, a special variant of the more common Blue Grubtubs) to cure Tricky's mother.

    First Person Shooter 
  • Deep Rock Galactic: As the game is about dwarven miners digging for riches on a hostile alien Death World, all levels are set within procedurally-generated cavern systems filled with valuable ore and crawling with hostile alien creatures.
  • Descent: The entirety of the first two games, sometimes crossing into Lethal Lava Land. Justified in that you're flying through mines to clear out berserk mining robots.
  • First Encounter Assault Recon: The expansion Perseus Mandate has the Old Underground Metro Area, a forgotten city district engulfed by an earthquake and used as a base for the new city. There aren't any human enemies in the two levels it spans, which doesn't make them any less terrifying. In fact, the sheer amount of hostile apparitions probably makes the place the games' very first Big Boo's Haunt.

  • The Lord of the Rings Online: Based as it is on the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, LotRO is filled with the stomping grounds of Middle Earth's mountain-dwelling dwarves, goblins, and orcs. In addition to dozens of lesser caves, mines, and crypts, there are several large underground areas: Goblin-town, Moria, Erebor, etc.
  • PlanetSide: The ancient Vanu caverns contain megalithic rock formations, giant crystals composed of nanites, multiple vertical levels, zip-lines, and abandoned (but totally functional) Vanu buildings.
  • World of Warcraft has several although Ahn'Kahet qualifies the best. It is an underground city that here and there borders natural subterranean life. It features large, glowy mushrooms, insects of different types and sizes and bioluminiscent birds/bats that fly around. It also contains large number of undead that took over the city as well as the few surviving Nerubians that originally inhabited the city. While the dungeon itself is fairly linear, players are able get a good view of the massive underground caverns from ledges and combinations of creepy music, darkness and mysterious whispers (courtesy of an Old God under whose range of influence the city is located) make this place quite Nightmare Fuellerific. It was originally meant to be part of a whole underground region.

    Party Games 
  • Mario Party:
    • The minigame Whack-A-Plant takes a solo player into an underground room with several pipes and trampolines. Piranha Plants pop out of the pipes, and the player gets one coin for every Piranha Plant stomped on.
    • The minigame Ghost Guess takes a solo player into an underground cavern partially lit, and inhabited by Boos. The player has to touch the leading Boo by looking at the distinctive shadow. Success will grant them coins, while failure will deduct coins from them.
  • Mario Party 3: Creepy Cavern is a board located in a deep, decrepit cavern (the night sky can still be seen in the horizon, so it's not completely underground). It is inhabited by Dorrie in a lake at the west, a group of red and blue Lava Bubbles in the south, several Whomps (which, funnily enough, are playing a tabletop version of Mario Party) in the east, and an unsorted group of animals with glowing red eyes in the north. The cavern is illuminated thanks to the luminiscent fungi and ore in the east as well as a river of lava in the middle. There are two minecart tracks in the board, and a player can hop onto a moving minecart with good timing to take a shortcut to another side.
  • Super Mario Party:
    • King Bob-omb's Powderkeg Mine and Gold Rush Mine are boards located in a gold mine deep below the earth. The northeast and southwest corners of the board have minecart stations that players can ride between, and the easternmost part of the board contains a gold deposit where players can dig for coins if they land on the correct spaces.
    • The Co-op minigame Miner Setbacks tasks all four players with carrying a cart full of crystals through a cave to reach a goal line. The cave contains Warp Pipes with Piranha Plants inside that the team must time their movements past to avoid getting bitten. There are alternate paths that players can take to avoid them, but they tend to be out of the way, and are covered in mud that slows them down.

    Platform Games 
  • Banjo-Tooie: Glitter Gulch Mine is a large cavern rich in ore of different colors, and has some areas that can only be accessed when Banjo and Kazooie are turned into a living stack of TNT capable of blowing up rocky obstacles (they can attack enemies this way as well, but it's not recommended). It includes a Minecart Madness minigame, and it's also here where Chuffy the Train is first seen.
  • Castlevania: Several of the Recurring Locations , such as the aptly named Underground Caverns, Abandoned Mines, and Catacombs, are this. This makes it all the more confusing in the latter half of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night where all three of these levels are the highest points in the game, yet retain the attributes of an Underground Level.
  • Cave Story. The only thing that's not underground is the surface right before the final boss. However, while that's the official setting, only a few levels look like actual caves; there's a desert level, a grassy outdoorsy level, some techie levels, an a plantation level, among others (most of which have a rocky background). Conversely, The Outer Wall appears to be outside the caves, although it's always night there, whereas it's daytime up on the balcony.
  • Commander Keen: Melon Mines in Keen Dreams and the cave levels of Secret of the Oracle take place underground. Aside from their labyrinthine design, they play similarly to other levels, though in the latter game the cave levels have a bigger population of enemies like Mimrocks (living stones that attack Keen when he's not looking at them), Licks (round creatures that breathe fire), and Blue Birds (dangerous eagles that cannot be killed).
  • Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure: Levels 5 and 10 in the first episode takes place inside a gray, labyrinthic cavern with plenty of minerals as collectible items. The former level has some stone enemies that attempt to crush Cosmo whenever he's close to them (similar to the Thwomps of Super Mario Bros. fame), as well as some spears attached to walls that periodically stretch downward. The latter level is more open-ended in its design, and houses the boss of the episode. The first and second episodes also feature Slippy-Slidey Ice World variants, where certain walls have lower friction and make Cosmo go down even when he's attached to them with his arms' suction cups. The third episode, which predominantly takes place in an Eternal Engine citadel, averts the trope.
  • Crystal Caves takes place entirely underground, but this is one case where someone is there to mine it out.
  • Donkey Kong:
    • Donkey Kong Country: Chimp Caverns, with various other areas also qualifying. Occasionally subverts the "there's always light" concept, with levels that require you to free a parrot to carry a lantern for you, giving you an annoying flashlight-style lit area. Other stages are lit by torch light and thus have normal lighting.
    • Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest has mine shaft stages (Namely Kannon's Klaim). It also features giant ice caverns found for the first time in the penultimate world, featuring appropriately echoing and cool-sounding music.
    • Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!: The game brings back the darker cave levels taking the stage.
    • Donkey Kong 64: The Crystal Caves, which combines this with Slippy-Slidey Ice World. From time to time, a larger-than-usual Kosha (a Kremling that attacks with a spiky mace) located in the topmost territory will hit the ground to make the entire level tremble and make some spikes fall down, potentially harming the Kongs. It's possible to locate this scoundrel and defeat it to stop the quakes, but it requires a non-obvious procedure.
    • Donkey Kong Country Returns: The fourth world is set completely in caverns (and its name is indeed Cave), though they're always navigated through with minecarts or a wooden rocket (including the boss level, as the battle consists of a pursuit to intercept Mole Miner Max).
    • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze: Two levels in the Autumn Heights mix this trope with Level Ate, as they're calcified caverns that have cheese in many parts.
  • Ecco the Dolphin: The games cross this level with Under the Sea several times. At one point the severely reduced visibility is actually acknowledged, and the use of Ecco's sonar is required to get through.
  • The Floor is Jelly has a large underground cavern that serves as the Hub Level. The cavern, besides being ridiculously bouncy like everything else in the game, is also populated with strange and magnificent flora as well as the occasional frog, the latter causing small wobbles through the ground as they hop around.
  • Giana Sisters DS: A lot of levels take place in caves full of sharp stalactites, bouncing spiked balls and Piranha-filled subterranean lakes. Other perils include Ghosts and Jellyfishes.
  • Hey! Pikmin: The Sparkling Labyrinth mostly takes place in a tunnel system filled with sparkling stones. Puzzles mostly involve destroying dirt, stone and crystals that bar you progress, and enemies include creatures covered in crystal shells.
  • Kirby: Virtually every game has one. The Great Cave Offensive in Kirby Super Star and its Updated Re-release is a Metroidvania subgame that takes place entirely in an underground cavern, which is apparently large enough to have its own atmosphere and clouds floating around in places.
  • Looney Tunes:
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid and Metroid: Zero Mission: Most of the explorable world is divided between Brinstar (caves) and Norfair (lava caves). It's also the purest example in the series, in that aside from the opening screen and the ending screen, nothing takes place above ground.
    • Metroid II: Return of Samus and Metroid: Samus Returns: All of the action takes place in the caverns of SR 388. The only part of the surface the player sees is the immediate area around Samus' ship, and the hills behind it at the end of the game.
    • Super Metroid: The game set the tradition in itself and subsequent installments to combine this trope with a compatible setting. Maridia is a network of flooded caves, while Norfair makes a return from the first game as a lava cave.
    • Metroid Prime: Phendrana Drifts, which is a snowy location), features some icy caves in the frontier area, located beyond the pirate base; some parts of it are flooded, thus necessitating the Gravity Suit for better navigation. Later in the game, Samus reaches the Phazon Mines, an industrial facility built by the Space Pirates to mine and process Phazon; it is divided in three levels (in descending order), with the lowest one being filled with pools of Phazon and housing the area's boss (Omega Pirate).
    • Metroid Dread: Unlike other Metroid games where Samus starts at or near the surface of the planet and has to make her way deeper underground, this game has Samus start in Artaria, the lowest section of the planet, with each subsequent area being closer to the surface, culminating in the Itorash, Raven Beak's ship and location of the Final Boss fight with him.
  • Plok: The final levels take place in the Flea Pit.
  • Rayman 2: The Great Escape: The Cave of Bad Dreams and Beneath the Sanctuary of Rock and Lava, the former combining this with Big Boo's Haunt. Most of The Desert of the Knaaren in Rayman 3 also takes place in underground tunnels.
  • Ristar: Acts 2 and 3 of Planet Scorch. Act 3 has a battle against Adahan, a mole-like creature in a giant mechanical suit.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has Mystic Cave Zone, which serves as the game's sixth world. It features moss-covered rocks, dangling plant tendrils, and impassible walls that can be lowered to form bridges by pulling on slimy vines that serve as switches. Enemies include Crawlton, a robotic snake, and Flasher, a robotic firefly who can only be damaged when his bulb isn't lit. The boss of this stage is Dr. Robotnik in a drilling machine which causes stalactites to rain from the ceiling.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit) has the aptly-named Under Ground Zone, which serves as the game's first world. It takes place in an underground cavern filled with lava, combining this trope with Lethal Lava Land.
    • Sonic 3 & Knuckles:
      • Lava Reef Zone takes place in an underground labyrinth filled with Lava, combining this trope with Lethal Lava Land.
      • Endless Mine Zone in the 2-player mode takes place in a gold mine.
    • Sonic Adventure 2 has Aquatic Mine, which combines this trope with Under the Sea, as it takes place in a flooded mine. This level has three switches that raise and lower the water level, allowing Knuckles to access different parts depending on how high or low the water level is. Hidden in one tunnel is the Air Necklace, which allows Knuckles to breathe underwater indefinitely without drowning when equipped.
    • Sonic Lost World: Both Windy Hill and Silent Forest Zone 3 take place in a dark cave. The latter also contains a few Slippy-Slidey Ice World elements to it.
  • Super Mario Bros.: The various levels and bonuses reached by warp pipes:
    • Super Mario Bros.: World 1-2 serves as an introduction to a type of setting that contrasts directly with the open-air levels that are more frequent. All five New Super Mario Bros. games, as well as The Lost Levels and Super Mario Run, do the same thing at exactly the same level slot.
    • Super Mario Bros. 2: The game is unusual in that its first showcase of the Underground setting takes place in the second world (specifically 2-1, after its Shifting Sand Land first half), because the "underground" parts in World 1 are actually on-surface caves. The more frequent assets are sand (which can be tackled via Fast Tunneling, especially with Toad) in the desert levels, and rocks in the grass ones that can be broken (whether by Bob-Ombs or regular bombs).
    • Super Mario Bros. 3: The game has 1-5 as its first underground level, and a few more pop up occasionally over the course of Mario's and Luigi's adventure. These levels feature moats of water and enemies like Buzzy Beetles (including a new variant called Buster Beetle which throws blocks at the player), Bob-Ombs and Paratroopas.
    • Super Mario World: The game goes as far as having two worlds themed around caves: Vanilla Dome and Valley of Bowser. The most frequent feature seen in them is a kind of yellow rock that rises and lowers periodically, which becomes beneficial to reach high places in big areas but detrimental when Mario or Luigi is in narrow passageways. Lava pits are common as well, and can be crossed safely with skull-made rafts (Lava Lifts).
    • Super Mario 64: Hazy Maze Cave is a dark, dank subterranean labyrinth filled with hazards like toxic gas, rolling boulders, flame geysers, bottomless pits and enemies like Snufits, Scuttlebugs and Monty Moles. In the bottom area, a friendly creature (Dorrie) lives and can help Mario reach a secret room leading to a special stage where the Metal Cap powerup can be enabled.
    • Super Mario Galaxy 2 features Spin-Dig Galaxy and Slimy Spring Galaxy. The former takes place within a very large hollow planet that houses multiple smaller planetoids, all of which can be dug underground with the help of the Spin Drill. The latter is an aquatic variant where Mario and Luigi navigate across a prolonged subterranean river filled with many enemies; it ends with an exit that provides a beautiful look at the sunset.
    • Super Mario 3D Land: World 1-2 harkens back to the iconic second level of the original Super Mario Bros. by taking place underground (whereas 1-1 is a Green Hill Zone). Features include swinging spikes and a new type of Piranha Plant that throws black ink at the screen to make visibility more difficult (similar to the Bloopers in the Mario Kart series). Later underground levels add green tiles that unfold after Mario stands on the first of them, as well as mushroom trampolines and blocks that form a small path as they're being hit.
    • Super Mario 3D World: World 1-2 retains the series' tradition, and from there later underground levels in the game follow suit, but they bring in their own share of unique assets: Clear Pipes, POW Blocks whose detonation can break multiple blocks in succession, rotating gizmos, and a level that uses a unique visual design based on lights and shadows.
    • Super Mario Odyssey has the icy underground area of Sand Kingdom, where much of the terrain is slippery. The safest way to traverse them is by possessing a stack of Goombas nearby.
    • Super Mario Maker and Super Mario Maker 2: This is one of the settings that can be chosen to make levels, being present in all game styles. In the latter game, during Night mode, the level will be played upside down.
    • Super Mario Fusion Revival:
      • World 3-1: Viscous Burrow. The first area our heroes encounter in the Ocean of Oblivion is a burrow inhabited by giant maggots. This area is flooded by caustic purple fluid and at times, the only way to traverse the caustic pools is to use the slime trails produced by the maggots.
      • World 4-5 (Crimson Cavern): A maze level that switches between a blood-filled and a lava-filled version of the same cavern, with some minor differences.

    Puzzle Games 
  • Puzzle & Dragons: World 2 of Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition is set in a cave, breaking the Mario tradition of World 2 being set in a desert. (The desert is World 3 instead.)
  • The Witness: The caves underneath the island that are accessed through a passage at the bottom of the mountain.
  • Kuru Kuru Kururin: The levels in World 5 (Cave) take place inside a rocky mountain with bonfires and dinosaur fossils in the background. One of the game's supporting characters advise Kururin to move across the paths quickly, due to them being too narrow to be traversed slowly without making the ship clash against the walls. The second level adds elements that become more common in later levels, such as compactors, spiked metallic spheres and a spring maze (and the third level leans closer to being a Lethal Lava Land, due to the boiling red ground and the obsidian formations in the background).

    Racing Games 
  • Mario Kart 7 has the course Piranha Plant Slide, which is part of the Star Cup. It is modeled after (and is a Homage to) the underground levels from the 2D games, especially the original Super Mario Bros.; as you navigate within, you'll find Piranha Plants popping out of large green pipes, and a large underwater area. It returns in Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart Tour as a Nostalgia Level.
  • Sonic Drift 2 has Mystic Cave and Quake Cave. Mystic Cave serves as the fifth track of the White GP, while Quake Cave serves as the second track of the Blue GP.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Pikmin: This is a frequent setting in the series.
    • Pikmin (2001) has the Forest Navel, a large cave entered through a hole in the heart of a dense forest; the area's layout is centered on the landing area, the only part of it directly in the light, and slopes down around from it in a series of ledges and snaking paths heading down into the darkness. Unlike the rest of the game's areas, which are decorated by lush plant life, the Forest Navel is instead filled with clusters of stalagmites and with glowing mushrooms that provide the only sources of natural light in most of the area. It's inhabited by swarms of burrowing insects, many fire-breathing Blowhogs, and albino versions of the Wollywog enemies found on the surface, as well as a a poisonous mushroom Mini-Boss and the Beady Long Legs, a Giant Spider boss.
    • Pikmin 2 has the Caves, which serve as underground dungeons. Many of them mix the setting with others, for the sake of variety; the most traditional examples would be those found in Awakening Wood, which consist of winding tunnels in the soil; later caves include stony labyrinths with angular tunnels and snowy caves. The most unusual examples are the buried ruins of human structures, including complexes of rusted metal platforms, wooden toyboxes, and flooded rooms lined with tiles. Regardless of type, caves are typically very dark, with only the area immediately around the player being lit up, and are home to a high variety of tough monsters, including several types not found on the surface. It's also common for dangers, including enemies, boulders and explosive rocks, to fall from the ceiling when players or Pikmin pass beneath them.
    • Pikmin 3 has several caves that connect outdoors portions of the main areas, with the largest ones being a dark cavern where the Vehemoth Phosbat lurks, which must be artificially lit to defeat the creature, and the labyrinthine insides of the Formidable Oak.
  • Warcraft III has two different tilesets for underground locations: the aptly-named Underground (for ice caves) and Dungeon (lava). Both contain different giant monsters as well as undead.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Chrono Trigger features places like Heckran's Cave, the Reptite Lair, and the ruins of the Tyranno Lair as underground locales.
  • Dungeon Siege has many, MANY underground caverns that need to be traversed. These range from standard limestone tunnels to ice crevasses to breathtaking crystal caverns to desert badlands to dragon nests to molten lava tunnels.
  • Etrian Odyssey: The majority of strata are technically placed in underground floors (the trope is inverted in the second and fifth games, because you're going up instead of down). However, only the following ones show the setting proper:
    • Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City: Molten Caves combines this trope with Lethal Lava Land, being a volcanically active cavern beneath the ocean with large amounts of lava, some of which can be traversed at the cost of some HP and others which are so hot that can only be traversed with mobile platforms.
    • Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan:
      • Golden Lair is a rocky labyrinth located within the cold Sacred Mountains, serving as the third stratum. In each floor, there are red hot scales expelled from the Boiling Lizard (the boss), but they can be excised with Ice Stakes. However, also in each floor, there's a larger-than-usual stake whose removal will restore the whole floor to its original low temperature, freezing the water in the process and allowing the player's characters to slide through them. It is home to the Sentinels, who ask you to get rid of the Boiling Lizard and find a cure to an ancient illness; they eventually lend their services to Tharsis (which leads to the availability of the Bushi class of combatants).
      • The Mini-Dungeon locations in the Sacred Mountains are Underground Levels, but each of them has its own gimmick: The Cramped Nest is a small maze with sharp, spiky walls, only some of which can be traversed (trying to get through the others will cause pain to the characters, reducing their HP). The Toxic Cave has F.O.E. that vomit harmful poison to the floor (this is actually good if the poison falls over gathering spots, as it's the only way to obtain a kind of material that is unobtainable otherwise). Lastly, the Underground Lake is a Slippy-Slidey Ice World maze made of ice walls that can be melted once the central spot's chalice is lit with the Empire's Black Flame, and restored when the chalice is turned off again (since the area's temperature also determines whether the ice floors are slippery but passable or warm yet impassable, this effectively gives the whole maze two toggleable layouts, and swapping between them is necessary to fully explore it).
    • Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth has the Lucent Hollows, a cerulean crystal cave filled with rocks that can be shattered with a special pickaxe that is crafted by the game's resident shopkeeper (he requires a material found in this very place for that, though). The stratum also has large crystals that transport the explorers from one spot to another.
    • Etrian Odyssey Nexus: The Golden Lair returns in this game as a Nostalgia Level and, besides retaining its gimmick and boss, also adds the ice block puzzles from the second game's Frozen Grounds as well as a Mini-Boss (Salamander) that was originally a souped-up Skippable Boss in that game; also, when the dungeon's temperature is at its highest, the atmosphere is brighting red hot (similar to the Molten Caves from the third game; this didn't happen in the original Golden Lair). Additionally, the game adds two underground mini-dungeons: Seditious Colony (a cave that has been plagued by Ants originated from the Ant Queen), and Frigid Lake (a Slippy-Slidey Ice World cavern filled with frozen water and ice blocks).
  • The Fallout series has featured underground areas from the beginning, ranging from the buried Vaults and their entrance tunnels to mines and abandoned subways.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VI has the optional dungeon of The Ancient Castle, which can only be accessed through the tunneling castle, Figaro.
    • Final Fantasy VII has the Mithril Mines, with glowing green rocks.
    • Final Fantasy IX has the Ice Cavern, Fossil Roo, and Gargan Roo.
    • Final Fantasy XI has quite a few areas like this: Gustav Tunnel, Kuftal Tunnel, Korroloka Tunnel, Sea Serpent Grotto, Ordelle's Caves, and Aydeewa Subterrane. And yes, there does seem to be glowing fungi in that last one.
    • Final Fantasy XII has a bunch of these, including the Lhusu mines, Barheim Passage, the Henne Mines, the Sochen Cave Palace, and Zertinan Caverns. One may or may not also include Giruvegan, as the paths and platforms are man-made.
    • Final Fantasy XIII had the Mah'habara Subterra, a network of tunnels dug for whatever reason by the fal'Cie Atomos under the Gran Pulse.
    • Final Fantasy XIV features several, notably in the form of Sastasha, the Tam-Tara Deepcroft, Copperbell Mines, the Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak, Cutter's Cry, Dzemael Darkhold, and Aurum Vale.
  • Kingdom Hearts II: The Underworld is half this and half Big Boo's Haunt. It takes place in the world of Hercules, as is where Sora and his friends have to help Hercules find and defeat Hades (who has started causing havoc once again). Later in the game, it is possible to play Multi-Mook Melee tournaments to win cups, each being more difficult and requiring a higher level.
  • The Last Story: The Reptids' Cave serves as the first main location in the game, and is overrun by the titular Reptids (thus doubling as a Mook-Themed Level). It is here where Zael receives the power of the Outsider, and is revisited during the game's climax to access The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Monster Hunter:
    • Monster Hunter 4, which is part of the franchise's fourth generation, introduces the Sunken Hollow. Only the resting area takes place outdoors, while the rest of the areas are several meters underground. Monsters like Tetsucabra, Nerscylla and Rathian roam the place. At one point during the story of the game, the volcanic activity in all of Harth is restored, thus turning this hunting zone into Lethal Lava Land and becoming the Volcanic Hollow.
    • Monster Hunter Generations, which is also part of the fourth generation, has the southeast part of Jurassic Frontier (the rest is Green Hill Zone). This part houses mineral walls and luminescent flora that make up for an exotic sight, but also home to dangerous monsters like Volvidon, Tetsucabra and Glavenus. Later in the game, the Elder Dragon Nakarkos is fought in a very large hollow known as Wyvern's End.
  • Pandora's Tower: Inverted with the Sheerdrop Spire and the Rockshard Rampart. Their layouts, structures, puzzles, and overall atmosphere are themed around mineral caverns; the inversion is because they're towers, so the placement of the cavernal rooms aren't underground but upward.
  • Pokémon: Caves are very common environments; most are fairly small, consisting of only one or two rooms, but some are much more extensive and branching, and navigating them is a challenge in itself. Each mainline game seems to feature at least three, at least one which is an ice cave, and another which is pitch black and requires the Flash power to navigate with any accuracy. Victory Road is always among them, however. Wherever you are, expect to find plenty of Zubats, Geodudes, their evolved forms, or whatever batlike or rocklike Pokemon are native to the region.
    • Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum have a set of underground passages filled with treasure that spans the entire region. There are no wild Pokemon (except in the remakes), but it's the best place to get items in... any of the games, really.
    • Pokémon Black 2 and White 2: Relic Passage is also notable. It connects Driftveil City to Castelia's sewers, Desert Resort (it's the only way into the Relic Castle then) and Twist Mountain. It lets you ride mining carts in some tunnels and also contains the chamber with the three Golems from Gen III, though you need the key from the opposite game for the final Golem. The biggest annoyance aside from how easy it is to get lost is that some areas have higher-level Boldore that have access to Explode.
    • Pokémon X and Y: Terminus Cave, home of Zygarde.
    • Pokémon Colosseum has the Under, a former mine where many of Pyrite Town's residents fled to after the town's normal state of semi-lawlessness escalated to chaos due to Team Cipher coming to town. It's closed off in Pokémon XD to keep any other criminal activity from going on in it.
    • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: This is the entirety of the games, and all the other FushigiNoDungeon games, for that matter. You do have some areas that take place aboveground, but all the main action happens in underground caverns, hence the 'dungeon' title.
    • Pokémon Snap has the Cave stage, but the Factory stage is underground as well as an Eternal Engine.
  • Dragon Age: Origins has the Deep Roads, which contain equal amounts of caverns and ruined dwarf strongholds. Also That One Level for many players, though the abundance of great loot (two of the best sets of armor in the game, and several top-quality weapons, can be found down there) can help make up for it.

    Shoot 'Em Ups 
  • Dead Moon has a Moon cave stage, though the underground environment here has little significance except parallax-scrolling stalactites.
  • Kolibri has two sets of underground levels. New Infection and Deep Seeding take place in a cave, while Cold Entrance, Dark Cavity, Dark Obstruction, and To the Light all take place in an underground hive.
  • Star Fox has one of these in the planet Macbeth, which is explained away as a planet where the core shrunk due to strange experiments by Andross.
  • Touhou Chireiden ~ Subterranean Animism is all like this, as the plot requires the characters to investigate a disturbance coming from the underground. Except the extra stage, which revisits a location from the previous game. note 

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • Dwarf Fortress: Extensive cavern systems are procedurally generated during world creation. They’re dotted with groves of giant mushrooms that can be cut for lumber and home to tribes of primitive animal people that will more likely than not attack your dwarves with poisoned spears and blowguns, and a variety of wildlife ranging from regular cave critters to some very weird monsters to truly terrifying creatures like giant cave spiders and cave dragons, and the occasional Forgotten Beast. They’re split into three levels, with increasingly dangerous wildlife the deeper you go, and below the third level there’s a world-spanning magma sea, home to various fire elementals.
  • Minecraft: Procedurally generated caverns span the entire game world, getting larger and more interconnected the deeper one goes. Small, solitary surface caverns are easily converted into homes, while the deeper cavern systems provide easy access to lava and rare ores. Cave exploration is not without danger — the mazelike passages and enormous size of the deep caverns make them very easy to get lost in, sudden drop-offs to hard stone or lava pools are common and difficult to spot, and the total darkness complicates both problems, while also meaning that monsters are everywhere. And they're the only place where bats are found.
  • Terraria: Almost everything between the Green Hill Zone at the top of the map and the Lethal Lava Land at the bottom is this, except for the Underground Snow, Jungle Temple, and the Dungeon. The Underground Jungle, Underground Desert, Underground Mushroom, and other underground sub-biomes are hybrids between this and other level tropes.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Shadow Guardian have the stages in Luxor Temple and underneath the Red Sea, where you infiltrate underground mausoleums to seek the Prima Materia before the villains get them.

  • Young Merlin has a cave system with mine carts. There are passages everywhere between various cave entrances—you just step in the entrance and get transported to a different cave entrance somewhere else. Unless you step into the cave entrance and get killed by a bunch of creatures with evil eyes (the only thing you ever see).
  • Jumper Two: Sector 5 is an underground cave which Ogmo fell into while asleep.
  • Sly Spy: The sixth level is in a cavern leading to an underground hideout.
  • Terranigma has a cavernous dungeon inside the Ra Tree.
  • MechWarrior Living Legends features Thunder Rift, an massive underground cavern full of waterfalls, natural land bridges, with rocks raining down from the hole in the cavern ceiling. It's large enough to justify Future Copter factories and repair facilities.
  • Dear Esther features a lengthy cavern level, but thanks to the abundance of bioluminescent moss and crystal-clear streams and waterfalls, it ends up being one of the most visually mesmerizing areas in the game.


Video Example(s):


Ancestral Forge

Ancestral Forge is a level found in the islands of Parusa, set within a hidden underground tunnel that the playable heroine must find her way out of by solving various puzzle-based rooms.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / UndergroundLevel

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