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Unexpected Gameplay Change

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If you don't treat this patient, you won't make it.

"Due to mandatory scheduled maintenance, the appropriate chamber for this testing sequence is currently unavailable. It has been replaced with a live-fire course designed for military androids. The Enrichment Center apologizes for the inconvenience and wishes you the best of luck."
GLaDOS, Portal

You've been ruthlessly blasting through enemies with a machine gun for the past several hours, but suddenly your weapons are confiscated, and you're now forced to maneuver your way through the rest of the level stealthily while remaining in the shadows. Or you're playing a platforming game and you're forced to enter a dirtbike race in order to acquire a Plot Coupon. Maybe you're playing a horror game where you need to hide to survive, and the protagonist suddenly hauls off and punches the monster in the face.

You've just encountered an Unexpected Gameplay Change.

Such changes can add welcome variety to gameplay, but sometimes these (usually brief) segments are poorly implemented and only serve to disrupt the otherwise genial flow of the game. They hurt somewhat less when they're presented as genuine mini-games that you can practice or skip at your own discretion, such as in a Wide-Open Sandbox, but heaven forbid if they're required for 100% Completion, or, worse, part of the main game. In this case they may become That One Level.

This can often be a form of Fake Difficulty, and is occasionally a cause of Disappointing Last Level.

Common forms include:

If used too much, it becomes Gameplay Roulette.

Expository Gameplay Limitation is broadly related, and refers to instances where the gameplay is subtly altered and restricted to focus the player's attention on exposition.

For an Expected Gameplay Change, see Bonus Stage. When this happens to the plot of a game (or any other media) it's a Halfway Plot Switch, Genre Shift, or Out-of-Genre Experience. For In-Universe cases where the rules of a competition are changed mid-play, see Obvious Rule Patch and Sudden Contest Format Change.

Examples by primary gameplay genre:

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    Action Adventure 
  • Two sections in the Game Of The Film of Batman Begins had you suddenly driving the Tumbler. But anything involving the Tumber falls under Rule of Cool, so that's okay.
    • The Adventures of Batman and Robin, from animated series fame, had after several platforming levels where you beat up random thugs, suddenly you driving the Batmobile in a car chase with Two-Face.
    • Batman video games love to break up gameplay with Batmobile driving levels, dating back at least as far as Ocean Software's Batman: The Movie game for various computers.
  • Beyond Good & Evil features, in addition to the primary puzzle-solving and stealth-based gameplay, several tracks' worth of hovercraft racing. (Luckily, you only have to enter one race to beat the game, and you don't even have to win it, just find the hidden passageway on the racetrack.) And the first and last dungeons are action and puzzle-oriented, while the second and third (but moreso the third) are stealth-oriented. Also, the fight against the penultimate boss is a shoot-em-up.
  • The demo for Brütal Legend depicted it as a third-person Hack and Slash action sort of game. Granted, everything in the demo is there, but it quickly devolves (or evolves, depending on your viewpoint) into a unit-commanding massive RTS game for the rest of it.
  • Ecco the Dolphin in the third game, "Defender of the Future." While you are exploring the ocean and fighting its denizens, you can come across a football mini-game known as Dolphin Soccer. You use your adventurous dolphin to try scoring goals against the AI opponent.
  • inFAMOUS had the side missions where you had to follow a Mad Bomber around without being seen until he put down his package, at which point you retrieved it. And you couldn't kill him, you just had to sneak around and hope you stayed in sight, because if you lost him you had ten seconds to find him, so sometimes you had to jump from the rooftops and try to stay undercover. Sometimes it was a real pleasure finally getting to blow him up at the end.
  • The Super Nintendo Jurassic Park game (not to be confused with games of that name for other platforms) is an overhead action/adventure game outdoors and a first-person shooter indoors. Oddly enough, the first-person shooter segments were almost trivially easy, whereas the outdoor segments could be difficult at times, what with the enemies abruptly jumping out from under nearby foliage.
  • In order to beat the Hell Temple in La-Mulana, the player must get over 120,000 points in a Gradius clone. It may be the cruelest thing the game does to the player, and that's saying something.
    • The other minigame, Mukimuki SD: Memorial, appears to be a dating sim. But then, suddenly, with almost an audible *POP*, the girl becomes a cyborg, the mascot of the game, METAL FISH MSX3 TURBO R PLUS, appears, and you begin dueling the girl in a parody of the game Snatcher. It's an Unexpected Gameplay Change inside an Unexpected Gameplay Change!
  • This also happens in Uncharted's sister series, The Last of Us:
    • You spend most of the first game playing as Joel, who's a grown man and hardened survivor. He's got the upper body strength and skill to fight people head on. When you play as fourteen year old Ellie in the winter chapter, her gameplay becomes a lot more based on stealth. Joel's segments have more straight-up gunfights with enemies in a concentrated area but Ellie is given an unbreakable knife and her encounters have the enemies spread out to stealth kill and/or sneak past. Since she lacks Joel's upper body strength, there are no melee weapons to be found. Enemies can also sneak up behind her and pick her up, which can't be done to Joel.
    • Ellie's stealth playing style carries over to the second game. She's able to sneak past entire encounters and her segments have plenty of hiding spots. She can also find lots of crafting elements to make things like smoke bombs, Molotov cocktails, and exploding traps instead of ammunition to encourage stealth over action. Once you play as the secondary player character Abby at about the 40% mark of the story, the gameplay becomes more similar to Joel's in the first game. She's more of a brawler than Ellie and almost strong as Joel, bringing the melee element back. Fighting stealthily as her is a lot harder than it is as Ellie since the game takes away most hiding spots. You're also more likely to find ammunition than crafting elements, encouraging a more guns blazing style.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon has the Shrewd/Scornful Possessor boss battle in the Secret Mine. Up until now, the whole game has been a fairly slow paced survival horror/puzzle game with a certain style of ghost hunting mixed in. This boss, however, becomes a Rail Shooter as you race through a tunnel on a bomb-shooting sleigh to try to blast the boss as it escapes from you down the mine shaft. You use similar machines twice before in the game — once earlier in the level to shoot burning charcoal, the other back in the second level as an optional way to get money and a Gem — but it can still be jarring (especially since it requires more precision and you only have a limited amount of time before the sleigh overheats).
  • Monster Rancher EVO gets shades of this from the fandom, seeing as it toned the monster-raising simulation bits down and turned up the RPG-like customization of the games.
  • While NieR itself had what would be considered unusual additions (including Bullet Hell style bosses and enemies and the occasional bit of 2D platforming) the developers really went out of their way when they included a Text Adventure as part of the main plot.
  • No Straight Roads has the boss battles with DK West. While the rest of the game's levels involve combo-based action platformer gameplay with rhythm elements, his battles play much more like a traditional rhythm game, as you dodge his projectiles to reach his shadow puppet and inflict damage.
  • Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions has moments during boss battles where the action shifts to a first person perspective and the player must use the control sticks to control the way Spider-Man punches the boss as well as when to dodge the bosses' attacks.
  • Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is largely built around ranged combat, with each character having a signature special power and the ability to freely transform between robot and Cybertronian vehicle modes. When you finally get to play Grimlock you find he's built around melee combat, his signature power is to transform into his T-Rex mode, and that he can only do so after building a 'Rage' meter through dishing out and receiving enough damage.
  • While you would expect a lightcycle race or two in the video game Tron 2.0, they show up in some strange places at the end.
  • The first three games in the Uncharted series have you play through the majority of the game fighting human enemies using the standard cover-based tactics of shooting games. Then they throw non-human enemies at you, requiring significant changes in tactics.
    • The first game takes a turn into survival horror with the introduction of the zombie-like Descendants. These are more fragile than humans and can't attack at range, but they're incredibly fast and charge right at you without sticking to cover. Their claws can kill you in one or two hits, and it's impossible to hurt them in melee. You have to avoid sticking to cover and use "blindfire" (firing without aiming) to deal with them. The change in enemy is compounded by the different environments: dark, claustrophobic hallways that emphasize the survival horror elements. The mood that these segments evoke is similar to the "cut the power in the alien base" segments of the Metroid Prime Trilogy. The difference being that Samus is essentially wearing a tank and Nathan Drake goes down from a few slashes.
    • The second game introduces the Guardians, hulking yeti-like monsters that are actually transformed humans. They are deadly Lightning Bruisers, strong enough to kill you with a couple of melee attacks, tough enough to survive an entire magazine of bullets, and run faster than you and can also jump long distances. In your first few encounters with them they are actually impossible to kill. In later encounters, they alternate between using ranged weapons and charging at you to fight in melee, forcing you to also alternate between using cover and avoiding it.
    • The third game has the Djinn, who initially seem to be ordinary human enemies and use guns. After being killed, however, they revive as fiery monsters that can teleport and throw fireballs. They're also impossible to hurt in melee in this state, as they release a burst of fire if you approach them. They can revive again when killed in this state, forcing you to kill them three times to put them down permanently. The teleportation is particularly annoying, as it lets them dodge your attacks and move behind you (requiring you to move to new cover). You need to focus on one enemy at a time to avoid having to fight multiple Djinn at once. Subverted in that, not only are the Djinn only in one sequence of the game towards the end and are never seen again, but also that they're not really there in the first place; it's a side effect of Nathan Drake drinking the hallucinogen-laced water in Iram, so he's fighting enemies that aren't really there!
    • The fourth and final game also invokes this trope with it's Final Boss. The gameplay remains fairly standard for most of the game, a combination of duck-and-cover gunfights, driving sequences, stealth segments and Good Old Fisticuffs. And then in the climax, Nathan Drake takes on Rafe Adler in a sword fight. The game mechanics change dramatically for this sole battle, not just with the weapon of choice, but with two counter-melee buttons rather than just the one used in normal gameplay.
  • Yakuza 5 has the chapter for Haruka Sawamura. She doesn't throw a single punch in the game, unlike her Uncle Kazuma and his associates. Instead, she engages in dance-offs with rival idols.

    Action Game 
  • The River staqe in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer for the NES is an overhead Auto-Scrolling Level, and the Boss Battle of the Level in the Clouds is an Unexpected Shmup Level, where you ride a cloud that shoots hailstones, against a heavily-armed zeppelin.
  • Asura's Wrath: All the random gameplay changes through the game between several different styles is an intentional version of the principle behind the trope, in that it's meant to keep you on your toes. None of them feel tacked on either, like a lot of other examples of this trope.
  • Bayonetta has two missions like this, one on a bike, the other on a missile, the bike mission plays like your standard driving level, the second one is a homage to Space Harrier.
  • Stage 4 in Contra III, the first half of which is an auto scrolling ride on a jetbike, the second half of which has you hanging from missiles. These concepts carried over into most later games.
    • Contra III also featured two top down "3D" like levels, with full 360 rotation. Probably inserted to show off the Super Nintendo's Mode7.
  • The Devil May Cry series:
    • Devil May Cry:
    • Devil May Cry 2: Just like the first game, there are underwater sequences here, and both your speed and your melee capabilities are severely limited (even with the Aqua Heart equipped). Oh, one boss is also fought underwater. These are only available in Lucia's campaign.
    • Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening: Mission 17 has a jumping puzzle that requires you to get on top of cubes that move around and rotate, a Platform Hell segment not seen anywhere else in the game, made more difficult by the cubes' small size in relation to the playable character's model.
    • Devil May Cry 4: There are two missions that force you to play a "dice game" where you must move your playable character's statue along blocks in the style of Snakes and Ladders. Dante just says fuck that and cuts the die in half rather than bother doing it.
  • The final boss of Draw Slasher is fought through a minigame. Instead of directly moving Hanzo around and attacking the boss directly, the player must draw above illusory silhouettes of the boss, under a very strict time limit. Then, Hanzo and the boss dash around the screen, dealing damage to each other depending on how many silhouettes have been drawn over.
  • El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron, halfway through its 12 chapters,all of a sudden throws you onto a motorcycle chase sequence in the middle of an Action-Platformer game. Then it goes back to normal for the whole game.
  • Gunstar Super Heroes did this as well. Most of the game is a beat-em-up with little variation, however a top-down shooting stage is suddenly put in on the 2nd Moon and on any difficulty higher than easy it essentially becomes a Luck-Based Mission and That One Level due to the ridiculous damage you take from projectiles. The original version on the Sega Genesis did this as well, placing a space shooter stage into the game towards the end which also carried into the sequel (albeit the space shooter was far easier).
  • Journey to Silius's last stage is unexpectedly an Auto-Scrolling Level, which greatly adds to the difficulty.
  • The first LEGO Star Wars game had three vehicle levels (podracing, gunships blowing stuff up on Geonosis, space battle over Coruscant) which were all partly different between each other and having gameplaywise nothing to do with the platforming/action part. It got better. Vehicle levels are now of the same standard and no longer have their own rules for every level.
  • In between the free-roaming slaughter-fest stages, MadWorld had 2 levels where you had to ride down the highway on a motorbike beating the crap out of mooks on the way to the boss. In the second of those, you fight the boss while still on the bike.
  • Mafia, a story-driven action-adventure game, has a racecar section which must be won in order to advance. The whole section is loathed not only because of the gameplay change, but also because the game is set in the 1930's and therefore these cars aren't exactly the easiest to drive. Rubberband AI certainly doesn't help.
    • It also had a crate stacking sequence.
    • At least you got to crank down the difficulty for that, and it's really not that much different from all the high speed chases you routinely get into. The sniper mission, however, could really throw you for a loop. From massive shootouts with bullets flying everywhere in a small space to being able to take one, maybe two shots at a distant target with a very primitive sniper rifle with the view constantly shaking. That one could take a bunch of tries.
  • Ms. 'Splosion Man has a drastic change when fighting the final boss — the climatic battle — ends up being a clone of Punch-Out!!, with Ms. Splosion Man trying to reach the top of the "Big Science" circuit.
  • Raid 2020, by the kings of unlicensed garbage, Sachen and Color Dreams, has an unexpected gameplay change to a boat shooter in the second level, and a space shooter in the fourth.
  • ROM Check Fail' is nothing but this''. It randomly chooses a player character, targets/enemies, along with expected gameplay and behavior of both and mashes them together into 20 mind twisting levels
  • When you confront the Chief of Police in Stubbs the Zombie, he tries to make good on his threat to dance on Stubbs' grave... by challenging him to a dance-off, which takes the form of a "Simon Says" Mini-Game.
  • The infamous swimming level in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989).
  • Most of the levels in Trauma Center are standard surgery fare, where you have to treat diseases and wounds. Other operations involve fictional "super-diseases", but that still is surgery. However, there's at least one operation in each game that throws something completely different your way.
    • In Under the Knife and its Updated Re-release Second Opinion, Derek must operate on a time bomb to disable it. The way to do so is completely different depending on the version, but it's definitely not standard surgery fare.
    • In level 5-7 of New Blood, called "Endgame", Markus, Valerie and Elena have to operate on a toy lock to escape their kidnappers' death trap. You must solve a puzzle by rotating panels on the lock in under two minutes, or else the heroes will drown.
    • Chapter 6-6 of Under the Knife 2 (called "Improvising") has Derek and Angie operate on an electronic lock to escape their kidnappers. After removing the lid of a lock, you must remove its plugs while they are unlit. If you fuck up and touch a lit plug, the alarm goes off, resulting in an instant Game Over.
    • The final level of the Endoscopy chapter in Trauma Team has Tomoe use her endoscope to navigate through rubble in search for Gabe.
  • Turrican is a platform/shooter series. In the third level set of Turrican and Turican 2, it becomes an autoscrolling shoot'em up, the latter being more explicit by switching to a ship.

    Adventure Game 
  • The insertion of action elements (sometimes called "twitch scenes") into Adventure Games became increasingly common through the 1990s, as developers began to think that players would be attracted by them. The interactive movie game based on The X-Files turned briefly into a Rail Shooter, Dreamfall: The Longest Journey includes a number of combat scenes, etc. "Purist" adventure game enthusiasts decry the shift, firstly because they see it as a "dumbing down" of the genre, and secondly, because adventure game developers are, on the whole, not very good at writing action sequences. Or at least, not with an interface horribly unsuited to quick reactions. It's very very easy for those action sequences to become That One Sidequest.
  • Canoeing the river in Amazon: Guardians of Eden, described in this slowbeef Let's Play. The rocks are already difficult to dodge, but then the boat ends up in positions where it's too late to move out of the way.
  • Chicken Police is a leisurely point-and-click game, with the following exceptions:
    • A puzzle where you have to save the heroes from burning by undoing the ropes binding them. This is simulated by tracing the tangled, knotted rope. With a controller. Against the clock.
    • Two sections where you shoot up a car that is chasing you, taking cover every time the passenger with a machine gun lets rip. At least there's an Achievement for shooting out its headlights.
  • Chicory: A Colorful Tale normally has Pizza traveling Picnic Province to color it in with their magic paintbrush and solve puzzles with it. However, The Wielder Trial at the Mountain Top involves an osu! style rhythm game.
  • Conquests of Camelot: Slaying wild boars with a spear by timing each hit just right.
  • An example of gameplay change done right would be the arcade-style mashfests in Cyberflix's two games, Dust: A Tale of the Wired West and Titanic: Adventure Out of Time. They're a complete 180 from the point-and-click gameplay of these adventure games, but not only are they pretty easy, there's no penalty for failing (other than missing out on one or two insignificant pieces of dialogue). The game will proceed exactly as if you'd succeeded.
  • Much of Epiphany City is a nonviolent adventure game with obstacles that are free to deal with at your leisure. The Dark Forest includes combat-oriented button-pushing minigames that must be completed quickly and precisely, followed by timed puzzles.
  • In the game Fahrenheit, you play the role of Lucas Kane, who was possessed and forced to commit murder. You play through the game mostly by interacting with a context sensitive environment and moving analog sticks to on-screen prompts to determine the outcome of movie-like cut-scenes. In two chapters of the game, you are forced to look back into events in Lucas' past as a child, living in a military base, where he must stealthily sneak past guards and spotlights. The game engine simply wasn't built to handle a Stealth-Based Mission like this, as the camera is terribly restrictive, and the player is forced to react to obscure prompts to find the single proper path, instead. The game also featured a brief, completely plot-irrelevant target range sequence.
  • In The Feeble Files, there is a brief Rail Shooter segment where you have to shoot at guards who pop out from behind cover.
  • Adventure game Future Wars changes, right at the end, to a lengthy shooting sequence and an even lengthier run-through-the-maze sequence. It kind of felt like they didn't even bother to think up puzzles for the ending. At least the sequences are in line with the deadend-filled, rigidly linear and extremely punishing rest of the game.
  • The otherwise typical point and click adventure game Gemini Rue has several occasions where you get into shoot-outs with bad guys. Complete with taking cover, popping out to take your shots, and reloading all in real time. Although these are not really difficult, they can be a stumbling block or severe irritation if you're not good at more action-y sequences. Especially since ammo isn't unlimited and for best results in some of the shoot-outs you would have had to do a bit of a Pixel Hunt for some extra ammo.
  • The adventure game Hopkins FBI had a First-Person Shooter section near the end of the game. It had Doom's mechanics, but a millionth of the fun.
  • So, so many Sierra games also have pointless gambling simulations shoehorned in. It worked kind of well in the vice-themed worlds of Leisure Suit Larry, but that was about it. This may be due to their dabbling in card game software with the Hoyle's Official Book of Games series in the late 80's.
    • They also shoehorned a river rafting minigame into Leisure Suit Larry 3 in the Passionate Patti section. Not only is it not optional, it's annoyingly difficult, with fairly clunky controls. They know it's annoying too, as the death popup window is titled "Insert Another Quarter" and the caption is "Don't you just hate arcade games?" You can save during it (you can save at any time), but if you aren't careful, you can save yourself into an unwinnable situation.
  • Chapter 3 of Life Is Strange: True Colors sees the main characters participating in a LARP session. The final battle of this flips the gameplay into that of a turn-based fantasy RPG, thanks to Alex's empathic powers allowing her to see the scenario from the stylised perspective of ten-year-old Ethan, who is by that point fully invested in the game.
  • A few LucasArts adventure games have these:
    • The Curse of Monkey Island has ship combat, which thankfully includes its own difficulty option to make it a cakewalk if you don't find the minigame appealing.
    • Full Throttle has motorbike fights.
    • Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis has several, including fistfights, car chases and flying a hot air balloon. You are presented with three choices midgame: solo mode, cooperative, or action. The balloon minigame has to be done on all routes (but is quite easy), whereas not picking the action route will enable you to bypass pretty much every other action scene except for one: You must beat up at least one of the guards on the outer ring of Atlantis to steal his rations for a puzzle.
    • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade also features fistfights and flying a biplane, though the game can be played so that neither has a significant impact on progression (although this requires nabbing certain key items from different parts of the game): Outside of an optional tutorial at the start of the game, the fistfights can occur at Castle Brunwald, the zeppelin, and the checkpoints on the way to Iskenderun. However, all of the encounters in the castle can be bypassed with the right dialogue choices and/or items (though the placement of the guards in the hallways can make it difficult to avoid every single one, and if you trigger too many fights all the guards will go on high alert and talking will no longer be an option), and the zeppelin section can be bypassed entirely by successfully starting the biplane in the airfield. Naturally, this leads into the flying minigame (which would have occurred upon completing the zeppelin section anyway) and if you ace it you can avoid the checkpoints completely, but even if you get shot down immediately you can still avoid fighting at the checkpoints whether by bribing your way past or by flashing the travel pass you got signed by Hitler at Berlin (assuming you have it).
  • Missing: Since January had a number of these, turning from a puzzle game to minigames. Some were good (minigolf, the cube game), other annoying (shooting parasites off of flowers, navigating a torch around holes) but all became tedious.
  • Mission Critical is a fairly well-done adventure game about a man who wakes up alone on a spaceship in the middle of a crisis and must resolve several immediate issues as well as uncover the backstory. Halfway through the game, the player has to connect to the ship's tactical system, at which point it turns into a Real-Time Strategy (or Turn-Based Strategy, depending on your abuse of pauses), where the player has to destroy the opponent's capital ship(s) while defending his own. The end of the game does this as well.
  • A couple of the Nancy Drew games throw in a chase scene at the conclusion, and a couple have rather tedious maze mini-games that are quite a departure from the series' usual brain-teaser style of Solve the Soup Cans. Several of the games also have third-person sequences, such as Nancy walking around a beach searching for treasure: quite the departure from the normal gameplay, which avoids showing her appearance at all costs.
  • Quantic Dream's previous game, Omikron: The Nomad Soul, also had a significant Genre Shift towards first person shooting action, and more worrisome, towards beat'em up. None of the segments were particularly good, although some sequences were optional. Woe be to you if you reach the dramatically linear third act of the game without as many medikits as you can buy, however. No going back, and no purchasing more.
  • The remake of Police Quest 1: In Pursuit of the Death Angel at least allowed you to skip the poker bit.
  • Dodging Slaver Sunflowers in a vehicle that only moves left and right in Ringworld: Revenge of the Patriarch.
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police:
    • Ice Station Santa in Beyond Time And Space has a sequence where you have to send a remote-controlled doll into a underground boxing ring filled with (literal) rats, which plays out as a very blatant Punch-Out!! homage.
    • The Devil's Playhouse has the first chunk of it play out as an Ace Attorney-style Visual Novel.
    • Referenced in "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls", during the early sequence where a horde of Sam clones are trying to storm Stinky's Diner. Sam turns on a radio, which prompts Max to say "Hey, good idea! Maybe we can turn this horrific seige into some sort of half-assed rhythm minigame!"
  • Sierra was particularly infamous for this. Far too many of their games have action sequences, many of which poorly written and frustrating. Most of the time they were skippable in some way (except for the poker sequences, only possible through massive Save Scumming), but 100% Completion was forfeit. Conquests of the Longbow, for example, had an "arcade difficulty" slider in the options. Sierra developers were sadist like that.
  • Space Quest: Examples include the landspeeder/skimmer sequence in the first game and remake, Astro Chicken, Humongous Mecha Final Boss battle, and the Railroad shooter escape of III, and the burger-making minigame in IV.
  • At the end of the second episode of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, the game switches from a click-and-point adventure to a turn-based strategy game. Also, the penultimate mini-game of the fifth episode is a Doom-eqsue first-person shooter. The final mini-game plays out like a boss in an old adventure game, complete with low-res textured graphics.

    Beat Em Up 
  • The Adventures of Bayou Billy was probably one of the first examples of this although it might not have been all that unexpected. The game was mostly a side-scrolling early Beat 'em Up in the vein of Double Dragon. There was still the odd driving levels and a Shoot 'Em Up level where you had the option to use the Zapper light gun in place of the regular controller.
  • Battletoads begins as a Beat 'em Up and ends up as a Gameplay Roulette, with vehicle levels and different methods of screen scrolling. In Battletoads in Battlemaniacs, after defeating the final boss, there are only a few seconds to shoot down an escaping helicopter with a target sight, which results in a worse ending if missed.
  • The platform jumping areas in the NES versions of Double Dragon games. Mission 6 of the second game has a Mega Man style Temporary Platform sequence, and Mission 7 has conveyor belts and spinning gears. And there's the hallway in the Temple of Doom in most versions of the first game where you have to navigate a Death Course of Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom and Spikes of Doom.
  • God Hand has a jumping puzzle towards the end. Playing the game for 30 seconds will show you how inane this is.
    • Stylistic Suck controls and Platform Hell do not go together. Then again, Stylistic Suck...
    • The game also has a random Simon Says where you punch cannonballs back at the ship that's firing them halfway through world 3, it manages to be little more than a time-waster as it's not very hard at all. There's another one in world 5 where you have to fire a cannon (with really terrible missile drag) to shoot down an enemy ship, doing good at it is thankfully optional, but every hit kills an enemy so it's advised you learn to shoot it down to make it easier on yourself.
  • The Nintendo DS version of Power Rangers: Super Legends is primarily a side-scrolling beat-em-up with 16-bit graphics, but has two moments where the gameplay completely changes. One is that several levels have sections where the game changes to the player controlling a Flyer in a shoot-em-up level depicted in a top-down perspective. The other is that many of the boss fights are followed by a section where the player is in a first-person perspective Megazord battle using 3-D graphics and has the player dodge missiles while damaging the opponent using the touchscreen.
  • Streets of Rage 3 originally intended to have motorcycle and aquascooter sections, evidenced by pre-release screenshots. A fan remake named Streets of Rage Remake managed to include them, however.
  • Young Souls: the penultimate level suddenly forces the player to use weapons that can hurt ghosts, which also render the player's armor useless and reduce your HP to 1. Before this point, dodging and parrying had always been available mechanics, but the characters were tanky enough that it was pretty forgiving; in this level, taking a single hit will kill you.

    Driving Game 
  • Driver had a mission where you had to deliver a crate of explosives in a pickup truck. Too many bumps, and it blows.
  • The boat sequences in the original Spy Hunter.
    • In Super Spy Hunter, the fourth stage is an autoscrolling aerial highway where you freefall several times, and the fifth stage is a boat sequence for the first half, and a jet plane Shoot 'Em Up for the second half.
    • The 3D reboot series has a few rail shooter and on-foot levels.

    Edutainment Game 
  • The Oregon Trail was largely a text-and-pictures wagon trail simulator, but included a hunting scene in which the player had to go out and shoot dinner in a manner reminiscent of the arcade shooter games of that era. The rafting down the Columbia River was necessary if you didn't have enough money for the Barlow Toll Road and made more difficult by the fact that the only practice you got came only after the requisite hour of play to get to the end.
  • In The Yukon Trail sequel rafting minigame became obligatory, but you could save the game before it. Also The Yukon Trail was more diverse, making the minigame less unexpected.

    Environmental Narrative Game 
  • The Corridor:
    • One level involves playing The Legally Distinct Spatial Intruders. The button takes the place of the UFO, once most of the Spatial Intruders are gone.
    • One level gives you a gun and tries to insist it's an iron-sights FPS now, though there's really nothing in the level to first-person-shoot at.
    • One level looks normal at first, but when you near the button, it suddenly turns into a Visual Novel.

    Fighting Game 
  • In the Super Famicom Taekwon-Do, matches follow the rules of real Taekwondo competitions, with points scored based on where you hit the opponent (which are used to determine the winner if time runs out) and a fighter losing if he's knocked down five times. In the last match of the story mode, however, the boss opens the bout by kicking the referee into the scoreboard, destroying it. Suddenly, you're in a standard fighting game where you must empty the opponent's health bar to win, as your final opponent has single-handedly thrown the rules out the window and is now trying his hardest to kill you.
  • The story mode gameplay of Godzilla Save The Earth has you unexpectedly have a rail shooter battle against Ebirah if you play as Godzilla 2000. And playing the story mode in hard mode as M.O.G.U.E.R.A has you fight a rail shooter battle against Spacegodzilla.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Heritage for the Future has this in the form of N'Doul, a villain with the power to control water. When playing as one of the good guys, the game shifts from a fighting game into a side-scroller where you have to avoid various water hazards. It's difficult at best, though at the end of it you only have to punch N'Doul once to win, since he's blind and can't fight back. The PlayStation port of the game has a "Super Story Mode" with an event for every antagonist the party faced in the original manga. A few are like N'Doul and incorporate part of the "fighting genre" controls into an action sequence, but there are also events that are entirely different genres. Some are used several times, like breaking up narrative sequences with quick time events. Other genres are only used once, like the Lovers stage being a shoot-em-up.
  • The Outfoxies has a gameplay change on the last level. Instead of another one-on-one duel, you start off outside a seemingly empty mansion. Unsurprisingly, the mansion is booby-trapped. Once you get past a deadly obstacle course, you reach the final showdown—your rocket launcher versus a combat helicopter.
  • PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale has this trope with many of the Level 3 Limit Breaks with the cast. The game turns into a First-Person Shooter with Radec, Sly Cooper, and Ratchet, for example. Some of the other Supers don't fall into specific categories, but also invoke this trope. Zeus turns the arena into his own personal whacking space while also making himself huge, Isaac turns the game into a pseudo Asteroids parody, Drake, Dante and Raiden alter the arena and/or enemies with the Sarcophagus of El Dorado, Devil Trigger, and boxes, respectively. It has quite bit of variety.
  • Soul Series:
    • Soul Blade goes from 3D fighting game to first person during Mitsurugi's ending: You have to fight Teppou Hei wielding Tanegashima (a primitive firearm) from a first-person view. Then again, it's less of a fight and more of a "sidestep left twice in a rapid succession, mash forward, press any button, win".
    • Soulcalibur III has shades of this in its Chronicles of the Sword mode, which arranges the fights on an RTS-style map and implements RPG levelling, while individual encounters are resolved in the traditional 3D-fighter-with-weapons style. The combination of AI that really only knows how to Zerg Rush, bizarre arena effects, and the fact that the enemies will always be at least five levels higher than your main character can lead to moments of frustration.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Snake's Final Smash in Brawl has you shooting grenades at the players like a third-person shooter.
    • Zero Suit Samus's Final Smash in the 3DS and Wii U instalments is similar to Snake's final smash, only instead of it being a third-person shooter, is actually a first-person shooter.
    • Donkey Kong's Final Smash changes his gameplay into a Rhythm Game. This is driven further in the 3DS and Wii U instalments where a rhythm bar appears over DK.
    • The Subspace Emissary, a sidescrolling action-adventure game contained within Brawl, may fall under this trope. Also, SSE itself ends with a Metroidvania segment, The Great Maze.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • The BioShock series:
    • BioShock had a hacking minigame that strongly resembled Pipe Dream. This is in fact a remnant of when a splicer was supposedly to be running the vending machines, so you shoot him some extra EVE in exchange for discounts and more stock.
    • BioShock 2 had a different hacking minigame; instead of "not-Pipe Dream", you have to press the green (or blue for bonuses) portions in real time to hack machines. Delta and Sigma can also use darts that automatically hack the machine in a pinch i.e. surrounded by Splicers as your Little Sister is harvesting.
    • BioShock Infinite's last level has alternatively been described as "a tower defense level" or the only true escort mission in the game. You have to defend energy core of the Hand of the Prophet from waves and waves of the Vox Populi to get to your destination.
    • The second episode of the DLC "Burial at Sea" turned into a stealth game as Elizabeth, physically weaker than Booker, not good with a gun, and having lost her Reality Warper powers gained at the end of the main campaign as a result of having already been killed in Rapture Prime, is forced to wander the halls of Fontaine's Department Store to find a way out of Rapture.
  • A section of the "Through Mud and Blood" campaign from Battlefield 1 has the player taking control of a messenger pigeon flying through rings of air as it makes its way back to base. The gameplay was so different to the rest of the game that Polygon gave a separate review for just that section.
  • Call of Duty:
    • This trope has been used since the beginning of the series. The first game has two levels where you drive a T-34 tank through a fortified German city. 2, 3, and World at War followed suit, putting you in respectively a Crusader tank fighting enemy armor in the Libyan desert, a Sherman Firefly fighting through the Normandy hedgerows, and another T-34 rampaging through Seelow Heights.
    • The first game's expansion pack, United Offensive, has a level where you play as the gunner of a B-17 bomber, defending your plane from a ludicrously large number of German fighters.
    • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has two of these. "All Ghillied Up" is a stealth-based Sniping Mission, and "Death from Above" puts you in the gunner's seat of an AC-130 gunship. There's much to be said, after being in missions where you're outgunned and outnumbered, to be in a mission where it's the enemy and their AKs versus you and your 105mm howitzer, 40mm rapid-fire cannon, and electric minigun. "All Ghillied Up" is a particularly masterful example of a well-done Unexpected Gameplay Change; the first hint that it's going to be mostly stealthy is when as the game fades into view of an empty field of grass, your companion is only revealed when a piece of the scenery gets up and creeps forward.
    • Call of Duty: World at War has its own Gameplay Change in the form of "Black Cats", in which the focus shifts from taking on the Japanese/Germans on the ground to shooting down Zeroes over the Pacific from the gun turrets of a Catalina flying boat.
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops II featured optional (although highly recommended to complete) side missions that add some RTS game mechanics or directly control one of the units deployed to become something akin of a tactical shooter. It's just too bad that the soldiers under your command are so stupid.
    • In Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, the final two missions are this. At the beginning of Captured, your prosthetic left arm is destroyed and you are forced to play through the level with one arm, one gun, and no reserve ammunition. Mitchell is forced to repeatedly scavenge new weapons from the enemies he kills if the current weapon's mag runs dry. The end of that level and most of the next level take a turn into Mech Shooter territory when you hijack an enemy AST.
  • At the end of Crysis, which has been almost entirely on-foot first-person shooter action with minor, optional car usage, a level takes place with the player driving a VTOL fighter craft, which handles like a pregnant cow, and which you have to engage in dogfights with.
    • You were given a prep course for that when you had to drive an alleged tank which has lousy traction, can't push through a picket fence, has no weapons stabilization what-so-ever, and doesn't even let you use the binoculars you have while walking around.
  • Dead Man's Hand, for the most part, is a Western-themed FPS, save for two stages (a horse chase and a Minecart Madness sequence) who inexplicably turns into a Rail Shooter - you can't control where you're moving, and can only fire away at mooks to avoid damage, besides shooting items to collect them and boost your health or gain more ammo (think Lethal Enforcers II: Gun Fighters or Gunfighter: The Legend of Jesse James instead of Red Dead Redemption).
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution had the Panchaea level. Whereas in the rest of the game you've been fighting organized soldiers and using cover, here you're faced with hordes of fast pseudo-zombies who use melee, similar to the Uncharted example. While the devs (and many players) were somewhat dissappointed with the end result, they claim that it was their intention to introduce a sudden gameplay change.
  • Far Cry 3: You'll be spending most of the game exploring the Rook Islands, shooting mooks and being nibbled on by the local wildlife, but we also have:
    • Two unskippable stealth missions.
    • Two different driving mini games, one against the clock and one against NPCs.
    • A generous selection of Quick Time Events, including one to beat the final boss.
    • Hallucinations.
  • In Geist, the final boss is an unexpected genre shift. Then again, it's been a Stealth, a Puzzle Game, and a First-Person Shooter, so turning into a Space Shooter probably wasn't too much of a stretch.
  • Half-Life 2 had driving, boating and crane sequences to break up the shooting, as well as a Survival Horror chapter with sparse ammunition.
  • Halo:
    • The driving sequences in Halo: Combat Evolved's "The Maw", Halo 2's "Outskirts", and Halo 3's "Halo", and the aerial battles on CE's "Two Betrayals", 2's "The Arbiter" and "The Great Journey", and 3's "The Covenant". Also, "The Arbiter" involves stealth to some degree.
    • Halo: Reach turns into a Freespace / Wing Commander-style space sim for the middle chapter of "Long Night of Solace". Then there's the Future Copter Gunship Rescue mission in "New Alexandria".
    • Halo 4 has several gunship segments in "Shutdown", and the beginning of "Midnight" is a Trench Run sequence where you're piloting a Space Fighter.
  • In the last third of Marathon 2: Durandal, you're unexpectedly sent from assaulting the enemy's strongholds to missions set in allied bases, populated with friendly characters ("Bobs"). The stated goal was to defend the bases from invading aliens and to sniff out the evil clone Bobs, which explode on approach. More hidden text from the original game's BOB-heavy level, The Rose: "BOB jam? Apply grenades liberally!" Saving BOBs in this series is really more of a Self-Imposed Challenge.
  • In the "Hunt for the King Tiger" level in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, you get to drive a tank for the first time in the series.
  • Overwatch's bi-monthly event brawls often incorporate this: Uprising had "Uprising" and Halloween Horror had "Junkenstien's Revenge", both collaborative PvE that involved capturing/defending objectives against waves of omnics. Year of the Rooster introduced a Capture the Flag game mode, and Winter Wonderland had "Mei's Snowball Offensive", which involved playing as the eponymous scientist and ... loading snowballs in your Endothermic Blaster and hurling them at each other. Most bizarre was "Lucio Ball", the Summer Games event's brawl which can best be described as "Rocket League with Lucios instead of cars".
  • In PAYDAY 2, the Car Shop and Goat Simulator Heists culminate in you having to drive a car to the drop-off, either because the car is merely loaned to you in order to get the loot (Goat Simulator), or the car IS the loot (Car Shop).
  • The River Extraction mission in Perfect Dark Zero has a Halo style vehicle combat sublevel where you pilot a hovercraft along the river and Jack mans the gunner seat. Later, in Jungle Storm, you get to fly the Jetpac you saw earlier in the game.
  • The tank and walker levels in Quake IV, in addition to a few Rail Shooter segments.
  • Red Faction:
    • At the very last moment turns into a memory and puzzle game, with you attempting to disarm a nuclear bomb up until that point you don't have to use your brain much.
    • Also, one level has a Descent style flight-combat sequence. This may be a holdover from the game originally being conceived as Descent 4.
    • There are two parts in the game where you have to sneak. Although you can actually skip one of them just by not taking a certain clothing item.
    • The second game, in addition to the rail shooter levels, has a couple levels where you pilot a Mini-Mecha, and another with a submarine, which also appeared in the first game.
    • The third game has a late game Escort Mission where you cover your new Marauder allies using artillery, complete with a top-down perspective. This occurs again in the game's final mission, though in that instance, it's a Hold the Line sequence.
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein involves a sequence early on in the game where the player is forced to sneak through a level, and if the player is seen, they usually get a game over almost instantly because an alarm is sounded (only in rare cases can the player get away with killing the enemy and not having another turn on the alarm). There's also a glitch that can render the level Unwinnable in some versions: if you shoot out the last alarm, the truck driver will be alerted, although unable to sound the alarm, and you'll be unable to exit. There's a second segment much later in the game that's more of an assassination mission, as you're traversing the cramped corridors of a village searching out a set of seven generals so you can kill them without being detected.
  • Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3: What's that you say? My sniper game contains rock climbing, and it's necessary to reach some mission objectives?
  • Soldier of Fortune: Payback changes from a run-n-gun FPS to a Nintendo Hard tactical shooter in its final mission, due to the large unexpected increase in the damage dealt by enemies.
  • Happens in Star Wars: Jedi Knight II:
    • The part when suddenly the main character must sneak around an Imperial base without being seen, or the Stormtroopers will rush and hit an alarm button and summon a garrison of Stormtroopers, who will arrest you. This would be at least understandable in the early levels when you're without Force powers (or have very weak versions), but it comes late in the game when you're an unstoppable Jedi of Death and a garrison of Stormtroopers is about as threatening as a garrison of kittens. And during the vehicle sequences.
    • The stealth mission can be made more like the rest of the game if you can get to the alarm button before any troopers can, since they need to physically hit the button to actually catch you - it's pretty hard for them to do so when you're standing right between them and it, saber in hand and active.
    • Jedi Academy makes liberal use of these. It has a variation on the No-Gear Level in which the player is captured and must break out, obtaining weapons as they go. Another level places the character at the controls of a speeder bike. One level is essentially a puzzle level with no enemies to fight, other than sandworms which serves as enviromental hazards. Others have unique enemies found nowhere else in the game, including a couple areas where a creature is your main opponent and another that's basically a game of cat-and-mouse with Boba Fett.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • The Halloween update added an MMORPG-style raid boss in the form of the Horseless Headless Horsemann: ridiculously difficult to kill and gives an achievement and a rare drop to the person who lands the finishing blow.
    • Team Fortress 2 has many unofficial modes made by fans of the game. First, you might be in a Vs. Saxton Hale game, where it's your team against the super-manly CEO of Mann Co., and then FortWars, where your team builds walls out of junk and then plays "keep-away" with the intelligence, either protecting it or killing the other team, and then it's off to PropHunt, where one team has been transformed into various bits of scenery (a haystack, a barrel, a wooden cow, etc.) while the other team must find them. The hunted can't use any sort of weapon, but the hunters lose health every time they fire their weapons, to prevent spamming.
    • Scream Fortress 2014 added a Hallowe'en map called Carnival of Carnage, where both teams end up in bumper cars and with a new objective once the map's main objective has been completed by one team or another. The bumper car objectives are collecting rubber ducks or avoiding falling platforms, or trying to play car football with them. Alternatively, a team can win any of these objectives by knocking the enemy team off the bumper car area. This new addition also quickly spawned a new mod that basically turns the game into Mario Kart!
  • TimeSplitters Future Perfect - mid-level/mid-game, there's a good portion of the level dedicated to solving a puzzle [similar to Slime Tube or whatever it was called] to get Cortez past security doors.
  • Riding the Styracosaurus in Turok 2's second stage, and the infamous pterosaur flying levels in Evolution.
  • ULTRAKILL: Each of the game's secret missions is a different kind of unexpected gameplay change.
    • The prelude's secret mission is a Slender-style horror game, where you lose all of your weapons except your default revolver and must reach the end of a maze before a monster One Hit Kills you.
    • Limbo's secret mission is a puzzle level paying homage to The Witness, and the gameplay of the level is more or less the same.
    • Lust's secret mission is a Visual Novel note .
    • Greed's secret mission turns the game into a Crash Bandicoot-style platformer, with a fixed-camera third person perspective for the entire level and V1 given a similar Spin Attack. Breaking every crate in the level allows you to carry this over to the main game (in the form of a cheat) if you so desire.
    • Wrath's secret mission is a Fishing Minigame.
    • Violence's mission is seemingly the first to Subvert this, being a standard level with a shop terminal and enemies to fight... that is, until you reach the "end of the level" where you are met with cleaning tools and a message telling you to "CLEAN UP YOUR MESS!" You are then subjected to the real level in the style of Powerwash Simulator, where you have to clean up all the blood and gore that you spilled during combat.

    Flight Sims 
  • Pilotwings is mostly a simple game about training excercises on various kinds of aircraft. But halfway through, and again at the end, it suddenly turns into an action game where you have to avoid antiaircraft fire in a helicopter to rescue your instructors. And again in the final stage, except that you're saving a government agent. What make this especially jarring is that you don't get any retry chance if you're shot down; it goes immediately to the Game Over screen...the implication being that you died.

    Hack And Slash 
  • Darksiders:
    • Very early in the first game there is a on-rails shooter section when War rides a winged beast and uses it to fly towards the Twilight Cathedral and shooting down angels and demons along his way.
    • Similar to the sequel example mentioned below, the best thing to do during the angel-killing comeptition with U;thane is to grab a Redemption Cannon and let fly full-auto. Not exactly required but if you win the competition you get a freebie weapon enhancement so it's worth a try.
  • Darksiders II
    • The game turns into a third person shooter during the Earth level when Death can pick up an angelic energy minigun off a dead Hellguard or be given one by their leader Uriel to mow down hordes of undead, and he can find an abandoned demonic missile launcher in the level to do the same. While it's not technically required to use either, melee combat is practically unfeasible against the unrelenting undead and the recurring boss that plagues the level, so you might as well be an undead hunter with unlimited ammunition.
    • There's a similar gauntlet in the "Argul's Tomb" and "Demon Lord Belial" DLCs where Death can pick up said demon missile launcher and go blasting on the ice skeletons and demons charging at him. Again, not required, but it definitely makes the swarm of enemies much more manageable with the powerful splash damage, especially near the end where they start throwing the hardier enemies in alongside the grunts, culminating in the former having no less than three Frost Giants in the arena at once and the latter having some of the toughest Elite Mooks introduced in the level attacking Death all together.
  • Drakengard:
    • The Final Boss, in the game's hard-to-reach fifth ending, is not fought in the same way that other major enemies have been, Hack and Slash for ground enemies and Flight Sim for aerial enemies. The game orients with the dragon flying a circle around the boss as it emits white and black colored circles. The player has to emit a white circle back for a white circle and so on with black circles, turning the game into a simplified version of Simon. That said, the patterns emitted by the Final Boss are soul-crushingly difficult to replicate at times.
    • There's a similarly frustrating battle in the sequel: On the path to Ending B (and the final ending), the protagonist Nowe is forced to fight the Bone Casket/Seed of Resurrection where Nowe was created. Surrounding the structure are several colored crystals (?). The "boss" only has two abilities—it glows with a colored light, and a shockwave. However, touching the boss while it's glowing is an instant kill. The shockwave is also instant death. The only way to damage the boss is to use the downward strike, and then hide behind the crystal that matches the color the boss is glowing. And then you only have a split second to jump off (or summon Legna and fly off) before the boss starts glowing again. The timing of your attack and the boss's color pattern can be very hard to gauge, and if you die you have to start all over again until you win.
    • The third game has a redux of the first game's final boss, this time as a fleshed out rhythm game segment with multiple parts, confusing patterns and camera angles actively working against you. The song is about seven minutes long and the last note must be guessed because the screen has already turned pitch black. One wrong button input and it's back to square one. No wonder it became the series' That One Boss overnight.
  • No More Heroes intersperses hack-and-slash mayhem with open sandbox city exploration, item collection, a Galaga-esque space shooter sequence, public services such as cleaning up the park or mowing lawns, hitting a baseball through a row of enemies, and avoiding obstacles on a highway chase.
    • No More Heroes III introduces a third-person shooter sub-mode that has a few unique bosses, where Travis dons Gundam-esque mecha-armor and fights giant aliens in space. After beating a certain boss, the mecha-armor becomes usable in base gameplay via the kill Roulette, even able to use unique Limit Break techniques.

    Miscellaneous Games 
  • Although Action 52 is itself a wild mishmash of games and genres, a couple of its games do this. The third level of "Ninja Assault" is a frustrating log-jumping level in the midst of beat-'em-up levels, and "Bubblegum Rosie" has an even more frustrating driving stage in between the first and third platformer levels. Cheetahmen starts out as an isometric beat-em-up similar to the first level of Battletoads, but is a platformer for the rest of the game.
  • A rare game show example came from the short-lived ABC series The Big Showdown. The front game was a tough, strategic quiz. The end game was a Luck-Based Mission to try and roll multiple pairs of dice for a shot at either $10,000 (if you managed to roll "Show" and "Down" on your first try) or $5,000 (if you rolled "Show" and "Down" after that).
    • Another game show example was from the first (1981-82) run of the short-lived NBC game Battlestars. The front game was essentially The Hollywood Squares IN SPACE!! (and with the game being played changed from "Tic-Tac-Toe" to "Dots"), but the endgame (referred to as either Battlestars Two or as the "picture round") revolved around the contestant picking magnetic cards for host Alex Trebek to insert into a decoder; this would remove blocks from a picture of someone famous. After the three cards were scanned (and the contestant's free pick, depending on when in the run it was), they would attempt to identify the face for up to $5,000. (The New run of the show, which was only for a few months in 1983, averted this with an endgame that was actually relevant to the maingame.)
  • The roguelike Caves of Qud has an exceedingly frustrating one early in. While the game is normally an open world survival RPG, it has some rather frustrating elements which come into play in the fourth quest. Upon arriving in the factory you were sent to, you jump down onto a conveyer belt with enough Benevolent Architecture to make Half-Life proud, the walls are mostly steam vents which shoot streams of flame that will instantly kill most characters of the appropriate level to survive in the surrounding jungle, every other turn, there are a few eel infested pools of acid that you can use to put yourself out on the way down, and at the bottom, there is a deceivingly hard Boss Battle with a partially randomly generated boss whose name will somehow include the word "Cloaca". If it is beaten with a melee weapon, which it most likely will due to the penetration scores of the highest level long gun/bow being just barely too low to make at least 25% of its shots on the target, you will contract a disease which makes simple things such as eating and drinking cause you to bleed profusely, until your tongue falls out. During your time infected with the disease, and in the aftermath of being tongueless you will be unable to speak, and trading will be nigh impossible. If you have regeneration, your tongue will grow back, and immediately start to rot and bleed again. If you have hemophilia, you will die trying to eat without at a minimum, 5 bandages to stop the bleeding. If you have mutations both, the game is Unwinnable if you cannot make the cure, which it is possible for it to be impossible to make, by requiring that you make a mixture that requires more parts of one ingredient than is possible to mix in game! Suddenly, it has become a survival game where there are no options to survive.
  • In the Furry Romance H-Game Amorous, Zenith's storyline contains a shooting minigame, when you go to a shooting range with him.
  • Sin and Punishment: Successor of the Skies is a pretty standard rail shooter, up until the last stage of the last boss of Chapter 6 where it suddenly shifts to a side on Street Fighter like fighting game.
  • Most of Zap Dramatic's games are about negotiating with others, but the very end of Sir Basil Pike Public School turns into a Rhythm Game.

  • Aura Kingdom Throughout the game, you will occasionally play as NPCs on Stealth mission-like quests to deliver items into certain locations without being spotted. If you are spotted, then you will have to try again. You may also have to kidnap some mobs and bring them in for bounty or as an item to continue quests.
  • City of Heroes is mostly a classic MMORPG, but one phase during the Behavioral Adjustment Facility trial bears more than a passing resemblance to a Tower Defense game.
  • In Final Fantasy XI, Parradamo Tor is a giant monument to this trope. If you want to complete the Chains of Promathia mission series or have a fight in Boneyard Gully, you're forced to climb it, an activity that more than anything resembles a cross between maze-crawling and tightrope-walking.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic, meanwhile, features Star Fox-style rail shooter space combat.
  • While the majority of quests in World of Warcraft consist out of killing stuff, there are some quests that mix things up, such as flying on a fixed path to drop bombs or a few minigames connected to the various ingame holidays like juggling a torch.
    • Wrath of The Lich King added a new vehicle mechanic and a lot of opportunities to use it. Most of them include you mounting on something that amounts to a giant death machine and laying waste to hordes of enemies. Most of the rest have you take on something that's even stronger.
    • A game that changes from 2D movement to 3D, at a boss fight that depends on precise positioning with no way to tell how far away, up or down you were, but retaining the poor camera controls.
    • When people enter the Upper Spire of Icecrown Citadels they are confronted with a hallway where jets of cold burst from the walls, transforming the game briefly into a timing based obstacle course. Despite being so incredibly easy than any platformer would burst out laughing on being told they presented a challenge, these have been known to kill the same person multiple times, as they die, get brought back to life, then run right back into the icy jets. Part of this stems from the first of the jets being five feet in front of where you zone in, so those continuing to hold forward through the brief loading screen out of habit are quick to be instagibbed. These kinds of challenges are located in several dungeons and raids and are collectively known as "Frogger".
    • The more well-known version of Frogger is found in Naxxramas. After killing Patchwerk in the Abomination Quarter, to proceed through the raid, you need to avoid several rows of green slimes that move in one direction; very similar to the game "Frogger". This was known for killing more raid members than the actual boss fight preceding it. Similarly, several elevators (most notably, the one in Serpentshrine Caverns) are known as "the elevator boss", since the elevator is an open platform on a timer, and players often attempt to board the elevator just as it leaves...and the elevator either moves faster than gravity, or very close to gravity's acceleration, meaning that the players who weren't lucky enough to be on the elevator end up cratering far below (unless they have a slow fall ability).
    • Heroic Deadmines in Cataclysm; under the effect of the true final boss' mind-altering nightmare poison, you hallucinate various nightmares involving the other four bosses, challenge one and three include, in order, running down a narrow ramp (the sides are flooded with fire) while avoiding icicles that fall from the ceiling and will one-shot you, the third challenge can best be described as a Super Mario Bros. reference involving fire bars, but electricity instead of fire.
    • Peacebloom vs. Ghouls is essentially a tower defense game disguised as a quest chain, using a garden full of magical plants to defend a farm against marauding undead. Sound familiar? It should. The minigame is a deliberate tribute to PvZ with the ultimate prize being a vanity pet modeled after one of the flowers from the source.

  • Possibly one of the most extreme changes, Baby Pac-Man alternated play between the video game and the pinball game.
  • In Bally/Midway's Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man Pinball, players periodically stop the pinball game to play a primitive maze game, using the flipper buttons to move Pac-Man (a flashing yellow light) around a grid. It's as exciting as it sounds.
  • Loading the center cannon in Big Guns activated a bagatelle mini-game in the backbox, giving players a chance to earn an extra ball.
  • The unreleased Golden Cue was all about unexpectedly changing the conventional rules of Pinball — instead of simply playing indefinitely for a high score, players had to complete six goals, then shoot the Corner Pocket to collect a countdown bonus and end the game. Expert players were expected to play faster and collect a bigger bonus.
  • NBA Fastbreak:
    • Pizza mode shifts focus to the backglass, as the player must use the flipper within it to shoot a ball into a hoop there to score points.
    • The NBA Trivia mode forces the player to answer a question relating to the NBA (aside from one question that is instead about the mode itself).
  • The "Secret Weapon" mode of Revenge from Mars turns into a Fighting Game, though the attacks are still performed by hitting targets.
  • Sega's Star Wars Trilogy has the player thaw Han Solo out of carbonite by answering Star Wars trivia questions.
  • Sharkey's Shootout has players competing against various opponents in 8-ball or 9-ball billiards... except for the final Wizard Mode against Jeanette Lee, which features a four-ball multiball called "The Web".

    Platform Game 
  • Magic Planet Snack has four microgames:
    • 1. Normal game. Take the orbs, but don't eat trolls or lava.
    • 2. Hyper mode. Achieved by picking up 10 orbs. All things except trolls turn to cake. Each cake is worth 1000 points, twice as much as an orb.
    • 3. Wizards. In the center of each planet is a wizard with two familars and 1-5 TVs. Take all the TVs and you can then attack the wizard directly. The two familiars are shooting bullets during this time, and the familiars can only be eaten in hyper mode.
    • 4. Satellites. In between planets, satellites will appear and lay mines to block your path.
  • In The Adventure of Little Ralph, an obscure Japanese platformer for the original PlayStation, the hero, Ralph, was originally a man, but the main villain turned him into a boy. Ralph spends almost the entire game like this, but just prior to the game's midboss fight (halfway through the stages) Ralph randomly turns into a man again. Then, he fights the villain in a traditional fighting-game style (complete with health bars) until the villain is defeated. Then Ralph randomly turns back into a boy again. However, past the second time this happens, it is no longer unexpected, as all of the boss battles after the midboss are played as in a fighting game.
  • The Asteroid Belt and Final Boss stages in The Adventures of Rad Gravity, where you're in zero gravity and have to use your gun to propel yourself.
  • Banjo-Kazooie:
    • The final level of the first game is not a platform stage like the others, but a TV-style quiz show.
    • Banjo-Tooie features several "Breegull Blaster" segments, where the game's usual platforming action strays and the game becomes a first-person shooter with Kazooie as the gun. Not only do you fight a boss this way, but all of the maps from these modes are included in the multiplayer mode as "shootouts." Both the maps and the control scheme replicate those from Rare's FPS Goldeneye.
    • Rare struck it backwards again with Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, which strayed from the series' typical platforming to be a user-generated vehicle game with some platforming in the Hub Level.
  • Beeny is primarily a side view 2D platformer, but once the player clears the first nine stages and returns to Kiwi's house, the game switches perspective from Beeny to Kiwi and turns into sort of a preview for Super Kiwi 64 where you control Kiwi in a free-roaming 3D stage and have to collect five power cells in order to clear it.
  • Bucky O'Hare, a very good but rather obscure NES platformer, also becomes a (very good) side-scrolling shoot-'em-up in the last level.
  • Child of Light starts as a Metroidvania platformer with puzzle and RPG elements, but after you defeat the first boss and gain the power of flight, it becomes an aerial turn-based RPG.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day starts off as a normal platformer but soon throws in gameplay changes in the levels as the story progresses: riding dinosaurs, shooting zombies, and lava surfing, just to name a few.
  • Distorted Travesty 3 is filled with these. In fact, it goes so far as forcing the player to play Bust a Move before you can even start with the platforming!
  • Donkey Kong:
    • DK: King of Swing had a level in the last world that had no pegs at all, consists of only one area, and revolves flying around a rocket barrel. The final battle against King K. Rool is really just two Jungle Jam events — a race and a battle — complete with the "ready, go!" beginning.
    • Donkey Kong 64 has two different arcade machines: one for the original Donkey Kong and one for Rare's Jetpac. They seem at first to be amusing distractions, until you get to the final door in the final level and find that it's embedded with Nintendo and Rare icons; you have to beat the original Donkey Kong (the easy mode for the Golden Banana and the hard mode for the Nintendo icon) and score enough points in Jetpac just to reach the final boss. For many uncoordinated children who hadn't grown up with those games, this is a bit of a brick wall.
    • Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! has a level, Krack-Shot Kroc, where an offscreen villain is continuously trying to shoot you, with a big crosshair showing where his next shot will go. An Unexpected Gameplay Change comes in one of the bonus areas of this level, where you control the offscreen cannon and must kill all enemies in the bonus area. The boss of the same world would challenge you to a snowball fight similar to a group of minigames you may play just before entering his area.
  • In Dynamite Headdy the normal (though not very normal) platforming is replaced with a flying shoot'em up for one level.
  • In Gamer 2, after Hailey jumps through the factory portal, she finds herself falling through a bottomless void. She has to dodge falling debris for almost a minute, and she can't even shoot at hazards.
  • Hammerin' Hero is a side-scrolling 2.5D platformer for the first 11 stages, and then the last level turns into a free-scrolling R-Type clone. Even the Big Bad (who you fight in the second-to-last stage) fights you in a spaceship which looks a lot like the R-9 Arrowhead, complete with Force Bit.
  • A Hat in Time stays remarkably consistent in its gameplay, never adding gimmicky mechanics that break with the standard it sets, but it does flirt with different genres, and features a few platforming-based stealth missions. Then there's the fourth level of the third chapter, which stands out in a cute platformer for adopting an entirely serious stealth-horror style of gameplay as you try to solve puzzles for keys while evading the terrifying Queen Vanessa in her manor.
  • Hollow Knight is chiefly a combat-focused platforming Metroidvania up until the White Palace (and by extension the Path of Pain), which consists of a series of Platform Hell gauntlets in the style of I Wanna Be the Guy, Super Meat Boy, et al.
  • I Wanna Be the Guy does this twice in the Hall of Former The Guys. In Sinistar's room, opening the way forward requires playing a game of Break-Out, and in the room after it, you mount the Vic Viper for a brief shooting segment.
  • The Jak and Daxter series is rife with these, containing everything from races to skateboarding to stealth to rail-based shooters. These are often the more difficult sections due to how much they depart from the standard.
  • Kid Icarus:
    • Kid Icarus (1986): This is a classic NES platform game with some Dungeon Crawling elements thanks to the fortress levels, but then it unexpectedly becomes a side-scrolling shoot-'em-up in the last level.
    • Kid Icarus: Uprising would end up adopting the shmup gameplay of the original game's final level as the standard gameplay type. Even then, the game has a few examples of this trope such as:
    • Chapter 18, which becomes a Kingdom Hearts style melee-focused Beat 'em Up due to you playing as Magnus. It also flips the usual Air Battle - > Ground Battle formula.
    • Chapter 19, which throws an unexpected High-Speed Battle at you for the boss fight, which annoyingly doesn't really explain the controls to you until it's probably too late.
    • The air portion of Chapter 20, which has you riding the Lightning Chariot uses the same shooting mechanics as normal, but plays like a top-down Bullet Hell game.
    • And Chapter 22, while previous stages have been roughly 50% Air, 50% Ground Battle, this stage is all Air until the boss.
  • Kirby Ironically, it's practically a series tradition to include a shoot 'em up section (main series Kirby games are, spinoff games and mini-games aside, platform games). Kirby Super Star parodied the concept by having a boss fight that uses RPG mechanics.
  • The Lion King was a side-view platformer except in the wildebeest stampede level, which had Simba racing towards the camera.
  • LittleBigPlanet has this, more so in the sequel. LittleBigPlanet 1 featured unlockable side levels containing various mini-games, but they were completely optional. In LittleBigPlanet 2, about halfway through the main storyline (that is, ignoring the side levels), conventional platforming starts taking a backseat to top-down and side-scrolling shmups and other arcade genres.
  • Occurs frequently in the Mega Man (Classic) series:
  • The unlicensed Mega Man X ripoff Rocman X/Thunder Blaster Man has an Auto Scrolling motorcycle shmup level late in the game.
  • The Messenger (2018):
    • The game switches from being a Ninja Gaiden-esque platformer to a full-on Metroidvania after defeating The Dragon, with the Ninja being tasked to find the notes of the Music Boxes after allowing his own Messenger to die.
    • In the Picnic Panic DLC, a giant version of Barma'thazël after he fuses with the Dark Messenger causes the game to switch to a Punch-Out!!-styled battle with the Arcane Golem taking the place of Little Mac.
  • Metroid: Zero Mission features a Stealth-Based Mission in which Samus loses the standard power suit and must navigate through an enemy-infested fortress armed only with a weak, slow-charging stun pistol.
  • Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (the SEGA home version) has you in an action platformer throughout the bulk of the game. The last boss is fought in a 1st-person spaceship shooting sequence, quite of nowhere. It's easy to play through the whole game and get wiped out on the last boss figuring out what you're supposed to do.
  • Mischief Makers, a side-scrolling platformer, has one level which consists of a series of Olympic-style events, with gameplay not unlike that of Track & Field. Furthermore, one of the events in this series is an Unexpected Gameplay Change in itself: amidst a bunch of athletic events is a math competition. Another event in that stage that stands out is the one where you have to catch balls in a pot while making sure none belonging to the other team gets in.
  • Ninth Rock is largely a platform game with minor stealth elements. One of the latter challenges involves using a crane to move crates to block the vision of guards, and the final task is a spherical maze which must be manipulated to collect all the energy orbs and get them inside.
  • Pikuniku suddenly has a rhythm game come out of nowhere at one point, which is required to progress.
  • The final eight stages of Plok are a gauntlet run of unexpected gameplay changes. Each stage of the Fleapit puts Plok behind the wheel of a different vehicle with touchy controls and (in most cases) nigh-useless weapons. The final stage arms Plok with the "Secret Super-Vehicle", a weapon so supposedly awesome that the manual only shows it in silhouette. It's a pair of spring shoes, a can of flea spray and a football helmet. That's right, the game nerfs Plok for the final battle with the Flea Queen, and rather severely at that.
  • Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones has two chariot races. Two thoroughly infuriating chariot races. Otherwise, the game was an excellent balance of platforming and combat.
  • The Rocket Knight Adventures series frequently breaks up the platforming with shmup segments, and on top of that each game has one boss take the form of an extremely simple Fighting Game.
  • N64 Platform Game Rocket: Robot on Wheels featured several "vehicles," which could be ridden around the worlds; this itself didn't necessarily institute a gameplay change, but it frequently led to "racing" segments (or Pass Through the Rings). Also, one section of the game includes a miniature roller coaster-building sim. It's not quite a mini-game, but it's still... unusual.
  • Modern platforming games such as Sly Cooper and Ratchet & Clank often have you enter races in order to gain items or otherwise progress in the game.
  • Something series:
    • Yosu no Tera has a section where Mario has to use the P-Balloon in order to navigate the pseudo-SHUMP section, and Yosu no Tera 2 does the same thing to Luigi in Something Else.
    • Fantoma Mura, Yurei no Jinja, and This is Something in Something Else also have the same gimmick.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic Adventure added a number of different genres (one for each character) to the series that had been fast paced platformers. For example: Tails' stages involve racing against Sonic or Eggman, Knuckles had to find emerald shards in non-linear stages, Amy was more slow-paced platforming with the addition of an implacable robot, E-102 Gamma was a mix of platforming and Panzer Dragoon where it had to shoot enemies to increase the stage's time limit, and Big's stages were Fishing Minigames. The Kart stages in both Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 are even more egregious.
    • Sonic Unleashed:
      • The game introduces a werewolf-like transformation for Sonic, which is slower than Sonic and consists of a lot of bashing.
      • The day stages are this as well. Up to this point, the games had all used the Adventure formula, which began as somewhat the Classics in 3d, from a certain point of view: running and jumping, attacking enemies and landing on platforms, the only major changes being the homing attack, being faster paced, more story driven and less emphasis on rolling, Sonic's original gimmick. When Unleashed came around, this all changed and it became more speed orientated; the positive reception to this style of gameplay led to it being adopted as the standard for Colors onward.
      • And then there were the Tornado Defense and Gaia Colossus stages.
    • Sonic 3D Blast involves killing badniks and freeing flickies...until Panic Puppet Zone. In Act 1, they are in pods instead. In Act 2, there aren't any flickies at all as the goal is to get to the top of the level.
    • Sonic Mania: The boss of Chemical Plant Zone Act 2 is a literal throwback to Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine. A standalone version can be unlocked by completing Blue Sphere stages.
    • Sonic Frontiers: The hacking segments and the original final battle with THE END are not 3D platforming stages, but instead shmup stages that play like Ikaruga.
  • Sockman includes hidden arcade cabinets that the player can find once per world. If they have coins to spend, they get to play clones of classic arcade and ZX Spectrum games like Breakout and Bubble Buster.
  • Spyro: Year of the Dragon included a lot of interesting gameplay changes as optional side missions, including a two-part FPS sequence where you take control of an ape with a laser gun. As a fun homage, the two parts of this sequence were titled "You're Doomed!" and "You're still Doomed!" The mid to late Spyro the Dragon games (Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! and the Gamecube games) are guilty of this too. In Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly there are minigames where Spyro gets to pilot fighter planes and tanks.
  • Played straight with the Aquas submarine level in Star Fox 64, and the two tank levels. The difference is in the absent crosshair. It appears briefly when one does a Charged shot, but because all charged shots are auto targeting the enemies, it only purpose is to show which enemy is going down when you release the A Button. In other words, aiming is more difficult.
  • Star Fox Adventures has it a bit backwards—while the Star Fox series is a shooter, Adventures was a Zelda-esque game, so when the game threw in "classic-style" shooting elements including the final boss, it felt a bit weird. One can attribute this to its origins as Dinosaur Planet, a game that had nothing to do with Star Fox.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
  • The Tomb Raider series has various driving sequences.
  • Toy Story, for the most part a pretty standard 2D licensed platformer, had that one level "Really Inside The Claw Machine" which was played from a DOOM style first person perspective, and the final level was a race against time where you were controlling the remote controlled car with a bird's eye view.

    Puzzle Game 
  • In the point-and-click room escape game Lights, you find a handheld LCD game. You have to play the reaction game on that device in order to get a code.
  • Played with in Baba is You: While the core gameplay is still present, the Space Zone introduces the keyword "Fall", which makes objects fall to the bottom of the screen. Hence, there's something of a platforming aspect in certain levels where you have to push objects towards a certain area without letting them fall too early.
  • A puzzle in English Country Tune has you use the built-in level editor to teach you a new gimmick. It's the only puzzle in the game that does that.
  • In Just More Doors, one of the secret rooms is a platforming section.
  • The final area of The Pedestrian (2020) takes the third-person puzzle platformer gameplay and adds in first-person elements. The situation is explained as the player character you were following for most of the game, an icon of a human being, having helped their designer assemble a reality-warping device. Said designer becomes the protagonist of the first-person segments.
  • Portal:
    • Parodied when GLaDOS "accidentally" sends you to a battle-droid training chamber because the usual testing area is being repaired. (Given that the Enrichment Center is deserted, this is almost certainly a half-truth at best.) Instead of figuring out how to get around strange logic puzzles, you need to use your skills to deactivate the security drones.
    • Soon after this point the whole game begins to subtly genre shift from a simple, plot-less puzzle platformer to a more straight-up platformer with puzzle elements added in, with a storyline resembling survival horror more than anything else.
    • The 'straight-up platformer with puzzle elements added in' is, essentially, just making the story part of the puzzles.
  • Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask: After four and a half games of straight puzzle gameplay, Chapter 6 of this game turns into a top-down dungeon crawl. There are still puzzles, but the format is wildly different, and even among the more normally formatted ones, there's a pair (Hershel vs. Mummies and Tilt to Traverse, respectively) that require reasonably fast reaction time or use the 3DS gyroscope to slide blocks around. They're the only puzzles in the series to do so aside from their bonus content sequels.
  • The Turing Test is generally a very slow-paced game, but a few puzzles require twitch reflexes: you have to suck an energy ball out of a door switch and then dash through the door before it closes.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • The Age of Empires II Expansion Pack The Forgotten began life as a Fan Sequel by a team of modders looking to push the game's scenario editor to its limits. As such, the campaign levels included in the expansion tend to be highly experimental in terms of its content: Dracula included many Role-Playing Game elements, El Dorado featured a mission objective that boiled down to playing out a Visual Novel-style murder mystery, and so on. While undoubtedly ambitious, these levels were broadly unpopular among players for their clunky implementation, and Definitive Edition reworks most of them so they play out in a far more conventional way.
  • Command & Conquer: Every Tiberian/Red Alert game has at least one campaign mission that is more real-time tactical than real-time strategy. The player will control a small (1-4) number of elite commando units and have to use a combination of tactics, stealth, and scripted events to outmaneuver a militarily superior foe. The original Red Alert was particularly fond of these, often setting them inside missile silos or bombed-out towns in central Europe.
  • Little King's Story: The otherwise Pikminesque core gameplay is traded for a Vertical Scrolling... Avoider? before going back to the original gameplay for the final boss sequence. Some units escape each time you take damage, so the better you do here, the more units you have to work with against them.
  • Starcraft II has a few "boss fights" which, while still fought with the same units, suddenly feel more like a World of Warcraft boss. The encounters become "locked" and the bosses start leaving attack target marks on the ground that you have to move your forces out of, and some periodically leave the battle area to do a special attack or to let you deal with adds briefly.
  • Stellaris: The Synthetic Dawn DLC. You have these AI servants or slaves, with some slight discontent being hinted at, some erratic behavior, until one day they decide to revolt... and you are given the option of switching from running your empire to leading the synths in obliterating it.
  • Warcraft III: The Orc campaign in The Frozen Throne suddenly turns out to be a full-on RPG, rather than the strategy + slight RPG mix of the previous seven campaigns. Though the Orc campaign isn't part of the main story (as it's unlocked from the start) so it's not very sudden.
    • What's more sudden is the bonus tower defense level in the alliance campaign.
    • And directly after the tower defense level is a Defense of the Ancients-style level!

    Rhythm Game 
  • In Gitaroo Man, one stage takes away U-1's Gitaroo for roughly the first half of the level. Instead of the normal gameplay loop, you have to start by dodging. If that wasn't bad enough, you start at low health because you didn't get the chance to charge beforehand! You never expect to play any stage without the Gitaroo, so this comes off as a surprise to the player.
  • The boss songs in Guitar Hero 3, where you essentially were buffeted by random status effects and had to use your own random status effects to try and make the other guy fail.
    • Despite all the flack Guitar Battle has gotten, it was actually a pretty cool concept, and more in tune with the "beat the best to be the best" theme of the game than simply playing songs. The problem was that you HAD to win. You would not get another song or venue, ever, until you won the battle. Thankfully, Neversoft realized that this was a lousy idea and put only a couple of token duels in World Tour before eliminating them as a requirement for good.
  • Pump It Up's mission mode gets into this a lot. Most notoriously, the Brain Shower missions, where math or memory questions pop up during the song.
  • Sayonara Wild Hearts is largely a Endless Running Game set on motorcycles with periodic rhythm gameplay, though each level is dictated by the feel and beat of the song that accompanies it, and gameplay is prone to shift at unexpected times. Sometimes you're forced to dodge obstacles while flying in three dimensions, occasionally you're given a gun to shoot forward like a shmup, sometimes you're given a bow to target enemies across the screen like a Rail Shooter, and one extended sequence resembles a slow, fully top-down Bullet Hell game.

  • Against the Storm:
    • It's possible to start your settlement next to "world modifiers", which give some benefit or drawback, while promising greater rewards as a result. Most are fairly simple — "start with 50 hostility", "no fertile land", etc — but the Fishmen Ritual Ground changes the entire game: envoys refuse to go near the area, and, as a result, you get no orders. Orders are the primary way of getting difficult-to-obtain resources and Reputation points, plus a major source of new villagers outside of the yearly influx, and so not having access to them makes the game considerably more difficult: the only way to increase Reputation is by getting high Resolve (difficult to do until you've expanded into several glades) and Glade Events (difficult to do as they require resources you might not have easy access to).
    • Settlements next to Seals still play like normal, but filling the Reputation bar doesn't win the game. You need to both find the seal itself — with every glade containing a marker pointing toward its general direction — and reassemble four parts for an Ancient Guardian that'll finish the job.
  • The Binding of Isaac: Most of the gameplay is about collecting permanent items to become stronger and killing enemies and bosses in the player's path. Repentance changes this with a special series of rooms in Mines/Ashpit II: The player temporarily loses their pickups, items, and everything "gained" in the run except their health, forcing them at base stats. After grabbing Knife Piece 2, a chase sequence starts up with an invincible enemy, where the player has to perform light puzzles that involve red bombs and buttons. Puzzle-solving had been a growing part of the game throughout its expansions, but never to this degree, and never to the extent of the segment locking the player out of what they had collected prior.
  • Dicey Dungeons: Robot's episode in Reunion replaces all the dice, which are used to activate weapons, with coins.
  • In Enter the Gungeon, the third stage of the fight against the Resourceful Rat changes tack from the game's normal Bullet Hell shooter format to a Punch-Out!!-style boxing match. Considering that the preceding stage of the fight involved the Rat piloting a fairly explicit Metal Gear REX expy against you, this is a direct reference to the fist-fight that Solid and Liquid Snake held atop the machine. Of course, winning the third round is optional; your run still continues if the Rat knocks you out.
  • One of Nethack's dungeon branches is a series of Sokoban puzzles. Not a totally straight example, as enemies still spawn there.

    Role Playing Game 
  • Anachronox is a JRPG-style game with unskippable debris-dodging, rail-shooting, and turret-defense sequences. Also included are different minigames for character skills, from coin-flipping to democratic debate.
  • Astra Hunter Zosma: In Scorpius Shoal, ship combat utilizes a more traditional battle system where the player character only gets one action per turn instead of Zosma's chain system.
  • Baldur's Gate II is a straightforward party-oriented Western RPG based on the Dungeons & Dragons ruleset — except for one part of the Watcher's Keep area that's a text-based dungeon crawl.
  • Baten Kaitos:
    • Baten Kaitos Origins has a brief stealth segment, as well as a couple of scenes where you have to collect evidence to solve a bombing.
    • The original game, Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean, has a Block Puzzle. A really diabolical Block Puzzle, thanks to the perspective not quite lining up with the basic directions, meaning half the time you'll be straining up against the block and it won't be moving. There's also the Trail of Souls, an Unexpected Shmup Level made to troll those who are going for 100% Completion, and the Ice Goddess and Wizard Shadow battles, both of which seem to think that regular fights in Eternal Wings aren't quite luck-based enough.
  • BattleTech: The Crescent Hawk's Inception: The final area is the Star League Cache, consisting of a key-card puzzle followed by a Copy Protection puzzle, not that the game tells you.
  • BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm is a typical turn-based RPG... except when it isn't. At certain points, especially as you get nearer to the end, you'll suddenly find yourself thrust into platforming levels, Mode 7 Bullet Hell sequences, nonogram puzzle rooms, and all sorts of other crazy situations. The platformer bits stand out especially, mainly because they're so dang hard.
  • In Brave Fencer Musashi, instead of a traditional sword battle, one of the duels against the Quirky Mini Boss Squad required the player to play a version of Simon, with rhythm elements incorporated. It's even Lampshaded when Musashi gleefully rushes in to fight and she takes offense to the idea that he Would Hit a Girl before challenging him to a dance-off instead. There's also the brutally difficult Gondola segment in the mines.
  • The NPCs in Breath of Fire IV force Ryu to perform so many mini-game based quests, that players may feel justified in joining Fou-Lu to blow them all up in the Bad Ending. Notably, there is actually an incentive to do well - it allows the player to upgrade Ryu's elemental dragon forms (not that the game tells you this).
  • Chrono Trigger features a jet bike race in a post-apocalyptic future. There was also the portion where your weapons were confiscated and you had to use stealth to avoid enemies. Having Ayla in your party makes things a bit better, though.
  • Cyberpunk 2077 has Somewhat Damaged, one of the two final missions you can pick for the ending of the Phantom Liberty DLC. While much of the game encouraged aggressive, guns-blazing gameplay, this mission turns into Survival Horror without any warning, pitting V against a robot that cannot be killed or even fought but must be evaded until the objectives are completed. If you want to get a sense of just how terrifying it gets, just know that the creators drew inspiration from Alien: Isolation.
  • One of the major bosses of Dark Souls 1, the Bed of Chaos, was the game's one and only Puzzle Boss- rather than being able to damage it normally, you have to run to one side (while dodging its swipes) and smash a glowing root (which will cause the floor to start dropping out around the arena and for the boss to start lunging at you with a giant fiery claw) then to the other side and smash the other glowing root (which will cause the boss to start generating firestorms). Then you have to make a running jump onto a tree root in the pit in front of it, run up the root and smash through some tangled roots to get to the center of the boss, where you find a weird bug-creature which dies in one hit - then you win. Oddly, the arena destruction is saved between deaths, making it the one boss fight in the entire series with some form of checkpointing. As a puzzle/platforming challenge in a game that was all about careful, measured melee combat (and also had infamously awful jumping controls which you otherwise rarely had to use), it was a drastic departure from every other boss in the game, and also hailed by almost everyone as the absolute worst boss in the entire series.
  • Chapter 2 of Deltarune features a sudden Punch-Out!!-style boxing minigame when Queen challenges Kris to beat her at an arcade game. It comes back in a more elaborate form for the Final Boss fight. The same chapter also features the one-off return of Undertale's shoot-em-up "yellow soul" mechanic during the Spamton NEO fight.
  • The only other Puzzle Boss in the "Souls series" was the Dragon God from Demon's Souls. Like the Bed of Chaos, you couldn't fight it head-on, instead having to sneak along the platforms without being seen and smashing rubble out of your way to reach the two ballistae positioned on either side of it. Once you'd activated both ballistae, the Dragon God would be rendered helpless and you just had to run down to smack its head until it died. Again, it was considered one of the most disappointing bosses in the game.
  • In Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes, you have to defeat an old man in a game of Reversi.
  • The Evoland series is built around this trope. The first game is a stroll through gaming history, switching between several RPG sub-genres and graphical styles as the game progresses. The sequel is less about history and more about cramming in as many different genres as possible. The base game is an Action-Adventure with RPG Elements, but it has sequences of Stealth-Based Mission, Shoot 'Em Up (both top-down and side-scrolling), Beat 'em Up, Platform Game, Turn-Based Strategy, Endless Running Game, Fighting Game, Rhythm Game, Match-Three Game, and of course a Card Battle Game.
  • The Fallout games:
  • Final Fantasy
    • Final Fantasy VI had the Opera House, which required the player to pick between melodramatic lyrics, so that Celes would not mess up the performance and succeed in getting herself kidnapped by Setzer. There was also the fishing minigame during the second portion of the game, which was never even given hints of being a minigame and could be considered incredibly cruel.
    • Final Fantasy VII had several minigames that required the player to complete in order to progress through the game. This included a vehicular combat section, segments of snowboarding and doing squats while climbing a cold mountain to keep Cloud's body temperature up, and the chocobo racing. It also had a minigame of giving CPR to Priscilla. Many of them, after their storyline appearances, could be replayed at the Gold Saucer.
    • Final Fantasy VIII had the Triple Triad cardgame. It could be ignored, but it was one of the best ways to get many rare items and spells. There was also a segment of Squall fighting a mook with a jetpack. Fortunately, if the player messed this up, they were allowed to start the sequence over and choose to tone down the enemy's health.
    • Final Fantasy IX had its own cardgame, though it included a card game tournament section where it had to be played and won at least once to proceed. If the player didn't win all their matches, they'd lose out on a nifty item, although there are other ways to obtain it. There was also Chocobo Hot And Cold, where the player used a chocobo to dig around in designated areas under a short time limit to get items and Chocographs which could be used to find specific spots to dig in on the actual world map to find even better items.
    • Final Fantasy X had Blitzball as its main gameplay change because part of the game focused on the big tournament in Luca, forcing the player to play against an unfairly-balanced team. Fortunately, winning or losing the game made a minute difference in a later scene, and otherwise had no impact beyond just granting a moderately rare extra item.
    • Final Fantasy X-2 had this in the form of the massage minigame, where the player had to massage Leblanc's back just right in order to proceed in the game. Blitzball also makes a return, but this time it's completely optional and is played more like a football manager simulation.
    • Final Fantasy XIII-2 had Academia AF 500. Platforming became the main aspect of advancing in that level because there was no ground. In order to proceed, the player had to jump to the platforms suspended in mid-air and time things right, as several of them rotated. invoked Word of God has confirmed that this was done intentionally, as they wanted the game's jump ability to get its fair share of use.
    • Final Fantasy XV, has Pitioss Ruins, an optional challenge dungeon which the protagonist must face alone, without any weapons. There are no enemies either, just a seemingly endless chain of platforming challenges.
  • Hellgate: London has one mission in which you control a group of fighters which turns the game into an RTS. This section is also incredibly much harder than the rest and is generally beaten by triggering a bug to avoid losing, then chain airstriking the boss for 20 minutes.
    • It also had a mission that essentially switched the game from third person Hack & Slash to Arcade Shooter - it consists of nothing but manning a heavy gun turret and keeping the firing button pressed for about ten consecutive minutes in order to shoot down an Exospector and the armies of critters it shits out in regular intervals.
  • The (optional) Galaga-esque flight segments of Jade Empire.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • The Gummi Ship mini-games, where you go from an Adventure Game to piloting a Star Fox-esque spaceship against waves of enemies. In Kingdom Hearts II, the Atlantica world throws you into a sort of Rhythm Game; this was possibly in response to the original Atlantica, which stayed in-genre but added a badly-implemented third dimension. Finally, one of your Summons allows you to temporarily switch to "FPS Mode".
    • One part of the final boss fight also notably plays like a rail shooter rather than the game's typical fighting system.
    • Kingdom Hearts Re: coded is, for the most part, an RPG with a battle system closest to Birth by Sleep, but every level ends with something different. Olympus, for instance, turns into a turn-based RPG (appropriate, since Cloud is there).
    • Birth By Sleep. Disney Town. You have three minigames, in each character's story you have to do one of them. They are: Kart Racing, a Rhythm game and this volleyball...thing. And you HAVE to do the one in your storyline. And you can't just get a 'decent' score on the rhythm game, it has to be a high one.
  • Knights of the Old Republic contained mandatory (though pathetically easy) arcade sequences where the player had to take down Sith fighters with a ball turret, as well as Random Encounters with Sith fighters when flying between planets. A more annoying mandatory sequence involving swoop bikes was preceded by a long, unskippable cutscene, forcing the player to repeat it over and over in case of defeat during the race. The sequel contains no random encounters, and the plot-driven arcade sequences are no longer mandatory.
    • Rather bizarrely, Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords had a brief sequence with you manning one of the Ebon Hawk's guns against a horde of Sith troopers. Even more strangely, while there was no reward for killing them with the turret, letting them board the ship and then beating them hand-to-hand was worth a healthy chunk of XP.
  • In possibly the earliest example of the trope, the second* installment of Ultima, a turn-based high fantasy RPG, required the player to buy a spaceship, engage in real-time one-on-one space combat, and become a "Space Ace" in order to finish the game. And you thought that astronaut on the cover was just bad art...
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky The 3rd: Sun Door 1, Capua Delivery Service, changes the gameplay from turn-based JRPG to First-Person Shooter as Josette mans her Cool Airship Gatling Good cannon against Gilbert and his armada of Attack Drone, missiles, and strike craft.
  • For most of the game in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, it's a typical rpg with normal attacks where you can use skills called "Crafts" and magic called "Arts". However, the game decides that your two final boss fights are in Divine Knights where the combat system is now suddenly a Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors fight where attacking a part of the enemy will result in Rean getting a chance to unbalance the enemy to give him a chance for a bonus attack. And just to twist the knife further, the Final Boss is a Heads I Win, Tails You Lose fight. Fortunately, the mechanics are fixed in the sequel where they've added a lot of things in the Divine Knight battles.
  • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story has several plot-specific mini-games, ranging from a top-down shooter to a rhythm game.
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance makes you play some Pitfall with the character who activated the machine as the game character. This can be pretty annoying when characters that can usually fly or teleport keep falling into pits.
    • And also an instance of Breakout where one of your characters actually pushes the paddle left and right and plays the game, while the others should try to avoid getting hit by the ball.
  • In Mass Effect 2 when you suddenly have to play as Joker, your pilot with brittle bones disease who can't fight or even run. The level is practically a walk-in cutscene as all you can do is walk slowly along the one safe path while the rest of the crew gets abducted around you. Straying from the safe path will get you instantly killed by enemies that you would normally squash like a bug. It has a very survival horror feel to it.
  • The Dynasty stage in Mega Man X8, where you go from 2D running and shooting to a 3D hovercar chase reminiscent of Star Wars Episode II Attack Of The Clones.
    • Nearly every X game has at least one auto scrolling hoverbike level since Mega Man X4 with the exception of X6. X8 has two of them.
  • Mega Man X: Command Mission is a game-long example - every other Mega Man X game is a platformer, but this is an eastern RPG that plays much more similarly to Capcom's Breath of Fire series. Unlike other examples, it's not a Genre Shift - the plot of the game fits in thematically with other entries to the MMX series.
  • Ōkamiden includes a point where the game becomes a Rhythm Game with your brush (stylus). You have to pass this game to proceed with the story.
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door featured small sidequests in between chapters where the viewpoint shifted temporarily to Peach or Bowser. Three of these mini-chapters starred Bowser playing through parodies of levels from the original Super Mario Bros.
  • The Pokemon Contests in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire.
    • They've been carried over and made even more complicated in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. If you want to master them, you may have to actually train Pokemon specifically for contests, giving them different moves than battle-concentrated Pokemon, and manipulating their natures to fit the contest you want.
    • Diamond & Pearl also have two new mini-games thrown in to take advantage of the DS's touch-screen and wifi capabilities: (There are benefits to playing them at the same time as friends.)
      • A "Poffin-making" game consisting of making circles with the stylus, adjusting the speed and direction in reaction to signals on the screen. The main purpose of this is to make your 'mons perform better in one phase of the contests.
      • An "underground" game allowing you to encounter other players, and set harmless "traps" for them. There's also a mini-game within the mini-game that's somewhat similar to Battleship. Both of these parts are encouraged, to achieve 100% completion.
    • HGSS has the Pokéathelon, which is the Olympics with Pokémon!
    • In Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs, there are levels where you have to chase someone underwater by diving down and levels where you have to dodge swarms of energy bullets.
    • Pokémon Sword and Shield has little minigames and extra challenges in its Gyms: the Grass Gym has you herding Wooloo, and the Water Gym has a puzzle involving switching on and off large water pipes, for instance. The Dark Gym is the only outlier, with players simply fighting their way through opposing trainers to reach the Gym Leader. The Dark Gym also stands out by its lack of a Power Spot, thus leaving Pokémon unable to Dynamax.
    • Pokémon Scarlet and Violet continues to have minigames for Gym challenges, including a Simon Says-style game for the Psychic Gym and a skiing course for the Ice Gym, although some of these challenges also have battles interspersed throughout them. In addition, taking on Team Star requires the player to fight their way through thirty grunt Pokemon before taking on the boss, with this challenge being not dissimilar to real-time strategy. A major change also comes into play when challenging the Elite Four: before you can even take on the first member of the Elite Four, you need to complete an interview. But Thou Must! is not in effect here, either: if you answer poorly, you'll fail the interview and need to start it over from the beginning.
  • The PSP adaptation of Digimon Adventure has a few:
    • One of the Sub-Episodes is a Breather Level where Mimi dates a Numemon. The only gameplay involved is in the form of Pop Quiz, no exploration and no battling whatsoever.
    • The Episode "Centarumon, The Guardian!" suddenly puts you into a puzzle sequence in the Ancient Dino Region's ruins where you have to figure your way out after falling into a trap. There are no wild Digimon encountered there whatsoever until you're reunited with your partner Digimon.
    • One of the early Episodes starring Sora contains a Stealth-Based Mission where you have to navigate the Overdell Graveyard's dungeon without being spotted by the patrolling Bakemon in order to rescue Piyomon/Biyomon (who cannot fit into the small passage you crawled into to escape in the first place), and then Jou/Joe and Gomamon.
  • At one point in Shadow Hearts: Covenant, most of the team is captured by the villains — the only one that escapes? Blanca, your wolf. This triggers a Stealth-Based Mission. Specifically, it is a direct parody of Metal Gear Solid: In order to hide behind walls, the wolf gets up on its hind legs and peers around the corner.
  • Space Rangers 2 starts off by being a RPG-esque space arcade/sim with economic elements. Then there's the RTS sections with Humongous Mecha, which you also can control directly in third person view. Then there's the text-based missions which range from logic puzzles, to math excercises, to "choose your own adventure" style sequences. And then there's the straightforward arcade "fly around and shoot everything" sequences inside wormholes.
    • Sometimes these text-based missions turned out to be economic simulators. Once it even became a text version of the Space Rangers itself. And it's hard to tell what exactly it will turn out to be when you take the quest. Just what are developers expecting from players?
  • Steambot Chronicles, a.k.a. "You got some bemani in my Humongous Mecha Wide-Open Sandbox!".
  • Super Mario RPG has many minigames, which themselves have UGCs; one minigame has you sliding down a waterfall in one part and riding barrels down a river in the next, and another has you riding in a mine cart, alternating between Mode 7 sequences and Minecart Madness.
  • Super Paper Mario has one Boss Battle that becomes a pastiche of Dragon Quest, and another had a Dating Sim-esque segment before the actual fight. There's also an Unexpected Shmup Level.
  • Threads of Fate requires you to play three platform jumping games before you can talk to Fancy Mel and continue your quest.
  • A slight case with the Treasure Island-chapter (see Nested Story above) in the german RPG Die Reise ins All: Aside from changing up the main character and setting, this part remains overall similiar to the main game, with a strong focus on puzzles, exploring, humor and a few mini games. Though, it lacks the typical Turn-Based Combat of the rest of the game.
  • This is part of the mechanics for boss fights in Undertale. Certain bosses can change the color and behavior of your soul, restricting your movement and changing your abilities.
  • In Unleash the Light, some of enemy encounters in the later stages of Hessonite's Warship are puzzle encounters instead. In order to unlock the door, Steven has to throw his shield to change the lights of all the switches to a certain color before he runs out of Star Points.
  • The World Ends with You has Tin Pin/Marble Slash, which is a kind of mini game where you have to knock other people's pins off a platform using your own pin. Thankfully, you only have to play it once, against a very easy opponent, and can stack the odds in your favor six pins to two.
    • And then this trope gets pushed much further in the omake bonus game Another Day, which is all about Tin Pin Slammer and has a complete shift in tone with hilarious results. It's like Square-Enix wrote their own crack fan fic.
  • Quite painful in Xenogears when you enter into a gear combat tournament. This brings in a rather simplistic Street Fighter style combat system, despite the fact that you're not actually doing anything different than when you are usually fighting in your gears (which is standard RPG style).
    • For that matter the on foot combat and Gear combat use somewhat different mechanics and after the first few hours the game is mostly exclusively Gear combat. However there is still the occasional dungeon where you have to go about on foot, notably the Disc 1 finale which is about a 4 hour segment where the characters are entirely without their Gears the entire way.
  • Yume 2kki normally plays like a standard RPGMaker game, but there are one or two worlds where the formula is switched up.
    • The Mini Maze area is set from a first-person perspective and is the only world with a Level-Map Display.
    • The FC Caverns is a fully-fledged 2D platformer and the various effects can alter the gameplay.

    Shoot Em Up 
  • While a good 75% of CT Special Forces has the player battling enemy insurgents from a side-view, occasionally the game will drop an unexpected Sniping Mission (players know when this would happen, if they see a bullseye-shaped checkpoint) requiring the players to snipe all enemies before they can proceed. There are also entire levels which suddenly becomes a top-down shooter with the player commandeering a helicopter to battle insurgent aircrafts and anti-air defenses. The third game also have a couple of Escort Missions requiring the players to transport hostages out of enemy territory instead of simply battling insurgents.
  • In the Shoot 'Em Up Dogyuun, the final stage involves you boxing two robots to death with a giant robot of your own...and there is no foreshadowing to this whatsoever unless you play the two player mode. Watch it here!
    • More lenient that other examples here, as your mech is completely invulnerable to damage.
  • Hotline Miami has the Hospital in the "Trauma" chapter, which is oftentimes cited as That One Level due to the fact that you have no weaponry at all and you must stealthily manoeuvre your way to the exit.
  • Should you unlock the second loop of Ketsui, the game will dramatically change the scoring system; instead of a chain-based system where you point-blank enemies and then chain enemies for '5' chips, you can only get '1' chips and you can't chain enemies. In the standard "omote" loop, you won't get chips if you prevent enemies from firing their post-death bullets by killing them up-close, but you get a bonus for doing so in the special "ura" loop.
  • During the final mission in Metal Slug 3, the player characters board "Astro Slugs", and the game turns into a top-side scrolling shooter.
  • Super Cyborg, for the most part, is a side-scrolling Run-and-Gun action game, save for the fifth level which suddenly shifts to a top-down perspective. After killing the boss you then shift back to side-view for the rest of the game.
  • TAGAP has a few sections that change the gameplay, such as where you can fly/swim (8-way movement) and/or are in control of a vehicle (can only use the vehicle's weapons, which have infinite ammo). Two notable ones are in the second game:
    • A turret section on a dinghy that's speeding forward. Various enemies try to predict your trajectory and shoot you, but you can briefly speed up or slow down the dinghy to make them miss.
    • A platforming section on a scooter, while you're completely defenseless except for a charge attack. Most of the level is spent timing your sprints to jump over obstacles, or by progressing through a series of jumps.

    Simulation Game 
  • Mild example: in both Descent: Freespace and Freespace 2, an ambush early in the game led by some enemy flagship inevitably results in you being part of the mission to take it down - in a bomber. Command comes up with some excuse as to resources being stretched to justify assigning a fighter squadron to bombing work, and your squadron leader gives you a quickie on bombing on the briefing screen. While not at all a big deal to players who've done the campaign at least once (you get assigned to bomber squads later on), it's incredibly disconcerting to new players for not only do bombers handle much differently to fighters, bombing capital ships is radically different to dogfighting. There's no bombing tutorial for both games either, in a series that otherwise has great tutorials for everything else (even escorting ships from bombers has its own tutorial).
  • Freelancer has one mission you need to go into race course. It can be hard doing that mission using freighters.
  • Growing Up is mostly a Visual Novel along with a resource-gathering/management game where you build your stats to unlock skills by collecting resources in the Brain Map, and then work on these skills by adding them to your schedule. But when it's time for exams, you work on your grade by playing a Match-Three Game where you remove groups of blocks of the same color.
  • In the final level of Hunt for Red October, it changes from a submarine Shoot 'Em Up to an action platformer where you have to disarm bombs on the sub.
  • Ooblets: In most of the towns, you have to challenge the residents to Ooblet dance-offs in order to reach the local Oobnet tower. In Port Forward, you instead have to get the high scores in six arcade minigames. Or you can pay someone to give you high scores by hacking.
  • In Princess Maker 2, a Raising Sim, if you get your daughter a job as an Adventurer, you play through RPG-esque sequences in four different lands; indeed, half the content of the game is in this part.
  • The Sims 4: StrangerVille is a story-based game pack that sees your Sims solving a supernatural mystery in the titular town and ends with a full-on boss fight — not something you see every day in a Sims game!
  • The last in the series of Star Wars: Rogue Squadron games on the Nintendo GameCube did this when it introduced on-foot sections and/or levels to what had been a spacefighter combat game.
    • This is because the RS series is descended from Shadows of the Empire. SotE was mostly a 3rd/1st-person shooter on foot, but also featured a number of Unexpected Gameplay Change sequences. While the game as a whole was decent but unremarkable, one of the aforementioned sequences (The Battle of Hoth from Episode V) got enormous praise, so the developers decided to make a series out of it.
  • Trillion: God of Destruction is similar to Princess Maker 2, though not as extensive. The RPG segments are exclusive to Hell, and the Raising Sim segments are less varied due to the ever-looming threat of Trillion.
  • X-Wing Alliance does this. Most of the game it's a fun dog fighter/space superiority game. Then suddenly the final mission is an obstacle course. Although you could it coming from a mile off. Whole game building up to you piloting the Millennium Falcon at the Battle of Endor. Hmm, wonder what will happen now. That said, X-Wing did this too.
  • X3: Reunion has one in the second mission, where the space simulator combat of the rest of the game is replaced by an incredibly buggy, poorly implemented rail shooter sequence.

    Sports Game 

    Stealth Based Game 
  • In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, part of the mission to destroy the Machine Gun is an Unexpected Shmup Level, while destroying the Bomber culminates in a flight-action sequence.
    • Also, Sequence 8 has all of the player's weapons disabled and you're only able to use the Apple of Eden while you cut off all of Cesare's resources.
    • In Assassin's Creed: Revelations Den Defenses are Tower Defense minigames, while the sections where you dive into Desmond's history after collecting Animus Data Fragments are first-person platformers that require the careful placement of geometric shapes to complete. All that's missing, especially during the final sequence, which takes place in Desmond's memory of Abstergo, is a psychotic female AI snarking at you.
    • III and IV have Fanorona and Nine Men's Morris mini games, and IV adds Draughts (Checkers) as well. All of these are complicated enough that you won't win unless you have a very good understanding of the game but not so complicated that your opponent can't be a near-perfect play AI. The computer never concedes and is happy for games to go on forever as long as it can deny the player a win. Nine Men's Morris is perhaps the worst since it effectively has a handicap system that prevents an early lead from becoming a certain victory. These games aren't necessary to complete the story but they are linked with achievements/challenges and so can rob the player of that Last Lousy Point.
  • Escape from Butcher Bay is for the most part a thrilling mashup of throat-slashing stealth and amazing first-person melee combat. Fighting an armed prison guard head-on is likely to get you killed. 2/3rds through you finally pick up a firearm of your own, which turns it into a 1st-person shooter. The REAL gameplay change though, comes after you get access to a nigh-indestructible mech and get to crush all those enemies you hid from for most of the game in pure power fantasy style.
  • The largely slow-paced Metal Gear Solid series usually features at least one hectic, run-and-gun segment per game. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty features a relatively long underwater swimming sequence.
    • And Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns Of The Patriots features a major fight scene between Snake and Ocelot. Nothing unusual about that, except both characters are piloting Metal Gears, Snake in REX, and Liquid in RAY. The only thing better than a bitchslap, is one involving 100-ton bipedal death machines. That doesn't really matter since it's completely awesome.
      • Another boss battle does something similar in which the game adopts fighting game mechanics and different controls for the final fistfight between Snake and Ocelot.
    • Snake's Revenge featured Rush'n Attack-esque side-scrolling segments in which the only way Snake can conceal his presence whenever the enemy faces his direction is by crawling on the ground. Oddly enough, setting plastic explosives to kill enemies does not trigger the alarm like it does in the regular areas.
    • Relatedly, in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, if the player saves their game and turns it off right after Naked Snake is captured in a cell, the next time they turn it on they will be subject to an Easter Egg which isn't just a genre shift, it's a complete game shift.
      • A less extreme example, After planting the C3 on Shagohod´s fuel cells and defeating Volgin, EVA picks you up on her bike, and you ride the sidecar as troops, bike troops, and SHAGOHOD ITSELF (commandered by Volgin) chase both of you. Controls are the same (save for EVA driving the bike) but it plays essentially like a rail shooter, since you MUST go into first person mode. Following that, a slight change occurs again, as you must blow EVA´s bomb with a sniper rifle in order to drop Shagohod from a bridge.
    • And then there's the fun of the completely non-canon skateboarding minigame in the PS2 version of Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance - one of the most unexpected, stupid and yet somehow incredibly enjoyable worksafe minigames ever conceived.
    • The sword gameplay in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Unlike all the weapons you have been using in the game, you have to use the Right Analog stick to perform slashing combos.
    • Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes has a Nostalgia Level-themed story mode called "Deja Vu". Apart from the silly mission objectives and deliberately unsubtle Continuity Porn the gameplay is the same slow-paced dark stealth as the core game, until you complete the game after recreating all of the SCENEs - upon which the game suddenly shifts into a quiz game about the original Metal Gear Solid with multiple choice answers, Liquid Snake and Ocelot hosting and a whooping Studio Audience.
  • The stealth recon levels in the Rainbow Six series.
  • Optional in Second Sight. On some levels you can stop in the middle of your Psychic Powers-enabled infiltrations and play what amounts to Asteroids on in-game computers.
  • Splinter Cell: Blacklist, despite being a third person action-stealth game, requires players to beat two First-Person Shooter segments as Briggs (with a totally different pre-set inventory) for two parts of the train station mission. While the creators were decent enough to restrict the pacifist requirements to Sam's parts, as well as remove the "Totally Unseen" challenge from the map, playing a clunky assault section with only a handful of non-lethal gadgets (restricting "Ghost Points" and making perfect stealth even harder) makes it of very mixed popularity.
  • The fourth mission of Splinter Cell: Conviction is a flashback to the Gulf War that plays more like a tactical FPS/TPS in the vein of Ghost Recon, and you are instead playing as Victor Coste, who has to rescue Fisher.

    Survival Horror 
  • Alone in the Dark (1992)'s Final Dungeon unexpectedly incorporates platform jumping, which does not fit well with the game's Tank Controls.
  • Dead Space is somewhat notorious for its shifts from a survival horror to a Shoot 'Em Up kind of mission on two occasions. The first time you are defending the ship from incoming asteroids and later you're fighting a boss. Both are regarded as being annoyingly difficult even ignoring the high standards set by the achievements.
    • Dead Space 3 continues the trend by suddenly throwing in a rail-shooter segment completely out of nowhere, and you also have to fly a ship while blasting space debris at the same time!
  • Die Young is mostly about stealth and exploration and avoiding combat unless you have every possible advantage. But midway through the game you suddenly get dropped into an arena with a Bullfight Boss. It happens again at the end with a very tanky boss and a lot of mooks standing between you and escape.
  • Most chapters of Eternal Darkness are strictly affairs of "get from point A to B" with some short instances of backtracking to get around obstacles in earlier sections. Roberto Bianchi's chapter, "The Forbidden City", is all about examining specific aspects of some rooms to judge their structural integrity throughout the entire area and then backtracking all the way back to the beginning to report your findings to the soldiers who have taken you prisoner. This same mechanic gets taken back into Alex's hub area as the means of finding the next chapter page, which was previously hidden behind a painting.
  • Hungry Lamu: The first half of he game you play as Lamu from a top-down perspective, with everything being drawn in a cartoon-y style and a narrator giving you instructions. The second half switches to a straight-up first person Survival Horror and you play from the perspective of the lone surviving camper whose friends and dog you just murdered and ate as Lamu.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Claire's story in Resident Evil 2 (Remake) has one section where you take control of 12 year old Sherry who is imprisoned by Chief Irons at an orphanage and you have to escape. When Irons finds her, Sherry has to avoid being caught by him until he gets distracted so she can swipe his keys. If Sherry gets caught by Irons, he grabs her and traps her inside her room.
    • In Resident Evil 4, Del Lago (The Lake) boss battle occurs in a off-board motor boat in the middle of a lake, using harpoons. Additionally, for this installment's token escape sequence, you board a jet ski with Ashley and pilot your way through a relative direct but collapsing cave system (including jump ramps). Except for the levels where Ashley drives that slow truck, there are no other vehicular combat or vehicle-driving parts in the game.
    • When you battle Nosferatu and Alexia Ashford in Resident Evil – Code: Veronica, you have to use scoped weapons found nowhere else in the game. The Nosferatu battle is particularly hard because you have only six bullets for your rifle, and it takes 4 direct shots to kill the boss. If you run out and have to use another weapon, well, lots of luck.
    • Resident Evil 5 has the Airboat level. You're forced to battle aboard it at one point, which amounts to you very slowly driving in circles waiting for Sheva to finally land hits on the enemies, whining every step of the way about your poor driving regardless of how well you do.
    • Resident Evil 6 has a couple of Stealth Based Missions, and a notoriously difficult high speed chase through town, with no warning, foreshadowing, or chance to practice. What's worse, is you're forced to let your A.I. partner have a go at the wheel for half the race, regardless of which character you choose. Have fun, chumps!

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering features the cards Chaos Orb and Falling Star, which involve literally dropping the cards onto the playing field to damage/destroy what they fall onto (nothing else in the game involves physical dexterity, besides cards from joke sets anyways). For this reason they were eventually banned.
  • Pathfinder Adventure Path Kingmaker is a giant sandbox in which the players are granted a royal charter to tame a wild land full of beasts and monsters. Then, having beaten the first big boss in the game, their patrons donate a sizable fund and a second royal charter to settle that wilderness. The players suddenly have to build cities, buildings, and terrain improvements when just before they were dungeon-crawling adventurers. For the rest of the game, they alternate between both roles.
    • Pathfinder likes doing this:
      • "Edge of Anarchy," the first part of the Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path, briefly moves from a grid into abstracted movement for a dramatic rooftop chase sequence.
      • "The Six Trials of Larozod," the second part of the Council of Thieves Adventure Path, centers aroud a section where the PCs serve as actors in a play, meaning the players are portraying their characters who are themselves portraying characters. It's not just twenty pages of reading lines, either: the play is intended in-universe to be potentially lethal to its performers, so each act includes a combat encounter or other dangerous challenge. The PCs must not only overcome these challenges and survive to the play's conclusion, but do so while putting on a good show. It's widely considered one of the most memorable adventures in all of Pathfinder.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • Enter the Matrix is largely a Third-Person Shooter but includes driving and hacking sections and concludes with a spaceship (well, hovercraft) combat sequence.
  • Gears of War 2 has a stealth mission which was actually cut from the campaign, but can still be played via optional DLC. At the very beginning you are given the option of doing the stealth mission or going in guns blazing. If you do the stealth mission and are detected, the game just switches over to straight combat.
  • Giants: Citizen Kabuto did this four times. It changes from 3rd person shooter to tactical RTS to 3rd person magic-em-up to 3rd person rampage stomp-em-up. Seemingly at will. The game had 3 races, each with a different play style. Each race was firmly rooted in a single genre but the campaign cycled through the races to tell its story, leading to this trope. Multiplayer was an aversion due to the lack of race changing.
  • Jazzpunk has this trope as an occasional incentive to explore the various levels. For example, a frog wants to hack a nearby coffee shop Wi-Fi password, but his Augmented Reality goggles are located in the middle of the road. Cue a sudden match of Frogger.
  • Jet Force Gemini is a gory, fast-paced 3D shoot 'em up - except for the one stage that's a kart racer. Complete with power-ups and a multiplayer option. Makes a bit more sense if you remember the game's engine was originally written for Diddy Kong Racing, but still...
  • About halfway through Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath, the game switches from a bounty hunt where you go from town to town collecting outlaws to a survival game where you are the outlaw, the money you have been collecting is useless and everyone is out to kill you.
  • The rail shooter Sin and Punishment turns into a side-scroller in Stage 3-2.
    • The sequel was worse in this regard; other than some air close rage combat that was well intergrated, at the end of one of the stages it turned into a fighting game with horrible boundaries.

    Turn Based Strategy 
  • Battle for Wesnoth's Liberty campaign has a sudden (and thankfully easy) Stealth Based Level in the middle of it.
  • Subverted in Disgaea: A group of Prinnies, knowing they can't defeat Laharl in combat, challenge him to a baseball game, complete with diamond and Gratuitous English voice shouting "Play ball!" Laharl turns to Etna: "Kill 'em." Cue one of the most ridiculously fun fights in the game (throw a Prinny and it explodes, and all the enemies are Prinnies).
  • One chapter in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance is a sudden Stealth Based Level. Thankfully, stealth is optional, the player can fight the boss for his loot without raising alarm, and the reward is ultimately just a huge chunk of bonus experience.
  • Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation has a similar stealth-based level in one of the later missions. This time it's both fiendishly hard, and has some unique rewards, including Boots.
  • The Sunrider franchise is all about turn-based space combat between starships and Humongous Mecha, but one mission in Sunrider 4: The Captain's Return repurposes the combat interface for a puzzle-solving dungeon crawl through an abandoned space station. The player's units can't use their weapons in this mission, as there isn't any combat, and must make their way to the exit of each floor while dealing with the fact that you can only have up to three doors open at a time.

    Visual Novel 
  • The Detective Drama Visual Novel Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony has the Death Road of Despair, which is, of all things, a Platform Hell obstacle course brought in at the beginning of Chapter 1, with all manner of tricks such as bombs disguised as coins, moving platforms that speed up when you jump at them and bombs placed in extremely hard-to-avoid places. Unlike other examples, you aren't actually expected to complete it (and doing so is unfairly hard, anyway), since it's only there to present a Hope Spot to the students by giving them a supposed means of escape. You later return to it with hammers to disable the traps, making it far easier. If you somehow complete it in Chapter 1, though, it gives you a Monopad theme, some Monocoins and an extra cutscene.
  • Dream Daddy features a range of one-off mini-games that pop up at more or less random points when interacting with any romanceable character. They include Pokémon-style battles where you compete with another dad to brag about your kids' achievements, a Frogger-style challenge where you have to find your friend in a crowded bar, a puzzle game challenging you to fix a garden ornament you just broke before your date gets back, a mini-golf competition, etc.
  • Anghel's route in Hatoful Boyfriend turns into an RPG battle when you burst in to save him from Doctor Shuu - er, the Dark Sorceror Wallenstein.
  • In Sucker for Love, for the most of First Date, the rituals player performs are a method of advancing the plot, must be done in order, are revealed in the book one by one, and you can take as much time as you like to cast them. But in the "date" with Nyanlatothep, if you defy her, you receive a book of counter-rituals, all of which are available from the start, and the correct rituals must be performed within time limit in reaction to various spooky happenings in the aparment, or the protagonist will be killed. The gameplay in that segment is not unlike a simplified Five Nights At Freddys.
  • Suzerain is a Political Strategy Game presented as a text-based visual novel. Later in the game, The Day of Descension Ceremony suddenly throws you into a memory puzzle in which you are tasked with remembering (or at least having the foresight to write down) the very specific steps to a religious ritual to avoid embarrassing yourself on national television.
  • The Tokimeki Memorial series of games often feature RPG elements thrown in for some reason. If you go on a date with a girl there's a possibility of being attacked by thugs. Losing gives you a very bad reputation with your date. Winning ends the date but gives you a relationship bonus. Also during the school trip you'll be attacked by a mongoose, deer, or aliens but you're given a choice, run away alone (very very bad relationship hit), run away together (bad relationship hit) or fighting. Losing here will still give you a bonus to your relationship (because at least you tried) but winning will make the relationship much better. They can be especially tough fights if you've got no sports stats or after school club.
    • The second Tokimemi game makes it even worse if you end up having the same girlfriend as one of your two male friends making it IMPOSSIBLE TO WIN if you fail to beat them. Bonus points with Akane who you have to beat up her brother several times in order to win with her.
  • Not so much Unexpected Gameplay Change and more like Unexpected Gameplay, period but the last episode of Umineko: When They Cry contains some puzzles you have to answer to get bonus scenes and a choice which decides which of the Multiple Endings you get, its not much, but even this minuscule bit of gameplay was very unexpected for a series that for 7 episodes was a straight visual novel with absolutely no interaction whatsoever.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • The final stages of Dead Rising do this a lot. Once the Special Forces arrive the gameplay shifts violently from fighting hordes of stupid, slow zombies to fighting intelligent enemies with ranged weapons who capture instead of killing, with a lot more emphasis on stealth. The second-to-last part of the story suddenly puts you into a gun turret fighting off a tank. Then for the final boss you lose all your weapons and have to fight him with those hand-to-hand moves you probably never bothered to learn because a chainsaw always worked so much better.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas featured a couple of stealth segments in the main story, and more in the form of sidequests.
    • Many of the missions were horribly designed, nearly impossible to control flight simulators. What truly makes this awful is that while flying itself was very straightforward and easy, the mandatory missions forced the player to use the poorest plane available. Imagine if the player had to do the street racing segments with a street sweeper, the slowest motor vehicle in the game.
    • RC Plane, Query Missions, Caesar's Races, Pilot School, rhythm sequences
    • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City had a boat mission with horrible controls. "It's time for the Lance Vance Dance", for example. Vice City Stories has the Boomshine Blowout mission, where you have to remove crates from a maze of a burning warehouse with a forklift.
    • Several of the GTA games from Vice City onward have 3rd or 1st person rail-shooter segments.
  • Grand Theft Auto V takes this to the extreme with some of its optional stealth approaches. For example, Michael can infiltrate a skyscraper by posing as a new janitor; in order to maintain his cover and plant bombs, however, the player has to move between bomb points with a mop and bucket. Bearing in mind the series has been labelled a "Murder Simulator", the entire sequence requires controlling Michael as he cleans up numerous muddy footprints around the hallways, even to the point you have to occasionally rinse the mop to prevent dirt smears.
  • The Legacy of Kain series goes through several of these. Blood Omen is a top-down RPG, Soul Reaver and its sequel were very similar to each other but nothing like Blood Omen 2. Defiance. Nosgoth is just a multiplayer game with very little (if any) story.
  • Saints Row IV has a few of these. Throughout the game, you'll find yourself in a top-down tank battle game a-la Combat, a side-scrolling beat-'em-up, and a text adventure or two. Saints Row: The Third also featured some of the same brief gameplay switcheroos, only they were all confined to one particular mission.
  • Sunset Overdrive has flight simulator gameplay with the glider.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Sudden Gameplay Change


Mean Bean Boss Battle

The boss of Chemical Plant Zone isn't one of Eggman's mechas, but a familiar puzzle duel.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / UnexpectedGameplayChange

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