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Either wait until Level 35, or mess with this guy and get cut into 35 different pieces. Your call. Also: Stealth Pun!

"Overall responsible for the most novice explorer deaths. Skilled explorers need not fear it."
Monstrous Codex entry on the Great Lynx, Etrian Odyssey III

You can go wherever you want...but if you try to go anywhere out of order, the game will kill you.

Later areas are guarded by disproportionately powerful enemies that will beat you down for approaching them too early. As a player, you're supposed to recognize that as a sign that you should just come back later. With any luck, you'll be ready for those challenges by the time the game actually mentions them.

The good news is that if you're somehow miraculously able to pull it off early, via some sort of Outside the Box Tactic application of the Useless Useful Spell, clever strategy, or sheer luck, then you get to learn why there's nothing quite like enjoying amounts of experience and equipment drops that you probably weren't intended to have until fifteen hours later. It can also sometimes be fun to beat them for Sequence Breaking purposes, depending.

The other way to defeat a Beef Gate, of course, is Level Grinding—in games that allow you to.

Note that if the way is guarded by an enemy that is simply invincible until you get a specific upgrade and you cannot sneak past another way, it's not a Beef Gate, it's a Broken Bridge. To qualify as this trope, Sequence Breaking must be at least theoretically possible. Compare Cash Gate, where you need Global Currency instead of XP to advance the plot.

Examples of Beef Gate include:

Action Adventure

  • The Legend of Zelda was completely wide-open, with nothing stopping players from entering any area on the map (except the last dungeon) and fighting enemies which can kill them in one hit. Of course, it is possible to survive if the player is skilled enough.
  • Shantae - Going directly left of the First Town results in your being assaulted by a pack of nagas—they move quickly, shoot homing screech attacks, and they have huge amounts of health (moreso at night). You'll need powerful attack items, more health, and possibly one of the optional strong attacks to survive. Or you can sneak by with Vanishing Cream, but you'll meet a Broken Bridge anyway.
  • In Castlevania: Simon's Quest, going left initially is an easy way to get butchered by way-too-powerful enemies.
  • In Star Control II, if you try to leave the solar system without first visiting the starbase near Earth, you are forced to fight off enemies continuously everywhere you go. (About every 5 seconds on average). This did not stop people from managing to beat the entire game in this state, a task which is even harder than it sounds due to the fact that, among other things, no starbase means no speed upgrades or weapon upgrades, and the game has a time limit.
  • Rune Factory 2 and 3 will give you access to all but the final dungeon from the start of the game, but unless you want to die, stick to the spring themed one.
  • You can try a speed run through Quest for Glory I. If the ogre doesn't kill you (you can run past him with speed or the right magic), then the kobold will. And if you somehow manage to kill the kobold (possible as a magic user with a lot of mana potions), then you'll get slaughtered when you get to the Brigand Fortress. And if, through some miracle, you manage to get through the Brigand Fortress, Baba Yaga's quest, which sends you to the graveyard at midnight, will likely cause you to run into some difficulties from the incredibly tough monsters that lurk in the night.

First Person Shooter

  • In S.T.A.L.K.E.R. heading into the restricted area of The Bar without authorization will result in you getting marked as an enemy of Duty followed by being quickly gunned down by guards.
  • Borderlands
    • If you go the wrong way during the introductory missions against Nine-Toes you'll run up against Badass Skags twice your level.
    • The DLCs you can visit pretty anytime. It is possible to go shoot some zombies in the first DLC with a low-level charater. You might be able to speed run right through it, but expect to use many revives.

Four X

Interactive Fiction

  • A very old example: in the text-based game of The Hobbit, your path is blocked briefly by trolls, who will eat you if you try to fight them. Normally, one waits for daybreak so that they'll turn to stone, but very rarely they can be killed by Thorin and Gandalf. It's also possible to get into their cave early without the key by breaking the door, though by the time you get Sting, they'll have petrified.


  • City of Heroes
    • There is nothing to stop level one players from entering the higher-level city zones—even Peregrine Island, where even the random purse-snatchers have an average level of 50 or so.
    • The sidekicking system, which allows you to temporarily bring one teammate up to your level (but without granting them new powers) would be nigh-useless if all zones were level restricted. This system makes it much easier for friends to play together without worrying about outleveling each other.
    • Unfortunately, since dying sends you to the geographically nearest hospital and not the last one you visited, there are areas (Independence Port, for one) where you can be take two steps in, be cut down, and wake up halfway across the zone with 40+ high-level mobs between you and safety.
  • Pandora Saga's game world opens up between level 20-25 (out of 50). Only the monsters in the shared maps between the factions' capitals are anywhere below level 40 while those in the open PK regions and the faction exclusive maps are massively overpowered for their level. Needless to say even a full party of capped players can wipe against world trash on a bad day.
  • World of Warcraft has several.
    • The high level zone of Plaguelands located right next to the undead starting zone. There is a gate that separates the zones and some high level NPCs guarding it, so most players should probably realize they shouldn't go there, but nothing prevents them from doing so, and running into Extremely Pleasant Bears.
    • Redridge Mountains (one of the early zones for Alliance players) is similarly connected (via a big intimidating-looking gate) to the much-higher leveled Burning Steppes.
    • On the other hand, there are a number of zones when there's no such forewarning. Ashenvale is a particularly notable offender, since that zone is smoothly connected to a much higher-level zone (Felwood) with no obvious "danger ahead" signs.[1]
    • Similarly, don't try going from Duskwood into Deadwind Pass at less than level 40, unless you have a deathwish or can run very fast. Ironically, there's a quest available around level 40 that requires you to do exactly that.

Doubly so on a Horde character: There's an Alliance town in your way that's tricky to bypass. The horde actually have quests to go there around level 30, (better get that mount you could get when you dinged 20, you'll need it!) and having to run from far south through an Alliance Zone, completely through a hostile town, and then through Deadwind. On top of that becomes the quest you get from there to Kargath which either requires you to go back through that town, up through the opposing faction's starting areas, and then through level 50 zones with far more mobs than deadwind, or you get the longest run in the game. The horde is not happy.

    • The infamous "Wetlands death run," a route that night elf and draenei players originally had to take in order to get to the Alliance capitals in the Eastern Kingdoms for the first time. It was called that because most players go there at fairly low level, since Darnassus and the Exodar are practically ghost towns, and the zone they had to go through is filled with mobs roughly twice their level. Patch 3.0.2 eliminated the death run once and for all by redirecting the Auberdine-Menethil ship to the newly implemented Stormwind Harbor.
    • Anyway, it was always possible to avoid the whole thing by swimming. Assuming you avoid the hammerhead shark and the murlocs in Menethil Harbour's waters, the rest of the journey is completely safe (if incredibly long and boring) until you hit the level 10 murlocs guarding the Westfall coast. (This way, you'd actually end up going through the place where Stormwind Harbor is now - before they built it. You have to admire the human builders for turning the towering, vertical, wall-like cliffs that used to be there into a harbor just like that.)
    • Don't ever try to leave Moonglade by way of Timbermaw Hold on a low-level character. You will die. This particular Beef Gate, however, is later bypassed in a diplomatic fashion: The furbolgs can be befriended at higher levels.
    • Ashenvale and Duskwood (both mid-20s zones), and the Hinterlands and Feralas (both mid-40s zones), each contain a little side area in which a raid-boss-level dragon is guarded by several level 62 elite dragonkin. If you're a young'un out exploring the zone to see what's there, you'll be in for a nasty surprise.
    • This is basically the function of "gear check" bosses that appear at the start of some dungeons, such as Brutallus or Vael. These fights require the raid to put out a very high amount of damage in a very short amount of time while not getting killed by periphery attacks. The message is if you aren't well equipped enough and coordinated enough to beat this thing, you have no business being in the dungeon—they're typically the second boss or so, so you can still throw yourself against one before it and gear people up.
    • Back in Vanilla WoW, Alliance warlocks were basically forced to run through a Beef Gate at Level 20 to get their succubus summon; the questline was found in the Barrens and Ashenvale, leading to the following wonderful options: either you had to run the length of Loch Modan and the Wetlands to get to Menethil Harbor and take the boat to Ashenvale, then run through the Barrens (a Horde zone at about your level), or you could run though Duskwood and Stranglethorn Vale to the very south tip, dodging Level 40+ mobs and players as you went to get to a boat that way.
    • Prior to the Cataclysm, starting Tauren had two choices once they arrived at Camp Taurajo in the Barrens: Either take the long and insanely boring walk north to the Crossroads (Without deviating from the road), or head south and die painfully.
  • Ever Quest had, back in the days before the Plane of Knowledge, a few of these.
    • Kithicor Forest to Highpass Hold was, in the early days, a killer. Kithicor is a newbie zone in the daytime, but at night swarms with level 45+ undead.
    • The run from Steamfont Mountain to Greater Faydark ran through the Lesser Faydark - an extremely treacherous zone that is mainly low-to-mid level but roamed by some extremely strong higher level monsters, including of course the brownie scouts which have a habit of "snaring" (lowering the run speed) of players they attack.
  • Eve Online is perhaps the embodiment of this trope. As soon as you create your character, you can wing it for the nearest low security space. Except of course, your tiny ship is more likely to be blown up by marauding players rather than NPCs.
  • Final Fantasy XI
    • If you want to go anywhere after the first twenty levels on a new character, you'll be needing to make a Stealth Run through a Beef Gate. This is worse for players from Windurst; the easiest way to reach the Valkurm Dunes - the usual leveling grounds from Lv.10 to Lv.20 - is to cross a freaking ocean on a boat occasionally infested by very nasty monsters. Hope you set your Home Point once you get there.
    • It gets easier once you hit Lv.20 and are able to apply for your Chocobo License. Although the amount of time you can spend on a Chocobo is limited, enemies won't attack you; the only way to die on a Chocobo is to be caught in an Area Of Effect spell aimed at another player.
      • Additionally, there are areas that Chocobos will refuse to enter, and you must dismount and enter on foot. These are usually the interior areas, like castles and caves.
    • Simply reaching your experience party's camp often requires avoiding monsters within one zone, let alone multiple zones. Valkurm Dunes and Qufim Island are good examples of this, particularly the latter due to dangerous undead creatures wandering at night.
    • For the most part though, a character can travel almost anywhere in the game provided they are good at avoiding mobs and/or have access to the items or spells that give the effects of Sneak and Invisible. Many quests and missions in the game require you to travel to areas that are beyond your ability to pass safely through in a reasonable amount of time without avoiding aggro.
  • Perfect World has one third of players start out with the ability to fly, and a wide open map. What prevents you from going to the end-game city? Why, the part where you'll get flying level 80s on your tail. Taking the wrong fork in the road or following a small canyon can likewise have a level 10 player walk straight into level 100s. There is usually warnings, though.
    • Special mention: Everyone in the Human race starts out slightly north of a bridge going over Originia River. Here's a tip: Don't cross that bridge. Really. Because on the other side of that bridge, there's highly aggro level 40+ mobs. And if you die there, you'll be warped to a higher-level city. Keep in mind that it is easily possible to go there at level 1 before you get any teleport points. If you're female, you might get lucky enough to have a free ride back to Inn of the Eagle, but if you're male, well, good luck not attracting aggro.
      • Speaking of Originia River, if you're Tideborn, you're using Tideform instead of flying, and you have to get to Etherblade fast, use Originia, not the ocean. Why? Because the ocean steers right around Mount Lantern, which is one of the few areas with higher-level water mobs. Yeah.
  • The Gaia Online MMORPG, zOMG!, pretty much allows players to wander wherever. Oh, sure, if you try to go anywhere but south of Barton to start, guards will stop you, 'cause you aren't strong enough, but that doesn't stop you from walking into suicidally tough areas the long way. In fact, this is pretty much the main reason anyone hangs around to orb farm.
    • It is/was difficult to enter Bass'ken Lake if not close to the recommended level because the Outlaw Pup den was near the entrance and spawned mobs of the beasts.
  • Ragnarok Online can be like this if you happen to enter the wrong map. It doesn't help that the higher a monster's level is, the more likely it is to attack you on sight. Then there are mini-bosses and MVPs, which spawn intermittently on what could otherwise be fairly safe maps. Turn the wrong corner without expecting it, and you'll be dead before you can even register what hit you.
  • There is a notable example in Maple Story—at the bottom of the clock tower in Ludibrium, there's two paths, and in the last area sits a boss that is almost impossible to avoid, and whose level is guaranteed to be over Level 130. However, the thief class in this game comes with Dark Sight, which protects from physical and touch damage from monsters, but at levels lower than maximum it reduces speed. Hence, any thief with enough speed-enhancing equipment can literally walk through the right-hand one, Thanatos, and get to an area where the only notable feature is a locked door leading to an even stronger, and much-more-famous, boss at the extreme bottom of the clock tower.
  • The Lord of the Rings Online has North Chetwood, a rather low-level area with Mooks that range from levels 10-14 (and an easily avoidable Boss in Mook Clothing at 15). However, there is a path that leads to the Weather Hills, filled with regular Mooks with levels around 20, and Elite Mooks which are at level 55.
    • The game later almost breaks this trope in Angmar. If you attempt to cross a certain part of the swamp, your character literally gets scared to death (translation: your "dread" gets so high that it paralyzes your movement and decreases your "morale" until you have none left). A certain quest in the storyline has to be beaten before you can cross this area. Of course, you can still power-level your way through the storyline quests if you so choose, but that does mean there's virtually no way a player can get there without leveling up.
    • To gate content that hasn't yet been added to the game, the east bank of the Anduin is lined with level 65 raid-calibre stealth-breaking archers. Characters with the highest Morale in the game last 2-3 hits against them, and it's seemingly impossible to aggro just one, keeping players on the west bank, in Lorien.
    • The Blue Mountains, a level 5-15 starter area, has an high 40s dungeon, which new players can simply wander into, and instantly die. There are a couple of high level mobs just outside the dungeon, giving fair warning, but high level players tend to kill them on their way in. There's another dungeon in the Barrow-downs, with the same set up.
      • To make matters worse, there's a low level quest that involves going to just before those high level mobs and turning left instead of right. It's not at all clear from the description which way you're supposed to go, requiring you to metagame and realize that there's no way a quest of your approximate level should have purple-named ("insanely more powerful than you") mobs in it. And even then, if you can see them to realize their threat level, they can see you too.
    • Rivendell is a peaceful haven, but reaching it means running a gauntlet of mid 30s animals, typically done well before players are able to fight their way there, but only once. After that, they can use the stables for a safe ride.
  • Guild Wars doesn't do this often, but there is one point early on in the slow-building Prophecies campaign that stands out. From the last town in the second major area, you can continue on into the next area and continue fighting level 8 and 11 enemies; or you can take a side exit into the back end of the penultimate major area, which is full of level 24 enemies packing elite skills, level 28 bosses, giant ice wurms, etc. If you're playing through the campaign normally, you'll have tier 2 of 7 armor, no elite skills, limited access to normal skills, no access to other campaigns, and be considerably below the player max level of 20. Oh, and you'll have a max of six party members to take into an eight-man zone. Of course, there are players you can pay to run you down to the town down there with no risk to yourself...
    • The Mursaat are a better example, since facing them without infused armor would mean a quick death (unless you bring a lot of healers and/or send you heroes to the front), only after getting infused armor on a story mission (or alternatively, by going to the northernmost part of Mineral Springs, which requires to fight hordes of tengu) you would have a chance against them.
  • RF Online has its fair share of these. It does impose a level 40+ restriction on most areas, but even if you meet the minimum level requirement, you're still gonna get your ass kicked pretty hard. Why? Not only do most monsters here can do enough damage to rearrange your face and a good portion of your upper torso, but they come in swarms. It also doesn't help that there is usually no alternative route, and the fact that they have either a slow-spell or have ridiculously ranged guns.

Beast Mountain and Elan are the worst cases. In the former, there is a must-do quest to find a tiny little tube. sounds moderately challenging? When you get there, you are faced with flying hornets that kill you in one hit (and are only a few pixels big from normal distance) that comes wholesale, as well as numerous other bugs that lurk in the tall grass (who alert stronger, more docile mobs nearby).

When you have sufficient level you can simply walk across the map, but that's only at levels 60 and above, whereas the aforementioned Quest caps you at level 50. Elan also has such a quest, where you must kill a mob that only spawns one at a time, surrounded by equally strong but useless to you mooks. In addition, even if you have hit the maximum level and are wearing the best set of equipment, and is the tanker class, you'll still have a hard time trying to survive in that place.

  • Most content in Billy vs. SNAKEMAN can be attempted before you're strong enough to actually get through it. An excellent example is the Discords, about a third of the way through the r00t plotline. Being able to breeze through the entirety of older plotlines isn't enough to guarantee a full 1% chance to defeat Discords.

Real Time Strategy

  • Anno 1602 gives the three CPU rivals ships equipped with more cannons than the player's one has, thus making it impossible to swiftly dispose of all competition before the game really starts. In addition, two opponents also have much larger ships than the player's default one (resulting in even more cannons and better storage capacities), although this is made up for by their slow speed.

The player might be able to sink the ship of the opponent sized as their own one, but even being successful in that will cause the player's ship to be heavily damaged making it sail at a much slower pace, thus crippling any kinds of vital trade and exploration processes.

On the other hand, something the game does not prevent is saving right at the start of the game, seeking out the best islands, reloading the save and then colonising them before the CPU has a chance to.

  • Dawn of War: Dark Crusade. Once you grab the Pavonis territory, you can attack any territory you want, however the stronghold territories still require you to control one of the bordering territories first. It's still a wise idea to attack the other territories for additional troops, though. You're gonna' need all the help you can get.
    • Dark Crusade and Soulstorm both had the final fortress with some sort of beef gate in the actual missions. In theory you can just go straight up and kill whatever is the target for that mission. In practice, this is suicidal, as not only does the opponent have a horde of units (almost five times the amount you are allowed to have in said mission) guarding the damn place, it also has numerous "attack waves" that are apparently independant of it's normal cap AND usually the relic unit already at said gate. You can, however, subvert it all by playing as an artillery-heavy army (namely Imperial Guard) and just lobbing shell after shell at the target until it's good and dead. Made easier by the fact that some maps have your base located almost right next to the enemy base, separated by a wall and a semi-convoluted maze (which the artillery bypasses).
  • Shogun 2: Total War - You can attack the Ashikaga Shogunate at pretty much any time you want prior to the point where they turn on you anyway. But God help you if you go for broke will be crushed. Utterly.
  • Much like the Anno1602 example above, you can abuse savescumm on any RTS/turnbased involving exploration. Civilisation is a horrible offender as you can wander around from your empty area, find one of your opponents, plop down next to him, build some more settlers, and find the others, then discover what resources are nearby. When you find the opponent with the wealthiest resources after about 25 turns of reasearching in order to make them show on the map, you can reload from the first turn, go directly to him, pump nothing but warriors and sack the guy, then have no competition for those resources whatsoever. Works best with many CPU players as having only two or three means you might not even be able to FIND them, from they being across the ocean or you just having picked a wildly huge map where you can't get to them before they begin expansion.


  • Ancient Domains of Mystery is made of this trope, in many different guises. For instance, there's the Tower of Eternal Flames, the steel golem(s), the Eternal Guardian, the ancient karmic wyrm, the assassins' lair, the underwater cave ...
    • The small cave is an inversion, scaling its difficulty based on player level. The higher your level, the harder it gets.

Some other twists on the trope: the bug-ridden temple (which will not open until the player has died many times), and the pyramid and minotaur maze (which only open for certain level ranges, closing again when you get too tough).

Role Playing Game

  • Digimon World 3 has this all over the place. The very first one happens as soon as you leave the town you start in; take the left path on the central park and you'll end up near a shore where you find mostly Coelamon around. They will attack first and defeat anything you throw at it with one attack.
    • Later on, our hero encounters Zambamon, a very high leveled boss whose attack is so strong that your Digimon flees after the first hit. You have to find a special item in a long Fetch Quest in order to scare him away. Far later on in the game, you can find Zambamon again and battle him for real. This time your Digimon should be at a high enough level to put up a good fight.
    • Near the end of the game, one of the final cities is blocked off by a legion of Knightmon. It is impossible to win this fight against them (even with Gameshark on), so you have to go to all the other cities and collect the admin keys before entering the city.
  • In Pokémon Red and Blue you can enter the Diglett Cave as soon as you arrive in Vermilion (and theoretically before facing the second gym leader Misty and her Lv. 21 Starmie). However, the wild Diglett roaming there are at Lv. 20, higher than the pokémon used by trainers at that point, and they sport Dig, a extremely powerful ground move. The cherry on the cake is that you may run into a Lv. 30 Dugtrio there, who is extremely fast (wich lowers your chances of fleeing as well as letting it attack first) and very powerful, that's likely to defeat all your pokémon unless you're horribly overleveled. You're supposed to go there after beating Misty, exploring S.S. Anne and beating the third gym leader Lt. Surge.
    • Made even worse in the GBA remake, where Diglett and Dugtrio have the ability Arena Trap, which prevents you from running away or switching out.
  • Breath of Fire II: You can theoretically return to Gate almost immediately after getting Spar in your party. You are only actually supposed to return to Gate much much later, and the encounters in that area prove it.
  • Chrono Trigger
    • The bucket at the End of Time, which you can reach about three or four hours into the game. Using it takes you to the final boss. Odds are you don't actually want to use it until you've made it through the actual plot, unless you're using a New Game+.

On the other hand, using this gate to access the final boss earlier than you "should" is key to seeing most of the dozen or so alternate endings.

    • To get to the final boss even earlier (it can be the first battle of your game!) in the New Game+, all you have to do is step on the other side of Lucca's teleporter. This isn't available outside of New Game+, however- and unless you did a lot of Level Grinding the first time around (or went through the first few Bonus Dungeons in the DS remake), you might not be up to the challenge then as you only have two party members at that point.
      • Or even just one party member if you progress slightly further in the story.
  • In Dragon Quest I, the areas on the other side of a bridge generally have much tougher enemies than before; if you wander into the wrong place when you're not leveled-up enough, death awaits you.
    • You don't even have to go that far to get slaughtered. Just start the game and walk south.
  • Dragon Quest IV, known as Dragon Warrior IV for its NES release outside of Japan.
    • This game in general has an extremely steep enemy growth rate (which, with the insane enemy encounter rate and coupled with Artificial Stupidity in Chapter V, accounts for it's Nintendo Hardness), and you are expected to level grind in between events - the manual gives recommended levels for each point in Chapters I-IV, and they aren't too far off, either. Even if you do things in order this game can be difficult, especially if you don't grind in between events, but on occasion, the game lets you access areas where you aren't yet supposed to go, and if you choose to go to these places - yeah.
    • In Chapter IV, you are placed on a large continent on which you can go anywhere you please from the start, though you can't fight the Chapter Boss until you've done everything else first and you can't leave the continent until you've beaten the boss. Problem is, you're going to die really horribly if you stray too far from where the plot tells you to go.
    • In Chapter V, once you get the boat, you're free to travel the world map - only a few areas can't be accessed. This can be exploited to get some overpowered equipment for your characters. Just be sure not to walk to far inland on continents you aren't supposed to be on, because the random encounters will make you die really, really fast. Some areas on the map will pit you against the Demonic Spider Chillanodon, a group of which is capable of wiping out even properly leveled characters in a single turn, if you get on the wrong side of the AI Roulette.
  • Dragon Quest VI mostly averts this. However, the well in Somnia in the second world houses part of a dungeon for characters around level 25. You're around level 12-15 when you first find it.
  • Dragon Quest VIII has an apparent Beef Gate in the very first dungeon, but you can intimidate the foe into letting you through without a fight.
  • Earthbound Zero
    • There is a very significant difference between the level at which you can wake the dragon in Magicant and fight it and the level at which you should.
    • Another example that's half this and half Broken Bridge: you can try to simply walk through the tunnel from Merryville to the next area without clearing the path for the train. You just really don't want to. (It's even Lampshaded by a talking skeleton you find halfway through the tunnel.)
  • In the sequel, Earthbound, after you get Poo and visit the museum in Summers, Poo declares that the gang needs to head to Scaraba. On the way out, you overhear a call from a curator at the Fourside museum declaring he's found something extraordinary. You're supposed to go back to Fourside first, which results in you collecting two Plot Coupons, then to Scaraba. If you say 'screw it' and try to head to Scaraba first, the Kraken shows up to give you a not-so-subtle hint to go the other way. (It's possible to beat it at this point, but it takes a lot of luck or level grinding. Really, it's just easier to go back to Fourside.)
  • In Mother 3, arriving on Tanetane Island places one of these guys in your way. You can attempt to fight the Zombieshroom (and in fact, it's the only way to get this miniboss in your Monster Compendium), but you're at the brink of death (HP to 1, PP to 0 and all items not equipped have been washed away[2]), its speed is maxed, and always starts with an attack that hurts AND poisons the party, so you have to enter the Mushroom Samba nearby that restores the party to full health. It will still be there even if you use cheats to last the fight.
  • Etrian Odyssey is madly in love with this trope. For one thing, it's the entire point of the FOEs. Beyond that, certain special cases that are even mentioned in game (usually in the form of a "you get the feeling that the monsters in this area are much too powerful to fight" message or a quest all about having to get something from its lair while absolutely not drawing its direct attention) include Wyvern in Etrian Odyssey, Salamox in Heroes of Lagaard, and the Stalkers in both games (The last has a suspiciously high vulnerability to fire though).
  • Romancing SaGa 2 had the Canal Fortress Gate, a door guarded by 4 regenerating monsters, each time you take down one or two, they will respawn, destroying the gate will allow you to enter the fortress, but if you do, you cannot recruit the City Thief Class and you will also have trouble finding your way around the fortress, also said gate fight will have to be repeated if you leave the area and try to get back in. Pretty much all the 7 Heroes except the first Kujinshi Battle is a Beef Gate.
  • Romancing SaGa 3 Had the Red Dragon Ruler and the Abyss Naga at the Point of No Return Huang City The Red Dragon Ruler at the start and the Abyss Naga at the end.
  • Fallout series
    • Fallout had this as a consequence of being fairly non-linear. 60-80% or so of the towns will be hard for a few levels if you don't visit the starter towns first, but they are all about the same level of difficulty to get to in the first place. Thus, most of the game is unlocked as of level eight or nine, except for the very end-game parts.
    • Fallout 2 has a strategy for sneaking into one of the end-game areas and doing the sidequests there by employing talking skills and running away from any actual fight. This can get you very advanced weapons, the second-best armor in the game, and a mountain of XP that would be a fair reward for near-end game characters, but is utterly insane for starting characters. (One quest gives you 20,000 XP. Starting characters can get five levels from that.)
    • In Fallout: New Vegas your goal is to head to the titular town from your starting point - Vegas can even be seen clearly from your starter town. However if you travel directly there, you'll get ripped apart by deathclaws or stung to death by Cazadors. Going the long way round through other towns and grinding levels is the route you're meant to take.

This, and many other BeefGates in the game, is due to the principal modder responsible for Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul, one of the most illustrious mods for The Elder Scrolls Four being a member of the development team.

  • Final Fantasy II seemed to have some sort of unnatural hatred for cohesive world map design, and ended up combining a serious case of this trope with incredibly poor directions. The people in town A say that you should visit town B. Outside of town A lie featureless plains and forests in all directions and nothing preventing you from going anywhere, leaving you to have to take a wild guess which way town B is. If you guess wrong, you will be first-turn annihilated by the very first random encounter in the area surrounding towns M, N, and O that you just accidentally approached. .

It is not at all unlikely for a new player who, quite understandably, doesn't know which squares house which monsters, to have their very first encounter in the entire game be with a Behemoth. On the other hand, maybe that's fitting for this game.

Not only that, there were definite ways to get significantly out of your league even in places you were supposed to be. At one point, you have to sneak into an occupied town to rescue someone. The way the game handled the occupation is that it looked and acted like a normal town, except that talking to anyone led to their calling you "Rebel Scum!" and triggering a normally impossible battle. This battle is key to the games many disc one nukes by defeating them for decent equipment to fuel your grinding (and after a bit, using it's higher level to increase your stats faster). .

Even worse, going too far immediately south of the starting town activates a Peninsula of Power Leveling filled with high-level Demonic Spiders. You will die if you attempt to fight them at game start since they largely only take magical damage and you don't get real spells until the third or so town.

  • Final Fantasy IV has Eblan Castle. You can go to it the first time you get an air ship. If you can actually survive the stuff inside, you get some very powerful equipment meant for closer to the end of the game.
  • Final Fantasy VI
    • The game more or less ends with this, with the final dungeon accessible almost immediately into the second half of the game. You'll probably want to find the rest of your scattered party and build some levels first, though.

The fact that the game demands you split into 3 separate four-character teams when you try to go in should serve as sufficient warning (if you only have enough people to put 1 or 2 on each team, you definitely aren't ready).

    • In the same game, it is possible to get a relic that completely disables random encounters. The Final Dungeon also happens to lack mandatory boss fights on all but one of the routes (until near the end), and is filled with tons of goodies...
    • The same game also has a part with Locke in the occupied Town of Figaro, with his way constantly being blocked by the powerful HeavyArmr monsters. It is technically possible to beat them, but would need extensive grinding and loads of healing items. Using the Genji Glove relic makes it doable without all the obscene grinding and good luck.
  • Final Fantasy VII has this trope in the form of the Midgar Zolom, a giant serpent that would crush your party (at that level, of course) if you tried to bypass Kalm and headed straight for the next dungeon. Once you'd been through the long flashback scene in Kalm, though, you'll find that you can get a materia that lets you capture Chocobos. A Chocobo will be fast enough to give the snake the slip. It is possible to just randomly walk past it on foot though.
  • Similarly to Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VIII allowed players to go straight through the final castle to the Big Bad without unlocking most of their action commands. Since this boss has more hit points than a small planet, and any party member who gets KO'd is lost forever, you're probably going to want to solve all or most of the castle puzzles and get your abilities back. (Furthermore, if you're into One Hundred Percent Completion, the castle bosses can supply you with any Guardian Forces you haven't collected during your quest—including Eden, which was previously held in a remote area by an unbelievably tough Bonus Boss.)
  • Final Fantasy IX combined this with a Solve the Soup Cans puzzle. Taking the wrong exit from an early cave (in spite of an ally's warning) would lead the player to an uninteresting plateau with really, really nasty random encounters. There wasn't anything that the player could do on that plateau other than fight thunder dragons, so presumably the overpowered bad guys were there to tell you to turn around.
    • Of course, taking advantage of Quina's Limit Glove spell can render this plateau to be a fantastic location for level-grinding. Plus, one of Freya's later abilities deals more damage based on the total number of dragons you've defeated over the course of the game...
  • Final Fantasy XII
    • Assuming you haven't opened one of the totally random chests that prevents it from spawning, it is possible to find and enter the Necrohol of Nabudis much earlier than recommended to grab the Zodiac Spear. It's very difficult as it involves dodging large amounts of very nasty enemies, but it can be done.
    • Many of the optional Espers are likewise protected. It's theoretically possible to fight Adremmalech or Cuchulain shortly after Belias, but the enemies in their areas will kill you before you even reach them without massive Level Grinding.
    • The very first time you visit the nomad village in the Giza Plains, you may or may not talk to a child that mentions that they are told to stay close to the village, lest werewolves get them. They are in fact out there, by the southern exit of the Plains, and will oneshot you three times over if you aggro them by accident at your current power level.
    • In Golmore Jungle, don't go off the path. You will find numerous horrifying surprises, such as hellhounds that are ten levels or so above you. In packs.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, pretty much ALL of Pulse is one the moment you arrive. You see, you're shown where the next story event is, but if you try to go there, you'll get slaughtered. (The game even starts throwing lots of Behemoths at you as you near that area, just as a further nudge that you should probably turn back.) The game heavily encourages you do sidequests until you're adequately leveled. (And since the rest of the game was No Sidepaths No Exploration No Freedom, that's what most players will be doing anyway.) In fact, the game ourtight EXPECTS it, as following the trail of hunt missions will not only serve as a self-guided tour of the area, but you'll see quite a few plot-related cutscenes on the way. (Including the one in which your party actually decides to go to that flashing area marked on your map.)
  • Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, the Brutal Bonus Level Confessions of the Creator opens with the objective to go rescue a moogle in the Chasm in the Rotting Land. You could head there right away, only to find it a multi-level dungeon full of Level 40 enemies at best and Level 80 enemies at worst, and after you complete it you're sent to fight a Level 95 Warmup Boss guarding new areas with level 90+ enemies. Uless you did some Level Grinding outside story mode, your characters are probably in their 30s, maybe 40s, and you have nowhere near enough money to afford them proper equipment. On the other hand the rest of the world is full of gateways featuring enemies levels 40 through mid-60s, plenty of trade accessories and Vendor Trash for trading, and a short distance from the Chasm in the Rotting Land is another multi-level gateway with Level 70-90 enemies.
  • Suikoden I has the Kobold Forest. You are not supposed to go there until it is time to meet the elves, but the mobs there can be killed easily with a Fire Rune, leading to you characters being many levels ahead of the game. It really helps with the upcoming That One Boss in the next dungeon.

Another example of this can be found at the very beginning of the game, in which your Level 1 main character can exit his home town without a party and encounter mobs 10-15 levels above his own. Most of these mobs can slaughter your hero in one hit, but there are some manageable, lower-level mobs mixed in that can set your character many levels ahead of the game. Then look at your feeble, Level 1 party members and laugh at them when you're whisked off to the first dungeon.

    • It gets even better. You can climb the nearby mountain at the very beginning of the game—which is filled with enemies who will one shot the entire party. Make it to the top, and the NPC who normally gives you a fairly useless Rune will instead give you A rune that doubles the EXP for anyone who equips it as a reward for your Sequence Breaking.
  • Suikoden II had an example of this that was strange enough that it might not have been intentional: near the beginning of the game, when you are still just an orphan with a couple of mercenary friends, you can approach the gate to one of the last areas of the game, Matilda. The gate is locked, and guarded to boot, but for some bizarre reason, you can push it. That is, you push the entire gate back a few feet, allowing you to slip through the sides, into an area significantly over your level. You don't have a chance against any of the enemies, but if you can run far and fast enough, you can make it alive to a small town you weren't supposed to reach for a few dozen hours, and there you can recruit a couple of characters you weren't supposed to meet until then. Said characters start at levels proportionate to the area, meaning you can use them to power-level your other characters to a ludicrous level before you pick up the main quest line again.
  • Tales of Symphonia series.
    • Tales of Symphonia - Similar to the Suikoden II example, it is possible for players early on who navigate the higher-level areas successfully to recruit Sheena early. Interestingly enough, this doesn't cause Sequence Breaking—instead, a Broken Bridge will kick in and make you do the Asgard Ranch and the wind and light seals before Palmacosta and the water seal, merely rearranging two parts of the Journey of Regeneration (and giving you a few new scenes and some new Relationship Values-building scenes for your trouble). While doing so makes the game more difficult since the new areas are intended for a party 5-10 levels higher, it's hardly impossible. You will, however, screw up the pacing of the customized weapons, and Palmacosta and the water seal will become ridiculously easy afterwards.
    • In Tales of Symphonia Dawn of the New World, there's a room in the Iselia Human Ranch where you can open a shutter and get a card key that will lead you to some new equipment, unfortunately, behind the shutter is also a random encounter that will curb stomp you with ease without a ridiculous amount of level grinding (or just coming back to the ranch later on in the game, though at that point your equipment's much better than what you get.) Fortunately, you're allowed to run away from the fight, at which point you can quickly grab the card key and get the hell out of the room before it starts chasing you again.
  • The Elder Scrolls series.
    • The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind has mostly native fauna hanging around Vvardenfell... but inside the Ghostgate and in the ruins scattered around the map, you see zombies, ash creatures, monsters and divine beings that can kill you in a single hit if you're not leveled enough.
    • The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion scaled most enemies to the player's level, but trying to get too far ahead on the wrong quest could easily result in some rather unpleasant encounters with vampires, necromancers, or giant fish Of Doom!

The Oblivion expansion The Shivering Isles has the Gatekeeper, an enormous axe-handed golem guarding the gate into the main part of Sheogorath's island. It's nearly impossible to beat him in a straight-up fight, so you have to win a mini-quest in order to kill him and move on. Later on, you rebuild him to fight off the invaders to the Isles, essentially making a Beef Gate on your side.

    • The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim has these in the form of Giants, who are suicide to fight at low levels without a LOT of preparation. Also, on top of having Fallout 3 style scaling, the game will occasionally throw a much more difficult enemy or two in a dungeon with everything else leveled scaled, just to keep you on your toes. One particularly rough example occurs if you try to reach High Hrothgar early on, as several dangerous enemies (sabre cats, ice wraiths, or ice wolves) will appear at the base of the mountain, and further up you'll find a frost troll (a foe suitable to a character at level 15 or higher) blocking your path, which probably kick the crap out of you if you're on your own or not well-equipped. Some smart tactics will let you bypass the troll; you can even run straight past it and lead it to the Greybeards, who will deal with it in short order.
      • One that most people don't see coming (and probably uses this trope the hardest) is the end room of the first major Companions quest. The entire dungeon leading up to it contains nothing more dangerour than a draugr wight (which is usually exterminated by your immortal questgiver ally). The last room, however, starts by spawning 8 lowish level draugr, plus a draugr scourge, which is a tough fight on its own for most low level players. Beating that, however causes the game to sic 5 more scourge, and a Deathlord (who can use the 'disarm' shout) at the player. The only real way to win the fight without having gone through a substantial portion of the game is to kite them around the edge of the room using the flames spell for about half an hour.
  • The first two Gothic games are practically made out of this trope, with many areas filled with monsters which are too tough to fight until you are strong enough. In a slight twist, many of these areas aren't essential, and contain nothing more than the strong monsters and perhaps some nice treasure, meaning that you can avoid these obstacles by simply not going there - though you may need to XP gained by defeating the beef gates in order to beat stronger ones that are guarding plot-essential areas.
    • The third Gothic game is somewhat more merciful about this, since it's possible to go almost anywhere in the game without some sort of barrier stopping you, but even though its possible to take advantage of terrain, archery, and magic to allow you to conquer some Beef Gate areas before you should, it's still dangerous to attempt at best given the same wolves that could murder you at level one are no less capable of killing you at level 50 if they manage to get the drop on you.
    • Risen does much the same, although the monsters are technically beatable—they just take so little damage per hit, and do so much damage when they hit you, that you'll need to be incredibly precise in your parries. If you can kill them (or, occasionally, if you can outrun them), you can often get useful items much earlier than you're supposed to.
  • The SNES version of Shadowrun had the Caryards section. To move on, you had to either pay the King to let you leave, or challenge and kill the King in the arena. Which you could attempt to do at any time, but good luck on that without abusing that glitch that makes him freeze in place.
  • Paper Mario the Thousand Year Door has Gus, a guard who is somewhat difficult to defeat early in the game, but can also be bribed. Beating him is usually doable, though, and gets you some good experience and cash. You also get the privilege of having him bitch at you for being a Heroic Sociopath after the fight and every time you talk to him; he even says something new every chapter.
  • Arcanum utilizes this in the main quest, which if you've proceeded as straight-forward as the story appears to be, will lead through the familiar rats and wolves smack into a high level golem that will shatter your weapons and armor. The main quest's difficulty levels off and evens out for quite awhile after rather than starting lower and increasing gradually, but this spike in difficulty forces you to engage in Level Grinding by searching out and undertaking dozens of wholly irrelevant quests, and/or trolling for random encounters.
  • The Super Nintendo The Lord Of The Rings, Vol. 1 places Hobbiton and Bree two small screens away from one another: cross a bridge, turn north at the crossroads, and you're in Bree. However, to force you to go through the Old Forest and Barrow-downs, the game places a Ringwraith at the crossroads. By time you've finished going through the roundabout route, the Ringwraith is gone. Arguably brilliant, because, why did Frodo and company go through the Barrow-downs in the book? To avoid the Ringwraiths!

The PC version did this as well, but there was a way to get past the Ringwraith and leave by the road. Following the book up to that point had you encounter some Elves and learn the command word Elbereth, which caused a Ringwraith to flee from battle.

  • The Undernet works like this in most Mega Man Battle Network games. The first game makes it particularly easy to kill yourself this way; the Undernet looks like the regular Net, and most of it's accessible starting about one-fifth of the way through the game. If you're determined and lucky enough, you can penetrate to the deepest Undernet zone at this point, getting tons of money and some murderous chips for your trouble.
    • In Battle Network 6, you can access a very dangerous part of the Undernet from a secret entrance about halfway through the game. There is even a Bonus Boss there, one whose stats are so high that he (and the enemies in the entire area he resides in) might as well be considered post-game material. It is very possible to defeat him as soon as you gain access to the area, but you will need very good reflexes (his attacks consist of Stuff Blowing Up almost everywhere).
    • In Battle Network 2, the Undernet has these stone things. Later ones get up around 500 HP at least. To kill them, you have to hit them with at least as much damage as their HP. If you leave one standing, the others come back. They also have a countdown from 10. When they hit 0, they go boom and rock your world, and two hits will delete you.
  • In the Playstation game Saga Frontier if you are playing as Asellus, you are required early on to fight low-level monsters on certain nearby mountain path. Strangely enough, if you go just a little bit further up the path than necessary, you will find a huge monster guarding a door. This monster is a big time Bonus Boss that guards a small area that contains even bigger boss and ending-altering potential. If you can pass the two guardians, you rescue a human girl. Without rescuing this girl you cannot get the fully human ending. As you are ending Asellus' story you climb this path again, but with infinite luck you could take on these bosses early...
  • Geneforge 5 had these on almost every single map, usually guarding alcoves of treasure and upgrades. These creatures so spiked in difficulty for the area even combat oriented characters would have to progress elsewhere, then backtrack (if they remember) just to see what could be hidden there, and by then the XP rewards were insultingly meager. There were a few early areas prowled or populated by the terrors of the world so overpowered it would take half the game before the characters could feasibly quest there.

Geneforge 1 & 2 also had these, as opposed to the Broken Bridge style of 3 and 4. Going the wrong way from the early zones would swiftly lead to being up to one's ass in clawbugs and other mid-game enemies.

  • In Ultima IX there is a dragon in the serpent spine mountains, who tries to prevent you from wandering too far off track until you can handle it. The area past him isn't actually particularly high level- he's more there for plot reasons.
  • The Avernum series has plenty. Your party is basically capable of wandering wherever they feel like going. If they head into an area they aren't prepared to enter, a roving monster is likely to kill everyone in a few turns, maybe even in one!
  • Technically, in Freelancer, once you get past the initial Broken Bridge you can go wherever you like between missions. Surviving is another matter.
  • In the Ys series, if you wander anywhere you're told not to, like the Abandoned Mine, you're dead meat. Bosses also often act as beef gates, forcing you to level grind or obtain the Sword of Plot Advancement, etc.
  • Phantasy Star - Once you get your spaceship, for a time the original game will not attempt to police you with anything but this trope, including things like "directions", "subtle clues" or "the slightest hint whatsoever". Unfortunately, it has not "locked the gate" with very high level monsters, and the spell you need to get into (but not beat) the final dungeon is unlocked at a very low level. If you don't know where to go, you'll soon be able to go everywhere, which makes it even harder to go in the right direction.
  • Dragon Age: Origins placed a very nasty band of bounty hunters in the narrow path leading to the gates of Orzammar, since it was intended by the developers to be the last main quest to be completed.
    • This was a problem, however, because an important NPC in a character's personal quest is waiting outside the Orzammar gates.
      • Worse yet, the sword you receive as the reward for that personal quest seems like it would be very nice early in the game, but is not even good enough for Vendor Trash by the time you can access it without resorting to exploits.
  • Might and Magic is heavily policed this way, and doubly so in the classic games. You can get almost anywhere right at the beginning (though forests and mountains act as Broken Bridges until you learn the fairly easy skill to get them), though in some cases you need an access key to enter specific dungeons or towns. However, if you go off the beaten path (the main roads in II, the Western Continent in III, into the dungeons in IV or anywhere in V) too early in the game, you will find yourself in the middle of monsters you can't handle. For extra irony, The Very Definitely Final Dungeon in V is accessible right from the start of the game: no skills or pass needed, just a death wish.
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age has two major examples, both of which require noncombat accomplishments to defeat.
    • At Gaia Rock, you can head straight to the lair of the Serpent with only Move and Growth. However, it will regenerate all HP at the end of every turn unless you clear the maze inside of the mountain so sunlight will shine in and weaken it. This requires, among other things, Whirwind and Reveal.
    • At the end of the currents of the Sea of Time, Poseidon blocks the way to Lemuria. Poseidon has a forcefield that can only be broken by the legendary Trident of the Ankhol. The game does not tell you this. Said trident is long lost and in pieces. First you have to find the pieces (again, no help from the game), and then you need to find an Ankhol blacksmith who can put them together for you (there is one, but she won't be happy to see you since you jailed her grandson).
  • Due to the random generation of dungeons in the dotHack series, you can create end-of-this-chapter dungeons through simple experimentation. Magic used on those that are weak to it does immense damage, enough that a level 1 character can solo end-of-game creatures with enough MP restoratives. Make one and activate an encounter with a non-magic-using enemy weak to a spell you have aaaaand.... (If only real MMOs let you level like that!)
  • In Evil Islands, there are a few throughout the game, worth noting a couple of dragons in Gipath and an Imperial Guard in Suslanger.

Turn Based Strategy

  • Final Fantasy Tactics a 2's Cinquleur missions. You can take the first one ("The Red King of Cinquleur") as soon as you reach the second town, which should be around level ten if you avoid the plot and do every sidequest you can first, but the actual mission is to take down a level 44 enemy. Should you pull this off, it proves to be the first in a series of missions against all of Cinquleur's colored kings, each 11 levels stronger than the one before. Thus, the second mission in the chain, "The Blue King of Cinquleur", pits you against a level 55 enemy, and so on. If you can pull that off, all you need to know about the final mission in the chain is that it's called "The Five Kings", and that the titular five kings have all been promoted to level 99. Every mission in the chain can be accessed the second you complete the mission before it, meaning that the only thing stopping you from doing the entire chain as of the second town in the game is your ability to not die trying.
    • The worst part isn't even the levels of the Cinquleur clan; it's the fact that each one of them makes use of an extremely powerful combo of abilities and items, ranging from the Black King (a Moogle Black Mage who absorbs fire, ice, and lightning damage, can heal himself with his spells, and is immune to regular attacks) to the White King (a Nu Mou White Mage who has access to the Blood Price passive, which Nu Mou ordinarily can't get, and who can freely spam the most powerful spells in the game)!
  • Starting from the second game, the Disgaea series features alternate versions of almost all of the storyline maps (Referred to as the Dark World in 2, and X-Dimension in 3 and 4) that feature enemies far stronger then the ones normally there, even earliest maps having enemies of levels comparable to those of the endgame chapters. These can be accessed very early in the game, but with proper tactics (Generally involving the application of Standard Status Effects and fusing monsters together via throwing), some of the maps can be cleared, and the equipment and EXP rewards they grant will allow one to breeze through the main storyline, and give them a fighting chance against the maps where tactics alone aren't enough.
  • Beef Gates are very common in Heroes of Might and Magic series. The very first map in the first game, the Claw, specifically says "The griffons will protect you until you're ready to move on". The other three players (controlled by the computer) will never attack the griffons until you take them out, at which point they will freely attack and control your settlements. You can even get messages about two of your three opponents being knocked out of the game before you fight the griffons.
    • On any map these usually guard a high level artifact spawn, a rare creature dwelling, or a extremely powerful mine (usually a gold mine). They tend to be a small number of extremely powerful end-tier creature. The good news is there is usually only one or two in the stack, meaning if you somehow have a hard counter for it or recruited enough people to form a large enough army, you could take the stack early on. The bad news is, if you wait till the point you can amass a army large enough to take on them normally, the stack would have increased in size since then, and the artifact is usually not worth it anymore.

Wide Open Sandbox

  • While Grand Theft Auto III (and Vice City) used a literal Broken Bridge to prevent you from accessing later areas, later versions in the series simply triggered an inescapable high wanted level with an in-story justification. These persisted until you completed enough missions that the requirements were lifted. It is quite a sad sight, crawling ashore after the long swim to Las Venturas, only to see the entire police force charging out of the shrubbery while the whine of helicopters grow overhead.
    • Of course, people find their way past the bridges. In 'Vice City', the docks have an open gap a bus can be pushed through. Jump on it, get to the docks and drive to the other side. Bazookas are now yours. Another 'Vice' example involves the military base. Soldiers don't like random civilians wandering around. However, a cop uniform is gained in a mission. Soldiers like cops.
  • Scarface the World Is Yours: It's entirely possible to drive around to areas with tougher, better-armed gangs. Though even if you defeat them with your puny, puny weapons they will return because the area isn't officially unlocked yet.
  • In Famous tries this. There's no reason to sneak into the power outage areas off hand except for excellent XP grinding, but the game makes you not want to by placing auto guns on every street corner which magically vanish when the power comes back on.
    • In Famous 2 acknowledges that Beef Gates can be fun, with the trophy "Knock Down in the Blackout", which requires defeating 50 enemies in an area that hasn't had power restored yet.
  • Prototype has the USS Ronald Reagan, the location of the final battle, stranded very close offshore from New York. In story you will end up there anyways, however you can get aboard with intense effort before that, but getting anywhere near it results in being shot by incredibly powerful 1 hit kill missiles (or close 1 hits if you have near max health ups), making getting onboard mainly a suicide mission. Once you land onboard you're okay, although there's nothing to do yet due to the story.
  • Rune Factory 2: Once the second generation begins, you have access to most areas of the four dungeons, including straight access to the bosses. The monsters are stronger, but you can run past them to the boss area. And once there, said bosses will swiftly murder you if you try to tackle them immediately.[3]
  • The Godfather: There's no Broken Bridge, so you can immediately access all parts of NYC after completing the first few compulsory plot missions. If you can take over the intended-for-lategame Fronts, you can really roll in the dough. Are you really sure you want to, though, given your initially poor stats?
  • Although you can take on gangs in any order in Saints Row 2, the Ronin are clearly meant to be the last you tangle with, as they are backed by a corporation, and their vehicles, though lightly armoured and small, are very fast ricers, and their 'top soldiers' have a higher ratio of automatic weapons. They can be upon you in seconds, and if you are tangling with them on foot, they might catapult you into the air with their cars. (The AI is designed to engage like with like, but the ricer compacts scream onto the scene so fast they might not be able to stop before they run you down.

Non-video game examples

Board Games

  • The board game Talisman is made of three rings, the easy outer ring, harder middle ring, and the final stretch ring. One method to get from the easy ring to the hard ring is to fight the sentinel guarding the only bridge. In fact, the vast majority of the game is spent powering up so you can take the next area, making the game one big grind to beat the Beef Gates (And screw over the other players).

Newspaper Comics

Tabletop Games

  • Many a DM in most tabletop games rely on a combination of this and Broken Bridges to make sure the players go where the DM leads them. One site with a tabletop RPG cliche list mentioned "T-Rex on the Plains", where the DM puts a T. rex in an area just to keep the players on rails.

Western Animation

  • In Samurai Jack, Jack finds a portal through time that will allow him to return to the past. However it is guarded by an immortal sentry who will only let past someone who was prophesied. Jack was unable to defeat him, but after Jack had left, the Sentry said that Jack wasn't the one, "yet" and the portal shows a vision of a much older Jack who looks even more badass. The clear implication being that Jack will have become skilled and powerful enough to defeat the sentry.
  1. Actually, the "danger ahead" sign is simple: Most high-level areas are much, much less pleasant-looking than the low-level ones. If you go from lovely forested area to scorched, corrupted hellhole, you should probably turn around. Not always reliable, but generally so.
  2. Don't worry; you'll get them back later
  3. Trieste Forest is doable right away, if you happened to bring plenty of healing items with you and don't screw around fighting the suddenly upgraded mooks.