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An instantly recognizable form of Death Course. Three things must occur in conjunction:

  • A long segment (sometimes an entire level, especially if it's a Side Scroller) through which the player must travel to reach their objective;
  • A hazard that occurs at regular, predictable intervals, which will belay or injure the protagonist in some manner (sometimes even a One-Hit Kill) if he's caught in the open when it strikes.
  • A variety of "safe" zones scattered throughout the area, behind which the protagonist can take cover to avoid the hazard in question.
Examples of Corridor Cubbyhole Run include:

Action Games

  • Hostages (a.k.a. Hostage: Rescue Mission): The snipers of your team need to avoid the search lights from the terrorist embassy as they walk along the street. Almost like there's no back to the buildings they take cover in - and you also need to cross all three sides of the embassy before continuing with storming the embassy.
  • The prelude to the Scorpion battle in the first Spider-Man: The Movie game. Also the Shocker one, in which you must advance down a subway tunnel and periodically hide in nooks and crannies to avoid Shocker's shockwaves. If you play as the Green Goblin, you can make it easy by gliding down the tunnel before the poor guy can shoot once.
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed features at least two: one's inside a sarlaac, whose breath will knock you backward unless you hide behind a pillar, and one occurs in the Death Star, where you're traveling through the firing line of one of the superlaser's many tributary lasers.
  • Subverted in Zone Of The Enders 2. Late in the game, you have to go down a corridor where a massive cannon periodically discharges energy which'll send you backwards a hefty distance and hurt you a ton. The subversion is that there are no cubbies. Instead, you have to rip off plates off the wall and block the incoming waves.

Action Adventure Games

  • Cave Story sort of has this in the Egg Corridor, whose bottom level is occupied by an Invincible Minor Minion which runs back and forth very fast and causes instantly lethal Collision Damage. There are a few cubbyholes (some empty, some obligatory, one with a Heart Container) which can only be accessed by jumping from the bottom of the corridor.
  • There's a stretch in a level (it's late in world 3) of Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure where the titular Professor must duck through the floor into cubbies in order to dodge rolling boulders.
  • Starting with the very first proper dungeon in The Legend of Zelda a Link To T He Past, this appeared throughout the series in various forms.
    • The Forest Temple in Ocarina of Time has a crushing ceiling with small squares cut out of it. Unfortunately, some of those squares are occupied by Skulltulas.
  • Second Sight involves several areas patrolled by guards that the player can sneak past, although charging in with guns blazing is often a viable option as well. One mission also includes a hallway full of endless Mooks with cover along both walls.
  • A common hazard in StarTropics is to have to avoid giant purple boulders by hiding in alcoves in the wall while they pass.
  • Lots of these in Tomb Raider - usually swinging blades, Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom, poison darts, or spikes that pop up from the floor.

Adventure Games

  • In Dreamfall, protagonist Zöe Castillo is forced to complete one of these twice during her infiltration of WATICorp. The first time, she has to avoid guard robots in order to get into the corporation's main labs; the second time, she has to avoid a security assault squadron in order to get out.
  • The first Medievil had a mountain with infinite boulders rolling down it, spawned from enchanted gargoyle statues, in the third level. In a bit of a subversion, you can just smash some of the boulders with the club.
  • The second boss in Zack and Wiki has a Breath Weapon of the Kill It with Ice variety, and the player must regularly take cover behind various ice mirrors to avoid getting frozen solid.

Fighting Games & Beat 'Em Ups

  • In Express Raider's Beat'Em Up levels, you periodically have to duck under hanging signs and tunnel portals.
  • Mortal Kombat Armageddon has at least one in its Konquest mode, where Taven runs down a corridor as fireballs are shot at him.
  • Streets Of Rage 3 has one in a subway station, where you have to dodge incoming trains.
  • Level 4 of Viewtiful Joe. You're in a submarine, and torpedoes are being shot at you. Especially irritating because it's also an Escort Mission; if the moving platform following you doesn't make it to safety, you need to backtrack all the way to the beginning of the sequence and get a new one.

First Person Shooters

  • Arguably, any cover-based shooter (especially Light Gun games) features a more organic version of this trope: the hazard is the enemies shooting at you.
    • Especially Call of Duty, where enemies constantly respawn out-of-view until you reach the spawn point.
  • Descent 3 had an infuriating sequence where you had to fly your Pyro-GL through subway tunnels that periodically had trains going through them. It was made worse by the fact that the trains came at you head-on and the timing was extremely strict, making the sequence so maddeningly difficult that many players gave up then and there.
  • In Deus Ex:
    • In several missions, escaped lab animals can be found in the ventilation ducts or sewer systems, and you need to dodge in and out of side openings to avoid being caught by them in long straight segments.
    • The corridors of Majestic-12 headquarters are patrolled by humans and security robots. At some points you can sneak through gratings in the floor or hide just out of sight of a guard at one end of his patrol.
    • The catwalks and corridors of the ship in the Brooklyn Naval Shipyards are Corridor Cubbyhole Runs with occasional ventilation duct openings, alcoves holding cargo, or side passages. The corridors are regularly patrolled by the ship's crew, almost all of whom are armed.
  • Half-Life 2 - While escaping from the mines under Ravenholm, Gordon runs across a sort of trolley with a spinning blade mounted on top traveling up and down a set of train tracks. While it poses a legitimate threat to him, it is much more effective at chopping up zombies, so activating it is still the better choice.
    • In Half-Life 2 Episode 2 - The sequence where Gordon must evade the Antlion Guardian by ducking into a series of antlion hatcheries. And then, the last tunnel (a mineshaft access rather than more antlion tunnels) is barred, and you have to break through before the Guardian catches you... That's when you're happy to still have a SMG grenade.
    • In the original Half Life, the generator for the rocket test chamber is located in a cylindrical room with a deadly horizontal elevator thing zipping around its circumference. Turning on the generator requires you to climb some ladders, and getting to the ladders puts you in the path of the elevator thing.

 "Whoa. You can feel that passing. That'll knock your head off like one of those little tee ball sticks. That's snap, crackle, and pop all in one package."

  • Left 4 Dead has a strategy that involves everyone on the team dashing from one cubbyhole to the next, dealing with zombies while safely behind cover. Works well, if you can find a well-organized group of random players who all follow orders well.
  • The level "Escape from Trondheim" in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault features a long corridor with Respawning Enemies at the end, thus you must run from alcove to alcove while advancing and fighting them off.
  • Metroid Prime 2 - The entirety of Dark Aether is a Corridor Cubbyhole Run. At least, until right near the end of the game where you get the Light Suit, negating damage from Dark Aether's corrosive atmosphere and allowing you more freedom.
  • The Thief series, due to its emphasis on stealth over fighting, is replete with guards patrolling specific areas at regular intervals, who will raise an alarm if the player doesn't take some kind of cover (shadows, etc.) to avoid being spotted ... or heard.

Hack and Slashers

  • Drakengard 2 has a variation in a Puzzle Boss battle against a Seed of Resurrection: The seed charges and releases One-Hit Kill energy shockwaves, and the only way to survive is to take cover behind matching elemental crystals surrounding the area.
  • The God of War series features these often - Kratos needs to make his way down corridors with hazards including an endless supply of spherical boulders, a fire-breathing statue, a Hydra...
  • The Speed Buster battle in No More Heroes. Travis has to smash his way into abandoned, ruined houses on either side of a street to avoid blasts from the bag lady/witch's Wave Motion Gun.
    • The sequel's battle against the returned, Emergency Transformation form of Letz Shake is a variation; it is a circular area rather than a corridor, but the rest of the criteria is there. His main attack is sending a massive shockwave through the entire arena, and if you haven't made it to one of the few stable chunks of ground in the area when that happens, say bye-bye to half your health.


Non-Video-Game Examples


  • Number Six in Alien vs. Predator at one point has to navigate a large tunnel with a massive fan at one end by leaping between the vents that line the tunnel walls rather than simply running down the wall. As she approaches the tunnel, the danger is shown with an Alien getting pulled up into the fan and being completely mulched.
  • Guest House Paradiso, The Movie of Bottom, has the two main characters try to avoid a hallway of projectile vomiting hotel guests. ...ItMakesSenseInContext.
  • The Rock has Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage trying to get into Alcatraz by sneaking past a hazardous zone which if they don't get past it on a certain time sequence, it will kill them. Not mentioned why a prison has the equivalent of a smoke and fire factory or why a prison that has been shutdown for over 20 years would have one still running, but...
  • Judge Dredd has Sylvester Stallone and some other minor guy trying to sneak back into town by evading an incinerator tube that activates like a flamethrower for 5 seconds once every 30 seconds, so all they have to do is get through the tube in 25 seconds from when one of the fire blasts stops.


  • Matthew Reilly's the Six Sacred Stones contains a rare Shaft Cubbyhole Climb (a Corridor Cubbyhole Run, but vertical). It regularly drops giant boulders down the shaft, and also has to be speedran in both directions.

Live Action Television

  • A live action Game Show variant: Takeshi's Castle (and it's Gag Dub MXC) featured a game where one must run up a hill-based corridor while giant foam boulders come rolling down on them, with little crevices their only way of avoiding the boulders. Slightly altered in that the crevices were guarded by people who would try to push the contestants out in front of the boulders.

Tabletop Games

  • It's relatively simple for the DM to build a trap like this in Dungeons and Dragons with the use of fire-spell based traps. Obstacle courses for rogues with high dexterity and Uncanny Dodge ability. The "Door opens and you find an arrow heading towards you" kind of obstacle courses.

Web Original


  63. Bulk trash will be disposed of in incinerators, not compactors. And they will be kept hot, with none of that nonsense about flames going through accessible tunnels at predictable intervals.


Western Animation

  • Played mostly straight in, oddly enough, an episode of the Thundercats. A drugged Panthro has been dropped down a chasm to die, and survives. The chasm ejects lethal energies at regular intervals, but there are crannies he can fit in that are mostly safe. Panthro thinks, "Got to time them, move between blasts. Thirty-four seconds, I can do this." When he reaches the top, a blast fires early, driving him to remark, "Twenty-eight seconds? That's foul play!"


  • East Labyrinth in Beyond Dark Castle.
  • Bug!! had a segment where the titular character had to avoid slowly-growing snowballs rolling down a snow-covered hill.
  • Stage 8 of Dynamite Headdy includes two rooms where Headdy is making his way through a missile bay. Two options for avoiding the missiles exist: You either shrink Headdy down and hide in holes in the floor, or grab the spike head and repeatedly grapple the ceiling until the missile passes. The latter is faster, but the former is safer.
  • The "combat" in Little Big Planet's Metal Gear Solid level pack consists almost entirely of hiding in the stage background, popping out when it's safe to take a quick potshot before returning to your cubbyhole.
    • Also in the Serpent Shrine level, there is a section where you must travel along a passage where a fiery serpent passes through at intervals, except the cubbyholes in this case are in the ceiling and you must grab a winch to pulled up to safety.
  • Mario
    • Some of the fortresses in New Super Mario Bros Wii feature spiked, rotating pillars that stab upward/downward/sideways at regular intervals. Naturally, there's always a safe place to stand, but getting there can be a challenge.
    • Mario 3 had some of this action in the very first fortress: a crushing ceiling that's slightly higher in a few places.
    • New Super Mario Bros had the same thing with the spiked pillars, and Super Mario World did this as well, except you'd also have giant screen filling wooden logs smashing down with Mario having to duck in an indent in the floor, and in the areas with the spiked pillars there would be chainsaws going along a line in the points between them.
    • Super Mario 64 had this in a pyramid in Shifting Sand Land.
  • Mega Man X 5. Burn Dinorex's stage has a corridor like this, complete with rock barricades. Stray too far from them.
    • Mega Man Zero 4 had a stage where you entered a solar-powered Wave Motion Gun through the barrel. Better hide when it fired...
    • X6 - That One Level, Metal Shark Player's stage - the ground is a conveyor belt, some parts of the floor are frozen over with super-slippery ice, and we haven't even gotten into the various Nightmare effects yet.
      • Actually the ground being frozen IS one of the nightmare effects, the other effect this troper can recall are breakable/movable/explosive crates scattered about. The crates make the stage darn near unplayable, even if you have the weapon that interacts with them. The frozen floor effect is a godsend by comparison, and unless you go to the stage before triggering either of those effects, you'll never get to see the "default" version.
  • Mickey Mouse: Castle of Illusion on the Sega Genesis had several of these, of the "dodge large rolling obstruction by jumping into a hole" variety.
  • Pitfall 2 has at least ten "floors" in a row which entirely consisted of walking across the screen as a bat flew towards Harry and having to run Harry under the bat only if the wings were flapping up.
  • The main portion of Black Velvetopia in Psychonauts. It's set in the alleyway of a crowded Spanish town, and a rampaging bull stampedes down it every minute or so. You'd best be in the side streets when it passes, or else you'll be knocked all the way back to the beginning. After you beat the level's boss, though, the dysfunction which spawned said bull will be gone, and you can walk the streets free as a bird.
  • Secret Agent Clank features a couple of levels where, at predictable intervals, the enemies will look in Clank's direction. Dotted along these levels (or level segments) there will be hiding places.
  • One case extremely similar to the Viewtiful Joe example above occurs in the Sweet Mountain level of Sonic Colors. Gigantic missiles are deployed one by one as you try to go forward. You must stay below the trajectory, or bounce really high, to avoid getting hit.
  • The Meadows in Spikes Peak.
  • The NES version of Strider has you dodging Advancing Spiked Walls of Doom in at least one level.
  • Super Meat Boy gets plenty of mileage out of this trope, using sawblades, lasers, etc. as the hazard.
  • The hallway before the Final Boss in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NES features Laser Soldiers spawning every 10 seconds. Most of the time they can be avoided, but sometimes you have to fight them, which is a pain.
  • "Tidal Terror" in Donkey Kong Country Returns: Large tidal waves crash into the level at regular intervals, and anything (including enemies and items) that isn't behind cover gets washed out of the level.
  • Distorted Travesty has this in the final level, in the form of the Spinning Color Wheels of Death. At regular intervals (that vary from room to room), wheels in the background would flash a certain color several times. When this happened, you have until the end of the third flash to get to a safe zone of that color, or else suffer massive amounts of unblockable damage. Several rooms are designed such that you have to progress at a specific pace or you will not be able to find the proper safe zone.

Racing Games

  • In Mario Kart Wii, there's a Bowser's Castle course with an unusual version of this trope: fireballs are being shot straight down a corridor, and the track weaves back and forth through the fireballs' path.

Rail Shooters

  • At the beginning of Time Crisis II's Stage 1-2, you have to shoot and dodge through a barrage of barrels. Stage 2-2, on a train, involves dodging passing obstacles.

Real Time Strategy

  • Dawn Of War: Winter Assault, the approach to the Imperial Guard's HQ is guarded by a big frickin' laser that can instantly destroy anything that it hits. One strategy is to cross the firing trench at intervals, fighting through legions of enemies on either side; the other strategy is to destroy the cannon's energy source, which you reach before you're in firing range of the cannon itself.
  • Little Kings Story features an area were you must make one of these while dodging the boss's lethal beard.


  • In Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, there is an Egyptian themed level complete with large boulders rolling down a ramp. You avoid the boulders by reaching one of the high ceilinged alcoves and timing your jumps to hop over the bounders.
  • These corridors turn up quite often in Boktai.
  • The Death Peak sequence in Chrono Trigger involves a slippery slope where wind will blow your party off the screen if you don't hide behind trees.
    • Much earlier, when Crono is trying to escape from Guardia Castle's dungeon, he can sneak up on guards when their backs are turned and hide in nooks in the wall when they turn around. Or he can just fight them (they're not very tough) if the bonus healing items for knocking them out aren't too important.
  • Final Fantasy VI does this with an enormous "boulder" ceiling in Gogo's Cave, which has small holes to hide in when it comes crashing down. Thankfully, random encounters are turned off in this room.
  • Final Fantasy VII has a version of this if you break into Shinra's front door: after hiding behind statues manually to get by guards, Cloud must call Barrett and Tifa across, timing it so they don't get seen.
    • Used again in the Temple of the Ancients, where there's a hallway with boulders rolling down it every few seconds. Instead of ducking into a cubbyhole, you have to stand still in the right places so that the boulders pass harmlessly over your head (thanks to big pieces that have been cut out of them).
  • Golden Sun springs a couple of of these on the player in Jupiter Lighthouse, plus one in Mars Lighthouse.
  • Soul Blazer uses these a couple times, one of them being corridors in the fire-themed dungeon.
  • Tales of Legendia has a couple.
  • Mass Effect 3 features one on Tuchanka. You're running toward a Reaper and must occasionally take cover from its lasers.

Run And Gun

  • The original Contra game featured a level with a long corridor in which large red spiked claws drop from above. Some of these have safe zones (with white immobile plate things instead) while others require the player to shuffle back and forth underneath the alternating claws.

Shoot'Em Up

  • In stage 6 of Thunder Cross II, you travel through an asteroid field while the boss fires a Wave Motion Gun at you from offscreen. At first, the laser is fired at slow intervals, but later on you will have to use the asteroids for cover in order to survive.

Stealth-Based Games

  • Many games with a stealth element include a long straight with a guard patrolling back and forth, just managing to miss the many alcoves in his line of sight.
  • Metal Gear Ghost Babel has periodic rushes of water in an Absurdly Spacious Sewer, forcing Snake to take cover. Also a viable strategy to avoid The Fury's attacks in Metal Gear Solid 3.

Survival Horror

  • In Dead Space, Chapters 3 and 4. First, you have to run a circular through a now-active centrifuge to reach an elevator and leave the area, ducking into large niches in the walls when the arm goes past or being torn to shreds. In the next chapter, you have to run over the outside of the Ishimura and hide behind metal walls to avoid getting splattered by asteroid impacts. Bonus points in both cases because if you take too long, you asphyxiate, while Chapter 3 also has Necromorphs pop up in each cubby.
    • Going to one of the ADS cannons to destroy incoming asteroids also involves Isaac running down a long trench while meteors periodically pummel the surface. If Isaac is caught in the open during this, he dies.
  • Resident Evil 5 has a cavernous room with two laser-like sunbeams strafing the corridors. Thankfully, the AI is smart enough to usually keep your partner out of the way, and if you can make it to the right location, you can disable the beams by sniping the Majini operating them. Of course, the AI is also dumb enough to have some enemies stand in the path of said beams.
    • Don't forget the Licker hallway. Sadly the AI isn't smart enough this time round. Cue frustration.

Third Person Shooters

  • Gears Of War 2 has you running amuck inside a giant worm while avoiding digestive teeth.
  • One level of Psi Ops the Mindgate Conspiracy forces you (and mind-controlled Mooks) to run through a particle accelerator, complete with cubbyholes, which fires every now and then. To pass the segment, you must pull several levers, every of which increases the accelerator's firing rate.
    • One of the boss fights also requires you to hide behind heat shields at regular intervals; the boss is a pyrokinetic woman attached to a machine that greatly amplifies her powers, and every so often the entire stage is bathed in flame except for the shields. Convection, Schmonvection probaby factors in as well, there.
  • A great deal of the final level of Shadow the Hedgehog (Eggman's fortress) are like this, especially if you choose to destroy the place and fill it with lava.
  • In Syphon Filter, the tunnels and trains of the Washington Metro take on this role during a chase.
  • The level "Death of Hope" in Transformers: War for Cybertron uses this frequently, most noticeably when fleeing from Omega Supreme, and when the Decepticons must maneuver through a tunnel that fills up with enormous amounts of heat every so often.

Turn-Based Strategy Games

  • The final mission in Advance Wars 2. you know those lasers you've been dealing with in earlier missions? Sturm has one that hopped up on steroids, fires 3 tiles wide, and deals quite a bit of damage. It doesn't help that the terrain isn't really conducive to avoiding it.
  • During one battle in Shining Force, the Laser Eye blasts everyone on a fairly narrow bridge every few turns, with a few safe spots.
    • Mildly subverted, as the Force at that point has three aerial units (Amon, Balbaroy and Kokichi) who can just fly behind the Laser Eye and wail on it.

Wide Open Sandboxes

  • Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. The corridor is up the middle of a rising plane with the cargo loader door open. The random obstacles are barrels the enemies (human?) are pushing at you.
  • Ufouria forces the player to climb a cliff while boulders rain from above. The cliff has a couple of notches in it where the player can wait. Usually two rocks fall, and then there's a bit of a pause... but, at other times, three rocks fall, which is guaranteed to mess you up. And if you get hit it's down to the bottom for you.