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"The SA-X is mimicking you at full power. You can't face it. If you see the SA-X, just run. Don't think about fighting... [...] Stay away. If you see it, just run."
Adam, Metroid Fusion

A particular form of Gimmick Level in which the player is faced with an enemy they can't defeat, and must flee from them. Often this enemy will reappear from time to time, prompting another Escape Sequence. Frequently, especially if the enemy has made repeat appearances, they will appear as a boss toward the end of the game, in some situation where the player can now defeat them.

Compare the Advancing Boss of Doom, in which a Boss Battle begins with the player unable to fight the boss and having to flee, but after a certain amount of running, something will shift the balance of power, allowing the player to turn the tables and finish the job. Not to be confused with Collapsing Lair, which usually occurs at the end of games, and basically requires you to get out of the Very Definitely Final Dungeon alive after defeating the boss.

See also: Indy Escape, Advancing Wall of Doom.

Examples of Escape Sequence include:

  • The Dahaka in Prince of Persia: Warrior Within pursues the Prince until he reaches water, which the Dahaka cannot pass through (being made of sand). Notably, the Prince gains the ability to fight the Dahaka only in the good ending.
  • Happens a lot in the early chapters of Half-Life 2. In the first couple of chapters, Gordon has to flee through tenement buildings, across rooftops and over railway lines. Once he gains the crowbar and clubs a soldier to death for his 9mm, however, he can (mostly) stop running. Later, during the Route Kanal chapter, a Hunter-Chopper makes repeated appearances, forcing Gordon into sewers and similar to escape. Then follows an (amazing) airboat section in which dropships zoom overhead and you flee through the canals. After that, you encounter the Hunter-Chopper again, but are able to engage it in a Boss Battle with your Vort-enhanced pulse rifle.
    • Episode II also had the Hunter-Chopper chase you as you fled in the muscle car. Once you reached the resistance outpost you can put on a clinic hurling the choppers mines back at it.
  • Mirror's Edge made a whole game of the concept. With parkour!
  • Enter the Matrix did this with the Agents at early levels and with dozens of Smiths as the story went further.
  • Done very effectively in Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth.
  • Metroid Fusion does this with the SA-X. While the SA-X is generally a Hopeless Boss Fight, it turns out that your superiors want the SA-X alive, so they tell you to run away from it even when you've gotten strong enough to give a good fight.
    • Of course, it's still invincible until the story calls for you to kill it, even when, by all rights, you should be powerful enough to kill it at least twice before the scheduled boss fight.
  • The first level of Another World ends in a 'flee from the boss' sequence.
  • In Silent Hill 2, Pyramid Head's first couple of appearances involve you (and later, Maria) running away from him.
  • Crash Bandicoot loves this, featuring at least one running-away level (whether from a rolling boulder or a dinosaur or a herd of stampeding jungle creatures), and usually more, in each of the first four games.
  • You run away from a troll in the PSX version of Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone.
  • Given Sonic the Hedgehog's main ability, this naturally shows up in his games several times.
    • The first level of the Hero Story in Sonic Adventure 2 has Sonic running from a large truck for the final part.
    • The original Sonic Adventure had Sonic running away from a whale on Emerald Coast. In the Lost World, he has to run away from a rolling boulder. Also, all of Amy's levels involve her running away from the evil robot Zero.
    • Sonic and The Secret Rings has Sonic chased by three dinosaurs at the start of one world.
    • During the last portion of Sonic Heroes level Lost Jungle there was a crocodile you were forced to run from.
    • The entire final Stage of Sonic Colors, Terminal Velocity is this. Eggman's mind control ray is experiencing a critical failure, creating a Hyper-Go-On black hole, so Sonic, Tails, and the Wisps decide to hightail it out of there. The result? Sonic has to blaze through Act 1 while avoiding Eggbots and the unfinished nature of Eggman's Space Elevator, then face Eggman in a climactic duel, and then outrun the black hole for Act 2. He doesn't quite succeed in that last regard, but the Wisps save him, so it's all good.
    • Sonic Generations features the return of City Escape and the GUN truck, except that it Took a Level In Badass. Specifically, it now has jet engines, Mecha-Mooks that it can dump on you, and three giant saw blades. There are even a couple of points where it completely destroys houses in its attempt to kill Sonic.
  • Super Mario RPG has the chase to Marrymore Chapel, in which Mario is both chasing and being chased - the villain is in front of him, but the Mooks are behind him.
  • Super Paper Mario has Mimi. When she transforms at the start of Chapter 2-4, she has an invincible barrier, and you have to flee into a maze. If you stay in one room too long, she suddenly appears there, and "MIMIMIMI..." appears as a warning. Once you find Merlee, however, Mimi traps you in a bathroom. But Merlee casts some sort of spell to remove her invincibility, making her beatable, and an actual fight.
  • Happens in Baldur's Gate one when the main character dreams about Sarevok.
  • Resident Evil 4: that giant robot doll thing that chases you, complete with Collapsing Lair and Press X to Not Die
    • Mr. X and Nemesis from the second and third games also qualify.
  • The giant hermit crab that seems to have been designed by Orks in Metal Slug.
  • The game of the movie for Dinosaur had a Dryptosaurus which one couldn't defeat, and had to trick off the cliff through a highly convoluted maneuver.
  • "Lair of the Beast" from the first Sly Cooper game. At the halfway mark, a giant snake monster appears and chases you through the swamp, destroying the path behind you.
  • Resident Evil: Nemesis is an example of a game built around this trope.
    • Somewhat. Nemesis (the thing chasing the player) can only follow the player so far (usually a room or two) and can be temporarily "killed" nearly every time to cut the chases short. Doing so isn't encouraged (except to get bonus items) thanks to ammo rationing, but still.
  • One occurs in World of Warcraft Wrath of the Lich King patch 3.3, it involves your 5man party plus one AI heroine (Jania Proudmoore for Alliance, Sylvanas for Horde) as you try to escape from the Lich King who keeps creating ice walls that your NPC ally has to destroy as he keeps sending undead minions at you. He can be damaged while advancing, but he has far too much health to be killed within the escape sequence. (Unless you used a bug to lead him in circles in the starting room instead of a planned course. In that case killing him "just" takes ages and he drops nothing.) It is not until the final encounter of the expansion's last raid that you finally fight him head-on.
  • It occurs during the 'Ruined Zoo' section of Super Smash Bros. Brawl's Subspace Emissary, where you run from the Pig King Statue.
  • There are a few levels in Beyond Good and Evil where Jade has to outrun the Alpha Sections with no chance of retaliation due to their vast combat superiority, especially that part where she infiltrates their HQ and gets away with a few dozens of Pearls.
  • That Donald Duck game had a bunch of extra levels with this.
  • Escape is an objective in many Fire Emblem chapters. It is most common in the 5th game, where the enemies give good reason to flee.
  • Soul Nomad and The World Eaters had an example of this near the beginning, if I understand the trope correctly. Only after having your ass handed to you and running away a few times do you get the power to actually kill one of the World Eaters. (Unless you've been through New Game+ a few times...)
    • Soul Nomad also has the level that marks the first appearance of Thornedike. Any decently leveled party however is going to clear this one quite easy.
  • The Abandoned Mill level in Castle Crashers.
  • Advance Wars: Day Of Ruin has a mission where you have to get an AI controlled unit to the far left of the screen and escape.
  • A Mega Man Fangame, Mega Man Scramble, is built on this concept.
    • Actually occurs in the main series as well, albeit for a brief sequence: the Mecha-Dragon from Mega Man 2, and Pteranoid, a Mini Boss, from Mega Man X 5.
  • Near the end of the Rescue Arc of Skies of Arcadia, you have to flee from Lord Galcian.
  • The "Rambi Rumble" stage of Donkey Kong Country 2, in which King Zing, the world's boss, chases you to the end of the level (and arguably his lair, since it's the last level before you get there.)
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns has "Crumble Canyon"; in the second half, the Kongs have to outrun a flaming Tiki ball while maneuvering through a series of obstacles. Guess what happens if it touches you. Stormy Shore and Crowded Cavern could also qualify.
  • Most all of the boss races of the Freeware Game Runman: Race Around the World.
  • One of the doors in Baby Bowser's castle in Yoshi's Island features Tap Tap the Golden chasing you in an insanely annoying auto scrolling area.
  • A giant worm in the first Penumbra game acts as a sort of living Advancing Wall of Doom in one section, completely filling the passage behind you. You can't outrun it, but not far ahead there's a flimsy support pillar that lets you bring the ceiling down on its head.
  • In Dead Space you're required to run from a genetically enhanced necromorph. Though you are able to chop it up like most enemies in the game, this one regenerates to continue the chase.
  • In Breakdown, you come face to face with The Dragon, Solus a couple time prior to the actual boss battle. He is completely invincible in these sequences, and will block any punch you happen to throw. Your only choise is to run.
  • Stage 5-5 of Jumper Two has Ogmo being chased by GostBot with a relatively huge bouncing... blade? Roller? Boulder? thing. Both kill Ogmo on contact, but reaching the end results in GostBot kidnapping Ogmo.
  • Ifrit does this in Eblan and the Tower Of Babil in Final Fantasy IV the After Years — random encounters have a chance of having Ifrit in them, and those that do you had better run the hell away from, or else.
  • Parasite Eve: After the Final Battle versus Ultimate Being.
    • The 3rd Birthday: Anytime the Reaper appears, except for the last time where the soldiers are bringing in The Berzerkers. The BGM is even an arrange of UB's theme.
  • Fatal Frame 2: When Sae's ghost appears after Mio drops her camera.
    • Heck, the Fatal Frame series in general does this with each Big Bad. Most of the game is spent periodically having to flee from them, since there's no way to fight them until the final battle.
  • A hilarious example in Alice: Madness Returns where you navigate Queensland while occasionally fleeing from the Executioner who was earlier mentioned to be invincible. Then you reach one point where you face it in a cutscene where the tables are turned. Cue the following Oh Crap moment and subsequent literal Curb Stomp Battle.
  • There's a giant bear to run from in Kao the Kangaroo: Round 2, avoiding pits as you go.
  • Inverted in Gradius: The Interstellar Assault for the Game Boy. A boss runs away from you, all the while soaking up your shots until it stops to actually fight back.
  • Indiana Jones and The Emperors Tomb pits you against one of the main antagonists as he drives a giant drilling machine through the underground labyrinth that leads to the titular tomb. It being immune to damage, the only way to survive is to run from the machine (avoiding the falling sections of the floor) until you finally whip-swing over a chasm and let the machine fall in.
  • The final level of the Spider-Man game on PSX has you running from Doc Ock infected with Carnage's symbiote through a repetitive set of tunnels. A useless "pressure" meter fills up on the right side of the screen; it serves no purpose as falling too far behind will end with you getting caught and needing to restart the level.
  • The iOS game Temple Run is just one big escape sequence. You have just stolen an idol and now have to run out of a temple to escape demon monkeys.
  • In the "Fortress of Kellar" expansion of Hero Quest (a board game based on Warhammer Fantasy), one "level" gives the bad guy player (like a Game Master, except that they're supposed to be trying to beat the heroes within bounds of the rules) permission to spawn mooks from the entrance every turn after the players get a bit of distance. Given that the only thing limiting the amount of mooks that will spawn is having enough figures, and killed figures become available again, there's no other option than to escape.
  • The NES Godzilla Creepypasta has the Big Bad, Red, chase the player down at the end of every chapter.
  • Stage 5 of Battletoads for the Game Boy had the player running on foot from Brain Damage. Stage 5 of Battlemaniacs had a Minecart Madness escape from an enemy with a buzzsaw similar to the Clinger Winger stage in the original Battletoads, though that counts more as Advancing Boss of Doom since you actually fight the Hypno Orb at the end.
  • Canabalt is a purely this trope, as your character runs Roof Hopping until you screw up.
  • Any time you encounter the Ultimate Chimera in Mother 3. You're explicitly told when you learn about it that engaging it is a very bad idea, and should you ignore the warning, the game doesn't even bother giving you a chance to defend yourself.