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Tired video game tropes that need to die

Evil empires

One day, an amnesiac hero will be born (and immediately orphaned) into a kingdom that isnt neighboured by an evil empire plotting to harness a long-lost magical artefact in order to attain supreme, unholy power. One day that empire will not be comprised of standard-issue enemies inhabiting all regions of the game (because inhabiting lots of regions is conveniently the sort of thing that empires do). One day...

The conscientious murderer

Largely indigenous to open-world games. S/he has been through a hard time, has seen a lot of the wrong things, and is utterly dedicated to non-violence and clean living from this point onward. But there are a lot of crack dealers around here. And cops getting in the way of a good time. And occasionally rude people. And old ladies. And s/he does have a lot of grenades...

The door-opening siege

Hey, its going to take me five minutes to open this door. I do hope no more enemies decide to attack while Im opening this door. They probably wont though, as weve already killed all the enemies in this level and there definitely wont be about a thousand more just waiting around to attack as soon as I start opening this door. Ill just start opening this door

Plant five charges to initiate exciting escape sequence

Because the devs have designed a small environment and really want to get the most out of it by making you explore every last square inch of it before everything explodes and you run away and probably jump into a helicopter.

Our princess is in another castle

Not limited to Mario games any more. And again, very common in open-world games. If theres a large environment to explore, a lot of easily-deployable fetch-and-carry quest-types available, and even the most tenuous excuse for sending the player travelling for miles for a story-furthering reward (which will inevitably be directions to another fetch-and-carry quest for someone else, who will do exactly the same thing), then thats the games running time expanded by another five hours right there. Easy. Whos free for lunch?

Cutscene power fluctuation

Maybe youre an unstoppable badass whos slaughtered legions of worthy enemies while breaking barely the mildest hint of a sweat, but now that youre in a cutscene that slightly larger than average mook has managed to knock you out (and probably steal all of your skills and equipment) with a mere flick of the wrist.

Or maybe youre having a tough old time fighting your way through the mobs, but as soon as youve ground your way through to the end of that mid-game boss fight you find yourself with all the supernatural slaughtering powers of Azrael himself, and vanquish your nemesis in a devastating, exaltedly cinematic fashion that youll never be able to achieve in real-time gameplay. Either way, cutscene power fluctuation has screwed you over.

The boss resurrection of narrative furthering

Whats this? Youve run into the guy being set up as the games Ultimate Final Boss a bit early? And hes already having a pop at you? Early encounter boss fight is on! And it looks like youre going to be able to take him down. Maybe theres something less predictable going on here. Maybe youre going to have your perceptions of the big boss bad guys identity excitingly subverted. Maybe theres some huge plot twist coming at the end of this fight.

Oh no, you have indeed succeeded in wiping out his entire health bar but hes just ignored the rules and run off, claiming that hell get you next time. What next time? Youve just beaten him. And hes cheated. The prick.

Brave new world?

So that's our list of tedious old video game tropes we want to see excised from the design handbook. But how about you? Are there any other cliches you're sick to death of playing through every... single... time? Let us know.

And while you're here, why not check out some of our related stuff? The Top 7... Lazy Character Clichs would be a good start, as would The most annoying fighter cliches (that we still totally love)?

Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.