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You know that level. A Marathon Death Course that serves to wear down your limited stockpiles of ammo and healing potions in a battle of attrition. It often does this by sending you through a Multi Mook Melee stacked with Elite Mooks that require costly magic spells to take them down, or by the much cheaper method of wearing down the player's Hit Points with Damaging Terrain.

You'll be nearly dry on supplies before the next checkpoint. If you can't go back, it can render the game Unwinnable or nearly so.

Examples of Drought Level of Doom include:


  • The Dread Isle, Imprisoner of Magic, A Glimpse in Time, and Dragon's Gate in Fire Emblem will punish you if you forgot to stock on the pirate ship. You will find yourself running low on weapons and vulneraries rather quickly.
    • In Sacred Stones, a literal Drought Level is found in Jehanna, where movement across the sands is extremely limited, especially for mounted units who can normally move halfway across the screen. Getting to the armory in the far corner is... discouraging. Luckily, flying units are unaffected. Unluckily, there are only four--three of which being Fragile Speedsters.
    • Mages are also unhindered by the sands, stating their cloth robes makes it very easy to travel in.
  • Gurgu Volcano in Final Fantasy I and its unavoidable damaging floors. Tip: ignore the One True Sequence and tackle this dungeon last. Or you can tackle the Castle of Ordeals as soon as you get the canoe and you will find the Heal Staff and the Zeus Gauntlet, allowing free healing and free offensive magic.
    • Chaos Temple at the end also serves as this, with lots of floors, mazes, tough enemies, and surprise reappearances of the four fiends. If you can make it to Chaos with any resources left, you're lucky.
    • The remakes do this for the bonus dungeons. Thirty floors? Forty floors? Deal with it!
  • The majority of the longer routes in Pokémon games are like this, owing to your Mon having a limited amount of Power Points for all four of its moves, and items used to replenish PP can't be bought in stores. The various incarnations of Victory Road are often the worst offenders, due to having lots of tough trainer battles and being really, really long. They also generally require multiple HM moves to progress through them, which further limits your party since you'll most likely need to haul along an HM Slave (who is generally useless in battle at these higher levels) to do the dirty work.
  • Nearly every stage in Resident Evil 4 ran on this, but if you are low on supplies by the Island.
    • This is really par for the course for Resident Evil, as well as Survival Horror in general.
      • Especially Code Veronica, where there is simply not enough ammo to kill everything. Fortunately, the knife is actually useful.
  • Super Mario Bros 3 to an extent. In World 6 and 7, mushroom houses are slim in comparison to earlier areas. If you use all your items in these worlds without restocking (via game over and farming), then you'll be in for a rude awakening for World 8, which has some of the hardest stages in the game to complete
    • You can save a P-Wing to use for those levels. That is, unless you deem them Too Awesome to Use or just run out of the rare things.
  • The endgame for World of Warcraft used to require massive resource stockpiling efforts before a raid could begin. It got (somewhat) better.
  • To a certain extent, most Mega Man X stages were used to weaken you for the boss and waste your lives and life containers. For most Mega Man players, the first life is a throwaway regardless because you probably won't be able to defeat the boss unless you're at full health.
    • This isn't really the case in the first game, because the bosses were pretty easy to Buster to death. There were some exceptions, though - you were expected to toss a life or two to Launch Octopus before he would deign to be destroyed, for one.
  • The Zombie Apocalypse level of Time Splitters: Future Perfect, The Mansion, derives most of its difficulty from the literally unending (they respawn indefinitely in some places) horde of walking dead and the perpetual concern of running out of shotgun ammo, of which there is little to speak of in the first place.
  • Some portions of Paper Mario can delve into this because of the importance of certain items and the limited carrying capacity, particularly in longer dungeons.
    • Averted by the game's "Pit of 100 Trials." One of the games looks like it's going to be a chore. No resurfacing to restock on items for 100 levels... until you start in and realize enemy drops practically fall out of trees and you can pretty much subsist on what they drop, saving all your items for the boss at the end.
    • Even in the Gamecube one, you can trade Star Pieces for badges that let you increase enemy drops.
    • However, battle items tend to drop when you are in need of healing items.
  • Ravenholm from Half-Life 2, in good form for a zombie level, had lots of weak enemies coming at you which you had to waste a bunch of ammo on to kill. Which meant you had no good ammo once one of the really fast zombies or the big, poisonous zombies comes at you. Oh, and they garden variety ones respawn endlessly in certain places. Enjoy.
    • Ravenholm does, however, give a surplus supply of large sawblades and explosives which can be manipulated with the gravity gun. The drought is intended to force the player to learn to use these rather than stick with their conventional weapons. There's even an achievement for getting through the entire thing without using anything else.
    • In addition to swarming you with mooks, Ravenholm encourages you to part with your resources by scaring the piss out of you-- killing the zombies becomes less about killing them because they're enemies and more about killing them because you don't want them to be there anymore.
  • The original Dark Cloud for the Play Station 2 had a notoriously bad reputation for this. Whether your item broke, you ran out of repair power, had no antidotes (and thus had to wait in a healing spring until you were brave enough to leave) or water, the game did its best to narrow down your perishable items to slim to none.
  • Zelda II the Adventure of Link has many caves and areas you must travel through in order to get to various dungeons and temples. The game kills you in such efficient ways that you're likely to run out of both health and magic by the temple and dungeon in question, let alone facing the boss
  • This shows up in several casual games of the block-breaking or match-three type. If you don't have lots of power-ups to use, you almost can't get through the level.
    • Zodiac Tower has several near the top;
    • Jewel Quest has a couple in which having the wrong amulets in effect can make it nearly impossible;
    • Monarch, The Butterfly King has several boards that require making matches to generate potions in the right area; and
    • If you don't have the correct two power-ups fully charged at the end of level 63 of 4 Elements, you can't get through level 64 at all.
  • A literal Drought Level Of Doom: Doom II's Level 9, "The Pit", is famous for not having quite enough ammo to destroy all the monsters, even on a full playthrough. Those wanting 100% completion usually had to resort to using the fists or chainsaw for good chunks of the level.
  • Final Fantasy XI has many events like Limbus and Dynamis with armies of Mooks and a time limit, with Assault and Einherjar being the most hectic of the events. Campaign Battles can possibly be like this, depending on the amount and timing of enemy waves.
  • The recurring "void" levels of Sinistar.
  • Wonder Boy and Adventure Island have a variation of the trope. During parts of mountain levels, there are very few bits of food to pick up so player is in a hurry since picking up food before energy runs out is a key for survival.
    • In the later levels, chances to regain your weapon are few and far between, so dying in certain areas can render the game Unwinnable.
  • After returning from the Moon in Final Fantasy IV, you are forced to go straight into the next dungeon, which is full of very strong enemies, culminating in TWO Boss Battles in a row (Although you do get to save and heal in between by backtracking to the save point), all without being able to re-stock on your items!
    • The DS remake has a merchant Hummingway (or counterpart) at the single Save Point in the Giant of Babil. They compensate for this by making the two boss battles harder - unlike the SNES, PSX, and GBA versions, the Archfiends use all their abilities from the first encounters in the rematch, and the CPU battle is murder.
    • It also averts the trope--Remember Gurgu Volcano? (If not, just scroll up a bit). Final Fantasy IV has two semi-optional-ish areas called Sylph Cave and Passage of the Eidolons, which have a poison floor and a lava floor, respectively. You can, if you want to, trek through them the hard way, taking damage constantly--or you can spend eight measly MP and cast Float on the party. See? Simplez!
  • Final Fantasy XII can be like this when trekking between key locations. The long road can wear you down with nary a save crystal or a shop in sight as you waste MP and items on monsters that keep swarming you.
  • Phantom Brave does this in later stages by limiting the number of usable objects on the stage. Strategy comes into play as you have to face powerful enemies with a smaller squad at your disposal. If you don't make use of good strategy, I hope you ground Marona...
  • "Day Dream" in Lumines Supernova, with a time-line so painfully slow you're lucky if you can clear any blocks.
  • Black Sigil has a sky-high Random Encounters rate and Mooks that hit very, very hard. The entire game is basically this trope. Triggering a dungeon run without restocking on items can easily render the game Unwinnable. Fortunately, there are multiple save slots.
  • Infinity Mode in Dead Rising serves as a version of this. There's plenty of food at the beginning but it doesn't respawn, so you must balance your inventory carefully, and fight dangerous psychopaths and survivors to get more. Then, on day 7, all psychopaths and survivors disappear and you are left with the quickly dwindling food supplies.
  • All of Turok 2 on Hard difficulty. Conserve, and choose your weapons and strategy wisely.
  • In Impossamole's Slippy-Slidey Ice World, you are bound to take alot of unavoidable damage from Goddamned Bats and Malevolent Architecture, and healing items and powerups are very scarce here.
  • Acme Station from Marathon Infinity. The main reason why its That One Level. Vacuum, hordes of enemies, narrow corridors, scarce ammo, and only two refills for your Oxygen Meter.
    • The original has G4 Sunbathing (Hunters and Troopers, respawning Compilers, and since it's in vacuum, you can only use you Pistols and Fusion Pistol), Neither High Nor Low (only one save point at the beginning, little ammo, lots of traps, enemies are mostly Hunters), and the Pfhor ship levels (no ammo pickups to speak of, and Pfhoraphobia has no save points or recharges either).
  • In Silpheed, a Shoot'Em Up distributed by Sierra from Japan, ALL orbital levels has NO power-ups.
  • The last level/encounter of the third Grand Theft Auto game is supposed to be like this; the character is stripped of his guns and left to chase the Big Bad with only a machine pistol stolen from a mook. However if one has been dilligent in collecting the bonus packages, a nearby safe house will have a related number of weapons for the grabbing...speed is essential at this point.
  • Each of the Streets of Rage series traditionally has a section - usually during the last level - where the players are trapped in an elevator with a small selection of weapons and power ups and are forced to refight all of the Bosses that they have already fought. They have to do this in quick succession, and at higher difficulty levels the enemies have much more health than the first time you met them and usually turn up with a crowd of mooks too.
  • In most of Tip of the Spear (in particular) from Halo: Reach, the ammo for higher-level weapons is very limited, such as the mining facility where you fight a Zealot and you're already low on DMR ammo, the second AA gun where you have to fight a pair of Hunters and the only readily available ammo is Needlers and Plasma Pistols, then the Spire chapter where you are cut off from all human reinforcements and weaponry until you take down the shield. In fact, on Legendary, most of the game follows this trope.
  • The Body of the Many in System Shock 2 may not actually be this to a well-prepared player, but it sure believes that it is, as at one point it taunts you about your dwindling resources.
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