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"Heaven doesn't want me, and Hell's afraid I'll take over."

So, The Dragon, Anti-Hero, Big Bad, or Psycho for Hire has finally been killed. This isn't a world where Death Is Cheap, either - bad people go straight to Hell, and there are no Clerics around to cast convenient resurrection spells.

Unfortunately for Lucifer - and, probably, a lot of people in the land of the living - this particular dude is just too tough for Hell to contain. One of several things can happen...

1) He fights his way out, carving a path through The Legions of Hell, frequently taking a level in badass on the way.

2) Satan recognizes the sheer badassery of the newest customer, and offers him a Deal with the Devil - rarely, it involves taking on an administrating position within the hellish bureaucracy. Almost all of the time, the deal involves him returning to the land of the living to do a few things for the Devil, in return for a second chance... even when this often backfires for the Devil.

3) Even Beelzebub doesn't want this guy around... so, he's unceremoniously kicked out of Hell, and back to the land of the living. Since Heaven probably doesn't want him either, this can result in a Flying Dutchman situation, but the stories where this happens rarely explore the consequences that far ahead.

4) This guy's badder than bad... forget leaving, he's TAKING OVER. Hell needs a change of leadership, and this guy can provide it. Exactly what happens to the previous boss often isn't explored, but whatever the case may be, the Big Bad just got bigger.

5) The hero just wanted to get rid of the Ultimate Big Bad, really. But in the spirit of He Who Fights Monsters and You Kill It, You Bought It, is seems that As Long as There Is Evil demands that there always be an Ultimate Big Bad. Thus, the next qualified applicant is the hero that slew the old one, whether they like it or not. Rarely, they Take a Third Option and go to breaking the laws of the universe. This would best be hit with a The End to the story to save the Fridge Logic.

Related to the Flying Dutchman and Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth. If it's the heroes taking a voluntary trip into Hell to wreak some havok, it's To Hell and Back (and possibly a Bonus Level of Hell, if it happens in a videogame.) Often happens with a hero who's committed a Faustian Rebellion. Compare Out of the Inferno, with which it sometimes overlap. It can also happen if The Hero somehow ends up accidentally getting sent there.

Examples of Like a Badass Out of Hell include:

Fought His Way Out

Anime & Manga

  • In Berserk, the Skull Knight did this upon rescuing Guts and Casca from the Godhand and their Apostles during the Eclipse. Having a sword that can slice through dimensions definitely helps.
  • At the end of Great Teacher Onizuka, Onizuka.
  • In King of Thorn, Marco Owen is being taken away by The Grim Reaper after deciding Better to Die Than Be Killed when he changes his mind and decides to go back. He outruns the reaper and returns to his thoroughly-wrecked body. A Heroic Sacrifice by another character patches him up, and He's Back.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, Son Goku lands in Hell the Home For Infinite Losers after falling from Snake Way. However, it's Played for Laughs. Instead of going into total Badass mode, he uses his superpowers to beat the Oni in sumo matches and games of tag in order to be let out.
    • In Dragon Ball GT, there's a moment where most of the previous villains got out of Hell, by opening a portal connecting Hell and the mortal world, only to be sent again to Hell later.
      • The same exact thing happens in one of the movies, which was done before GT.
  • In the manga adaptation of the Kirby series, Kirby dies and is sent to Hell after eating all the food in Heaven. There he defeats the Devil (played by Nightmare) and makes Hell more "fun", with attractions such as a mountain-of-spikes ring toss and a lake of boiling red wine instead of blood. This becomes obnoxious and Dark Mind is relieved when Kirby leaves (somehow by holding on to the tongue of Gooey).
  • In Martian Successor Nadesico Show Within a Show Gekiganger III, Jou suddenly appears from Hell in the final episode, piloting Gekiganger III and giving Gekiganger V a Gekigan Blade to perform a final attack to destroy all evil. Akito officially makes this the worst episode of the bunch and drives home the fact that using the series (any series) as basis for life is pretty dumb

Comic Books

  • Ghost Rider does this about every five seconds. Indeed, this was the first thing he did in the first issue of his latest series.
    • And let us remember that one time when he took it over.
  • Lobo.
  • Wolverine has been sent to Hell in the first story of his recent ongoing series. He managed to escape with the help of Alpha Flight member Puck, who was there for some reason. Puck ended up taking over Hell after he and Logan killed the devil. He later give up his position to get back to life and save his teammates.

Fan Works


  • John Milton of Drive Angry breaks out of Hell to rescue his granddaughter. Toyed with, as after he finishes this, he is willingly taken back without a fight.
  • Little Nicky: Satan's oldest sons aren't happy that he thinks they're too aggressive to succeed him in balancing good and evil in the universe, so they freeze Hell, starve their dad of condemned souls, and decide to corrupt Earth into a new Hell.


  • Jirel of Joiry, the first pulp fantasy heroine, fought her way out of Hell. Repeatedly, in several variations.
  • When Satan tricks Mym, the Incarnation of War, into Hell to keep him out of the way while he enacts his plans, he successfully leads a revolt.
  • In Dilvish, the Damned, Roger Zelazny's half-Elvish hero Dilvish inadvertently interrupted a dark ritual. The sorcerer performing it turned his body to stone and banished his soul to Hell out of annoyance. He got out, but only with help.
  • This is how really powerful undead are created in The Old Kingdom Trilogy. The farther through Hell they fought, the stronger they are when they pop out the other side and find a body to possess.
    • It's not really hell, though - Death is a river that ends in oblivion, gated at nine points. Most weaker beings get swept through, but it is more difficult to force final oblivion to the more powerful ones.
  • A major part of the plot of Alan Campbell's Deepgate Codex trilogy.
  • Jesus might count as this.
    • At the very least, he qualified as having done this in The Divine Comedy - At several points, references to the Harrowing of Hell are made by residents, and Dante sees the level of destruction that was done by Jesus at a few points.
  • In the fifth book of Percy Jackson and The Olympians, Percy and Nico go 'downstairs' to take a dive in the River Styx. When Hades finds Percy, he is pretty pissed. Using his new badass upgrade, Percy hacks through the legions of the Underworld and ends up threatening the lord of the dead.
  • In Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey, the main character is a modern-day magician, betrayed and sent to hell where he kills countless demons in the fighting pits until he is recruited as an assassin of demon lords and ultimately escapes. The book begins when he first returns to earth, looking for revenge.

Live Action Television

  • In Supernatural, John Winchester seizes the opportunity to claw his way out of Hell when the Hell Gate opens.
  • Buffy does this in the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, though as hells go, this one was more like Satanic factory than eternal fire, and it did have a simple two way door.
  • Cole from Charmed manages to escape hell by absorbing the powers of other fallen demons until he became Nigh Invulnerable, even becoming able to kill the massive worm that feasted on the souls of the damned there. Unfortunately for him, since his newly-obtained powers were evil by nature, Phoebe, the woman he loved and married, ended up divorcing from him because he now brought her more harm than good, leaving him unable to even kill himself out of the grief.


 Out of the bowels of hell he sailed

Wielding a tankard of freshly brewed ale

Tabletop Games

  • This may be possible in the D&D-Setting Eberron. The first stage of the afterlife (no one knows about what comes after you've faded away there) is simply another plane. A plane that will quickly sap you of the will necessary to leave it and has lots of powerful guardians, but a regular plane nevertheless. And considering the setting's pulpy larger-than-life attitude towards heroes...
    • D&D 4 has this as one of its Epic Destinies. Most destinies can cheat death in some way, but perhaps the coolest variant is the Dark Wanderer. At a certain level, he can travel within 24 hours to any location from any other location - explicitly including the afterlife.
  • Characters of the OWoD game Wraith: The Oblivion can under certain circumstances claw their way back into the lands of the living as Risen. Even though they just reek of The Crow, the white face paint is not obligatory.
  • Sigmar Heldenhammer in Warhammer fantasy battles did this when he entered the afterlife (which isn't really hell) was attacked by an army of daemons, summoned an army of spirit warriors and got out.
    • While never actually entering the realm of chaos Volkmar the grim was tied to a demon banner and carried around by a demonic legion, he breaks lose and slaughters demons with his magical chains.

Video Games

  • Inverted in Cave Story. You've just penetrated through Hell, killed what is basically Wizard-Satan, and then... Balrog jumps into hell (he's known for an unexplained ability to get anywhere) to rescue you in the nick of time, to fly away, onto the Good Ending! Huzzah!
  • Kratos did this in God of War, and again near the beginning of God of War II - although that time, he wasn't really ALL the way down there before he turned around and clawed his way back out again.
    • God of War: Chains of Olympus had him do this with the Greek equivalent to hell and heaven, though this was a semi-deliberate act, since he was charged by the gods to find Helios (god of the sun), and Hades was where his search led him. It fits, instead of being just a To Hell and Back scenario, as he's killed by Charon shortly after arriving.
    • At least in the first God of War, this is Justified Trope because Kratos has the blessings of the gods, including Hades himself, as all the Olympians are united that Ares must be stopped. Presumably, Hades allows Kratos to leave if he can make his way to the border with the mortal world. Plus, even in real Greek mythology, several heroes walk in and out of Hades.
    • And let's not forget the Barbarian King, who beat up the guards of hell with his giant hammer and rode out the gates on his fleshy fire horse. I don't care if he is the man who made Kratos what he is today; I felt sorry having to send him back to Hades.
    • Kratos does this once again in God of War III, this time making sure to kill Hades. By this point Kratos doesn't even seem remotely concerned about finding himself dead; it's not like it has ever bothered him yet.
  • Godot in Ace Attorney claims that he has 'come back from Hell to do battle' with Phoenix Wright. Given the potential for ghosts and spirit channeling in the series, he might well be telling the truth. Although he actually just came out of a five year poison-induced coma.
  • The Marine from Doom gets honorable mention here. He dies at the end of the first episode. Three episodes later, he finds a portal back to Earth as the ending text says he was "too tough for Hell to contain".
    • Moreover, in the sequel the Marine goes back to Hell and puts the lord of evil, as well as Hell itself, out of business for good, wondering afterwards where bad people go when they die.
    • The Nintendo 64 installment of the game has the Marine going to Hell a third time, and this time staying there to ensure no more invasions from its legions.
  • A way to do Level Grinding in the old Mac game Task Maker. When you die, you have to make your way through a fiery maze in Fire and Brimstone Hell without your weapons back to the living, while avoiding respawning devils. ....however, one gets sent to Hell if you "cast a spell" with a swear word in it. (Or use an item like a Hell Scroll or Adam's Apple that Randomly Drops). Ironically you get to keep your weapons in this case, and one can fire a weapon through the fire "walls" and the devils don't go through them. If you hit a devil with a boomerang enough times, they'll die....
  • In the first Wild ARMs game, Metal Demon (in this case, it refers to a cyborg alien) Boomerang is killed defending the heroes by his fellow Metal Demons. But he comes back in the Monster Arena as a Bonus Boss. He explains that he fought his way from Hell. In the original, he turned his patron deity Guardian of Desire into a sword, in the remake it's summon magic like the other Guardians.
  • This is how the second Kid Icarus game starts -- Pit has fallen into Hades and must fight his way back up.
  • Playing as a Lost Soul in the Roguelike "TOME", one has to fight their way from the Halls of the Dead. It's...very unlikely that you succeed, but if you do, you'll be WELL on your way to leveling up enough to beat the game.
  • Scorpion initially fell under version 2, when he made a deal for revenge. Since then, however, whenever he dies, he just claws his way back out, presumably under version 1, with knowledge of the path out that he was given before. Johnny Cage is a special version. He didn't so much claw his way out of hell as he followed Scorpion out once.
  • In Legend of Mana, the player character has to fight their way out of the Underworld each time they go there (though the last "obstacle" is just a friendly Shadole who offers you a free ride back to the world of the living), and also manages to prevent a Big Bad from making his takeover of the place permanent.
  • An interesting heroic case in Super Paper Mario: Mario and friends are thrown into the afterlife, and Mario fights his way in the Underwhere to find his brother Luigi. Queen Jaydes, who is not actually an evil person, allows them to return to the living world, and the duo continue to Chapter 7, which is... you guessed it, the afterlife again; but this time Mario and Luigi have to find Bowser, who is imprisoned in the Underwhere, and Peach, who is somewhere in the Overthere.
  • The player characters in Guild Wars Nightfall sort of do this in the Realm of Torment. While they do not try to fight their way out at first, they do fight to free some spirits, and find some help against the Big Bad. They eventually succeed at defeating, and replacing, the bigBad, replacing him with a non-evil version, making this also an example of Taking Over
  • The Bannor in the Civilization 4 mod Fall From Heaven have this as a backstory.
  • Ryu Hayabusa of Ninja Gaiden is an interesting example. His clan being responsible for preventing hell from taking over, he spends a lot of time fighting his way INTO hell and BACK OUT again.
  • Ammon Jerro from Neverwinter Nights 2 is implied to have done this after having been killed in a battle with the King of Shadows many years ago. It helps that he already had several demons from the lower hells under his control, though.
  • Played with in Guitar Hero III. Your band's manager is actually Satan, and your contract states that your soul now belongs to him. Cue rocking out in Hell like nothing happened, followed by a guitar duel with an enraged (and probably jealous) Satan. You win, the stage collapses, and your band flies up to Heaven. On motorcycles.
  • To quote Sarevok from Baldurs Gate, "I swore I would scratch and crawl my way back into the world of the living, and I. HAVE. DONE IT!! HAHAHAHA". Not mention getting killed TWICE before doing this.
  • Team Fortress 2: in Halloween of 2011, a second boss monster was introduced called MONOCULUS! who had the power to drag nearby players into the underworld. Luckily the underworld is only about 100 square feet, and if you can reach the exit before your health is drained (or before victims on the other team kill you) you escape back to the mortal realm with full health and temporary invincibility, damage, and speed buffs.


  • In Narbonic, the minor character Seth is dragged into hell by a visiting demon. Several years later, he returns when a gate is opened into the beyond. Apparently, he's picked up SEVERAL levels in badass on the way. Not to mention a really big axe.
  • While she wasn't in "Hell", Morganna, the mystical Big Bad of the webserial The Descendants managed after falling into Faerie. She mustered an army by defeating and cowing various creatures until she had a big enough army to challenge the local demons -- who decided to cut a deal with her.
  • Not technically Hell, but in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, Dr. McNinja fights his way out of the afterlife by double-teaming Death with the dual manifestations of his doctor and ninja personas.
  • In Sinfest, Criminy braves the depths of hell, just to be with his girlfriend, the succubus Fuchsia. The Devil almost gets him, but...Punch it, Forky!

Got A Job

Anime & Manga

  • Little Miss Badass Ai Enma from Hell Girl. During her dying breath, she cursed the villagers that sacrificed her and her parents to their moutain gods. That same night, she came back to life and burned the whole village down, killing everyone in it. After that, she was sent to hell, and the Lord of Hell forced her to take the job of Hell Girl or else she and her loved ones would suffer in hell eternally. The job comes with a powerful set of powers, and over the course of 400 years she gains enough mastery of it to be able to confront the Lord of Hell, as seen in the end of Season 1. She manages to get off the job at the end of Season 2... and after a complicated set of events, takes the job back at the end of Season 3.

Comic Books

  • The man who would become the Saint of Killers from the Preacher (Comic Book) comic went to Hell for shooting through a hostage -- but his hatred was so cold that it froze the flames to ice. The Devil couldn't stop his hatred -- so instead, the Angel of Death who was never cut out for being The Reaper, makes a deal that this man: he'll become the Saint of Killers, take the Angel's job, and leave Hell in order to serve as Heaven's enforced. Thus, the Saint of Killers was born. Don't forget, using his newfound Angel of Death powers he kills the Devil!
    • As well as all the angels in heaven, Genesis and the Almighty GOD to boot!
  • Spawn struck a Deal with the Devil to get back out. Numerous retcons make it hard to get the details straight, though.
    • Fridge Logic: Isn't a Deal with the Devil supposed to be a convoluted, hard to grasp contract that is anything but airtight and can be interpreted in any number of (in)convenient ways?
  • Anton Arcane from the Swamp Thing comics.
    • He brought several other damned souls out with him, although it's unclear if they were likewise allowed to return, or just hitched a ride to sneak out.
  • In JLA: The Nail, the Joker returns from Hell, complete with new infernal powers, to try to drag Batman back with him. He almost did, too, except... well, he's Batman.
    • Batman was saved by the spirits of Robin and Batgirl, who due to the break down in the dimensional barriers also were freed long enough to rescue their mentor and break him out of his Heroic BSOD over their tortured murders before his eyes. It was also in the sequel, Another Nail, that that occurred.


 Satan: *sneer* It's you.

Adam: *sigh* Listen. If I'm gonna be stuck down here, I might as well make myself useful.

Satan: … … … We have the position of "Prince of Hell" still open.

Adam: Brilliant.


  • In Kenneth Oppel's Silverwing series, the cannibal bat Goth is sent back to Earth to re-teach the living cannibal bats about Cama Zotz. May be a slight inversion in that he's not quite sent back by Zotz himself, just told about the two living bats in the Underworld so that he can kill one to take the life into himself and live again.
  • Not sure what section to put the Church of the Sub Genius in, but they had some books, so "Literature" it is. Their leader, JR "Bob" Dobbs, has died many times, and has escaped from Hell every time. How many times? He's returned to life so often, every day of the year is his birthday.
  • In Anne Rice's Memnoch the Devil, Lestat is given a tour of the history of mankind and the afterlife, including Heaven and Hell. In Hell, the Devil (Memnoch, in case you missed it) offers him a job as his "right-hand man/vampire". Lestat declines and runs screaming out of Hell.

Live Action Television

  • In Brimstone, a tough-as-nails cop who went to Hell, for the cold-blooded killing of the man who had raped his wife, is allowed to return to earth to hunt down 113 damned souls who've escaped from Hell...
  • Subverted in Supernatural. Dean takes a job and spends ten years torturing souls in Hell, except that a) he doesn't get to leave, b) he's gone through thirty years of torture himself, already, and c) it scars him for life, what with it being the most incredibly angsty show on earth.
    • This is how demons are created on the show however - essentially anyone who goes to hell will eventually end up with a job there, as their humanity is stripped away and they become a demon. Dean just got yanked out before he could get proper job security.
    • The quality of the position is pretty directly based on how Badass the person in question is; Hell is a pretty Asskicking Equals Authority place, and the only person with a guaranteed spot, Satan, is both out of circulation and an archangel, meaning he outranks the rest of them so totally he could probably ash the whole place alone.


  • The Manowar song "Dark Avenger" is the story of a man who was horribly wronged by local village elders, and eventually killed. When he enters Hades, the "Gaurdion of Lost Souls", (voiced by Orson Welles) offers him a job. The man is equipped with a magic blade which was forged in brimstone and tempered in the tears of the unavenged dead, as well as a pitch-black horse with flaming eyes to carry him back to Earth the Guardion tells him to "seek payment, not only for thine own anguish, but vindicate the souls of the Unavenged". The song than is told by the Dark Avenger's perspective, which he mostly spends listing the fates of his targets.

Tabletop Games

  • In Warhammer 40000, during the events of the Horus Heresy, a World Eaters Space Marine known as Khârn racked up an insane body count during the final siege of the Imperial Palace on Terra. He was killed during the battle, but Khorne, the Chaos God of war, blood and carnage, was so impressed by his showing that he brought Khârn back to life so he could continue to spill blood and collect skulls. It should probably also be mentioned that Khorne isn't particularly concerned about whose skulls Khârn collects, hence his nickname of "The Betrayer"
    • Typhus and the entirety of the Death Guard are another example. Stricken down with a terrible plague on their way to said final siege of Terra, the entire legion of disease resistant super soldiers is struck down by Nurgle... until Typhus makes a deal. Nurgle restores them to life, with the caveat that they will never be free of their diseases and must spend all of eternity bringing Nurgle's plagues to others.
    • And just in case you were thinking that was it, Lucius the Eternal of the Emperor's Children has a similar story. Renowned for both his arrogance and sadism, he was eventually slain, but his god, Slaanesh, approved of his debauchery so highly that he returned him to life, with the curse that anybody who dares kill Lucius will, if they take any pleasure in the deed whatsoever, be transformed into Lucius that he may live again.
    • The character of Ahriman is slightly similar to the above three examples; however, when Tzeentch picked him to be his herald of Change, he simply 'arranged' matters into giving Ahriman a lifestyle that suited him -- just like he did when he brought the rest of his legion into his fold centuries earlier. Having a Magnificent Bastard for a patron deity will do that to you.
    • Many of the Primarchs of the Traitor Legions; after fleeing into the Eye of Terror (Hell on Earth... in Space) they were "promoted" to Daemon Princes.
  • In the Dungeons & Dragons Planescape setting, when you die, you become a petitioner on the Outer Plane most suited to your alignment, and lose all memories of your previous existence. However, many petitioners who are sent to Baator (Lawful Evil Hell) and the Abyss (Chaotic Evil Hell) are selected (essentially at random) to join The Legions of Hell as the diabolic or demonic equivalent of privates. From there, it is theoretically possible that if the petitioner is both evil enough and Badass enough, then he or she could eventually rise up the ranks to become an Archdevil or Demon Lord. This is rare, but possible: the demon lord Orcus began his career as a lowly dretch, and he's now the second or third most powerful being in the Abyss.
  • In Exalted, the Solars of the First Age were killed off in the Usurpation because many of them had become mad, monstrously inhuman tyrants, the rest weren't far behind, and they were getting worse. The ghosts of thirteen of them are now the Deathlords, one of the most dire threats contemporary Creation has ever known.

Video Games

  • Kain from the Legacy of Kain series struck a deal with a necromancer to escape hell, and was returned to Nozgoth as a vampire for it.
    • And in the sequel Soul Reaver, his childe Raziel strikes a similar deal with the Elder God and returns as a soul-devouring apparition.
      • And then Kain does it again in Defiance, after Raziel rips his heart out. This time without anybody's help.
  • Subverted in Kingdom Hearts II; Hades offers Auron out if he kills Hercules. His response?

 Auron: This is my story and you're not part of it.

Hades: Did you forget who you're talking to! I am the Lord of the dead!

Auron: No wonder no one wants to die.

    • And then he gets out anyway, I mean, how Badass is that?
  • Lord Brigan from Odin Sphere was released from the underworld by Odette to possess Odin after Gwendolyn killed him -- only to be beaten out of Odin and banished for good by Gwendolyn.
    • Oswald went into Odette's service as well during his brief tenure there (not that he had much choice, what with her owning his soul and all...), until Odin gave him a better offer.
  • Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne has a rather interesting example. Rather than dying, you have been welcomed into the Labyrinth of Amala by Lucifer himself, who has a proposal for you, involving destroying the Ten Incarnations of Death. Once you reach a certain level in the Labyrinth and he has given you all the info he wants you to have, he makes you an offer - prove yourself to him, and get a job triggering a Class Z Apocalypse How by killing God's embodiment in the Vortex World. Either way, entering, and more importantly, breaking out, counts. Especially if you decide to take on the resident bosses.


  • In Dominic Deegan, when The Infernomancer (aka 'TIM') is sent to Hell by the white magic of Gregory Deegan, he strikes a (new) deal with Karnak to return to the land of the living. Actually, Karnak was bluffing, but TIM didn't know that...
    • Also, Lord Siegfried Gunther Aern Damaske von Callan (or Siggy) dies killing the Royal Seer and immediately becomes the lieutenant of Karnak, who had moments before killed every high level demon in Hell, so high-quality damned souls were in high demand.
    • And let's not forget Karnak himself, who was a human who averted a war in hell by attacking the Demon of War. He was carried down to hell, became a Demon Lord and eventually after another hell war, King of Hell. The storyline has basically been ignored since then.
      • To be fair, the most recent storylines all involve cleaning up the fallout from the War of Hell. The Orc homeland is dying because its natural destruction magic is going overboard purging the land of its demonic poison (among other reasons) and TIM, now a servant of an Eldritch Abomination from beyond, has escaped from Limbo thanks to the events of the War.
      • He had another arc since the above entry, in which he and Siegfried had a hugely dramatic fight which he ended by doing Grievous Harm with a Body using Siggy as an Epic Flail and a devastating Shut UP, Hannibal Hannibal Lecture (really, both at once), after which Siggy was reduced to a scorched, weeping shell of a thing and Karnak had an epiphany marked by a paraphrase of Rorschach's famous "you're all trapped in here with me" line. There were great revelations and the first redemption of a soul from Hell in extant memory. As an unintended side effect of Karnak's big speech and provoking his epiphany.
      • Incidentally, we learn here that Karnak didn't grab Siggy just because he was handy and came into circulation then--Karnak has huge personal beef with the Damaskes. If Siggy's father hadn't decided to massacre his (adopted) clan for fun on the pretext they were holding a human youth prisoner, he'd have been comfortably at home chomping boiled-to-hell roots when the portal to Hell opened, and unavailable for Heroic Sacrifice as The Atoner. Lord Siegfried got to Hell on his own due to being a violent ass who learned hate from his father and murdered orcs to amuse said father when he was a teenager, as well as due to betraying one of his best friends with the other months before he died when keeping faith with them was pretty much his only shot at redemption...but, you know, we kinda liked him.
  • In an odd preemptive version of this trope in Darken, the main character, Gort, dies on the first page, killed because he cut a deal with Mephistopheles to serve him in exchange for a mortal victory, and then he needed to die so Mephistopheles can put his mark on him before being sent back.
  • The titular character of The Karnak Hates Everything Show is the ruler of Hell, having taken that title from the previous ruler, Ohmdalar. In one plotline, a mysterious portal forms, confusing the hell out of the cast until Ohmdalar comes ripping through and takes the place back, banishing Karnak to the void. In a wonderfully-executed double example, Karnak eventually comes back through the same portal, then proceeds to instantly reclaim power using the unstoppable force of a legal document.
  • The Sins in Jack sort of count... they've all done horrific things in life that apply to one of the Seven Deadly Sins, so in hell, they become an embodiment of each one. The titular protagonist is Wrath, while his enemy Drip T. Rat, a serial rapist and murderer, is Lust.

Western Animation

  • Slade in Teen Titans.
  • In The Boondocks, the spirit of Colonel H. Stinkmeaner was released from Hell by Satan (After training himself against Satan's demons, in the process somehow gaining sight and "three-stick nunchucks"), and possessed Tom Dubois to exact vengeance upon the Freemans for killing him.
  • Him (who is technically Satan) in The Powerpuff Girls brings back the Rowdyruff boys to kill the titular girls.

Kicked Out

Anime and Manga

  • In Magical Pokaan, Yuuma is kicked out of Hell after deciding that, since she won't die, she might as well enjoy herself and become extremely obnoxious towards the demons supposed to torture her.
  • In Saint Seiya Phoenix Ikki mentions that the creatures of Hell don't want to her about him (after coming back from it)

Comic Books

  • Lobo was kicked out of hell for throwing wild parties and causing massive damage to demons and property. Heaven didn't want him either.
    • Technically, he kicked the devil and all his demons out first.
  • Also in The DCU: Karnevil for annoying/freaking out the demons by constantly pointing out better torture methods, and The Joker for being the Joker. The villainous Dr. Light was also kicked out after his death in the Suicide Squad.
  • Johnny the Homicidal Maniac didn't fit in in his universe's version of Hell, and Mr. Satan simply said he didn't belong there, and helped him come Back From the Dead.

Fan Fiction

  ...did he really think a few thousand years on Earth could have changed Zirah? ...[Hastur had] forgotten... that they had kicked Zirah out of Hell because they hadn't wanted him there. Because everybody was scared of him.. The way Zirah's face, oddly angelic even after the Fall, had looked in the light of the flames. How he'd curl his lip whenever there was a particularly juicy bit of torture going on, and then absent-mindedly tear out some sufferer's voicebox because its screaming was getting on his nerves. Beelzebub, saying, "Fuck, make Zzzzirah go up. Bloke givezzz me the williezz."


  • In the second The Prophecy, Satan decides that Gabriel would cause too much trouble in Hell and kicks him out. "Only room for one of them."
  • Legends say that Captain Barbossa was so evil hell itself spat him back out again. The legend likely arose from the fact the he and all his crew look like skeletal zombies under the light of the full moon. Amusingly enough, Barbossa is revived from death in the second movie, so one could say that hell indeed spat him back out.
  • Rango: When told to "go to Hell," Rattlesnake Jake replies, "Where do you think I come from?"


  • Subverted in one of the Tiffany Aching books. The Nac Mac Feegles arrive at the river Styx (or Discworld equivalent) and the ferryman doesn't want to take them into Hell because they were such a pain the last time they were there. But since they're the best six-inch-fighters you'll ever find, he ends up taking them anyway.


  • The traditional song "Killieburn Brae" tells the story of a wife who is taken off to Hell by the Devil. On arriving, she sets about all the little devils with her stick, so the Devil carries her back to her husband "...for the likes of herself [they] would not have in hell."


  • Jack, as in Jack O'Lantern. May not qualify, as it was cunning rather than fighting prowess and/or attitude, and he wasn't actually 'kicked out'; after being refused entrance to Heaven, the legend states that Jack tried to enter Hell, but for what he'd managed to do to the devil while alive, he was refused entry. (According to some versions of the legend, Satan was apparently scared he'd manage to trick his way into running the place.) Given that he's barred from both eternal destinations, he wanders the earth, his path lighted by a coal he takes from hell. (Usually is given, sort of 'here, take it, now GET OUT!') The coal, of course, is the light from the titular lantern.
  • According to one version, the first thing the bodhistava Guanyin did upon her first death is to start preaching. Immediately she was converting demons and sending them to the Western Paradise. Lord Yama, the boss down there, was afraid she'd empty the place and told her to go back to world of the living.

Web Original

  • J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, of the Church Of The Subgenius, went to Hell after he was "assassinated" in Dallas (mainly because he'd never been baptized as a child.) Once in Hell, he seduced and bedded Satan's bride -- giving Satan a "second set of horns" -- and was kicked out of Hell. As he has nowhere to go after dying this gives him a form of Nigh Invulnerability -- and necessitates that he be followed by an elite guard of churchgoers to keep him from getting baptized by accident.


  • Once again in Narbonic, Mell ends up in Hell after getting kicked out of Heaven. It takes her a whole week to get kicked outta THAT place...
  • Seth, one of the main characters of Sorcery 101 was - according to one myth about his background - kicked out of hell SPECIFICALLY because they were afraid he might take over...

Western Animation

  • In South Park, Saddam Hussein, through a sexual relationship with Satan, makes various attempts to take over the world and/or Hell. Eventually, he is kicked out, but sent to Heaven as punishment. He continues his scheming from there.
    • Which (since Saddam was dead years earlier in South Park continuity than in Real Life) led to the US seeing Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction... in Heaven.
      • Well where was he supposed to go - Detroit?
  • In SpongeBob SquarePants The Flying Dutchman kicks SpongeBob out of Davy Jone's locker about 12 seconds after arriving there, due to his constant blabbering.
  • Done beautifully in one episode of Animaniacs. The Warner siblings end up in Hell when they take a wrong turn, and subject it to their brand of mayhem. After they freeze the whole place, Satan literally kicks them out.
    • "Do you have any idea how long it takes to get the pilot lit?!?"

Took Over

Anime and Manga

  • After dying, Shishio Makoto of Rurouni Kenshin declared his intent to overthrow the King of Hell. Depending on how you interpret it, Shishio may or may not have succeeded in this endeavor when he visits the catatonic Kenshin in the latter's living hell during the Jinchuu arc.
    • The scenes with Shishio and Yumi on the heaps of skulls in Hell are the only supernatural content in the series not filtered through someone's consciousness. There are a couple of ghosts that could be hallucinations, but Shishio going off to conquer Hell is just shown, like anything else that happens.
  • Subverted in Dragonball Z, when Dabra dies. King Yamma is afraid that if he is sent to Hell (as he rightly SHOULD be, considering his sins), he'll just end up growing stronger from it. (After all, the main characters use being dead as a training arena often enough.) In an effort to improve him, King Yamma sends Dabra to the most peaceful part of Heaven. Later in the series, Dabra is seen again, and has turned into a character so peaceful and loving that the protagonists are actually creeped out by him.
    • And at the end of Dragon Ball GT Piccolo had died, but is later seen in Hell, bringing order to the endless chaos and protecting Hell's leaders, becoming more of an authority figure than they ever were.

Comic Books

  • When Doctor Doom was dragged down to Hell, Reed Richards undertook an elaborate plan to pull him back out before he took the place over, which he estimated would have taken a matter of weeks.
    • Exactly why would that be a bad thing?
    • Doom's a constant global threat with a diminutive country. What would he do with a frakking dimension at his command?
      • Well, for the brief time in Children's Crusade he had Wanda Maximoff's reality-warping powers. Mostly, he showed off, made dramatic threats, and then took on the X-Men, The Avengers, and some other major Marvel superhero team for a bit all at once.
  • There was a DC miniseries called Human Defence Corps about a bumbling everyman in a military group who deals with JLA-style emergencies. Their first adventure is against vampires (nebbish everyman takes one for the team). Their last adventure involved going to Hell, taking down the Devil, then using the now-vampiric bumbler to institute a regime change.
  • As of the Captain Britain and MI:13 Annual, Meggan. She led a band of rebels and then helped forge them into a new country in order to spread hope in Hell.
  • Christopher Rudd actually manages to go from damned soul to sextoy for the nobility of Hell into one of the nobility himself and eventually ruler of Hell in Lucifer.
  • Stagolee, the "terrible mucker" currently hunting Lee Wagstaff in Bayou.
  • Lady Death was originally a mortal woman named Hope who made a bargain with a demon to renounce her humanity and serve Hell if the demon rescued her from death. Arriving in Hell, she discovered a civil war was raging. Lady Death led an uprising against the Lords of Hell. During the final battle, Lucifer cursed her never to return to Earth while the living walked. Lady Death swore an oath that she would circumvent Lucifer's curse by exterminating all life on Earth. Lady Death finally ended Lucifer's control over her by casting him through Heaven's Gate (a place where evil cannot go), and in doing so became the new ruler of Hell.

Fan Fic

  • In the Redwall fanfics by Quinlan of Redwall, the first Big Bad, Hardin, is dead by the end of the first story. Then, in the latest, we find out he overthrew Vulpuz as the Lord of Hellgates.
  • In the simply epic The Avengers fanfic named Legends, the one who has taken over hell is Doctor Doom. He's naturally pissed when he sees his killer, Arcade, arrive. His proposed punishment? A millennium of torture until the new Deadpool arrives to hand him over to Dormammu.



  • Not exactly Hell, but in Malazan Book of the Fallen, it's strongly implied that this is the origin of Hood, Lord of Death.
  • In Tanith Lee's Death's Mistress, the Queen of Hell was a human princess who ousted Death from his throne instead of serving him for 1000 years. Death decided he liked roaming the Earth, but the inhabitants of Hell want him to come back.

Live Action TV

  • Xena: Warrior Princess defeated the previous ruler of Hell, Mephistopheles, and learned that as a result, she either had to rule Hell or let all of the demons loose on Earth. She decided to Take a Third Option and, in a Crowning Moment of Awesome, corrupted Lucifer and had him take her place. Her justification was that his Holier Than Thou act was hypocritical anyways.
  • This is technically what Supernatural's Crowley did, in incredibly slow motion with a few hundred years of bureaucracy, backstabbing and otherwise Machiavellian business after the 'get a job' one. He died, went to Hell, became a demon, worked his way up the ladder to head of purchases, survived the demises of pretty much every other major demon in Hell in the countdown to Apocalypse as all Lucifer's faithful raced into the fray to assure his victory...and then defected to Team Free Will and helped seal the head honcho back in his cage and save the world. In the absence of significant competition he promptly established himself as King of Hell. A season and a half later, after angering pretty much every other being more powerful than himself that still exists, he still holds this position.


  • Tom Smith's Sheep Marketing Ploy is a song covering a supposed series of horror movies named Death Sheep following Fenton, a sheep who takes over Hell after being pulled down there by Lucifer.
  • A lyric in the Manowar song The Power:

 The power in the darkness to see without my sight

Walk among the living, free of wrong or right

The power of the magic, the power of the spell

Not to serve in Heaven, but one day rule in Hell

  • Steve Earle's "The Unrepentant" ends like this.

 Now he's standin' at hell's door

With a bad attitude and a .44

The devil said, "What's up man, now what you come here for?"

He said, "Man, let's just get to it"

He said, "I always heard that you were the bad one

There's a few places I ain't been, a few things I ain't done

You got your pitchfork and I got my gun..."


  • In the Hindu Vedic tradition, Yama, the lord of the dead, is said to have been the first mortal who ever died, giving him his office by right of precedence... and that, of course, makes this Older Than Feudalism.


  • Smug Snake Evil Genius Roland Kingworthy attempts this in season 5 of Old Harrys Game, bringing the demons onto his side with his effortless charm. Satan talks his army out of attacking, and Roland immediately claims he was attempting to expose the treacherous demons. Satan doesn't believe a word of it, and has an abyss he's been saving specially...

 Satan: I never trust anyone who puts that much effort into his effortless charm.

Video Games

  • In the videogame La Pucelle: Tactics, Prier can become a Demon Overlord if she goes too far deep into the Netherworld and kills the present one. She appears as such in the Disgaea series as a Bonus Boss. This is apparently based on a legend in Japanese mythology where one will become a youkai (demon) if they "bathe in the blood of 1000 youkai."
    • Similarly, in Makai Kingdom, the backstory of Seedle, the Overlord of the Underworld, is that he was once a Samurai who got lost down there - and ended up taking over the place. Actually, he was killed by a woman he was about to rape, but he still took over. Said woman was burned at the stake for killing a "hero" but she also took over her own Netherworld after her death.
    • In Disgaea 2 Cursed Memories it's revealed that the "God of Demon Overlords got so powerful from killing hundreds of other Demon Overlords that she started becoming an Eldritch Abomination. To escape this fate, she gave herself Easy Amnesia and reincarnated herself.
    • Happens in Disgaea 3 Absence of Justice if You kill the final boss with just human Almaz alone, he becomes an Overlord, in style much like Prier. The Final Boss himself is an "Evil God" due to being a Hero who killed countless Overlords.
    • Also occurs in Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten if you lose to Fuka during your battle with her. She decides to take over the Netherworld before she takes over the human world, and enlists the defeated Valvatorez and Fenrich as her servants in the process.
    • Occurs in another Atlus game, Catherine. If the player has made Chaos choices for the duration of the game and answered all of the final questions with freedom in mind, he asks Catherine, a succubus, to marry him... And she agrees. He wakes up in Hell the next morning and decides to strap on a sword and start killing demons wearing nothing more than his boxers... And eventually grows so powerful that everybody knows who he is and he uses Catherine's father (himself a powerful demon) as a seat. While he's making out with the guy's daughter and several other succubi.
  • In Final Fantasy II, killing the Emperor the first time doesn't particularly help, he takes over Hell and returns to Earth, raising Hell's capital from the earth to serve as his new base. In the remakes, it turns out this is the "evil side" of his soul doing the work - the "good side" ascends to Heaven and takes over that, too.
    • The novelization even depicts the Emperor meeting Satan after he dies; who is about to take his soul; so the Emperor kills him.
  • The game's manual states that Mortal Kombat's Shinnok became ruler of the Netherworld by deposing Lucifer, which is probably the only reference to Judeo-Christianity in the entire series.
    • Also, Noob Saibot (who is, of course, the original Sub-Zero, resurrected under Quan Chi's control as a 'Revenant' warrior) has this as his Arkade Ending in Mortal Kombat 9 (no, the OTHER one) - with his powers boosted by Quan Chi in order to assassinate Shao Kahn, he is able to break free of Quan Chi's control, and make a secret deal with the rival Realm of Chaos. After the Realm of Chaos severely weakens the Netherworld in a surprise attack, Noob Saibot seizes control and becomes the new King of Hell...
  • In the Onimusha games, Oda Nobunaga makes a Deal with the Devil in the first game of the series, just prior to the heroes killing the Demon King. He then takes command of the Demonic Realm for the next two titles of the series (and the Game Boy Advance game.)
    • The Sengoku Basara version also claims to have taken over when he returns to the mortal realm in the third game. In his case it's questionable whether he was truly human to begin with, even the first time around.
  • Beautifully subverted in Blood Rayne, the backstory of which says that Satan became the ruler of hell, by usurping the throne from the games villain Belial.
  • The dream match of the Samurai Shodown series (Tenkaichi Kenkyakuden) pits you for a final stage against a Demon-possessed Gaoh, who has apparently taken over Hell by abusing his demonic power. The first picture that greets you before fighting him is him stomping the head of Lucifer.
  • What the Overlord does in the end of Expansion Pack Raising Hell. However by the end of the game he's trapped in the realm, but has The Legions of Hell at his command.
  • If your daughter in Princess Maker 2 is skilled in magic and fighting but has a lot of sin, she'll eventually kill the Lord of Darkness but end up taking his place.
  • The protagonist of the original Diablo becomes the Wanderer in the sequel after losing his battle of wills to contain the evil by embedding Diablo's soulstone in his forehead, eventually being entirely possessed and mutating into Diablo Himself. Something very similar happened with Tal-Rasha and the Lord of Destruction, Baal.

Web Comics

  • Tycho of Penny Arcade gives a very articulate description of how he will do this if Gabe continues to call Warhammer Online a ripoff of World of Warcraft.
  • Black Mage of Eight Bit Theater managed to pull this off when he was killed by Lich. But since he's the universe's Butt Monkey, it didn't last very long...
    • To be fair, he's so evil that when he first arrived, they were going to build a whole new section of Hell just for him, but without his mortal body, there was no way they could contain his incredible power, so he ended up taking over and was so evil that even the Demon Lords and Archdevils were terrified of him. Luckily they managed to stuff him back into his body when his back was turned. Lately, whenever his Butt Monkey status leaves him dying, he is happy because he gets to take over Hell again. Of course, due to that very same Butt Monkey status, he's also healed or otherwise resurrected before he has the opportunity to pass on.
    • From this point on the entire universe, including all the Legions of Hell, have a vested interest in keeping him alive. When this is the reaction to his arrival on the mortal plane, it's no wonder. Everyone, everyone knows they are completely and utterly screwed if he gets back down to Hell.

 White Mage: Did you hear that?

Black Belt: What?

White Mage: A great disturbance in the order, as if a million voices cried out to say "Oh shit."


Matoya: Stupid Light Warriors must've broken my crystal. I keep asking for lotto numbers and all I get is "The destroyer is manifest."

  • In Dominic Deegan, Karnak fell into Hell after fighting back the Demon of War, Dal Balor, several years before the beginning of the webcomic. Though he was mostly involved in small-time evil, his badassery jumped to epic levels during the War in Hell arc. In a few days, Karnak rips through thousands of Mooks with a bloodied sword, an in-depth knowledge in demonic spine removal and no shirt on. After a quick detour due to bad weather, Karnak travels to the top of a mountain, kills several demon lords, destroys all the souls of the Chosen and subsequently nukes Hell. At the end of the arc, Karnak turns from a lower demon lord with no followers left to the only demon left standing. He becomes the King of Hell due to the lack of adequate competition.
    • Even more impressive considering he's not even a real demon.
      • Well he is, at least, distinguished by being alive. And as the Demon of Wounds, the line between living and dead appears to be vague for him.
    • Since then there were several reveals and he had an epiphany, declared he wasn't trapped in Hell with the damned so much they were trapped in there with him, and closed off Hell to implement his unspecified new policies. He sent Miranda a goodbye projection first.
      • Incidentally, while accepting that you deserve to be in Hell and repenting and abjuring your old crimes utterly is apparently the only way to even get back into samsara circulation from Hell--as grass, no less--in this setting, it is currently somewhat unclear whether Karnak was damned for some hidden fault or not. Mookie does have double standards in favor of women's rights, but a jealous betrayal of his best friends he regretted within minutes which did no one any permanent harm is literally the worst thing he ever appears to have done before jumping.
      • Perhaps he earned his place there afterward--he was alive, if in Hell, as he became a demon, but at this point he's done loads to earn it. Before Character Development, we had no reason not to loathe him. (Mind you, if the people I cared about most in the world had gone on to be happy together after I threw myself into Hell for at least one of them, and then talked to and about me when I Came Back Wrong the way Miranda and Donovan do to Karnak in his first appearance, I'd do everything I could to hurt them, too.) Karnak is a Magnificent Bastard, a Deadpan Snarker, and an impressive Determinator, but he is long since an absolute bastard.
    • Points for Karnak's name being an old orcish term for the Morning Star.
  • Happens in Head Trip when Mal falls in love with the Devil Guy. She attacks Satan so they can be together.
    • Actually, that was a fanfic Mal was reading. It horrified her.
  • In the most recent story of The Gods of Arr-Kelaan, Ronson is trapped in hell. His weapon, the rubber mallet, semi-inadvertently kills Satan... and Ronson gets stuck with the job.
  • Referenced in Grim Tales from Down Below - during a flashback to the days of 'The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy', Mandy outright states that she doesn't mind in the least that Grim will eventually take her - she knows that she's going to hell, but she's already planning how to take over when she gets there. As it turns out, however, she doesn't have to kill anyone to become the Empress of the Deadlands - she marries into the position instead.

Web Original

 Vile: Hey Vlad... guess what I just did!

Western Animation

  • On The Simpsons a church carnival had a mirror that showed what people would look like in hell. While it showed Lisa in rags and being tormented by fire, it showed Corrupt Corporate Executive Mr. Burns in a crown and flowing robe, and eating a human head. "Excellent!"


Anime and Manga

  • Hao Asakura from Shaman King got past the seventy five Lords of Hell and gained the ability to resurrect the dead and reincarnate himself at will. He did this while living.
  • Ninin ga Shinobuden parodies the hell out of this in episode 5, simultaneously lampooning almost every aspect of this trope. Onsokumaru gets killed and sent to hell, where he meets some ninja ogres. He becomes their leader. They then attempt to invade heaven on the pretense of delivering a pizza, but the people in heaven are so annoyed by him that they kill him again, sending him back to earth.

Comic Books

  • The eponymous Jack of Fables makes a deal with the devil to the effect that when he dies he won't go to hell. He assumes that means he'll automatically go to heaven. He's wrong, and is doomed to spent eternity wandering as a headless corpse. He gets better.
    • That's related to a form of the old Jack O'Lantern story.

Fan Works

  • The Olympics plot of DC Nation. A combination of a Chekhov's Gun placed with Troia and a Type 1 starts a Battle Royale With Cheese. Troia triggers the Chekhov's Gun and it summons a horde of fallen allies to rocket up from the underworld and join the brawl. Everyone from former Teen Titans (including Wild Card Terra, who decides to betray Hades!) to Easy Company...even a cadre of 9/11 First Responders. Leading the horde is Hawkman. Arsenal is on his left. Nightwing is on his right, announcing the entrance with a very loud "TITANS TOGETHER!" and a narration joke about literally being a Bat out of Hell.
  • In the Fullmetal Alchemist Continuation fic, the Elemental Chess Trilogy, Roy Mustang becomes extremely ill in the second part. He doesn't die, but when Edward Elric pays a bedside visit, he asks if he's died and gone to hell. Ed invokes the trope by retorting that hell wouldn't want Roy if he died, because he'd probably take over.
  • In a fan-made Alternate Ending of Death Note seen here, Light ends up in the Shinigami realm where he is punished for using the Notebook by experiencing every death he ever caused before he will cease to exist. After a very short Villainous Breakdown, he leaves with Ryuk with plans to become the Shinigami King's Dragon and eventually take over the realm.


  • There's the curious cases of the ghosts in the third His Dark Materials novel. First off, the place they are escaping is really more like an especially hellish (because it is so damn... boring) version of Limbo. Secondly, the ghosts we are primarily concerned with are indeed Badass, but they are also good guys. Anyway, they turn out to be the ultimate fighting force against an army of CosmicHorrors.
  • Dante in The Divine Comedy simply walks through hell. (Debatable example: he has a safe-conduct from God, which is used in a number of cases to get past demons. Also, he has a guide who's a magician capable of commanding demons and damned souls in his own right.)
  • Near the end of Elminster in Hell, the eponymous epic-level wizard gets rescued from Hell by his lover Alassra Silverhand. The Simbul herself inverts type 1, blasting her way into Hell.

Live Action Television

  • Connor from Angel seemed to be partway between type 1 and 4. On the one hand, he left at the first opportunity. On the other, he was being called something like "The Destroyer, Bringer of Pain and Death" by the demons that came out of the portal first in an attempt to get away from him.
  • Dean Winchester got out through a variation of Type 3: Not so much kicked out by Hell, as dragged out by heaven. The angel Castiel "gripped him tight and raised him from perdition"
    • He also went through a variation on type 2: everyday he was offered a chance to escape the torture he was subjected to if he would inflict it on others. After 30 years, he takes the deal, and spends 10 years as a torturer, beginning to enjoy it as an outlet for his anger issues. Slightly different in that while his return was related to the job in question, he was not sent back on Hell's terms.

Myth and Legend

  • After Emperor Nero died, it was rumored that he wasn't dead but hiding in Parthia and would return to conquer Rome. In some versions of the story, however, he had died, but would return anyway.
  • Sysiphus from Classical Mythology talked his way out of Tartarus. Twice.

Video Games

  • Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark has multiple endings. Chapter 3 centers around you breaking out of Cania, the eighth circle of hell, and if you have his True Name several interesting options open up with the Big Bad, its lord Mephistopheles. You can order him to wait tables at a tavern you're planning on opening, to turn control of Cania over to you and be your lackey, or to rule it with you as a partner. A good-aligned character is more likely to either order him back to Cania and never return, or order him to die.
  • Painkiller: the player slays through hordes of demons in limbo, goes down to the bottom of Hell killing Lucifer's four generals and Lucifer himself. Then in the expansion - with a little help from Eve - he fights his way out and kills the demon now ruling hell who has manipulated him into killing Lucifer and is offered the chance to rule with Eve. Which he promptly refuses...
  • The Reincarnation flash series of Adventure Games shows that escaping hell is actually really easy since it just require taking a portal back to the human world. The player is an imp tasked by "Luke" to find the "reincarnies", find proof that they're still evil (they always are) and Make It Look Like an Accident.
  • Mass Effect 2 opens with the Player Character being killed (after a Heroic Sacrifice). Cerberus brings him/her back to life via pioneering and very expensive medical procedures. While Shepard doesn't remember what happened while dead, even Garrus invokes this trope in one conversation when talking about Shepard: "Hell, the Collectors already killed you once, and all they did was piss you off. I doubt they'll succeed a second time."
  • Depending on which ending you're going for, the Demi-Fiend from Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne can either fight his way out or become Lucifer's most powerful general and lead an army against God himself.
  • Asura from Asura's Wrath climbs up a massive tower in the underworld four times. The first time it takes 12,000 years, and the second time takes only 500 years. The third time he gets killed he comes back in a couple of days, and the fourth time he's on his feet in a couple of hours. Rage is a hell of a motivator.


Western Animation

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