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You're playing a nonlinear game. You find a door. You go through the door. You're now greeted with awesome new, adrenaline-pumping music, a whole new set of tiles and graphics, and weird enemies unlike any you've ever seen before. Except all those goodies are trapped behind a wall, and you don't have the key to open it yet, or the ability needed to make it through the first room. Or maybe you just stumbled onto a Door to Before from the wrong direction. You can't go anywhere! It was all a tease!
Done frequently in older games, sometimes just as a result of one map needing to borrow some space from another map, and showing you the new graphics and music for that other world in the process long before you're even supposed to explore it. But what it does do is give you a memorable impression of that new area and make you want to go to there.
- The various The Legend of Zelda games probably deserves its own section.
- The Legend of Zelda: Level 9. Nightmare Fuel music. Can't go more than 2 rooms in without the full triforce.
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link: The Great Temple with its golden tiles and music (gawd, what good music that was) if you were unfortunate enough to have marched all the way up there without having placed all the crystals. Not all of us discovered Level 6...
- A Link to The Past: Your first glimpse of the Dark World is as a bunny on the dark Death Mountain. Just open the map.
- Ocarina of Time has Gerudo Valley, which you can reach has soon as you finish the first dungeon... but which, due to Broken Bridge in the form of a guard not letting the player enter as a child, you can't enter for real until much later as an adult, after which there's a literal Broken Bridge that can be easily crossed after getting a horse to jump over the gap (which can be done before setting foot in the first adult dungeon). The game also inverts this with Dodongo's Cavern, which is the only child dungeon that can be entered as an adult without requiring a glitch or hacking, and as an adult the only new thing to do is collect some Gold Skulltula Tokens that, for some reason, only appear there when Link is an adult. (Unless the player wants to collect all of the Skulltula Tokens, there is no other reason to do this; the reward that requires all of them is simply a bunch of rupees, with the penultimate reward only requiring half that amount.)
- Minor example- there's one Piece of Heart in Link's Awakening that you can see relatively early on but can't get until near the end of the game.
- Norfair from Super Metroid and Magmoor Caverns from Metroid Prime did this, complete with the tense, brooding music. But as soon as you stepped outside of the elevator rooms, you'd be greeted by a blast of heat that would drain your health quickly as you stand in it. You have to go back and get the Varia Suit.
- In Super Metroid, there's also the glass pipe that leads you through a section of Maridia, but exploding the pipe requires Power Bombs, and you won't get those until much later.
- Legacy of the Wizard for the NES. Most of the time, upon discovering a new area, you'd be unable to progress very far because you have the wrong character.
- Rayman 1 had a particularly evil one. After fighting through a particularly frustrating world made of musical instruments, you open up a new level in a new area of the game, the Blue Mountains. This level has a stormy background, and a very dark and tense atmosphere, complete with An awesome, pulse-pounding rock theme, a type of music you haven't heard yet for the whole game... But you can't get past the initial cliff until you go back and complete the Dream Forest to get the ability to grab the purple rings. What a tease!!
- The freeware game Lyle in Cube Sector has a few of these parts early-game.
- Obtaining one of the spells in Final Fantasy Mystic Quest requires you to take a passage into an otherwise inaccessible section of Doom Castle. Long before you get to go there for real.
- The first level in Zeliard requires you to pass through a portion of the second level (which is separated from the rest of that level), in a game where levels are defined by tileset and music.
- The stonehedge base and the boss in the cavern just a stone throw away in Earthbound. You can't even get past the first room in the base without the right equipment and you can (and will) do the full dungeon for the boss before you can fight it, but at least you don't need to redo the dungeon when you do get to fight the boss.
- In La-Mulana, you can enter a side area of the Twin Labyrinths (where an important item can be bought) fairly early in the game, but the passages to the main area are blocked off. The entrance to the main area is gained slightly later, but you are instantly confronted with a Deadly Gas trap that can only be disabled by activating two switches in thirty seconds. You can do this only much later, once you've found the Twin Statue.
- Another area which can be entered early on is the Endless Corridor, but you can only play the first level (which at least does have the useful Grail Point). Not until about halfway through the game can you get the Endless Key, which unlocks the lower levels (where you can get the aforementioned Twin Statue).
- Banjo-Tooie has just about every world linked to another via some sort of secret tunnel, which are necessary to get certain jiggies. You can use some of these to get a sneak peak at worlds you haven't unlocked yet, but you can never get far before you've unlocked the world proper; in many cases, these are just Disconnected Side Areas, though. Also, to get into the main area of Grunty Industries, you first have to depress the train switch, then get in there by way of Chuffy (which means a Boss Battle if you haven't already beaten it).
- In Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, it's possible to travel to San Fierro and Las Venturas before they've been officially unlocked. However, until you progress far enough in the storyline, there's nothing to do there except look at the scenery and run from the inexplicably murderous cops.
- Justified with the cops hounding you since Tenpenny warned CJ to not skip town since he was keeping an eye on him. You can see the new areas but are not allowed to go there till the storyline calls for it.
- Super Mario World's "Chocolate Secret" and "Donut Secret 2" levels take place on plateaus overlooking the Valley of Bowser. While "Chocolate Secret" is already pretty close to the end of the game, It's possible to get to "Donut Secret 2," thereby getting a glimpse at the game's final area, fairly early on.
- The first time you see the map of Kanto in Pokémon Gold/Silver/Crystal, which you can do early enough in the game, might qualify. Not only you can't explore this second region in its entirety yet, you can't even select much on your map, as the cursor only goes through routes 26, 27, and 28 (the last of which is actually at the very end of the game), the Victory Road and the League HQ (leading the gamer to think that the other areas are on the map just for the show). It's only after you beat the league that you can travel there. On the side note, the Silver Cave is visible on your map from the start, without any discernible paths leading to it, though this is simply because Mt. Silver is part of the game's main region of Johto despite being directly connected to Kanto. The remakes, which allow the map screen's cursor to be moved freely, mention Kanto before it's even visited if the cursor is moved to the eastern side of the map (such as the part of the map close to Mt. Silver, which the map still initially displays no path to) because the map screen displays the region the selected area is in. In addition, the first visit to Kanto only has the map display the pre-league part of Kanto and Route 28 (which, again, is at the end of the game, but at least shows how to get to Mt. Silver) until after the rest is unlocked, after which the whole region is displayed.
- The first set of remakes, FireRed and LeafGreen, which are remakes of the games Kanto originally came from, have a sidequest in three of the new Sevii Islands areas after the next-to-last badge is obtained. There are actually seven islands in total (or nine when counting the two event-only islands that aren't displayed without the items needed to go there), and the others can't be visited until the Elite Four are defeated.
- At the beginnings of some of Halo 2's levels, such as Delta Halo and Uprising, you can see the structures that are part of the next level.
- In Dragon Quest, the Very Definitely Final Dungeon is right across the strait from the starting castle.
- The Metroidvania entries in the Castlevania series sometimes do this - Symphony of the Night teases you with the Clock Tower, Colosseum and Olrox's Quarters should you choose to enter them, but you need abilities to get through them fully. Aria Of Sorrow does this with the Underground Reservoir - you can enter it very early on, but you'll get about two rooms in, and you can't explore the whole thing until much later (good thing too - it's huge!). The same happens with the Top Floor in the same game.
- They all do this. You're not getting all the way through the Tower of Death as soon as you can reach it in Portrait of Ruin, Harmony of Dissonance has the Top Floor, and part of Order of Ecclesia exists solely to taunt the player about how they don't have access. Circle of the Moon is basically made of this trope, though, but with little enough difference between the areas that it stops mattering.
- World of Warcraft has a bit of this in some of the Burning Crusade dungeons. Most notably, by looking straight down at the floor in the final chamber of the Blood Furnace, you can get a glimpse of Magtheridon's Lair. Also, there's a scrying device in Magister's Terrace that shows you a bit of the Sunwell Plateau.