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In many video games, falling into a Bottomless Pit doesn't kill you; it just mysteriously transports you back to the start of the area. Sometimes this has no ill effect or explanation at all - it just never happened. Other times you lose a bit of health in the process, possibly implying that it did happen and you spent God only knows how long climbing back up. Even in games where extra lives are given out like candy, you sometimes find this effect.

Also used in RPGs in which it would be kind of silly and frustrating to punish the player for missteps (sometimes they also have an Invisible Hand Rail).

Often accompanied by Puzzle Reset.

In this special case of Death Is a Slap on The Wrist, more mundane hazards such as evil monsters and sharp blades force you to restart from the last Check Point or Save Point when you die, but falling into lava, or down Bottomless Pits or whatever reduces your health by the same amount as a monkey hitting you on the head with a coconut. Possibly even less than that.

Bottomless Pit Rescue Service is a Sub-Trope.

Examples of Non Lethal Bottomless Pits include:


  • The Zelda games love these.
    • In Majora's Mask, several other 'lethal' events trigger this effect when in a transformed state, including being set on fire while in Deku or Zora form, and falling into deep water while in Deku or Goron form.
    • Many people complain they went too far in Wind Waker, as falling into a pit only made you lose a quarter of a heart.
    • Let's not forget Ocarina of Time, where you can fall into a boiling pit of lava multiple times and come back with only a little bit of damage.
    • Twilight Princess just about married this trope. Faron Woods has poisonous purple gas that can be dissipated by waving a lantern about. The Forest and Lakebed Temples both had random bottomless pits in the middle of seemingly solid structures, the Goron Mines were full of lava, Arbiter's Grounds had the quicksand.
    • It's especially odd considering that Midna's dialogue early in the Goron Mines implies that lava will kill you instantly. Interestingly, if you're wearing the Zora Armor, lava will cause an instant Game Over. Why you'd be wearing that in a place with lava is anyone's guess, but there you go.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past has an interesting one. You have an area there is a nonlethal bottomless pit. By solving the puzzle hinted earlier however, the platform moves below and you fall onto solid ground with no damage, and can proceed with the rest of the dungeon.
    • Skyward Sword takes it to its logical extreme. You can fall into a void, such as the chasms at Eldin Volcano, and reappear at the ledge with no damage at all. Fridge Logic kicks in when you realize that falling several miles does not hurt you at all, while falling a few hundred yards (such as the jump from the Goddess Statue) does cause damage.
  • Metroid series:
    • Metroid Prime 2, surprisingly.
    • And again in Metroid Prime 3 during the Boss Battle against Ghor, it's advisable to leap off the ledge rather than let Ghor ram you; you lose far less energy that way. If you know you're about to fall, you can also just activate Hypermode, which even protects you from fall damage.
    • But not in Metroid Prime Hunters, which likely annoyed a lot of players who were used to the console versions.
  • Jak and Daxter
  • Final Fantasy VI has this as a result of falling into the lava in the Esper cave.
  • In Okami, falling in water or a pit would zap you back to where you started, at the cost of some health. The falls do not count as losing a life.
    Getting zapped by a pit, water, or a curse zone DOES reset your Godhood to "skull", though. Until you pop a Traveler's Charm/Godly Charm or score enough combos to increase it, Ammy takes extra damage from enemy attacks instead of ignoring them completely, as a positive Godhood level would allow.
  • The first Boktai was a case, as you just started the room over. However, all the other ones treated it like an instant Game Over and charge you to restart in that room.
  • Most 3D platformers use it, with Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog being the major exceptions (Although while Mario used to be filled with Bottomless Pits, they're now relatively rare, and while Sonic used to have them be relatively rare, it's now filled with them).
    • Super Mario Galaxy, The Hub Level offers an exception to the exception, since if you fall off you just get placed back where you fell. In other levels if you're on a stage where it's possible to fall off, you'll fall into a black hole. In fact, black holes are used as a visual indicator to let players know that falling will result in death, rather than gravity pulling you onto the other side of whatever you're standing on.
  • Paper Mario series:
    • Super Paper Mario.
    • The second Paper Mario had them as well, although with spikes and water rather than classic pits. You did lose some Life Points, however, which could potentially give you a Game Over.
  • Super Mario 64 had these not for Mario, but for Bowser. Throwing him into the bottomless void or lava just caused him to jump back onto the platform, which could actually make it more difficult for Mario, depending on which battle you were on.
  • Arguable case for driving games, where if you total the car or fall off the track you'll restart in the middle of the track with only a few seconds penalty. Outrun 2019 is an example of this sort of driving game. Whether or not you can recover from falling down is another story.
    • Mario Kart has Lakitu fish you out of the water/lava/pit whenever you fall off.
    • Averted in most F-Zero games however, where falling off the track resulted in an instant Retire.
  • A variation occurs in Super Mario RPG, where falling into a lava pit will cause Mario to leap back out.
  • Sly Cooper uses it instead of Super Drowning Skills, as does Psychonauts.
    • Although in the first Sly game, this was only if you had a horseshoe or the extra abilities to negate it. If you didn't, instant death.
    • And in Psychonauts, while the water follows this trope, falling off into nothing (i.e. The Milkman Conspiracy neighborhood, the asylum) does cost you one astral projection layer (the closest thing to a "life" in the game).
  • Kingdom Hearts, to the point where, at one point in 358/2 Days, the solution to a puzzle involves jumping into a black, seemingly-bottomless pit when you can't progress any further horizontally.
  • Spy Fiction
  • Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal, in one of the gyms (Ecruteak Gym, home of Morty the Ghost tamer). The Pokémon games don't normally feature this kind of situation, so this was a one-off example.
  • Most Bottomless Pits in Conquest of the Crystal Palace meant instant death, except for the ones in the castle levels (two and five). Falling down in one of those levels sent you back to a predefined checkpoint. One particular set of pits in the second level led you to a Bonus Boss, and defeating him would get you the rare "smart bomb" special weapon, the Moon Mirror.
  • Wild Arms: "Let's just pretend this never happened."
  • If you play Mega Man ZX Advent on easy mode, if you fall into a bottomless pit, you are drawn back up by Model A. You are given Mercy Invincibility, a few seconds before it disappears, and a small loss of HP. Don't fall again.
    • The same applies to the first ZX game; whichever biometal you're using at the time gives you a few seconds of flight, but if you fall again without touching land, you're doomed.
    • Rock Man 4 Minus Infinity turns every Bottomless Pit into these if Mega Man has the Trampoling Upgrade.
  • In Secret of Evermore, falling off a walkway led your character to come back up, saying they found a secret passage below.
  • Gotta mention Jet Set Radio Future: If you fell into a lake/off of a building on certain levels/random vat of water, it would show you climbing back up, wet (If in water), and Professor DJ K saying something humorous about your mishap.
  • Super Princess Peach uses those rather than the lethal variant found in a normal Mario platformer.
  • Zelda-like game Beyond Oasis has these kind of pits (that drain a bit of life and teleport you to the room entrance) but it also has a powerup that will fly you out of the bottomless pit, costing you a bit of mana rather than life.
  • Kid Icarus, as long as you carry a feather; if not, it's game over.
  • Dark Castle has a variation on this that's both better and worse. Whenever you fall down a Bottomless Pit you always get kicked into the Trouble dungeon levels as punishment for your sloppiness.
  • In a departure from the earlier games in the series, the Crash Bandicoot games Crash of the Titans and Crash: Mind Over Mutant featured these. It was made all the more blatant in the latter game, in which the lives system was dropped.
  • Similar to Dark Castle, La-Mulana's Bonus Level of Hell has many pits that, instead of dropping you into the room below like most of the game, whisk you away to a magical place called the Land of Hell, where you have to kill all the (rather annoying) enemies in the room to open an exit back to the rest of the dungeon, probably forcing you to retrace your steps for several rooms. Oh, there's also an innocuous-looking ladder that sends you back to the beginning, but that's neither here nor there.
    • The third Land of Hell has pits of its own; falling into one drops you back into the second one, wiping out even more of your progress.
    • And the best part? In order to complete one of the puzzles, you have to sleep in front of the "LAND" sign in the first three Lands of Hell.
  • Castlevania series
    • Castlevania: Lament of Innocence features very little platforming, being a 3D Castlevania game, but two rooms feature platforms in a darkened room where your range of vision is slightly less than your jumping distance, requiring a great deal of guesswork. Due to the game's camera-based controls combined with the tendency of the camera to move mid-jump, navigating these two small rooms can involve dozens of tries. Fortunately, falling just teleports you back to the room's entrance with no damage sustained.
    • But you do get a wonderful blood-curdling scream as he plummets to his doom darn!
    • Similarly, Castlevania Rondo of Blood has many pits that simply take you to new or previous areas of the stage.
  • Streets of Rage 3's third stage has bottomless pits in the first area, and a place to fall into in the elevator sequence of the third. Your characters just take a good chunk of damage instead of straight up dying if they fall in, while enemies will simply die, even if they have multiple lifebars.
  • Cleverly subverted in Hexen. In one level, a cavern passage leads to a small outdoor area with a swampy river that flows underground and ends with a seemingly Bottomless Pit, but it turns out to be not only non-lethal but also the only way to get into a previously locked-out area and carry on with the game.
  • Falling down a pit in Dynamite Headdy flings Headdy to the top of the screen. Sometimes, using the jump is the only way to collect otherwise-inaccessible items on platforms too high to normally jump to. However, falling down a pit knocks off one unit of Headdy's health.
  • Another Treasure game, Gunstar Heroes features these pits. Jumping in one would result in your character rocketing up out of the pit, losing 20 health in the process. Oddly enough, this applies to boss enemies as well - Orange in particular. If you throw him and he lands on the platform, he'll lose 400 health and be stunned; but if you throw him and he falls off the screen, he only loses 40 health and jumps back up with a damaging elbow drop.
  • Ozzie in Chrono Trigger is quite fond of Non Lethal Bottomless Pits, but they're lethal to him.
  • City of Heroes:
  • Clash at Demonhead semi-averted this, by having its pits neither lethal nor bottomless. (Yes, you actually had to work at getting out of the pits.)
  • The Catacombs in King's Quest VI are rife with deadly bottomless pits, but at one point, you're required to stumble into a seemingly bottomless pit that instead deposits you into the lower area of the Catacombs.
  • A version of climbing back up again happens in Evil Dead Regeneration, when Ash falls into a bottomless pit the screen fades out briefly and back in just as he drags himself up over the edge of the pit. Climbing up such a pit must be hard with only one hand... then again he's ASH.
  • In Star Fox Adventures, the bottomless pits are not only nonlethal, but harmless. In fact, falling into one refills your life meter. You are merely deposited at an invisible checkpoint, sometimes near where you fell in. Some lava pits are the same, for all practical purposes, but others let you run around on the lava at the expense of eating your health. Basically, if you can get out of the pit using the game mechanics afforded you, it's a lot more dangerous to fall in in the first place.
  • BloodRayne 2's bottomless pits were few but forgiving; dropping down elevator shafts, skyscrapers and sky bridges would return Rayne safely to a nearby ledge.
  • Ratchet: Deadlocked did this if Ratchet fell into a pit or the clear yellow stuff in the DreadZone Arena. It's also done when you fall off in the main hub, except you don't lose health upon returning.
  • You find this trope all over in Hype: The Time Quest. Some are actual pits, but the largest is the ocean... or whatever big water that is.
  • Backyard Skateboarding has nonlethal AND harmless bottomless pits.
  • Legend of Kay has Kay lose a health point for each fall. Or each time he drowns, be it in water or in mud.
  • The Mario & Luigi series has these with bottomless pits, lava, spikes and such like, which do at most about 2 points of damage and cause Mario/Luigi/Bowser to jump backwards to the nearest ledge/start of the room.
  • During the rooftop race in Downtown Nekketsu Kōshinkyoku (a.k.a. Crash 'n the Boys Street Challenge in the U.S.), falling into pits costs you a bit of your health and launches you forward, except in cases where the fall would bring your health down to zero (thus causing you to lose the event).
  • In An Untitled Story, falling off a ledge in CloudRun takes you instantly to The Bottom, but doing so in MountSide and the final boss battle hurts the player.
  • Marble Madness doesn't penalize you for allowing your marble to fall off the playfield[1]. You just have to suffer the respawn delay.
  • The LEGO Adaptation Games have these.
  • In Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, there's a short section where Cyberdwarf has to get through invisible floor over the pit. Falling into the pit has no effect other than being sent to beginning with Cyberdwarf's comment.
  • In Run Man Race Around the World, falling into a pit launches the player back upwards, with losing momentum as the only punishment.
  • In both installments of Shaman King: Master of Spirits, if Yoh falls down a bottomless pit, he will lose a somewhat sizable chunk of his lifebar, then Amidamaru will grab him and put him back on safe ground. If he loses the last of his health, though, that's it, he stays down there.
  • Turgor is an odd case. Bottomless Pits count as exits to Chambers, throwing you out into the Void. As a result, you generally don't want to fall into one during a Boss Battle (since you won't be able to finish it) or if you're trying to do something inside the Chamber, but if you need a speedy exit from a horde of Predators, jumping into a Bottomless Pit is often the best option.
  • A Game Show example: The Japanese show Dasshutsu Game DERO and its Spiritual Successor Nazotoki Battle TORE both have rounds centered around this trope; the pits seem to be made "bottomless" via CGI. In these rounds, the players have to solve puzzles as fast as they can, while the Malevolent Architecture makes it progressively harder not to fall in the longer they take to come up with the right answer. Players who fall in are out for the round (but not the game - they can still play in any subsequent rounds, hence the "non-lethal" part), while players who are still standing after reaching a target number of correct answers win money or score points for their team.
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy: As part of its many, many Rule of Cool, falling into what seems to be Bottomless Pits teleports you somewhere else. Which is a good thing, since half the arenas are floating chunks of rocks or blocks of buildings in the middle of nowhere. The characters can glide effortlessly in the air, too.
  • In Jackie Chans Action Kung Fu, if you fall off on the cloud stage, you land on a big nasty foot which literally kicks you back to the beginning with the loss of one point of health.

Notes

  1. until the end of the game, where they're subtracted from your final score
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