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The infernal realm is often by definition unconquerable and inescapable. This doesn't sit well with videogame designers, who abhor not being able to shoot up things that look like they need shooting up. Consequently gamers are occasionally treated to going to Hell, killing everything, and coming back out. This is possibly the ultimate logical conclusion to the Rule of Cool, or the Sorting Algorithm of Evil going off the scale.

The epic finality of Hell makes it a good location for The Very Definitely Final Dungeon or the Bonus Dungeon, but that's by no means universal.

Compare Bonus Level of Heaven. Almost always leads towards a To Hell and Back scenario. Also see Lethal Lava Land, an often similarly themed stage that usually doesn't actually take place in a Fire and Brimstone Hell. For a level that's a figurative hell, see Brutal Bonus Level.

Not a Lighter and Softer version of "Planet Hell."

Examples of Planet Heck include:


Action Adventure

  • Cave Story's Sacred Grounds level, the hardest area of the game, is only accessible if you've fulfilled a number of obscure requirements. Beat it to get the best ending. Despite the name "Sacred Grounds", everything is dull red or orange-red and covered in spikes, and it's filled with evil angels.
    • It's lampshaded, too, which is the only reason it's on this page with the name "Sacred Grounds". If you head right from the entrance and drop through the floor, you can read a sign that quite literally says "Welcome to Hell!" Of course, most Speedrunners just avoid it entirely...
  • The video game adaptation of Dantes Inferno is set among the Circles of Hell as envisioned in the Divine Comedy.
  • Ganbare Goemon 2 had hell as a secret level with Dracula and Kabuki as bosses. The entrance is an amusement park apparently.

Action Game

  • In Evil Dead: Regeneration, in the last level Ash and Sam (Ash's half Deadite midget sidekick) are sent to a cyclopean alternate dimension, that looks a lot like hell. Complete with waterfalls of blood. They then kill the crazy doctor and save the girl. But, she turns out to be a Deadite! So Ash kills her, a portal opens, and our hero is sucked into the portal and sent God knows where.
  • Technically, God of War involved a level in Hades once the main character died. This happened in both games.
    • In the prequel, Chains Of Olympus, the last half or so of the game takes place in Tartarus, which is essentially Hell.
    • God of War III revisits Hades twice, once in an early mission to kill the god Hades and once near the end to kill the Three Judges of the dead before the final showdown with Zeus.
  • The first three Devil May Cry games have had (near-)endgame levels set in the demon world.

Adventure Game

  • The original The Secret of Monkey Island features caverns near the titular island that shift positions, smell of sulfer, have strange growths of hands, eyes, and mouths, where the walls constantly drip with blood. tourists used to line up for hours to see it.
  • The Season 2 final episode of Telltale Games's Sam And Max takes place in Hell. The entire place is a buracratic nightmare.
  • Minecraft has the Nether, which is all a Fire and Brimstone Hell world, complete with floating ghost-demons and zombie pigs. Wait... What the heck?!?
  • Terraria has "The Underworld" at the bottom of the map. It's literally made up of lava, piles of ash, and Hellstone, and is populated by living lava blobs, demons, fire imps, and bats made of flame. So, yeah, basically hell. It's also where the player summons Wall of Flesh, the boss required to unlock the endgame.

Driving Game

  • In TOCA Touring Car Championship, a realistic racing game for the Playstation, the bonus track is Hell. It is not as awesome as it sounds; scarcely more exciting than the rest of the game, in fact.
  • The Brutal Bonus Level "Nebulous" in Jet Moto 2, which alternates between heaven and hell, the hell sections are hellishly difficult.
  • F-Zero GX has a track in the underworld, full of mines and lava strips so you can die quickly. You race against the Big Bad here one-on-one in Story Mode. Sadly, it's not available elsewise, although for good reason.
    • Fire Field, for the series in general.

First-Person Shooter

  • Doom is the archetypal example, with the player tasked with stopping an invasion of demons at their source. In Doom II, it's the same thing over again, and this time you actually destroy Hell, and afterwards idly wonder where bad folks will go when they die.
    • Doom 3 plays this about as straight as you can get, with a trip to hell and back in the middle of the game. But it was pretty Cool.
  • Spear Of Destiny, the Mission Pack Sequel to Wolfenstein 3D.
  • Id software's pre-Wolfenstein FPS Catacomb 3D has its last levels in hell, with some really big scary demons!
    • So too does Wolfenstein 3D's sequel Spear of Destiny, the last level of which takes place in Hell and feels somewhat like a forerunner to Doom, which it sort of is.
  • The entirety of Painkiller takes place in Purgatory, and only at the very end of the game does the player actually reach Hell itself. Where you fight Lucifer amidst a diorama of man-made horrors and wars frozen in time.
  • The Darkness video game adaptation gives you two bonus levels of Hell for the price of one! One for each time Jackie kills himself; the second time so he can go confront The Darkness directly, in its own realm. It's never explicitly stated to be "Hell", just where The Darkness lives, which is close enough as to make no difference.
    • But didn't the darkness buy a one way ticket to hell and back?
  • Level 6 in Will Rock is called the Underworld of Tartarus, which is reached by descending in a loooong pit and features deep caves and pits of magma. It has, however, several dungeon area and places in the surface.

Hack and Slash

MMORPGs

  • In Guild Wars, the "Elite" bonus zones are the Underworld (realm of the cold/death god Grenth), the Fissure of Woe (realm of the fire/war god Balthazar), The Deep (lair of the demon Kanaxai), and Urgoz's Warren (home of a giant fungus-monster called Urgoz) and the Domain of Anguish (realm/prison of the insane ex-god Abaddon and various and sundry demons and mad spirits).

Platform Game

  • The Trope Namer is Earthworm Jim, where the second level, "What the Heck?" takes you to a planet of Fire and Brimstone Hell to face off against Evil the Cat.
    • And the background music? Night on Bald Mountain. You know, that one scene with the demon rising from a volcano in Fantasia? That one. Then it changes impromptu into the, according to the manual, most evil music genre in the whole universe: Elevator music.
    • It's also not a bonus level, but the second level. Which means Hell is your warmup level.
  • La-Mulana has a Hell Temple with even more stringent requirements, and its difficulty outdoes the already-hard rest of the game by a couple of orders of magnitude. And just to add insult to injury, completing it 'rewards' you not with a better ending, but with Squick Fuel. It doesn't help that the Hell Temple has background music that will ring in your ears and drive you to despair as you fall into Lands of Hell over and over again. And all this is topped with the fact that if you don't know how to activate the checkpoints or any of the secret passages, every time you screw up and get dropped into the Land of Hell, you are sent back several rooms. Worse still, to get to the final room, you have to traverse the entire temple three times, carrying three mutually exclusive items in your inventory.
  • The last galaxy in the Japanese version of Super Mario Galaxy is known as Hell Prominence. Naturally, this was changed to Melty Molten for the English language releases, despite the other language versions giving the level similar names to the original.
  • World 8 in Super Mario Bros 3.
  • The last level of Eversion. Actually, the ending suggests that the entire game takes place in a Lovecraftian equivalent of Hell; everything except World X-8 was an illusion caused by dimension distortion.
  • Super Meat Boy has the aptly named Hell World which is pretty much this.
  • Jazz Jackrabbit's last levels are set in punny named hell levels that include ripped graphics from the Earthworm Jim example above.
  • The second part of Red Mountain in Sonic Adventure appears to take place in hell.

Puzzle Game

  • The final battle of Puyo Puyo is against Satan himself, appropriately set in Hell.

Rhythm Game

  • The final venue in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock takes place in Hell after the player's manager Lou, who is actually the devil - Lucifer - in disguise, sends the band there for refusing to perform on Celebrity Has-Been Dance-Off and threatening to fire him for even suggesting it. The band must then perform for the Legions of Hell and eventually face off against Lou in a climactic guitar battle to redeem themselves. The song in question? A rock version of "The Devil Went Down To Georgia", appropriately enough. Afterwards, Hell EXPLODES and the band ride out on flying motorcycles.

Roguelike

  • In the 2010 version of Dwarf Fortress, you can literally dig your way to hell.
    • Naturally, players were already planning to invade Hell almost as soon as they knew it was there. Sure, Toady knew it was coming and tried to make it as hard as possible with almost as many demons as your memory can handle, but it's still happened; at least one fortress managed to not only colonize it, but use the ominous glowing pits as garbage dumps and grow mushrooms down there.
      • And the community wasn't impressed until the fortress was self-sustainable. DF Fans are hardcore.
  • Dungeon Crawl has conquerable optional levels like the Iron City of Dis or Tartarus, but there is a truly infinite level called the Abyss, where you wander around running from or fighting demons of varying power until finding a randomly generated exit or being brutally slaughtered by something absurd.

Role Playing Game

  • Baldur's Gate II. Twice.
    • In addition to the final showdowns, CHARNAME can visit the Abyss a third time in BG2 and needs to pay at least five visits to their personal hellish sub-realm in ToB. Then again it is D&D, where a stroll through Hell is the high-level equivalent of a morning constitutional.
  • The Shin Megami Tensei series have gone there so often, it's probably got a condo there..
  • Some of The Elder Scrolls games. The main quest of Morrowind involves an expedition into the domain of Dagoth Ur, often described in-game as "the devil". Though he's "the devil" only because he was on the wrong side of the event that made some other guys "the gods". Several parts of Oblivion takes place in Oblivion, with lakes of fire and lava and dead bodies hanging from the ceilings; to close the Oblivion gates which pop up outside each city, and (optional) in the countryside, you have to enter them, fight to the top of a tower, and take the magical gem sustaining the gate. In the most recent expansion, you go to the realm of the Daedric Prince of Madness, Sheogorath which is just an island with gigantic mushrooms and surreal fauna.
  • Occurs, somewhat, in Jade Empire. After the Treacherous Advisor kills you, the Water Dragon guides you to her defiled temple, where if it is purified, she can resurrect you. However, its defilement has drawn demons intent on bringing their master, a nameless entity of pure evil from outside the cosmic order.
  • Saga Frontier. In Blue's quest, the twist is that the reason for the main quest was so that you could become powerful enough to keep Hell from invading the universe the rest of the game is set in. However, you don't accomplish this by defeating the King of Hell, but by engaging him in an endless battle which neither of you can win -- the game ends "midway" through it, with the apparent implication that it just continues forever: Sealed Evil in a Duel.
  • In Final Fantasy II, the last dungeons; Jade Passage and Pandemonium Castle, takes place in Hell. If the party talks to the NPC Paul, he flips out, calling the lot of them insane before wishing them safe passage back (this being the latest in a number of increasingly incredulous reactions to the party's destinations from him).
    • In Dawn of Souls, the Soul of Rebirth mode has the player take control of four party members (or almost party members) who suffer Plotline Death during the game. They wake up in what appears to be Jade Passage, and later Pandemonium, and go about figuring out what's going on. Turns out that they were actually in Raqia, and then Arubboth, the heavenly counterparts to Jade and Pandemonium. So this second part subverts this trope and reveals itself to be a Bonus Level of Heaven.
  • The UnderNet in the Mega Man Battle Network games is sometimes this, sometimes a villain base, or a Bad Guy Bar at its lightest.
    • It was only like that in 1. There was then the WWW Zone in 2, the Secret Area (really) in 3, Black Earth in 4, Nebula Area in 5, and the Graveyard in 6. The first three were a sort of noncanonical extension to the main plot, and the last three were just Internet Hell (Graveyard even had gravestones for all the bosses of the series, along with yourself and everyone else you knew). All of them contained the Bonus Boss, Bass.
  • Mephisto's Realm in Marvel Ultimate Alliance.
  • Riviera gives you a bonus level in Hell (accessible from the menu) after you complete the game, no ifs, buts or dancing about theology. Interestingly, you're given generalised stats and a good selection of weapons instead of the ones you had when you finished.
  • The second half of Super Columbine Massacre RPG! has the Columbine killers being sent to Hell, which is one part Dante's Inferno and ten parts Doom, complete with demon soldiers, shotguns, and the BFG. It ends with the two killing a Cyberdemon and becoming Satan's minions, upon which they watch and mock the memorial service for their Earthly massacre.
  • Muramasa: Demon Blade features a nice jigoku level, replete with oni galore.. Really freakin' tough oni that take tons of damage and rarely flinch..
    • Strangely, there's really no fire there, and the demons are relatively friendly. The first area's gimmick is Down the Drain, and the second's is Blackout Basement.
  • The Reaches from The Way.

Shoot'Em Up

  • With all the spirits, demons and otherworldly characters wandering around the Touhou universe, it's not surprising that a few of the games have the characters traveling to the Netherworld (and, predictably, "befriending" the inhabitants via More Dakka). Although this isn't the Western Hell, it's indisputably the Realm of the Dead. So far Reimu's been to Makai (Highly Responsive to Prayers, Mystic Square, and Undefined Fantastic Object), Yuyuko's Netherworld (Perfect Cherry Blossom), the Sanzu River and the Yama's realm (Phantasmagoria of Flower View), Hell (Highly Responsive to Prayers and Subterranean Animism), and Heaven (Scarlet Weather Rhapsody).
    • Ironically, the one Windows game that was actually situated in (a former) Hell had the Extra Stage in a shrine.
    • The most recent game, Undefined Fantastic Object sees Reimu returning to Makai one more time. Since her first visits there occurred before the Continuity Reboot, this didn't sit too well with fans who have been clamoring for the PC-98 characters to return.
  • The SNES game Zombies Ate My Neighbors has several bonus levels at least one of which takes place in Hell complete with lava and fire pits.
  • The "danger zones" in Legendary Wings.

Sports Game

  • In Tony Hawk's Underground 2, the level one can unlock by passing Career mode has three sections: a space station, a South American temple, and Hell itself. In spite of this, however, it's not a big deal; There aren't any goals to accomplish, or anything.

Third-Person Shooter

  • In Rune the player dies at the beginning of the game, is resurrected and has to fight his way out of the underworld. Upon doing so, he immediately has to turn around and fight his way back in in order to stop an evil plot, and then fight his way back out again afterwards.

Turn-Based Strategy

  • The Bonus Dungeon in La Pucelle Tactics. It's called "the Dark World" in the English translation; originally it was simply "Hell."
    • Disgaea takes place mainly inside the "Netherworld", but it has several bonus levels in alternate Netherworlds, one of which is the same one from La Pucelle.

Visual Novel

  • Depending upon player choices, a significant portion of the endgame of the PC visual novel Animamundi: Dark Alchemist has protagonist Georik Zaberisk passing not only through Hell but through Purgetory and Heaven as well in an affectionate recreation of Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy, complete with Art Shift to what looks like dark-ages wood carvings of scenes from the aforementioned work.

Non-Video Game Examples

Comic Books

  • Marvel Comics has Mephisto's Realm. It is not another planet so much as it is another dimension that looks like a Fire and Brimstone Hell complete with a Satan Expy who is really just a mystical being that happenes to be named Mephisto. For all intents and purposes, it's Hell but without the religious implications and inescapabaility, allowing the heroes the ability to punch their way out.

Tabletop Games

  • Expect any Dungeons and Dragons campaign to reach this at some point. For bonus point, in 4e the Nine Hells is shaped like a planet, is about as big as Earth IRL, and floats in what seems to be outer space.

Real Life

  • A real-life example comes from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The set they used when depicting barren or hostile planets was nicknamed "Planet Hell" by the staff. It was so named because it would regularly reach 110-120 degrees F during shooting, quickly wearing out the cast and crew.
  • Venus has been compared to Hell as well. Given that it's hot enough to melt lead, the atmosphere is crushing and unbreathable, and it rains battery acid, this is expected.
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