Abandoned Laboratory

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The Abandoned Laboratory is a common setting in Speculative Fiction. But when you place it into a video game, it becomes quite the tour of science gone horribly wrong.

Usually a task set out after finding rumors about a Mad Scientist. You decide to head to the Abandoned Laboratory, where you are greeted by hostile security units who do not want you to enter the deeper parts of the lab. They are often however no match for whatever lies below, whether it be discarded Super Soldier projects, sentient robots who plan to exterminate all life, or horrible masses of biological life which smell dinner. Often they are an evolutionary sort, starting out with rejected lifeforms and ending up as deadly beings which have exceeded the creator's ambitions and can more than easily kill the hero in a heartbeat. Card Keys are a common staple of these wretched labs. Often, logs will lie about, speaking of first pride and then terror of their author's scientific pursuits.

Along the way, as you travel across the lab, you will go from a relatively sanitary environment to one where it feels disgusting just stepping on the ground. Vats full of the specimens lie dormant or are deceased due to being failures (however, if they are less than human, expect them to break free to start munching on something), bits of Techno Wreckage lie about as you realize you are near the scientist or his ultimate creation, which will grant the following...

  1. A Girl in a Box or a Sealed Good in a Can, both of which obviously join you.
  2. The place becomes a Collapsing Lair, forcing you to get the hell out of Dodge.
  3. You recover a biological McGuffin.
  4. A massive organic blob awakens, planning to turn you to genetic material.
  5. Motive Rant (You better get comfortable).

See also Mad Scientist, For Science!. Also overlaps with Abandoned Hospital in some cases, with the hospital residents being used as test subjects.

Examples of Abandoned Laboratory include:


Action Adventure[edit | hide | hide all]

  • This is common in the Metroid games, with the earliest example being Tourian in the first game. Tourian would appear again in Super Metroid and Metroid: Zero Mission, the latter of which is a remake of the first game; both of these later games make clear that the reason Tourian is abandoned is because the Metroids escaped and killed off the Space Pirates.

Action Game[edit | hide]

Adventure Game / Visual Novel[edit | hide]

Beat'Em Up[edit | hide]

  • The Splatterhouse series often takes place in such a level. Mainly because the mansion is/was used by Dr. West as a lab, and now is filled with monsters and demons.

First-Person Shooter[edit | hide]

  • Killing Floor with the Biotic Labs and the Bedlam map bunker.
  • F.E.A.R. loves this trope. There's the Origin Facility in the first game, the Perseus Compound in Perseus Mandate, and several others in Project Origin.
  • The Forerunner's Flood labs in Halo.

Platform Game[edit | hide]

Puzzle Game[edit | hide]

  • The Aperture Science labs in Portal probably fit this trope.
    • At first in Portal 1, this is somewhat misleading, as GLaDOS is still maintaining the test area (where the player spends the majority of his/her time in) where everything is as white and shiny as an iPod, everything that's supposed to move moves, and it seems to be all good, until the player finally reaches the last chamber where GLaDOS tries to kill you and you make your way through the unmaintained area, you finally get a sense of how long this place has been abandoned. Even more so in Portal 2 where, GLaDOS is dead, and the whole place is overrun by plants. But the area underground the more modern labs takes the cake. By the look of things, it was used in the 1950s and abandoned much later. Not to mention that the announcer in the stasis chambers says that you've been in stasis for nine nine nine nine nine nine nine.... days. Which means you've been asleep for quite a while.

Role-Playing Game[edit | hide]

  • Pokémon Red and Blue has the Pokemon Mansion, where the experiments to clone Mew to create Mewtwo took place (before it had Gone Horribly Right), and which is now filled with assorted Fire and Poison-types and the scientists' logs of their experiments.
    • Pokémon Colosseum has the Shadow Pokemon Lab, which has only recently been cleared out when you arrive.
    • The Shadow Pokemon Lab returns in Pokémon XD, though it's considerably less abandoned this time around, having been reclaimed by its former owners during the five years since Colosseum.
  • The BioSytems lab in Phantasy Star II. Birth Valley in IV is hinted to be the same location. In both games it's the birthplace of the cute Catgirl in your party.
  • Project Purity in Fallout 3 when you first come upon it.
    • Hell, just about any of the "scientific" Vaults will be like this, as well as various abandoned shelters and named buildings.
  • Pictured above is the chimera lab from Mother 3, it's only mildly creepy at first...then the ultimate chimera gets loose.
  • The Ocean Lab in Deus Ex, where an act of sabotage has released plenty of genetic experiments and thrown the electronic security systems out of whack. The staff is dead to a man.
  • During Mass Effect 2's Jack's loyalty mission, you go to one to blow it up, so she can forget her past.
  • Most of Parasite Eve II takes place there.
  • The Geneforge series has quite a number of these, as experiments Gone Horribly Wrong or Gone Horribly Right are major drivers of the plot.

Survival Horror[edit | hide]

  • First Resident Evil games are filled with recently abandoned examples.

Wide Open Sandbox[edit | hide]

  1. Top to bottom: Mother 3, Bioshock, Metroid Fusion.