Auto-Scrolling Level

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
"There's a stage where the screen keeps scrolling up. If you're caught at the bottom, you die. In Trevor Belmont's world, what killed him? The T.V. Screen?"

A level in a Platform Game where the screen scrolls at a constant rate (like in rail shooters), no matter where the player runs or jumps to. This doesn't make any sense at all, but since you didn't care when you were 12, why start now?

Generally, the gameplay in these levels shifts from exploration towards a more "survivalist" task of avoiding a combination of fixed and moving obstacles. The player must choose between moving forward early, at the risk of running afoul of some not-yet-seen obstacles, or waiting to move later, where he runs the risk of being forced to move by the level's scrolling at moment when the obstacles are more dangerous.

Often you will be mortally crushed if you get caught between the advancing side of the screen and a stationary wall, making the screen boundary a kind of Advancing Wall of Doom. Only occasionally are these kinds of levels coupled with an actual Advancing Wall Of Doom, providing some meagre justification for the enforced scrolling. In vertical-scrolling levels, there will be an ever-rising bottomless pit, and solid platforms that fall below the edge of the screen will be consumed by an unknown force.

These levels can be a bit aggravating to play, particularly when combined with any number of Classic Video Game "Screw You"s.

It's debatable if Minecart Madness is a subtrope. It takes the concept further by forcing the player to move a fixed speed, and challenges them to jump, duck, and\or attack at the right times.

Examples of Auto-Scrolling Level include:
  • Many levels in Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island and New Super Mario Bros.. The auto scrolling levels in Super Mario Bros. 3 include 1-4, 3-6, 5-6, 5-9, 6-2, 6-7, 7-4 and all the airship/tank/navy levels.
    • The Super Mario Bros. Game and Watch from the 80's is fixed scrolling, the first example of this trope in the Mario series and maybe even Platformers in general.
    • Heck, Yoshi's Island and Yoshi's Island DS will have the scrolling screen go in all sorts of different directions, crossing the same part of the level more than once in more than one different direction, and there's no justification of any sort.
    • Inverted in Super Mario Galaxy. Only a part of the level 'exists', meaning that stepping outside the 'existing' area drops you in a bottomless pit. This gives the net effect the same as a fixed scrolling screen!
    • Also inverted in parts of Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. with some castle levels having those crawling block platforms.
      • Justified in one New Super Mario Bros. where the entire level takes place on the back on a giant Wiggler.
    • Don't forget Rainbow Ride!
  • Many levels in Kirby's Dream Land 2 and 3.
    • Kirby Super Star had two sections like this in the "Revenge of Meta Knight" subgame.
  • Donkey Kong Country 2 has two Rising Floors of Doom: Castle Crush and Slime Climb. The first is less frustrating, since you can ride the floor up - it can only kill you or enemies by crushing them against a ceiling. Conveniently, it will kill the flying wasp enemies on contact. Really, it's worse for the enemies of the level than it is for you.
  • Donkey Kong Country 3 had "Kong-Fused Cliffs" and "Ripsaw Rage", each of which had some kind of Advancing Wall of Doom. Also, to an extent, "Stampede Sprint" in the Lost World.
  • Sky Chase Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
    • In Angel Island Zone, Act 2 of Sonic The Hedgehog 3, there's a portion before the Boss Battle where the screen starts scrolling to the right, then Robotnik's airship starts dropping bombs at you. If you let off the speed for a second, you'll drift too far left and get hit. All you have to do is hold right for two minutes.
    • In Sonic & Knuckles, during the Boss Battle in Mushroom Hill Zone, Act 2, the screen scrolls right, forcing you to leap over spiked hurdles to pursue Robotnik.
    • Later in the same game, the screen starts scrolling to the right during the boss battle of Lava Reef Zone, Act 2. The real danger of this area is simply jumping from platform to platform to keep up with the screen.
    • Yet again, the Death Egg Zone Final Boss, after you blow up its hands. The robot itself (and later, the collapsing platforms) also doubles as an Advancing Wall of Doom.
    • The second act of the Bridge Zone in the first "Sonic the Hedgehog" for Master System (or Game Gear).
    • The special zones deserve special mention as a staple of their behavior is the inability to stop running forward (towards the background).
      • Half-pipe track from Sonic 2 and Sonic 3D Blast
      • Blue orb-collection spherical track from Sonic 3
      • UFO smash arena from Sonic CD
      • Full-pipe track from Sonic Heroes
    • And, just to be awesome, Sonic2006 feature areas of Sonic's levels that have been dubbed by one speedrun as "Mach Speed Zones." Sonic is forced to run forward, jumping and dodging obstacles, and can not leave his assigned course by too much or get hit by too many objects unless he wants to fly off breakdance into oblivion.
  • The Jet Bike levels from the Mega Man X series. Fans do not want to remember.
    • In X6, the hidden sub-stage of Metal Shark Player's recycling facility stage has a crushing ceiling AND forced scrolling! Joy!
    • Burn Rooster's stage from X8. Many had nightmares.
    • The jetboard sections in Mega Man 8 are particularly irritating. "Jump! Jump!" "Slide! Slide!"
    • The fixed scrolling in Stage 1 of Dr. Wily's Castle in Mega Man 2 is brief, but very annoying the first time. 99% of the level scrolls normally, until the end when it suddenly begins to move on its own at a rate that's slightly slower than the player's movement. The transition seemingly happens in the middle of a jump between two one-block-wide platforms and if the unprepared player doesn't simply miss and fall into the bottomless pit, he'll soon be knocked in anyway when a giant dragon that takes up half the screen flies in behind him.
    • In Mega Man 4, the third level of Dr. Cossack's fortress is one of these. It had a decent number of ways to slow you down to the screen's speed and was for the most part a pretty decent level. The Crowning Music of Awesome doesn't hurt, either.
    • In Mega Man 5, there is a section at the latter half of Gyro Man's stage that is exactly this, and you must dodge the spikes that you are approaching.
    • From ROM Hack Rock Man 4 Minus Infinity:
      • Sections of Skull Man's stage. It has every kind of platform from the Mega Man series. Plenty of lives will be lost on those sections.
      • Wily Stage 2's second half. It has an Homage to the Gradius series' High Speed Zone stages. It even comes with the signature shutting doors and a song from the NES Gradius 2 soundtrack.
    • From Rom Hack Rockman 6: Unique Harassment
      • The last half of Sparkman's level is an auto-scrolling section. The tileset is based on Tornado Man's level from Mega Man 9
      • The projectors in the second half of Galaxy Man's level trick Mega Man into thinking that the stage is scrolling around them.
      • The second half of Mr. X Stage 3 is a forced scrolling stage. Mega Man needs to use the Power Mega Man adaptor to break through various blocks or die.
      • Certain portions of Wily Stage 1 and the boss fight itself are auto-scrolling sections.
  • Some of the early games in the Adventure Island series.
  • (Wonder Boy III): Monster Lair alternates between autoscrolling platform stages and Shoot'Em Up boss battles.
  • Super Smash Bros. features entire arenas that scroll through a continuous loop of level elements. Who can forget the most malevolent stage in Super Smash Bros. Melee, Icicle Mountain?
    • One assistance character in Brawl, the Devil, makes non-scrolling stages suddenly start scrolling in random directions for a little while. This is the only Interface Screw that can hurt the computer, because if you get scrolled too far off of the screen you'll die.
    • Some of the most annoying platforming segments in the Subspace Emissary mode of Brawl featured this too. The worst ones also included traps that would fling you offscreen if you made one misstep. Even if you can keep up with the scrolling camera admist the hordes of Goddamn Bats, trying to collect the trophies and other goodies to earn 100% at the same time almost reaches controller-breaking levels of frustration - especially on the hardest difficulties.
      • RUMBLE FALLS... GRRRRR... Not only does it auto-scroll, but shortly through the map, it speeds up about fivefold to the point where you're doing everything you can just to keep up with it. God help you if you're Bowser or Ganondorf on this stage. And then speaking of traps that fling you offscreen with one misstep, this hell they call a stage featured a couple of spikes that were incredibly easy to jump into with you paying attention to everything else going on, and touching them sent you rocketing offscreen even if you had 0% damage when you touched it.
        • It's not the camera that's scrolling, all the platforms just start moving down. If you stay in the air, Your character should be fine.
        • Fortunately it warns you when it speeds up, and it doesn't move back down at random times like Icicle Mountain does.
  • Every level in Balloon Kid was one of these.
  • The Subwarine levels in Wario Land The Shake Dimension were these.
  • Preceding the Final Boss in Ecco the Dolphin is a forced-scroll level combined with The Maze; it takes place underwater and scrolls up, down, sideways, doubles on itself, and lasts a good five minutes. The only break the game cuts you is the level also continually regenerates your health, due to it being a giant meat grinder. Unfortunately, losing to the boss sends you back to the maze again...
    • It even actively tries to fake you out at certain points, making you think you have to go a certain way and then turning back and trying to crush you when you do go that way. Or even making a tiny part of a chamber the only safe place where you won't get crushed. Almost no one will make it through the first time, due to the need to memorize the correct path in some places.
    • The sequel Tides of Time has at least four on hard mode. All other modes at least two.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose (SNES) has some levels where the edge of the screen kills you.
  • Little Nemo the Dream Master gave us House of Toys, a level that took place on the back of a moving toy train set where you had to survive divebombing toy airplanes, bombs dropped by toy hot air balloons and plenty of instant death spikes on descending ceilings. Cloud Ruins has a section where the screen suddenly starts scrolling up, and then where it goes back down again; in both cases the bottom of the screen becomes deadly.
  • The first Rayman game has a few of these, semi-justified by a raising water level or some big enemy chasing you (Moskito with a huge spiked ball, and Mr. Stone in a later level).
    • An interesting variation: soon after acquiring a temporary flight powerup from a hippie, the start of one part of the level immediately places the eponymous hero in a situation where he has to use his helicopter hair to cut the frayed sections of two ropes, in order to drop the rocks they carry into the slowly sinking water beneath, before they drag the faster-falling ceiling below the surface... Perhaps it's better to show than to tell? (starting at around 2:25 in this video)
    • In Rayman 3, after you blow up the furnace in Hoodlum Headquarters, you have to climb up a tall tower while lava rises below you.
    • Rayman Origins has some too, especially in the Tricky Treasure challenges.
  • Cave Chaos replicates the effect, but at the same time shows you what the hell's happening: the floating platforms behind you are constantly breaking apart and dropping into the depths below. And to keep you from getting too far ahead, the ground ahead of you is constantly assembling out of pieces coming from offscreen. Get particularly far behind, and you may find yourself jumping from falling piece to falling piece just before each vanishes off the bottom of the screen.
  • The overhead River stage in Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and the Boss Battle in the Sky stage.
  • The final level in Braid.
  • The final stage of Jumper is a vertical version of this.
  • The Tower, The Panic Room, and The Final Challenge in VVVVVV. Spikes of Doom appear when you near the top or bottom of the vertically scrolling screen. Also, The Tower is one of the stages available as a Time Trial.
  • Kid Chameleon had a few of these that are Advancing Walls Of DRILLS, including a cruel one that had a choice of two paths at the end, not knowing where they go. One path leads to a sign saying "TOO BAD" with no exit and you just get squished by it.
  • Purple had this in stages 2–3 and 5-2. The latter had multi-directional one.
  • Canabalt is one of these.
  • Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse has several automatically scrolling vertical shafts. In the case of Blocks 5-0B and 9-03, the scrolling is discontinuous—every few seconds the tower trembles and sinks a bit into the ground.
  • Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon has the minigame Bear Stormin, which plays this straight for the entire game. This was later recycled as Circus Stormin in Putt-Putt and Fatty Bear's Activity Pack. Despite being in games made for children, they can get brutally difficult.
  • Distorted Travesty loves this trope, forcing you to race through already sadistically brutal Platform Hell sections while a wall of instakill spikes follows behind or beneath you so fast a single mistake will force you to repeat the whole section.
  • Seen in the doujin game New Super Marisa Land by Tasogare Frontier. Which makes sense as it's essentially a Super Mario clone.
  • The first cave escape stage in Aladdin. Actually both cave escape stages scroll automatically, but only the first has platforming.
  • Klonoa Advance 1 and 2 have some auto-scroll levels.
  • Atomic Runner Chelnov is entirely made of these (Boss Battles excepted), being essentially a Horizontal Scrolling Shooter/Platform Game hybrid.
  • Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu has a few stages where the screen starts scrolling to the right, with pillars shooting up from the ground in places.
  • Though not a platform game, Devil World features this as its main gimmick. The Devils on the edges of the screen move a frame over the maze, trying to crush Tamagon between the frame and the maze walls.
  • Something series
    • Perilous Ice, which is made even more dangerous because of the ice physics, Pokeys and tiny Mario clones. Luckily, Yoshi is there to make things easier. You need him for the Switch Palace Exit.
    • Vertical Chao, where Mario has to dodge many enemies and obstacles while riding on a very tiny platform.
    • Vile Vine, where Luigi has to climb a green apple vine while dodging enemies. To get the secret exit, Luigi has to beat the green apple vine in a race. If Luigi loses, the apple devours the door to the secret exit.
    • Above the World is found in the Special World. Luigi has to dodge Flying Wigglers and Fire Bars while climbing to the top using the tiny acorns that cover the level. The second section is horizontally-scrolling and changes up the enemies. At one point, the game lies to the player and announces that it will be a Marathon Level, but another message box tells the player that the first message box is lying.