Lethal Lava Land

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Lava crocodiles? We're screwed!

Juni: "Why is it that every video game has lava in it?"
Francis: "Technically that's not true. There's no lava in Halo. And in Metroid, it's molten magma."

Spy Kids 3D

A stage in a video game, particularly platformers, that takes place in a volcanic area, or another area with heat, such as a flaming tower or factory. Almost always features large lakes of liquid lava. The puzzles and challenges in such an area generally revolve around navigating around flames and lava. Generally, the player will be fine as long as he doesn't touch the molten rock, and may be even able to boat across it on some vehicle. Of course, if they do fall into lava, it won't be pretty.

The music in these levels tends to be percussion-heavy and angry and/or mischievous sounding, often with a tribal-sounding chant.

May be a volcano located in Prehistoria.

A Sub-Trope of Lava Adds Awesome.

Contrast Slippy-Slidey Ice World.

Examples of Lethal Lava Lands include:

Tabletop Games[edit | hide | hide all]

  • An official expansion pack for the miniature war game Heroscape gives you everything you need to design your very own Lethal Lava Land!
  • Some of the planes in Dungeons & Dragons fit this trope, particularly Gehenna, the Elemental Plane of Magma, and some layers of the Nine Hells. As usual, alternate-realities have their own laws of lava-physics to excuse Convection, Schmonvection.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Marathon has a few of these, most notably "Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire!" in which you have to wade through lava and stay alive, and "Six Thousand feet Under, in which failure to avoid the lava results in death, along with a few in Marathon Infinity, particularly "Eat the Path" and "Whatever you please," which are both freakin' weird.
  • Hailfire Peaks from Banjo-Tooie is an interesting example. One side is a fiery volcano, while the other side is a Slippy-Slidey Ice World. It's two, two, two obligatory stages in one!
  • F-Zero GX's Fire Field levels have the tracks suspended (at what appears to be) a few feet higher than the lava. The craft have shields, though.
  • Castlevania:
    • Symphony of the Night's Catacombs area takes you so below the ground that at one point you go through a lava cavern. However, the lava is just part of the scenery. And then, in the Inverted Catacombs, there's a part with molten ice in the background. It's not water: it's weird.
    • Harmony of Dissonance has the Castle B version of the Treasury, which has volcanic backgrounds in the hallway areas.
  • Many levels of Descent involved lava at some point. However, there was at least one level where the entire thing was lava. Being the first game, lava behaved differently.
  • The planet Brimspark in Descent II. And yes, the heat of the lava does drain your shields.
  • Dwarf Fortress lets you build a Lethal Lava Land. Not only does it give you a useful source of heat for forges and obsidian for building, it lets you drown your foes (or dwarves) in a sea (or river, or waterfall...) of molten rock.
  • Gurgu Volcano from Final Fantasy I.
  • Chrono Cross has Mt. Pyre.
  • These levels also exist in the Fire Emblem games, specifically Fire Emblem 7, 8 and 10.
  • Although there was no lava, there was a desert in the first Golden Sun which fulfilled the same purpose. While walking on sand a meter steadily fills, and if it reaches full the party will take a shot of damage. Rinse and repeat. Speaking of rinse, the meter could be emptied by finding oases hidden by mirages in circles of stones.
    • A more direct example of a lava-filled environment is the underground portion of Taopo Swamp.
    • The second Golden Sun actually has "Magma Rock", filled with puzzles that involved altering the flow of... you guessed it, magma!
  • The Under-Gas in Little Big Adventure 2.
    • Funnily enough, if you fail enough times in the second level in this sequence, the game takes pity on you and lets you skip it.
  • Norfair in the Metroid games and Magmoor Caverns in Metroid Prime; notably, in many of the games, Samus is affected by the sheer heat until she acquires the Varia Suit.
  • Sun City, which is located somewhere on the surface of the Sun, in the Futurama video game applies to this trope.
  • Both The Sanctuary of Stone and Fire and The Sanctuary of Rock and Lava from Rayman 2 apply to this trope. They are also Temple of Dooms.
  • Mechwarrior 3 has a geothermal plant right before the final mission, the mission before this one didn't have You relying on Heat sinks due to the snowstorm. Now You need a lot more than normal
  • The Romancing SaGa Series used this: Mt. Tomae (RS 1), Komulune Volcano (RS 2), Fire Palace of Aunas (RS 3)
  • The Stone Rain level in Shadow Warrior.
  • A staple Zone type in Sonic the Hedgehog, with many iterations:
  • There's the land of Uruk in Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy.
  • Named after Lethal Lava Land from Super Mario 64, a.k.a. "If those little devil guys don't leave me alone I'm going to have an aneurysm City".
    • Corona Mountain from Super Mario Sunshine. While short, it displays pretty much all the elements of a volcano level.
    • The Spin off Super Princess Peach has Fury Volcano, which fits this trope to a T.
    • Mt. Lava Lava from Paper Mario. It's amazing Mario doesn't catch on fire...
      • The lava must be paper as well, obviously.
      • In addition, Bowser's Castle has lava areas, but if you shut off the flow, it cools well enough to walk on instantly.
      • Also, Rawk Hawk's training area (i.e., the send up of Bowser's castle from SMB) has its lava pits.
    • The 4th stage of every world in the original Super Mario Brothers certainly are worth mentioning as being some of the earliest examples.
    • World 8 in Super Mario Bros 3, New Super Mario Bros., and New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
    • Melty Molten/Hell Prominence Galaxy in Super Mario Galaxy.
    • Super Mario Galaxy 2 has Shiverburn Galaxy, which also combines Slippy-Slidey Ice World and Lethal Lava Land, and Melty Monster Galaxy.
    • Thwomp Volcano in Mario & Luigi: Partners In Time
    • And despite not entirely being this, Bowser's castles have elements of this.
      • In the Super Mario All-Stars remake of Super Mario Bros 3, the mini-fortress in the sky part of World 5 has a lava floor and a ceiling.
    • Super Mario 64, as well as the Trope Namer also had Bowser in the Fire Sea, which is exactly what it sounds like.
    • Yoshi's Island DS has the very aptly named "Yikes! Boiling Hot!" level which fits this to a T.
  • Minecraft has the Nether, in which the only three sources of light are glowstone, randomly burning netherrack, oh, and did I mention the lakes of lava as far as the game can render?
  • Tales of Eternia has Efreet's Gorge, where even the supreme water spirit of the world isn't able to protect you indefinitely: once Undine's power runs out, you start taking damage instead.
  • Tales of Phantasia has a cave where Claus makes contract with Ifrit and Odin's Tower, where Flamberge can be found, assuming Nymph's rings are equipped on everyone to survive the heat.
  • Red Mountain in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, which doubles as the source of the Cosmic Horror threatening the world.
  • Mehrune Dagon's world in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Also, Boethia's conveniently similar realm of Oblivion. Heck—all the realms, except Paradise and the Shivering Isles.
  • Death Mountain in the Zelda games also fits this trope. In The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, the sheer heat of some of the areas does affect Link unless he has the Goron Tunic equipped. The underground land of Subrosia in Oracle Of Seasons also features copious lava.
  • The Temple of Pyrynn in Skies of Arcadia.
  • Another Red Mountain, this one in Bomberman 64.
  • In World of Warcraft, you have Searing Gorge, Burning Steppes, and Shadowmoon Valley. There's also the Blackrock Mountain dungeon complex which, along with including the infamous Molten Core, has what appears to be a volcanic crater right in the entryway.
    • For that matter, the Dwarf capital city Ironforge has...well, a giant forge, filled with molten iron, right in the center. One would think the city would be a giant dutch oven, but you know what they say about that. Back in vanilla it was deadly to fall into, but now anybody can survive for long enough to teleport out from it using your Heartstone. Classes with healing capabilities and mages with their fire protection can survive indefinitely. And if you don't have any means to teleport out of there, magma becomes a Mercy Kill Slap On The Wrist.
      • At some point they put up invisible walls to keep players from offing themselves in the forges.
    • Also, the starter instance of Ragefire Chasm.
    • Mount Hyjal in the Cataclysm expansion, the southern and lowest part of the zone has become Lethal Lava Land due to Ragnaros the Fire Lord re-emerging to burn the World Tree. Lakes of lava, walls of flame, islands of rock, elemental giants of magma and a rare volcanic turtle. Patch 4.2 introduced the Firelands raid dungeon and the Molten Front daily quest area, which are this trope all over.
  • Act IV of Diablo 2 is fought in Hell, which is probably as Lethal Lava Land as you can get.
    • However, the lava actually behaves the same as walls and there is no way to step on it.
  • Some of the Quest sub-levels on Nethack feature lava. And towards the end of the game the player has to pass through four "elemental" levels, one of which is fire, which of course means lava. If you have fireproof water-walking boots, you can stroll around on the stuff, and all those highly flammable scrolls will be just fine.
  • The Primitive Cube in Blue Dragon.
  • Gaspar in Ratchet and Clank.
  • Donkey Kong Jungle Beat has no less than four lava levels: Grim Volcano, Ancient Foundry, Lava Cavern and Magma Coliseum. Two of the bosses even take place in a volcanic environment!
    • Also most of the levels in Crocodile Cauldron from Donkey Kong Country 2, as well as one in the game's resident Lost World. However the lava in these levels is actually just a cosmetic coverup for Bottomless Pits, so you can touch the lava (using cartwheel + midair jump) without it actually harming you, so long as you don't cross that invisible line where you die.
    • World 8 in Donkey Kong Country Returns.
    • Hot Top Volcano from Diddy Kong Racing.
  • A little different, but in Star Fox 64, Solar (the Sun) is a lethal lava land, and the intense heat causes you to steadily lose health. Your team members take damage too, but since they can't be healed mid-mission the level designers made it so they only take some heat damage near the beginning for some dramatic effect, otherwise they'd all be dead one-third of the way through the mission.
    • Certain parts of the DarkIce Mines are like this (particularly underground), as well as the Volcano Force Point Temple in Star Fox Adventures.
      • Oddly enough Fox only catches fire if he falls in the magma, yet does not die instantly or melt. Also, he is set ablaze, but if he can douse those flames, he'll be fine.
  • You actually take damage from this level in Odin Sphere if you don't use cooling potions.
  • Wario Land has Stove Canyon in the original game, complete with obligatory moving Lava Wall.
    • Wario Land Shake It! has Mt Lava Lava (no connection to the Paper Mario one) and Sneak Peak.
  • The old computer game Hocus Pocus had lava on several levels that damaged you while you stood in it, though didn't instantly kill you.
  • Lampshaded in the Spy Kids 3D movie.
  • The Karamja Volcano in RuneScape.
  • Area K in Mega Man ZX. On the surface it's a geyser-riddled zone. Once you get underground, however, the Scrappiness starts setting in...
  • Mega Man Zero 2's factory stage that will be visited twice (!) combines copious amounts of lava with everyone's favorite mechanical menaces.
  • Most of the Mega Man games have these levels for the fire-oriented robot bosses, including Fire Man and Heat Man.
    • The first had Fire Man, 2 has Heat Man, 6 has Flame Man, Sword Man of 8 has a small fire area sequence, 9 has Magma Man and 10 has Solar Man.
    • ROM Hack Rockman No Constancy downplays this; what appears to be molten metal in Metal Man's stage are one-hit kills.
    • Parts of Junk Man's stage in Mega Man 7, which at one point has flame jets that behave similar to Quick Man's Laser Hallway.
    • The Mega Man X series has the stages of Flame Mammoth (X), Flame Stag (X2), Magma Dragoon (X4), Burn Dinorex (X5), Blaze Heatnix (X6), Flame Hyenard (X7), Burn Rooster (X8), and Mach Jentra (Command Mission).
      • Amusingly, Flame Mammoth's stage becomes a breeze if you defeat Chill Penguin first, as all the lava freezes over.
    • Mega Man Legends 2 has the Saul Kada Ruins, which is also a prime source of Nightmare Fuel.
  • La-Mulana's aptly-named Inferno Cavern.
  • A level of this type is also in a Bomberman game, you take damage constantly when in the regular area, but you can avoid damage and regain life by entering little ice crystal zones.
  • Neo Star's 4th level in Kirby 64 The Crystal Shards.
  • The Bard's Tale has an area actually called "Obligatory Lava Level".
  • Level 10 in the SNES port of Prince of Persia, where you drop into what seems to be a volcano after falling from the tower in Level 9.
  • Cald, in all its incarnations in Magi Nation.
  • The Touhou series finally gets one in the 11th game, Subterranean Animism.
  • The Soul Calibur fighting games often include a stage where the fighters are going at it on a rock floating in a river of lava. A ring-out involves the player falling in with a dramatic splash of flame, and yet they're perfectly fine come the next round.
  • The Soul Edge ripoff Mace: The Dark Age also has a lava stage that's either Hell or part of a despotic ruler's kingdom, depending on who you're fighting there. In the latter's case, don't ask where he got all that lava in the middle of Europe. Not only do you not die from convection, but falling in only deals a little bit of damage at a time. However, should a fighter loose all health in the lava in the final round, s/he'll sink in a fatality-worthy fashion.
  • The old SNES Swat Kats video game had one of these on the last level, as well. Complete with lava fireballs shooting up in circular patterns to be dodged/avoided.
  • The volcano level in Jurassic Park for the Sega Genesis.
  • In Mass Effect, the planet Therum features large lava flows which, of course, the Player Character can stand right next to without difficulty but cannot touch so much as the edge of a tire to without bursting into lethal flame.
  • Deep Inferno from Pangya. Complete with pyroclastic flows for "rough", lava pool "water hazards" and lung-clogging ash filling the air. Did I mention this is a golf game?
  • Aladdin and Aladdin both have Aladdin's escape from the Cave of Wonders as a two-stage sequence of this. The second stage in both games features the Advancing Lava Wall of Doom.
  • The volcano zone of Monster Hunter is pretty much the Prehistoria volcano played straight. It does, however, avert Convection, Schmonvection: without the right equipment, the player will take damage just by setting foot in the area.
  • A.I.M. (Artificial Intelligence Machine, or Mech Minds if you're Russian) has the Volcano sector, where one must avoid vapor geysers, electromagnetic fences, ravines and lava lakes of varying sizes. Not to mention the hostile gliders, who are more powerful than previous sectors.
  • Planet Scorch in Ristar. He even has an idle animation where he tries to fan himself with his hand.
  • In Godzilla: Unleashed, sudden climate change causes Seattle to become one of these.
  • The cursed version of the Great Underground Mine in Tomba 2 which has lava that keeps you from going down into the tunnels.
  • The "Volcanic Rim" stage in Street Fighter IV, which is located in Hawaii, and features an erupting volcano and fighters battling atop solidified lava.
  • Lava Dome in Backyard Football, which has lava on only one side.
  • The Jak and Daxter series has one in almost every game.
  • In a possible homage to World of Warcraft, the dwarf capital of Orzammar in Dragon Age: Origins is apparently set in a volcanic region, as are parts of the Deep Roads apparently at random. Oddly enough, the actual volcano you see the surface side of is quite safe. Aside from the Bonus Boss you can summon there.
  • The Sea Cave in Dragon Quest II.
  • Mt. Zublo in Breath of Fire III.
  • Tomb Raider: Atlantis
  • Devil Survivor: In later days, one of the areas, initially the Diet Building, becomes "contaminated" and lava-filled potholes will appear. You can't walk in them though. And later, when you fight Jeze-FUCKING-bel, the area in front of her is a lake-turned-lava-pool, and ending a character's turn in it will damage that character's team unless its party is immune to fire.
  • Barathrum from Total Annihilation, although this doesn't actually have much effect on game play aside from the fact that you can't build naval units given that the 'seas' are made of lava.
  • The Magic Knight Rayearth SNES game features such an area.
  • Spice Mine Run/Zugga Challenge, Fire Mountain Rally, and Inferno in Star Wars Episode 1 Racer. As usual, the lava's heat only damages your racer if you touch it.
  • Stonefang Mines in Demon's Souls. Home to the Lizardmen, a draconic god and home to That One Boss: the Balr- I mean, the Flamelurker.
  • The Rapax Rift in Wizardry 8, home of the titular demon-like Rapax.
  • Stark Mountain in Pokémon Platinum.
    • Don't forget Mt. Chimney in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. In Emerald, they even added a cave underneath Mt. Chimney, filled with even more lava, and it actually comes with a lampshade from one of the Team Magma grunts!
  • The planet Ortega in Space Quest III, which, much like the Io example below, has its surface constantly reshaped by volcanic eruptions. It's also lethal to land there without first putting on Thermo-Weave Underwear. And even then, a fall into the lava pits below nets you a Have a Nice Death.
  • The Ring of Fire, and some eye of the north caverns, in Guild Wars.
  • Sector 4, The Oven, from Jumper Three. Sector 4 in original Jumper also has shades of this, having a red background and a large number of firebals.
  • FireCage from An Untitled Story is mechanic version of this.
  • Last Cave from Cave Story features several lakes of lava, not seen anywhere else in the game.[1]
  • StarCraft II has a level that floods with lava every few minutes. Just to be mean, all the resources are in areas that flood. In a nice touch, the local fauna is programmed to flee to higher ground in the seconds before the lava arrives, except for the Brutalisk, who may be more focused on killing your team than evacuating the flood. One achievement requires you to kill the Brutalisk in this fashion.
  • The Oven from The Addams Family(SNES).
  • The Ys series has this in most of its games, eg Burnland/Moat of Burnedbless in II, the Ilvern Ruins in III/Oath, Fire Mountain in Mask of the Sun, the Lava Fields of Nelgal in Dawn of Ys, etc. In most cases, you can't even fall into the lava, due to Edge Gravity or insurmountable barriers.
  • The Fire Stage in Gradius III, and the second half of the Volcanic Stage in Gradius IV. The Volcanic stages in most of the games, while they have erupting volcanoes, are more of standard Death Mountain or Underground Levels.
  • The Fire Spring in EarthBound.
  • The second-to last level in Bujingai Swordmaster starts as a series of caverns which eventually brings you in a volcano. And you must reach the top in order to finish the level.
  • Volcano Castle, Fire Field, and Lava Flow in Bonk's Revenge. The underground levels also have lava pits.
  • The first area of Stage 3 in Rocket Knight Adventures features a rising and falling tide of lava that actually has a reflective surface, as if it were water (read: it's not). This is played with shortly, as crystal formations obscure platforms above the lava and Sparkster himself from the player's view, forcing you to use the reflection in order to see the path and make the proper jumps to proceed.
    • Oddly enough, the more conventional lava found in the third area of the same stage hurts a lot, but doesn't instantly kill on contact.
  • Stage 4 of the already punishing Ultimate Ghosts 'N Goblins for the PSP is a particularly enraging Lethal Lava Land called Scorch Mountain.
  • Volcania from Adventures of Rad Gravity.
  • Arachnia in Bug!!. So named because it's the spider Big Bad's lair, and it is filled with annoying spider Mooks. Besides that, expect loads of flaming rocks, fire ants (literally- they have fire breath), and instant-kill lava.
  • In Jabless Adventure, the final area you explore is Squidville, which is located in a volcano.
  • The Sandcrawler in Super Star Wars inexplicably has lava in its lower levels, along with a Giant Lava Beast from Nowhere.
  • In Rock Man 4 Minus Infinity, Mega Man has to deal with two sections filled with lava in Pharaoh Man's level. Fortunately, the lava just damages Mega Man.
  • EverQuest's lavaland is aptly named Lavastorm.
  • Level 6-1 in Medal of Honor: Frontline has a giant blast furnace that you can knock Nazis into and watch them get crisped.
  • The MSX2 version of Contra has two Magma Areas.
  • The "Be Prepared" level from The Lion King.
  • Dark Souls has the Demon Ruins and the first half of Lost Izalith.
  • Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain: Dark Eden, a land twisted beyond recognition in a project of the guardians of nature, energy and states. And then it starts raining fire... This may not be a case of Convection, Schmonvection, since Kain and the creatures there are all unnaturally resilient, and the world's foundations are rather loose by this point anyway. This trope is also used in the Dark World version of Nosgoth seen from Nupraptor's keep.
  • Evolva: Levels 6, 7, and 8. There's also a single Lava Pit in level 5, but it's extremely easy to avoid it in contrast to the ones in later levels.
  • The second half of Stage 5 in Alisia Dragoon.
  • The first half of the second stage in Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu.
  • Shows up pretty regularly in LEGO Rock Raiders. And they are much despised because your miners don't seem to realize that cutting corners across lava isn't a bright idea.
  • The Phoenix Mountain/Volcano in Kid Icarus Uprising.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

  1. In spite of game's main setting.