Luck-Based Mission

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"If no mistake have you made, yet losing you are... a different game you should play."

The Luck-Based Mission is a bane to many gamers because if luck is not with you, you'll lose. The worst examples are when skill is completely removed as a factor. Regarded as frustrating at best and often an infuriating stumbling point, the games that actually feature this as a requirement are thankfully few, but still, they're present. Save Scumming is a requirement.

A particularly repellent form of Luck-Based Mission is one where the game mocks you for failure. As if it's your fault that the Random Number God is displeased. Then again, inciting the Atomic F-Bomb tends to help a few types of people vent their frustration on anything other than an unrelenting computer. (Others threaten it with the junkyard.)

This trope is particularly vexing for speedrunners; gamers can pour as much practice as they want into perfecting skill-based portions of the game, but that won't stop their speedruns from being ruined by one bit of bad luck.

A subtrope of Fake Difficulty. Sister trope to Timed Mission and Escort Mission. Cousin trope of Trial and Error Gameplay. Has a very high chance of being That One Sidequest.

Examples of Luck-Based Missions include:

Video Games[edit | hide | hide all]

Action Adventure[edit | hide]

  • Most of The Legend of Zelda titles avert this, but there are notable exceptions...
    • In Ocarina of Time, there is one particular Heart Piece to be found where the player must pay a slowly moving grave digger 10 rupees to dig in certain areas he walks across. What the grave digger finds when he digs is completely random, from a few rupees, to the valuable Heart Piece, and even nothing at all. Due to the nature of this, getting this Heart Piece can be a quick and painless walk to the graveyard at night or an extremely long and arduous affair that wastes all of your rupees.
    • This is still better than the buried Heart Piece in A Link to The Past: 80 rupees for 30 seconds of digging in a vast field. Thankfully there is a good source of income in the Light World version of the nearby village, and it's not uncommon to find more than your 80 rupees back.
      • One Heart Piece is hidden in a pick-a-box game which you have to pay each time to play. The game in question has 14 to 16 chests to pick from. Pure luck here, so better pack some Rupees.
    • Two such heart pieces in Oracle of Seasons/Ages. One of them drops randomly when you run into Maple the witch; the other comes from a Gasha Tree. There are rings that can be worn to increase the chances of these random drops, but they're still rare.
      • Try to collect all 64 rings in these games and keep your sanity intact. Probably more than half of them are gotten sheerly through blind, dumb luck—even some that are won as prizes from mini-games. Not to mention a few that are so rare you'll have a better chance of winning your local lottery than obtaining the particular ring in these two games.
    • Another Oracle of Ages example. To get the Boss Key, the player has to pull the correct lever in a certain room; the wrong lever makes a bunch of snakes fall from the ceiling. Each lever pull also resets which lever is the "correct" one, such that the player could theoretically have to attempt the lever-pull indefinitely.
    • If you're a completionist, Wind Waker can drive you insane with the battleship-esque minigame. It's bad enough that you have to win it once to get a heart piece, then a second time to get a treasure map. But if you want to get a second treasure map, you have to beat the game in less than 20 moves. Be prepared to run out of rupees very quickly.
    • While not required to get anything useful, Skyward Sword has the Thrill Digger minigame, which functions just like Minesweeper... except that with a single exception, the indicators tell you two possibilities for how many traps are around. Two blue rupees next to each other could mean they share a bomb, they share a bomb but one also has one to the side, they share two bombs...
  • Laura's final quest in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia requires you to complete one of the games super-hard bonus dungeons, at the end of which the needed item MAY spawn. If you don't get an Alexandrite from the final chest, you have to run the entire bonus dungeon again.
  • The freeware game La-Mulana has one in its hidden bonus dungeon the Hell Temple, success in three of the final rooms depends on both luck and high levels of skill; it could take one try or 5 hours to complete and if you mess up on any of the three you have to restart, after you defeat a couple of annoying enemies of course. Luckily, there are a few, uh, "strategies" to get through the first room without actually doing the luck parts. You're still screwed with the second one though.
  • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes has the infamous Boost Guardian. The thing ricochets around the tiny arena it's in like a pinball. It's completely impossible to predict where it's gonna be next, and you're constantly taking damage from being in the Dark World. In addition, the health refills for the fight are located in four pillars around the room, which can only be destroyed by the boss. Beating it requires that it not hit you excessively, and that it break open the pillars when you need health refills rather than breaking them all right away and wasting the health pickups.

Action Game[edit | hide]

  • Pandemic 2 plays like a luck-based mission most of the time. You can play more or less perfectly, but whether you can win or not will come down to whether one or two isolated regions seal themselves off before they get infected. They usually do, and apart from trying again (and hoping you start in one of these areas) there's nothing you can do about it. The most isolated area, Madagascar, has achieved Memetic Mutation status.
    • The Kongregate-hosted version of this game acknowledges the fact with a President of Madagascar Badge.
  • The Top-down shooter stage from Gunstar Heroes on the Game Boy Advance can be placed in this category. The damage you take is high already, but even if you make it to the attack helicopter at the end of the section in that stage, it all boils down to whether or not the missiles, laser, and submarines fire anti-air shots hit you, and if you get hit once, the entire screen will be flooded with bullets and you'll die as your helicopter is such a large target. This makes the only possible strategy for this boss be spray and pray, hoping that you will have a little energy left for the last section of the stage.
  • The Russian indie game Hammerfight features the unfortunate addition of "siege bombs", which are an instant kill if they touch a character (including you), and even if they miss, they have an insanely huge blast radius and can easily take off half the players health from a half screen away. Their power is balanced out by their high price (making it Too Awesome to Use). The NPCs, however, have no such qualms about throwing one at you, especially when you are an inch from their face and cannot possibly dodge it in time. It is especially infuriating in Arena, where at higher levels you must fight a constant stream of enemies, any one of which could end your game immediately through a single suicidal siege bomb toss.
  • Cave Story has a corridor in the Bonus Level of Hell where blocks, both large and small, rain down upon you dealing ten damage each completely randomly. As if that's not enough, there Goddamned Bats are flying around, too. It's probably safer to take five damage from the bats and use the Booster 2.0 to blast across the area while you still have Mercy Invincibility.

Adventure Game[edit | hide]

  • Particularly remarkable was a casino in Leisure Suit Larry 1, where you were actually expected by the game designers to use Save Scumming to defeat the slot machine (there is no other way to make progress in the game).
    • A similar situation occurs with a video poker machine in Leisure Suit Larry 5. Save Scumming is not required (if you lose your money you can hit for a little more) but definitely encouraged (the total you need to advance is very high compared to your starting amount).
  • One of many, many examples in a long line of evidence that Sierra personally hates you, the original EGA version of the original Space Quest has one segment where you need to turn $30 into about $240, and the only way to do it is to be really lucky with the slot machine in the bar. Aside from you being just as likely to lose money as to win, there's one special configuration which, when hit, makes the machine shoot a laser and kill you. You have to save scum to get past this part.
    • The VGA remake added an item picked up during the opening sequence (a magnet) that can be affixed to the slot machine that forces a jackpot enough times to meet the $240 goal and then breaks.
  • Because the behavior of NPCs in Addison-Wesley's The Hobbit PC game (in the 1980's) was randomly determined, the whole game could be considered a Luck-Based Mission. There's a possibility the roaming vicious warg could be captured by the wood elf long before you get to the wood elf's dungeon. And if said warg kills the only person capable of unlocking the jail door and you end up on the wrong side of that door, the game's unwinnable. Even worse, NPCs will sometimes randomly refuse to obey your orders for no good reason. Bard the bowman is the only one who can kill the dragon, but if you order him to do it and he says 'No', the dragon will kill you right away.
  • The lava pit in Broderbund's Mask of the Sun. At a certain point in what had previously been more or less an illustrated text adventure, the player is confronted with a pool of lava, with a stepping stone that rises and sinks into the lava rapidly. You're given a choice between jumping to the stone, and then to the other side of the pit ... or retreating back to the poison gas room you just escaped and die. But even if you choose to jump, there's still a VERY good chance you'll end up with "splash and burn" and die. The stepping stone moves so rapidly (much like rapid eye-blinking) that timing doesn't even enter into it ... it's dependent on luck. Furthermore, it became clear that it was the only way to proceed.
  • King's Quest V. Just look what happened to this guy! Mordack randomly shows up in his castle to kill you, and if he appears you're dead, no matter what.
  • King's Quest VI did this with the Cliffs of Logic. Usually if you are a little bit off on your clicking, you will almost lose your balance, but right yourself. However, if you did not save just before trying to climb the cliffs, then you would instead fall to your death when you inevitably misclicked! This nearly put me off the game.
  • Similar to the King's Quest V example, Infocom (a designer which otherwise knew better) had the Crown Jewels puzzle in Zork III. In order to steal what you need from the museum, you have to wait until the guards leave. But there's a chance that a guard will randomly walk in and kill you. There's no way to hide, and there's no warning that it's going to happen. And if he kills you during this sequence, it's 'Game Over', since at this point the player is out of the Dungeon Master's reach (the Dungeon Master usually gives the player another chance when dying).
    • In the game's predecessor, Zork II, the game's antagonist, the Wizard of Frobozz, often randomly shows up to cast spells on the player. These spells are annoying, but harmless ... usually. The exceptions to 'usually' are what turn this into a luck-based mission, as it's possible for the Wizard to cast 'Fall' (causing you to fall) or 'Float' (causing you to float) while you're in the hot-air balloon. If he shows up at the wrong moment and casts these spells, the player will lose the hot-air balloon forever and be unable to complete the game.
      • Not to mention that some spells in some situations are just plain instant death, like 'Fear' when you're on a cliff or 'Fierce' when you're in the same room with the dragon, and that no matter what if the Wizard happens to cast enough spells that hold you in place for too long ('Float', 'Freeze', etc.) your lantern will run out of batteries before you have time to complete the game.
  • Gold Rush, one of the lesser-known Sierra adventures, has a few places where you can randomly catch a lethal disease, or get swept away while crossing a bridge. The death message even informs you, "there was nothing you can do; sometimes terrible things happen." And indeed, there is no way to prevent this other than to restore. Thankfully the chances of it happening are rather low.
    • When it does happen, though, the only recourse - as EVERY guide out there will point out - is to load a game from BEFORE you made the action that results in you leaving Brooklyn and leaving town on a different frame. Restoring from before the last action that you were healthy won't cut it [unless you catch the disease right after leaving Brooklyn].
  • The bomb-disarming Mastermind puzzle in The Journeyman Project. You have to solve three levels, with an extra color added each level. If you miss too many times, you go back to square one. If you take to long, the shield generator's radiation kills you.
  • To get to the last challenge of the Big Fish hidden object game Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst, you need to collect seven keys hidden around the mansion and take them to the cellar. The keys are easy, there's one in every room, you just need to be able to find it. The difficulty is that the game will randomly select which rooms you may go into for the keys. If none of these randomly-selected rooms are in the basement, you have no way to get to the cellar. The game auto-saves as you go along, so when you reach the end of the game after hours of playing and you can't win there's nothing to do but start over from zero and play all the way through again.

Driving Game[edit | hide]

  • The final mission leading to the best ending of the original Driver videogame involves driving The President across New York City while dozens of hitmen in nigh-indestructible uber-fast cars try to ram your car off the road and reduce it to a wreck. Since the hitmen cars are so much faster and tougher than yours, the only way to complete the mission is if you're lucky enough that the AI cars wreck themselves as you scream across town. The mission is nearly impossible without an invincibility cheat (and you can still die by flipping over with invincibility on).
    • Every time-based mission requiring you to evade the cops while reaching your destination (Read: The majority) was luck-based. If a cop spawns too close to your destination, you have to detour and will run out of time.
  • Almost any street racing game where traffic motion is random. Particularly noticeable in the Burnout series, where a long vehicle like a bus pulls out in front of you, there's nothing you can do to prevent a crash. On time trials, this can make a track Unwinnable.
    • As of Takedown, however, all traffic in hotlap-based races is completely scripted every time, in career at least. You can still get pretty boned in other modes, though.
      • Sometimes the Signature Takedowns that appeared in Takedown and Revenge are still an example of this, though. Some of the ones involving crashing opponents into static bits of the environment are easy enough: you find your landmark, you happen upon your hapless victim, you push said victim into the landmark. Bingo, the game gives you credit for the Signature Takedown. Your weapon is timing-which you don't have when you're tasked with Signatures involving crashing opponents into, say, trams or buses. Both are moving, neither are alone in traffic, and both are interspersed in obstacles. Even if you and your opponent are in the right position for a takedown, should another car or a lamp post or something get in the way and the car crashes into THAT? Regular takedown, back to square one. In Revenge, particularly, there was one involving crashing an opponent into a tram-a tram that liked moving into a little chute in between two narrow walls a lot. Finally, because their appearance isn't scripted (they're just coded so that they appear down certain roads on certain tracks, not precisely where or when) they might not show up with the main pack of cars at all.
  • It could be argued that the higher difficulty levels in Mario Kart Wii qualify, as no matter how well you race, the AI opponents will inevitably gang up on the player. Making matters worse is their tendency to fire off the POW Block (which stuns everyone in front of the user) and the Lightning Bolt (which stuns and shrinks everyone except the user) in quick succession, and since any items you're carrying are dropped when hit by these items, even being hit by only one of the two is virtually a death knell.
    • Not only that, but the game suffers from Artificial Stupidity if you decide to play Battle or a team VS race with the AI. Your computer allies will either do as good as you or be extremely stupid and not do anything to help your team win, leaving you to do all the work. How well your computer allies play is random, thus, luck based. It is possible to place first in all four races and still lose because of your AI teammates.
      • This is probably because, like a standard non-team race, each AI kart is randomly assigned a place before the first race ever really starts. If most of your team is on the lower end of the spectrum, better luck next time.
    • Mario Kart Wii also rubs acid deep into your cuts by giving you a ranking after completing a cup based on how "well" you drove. Holding first for most of a race and running afoul of few traps nets you a high ranking. Getting assaulted by the computer constantly and only winning by the skin of your teeth through sheer luck and determination nets you a low ranking. On the higher-difficulty cups, the latter happens far more often than the former. Thus, not only does it require a herculean effort on your part even to place first, but it's most likely that you'll then be slapped with a D or C ranking for being such a poor driver. Oh, yeah. Did we mention that getting some of the best characters and vehicles requires you to get two gold stars (the highest rank) on the hardest cups at the highest difficulty levels?
  • One of Kirby Air Ride's objectives involves getting all 3 pieces both the Hydra AND the Dragoon in a single City Trial session. The session can only last 7 minutes max, so good luck finding a SINGLE piece of EITHER machine.
  • Rad Racer, a cross country racing game on the NES, falls under this due to when and where other cars spawn and if they swerve into your lane. Touching them from the side will send your car flying sideways and into an obstacle off road, costing you time.
  • In Wipeout Fusion, there is an elimination challenge where you have to destroy a large number of enemy ships on the racetrack. The tools given to every ship to fight this battle: grenades (weak), rockets (beyond weak), quakes (massive damage to EVERYONE in front of you). Weapon pads rarely provide a quake, but there are 15 ships rolling the dice so quakes will go off every few seconds, obliterating your opponents. After half a lap, the pack of 15 ships will have been reduced to about 2 or 3. Which would be nice, if you didn't have to kill 5 enemies to win this challenge. Your only chance is to get a quake from pretty much the first or second weapon pad, and happen to use it at the right moment so it finishes off 5 ships. You get no second chance.
  • A lot of the faster races in Ridge Racer 3D took advantage of fixing the much-maligned ancient collision mechanics of previous Ridge Racer titles, then took advantage of it way too much. Since everyone now loses very little speed when colliding with each other or not scraping walls for a very long time, even mid-game races can turn into outrageous three-or-four-machine melees wherein cars are overtaking one another, going far, far faster than they should-which you can't do in kind. This means you may keep some nitrous for yourself to break away from the pack and win a race...only to have the rubber-banding kick in and have a truck twice as tall as you zip past at what must be 300 MPH.
  • An interesting example in Gran Turismo. In some restricted events there can be a car far superior to the rest of the grid and your own. For example, in the World Classic Car Series (where most cars have 100-200HP) you could be driving a respectable 2000GT knowing you'll certainly win, but if you're unlucky you could find an AC 427 S/C has arrived to ruin your day.
    • In Gran Turismo 5, a lot of the seasonal challenges feature a single lap to a difficult track (Nurburgring Nordschleife or Suzuka are the regulars) in which you start last and have to finish first. This can become, either Unwinnable if the car starting first is a fast one or Easier Than Easy if it's a turtle, helding back all the others.

Edutainment Game[edit | hide]

  • Oregon Trail is one whole luck-based game. Characters will randomly get sick, and may even die immediately, giving little time to allow for recovery. Crossing the rivers is luck-based, too; fording a river isn't, as you shouldn't really ford a river more than three feet. Floating a wagon across carries the risk of tipping over, causing the loss of your items (and some of your people!). Even the ferry carries a very small risk—it can break loose from moorings or tip/sink. In other words, as in history, nothing is guaranteed in this game.
    • In II, if you're unlucky enough, the wagon can tip and drown a person in as little as a foot and a half of water. You can tip even on "not too steep" hills. And hunting carries the risk of an (sometimes instantly fatal) accidental gunshot or animal attack for your leader. If he/she dies, it's game over. God help you if you get caught in a blizzard with "no progress", low/no food, few draft animals, and nothing to trade.
  • An Edutainment Game actually has one of these?! How's that even possible?! Well, in Clue Finders: Search and Solve Adventures, one mini-game you find early on involves Trial and Error Gameplay, since that is after all, the entire point of the minigame. You have to guess the rows and columns, represented by colours and shapes. (The points on the grid are coloured shapes) And you have to get certain points so you can get past the game and get a reward to continue on. Problem? All it's randomized...all the spaces on the grid you have to hit could be all clustered in one corner, and the first choice you pick happens to be right on the other side, in a row and column that won't help you. You'd also be surprised how hard the 9-guess levels can be.
  • Let's Explore the Airport with Buzzy the Knowledge Bug got very carried away with this. It has an arcade-styled minigame called Lost Luggage, where the goal is to get each correctly colored suitcase into its matching bin. You would do this by taking control of conveyor belts and other mechanisms. The last level, Level 99, has six chutes all of the same kind, where if you put a suitcase down a chute it could come out of any of the other five in any four directions. There are several unchangeable conveyor belts that will lead it into a bin. If the wrong color lands in it, you have to restart the level. The problem is, you have no control over where it goes, and every odd is stacked against you in every possible way. Didn't think this could get worse? You have to be this lucky four times. Even worse, if you do get past it somehow, your only prize is being sent back to Level 1.
  • Lionel Trains Presents: Trans-Con! is an edutainment game dealing with the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. The player has a choice of which side to start building from: Central Pacific or Union Pacific. Central Pacific has a much shorter route, however the player is required to blast through mountainous terrain with dynamite to place the tracks. Using said dynamite has a very high chance of injuring workers in the blast, and you have to make multiple blasts to cut through. It's entirely possible the player will lose all his workers (and therefore lose the game) in the first level.

Fighting Game[edit | hide]

  • In Super Smash Bros.. Brawl, getting all the trophies requires you to use trophy stands on every kind of enemy in the adventure mode, including bosses. Of course, these stands are rare, and (just like Pokémon) you have to weaken the enemy in order to catch it, so it doesn't always work. Raising the difficulty level and using certain stickers will raise the chance of getting a stand, but it's still annoying when you hit a boss too hard, kill it, and you have to go through the whole level again for another chance, not to mention if the stupid bastards hit a conveniently-spawning Koopa Shell or a Blast Box with a stray attack of their own and thus end up suiciding without you being able to do a goddamn thing about it. Playing with a friend can greatly help: one keeps the trophy stand and keeps distractions away, while the other whittles down the boss's health.
    • You know what IS luck-based though? The Trophy Lottery. Brawl does away with that annoying feature in favor of a shooter game that's just as addictive in order to get trophies and stickers. However, it is still random whether or not new trophies even show up. The Mew Trophy is an especially bad case. It's bad enough you have to fight multiple characters at once while getting worn down, but the combinations are random and can range anywhere from easy peasy to downright lethal.
    • Items in general make some tasks this. If a bomb spawns in front of your attack that's another multi-minute attempt at the 100-man-melee down the drain.
  • Clearing the tutorial in Soul Calibur 3 requires the player to guard impact (counter) the instructors moves while he randomly switches between high and low attacks 5 times in a row (getting hit makes you start over). The problem is that the medium attacks he uses are too quick to guard after it starts (so you need to guard before he starts) and all but a handful of characters are too slow to get out of that block and counter in time when he DOES execute a low attack, meaning the mission requires the player to be lucky enough to make a correct "prediction". To add insult to injury, the characters that ARE quick enough have this mission stupidly easy. (note:Completing the tutorial with a character unlocks their Ancient weapon. The only other way to unlock the weapon involves reaching and beating Olcadan with that character. Which means you'll fight Night Terror.)
  • Mortal Kombat 9 has a mode called "Test Your Luck", where a slot machine determines what additional stipulations are added to a match. These extra rules range from inconsequential (rainbow blood, Zombie Kombat) to game-changing (no arms, poisoned health, disabled super meters). These missions appear at regular intervals in the Challenge Tower, where they also determine your opponent.
    • Additionally, fighting Reptile in the original Mortal Kombat (and the reboot as well) not only requires a double flawless victory followed by a fatality, but the player must "Look to la Luna"; there's a random chance of seeing objects fly across the moon. The player can only challenge Reptile if the this occurs.
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy has some of these, mostly relating to the Battlegen system. Crash course: Battlegen produces unique items for synthing weapons/armor/accessories based on what the player does in battle, the "standard" set of 'gens are five items made in four ways: inflicting Bravery Break, landing an HP attack, using an Exburst, and damaging the stage/slamming the opponent into the wall, ground, or ceiling. However, battlegen is never guaranteed—you only ever have a chance of generating the item when performing the above actions. That's the luck-based, here's the mission: In campaign mode, there are enemies who demand, if the player wants the highest score possible, that the player cause battlegen to occur within ten seconds of starting the match. Not even factoring in the Spiteful AI who seems to know the player's motivations and will run away instead of fight and give you a chance—the player can still do everything "right" and just be out of luck. If you're going for 100% Completion, time to restart that board!
    • Much like the above example, there's an achievement for battlegen-ing five items in one match—and you can only ever generate one of each individual item per match. Thank God for the Stiltzkin opponents and their unusually long list of possible battlegen items, as they turn this achievement from "nigh impossible" to merely "hugely aggravating."
    • If the player is deep in the Lunar Whale or Blackjack course, that is to say, running gauntlets of random enemies 20 to 50 levels above the level cap, the player's survival can quickly wind up luck-based: Did the computer give the opponent the best equipment in the game, or merely a motley assortment? Do they have accessories that complement their strengths, or worthless ones? Is their summon godly, or horrible? Is their CPU-behavior set to a playstyle the player can counter reliably? There's no way of knowing unless you fully commit yourself to fighting the opponent. Start praying.

First Person Shooter[edit | hide]

  • Many first-person shooters task you with defeating a certain number of enemies in a given amount of time (such as Time Splitters), and this often comes down to how often and near enemies spawn.
  • In GoldenEye 007 for the N64, unlocking the Invincible cheat requires finishing the second level, Facility, within 125 seconds. Being able to do this is largely dependent on where Dr. Doak (with whom you must speak in order to finish the level) randomly spawns. This is not a question of looking in the right place. Only one specific place renders it possible to finish the level in time.
    • Not to mention the Statue level. While nowhere near as difficult as the above, if the player looked in the wrong place for the randomly generated flight recorder, he would run out of time to unlock the cheat.
  • Witches in Left 4 Dead are randomly placed (if at all) each time a level begins (which means two times per map in Versus Mode). There is an achievement for successfully clearing an entire campaign without disturbing ANY witches. Guess how frequently witches are placed on choke points where hugging the wall (or worse, ledge) still gets you too close to the witch to avoid alerting her?
    • Even worse if you are playing single player mode. You can go through the entire game avoiding witches. If a witch spawns in a finale, an NPC team member WILL disturb the witch without fail.
    • Similarly but to a smaller degree, Tanks in Versus Mode Multiplayer. Sometimes you'll get these RIGHT OFF THE BAT (even while you're still alive), sometimes you'll go an entire campaign without ever seeing a tank.
    • Sometimes a witch will be placed at the top of a ladder that you must go up in order to continue the game, and she is placed in a spot where it is pretty much impossible to shoot or see her until you get to the top of that ladder, then it only takes half a second for her to get angry and rip your face off. This is especially horrible in one player mode when you are basically forced to sacrifice yourself just to continue.
    • And then there's the items like first aid kits or special ammo. Usually, if the team is doing well, you will usually just find molotovs or pipe bombs off the beaten path, but if the survivors are crippled and have nothing to heal with, the AI Director MAY spawn more health kits or other healing items, which can sometimes make or break the game.
    • The entire game itself can be a luck based mission at times no matter how careful your team is. Sometimes you can go an entire game without any incaps/deaths/restarts and other times you may have to restart several times due to being overwhelmed by the infected.
      • Especially evident if you're playing with bots on any difficulty above Normal. Bots will always heal to 80% hp before leaving the saferoom. However this means by the last saferoom, you could be walking out with one or no extra medkits at all. Good luck surviving the Finale, as the bots will almost always get incapped or killed before the second tank, leaving you alone hoping that a smoker or hunter doesn't come out and ruin your day.
      • The bots themselves can also make or break the game. Either they will quickly save you if you get in trouble or they will watch you die before deciding to do anything.
    • The Sacrifice campaign for the first game is like this during the finale where you have to jump off the bridge and kick start the generator. If a Smoker grabs you while he is on a rooftop, the bots won't shoot the tongue or bother to snipe the Smoker, so you'll die and have to restart, thus you have to hope a Smoker doesn't spawn when it's time to do the sacrifice act. This is somewhat avoided in the sequel in the same campaign due to having more weapons and items to defend yourself with and having more special infected types so your chances of a Smoker grabbing you is lower.
  • Many levels in the Halo series on Legendary difficulty are luck based missions due to the randomization of enemy spawns and random unavoidable death situations. Well, that's why you've got plenty of save points.
    • Jackal Snipers, with their one hit kills and near-perfect accuracy on Legendary, often create luck based situations, particularly where they spawn randomly.
    • That or Trial and Error Gameplay, whichever is more appropriate. Basically, at least in Halo 2, the odds are dramatically stacked against you, and even if you play very well, you're still fairly likely to die. So you just do any given hard segment over and over again, doing pretty much the exact same thing each time, until the one time when all the chips fall just so, and you make it through. It's certainly not skill-based: if you use an optimal strategy and execute it flawlessly each time, you'll still die ten times and succeed once.
  • The final battle in Killzone 2 has elements of this; the final boss has a teleporting ability that lets him constantly Flash Step all around you. It does make a lot of noise and give off an easy-to-detect blue light, but he moves very fast when he decides to attack and absolutely LOVES to teleport BEHIND you or directly in your path if you try to run. There's simply no telling if he'll suddenly materialize three inches from your back or if you'll run smack into him and (in either case) end up being gutted by his knife of doom.
    • Heck, just put in the whole of the battle leading up to that fight; the player is attacked by what amounts to a battalion of elite soldiers, numbering up to at least 40 vs 2. Your partner is stupid. And the Helghast have the smarts to flank you from almost every direction with not only machine guns, but also flamethrowers and rocket launchers...just try to survive all that in one go on Elite difficulty, if at all.
  • A number of combat-oriented shooter missions - such as in Men of Valor and Call of Duty (or thereabouts) - where you have to run through an artillery barrage to a foxhole or somewhere to get to the next stage, and it's up to chance whether you go down or not while running.
  • In H.P. Lovecraft-based FPS Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, the fourth mission has the player riding in the back of a pickup truck while the driver navigates the streets of Innsmouth. As firearms are extremely inaccurate (and you're shooting at things that don't take that much damage from them), there's very little point in shooting back, and if the game decides that the swarms of inhuman monsters taking potshots at you are accurate enough to overwhelm your first aid supplies, you're going to be doing the level over. And over and over and over...
  • The first three PC Rainbow Six games can be a crapshoot with the semi-random positioning and movement of the tangoes, espcially on Elite difficulty, where they often headshot you as soon as you poke your head around a corner, and during stealth based missions where you have to avoid being detected. Cases in point: in Rogue Spear's Arctic Flare mission, if the two tangos outside the control room are facing towards the stairs as you come up them, they WILL alert the bridge guards, resulting in the ship being blown up or hostages being killed. Often, they seem to already know you're coming. On "Perfect Sword", sometimes the tangos will come downstairs after the sniper fires, sometimes they won't. If they stay holed up upstairs, you're more or less fucked, as its nearly impossible to clear the room without a hostage being killed.
  • On Medal of Honor: Allied Assault's Hard (read Harder Than Hard) difficulty setting, many levels are practically impossible to pass without Save Scumming, particularly where there are randomly Respawning Enemies, and with the computer being a cheating bastard. For example, Omaha Beach, where even if you flawlessly dodge the machine guns, you'll still get randomly killed by artillery shells. And Sniper Town, with its randomly-placed hitscan snipers. Earning some of the medals is also luck based, particularly the Sniper's Last Stand and Storming Fort Schmerzen levels, where a certain number of Red Shirt comrades must survive.
  • The first boss of Descent, between the boss's random teleport spams and Macross missile massacres, and the population of Demonic Spiders (Super Hulks and Class 1 Drillers) in its lair. Especially if you're trying to save the hostages on Insane skill. In fact, many of the levels are this on Insane due to the random roaming nature of many enemies.
  • Sniper: Ghost Warrior features an escape sequence in which you must swim across a lake while being shot at by at least 3 enemies with near-perfect accuracy and no way to fire back at them. Surviving the segment boils down to winning enough of their accuracy coin-flips to reach the other side. Did I mention you can't dive under the water? This is one of many escape scenes you WILL be shot repeatedly during but it stands out for offering absolutely no way to retaliate.
  • Just about everything related to item collecting in Team Fortress 2, except for a few achievement-unlocked items and items bought with real money, is this. Random items appear magically in your inventory after semi-random amounts of play time (allegedly to prevent Item Farming, but it only makes people farm more because they leave the game running for insane amounts of time waiting for their desired items to appear). "Crates" must be opened with a purchaseable key, and contain a item randomly selected from a list. Weapons and hats can be crafted by combining various items, but this usually produces, at best, a random weapon/hat for a specific class rather than a specific weapon/hat. Most infamously, a special event gave out 100 otherwise unobtainable "Golden Wrenches" to, you guessed it, random people (out of the millions who crafted items during the event).

Miscellaneous Games[edit | hide]

  • Action 52 is notorious for its enemies spawning in random places and shooting at random times.
    • Especially Micro Mike where sometimes a screen will be flooded with so much enemies that slowdown and death is unavoidable. There's also a small round bullet type of enemy which spawns randomly at random part of the screen, sometimes appearing behind you, making a hit unavoidable. It's even worse, given the Action 52 collision detection. Chances of even completing the first level is about 1/50 while the rest is up to skill.
    • Bad enemy combination can result an almost instant game over in Hambo.
  • The fan remake of Streets of Rage has this for the final level if you defeat Robo X. You have 3 minutes to disarm a bomb in the building or ignore it and try to escape and beat Shiva before the bomb explodes. To disarm the bomb, you have to find a room with a computer console which you can destroy to disarm the bomb. To get to the bottom floor, which is your escape route, you have to find a key card. The 3rd and 2nd floors each have 3 rooms. 4 of them are trap rooms filled with mooks and electrical traps. The other 2 contain the computer console and a treasure room filled with money, health items, and the key card. However, don't be fooled into thinking that once you know where the rooms are that you can go to them every time you play this level. The game randomizes what rooms will have the key card and computer every time you play this level. Oh, and don't forget you only have 3 minutes to actually figure this out before you're blown to bits and get the Bad Ending.
  • The iOS game Lego Minifigures is a game where you need to match up a minifigure's head, legs, and torso. The problem? All of it is luck-based. It plays exactly like a slot machine, and the only way to add a minifigure to your collection is to hope that it will somehow get it right. If not, you have to keep spinning.
  • The Dream World from Pokémon Black and White was intended as a successor to Heart Gold and Soul Silver's Pokewalker in that it's an alternative means to obtain pokemon and items for your game. While it does do that, it's prefers to send the player to random locations rather than letting the player pick the locaion to explore for themself. Add the fact that you can only take ten steps each visit before leaving and that pokemon will stop coming to you after so many visits in a day, and it can be pretty aggravating.
  • The Find Mii minigame on the Nintendo 3DS Mii Plaza. Each Mii you find or hire with play coins has a different spell depending on what color of shirt they wear. The 12th room of the tower is completely dark and the only way to progress is to have a hero with a white shirt so he can use his spell to light the room, all other heroes just leave when they see the darkness. Meaning you'll have to wait until you come across someone with a white Mii or until the game gets generous enough to give you one when you're hiring. Oh, and all other heroes before the white one will be lost. Thankfuly, you only need to light the room once.

MMORPGs[edit | hide]

  • There are several World of Warcraft raid bosses that are luck based. Kel'Thuzad in 25-man mode Naxxramas will periodically Mind Control two raid members at a time, and frequently picks healers. Other examples are bosses that require strategic movement but rather then using a timer to time their abilities, have a cooldown, and free choice whether to use an ability or not. The most annoying aspect of this is Akil'zon in Zul'aman, where you must collapse to avoid his Electric Storm, but often, he will instead use several Static Discharges, annihilating your group.
    • A better example might be the Valentine's Day "Be Mine!" achievement, which required you to create eight candies from an item that generated one at random ten times. The random number generator was fickle that week.
    • Holiday achievements in general can be these sometimes, especially the infamously aggravating Hallow's End holiday, which requires no less than three achievements that are completely reliant on the RNG to gain progress towards (Getting toothpicks, getting enough tricky treats to eat yourself sick, and getting an impossibly rare drop of both a pumpkin vine companion pet and a jack-o-lantern helmet.)
    • The "How to Win Friends and Influence Enemies" quest in the Death Knight area requires the player to extract information from Scarlet Crusaders. This is done by equipping a pair of pokers and attacking the mobs, with a chance on a hit that they'll talk. The enemy talking is so completely random that the quest can take anywhere from a few seconds to over an hour.
    • WoW's end-game consists of your raid doing one dungeon or group of dungeons until you gear up enough to do the next higher difficulty. Early on, the gear was class-specific and dropped completely randomly from bosses, meaning you could have Molten Core on farm but still not be able to move on because you keep getting hunter gear and your tank just can't get that helmet he needs. This has been improved since then, with gear/class homogenization making you more likely to be able to use a drop and tier sets being bought with looted tokens that can be used my multiple classes.
    • One of the best and still most relevant examples of luck in WoW are mount drops. Certain raid or dungeon bosses have a very small chance to drop a rare mount, the odds of you winning the mount are even less than that due to there usually being anywhere between 4 - 24 other people who can all lay claim to it. The most (in?)famous example being the Rivendare Deathcharger, it used to have a 0.1% chance of dropping (now has a 1% chance) and guilds were known to have split up over who got to have it. Right now it is solo-farmable, but people still often hill him several hundreds times and get nothing. Honorable mention being the Ashes of Alar, which still has a 0.1% drop from a boss that can only be defeated once per week (and still requiring at least some teammates) as opposed to Rivendare who could be fought several times per hour.
    • Some of the daily quests are based on random drops, particularly the fishing dailies in which players must catch a certain type of fish that can only be caught on the quest. In the Icecrown daily Slaves of Saronite, the player must talk to and free slaves, who will either 1)run to freedom, 2)commit suicide or 3)attack you. Only the first counts toward your total.
    • Halfus Wyrmbreaker was this in the early stages of Cataclysm, depending on your raid configuration. He would have a random set of three out of five drakes each week, which would influence what abilities he would use, and would have to be released and killed to weaken his abilities and put a damage increasing debuff on him. General consensus is that the Slate Dragon (who gives him the abilty to inflict a healing debuff) and the Storm Rider (which gives him the ability to launch a powerful AOE that is cast too quickly to be interrupted until the Storm Rider is released) gave him the most deadly abilites out of the five, and the presence of either would make winning nearly impossible for a group just starting Cataclysm raiding.
    • Lord Rhyolith cranks this Up to Eleven. Success on this boss is entirely dependant on where he chooses to spawn and then ignite volcanos that he must then be guided to break by stepping on. These volcanos apply a constantly stacking debuff that increases the raid's fire damage taken. Basically, he can spawn and activate a volcano right in front of him and then step on it causing minimal damage or he will spawn it on the other side of the map which he won't get to any time soon as he moves very slowly. This sheer luck based fight earned the ire of many players who considered him harder than Ragnaros (the final boss of this raid) depending on how lucky they were. It also earned him the nickname Lord Random. Since his release he was toned down various times and is now more managable, but can still wipe a raid with an ill-placed volcano or two.
  • MUD II, descendant of the very first MUD (Multi-User-Dungeon) requires the player to touch the touchstone in order to obtain the ability to use spells. Failure means instant death, with the chance of success being a function of the player's level. Since the use of magic becomes almost essential in later levels, most players touch it with an approximately one-in-six chance of dying, having spent a not-inconsiderable amount of time grinding to that level.
  • EVE Online: Apocrypha introduces reverse-engineering which is doubly luck-based. You have approximately 30% chance of a successful job, then a 25% chance of that job producing the desired result. That's right, a net 7.5% chance of getting the desired result.
  • Kingdom of Loathing is full of Fetch Quests that require you to obtain randomly-dropping items. Sometimes you can plan things so you're levelling up decently while searching for that elusive item, but sometimes you'll find yourself looking for it in an area several levels below where you "should" be.
    • Also parodied with one subquest which consists entirely of "press a button until you roll an 11 on 2d6. If you roll anything else, you take damage". Of course, a 10-leaf clover, which has already been introduced by that point as an item granting the player luck for an adventure, will make you always roll an 11. (Except in one mode where clovers aren't available - so loaded dice are substituted.)
      • However, if you're in Hardcore and want to go to Bad Moon, you must not use 10-leaf clovers. Including the above. What used to be harmless is now not so harmless.
    • There have been multiple incarnations of delay features implemented; completely divorced from the whims of the RNG, you won't find the thing you're looking for for a certain number of adventures in the appropriate area after you've been told to find it. Of course, once you've expended those adventures, you still have the RNG to contend with, and it is a fickle beast indeed. The delay system has met with varying levels of outrage, so the devs rigged the formula for determining the delay so that it's always "5" until they can come up with a better solution.
    • The RNG got so famous/infamous that it became a character. It sometimes applies "blessings" or "curses" to players for being polite or rude to it, though these effects don't actually do anything. Probably.
    • To get the Brass Bowling Trophy Trophy, all you have to do is pick it up during the Strange Leaflet Quest. Problem is, it isn't always there. There's 4 other items that can appear in its place, all of which are useless.[1] If the trophy isn't there, you have to play through the entire game again, which takes a few days at the very least, for another 1-in-5 shot at getting it.
  • Back around Christmas 2011 a Steam promotion for the free-to-play MMO, Champions Online involved a gathering mission. The basic idea was that players had to get through the tutorial mission and then go around the main HUB finding Christmas gifts in typical packaging, and take the items from said packages after taking 5 seconds to open them. The main problem was that straying too far from the hub would probably get you killed instantly by mooks at a higher level than you. Most of the gifts appeared in areas right next to combat zones, so coming down in an area with a gift and waiting for it to be picked up would probably get you slaughtered before you could retrieve the quest items. Add to the fact that gifts may not contain the required item 100% of the time, and also add to the fact that other players would be going around looking for the gifts too, and ALSO add that you might be attacked from one of these crates as well, made this a slog that could take well over 3 hours to finish.

Party Game[edit | hide]

  • Mario Party is one, big Luck Based GAME. This is especially evident in Mario Party 3 - The mini-games Stacked Deck and Merry-Go-Chomp are entirely based around luck, so much that the player has absolutely no input.
    • Two LPers of the game - in their third round - came up with a hidden block on the first turn. Containing a star. It went downhill from there.
      • The Runaway Guys had what is arguably the biggest stroke of luck in regards to hidden stars ever recorded: Chugga Conroy has found 2, Nintendo Capri Sun has found 1, and Proton Jon found THREE STARS IN ONE 20-TURN GAME. He only needed to buy ONE star in the entire game, at which point he ended up with SIX.
    • Get a Rope from Mario Party 5 is the literal version of luck based mission. Pull a rope, hope you get the better result than the opponent. Completely luck based; you don't even have to press a button.
    • And, of course, there's the board games themselves. Then again, board games in real life are oftentimes Luck Based Missions.
    • Really, some people think that the reason the Mario Party series began to decline is because more and more of the minigames became luck based.
    • At the end of Mario Party 9's solo mode, it's you, an AI partner that hates you, and two smarter than your partner A Is that, if they win, make you start the level ALL over! The kicker, the Boss minigames(the ones with the most mini-star value) are pure dice rolling.(okay, the Bowser requires dodging but still,) Expect Shyguy and Magikoopa to have improbable luck and win both of these while your "partner" ruins your chances of winning by getting you fourth and then getting third itself.
  • Family Game Night 3 featured video game versions of various Hasbro games, one of which was Mouse Trap. ANY achievement related to Mouse Trap was innately luck-based as Mouse Trap is simply rolling dice until someone wins.
    • In addition, the game featured a Yahtzee-like card game which is basically making poker hands until someone wins. While this game allowed for SOME strategy, the achievement for making 6 hands in a single game is essentially luck based as all you can do is HOPE you are dealt better cards than your opponents.
    • The achievements for winning Spin-To-Win (in the Game of Life) and pulling over another player for speeding (rolling a 10) are innately luck-based as well.
    • One of the Wii games has a minigame that quite literally amounts to "Russian Roulette with catapults".

Platform Game[edit | hide]

  • Fishing minigames, such as that in the GBA port of Donkey Kong Country, often have a luck component to some degree. The worst ones are almost entirely luck-based.
    • Also from Donkey Kong Country, there's a DK Coin in the second game, towards the end of Web Woods that's at the end of the target barrel cycle (only in the SNES and GBA versions; the GB version, Donkey Kong Land 2, has this coin elsewhere). The catch? It's only there for one micro-second. If you are even a frame late, you won't get the coin. Oh, and the level is quite long. Mudhole Marsh in the fourth world has a similar situation, but you have a bit more time before it goes to the next item.
  • The game Alex Kidd and the Enchanted Castle for Sega Genesis takes place on Planet Paperrock. Accordingly, the player has to play Rock, Paper, Scissors to gamble for power up items, at a highly increasing cost over the course of the game. Each boss fight is a series of Rock, Paper, Scissors matches.
    • Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom also revolves boss fights with Rock, Paper, Scissors, but goes a step beyond. If you win a round, your opponent's head starts spinning and for the round to count you have to guess which way they'll be looking when you press the D-pad. I think they had to do the same thing if they won a round, but still...
      • There was at least one case where they dropped you a hint: a character tells you that another character in the game "hates scissors," meaning that he'll always choose Paper in the first part. Though you still have to randomly guess which direction he'll look in the second part.
  • In Mega Man X 5, there are two ways to prevent the space colony Eurasia from crashing into the Earth, but their odds of success can only be manipulated to a point. The laser will almost never succeed no matter what you do, and the space shuttle will sometimes fail even if you gathered all its parts. You can also affect it with who you've been playing as for most of the game, someone who uses Zero a lot has a better chance of him not succumbing to the virus, as the game won't remove him due to how frequently he's used.
  • An already Nintendo Hard freeware game by the name of Dungeon (download link) is this taken to its logical extreme. Depending on your computer's name, your username, your RAM, and your hard drive (and maybe even your Operating System), the game picks a bug to inflict on you. This can range from merely changing level names around to making the game completely unwinnable due to fast enemies or spikes being one pixel taller. "Bugless" version is here
  • The first special stage of Kaizo Mario World requires the player to perform a leap of faith over (essentially) a Bottomless Pit and hope that a fish jumps up at the right place for them to bounce off and continue. There is no set pattern to how the fish appear at all, meaning the jump comes down to pure luck. As Wugga said during his Let's Play of the level:

"How is this good gaming design?"

  • The emerald/key hunting missions in both games of the Sonic Adventure Series can come down to this, especially in the latter title.
  • I Wanna Be the Guy has Dracula. He's the only completely randomized boss, and can be an incredibly difficult fight, even by IWBTG standards.
  • The boss of the Asteroid Coaster in Sonic Colors. Beating him isn't hard, but you have only a ridiculously small chance of netting a high enough score for an S-Rank. To maximize your score, you have to use the Rocket Wisp every time the boss warps away (and the Rocket Wisp randomly appears from crates the boss throws at you and sometimes doesn't show up at all). And destroy all of the component parts of the boss before destroying his core (using the finicky homing attack). And collect lots of rings (and keep them to the end of the fight, which means you can't get hit at all). And rack up the quick step bonus as much as possible (constantly jerking Sonic back and forth whenever he isn't attacking). And, of course, be quick about it (take longer than 2 minutes and you may as well start over). The odds of all that coming together is astronomical, and has next to nothing to do with your skill.

Puzzle Game[edit | hide]

  • In Minesweeper, since the boards are psuedo-Randomly Generated Levels, you can easily end up with situations where there's no way to logically determine where the remaining mines are, and whichever square you click has an equal chance of containing a mine. Since the board is fixed after the first click of the mouse, you don't even get the mercy of Schrödinger's Gun. On top of that, some versions of the game are luck-based right from the very beginning. As the field is entirely obscured at first, it's perfectly possible to step on a mine in your first move.
  • Perhaps this is not the experience all players will have, but Reset Generation feels as though the entire game is built around luck and coincidence. If the right items drop in the right place, it's easy for anyone to completely wipe out the other players. Much of the time there seems to be very little strategy required at all; if a particularly useful item drops into your territory and you're able to defend it from being destroyed by cannon shots (an easy task), your opponents won't stand much of a chance... Unless an equally useful item falls into THEIR possession.
    • Plumber is actually a very broken Character Select Forcing in this regard. Items are usually the difference between victory and defeat, and his power allows him to fetch nearby items without actually walking to them, basically giving him weighted dice as far as item drops go. Basically, he's the High Priest to the Random Number God. It certainly doesn't help that he can grab a full-power-charge item, taking away his opponent's chance to grab it, and then grab another one as he pleases.
  • The latest version of Solitaire (Klondike, specifically) that comes ensuite with Windows Vista has the audacity to inform you that you've lost, even when it deals you a literally unwinnable game. It doesn't help that it now keeps a running tally of wins and losses.
  • The item crafting and spell learning mini-games in Puzzle Quest: Challenge Of The Warlords. You are almost completely at the mercy of the board's configuration when it comes go gaining the requisite number of anvils or scrolls to gain the sought item, and if you run out of legal moves, the game ends and you have to start over.
    • The final battle with Lord Bane - especially if you're primarily a magic user: Bane literally gets stronger as the match goes on, thanks to his ludicrously low-cost stat buffing spells. You basically have to pray your spells don't get blocked (too much) and you don't get uber-cascaded into oblivion. If Bane gets rolling early, you're pretty much meat, not matter what class you play as.
    • The sequel, Galatrix, runs with this: adding time limits to the Gate Hack mini-games (and the cascades that would help you in battle work against you, since the clock keeps running and you can't make a move until they stop) and junk blocks to the rest or the mini-games.
  • The entire game of Trash Panic on PSN is luck based. It is a physics based Tetris style game, but the objects do not have uniform dimensions like the blocks of tetris, but consist of things like guitars and toilet bowls, making this game very very difficult.
  • The independent game Osmos is built entirely out of this trope. While the developers claim that the eat-blobs smaller than you and avoid bigger ones that eat you gameplay has a strategy to it, in reality (especially in the later levels) the only strategy involved is to reload the game constantly until you get a starting position that has blobs you can actually eat.
  • Puyo Puyo can be this at times, especially with higher levels where the pieces drop almost instantaneously and the AI is ruthless.

Real Time Strategy[edit | hide]

  • Certain missions in Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars depend heavily on chance. One of the most painful ones is Operation Stiletto, a Nod mission where you have to capture the Construction Yards/Drone Platforms of four separate bases, all intact. If any of the Yards/Platforms are destroyed, you automatically lose. The problem is that the GDI and Scrin forces are fighting each other, and will gladly destroy their opponents' bases, including the buildings you need to protect, forcing you to simply hope they don't break through each others' lines until you can build up your forces enough to stop them.
    • Another example was the 6th Nod mission in Tiberium Dawn. You had to do a suicidal run into the middle of an enemy base in order to pick up a package with a small, fragile strike team with no reinforcements, and then reach an evac helicopter on the other side of the map - all while being harassed by enemy patrols. It basically came down to praying that the enemy would ignore at least one of your units while you make the escape to the helicopter, or else it'd be gunned down helplessly.
    • There was another Nod mission similar to that in Tiberian Sun. You had to send a small force through GDI infested territory to recapture a Scrin ship, then storm Vega's base to retrieve the Tacitus. Getting the Tacitus was a matter of sending your two Attack Buggies in, praying all the forces attack them, then sending a Scout Cycle in to destroy the train car and finish the level. If any of the enemy units opened fire on the Cycle, you were screwed.
  • The underrated game Constructor, upon reaching certain stages in house construction, would make certain demands of you to build X number of houses/facilities on one estate with X features. However, it also imposes varying arbitrary quotas on how many houses of each type you're permitted to build. If, upon reaching the penultimate stage in the game, it asks you to build the wrong type of house, the quota will forbid you from building enough and you'll be sacked (Read: Taken out of your headquarters in a coffin while you're sleeping and buried alive). You can't save scum your way out of this one, it's determined when you start the game. If you're unlucky it will have been impossible to win regardless of what they'd have asked for, and you're screwed. Say goodbye to the last 4 hours...
  • Europa Universalis III lets the player play ANY nation that is implemented into the game and existed historically during the time period. This includes historical strategy gaming mainstays like France, England and the Netherlands, but also tiny minor nations like the Irish kingdoms of Leinster and Connaught. Playing one of the Irish minor nations basically depends on little other than whether England will want to annex all of Ireland early on, and whether England gets into enough trouble with the French, Scottish and Burgundy.
  • UFO Aftermath base defence missions, which randomly scatter your men. How does trying to take on whole squads of laser-toting aliens with your weakest member because the rest of the team is in a different room sound?
  • League of Legends. It is similar to DotA, which means it is a 5v5 real-time tactics game. It is not designed to have significant random elements. However, if you do not bring a full premade team of 5 people, the automatic matchmaking system will roll the dice - and god knows who you will get as your teammates. They may end up being terrible players while the enemy team may well consist of a perfect composition of the five best champions at their respective roles playing together like clockwork, pushing straight to your base and stopping only to fling a quick 'gg noobs I ***ed your mom' at your head. If this happens, there is absolutely nothing you can do no matter how skilled you are: you lose.
  • |Age of Empires I has what may be one of the most awful instances. In the Babylonian mission Lost, you start on an island with several archers and a priest. You have to go to the north of the island, use the archers to kill all but one archer on a second island, use the priest to convert a priest on the other island, immediately use that priest to convert the remaining archer that opens fire the moment the priest is converted, hope the priest can convert the archer before the archer kills him, then use the archer to attack a transport at the northern end of the second island to send it towards the first so the two priests can work together to convert it! I don't seem to recall that little bit ever making it into the history textbooks...
  • Dark Reign has several:
    • In mission 5, as the Imperium, you have to destroy a Freedom Guard base while preventing them from destroying the Water Extraction Compound, located in their base. They attack it when you breach their defenses, so you have to be ready to charge in and destroy everything quickly. However, you have no way of knowing what they've got in the way of units, so you have to pray they don't have half an army ready to destroy it.
    • In mission 8, once again as the Imperium, you have to flee your base, which is hopelessly overrun, and take a MacGuffin to an extraction point to receive reinforcements. However, the only way to do this is to hide out on the lake west of the base, wait for the Freedom Guard to finish destroying the base and leave, then move back through the wreckage. However, if the Freedom Guard army catches a glimpse of the transport or any other units heading out onto the lake, the army won't leave the area. Considering the MacGuffin is both sluggish and armored with tinfoil, it's almost impossible to get through. And god help you if you run into a marauding Spider Bike.
    • In the final level, the Tograns' survival is dependent entirely on what the Imperium does. If they attack your base too early, you'll be obliterated. If they attack the Freedom Guard too aggressively, they'll punch through and destroy the Orbital Defense Matrix, which is the only thing preventing the activation of an Imperium Kill Sat (read: Nonstandard Game Over). If they don't attack the Freedom Guard enough, the Guard will attack you. And if the Guard and Imperium attack at the same time...
  • Atom Zombie Smasher is a grand example of this. The game randomly places zombie infestations, spawn points, and even what mercenaries at at your disposal during a given battle. The game could be over before the it even started.
  • In Pyramid Rising every level has a goal called "gold time" that gives your city some new building or enhancement. In some levels, meeting this goal is only possible if the correct purchases show up at the right times at the port.

Rhythm Game[edit | hide]

  • Pump It Up NX2 and NXA have a World Max mission with the song Deja Vu. At specific parts of the song, the chart can change into one of multiple patterns. Unlike most instances of this trope, this chart is actually a popular one.
  • In Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock, there are a few segments called "Guitar Battle" in which you face off against a computer (or player) opponent and play for power-ups to use on one another. These power-ups, ideally, are used to make the other person fail the song or at least prevent them from obtaining power-ups of their own. The luck-based success is against the final boss on the Expert difficulty - if one is lucky enough to both have a non-fatal power-up used against them at first and then acquire a 'whammy attack' power-up of their own, the boss can be promptly defeated much, much more easily than via any other power-up combination.
  • Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA's Stellar Master mission mode often has mission requirements that are entirely luck-based—i.e., playing multiple songs in a row with a (randomly-selected) onscreen character of the same gender.
  • The whole point of the Vegas character in Audiosurf, whose powers are the ability to shuffle the board and generate random powerups.

Roguelike[edit | hide]

  • ADOM has a number of subquests that are uncompletable if the RNG decides it doesn't like you. For example, the dwarven elder asks you to kill a random creature, which may be disgustingly rare or far more powerful than you can handle until much later in the game - this locks out most of the rest of his quests as well. The road to the Ultra Endings and the Trident of the Red Rooster is especially infuriating: Gaab'Baay wants a boar skull which first requires a rare wilderness encounter with a boar and then a random corpse drop, then she wants a scroll of danger which is also quite rare, and Khelevaster needs an Amulet of Life Saving.
  • While most roguelikes (like say Nethack) have a fair bit of luck involved in winning, Dungeon Crawl takes this to the extreme in the early portions of the game. All classes start out woefully under-equipped (mages don't even carry a backup weapon) for a long expedition, and worse, survival early on relies heavily on two things: being lucky enough to find some special equipment (finding something like a dagger of venom can help immensely), and being lucky enough not to encounter any of the many unique enemies you can encounter from level 2 of the dungeon onward (it would not be unusual to see Sigmund as well as another unique enemy on the same level). Once you've levelled up a bit and built up equipment, it gets a bit more manageable, but the early game can be outright unwinnable if it decides to screw you over because of how limited your options for escape are.

Role-Playing Game[edit | hide]

  • Certain Role-Playing Games have aspects of the Luck-Based Mission to them, particularly in battles with powerful enemies. If an enemy uses an especially powerful attack twice in a row (which is sometimes rare, sometimes distressingly frequent—Luck), it could mean the death of your party, regardless of how strong you are at the time. Sometimes random damage can also affect the gameplay when fighting against tough enemies.
    • Final Fantasy I had Necromancers, Final Fantasy II Cockatrices. If a group of them got to strike you first (which is completely random), and you didn't equip an item to protect your party from debuffs (which you usually get late in the game, short of Sequence Breaking) ...Poof! The whole party gets killed or turned to stone (which is pretty much the same) without even getting the chance to fight back or attempt to escape.
    • The Dragon Quest series takes this idea to a new level, especially in Dragon Quest VIII. Pretty much every attack every random encounter has is remarkably powerful. On the other hand, almost all of them (even the most badass bosses) have certain moves in their repertoire that more or less boil down to staring off into space and wasting a turn. The fact that they're stupidly powerful when they hit you with their best shot but sometimes don't hit you with any shot at all is supposed to balance out in the end, but of course, this is random....
      • And if you should want to resurrect someone who just died, good luck: Even most resurrection spells have a random chance of failing.
      • Even navigating a map or a dungeon without losing much HP is a chore per se. Encounter Repellants like Holy Water or certain abilities are highly unreliable, monsters always have a chance of doing the first attack and devastate you before you can act, and what's worse, failing to run away (which is entirely luck-based, and harder to do against stronger monsters, which are the ones you want to run away from) gives the whole enemy party a free turn, leaving your party in an worse shape that's even less likely to win a battle, forcing you to keep trying to run away until you either succeed or die.And because of the above-mentioned flaw in resurrecting spells, your healers will burn through their MP like nothing after few such encounters, barring succeeding at every resurrection at the first or second attempt.
      • Dragon Quest II had an enemy spell called Sacrifice, which is an instant party wipe that never misses. If a random encounter knows this spell (although very few do), and it goes first, you are completely fucked. Have fun redoing the entire Road to Rhone.
      • Dragon Quest VIII also features a very annoying random encounter enemy that has Death Dance, a move that can kill 3 members of your party in one turn, if you're unlucky, leaving you prey for a quick party wipe even if normally you'd be at no risk.
      • You think 8 is bad? Try Dragon Quest IX'. Oh, the main game doesn't invoke this trope. And neither does most of the post game. But high level Legacy bosses get 3 turns. Even with a maxed out party if they attack the same person twice or critically hit them once they will die. One character can use an item that will protect against the latter, but the other three have no recourse except to rely on an evade rate that caps around 20-25%. Most of them also have an AoE move that will do about 300-350 to you. Your max HP is in the 810-900 range if you don't farm 1/256 drops repeatedly and 999 if you do. Either way if they do that move three times in a round, instant Game Over. They also have the dreaded Disruptive Wave. However there is another side to them being luck based fights. The easier Legacy bosses can be soloed with sufficient farming, provided they don't Disruptive Wave too often.
        • Beyond battles, IX has MANY quests that are completely luck based. You simply have to wait for an item to drop. Sometimes it'll happen the first battle...sometimes it'll take forever. "Kill 3 Metal Medleys with a certain Spear skill that only has about 10% chance of working"?"Kill a certain Demonic Spider with a Critical Hit, and skills that give you an automatic crit don't count"?"Kill certain monsters with the elements they're most resistant to"?
      • And really, the series as a whole has LEVELING a part of this. For the most part you will not gain any reasonable experience outside of finding metal slimes and their ilk...which are both very rare and LOVE to run away.
  • Breath of Fire 2 has the fight with Habaruku. Depending on which spells the random AI picks, he'll either completely waste you in two turns, or not hurt you at all.
    • Also, in Highfort, you only have one character in your party and have to deal with random encounters with enemies who have an instant death spell in their repertoire. Your character isn't a powerhouse so you can always count on an enemy launching an attack. Just hope it isn't a Death spell.
    • A certain fishing spot can only be accessed if you travel from one point to another without running into a random battle. As they are random, and often frequent in that area, this is a luck-based sidequest. You can skip random encounters using the game's flight power, but that's gained several chapters after the sidequest is first available, and can be Lost Forever well before the end of the game.
  • Final Fantasy Mystic Quest's first fight (which also begins the game) pits Benjamin against a Behemoth. Both characters can only attack, and their attacks naturally have a chance of missing. If you miss more often than you hit, or if the Behemoth lands lots of criticals, you're selecting "Try Again", no questions.
  • Final Fantasy VI's Auction House. There are 2 magicite items you can get there to learn some nice spells, but they have pretty low odds of showing up (3/16 chance for the first and 1/8 for the second), and the auction takes quite a while to finish each time it's the wrong item.
  • The likelihood of succeeding at the chocobo racing mini-game in Final Fantasy X is highly dependent on the number and locations of the balloons and hazards, which can vary widely and appear to be randomized.
    • Most notably, in the first turn. If a bird nails you there, you're done.
  • In Pokémon Gold and Silver, tracking down the Legendary Beasts (Raikou, Entei, Suicune) is largely luck-based. Spending hours chasing these three Pokémon around by looking at the map to see where they are, moving to another area, checking the map, moving to another area...repeat ad nauseum. It never worked, either. Thankfully avoided for Suicune in Crystal version (and in the remakes, Heart Gold and Soul Silver), but Latias and Latios take up their mantle in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire and Emerald, and the aforementioned remakes; Mesprit and Cresselia go walkabout in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl and Platinum; and the first-generation Legendary Birds (Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres) do this in Platinum.
    • Made even worse by having to run into each one of them at least once before you can track them your map. That's right, you need to be lucky enough to run into one of them by chance, before you can start actually hunting them.
    • While we're at it, catching pretty much any legendary. Sure, you can give it status effects, whittle its health down to a sliver, etc., but ultimately it boils down to "Will the game decide that I've caught the legendary before I run out of Ultra Balls?"
      • This is because the games give almost every legendary a catch rate of 3. This means that, at most (using the most appropriate Poke Balls for the situation, getting them to a sliver of health, and putting them to sleep), you have about an 18% chance of bagging them.
      • Or, even worse, "Will the game decided that I've caught the legendary before it Struggles itself to unconsciousness?" Basically, if you drag out the battle with a legendary long enough, it will use up all its moves and resort to "Struggle" a technique that inflicts damage on both you and the legendary, hence meaning a half hour of tossing ultra balls (or stronger ones, like Timer or Dusk Balls) just went down the drain because the legendary just made itself faint. Beldum also falls into this category; it also has the ridiculously low catch rate, but it's trying to take itself out from the word go...its only attack is the recoil-inducing Take Down.
        • Beldum may possibly be even worse to catch than the Legendaries, at least in Platinum. As if the incredibly low catch rate AND Take Down weren't bad enough, you have to wait for a swarm of them to appear, which could take days, possibly even weeks, so you'd have to be patient to even get the opportunity to confront one. This also means that if you miss out on the swarm day, or simply fail to catch one in time, you're boned and have to wait again. That aside, they only appear in the one route that's always plagued by a sand storm. While this thankfully doesn't hurt Beldum due to its type, your own Pokémon will be worn down, so you'll have to waste parts of the battle constantly healing. And there's nothing you can do about Take Down, either; even if its PP runs out, there's still Struggle to worry about. The best option you have is to delay Beldum by inflicting Sleep or Paralysis long enough for your god-sent Timer Balls to reach full effect.
    • And on the topic of Pokémon, Battle Revolution has a few luck-based coliseums. In the first, you have a roulette wheel to determine whether you get to use one of your own pokemon, or one of your opponent's far less useful ones. In the second, it's a 100-battle endurance match, where the roulette is used to determine if any of your pokemon get healed.
      • Not to mention that the 100 battle match has fog on most of its stages, which makes all pokemon's accuracy drop. Sure it's totally fair, as it affects both sides, but over 100 battles, the probability approaches 100% that you will eventually be horribly screwed while the computer is unaffected.
    • And don't even get me started on Feebas. The 3rd gen version was bad enough, but the fact that it randomizes in the 4th gen is just ridiculous.
    • What about the Honey Trees on Gen IV? If you're lucky, you'll be able to catch Pokémon like Aipom, Heracross and Cherubi that can't be found anywhere else. If you're not lucky, you'll get Wurmples. On every single tree. Did I mention that save scumming only affects the level of the Pokémon on the tree?
    • As an added batch of fun, Munchlax is found on precisely four trees, which require the use of a calculator and knowledge of a value found only by hacking shiny Pokémon to determine which of about a dozen are those trees. It's still a 1% chance once you know which trees it is.
    • Platinum also has the "5 Maid Knockout Exact-Turn Attack Challenge" in the (Sinnoh) Pokémon Mansion. You have to beat five trainers in a row (itself pretty easy since they're all using one Clefairy each at level 25-33), but in an exact number of turns. The "luck-based" part comes from the fact that the total number is usually only one or two more turns, and every single Clefairy knows Endure, so not only do you have to be able to knock them out, you have to hope they don't use Endure at the wrong time or it becomes completely impossible (and the little bit of control you can get is with Taunt, which can only work for the last match). Just to rub salt in the wound, what's actually worth taking this challenge for is the chance to fight one of two trainers holding a Rare Candy (thus this is one of the only ways that item can be farm) that you need Thief or Trick to get and have to use before the enemy destroys the item by using Fling. And you only get to take this challenge once a day. Hello, soft reset!
    • In Contests in 4th Gen there is no way, repeat no way to beat the Master Rank unless you're incredibly lucky.
    • A good chunk of the dungeons in the Mystery Dungeon games qualify as well. Purity Forest and Zero Isle South, for example. Not only did they have 99 floors, but you could not take any items, money or teammates with you, you could not recruit anything inside, your level was reduced to one and you were forced to save before going in, meaning that essentially whether you made it through or not depended on how quickly you could locate the stairs and what items you could find.
    • Although Pokèmon retain their IQ skills and have their basic moveset when they start these dungeons.Get a Pokèmon with IQ abilities to avoid traps and Monster Houses and locate the general direction of stairs, other than a satisfying moveset, and you have an eligible candidate for a still hard, but not frustratingly impossible run.
    • The Battle Pike of the Battle Frontier. No wonder your reward for completing it is the Luck Symbol...
    • A few rare trainers love using evasion-increasing moves like Double Team, which are actually banned in competitive play for being too luck-based. The worst offender is probably Janine in Pokémon Stadium 2, whose entire strategy revolves around using Baton Pass with several layers of Double Team. And every one of her Baton Pass targets have either Swagger or Confuse Ray, dropping your percent chance of landing a hit to the single digits while she slowly tortures you to death with Toxic and blocking your escape with Spikes and Mean Look. Either you come fully prepared with a team that packs Haze and Heal Bell, or prepare for a ridiculously long fight.
    • The first Stadium game wasn't above using luck-based challenges either. The fourth battle in the final round of the Prime Cup throws the Gambler at you, who has possibly the most aggravating strategy of all the opponents you'll face; paralyze your Pokemon with either Body Slam or Thunder Wave so his mons outspeed yours, then spam one-hit KO moves nonstop. What makes this even worse is that his team is actually of varying types of Pokemon who are all pretty durable, and he's actually smart enough to switch them out when faced with a bad matchup. You could either sweep him effortlessly or get completely annihilated; it's all up to luck. And considering how Pokemon Stadium is with giving your opponents fantastic luck....
    • In the Safari Zone, wild Pokémon can run away at any time, and you can't send out your own mons to stop them. You can throw a ball, a rock or some bait. That's it. Throwing a rock makes a mon more likely to run, but easier to catch; throwing bait does the opposite. Whatever way you do it, though, you're ultimately just going to end up throwing ball after ball and hoping that it doesn't run before you can catch it. Naturally, this is in every single game and they always contain Pokémon that cannot be caught anywhere else.
    • In Pokémon XD, there is the "Metronome Cup." You fight two Pokémon with two of your own. All of the Pokémon have only one move - metronome, a move that summons any other move at random. Winning or losing is literally and entirely based on luck. There is no strategy involved in the least.
    • Voltorb Flip in the Soul Silver games is basically Minesweeper with much more random guessing. The higher levels especially so.
      • The game Voltorb Flip is otherwise quite deep. But some boards are really unsolvable, like ones with something close to "Sum 5/Voltorb 2" on every row and column. Boards like those always require 2 to 4 guesses, which translates to a 1/4 to 1/16 chance of winning, given perfect play. And there's always the chance of landing on a Voltorb on the first turn, even when the row says 7/1 and the column says 8/1 ... And a first turn Voltorb means back to Lvl 1.
      • They have online calculators for Voltorb Flip. However, every one of them has a disclaimer that basically amounts to "Voltorb Flip is a Luck-Based Mission. This calculator can only give you a reasonable idea of which tiles are safe."
    • How about the Battle Frontier? You have to win 49/100/170 consecutive times without losing once, and without any continues (and you can't save and reset, you get disqualified). And the game can be brutal about luck sometimes. Say, you meet an opponent with Brightpowder (held item that increases evasion), and has a one-hit KO move, which hits 30% of the time. It's extremely common in the Frontier that both Brightpowder and the one-hit KO move takes effect. Sometimes 3 times in a row, and the matches are 3 vs 3. Say goodbye to your hours of winning. Oh, and the game does mock you if you lose, as if you played bad.
      • The Battle Factory is the worst, because you don't even get to play with your own team, instead, you are given random Pokémon to fight, and it resets every 7 matches (there are 49 matches to be won). So unless you get strong Pokémon in all 7 sets, you are screwed.
    • Stadium 2's Challenge Mode is probably the worst offender. The game is already heavily rigged in the computer's favor in every match, but Challenge Mode makes it worse by forcing you to use 6 randomly generated Pokémon that are almost guaranteed to be complete crap, and then use them to fight the (much better) random Pokémon the computer gets in 4 difficulty levels. The description of the mode says "This mode tests your ability as a trainer", but it would be more accurately described as "This mode tests your ability to resist carpal tunnel syndrome from how many times you'll have to reload the game upon getting a terrible team".
  • Final Fantasy XII seems to be entirely made of randomness. Most of the best equipment is based on enemy loot, which drops very VERY randomly. The chests that are the backbone of exploration? They appear randomly, and contain random contents. The high-powered rare enemies for completionists? Go figure, most of them also appear randomly. It would be one thing if you had somewhat of a chance, but many of these "random" chances can range from 10% all the way down to 0.1%.
    • And then there's pulling off the most powerful Concurrence in the game, which is required to earn a specific achievement and complete The Sky Pirate's Den, which is required to earn the highest clan rank. Successfully pulling this move off depends on 98% luck and 2% twitch reflexes. The reward for earning the highest clan rank? A Bragging Rights Reward.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, if the leader you're controlling gets KO'd you lose. This means some boss battles and even random encounters boil down to praying to god that they don't all decide to gang up on your leader, because even some of the Mooks will do enough damage to kill a character in one round if they concentrate their attacks.
    • Not to mention enemies that use attacks with an instant death property. Fortunately, most of those attacks have a piddling 1% chance of success, so it's not too bad...until you get to the first form of the final boss, who uses an attack with a 50% chance of success, meaning that even with Death-resistance accessories there's still an ever-present chance that it will instantly cause a Game Over wthout you being able to do anything about it.
  • Pretty much all the optional boss battles in the PlayStation 2 Shin Megami Tensei games (Digital Devil Saga, Persona 3, and Nocturne). Devil Summoner: Raidou is exempt from this, as its optional fights are much more forgiving. Largely because DS isn't Nintendo Hard.
    • In Nocturne, sometimes you're going through an area you're +10 levels over, and you'll get ambushed. The enemy then uses your weaknesses for extra rounds, gets a few lucky crits on the hero and BAM! Game Over. And you didn't even get a chance to counter attack.
      • Furthermore, if merely the main character dies, it's Game Over. There's two different elements full of nothing but instant kill spells that work startlingly well, and if you want to resist or null one of them, you become weak to the other, until really rather late to the game where you start getting better Magatama. Naturally, a large number of random encounters pack at least one of the two instant kill elements, making most random encounters with them a Luck-Based Mission.
    • Be happy, because Persona's Thanatos Tower is a luck based dungeon.
    • Persona 3's PSP version has Maniac Mode. The enemies hit twice as hard, the AI is better, and the enemies are much more likely to get the advantage if a battle starts with neither side ambushing the other. This is bad, because an ambushed party, no matter what level, always has a chance of being taken out once you've gone about halfway through the game's one dungeon. Made even worse by the fact that only the player character has to be killed for a game over, and the enemies will often gang up and expose weaknesses. Making it even worse is that in order to save you have to stop what you're doing and exit the dungeon, only able to re-start at select pit-stop floors that are spaced ever 15-20 floors apart. So if you're unlucky enough to get ambushed on any floor above 70, chances are you're about to lose 1–2 hours of gameplay.
    • Persona 4 features a luck-based mission that requires playing the fishing mini-game until you catch a big fish, and then trading that in so you can try and catch an even bigger fish. This mission must be finished if you want to max the Hermit Social Link.
    • Strange Journey has a luck-based Final Boss at the end of the Neutral path. Its second form has an attack that is a guaranteed instant kill against whoever it hits, with no way to protect against it. Yes, it can target you. This essentially means every time the boss casts it, you have a 1 in 4 chance (AT BEST) of dying. Even if you're at level 99.
  • Mushroom #VIII in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+. True, this is only a sidequest required for One Hundred Percent Completion, but then again, the type of people who play the Final Mixes are completionists. Anyways, this sidequest, no matter what strategy you use, requires a complicated setup and can be resource-intensive—so you will be Save Scumming. The point is to keep the mushroom in the air by hitting it and never allowing it to touch the ground; what makes it luck-based is the completely random direction the mushroom will jet off to every few rounds of hits. It requires as well very fine-tuned timing and hand-eye coordination, yet if luck is not with you, you will lose. Oh, and how many times must the mushroom be hit? Eighty-five times, minimum.
    • Some of the bosses in Birth By Sleep also qualify, most notably the Mysterious Figure and Vanitas' Lingering Spirit. To specify, neither boss has any sort of recognizable pattern to their attacks; their actions are determined almost entirely by an RNG, so MF may just spam his X-Beam attack, in which case he's not very challenging, or he may randomly decide to create clones of himself, fire lazers from all directions, turn invisible, and use his "rape-rope", all at the same time, in which case you might as well put your PSP down. Another factor that comes into play is that both of these bosses have a random chance to avoid all damage. VLS will teleport away from an attack before it connects and counter, while MF takes it a step further, actually turning back time to before he was hit and attacking the player before they launch their attack. Whereas most action games (including the other Kingdom Hearts games) will give enemies a threshold of damage that they can take before they break out of the player's combo, these guys simply have a random percent chance to avoid all damage, every single time they're struck, and even if the player catches them while they would otherwise be vulnerable, meaning that the player's actual ability to deal damage (and thus defeat the boss) is determined entirely by chance.
  • A hint that the Wizardry series of RPG's are luck-based can be found in the "terminate game" battle order in Wizardry VII. Taking a step-equivalent (a single step, turning around, etc) has a percentage chance of triggering a fight-so you could theoretically finish off one group of enemies, turn ninety degrees to the left, and get attacked again. Then, once an encounter started, the computer picks from a list of different enemies for that area-each has a given percentage chance to show up. Then each enemy type has percentage chances to determine how many appear, and how many other groups are with them. So a given fight could consist of two hostile birds, or two groups of five hostile birds with a squad of bugs to help. And then, your spells' chances of working, the chance an enemy will cast a spell (and then, what kind of spell they cast), the chance of any given attack being used when they physically attack, and the chance of any given attack poisoning, paralyzing, or instantly killing a character... you guessed it. All determined by the random number generator.
    • Simply put, to play the later games, you had to save, and you had to get used to the save game and Quit/No Save commands. Watching the party die because a should-have-worked spell didn't, the enemy instant-killed two party members, or you got a full screen of the nastiest enemies in the game generally falls under the heading of "shit happens".
  • The Bonus Boss Ozma in Final Fantasy IX can just as easily wipe out a level 99 party as he can be beaten by a level 1 party; winning or losing depends entirely on what attacks Ozma decides to use.
    • And long before having a chance of fighting Ozma, you had to go thought a looong treasure chase all around the world. It wasn't so bad per se BUT to get hints on where to search you had to endure the horrible "Chocobo Digging" minigame.
    • Let's face it, most of Final Fantasy IX falls into this trope. Just about every enemy has at least one overpowered attack that they use "randomly" (ie. any time it's least convenient for you), random encounters can happen anywhere from every step to not one battle during an entire trek of a 10-screen dungeon, and of course there's the Card Battle Game and its any-card-can-win nonsense...
  • Final Fantasy X-2 features the Sphere Break mini-game, necessary for acquiring the Lady Luck Dress Sphere. Aside from other issues, it is entirely impossible to progress when your core number comes up 1. (The objective of the game is to combine one of your four base numbers with one or more of the twelve other numbers on the board to create a multiple of the core number, with points being awarded for using more of the other numbers at a time; since each of your four base numbers is already a multiple of 1, the round is over before you get to use any of your scoring tiles.) If this happens even one round, out of the twenty rounds you have to win the only important match, it can ruin your combo bonus and make winning impossible.
  • Defeating the Brachioraidos, a Bonus Boss in Final Fantasy IV Advance, is very, very close to being one of these. The dragon has an insanely high amount of HP and is prone to unleashing several devastating attacks in succession. The easiest way to kill him is to have Kain use Abel's Lance and pray that it connects with the Tornado spell, which will kill him instantly.
  • In Final Fantasy IV, CPU and the Dark Dragon are the worst offenders; if they begin spamming their "hit everyone in range" attack, you're dead.
    • Ooh, boy, Final Fantasy IV. Where to start? Rydia's additional summons (Bomb, Cockatrice, Mindflayer, and Goblin), the Pink Puff Tail that gets you the best armor (that one even more so because the enemies that drop it only appear in one room in the entire game.), and in the DS version, the additional tails and the Rainbow Pudding. The Rainbow Pudding is particularly irksome, because it's the only way to complete the DS-exclusive Namingway sidequest. Speaking of the DS version, the Bonus Boss, Geryon, and the other Bonus Boss, Proto-Babil. General strategy for those two bosses are: Equip the Adamant Armor on all characters (not an easy feat itself, because of the aforementioned Pink Puff Tail), and pray.
  • In the DS game Master of the Monster Lair (that's Dungeon Maker outside the US) the boss of the 5th floor is an Iron Golem who takes 1 damage from nearly all attacks. The only way to deal significant damage to him is to hope that your sword randomly triggers its one-hit KO attack. And even then, it only deals 100 of the 300-or-so HP the boss has, so you have to get really lucky 3 times before the boss's strong attacks kill you.
  • Look The Other Way, a luck-based minigame found in the Minigame Zone of Super Mario RPG, gives you exactly a 50/50 chance of winning, and the prize is randomly chosen and nearly always junk. However, you have a very small chance of winning powerful items like the party-healing Kerokerocolas, invincibility-granting Red Essences, and the game's real prize, the Star Egg, which deals 100 damage to all enemies and can be used unlimited times for no cost (fortunately, the Egg itself is always given out with the 100th win, so getting it is only as random as winning 100 times is). Playing the minigame is fortunately free, but expect to spend a very long time playing it if you want to nab that Egg.
  • In The World Ends With You, on the 5th day of The Game, a Reaper asks you to bring him a 'Supply Factor' pin to access a particular store. Even on Hard, with your level set low enough to let you fight the Noise that drop these pins, it is dependent on a) Letting the Noise spawn in-battle, and b) rolling a low chance of these pins dropping.
  • In one mission of Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume, the player has to save a girl from monsters. While there are abilities that can draw the attacks away from her, sometimes the monsters will all decide to ignore the taunts, gang up and kill her in one turn anyway—meaning you have to pray that she can dodge the attacks.
  • Icewind Dale 2 proper was somewhat about this, featuring some bosses who use "x% chance your party all dies" spells, but the tactics mod is absolutely brutal. The dragon in the snake/amazon level is immune to all hold spells (as in, anything that would render him immobile), all death spells, it has 300 hp, resistance to every type of damage. Oh, and he has 99 damage attacks 4 times a round while every so often hitting your party with ~100 damage AoE acid attacks. Mind you this is when your party's tank has a grand total of, at maximum, 250 hitpoints. The only way to beat him is to hope your pre-placed delayed blast fireballs and skull traps take out enough of his hitpoints to let your tank take him out in 2-3 rounds or else its all over. Did I mention his attacks also stun and he constantly casts fear? The myriad ways you can be fucked over beyond recovery each round with a single throw of the dice make it the pinnacle of luck-based mission.
  • The 8-bit computer game tie-in to the film Willow was ill-conceived, badly executed and features a blatant example of this. Remember the part in the film where the eponymous Willow releases Madmartigan from his prison cage? In the game, you have two blank cages: one random cage contains Madmartigan, the other contains Death (yours). Heads you proceed, tails you lose a life.
  • The final battle against Saruin in Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song without the use of spells like Overdrive and Hasten Time can be considered this. Even with careful planning and proper equipping, it doesn't take a whole lot for Saruin to undo everything by randomly casting Bird of Flame and then use Rain of Blades next turn before you even have a chance to heal from the last attack.
  • How can you tell if someone plays Baten Kaitos? Mention Fadroh to them and see if they break down crying. Unless you want to spend days farming wind magnus for Xelha, Gibari, and Mizuti, the whole boss battle hinges upon when that Orb of Magical Offense comes up in his hand; if you haven't had at least three or four good turns to wear him down, you're done. The whole card-based battle system comes with luck elements, but this battle just cranked it Up to Eleven.
    • XELHA VS. THE ICE GODDESS GRAAAAHHHHH. It's basically a card flip minigame. You get a choice of seven or eight cards, and have to match it with the card chosen by the Ice Goddess. Get it wrong? Xelha takes a hit.
    • And while we're at it, getting Rare Portraits of your characters. Sure, they have very low chances of dropping per camera shot, but since you can simply equip someone with all the cameras you have and waste away your turns taking pictures while fighting Shawras in Moonguile Forest, they're not bound to be a bother, right? Wrong. There's two particular Rare Portraits that can only be taken in the grand total of ONE specific boss battle ( Malpercio in Algorab Village, in case you're wondering). This is the only time in the entire game (sans the epilogue, that is) where Mizuti's mask is off. If you don't get both the Maskless and Mega Rare Mizuti Shots in this battle, then they're Lost Forever. It doesn't help that this is a very easy boss (at least, compared to the hell you've been through), and that this is a Guide Dang It because there's no indication in-game (other than the missing blanks alongside the other portraits in the Magnus List) that there's something missable in this battle, and by the time you've realized it, there's a fair chance it's too late by then.
    • And there's also the accursed Trail of Souls, which is That One Level for those aiming perfect completion. It basically amounts to you playing a forward-scrolling third-person shooter in which you have to shoot down waves of enemies as they approach your ship so you don't have to deal with them (shooting down full waves gives you reward magnus or a speed boost, as you're not supposed to fall too far behind your guide). The problem is, these enemies are unique to this area, and you cannot revisit it, which means that if you don't purposely leave at least one wave alive and let it attack you, you won't be able to take the pictures of the two different types of enemies in the area. Moreover, one of these guys is the only enemy in the entire game that drops Frost Caps (otherwise mediocre armor), and there's one item that can also be Lost Forever if you don't blow the wave to oblivion. In other words, unless you're lucky enough to encounter both enemy types in a single sacrifical wave, have the one enemy type who drops the missable item drop it, have the enemies last long enough for you to take pictures of both of them and make sure to kill the wave that drops the missable Secret Recipe magnus, you will not see that perfect Magnus List. There's One Hundred Percent Completion, and then there's Baten Kaitos.
  • The Bunny Races in Star Ocean: Till the End of Time is completely based on luck. All you can do is pick one bunny (or two "perfecta") and hope for the best. Getting at most 100 points is required to trade in for a key item needed to recruit a powerful inventor.
  • A scary number of battles in The Last Remnant can turn into this, due to the fact that the AI randomly assigns what each union is allowed to do at the start of each turn. Including heal. This can result in a unit getting beaten down to critical HP and starting the turn without the sensible option of trying to heal their HP, usually resulting in them getting wiped and usually a game over.
  • Getting your Only Mostly Dead Player Character resurrected in Infinite Undiscovery. Since you can't give orders while dead and there is a very short time window before getting a Game Over, it's entirely up to luck whether your friends' Artificial Stupidity manages to fit reviving you into their busy schedule fast enough.
  • In Wild ARMs 1, the only way to get into the Bonus Dungeon "The Abyss", you had to use a teleporter and hope it malfunctioned and sent you there, which happened rarely. Since the Abyss is a Brutal Bonus Level, you'd naturally have to go back and heal outside of the Abyss at some point. Good luck getting back in!
  • Cla Dun 's Rangeon (random dungeon) has the monster level, item drop rate and chance of items having rare titles change based on the type of gate you enter at the end of each floor. Regular Gates have little to no effect on these three variables. Angel Gates never raise the monster level by more than 1 and never lower the drop rate or rare title rate. Demon Gates and Hell Gates are guaranteed to raise the monster level, and lower the drop rate and rare title rate, with Hell Gates having more severe effects. Gamble Gates can go either way. There's always at least one gate at the end of each floor of the dungeon, but it's random which gate or gates are there, as well as whether or not there's an exit portal. All the gates' effects become greater as you reach deeper floors of the dungeon, and at the point where an Angel Gate is able to raise the drop rate and rare title rate by 40 or 50 each, a single Hell Gate can ramp up the monster level by hundreds. Even though your characters can only be level 99 at the max, enemies aren't subject to that level cap, and a Hell Gate late enough can pit you against level 300-400 monsters, leaving you no option except to run for the exit...if there is one.
  • Minor example in Mass Effect 2 on Insanity difficulty. At one point during Archangel, you need to close a couple of doors. However, enemies are running at the doors and if one reaches the threshold, the door reopens and you have to start again. If you do not have the right class and weapon or power combination, it is entirely possible for an enemy Krogan to run all the wall to the door without dying no matter what you throw at it. Basically, the only way you can win this mission in a lot of cases is if the Krogan AI randomly decides to stumble or doesn't spawn until it is too late to reach the door before it closes.
  • Tales of Phantasia has the Abyss of Thor, where to get to the Time Machine, the party has to find a skeleton key in one of 8 chests (which is chosen randomly) and use it on one of 8 doors (chosen randomly as well), which may lead to the destination, but will often as well lead to a room with a spell for Arche or back to the entrance (so yes, even trying to leave may become a challenge of nerves if you're unlucky). And to make matters worse, the puzzle is resetted every time you enter the chamber.
  • Some bosses in Dark Souls such as the Hellkite Dragon can be this, your survival dependent on whether or not they choose to use their large, damaging nuke attacks.
  • The Son of Sun in Chrono Trigger. If you have fire-resistant armor, this is an easy fight. If not, then prepare yourself for a wall of pain. The boss itself is immune to your attacks, and doing so results in a devastating counterattack. Around the boss rotate five flames. One of these flames will damage the boss if attacked, the other four will result in another nasty counterattack. Also, every now and then, the boss will shuffle the flames so you have to find the weak one all over again. And if you try to smartass your way around it by using a tech that hits everything, they'll destroy your whole party with counterattacks. The good news is, the boss itself has very little HP, so a few good turns without a shuffle will generally finish it.

Shoot-Em-Up[edit | hide]

  • In the original SNES Star FOX, there is a secret boss in the form of a slot machine. It can only be defeated by hitting three lucky 7s. And even if you do win, your reward is essentially a perpetual "THE END" screen.
  • Sigma Star Saga has this bad with its random encounters, in which you are beamed into one of several different ships for battles. The problem is that there are a few larger ships that are difficult, and in some cases, impossible to navigate between enemy fire and yes, even natural terrain. There are even a few encounters throughout the game where it takes place completely within a very small corridor, roughly half the height of the larger ships.
  • Heavy Weapon has multiple "waves" for each level. Each type of wave contains a fixed set of enemies, and lasts for about half a minute. The luck part comes on the fact that each "wave" is chosen at random, so you may be fighting Demonic Spiders over and over again if you're really unlucky.
  • In Parodius for the MSX, the second stage ends in a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors. Lose, and you're back to the beginning of the stage.

Simulation Game[edit | hide]

  • Several GUILT missions in Trauma Center: Under the Knife, due to the wildly unpredictable behaviors of some of the parasites.
    • Deftera is prime example of this trope, because if the like-colored guilt refuse to separate, you will lose.
  • Wing Commander IV had this built into gameplay in the form of missiles, which 1) could maybe be distracted from you by judicious use of decoys, and 2) if they hit you, were either a whole lot of damage or a One-Hit Kill. This meant that a large part of whether you won a particular mission depended on how lucky you were with the Decoys you dropped: be lucky and you won, be unlucky and you could easily run out of Decoys and die; and both times you were piloting your fighter just as well.
  • Ace Combat 5 The Unsung War's Mission 12b, "Four Horsemen," is pretty much this, the Scrappy Level, and Fake Difficulty all in one little horrible, possibly insurmountable package. Even if you actually pull off your anti-radar site attack runs flawlessly, there's no sure 100% guarantee that your wingmen will—and if they don't, everyone's attack run has to be aborted and started over. (At least you're the only one who can directly cause a mission failure here.)
    • Ace Combat 6 Fires of Liberation carries on the tradition with Mission 13, "The Liberation of Gracemeria". The bulk of the mission is a long and difficult air-to-ground mission, but that's only to sap your strength in preparation for fighting Ilya Pasternak. Ilya flies the game's super-fighter, which has 12-shot swarm missiles that are sometimes literally undodgeable, and your low health by the end of the mission means that even one of the missiles will probably kill you. And on top of this he takes about five times the damage of any other opponent in the game, is faster and more maneuverable than you even if you're flying the same fighter he is, and surrounds himself with dozens of tiny, lightning-fast drones that confuse, distract, and fire at you. On top of that, his fighter is stealth, which means you will randomly lose radar lock on him and target one of the UAVs instead. It's almost impossible to win unless you catch him away from the UAVs.
      • Sure, The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard there and any player can only wish their Nosferatu performed like his, but the fight isn't luck based at all. It's quite possible to reliably evade the missile spam every time if you're good enough, even on the highest difficulty.
  • Rune Factory 2 has the following quest: Super Training Plan: Luck! (thank you, Cammy, for making my non-existent luck stat go up in a game of ROCK-PAPER-SCISSORS)
  • Animal Crossing games have paintings, and generally the only person who will sells them is Crazy Redd. And guess what? Half the time the painting is a fake. Know what's worse? You don't find out until you've tried donating it to the museum. And of course, don't expect a refund.
    • The other collections can be this as well, of course; fossils, insects and fish all have different degrees of rarity per individual specimen, and are more or less randomly selected.
  • Mission 8 in Startopia has two goals: Hire 12 Zedem Monks and convert 12 other aliens. You will lose the mission a few times because the game won't give you 12 Zedem Monks before your opponent does.
    • This assumes you make it past Mission 2, which requires you to cure 100 patients from diseases without accumulating over 10 deaths. Pray to The God you don't get a flood of infected aliens or get an endless supply of low-skill greys with no decently-skilled ones, or else you'll invariably accumulate 11 deaths and fail the mission ridiculously fast. fortunately, the next 5 missions are less luck-dependent.
  • In Virtual Horse Ranch, the results of Gymkhana events have one rule: horses with higher training level place higher than horses with lower training level. Otherwise, it's completely random. In a rare not really bad example of the trope, it's a decent way to make money if you're no good at training for the skill-based events.
  • In The Sims 2, career chance cards can be like this. The player is presented with a scenario and must choose between two choices or ignore it.
    • This is a literal Luck-Based Mission: although you're presented with two choices (along with ignore), neither one is necessarily correct: when you make your choice of the two options, you have a 50% chance of succeeding. The Sims 3 continues the tradition, but there's a lifetime bonus available that changes chance card options to an 80% chance of succeeding.
  • The X-Universe games have the "Retrieve Stolen Ship" mission category. The idea is, somebody's ship was stolen from dock and they're paying you to retrieve it. Trouble is, any time the ship in question isn't a corvette or frigate, recapturing the ship requires you to force the pilot to bail out ... which is a completely random event.
  • In Harvest Moon:The Tale of Two Towns, triggering date events (called "flower events" here) reaches this level. Whereas in previous games, triggering date events could come down to being in the right place, at the right time, under the right conditions, Two Towns adds the modifier of having a choice of locations for your "dates." There's a chance the proper option to trigger the flower event, rather than a regular date, won't come up.
    • In the same game, villager requests - especially those of A or S-rank. Often, the request will be for items you don't have, can't get in time or simply can't get period (like asking for gems or metals before the mines are open or asking for processed items when you don't have any of the Maker Sheds yet). Presumably, the player is intended to use the online connection to get the items from someone else, but that presumes you can find someone who has what you need, when you need it.

Sports Game[edit | hide]

  • In Wii Sports, how many errors you get (either not catching the ball, or not pitching what you inputed) will determine who the winner of Baseball is more than actual ability.

Survival Horror[edit | hide]

  • Resident Evil 4 has a few items in preprogrammed locations. The rest of the items dropped by enemies and hidden in boxes or barrels are entirely random somewhat random. The game keeps track of how much ammo, money and health the player has left and decides what defeated enemies drop accordingly. The game even keeps track of how well the player is doing; defeating a lot of enemies without damage will make it more likely that the game will spawn more and harder enemies, keep taking a beat down and the game takes pity on you. One part that is completely random are the eye gems that the Novistadors drop; for a while it was thought that the colour dropped depended on the colour of the monster's eye at death, but this has been proven false.

Third Person Shooter[edit | hide]

  • Every bot-battle (except space-battles) in Star Wars Battlefront is very luck based. No matter how much you pwn the enemy, your chances of winning are still kinda slim. This is mostly based on the sudden incompetence shown by your teammates.
    • Another harsh example is the Jedi Academy. You spend all the time covering the last three bookshelves, and, in the last minute, get overwhelmed by Jedi popping up out of nowhere, and, if you get hit once, you lose, if not, you win. The Jedi respawn in that last minute at random, too, meaning one time, you are safe in the middle of the room, the next, you get a saber through the heart from the guy spawning behind you.
  • Dark Void allows you to hijack the enemy Flying Saucers by boarding them, ripping off an access panel and then beating the pilot. This takes some time, as you have to periodically dodge turret fire and avoid getting shaken off. This would be a pretty straight-up test of skill, not even that hard, but... The luck aspect comes from the fact that if the Artificial Stupidity collides with something while you're doing this, you get hurt, and there is no way to abort the boarding sequence if you're about to die. This means you essentially have a random chance of dying without any way to stop it, especially on higher difficulties that make you easier to kill.
  • An early mission in Zoids: Battle Legends has you use sniper fire to cover an ally on the opposite end of a canyon which is uncrossable and instant death if fallen in. Normally a very simple mission, it's not rare for your ally to jump into the canyon by misusing his melee attack.

Turn Based Strategy[edit | hide]

  • In Front Mission 4, the evade stat was changed from how it operated in its predecessor. Whereas in FM 3 (and most RPGs) evade functioned as a penalty to the attacker's accuracy (which stacked with other accuracy-reducing factors like cover and would merely reduce the number of hits a round of machine gun fire or a shotgun blast would land), in FM 4 evade was a wanzer's base chance of completely evading an attack, calculated completely separately from all other factors. There were various conditions and exceptions, but since some wanzers could easily have an evade rating of well over 50%, it would become quite possible (even common) for a wanzer to come under fire from an entire army and come out without even a scratch. This varied in function from being the only thing stopping you from crushing your enemy like a lame hedgehog in some missions, to being the only thing standing between you and a horrible death in others.
  • In the first American GBA Fire Emblem, on the chapter where you have to protect Zephiel, you need to protect Jaffar and get Nino (a level 5 MAGE) to talk to him to unlock a side-quest. Unfortunately, it's very possible for him to get killed before you're anywhere near, forcing you to restart if you want any chance at the side-chapter. In fact, ZEPHIEL HIMSELF can be killed quickly on the Hard difficulty, forcing you to restart, period. Oh, and did I mention Ursula starts moving on the last turns and can easily ruin that one attempt that doesn't get sidewinded by luck? God forbid if there are any one-of-a-kind treasures on the map too, and accessed faster by the enemy Thieves no less. Oh wait. There are. Too late.
    • Speaking of Fire Emblem, in Path of Radiance, Ike's ultimate battle with the Black Knight requires you to beat him within a certain number of turns (the game continues if you can survive these turns without beating him, though Nasir dies...maybe. However, even having reached level 20, acquiring the Aether skill, and using several stat boosting items, the only to win is playing through the mission several times and hoping that Ike was able to pull off two Aether attacks within the turn limit.
    • While we're on the subject, there's critical hits. Any unit, ally or otherwise, can get them, but normally the high stats of your party mean the only times they're an issue are when myrmidons attack generals, and that will still only do single digit damage. However, on Hard Mode for several games, normal enemies get both power boosts and the critical-friendly weapons. This means that many enemy attacks have a chance of one-shot-killing your units, and you often have several of these on a map in a game where death is permanent. Not the best way to go...
    • There is always at least one chapter where you are storming a castle. This castle is a maze, treasure chests are scattered randomly through it (unless you are lucky, in which case they are collected in rooms), and between one and five Thief class NPCs will always begin placed on the map. These thieves will make a beeline for the chests, and then race for the exit. There is no way you will ever beat them to the chests, but if you get unlucky bashing your way through the enemy force, you may not be able to kill them and retrieve your treasure in time, which is the true challenge.
      • Although it's relatively easy to block the exit with your Fragile Speedster (read Pegasus Knight) and force them to take the long way around, as in most cases the thieves will run from you rather than fight, either making them cower in a corner away from your units or go suicidal and try to run past your main group in a desperate race for freedom.
    • To a lesser extent, character growth is a Luck-Based Mission since stat gains are randomly determined. Some characters may be consistently good, but too many go between spectacular failures or battlefield-dominating beasts. It's most infuriating with characters you're forced to use, like Eliwood in the seventh game.
    • Thracia 776, the fifth game in the series, introduces a number of "gameplay mechanics" that make playing the game infuriating: healing wands can miss at random, all units - player and enemy - have a small chance of getting to move a second time that turn, and the game's selling feature - the ability to capture enemy units and take their items - relies on you not accidentally killing them by scoring a critical hit. Even worse are the levels themselves: Chapter 11x is a map where you must rescue a prisoner being attacked by soldiers. It is completely up to chance whether or not she survives before you can free her.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics has the Roof Of Riovanes Castle mission, where you lose if Rafa/Rapha, a computer-controlled ally, is killed. Unfortunately, she begins the fight closer to the enemies than any of your characters, one of them can kill her in a single counterattack, and her AI can be charitably described as "suicidal." Because of her (and the enemies) high speeds, it's entirely possible (if not probable) that you'll lose the battle before you get a single turn.
    • There is one trick to keeping her from going kamikaze on you. Have a faster unit use a Cure series spell that is within her movement range, and will activate after her turn. Rafa will move into said spell's range 99% of the time. Of course, having a faster unit is the problem, as Rafa herself is quite fast...
      • Or the "naked strategy." At least in the original version, enemies always go for the weakest target. Bring one or two nude soldiers in your lineup and the really dangerous enemies will nearly always ignore her.
    • Even worse than the Riovanes Rooftop is the Walled City of Yardrow battle when you first meet Rapha, at least in the PSP rerelease. Your enemies include two Ninjas, who will always go before your own ninjas(if you even have one), and they start close enough to Rapha to immediately run over and throw a Katana at her, collectively killing her.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance had one short mission where Marche alone faces Llednar, who uses an Ultima attack on the final turn before Cid comes and stops the fight. The easiest way to survive this battle was to replay until Llednar misses, because otherwise you were dead meat.
    • Tactics A2 has a late-game mission that forces you to protect a team of five underleveled Moogles against a powerful enemy clan. The Moogles have two members that can be described as, at best, incompetent, and at worst outright traitorous. The first is the Thief, with all the low defensive powers the class implies and considerably less than the intelligence needed to make the class not die, particularly for a Moogle Thief. The second is a Gadgeteer, whose Pandora spells hit either your entire party or the enemy's randomly, and who does love his Haste Pandora. Keep in mind, if a single Moogle falls, you've lost.
      • There's a repeatable quest where you spar with those moogles to train them. Every time you beat it they get stronger; run it a few times and they will have no trouble beating the enemy clan senseless as long as you provide a little healing.
      • Final Fantasy Tactics A2 is horrible when it comes to these, thanks to new rules for the Last System which - in many instances- turns a randomly occurring critical hit on your side into something to be feared. Examples of such laws are "No knockbacks" (a critical hit automatically knocks the enemy back) and "No dealing more than 50pts of damage" (a critical will almost certainly push the damage above that). What about "No targeting units two or more squares away"? Well, since a critical hit will knock an enemy one square away so it ends its turn two squares away from you, oops! It counts as a violation. Normally, breaking a law doesn't punish you too badly, but when it comes to the Clan Trials, breaking a law counts as instant failure.
      • In another example from A2, the highest-ranking Clan Trial for "Aptitude I" presents you with six identical barrels and asks you to find the "winning" one in two rounds. You don't have enough time to check all six in two rounds.
      • Then there is the trial for "Teamwork-Aptitude". Clearing the Rank 5 trial gives your clan the ever-useful "MP Efficiency" clan privilege. Problem is, it all comes down to where the Jar spawns. Sometimes it spawns is always past a group of enemies who will inflict Confuse with 100% Accuracy (Making you often waste TWO turns, that of the Confused unit and that of the one that will have to attack the Confused unit back to their senses). And if you hope to use a wise combination of speed-ground Viera and Gria equipped with hard-earned Ninja Tabis and Ribbons...the monsters will use Roulette, the game's titular and true Luck Based Attack.Namely, it kills an unit at random.It can either make your day by thinning the enemy numbers, or ruin your plans completely.
      • Another really nasty one is a mission requiring you to intentionally step on a series of traps while not using the attack function. Except that half of these traps will inflict the charm status, which causes your party members to attack each other. Which in this case will instantly fail the mission.
      • Finished all 300 missions and are doing The Last Quest? You might as well hack your game when you face off against the Thrill Seekers. You fight against a Juggler/Time Mage, Seer/Illusionist, a Ranger, and two Tonberry Kings. The moogle will spam Haste and Quicken on his party, the Ranger will either hide or use Mirror Elixir (reduces HP and MP to 1) on you, the Seer will spam Magick Frenzy (hits targets with magic and then the user's weapon), and the Tonberry Kings will just one hit kill you. Now they all go at least two or three times before your party can even take a turn in the beginning, so it is possible to outright lose without even doing anything. Even with careful planning, you still need god's luck and hope that you can survive long enough to take the enemies down.
  • Most high scores, including many 450s, in Advance Wars: Days of Ruin relies on abusing AI Roulette or luck damage. The day-to-day guide for Wedding Ring is particularly bad because when the Infantry is starting its HQ capture, it is in range of the B-Copter that is expected to attack the T-Copter instead. And of course, if the Infantry takes luck damage on the next two enemy phases, you will lose because the enemy will have an Infantry taking your HQ. But this is nothing to Metro Map, which despite being a map that desperately needs a Day-To-Day guide just loves to horribly screw over the sole one that is available.
    • And in Dual Strike, just surviving on Crystal Calamity in Normal Campaign is this if you don't cheap out money forces or Colin. If Black Hole sends the Black Bomb toward Red Star, you're screwed, simple as that, as you will get cut off from the silos.
  • Getting all of the rare and legendary equipment in Disgaea. Especially the ones that only appear as a boss's stealable equipment, so you have to hope the Random Number God decides that it has a rarer version than usual this time. Or the items that never appear as enemy equipment, like the absolute cheapest weapons and the usable items.
  • Godzilla 2 : War Of The Monsters for the NES used an on-screen slot-machine to decide how much damage you deliver and take in each battle with the monsters. It was so very random, you could take out Godzilla or Ghidorah with a simple gun on a truck meant to deliver parts for the Moonlight SY 3, or conversely, watch as Baragon took out the Moonlight SY 3. How you rolled at the start mostly determines the entire game.

Turn-Based Tactics[edit | hide]

  • It's possible to play X-COM: Terror From the Deep and never encounter Calcinites, because they never spawn in the same mission as Lobstermen. An autopsy on a dead Calcinite is required to research and develop advanced melee weapons, which makes fighting Lobstermen significantly easier.
    • Worse yet, it's possible to never encounter Deep Ones (or at least not until very late in the game), and until you capture a live Deep One, you can't get any decent armor. Once you capture one, it's still possible to do the research on in the wrong order. Luckily there's another bug in the game that lets you research the best armor without ever having the prerequisites. And that's only a few of the known problems.
  • In most of the Suikoden series, fights are fair. Even Pahn's duel with Teo in the first game is winnable if you take a few precautions. Then Suikoden II comes along. Normally the major battles are fair and you lose only when it's scripted. However, one of the fights involves saving Ridley from an ambush - if he falls, you fail. It's possible that the low-defense Ridley Unit will be defeated and captured before your other units even appear on the map.
    • Fortunately, it's possible to rescue Ridley at a later date if you fail here. In fact, the dialogue for the next mission assumes that you failed - they will discuss Ridley's rescue while he's standing right there. (Someone screwed up the dialogue epically for this mission, as it also mentions "Valeria's unit" even if you chose to recruit Kasumi instead.)
    • Major battles in II as a whole are luck based, since most units can only take two points of damage and it's mostly/all luck whether an attack will damage or not. The only reason why people don't complain about it much is because most of the major battles are just too easy even if the player gets a bit luck screwed.
  • A perfect strategy and mastery of the numbers can still get turned on its head when the Random Number Generator gets ornery on you in Yggdra Union, especially if you're trying to get a fast clear bonus on a mission and secure bonus equipment (which can require you to plan to lose some fights). A unit with a high Luck stat will get "flash" (critical) strikes frighteningly regularly and turn a sure-thing battle against you entirely too easily. Of course, having a lot of Luck on your side grants you the same consideration...

Wide Open Sandbox[edit | hide]

  • Games with randomly-generated worlds like Minecraft or Terraria have this when it comes to finding certain resources or items.
    • In Minecraft, the ever-useful Iron and Diamond ores are randomly scattered underground. Unless worldgen mercifully spawned you above a pre-generated mineshaft, expect to do a LOT of digging before finding any considerable amount.
      • Finding Slimeballs is also tough, since they can only be obtained from Slimes, which are surprisingly rare, and only spawn in large enough caves in the bottom ground layers. Even if all conditions for their spawning are satisfied, there still are several other monsters that can spawn in their stead.
      • In order to start growing Pumpkins and Melons, you have to find their seeds (a random drop from chests in a mineshaft, which isn't even guaranteed to spawn near your starting area) or a wild grown pumpkin (randomly scattered on the surface). Since Melons are used in healing potions, and Pumpkins are necessary to build all kinds of Golems, you need some luck if you want either of them.
  • Several Missions in Grand Theft Auto III, due to the Stanton/Shoreside bridge opening and closing on a timer, relied on a fair amount of luck. Unless you took the tunnel, but that's just downright suicide if you're in a hurry.
    • Perhaps not so much luck based as The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard, but one side-mission involving the collecting of a line of dropped items became near impossible after a certain point in the game when the Mafia becomes aggressive to you. The mission takes you right through their primary neighborhood and they blow you up near instantly with their shotguns.
    • Rampages in Grand Theft Auto III (and its sequel, Vice City) typically require the player to destroy a certain number of gang members/vehicles within a time limit. These are very luck based as targets appear at random. Also, since vehicles and pedestrians often only spawn in the area when the player isn't looking their way, these rampages often have players frantically maneuvering the camera around, willing more targets to appear.
  • The "Supply Lines" mission in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, in which the player must use a remote-control plane to take out four targets moving around San Fierro and return to the starting point before running out of fuel. The mission is impossible unless the second target spawns very close to the first- if you take too long to reach it, the last two targets will have spread apart by the time you reach them, and you won't have enough fuel to destroy them and make it back to base.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV features a number of missions requiring the player to evade the police. This requires the player to escape a large circle of coverage where the cops are looking, if a cop car is nearby the cops will see you and the circle will re-center. This leads to a situation where the player must escape the circle while praying that a cop car won't spawn right next to them, making all that work escaping the circle completely void. Either that, or they must escape into the Pay and Spray, hoping a cop car doesn't spawn there, as the Pay and Spray won't work if a cop sees you go in.
    • Or go into the subway, where cops can never spawn, and drive away uncontested. Though missions never require you to evade very high wanted levels to begin with. By the time the scripted part of the mission is over the wanted level always drops to 2-3 stars when you need to escape, even if it was higher at first.
  • Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars is pretty good about this during the story missions. They're hard and at times incredibly frustrating, but they're usually the same every time. The side missions are a different story. Rampage and Riding Shotgun missions are entirely based on where the enemies spawn. The lottery is, obviously, a lottery. Finding dealers and security cameras can only be accomplished through aimless driving. The list goes on. Fortunately, maps and guides exist.
    • Oddly enough, the lottery, obviously the most luck-based section of the game, is actually fairly predictable. To be more specific, if you buy enough of the more valuable tickets that have a chance to provide you with a safe-house, you may make a temporary loss but if you keep it up over time, you're virtually guaranteed to make a profit eventually. Take it from someone who spent about an hour trying for that safe-house: Bring enough seed money, and the tickets are infinite and easy cash. How the manufacturer stays in business is anyone's guess... On the other hand, money means nothing in that game anyway considering how ridiculously easy it is to get thanks to the idiot-proof drug trade that tells you exactly what to do at any given moment to make tons of cash. Which is just as well since the actual missions give hardly a pittance to compensate.
  • The later levels of Activities in Saints Row definitely qualify; Level 8 Drug Trafficking is nearly impossible when three or more FBI SUVs are ramming the dealer's vehicle at once, into other vehicles, and you still have to get across the entire city to the next buyer. The luck lies in if you can dive out of the burning vehicle, not die when it explodes, heal yourself before the Feds ventilate you, revive the dealer (who invariably gets blown up with it), take a new car, and do it all over again thirty seconds later. Unless you're an expert at picking off drivers from the passenger's seat of a moving vehicle, these missions will drive you crazy.
    • Insurance Fraud. You're on a road and your goal is to get hit by cars. These cars spawn at random intervals in random numbers. You only have a few minutes to get to the scoring goal (in the later levels, over 100000 dollars worth of points), and you don't even get the insurance money to make up for that horrible activity.
      • It a different story when you venture onto a freeway. The endless flow of speeding oncoming traffic makes this side mission ridiculously easier than if you pick an street-level intersection as instructed. Still, it's a matter of luck for the game to direct you to a district which has a freeway.
    • The Mayhem activities in the second game require a good amount of cars spawning, a good bonus car being chosen, a good region being chosen (each location randomly chooses one of several regions, some of them much better than others), and the police not constantly ramming into you and knocking you down. Have fun.
    • The Escort Activity. You drive a prostitute and her john around while a "Pleasure" meter builds up. When it is maxed out, you win that Level of the challenge. You are sometimes tasked with a secondary objective, such as driving to a club, during which you do not accrue any more Pleasure until it is done. Collisions, stopping the car, or firing your weapon on other vehicles will reduce your Pleasure meter. You are also being pursued by news vans who are attempting to get footage of your passengers. This fills a "Footage" meter, which ends the Activity in failure when it is maxed out. The Footage meter does not diminish. At the higher levels, you can still outdrive the news vans if you are skilled, but groups of vans will spawn randomly along your path as you escape the initial ones (much like how the police continue to spawn when you have antagonized the law). You WILL be crashed into (both reducing your Pleasure meter and increasing the Footage meter) unless you are lucky enough to have the news vans spawn with enough distance for you to try to avoid it.
      • Fortunately both Insurance Fraud and Mayhem are made easier if you "cheat" by using aircraft. For Insurance Fraud, you can get a head start on points and instant 100% adrenaline by stealing a plane and jumping out over the destination suburb. And the attack helicopter, armed with a Chaingun and Annihilator RPGs, makes Mayhem a lot easier.
  • The "Side Quests" of Prototype to where you are timed to complete said mission and ranked from Bronze to Gold on how well you do. And some of these you literally have to without a single flaw to even come close to getting the gold. But by then you probably would have already thrown you're controller through the television screen.
    • And don't even get me started on trying to obtain Platinum

Other Media[edit | hide]

Board Games[edit | hide]

  • Many board and card games, especially those intended for younger children, are based entirely on luck, with no skill whatsoever. War, Chutes and Ladders, and Candyland are prime examples.
    • Another example is Sevens: if you have 5 Aces and Kings (or cards forming chains leading into Aces or Kings), you can kiss any chance of finishing first goodbye, and if you have all 8 terminal cards (all four Aces and all four Kings), you will not go out. The flip side is if you happen to have a hand exclusively containing 5s, 6s, 8s, and 9s, you can pretty much manipulate the field however you please. If the game just happens to be Shichi Narabe (the Japanese version of Sevens which places a limit on how many times you can pass), you can force everyone to pass 3 times with such a hand and force them out without them being able to play a card.
    • There is a reason why Candyland is usually the first instance in which a child figures out how to cheat to win. It doesn't take long for the kid to figure out how to stack the pile with purple cards.
    • Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, and so on often explicitly have the rule "the youngest player goes first." This stacks the deck in favor of the child winning. Obviously, anyone old enough to figure that out is also probably old enough to only play such a game to entertain a young child. Tropes Are Not Bad.

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Minute to Win It is hard enough on its own, but its Million Dollar game Supercoin definitely qualifies as a Luck-Based Mission. You have to bounce a quarter off of a table and get it into a water jug 15 feet away with a 1.75 inch mouth (barely larger than the quarter itself). It'd be difficult enough even if you could aim properly, but because you have to bounce the coins off the table, you have virtually no control over where those quarters are going. Few have come close; none have succeeded.
  • During the early seasons of the original American Gladiators, the final Eliminator round had a channel for each contestant, one of which randomly had a Barrier Warrior at the very end, hidden behind a paper wall. In other words, one contestant got a free ride while the other had an extra obstacle. Effectively, this turned what was supposedly a game of skill into a game of chance.
  • The Price Is Right. Skill is not able to help you with all of the Pricing Games. If you can get it to 50/50, that's great. Otherwise, you really have to hope the Random Number God is with you.
    • The Wii/PC game... well, let's start by mentioning that the price of the prizes fluctuate BETWEEN GAMES. Pen and paper will not save you.
  • Many obstacles in Takeshi's Castle are essentially luck-based. The penultimate one ("Final Fall" a.k.a. "The Man-Eating Holes") is entirely so: there are five pits, in two of them a guardian is hidden - if the contestant chooses one of them, he is eliminated.
  • The Amazing Race has at least one "Needle in a Haystack" task per season, though they're usually put in Detours so teams don't have to do them.
    • Perhaps the most famous instance of this were the hay bales of Season 6. If you do the math, there was actually a seven percent chance of finding a clue if you started up the hay bales. The percentage did increase when you reduced each haybale, but there were 270 out there to begin with. Poor Lena & Kristy were out there for over 10 hours and were eliminated by Phil in the field, when Lena refused to stop unrolling Haybales. When the hay bales were revisited in Season 15, it was thankfully more merciful, but there were still one or two teams unrolling haybales for hours while another had to unroll only a couple to find the clue.
    • And sometimes, all that separates two otherwise equal teams is one team drawing a hypercompetent cabbie at the airport, while the other draws a cabbie that doesn't know how to read a map.
  • Legends of the Hidden Temple, the temple is largely based on luck. You won't know where the temple guards are until you find them.

Tabletop RPGs[edit | hide]

  • Nearly any RPG scenario can turn into one of these by accident since it's all but traditional to resolve success-or-failure questions with dice, especially if the Game Master decides to roll "honestly" and stick with the results no matter what, but early D&D is a particularly good example: random character generation, random save-or-die effects (notably poison, which would almost always simply kill you on a failed saving throw), random wandering monsters, published scenarios with yet more random took a while for the role-playing community to work out that there can in fact be such a thing as relying on the dice too much.
  1. Well, they provide a clue to a hidden sidequest within said Quest, one which is unavailable if the Brass Bowling Trophy Trophy is there