Temporary Platform

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search
Temporary-platform commander-keen2 8489.png
Jump on, jump off. Don't dilly-dally.
—The manual for Scaler

A Temporary Platform is an infamous variation of the Floating Platforms that exist primarily in 2D platform games, which can only be used for limited durations at a time. These come in a few distinct varieties:

  • Crumbling platforms appear solid at first (and may or may not show clues about their temporary nature), but once the player steps on top of one it will begin to shake, sag, descend, (etc.) and after a few seconds disappear entirely—the player must locate the next safe footing, and fast. The Fake Platform is a most infamous variation which affords no warning or time for the player to leap off of it, immediately crumbling/vanishing upon contact.
  • A non-timed variation of the above can also occur, with the platform disappearing only after the player has leapt off of it; some may even have allow the player multiple uses before ultimately disappearing.
  • Timed platforms appear and disappear at specific intervals regardless of the player's movement or action; the player must synchronize their maneuvers to land on one when it appears, then jump off before it vanishes again. Usually, there will be safe footing nearby where the player can study these platforms at a distance before attempting to challenge them directly.

Sometimes you'll encounter these platforms one at a time, but in most cases they will be arranged in groups, forming some sequence or pattern which the player must navigate across (Indy Escape style) as the platforms disappear (and/or appear) around them; sequences like these can become very Nintendo Hard when they are stationed above a Bottomless Pit or Spikes of Doom.


Examples of Temporary Platform include:
  • The console version of the video game of The Film of the Book of A Series of Unfortunate Events has a level that consists almost entirely of these and more open air than you can shake a stick at.
  • The Mario franchise is replete with all varieties:
    • The Donut Lifts from Super Mario Bros 3 (and subsequent games) fell after a couple of seconds of Mario standing on them. There were moving platforms on rails, some of which were on open-ended tracks that allowed the platform to fall off at the end.
    • The original Super Mario Bros had pairs of platforms, each connected to a cable strung over a pair of pulleys. As the side you stood on descended, the other side rose, but if one side rose too far, both platforms would fall into the bottomless expanse below. If the platforms fell off, you got 1000 points. Let's hope you managed to jump off (and presumably, to safety).
    • Super Mario Galaxy may not have Donut Blocks, but it has a good share of Temporary Platforms itself. Several puzzles feature green checkered platforms that start to shrink and disappear after landing on them. It also featured similar tiles found in all three Bowser levels that get smashed to pieces upon contact just right before fighting Bowser.
    • Super Mario Galaxy 2 also had Beat Blocks, which blinked in and out of existence in time with the music. The Prankster Comet challenge for that galaxy was very much Nintendo Hard, even with a checkpoint and Yoshi's flutter jump to assist the player.
    • Super Mario World has both temporary platforms with a countdown of four seconds or less as well as more more Donut Blocks that start to drop as soon as you step on them. Romhackers love both types.
  • A lovingly Nintendo Hard staple of the Mega Man series. Almost every game includes a few screens where blocks appear and disappear in a set pattern.
    • The longest such sequence was in Heat Man's stage in 2, which spanned several screens (above a lethal Lava Pit and then a Bottomless Pit, no less!). Most people don't even bother with the platforms, instead flying across with the Item-2, an early version of the Rush Jet.
    • In Magnet Man's stage of 3, one sequence included a magnet on the opposite side threatening to pull you off into the Bottomless Pit below.
    • As well as Plug Man's stage from 9, where the patterns are different if you're playing on the harder ("Hero" or "Superhero") difficulty levels.
    • Sheep Man's stage in 10 included not only the staple timed platforms (with different patterns for each difficulty level), but color-coded blocks that blinked and disappeared after stepping on them, and platforms that had to be energized by running on nearby conveyors.
    • Another series staple are the bomb platforms with timers displaying how much time you have to use them before they explode.
    • Guts Man's infamous stage from the very first game involved a sequence of moving platforms affixed to rails that, despite clearly advertising when they were and were not solid, sent so many players to their deaths from the very outset of the level that they almost single-handedly earned the game its Nintendo Hard reputation.
      • In Mega Man Powered Up you can at least play as Guts Man and give him a taste of his own terrible platforms.
    • Gyro Man's stage in 5 featured a bridge composed entirely of platforms that fell after a second of walking across them.
    • Chill Man's stage in 10 features ice blocks that, crack the first time you strike them, then disappear quickly after being struck a second time. You can, however, walk across them fine.
    • The Mega Man X series often had platforms supported by smoking, malfunctioning jets, letting you know they won't hold your weight for long.
      • Just to make your life a living hell, the fourth Zero stage in X5 had disappearing blocks over a Bottomless Pit and nearly three screens long. No memorizing, just move and hope you're fast enough not to die. If you're playing as X, you could just fly over the damn thing. Play as Zero, and better hope your reflexes are good. Happy nightmares.
    • The Mega Man Zero series naturally picks up the torch, since it's much more Nintendo Hard than the X series was. For bonus points, the first game in the series adds them in a section straight after two minibosses, and while thankfully not over a bottomless pit, is sitting is above a platform filled with enemies. And the invisible blocks shoot at you (or rather they shoot down in unhelpful places). Remember that this game has a ranking system that penalizes you for taking damage and dying.
    • In his commentary for Bob and George Dave Anez admits that he always uses Rush to fly over those platforms. Precious fuel be darned, he hates those things.
    • The Lifts of Doom in Spark Man's stage with Bottomless Pits below and Spikes of Doom above.
    • Trapdoor platforms in Shadow Man's stage and parts of Wily's Castle.
    • In the final dungeon in Mega Man Legends 2 there are red tiles that will crack and break if you stand on them for too long of a period of time, roll constantly warns you that 'the floors weak'.
  • Commander Keen IV: Secret of the Oracle has these in the Miragia level. Accurate to its name, this level has platforms that fade in and out of existence. Solid for about five seconds, intangible for another five, repeat.
    • Hilariously, you could cling to the edge of such platforms and remain there while it faded out of existence, so long as you didn't attempt to climb up until it was solid again.
    • Commander Keen also had "unstable" floating platforms that would start falling out of the sky once you stood on them for a second—but they stayed solid and only fell a certain distance (enough to force you to go back and redo a puzzle, but not enough to kill you unless the level designer specifically put a tarpit or flames before the end of their travel).
  • Yoshi's Island has blocks with a number printed on them. When you step on a platform of this type, the number is decreased by one, and when it hits zero, the platform explodes. It also had massive Chomp enemies which chased you through certain levels, eating any platforms they touched, and stages with fragile terrain which could be accidentally destroyed by stray fire from Yoshi or the enemies. And then there's the Donut Lifts...
  • Donkey Kong Country had dropping platforms, and a Gimmick Level ("Tanked-up Trouble") with a moving platform that would fall if you didn't keep it constantly fueled up. There was another level, "Platform Peril", that consisted almost exclusively of various moving platforms that would shake and fall after a certain distance.
    • Donkey Kong Country Returns, naturally, picks up the DKC torch with all varieties of temporary platforms, and Nintendo Hard sequences like the aptly-named "Platform Panic", where the level terrain appears only at close range, then shakes and starts falling when the player touches it.
  • Most Kirby games noticeably avert this—the ability of unaided flight'll do that. However, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards gave Kirby a limit on his flying ability, and so threw in a few Temporary Platforms here and there.
  • The old Namco videogame Mappy (originally for arcade) has trampolines that can only be bounced on three times in a row before breaking; if a solid platform or nothing was below, you would lose a life. Later levels have true Temporary Platforms worked inside normal platforms—including one on a platform with only one survivable way off.
  • The Metroid universe generally prefers Fake Platforms over true Temporary Platforms. Floor tiles that crumble underneath Samus's weight were frequently used to create corridors that required a Speed Booster dash to traverse.
    • In Super Metroid there were also grapple points that would disappear a few seconds after latching onto them with the Grapple Beam.
    • In Metroid Prime, temporary platforms appeared precisely once: in Phendrana Canyon, where the Scan visor clearly warned that they were unstable.
  • Jak and Daxter is littered with these, namely in more "ruined" areas. Came to an interesting point in Jak 3 when (during a tutorial stage) you have to slow down time just to be able to cross the platform.
  • The original Prince of Persia game had loose floor tiles that would dislodge and fall moments after the Prince character ran across them. Nearby vibrations (from you jumping up and down, for instance) would cause them to shake a little, allowing the player to identify them from a distance. They were useful on occasion for making running jumps off, and permanently holding down Pressure Plates where they landed. They could also be dislodged by jumping from underneath, to access secret parts of levels, though standing below falling ones would hurt you if you didn't duck. In the sequel The Shadow and the Flame, they could kill Mooks (good) and destroy potions (bad, especially if it was a life upgrade).
    • Interquel The Forgotton Sands features two types of temporary platform, firstly the ability to pause water to turn it into something you can grab onto, and then later remaking formerly existing platforms reappear with the power of memory. Can quickly cause Damn You, Muscle Memory! rage during sections where you have to use both at once, turning one off to jump through something that would otherwise block your way to a platform you just turned on with the other ability...
  • I Wanna Be the Guy has no end of Temporary Platforms, usually situated near Spikes of Doom. Since it's a Platform Hell pastiche of NES games, it takes the disappearing blocks from Heat Man's stage in Mega Man 2 to new heights of frustration, as the player must use Jump Physics to stay on a single block that teleports around over a spiked floor.
    • And in a spiked room just below the start of the game, once you've memorized the platform's pattern, the pattern changes as you start jumping across, with you falling into the spikes below when the next platform doesn't appear where you expected it to.
    • In the Mega Man level, there's a few unlabeled blocks that drop the moment you step on them, and then one inexplicable block which shoots upwards as soon as you touch it, hurtling you into a spiked ceiling.
  • Also seen in Naruto: The Broken Bond. Can be both in water (annoying as if you sink, you go back to the last part of land you were on) and in the air (again annoying, as usually spikes fill the area underneath).
  • Manic Miner had a lot of these.
  • Devil May Cry 4 had those in the jungle chapter when playing as Nero. Instead of using the "disappear a while after being touched" scheme, however, those had a schedule of their own.
    • In the original, if you return to the bridge you crossed to claim the Pride of Lion at the start of Level Three, it's risen from the ocean (having collapsed as you crossed it)... but in pieces. These pieces fall as you jump on them, and don't respawn unless you fall into the ocean (which makes you repeat the fight from Level Two, then boots you back to the start of the bridge). You can either jump across both ways without retracing steps, or cross once, claim the Blue Orb Piece, and leap into the sea for a quick way back.
  • Castlevania: Circle of the Moon has these. Super Castlevania IV has the crumbling platform variety.
    • Some of the games, such as Super Castlevania, have trapdoor platforms.
  • Crash Bandicoot had tons of these, combined in every way possible with floating platforms that alternate in and out of existence on their own.
  • Ty the Tasmanian Tiger likes this trope, using it in all three games of the series. There are two sorts: ones that operate on a timer, and ones that vanish about a second after you stand on them. Neither is fun.
  • Most Sonic the Hedgehog games have them, though the series isn't as fond of them as Mario. The first game enjoyed some Sega Hard Fake Difficulty in the Marble Zone, when the Temporary Platform and stable platform that moved up and down used the same sprite.
    • The Wii-exclusive Blue Wisp from Sonic Colors allows Sonic to temporarily turn blue rings into blocks and vice versa, similar to a P-switch.
  • Spelunky has temporary platforms in its third area (some argue that game's Scrappy Level). Oddly, while your character can not normally fall more than seven times his height without taking damage, the platform and your character fall at the same rate and you can "ride" it down to lower ground without taking damage.
  • Wario Land had platforms that appeared and disappeared. They visibly faded in and out though, so you could always tell how they were going to act. As a result they weren't really too difficult to cross.
  • Many floating platforms in La-Mulana start to crumble when you step on them.
  • Star Fox Adventures had a room you had to cross to get to the door. The middle of the room was tiled. Before you activated the switch, the tiles stayed put, but the door was closed. You had to throw the switch to open it, but this also made the tiles temporary; you could stay on them a couple of seconds before it started to drop. Making matters worse, three gates came up. These would drop and rise in a pattern. You could stand in the safe area before the tiles while waiting for the first to drop, but waiting for the second and third involved moving from tile to tile, hoping the gate would drop before you did. Good thing failure won't kill you!
  • One of the features of the stage builder in Super Smash Bros. Brawl are these - and odds are, if you know someone who has built stages there, they've built at least one heavily featuring them. They regenerate as well, which results in problems both ways - the platform might be missing when you're scrambling to get back up, and you also might have to deal with a platform appearing right where you were trying to go to save yourself.
  • One level in a lava-filled factory in Frogger 3D: He's Back! had numerous platforms that would open up about four seconds after Frogger hopped on them, and sometimes faster. The level was appropriately titled Platform Madness.
  • The original Frogger had groups of turtles that periodically dived underwater, drowning you if you were still riding on their backs at the time.
  • There were a few of these in the Harry Potter games- Ones that disappeared after you stepped on them (although if you had autojump on and kept your finger pressed on the forward key, you could get past them) and ones that folded in and out of the wall at intervals.
  • Bio Menace has these in a couple of levels. At least one set is not required to finish the level in which it appears.
  • The first Rayman game features many of these, also including one type of cloud platform. They only disappear temporarily, but while some just disappear for a few moments after you've stepped on them, others will disappear and reappear of their own accord, which can really screw you up if you didn't notice it vanish and reappear by itself or time your leap correctly before you actually jumped on it.
  • Jumper series feature two types of temporary platforms. One, coloured blue, falls shortly after Ogmo stands on it, but can still be used once it lands. The second one, red, crumbles instead of falling. It appears in Jumper Two Editor and Jumper Three.
  • Collapsing floor tiles in Tomb Raider are easily recognizable from a distance, but usually have fatal falls or spikes below them.
  • There are blocks which disappear after touched in Meat Boy. Super Meat Boy also adds blocks which appear and disappear on fixed intervals.
  • The Wii A Boy and His Blob has these. Unlike other versions of the trope, however, they can actually be beneficial: If you ride one while it's falling, you can safely survive falls that would normally prove fatal.
  • Bonk's Adventure had platforms that pulled themselves apart horizontally when the player landed on them.
  • The Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout has girder-like floating platforms that look as if they could move up or down, but instead disappear and reappear.
  • Fancy Pants Adventures has sand platforms in World 3, usually used to reach high places or to complete a timed challenge.