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10 Best Video Game Escapes

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Video games continue to hit greater heights, and technological advancements allow for more profound levels of immersion than ever before. There are many ways for video games to create suspense and get the player’s adrenaline pumped. Tense boss battles or vulnerable situations where players can’t defend themselves are still popular in gaming.

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However, a particularly common trope that video games turn to is a thrilling escape sequence where players need to ditch their surroundings in a limited amount of time. Some games truly understand the art of an effective escape and when it’s the perfect time to turn to this device.

Samus escapes from Planet Zebes in Super Metroid

The Metroid series is one of Nintendo’s most successful franchises. In their final acts, many Metroid games include a self-destruct sequence that shows Samus flee back to her ship before she meets her doom alongside the exploding planet. Super Metroid handles this escape best as Samus works her way backward through Planet Zebes.

It’s an escape that’s tense, but not unfair, and there are several extra challenges that the more capable gamers can tackle during their escape. Super Metroid hides several innocent alien animals that Samus can rescue as she works toward her freedom.

9/10 Umbrella Labs Triggers A Self-Destruct Sequence In Resident Evil 2

Leon Kennedy fights mutated William Birkin in Resident Evil 2

An interesting tradition in many of the original Resident Evil games is that the final sequence includes a self-destruct escape sequence. The most iconic instance of this takes place in Resident Evil 2‘s Umbrella Labs.

Not only does the player have to escape, but they’re forced to defeat a transformed William Birkin and take out a dangerous boss, all while the clock continues to count down. This iconic sequence returns in the Resident Evil 2 remake, but it’s turned into a more chaotic spectacle that loses some of the original’s magic.

8/10 Bionic Commando’s Last Hurrah Gives The Gamer A Minute To Escape

A cyborg attacks during final escape in NES Bionic Commando

The original Nintendo Entertainment System’s Bionic Commando is a testament to just how strange video games were during the 1980s. Capcom’s intense action title features an unbelievable final boss who needs to be seen to be believed. However, the destruction of Master D’s disembodied head activates a self-destruct sequence.

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The player is left with only 60 seconds to maximize their abilities and escape, which doesn’t allow much room for error. This challenge becomes even more dire when a rampaging cyborg attempts to stop the player.

7/10 Aladdin’s Cave Of Wonders Becomes A Harrowing Race Against Time

Aladdin rides Magic Carpet to escape Cave of Wonders in Genesis Aladdin

There are some surprise diamonds in the rough when it comes to the 16-bit generation of Disney movie tie-in games. Aladdin is a slightly different platforming experience depending on whether it’s played on the Sega Genesis or the Super Nintendo.

Both feature exceptional escape sequences based around the movie’s Cave of Wonders, but the Genesis version is superior. “The Escape” is a satisfying level where Aladdin is chased by flaming boulders, but “Rug Ride” has him race against a tidal wave of molten lava. At the same time, the player must make quick-witted decisions on whether to go high or low to avoid a fiery doom.

6/10 The Escape From Andross’ Lair In Star Fox 64 Comes With Ghostly Guidance

Fox pilots through Andross' Lair in Star Fox 64 final level

Star Fox 64 is one of the Nintendo 64’s first releases, but it’s still viewed as one of the console’s most satisfying experiences. The deep rail shooter has endless personality and extra options to explore. The final level is set on Venom, and after players defeat Andross, they need to conquer one final obstacle before they can relax and enjoy their victory.

Andross’ lair begins to explode, and the player needs to negotiate their way through the circuitous environment. The spirit of James McCloud, Fox’s father, shows the player the right route to take, but keeping up with this ghostly vision is still a challenge.

5/10 Ori And The Blind Forest’s Ginso Tree Escape Is The Game’s Crown Jewel

The Ginso Tree level begins to flood in Ori and the Blind Forest

The Ginso Tree flood escape is considered by many to be the best and most rewarding sequence out of both Ori games. Ori and the Blind Forest has a punishing level where a flooding terrain threatens to consume the player. There’s very little room for error here, and it’s a considerable jump in difficulty from the rest of the game.

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This makes the level’s completion appropriately satisfying. It’s a stressful, precise challenge, but one that’s not unreasonably hard. The level’s music is also so fantastic that it makes losing and repeating the experience less frustrating.

4/10 Uncharted 2 Kicks Off With A Thrilling Train Escape

Nathan Drake escapes from a falling train in Uncharted 2

Sequels face tremendous scrutiny and high expectations, and Naughty Dog has done incredible work with the ongoing quality of the Uncharted series. Uncharted 2 starts with an iconic setpiece that trumps everything in its predecessor and immediately sets the tone for this satisfying sequel.

Nathan Drake has to precariously scale a train dangling off the edge of a mountain. The game is designed in a manner where the train’s descent is triggered by Nathan’s progress, which translates into an experience that’s always tense. It feels like a setpiece from a blockbuster feature film.

3/10 Donkey Kong Country Returns Lets A Spider Swarm Loose In “Muncher Marathon”

Donkey and Diddy race from the muncher swarm in Donkey Kong Country Returns

An entertaining yet stressful trope of many sidescrolling video games is a level where a wall of obstacles chases down the player and will result in a game over if they don’t march forward fast enough. Donkey Kong Country Returns (and its 3DS port) is a challenging return to form for Donkey Kong Country fans.

One of the game’s most frustrating levels is “Muncher Marathon,” a non-stop escape where Donkey and Diddy are chased by a swarm of munchers, a frightening breed of arachnids. The player isn’t given any time to collect their thoughts against this invasion.

2/10 Mass Effect 2’s Normandy Escape Is A Catastrophic Encounter

The Normandy is under attack in Mass Effect 2

The Mass Effect series triumphs with its grandiose scope, and its first sequel contains some amazing action sequences that are among the most effective moments from the franchise. Mass Effect 2 features a haunting attack on Normandy by a mysterious hostile ship.

The Normandy’s crew faces serious casualties, and Commander Shepard needs to securely transport Joker to an escape pod. It’s a sequence that immerses the audience in chaos and truly feels hopeless, especially once Shepard gets stranded in space with the destroyed ship.

1/10 Ocarina Of Time Involves Magic And Meteors To Escape Ganon’s Castle

Ganon's Castle conjures begins to fall apart in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Every Legend of Zelda game is an impressive accomplishment, but the Nintendo 64’s debut entry, Ocarina of Time, is still a highlight in the franchise’s lengthy life. Players must undergo a series of challenges during the game’s final sequence. Upon defeating Ganondorf, Link must escape from the evil tyrant’s castle before facing Ganon in his final form.

This escape sequence properly cultivates an epic scope. Flaming meteors rain down upon Link as Princess Zelda uses her magic to guide them both to safety. Zelda’s inclusion makes this escape feel extra special, and it’s a satisfying setup for Link’s final showdown.

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