Lots of enemies are known to adapt the last attack you used on. If the enemy can do this, we can also modify our attacks during a fight, usually by changing its element, so they can always be effective to the enemy's type. This is where this trope comes to play. Adaptive attacks can be modified in a fight, as a way to exploit the weaknesses of the enemy. If the enemy is a demon, the attacks become light-based. If they are heavily armored, let's give the attacks armor-piercing abilities. No matter what kind of enemy you've met, this flexibility will help you pinpoint their weakness, almost every time. Of course, it's usually not automatically done, and require you, the player, to manually use a skill which attach different elements to the weapon, to becomes constantly superior at Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors. Compare Barrier Change Boss. Contrast Adaptive Ability.
Video Game ExamplesAction-Adventure
- In the Metroid Prime games (apart from three), you were able to switch between up to four different beam weapons as the situation demanded for both puzzle solving and exploit enemies' weaknesses. The 2D games and the third game just combined all the upgrades into one beam.
- Final Fantasy X allows you to change your equipped weapon during a battle at the cost of your turn, allowing you to switch from any element (or status effect the enemy may be immune to) as needed.
- In Video Game/Touhou, Tenshi's Sword of Hisou is said to have this ability, by revealing the opponent's nature, and change itself so as to counter that nature. It's just a Informed Ability though, and is never actually shown inside the fighting games.
Non-Video Game ExamplesFilm
- Star Trek: Generations. The Duras sisters used espionage to discover the Enterprise-D's deflector shield frequency. They set their disruptors and photon torpedoes to match that frequency, which allowed their attacks to go through the Enterprise's shields like they weren't even there.
- Star Trek. Borg shields automatically changed their frequency to match that of any phaser attack, which made subsequent attacks at the same frequency useless. The Federation responded by adding phaser adapters to their phasers. These devices switched the phaser to a random frequency after each shot, which neutralized the Borg shield alteration and allowed the attacks to penetrate.
- Champions. The Variable Special Effects advantage allows you to alter the special effect of an attack power so that it can do extra damage against an opponent with a specific weakness. For example, if your opponent has the Limitation of taking double damage from fire attacks, you can define your attack's special effect as "fire" and do double damage to him. If your opponent has a power with the Disadvantage "doesn't work in a radiation field", you can change your attack to use radiation and prevent your opponent from using that power.
- Warhammer 40K: The Tau managed to push back a minor Tyranid fleet by adapting their weaponry to whatever worked best against whatever the fleet was currently sending at them, with the fleet adapting its swarms to what the Tau had used last. For example, countering a wave of Hormagaunts by making them run through tangled vines, countered by the fleet with faster hormagaunts, and finally gaunts doing more damage but more vulnerable to incoming fire.
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