Homing Laser
Frickin Laser Beams that actively seek out targets like missiles.
Needs Examples Tropeworthy?

(permanent link) added: 2012-12-15 08:33:52 sponsor: Halberd (last reply: 2013-02-04 06:55:59)

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As You Know, missiles are very effective anti-vehicular weapons because when fired, they track down and follow their target to ensure they hit. This also makes them very cool. But you know what would be cooler? If we had lasers that did the same thing!

Who cares if they have no known or plausible way of steering and don't possess the correct attributes to identify a target?! They make for some amazing action sequences, and that's all that matters.

If a sci-fi work contains these, it's more than likely to be on the softer side of the sci-fi spectrum.

Often causes the one on the wrong end to have an Oh Crap moment, especially if they think the shooter has missed, and may be Lampshaded with "How Is That Even Possible?", depending on the hardness of the setting. Or at least, how hard they think it is.

Subtrope of Frickin' Laser Beams, Sister Trope to Homing Projectile, overlaps with Impossibly Cool Weapon. May involve, but is not strictly limited to Roboteching and often leads to a flashier version of the High-Speed Missile Dodge.

This is NOT simply Beam Spam, where so many beams are fired that the target will get hit solely because of the sheer amount of beams (though there's no reason you can't spam Homing Lasers). It also excludes guns that auto-track to keep an otherwise normal, straight-flying beam on the target and any remote reflection, refraction or beam-bending/ splitting devices that can be made to aim at a target. Also does not count if the beams simply bend randomly in-flight; they must actively chase the target(s) in question.

This trope is not strictly limited to lasers per-se. Particle beams and beams of Pure Energy also count, as do beams or bolts made of any kind of in-universe phlebotinum. Hard Light projectiles also count, though only if they do not imitate the workings of conventional homing weapons. This is where it overlaps with Homing Projectile.


Examples:

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[[folder:Anime]]

  • Gunbuster is the Trope Namer for this, as can be clearly seen from the page quote.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 features a very big one mounted on the Mobile Armour "Regnant".
  • Numerous examples exist in the Eureka Seven universe, including the Devilfish and The END.
  • The same goes for the Eureka Seven Ao universe, particularly where the Secrets are concerned.
  • Zegapain also features these, in the form of the Hraesvelgr's "missiles", which despite their name appear to be simple chunks of Hard Light with no known internal computation systems, aerodynamic properties or explanation of how or why they are capable of following targets other than Rule of Cool.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni has Magitek looking bullets of Hard Light that curve a multitude of times to seek out their target, even flying through keyholes to get at their victims.
  • In Naruto there's one Storm Release (Water + Thunder) Technique that shoots a volley of laser-like bullets that home on the target curving and bending midair.
  • On several scenes of the 'Gall Force' OVA, many ships fire lasers at each other that make 90-degree turns to hit their targets.
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[[folder:Video Games]]
  • The Orbital Frames of Zone of the Enders are known for mixing this with Beam Spam, particularly Jehuty and Anubis.
  • Halo:
    • Charged shots from a plasma pistol will curve off after the nearest target. They won't robotech, but the path of the bolt will bend by up to about fifteen degrees.
    • However subverted with the larger scale Covenant plasma torpedoes (seen briefly in the "escape from the Pillar of Autumn" cutscene in Halo: Combat Evolved, but elaborated upon by the EU), bolts of plasma contained in a magnetic field generated by the vessel that fired them projected over the intended target. As such, it merely appears as if the bolt is chasing the target, when in fact the weapon appears to be more of a continuous "beam" that simply alters its angle to keep on the target, as the plasma bolt is just made to follow the natural path of the field as it tracks.
  • The Predator uses a Plasma Caster that shoots Plasma bolts. It follows the laser sight built into his helmet and in the AvP videogames, the bolt actually homes in on the target. Very useful against those fast-moving aliens!
  • Panzer Dragoon:
    • Dragons fire these, if you hold the button and scroll your cursor over relevant targets. They're much more powerful than your rapid-fire gun, and are guaranteed to hit, but having to lock-on all the targets takes longer, and they don't lock on to projectiles that could otherwise be shot down.
    • In Saga, which is an RPG instead of a Rail Shooter, the downside is instead that they lock-on to targets automatically and indiscriminately, which can be a problem with large crowds if they target several weak Mooks when you wanted to hit a strong one.
  • E-102 Gamma in Sonic Adventure, as well as Tails and Eggman from Sonic Adventure 2, are equipped with homing lasers that behave extremely similarly to Panzer Dragoon's. However, they are platformers with mostly static targets, and not rail shooters where the targets would inevitably go out of range of their own volition. To counter this, the targeting laser eventually dies out, losing your lock on every target, requiring players to lock onto all targets within a short timeframe if they want to fire anything.
  • R-Type's Green powerups fire a laser that bends to hit enemies.
  • Terra's weapon from Mega Man V Spark Chaser. Not only it homes on your enemies, but a single laser can hit multiple times.
  • Ranged energy weapons in StarCraft noticeably curve off after moving targets, even pursuing them beyond their normal attack range.
  • SuperRobotWarsZ Saisei Hen features a new Anti-Gurren Lagann, which fires pink/ purple beams from the ports all over its body that home in on their target, even those fired from the back of the mecha.
  • Solatorobo: The Titano-Machinas' lasers bend at right angles before going to the target.
  • Jak 3: Wastelander: The final Blue Eco Mod for Jak's Morph Gun is the Needle Lazer. You don't even need to aim the gun at your enemies because the laser bullets will find them for you.
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