Created By: Zuxtron on March 16, 2017 Last Edited By: Zuxtron on March 24, 2017
Troped

Combat Resuscitation

When you run out of Hit Points, you fall down until a teammate helps you back up. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/crowner.php/AlternativeTitles/IncapacitationAndRevivalSystem

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In most games, running out of Hit Points means your character dies instantly, or at least suffers a Non-Lethal K.O.. The consequences of this are usually either losing a life, being sent back to the nearest CheckPoint, having to reload your save file, or sometimes being forced to start the whole game all over again.

For team-based multiplayer games, these solutions aren't always viable: it would be frustrating for your team to be forced to continue the mission by themselves with a man down, not to mention how boring it would be for the dead player to be forced to wait for them to finish. To remedy this, such games may opt for the Incapacitation And Revival System: characters who run out of Hit Points are not immediately removed from the game, instead being put in a helpless state where they aren't of much use to their team, but can be revived by a teammate and brought back into the fight. A Game Over is usually attained when the whole team is incapacitated at the same time.

Usually, reviving a player consists of running up to them, and holding down a button. This will cause a meter to fill up, slowly or quickly depending on the game. Once it's full, the fallen player will stand up like nothing happened, although they will usually have less than full health. Depending on how severe injuries are in the game, one might wonder why they need help to get up when they can clearly stand by themselves afterwards.

There is usually a time limit on reviving a player: take too long to help them, and they die for real. This is often justified in-universe as the character bleeding out from their injuries. Some games also give downed characters a health meter separate from their regular one: enemies will Kick Them While They Are Down, so you'd better save them before they take too much damage.

Some single-player games may also opt for this. In these cases, you may have a way to revive yourself, such as by killing an enemy or using an item, or may be left at the mercy of your AI partners who may or may not decide to help you out. In games where you control multiple characters, such as strategy and role-playing games, you may be able to revive a character by ordering another party member to do so.

There are several possible variants of this system:

  1. The level of helplessness of downed players can vary: sometimes, they become completely incapacitated, unable to even move. They may be allowed to slowly crawl around in order to get to a safer location for their teammates to revive them. Sometimes, they may even be allowed to keep fighting while in their downed state, although in many such cases downed players are limited to using only their sidearm.
  2. How many times a player is allowed to be downed can also vary: some games allow you to be knocked down and revived an unlimited amount of times, while others may put a limit after which you can no longer be revived.
  3. In games with a more realistic setting, not all injuries will result in the player being put in the incapacitated state: lethal wounds such as headshots or explosions may kill the character outright without giving teammates a chance to revive them.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Action-Adventure 
  • Ghostbusters: The Video Game: If one of the five team members (including the player character) runs out of health, they will fall on their back and be unable to do anything other than complain until a teammate helps them up, or a certain amount of time elapses, after which they can stand up on their own. The only way to lose is if everyone is incapacitated at the same time.

    Fighting Game 

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Call of Duty series
    • Players with the Last Stand, Final Stand, or Second Chance perk (depending on the game) can do this. They are limited to crawling slowly and using their pistol (except with Final Stand, which allows the use of your primary weapon).
    • Nazi Zombies uses this mechanic: downed players can use pistols and move slowly as if they had Second Chance, but will eventually bleed out and die. Dead players will respawn once the next round starts.
  • In Left 4 Dead and its sequel, incapacitated characters are immobile but can use a pistol to help clear away infected while their friends help them up. After being incapacitated twice, a player's screen will turn black and white, a Heartbeat Soundtrack will be heard, and if a first-aid kit is not used on them, their next incapacitation will result in their death. Dead players can later be revived by finding them trapped in a closet later on, or by using a Magical Defibrillator in the sequel. Additionally, some special infected can inflict a special type of incapacitation with their attack: a Hunter's Deadly Lunge will pin a player to the ground, a Smoker can drag a player away and strangle them, a Charger can pick up a player and repeatedly slam them into the ground, and a Jockey can jump on a player's head, interfering with their ability to move by shoving them around.
  • In Rainbow Six Siege, players who run out of health from a non-lethal wound will become injured: they cannot use a weapon, and will bleed out after some time if not revived by a teammate. Injured characters can crawl, which causes them to bleed out faster, or apply pressure on their wound, which stops them from moving but also slows down their bleeding. A possible tactic is to intentionally leave an enemy in the injured state to act as bait: when their friends come to revive them, you can easily shoot them.
  • In Borderlands, players who run out of health are referred to as "crippled". They cannot move, but can still attack (albeit with reduced accuracy). Killing an enemy while in this state will grant you a Second Wind, allowing you to revive yourself. Some characters even have skills that make them stronger when crippled.
  • Halo 5: Guardians introduced a Revive system for when a player's health is depleted, allowing their teammates to rescue them. But while helpful enough on co-op, in single player your NPC teammates are much harder to count on...
  • Metroid Prime: Federation Force allows team members to revive defeated players during the campaign mode.
  • In Star Wars: Republic Commando, you play as Boss, the commanding officer of a Clone commando squad, and if you get downed, you can order your squadmates to either mop up the remaining enemies without you and revive you afterwards, or come to your rescue right away (exposing themselves to danger) — this makes even going down a tactical challenge for the player. And, of course, if one of your AI teammates goes down, you can either revive him yourself or order another to do it for you using Squad Controls.
  • Payday 2 has revives with a timer, after which your character is "taken into custody" by the police and is not released until a random amount of time has elapsed (you can also be taken into custody if caught off guard by the police during stealth capers). Revival usually requires proximity, but a high level Mastermind perk allows you to revive others just by shouting at them from a distance (even while you're downed yourself)—which is as broken as it sounds.
  • Brink: Incapacitated players can either respawn as part of the next wave or wait for a medic to give them a revive syringe, and some characters can learn abilities that allow them to continue contributing to combat while incapacitated; High level Medics can administer revive syringes to themselves to get back into the fight faster, Operatives can deploy a cortex bomb, detonating themselves in order to invoke Taking You with Me, and high level characters of all classes can learn Downed Fire, allowing them to continue firing their secondary weapon while waiting for a medic.

    Platform Game 
  • Kirby Mass Attack: In this adventure, Kirby is split into 10 and has to find a way to turn himself back to normal. In the stages, if one Kirby gets hit by a hazard, that Kirby will turn into an "angel" that another Kirby must pull back to the ground before that dying Kirby flies away; if you succeed, the dying Kirby will be turned back normal.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Dawn of War II: In the campaign, downed heroes can be revived by having another hero go to them and revive them (in the orks' case, presumably by kicking him in the fork), or be in range of someone using a medpack. If every hero is downed, the level ends with everyone getting an emergency teleport. In Retribution's ork campaign, this leads to the particularly amusing combo of using Brikkfist to crash into the enemy and fight until dead, detonate a bomb hidden on his body, then use Spookums' grappling hook to drag him away where he can be revived safely.
  • In The Settlers 5, if one of your Hero Units loses all their health, they drop down unconscious and can be revived again if near a friendly unit and no enemy is around.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • The Mass Effect effect series introduced the revival system in Mass Effect 2 (the first game instead used medigels to heal squadmates), and used it to great effect in Mass Effect 3 multiplayer, which featured enemies that could immediately incapacitate you until the end of the current wave (e.g. Banshees) as well as enemies who actively finished you off after you went down and your teammates couldn't reach you (basically, every Cerberus enemy ever). Notably, the multi-player introduced revive countdowns, which single-player didn't have.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition introduced in-combat revives after the previous two games only featured magical resuscitations and After-Combat Recovery.
  • In the God Eater series, defeated God Eaters must be revived via Link-Aid. This involves another character sharing a portion of their own health to heal their fallen comrade. There is a timer counting down during this time, and if it reaches zero, or the whole team gets incapacitated at the same time, the character is sent back to the spawn point and revived with full health, at the cost of an Endurance point. Running out of Endurance results in a failed mission.
  • In Soul Sacrifice, you can Save fallen allies, reviving them at the cost of your health. In an interesting twist, you can also choose to Sacrifice them to unleash a powerful attack before killing them. Once dead, a player becomes a ghost who can help out by inflicting buffs and debuffs.

    Tabletop Game 
  • In early versions of Dungeons & Dragons, if a character is reduced to a range of 0 to -9 Hit Points they fall unconscious. They continue to lose 1 Hit Point per combat round (1 minute) until they reach -10 Hit Points and die. If someone else applies first aid of some kind, including healing magic of some kind (a Cure Wounds spell, potion of Healing, etc.) before then, the Hit Point loss is stopped. If their Hit Points are raised above 0 then they can start healing normally.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • In Gears of War, players who run out of health from non-lethal injury are Down But Not Out: they are completely helpless and will die from almost any attack (except in Execution game modes, where downed characters are immune to long-range attacks and must be finished off up close and personal). Finishing Moves can be performed on downed players. Additionally, downed players can use a frag grenade to perform a suicide attack on nearby enemies.
  • In Resident Evil 5, if a player or their partner gets critically injured by attacks which are not One-Hit Kill, they will enter the "Dying" status. A dying player can be healed with the help of a partner (or fully healed if the partner is carrying a First Aid Spray), and the time limit of bleedout depends on the difficulty level.
  • In Warframe, incapacitated players bleed out for a few seconds. If any other players are nearby, they can run near the downed player and hold a contextual "revive" button that brings the downed player back to life. The downed player can still fire their secondary weapon while bleeding out. If you're playing solo, or your teammates are too late, you're out of luck and die.
  • In the The Last of Us multiplayer, players can get downed by most attacks. If they are hit by molotovs, burned by flame throwers, or get headshots with sniper rifles they die instantly. Downed players can still crawl to safety to get patched up by their teammates and their enemies can finish them of with flashy executions, though smart ones might also use them as bait.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Final Fantasy Tactics has a rare single-player example of this trope: characters who run out of health are knocked down, and have a timer appear above them. If you don't revive them or end the fight before it reaches zero, they suffer Final Death and turn into a crystal which can be used by another unit to heal themselves.
  • X-COM:
    • The original X-COM had a system where units could gain a shock value by getting injured. Should it exceed their current health value, the unit becomes unconscious. Since injuries usually drain health faster than shock would recover, this means that these soldiers would usually die if they don't get revived by a fellow soldier. However, there are some occasions where unconscious soldiers can actually revive on their own.
    • In XCOM: Enemy Unknown and its sequel XCOM 2, soldiers who lose all their Hit Points sometimes drop down unconscious and die after 3 turns. Teammates with medikits can stabilize them, but instead of joining the battle again they stay unconscious. The benefit of this is that they can join your squad again in future missions. Supports (XCom EU) and Specialists (XCom2) can unlock an ability that actually lets them join the battle again, but with only one health point, and if they are downed again they are dead for good.

Community Feedback Replies: 39
  • March 16, 2017
    Zuxtron
    These examples are mostly from memory or info I found on a wiki about a game I haven't played much of. If I got some details wrong, please correct them.
  • March 16, 2017
    Malady
    How is this different than using the revive item of Standard RPG Items/
  • March 16, 2017
    Zuxtron
    You (usually) don't use an item for this. Rather, you go up to a fallen teammate and press a button to help them stand. It's most commonly found in real-time multiplayer games.

    I thought it was trope-worthy since lots of games have this system or similar.

    Perhaps the inclusion of Final Fantasy Tactics is inappropriate for this, I might remove it form the examples since it's single-player and turn-based.
  • March 16, 2017
    Generality
    • Ghostbusters The Video Game: If one of the five team members (including the player character) runs out of health, they will fall on their back and be unable to do anything other than complain until a teammate helps them up, or a certain amount of time elapses, after which they can stand up on their own. The only way to lose is if everyone is incapacitated at the same time.
  • March 16, 2017
    Wunderbolt
    In Warframe, incapacitated players bleed out for a few seconds. If any other players are nearby, they can run near the downed player and hold a contextual "revive" button that brings the downed player back to life. The downed player can still fire their secondary weapon while bleeding out. If you're playing solo, or your teammates are too late, you're out of luck and die.
  • March 16, 2017
    crazysamaritan
    First, the bullets in the description are taking up too much space and go into unneeded details. Explain by context and contrast, not "this is one way, a second way, a third way, and more!"

    I would argue that this draft overlaps with Items which revive Only Mostly Dead characters, and that trope may (needs reviewing) be a legitimate subtrope to both.

    I suggest that the description is reworded to point out that usually single-player examples still tend to have teams of characters to interact with.

    Many fantasy games have some sort of revive spell (check for existing page to link as subtrope), such as Dragon Age. The third game in the series introduced (I think it was new to the third game) a mechanic where holding one button would have another character try to patch up the incapacitated character. Kingdom Hearts II used Mickey to return the party (or Sora, if alone) back from an incapacitated state.
  • March 16, 2017
    Getta
    This may not count.
    • Mega Man X 8: The game allows you to bring 2 player characters into a stage; you switch between the two whenever necessary. The two have separate health bars; when one goes down, another will automatically take their place (assuming they don't get hit by spikes or Bottomless Pits). The "revival" comes in the Double Attack Gauge, which, when one of your characters is downed and said gauge is filled to full (by attacking enemies), the gauge will be expended to revive your teammate at 1/4 health.
  • March 17, 2017
    Chabal2
    Dawn Of War II: In the campaign, downed heroes can be revived by having another hero go to them and revive them (in the orks' case, presumably by kicking him in the fork), or be in range of someone using a medpack. If every hero is downed, the level ends with everyone getting an emergency teleport. In Retribution's ork campaign, this leads to the particularly amusing combo of using Brikkfist to crash into the enemy and fight until dead, detonate a bomb hidden on his body, then use Spookums' grappling hook to drag him away where he can be revived safely.
  • March 16, 2017
    Tuckerscreator
  • March 16, 2017
    Kayube
    Metroid Prime Federation Force allows team members to revive defeated players during the campaign mode.
  • March 16, 2017
    Mhazard
    • In Resident Evil 5, if a player or their partner gets critically injured by attacks which are not One Hit Kill, they will enter the "Dying" status. A dying player can be healed with the help of a partner (or fully healed if the partner is carrying a First Aid Spray), and the time limit of bleedout depends on the difficulty level.
  • March 17, 2017
    Arivne
  • March 17, 2017
    Koveras
    My main issue here is that the "Incapacitation" part of this trope is basically the Non Lethal KO, and the only additional thing (which is definitely tropable on its own) is the Revival system. The key difference between the revival subsystem and the regular NL-KO with After Combat Recovery is that teammates can revive each other during the fight, rather than after it. The gameplay trade-off here, meanwhile, is related to Resting Recovery, only instead of exposing yourself to danger (by standing still) to recover your own HP, you do so to resuscitate an ally. An important difference to healing positions, Phoenix Downs, etc., is that such a recovery system normally does not expend any resources except your time out under fire.

    Another common variation not listed above, but commonly found in multiplayer games is a countdown during which a fellow player may be revived: after a player goes down, their teammates only have a limited window of opportunity to revive them, after which they are gone until the end of the round or some other extended period of time. Some enemies may also be nasty enough to proactively finish off downed players if not distracted from them in some way.

    • In Star Wars Republic Commando, you play as Boss, the commanding officer of a Clone commando squad, and if you get downed, you can order your squadmates to either mop up the remaining enemies without you and revive you afterwards, or come to your rescue right away (exposing themselves to danger) — this makes even going down a tactical challenge for the player. And, of course, if one of your AI teammates goes down, you can either revive him yourself or order another to do it for you using Squad Commands.
    • The Mass Effect effect series introduced the revival system in Mass Effect 2 (the first game instead used medigels to heal squadmates), and used it to great effect in Mass Effect 3 multiplayer, which featured enemies that could immediately incapacitate you until the end of the current wave (e.g. Banshees) as well as enemies who actively finished you off after you went down and your teammates couldn't reach you (basically, every Cerberus enemy ever). Notably, the multi-player introduced revive countdowns, which single-player didn't have.
    • Dragon Age Inquisition introduced in-combat revives after the previous two games only featured magical resuscitations and After Combat Recovery.
    • Payday 2 has revives with a timer, after which your character is "taken into custody" by the police and is not released until a random amount of time has elapsed (you can also be taken into custody if caught off guard by the police during stealth capers). Revival usually requires proximity, but a high level Mastermind perk allows you to revive others just by shouting at them from a distance (even while you're downed yourself)—which is as broken as it sounds.
  • March 17, 2017
    Zuxtron
    I suppose this could be considered a sub-trope of Non Lethal KO, and possibly Only Mostly Dead.

    The timer variation was mentioned along with the health meter, since in most cases health bars as well as timers serve to motivate allies to revive fallen allies as fast as they can, but it may be deserving of its own bullet point.
  • March 17, 2017
    Malady
    Sort by game type, like other Video Game Tropes?
  • March 17, 2017
    Astaroth
    Brink: Incapacitated players can either respawn as part of the next wave or wait for a medic to give them a revive syringe, and some characters can learn abilities that allow them to continue contributing to combat while incapacitated; High level Medics can administer revive syringes to themselves to get back into the fight faster, Operatives can deploy a cortex bomb, detonating themselves in order to invoke Taking You With Me, and high level characters of all classes can learn Downed Fire, allowing them to continue firing their secondary weapon while waiting for a medic.
  • March 17, 2017
    CactusFace
    • In For Honor players that where not executed or fell out of the map can be revived by their teammates.
    • In XCOM Enemy Unknown and its sequel XCOM 2 soldiers who loose all their hitpoints sometimes drop down unconcious and die after 3 turns. Teammates with medikits can stabilize them, but instead of joining the battle again they stay unconcious. The benefit of this is that they can join your squad again in future missions. Supports (X Com EU) and Specialists (X Com 2) can unlock an ability that actually lets them join the battle again, but with only one health point and if they are downed again they are dead for good.
  • March 17, 2017
    Zuxtron
    Games are now sorted by genre.
  • March 17, 2017
    Getta
    Does my Mega Man X 8 example count?
  • March 17, 2017
    Zuxtron
    It sounds a bit too different to me. If I understand it correctly, the defeated character is completely removed from the game until you revive them, which can be done from anywhere by using a special move. This trope would be about when characters who run out of health fall down and need help from someone else to stand back up.
  • March 17, 2017
    Zuxtron
    I just realized that the current name (Incapacitation and Revival System) might not be the best, since it could easily describe any game where incapacitated characters can be revived, including most turn-based RPGs where you just use a Phoenix Down or revival spell on them.

    So if you guys have a better idea for a name, feel free to share.
  • March 17, 2017
    Owlivia
    I'm pretty sure this happens in the Scare Scraper in Luigis Mansion Dark Moon.
  • March 17, 2017
    Getta
    • Kirby Mass Attack: In this adventure, Kirby is split into 10 and has to find a way to turn himself back to normal. In the stages, if one Kirby gets hit by a hazard, that Kirby will turn into an "angel" that another Kirby must pull back to the ground before that dying Kirby flies away; if you succeed, the dying Kirby will be turned back normal.
  • March 17, 2017
    Wunderbolt
    Maybe call it Teammate Revival or Wizard Needs Revival Badly, though the latter may be too obscure to use.
  • March 18, 2017
    Arivne
    Non-Video Game Examples

    Tabletop Games
    • In early versions of Dungeons And Dragons, if a character is reduced to a range of 0 to -9 Hit Points they fall unconscious. They continue to lose 1 Hit Point per combat round (1 minute) until they reach -10 Hit Points and die. If someone else applies first aid of some kind, including healing magic of some kind (a Cure Wounds spell, potion of Healing, etc.) before then, the Hit Point loss is stopped. If their Hit Points are raised above 0 then they can start healing normally.
  • March 18, 2017
    Zuxtron
    ^^ I don't like Wizard Needs Revival Badly since it's a snowclone. Teammate Revival is a bit better, might go with it if others agree.
  • March 18, 2017
    CactusFace
    How about Downed But Not Dead? Just throwing it out there.

    • In the The Last Of Us Multiplayer players can get downed by most attacks. If they are hit by molotovs, burned by flame throwers, or get headshots with sniper rifles they die instandly. Downed players can still crawl to safety to get patched up by their teammates and their enemies can finish them of with flashy executions. Though smart ones might also use them as bait.

    • The original X Com had a system where units could gain a shock value by getting injured. Should it exceede their curend health value the unit becomes unconcious. Since injuries usually drain health faster than shock would recover, this means that these soldiers would usually die if they don't get revived by a fellow soldier. However, there are some ocasions where unconcious soldiers can actually revive on their own.

    • In The Settlers 5 if one of your Hero Units looses all health they drop down unconcious and can be revived again if near a friendly unit and no enemy is around.
  • March 18, 2017
    AHI-3000
    Any alternate title suggestions?
  • March 18, 2017
    Getta
    Maybe Team member Revival Mechanic.
  • March 19, 2017
    Koveras
    ^ That would include out-of-combat resurrections, too. Maybe Combat Resuscitation Mechanic?
  • March 19, 2017
    Zuxtron
    So far I'm leaning towards "Combat Resuscitation" or "Down But Not Out" for the name.
  • March 20, 2017
    Zuxtron
    Bump
  • March 20, 2017
    Wunderbolt
    I Get Knocked Down, You Pick Me Up again. Combat Resuscitation could imply objects like Phoenix Down or any Resurrection spell. Does this count the Battle Rez mechanics in World of Warcraft and the like?
  • March 21, 2017
    Getta
    I guess current name already work well, because it specifies a "system". Stuff like reviving spells are usually not an integral part of a game system unlike this one.
  • March 22, 2017
    Koveras
    So do you have a crowner for the title?
  • March 22, 2017
    Zuxtron
    Sorry, I'm kinda new to making a trope page, so I didn't realize I was supposed to make one. Here's the link, hopefully I did this correctly:

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/crowner.php/AlternativeTitles/IncapacitationAndRevivalSystem
  • March 23, 2017
    Koveras
    ^ You are not required to make one, but crowners are how we usually go about picking trope titles from among several candidates.
  • March 23, 2017
    Zuxtron
    So far, Combat Resuscitation seems to be winning the poll. I guess I'll see if that's still the case by tomorrow, and launch it then.
  • March 24, 2017
    Arial
    In the Marion&Luigi RPG series, when a character is K Od in battle, they remain unconscious until the other bro(s) revive them with a 1-Up. The other bro will even carry the K Od one while being attacked to prevent any further harm to him, and it slows his movements for dodging.
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