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[[quoteright:308:[[VideoGame/StarTropics http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/flash-of-pain3_star-tropics_7671.png]]]]

In many video games, enemies that don't die from one hit will blink a different colour when damaged. Most of the time, it tends to be white, although it may come in different variants, like red. This particular effect was chosen because it is achieved with a simple PaletteSwap, a cheap operation for early video hardware.[[note]]Using palette swap means that there cannot be more than one such enemy on screen at a time (or they'll flicker, too) or the other ones must use other entires in the palette table (which is problematic due to its very limited size). That's why it's virtually always reserved for bosses and/or the player character.[[/note]]

The Flash of Pain will definitely be used on a boss that is ImmuneToFlinching, because it conveys that the player's attacks are actually landing damage. Especially important if the boss has a [[AttackItsWeakPoint weak point on its body]] that must be hit in order to cause any damage (in which case usually just the weak part of the enemy will flash). Absence of this feature is nowadays considered FakeDifficulty. Sometimes the player also flashes in a different color when hit, when the game doesn't feature MercyInvincibility.

Prolonged flashing may also signify that an enemy has MercyInvincibility after you have attacked it, in which case you must wait for it to stop flashing before you can damage it again.

A related analogue occurs in first-person videogames, where - because the player is [[FirstPersonGhost unable to see their own character]] - if the player takes a hit, the ''entire screen'' will flash momentarily to indicate damage.

In some cases when a boss TurnsRed, it will look the same as the Flash Of Pain, except it will flash repeatedly on its own.

This trope follows the RuleOfPerception, of course, as the VideoGame character presumably doesn't see his opponent flashing white for a split second.

See also ShowsDamage.



[[folder: Action Adventure ]]

* ''Videogame/TheBindingOfIsaac'' has enemies flashing deep red when hit while the player character has a subtle flash and MercyInvincibility. The [[PaletteSwap multicoloured]] [[UndergroundMonkey Champion]] variants of regular enemies will flash in whatever colour contrasts their body the most.
* The enemies in the original ''VideoGame/BlasterMaster'' games do this.
* Both Link and bosses in ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' games.
* ''VideoGame/{{Lagoon}}'' applies this to the player character, Nasir, as well as enemies.
* Bosses and enemies in ''VideoGame/{{Shantae}}'' series either flash when damaged or play a "taking damage" animation.
* ''VideoGame/{{Snailiad}}'' uses this.

[[folder: Action Game ]]
* Enemies with multiple hitpoints and bosses in ''[[VideoGame/BattleCity Tank Force]]'' flash white.
* Larger enemies, bosses and walls in ''VideoGame/HeavyBarrel''
* Bosses blink white in ''VideoGame/LastAlert''.
* ''Skeleton Krew'' had certain obstacles moving along a set path that displayed the same flash that enemies did when shot. However, those obstacles are really indestructible, and the flash is meaningless in their case.

[[folder: Beat Em Up ]]
* Many {{Creator/Konami}} games do this when bosses are hit combined with [[TurnsRed turning red]] such as ''VideoGame/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesTheArcadeGame'', ''VideoGame/TheSimpsons'', and ''VideoGame/XMen''.
* Bosses in ''VideoGame/DoubleDragonNeon'' flash orange when damaged and rapidly flash when low on health. [[BigBad Skullmageddon]] even references this in one of his pause menu lines.

[[folder: Fighting Game ]]
* This shows up occasionally in the VideoGame/CapcomVsWhatever series.
** In ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom'', certain characters, like the Hulk, could take a shot without flinching, flashing red to show they did this. Hidden character Mecha-Zangief could take an infinite number of shots at the cost of being unable to block.
** In ''VideoGame/TatsunokoVsCapcom'', the giants and [[spoiler:Yami]] do. This is because giant characters, who fight alone, don't flinch when damaged (as compensation for not having a partner).

[[folder: First Person Shooter ]]
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Marathon}}'' trilogy, S'pht compilers not only flash into static when they're hit, that's also their death animation.
* ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'': The screen will flash red in the approximate direction that you've taken damage (or, in the case of being set on fire, a subtle red ring will appear and continue to flash).

[[folder: Multiple genres ]]
* The enemies in platforming parts of ''VideoGame/ActRaiser'' blink red and white when hit. Even those which require single hit, blink red before exploding. In town building parts, the enemies blink white when hit.
* Enemies and bosses in ''Spin Master'' blink red when hit.
* ''Vice: Project Doom'': The enemies blink yellow when hit.

[[folder: Platform Game ]]
* Bosses in the first ''VideoGame/AdventureIsland'' game blink purple when hit. Subsequent games use white color instead.
* The enemies in ''[[VideoGame/BatmanSunsoft Batman: Return of the Joker]]'' for the NES blink red and crates blink white after getting hit.
* Strangely enough, enemies and bosses in ''VideoGame/{{Bug}}'' only flash red in the Sega Saturn version. The PC version averts this. Bug himself flashes green when he's under MercyInvincibility, also only in the Saturn version.
* All of the ''VideoGame/{{Contra}}'' games have the enemies flash when your shots are dealing damage, but in ''Contra: Hard Corps'' the bosses and minibosses go through an almost psychedelic pattern of colors while taking damage. It's especially unsettling with the larger bosses.
* Enemies in ''VideoGame/DynamiteHeaddy'' always flash white with the same little sound effect whenever they take damage without dying.
* ''VideoGame/{{Gish}}'' flashes red in his game when he is damaged.
* The enemies in ''VideoGame/JourneyToSilius'' flash pink after getting hit for some reason.
* Most bosses in ''Franchise/{{Kirby}}'' games, along with some stronger enemies.
* The ''VideoGame/MegaMan'' series of games: regular enemies with flash invisible for about 2 frames, while bosses and Mega Man himself flash white.
* Many enemies in ''VideoGame/{{Metroid}}''. Sometimes, a boss will flash yellow when an attack will just stun it, and red when attacks start to damage it for real.
* If a boss in ''VideoGame/MoonCrystal'' is hit, the entire screen flashes white.
* [[PlayerCharacter Hayate]] will flash white in ''VideoGame/NinjaSenki'', but other enemies don't flash much.
* Enemies in ''Franchise/RatchetAndClank'' flash red when damaged.
* Bosses and some other things with multiple hitpoints flash white in most 2D ''SonicTheHedgehog'' games when damaged. If [[BigBad Eggman]] is piloting a machine, he'll also display a surprised reaction while also facing the screen when his vehicle is damaged.
* The bosses in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros2'' and the ''VideoGame/NewSuperMarioBros'' series.
* Bosses in ''VideoGame/{{Cuphead}}'' will flash when they take damage.

[[folder: Real Time Strategy ]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Z}}'' has robots that flash white when hit by a bullet. Both for the robots you control and the enemy, presumably to help you notice when your units are being attack by something slightly off screen.

[[folder: Role Playing Game ]]
* Most enemies in ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger''.
* In many of the ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' games, enemies will "flash" or otherwise demonstrate that they'd been attacked with a special effect. Even as early as the original ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyI'' for NES, the flashes would be color-coordinated to the type of weapon or spell used.
* The Kooma Panda and Ursa Circus dream eaters in ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts3D'' flash red when struck with weak attacks to indicate that they're ImmuneToFlinching. Oddly, the multitudes of other enemies with the same ability don't flash at all.
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' has a variation: your squadmates' status bar icons flash red when they take health damage, rather than the squadmates themselves.

[[folder: Shoot Em Up ]]
* Bosses and some enemies in arcade ''Bells And Whistles'' flash when hit.
* Enemies in ''VideoGame/{{Dogyuun}}'' flash yellow when damaged.
* Enemies in ''VideoGame/DonPachi'' series have been known to flash different color depending on game. In one game, they flash blue while in the other, they flash gold color.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Gradius}} [=ReBirth=]'', shots that inflict damage will have red explosions, while shots that inflict no damage will have blue explosions.
* Characters in ''VideoGame/MushihimeSama'' series flash yellow though.
* Enemies in ''VideoGame/RadiantSilvergun'' flash white when hit.
* In ''VideoGame/SpheresOfChaos'', it's possible to add an option for the whole screen to flash when a black hole is hit.
* Bosses in ''[[VideoGame/SpaceInvaders Super Space Invaders / Majestic Twelve]]'' flash when hit on a vulnerable area.
* ''VideoGame/ThunderForce'', like ''Gradius'' above, uses red bursts for damaging shots and blue bursts for shots that fail to inflict damage. However, the Blade weapon in ''Thunder Force IV'' [[InterfaceScrew creates red bursts for EVERY hit even if it doesn't do damage]].
* Enemies and bosses in ''VideoGame/{{Zanac}} Neo''.
* Flashes of pain often happen in ''VideoGame/ZeroWing''.

[[folder: Wide Open Sandbox ]]
* Most mobs in ''VideoGame/{{Minecraft}}'' jump back a bit and flash red when you hit them, including players.