Boss villains are usually invulnerable all over their body, with the exception of weak pointswhich you can attackFor Massive Damage.
Therefore, if you see a shiny or glowing target anywhere on the boss villain's body, chances are that's where you need to attack. Common targets are the head, eyes (particularly if it's a cyclops), hands (if the monster is giant), tail, groin (if it's male), the inside of the mouth, any built-in weapons, or a soft underbelly. Machines often have a red Power Crystal or Heart Drive that practically screams "Hit me!".
If the boss is particularly large, it might require a difficult trip to get there. Sometimes, the weak point may not be exposed right away, meaning it may require a little ingenuity on your part to get it out in the open. Sometimes the target will be reachable only when the boss does a certain move, in which A.I. Roulette or Artificial Stupidity must be in play to keep the game winnable. This is particularly true for Platformers, Action Adventure games, and Third Person Shooters.
Quite often, this weak spot targeting becomes a mundane job for your average hero team. The Monster of the Week attacks, and all attacks are useless. The hero team uses a computer or some other way to find the weak spot, then finishes the monster in . Usually even after a whole season of having his monsters beat with this, the villain does not learn to cover that tiny weak spot for his next invincible monster.
Although fiction may take this a little far, it is realistic: Real Life tanks and other armored vehicles are weak on the top, bottom, and rear, but stronger on the front and sides. Hence, in World War 2, special vehicles called "tank destroyers" were tasked with the job of outflanking enemy tanks and destroying from behind. Nowadays, helicopter gunships or infantry with anti-tank rocket launchers do this job. Anti-tank missiles often fly above the tank and come down at it, instead of going straight at it.
And if you go back further, by the 1400's, European armour had developed to the point where the entire body could be covered in metal plating, making a fully-armored knight more or less impervious to attack. With a weapon such as a sword, the only way to overcome full plate armour would be to strike at exposed portions of the armor, namely the armpit, neck, and the groin. If disabled, an enemy could be finished off by having a dagger inserted into the vision slot of their helmet. Knifemen like this were common, but most battles were done with the intention of taking prisoners for ransom, so killing them was considered wasteful. The armpits, neck and groin (and all weak areas) could also be armored with mail. Crushing weapons such as large battle axes and hammers and cudgels were most effective against it. Although well padded, there is only so much trauma a person can take.
Named for the line in the E3 2006 Sony presentation.
Compare Tactical Suicide Boss; Contrast Fake Weakness. See also Fantastic Fragility and Untouchable Until Tagged. Compare and contrast Situational Damage Attack; while any attack will become stronger if they hit weak point, SDA's damage is variable by itself (and both SDA and this can overlap For Massive Damage).
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In Vinland SagaThorkell has a glass jaw, him out cold. Rarely happens, what with him being several feet taller than nearly everyseries.
In Mazinger Z when a Mechanical Beast seemed too powerful Kouji, Sayaka, Prof. Yumi and the rest of scientists of the Institute used to examine footage of the battle to try to come up with a strategy or find a weak point. Good examples were Bikong O9 (its weak point were the horns jutting out of its head) or Jinray S1 (It was aMechanical Beast flew and struck at Match. It beat Mazinger-Z and fled without Kouji even knowing what had hit him. However its weak point were the legs where its rockets were located. Kouji defeated it by destroying ).
In Neon Genesis Evangelion, every Angel has a bright red core which is its sole weak point. Attacks on other parts of its body are usually healed almost instantly; even weapons of mass destruction can only render them immobile for a time until they eventually regenerate all damage. This is the main reason for employing the Evangelions against the Angels; only by creating an opposing AT field can the core be made vulnerable.
Inverted at least once in Saint Seiya. Marin taught Seiya that if your adversary is too strong, you attack his/her STRONG point. The theory went if you destroy his/her best weapon, finish your enemy off will be an easy task. It was played straight times, though -like in the Seiya and Shiryu fight-.
In Bokurano, the weak points for the giant robots are balls with gloving points on the outside, quite sensibly hidden under massive layers of armor. They are later revealed to be the cockpit containing their human pilots.
The griffin dragon in Mahou Sensei Negima! had ridiculously small weak point (due to the weapon used, the characters didn't have a better alternative) that an amnesiac Yuemanaged to hit with a little knife.
In Scrapped Princess, a Peacemaker Proxy could only be destroyed by destroying a small glowing crystal-like object that could only be revealed by powerful magic destroying the ever-regenerating slime that the proxy is made of.
The Big Creepy-Crawlies of Blue Gender are covered in tough armor that renders them almost immune to small arms fire, but have a small tube (referred to as "the core") usually mounted on their heads. Shoot that thing and the bug drops. The only way to kill Blue without hitting the core is to use a Humongous Mecha...unless of course you're Marlene.
Happens in Ghost in the Shell all the time. When facing heavily armored opponents without proper equipment, the usual tactic is to get on its back and tear open a hatch to either fry the electronic controls or shoot the driver in the head.
It's also the preferred course of action for most villains who try to kill the Major. People try to crush her head or put a large caliber bullet through it at least .
Full Metal Panic! had the Behemoth, a hugeAS which requires the Lambda Driver to even remain standing. Its armor is so thick that no weapon can damage it and the Lambda Driver deflects those shots anyway. Sousuke managed to destroy it with the Arbalest by sliding between its legs and firing into the cooling system's exhaust ports per Kaname's instructions. As expected, the Lambda Driver overheated and the Behemoth collapsed under its own weight, killing the pilot.
Darcs of the first and second seasons of Digimon where they free the creatures being controlled by destroying the Mind Control Devices.
Nasty subversion in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 5. villains, Ghiaccio, is completely protected by the unbreakable ice-armor Stand, White Album. Except for a little hole in the back of the neck which allows Ghiaccio to breathe. Solution: shoot there. Easy, right? Nope. Ghiaccio developed a technique called "White Album Gently Weeps" that drives the temperature around him so close to absolute zero that any solid object will bounce off the air. He did this specifically to protect the air vent. In order to kill him, the heroes have to drive him towards a ruined streetlamp so the air vent lands on a jutting shard of metal.
However, destroying the stone instead of separating the homunculus from it works, but it seems the only way to do that is to release all of the souls from it, which only Tim Marcoh has shown the ability to do.
Yaiba during the battle against Gold and Silver in the Underworld arc. it doesn't really work as well as hoped.
Yaiba defeats both Orochi and Onimaru by cutting their horns
Holyland mentions this, as well as where not to aim for, with regards to humans from time to time. For example, a good chop to the back of the neck can stop takedown attempts quickly, but hitting the head above the cheekbones is generally a bad idea.
The crystals on the chests of the Skrugg in Heroman.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: In the Final Battle, when Simon and the eponymous mech fail to overpower the Anti-Spiral's Humongous Mecha, he just takes the smaller Gurren Lagann mecha and boards the Anti-Spiral home planet (which is on the mecha's forehead), finishing off the Anti-Spiral himself.
Bleach: It's more a blind spot but it was the only option to actually have a chance at hitting Aizen. Subverted in that he placed several layers of protection in anticipation.
Sailor Moon fifth episode had Iguara, a lizard monster in that could only be hit from a huge blinking weak spot at the base of her tail. Conveniently, Sailor Moon and Luna discover this right when the monster is holding Sailor Moon up by said tail, giving her a clean shot at it.
In Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam, the Jupiter Empire has a Stone Wall called the Tortuga, with incredibly thick armor and battleship-class beam shields. In the final chapter, Tobia finally destroys it by shoving a beam saber into punching it out the other side, ripping through all the internals in between.
Magical girls in Puella Magi Madoka Magica are extremely resistant to damage, especially if they have self-healing powers; but a direct hit to their brightly-glowing Soul Gem causes instant death. This happened to Mami, Kyoko, and Madoka in a previous timeline. Unusual in that it applies to the protagonist.
Witches are usually obsessed with something. Mami deduced Gertud's weakness, its love for roses, from the rose and flower motif on its barrier.
In Attack on Titan, the Titans' weak point is the back of the neck. Later chapters imply that this is because that's where the human "pilot" is located. The Armored Titan also has an additional weak point: the backs of its knees, unarmored spots on its body.
The only way to defeat a Zonder or Primeval Robo in GaoGaiGar is to remove the core and purify it. Even destroying its body completely will cause it to regenerate itself.
The Z-Master is destroyed from the inside out.
The 11 Planetary Masters of Sol in FINAL can infinitely regenerate, but once the heroes learn the purpose of the Loud G-Stones and Pisa Sol, the Sol Masters are taken down for good.
One The Far Side cartoon shows a pair of cavemen with bows looking at the body of a mammoth, apparently felled by a single arrow striking a certain spot on its underside; other and says, "Maybe we should write that spot down."
In Megalex, the Undergrounders, especially Adamâ, have an uncanny ability to hit the robotic Shock Troopers right in the control chip, through a tiny gap in their armor.
Played oddly straight in the highly-recommendedWhispers in Time: the previous Curb-Stomp Battle left Bass and Proto Man to attempt suicidal attacks on the awakened Zero...who has mostly shrugged them off by the time he comes to kill Mega Man and his successor. The half-healed chest-wound amounts to a weak spot that allows Rock to bring down the Red Ripper, albeit at the cost of his own life.
Interestingly, played straight in Zero Shock. Jack is attacking a giant golem, and so Derflinger advises him to attack its core. However, there are problems: there's no real guarantee that the core is even there. And if there is one, then there might be a chance that it explodes on destruction.
“If it has one. Usually a sphere of some kind. Mostly stones with runes on them, squiggly little things like the of your hand. Some of the time. I think. Saw a few that had just a smiley face and a name on them. had a rude word on it! But anyway, find the core, partner! You might need to do some searching, though, since sometimes there are more than one, sometimes there aren't even any! Most fun of all,some of them blow up! But 's for sure; the best thing is to go for the core, partner!”
In Star Wars, the Rebels learn the Empire's Death Star can be destroyed by attacking a small thermal exhaust port, right below the main port. The exhaust port leads right to the main reactor.
In Attack of the Clones, Anakin demonstrates his tech savvy by ordering the gunship he's on to target the Techno Union Hardcell-class ships (the ones that look like and take off like real-life rocketships) right above their fuel cells.
The Empire learns from the first the Death Star when building the second. Instead of having one exhaust port big enough to shoot through, it has lots of tiny ones across its surface, all too small to be targeted. Unfortunately for them, by the time the Battle of Endor takes place the outer shell isn't finished, allowing the Rebels to fly starfighters straight into the reactor as soon as the planetside shield generator fails. (Really, they should have known better from Hoth than to depend on those things....)
Martia: Not everyone keeps their reproductive organs in the same place, Captain.
But apparently everyone's genitals are a weak point that cripples them with pain when attacked.
In Star Trek: First Contact during the fight with the Borg cube, Captain Picard tells the fleet to fire all their weapons at a specific spot on the cube. Data comments that his coordinates do not appear to be a weak point, but Picard knows it is due to his earlier assimilation by the Borg. It works and the cube blows up.
In Ip Man 2, Ip suggests that the Twister, who has so far taken plenty of punches to little effect, has a weak point, which pays off when his turn comes up.
Dogma. Cut an Angel's wings off and they become human, developing a conscience and the ability to be killed. The Big Bad covertly informs a pair of banished angels of this to inspire them to set up a Thanatos Gambit which is part of HIS Batman Gambit.
Battle: Los Angeles: the squad dissect troops (while it's still alive)) in order to find its weak spot.
In "Imitation General", Glenn Ford devises a plan to ambush advancing German tanks. To get them to expose their weakest point (the underside) they put a crude sign saying (in supposed German) "Bridge Mined" on a small bridge. The German tank commanders don't believe it, but neither will go first and the plan works.
In The Dark Knight Rises, Batman went all out and opened with his strongest hit against Bane the first time, who eventually just started shrugging off hits. Bats got his back broken for his efforts. In his second fight, he's a bit wiser to Bane's condition and fights a bit smarter, going for the mask that sates Bane's constant need for inhaled analgesics. Once Bane is wracked with pain, Bats has the upper hand.
There is a Real Life anti-tank tactic that is similar in which snipers shoot out the advanced optics on tanks, making them completely useless.
Horrifyingly in Pacific Rim, the Kaiju start to do this. Starting with the first one we see in the Action Prologue, they specifically start targeting the pilots and power sources of the Jaegers.
Used in both Sherlock Holmes films: In the first film, Holmes observes that one of the mooks is partially deaf, a heavy drinker, and has a slight limp, and proceeds to bring him down with four attacks; one each to the ear, liver, and knee, plus one to the vocal chords to stop him screaming. In the second, Moriarty's strategy for beating Holmes in a fistfight is to repeatedly target Holmes' injured shoulder.
In Godzilla (2014), Godzilla's gills are quite sensitive and seem to be his most vulnerable area. Also, the female MUTO is too heavily armoured to kill through brute force. Godzilla gets around this by forcing her jaws open and firing a torrent of atomic breath down her throat, disintegrating the MUTO from inside out and blowing her head off.
In Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, during Caesar's final fight with Koba, he's still recovering from a serious wound, the result of a previous assassination attempt by Koba, making him physically weaker. Caesar's solution is to attack the crazed ape more patiently by exploiting a cut that Koba has in him and attacking that over and over.
Referenced in Kelly's Heroes, when fighting Tiger tanks with Shermans.
Oddball: A Tiger's only got one weak spot, and that's it's ass. You've gotta hit it from point blank range, and you've gotta hit it from behind.
The Russian Hind military helicopter that Rife used as an escape vehicle in Snow Crash was made of reinforced steel, capable of shrugging off the type of small-arms fire that Rife (and the Russians who used to use them) was expecting. However, as Hiro (and incidentally, the Afghan rebels years before him) realized, the cockpit glass was just that: Glass. That's right: the Russians made an armoured helicopter that had a cockpit of completely non-bulletproof glass. Hiro was never given an opportunity to demonstrate this, however, as the magnetic properties of the belly of the chopper turned out to be a much more deciding factor in bringing it down in the end.
In Real Life the cockpit is surrounded by armored titanium, aside from the aforementioned glassy bits. Reinforced steel would, in some respects, be a downgrade, especially in the "light enough to take off" department.
Also, the Real Life helicopter could takescreen with no problems. It was a very well armoured craft for such weapons.
The Hobbit. The dragon Smaug was armored with "iron scales and hard gems", but as Bilbo noticed during the dragon's Badass Boast, there was a "large patch in the hollow of his left breast as bare as a snail out of its shell!" The old thrush sees this weak point too, and when Smaug attacks Laketown, it is able to communicate this weakness to Bard the Bowman, who exploits this weakness to slay him with his final - and best - arrow.
Guards! Guards! parodied The Hobbit example. The Night Watch reason that the dragon must have some kind of 'voolnerables', and play the odds to get a Million to One Chance of hitting it. Deliberately doing things like standing on a blindfold to influence the odds, they end up at something like 998473:1. They fail. Because the dragon was female. Later, they do accidentally get a million-to-one chance to counterattack.
Similarly, the dragon in Beowulf is killed by a sword hitting a chink in the exact same place on his armor.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians uses the River Styx from Greek Mythology. In a slight change, the weak spot is required to survive the process. Percy chooses the small of his back as his weak spot, while Luke's weak spot is his left armpit.
In Outbound Flight, Commander Thrawn takes out several Trade Federation cruisers after realizing that a point directly above the fuel tank is vulnerable.
Somewhat inverted in Animorphs books. An alien species called the Orff are introduced, which have transparent skin so that their vital organs are apparently visible. However, Jake reasons that having their weak points visible would be an evolutionary disadvantage, and that their apparent organs must be decoys. Sure enough, when he hits the transparent section of its body, it collapses.
John Christopher's The Sword of the Spirits trilogy. In Beyond the Burning Land Luke fights and kills the Bayemot (a giant ameoba-like creature) by striking at its nucleus deep inside its body with a sword.
Fleet Action has the Kilrathi getting savvy with this trope and designing a dreadnought with multiple layers of armor shells throughout the ship, specifically to eliminate conventional weak points and shrug off full salvos of anti-ship torpedoes. Too late they realized it just made a different kind of weak point... Marine boarding parties setting off massive blasts inside the ship, which would be contained by the armor and completely gut everything inside.
In the Mistborn series, Lord Ruler specifically created minions with such a weakness (removing a spike driven through their spine would kill them), because he was that sort of person. The Lord Ruler had : he gave himself Immortalityby means of Feruchemical bracelets, the removal of which would restore him to his previous state, as he would have died almost a thousand years ago.
In 1634: The Baltic War, although the USE Ironclads (similar to Civil War ones) are completely invulnerable to the cannonballs of the time (they bounce off the armor), the Danes find explosives under the ships can cause serious damage, since the undersides are not metal.
In The Runelords, reavers are giant, horrible pseudo-insectile monsters covered in chitinous plates. The easiest way to kill where a few plates come together in the roof of their mouth and leave a tiny gap where a lance, driven by sufficient strength, can penetrate to the brain. Even for powerful runelords this is a tricky endeavor, though by the end of the first series the heroes get a lot of practice at it.
In the Ciaphas Cain novel Caves of Ice, Cain takes out an Ork gargant this way: he notices an earlier attack left a great big gash on one of its legs, and orders all availableweapons fired against it. Explosive munitions set off a fire in an ammo dump, which completely collapses the leg, effectively neutralizing the gargant.
Honor Harrington: In this universe, the top and bottom of spaceships are protected by impenetrable gravity wedges, and so are naturally unarmored. This means that on the few occasions when a ship is caught with its wedge down, it can be destroyed with ease. And until late in the series it's impossible to generate a "sidewall" to cover the openings at the front and rear of the wedge, so "up-the-kilt" and "down-the-throat" shots are also desirable.
This is how Kaladin kills a Shardbearer in The Stormlight Archive. His spear can't even chip the  Plate, but he realizes that the armor has a visor slit, and if you hit at just the right angle you can get a spearhead through.
Star Carrier: Outside of near-cAlpha Strikes and direct hits from missiles, this is the main way for a fighter to kill a capital ship, especially when you're dealing with really big targets like the converted asteroids the Turusch use, whose shields are just too strong to bring down with massed fire. In the first book Commander Allyn brings down a shield section of the Turusch flagship Radiant Severing by targeting a narrow "seam" between shield segments where the wave guides generating them are accessible.
Subverted in the Project Nemesis series. You would think the glowing orange spots on the Kaiju's torsos would be their weak spots. However, puncture one and you'll be met with an explosive retaliation that scorches everything but the kaiju. The military have to be ordered not to aim for the orange parts.
Live Action TV
In the late fourth season, most of Angel's cast is fighting Skip and getting hammered. Wesley, though every shot he's taken has bounced off the creature's armor, sees wounds it has suffered: A horn has broken off. He aims for the hole... and thanks to the Million to One Chance, the bullet enters the head. This is lethal even to super-badass demon guys.
Of course, there's also the fact that vampires are Nigh Invulnerable except for a stake to the heart or decapitation...
Taken to its extreme when a demon from a different dimension captures a vampire and disembowels him using his organs and skin as part of a giant web/artpiece as an offering to his deity. The vampire is still alive and begs to be just be killed already. The demon, upon being told what a vampire is, simply cuts the guy's tongue out and goes back to work on his offering.
In Doctor Who, a cloned alien warrior race, the Sontarans, are vulnerable to attacks directed at their "Probic Vent", where they feed on energy. "The Probic Vent is no weakness because Sontarans always face the enemy."
Not that this particularly helps against the Doctor, who once disabled a Sontaran through applied squash.
The new series Daleks come equipped with a forcefield against bullets, that is apparently weaker around their eyepiece. Many characters about to fight Daleks are told to "aim for the eyepiece."
Old-school Daleks worked the same way, despite lacking forcefields. Their 'Dalekanium' casings would laugh off most attacks, but shooting or otherwise obscuring their eye-plunger would blind them and cause them to spin around shrieking "MY VIS-ION IS IM-PAIRED" in a most undignified manner.
Not so anymore, however. Daleks have developed a way to keep their eyepieces clear, as evidenced when Wilf shoots one in the eye with a paint gun in "The Stolen Earth" and it specifically says "MY VIS-ION IS NOT IM-PAIRED!"
Used more effectively in the Seventh Doctor story Remembrance of the Daleks, in which he mentions this weakness to then-companion Ace. A short time later she takes out a Dalek by shooting it in the face with a rocket launcher. There's a reason she was the originator of the Crowning Moment Of Awesome.
The Doctor: "You killed it!"
Ace: "I aimed for the eyepiece."
Lampshaded in "Silence in the Library", when the Doctor describes their latest enemy.
Doctor: Sontarans, back of the neck. Daleks, aim for the eyepiece. Vashta Nerada? Run. Just run.
Regenerators in Heroes can be rendered "dead" if a foreign object is lodged into the base of the skull... until the object is removed.
Of course you could just decapitate them, which they can't regenerate from.
Or a bullet to the head, as Adam told us and Arthur showed us.
Kamen Rider Kiva featured a villain named Rook, an Implacable Man who menaced the cast in both2008. He's only defeated when, in 2008, Megumi attacks an old wound her mother Yuri put on Rook ago.
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Lord Zedd's Putties were allegedly more powerful than Rita's Putties, but they could be defeated by aiming for the giant Z insignias on their chests.
Mahou Sentai Magiranger features Drake, one of the two Ultimate Gods of the Infershia, who shrugs off everything thrown at him due to his armour - until Hikaru's energy attacks hits him in the back of the neck.
The Greek hero Achilles was invulnerable everywhere but his heel (where his mom Thetis had been holding him while dunking him in the River Styx).
There is actually a whole class of legendary heroes who achieved invulnerability by almost but not quite total immersion or exposure to something except for . Achilles had his heels and Siegfried had his shoulder. The Persian Esfandyar had his eyes closed while bathing in a pool of invulnerability and the Indian Duryodhana, after bathing in the Ganges, protected his groin from his mother's gaze, which was the very thing that gave him invulnerability. You can probably guess how well that worked out for any of them.
In Metroid Prime Pinball, the fastest way to defeat the Omega Pirate is to activate Missile mode, fire directly at its shoulders and kneecaps, and then strike it directly with the ball as it attempts to recover in the nearby Phazon.
The AMP Suit in Avatar is vulnerable on a single target between its legs.
Gamma World adventure GW1 The Legion of Gold. There's an amoeboid monster almost a kilometer wide in a lake. Its body can withstand 1,000 Hit Points of damage, but its nucleus can only take 50 Hit Points before it is killed. The catch: the nucleus is in the center of the lake under 150 meters of water.
Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition Deities and Demigods Cyclopedia. In the Melnibonean Mythos section the demon lord Pyaray can't lose his last ten Hit Points (and be killed) until the diamond-hard pulsing blue gem in his head is crushed.
The "Tank Ride" at Action Park had tanks with giant targets on their backside.
The Trope Namer is a demonstration of Genji: Days of the Blade at E3 2006, in which Bill Rich demonstrates 's boss battles—namely, the battle against the "Giant Enemy Crab" boss. After he "flips over this crab on its back," he narrates, "And you attack its weak point for massive damage."
The Contra series likes the red, glowing orb variety, at least in earlier games.
Virtual-ON Operation Moongate Final Boss Z-Gradt has grey with ultra-heavy armour most of the time, but turns gold at , while also deploying a truly MASSIVE cannon. During this period he is much more vulnerable, as long as you aren't hit by his cannon.
Oratorio Tangram's midboss Bradtos employs a similar method, although the shots it use when it exposes the weakness is far weaker than Z-Gradt's cannon.
The colossi in Shadow of the Colossus all possess glowing sigils on their flesh that can only be revealed by sunlight reflected off the hero's magic sword. Hitting this spot is the only real way to inflict any injury to them; somewhere between half to fight (depending on the boss) is exposing it/getting there.
Resident Evil 4 gives us this with a variety of baddies, but the worst are the Regenerators and Iron Maidens. Scary as hell and nigh invincible, and you see the first even attack its weak point. They require a thermal scope on a sniper rifle, but always attack from close range. That means while you're trying to snipe them, they're eating, impaling, flailing at you and freaking you the hell out.
Also, after a certain point, using headshots on the regular mooks may just cause them to sprout Combat Tentacles.
Regenerators and Iron Maidens have nothing on the Resident Evil 5Reapers, giant cockroaches who not only quickly regenerate lost limbs and heads, but can shield their weak point, a squishy white egg sac. A number of other points that may or may not require a partner to expose and exploit, such as Popokarimu's squishy under-abdomen, Ndesu's giant plaga growth, Uroboros' glowing red clusters, and Wesker's concealable weak spot / any rocket he catches in his hands. And of course, who could forget the ever-trusty bullet to the face?
The bosses in the House of the Dead series take minimal damage if hit anywhere other than a designated weak point, though blasting at that weak point really will deal out huge damage to them. However, the first boss in the first game — Chariot — subverts this just a tad by having its armor blown off when its health gets down to a third, allowing you to fire at the soft, pink body underneath anywhere you wish.
This is also the in-game manual's Hand Wave for why agents in the spinoff/parody Typing of the Dead are running around wearing keyboard-guns - the typing feeds into an autotargeting mechanism which eliminates all risk of friendly fire and automatically discovers and isolates weak spots in targets.
In general, the series uses this trope liberally. Just about the only boss that isn't hit for massive damage is Ridley, with whom the only strategy is "make him dead before he makes you dead". And even then it only applies sometimes- Meta-Ridley always has at least 't be damaged unless you aim for his torso. Omega Pirate from Metroid Prime inverts this: He has no specific weak spots, but before you can harm him you have to first blast away his armour (so in essence you attack his strong points).
Hilariously in the first Metroid Prime game, there's a rock monster boss that looks almost exactly like the Galaxy Quest. You must use the thermal visor in order to find his weak spot (a random piece of rock that changes after he takes enough damage).
The bosses in the original R-Type used this system, and the third level took it to extremes by featuring just a single, giant enemy with a number of weak points; the player had to pilot his ship around the boss itself, blowing up each part in turn.
Late in the game there is a boss called the Son of the Sun, who is a giant eyeball surrounded by a ring of flames. You can only attack the surrounding flames, and all but one will take no damage and counterattack when hit. The one that you can hit to actually damage the boss looks exactly the same as the others, and is only identifiable through trial-and-error. To make this worse, it uses an attack called "Roulette Shuffle" that spins the flames around so the in a completely different area.
Subverted by Chrono Trigger's final boss, Lavos, who appears to be a humanoid figure flanked by biological orbs. It turns out that the "Lavos Core" is actually one of the orbs, while the humanoid is just a drone that regenerates like the other orb. Many parties die before finally discovering this crucial fact.
Final Fantasy IX features normal Mooks that work like this. For example, Random Encounters in Cleyra include sand-elementals where you actively need to target a little, pink heart-like part of it. Not realizing this fast enough can result in throwing away lots of HP and mana in battle against the main body of the Mook.
The Star Fox series is fond of this, of glowing-red variation. Of particular note is Star Fox Command whose weak point is essentially a giant glowing butt. The enemy forces are mainly apes and monkeys, you see, and this boss is a Humongous Mecha baboon.
Peppy basically makes this trope. "Aim for his back!" "Aim for the open spot!" "Maybe it's an arm! Aim for the arm!" "Shoot the tentacles to open the core!"
The series also features some subversions, though. Andross is the eye type, but shooting his eyes only stuns him briefly. To defeat him, the player has to first shoot his hands off, then shoot the head anywhere BUT the eyes. On the right route, he then reveals his true form: a giant brain with detachable eyeballs that shoot lasers.
Lost Planet takes this to the extreme. Every single Akrid—from the weakest cannon fodder all the way up to the Bonus Boss—has orange weak points. It's worth noting that although Akrid make up a significant portion of the enemies in the single-player game, they're not the only ones; humans (the head) and Vital Suits (the engine or the kneecaps) also have them.
The majority of the Heaven's Smiles have a glowing yellow spot somewhere on their body. Shooting this kills them instantly and grants you far more blood (used to heal and for power-ups) than gunning them down the standard way. Heaven's Smiles without the yellow spot have similar vulnerabilities — the enlarged part of a Phantom Smile, the eye of a Giant Smile, the shirt on an Ulmeyda Smile, the cockpit on the part of it's body that looks like a jet that it uses to fly around...
Most comical is the Ceramic smile boss, a big hulking monster of a smile that runs fairly quickly. Just shoot his heart through the convenient hole in his chest once. At least he has the sense to turn tail and run when you have your gun pointed at him.
Traditionally, the only way to harm Dracula's first form in the Castlevania games is to hit him in the head.
Later on in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, there is the giant mecha-centaur demon knight (well, at least it's original) called Eligor. To kill him, you have to attack his eyeball, which is for some reason on the back of his head. The only way to actually be able to damage him is to get onto his back, and getting there requires destroying a number of glowing red orbs on his knees first.
In a few boss battles in Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, particularly those fought in Sly's biplane or with Dimitri's speargun, the weak point is Dr. M, who is connected to the boss monster via the massive plug in his head.
The final boss of Doom 2, the Icon of Sin, has you firing rockets into the brain of the Icon. When using the idclip cheat, however, you can go into the brain and see... John Romero's severed head impaled on a stick. Also, if you reverse what the demon chants at the start of the battle, you'll hear the message "To win the game you must kill me, John Romero!"
In Thief 2: The Metal Age, both the larger and smaller versions of the "Children of Karras" have a glowing-red coal hatch on the rear of their boilers. Unless you have an implausibly large amount of fire arrows or explosive mines available, hitting that coal hatch with water arrows is the only way in the game to disable one.
Unless you count Cherry Tapping with your blackjack, which can disable the larger model in a few minutes (due to their peculiar structure, with the right obstacle positioning it won't be able to do worse than be very noisy during that time). The designers evidently never thought of it.
The "headshot=death" rule has become more-or-less universal, providing players with an intuitive, sensible advanced technique for dispatching foes. Famously, completing the Halo games on the punishing "Legendary" difficulty requires a mastery of it.
This was avoided, though, in Team Fortress 2 (for every class besides Sniper, anyway), which deliberately removed them (and replaced them with more-or-less random criticals) because the developers felt that headshots rewarded obsessive players at the expense of casual gamers and were unfriendly to team play.
Also avoided in PlanetSide. The in-universe justification is apparently that the Auraxian factions were smart enough to give their soldiers durable enough helmets to take your average rifle round without causing more damage than a body-shot. The sniper rifle takes off 75% of your average armored grunt's HP in where you hit, anyway. note The real reason? While the developers were working on the game, they played a lot of Counter-Strike and Unreal Tournament as "research." Their boss apparently sucked at both of them, and after getting killed hundreds upon hundreds of times with headshots, he insisted that there be no headshots in their game.
On the flip side, Metal Gear Online (at least the version packaged with MGS4) has an in-game option in which players hosting a match can decide to enable a "Headshots Only" mode, in which you're penalized if you shoot an opposing player anywhere but their head. And considering just how headshot-unfriendly the game's controls are to begin with...
Lampshaded in Conkers Bad Fur Day. boss sports a huge flashing red button on his back reading "Do Not Push." The next boss combines this (hitting him in his vulnerable spot is literally the only way to hurt him) with a rather nasty form of Groin Attack (crushing his "vulnerables" between a pair of bricks).
Nearly all the bosses have this — Mecha-teddy has the gigantic yellow hole that opens up when you shoot his possessed dolly, the big caveman can only be dealt with by using your velociraptor to headbutt his groin, and then bite his ass....
Inverted in Mega Man ZX. The a weak point, but hitting them there damages the biometal you are trying to take from them, resulting in costly repairs after the fight, or a rematch. The ideal outcome is to defeat them ''without ever hitting the weak spot''. A few bosses actually have annoyingly easy-to-hit weaknesses.
Played straight in its predecessor, Mega Man Zero though, with Omega. In the aforementioned Boss' first form, he's only vulnerable on the black portion of his torso. For his One-Winged Angel, the target is raised, with the horn of the central head as the target.
ZX Advent plays this straight enough, since Model A copies the bosses' DNA at the same quality no matter how hard you bang on weak points.
Interesting to note that Model H can use the lower screen to display the enemy's/boss' weak point and Life Meter (the latter is pretty much useless against bosses who show it anyway though). You can figure out the bosses' weak points even without Model H, as they make a special and different sound when you hit them.
In the pre-predecessor Mega Man X, expect the Giant Enemy Crab and all variants to have its head be the weakness. That also applies to the nearly omnipresent Big Bad Sigma, who most ofor the gem on his forehead being the weakness.
It's however averted with X8's Final Boss Lumine, who despite having an obvious crystal sticking out his chest, is vulnerable to hits on his actual body whenever his shield isn't up.
Lampshaded in Mega Man Legends, where the villains complain whenever the mooks expose a weakpoint in their indestructable vehicle order to make a rear-facing attack.
Played straight in X7, where your mission control tells you "The head is his weak point, aim for the head!" on . EGM poked fun at this by that image being screen capped and the reviewer saying "really, I never would have tried that on my own".
Attempted justification in Metal Gear Solid: the Humongous Mecha's designer was an eccentric soul who felt that it needed a "personality flaw" to make it complete. Therefore the only part of the mecha which isn't practically invincible is the target-shaped box of sensors sticking off the side, without which the pilot is deaf and blind. This forces the pilot to open up the cockpit in order to see what he is doing, leaving the controls vulnerable to your missiles. Strangely, the weakest part of the cockpit is not the guy sitting in it.
In Metal Gear Solid 3 this is justified: the back of the Walking Behemoth Shagohod falls off when you attempt to destroy it by blowing up a bridge from underneath it and the only part left unarmored is the back of the cockpit, which was never to be exposed. Shooting the threads with the RPG.
In the sequel, Wheatley tries to protect himself with shields. Too bad you have a portal gun.
Lampshaded in  from Heavenly Sword, where Kai threatens a guard with a very painful Groin Attack if he doesn't cough up the password to the armory where the titular sword is.
The enemy ships in Einhänder, aside from small-fighter type cannon fodder, were usually segmented. Shooting the main body of the ship would destroy it eventually, but simply destroying the cockpit and (in some ships) the engines would cause the ship to crash and explode.
Hint: Shoot the part that has a green glowing thing (such as a visor) on it. There's a very high chance that's the weak point.
King Hippo in Punch-Out!! has : his belly-button and the back of his throat. And you can't get to either right away.
In Punch-Out!! Wii's Title Defense mode, he covers up said belly button with a manhole. This turns out to be a Double Subversion of this trope, as the way to beat him is to knock off said manhole and expose his weak point.
All fighters are obviously vulnerable to a hard right hook, but Glass Joe is especially weak, getting knocked out by .
It's hard to notice, but this is actually subverted in the PC version of Far Cry. The large, glowing green orbs in the chests of the rocket launcher-wielding Giant Mooks are actually part of their armor, and they actually take less damage when shot there. Their real weak point is, common-sensibly enough, their head.
Played straight, but in a fairly tongue-in-cheek manner, for the final boss. He's a super-mutant with loads of health, but he can be killed in less than a second by shooting him in the crotch (something of an Easter egg, as there is no in-game indication that shooting him there would have that effect).
Beowulf from Devil May Cry 3 can be struck in his eye for greater damage than attacking the rest of his body. If Dante or Vergil lowers his health to the points where he Turns Red by hitting the eye, Beowulf will stumble and give a few more vital seconds for dealing damage. Cerberus from the same takes more damage from getting hit on either of his . The Leviathan Heartcore, also from the same, needs to have its "organs" destroyed before it opens up and makes itself vulnerable.
In the original, Phantom could only be hurt by strikes to the face (high damage, but that's where he shoots fireballs from), and back (less damage, but less risk). Nightmare had a weakpoint that you had to expose by first solidifying it, then smashing the glowy circle.
The final boss in Descent 2 is covered by a force field in the front, and thus can only be hit from the rear. Worse, unless you happen to be cloaked, he will always turn to face you. You're meant to detonate 's multi-warhead missiles on a wall behind him, causing the secondary warheads to hit his weak spot. Didn't stockpile enough Earthshaker missiles ahead of time? You're screwed.
It is possible to slide around behind him if you get in close, but it's still very tough and only nets you a split-second chance at hitting the weak spot. Afterburners can help with this too.
Hunters have strong armor covering most of their bodies. The weak points are the back, which is bigger and generally easier to go after, especially on co-op, and under the chin, which is much harder to hit but has the advantage of being accessible while they're facing you. If you shoot the infection form inside the Flood combat forms, they take more damage, or die in have the right weapon.
Halo 2 introduces the Scarab. Its weak point is a reactor core hidden in the center of its platform. Common strategies include using a aerial vehicle (or in the case of the Scarab in New Mombasa in 2, a ledge above it) to land on its platform to get to the reactor core, or in Halo 3, firing at its legs until it lowers itself so it can be climbed.
Although nearly all bosses in Rocket Knight Adventures (with the exception of Axel Gear) follow this trope, the third boss in the first game displays an interesting variant. The boss is a fish-shaped submarine-like vehicle partially submerged in lava, and the vehicle itself is completely invulnerable. The only way to deal damage is to wait until the rare occasions when the pilot is exposed and attack him.
The anime's issues with New Powers as the Plot Demands aside, Parasect doesn't have just a double weakness to Flying and Fire, but in Generation IV, potentially a triple weakness to Fire if it has the Dry Skin ability.
Shedinja takes it even further, with its special ability. Only super-effective attacks or indirect damage (poison, weather) will work at all, but it's a guaranteed KO.
Tanks in the Battlefield games take realistic damage; shooting rockets to the front of the tank does minimal damage, more damage to the sides, and the most damage to the back. Smart players with this knowledge will always try to flank around to the back of the tank rather than take it head on.
The battlewalkers in Battlefield 2142 can shrug off most everything short of a suicidal transport pilot. However, there is a flimsy vent underneath that potentially allows someto inflict massive damage. The Titan supercarriers present a similar situation: they can only be damaged from outside by BLOC, but can be infiltrated to get to its creamy nuclear core.
Almost every enemy you encounter in Dead Space, although how you are supposed to hit them is a bit different. Headshots are a joke in this game, instead you must shoot their limbs (hands, legs, tails, tentacles). The big ones even have their joints explicitly shown to the players. Exploders even have two weak points: their explosive pustule and its joint with the shoulder. Bosses and mini-bosses have big yellowish pustules that you should obviously know what to do with them. The "almost" part in this case are the Swarmers, which die in where you hit them, and Dividers, which do not have a weak point.
New enemies in Dead Space: Extraction still follow this trend. Some of them are untransformed humans, and they too have a weak spot: the head, obviously.
Justified in Valkyria Chronicles. The Applied Phlebotinum powered tanks generate huge amounts of waste heat, and need radiators to avert a catastrophic heat explosion. Aim for the radiators, and anti-tank Lances will likely take them down in a single blow - two if it's a heavy tank. Even otherwise useless anti-infantry firearms will deal Scratch Damage to the radiator. Only two tanks in the entire game are capable of hiding their radiators - one of which only needs to expose them after firing the main cannon, one of which needs constant supporting repairs from nearby allied bases.
It's also possible to headshot infantry units for greater damage at the cost of lower accuracy versus hitting center mass. While both of these apply toward both ally and enemy forces, enemies will never intentionally target the head (while they'll constantly attempt to exploit the tank radiator for all it's worth).
Taken to its logical extreme in Monster Hunter. Although no boss in the game has a specific weak point, all of them have parts that are weaker or stronger against player attack. Further, depending on the method of attack used, the weak points may be different (some parts are weak against blunt force but resistant to damage from edged weapons, for instance). Each part of their body also takes a varying amount of damage from the different elements. Properly exploiting these weaknesses can easily make the difference between a hunt taking close to the usual time limit of 50 minutes or less then half that.
Zone of the Enders: the Second Runner does this at the Battleship Raid. Jehuty has to destroy them, and can go about this in a few ways: find and destroy every destructible piece of paneling and weapon on the ships, use the Vector Cannon to hit their generators, or (related to the last one) line up the Vector Cannon and fire at them to blow them up with just sheer damage. To be fair, the generators are protected by a shield of compressed space, and normal weapons do no damage to them; if you can hit the generators, you've got enough firepower to take down the ship through pure damage anyway.
In the Onimusha games, scoring a counter-hit on an enemy during a narrow window of opportunity will have the screen flash bright yellow as your current character (usually) delivers a lunging slash. This will instantly destroy Mooks and inflict Massive Damage against Boss characters, and in the case of characters equipped with an Ogre Gauntlet result in a much higher Soul payoff than normal.
Tank crews in the World War II MMOFPS Battleground Europe (a.k.a. World War II Online) pretty much have to know the weaknesses of every tank type they might possibly come up against, because the game tries to realistically model armor penetration. Trying to pound away at the front armor of a panzer MIGHT work, but it's far less dangerous to aim for exhaust vents, the cupola, or anything else with thin armor. If you are driving a vehicle (or pushing an anti-tank gun) with small caliber shells, this might be the only way you will ever damage them at all. Then, of course, your gunner could very well get shot in the neck by an infantryman because you forgot to close the hatch.
In War Thunder Ground Forces, aiming for specific parts of the tanks is essential. This includes the view slits for the crew, ammo or fuel storage for a quick kill, but also the engine, transmission (getting stuck in reverse) tracks, or the turret to keep the enemy tank from firing or escaping.
Dark Maker Humongous Mecha in Jak and Daxter have multiple weakspots on their limbs, each of which can take a moderate amount of damage, then becomes invulnerable. If you don't notice the targeting reticules around the hips and knees, you can spend half an hour shooting them in the head.
Ace Combat: "Its only weak point is in the front air intake. You'll have to attack it head on to take down Morgan."
Ocarina of Time was chock full of this. Gohma had her eye, Barinade had his soft skin under his jellyfish armor, Morpha had its nucleus, Bongo Bongo had its eye (which was exposed once you attacked both of its other weak points), and Ganon had his bright blue tail.
The eyes of Diababa, Morpheel and Armogohma, the jewel on Fyrus's head, the Twilight Sword in Stallord's head, and the open point in Argorok's armor (on its back), Battlehis shoes, and Beast Ganon had his underbelly, all from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
Beast Ganon's weakness is caused by a wound on his stomach which extends to his humanoid form.
Various bosses and enemies use this in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, oftwist of only being vulnerable from a certain angle, requiring the player to time and angle their attack just right in order to actually hit it.
The Factory boss in Beyond Good & Evil is only vulnerable at its "core," which it protects with a metal grate. Luckily, its legs aren't so well-protected, and if you Use Your Head, figuring out how to knock him over isn't so tough.
The third boss in Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy has a rather obvious "heart lid" on its chest to attack, but it keeps it closed most of the time. (And anyway, it's out of the reach of your sword anyway.) However, you are capable of throwing things that high... and indeed, you have to throw rocks at him to make him expose his weak point. Harder than it sounds—he's reeeeaally fast, and you when burdened by a rock? Not so much.
Numerous bosses in Psychonauts are only truly vulnerable at body. The most notable is probably The Butcher — the only part of his massive body that's vulnerable is his head, and even then, it's too high to reach normally or hit with ranged attacks. In round one, you can climb up his arms when he does a certain attack, but in round two, you have to throw telekinetic projectiles at him when he does the same attack. And he's much faster now.
The first boss from Star Fox Adventures can be attacked, but you can't truly harm him not matter how much you whack his tail with a stick. In fact, he's so tough, he can only be hurt from within. Feed him explosives? No! Do enough damage so he gets annoyed and tries to eat you, silly!
There's a normal, area-specific enemy that can only be hurt on a spot on its back. Circle-strafe all you want; it'll keep up. You have to hit it with a Ground Quake to make it turn around so you can hit it on its back.
The MechWarrior games have this all over the place. All mechs (including your own) have much weaker armor in the rear than they do in front; this doesn't really matter much when you're in an assault mech picking off light ones, since they pretty much die like flies either way. However, when you are in a small/medium mech, or a big 's taken a lot of damage, and the radar cheerfully bleeps and tells you an enemy 100-ton behemoth is heading your way, the rear weak spot suddenly becomes a lot more important, because targeting it is the only way (barring sheer luck with critical strikes or a particularly incompetent enemy) to survive the encounter.
Since they usually always face you, the leg are also always weak points on a mech, destroying them also permit to salvage the mech, very useful to capture the heavy armed 100-ton battlemech. Putting together enough precision weapons like lasers, autocannons, Gauss guns, or missiles with targeting computers to quickly destroy their leg is a damn good tactic.
The "weaker rear armor" bit is taken straight from the board game; the torso locations can each only have so much armor altogether and attacks coming in through will strike the front, so that's the side that gets the lion's share of the armor and the rear is left comparatively vulnerable to a determined attacker who can get there. Beyond that, actual aimed shots tend to be fairly rare because even with an advanced targeting computer success at hitting the chosen spot isn't guaranteed and the overall chance to hit in the first place goes down, and without try are pretty much limited to immobile targets and/or the occasional melee attack.
All forms of Chaos (exceptyou get him into a specific state... of matter) require that you attack his brain. This is fairly easy the first 0, and then he starts jumping around on lampposts and punching at you, and you have to wait until he comes down, at which point he's easy again.until he misses a punch and freezes in place a couple of seconds, whileand float in place before you can attack him there. Perfect pretty much makes you have a minimum speed so that when you get to him, you spiral up the inside and hit his brain. If you're not going fast enough, you're just ejected and have to find him again. Actually, you could almost make a case for 6's weak spot being Froggy, at least in Big's version: once Big lands him, he wins.
The Egg vehicles have the cockpit as the weak point. The Hornet stays at bay and shoots shall missiles at you, then tries to drill you into the ground. If he misses, there's your chance. The Walker makes you play Simon Says (sort of) with its ankle joints; one, two, or stomp, sending out a shockwave which you want to avoid, but also making that joint vulnerable to brief malfunction if you jump near it. If all the glowing joints malfunction, that brings the cockpit down for semi-easy pickings. (You can hit its underside this time.) The Viper, the first , from time to time shows its belly, trying to lure Sonic in with a path to the cockpit while it's charging its (other) laser, which it will fire if you don't hit the cockpit in time. Then you have to wait until it yo-yos spinning spiked discs at you so you can jump on to reach Eggman.
Zero, whom Amy is fleeing throughout her stages, is only vulnerable once Amy knocks him into the electric fencing surrounding the boss stage. This causes him to flip his top, exposing a button which you then attack.
Boss GUN vehicles, much like Egg vehicles, are only vulnerable in the cockpit. How easy they are to get to varies.
The Biolizard has a tank on its back which you have to attack. To reach it, however, you have to wait until it's tired from chomping at you and shooting balls of dark energy at you. Then you can grind up the rail that begins at its mouth, and then you can attack.
The Finalhazard. "Aim for the red swelling area to damage him!"
Sonic Heroes has a notable Egg boss where it's weak point ISN'T the cockpit (it has none) - the Egg Emperor. It's weak point is the glowing orb in the middle of it's body with the slightly-hard-to-see-during-gameplay picture of Eggman on it. However, it's smart enough to protect itself with a giant shield. You have to either destroy the shield with a Power character, or temporarily paralyze the shield-arm with Thunder Shoot in order to do any damage.
Bosses in the Parodius series almost always have a weak point, which the game helpfully points out to you. Sexy Parodius is a huge tanuki, complete with arrows telling you what his weak pointisn't.
CT-01/425: Its durasteel plating is rated for starship hulls and is nearly invulnerable to small arms fire. Only its optical cluster, the red orb on its abdomen, is unshielded and vulnerable. Scorch: In other words, shoot the big red spot.
World of Warcraft features a quest in which you must defeat undead that are unkillable unless you destroy the crystals that keep them moving. These crystals become vulnerable only when the undead in question has taken enough damage that it would otherwise be defeated. (If you don't destroy the crystal then the undead, merely stunned instead of defeated, snaps out of it and resumes attacking even though it has.
This resulted in some hilarious griefing potential early in the game's run where the designers forgot to put a "leash" on the crystal-bound undead like most enemies have, forcing them to return to their normal area when lured too far away. Since they didn't have this, some players would pull the invincible undead all the way to a town or a major city, where they would slowly but inexorably murder any opponent, no matter how statistically outclassed they should have been. And the only way to stop it would either be a server reset or luring the undead all the way back to their crystal.
Raigonn, the final boss of the Gate of the Setting Sun dungeon, is a slightly more traditional example, where players need to attack and destroy its weak spot - specifically named that, no less! - in order to break its armour before they can kill it.
FreeSpace 2 features alien communication nodes with a giant crystal in the center. Blowing up the crystal causes the thing to self destruct in a massive explosion. Somewhat subverted in that these devices are far behind enemy lines, and were not expected to be attacked.
In the original, the Lucifer had a reactor be destroyed, which would then blow up the ship. Like with the above example however, these reactors were never expected to be vulnerable — they powered off the massive energy shielding that normally renders the Lucifer completely impervious.
Lost Kingdoms II has The God of Harmony. It's easily That One Boss unless you know what cards can cripple and/or kill it outright:
Your first fight can be ended with Wraith (which can be missed since the Ghoul card can be missed if you progress too much), Sandworm's Sandstorm or the Lizardman combo since it doesn't flinch from an attack, just like a Petrified target.
The second fight which is the final boss can end with Vampire's Death Spell or a properly placed Catapult.
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga has Cackletta as the final boss, in smokey ghostly spirit form. You have to take down her hands and her head for her to expose her heart, which is her weak point.
Earlier against Queen Bean you have to attack her arms to deflate them (She's HUGELY muscular) and to make her lose her crown on her head, cause you know, spikes hurt when jumping on it.
Even more drawn out in the final battle of Partners in Time, the second in the series. You have to attack her tentacle legs, which enables you to attack the crown which enables you to attack the boss herself. Oh, and the crown regenerates after a while, rendering any attack to her useless. And if that wasn't enough, the legs also regenerate, sometimes forcing you to do the whole thing again.
The final boss of the third game, Bowser's Inside Story, is even MORE complicated. You begin the fight as bowser. After you've dealt a certain amount of damage the boss fully heals and grows big. Then you must punch his stomach to make him spit out the Dark Star core. Then you must suck it into Bowser's stomach where Mario and Luigi takes over. Now you have to fight an Eldritch Abomination version of Fawful. His weak points are his legs and glasses, if you don't destroy the glasses first he will retract some of his legs while you are attacking. After killing his legs he will fall to the ground, revealing the Dark Star core, the boss' REAL weak point. You have approx. to damage it before it escapes, and you have to REPEAT THE ENTIRE PROCESS untill he FINALLY dies. Phew.
The Final battle in Dream Team is again of this variety. The Final Boss is a 12 foot tall monster with the full power of the Dreamstone. Its weak point is the crystal shard in its forehead, which it'll guard with its right arm if it's not taken out first.
Lampshaded in The Simpsons Game, where a cutscene shows an alien saucer attacking the Simpsons house. It starts moving around, firing then stops, prompting Bart:
Bart: Guys, look! The hatch opens after every ! That's the weak spot when we need to fire! Kang: Hey Kodos, that ugly kid's right. Why are we exposing our weak spot every ? Kodos: You're right! Why do we even need to expose our weak spot at all!? Kang: Thanks for the heads-up, Earth dumbass!
The basis of Blood of Bahamut. The giant monsters that are the game's entire basis can only be damaged at their Cores (if you hit anywhere else, damage is along single-digit lines). Indeed, some missions are entirely to remove armor over a Gargantuan's core before you can actually fight it.
Army Of Two has heavily armored enemies that can only be hurt from behind. The general strategy is to use the game's aggro mechanic to get them to focus on the other sneaks around behind them.
Amusingly, killed said armored mook by just shooting him in the head several times with a sniper rifle. Sometimes we just shoot a rocket at his face.
All bosses in Legend of Kay have a glowing red amulet that must be hit. The in-game justification is that those amulets enable the bad guys to enslave dangerous animals and force them to do their bidding.
The final boss in Mass Effect 2 is a giant terminator with a multitude of orange 'Shoot me here!' lights in place of its eyes and a big hummer on its chest. They're not the only place that will take damage, but they do take damage at a higher rate than elsewhere. In case that wasn't obvious enough, they're actually labelled as "Weak Point" on your HUD.
The Reaper on Rannoch is so heavily armored that it's only weak spot is the lense of it's giant laser beam, which it keeps covered until right before it fires. Since it completely jams normal targeting sensors, you have to line up a handheld targeting laser to aim for the entire Quarian fleet that sits in orbit.
Brutes take more damage than usual against lightly armoured areas such as their backsides, and Husks in 2 die the second their legs are destroyed.
The Thorian in the first game requires you to destroy it's neural nodes
In Alien vs. Predator (2010), to have a real chance of beating combat synths as the marine, you need to hit them in their weakpoint — their legs. No, really. Knocking off their head just blinds them and makes it harder for them to hit you, their torso can take absurd amounts of punishment, and although their arms would theoretically work too, they're too hard to hit in practice as they're holding guns. Aim for the legs.
Almost every enemy in Borderlands has some body part that will take bonus damage when hit. Soft parts like head and eyes are common targets, as are underbellies.
The sequel, Borderlands 2 features Loaders, a robotic enemy class with an uncommon yet logical weak point—their joints. Just as in real life, mechanical and electronic joints are more complex and often more delicate than the limb or body structures that they join and are more easily damaged by, say, a shotgun blast.
Spoony's review Microcosm describes the boss's weak points as "huge fuck-me lights".
In another Mook example, the Drones in The Conduit have huge red glowing orbs on their chest... but these are part of their armor and don't take more damage than anywhere else. Their weakpoint is, sensibly enough, their head — although they can still take more punishment there than a human.
Enemies in Resonance of Fate tend to have Cognizant Limbs that absorb damage from a certain angle. Strong enemies and bosses can have heavily-armored parts covering most angles, but armored angles that leave the main body open to attack.
And if you jump, your bullets hit random body parts. Shoot enough times with a submachine gun, and you will eventually almost completely fill up with scratch damage. Then, all you have to do is jump and attack with a direct damage weapon. No need to worry about pesky body parts after all.
Rise of the Kasai has a few bosses like this; at the same time) take the form of dragons that fly around the platform and will breathe fire at you that will instantly kill you if it hits. They're far out of reach for most of the fight and can only be sniped by arrows right before breathing fire, and then will only take damage if they arrow hits a weak point on their chest. The final boss can be stunned, but not killed, by attacking it over and over again, however, it's Soul Jar is floating right above it. Once again, arrow to that equals dead boss.
In all of the Silent Scope games, the boss's weak point is always the head. Certain vehicles also have weak points, like the rotor for a helicopter and the tires of a car. This is later subverted for laughs in the third game Sogeki, where the boss of Stage 3 has two. The first is obvious, his head. The second is not so obvious, his teddy bear. Shoot the teddy bear and he goes down. Though this is actually harder than it sounds, you have less than a second to shoot it when the chance presents itself.
In Wing Commander III and Wing Commander IV, shots aimed at the bridge or engines of a capship do an additional 50% damage, once the shields are penetrated.
While the Kilrathi dreadnought in Wing Commander III isn't totally invulnerable, it's much more vulnerable when shooting at it inside the hangar, where there the fast-recharging shields don't protect, even compared to the extra damage given to targeting a capship's engines or bridge.
In Wing Commander IV, the only way to kill the Vesuvius is to drop the Flashpak in the hangar, where they don't use the quite effective armor found on the outer hull.
Played realistically in Prophecy with killing capital ships. The majority of the ship is too heavily armored and shielded for fighters to destroy them with massed fire. Instead, you have to take down their shield generators and hit the critical subsystems: Bridge and Engines. Even with those destroyed, the ship doesn't explode as in most games... it's left dead in space, with occasional secondary explosions across the hull.
A couple of bosses in Yoshi's Island. Naval Piranha's only weak spot is a bandaged lump on its stem (presumably the "navel", although it looks more like an adam's apple). Eggs thrown at Sluggy the Unshaven just deform its outer shell without hurting it, but once its clearly-visible heart is exposed, it can be destroyed with a single strike. In both cases, Kamek draws your attention to this, in the first case by, bizarrely, calling Yoshi a "cutie without a navel", and in the second case by announcing "This slug has no weak points!"
Hookbill the Koopa is defeated by knocking him down then ground pounding his stomach.
Bulletstorm has the usual weak spots - groin shots and headshots - but some fully mutated enemies have several glowing sacs of... um... stuff on their body. Shoot any of the sacs and the whole body will go up in a blast of orange bodily liquids. Also, the plant boss has several weak spots to hit before it recharges its hitpoints.
Pikmin 2 has the Segmented Crawbster boss, which has to be tricked into rolling into a wall to reveal the weak spot on its belly. A non-boss example would be Anode Beetles from the same game, which can be flipped over simply by throwing a pikmin directly onto its back.
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the Shadyas are a type of smoke-like enemies with large, curved blades. The only way to kill them is to attack the large, red, glowing orb in their chests.
BattleTanx has the Rhino Tank, which is described as "A trainload of armor on front." You have to either use grenades or hit the tank from behind.
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 treats Mobile Armors like this: you have to strike them when and where they are vulnerable to do any damage at all. Thankfully the third game does away with this: in that be harmed at any time, but you do a lot more damage if you strike the weak points.
Capital ships in Tachyon: The Fringe have destroyable subsystems. Take out the powerplant, it can't move. Destroy the weapons generator, it can't shoot. Blow up the shield generator, and its Deflector Shields won't regenerate. There are occasions where time constraints make this mode of attack inadvisable, but they're rare.
Super Mario Bros. games have this all the time. The worst though are when the boss has a giant target basically painted on them, like the bandage on the Whomp King in Super Mario 64, the target on Topmaniac's head in Super Mario Galaxy, or the glowing/coloured lights/symbols on Megahammer in Super Mario Galaxy 2. In the Gobblegut fight in Galaxy 2, Bowser Jr warns Gobblegut to protect his "bellyache bulges". Just in case the player hadn't seen them...
For the final fight against Omega Supreme in Transformers: War For Cybertron, you first have to attack his exposed turrets, which are explicitly stated to be outside of his shields. Destroy enough of them and his shields go down and his chest becomes the vulnerable spot.
In Duke Nukem, Atomic Edition, the Pig Cop riot tanks can take quite a lot of punishment and have an assortment of long and short-range weaponry. However, if you're quick enough to get behind them to press the nuclear trefold on the back, they self-destruct, leaving you with only the annoyed driver to deal with.
The Brawlamari and Queen Buzzerfly in Kingdom Hearts both have extremely conspicuous glowing orbs on their bodies that serve as the only points that can be struck to cause damage. It takes a little effort in order to get close enough to hit them, though.
The naval portion of Assassin's Creed III introduces ship-to-ship battles. Your ship, the Aquila, can fire broadsides or use its smaller swivel cannons fore precision targetting. The swivel cannons are usually only good against gunboats and are almost completely useless against bigger ships. However, if you damage a frigate enough with broadsides, this has a chance of exposing its powder magazine, which can be targetted with your swivel cannons for One-Hit Kill.
In After The War, the Worm bosses can only be damaged by hitting the head. First you have to stun them, then use your sword to remove the shell and finally kill it by shooting at the thing.
The Nevi from Gravity Rush have large glowing cores that shatter when hit with a well-placed Gravity Kick. In the case of many of the larger Nevi, this is the only way to damage them.
The final boss's first form in Dynamite Dux is composed of several spheres; its weak point is the ball Achacha is riding.
Hellbugs in the TV tie-in game Defiance are in general heavily armored, but the different versions all have some weak spot. The smallest skitterlings die pretty easily, but the Warrior, the next size up has only the inside of its mouth and it only opens that when it's about to attack. Matriarchs have three; the mouth, their chest when they rear up to do a smash attack, and once they've done a roll-charge attack and are recovering, vanes open and temporarily expose a weak spot at the rear. The sound your gun makes when you're hitting one of these changes from the usual pings of ricocheting bullets to a sawtoothed grinding noise to let you know you've got the right place.
All of the different types of Darkers in Phantasy Star Online 2 have a conspicuous red core located somewhere on their bodies that serves as a weak point.
In Tales of Graces striking an enemy with a move it's weak against provides you with a temporary damage bonus that fades with time or once your combo ends. It's possible to exploit multiple weaknesses on the same enemy to increase strength and duration of the bonus.
This system returns in Tales of Xillia 2, where it's even more crucial to combat, as bosses are unable to perform a Combo Breaker as long as the bonus is active (Something they'll do with annoyingly great frequency otherwise).
The FM TownsShoot 'em UpRayxanber helpfully describes the boss's weak point at the start of each stage.
Possibly some of the hardest enemies to defeat solo, Trojans from  have a massive crystal in their back. They also have a shield, which unlike the player's shield can't be broken. Said shield is always up. Also, they hit like trucks.
In Sky Serpents, the titular serpents have weak spots helpfully colored purple. Sometimes they're inaccessible due to cover by scales, which like everything else but those purple spots are invulnerable to attack.
In Red Orchestra, especially with the AT handguns, aiming for the ammo storage and the engine or fuel tanks is essential. Chances of penetrating front armor, even from short range is very low. In the sequel, it is possible to knock out the crew, so aiming for the armored glass also works.
In Copy Kitty, attacking Yolomacho's head deals more damage as opposed to hitting its body. This is important to know because in hard mode, you'll be hard pressed to hit its back if you don't know its weak point.
And in a later panel: "The CRATE comes back down and clocks the WEAK SPOT for massive damage."
MS Paint Masterpieces hilariously referenced it. While the comic usually has Mega Man finishing off the Robot Masters with their weaknesses, at damaged Mega Man, riding in a stolen walker is confronted by Quick Man. After a little taunting from the latter, Mega Man makes the walker kick Quick Man in the crotch, while he mutters to himself, "I hope...that was...his weakness..."
Aylee's giant crab form is only vulnerable on her "gummi worm neck," which she's fully capable of retracting to within her Nigh Invulnerable shell.
Similarly, Chaz states that demon lords like Horribus can only be killed by decapitation or by plunging a magical weapon into their "soul" (which is apparently located somewhere in the middle of their chests).
Fighter in 8-Bit Theater's gives us a basic rundown of this trope:
Fighter: Oh, well weaknesses are bad. Except on bosses where you have to shoot at the core 'cause the rest of it is pure invincibility. It makes you wonder why they built a core at all, gave it no protection, and then put it where it would be exposed to intergalactic gunfire.
While Link's known for doing this, it's absent in his battle with Cloud, though it's understandable. Z-targeting still makes an appearance and Link uses it to block Cloud's Omnislash.
This actually works againstWonder Woman during her battle with Rogue. Wonder Woman's combat training taught her to strike the weak points of the human body, including the face, the only part of Rogue uncovered. This in turn allowed Rogue to absorb some of Wonder Woman's power and temporarily stun her, giving Rogue an opportunity to absorb even more of Wonder Woman's abilities and give Rogue enough power to defeat her.
Used as a joke in Vaguely Recalling JoJo. Magician Red's weakpoint got hit by GEB and Avdol gets severely damaged.
In Code Lyoko, all of XANA's monsters in the game-like virtual world have "XANA Eye" symbols (sometimes actual eyes) somewhere on their bodies. Hitting this spot will usually de-rez the monster instantly.
Parodied in The Simpsons, when Homer and Bart enter BattleBots, and discuss how to beat Professor Frink's giant killing machine. Bart mentions it has a weak point, only for him to notice Frink welding a comically large sheet of spiky metal over it.
In South Park, punching Mecha-Streisand's nose will drop the Diamond of Pantheos allowing Robert Smith to defeat her.
Winx Club features an example of this being undermined via editing: In the original version, we see Tecna finding the weak point of a monster, under its throat, prompting the Specialists to attack the area. In the, Tecna says she's found the weak point, but never says where it is, and because of what appears to be a discretion shot, we never see where the Specialists attack.
In an episode of My Life as a Teenage Robot, Jenny faces a member of the Cluster who Tuck and Brad were using as a snow fort before he regenerated...who has an off switch on his back, very much like the trope picture.
In Adventure Time, at episode 'Tree Trunks' the gang goes into 'Evil Dark Forest' in order to achieve the plot-device for the eponymous Tree Trunks. At the forest the group catches up with a monster of no vulnerabilities...Except it's gem weak spot.
Tuma in BIONICLE: The Legend Reborn has a brightly sparking wound on his back which he never covers despite wearing giant, movable armored blades on his back. He even spends much of his fight with Mata Nui facing away from him, standing still while bathing in the cheering of his supporters. He's defeated under seconds.
The Jimmy Neutron episode, "Ultra Sheen" has Sheen defeat Robo-Fiend in level one of the Ultra Lord video game by pressing the off switch on his back.
Tanks are almost always vulnerable from above and below, and to a lesser extent, the sides and rear. Tank Destroyers and other specialized AFVs of, in some cases resulting in open-topped or open-backed vehicles such as the M.
It's usually difficult, if not impossible, for an infantry team to attack a tank from above. If the enemy has a good formation, attacking it from behind is difficult too. To solve this problem, the Javelin Missile Launcher was created. This is a missile that can either fire in a straight line, like most missiles, or, in an awesome display of Roboteching, travel about forward and then straight up to a h, before inverting and smashing down on the tank from above. The only defense against a Javelin Missile attack is to kill the user before he can fire it. Or go underground (but then, the missile still fires straight if need be...).
The Molotov Cocktail was devised as an anti-tank weapon by Guomindang troops fighting the Japanese the Second Sino-Japanese War... or possibly by Spanish Republicans and Nationalists fighting the SpanishCivilWar, though the name was given to it by Finns fighting the Soviets in the 'Winter War' of 1940-41. Tanks of the time could be disabled by pouring a flammable liquid over the (outside of) engine and setting it alight, so it was only a matter of time before someone got the bright idea of filling a bottle with petrol or spirits and putting a burning rag in the mouth. Even if the fire didn't spread into the tank itself and set its ammunition off, the fumes and smoke were would force the crew to choose between suffocating and bailing out.
During the battle of Stalingrad, Yakov Pavlov commanded a platoon that took over a apartment building (now known as Pavlov's House). They found that by placing Soviet anti-tank rifles on the roof they could actually shoot nearly straight down onto a tanks turret (with them being so high up the tank couldn't shoot back). Pavlov is said to have taken out over a dozen tanks himself this way. The fighting for the southern Grain Silo was also characterised by the defenders' ability to do this.
Military ground vehicle designers are getting smarter about protection, what with the introduction of the V-shaped hull to certain armored vehiclesnote (basically, it's just taking a boxy iron car and giving it angled sides). V-hulls borrow the deflecting hoo-ha used by sloped armor. In simple English, it's supposed to take most of the damage from the bad guys standing straight ahead note because most of the time, that's where you find them holding antitank weapons, anyway or from explosives underneath the vehicle and then point it elsewhere. What you end up with is a vehicle that's not as scratched as compared to a regular vehicle in the same situation.
And in the case of a tank which would rather make the first move than try to resist a pounding, it's an active protection system, which goes way back in the, apparently pioneered by the Soviet Union. The first APS, codenamed the Drozd, had a point-defense problem: a good portion of antitank rockets still made their way through the tank and the Drozd only covered the front. Recent developments have fixed this problem, though.
Battleship deck armour in general was significantly thinner than the belt (side) armour, making them vulnerable to attack from above. Hence the ridiculously large number of anti-aircraft guns fitted to the last generation of battleships. Plunging fire at long range could be at least as effective than a broadside at point-blank. Hits below the belt (e.g., torpedoes) could also be fatal.
Modern torpedoes do NOT strike the ships they target. Instead, they deliberately explode underneath the ships. This causes an air bubble and causes the ship to literally break in half under its own weight.
It didn't work in World War II when they tried to use magnetic fuses to do this.
HMS Hood provides an excellent example: her deck armor proved too thin and was pierced by a German shell with catastrophic results. Specifically, it was in a part of the armored deck a few feet from where said deck had been thickened during a refit. Right above the amunition magazine.
British aircraft carriers suffered much less severely from kamikaze attacks in the Pacific than American ones, as the British usually had armored decks, while the American had only wooden decks that could be easily smashed through by a plane.
Generally justified. In the case of most of the more lightly-armed cruisers, destroyers, etc., the trade off was that they were faster than they would be with the full armor protection, allowing them to be able to keep up with the carriers note which to this day tend to be the fastest ships in most navies that have them. For the aircraft carriers, armoring the flight deck meant adding considerable structural support which effectively made the hangar deck much smaller. Most commanders would rather be able to carry more planes to destroy their attackers before they could engage the carrier rather than have some extra armor plating to deal with them once they got to them. Of course the example of the Japanese carriers at Midway demonstrates that that does not always work.
In fact, British naval doctrine led to the armoring of their carriers due to the fact that they were designed to serve in the "cramped" waters of the Mediterranean, where no matter how many airplanes you put on them, they would always be outnumbered by the shore-based aircraft available to the enemy. The resultant armoured carriers were, compared to their American contemporaries, about had a smaller complement of aircraft, but in the end were a success, as the six 'Illustrious' class carriers survived everything the Germans, Italians and later the Japanese threw at them in ca. of wartime service. And despite the small complement of aircraft, HMS Illustrious managed to disable Taranto in 1940.
The German battleship Bismarck was incredibly highly armed and armored, and the greatest warship ever built at the time. A single lucky torpedo from an obsolete British biplane bomber hit and disabled the rudder, making her essentially a sitting duck. Without any support by other ships, she was attacked the next morning by a fleet ofhad to be scuttled without causing any significant damage to the attackers.
Well armed and armoured maybe, but its design of than flop, not only did it critically weaken the keel, (leading to the 'ability' of a single torpedo to jam the rudders), but it also made steering a pig (not helped by a really too small rudders). She was a battleship, with emphasis on the 'battle' rather than the 'ship'. She was also more vulnerable to plunging fire than contemporary British designs, which resulted in from the Prince of Wales severing the forward fuel line. The secondary armament wasn't much good either, making it especially vulnerable to low-altitude torpedo bombers. The same issues were faced by the Scharnhorst class, though in neither case were they to prove critical, since Gneisenau was wrecked in her docks, while Scharnhorst fell to naval gunnery and torpedoes.
Pretty much every warship since the introduction of gunpowder has had one spectacular weakspot: the Magazine, where the powder and ammunition is stored. Usually located deep within the ship for maximum protection, if anything does penetrate to the magazine, there is a very solid chance that it will take the whole ship with it, as happened to HMS Hood in the Battle of the Denmark Strait and USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor. Other vulnerable spots include propulsion systems (the masts and rigging on a sailing ship, or the boilers and screws/paddles on a steamship). In addition to being unable to maneuver, a ship that takes a hit to the engines will also likely be unable to produce power to work the guns or water pumps, making it impossible to fight fires or stop flooding during battle.
There are many spots on the human body that remain vunerable to simple attacks of people's hands and feet, no matter what sort of training you do — like, your eyes. But Wait, There's More!! The throat, the nose; really, the head in general...
Most of these are justified by the function of the body part in question. Testicles must be on the outside to enable them to be cooler than the rest of the body; if they were kept inside, the body heat would reduce fertility. Eyes can't be shielded very much or they can't see as well. And so on.
As pointed out by William E. Fairbairn (who, as a policeman in Wretched Hives of the world, had plenty of experience of both giving and receiving blows), weak points of the body defy the very concept of fighting with martial art techniques: attacking the eyes, nose, larynx, plexus or groin can quickly end the fight, with the opponent into the hospital or the grave. Most systems of fighting, from boxing to the least educated brawling, use moves which are painful, but not very efficient, like strikes to the jaw or forehead (it takes the force of a trained boxer to break either of them), ribcage, upper arm, thigh or tibia.
Most cats HATE tummy rubs because their instinct is to protect their vulnerable tummies. A cat rolling over and showing you its stomach is a sign of trust. Sometimes, if feeling threatened, the cat will roll over on its back to better wield its claws in a stance that basically says "don't come any closer". If the threat does come closer, the cat can then strike with its fangs and claws at the same time. On the other hand, when they are feeling safe and surrounded by trustable loved ones, they will sometimes instinctively roll over and expose their bellies as a display of this trust and love, as if to say, "I totally don't think you're going to try and kill me, bro." Want to show your cat some serious cat-language affection? When they do this, pet their heads; for cats, that's the friendliest way to acknowledge the relationship, whereas actually petting their bellies is like saying, "oh, you acknowledge me as your superior in the social structure, huh? Yeah, you better!"
The same goes for dogs, in that if a dog shows you its belly, it trusts you. On the other hand, if the dog rolled over first (or if the dog is lying on you in a way that it's impossible to tell whether or not it has in fact rolled over), dogs are generally very happy with such rubs. Oh, dogs...
Predatory animals typically attack the throat or belly of their prey, as the front of the neck contains vital airways and blood vessels, while the belly is less well-protected by bof the torso.
Safes, of all things, have weakpoints where their defense is intentionally lower. Naturally, their location is a guarded secret and not advertised.
Although a safe bet is to turn the safe on its side and try and crack the bottom.
By the early Renaissance, plate armor had become so good at protecting the wearer that they were nearly immune to anything up to and including musket fire. The standard way to kill someto beat them with something heavy until they were knocked to the ground (the poleaxe or warhammer were popular choices for this), then stab a thin, pointy dagger into the joints, or through the slots in their visor.
This is where the phrase "chink in the armor" comes from - the joints were notable weak spots for the dagger.
Even the strongest plate armour was vulnerable to the point of a warhammer, which was a weapon specifically designed to punch through it with massive leverage. Also, it was during this time that the plate armour reached its maximum weight, beyond which the warrior had no chance of actually fighting in one, resulting in their phase out during the following .
This video of ants attacking a crab for food. The ants managed to do this by probing the crab for weak points in its armour then attacking them For Massive Damage.
Also by chewing its eyes out and also PRYING ITS GODDAMN MOUTH OPEN and sending ants inside.
The field of social engineering came about as a method of attacking the weak point inherent in every digital security system: the people who use it. There's no better method of getting a password than convincing somebody that they should give it up.
Wooden sailing vessels were vulnerable at the bow and stern both because the guns were pointing elsewhere and the attackers shot could go all the way down the deck causing more mayhem per round. Hence the tactic of "crossing the T", where the attacker attempts to broadside an opponent down their length.
Armies are vulnerable in the flank and rear, because the enemy is expecting them from a different direction, because the attackers can concentrate on a weaker force, and because supply lines are vulnerable. Also the borders between unit jurisdictions are a vulnerable spot.
The first thing any hunter of game will learn how to do is to fire their weapon at the most vulnerable areas of the animal's body, typically somewhere in the center mass or the head for either a heart or brain shot. Dropping the animal immediately not only reduces the chance of the animal fleeing or charging, but also humanely ends the animal's life with no or the absolute minimum of suffering.