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Collision Damage
"The Goomba shuffles sideways toward you and barely touches you with his body. For some reason, that makes you almost die."

Perhaps the character bruises easily. Perhaps the enemy is toxic. Perhaps they weren't able to give the enemies an attack animation. Or perhaps the character is just obsessive-compulsive.

Either way, touching an enemy damages - if not outright kills - the player. If you're lucky, you might survive, although you may lose a Power-Up or two. On the plus side, Mercy Invincibility usually kicks in at this point. This is part of the reason why it seems like everything's trying to kill you.

Often the Invincibility Power-Up will give you Collision Damage effects on the enemy. This may even affect minor boss enemies.

This is a very, very old trope, dating back to the original Donkey Kong and even to Space Panic at least. It is most commonly seen in the Platformer; it is rarely seen in the Fighting Game or the RPG. It's also a Discredited Trope, as many modern platformers have discarded it.

This tends to be a bit easier to believe if it's a vehicle-based shoot 'em up. Flying one of the choppers of Twin Cobra into an enemy chopper is usually about as helpful there as it would be if you took an AH-64 and used it to kiss a Hind. (Hint: not very.) It's just more blatant when it's a human(ish) victim and the enemy really just wanders by it.

It's particularly jarring when the boss attempting to swing its claw at you does the same amount of damage as you accidentally touching the claw. Apparently, attacking doesn't hurt more, just makes you more likely to touch the Big Bad.

This will often happen even if facing an evil twin or otherwise "normal" opponent.

Not to be confused with the real-time model damaging employed in modern 3D games. See also One-Hit-Point Wonder. When this applies to walls, that's Deadly Walls.

Examples:

Action Adventure Games
  • Cave Story has a good deal of this; enemies like birds often appear in large swarms, making it hard not to get hit.
  • Certain enemies in Darksiders and Darksiders2 are covered in a miasma of poison gas/mist that can be removed with ranged attacks. The catch is that they are removed for a short time so you need to get in your shots then move away quickly.
  • Zig-zagged in Goblet Grotto. Most enemies still require a (badly drawn) attack animation to hurt you, but some creatures like the Policemen, a Bloody Head ghost, an office door in one level or swear words (actual multi-coloured 2D words that slowly move towards you) hurt just through touch. It doesn't help that many of these are completely invulnerable as well.
  • Contact with enemies in Iji deals armor damage over time. However, thanks to Mercy Invincibility and a large health meter (should you choose to upgrade it), it's still possible to simply run through some levels without dying.
    • Which you will have to do sometimes if you want to get the alternate "Pacifist" ending.
  • Touching any of the Heaven Smiles in killer7 can prove fatal to characters low on health. This is a Justified Trope, however, because they all explode on contact.
  • La-Mulana has plenty of it. However, it doesn't actually impact your Life Meter very much, so it would take a very long time for a bat to kill a player. More annoying than the damage is the potential to get knocked off a ladder or into a pit.
  • In the 2D The Legend of Zelda games, most enemies had the Touch of Death. This largely went away after the move to 3D made clearer attack animations possible.

Action Games
  • Touching enemies & electrical fences in Aura Aura Climber will cause damage, if not kill you outright.
  • Seen in Car Battler Joe, but only in the first battle, as your car isn't weaponized yet.
  • All of the Contra series. Worse, you are almost always a One-Hit-Point Wonder, meaning that practically anything even remotely malignant is fatal. I mean, c'mon, you are a super muscloid juggernaut commando with muscles all the steroids in Major League Baseball couldn't build — yet a single poke by the lowliest mook is instant death. Crack out that Konami Code, people!
  • In the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade game for the Master System, Indy takes some damage from bullets and continuous damage from falling. What happens if he touches any enemy? Instant death.
  • Everything in Magical Whip: Wizards of Phantasmal Forest will damage you from any direction for the same amount of damage. It doesn't matter whether it's a dragon, a pumpkin, or the lance of a knight.
  • 2D Ninja Gaiden titles.
  • In the original Rolling Thunder, touching an enemy causes you to lose one of your two hit points. In Rolling Thunder 2 onwards, however, touching an enemy simply knocks you back without any damage.
  • Silver Surfer was Nintendo Hard because just touching a wall would result in the character's death. Often the lethal parts were indistinguishable from the background.
  • Smurf Rescue is famous for doing this with, among other things, picket fences and tufts of grass.

Arcade Games
  • In Bubble Bobble, if Bub or Bob touches any enemy that is not encapsulated in a bubble, he will die comically and immediately.
  • The Dragon's Lair NES game, as The Angry Videogame Nerd pointed out. Touching a door could kill you. In one hit. In a game with a life bar.
  • Anything that moves in the Glider games can cause damage on touch (almost always killing you), which can also result from crashing into many kinds of immobile objects, such as furniture or the floor.
  • Averted in Mars Matrix, in which your ship will simply fly on top of an airborne enemy instead of crashing into it. Due to the game's scoring and weapon powerup system revolving around chaining together cubes that come out of destroyed enemies, this feature is a necessity.

Casual Games
  • In Stampede Run, running into a small obstacle or runner without a take-out move will cause a stumble instead of knocking you out completely. You're fine if you can avoid stumbling again for 5 seconds or so, but if you stumble again the bull that's chasing you during that time will run you over, ending the game.

Driving Games
  • In Carmageddon you just need to touch the pedestrian to kill them.
  • In F-Zero GX, touching certain things in the course scenery will blow your machine up into pieces, even if the object is otherwise non-lethal to the touch or you touch it at a snail's pace.
  • Pole Position, one of the first Driving games, had this in spades.
    • Truth in Television Have you ever seen what happens when open-wheel race cars bump into each other at 200+ mph?
  • Rally-X had this. If one of the enemy cars touched you before you collected all the flags, you die.
  • The collision physics in Trackmania are especially brutal. In a turn, if you bump the inside barrier you'll often go flying into the other barrier. The cars and track seem to be made from rubber!
  • In Bump N Jump, you lose a car when it touches the sides of the road, potholes, and landing right on top of water. Other cars will simply bounce you away if you bump into them.

Fighting Game
  • In the Ultraman licenced game on Super NES, you will take collision damage if you try to jump on the enemy.

First-Person Shooter
  • In Battlefield 2 and 2142, players can be killed if they are crushed between a vehicle and stationary geometry. Acceptable. However, the same fatal damage is applied if the vehicle is parked, empty and motionless next to a wall, and the player walks in between. The game engine sees that the space between the vehicle and the wall is less than the size of the player, and applies indiscriminate logic. Death can also occur if you are beside a tank, but you happen to touch any portion of the kill zone (immediately beneath the treads) exposed by the ground's uneven surface.
  • The final boss of Blood, Tchernobog, will instantly eradicate the player upon contact similar to the bosses found in Duke Nukem 3D.
  • Borderlands games inverts this with vehicles, which do heavy damage to any enemy they touch while in motion. Running down enemies also does some damage to the vehicle, but this is negligible except for boss monsters or large hordes. Beware, however; some enemies can drive vehicles too, and if they run over a player, it will kill them instantly with no chance for a second wind.
  • Some recent games (usually ones with advanced physics engines) have brought this trope to next-gen gaming. In Crysis, for instance, you can take damage from sprinting into any inanimate object. Which leads to the Super Soldier protagonist dying from collision with a dumpster. In a nice subversion, your enemies are also affected by collision damage, so you can take down a KPA soldier with a well-placed chicken to the face.
    • Super-sprinting into a tree and dying is possibly the most humiliating thing ever.
  • In Dark Forces 2, collision damage was applied to the player in any direction so long as he was moving fast enough; long falls naturally damaged you, but Force Jumping into a low ceiling or running into a wall with Force Speed also did damage. Jedi Knight II and Academy did away with this, instead opting to place multiple Bottomless Pits in nearly every level.
  • In Duke Nukem 3D, if the player decides to venture too close to any of the bosses, in other words touching them, at the end of each episode, he'd be killed instantly regardless of health. However, this only applies at a certain height; at ground level the player would die instantly but if he'd be suspended in midair, by using the Jetpack as an example, while touching any of the bosses from the torso and above no damage would be inflicted.
    • This is attributed to all the bosses being big enough to simply step on Duke when he gets too close.
    • The shrink ray has this property as well. Anyone, Duke or enemy, who has been shrunk will die as soon as they are touched by anyone normal-sized.
  • In Halo: Combat Evolved, vehicles moving past a certain speed (which is very, very low) do 10000 damage to whatever they hit. Master Chief has 75 shields and 75 health.
    • Sword lunges at a wall can kill the user.
    • The Halo 3 beta had a form of this, wherein players who set the characters' speed as high as it would go had them running at super-fast speeds and pasting themselves on anything they ran into.
  • In Nightmare House, the player is encountered by shadows that do not move. If the player touches them, they lose 5-10 points worth of health.
  • Running into things with an Overdrive ability active in Section 8 will result in this. However, damage to yourself when running into things is minimal. Run into an enemy, however, and he instantly dies. And you get an Achievement!

Maze Games
  • Even older than the Donkey Kong example is Pac-Man. One touch from a ghost monster caused the titular character to shrivel up and evaporate, but with a power pellet, the tables are turned, allowing Pac to chomp the baddies.
    • Speaking of Donkey Kong, in the NES version, you can actually commit suicide nearly the instant you gain control of Mario by running to the left. Mario will die when he touches the oil drum, before it's even set on fire.

MMORPGs
  • In direct defiance of the fact that this trope is supposedly not seen in RPGs, World of Warcraft has one of these: the infamous "frogger" encounter in Naxxramas. Green oozes lazily slink across a hallway. Your party is on one side of them. You and your party need to get to the other side. It's harder than it sounds, since any lag at all will throw off your timing. The frogger hall has claimed many lives.

Multiple
  • A booster cartridge (like the Game Genie or Knuckles) was once sold for the Commodore 64 which eliminated sprite collision detection on any game plugged through it into the C64, making the player character effectively invulnerable.

Platform Games
  • This is rather prominent in Banjo-Kazooie and its sequels, even though most enemies have actual attacks and attacking animations. As a matter of fact, in Banjo-Tooie's Terrydactyland level, after becoming a baby t-rex, the bargasaurus enemies won't attack you and you can even talk to them, but, confusingly, they still do contact damage. Another similarly confusing example is that, if you approach Mingy Jongo as any character other than Banjo and Kazooie together and touch him, you will take damage despite the fact that he's sleeping.
  • In Binary Boy, you can only get killed through the collision damage of some kind.
  • This happens in the Blinx the Time Sweeper series, but it's pretty fairly balanced by the fact that the good targeting system makes it very easy to snipe enemies.
  • Braid. Touch an enemy and you can see Tim grimace in pain as he flies off the screen, though you can also Goomba Stomp them to jump higher.
  • In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, when Alucard first enters the castle, if you fully unequipped your gear, you could use Collision Damage to fly so far back it was possible to skip the room with the Death cutscene and keep all your equipment. This does, however, require a cheat that cuts all stats but Luck (which turns up to 99).
  • If Commander Keen touches an enemy or an environmental hazard, he assumes an agonized facial expression and falls entirely off the screen.
  • In the original Crash Bandicoot games this often resulted in a specific death animation. The first game had Crash spinning around and falling to the ground, the second had Crash turn into an angel, and the third would be some comedic sequence that you would always want to watch a second time.
  • Crystal Caves not only uses this, but there are two enemies (a pink snake and a green thing that looks like a jumping cactus) which leave behind corpses when they die, and these corpses still do Collision Damage. In several levels, it is very important that you kill them when they're in exactly the right spot (where you can jump over them) or else they'll block your way, dooming you to take damage.
    • At several points you have boss battles against human characters, and the key to beating them is recognizing that this trope does NOT apply, so you can just run straight past them to dodge their attacks.
  • Donkey Kong and his fellow Kongs in the Donkey Kong Country series will typically die if they run into an enemy. This trope can be inverted if you run into them while carrying a barrel, in which case the enemy will be the one to suffer the Collision Damage. In the first game, Diddy carries the barrels out in front of him, while Donkey carries them above his head. If Diddy runs into an enemy head-on or Donkey runs into them from below, they'll lose the barrel but the enemy will die.
    • Donkey Kong Country Returns also varies it slightly: while pretty much everything in the game deals basic collision damage straight-up, there are a few enemies that play an attacking animation when DK or Diddy touches them (such as Tikis biting them).
  • Ecco the Dolphin used this trope, which could get really annoying in levels with a ton of jellyfish or sharks all over the place.
  • Averted in Freedom Planet. You'll never take damage from touching enemies, and can run right through them if you so choose. But the enemies often attack fast enough that you still need to be on your toes for them.
  • Almost everything you touch in I Wanna Be the Guy will kill you.
  • Happens in the Jak and Daxter series of games. Simply touching an enemy, even if they're not facing you, gives the same effect as if they were attacking you: a loss of hit points and being knocked back.
  • In Jazz Jackrabbit touching an enemy will result in a lost heart. In the second title you can slightly avoid this by hitting them with a buttstomp, an uppercut (Jazz) or a karate dash (Spaz).
  • Journey To Silius takes this to its logical conclusion by featuring land mines that don't explode. Touching them just damages you.
  • Ogmo from Jumper series is just a suspectable to this as getting impaled, being electrocuted, burned or shot. Deaths by a contact with an enemy (boss or not) are counted as being "bossed".
  • Touching Mooks in the Kirby series of games would result in both the player and the enemy taking damage.
    • In Kirby Super Star, Kirby has a "guard" technique to reduce or neutralize damage from attacks, including collision damage. Guarding while bosses are contacting Kirby can cause them to slowly take collision damage instead. This was Nerfed somewhat in the DS remake.
    • In Kirby's Epic Yarn, collision damage is removed altogether, allowing to ride on enemies and bump into them.
  • The horrendous ostrich-riding level on The Lion King where you had to jump rocks and duck branches or else have the ostrich stumble and therefore logically cause the lion cub on its back to immediately die. Oh, and if you were jumping off said ostrich's back at the time, the stumble would mean that you touched the ground. And died. Not a good sign, considering you're meant to grow up to be king of this, and the ground is lethal.
  • Be careful when playing Lyle in Cube Sector, you can easily damage yourself with your own cubes. Wait for them to stop moving.
  • The original Mega Man played with this at least with bosses. Smaller bosses like Ice Man and Cut Man would also take collision damage if they touched you (They even got pushed back), while larger ones like Guts Man didn't. It's played completely straight with enemies, though.
  • This is one of the main reasons why Mega Man 3s Top Man's weapon is the worst in Mega Man history in the eyes of many fans. You couldn't get close enough to damage enemies with it without them damaging you also, unless the attack kills the enemy.
    • This also made Spark Shot laughably useless. It stuns enemies in an electric field, but you still take collision damage if you touch them. Too bad, since if you didn't the weapon would be a Game Breaker since you could one-shot every difficult enemy and just run past.
    • Special mention should probably also go to the Doc Robot fights in 3, namely Quick Man. To wit, the best strategy for winning the fight meant actively trying to get hit by his boomerangs - which did only minor damage - so that the resulting Mercy Invincibility would protect you from the inevitable collision damage from an enemy much faster than you that would otherwise kill you in 2-3 hits.
    • Mega Man Powered Up allows you to play as the Robot Masters after unlocking them. When you do so, a Wily-built Mega Man copy serves as a replacement boss for your character. And you take damage when you touch him. Hmm...
  • Metroid plays the trope straight for every game. Bumping into enemies will damage Samus and even some creatures in the Metroid Prime series that just wander about minding their own business can damage Samus by mere contact.
    • An amusing example was in Super Metroid, where Ridley's sprite was given almost comically diminutive wings that amazingly still provide him with the ability to fly, because if they were the proper size, the impact detection for collision damage would make him impossible to get close to without being struck by them.
    • Metroid is also notable for including the Screw Attack, a permanent upgrade that lets you reverse collision damage back at weak enemies.
  • In Miner 2049er, the justification for the mutant organisms being harmful to touch was that they had absorbed a high level of radiation in the mine.
  • In Ninja Senki, your character is the only ninja in the game unable to deal collision damage. All other ninjas will gleefully damage you on touch, and all their non-ninja allies can do the same.
  • Secret Agent employed this. A cute fact: the ceiling fans look meaningless decorations, but will deal Collision Damage when jumped into.
  • In Escape from Camp Deadly, touching the escaped lunatic instantly kills you even though he's tied up. Also, in one cave there's a skull you have to shoot to turn it into a 1-up. If you instead touch the skull, you die.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog reverses the equation and smashes through enemies when he's spinning.
    • The Sonic Boost move introduced in Sonic Rush and brought to glory in Sonic Unleashed is a more precise example. Sonic's spin needs to watch the spiky bits of enemies, but the Boost goes straight through every unguarded enemy.
    • The older Sonic games also play this straight, however, to the point that the final boss in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 will kill you if it steps on the very tip of your toes. Apparently, Sonic's oversized shoes can be fatal if pinched.
    • In a rare subversion, when you fight Knuckles he will take collision damage from you if he lands on you out of a glide (which makes him helpless in normal gameplay).
    • You can also turn this trope on the enemies with the invincibility powerup and, as of Sonic 2, the various super transformations.
  • A specific platformer example is Super Mario Bros., where even the lowliest Goomba could kill you by running into you. Getting hit with a power-up active cost you the power-up but let you keep going. And then there's the Starman powerup....
    • Zig-zagged in Wario Land. Wario can stun or kill most enemies just by bumping into them, without harming himself. However, most of these enemies either have spiky protection or carry sharp weapons, which do harm Wario if he touches them. The trick is to attack them from an unprotected side (usually from behind or below).
    • This is also averted with the character of Nabbit in New Super Luigi U. Unlike Luigi and the Toads, he takes no damage from any normal enemies, just lava pits and instant kill obstacles, with the side effect of not being able to get power ups (like the enemies from the game). It lets him break many, many levels.
    • Hilariously lampshaded in the Japanese commercial for the Mario Kart 8 and Mercedes-Benz cross promotion. A realistically-proportioned, badass-looking Mario steps out of the car and his foot nudges a Goomba, resulting in a panicked look on his face as the classic 8-bit death theme plays.
  • The Rayman games (at least the non-Rabbid titles) have this.
    • Justified in Rayman Origins - all enemies actually perform an attack animation whenever you touch them.
  • Played with in some of Taito's older games:
    • In The Fairyland Story, Ptolemy doesn't die if she stays on her enemies' heads (until they jump, anyway) and can actually use them as means of transportation.
    • In The Newzealand Story, only enemies with spikes could kill the main character by touching him.
  • Played straight in the entire Wonder Boy series except Monster World IV, where only enemies that look painful (on fire, for example) hurt to touch.

Puzzle Games
  • Played straight by Skulls and Armas in Adventures of Lolo, but averted by all other enemies, who either have long-range attacks or just can't kill you (directly, anyway).
  • The help file which accompanied the old (and highly addictive) puzzle game Chips Challenge in its Windows incarnation attempted to justify this by describing Chip as a fragile fellow. Fragile indeed, as death-bringing enemies included paramecia, bugs and balls.

Role-Playing Games
  • The Ultimate Chimera from Mother 3 is a perfect example of this trope. Any small physical contact will result in the player and his cohorts instantaneously being mutilated and killed.
  • Parasite Eve has this for touching any enemy in battle. Aya will suffer Scratch Damage.
  • Certain enemies in Star Ocean The Last Hope like chimeras will cause minor damage if you touch certain parts of their bodies, regardless of the state they're in. However, it's frequently accompanied by bad status effects.
  • The Urchins in Tales of Phantasia cause instant death to anyone who touches them, but don't have any actual attacks to speak of.
  • Earlier Ys games played this straight and inverted it — getting hit by enemies causes damage, while damaging them involves making the protagonist, Adol, run into them at an angle.

Shoot Em Ups
  • Action52 is infamous for having spectacularly bad (and inconsistent) collision damage in its shoot-em-up games, to the point where it is arguably their greatest flaw. In Action 52, this is saying something.
  • Averted in Atomic Robo-Kid. Enemies that fly into you don't kill you, just slow you down a little.
  • Metal Slug plays with this. Touch with mooks? Kill them with knife. Touch with tanks? You're dead. Or when they rush you anyway.
    • Touching tanks is only lethal when tanks are moving - you're run over. Touching spiky bits also kills you unless you're in a METAL BOX.
  • NARC provides a notable reversal of this trope. You actually get more points for "busting" enemies (by touching them for a couple of seconds) than you do for killing them.
  • In Streemerz, even touching money bags causes damage.
  • In some Psikyo STGs, notably the Strikers 1945 series, collision damage would only make your ship power down a level instead of instantly kill you like a bullet would. Players could abuse this to milk the appearance of targets containing powerups for extra points during boss fights or to control the game's rank.
  • The Game Gear game Tails Skypatrol. Contact with enemies wouldn't kill you; you would simply spin out of control and begin crash-landing, but you could recover with good timing. Contact with a solid surface, though, was instantly fatal. Which is odd, because flying into ceilings or walls - or, God forbid, walking - doesn't hurt Tails at all in any other game.
  • Similar to the Psikyo shoot-em-ups, Triggerheart Exelica will not penalize your life counter if you collide with an enemy ship — but you lose medals and can possibly alter your score, difficulty, and ending, just as losing a life can.

Simulation Games
  • In SAS Combat Simulator on the Amstrad CPC, upon starting the game, you were immediately swarmed by vast numbers of enemy soldiers. Your "SAS Commando" would instantly die if he touched one of them. (The fact that they also shot at you wasn't helpful either). However, part way through the first level, you could get a jeep powerup. Not only was this "jeep" a virtual tank, that made you immune to bullets, the collision-damage was reversed: now enemies died if they ran into you (even if you were stationary). But if you were hit by a grenade (or completed the level), you lost the jeep. This resulted in the most uneven difficulty curve ever seen.

Non-Video Games
  • Referenced in the sprite/Pixel Art Comic Kid Radd; all enemy sprites have a power called the "Touch of Death".
    • And played with. What happens when you bring the Touch of Death into a fighting game? Hilarity.
  • In the "Denryu IraIraBou" game from the Japanese Game Show Ucchan Nanchan no Honoo no Challenger, the player's objective is to guide a rod through a maze, and touching the walls or anything else within the maze gives an electric shock. Not surprisingly, there are many video games adapted from this (though they don't give players actual electric shocks).
  • Justified and played very straight in Greg Egan's Orthogonal trilogy, where it drives the main plot: Because of the way physics works on an atomic/quantum scale in this universe, any matter will create an immediate and massively explosive reaction when it comes into contact with orthogonal matter (more or less matter from Another Dimension). Air included. Doubles as an example of Made of Explodium.

Cobweb TrampolineVideo Game PhysicsDepth Perplexion
Clairvoyant Security ForceOlder Than the NESColor-Coded Multiplayer

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