[[quoteright:350:[[Webcomic/GoldCoinComics http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gold_coin_breakdown_2783.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[http://gcc.goldcoincomics.com/?page=83 Oh, if only they brought]] a ManaPotion.]]

When a fight lasts a long time, often a ''very'' long time, things can get a bit... [[ImprovisedWeapon different]]. Elaborate sword duels can turn into {{bar brawl}}s. A gunfight or mechafight becomes [[GoodOldFisticuffs a fistfight]]. {{Improvised Weapon}}s start appearing. Things get [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown brutal]], or [[WimpFight just plain silly]], or [[GroinAttack just plain wrong]].

A common comedy variation is for a brawl between two grown men to devolve into [[WimpFight a childish slap fight]]. When played for drama, use of this trope can evoke feelings of desperation and/or savagery as arsenals get depleted, weapons broken, and yet the combatants only tear into each other even harder with their bare hands.

Kind of the [[InvertedTrope opposite]] of the video game trope of [[WithThisHerring starting off with a weak weapon]] [[SortingAlgorithmOfWeaponEffectiveness and picking up more and more dangerous ones as you progress]].

DestructoNookie is one possible outcome. Contrast InterestingSituationDuel - a fight that is as complicated as Combat Breakdown is simple.


[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]
* Creator/HayaoMiyazaki's ''PorcoRosso'', several times during the same fight, no less. [[spoiler:The dogfight starts out with machine guns, then devolves into using handguns, then throwing various tools, debris, and pieces of garbage at each other, and finally degenerates completely into a fist fight on the ground with both just brutally gut punching each other in succession with neither of them making an effort to block.]] To say it looked silly would be an understatement.
* Likewise for ''BlueSubmarineNo6:'' [[spoiler:Mayumi and Hayami having just killed Zorndijk, and the Blue Fleet having already destroyed his entire empire, his son Verg goes out in murderous rage against Hayami and they both end up in a ''very'' brutal fight.]]
** Not really a fight ''per se''. Hiyami is just letting Verg beat the crap out of him because Zorndyke said that humanity needed to learn to talk out its problems. It was more like a voluntary NoHoldsBarredBeatdown, with Hiyami as the beaten and Verg as the beater.
* In the ''Manga/DesertPunk'' anime, the titular hero and his rival, both {{Gadgeteer Genius}}es have a duel that lasts an entire day- but it results in truly EpicFail as they abandon their usual tactics and have a BlastOut with shotguns, the handguns, followed by running out of ammo and throwing rocks at each other. Eventually, they run out of loose rocks, and flip rubber bands at each other. The watching townspeople get bored and go home, and eventually [[CrossCounter they punch each other out]].
* The FinalBattle between Suzaku and Kallen in ''CodeGeass'' starts with both of their [[HumongousMecha Knightmare Frames]] flying with energy wings and armed with powerful beam weapons. In the process of the fight, they lose the wings, wear each other's weapons down one by one, and eventually end up slugging it out with punches and kicks in a sequence that many fans declared the best fight of the entire series (and certainly the best one since the LensmanArmsRace took effect early in the second season, leading to battles decided by technological prowess rather than strategy).
* The FinalBattle of ''{{Scryed}}'' starts out as a fight between alter-powers and then gradually breaks down to a simple slug fest.
** And a special kind of brutal one at that.
* The Simon vs Lordgenome battle in ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann''. By the end, both the Gurren and Lazengann have been trashed, and the fight continues with Simon's Lagann and Lordgenome's ''bare fists''. [[spoiler:When Lordgenome actually ''wins'' that one, he pulls Simon out of the cockpit to gloat -- and Simon ''[[WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer stabs him with his car keys]]'', with explosive results]].
** In the last episode [[spoiler: Gurren-Lagann ejects layer-by-layer from the titular mecha, starting from Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann, to Super Galaxy Gurren-Lagann, to Arc Gurren-Lagann, slowly but surely closing in on the Anti-Spiral homeworld, a component of their own super-mecha, Grand Zamboa, upon which their central hive-mind stands, and culminating in Viral manually ejecting Lagann from Gurren and ''throwing'' Lagann at the Anti-Spiral, which drills a massive hole in him. Woah...]]
*** And then in TheMovie, [[spoiler: it's taken yet another step further by having Lagann literally throw Simon at the Anti-Spiral. An epic fistfight ensues, ending when Simon creates a drill ''with his own blood'' and drills through the Anti-Spiral.]]
* ''CharsCounterattack'' has Amuro and Char whittle each others' Mobile Suits down bit by bit, turning from an epic duel into a bare-knuckle slugfest that is fondly remembered by fans decades later; many of the attacks from the latter part of the fight are considered iconic enough to be used in games such as ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars''.
** Before that, in the original ''MobileSuitGundam'', Amuro and Char systematically destroy each others mobile suits, going from the full suits, to fighters, to a gunfight, to swords... at which point it is interrupted.
* In a most memorable scene from ''{{Gundam SEED}}'', Athrun and Kira duke it out in a free for all death match that made them both forget that their Gundams had any kind of specialty in mind and just go at it against each other. Involved lost limbs, broken cockpits and bashed heads. Eventually would have ended in Athrun's victory had he not ran out of power to fire the Scylla cannon after grabbing Kira. Of course this also results in him winning anyway since he self destructs the Gundam to attempt to kill Kira.
* At the end of the second season of ''{{Gundam 00}}'', [[spoiler:Setsuna gets his [[HumongousMecha Gundam]], the 00 Raiser, pretty much destroyed by [[BigBad Ribbons]] [[AGodIAm Almarck]]. Ribbons's Gundam, however, is also heavily damaged, so he takes the GN Drive he stole from the 00 Raiser and installs it on his old Mobile Suit, the 0 Gundam, that was drifting nearby. But then he gets attacked by Setsuna, who has installed the other GN Drive from the 00 on ''his'' old Gundam, the Exia. And they proceed to fight with their outdated Gundams. Gotta be the only mecha series when the hero got a [[MidSeriesUpgrade Last Episode]] [[EleventhHourSuperpower Downgrade]].]]
** It also happens in the first season's finale. [[spoiler: Setsuna and Lasse start off piloting the GN-Armour Type-E against Alejandro's Alvatore, then the main bodies of those two are destroyed, leaving Setsuna's Gundam Exia that was inside the GN-Armour against the Alvalon that was inside the Alvatore, which Setsuna defeats by throwing six of swords at it. Then Graham Aker comes in a custom "GN-Flag", and they fight with Exia's one last weapon - his GN Sword/Rifle - against Graham's beam saber. By the end of the fight, neither machine is destroyed, but both of them are essentially floating wrecks with Exia's cockpit simply torn open.]]
* ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamThe08thMSTeam'' had this towards the end, with a battle between Shiro and Norris Packard devolving to the point where Shiro ends up beating Packard with the severed arm of his own mobile suit. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfwoRE747Uc&feature=plcp The fight can be seen here in full.]]
* ''Anime/GundamBuildFighters'' features one in the fifteenth episode. Reiji and Sei's Star Build Strike is statistically superior, but Ricardo Fellini and his Wing Gundam Fenice have decades more experience together. The battle starts off with high-flying ranged combat, then they begin losing weapons and have their thrusters damaged, bringing things down to Earth. Even ''that'' suffers a breakdown, with both Gundams losing their respective {{Laser Blade}}s, which results in them duking it out with their fists, Fellini wrapping his Gundam's beam cape around its left arm to counter the Build Strike's SuperMode. The whole thing ends with [[FearfulSymmetry a "combat brofist"]] that causes both Gundams to shut down, marking the first and only draw in the entire series.
* Revy and Roberta's first duel in ''Manga/BlackLagoon'' begins with a car chase across the city, then becomes a deadly game of hide-and-go-seek at the docks, then finally ends up as a no holds barred fist fight that lasts ''all night''. [[spoiler:Roberta wins, just.]]
* The absurdly epic battle between Negi and Rakan in ''MahouSenseiNegima'' eventually ends with just the two of them slugging it out... for ''fun''.
* In ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'' Yusuke's battle with Chu ends with a stand-up slugging match with each of them having a knife at their heel to keep them from moving away.
* Terry's rematch with Krauser in the second ''VideoGame/FatalFury'' OAV ends this way after the two of them have exhausted each other with their ultimate attacks.
* Most fights in ''BladeOfTheImmortal'' are bloody, messy and... rather clumsy looking affairs. {{Clean Cut}}s are few and far between.
* One of the most brutal fights of ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' had Ash's Bulbasaur and an opposing trainer's Meganium start off the fight with Razor Leafs, Body Slams, and Vine Whips that also included a lot of moving. As the fight dragged on, it eventually got to the point where neither one of the combatants was even ''trying'' to dodge attacks, causing them to just be in a Vine Whip slug-fest that ended with a cross-counter that knocked both to the ground. The fight didn't end there, however, but stopped almost immediately after with a double Solar Beam.
** The clones vs. originals in ''Anime/PokemonTheFirstMovie''. It's especially notable with the two Pikachu, as the clone starts crying while it keeps slapping Ash's Pikachu, who is just standing there sadly.
* ''Manga/FairyTail'' has [[spoiler:[[MirrorMatch Erza and her Edolas counterpart]] destroy the floating island they were fighting on, [[BreakableWeapons each other's weapons,]] [[ClothingDamage EACH OTHER'S CLOTHES,]] and use up all their magic in the process so their battle eventually breaks down to a fist fight, and finally leaves them both too exhausted to move. Earthland Erza still technically wins due to convincing Edolas Erza that stealing magic at the cost of lives is wrong.]]
** Later, Juvia and Chelia get into a fight in the Grand Magic Games. Initially, it is a rather cool battle where both make use of their {{Badass}} water and wind magic, but it soon degrades into a childish fight where they just pinch and slap each other... That is, until Gray and Lyon turn up to help Juvia and Chelia, respectively.
* Goku in DragonBall before becoming a Super Saiyan tended to end his fights in such a way, particularly against King Piccolo, Piccolo, and Vegeta: In the first one, Goku ended up crippled, and the fight ended when he propelled himself against Piccolo, bursting clean through his torso and killing him. Against Piccolo, Goku ended up with a hole the size of a fist in his shoulder, and won by dropping from the sky against Piccolo and knocking him out of the ring (they were still in a tournament fight). As for the fight against Vegeta, it started quite even and Goku quickly gained the upper hand... Then Vegeta turned into a giant ape. Goku ended the fight lying on the ground with all his bones broken, while Vegeta lost because a giant 5-year old wereape fell on him.
* The final battle in ''GaoGaiGar'', against the [[spoiler:Zonuda Robot]] ends up being a particularly memorable example of this. GaoGaiGar's StockFootage attacks, the Broken Phantom, Goldion Hammer, and Hell and Heaven, all prove to be ineffectual against this enemy, and his [[MidseasonUpgrade Phantom Rings and Space Boosters]] are quickly destroyed. So then it gets into a brutal slugfest with the enemy robot, smashing in its head with its bare hands and legs and tearing off limbs before ripping its hands through it to pull out the core.
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', this is how the battle between Madara and Hashirama ultimately went. It started with them throwing their most powerful and impressive techniques at each other. It ended with [[spoiler:a battered and exhausted Hashirama tricking an equally exhausted Madara with a clone technique -- one of the simplest tricks in a ninja's arsenal -- and impaling him in the back with a sword.]]
** The final battle between Naruto and Sasuke plays out the same way (and at the same spot as the above one) - the two combatants throwing ridiculously powerful attacks at each other until they're both out of usable chakra, at which point they forgo all that and just charge in and start beating the crap out of each other. [[spoiler:By the end of it, they're so injured and completely exhausted that their punches are too slow and weak to even hurt each other anymore.]]
* In ''Manga/SoulEater'', after all the anti-magic, enchanted weaponry, suicidal spirit-attacks and what-have-you the protagonists throw at the BigBad fail to even scratch him, [[spoiler: he is finally defeated with a perfectly ordinary fist to the face.]]
* ''DeadmanWonderland'': When Ganta finally confronts the "Red Man" who killed his classmates and ruined his life [[spoiler: actually his long-lost friend Shiro, actually her long-suppressed psychotic/suicidal side]] they initially attack each other with their [[BloodyMurder blood-based powers]] but end up pounding the snot out of each other, though acrobatically (Red Man is understandable, but when did Ganta learn how to fight like ''that''?).
* Joey's fight against Marik (actually his [[TheDragon Dragon]] Odion, who was masquerading as Marik) in ''YuGiOh'' ends with both duellists collapsed on the ground, with the referee declaring that the winner will be the first to get up. [[YuGiOhAbridged Children's card games]] are SeriousBusiness.

* The end of ''Comicbook/InfiniteCrisis''. After flying through a red sun and a field of Kryptonite, {{Superman}}, his Earth-2 counterpart, and the BigBad Superboy-Prime are all BroughtDownToNormal and duke it out in a mundane fistfight.
* At the end of the ''ComicBook/SinestroCorpsWar'', [[GreenLantern Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner]] and {{Sinestro}}'s rings all lose power... so they start fighting with their bare hands.
* TheSpectre once tried to stop a war by removing all weapons from the battlefield. The armies simply picked up rocks. Even the embodiment of God's Wrath can't stop humans from killing each other.
* At the conclusion of the Superman arc ''Up, Up, and Away'', Superman has been battling Luthor, who is in a giant Kryptonian battleship equipped with Kryptonite. Superman slowly destroys the ship, but loses his powers to the Kryptonite. Luthor dons his protective suit and starts to get out, just as they plough into the ocean. The two wash up on the island, with Superman depowered and Luthor's armour shorted out, and proceed to beat each other unconscious in a fist fight.
* Near the end of ''ComicBook/WorldWarHulk'' TheSentry and Hulk engage in a fight that tears apart Manhattan. Sentry unleashes what seems to be his full power and Hulk responds in kind. Then ComicBook/IronMan hits them with DePower rays from the satellite. They revert back to Bruce Banner and Bob Reynolds... and Bruce punches Bob out.
* In the ''ComicBook/{{Asterix}}'' story The Great Divide, the two chieftains are finally convinced to fight each other for who gets to lead the village, instead of having their villagers do it. Their fight starts with the entire village watching and taking bets, but as it consists of nothing but the two punching each other, they get bored and leave, and even Asterix falls asleep while refereeing as they keep punching each other. When he wakes up, he finds they've both fallen asleep leaning onto each other, so he calls it a tie.

* Quite a few Russian fairy tales have two people starting a duel with spears, then maces, then swords... all of these are shattered one after another, so they end up having a wrestling match.

* Used in [[http://www.fimfiction.net/story/109581/1/i-did-not-want-to-die/i-did-not-want-to-die I Did Not Want To Die.]] The protagonist starts out with an [[CoolGuns M4A1]] carbine and in the end resorts to unarmed punches.
* Happens in FanFic/RacerAndTheGeek during the battle of Hill 20. The fight gets ''DESPERATE''.
* ''FanFic/TheHillOfSwords'': The final battle between Shirou and Sheffield starts off with both combatants throwing every technique in their very large arsenals. It ends with both exhausted and completely drained of power, so Shirou simply [[spoiler: distracts Sheffield long enough to grab her, then starts smashing her skull into the nearest piece of shrapnel until she finally dies.]]

* The fight between the bandit and the husband in the fourth story in ''{{Rashomon}}'' goes from a swordfight to a ''literal'' knock-down-drag-out where one of them ends up just throwing dirt in the other's face.
* The famous fight scene from ''TheyLive'' is ''all'' breakdown. They fight like they're stone drunk, and it gets worse from there. And ''it works''.
** Recreated largely shot for shot in the ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' episode "Cripple Fight".
* Subverted in ''Film/KillBillVol2''. The Bride is about to hit Pai Mei with a rock, and he will have none of that.
** But played straight later on, when the battle between Elle and The Bride ''starts out'' broken down, including wrestling, brawling, wall-bashing, and improvised weapon use. There's a spot that looks like there'll be a swordfight...but then Beatrix [[spoiler: [[ChekhovsSkill just plucks Elle's eye out]].]]
* PlayedForLaughs in ''Film/RobinHoodMenInTights'' with Robin and Little John's fight over the creek. It starts off as a staff fight, and eventually it becomes a strange version of Bloody Knuckles/Quarters.
** Possibly the purest example here; the weapons were ''actually breaking down''.
* A variation in ''Film/CrouchingTigerHiddenDragon'': Jen Yu fights Yu Shu Lien with the Green Destiny sword, with Shu Lien using a wide variety of different weapons against her as the sword whittles down everything she tries. Shu Lien ''still wins.''
* Film/JamesBond vs. Janus in ''Film/GoldenEye''.
* The big fight scene in ''Film/TheMatrixReloaded'' starts as a weapon brawl, and eventually traverses car chase into a fist v. sword fight on the back of a speeding semi, and ends with a game of chicken...
** Burly Brawl for that matter starts out as a typical one-against-many fight scene and gradually turns into a Looney Tunes short on crack.
** Even in the final part of the trilogy, ''Film/TheMatrixRevolutions'' had Neo and Smith engaging in an aerial battle above the city, [[KungFuSonicBoom creating massive shockwaves]], with Smith gaining the upper hand when he gives Neo one hell of a MeteorMove sending them crashing bach to earth, and after much [[NietzscheWannabe monologuing]], the battle is reduced to a slightly high-powered version of GoodOldFisticuffs in a six-foot crater.
* In the final battle of ''Film/{{Serenity}}'', Mal and the Operative start by fighting with pistols, but [[ThrowAwayGuns rapidly lose their respective firearms]], resorting to [[SwordFight melee combat with sword and screwdriver]], before finally resorting to a [[GoodOldFisticuffs blunt bare-handed fistfight]].
* The Roman Polanski film version of ''Macbeth'' has the final fight between Macbeth and Macduff turn into a protracted anything-goes match including punches, kicks, and Macduff swinging at Macbeth with a piece of firewood when he's been disarmed.
* The fight between ''Film/MrAndMrsSmith'' starts with guns, then progresses to everything in the entire house being used as a weapon, from the dishes to the couch. And ends in DestructoNookie.
* The final shown battle in ''Film/KingdomOfHeaven'' has the Saracens breaching Jerusalem's walls. The battle goes from a stereotypical fight to what seems like the two sides ''pushing back and forth''.
* The ending duel in ''Film/HouseOfFlyingDaggers'' has the two male leads fighting one another with their swords. Eventually the fight devolves from them fighting skillfully to them just slashing each other.
** Except that this trope is played... [[TearJerker rather seriously]]...
* The final duel in ''Film/RobotJox'' begins with two giant mecha fighting each other until both mechs are utterly destroyed, at which point the "jox" jump out and start swinging broken parts at each other.
* The third SwordFight in ''Film/TheDuellists'' goes on for so long the duellists are gasping for breath, propping themselves up on their swords, and occasionally mustering the strength to make wild roundhouse swings at each other. The duel is ended by their seconds when they discard their swords and just start having at each other.
* ''Film/{{Oldboy}}''. Hallway. Hammer. Very tiring.
* Several times in ''Film/WeWereSoldiers'', but particularly one engagement between the North Vietnamese forces and the [[TrappedBehindEnemyLines Lost Platoon]]. At one point, an American soldier can be seen bludgeoning a Vietnamese troop to death with [[ImprovisedWeapon his helmet]].
* Happens rapidly between two soldiers in ''Film/SavingPrivateRyan'' -- both of their guns jam, so they resort to throwing things including their helmets at one another before they can get their sidearms out.
* Happens offscreen in ''{{Film/Patton}}''. A battle that starts at night between tanks and rifles finishes at dawn with knives.
* ''Film/TheGerman'' follows an air-to-air battle as it goes from fighter planes dogfighting all the way to two men in the woods in a fistfight.
* ''Film/{{Up}}'' has this between Carl and Muntz, as they're both ''really'' old men.
* The climactic battle between ''Film/TheTerminator'' and Sarah Connor ends with Sarah, who has broken her leg, crawling painstakingly slowly through a delivery shaft, "chased" by the barely functioning remnants of the Terminator after a bomb has exploded whilst attached to it.

* In ''[[XWingSeries Starfighters of Adumar]]'', Wes Janson participates in a blastsword duel only to turn it into a NoHoldsBarredBeatdown - knowing that he can't beat the other guy in a fair duel, he [[YouFightLikeACow goads him]] into making a wild swing, then punches him half to death. The other guy tries to punch back, but he's not trained in GoodOldFisticuffs.
* In Max Barry's ''MachineMan'', the final fight between [[spoiler:ManInTheMachine Dr. Charles Neumann and crazed {{cyborg}} Carl]] sees them deal a *great* deal of damage to each other before [[spoiler:Neumann blasts Carl to smithereens with his {{BFG}} ArmCannon]].
* Derfel, the narrator from ''Literature/TheWarlordChronicles'' lampshades this several times, and notes it as being almost inevitable in any proper early Middle Ages battle that features both sides using a shield wall, which is essentially a StoneWall tactic. The start of the battle may have plenty of {{Boisterous Bruiser}}s [[BadassBoast taunting]] [[TrashTalk the enemy]], wizards chanting, and [[TheBerserker berserkers]] making charges at the enemy lines, but after more than a few minutes of battle, you have a bunch of exhausted men weighed down by their own armor and weapons whose swords have been blunted by the impact on shields and armor, whose spears have snapped, and are reduced to leaning against one another and just trying to muster up the energy for the occasional attempt to stab an enemy soldier. Now imagine a few hours of doing that...
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' book Death Masks, Harry's duel with Ortega devolves into a fight between Harry's allies and Ortega's vampires when Ortega cheats.
* Happens in Frank Saberhagen's [[BookOfSwords Swords]] series. [[BadassGrandpa Baron Doon]] goes three rounds against [[InfinityPlusOneSword Shieldbreaker]], which is shown in-universe to always defeat armed opponents. He keeps dropping his sundered weapons and grabbing new ones.
* AlexanderPushkin uses the trope (the Fairy Tales variant above) in the battle between Ruslan and Rogdai in ''Ruslan and Lyudmila''. Ruslan wins, but ends up unarmed; fortunately, there is an old battlefield covered with scattered weapons nearby.
* In Literature/SerbianEpicPoetry, duels often start with both combatants using spears, then they go through maces and swords in some order, before ending up using their bare hands (and, on at least one occasion, teeth).

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Several of the Terminator duels in ''TheSarahConnorChronicles'' start out with both combatants shooting at each other. Considering that [[MadeOfIron doesn't work too often]] against Terminators, the battles rapidly devolve into environmentally-destructive fisticuffs.
* ''Series/TheMonkees'' episode "Fairy Tale" climaxed with a battle between [[FarmBoy Peter]] [[IdiotHero Tork]] and [[BlackKnight Knight]] [[EvilChancellor Harold]]. They fought with swords and somehow lost them, they continued fighting with daggers, and then Harold said, "You know, I'm really a non-violent sort." Peter replied, "That's very refreshing," and they put away their daggers and arm-wrestled.
* The final battle between ''Series/KamenRiderKuuga'' and [[BigBad N-Daguba-Zeba]] progresses thusly: Kuuga [[SuperMode Ultimate Form]] vs. Daguba, brutally assaulting each other until they shatter each other's {{Transformation Trinket}}s and revert to their human forms, still punching each other. However it starts and ends as a fistfight, albeit initially one between two super-powered beings.
* When Master Ping recounts his epic battle with the greatest Luchadore in history during the second episode of ''TheMiddleMan'', their combat starts with martial arts fisticuffs but eventually branches into BiPlane dogfights, machine gun duels, and swordplay before his opponent finally dies of a heart attack during a Rock'em Sock'em Robots game.
* In ''{{Series/Firefly}}'' Mal starts fighting Atherton Wing in a swordfight. As he's never touched a sword before, this goes poorly. But when things get down to the punching, he has a definite advantage.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones''. [[spoiler:Brienne vs The Hound]]. It starts out sword-to-sword; by the end it's degenerated into a series of groin attacks, ear-biting, rock-bludgeoning, and repeated face-punching.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In older editions of ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'', this will often happen to SquishyWizard type characters, particularly at lower levels: when they're out of spell slots, their viable combat options often degenerate to slinging crossbow bolts, and often even without proficiency in crossbows. Squishy Wizards in newer editions have the privilege of having unlimited use of cantrip spells, so even though cantrips are generally weaker than leveled spells, they're never truly out of magic.

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* In any game emphasising resource management or item hoarding players can be brought down to this if they run out of [[MagicPoints MP]]/Items/Ammo or can't afford to use any more, leaving them forced to remove a boss's last HP/enemies with their weakest weapons and abilities.
* This trope is nearly universal in TowerDefense Games, when experts aren't playing. It is a consequence of the difficultycurve and the fact they are {{EndlessGame}}s.
* If you drag a gunfight out for too long in ''VideoGame/DeusEx'', your foes will run out of ammo and try to stab you.
* In ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4'', [[spoiler:the final battle between Old Snake and Ocelot starts as an over-the-top cutscene brawl before entering into a three-stage fight (each stage reminiscent of the previous three ''Metal Gear Solid'' games), and degenerates into two exhausted old men slugging it out with each other.]]
* Speaking of ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'', one particular level ends with DuelBoss battle between Sanger and Wodan. Both of their machines get severely damaged in the cutscene beforehand, and you have three turns to defeat Wodan before the level ends anyways. To get the BraggingRightsReward, you will have to throw ''everything'' at Wodan, and by fight's end, Sanger's machine will be stripped of pretty much all energy, Spirit, and be on its last legs.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' requires that you maintain your weapon and armor conditions so that you can equip and use them effectively. A similar effect can be inflicted on enemies, as shooting their weapon enough time will cause it to have a 0% CND rating, making it unusable to them. Interestingly enough, the weapons can still be used for repair despite the damage.
** That's a result of condition being more a rating of functionality rather than material cohesion. E.G. If you slice through the hose or puncture the fuel tank of a flamer you could still salvage the trigger mechanism and the nozzle to fix one that's been bent in a melee.
* This trope is able to show up in many ''Franchise/{{TheElderScrolls}}'' games. If a weapon breaks or is otherwise disabled, it's previous wielder is quite often reduced to [[GoodOldFisticuffs fighting with their fists!]] This can even happen to Dremora.
* War of the Roses has weapons that break if you parry with them too much - good players duelling will often go through their main weapon and side arm both in a single fight, having to end the fight with daggers.
* ''VideoGame/{{Battlefield 3}}'' ends after a chase through the New York subway system, followed by a [[spoiler:PressXToNotDie sequence that ends with you bashing the BigBad in the face with a rock.]]
* ''VideoGame/GodOfWar 2'' has Kratos inflict this on Perseus, constantly wrecking all his divine gadgets until he is forced to [[TurnsRed take Kratos seriously]].
* The Dominion Tower's Climber Mode in ''VideoGame/RuneScape'' can have this effect. Instead of limiting storage access like Endurance Mode, before every fight you get a handicap (Such as lower attack accuracy, no prayers, monsters start out unable to attack, etc). While it starts out rather easy, by the time you get to F15 you'll affected by so many handicaps that you'll constantly be dazed, dropping your weapons, unable to eat, drink or even wear armour while fighting some of the toughest bosses in the game.
* A Franchise/{{Pokemon}} that runs out of PP for all of its moves will resort to the move Struggle, which does moderate damage and also damages itself.
** Another example: some extremely powerful attacks in the games have this trope as an explicit side effect. Such as Draco Meteor, which reduces the user's Special Attack and thus can't hit as hard the second time, or V-Create, which lowers defenses and speed so that the user is left wide open to being hit for massive damage.
* Most fights in ''VideoGame/{{Condemned}} 2'' become this due to melee weapons breaking. Which often leads to the player using their fists to fight or running around in hope of grabbing a new weapon.
* Competing online with other players in ''Fight Night: Champion'' for many rounds can result in this, as both players will have reduced stamina by that point. Even more so when there are two players that have been spamming punches and wasting stamina.
* Over-committing in ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' can turn a fight into this trope, especially for classes who can give up their secondary weapons for a piece of equipment, such as a Scout using the slow-reloading Scattergun as well as the Bonk Atomic Punch. Most notable with the Soldier and Demoman, who have powerful weapons but long reload times--players who empty their magazine with one weapon will often just switch to the second and keep firing, and if that goes dry mid-fight as well, it's not uncommon for them to draw their melee weapon and have at it.
* ''DawnOfWar'': Squads that have their MoraleMeter reduced to zero become horribly inefficient at fighting, losing accuracy, damage and taking more damage, and it drops as long as the squad takes damage. If you somehow get two squads to suffer this, it leads to this trope. Some squads are immune to morale damage, mostly thanks to being complete fanatics, possessed by daemons, missing chunks of their brain, or being more afraid of the commissar than the enemy.
* ''{{Pharaoh}}'': The longer a unit of soldiers remains in combat, the lower its morale drops, until they flee back to their fort. Enemy soldiers don't suffer from this, though they do retreat after a while.

* The Bun-Bun vs. Oasis fight from ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' started out as a pure [[KnifeNut knife fight]], but quickly turned into a chase scene involving grenades, handguns, and eventually [[spoiler:Oasis revealing she can start fires with her mind]].
* In ''Webcomic/GoldCoinComics'', at a tournament, two magic users are fighting, and use up their magic. [[http://gcc.goldcoincomics.com/?page=83 Then it turns into]] a WimpFight.
* The ending conflict in the Empire of Blood arc from ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' drags on like this, with the Vector Legion hammering away again and again at the Order, forcing them to improvise over and over. Near the end, you see most of them lying near dead in the desert heat before their back-up arrives. The final attack of the battle is delivered by Haley, propping her bow with her legs as one of her arms was broken by Tarquin.

[[folder: Web Original]]
* Subverted in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-is63goeBgc Ryan vs. Dorkman 2]]. Both combatants lose their lightsabers and begin to menace each other with fists... and then think better of it and make a mutual dive for their weapons.
* There's a cool one in Issue 13 of the [[http://ideologyofmadness.spookyouthouse.com/archives/category/columns/knights-of-reignsborough Knights of Reignsborough Actual Play podcast]]. The Necropath and Land Mine locked in a brawl underneath a stadium, throwing mental blasts and explosions, respectively, at each other, ending with them both resorting to fists, then a truly amazing EyeScream.
* Tex vs Wash and the Meta in RedVsBlue begins with Tex taking every advantage she can get. She carbombs them so they're weak and disarmed before the fight even starts, hides weapons all around the battlefield for her to utilize with great effectiveness, and rigs more explosives along the cliff face the alter the playing field even further. Unfortunately, she's facing the two freelancers who are capable of surviving things Rasputin would succumb to. She gets shot in the back by Wash, which slows her movements. Then, she's thrown into a knockdown drag out with Meta, her kabar against his bruteshot. In the end, she's stabbed in the face in one of the most brutal finishers of the series.

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* In the final episode of the Battletech cartoon has [[TheCaptain Adam Steiner]] (our protagonist) and [[DragonInChief Nicolai Malthus]] going against each other in Fresh [[HumongousMecha BattleMechs]] in a duel of sorts for the planet [[DoomedHometown Somerset]]. Nicolai Malthus wins the mech duel, but then loses his own mech to a cliff face after Adam [[FallingIntoTheCockpit jumps into his cockpit]]; the ensuing struggle sending the mech out of control. Steiner and Malthus end up duking it out man-to-man on the remains of Malthus's mech.
* ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory''. When Dexter and Mandark's dads throw down (ironic considering Mandark's father is a peace loving hippie), it starts out as a flat-out fist fight, then degrades into a wrestling match. Then they start throwing food and stray animals at each other. Then they just jump into their cars and ram each other for the rest of the day. The episode ends with Mandark and Dexter arguing over whose ''mom'' is tougher.

[[folder: Real Life ]]
* Occasional TruthInTelevision. For example:
** During the battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War, Joshua Chamberlain's 20th Maine regiment had to hold a vital hill on the flank of the Union Army. They repelled several enemy attacks, but ran out of bullets. In desperation, Chamberlain ordered a bayonet charge, which saved the Union Army and got him the Medal of Honor. Several battles in that war had soldiers ''throwing rocks at each other.''
** In UsefulNotes/WorldWarOne, soldiers who could expect to wind up doing a lot of trench fighting often had customized melee weapons (mostly knives and clubs) that saw just as much use as their rifles, if not more. The wicked trench spike (think brass knuckles welded to railroad spike) was pretty much invented in this war.
** During the legendary Battle of Thermoplyae, the Greek soldiers who fought the Persians reportedly kept battling their enemies even after their spears and swords were broken, battering them with their shields, eventually being forced to use their teeth and fingernails as weapons. Deadliest Warrior suggests that a Spartan shield punch, while obviously not a move to be used in heavy combat, was as or more lethal than the spears or swords. That's a lot of weight coming at you. Not to mention the circular (and actually quite sharp) edge of most Spartan shields. They could very well break bones and tear open flesh (albeit rather shallow) if used by the right people. Like the [[MemeticBadass horrifying]] [[ImplacableMan immortal]] [[TheSpartanWay god]] [[BloodKnight warriors]] that used them.
** Standard procedure during mass aerial combat. Faced with too many aircraft moving too quickly for a human properly track, combat breaks down rapidly into smaller and smaller fights. The stories of pilots who began the fight as part of a large formation, then looked around at the end and saw a whole bunch of empty sky are numerous, while one of the best ways to score kills is to realize somebody doesn't think you're part of their fight and kill them before they realize you are.
* Also, Mixed Martial Arts bouts also tend to go this way. The first round can be fast paced and exciting, but after 10 minutes of trying (and mostly succeeding) in beating the crap out of each other, the fighters noticeably slow down in the final round.
** [[http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/07/15/ This gets a mention]] in ''Webcomic/PennyArcade''.
* A verbal example comes from William F Buckley Jr. and Gore Vidal's debates during the Republican and Democratic National Conventions in 1968. What began as a debate on the Republican candidates quickly turned into a one-up contest, with both participants trying to make the other one look stupid. By the end of the debates, they were just insulting one another, and it looked like they were going to actually hit each other at some points.
* Long and/or grueling boxing matches often follow this trope. A fight may start with the fighters moving very quickly and fluidly, throwing pinpoint combinations that show their skill as boxers. After a half hour or so of hitting a guy in the face and getting hit back, the two fighters may be reduced to a tired wrestling with each other and occasionally throwing sloppy, exhausted punches that don't much resemble what was being done in the first round when the fighters were fresh. Factor in the possibility for injuries to the hands, face, eyes, and even other areas such as the back, knees, and shoulders, and it's not surprising when this trope is played straight during a fight.
* This can occur in fencing bouts. Occasionally, the intricate back-and-forth of thrusts and parries will be abandoned in favor of less... conventional play. Referees may interrupt a bout if this happens, and the action has become too confusing to follow from a judging perspective.