Dead Character Walking
Through either a glitch or various methods, one of the game's characters dies, but is somehow kept alive (possibly with bizarre effects). Applies to players when a Game Over is supposed to happen, or they are able to perform unexpected actions like World of Warcraft
's "travel by suicide". Applies to enemies or NPCs
if they are not supposed to be immortal. Does not apply if the player is immortal, die after a set period of time, or is saved due to scripted events.
This is often considered a Good Bad Bug
. Not to be confused with Dead Star Walking
, or with those placed high on the Sorting Algorithm of Mortality
There are 3 methods by which this can be done:
- Straight game mechanism: Simplest form of all. Just die, and some games allow you to do unexpected things while dead. Sometimes, the dead character can harass the living ones, resulting in a kind of Kingmaker Scenario.
- Glitches: Some form of glitch that allows the player or enemy to die and move, stay around, or in some cases still fight! Exploiting this can fall under Not the Intended Use.
- Cheat code: First enable some form of cheat, then die. The interaction of the cheat code and dying gives the player interesting outcomes while dead.
- World of Warcraft: You can explore as a ghost when dead, and before you respawn. Before this bug was fixed, you could actually "travel by suicide", as in, die and walk while dead to the Spirit Healer nearest where you wanted to be. Now, you can only respawn at the spirit healer nearest to where you died, or on the site of your corpse.
- The game does forget where you died if you use a boat or a zeppelin to switch continents, allowing you to respawn at the new continent. Usually this is used to gain access to the Blood Elf or Draenei starting zones' tamable wildlife before the character is strong enough to get there normally.
- You can still travel by respawning a bit further along your path than your body actually was, but it's much more tedious.
- Occasionally, mousing over the map icon indicating your location will occasionally label you as being a corpse, even if you're alive.
- In Mario Kart DS battle mode, a dead (read: out of the contest) driver can still drive around the battlefield, laying boxes, albeit invisible and intangible.
- The earlier Mario Kart 64 likewise allowed players that were eliminated to continue driving about as a bomb on wheels, at which point they could try to ram into one of the remaining players to try and eliminate them as well.
- Likewise in most of the newer Bomberman games, there's usually an option to allow defeated players to harass the living ones by riding around the edge of the stage in a hovering vehicle and throwing bombs at them. In some of the games, managing to directly kill one of the players this way could also revive you and let you resume playing normally, hopefully not getting killed in turn by the same player who you just offed.
- Amulets & Armor has a great bug dealing with the "death cam", the red-tinted view of the world you see when you die. Your character is actually still alive, the game just disables the keyboard. However, A&A has mouse navigation too, which it doesn't disable, letting you explore (and even beat) levels while dead.
- Literally in MOTHER 3; since the characters walk one after another, they are still able to walk around, but their sprite looks excessively tired.
- In its predecessor, EarthBound, dead characters were actually ghosts following the leader of your party.
- In Tales of Symphonia, Sheena has the tech "Purgatory Seal," which revives a dead character with 0 HP. The revived character will die if they take any damage, but healing spells and items will work normally.
- In The Simpsons: Hit & Run, there is a variation that lets you drive a wrecked car. Not surprisingly, Itís VERY slow. It doesn't work with all vehicles, and you can bring the car back to fully normal by touching a repair wrench.
- The fictional MMORPG from Noob has some players casually walk around in that form. The Dirty Coward of the team sometimes stays in that state on purpose to avoid getting damage from enemies (it keeps her from attacking them also, but she doesn't care as long as she doesn't get hurt).
- A rare plot-related example occurs in Final Fantasy V where Galuf successfully fights off Exdeath at 0 HP. He dies immediately after that, though.
- The original QWTF Team Fortress had a bug where a spy could feign death, and then start moving around as an apparent sliding corpse on the ground.
- And in Team Fortress 2, if your character's corpse is still there after you respawn, which tends to happen on instant respawn servers, it can produce weird effects. If your character talks, so does their corpse. C'mere, cupcake...
- Inverted by anything that produces a "Statue" from the corpse after a kill in Team Fortress 2 (The Saxxy, Golden Wrench, Golden Frying Pan, or Spycicle), where the statue will not only talk, but also sometimes be subjected to ragdoll physics. A patch sort of solved the problem, but they are still subjected to very, very minor physics when they collapse over.
- Final Fantasy VI has a couple of bugs that allow you to walk around with an all-dead (or all-zombie) party. Of course, it's Game Over if you enter a fight, but hey.
- Final Fantasy VII has a similar glitch with Cloud's flashback sequence. Sephiroth's AI is supposed to revive Cloud should he fall in battle but sometimes Sephiroth will just whale on enemies instead, leaving Cloud down. This becomes extremely funny when Sephiroth separates from Cloud's party, leaving Cloud to walk around town by himself while his HP is at 0. Unlike the above example, there's no more random encounters once Sephiroth leaves due to plot reasons, so there's no risk of a Game Over.
- Final Fantasy VII actually has a system in place in early-game that heals and revives the party after plot points and boss fights. If one does a game where Cloud is at 0 hp when you reach Cosmo canyon, this is the first time in regular gameplay when you are not healed after a boss. This leads to a party of Cloud alone dead in the menu when checked when his party splits up at Cosmo Canyon when first visited when the buggy breaks down. If Cloud was just dead by chance, this can be particularly frustrating if you walk outside to sample the enemies nearby or gain a quick level.
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: By a glitch, you could walk Zombie Link in a dim world. A different method allows Zombie Link to walk around in regular lighting, but nothing can be done anyway, everything is frozen, and many features are disabled.
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker has a similar Zombie Link glitch where the player must rapidly press the A and B buttons alternately as soon as Link loses all his health, but before the death animation plays. This glitch is called "zombie hovering": Link will repeatedly start the jump slash animation, slowly rising into the air in the direction he's facing. The glitch allows one to travel anywhere within a room, but if Link touches the floor, he will immediately die.
- Mega Man 3 has an unusual glitch where the player could die by jumping into a pit with the usual death sound effect, but could then use the second controller codes to jump out and continue playing normally while being unable to be killed, with the side effect that they can't use the Mega Buster anymore since the game considers it to be out of energy when your lifebar is empty. The health recover items would make Mega Man alive again, but while collecting one meant you could fire your default weapon again, it also meant you're now able to be killed normally again.
- There is an infamous glitch which crept from the infamous Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) to the otherwise excellent Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations which makes Sonic, if he receives mortal damage while on a autoscrolling sequence, still slide with his dead body on the track. He can even be controlled sometimes with the directional pad!
- In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, by a certain glitch in stamina mode, both Wario and Bowser can become "zombies" where they can still be controlled and beat other players at 0 HP. Bowser could still win, but Wario cannot win at all after using this glitch.
- Master Hand, in Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS, can continue fighting at 0 HP if you attack him for exactly the amount of damage as he has HP remaining. Any sort of damage after that, however, will defeat him.
- In S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, there's a stalker called Crab in Skadovsk that was severely injured by a Chimera after Magpie betrays Gonta's squad. He's supposed to be laying in a bed (Okay, he's not dead, but he isn't supposed to move from there until he recovers, so it counts), but sometimes he can be seen walking around Skadovsk. If that isn't weird enough, he walks in a very erratic manner with his torso rotated 180 degrees only for him to suddenly stop, lay in the ground and float up to his bed. You can't make this stuff up.
- There was a bug in Baldur's Gate II that would occasionally cause a monster not to register that it has died, rendering it undead in a manner the authors hadn't anticipated. This required either a reload or a hasty escape as the player would be chased around the area by an unkillable cloud of flying Ludicrous Gibs.
- Blood has a glitch where, on occasion, enemies who are killed by being set on fire would continue to run around in their on-fire animation indefinitely. It seems the game gets confused at some point in the process of switching them from a moving fire damage source to a static corpse, since they can still hurt you past the point where they should have stopped moving, but you can only remove them by hitting them with the splash damage from an explosion.
- Doom has such a bug, described in detail here, where a player killed in deathmatch becomes a mobile corpse which runs (okay, slides) around. Kinda creepy.
- In the murder mystery text adventure Deadline, there's a bug that makes it possible for a character's death to be followed by that character running into the room and reacting to seeing a corpse (their own) on the floor.
- In Half-Life, if an NPC has scripted dialogue, but you kill them before they begin to speak, the corpse will speak anyway. The mouth moves and the audio can be heard, but otherwise he is dead. This works at least on the security guard at the end of the Power Up sequence.
- In Psycho Waluigi, there is a glitch that is very hard to pull off that lets you do this.
- Also in World of Warcraft, as one video demonstrates, there was a bug in which revived characters would keep using the dead model, leading to apparent corpses gliding on the ground. A lesser example is a bug in the game client that didn't turn off the facing code after a mob had died, allowing the corpse to continue turning to face the player whom it had been attacking before it died.
- Some private servers have glitched programming that takes it even farther, with corpses that keep attacking you while not being attackable in return.
- Can be done in Phantasy Star II. First, kill off everyone except Shir, then enter a shop repeatedly until she steals something and leaves the party. You'll now be able to walk around with an all dead party, though the second you get into an encounter, you'll die immediately.
- Also easily doable in Star Ocean: The Second Story: just use a Mandrake on each member of your active party, which kills anyone it's used on. The game also has another, far more annoying inversion of this: often later in the game when facing powerful enemies that can easily kill, paralyze or petrify you, you'll end up getting a Game Over right after you use a healing item or spell to cure one of said statuses due to the game not bothering to check if someone's currently in process of being cured from them before declaring the battle lost due to all four characters being considered dead at the same time for a brief period of time (e.g., a mage casts a status recovery spell and gets killed while it's going off). This means you'll often end up with a freshly-healed character standing there while the battle fades out and you're forced to reload your save.
- The original Grand Theft Auto had an occasional glitch if you got into a vehicle just when it exploded, where you wouldn't die until you got out of the car again. Until you do, you can be a zombie cruising the streets in the wreckage of a destroyed car.
- In the console multiplayer mode of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, equip your second player with a katana, make him kill the first player by beheading him. As the game resumes single player mode and CJ wakes up in the hospital, watch his head still being missing, with his neck stump continuously spurting blood.
- In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, there is a glitch where if you execute it correctly, the opponent, 99% of the time, will become immortal. That is, they have only one Hit Point left no matter what you do. The other 1% of the time, they will die instantly.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, occasionally when you murder someone in their house and take their stuff, the corpse will accuse you of stealing. Which can scare the crap out of you when you think you're alone except for the dead body.
- The game was prone to this in earlier builds which were much buggier. The game could occasionally forget that someone was dead and bring them back to life upon reloading a save. If you had hacked or exploded someone's limbs or head off, the game would creepily reassemble them from all the gibs and severed parts. The resulting abomination would walk around and talk as if nothing was wrong.
- Some respawning NPCs can also coexist with their corpse or, more frequently the pile of ash or plasma that was there past self. When you try to loot the glitched corpse or ash pile, the living version will respond to you as if you just tried to talk to them. The most prominent place this occurs is the guards outside Camp McCarren, who are already likely to die multiple times thanks to the Fiends that spawn near them. These NPCs, and all other that trigger this glitch, are counted as unique, and thus have saved facial structures and load outs, but use the same code as generic re spawning NPCs. This results in creating another instance of that NPC when they respawn, without necessarily removing the old instance (their corpse) in the process. In the game's eyes, the corpse and the person are the same thing.
- Both this game and Fallout 3 occasionally have dead-on-arrival NPCs spawn alive, with no dialogue options. On other occasions, enemies killed offscreen will have their corpse continue to animate in some fashion as if they're alive once you catch up to them.
- Fallout 4 has a bizarre glitch where the player can lose their head and survive. Perception is reduced to 0, and head customization and headwear are no longer available, but at least enemies can't target what you don't have. The same can happen with NP Cs.
- Red Faction had a glitch in multiplayer mode when the invincibility cheat was active; the flamethrower's alternate attack would set CPU-controlled players on fire, but never let them die. They would run around forever screaming in agony until you turned the cheat off. It was possible to inflict this cruelty on an entire level's worth of bots.
- Dead Space has a glitch that sometimes causes necromorphs to endlessly run around in circles, making them invincible until you block their path.
- Occasionally in Conduit 2's online multiplayer, a killed enemy's model will remain in their standing pose, even though they are counted as killed. Continuing to shoot at these models (which other people will most certainly do if you don't) will give you a "Double Tap" medal.
- In Steel Sentinels, a minor programming oversight causes mecha to not die until their hit points are negative- meaning that mechs with precisely zero hit points will cling to life with an empty health bar until they are felled by a stray point of damage. Although this glitch isn't much use against machine guns or lasers, it is immensely satisfying to complete a Fleet Capture the Flag objective while technically dead.
- Minecraft mobs have a glitch where if you kill them, and exit quickly and on return they will be alive and moving around in whatever position in their dying animation they were in when you exited.
- Driver 3: Odd things happen during replays, where events play out incorrectly, sometimes leaving Tanner dead for half of it.
- The game has so many bugs that one of them is NPC that will die, stand up then die again, sometimes stopping after a while, sometimes not. Driv3r WTF 3 video Guess he really liked his death scene?
- Certain versions of Touhou 7: Perfect Cherry Blossom have a glitch where Merlin Prismriver fails to transition into the Prismriver sisters' final spellcard properly, and thus will continue attacking you even after the sisters have been defeated, potentially killing your character. So much for sisterly solidarity. This bug has been mercilessly ridiculed by doujin artists.
- There's a second glitch where if a Supernatural Bordernote activates in the middle of a death animation, the death animation will stop and you won't lose a life, but you'll lose power, scatter power items, and fail the current Spell Card Bonus if one was active, all as if you did die. But then the next time you die for real, none of those things will happen.
- The various Call of Duty games have glitches with corpses, from just silently talking faces to really strange animations and postures. This Cracked page explains it best.
- A glitch in Spider-Man and Venom: Separation Anxiety occurs if you are on your last life, and you and a boss kill each other at the same time. The next level would load as normal, but you would suddenly be back to life with zero lives. Even better, since the game thinks you're already dead, you have infinite health, making the rest of the game a cakewalk.
- A rarely triggering glitch in Soldier of Fortune can cause an enemy to not notice they're supposed to be dead. Due to the game's damage system, this can result in an enemy continuing to run around and shoot even after they've been reduced to just a bloodied torso.
- The Binding of Isaac had a glitch in 1.3 that could do this: Normally, with half a heart left, taking 1 heart of damage would leave you in an immortal negative state. Touching or getting hit by greed would still sap your money, but you never took damage and showed up as low-health. Picking up a full heart would restore you to half a natural heart, ending immortality.
- A variation from Rockman 4 Minus Infinity: if you die while using Hell Wheel, the wheel keeps going (along with the camera). In some points you can even get to the next screen this way (though you obviously can't do anything)!
- In Hitman 2: Silent Assassin's final level, the player can stealth-kill the final boss through a confession booth door with the fiber wire. This doesn't actually complete the level, but when the player triggers the cutscene where the final boss leaves the confession booth, the boss's corpse will ragdoll across the ground.
- Diablo II had one of these bugs; though it's long since been fixed (1.04), if your disc is old enough you can see it anyway by uninstalling and reinstalling your game.
- In System Shock 2, if you died with the right timing while making a level transition, such as dying as you went down the maintenance shaft from medical to engineering, after loading the other map, you would be completely immortal, but the camera would be in a "death mode", resulting in the rest of the game being played with a messed up camera angle.
- In Shadows of the Empire, if you use the Disruptor while in the Outrider at the end of the second level, Dash will come back to life as a "zombie" after the cutscene.
- In Halo 3, it's possible to save Sergeant Johnson at the end of the game and have him ride along with you in the final escape sequence...but pulling it off can be quite difficult and time consuming.
- DayZ: Bug leaves husks of dead corpses standing and actually reacts to hits and such by looks but just quiet otherwise. Cracked covers this.
- In the video game adaptation of Toy Story 2, pausing the game when the player dies (specifically, when Buzz yells), and then quitting will resurrect Buzz and make him invincible. However, the spin attack will no longer inflict damage, and because a few bosses can only be damaged that way, it will become impossible to complete the game.
- The Roguelike Pixel Dungeon auto-runs the stage after the player character's death. It is possible to make one turn after the player character dies because the player was trying to go somewhere, although the effect is purely visual.
- PlanetSide 2 has a wide variety of glitches that can cause dead characters to continue fighting. On rare occasions, players who have been using their Magic Tool on a friendly vehicle can continue to repair it even past its destruction, which will "revive" the vehicle albeit with no turret. An animation glitch can cause dead players who have been revived by a medic to slide around the ground as a corpse while shooting at enemies.
- Star Wars: Battlefront: Players that were in a craft that crashed sometimes turn into immortal players that can't be killed. The developers are banning players who abuse this. Here.
- Postal 2 has a fair share of these, particularly in Paradise Lost. For instance, Enhanced Mode is supposed to make the Revolver be able to deal instant-kill headshots even without using its secondary fire, but some tougher NPCs can take the "instant-kill" part out of that◊.
- The 1997 adventure game adaptation of Blade Runner has a glitch of this nature involving a character who can possibly be a Replicant. Ending paths that have the player joining up with Clovis and his band of Replicants are supposed to have all the surviving (randomized) Replicants meet up on the moonbus he and his group arrived on. The glitch comes in when one possible Replicant character, Dektora, is allowed to leave at an earlier point in the game, but then shot in the back before she actually moves offscreen - she will still show up on the moonbus at the end, but as a corpse. Nevertheless, except for not talking she'll still be able to do everything she's supposed to do at that point in the game - such as, for instance, coming back to life to shoot you dead if you attempt to pull your gun on Clovis.
- Super Mario 64 has this if the cheat code for float is used, and Mario dies, as long as the death animation is not completed before float is used again.
- There's also a non-cheating method involving having your death blow knock you into a cannon. You can launch out of the cannon and won't die unless you touch the ground. If you're wearing the Wing Cap, you can even fly around as a zombie!
- An extension of the same glitch allows you to fly around without using the cannon as well: Hurt yourself to the point where fall damage can kill you, then equip the Wing Cap. A correctly timed three-jump combo will make you fly, so if you jump once, then twice off a cliff and trigger the last jump just as you land, you will take lethal damage but still begin flying. Unfortunately the impact "flattens" Mario and thus you can't jump more than a few feet up. Touching the ground at all causes Mario to die, which will happen eventually when the Wing Cap timer runs out. Interestingly enough, once you are "dead" coins and hearts will no longer heal you, so you absolutely cannot save yourself.
- Typing "give health" into the console in Quake will cause the player to assume a bizarre undead state where they're lying on the ground as a corpse, yet can still jump, look around, shoot and even kill enemies.
- The original Unreal Tournament allowed a similar glitch by typing "walk" (the code for disabling flying or noclip) into the console while in spectator mode after dying, where the player would be able to move around as if they're still alive. It's less useful, however, as they can't pick up weapons and any damage puts them back down until they actually respawn or type in the code again.
- If using an infinite health cheat code on Conker's Bad Fur Day in multiplayer, the character will remain alive no matter how many hits they take. If, however, they take a hit that should kill them, but thanks to the cheat code, doesn't, which includes many a one-hit kill strike like a run-in with a chainsaw or a headshot by either a knife or a gun, the character will still go through their death animation as well as lose the weapon they had, but they'll be brought back to life, albeit missing bits and pieces of their body depending on how severe an attack it was. They will also still be able to take even more damage and similar normally-one-hit-kills unfazed even after missing most of their body parts. The only thing that can kill a character even with the code on is when they are hit by something that'll make them explode, including a strike from a grenade launcher, a bomb, or falling an incredibly high height (also if you cheat further, a few characters can't be killed even with this, or maimed otherwise for that matter).
- Loaded had a cheat menu to immediately boost the player to full health. If the player had just been killed, however, it would allow them to move around the map as an invulnerable splattered corpse. Unable to shoot, open doors or pick up keys. However, they could still detonate smart bombs, whilst a second player could deal with the doors for them, but still not much point.
- If you used the invincibility cheat in Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus and let yourself get disinterated by a laser, you could now tour the level as a anything from a glowing blue Abe to a vaguely defined mess of blue particles (depending on where the death animation stopped). It had no effect on gameplay and would reset to normal once you entered a new screen.
- If the player enables the invincibility cheat in Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath but then falls into a fan, they will remain able to move and attack as continuous fountain of Ludicrous Gibs.
- Similar to the above, enabling an invincibility cheat or mod in Dead Space will cause Issac Clark to turn into a walking, talking, shooting mutilated pair of hips if he takes damage past what his life bar says he should die from.
- The original Tenchu has a player-accessible Debug Mode that can cause all sorts of amusing glitches when abused: much like the Mega Man example above, if you jump into a Bottomless Pit and then use the debug menu to teleport back to the beginning of the level after you drop to 0 HP, you'll be essentially invincible and all enemy attacks go through you. However, this also gives you the same Super Drowning Skills the enemies suffer from, but thanks to the debug menu, you can teleport yourself out of the water as well and revive yourself on command: depending on how long you let your character drown before you revive then, their lower torso might disappear entirely or they might turn completely invisible with only their weapon floating in the air.