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Deadly Lunge
One free hug!

Imagine being in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse. You rush to some safe place, but the way is blocked by a few aimlessly shambling zombies. Well, no big problem — zombies are slow, aren't they?

Well, it seems that getting close to a zombie triggers some reflex in the remains of its brain, resulting in a really fast lunge which, apparently, you weren't prepared for. Too bad for you.

Frequently featured offscreen: in every zombie film some character is due to be ambushed by a zombie, which then suddenly lunges into our field of view.

The trope isn't limited to just zombies, see below. The lunge may be replaced by a jump or a sprint, the essence being the same: drastic increase of speed triggered by prey proximity.

Note that the trope does not apply to the enemies which just have a surprisingly long attack range (e.g. stretching hands) or which are always fast (e.g., 28 Days Later).

This is a favored tactic of the Personal Space Invader. Not to be confused with a Deadly Lunch, which may be thrust unexpectedly at one by a Lethal Chef.

Compare Ankle Drag.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Zombies in Blassreiter, known as demoniacs, can leap up to 30 feet in the air.
  • The mannequin soldiers in Fullmetal Alchemist seem to have two speeds: Slow shamble and sprinting into a leap. They change between them suddenly and randomly.

    Gamebooks 

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • This is a power zombies can have in All Flesh Must Be Eaten.
  • The same is true for zombies in the New World of Darkness book Antagonists.
  • In Exalted one of the Exalt types, the Abyssals, have abilities that mimic the powers of the undead. Their signature martial arts style, Hungry Ghost Style, includes a move called Unnatural Shambling Deftness which is described as specifically imitating a zombie's ability to switch suddenly from immobility to a startling burst of speed. In game terms, though, it's just a regular extra action Charm. But the Style also includes such gems of fear as Leaping Horror Approach and Lunging Phantom Method.

    Video Games 
  • Half-Life
    • Combine zombies in Half-Life 2 (Zombine) sprint up when they get sufficiently close to you. Fast Zombies occasionally leap at Gordon if he's too far away to slash. They can also do it vertically to catch the player off-guard if they're on a higher platform.
    • Regular Headcrabs in all of the Half-Life games are slow, but can jump on a victim across considerable distance. The same applies to the Poison Headcrabs.
  • Demon Kids and Simians in Silent Hill lunge and jump, respectively.
  • Golems in Hexen 2 do this.
  • Many enemies in House of the Dead do this, even those that move pretty fast to begin with.
  • The Fiends from Quake love to leap across distances to get at you, and can One-Hit Kill you with this attack.
  • The Legend of Zelda
    • ReDeads, at least in Super Smash Bros. Melee.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, ReDeads are always slow, but have the ability to temporarily stun you if you're in their line of sight. Once they get close enough, they will do a startlingly quick leap onto your shoulders.
    • Ropes (i.e. snakes)) charge straight at Link when they see him. They're allegedly poisonous, but don't do anything but immediately deal a small amount of damage.
  • Resident Evil
  • Almost all enemies in Boktai, but mainly the Boks (zombies) and the mummies.
  • The majority of enemies in Doom 3 have a lunge attack.
  • Kleer Skeletons in the Serious Sam series are known for it.
  • Zombie Dawn zombies lunge when they get close to a person.
  • Devil May Cry
    • The Stinger and its variants are examples courtesy of the protagonist, though some enemies also have this sort of move.
    • Shadows, with the lunging spike and the lunging bite they do when they are low on life.
  • Prototype
    • Captain Cross breaks this out with his electric baton if you try to make Alex pick up a gun and Just Shoot Him.
    • In Prototype 2, James Heller can pounce on enemies with his Claw power active. This is in part to make up for the fact that grabbing things in the first game requires a clear line to the target, which made the process prone to frequent misses.
  • In Dead Rising, the zombies speed up significantly once they get close. They are noticeably more aggressive at night time and in dark areas, as well.
  • Pretty much every zombie in Left 4 Dead is a disheveled muddy-colored marathon runner, but the Hunters (as seen in pic) are particularly bad about this. He's also the only one that can actually jump on you. There's also the Charger; clumsy most of the time, but can charge at remarkable speed.
  • Commando (Pro) perk from Modern Warfare 2 allows you to cover some distance when knifing. Unless they use a shotgun.
  • Painkiller has a zombie enemy which normally crawls aimlessly on elbows and knees - until it rears up and flings itself at you across surprising distances. One of your first encounters with them is in an unlit asylum.
  • Diablo 2 has some skeletons walking around slooowly with very long swords, and suddenly slashing at you. And they rise again after being defeated.
  • Fallout
    • Many of Fallout 3's non-human opponents have access to these, from the lowliest of radroaches to the mightiest of deathclaws. Most of the ones that don't (like radscorpions or centaurs) typically don't serve as any real threat to an experienced player, as their movement patterns are predictable and attacks easily avoided. Also, crippling an enemy's legs (preferably with the poison dart gun) prevents them from doing this.
    • The Geckoes in Fallout: New Vegas do this. The vanilla ones aren't that deadly, but the Golden and Green ones are.
  • Demonic monsters referred to as "Howlers" pose the primary threat, at least early on, in Clive Barker's Undying. Roughly humanoid with canine features and some ape-like elements thrown in, howlers gallop towards the player until they get close enough to pounce. In this case "close enough" is about twenty meters or so. They always land ready to strike with their razor-sharp claws.
  • The Alien in most Alien vs. Predator games can do this. It is not slow on foot to begin with, and some variants can pounce over the map if needed.
  • There are various such moves in Ninja Gaiden.
  • World of Warcraft features this as a move for both the player and enemies. Warriors, for example, have four variants of this for different situations. It also has an inversion, the Death Knight's Death Grip. It instantly drags the target to the caster's location.
  • Many enemies in Dark Souls have moves that let them close distance very quickly, though some of them are nice enough to telegraph their moves giving you time to get out of the way. Others, like Ornstein the Dragonslayer, aren't that obliging.
  • Dead Space: Most of the enemies, frankly. There is a varied pattern between strong foes being slow, and weak, low damage output but quick and agile ones.
  • Assassins Creed III has some of the wildlife doing this.
  • In Sword of the Stars II, the Warp Pulse upgrade allows Tarka ships to do a nigh-instant "lunge" in tactical combat, but with the caveat that any enemy ship in the way causes the lunging Tarka ship to crumple like an egg.
  • Halo
    • Promethean Knights in Halo 4, who are normally quite slow-moving, will sometimes suddenly lunge, sprint or zig-zag-hyperspeed-charge at you to attack you in melee (or with their Scattershot), usually after you've broken their shield at longer ranges. Also, as in all Halo games, the Energy Sword can trigger a lunge at a certain range. The Thruster Pack armor ability in Halo 4 can also be used to suddenly close distance for a melee or shotgun attack, or to board a vehicle. And finally, the Flood creatures from the War Games Flood playlist possess significantly boosted Thruster Packs, higher base movement speeds, and blade-arms that act like Energy Swords, so deadly lunging is pretty much their baseline tactic.
    • In earlier Halo games, lunging was commonly used by various Flood forms, and was basically all that Infection Forms really did, to particularly lethal effect against unshielded enemies.
  • The Matrix Path Of Neo has this as a common attack for vampire type enemies who like to lunge out of walls.
  • In Five Nights at Freddy's 2, the original Foxy can kill you this way.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Many cold-blooded animals do this, saving up energy in lieu of using it up by stalking prey; even reptiles as big as crocodiles pull off some impressive stunts. That their anatomy makes it harder to breathe while running doesn't let them keep it up for too long.
  • Active swimming predators, such as tuna or several sharks, move at a consistent speed, but when needed, will do a sudden and extremely fast sprint. This can be seen in their meat: The muscles used to constant speed are small and dark, implying low power but high endurance, while the ones used for sprinting are clear and fill the whole of the section of the fish in several areas. Crocodiles pull something akin to this as well; most of their body is filled with white muscle.
    • Herons and similar wading birds have the same type of muscle in their necks, allowing them to perform a lightning-fast lunge attack with their heads while the rest of their body remains motionless to avoid alerting fish to their presence.
  • Most grappling martial arts, such as Sambo, Judo, and Wrestling, have techniques that basically consist of shooting in and taking you down. A common misconception (possibly due to the prevalence of "big giant wrestlers" in video games) is that "shoots" are like slow football tackles that are easy to counter by, say, sidestepping or throwing up a knee. Those who subscribe to this belief usually find themselves taken down and ground-pounded.
  • Fencing: Even a beginner with only basic footwork under his belt can attack from about six feet away in a half second. A good fencer who's practiced their lunge a lot can hit from 9 to 12 feet away in the same time. Straight, thin, light thrusting swords became the premier civilian weapon partly because of the speed of lunging attacks. We shouldn't forget fleche attacks either, which can really freak out an unsuspecting opponent.


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