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Do Not Run with a Gun
In most First-Person Shooter
and Third-Person Shooter
games, as well as certain other genres, the player is the only person in the world who is capable of running/walking and attacking at the same time. Everyone else, friends and allies, need to stop moving if they want to attack.
One specific variant rarely found in newer games also prevents enemies from performing any actions at all while being attacked (because their "flinch" animations interfered with their "firing" animations) or knocked off ledges, which allowed one to run up and whale on them using a melee weapon with impunity.
Another variation is where the enemy will have flinch animations, but continue firing anyway. This is even more jarring than the previous variation, what with soldiers having their guns pointed at the ground and you still taking shot damage.
One area in which this is typically applies to the player character to an extent is with scoped sniper weapons, in which one's aim will go all over the place if you move very much.
Also applies to several 2D games, stopping the player in their tracks when they take a shot (or swing a sword, whatever). The most common way around this is to attack while jumping.
Partly Truth in Television
, as in real life, firing while on the move does limit the accuracy with which one can fire, particularly if that motion is faster than a slow walk. And it's indeed quite difficult to attack when you're being hit in the face. A well-trained soldier or law enforcement professional can maintain reasonable accuracy while moving at a brisk shuffle, but most people aren't trained like that.
Many newer games will simulate this with accuracy factors for weapons, where the shots travel somewhere within a cone that gets wider as the player moves faster (first popularized in Tom Clancy licensed game
, but now common). This has created a minor genre split between "tactical" shooters where players will slow down, crouch, or even go prone
to increase accuracy, and "classic" shooters that concentrate on high mobility and fast aiming. Not really the same as I Just Shot Marvin in the Face
open/close all folders
- Taken to an extreme in Mirrors Edge, since you are playing a 1.6m-tall woman on the run from the police and SWAT units that chase you over rooftops and through side alleys. You can pick up and fire even machine guns, but running while just holding them is impossible. With a Glock in hand, you can run and jump, but since you don't have any spare ammunition on you it's usually best to just throw them away to get your hands free to climb up drain pipes and jump fences.
- The original Tomb Raider. This was fixed by Tomb Raider 2, though.
- Though somewhat inverted in TR2 and 3 with Lara's M16 and MP5 weapons, with which Lara had to stand still while shooting.
- The villain of Metroid: Fusion is the SA-X, an alien wearing a copy of Samus's Power Suit at its best (Samus, of course, has picked up the Bag of Spilling in the intro). Its overwhelming power makes you appreciate any little flaw you can find — one of which is that the SA-X can't run and shoot.
- Castlevania heroes can rarely move while attacking. In games with many weapons available, it depends on which one you're using; certain weapons (such as the Blue Knuckles in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night) are more valuable than they seem because they can be used on the go. Also handy is the backdash move, which will sometimes cancel attack animations early, returning control to the player (and letting you strike again faster than you're "supposed" to). Speed Runners take these factors into account.
- One factor which makes the Crissaegrim a Game Breaker in Symphony is the ability to attack without slowing down while using it. Later games in the series keep this ability (and its Japanese name: Valmanwe) but it's balanced by a much lower ATK stat.
- In Castlevania: Rondo of Blood Maria can throw her birds while walking. Most of her other moves focus on mobility as well.
- Much of the system can be subverted while jumping: you can move while attacking so long as you're in the air. Especially useful for those slower weapons.
- In most Zelda games swinging your sword freezes you in place, so that you cannot dodge attacks while swinging your sword. In Ocarina of Time the movement is a little more fluid but you still stand in place while you swing your sword. Twilight Princess added the ability to run and slash but Skyward Sword took it out again.
- In Gungrave, you could walk but not run while shooting, and could shoot faster while standing still, as holding down the fire button while still activates Burst Mode. In the sequel however, Grave, Juji, and Billy can run full tilt and shoot simultaneously.
- This is optional in Gunstar Heroes. At the start of the game, you can choose either "Free Shot" which lets you keep moving while firing, or "Fixed Shot" which makes you stand still while firing, allowing you to shoot at angles more accurately. Each option also corresponds to a different character: Gunstar Red for Free Shot and Gunstar Blue for Fixed Shot.
- Gunstar Super Heroes lets you have both flavors at once: B for Free Shot firing and R for Fixed Shot firing. Holding both allows you to move around while keeping your aim direction fixed.
- Alien Soldier, another game created by Treasure, has the player character able to swap from Free Shot to Fixed Shot at any time.
- Contra III: The Alien Wars included the ability to turn Fixed Shot on at the press of a button. Later series revival Shattered Soldier supplemented this with the ability to move with a fixed aim, which, as noted, was later seen in Gunstar Super Heroes.
First Person Shooter
Hack and Slash
- Devil May Cry has weapons that can only be fired while walking(At best) and stopped(At worst). Not that it stops the Mook Chivalry-lacking enemies from running and gunning. The pistols, however, can be fired in midair and used to hover. This makes them probably your best weapons.
- Diablo is a case with both player and monsters suffering from this. But some special move are a combination of move and attack.
- Some Mega Man examples:
- In Mega Man & Bass, one difference between the two playable characters is that Mega Man can run-and-gun and Bass can't. He makes up for this with an ability that Mega Man notoriously lacks: pointing his buster in more than one direction.
- Mega Man X can run while using his normal weapons, but Easter Eggs (like the Street Fighter moves he gets in a couple of games) are another story.
- Zero is the one who really takes it on the chin here; in several of the X games, he puts away his Z-Saber after each attack or combo, and you can't move till he does this. You also can't move till his ponytail finishes falling. However, in the PS1 X games, Zero can cancel his basic sword attacks at ANY moment by using a dash (default O button). This removes the recovery time allows you to keep moving or create a chain combo. The PS2 X games fix this by having him keep the saber out at all times, which looks silly but makes practical sense. In his own series, Zero has a much smoother combat system that never pins him down.
- This is also done in the Mega Man Battle Network series, as most non-time freezing attacks tend to have an animation-based movement delay when using them. This is perhaps one of the reasons why “Stop Having Fun” Guys rarely ever suggest using attacks with a throwing animation, as they are easy to see, dodge, and make you a sitting duck for a very noticable period of time when compared to the much shorter animation delays of most other types of attacks.
- The Battle Network series also makes it possible for attacks to be interrupted due to the flinching animation. However, from the third game onwards, the game rewards you for doing this to your enemies in various ways.
- Averted in Ratchet & Clank, where you sometimes grind a rail and shoot simultaneously.
- Even though you can fire while running in Iji, it's not averted since you can't fire while jumping or crouching.
Real Time Strategy
- Most Real-Time Strategy games' ranged units can only move or fire, not both. If there's an Attack-Move order, expect them to move until a target is in range and then stop to fire.
- In general, units that have to stop to attack effectively give melee units a real chance of getting close to their targets before being shot. Most games that avert the trope don't have melee units. Also, even units capable of moving while firing will usually stop as soon as they enter firing range of the target; they're free to move closer but usually have no special inclination to do so.
- World in Conflict is another notable exception. Almost all units can fire on the move, but their accuracy suffers from it. Infantry can't fire weapons while sprinting, though.
- End War is similar, in that most units can run and gun, but suffer accuracy penalties. Tanks, however, cannot run and gun: when they spot an enemy, they will stop to shoot it.
- Wargame: European Escalation also does much the same. Tanks with good stabilizer ratings can fire on the move without too much of an accuracy penalty, but these are usually the expensive high-tier vehicles...the rest have to stop to fire effectively. Anti-tank missile launchers are notable in that they need to remain still or else the operator can't guide the missile to its target (like in real life).
- Certain Starcraft units nearly avert this. Certain units (Terran Siege Tank, Goliaths, Zerg Mutalisks) have such a short firing animation that they can emulate the ability to fire while moving. Mutalisk micro in particular has been raised to a fine art among the professional scene, to the point where a team of Mutalisks can fire as fast as possible while flying in the opposite direction of what they're shooting at.
- Siege Tanks are deployable, which forces them to be immobile to use their powerful attack.
- StarCraft II keeps this for the most part, with the ability to "micro" unit that can't normally move and shoot being a very important part of high-level play. An extremely common tactic with a mostly ranged army is to "stutter step" which involves repeatedly ordering your army to move and stop so they fire as much as possible while still moving to minimize damage to themselves. If done particularly quickly, the firing animation persists as the units move, so it appears that they are firing while moving. A special few units, such as the Protoss Phoenix, actually have to ability to move and shoot at once. The campaign-only Diamondback tank's main feature is that it explicitly averts this, which is one of several reasons it was too much of a Game Breaker for multiplayer.
- Dawn of War averts this quite realistically, with some units able to be fired on the move and other, especially heavy weapons, require the units to be standing still and sometimes they even take time to set up their weapon to fire. Even weapons which could fire on the move suffered a penalty which originally reduced their maximum accuracy while firing on the move to 50%. Unfortunately, the Dark Crusade expansion ruined the mechanic by changing the default fire on the move accuracy to 15% for almost all units, making fire on the move almost completely ineffective for most units.
- Needless to say, there is a strategy called "dancing/kiting" where the objective is to force your opponent to move while shooting, allowing you to gain the advantage.
- Dawn of War 2, the sequel, utilizes the distinction even more aggressively, with most normal infantry and vehicles being able to move and shoot at the same time, while squads that use heavy weapons like Plasma Cannons or Shuriken Platforms, which can easily obliterate practically anything in their path in a matter of seconds, can't and require set-up before they can actually get down to business.
- Total Annihilation was subverts this. Units are divided into the mobile platform (legs, wheels, etc.), and a swivel, allowing units to shoot and move independently.
- In Supreme Commander the same is true, but the effectiveness of a walking unit depends much on the calculations used for their aiming. Cybran units, for instance, are generally more effective at attack-moving because they generally use fast and accurate ammo, like lasers and guided missiles, while the UEF is usually poor at it, because the units have trouble calculating the ballistics of their weapons when they're moving (and even less when the target is also moving). To compensate, both were balanced, so that the Cybran weapons generally cause less damage for their higher accuracy and mobility.
- Advance Wars played this trope straight for artillery units up until Days of Ruin/Dark Conflict, but only the battleship could move and fire on the same turn.
- Star Trek: Armada gives a director's cut option, which causes ships to dogfight rather than stand-still and attack. In some cases, it deadlocks battles and causes you to turn it off.
- The original Command & Conquer: Red Alert subverts this for units that shouldn't move while firing, but only for AI players. The civilians that sometimes appear outside a building run around wildly and make a single frame attack while he's running about. Likewise, some of their artillery spends a single frame firing before continuing to move.
- Although the later games within the Command & Conquer series gives units better weapons when they deploy.
- Many infantry units in Company of Heroes can shoot while moving, though hurting accuracy and possibly fire-rate while doing so and many heavier weapons require standing still or setting up to fire. It's also possible for tanks to its main cannon or auxiliary guns while moving. Some noticeable examples within the system include the sub-machine guns of Combat Engineers and Pioneers in the first game, whose accuracy gets multiplied by a factor of 0.15 from moving turning their already inaccurate fire into making the concept of them actually hitting while moving even at point-blank range seem only theoretically possible; Panzer Grenadiers in the second game with their MP44s who uniquely receive no accuracy penalties making them a horrific unit for infantry to be hounded by; and Pioneers' sub-machine guns in the second game who also do not receive accuracy penalties on the move though this is probably more because they already suck at killing anything while standing still anyway.
- All combat units in Outpost 2 can fire and move at the same time. This actually is used in strategy when units of the same class (and hence, move at the same speed) can outrun the enemy's gun range while laying fire.
- Roguelikes, being turn-based, in general suffer from this trope - both the player and the enemies can either move or attack, but not both at once. There are exceptions to this:
- Doom The Roguelike both averts and plays this trope straight with the Gunrunner master trait, which lets the player fire at the nearest monster when moving in running mode. This mode however carries an accuracy penalty.
- Inverted in Tales of Maj'Eyal, which contains a sheer number of talents which allow the player or monsters move and attack at the same time, and these attacks are usually more accurate and/or damaging.
Role Playing Game
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion averts this quite nicely by allowing both player character and NPCs to fire arrows or spells while moving in pretty much any direction. All shots go in the exact direction the crosshair was pointing when fired (effects of gravity on arrows aside), but shots are not instantaneous. As such the accuracy problem is that it is not a matter of shooting at where your target is so much as where they will be when the projectile closes the distance... which is less of a problem than it sounds IF you can compensate for gravity.
- Similar in Mass Effect 1. There is an armor upgrade that improves accuracy while moving.
- Mass Effect 2 and 3 take this a bit further by giving players the best accuracy when firing out of cover, which requires them to be fairly immobile. It's also not possible to run and fire weapons at the same time (or any other action for that matter). Finally, characters automatically walk slower while aiming their weapons.
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl works the same way, including that enemies can run slowly while shooting, but will probably miss most anything. There are certain heavy weapons which if you have out you can't run at all.
- This is also the case in Killer7 and P.N.03.
- In a way this trope shows up in most tabletop RPGs, since they are turn-based. For instance in 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons, a simple round of actions tends to involve one attack plus 30' of movement. You can move 30' and then attack; you can attack and then move; but you cannot move partway, attack, and then keep on moving. Only characters with a particular special ability are allowed to do that.
- City of Heroes, an MMORPG but more fast paced and action oriented than others of its kind, features this. Pretty much all attacks, regardless of the user, leave them immobile while they animate, and even travel powers (Super Speed, Flight, Super Jump) will be temporarily slowed down after you attack as part of PvP balance.
- One interesting aspect of the balance between ranged and melee classes in World of Warcraft is that, generally, ranged classes must remain stationary to attack, while melee classes can strike while running. Instant cast spells and Hunter shots can be fired while on the move, but anything with a cast time (And a handful of Hunter shots, such as Multi Shot, have a hidden 0.5s cast time), as well as Shoot (For wands and non-hunter classes) and Auto Shots forces the player to stop still to shoot.
- Non-shooter example: In Final Fantasy XII, the character you are directly controlling can move around while casting spells or using Technicks. Your allies can't; if they start casting something, they'll be rooted to the spot until the spell is done. Not generally a problem, but it gets annoying when combined with the fact that if a party member is too far away from you, they'll stop casting and run to catch up - until they get to within the range and try it again, only to lag behind again, and so on...
- Kingdom Hearts: None of the characters can run and attack at the same time. Considering the number of attacks that move the player forward, this is rather downplayed, but it's still there.
- Averted in GURPS, using a ranged weapon while running is possible but penalizes skill quite a bit without the Gunslinger advantage.
- In Star Wars: Galaxies, it's possible to fire a ranged weapon while moving, but it drastically reduces your accuracy. Conversely, in addition to standing still, kneeling or going prone increases accuracy and damage, at the cost of defense.
- In Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, other characters will usually stand still and shoot. Some can try to run away if you come close, but practically everyone just pulls out a melee weapon. It's not very easy for you either though, unless you have a high Ranged and a stable hand.(Not very easy to run sideways. Backing up and shooting is extremely easy, and is a very good way to kill most stuff if you have the room.)
- In Mount & Blade, it depends on the unit. While guys struggling with crossbows almost as tall as they are usually tend to stand still(unless an enemy comes too close and they have to pull a sword), horse archers with fast bows NEVER EVER STOP. It makes a lot of sense, as most things do. Those with bows or throwing weapons usually lean towards standing still as well though, whereas they could benefit from a little more mobility. Of course there's the fact that even for you shooting while moving around isn't easy...and shooting atop a horse is FREAKING IMPOSSIBLE unless you have good skills and a good bow...and a good horse. And a good hand.
- It's worth noting that the player can fire pretty much every ranged weapon, moving or not (there is a major accuracy penalty for trying though) but they cannot reload a crossbow unless they are standing still or on horseback.
- Boktai: No matter how much you want to, you cannot move while priming a Solar Gun to fire. For any reason at all.
- In Might and Magic VI-IX, while your party can run around while attacking, casting spells, or firing arrows. All enemies have to pause, go through their attack animations, and then continue moving.
- Averted in World of Warcraft, while this used to be true for hunters, recent patches and the addition of aspect of the fox allows them to stay entirely mobile while attacking, Shaman also have spirit walk, a fifteen second buff which allows them to cast any spell on the run.
- Partly played straight in Resonance of Fate, as normally you have to stand still to shoot, but averted with Hero Actions, which allow you to both run and jump through the air, all the while firing away.
- It's actually partially subverted with Hero Actions. While the whole point is that the characters run and shoot as much as time allows, if you shoot while they're on the ground, they do stop running (especially noticeable with Zephyr who literally walks while he shoots).
- Fallout: New Vegas features a perk called "Run and Gun" which negates the accuracy penalty for firing one-handed weapons while moving.
Shoot 'em Up
- Due to engine limitations, Halo Zero features this.
- Inverted in the shmup Suguri: for most weapons, the titular player character becomes immobile, except when using the relatively weak but high-fire-rate machine gun (or the beefy flamethrower.)
- Danmaku game DonPachi had two weapons for all aircraft, a standard vulcan and the Wave Motion Gun used as the Charge Attack, when using the big beam gun, your attacks do more damage and can actually put a dent in bigger warships and slows you to a crawl but the standard rapid fire attack takes care of mook aircraft. It is a matter of knowing when to use which type of attack to use when facing them.
- Notable aversion in flight simulator games as stopping to fire generally means you're gonna stall out and crash into the ground. In fact, being planes, it's impossible to truly stay in one place (unless the plane has landed, in which case shooting people probably isn't the pilot's first priority); the player is expected to fire both guns and other ordnance accurately while moving and turning at fast speeds.
- Played straight in Vietcong, naturally. Even more so if you're lying down; you cannot fire, let alone aim while crawling, and vice versa.
- In Operation Flashpoint, it is possible to fire while running, but it's so terribly inaccurate that hitting anything is akin to winning a lottery. Nevertheless, AI soldiers can sometimes be seen doing it. Firing while walking is somewhat more practical, but only at the closest of ranges.
Stealth Based Game
- Splinter Cell uses this as well, with the added stipulation that sustained fire becomes gradually less accurate. This encouraged players to maintain the 'stealth' aspect of the game by firing in short, controlled bursts.
- Equipping a rocket launcher or sniper rifle in Metal Gear Solid 2 forces you into first-person view, which disables your movement controls. To adjust position or dodge, you have to un-equip them. Fortunately, you can tap R2 to quickly un-equip and re-equip weapons.
- In the first Metal Gear Solid, while Snake could move while equipping weapons, once he started aiming or firing he was locked in place unless the player pressed and held the crouch button. It was awkward to do this while trying to fire, which was apparently on purpose, to stress how difficult it really is to run and fire a gun at the same time. Later games made it progressively easier - 2 moved the "run and gun" button to the other side of the controller, and every game since didn't even need you to hold another button to move while aiming or firing.
- Metal Gear Solid 4 completely changed the combat mechanic, allowing Snake to run and gun. It was incredibly useless, as the fire was inaccurate. The only advantage to it was that it would generally (but not always) make the enemy duck behind cover. Of course, since this is a stealth game, it was generally inadvisable to do this.
- In 4's online component, while you can technically move while aiming, bringing your gun up will slow you down significantly, and if you fire while moving, it still reduces your accuracy. There are several equippable skills within the game that reduce this effect a little, however.
- Resident Evil games were known for forcing you to either move or shoot, never both, to the point where the ability to tip-toe while aiming is considered so much of a groundbreaking feature that it's all over Outbreak File #2's case cover. Mercenaries 3D, Revelations and 6 are the only other games in which the extremely well-trained and experienced main characters have half the fighting skill of the Average Joes from the series below.
- It's really rather weird that the entire Silent Hill series' protagonist group, basically, are able to shoot lighter guns and walk at the same time - in the cases of James, Maria, Heather and Henry, with an uncanny degree of accuracy. Seriously, if the target is at less than ten meters and the character is packing a pistol, they will not miss. Keep in mind, none of them has any more experience in fighting or shooting than your everyday American civilian.
- The ability to walk while aiming, and shooting, in Dead Space is considered to be one of the biggest differences between itself and the later games in the Resident Evil series, which are otherwise very similar in both controls and genre. Interestingly, you're not even penalized for doing so: your shots are just as accurate either way. Technically this trope is played straight, though, as you can't aim or shoot while sprinting.
Third Person Shooter
- Neither you nor your enemies can attack while moving in the Crusader, the exception being the rare mobile turrets.
- In Cosmic Break, your mech cannot move while alpha-striking (attacking with all your mech's primary weapons simultaneously), unless it has the "Moving Burst" upgrade, which allows some mobility. Also, running or flying reduces weapon accuracy.
- In Syphon Filter running while shooting significantly reduces your accuracy, especially with automatic weapons.
- In the PlayStation Spec Ops games (released before Spec Ops: The Line and after Spec Ops II: Green Berets), it is entirely impossible to shoot while moving.
- In SD Gundam Capsule Fighter, units can run with guns, but their accuracy is lowered, even with lock-on. It's also played straight in terms of heavy beam attacks and beam-based Limit Break attacks.
- Averted in Warframe. Humanoid gun wielding enemies can shoot while walking and running and can even turn to fire backwards with pinpoint accuracy, though they prefer to Take Cover as much as possible like trained soldiers should.
Turn Based Strategy
- Tabletop Warhammer 40,000 has varying levels of this trope depending on weapon types. "Rapid Fire" weapons can be fired on the move, either twice at short range or once at maxmimum range, but firing them prevents the unit from launching an assault that turn. "Assault" weapons and pistols can be fired at full effect while on the move, even leaving the unit able to assault the same turn. Heavy weapons have their accuracy drastically reduced while moving, and "blast" weapons like plasma cannons cannot be fired at all on the move. "Salvo" weapons retain full accuracy on the move, but suffer from a shorter range and reduced rate of fire. Models with the "Relentless" special rule can ignore all of these restrictions due to acting as a stable firing platform.
- As of 6th edition rules it is possible to fire heavy weapons on the move by making what is called a "snap shot", however your chance of hitting will never be better then 1/6.
- Vehicles similarly have firepower restrictions based on their speed. A stationary vehicle can fire all of its weaponswith normal accuracy, a vehicle that moves at "combat speed" can fire only a single weapon with accuracy while all others can only make highly-inaccurate "snap shots" in a similar manner to infantry as described above, while a vehicle moving at "cruising speed" can only fire snap shots. As with other units, certain types of vehicles have fewer restrictions.
Wide Open Sandbox
- The Grand Theft Auto games, from the third game on, have the convention of letting you run around while firing small or inaccurate weapons, while forcing you to stand still while firing more powerful guns. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, however, ups the ante by letting you move slowly while firing the more powerful weapons, though that's once you reach a certain skill level (and even then, your movement speed when not firing them is still slower if you're holding them out).
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City decided what weapons you could and couldn't use while running based on whether they were one- or two-handed. Of course, there was a mod that made all the guns in the game single-handed. This removed the hassle of having to choose weapons based on the situation (a positive or negative feature depending on the point of view), but had the side effect of making the protagonist highly ridiculous as he ran around shooting a freaking minigun single-handed.
- In Grand Theft Auto IV you can walk quite briskly while aiming and firing. The only exceptions are the sniper rifles. (Yes, you can fire the RPG while running).
- Saints Row adheres to this trope, particularly in Saints Row: The Third: when sprinting, your character will usually holster their weapon for greater maneuverability.
- In The Godfather: The Game, your accuracy goes down if you move while firing, as shown by the circle around your crosshairs expanding, and you can't run in Free Aim mode. You still can run with your gun out if you don't use Free Aim, though.
- Enforced in L.A. Noire and Watch_Dogs - the "run" button is actually the same button you use to shoot when you have a weapon equipped, and you can't fire your weapon without aiming, and doing so drops you to walking speed.