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Essence Drop

In some Action Games, after you kill enemies, they will release magical spheres of some sort that affect your character's status in some way when you collect them — they may represent Experience Points, health, or Mana refills, and so on.

Whatever exactly these things are is rarely addressed; sometimes it's handwaved as the opponent's soul/blood or a more vague "essence".

The exact number, types and effects of these things will vary with each game, and may or may not also be found stored in inanimate objects.

May be a Random Drop. See also Money Spider and Organ Drops.

Examples:

Action Adventure:
  • In American McGee's Alice, dead enemies disappear after killed to leave for a while some "metaessence", that comes in differents shapes (spheres, hearts...) but allow to regain health and mana.
  • Used to some extent in the Soul Reaver series: Raziel has to suck up dead enemies' souls to refill his health. In 2 and Defiance, the souls' shape and colour differs depending on if you kill a human or a demon, although the effect is the same.
  • The Amana Volo spheres in BIONICLE replenish your stamina meter, which lets you use some of the special items you can find, like Onewa's rock-crushing hammer.
  • Enemies in Bunny Must Die! Chelsea and the 7 Devils will drop Time Crystals when Bunny kills them, refilling her time meter.
  • In Metroid: Fusion, slain enemies drop X-Parasites. Samus is half-Metroid in this game so she can feed on X-parasites like them: yellow is energy, green is ammo, red restores both, so on. And for boss/midboss level parasites, you also get back one of your weapons/abilities.
    • Metroid Prime Hand Waves the health/ammo drops of other games in the series as the Life Energy of defeated enemies mingling with the energy of Samus's attacks and crystallising.

Action RPG:
  • Games in the Kingdom Hearts series have several types of these spheres, depending on the game.
  • Otto Matic has virtually everything you kill drop "atoms" in different colors... red restores health, green powers your "jump jet" and blue is "rocket fuel" needed to finish the level.
    • Somewhat more ickily, there are Slimes on planet Snoth that you can freeze with an Freeze Gun and then shatter by punching them. For a while thereafter they become a mass of little balls that you can pick up to gain one of the things mentioned above, depending on the color of the Slime. Of course, if you don't pick up all of them, any that remain turn into more Slimes.
  • In Odin Sphere enemies release floating "Phozons" when defeated, which are said to be the remnants of their life force. It is used mainly to level-grind your weapons. Unusually, the constant absorption of phozons after every battle becomes plot-critical in the good ending: after the Big Bad has used the Cauldron to drain all phozon energy in order to kill the planet, Velvet hits on the idea of breaking down the psypher weapons used by herself and three of the other protagonists, releasing all of their absorbed phozons back into the world to restore life to it.
  • Demons Souls and Dark Souls do this with apparently dismantled pieces of souls being currency, whole souls of very strong enemies being used for various purposes (or broken apart for more regular souls), and in the latter game you can occasionally find piece of "humanity" that let you regain human form. Oddly, dropped items are also represented as bundles of glowing material, even when it's perfectly solid objects.

Fighting Game:
  • In Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Soki from Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams assumes his Black Oni form for his Level 3. During this time, his partner is unavailable and his hyper meter begins to dwindle. Attacking his opponent will cause multicolored soul orbs to pop out, which Soki needs to collect using the Partner button. The blue and yellow orbs respectively restore Soki's hyper meter and health, but the red orbs are the most important, as collecting seven or more of those orbs gives Soki access to his strongest Hyper, Oni Cutter.
  • Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 allows you to absorb blue spheres that fall from your opponent after a strong hit, to refill your Chakra gage more quickly.
  • All-Star Power (AP) in Playstation Allstars Battle Royale is made to look like a glowing orb of translucent white energy. It was inspired by God of War's red orbs.

First-Person Shooter:
  • In Painkiller, every enemy you kill drops a soul. Regular enemies drop green souls which heal one HP, while Elite Mooks drop red souls which heal 6 HP. After collecting 66 souls (either color), you enter a berserk Demon Morph mode.
  • Exhumed has this in the console ports when you kill an enemy where red orbs give you health and blue orbs give you ammo
  • With Tron 2.0 the de-rezzed remnants of Programs Jet kills can be harvested to refresh some of his health and energy. Sometimes, the remains also contain the Programs' permissions and subroutines.
  • In Blood, dead enemies sometimes drop "life essences" which restore your health.

Hack and Slash:
  • Devil May Cry is maybe the Trope Codifier for modern action games, with the crystallised demon blood that enemies (and chairs) drop: red orbs are the currency, green orbs heal you and white orbs refill your Devil Trigger gauge.
  • In the modern Ninja Gaiden games, dead enemies drop yellow orbs (currency), blue orbs (health) and red orbs (Ninpo gauge). Also, instead of using them to heal, you can absorb them to charge an ultimate technique instantly; that's actually a vital skill when facing multiple enemies in 2. Ninja Gaiden 3 abandons this system completely for the sake of a greater immersion.
  • In God of War, monsters drop red, green and blue orbs, for experience, health and magic respectively.
  • The Force Unleashed does this as well for points used to upgrade your force powers.
  • Dante's Inferno is very similar to God of War in many ways; it uses colored "souls" to keep track of experience, health, and mana.
  • Onimusha subverts this system: enemies drop soul spheres, but you have to stop and attract them to you manually, which takes a bit of time and is very risky in the middle of a fight (the bigger the spheres are, the longer it takes). The game also adds a fourth type of (very rare) sphere, and collecting five of these allows you to transform into an Onimusha.
    • Furthermore, killing enemies with Issen attacks will reward you with much more souls. You can also find or equip items that affect the soul types and number. Tenkai from the fourth game can also detonates said souls instead of absorbing them.
  • Diablo III features this: Dead enemies occasionally drop "life orbs", which allow to regain some health. This is meant to do away with previous installments' (and much of the genre's in general) need to constantly swig health potions, making said potions more of an emergency healing option (which now have a cooldown attached).
  • While enemies in Bayonetta are mostly Money Spiders, sometimes they also drop small green, leaf-shaped or purple, butterfly-shaped things that refill a bit of health or magic.

Platform Game:
  • In the night stages of Sonic Unleashed, any defeated enemies give out pale bluish floating bits of light. Sonic could collect these to fill up his Unleashed gauge, which when activated by the player, temporarily gives Sonic increased attack power and invincibility to some things. In the Wii and PlayStation 2 versions, enemies also give out red floating bits of light which represents experience points.
  • The Nightmare Souls on Mega Man X6 can be considered something like experience points. After certain amounts are accumulated they increase by one the limit of special power-ups you can use.
  • In Flink, defeating enemies would release magical energy that would home in on Flink and be absorbed into his Life Meter. Magical energy would also be released if Flink took a hit, allowing for damage recovery similar to rings in Sonic the Hedgehog games.
  • Jak and Daxter:
    • In Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy enemies drop green Eco on death, and collecting 50 green Eco restores a quarter of your health.
    • In Jak II: Renegade all enemies drop Dark Eco instead, enabling Jak to turn Dark if he's collected enough.
    • In Jak 3: Wastelander, enemies start dropping Light Eco as well, which Jak can use toward his Light abilities.
  • Spyro the Dragon: At first, your enemies drop Gems. But, if you replay a level, they'll drop silver orbs that you can collect to get yourself a one-up (silver dragon statue).
    • Also Sparx, when he burns edibles, will get essences to pick up.
  • In Iji, dead enemies drop piles of nanites, which are basically XP, and appear as glowing blue spheres floating a few inches off the ground.

Role-Playing Game:
  • Enemies in Minecraft drop flashing green-and-yellow experience orbs upon death. These orbs also appear when you breed animals and collect ores (either mining or smelting, depending on the type).

Web Games:
  • Indestruc2Tank Enhanced Game mode. When you destroy an enemy vehicle, little globes of white light come out of it and drift towards your tank. When they touch your tank, your Boom Bar is increased.

Wide Open Sandbox:
  • Prototype does this for most enemies. Some are more rewarding towards vitality, some towards Evolution Points. The sequel does away with this mechanic entirely.

Miscellaneous Games:
  • In Attack Of The Mutant Penguins, penguins will drop a bunch of power orbs if you hit them without killing them. Collecting these orbs before swinging your weapon again will power it up to be lethal to penguins.

Non-video game example:
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Some witches drop grief seeds after their defeat, which cleanses a magical girl's soul gem and refills her magic.

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