Falling Damage

Falling damage? They put falling damage in their motherfucking 2D platformer?
*Spinning Newspaper saying "JONTRON QUITS" appears*
JonTron, on Bubsy's use of this trope.

In some video games, characters will get hurt when falling from great heights. Granted, the damage they take is closer to having their foot stepped on than shattering all the bones in their legs, but regardless, it hurts them.

Most video game characters, especially in 2D games, seem to have incredibly durable legs; they can survive just about any fall that isn't into a Bottomless Pit.

This trope is about the ones that can't.

Several games that allow falling damage do have a maximum distance which a character can fall without receiving any damage at all. It just wouldn't be good game design to allow a character to hurt himself every time he goes up or down stairs.

A Sub-Trope of Jump Physics.

Contrast Not the Fall That Kills You.

Straight examples:

  • Super Mario 64 had this. In this case, Mario could Ground Pound before impact to avoid this.
  • Aura Aura Climber took this concept way further than some others would, as if you fell for just long enough for your fall to be damaging, it doesn't matter whether you're going at terminal velocity or light speed, Aura-Aura is dead when he hits the ground.
  • In Bioshock Infinite, falling from too high will damage you.
  • In Minecraft, falls deal 1 point of damage for block (meter) fallen after the third, so a 23-block fall will kill you. However, landing in water, vines or spiderweb cancels the damage, and Feather Falling-enchanted boots will reduce it.
  • 3DRealms games Duke Nukem 3D, Blood, Shadow Warrior and Redneck Rampage all had falling damage inflict death and other hazards, complete with the player character screaming his lungs out when falling from great heights.
  • LucasArts game Outlaws also featured death by falling.
  • Dead Rising predictably has this in effect. However, once you learn the knee drop and time it properly, you can negate all the fall damage.
  • Driv3r implements this. Jumping off, say, an elevated train track in Miami will damage you, if not outright kill you.
  • The Grand Theft Auto series has this as well.
  • This goes at least as far back as the original Donkey Kong arcade game (1981). If Mario fell through a hole in the floor, went over the edge of a platform, or fell too far before hitting a surface while jumping onto or off an elevator in Screen 3, he died on impact. In general, a fall height of more than two girders was fatal.
    • The Game Boy version is a bit more generous, after falling for a little while Mario will begin to spin, if he lands on his face he'll simply be stunned momentarily, he won't die unless he lands on his head.
  • Sierra's King's Quest series had three descent scenarios: descending steps or something similar garnered no damage. A minor tumble totaling no more than the player character's height yielded some circling stars, but only nominal damage. A fall greater than the character's height, however, was always fatal. Princess Rosella was especially vulnerable to serious falls.
  • In the video game based on Spy Kids 3D: Game Over, Juni falls several feet when he enters the virtual reality world he was assigned to infiltrate. Upon regaining consciousness, he loses a life.
  • Played straight in Deus Ex: Human Revolution... unless you unlock the Icarus Landing System perk, which essentially grants you immunity to Falling Damage with some flashy special effects.
  • In many The Legend of Zelda games, you can lose hearts if you fall/ jump too far, but none more than Skyward Sword, where you're given a magical sailcloth that acts like a parachute right near the start. If you don't use it on high enough drops, then the Wii controller shakes to tell you "ouch", as if Link clutching his chest wasn't enough. Every single time. note 
  • In The Lord of the Rings Online, player characters take a variable amount of fall damage based on how far they fell. A short fall leaves the character uninjured. A longer fall leaves the character limping and with most of their defensive skills disabled; the length this debuff lasts depends on the length of the fall. A fall over a great enough distance renders the character "incapacitated by misadventure" upon impact. The game averts Soft Water, so the character gets just as injured (or killed) from falling into water as from falling onto land.
  • Dungeons & Dragons Online similarly has player characters take variable amount of fall damage based on how far they fell (but with no other adverse lingering effects). Increasing certain skills (Jump and Tumble) can allow a character to mitigate this damage, as can the 'slow fall' class feature of the Monk.
  • Tomb Raider: Laura Croft and broken bones seems to go hand and hand.
  • In Star Trek Online, players who fall a comparably high distance (about 12-15 feet at the lowest) will suffer a small but negligible amount of damage.
  • In Prince of Persia, falling two levels will subtract one from your Life Meter, and falling three levels will kill you outright. The former becomes necessary in some levels of Prince of Persia 2.
  • Falling from too high of a height without gliding in the Bubsy games will result in instant death. Less of an issue in the first game due to being a One-Hit-Point Wonder.
  • Spelunker took this to ridiculous levels. If you fall less than your own height, you die. This was averted in the Arcade Game.
  • Rayman 3 is the first game in the series to implement this; if the main character falls for too long, he gets squished into a pancake for a brief period of time. The first two games avert this.
  • Hexen has two thresholds based on falling speed: one where the player takes damage and one where the player automatically dies regardless of health. A fall between these two values can't kill but will reduce health to 1.
  • Many of the platform games of Action 52 exaggerate this to an absurd degree where the One-Hit-Point Wonder characters die in midair. This even happens in Cheetahmen and its sequel despite providing a Life Meter.
  • Team Fortress 2 includes fall damage, which is a concern when Rocket Jumping, since you also take damage from your rocket as well, so you better not be too low on health. Failing to stick the landing after an explosive jump is widely known as 'cratering.' One of the Scout's unlockable weapons, the Pretty Boy's Pocket Pistol, negates all fall damage, but you'll take 50% more damage from fire. The Soldier's Mantreads unlock actually encourages him to risk falling damage—by aiming his landing point so that he ends up Goomba Stomping his enemies instead, they will take the damage as opposed to him.
  • In Guild Wars 2, the player character takes fall damage - more damage the higher the fall is. This, however, can be negated by landing in deep water, and each profession has an optional trait that can reduce the damage taken (rangers, for example, can create muddy ground when they fall).
  • Real Life plays it straight. Usually.
  • The Looney Tunes: Back in Action video game had this. In fact, there are unique falling animations for Bugs and Daffy that let you know falling damage is going to occur. Bugs will actually lampshade this in the Area 52 stage if you're playing as him. At one point, you need to ride a player-controlled platform across the room from very high up. One of Bugs' remarks when stepping on it is "One wrong move, and I'm an ex-rabbit."
  • Fallout 3 plays it very much straight, with one subversion (compared to genre conventions, that is), thanks to the advanced physics engine. Like in other games, landing on water can negate falling damage... but in this game, the depth of the water actually matters! The higher you fall from, the higher your momentum on impact; the deeper the water, the more momentum it can absorb if you fall into it. If you fall from so high that the water can't negate all of your momentum before you hit the bottom, it's going to hurt. Leaping off the flight deck of the Rivet City carrier in particular requires about five meters deep water to survive; land on any of the underground rocks and you will die instantly.

Non-straight examples:

  • Averted in the BloodRayne series: Regardless of how ridiculous a height Rayne falls from, she never takes any damage at all. This is implied to be one of the perks of being a half-vampire.
  • Used weirdly in ZanZarah: The Hidden Portal: Amy doesn't have Hit Points, so she can fall from crazy heights and act like nothing happened; however, if the fall takes too long, the game thinks you fell into a Bottomless Pit and resets Amy's position back to the location entrance.
  • World of Warcraft has some fun playing with this trope.
  • Doom and its sequel avert this trope, but some mods add it back in.
  • Non-video game example: in the opening action sequence of Skyfall, Bond gets shot twice before falling about a thousand feet off a moving train on a bridge into a river, then down an equally high waterfall. He's Bond so this is averted.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion plays with this trope in the final Thieves Guild quest. Usually, you take damage proportional to the length of the fall upon landing, which is mitigated by your Acrobatics Skill Score. In the end of said quest, you are supposed to leap off an insane height that would kill you—had it not been for a pair of magic shoes you acquired earlier and are supposed to put on before the jump. Too bad they are destroyed upon landing.
    • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim does away with the Acrobatics skill but has a heavy armor perk that reduces fall damage, there is also the shout "become ethereal" which temporary makes you immune to all damage, allowing you take short cuts by jumping off mountains.
  • Parodied in an Achievement Hunter Let's Play of "Trouble in Terrorist Town" when Ray, hunting for the last terrorist, idly wonders if there's fall damage in the game just after he jumps off the roof. There is, he dies and the terrorists win the round.
    Ray: "I wonder if there's fall damage..." (Falls, dies) "Yep."
    • In fact, this is actually one of Ray's Running Gags in their Let's Plays.
  • Portal and its sequel have no falling damage. Justified in that Chell is wearing "long fall boots" designed to cushion her against any such damage. The boots were apparently added when the play-testers felt Chell surviving those falls without harm was a bit hard to swallow.
  • Zigzagged in Saints Row: The Third: You normally take damage after falling from significant heights—unless you got your parachute out in time. Otherwise, there are still special perks that allow you to reduce the damage you take from falling—and, at the highest respect levels, ignore falling damage entirely, no matter how far you fell.
  • Falling long distances in Spelunky not only damages the player but also stuns him, unless he manages to grab a ledge (or ladder, or rope), bounce off an enemy or land into Soft Water or spider web.
  • The player does not take fall damage in Halo 2 and Halo 3, but does in Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 3: ODST, and Halo: Reach. There are still Bottomless Pits in the former games, though.
  • When Samus falls from a fairly tall height in Metroid Prime she will grunt and be stunned for a moment when she hits the ground, but then stand up no worse for the wear physically. Of course, that Powered Armor she's wearing is probably absorbing enough of the impact to prevent damage.

Alternative Title(s):

Fall Damage