Grapple Move

A type of attack common in Fighting Games and Action Games. it is usually mapped on a dedicated button or a simultaneous button press (like kick+punch). It is a move that bypasses blocking and often has a lengthy animation of the grabbing character manhandling the grabbed opponent, and usually does fixed damage.

In fighting games, it is used to punish blocking opponents, but some games have mechanics that allow them to cancel the grab move and save themselves a world of hurt. In action games, it is often used to initiate Action Commands, but sometimes is just a way to do a good amount of damage, some games even have this as an Invulnerable Attack.

In some games, like Beat 'Em Ups, objects can be grabbed and thrown at enemies instead. Usually these games also allow you to throw enemies at other enemies in the same manner.

The grab part here is the only uniform part of the trope. Many characters often have a multi-hit grab move that traps an enemy in an series of attacks that sends them flying at the end for the "throw" part. Others have the grab as a part of a combo, like say, a punch combo that finishes with a Facepalm of Doom which if connects, will make the character slam the grabbed opponent in the ground. In other words, "grabbing" means any attack that traps the enemy into an "automatic" series of attacks, which can sometimes be strengthened with Button Mashing, depending on the game.

Note:This is an Omnipresent Trope in Fighting Games, list only notable examples; i.e., examples that go beyond just "grab enemy for fixed damage".

Compare Unblockable Attack, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, but does not involve grabbing and throwing an enemy. Compare Personal Space Invader, for enemies that can grab you. See also Invulnerable Attack, which this one can overlap with.


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    Adventure Game 
  • Solatorobo's core mechanic is this: DAHAK can grab enemies and (solid) projectiles and toss them around, either hurling them at enemies or indulging in Metronomic Man Mashing. If you're quick enough you can grab a thrown enemy after it bounces and throw it again and again.

    Arcade Game 
  • In the original Double Dragon (1987) it was possible to grab an opponent and throw them over your shoulder.

    Beat Em Up 
  • A common function of Beat Em Ups like Final Fight & Streets of Rage is the ability to put an enemy in a hold and then pound them a few times, throw them, or pound then throw them. As you're typically invulnerable during the throw portion, and can harm enemies by throwing them into one another, this can used to great effect in crowd control.
  • In Captain America and the Avengers, the heroes can pick up whatever junk is nearby and hurl it at attackers.
  • Devil May Cry 4 has Nero's Devil Bringer Buster moves. it is done by pressing the right control button(circle or B, depending on console) without pressing the aim button, and is able to grab all enemies (which all do a sort of Splash Damage) Nero will encounter, up to and including bosses. Though Bosses and Elite Mooks can only be grabbed on certain conditions like when they are dazed. It is also capable of Catch and Return on certain projectiles and deflect some melee attacks. All enemies have a unique grab animation, only Scarecrows, Faust & Mephisto, and Dante (despite being a Mirror Boss and the Deuteragonist at that) don't. they are simply grabbed and slammed on the ground.
  • A staple in God of War, Kratos can grab any small Mook for an easy kill or a good amount of damage. Elite Mooks, Giant Mooks, and Bosses require Action Commands after the grab. All grabs feature gruesome disembowelment and such, and is one of the selling points of the game.
  • Koei Warriors series:
    • Dynasty Warriors 4 introduced grab moves, but unfortunately they only work on Mooks because enemy officers could easily dodge them. It was later removed in the next installment, and was brought in Dynasty Warriors 6 though, and unlike the previous mechanics note . It was given a dedicated "charge" and normal command (hold block then press either charge or normal attack), this was further expanded to other Charge strings, the new EX Attack mechanic and even Musou in Dynasty Warriors 7.
    • Samurai Warriors, some characters have grab moves in their movesets. like Nene's unblockable Spinning Pile Driver grab move (though it's pretty weak). The Grabs' main advantage is that they are unblockable, with the obvious disadvantage of being rather hard to aim due to the combat being done in three dimensions.
    • Warriors Orochi, have the Samurai Warriors (starting from with SW 2) and Dynasty Warriors (starting with DW 5) characters retain whatever grab move they had in their respective game.
  • In Maximum Carnage, both Spider-Man and Venom can pick up certain objects and even enemies and throw them.
  • Sengoku Basara has several characters with grabs. Most prominent however is Hideyoshi, whose attacks can all lead into grapples and can even chain grappling moves together.
  • PS2 Brawler Urban Reign gets quite extensive with its grappling system, combining elements of 90s beat-em-ups and 3D fighting games, like the former's ability to grab an enemy then subject them to a combination of blows and throws, and from the latter, being able to escape throws and to grab floored or airborne opponents. On top of that, you can also use grapples to target and weaken specific regions of the body, grab 2 or 3 opponents simultaneously and can perform team-up throws with a partner.
  • In Zeno Clash, you can grapple an enemy after punching them enough to make them dizzy. Grabbed enemies can be thrown to the ground, or shoved into other enemies. The second game adds the ability to pummel them as part of a combo.
  • River City Ransom and the rest of Kunio-kun series, where characters brawl and throw each other even in sport events.

    Card Games 
  • In Lunch Money you can attack with one move per turn, which your victim can either block, avoid, or take. But if you play a Grab card first the victim has to play an Avoid card immediately or else they're hit with the attack which they can't block. You can also follow up your initial attack after grabbing, which you can't do if you don't grab first. For example, you could kick your opponent; or you could grab, kick, and then hit with a hammer.

    Fighting Game 
  • In general, most fighting games have a normal grab move that is used to bypass blocking enemies and often done at close range. They'll do more damage than normal moves. There are also characters with command grabs; they're often called a "Grappler" and they tend to be Difficult but Awesome Mighty Glaciers.
  • The original Killer Instinct is noteworthy for averting this and NOT having universal grabs. This meant that there was little to be done to get around a crouching, guarding opponent as overhead attacks were incredibly slow and could be seen miles away.
  • Soul Calibur's grab moves can be canceled by doing your own grab move so that it connects with the opponent's. later entries even allow you to counter an opponent's grab so you grab them instead. Both require A LOT of Dexterity.
  • Every character in Super Smash Bros. can grab enemies, beat on them while held, and then throw them in any of the four cardinal directions for damage. Melee even offers a score bonus, "Compass Tosser", for using all four throw attacks during a match. Link and Samus can also use their grab moves (the hookshot and grapple beam, respectively) to grab onto walls and pull themselves up.
  • Rival Schools has it's Combination Attacks, which is initiated by a telegraphed, blockable attack and then cuts into a sequence of attack (just like a normal grab move) unique to your partner character. some of these can heal or increase your Mana Meter.
  • In Tekken, every character has at least 5 throws: Two from the front, one from the left, one from the right and one from the back. Also everyone has the ability to run and tackle (though some can do it from a stationary position). Tag Tournament introduces tag throws. Also King, Armor King, Nina and Anna have chain throws. Some characters have wall throws, crouching throws, air throws and/or ground throws.
  • Alike other 3D Fighters, all the characters in Virtua Fighter have a range of throws that can be used on a standing opponent from the front, as well as a side throw and a back throw, while many characters have situational grabs to be used on crouching, airborne or floored opponents, or with either the user or the opponent's back to the wall. Throws are not only effective at combating guarding opponents, but those who attempt to sidestep as well.
  • In Dead or Alive, every character had a front throw and a crouching throw, a back throw and back crouching throw. Some characters had chain throws. There was also wall throws and enviromental throws.
  • While most characters in Skullgirls have pretty standard grabs, including the game's original grappler Cerebella, DLC character Beowulf puts a bit of a twist on it. A successful grab allows the wrestler a set amount of time to move around with the opponent in his hands and perform a number of special moves on them. The amount of time you get is dependent on how you landed the grab.
  • The Darkstalkers series has it so that every character has a command grab that can't be escaped on top of normal throws (more grapple-focused characters like Victor and Sasquatch have better/more of these); generally, the only weakness they have over normal throws is that they sometimes have long animations if you missed.
    • One of the many reasons Anakaris is a Mechanically Unusual Fighter is that he can escape/tech normal throws, but he cannot do regular throws himself so he had to resort to his command grab...which is not point blank, has much slower start-up than a grab usually has, and it grabs at different ranges depending on what button the plyer pressed. Every character can duck under it, so to grab crouching characters you need to use the powered up version of this move. On top of this, in the air (as air throws are a DS staple) he can't grab people altogether.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Crysis allows you to grab human enemies with the "interact" button and use them as a Human Shield. You can also throw them, and doing it with your nanosuit set to Maximum Strength is a guaranteed kill against at least the person you threw.

    Multiplayer Online Battle Arena 
  • League of Legends: Syndra's "Force of Will" ability is used to grab objects and throw them at enemies. This cannot be used to grab player characters, though, and the ability is primally used to throw "Dark Spheres" conjured by Syndra's own, similarly named spell. Syndra can, however, (among minions and minor jungle monsters) grab Lizard Elder and Ancient Golem, the two greater monsters that grant buffs to their killer. This mechanic makes stealing enemy buffs for your team somewhat easier.

    Platform Game 
  • The Megadrive/Genesis Run & Gun classic Gunstar Heroes allowed you to throw enemies, or the other player, at other enemies. This really helped with the game's hectic pace, as you're invulnerable while performing the throw. Not only does throwing your friend not harm them, you can save them from the damage of an enemies throw by catching and hurling them before they hit the ground.
  • Kirby's basic move is to inhale a mook/debris and spit it away. His Suplex and Throw powers focus on this, while some other powers also allows you to grab close enemies i.e Ninja, Beam, Ice, Yoyo, Fighter, and Jet, all for massive damage. They also make Kirby invincible, which makes them very useful in boss fights if they're performed with good timing.
  • In Metal Slug 6 and beyond, Clark (from The King of Fighters) can grab a Mook with his Signature Move "Argentine Backbreaker" and earning him high points and invincibility frames in the process. Grabbing mooks in rapid succession will multiply the points and lets you invincible for quite long - something that is a blessing in this kind of game.
  • In Mega Man Zero, Harpuia and Fefnir both possess grab moves of their own; the former does a piledriver after flying high while the latter launches Zero off his cannon to the air (and follow it up by grabbing Zero in midair and slamming him to the ground, if he powered up first).
    • Some other bosses also possess one each, such as Kuwagust Anchus using his stag beetle's horn to grab and electrocute you, and Mino Magnus magnetizing you with a grab move.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • starting on Super Mario Bros. 1 allows you to pick up and throw Goomba Stomped Koopa Troopa and Buzzy Beetles. notable in that if you hold them for too long they will wake up and damage you.
    • Famously, Super Mario Bros. 2 allowed players to hop on enemies and throw them. They can also pick up vegetables, bombs, and other weapons to toss as well. This was a new feature at the time and is still not seen much in the Mario franchise. This is because Super Mario Bros. 2 was a Dolled-Up Installment of Doki Doki Panic, which allowed the same attacks.

     Role Playing Games 
  • Dark Cloud 2 allows you to pick up and throw most small enemies (just the same as you can with the boulders/whatever randomly lining dungeon floors). It doesn't inflict any damage to the enemies, but it does stun them for a few seconds (both the thrown enemy and the target), and it does bypass an enemy's guard (for those that have them). The button combination is guard attack.
  • Tia's special attack, Hook Shot, in Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals can be used to pull enemies in and then chainsaw them.

    Stealth Game 
  • A staple in Metal Gear
    • It usually comes as a basic move with a variety of uses depending on the game. It mainly allows you to drag enemies around alive or use them as a Bulletproof Human Shield. Metal Gear Solid allows you to strangle enemies by Button Mashing the grab button until they die.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 3, Naked Snake could use grab his opponent and subdue them using CQC.
  • Ezio can grab enemies in Assassin's Creed II et seq. to then either punch them silly (a combo that makes the final Fisticuffs Boss ridiculously easy) or push them away, preferably into other enemies (for a non-lethal distraction) or off ledges/into water (for an insta-kill). Enemies will, of course, try to grab you so that their allies can slash at you with impunity.
    • Connor in AC III and Edward in AC IV face firearm wielding enemies. Their attacks are always telegraphed so that you have the opportunity to grapple a hapless nearby opponent as a Human Shield, protecting you from harm and getting rid of the enemy in one stroke. This can be particularly useful for more powerful enemies who would otherwise take more work to defeat.