Bloke goes to the Doctor, and after a cough
Says, "Sorry to whinge, but my leg's been blown off
I've got one leg, and I used to have more
I'm bleeding all over this nice clean floor
I think I'll need some of that tourniquet shit."
The Doctor said, "
Or just use a health kit."
When video game characters get shot, slashed, burned etc., they can usually count on finding a box of medical supplies or similar, with which they can instantly restore their health. Even back up to one hundred percent, which presumably means all cuts and bruises are completely gone. They don't even seem to need to apply the medication, or even open the package — as soon as they pick it up, their health is improved. Imagine that. In fantasy they usually have the character eat special fruits or partake of elixirs and say A Wizard Did It
. In sci-fi, the character will shoot up with Nanomachines
and say pretty much the same thing
There are some ways of lessening this effect. One is to hint that the Life Meter
is actually indicating how badly affected the character's armor
is, and one is simply patching up one's suit. Another, in sci-fi stories, is to allow the character's armor special medicinal abilities, which just requires health to be picked up or downloaded off an installed device.
Most classic healing items
work instantly, but some modern games give them a delay time. Using one gives the player a "ghost" Life Meter
, which works its way up to the level indicated over a minute or so. Taking any damage may nullify the effect. This keeps a player from using one in heated combat to stay alive.
A corollary to this trope is that no matter how hurt your character gets, even if they're an inch from death, they can still run around killing things with as much vigor as ever
. This often applies to the enemies, as well. This can be interesting in strategy games, where a large unit is still doing 100% damage at one HP, and smaller units that collectively cost the same are losing effectiveness one by one as they die. Some titles reduce speed and damage linearly with HP, but this is equally unrealistic.
As a side note, the International Red Cross Society
has been raising some legal issues over the repeated use of their trademarked Red Cross logo on health items in video games. See this article from the Canadian Red Cross.
The generic logo for commercially available "First Aid" products in reality is a white cross on a green field for businesses not directly affiliated with the Red Cross Society, to conform with the Geneva Convention (the Red Cross logo is protected). It's a serious issue
An extreme, but common, subset of this trope is Hyperactive Metabolism
, where you are instantly healed simply by eating.
See also Heart Container
and Healing Potion
, and beware of the Poison Mushroom
. Compare The Medic
and Healing Hands
Not to be confused with Self-Surgery
, an often much more gruesome
- In The Getaway, the main character heals by... leaning against walls for a few seconds.
- In Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, the Prince can heal himself by drinking water from any source (fountains, pools, baths, puddles, etc.). This is retained in the sequels, Warrior Whin and The Two Thones, though they mostly limit healing to fountains, which act as save points as well.
- In The Legend of Zelda, Link can visit a dedicated healers (such as a fairy fountain) to get his health back, but he also self-heals by finding hearts from defeated enemies or chopping down tall grass, or drinking healing potions.
- In StarTropics, your main character heals with generic hearts, but there are other healing items as well. Enemies will, on rare occasions, drop stars (1/5 of a heart, in practice) and single hearts, but the environment will provide you with Double Hearts, Medicine (which heals 5 hearts and is saved until used), and quadruple hearts much later in the game. However, the most interesting healing item is the Vitamin X capsule, a rare item that completely heals all 22 hearts you are capable of getting in the game... even if you don't have them yet. Over time, the additional health goes way whether you get hit or not, but the duration of the extra health is surprisingly long, for a game that is generally unforgiving about taking any damage.
- Of course, you will only get one Vitamin X capsule before you hit the heart max.
- In Enter the Matrix just like in The Matrix: Path of Neo you can either walk/run over a green health-pack, or just stand around until the health-meter fills itself back up.
- In the original Gungrave, the only way that Grave can recover his hit points is to expend 1 gauge of demolition shot power ("Recover Life Now"), as there are no items that can be picked up in the game. Presumably he's absorbing the collected beats to regenerate his health and shield (and the shield "heals" and protects him in the sense that his Healing Factor allows him to shrug off most damage except for big attacks). In the second game, your character's health is restored by some amount that depends on how much damage you caused when using a demolition shot—the higher the Jackpot bonus, the more hit points are recovered.
- Bloodline Champions has an ability available for all players called the Bloodline Medallion to heal. However, it takes a long time to finish and is interrupted upon contact from enemy effects or damage.
- Jurassic Park Warpath by eating random animals
- Ditto Primal Rage, except it was people.
Hack and Slash
- In the Wolfenstein and Doom games, there are big white boxes with red plus signs on them which instantly heal you. What's more, the Wolfenstein hero has Hyperactive Metabolism and can heal up by eating all the food left around without slowing down in the slightest. Its modernised remake, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, is equally guilty, despite being more realistic in other ways.
- Beyond dog-food, if you had really low health in the original, you could also drink blood from the floor with a nice slurping sound. Squick.
- In the Xbox Live rerelease, the plus signs have been changed to hearts, due to the aforementioned Red Cross trademark restrictions.
- The original Apple II game Castle Wolfenstein had a One Hitpoint Wonder protagonist, but the sequel Beyond Castle Wolfenstein had a dose of realism in that getting shot actually caused you to limp and slow down, and that application of a first-aid kit to restore your agility took several seconds of inaction.
- As for Doom, it's implied the pickups have small doses of Super Serum (though that puts it in the territory of Instant Sedation). Berserk Packs drop the "implied" part. Soulspheres and Megaspheres are more justified since they're black magic.
- Killing Floor has the syringe that can be used on team mates but also yourself by pressing Q (by default).
- In Deus Ex, the protagonist has separate health levels for arms, legs, torso and head. If the torso or head health reaches 0%, he dies. If both legs are "killed", he falls down to waist level but can still move about using any remaining arms.
- Depending on your point of view, this is justified or handwaved by the mention that Nanoaug agents are equipped to metabolize med kits for quicker use.
- Gordon Freeman in Half-Life gains back lost health by plugging his hazard suit into health and energy recharging stations scattered around the levels. The suit has a strongly implied but never fully explained ability to protect him by sacrificing some of its energy in response to almost any hazard from extreme temperatures to submachine gun rounds. Sometimes, its mechanical voice mentions that it's dispensing morphine or detecting a major blood loss, but it's all just a Handwave in the end. Freeman, like most video game and TV heroes, is Made of Iron.
- Spoofed in the Half-Life 2 webcomic Concerned, where medkits are capable of not only healing everything and anything, but also instantly removing any blood stains from clothing. They are also Eco-Friendly and will instantly biodegrade upon use.
- In the Rainbow Six series, as might be expected from its devotion to realism, there's no healing during a mission. If a character is wounded, but survives, it could be months of in-game time before he's back in action, if he comes back at all. This forces you to use second-stringers as your character and his team-mates.
- With the exception of the Rainbow Six: Vegas games, where if you die, you die, but if your teammates die, then they must be revived with, apparently, a massive dose of arenaline in a syringe. Even if done multiple times, there's no risk of heart attack or death from blood loss.
- In Battlefield 2, the medic class can revive critically wounded teammates by simply applying a defibrillator to any part of the body (even the limbs), which instantly restores them to full health.
- The semi-sequel Battlefield 2142 also features the magic defibrillator, able to revive anyone regardless of any number of headshots by a .50 cal sniper rifle, RDX charges, or knives to the face. A lot of the meta-game behind the BF series involves finding ways to permanently kill your foes (consequently making the Engineer the most deadly class with his insta-kill rockets). Of course it is semi-justified with the defiberator merely supercharging the soldier's personal nanobots which patches him up to full health.
- In both games, it's much quicker to kill and revive your teammate, rather than wait for the medkit to do its thing (or even return to your kit if you've already left one somewhere). There are quite a few situations where the choice between avoiding a teamkill and saving precious seconds is a sane one.
- Star Wars: Republic Commando has no medkits. Instead, it has fixed emplacements that infuse bacta to the commandos, healing them in a short time. Given the almost magical healing abilities of Bacta in the Star Wars universe, this is not actually completely insane. However, should a squadmate's health reach zero, they'll just drop down and moan occasionally, whereupon all that's needed to revive them and give them half their health back is a zap from a defibrillator-like device. The player character can "die" in this way as well, and call on a squadmate to be revived. This gives rise to an interesting technique for the few areas of the game where bacta is rare: if a squadmate's health is less than half, one can shoot said squadmate until he "dies". When revived, he'll have more health than before. A player whose own character has less than half health can even toss a thermal detonator at his feet, "die", call on a squadmate to be revived and enjoy the same benefit.
- "Hostile Commando!" Yeah, your mates don't really like you shooting them.
- It is slightly hand waved by a single mention of a "Bacta processing implant", this doesn't explain how Kyle Katarn, Mara Jade, Jaden Korr, Revan and The Jedi Exile instantly heal with med kits (The last 2 even predate bacta!)
- Not entirely; Revan and the Jedi Exile had a sort of proto-bacta called Kolto; there's a mission in the first KOTOR where Revan visits the sole planet that it comes from. It turns out that its created by the dominant race's distant ancestor and Revan has the choice of killing it or letting it live
- America's Army averts this trope; players who are shot in the game bleed for a certain amount of time, effectively draining their hit points bit by bit. As your health decreases from Green (Full/Near Full) to Yellow (Moderately Hurt) to Red (Near Death), you run progressively slower and are less accurate. Medics can only stop your bleeding, and there is no way to restore health once lost.
- Averted in Day Of Defeat, where wounds cannot be healed at all. You can bandage yourself, but this only stops you from bleeding to death.
- In Medal of Honor: Airborne the player can "round up" their health to the next quarter by resting, but still require medkits to heal beyond that.
- Averted in Bet On Soldier, where you cannot restore your health during a mission. However, you wear armor on top of your health, which can be restored mid-mission, either by mechanic allies or purchasing armor repair at buy stations. Unfortunately, the game's final boss and a few other boss enemies are equipped with armor-piercing weapons that damage your health directly.
- Far Cry 2 and Far Cry 3 mix this trope with elements of its direct opposite, Walk It Off. Your health meter is divided into five blocks. If you take damage, then get away for a bit, your health will refill, but only to the top of the block you're currently down in, except the last critical block (more on that later). To actually get back to full health, you have to inject yourself with little healing syrettes that you find in traditional medical cabinets and boxes around the game world. Perhaps most interestingly, if you're knocked to your last health block, it starts draining slowly instead of regenerating. To escape this, you have to trigger a longer emergency healing sequence (some of the animations for which are disturbing enough to be nightmarish), which brings you back to 2 full health blocks.
- To elaborate, one of the prolonged healing sequences involves shoving a knife into your wound and digging out the bullets. Made of Iron indeed ...
- Some other ways to "heal" yourself involve twisting a dislocated wrist back into place, using a wad of matches to cauterize a wound, pulling an iron bar out of your stomach, and much, much more...
- Parodied in Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon: one of the self-healing animations involve the use of a blowtorch to fix your robotic arm, while another involves using a hand-squeezer exercise spring really fast.
- In Left 4 Dead has an interesting take on healing. Simply being hit will slowly lead to the charecter moving more slowly. Get incapacitated, and promptly revived however, and now you'll both move slowly and bleed health. Pain pills offer temporary health boost that slowly degrades. Using health kits has an animation of the charecter bandaging themselves or someone else and (almost) all their wounds are instantly healed. Get incapacitated too many times and the color will bleed out and the next time you get knocked down kills you.
- The sequel tosses in adrenaline shots, which only recovers 25 points of health (temporary) but for a short time, your survivor runs faster (even if their health is in the red), can't be slowed down by zombies, and can do many actions at a quicker rate (healing, revive, etc.). The only side effect is you get tunnel vision and the sounds become mono.
- The shot is better used on a healthy survivor rather than an injured one, as the 25 temporary health can act as a buffer while the healthy player revives/heals an injured one in the heat of battle. Most people just use it as a weak pain pill alternative, however.
- Pariah has a health meter in the form of a series of blocks; a block automatically regenerates after a while if there's even the smallest bit left, but any completely blanked blocks can only be recovered with a health injection. The healing item is in the form of a separate tool, used like a weapon and using dropped medkits as "ammo". It needs to be reloaded like a weapon, too, which makes it harder to heal in combat.
- Alpha Prime, like Half-Life, features both medkits and health dispensers. When you approach a medkit (or any item you can pick up), it flies toward you and instantly restores health. The health dispensers seem to pump out some sort of red fluid. On the eponymous asteroid's surface, there are also oxygen dispensers.
- In Team Fortress 2, if there's no Medic or Dispenser handy, better make a run for the nearest health kit.
- Or, if you're a Medic with the Kritzkrieg, just taunt and take a big 'ol puff of the fumes. Although he also has automatically regenerating health.
- And if you're a Heavy, you have a wide range of comestibles for that purpose as well.
- Other classes can heal themselves by damaging or killing enemies with certain weapons or attacking a target soaked in the Scouts Mad Milk or with one of the Soldiers banners active.
- PlanetSide 1 has single-use medkits which are activated instantly via hotkey and the Medical Applicator handheld tool, which uses cartridges of nanites to heal allies or yourself, and revive downed allies. Planetside 2 drops the Medapp's self-healing ability and instead gives the Combat Medic an area-of-effect healing ability that heals themselves. Medical kits return (along with Gradual Regeneration restoration kits) but they require you to holster your weapon before being used. The "Regeneration" implant slowly heals you at the cost of implant energy.
- Drakengard requires that you either find one of the Inexplicable Treasure Chests scattered across the land and hope they contain healing, or kill a certain amount of enemies in a certain amount of time to receive healing as a reward for having a high enough chain. Either way, healing comes in the form of a benign, green-glowing orb.
- Dynasty Warriors usually has Hyperactive Metabolism for its healing, as its recovery items are food and drink. The one exception is the full-recover item called Ointment in the game—more specifically, Hua Tuo's Ointment, described in the source material as a kind of miracle balm. Pick up some of this and your ancient Chinese hero is good to go, even from the brink of death—it grants both full health and a full Mana Meter, which also powers your Limit Break.
- The modern-day Prince of Persia games allow you to fully heal by drinking water. The original games featured health potions.
- What's really weird is that the Prince can heal from any source of water. In the beginning of Warrior Within the Prince can drink right out of the ocean and in the beginning of The Two Thrones, the prince can drink raw sewage! It heals you in both cases...
- In his alternate forms in Warrior Within and The Two Thrones, the Prince is healed by absorbing sand. To be fair, he is a sand creature at those times.
- Like the Ocarina of Time example above, in the later Mega Man, X and Zero series, when your character is low on health, he will grab an arm and pant heavily (wait, pant?) when standing still, though he'll still play the same. One game even has an item that increases your power when you're in this "desperate" state.
- In Super Mario 64 the titular character would begin breathing heavily whenever he stood still and had his health in the red. Given that Ocarina was created on a heavily-modified version of the Mario 64 engine, it's not surprising that there is a similarity.
- The Life Meter-enabled Sly Cooper games had not normal white boxes with the red plus sign, but actual red crosses that scattered around, spinning on the lower leg. Not sure if that'd run afoul of the Red Cross trademark or not.
- The medipacks in Tomb Raider had the Red Cross symbol on them, up until Tomb Raider 2 Gold, at which point they were changed to green crosses. This stuck until Legend, and all games following it, in which the medipacks have red asterisks on them.
- In Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, acorns were the healing items.
- In Ecco The Dolphin, you healed by eating fish, or by finding a healing clam. (You just had to watch that you didn't accidentally hit an evil clam that'd drain you more)
- A somewhat odd (but explainable) example of the corollary is found in the Battle for Middle-Earth games, in which Ents and Trolls actually become better as they receive more damage. Ents move faster, as being damaged makes them "hasty", while Trolls go berserk and do lots of damage to all nearby units - including allies.
- Of course, when Ents and Trolls reach this point, they're pretty much about to die, so it's more of a last "screw you" to your opponents than a sound tactical choice.
- Similar to the Lord of the Rings topic above, in Super Robot Wars there are various skills that only kick in when a character's health hits the red. The most common is "Prevail", which raises a character's hit and dodge rates.
- Roguelike games like NetHack have potions of varying degrees of potency which can be carried around by the player and used when needed. Of course, if a monster finds them first then it will pick them up and use them in the middle of a fight to stay alive longer.
Shoot 'em Up
- Fallout 2 has a healing item, the Super Stimpack, that heals 75 points of damage instantly, but does 9 points of poison damage a little later (justified in-game by the item even stating that "this much healing at one time can be hard on the body"). This makes it possible to covertly assassinate the Enclave's President late in the game, by healing him nine times and resting for about 10 minutes, at which point he drops dead from the "healing" damage.
- In Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas you can be healed by eating, drinking, bloodpacks stimpacks (2 kinds)and with the right perks, radiation, and sunlight.
- New Vegas brings back the bad effect of Super Stim Packs, but they now provide a stat debuff instead of hit point damage.
- The RPG Exile (or XZR in Japan) uses various forms of drugs as healing items. It's possible to overdose and die from too much "healing".
- In the Paper Mario series, Mario enters a danger status at 5 or less HP, and a Peril status at 1 HP. Mario begins panting in battle, and outside them if in Peril. Nonetheless, Mario still controls the same, and some of the badges requires him to be in these status in order to work. This can create a setup where you can purposely lower your max HP to 5 in order to always have the danger badges' powerups in effect.
- Mass Effect has medi-gel, a nearly magical substance that can heal just about any traumatic injury. In true Mass Effect fashion, the Codex helpfully explains that medi-gel doesn't actually cure you, it just stops the bleeding and provides enough medication to keep you going during the mission. The actual healing is stated to take place offscreen when you return to the ship's medbay. It's even noted that medi-gel is technically illegal under Citadel bioengineering laws; it's just so useful that the law never cracks down on it.
- In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, in a Mage Guild quest, there is literally a chest labeled "Heal Thyself," which contains potions.
- The Legend of Dragoon's "Guard" command restores a portion of the character's HP every time it is used in battle, making it a viable healing method during the game's many Random Encounters.
- Potions, HP Ups and Restores are this way in Pokémon games, though they only restore HP, not the PP of a move. PP Ups exist, but they're rare.
- In the Star Wars Conquest Game Mod for Mount & Blade, there is an medikit item, actually made of two parts: the Bacta injector and the Bacta capsules. Using the Bacta injector in batlle heals 20 hitpoints of the player character and destroys a Bacta capsule.
- In Dark Souls, the Chosen Undead can chug some Estus for a quick refill of health. The Flask can be upgraded to have more uses and greater healing power. Dark Souls II reduces the efficiency of Estus (the animation speed is now dependent on a stat) but adds more healing items with their own advantages and disadvantages.
- Downplayed in Jagged Alliance 2; it's possible to have a team member bandage themselves if they have a medkit of some sort[[note]]although it's not always a good idea, because it takes a lot longer if they have a low Medical skill]], but that only stops bleeding. Permanent HP restoration and stat penalty removal can only happen outside of combat, during which your mercs can either be set on 'Doctor' or 'Patient' status but not both at once.
- The arcade version of G.I. Joe has med kits hidden in crates, barrels, etc. Just shoot it and the player is healed.
- In the PC game B 17 Flying Fortress The Mighty8th, injured crewmen, possibly riddled with shrapnel and bullets, can be healed by other crewmen giving first aid. Fair enough, but the first aid involves shaking them, slapping them in the face, and saying "You'll be fine".
- Trauma Center has the green "Stabilizer" fluid, a drug that you inject into your patient's body to raise their vitals (which are rated from 0-99). It doesn't matter how many tumors pepper the surface of the stomach, or how tattered the heart is from the innumerable lacerations covering it; stabilizer cures everything! It's never actually explained what's in the stabilizer, but it doesn't seem like there's a chance of overdose.
- The series also has the "Antibiotic Gel," which completely disinfects anything it touches within milliseconds. It also heals small cuts instantly, raises vitals, reduces the speed at which vitals fall and removes stains without hours of scrubbing!
- In Vietcong, the player is usually equipped with a medikit (otherwise he can find one himself). And for some bizarre reason, you can't use it on any of your teammate. The PlayStation 2 version of Purple Haze advises the player to only use it when his health is less than 50%.
- Generally speaking, in the Metal Gear series, healing is primarily achieved through a Hyperactive Metabolism - namely, eating rations or other food. For Metal Gear Solid, it adds a touch of realism by having your rations freeze if you stay in cold areas for too long, rendering them inedible until they thaw out; the only way to prevent frozen rations or to thaw them out requires you to equip the rations, which is implied that you're holding them to your body so your body heat would melt the ice.
- Averted somewhat in Metal Gear Solid 3, where while you do use herbs and random items to heal yourself, you can get helpful information from your radio medic explaining exactly how it works. Also, wounds require logical actions to heal them. For example, a deep cut requires you to apply a styptic to stop the bleeding, disinfectant to prevent infection, a suture to sew it up, and a bandage to cover it all. However, you can receive multiple injuries in the same area and heal them each time, without suffering any lingering side effects other than cosmetic damage, and the items can be applied in any order.
- Any and EVERY order. For instance, you have been poisoned. How can you cure yourself? By using the following items in this order on the site of the injury: Knife, bandage, cigar, stitches, knife, disinfectant, knife, cigar, anti venom. It works with no side effects beyond extreme amusement.
- It's also notable that all this just removes the lingering effects of wounds, like bleeding or recurring damage. Restoring your Hit Points requires resting and eating (while not seriously injured) or using LIFE medicine, an instant-heal item which your support team will explain as "an experimental Soviet drug" that "doesn't really make sense."
- In Metal Gear Solid 4 healing is mostly a matter of eating and drinking or having a high psyche meter, which will allow you to slowly heal automatically. There are also some tunes on your iPod that allow you to heal more quickly using the latter method.
- Resident Evil is particularly bad for this, suggesting that you can heal yourself just by using a random green herb you ground up. Though it's unclear if you're applying it to the wound, eating the herbs, or as many fans jokingly say, rolling it in a joint and smoking it. It's not as if it's armor either, as you are clearly seen getting impaled, cut, burnt, or thrown into walls by the enemies. Once their health is below a certain point, a character will move slower and clutch their stomach, but this is the extent of the character's "injuries". Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis notably have the characters barely able to move when they're on dying status, making them an easy target to whatever is trying to kill them.
- Apparently, they're sprayed onto the body, per Resident Evil 5.
- Sheva! Here let me stab you with some adrenaline, that should make you forget the fact you've been impaled with a spear.
- Conversely, SilentHill games feature more mundane healing items, like health drinks, first aid kits, ampoules and the occassional energy drinks to boost stamina. Rather than reflect the character's health through body language, the screen usually grows more distorted the more damage they take.
- In Haunting Ground, Fiona can consume camomile and lavender to replenish her health and stamina respectively, and can replenish both by drinking tap water, provided no enemies are looking. She can also heal Hewie by feeding him beef and chicken jerky.
- In Rule of Rose, Jennifer heals by munching on sweets: anything from lollipops and candy to scones, shortbread and minced pie. She can also heal Brown by feeding him anything from bones to steak.
- In Kuon, characters heal utilizing "dust" and "elixirs", though if they're not under attack they can just as easily go into meditation mode for free until they're restored to full health.
- Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth notably averted this to a great extent. First aid kits contain several rolls of gauze, a spool of suture, a splint, and a few doses of antitoxin. Each must be used separately — with associated animation — on the appropriate body part for the appropriate injuries. For example, suture converts major wounds (which gradually bleed out your health bar) to minor wounds (which merely prevent you from recovering health). Bandages remove minor wounds, allowing your health to automatically refill over time. Broken limbs decrease movement speed or gun accuracy until repaired with splints. Additionally, movement speed and accuracy are severely impacted by having a low health bar, and when near death the character experiences a grayout as color drains from the scene. Morphine is available to counteract these effects at the cost of severe sanity loss. While not entirely realistic (applying a splint makes a broken arm good as new), it's about as close as one can get to a realistic injury system in a FPS where you can't take months off for bones to knit nor leave the injuries in place for the game's duration.
- All that stitching and bandaging also has to be done in real-time, so you can't magically heal yourself while monsters are gnawing on your head (at least if you don't want to end up dead).
- Cryostasis has warmth instead of health. You continuously lose it when you go into a cold area, and can regain it using any available heat source. While this is fairly realistic when dealing with actual cold, enemy attacks also drain warmth. As a result, you can be shot, clawed, and beaten nearly to death, then completely recover by holding your hands out to a fire for a few seconds.
- Penumbra has painkillers. Flavor Text suggests that they just make possible for Philip to ignore his injuries, but in practice they work like this.
- The Prometheus in Project Firestart has single-use first aid kits on the walls next to certain elevators. The medical lab also has a walk-in regeneration machine.
- In Unturned, you heal with medical supplies found around PEI. The supplies vary from make-shift rag bandages that recover a tiny amount of health to full medkits that restore half your health, reduce sickness, and cures the bleeding and broken leg debuffs. Unlike most games, there is an animation when your heal yourself, like applying bandages to your arm or giving a morphine shot.
- Max Payne has an interesting take on this trope: instead of healing himself, Max just downs painkillers by the fistful, the effects of which to a while to fully set in. While this is a somewhat more realistic take in the short run — people certainly can ignore a few bullet wounds if you give them enough amphetamines — before too long it becomes clear that by now he ought to be too bullet-riddled and drug-addled to stand.
- His clothing for much of the first game does look baggy enough that he might conceivably be wearing a ballistic vest with a trauma plate. (After all, he does keep his Hyperspace Arsenal under his jacket.) All the same, one wonders how much time he spent between the first and second games being treated for broken ribs, internal bleeding and the effects of a colossal painkiller overdose.
- On the other hand, Max Payne is one of a few action games that reinforce the notion that the main character actually survives just because he is incredibly lucky (and, of course, skilled and resourceful). The perfect walkthrough implied by the story means that Max hardly ever gets wounded, but instead dodges all that is thrown at him – sometimes wondering aloud how did he managed to survive every subsequent encounter.
- Also note that story-wise, with plot progression Max is getting always more and more mangled. In second game this lead to the point where he was hospitalised after second act. The paramedic clearly stated that he's alive by combination of dumb luck and sheer willpower - the painkillers only made the rescue effort harder because of intoxication.
- Oni's health items, hyposprays, serve a dual purpose. If used when Konoko is close to full health, it will rise above 100%, and trigger a "super mode". It lasts until her health is reduced to full, over time or by damage. Otherwise, the health gain is delayed (can be interrupted, making it dangerous to use in combat).
- In BloodRayne, the main character is a Dhampir (half-vampire), and regains health by sucking the blood of her enemies. In the sequel, her guns are blood-fueled as well.
- Gears of War has a similar knockdown situation in the Co-operative mode. All it takes is your buddy to essentially kick you in the butt before you stand up and are ready to fight again. Which can lead to annoying situations of playing 'Injury tag' "He shot me!" "I'm back!" "He shot you!" "You're back!" etc.
- Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory has a similar system, with each player having a limited supply of "adrenaline syringes" for reviving colleagues. It's thus very tempting in bored moments to take your teammate out yourself and play chicken with the death timer...
- In the Crusader series of games, the Silencer can instantly heal even the most severe wounds with a medkit (of which he can carry up to ten at a time), though he might need more than one. Not even bringing up the question of how he can do this with his arms full of gun and the kits in his backpack, the game's lit explains that the medikits are more lifesavers than they are actual medicine, just something to keep the soldier alive and out of shock until better treatment can be found, and that there may be nasty side effects of prolonged or overuse. It's entirely possible Silencers are genetically engineered to take full advantage of them without side effects, but the game makes no mention of that...
- And then there's the medical booths, which are kind of like the opposite of suicide booths.
- The James Bond game 007: From Russia with Love for GameCube uses the armor version. James can pick up random bulletproof vests that wear out as he gets shot. However, once the meter for the vest runs out, the damage goes straight to your health.
Wide Open Sandbox
- The X-Com series (Sold as UFO Defense in Europe) simulates a realistic injury system very well. Injured characters have their speed, accuracy and morale reduced, and may have bleeding wounds that deal further damage each round and can only be cured using a medkit. Doing so also recovers a handful of HP, while painkillers can reduce the morale penalties. Otherwise the wounded character is stuck until the end of the battle, at which point they become unavailable for anything from a few days to a few months depending on the degree of injury. Many players prefer to transfer the injured soldier out of X-Com and hire a new recruit rather than pay their salary while they recover.
- The "realism" aspect goes out the window in the second game, where all the same rules apply - but underwater. For example, apparently having your skull ruptured does not, in fact, mean your diving helmet is no longer air-tight - or does it?
- The game Jagged Alliance 2 features a fairly realistic injury system. Characters will take hits first to their armor, reducing its effectiveness in future battles. They will then take the hit to their health. This will show up on the health bar as a yellow area. When they are healed in the field, this will be covered up in pink, to show that it is bandaged, but will be lost more quickly next time they are hit, potentially causing them to start bleeding. Characters must be healed on the world map to remove the pink and turn it to the default red, a process which takes time and a consumable "medical kit" item that Randomly Drops rather rarely and has to be bought. In addition, characters have a stamina bar, making it possible for characters to faint or collapse in the field, requiring immediate medical attention and stamina-recovering water. Furthermore, being hit drains not only health but also stamina, so even if a character survives with only minor injuries, the stamina drain will give them an action point penalty, significantly reducing their combat effectiveness, if not knock them out outright.
- The title characters of Killer7 use the blood of their enemies to heal their own wounds. Given their nature, this is possibly the most sensible entry on this list.
- It's got to be the right kind of blood, though.
- Prototype subverts this nicely. Since your character is capable of absorbing genetic materials from anyone, medkits are... people. Down on health? Grab someone by the neck, smash their head in, absorb their body into your own, and voila, you're healed!
- Although this is down to your 'health' bar not actually measuring your health. Rather, it's a display of your current mass(or rather biomass), hence Critical Mass when you over-fill it.
- Similarly, inFAMOUS has all your powers based on electricity, so anything that runs on power can be used as a medkit.
- Terraria has standard healing potions in varying strengths. Hyperactive Metabolism is also at play in the forms of mushrooms and goldfish. However, all healing items (except goldfish) come with a 60 second "Potion Sickness" debuff that prevents you from using another in that time. Goldfish do not cause this debuff, but their healing is inefficient and they are difficult to obtain.
Non-video game examples:
Anime and Manga
- In the Dragon Ball series, the magic Senzu Beans can cure any injury instantly, with the side-effect of making you full for three days straight from the energy it infuses into you. However, the beans cannot cure diseases and such, which ends up being a plot point in Dragon Ball Z.
- The movie "Wanted" has the assassins healing pretty much any damage with some white healing goo.
- In Phineas and Ferb, in the episode Gaming The System, the game Phineas and Ferb makes has no health drops, but you're granted full health if you can defeat three enemies simultaneously.