Hit the Ground Harder

Yahtzee shows us why Just Cause 2 makes Newton spin in his grave.

"He doesn't even need [parachutes] to break his fall, because he can hookshot onto the ground and escape unharmed. That's right! The best way to survive smacking into concrete at terminal velocity is to smack into it slightly faster. Maybe it's a homeopathic thing."
Yahtzee on Just Cause 2 in Zero Punctuation

Oh no! You're falling from a huge height. Maybe your helicopter got shot down. Maybe you misjudged a jump. Or maybe you got knocked into the air by a huge enemy. The point is: You're going to pancake when you hit the ground and there's none of that oh-so-handy water anywhere! You don't have magic slowfall powers, you can't render yourself invincible, and you left your parachute at home. For most people, this would be the end...

But no, you're not like other people. You have a way to survive your immense fall. Make your fall speed even higher and smash into the ground at an even higher speed, to make the laws of reality fold in on themselves and escape from your situation unscathed, or at least, far better off than you would have been if you'd just let gravity take its toll.

This is usually just an oversight; if the game ignores velocity-induced damage for certain special moves such as activating a grappling hook or using an aerial tackle move, you just use that special move and bypass the fall damage code!

Regardless, whether it was intentional, or an exploitable flaw of the game, you've just managed to Hit The Ground Harder and cheat death.


  • Just Cause 2 is one of the biggest offenders of this; a review of which gives us the picture and title quote, and for good reason. You can literally fall from a mile-high height and survive by grappling into the ground and survive with no health loss whatsoever. This is made particularly noticeable by the fact that Soft Water is completely and utterly absent, so you find yourself actually 'aiming' for the ground.
    • Of course, this is also the game where you can spawn an infinite amount of parachutes from a small pouch on your back.
  • Zig-zagged with the Super Mario Bros. series when it comes to ground pounds - it varies between just resetting your momentum, to making you into a Nigh Invulnerable comet that is the only thing capable of destroying certain blocks.
  • In full effect in Terraria. Gravity is by far one of the harshest forces in the game, which makes the mid-game Lucky Horseshoe (which cancels fall damage) very highly sought-after. But until you get one, you can always use your Grappling Hook/Ivy Whip to latch onto the ground and survive.
    • Come late game, those Horseshoes get replaced by wings. You can fall from the upper atmosphere without even flapping your wings once, and land light as a feather. Even if those wings are made of ice, or twigs.
  • Zig-zagged in Dragon's Dogma where you have some special falling attacks which will completely negate fall damage, but you also have moves that explicitly stop your momentum in the air... but do not change your fall damage at all. A common situation for new players playing as a mage is to learn the levitation ability, at some point finding a moderate cliff of some sort, jumping off, hovering just inches off the ground... then falling 3 inches with the impact force of a car crash.
  • If a Spider-Man game has fall damage, chances are you can ignore it by web-zipping directly into the ground.
  • This is the basis of Wavedashing and Wavelanding in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Project M; using the directional air dodge to propel yourself straight into the ground allows you to act out of it faster than with an ordinary landing.
  • In Team Fortress 2's "Mannpower" mode, everyone has access to a grappling hook that pulls you directly at the surface you aimed it at. It negates fall damage both during the grapple and for two seconds afterward, allowing you to invoke this trope as much as you like.
  • In Arx Fatalis you often will receive no falling damage if you jump over the edge of a cliff instead of walking off it, due to glitches in jumping physics.
  • World of Warcraft allows you to do this using abilities like the Warrior's Charge, normally used on the ground to run a short distance at super speed to attack an enemy. It still works in the air.
  • The E3 trailer of Dishonored 2 shows Emily surviving a fall of several stories by using her tentacle-like appendage to quickly reach the bottom of the stairs.
  • Fall damage is rare in Pac-Man World 2, but a Butt-Bounce will negate it.