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A projectile or attack in interactive media (or a narrative description in non-interactive media) that homes in on its intended target. If you're firing it, it can be an effective means of eliminating targets without putting yourself in harm's way. If an enemy is firing it, you'll need to perform a High-Speed Missile Dodge
, whip out a shield
, trick its guidance system
, Shoot the Bullet if it is destructible
, or just outrun it until it loses steam
A curious trait of most homing attacks is their inability to "lead" a moving target
, resulting in them doggedly "trailing" behind if the target can move fast enough. Very few homing attacks will actually plot an intercept course on a moving target.
A fairly common projectile type in Shmups
and Table Top Games
Compare and Contrast with Player Guided Missile
- Action Bomb in which the projectile in question doesn’t fly.
- Boomerang Comeback in which the projectile starts homing after overtaking the target
- Homing Boulders in which the mechanic is there but doesn't make sense for the situation, such as boulders rolling at you that home in on your location.
- Macross Missile Massacre in which a huge, ominous cloud of homing missiles is released.
- Roboteching in which the projectiles don't start homing until after they've flown a fair distance.
- Pinball Projectile in which the projectiles move by bouncing off of non-targets.
- Super-Persistent Missile in which the projectile not only guides itself toward a target but doesn’t give up if it misses.
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Anime and Manga
- Wolfs Rain: the Noble's have access to laser weapons that home in on their targets, inexplicably.
- Hellsing: Rip Van Winkle has a rifle that shoots magic bullets that can immediately home on a target or do very fancy Roboteching.
- Dragon Ball Z: Goku (Kamehameha twin dragon shot), Krillin (Double Tsuihikidan), and Piccolo (Chasing Bullet) have all used homing Ki attacks at one time or another.
- Android 13's S.S. Deadly Bomber took this even further, as the energy ball is seen making sharp ninty degree turns in its flight path to track its victim.
- Nami's Thunder Breed Tempo in One Piece (a homing lightning bolt). In a Crowning Moment of Funny, Franky also claims that his shoulder cannons do this, but subverts it when it's really just himself running after the opponent.
- Darkseid whose omega beams take great pains to hit their target.
- Runaway: A gun is introduced that fires projectiles that act like a tiny guided missiles.
- The same thing happens in Babylon A.D., with the missile homing in on the nanite-passport injected in the protagonist's neck.
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country: While most torpedoes are guided, and therefore should be guided IN SPACE!, this movie had a particular torpedo that was explicitly seen to track a cloaked Klingon ship's ion trail.
- Andromeda: The Force Lance from the series did a lot of things including launching homing projectiles.
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Kimberly's arrows possess this ability, as memorably demonstrated in "Power Ranger Punks".
- Almost Human: The episode "You are Here" featured a 50 caliber homing bullet fired out of a very nifty rifle, guided through a city by advertising software.
- An episode of Flashpoint revolved around a thief aiming to steal a prototype smartgun, which (unrealistically) used radio waves to mark and track a target. This results in Ed Lane getting shot despite being behind cover. In the end, the SRU team uses a radio jammer to prevent the gun's bullets from tracking their targets, enabling them to take down the perp.
- Dungeons & Dragons: Ranged weapons with the "seeking" enchantment.
- GURPS: Homing weapons can be purchased as equipment, some even with character stats, or with the right imbuement touched.
- Mutants & Masterminds: An advantage one can buy allows any power an additional opportunity to hit fitting in the "attack" aspect.
- The Red Shells and Blue (aka. "Death-on-Swift-Wings-Comes-for-You") Shells in Mario Kart.
- Worms, of course, offers homing missiles as well as exploding homing pigeons and a magic bullet that spell's instant death to who-ever is locked onto. Worms 2 had some special weapons that included a homing airstrike and a homing cluster grenade.
- Sonic the Hedgehog himself can become this through the Homing Attack. Other characters can do it as well, such as Shadow, Amy, and Espio.
- The upgraded single missile in Diddy Kong Racing.
- In Chimera Beast your eater could evolve to have Extra Eyes on its body, which could then be fired out when you did your Charged Attack. They homed in on enemies.
- Einhänder had an awesome version of this- the Wasp missiles homed in on both background AND foreground targets as well!
- The homing laser beams and balls in Recca.
- Tyrian has Heavy Guided Bombs and Guided Micro Bombs, the latter of which is dangerously close to a Game Breaker as it was akin to Macross Missile Massacre.
- The chaser weapon in Gunstar Heroes and Alien Soldier.
- The homing missiles in Bangai-O Spirits.
- The H weapon in Contra III and subsequent Contra games.
- 'Homing' is one of your three weapons in Over Horizon, but with Weapon Edit you can give your other weapons minor homing tendencies as well.
- The high-level missiles in Darius Gaiden and R-Type III home in on targets.
- In the Hunt had the missiles weapon, which would home in on targets above the water surface.
- The central mechanic of Rayforce is its lock-on laser beams. Similar beams appear in Ikaruga and Genetos.
- Two of the weapons in Radiant Silvergun shoot homing projectiles.
- Anti-Aircraft missiles are one of the more useful subweapons in Tetrastar.
- Pretty much all of the Touhou games have this as an available shot-type, usually held by Reimu. They also occasionally have homing projectiles as enemies' attacks — most often in the form of bullets that periodically reorient themselves, but there are also projectiles with true homing, like Seiga's ball lightning.
- Bubble Tanks 2 and 3 have seeker missile sub-weapons, which do a good amount of damage.
- There's also the Doomsday Infector, which infects an enemy with a homing virus. The virus then starts sapping the enemy of health, and when the enemy dies, it releases 1-3 more of the virus to infect more enemies.
- One of the weapons in the arsenal of Descent is homing missiles.
- Unreal and Unreal Tournament have a homing missile as an alternate fire for their rocket launcher.
- In Donkey Kong 64, the Kongs could find limited amounts of Homing Ammo for their guns.
- Rare's followup game, Banjo-Tooie, featured a Homing Egg code.
- The Castlevania series has had multiple projectiles of this type, including the Thunder Orbs used by Sypha in Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse and Yoko in Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, the Spirits summoned by Alucard in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Charlotte in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, Carrie's magical fireballs in Castlevania 64, and the Homing Daggers used by Nathan in Shooter Mode of Castlevania: Circle of the Moon.
- The Sharpshooters in Dragon Nest combine this with Beam Spam.
- Missile type weapons in Prototype will just home in on targets, which can be good or bad depending on who's shooting them.
- The Homing Missiles in Heavy Weapon, which only home in on air targets. There were also two kinds of annoying helicopters that fire homing missiles at you, jets with Deflector Shields that do the same, and 13 of the 19 bosses have some kind of homing missile attack.
- Sektor of Mortal Kombat fame shoots homing missiles as a special move in Mortal Kombat 3 and Mortal Kombat 9, although in the latter it uses up a third of the Super Meter.
- Amazons in Diablo II can fire homing arrows. An early bug combined this with the Piercing skill to make the arrows home onto an enemy, hit them, pass through them, then turn around and do it again.
- Demon Hunters in Diablo III can do the same. Overlaps with Pinball Projectile when done in narrow passages, as it will look like the arrow bounces off the walls. In open spaces, however, the Demon Hunter can fire an arrow in the complete opposite direction of an enemy and the arrow will simply make a sharp turn mid-air and hit the enemy anyhow. Furthermore, the Demon Hunter has various skills that can also be upgraded with runes to fire homing rockets.
- Throughout Halo: Needler, Plasma Pistol.
- Halo 2 Rocket Launcher.
- Halo 3 Banshee Bomb, Missile Pod.
- Halo ODST same as Halo 3.
- Halo: Reach with the advent of armor lock, this is suddenly played for keeps: Rocket Launcher (AA only), Banshee Bomb, Rocket Hog turret, Plasma Launcher.
- Guns of Icarus includes homing rocket turrets.
- Ace Combat has a variety of missiles for the player, ranging from the standard generic Missiles that can target anything and come in large numbers to more specialized long-range missiles that may do extra damage or lock on to multiple targets. Enemy pilots, especially ace pilots, can evade shots that aren't lined up properly.
- Enemy aircraft, ships, and SAM units can launch missiles at the player. Their homing capabilities are about equal to the player's standard missiles.
- The Bullet Bills in various 3D Mario games home in on Mario to varying degrees.
- As well as the Missile Bills in the 2D games.
- In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Ludwig Van Koopa can shoot homing fireballs (thankfully much slower than regular fireballs).
- Donkey Kong Country 3: Barbos's shellfish flunkies home in on Enguarde, and and must be manipulated to knock out his barriers.
- One of Gruntilda's spells in Banjo-Kazooie can't be avoided without using invincibility.
- Donkey Kong 64: A big beeping missile with a face (of course) is used by the upgraded Army Dillo.
- The boss of stage 5 of Mr Gimmick shoots slow homing missiles that block your attacks.
- A fairly annoying attack by bosses in Darius games.
- Many enemies, minibosses and bosses in Mega Man franchise fire homing projectiles.
- Serious Sam I has reptiloids and final boss of The First Encounter shooting these. In Serious Sam II the enemies shooting homing missiles include witches, helicopters and two types of sci-fi orcs.
- In the similar Will Rock, two bosses (Hephaestus and Medusa) uses this.
- The revenants in Doom launch missiles that the player has to get real creative to avoid.
- Hellfire missiles fired by AI AH-64 helicopters will both lead and home onto Alex in Prototype. But Alex cannot do the same when he's in an AH-64, meaning The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard.
- Nearly all secondary weapons in FreeSpace - and some do Lead The Target.
- Several of Shepard's powers in Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 fire projectiles that home in on the target, allowing the powers to be fired in an arc around obstacles. Almost all of these powers when used by Shepard's squadmates instantly hit the target instead.
- Team Fortress 2: Custom game mode "Dodgeball" has rockets which, unlike normal ones fired by the Soldier, home in on a player. The game is to use the Pyro's compression blast to deflect the rocket at the enemy team, who are trying to do the same.
- If you get your Dark-Elf's Disease Bolt spell high enough in Champions of Norrath, it will home in and hit the nearest enemy.
- Dark Souls: Projectile sorceries usually home on the locked enemy.
- And in this game, even arrows veer mid-flight to better hit you.
- Gun-type God Arcs in Gods Eater Burst can be loaded with homing bullets and lasers. Saves some frustration when you're trying to hit something fast-moving, but homing attacks target center of mass and so can't be used to aim at specific points on the Aragami.
- Achieved accidentally as an artifact of the rendering engine in City of Heroes. Most single-target attacks have a visible effect that take a short time to reach their target, so if an attack that has been determined to be a hit goes off against a moving target, the visible effect (fire beam, energy blast, etc.) will arc to follow the target, no matter how fast it moves or how many turns it makes. It is sometimes possible, with a travel power at the speed cap or with Teleportation, depending on where you start, to reach a street exit to another zone and exit the zone before the visible blast hits you, although you will still take the damage from the attack.
- A quasi-example: Raptor: Call of the Shadows has orange flak balls that are shot at your plane instead of the normal ones that are shot straight. A large majority of Mooks, airborne and grounded, use these on you, especially on the later levels and harder difficulties; these make them Goddamned Bats.
- The best weapon pickup of Prehistorik Man was an egg that allowed the player to fire homing (and very damaging) dinosaurs at enemies.
- Steel Diver: Sub Wars has homing torpedoes. Each sub can only fire three before needing to pick up homing torpedo pickups to replenish them, and homing torpedoes fire much slower than their non-homing counterparts.
- Missile-type weaponry in both BattleZone FPS/RTS games generally have some homing mechanic. Fire-And-Forget missiles and Swarm missiles can be dumbfired and will home in on the nearest target, whereas the Shadower and Comet require a target lock. Depending on the missile type, they require either a visual or radar contact, allowing infrared or visual cloaking to fool certain types of missiles. Seeker mines will float towards the nearest enemy and detonate on contact.
- Warframe's Buzlok rifle can fire a homing dart onto an enemy, which then causes all subsequent shots to arc towards the dart - even if the gun is fired in the opposite direction.
- Ben 10: The series and the movie Destroy All Aliens has both homing and non-homing projectiles.
- A group of engineers at Sandia National Laboratories are working on developing a homing .50 sniper's bullet. They started by removing the rifling from the barrel and adding movable stabilizer fins to the round. Electronics inside the bullet allow it to home on its target, to a point (it obviously won't be able to turn back around if you miss).
- In the meantime, the Italian and French navies already field it in their artillery: as their CISW doctrine calls for larger and longer-ranged guns in place of faster-firing but shorter-ranged weapons, the Italian firm OTO Melara (through his Otobreda branch) developed guided shells for their 76mm Super Rapid multi-purpose guns used by both navies, and, as the Italian Navy wanted more, developed a 127mm-caliber version and the new 127/64 Lightweight gun to fire it.
- And to continue the long Italian tradition of Combat Pragmatism in an era where some of the earlier tricks are done by everyone or would be war crimes, Iveco (maker of the Centauro tank destroyer) and OTO Melara gave us the Porcupine: a prototype consisting of a Centauro chassis mated with a 155/39mm howitzer capable of firing homing shells to targets up to 60 km away. And the ability to hit the poor target with four of them at the same time. Let's face it, when the Italians go at war they're assholes.