Ensures you always retain 1 HP after an attack that would otherwise finish you off, unless you are already down to 1 HP.Normally in a Video Game, if your Hit Points bottom out at zero then Critical Existence Failure kicks in immediately: Game Over, man, try again. But in some games, the hit that reduced your HP to zero isn't allowed to be the one that actually knocks you out: The first time you take fatal damage, your character is allowed to remain standing (with just a tiny sliver left on their Life Meter, e.g. 1 HP) and keep fighting... but only this once; taking any more hits in this condition (even Scratch Damage) will be obviously fatal. This can occasionally be Hand Waved if the character has multiple layers of Hit Points with different explanations, such as a character with a "Shield" or "Armor" meter where one layer must be fully depleted before the next layer is allowed to take damage. On the bright side, this is an excellent opportunity to unleash a Desperation Attack of the highest order, but unless you're prepared to subsequently end the fight with a Finishing Move, improvise a No-Damage Run (if possible) or have some way to quickly get out of dodge and Heal Thyself, the risk of imminent Critical Existence Failure is a dire one to weigh; exploit this at your own risk. Sometimes, a game may place restrictions on when characters are allowed to have a Last Chance Hit Point, like requiring the character to be in good health before taking the fatal blow, or requiring that the attack would have inflicted massive damage (e.g. a One-Hit Kill) to begin with. Without these restrictions, this could lead to Game-Breaker situations where a character who can perform even trivial healing becomes Nigh Invulnerable since they don't remain on their last hit point long enough to take a second (fatal) hit. In action-based genres, Combos can sometimes bypass this, depending on whether the ability triggers based on individual hits or the attack chain as a whole. Note that this trope only applies to cases where a character endures an otherwise lethal amount of damage without a knockout. If an attack happens to leave the player at 1 HP by exact count (say, they have 50 HP and a given attack inflicted 49 points), that's just luck, not an example. Games featuring a One-Hit-Point Wonder are exempt from this trope as a rule, as any damage results in the loss of one life (and/or current Power-Up). In RPGs, this may be one of the effects of the Luck Stat. From an In-Universe standpoint, this may be the result of the character's Heroic Willpower. Compare Heroic Second Wind, which is this as a plot device instead of a game mechanic. Nothing says the two can't overlap. Contrast Auto-Revive, a similar effect which occurs after the knockout blow instead of before it — meaning that any effects which reset upon KO (Status Buffs, etc.) are lost, whereas with a last chance hit point those effects are still active. See also HP to 1, an enemy attack specifically designed to reduce the player to their last Hit Point regardless of their current HP.
— Description of the "Second Chance" ability, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep.
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- The "Hard to Kill" skill in Alpha Protocol provides this effect, combined with a few seconds of invincibility as well.
- In Dissidia: Final Fantasy, characters can purchase and equip accessories that provides different variations of this effect.
- Phoenix Downs and Phoenix Pinionsnote are the most straightforward examples, which allow you to survive a killing blow with 1 HP or convert your bravery into HP respectively. Breaks upon use.
- Final Position and Final Decision are this when it comes to brave attacks, with the former preventing break status from one attack while the latter has this for one combo.
- Diablo II has a Good Bad Bug in that when a character is killed while shapeshifted, he shifts back and stays at 1 Hit Point but doesn't die.
- The "Morale" Status in Epic Battle Fantasy 4 does this as long as the character has it. However, they must have at least 50% of their max health before the lethal hit for it to work. Useful against the Glitch, whose attack is an otherwise unavoidable, unblockable One-Hit Kill.
- This can be seen with certain Giant Flyer monsters in Final Fantasy X, who start out flying but are forced to land when their HP is too low. Even when your characters deal 5 9's of damage, the bird still goes through its landing animation with 1 HP left.
- Final Fantasy XIII has the passive Sentinel ability Reprieve. If your Sentinel's HP is above 30%, taking a blow that would otherwise take him or her out will instead leave the victim with 1 HP.
- In Gods Eater Burst, certain pieces of equipment have either the passive skill "Firm Stand" or "Prepared". The former ensures that you will always survive any attack with at least 1 HP if you have at least 51 HP remaining when you get hit (which would be 51% of your base HP), provided you successfully guard the hit, which requires that you have enough stamina remaining. The latter is similar, but has no HP threshold. You're far from invincible, but with "Expand Guard Area" (extends your guard area so that it surrounds you completely) and skills to minimize stamina usage from guarding attacks...
- Kingdom Hearts:
- In Kingdom Hearts I, Sora can learn "Second Chance" to provide this effect against single hits; the sequel added a complementary ability ("Once More") that worked on enemy Combos. Equipping both at the same time could allow Sora to endure incredible amounts of damage before a KO.
- Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep includes both Second Chance and Once More (and they work just like in the previous games), but the Final and Bonus Bosses all have ways to get around it, either by using non-consecutive blows so quickly that they might as well be consecutive, or stunlocking you at 1HP until they can hit you with something else. Needless to say, they're some of the hardest bosses in KH history.
- Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance has Second Chance and Once More, and also adds "Waking Dream", which gives your Spirits both abilities at once. The game really wants you to have this ability: the Spirit that grants it is one that the game Railroads you into creating during a tutorial, and Waking Dream is the first thing accessible on its Ability Link board.
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on normal difficulty settings will generally not allow any single blow to outright kill you — but if that last hit sends you for a tumble, the bruising you take on impact is a separate source of damage and can kill you as a follow-up. You're also not protected from Guardian-type lasers.
- Mass Effect:
- This happens for enemies in Mass Effect 2 - in some cases you can whittle down their health so far that their health bar completely disappears but their name still shows on the top of the screen, and they can fight on until you land one more shot (or they take any tiny amount of damage).
- Mass Effect 3 has this as a hidden gameplay mechanic, referred to as "healthgate". It is absent in higher difficulties or from certain enemy attacks, such as grenades or Damage Over Time effects.
- In Metroid: Other M, Bullet Time accompanies the warning that Samus's HP is now flickering between 0 and 1 and the next hit will be fatal. This doesn't protect Samus against combos, and it's not present on hard mode.
- Rock Volnutt (AKA: "MegaMan Volnutt") from Mega Man Legends always has this ability built-in. Any hit that costs the rest of his energy will still allow him to get up and keep on fighting with his life gauge glowing red. In the first game though, the final hit also takes out his Life Shield, so you might not want to get whittled down all the way even though it lets you get the best mileage out of your Energy Canteen.
- Mega Man Battle Network 3 uses this, which results in one of its more famous Game-Breaker strategies - the "Undershirt" program ensures MegaMan always stops at 1hp when taking a hit that would otherwise kill him. When combined with a loadout which constantly heals MegaMan when he uses certain terrain, this means that once set-up it's nigh impossible to actually lose a fight, as even when outmatched the player can always survive a battle of attrition as long as the terrain remains in place. Later games nerfed this so that this regen takes a while to get MegaMan his second HP, thus leaving him at risk even with the terrain in place.
- In Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, one can actually make certain armor sets with a skill called "Survival", which allows the player to survive any attack with 1 HP if they were above a certain percentage of health beforehand.
- In No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, Travis gains an ability where if you shake the crap out of the controllers while he's falling from a death blow, he may stop falling and survive with five hit points. He can do this a maximum of five times, but there are less chances to do it on harder bosses, and it will not work on attacks where he is not falling, i.e. he is knocked to the ground by the move, or he is in a battle with different mechanics from the norm.
- [PROTOTYPE] also has an unlockable upgrade that gives you temporary Critical Mass after taking damage that would normally be lethal. This allows you to pull off a powerful area-of-effect attack that gives you enough space to get away and recover the rest of your health.
- In Star Ocean: The Second Story, a character has a chance of surviving any lethal attack with 1 HP left, directly correlated with their Guts rating. Higher the Guts, higher the chance of survival, but it can still occur even if the character's HP is already at 1. Can get ridiculous (but awesome) when an opponent manages to connect dozens of lethal attacks on a character in rapid succession, the character surviving all of them due to their Guts alone.
- Some party members in Tales of Vesperia possess an ability that makes it so as long as they're in Overlimit, they'll always have one HP left no matter how much abuse they take.
- Tales of Symphonia has Sheena Fujibayashi and her Purgatory Seal arte, which functions as something between this and a standard Resurrection arte. Casting in on a fallen party member causes them to be revived- but without any HP, meaning that while they can be healed by normal means (Apple Gels and First Aid spells, etc.), they'll die again if they take any hit.
- In Xenoblade, the Unbeatable gem gives the user a chance to survive with one HP upon receiving a fatal blow, up to a 50% chance at most, depending on the gem's quality. This is made more useful by the fact that the gem can still work if the user is already at one HP, and that Shulk's visions of the future will warn whatever or not the gem is going to save its user.
- Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor uses a variant where an incapacitating injury causes the protagonist to face a quick-time event to stave-off the enemy's finisher. If successful, the protagonist gets back into the fight with a sliver of life remaining. Failure during the quick-time event results in death, where Death Is a Slap on the Wrist except for your killer becoming even more powerful and bearing a grudge. This can result in some random orc growing from Mook to a Worthy Opponent to a serious problem to That One Boss.
Beat em Up
- Astro Boy: Omega Factor has this happen, but only on Easy mode. If Astro takes a hit that would drop him to 0 hit points, he stays alive with his health at exactly 1, and will only go down if he gets hit again before finding a health item. It comes across as an exceedingly overt shift in your favor since Astro starts with 30,000 hit points and everything deals damage in units of 100 or more, but you'll wish it still applied on Hard mode when the enemies start killing you in one or two hits.
- Fight'N Rage has an interesting example: when two or three players are present (AI included), if one (or two) player(s) lose out of lives but the other(s) doesn't, the Life Meter will recover slowly until it fills up, then the downed player(s) will revive with 20% of their life, and you can use this indefinitvely. At least, until all the players lose all of their lives.
- God Hand gives you one last chance to fight back, just as long as you weren't hit by a lethal attack.
- The very first Devil May Cry is just like the God Hand example.
- This is a normal mechanic in Bayonetta. Contrasting to the Devil May Cry and God Hand examples, no matter how powerful an attack is, no attack will kill you instantly (unless it's normally an instant kill or cutscene death), provided you have some health before entering critical mode.
- This can be taken to Game-Breaker levels, provided that you have the Star of Dineta equipped.
- There is, however, one exception to that rule in Bayonetta: Father Rodin has a grab attack that reduces you to critical health no matter how much health you have left, and it kills you outright if you were below half health.
- The Wii version of Punch-Out!! allows the player to mildly recover if the character (Little Mac) is about to lose by KO or TKO during a fight. One of the Exhibition challenges actually require this to be done during the fight against Mr. Sandman in Title Defense.
- Even if you're at zero health in Double Dragon, you won't actually die unless you're knocked down (unfortunately, this applies to the enemies as well.)
- In Arcana Heart 3, if a single hit would kill you via Block Damage, you are instead left with 1 health left.
- Most Capcom fighting games will occasionally allow players whose health meters are completely red to stay alive. (In the event that player were to win that round, the player won't receive any bonus points for leftover health.) The Street Fighter II games on Super NES have this, possibly due to rounding 1 of 176 hit points down to 0 of 88 pixels.
- In Senko no Ronde, losing all of your health would put you into "Armor Vanish" mode. In this mode, your Rounder's core becomes exposed, and one more hit will result in a KO. On the other hand, "Armor Vanish" mode gives you access to "Final B.O.S.S." mode.
- In Mortal Kombat X, Jason Voorhees's "Unstoppable" variation allows him to regain a small portion of HP upon losing all of his health before being KO'd. How much health he recovers depends on how much meter he has built up, from a piddly 5% with no meter to approximately 20% with full meter.
- BioShock series: On easy and normal difficulties, any hit that would kill you instead reduces you to 1 HP, requiring another hit to kill you outright. In the sequel, getting dropped to 1 HP activates one second of invincibility.
- In Borderlands, a severe hit that would otherwise kill you will often leave you standing with no shields and only a sliver of health. However, this only works if the damage isn't too much over your limit. A truly epic attack will still kill you in one hit.
- Borderlands 2:
- So long as you're above 50% health, nothing can kill you in one hit, no matter the level. This is useful in Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode, as you can make it so you can take a lot of punishment before dying. This is why the Complacent Gaming Syndrome of the game's community revolves around Life Drain weapons, specifically slag variants of the Rubi, while keeping max HP as low as possible. Life-draining weapons heal you for a percentage of the damage you deal, which can easily fill your HP bar above half provided it's low enough.
- Every point put in Axton's Grit skill (up to 5 without other boosts) gives you a 4% chance to ignore otherwise lethal damage. And not only is the damage ignored, but you get half your health back!
- Call of Duty has the last stand perk, which has you on the ground, hardly able to move, with a pistol to defend yourself. You can also be revived if a team-mate happens to come across you.
- Singularity uses the same mechanic as BioShock 2.
- In the Dark Forces Saga games Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy, you'll find yourself getting knocked down to precisely 00 shield and 01 health a lot more often than can be explained by coincidence.
- In its original form, the Croc-O-Style item set in Team Fortress 2 would allow the Sniper wearing it to survive otherwise lethal headshots with exactly 1 HP. As long as he had more than 1 HP, that Sniper could never be killed by headshots and would always be knocked down to 1 HP. That bonus has since been removed, and traded for a bonus that is functionally identical, but only works against 'quickscopes,' the act of firing a headshot immediately after zooming in and not charging the damage meter.
- In Blood deathmatch, a player taking mortal damage will sometimes be knocked to his knees instead of dying. If he presses the action key fast enough, he can get back up with a single health point.
- Present in Far Cry 3 and 4 and accompanied by a sting and the world turning black and white. Considering how tough later enemies are, expect to be in this state almost constantly.
- In Overwatch, barrier abilities like Zarya and Winston's bubbles and Reinhardt, Orisa, and Symmetra's shields have an HP value after which they break, but they always absorb the entirety of the attack that breaks them. This makes them good for defending against ultimate abilities that deal their damage in a single massive explosion, like Junkrat's Riptire and D.Va's Self-Destruct. The latter does 1000 points of damage to an unprotected target, but if there's even 1 hp worth of barrier in the way, it does nothing.
- Not long after PvP was introduced into City of Heroes, a mechanic was added so that no single attack could kill a player (regardless of level difference) if they were at full health. This was done mainly to mitigate the Stalker's arguably One-Trick-Pony Assassin Strike ability and give their opponents a fighting chance, with the side effect that even a brand new character could survive in the highest level zones - provided they only got hit once. Useful if your mentor was suddenly out of sidekick range and everything turned purple.
- This came back to annoy them when they introduced a power called Self Destruction, which dealt the maximum hp in damage to the character. Unfortunately, the one-hit code prevented characters who were at full health from dying. Doubly unfortunately, the power blew up the character who used it, leaving them unable to do anything until they went to the hospital (Paragon City's hospitals can fix anything), but as they were still alive, the "go to hospital" prompt didn't show up...
- City of Heroes also handles falling damage like this. No matter how far you fall, it can never bring you below 1 hitpoint. Land next to some enemies and you're in trouble though.
- In Guild Wars 2, everyone has this. If your character loses their last hitpoint, you'll go down into a "Survival Mode". The screen encourages you to "Fight to survive", and gives you the use of four skills unique to each class. If you kill an enemy, live long enough to use the Bandage skill to heal yourself back up, or get revived by another player, you can get back up without respawning. Even if you bleed out, you can choose not to respawn, and another player can still revive you. There are penalties for this, of course.
- In League of Legends, the ultimate (Endless Rage) of the champion Tryndamere, the Barbarian King, makes him unable to have his health reduced below a single hitpoint for 6 seconds. This works in conjunction with his passive, which increases his attack damage for each percentage of his total health currently lost. This can allow him to annihilate teams or escape.
- In Mabinogi, there is a small chance that a lethal attack will send your health into negative values but not kill you, creating what is known as Deadly status. The Will attribute increases the chance of invoking this. Additionally, any attack that does more than your total health while you have more than half of it left will automatically send you into deadly.
- In Vindictus, (otherwise known as Mabinogi Heroes in Asia), a skill called "Life Flare" allows the player character to survive nearly any attack with one health point. The skill can be upgraded to allow a whopping 55% chance to occur.
- In a similar example, new comer Hurk's ability "Impenetrable/Stonewall" reduces all incoming damage (when fully upgraded) by 65% and prevents any attack from dropping his health below one point. This skill is dependent entirely on the player's ability to dodge and counter attack, allowing a skilled player to survive an encounter on a single point of health no matter how many times they are hit.
- The Rogue class in World of Warcraft has access to a deep Subtlety talent called Cheat Death. If an attack would kill the rogue, they have a set chance to survive it with a small portion of their total health remaining. An internal cooldown prevents this from happening too often.
- Fire mages have a talent that, if an attack would kill them, heals them back to 40%... but sets them on fire for 12% of their max health per 1.5 seconds. This DOT can be avoided by using Ice Block (for 15 seconds, you take no damage and lose most debuffs, but otherwise can't move, attack, or cast).
- In the Chimaeron battle, the raid gets a buff that enables attacks that would kill them to reduce them to 1 HP if they have more than 10,000 HP at the time, which is necessary to survive some of Chimaeron's attacks. For part of the battle, however, this is knocked offline, and the raid must stack up and get AOE heals to survive.
- Paladin tanks have a stronger version of this, where they can activate an ability that causes them to take reduced damage and automatically heal for a significant amount of health when they suffer a blow that would kill them. The death prevention used to be active all the time on a cooldown.
- Death knights are slated to get this option as a talent in the Mists of Pandaria expansion, on an automatic cooldown. They develop a shield that prevents damage but absorbs healing equal to the damage they would have suffered. If there's any absorption left in it when it expires they die, so they need to have a substantial heal coming in to survive.
- Final Fantasy XIV has two of its tank classes with abilities that let them survive a mortal blow. Warriors have Holmgang, which binds the user and its target in place, but the player's HP cannot go below 1. Dark Knights have Living Dead, which prevents them from being knocked out, but it gives another status called Walking Dead where the player will be defeated in 10 seconds if they do not recover their maximum HP (they don't need to be healed to full, but they need to recover as much HP as their max value).
- Any otherwise-fatal attack in Copy Kitty brings Boki down to one hit-point (represented by a number flickering between 1 and 0).
- In Mischief Makers, Marina can take one more hit after her HP is lowered to zero (with that last hit being represented by her gauge being all black & flashing red.
- The Skull Amulet in Rockman 4 Minus Infinity has this effect (formerly cursing Hell Wheel).
- Rad Racer plays this trope, despite it being a cross country racing game. For most games of the same genre, it's a game over once the clock runs out. In Rad Racer, if the clock runs out, your car starts decelerating until it comes to a complete stop. This makes it possible to crawl over the checkpoint/finish line and keep playing. As long as your car is still moving when the clock runs out, you still have a chance.
- When your car in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2010 is in critical status, bumps against the road that normally caused your armor to go down won't to you in, sometimes you can even survive crashes in critical status. Get tapped by a cop from behind however...
- Excessive Rate mode in Sound Voltex (which fails the player when they hit zero life, instead of the standard "finish song above lifebar quota" setting) normally subtracts about 10% of the life gauge per miss, but will drop the player to "0%" before failing them outright, after which one more misstep without raising the bar even slightly results in a TRACK CRASH.
- Ancient Domains of Mystery has your character survive a powerful attack with one last lousy hit point suspiciously often, provided their Luck Stat (and presumably your own) is high.
- In the vaguely similar Caverns of Larn, upon receiving a blow that would normally kill you, you will occasionally be informed "you feel wiiiiiiierd all over" (sic) and survive, with one HP left.
- A 1.5% chance of this can be purchased in Rogue Legacy up to 10 times, for a cumulative 15% maximum chance of avoiding death with one hit point left. The ability can also be triggered multiple consecutive times.
- The Gutsy IQ/Team skill in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series gives you a high chance of surviving a fatal blow, even if your HP is already at one. Enemy Pokemon with the ability are understandably extremely annoying to deal with at times.
- Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon replaces this with the "Toughness" emera; with one of those set in your Mon's looplet, the emera will shatter and leave them with one HP instead of being KO'd.
- In Darkest Dungeon, a hero whose hit points have reached zero will be at Death's Door. From there, they receive a severe debuff to accuracy, damage, speed and stress received, and any sort of damage may or may not be a Death Blow. That includes Standard Status Effects, self-injury from certain Afflictions, and traps - exception being heart attacks, which are guaranteed instant death to a hero in Death's Door. Being healed for even a single hit point ends the Death's Door effect, and the character will again not die the first time they are brought back down to 0 HP. On the other hand, the hero is left with a "Recovery" debuff for the rest of the current dungeon, which is less severe than Death's Door itself, and that effect lasts until the end of the quest unless it's treated by a teammate with particular camping skills.note
- In Nuclear Throne the Strong Spirit mutation lets you survive a lethal blow at 1 HP once, but healing back to full health will enable it again.
- Chicken also has a variant of this. If Chicken's health drops to 0, she won't immediately die, but her head will fall off and she's able to live a few seconds longer at 0 health. If she can find a way to heal while headless, it will revive her, but her max health is permanently lowered each time this happens. The camera will also focus on Chicken's head, so it may be difficult to find enemies or pickups that are off-camera.
- Breath of Fire II and Breath of Fire III have this. If a character is knocked out, there's a chance that they'll automatically get up afterwards with a tiny amount of hit points, along with a quote from each character (or a brief description of the Heroic Mime).
- In the Exile and Avernum RPG series, characters who hit zero HP were still able to fight, but one more hit would kill them and scatter their inventory about the battlefield.
- Furthermore, having a high Luck stat gives you a good chance to survive that One Last Hit several times in a row.
- The "Persistence" passive ability in Lost Odyssey has this effect once per life (i.e. the character must die and be revived to reactivate it.)
- In the Monster Rancher series, monsters can sometimes endure a KO hit with the Grit ability. In certain games, all monsters have the ability to endure with Grit, but in others (such as 2 and DS,) only those with the specific talent for it can pull it off.
- Notably, this can happen repeatedly over the course of a single fight, with an enemy who is consistently flattened by every attack, only to stay up with that one final hit point.
- The move Endure guarantees the user will survive the next attack (even a One-Hit Kill) with at least 1 HP, but may fail to take effect if used consecutively. The Focus Band held item also provides this effect 10% of the time.
- The Focus Sash item can guarantee this if the user's HP is full when they take a fatal hit, though the item is consumed after it has successfully been used. The Sturdy ability also provides this effect from Pokémon Black and White onward, but unlike the Sash item can activate multiple times as long as the owner's HP was restored to full. Multihit attacks still bypass it.
- In Generation 6, any Pokémon with maxed-out affection has a chance of withstanding a lethal blow with one HP remaining a la Endure, no matter how damaging the hit nor how much HP they had remaining.
- Exploited by the F.E.A.R. strategy, which allows a Mon of any level to defeat an enemy of any level: the Focus Sash leaves the mon with 1 HP, using Endeavor makes their HP equal, and using Quick Attack ensures your mon hits first to kill the enemy. For extra humiliation, this strategy was originally used with the Com Mon Rattata (hence its other acronym, Fucking Evil Annoying Rodent).
- Rogue Galaxy, provided that the character's HP wasn't already critical before taking the hit.
- Clock Tower 3's Panic Mode. While Alyssa is generally invincible, if the Panic Meter fills up, she freaks out, and the player must guide her away from that area's Big Bad until the meter lowers enough, if Alyssa is hit by any attack while in Panic Mode, she dies.
- The "Guts" ability and "Angel Curio" items in Valkyrie Profile enable this, giving the character a chance of surviving any attack with a few hitpoints. Notably, it doesn't have a lower threshold for working, so it's possible for a character with 3 HP to survive attacks dealing hundreds of thousands of HP worth of damage round after round, and when they finally DO end up dying, another character with Auto-Item can revive them right afterwards without using up their turn, the only penalty being that they're not able to act on their next turn. The game expects you to abuse this. The final bosses have multiple attacks that either deal several times more damage than your HP cap or kill you outright without a miss chance.
- EarthBound's Guts stat, along with affecting Critical Hit rate, gives a character a small percentage chance to endure an attack that would have dealt mortal damage, leaving them at 1 HP instead. This is indicated when the message that would otherwise read "mortal damage" omits the "mortal" part of the message — even if the damage dealt matches or exceeds the character's HP, characters only head toward 0 HP when mortal damage has been suffered. Secondly, even if a mortal blow is incurred, the rolling HP meter mechanic allows the player to avoid a KO if they can finish the battle or heal before the character's HP actually rolls down to zero.
- Characters with the "Withstand Lethal Attack" status buff, passive, or EMP Skill in Granblue Fantasy can survive a fatal attack for one turn, leaving them with 1 HP.
- Elwyen in MARDEK: Chapter 3 has a defensive reaction ability along these lines, which allows her to survive an unlimited number of attacks with 1 HP remaining so long as she had more than 1 HP before the attack. It's a bit overpowered, and one of several factors that contribute to Elwyen being anything but spoony.
- Super Mario RPG has certain enemy attacks that cause instant death to a party member. All of these attacks are classified as physical, and almost all physical attacks can be blocked by pressing a button just before the attack hits. If one of these attacks is blocked, that character will not die, but will be left standing with only 1 HP (though if the block timing is truly impeccable, that character may take no damage at all).
- Shin Megami Tensei has the Endure passive skill, in which the user, upon death, gets revived with 1 HP remaining. However, this can only activate once per battle. Enduring Soul takes it further, giving the user a full heal upon death, again no more than once per battle.
- In Undertale, the final boss battle against Sans gives your HP meter a time delay similar to the rolling HP meter in EarthBound. This is only in effect for that one battle though, and all the other fights in the game feature a standard HP meter.
- King Asgore is very reluctant to kill you, so you'll never die from any attacks in that battle unless your HP is already at 1.
- The Guardian Spirit passive in the Spirit mage tree in Dragon Age: Inquisition bestows a barrier upon the mage when they take a blow that would otherwise kill them. Also, the Champion specialization for Warriors has Unyielding, which also bestows temporary invulnerability when it activates.
- Dark Souls 2 introduces Denial, a Miracle that gives you this as a passive buff.
- Dark Souls 3 brings it back under a similar name. Unlike the other buffs in the game however, it does not expire with time, it lasts until it's triggered.
Shoot em Up
- In Akai Katana, if you're on your last life and have bombs in stock, taking an otherwise lethal hit will automatically trigger a bomb, which in turn gives you a moment of invincibility and allows you to escape unscathed. However, this comes at the cost of all your bombs, even though it only has the effectiveness of one bomb.
- Any attack that would kill you in Alien Soldier will leave you with 1 HP, if you had more than that. Since you can create healing items (by hitting enemy attacks with a certain attack of your own), this can help keep you alive for a while. And yet, the game still manages to be Nintendo Hard.
- In the Gundam Vs Series, the older games had the Revival ability, which would sacrifice a Mobile Suit's limb (and a degree of performance) in exchange for about 100 hit points. If you stay alive long enough to refill the meter, you can get another Last Chance Hit Point, losing another limb. In the crossover games, a few MS have the ability in imitation of Signature Scenes from the anime; for example, the Zeong's head can continue fighting without the body, while Gundam Exia becomes the Repair version from Mobile Suit Gundam 00's second season.
- Kid Icarus: Uprising: If your health drops to zero your health bar shatters, leaving you in "Crisis Mode". At this point any more damage is fatal. Survive for long enough and your health bar comes back with a very small amount of health on it.
- It is possible to survive a single very weak attack in Crisis Mode, but it's more luck than anything. Conversely, if you get hit by a very powerful enemy at low health, you may get killed instantly without going into Crisis Mode.
- Star Fox 64's health bar will drop to empty and give you one more chance, even if the hit should have been enough to kill you. At that point, any hit will destroy your ship unless you get more health first. Also, the heat in Solar can empty your health bar but won't destroy you.
- In Phantasmagoria of Flower Viewing, the characters have hit points, but the last hit point (or rather, half a point) is special - anytime a character would've lost all her HP while having more than half a point, she would instead keep that last half a point until she gets hit again, and her spell gauge will max out (rather than increasing by one level as per when she's hit otherwise).
- The Guardian Legend has your character's shields. If you took an otherwise lethal hit with shields remaining, they would drop to zero. You would be killed if you got hit by anything at zero shields.
- In Wartech: Senko no Ronde, each player is given a last chance hit point when their lifebar is zero, indicated by a full flashing bar and the pilot exclaiming something. This not only gives them more maneuverability, but also makes their hitbox smaller and maximizes their energy bar (This is called "Vanish" mode). If they have at least one B.O.S.S. Stock left, the B.O.S.S. Mode will be inordinately stronger, gains new and more powerful attacks, and the energy bar depletes slower. This allows for very cinematic (and sometimes frustrating) comeback battles. Savvy players use their B.O.S.S. Mode when their opponents reach this last chance hit point, to utterly seal their fate. Of course, if the opponent is skilled enough, they might survive anyway.
- In Super Aleste, getting hit reduces your shot power by four levels (out of six), or level 0 at level 1-3. Getting hit at level 0 kills you. However, you can never die at level 1 or higher unless it was due to geting crushed by a wall, so as long as you keep yourself out of level 0 you can keep going.
- The Fallout: New Vegas Dead Money DLC, if played on hardcore mode, enforced this. It started you without any health items and forced you to run around a gas cloud which gradually drained your health... but stopped at 1HP. You still had to fight enemies (who were in hazmat suits and thus not affected by the cloud), effectively making you a One-Hit-Point Wonder unless you were incredibly lucky filling up on health items during the entire first half of the DLC.
- Berethor's "Last Gasp" ability in The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age provides this effect one time only.
- In Rune Factory 3, you can also build this up as a stat. Getting KO'ed builds your resistance to Death (which is distinct from the Knockout stat, where you're just dizzy and immobile). This will cost you much cash (as going to the hospital cost you a chunk of your money every time), but this will give him a chance to weather an otherwise lethal attack with time to whip out a healing spell or item.
- Several Shin Megami Tensei related games have such a skill for your characters, which is quite useful if you get a game over when your hero dies. In Persona 3 and Persona 4, there is even a stronger version of that skill (or item) that replenishes your HP when you die once per battle.
- Persona 5: At Rank 8 of their Co-Op, non-Protagonist party members will be able to endure one lethal attack per battle, leaving them with a single hit point instead of outright fainting.
- The Assassin's Creed series has used this since the very first game. The player character will never die from one hit as long as their health is above zero, and will regenerate that last hit point even if the game does not otherwise have Regenerating Health. Moreover, the game goes into a Critical Annoyance mode when your health is that low, showing visual distortion as a sign that the Animus is about to desynchronize (since the historical character you are playing as obviously did not die there). Assassin's Creed: Unity mysteriously abandons the mechanic; you can easily get one-shotted by powerful enemies, especially early in the game when you have weak armor.
- In Parasite Eve 2, you can pick up a piece of armor called the Chicken Plate; if you wear it, then receive a blow that would normally kill you, it will keep you alive for exactly 1 HP. This item is only available if Flint the dog dies after an important boss fight.
- In Resident Evil 4, if Leon is at low health and is hit by a non-lethal attack, he will fall down, then stand back up, giving the player one last chance to heal or escape.
- The Dying status in Resident Evil 5.
- 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons rogues can get "Defensive Roll" which allows them to sometimes take half damage from attacks that would otherwise kill them.
- The Harm spell allows a save for half damage. If it would still bring them to 0 HP or less, it instead stops at 1.
- There is also the "Diehard" feat in 3.5 edition, which allows a character to keep acting (albeit at a reduced level) until they reach -10HP; without Diehard or a similar ability, a character automatically falls unconscious when their HP is in the negatives.
- Pathfinder also has the Diehard feat, though now a character's negative HP limit is equal to their Constitution score rather than just 10. There is also the Ferocity ability (essentially Diehard) that some monsters have, and half-orcs have an ability that essentially gives them the benefits of the Diehard feat for a single turn every day.
- In Rifts, if your MDC armor is totaled, it absorbs all the damage from the attack that destroyed it - no spillover. This is an example because one point of MDC damage to an unarmored human invokes the Chunky Salsa Rule.
- The "Hard to Kill" ability in Malifaux is a straightforward example: So long as a hard to kill model was not on its last wound already, any attack will only drop the model to one wound.
- The Super Guts evility in in Disgaea 3 and Disgaea 4 allows its user to survive a fatal attack with one HP if they had full HP when it connected. The Deathsabers in 4 have a variation on it that works as long as their HP is above one, but puts them to sleep after the hit lands.
- Devil Survivor has the "Endure" ability, which allows a character to survive death (by having the would-be killing attack simply reduce his/her HP to 1) once per attack scene. What makes this ability a royal pain in the ass is that later on in the game, you'll often encounter teams of demons consisting of two Berserkers, both of which have Endure. So if they're led by a demon with a heal spell and you have trouble knocking them out...
- A recurring Skill in the Fire Emblem series called Miracle usually allows a playable unit to survive otherwise fatal attacks, often based upon their Luck stat. (In the Jugdral games that first introduced Skills, Miracle instead raised the Avoid/Evasion stat to achieve the same general effect.)
- In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, Mist and Ena start out with the Skill, which has a chance equal to their Luck to halve any lethal damage, making it possible to survive with or close to 1 HP. Of course, if even half damage isn't enough...
- In Radiant Dawn, the Skill was changed so that, when it activates, it halves the unit's HP (or deals 0, if the unit is down to 1 HP already).
- In Fire Emblem Awakening, Miracle is the class Skill of Clerics and Priests; if it activates when the unit has more than 1 HP, the attack reduces their HP to 1 instead.
- Fire Emblem Fates, in addition to Miracle (now exclusive to Shrine Maidens and Monks, the game's equivalents of the aforementioned Cleric and Priest classes), gives Kaze a personal Skill called Miraculous Save, allowing him to prevent another unit's death if he's supporting them. Like Miracle, the activation rate is dependent on the lead unit's Luck and they need to have more than 1 HP.
- In Front Mission 3, a skill called "PrvntLoss" is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: If any one part is about to be blown up, the skill activates, and the damage is limited so that the part will have exactly one HP left. This often means the difference between victory and defeat.
- Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals has this for three of the six characters — Maxim, Selan, and Dekar can, after specific story events, obtain titles that give them this property.
- Mega Man Battle Network has an equippable program ("Undershrt") providing this effect. This can lead to a Game-Breaker in the right circumstances. If you use a Wood style (which regains health while standing on grass), and turn the stage to grass, and your opponent has no way to change the stage tiles and no fire attacks (which burn grass) — then you become impossible to kill with Undershirt. Whenever your opponent hits you with a mortal blow, you'll hit 1 HP for a split second, then immediately start gaining health before they can hit you again. (That said, many opponents do have ways of changing the stage tiles, so you'll have to use one of the other many game breakers in the Battle Network series against them.)
- Was fixed starting from the fourth game, where the rate of HP regen became dependent on how much HP you have left, slowing to a crawl while you have one HP left so that you're vulnerable for a period of time.
- In 3, Bass will actually get around it during your Hopeless Boss Fight against him, despite not being fixed by that point, however he is the only enemy to ever do so before they fixed it.
- Likewise, Mega Man in Mega Man Star Force can also equip this ability and the aforementioned combo still works, though it's more troublesome to get grass panels on your side of the field.
- In Stella Deus: The Gate of Eternity, one of the final bosses had this.
- The elvish faction in Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes has an artifact which revives their walls at 1 HP when destroyed. Since elvish walls have a natural Healing Factor, this is quite powerful.
- In the Super Robot Wars Z series, Gurren Lagann's Full Upgrade Bonus (specifically the one it had in Hakai-Hen) allowed it to live one hit at 10 HP one time per scenario.
- In the remake of Super Robot Wars Advance (A Portable), the Full Upgrade Bonus for Wufei's Gundam Altron allows him to use the Spirit "Selfdestruct" once without dying.
- A variant used in XCOM: Enemy Unknown allowed a lucky (?) soldier to be "critically wounded", requiring the attention of a Medkit or to complete the mission before they bled to death, rather than the usual instant death. A stabilized soldier had 1HP and was still vulnerable to AoE damage and would be out of commission for a fair length of time (plus a permanent Will stat reduction) if they survived, but many a Commander would take this over losing them permanently.
- The Enemy Within DLC added a Gene Mod perk that would guarantee this would happen, with more time to stabilize and no Will penalty. In both cases the soldier was still effectively "dead" as far as combat effectiveness for the mission went, barring the use of Revive, but they were at least still breathing.
- XCOM 2 doesn't include Gene Mods, but instead has Psi Operatives and their "Sustain" ability, which protects them form a lethal hit once per mission and stabilizes them at one HP. As a bonus, the affected soldier will enter Stasis state, making them immune to any damage until your next turn, and, as opposed to "critically wounded", they will be able to act normally once Stasis wears off.
- Super Sentai Battle Dice O - in either single or two-player mode, it's possible to regain ten points when you should have been KO'd due to your characters' Heroic Spirit.
- Some monsters in Elemental Story can revive with 1HP at certain probability, but this does not work against multi hit skills because surviving such attack requires the revival to happen for each hit.
- In Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, the Mage spell "Ice Block" makes the player immune to damage if they would be killed by an attack, and - since this means that their opponent is currently able to kill them - essentially gives the player one more turn to try to turn the tide.