Must be Monday. New podcast! Just click on the fancy logo below.
No Damage Run
aka: No Death Run
Pretty much what it says
: A variation of the Self-Imposed Challenge
where the goal is to win with no damage, or at least no deaths (which is commonly referred to as "Hardcore Mode" and is sometimes directly supported as part of the game's coding). This requires a lot
of experience with the game in question, and due to the randomness/unpredictability of many games it can be very
challenging, if not impossible. Virtually impossible in RPGs
(due to Random Encounters
and Scratch Damage
), for example, and exceedingly difficult in the higher levels of Fighting Games
is bound to hit you once
with a weak punch
) and First Person Shooters
Some Nintendo Hard
games required the player to perform No Damage Runs as a matter of course. This also boils down to making your run entirely of Flawless Victories
Many tool-assisted Speedruns
are also No Damage Runs, since the player can control the character precisely and manipulate random events in his favor. You'd think it would be "most", but taking damage or even dying actually saves time in many games, thanks to Mercy Invincibility
and the often-resulting knockback from taking damage which usually ends up being the fastest way to move or respawn points strewn across long travel distances, so they can be used for Sequence Breaking
A variation common among Shoot-em-ups
in particular is the 1CC, or "1 Credit Clear", meaning that the game is completed without continuing (dying is still permissible). Given that Shoot-em-ups will often provide the player with infinite continues, and that each credit has finite lives, most fans agree that to claim to have beaten a shmup requires a No Continue Run. A No Death Run (aka 1LC, "1 Life Clear" or "No Miss Clear"note
) is even more impressive, especially considering that most Shoot-em-ups have the player as a One Hit Point Wonder
In Rhythm Games
, hitting successive notes accumulates a combo
; thus, a No Damage Run of a whole stage is known as a "Full Combo", or FC.
Still another variant, especially used among the Doom
community, is the "Maximum Minimum Health" run, where the player attempts the level on "Ultra-Violence" or "Nightmare" mode
. Their score is the lowest health they had at any point in the level, or, if they didn't take any damage, their final health at the end of the level.
If a No Damage Run is too much for you, you can instead strive for a No Death Run or a No Continue Run, or select Final Death Mode
as a difficulty level for an in-game No Death Run.
- In Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, each boss yields a special Medal if defeated without taking any hits, making this a game-encouraged challenge. It's even easier when you get the Death Ring, which boosts your stats absurdly (meaning less hits needed to kill a boss), but kills you if you take even a single hit while it's equipped (which makes retrying easier).
- This is part of the reason why the Combat School missions are so damn hard in Metal Slug 7: In order to get the best possible score, you not only have to clear the challenge in the fastest time, but do it without dying once. In a Shoot 'em Up where your character is a One Hit Point Wonder.
- Bubble Bobble games, where the characters are One Hit Point Wonders, impose this in order to view any secrets at all. And the first secret is 20 rounds away.
- Ace Combat 6 awards you with the Platinum Ace medal if you go through the story mode and avoid any damage.
- LittleBigPlanet has the "No Lives Lost" challenge available in all levels, also known as "acing" a level. Get through an entire level without dying once (including use of the Try Again command if you get stuck in a level), and you get some extra goodies at the Scoreboard. Required to get 100% Completion in Story Mode, because completion is measured by how many items you've collected in all levels, and items given by No Lives Lost definitely count. Some levels, like Survival Challenges, are literally impossible to do this, because to finish you MUST die somehow (usually part of the challenge, like collect Score Bubbles while staying out of the Horrible Gas), but these aren't counted in this; you just have to complete the Survival Challenge levels to add to your completion percentage. Player-made levels have this option, so the creators can give extra gifts to players who are really good at their levels, but these aren't required for 100% completion.
- Super Smash Bros. Melee requires this of you in Adventure mode to get an unlock. Using Donkey Kong makes it slightly easier.
- It's also a bonus if you don't take any damage during a stage (or a match). Combining it with Pacifist Run gets the Switzerland bonus.
- These types of runs are frequently required to unlock New Game Plus modes in the various installments of the Resident Evil franchise.
- Required (until one reaches the secret boss, at which point it's lifted) to get each character's second ending in Bushido Blade.
- Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10 have separate achievements for doing a run with no continues, no deaths, and no damage. A no death run can actually be easier than most expect by using a lot of items, but good luck doing a no damage run!
- If you don't die any time during The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening it is revealed that Marin escaped the Dream World.
- The Legend Of Zelda Twilight Princess actually requires this for one of its sidequests, carrying an exceptionally fragile barrel across monster-infested Hyrule Field. In addition to the barrel breaking if you so much as look at it funny, it's a Timed Mission: wait too long, like, say, killing the monsters, and it cools down to uselessness.
- Devil May Cry games have traditionally made no damage running part of the requirement for getting some Bragging Rights Rewards.
- Required to beat I Wanna Be The Guy on the highest difficulty, since you're a One Hit Point Wonder and can't save your game. You will not want to try this, as only TWO people have EVER finished it on that difficulty. One of them went on to make a fan sequel.
- Similar to IWBtG, only much less difficult, is Rocket Knight Adventures' Hard mode. The default difficulty is Easy, by the way.
- Super Mario Galaxy had "Daredevil Comets", requiring you to complete one of the level's challenges (often a Boss Battle) as a One Hit Point Wonder. The game's That One Boss, Bouldergeist, and the Daredevil run through Melty Molten Galaxy deserve special mention.
- One of the bosses in Cave Story gives you a Cosmetic Award when killing it with no damage taken. Of course, no damage runs are fairly common in that game.
- Especially in the Wii version's "Hard" mode which removes all Heart Containers from the game, against enemies that do increasing amounts of damage.
- To get the 'I Will Survive' trophy/achievement for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled, you are required to play "survival mode" where you only have one life to get through all eight levels of the game.
- Several LEGO Adaptation Games have this. There's an achievement for doing this in one level of LEGO Indiana Jones, and achievements for EVERY level in Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy.
- Painkiller has this as an optional card condition for Orphanage, the first level in the expansion pack Battle Out of Hell.
- Both Crystal Caves and Secret Agent give you a lot of bonus points at the end of level for performing these.
- The Papillion suit in P.N.03 turns Vanessa into a One Hitpoint Wonder - completing the game while wearing this means never taking a single hit.
- In Fable I, you can take optional boasts during quests (which gives extra Renown if you succeed in completing the boast), one of which is taking no damage. It's incredibly easy to pull this off once you get the game-breaking Mana Shield spell, since taking a hit with the shield on doesn't count.
- It is possible in some Hogs Of War missions, and you even get a nice medal for it, however, in the course of the single player game any pig that dies in more than two invidual battles is Killed Off for Real. It's nigh impossible to finish the entire game without losing at least a few good pigs.
- Subverted in In The Hunt, if you got to the final form of the Final Boss one one credit, you'll get the special Downer Ending where you submarine doesn't escape the exploding enemy headquarters (after beating said boss). If you want the good ending, you'll have to see the continue screen at least once.
- In order to reach the true ending of Soul Calibur III, the player must complete a No Death Run with at most one ring out.
- Completing Ketsui with no lives lost, AND no bombs used, AND at least 120 million points, grants you access to a harder version of the second loop.
- Similarly, Mushihime-sama Futari Black Label has a True Final Boss that can only be challenged by completing the entire game on God Mode (no, not that God Mode) up to that point on a single life.
- MadWorld has level challenges which require this.
- Required in Super Meat Boy for a series of achievements titled "Iron Boy" runs, which require you to complete an entire world without dying. The achievements start out relatively easy with the first few worlds, but eventually get harder, going all the way up to Impossible Boy, which requires you to beat the Cotton Alley Dark World without dying, which is somewhat of an inhuman feat, considering the game's difficulty. Only 0.1% percent of all Steam users who have the game also have this achievement, and a good majority of them are cheaters.
- Although, depending on the world that is being played, the game will let players use alternate characters (with the exceptions of Steve? and Meat Ninja) for the run, and let players play levels out of order, so it's more flexible with this trope than other games.
- The Binding of Isaac also has achievements for it, and you get a notification in game in the form of an unlock. They also have "boy" titles, basement(basement/cellar floors with no damage), spelunker (caves), darkness (depths/necropolus), and moma's (womb/utero) boy for each chapter, more people get no damage runs on certain floors than beat the game, with darkness the hardest to get so far. I'm practically game inposed with judas, samson, and ???, the first two only have one heart to start, the last one has no natrual health and has to live off rarer heart drops that always stack but never refill, meaning that during a run of bad drops you can take very few hits.
- BIT.TRIP games reward the player with a flashing rainbow PERFECT! on the high scores table for not missing a single beat or other collectible (later games add the requirement of not getting hit by specific projectiles). The difficulty of such a run depends on the game, but they are notoriously difficult, enough that the official site recognizes anyone who manages to accomplish such a feat.
- In the very first Super Monkey Ball, beating all 70 stages of Expert, Expert Extra, and Master in a single no-death no-warp run would actually be acknowledged by the game with a special message during the credits (which varied depending on which monkey you chose to play as). In addition, the Play Point values were set up so that such a feat would net you exactly 9,999 Play Points; die once or use a single warp to skip a level and you'll end up with less.
- Beating VVVVVV unlocks a No Death Mode, which challenges you to play through as much of the game as you can on a single life, much like the Impossible difficulty in I Wanna Be The Guy above. All checkpoints are removed, you can't save, one room is modified so that you no longer need to die to nab the Shiny Trinket in it, and dying ends your game and kicks you to a results screen. Successfully completing the entire game in No Death Mode awards you a trophy.
- In Kirby Mass Attack, completing a level or defeating a boss without any Kirby getting hit earns you a gold star. You can't use a mid-level shortcut, however. And you have to do this with EVERY level and boss as one of the Checklist challenges.
- One of the Checklist challenges is to defeat Level 3's boss with only 1 Kirby. Since pretty much every attack KO's a Kirby in one hit, this makes a no damage run a necessity.
- A requirement for most of Dead Space 2's Hardcore mode; while you still have infinite lives and can take a few hits, dying/continuing places you back at the beginning of the game or your last save (thus undoing hours of progress), there are no checkpoints *, the game is permanently stuck on the hardest difficulty (very strong enemies and few items), everything from your inventory (including upgrades) cannot be carried over through New Game +, and you can only save three times over all 15 chapters. And all you get is the same unlock hard mode gets you; another suit with slightly different stats. And a novelty foam finger with "#1" on it for a gun. And Issac shouts "BANG!" when it's fired. And it annihilates enemies in a single shot.
- Night Striker combines this with Pacifist Run. You get a pacifist bonus at the end of a level if you complete it without getting hit, AND not firing any shots. Very hard to pull off, especially in later stages.
- Completing a mission map in Dragon Saga* without taking any damage earns you the "Fly like a Butterfly" medal, which boosts your maximum HP by 100 points when equipped.
- Kingdom Hearts. Typically, the sorts of people who do this also import the Final Mix games, and play them on Critical. Blocking is mandatory.
- X3: Terran Conflict has Dead is Dead mode where your save is erased when you die. It also has an achievement for finishing all the quest lines in DiD.
- Escape Velocity has Strict Play, which is basically the same minus the achievement.
- Finishing the original NES version of Ninja Gaiden is already difficult enough as it is. Completing it in a single life is widely considered one of the hardest gaming challenges you will ever undertake in your gaming career.
- To obtain the perfect ending in Crash Bandicoot 1996, you have to break all boxes in every stage without dying. This gets REALLY hard in the later stages. This was no longer the case in the sequels.
- Though some levels in the sequels require you to go up ot a certain point without dying to unlock a Death Course. Also, the third game introduced the time trials, where there are no Checkpoints but more Aku Aku crates to make up for it.
- Some of the more recent Sonic the Hedgehog games have an achievement for this:
- Sonic Generations has one for beating the final boss without getting hit. In addition, the Challenge act that rewards Modern Sonic's Endless Boost skill requires one, as the skill turns him into a One Hit Point Wonder.
- The 2011 port of Sonic CD has one for defeating Metal Sonic without getting hit.
- Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I has one for beating the E.G.G. Station Zone with no damage.
- Some of the Treasure Hunt challenges on Kid Icarus Uprising require beating a specific chapter without taking any damage at all.
- Jamestown Legend Of The Lost Colony has an achievement for beating the game in Gauntlet mode without continues, called "Won! See? See?" There are two more achievements for doing so on Divine and Judgement difficulties, and another two for doing it without taking a single hit on those difficulties.
- Some screens in Bad Piggies award you one of the three stars for reaching the finish point with no damage to your vehicle.
- In order to get the "Can't Touch This" achievement in Gatling Gears, you must complete a level in the final chapter without getting hit at all. Fortunately, it isn't that hard to do in the first stage of the chapter as long as the player is careful.
- Rhythm Thief And The Emperors Treasure has Full Contact Challenges for the various songs. A single "Harsh" ranking results in you failing the song.
- Minecraft has a Hardcore Mode that deletes the entire game world if the player dies. Since the entire point of the game is to explore the world and shape it through building (and mining, and crafting), this can be a very painful experience if the player has been working on a world for a while, and has grown attached to it. Hardcore Mode also locks the game on the highest difficulty setting, maximizing the amount of damage dealt by monsters, and otherwise making survival as difficult as possible.
- As an extra kick, the game forces you to press the button that irrevocably deletes your world yourself, rather than doing it automatically upon your death. It simply doesn't give you any other options.
- Hardcore Mode was eventually made available for multiplayer servers in addition to single-player gameplay. In multiplayer, Hardcore Mode means that a player is permanently banned from the server if they die.
- Thwaite has an alternate ending for a No Damage Run, where the culprit is never discovered. Then the game accuses the player of TASing.
- In some World of Warcraft quests, there are achievements for completing them without taking any damage, such as a quest in which you must retrieve an item from a collapsing and booby-trapped ruin. These are fairly challenging, but not quite as difficult as some of the examples listed above, since they tend to be shorter and the dangers are telegraphed more (such as a shadow where a rock is about to fall, or a red circle around an enemy area of effect attack).
- Sporcle has minefield quizzes which expect you to do this: type (or click) a wrong answer and it ends.
- In Bayonetta, you can only get Pure Platinum medal by scoring lots of combo, finishing the level fast, and most importantly, dodging everything the game throws at you. A scratch will instantly drop you to a mere Platinum.
- In The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor, a Virtual Reality MMORPG, the main character is perfectly capable of this because of his relentless training as a martial artist and sword user, and it is in fact necessary in serious battles, as his melee class is a bit of a Glass Cannon. However, he often spends most of his time when fighting ordinary battles with little to no HP, dodging and parrying (not an in-game skill) all attacks... because that is the game's condition for raising the endurance stat (the endurance stat reduces incoming damage).