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Player Guided Missile
Ever watch a Homing Projectile suffer yet another Hero Tracking Failure and think to yourself, "hell, I could fly a missile better than that"? Now you can!

The Player-Guided Missile is any Video Game projectile attack or weapon which the player can manually steer or guide toward their desired target using their player movement controls. These can be more dangerous than ordinary homing missiles (at least in the hands of a skilled player), although they do mean that while the player is busy piloting the missile, their character is left open and vulnerable to attack.

The projectile can take many forms - an actual homing missile or Precision-Guided Boomerang, for example - and 3D games frequently utilize a Missile Cam so the player can steer the projectile from its own point of view. Which also makes it usable not just for combat, but also for general scouting, recon, and solving various puzzles (typically by activating an otherwise inaccessible switch or control panel).

There is some Truth in Television here, as there are a variety of "manual command line-of-sight" systems to guide rockets or missiles: wire-guided missiles, for example, trail thin wires connecting them back to the launcher so the operator can steer the missile's flight path (though they are nowhere near as precisely maneuverable as their Video Game counterparts, and require extensive regular training to operate).

Note that an example only counts if the player has more or less direct control of the projectile's flight path — simply "aiming" or "locking on" to a target before firing isn't enough. Also note that these only count when wielded by a live human player, as there's no way to distinguish it from a normal homing missile if it's fired from the hands of an AI-controlled character.


Examples

  • While it is obviously not a flying "missile", the RC Car in Ape Escape is capable of being used as a weapon - it can stun monkeys for capture. There is no separate camera from the RC car's point of view, but the player can still maneuver themselves while using it (it is operated via the second analog stick).
  • One of Batman's upgrades in the Batman Arkham Series is a remote-controlled Batarang, and it's essential for solving certain puzzles.
  • The yellow "Psychic Hat" in Billy Hatcher and The Giant Egg allows the player to steer the egg after shooting it.
  • Brink's Agents of Change DLC allows an operative to deploy a micro UAV that can be manually piloted and detonated in the vicinity of enemies.
  • The Guided Missile in the Descent series is slightly slower but more powerful than a normal homing missile. The game's options screen allows the player to select whether the its Missile Cam is shown on the main screen or a smaller popup display.
  • Elemental spells in Legend of Mana with "Control" type aiming allow the player to guide the spell's area of effect to any location on the battlefield before activating the spell itself.
  • Although magic boomerangs are a recurring item in The Legend of Zelda series, only the version in Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons can be controlled in mid-air. Boomerangs and Bombchus in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks are similar in that the player can sketch out a custom flight path with the stylus, though they have no control over them during flight.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker introduced the ability to control seagulls after feeding them a special fruit. They could then be guided to hit switches and collect rupees and other things. This gameplay mechanic was further expanded upon in...
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has the Beetle, a mechanical flying insect drone which the player can launch to explore various places, retrieve objects or hit switches, pick up and drop bombs on enemies, or even attack some enemies directly.
  • Various weapons in the Mega Man (Classic) series can be steered mid-flight, usually by steering it up and down only, so that the player can still move Mega Man left or right in the meantime.
    • Mega Man 3's Hard Knuckle (a Rocket Punch weapon) can be steered up or down while in flight, though not as precisely as steerable weapons later in the series.
    • Mega Man 5's Gyro Blade fires horizontally, but the player can make it veer up or down in flight.
    • Mega Man 10's Commando Bomb is similar to the Gyro Blade, but the player can change its direction multiple times in flight, and it produces an explosion on impact.
    • Mega Man & Bass' Remote Mine can be steered up or down while in flight. You can then press the attack button to detonate it in mid-air or let it stick on an enemy first then detonate it.
    • Similar to the Remote Mine example above, Mega Man X2's Magnet Mine can be steered up or down while in flight. Its charged version is similarly steerable, but travels slower and can penetrate multiple targets.
    • Mega Man X5's F-Laser is fully steerable, at the cost of not being able to move X at all until the missile hits something (or X takes damage). It's needed to access one of the armor parts.
  • The Metal Gear series has a few segments where the player must use a Nikita missile, usually to solve an electrified-floor puzzle. In the 8-bit games, the missiles travelled and steered at right angles.
    • Snake even sports a Nikita Missile launcher in his Super Smash Bros. appearance; the player can control the missile in flight, though it does travel faster in straight lines.
  • The Missile Launcher in Star Fox Assault's multiplayer matches provide the player with remote-control missiles, though it has less ammunition capacity than the normal Homing missile launcher.
  • The Visibomb gun in Ratchet & Clank is steerable, but its Missile Cam loses reception (and gives out) beyond a certain range.
  • Several characters in the Super Smash Bros. series have steerable projectile attacks:
    • Ness and Lucas both have PK Thunder - a bolt of electricity that can be steered in various directions, courtesy of their Psychic Powers. They also sport PK Flash and PK Freeze (respectively) in which they can steer its area of effect left or right before detonating it.
    • Pit's Light Arrows travel very fast, but can be aimed in various directions before use and steered further while in flight.
    • Zelda's spell Din's Fire can be slightly aimed up or right.
    • In Brawl, Solid Snake can fire player-controlled missiles.
  • Two characters in Skylanders can earn this attack as a purchasable upgrade:
    • Warnado can learn "Guided Twister", which allows the player to steer their tornado attack using their movement controls.
    • The "Series 2" version of Drobot's exclusive "Wow Pow" ability involves combining two of his Bladegears into one large, remote-controlled gear.
  • The "Doomerang" in all three Ty the Tasmanian Tiger games. In the first it is merely an Eleventh Hour Superpower used exclusively to defeat the Final Boss, but it shows up as a purchasable (if very expensive) shop item in the sequels.
  • Kirby has some games where the trajectory of the thrown Cutter can be steered up or down before going backwards. Likewise, the Flare Beam ability in Kirbys Return To Dreamland is a giant energy orb that can be guided to collide against multiple enemies at once. Finally, Amazing Mirror has the Missile ability where Kirby actually turns into one of these.
  • Modern Warfare series lets you control Predator-launched Hellfire missiles as rewards for multiplayer killstreaks. After firing them, you can control where they land approximately.
  • A minor example in Team Fortress 2: Engineer's sentries will normally autotarget enemies that are closer to them, but using his Wrangler, he can aim his sentry manually at any given enemy, aided with a laser sight (with an added defense bonus).
  • Battlefield 2: Nearly all anti-tank missilesnote  can be guided mid-flight based on where the player is pointing his crosshair. A helicopter's gunner can also fire TV-guided missiles capable of out and out Roboteching.
  • In Unreal Tournament, the secondary firing mode of The Redeemer is this trope.
  • In the Xbox 360 Kinect game Wreckateer, the Flying Shot can be steered using your arms - raise them up to fly higher, or down to dive. To a lesser extent, the basic shots can be steered by waving your hands over the shot as it is in flight.
  • Averted with the Remote-Guided Warhead in the X-Universe series. It was supposed to be one of these, but the devs could never get it working properly so it ended up as a regular guided missile.
  • The Ice spell in Final Fantasy Adventure.
  • Super Sheep in Worms
  • The Mosquito in Einhänder. Because of this, it is Awesome, but Impractical.
  • Galaxy On Fire II has the AMR Extinctor missile, which cannot be purchased (as it's banned) but can be crafted after you find the blueprint and all the necessary components. Each time you build it, you get 10 of these. They are Awesome, but Impractical, as your ship is not under your control while you do this (you don't have to be standing still, though, as your ship will still continue to move). On the other hand, you can fire them well beyond any ship's firing range (4300 km) and they can cross that distance fairly quickly. This is a nuke-type weapon, so it deals splash damage and is very destructive. It's only real use, however, is against freighters, as fighters are far too nimble to be hit.
  • While Tomorrow Never Dies is a film, the villain had a buzzsaw torpedo which can be guided through ships and travel upward if necessary cutting through the hull.
  • In Shadowrun riggers can control missiles but it's mostly a niche thing as most missiles travel much too fast for such a technology to be of use.
  • The Buzz Bomb in Robo Rally... although this being Roborally, "controlled" may be too strong a word. At least one player at a convention game has recieved the "Wil E. Coyote award" for blowing himself up with his own buzz bomb.
  • The Magic Missile and its upgrades in Terraria can be controled by the mouse/right analog stick, and can also be used as a portable light.
  • "Nuke Mode" in Twisted Metal has one of the factions attach the opposing faction's leader (if captured) to a remote-guided missile with the intention of destroying the enemy faction's large statue.
    • This was made into Sweet Tooth's Level 2 Super in Playstation All Stars Battle Royale, where it's used to blow people up. Besides just steering, the player can turn remotely detonate it before it reaches a target. For an interesting Easter Egg, Tooth is holding a DualShock 3 during the Super, which implies that his movements mirror the player's.
    • The annoying Stalker Missile in Rogue Trip and Pilot Torpedo in Critical Depth by the same publisher. The former has an upgrade that at least gives you a shield while you're flying the missile. The latter is mostly used to cheese certain less mobile bosses from across the level, and using it in regular combat will lead to minor damage to an enemy while your own submarine gets bombed to pieces by all the other enemies.
  • The Missile in Liero can be steered clockwise and counterclockwise in flight using the right and left arrow keys.
  • Tabletop example: In BattleTech's space combat simulator, some types of Capitol Missiles used by Warships function this way, with the player controlling steering and thrust to attempt to hit enemy ships.
  • Missiles in Starglider are player guided with a Missile Cam and are the only way to destroy the eponymous Stargliders - lasers are completely ineffective.

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