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Reflecting Laser

We're all aware that lasers reflect off mirrors. But some writers and video game creators apparently think that lasers can reflect off any flat surface. These bright flashing streams of light — or sometimes, Pure Energy — can hit anything from a stone ceiling to a grass-covered field and rebound at the same angle at which they hit.

In video games, they will also be the "slow" variety of laser, so that the player can watch them bounce off each surface in turn, and dodge them just as they rebound toward him. If the player has access to the weapon, expect several Trick Shot Puzzles whereby the player has to bounce a single shot off a series of surfaces to hit a distant switch or enemy.

A Sub-Trope of Ray Gun. See also Pinball Projectile. Cousin trope to Mirrors Reflect Everything and Attack Reflector.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Wolf's Rain, blasts from the Nobles' ships go beyond Roboteching — they change directions in midflight, as if reflecting off invisible walls in the air. It looks cool (and nicely conveys the idea of weapons so advanced as to defy easy comprehension), so we try to let it be.
  • One of EI-01 (Pasdar)'s attacks in GaoGaiGar was a laser than could reflect off particles in the air to hit the heroes from multiple angles. In GaoGaiGar FINAL, TenRyuJin copies the attack, using missiles to scatter hundreds of reflective (and apparently refractive) mirrors, then calculating the angles on the fly to strike the enemy from multiple angles at once. (Pasdar had Tokyo's electrical output and computing power to make this all work - TenRyuJin complains about how hard the calculations are when she does it.)
    • GGG has one of these on Volfogg's spaceship Susanoh. It fires one gigantic beam (the "Reflector Beam") from the top of the ship and uses a remote-controlled mirror array ("FF Mirrors", standing for Free Float) to aim it.
  • Something similar to this trope shows up in the Gundam series, wherein beams (not lasers, as Beam weapons are accelerated particle cannons operating under a specific subset of physics) are fired at a remote I-Field projector and reflected towards their intended target. There must have been some problems with the practicality (or morality, or legality) of this, as it's mostly only the Psyco Gundam Mk. II that does this in the TV series. There, the Mk. II fires off Reflector Bits (self-contained wireless devices controlled through passively-received brain waves and capable of 3-dimentional movement) and fires its own mounted beam cannons at them.
    • The Ex-Superior Gundam has a similar trick, except it uses Reflector Incoms (wired devices controlled by actively-scanned brain waves capable of 2-dimentional movement) and its Beam Smartgun.
    • In the fourth Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, the mobile armour Shamblo has several similar reflectors that bear a striking resemblance to Real Life UAVs, which fly around it using rotors and reflect any incoming beam, sometimes via each-other, in an attempt to send them back to the shooter.
    • Also, in Mobile Suit Gundam 00, the mobile armour Regnant possesses a Wave Motion Gun that fires a beam which can bend mid-flight in order to hit its target(s).
  • The Shinkiro in Code Geass is probably the most ridiculous example, possessing a main canon that fires a prism, then SHOOTS THE IN-FLIGHT PRISM WITH ITS BEAM to create perhaps the most over-the-top remote Beam Spam device ever! Making it perfect as the Large Ham Lelouch's personal mecha.
  • In Konjiki No Gash Bell, a minor villain early on in the series, Robnos, uses lasers as his main attack; Gash and Kiyomaro fight him in a warehouse filled with glass, and the lasers reflect all over the place. The lasers are quicker than the normally are for this trope, and are a continuous beam, but Kiyomaro figures out a position where it is not possible to be hit by them.
  • The Tournament Arc of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vivid has Lutecia using a spell called Reflect Mirage, which seems to work by aiming a Beam Spam at multiple remotely placed Round Shields, causing the beams to bounce all over the battlefield and bombard the target from different angles.

    Comics 
  • Cyclops of the X-Men is pretty much the Most Triumphant Example. While his beam is an "optic blast of concussive force" and not a laser, it still bounces pretty well. He has a super-human spatial awareness that helps him pull this off (as well as making him a great pilot and pool player).

    Film — Live Action 
  • The climactic boat chase scene in Disney's live-action Condorman features a speedboat armed with a turret-mounted laser cannon. Naturally, several shots are seen reflecting off the (choppy) water.
  • In A New Hope, Han fires a blaster shot at the door of the trash compactor to try and Shoot Out the Lock. The shot goes ricocheting crazily around the trash compactor. Handwaved by the door being "magnetically sealed," coupled with the fact that blasters are not lasers but plasma casters and use magnetic fields to accelerate the shot. How it kept going after it hit the wall the first time is another question entirely.
    • In the big battle between the Gungans and the droids in The Phantom Menace, you can see the occasional bolt bouncing off the ground.
    • At least one instance in the Star Wars Expanded Universe has a gun battle in a mirrored hallway. But the incident is a subversion: only faint echoes of the blaster shots reflect.

    Literature 
  • In The Culture novel Consider Phlebas by Iain Banks, the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits attack a thoroughly moss and vegetation encrusted building. Once the greenery has been roasted off, it turns out that it is built from crystalline prisms and they end up burning and blinding each other with refracted laser fire. Roast by their own petard...
  • There's a weapon in the Artemis Fowl series that does this known as a softnose laser, a weapon ostensibly designed as a mining tool, the beam it emits is magically slowed down (and considering the setting this isn't as far-fetched as it seems} so it can destroy matter. It's described as firing a shot that "bounces around until it hits something."

    Live Action TV 
  • The First Doctor and Susan defeat a Dalek in "The Five Doctors" by pushing it into an enclosed alley and letting it fire away!
  • Star Trek: Voyager. Averted in "The Phage". Voyager pursues a Vidiian ship into a hollow asteroid lined with reflective surfaces. Their solution was to fire a low-powered phaser beam which bounced around until it hit the non-reflective enemy ship.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Reflec in Traveller is a type of armor that is only effective against laser weapons, fortunately it can be worn with other types of armor for additional protection.
  • In Paranoia, reflec is only partly effective, and then only against laser beams of equal or lower clearance. (The rules openly admit to Artistic License - Physics; 1st edition had multi-color reflec, but they got tired of dealing with it.)

    Video Games 
  • In Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Ryu's Shinku Hadouken is aimable and now reflects off of the side of the stage. Even when there's nothing there to reflect it.
  • The R-Type series had this as perhaps its most memorable projectile, besides the huge laser you could charge up.
  • The Kirby series has the recurring Laser power, which bounces off any 45-degree angle slope. Kirby Super Star also has the Halberd's Reactor Core boss, which shoots a reflecting laser at you (naturally, you have to make the core shoot itself with its own laser).
  • The Gradius series, as the signature weapon of the Big Core Mk. III, which appears in III, IV and V. Befuddling in that these Reflect Lasers bounce off the surfaces of slightly thicker lasers fired above and below the player.
    • The above boss is spoofed in Gokujou Parodius, where the big lasers are candy-striped since it occurs at the end of Level Ate.
    • Gradius Gaiden puts a twist on this in its third stage, the crystal stage, where the crystals will refract lasers, allowing them to twist into otherwise hard-to-hit spots.
  • Gunstar Heroes, as the weapon of Seven Force's Tiger form.
  • Bangai-O, Dreamcast version. In the Nintendo64 version and the DS sequel, they are Reflect Missiles that reflect in the direction of nearby enemies when they hit surfaces.
  • Used with increasingly infuriating frequency by the enemies in Space Invaders Extreme.
  • The Gemini Laser in Mega Man 3. And as a Continuity Nod in 10.
    • Ashe's Laser Shot in Mega Man ZX Advent.
    • The Reflect Laser in Mega Man Zero 3, natch.
    • And to a lesser extent, the Ray Arrow in Mega Man X 6, although it always rebounds at a 90 degree angle.
  • The Beam Reflexor in Jak 3: Wastelander, which as an added bonus homes in on enemies. A few shots into a crowded room will clear it out in no time.
  • Used in the original Strider game.
  • Though it doesn't have lasers, in Nethack any visible beam will reflect off walls. This includes things like lightning bolts, bolts of cold, blasts of poison gas, and so on. Even disintegration beams, which you would think would destroy mere rock walls.
  • A major part of most puzzles in Valkyrie Profile 2 Silmeria, the path the beam takes is even displayed on the minimap since it'll be likely to be offscreen most of the time. It was also used to some extent in the original game, but most of its puzzles were more about proper positioning of the crystals the beams created.
  • Xenogears has one in the form of the Fort Jasper Cannon, though it's only fired in a cutscene; the effect it has on the eventual target is quite dramatic.
  • The Tau Cannon in Half-Life will reflect off walls if the angle is shallow enough. Otherwise it just goes through. Note however that it is a particle weapon, not an actual laser.
  • While the ricochet shot used by a certain enemy in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin is an ordinary (if exceptionally bouncy) bullet, the laser sight she uses prior to shooting fits this trope.
  • Sometimes, blaster shots (lasers) will reflect off of AT-AT's, AT-AA's, and AT-ST's in Star Wars: Empire at War, and off of the three phases of Dark Trooper in the expansion. The special ability of Endor increases the chance of that happening to 20%.
    • Wookie Bowcasters in various Star Wars video games do this. Supposedly because they're solid projectiles somehow "wrapped" in laser bolts.... But bear in mind that the technology referred to as "lasers" in Star Wars are actually plasma beam weapons. Since weapons referred to as lasers are pretty much just more powerful versions of blasters, it's generally presumed by fans that a laser cannon in the Star Wars universe is actually just a large blaster than incorporates an internal laser in its firing sequence.
  • One of the Gun skills you learn in Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories is one where the character releases several orbs of light, then fires lasers from their gun in several directions. The orbs then reflect them to strike the target at several angles.
  • In Sword of the Stars, ships can be equipped with "reflective surfaces" that gives a small chance of deflecting lasers.
    • This is a subversion, as lasers in Sword of the Stars never reflect off of a surface that is just flat, but reflect off of flat and non-flat surfaces that have the reflective coating. Angle also seems to matter.
  • In the X-men fighting games by Capcom, Cyclops has a super move where he bounces his eye beams on the floor or walls.
  • In the Super Smash Bros. games, some characters have Special Moves that can reflect projectiles, but this is mostly just a 180, not angling. However with precise aim and timing, it's possible to "bounce" projectiles off your shield and redirect them. In addition, Super Scope shots will angle off of hills slightly.
    • ROB's Robo Beam will actually angle off mostly-horizontal surfaces, and you can control the angle it's fired at to an extent.
  • In The Dungeon Of Doom, walls reflect or absorb energy blasts at random. Shots that miss their target and bounce straight back might hit the target, the shooter, or neither.
  • Virtual-ON brings you Bal-Bados' aptly named Reflect Laser, in which Bal's laser reflects off its own beam shields. It is quite erratic in shooting and difficult to use, but in the hand of skilled Bal players it can be quite a Game Breaker.
  • In An Untitled Story, the GrottoEye, the StoneEye and FireCage turrets all shoot lasers that bounce off surfaces a few times and then disintegrate (or in StoneEye's case, fly off into sky).
  • The LASER! Wisp from Sonic Colors does this.
  • The final boss of T260G's chapter in SaGa Frontier does this with its ultimate attack, Carnage, which fires several lasers that bounce off the monitors in the background several times before blasting the player's entire team.
  • In the second Dark Parables game, this trope is applied to unlock a secret in the palace armory - by reflecting the laser off of a crystal ball, mirrors, and polished shields.
  • In the PC-DOS game D/Generation, the laser weapon you pick up early in the game bounces off of walls and even triggers wall switches. Luckily your character will harmlessly soak up any shots that happen to bounce back and hit him.
  • The manual for Frontier: Elite 2 mentions this as being a possible, but quite rare result of firing lasers at an enemy ship, especially at a glancing angle. This may or may not have been true in-game.
  • In Crazy Planets, a Facebook game by Playfish, the Rebound Ray gets stronger the more times it bounces off surfaces before hitting a target. Since every level is on a circular planetoid, and not every level features narrow caverns or platforms hanging overhead, this weapon is seldom worth lugging around.
  • In the Bloons Tower Defense games, lead bloons cannot be popped by lasers, but no beam is seen reflecting off of it's lead surface.

    Western Animation 
  • The Ghost Dematerializer's beams in Filmation's Ghostbusters are prone to this. A badly-aimed shot could even destroy the Dematerializer itself!
  • Buzz Lightyear exploits this in Rex's video game during Toy Story 2.


Plasma CannonRanged Energy Attack TropesSword Beam
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