When both sides are made up of [[GlassCannon squishy characters with the means to easily squish the other side]], you have a case of Rocket Tag Gameplay. The slightest caress from any weapon in the game will reduce anyone to a fine paste, so the gameplay becomes entirely about hitting first and never getting hit yourself. It could mean that twitch reactions and being the first to attack is vital, it could place huge emphasis on dodging and leading targets, or it might just be a case of camping with extreme patience and never giving your position away, but in any case, being exposed to damage is a swift trip to the GameOver screen or a respawn.

The reasons for this are usually straightforward; attacks do about as much damage as you have health, more or less, and your attacks do the same to them. This changes the relationship your game has with damage considerably. In a regular game, it might be worth it to expose yourself to damage to do some yourself. Here, however, you don't have that option. Concepts like hitpoints and damage per second or per turn fall to the wayside in favor of avoiding being hit, ensuring your attacks land, maximizing weapon range, making sure you always attack first, and taking care not to get [[HoistByHisOwnPetard hoist by your own petard]].

[[TropesAreNotBad This trope doesn't]] ''[[TropesAreNotBad have]]'' [[TropesAreNotBad to be a bad thing]]. Fast-paced battles tend to be more exciting than longer and tedious ones, and they may require less LevelGrinding. In [=RPGs=], this can make each turn extremely tense, as the stakes are always at their highest. In real-time action games, this allows the inclusion of weapons which are difficult to use, like an extremely slow-moving rocket launcher, for example, because if it connects at all there will be immediate positive feedback (like your opponent exploding). In a real-time strategy game, this can place a greater focus on the "strategy" side and the logistics, as once battle is joined there is almost no time for the player to micro orders to troops before the demise of themselves or the enemy.

When this happens in a BossBattle, you have a RushBoss. Compare GlassCannon, OneHitKill, OneHitPointWonder and type 2 MutualDisadvantage. Contrast the inversion, PaddedSumoGameplay, where instead of mutually ineffectual defenses as this trope, there are instead mutually ineffective weapons.

This trope applies most of the time to real modern warfare: being directly hit (as opposed to grazed) with just one assault rifle bullet will generally kill you, or, at the very least, greatly reduce your combat effectiveness.



[[folder: Film ]]

* In ''Film/TronLegacy'', [[DeadlyDisc disc hits]] are generally {{One Hit Kill}}s.


[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* In ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'', the Vintage and Legacy formats are notorious for this, but the worst offender was Standard play just after the release of Urza's Saga. During the Urza's Saga block, it was a common joke that "early game" meant the coin flip to decide who went first, "midgame" was the decision to mulligan, and "endgame" was the first turn.
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''. In 1st Edition ''Advanced D&D'', there was no limit on spell damage, so (for example) a 20th level magic-user's Fireball did 20d6 (20-120) HitPoints of damage. This meant that at higher levels of play, whichever side gained initiative would probably win the fight. The designers of 2nd Edition decided to put level caps on most of the damaging spells to prevent one-round wipeouts. This also happened between two editions of ''Basic D&D''.
** Note that magic spells in 1st edition had fixed casting times which typically increased with spell level, so in a showdown between two high-level parties, the best casting choice was the lowest-level spell which was powerful enough to take out the enemy magic-user. At sufficiently high levels, this would typically be...the lowly ''Magic Missile''.
** ''Dungeons & Dragons'' 3.5 edition is often accused of Rocket Tag gameplay. Not only because damage outstrips hit points, but because of an excess of spells which instantly kill or cripple their targets (and spellcasters knowing so many spells that they can always choose the one that's most effective, like MindRape against a dumb enemy). In fact, it was possible for every one of a caster's spells of 4th level or higher to be very direct "instant win" spells. For example, ''solid fog'' (a 20' radius) meant standard movement was limited to 5', or 20' if the target ran as fast as he could in a straight line and remembered he could do that. ''Evard's black tentacles'' tried grappling all creatures in the area (in a 30' radius, natch) and usually succeeded. Add ''stinking cloud'' (another 20' radius) to taste, which prevents those who fail their Fortitude save from acting and you have yourself a killer combo. At level 7. In ''core''. (In general, spells of level 3 and below can't plain win fights like this, but a failed save against a ''grease'', ''color spray'', ''glitterdust'', or ''web'' means you're pretty much screwed while the caster's friends & minions quickly beat you to death.)
** And if you're a Shadowcraft Mage, then with the right build, you can use ''silent image'' (a level '''0''' spell) with the Gnome Illusionist substitution level and Heighten it to make it do what was just described. Or cast ''miracle''s.
** At mid and high levels, defenses tend to be binary: if you aren't flat-out immune (or they got unlucky and missed), you're going ''splat!'' in one round or even one hit, with almost no exceptions.
** If you plan to play a mid-to-high-level spellcaster (or to a lesser extent, a [[PsychicPowers manifester]]) against a non-spellcaster, [[LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards expect to win]] because you have ''options''. Even if the game is stacked against you, then you ''are'' about as smart in real life as your character is, right?
** TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}} eliminated most of the damage loops and frank abuses of 3.5, buffed melee and ranged physical damage so the warrior classes do most of the damage, and still results in this trope due to the prevalence of "Save or Suck" spells. In short, casters can shut down the enemy with spells that inflict status ailments so severe the warriors simply cut down the enemy like butter. For example, fail a save versus Blindness and your life expectancy can be measured in seconds.
*** Not to mention that the aforementioned buffed up damage on warrior classes can make reach the point where a full attack from a martial character will one-round kill most level-appropriate enemies.
* ''TabletopGame/TheDresdenFiles'', using the FATE system, is tuned to encourage this. The Dresden world is one where people with normal human bodies throw around power that can level blocks, and in the books Harry usually has at least one near-death scrape per fight, so the game models this. It doesn't take much to inflict wounds or death on an opponent (barring [[MadeOfIron Toughness]] abilities). One or two solid shots is usually enough to end a fight, and many battles boil down mostly to defending and maneuvering in order to set up those one or two solid shots.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'' seesaws between this and PaddedSumoGameplay due to its lethality issues. It's trivially easy to throw an attack at someone that is absolutely certain to kill them instantly, resulting in whoever attacks first winning easily... unless the enemy uses one of the game's perfect defenses. Once everyone is using an impossible-to-bypass suite of perfect defenses, the game changes from Rocket Tag to PaddedSumoGameplay, with no attack ever doing more than making the opponent pay a tiny amount of the game's equivalent to MagicPoints.
* ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}'' is this at high TL, especially whenever [=high-RoF=] guns are considered.
* UrbanFantasy games like ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'' and the ''TabletopGame/NewWorldOfDarkness'' have fairly lethal combat systems where commonly-available weapons are capable of killing a player character in less than three hits at nearly any power level. Cover is invaluable as well as avoiding combat altogether.
** The ''TabletopGame/OldWorldOfDarkness'' was little better. Since a character gets stunned if they take more than their stamina in damage, and most weapons like a shotgun or a melee-focused character would do just that, whoever loses initiative had best just pray they made it out of the first round still able to take an action. Add this to a game system where the average damage for a shotgun is 4-5 health levels, taking wounds causes increasing penalties to all actions, and you only have eight HitPoints to begin with, and combat was effectively over in a few rounds.
** ''TabletopGame/UnknownArmies'' shares the same fate for ''any'' gunfight. It's a percentage-based system, and if you make the roll to hit then firearms deal damage equal to your attack roll - as in, if you hit with a roll of 23 then you just did 23 damage, and if you hit with a roll of 75 then you just did 75 damage. The average human has 50 health. You can bump up the relevant stat at character creation or by spending experience points if you want more health, but taking a couple bullets will still ruin your day. The combat chapter opens with advice that you should do your best to deescalate conflicts or just retreat unless there's literally no other alternative.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Cyberpunk}} 2020'' is this in spades too. Solos have combat sense, that adds an extra bonus to initiative depending to its level, meaning they're very likely to start a fight before. Since in that game even with protective gear[[note]]Useless against AP ammo[[/note]] a single bullet, especially if is in the head[[note]]Head damage is doubled[[/note]], can kill your character you can guess why solos mean ''trouble'' for non ones.
* Fights with Master-type enemies (things like Hive Tyrants and Daemon Princes) and, to somewhat lesser extent, Elite ones in ''TabletopGame/{{Deathwatch}}'' and ''TabletopGame/BlackCrusade'' tend to be like this. Since both the players and the enemies can do huge amounts of damage, the fight generally come down to who goes first and who can dodge/parry better.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Call of Cthulhu}}'' features this due to its attempts to make actual humans as squishy as we really are, for contrast against the bullet-shrugging horrors that inevitably pop up an hour or two into the session. Unlike most games, hit points don't increase as an integral part of character advancement, which means regardless of how many mind-bending abominations your character has faced off against, a reasonably accurate or lucky mugger armed with a .45 caliber pistol can still send you to the hospital or the morgue with one shot. And since it's set in the 1920s, there have been reported incidents of a TotalPartyKill in one combat round because one of the bad guys that didn't graduate from the ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy happened to own [[MoreDakka a Thompson sub machine gun]].
* Sanguine Productions' "Cardinal" rule system, used in ''TabletopGame/{{Ironclaw}}'' 2nd edition and ''TabletopGame/MyriadSong'', doesn't use hit points, instead attacks inflict status effects based on how many attack dice rolled higher than the defender's highest Dodge dice, plus their weapon's bonus (usually +2). 5 successes in one attack is Dead, 6 invokes the ChunkySalsaRule, while two of the less serious statuses increase damage from later attacks, and they stack. After sustaining damage the character can attempt to "soak" a few hits but most characters only roll two, maybe three dice when soaking. In addition, many starting characters roll four or more large dice on attacks.
* Early-level ''TabletopGame/StarsWithoutNumber'' is very, very lethal, necessitating a great many low-combat stories and a lot of diving for cover; [[FighterMageThief Warriors]] are the best at it, in the sense that they have the ability to tank one hit with no damage, but this just means they probably go down on the second hit rather than the first. The high damage output makes sense, given that MagneticWeapons are everywhere at [=TL4=], but it doesn't make the results any less messy. The free "Stellar Heroes" expansion, aimed at one-player campaigns, does contain variant rules for playing with characters who can stroll through hordes of {{Mooks}} rather than being reduced to fine red goo if there are more than two enemies, at least.
* PowerCreep turned ''TabletopGame/YuGiOh'' into this at higher levels of play. Even assuming your opponent is nice and isn't playing a OneHitKill Deck, the speed of the game is so absurd that, given the chance, a well-built Deck will effortlessly pull out three 2000+ attackers and devastate you. Unless one player is ''very'' [[StoneWall defensively-minded,]] you won't find any multi-episode Duels in the real world.
* ''[[{{TabletopGame/Forsooth}} Forsooth!]]'': An NPC dies if a player is in the same scene and they say they kill them. If it is another PC they have to agree to die; alternately the victim can retreat wounded or kill their killer as they die.
* Melee and magical combat in ''TabletopGame/LaceAndSteel'' is played using a special deck of cards, where two opponents play attack and defend cards from their hand, representing individual thrusts and parries (or magical equivalents). The way the damage rules work, failing to defend against at most two attacks will eat through your entire hit point supply, resulting in most fights being over within a couple turn (one combat turn encompasses multiple cards being played).
* The ''[[TabletopGame/{{Pokemon}} Pokémon Trading Card Game]]'' became like this during the later parts of [[VideoGame/PokemonDiamondAndPearl Generation IV]] and the earlier parts of [[VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite Generation V]]. Everywhere in tournament play was the "Donk" deck, which makes use of one Pokémon with one very high-damage, low-Energy attack. These attacks invariably have drawbacks, such as Rampardos [[CastFromHitPoints taking damage]] or Machamp only able to use it on certain Pokémon, and the rest of the deck was designed to minimize those negative effects. In addition, there were plenty of cards to boost damage, like [=PlusPower=], Buck's Training, and Expert Belt. Together, playing the ''Pokémon TCG'' competitively during then largely came down to a race to the first knockout which, more often than not, created momentum that would grow into an insurmountable lead.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Many FirstPersonShooters have "[=InstaGib=]" or "One Shot One Kill" mode where all players are given an overkilling weapon, making everyone effectively a OneHitPointWonder.
** Most [=FPSs=] that tout themselves as realistic use this trope. One lucky shot can kill you, and in some games even if you survive you might as well be dead due to wounds.
* In many of the older 3D fighting games like ''VideoGame/VirtuaFighter'' and ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}}'' you can beat your opponent with 3-4 well placed kicks, and many rounds can be easily ended in a couple of seconds.
* High-level gameplay in the ''Franchise/{{Disgaea}}'' series and other Creator/NipponIchi strategy [=RPGs=]. Due to the way attack vs. defense is calculated damage increases exponentially as levels rise, so more or less any battle over level 500 or so means you either kill your opponent in one shot or die in their response attack. It's actually possible to take multiple hits in the fourth game by stacking defensive abilities, though. [[VideoGame/Disgaea5 The fifth numbered game]] however tweaks the formula so that defense becomes viable no matter what by adding armor mastery and increasing a skill's level only lowers the SP cost. The Carnage Dimension outright punishes min maxing via the Carnage Tyrant evility.
** ''VideoGame/PhantomBrave'', which allots turns based on units' Speed stat instead of alternating between teams, goes one step further: in addition to being a game of one-hit kills, a sufficiently fast team can annihilate the enemy before they're able to make a single move.
** [[TropesAreNotBad There is a significant upside to this, though]]: Rocket Tag Gameplay for most of the ''Disgaea'' games only happens at levels considerably higher than needed to enter the post-game, wherein you spend the vast, ''vast'' majority of your time LevelGrinding or going through [[BonusDungeon Item Dungeons]] which have dozens and dozens of floors. If battles didn't get shorter as levels increased, getting the InfinityPlusOneSword or defeating the BonusBoss would take an even more unbearably long time.
* ''Franchise/{{Halo}}''
** SWAT mode disables all energy shields and gives everyone precision weapons, turning the gameplay into highly tactical twitch-combat, because one headshot is all it takes to kill you.
** There's also a multiplayer mode literally called "Rockets" where players are all equipped with, you guessed it, rocket launchers. Explosions and quick deaths for all.
** There's another multiplayer mode called "Sniper". As with "Rockets", if you hit your opponent, they're dead. If not, that smoke trail just gave away your position.
* ''VideoGame/InvisibleInc'' implements this for ''turn-based tactical stealth'': One hit from a weapon, and any character is down, whether agent or enemy. (While an agent can be revived with some futuristic AppliedPhlebotinum, and an enemy may be KO'd or killed depending on your weapon, if they're hit, they're still out of the game.) Notably, during early development the devs ''did'' try a more conventional approach with hit points and hit percentages, but came to the conclusion that it felt too much like a combat game rather than like a stealth game, and specifically a spy game. They arrived at RocketTagGameplay after some brainstorms about what a spy game ''should'' feel like: like the stakes are high, and the enemy is always better-equipped than you are, but you gain the advantage through improvisation and quick thinking.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Unreal}}'' games have the [=InstaGib=] modifier, as described above, giving everyone a [[LawOfChromaticSuperiority red-colored variation]] of the Shock Rifle that [[LudicrousGibs reduces anyone you shoot with it to chunky salsa]].
* One of the ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' expansions, "Wrath of the Lich King", did this by accident. Due to a few miscalculations, gear scaled up so fast that the healers had effectively limitless magic for healing, so damage capabilities were increased to the point where any character could be killed in seconds, so that the healers had to be healing quickly and proactively to keep anyone alive. As a side effect, [[PlayerVersusPlayer PvP]] combat became a game of rocket tag where any class could die or kill another in seconds with a lucky crit.
* ''VideoGame/EnchantedArms''. You could generally wipe out RandomEncounters in two to three rounds if you weren't ambushed. If you were, you were likely to have half your party dead by the time you regained control. As an amusing consequence of this, bosses actually did less damage than the {{Mook}}s you'd been killing to get to them.
* This was the competitive play of the original ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros''; the game had extremely high hitstun that allowed for easy, frequent very long combos, that often ended in a KO. Additionally, the entire cast had terrible and easily edge-guarded recoveries outside the GameBreaker Pikachu, and most moves dealt high damage while [=KOing=] early, especially throws. Then on top of that heavy offense, defensive options were very limited, and the only two dedicated defensive options in the game, shielding and rolling, were terrible (shields had such immense shieldstun when attacked that a competent player could keep a shielding opponent stuck in their shield through a flurry of attacks until their shield broke, and rolls were slow and very easily punished). This all resulted in a game where the entire cast dies ridiculously quickly and is heavily based on who can get the first hit, and is the reason why competitive Smash 64 runs more stocks in their matches than all the subsequent Smash games do in tournaments.
** The subsequent Smash games has this as an optional feature. If the damage ratio is set higher than the default, characters will be sent flying even with a low damage percentage. Heavy characters like Bowser can also be sent flying easily with this set up, making power hitting attacks like smash attacks or throws become the major appeal to the fights instead of juggling.
** Sudden Death sets character damage to 300% and eventually starts dropping random bob-ombs in the area if the stalemate keeps dragging on. The first person hit will almost certainly lose. Super Sudden Death in Melee and the 300% option in Special Brawl are both exactly like Sudden Death, sans the Bob-ombs.
** You can also set up a match so the [[PaddedSumoGameplay opposite]] is true. Heavy-Metal-Slow-Mo Match, anyone?
* ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'', especially in earlier generations, has a metagame role called the "Sweeper". The purpose of this monster is to one-shot the entire opposing team due to a high speed stat, insane damage, and good coverage on the ElementalRockPaperScissors table. The best counter for a Sweeper? A faster sweeper that can one-shot it. Barring that, a character tough enough that it can survive a Sweeper's attack, so it can retaliate. Many Sweepers focus purely on Attack/Sp. Attack and Speed, so they're likely to be a GlassCannon or a FragileSpeedster.
** Generation V in particular seems to encourage this, as nearly any Pokémon in OU play that isn't a StoneWall is more than likely going to get taken out by one super-effective attack. Ditto's [[TookALevelInBadass new level in badass]] shines in this sort of gameplay, as its new ability to transform as it enters the battlefield instead of spending a move, combined with a Choice Scarf, means that it doesn't matter what the Sweeper is or how powerful and fast it's gotten, at the very best it has a 50% chance of going first.
** Generation V's double battles were also like this, due to the prevalence of TakingYouWithMe moves like Explosion, Destiny Bond, and Final Gambit: Official tournament battles, which were all double battles, frequently ended in fewer turns than there were Pokémon. By contrast, Generation V's ''single battles'' often turned into PaddedSumoGameplay, with the ubiquitous presence of walls like Reuniclus, Slowbro, Dusknoir, and Scrafty with battles consisting largely of both players switching from Pokémon to Pokémon to take hits (until one of the aforementioned Sweepers shows up). Self-Destruct and Explosion got {{Nerf}}ed in Generation VI, though double battles continue to progress much faster than their single-battle cousins to this day.
* In high-level ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsAdvance'' play, especially in multiplayer, there is really only one stat: speed. Thanks to a series of [[GameBreaker balance-annihilating skills,]] first strike generally wins. The amount of damage a character can take or deal is irrelevant with Viera Assassins covering half the battlefield in a single turn and instantly killing their target 85% of the time or more, or Moogle Gunners blasting insanely powerful Ultima Shots at ludicrous ranges.
** Likewise, the original ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'' lends itself to this sort of thing. By the end of chapter 3, it's a common strategy to stack damage-boosting equipment in every slot, and it's very difficult to build a character that can survive more than a round or two against a high-level Ninja or Summoner. And that's before you start dual-wielding Knightswords, driving your Brave stat as high as it can go and making your attacks ignore evasion.
* ''VideoGame/HotlineMiami''. The protagonist is a OneHitpointWonder (though there are a few masks that change this), but very few enemies can endure more than a single armed hit.
* Destroyer-on-destroyer battles in the ''[[VideoGame/{{X}} X-Universe]]'' are basically this. Their guns are powerful enough that if both ships are AI-controlled, the one that gets off the first salvo usually wins. Averted in ''Albion Prelude'' (and in many {{Game Mod}}s for earlier titles) due to a significant buff in the hull strength of all ships.
** The same is true at the fighter level for scout ships. Or heavy fighters if both sides are mounting Plasma Burst Generators. (Flamethrowers).
** ''Videogame/XRebirth'': Fighters are capable of blowing each other to bits pretty quickly, but [[PaddedSumoGameplay capital ship combat is slow]].
* The ''VideoGame/{{Achron}}'' metagame has gone through this at various points with strategies such as chronorushing (rushing chronoporting tech, which lets you send an army back in time, to hopefully wipe out the opponent before they can even do anything). It is possible to defend against, but it's usually easier to just counterrush and try to wipe them out even faster.
* ''[[VideoGame/XCOMEnemyUnknown XCOM: Enemy Unknown]]'' is like this, at least towards the start of the game. The first enemy aliens you will encounter are Sectoids; only 3 HP, unglamorous stats, and instead of a highly useful grenade they have a relatively weak Psionic ability to support one another. However, they wield Plasma Pistols- doing the same damage per hit as your own assault rifles, but without the need to reload. Your own forces' vitality varies on difficulty- in Classic, they have 5 HP to start, and in Impossible it's just FOUR (enough for a single lucky-rolled non-critical attack to kill them). On high difficulties, such as Classic and Impossible, kills will be determined by who hits whom first- making abilities such as Hunker Down and using frag grenades utter necessities to survive.
** Ditto the original ''X-Com'', especially when the player first gets their hands on a plasma rifle: Enemies are still weak enough to die from a single hit, and so are your troops.
* Many ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'' games, including the ''[[Franchise/ShinMegamiTenseiPersona Persona]]'' spinoffs, use this style of battle. You get extra turns for attacking enemy weaknesses, and lose them if you attack an enemy with something it's resistant to. They play by the same rules. So the turn-based battles revolve around either annihilating the enemy on the first turn or getting your HP wrecked by the demons if any survive your initial assault. Especially notable is ''VideoGame/{{Persona 5}}'''s Merciless difficulty level - critical hits and weaknesses do three times as much damage as normal, meaning that they're extremely likely to be one hit kills against everything but bosses.
* ''VideoGame/{{Divekick}}'' takes this to the extreme, with every character able to win with only one well-placed dive kick. The only way to not die is to avoid that kick.
* A popular mod in ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' is "Rocket Tennis" (sometimes also called Dodgeball), where everyone plays as the Pyro, trying to deflect a Critical rocket for as long as possible. Since the rocket moves faster as the game goes on (and the rocket ''starts'' out capable of a OneHitKill), it's a mad frenzy to reflect like your life depends on it (which it sort of does, since the maps of this mod are Arena-based: one life, no respawning).
** Modded "100% CriticalHit'' servers turn the gameplay into this trope and can end up being either frustrating or hilarious (depending on respawn times) due to the fact that almost all explosive type weapons deal considerable SplashDamage. Rocket launchers are one of the simplest weapon types to use in the game, and a critical rocket from the basic rocket launcher will instantly turn all but two classes into a rain of bloody body parts, [[HoistByHisOwnPetard including the Soldier using it if he's too close to the explosion]].
** Another popular mod are "10x servers" (based on a forum concept, then turned ''VideoGame/GarrysMod'' [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPjvF-WqRuA video]] by Blood_Wraith), where everything in the game is multiplied by a factor of 10. This includes damage. [[MacrossMissileMassacre And the number of rockets]] [[LethalJokeWeapon a Beggar's Bazooka shoots.]]
*** Of course, the inverse is also true in these servers, as "everything" includes damage debuffs. Since nearly every weapon in Team Fortress 2 is not and upgrade, but a sidegrade by way of a SituationalSword, you'll either be decimating the opposition or be doing jack crap to any of them.
* The Djinn system is a major part of ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'', as they allow for class changes, summons, and stat boosts. However, when you use several of them to prepare a more powerful summon, it lowers your stats accordingly (and depending on which Djinn are on which character, their class. Going from StoneWall to SquishyWizard is a nasty surprise for the unprepared). Against most bosses, the best strategy is to go into battle with lowered stats, fire off all your summons and survive, gaining back the stats one turn at a time until your Djinn are ready to be used again.
* Played straight in theory, but averted in ''Monster Girl Quest''. While Luka's defence stat stays at a fixed 5 (25 when you get the only armour in the game), damage stays consistent with what you would expect to receive if Luka's defence went up.
** The game gets more strategic depth as Luka gains spirits that let him resist or negate several types of attacks, either by deflecting them ([[BlowYouAway Sylph]]), making his body tougher ([[DishingOutDirt Gnome]]) or making him too fast to hit ([[MakingASplash Undine]]). This, at least, until he loses control of them [[OhCrap and the monsters start using their own...]]
* In ''Videogame/StarRuler'', ships can often annihilate each other in their opening salvos, especially at higher tech levels. The speediness of annihilation is often accelerated by [[DesignItYourselfEquipment some ships mounting subsystems]] that [[MadeOfExplodium explode when destroyed]], like AntiMatter reactors. However, larger ships (such as the MileLongShip or PlanetSpaceship designs favored by many players) are generally very resistant to being instagibbed.
* In ''VideoGame/TetrisTheGrandMaster ACE''[='=]s versus mode, clearing 20 lines is one possible victory condition. To put it in perspective, 20 lines is only five Tetrises.
* ''VideoGame/GoldenEye1997'' has a one-shot one-kill weapon (the golden gun), but players can also unlock and set various game settings to increase enemy damage, reaction time, health, etc (nicknamed [[VideoGame/PerfectDark Dark]] License To Kill) to make the levels NintendoHard.
** There's also the Licence to Kill multiplayer mode, which makes every character into a OneHitPointWonder. This leads to tense pistol duels where quick reflexes win the day and {{mutual kill}}s run rampant.
* Early versions of ''[[Videogame/MechWarrior MechWarrior Living Legends]]'' had [[HumongousMecha Battlemechs]] and tanks killing each other with alarming speed; a Heavy Gauss slug could OneHitKill any light mech and cripple anything else, for example. Version 0.3 buffed all land vehicles to have more armor to increase the duration of fights. [[SpacePlane Aerospace Fighters]], however, were frequently capable of instagibbing each other with LB-X shotguns and Heavy Gauss Rifles, and was only partially alleviated in the [[ScrewedByTheLawyers final update]] with the infamous [[GameBreaker Shiva "E"]] being [[{{Nerf}} gimped]] and other variants being tweaked for more tradition dogfights rather than rocket-tag.
* ''VideoGame/SinsOfTheProphets'' uses this, unlike vanilla ''VideoGame/SinsOfASolarEmpire''. Frigates drop like flies and even capships and starbases go down with ease if you don't pay attention.
* The ''VideoGame/GearsOfWar'' series suffered from GameplayDerailment resulting in this. It was intended to be a cover-based shooter and used paintball as its main inspiration. Instead, the only thing anyone uses the cover for is to "wallbounce" around the map quickly while attempting to OneHitKill each other with the [[ShotgunsAreJustBetter shotgun]]. Absolutely everything else in the game is considered by the vast majority of the community to be cheap, overpowered bullshit that only idiot noobs with no skill need to rely on to win. ''Especially'' the game's iconic weapon, the [[ChainsawGood Chainsaw Bayonet]].
* ''VideoGame/StarFoxAssault'' has several multi-player game modes that result in this, such as Rocket Launcher fights and Sure Shot Scuffle which renders every shot a one-hit kill. Then there's Sniper Showdown, which limits weapons to only Sniper Rifles but gives them infinite ammo. Sniper Rifles are also probably the most powerful weapon, one-shotting anyone unless you have a low Pilot Skill and your opponent has high health (i.e. Krystal Vs. Wolf) but even then it's still just one more shot. And unlike most shooters, you don't need a headshot, as long as the bullet hits, bye bye goes the healthbar.
* The first expansion of ''VideoGame/StarWarsGalaxies'' was pretty close to this. Weapons were much better than armour, so your ship ''might'' survive one hit before getting destroyed (or being so damaged as to be effectively destroyed). Some players took this to the logical conclusion and didn't bother to install armour or shields at all, instead using the extra space to pack in bigger guns or more powerful engines.
* ''Videogame/PlanetSide 2'', unlike its predecessor, has extremely fast time-to-kill for almost all its weapons, with sniper rifle [[BoomHeadshot headshots]] and point-blank pump action shotguns being able to OneHitKill. Soldiers pretty much melt under enemy fire, and even the MAX PoweredArmor can only sustain two direct hits from rockets.
* ''VideoGame/{{Bomberman}}'' multiplayer matches generally fall into this, given that players almost always can get killed in one hit. It's somewhat complicated by bombs not really being projectile weapons, along with the need to obtain {{Power Up}}s to increase the number and range of one's bombs.
* ''Videogame/{{Evochron}}'''s ships are capable of annihilating each other at close range with extreme prejudice. As such, players will often desperately fling their ships into complex multi-axis spins in order to avoid fire while diverting power to shield generates to avoid being nuked. Luckily, DeathIsASlapOnTheWrist (usually).
* This is what makes ''VideoGame/NinjaGaiden II'' so difficult. Ryu can inflict a lot of pain on his enemies, but so can they on him. Even simple mooks can kill you with no effort if you're not careful.
* ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn]],'' at least compared to the rest of the series. Due to the addition of a third tier of character classes, ''most'' stat {{cap}}s are higher in this game than in any other game in the series save for ''Genealogy of the Holy War'' and ''Awakening''. The [[HitPoints HP]] cap, however, is class-based and goes up with promotion for the first time, so the {{Squishy Wizard}}s and {{Fragile Speedster}}s actually cap out lower than a first-tier unit in the rest of the series even at third tier. Defensive stats being higher as well mitigates this somewhat, but physical units' resistance and magic units' defense aren't terribly impressive either.
* ''VideoGame/HyruleWarriors'': The "All Attacks are Devastating!" maps in Adventure mode makes everybody a OneHitPointWonder. Technically, the player has two hit points due to their LastChanceHitPoint, but the only way to get an A-rank on those missions is to never get hit.
* Open combat in ''VideoGame/{{Splatoon}}'' rarely lasts more than a few seconds[[note]]Most roller, charger, and blaster-type weapons (as well as nearly every offensive sub and special weapon) are capable of a one-hit kill, and numerous other weapons can kill in two hits. Weapons with lower damage tend to compensate by having high fire rates, meaning that unless you stack defense buffs, any weapon in the game can kill you in a second or so.[[/note]], with one side or the other wiped out. Thus, sneak attacks, hit-and-run tactics, and more become very useful and important. This is also true of single-player, though armor mitigates it a bit, with distracting, sneaking, or maneuvering so that you can actually squash the enemies before they wipe you out being one of the most important tactics of the game.
* ''VideoGame/CounterStrike'', the classic. Most weapons will kill in a single shot to the head, and the primary game modes have no mid-round respawns or ways to recovery help. When the AWP comes into play, ''any'' shots to the head or torso put you out of commission, even through your body armor. Using smoke grenades, flashbangs, suppressing fire and squad tactics is ''crucial'' to ensuring that your team members aren't taken out by a stray shot.
* Literally in ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' deathmatch games; the game has an actual rocket launcher, and taking a direct hit from it can be a OneHitKill. Best case scenario, you're at 200% of both health and armor, which means you can survive one hit for sure, and two if you're lucky. Three shots from the rocket launcher takes about a second and a half to fire. The rocket launcher ''isn't even the most powerful weapon''.
* ''VideoGame/KantaiCollection'': Night battles in Kantai Collection are essentially a double-edged sword case of this, as the firepower cap is drastically increased and certain ships (such as destroyers and cruisers) on both sides gains a significant boost in firepower, and may perform attacks that are capable of inflicting significant damage, if not outright obliterating the enemy target altogether. While it is useful or even essential for defeating enemy bosses as you may chose to enter it voluntarily, there are certain maps that features night battle nodes. Though night battles only have one round of shelling, the enemy cut-in attack could heavily damage even your battleships and force you to make a costly retreat. For this reason, forced night battle nodes are loathed by most players.
* ''Videogame/{{Warframe}}'':
** In the original PlayerVersusPlayer combat incarnation, "Conclave", players were free to use any weapon, Warframe, and any combination upgrades modules. Due to the largely [=PvE=]-based game design [[HealthDamageAsymmetry with all that ensues]], coupled with the bunnyhopping-esque melee animation glitches that allow players to catapult themselves at 100 mph, the end result was a MisbegottenMultiplayerMode where players were zipping across the map fast enough to break the netcode while mowing each other down with hitscan machineguns that dealt 30000+ DPS against players with less than 2000hp. "Conclave 2.0" is a complete rewrite of the system; players are still extremely agile courtesy of LeParkour, but most upgrades are forbidden - increasing the time to kill - and the animation exploits have been removed.
** The [=PvE=] content isn't much better at higher levels. With the right mods on the right weapons, players can one-shot most enemies for a very long time, while enemy damage increases steadily with their level. Meanwhile, player health hits its cap relatively quickly, preventing tanking from being a reliable playstyle for Warframes without powers to facilitate it.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'':
** In ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'', some of the strongest weapons do over 100 damage a shot before subtracting DT (more with a CriticalHit, which you can make amazingly common), then have their final damage multiplied several times from perks, sneak attacks, and headshots, while the strongest BonusBoss only has 2000 health and 20 DT. You yourself can only have DT in the 40s and a couple hundred hits points, so most really strong enemies can kill you in one or two hits unless you pile up damage resistance from taking multiple chems simultaneously.
** ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 4}}'': Compared to Normal difficulty, players in [[HarderThanHard Survival]] difficulty take four times as much damage but only do one-quarter less--and can make up the difference with the [[HardModePerks Survival-exclusive]] Adrenaline mechanic, that increases damage for every kill made without resting, and increased drop rates for Legendary weapons.
* In the ''Videogame/{{STALKER}}'' series, the 'Master' HarderThanHard difficultly shifts the game into rocket tag. [[BoomHeadshot Headshots are almost always lethal]], and only the PoweredArmor can protect the user from more than just a couple rounds.
* ''Videogame/DwarfFortress'': Combat with actual weapons tends to end in a few hits due to the pain mechanics: One guy catches one arrow/hammerstrike/axe chop to one limb and they'll probably pass out from pain if they're not badass enough. Same with beasts: Either the warrior gets stomped through their armor or the monster gets cut in half early into the fight. Weaponless brawls, however, and battles with non-organic foes, tend to be significantly longer.
* In ''VideoGame/TheGodfather'', Aldo can't take much punishment, but even plot-vital "bosses" can be easily mowed down with headshots or upgraded weapons too.
* The ''VideoGame/{{ARMA}}'' games generally use this, though attempting more usual mad dashing and dodging usually results in dying without getting a hit in; the trick is playing in a very careful manner, including setting up ambushes, outflanking enemies or just knowing when to call in an artillery strike to knock down a house or two.
* In the ''VideoGame/RainbowSix'' series, especially the original trilogy but still prevalent in ''Vegas'' and ''[[VideoGame/RainbowSixSiege Siege]]'', both the player characters and the enemies can die from a single shot, with [[ArmorIsUseless armor providing little protection]], and in the original trilogy even a non-lethal hit may be a GameBreakingInjury that significantly hampers their movement speed or accuracy for the rest of the mission and requires them to stay off the field for several more afterwards to heal.
* In ''VideoGame/EliteDangerous'''s "CQC Arena" -- a standalone arena fighting mode featuring small craft -- players are capable of blasting each other apart with frightening speed, thanks to their SpaceFighter's nonexistent armor, large guns, and oversized thrusters. Even the comparatively heavily armored Sidewinder dies in seconds. Averted in the base game, which veers off into PaddedSumoGameplay when dealing with full specced-out starships.
* In high-level play of ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom3'', players can reliably take half or more of their opponent's life in a single {{combo}}. Thus the actually competitive part of the match is when both players are trying to land the "touch of death" that starts a combo, often flying wildly around the screen to do so.
** This is quite commonplace in the VideoGame/{{Marvel|VsCapcom}} entries of the ''[[VideoGame/CapcomVsWhatever Vs.]]'' series, with other notable offenders being ''VideoGame/MarvelSuperHeroes'', ''VideoGame/XMenVsStreetFighter'' (to the point that [[VideoGame/MarvelSuperHeroesVsStreetFighter its direct successor]] existed partially to do away with all of the crazy infinites in ''[=XvSF=]''), and -- of course -- ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom2''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}} 2'': Battleships have the most hitpoints of any unit in the game, however their attack damage is so obscenely powerful that it only takes two direct hits for a battleship to kill an enemy battleship.
* Just like the above example, battlecruisers in ''VideoGame/{{Homeworld}} 2'' are the toughest units in the game. Their firepower though is vastly out of proportion to their hull strength, such that two opposing battlecruisers will melt each other down in a matter of seconds. By contrast a destroyer duel will drag out for almost a minute.
* PVP in ''VideoGame/DiabloII'' -- the game is designed around the massive HealthDamageAsymmetry of PVE, and even reducing ''all'' PVP damage to 1/6 only just barely lets high-level players take more than one hit from each other.
* ''VideoGame/MachinaOfThePlanetTreePlanetRuler'': This applies to bosses, who can easily wipe out the party if they get lucky, but will fall quickly if the party uses Overtension and hits their weaknesses with a long combo. Due to how many bosses have regeneration, the game favors offensive tactics over defense in general.
* Some ''Franchise/DevilMayCry'' games after the third game have a "Heaven or Hell" difficulty mode unlocked after beating the game on [[HarderThanHard "Dante Must Die!"]] mode. All sources of damage -- yours, the enemy's, traps and the like -- are boosted to ridiculous levels on this difficulty, so much that anything that can die in the game will do so from a single hit. This is in contrast to "Hell or Hell" difficulty, where this only applies to ''[[OneHitPointWonder you]]''.
* The fast movement and fast Time-To-Kill speeds of the ''VideoGame/{{Titanfall}}'' games are this in spades. Pilots rarely live though more than one burst of fire, and movement can be blindingly fast, especially after ''VideoGame/Titanfall2'' added the Stim and Grapple abilities. This goes all the way to the other side when the [[HumongousMecha Titans]] drop, however.

[[folder: Web Animation ]]
* ''WebAnimation/DeathBattle'': [[Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles The Shredder]] vs [[Franchise/{{Wolverine}} Silver Samurai]] ultimately goes down to who would be the first to land a lethal hit due to Oroku Saki's ninja precision and Kenuichio Harada's Tachyon Blade. [[spoiler:The Shredder is deemed the winner since the hosts shown that Saki [[SuperSpeed can strike faster]] than Harada [[SuperReflexes can react to protect himself]]. That, and Oroku could always [[CuttingTheKnot just chug some Mutagen]] to become [[SuperMode Super Shredder]], whose strength far outclasses Harada's defensive abilities.]]

[[folder: Real Life ]]
* Robot combat (think ''Series/RobotWars'', ''Series/BattleBots'', and ''King of Bots'') tend to be like this, especially from the 2010's and onward, as advancements in technology for weapons and power have moved faster than such advancements in armor and other means of protection. As a result, by the time of the renewal of ''[=BattleBots=]'' on ABC in 2015 (and the subsequent ChannelHop to Discovery Channel in 2018) and of ''Robot Wars'' on BBC, fights end in a pretty decisive knockout early on much more often than them lasting the full 180 seconds allotted.