[[quoteright:350:[[Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/StarTrekIIBattle_6679.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[TalkLikeAPirate Yarr! Firin' a broadside of]] FrickinLaserBeams, [[TalkLikeAPirate cap'n!]][[note]]A scene from ''Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan'', as digitally rendered by Jim Varner.[[/note]]]]

->''Space battles are always a lot more exciting on TV than they are in real life.''
-->-- '''Col. John Sheppard''', ''Series/StargateAtlantis''

This is the {{Supertrope}} for many [[TropesInSpace tropes]] and clichés concerning ship-to-ship combat... [[ShipToShipCombat the]] ''[[ShipToShipCombat literal]]'' [[ShipToShipCombat kind]]. [-IN SPAAAAACE!!!-]

{{Space Fighter}}s have the OldSchoolDogfight; [[StandardSciFiFleet capital ships]] get this trope instead, and you can think of it as a "''[[UsefulNotes/HistoryOfNavalWarfare Very]]'' [[UsefulNotes/HistoryOfNavalWarfare Old School Sea Fight]]." Founded on the idea that SpaceIsAnOcean, it harks back to the age of WoodenShipsAndIronMen, when large warships, [[MoreDakka making up in fire-power]] [[MightyGlacier what they lacked in manoeuvrability]], pounded each other with cannon fire until one finally took enough damage to be forced to withdraw (or until a [[AttackItsWeakPoint lucky shot]] [[OneHitKill hit a]] [[StuffBlowingUp powder magazine]]). The [[UsefulNotes/TheLawsAndCustomsOfWar honour and military tradition]] of those long-gone days will often be evoked as well.

It may be TheClimax of a tense [[MexicanStandoff standoff]], the conclusion of a SternChase, or the outcome of a [[WithCatlikeTread cunning surprise attack]]. Two {{Cool Starship}}s from opposing [[SpaceNavy Space Navies]] will park [[SeeTheWhitesOfTheirEyes within arm's reach of each other]], and proceed to fire [[SpaceIsAnOCean broadsides]] of BeamSpam and [[MacrossMissileMassacre Macross Missiles]] at each other's [[AttackItsWeakPoint Weak Spots]]. The [[PointDefenceless Close In Weaksauce System]] -- if it ''exists'' -- will valiantly try to intercept enemy attacks, and fail. DeflectorShields will [[SomeKindOfForceField flash and crackle]] as they slowly drop [[HitPoints percentage point by percentage point]]. TheEngineer will rush to prevent [[PhlebotinumOverload Phlebotinum Overloads]] while avoiding the inevitable [[ExcessiveSteamSyndrome torrents of burning steam]], providing essential TechnoBabble all the way. On TheBridge, [[BridgeBunnies Bunnies]] will shout out [[SubsystemDamage damage reports]] while ExplosiveInstrumentation claims the life of many a [[RedShirt Redshirt Ensign]]. Everyone flails about as each enemy hit brings on a StarTrekShake. TheCaptain will sit stoically at the centre of it all, providing important [[HollywoodTactics tactical guidance]], such as "ReverseThePolarity!" or "[[TimTaylorTechnology Give me more power]]!"

In a ''really'' [[RuleOfDrama dramatic]] battle, he or she may turn to [[CrazyEnoughToWork daring and original plans]] -- attempts at StealthInSpace (to turn the battle into a [[HotSubOnSubAction submarine analogy]]), aversions of [[TwoDSpace Two-Dimensional Thinking]], uncharacteristically creative applications of usually-MisappliedPhlebotinum, etc. Unfortunately, such daring plans will usually [[ItOnlyWorksOnce Only Work Once]].[[note]]There may be possible parallels with the UsefulNotes/HistoryOfNavalWarfare here, as well. Famous British admiral Horatio Nelson once shocked the world and revolutionized warfare by discarding traditions and turning to risky new tactics, for example.[[/note]]

Once damage has had some time to accumulate, and the [[CrazyEnoughToWork daring plan]] has had a chance to either work impressively or fail spectacularly, one of the ships will usually find it prudent to invoke the [[KnowWhenToFoldEm Thirty-Sixth Stratagem]] and attempt a HyperspeedEscape. An [[LawfulGood honourable opponent]] will let them go; a lowly SpacePirate may get out the [[TractorBeam boarding hooks]] instead, and prepare a BoardingParty. If the quarry manages to slip away, there may be a SternChase.

If neither side is willing to retreat, sooner or later one of the [[CoolShip Cool Ships]] is likely to suffer a CriticalExistenceFailure. The crew will scramble for {{Escape Pod}}s at the last possible second (this step can be skipped if there is nobody important on board), and the subsequent ExplosionsInSpace (with optional PlanarShockwave) will [[TheClimax fittingly wrap up]] the action.

Note that such a confrontation need not be an epic FinalBattle. Starship Scuffles are routine in SpaceOpera, and may be used to [[StandardEstablishingSpaceshipShot establish the setting]], throw a minor obstacle in the protagonists' path, introduce a villain, or even just provide a lead-in to other, more important parts of the plot. Of course, [[SpaceBattle epic battles in sci-fi settings]] often ''will'' make use of this trope.

When this trope is [[AvertedTrope averted]], it will generally be done in one of two ways: Either large ships will engage in {{Old School Dogfight}}ing, displaying maneuverability usually reserved for {{Space Fighter}}s, or combat between spacecraft will actually be shown as a completely new kind of warfare, with weapons and tactics shaped by [[SpaceDoesNotWorkThatWay the realities of the outer space environment]] rather than by the RuleOfCool or naval parallels.

To see the different kinds of ship likely to be involved, inspect the StandardSciFiFleet. If the ships are [[TheBattlestar Battlestars]], this trope may occur side-by-side with {{Old School Dogfight}}ing. This trope is not to be confused with {{Space Battle}}s, though there is certainly overlap.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/CaptainHarlock'': Bonus points for the hero's ship looking like a mash-up of a submarine, battlecruiser and galleon.
* ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'': There is a space battle scene fitting this trope.
* ''Anime/SpaceBattleshipYamato'' featured this trope aplenty, especially in the big battle at the edge of the solar system in the very first episode, which was ''very'' obviously inspired by World War II naval engagements. It's hard to imagine making the SpaceIsAnOcean trope any more explicit than this show did...
* And yet the remake ''Anime/SpaceBattleshipYamato2199'' succeeded by giving the ''Yamato'''s shock cannons the ability to fire both as energy weapons and as standard guns, with Operation M2 having the ''Yamato'' land into Pluto's seas before shelling the enemy base.
* ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEEDDestiny'' the Archangel and the Minerva, engage each other at close range, and firing their weapons when both ships are about to intersect each other.

* There are two space-brawls in ''ComicBook/{{Pouvoirpoint}}'': The first one is lived from inside the [[WaveMotionGun vibro-cannons room]] of ship ''Entreprise-2061'', during the ambush by a [[BlobMonster Proximian]] swarm from outer space. The second one is seen from outside the ship, when it gets attacked by a pestering [[SpaceFighter coastguard fighter]].

* The various ''Franchise/StarTrek'' films. ''[[Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan Wrath of Khan]]'', ''[[Film/StarTrekVITheUndiscoveredCountry The Undiscovered Country]]'', ''[[Film/StarTrekFirstContact First Contact]]'', ''[[Film/StarTrekInsurrection Insurrection]]''... ''Franchise/StarTrek'' is essentially the TropeCodifier, after all.
** In the 2009 ''Film/StarTrek'' film, we see some beautiful examples, though aversions of PointDefenceless and a general reduction in the amount of TechnoBabble from previous Trek incarnations make it a less straight example than most.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'':
** The franchise as a whole gives ''far'' more focus to the {{Old School Dogfight}}s between [[SpaceFighter small fighters]] than to this trope. Usually when capital ships engage each other it is a brief fight. One side will be attempting a HyperspeedEscape from the very start, or the fight will be a CurbStompBattle with one side at a huge disadvantage, and in either case there will be little time for a StandardStarshipScuffle. For example, we see many of the elements of this trope brought out in ''Film/ThePhantomMenace'' when the protagonists' [[ShinyLookingSpaceships Shiny Looking Spaceship]] is breaking through the Trade Federation's [[NavalBlockade blockade]], but from the start the focus is not on the fight, but on trying to ''escape'' it.
** ''Film/StarWars'' plays this trope straight in the opening battle of ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith''. Among other things it lets us take a look at the starships' broadside cannons. The only thing they lack is that they're not muzzle-loaded.
** The Battle of Endor from ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'' starts out more as a Battle of Midway-style melee, with snub fighters attacking the enemy capital ships, but once the Death Star cranks up its superlaser the Rebel cruisers have no choice but to go in and engage the Imperial Star Destroyers toe-to-toe so that at least the Death Star can't get a clear shot at them. The novelization sort of lampshades it; there's a line to the effect that the opposing capital ships are now exchanging broadsides at point-blank range like the oceangoing vessels of another time and place.
* In ''Film/{{Serenity}}'', the FinalBattle plays out more like a cavalry charge than a naval battle. This may not be a representative example, however; one side consists entirely of Reavers, who are AxeCrazy ChaoticEvil lunatics straight out of ''Franchise/TheTexasChainsawMassacre'' [[RecycledInSPACE IN SPACE!]] and probably not all that smart.

* Way, way, way [[AvertedTrope averted]] in the ''Literature/AllianceUnion'' novels. Combat takes place at such distances - and sufficient fractions of ''c'' - that space combat is described as being displayed as an intersecting mesh of tri-D cones predicting where the ships you can see might actually be now, and more importantly might actually be by the time your missiles and [[KineticWeaponsAreJustBetter inert mass ammunition]] gets to them. It's explicitly stated in ''Literature/{{Hellburner}}'' that most of the skill of fractional c firefights is being able to predict what your opponent is likely to do - partly on interpreting the data in light of tactical objectives, partly based on knowing them by name and reputation. Even the titular Hellburners (properly called Riderships) avert the [[AirborneAircraftCarrier carrier]] [[StandardSciFiFleet equivalent]] [[RecycledInSpace in space]] as well - they are more like warships in their own right, with a command crew of 4, 30+ operational crew and capable of carrying a contingent of SpaceMarines. The only things they lack are the Carriers years-long supply stores and Jump Drives. The combat is also fairly well justified. Jump Drives only work if ships are far enough away from stars & planets not to be affected by gravity. Stations tend to orbit planets. Attacking and defending star systems becomes about crossing those distances and threatening to cut your enemy off from his line of retreat through a jump range.
* The ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' novels play with this. Although ships do tend to throw everything they've got at each other, they tend to do it from as far away as possible. Prior to the pod revolution, however, missiles were viewed as being more for softening up targets, and the only way to be sure to kill a dreadnaught or superdreadnaught was to close to energy weapon range.[[note]]Even that, however, was still not "knife fight" range as often depicted elsewhere, however, with energy weapon engagements being at least several light-seconds apart.[[/note]]
** Creator/DavidWeber was also one of the people behind the space strategy board game ''TabletopGame/{{Starfire}}'', and the space battles in ''Honor Harrington'', especially early on, are influenced by the game mechanics.
** The development of more effective [=LACs=] (basically, corvettes) and dedicated LAC carriers (or [=CLACs=]), while not having nearly the same effect as the use of aircraft carriers during WorldWarTwo (which is [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] in the books), still adds a new dimension to space combat. In particular, the new Manticoran [=LACs=] have spinal energy weapons normally mounted on capital ships. A squadron of these [=LACs=] can easily get in range of an enemy battlecruiser and reduce it to scrap before being blown out of space. It's notable that Manticorans tend to use [=LACs=] offensively, while Havenites prefer to use them mostly for anti-LAC purposes. It's coldly pointed out that even the destruction of a squadron of 6 [=LACs=] results in significantly less casualties than the destruction of even a single destroyer (60 vs. several hundred).
** Of note is that the Honorverse was deliberately designed to hit this trope as hard as possible. The setting is explicitly modelled as the British Empire vs. Revolutionary/Napoleonic France RecycledInSpace, and the rules of physics are designed to force battles to take place in the same manner as in the age of sail. Impressively, this was done while still being truer to real world physics, especially relativity, than many other settings. Developments in both politics and technology served to move the setting away from these roots in later books.
* Creator/EEDocSmith's ''Literature/{{Lensman}}'' series had multiple examples, everything from one-on-one battles to huge space fleets fighting each other.
** It can also get into entirely weird aversions, depending on the technology-of-the-moment (LensmanArmsRace being in full effect, of course). For example, in one battle the good guy ships are divided into defenders with powerful shields and tractor beams, and gunships with big guns and not much else. Their strategy is to form a giant open-ended cylinder, with the defenders on the outside, and then grab bad guys with tractor beams and force them into the end of the cylinder. The gunships on the inner wall of the cylinder can then pound each ship as it comes into the cylinder with grossly overwhelming firepower.
* Creator/IsaacAsimov's ''Literature/{{Foundation}}'' trilogy had space battles between the Foundation and various opponents.
* ''Literature/DreadEmpiresFall'' both plays this straight with the "Established Doctrine" espoused by the Government committee charged with running the war, and uses the Admiral Nelson angle of innovative tactics from the protagonists.
* Creator/VernorVinge's ''Literature/AFireUponTheDeep'' has a unique kind of starship combat. All ships use a kind of "stutter drive" for FasterThanLightTravel, with ships making [[TeleportSpam many short faster-than-light jumps every second]]. Maneuvering in combat means trying to synchronize your jumps with those of your target, or throwing off the synchronization of your pursuers, while releasing torpedo-like drones that try to get close to the enemy and [[StuffBlowingUp blow them out of the sky]]. This unique form of combat still leaves room for many of the elements of this trope. Because a ship is only in a given location for a fraction of a second before jumping light-years away, getting ''close'' to your target becomes important so that your attacks can reach them on time. Shipboard instrumentation simulates things like bright flashes of light from explosions to make the battle more intuitive. The StarTrekShake and SubsystemDamage make occasional appearances. Perhaps the closest parallel is HotSubOnSubAction.
* ''Literature/PandorasStar'' and ''Literature/JudasUnchained'' both subvert this trope; space battles happen with nuclear missiles or relativistic projectiles, from many miles away. The crews of the human ships are immersed in the control system, controlling everything through their brains. Maneuvering, if it happens, happens in hyperspace. It still manages to be incredibly dramatic.
* Lampshaded and averted by Creator/HarryHarrison in ''Literature/{{Starworld}}''. The admiral in charge of the rebel colonists shows the protagonist an old space movie before pointing out how real space battles aren't anything like this -- spaceships don't fight at close range and energy weapons don't work in the [[ArbitraryMaximumRange vast distances of space]]. Although missiles are being used by both sides, the rebels use [[KineticWeaponsAreJustBetter linear accelerators firing unguided cannon balls]] to gain the decisive edge, then finish them off with a FlechetteStorm of rocket-propelled bullets -- all this happens before anyone is close enough to see their opponent.
* Played dead straight in ''Literature/TheLostFleet''... until Captain Geary shows up. Both sides in the war have suffered so much attrition and casualties due to this style of combat that one person who actually knows how to properly fight in space is basically unbeatable.
* The ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse'' gives a lot more attention to capital ship battles than the movies generally did. Among other things ''The Essential Guide to Warfare'' has an image of two super star destroyers, the New Republic SSD ''Lusankya'' and the Imperial Remnant SSD ''Reaper'', trading broadsides at extreme close range. [[http://images.wikia.com/starwars/images/d/d6/Lusankya_vs_Reaper.jpg See here.]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'':
** The series in general is the TropeCodifier; this sort of space combat shows up with frequency in all its incarnations. In the later series, the trope is sometimes averted by having giant capital ships engage in an OldSchoolDogfight, but it's still played straight very, ''very'' often.
** In the episode [[Recap/StarTrekTheNextGenerationS5E14Conundrum "Conundrum"]], the ''Enterprise''-D hints at an aversion of the franchise's usual PointDefenseless battles, while simultaneously demonstrating why there aren't many fighters to be found in ''Franchise/StarTrek'' when ''Enterprise'' destroys a half-dozen in under two seconds in a casual, almost offhanded salvo of phaser fire. That episode might not be the best example, since the fighters they destroy are stated to be technologically inferior to the Federation, but the Borg also swat Federation fighters aside just as easily as they approach Earth, and it's shown that, generally speaking, the relatively-tiny Maquis ships are helpless against Federation and Cardassian capital ships and only good for raiding transports. Capital-grade weaponry is both powerful enough that only another capital ship or fortified installation has the defensive power to weather the hit, and accurate enough that evasive maneuvers aren't reliable enough to avoid being hit.
** [=DS9=]: [[Recap/StarTrekDeepSpaceNineS06E06SacrificeOfAngels "Sacrifice of Angels"]] shows a ''Galaxy''-class starship passing the bow of a Cardassian ''Galor''-class, firing to the side as she bears. This is a seagoing battleship-era maneuver called [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossing_the_T "crossing the T"]].
* In ''Series/{{Andromeda}}'', another Creator/GeneRoddenberry series, capital ships occasionally got close enough to one another to fire Anti-Proton guns at each other. But most of the time they lobbed relativistic missiles at blips on the tac screen several light-minutes away. And due to gravity manipulation most ships could maneuver like fighters anyway.
* ''Series/StargateSG1'' and [[Franchise/StargateVerse its sequels]] started to feature space battles that fit this trope perfectly once the [[HumansByAnyOtherName Tau'ri]] developed their own spacecraft using ImportedAlienPhlebotinum. [[BoardingParty Boarding Parties]] often played an especially large role, however, and early on the still-experimental [[ISOStandardHumanSpaceship human ships]] were more prone to PhlebotinumBreakdown.
** The episode [[Recap/StargateAtlantisS05E08TheQueen "The Queen"]] of ''Series/StargateAtlantis'' involved Teyla pretending to be a Wraith Hive queen. She ends up starting a fight with another Hive ship, which involves both ships floating alongside one another (mind you, each ship is several miles long) firing powerful energy bolts at each other, while hundreds of their Dart fighters go at each other. Todd, acting as her NumberTwo, realizes that Teyla is intentionally trying to get as many Wraiths killed as possible. In the end, Teyla's Hive only survives because the rest of the team sabotage the other Hive. Teyla then turns to Todd and berates him for questioning her tactics. Said tactics were, apparently, straight out of 18th century (minus Darts) without even any maneuvering or volleys.
* ''Series/BabylonFive'':
** The series would partake in this or {{Old School Dogfight}}ing (the latter typically for the [[SpaceFighter fighters]], but occassionally for the faster or more advanced capital ships as well). If one side got the jump on the other before they could react (typically by [[HyperspeedAmbush ambushing them]] as they exited a [[CoolGate Jump Gate]], or jumping on them from a [[FasterThanLightTravel jump point]] of their own making once the target had been lured into a predefined killzone in a inversion of the HyperspeedEscape) then the fight would be [[CurbstompBattle spectacularly brief]]. If both ships had fair warning that a fight was about to ensue, then it would be relatively lengthy, with the ships launching fighters and long-range attacks, using electronic countermeasures or [[ShootTheBullet interceptor weapons systems]] to avoid incoming fire while trying to get close enough to allow their own weapons systems to [[PointDefenseless overcome the enemy's defenses]]. On at least one occassion, a duel between two enemy warships resulted in ''[[MutualKill both]]'' [[MutualKill ships being destroyed.]]
** The first battle of the Earth-Minbari War (after the failed first contact) was near the Vega colony. The Minbari fleet closed to weapons range and waited for the slow Earth ships to take the first shot. The whole battle lasted about 12 seconds with most Earth ships destroyed in the first Minbari volley. Only one ship (a prototype ''Omega'') managed to get close enough to [[RammingAlwaysWorks ram]] a ''Sharlin'' war cruiser. Nearly all battles against the Minbari were usually [[CurbStompBattle pretty short and one-sided]]. Oh, and to add more similarities with the Age of Sail, humans had to "eyeball" their weapons at the Minbari (i.e. visual targetting only), as the Minbari stealth systems prevented normal weapons lock.
* ''{{Series/Firefly}}'' is an interesting aversion. The protagonists' CoolStarship is an unarmed transport, not at all designed for battle; when they meet a dangerous foe in space, all they can do is try to outrun it, trick it, or bribe it. In one episode, however, a kind of space battle proves inevitable, as the heroes have to disable a hostile space station. The closest they can come to a standard space battle: One of the characters puts on a space-suit, grabs a rifle, and basically leans out the airlock to take pot-shots at the enemy. (And the rifle has to be partially covered by its own space suit, because it was not meant to work in a vacuum...) Rather than using naval metaphors, ''Firefly'' was a SpaceWestern; thus space combat ended up resembling not seagoing ships pounding each other with cannon, but cowboys shooting at each other while riding on horseback or in wagons. The main similarities to this trope were the very short range of the engagement, and the involvement of PhlebotinumBreakdown.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/BattleTech'''s space combat spinoff, ''[=BattleSpace=]'' / ''[=AeroTech=]'' has this as one of its core mechanics. [=WarShips=] brawl with each other at ridiculously close ranges. The battles are very brutal and reminiscent of sea battles from the age of sail. However, it has advanced rules for Newtonian flight physics instead of the OldSchoolDogfight style physics, and three dimensional movement is important. Likewise, the fiction usually averts this, with direct combat between capital ships typically fought entirely by instruments and mathematics.
** In a bit of a twist, with the exception of rare and expensive [=WarShips=] with special compact jump cores the average fleet "mothership" is a sitting duck in combat -- plain [=JumpShip=]s spend so high a mass fraction on their faster-than-light drive system that they have basically no tonnage left over to invest in armor, mobility, firepower, or even significant cargo, and recharging the drive for a second jump back out of a hostile system can take on the order of a week or more. As such, while they're key to ''strategic'' mobility ([=DropShips=] and fighters aren't FTL-capable and so need to hitch rides to do anything more than patrol the system where they were originally built), they rarely play much of a role in ''tactical'' combat.
** Also, [=JumpShip=]s are so astoundingly rare and important to the functioning of the galactic economy that it was written into [[FictionalGenevaConventions the Ares Conventions]] that attacking a [=JumpShip=] was a war crime. Though by the time of the [=FedCom=] Civil War this was largely ignored and when the Word of Blake Jihad broke out, war crimes of so much greater magnitude were committed so often that "destruction of a Jumpship" ceased to be a noticeable offense.
* The ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' spin-off game ''BattlefleetGothic'' is a tabletop game built on this trope. To its credit, while combat mostly occurs by ships firing [[SpaceIsAnOcean broadsides]] at each other, they at least do it over realistic distances, several million kilometres apart. The models representing the ships are completely out of scale with the rest of the game, [[AcceptableBreaksFromReality as otherwise you'd either be playing with microscopic models]], or would need a decently sized city to play in.
** Additionally, 3D combat is handwaved as "just another range modifier", and since most of these battles take place over such insane ranges, the planar weapon distribution could even be structural, only requiring maneuvering rockets to aim in the z-axis (from the frame of reference of our 2D game surface).
* ''Task Force'' Games: ''TabletopGame/StarFleetBattles'' and ''TabletopGame/{{Starfire}}''. The latter influenced the portrayal of space battles in the ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' books, as one of the creators of the game was also the novels' author, though how the two universes actually use this trope differs.
* ''[[http://www.adastragames.com/products/adastra/av.html Attack Vector: Tactical]]'' is a good example of an aversion. Battles between "10,000 ton cruisers plying the pitiless depths of space" is the whole point of the game, but special care is taken to realistically simulate physics. As the name implies, the key is all in "vectors and timing". Even [[TwoDSpace 2D Space]] is averted, no mean feat for a [[WarGaming game played on a 2D tabletop]]!
* Ground Zero Games's ''TabletopGame/FullThrust'' plays this trope straight. Optional rules provide varying degrees of aversion.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Starcraft}}'' features this trope both in-game, and in an animation that plays on one of the menu buttons.
* ''VideoGame/GratuitousSpaceBattles'' was explicitly designed to provide a pure fix of StandardStarshipScuffle visuals. The player designs a fleet of fighters, frigates and gargantuan battleships then pits them against another fleet in a firestorm of technicolour glory. If you want to see DeflectorShields shimmering under the onslaught of BeamSpam while {{Tractor Beam}}s struggle to pin elusive microfighters, this is the game for you.
* ''Franchise/MassEffect'' averts this -- at least according to the [[AllThereInTheManual Codex]].
** The space battle at the end of the first game looks a little more like a dogfight. The space battles in ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' are all between the same two ships, and manage to give the impression of an aircraft attacking an oceangoing ship.
** The battle in the first game is a ludicrously short-ranged one for the setting; the Citadel flagship is actually unable to bring its main weapon to bear fast enough before being overwhelmed by smaller enemies much lighter human Cruisers take out in a single shot.
** The battles in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' tend to be one-sided on the part of the [[spoiler:Reapers]]. However, we do get to see geth and quarian fleets slug it out without much maneuvering involved. Interestingly, despite the Codex claiming that the quarian heavy capital ships were upgraded with the [[WaveMotionGun Thanix cannons]], we never actually see them in action. They keep using their standard MagneticWeapons.
*** The Codex claims that ''all'' starship weapons have been upgraded to Thanix cannons. However, even during the final battle involving every remaining fleet vs. the Reapers, all ships advance in a wall and wait for Sheppard's order to fire, at which point we see standard shots (i.e. no Reaper-like beam "lances"). Only then do we see some maneuvering, such as dreadnoughts getting within spitting distance of Reapers, despite the fact that they're supposed to be the space equivalent of artillery. Also, all that talk in the second game about firing ''only'' when a hit is certain flies right out the window, as we see tons of shots miss... and head straight for Earth.
*** The battle near Earth is possibly Justified. The space battle isn't really supposed to destroy the Reapers, but rather to distract them long enough for Shepard and [[spoiler:the Crucible]] to do their job.
* ''VideoGame/InfiniteSpace'' has this to a hilt, especially in cutscenes.
* The ''VideoGame/{{X}}-Universe'' games often feature slug fests between capital ships at fairly short ranges, even though the weapons will reach out 8km, they're too slow to kill the enemy before they close to sneezing distance. Battles between the player capital ship and AI capital ships usually end with the player [[RammingAlwaysWorks plowing his ship into the AI ship.]] AI vs AI capital ship battles sometimes result in them both smashing into each other (if the player is speeding up time) due to the poor maneuverability of capital ships and the slow reaction time of sped-up AI.
* ''VideoGame/StarTrekLegacy'', ''VideoGame/StarTrekBridgeCommander'' and the ''VideoGame/StarTrekStarfleetCommand'' games all feature this heavily, as their respective settings mostly lack {{Space Fighter}}s. Most Trek games are like that.
** The second Starfleet Command game is the only one of the series to feature fighters. They aren't a tremendous help but can tip the scales in a close battle, especially for the Lyran's who get the best ones.
** ''Bridge Commander'' does allow you to take direct control over the ship and treat it like a fighter, especially if you're piloting a Bird-of-Prey (they only have forward-firing weapons).
* ''NexusTheJupiterIncident'' is a game designed around this concept. While there are fighters in the game, they're useless until the enemy's [[PointDefenseless flak]] [[BeamSpam lasers]] are disabled. All fights are big slugfests, especially the climactic fight in the penultimate mission, where the player's fleet must fight against the constantly incoming enemy ''fleets''. Lasers are specifically used to knock out enemy systems but don't do much physical damage. The other weapons are meant to damage the hull ([[MagneticWeapons mass drivers]]) and shields ([[EnergyWeapon energy shells]]).
** {{Fixed Forward Facing Weapon}}s are the exception, not the rule. Most guns are turreted and located all over the hull, so you will often see ships rotating to bring additional weapons to bear while the ones currently facing the enemy are recharging.
** The FinalBattle in the game, while smaller in scale than the DecisiveBattle in the penultimate mission, is definitely not much easier. Essentially, you have to slug it out with one of the most powerful ships in the game without your fleet. You also have to do it inside a NegativeSpaceWedgie that could suck your ship in if you're not careful. If you focus on [[spoiler:disabling the enemy engines]], though, then the fight becomes easier, as [[spoiler:the enemy will then fall into the anomaly]].
* Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator often plays out like this, complete with bow-to-bow gun runs, preceded by long-distance missile firing as they close distance to beam weapon range. Skilled crews often use tactics based more on maneuvering around the enemy to strike weakspots than simply closing range and engaging in a slugfest, but novice crews often resort to simplistic scuffle tactics.
* Although most of the combat in the ''VideoGame/WingCommander'' series is {{Old School Dogfight}}ing, there are a few exceptions:
** In one mission in ''Wing Commander III'', you're {{escort|mission}}ing a pair of human destroyers that will engage Kilrathi destroyers in the area if given the opportunity.
** One {{cutscene}} in the successful mission tree of ''Secret Ops'' shows an engagement between a ''Plunkett'' heavy cruiser and a Hydra cruiser. The losing mission branch version of the scene shows the ''Plunkett'' being swarmed by Nephilim fighters, however.
* ''VideoGame/SwordOfTheStars'' battles play out this way at the dreadnought and leviathan level. Smaller spacecraft try to maneuver, but don't have the agility needed for an OldSchoolDogfight.
** Computer-controlled Liir like to swarm your ships at close range and will try to surround-and-pound each of your vessels, even if they are using dreadnoughts. If you were counting on a battle line, good luck.
** Early battles involving only destroyers do tend to look like your typical scuffle, with ships passing one another while trading shots, especially since destroyers are unlikely to have missiles and tend to only have small turrets.
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Homeworld}}'' series you plan and fight these as a part of gameplay, as this is a space {{RTS}} and your task is not only to ensure that there are enough resources and ships to throw into combat, but to manage combat itself. Which is harder than it seems because the games completely avoid TwoDSpace.
** Battles between capital ships often fit this trope closely, as large ships can't manoeuvre very well, and have [[ArbitraryMaximumRange fairly short-ranged weapons]]. They will often slowly drift past each other, or park within arm's reach of each other, and trade beam and cannon-fire until one of the ships bursts into flames and explodes... You can even order the ships into formations, one of which takes the traditional sea-bound Line of Battle and transforms it into a 3D Wall-of-Battle for much the same effect!
* True to form, in ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'' duels between starships armed with beam arrays tend to work out this way. Beam arrays have a 255-degree firing arc, so being side-on to your target means you can hit with all your energy weapons at once. Among ships armed with dual cannons (most escorts) or dual beams, it works out more like an OldSchoolDogfight, albeit one where the combatants also have tailguns (turrets on the rear mounts); and some of these weapons have special versions that expand their firing arcs.
* Fights between anything larger than fighters in ''VideoGame/{{Haegemonia}}'' looks like a typical slugfest between ships floating in space and firing at one another without any regard for tactics. While the game gives you the option of targeting engines or weapons instead of just the hull, it doesn't have much of an effect on the battle.
* Battles in ''VideoGame/EndlessSpace'' feature very little player input (the only input is in the form of battle cards that can be employed prior to each phase). Visually, they feature both fleets moving in standard battle lines towards a planet on converging vectors. During the second, third, and fourth phases of combat, broadsides are exchanged. Missiles are more effective at long range (second phase), lasers are best at medium range (third phase), and kinetics are most accurate at "melee" range (fourth phase). Even if neither fleet is completely destroyed by phase 5, the battle ends and an AfterActionReport is displayed. The ''Disharmony'' ExpansionPack adds fighters and bombers, which spend phase 2 getting into range and then attack for the next two phases (fighters go after enemy fighters first, then bombers, then ships; bombers go after ships).
* Enforced and Justified in ''VideoGame/SinsOfASolarEmpire'', because battles takes place in planetary or stellar gravity wells-"brown water" distances in terms of starships.
* Done in VideoGame/{{Dreadnought}} all battles are done with in short range, and ships firing broadside salvos at each other. At the very least it averts the 2D space combat.
* The ''Honor Harrington'' mobile game ''VideoGame/TalesOfHonorTheSecretFleet'' plays the trope even straighter than the novels. When ships battle they just sit there in parallel positions lobbing missiles at each other until one is destroyed. At most they might "roll" to use their impeller wedges at shields occasionally.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''{{Starslip}}'' has a few instances of this trope, usually with [[BetterThanABareBulb humorous lampshading]] of the various associated clichés.
* One of the fillers for {{SSDD}} [[http://www.poisonedminds.com/d/20080707.html explains]] why real life space battles wouldn't look like the movies.
* Averted in ''Webcomic/{{Outsider}}''. When the Loroi and Umiak engage in space combat, their fleets are face to face with each other at considerable long distances. The Umiak attack via ZergRush, and [[MacrossMissileMassacre missile spam]], while Loroi fight with carefully coordinated attacks with BeamSpam.
* Played with in ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'', where the author's commentary averts this trope by noting the ways in which space combat has unique variables and considerations, and then goes on to admit the comic itself will play it straight by noting how audiences wouldn't enjoy or comprehend it, so here's a bunch of shots of StuffBlowingUp. The realities of space-born combat ''do'' at times make it on-panel, however. Some battles occur at incredible distances with full use of the physics of space in effect, and considerable detail has been spent describing measures, counter measures, counter-counter measures, etc. In one case, Tagon's crew watch an engagement that had been decided days ago play out in "real time" due to the time it took the light to reach them.