Super Move Portrait Attack
LimitBreaks or SpecialMoves sometimes a character using said special will have a portrait or close-up of his face flashed on the screen just before he proceeds to use his technique. This allows us to see the determination on the attacker's face that may otherwise be difficult to convey on the character's in-game sprite or model and serves as a good Oh Crap! moment for his opponents (who may be other players if it's a multiplayer game). If the model is detailed enough to convey emotion, then an alternate option is to have the camera temporarily zoom in on the attacker. When used with an image, this trope is frequently referred to as a "cut-in." See also Eyedscreen, Versus Character Splash.
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- The Marvel vs. Capcom games.
- Its predecessor Marvel Super Heroes has a Super Move Sound Effect: a deep "X!" for X-Men (a holdover from X-Men: Children of the Atom) or "Infinity!" for other characters (which also carries over into the first MvC game for the returning cast from MSH).
- Tatsunoko vs. Capcom and Marvel vs. Capcom 3 show close-up animations of the characters which changes for each Hyper Combo.
- Quite a few M.U.G.E.N characters, though it's mostly in an attempt to stay true to the games they come from.
- Shadow Kouma, an edit of Kishima Kouma, has a LITERAL ONE.
- Used in the Gundam Vs Series series of Fighting Games. The installments centered around Mobile Suit Gundam, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny flash the character's portrait when the player activates their Super Mode, while Gundam Vs. Gundam NEXT shows a cut-in of your character if you land the final attack. Gundam Extreme Versus brings back Super Modes, but this time portraits only appear if it's especially critical (ie, if you're low on HP and/or it's the last 30 seconds of a match).
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Heritage for the Future shows this for supers and "custom combo" inputs; in the latter case the portrait lingers for a second or two and the character's facial features twitch to give some semblance of not being just a still image. There are also "defeated" portraits when a super move KOs a combatant.
- In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle, Heart Heat Attacks (HHAs) zoom in on the character launching the move. Great Heat Attacks (GHAs) show a momentary cutaway in the style of manga panels as the character winds up.
- Done in the Bleach Fighting Games. Taken further, unleashing Bankai causes a short cutscene of their personal activation method to play.
- Final Smashes in Super Smash Bros. Brawl tend to zoom in on the character using it immediately before the effect.
- Samurai Shodown V had a variation. Portraits appeared not when a character used a super attack, but when they activated "Mu no Kyouchi" mode (which dramatically slows down the opponent).
- The Mahjong Fight Club series has in-game AI-controlled avatars of real life Mahjong professional league players. Whenever one of them wins a hand, a cut-in of the pro's face flashes on their opponents' screens right before declaring the win. The pros themselves also have special user accounts that allow them to play as their in-game avatars (with a "real-life person" tag in place of the usual "CPU"), which will have the same effect, though the pro will see his/her own facial cut-in on his/her own screen as well.
- Street Fighter III and Street Fighter IV both use the zoom-in, screen freeze, flashy lights variant when a Super Art is activated. SFIV goes one step further, and uses full motion zoom-ins for Ultra Moves, to enhance that Oh Crap! feeling.
- Rumble Roses uses this whenever any wrestler performs one of her two finishing moves.
- Melty Blood, as of Actress Again Current Code.
- Also happens in earlier games for EX and Arc moves.
- Based on the trailers, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As Portable: The Gears of Destiny has added these to accompany the Full Drive super moves.
- Naruto: Clash of Ninja and in the Ultimate Ninja series has a portrait of your character appear briefly in the background when activating your special attack.
- The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match did this with the character's MAX 2 supers.
- Starting around 2002, the WWE series of games (formerly WWE Smackdown or WWE Smackdown Vs Raw) began adding more cinematic touches to the fights, typically dramatic zoom-ins, slow-mo, camera pans and/or repeating replays of successful finishing moves. In previous games you could invoke this trope in singles matches.
- Dead or Alive 5 does this with power blows.
- Skullgirls uses black-and-white portraits of characters behind fast-moving film reels, in keeping with the game's film noir aesthetic.
- Aquapazza has this for each of the characters' Splash Arts.
- In Ougon Musou Kyouku, characters' portraits swoop in when they make meta-declarations or counter-declarations, and they get one or more for their meta super attacks. Even support characters' portraits appear for their assists.
- Guilty Gear Xrd goes the SFIV route and has cinematic startups to certain supers.
- Persona 4 Arena has multiple cut-ins appear during the animations for certain SP Skills. The facial cut-ins focusing on a character's eyes are also brought over from the original game when a character enters "Awakened Mode".
- The Touhou fighting games stay true to their bullet hell origins by doing this whenever spell cards are declared.
Hack And Slash
- If it's been a Koei hack and slash franchise, it's used this trope. They seem to favor extreme close ups over still portraits, but that's mostly dependent on the franchise. Almost all of the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors games have used extreme close ups of the character model, often from multiple dramatic angles.
- In Dungeon Fighter Online, when a Dungeon Fighter uses their classes "Awakening" skill (or certain high level normal skills), a portrait of their subclass appears on screen
- Grand Chase does this during special attacks.
- Special Actives in Elsword also work like this.
- Phantasy Star Online 2 features cut-ins of your actual character model's face talking as an option for text chat communication (with a choice of various backgrounds and facial expressions). As such, this trope can be used manually by players at their own will, or the Autowords feature can even be set up to do it automatically during special moments, such as an Emergency Code starting or clearing a Quest. Excessive use of them during gameplay though, especially when broadcast to all players in the field rather than just the player's own party, is seen as disruptive and annoying by some. As the cut-ins match your character exactly, it can also result in some less than graceful situations where your character is knocked to the ground by an enemy mid-sentence and this is reflected in the cut-in window at the time.
- Mario Party 3 does this on the duel boards when one player's partner attacks the opposition.
- Mario Tennis uses a "VS" version of this.
- Ape Escape 3 has the bosses do this. Usually before doing a hard to dodge or powerful move.
- Azure Striker Gunvolt, when you or a boss uses an offensive skill.
- In Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, when initiating a Dual Crush attack, the portraits of the two protagonists will flash on screen in a brief time-stop moment, accompanied by the characters shouting the incantation.
- Even Dance Dance Revolution started doing this in SuperNOVA 2, flashing a portrait of the dancer in the background whenever the player gets high Combos. (20 or higher, with another portrait flash for every 50 combo)
- Hottest Party 3 took this up another notch and made it more awesome. Starting from 50 combos the character will make a move on screen, and from 100 to 200 combos, so on, they'll continue to make a fancy celebrating move for it. And better yet, if you end off with a full combo, they'll have a finishing move while "Full Combo Finish!!" flashes on screen. Distracting for easily distracted players, but it's still very awesome.
- Elite Beat Agents and Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan have the portrait of the lead member appear whenever the player completes a particularly good string of beats or hits a specific number of combos.
Role Playing Game
- The Tales Series uses this for its strongest attacks, known as Mystic Artes (Hi-Ougis) or Blast Calibers, depending on the game.
- Tales of the Abyss has two grades of Mystic Arte, one which gets a little portrait of the character and the strongest ones, which you can't get in the first playthrough and show a full pic of the character in dramatic combat pose.
- If you're on a Tales of Hearts New Game +, you have a chance to see Kunzite's Mystic Arte use a different portrait from normal - specifically, with his helmet off.
- There's a similar case in Tales of Destiny 2, where after using a certain move on a New Game+, Judas will go through a Dramatic Unmask and his Super Move Portrait Attack will show him as such.
- The Updated Re-release of Tales of Vesperia gives all the main characters new Mystic Artes, and just to show how awesome and powerful they are, the accompanying new Super Move Portrait Attacks are animated. (Because nothing quite says "power" like boobie bounce.)
- The Link artes in Tales of Xillia and Tales of Xillia 2 briefly display a face portrait of the two participating characters whenever they're used.
- Lunar: Silver Star Harmony adds a Super Move Portrait Attack Limit Break system to the normal skills of the game. This makes the game rather easy for half the game, since Luna's move restores all hp and mp.
- Lunar Legend did it first.
- Persona 3 shows a close-up of the hero every time you use a fusion power. Portraits of the Personas involved will appear to his sides.
- It also randomly shows a cutaway of the character's face when their Persona either hits a weakness or gets a critical hit (and the first time they summon in battle, regardless of how it hits). It applies both to the party members as well as enemy Persona users (and the optional superboss.)
- Finally, when you've knocked all enemies down, a character will remind you (via portrait pop-up and a voice-over) to initiate an All-Out Attack. Agree, and the screen will throw up the portraits of all characters participating in the attack.
- Persona 4 features your party's portraits when they perform one of their follow-up attacks. In addition, the random face cutaways and group portraits for All-Out Attacks are still present.
- The PSP remake of Persona 2: Innocent Sin added these to fusion spells. Everyone participating in the spell appears on the screen, usually with some loose bit of clothing or their hair flapping about as a side effect of summoning their Personas.
- Fusion attacks in The World Ends with You: Level 1 Fusions have Neku's portrait on the bottom screen, and his partner's portrait on the top screen, each in a colored horizontal bar. Level 2 Fusions have the two portraits side-by-side, in colored vertical bars that stretch across both screens; this one of both characters with their eyes closed, opening them simultaneously. Level 3 fusions have full-body, non-bar portraits of the two characters in fighting poses circle each other once or twice before the attack starts.
- From the third generation of Pokémon games onward, Pokémon using a move outside of battle (Cut, Fly, etc.) flash across the screen and cry before performing the action.
- It also happens when you're challenged by a Gym Leader.
- Riviera: The Promised Land does this for characters' Level 3 Over Skills and enemies' Max Rage attacks.
- The final battle of Final Fantasy VI manages a sprite-based variant. When Kefka begins charging his Forsaken attack, a small sprite representing his laughing face will appear on the battlefield. When he appeared in Dissidia: Final Fantasy the same attack reappears as his Limit Break and a more traditional close-up of his face is used before pulling back to show the attack.
- The final boss of Final Fantasy VII made the most of its newfangled 3-D graphics to give the final boss a dramatic face close-up when he performed his infamous Supernova attack.
- Super Robot Wars: Endless Frontier has two cut-ins for each character: one "normal" one and one showing part of the attack in progress - Harken turning his super revolver into a beam cannon, Aschen removing her personality limiters (and significant chunks of spandex), and so on. They also pop up whenever you switch characters or summon in support characters to join in on the beatdown, and the second game makes them even more elaborate and increases their number greatly as well because of all the support-only characters. It also cranked up the ammount of butt-shots and bouncy breasts.
- Arc Rise Fantasia with its Trinity Acts and Excel Trinity Acts.
- Pokémon Black and White and its sequels: Not in the games themselves, but one of the online Dream World minigames, named "Open the Treasure Box", featured this when beating the minigame.
Shoot Em Up
- Spell card declarations in Touhou
- Characters in Otomedius flash their portraits when using a P-Burst or D-Burst attack. The portrait is different depending on which Burst is used.
- In Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3, the M-Crash special attack is accompanied by a cut-in portrait.
Turn Based Strategy
- Team attacks in Disgaea.
- In the newer games, the Magichange ability also does this (As shown in the trope picture).
- Some normal moves do this, as well, the Prism Rangers' Prism Justice (Squeezes the portraits of all seven of them onto the screen), and Mid-Boss' Adonic Buster and Super Adonis (A four person team attack and magichange respectively, both using copies of himself) being particularly noteworthy.
- Super Robot Wars games in general absolutely abuse this, sometimes using cut-ins of the pilot, the mecha itself preparing the attack (or the next part of it), or both. In some of the games, everything from the most basic attack is precipitated by at least a pilot cut-in. Considering the length of the more powerful attacks, they almost affect the Story-to-Gameplay Ratio.
- SD Gundam G Generation post SEED uses this in anything stronger than vulcan and punch attacks. This is because you're basically create your own robot army, so cut-ins are used to show who is in your mech. Story-based G Generation games uses cut-in to show the character's pulling out ID Commands.
- Advance Wars shows a portrait of the CO whenever they use their CO-Power.
- La Pucelle
- Team/Group Attacks in Chaos Wars show face cut-ins of all the characters participating in the combo. When a unit performs a Realize Special, a larger portrait of the unit is shown, and during the attack, just before landing the final blow, a face-cut in appears.
- Pretty much every Flash Drives in the Luminous Arc series, with the third game also bringing in Unison Strike combo attack between Refi and his partner.
- Fire Emblem Awakening pulls this when characters execute special skills or critical hits.
- In Pokémon Conquest, a brief portrait of both the Pokemon and the Warrior commanding it will appear when attacking with a super-effective move or activating a Warrior Skill.
- Valkyria Chronicles III: When certain characters use their super special powers, such as Kurt, Imca, and Riela. Also, Alicia and Aliasse. The use of Order in the game may also be counted as this.
- Even the Ace Attorney series does it, a close up of the Attorney/Prosecutor appears in the screen, generally when doing an Objection!
- The beginning of the cross-examination, when the samurai eye shots of the prosecutor and the defense attorney are shown glaring at each other with gusto!
- The Dangan Ronpa games do this whenever the protagonist points out a contradiction.
Non-video game examples:
Manga and Anime
- This happened in the Negima!? second series during the Omake involving Chao's super glove and her 2-D fighting game-esque battle with Ku Fei.
- Nanoha does this sometimes. Especially in the movie, when she calls out her Wave Motion Gun attack.
- Used in Rune Soldier Louie for the last episode Combination Attack.
- Carnival Phantasm contains a callback to the Melty Blood games in which Akiha's portrait appears during a very violent volleyball game.
- Persona 4: The Animation carries this over from the original game, particularly when characters are about to get serious.