Three Strike Combo
Three is a magic number, even when it comes to fighting. Often times in video games a character's most basic combo will consist of three attacks in rapid succession with the last hit dealing slightly more damage than the first two. Often the most basic combo attack in the game being performed by simply pressing the attack button three times in a row. Sometimes the various hits that comprise the combo can be upgraded as the character Levels Up, or the combo can be extended to having four or more consecutive hits. Subtrope of Rule of Three.
- The Matrix: Path of Neo has either three punches or two punches and a kick, depending on how fast you press the buttons.
- Super Mario 64: The basic right-left-kick combo might be the Trope Codifier for 3D games. Yah-Wah-Hoo!
- Double Dragon might be the Ur-Example, the first kick upgrade turns your third kick into a roundhouse, the last upgrade turns it into a leaping roundhouse that's one of the strongest moves in the game.
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time had four different three point combos depending on which direction the control stick was being held. Left horizontal, Right horizontal, Vertical and Thrust.
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask also gave three point combos to the Goron and Zora forms, but not the Deku form.
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess replaced it with a four point combo that could be mixed and matched.
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword abolished the combo system altogether by mapping the sword's movement to the Wii Motion Plus.
- Kingdom Hearts: Your character typically starts with a three point combo, but it can be lengthened, shortened or otherwise altered depending on what Keyblade you have equipped and what skills you're using.
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Donkey Kong 64: each Kong had a three point combo. Donkey Kong could perform his combo with just two button presses, since the first hit was a double-attack, making it a curious example.
- In the Metal Gear series, the 3D installments have a 3-hit combo as the basic close quarters attack, consisting of 2 punches and a kick that will knock to the ground instantly any non-boss character.
- Zero's basic saber attack in the Mega Man X and Mega Man Zero series is a three-slash combo.
- In Kid Icarus: Uprising, all weapons that aren't clubs or claws have three-hit melee combos.
- In Beyond Good & Evil, Jade does this with her kicks, building up to a high kick.
- In Diablo III, all of the Monk's Primary attacks work like this, releasing a powerful blow on the third strike. They can be mixed up, using two strikes from one technique and the third from another, or any other combination.
- The Tales series often gives you a three-point combo for basic attacks.
- Triple Kick in Pokémon.
- In AdventureQuest Worlds, a Warrior's Prepared Strike skill gives you two automatic crits on an enemy. If the Decisive Strike skill is used immediately after the two crits, the attack does more damage than it does normally, particularly if it crits as well.
- League of Legends is very fond of this: Xin Zhao has Three Talon Strike, which enhances his normal attacks to deal increased damage, the third of which knocks the target into the air. Riven's Broken Wings is three slashing leaps, the third of which deals extra damage and knocks back nearby enemies. Diana's passive makes every third attack deal bonus magic damage to her enemy and those nearby. Aatrox can have his third attack either heal him or deal bonus damage while hurting him. Every third attack Vayne makes on a target deals a percentage of the target's health as true (armor-ignoring) damage. Nami is unusual in that she can give one of these to someone else: the target of her spell has their next three attacks deal bonus damage and slow their target.
- A common variant is also for an attack to have some effect which intensifies each time until it reaches its maximum on the third. Orianna deals magic damage that increases for the second and third hit. Warwick deals bonus damage and heals himself for more with each attack to the third. Gangplank applies damaging and slowing poison that stacks up to three times. Volibear has both types - each attack up to the third increases his attack speed, but after that he can bite an enemy to deal damage based on how much health they're missing.
- There are also some spell based ones: after casting three spells, Sona's attack deals bonus damage and has an effect based on which spell she cast last. Varus' attacks apply up to three marks to an opponent that do nothing until he hits them with a spell, at which point they detonate to deal damage based on the enemy's maximum health and how many marks there were. Xerath's ultimate ability lets him fire three magical detonations. Ahri's ultimate lets her dash three times, dealing damage to enemies nearby.
- Chain combo systems in Fighting Games typically rely on a three-hit chain: Light-Medium-Heavy. This appears in countless fighters, including Street Fighter Alpha (the first one, but not the two sequels, unless—to a degree—your name is Guy or Gen), nearly every fighter related to the Marvel vs. Capcom series, BlazBlue, and Skullgirls.
- Super Smash Bros.: About half the cast has a three point combo achieved by pressing A three times. When possible, the combos are lifted straight out of the characters' original games. Mario uses his combo from Super Mario 64, and Snake uses his from Metal Gear Solid.
- Mace: The Dark Age bases its combo system on each character having several three-button-press combos exclusive to each character, which can then be followed up with various special moves.
- In Street Fighter II, Fei Long's Rekka-Ken hits three times, but the move input must be repeated for each hit. Rekka-like moves have been used by many other characters in the genre since then.