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While Jump Physics
are common in video game worlds, and even the lowliest platforming hero is commonly capable of a Double Jump
, this is comparatively much rarer: Video games that actually let your character fly freely about the world. From a design standpoint, this seems logical. After all, if your character can fly anywhere, what's to stop them from flying to distant parts of the level and completely avoiding all the obstacles you planned for them
? And even moreso: How do you keep them from flying off the edges of the level (or world map) without having to rely on those Invisible Walls
Ignoring the obvious Flight Simulators
(and many a World War 2
dogfighting game), there are still games that let your character fly freely through the wild blue yonder, but for the sake of gameplay and level design will usually impose one or more of the following limits:
- Flight can only be used in specific levels or areas, or by acquiring a specific item or powerup that is itself found only in specific levels or areas, or landing/take-off is only possible at certain locations or on certain terrain types.
- Or, similarly, Gravity Barriers impose clear rules on where the player is and is not allowed to fly. A Truth in Television example is the flight ceiling, a general threshold above which real-life aircraft cannot generate enough lift to maintain safe flight. Though for real aircraft this tends to be much higher than videogames featuring such a limit.
- Flight is granted as a late-game ability: The fact that you can skip between levels and areas is moot when you have already played through them just to get there.
- The skies are filled with enemies and obstacles, making them just as treacherous as the ground, if not more so. This is especially the case if your character cannot adequately attack or defend themselves in mid-air, or can be easily knocked out of the sky into the nearest pool of molten lava or Bottomless Pit.
- Or, on the other hand, the skies are empty: There are little to no puzzles, Power Ups, Plot Coupons, or other events that can be accessed from the air, requiring the player to land at the nearest open space and continue the rest of the way on foot. A common limitation of the Global Airship.
- And that's assuming there is a sky to take to. Walls and ceilings encroaching on all sides impose obvious limits as to where the player can fly; more Nintendo Hard games may give the player a whole maze of Deadly Walls to fly through.
- Flight can only be used for limited durations at a time, beyond which the character is out of fuel (another Truth in Television), energy, or is otherwise too exhausted to continue flying and must return to the ground to rest or refuel. Or touch the ground for a split second to instantly reset their flight meter, as the case may be.
- It is Not Quite Flight; for example, a winged character who can only glide or make wing-assisted leaps. In practice, this usually involves mechanics similar to a Double Jump.
- Unintentional example; When a Good Bad Bug enables you to functionally fly, if even for a limited amount of time. The most notable example is rocket jumping, often still a bi-product of even advanced physics engines. Power ups are also usually a culprit, particularly when they are stacked with other power ups creating unintended overlap effects, like infinite ammo and damage reduction enabling more rocket jumping.
- Shantae grants Shantae a use-anywhere Harpie transformation, but only in the last level. However, the Harpie can't attack without first finding an item, and the skies are full of enemies that swarm you.
- Beyond Good And Evil has flight granted as a late-game ability with the Beluga.
- Allows access to some new areas.
- Also allows appreciation of the Scenery Porn from new and better angles.
- Castlevania Symphony Of The Night: True to his vampire heritage Alucard can fly by transforming into a bat. This slowly uses mana, and you can only attack if you've collected the Fire of Bat powerup. The mist form can also be upgraded to grant infinite, invincible flight, but it uses mana much more quickly than the bat.
- The obscure action/adventure Dreams To Reality lets you fly at any given moment, but doing so drains your energy.
- Raziel in the Legacy of Kain series can glide using the remnants of his ruined wings. In Defiance, Kain can do the same thing, though he can't sustain the glide as long. He can also transform into a swarm of bats to fly long distances, both in Defiance and in Blood Omen, but this is more of a teleporting ability since a) it can only be activated at certain locations and b) you don't actually control him while he's doing it.
- In Kid Icarus, Pit can't fly with his normal wings but uses many items for different variations of video game flight. The Angel Feather is a Bottomless Pit Rescue Service that only last a few seconds, The Wings Of Icarus can be used anytime but still fade in seconds, The Miracle Of Flight moves him where it wants for up to five minutes and finally the Wings Of Pegasus pretty much let Pit fly wherever he wants whenever he wants, limiting them to the end game.
- Faxanadu let the player fly for up to 30 seconds with wing boots equipped. However, a Good Bad Bug could extend that time limit.
- Captain Comic 2: Fractured Reality gave you a jetpack with severely limited fuel. In the very next stage, though, you get the unlimited fuel cell. Naturally, the stage after that began with a very, very long vertical-scrolling stage with no platforms until the very top.
- Joust has unlimited flight (although you have to do the flapping yourself) and it's unlimited within the wraparound confines of one screen.
- In the freeware game Jetpack, this is the power of the titular jetpack, but it uses fuel, which you have to collect first.
- In God Of War II, Kratos acquires the Wings of Icarus, which allow more-or-less unlimited flight in very short intervals.
- Thexder allowed transforming into flying mode with no restrictions. This is balanced by some claustrophobic level designs, wide open areas filled with swarms of enemies, and the auto-aiming function restricted to humanoid form. (Hint: Don't fly into wide open areas. EVER!)
- In the video-game Godzilla Unleashed, both King Ghidorah and Mecha-King Ghidorah can fly for short periods of time (So long as their energy doesn't run out).
- Battra (PS2 version of the game only) and Mothra have unlimited in their adult forms...though, since both are giant butterflies, yeah....
- Megaguirus (A giant mutated dragonfly) has unlimited flight as well.
- Both Mechagodzilla 2 and Kiryu can hover for short periods of time thanks to the rocket boosters in their backs.
- Rodan has limited flight.
- Oddly enough, about the ONLY winged kaiju that cannot fly in the game is Destoroyah.
- Spacegodzilla can hover for short periods of time.
- Flight is pretty common throughout the Super Smash Bros series: Pit, Kirby, Meta Knight, Dedede, Charizard, and Jigglypuff can fly in the "triple/quadruple/etc. jump" sense, and Pit, Meta Knight, and Charizard are all able to glide in Brawl. The "gets tired after a while" variation occurs with Pit and ROB when they use their Up Special moves, and many more characters can fly as part of their Final Smash attacks.
Hack And Slash
- Heretic had the Inhilicon's Wings of Wrath powerup, which allowed you to "fly" (actually, move vertically), but only for a limited period of time. Sometimes allowed you to get otherwise unobtainable items. Unlike every other item kept in the inventory, they can not be kept between levels.
- The Wings of Wrath also appears in Hexen, but unlike Heretic, it has an unlimited duration, and only expires once the player moves on to the next hub. Given that you didn't actually get the Wings until you had actually reached the end of the hub, this generally limited their usefulness to going back and exploring previously unreachable areas to get hidden items.
- The flight power in Undying only worked outside the mundane world, and only for short periods (as opposed to the two other sorcerers you fight, who are admittedly much more experienced.)
- In addition to the obligatory vehicular flight combat sequences, in some levels of the Halo games, you can hijack an enemy Banshee and skip large sections of the level, even find a few easter eggs.
- Of specific note is a level in the first game, that has a banshee on a bridge. An elite races to it as soon as you step on the bridge, but if you kill him, or otherwise beat him to the banshee, you can bypass the entire second half of the level.
- Banshees are few and far between though.
- Halo: Reach has the rare Jet Pack Armour Ability, which allows flight for a limited time before needing to be recharged. Usage can become unlimited if the right option is enabled in a Multiplayer/Firefight game, but it's still restricted by level boundaries.
- Space Marine, being a 40k game, has the obligatory Assault Marine class and several jump pack levels in the campaign.
- In most of the ground missions in both Drakengard games, there isn't much stopping you from just hopping on your dragon, flying wherever you need to go, and incinerating everything below you on the way there. Not much, that is, aside from archers, wizards, and enemies who are immune to magic (and, by extension, dragonfire).
- Build a NEXT correctly in Armored Core for Answer and it could fly indefinitely. Certainly an advantage in gameplay, but most levels take place in a designated "mission area" that if you stray from, you fail the mission.
- City of Heroes grants pretty much unrestricted flight. There is an energy cost but it is negligible. It usually does not become Sequence Breaking as most of the content takes place inside buildings and enclosed environments where the player is unable to avoid notice by enemies without a stealth power. The rare outdoor maps can allow a flying character to skip over troublesome areas and directly access objectives or important enemy groups. However, the benefits of floating around the ceiling when most of your opponents have better melee options than you do are non-negligible.
- Blasters love to take advantage of this in PvP combat, challenging tankers and scrappers (who only have melee attacks) to arena combat and then floating out of reach. Temporary items allow melee combatants to fly, but invariably slower than the blaster, who just runs away and continues attacking from range. Super frustrating.
- World Of Warcraft allows unlimited flight via flying mounts in Outland from level 60 onward, flight in Northrend at level 68, and flight in Azeroth * at level 60. These flight licenses require the expansions The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm. There are also 3 different flight speeds, all based on normal running speed: 250% (level 60), 380% (level 70) and 410% (level 80). There are also various items, buffs and talents that incerase speed mounted, peaking at 492% of normal speed.
- Aion allows "get tired" flight from level 10, which starts at one minute and can be lengthened through consumables, equipments, and manastones. It's also possible to "glide" (controlled descent that can't be altered into flight without touching the ground first) for about twice as long as maximum flight time.
- However, once you get to the Abyss, which requires level 25, flight is unlimited. Which is good, since the Abyss is made up of a lot of floating islands. Interestingly, physical characters (warriors and scouts) get passive abilities that increase their damage or dodge while flying, while also restricting the ability to fly unless in the Abyss, for Player Versus Environment balance issues.
- Perfect World allows all characters unlimited flight at level 30, or earlier if one buys certain aerogear from the boutique. Additionally, Winged Elves can fly starting at level 1 with a special pair of wings that use a small amount of mana every second of flight... elves that run out of mana will "get tired" and fall from the sky, though unless they land near an aggressive enemy this is less of a problem and more of an incovenience. Said elves can still get the unlimited flight at level 30 (or, as stated above, earlier from the boutique.
- Champions Online allows characters to obtain travel powers including several different forms of flight. There is little restriction (aside from zone boundaries) on where characters can fly.
- Remnants Of Skystone has three classes, one of which can use a steampunk jetpack to fly indefinitely. The zones all have defined boundaries, being divides into relatively small rooms, and lots of hurty things, be it monsters or spiky terrain - which interrupt flight. As well as steam jets which can't be passed through when midair. Still, in theory, you can fly as much as you want, and from level one.
- Kazooie can fly in the Banjo-Kazooie series, but not only needs Red Feathers to do so, but also can only take off from certain flight pads. However, the Bee transformation in both the original game and Tooie allows for unlimited flight (in specific levels), and in Tooie, solo-Kazooie can learn to glide in a hard-to-reach point in a late-game area.
- Propellers, wings, balloons and jet engines can be gradually unlocked in Nuts & Bolts, allowing the player to build quite a variety of flying vehicles that are only limited by their fuel and control. Both the Hub Level and a few missions limit your choice of vehicle, and there's plenty of missions where a land or water-based craft is a better choice, though.
- In Cave Story both versions of the Booster will allow flight for a very short time. Naturally, the flight time instantly replenishes when you touch the ground. There aren't many places to fly to anyway, considering most of the game is set in a cave.
- In Donkey Kong Country, the Squawks the Parrot transformation allows you to fly, but only in specific levels. However, said levels tend to be labyrinths where just touching the walls means death, so be wary.
- Diddy in Donkey Kong 64 has Rocket Barrels, but they're powered by Crystal Coconuts. Run out, and he'll go plummeting to the ground. Plus there are certain areas which inexplicably forbid flying. Fly into one of these areas and you'll get a "NO" sign with a bizarre, incredibly startling evil laugh and Diddy will come down regardless of his crystal coconuts. All the powerups have these restrictions.
- Kirby is one of the few characters who can generally fly freely (except in Kirby 64 The Crystal Shards, which used the "tiredness" variant). However, Kirby game levels tend to be either claustrophobic, filled with enemies both above and below, or hide lots of goodies on the ground, so just trying to fly through isn't effective. Games also tend to build specific levels that require your ability to fly.
- Mario gets a flying cap in Super Mario 64. Flying requires some finesse, as well as thoughtful use of Mario's momentum. It also fades after a set time— try not to be in the air when that happens.
- Super Mario Bros 3 also has the Raccoon Tail and P-Wing where you had to, with the tail, build up enough speed to take off, then could only fly for a limited time (the P-wing made this infinite, but was a rare item).
- There's also the cape in Super Mario World, where while Mario had to build up speed and flying was relatively tricky, along with the Blue Yoshi which could fly indefinitely while in special levels or temporarily by holding a shell; it did highlight why most games limit flight... you can just skip three quarters of the levels in the game by flying over the screen.
- Super Mario World also had a P-balloon item that let Mario float, but at a very slow speed, that would lose effectiveness after a while and dropped him like a rock if he so much as brushes up against anything that could hurt him.
- Culminating in "Tubular", the second stage of the hidden Special Zone, a level built entirely around the use of this powerup to float over a vast Bottomless Pit, and easily considered to be the hardest level in the game.
- Super Mario Galaxy had the Soar Star/Red Star (A Power-Up that makes Mario fly). Exact control over movement in the air, able to turn on a dime and fly straight upwards... except with one problem. You could only get it in the Observatory (where it was completely useless other than for a 1-up or two) and one challenge in the Gateway Galaxy.
- The Bee Mushroom, meanwhile, allowed for very limited hovering that was barely better than normal jumping, and the Boo Mushroom allowed for unlimited hovering, but was only available in indoor areas of one Galaxy.
- Super Mario Land 2 Six Golden Coins had carrots that gave Mario Rabbit Ears, that allowed him to glide by flapping them, smashing the A button.
- Wario Land games had the Puffy Wario and Vampire Wario transformations for unlimited flight, but the former had the obvious limitation of constantly going upwards without any way to get back down (and deflating when Wario hit a ceiling), and the latter, not only couldn't go through doors or pipes, was transformed back by light or water, meaning that most levels with the ability simply put a lot of candles or lights stopping Wario from going off wherever.
- Spyro the Dragon can glide in every game he appears in, but he usually can't actually fly except in cutscenes or mini-games. The exception is The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon, where he can fly all he likes, whenever, wherever. Well, save being chained to Cynder.
- The other major exception in the original trilogy is the Speedway levels, where Spyro can fly indefinitely (but not leave the island). A lesser exception is the final unlockable level in the first game, Gnasty's Loot, where the player can fly indefinitely, but can only fly as high as the player has previously ascended on-foot in the level.
- There are also powerups in some levels that will let Spyro fly until they run out.
- Vexx has a hand-glider powerup, but it can only be used at specific spots (which are rather rare), and it only lasts for a short period of time.
- Helium in Glider PRO lets you fly upward without Vent Physics, but it tends to run out quickly (especially if you don't find multiple canisters), and goes away instantly if you fly over a microwave or touch a battery. Of course, gliding is as basic to the game as running is to most platformers.
- Tails, and later Cream, in the Sonic the Hedgehog series use the 'get tired' version. Knuckles has gliding combined with climbing, which allows him to get to some pretty interesting places but also allows the level designers to box him in with overhanging ledges.
- In Sonic Heroes, the 'tired' variation happens again with the appropriately named 'Flight' Characters, but if you remain in flight but stop moving forward, the characters can remain airborne forever
- Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando
- Flight in very limited areas with the Momentum Glider.
- The spaceship levels are all flight, all the time.
- The Levitator gadget allows you to fly as long as your (quick to deplete) fuel supply lasts. Fuel can only be filled at specific pads which aren't available anywhere other than areas where the gadget is required.
- Mega Man has many ways of flight. The most used one is riding on top of Item 2/Rush. Rush and Treble can be fused with in 6/7 and Mega Man and Bass respectively to gain the ability of flight.
- Mega Man X 5 has the Falcon Armor, giving X a "tired" version of free-form movement. X7 has the Glide Armor for X.
- There was one level (not counting the bonus stage) in the first The Smurfs SNES game where the player character could fly...In a soap bubble. And the level was a rosebush labyrinth.
- In Metroid, gaining the Space Jump meant you could effectively fly, but it's gained late in the game and it takes a while to master; by the time you gain the powerup that lets you chain one jump into another just by holding down the Jump button, you're already just about knocking on Mother Brain's door.
- Rayman 2 upgraded the parachute-like effect of Rayman's helicopter hair to actual flight in one (rather well enclosed) level, and then took it away at the very next level.
- The remake Rayman 2 Revolution allowed you to keep the ability outside the level, but only over lava. It's also used in a new boss battle.
- The first Rayman game gave you the same power-up, again only for one level (and a few other limited areas).
- Scorch the dragon from The Lost Vikings 2 is able to glide and quadruple jump.
- Firebrand of the Gargoyle's Quest series of games started out with limited flight capability in the first two games. He had a "wing meter" that would rapidly deplete when flying, though near the end after acquiring upgrades he could fly infinitely, but could not actually gain altitude: you were limited to how high you could jump, and you essentially still hand to climb by clinging to the walls and jumping up, but long jumps over pits were no longer a problem. Demon's Crest averts the limit, though, with Firebrand starting out with the ability to hover and fly infinitely, and the Air Crest would allow him to fly against strong wings and fly upwards.
- Jett Rocket has a jetpack which serves as one of his most important means of locomotion. It's really more hovering than flying, but it's necessary for getting to some more out-of-the-way areas. Just make sure to refuel often.
- Spelunky has the rare cape, which allows gliding, and the even rarer jetpack, which allows true flight, limited only by fuel. However, it all takes place underground, so it isn't that helpful for avoiding obstacles anyway.
- Karnov has a Wings power-up, but it is only used in one level.
- In The Quest Of Ki, Ki's floaty Jump Physics are almost but Not Quite Flight, but several stages give her a powerup that lets her really fly around. The levels do tend to be closed in, though.
- This is available in many Pokemon games, after you've found the HM item that will allow it,taught it to a Pokemon,and earned the gym badge that will allow you to use Fly outside of battle. However, you can only fly between cities you've already visited, and it doesn't work in the side areas like forests or caves. You can fly out of a forest or middle of a route but can't land in them and enclosed areas like buildings or caves invalidate it entirely. You'll always land in the city, outside the Pokemon center.
- Blaster Master gives your tank Sophia the ability to fly only after you defeat the third boss and gain Hover Mechanics, and even then it's limited by a meter.
- In Kick Master, you can fly once you get the Harpy Wings magic, but it consumes MP rather quickly.
- In Little Nemo The Dream Master, there are places where Nemo can get a bee to fly him around the level. The main limit to the bee's flying power is that it can't fly too long without touching ground.
- Conker can fly in Conkers Bad Fur Day, but gets tired very quickly and only flies up a little bit when he starts flying.
- In Little Samson, Kikira the dragon can fly, but only for a few seconds at a time.
- This is possible in Jak 3: Wastelander by exploiting a glitch. Unlock infinite Light Jak with enough precursor orbs, then use Light Flight and alternate the flapping of Jak's wings with Light Shield.
Shoot 'em Up
Wide Open Sandbox
- Kingdom Hearts:
- Sora gets a glide-type flying power late in the first Kingdom Hearts, which becomes full flight in a few areas.
- Same deal with Roxas in 358/2 Days.
- In the X-Men Legends games, many characters can gain the ability to fly, but it has an energy cost. This cost decreases as you put more points into the skill. I'm not 100% sure offhand, but I think it actually is possible to get to the point where the cost is low enough, and your max energy and energy regeneration rate are high enough, that your energy actually regenerates faster than flight decreases it.
- Marvel Ultimate Alliance allows some characters to fly instead of double-jump, though this comes with arguably limited use - you can't recharge your energy in the air, can really only use range attacks, and are blocked by the same invisible walls that inhibit everyone else. But that doesn't mean it's not neat to use.
- The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind has a fairly straight example with the Levitate spells. The enemy AI can't figure out how to attack someone up in the air (OK, the AI also can't figure out what to do if you're on top of a table or boulder either...) and several obstacles become trivial to circumvent.
- Freedom Force has flight (or levitation, which was half-speed flight) for several characters, but almost every enemy had a ranged attack (frequently attacks with knockback that would result in you taking falling damage as well) and your energy regenerated slowly or not at all while in-flight. And there were still the occasional floor-to-ceiling barriers.
- Interestingly, the fastest character in the game is not a flyer. It's The Flash expy named Bullet. Even when not using his abilities to move ridiculously fast, he is still the fastest runner. Ironically, Bullet's alter ego is an Air Force pilot, yet his powers don't include flight.
- Valkyrie Profile has an odd version in the first game - your character can fly around the entire worldmap from the get-go (she's a Valkyrie), but has to travel on foot when in dungeons and towns. Your ally Freya can fly wherever she pleases, though.
- In Dragon Slayer, the spell that lets you fly around the dungeon is the very last new ability you can acquire. It only works for a limited time, but there's no restriction on repeated use other than your supply of magical potions.
- Oddly, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has flight as a later-game ability, with the requirement being 'learn how'. Not many limitations, aside from two logical ones: avoid buildings, and avoid no-fly zones. Of course, not many targets when you get too high.
- It's not naturally a late game ability, you can climb over the airport fence and steal a plane at any time. It's just that if you don't have a pilot's licence, military jets will come and shoot you down.
- Even later in the game, you get a jetpack (finally!)
- Prototype allows you to eventually fly a military helicopter; something of a Game Breaker, but you aren't allowed to learn it until fairly late in the game.
- The Glide and Air Dash abilities establish the typical short-term flight, where the player must periodically touch the ground or a wall to continue.
- Spore's Creature stage has this, but limits it with both the "gliding" and "everything important is on the ground" varieties.
- Crackdown 2 has a "wingsuit" that unlocks with agility level 5 that allows you to glide for extended periods of time — if you know how. Instead of instructing you, the Voice of the Agency just sarcastically comments that its difficult and that you should practice... nearly every time you use the ability.
- Also at agility level 5, you can reach a helipad at the agency headquarters from which you can fetch a helicopter for much easier flight. The helicopters are also armed, but aren't much good for serious combat as they tend to explode at the slightest provocation.
- Saints Row 2 has unlimited flight, and no map edges to contain movement. It's not possible to access most the missions and side jobs and collection quests with it, so it's only practical (and awesome) for wide-open wandering or traveling to specific points. A perk can be achieved which negates falling damage, making it little more practical (and a lot more awesome.)
- Superman Returns: The Game Gives you Supersonic Flight as well as eighty-plus miles of city space to fly around in.
- In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, you can use Buckbeak to fly pretty much anywhere in the game world, and pretty early on too. The only limitation is that you can't leave the Hogwarts grounds, but you can't do that on foot either.
- In The Chamber of Secrets, you can do essentially the same but with the broom. Allows you to fly around the Hogwarts grounds, but you can't land anywhere and it's not really useful for anything. It's also not available until you've practically beaten the game.