Follow TV Tropes


Wreaking Havok

Go To
Civil Protection Officer: Pick up that can.
Gordon Frohman: How the heck do I do that? [prompt: E to pickup object] Oh. Whoah! I can pick up things in this game! I mean, world.

Prominent exercises in game physics for the sake of it.

Since the first release of the Havok engine in 2000, it's been the go-to software for developers looking to add a little verisimilitude to their worlds — it allows crates to stack realistically, chains to swing convincingly, and corpses to collapse satisfyingly. Its success inspired the creation of several other physics engines.

But, like nuclear power, a physics engine can also be used with reckless abandon. Sometimes the developers, giddy with the possibilities afforded them by real-time collision modeling, become drunk with power. You'll run across applications of the physics engine that shout "Hey! Check out these physics!" so loudly it comes dangerously close to breaking the fourth wall.

These exercises in game physics conspicuously draw attention to themselves rather than meshing with the rest of the game. Note that this isn't necessarily a bad thing — in some cases, playing with the physics doesn't mesh well with the rest of the experience because it's more fun than the actual game.

If you're playing a game that puts a Gravity Gun in your hands, expect to run across a lot of these. Depending on the circumstances, Wreaking Havok may qualify as a form of Benevolent or Malevolent Architecture.

  • Example the first: knocking out a support beam, causing a chunk of the ceiling to crash down on a see-saw and launching you into the air toward the next section of the level.
  • Example the second: knocking out a support beam, causing a chunk of the ceiling to crash down on you.

It's also a common feature in latter-day Block Puzzles.

As well as Havok there is the Bullet engine, nVidia's PhysX, NewtonDynamics, and many more. It's just that Havok is the most prominent, and we couldn't resist the pun. See also Tech-Demo Game.

As you might very well imagine, there's considerable overlap with Video Game Cruelty Potential.


    open/close all folders 

    Action Adventure Games 
  • Exile (not that one) has a sophisticated physics engine for a 1988 BBC Micro game. It's still impressive for its time in the Commodore 64, Amiga, and Atari ST ports.
  • Hollow Knight, though a fully 2D game, shows off its ability to make falling objects tumble and roll around fairly often. This most often happens with Geo, killed enemies or signposts you can destroy for no particular purpose.
  • Hydrophobia is essentially a game based around water.
  • Seen in Jazz Jackrabbit 1 where the first world has a load of swing bridges that are almost never seen again in the game.
  • The developers for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild went out of their way to make the physics as advanced and detailed as possible. New tools have been developed or reworked from being 2D-only items to take advantage of it, and many new puzzles have been developed around it as well. To give a few examples, the Magnesis item gives you a giant magnet that allows you to levitate metallic objects wherever you want to, the Stasis item holds an object in place and allows you to let it build kinetic energy in a particular direction by continuously hitting it, and the Remote Bombs item allows you to place spherical or cubic bombs whether or not you want them to roll around.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker has very impressive realistic physics on rope bridges, where the bridges can actually exhibit standing waves under certain circumstances. Arguably, the ability to destroy such bridges in the game by breaking their supporting ropes one by one was included just to show off the physics, which is completely unneccesary. The Wind Waker also exhibits pretty impressive cloth simulation for the time, though it is much glitchier than one might expect.
  • LEGO Harry Potter lets you kick Lego bits around the room, levitate them, etc.
  • One of the bonus videos with Uncharted 2 has a section named after this trope, and various set-pieces make use of it.

    Action Games 
  • Pretty much the entire point of the Breakout clone Break Quest are the advanced physics.
  • Hammerfight is essentially a physics simulator disguised as a badass, mouse-only fighting game. Physics are literally half the game mechanics.
  • PAIN is not much more than a Havok demo. You score points by flinging your ragdoll at bits of scenery, many of which break or collapse using the physics engine, scoring additional points. Add some Black Comedy and that's the whole game.
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is made of this, to the point where developer interviews prior to the game's release focused pretty much exclusively on the awesomeness of the physics.

    Beat Em Ups 
  • Lugaru's physics modeling is goofy but fun. Kicking enemies into each other nets you a "Nice Aim!" bonus, downed enemies struck with a bo staff will sometimes launch hundreds of feet straight up into the air, and ragdolling yourself with the Leg Cannon attack and tumbling down hills never gets old. Overgrowth looks to continue the tradition, but with more complex ragdolls and objects.
    • Amusingly, Lugaru's physics extends to activities that are impossible without cheating. If you cheat up Turner's strength to a hundred times its normal value, you'll find that enemies explode after they get Punched Across the Room and hit a wall.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl has it. Before the release of Brawl, it was briefly on Havok's list of games that use the engine, but quickly taken off. It's definitely in the game though, as the logo appears in the adventure mode's credits, and a few items (the wheeled crates and soccer balls in particular) seem designed specifically to show off the physics.
    • It's possible they also used Havok to model the physics involved in tossing opponents into each other, although this feature was also present in Melee.
    • There now seems to be a physics model present in the fourth game when you play either Trophy Rush or Target Blast in which blocks follow some form of physics, albeit in a two-dimensional plane.

    Driving Games 
  • Wheelman went as far as to name one of its Achievements Wreaking Havok.
  • Fatal Inertia stands out from the crowd of 20 Minutes into the Future flying car racers by having everything modelled by the physics engine. Even basic steering is achieved with control surfaces, and banging up the car's wings will reduce handling. The is especially noticeable with the weapons: the most common, magnets, are quite heavy and will appropriately skew the center of mass of whatever they stick to; and instead of activating a rocket boost for themselves, racers can launch it like a projectile, adhering to whichever surface its magnetic side lands on and apply its boost like that, likely sending the victim corkscrewing through the air.
  • Burnout. Each wreck is punctuated by a super-slo-mo sequence designed to showcase the awesome crash physics. Crash Mode takes it a step farther, requiring that the player make clever use of crash physics to destroy a freeway full of vehicles.
    • FlatOut ups the ante as almost anything breaks into pieces when crashed into them.
    • Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit would count since it's made by Criterion (they were behind Burnout as well): Sometimes during the crash scene, your car can be sent flying by another racer or cop as it careens into it.
  • Need for Speed: Shift has amazing head physics, where crashes and sharp turns alter your view as g-forces are applied to the drivers head.
  • Rigs of Rods is this trope, if the car is made and scripted correctly (such as ones by Gabester like the Gavril Omega or Honda Hatchback), it will deform similar to a real car when it is crashed. Bumpers, hoods, trunk lids and doors can fall off. It helps even better that you can toss your car around like a child would to his toy by clicking and dragging.
  • Stuntman: Ignition would be rubbish were it not for the sheer fun of the physics engine.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Easily the earliest examples, predating physics engines themselves by many years, came with games based on the Build engine. Duke Nukem 3D included a pool table with balls that, when fired upon or interacted with, would move around realistically and even fall into the pockets, while Blood featured the ability to kick severed zombie heads around like soccer balls until they got smashed (the fourth level of the first episode even has carnival games centered around playing with the head physics).
  • Judging from this, Battlefield 3 has this trope in spades.
  • BioShock
  • Grabbing other people and throwing them is one of the most amusing ways to kill your enemies in Crysis. You can also throw them off of cliffs... or into trees... or you can throw trees at them. If your enemy is in one of the few destructible buildings, you can punch out a wall, the pieces of which may knock him down. If you're feeling ridiculous, you can throw banana bunches with lethal force.
  • Deus Ex: Invisible War is one of the earlier games to use the Havok engine to manipulate most of the game-world's object. The problem is that most objects' weight were set way too light, which led to many amusing (and annoying) results. This also make simple tasks like stacking up two (or more) boxes to reach higher places almost impossible, since they roll/fly away at the slightest touch. Oddly there are no balls to play with on the many pool tables found in the game, which exist in the first game.
  • Doom³:
    • The game has the occasional corpse hanging from a ceiling, and they make very tempting piñatas. Plinking with soda cans is a surprisingly fun pastime. And in one section of the Delta Labs, a lift can't be accessed because it's on the upper floor, and a box is blocking the door. You're meant to get there in another way and kick the box off, but if you throw a grenade up on the upper floor and manage to dislodge the box, you can use the lift earlynote .
    • The Resurrection of Evil Expansion Pack introduces its own version of the gravity gun, the Grabber, and things get really interesting when you employ it. In an interview, it's revealed that they used the Grabber to create the damaged areas in Doom 3. You're armed with a developer weapon.
    • The Sikkmod fanmade graphics and functionality overhaul allows you to pick up and toss small objects by hand like in Half-Life 2.
  • First Encounter Assault Recon has such a conspicuous physics system you really have to wonder which came first: its horror setting or its physics engine. To clarify, this is a game where objects moving by themselves are meant to creep the player out. Only the thing is, the player model itself is rendered in-game (despite the game being first person), and the player model is in itself a physical object. What this means practically is that you'll constantly find yourself bumping into things and knocking stuff off of shelves like the clumsiest special forces operative in history. Sometimes you'll hear something you just knocked loose making a noise you can't see and whip around thinking something is trying to sneak up on you. On top of that, the physics are prone to glitching when dealing with heavy inanimate objects, like corpses, falling in piles atop each other. They'll often drop to the ground and then begin bouncing off the ground and another object that fell on top of them, starting to bounce up and down very quickly and making a ton of noise. And that's not even getting into the tendency for a corpse's limbs to embed themselves into a wall.
    • Crysis suffers from such dodgy physics as well — considering the at first, cool idea of making some structures completely destructible, you end up either trying not to, or simply getting out of the area as quickly as possible- before the rattling metal drives you insane.
  • Half-Life 2, which might be the Trope Codifier, contains heaps of physics puzzles, from piling cinder blocks on see-saws to placing buoyant barrels under an aquatic ramp to removing cinder blocks from a pulley system, right down to a carelessly dropped can in the opening. And these all occur before you get the Gravity Gun. One wonders whether every member of the Resistance fleeing from City 17 had to pass the same series of puzzles, or whether this was an elaborate obstacle course set up to determine whether Gordon Freeman was truly the Chosen One...note 
  • Halo's Forge mode lets player add new items to a map even when there is an ongoing match, resulting in such tactics as having one player fly around holding a box while a second player uses it as a mobile sniper spot.
  • An early example exists in Jurassic Park: Trespasser, with the player character able to pick up objects and throw them or use them to hit dinosaurs over the head, and some primitive physics puzzles. The excellent Let's Play by Research Indicates explores how "well" this was actually implemented — notably, most of the puzzles consist of 'knock over single stack of crates' and friction is nonexistent. The way their system was set up, each interactive physics object was encased in an invisible box that would approximate the item's collision detection data, and when two items' respective boxes collided with one-another, they would start pushing each other away at the collision point until they were no longer colliding. Unfortunately, this made it extremely difficult to properly simulate any object that wasn't a box the size of one cubic metre, and stacking objects on top of one another was almost impossible, so the developers' ideas for item stacking puzzles went straight out of the window. A similar system was also used to procedurally animate the game's dinosaurs, with each of the dinosaurs' limbs acting as a separate physics object, avoiding a very canned/artificial look to the animation common to other games of the time,which sometimes resulted in velociraptors ending up with spring-loaded heads trapped inside their torsos in addition to walking like they had 200-proof alcohol for blood, and the physics processing for the dinosaurs took so much resources that they couldn't have more than seven dinosaurs per level.
  • Painkiller predates even Half-Life 2 for use of Havok, featured prominently in two places. First, making ragdolls fly through the air. Secondly, the third boss, in an impressive demonstration of Malevolent Architecture, effortlessly smashes his way through ancient arches and spires, scattering the debris all over the place. On the other hand, this tactic is more annoying than hazardous, since the gigantic blocks of solid rock are somehow completely unable to damage the main character even if they land directly on him from 30m high.
  • Perfect Dark has a very primitive physics engine. It could be used to provide limited cover in some levels, but the only time the creators used this deliberately was in the last level, with the piece of rubble that had to be pushed over a switch.
    • Most grenade-type weapons also had "Proximity Pinball" as a secondary function, which made it bounce crazily around the room and detonate when it met with an enemy.
  • In Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, using Force powers to throw stormtroopers et al. about was easily the most fun part of the game.

    Light Gun Games 
  • Razing Storm has very destructible environments: Besides crates, cash registers, watermelons and stuff, you can blow up part of a building, killing the terrorists on it... with a machine gun, no less.

    Miscellaneous Games 
  • In Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, the physics engine is mostly against you. Players' bodies are affected by physics, so falling the wrong way, getting hit by a moving obstacle, or running into something or someone will make you fall over and lose time. Some levels feature obstacles like see-saws or giant balls that can (or sometimes must) be moved around to mess with other players.

    Platform Games 
  • Rather overbearing (no pun intended) in Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts where the player's vehicle will often tumble uncontrollably when attempting to drive over anything that isn't a flat surface.
    • Players have messed around with the vehicle creation system and physics engine to create everything from Humongous Bipedal Mecha, Transforming Humongous Bipedal Mecha, all matter of flying machines, and even a car that can drive on walls and the ceiling.
    • Then there is the Kinetikos.H featured in Rooreeloo's Let's Play of the game, which runs specifically because of the Havok engine's screwy physics.
    • The developers could have made a whole game out of exploiting Kazooie's magic-magnetic wrench. While you can't grab the object you're standing on for obvious reasons, the game won't stop you from grabbing whatever is under the object you're standing on, letting you bootstrap yourself to ridiculous heights, no vehicle necessary. You can even do this in the Hub Level where you normally can't bring your own vehicles, letting you nab top-level parts way before you're "supposed" to get them.
  • Gish is a 2D platformer with extensive use of physics. Titular main character especially.
  • Rocket: Robot on Wheels had a dedicated universal physics engine, before Havok. Notably, because its main character's primary means of attack is picking things up with a Tractor Beam. (However, it also makes for nice platforming.)
  • Sonic The Hedgehog:
    • The original Sega Genesis games had a rather advanced physics engine for the time to go along with the games' great speed, as Sonic could realistically pick up speed from running or rolling down a hill. As such the original games tended to have long downhill stretches with no other purpose than to show how blisteringly fast Sonic can go. This is most noticeable in Green Hill Zone in the original game, where Sonic rolls down a pipe and gets launched up a ramp hundreds of feet into the huge pile of rings. In fact, discarding these physics in favor of the nerfed mechanics seen in Sonic Advance 2 and Sonic Rush was one of the major reasons why Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I had such a mixed reception.
    • Silver the Hedgehog's psychokinesis in Sonic '06 is enabled by the Havok Engine and is treated with as much reverence and respect as the rest of the game. That is to say, absolutely none.
    • This seems to be a prevalent problem throughout the entire game. Watch this and laugh. "Physics? What are those?"
    • During their infamous Let's Play, pokecapn and crew note that normally when a physics object is destroyed the pieces seem to lack mass and drift ponderously to the ground — with the exception of one specific section where the physics reactions are scripted and meant to be obstacles, when they slam down at warp speed.
  • Super Mario 64 features a primitive form of this trope. The first level contains a completely unnecessary bridge that seesaws when Mario steps on it. Why? Because it was damned impressive by 1996 standards, that's why.
  • Tesla: The Weather Man makes heavy use of physics in its puzzles, levitating crates and such.
  • This is the entire point of Trine. It wears thin after a while, although the Scenery Porn helps make up for it.
    • It wears especially thin when the mage gains the ability of summoning floating platforms, negating any need to figure out a way to beat the physical obstacles below.
  • The beginning of the level "Vision" from Heavenly Bodies gives you every resource you could possibly want to mess around with the game's weird physics. You can send a bottle rock bouncing along the walls while untethered a collection of crates that go flying all over the place at the merest push. This is all fun until you realize you have to open one of those boxes in the middle of the chaos and drags it contents through all the rubbish.

    Puzzle Games 
  • Ballance uses this throughout, most visibly with your own ball, which changes weight throughout the game, becoming harder or easier to maneuver on the variably sloped surfaces. The crates and other obstacles you push out of your way obey rigid body physics as well, tumbling spectacularly off the thin platforms down into the abyss.
  • Boom Blox almost qualifies as an inversion; whereas most applications of this trope involve the physics engine intruding upon the game's atmosphere, the story mode in Boom Blox tacks a completely unnecessary plot onto the abstract, physics-based gameplay. It's as though they came up with a story mode for Tetris.
  • Elebits has you move furniture to uncover the titular Elebits. you usually end up with quite the mess at the end of a level.
  • Escape Simulator has a bunch of irrelevant items in each room that only exist so you can pick them up and throw them around. Some items like cups or bottles will break into smaller shards when thrown hard enough. If you'd rather not have the clutter, you can put the items into a trash can with infinite capacity, as the actual useful items are labeled by default so you don't throw them out by accident.
  • Gravity Ghost has you slingshotting around planets to collect items.
  • The Octodad games are basically nothing but this trope. The games combine deliberately bad controls (as you are an octopus trying to masquerade as a human) with a heavy dose of Havoc physics as you try and go about daily life without giving away your secret.
  • Portal takes this trope and turns it on its head, sideways, and every other direction you can think of.
  • Research & Development, being a Source game, has no shortage of puzzles revolving around physics objects.
  • Stair Dismount is one of the earliest examples, developed in 2002 with the goal of using the interactive physics engine to throw a ragdoll down some stairs and causing as much damage as possible. The sequel, Turbo Dismount takes this even further with the types of hazards you can place, the vehicles that Mr. Dismount and co. drives along with the ridiculous courses and traffic that can both destroy your vehicle but dismember the driver. You even get an achievement for completely obliterating (specifically, no limbs are connected to anything else on the former body) Mr. Dismount.
  • Garbage disposing puzzle game Trash Panic has havok physics. It's possible (though rare) to accidentally create a see-saw design and send something undamaged flying out of the can (which costs a life). It's got soccer balls too.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Ever tried shooting with artillery in Age of Empires III? It was the first Real-Time Strategy game to come up with Havok physics, and uses it everywhere, whether or not it makes sense. Examples include blasting a house to more splinters than could possibly have been in its space or flinging an unaware rider a good hundred feet off his horse.
  • Command & Conquer: Generals: has quite a bit of this, one example being that the Aurora Alpha Bomber's Fuel Air Bomb is so explosive, it can flip the humongous Emperor Overlord Tank, the Overlord, being well, a Mammoth expy, tends to survive non-direct hits from the fuel air bomb, unless it gets flipped over, in which case it dies instantly. Further hilarity includes using explosives on infantry, watching the guy on the back of a Technical fly off, (if you used a big enough bomb, he flies into the screen), as well as Chinese Supply Trucks, since they have the smallest mass of all vehicles and thus will appropriately fly into space if hit by a Stealth Bomber equipped with bunker busters. Rocket Buggies are also rigged to always shoot up into the air and explode into their parts spectacularly.
  • Dawn of War has knockback, which for some reason is much stronger on corpses than still-living units. To set off a Burna Bomb in the middle of a crowd of near-dead infantry is a thing of beauty, as their still-warm bodies are catapulted off towards the horizon, land, and sometimes bounce.
  • Red Alert 3: The Yuriko mini-campaign lets you pick up objects (and vehicles and people) and fling them into each other. Sometimes it obeys the laws of physics where momentum and durability are concerned, sometimes the laws of physics take a break.
  • Blizzard recently added physics modelling to death animations in Starcraft 2. The actual results tend to be pretty reasonable but the curious phenomenon of a Marine shrugging off several cannon shells before being blown halfway across the map by the one that kills him is less so.
  • Total Annihilation is one of the earliest RTS games to feature any physics modeling at all that isn't a graphical shorthand. All unguided projectiles had ballistic trajectories and debris flight paths were modeled in real time. The fixed overhead camera really wasn't the best way to show it off, however.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Dark Messiah has a bunch of physics traps triggered by cutting rope or kicking loose boards. You can also use a Telekinesis spell — basically a magic-fueled Gravity Gun — to fling boxes and barrels around (The limit break for the spell makes people a valid target).
  • Dawn of Mana was widely derided by critics as being a "glorified Havok tech demo." Most of the gameplay consists of hitting boxes with a whip to gain power ups. (Losing those precious powerups at the end of every chapter didn't help.)
  • Demon's Souls utilizes the Havok physics engine, and puts it to good use by liberally populating levels with tables, chairs, shelves, boxes, barrels, and other breakable objects begging to be smashed to pieces. Users of the game's numerous BFS's and other large weapons can leave an impressive trail of destruction in their wake without even trying.
    • Demon's Souls Spiritual Successor, Dark Souls, has hints of this as well. Ragdolls can roll and wrap around your legs as you walk over them, pieces of smashed barrels, table and chairs go flying everywhere. Dark Souls' own sequel downplays this, in favor of a more realistic ragdoll system. That's to say that ragdolls are almost non-existant.
      • And then Dark Souls spiritual successor Bloodborne brings them right back to their old Demon's-era level. Gets both impressive (passing very close to an NPC can let you see how their clothes flutter in your windshear) and silly (try walking into a corpse sometime, it'll wiggle all over the place like a scarecrow stuffed with jelly).
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Oblivion brings the engine into the series and offers plenty of fun with it. To note:
      • Oblivion slips into Wreaking Havok territory early in the game. Part of the tutorial, if you pick up the bow, asks you to shoot a target with an arrow. Had the target been anything but a hanging bucket, the incident probably would have passed unnoticed; since it is a hanging bucket, which jostles around amusingly on the end of its rope and hangs differently from the weight of the arrow stuck in it, it's obvious that Bethesda was using the opportunity to show off the physics engine. To Bethesda's credit, the game only prompts you to do this if you pick up the bow in the room, which is entirely optional.
      • At other points in the game, the physics engine mostly leads to you knocking everything off the tables when you so much as walk slowly by them.
      • An extremely hilarious one happens should you be able to kill a guard before it tries to arrest you: the guards constantly accelerate to ensure they will actually catch up to you. Land a headshot on them at the right moment, and their lifeless body will knee-slide right below you, then continue at a ludicrous speed. Careful positioning can result in dead Imperial Guards shot into space.
      • Picture this: you're the Archmage strutting around the Arcane University with a scholar finishing their lecture to a bunch of student magisters. After quicksaving, you break out your lightning-powered Daedric bow & arrows, enchanted with an over-time effect for maximum pleasure. Take a shot at any of the students sitting down. They get up as normal, then drop dead after getting up, all accompanied by Wes Johnson saying "HELP! MURDER!" in a five/six-man unison so thick the voices go out of phase! Even better, target the benches. The magisters go flying in all directions while dying in mid-air! One even flies into the lecturer's podium!
      • Ever find some poor sap all alone, sitting on a chair in the open? Just whip out a nicely-powered shock staff, hit the corner where the seat meets the backrest, and watch that sap slam into the skybox!
      • By the divines, use that same arsenal against anyone that can succumb to it in one shot; you shoot, it hits, they fly, guaranteed to die/fall unconscious at the apex of ascent, and drop like the ragdolls they become! It's incredible! Chances are, much like Skyrim with Giants, the excess damage still needed to drop a target filters out as excess force to propel the target to such incredible heights. Have fun!
      • There's also a high level telekinesis spell which requires a lot of points and you to be at 100 in Mysticism, but you can use it to lift everything within range twenty feet in the air, walk around with them in ragdoll despite being alive, then drop them for fall damage. Get a few guards chasing, and BOOM: instant sky party! It also affects followers though, so be careful!
      • And God help you if you decide to decide to engage in a little home decorating. Trying to place a book on a shelf could result in everything else on that shelf ending up halfway across the room. It gets even worse if you have the Game Mod that makes most objects in the game use physics. If you dare to pick up a book from a bookshelf, expect it to collapse down on you within the next five seconds.
    • Skyrim:
      • A big part of the fun of the first dragon shout, Unrelenting Force (aka Fus Ro Dah), is to let it loose in a place filled with objects (such as a dinner table) and see where everything ends up after being blown across the room.
      • This can also be done with impunity in Oblivion if you create a custom spell that has an area effect but no damage, such as Light.
      • Skyrim also manages to reach such a level of detail that it ends up making its physics engine look bad. Most of this is due to the fact that said physics engine appears to have no support for friction, which is pretty important when fighting things on uneven terrain. For instance, killing something on a hill will result in the body unceremoniously sliding down the hill, as opposed to rolling down it. Extra momentum for defeated enemies also results from Surplus Damage Bonus; the more damage you do beyond an enemy's remaining health, the further they'll fly.
  • Fallout 3: A bit of this appears. One of the items you can build is the "Rock-It Launcher," a high-powered leaf-blower that shoots your accumulated inventory clutter as ammo. The ability to decapitate raiders with high-speed teddy bears is both hilarious and fun.
    • The game also features an elaborate physics-based trap in a grocery store that involves explosives, a baseball launcher, a series of dominoes, and a swinging battering ram. It takes forever to run its course, and you know the instant you set it off that it's not going to turn out well, but the unpredictability of both Havok and the game itself means that there are plenty of opportunities for it to fail, even if it doesn't kill you in the process.
    • The NPC with one of the best sniper rifles in the game likes to take potshots at people from the Dickerson Tabernacle Chapel's bell tower. Killing him may or may not cause him to fall down the hole in the floor to a location where you can loot the rifle, entirely depending on Havok's mood. Since the game treats gibs as lootable, the easiest way to get the rifle is therefore to launch a rocket in the bell tower window. With any luck, the NPC will be gibbed, virtually guaranteeing that of all the Havok-ed gibs at least one will fall through the hole.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has many weapons in its DLC's that have some rather interesting qualities. First, Dead Money gave us the gas bomb, a land mine thrown like a grenade that also can roll. Old World Blues has a Sonic Emitter sidegrade that hurls people backwards on a critical hit, which can make the grand canyon a tempting hunting ground. And the Gun Runners Arsenal adds timed explosives that ricochet off surfaces. That you shoot from a Fat Man launcher.
    • Dead Money also gives us the complementary voucher bug, which gives you a potentially infinite number of floating little squares, which you can place anything one. You can literally build a house out of minigun ammo, guns, money or anything else with its aid. (though 5mm ammo is preferred by players)
  • Mass Effect series:
    • Mass Effect dips its toes into Wreaking Havok territory from time to time, which is only to be expected when the universe's equivalent of magic is all about manipulating gravity. High-level biotics can turn entire rooms into swirling maelstroms of corpses and furniture. Living people can also be tossed about quite easily, although this one can be less entertaining and more annoying when someone inevitably gets stuck in a wall.
    • Oddly downplayed in Mass Effect 2, when Biotics don't have anywhere near that much ability affect the environment. They did, however, have a scene in the opening level where you're in a destroyed space ship without gravity, complete with pieces of wreckage that go flying away at the slightest touch. Also, on Freedom's Progress, there are a ton of serving trays and deserted mugs sitting on tables, most of which can be moved by shooting them.
  • 6 years before Havok Ultima VIII engine was advertised for realistic trajectories of thrown objects and ability to stack crates (or anything) and then climb them. Unlike previous games, where crate-climbing had to be scripted.

  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty had a completely superfluous display of realism in the Tanker chapter. Snake can enter an elaborate bar aboard the ship early on, replete with several bottles and glasses to be shot and shattered, but also an ice bucket sitting on the countertop. Shoot that and it will tumble over, spilling its ice around, which will then proceed to realistically melt away to nothing. The level was also supposed to feature a sequence where Snake ran from a rushing wall of water, but the physics involved didn't play well with the engine.
  • Shadwen is built almost entirely around this, with your grapple hook being able to attach to any wood surface, and every crate and barrel physically-enabled. The most efficient ways of dealing with guards often involves moving boxes where you need them for cover, dropping crates onto unsuspecting guards, or using explosives to launch props like projectile ammunition.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Alan Wake uses this when the Dark Presence starts possessing objects and throwing them at you. The physics can look quite amazing when seen on a large scale, but the engine shows you its true potential during the very last level, when the Dark Presence starts pulling objects up from the bottom of the lake and throwing them all at you in a last ditch effort to stop Alan. Said objects include several trucks, A LOT of building debris, and a boat. As in a fairly decent sailboat. Yeah.
    • Also, when you get the train car thrown at you from the top of a hill, and you have to run like hell to avoid getting crushed by it, Indiana Jones style
  • The entire game Fracture is not much more than a big tech demo for the developers' Deformable Terrain engine.
  • Ghostbusters: The Video Game. Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters, GHOSTBUSTERS. The game whose state-of-the-art engine allows you to draw capture streams around ghosts (in past games, the ghosts would just get "stuck" in your streams) and destroy the scenery around you in real-time . Not just context-specific bits of scenery; all of it.
  • Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne
    • Done early in the game when one of the first mooks you encounter runs into the room and past a freestanding shelf filled with little boxes and cans. Cue the gratuitous slo-mo shot of said mook being hit by your bullets, thrown back, colliding with the shelf, knocking it over, and collapsing on the floor in a shower of said boxes and cans.
    • Also, ammunition, for some absurd reason buried under a chaotic mountain of Havok driven plastic chairs with a grenade positioned next to it.
    • At a certain point in the game you come across several baddies who haven't noticed you. They are in a room with several gas cylinders nearby. Outside the room there is another gas cylinder, this one lying on the ground, with the gas nozzle pointing away from the doorway. You can just go in guns blazing and kill the mooks the good ol' way, but the awesome way to do it is to shoot at the cylinder's gas nozzle. The cylinder will then ignite, rocket inside the room, and blow up. What enemies aren't killed by that will be killed by the explosion of the other cylinders, ignited by the first one. This happens several times in the first game, as well.
    • There's an out-of-the-way room in Mona's funhouse (the abandoned Address Unknown attraction) that is explicitly designed to allow the player to play around with the physics engine. It has no other purpose with relation to the rest of the game.
  • Second Sight eventually gives you telekinesis, which is great for this sort of thing, but you don't really have to wait until then. In the first mission (after the tutorial level), there are loose crates and chairs. If you happen to run a little too close, you can wind up kicking them down the hall. And if they happen to hit some enemies, you might find your suspension of disbelief slightly strained when you wind up killing them by accident.

    Turn-Based Tactics 
  • Silent Storm was possibly one of the first of it's genre to utilize modern FPS-levels of physics. Shooting a wall at a shallow angle will make the bullet ricochet off while shooting it head-on make rifle bullets go clean through the wall and hit whoever is standing behind it, just like in the real world. In fact, every single weapon other than explosives and pistols are capable of over-penetrating whatever happens to be in the way: doors, fences, corpses... Speaking of which, it's not rare at all to see someone's ragdoll be knocked a few meters backwards by a kill shot from a rifle.

    And we haven't even mentioned the 100% destructible terrain: locked doors can be shot to pieces with just a lowly submachine gun instead of picking the lock and explosive Disaster Dominoes can demolish entire buildings (although you DO get a Non-Standard Game Over for excessively over-the-top collateral damage). Also, shooting through obstacles is an entirely valid strategy; the Sniper class even has an early perk that completely removes the advantage of cover for the target!

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Most of Carmageddon's fun comes from the unrealistic but awesome physics, which allow you to roll boulders over your opponents, sling pedestrians into each other, and so forth. The Pinball Mode powerup causes all objects to ricochet off one another with increasing speed; confined spaces become deadly, shrapnel-filled Bouncy Castles.
  • Dwarf Fortress has fluid dynamics that differ subtly between water and magma. You are advised to learn their differences well, lest ye flood your fortress. They're both quite useful if you want to build a Doomsday Device. Or drown goblins and torch Elven traders and their wooden tools.
  • Garry's Mod is all about this entire trope, bonus points for using both the Source Engine and Havok. Building anything will involve physics and it's just plain fun to try various physics experiments such as creating dominoes with large flat panels or a collapsing building. Just be warned you can run into a Game-Breaking Bug by exploiting this trope too much.
  • Just Cause 2 introduced the Double Hook (over the first game's simple grappling-hook) mostly just to show off the Havok engine. It allows you to basically attach any two objects to one another. Attach an enemy to the ceiling, watch him bop around while you use him as a pinata... attach the head of a dictator's statue to the back of your car and hit the gas to watch the statue topple and shatter - then continue down the road, dragging the head behind you. The possibilities are endless, and not all of them are well-executed... for example, if you attach your car to the tail of a jumbo-jet about to take off, your car will swing wildly under the aircraft once in flight, picking up more and more speed until it finally does a complete loop-the-loop over the wings of the plane...
    • A multiplayer mod for the game can also cause havok such as attaching a LAFV to another players helicopter and sitting in it as it takes off, and then it goes to hell.
    • For the same mod, it's possible to find servers, which enable world options. One of those options are to turn off the turbo limit for vehicles. Curiously, due to how the physics for boats are, using turbo for a boat, will have it completely ignore any laws and fly straight into the air.
  • The deformable terrain in the Red Faction series. And the destructible buildings in Red Faction: Guerrilla.
  • Saints Row 2 generally uses Havok for relatively sensible things — ragdoll corpses, explosions, car crashes, etc. — but there's an "Insurance Fraud" Mini-Game in which you have to fling yourself in front of traffic and attempt to bounce from car to car in the most painful way possible. It is deliriously entertaining.
    • Justified in Saints Row IV. Since all of the Fraud missions are taking place within the Matrix, you're not just doing them to put the Havok engine through its paces out-of-universe, you're testing the in-simulation physics for bugs. Presumably the one where you can bounce 100 feet in the air and frisbee yourself halfway across Fake Steelport is one that wasn't caught in Zin playtesting because none of the Zin were stupid enough to try it.
  • Scrap Mechanic made the rather uncommon choice of using the Bullet physics engine, resulting in the game's physics behaving quite differently around the edge cases than players are used to. In particular, collision tunneling note  happens much more easily, and tends to result in the affected object collapsing into a relatively static (though still dangerously unstable) state instead of going into seizure mode. If you manage to tunnel your character through the ground, you get a special message: "You're playing the game wrong. Stop that!"

  • Demolition Company has physics as a major part of the game since it obviously involves demolishing parts of/entire structures. The tutorials show off collapsing a structure by you destroying some of the supports and getting out of the way before it does so.
  • Like Octodad, in recent years just about every game with Simulator in the title (Surgeon, Snowcat, Goat, Tabletop...) is a physics-based game where most of the entertainment (or insanely frustrating challenge) comes from performing actions using the physics engine.
    • Tabletop Simulator for example lets you play simple tabletop games like Chess and Poker by actually moving the pieces/cards yourself (as opposed to moving a piece and having it "stick" to a square, like games normally do), and you can just cause chaos by whacking other pieces every which way, or even flipping the table!

    Massively Multiplayer 
  • Second Life pre-dates Vindictus by about six and a half years. Its Wide-Open Sandbox nature and physics engine permit players to create all sorts of interesting situations, although some exercises, such as a ten-link chain, have been known to wreak havoc upon the server's CPU. (The chain in question did sway quite convincingly, at about a frame every five seconds.)
  • This caused some trouble for Uru, the massively online installment of Myst. Most areas of the game were festooned with numerous traffic cones, and while kicking them around was occasionally fun, it didn't serve any in-game purpose, and keeping track of all that movement severely hampered the servers. Eventually, when player complaints about the restricted access to certain hub areas hit critical mass, Cyan managed to double the capacity of these areas by simply removing the cones.
  • Vindictus may be the first MMO to have fully functioning physics (powered by Valve's Source engine, in fact, which uses Havok extensively) and is quite proud of the fact. Many of the higher-tier weapons and armor are covered in chains and baubles that swing about as the player moves, and one of the highlights of the combat system is the ability to pick up random objects and use them as Improvised Weapons, such as pots or chunks of stone or mid-sized trees. Hilarity Ensues.
    • Dragon Nest actually used Havok earlier but advertised it less, probably because the object destructions seem to have been just pre-rendered with the engine.

Alternative Title(s): Phys X