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Death Is Cheap / Video Games

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Death being cheap in video games.

  • AI Dungeon 2 allows play after death - it may not even affect gameplay, depending on the AI storyteller that runs the game.
  • Death is treated as somewhat of a minor inconvenience in Arcanum, as any number of spells and magically restorative items can bring back someone to the land of the living. Companions will actually have unique sets of dialogue available when revived, and generally find the whole affair of being dead to be a rather pleasant experience. One companion's major sidequest even has him being inevitably killed in a hopeless battle, but there are some resurrection scrolls conveniently located on a nearby desk.
    • This becomes a major plot point later in the game, as it turns out that death in ancient times was so cheap that the only way destructive mages such as Arronax could be permanently defeated was by sealing them in an alternate dimension known as The Void. This still doesn't stop some of its inhabitants from trying to take over Arcanum anyways.
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  • Died in a BioShock game? Resurrection is just a shiny booth away. It is, however, possible to turn off the Vita-Chambers in the options menu.
  • Death becomes slightly more expensive in BioShock Infinite, as each death now comes with a price: a certain amount of Silver Eagles (the in-game currency) depending on the difficulty level. There's no penalty if you run out though. Unless, of course, you're playing on 1999 mode, in which case death now costs 100 Silver Eagles, and being unable to pay results in having to reload your last save - without a manual save option.
  • Bioshock's spiritual predecessor System Shock justified this: Both games in the series had Quantum Bio-Reconstruction machines that could recreate your body from scratch, provided you activated them first. In the second, a certain amount of nanites is spent for respawning, and the first game has the added catch that SHODAN uses these machines to turn your body into one of her Cyborg Mooks if you hadn't reset them yet.
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  • Subverted with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Characters who've either been infested by centipedes (like Hanbei) or drank the Rejuvenating Waters (like Genichiro) will easily resurrect from even the most devastating of deathblows, but it's indicated that doing so sacrifices a good chunk of their humanity. Additionally, the type of immortality held by the protagonist and his lord will spread a disease known as Dragonrot every time they resurrect; in-game, this results in various NPCs getting deathly sick if the player dies too many times.
  • This trope is pretty evident in the world of Blazblue whereby some of the key characters like Terumi and Trinity Glassfield can still linger around in spirit form after their deaths and possess bodies (Kazuma and Platinum respectively) given the opportunity, even Nu who died in the first game can come back to life on the 3rd game thanks to her life-link with Ragna.
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  • The Immortals of Boktai can only be defeated for real if fried on the Piledriver using The Power of the Sun. Except for the Count of Groundsoaking Blood, thanks to his ability to split into a swarm of bats: he always leaves one hidden somewhere so, even if you do fry him, that one bat can regenerate into him in time.
  • Arguably justifiable in Borderlands. At the beginning of the game, the local Exposition Fairy and quest announcer hands you something called an ECHONet communication device and "heads up" display, after which you are directed to a "New-U Station". The latter is explained away as being able to "identify and store" your DNA profile, and you are flat out told that this is done for the purposes of "horrific death and dismemberment insurance". Ever after, every time you die throughout the game you are teleported back to the last New-U Station that you passed with 7% of whatever was in your wallet at the time providing a charge for "reconstruction services". If you were flat broke, the fee is waived. Because, of course, "we at Hyperion value your existence".
    • ...It also brings to mind whether or not how many of the endless sea of mooks and bosses are actually dead as well. There are certain bosses that respawn matching your current level after you kill them, and to top it off you get to fight them all together again in Mad Moxxi's Underdome during a later DLC. Given the canonical explanation of game mechanics, it is entirely feasible that several of your previous foes may possess registration with New-U Stations as well.
    • Claptrap's Robot Revolution shows that only the minor not as well known bosses have been registered to the New-U Station. The Big Bads are brought back with cyborg parts, not completely rebuilt of course
    • This trope ends up creating plot holes in the sequel: Hyperion's CEO, Handsome Jack, spends the entire game trying to kill you (and succeeding in the introduction)... but his company also owns the New-U machines. Does he not have the foresight to just delete you from the registry? Or perhaps he enjoys making a profit from your failure rather than more permanent satisfaction? Eventually, Word of God simply outright retcons the existence of the New-U stations with lead writer Anthony Burch openly regretting adding in unique dialog for the stations.
    • Practically required for the Slabs initiation to actually turn up anything other than extinction. "Initiation" being "Fight through and kill most of the slabs while likely dying a lot yourself". This is implied to happen every time a group joins the Slabs. It doesn't help that Brick openly treats them as the expendable morons that they are.
    • "Remember when you killed me? That was funny."
  • Dracula and his minions from the Castlevania series emerge from death every 100 years, sometimes even less than that. His castle may also count as it collapses again and again.
  • In Conker's Bad Fur Day squirrels apparently get as many lives as they think they can get away with, or however many squirrel tails they can find. Much to Gregg's dismay.
  • In the Dawn of War franchise, Eliphas the Inheritor simply will not stay dead. Even overlooking the times in-game he can be killed and then respawned, he gets splatted at least twice in canon and a possible third time in Retribution. Of course, his home base is in a twisted hell-dimension that echoes with the laughter of mad gods, which may go some way to explaining how killing him is at most an inconvenience.
  • Destiny plays it fairly straight. Guardians have Resurrective Immortality, so dying is just a momentary inconvenience. They can just revive a few seconds later, or quicker if another Guardian helps them up. Hell, the fact that they can do this means PvP in a shooter has a rare justification for respawning. In Darkness Zones, though, they have to wait a lot longer for revival after death, and if it's a Total Party Wipe, then the team has to restart from a checkpoint.
    • In-story, Guardians dying a lot and coming back no worse for wear adds to the fact that they're all Humanoid Abominations in service of the Traveler, a benevolent Eldritch Abomination. Their Ghosts give them the ability to heal and resurrect, but if the Ghost is killed or otherwise disabled, then the Guardian is at real risk of permanent death.
    • The various enemies of humanity dip into this with different flavors. Particularly powerful Hive can die again and again and come back without issue, but dying in their Throne World means they die for good... though they're much stronger in their Throne World. One Fallen bounty hunter, Taniks the Scarred, has a reputation for somehow evading death every time he was 'killed', to the point that it's not clear when he'll finally die until his body is completely destroyed or Bungie outright states he's finally dead. The Leviathan raids justify it with Calus' robot doubles, meaning Calus himself is never harmed while providing an in-story reason for the weekly reset. Vex, by virtue of being just robot shells connected to a vast network of intelligences, means that when you destroy them it's less "killing" and more "taking that particular shell out". The Scorn seem to have a similar ability to the Guardians thanks to their Dark Ether, with the Fanatic in particular constantly reviving to justify repeated Hallowed Lair strike runs. Overall, the only race that seems to not have this trope in play would be the Cabal, given their Badass Normal status of having immense firepower and sheer grit.
  • Crypto of Destroy All Humans! is like this. Every time he dies they just pull out a new clone with all the previous one's memories. The sequel even lampshades this by saying that the Crypto you play as in that one is a clone of the one in the previous one (ignoring whether or not you died in the previous one).
    • Near the end of the 2nd one you fight can a Bonus Boss who averts this. You have to kill him as many times as you yourself died. So if you died 10 times he'll have 10 lives. Better hope you didn't exploit this trope too much or you'll have a long fight on your hands.
  • Dragon Quest has this as a whole, as party members do actually die (complete with a coffin) rather than faint every time their HP hits zero, but they’re very easily revived by the Almighty at any church, or the Ka/Zing spells. Dragon Quest V takes note of this in your marriage ceremony as well, with the “until death do us part” bit replaced with “until the Almighty can no longer revive you.” Notably, V also has a few instances of characters being made Deader Than Dead by casting a massive fireball on corpses they want gone, preventing even the Almighty from bringing them back.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Averted in general. The series has just about every form of magic except true resurrection magic. Necromancy is prevalent, but actually bringing a sentient being back to life with body and soul in-tact seems to be out of reach.
    • This is present among the series' many deities. To note:
      • Lorkhan (also known by many other names), the "dead" creator god of Mundus, the mortal plane, was killed by some of the other gods he convinced/tricked into sacrificing large amounts of their divine power/very beings and his heart ("divine center") was cast down into the world he made them create. His spirit is said to wander the world, however, and is still very much able to influence events and take physical manifestations not all that different from the still "living" gods. Likewise, Tsun, the old Nordic god of "trials against adversity" and a shield-thane of Shor (Lorkhan's Nordic aspect), died while defending Shor from angry "foreign gods". He now resides in Sovngarde, where he tests warrior spirits in single combat to judge their worthiness for entry into Shor's Hall of Valor.
      • This is the case for the Daedra, both the Daedric Princes and the lesser Daedra. Unlike the Aedra, the Daedra are pre-creation spirits (et'Ada) who did not lend their power to creating the mortal world and thus maintain Complete Immortality. While they may manifest in a physical form, and that physical form can be slain, they cannot truly "die". If they are slain, their spirits ("Animus") simply return to Oblivion to coalesce. It is implied that coalescing into a new form isn't an instantaneous process, so being slain is at least a mild inconvenience.
    • As seen in Skyrim, dragons cannot be killed by merely slaying their physical forms. While anyone of sufficient ability is capable of doing this, the dragon can be resurrected by another dragon unless its soul is absorbed by another dragon (or Dragonborn). In fact, Akatosh, the "father" of dragons, specifically created the Dragonborn, rare mortals gifted with draconic Aedric souls, to serve as natural predators for the dragons.
  • Evolve has the Lazarus Men, a military contingent equipped with devices that bring the dead back to life. Naturally, having one on your team enforces this trope. Even without him, hunter players return in a dropship two minutes after death none the worse for the wear.
  • Fable II has this over the conventional deaths of the first game. When you run out of health you're only knocked out for a little while and lose a sizable amount of experience.
  • In the online game Fallen London, should your character die from accumulated wounds, they will find themself on the boat of the dead - from where it is possible to return. This is referenced in-story, e.g., you can be hired to assassinate a troublesome journalist - "he'll get better, obviously, but it will serve as a warning". There are a few ways in-story for somebody to be rendered Deader Than Dead such as dismemberment, and deaths from disease or old age are final. Funnily enough, there's also a midpoint between this and Deader Than Dead where you get back up, but your body's still in such a horrific mess that you get wrapped in bandages to hide your newly-ugly mug and shipped to off-shore Tomb Colonies to avoid the awkward stares. People who live near the Mountain of Light, and people who've drunk Hesperidean Cider, are even heartier, getting back up from the above and more, and the latter might just have Complete Immortality.
  • In Final Fantasy IV, a number of party members have emotional death scenes. In all cases but one, it doesn't take. Justified in the case of the twins, who were turned to stone; the fact that they couldn't be restored by conventional means didn't preclude there being a way providing someone was clever enough to find it, which someone was.
  • Big Bad Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII does die, but he later comes back to torment Cloud in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Word of God says that as long as Sephiroth holds onto an emotion to preserve his sense of self, he can never truly die and thus The Lifestream cannot claim his soul. Sephiroth comes back after each death by focusing his hatred for Cloud.
  • The Ascians in Final Fantasy XIV are basically immortal. It is explained that whenever someone dies, their soul gets assimilated by The Lifestream and are eventually reborn as a new person when a child is brought into the world. While it is possible for an Ascian to be killed, they have full control over their soul and avoid going to the lifestream by hanging out in the plane between life and death. From there, an Ascian can reform and return as if nothing ever happened. Throughout the story, there have been a few ways where an Ascian has been Killed Off for Real. One method is trapping their soul in white auracite and then using an extremely large amount of aether as a weapon to shatter it, killing the Ascian inside. So much aether is needed for the trick to work that the first auracite used required a Heroic Sacrifice from another character who used her own life force to fuel the channeled aether from the player character. For the second auracite, a dragon's eye (which has a ton of aether inside) was used to kill another Ascian. Another method is to have an entity absorb the Ascian's soul like it was food, which is what Thordon did to Lahabrea after becoming a primal.
  • Pretty much the entire point of Ghost Trick. The main character is a ghost, and one of his tricks is to go back a few minutes before a person's death and prevent it. They keep their memory of the event, and if their ghost is conscious they can watch the main character work his magic. One character in particular gets quite used to it:
    Lynne: Ha ha, I died again!
    Sissel: I thought you'd be a little more grave, under the circumstances.
    Lynne: Yeah, well, this is the third time, after all... It's scary what a girl can get used to, don't you think?
  • In God of War death is so cheap for Kratos that it raises serious Fridge Logic regarding your suicide, how anyone intends to stop you, and why the game even ends if something kills you. In the first game Hades is your ally and allowed you to return, but after that, you pretty much just walk out on your own.
  • In Halo 5: Guardians, Cortana, an AI and the Master Chief's closest companion who died in Halo 4, reappears early in the story without an explanation given as to how she came back.
  • The Haunted Ruins: When your Hit Points get damaged to 0, you get an "Everything goes dark..." and you reappear on the surface, having lost half your coins. When you go back into the Haunted Ruins, you start at 1 floor above the lowest floor you got to.
  • I=MGCM: Lore-wise example. All the Executors' Remote Body avatars, including Tobio's Omnis, have an ability to "Call Forth New Possibilities", that is, to create a new copy of his desired universe to merge with the universe where he screwed up. The heroines are also merged with new copies of themselves along with the universe, causing their deaths get undone and their memories are reverted into the moment before their doom, which is why every time Tobio sees one of his heroines die, he ends up seeing all heroines alive and intact like "Groundhog Day" Loop. However, this ability has flaws: Due to the demons' immunity against merging, the heroines' corpses that have been corrupted into demons cannot be merged with the new ones, instead they're replaced with new copies of them. Besides that, the remaining enemy demons are added into a recently merged world, so the amount of demons they fight becomes doubled.
    • A gameplay example. When a character is defeated in battle, she warps away in a pillar of magic as a Nonlethal KO - something fairly standard for the genre. This condition is simply called "Unable to Fight". In the main story, however, no convenient warp is available to save them if they cannot physically run away.
    • A downplayed example. In the I=MGCM Arc 1 of the main story, Kamisaman tells Iroha, who gets revived into the White Room after she's brutally impaled by Nemesis Iroha, that her revival in the White Room is just one of possible outcomes when Omnis gets destroyed, which that means that there's a chance that they'll probably die for good when it's destroyed until the new Omnis gets created/repaired. So, Kamisaman tells Iroha she's just lucky and she shouldn't expect the guaranteed revival when they died.
  • Kingdom Hearts is really guilty of this, thanks to its incredibly convoluted mythos about what makes one alive. Outside of the Disney cast, many of whom have to die because of their films' plot points, virtually nobody in the series dies for good. If you lose your heart, you don't die, because your heart still exists, albeit as a monster, and your body remains alive, albeit as a shell. If these monster and shell "die", then they just reconstitute back as the original human. Rinse and repeat. But wait, what if you are a robot/replica/what-have-you destined to die and be forgotten forever? No big deal, the creators will somehow find a way so you can periodically make tearjerking cameos to show that you're still around.
    • In fact, the series creator himself, Tetsuya Nomura, had admitted that he doesn't know if the concept of death actually exists in the KH universe.
    • The most Egregious examples are as follows:
      • Everyone on Destiny Islands except for Sora and Riku are killed at the start of the first game. Kairi’s heart goes to Sora’s body due to their connection, keeping her spirit alive even though her body is dead (It Makes Sense in Context), but everyone else is completely dead. This is all undone by the end of the game. First Kairi is revived by Riku finding her body and Sora returning her heart, and then everyone else comes back when Sora kills Ansem at the end of the game.
      • Sora actually stabs himself in the heart and perishes in the very first game as well. He did this to release Kairi’s heart because her heart was in his body and this was the only way that he could return it to her own body to wake her up. The result? The darkness of the weapon that he used actually turned him into a Heartless rather than completely killing him, and then once Kairi recognizes him in this form and hugs him, the power of light from their connection purifies him and revives him completely.
      • Riku also “dies” in this same scene, as after his fight with Sora his body simply perishes. He even appears as a ghost to protect Kairi immediately after this! It turns out that his defeat only sent his spirit to the Realm of Darkness, where he gives up his opportunity to escape during the ending to instead help Sora close the door between realms, trapping himself inside. And then he’s freed anyway in the following game, Chain of Memories, and is back in action from there.
      • Ansem (Xehanort’s Heartless) is able to come back multiple times after his death in the first game due to his lingering presence in Riku’s heart (which Riku got from Ansem possessing him briefly). At the end of Kingdom Hearts 2, he is supposedly gone from Riku’s heart for good, but then Time Travel becomes his new method for returning after that!
      • Maleficent comes back to life in Kingdom Hearts 2 after getting killed rather dramatically in the first game due to the fairies simply remembering her.
      • Ursula and Oogie Boogie both are revived in Kingdom Hearts 2 after getting killed in Kingdom Hearts 1. Oogie has the more plausible situation of Maleficent reviving him personally, along with a little Came Back Wrong thrown in for good measure. Ursula, however, returns with no explanation whatsoever! Even more bizarre is that Sora seems to remember Ursula and her actions from Kingdom Hearts 1 while Ariel does not, despite them both fighting her together before. And then she returns a third time in Dream Drop Distance as a phantom in the dream world. Still a bizarre revival, but more plausible than her previous one.
      • All of Organization XIII comes back to life after getting killed due to the rule that a person is revived after their Heartless and Nobody forms are both killed, which apparently causes those separated pieces to reform into the original being. This was established after every single one of them had apparently died for good.
      • Ansem the Wise (Diz) performs a Heroic Sacrifice in Kingdom Hearts 2 by overloading his machine to blow open Xemnas’s Kingdom Hearts, ruining Xemnas’s plan at the cost of ending his own life in the resulting explosion. Birth by Sleep’s secret ending reveals that the explosion simply sent his body to the Realm of Darkness, same as what happened to Riku in Kingdom Hearts 1, and then he’s eventually able to leave from there as Riku did.
      • The Riku Replica, supposedly killed in Chain of Memories, got the Riku/Diz treatment and had it revealed that his heart was simply sent to the Realm of Darkness as well. Then when Riku made a return visit (alive this time), the Riku Replica’s heart joined to him. But Averted (for now) at the end of Kingdom Hearts 3, where he did a Heroic Sacrifice for Naminé that seemingly killed him for good this time.
      • Vanitas is killed in Birth by Sleep only to return due to the negative emotions stored up in Monstropolis during Kingdom Hearts 3.
      • The True Organization XIII is able to bring multiple deceased characters from the past into the present time (most notably Ansem and Xemnas, and most likely this is how Xion was revived as well).
      • This is taken even further by Vexen, who takes the Organization’s spare replicas to revive Roxas and Naminé, who weren’t completely dead but did lose their own bodies by having to rejoin with Sora and Kairi at the end of Kingdom Hearts 2 initially.
      • The entire cast of heroes seemingly die in Kingdom Hearts 3, only for Sora to revive everyone before they fully reach an afterlife.
      • Sora and Kairi yet again at the end of Kingdom Hearts 3. Kairi is killed by Master Xehanort, Sora revives her using the Power of Waking, but the use of that power kills him, and now it’s suggested that he’s gone to Quadratum where of course he has the chance to revive himself.
      • Several key figures from the first Keyblade War, fought ages ago mind you, seem to have survived to the present day. This includes the entire cast of “Back Cover” characters excluding Ava and the Master of Masters (at least for now) as well as the previously-established survivors from the war Ventus, Lauriam, and Elrena.
      • Averted with a few characters: Ienzo’s parents (who are said to be dead, and are probably not important enough to revive since they are only part of his Back Story), and Master Xehanort and Eraqus due to dying seemingly for good at the conclusion of Kingdom Hearts 3. Although the unbelievable amount of examples listed above suggest that anything is possible, they were both already very old and don’t exactly have anywhere left to go as characters meaning that their deaths will probably stick.
    • Kingdom Hearts III actually hangs a lampshade and subverts this. It is revealed that death can happen; it is the result when your body and heart perish together. The character informed about this is confused, as if it doesn't naturally occur to him that he will not live forever.
  • Played for laughs in the Infocom Text Adventure Leather Goddesses of Phobos. Your faithful sidekick would occasionally get killed in the course of trying to solve some puzzle, with you mourning their loss. They'd show up again with some ridiculous Deus ex Machina explanation within a few turns.
  • What Left 4 Dead usually becomes, although originally, the feature wasn't intended. Players who died will come back trapped in a closet and requires another player to free them. Players who died will also come back in the next map if they weren't found in a closet then. The sequel adds a defibrillator that can bring dead players back into the game on the spot. Realism, VS, and Survival mode take away the ability to come back in closets, becoming dead for real.
  • According to the official franchise timeline in Hyrule Hystoria, in The Legend of Zelda, while the Links and Zeldas are separate characters, all Ganons are the same, having been revived by either the Triforce or something else (excluding the one in Four Swords Adventures, who is the next male born into the Gerudo line after Ganondorf was executed in Twilight Princess, though hinted at being the reincarnation of the previous Ganondorf).
    • The Ganondorf of Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and The Wind Waker is explicitly the same man within the games, and is not killed or seemingly killed in any version of Ocarina of Time's "split" aftermath. It's likely that Ganondorf holding onto the Triforce of Power that lets him survive grievous wounds and live for over a hundred years and look half as young.
    • Skyward Sword offers some explanation for this: just before mostly-dying, Demise curses Hyrule to be constantly haunted by evil, which implies that his lingering power is what created Ganon and keeps bringing him back to life after the current Link kills him. Some other villains, like Vaati, seem to recur in the same way, probably for the same reason.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, the King of Hyrule and Link's Uncle both die and are returned to life when Link wishes for the Triforce to restore Hyrule. The Flute Boy, who was transformed into a tree, is also returned to normal.
  • Master of the Monster Lair: Monsters who are killed simply return to Hell, which is exactly 21 floors underground. This becomes part of a gameplay mechanic, allowing the player to re-fight defeated bosses upon reaching the 20th and final floor of the dungeon.
    • Also brings Gameplay and Story Integration into play: the Devil Princess doesn't mind that you killed her brother because he isn't really gone. She even tries to thank you for teaching the Smug Snake a lesson. The Devil Lord does get upset when you kill his kids, but only at the audacity that you, a mere human, would dare to harm a devil.
  • In Super Meat Boy, everyone seems to come back to life in one way or another. Meat Boy just respawns, some rise from the grave, squirrels just get better, some pop out from their former dead bodies, and so on.
  • Zero from Mega Man X is notorious for his repeated deaths. Even after his final no-really-he's-dead death in Mega Man Zero 4, his data and memories were compressed into a sentient rock that gives suitable people the ability to take up his form and saber.
    • For that matter, the series' favorite side villain, Vile, has died at least 3 times. Obliterated in X1, then in X3, then in X8.
      • Not to mention, the Big Bad of the series, Sigma. He's killed at the end of each game, only to return for the next game. Like Zero, he was intended to be Killed Off for Real in X5 but still came back anyway. Then he finally did die for good in X8, due to it being the final game in the series.
  • Justified for Net Navis in the Mega Man Battle Network series, as being AI programs, they can simply have a back-up copy available in case the original gets deleted (Though exceptions exist, such as Mega Man himself). Strangely, numerous characters get very concerned about their Navis being in danger at times, yet have no qualms about them getting deleted in friendly net battles, with no justification for that.
    • To be fair, Megaman himself has no backups yet is still fine after losing a friendly netbattle. Odds are that the fight stops once a navi reaches enough HP to almost be deleted, but not actually suffer that fate.
  • Allen O'Neil from the Metal Slug series. Killed in 1, 2, and 3 (and even HELPS the player AFTER being killed in the third installment). Somewhat lampshaded, in that it is explained that his will to come back to his family somehow keeps him alive.
  • Ridley from the Metroid series is a Recurring Boss, appearing in all the Metroid games except Metroid 2: Return of Samus (he does show up in the remake, though) and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. Considering what he's survived or been resurrected from, he should really be long gone by now. Blown to bits in the first game? OK, limited graphics, he might just have fallen over, and he was absent from the second. Returns as a cyborg in Prime, loses his wings, and gets blown off a really large cliff before he explodes? Sure, why not. More cybernetics at the beginning of Prime 3: Corruption where he gets shot up and dropped down a really, really high elevator shaft? Returns at the end of Prime 3, hyped up on radioactive drugs, to get slaughtered once again and blown to molecules. Blown into tiny chunks again in Super Metroid? In Other M, scientists unwittingly cloned him with DNA samples taken from Samus' suit. The clone is killed by the Queen Metroid? In Metroid Fusion his body is found frozen in a storage room, taken over and destroyed by shape-shifting parasites, which are then in turn blown up and absorbed by the heroine. And yet, we know he will return. Death isn't worth a penny to him!
  • Mortal Kombat series deliberately subjects death to the Rule of Cool, the creators will sometimes, in a high profile move, permanently kill off characters between games for drama. Unfortunately, they can't even get those to stick. The question of whether or not Johnny Cage is still alive remains a running gag to this day.
    • Since characters can conceivably be killed off at the end of every single match, plotline deaths are generally taken with a grain of salt by both gamers and developers alike.
    • In fact, in the very opening scene of Mortal Kombat: Deception, Raiden and Shang Tsung are both seen getting killed, only to get back up minutes later to help Quan Chi defeat Onaga, The Dragon King.
      • It got worse with Deception's stage fatalities, which automatically win the round. "Round", not "match", meaning that it's possible to get killed and get back in action in the same fight.
      • And that's still nothing compared to Smoke's fatality where he blows up the entire planet, killing himself and the rest of the roster. Then, you fight the next match...
  • Mutant Football League features a Dynasty mode where you're tasked with taking a team through multiple seasons to build a team dynasty. Death is a featured mechanic, and you can resurrect fallen players after each game by spending some of your earnings. As long as you actually win your games, you will usually have enough money to raise any and all dead players. The game also lets you set up Season and Playoff game modes with the option to automatically resurrect dead players after each game.
  • Played with in Neverwinter Nights 2. In the original campaign, this is averted: party members who lose all their HP simply suffer a Non-Lethal K.O. (unless the entire party is KO'd) and revive at the end of the fight. Despite being based on D&D rules (see Tabletop Games, above), three friendly characters suffer Plotline Death and can't be resurrected. Possibly justified by the setting requirements for resurrection: you have to be willing, and there can't be anything keeping you back.
    • Played straight in the second expansion Storm of Zehir. KO'd party members will bleed out and die if left unattended, but resurrecting them is as easy as traveling to the nearest temple and paying for a resurrection spell (or keeping a good stock of Coins of Life handy, consumable items that cast resurrection).
      • In the original Neverwinter Nights campaign, if your companion died he would be instantly teleported to the nearest temple of Tyr. They will describe their experience when you next speak to them.
  • Nexus Clash allows characters to easily respawn on their home plane for a relatively cheap cost in their limited actions per day. In lore, the explanation is that the presiding death deity is just as invested in keeping the war going as the rest of the pantheon and doesn't hold onto souls for long. Roleplays in this setting regularly go into the implications of the fact that everyone in the Nexus is trapped there and the only way to truly die is of apathy or despair.
  • Most games by Nippon Ichi have healers and/or hospitals that can fix your troops right as rain, sometimes even if their bodies have been destroyed (though it usually costs an item in those cases). In the Disgaea series, you even get prizes for providing them with enough work. This may explain why nobody's particularly upset by all the violence and death caused by protagonists and villains alike. (Plotline deaths are an exception, and are usually permanent.)
  • Odin Sphere is a quasi-example. While characters do indeed die and stay dead, a number of characters also either die or are banished to the Netherworld while still alive, and then get brought back later by somebody storming the Netherworld and kicking the ass of Queen Odette, the queen of the dead. This eventually comes to an end during Gwendolyn's storyline (the very last of the five character's stories to end chronologically) where Odette is finally Killed Off for Real, and as a result, the Netherworld is sealed forever so no one can get out and no one can get in except through death.
  • The Nameless One is immortal and simply returns to the Mausoleum every time he dies in Planescape: Torment. (Most of the time. There are a few ways that the Nameless One can get permanently offed.)
    • Ultimately averted, in a way. Sure, the Nameless One will get back up again if killed, but every time that happens another person dies in his place and becomes an undead shadow, paying the "price" for his death. This actually affects the number of enemies (who are all supposedly shades risen from those who died in the place of the Nameless One) found in the final area of the game.
  • In the backstory for the original PlanetSide, death being cheap caused the Forever War that still rages a decade later. When the Terran Republic first landed on Auraxis, they found the ruins of an ancient, powerful alien race, including a vast Portal Network. When a pilot got sick of having to divert around the warpgates that terrified the Republic, he flies through it and is executed by firing squad for treason when he comes out of a warpgate on the other side of the planet. Republic scouts inexplicably found him the next day relaxing under a palm tree near a warpgate, and executed him. And again, the next day, continuously until they got sick of it. The Republic later had all colonists and troops on the planet sent through the warpgates and "matrixed" to prevent work-related deaths, but dissenters quickly realized that the Republic can no longer truly punish them, leading to two rebellions and the subsequent civil war.
  • Pokémon creator Satoshi Tajiri mentions that he used Non-Lethal K.O. in order to avoid this trope: by making the death of a Mon a reversible condition, it could lessen a player's real-life perception of death, especially in the context of a video game. Whereas a Mon that is knocked unconscious can actually be healed and brought back to fighting condition.
  • The cooperative testing initiative robots in Portal 2 are simply downloaded into new frames and dropped into the testing arena when they are destroyed. One of the trailers even ends with GLaDOS warning them not to disappoint her *crashing, mangling, rending, flying robot parts* "Or I'll make you wish you could die."
  • Your team in Project Eden often die through sheer incompetence, thankfully their health plan includes 'regen' stations that resurrect and heal them.
  • In RuneScape, played straight for players; according to a Temple Knight, Saradomin catches you when you fall and return you to life to fulfill your destiny. However, subverted for NPCs—very few (non-attackable) NPCs are resurrected. One exception is Zanik, who was brought back by the tears of Guthix, who had wept at the destruction of the God Wars, so it was sufficiently climatic.
    • Zanik was a special case. Bandos, one of the gods, had a destiny in mind for Zanik to take a position that would benefit him greatly. Since Guthix wouldn't mind so long as Bandos himself doesn't come down, he felt it acceptable to allow her to come back to life. This gets averted in The Chosen Commander when Zanik defies her destiny and is told that she can no longer be revived from death. She doesn't die, however.
    • It's later explained that Death personally makes an exception for the player character and lets them come back to life instead of pass on to the underworld because they are The Chosen One and thus too important to Fate to die.
  • The Secret World, like most MMO's, has players respawn quickly after being killed. More uniquely, this is given an in-story explanation, as the "bees" that gave characters their powers also reassemble the bodies of the characters at Anima Wells after they die; and it's physically impossible to put you down permanently without literally shredding you into atoms. More notably, NPCs throughout the game are aware of the players' borderline-immortality and quite a few villains are forced to resort to other methods of stopping you from interfering with their plans: Freddy Beaumont knocks you unconscious and leaves, sealing the door behind him; Abdel Doud disables your powers and locks you up; Lilith just slices your legs off and leaves you to it. In fact, up until comparatively recently, death was so cheap that it was used as a means of fast travelling across maps via the Anima Wells, though updates have since replaced this with an in-game teleporter system.
  • Resurrection booths also feature in Space Colony, but even before you get them dead teammates turn up perfectly fine in later missions.
  • In Spore, death is rarely anything but a minor annoyance - you're playing as but one member of a whole species, after all. The implication is when you die you are born again as another member of the species. However, this extends even to the Space Age, where you are directly implied to be one person no matter how many times you die.
    • Avoided altogether in Galactic Adventures: disregarding situations when one's spaceship explodes with their Captain in it in the overworld, should you die in an adventures everything resets back to the beginning as if that time was your actual run through of it.
  • Starbound: outside of the Hardcore difficulty setting, dying results in respawning back on your ship, minus some money (and some items, on the Survival difficulty). If an NPC you're escorting dies, the quest failure message reassures you that they probably respawned somewhere safer. In fact, all non-monster actors have the same "beaming away" animation when they die, suggesting that it happens all the time.
  • Street Fighter:
  • Reala from Tales of Destiny 2 was reborn in front of the protagonist Kyle in the ending, which is considered a miracle under that circumstance. It can be considered a Deus ex Machina since the reason behind this is "Pure Deep love" that Kyle and Reala have for each other.
  • In Tales of Monkey Island, Guybrush came back to life in the ending after he was killed by his nemesis LeChuck. Quite literally, death means nothing to LeChuck as he always comes back to torment Guybrush and obtain Elaine's love.
  • The actual gameplay of Team Fortress 2 wouldn't be worth mentioning here, because respawns are the norm in FPS games. But it's worth mentioning that a large section of the metaplot revolves around immortality machines (with at least one unaccounted for), and multiple characters in the comics die and come back to life shortly afterwards. Also BLU heavy dies in every single Meet The Team video, which may be lampshading the absurdity of respawn mechanics.
    • The inclusion of a device called the Reanimator in the Mann Vs. Machine mode and its appearance in animated trailers has officially canonized the notion that deceased players are simply brought back from the dead every time they die. Even being blown to pieces is no obstacle to a Reanimator, which can take a deceased person and reattach all their component parts before restoring them to life good-as-new. Upon reanimation, the classes actually acknowledge having been dead, too.
  • Tekken:
    • Heihachi appears to die from an explosion in Tekken 5. Heihachi appears to let Jin, Jinpachi, and Kazuya die in Heihachi's Tekken 5 ending, and Heihachi appears to die with Jin and Kazuya in Heihachi's Tekken 6 ending.
    • Jin Kazama dies in Tekken 3, and returns in Tekken 4.
    • Kazuya Mishima dies in Tekken 2, and returns in Tekken 4.
  • Played with in Epyx's Temple of Apshai—dying may be permanent, or you might be found by a wanderer who dragged your corpse back to the Innkeeper and had you resurrected. Of course, they'll want some compensation for their trouble...
  • In Temple Run, it only takes one click to get back on your feet after death. You have to start over as far as running distance is concerned, but you get to keep all the coins you collected on your previous runs. Plus, you can also buy the ability to resurrect yourself, so you can keep your running distance as well.
  • To date, Time Crisis's Wild Dog has been not only killed but completely blown up five times. Except for that one arm, he always returns good as new. Nobody at Namco has offered even a token explanation as to how he does it.
  • Fairies in Touhou Project exist as long as the aspect of nature they represent exists, and are highly fragile and deeply stupid. Hence they have a tendency to fly headfirst into dangerous situations, explode, resurrect soon afterwards, then go on their way, usually forgetting what happened soon afterwards so they can do it again. Subverted in that they hardly actually die in the series in spite of their frailty and stupidity, mainly due to the focus being in non-lethal combat.
    • Kaguya and Mokou are absolutely immortal, but instead of never dying they have Resurrective Immortality that activates instantaneously after they die, making death less than an inconvenience to them. It still hurts though, which is why Mokou eventually stops her battle. ("Ow, it hurts! I won't die but it hurts~")
    • This even applies for non-immortals, albeit to a lesser extent. There are several types of ghost that a person can come back as, many of which are capable of interacting with the world the same as if they were still alive. On top of that, several realms of the afterlife are physical places that can be freely travelled to and from.
  • Massively egregious in the Ultima series. If you die, Lord British will just resurrect you with a wave of his hand. If someone else - ally, NPC, some enemies - dies, you can just haul their body to the castle and have them brought back as well. (Games taking place outside of Britannia will have someone else doing the honors.) In the sixth game, a gravedigger suggests that you try staying dead for a while, just as a change of pace.
  • The World Is Your Weapon: Any NPC or boss the player kills, sells, or discards will return to their original location perfectly intact. Averted for Weaco herself since her death will still result in a game over in normal gameplay, and for Dirk, who died in the final trial to get the LOL Sword.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • This has been lampshaded. In one instance, you can buy an overpriced 'charm' from a shady troll vendor named Griftah that he cheerily explains will let you do exactly what you do anyway to recover from death. In a later example, Arthas the Lich King may casually murder your character for what seems to be the sole purpose of embarrassing you.
      Arthas: Persistence or stupidity? It matters not. Let this be a lesson learned, mortal!
    • Even later lampshaded by an elemental in Deepholm, who, when you kill him, more or less exclaims "NOOOOOO!...not again!" because so many people have killed him, and when it first came out, there used to be lines of people waiting to kill him. He would just keep respawning and getting killed over and over again. Even more hilarious, when you level an alt, you really ARE personally killing him again. He also talks like a stupid five-year-old child before his death. His only normal line is the "not again!" line, pretty much proving that it was an intentional lampshade on Blizzard's part.
    • Used and abused by Blizzard overall in the Warcraft franchise, especially World of Warcraft. Players like recognizable major antagonists, but there is only so much of those in lore and Blizzard has to constantly produce expansions to their main moneymaker. So what do you do? You shamelessly resurrect your major antagonists. If you didn't chop off their head, you're almost guaranteed to have them come back later in yet another dungeon. Even if you DID, the villain may still come back as a spirit or a zombie... or have it turn out the previous version was a decoy... or just come back with no explanations whatsoever.
    • The Spirit Healers are a prime example. If you can't get back to your body for whatever reason, these gals will be happy to return you to your mortal coil because "It is not your time."
    • Lampshaded again by Azuregos while justifying his relationship with the Spirit Healer Anara.
      Anara: How many times have she and her sisters brought you back from the grip of death itself? You're just all kinds of inconsiderate, aren't you?
    • Deathwing dies like any other dragon in Warcraft II, but this doesn't seem to have affected him that much.
  • The eponymous characters in the Worms series die all the time, but they are back for the next battle as if nothing had happened. This trope is especially noticeable in story/campaign mode, where no discontinuity can be implied – sometimes a single worm survives the battle, yet the whole team is back for any following cutscene and the next battle in the story.


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