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Breakable Power-Up

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Power Ups usually don't last forever. One common method of making them temporary is to have them disappear as soon as the user is hit or takes damage. This often overlaps with Single-Use Shield: the Power-Up grants an extra Hit Point to a One-Hit Point Wonder in addition to whatever other powers and abilities it grants.

A common variation is to lose all powerups upon the loss of a life. In games where the player is a One-Hit Point Wonder, this is often functionally identical to the standard "on hit" variation.


Another variation is to "spill" some or all of the lost Power Ups where they may be able to be recovered after respawning. If the spilled Power Ups can be recovered by another player, this can be a cause of Loot Drama. The (often very challenging) race to recover lost Power Ups or equipment while massively depowered is referred to by players of MMOs and Roguelikes as a "corpse run," named after those games' habit of storing the items in the corpse of the dead player character.

A Sub-Trope of Power-Up. This is one common reason why a player character might be Untouchable Until Tagged and Continuing is Painful. Compare Mutually Exclusive Powerups, with which this often overlaps; Full Health Bonus, an ability that works best if you can avoid taking damage; and Breakable Weapons, which typically break from damage dealt rather than damage taken. Not to be confused with Destroyable Items.



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  • Contra takes away all powerups on the loss of a life. Since the player is a One-Hit Point Wonder and Power Ups are not Single Use Shields, the distinction between lives and Hit Points is largely academic in this case.
  • In Metal Slug, characters will lose their current weapon upon death and respawning. Their grenades will also be reset to 10 standard grenades, which might be either a power-down or a bonus.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, the soup power-up heals you and also gives you extra attack power. The attack power buff is lost if you are damaged.
  • In Cave Story, you collect yellow triangles to level up your weapons and make them more powerful. You lose a few of these points every time you take damage, and it's possible to de-level your weapons this way.
  • Volgarr The Viking: Volgarr can collect items from chests, in order: a wooden shield, a metal shield, a helmet, a flaming sword, and a power up that makes you fling fireballs at enemies when you get hit. These act as Hit Points or a series of Single Use Shields, with each bit of damage removing one until Volgarr is a One-Hit Point Wonder.

     Action RPG 
  • Transistor uses a variation; if you take enough damage to empty the Life Meter, the most powerful ability you have equipped is disabled (with an actual Game Over occurring if all of your active abilities are disabled) until you've found a few Save Points.
  • Diablo franchise:
    • Diablo may be the Trope Codifier for the "corpse run" variant. Upon death (in multiplayer), all of a character's equipment is dumped on the ground, but can be recovered...if you make it past what killed you the first time.
    • Diablo II solves the Loot Drama problem by making corpses only lootable by the player that dropped it, and granting you the 'give-up' option of re-spawning your corpse in town to recover you items, XP and Gold are gone forever though.

  • Elsword: Elesis's Strong Iron Body skill buffs her damage output, which lasts until she's hit. However, if she's hit, she'll become Immune to Flinching instead.

     Party Game 
  • Crash Bash: In the Crate Crush, Pogo Pandemonium, Crash Dash and Medieval Mayhem sets of minigames, you'll lose the Power-Up you're currently holding if you get hit.

  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Bros. is the Trope Codifier. The Super Mushroom transforms Mario into Super Mario, capable of breaking bricks by jumping into them from below. The Fire Flower transforms either regular Mario or Super Mario into Fire Mario, capable of throwing fireballs. Both powerups act as a Single-Use Shield, and upon being hit Mario reverts to regular Mario, losing the abilities granted him by the powerups.
    • Starting with the international version of Super Mario Bros. 3, getting hit when empowered by any Power-Up other than the Super Mushroom (Fire Flower, Raccoon Tail, Tanooki Suit, Hammer Suit, Frog Suit, etc.) reverts Mario to Super Mario rather than all the way back down to regular Mario. In Super Mario World, however, taking damage while empowered would revert Mario to regular Mario regardless of what empowered state he was in (the GBA remake rectified this).
    • In the New Super Mario Bros. series, the Mini Mushroom falls under the "Power-Up loss on loss of a life" variant, as unlike most other Power Ups in the series, it does not act as a Single-Use Shield.
  • Downplayed in the Kirby games, where getting hit generally results in losing your power-up. However, the power-up bounces around the stage as a star and can be recovered most of the time.
  • Special weapons in Purple get lost on the second hit taken after getting it.
  • In Super Ghouls 'N' Ghosts, upgrading Arthur's armor allows him to access spells and magical versions of the basic weapons. It doesn't make the armor any more durable however, and a single hit will break the armor and downgrade his weapon. The Golden Armor also comes with a shield that can absorb a single hit and you can find an upgraded shield that can take up to 3 hits before breaking, but they only protect you from projectiles.
  • In Strider (Arcade), a Power-Up gives you a robot to fight alongside you. You lose it from being damaged, with the special wrinkle that it is "linked" to your life total at the moment you acquire it. So it is possible to deliberately get damaged to almost dead, pick up the droid, then find healing power ups to provide a buffer against losing it.

     Racing Game 
  • Mario Kart:
    • In the original Super Mario Kart for the SNES, getting bumped by another racer would remove a coin. Falling into a hole would remove two, and getting hit by items (or Secret A.I. Moves) remove four.
    • In 7 and 8, getting hit by items spills three coins onto the track, while Lakitu will charge up to two coins when bailing the player out of a hazard.
    • In most of the games in the series, getting hit with a strong attack (such as lightning) causes players to lose any items they're holding. In later games, these items drop onto the track, serving as obstacles or instant-use pickups.
  • In LEGO Racers getting hit by a projectile causes a car to drop a collected power-up upgrade.

     Real-Time Strategy 
  • Warcraft III has a variation: bottom-tier healing items provide a small amount of health or mana over time, and the effect is cancelled if the user takes damage.

     Rhythm Game 

  • The Binding of Isaac has Soul Hearts that act like normal hearts, except that you can't heal them like your normal red hearts, making them more similar to the Single-Use shield. The Wrath of the Lamb DLC introduces Eternal Hearts, which give Isaac half a heart's worth of health above his normal maximum. If he loses it, it goes away for good, but if he finds a second Eternal Heart or makes it to the end of the floor without losing it, it turns into a Heart Container and permanently increases his maximum life. Finally, Rebirth introduced the Black Hearts that work like soul hearts, except that when they are depleted they damage all enemies on screen.
  • Candies N Curses features two weapons, King's Beacon and Necro Scythe, which are capable of summoning wraiths and bones respectively. However, these summons disappear if the player sustains too much damage.

  • In Sonny, the Electro Bolt attack eliminates up to three beneficial status effects on hit, making it an excellent counter for moves that power up the enemy's next attack.
  • The Passive ability "Unscarred" in Final Fantasy Tactics A2 gives a 50% boost to magic and physical attack and defense so long as the user has maximum HP. It still works if HP is lost then refilled to full, which makes it effective to give users the Regen Status Buff.

  • Unlike many games which reset the player's complement of Smart Bombs to the starting amount upon death, Heavy Weapon takes all of the player's nukes away, as well as any Single Use Shields. Otherwise averted, as weapon Power Ups remain.
  • This is the case in Raiden unless you find the hidden (and rare) Fairy. Downplayed in the sequels, which spill a few Power Ups from your ship when you die which can then be re-collected.

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