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Enemy Scan

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"Enemy shield analyzed."
Slippy Toad, Star Fox 64

An item, ability, or spell that when used provides the player with otherwise hidden information about the current enemy. This will often reveal the enemy's Hit Points, Mana Meter, attacks, weaknesses (in RPGs, especially magic-based ones), or may just provide a general description of the enemy. Often shown in the form of Stat-O-Vision, even if it's a magical spell.

Some games feature a Monster Encyclopedia of sorts that may be filled if the player wants 100% Completion (in turn requiring the player to traverse the world and perform this on every single enemy). Frustratingly, this can result in Permanently Missable Content if the enemy (or a specific variation of it) only appears a limited number of times.

This may or may not work on bosses, especially the Final Boss. But it usually does work on Helpful Mooks.

Can become a Useless Useful Spell if it can only scan weak enemies you don't need to know much about to defeat.

See also Robo Cam, where a shot is filmed from a robot's point of view, often used when the robot performs an Enemy Scan. Also compare Sherlock Scan, where the information isn't hidden but is so subtle and obscure that interpreting it requires a special mindset.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind, Pesci is able to tell some details about whoever is hooked with his Stand, Beach Boy, including identifying them by weight and knowing exactly where Beach Boy's hook is in relation to their body.
  • The Pokédex in Pokémon: The Series scans monsters and pulls up a database written by either the main series professors or a Prof. Westwood who made a one-off appearance. In the Sinnoh arc, it was revealed it could identify the stats and moves of caught Pokémon, which Paul often used to check new captures to see what they were capable of, and releasing them if they didn't suit his preferences.
  • In the Pokémon Adventures manga, the dex also allows various in-game functions like trading, canceling evolutions, stat pages and HP bars.
  • Dragon Ball Z features "Scouters", special devices worn over the eyes which can measure the Power Levels of enemies. But they also have two glaring design flaws: one, they can be fooled (as it only detects the target's current, and not potential, ability), and two, they can't handle a sudden large increase in data, so if someone powers up enough, it can cause them to explode. The less important the character wearing the scouter, the less it takes to make the scouter explode.
  • Guy from GaoGaiGar apparently has one of these in the form of a scouter-looking lens. He only uses it once, however, making it seem extremely random when he shouts "Library!" in the middle of a tense scene.
  • Chopper in One Piece is capable of doing this in his intelligence oriented form, Brain Point, while under the effects of a Rumble Ball.
  • The purpose of the Digivice 01 in Digimon V-Tamer 01 was to facilitate non verbal communication but Taichi and Neo quickly learn how to gather enemy data with it. Since it's not directly built for that though, they have to actively scan various enemy actions on a case by case basis to get the full story. One of Neo's Kick the Dog moments involves ordering one of his own monsters to delete itself because it could not get the enemy to show enough for him to scan. Metamorphmon also as a scanning ability called laser translation and a built in database for all the information he gathers.
  • The various incarnations of the Digimon franchise have the Digimon Analyzer, always presented in a different form. In Adventure and 02 it was ostensibly a program on Koushiro's laptop, Tamers and Frontier relegated the roles to the kids' Digivices, and the Digimon Data Squad incarnation seems to have given the role to Miki and Megumi's computers at DATS HQ or Touma's laptop. The Xros Wars/Fusion years replace it with Boss Subtitles (for everyone, every time they appear, to the point of obnoxiousness. Evidently, TOEI feels you will not remember who the main characters are even 40+ episodes in.) but the analyzer scenes are back for Digimon Universe: App Monsters.
  • One of Nijima's 'evil alien/demon/whatever' powers in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple is the ability to look at fighters in a strange way and then size up their strength.
  • In NEEDLESS, Disk's Scan ability can retrieve information about any person she meets, most notably on their Fragment ability.
  • The R.E.A.D. software installed into the cellphones of the Air Gear universe allows people to check the statistics of nearby A-T riders. These include their power level, class and the number of tricks they have performed.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, one of the Wing Gundam's unique abilities was being able to scan enemy data. The Zero System is also capable of this at heightened levels.
  • In ∀ Gundam, the Turn A will often scan enemy units it sees. Unfortunately, since it's been out of commission for something like 2000 years, it has no data on any units, and has to fill in the data manually as it fights. The one exception is the Turn X: the instant the Turn A sees it, it pulls up a huge amount of analytical data on the Turn X's abilities, showing that it has encountered and fought this particular machine before.
  • Teru Miyanaga, the elder sister of the main protagonist of Saki has an inherent ability called the Shoumakyou. This ability allows her to see the true nature of a person, and when applied to the game of Mahjong, functions as a way for her to know the opponent's main strengths and weaknesses in playing. This ability is so effective, it has allowed her to play around and counter an opponent who can see one turn ahead in the future.
  • In Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE, the Momokapool showcases a new ability known as "Penguin Research", which allows its pilot, Momo, to scan her opponents and give the information to her teammates. She uses it to scan Alus' army when it invades GBN at the very end of the series.
  • In So I'm a Spider, So What?, the Appraisal skill can give considerable information about a target. But only if the skill is leveled up; initially it'll tell you nothing useful at all. But a bigger problem is that the target can feel that they're being Appraised. And will usually treat it as an aggressive act, since Appraisal is often the prelude to an attack.
  • In That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, the "Analyze and Assess" skill can give considerable information about a target, and Rimuru has it as one of the embedded sub-skills of his Unique Skill [Great Sage]. Other characters have the skill on their own or embedded into their own Unique Skills. However, it's possible to conceal your actual strength via special magic spells or enchantments on equipment, which at high enough levels can even go completely undetected themselves by the skill, though in turn "Analyze and Assess" can be honed to see through such things. If the target has an Ultimate Skill, which completely No Sells weaker-tier Skills, unless the user has an Ultimate Skill themselves the "Analyze and Assess" can outright fail, and that's assuming the target isn't deliberately faking their reading to fool the unaware.

    Fan Works 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Airwolf features a similar system, which shows a line drawing of the attacking aircraft (or ship) with basic info on its weapons. As it finds the info, images of other aircraft are seen in a "searching display", including the Tu-95 "Bear" and the Tu-22M "Backfire".
  • In the Doctor Who episode Vincent & The Doctor, the Doctor uses a present from a godmother to scan the Krafayis.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series. In "The Cage", the Talosians scan through the Enterprise computer to gain information on the human race, much to the alarm of the crew. Ironically the information they gather causes them to give up and release their prisoners, having concluded that humanity is unsuited to be the slave race they're seeking.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The Miles Gloriosus Mac claims that he gives each customer of the bar an "ocular pat-down" to ensure that they're safe. No one buys it.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting: The book includes a sub-class for Monks that can learn the statistics of an enemy they're fighting just by hitting them. It sounds simple but in practice, the Monk needs a lot of luck for this to work. First, they need to hit the creature twice on the same turn, then they need to spend one of their limited supplies of ki points, and then the enemy needs to roll low or else they resist the effect entirely and the Monk learns nothing. This version of the ability is notably more complex than later versions Matthew Mercer published online, which he developed after having one of his players pick up the Cobalt Soul sub-class.
  • Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition even has an item called the "Goggles of Aura Sight" which tells you how many HP the monster has, and any diseases or disease causing effects on him. In at least some of the editions, there are the knowledge skills, some of which will tell you information about a creature you encounter upon a successful roll. How much info depends on the roll.
  • Werewolf: The Forsaken has a Gift that allows a werewolf to know the information regarding a spirit. It doesn't work on other type of creatures, even creatures that are part-spirit.
  • The Yu-Gi-Oh! card "A Man with Wdjat" allows its controller to look at any face-down card on their opponent's side of the field once per turn without activating its effect, whether it be a Monster, Spell, or Trap card.

    Video Games 
  • Absented Age: Squarebound: Enemies information can be obtained by using the Scan Baton on them. This allows the player to view a basic description and weakness, though they'll have to return to Mika's house and read the Monstropedia to learn more about specific enemy skills and traits.
  • The magic ring in The Adventures of Robin Hood lets you scan everyone giving details of their health, wealth, alignment and other stats
  • Ancient Domains of Mystery has stethoscopes, which can be used on enemies to measure various stats. Doesn't work on undead and constructs, because they're not alive.
  • Angband has the "Probing" ability, which gives the current hit-point total of monsters; in some variants it also gives information about resistances, vulnerabilities, and attacks.
  • ANNO: Mutationem: Using the Grom System's Scan function on enemies will display their health and shield stats, with info about them getting added to the Monster Compendium.
  • In Artemis: Spaceship Bridge Simulator, one of the primary responsibilities of the science officer is to scan enemy ships to determine their shields' "frequency" (between A and E). Artemis' weapons must then be set to the matching frequency to penetrate the shields.
  • BattleTech: Sensor Scan is an ability learned on the Tactics skill tree. Scanning a target lets you identify them even if you don't have anyone who can see them that round, allowing you to make long-range attacks on them. It also scrambles their sensors for one round, resulting in decreased accuracy for any attacks they make on their next turn. And finally, it lowers their Evasion by two, which makes it extremely useful for picking off fast enemies.
  • Once you obtain the camera in BioShock, taking photos of enemies would uncover weaknesses and grant you more damage against them when using certain weapons.
  • Blue Dragon has a magic book which lets you do this. Surprisingly, it's often the best (or only) way to find out the boss's weakness.
  • Borderlands series: Enemy names, health, and shields appear when a target is in the player's crosshairs. Notably, Zer0 can take this one step further as a secondary feature of his action skill; invisible enemies are revealed, targets become more visible, and if B0re is equipped their critical points are highlighted.
  • Eddie, the Smart Guy in BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, has a spell called “Wiki It,” which tells him the HP and some useful information about the enemies on the field. Arianna has a similar ability, since Eddie isn’t available when she’s in the party.
  • Bug Fables features Spy option, which is available to all playable characters (minus Chompy). After tattling the enemy, their HP would be made permanently visible, and their entries can be seen in the Bestiary in the menu.
  • Chrono Trigger had the "Sight Scope" item (equipped to Lucca at the start of the game), which allowed the wearer to see all enemies' HP. Not likely to be used for long, as there are other accessories with far more useful effects available, even relatively early in the game. Chrono Cross has the green elemental spell Infoscope, with the same effect.
  • The power Surveillance from City of Villains and City of Heroes, which not only lowers the defense and resistance of a single target, but allows you to see the scanned enemy's "real numbers."
  • Deus Ex has a scanning augmentation. It was more useful than the typical scan since it increased your weapon accuracy, making it a very viable choice for most combat situations.
  • Distorted Travesty is a platformer that makes enemy scans an essential part of the gameplay as, among other things, the scan tells you what attacks, or sequence of attacks, will cripple an enemy. The sequel takes this even further by altogether removing your physical attack, leaving you with nothing but magic to defend yourself with, so knowing which elements the enemy is resistant or weak to becomes absolutely essential. This carries over to the sequels. DT3 even goes so far as to include dev commentary with each scan.
  • A variation of this is in Dragon Ball Z The Legacy Of Goku II and Buu's Fury when you obtain the Scouter item. You can scan anything, NPCs, allies and even squirrels, so naturally you can use it to scan enemies and bosses and find out the amount of HP they have and their attack stats and so on. Surprisingly, the character descriptions in LoG2 were fairly verbose.
  • In Dubloon, Ricky begins with the "Identify" move which lets him see enemies stats and weaknesses. Later, there's a spyglass item which, when used in battle, reveals all enemy weaknesses at once.
  • In Endless Ocean, you do this with your hands by interacting with the various sea life (and other animals on the deck of your boat). Your reward for doing this, and the major point of the game, is an encyclopedia filled with interesting facts about the various species you've found.
  • The Epic Battle Fantasy series has featured the ability to scan foes since the second game, giving info on them and adding them to the Bestiary:
  • As the only medical doctor of the three doctorates in Eternal Darkness, Maximilian Roivas can autopsy the corpses of his foes if he gets to them before they dissolve. The catch is that said autopsies can only be heard after his chapter, so you've had to figure out the monsters' weaknesses yourself, but it's still fun to listen to Max's deranged ranting about the horrors he faced.
  • The Analysis Scope in the Etrian Odyssey games provides all available stats for one targeted enemy in-battle (these are usually unlocked only after the enemy is defeated for the first time), and also works on bosses. There is a Limit Break skill in the fourth game that does this to all enemies present.
  • Fallout:
    • The earlier games have the Awareness perk, a useful trick that allows you to know how many hit points a person have left, their status (crippled limbs, blinded, etc.), and what weapons they are carrying. VATS in the 3D games offers the same info on whatever you're targeting with it.
    • Fallout: New Vegas has the Living Anatomy perk, which not only gives an explicit numerical value to the enemy's HP, but also gives a readout of their damage threshold—the amount of damage needed to overcome their armor's resistance to damage. Doing less than the damage threshold would result in barely any injury to the target, and knowing what kind of numbers you needed to beat would give you a chance to overcome the enemy's protection preemptively.
    • Fallout 4 has a perk that is named "Awareness," but the functions more like "Living Anatomy" from New Vegas. The first rank gives the target's level (a general gauge of toughness) as opposed to specific HP total, but lists the numerical totals of various resistances. It does fudge a bit in special cases; ghouls, for instance, have a special ability that causes radiation to heal instead of harm them, but the Awareness perk shows them as having a radiation resistance value of 1000 instead. The second rank gives the character a 5% bonus to damage against any target they target through VATS, described as "knowing their weaknesses lets you attack more efficiently."
  • Tohsaka gives Shirou an unnamed book in Fate/stay night that scans the abilities of a Servant and puts it into a form that the reader will easily understand if they look at it. Shirou's mind apparently puts things into RPG stat formulas with letter ranked abilities and bizarre numerical descriptors for Noble Phantasms.
  • The Scan/Libra ability in Final Fantasy tends to reveal an enemy's current health and elemental weaknesses, among others. Depending on the incarnation, you may have access to this information for the rest of the battle or even the game (if there is a Monster Compendium).
    • A boss from Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy IX actually used Scan on your party, which made little sense since the boss' attack patterns never changed after that. Plus, you can scan your own party. (In a bit of Developer's Foresight, scanning your party members in Final Fantasy VIII allows you freely rotate the image— except the vertical axis is disabled for Selphie, who wears a short dress. No panty shots for you!) Scan can also be equipped to your characters in VIII for a stat increase, but the gain is maybe a 1% boost, so one would only do this if they were bored.
    • Final Fantasy IV features the Trap Door, who will scan a party member and then unleash an instant-kill attack on whoever was scanned. Also, the Li'l Murderer in the final dungeon scans itself every turn, revealing a weakness to lightning. If this weakness is exploited, you receive a very nasty counterattack. Also, after casting Libra/using a picture book on an enemy, from that point all enemies of the same type have their current HP displayed.
    • Final Fantasy III features Hein, a boss that changes his weakness frequently throughout the battle. Theoretically, this fight should be made considerably easier through either constant use of the Libra spell (of which you only have a few shots at that point in the game) or use of, as the game suggests several times, the Scholar class, for which this is a free action. In practice however, instead of wasting a turn scanning and then having Hein change his barrier again before you act next turn, it tends to be easier to just throw spells of different elements at him so you're sure one of them hits his weakness.
    • Final Fantasy X-2 even allowed you to learn upgraded versions of the ability: at level 2, you could rotate the resulting image of the enemy to look at it from different angles, while at level 3, you could target your own party members with the spell. Hm, I wonder what the point of that feature was?
    • Final Fantasy X had two versions of this: 1) The Sensor ability let you see the condition (HP, MP, weaknesses, ect.) of the highlighted enemy in question. And 2) The Scan spell that let you see with in-depth detail what the target has (Ronso Rages, immunities, a tip about the enemy, etc.). The fact that a lot of the strong enemies are immune to sensors makes the usefulness of scanning drop to zero once you get to the final dungeon. However, if you enter the battle against the aeons with Sensor, not only the aeon's HP is shown, but they also give you of some variation of "please, kill me now" in the text box rather than a general blurb of what the enemy does as the Final Boss overtakes their bodies.
    • Libra is a tech point consuming ability in Final Fantasy XIII, and it is vital to being able to kill mooks properly. As in, your characters will accidentally heal and debuff the enemy if they don't get a little intel first. Once an enemy is scanned, your allies' AI will automatically exploit any weaknesses the foe in question has (Ravagers attacking with the appropriate elemental attacks, and Saboteurs casting whatever status debuff(s) the enemy is susceptible to). A Librascope is a one use item (that doesn't consume TP) that's equivalent to casting Libra on every enemy in the battle, twice (which is how many uses of Libra it takes to build a complete profile on a enemy). For most mooks, you can skip the scans (good advice given that Librascopes are rare/expensive (and gil is rarely found unless you farm items, anyway) and TP requires fighting to earn) and just fight them: Any immune or absorbed elements are instantly noted after they're used, and you can get a full profile after killing four or five of the mook in question.
    • Libra is also vital in Final Fantasy XII. It is a technique so it costs no MP to use and it lasts quite a while. Libra will show a targeted enemy's HP, reveals any weaknesses they have, and also reveals any traps in the field. Some accessories grant Libra status automatically.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics A2 doesn't have abilities that let you read enemy HP since you can see their HP at all times, but it did have abilities that let you scan enemies for what kinds of loot they were carrying.
  • In Fire Emblem: Awakening, The Avatar describes having something similar to this as an In-Universe way of explaining the player's ability to see enemy (and ally) stats.
  • Gene Troopers has the "Battle Vision" ability, which grants the player access to stats and danger potential of different alien mooks.
  • The PKE Meter and Ecto Goggles in Ghostbusters The Videogame have this feature. The more thoroughly you scan a ghost, cursed artifact, spectral emanation, or any other from an assortment of supernatural entities, the more gameplay hints and quirky trivia you will discover in the Tobin's Spirit Guide.
  • In the Game Boy Color version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Mr. Weasley teaches Harry the Informous spell, which adds the target's description and weaknesses to the Folio Bruti. Informous returns in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on the Game Boy Advance and works the same way.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Taking an note from Final Fantasy, Scan (Libra in Japanese) is an ability Sora can eventually unlock. This version is much more useful than usual examples mostly because it's on/off rather than take a turn to use it once. It does not matter how powerful, how large, or how ugly the boss is, the spell ALWAYS works.
    • An version of this is used by the Peepsta Hoo dream eater in Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance], whereupon completing its scan, will start using magic of the element its target is weakest against, along with imbuing its physical attacks with that element and Status Effects.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has the Dwarvish War outfit, with a hat (displays attack in runes corresponding to numbers in base 7), kilt (has blinking lights that correspond to defense in base 7), and mattock (displays HP by displaying brightness, one level for each 7 HP they have left). They also have the Detective skull offhand item which gives a good estimate of HP, and the Mr. Store Item Monster Manuel, which gives stats and HP for monsters (after you've defeated them at least once) as well as amusing facts. The Joke Item "Defective Skull" spouts amusing nonsense instead.
  • In The Legend of Zelda, this is often a job of the Exposition Fairy.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: Navi is the standard Exposition Fairy. Targeting enemies and pressing Z/L prompts her to provide the enemy's name, followed by a short hint on how to defeat it. She speaks in an encyclopedic manner, without much discernible emotion.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: This function is performed by Tatl. As she is more involved in the game's plot, and she has a developed personality (unlike Navi of the previous game's fame), she grudgingly works together with Link and often snarks at him when asked for advice. Amusingly, in the original version but not the 3DS remake, if Link consults her on any enemy previously encountered in Ocarina of Time, she starts off with "What?! You don't even know about the [x]?!"
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: Tingle provides this function, though unlike the other 3D games, he can only be summoned by an assistant player, from a GBA connected to the GameCube. He doesn't actually offer much in the way of concrete help, but it's better than nothing. There's also the figurine gallery, which shows background information on characters (also available in The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap) and the Hero's Charm, a mask which actually displays a Life Meter for enemies.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: Midna can give some limited information on a few enemies, like Darknuts and Shadow Beasts. Unfortunately, she offers the least informative hint system of all the 3D games in the series.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: Fi gives the most extensive information available on enemies, even "collecting more data" during boss fights to reveal new weaknesses as time goes on, in addition to offering more help if Link dies during a boss battle. She speaks without emotion, in a way stereotypical of a computer's AI, frequently using the terms "I recommend", "I predict an x% probability that ...", etc.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Wearing the Champion's Tunic lets you see the exact hit points of enemies, while taking pictures of enemies with the Sheikah Slate will add descriptions of them in your Compendium.
  • In Lords of Magic, each faith has a spell to detect the opposite faith's units. (This is also a kind of Aura Vision)
  • Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis has the main character's "Analyze" skill. Use it once on an enemy, and it will show that enemy's statistics, as well as any subsequent enemies of the same type (not counting Underground Monkey/Palette Swaps).
  • Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy features two characters that can do this, one for each workshop. However, Raze's version can only reveal an enemy's health and elemental weakness/resistance, While Chloe can also learn what status ailments won't affect it. Scanning a target also makes some of Chloe's skills stronger against it.
  • MapleStory, with its love of Level Grinding, allows you to "scan" monsters by killing them and having them randomly drop a card that, when picked up, will place some information into the Monster Book. Of course, the game doesn't give you all the info at once. You have to pick up five of the cards to get all the info about them, but some of the info is very useful, like where the monsters spawn and what they drop.
  • This is a must in MechWarrior Online, especially with scouts. You might be able to guess where enemies are and get a rough idea of what you're up against at a distance, but without actually getting eyes and scanners on them, the best you can do is estimate the location of your opponent. Actually getting an active scan of the enemy provides, among other things, the specific 'Mech type, its damage levels, its distance, and a list of its weaponry. It also enhances accuracy and enables target locks. It's possible to dumb-fire weapons at an opponent that you're not actively scanning, but missiles won't home in and other weapons won't naturally converge on the target, making scoring a hit a lot more difficult.
  • Metroid Prime Trilogy
    • The Scan Visor can be used on enemies to learn their habits and weaknesses, but also on objects to get backstory or hints about how to progress. In fact, you're actively encouraged to scan literally everything you come across, since scans count toward 100% Completion and some scans (especially bosses) can be Permanently Missable. In Metroid Prime and Echoes, which are sparse on dialogue and cutscenes, picking up Story Breadcrumbs with the visor is the only way to learn most of the Jigsaw Puzzle Plot. The Scan Visor apparently knows everything in the universe, since a quick two-second scan of practically anything will give you a name, classification, 3D models of its body, strategies for battle, its origins, and anything else you can think of. Scanning your own ship informs you that it contains an onboard computer and encyclopedia, which your suit is wirelessly consulting no matter how far you are from it. It's worth mentioning that the "Pirate Data" you get from scanning Space Pirate terminals is actually encrypted info that your Scan Visor is casually cracking in a matter of seconds. So there's a point in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes when one of said data scans consists of an internal message, a terse warning that "The Hunter has hacked our datanet. All our secrets are now hers. She cannot be allowed to escape. TERMINATE HER ON SIGHT."
    • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption: This is a very important method of acquiring tokens to unlock additional goodies. Each new enemy scan and lore scan (of certain objects that record the history of the various places within the game) awards a red or blue credit respectively.
    • A (C&D'd) Fan Remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus entitled AM2R, intergrates an automatic scan of boss monsters and the environment.
  • The Analyze Monster spell in Might and Magic does precisely that. The Bard's Tale Trilogy and Wizardry had similar spells.
  • Might and Magic VI had a the Horn of Ros, a very difficult to find item that showed the exact number of hit points enemies have instead of the usual health bar. Later games had the Identify Monster skill, which at high skill levels would show all the enemy's stats, including resistances (useful since many enemies are resistant to specific schools of magic).
  • Mother Series:
    • EarthBound Beginnings has Check, which provides a readout of the target's offensive and defensive stats and weaknesses, and can be used by anyone and also provides a comment about the enemy.
    • EarthBound features Jeff's Spy ability, which not only can read enemy stats but can also steal items which would've otherwise been dropped by defeated enemies.
    • Boney in Mother 3 can Sniff an enemy to deduce their type and vulnerabilities. Some enemies have no scent, and some are too pungent for Boney to handle sniffing them. This one doesn't give away the enemy's offense and defense stats, however.
  • In NetHack:
    • The stethoscope allows you to determine the Hit Points, alignment and speed of an adjacent monster.
    • Wand of Probing does the same, also telling the monster's inventory, if it has any.
    • Magicbane has a probing ability, too.
    • And you can target the stethoscope at yourself, which is one of the easiest ways to find out your own alignment (you need it to be above a certain value before more plot happens).
  • Various early-game skills in Nexus Clash unlock the ability to read information about others. Since this ability is built piecemeal, it's possible for some parts to be left out to save Character Points - for instance, a character played as a Blood Knight doesn't need to care where its targets stand on the Karma Meter.
  • In Octopath Traveler, Cyrus's Talent is Study Foe which randomly reveals a weakness of an enemy at the start of a battle. His class, the Scholar also has this as an ability (known as Analyze), where he can reveal anywhere from one to four weakness (depending on the Boost Points used to power the ability) and also reveals the HP of said enemy. Other characters can also get Analyze by choosing Scholar as their secondary class.
  • In OFF, The Batter's Wide Angle ability gives a short description of the foe, as well as their total HP and CP, and a list of their elemental weaknesses, if any. Unfortunately, it doesn't work on bosses, making it at best situational.
  • Parasite Eve had Scan, which obviously showed HP and weaknesses, plus any other special characteristic like easily confused or can be easily robbed. The sequel had certain armors that let you read the HP of your targeted foe, but naturally would not display a boss' HP.
  • Persona: In installments from Persona 3 onward, one character in the heroes' group always has a Persona that, while not used in combat, can be used to scan enemies for strengths and weaknesses. In Persona 3, the scanning ability takes a few turns to complete but provides a complete readout of the enemy's abilities and how each element affects it. In Persona 4, the scanning ability is instant, but it initially only provides HP and MP of enemies you've previously defeated and will not show elemental strengths and weaknesses unless you've attempted to attack the enemy with that element at least once; you'll have to raise your navigator's social link if you want to reveal a new enemy's elemental affinities (and the best version of that is only available in the Persona 4 Golden remake). Halfway through Persona 5, the scan will only reveal the enemy's skills and potential item drops, but raising Makoto's Confidant will allow you to see if an enemy will Null, Repel, or Drain an attack before you use it.
  • Pokémon:
    • The Pokédex in the games acts as this, with varied usefulness. A prominent use for it is to see where one could catch some of the rarer Pokémon. It's ambiguous as to where the entries actually come from since it's not drawing from any pre-established database at least in Gen I.
    • In terms of actual battle mechanics, Pokémon with the ability Frisk will reveal the opponent's held item, and the abilities Anticipation and Forewarn can give clues on the opponent's moves.
    • The sixth generation remakes of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire introduces the DexNav, which, at a high Search Level,note  the player can see what level the Pokémon is at, predict its IVs, scout abilities, and hunt for rare held items.
  • In Prey, the Psychoscope, which Yu invented, is a visor that can be used to scan livng Typhon, humans, and robots aboard the station. Scanning one of them will give you their name, strengths and weaknesses, and some research notes. Scanning multiple Typhon can unlock their powers for you to use. You are explicitly warned not to scan the Apex Typhon with it, as its power will completely overwhelm you; do it anyway and you're hit with an HP to One effect that also completely wipes your PSI.
  • The VGA remake of Quest for Glory II adds a completely new side-quest which rewards you with a logbook. This logbook records combat information about the various monsters you meet in the game.
  • Raptor: Call of the Shadows had a powerup which reveals the remaining health of bosses.
  • In Robopon, this comes default with the battle system in Robopon 2, with the added bonus of not taking up a turn and telling you what the oil type of the scanned Robopon is. If you're packing the right kind of software and have it equipped on the right Robopon, you'll be able to tell how many enemies you can fry at once with one move.
  • Resonance of Fate has an item named "Clairvoyance" that you throw at an enemy and it allows you to see its details... somehow.
  • The Analyze spell in Secret of Mana. It can even be used on randomly-dropped treasure chests to test for traps.
  • Enemy scanning is an important part of Shin Megami Tensei games.
    • Once you have encountered an enemy, you get its basic data, like name, type and usually HP and MP. By attacking it with different attacks, you get to know (and keep info on) its strengths and weaknesses. This info is kept if you ever meet any more of it (and usually applies to any of its Palette Swaps), which is handy. If you ever fuse some of the demons yourself, you also get all the info you need on its wild cousins, should you ever encounter them.
    • Devil Survivor averts this by giving you all the info you need straight off the bat.
    • Fuuka: "Give me a sec, I'll scan the target."
    • Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne and Digital Devil Saga require you to cast a spell or use an item that serves this purpose, costing you a turn. Furthermore, the data you scan is not stored anywhere, so if you forget the enemy's elemental affinties, you'll have to scan them again, unless you decide to jot down the necessary information or just look up a guide.
  • In Sinjid: Battle Arena, you can see the stats of your enemies, which are otherwise invisible to the player, by equipping the Dragon Eye armor or the Third Eye skill.
  • In Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, the Binoc-u-com can be upgraded to provide an Enemy Scan. The scan is of little practical use; it only gives humorous enemy descriptions.
  • While regular enemies had no HP bars to scan, bosses in Star Fox 64 would automatically have the HP displayed as long as Slippy was present. Well, except for the Star Wolf team, the Bolse reactor core, the Copperhead missiles, and the Saucerer, considering that the core still eventually appears even if you never shoot the hatches and one bomb is enough to obliterate the core. Come to think of it, with the usual handling of boss battles that consist of multiple enemies, it's a wonder that the gauge appeared for the Shogun Warriors that make up the first half of the Sector Y boss battle.
  • Spectacles/Magic Lenses in the Star Ocean series.
  • Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy has Force Sense, which highlights enemies, equipment, invisible symbols, and other useful tidbits, even through walls. At its highest level, it also shows the health of enemies.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Mallow's Psychopath ability in Super Mario RPG. When the action command succeeds, it also reveals the thoughts of the enemy, which are usually just for fun but sometimes reveal a weakness or attack strategy.
    • The Tattle ability in the Paper Mario games. Notably, once you'd tattled an enemy once, you'd be able to see that enemy type's current HP forever. There's also a badge that enables the player to see HP without tattling, as long as it was equipped. The first game didn't allow you to view the tattled enemies in the menu. The second game did, and any tattles that would otherwise be Permanently Missable ended up in Frankly's trashcan for you to pick up. Humorously, the enemies that mimic your partners can and will Tattle on you if mimicking the right character.
    • In Super Paper Mario, the tattle log from the previous games is replaced by cards that also increase the attack power against these enemies in addition to listing their stats for reference. There are also cards for bosses and other characters that have no additional effect.
  • The Scan spirit command in Super Robot Wars lets you see an enemy unit's statistics and only costs 1 SP to use, but since you can see the exact same information after you've traded blows with the enemy once, it's generally not worth it. Later games make it more useful by also decreasing the enemy accuracy by 10% for one turn.
  • System Shock includes targeting software, with the ability to lock onto one enemy at a time. Higher versions give more data on the target in question.
  • Tales Series:
    • In Tales of Symphonia, monsters appear in the Monster Encyclopedia after you've defeated them; however, no detail will be listed unless you scan them with Magic Lenses - and even then certain details are left out if you hadn't used the right character. You gain a title from collecting all detailed scans of enemies, an action that requires more than one playthrough. Mercifully, you don't need to get the full scans, and Magic Lenses cost a measly 10 Gald.
    • The magic lenses appear in Tales of Vesperia and Tales of Phantasia, but Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World got rid of them and just gives you free access to the information.
    • In Tales of Destiny, Philia can just use her own "magic lenses" to scan enemies rather than waste items.
  • In Team Fortress 2, a Spy can see the names and health bars of any enemy he aims at, allowing him to give valuable info to his teammates, pick off wounded targets, and avoid falling victim to Confronting Your Imposter. Medics using the Solemn Vow also have this ability, and the Beta also gives this ability to Medics who use the Vita-Saw, in order to make it more powerful.
  • The Tiamat Sacrament: Xandra's Observe command lists the enemies' elemental alignment and their current percentage of HP. She also learns enemy skills if the enemy uses those skills while her Observe state is active.
  • Trails Series: First introduced in the Liberl arc, if a character equips a Quartz with the Information ability, the whole party gains an automatic analysis of the enemy. This system was improved in the Crossbell arc. Now you obtain enemy info in the Monster Compendium through three different methods. The first method is to gradually learn the info overtime by performing various actions on the enemies, the second method is to use items called Battle Scopes, and the third method is to use the Analyze ability from a specific party member. Whichever way this is done, the monsters are given a high degree of detail, with a full description of their Flavor Text, their Elemental weakness and affinity, what ingredients they drop, and what status effects they're potentially weak to.
  • Not "enemies", but all mainline Uncle Albert's Adventures games contain a scanner allowing the player to analyse any animal or object they come across. The scans mostly teach the player real life information about the things they analyse (such as snails being hermaphrodites), but they also explain how the animals and objects can be useful in the game. From Uncle Albert's Magical Album to Uncle Albert's Mysterious Island, the scanner is tied to the laboratory pages. Starting from Le Temple Maudit de l'Oncle Ernest, the scanner is portable and can be put in the player's inventory.
  • In Undertale and Deltarune, you can perform the "Check" command on every enemy, which at least gives you their attack and defense stats. This is frequently followed by a subtle hint on how to deal with them, or merely a humorous comment. If you're playing in a particularly murderous fashion some of the writing becomes a bit sadistic.
  • Warframe provides a double-dip of sorts:
    • From the default market you can pick up a Codex Scanner and extra charges, and using it on targets (ranging from enemies and bosses to inanimate objects) will unlock increasing amounts of information about them, which will be stored in your ship's Codex for later viewing. Cephalon Simaris in the Relays has his Synthesis Scanner, which is used primarily for his targets of interest to gain standing with him. The Synthesis Scanner also has several upgrades you can earn with standing, such as double scans, infinite charges, and even using Codex information to display enemy weaknesses.
    • There is also a bit of Mundane Utility to these, as they will reveal targets behind walls and hiding elsewhere. You also gain affinity and Simaris standing respectively when using these, and stealth scans yield more rewards. The Helios Sentinel can do scans for you if you have a scanner with charges, and two hammer weapons can spawn copies of fully-scanned foes with specific kills.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus: This is absolutely essential, as without scanning Necrons you don't know anything about them, and individuals in the same battle can have different stats — even the basic warrior could be a Mighty Glacier or a Glass Cannon relative to each other. Almost every enemy in the game has some variance and you get no feedback on what your attacks do to un-scanned enemies, so using Servo-Skulls and other equipped abilities to identify the enemy in each battle is vital.
  • Wild ARMs games all have some way of analyzing enemy stats. In Wild ARMs: Alter Code F, you can complete a monster encyclopedia by scanning enemies; getting at least 50% will get you an Ex File Key.
  • Hunters in World of Warcraft have the Beast Lore spell, which reveals diet, stats, health, mana, etc. As the name implies, it only works on enemies classified as beasts (most animals), but it also works on Druids shapeshifted into animal form.
  • In X-COM: UFO Defense and X-COM: Terror from the Deep, you have to train up a psychic officer and use the psi-amp device to peek at your opponents' inventories. In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, after an Alien Autopsy on a type of enemy, you can use the Unit Analysis Viewnote  by having a soldier target the alien to see its abilities, passive bonuses and status effects, if any, as well as what's affecting the accuracy and Critical Hit chance of a shot or chance of success of an ability like Mind Control. You can also use it on your own soldiers to see the same, along with a few stats like HP, Will and current Defense; with the right Game Mod, this also shows the soldier's "hidden" statslist .


    Web Original 
  • Dreamscape: Dylan's Mechelly scans Kaila and Keela at the start of episode 7 to see if they have a "Link Bond" to Dylan.

    Western Animation 
  • Code Lyoko: Jeremie, with the press of a button, can pull up the info of a monster that is on screen.
  • Fishlegs develops (or already has) this skill in How to Train Your Dragon, being instantly able to identify a dragon's major abilities and weaknesses in a single glance (and doing so in hilariously familiar Tabletop Gaming terms).

    Real Life 
  • Technology is under development that will use radar to recognize specific types of weapons concealed on a person.
  • International Friend-or-Foe Designation (IFF) transponders, which also act to prevent aircraft from colliding midair, also will show pilots what sort of aircraft shows up on radar and whether it's enemy, friendly or civilian.
  • Google's Project Glass is attempting to create this for real life by linking live recorded images to information about them on the internet. Google's earlier project, Goggles, attempts to do this. But since image recognition is an awfully complex thing for a computer, it only works somewhat reliably on well known entities like logos or text.
  • Performing a WHOIS command on a network address may reveal a lot of information about the address.



Goombella scans the enemy HP and attributes.

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Main / EnemyScan

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