Any weapon or item that can not be found by normal means and is only available by searching the bodies of fallen enemies and/or by stealing from living ones. Common in First Person Shooters and similar games. If the item is found on the body of an enemy who did not or could not use it in battle, it may be an example of the Impossible Item Drop.
Examples (by platform):
- Starting with Pokémon Gold and Silver, the first games in which Pokémon could hold items, wild Pokémon would occasionally be found holding items. Sometimes these were common items like berries; other times, they could only be found attached to wild Pokémon, and even then only rarely. For example, a wild Chansey would sometimes be holding a Lucky Egg, which increases experience gain by 50% for the Pokémon holding it and thus speeds up leveling immensely. These could be found by capturing the wild Pokémon and taking the item off of it from the menus or by using a move called Thief on the Pokémon while fighting it. (Simply knocking out the wild Pokémon wouldn't cause the item to drop.) Prior to Pokémon Black and White, you could also use Thief to permanently steal items from trainer's Pokémon.
- Mega Man Zero 4 allows you to obtain the weapon of an enemy if Zero uses the Z-Knuckle on it. Unlike the other games however, this could be done on random mooks all over the stages.
- Bosses' weapons are still obtainable the classical way, though, but some of their attacks (projectiles, mainly) could be parried with the Z-Knuckle and returned to the sender.
- Played With throughout the Mega Man franchise. While Power Copying is one of the series' biggest gimmicks, if a boss has more than one unique attack you're more than likely just going to end up with one of them. When arm upgrades in the Mega Man X series gave the ability to charge your boss weapons for a secondary fire, some used them to mimic other techniques from their corresponding boss (such as the Chameleon Sting's secondary fire camouflaging the player to turn them invincible, or Goo Shaver launching blocks at enemies.)
- In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Link can pick up and wield enemy weapons after defeating them (and sometimes they just get thrown aside through circumstance). Unfortunately, they can't be carried through doors and they're usually not that useful on the grounds that you've already defeated most of the enemies in the room (Phantom Ganon's awesome glowing sword comes to mind) and usually aren't as powerful as Link's own sword anyway.
- The Resident Evil remake lets you decide whether or not to give Barry back his gun after he points it at you. If you refuse, he'll die, and you'll get to keep his gun - a .44 Magnum that will One-Hit Kill anything, even the final boss.
- In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, the only way to get Poisoned Weapons is by stealing.
- In the first season of MMO La Tale there are certain enemies who drop their weapons, such as the Bogles dropping their Bogle Swords. These weapons are usually much more powerful than store-bought weapons, but also much more difficult and expensive to upgrade as you level. However, this feature was removed in later seasons, and was essentially replaced with S-rank equipment.
- City of Heroes uses this for certain costume pieces. Rikti and Rularuu Weapons, Vanguard Equipment, and Roman Armor can be earned via gameplay.
- Ragnarok Online also has this. In artworks, the fallen souls in Biolab dungeon are often depicted wielding unique weapons, that you can get in the game only by defeating them. However, they are also a very rare Random Drops.
- There are certain weapons in GoldenEye which can only be obtained by fetching them off of bodies — even more, there are certain things James Bond can do with these weapons only on levels where an enemy can, such as simultaneously wielding a submachine gun and a grenade launcher, though he can use both independently on other levels and there is a Good Bad Bug allowing you to dual wield separate items in other levels as well.
- Dwarf Fortress has several types of weapon that are exclusive to NPC races and can only be acquired by trading, looting dead invaders or modding. This includes weapons that are supposed to be Unusable Enemy Equipment such as pikes or greatswords, but currently can be used due to a bug with size and weight penalties. Most of the NPC-only weapons are only cosmetically different, offer only very minor advantages or are outright Joke Weapons, with the exception of whips and scourges before their Game-Breaker status got nerfed. Also, elves are the only faction who can make weapons and armour out of wood in vanilla, although this is trivially easy to work around with modding if you really want to.
- The "Alien Weapon" in Marathon can only be obtained from the corpses of Pfhor enforcers. Depending on the game, it acts as a sort of flamethrower, or a very accurate rapid-fire weapon. The downside is that it's alien technology that you only know how to operate on the level of "point and shoot", and which is incompatible with your armor systems — you can't see how much ammo it has left, and can't reload it; just toss it when it's empty and pick up another one.
- Redneck Rampage has the Alien Arm Gun, an actual cyber body part that had been grafted to the Alien Hulks that fired it at Leonard before he blew them up to pieces* . You fire it by yanking on the arm's dangling tendons.
- In the earlier XCOM games (UFO and Terror from the Deep) manufacturing alien equipment required a) prying the items from the cold, dead bodies of your opponents and b) having sufficient Phlebotinum. A run of bad luck could leave up unable to build various useful devices and weapons, leaving looting and pillaging your only way to increase your stocks.
- XCOM Apocalypse also had this with some weirder items such as Brainsuckers and Entropy launchers... you simply couldn't ever build them. Anything you could build didn't require special resources, but certain things that you could only buy would cease to be available to you if their manufacturers decided they didn't like you or joined up with the aliens instead. Raiding an arms producer gave you the chance to grab loot at a 100% discount. This was the only way to obtain Marsec's otherwise Dummied Out psi-defense helmet.
- Partial credit for Dark Forces—the weapon used by the Phase II Dark Trooper was not usable by the player for most of the game. Eventually, Kyle's allowed to pick it up and use it.
- Terraria has several sets of equipment that only drop from rare enemies who wear them, like the zombie bride's wedding set or Tim's wizard hat. Most are vanity items which only change the look of your character.
- Titan Quest is a Hack and Slash Action RPG following the gameplay of Diablo II. All monsters drop their equipment, and the monsters that don't have equipment (such as boars and saberlions) will drop charms made from their body parts. This means that if the player spots a Satyr with a shiny sword, it's a guaranteed unique drop for him/her.
- Transcendence has some shields, weapons and armor that can only be looted from the wrecked ships or stations that used it. Rarely, some of the late-game Teraton nests sell a few bits of such equipment, but most other items are at too high or too low a level to be sold there.
- Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon: Certain weapons are not available to each faction, preventing them from being outfitted on their ships, however they can still be used if an enemy ship that has them is successfully boarded.
- You'll never get your hands on the Skaarjs' Raziks, Kralls' staves, Brutes' rocket pistols or Mercenaries' arm cannons in Unreal or in any official Unreal game whatsoever.
- In the X-Universe series of games, Kha'ak and Xenon fighter ships can only be acquired by salvaging bailed out ships, as both are Always Chaotic Evil factions that do not sell ships, though the Player Headquarters can reverse-engineer claimed ships. The customized Space Pirate ships also fall into this, as only some are sold. However, starting in X Rebirth and continuing in X4: Foundations, Xenon and Kha'ak ships transition over to Unusable Enemy Equipment; they never bail, and cannot be claimed by a Boarding Party.
- This is one of Einhänder's game mechanics. Enemy units hold gunpods which they can use against you, and the player's ship is capable of grabbing said weapons for themselves after destroying them. It's then subverted in that after you obtain a certain gunpod type, you can customize your gunpod loadout with said gunpod whenever you start a new life.
- In Final Fantasy Tactics, certain articles of equipment never drop from any fallen foe, nor found in any shop, and can only be acquired by stealing from still active enemies, usually dangerous boss characters. Once the boss is defeated, the equipment is Permanently Missable, unless it's a type that can be scrounged up with the Secret Hunt ability.
- The original Japanese release of Final Fantasy Tactics had a problem with this. Elmdore was the only enemy in the game to have the Genji equipment, but he had the Maintenance ability which prevents you from stealing it, making it the only Unusable Enemy Equipment in the game. Their American PS1 port removed his Maintenance ability to allow you to steal his equipment. War of the Lions restored it, but added a Bonus Boss fight it could be stolen from.
- The Kingdom Hearts series features wands and shields that can only be scavenged from the enemies who wield them. The later games have one or two boss-level versions.
- In Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior, Kais often found himself deep into Imperium or Chaos territory, having to use scavenged weapons to fight. Unfortunately, you could only carry two weapons, and one of them had to be a Tau gun, which really sucked when you ran out of weapons for your other gun, and no Tau weapons were handy. The fact that the Tau weapons (in the original tabletop, easily the universe's best mass-produced weapon) were crap didn't help matters much.
- In Front Mission, the Calm and Gust Wanzer parts are only used and dropped by early enemies. Yup, they're so bad, they can't even be bought.
- Wild Guns allows you to pick up dynamite thrown by the enemies and toss it back at them.
- In Halo: Combat Evolved, the Covenant energy weapons, which must be retrieved from slain opponents in most of the game, are often the only ones available. Since they run out of energy quickly and cannot be recharged by the Master Chief, and the player is only allowed to carry two at a time, much of the game is spent scavenging weapons off of the dead. In all subsequent games, however, not only can you take Covenant weapons from their cold, dead alien fingers, but you can also find them in racks on purplish storage crates. These are usually better, too, as a Covie weapon taken from a rack almost always has a totally full battery.
- Sentinel Beams in Halo 2 and Halo 3 can only be acquired by killing their user (which are usually actual Sentinels).
- The Fire Emblem and Shining Series do this often with the bosses' weapons which can't be found anywhere else but are very powerful and usually magical. In the case of Fire Emblem as the weapons break with use you'll never see the weapon again after it's broken.
- Shining Force fortunately has the Egress spell, which returns you back to the last Abbey you were at. If you're good at Videogame Stealing, you can take multiple of a rare or unique item by refighting battles, and stock or sell the extras. Since this returns you to a town before the fight, you may even "arrive in town" with items you shouldn't have, and sell them for absurd prices. Heat Axe, anyone?
- In Assassin's Creed II, Ezio cannot buy or permanently hold onto Heavy Weapons (axes or two-handed swords) or Polearms, but must take them off those Elite Mooks (Brutes and Seekers respectively) and will drop them to do Le Parkour and several other situations; he can pretty much only carry them on foot at ground level while walking or jogging. By the time of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, he can buy a Heavy Sheath to carry axes or two-handed swords (taking the place of the Medium Weapon slot) but still cannot hold onto polearms permanently.
- There was an exploit in 2 where if the player's Medium Weapon (longsword or bludgeon) or Short Blade was knocked away by a Brute and he picked up another or disarmed a guard with one, it would "stay" with him (signaled by a "Weapon changed." message), though it might not appear in his Inventory or Armory, and might be lost; this could also be done after the story, since he would start with no Medium Weapon or Short Blade equipped. In Brotherhood this can be more easily done so long as one equips a Heavy Weapon at the Blacksmith or Hideout armory (after buying a Heavy Sheath), since their special attack is for Ezio to hurl it at his target or straight forward, leaving the Medium/Heavy Weapon slot empty for Ezio to fill with another Medium or Heavy Weapon.
- In Bayonetta the titular character can occasionally swipe the weapons of her angelic enemies, although each weapon has a set gauge that drains every time its used and will disintegrate once its out of power. This mechanic is brought back in the sequel, only this time in addition to angelic weapons, Bayonetta can also steals the weapons from Infernal Demons.
- In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you can Item Craft your own equipment from raw materials for the first time in the series. For example, you can use steel ingots to craft steel items or Dwarven metal to craft Dwarven items, with your Smithing skill determining both the materials you can use (there is a strict hierarchy) as well as the quality of those items themselves. However, not all equipment types can be crafted from scratch in this fashion. Forsworn and Falmer equipment can only be looted from those enemy types, not crafted from scratch, although you can still improve it via Smithing once found.
- The heroes from Kamen Rider Blade activate their special attacks and, later on, Super Modes with Rouze Cards, which are magical cards used to imprison the Monsters of the Week. Kazuma Kenzaki, the eponymous Kamen Rider Blade, plays this trope even straighter by wielding a monster's sword against it.
- The villains from Madan Senki Ryukendo use the magical Madan Keys to create their Monsters of the Week. Once a monster is destroyed, they leave behind the Madan Key, which is then used by the good guys to unlock new weapons, powers and mecha. So ultimately, almost all of the good guy's powers comes from the villains.
- Ultraman Orb receives his Ultra Fusion Cards by defeating the king monster that was sealed using their power.