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Free-Floor Fighting

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Watch your step.

A Fighting Game trope, where the fight isn't always limited to the plane that it starts on. This can open a lot more variation for stage effects, transitions, and action that ends in a completely different place from where it starts. This makes the matches more dynamic than the static counterpart, Fixed-Floor Fighting.

Because of the somewhat more random nature of the fights, battle tactics can be changed. Some combos may be cut short due to the environment not allowing them, a Ring Out or environmental damage may be more possible, etc. In this genre, a Launcher Move may simply knock an opponent through a predictable path, or open a new path through the game's environment.

Contrast Fixed-Floor Fighting and Platform Fighter. Outside of the Fighting Game genre, see Chase Fight.


  • X-Men: Next Dimension has levels where you can knock an opponent from one section down to another, dealing additional damage to them. For some levels, there are even multiple paths to make them fall. Sometimes it'll even be into a different map - the big hole in the train station map leads directly to the sewer map, for example.
  • Dead or Alive picked this up in the second game onward, instead of the Virtua Fighter-style Ring Outs used in the first.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Budokai: In addition to knocking opponents to new areas, characters can also fly and introduce an entire new dimension to fights.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Hyper Dimension for the Super Famicom. Players can knock their opponents towards other stages within a select group of stages. Some of these stages also take place mid air, which change the way the game works.
  • Gang Beasts: Several stages has moving hazards and one has you fighting on wobbling ice sheets. The giant fan stage does may technically have a fixed floor but the wind will suddenly lift all the combatants in the air and slam them down again after a few seconds.
  • Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe has this. In most stages, you can go into "Vertical Kombat" by knocking an opponent off a ledge or through the floor, and some of them also allows you to smash them through walls and buildings into new areas. In both cases, you are able to keep hitting your opponent during the sequence, using a button-mashing minigame. In this series, this goes at least as far back as Mortal Kombat 3, which had stages in which uppercutting the opponent would send them to another stage directly linked to the previous one. In Deception and Armageddon, many stages had more than one area working in the same principle of the aforementioned Vertical Kombat system, except without the Kombat.
  • MadWorld has fights that are as simple as a plane (or rather, the ceiling of a familiar ship), or as complex as the entire castle of the last level you just played (i.e. The Courtyard, where you fight the Shamans).
  • Almost all of the stages in Power Stone 2 are like this. One prominent example is the Blue Sky Area, which begins on an airship that falls apart after enough time passes, sending the combatants into free-fall before continuing the fight on a floating castle below.
  • Various games in the Marvel vs. Capcom series have this.
    • X-Men: Children of the Atom had Colossus' and Spiral's stages. The former was simply a bridge that broke, resulting in players fighting on a barge. The latter had multiple floors that could break until players reached the very bottom of the stage.
    • Marvel Super Heroes had Wolverine's stage, a bridge over a waterfall where the bridge would eventually fall into the river below after one too many knockdowns. In addition to this, Shuma Gorath's stage allowed players to knock their opponents off to the side, to a different part of the stage continuously. This would eventually cause the stage to loop back into itself.
    • X-Men vs. Street Fighter and Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter had the Manhattan stage which featured fighters fighting at street level surrounded by police, only for the floor to give way and the fight moving down to the sewer below.
  • Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Uncharted Region of China has a breakaway floor, and Galactor's base has a path that can be adjusted. Both of these are affected by attacks that damage the ground.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Stages in this game vary from as constant as Final Destination to as chaotic as Big Blue (introduced in Super Smash Bros. Melee). In this stage you actually fight on top of cars as they race around a track. If you fall off of one and onto the asphalt, you get whisked off the side of the stage as the camera leaves you behind, resulting in a near-instant KO unless you can very quickly jump off and return to the stage. Others such as Castle Siege, Mushroom Kingdom U, and Wuhu Island come in multiple "stages", so it's entirely possible for a character to just drop to their doom if they don't know the stage is about to change under them.
    • Ultimate adds "Battlefield" variants to the stages. These variants consist of a simple main platform with three smaller platforms above it, allowing players to have elevated battles in a variety of scenes without having to worry about the intrusive gimmicks of the main stages. Of course, the "Omega" variants from the fourth generation, which just consist of one main platform a la Final Destination, return as well.
    • Ultimate also has Stage Morphing, where two separate stages will transform into each other during the match.
  • Tekken 6 had certain stages where the floor would collapse, and you can smash opponents through some walls as well. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 adds the ability to knock enemies off some balconies, blowing them through the railings and onto the floor below.
  • Soul Calibur V has, on several stages, the fight moving to a lower floor if one player suffers a Ring Out. Before the next round starts, the winner will land on his or her feet and the knocked-out player will struggle to stand up straight.
  • Street Fighter X Tekken has a twist on this in that you switch planes/areas in between rounds.
  • All stages in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. Special mention goes to Dreamscape from LittleBigPlanet, which starts completely flat but builds itself up in classic LBP-fashion, eventually becoming the most platform-heavy arena in the game.
  • In Injustice: Gods Among Us, characters can knock their opponents into new sections of the arena, with transitions that include being knocked through several buildings, hit by a train, beaten up by Batman's Rogues Gallery, or knocked into the vacuum of space, bouncing off a satellite, and then smashed into by an out of control shuttlecraft along the way. This causes them to take extra damage. The sequel, Injustice 2, has similar stage transitions.
  • ClayFighter 63⅓ had quite a few stages that transitioned into other stages if one player was hit the correct way at the correct place, especially the stages in and around Santa's Workshop.
  • Some stages in Street Fighter V have walls that can break if you KO an opponent in the corner with a hard-hitting attack. For example, one stage goes from a busy street to a Chinese restaurant, and briefly into the restaurant's kitchen.
  • Guilty Gear -STRIVE- added a Wall Break mechanic, where if you knock an opponent into the corner of the stage multiple times, they'll eventually get stuck to the wall. Knocking them into the wall again will send them flying and set both players' position to the middle of the next room, and the player who did it gets a Positive bonus, gaining extra Tension over time. Landing a Dust attack also transitions rooms.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven has fully explorable environments which serve as fighting arenas, ranging from the hilly seaside of Morioh near the Boyoyon Cape to an entire pavilion of the Green Dolphin Street Prison. Some of them do have stage hazards, like out-of-bounds areas (i.e. places from which you can fall, although you can come back from that) to an NPC using his/her Stand to perform a minor Interface Screw.