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Grapple Move

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A type of attack common in Fighting Games and Action Games. it is usually mapped on a dedicated button or a simultaneous button press (like kick+punch). It is a move that bypasses blocking and often has a lengthy animation of the grabbing character manhandling the grabbed opponent, and usually does fixed damage.

In fighting games, it is used to punish blocking opponents, but some games have mechanics that allow them to cancel the grab move and save themselves a world of hurt. In action games, it is often used to initiate Action Commands, but sometimes is just a way to do a good amount of damage, some games even have this as an Invulnerable Attack.

In some games, like Beat 'em Ups, objects can be grabbed and thrown at enemies instead. Usually these games also allow you to throw enemies at other enemies in the same manner.

The grab part here is the only uniform part of the trope. Many characters often have a multi-hit grab move that traps an enemy in a series of attacks that sends them flying at the end for the "throw" part. Others have the grab as a part of a combo, like say, a punch combo that finishes with a Facepalm Of Doom which if connects, will make the character slam the grabbed opponent in the ground. In other words, "grabbing" means any attack that traps the enemy into an "automatic" series of attacks, which can sometimes be strengthened with Button Mashing, depending on the game.

Note:This is an Omnipresent Trope in Fighting Games, list only notable examples; i.e., examples that go beyond just "grab enemy for fixed damage".

Compare Unblockable Attack, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, but does not involve grabbing and throwing an enemy. Compare Personal Space Invader, for enemies that can grab you. See also Invulnerable Attack, which this one can overlap with, and these types of attacks tend to invoke the Wrestler in All of Us.


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    Adventure Game 
  • Solatorobo's core mechanic is this: DAHAK can grab enemies and (solid) projectiles and toss them around, either hurling them at enemies or indulging in Metronomic Man Mashing. If you're quick enough you can grab a thrown enemy after it bounces and throw it again and again.

    Arcade Game 
  • In the original Double Dragon (1987) it was possible to grab an opponent and throw them over your shoulder.

    Beat Em Up 
  • A common function of Beat 'Em Ups like Final Fight & Streets of Rage is the ability to put an enemy in a hold and then pound them a few times, throw them, or pound then throw them. As you're typically invulnerable during the throw portion, and can harm enemies by throwing them into one another, this can used to great effect in crowd control.
  • In Captain America and the Avengers, the heroes can pick up whatever junk is nearby and hurl it at attackers.
  • Devil May Cry 4 has Nero's Devil Bringer Buster moves. it is done by pressing the right control button (circle or B, depending on console) without pressing the aim button, and is able to grab all enemies (which all do a sort of Splash Damage) Nero will encounter, up to and including bosses. Though Bosses and Elite Mooks can only be grabbed on certain conditions like when they are dazed. It is also capable of Catch and Return on certain projectiles and deflect some melee attacks. All enemies have a unique grab animation, only Scarecrows, Faust & Mephisto, and Dante (despite being a Mirror Boss and the Deuteragonist at that) don't. they are simply grabbed and slammed on the ground.
  • A staple in God of War, Kratos can grab any small Mook for an easy kill or a good amount of damage. Elite Mooks, Giant Mooks, and Bosses require Action Commands after the grab. All grabs feature gruesome disembowelment and such, and is one of the selling points of the game.
  • Koei Tecmo's Warriors games:
    • Dynasty Warriors 4 introduced grab moves, but unfortunately they only work on Mooks because enemy officers could easily dodge them. It was later removed in the next installment, and was brought in Dynasty Warriors 6 though, and unlike the previous mechanics note . It was given a dedicated "charge" and normal command (hold block then press either charge or normal attack), this was further expanded to other Charge strings, the new EX Attack mechanic and even Musou in Dynasty Warriors 7.
    • Samurai Warriors, some characters have grab moves in their movesets. like Nene's unblockable Spinning Pile Driver grab move (though it's pretty weak). The Grabs' main advantage is that they are unblockable, with the obvious disadvantage of being rather hard to aim due to the combat being done in three dimensions.
    • Warriors Orochi, have the Samurai Warriors (starting from with SW 2) and Dynasty Warriors (starting with DW 5) characters retain whatever grab move they had in their respective game.
  • Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage: Both Spider-Man and Venom can pick up certain objects and even enemies and throw them.
  • Sengoku Basara has several characters with grabs. Most prominent however is Hideyoshi, whose attacks can all lead into grapples and can even chain grappling moves together.
  • PS2 Brawler Urban Reign gets quite extensive with its grappling system, combining elements of 90s beat-em-ups and 3D fighting games, like the former's ability to grab an enemy then subject them to a combination of blows and throws, and from the latter, being able to escape throws and to grab floored or airborne opponents. On top of that, you can also use grapples to target and weaken specific regions of the body, grab 2 or 3 opponents simultaneously and can perform team-up throws with a partner.
  • In Zeno Clash, you can grapple an enemy after punching them enough to make them dizzy. Grabbed enemies can be thrown to the ground, or shoved into other enemies. The second game adds the ability to pummel them as part of a combo.
  • River City Ransom and the rest of Kunio-kun series, where characters brawl and throw each other even in sport events.
  • Bayonetta has the Kulshedra, a demonic whip that the titular character can use as a Charged Attack to lasso an enemy and pull them in for more punishment. Bayonetta 2 has the Alruna, twin whips that can also be equipped to Bayonetta's arms or legs simultaneously or separately, allowing her to grapple two enemies at once. In both cases, the grapple is only reliable on smaller, weaker enemies unless Bayonetta uses Witch Time, which then allows her to grapple most enemies with easenote .
  • The Ninja Warriors Again does grapples differently with the three characters. Each character can follow up their grab with a different move depending on which directional button is pressed.
    • Kunoichi can grab enemies by touching them, but cannot move while holding them and will drop them after some time if not followed up.
    • Ninja will grab enemies by touching them and can move around while holding them, taking a longer time before he drops them compared to Kunoichi.
    • Kamaitachi cannot grab enemies by simply touching them, rather, the player has to hold forwards or backwards + press the attack button after he hits an enemy at close range to throw them.
    • Yaksha and Raiden, the two new characters introduced in the remake sport both a basic grab and a command grab that depletes their energy meter. Yaksha's command grab in particular has an awkward hit range and cannot affect enemies right in front, but has a powerful follow up if it connects.

    Card Games 
  • In Lunch Money you can attack with one move per turn, which your victim can either block, avoid, or take. But if you play a Grab card first the victim has to play an Avoid card immediately or else they're hit with the attack which they can't block. You can also follow up your initial attack after grabbing, which you can't do if you don't grab first. For example, you could kick your opponent; or you could grab, kick, and then hit with a hammer.

    Fighting Game 
  • In general, most fighting games have a normal grab move that is used to bypass blocking enemies and often done at close range. They'll do more damage than normal moves. There are also characters with command grabs; they're often called a "Grappler" and they tend to be Difficult, but Awesome Mighty Glaciers.
  • The original Killer Instinct is noteworthy for averting this and NOT having universal grabs. This meant that there was little to be done to get around a crouching, guarding opponent as overhead attacks were incredibly slow and could be seen miles away.
  • Soulcalibur's grab moves can be canceled by doing your own grab move so that it connects with the opponent's. later entries even allow you to counter an opponent's grab so you grab them instead. Both require A LOT of Dexterity.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Every character in the series can grab enemies, pummel them while held, and then throw them in any of the four cardinal directions for extra damage and possibly a KO. Melee even offers a score bonus, "Compass Tosser", for using all four throw attacks during a match. A few characters, including Link and Samus, have tools (such as the Hookshot/Clawshot of the former and the Grapple Beam of the latter) that enable them to grab from further away as compared to other characters, albeit with a longer cooldown time. These characters can also use them as recovery options, by latching them to the edge of the stage and pulling them up.
    • Some characters also have command grabs; special moves part of their repertoire as distinct from their normal grab that involve them grappling their opponents for damage.
      • Bowser has had two different side specials that work this way, Koopa Klaw and Flying Slam. Koopa Klaw functions almost like a second normal grab, dealing heavy damage via biting and having strong KO power. Flying Slam replaces it in all subsequent titles, instead giving Bowser a powerful grab where he flies up with an opponent and slams down onto them, being a powerful kill and damage option.
      • Ganondorf's Dark Dive and Flame Choke. Dark Dive doubles as both as this and his primary recovery move, sending him flying up. And if he connects with an opponent, electrifying them and knocking them back considerably.
      • Wario's Chomp has him bite down on his opponent and chew on them to deal damage. The Ultimate version also restores health on hit.
      • Incineroar's Alolan Whip has it dash forward and grab the opponent, then throw them behind you at the wrestling ring ropes that just appeared behind you. While the opponent is bounced back at you, pressing the attack button at the right time has Incineroar deliver a clothesline that deals much more damage and knockback. Pressing it too early does a weaker attack, and pressing it too late will have them bump into you for no effect.
  • Rival Schools has its Combination Attacks, which is initiated by a telegraphed, blockable attack and then cuts into a sequence of attack (just like a normal grab move) unique to your partner character. Some of these can heal or increase your Mana Meter.
  • In Tekken, every character has at least 5 throws: Two from the front, one from the left, one from the right and one from the back. Also everyone has the ability to run and tackle (though some can do it from a stationary position). Tag Tournament introduces tag throws. Also King, Armor King, Nina and Anna have chain throws. Some characters have wall throws, crouching throws, air throws and/or ground throws. Some characters also have Attack Throws, which are punches, kicks, or other normal attacks that will turn into throws under the right circumstance- typically when it's a Counter-Attack or strikes an opponent standing a specific distance away.
  • Alike other 3D Fighters, all the characters in Virtua Fighter have a range of throws that can be used on a standing opponent from the front, as well as a side throw and a back throw, while many characters have situational grabs to be used on crouching, airborne or floored opponents, or with either the user or the opponent's back to the wall. Throws are not only effective at combating guarding opponents, but those who attempt to sidestep as well.
  • In Dead or Alive, every character had a front throw and a crouching throw, a back throw and back crouching throw. Some characters had chain throws. There was also wall throws and enviromental throws.
  • While most characters in Skullgirls have pretty standard grabs, including the game's original grappler Cerebella, DLC character Beowulf puts a bit of a twist on it. A successful grab allows the wrestler a set amount of time to move around with the opponent in his hands and perform a number of special moves on them. The amount of time you get is dependent on how you landed the grab.
  • The Darkstalkers series has it so that every character has a command grab that can't be escaped on top of normal throws (more grapple-focused characters like Victor and Sasquatch have better/more of these); generally, the only weakness they have over normal throws is that they sometimes have long animations if you missed.
    • One of the many reasons Anakaris is a Mechanically Unusual Fighter is that he can escape/tech normal throws, but he cannot do regular throws himself so he had to resort to his command grab...which is not point blank, has much slower start-up than a grab usually has, and it grabs at different ranges depending on what button the plyer pressed. Every character can duck under it, so to grab crouching characters you need to use the powered up version of this move. On top of this, in the air (as air throws are a DS staple) he can't grab people altogether.
  • David from Kensei: Sacred Fist uses the same kind of directionally-based chain throws as normally seen in straight pro-wrestling games, where he can initiate a passive grapple on an opponent and then perform different throws from that position depending on what direction the player inputs.
  • Averted in Fight of Animals which has no grab attacks at all. The game avoids the issues encountered in other games by giving every character an unreactable overhead attack which is also a combo starter.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Crysis allows you to grab human enemies with the "interact" button and use them as a Human Shield. You can also throw them, and doing it with your nanosuit set to Maximum Strength is a guaranteed kill against at least the person you threw.
  • GoldenEye: Rogue Agent uses the "grab and throw human shield" variant, with the added caveat that Goldeneye can't throw a hostage whose health-bar is fully depleted.

    Multiplayer Online Battle Arena 
  • League of Legends: Syndra's "Force of Will" ability is used to grab objects and throw them at enemies. This cannot be used to grab player characters, though, and the ability is primally used to throw "Dark Spheres" conjured by Syndra's own, similarly named spell. Syndra can, however, (among minions and minor jungle monsters) grab Lizard Elder and Ancient Golem, the two greater monsters that grant buffs to their killer. This mechanic makes stealing enemy buffs for your team somewhat easier.
  • In Heroes of Newerth, Gunblade's ultimate skill has him fire a shot that stuns and damages a target hero and grapple himself onto them. For the next few seconds, he is forcibly bound next to them, and the enemy will drag him with them when they try to move. It's especially powerful considering one of his skills gives him a huge damage boost against enemies in melee range.

    Platform Game 
  • The Megadrive/Genesis Run & Gun classic Gunstar Heroes allowed you to throw enemies, or the other player, at other enemies. This really helped with the game's hectic pace, as you're invulnerable while performing the throw. Not only does throwing your friend not harm them, you can save them from the damage of an enemies throw by catching and hurling them before they hit the ground.
  • Kirby's basic move is to inhale a mook/debris and spit it away. His Suplex and Throw powers focus on this, while some other powers also allows you to grab close enemies i.e Ninja, Beam, Ice, Yoyo, Fighter, and Jet, all for massive damage. They also make Kirby invincible, which makes them very useful in boss fights if they're performed with good timing.
  • In Metal Slug 6 and beyond, Clark (from The King of Fighters) can grab a Mook with his Signature Move "Argentine Backbreaker" and earning him high points and invincibility frames in the process. Grabbing mooks in rapid succession will multiply the points and lets you invincible for quite long - something that is a blessing in this kind of game.
  • In Mega Man Zero, Harpuia and Fefnir both possess grab moves of their own; the former does a piledriver after flying high while the latter launches Zero off his cannon to the air (and follow it up by grabbing Zero in midair and slamming him to the ground, if he powered up first). Some other bosses also possess one each, such as Kuwagust Anchus using his stag beetle's horn to grab and electrocute you, and Mino Magnus magnetizing you with a grab move.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Bros. 2: The game allows players to hop on enemies and throw them. They can also pick up vegetables, bombs, keys and other weapons to toss as well. This was a new feature at the time and is still not seen predominantly in the Mario franchise (as it was originally planned to only appear in the game's precursor, Doki Doki Panic), but over the years it has since been present in some capacity regardless. In fact, Super Mario Maker 2 brings back this mechanic in full thanks to the addition of the SMB2 Mushroom via a post-release update.
    • Super Mario Bros. 3: Starting with this game, you can pick up and throw Goomba Stomped Koopa Troopa and Buzzy Beetles. It's notable in that if you hold them for too long they will wake up and damage you.
    • Super Mario World has the second most extensive display of this trope in the Mario series, with the large amount of seizable enemies and objects (Galoomba, Koopa Troopa shells, Buzzy Beetles, Bob-Ombs, Mechakoopas, keys, trampolines, P Switches and blue blocks) and the extra ability to throw them upwards. Its game style in Super Mario Maker 2 adds Goombuds and two new variants of Mechakoopa to the mix, despite no longer having blue blocks and keys not needing to be manually grabbed anymore.

  • Wrestling in Dwarf Fortress is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: grabbing an opponent's body part, which restrains them in place (unless they manage to break out of your grip) and allows to perform special moves like throwing them, strangling the throat, or twisting the joints. This is also where the AI suffers from Artificial Stupidity the most, it will grab body parts at random (and usually release them afterwards) and repeatedly try to strangle even unbreathing enemies, but in player's hands wrestling can be deadly.
  • The Binding of Isaac: the unlockable "Suplex!" active item makes you dash forward and grab the first object or enemy you touch, afterwards you can aim the attack and then jump and land in the target position, creating a wave of rocks around you. You can grab anything with this move, even invincible objects and stationary bosses.

    Role Playing Games 
  • Dark Cloud 2 allows you to pick up and throw most small enemies (just the same as you can with the boulders/whatever randomly lining dungeon floors). It doesn't inflict any damage to the enemies, but it does stun them for a few seconds (both the thrown enemy and the target), and it does bypass an enemy's guard (for those that have them). The button combination is guard attack.
  • Tia's special attack, Hook Shot, in Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals can be used to pull enemies in and then chainsaw them.
  • Tales of Legendia has command grabs as a major mechanic for its protagonist, Senel. They can be used only if the enemy is knocked down, but deal more damage than normal artes. Enemies have different size categories, from "Feather" to "Massive", and over the course of the game Senel learns more powerful artes, which allow him to throw bigger enemies. There's also some "special" enemy types (including two major bosses), that require specialized artes to be thrown. If you Level Grind Senel to level 99, he learns Lord of Creation, an arte that can throw everyone, regardless of size or class. It's no wonder that the team that made the game was partly made up of Tekken and Soul Series developers.

    Stealth Game 
  • A staple in Metal Gear
  • Ezio can grab enemies in Assassin's Creed II et seq. to then either punch them silly (a combo that makes the final Fisticuffs Boss ridiculously easy) or push them away, preferably into other enemies (for a non-lethal distraction) or off ledges/into water (for an insta-kill). Enemies will, of course, try to grab you so that their allies can slash at you with impunity.
    • Connor in AC III and Edward in AC IV face firearm wielding enemies. Their attacks are always telegraphed so that you have the opportunity to grapple a hapless nearby opponent as a Human Shield, protecting you from harm and getting rid of the enemy in one stroke. This can be particularly useful for more powerful enemies who would otherwise take more work to defeat.