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Heal Thyself
aka: Med Kit

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Bloke goes to the Doctor, and after a cough
Says, "Sorry to whinge, but my leg's been blown off
I've got one leg, and I used to have more
I'm bleeding all over this nice clean floor
I think I'll need some of that tourniquet shit."
The Doctor said, "
Or just use a health kit."

When video game characters get shot, slashed, burned etc., they can usually count on finding a box of medical supplies or similar, with which they can instantly restore their health. Even back up to one hundred percent, which presumably means all cuts and bruises are completely gone. They don't even seem to need to apply the medication, or even open the package — as soon as they pick it up, their health is improved. Imagine that. In fantasy they usually have the character eat special fruits or partake of elixirs and say A Wizard Did It. In sci-fi, the character will shoot up with Nanomachines and say the same thing.

There are some ways of lessening this effect. One is to hint that the Life Meter is actually indicating how badly affected the character's armor is, and one is simply patching up one's suit. Another, in sci-fi stories, is to allow the character's armor special medicinal abilities, which just requires health to be picked up or downloaded off an installed device.

Most classic healing items work instantly, but some modern games give them a delay time. Using one gives the player a "ghost" Life Meter, which works its way up to the level indicated over a minute or so. Taking any damage may nullify the effect. This keeps a player from using one in heated combat to stay alive.

A corollary to this trope is that no matter how hurt your character gets, even if they're an inch from death, they can still run around killing things with as much vigor as ever. This often applies to the enemies, as well. This can be interesting in strategy games, where a large unit is still doing 100% damage at one HP, and smaller units that collectively cost the same are losing effectiveness one by one as they die. Some titles reduce speed and damage linearly with HP, but this is equally unrealistic.

As a side note, the International Red Cross Society has been raising some legal issues over the repeated use of their trademarked Red Cross logo on health items in video games. See this article from the Canadian Red Cross. The generic logo for commercially available "First Aid" products in reality is a white cross on a green field for businesses not directly affiliated with the Red Cross Society, to conform with the Geneva Convention (the Red Cross logo is protected). It's a serious issue.

An extreme, but common, subset of this trope is Hyperactive Metabolism, where you are instantly healed simply by eating.

See also Heart Container and Healing Potion, and beware of the Poison Mushroom. Compare The Medic and Healing Hands, which are people and abilities that heal others, and can possibly heal themselves. This trope is about one person, being able to heal themselves only, in a way that's not automatic Healing Factor.

Not to be confused with Self-Surgery, an often much more disturbing trope.


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  • In Enter the Matrix just like in The Matrix: Path of Neo you can either walk/run over a green health-pack, or just stand around until the health-meter fills itself back up.
  • In The Getaway, the main character heals by... leaning against walls for a few seconds.
  • In The Legend of Zelda, Link can visit a dedicated healers (such as a fairy fountain) to get his health back, but he also self-heals by finding hearts from defeated enemies or chopping down tall grass, or drinking healing potions.
  • In Mission Impossible (1990), you can find first-aid kits scattered among the levels that restore one agent to full health. Since each agent has his own health bar, it's a common strategy to swap out an agent who's heavily injured until you can find a first aid kit to replenish their health by switching back.
  • In Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, the Prince can heal himself by drinking water from any source (fountains, pools, baths, puddles, etc.). This is retained in the sequels, Warrior Within and The Two Thones, though they mostly limit healing to fountains, which act as save points as well.
  • In StarTropics, your main character heals with generic hearts, but there are other healing items as well. Enemies will, on rare occasions, drop stars (1/5 of a heart, in practice) and single hearts, but the environment will provide you with Double Hearts, Medicine (which heals 5 hearts and is saved until used), and quadruple hearts much later in the game. However, the most interesting healing item is the Vitamin X capsule, a rare item that completely heals all 22 hearts you are capable of getting in the game... even if you don't have them yet. Over time, the additional health goes way whether you get hit or not, but the duration of the extra health is surprisingly long, for a game that is generally unforgiving about taking any damage.
    • Of course, you will only get one Vitamin X capsule before you hit the heart max.

    Action Game 
  • Bloodline Champions has an ability available for all players called the Bloodline Medallion to heal. However, it takes a long time to finish and is interrupted upon contact from enemy effects or damage.
  • In the original Gungrave, the only way that Grave can recover his hit points is to expend 1 gauge of demolition shot power ("Recover Life Now"), as there are no items that can be picked up in the game. Presumably, he's absorbing the collected beats to regenerate his health and shield (and the shield "heals" and protects him in the sense that his Healing Factor allows him to shrug off most damage except for big attacks). In the second game, your character's health is restored by some amount that depends on how much damage you caused when using a demolition shot — the higher the Jackpot bonus, the more hit points are recovered.

    Fighting Game 
  • Them's Fightin' Herds:
    • During a run in the Salt Mines, players can heal back some of their HP by finding a health treasure chest and unlocking it by trading 100 Salt. Breaking a random salt node has a chance to also restore some health.
    • Paprika's apples land back on the ground after being launched, which can restore HP to her or her opponent, depending on who gets to them first.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Alpha Prime, like Half-Life, features both medkits and health dispensers. When you approach a medkit (or any item you can pick up), it flies toward you and instantly restores health. The health dispensers seem to pump out some sort of red fluid. On the eponymous asteroid's surface, there are also oxygen dispensers.
  • America's Army averts this trope; players who are shot in the game bleed for a certain amount of time, effectively draining their hit points bit by bit. As your health decreases from Green (Full/Near Full) to Yellow (Moderately Hurt) to Red (Near Death), you run progressively slower and are less accurate. Medics can only stop your bleeding, and there is no way to restore health once lost.
  • Averted in Bet on Soldier, where you cannot restore your health during a mission. However, you wear armor on top of your health, which can be restored mid-mission, either by mechanic allies or purchasing armor repair at buy stations. Unfortunately, the game's final boss and a few other boss enemies are equipped with armor-piercing weapons that damage your health directly.
  • Classic Call of Duty has this, in contrast to the Regenerating Health 2 and onwards have used. The original game and its expansion had the then-standard system of differently-sized health kits, with tiny red chocolate tins healing 10 health, larger green medical boxes healing 25 and large bags filled with supplies returning 50. The console game Finest Hour uses a slightly different system, with only medium-size kits that are instantly used on pickup, and large kits that you can pick up and carry around to use on yourself or on teammates (since Gameplay Ally Immortality isn't in play for important NPCs this time), while Call of Duty 2: Big Red One reuses the original three sizes of medkits, only changing how the health bar is presented (divided into four blocks, with a small kit returning half of a block, medium giving a full block, and large healing two blocks).
  • In Conqueror's Blade, all heroes can self-heal with the Bandage ability, but it takes a while and usually requires you to stand still. In contrast, the Longsword and Shield hero class can give itself (and nearby allies) an instant burst of healing with its Mercy of Heaven skill.
  • Averted in Day of Defeat, where wounds cannot be healed at all. You can bandage yourself, but this only stops you from bleeding to death.
  • In Deus Ex, the protagonist has separate health levels for arms, legs, torso and head. If the torso or head health reaches 0%, he dies. If both legs are "killed", he falls down to waist level but can still move about using any remaining arms.
  • Doom implies that the healing pickups have small doses of Super Serum (though that puts it in the territory of Instant Sedation). Berserk Packs drop the "implied" part, instantly bringing you up to 100% health from any amount below — even right at the brink of death with a single hitpoint — and make you strong enough to tear zombies and imps apart with one punch for the rest of the level. Soulspheres and Megaspheres (which respectively add 100 health, up to 200, and give you the full 200 health and armor) are more justified since they're black magic.
  • Far Cry 2, 3 and 4 mix this trope with elements of its direct opposite. Your health meter is divided into several blocks (five in 2, two and able to be upgraded through to six in the others). If you take damage, then get away for a bit, your health will refill, but only to the top of the block you're currently down in. To actually get back to full health, you have to inject yourself with little healing syrettes that you find in traditional medical cabinets and boxes around the game world (though you can also craft them in the later games). Perhaps most interestingly, if you're knocked to your last health block in 2, it starts draining slowly instead of regenerating. To escape this, you have to trigger a longer emergency healing sequence (some of the animations for which are disturbing enough to be nightmarish), which brings you back to 2 full health blocks.
  • Parodied in Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon: one of the self-healing animations involve the use of a blowtorch to fix your robotic arm, while another involves using a hand-squeezer exercise spring really fast.
  • Gordon Freeman in Half-Life gains back lost health by plugging his hazard suit into health and energy recharging stations scattered around the levels. The suit is designed to use energy to protect from hazards, such as hardening the armor plating in response to gunfire, but regardless of the energy level, the suit can dispense morphine or apply some kind of basic first aid in response to injuries. This is all just a Handwave in the end, though: Freeman, like most video game and TV heroes, is Made of Iron. Spoofed in the Half-Life 2 webcomic Concerned, where medkits are capable of not only healing everything and anything, but also instantly removing any blood stains from clothing. They are also Eco-Friendly and will instantly and completely biodegrade upon use.
  • Killing Floor has the syringe that can be used on both yourself and teammates. Interestingly, in the first game, when playing online it's more effective when used on teammates than on yourself; while they are infinite-use with a gradually-recharging percentage, it takes the full 100% to heal yourself for 20 hit points, while using it on a teammate only uses up 50% for the same amount of healing. Conversely, in solo offline play using it on yourself heals 50 points.
  • In Left 4 Dead has an interesting take on healing. Simply being hit will slowly lead to the character moving more slowly. Get incapacitated, and promptly revived however, and now you'll both move slowly and bleed health. Pain pills offer temporary health boost that slowly degrades. Using health kits has an animation of the character bandaging themselves or someone else and (almost) all their wounds are instantly healed. Get incapacitated too many times without healing, you'll be near death, with all color drained from your view, and the next time you get knocked down before healing will kill you.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 tosses in adrenaline shots, which only recovers 25 points of temp-health, but for a short time, your survivor runs faster (even if their health is in the red), can't be slowed down by zombies, and can do many actions at a quicker rate (healing, revive, etc.). The only side effect is you get tunnel vision and the sounds become mono.
  • In Medal of Honor: Airborne the player can "round up" their health to the next quarter by resting, but still require medkits to heal beyond that.
  • A number of characters in Overwatch have some ability or another for healing themselves, such as Bastion's Self-Repair or Roadhog's Take a Breather. However, Soldier: 76 is the only non-support character that can heal teammates, and not without a lengthy cooldown.
  • Pariah has a health meter in the form of a series of blocks; a block automatically regenerates after a while if there's even the smallest bit left, but any completely blanked blocks can only be recovered with a health injection. The healing item is in the form of a separate tool, used like a weapon and using dropped medkits as "ammo". It needs to be reloaded like a weapon, too, which makes it harder to heal in combat.
  • PlanetSide 1 has single-use medkits which are activated instantly via hotkey and the Medical Applicator handheld tool, which uses cartridges of nanites to heal allies or yourself, and revive downed allies. Planetside 2 drops the Medapp's self-healing ability and instead gives the Combat Medic an area-of-effect healing ability that heals themselves. Medical kits return (along with Gradual Regeneration restoration kits) but they require you to holster your weapon before being used. The "Regeneration" implant slowly heals you at the cost of implant energy.
  • In the Rainbow Six series, as might be expected from its devotion to realism, there's no healing during a mission. If a character is wounded, but survives, it could be months of in-game time before he's back in action, if he comes back at all. This forces you to use second-stringers as your character and his team-mates.
    • With the exception of the Rainbow Six: Vegas games, where if you die, you die, but if your teammates die, then they must be revived with, apparently, a massive dose of adrenaline in a syringe. There's a limit on how much you can do this, depending on difficulty and how often you do so — teammates downed too often in too short a period, especially on Realistic difficulty, eventually will just die and send you back to the last checkpoint — but, so long as you're within that limit, there's no risk of heart attack or death from blood loss from overuse of whatever's in those syringes even if you pump them full of it three times in under a minute.
    • Rainbow Six Siege finally allows for healing, but only by way of very specific Operator gadgets. The GIGN Defender Doc has a healing-dart pistol as his gadget, which heals anyone hit by it — including himself or even Attackers — for 40 health, including overcharging their health above the maximum 100%, though this overcharge decays at a rate of one hit point per second until it goes back down to 100. The later CBRN Attacker Finka has the "Adrenal Surge" ability, which when active, gives all the players on her team various buffs for 20 seconds, including a boost of 20 extra health for its duration with the same sort of overcharge as with Doc (though it disappears right away when the boost ends, rather than slowly decaying during its effects).note 
  • Star Wars: Republic Commando has no medkits. Instead, it has fixed emplacements that infuse bacta to the commandos, healing them in a short time. Given the almost magical healing abilities of Bacta in the Star Wars universe, this is not actually completely insane. However, should a squadmate's health reach zero, they'll just drop down and moan occasionally, whereupon all that's needed to revive them and give them half their health back is a zap from a defibrillator-like device. The player character can "die" in this way as well, and call on a squadmate to be revived. This gives rise to an interesting technique for the few areas of the game where bacta is rare: if a squadmate's health is less than half, one can shoot said squadmate until he "dies". When revived, he'll have more health than before. A player whose own character has less than half health can even toss a thermal detonator at his feet, "die", call on a squadmate to be revived and enjoy the same benefit. It is slightly hand waved by a single mention of a "Bacta processing implant"; this doesn't explain how Kyle Katarn, Mara Jade, Jaden Korr, Revan or the Jedi Exile instantly heal with med kits (the last two even predate widespread use of bacta — and its predecessor, kolto, was rare even when it was the primary healing agent).
  • In Team Fortress 2:
    • If there's no Medic or Dispenser handy, better make a run for the nearest health kit.
    • If you're a Medic with the Kritzkrieg, just taunt and take a big 'ol puff of the fumes. Although he also has automatically regenerating health.
    • And if you're a Heavy, you have a wide range of consumable "sandviches" for that purpose as well, though the tradeoff here is that you don't have a shotgun handy for if you run yourself out of ammo for your Minigun.
    • Other classes can heal themselves by damaging or killing enemies with certain weapons or attacking a target soaked in the Scout's Mad Milk or with one of the Soldier's banners active.
  • In Tribes 2, every player has a single-use medkit that they can use by pressing a button, giving them a small boost to their health, and it can be looted from dead players if they haven't used theirs. Players can also take a Repair Pack, a Magic Tool Healing Shiv that can repair any equipment or players — including the user — and only has a minor drain on your regenerating Jump Jet Pack energy, making it a favored tool for the "Annoying Bastard" playstyle that skirts around the enemy base, provoking the defenders into a chase before scrambling away via Rocket Jump, healing themselves in the process.
  • Wolfenstein 3-D:
    • There are big white boxes with red plus signs on them which instantly heal you. What's more, BJ has Hyperactive Metabolism and can heal up by eating all the food left around without slowing down in the slightest. Its modernised remake, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, is equally guilty, despite being more realistic in other ways. In the Xbox Live rerelease, the plus signs have been changed to hearts, due to Red Cross trademark restrictions.
    • Beyond dog-food, if you have really low health in the original, you can also drink blood from the floor with a nice slurping sound.
  • Castle Wolfenstein has a One Hitpoint Wonder protagonist, but the sequel Beyond Castle Wolfenstein has a dose of realism in that getting shot actually cause you to limp and slow down, and that application of a first-aid kit to restore your agility takes several seconds of inaction.

    Hack and Slash 
  • Drakengard requires that you either find one of the Inexplicable Treasure Chests scattered across the land and hope they contain healing, or kill a certain amount of enemies in a certain amount of time to receive healing as a reward for having a high enough chain. Either way, healing comes in the form of a benign, green-glowing orb.
  • Dynasty Warriors usually has Hyperactive Metabolism for its healing, as its recovery items are food and drink. The one exception is the full-recover item called Ointment in the game — more specifically, Hua Tuo's Ointment, described in the source material as a kind of miracle balm. Pick up some of this and your ancient Chinese hero is good to go, even from the brink of death — it grants both full health and a full Mana Meter, which also powers your Limit Break.
  • Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith has bacta tanks to replenish the characters' health, but they also possess the Force Heal ability can be done by pressing both analog sticks, which you will likely do more often due to the limited number of bacta tanks per level. The efficiency of this power can be upgraded in the experience menu, allowing to heal more health at less Force expense.
  • Transistor: Jaunt() upgraded with Tap() will heal Red by 5 Hit Points every time she Flash Steps.

  • Battlestar Galactica Online has Damage Control Packs for when you need a pick-me-up and can't escape battle to let the Regenerating Health kick in.
  • Guild Wars averts one part of this trope in that there are no items in game that provide healing. Each class has ways to regenerate health (of varying degrees of practicality), and neither attacking nor taking damage for a certain period of time will cause health to regenerate automatically (this is actually a game mechanic that certain builds plan for, as enemies have the same options). Some of the more interesting versions of healing include:
    • Monks have an entire skill (Divine Favor) that makes them automatically heal allies just by casting spells on them.
    • Warriors can use their adrenaline (caused by hitting with weapons and taking damage) to heal, but this temporarily deactivates any Signets (skills with no energy cost, but a higher-than-average recharge time) they have equipped.
    • Elementalists have a buff that causes them to heal a percentage of the energy cost of every spell they cast while it's active.
    • Paragons can let out a shout that will heal any allies in earshot once a condition is met (i.e., "Heal for 57 when you cast a spell"). Alternately, they can grant health regeneration until a condition is met (i.e. "+5 health regeneration for 8 seconds or until you attack").
    • Mesmers can eat enemy buffs to regain health and energy.
    • Necromancers have a wide variety of vampiric abilities, ranging from eating enemies to eating their own minions.
  • Kingdom of Loathing takes this to a deliberately ridiculous level for humour. Its many, many status effects invariably wear off over time. While this makes some sense in terms of the effects of a spell, or the effects of a potion, or having a song stuck on your head, or being in a certain emotional state, or having a disease, other things aren't so realistic. Your character is capable of shrugging off being exfoliated into a skeleton in only a few turns, for starters, and the caption for the status effect 'Missing Fingers' is:
    Some of your fingers are gone. It really hurts, and they're going to take a little while to grow back.
  • The world of Nexus Clash is riddled with First Aid Kits that apparently heal everything. Angels have an equivalent in Healing Herbs while demons have Stygian Bone Leeches, which heal just as effectively, just by means of Body Horror. Demons in this setting are actually restricted to healing themselves, since a powerful curse by an angelic god makes them unable to receive external healing.
  • Phantasy Star Universe has a relatively simplistic system. If You happen to walk over a medic point, it slowly regenerates your health at a stable rate. It is justified by the characters being protected by line shields that mitigate damage so they don't take visible injuries.
  • In World of Warcraft, bandages heal everything. And the higher grade of fabric used to make the bandages, the more they heal. However, any damage interrupts their effects, including bleeds (which very few things can remove)... so they are useless against bleeding, the one thing real bandage are for.

    Platform Game 
  • Afterimage: Renee can use Primeval Glyphs to pray and recover her HP. However, she can only hold a finite amount of glyphs, which are then restored whenever she rests at a Confluence. 42 and Karsa have a similar self-healing mechanic in their playable versions, though they also have their own unique healing animations distinct from Renee's.
  • In Azure Striker Gunvolt, both Gunvolt and Copen can use healing skills on themselves in addition to finding health pickups from either killing certain enemies to just lying around. With Copen, it's just the tech in his suit working to repair his injuries. For Gunvolt, it's explained as his lightning powers stimulating his body's natural healing processes.
  • In Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, acorns are healing items.
  • In Ecco the Dolphin, you healed by eating fish, or by finding a healing clam. (You just had to watch that you didn't accidentally hit an evil clam that'd drain you more).
  • The modern-day Prince of Persia games allow you to fully heal by drinking water. The original games featured health potions.
    • What's really weird is that the Prince can heal from any source of water. In the beginning of Warrior Within the Prince can drink right out of the ocean and in the beginning of The Two Thrones, the prince can drink raw sewage! It heals you in both cases...
    • In his alternate forms in Warrior Within and The Two Thrones, the Prince is healed by absorbing sand. To be fair, he is a sand creature at those times.
  • The Life Meter-enabled Sly Cooper games had not normal white boxes with the red plus sign, but actual red crosses that scattered around, spinning on the lower leg. Not sure if that'd run afoul of the Red Cross trademark or not.
  • The medipacks in Tomb Raider had the Red Cross symbol on them, up until Tomb Raider 2 Gold, at which point they were changed to green crosses. This stuck until Legend, and all games following it, in which the medipacks have red asterisks on them.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • A somewhat odd (but explainable) example of the corollary is found in the Battle for Middle-Earth games, in which Ents and Trolls actually become better as they receive more damage. Ents move faster, as being damaged makes them "hasty", while Trolls go berserk and do lots of damage to all nearby units — including allies.
  • In Super Robot Wars there are various skills that only kick in when a character's health hits the red. The most common is "Prevail", which raises a character's hit and dodge rates.

  • Roguelike games like NetHack have potions of varying degrees of potency which can be carried around by the player and used when needed. Of course, if a monster finds them first then it will pick them up and use them in the middle of a fight to stay alive longer.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Crysalis: The game starts with only Mio, and he has an Extract, "Extract Life", that "Slightly recovers Mio's HP" for 25 CP.
  • In Dark Souls, the Chosen Undead can chug some Estus for a quick refill of health. The Flask can be upgraded to have more uses and greater healing power. Dark Souls II reduces the efficiency of Estus (the animation speed is now dependent on a stat) but adds more healing items with their own advantages and disadvantages.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, in a Mage Guild quest, there is literally a chest labeled "Heal Thyself," which contains potions.
  • The RPG Exile uses various forms of drugs as healing items. It's possible to overdose and die from too much "healing".
  • Fallout:
    • Fallout 2 has a healing item, the Super Stimpak, that heals 75 points of damage instantly, but does 9 points of poison damage a little later (justified in-game by the item even stating that "this much healing at one time can be hard on the body"). This makes it possible to covertly assassinate the Enclave's President late in the game, by healing him nine times and resting for about 10 minutes, at which point he drops dead from the "healing" damage.
    • In Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas you can be healed by eating, drinking, blood packs, stimpaks (two kinds) and with the right perks, radiation, and sunlight.
    • New Vegas brings back the bad effect of Super Stimpaks, but they now provide a stat debuff instead of hit point damage.
    • In Fallout 4, using a stimpak triggers a special animation where you inject its contents into your body. The animation doesn't trigger when you're wearing Power Armor, presumably because the deploying of stimpaks is done by the armor's own systems.
  • The Legend of Dragoon's "Guard" command restores a portion of the character's HP every time it is used in battle, making it a viable healing method during the game's many Random Encounters.
  • Mass Effect has medi-gel, a nearly magical substance that can heal any traumatic injury. In true Mass Effect fashion, the Codex helpfully explains that medi-gel doesn't actually cure you, it just stops the bleeding and provides enough medication to keep you going during the mission. The actual healing is stated to take place offscreen when you return to the ship's medbay. It's even noted that medi-gel is technically illegal under Citadel bioengineering laws; it's just so useful that the law never cracks down on it.
  • In Miitopia, snacks, this game's take on Healing Potion, can only be consumed by the holder (unless the Cadge quirk activates).
  • In the Paper Mario series, Mario enters a danger status at 5 or less HP, and a Peril status at 1 HP. Mario begins panting in battle, and outside them if in Peril. Nonetheless, Mario still controls the same, and some of the badges requires him to be in these status in order to work. This can create a setup where you can purposely lower your max HP to 5 in order to always have the danger badges' powerups in effect.
  • Potions, HP Ups and Restores are this way in Pokémon games, though they only restore HP, not the PP of a move. PP Ups exist, but they're rare.
  • In the Star Wars Conquest Game Mod for Mount & Blade, there is an medikit item, actually made of two parts: the Bacta injector and the Bacta capsules. Using the Bacta injector in batlle heals 20 hitpoints of the player character and destroys a Bacta capsule.

    Shoot 'em Up 
  • The arcade version of G.I. Joe has med kits hidden in crates, barrels, etc. Just shoot it and the player is healed.

    Simulation Game 
  • In the PC game B 17 Flying Fortress The Mighty8th, injured crewmen, possibly riddled with shrapnel and bullets, can be healed by other crewmen giving first aid. Fair enough, but the first aid involves shaking them, slapping them in the face, and saying "You'll be fine".
  • Trauma Center has the green "Stabilizer" fluid, a drug that you inject into your patient's body to raise their vitals (which are rated from 0-99). It doesn't matter how many tumors pepper the surface of the stomach, or how tattered the heart is from the innumerable lacerations covering it; stabilizer cures everything! It's never actually explained what's in the stabilizer, but it doesn't seem like there's a chance of overdose.
    • The series also has the "Antibiotic Gel," which completely disinfects anything it touches within milliseconds. It also heals small cuts instantly, raises vitals, reduces the speed at which vitals fall and removes stains without hours of scrubbing!
  • In Vietcong, the player is usually equipped with a medikit (otherwise he can find one himself). And for some bizarre reason, you can't use it on any of your teammate. The PlayStation 2 version of Purple Haze advises the player to only use it when his health is less than 50%.
  • The healing ability every battleship and high tier cruisers get in World of Warships. Technically its called "damage repair" but everyone, even the developers, calls it healing for sort and to distinguish it from the Damage Control ability, which gets rid of status effects. The Captain Bad Advice videos (pictured above) have fun with this, treating it like literal healing, complete with band aid and splints.

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • Generally speaking, in the Metal Gear series, healing is primarily achieved through a Hyperactive Metabolism — namely, eating rations or other food. For Metal Gear Solid, it adds a touch of realism by having your rations freeze if you stay in cold areas for too long, rendering them inedible until they thaw out; the only way to prevent frozen rations or to thaw them out requires you to equip the rations, which is implied that you're holding them to your body so your body heat would melt the ice.
    • Averted somewhat in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, where while you do use herbs and random items to heal yourself, you can get helpful information from your radio medic explaining exactly how it works. Also, wounds require logical actions to heal them. For example, a deep cut requires you to apply a styptic to stop the bleeding, disinfectant to prevent infection, a suture to sew it up, and a bandage to cover it all. However, you can receive multiple injuries in the same area and heal them each time, without suffering any lingering side effects other than cosmetic damage, and the items can be applied in any order.
      • Any and EVERY order. For instance, you have been poisoned. How can you cure yourself? By using the following items in this order on the site of the injury: Knife, bandage, cigar, stitches, knife, disinfectant, knife, cigar, anti venom. It works with no side effects beyond extreme amusement.
      • It's also notable that all this just removes the lingering effects of wounds, like bleeding or recurring damage. Restoring your Hit Points requires resting and eating (while not seriously injured) or using LIFE medicine, an instant-heal item which your support team will explain as "an experimental Soviet drug" that "doesn't really make sense."
    • In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots healing is mostly a matter of eating and drinking or having a high psyche meter, which will allow you to slowly heal automatically. There are also some tunes on your iPod that allow you to heal more quickly using the latter method.

    Survival Horror 
  • Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth notably averted this to a great extent. First aid kits contain several rolls of gauze, a spool of suture, a splint, and a few doses of antitoxin. Each must be used separately — with associated animation — on the appropriate body part for the appropriate injuries. For example, suture converts major wounds (which gradually bleed out your health bar) to minor wounds (which merely prevent you from recovering health). Bandages remove minor wounds, allowing your health to automatically refill over time. Broken limbs decrease movement speed or gun accuracy until repaired with splints. Additionally, movement speed and accuracy are severely impacted by having a low health bar, and when near death the character experiences a gray-out as color drains from the scene. Morphine is available to counteract these effects at the cost of severe sanity loss. While not entirely realistic (applying a splint makes a broken arm good as new), it's about as close as one can get to a realistic injury system in a FPS where you can't take months off for bones to knit nor leave the injuries in place for the game's duration.
    • All that stitching and bandaging also has to be done in real-time, so you can't magically heal yourself while monsters are gnawing on your head (at least if you don't want to end up dead).
  • Cry of Fear has Simon, a normal depressed young adult, picking up and injecting morphine syringes to heal most of your health, with the only consequence of using more than one in a short time span causing your vision to blur. Why syringes of morphins are just lying around Stockholm, Sweden, a country where it is a controlled substance, is never questioned. All of this turns out to be because the entire game is a book written by the real, and wheelchair bound, Simon.
  • Cryostasis has warmth instead of health. You continuously lose it when you go into a cold area, and can regain it using any available heat source. While this is fairly realistic when dealing with actual cold, enemy attacks also drain warmth. As a result, you can be shot, clawed, and beaten nearly to death, then completely recover by holding your hands out to a fire for a few seconds.
  • The healing items of choice in Fatal Frame are Herbal Medicine and Sacred Water. The former heals part of the playable protagonist's health; the latter heals it fully.
  • In Haunting Ground, Fiona can consume camomile and lavender to replenish her health and stamina respectively, and can replenish both by drinking tap water, provided no enemies are looking. She can also heal Hewie by feeding him beef and chicken jerky.
  • Hollow has syringes scattered about the spaceship that you can collect to heal yourself if the need arises.
  • In Kuon, characters heal utilizing "dust" and "elixirs", though if they're not under attack they can just as easily go into meditation mode for free until they're restored to full health.
  • Penumbra has painkillers. Flavor Text suggests that they just make possible for Philip to ignore his injuries, but in practice they work like this.
  • The Prometheus in Project Firestart has single-use first aid kits on the walls next to certain elevators. The medical lab also has a walk-in regeneration machine.
  • Zimri, the player character of The Persistence, can instantly restore her hit points just by grabbing med-kits with no need to spend time stitching, cleaning, or disinfecting her wounds.
  • Raw Footage: If you grab a medkit, you can heal damage done to you.
  • Resident Evil is particularly bad for this, suggesting that you can heal yourself just by using a random green herb you ground up. Though it's unclear if you're applying it to the wound, eating the herbs, or as many fans jokingly say, rolling it in a joint and smoking it. It's not as if it's armor either, as you are clearly seen getting impaled, cut, burnt, or thrown into walls by the enemies. Once their health is below a certain point, a character will move slower and clutch their stomach, but this is the extent of the character's "injuries". Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis notably have the characters barely able to move when they're on dying status, making them an easy target to whatever is trying to kill them.
  • In Rule of Rose, Jennifer heals by munching on sweets: anything from lollipops and candy to scones, shortbread and minced pie. She can also heal Brown by feeding him anything from bones to steak.
  • Skinwalker Hunt: You can heal from damage taken either by eating food, or from a Medkit.
  • Conversely, Silent Hill games feature more mundane healing items, like health drinks, first aid kits, ampoules and the occasional energy drinks to boost stamina. Rather than reflect the character's health through body language, the screen usually grows more distorted the more damage they take.
  • In Unturned, you heal with medical supplies found around PEI. The supplies vary from make-shift rag bandages that recover a tiny amount of health to full medkits that restore half your health, reduce sickness, and cures the bleeding and broken leg debuffs. Unlike most games, there is an animation when your heal yourself, like applying bandages to your arm or giving a morphine shot.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • In Bad Day L.A., the protagonist heals himself and others with gauze.
  • In BloodRayne, the main character is a Dhampir (half-vampire), and regains health by sucking the blood of her enemies. In the sequel, her guns are blood-fueled as well.
  • In the Crusader series of games, the Silencer can instantly heal even the most severe wounds with a medkit (of which he can carry up to ten at a time), though he might need more than one. Not even bringing up the question of how he can do this with his arms full of gun and the kits in his backpack, the game's lit explains that the medikits are more lifesavers than they are actual medicine, just something to keep the soldier alive and out of shock until better treatment can be found, and that there may be nasty side effects of prolonged or overuse. It's entirely possible Silencers are genetically engineered to take full advantage of them without side effects, but the game makes no mention of that...
    • And then there's the medical booths, which are kind of like the opposite of suicide booths.
  • Gears of War has a similar knockdown situation in the Co-operative mode. All it takes is your buddy to essentially kick you in the butt before you stand up and are ready to fight again. Which can lead to annoying situations of playing 'Injury tag' "He shot me!" "I'm back!" "He shot you!" "You're back!" etc.
    • Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory has a similar system, with each player having a limited supply of "adrenaline syringes" for reviving colleagues. It's thus very tempting in bored moments to take your teammate out yourself and play chicken with the death timer...
  • In Infernal, the protagonist is able to replenish his health by eating the souls of dead people. The game doesn't go into detail about what this means for the dead people, although it's to be presumed they'd rather it didn't happen. Once or twice, the game sets up situations where he could do with a health boost and there are a few cowering non-combatants conveniently nearby — it's up to the player whether he kills them for the health boost or soldiers on.
  • The James Bond game 007: From Russia with Love for the Nintendo GameCube uses the armor version. James can pick up random bulletproof vests that wear out as he gets shot. However, once the meter for the vest runs out, the damage goes straight to your health.
  • Max Payne has an interesting take on this trope: instead of healing himself, Max just downs painkillers by the fistful, the effects of which to a while to fully set in. While this is a somewhat more realistic take in the short run — people certainly can ignore a few bullet wounds if you give them enough amphetamines — before too long it becomes clear that by now he ought to be too bullet-riddled and drug-addled to stand.
    • His clothing for much of the first game does look baggy enough that he might conceivably be wearing a ballistic vest with a trauma plate. (After all, he does keep his Hyperspace Arsenal under his jacket.) All the same, one wonders how much time he spent between the first and second games being treated for broken ribs, internal bleeding and the effects of a colossal painkiller overdose.
    • On the other hand, Max Payne is one of a few action games that reinforce the notion that the main character actually survives just because he is incredibly lucky (and, of course, skilled and resourceful). The perfect walkthrough implied by the story means that Max hardly ever gets wounded, but instead dodges all that is thrown at him -– sometimes wondering aloud how did he managed to survive every subsequent encounter.
    • Also note that story-wise, with plot progression Max is getting always more and more mangled. In second game this lead to the point where he was hospitalised after second act. The paramedic clearly stated that he's alive by combination of dumb luck and sheer willpower — the painkillers only made the rescue effort harder because of intoxication.
    • Unlike most games, painkillers don't work immediately (except in 3). Instead, they do about ten percent of their total healing instantly, with the remainder happening slowly over the next few seconds. Healing in the middle of a gunfight generally won't work unless you take several painkillers at once or are really good at dodging bullets, such as with the games' Leap and Fire mechanic.
  • Oni's health items, hyposprays, serve a dual purpose. If used when Konoko is close to full health, it will rise above 100%, and trigger a "super mode". It lasts until her health is reduced to full, over time or by damage. Otherwise, the health gain is delayed (can be interrupted, making it dangerous to use in combat).

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • The Fire Emblem games don't allow healing spells to be cast on the user, but Fire Emblem Fates introduced the Live to Serve skill, which restores the user's own HP by the same amount whenever they heal an ally.
  • The game Jagged Alliance 2 features a fairly realistic injury system. Characters will take hits first to their armor, reducing its effectiveness in future battles. They will then take the hit to their health. This will show up on the health bar as a yellow area. When they are healed in the field, this will be covered up in pink, to show that it is bandaged, but will be lost more quickly next time they are hit, potentially causing them to start bleeding. Characters must be healed on the world map to remove the pink and turn it to the default red, a process which takes time and a consumable "medical kit" item that Randomly Drops rather rarely and has to be bought. In addition, characters have a stamina bar, making it possible for characters to faint or collapse in the field, requiring immediate medical attention and stamina-recovering water. Furthermore, being hit drains not only health but also stamina, so even if a character survives with only minor injuries, the stamina drain will give them an action point penalty, significantly reducing their combat effectiveness, if not knock them out outright.
  • The X-COM series simulates a realistic injury system very well. Injured characters have their speed, accuracy and morale reduced, and may have bleeding wounds that deal further damage each round and can only be cured using a medkit. Doing so also recovers a handful of HP, while painkillers can reduce the morale penalties. Otherwise the wounded character is stuck until the end of the battle, at which point they become unavailable for anything from a few days to a few months depending on the degree of injury. Many players prefer to transfer the injured soldier out of X-Com and hire a new recruit rather than pay their salary while they recover.
    • Interestingly enough, the length of time a character is out of action is based on how much HP they have left out of their maximum. Since you can only restore health when treating bleeding wounds, you'll want the soldier in question to have multiple wounds to shorten their recovery time.
    • The "realism" aspect goes out the window in the second game, where all the same rules apply — but underwater. For example, apparently having your skull ruptured does not, in fact, mean your diving helmet is no longer air-tight — or does it?
    • In the rebooted games XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM 2, there are a number of ways to instantly heal soldiers on the battlefield — however, while the soldier can be healed to full effectiveness, the healing is strictly temporary. After the mission ends, the surviving soldier needs to recover from every point of damage suffered (that wasn't stopped by armor), whether or not the wounds were healed during the mission.

    Turn-Based Tactics 
  • Inkulinati:
    • Hares with Baskets can heal themselves by spending a turn to eat a puppy from the basket on their backs.
    • Apes can use the Ape's Frenzy effect to remove infection from themselves.

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • The title characters of Killer7 use the blood of their enemies to heal their own wounds. Given their nature, this is possibly the most sensible entry on this list. It's got to be the right kind of blood, though.
  • [PROTOTYPE] has your character capable of absorbing genetic materials from anyone, so medkits are... people. Down on health? Grab someone by the neck, smash their head in, absorb their body into your own, and voila, you're healed! This is justified by the health bar being a display of your current mass (or rather biomass), hence Critical Mass when you over-fill it.
  • inFAMOUS has all your powers based on electricity, so anything that runs on power can be used as a medkit. Including people!
  • Saints Row 2 features no regenerating health. To recover lost health, you'll need to eat food. Thankfully, you can order burgers to go from Freckle Bitch's to recover HP when the need arises.
  • Shadows of Doubt has the possibility of receiving negative status effects in the course of your investigations. These can range from merely miserable effects such as Cold (shivering and interrupts HP regeneration), Wet (more likely to slip while running thereby hurting yourself), or Smelly (stinky and more likely to be caught sneaking) to genuinely dangerous possibilities like Bleeding (lose HP), Bruised (take more damage when attacked and interrupts HP regeneration), or Broken Leg (can't sprint and interrupts HP regeneration). While you can wait for these injuries to go away over time, it takes a while, and you're better off just finding a medical vending machine and buying splints, bandages, and painkillers to solve the problem sooner. While expensive, this beats bleeding out in the street and waking up in the hospital owing a quarter of your life savings in medical fees.
  • Terraria:
    • The game has standard healing potions in varying strengths. Hyperactive Metabolism is also at play in the forms of mushrooms and goldfish. However, all healing items come with a 60 second "Potion Sickness" debuff that prevents you from using another in that time.
    • The Moon Lord can spawn enemies called Moon Leech Clots when the player is held by his tongue. They do no damage, but if one reaches the Moon Lord, it'll heal one of his damaged parts by 1000 hp.

Non-video game examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 

    Card Games 
  • Yellow cards in the Digimon Card Game can have abilities allowing a player to place cards from a player's deck, hand, or battlefield into their Security stack.
  • Several cards in Disney Lorcana allow players to remove damage from their characters or locations, with Amber and Sapphire in particular specializing in this.
  • One of the primary skills of White and Black in Magic: The Gathering is gaining life. White can do it more easily, while Black needs to drain it from an opponent, but both can have the lifelink keyword that lets them gain life as they do damage. Green also gains life occasionally, but not to the same extent.

    Fan Works 
  • Defragmentation: Spamton is capable of summoning miniature angel versions of himself to self-heal, which he learned how to do after going broke and being unable to afford medical care. He can also use them to restore the HP of others.

  • The movie Wanted has the assassins healing any damage with some white healing goo.

  • In Isekai Battle Royale the Bandages and First Aid Kit items picked up on the island work this way. Brent discovers that one only has to go through superficial motions of using the item and all their injuries are healed, even if they were not directly treating said injuries.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Fourze has the Medical Switch among his forty different superpowers, which provides him with a medkit capable of synthesizing a cure for almost any injury or disease.
    • Kamen Rider Wizard: Kamen Rider Beast's Dolphin Mantle grants him healing magic that he can use on himself or others. Like most of Beast's ancient magic, it's considered an exotic type of spell that modern wizards can't easily replicate.
    • Kamen Rider Drive can heal himself with the Mad Doctor Shift Car. Unfortunately it's excruciatingly painful and takes too long to be practical for combat. Later in the series, Type Formula comes with a set of pit crew-themed Shift Cars whose primary function is to periodically heal Drive so that he can recover from the side effects of his immense Super-Speed.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, being heavily based off video games, has anyone able to heal if they can find a Recovery item on the battlefield, which work just like medkits. Kamen Rider Brave's Taddle Fantasy form, which gives him various Evil Overlord-themed powers, has healing magic that doesn't require an item.

    Tabletop Role-Playing Games 
  • Mages in Mage: The Ascension can do this with Life 2 (healing others requires Life 3), though the exact method differs according to paradigm. A Hermetic might chug a potion, a Verbana might employ some natural herb (whereas a Cultist of Ecstasy would rather smoke said herb), a Chorister might lay hands, and a Technocrat would inject themselves with an experimental serum keyed to reptile DNA. All of this, however, comes at the same price: Paradox. Whereas simply stopping blood loss or accelerating healing is easy enough to explain away, instantly closing flesh and knitting bone is perceived as impossible, no matter what paradigm you use. And since the most common Paradox backlash is simply harming the user...

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue lampshades this with the fight sequence in Revelation, Chapter 10. After Tucker slices open a giant crate hurtling towards the gang, its contents (dozens of med packs) spill out on Sarge and bury him.
    Sarge: Rrr, what happened? I feel defeated, yet inexplicably rejuvenated!
    • In the next episode, Grif can be seen applying one of these kits directly to his balls after a series of repeated Groin Attacks.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In Phineas and Ferb, in the episode Gaming The System, the game Phineas and Ferb makes has no health drops, but you're granted full health if you can defeat three enemies simultaneously.

Alternative Title(s): Med Kit