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Idiosyncratic Combo Levels

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This is a gaming or competition trope, in which performing well repeatedly prompts different scripted ratings. It often appears in fighting games, though it can persist outside of them.

This is a subtrope of Awesomeness Meter, where the reward is a different name for the length of your combo, which is generally specific and special to the game itself. May accompany a Kill Streak, often being shouted at maximum volume by the game's Large-Ham Announcer. See also Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels, where the idiosyncrasy of the names applies to how hard the game is.



  • Flash allows the player to raise the storm levels from "Thunder", "Lightning", "Tempest", and then "Super Flash".
  • Metallica gives us the following:
    Kirk Hammett: "Fast scoring... faster scoring... really fucking fast scoring!"
  • The "Rock-It Meter" in The Party Zone uses distances to indicates how much fuel the player has collected, from the "Wisconsin State Line", past "The Edge of Reality", and up to "The NEW Frontier!"
  • Scared Stiff has the Stiff-O-Meter, which has ten levels escalating from "Hair Raising" and "Pulse Pounding" up to "Heart Stopping" and "Scared Stiff".


  • A "hat trick" refers to doing something three times in a game, usually scoring.
    • Originally came from cricket, where it involves the very impressive and rare feat of taking three wickets in three consecutive deliveries. Apparently the first time anyone did it in a Test match, the fans clubbed together to buy him a commemorative hat, hence the name.
    • Its most widely known uses today are in Association Football and Ice Hockey, when a player scores three times in a game. Ice hockey takes it a bit more literal than usual - if a player scores a hat trick, fans traditionally throw their hats onto the ice after his third goal.
    • Ice hockey also a few variations on the hat trick. A "natural hat trick" occurs when a player scores three times in a game without anyone else scoring in-between — this was the original definition of "hat trick" in hockey. A "Gordie Howe hat trick" is when a player gets a goal, an assist, and into a fight all in one game (the Trope Namer was renowned for his ability to both score goals and fight opponents, though he only did it twice in his whole NHL career). "Rat trick" was coined in 1996 after Florida Panthers captain Scott Mellanby killed a rat with his hockey stick in the locker room, then scored a pair of goals with that same stick during the game.
  • Inverted in the case of batters striking out in baseball, where special terms are sometimes used as a batter accumulates more strikeouts in a game to mark his hitting ineptitude. Three strikeouts in a game is a "hat trick", like the original meaning but in this case rather jokingly. A fourth strikeout gets you a "golden sombrero", and a fifth makes it a "platinum sombrero".
  • Bowling:
    • Scoring three strikes in a row in bowling is a "turkey".
    • Thanks to ESPN's Rob Stone, four is a "hambone".
    • Five is "Yahtzee".
  • Tennis has a rather unusual scoring system; Zero is called "Love"note , the first point is 15, the second 30 and the third, 40. A score of 40-40 is called deuce. If a point is scored when tied at 40-40, then it's Advantage-40. After which, you properly get a "full" 1 point in the set.

Video Games

  • The not-as-well-known Atomica, by the same people that made Bejeweled (see below) has this as well: "Combo", "Super Combo", "Mega Combo", "Ultra Combo", "Hyper Combo", "Giga Combo", "Max Combo".
  • Bejeweled:
    • The combo ranking goes from Good to Excellent to Awesome to Spectacular to Extraordinary to Unbelievable.
    • Bejeweled 3 has the Column Combos in Ice Storm mode.
  • Combos in the BIT.TRIP series are rewarded thus:
    • More conventional "Mega, Super, Ultra, Extra, etc."
    • Score multiplier system, which also adds more notes to the background music. Furthermore, this is the core of the gameplay, as by the end you're making a fully fleshed out song.
    • A new level of the first system is added in each successive game. The gameplay of the fourth game meant that the "negative combo" mode for missing too many, Nether, had to be taken out.
    • There was less emphasis on the second system as the series goes on, confirmed by Word of God as a reflection of the protagonist's Character Development. However, it returns in full force in the last game, as the background changes as well. The highest level, the aptly named "Meta", has a completely different background which visually explains some of the metaphors present throughout the game series.
  • Capcom vs.:
  • ClayFighter 63 1/3 parodies this with labels like "lame", "cheesy", and "little girlie" for small combos. Bigger ones get labels like "king size", "triple brown betty", "ludicrous" and "insane".
  • Demonsteele has combo levels similar to Devil May Cry (see below), with names that are almost entirely borrowed from band names or song lyrics, respectively Fearless, Destruction, Champion, Behemoth, Annihilator, and Slayer.
  • The Devil May Cry series played a major part in popularizing this trope in video game form (particularly outside of Fighting Games). The names vary between games but are consistently alphabetical from D to A, then go from S to SSS afterwards.
    • Devil May Cry has "Dull", "Cool!", "Bravo!", " Absolute!" and "Stylish!"
    • Devil May Cry 2 has "Don't worry", "Come on!", "Bingo!", "Are you ready?" and "Showtime!!"
    • Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening takes it further with "Dope!", "Crazy!", "Blast!", "Alright!", "Sweet!", "SShowtime!!" and "SSStylish!!!"
    • Devil May Cry 4 has "Deadly!", "Carnage!", "Brutal!", "Atomic!", "Smokin'!", "Smokin' Style!" and "Smokin' Sick Style!"
    • Devil May Cry 5 has "Dismal", "Crazy", "Badass", "Apocalyptic", "Savage!", "Sick Skills!" and "Smokin' Sexy Style!"
    • DmC: Devil May Cry has "Dirty!", "Cruel!", "Brutal!", "Anarchic!", "Savage!", "SSadistic!!", and "SSSensational!!!"
  • Dota 2 borrows Unreal Tournament's labels (see below). Getting multiple kills without dying results in "killing spree", "dominating", "mega kill", "monster kill", "godlike", and finally "[Player] is BEYOND GODLIKE! Someone kill them!" Getting multiple kills in quick succession results in a double kill, triple kill, and ultra kill for 2, 3, or 4 respectively, and one player killing the entire enemy team will get a "RAMPAGE!"
  • God of War:
    • The games give you increasingly bloodthirsty combo levels as you rack up hits and kills with Kratos. The first game and Chains of Olympus both have "Vicious", "Gory", "Savage", "Inhuman", "Bloodthirsty", "Relentless", "Merciless", "Pitiless", "Monstrous", "Tyrannical", "Immortal", "Ferocious", "Godly", "Omnipotent", "Olympic", "All-Powerful", "Herculean", "Supreme", "Unearthly" and "Impossible".
    • II has "Vicious", "Sadistic", "Savage", "Inhuman", "Bloodthirsty", "Relentless", "Merciless", "Pitiless", "Monstrous", "Tyrannical", "Immortal", "Ferocious", "Godly", "Omnipotent", "Olympic", "All-Powerful", "Herculean", "Supreme", "Unearthly" and "Impossible". Once you start getting into the really ridiculous combos (starting at 100,000 hits), you get things like "Keep Going!", "More, More, More!", "Not Bad for a Mortal!", "The Mystery is Unfolding!", "More Hits! More Hints!", "Your Destiny Awaits!", "Your Fate is Unraveling!", "Almost There!", "The Secret Is Near!" and finally "". And yes, all of them are written exactly like that.
    • III has the same combo names as the first two, only that the website link is changed to "".
  • The Halo games have ratings for killing sprees achieved in a set amount of time. 2 is Double Kill, 3 is Triple Kill, 4 is Overkill, 5 is Killtacular, 6 is Killtrocity, 7 is Killimanjaro, 8 is Killtastrophe, 9 is Killpocalypse, and 10 is Killionaire.
  • Heroes of Newerth has a few new additions for kill streaks. Kills without dying get announced starting from the third kill, and then a "Bloodbath" on the tenth kill. If you go beyond that and get 15+ kills, it's "IMMORTAL". Kills in quick session go from Hat Trick at 3, Quad Kill, and ANNIHILATION. Huge kill streaks are also rewarded out-of-game with extra currency.
  • House of the Dead:
    • The House of the Dead: OVERKILL ranks your headshot Kill Streak this way. The lowest is "Extreme Violence", followed by "Hardcore Violence", "Ultra Violence", "Psychotic!" and finally "GOREGASM!" These milestones are indicated with tokens next to the combo counter, but GOREGASM replaces them with a waving American flag.
    • The House of the Dead 4 does this in a more modest manner: "Good", "Great", "Amazing!", and "Perfect!"
  • Jade Empire parodies this trope during one segment where you play as Black Whirlwind killing mooks during a boss fight. The announcer eventually gets annoyed.
  • The fighting game version of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure starts off relatively normal with its combo labels, then displays "To much!" [sic], "Stop!", and "No Way!" for combos of 70, 80, or 90 respectively.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Battle: Ganbaride has this for the finishing blow; you have to hit the button at the right moment to maximize the effectiveness of the attack, and it will, depending on the attack, start with "Good!" then continue with "Excellent!", "Marvelous!", "Fantastic!", and finally "Ganbaride!"
    • Kamen Rider Battride War has combo levels named after the Super Modes of Heisei Riders.
  • Killer Instinct:
    • The series labels combos based on the number of hits. Starting at three (the game does not count two-hit combos) and going up by one, they are "Triple", "Super", "Hyper", "Brutal", "Master", "Awesome", "Blaster", "Monster", "King", and "Killer" (for anything 12 and up). The battle-ending combo-related Fatality is called "Ultra" (usually around 20), and a combo that ends in another one of the victor's Fatalities known as a No Mercy is called an "Ultimate" combo.
    • The 2013 release has a new tier for combos (with the word "combo" being added in if the combo has a combo-ender used): Basic, Triple, Quad, Solid, Hyper, Killer, Brutal, Master, Extreme, Blaster, Awesome, Beastly, King, Crazy, Insane, Godlike. Also added is the Ultra Combo, which elicits "ULTRAAAAAA COMBOOOOOO!!!" If you manage to pull off a second Ultra after doing the first one, it gets shortened down to a more exaggerated "ULTRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!"
  • Mace: The Dark Age refers to combos of at least ten hits as "Excessive" and "Obnoxious".
  • MadWorld rates the impressive nature behind your kills as various levels of "violence". This includes "Routine Violence", "Hardcore Violence", "Super Violence", "Exterme Violence", and "Ultra Violence"." Each of those combos can be applied to even a single kill, if you're good enough. Also getting "Super Violence" or above causes an invisible audience to cheer in the background.
  • Mario Kart Tour When you keep your combo going long enough you will get the following: Nice!,note  Great!,note  Excellent!,note  and Fantastic!note  When keeping a Fantastic combo, you can hear cheering and whistling.
  • Mortal Kombat: Armageddon 's Kreate-A-Fatality system adds a new level with each hit, starting simply at "Fatality" (which is a literal One-Hit Kill), with every added hit adding a prefix: Deadly, Killer, Bloody, Mortal, Brutal, Evil, Vicious, Savage, Extreme and Ultimate.
  • Nexuiz: Triple kill!note  Rage!note  Massacre!note  MAYHEM!note  BERSERKER!note  CARNAGE!note  ARMAGEDDON!!!note 
  • No More Heroes III has Travis shout out the names of various fruits (and likely heroines from the Show Within a Show Bizarre Jelly) for every ten hits he lands, until he reaches 100 hits. Then he simply shouts "FUCKHEAD!" every ten hits from that point on.
  • In Parappa The Rapper, your ratings ranged from "Awful", "Bad", "Good", and "Cool". You needed your rating to stay in the range of Good in order to clear a level while playing the level on a rating of Bad or Awful would reflect in the change of the background and music. Getting to Cool rating had the rap master step aside and the background would change as well while you free style. It should also be noted that the meter prefixed these terms, informing the player if "u rappin' cool", for example.
  • Pizza Tower has combo names that increase for every 5 combo. The order starts with "Lame" and then proceeds to "Cheesy", "Not bad but not great either", "Getting somewhere!", "Nice, good job :)", "Cheflike", "Brutal!", "Evil", "Unclean", "Disturbing", "Twisted", "Psychotic", "Ill-willed", "Crushing", "Funny" and finally ending in "Unfunny" after a combo of 75. Beyond that, the combo names instead loop but with the word "very" before them, starting with "Very Lame", "Very Cheesy" and so on.
  • In Pokémon Puzzle League, when you combo the destruction of same color blocks, the human character you've chosen will say various things eventually being echoed if you do good enough (five or more combos). In addition, if you do two or more chains, the Pokemon you've chosen will say some part of their name, even being echoed as well if you do good enough (five or more chains).
  • Puzzle Pirates has, in order, Double! > Triple! > Bingo! > Donkey! > Vegas! > Vegas^2! > Vegas^3! etc.
  • A slightly odd example from SaGa Frontier 2: Characters can chain their attacks into each other, and into enemy attacks, dealing more damage to the enemy the larger the combo. Two characters attacking in series generates a Duo Attack, three generates a Triple Onslaught and four makes an All-Out Attack (no, not that one).
  • Sengoku Basara has "Nice" at 100 hits, "Awesome!" at 200, "Radical!" at 300, "Basara!" at 400 and "Frenzy!" at 500. If you manage to get 500 more hits in a short enough time, it turns into "Super Frenzy!"
  • Skullgirls has at least 250 exclamations, with the exclamation changing depending on the number of hits. Notable ones include "Lucky" (7 hits), "Unfortunate" (13 hits), "Barely Legal" (18 hits), "Meaningful" (42 hits), "Dude" (69 hits) and "Ultra" (80 hits). The list goes all the way to 999 hits, at which point it says "You Can Stop Now".
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic Adventure 2 awards you bonus points for the number of enemies you kill in a combo. As Sonic/Shadow, this means number of enemies you kill without touching the ground. As Tails/Eggman, this means number of enemies you kill with one round of seeker shots. As Knuckles/Rouge, how quickly you find each Emerald Shard (or key or Chaos Emerald) and how few hints you use (the Perfect bonus is rewarded for finding the Emerald fast using no hints). The number of bonus points you get increases as you kill more enemies, with each combo being complemented by a ranking. The ranks are "Good!" (100), "Nice!" (200), "Great!" (300), "Jammin'!" (400), "Cool!" (500), "Radical!" (600) "Tight!" (800), "Awesome!" (1000), "Extreme!" (1500) and "Perfect!" (2000). Most of them are meant to keep with the "'tude" that Sonic has. Sonic and Shadow occasionally get these for just doing tricks or generally cool stuff in a level as well.
    • Sonic Colors awards you bonus points when the Quick Time Event (more like mash the 'A' button) is done properly. "Good! Great! Awesome! OUTSTANDING! AMAZING!" Do it with Super Sonic, and you just get the last one.
  • In Streets of Rage 4, the combo grades are named as such: Good, Great, Super, Awesome, Amazing, Sick, Out of this World.
  • Parodied to the utmost extreme in a Sunset Overdrive mission called Tastes Like Chicken regarding barbecuing gathering pigeon flocks with button-activated flamethrower traps in order to heal an ailing LARP King. The Announcer starts with "Pigeon Combo", making it up to "Holy Mega Ultra Pigeon Combo", then gets so ludicrous that it blows most Street Fighter names completely out of the water:
    Announcer: Super Macro Holy Mega Ultra Pigeon Combo!
    Announcer: Adamantium Platinum Super Macro Holy Mega Ultra Pigeon Combo!
    Announcer: Pneumono-ultra-microscopic-sillico-volcano-psychedelic-niosis Supreme Maximum Ultra Combo... ahh fuck I forgot to say pigeon!
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • In Paper Mario and its sequels, how well you fulfill action commands gives you a rank which goes from Nice to Good, Great, Excellent and Wonderful. There are also Stylish moves, but the only rank for them is Stylish.
    • In the Mario & Luigi series, there's "OK", "Good", "Great" and "Excellent" depending on how well you perform your Timed Hits on the offense, particularly for Bros. Attacks.
  • Super Smash Bros. Crusade: Like the Capcom vs. fighting games, one level references the game itself and one level references the series. In order: Nice, Good, Very Good, Great, Excellent, Super, Awesome, Amazing, Beautiful, Crazy, Fantastic, Outstanding, Manly, Incredible, Monster, Unstoppable, Legendary, Godlike, Crusader, Smashing. Combos can go up to 99, but the Smashing level is used for all combos larger than 22.
  • Tales of Destiny gives you more XP with a higher combo after you get a certain item and enable the feature in the game's option menu. Combos are scored by knocking an enemy up into the air and hitting it as many times as you can without allowing it to touch the ground. EXP received from Combos starts to get up to ludicrous levels if you can get a 25+ hit combo (which is not easy by any means), and can be worth more XP than the hardest non-boss monsters in the game. Said XP gain is quadratic; 2- or 3-hit combos barely give you anything, 5-8 hits are "meh", 10+ and it starts getting awesome quickly. Thanks to the ability to control multiple characters (thanks to an accessory you get early on with extra copies popping up later), it can be possible to just use their normal attacks on a durable enemy in rapid succession, reach 99 hits and walk away 20-30 levels higher. Apparently the developers realized this, since in subsequent games, the combo EXP bonus scales linearly with the length of your longest combo instead of quadratically, and also scales to the enemy's level.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • In the form of achievements for the characters, such as "be efficient" for the Sniper.
    • "Strange" weapons. These are identical to the normal weapons you use, except for two major differences: Their name is written in orange text, and they keep track of the number of kills you make with that weapon. The first rank, "Unremarkable", is at 10 kills. As you get more kills this weapon, the rank changes from "Unremarkable" to higher levels, such as "Scarcely Lethal", "Mildly Menacing", "Truly Feared", "Gore-Spattered", "Totally Ordinary"note , "Rage-Inducing", "Server-Clearing", and finally, at 8,500 kills, "Hale's Own", named after the MANLY CEO of Mann Co., Saxton Hale. Read the rest of the levels here.
      • One Strange item, the Spirit of Giving, has different ranks: "The Baseline Benefactor's", "The Competent Contributor's", "The Adequate Altruist's", "The Satisfactory Santa's", "The Sufficient Samaritan's", "The Distinguished Donator's", "The Dynamic Do-Gooder's", "The Consumate Contributor's", "The Baron of Bequeathment's", "The Lord of Largesse's", "The Chieftain of Charity's", "The Generalissimo of Generosity's", "The Bigshot Benefactor's", "The Caesar of Pleasers'", "The First-Class Philanthropist's", "The Humanitarian Hotshot's", "The Selfless Samaritan's", "The Uber-Altruist's" and "Saxton's Own".
        This item tracks the number of gifts given by a player, either by a Secret Saxton or by a Pile o' Gifts.
      • And now cosmetic items can become Strange just by using a Strangifier with them, tracking the number of points obtained while wearing the item.
    • Killstreak weapons will show everyone on server how many people you killed without dying with message displayed every 5 (20 in Mann vs. Machine) kills. Messages are saying (with "player_name is" before) "on a killing spree"note , "unstoppable"note , "on a rampage"note , "god-like"note , "still god-like"note .
    • Multiple kills in a row are met with "Double, Triple, Massacre, Genocide or Madness."
  • Unreal Tournament in regards to killing sprees (Killing Spree! note  Rampage! note  Dominating! note  Unstoppable! note  GODLIKE! note ), in addition to kills made in succession (Double Kill! Multi Kill! Mega Kill! Ultra Kill! M-M-M-M-M-MONSTER KILL-kill-(kill)!)
  • ULTRAKILL rewards the players with extra points by killing with style. The ranks are: Destructive, Chaotic, Brutal, Anarchic, Supreme, SSadistic, SSShitstorm, and finally ULTRAKILL.
  • Parodied in World of Warcraft. For the Thanksgiving event, one of the Pilgrim's Bounty achievements in requires you to kill a certain number of turkeys within a tight time limit. Each milestone towards the achievement awards you a new title, such as "Turkey Terminator!"
  • X-Men: Next Dimension and some other X-Men games have half of the combo levels include the letter "X": eXact, eXciting, eXtc...

Western Animation