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Item-Drop Mechanic

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He turned into a meatbun. The Horror...
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A gameplay element in video games where you can get items from fallen enemies. Typically it takes form of enemies fading and the drops simply appearing where they died.

Item drops often have fixed types within the game. Some of which are:

  • Experience: enemies turn into experience upon death.
  • Food: They turn to food which replenishes either Hit Points or Mana Meter.
  • Power Ups that increase your stats temporarily (such as attack or defense).
  • Ammo: More prevalent in FPS and other shooter games, where you can pick ammo from other enemies. Often a Universal Ammunition.
  • Equipments, such as weapon or armor.

Supertrope to the following:

  • Carrying the Weakness: Enemies drop items they're weak to.
  • Essence Drop: Their life force explode upon their death.
  • Money Spider: Enemies drop currency when killed.
  • Impossible Item Drop: Enemies drop items they have no business even having on their person. (e.g., a Bat dropping a chainsaw.)
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  • Money Multiplier: Another mechanic that increases the amount of items gained.
  • Organ Drops: Enemies drop parts of their anatomy.
  • Power-Up Magnet: It can attract dropped items, whether power ups, treasure, or other things.
  • Random Drop: The items that are dropped are random, or certain things only drop at a fixed chance.
  • Random Drop Booster: You get dropped items more frequently and/or of higher quality.
  • Strong Enemies, Low Rewards: High-level enemies will drop little-to-no worthwhile rewards for the effort of defeating them.

Very prevalent in RPGs — in fact, the Ur-Example is Dragon Slayer, an Action RPG — but can appear in any other game genre. In most Roguelikes, enemies will drop whatever they were carrying when they died. For humanoid enemies this often includes the equipment that they were wearing, which can then be used by the player. It also includes things like potions of healing, but in cases like that you have to kill the enemy before it uses the item for it to drop.

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Not to be confused with discarding an item in your inventory.


Examples

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Videogame Examples

    Action-Adventure 

    Beat 'em Up 
  • Fighting Force Has enemies drop things such as stacks of money, sandwiches gold ingots and other things when then die which either restore health or give points to the player.
  • Koei Tecmo:
    • Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors, and Warriors Orochi. Because all the processing power and memory is dedicated to rendering hundreds of Mooks, all three employ this trope. Grandfather Clause applies too as it has always been this way since Dynasty Warriors 2 in the PlayStation 2. Fallen Mooks sometimes Randomly Drop Power-Up items. Officers both Generic and Playable will always drop XP bags (or Stat Up items like "Defense up" depending on the game) and sometimes Randomly Drops treasure like mounts or weapons.
    • The other Warriors type games have dropped different items depending on the game.
    • Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage has defeated enemies dropping Scrolls, restoration items, or 'karma,' sort of like experience points.
    • Dynasty Warriors: Gundam has defeated enemies mostly dropping restoration items or temporary power-up items due to the 'blueprints' system used in that game. Defeating any mobile suit, even the common Mooks, may grant the player a mobile suit blueprint, though the drop chance is something around 0.5% per generic enemy mobile suit. This is not as bad as it sounds, as you will destroy hundreds of them in a single mission and so likely earn at least one and probably several blueprints from them. Enemy aces always give up a blueprint upon defeat.
    • Warriors: Legends of Troy is unusual in that it really doesn't have enemy drops per se, but rather the Kleos system which functions at experience points, a form of currency to purchase items in the item shop, and ties into your health restoration.
  • Ninja Clowns: Sometimes, an enemy will drop food when defeated.

    Driving Game 
  • Carmageddon: Each pedestrian the protagonist reckless driver wastes during a race "drops" some in-game money as well as adds some extra time to spend.
  • Vigilante 8: Destroying your enemy vehicles will make them drop their current weapons as well as some buffs (such as endurance or speed).

    Fighting Game 
  • In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, defeated enemies in the Smash Run mode drop power-ups that increase your speed, jump height, attack, special attack, projectile, item attack, and throw strength, and defense in the post-adventure course match.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Doom II: Enemies, even demonic ones, will drop medkits and/or ammo.
  • Borderlands and its sequels are unusual among first person shooters in both giving randomly differentiated equipment to enemies as well as sometimes making that equipment available to you after they die as a drop. So if you see a bandit with a neat shotgun, you might very well be able to take it off him after you kill him.
  • TRON 2.0: When you de-rez an enemy, there's a "core dump" left behind containing subroutines, permissions, and small Essence Drops of energy and health. Yes, this counts even for the digitized human Datawraiths. Try not to think TOO much about the implications, especially given humans are PhysicalGods in Cyberspace.

    Platform Game 
  • Android Hunter A: Defeated enemies have the chance to drop items.
  • A Hat in Time: Enemies will drop Health or Money pons when they die. Notably these seem to exist and be acknowledged in universe, in the final battle all of the recurring characters in the game, realizing Hat Kid's victory would Retcon their deaths, effectively commit mass suicide so Hat Kid is gaining infinite health pons as an 11th-Hour Superpower and a shockingly dark scene where The Empress murders an underling she suspects of stealing from her by throwing him against a wall hard enough to kill him has some of the edge taken off when he comically pops into money pons.
  • Eyra the Crow Maiden: Enemies and stationary flying crows will drop items upon defeat. What they drop varies.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man (Classic): Enemies will sometimes drop weapon energy or health energy. Same goes to Mega Man X. Mega Man & Bass adds bolts (to be used for your upgrades) to the mix.
    • Mega Man Zero omits the weapon energy but adds E-crystals to the mix. The first three games also have some Cyber Elves dropped from certain enemies, while the third also had Data Disks, and the fourth adds enemy parts. Mega Man ZX follows the above, but with weapon energy added again.
  • Metroid: The manual stated Samus's suit was able to take the power of "his" enemies. Regular enemies turned into health or missile pickups but bosses did not, recharging her ammo automatically on death. Later games would just make bosses drop larger amounts of pickups. All but two enemies encountered in Metroid Fusion are duplicates created by X parasites, whom became living pickups that flee from you once the false body is destroyed. In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, the nature of the drops change as with Samus's condition.
  • Mini Ninjas: Defeated enemies turn into animals (whom you can possess with a special spell and use it to sneak around) and also drop glowing orbs that increase your experience.
If you're looking for some straight Sonic the Hedgehog examples, I've got plenty.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic 3D Blast: Destroying a robot will set a Flicky free. These are needed to get through the goal rings. In Panic Puppet Zone, however, the Flickies are in capsules. The game's manual explains that Sonic got to that zone early enough and as a result, Robotnik didn't have time to put the Flickies in the robots.
    • Sonic Adventure: Destroying a robot will release a small animal inside, much like the classic Genesis games. However, these small animals can be taken to the Chao Garden and used to improve your Chao's stats, depending on the color (Red for Strength, Yellow for Swim, Green for Speed, and Purple for Flight).
    • Sonic Adventure 2 retains this feature with Dr. Robotnik's robots and expands upon it with the G.U.N. robots. Destroying a G.U.N. robot releases a Chaos Drive, which, like the animals, increases your Chao's stats depending on the color.
    • Sonic Heroes: Destroying one of the more powerful enemies in the game will release a colored sphere. These spheres will upgrade your teammate's stats depending on the color (Blue for Speed, Red for Power, and Yellow for Flight).
    • Shadow the Hedgehog: An enemy carrying a weapon will drop their weapon if Shadow defeats them. Shadow can then collect the weapon and use it against other enemies.
  • Wallachia: Reign of Dracula: Enemies drop a variety of items when defeated.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Sacrifice: Killed creatures leave "souls" behind for any wizard to gather and use in summoning something new. The souls left by creatures that belonged to other wizards — appear red in color, which means they would take longer to collect.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Kingdom Hearts: Enemies explode into "prizes", which are categorized differently depending on games, but the staples are treasure (which could be spells or weapons or crafting materials), HP, MP, and Munny.
  • Mega Man Battle Network: You'll get some rewards whenever you beat a Random Encounter battle. Typically it's small amounts of Zenny, but sometimes it could be a Battle Chip, Bugfrags, or (if your HP's low enough) HP recovery. Some installable programs for Mega Man can turn any rewards into just zenny, or just battle chip.
  • Miitopia: Most monsters can drop loot in the form of grub representing their species.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: Defeated enemies lie as corpses for some time, but eventually turn into loot bags containing their stuff.

    Roguelike 
  • Elona: Each item an enemy is carrying only has a chance to drop upon its death, with that chance depending upon the Luck Stat of the one who landed the killing blow.
  • Pandora's Tower: Servant Beasts drop items, in addition to the Beast Flesh you need to reverse Elena's curse. Master Flesh is dropped by Tower Masters, the equivalent of a boss in this game.

    Third-Person Shooter 

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • Grand Theft Auto: Beating people to death or unconsciousness will make them drop money and sometimes weapons and ammo.
  • Minecraft: Most mobs, including all enemies, will drop items after being killed. This mostly boils down to Organ Drops, but also includes weapons and armor if an enemy was equipped with them, arrows from skeleton archers, potion bottles from witches killed in the middle of using them, and the mysterious ender pearls from endermen.

Non-Videogame Examples

    Anime & Manga 
  • Log Horizon takes place in something of an RPG Mechanics 'Verse, including item drops. This is eventually justified as some sort of powerful spell that sends gold to the dying monsters. It ends up being a plot point.

    Comic Books 
  • Scott Pilgrim: Volume 2 features Ramona's second Evil Ex, Lucas Lee, dropping a Mithril skateboard when he is "defeated" by Scott. +4 Speed, +3 Kick, +1 Will, but Scott can't use it because he forgot to pick up skateboard proficiency in fourth grade.

    Webcomics 
  • Homestuck: The cosmic video game that the kids are drawn into is populated by enemies that, when killed, explode into showers of grist, an abstract video game resource representing raw materials to be used in building up their homes and creating items. All enemies drop the basic "build grist" used to construct building extensions, but specific enemy varieties will drop more exotic materials used in item crafting such as shale, tar, mercury, chalk, marble, amber, ruby and uranium.
  • Kid Radd is set in a Cyberspace populated by characters from various video games, who retain many of the mechanics that governed them in their original games, so some of them still drop items when killed. Played for Drama in the Final Battle when Bogey forces his friend Radd to kill him in order to claim a Power Up that lets Radd survive and defeat the Big Bad.
  • Return To Player: This is how most players get extra equipment. Sehan lies and says lots of equipment he has is from it.
  • San: Three Kingdoms Comic: People dying and turning into meatbuns is a Running Gag. Taishi Ci in particular dies in page 192 and turns into one. Which is then eaten by Sun Quan who was beside him in his death bed.

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