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Mercy Mode

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Devils May Cry, but you definitely will if you continue playing on this difficulty setting.
"Keep goin'. We'll hold out for Ultimate Fucking Pussy Mode."

You've been playing this video game for the past three hours. Your controller has been smashed against the floor several times. Your screams of rage have caused your neighbors to seriously question your sanity. At last, your enemy lies broken before you, and the first level of your Nintendo Hard game is finished. What is your reward?

"Easy Mode Unlocked!"

In most games, you have to unlock the hardest difficulties. But in certain, usually modern Nintendo Hard games, you actually have to unlock the easy mode. All you usually need to do is die repeatedly until the game will decide to let up on you.

This is a sub-trope of Death as Game Mechanic, which covers all sorts of changes and affects death can have on gameplay beyond making the game easier or sending you to your last checkpoint. See also Rubber-Band A.I., Nintendo Hard, Anti-Frustration Features. Contrast Harder Than Hard. Expect heavy Easy-Mode Mockery. When it's applied dynamically to multiplayer, it's a Comeback Mechanic. Subtrope of Dynamic Difficulty.


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    Action Adventure 
  • In Alundra, there's a sword that can one shot any monster in the game and make short work of bosses. How do you get it? By dying so often that the spirit of its previous wielder pities you so much that he gives it to you.
  • Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin does this deep into the hidden painting, aptly named "Nest of Evil". In one particular chamber you are expected to fight TWO The Creatures at the same time. The game so does not expect you to survive that it opens the gates forward if you survive for one minute.
  • Ecco II: Tides of Time had three difficulty levels. Easy, Hard, and a middle level that initially started you off at Hard, but booted you off to Easy if you died a lot (which you usually did), then sent you back to Hard if you did well enough. Given that Easy mode skips a couple stages here and there, beating the entire game on this level is the hardest feat in the game.
  • In Enter the Matrix, if you die in the fight in the Dojo, the game skips to around the second to last level.
  • The Simpsons Hit & Run let you skip a mission after about five failed attempts. However, you can't skip the final mission, which just happens to be the most difficult and frustrating mission in the game.

    Action Game 
  • The Devil May Cry series: The most notable game would be the third one. For some reason, Capcom made Hard mode for the Japanese version into Normal mode for the North American and European versions, leading many to criticize the game for its difficulty. Things were so bad that Capcom had to release a second version of the game with rebalanced difficulty. To understand how bad it was, see this Penny Arcade comic.
  • The God of War series will give you the choice to play on Easy Mode, which makes combat easier, if you die at the same area more than three times in a row. The problem, of course, is the time you're most likely to die repeatedly is when you're forced to traverse over spinning, chainsaw-edged balance beams, which the Easy Mode has no effect on whatsoever. And in some cases, the only noticeable effect will be to make you die slightly less.
    • Triggering Easy Mode gives a trophy in the PS3 re-release.
    • Another example from II: By obtaining hidden items called Urns, you could unlock different abilities, like Infinite Mana, Infinite Rage of The Titans, and costumes that enhance different stats (or, if you could beat God difficulty, all of them)... but only for the same difficulty or lower. Of course, if you were capable of beating the game without these enhancements on that difficulty in the first place, you wouldn't need them, which makes each costume a Bragging Rights Reward.
  • LEGO Indiana Jones does this during the famous boulder escape in the first level of Raiders of the Lost Ark. If the boulder catches up to you, you have to restart the chase. Take too many tries and the game skips it, showing a different version of the next cutscene where Indy and his partner are stuck to the boulder, then dumped out of the cave when it hits the opening.
    • It’s completely averted in the flood chase in Temple of Doom- get caught there once and you skip to the next scene. This also results in missing a minikit.
  • The Matrix: Path of Neo opens with a dream sequence battle. It's incredibly difficult to survive the whole thing, but if you die really early, the game offers you Easy Mode.
  • Ninja Gaiden Black: A particularly brutal version of this trope, given that there's a cutscene insulting you, you're forced to wear a girly purple ribbon, and it's actually called "ninja dog" mode. (On top of that, this series is known for being Harder Than Hard, to the point that even its mercy mode is still enough to make you smash your controller through your screen. The Easy-Mode Mockery is the only way you'll know that this is easy mode.)

    Adventure Game 
  • In Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude, if you lose a mini-game three times, you'll be given the Easy Mode option. If you still lose three more times, you'll be given the option to "wimp out" of the mini-game. Although wimping out costs in-game currency, so they're not letting you away completely scot-free.

    Beat Em Up 
  • Spikeout: Battle Street for the Xbox initially offers no difficulty settings. Die three times on any level and it'll offer you the Easy mode. Thing is, though, this doesn't carry over if the system is reset - so you have to kill yourself three times every time you boot up the game if you do want to play in Easy mode.
  • Grabbed by the Ghoulies has an option called "Butler's Brew" hidden in the back-sections of the various menus. It will, after multiple player deaths in a single room, offer assistance to the player. As the game puts it though, "this is only intended for younger players or those who are rubbish at games!"
  • Streets of Rage 4 has an assist mode you can enable from the pause menu or after a game over where you can choose how many extra lives and stars you want to start the stage with. The more you boost yourself, the more points you'll have deducted from your final score.

    Card Game 
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Nightmare Troubadour, losing too many duels increases the chance of meeting Mokuba, one of the weakest opponents in the game.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship 2004, losing a certain number of duels in a row is the only way to unlock Mokuba... who you can't lose to unless you're really trying.

    Driving Game 
  • The item selection algorithm in the Mario Kart series works like this. If you're in first place, expect nothing useful. If you're in 8th/12th, the game will give you everything short of an instant-win button.

    Fighting Game 
  • Dying enough during Story boss fights in Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 (some of which — including the final boss — is one long Sequential Boss) will give you the option to retry the last checkpoint from full health at a major hit to your score for the battle.
  • Despite being the trope makers for SNK Bosses, a lot of SNK fighters actually offer you some sort of a handicap vs. the unrelenting AI when you choose to use a continue. These include giving you maxed out or infinite super meters, dropping the enemy's health to 1/3rd of the normal, or making them unable to block your attacks, amongst other things.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Starting in Brawl, where Final Smashes were first introduced, the games will randomly dole out "pity/easy Final Smashes" to players who are losing quite badly (i.e., at least five points behind the leader), respawning them after a KO with one ready to go. In Brawl, even if the item frequency is set to "none", this can still kick in unless Smash Balls specifically have been turned off, making a planned-out long match go sour. In for 3DS / Wii U onwards this is fixed, in addition to no longer activating in 1v1 matches.
    • In Classic Modes of for 3DS / Wii U onwards, the difficulty will lower by 0.5 each time you continue after losing a fight. This can be frustrating if you're trying to go for achievements where you need to beat Classic Mode on a certain difficulty or higher — in particular, challenges requiring you to win on the highest difficulty have the implicit requirement to do so with no continues.

    First Person Shooter 
  • In Brothers in Arms, your current health is saved whenever you reach a checkpoint. As there is no way to do healing, you can end up with a savegame that makes it nigh impossible to finish the mission. Fortunately, if you fail to reach the next checkpoint (or finish the mission) several times, the game will offer to heal and rearm you, giving you a fighting chance as you continue from the same location. This greatly reduces the difficulty, as it sort of "bypasses" the need for watching your health and ammo. Of course, the game is usually quite difficult, and it also has separate low-difficulty modes which you can select freely anyway.
  • In Doom Eternal, if you run out of lives and die three times during a boss fight, the Game Over prompt will give you the option to restart the boss fight with "Sentinel Armor", which greatly reduces the amount of damage you take. Activating Sentinel Armor does not affect progression, but it only lasts until you reach the next checkpoint, whereupon it is removed; this also means that, for bosses with multiple phases, Sentinel Armor is removed once you advance to the next phase.

    Light Gun Game 
  • In Aliens: Armageddon, the penultimate attack used by the Winged Xenomorph Queen requires the player to shoot 5 weak points that are spread out on its head and wings in an extremely limited amount of time, requiring practically perfect aim and reflexes to do so. Fail to do so, and the boss will fly into and destroy the escape craft, which causes a mission failure and restarts the entire level and boss again. Should this occur and the player reach this point again, they now only have to shoot down 3 rather closely-spaced weakpoints on its head and wings instead.

  • Drift City makes each mission slightly easier after you fail it. Make sure you don't crash once? Now it's make sure you don't crash two times. Or three. Etc. Same with time-based missions - the amount of time you have to complete it increases by a few seconds with each failure.
  • In Cyber Nations, the penalties you get for being in Peace Mode (in which nations cannot declare war on you or vice versa) don't apply to you for the first several days. Afterwards, however, your daily income and population happiness will start to suffer in if you stay in Peace Mode, with the penalties getting greater with each day as a peaceful nation. It also cuts you off of much of the game economy, as you can no longer send cash or technology to other nations.
  • The Wild Hunt dungeon in Warhammer Online has a puzzle section that involves three pairs of players standing next to an engraved monolith and having their partner standing on a symbol that matches. If you fail, an increasingly powerful bolt of lighting strikes all players. If you spend five minutes without either solving the puzzle or dying (or, in the case of taking a 5-man team, simply being unable to complete the section) the boss of the dungeon take pity on you and mockingly sends giant eagles to carry you to the next area.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has the Echo, a status buff that increases your attack power, healing potency, and maximum HP. The Echo is granted to you if you fail certain main story and class/job quests several times and the Echo's potency increases should you keep failing. The buff also applies to some of the old content that requires a group of players so that they can catch up and not fall behind everyone else in progression. If you still seek a challenge to clear the content without the extra help, you can disable the buff.
  • Granblue Fantasy has one dubbed by the players as the "Rebound mechanic". If you keep on failing the same Main Story quest for a specific number of times, the game will offer you a 20% increase in attack and HP if you re-attempt that same quest for the next two hours. And it can stack up to 5 times (for a total of 100% increase in attack and HP) if you still keep on failing that one quest.
  • World of Warcraft with the creation of the Looking for Raid difficulty setting, intended for players with lower skill or time than normal raids required, also introduced the Determination buff, raising each raiding party member's damage, health, and healing by 5% every time the group completely fell to a boss. In rare cases, this can lead to interesting situations.

    Party Game 
  • The first three Bomberman Land games let you skip the minigame you are playing if you lose often enough.
  • In the Adventure mode of Crash Bash, the game tones down the AI if you repeatedly fail minigames or bosses. This is most easily noticed in the Final Boss fight against Nitros Oxide, who is nearly impossible at first but after a few deaths at his hands becomes so incompetent he will barely attempt to block the first ball.
  • Dokapon Kingdom has its Darkling class: if a player is losing for long enough, they'll get a little bat flying over their head, and if they visit a particular space while the bat is present, they can choose to be transformed into a Darkling. This class is everything short of invincible in one-on-one combat, and has a whole host of powers designed specifically to screw with the other players. However, Darklings cannot capture towns (the primary scoring vector for the game) but are the only class that can capture already-won castles (the second most important scoring vector), so it generally tends to reduce everyone else's lead without adding much to your own score. The kicker here is that you can still die. And if you get killed by an opponent, they can loot your corpse for your Purposely Overpowered equipment. And keep it indefinitely. The Overlord's Crown is a particularly popular choice, as it boosts every stat by absurd amounts, and even lets you capture opponents' towns by landing on them to summon monsters, then defeating your own minion (who will fight back, mind) - It's up to Risqué the Bandit Extraordinare or equipment breaking mooks to save you if this happens.
  • Mario Party Superstars: There's a feature that allows the player to invoke this trope. During Party Mode, once the Last 5 Turns begin being played, the game provides the option to postpone the end of the party session by five turns, which becomes handy if the player needs to plan a comeback. The game advises the player to seek agreement with whoever they're playing with (if there's more than one human player present) before making use of this feature, and it can only be used once per party session. Also, the randomly-triggered effects for the Last 5 Turns will be reversed until next time their threshold is reached again.

    Platform Game 
  • In Aladdin (Virgin Games), if you die too many times in the Rug Ride level (which is a frustrating reaction test of a level bordering on Battletoads' level 3 in difficulty with no checkpoints and several spots where the game doesn't show which way to go like it usually does, making survival during these parts a Luck-Based Mission on the first time you attempt them), the game will automatically let you skip it, giving you the message "Nice Try". In the DOS version the player is given no such luxury.
  • In the Genie's level of Aladdin (Capcom), the difficulty of the platforming is proportional to the number of lives you have left. If you have few or no extra lives, the Genie will primarily throw out clouds and playing card trampolines. If you have many lives, you'll be expected to swing off rings that are tied to balloons, and other obstacles that require more precision and skill to navigate.
  • In Banjo-Tooie, after failing the timed Jiggy challenges (which are just jigsaw puzzles) to unlock new worlds several times, Jiggywiggy will give you the option to remove the timer.
  • In the Crash Bandicoot games, dying too many times in a given level will cause you to start re-spawning with mask power ups, which let you survive an extra hit.
    • Even more death, even with "pity masks", leads random boxes to turn into checkpoint boxes.
    • On the boulder chase levels, dying too many times will eventually slow down the boulder chasing you.
  • Dying repeatedly in Eversion unlocks the ability to evert (backwards) at will. Just don't Evert past Layer 1, or the game will glitch out for a few layers and eventually crash (which can actually be quite amusing if you enjoy making games glitch out).
  • In Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection, repeated death earns you the option to make things temporarily slightly easier, which tends to mean enemies attacking a little less frequently, but not actually reducing the game to the lower difficulty level. (The game doesn't do a good job of explaining this.)
  • In Kirby: Triple Deluxe, Kirby Fighters Deluxe, Kirby: Planet Robobot, Kirby Star Allies, Kirby Fighters 2 and Kirby and the Forgotten Land, bosses' health and attack cool-downs are lowered slightly each time you lose to them. In Triple Deluxe and Planet Robobot, Bandana Waddle Dee will also supply you with a special Auto-Revive healing item if you're defeated three or four times in a row.
  • In Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil, when you're down to two lives, an extra life is given to you as you respawn. It is only given twice in a row.
  • In The Lost Vikings 2, getting yourself killed in the first level unlocks new special abilities for all the characters. Although the game claims to be having mercy on you, there are no dangerous obstacles or enemies in the level at all, and so dying doesn't mean that you suck but rather that you found an inventive method of suicide. The trick is to have Olaf stand on high ground and hold up his shield, so Erik can take falling damage by jumping off the upraised shield and down to lower ground.
  • The Game Boy Mega Man (Classic) games played this straight. IV gave the player a high velocity, rapid fire Arm Cannon to replace the default one if the player got a repeated Game Over. V upgraded the Rocket Punch twice in a row with higher flight speed.
  • In Mickey Mania, losing all your lives in the Mad Doctor's trolley stage enough times causes the game to let you through regardless, with the message: "Uh oh! Mickey has broken all the trolleys but he manages to continue..."
  • New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem, and Donkey Kong Country Returns all have the "Super Guide", a system that allows you to let the game play a level itself for as long as you want after you fail it eight times (but you miss out on certain bragging rights, usually permanently for this save file). There's a reason for this.
    • Super Mario 3D Land: If you die five times, then you can use an Invinciblity Leaf that makes Tanooki Mario invincible for the rest of the level. If you manage to die ten times, then the game gives you the option to just skip the entire level using a P-Wing. The Invincibility Leaf reappears with the same basic mechanics for New Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario 3D World.
    • Super Mario Odyssey has 'Assist Mode' for those that want an easier time getting through the game: double the health that regenerates if Mario is idle, no Oxygen Meter so he can stay underwater indefinitely, the ability to be brought back to the surface if he misses a jump, and arrows that point him in the direction of the next objective.
  • The Nintendo Switch Updated Re-release of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze has "Funky Mode" and the character Funky Kong himself. The mode as a whole gives the player five hearts as default, rather than two, while the character has the abilities of every other Kong.
  • In Rabi-Ribi, if you die too many times in a row on Normal or below, the game will offer a "Halo Buff". If you continue to die in spite of that, it will give you even stronger versions of the buff.
  • In Sonic Adventure 2, every time you die while facing a boss, Omochao will appear at the beginning of your next try, giving you increasingly obvious hints on how to beat the boss with each death. Most characters could also pick him up and throw him at the boss for massive damage, but that was probably not intentional.
    • This also happened in Sonic Adventure and Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). Shadow the Hedgehog gave constant hints, as part of the game's nobody-ever-shuts-up theme.
    • Also on the subject of Shadow the Hedgehog, if you have 0 lives when you battle the Egg Dealer (one of the game's final bosses), the opening missile attack Eggman launches is, oddly, aimed at himself instead of Shadow.
    • Dying too many times in the same spot in Sonic Lost World will spawn a Warp capsule next to the checkpoint that will warp you to the next checkpoint if you get it.
  • Spyro: Year of the Dragon has this for its bosses, but it doesn't give you an option and in fact doesn't even tell you when it kicks into mercy mode.
  • VVVVVV has a particular challenge (Veni Vidi Vici) required to obtain one of twenty 'hidden' disks. It's found behind no fewer than ten save points, it contains enough spikes to make I Wanna Be the Guy weep, and one room in the set (which you have to go through twice) is named 'Easy Mode Unlocked'.
    • For an actual Easy Mode you don't even need to unlock, you can tweak the speed of the game to as low as 40% in the accessibility options menu, and even give yourself invulnerability! They're intended for disabled gamers who are incapable of the lightning-fast finger movements the game asks for, but most people will enable them just to get that lousy trinket behind a chest-high wall.

    Puzzle Game  
  • Die often enough on the same level in Chip's Challenge and the game ask you whether or not you want to go to the next level.
    • Notably, it actually will only do this if you put a lot of effort into trying the level and you keep dying in your efforts. You could die in a level only a few times before the game asks if you'd like to skip it. You can't just go walking into death 100 times though.
  • In Pushmo, the game gives you the option to skip to the next level if you spend enough time on one without clearing it. The time required to unlock the skip option is longer depending on the level's difficulty.
  • Void Stranger offers this in two different flavors should the player run out of Locust Idols and is asked if they want to continue:
    • Choosing "Yes" puts the player in Void status, removing the lives system. However, the player can no longer find and collect memory crystals and they are locked into a bad ending that begins after reaching B226.
    • Choosing "No" ends the game and exits it, and if this is the first time doing this, the player unlocks an "Infinite" brand that, when inputted, gives the player infinite Locust Idols. Using a smiling idol warp (by jumping into a Bottomless Pit underneath one of those idols) will warp the player by a significant amount, but afterwards the player's Locust Idol count will reset back to 0. Sadly at B143, the player is forced to give up these infinite lives unless certain conditions are met, since you're forced to use the smiling idol warp.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Warcraft III - Losing any mission gives you the option to restart it or restart with a lower difficulty. And yes, the "Easy" difficulty, which reduces all enemies' HP to 60% of their normal value, can only be accessed in this way. You cannot select this difficulty level from the campaign menu.
  • Lose any mission in EndWar on the handhelds, and you're given the option to try again with additional units.

    Rhythm Game 
  • In Guitar Hero III, if you fail too many times on a boss battle, the game gives you a particularly insulting message allowing you to skip it and get on with the career. You actually get a secret achievement for doing so.
    • Just to add insult to injury, the secret achievement is worth zero gamerpoints, and serves just to tell anyone looking at your achievements that you wimped out from a boss battle.
  • If you fail a minigame in Rhythm Heaven a certain number of times, you can talk to the barista in the cafe, who will offer to let you skip that particular game and let you progress anyway.
  • Pump It Up
    • There are many arcade versions that will protect you from yourself. If you are not using a thumb drive (PumBi) to save data and fail out of a song, the final song of your set will be either cut short or removed entirely. This is because the game is assuming you are tired and is making sure you do not injure yourself.
    • There is a "Short Cut" Channel unlockable on some machines that shortens all songs to about half length. This is for beginner players who do not have the stamina for full songs. Short Cut sets often have two songs instead of three to further assure the player does not harm themself.
  • In a 2-player "Versus" game of DanceDanceRevolution, if your Life Meter empties out, you'll be allowed to play the rest of the chart if the other player is still going, although your score won't increase anymore. Averted if you're playing on an Extra Stage or Challenge course, however; if you run out of life, the chart on your side of the screen disappears and is replaced with a "GAME OVER" sign.
  • In beatmania IIDX 20 tricoro, the LIMIT BURST series of boss songs start off requiring fulfilling exceptionally difficult conditions to unlocknote , and even then can only be played on Another difficulty. However, every week, each song's unlock conditions will loosen up, and more charts will become available, until eventually the only requirement to unlock any of the song's charts is to play songs from the song's origin series (e.g. playing songs from DanceDanceRevolution will unlock "New Decade IIDX Edition").
  • If you fail a chart in Neon FM, the song will continue but you will be switched down to an easier chart. Unless you're playing on Pro Mode, which forces you on the song's hardest chart and causes an instant Game Over if you fail.

  • Desktop Dungeons, a browser based roguelike, inverts this; The game starts out on 'easy mode' (enemy health and damage at 80%) and automatically switches over to 'normal mode' after the first time you beat it.

    Role Playing Game 
  • Similar to the Final Fantasy VII example below, Tales of the Abyss includes a brief stealth section. You're supposed to have your party sneak through a forest while avoiding soldiers and guard dog patrols. If you're caught, you fight off the enemies, but return to the start of the area. However, if you get caught too many times, the game will let you brute force your way through, fighting the enemies and not bothering with stealth.
  • In the Dragon Quest series spinoff Torneko: The Last Hope, the titular character's wife will give him the powerful Metabble Sword and Shield if he fails to clear the first dungeon eight times.
  • Repeatedly fail the awful Stealth-Based Mission in Summoner and you'll unlock the chance to skip it by dressing as a maid.
  • In The World Ends with You, once you obtain the "Retry" sticker, losing a battle lets you retry (naturally), quit the game (which was the default action before getting the sticker), run away (if possible, of course), or retry on Easy Mode (this trope). Once the battle ended, your difficulty would be returned to normal, but your time and level wouldn't be recorded for that battle.
  • In one particular quest in Legend of Mana, you need to make your way through several rooms full of Shadoles (mook-like NPC's) and coming into contact with any of them sends you back to the beginning. Some of the later rooms can be a bit frustrating since the Shadoles turn invisible and you have to remember exactly where they all are. However, every time you're sent back, there's one less Shadole per room the next time you try. Do this enough times and you can get it down to one or two of them per room, making this mission really easy.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • If you are defeated by specific bosses in Kingdom Hearts II, rather than restarting the battle or giving up, there's a chance you're given an option to instead continue the battle playing as Mickey Mouse, who is actually stronger than Sora. However, since Mickey has no combo finishers, he can't actually finish off the boss and so the real aim of playing as Mickey is to fill up the Drive gauge and use it to revive Sora. He can help you multiple times per boss, but the said chance of him doing so decreases from the initial 100% every time you use it, ultimately dropping down to 20% or so.
    • In 358/2 Days, dying gives you the option to Continue (exactly what it says on the tin) or Retire (leave the mission so you can go into the menu or shop). Dying repeatedly opens up a third option, "Easy Continue".
  • There's one section of Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel where Ed is required to jump into a rather small stone pillar that breaks down shortly after landing. Faling on reaching the other end forces the player to restore the pillar with alchemy and try again. After many attempts, the game will skip forward and show a cutscene where Ed comments on finally achieving it after thirty-something tries, and Al compliments him on being persistent.
  • At one point in Final Fantasy VII while infiltrating Shinra, the player must maneuver the characters behind statues to hide from guards. If the timing is botched enough times, the game cuts to Barret berating Cloud. At this point the guards are gone, and the player can simply walk past.
    • The remake adds a stealth section where, at the request of Aerith's mom, you need to discreetly leave the house in the dead of night, without bumping into noisy objects. Get caught a bit too much and some objects disappear.
    • Basically every minigame in a Final Fantasy game that must be cleared to continue is either (near) impossible to lose or lets you skip it if you screw up enough.
  • Final Fantasy XIII has a rating system for your performance in battle. If you clear battles quickly, you'll get a higher chance of rare drops. If you do poorly, you'll get a higher drop chance for shrouds, items that give you a plethora of buffs before entering battles or allow you to sneak by enemy encounters.
  • Inverted in Demon's Souls, where every time you die in your real body, the games gets even harder. Because of this, and how hard it is to get the difficulty back to where it was before, some guides suggest killing yourself in the Hub Level, which is the only place Mercy Mode does not kick in.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokemon Yellow has a subtle example, with the evolution of your rival's main Pokémon (an Eevee) being depending on her performance in your first two battles with him (the mandatory lab battle and the optional Route 22 fight). Win both? He evolves it into Jolteon, which is a superior Electric-type to your starter Pikachu. Win one battle, then lose/skip the other? He evolves it into Flareon, which as a Fire-type that takes normal damage from Pikachu's electric attacks. Lose both or lose the first, then skip the second? He evolves it into the Water-type Vaporeon, which is weak to electric. Ultimately downplayed, as by the time he evolves his Eevee, you should have a good and varied enough team of Pokémon assembled that this shouldn't greatly affect the difficulty of your playthrough — though his Jolteon team is generally his best team regardless of Pikachu's effectiveness against it.
    • Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 have different unlockable modes for beating the game. While Black 2 unlocks a hard difficulty, White 2 bizarrely grants the player the easy difficulty.
  • In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, you get the option to try a battle on Easy Mode if you lose, which massively increases the player's stats for that fight while also decreasing those of their enemies. Additionally, you also get a hint block which gives you tips on how to avoid said enemy/boss' attacks. The hint block also appears when you restart the battle in Normal Mode after losing. Tough luck if you die in a giant battle though, none of these exist in those.
    • Except in the final battle during the "Star Driver" sequence. If you fail the Star Driver several times, the game will offer to make it easier. However, it only makes it visually easier.
    • There's also Slow Attack mode, which is unlocked for a given Bros. or Luiginary Attack if you do badly enough at it. It slows down the action allowing you to better time your moves.
    • The Easy Mode features return in its sequel, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam.
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV initially only has the "Prentice" difficulty available. If you die, ask to be resurrected, then die again, you'll get a special not-exactly-Game Over sequence where Charon is absent and his two minions unlock the easier "Fellow" difficulty for you. Moreover, they'll resurrect you free of charge.
  • Soma Union: If the player fails a stealth room in the Lurid Laboratory too many times, they'll get the option to make that room easier. This doesn't apply to the actual combat difficulty, since the player can already change that setting in the menu.
  • A few key boss battles in Sengoku Rance provide this option; rather than a Game Over, dying will result in the battle starting over with the boss' level decreased. Seeing how the final sequence in the game is a Boss Bonanza and the final boss No Sells your entire party except for the two main characters, this is welcomed by most players.
  • Undertale
    • The game leaves a mark on the ground where you've dropped down a pitfall. And just turns them off if you keep on falling down.
    • If you lose to Papyrus three times, he lets you skip his fight.
    • The Temmie Armor has the highest defense in the game (aside from one item that's unobtainable outside of the No Mercy route). You have to pay for the shopkeeper to go to college to unlock it, and it costs a whopping 9999G... but the price decreases every time you die, even if you haven't unlocked it yet. Temmie lampshades this trope by warning that "battles wouldn b a challenge anymores", and that the player should only equip it "as a last resort" for difficult fights.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X will give you, during an Affinity or Story Mission, the option of reducing the levels of enemies in mandatory fights by 5 if you die too many times to it.

    Shoot Em Up 
  • The NES shooter Dragon Spirit would determine whether you would play as the blue dragon (which goes through all levels) or the gold dragon (which skips most even-numbered levels and has perpetual auto-fire) depending on whether you won or lost at the intro level as the blue dragon.
  • Many Shoot 'Em Up games have what is called a "rank system," a hidden value in the game's coding. The rank will slowly rise as the player goes without dying; the higher the rank, the more bullets will be onscreen, and the faster they'll come at you. In most games with the system, such as the fourth through sixth Touhou Project games, dying lowers the rank, making it easier to survive.
    • In addition, in Touhou Eiyashou ~ Imperishable Night you unlocked the ability to start with more lives (up to seven) by getting bad endings a couple times.
    • Battle Garegga is notorious in that keeping the game humanly possible in the final two stages requires dying. On a semi-regular basis.
  • In Hellsinker, if you are on your last life in the first two Segments, you'll enter Regen Assist mode and gradually get life pieces, so as to help prevent a premature Game Over. Additionally, if you play Segment 1 Behind or 2 Behind, your Terra is locked so that it won't decrease, allowing you to stave off going to the Shrine of Farewell.
  • In Crimzon Clover World Ignition, if you defeat a midboss with no spare lives left, the spinning triangle of powerups that it leaves behind will become a square of powerups that contains a 1-Up. This will only happen once per playthrough (e.g. if you get the pity 1-up from the Stage 2 midboss, then go back down to 0 lives and then go on to destroy the Stage 3 midboss, you will not get a 1-up item again).
  • In Aleste Collection, a Compilation Rerelease of several games from the Aleste series, one of the options in each game is Auto Rank, where the game will adjust the difficulty level based on your performance. If you are reduced to your last life, your ship's weapons will be fully powered up, and in the original Aleste your subweapon will gain infinite ammo/time until you gain back at least one spare life.

    Simulation Game 
  • In Project Sylpheed, you can skip any mission, even the final boss after failing it repeatedly. You miss out on upgrade points and achievements from the mission however.
  • The Descent: Freespace series gives you the option to skip any mission by dying three times in a row (but not by failing the mission objectives). However, any ships or weapons that may be unlocked by completing that mission are permanently missed. There's also a "Do Not Show This Again" option for the more hardcore players.

    Sports Game 
  • Losing 100 fights in the Punch-Out!! sequel on the Wii gives you a set of headgear that reduces the damage you take. In an amusing bit of Gameplay and Story Integration, the notoriously terrible Glass Joe starts the game with 99 losses on his record. When he shows up again in the Title Defense mode unlocked after beating the main game, he has the headgear as well since he lost to you before. So, basically, if you have the headgear, the game is saying you suck just as much as Glass Joe.
  • An ingenious speed run exploit of this trope is mentioned by Summoning Salt in his Wii Sports Resort Golf video. If you do badly enough on a hole, the game forces you to skip it and go on to the next one. Obviously, that's a lot slower than just completing the hole normally, however, if you have a good overall score, then the game will start putting the hole on more difficult sections of the green to give you a challenge, which makes completing holes quickly a lot harder. Therefore, runners will skip Hole 1 by deliberately shooting their ball into the water repeatedly and then play the rest of the game normally. Their terrible score on Hole 1 makes it so that the game gives them easy hole placement for the rest of the game, which more than makes up for the time loss suffered on Hole 1.

    Stealth Based Game 
  • Normal and up modes in both Tenchu 3 and Kurenai force the player to start from scratch after being killed. Playing on Easy, however, gives the option to respawn on the spot at full health to continue the mission.
  • In the Tanker episode of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, you are supposed to take 4 pictures of the new Metal Gear prototype within a given time limit. If you run out of time, the game will actually give you some more. Also, if the time is running short, Otacon will settle for three photos.

    Survival Horror 
  • Interesting in that it also possesses not one, but ten Extreme Mode settings, Silent Hill 3 also has an unlockable "Beginner Mode" which it will announce to you in mid-gameplay after dying a few times.
  • Resident Evil 4 has multiple difficulty settings, hidden from the player. If you are doing well the difficulty will increase. But if you die and continue there are fewer enemies and more ammunition. And the first village fight you enter stops when you kill a certain number of Ganados; if you die and continue, the threshold is lower. And the number of Ganados that exist simultaneously is decreased.
  • Resident Evil 5 has its quick time events become easier to complete if you fail them. For example, a quick time event that makes you button mash to survive will be changed to just a single button tap.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • In the online third person shooter S4 League, the fumbi will gradually decrease the skill points of whoever is holding it. If your team is losing badly enough, the penalty is much less harsh - you still won't regenerate skill points while hanging onto it, but they won't be automatically drained either. The playerbase refers to this as 'pity SP.' Also, the losing team gets steadily increasing damage until they cap out at doing 50% more damage with any hit.
  • In Armored Core and Armored Core 2, getting too far into debt would trigger cutscene showing your character undergoing experimental surgery, which would give you a special ability and restart your playthrough with the debt cleared. You could get several abilities in this fashion and it made the game considerably easier.
  • The "fugitive" difficulty level of Max Payne employs this. The game constantly adjusts its difficulty based on the player's performance. So if you keep dying in the same spot, the game will go easier on you each time, until you can finally make it. Remember, however, that this works both ways; if you walk through the game with relative ease, you are going to encounter tougher enemies in the upcoming levels.
    • The second game mostly adjusted the number of health items laying around. If the player is constantly dying and limping around on the brink, there are pills all over the place. Blitz through levels without injury, and they might only find a couple of drops per level (not that they needed them, apparently).
  • In Spec Ops: The Line, if you die multiple times in the same encounter, the game will allow you to go to a lower difficulty level.
  • In Splatoon 2's Octo Expansion campaign, getting a game over twice on any of the tests will unlock this option, with Marina offering to hack the test into automatically passing you. However, the Mem Cake rewarded will be colorless and won't have all its memories until you finish the test legitimately. In the final sequence, you can skip a phase after dying five times, with the exception of the final boss, which you can skip after just one loss.

    Turn Based Strategy 
  • In the first two X-COM games (UFO Defense and Terror from the Deep), if you fail miserably for 2 game months and your organisation is on the brink of being disbanded, suddenly some "X-COM agents" pop up and pinpoint one or two alien bases for you to destroy and save yourselfnote . This can actually work against you: alien bases lower your monthly score for every day they are active, so if you can't take them out to increase your score, you're on the fast track to failure instead.
  • The 3rd game X-COM: Apocalypse finally got Dynamic Difficulty the way it was intended in the first two games.note  If you lose miserably to a raid of large UFOs, next time you may face something weaker. Down to even Probes and Scout Ships.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon features two major mechanics designed to help players afraid of the Permadeath mechanic.
      • First, if you reach certain points in the game with a large number of units dead, the game takes you to special chapters. The enemies in said chapters are significantly weaker than the enemies in the surrounding chapters, and there tends to be little challenge beyond simply wiping them out, making it pretty easy to gain some levels and train up otherwise underleveled characters. You can also recruit an additional unit with tolerable stats for that period in the game. One of these chapters, instead of being based on total deaths, unlocks if you have failed to obtain either the Infinity +1 Sword or the character whose weapon is effective against the Final Boss, and provides you with essentially a second copy of that character and a weakened version of the same sword.
      • Second, if you have so many units dead that you cannot fill the maximum deployment slots for the chapter, the game adds a number of "generic" units to your army, whose levels are scaled to your survivors. These generic units are terrible, with bad stats for their level and worse growths, but they're better than nothing and can be surprisingly effective when given strong weapons.

    Visual Novel 
  • The games of the Yarudora series have a Hint Marker feature appearing after you get two or more Bad Endings, without getting a Normal or Good Ending beforehand. This feature points you out the good choices in the sequences where you have to give an answer to a question, or have to make an action, so you can reach a Normal or Good Ending. The Hint Marker disappears once this goal is fulfilled.
  • Starting with the fifth game in the Ace Attorney series you are offered assistance in crossexaminations if you fail at it multiple times. The game will tell you which statement is contradictory (or to press if there is no contradiction).

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Minor example in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which gives you the option of skipping the commute at the start of the mission after you fail it a few times. This is pretty much just an Anti-Frustration Feature to make up for the fact that so many missions are set halfway across the map from where you have to go to begin them (and if you fail the mission, you'll have to drive all the way back again to restart...)
    • In addition, the rather overlong Final Boss (involving, in order, Storming the Castle, killing one boss, Outrunning The Fireball, chasing the next boss, tailing him to avoid injuring your brother, and finally running Samuel L. Jackson off the road) will eventually load from the beginning of the car chase section, if you repeatedly complete the first part but fail the mission.
    • In Vice City, if you are wasted or busted during a mission, there's a cab waiting outside the hospital or the police station. If you enter it, it will take you back to the mission trigger. You still have to do all the commuting within the mission, though.
    • In addition to having more Anti-Frustration Features than any other title in the series, Grand Theft Auto V allows you to outright skip sections of its missions if you fail them repeatedly.
    • L.A. Noire contains both adventure-game sections (looking for clues, interrogating perps, whatnot) and cover-based-shooting sections. If you keep dying during the shooting sections, the game will skip them and move to the next bit of story.
  • Minecraft: Peaceful Mode. All hostile mobs (apart from the final boss; see below) are gone, neutral mobs will never attack you (with some, such as spiders and Endermen, disappearing completely), your hunger bar never decreases, and your health auto-regenerates at a faster rate than normal. It is nigh-impossible to "clear" the game with Peaceful on, however, as the conditions to unlock the final boss (which itself is present but unable to harm you) require you to kill at least about 7 different monsters scattered about the landscape, and at least 18 prior to the Nether Update (which made one of the required items, the Ender Pearls, available in Peaceful Mode via Piglin bartering), assuming a good drop rate.
  • The Simpsons Hit & Run: Failing a mission five times in a row gives the option to outright skip it, with no major penalty except not getting complete percentage until it's done. The only mission that cannot be skipped is the final one.

    Real Life 
  • Bumper bowling, in which the gutters are blocked off by bumpers so the bowling ball will always stay in the lane, and players won't have to worry as much about accuracy. Additionally, some bumper zig-zag shots are more lenient in angle when it comes to landing a strike. Generally used by very young players, it's also presented as an option for players that are doing very badly during a game (although in most bowling alleys, they will be unavailable regardless to players who use heavy bowling balls, to avoid damaging the bumpers).
  • In academic institutions, if you are doing really badly, some instructors may offer you one last chance to pass the class by letting you get a passing grade as long as you do very well on the final, regardless of what your score in the course would be.