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On-Ride/On-Foot Combat

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Having a cool ride is awesome. Be it a Humongous Mecha, a dragon, or some other great beast/giant vehicle, you get yourself a cool armament (or several), the feeling of being big and protected, a personal ride you can call your own (partner, if the ride is sentient), all that cool stuff.

However, there might come a time where you'll have to do things on foot. Hope you have the gear to be awesome off your ride too.

This trope is about gameplay where fighting on foot and fighting in your ride takes place in the same level/stage/open world, and where changing between the two phases is common enough.

It does not count if the times riding and not riding are in separate stages or segments of a stage, which therefore discounts most military FPS games like Call of Duty since you're often forced to abandon your ride or otherwise lose it for plot reasons.


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    Action RPG 
  • In Borderlands 3, Moze has this as an action skill (compared to the previous soldier class characters, who summon a stationary turret). She can summon her mech Iron Bear and ride it around, though it has a limited fuel supply. Later skills allow her to leave the mech and have it stand around providing fire support. The DLC gave her further options, by allowing her to stay on foot and summon a smaller mech called Iron Cub instead.
  • In the Drakan series, you play as the Action Girl Rynn, but when exploring open areas, she can also call upon and ride a large red dragon named Arokh, who has much greater firepower and can fly. Due to his size, however, Arokh cannot enter buildings or caves, forcing Rynn to dismount multiple times per level.
  • Technically, Leonard turns into his White Knight Wizel, but White Knight Chronicles still counts since you can switch to your "mecha" in battle whenever you like, and there are giant enemies you'll encounter (including Random Encounters) that makes this necessary.
  • Drakengard: Most open-air segments let you fight as Caim on the ground or from the skies on his Pact-bonded dragon Angelus. While the dragon can wreak devastation on ground units, Caim's weapons won't level up unless he's killing things in melee, and some units (notably archers and some units which actually reflect dragonfire back at you) can do a lot more damage to the dragon than to Caim, and Caim can only regain health for their Shared Life-Meter while on foot.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Played with, bizarrely. While the Dragonborn is capable of using ranged and melee weapons against their enemies while riding on horseback, they cannot use any of their spells or Shouts; as such, a Dragonborn with a mage-focused build must always dismount before fighting. Ironically, the inverse is true instead if the Dragonborn is riding a dragon (courtesy of the Bend Will shout); while they cannot use their ranged or melee weapons, they can use their spells and Shouts, with the dragon using its own abilities as well against any targeted enemies.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: While riding Epona, Link is limited to his sword, bow and clawshot, but can charge enemies. He can also ride the giant boars domesticated by the Bulbins, here he has no attack but to send the boar charging and hanging on for dear life and smashing through enemies and obstacles.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles X, players first start off the game on foot, but later can obtain humongous mecha called "Skells" to fight and explore in. There's no restriction in what enemies you fight in and out of Skell, so it's entirely possible to take on gigantic megafauna on foot or step all over enemy grunts in your mech, though a Skell-loving NPC finds the latter behaviour to be dishonourable.
  • In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Geralt can call his mount to ride it whenever he is wandering outside. While riding Roach, he may attack with his sword, bombs or crossbow. Although on-ride combat may be useful for hit-and-run tactics, one might find it less effective than on-foot combat as it is pretty hard to aim accurately while moving. Also, Roach has a "fear" bar which increases as it gets hit or moves too close to ennemies. As the fear bar rises, Roach may become harder to control and will even throw Geralt off its back when reaching its peak value.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Halo: Combat Evolved is the popularizer of this kind of gameplay. Early stages of any of the games usually provide you with the UNSC equivalent of an machine gun mounted Jeep called the Warthog, in which you usually drive while your marine friends shoot, to traverse the large but linear open space of the mission. Later missions will have you commandeer various vehicles ranging from tanks to alien hovercraft and airplanes.
  • Battlefield popularize this in context of Player Versus Player Multiplayer. Both sides can use various vehicles from fast reconaissance ones to armored one for combat, and then there's the airplanes, which is usually Difficult, but Awesome due to the difficulty to control it but at the hands of skilled player it can turn the tide of the battle.
  • Ravenfield is the same as Battlefield above, however unless using a custom mod launcher, the game is purely singleplayer with computer-controlled bots serving as the other players.
  • Overwatch: This trope is in effect if you play as D.Va. You start off in her MEKA, which is packed with a pair of Fusion Cannons, Boosters for flight, a Defense Matrix, and Micro Missiles. It also comes with D.Va's Ultimate, Self-Destruct, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, and can do massive damage. Of course, after the uses that (or takes too much damage and has to eject), D.Va herself fights on foot with melee, a Light Gun, and the option to call down another MEKA to get into once the Ult gauge is filled (either through combat, or immediately after scoring an elimination with the Self-Destruct).
  • Titanfall has you play as a Pilot to begin with, equipped with a Jump Jet Pack and Le Parkour skills that let you engage in Wall Running and Video Game Sliding. Pilots can also call upon the setting's resident Mini-Mecha, the Titans, to gain an edge in battle, trampling over Grunts and other Pilots while battling other Titans. While Titans can't engage in the fancy maneuvers that Pilots can, they can still move fairly fast and hit really hard. The transition between Pilot and Titan gameplay is seamless and fast, allowing for little interruptions.
  • Similar to Titanfall, Borderlands 3 has Moze, the Gunner, who plays like any other Vault Hunter normally... but her Action Skill, Iron Bear, lets her summon the eponymous mech and go to town with a myriad of weapons, whether it be chainguns (exploding bullets optional), a Grenade Launcher or a missile salvo, railguns, or good ol' massive metal fists.


  • The Adventures of Star Saver (or Rubble Saver in Japan) is one of the earliest examples of this trope in effect. Here, you play as Kevin (or his sister Connie, depending on the version) and the mecha Tom Wolf as you platform your way across stages to defeat aliens trying to invade the galaxy. That said, the mecha only serves as an extra life and is lost upon taking a hit (though reaching "P" power-ups gives you back your mecha). Mechanically speaking however, they operate identically, Tom Wolf merely serving the same purpose as Arthur's armor.
  • The Blaster Master games has you switch between taking control of a Cool Tank in a 2D side scroller format, and going on foot to go through small spaces and inside rooms, turning the game into a top-down shooter.
  • In Metal Warriors, there are several sequences in which the player must exit their mecha in order to access a narrow space (usually a control panel which unlocks a door or controls a spaceship).
  • Metal Slug: You're on foot most of the time, but there are times where you get a Slug you can ride in/on, and they come in all sorts (tank, plane, Mini-Mecha, camel, etc.) and you can (usually) ride them all the way to the end of the stage (if you can make it last that long). That said, there are also cases where you're forced to leave your ride behind, so this has cases of this trope both played straight and averted.
  • Panzer Paladin features the last Paladin unit Grit and his pilot the rescue operations android Flame. Grit uses Spirit Weapons scattered by Ravenous against his demonic forces since humans run the risk of getting corrupted by their evil energy. He also has a shield for protection and his fist if he's out of weapons. Out of the mecha, Flame has a laser whip that doubles as a grappling hook. She's also just as capable of destroying demons as Grit is, though is naturally not as durable.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • In Cannon Fodder, many phases deeper into the game require you to load your soldiers into vehicles: first just jeeps, then tanks and helicopters. A large proportion of these phases fall into "fight your way through to the tank, then jump into it and slaughter everything", but some require you to leave the vehicle to accomplish other tasks.
  • Warcraft III: Night Elf archers can learn the Mount Hippogryph ability, which lets them use their ranged attack from the air (but loses the hippogryph's powerful melee Anti-Air attack). Careful timing of the Dismount ability lets you slaughter flying enemies by suddenly doubling the amount of units they have to face.

     Role-Playing Game 
  • Xenogears alternates between hand-to-hand combat on foot, and battles using Gears. You can usually get in and out of Gears at any time, and call them into battle in places where it makes sense to be able to do so (for example, on the world map or in very large open dungeons, but not in small enclosed spaces). Switching back and forth between riding Gears and walking is necessary in some dungeons, such as when the characters need to enter a place where Gears can't fit. The characters level up and learn skills as expected in an RPG but Gears can only be improved by purchasing upgrades for their components, by buying or finding equipable items for them, and via certain plot events.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • In Chaos, wizards can ride suitable steeds, either dismounting voluntarily or being unhorsed when the steed is killed. The sequel Lords of Chaos extends this to other humanoid units. The ability was not retained for the 32-bit Magic and Mayhem games that followed.
  • Some Fire Emblem games include an option for mounted units (who ride horses, pegasai, or wyverns) to dismount. Perks include not being vulnerable to weapons with an advantage against mounted units (such as bows for flying units), the ability to use Gauntlets in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and in early games, the ability to fight indoors. Drawbacks include lower movement speed and sometimes lowered stats. Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 had the most drawbacks; besides the stat drop, many units used different weapons mounted and dismounted. Lance users got the worst of this; all but two lance users are mounted, making lances nigh-useless indoors.

    Vehicle Simulator 
  • The obscure MechWarrior clone G-Nome quite literally had its selling point the fact that you have combat on mechas and on foot without the odds being explicitly against the latter.
  • Interstate '82, the sequel to Interstate '76, added the ability to get out of your car and switch vehicles. Given that doing so left you defenseless against the Weaponized Cars you were fighting, however, it was not recommended except in an emergency, providing an Ironic Echo to Skeeter's line "never get out of the car" from the first game.
  • MechAssault 2 featured this gameplay — you could go about in Battle Armor, hijack a mech, and gain control of it.
  • Titanfall and its sequel use this as their main hook. The Player Character is the pilot of a Humongous Mecha (whose AI allows it to also function as a Robot Buddy), and gameplay of the main campaigns involves switching between the mecha, and the more manoeuvrable pilot (with some levels forcing you to stay inside, some forcing you to explore on foot, and others letting you decide what works best). The multiplayer treats riding a mecha as more of a powerup (albeit with some tradeoffs) granted by achieving enough kills.

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • Grand Theft Auto, of course. The very title alludes to the fact that you will be switching between different cars in many missions, going from car chases in city streets to shootouts in back alleys. Ditto for the many Wide-Open Sandbox games that followed in its footsteps. Grand Theft Auto IV onwards introduces the ability to aim while driving a car or riding a bike, and to balance the game, the enemies can do that too.
  • Mercenaries: Both Playground of Destruction and World In Flames featured this very heavily, as stealing tanks, helicopter gunships, or a wide variety of other vehicles and using them to take out your enemies was an option for every mission, as was sneaking on foot and using man-portable weapons or airstrikes (which you couldn't call in while driving a vehicle).
  • Along with grappling hook, Just Cause has the same kind of on ride on foot combat as Mercenaries above, although for the second game, it's balanced by the usually awkward vehicle controls.