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Orbiting Particle Shield

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An interesting type of shield, where one to several particles (can be energy balls, rocks or any other things) orbit around someone to block shots and/or damage things. This shield usually has gaps though or individual particles can be destroyed so the shielded one is not completely invulnerable. Sometimes that shield can be thrown as a weapon.

Commonly found in video games being wielded by bosses or available to the player as power ups. In Shoot Em Ups, it's a common alternative to the Attack Drone.

If this occurs in a Video Game, it can also be a Shielded Core Boss if destroying the shields is absolutely required to expose the boss for damage at all. See also Beehive Barrier, Deadly Force Field, Master of the Levitating Blades, Reverse Shrapnel, Spin to Deflect Stuff, Sphere of Power.


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  • Gundam:
    • The Nu Gundam in Char's Counterattack can use its Fin Funnels for offense (beam cannons) and defense (beam barrier).
    • The Gundam AGE-FX, being an expy of the Nu Gundam, can use its C-Funnels not only for cutting enemies but also to create a defense system.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Cherudim has shield bits that will float around and block shots. The GN Sword Bits of the 00 Qan[T] in The Movie can create a GN Field.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, Akatsuki's space pack has drones that can create shields around objects.
    • From Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, the Mercurius model of Mobile Suit had a number of disks that would orbit it (usually in a ring) and absorb attacks.
    • The king of this trope in the Gundam multiverse has been revealed to be the titular Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, which can use its I-field-equipped shields for this purpose. Why would that be better than the other examples above? Because the shields have no propulsion system and thus shouldn't be able to move under their own power; the psycoframe material the shields contain allows the Unicorn to telekinetically move the shields in complete defiance of physics.
    • The Gundams Lfrith, Aerial/Rebuild, and Calibarn from Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury are equipped with GUND-Bits which can form not only a handheld or arm-mounted solid shield but also remote-controlled Deflector Shield/s.
  • In Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl, this is one facet of the Counter Shield that Ash devises and teaches to his team, allowing them to use their special attacks to create energy fields around themselves.
  • In one episode of Space Battleship Yamato the crew covered their ship with nearby asteroids to hide it from enemy radar. When the enemies finally discovered them, they reversed the polarity of the reactor powering the shield, turning it into a circular ring of spinning space rocks which intercepted and blocked enemy fire.
  • World Trigger:
    • Hyuse's Trigger, Lampyris, produces magnetized shards that can orbit the user and reflect projectiles. The barrier can slow down physical attacks by magnetizing enemy weapons, but a well placed, sufficiently powerful strike can punch straight through the barrier.
    • The Black Trigger, Alektor, surrounds the user with animal-shaped energy particles that will convert any Trion attack into a harmless cube. Only the Lead Bullet and non-Trion objects such as the rubble from surrounding buildings can successfully bypass the barrier.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the original TRON, the MCP had a ring of orbiting shields whirling around his weak point, and Tron had to wait until the MCP was distracted and the shields slowed down so he could throw his identity disc through one of the gaps.
  • In the Ender's Game film, the Attack Drones used by the International Fleet to counter the Formic Space Fighters can, in a pinch, be used in this manner. In fact, it appears to be a pre-programmed secondary function, as there is a gauge on the commanders' screen showing "shield integrity", representing how well the drones are covering the ship. This is used in the Final Battle to keep the ship controlled by Petra alive long enough for it to get close to the Formic homeworld and fire the Little Doctor.
  • In Xmen Apocalypse, in the climactic scene, Magneto floats in the air with metal detris orbiting around him.

  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians and its sequel series The Heroes of Olympus feature Percy having a variant on this he learns around the time of The Last Olympian where he can summon a miniature hurricane at his feet, which creates an updraft of wind and rain that creates a defensive barrier. When he uses this ability during a battle atop a glacier in Alaska, this attack also incorporates bits of ice, due to the nature of the environment.
  • Worm: the Simurgh will frequently create one using her telekinesis, picking up chunks of rubble or cars or whatever else is at hand and using it to block incoming attacks. However, it is mentioned that none of the stuff orbits her in a predictable way, and all of it is flying in (apparently) random directions in a sort of controlled chaos that makes it even harder to penetrate.
  • Mistborn: The Final Empire: Kelsier creates one with Steelpushes and Ironpulls to spin metal rods in place in the air in an incredible display of fine allomantic control, deflecting the arrows the surrounding guards are shooting at him.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: The Forgotten Realms setting's top-level spell "Elminster's Effulgent Epuration" conjures up a cluster of head-sized silvery spheres that float around the caster. Each sphere can completely negate an incoming spell, at the caster's discretion.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay:
    • The Lore of Light spell "Radiant Sentinel" creates a ball of light that floats around the spellcaster and can parry one extra melee weapon attack per round.
    • The Lore of Metal spell "Guard of Steel" creates a protective field of floating steel balls around the spellcaster, reducing the accuracy of all incoming attacks.

    Video Games 
  • Abadox has a barrier shield option that can be upgraded to 4 orbs.
  • In The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures, Skylar (aka the "'Where did you learn to fly?' bitch"), the boss of "Future Fuckballs 2010", does this with smaller replicas of herself.
  • In Batman for the Game Boy, Batman can obtain up to four Batwings to circle around him and take out nearby enemies. He will lose them first if he takes hits.
  • The Binding of Isaac has fly powerups which orbit around the character to block shots (and damage other flies upon contact). There are other powerups which serves that purpose as well like level 1 and 2 meat cube or a guardian angel. The items Leprosy and Book of the Dead will create orbiting flesh chunks/bone fragments that are destructible shields. For bosses, The Duke of Flies summons flies to orbit around him to serve as a shield.
  • The GAM in Bio Metal. You could fire it out in a direction and it would come back to you, and it also did heavy damage to Mooks.
  • The POW pickup in Bionic Commando.
  • Bounty of One:
    • The Faithfull item makes two shields orbit the player. These don't deal any damage but they do nullify enemy projectiles like fireballs thrown by mages, and even thrown dynamite from Mole Men before they hit the ground.
    • The Bulletstorm item allows the player to spawn an orbiting shot every four seconds, which deals their base damage. With piercing upgrades, each shot can hit more enemies before disappearing, and with cooldown reduction upgrades the rate of shot spawning increases.
    • One of The Undertaker's attacks initially starts out as a Reverse Shrapnel of several spreads of soul orbs. Halfway through, the orbs stop moving and then orbit around him, forcing you to dodge through them, before he reverses the attack and pulls the orbs back to himself, including those offscreen.
  • Brood Star:
    • The Defender Drone will interpose itself between the player's ship and incoming fire, blocking shots with its shielded front. In a more general sense, all drones can function as this trope: drones can soak several hits for the player before being knocked offline, and there is a module which makes the player's drones orbit their spacecraft.
    • Two bosses—the Seer and the Augur—can surround themselves with a rapidly spinning ring of asteroids to protect themselves from the player's attacks. The asteroids can be destroyed, but the bosses will replenish them after a while.
  • This is an incredibly common ability in the Castlevania games. Circle of the Moon has an entire subset of shield powers with many variations on this. The Sorrow games have the Buer soul, which are fire particles, and more appear the more copies of the soul you have.
  • In Cave Story, as the player's battle with Misery wears on, she begins summoning two black orbs to partially shield her, then 4 as she gets lower in HP. True Final Boss has a variation of an orbiting shield as well. The player's Bubbler weapon, at maximum power, produces a swarm of bubbles that swarm around the player before firing off in a desired direction. There is also the Whimsical Star, an attachment for the Spur that produces rotating stars around the player whenever they charge the weapon.
  • Chrono Trigger features a variation on this. The boss in the Sun Palace in 2300AD is joined in combat by several animated flames that orbit it in a circle, one of which will damage the boss when attacked while the rest are immune to damage and will counter-attack whoever hit them. The boss routinely shuffles which flame will damage it, forcing the player to find the correct one after each shuffle. While this rotating "shield" of flames doesn't prevent characters from attacking the boss directly, it's impossible to defeat the boss this way, effectively requiring the party to hack away at the boss' rotating shield of flames until the boss is defeated.
  • Many Compile shooters have this as a weapon, usually with variable power levels:
    • In Zanac, weapon 3 is an energy ball orbiting around the ship destroying bullets and enemies upon contact. One of the enemies has its own orbiting shield too although that one can be destroyed.
    • The Rolling Fire weapon (#4) in Power Strike.
    • The Bullet Shield in The Guardian Legend, which uses chips like other secondary weapons.
    • The Ring Blaster powerup in Blazing Lazers.
    • The Defensive Detonator (blue capsule) in M.U.S.H.A.
    • Super Aleste has a circling orb weapon that can be temporarily locked in place. One of the bosses has four usually invulnerable drones orbiting it.
    • Rude Breaker has an alternate mode of the laser subweapon which provides this.
  • In Control, Jesse gains the ability to use chunks of debris as a shield.
  • Necron lords can have this with flying scarabs in Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War.
  • Z'xorv's Defend Command in Cosmic Star Heroine has him crouching as several green blobs circle around him.
  • Fourth boss in Diamond Hollow II is a Blob Monster with an orbiting shield which can be shot down. Last two phases have shields which must be shot down with a rocket launcher only.
  • Deus Ex has the Aggressive Defense System, which is a more-realistic variant of this trope.
    Aerosol nanoparticles are released upon the detection of objects fitting the electromagnetic threat profile of missiles and grenades; these nanoparticles will prematurely detonate such objects prior to reaching the agent.
  • Vergil from Devil May Cry has his Mirage Blades which he can make them spiral around him.
  • Elemental Master, in which you're the titular master, allows you to create orbiting orbs of flames as shields which roasts anyone trying to attack.
  • In Epic Mickey, Petetronic summons rotating energy shields to protect him while you deflect his disc back and forth.
  • The Shield spell in Eternal Darkness surrounds the caster with glowing balls which disperse as they take damage from enemy attacks or damage floors.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Star Resistance: Forcestar's specialty is creating these, summoning up to three crystals that revolve around him and block most damage until they shatter. As a bonus: with three out at once, they can be combined and launched forward for a massive attack that destroys bullets and takes half the screen on impact!
  • Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2's Null Element elemental shields take the form of orbs that orbit the character in the color of that element. Each orb will block one attack of that element before being used up.
  • Frantic Frigates: The second boss sports two of them. A red outer one and a green inner one. Both of their individual parts can absorb a hefty amount of shots, and every now and then it'll also "expand" the shields in a Reverse Shrapnel format... which allows the player to get a very clear, unobstructed shot at it.
  • Ganryu: The first game has a power-up that turns into a circle of energy shields that damage mooks and absorb projectiles for you.
  • Gods: The small shield is a temporary Invincibility Powerup that appears this way.
  • Grandia III: Alfina has her "Holy Circle" Special. It summons three spheres of light that revolve horizontally around her, and damage enemies that come too close. With each hit spheres get a bit smaller, before disappearing completely. This Special is pretty useful, because its hits can sometimes interrupt an enemy attack, saving fairly frail Alfina from taking damage.
  • Heavy Weapon: The "Defense Orbs" protect against everything (including nukes, but only if they touch the shield and not the ground) except laser weapons. However, enemies may sometimes manage to sneak a shot in or two, so don't rely too much on them.
  • Hollow Knight :
    • An equipable charm, the Dream Shield, takes the form of a single flower or star-shaped shield that orbits around the Knight, and glows with Dream Essence. The shield blocks enemy projectile attacks, and damages any enemies it touches, but after hitting an enemy, the shield shrinks to a fraction of it's size and cannot block attacks or deal damage. It takes a short amount of time to regenerate. Focusing soul (healing) will cause the shield to orbit faster.
    • The Soul Twister enemies have an orb of harmful Soul energy, similar to the ones that they fire as ranged attacks, orbiting them at all times. The boss Soul Master creates a version with four orbs as one of his attacks, and upgrades to a six-orb version in his rematch as Soul Tyrant.
  • Hyper Princess Pitch has one as a powerup, as well as some enemies and minibosses.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction: During the first stage of her boss fight Mercy will just attack with her psychic powers. Near the end, she'll gather a bunch of debris around herself, and sometimes launch them at you.
  • Kero Blaster:
    • Using the Melter (the fire weapon's final upgrade) causes two fireballs to start orbiting around you. They damage enemies and block some enemy projectiles, and can themselves be launched as projectiles by releasing the trigger.
    • During the final boss fight of Zangyou mode, Kurono surrounds himself with a shield of spinning phones in his last phase which blocks bullets and deal contact damage. To get rid of them, Kaeru needs to activate the rotary phones that appear on incoming platforms, which will destroy the shielding phones after a delay.
  • Kid Niki: Radical Ninja has a bell powerup that circles around Kid Niki and knocks out most enemies in one hit, but goes away after a minute.
  • Killer Instinct (2013)'s Season 2 character Omen can summon an orbiting ring of energy balls by using the Shadow version of his Orda Shield attack. If you repeat the attack the energy balls grow in size and can hit an opponent twice per ball.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Part of Kingdom Hearts II takes part in the world of TRON, where the MCP reprises its film role by protecting itself with an orbiting shield; the player must eliminate panels and/or wait for the shield to slow down before they can shoot at the MCP.
    • The Tatsu Steed dream eater in Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] can generate a small shield of swirling bubbles that can deflect blows, and also cause anyone who touches it to be Blown Across the Room to a degree matched by few other enemies.
  • The Legend of Zelda
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past:
      • The Cane of Byrna uses up magic power pretty quickly, but actually makes the user completely invulnerable.
      • The Swamp Palace boss is initially protected from attack by smaller orbiting creatures, which must be pulled off with the Hookshot.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: The second Ghirahim fight has him using particles of power as a shield to prevent Link from swinging his sword just in any direction.
  • Throughout the Mario Kart games, the Triple Green Shell and Triple Red Shell items spawn three shells orbiting the bearer's kart, which can be thrown as normal shells. While in orbit, they can block certain items, and anyone who touches one will be knocked over. In Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, this is extended to the Triple Bananas as well.
  • In the Marvel vs. Capcom series of fighting games, Doctor Doom has a Special Attack called Molecular Shield, in which he levitates rocks and causes them to orbit him as a defensive barrier, before flinging them at his opponent.
  • The Mega Man (Classic) series has many Robot Masters with a shield weapon which can block shots and damage upon contact. Mega Man can inherit these shields from his enemies and use them himself. The particles of the shield can also be launched at the enemy in some cases.
    • The first game has the earliest iteration of the shield weapon, Fire Man’s Fire Storm. Alongside the standard fireball blast, it also briefly creates a fireball barrier around Mega Man that can damage enemies.
    • 2 has Wood Man’s Leaf Shield. It can take out weaker enemies (but not projectiles) and stays active as long as Mega Man stands still; if he moves then he fires the shield in that direction.
    • 4 has Skull Man’s Skull Barrier, a much more standard shield that surrounds Mega Man at all times until he comes in contact with an enemy or projectile. Unlike Leaf Shield, he can move around.
    • 5 has Star Man’s Star Crash, an improvement on the previous two that allows Mega Man to both throw it and use it to block projectiles.
    • 6 has Plant Man give the Plant Barrier. It can’t be thrown and vanishes after any attack hits it, however it can hit shield enemies efficiently.
    • 7's Junk Man gives the Junk Shield, which summons metal around Mega Man. It is much offensive, dealing high damage when it is formed and damaging enemies multiple times. Mega Man can’t throw it, but he can scatter it into three shots in a triangle pattern.
    • 9 has the Jewel Satellite, given by Jewel Man. It can be thrown, take out smaller enemies with ease, block most projectiles and even reflect some of them. It also only depletes when activated, giving it many uses in a single level.
    • 10 offers Pump Man’s Water Shield, which summons water droplets that individually disappear as they get hit, and can be shot out from all around Mega Man/Proto Man/Bass. It doesn’t guarantee projectile protection, though.
    • 11 introduces the relatively unique Acid Barrier, given by Acid Man. It creates a bubble of acid around Mega Man that protects him, and he can use the shield itself to shoot globs of acid at enemies, but it shrinks as a result, and also can only block projectiles.
  • Unlike the original series, shield-type weapons are generally absent in the Mega Man X series, with Yammar Option, which combines this with Attack Drone, being one of the few examples.
  • In the first Pokémon Pinball, Mewtwo has a shield of bubble-things that orbit around him. You can knock them away temporarily by hitting them with the ball.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater: The Pain uses live bees to protect himself from bullets.
  • Metroid
  • One item in Momodora lets you create four shields that circle around you destroying any incoming projectiles and damaging enemies.
  • Märchen Maze has a powerup that temporarily shields Alice with eight rabbits that circle around her.
  • Ninja Gaiden has the Fire Shield, which for a few seconds surrounds Ryu with several fireballs.
  • Ninja Spirit has the Wheel of Fire powerup.
  • The first Ratchet & Clank (2002) game has the Drone Device, which deploys 6 exploding robotic spheres to block the enemy shots.
  • River City Girls: Yamada's second phase gives him an attack that has objects circle him that deal damage to the players on contact, but one of them can be a health-restoring apple instead.
  • All of Rune Factory 4's Light elemental magic barring the first Light spell create several orbs of light that rotate around you, protecting you from damage and damaging enemies that come into contact with them.
  • Samurai Warriors has Kanetsugu Naoe, who uses a sword and paper charms as his weapons; his special skill deploys increasingly larger rings of paper charms to act as a protective barrier, stunning or pushing back the primarily melee-focused enemies of the game. The charms aren't very good at blocking projectiles, but this is justified in that they're paper.
  • Shantae features the recurring Pike Ball, which conjures a spiked ball that orbits around the titular half-genie hero, with various upgrades like the Fire Ball (faster and stronger), Super Pike Ball (two balls), Mega Pike Ball (three), and Scimitar (six spinning Scimitars):
    • Shantae (2002): The Pike Ball and Fire Ball are consumable items.
    • From Shantae: Risky's Revenge on, there's a Magic Meter that powers Shantae's items. While active, the Pike Ball and assorted variants continue to orbit her and damage any foes they touch, slowly draining MP.
    • Shantae and the Pirate's Curse has Pike Ball and Super Pike Ball as consumable items instead of magic spells due to a lack of magic.
    • Shantae: Half-Genie Hero: "Friends To The End" mode: Sky has chickens orbiting her as her magical ability.
  • In Silpheed: Super Dogfighter, one of the recurring boss types is the small "Olleyus" cruiser, protected by a layer of small satellites that respawn after being destroyed. In later levels the satellites also reflect the player's Laser weapon, requiring a player armed with it to time their shots carefully to pass between the satellites. The Asteroid Belt powerup provides this for the player.
  • Some Skylanders have upgrades that allow them to perform this trope. Hex and Camo's Soul Gems, for example, allow them to make orbiting shields of skulls and spheres of concentrated solar energy respectively, and Roller Brawl's final upgrade on the "Skateblade Siren" path lets her summon buzzsaws that surround her while shredding nearby enemies.
  • Shatterline has the Queen, who summons a swirling tornado made of spiky crystal shards around her during her boss fights. She can even turn it into a Gemstone Assault and pelt you with the shards.
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog series has many examples.
    • The recurring enemy Orbinaut/Unidus has Spike Balls of Doom orbiting around it (some variations can also throw the shield away).
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the Metropolis Zone boss has this kind of shield—and every time you get past the shield, one of the particles breaks off and attempts to run into you. A throwback to this specific boss also shows up in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Sky Sanctuary Zone.
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, the Tidal Tempest boss is surrounded by a ring of bubbles. They don't hurt you—in fact, they're the only oxygen source in the underwater boss room—but they block you from hitting Robotnik all the same.
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog 3, the boss of Ice Cap Zone, Act 1 has a ring of ice block around it—when it isn't making itself vulnerable by trying to drop the blocks on you.
    • The Final Hazard in Sonic Adventure 2 surrounds itself with fleshy pink energy bubbles that zap you if you touch them. You have to dodge between them to reach its weak point.
  • The Rotator spell in SoulBlazer doesn't block projectiles, but it will tear through enemies surrounding the hero.
  • In Star Control II, the Chmmr Avatar starts with three orbiting satellites that can intercept incoming fire. They're small enough that they don't provide much protection by themselves, but their built-in point defense lasers more than make up for it.
  • Rose has this as her Ultra in Street Fighter IV. She can even use it to juggle enemies for a combo.
  • Sylphia grants the title character a particle shield made of rocks if she collects an Earth Element power-up.
  • Cruelly subverted in Terra Cresta by the orbiting spiked ball enemies that slow down the player and prevent them from firing.
  • The Claw in various Thunder Force games can soak up smaller hits as well as provide some additional firepower. You can have up to two, and another powerup causes them to orbit faster.
  • Ubersoldier has telekinetic super-soldiers who can draw in objects from the area to form a shielding tornado of junk around themselves.
  • The Option Barrier special item in Valis II.
  • The Buzzsaw and Big Fire weapons in Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair do this. The Death Skull and King Demon bosses have similar attacks.
  • Warcraft III: The Lightning Shield and Immolation spells use this effect (though in Immolation's case, there's so many particles they end up forming a circle instead) but only serve to damage nearby enemies (and allies in lightning's case).
  • In World of Warcraft, the shaman class has elemental shields. Only one can be up at a time, with lightning shield doing damage to anyone who attacks the shaman and water shield restoring mana if attacked. Resto shamans also have an earth shield that can be placed on another player that heals them when they are attacked.
  • Warframe: Several warframe abilities act like this, especially ones that affect other players. Gara's Splinter Storm is one of the more obvious examples, giving affected allies a rotating shell of glass shards.
  • Yogleks & Omulgun in Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished ~ Omen and Dalles in Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished – The Final Chapter use these, spinning faster the more you damage them. In the former case, pieces of the shield also disappear as their HP decreases.
  • The Magia Stone in Zeliard.

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):


Jesse's "Shield" Ability

Jesse gains the ability to surround herself with hovering debris that shields her from damage. Upgrading it increases its resilience and allows her to use it offensively, too. The Hiss Warped have the same ability including its attack potential.

How well does it match the trope?

4.86 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / OrbitingParticleShield

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