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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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  • 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 Unicorn Gundam, 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.
  • In Pokémon, 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.

  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • Mega Man (Classic) series have many robot masters with a shield weapon which can block shots and damage upon contact, such as Wood Man's Leaf Shield in Mega Man 2 (though a few non-robot master bosses have that shield as well). The particles of the shield can also be launched at the enemy in some cases.
  • 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 Cave Story, As the player's battle with Misery wears on, she begins summoning 2 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.
  • 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. For bosses, The Duke of Flies summons flies to orbit around him to serve as a shield.
  • Hollow Knight has an equipable charm called the Dream Shield that 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Necron lords can have this with flying scarabs in Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Super Metroid: Samus can perform a number of secret Special Attacks by imbuing the energy of her beam weapons into her Power Bombs.note  The Ice Beam variant produces four charged shots that orbit Samus and freeze anything they collide with.
  • In the first Metroid Prime, the Parasite Queen is protected by a rotating energy shield and the player must position themselves to shoot between the panels. In Metroid Prime 2, the weak point of the Emperor Ing's first form is also protected by a rotating barrier.
  • The Pain in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater used live bees to protect himself from bullets.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In 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.
  • In Epic Mickey, Petetronic summons rotating energy shields to protect him while you deflect his disc back and forth.
  • The Option Barrier special item in Valis II.
  • Abadox has a barrier shield option that can be upgraded to 4 orbs.
  • The Magia Stone in Zeliard.
  • 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.
  • Ninja Gaiden has the Fire Shield, which for a few seconds surrounds Ryu with several fireballs.
  • Ubersoldier has telekinetic super-soldiers who can draw in objects from the area to form a shielding tornado of junk around themselves.
  • 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.
  • Hyper Princess Pitch has one as a powerup, as well as some enemies and minibosses.
  • 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.
  • In 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.
  • The "Defense Orbs" in Heavy Weapon are this. They 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.
  • 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.
  • Märchen Maze has a powerup that temporarily shields Alice with eight rabbits that circle around her.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Buzzsaw and Big Fire weapons in Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair do this. The Death Skull and King Demon bosses have similar attacks.
  • Cruelly subverted in Terra Cresta by the orbiting spiked ball enemies that slow down the player and prevent them from firing.
  • Yogleks & Omulgun in Ys and Dalles in Ys II use these, spinning faster the more you damage them. In the former case, pieces of the shield also disappear as their HP decreases.
  • Ninja Spirit has the Wheel of Fire powerup.
  • In Gods, the small shield is a temporary Invincibility Powerup that appears this way.
  • The POW pickup in Bionic Commando.
  • Rose has this as her Ultra in Street Fighter IV. She can even use it to juggle enemies for a combo.
  • The first Ratchet & Clank (2002) game has the Drone Device, which deploys 6 exploding robotic spheres to block the enemy shots.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Rotator spell in SoulBlazer doesn't block projectiles, but it will tear through enemies surrounding the hero.
  • 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.
  • The second boss of Frantic Frigates 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.
  • 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.
  • One item in Momodora lets you create four shields that circle around you destroying any incoming projectiles and damaging enemies.
  • Z'xorv's Defend Command in Cosmic Star Heroine has him crouching as several green blobs circle around him.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • In Control, Jesse gains the ability to use chunks of debris as a shield.
  • The Shield spell in Eternal Darkness surrounds the caster with glowing balls which disperse as they take damage from enemy attacks or damage floors.

    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.

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Example of:

Main / OrbitingParticleShield

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Main / OrbitingParticleShield