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Reflecting Laser

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"Light Amplification By Stimulated Emission of Radiation (and it ricochets off hills, too!)"
Description of the Laser ability, Kirby & the Amazing Mirror

We're all aware that lasers reflect off mirrors. But some writers and video game creators apparently think that lasers can reflect off any flat surface. These bright flashing streams of light — or sometimes, Pure Energy — can hit anything from a stone ceiling to a grass-covered field and rebound at the same angle at which they hit.

In video games, they will also be the "slow" variety of laser, so that the player can watch them bounce off each surface in turn, and dodge them just as they rebound toward him. If the player has access to the weapon, expect several Trick Shot Puzzles whereby the player has to bounce a single shot off a series of surfaces to hit a distant switch or enemy.

In reality, mirrors are rather poor defense against lasers. No mirror is ever perfect, and even if mirror optimized as much as possible against the wavelenght of the laser (which is not exactly granted for sure, especially if laser could switch frequency), it would still absorb some portion of beam energy. Any possible imperfection or dust on the mirror would increase the absorbtion drastically. And as mirror heat with absorbed enery, its reflection capability would quickly went down - essentially turning it into very inefficient armor.

A Sub-Trope of Ray Gun. See also Pinball Projectile. Cousin trope to Mirrors Reflect Everything and Attack Reflector. Can be a form of Hoist by His Own Petard.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Wolf's Rain, blasts from the Nobles' ships go beyond Roboteching — they change directions in midflight, as if reflecting off invisible walls in the air. It looks cool (and nicely conveys the idea of weapons so advanced as to defy easy comprehension), so we try to let it be.
  • One of EI-01 (Pasdar)'s attacks in GaoGaiGar was a laser than could reflect off levitated bits of aluminum to hit the heroes from multiple angles. In GaoGaiGar FINAL, TenRyuJin copies the attack, using missiles to scatter hundreds of reflective (and apparently refractive) mirrors, then calculating the angles on the fly to strike the enemy from multiple angles at once. (Pasdar had Tokyo's electrical output and computing power to make this all work - TenRyuJin complains about how hard the calculations are when she does it.)
The series has one of these on Volfogg's spaceship Susanoh. It fires one gigantic beam (the "Reflector Beam") from the top of the ship and uses a remote-controlled mirror array ("FF Mirrors", standing for Free Float) to aim it.
  • Gundam:
    • Beams (not lasers, as Beam weapons are accelerated particle cannons operating under a specific subset of physics) are fired at a remote I-Field projector and reflected towards their intended target.
    • The Ex-Superior Gundam has a similar trick, except it uses Reflector Incoms (wired devices controlled by actively-scanned brain waves capable of 2-dimentional movement) and its Beam Smartgun.
    • In the fourth Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, the mobile armour Shamblo has several similar reflectors that bear a striking resemblance to Real Life UAVs, which fly around it using rotors and reflect any incoming beam, sometimes via each-other, in an attempt to send them back to the shooter.
    • Also, in Mobile Suit Gundam 00, the mobile armour Regnant possesses a Wave-Motion Gun that fires a beam which can bend mid-flight in order to hit its target(s).
  • The Shinkiro in Code Geass is probably the most ridiculous example, possessing a main canon that fires a prism, then SHOOTS THE IN-FLIGHT PRISM WITH ITS BEAM to create perhaps the most over-the-top remote Beam Spam device ever! Making it perfect as the Large Ham Lelouch's personal mecha.
  • In Zatch Bell!, a minor villain early on in the series, Robnos, uses lasers as his main attack; Gash and Kiyomaro fight him in a warehouse filled with glass, and the lasers reflect all over the place. The lasers are quicker than the normally are for this trope, and are a continuous beam, but Kiyomaro figures out a position where it is not possible to be hit by them.
  • The Tournament Arc of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid has Lutecia using a spell called Reflect Mirage, which seems to work by aiming a Beam Spam at multiple remotely placed Round Shields, causing the beams to bounce all over the battlefield and bombard the target from different angles.

    Comic Books 
  • Cyclops of the X-Men. While his beam is an "optic blast of concussive force" and not a laser, it still bounces pretty well. He has a super-human spatial awareness that helps him pull this off (as well as making him a great pilot and pool player).

    Fan Works 
  • Power Rangers Take Flight has the Echo Blasters, which is a gun equipped with auto-targeting, and fires a laser that can bounce off surfaces to hit a target. The Rangers can also combine them with their Sky Blasters to form the Echo Enforcers. They end up destroyed after only one episode.

    Films — Animation 
  • Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear exploits this in Rex's video game sequence in the opening.
  • Cinderella III: A Twist in Time: When trying to demonstrate the Fairy Godmother's magic wand to her mother, Anastasia turns an ax-head into glass. A minute later, when fighting with its owner, Anastasia accidentally casts a beam of magic that bounces off the glass and onto the Fairy Godmother, turning her into a stone statue.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The climactic boat chase scene in Disney's live-action Condorman features a speedboat armed with a turret-mounted laser cannon. Naturally, several shots are seen reflecting off the (choppy) water.
  • Star Wars:
    • In A New Hope, Han fires a blaster shot at the door of the trash compactor to try and Shoot Out the Lock. The shot goes ricocheting crazily around the trash compactor. Handwaved by the door being "magnetically sealed," coupled with the fact that blasters are not lasers but plasma casters and use magnetic fields to accelerate the shot. How it kept going after it hit the wall the first time is another question entirely.
    • In the big battle between the Gungans and the droids in The Phantom Menace, you can see the occasional bolt bouncing off the ground.
    • At least one instance in the Star Wars Expanded Universe has a gun battle in a mirrored hallway. But the incident is a subversion: only faint echoes of the blaster shots reflect.
  • Robot Jox. In the Gladiator Games between two Humongous Mecha, one deflects a laser fired by the other with a mirror attached to his robot's arm.
  • In the 1979 Disney comedy A Spaceman in King Arthur's Court, Sir Mordred steals the laser gun of NASA astronaut Tom Trimble and goes to kill him with it, but Tom has anticipated this and got King Arthur to lend him his shining armor, which causes the beam to just bounce off.

  • In The Culture novel Consider Phlebas by Iain Banks, the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits attack a thoroughly moss and vegetation encrusted building. Once the greenery has been roasted off, it turns out that it is built from crystalline prisms and they end up burning and blinding each other with refracted laser fire. Roast by their own petard...
  • There's a weapon in the Artemis Fowl series that does this known as a softnose laser, a weapon ostensibly designed as a mining tool, the beam it emits is magically slowed down (and considering the setting this isn't as far-fetched as it seems} so it can destroy matter. It's described as firing a shot that "bounces around until it hits something."
  • The Patchwork Girl involves an attempted murder by laser fired through the window from the Moon's surface outside. There's an obvious suspect who was the only person outside at the time, but the investigator starts to wonder if someone used a solar mirror to bounce the shot from a nearby apartment. The only problem with this theory is no-one found any sign of a mirror. Turns out the antagonist used a flat sheet of ice buffed to a mirror-like shine, which would then evaporate when the rising sun hit, destroying the evidence. It doesn't work perfectly however, as the rising sun was already making the ice evaporate when the laser was fired, diffusing the beam just enough to inflict a non-fatal injury.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Knight Rider. KITT destroys KARR's laser by coaxing him to fire on Knight, then mirroring the driver-side window as an Attack Reflector.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. Averted in "The Phage". Voyager pursues a Vidiian ship into a hollow asteroid lined with reflective surfaces. Their solution was to fire a low-powered phaser beam which bounced around until it hit the non-reflective enemy ship.
  • Quark. Quark is given a rock-crystal necklace that he's told will make him invincible. He doesn't quite believe it until a guard fires a Disintegrator Ray at him, only to be killed when the beam reflects off the crystal and disintegrates the guard. Unfortunately this gives Quark false confidence because the crystal really doesn't have any special powers; it was just an example of this trope.
  • Blake's 7. In "Dawn of the Gods", the Liberator somehow survives after falling into a black hole. They try to blast their way out only to suffer Attack Backfire. At first they assume this is due to their spaceship being in an Eldritch Location, but it turns out the shiny walls are just reflecting back the neutron blast.
  • The Beaksmasher guns in Choujin Sentai Jetman fire these types of beams — they can even change direction in mid-air. The Jetmen can then combine them witht heir Bird Blasters to form the Smashbombers, which fire a big rolling ball of energy.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Reflec in Traveller is a type of armor that is only effective against laser weapons, fortunately it can be worn with other types of armor for additional protection.
  • In Paranoia, reflec is only partly effective, and then only against laser beams of equal or lower clearance. (The rules openly admit to Artistic License Physics; 1st edition had multi-color reflec, but they got tired of dealing with it.)
  • In Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, the Lightning Bolt spell functioned like this. Due to a mixture of the excessive complexity needed to figure out how the ricochets went along with the fact that it virtually insured that it was impossible to cast in confined spaces (like your typical dungeon) without massive friendly fire, it was widely viewed as a Scrappy Mechanic and removed when Third Edition was released.

    Video Games 
  • One upgrade from Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night allows Miriam to shoot a laser beam that will let her rapidly warp in the direction it aims. In most places, it will only be able to reflect off one surface at a time, but certain areas have mirrors that will let her reflect for as long as the beam is aimed at one of them.
  • In Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Ryu's Shinku Hadouken is amiable and now reflects off of the side of the stage. Even when there's nothing there to reflect it.
  • The R-Type series had this as perhaps its most memorable projectile, besides the huge laser you could charge up.
  • The Kirby series has the recurring Laser power, which bounces off any 45-degree angle slope. Kirby Super Star also has the Halberd's Reactor Core boss, which shoots a reflecting laser at you (naturally, you have to make the core shoot itself with its own laser).
  • The Gradius series, as the signature weapon of the Big Core Mk. III, which appears in III, IV and V. Befuddling in that these Reflect Lasers bounce off the surfaces of slightly thicker lasers fired above and below the player.
    • The above boss is spoofed in Gokujou Parodius, where the big lasers are candy-striped since it occurs at the end of Level Ate.
    • Gradius Gaiden puts a twist on this in its third stage, the crystal stage, where the crystals will refract lasers, allowing them to twist into otherwise hard-to-hit spots.
  • Gunstar Heroes, as the weapon of Seven Force's Tiger form.
  • Bangai-O, Dreamcast version. In the Nintendo 64 version and the DS sequel, they are Reflect Missiles that reflect in the direction of nearby enemies when they hit surfaces.
  • Used with increasingly infuriating frequency by the enemies in Space Invaders Extreme.
  • The Gemini Laser in Mega Man 3. And as a Continuity Nod in Mega Man 10.
    • Ashe's Laser Shot in Mega Man ZX Advent.
    • The Reflect Laser in Mega Man Zero 3, natch, which itself was a noticeable upgrade Copy-X Mk. II got for his resurrection.
    • And to a lesser extent, the Ray Arrow in Mega Man X6, although it always rebounds at a 90 degree angle.
  • The Beam Reflexor in Jak 3: Wastelander, which as an added bonus homes in on enemies. A few shots into a crowded room will clear it out in no time.
  • Used in the original Strider (Arcade) game.
  • Though it doesn't have lasers, in Nethack any visible beam will reflect off walls. This includes things like lightning bolts, bolts of cold, blasts of poison gas, and so on. Even disintegration beams, which you would think would destroy mere rock walls.
  • A major part of most puzzles in Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria, the path the beam takes is even displayed on the minimap since it'll be likely to be offscreen most of the time. It was also used to some extent in the original game, but most of its puzzles were more about proper positioning of the crystals the beams created.
  • Xenogears has one in the form of the Fort Jasper Cannon, though it's only fired in a cutscene; the effect it has on the eventual target is quite dramatic.
  • The Tau Cannon in Half-Life will reflect off walls if the angle is shallow enough. Otherwise it just goes through. Note however that it is a particle weapon, not an actual laser.
  • Castlevania:
  • Star Wars:
    • Sometimes, blaster shots (lasers) will reflect off of AT-AT's, AT-AA's, and AT-ST's in Empire at War, and off of the three phases of Dark Trooper in the expansion. The special ability of Endor increases the chance of that happening to 20%.
    • Wookie Bowcasters in various Star Wars video games do this. Supposedly because they're solid projectiles somehow "wrapped" in laser bolts.... But bear in mind that the technology referred to as "lasers" in Star Wars are actually plasma beam weapons. Since weapons referred to as lasers are just more powerful versions of blasters, it's generally presumed by fans that a laser cannon in the Star Wars universe is actually just a large blaster than incorporates an internal laser in its firing sequence.
    • The tie-in game for The Phantom Menace grants Captain Panaka one such weapon, called the Light Reflecting Laser, which bounces off walls until it hits a target. Other characters can use it too, by inserting a Cheat Code before reloading a game.
  • One of the Gun skills you learn in Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories is one where the character releases several orbs of light, then fires lasers from their gun in several directions. The orbs then reflect them to strike the target at several angles.
  • In Sword of the Stars, ships can be equipped with "reflective surfaces" that gives a small chance of deflecting lasers.
  • In the X-men fighting games by Capcom, Cyclops has a super move where he bounces his eye beams on the floor or walls.
  • Similarly, Cyclops's optic blast will ricochet off walls, floors, and ceilings if the button is held down for a second in the first X-Men game for the Sega Genesis. As Cyclops can't move while doing so, the utility of this is somewhat limited.
  • In the Super Smash Bros. games, some characters have Special Moves that can reflect projectiles, but this is mostly just a 180, not angling. However with precise aim and timing, it's possible to "bounce" projectiles off your shield and redirect them. In addition, Super Scope shots will angle off of hills slightly.
  • In The Dungeon Of Doom, walls reflect or absorb energy blasts at random. Shots that miss their target and bounce straight back might hit the target, the shooter, or neither.
  • Virtual-ON brings you Bal-Bados' aptly named Reflect Laser, in which Bal's laser reflects off its own beam shields. It is quite erratic in shooting and difficult to use, but in the hand of skilled Bal players it can be quite a Game-Breaker.
  • In An Untitled Story, the GrottoEye, the StoneEye and FireCage turrets all shoot lasers that bounce off surfaces a few times and then disintegrate (or in StoneEye's case, fly off into sky).
  • The LASER! Wisp from Sonic Colors does this.
  • The final boss of T260G's chapter in SaGa Frontier does this with its ultimate attack, Carnage, which fires several lasers that bounce off the monitors in the background several times before blasting the player's entire team.
  • In the second Dark Parables game, this trope is applied to unlock a secret in the palace armory - by reflecting the laser off of a crystal ball, mirrors, and polished shields.
  • In the PC-DOS game D/Generation, the laser weapon you pick up early in the game bounces off of walls and even triggers wall switches. Luckily your character will harmlessly soak up any shots that happen to bounce back and hit him.
  • The manual for Frontier: Elite II mentions this as being a possible, but quite rare result of firing lasers at an enemy ship, especially at a glancing angle. This may or may not have been true in-game.
  • In Crazy Planets, a Facebook game by Playfish, the Rebound Ray gets stronger the more times it bounces off surfaces before hitting a target. Since every level is on a circular planetoid, and not every level features narrow caverns or platforms hanging overhead, this weapon is seldom worth lugging around.
  • In the Bloons Tower Defense games, a lead bloon cannot be popped by weak lasers, but no beam is ever seen reflecting off of its lead surface. (There are richocheting projectiles, but lasers aren't among them.)
  • Bionic Commando Rearmed has the Vector Cannon, a laser rifle that fires beams of energy various angles and which will reflect off ceilings and floors to hit targets. It also has a fairly decent rate of fire, so filling a corridor with bouncing laser blasts is a good way to clear it out if you can afford the time to compensate for its so-so damage.
  • The Cabalco Death Ray in Blood II, despite the name, fires very powerful green hitscan laser beams that ricochet off surfaces.
  • Inverted in the game "Laser" (duh - your goal is to hit all targets with a laser) where the rays are blocked by almost any obstacle - even including other rays. To reflect a beam, you must explicitely insert a mirror stone (and the puzzle maker might have granted you a limited amount only).
  • Irem's X-Multiply has four lasers ricocheting around the Stage 3 Boss Room.
  • The Beam Rifle in Halo is capable of doing this; in fact, it's possible to (accidentally) kill multiple enemies with a single shot.
  • While not actually a laser, the Lightning Bolt spell in Infinity Engine titles Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate 2, and Icewind Dale functions like this. Which typically means that it will hit an enemy, bounce off a wall, then return and hit your party a few times.
  • Command & Conquer:
    • This is an ability of the Prism Tank in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, to make up for them being unable to combine their beams into one super-powered beam like the defensive Prism Towers can. The effect becomes more pronounced as the tank gains veterancy, reaching the point that at elite status even the reflected beams reflect further; it can be rather satisfying to have two or three elite Prism Tanks open fire on a harvester in the middle of an enemy base and watch them level half of that base in three seconds, on accident.
    • The superweapon of the United States of America in Command & Conquer: Generals works on this principle. The Particle Cannon on the ground charges up, then sends its beam into space where a system of orbital satellites reflect it back to where you want. It lasts 15 seconds and is very precise, more like a knife than the hammer of the other two superweapons used by China and the GLA. Precise enough, in fact, you can use it to write words.
  • The Reflector upgrade for the Laserkraftwerk in Wolfenstein: The New Order allows this, though reflected beams deal less damage.
  • The Exotic Linear Fusion Rifle "Sleeper Simulant" from Destiny reflects multiple times after hitting any hard surface. Its Destiny 2 iteration instead reflects into multiple beams upon doing the same.

    Western Animation 
  • The Ghost Dematerializer's beams in Filmation's Ghostbusters are prone to this. A badly-aimed shot could even destroy the Dematerializer itself!
  • Intentionally invoked in Beast Wars, albeit with a laser built for communication, not as a weapon: long-range communication was rendered impossible due to energon interference, so bouncing a laser off the moon was the only way to signal a downed stasis pod and activate its DNA scanners.
  • Frankenstein Jr. featured boy genius Buzz use his "radar ring" to activate and summon the eponymous robot by bouncing a visible beam off satellites, mountains, buildings — darn near anything. No matter how far away, he always made the beam arrive at his father's lab at just the right angle to wake up Frankie.
  • Totally Spies! takes this to a ludicrous conclusion. At one point, Clover is trapped in a metal room, and her lipstick laser isn't strong enough to melt through the door. So, she uses two compact mirrors, shoots the laser into one, causing them to reflect into each other repeatedly, only to turn off her laser, somehow not stopping it from bouncing repeatedly between the mirrors, then turning each mirror to face the door, each one a separate laser, now powerful enough to melt through.


Video Example(s):


Gemini Man

Gemini Man is one of the eight robot masters from the third Mega Man game. His special weapon is Gemini Laser, a beam of light energy that can reflect off the walls it hits. Defeating him gives Mega Man his weapon. (Gameplay done by NafrielX) (

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Example of:

Main / ReflectingLaser

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