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When Kiting mobs in an MMORPG, circle strafing around a hopelessly confused mass of enemies in an FPS, or fleeing from unwanted engagements in an Action-Adventure, one tends to have the funny feeling that there's something blatantly unrealistic about the situation, but what?

Then it dawns on you: The Player Character's primary movement speed in most titles is as fast as or faster than every other entity in the entire game. The reason you're a One-Man Army who can face down hordes of enemies is that you can never actually be surrounded, allowing you to pick and choose your fights, literally run rings around foes, and retreat at your convenience.

If there are speedy enemies, expect them to stop chasing you outside a "safe" zone, or to move more slowly than you except for short bursts and charges.

Often aggravated by a specific form of Artificial Stupidity in which NPCs aren't simply slower than PCs, but their mobility is hindered by the literal inability to perform many actions the PC can, such as eight-way run/aim, multitasking, crouching, crawling, jumping, wading/swimming, climbing, and operating doors/switches.

See also Hit-and-Run Tactics, not to do with Leeroy Jenkins though a Leeroy might abuse this fact. Beware of Homing Boulders!


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    Action Adventure 
  • The Legend of Zelda lets Link run faster than most enemies and certainly more agile, but it's not often obvious because most enemies only stop moving when they are shooting. This is useful, because they do Collision Damage and you have very short range.
  • In the first ToeJam & Earl game, ToeJam is slightly faster than Earl though his health bar is smaller.

    Action Game 
  • Your most important weapon in a 3D Ninja Gaiden is your mobility.
  • In Atari Games' Road Runner Licensed Game, the Road Runner can run circles around the coyote chasing him, naturally.
  • In the Batman: Arkham Series, Batman has insane speed. It might not seem like much, but you can run away from any enemy. Not that you'd want to, as you can just beat 'em up. In fact, the combat is all about utilizing Batman's insane agility by being able to instantly switch targets no matter how far across the map they are (the limit is so high you'll probably never hit it in normal gameplay and think Batman would probably teleport to his opponent if need be) and can easily dodge and counter every attack thrown at you. It's also easy to, in the stealth segments, quickly run to a hiding spot or swing between multiple vantage points so fast they'll lose sight of you even if you switch between the two same ones. DLC characters Nightwing and Catwoman are even faster, though they're not quite as powerful.

    First Person Shooter 
  • Aliens vs. Predator: Part of the Early-Installment Weirdness of the first game (from 1999) is that the Marine character zooms around at Doom-like speeds; fast enemies like Xenomorphs can keep up with you, but nothing is going to dogpile you as long as you keep moving (granted, due to much of the game taking place in narrow corridors this isn't always possible). Later games in the series reduce the Marine's speed to a more realistic amount to create a more proper horror atmosphere.
  • Borderlands 2 ups the characters' running speed drastically to shorten travel time in maps without vehiclesnote  – no matter who you're playing as, normal walking is comparable to Borderlands's sprinting, and sprinting is as fast as Lilith's Phasewalk. Crouching and walking while aimed is just as ponderous as always, but then again, if you're doing either, speed is hardly your top priority. At the same time, quite a few melee-focused enemies (i.e. Thresher Maws) still move considerably faster than you do, so you can't just circle-strafe your way through fights like in Doom or Serious Sam.
  • In Call of Duty's Nazi Zombies mode, this is referred to as "running a train" or "training." Players will often run around, being chased by a horde of zombies, until they get in a good position to mow them down with automatic fire, blow them up with explosives, or otherwise incapacitate them with wonder weapons.
  • Descent even goes so far that it's possible to outrun missiles and Slow Lasers!
  • Doom's protagonist can run at more than 40 MPH. Enemies seem almost stationary in comparison.
  • Doom (2016) keeps this element, with the Doom Slayer being inhumanly fast and outspeeding virtually every demon he faces at all times. Doom Eternal downplays this by reducing Doom Slayer's movement speed but giving him a dodge move that lets him dash around the arena or dodge attacks while trading gunfire with demons. The result is that enemies can outrun you in a straight line, but you can dodge circles around them with your dodge move (but it requires more skill than simply circle strafing as you need to time the dodges correctly).
  • Half-Life attempts to justify this with a mention of a company-sponsored decathlon in the introductory scene, suggesting that Gordon Freeman has reason to be experienced at both running, jumping and handling firearms.
  • The player characters in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. can sprint to outrun any mutant, provided they aren't wearing the Exoskeleton Powered Armor, which prevents sprinting. Keeping a couple energy drinks or stamina-enhancing artifacts on hand lets you sprint nigh-indefinitely.
  • Quake retains the Doom tradition of the player being much faster than any enemy in the game. Even the Fiend, which does move faster than you do, can't keep pace with you because its A.I. makes it move in a zig-zag (to evade gunfire) instead of a straight line. The extremely annoying Slimes can outpace you but are extremely rare and limited to a single episode.
  • In the first two Serious Sam games, Sam can strafe-run something fierce, which makes the colossal distances slightly more bearable. In contrast, though, practically every single Mook moves even faster, and the infamous Beheaded Kamikazes run just as fast as you, so once they get close enough there's no escaping the explosion. BFE allows Sam to sprint, and even then charging Werebulls are still faster than him.

    Fighting Game 
  • In Punch-Out!!, Little Mac is able to take on opponents many times his size with his superior speed.

    Hack And Slash  
  • In Diablo II, the player is essentially the fastest thing on the map. He has a Sprint Meter, but at higher levels it's too big to make a difference. Except in very enclosed spaces, running is nearly always an option. This is why the most dangerous enemies in the game are those that do ice damage (causing you to slow down,) Spam Attack quickly enough to stunlock you, or mob you tightly enough to obscure the Town Portal you're frantically trying to click on.
  • Most Dynasty Warriors games (as well as the various spinoffs) has this to a greater or lesser degree. Generally, you can outrun all the Mooks and Red Shirts you want to, but enemy (named) officers can keep up with you, give or take. However, there's always ways to increase your speed, from pickups, equipment, skills, or good old-fashioned stat-grinding. Noteable examples:
    • In Dynasty Warriors 6, some characters have a 'dash' special which, when used, allows them to temporarily move at blinding speed, attacking in the process, and carving through entire armies in the blink of an eye.
    • Dynasty Warriors 7 allows you to stack two 'Run Speed Up' enhancements (one on each of your weapons), which will give you a run-speed faster than any of the normal horses. Pick up a Speed Boot item on top of that, and you can outrun Red Hare, the fastest horse in the land.
    • Also in DW7, a bug made it possible for Zhen Ji to essentially activate a 'reverse Bullet Time' by canceling out of a particular move, granting her super-speed - in this state, she can outpace Red Hare by DEFAULT. Stack a Speed Boot on top of it, and you'll be able to cross even the biggest maps in the game in seconds, moving fast enough that it's hard to dodge the mountains.

  • Very few non-player characters in Runescape can run.
  • In City of Heroes, every player character, no matter their powers, receives three different abilities for increasing movement speed for free. All three be used together, and any of the three would be sufficient to outstrip 99% of the enemies in the game on its own. On top of that, a plethora of abilities are available to increase the player character's movement even further.
  • In World of Warcraft, the players are generally at least slightly faster than most mobs... unless they can get a hit in. Then you get dazed, and move at the speed of a snail with a sore foot, thus allowing dozens of things to surround you.
  • Varies quite a bit in Final Fantasy XIV:
    • Enemies usually run at the same speed as the player, but they won't be able to keep up if the player uses their Sprint skill. Certain enemy types, such as the huge turtles, are slow by default and are easy to escape from. All enemies will chase the player down, regardless of speed, but they'll stop chasing you after a while since they're bound to whatever area they spawn in. Riding on a mount is a lot faster than running on foot, so enemies can never catch you if you're riding by. However, to prevent players from blazing through areas they're not supposed to be in due to level differences, being hit while riding a mount might inflict the player with the Heavy status, reducing their movement speed. Monks have a skill that lets them move faster and Bards can have the entire party move faster as well, but once the party gets into a battle, the effect is removed.
    • Enemies inside dungeons may sometimes run faster than the player and they won't stop chasing you unless they run into a barrier that is erected when a boss fight ensues. Hunt marks in the overworld will also chase players down with alarming speed.
    • The Eureka and Bozja zones can give players access to a super boosted form of Sprint through the Sprint L / Lost Sprint action skill where the player can run at insane speeds for a few seconds and no enemy can keep up. This is mostly used to help the player get away if they're surrounded or need to break aggro on an enemy that's attacking them.
  • In Elsword, as an action-platformer RPG, it's usually easy to run around enemies to avoid their attacks and to group them together in one place for your wide area attacks. It's also a necessity when fighting bosses.

    Platform Game 
  • After Mega Man X, the greatest advantage a player has over most enemies (including many bosses) is in the player's vastly superior speed and or agility. The reverse is true in Mega Man (Classic), where some Robot Masters are notoriously difficult precisely because they are substantially faster and more mobile than Mega Man, such as Quick Man and Slash Man.
  • Common Metroid trope, starting with Super Metroid.
  • Pretty much the main concept of Mirror's Edge. You are strongly encouraged to use your speed and agility to avoid melee whenever possible.
  • Whether through the use of momentum or pure unadulterated speed, this is one of the main features of the Sonic the Hedgehog series.
  • Mario, when he's B-dashing, can run faster than basically anything else.
    • Luigi is faster than practically everything in the Super Mario Galaxy games.
    • It comes to a particularly ridiculous point in Super Paper Mario with Dashell. Without Dashell, Mario, Luigi, and Peach can already outrun just about everything in that game (including sound). With Dashell, you'll probably get hurt because you didn't see the enemy coming at the edge of the screen.
  • Spelunky plays this mostly straight (a couple of enemies don't move at all), but you get a nasty surprise if you irritate the shopkeeper. He runs and jumps exactly as well as you do, plus he has a shotgun and can toss you through the air if he touches you.

  • In Forza Motorsport 3, NPC drivers do not utilize any upgrades - a bit daft in a game entirely about Character Customization - meaning that the player's vehicle will almost always be significantly faster. Even without upgrades, the player can get on the throttle and brake more aggressively than the AI. Then there's the Loophole Abuse like going to, say, a French-themed tournament made for little Peugots while driving a 1000 horsepower Bugatti Veyron. Forza 4 and later games rectify the AI's stupidity and patch up the loophole abuse.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • In Battle Zone 1998 and the sequel, the player's Hover Tank can move faster than AI controlled ones, primarily due to the AI only moving at ~80% throttle. The player can also add in a Diagonal Speed Boost by firing their jump thrusters and angling the nose of the tank downwards. AI Walkers and treaded vehicles, however, move at roughly the same speed as player controlled ones.
  • The player in Factorio normally only moves at a brisk jog, though it is enough to dodge Biter attacks as they cannot move and attack simultaneously.
  • In Total War: Warhammer some units favor this approach, particularly ranged fast cavalry. This is a common tactic against the dark elf lord Malus Darkblade, who has the ability to allow a demon to possess him. At which point the entire army save a sacrificial unit or two may run away, as while he's incredibly deadly in melee combat and will never flee, he's relatively slow moving and the possession makes him take damage over time. Forcing him to chase you until he falls over is the most efficient, if undignified, way of dealing with his possessed form once the rest of his army has been defeated.

  • In The Binding of Isaac, Isaac is faster and more maneuverable than most enemies and uses a range weapon to attack, which is absolutely necessary to make up for his low health, relative rarity of health restoring, and roguelike nature of the game.
  • Dungeon Crawl features spriggans, tengu, felids, merfolk, and centaurs (in older versions),. All examples have drawbacks, most commonly from being Fragile Speedsters — spriggans are exceptionally fast but also exceptionally frail, tengu are almost as squishy and only speed up when they start flying at level 5, felids are even frailer and can't use most equipment, merfolk are only fast in water, and centaurs were skilled in ranged combat but unskilled at other forms of combat (including defending themselves).
  • In many character builds, this is almost mandatory in order to survive the later game of Elona. Enemies will have vastly more health than can be safely dispatched in a couple rounds, so shooting and scooting is desired, especially if your race is something naturally frail like a fairy or quickling, who both excel at this tactic.

    Role Playing Game 
  • In Persona 3, the player is faster than any non-gold (who run away from the player if spotted) shadow unless they hit you from the side. This allows quickly bypassing most enemies.
    • Persona 4 is similar in this regard, given that it runs off the same engine, and if you manage to get far away enough, the enemies will quit chasing you. However, they can immediately resume the chase if they catch wind of you.
    • Persona 5 actually has a Dash option in the main dungeons (though this can alert foes to your presence, which is why hiding / ambushing is preferred), and in Mementos your vehicle is more than capable of outrunning the enemies, though they will not stop chasing you until either you're caught, you enter a different battle, or you escape to a different floor.
  • Any games in the Tales Series featuring the Free Run mechanic let you literally dodge everything by running circles around your enemies. It's especially evident in Tales of the Abyss, where it was introduced, and only one boss was fast enough to actively chase you down.
  • In Might and Magic VI and VII your party can easily run away from any opposition in the game, even if three out of four of you are stoned, paralysed, unconscious, dead or eradicated, and in the last case the mere fact that your comrades have been reduced to their component atoms doesn't stop them from carrying their fair share of inventory nor slow you down in the slightest.
  • This trope is the main survival tool of the main character in the Gothic series while he's low level.
  • Very much true in Dragon Age II, where your party (especially the squishier characters, like Anders and Bethany) will die quickly if you don't have them run run run out of the mobs' reach. Rogues are built with Hit-and-Run Tactics in mind, with plenty of ways to get away from enemies (or towards them so you can stab) even faster.
  • Zigzagged in Dark Souls, where your greatest advantage is being able to run like hell and roll out of the way of attacks that would flatten you otherwise (even moreso if you aren't loaded down with heavy equipment.) Some bosses and enemies (like Ornstein and Artorias) can close the distance really quickly if they want to, however.

    Shoot Em Up 
  • In Geometry Wars, you're the fastest thing in the game ... in the beginning levels. However you do remain the most maneuverable.

    Simulation Game 
  • Animal Crossing series draws its outdoor scenes space-compressed, with each grid cell representing what appears to be 1 m by 1 m indoors or 4 m by 4 m outdoors. While NPC villagers have a reasonably slow walking speed outdoors, the player can still run at 1 cell-length per 16 frames (with 60 frames in a second), which in outdoor areas equals 54 km/h, and "crossing" the 64-cell (256 m) wide town in Wild World takes 17 seconds flat. Given the amount of running back and forth that the player needs to do between the sources and sinks for Shop Fodder, it's a desirable break.
  • In Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy, many of the aircraft piloted by Mooks will fly slower than the player's stall speed, even if it's the same model of plane. It's most noticeable if the player is shot down; passing aircraft will float by like a feather.

    Stealth Based Game 
  • Assassin's Creed plays with this. Most enemy soldiers are as fast as you, almost as jump capable, can knock you down with thrown stones and arrows if you try to out-climb them, and rarely have trouble moving through crowds. And if there's enough of them, never seem to lose sight of you. However, no one climbs buildings at a rate even close to yours. Your speed advantage in the game is more vertical than anything else, and once you get to the top of the buildings, it is easy to lose your pursuers.
    • Assassin's Creed II Ezio is apparently the only man in Italy who can swim. This makes those who can outrun you Fragile Speedsters. This leads to a battlecruiser-style approach where you outrun those who outfight you and outfight those who can outrun you.
  • Sure, you'll more than likely get shot in Hitman, but all that training in Colombia should assure you that guards can't hit anything that's strafing from side to side.
  • Dishonored gives you a very fast running speed right off the bat, increased even further with potential skill upgrades and Bonecharms. Fitting, given the focus on stealth having you navigating rooftops and skillfully zipping around guards. The sequel ramps it up with even more Bonecharm variety, and the ability to craft your own Bonecharms capable of stacking the base effects of normal charms up to 4 times. With the right combination of charms, you can even find yourself sneaking at the base sprint speed, and sprinting like a race horse!

    Survival Horror 

    Third Person Shooter 
  • In Warframe, even the slowest Warframes like Rhino and Frost are capable of outrunning any mook even without using mobility enhancing upgrades. Loki is so fast that bouncing off doors before they automatically open can become an annoyance. In the Archwing missions in open space or water, the Archwing can outrun any enemy, though enemies employ a number of special units to prevent the player from utilizing their afterburners. And with a roster full of Road Runner PC's, Gauss manages to be The Speedster of the whole cast with a kit built specifically around going insanely fast. In early versions of his kit, the FOV was tied to his speed, and with certain buffs and Mod combinations, it could make for some trippy visuals as you find yourself sprinting from one end of Plains of Eidolon to the other in mere seconds.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • To a degree in all XCOM games, most prominent in X-COM: Apocalypse. Most aliens are a bit slower than even the fresh recruits and have slower rate of fire. Trained operatives double or even triple their speed. And thanks to the roundoff running 1 step in turn-based mode takes no stamina, allowing your people to always run without getting tired. Somewhat trained operatives with submachine guns and police pistols can pop in, shoot a few mooks, hide, and have enough time units for reaction shots (unless a multiworm shows up). A colonel with a class B toxin gun (and some luck) can singlehandedly capture a medium UFO.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • The PC in Mercenaries 2 sprints at an average speed... but the enemy bullets are so slow you can almost outrun them.
  • A core gameplay element of [PROTOTYPE], with only helicopters able to match the main character's speed. Of course, you're also tough enough to crack open a tank with a shoulder drop.
  • Just Cause, the player is equipped with a grappling gun and can use an infinite supply of parachutes to achieve Not Quite Flight, giving them vastly superior speed and flexibility of movement while most of the enemies fight on foot or from vehicles that don't fare well in rough terrain (which hardly hinders the player). The player can also hijack any vehicle in a flash, and runs faster than foes on foot.
  • The X-Universe:
    • From X2: The Threat to X3: Albion Prelude, the player ship wasn't necessarily the fastest (as you're flying the same ships as everyone else), but many (primarily the City Guards) NPC ships weren't equipped with engine tunings, allowing the player to outrun ships a weight class below them. When combined with the player's Diagonal Speed Boost from strafing thrusters and the Artificial Stupidity making the AI overly cautious around stations, it was easy for players to zip out of range of enemy guns.
    • The player's ship in X: Rebirth has a slow standard movement speed, but its massive boosters allow it to outrun almost anything in the game so long as there is shield capacity remaining to power the boosters.
  • Nine out of ten boss guides in Terraria begins with "construct an arena that maximizes your speed and mobility". Given how Nintendo Hard the bosses are, you need to dance circles around them just to be able to survive.
  • In Minecraft an under-equipped but skilled player will usually take advantage of the fact that they are the only entity that can sprint, making them faster than the monsters they'll face. This is an essential tactic to avoid getting surrounded if caught outside at night.