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"By some unimaginable level of control, the blinding shaft of energy split in two."
Jack McKinney, novelization of Robotech's Macross Saga

Missiles or beam weapons that fire along trajectories that are at an unlikely angle off of their target, streak along for a fair distance, and then make sudden synchronized turns in order to actually bring themselves to bear and hit it. The individual missiles of a Macross Missile Massacre almost always Robotech on their way to a target. Often, it seems the best (or only) way to avoid this or a Macross Missile Massacre is to perform a High-Speed Missile Dodge.

Named for the adaptation of several anime known as Robotech, in which the behavior was first seen in the West.

Subtrope of Homing Projectile. When lasers do this, it's Homing Lasers. See also Magic Missile Storm, which is likely to involve this trope. When an unguided projectile does this because a game engine assumes attacks always hit, it's Homing Boulders.

See also Bizarre and Improbable Ballistics.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball:
    • When Piccolo was still an antagonist in the 23rd Tenka'ichi Budokai, when he fires a powerful Ki Manipulation at Goku, leaving him to run and fly around the arena. Goku, however runs towards him, and Flash Steps out of the way, severely injuring Piccolo. Though, this is the first time Goku learned that it wasn't much of an inconvenience for Piccolo...
    • Goku was able to control where his Kamehameha was going both against Demon King Piccolo (the original Piccolo) and Raditz.
    • Yamcha's So Ki Dan (Spirit Ball in the English dub) which he could continuously redirect at its target.
    • In Dragon Ball Z, Piccolo becomes irritated at Android 17's ability to dodge his attacks, and develops the Hellzone Grenade, which fires a swarm of small energy blasts at seemingly random angles. They hover in a rough sphere around the target, at which point Piccolo exclaims "Try dodging this," and it goes boom. Predictably enough, in the various Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi games the attack is perfectly dodgeable as long as you time it right, but not in the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai games (entirely different set of games, believe it or not). In those, you can only dodge the initial combo that triggers the cutscene-based attack. The only way Piccolo can screw it up then is if he fails the quicktime event, and even then, it only results in fewer grenades, not a dodge.
  • Eureka Seven's Nirvash type theEND has a barrage of homing lasers. They all robotech. Sometimes they gather together and re-robotech. Pick any fight between theEND and anyone else. See for yourself.
  • Fate/Zero: The dogfight between Gilgamesh and Berserker has the former's Storm of Blades and the latter's Knight of Owner-corrupted missiles changing trajectory wildly in a deliberate Shout-Out to Macross.
  • Many of the ships in Gall Force do this too, as lasers will be shot out at right angles to their ship, and once clearing the hull profile, make a 90-degree turn forward to bombard their target.
  • TenRyuJin's 'Hikari to Yami no Mai' in GaoGaiGar FINAL does this — she fires off chaff missiles, then bounces maser shots off the chaff (based on an attack the first Big Bad of the series used). And yes, she does comment on how hard the calculations are. When EI-01 used it originally, he was using every computer in Tokyo as a distributed computing network to handle them.
  • Also in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind, the Stand Sex Pistols/Six Bullets can intercept bullets mid-flight and redirect them wherever they need to go. This may not technically be Roboteching, but it will appear that way to those who don't have a Stand.
  • In Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Stardust Crusaders, the "cowboy" Hol Horse has the Emperor a stylish revolver that lets Hol robotech his bullets mid-flight. It helps that Emperor is a Stand, rather than an actual revolver.
  • In Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, Shigure managed to pull this off with shuriken!
  • The Divine Shooter/Axel Shooter spell of Lyrical Nanoha—magic missiles whose individual flight paths Nanoha can control to streak towards different targets. Teana's Cross Fire Shoot can also do this, but she doesn't have the same level of finesse that Nanoha demonstrates.
  • Hikaru's Flame Arrows in Magic Knight Rayearth. Much more egregious in the OAV continuity where, even though they're shot straight at an enemy, the fire bursts robotech around and past the target and then strike it in the back.
  • The missile attacks in the third episode of Martian Successor Nadesico are intentionally choreographed to the point of outright parody as part of the show's affectionate tweaking of classic super robot anime tropes.
  • In Gundam ZZ, the Psyco Gundam Mark II is supposed to do something similar with its beam weapons. It releases "mirrors" which are used to redirect the beam weapons around obstacles and from angles which regular pilots wouldn't expect.
    • Perhaps the first straightforward example of this for beam weapons goes to the Forbidden Gundam from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED which featured the deadly ability to curve its beam cannon shots using its Mirage Colloid technology to bend the particles around the attack. On the flip side, it did the same thing to incoming beam attacks, bending them away from it so they couldn't hit.
    • The same system appears again in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, as part of the Shamblo. Here, as well as using it to confuse the opponent, it was also used to reflect incoming beam attacks back at the attacker.
    • This was touched on again in Gundam 00, where Louise Halevy's Regnant is shown to be extremely dangerous due to the fact that that the shots from its main beam cannon were able to change their paths multiple times.
      • From the same series, the Fangs: basically funnels with beam sabers built into them, designed to slice their target to pieces in close combat. It takes Soma Peries and a Bigger Stick mobile suit's inhuman reaction speed to even hit them.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam AGE continues it with SID's beam weapons, which robotech all over the place. Justified in that SID is using Lost Technology that is far more advanced than what anyone else has.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi :
    • In her Pactio powered-up form, Chachamaru from the anime is seen using a roboteching Beam Spam attack that emerges from her back.
    • Most of Negi's magic missiles act this way too.
  • Pokémon:
    • In Pokémon Adventures, the Kanto Elite Four all have special powers from out of freaking nowhere, and Lance's is that his mons' Hyper Beams can robotech. (Even when they're not controlled by the computer, the Elite Four are cheating bastards!)
    • And then in Pokémon the Series: Black & White, there's the two-part special wherein Landorus' Therian Forme uses Stone Edge, and the rocks fly all over the place seeking out Iris' Dragonite. Especially bizarre given no other Stone Edge has been shown to have this effect.
  • Used in Project A-Ko — though, oddly, a freeze-frame reveals the missiles to be cans of Coca-Cola. This is a parody of several missiles fired in Macross: Do You Remember Love?, where some of the missiles were drawn as cans of beer.
  • Similarly, some robot-controlled planes in RahXephon are launched straight upwards and suddenly turn downwards to attack their target from above.
  • In Reborn! (2004), Gokudera's Rocket Bomb attack does this with hand-thrown dynamite by having secondary and tertiary charges explode to allow him to control the trajectory. At least some mention is made of how difficult a technique this is.
  • The first Rebuild of Evangelion film features a bunch of missiles fired at Ramiel that behave this way—fired straight up into the sky and suddenly execute a 90-degree turn to aim at the target.
    • And the third film follows right up with an Angel-like entity that behaves not unlike a funnel, repeatedly pulling off downright insane high-speed turns as it charges at Unit-02.
  • Being the source show for Robotech's Macross Saga, Super Dimension Fortress Macross is perhaps the "true" codifier of this trope.
  • The beam fired by the Psychogun in Space Adventure Cobra can swerve around obstacles to strike unerringly its target. Justified by it being a completely mind-controlled weapon, projecting his Qi life force as deadly beams.
  • In Space Battleship Yamato, Gamilus uses mirror satellites to direct their reflex cannon at the Yamato even when it is on the other side of a planet from their base. Fridge Logic asks, if they have something that Frickin' Laser Beams just bounce right off of, why not use it for shields? Eventually the good guys do exactly this to defend against the Desler Cannon. It's a pretty awesome Deus ex Machina, but it doesn't explain why the Gamilusians didn't think of it first.
    • Of course, any surface that can reflect combat lasers is scientifically wrong. Only partially focused beams would be reflected easily (which is how mirror satellites would work); fully focused beams used to cause actual damage would roast any mirror in microseconds.
    • In Yamato 2199, the Reflex Satellites are a force field based satellites - same effect, but no mirror.
  • In Space Runaway Ideon, the missiles Ideon fires act like this. When they are powered by the god-like Ide, they then fire off as beams of light, with 90-degree angles.
  • In Strike Witches the neuroi attack using beams that robotech, even when the targets are very close.
  • In Transformers: Energon, Wing Optimus's "Meteor Attack Mode" fires a Beam Spam along with a small Chest Blaster, which then absorbs the individual streams of energy to form an insanely powerful Wave-Motion Gun.
  • Done in Vandread with any kind of missile spam. The Nirvana does this with energy shots that can dodge friendly vehicles when properly targeted on the way to the enemy. An extreme example of gravitational lensing perhaps, although given the abilities of the show's Applied Phlebotinum, the Pixis, it could easily not have even a dubious scientific explanation. Then again, the standard guns of the Dread fighters display a more limited, but similar, principle.
  • Beams fired by Nobles' ships in Wolf's Rain will maneuver quite extensively to track their target, if they don't hit it straight. At one point, a single beam splits in two to hit different targets.

    Comic Books 
  • A deliberate ability of Darkseid's Omega blast, from The DCU. He targets exactly where he wants it to go, and it will avoid obstacles in the way. They also tend to take showy, pointless zig-zags absolutely everywhere in the process of chasing a target if the shot is straightforward; supposedly, Darkseid does that to make a point that there is no dodging them.
  • Also seen in the Ultimate Nullifer in the Marvel Universe.
  • In the earlier issues of Image Comics' Stormwatch, Flashpoint (one of the members of Stormwatch Prime) had the ability to control the direction and intensity of his eye blasts. It was very cool. Too bad the character was a prime Jerkass and The Mole (actually, all three members of Stormwatch Prime were moles, but he was the only one who enjoyed it and stayed evil. He got his in the end, too.)

  • District 9 does this in the climactic battle involving with MNU against the Powered Armor—the missiles it fires Robotech around the buildings hitting near the mercenaries.
  • The film Runaway includes a handgun that fires target-seeking minimissiles.
  • In the film adaptation of the comic book Wanted, this is the power of all the main characters. They do it with bullets. Fired from regular guns.

  • The Honor Harrington novels portray the anti-ship missiles as having to make various last-second maneuvering to counter their targets' attempt at a High-Speed Missile Dodge (usually involving a ship either pitching or rolling to interpose their impenetrable wedge), though the descriptions of this gradually disappear from the narrative over the course of the series. Later books introduce multi-stage missiles and off-bore firing capacity, allowing both broadsides to be delivered to a target without fancy maneuvers to bring them directly to bear. Later Apollo Technology is designed with very long range control allowing the missiles to go ballistic before engaging the third drive allowing Roboteching over several light minutes. However, there is no "vertical" launch system for missiles because there is not enough clearance to activate the missile drive before it crashes into the ship's own wedge.
  • The Sten novels feature a sniper rifle capable of curving the trajectory of its bullet. It's used to shoot people who are hiding behind corners.
  • In Super Powereds, this is Professor Ariel Baker's ability. She uses special ammo that she mentally marks with a special glyph. She marks her targets with the same glyph. She doesn't even have to aim at that point, as the projectile will find its target even at extreme distances. Naturally, this makes her an excellent sniper, as her former Hero name Impact indicates.
  • The first novel of The Zone series by James Rouch opens with a Soviet T-84 tank being taken out by a missile this way through its vulnerable top armor. It's used as an Establishing Character Moment showing this series of war novels is a bit more high tech than the average pulp war novel (published in 1980, before the technothriller became a genre of its own).

    Live-Action TV 
  • One episode of Airwolf had a missile fired in very approximately the direction of the enemy ground troops. They laughed when they saw the missile's flight path wouldn't bring it near enough to hurt them. Then the gunner activated the terminal-guidance laser....
  • In the Stargate-verse, Ancient Drone weapons are mentally controlled by the one who fires them, and are extremely maneuverable, resulting in some seriously impressive Roboteching at times. They've been known to loop around friendlies, blast through enemies, then turn around to hit them again.
  • Kamen Rider Double's Luna Trigger form fires Roboteching energy bullets; its Maximum Drive, Trigger Full Burst, fires a barrage of them.
  • Red Dwarf: The episode Polymorph features bazookoid weapons that fire heat-seeking laser bolts, which are eventually trapped going round and round in a circle on a deserted deck and eventually pop up as a Chekhov's Gun to kill the enemy. Unusually, the novelization still calls them laser bolts and does not substitute something more scientifically accurate, which it does for several other technologies from the series.
  • Ultraman Max: DASH's missiles curve and follow their targets, or randomly fly before hitting them. And it's awesome.

    Tabletop Games 
  • While standard BattleTech missiles are generally not depicted as doing this, capital missiles (used by large spacecraft) of the tele-operated kind maneuver more like fighters and can execute course corrections for as long as their fuel lasts. Strategic Operations adds more options such as bearing-only launches (where a capital missile flies to a predetermined waypoint and only then goes live and locks onto the nearest eligible target).
  • One of the Champions rulebooks has statistics for an energy beam that follows the target until it hits. The rules were complex enough to defy even Champions attack powers, so the designers wrote it up as a summoned creature instead.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has a (fairly high-level) effect that modifies a normal ranged spell to keep trying if it misses the target. Under the right set of circumstances, you can have Disintegrate rays doing loops around a target until the duration expires or the target is hit.
    • This is also often an explanation given by GM's and some source materials as to why the spell Magic Missile (and, in certain versions, some higher level versions) ALWAYS hits its target.
  • Mutants & Masterminds supports three different feats for this. Indirect lets you explicitly avoid obstacles between you and the target. Ricochet allows one bounce per level. Homing makes the attack continue trying to hit after you fire it off.
  • Star Fleet Battles either averts this or plays it straight, depending both on how many drones (missiles) are used, and how clever you are at utilizing the rules. (The rules require that drones always move towards their target at every opportunity, which limits Roboteching. However, if there are a lot of drones, there's a number of tactics involving small, transporter-layed mines that can really spoil your day that Roboteching can seriously blunt.)
  • Rare fantasy example: The Egyptian-themed undead Tomb Kings in Warhammer field archers equipped with magic arrows that, in the fluff, do exactly this- at some points they even soar past the target entirely, only to change direction in mid-air and hit enemies in the back. In the actual game, this is represented by their having no positive or negative modifiers to hit, ever.
  • Tau Smart Missile Systems in Warhammer 40,000 are said to work like this. Units with a Markerlight can designate a target, allowing a nearby Skyray to shoot it even without line of sight.
    • Several other factions have their own analogues, like the Imperial Hunter-Seeker missiles or Ork Grot Bomms. That latter is particularly notable since it is actually piloted by a Grot, each one is a volunteer that the Ork meks conveniently forget to tell, or just won't bother informing, that it's a one way trip.

    Video Games 
  • Some missiles on ground attack planes in the Ace Combat series do an interesting variation of this; They fly straight out from the aircraft normally, but instead of proceeding directly to their target they will instead track towards it while maintaining altitude....and then diving down on the target from above. This can be helpful, such as in the case of shooting a target surrounded by walls, or a hindrance if trying to hit something underneath overhanging cover, such as an overpass.
    • This is the key ability of Quick Maneuver Air-to-Air Missiles. Their ability to turn in the air makes them far better than standard missiles at tracking and staying with targets.
    • Some cruise missiles will do this to avoid your attacks, leading you on a rather spinny chase.
    • The CFA-44 Nosferatu's All Direction Multi-Purpose Missiles play this trope completely straight, launching out like countermeasure flares before suddenly turning towards whatever it is locked on to and closing in for the kill.
  • The early Apple Macintosh game Airborne! (lone anti-aircraft gunner in the corner vs. the world) gave you the option of guided or unguided shells. With the former, the mouse controlled all friendly bullets on the screen as a unit, turning them into an undulating wave.
  • In Angry Birds, the main gimmick of Hal the boomerang bird is to do this.
  • In the FunOrb game "Arcanists," several arcane spells fire homing energy attacks that can turn on a dime to hit enemies around a corner.
  • The Flash game The Arrow Of Time has rockets that fly from the bottom of the screen and then turn to hit you. On firework rockets in 1746.
  • The Wind Laser in Axelay shoots four beams from the aft of the ship, then they curve forward to hit what's in front.
  • Infantry anti-tank missiles in Battlefield 2 and 2142 can be guided in-flight by the player. While their turning ability is limited, it is quite possible to jink them around corners and low walls to hit a target behind it. The helicopter-mounted TV-guided missiles in the hands of a skilled player is capable of some pretty impressive roboteching, such as turning around and hitting targets behind the helicopter, and maneuvering around buildings to hit a hiding tank.
    • In Battlefield: Bad Company 2, players can unlock a dart gun that allows friendly engineers to lock their missile launchers on to enemy vehicles... Or other enemy players. Because the dart gun is so accurate, it makes it an effective way of dealing with snipers.
      • The fact that the Tracer Dart would appear as a giant flashing light in the Sniper's screen would also make him well aware of his inevitable fate.
  • Battlefront 2 plays this trope straight and averts it. Interceptor fighters' and Imperial and CIS shuttles have small guided missiles that can sometimes dodge around things to catch their targets (though their targets are more maneuverable), while normal anti-tank rockets mostly just travel in a straight line. Though, both of them can curve automatically with a lock-on, so its not wholly unjustified.
  • In Bulletstorm you can robotech your sniper rifle bullet, in Bullet Time.
  • In Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare the Javelin missile launcher does this, quickly popping up after being fired and then slamming down on the targeted tank from almost directly above; see Truth in Television examples.
  • Every single ranged attack in the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game Cityof Heroes, without fail, will do this if the mob moves. Then again, this is less deliberate than the result of locked-on targeting — even if the damage of the attack misses the animation usually won't.
    • Especially obvious if the target teleports while the attack is in flight; partnering a sniping power with Teleport Foe often resulted in the overpowered attack making a U-turn.
    • The Bullet Rain power in the Dual Pistols set does this whether or not the target moves; your character fires a spray of bullets in a cone, which then all arch back toward your target, hitting them and the targets around them.
  • Command & Conquer Red Alert 2 had the Russian Dreadnoughts do this when they were facing away from their target. It would make more sense if they tracked...
    • MLRS units can also do this in some games of the series, as well as in other games. World in Conflict, for example.
    • This is a default behavior for games using the Red Alert 2 / Tiberian Sun engine. If an ordinary missile (ie. one that does not have a model like V3s) has its target destroyed before impact, it will Robotech vertically upwards and explode harmlessly.
  • In Conduit 2, Shrieker shots can be steered by the player after firing.
    • Also, the Hive Cannon allows targets to be tagged with sticky bait; subsequent shots will veer around obstacles as needed.
  • Cube Colossus: If there are missiles on the field when enemies appear, the missiles will turn to hit them, even if it means turning 180 degrees.
  • Devil May Cry 4: The projectiles of Pandora's PF594: Argument missile platform, and Kalina Ann's "Multiple" and "Hysteric" moves fire clusters of micro-missiles that bend trajectories either to simply spray in random directions, or to seek the locked-on target.
  • This trope is practically Kefka's entire moveset in Dissidia Final Fantasy.
    • Also, if Jecht's Limit Break is successfully pulled off, rather than simply kicking a meteor into an opponent it splits into several fireballs which all robotech into the opponent for massive damage.
  • Dogyuun has red Homing Lasers that move along straight horizontal and vertical lines and can make multiple 90° turns to follow their target.
  • Drakengard's Dragon has a lock-on attack that fires several fireballs that robotech. The Chaos Evolution of the Dragon has fireballs that robotech in straighter lines with more angular turns.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: The Temple of Elemental Evil had the Magic Missile spell animated like this. Considered a very cool effect for the spell by even table-top D&D players. The effect is similar to the spell's depiction in Baldur's Gate, and Neverwinter Nights.
  • Earth Defense Force: Missile weapons with a low-grade lock on rating will fly in a straight line before actively tracking and chasing their targets leading to an abundance of the trope. This also turns out to be quite useful in areas with lots of hills or buildings, as the initial shot up can allow the missiles to arc over most obstacles and hit the target you are locked onto.
  • Missiles in Escape Velocity likewise fire forward, then curve off after their target.
    • Averted in the open-source EV clone Naev. Missiles require a lock, and a lock requires a ship to be pointing in the target's general direction. Due to the difficulties capital ships have with this, if they carry missiles they're usually mounted on turrets.
  • In Fable, the arrows generated by the "multi-shot" spell do this on their way to the target.
  • The Bradley-Hercules satellite in Fallout 3: Broken Steel fires missiles in this manner, as seen when it destroys Liberty Prime and when you use it on the Enclave's Base on Wheels at the end.
  • The Missile weapon in Fester's Quest.
  • Used by the Galbadian cruise missiles in Final Fantasy VIII, which perform an exaggerated popup attack. Which gives their target time to get away! Justified, since Selphie and two other party members you send with her went to the launch base specifically with the intent to sabotage the missile launch, including setting them to be as inaccurate as possible and doing what they can to delay the missile's launch. While Squall and the others went back to warn Balamb Garden about the impending attack.
  • The swarm-firing missiles in space sim Descent: Freespace and its sequels. More advanced versions even corkscrew all the way to their targets. Later games in the Wing Commander series also included this trope.
  • A weapon type in the Galaxy Angel games known as a "laser phalanx" is a Roboteching beam shot. Forte Stollen's Limit Break is a whole Macross Missile Massacre of them.
  • In Gate Of Thunder, the Stage 2 boss fires Slow Lasers which move straight left and then turn towards your ship at a 90° angle.
  • Genetos, as a homage to Ikaruga, features the same style of weapon, simply called Laser, and unlocked in stage 3.
  • In Gunstar Heroes, the Chaser weapon homes in on enemies. Combined with lightning, you have a laser that makes constant 90-degree turns.
  • You can Robotech the shots of the RPG in both Half-Life and Half-Life 2 by waving the laser targeting. It's actually necessary in the second generation, as gunships will try to shoot your missiles down, and they will succeed if you aim them in a straight line. This, interestingly, is an Ascended Glitch: the gunships are programmed to attack the most dangerous target in sight, which is usually the player, but the AI is good enough to register the rockets as more dangerous once they're close enough.
  • Shows up to an extent in the early Harry Potter games, where spells will curve toward the nearest available target.
  • Minogame's "Reality Hedge" from Hellsinker cranks this trope up a notch. Not only dont the lasers fly straight, they home in on targets and when they reach one they stick to it and tears its health down until the target dies. After that the lasers dislodge themselves and then moves over to other targets and repeats the cycle.
  • Higurashi Daybreak has this, in the form of Rika's charged ranged attack. She fires a bunch of purple missiles that robotech to the person you're currently locked on to.
  • Homeworld 2's Vaygrs love to use missiles. Their missiles often overshoot their targets. What does the missile do? Robotech their way to the original target. Original target died before the missiles reach? Robotech again to the nearest enemy craft.
    • Eh, not really. The missiles of the Hiigaran Torpedo Frigate are the only ones which find a new target if the original is gone. Vaygr fusion missiles are not that advanced. On the other hand, missiles in the first two games also did this, though the Missile Destroyer's Secondary Fire greatly decreased their Roboteching capabilities in favor of a higher output rate.
  • Ikaruga features a cluster of lasers fired from the back of the ship, which arc around towards its targets.
  • Infamous and its sequel allow Cole MacGrath to fire electric rockets that, with the proper upgrades, will change direction and fly towards a target that Cole specifies with his regular shock attack.
  • In Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance], the Thunderaffe Dream Eater's Refract Beam attack does this constantly, pausing each time it moves to readjust its trajectory so it's heading straight for the target.
  • The Homing Laser in Lost Planet does this, but with four lasers at once.
  • MechWarrior 2 and 3 do this with Long Range Missile pods and guided (Streak) Short Range Missiles. 2's expansion pack especially - the player can tag the target with a NARC Missile Beacon, turn 180 degrees away, switch to LRMs, and the missiles will immediately do a "Fifth Element" impression. In MechWarrior Living Legends, one can easily make missiles Robotech by turning on a TAG Target Spotter laser once the missiles are already airborne - which will cause the missiles to abruptly swerve to hit the TAG beam. Or you can simply toss a NARC missile beacon on yourself and fire your missiles for maximum Macross Missile Massacre.
  • Another non-missile example is shown in Mega Man Network Transmission. Both Brightman and Bass use lasers that adjust angle mid-flight; Bright's lasers adjust themselves once by 45-degree angles, and Bass's twice by 90-degree angles.
  • Metal Gear Solid had a missile that, once fired, the player would control in first person view. One puzzle in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty required the player to guide said missile through a maze of ventilation ducts. The original Metal Gear had one as well.
  • In the Metal Slug series, certain weapons (both player and enemy) are capable of this, such as those from Morden's gunship, jetpack bombs (MS 3), and BIG Enemy Chasers.
  • The Annihilator Beam in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes is capable of this.
    • Also occurs with missiles and the wave beam in the first.
  • The scram cannon in Oni does this. The small Macross missiles fire out lazily in an unfocused ring, then after about half a second the warheads arm and the missiles lock on to anyone nearby.
  • Otomedius features Roboteching in the form of Anoa Aoba's Dynamic Burst, which combines roboteching lasers with Stuff Blowing Up.
  • In the Panzer Dragoon series, the player characters and the forth game's final boss do this with their "homing lasers" (telekinetically-guided blasts of plasma).
  • Missiles and other homing projectiles in P.N.03 usually behave like this.
  • In Project Sylpheed, there was a dumb-fire rocket with no visible exhaust that after a couple of seconds would explode into 4 smaller homing missiles with huge streaking contrails. You could truly robotech by firing dozens of the dumb-fire rockets at a time with missiles targeted to home on multiple different enemy fighters.
  • Quake IV has a modification to the nailgun that allows doing this with nails, and a laser dot guidance system a la Half-Life for the rocket launcher. One of the recurring enemies, that looks like a Spider Mech, does a two-rocket version of this to you. What said barrage does in quality-per-missile makes up for its quantity.
  • Similar to the Magic Missiles, one of the Ghost elemental mage spells, Soul Strike, in the MMORPG Ragnarok Online summons a varying number of white glowing orbs which then streak towards the target.
  • Rare non-missile example: the Raiden series has a roboteching laser, which is able to twist and turn in all sorts of improbable shapes to hit targets once they've been locked on.
  • Taito's Ray Series (RayForce, RayStorm, and RayCrisis) and several other shmups by them have Roboteching lasers sometimes fired by enemies.
    • Crimzon Clover took heavy inspiration from this, but with more lasers - an adept player can fire about 30 homing lasers in one second.
  • In Red Dead Redemption, thanks to a Good Bad Bug that involves the lead character's Bullet Time, you can induce this behavior in thrown projectiles and explosives, making them perfect anti-air and anti-ground weapons.
  • The Bullseye of Resistance does this with bullets much like The Fifth Element. You shoot a tag onto an enemy and all bullets head directly to said target regardless of trajectory.
    • A particularly amusing trick is as follows: tag a wall. Fire off a clip or so and watch as the bullets swarm around the tag. Tag an enemy and see all the bullets head to their new target en masse.
  • The Drunken Missile launcher in Rise of the Triad fires a salvo of missiles which fly in random directions until they sense a target, at which point they converge on the target from all angles making it difficult to avoid all of them.
  • Rollcage has the Leader missile, which will home in on the first car in the race. It has perfect guidance and follows the track exactly, cannot be diverted or shot down, and when it reaches the leading car it'll overtake, pull an instant 180° and slam into its target. If you hear the telltale warning sound and you're first, you can either allow someone to pass you or try to get as much distance between you and the second as you can so you can recover in time. Needless to say, firing the Leader missile when you're the leader is... counter-productive.
  • R-Type:
    • Your "lasers" sure do make some fancy designs when they're fired. For example, red lasers fires twin, interlocking sine waves of red and blue energy, blue lasers bounce around the environment, and yellow lasers Wall Crawl the floor and ceiling. Later installments include powerups that include green lasers which change direction 45 degrees to hit enemy ships, and grey lasers that act like shotgun shells.
    • By R-Type Final, every one of the 101 ships have some physics-defying effect that comes from a so-called "laser", although this may have something to do with filtering the light through a colored crystal and a baby Eldritch Abomination. One of the ships in R-Type Final has a slow-moving charge shot that can be steered with the right analog stick. You have to reconfigure your entire control setup to be able to use this without losing all self-defense by taking your thumbs away from the face buttons. Other ships have wave cannons that chase the closest enemy ship.
    • Battleship broadside guns in R-Type Command / Tactics fire in an "X" pattern, then all four shots bend 90° to hit their intended target.
  • All ranged and magic attacks in RuneScape follow this trope when attacking a moving player or monster.
  • In Shadows of the Damned, The Teether's final upgrade, The Dentist does this.
  • In the Super Robot Wars: Original Generation Divine Wars (yes, that's the title) Cybuster's Cosmo Nova special attack is depicted as a Roboteched Beam Spam.
  • Missiles in Sword of the Stars are one of the few weapons that don't need a direct line of sight to the target and robotech to their target after clearing the firing ship. Beware that they don't crash into other ships before they can start turning if your formation's too tight, though. Planetary defense missiles take it further: they not only robotech after launching from the poles of the planet, but if their target is destroyed, they glide for a bit, crisscrossing where the last target was if they were close enough, and robotech to the next target. Against a fleet of weak destroyers, a planetary defense missile may do this several times before hitting something.
  • In Syndicate (2012) the gauss gun's rounds can do this, although too radical turns are impossible.
  • Terraria: Several weapons can do this naturally, like the Razorblade Typhoon, and some others can do this using special ammo.
  • TerraTech: The HIVE and Cluster launchers and the Hawkeye BMB are designed to launch agile homing missiles upwards or at an angle to swerve down on enemies. Due to the customisability of the player's techs, any missile launcher can be positioned to fire upwards and make its missiles really work for a good hit.
  • Tyrian calls these 'semi-seeking missiles'. They fly vertically down the screen, in the scrolling direction, then when they're level with the player, they turn through 90 degrees and fly towards him.
  • In Unreal Tournament 2004 (through the ECE Bonus Pack) and Unreal Tournament III, the Cicada's rockets robotech somewhat madly, but, if given enough time, usually end up at the spot crosshair.
    • Likewise in both games, the AVRiL anti-vehicle missiles only home in on a vehicle while you're aiming at it, allowing you to turn them at the last minute, making them harder to dodge or shoot down. Further, the target only receives a "Missile Lock" warning when you are tracking them, making it a viable strategy to dumb-fire a rocket to near the target and only lock on when it is close by.
  • War Thunder: As it might be expected from a game which represents missile technology fairly accurately. It can be seen in many of its air-to-air, surface-to-air and anti-tank guided missiles.
    • The SRAAM, a very agile British experimental air-to-air missile with thrust vectoring which can be fired at a high angle from the target.
    • The AGM-114 Hellfire uses the top-attack mode mentioned in the Real Life section.
    • The Swingfire, an ATGM fired from a missile carrier of the same name. It fires the missile upwards at a high angle before making a sharp turn and heading straight towards the target.

  • Hit detection for non-ballistic long-range attacks in World of Warcraft is done upon firing. If the target moves, the projectile will track the target until it hits, even ignoring obstacles. In earlier patches, this also applied to beam-type spells like the Warlock's Drain Life or the mage's Arcane Missiles. As long as the magic-user could start casting the spell, it would continue to hit the target, no matter how far the target moved.
    • Fun fact: a player on an upgraded flying mount (which allows one to travel at about 4x normal speed and... well, fly) is faster than most spell "missiles". It's possible to actually string missiles along behind you if you fly far enough. You'll take damage from the spell pretty soon even if it doesn't catch you, but the visual effect will keep following.
  • Worms 2 and Armageddon have a homing missile which does this — the best method is to fire it straight up in the air at maximum power, then watch it lock on and abruptly change direction half a second later.
    • Armageddon also has the Magic Bullet that is Roboteching set to eleven. It's basically impossible to get it to hit a wall, no matter how much it has to weave and bob around the place. Best seen when aimed at a mid-air spot, where it'll start literally flipping out, doing 180 degree turns in a space of a few inches.
  • A late weapon in the X-COM games is a guided rocket launcher which sets waypoints for the rocket to pass through before striking its target. The missiles didn't corner especially well, meaning that you couldn't just spam it indoors. More specifically, the first game had the Blaster Launcher while the second had the similar "Disruptor Pulse Torpedo".
    • X-Com Interceptor had a missile with vector thrusters. It was designed to be capable of extremely sharp 180° turns thus outmaneuvering it is impossible.
  • Several warships in the Xenosaga series fire beams at angles away from the ship, which then make a sharp angled turn straight ahead.
  • Guided missiles in the X-Universe games fire from ventrally-mounted, forward-facing tubes (or flank-mounted tubes, in the case of missile frigates) and immediately curve off after the target. There's some swarm missiles, which tend to fly in a spiral pattern and close in on their target from all directions.
  • Zone of the Enders and its sequel had Jehuty, the player's Humongous Mecha, equipped with a laser weapon whose beams Roboteched out of thin air to home in on locked targets, in a bright-blue rendition of a Macross Missile Massacre.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Fate/stay night, Lancer has the ability to do this with his lance! To be more specific, his Noble Phantasm, Gae Bolg, reverses cause and effect: the opponent's heart is pierced, and then the lance strikes. Reality literally rewrites itself so that no matter what, the lance will hit. It is impossible to dodge, although having an insane amount of luck may mean that it "only" impales you and misses your heart, rather than piercing the heart directly.
  • For some inexplicable reason, all capital ship-mounted laser weapons in Sunrider fire beams that curve sharply just after leaving the barrel. Ryder-scale lasers are the only ones that fire in a straight line. Missiles, by contrast, do not do this: they either fire in straight lines or in shallow arcs.

  • Schlock Mercenary touches on this behavior at some points, with a possible justification. Missiles can be fired in "random walk" mode, presumably involving repeated and sudden changes in velocity as they close with their targets, in order to make it harder for point defense to shoot them down.
  • A Medieval Bamboo Technology version of this shows up in Tales of the Questor, here.

    Western Animation 
  • In both Justice League and Superman: The Animated Series, Darkseid shows off his zig-zagging Omega Beams mentioned in the comics section.
  • In the Superman series, he uses this to pull quite a Player Punch moment, as before Darkseid is forced to leave he lets out a final blast that heads towards Superman (who we had seen it would merely hurt, not kill), then it zig-zags right around him, keeps going, and disintegrates "Terrible" Turpin.
  • Of course, Batman being the goddamn Batman that he is, he manages to dodge them. Darkseid is really impressed.
    • To drive home that point, Batman has to do a lot of evasive maneuvering and a blind jump to evade it. And then he still needs to let a Mook take the hit. And he's so close to the impact that he's blown into a pile of rubble. Still Darkseid gives Batman props.
  • Following the precedent established in earlier D&D video games, Raistlin's Magic Missile spell does this in the animated version of the first Dragonlance novel.
  • Subverted in an episode of The Powerpuff Girls. A humongous mecha tries to perform a Macross Missile Massacre, but all of the missiles just fly straight past its target, or in some cases, curve wildly and hit anything else.

    Real Life 
  • The AGM-114 Hellfire antitank missile can be launched without a target lock. In LOAL (Lock-On After Launch) attack mode it will shoot high (up to 2300 feet/700 meters) and after the aircrew or a land-based crew designates its target it will robotech downwards to attack the target from above. Very handy if the helicopter pilot wants to hide behind a mountain to avoid enemy Anti-Air defenses.
  • Despite public perception to the contrary, certain missiles designed to home in on a target will often behave in a way that seems a lot like this. Because explosions tend to damage a large area, steering systems are often very simple and use the "bang-bang" method. After determining what direction the target is in, the missile will turn as hard as it can in that direction. Eventually, it will oversteer and have to correct in the same way. This results in the missile seeming to spiral and snake through the air depending on the perspective it is seen from.
    • More directly analogous, many missiles launched out of vertical tubes on warships will robotech almost exactly: the missile goes straight up (to clear the ship), then abruptly changes direction. On their final approach to a ship, they will "pop-up and dive" onto the top of the vessel. Some anti-tank missiles will do the same thing, flying over the tank then dropping straight down.note 
    • The AIM-54 Phoenix long-range air-to-air missile was designed to climb to high altitude immediately after launch, in order to take advantage of the thinner, less draggy upper atmosphere. When approaching the enemy it would perform a diving attack from high altitude, striking the unfortunate target before it knew what was coming.
    • American cruise missiles became famous for traveling to Baghdad, flying down a street, then almost stopping at a cross street while slowly turning to face another direction before streaking to the target.
      • The BBC's Foreign Affairs Chief John Simpson reported seeing a cruise missile in Baghdad fly "down the street and turn left at the traffic lights."
      • A Bloom County comic strip even depicted a missile stopping to ask for directions, "Excuse, please, which way to Saddam Hussein?"
      • This is pretty much the entire point of cruise missiles.
    • The AIM-9 Sidewinder missile series reputedly got its official designation from the side-to-side wavering performed by early models, similar to that of the Sidewinder snake. "Top-attack" missiles are designed to fly straight to a target, climb to a high altitude nearby, and "drop" on top of enemies are a standard of NATO military forces, under the rationale "people don't armor the top sections of tanks as much as the front or sides."
      • The top of the tank is almost always the weakest point, and tanks have not been redesigned since these missiles have begun to be deployed en masse. However, it is likely that newer tank designs will sport significantly stronger armor on the top because of this trend unless an effective anti-missile system can be developed, as that would be much lighter and easier to mount on a tank than the amount of armor required to protect that much surface area.
    • The latest variant of the Sidewinder, the AIM-9X, can be aimed via a Helmet-Mounted Sight and obtain lock-ons from almost 90 degrees off the direction of the firing fighter's nose. Furthermore, it can robotech a full 180 degrees off its rail to pursue a target. Check it out here.
    • The Russian Vympel R-73/AA-11 Archer is also aimed by a Helmet-Mounted Sight, can "see" targets up to 60° off the missile's centerline - and entered service 18 years earlier. After NATO learned about the capabilities of this missile, development of the AIM-9X, the IRIS-T and others was started.
      • The Archer doesn't quite have the same ability to dog a target from hilariously unlikely angles as the 9X, that said. But again—18 years earlier! That said, the current version in active service is capable of 75° off centerline, with plans for new models to match or exceed the 180° of the AIM-9X.
    • Any of the swarm rocket launchers or calliopes from WWII did this — though not on purpose, because of technical limitations on the rockets themselves (designed to be cheap, easily-produced area-denial weapons). This is lampshaded in the histories by saying that the weapons "were not terribly accurate". Examples being the Katyusha rocket launchers from Russia, the Nebelwerfer rocket mortar from Germany, and the Calliope tank-mounted rocket launcher of the Allies.
    • Pretty much the point of guided weapons, period. Thrust vectoring and hover/loiter capabilities on newer missile designs will most certainly take future ordnance in this direction.
  • The EXACTO project funded by DARPA is this for bullets, and they've even tested working prototypes.
    • In the meantime, the Italians already field it for their Super Rapid 76mm and 127/64 Lightweight multi-purpose naval guns (the guided munitions are for long-range point defence).
    • And to continue the long Italian tradition of Combat Pragmatism in an era where some of the earlier tricks are done by everyone or would be war crimes, Iveco (maker of the Centauro tank destroyer) and OTO Melara gave us the Porcupine: a prototype consisting of a Centauro chassis mated with a 155/39mm howitzer capable of firing homing shells to targets up to 60 km away. And the ability to hit the poor target with four of them at the same time. Let's face it: when they go at war, the Italians are assholes.
  • A gravity turn is visually similar even if the intended outcome is a bit different.
  • This submarine-based missile launch is cool looking for a great many reasons, one being the amazing engineering tech behind it.
  • The Indian/Russian anti-ship cruise missile, the BrahMos block 2, is launched vertical and then performs an extremely sharp 90-degree turn via a nose-mounted rocket, before kicking in its main thruster and flying straight along the horizon.
  • The latest in Homing Projectile technology is a self-guiding bullet equipped with a targeting laser, an eight-bit CPU, and movable fins.
  • The Israeli Iron Dome system boasts some very impressive capabilities for maneouvering and simultaneous target engagements.
  • The page image is a test of a Russian Bastion coastal defence battery armed with the P-800 Oniks, a missile on which the aforementioned BrahMos is based, and thus displaying virtually the same launch behavior.
  • Modern torpedoes behave like this.
    • One common tactic is to fire a torpedo in a random direction, and only later ask it to orient towards the enemy. This prevents the enemy from knowing what direction the torpedo might have come from.
    • Some varieties of torpedo will snake back and forth as they travel in a search pattern. Once a target is detected, they then lock on and move in a straight line.
    • The United States Navy's ASROC weapon system fires a rocket off a destroyer/cruiser on a ballistic path that drops a torpedo into the water miles away. The torpedo will then go around in one of several search patterns so the torpedo's sonar system can lock on to the target sub before finally closing to attack.
  • The CBU-07 Sensor Fuzed Weapon. It dispenses 10 submunitions, each containing 4 individually auto-targeting, self-guiding skeets. They have a VERY complicated way of maneuvering themselves at each stage so that they can effectively saturate an armored force over a substantial area.
  • The M982 Excalibur is a GPS-guided artillery shell that can robotech mid-flight to curve around obstacles. In one of the tests the shell was deliberately fired 4 miles off target and was still able to strike within a few feet of the bullseye.
  • The Russian P-700 Granit takes the missile swarm thing one step further. While it's possible to fire just one, they are meant to be fired together in packs: One will take the lead and pop up now and then to acquire targets; the others stay as low as possible. When they get close, they get assigned different targets and veer off to hit theirs.
  • Any missile with a top attack mode, like the FGM-148 Javelin does this to a certain degree. When firing in top-attack mode, missiles go up a long way, then shoot back down to hit the lightly-armoured top of the target. The turning is nowhere near as violent as commonly depicted in media.

Alternative Title(s): Swerving Projectile, Projectile Swerve