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A trope which appears primarily in First-Person Shooters: NPCs will either ignore you or attack with the intent to kill — there is no middle ground. When an NPC sees an enemy, whether the player or another NPC, it will immediately attack said enemy NPC with no more words than some Enemy Chatter. Even if the attacking NPC says "Put Down Your Gun and Step Away!" or "Stop, or I Will Shoot!!" they've already pulled out a gun and started firing. (Except in a cutscene, of course, in which they are perfectly capable of stopping and arresting the player.) Can be easily justified if they arrest you when you run out of health.

Usually an Enforced Trope, as giving the player the ability to surrender to the enemies at any time and have them haul him off to a jail cell would be, most of the time, too much work for too little gain. Also, from a programming standpoint, it is much easier to set an NPC into a binary state between non-aggressive and hostile. Programming the AI to have a spectrum of responses and states is much more complicated than it sounds.

See also Roar Before Beating for the animal equivalent.


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     Action Adventure 
  • Driver:
    • In the first two games, if the police see you so much as run a stop light or drive at night with a broken light, they will immediately turn on their lights then bash you with their vehicle until your car stops running. That is some badass law enforcement.
    • Driv3r had the on-foot version, with police that constantly shout "YOU ARE UNDER ARREST" every few seconds, in between hails of gunfire.
  • Double subverted in The Godfather: The Game. If your Vendetta or Heat is low, most cops or enemy gangsters will not attack unless you have a weapon in hand or strike first. On the other hand, if your Vendetta or Heat is high enough, they will attack on sight. Then there are some cops who will attack anyway even if your police relations are cordial, enemy gangsters in the backroom rackets will always attack, and then bank security guards will attack if you get too close to their protected area even if your weapon isn't out.
  • In the Grand Theft Auto games, if the character is wanted by the police, they will be calling out that the character is under arrest, all the while attempting to either hit him with nightsticks or shoot him. You can evade them as you see fit, save in a cutscene, when, of course, Gameplay and Story Segregation steps in.
    • Averted in GTA 4, where the police generally don't start firing until you shoot at them or otherwise indicate or are indicated as dangerous. It’s possible to walk in front of a car, get knocked over, start a fistfight with the driver who steps out, and then when the cop comes, if you don't fight back against the other guy, the cop will arrest him and not you.
      • Also, in this one, they do try to arrest you and for once, you can actually comply if you don't feel like triggering a chase (not to mention that resisting arrest will pretty much guarantee that you'll get shot at least once, will attract more policemen and cars, and they won't bother with arresting you anymore);
    • Interestingly, the police will keep shooting you at point-blank range even after you're dead.
    • Strangely enough, the cops will arrest you if they manage to open your car's door and point their gun at you. Also, despite trying to kill you most of the time, they WILL arrest you if they manage to knock you down.
    • Played straight in GTA 5, where the cops will start shooting after a few seconds of chasing you. They constantly shout to stop the car or drop the weapon while shooting at the player.
  • Tasen scouts in Iji can say "stop!" or "hold it!" when they see the Player Character, but they shoot on sight anyway.
    • Soldiers yell "Halt!" as well. On the other hand, the Komato shouts upon seeing you are all along the lines of "Die!", "Kill!" or "Terminate!".
    • Justified in both cases: in the latter, they're just here to kill everyone, and in the former, Iji can take a few bullets, thanks to her nanotechnology.
  • Averted in Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven, where the cops would either try to ticket you or arrest you for breaking the law, and would only switch to lethal force if you fired back with your guns or used your car as a weapon.
  • Subverted in Mirror's Edge. Faith is a completely unarmed (most of the time) Runner, as well as visually unimposing. No matter what Faith does when the police yell at her not to run — even if she complies and stands completely still — they will shoot her dead. However, looking closely enough on their uniforms reveals the supposedly normal cops as Pirandelo-Kruger mercenaries in a uniform resembling a police suit. They're already under orders to kill Faith, and by the second level it's likely Faith is wanted for multiple accounts of murder. It's also lampshaded in the game to the point of being a Plot Point. The Runners are surprised by being fired upon without provocation.
  • In Saints Row 2, police will arrest the player character they're close enough when he falls down (usually because a patrol car rammed into him) but otherwise either ignore him (if his Wanted level is low enough) or shoot to kill. Rival gangs also ignore the player if he's not currently doing anything to annoy them (except on certain missions), and it's possible to provoke enemy factions into fighting each other.
    • Since your wanted meter cools down with time, however (unless it's completely maxed out at five stars), this can lead to the odd sight of a cop going from shooting at you to losing interest and walking away in a split second.
  • Double averted in Scarface: The World Is Yours. Policemen usually give you a chance to talk your way out of trouble if you stop and let them catch up. Past a certain point of "wantedness", though, they will attack.
    • You can even exploit this if you time it right. If you attack a gang and the cops arrive before you're done slaughtering them, you can put your gun away and the cops will do the work for you.

     First Person Shooters 
  • Borderlands:
    • Averted with the human enemies, who will ask the players to stay away from them ("This is a restricted area!" "You don't want none of this, merc!"). Should the players actually comply, the enemies will continue to roam around their station and ignore the players.
    • Played absolutely straight in the General Knoxx DLC, with Atlas enforcers screaming "Step back or we will open fire!" while they're hosing you down.
  • In the single-player campaign of Operation Flashpoint, there is a mission in which the player (a US soldier) must make his way alone to an evacuation point, going through territory infested with enemies. Said enemies shoot to kill on sight, except when one reaches the evacuation point. Then a cutscene triggers in which the player character automatically surrenders to a couple of enemies. The camera pans to a field next to them, showing a bunch of dead friendly soldiers, the implication being that they have recently been killed by the very same group of soldiers that capture the player character. Yet the PC is not executed by these soldiers, instead being put into a tent that serves as a makeshift cell, and is shortly afterwards rescued by attacking partisans. In other words, the enemy kill every US soldier they can, except a particular person in a particular cutscene triggered in a particular area.
  • Averted in Postal 2, where the cops will actually try to arrest you instead of shooting you on sight if they see you breaking the law. Of course, if you start shooting people, all bets are off, unless if you drop your weapon and quit attacking or running away from them.
  • Used all through the Star Wars: Dark Forces series. Most hilariously, in Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy, when stormtroopers would yell such fearsome battle cries as "Hey, you there." or "Let's see some ID!" before cutting loose with a hail of blaster fire. In fairness, no matter how long their individual line is, the game always waits until the sound file finishes playing before they fire, even the long ones ("Stop, or I'll shoot!"). Of course, it's still pretty amusing to hear a lone member of a swarm of stormtroopers saying in an only half-confrontational way, "Let's see some ID." as your character plows through the squad with a lightsaber.
  • Exception: SWAT 4's NPC SWAT members did a pretty good job of NOT shooting on sight... until they were quickly incapacitated by hostiles.
  • Averted in William Shatner's TekWar. Police officers will draw their guns and shout for you to put your gun down if you display a weapon in their presence.

     Immersive Sim 
  • Deus Ex: Riot cops will order JC to surrender, but will still attack him even if he drops everything. In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the Detroit Police Department also frequently yell at Jensen to drop the weapon or give himself up, but they still attack.
    • In the Game Mod for Deus Ex, The Nameless Mod, Cerulean Security will order Trestkon to drop his weapons, but they will continue to attack him even if he drops his entire inventory

  • In World of Warcraft one of the death knights feature you slaughtering civilians. They will occasionally beg for mercy, while attacking you. Admittedly they stand no chance, but maybe if they want clemency they should stop punching you in the face. This was recently patched over so the mooks in question will instead cower in fear while begging for your mercy.

  • Double Subverted in Oddworld. Slig guards will yell "Freeze!" upon seeing you. If you don't, they shoot you. If you do, they wait a fraction of a second and then shoot you (not surprising, since there's a massive bounty on your head, and it probably takes them that long to identify you).
  • Parodied in Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time. Dr Nefarious' robotic minions will frequently say "We come in peace" or "We were just kidding, would you like to go have some pie?" while shooting at you.

     Puzzle Games 
  • Scribblenauts has a weird variation of this, since nobody talks. Things you can summon that will have a hostile reaction to each other (such as two boxers, a basketball player and a referee) will always fight to the death, even if that doesn't make much sense. They apparently just can't pull their punches.

     Role Playing Games 
  • If you go on a civilian slaughtering spree in Baldur's Gate, the Flaming Fist hit squad that shows up to stop you is pretty good about talking to you and telling you your crimes before attacking you. Of course, since the game world has no jail, ultimately their only action is pretty much to act as judge, jury, and executioner.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Played straight by Daggerfall's guards. Say it with me: HALTHALTHALTHALTHALTHALTHALTHALTHALT...
    • Morrowind averts it. Even killing a guard won't get you immediately murdered by his fellow officers: you still had the choice of jail, a fine, or resisting arrest. However, if your bounty gets over 5000, you'll be marked as "kill on sight" by the guards. (This requires murdering at least 5 people or stealing a really valuable item.)
    • Oblivion generally averts it like Morrowind. However, there is one mission where guards will attack you indiscriminately, but this is rather justified here, as you've just broken into the classically-styled sewer system - where the Emperor of all Tamriel was assassinated.
    • Skyrim:
      • Averted once again by the guards. They'll still make an attempt to arrest you before attacking you.
      • Averted with most Giants. You may find Giants guarding a herd of mammoths. If you approach them, they'll bang their weapons around and try to intimidate you, but won't actually attack you unless you continue to get closer or attack them (or their mammoths) first.
      • Averted again with some NPC enemies. They will occasionally utter "Back off, I'm warning you!" and won't attack unless you get closer or attack them first.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 did some Lampshade Hanging:
    Githyanki: Zeeaire has foretold your coming, Kalach-Cha. She sent me to end you.
    Player: I'm surprised you're talking to me. Most githyanki just attack.
  • A variation of this in the Pokémon games that feature police officers as challengeable opponents. They will confront you, order you to stop what you're doing, under the assumption that you're a criminal, and then send a Pokémon out after you. When the battle is over, they'll say that it was dark enough that they didn't realize you were a 10-year-old until then.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines contains a particularly bad example. Your character can have maxed diplomacy and seduction traits, and supernatural powers of persuasion to boot, and still, with very few exceptions, the police and even museum security guards will shoot at you as soon as they see you (after saying "stop right there," of course).

  • Averted in Syndicate. While armed guards and hostile agents have no problem with shooting you on sight without saying a thing, the police will give you a warning to put away your weapon if you have one readied. If you comply within a few seconds, they'll leave you alone.

     Stealth Based Games 
  • During a storyline cutscene in The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, Riddick runs into an advanced hi-tech guard, who promptly asks him for his identity and the reason for his presence, and then subsequently arrests him when he finally realizes who Riddick is. Interestingly enough, when the player encounters this enemy in-game, they attack on sight.
  • Exception: Commandos. In the first game, if one of the commandos was caught and not doing anything particularly suspicious (doing so would usually get them shot on sight) the enemy would yell 'HALT!'. If you didn't move the commando or take out the enemy soldier, they may either maintain this position indefinitely or imprison the commando. Of course, if you disregarded their command, they tended to open fire. At least they gave you a meaningful warning though.
  • Averted in the later Hitman games, where you may choose to put your hands up and surrender if you're caught somewhere you're not supposed to be. Although, seeing as its 47 we're talking about, this leads to using the capturing officer as a human shield.
  • Metal Gear:
    • In Metal Gear Solid guards yell "Who's that?!?" right before they open fire. Given how hard it usually is to get into where they're guarding, you would think capture and interrogation rather than execution would top the list of priorities, but they also know who they're dealing with so it's hard to fault them for it.
    • While this trope is still prevalent in the game's sequels, it's a little more understandable in Metal Gear Solid 4, where Snake is infiltrating an active warzone, and the local PMCs are all owned by his arch-nemesis. The third act plays with this: If you're running around in your sneaking suit waiving weapons you'll be shot on sight. If you disguise your face, wear civilian clothes, and unequip all your weapons, the guards will instead halt you. If you comply, they'll pat you down and tell you to move along, and from then on will leave you alone.
    • A particularly funny one happens upon entering Denver in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance where while driving along the highway, a cop car pulls up alongside Raiden, fires a shot through his window narrowly missing, then shouts "Pull over!”
  • Averted in Splinter Cell: Double Agent, where certain enemies will try to capture you at gunpoint (you can escape from them by completing quicktime events).

     Third Person Shooters 
  • "Halt!" cry the low-ranking, conscripted, I'm not supposed to be here today guards in the Crusader series of games, opening fire, while facing down a guy that combines the most frightening aspects of Boba Fett and the Emperor's Royal Guard.
  • In Red Faction: Guerilla, the EDF forces will demand that you pull over your vehicle bombing a gas station and speeding away, with them trying to ram your car off the road while telling YOU to pull over. The shooting of you after you actually exit the vehicle is justified because they're massively corrupt and abusive of every miner on Mars to the point of random shootings anyway. However, this does not justify the fact that even in the middle of a pitched military battle, the supporting scout trucks will continue to demand that you pull your tank to the side of the road.
    • The original Red Faction is like this too. The guards will demand you put away your weapon. If you do so they shoot you. If you shoot a guard enough times he will put away his gun and start running around or crouching with their hands over their heads shouting things like "DON'T SHOOT I'M UNARMED!". If you decide to have mercy and put away your gun, they take theirs back out and shoot you. Lovely fellas.

     Non Video Game Examples 
  • Robin Williams did a bit in An Evening With Robin Williams where he made fun of how police acted in different parts of the country, with cops in the deep south being described as "<BOOM> Stop or I'll shoot!".
  • It has been alleged by Republican spokespersons in Northern Ireland that British security forces were prone to this: the legal warning ("yellow card") was spoken after shots were fired. note 
  • Parodied in an episode of Dilbert when a cop yells "stop and we'll shoot!" and when asked about it claims "non-moving targets are easier to hit". Of course Dilbert runs away and the cops give up because he'd be too hard to hit.

Alternative Title(s): Stand Back Hello