It's all well and good that characters with empathy or Super Senses can tell the fighting strength or Power Level of an opponent, and even get the heebie jeebies or outright faint when the penultimate evil shows up, but how do you transmit that to viewers without stilted dialogue and stentorian theatrics?
Whether it's thanks to a Robo Cam, a mystical talisman, or a cyborg eye, the character is privy to an Enemy Scan that shows their opponent's height, weight, age, fighting style, blood type and preferred brand of chewing gum. Expect any readings to be a Random Power Ranking; if the opponent is weaker, expect Trash Talking (and eating of crow once it turns out they're Not Left Handed) and if they're much, much stronger cries of "It's Over Nine Thousand!!!" with the prompt overloading of the device.
Stylistically, expect a circle around the target or a shaded silhouette, and an architects line (a horizontal line which then inflects at an angle to a box of text). Other than the raw power being in big numbers, all the other stats' and trivia is usually very small, possibly in alienese. If you're watching it on a DVD that can pause and Zoom it will be loaded with Easter Eggs. Rapidly fluctuating bar graphs happen too.
Newer videogames (including those based on Real Life or real history) will often have enemies' stats displayed when they are clicked, moused over or take a hit. This often comes in the form of a Hit Points bar above or around the crosshairs that changes appearance depending on the condition of the enemy. Older games and MMORPGs will have an enemy status display in the same format as the player's which appears in the same situations.
When characters unexpectedly gain this ability through magic or science, it's generally part of a Sudden Game Interface.
- Dragon Ball Z used the scouters for this. Fell out of use, however, as people were starting to throw around Power Levels measured in the millions... A less numeric method of sensing a enemy's strength is used, however.
- Pokedexes serve this purpose in both the Pokémon anime and the Pokémon Special manga.
- The Monitor Cyborgs employed by Shadaloo in Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie (and related game... NOT the arcade game featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme) feature this ability, shown to the viewers as a Terminator-esque green screen. Apparently they can measure lung capacity, among other physical stats.
- Shinigami eyes in Death Note allow one to see a person's name and eventual lifespan.
- The Street Fighter IV OVA, The Ties That Bind, also features S.I.N.'s agent deploying antenna-like devices to scan Cammy and Ryu as they fight C.Viper, which transmit the data to Seth's base kilometers away. Funnily enough, when Ryu awakens the Satsui no Hado, the scanners read 9999999999999999.
- Dororo in Sgt. Frog executes this as "Assassin Magic" without using any external device. And it comes up as a digital display instead of Shinigami Eyes or anything non-technical.
- In the later episodes of YuYu Hakusho, in the demon world, demon energy levels were rated using a scouter-like device; 12k was considered to be high, in the A-S rank level.
- Nijima from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, uses his "Nijima Vision" to calculate an opponent's strength. The manga even parodies Dragon Ball Z: When he attempts to scan a master-class martial artist his Nijima Vision "explodes" just like a scouter.
- The Siestas in Umineko: When They Cry. It comes in handy when showing that Battler's Anti-Magic level is so high they can't hurt him.
- In Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force, having the Eclipse infection go unstable leaves the infectee only able to see the world in this, which is bad enough since it partly obscures one's sight, but the infection also automatically classifies anyone that this mode reveals as a potential threat, including friends and allies. With Lily serving her role as his Reactor Plug, she could turn this on and off for him as needed, making it much more useful.
- This is 7753's power in Magical Girl Raising Project, her goggles allows her to see her target's stats and their powers in extreme detail.
- Hanzo (the Ninja Maid in Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls) has glasses that show opponent's power levels.
- In Maburaho, there are devices that can detect how many uses of magic a person has left.
- Like the Persona 4 example below, Persona 4: The Animation has Rise Kujikawa's powers function this way. There are times where it shows you what she sees, too. In addition to the actual stats, it also includes some other comments. Examples include when Yu was being controlled and was summoning Beelzebub, "It's that giant bug thing!" and "DANGER! It's that really big attack!"
- In one episode of The Case Files of Yakushiji Ryoko, a berserk security robot displays this trope, using it to identify potentially hostile people with weapons and important objects.
- In Digimon, the Digimon Analyzer sequence is sometimes just for the audience's benefit and clearly not seen in-universe. However, in some seasons, the Digivice can scan opponents.
- As the Genre Deconstruction of the Fighting Series Played for Laughs,Muteki Kanban Musume parodies this when Burger Fool Megumi scans all her clients to find the right time to attack The Rival Miki unnoticed by them.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, turbo duelists have helmets that provide stats for enemy monsters. In Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, the augmented reality visors perform the same function as they display the monsters for the duelists.
- Iron Man typically invokes this trope by scanning opponents. One issue includes a scan of The Sentry which concludes he has no weaknesses. No "I-shoot-him-just-right-and-the-problem-is-solved-weaknesses" that is. Tony is mentioned as having a few plans for this type of thing (specifically asked by Bob, nonetheless). In the end, he hacks Sentry's robot, which informs him of disasters he could be stopping, so that it puts out hundreds of fake messages. Unable to deal with deciding what to do first, Sentry collapses.
- French comic Les Blondes briefly used this as a sight gag, with the Dumb Blonde heroine explaining to a friend how she keeps seeing black splotches in front of her eyes ("Have you seen an optician?" "No just the splotches.") Besides the splotches 'Vanessa Vision' helpfully has arrows pointing up and down in case she mixes the two up.
- In The 24th Pegasus's Numbers, Fluttershy starts seeing numbers ticking down over various ponies' heads after having her life saved in the nick of time by another pony. She quickly figures out that they indicate how much time a pony has left to live - and Rainbow Dash's number is very low, only a few hours away, meaning she will have to work fast to figure out what is going to kill her friend and stop it from happening.
- Resident Evil
- The Red Queen's stat readouts of the soldiers. Funnily enough, it listed every single one of them as carrying an MP5K regardless of what they actually carried.
- Used in Resident Evil: Apocalypse with The Nemesis.
- The Rundown has Beck (Dwayne Johnson) comment on the entire offensive line of Notre Dame with various sports commentator stats showing up for each of them. After he mops the floor with them when they try to stop him from collecting a loan's collateral, his own badass stats show up. He likes cooking.
- The Terminator franchise is the Trope Codifier for this, with the target judgments that appear in the vision of the various Terminators, including the T-800 from Terminator 2: Judgment Day. In the "Minigun vs. Policeforce" scene, particularly, it seems to measure the total combat-strength of the entire platoon. The only model never given a point-of-view shot is the liquid metal T-1000.
- In the Iron Man movie, one point-of-view shot reveals that the heads-up display in Iron Man's suit can determine the difference between civilians and terrorists, and labels them as such (likely through A.I. identification of armed terrorists vs. unarmed civilians).
- Stranger Than Fiction has a variable of this. Harold Crick is an I.R.S. auditor who, due to his boring life or just why he's good at his job, frequently sees the world in numbers and measurements. The thing is that what he detects are seemingly random, like number of steps taken (and that are left) to his bus stop, a pictorial readout of tying a Half-Windsor, math in his head next to his head. It's not vital information, but more of just an example of how his brain works. He is subtly irritated (and this is Will Ferrell we're talking about) when a college professor keeps asking how many steps he counted while they had a conversation. He wasn't counting tiles; he was measuring percentages of soap left in dispensers. It's not a compulsion and it's not always the same thing, he's not Rain Man. Used less and less as the movie goes on.
- Mitsuru's staff has this power in Brave Story.
- In Ulillillia's book The Legend of the 10 Elemental Masters, using a Scan spell summons a status screen akin to one from the more recent Final Fantasy games. The status screen is actually a physical object.
- Snow Crash has a subversion of the trope: Hiro Protagonist at one point nearly gets killed because he's too busy reading the model numbers and specifications of the guns that are being shot at him. He turns the gear off so he can run away properly.
- The Buffybot in Buffy the Vampire Slayer sees like this with information about Buffy's friends displayed on screen when they're in its line of sight. Having been programmed by Warren to specifications given by Spike however, the information is extremely basic or displays a laughably 2D idea of the characters. For instance, Willow's screen reads: "Best Friend. Gay (1999-Present). Witch. Good with computers.". Also displayed on screen are the Buffybot's two primary objectives in life, "Locate Spike" and "Make Spike Happy". The latter has a drop-down menu of files with titles like "kissing" and "position-1" and so on.
- In the "Aerodynamics of Gender" episode of Community, we see the world as Abed sees it. In addition to scans for weak points in people, he has a memo screen, a list of the upcoming dates of his female friends' "cycles", and a synopsis of the current episode, updated as the show progresses. His memos have all been referenced in subsequent episodes, and his tracking of the "cycles" became a plot point in a later show.
- In Sherlock, the viewer is occasionally treated to a first-person Sherlock Scan from the man himself. The conclusions Sherlock draws are usually displayed as white-fonted labels floating in the air next to whatever he's scanning.
- In "His Last Vow", a computer text version of all Charles Augustus Magnussen's blackmail material appears onscreen whenever the audience is seeing his point of view. Sherlock and the audience are led to believe the info is being displayed on the inside of Magnussen's glasses, but in reality, it's merely the very organised way in which he processes and views information within his own head, rather like Sherlock himself, and foreshadows the ending of the episode.
- Being a TV incarnation of the Terminator franchise, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has frequent Stat-O-Vision scenes from the PoV of Cameron, Cromartie, and other Terminators.
- In Warhammer 40,000 there is an old piece of fluff regarding Kharn the Betrayer's helmet incorparating a kill counter. It makes a beep every time he takes a skull. Throughout the story, they are thrown in between describing what is going on, with more "BEEPS" occurring in between sentences over the course of the story. It breaks.
- Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition has a magic item called the "Goggles of Aura Sight", which tells the user how many Hit Points a monster has left.
- The Transformers franchise has traditionally included Tech Specs on the boxes figures come in, displaying that character's strength, intelligence, firepower etc. However, the stats max out at 10, causing some odd discrepancies between figures (Megatron, for example, traditionally has all 9s and 10s, whereas characters who should have greater stats, such as Devastator or Trypticon, have the same ratings or lower), with Rank being the only really consistent stat between figures.
- Armored Core V
- "System: Scan Mode"
- Deus Ex
- Available as an augmentation, and superimposed over Denton's vision. It even increases weapon damage.
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution has all sorts of useful information including persuasion level, if the target is unconscious or dead, the amount of time it take for a target to get bored looking for you, the vision cones of enemies and the last place enemies were looking for you. A targeting reticule, whether someone's a civilian/prostitute/soldier/mercenary/employee/etc., how much noise you're making, another person's personality type and quirks, whether or not there's anything to loot from a body or drawer, how close you are to death...
- Various Final Fantasy games have this, typically as the effect of the Scan/Libra/Peep ability/spell.
- Epic Battle Fantasy has two methods for revealing enemy's stats: The Scan spell in the third game has Lance take out a Scouter, which he implies he stole from Vegeta, and the fourth game has anyone in the party summon a ScanBot.
- TRON 2.0 : The Profiler subroutine. Fully upgraded, it gives a Program's name, armor level, hit points, and inventory.
- Persona 3 apparently has this as an explicit power of Mitsuru and Fuuka's Personae. Rise's powers in Persona 4 are like this too.
- The Awareness Perks of Fallout and 2 provide various stat details.
- The Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas takes this on a different course. It provides a few primary stats: body part condition (small health bars scattered over the target), chance to hit a specific part (percentages above those bars), and potential effect on enemy health (parts of the enemy's general health on the bottom will blink to indicate a full non-critical hit from your attack, it's up to the player to adjust accordingly for current conditions).
- Some Fallout: New Vegas mods give the player a version fitting the trope more closely with the ability to scan targets and display stats like Awareness, Threat level, and combat type, as well as health, both in stat form and showing how damaged various body parts are. It takes a moment to work, so it's Awesome, but Impractical for most purposes.
- In Fallout 4'', the Awareness perk allows you to view the damages resistances of any enemy you focus on in VATS, in addition to their health and status (which you can see by default).
- The combat display in Mass Effect provides identity, shield and health information for whatever enemy your targeting reticle is resting on.
- The Scan Visor in the Metroid Prime games is a textbook example.
- Later Castlevania games, notably Dawn of Sorrow, Portrait of Ruin and Order of Ecclesia, feature either an item, a soul or a glyph that allows the player to see the stats of whatever enemy they're attacking at the moment. They're displayed on the top screen of the DS, while the game is on the touch screen.
- Any recent Dragon Ball Z game uses Scouters for the Life Meters and other information.
- Dragon Ball Xenoverse lets a player's custom character equip a scouter, which allows them to see another combatant's experience level, attacks, and current amount of HP and energy.
- Rosalind has a spell in Summoner that allows her to see the stats of enemies.
- Metal Gear Solid has several examples:
- The Solid Eye in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots displays health, affiliation, carried weapons, and emotional state (as expressed through the game's simplified four-emotion system).
- The Analyzer in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and the IntScope in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain allow you to analyze enemy soldiers for a readout of their skills and proficiency in each field, from combat to medicinal, in the form of vertical bars and grades from E to S++.
- Juni in Street Fighter Alpha has this ability and forms the majority of her quotes in the Japanese version.
- In Aliens vs. Predator (2010), the Predator can enter "Focus Mode" which allows him to identify his enemy's equipment. Mostly useless, except to find out if an NPC Marine is equipped with a motion tracker.
- In C-12 Final Resistance, Vaughan's cyborg eye gives him information about objects he is looking at, including their health percentage.
- Batman: Arkham Asylum gives you Detective Mode, which includes information on your enemies displayed in convenient text boxes. Unfortunately, this information consists primarily of the target's pulse and mental state which, while amusing (watch them go from "Calm" to "Terrified"), is less than helpful in combat. The only important information on an enemy that Detective Mode presents is their location via X-ray vision and whether or not they have firearms.
- The ODSTs of Halo 3: ODST get this with VISR mode (Visual Intelligence System, Reconnisance). In dark areas, it shows terrain with a yellow line, and differentiates allies and enemies with a helpful green/red outline. But don't use it in daytime.
- Halo 4 has this as an Armor Ability, known as Promethean Vision.
- Humorously done in Season 3 of Sam & Max: Freelance Police.
- Done somewhat in Team Fortress 2. Players can see their allies' health, the health of allied buildings, and the charge level of allied Medics. Medics always see their charge level and the health of their healing target. With the Solemn Vow equipped, they also see enemies' health. Spies can see the health of enemy players and buildings, and show a fake health level while disguised when enemies look at them. When you're killed, the killcam shows the health of your killer. Unlike most of these examples, the game doesn't even attempt to explain away any of these abilities.
- This is one of the standard features on the Demonica in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey. However, it has to scan a demon multiple times in order to incorporate all of their information. The first time you fight one, it can't even see them properly.
- In Distorted Travesty, clicking on an enemy brings up an analysis screen.
- In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, wearing the Hero's Charm reveals the enemy's life bar.
- Jango Fett has one in Star Wars: Bounty Hunter. Among other things, it indicates whether you can make extra money by capturing a given NPC.
- In the ending to Putty, the robot assigned to terminate Dazzledaze identifies him by these characteristics, which are displayed in a Robo Cam shot:
HGHT- WITH OR WITHOUT HAT?
WHGT- 2 TONNES
SEX - NEVER
FAT - BLOATED
PERCENTAGE MATCH- 99.99871045%
- Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror has the EDSU goggles, which highlight interactive objects and traps.
- Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura has the spell Read Aura, the only in-game way to see the stats of various non-party characters (the regular status window only displays percentage of remaining hit points and mana, race and attitude to the player). Its sister spell Sense Alignment is a lesser case of this.
- Kagura's stat-o-vision has a very specific setting - identifying female opponents' measurements in his match intro scenes.
- Naoto Kurogane has his Eye of the Hunter (狩人の眼 Karyūdo no Me) in his right eye, which displays a person's life force in a numerical value. It's also stated to be affected by moods, increasing with positives and decreasing with negatives respectively.
- Fire Emblem Awakening: has the Avatar/Robin. He/she claims to be able to "see things" on the battlefield and seems to be aware of the game's pair-up system.
- Shows up in the Visual Novel of Fate/stay night: All Masters in the Holy Grail War are able to read and store information such as the status and abilities of all Servants they've encountered. It's also explicitly stated that there is no unified system for it: No two Masters see this info in the same way and each have their own system for actualizing this data in a way they can understand. Shirou uses a fantasy RPG-style grading system that ranges from A to E, with a separate "EX" rank for cases that are to special rules or are outright unquantifiable. Of course, in Fate/Zero, everyone suddenly speaks in that RPG-style system, because its what the fans are used to.
- In Erfworld, wizards and warlords can see unit stats natively, except for the Trapped in Another World Parson, who needs special help to do so. No-one can see Parson's stats, however they do figure some of them out by how the bonuses he grants affect other units.
- In 8-Bit Theater, Red Mage uses what appears to be a Scan spell in the strip titled "Wherein No One's Power Level Is 9,000".
- In Goblins, which began as a straight-up spoof of Dungeons & Dragons from the goblins' point of view, all of the characters are Genre Savvy to the point of worshiping the Dungeon Master, consciously leveling up, and, in particular, being able to see numerals representing negative hit points hovering over unconscious or wounded characters.
- In The Gamer, highschool student Han Jee-Han unexpectedly wakes up to this and a whole host of other RPG tropes when the local version of Gaia blesses him with a Sudden Game Interface.
- Parodied in the Bronies React episode about the season 4 finale of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Orchestral Design is wearing an ordinary motorbike helmet, but when he closes the visor we see such a shot of his face, surrounded by readings of Power Levels for the show's characters. Of course, each occurrence is just a set-up for the obligatory "IT'S OVER 9,000!" joke as Lord Tirek reaches his final form.
- Parodied in Recess where resident bully Gelman's vision is shown like this when he's looking for Gus. It's parodied right down to the stark "night vision green" color and the synthesized voice.
- Parodied in The Simpsons where Homer is searching for a husband for Aunt Selma. He sees co-workers Lenny and Carl, and Principal Skinner, in green-tinged Terminator-style Stat-O-Vision.
- In the 2015 series of Danger Mouse, DM's Eyepatch of Power provides him with Stat-O-Vision.
What!? 9000!? There's no way that can be right!