A visual trope that usually only appears on a single panel or frame before an actual fight starts. It will features characters on two or more sides in static positions that can easily be reused for future splashes. They will be profile shots, usually of the upper body but sometimes showing the entire body instead.
Somewhere on this splash will be the word "vs." or "versus." Sometimes "and" will be used to indicate team-ups. While these are secondary to the actual image, the presence of these small words is still a hallmark of the trope. Sometimes, a voice will announce the confrontation as well, and if so, expect the announcer to be a Large Ham.
While serviceable and almost unnoticeable on its own (except on computers where elaborate splash screens may aggravate already lengthy stage loading times), this trope makes for great parody fodder and self-one-upsmanship in that viewers are trained to expect awesome fight scenes whenever they see one. Thus, overusing this trope can easily crank up the viewer's excitement in a short period of time.
A stock Battle Intro. Compare Juxtaposed Halves Shot (where half of two characters sides/faces are juxtaposed to or beside each other), Mirrored Confrontation Shot (a similar but conflict exclusive trope), and Super Move Portrait Attack.
- Used liberally in Eyeshield21, most often during football matches, though they appear in other places for epic effect, most notably an early story that begins with with Sena AND Shin VS motorcycles. The motorcycles lose.
- Pokémon: Introduced in the XY series.
- The last episode of Yuru-Yuri used this for the competition among the girls, complete with angry faces and everything. Until it gets to Ayano, who's all out of competition and is left standing opposite a question mark.
- Featured in the third season of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's. Naturally the English dub removed this feature.
- Lucky Star borrows the one from Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike for a Sudden Videogame Moment in which Konata defeats Guile with a Hurricane Kick.
- Used in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World for each confrontation between Pilgrim and the Evil Exes.
- Professional Wrestling usually introduces this with a "this is why they're fighting" montage. Also played completely straight when Darts and Snooker get this treatment, mainly used to introduce highlights of a match. Here are but two examples.
- Posters announcing a wrestling event are often designed that way as well, with the main event taking up the biggest part of the page. Note that this is mostly done by smaller federations, as these days, big feds use more movie-style posters focusing on either one particular wrestler, or several who are't involved in the same matches.
- A non-fighting game example, Black★Rock Shooter has this while Rock has to fight bosses. It's quite unique in this medium, the game being an Action RPG-Turn-Based RPG hybrid.
- The Trope Codifier is Street Fighter II, where at the beginning of each match-up after stage selection, a screen would flare up with profile shots of the two battling characters before switching to the actual fight. The trope's use within the series predates that game, including use in the original Street Fighter.
- The Super Smash Bros. series has this with a memorable voiceover guy who says "Versus!" before each match.
- Happens often against tough opponents in the Pokémon series. It started out with Pokémon Stadium, then downshifted into the main series games, starting with the Elite Four and Champion in the third generation. It's now a common aspect of plot-significant fights, to the point where (beginning with Pokémon Platinum) certain sprites are now made specifically for such "versus" screenshots, usually in a mugshot pose such as this one◊ (which features Sinnoh's first Gym Leader, Roark).
- Appears in every entry of the Soul series from. In Soulcalibur II and Soulcalibur III, pressing a button will even make a character say something, which can gets ridiculous in the former with Link's Voice Grunting.
- BlazBlue has quite an elaborate one which begins with the character's sprites posing before zooming in to a more traditional versus splash with their insignia behind them.
- The game's predecessor, Guilty Gear, did something similar in the XX series, but with closeups of the portraits instead of the posing sprites. The other games opt for a more traditional versus splash incorporating each fighter's in-game artwork.
- A staple of the Ace Attorney series' trial sequences.
- Shows up in Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People: Strong Badia the Free during the Maps and Minions mini-game.
- Mortal Kombat. You can also enter Kombat Kodes during this screen to alter the fight in some way.
- Legend Of Success Joe, before the in-ring matches, shows the faces of Joe and his opponent next to each other on a screen that dissolves to show their names. Amazingly these are some of the worst graphics in the game: the faces are the small character portraits blown up and shifted to grayscale.
- Mario Party 9 uses one just before the boss battle mini-games.
- The final boss of Sonic Rush had a "Sonic vs. Dr. Eggman" and "Blaze vs. Eggman Nega" splash displayed on the spare screen.
- Despite Skullgirls having plenty of Shout-Outs to other fighting games (and more), this trope is notably averted; instead there's just a long loading screen between character select and match start. The development team cites technical difficulties (i.e. even more loading) as their rationale.
- Persona 4: Arena had a pretty nice one with the versus screen being made like a fight poster before the screen zooms in on the portraits of the selected fighter with a red hue before cutting to the fight proper.
- Violence Fight has a simple version of this using the normal character sprites.
- In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game, this would appear before every boss fight.
- The first two games in the Tekken series only showed the names of the fighters in each match-up before a fight. Tekken 3 was the first in the series to show portraits of the fighters, and Tekken 4 was the first one to also include pre-battle taunts.
- Guacamelee! precedes each boss fight with one of these, set up like Lucha Libre advertisement posters.◊
- Money Idol Exchanger has a bizarre double-vision pre-battle versus screen also used for character selection in two-player mode. The cropped and captioned Character Portraits, with "VS" popping up between them in rainbow letters, are positioned above sprites of the same girls that are also not the Super-Deformed ones players actually control.
- Early entries in The King of Fighters series have this, but only in the home console versions (more specifically the PlayStation versions). The only games that do this in the arcade version is KOF '99 and KOF 2001.
- Dota 2 shows one of these before every match starts as of patch 7.00, with the Radiant heroes along the top and the Dire heroes along the bottom... even though actual gameplay has the Radiant heroes at the south end of the map.
- The fighting games associated with JoJo's Bizarre Adventure make sure to include this.
- Heritage for the Future's screen does it with a simple display of both participants' heads with "VS" in between, immediately cutting to the fight.
- All-Star Battle's screen◊ displays both characters' in-game art inside manga-style panels, as well as displaying their names and fighting style. The "VS" stretches the height of the screen.
- Eyes of Heaven's screen◊ puts the characters' art inside cards instead, with one character in each tag-team in front of the other. It also adds on which part each character is from, what the teams' Dual Heat Attacks are, and the jazziest loading screen music you've ever heard.
- Appears in Batman: The Brave and the Bold regularly, specifically setting up which two characters are teaming up for a certain adventure. Usually shows up twice an episode, once for the Batman Cold Open and the other for the regular story, though some have variations on the theme.
- Used in an episode of Ben 10: Omniverse involving an underground tournament of aliens. They have a digital graphics screen, and a semi-monotone announcer, making this effect happen before each match-up of combatants.