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A critical hit (frequently shortened to simply a "crit") is a type of Extra Effective Attack triggered by fulfilling certain conditions in the game. The effect that a crit has and the means to score one vary widely from game to game, but they're almost always explicitly referred to as critical hits (or something similar), and Video Games will usually use a unique visual effect and/or sound to let you know you've landed one. Crits can be caused by anything from random chance to hitting a weak point, catching an enemy by surprise, exploiting an elemental weakness, or executing an Action Command perfectly, among other things. Often crits simply do additional damage, but may include additional things ranging from inflicting Standard Status Effects to ignoring an enemy's defenses to causing an immediate One-Hit Kill.

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The idea behind a critical hit is that even normal attacks can do more-than-normal damage under the right circumstances. The extent to which this is Justified varies, but the same logic usually applies. A standard attack can cause extra damage by hitting a vital organ, stun a target with a blow to the head, slow their movement by wounding their leg, etc. This allows games to give things a bit of variety without the complexity of full-blown Subsystem Damage, and rewards players for succeeding with more difficult attacks instead of just taking the easiest shot as soon as it's available.

Critical Hit is a subtrope of Extra Effective Attack and the supertrope to Random Critical Hit. The Critical Hit Class is balanced around getting critical hits more often than other classes. The critical hit trope should not be confused with the Podcast of the same name. See also the opposite of a critical hit, the Critical Failure.

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    Roleplay 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Various editions have had both Random Critical Hits and non-random crits. The details vary by edition and optional rules, but generally speaking, crits do extra damage and possibly have other effects (from Standard Status Effects to Damage Over Time to a One-Hit Kill) as well. This can be affected by anything from equipment to using particular abilities. Somewhat unusually, in earlier editions, quite a few enemies were immune to critical hits — usually things like undead, constructs, and oozes, which have no particular vulnerable points (like vital organs) that could be hit for critical damage. This went away with 4e, though.
  • The most famous version of D&D's crits come from the d20 System, where the success of virtually any action is determined by a rolling a 20-sided die. A "natural 20" (getting a result of 20 on the 20-sided die, before adding any modifiers) is considered a critical hit in virtually all games that use the d20 system, including D&D 3e and 3.5. The chance of this is one in 20, or 5% per roll.
  • Mutants & Masterminds uses the d20 system, including the "natural 20 crits". For skill checks, this gives you an extra degree of success over and above the result of the actual roll. In combat, it's an automatic hit, and if the attack exceeds the target's defense, it crits. This lets you either make the roll to resist much stronger, add an extra effect to the attack, or to replace the attack with an alternate effect.
  • Rolemaster had pages upon pages of critical hit tables. It was famous for them. Overcoming your opponent in a battle in Rolemaster isn't so much about draining their hit points but landing criticals. Each attack consists of an attack roll (adding your skill bonus for the weapon you're using and subtracting the enemy's defensive bonus), and if the weapon's attack table indicates that you get a critical hit you roll for the critical (the severity of which depends on whether your hit resulted in A, B, C, D or E criticals) and see how well you succeed in that critical, the results of which range anywhere from small wounds to smashed skulls.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay has critical hits not as extra damage for normal hits, but as the result of attacks against opponents with no HP left. Instead of doing HP damage, a critical hit deals a permanent injury to the target, if it doesn't outright kill them. There's also the "Ulric's Fury!" rule (shouting it out loud when you get one is optional), caused by rolling the maximum value for damage and then succeeding at a weapon skill check that allows you to roll for damage again, adding that roll to the damage total. This can go on for as long as you keep rolling max damage and succeeding on the check.
  • The 40K version, Dark Heresy, has the same two mechanics (only now the latter is called "Righteous Fury!" and isn't nearly as fun to shout). In this version, crit damage stacks — if the enemy has a critical 5 damage on the arm, hitting them for 2 HP on the torso will bring them to critical 7. There are also actual critical hit tables, like Rolemaster but much more fun. You can see scans of them on 1d4chan.
  • Black Crusade replaced Righteous Fury with Zealous Hatred, which instead of making the damage die explosive, makes you roll a d5 on the critical damage table, independently from any other critical damage (the numbers don't stack). This makes BC's crits crippling blows rather than simply doing more damage.
  • Warhammer has a few of them itself: Irresistible Force, a critical success at casting a spell that means it can't be dispelled (contrast with Miscasts); Poisoned Weapons which will always wound on a critical hit roll; and the Killing Blow skill which auto-kills on a critical wound roll. One magazine article suggested a critical success house rule for psychology tests, as well, to represent the small chance of warriors holding out against impossible odds.
    • Now an official rule, in 8th Edition. Also, Irresistible Force now counts as a Critical Hit and a Critical Failure — the idea being that you throw an extra-powerful spell, but hurt yourself in the process.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has a few units with similar rules, critting on a max roll.
    • "Rending" attacks wound regardless of Toughness and ignore armor saves when they crit. Ork tellyport blastas use both the rending rules and another, which makes its crits a One-Hit Kill.
    • The "precision shots" rule for Characters, which allows them to shoot at a single model (rather than the whole unit) if they crit.
    • Leadership tests in Warhammer 40,000 (one of the few rolls where rolling less is better) automatically succeed on a crit, even if the value rolled wouldn't succeed normally. Psychic Powers use leadership tests where some rolls (including ones that cause crits) miscasts. The rules explicitly state that if they crit and miscast with the same roll, the psyker manages to cast the spell even if it kills him.
  • The New World of Darkness has two versions of this, both of which apply to all sorts of rolls, not just combat. Each roll uses a "dice pool" of a certain size, rolls above a certain number are "successes", and a roll needs a certain number of successes for the action to succeed overall. One type of crit is a max roll on a single die, which is counted as a success and rerolled (and can be rerolled again if it's another max roll); another is if the total result has more than five successes, it's considered an "exceptional success", which means that it accomplishes truly neat things.
    • Other Whitewolf games such as Exalted and Scion tweak this so a max roll is a two successes, and the more successes you get (often a certain number, such as your opponent's total successes) increase your result on a scale, rather than a sharp fail/success/exception success divide.
    • The Savage Worlds system has a similar mechanic, where a max roll lets you reroll it and add, and every multiple of four over the difficulty you are makes the result better.
  • BattleTech has a system of critical hits that applies during a variety of situations. The most common being that after the external armor in a location has been eliminated, every successful attack made to that location hits its internal structure and will do Subsystem Damage to components there. Most components suffer a Critical Existence Failure upon a being hit, but a few major components instead suffer penalties but still function (up to a limit of hits). The result of this can be anything from a weapon or piece of equipment becoming damaged and unusable, to the pilot being killed, to stored ammo exploding and causing a chain reaction that destroys the entire 'mech.
  • In Nomine, which is based on the War between Heaven and Hell, has a special take on critical successes (which cover not just on rolls involving fighting but any roll). Critical hits and Critical Failures are reversed depending on which side you're on. If you roll a "Divine Intervention", then that's a critical hit if you're an angel or one of their allies, but a critical failure for demons and their allies. Rolling an "Infernal Intervention" is the opposite. Depending on the nature and circumstances of the roll, these Interventions can be anything from a(n) (un)lucky coincidence to a blatant spectacular manifestation of divine or infernal power.
  • GURPS has Random Critical Hits for most actions. The effects are somewhat loosely defined except in certain cases. In combat, the most likely result of a critical hit is actually doing the same amount of damage as a normal attack. Editors have noted that this is realistic, since under many circumstances, a person might be lucky to get a hit at all, never mind do extra damage with it.
  • In Eclipse Phase has both critical successes and Critical Failures, which is based on dice rolls.
  • Unknown Armies had perhaps the least forgiving critical mechanic in existence. The system doesn't distinguish between a critical hit and a Critical Failure — your result is a critical, and you do that critical damage to your enemy if the attack hits or to yourself if it's a miss. A max roll is a One-Hit Kill against the target, while a minimum roll is a One-Hit Kill against you.
  • New Horizon, which uses two color-coded dice, makes a minimum roll on the black die an automatic success, with the degree of success judged by the result of the white die.
  • In Paranoia, depending on the GM, sometimes rolling a 1 is a Critical Hit; sometimes it's an Excessively Critical Hit (e.g. your laser blast sends the shattered remains of the targeted Commie Mutant Traitor right through a wall, busting a pipe and flooding the corridor with radioactive sewage. You then get fined for damaging valuable Computer property).
  • Ninja Burger, a card game of ninjas who deliver fast food to insanely improbable locations, has a mechanic where you test skills to complete your delivery. Rolling crit means the ninja did something so awesome, they gain one Honor (the game's Victory Points) just for that. In a game which starts players with six Honor each and ends typically when the average Honor reaches ten or four, this is a considerable bonus.
  • Fate-based games like The Dresden Files have critical hits on a scale, rather than having a sharp distinction between regular hits and critical hits. The more you beat your target's defense by, the more damage you do, basically meaning that you get bonus damage for rolling well, rather than having to hit a specific crit condition.
  • The Dragon Age tabletop adaptation calls its critical hits "stunts". They let you do things like deal extra damage, attack a second enemy near your original target, knock the target prone, etc. Stunts have different point costs, and how many points a player can spend depends on the exact crit roll you got.

    Video Games - RPGs 
  • The Dragon Quest series has several examples:
    • Dragon Quest I has criticals ("A terrific blow!"), just to show how long this has been in console RPGs. Critical hits ignore the enemy's defense value, making it very useful when fighting a Metal Slime or the Final Boss (both of which have very high defense for their HP). However, critical hits aren't guaranteed hits in this game, so you could crit and still miss ("Excellent move! It is dodging!").
    • Dragon Quest II has critical hits for the player characters, in which they ignore defense and do double the usual damage. Ordinarily, enemies cannot land criticals, but a few late-game enemies can. These enemies also happen to have amazing attack power, leading to an easy One-Hit Kill on anyone without a massive HP total.
    • At least in some of the later games, there are enemies that can get critical hits too, which the game refers to as "desperate attacks". Depending on how strong your party is, and the strength of the enemy, a desperate attack could leave you at death's door. Your best bet is to keep your party fully healed and try to disable any monsters that you know are capable of desperate attacks. Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker features a skill, Critical Miss, which prevents the target from dealing critical hits.
    • In addition, ever since the inclusion of "jobs" to the series, there's always been a skill that allows a character to either land a critical hit or miss entirely every round.
    • A couple of characters in the series can do even more damage than a normal crit with a "trip and fall on the enemy" critical.
    • In later games, spells can also "go haywire", which is the same thing.
    • Some items and skills have in their description that they can "cause a critical hit". It does not mean that their damage can be increased like in a normal critical hit, but rather that they have a chance to cause a One-Hit Kill.
  • Any game based on Dungeons & Dragons or the D 20 System, such as the Baldur's Gate and Knights of the Old Republic series, generally uses critical hits in the same manner as their tabletop counterpart.
  • In the Growlanser series, crits do extra damage. Characters can learn skills that increase critical rate, and some techniques that are guaranteed to crit.
  • The Pokémon games use critical hits. The details vary from generation to generation, but generally speaking they do extra damage, and ignore stat changes that would reduce the damage of the attack (attacker's lowered offense, target's increased defense) if any are in play.
    • The base chance of any given attack critting is 1/16, but this can be raised or lowered with certain moves, items, and abilities. Generation V also introduced two moves (Storm Throw and Frost Breath) that automatically crit (but have a fairly low power of 60 to compensate).
    • Generation V also added critical captures, which is basically when a Poké Ball crits, meaning that the capture chance is much higher than normal.
  • Crits are especially useful in the Pokémon Rumble series, as any Pokemon who becomes a victim of one will be stunned temporarily and defeating them during this time guarantees that you'll obtain them as an ally.
  • The MOTHER series has SMASH attacks, critical hits that ignore defense and cause roughly your Offense stat worth of unblockable damage. The chance of a smash hit is random, but based on your Guts stat. Enemies can get smash hits on you, as well, which is usually much more painful, as enemies tend to have high HP and low defense, while players have high defense and low HP.
    • The second game in the series, EarthBound, has several items that affect critical hits. Ness' Infinity +1 Sword, the Gutsy Bat, crits more often than usual. The Casey Bat, a reference to the longform poem "Casey at the Bat", misses 75% of the time (compared to about 6% for most weapons), but crits every time it hits.
  • Perfect World does standard "extra damage" crits. The crit rate is based on Dexterity, so classes that use a lot of Dexterity anyway (like Archers) get crits at Game-Breaker rates. This is exceedingly annoying in PvP.
  • The Fallout games use crits extensively, though the implementation varies from game to game. Generally speaking, crits do extra damage, including injuring the location of the hit in addition to basic HP damage, and frequency of crits depends on a variety of factors, including stats, perks, equipment, and type of attack (aiming at the head is more likely to crit, for example).
    • The classic games (Fallout and Fallout 2), results of a crit was actually rolled on a table, with possible effects including increased damage, crippled limbs, ignoring the target's armour, and instant death. The "Better Criticals" perk granted better results on this table, while perks like "Sniper" and "Slayer" vastly increased the chance of making a critical hit. An "instant death" result on the table may not necessarily have an "ignore armour" effect attached, creating the infamous "[Target] was critically hit for 0 damage and died from the pain" message.
    • For Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, crits now only have one effect (extra damage, though this includes limb damage if that's where you were aiming), but in addition to a Random Critical Hit, you can also get a "Sneak Attack Critical" by landing an attack while sneaking and undetected. Combining high-powered weapons having (ordinarily) low crit chance with stealth can become a Game-Breaker.
    • Fallout 4 changes the crit system. There's a "critical meter" that slowly fills as you make successful attacks and kills in VATS. Once the bar is full, the player can cause a critical on an attack of their choice, which resets the crit meter. This not only does a lot of damage, but it also never misses (making it good for long-range snipes with low hit chance). There are also Luck perks that do things like let you store extra crits (fill up the meter more than once, have more than one crit available for later) and having an attack randomly fill the crit meter to fill instantly.
  • Golden Sun has two versions. There are standard extra-damage crits from the start, and after a certain point in the game, most of the weapons found are magical (psynergical?) in nature, with unique "Unleash" abilities that activate randomly. Criticals and Unleashes are independent — you can miss your Unleash but still get a critical hit.
    • In Dark Dawn gets rid of standard crits in favor of uses Unleash abilities exclusively, but many low-level weapons have an Unleash named "critical hit" that simply does extra damage.
  • The Final Fantasy franchise usually has a standard Random Critical Hit system where critting does extra damage, but there's often some variations as well.
  • The Heroes of Might and Magic series use a Luck Stat which determines a unit stack's chance to deal critical hits (or lucky hits). If it's negative, a feature of only a few games, the units may deal only half damage instead. This could get vicious with ranged units in melee, most of whom only deal half-damage anyway. Some units also have special attacks that trigger randomly and may qualify as Critical Hits, but most of them aren't straight multipliers. One, such as the Dread Knight's death strike in III, is straight double damage... meaning quad damage if they're also lucky.
  • In Chrono Trigger, criticals are the "extra damage" type, with the crit chance tied to the weapon being used. The game is also notable for having special animations and sound effects for crits. The ranged characters Lucca and Marle shoot extra projectiles; Crono, Frog, and Magus all do two-hit combos instead of doing a single hit; and Robo and Ayla attack downwards (while they normally hit sideways), and their hits emit more energy than they normally would. All of the crits are accompanied by the screen flashing, and somewhat altered sounds.
    • Chrono Cross, the sequel, tied this to the strength of attacks. From weak to fierce, the latter has higher chances of doing a critical hit, but has lower accuracy unless you chain it from other attacks. Also, while Serge's Infinity +1 Sword doesn't have the highest attack rating, its chances of doing a critical hit the ceiling to the point that even weak attacks do criticals.
  • The Mario & Luigi games, confusingly, use the word "Critical" to denote a hit that is elementally effective, but also have real critical hits as well, calling them "Lucky".
  • City of Heroes has an interesting critical system, as each archetype has a different means of landing criticals. Scrappers have a set chance with every attack, with higher chances against higher-ranked enemies. Controllers have a chance to overpower an enemy while held. Stalkers (and Arachnos Soldiers) land free crits from Stealth, and can perform powerful attacks that can one hit kill most mooks. Dominators can activate a supermode to make every control power a crit for a brief period. Corruptors have a chance to land criticals any time the target is below 50% health, with the chance increasing as the target weakens.
    • Stalkers also have an interesting property in that each teammate nearby increases their chance of dealing critical damage. Apparently your chances of doing something impressive go up when there are more players to witness it, though the explanation is that the other players are distracting the enemies enough for you to do your thing more often.
  • The Magic Knight Rayearth RPG for the SNES had two levels of critical — a "Crushing attack!" for 2x damage and a "Greatest attack!" for 3x. It was quite amusing when cannon fodder enemies pulled these off for a whopping 3HP damage.
  • World of Warcraft loves critical hits. Physical attacks do double damage on crits, while magical and elemental attacks deal 150% damage (not quite as much, but still powerful since those go through armor and hit harder anyways). Every class in the game has talents that provide further benefits beyond extra damage (or at least gave them more extra damage), while some classes get guaranteed critical hits under certain circumstances. You can increase your chance to get criticals of any kind based on stats granted by your equipment. There's even a chance for healing spells to have a critical effect. And for that matter, an increasingly large number of periodic damage spells can crit. You can poison someone, and the poison currently running through their veins will sometimes and somehow score a critical hit.
    • Fire mages make critical hits such a common occurrence that there's a (useful) talent that only activates when you get two in a row.
    • Blizzard policy is that the chance of a critical should not, except where cooldowns or short-term talent effects are involved, ever reach 50%. Since if it did, there would no longer be a critical hit system in place. There would just be critical failures.
  • Diablo franchise:
    • Diablo II has both Critical and Deadly strikes. They serve the same "you do double damage" purpose, but come from difference sources — Critical Strike bonuses come from skills, while Deadly Strike bonuses come from items. However, success on one cancels the other (so there's no 4x damage). You can also get a chance of Crushing Blow from an item, which directly takes off a large percentage of the target's HP; gaining high crushing blow chances and a fast attack is how the Paladin "smiter" and Assassin's Kicksin archetypes function (they tend be a bit of Crippling Overspecialization, only worthwhile on bosses/duels).
    • Diablo III tracks the percent chance of a given attack causing a Critical Hit and the damage bonus a Critical Hit confers separately. Both stats are conferred by gear, and when combined are sufficiently powerful in the endgame that they are considered two-thirds of the so-called "holy trinity" of gear bonuses (the third being bonuses to the character stat that determines base damage). Most skills and spells have a chance to score a Critical Hit; applying the Crit % stat to skills that don't deal damage in discrete "attacks," such as Damage Over Time effects, can get into some seriously arcane mathematics that have a bad habit of changing from patch to patch. Some classes also have skills that trigger an additional effect each time a Critical Hit occurs, such as the Monk's Sweeping Wind, which "stacks" up to three times every time one lands.
  • Crimson Gem Saga lampshades this by having a system that lets you actually continue a critical hit into a series of follow up attacks. The result is that when you critical, you do it in a big way. To top this off, there is a character in the game that is devoted specifically to this, and has a seven-hit consecutive combo.
  • In Path of Exile, critical hits have both a chance and a multiplier. Critical hit chance is determined by the equipped weapon or the spell and deal 50% more damage by default, but both of them can be increased to high levels through passives and equipped items. There are also unique equipment that interact with critical hits, such as added bleeding or instant life leech. There's also the "Cast on Critical Strike" gem, which causes critical hits with a skill to cast the linked spell. You can also forgo crits altogether with the "Resolute Technique" passive, at the price of perfect accuracy.
  • Super Mario RPG features both the conventional Random Critical Hit and "timed hits", which is a guaranteed critical hit as long as you succeed at an Action Command by pressing A at the right time (usually upon the impact of the first hit) during an attack — when Mario's punch lands, when Mallow's cymbals come together, etc. Justified in most cases by adding an extra strike to the attack, making Mario punch more than once, for example.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, scoring a critical hit will score the attacking party (the player's or the enemies) a free turn in the Turn Press System.
  • Likewise, critical hits form the whole basis of Persona 3 and Persona 4's "One More" system. Every time a crit is scored — either by random chance with a physical attack or hitting the target's elemental weakness — the target is knocked down (leaving them vulnerable to follow-up attacks) and the attacker gets to go again. This can continue as long as they keep critting (though you can't crit against an already-downed target). If the player's party manages to get all enemies knocked down at the same time, they can do a powerful All-Out Attack that deals lots of damage and ignores normal defenses (but uses up your party's turn, so you can't heal or buff that round). The system also includes a Critical Failure where a botched physical attack not just missed, but actually caused the attacker to fall over, knocking themselves down.
    • In Persona 3, knocking down an enemy with a crit would force them to waste a turn getting back up — though if you did an All-Out Attack and they survived, that would put them back on their feet without them having to spend a turn on it. P3's status system — where characters felt either Great, Good, Tired, or Sick, depending on how much time they'd spent in Tartarus and how much rest they'd gotten recently, had a huge effect on their critical hit rate. Good was default, while Great made them crit more often. Tired made them get critted more often, and Sick was even worse (Tired and Sick also made healing less effective on them).
    • Persona 4 made some changes; you could now get up and act on the same turn after being knocked down, but another status, dizzy, was added that did make you waste a turn — and the only way to make something dizzy was by critting it after it was already knocked down. However, crits gained another benefit; landing a crit allowed an ally to use the opening to either negate a status effect on another ally (eg, pulling them to their feet if they're Down, slapping them to their senses if they're Afraid or Confused, etc), or perform a Follow-Up Attack, a powerful ability unique to each character.
  • In Planet Alcatraz, chances of critical hit depends on the attacker's Critical Hit stat and the target's Avoid Critical stat. Suffering one instantly knocks down the human targets and makes them drop their weapons. The part where the attack lands (torso, arms or legs) is "critically injured", lowering one or a few stats until healed. A critical hit to the head is instantly fatal to both human and non-human enemies.
  • Ys: The Ark of Napishtim and other 3D games in the series have luck-based critical attacks(which the enemies can also do on Nightmare difficulty), obtaining a certain item increases the frequency of these.
  • Some of the World of Mana games have critical hits which not only do more damage, but also ignore the enemy's defenses. This can be handy since enemies in this series are notoriously picky about what weapons will damage them. If you don't have the right weapon, your best chance to win is to keep attacking till you get a critical hit.
  • The MMORPG Ragnarok Online features critical hits, but it makes you work for them. Unlike some MMOs, you select your stat increases on level up. The game features a pile of useful stats, and a single barely-worthwhile Luck Stat. The sole things this stat covers are critical hit chances, and "perfect dodge". The problem is that you have to pump large amounts of lcuk every level to get any appreciable crit rating, which means those stat increases aren't going into bread-and-butter damage stats. There are a small handful of luck-based builds, but for everyone else it's a controversial and generally weak stat.
  • Every Wild ARMs game uses critical hits in some way or another, but the fourth and fifth games take it further with Finest Arts. These require a Punching Glove or Sheriff Star badge to be equipped and do significantly more damage than a critical hit. In 5, they replaced critical hits all together, and were still buffed by the main character's ability "Double Critical".
  • Critical hits are essential to Warriors and Rogues' special attacks in Dragon Age: Origins, since many special effects (like stun, knock-down, bleeding, etc.) are only triggered if the special attack lands a critical hit. It is counterbalanced by armor penetration, since weapons that have high probability of a crit (swords and daggers) have low armor penetration and vice versa (axes and warhammers). As a nice touch, a critical hit on a frozen solid non-boss enemy will shatter said enemy. No matter what their health level, that's an instant kill and an excellent way to improve your odds when a large group attacks.
  • Present in the Lufia series. In Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals, it's possible with Mystic Stones to raise a character's CRT stat to 100, which makes every single attack a critical hit.
  • Present in A Blurred Line, where they're referred to as “An excellent attack!”. Wearing items such as Lucky Bandana will increase their frequency. Weirdly, the ones inflicted by enemies are still referred to as a Critical Strike (the default RPG Maker description).
  • In The Fall Last Days Of Gaia, a skill gives 10% chance of critical hits, which inflict double amount of normal damage.
  • In Neverend, their likelyhood is governed by the Perception stat. It's the only thing the stat does besides determining who goes first at the start of the battle only, and so no-one bothers to invest in it.
  • Critical hits are a significant part of the combat system in The Age of Decadence. Their likelihood governed by the Critical Strike skill. Some weapons (like swords) are also more likely to inflict them than others (i.e hammers.)
  • Dead State also has critical hits prominent in its combat system. Of note is a special attack available for the kitchen knife, which delivers a guaranteed critical hit and inflicts bleeding, at the cost of the knife itself, as its blade is broken off in the wound.
  • The MMORPG Star Trek Online has the mods [CrtH] (critical hit chance) and [CrtD] (critical severity). The former gives a weapon a 2% better chance at dealing a Critical Hit while the latter gives the weapon 20% extra damage when Critically Hit. Antiproton weapons have a natural [CrtD] and there are numerous items that boost both levels substantially.
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    Video Games - Shooters 
  • Team Fortress 2 has a rather complex critical hit system, especially for a First-Person Shooter. It's very obvious when someone has a crit active — team-colored glowing, crackling electric "charged up" sound effects, and sparkly particle effects all signify that you should probably stay out of the way if at all possible. Crits do three times base damage, and ignore the usual random damage range and distance penalties for the weapon. There are also "mini-crits" that do an extra 35% damage, and ignore distance penalties but not the random damage spread. Generally speaking, attacks have a small random chance to crit based on the weapon, while mini-crits are based on specific effects. However, exceptions, complications, and variations abound.
    • The chance of a crit increases based on the amount of damage you've done recently (within the last 20 seconds). If you've manage to cause a ton of mayhem by yourself, you're more likely to crit and continue your streak.
    • Melee weapons have a much higher base crit chance than ranged weapons; this makes melee a high risk/high reward strategy, as it's more likely that you'll get a lucky crit and one-shot your target, but the reverse is also true.
    • Some weapons do not benefit from random crits at all. This is usually because they have a method of getting guaranteed crits in certain circumstances. For example, the Sniper's rifles automatically crit on headshots while scoped, several weapons (such as the Pyro's "backburner" flamethrower and the Spy's various knives) automatically crit when hitting an enemy from behind, and the Soldier has a melee weapon that does guaranteed crits during a Rocket Jump. (A Sniper's fully-charged headshot and a Spy's backstab are also automatic One Hit Kills.)
    • A variety of buffs are available that cause crits or mini-crits. The Medic has a medigun, the Kritzkreig, that causes his healing target guaranteed crits for a short time when activated, the Sniper's Jarate causes any enemy it hits to take mini-crit damage while the effect lasts, the Scout's crit-a-cola item briefly causes all his hits to be mini-crits, for example. In capture the flag mode, capturing the enemy flag also gives a momentary guaranteed-crit buff to the entire capturing team.
    • A particularly devastating weapon when it comes to crits is the Soldier's rocket launcher, since its base damage is held in check by getting less extra damage from close-range use, while crits still do triple base damage at all ranges. The fan nickname for such an instance is "crocket", a portmanteau of "crit" and "rocket". Killing three players with a single crocket earns the Soldier an achievement. The only class that can withstand a direct hit from a crocket from a stock bazoooka (while not overhealed) is the Heavy, and surviving a crocket grants the player an achievement as well.
    • There are some servers that make all attacks crits; even weapons that don't deal random crits will always deal them. This essentially makes almost all the characters save the Heavy/Soldier Glass Cannons.
    • In Mann Vs. Machine mode, some of the robots are perpetually crit-boosted and any bomb carrier is once they hold the bomb for so long. To make up for this, one of cheapest upgrades you can get includes reducing the damage from crits. Humorously, at its highest level (three) this means that critical hits do less damage than normal hits
    • Critical hits are loathed by the competitive community, as they can occur at any time for any reason, meaning that they can turn the results of a fight into a matter of luck rather than skill. However, this was a deliberate design choice on the part of the developers, as giving newcomers a fighting chance to win against experienced players, even if purely by luck, makes the game much more accessible to casual players. There is a server-side option to turn random crits off in order to appeal to the more competitive-minded; however, this breaks the balance of the game, as some weapons were designed with the inability to randomly crit as a balancing factor. When no weapon can randomly crit, those weapons become straight upgrades.
  • The mecha-anime inspired FPS Shogo featured critical hits, and landing one restored a bit of your character's health. This was important since the game was particularly unforgiving about getting hit by any attack.
  • Borderlands has attacks that hit an enemy's weakpoint causes extra damage, complete with "Critical Hit" appearing in big red letters.
    • A different mechanic uses the Random Critical Hit method. All elemental weapons have a chance of exploding in their element rather than just plain shooting. When this triggers, it either starts the enemy taking continuous damage or does boosted damage for that one hit. Better guns do it more often.
    • Morcedai also has skills that give a random chance for melee or ranged attacks to do extra damage.
  • In Warframe, every weapon has an innate critical hit chance per shot, ranging from 0% to 50%, along with a critical damage multiplier. Weapon modifications can increase the chance and multiplier, and certain Warframe abilities can increase it as well. A weapon with a crit chance over 100% can inflict "red" crits for massive damage when it rolls two crits on the same bullet. A separate statistic governs the status chance, which can inflict Standard Status Effects such as bleeding or freezing. Several Warframes and weapons are built specifically for critical hits.
  • Darkest Dungeon's crit system works on more than simply added damage: an attack with a chance to bleed/blight/stun/debuff has a much higher chance to proc, enemy crits increase the heroes' stress, while a crit from a hero does the opposite, crit heals included. An enemy killed by a crit doesn't leave a corpse to fill up the foe's combat line.

    Video Games - Strategy Games 
  • Fire Emblem makes extensive use of critical hits. The series even has special animations for each unit when they crit. Generally speaking, crits have a random chance of activating, and they do triple damage and can't miss. Given the size of the franchise, however, there are variations.
    • In Genealogy of the Holy War and Thracia 776, criticals double the user's attack stat before damage calculation instead. This actually makes them more powerful than usual, unless you totally outclass your enemy (in which case he's going down anyway). Oh, and one family gets a skill that grants automatic criticals if the character is below 50% health.
    • Some games also have skills available to certain classes that randomly activate like critical hits, as well. These do everything from healing the attacker for the amount of damage they dealt, to ignoring enemy's defense, getting extra attacks, making an automatic One-Hit Kill, or some combination thereof.
    • In Fire Emblem Fates, several Personal Skills revolve around critical hits. Scarlet's In Extremis raises her critical ratio a whooping +30 if she has less than a quarter health remaining, and Selena's Fierce Rival can grant her an guaranteed critical hit as a follow-up attack provided the unit she's supporting landed a crit themselves.
    • The series also has a designated Critical Hit Class in the Swordmaster and Berserker, which have a higher base chance for their attacks to be crits.
    • Similarly, there's a whole branch of weapons ("Killer" weapons) with bonus crit chance. This stacks, so a Swordmaster with a Killing Edge, for example, will crit more often than not.
  • The Real-Time Strategy game Warcraft 3 had a critical hit mechanic. This was an ability restricted to certain units — a few Heroes could get it as as normal ability, while other heroes could find items to give them bonuses.
  • Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars, though a Strategy Game, used a targeting-based Action Command system to determine hits and misses. Each enemy had one or more red circles on their body that, if hit by the center of the targeting reticule, conferred a critical hit.
  • The Story Mode-only hero Kenji of Battle Realms has the Battle Gear Critical Strike which does a great amount of damage at the cost of some stamina. Werewolves of the Wolf Clan also have a Wolf Bite Battle Gear, which acts as a critical strike, and can convert enemies into regular, tamable wolves.
  • The Super Robot Wars series uses critical hits, they do either 1.2 or 1.5 times the damage depending on the game. There's also a spirit command in some of the games that makes every attack made by that unit a critical attack for one turn.
  • Disgaea: Hour of Darkness has its weapons have a fixed chance for criticals, with Axes having the highest natural chance (30%). Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories added the Professional specialist, which upped the critical hit chance proportional to its level (and it caps at 100), and the Item World's Item Assembly can up the critical hit chance. The Male Warrior dealt increased critical hit damage when at 25% health, and the Berserker unit in Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice can get an evility that gives him guaranteed Critical hits when he has an axe.
    • Disgaea 2 also has an unusual in-story example. Very early in the game, a Prinny sneaks up behind Rozalin while she's not paying attention, and drops a bomb on her. Adell cracks the fourth wall to mention that it's this trope.
  • In Master of Orion II there's a chance (enhanced with a special targeting system) of hitting a ship's weapons and other systems after Deflector Shields and armor don't stand on the way. A ship with broken computer can't hit a planet one square away, with broken drive it loses mobility: at half of drive's Hit Points the ship is a sitting duck and can be boarded, at 0 it explodes no matter how much armor and hull Hit Points remains. This means artillery in Armor-Piercing Attack variant is devastating, as few shots can cripple or destroy a ship the moment its shield is down... unless it has bulky Heavy Armor upgrade.
  • In Shining Force, there are three damage modifiers: the enemy evades the attack, the chance for a second attack, and the Critical Hit. Critical hits give off a special sound and are not evaded (otherwise how would you tell?). They also increase the damage from attacks, generally anywhere between 1.5 and 2.0 times the damage. As it's independent from the chance for a second attack, rare luck could result in 4 times the damage. As it is damage and not attack power, an attack that only inflicts Scratch Damage will still only inflict 1 HP of damage. This is a useful for the first game's Lightning Bruiser, Domingo, who attracts a lot of attacks due to being a magician.
  • Warlords Battlecry, being an RTS mixed with an RPG, has these for everyone, though in an odd way. There's Critical Failures where the damage's cut down, true critical hits that, on top of triple damage, have an added effect that will depend on the damage type (slashing does an area attack, blunt cuts combat ability for some seconds, cold freezes the enemy and slows it down, and so on), and Killing Blows, that "simply" do some nasty damage, and have the attacker spout a Pre-Mortem One-Liner.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Monster Capsule GB, rolling a 10 or above means a critical hit, with 00 giving you the highest damage possible for one.
  • In Silent Storm (as well as Hammer and Sickle, the officially sanctioned RPG mod) these can range from causing the character to bleed, go blind and/or deaf, all the way up to instant death. Some of the classes have perks that affect these, whether inflicted on or by the enemy. The Sniper has a very popular perk that always causes critical hits with all shots from any ranged weapon, up to and including machine guns fired on long burst.
  • In Brigandine, the Rulers of a land get a special named attack if they score a critical hit. Otherwise heroes and units just do extra damage (though some also have a status effect). The exception are Pixies and Fairies, like a Ruler, they get a special named attack called "Leave Me Be!". Instead of smacking an enemy with a flower, lightning will come down from the sky and hammer the enemy with an attack strength that rivals a dragon.

    Video Games - Other 
  • Super Smash Bros. has a variation on this, which is called the "sweet spot". Some attacks are more effective when they connect with certain parts of the attack (for example, Captain Falcon's Knee of Justice), while others are dependant on timing (they're more powerful when they land during certain frames of the animation) rather than location.
    • Some characters have abilities that can do a more conventional Random Critical Hit. For example, Mr. Game & Watch has a move where he whacks the target while holding up a number ranging from 1 to 9. The damage and side effects vary, but the nine is a hard hitting attack that certainly qualifies as a Critical Hit.
    • Brawl and 4 also play with the trope, giving several of the Fire Emblem characters (Marth, Roy, and Lucina) a Final Smash named "Critical Hit". It does a ridiculous amount of damage and enough knockback to KO most characters even if they're completely unharmed. When it hits, they even show a Fire Emblem health counter going from full to zero.
  • Fruit Ninja gives critical hits randomly.
  • In Minecraft, a critical hit can be achieved while falling.
  • Terraria also has critical hits which the chance can be boosted by reforged items/weapons, buff potions, armor and armor bonuses, etc. The strikes are highlighted by a larger and deeper orange damage number that floats above the hit target for longer. If done correctly with weapons like the Sniper Rifle, it's possible to hit a target for four-digit damage.
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night used many RPG Elements, including critical hits. Crit rates are dependent on the equipped weapon as well as the character's Luck Stat. However, critical hits are usually so rare that the developers did not think of the effects they would have on the demo sequences. There is a place where Alucard can view demos showing how to defeat bosses, and some of these bosses have multiple parts. If a critical hit causes a boss to transform earlier than expected, the recorded controls will no longer match the boss's movements. This usually causes the demo Alucard to die, and if he dies, you die.
  • When Shingo Yabuki first showed up in The King of Fighters, he was a Joke Character with one benefit — his attacks randomly dealt a lot more damage and knocked the enemy a far distance back. The game showed the words "Critical Hit" when this happened. By KOF XI, Shingo had gained more power to balance him with the rest of the cast, so this ability went away.
  • Ikari Warriors' Ralf Jones had a particular move, the Ralf Kick, which had a random chance to do extra damage and more knockback.
  • Melty Blood has critical hits on every attack, dealing 1.5x normal damage.
  • In Onimusha games, you have the chance to instantly kill the enemy by attacking at exactly the right time.
  • In Fatal Frame, you can snap weak photos of hostile ghosts at will. Letting the camera build up spiritual power yields stronger attacks, and waiting for the enemy to attack you first and then snapping them, mid-animation and at point-blank range, would yield the critical-hit Zero Shot.
  • Referenced in Bully when you perform a Groin Attack on Algernon (one of the Nerds):
    Algernon: Ooooh, critical hit...!
  • The only way of reliably killing an opponent by conventional means in Dwarf Fortress. Basically, the game relies entirely on Subsystem Damage, so the only ways to kill something are 1) smash it into Chunky Salsa, which usually requires a pre-made trap that not every enemy will be vulnerable to, 2) hack at it until it bleeds to death, which doesn't work on some enemies, like The Undead, or 3) have your dwarves attack it until they destroy a vital organ, which is essentially a critical hit.
  • Happens on occasion in Rockman 4 Minus Infinity. Get the Super Star from any Shadow Man encounter by finishing him off with a Recycle Inhaler, and the chances of this increases. His final appearance, unlocked by doing a No-Damage Run up through Wily 4, drops the ?Dagger, which makes every hit critical.
  • In League of Legends, 99 times out of 100, AD carries will buy an item with bonus Critical Hit chance. In this game, Critical Hits cause autoattacks to deal double damage, but with Infinity Edge, this bonus can be increased to 2.5 times the normal damage. Besides that, all other items only add to your chance to deal a Critical Hit. Many AD carries also have passive skills that add to Critical Hit chance as well, so there's very little reason to completely forego Critical Hits altogether.
  • In Dex, these can be scored during combat, either through luck or by hitting specific areas. Shooting enemies in the head is a particularly reliable way to score one.
  • In Monster Hunter, each weapon has an "Affinity" rating expressed as a percentage, indicating the probability that a given hit will become a critical hit. The series also inverts this trope with weapons that have negative Affinity, which instead gives your weapon a chance of "feeble hits" that do less damage than usual. Some equipment skills can alter your Affinity; for example, the Critical Draw skill boosts your weapon's draw attack Affinity by 100%note , while the Critical Eye skill will increase or decrease your weapon's overall Affinity.
  • In Cold Fear, breaking free from a monster's grip allows Tom to retaliate via Action Command, provided you have ammo for the weapon he'll use (either the Pistol or Shotgun). The words "CRITICAL HIT" appear on the screen, and the monster is either killed instantly or takes massive damage. Notably, this is the only way to damage the Final Boss.

    Webcomics 
  • In The Order of the Stick, a natural 20 was actually a prophesy, for when Roy was to know to take a shot at a moment when such a roll was needed most.
  • Spoofed in 8-Bit Theater, where Red Mage uses it in a game of Rock–Paper–Scissors.
  • In a joke in Death by Chibi, which the author plans to reuse in the reboot, a character rolls a natural 20, but it's for initiative, and is pissed there's no such thing as critical initiative. Made funnier by the fact that some games do have critical initiative (picking when you go instead of going first).
  • Spoofed in the webcomic Commissioned, the main characters have D&D sessions where it switches from the POV of their characters to them, and occasionally they try something completely off the wall... and end up rolling a natural 20. this comic is a more recent example even though it's actually a bluff check.
  • In D&DS9, The Borg's attack on the U.S.S. Saratoga is a critical hit, but the DM fails to notice. That is, until Avery (Sisko's player) points it out to him. It doesn't end well.

    Web Original 


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