Attack Its Weak Point

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"Oh gee, I wonder where I should shoot 'im. I mean, this could take all of my accumulated gamer skills over the years, oh geez, could it be, ah, the giant glowing blue fuck-me light on his forehead!?"

The Spoony One, The Spoony Experiment

Boss villains are usually invulnerable all over their body, with the exception of one or a few weak points which you can often attack For Massive Damage.

Therefore, if you see a shiny or glowing target anywhere on the boss villain's body, chances are that's where you need to attack. Common targets are the head, eyes (particularly if it's a cyclops), hands (if the monster is giant), tail, groin (if it's male), the inside of the mouth, any built-in weapons, or a soft underbelly. Machines often have a gratuitous red Power Crystal or Heart Drive that practically screams "Hit me!".

If the boss is particularly large, it might require a difficult trip to get there. Sometimes, the weak point may not be exposed right away, meaning it may require a little ingenuity on your part to get it out in the open. Sometimes the target will be reachable only when the boss does a certain move, in which AI Roulette or Artificial Stupidity must be in play to keep the game winnable. This is particularly true for Platformers, Action Adventure games, and Third Person Shooters.

Quite often, this weak spot targeting becomes a mundane job for your average hero team. The Monster of the Week attacks, and all attacks are useless. The hero team uses a computer or some other way to find the weak spot, then finishes the monster in one strike. Usually even after a whole season of having his monsters beaten time and again with this, the villain does not learn to cover that tiny weak spot for his next invincible monster.

Although fiction may take this a little far, it is realistic: Real Life tanks and other armored vehicles are weak on the top, bottom, and rear, but stronger on the front and sides. Hence, in World War 2, special vehicles called "tank destroyers" were tasked with the job of outflanking enemy tanks and destroying from behind. Nowadays, helicopter gunships or infantry with anti-tank rocket launchers do this job. Anti-tank missiles often fly above the tank and come down at it, instead of going straight at it.

And if you go back further, by the 1400's, European armour had developed to the point where the entire body could be covered in metal plating, making a fully-armored knight more or less impervious to attack. With a weapon such as a sword, the only way to overcome full plate armour would be to strike at exposed portions of the armor, namely the armpit, neck, and the groin. If disabled, an enemy could be finished off by having a dagger inserted into the vision slot of their helmet. Knifemen like this were common, but most battles were done with the intention of taking prisoners, not killing people. The armpits, neck and groin (and all weak areas) could also be armored with mail. Crushing weapons such as large battle axes and hammers and cudgels were most effective against it. Although well padded, there is only so much trauma a person can take.

Named for the line in the 2006 E3 Sony presentation.

Compare Tactical Suicide Boss; contrast Fake Weakness. See also Fantastic Fragility. See also Go for the Eye and Groin Attack.

Examples of Attack Its Weak Point include:


Anime and Manga

  • In Attack on Titan Titans can only be killed by a sufficiently deep cut in the back of the neck, and that's it. Even if you decapitate them with a cannon they will regenerate within a couple minutes.
  • In Vinland Saga Thorkell has a glass jaw, one punch will knock him out cold. Rarely happens, what with him being several feet taller than nearly everyone else in the series.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, every Angel has a bright red core which is its sole weak point. Attacks on other parts of its body are usually healed almost instantly; even weapons of mass destruction can only render them immobile for a time until they eventually regenerate all damage. This is the main reason for employing the Evangelions against the Angels; only by creating an opposing AT field can the core be made vulnerable.
  • In Bokurano, the weak points for the giant robots are balls with gloving points on the outside, quite sensibly hidden under massive layers of armor. They are later revealed to be the cockpit containing their human pilots.
  • In Prétear, one of the main reasons why the Magic Knights need the Magical Girl is that she can see the weak points for the demons they're fighting, and they can't.
  • The griffin dragon in Mahou Sensei Negima had ridiculously small weak point (due to the weapon used, the characters didn't have a better alternative) that an amnesiac Yue managed to hit with a little knife.
  • In Scrapped Princess, a Peacemaker Proxy could only be destroyed by destroying a small glowing crystal-like object that could only be revealed by powerful magic destroying the ever-regenerating slime that the proxy is made of.
  • The Big Creepy-Crawlies of Blue Gender are covered in tough armor that renders them almost immune to small arms fire, but have a small tube (referred to as "the core") usually mounted on their heads. Shoot that thing and the bug drops. The only way to kill Blue without hitting the core is to use a Humongous Mecha...unless of course you're Marlene.
  • Happens in Ghost in the Shell all the time. When facing heavily armored opponents without proper equipment, the usual tactic is to get on its back and tear open a hatch to either fry the electronic controls or shoot the driver in the head.
    • It's also the preferred course of action for most villains who try to kill the Major. People try to crush her head or put a large caliber bullet through it at least five times.
  • Pokémon: "Pikachu! The horn! Aim for the horn!"
  • Pentagram marking on the body of the demons in My Balls are their magical weak spot.
  • Possibly the on/off button hidden in Chobits.[context?]
  • Full Metal Panic! had the Behemoth, a huge AS which requires the Lambda Driver to even remain standing. Its armor is so thick that no weapon can damage it and the Lambda Driver deflects those shots anyway. Sousuke managed to destroy it with the Arbalest by sliding between its legs and firing into the cooling system's exhaust ports per Kaname's instructions. As expected, the Lambda Driver overheated and the Behemoth collapsed under its own weight, killing the pilot.
  • Done in the beginning arcs of the first and second seasons of Digimon where they free the creatures being controlled by destroying the Mind Control Devices.
  • Done in Princess Mononoke. Near the start of the film, Ashitaka slays a demon-god by shooting arrows into its glowing eyes.
  • Angels in Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan lose their powers (and, uh, other stuff) if you can manage to yank their halo off. The halo is razor-sharp, of course.
  • Nasty subversion in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 5. One of the minor villains, Ghiaccio, is completely protected by the unbreakable ice-armor Stand, White Album. Except for a little hole in the back of the neck which allows Ghiaccio to breathe. Solution: shoot there. Easy, right? Nope. Ghiaccio developed a technique called "White Album Gently Weeps" that drives the temperature around him so close to absolute zero that any solid object will bounce off the air. He did this specifically to protect the air vent. In order to kill him, the heroes have to drive him towards a ruined streetlamp so the air vent lands on a jutting shard of metal.
  • Subverted in Fullmetal Alchemist. While fighting Lust, Mustang comes to the conclusion that the weak spot of a homunculus is the Philosopher's Stone that acts as their core, and he tears it out of her body. As it turns out, this was an incorrect assumption; Lust proceeds to grow an ENTIRE new body from the Stone. Not a Fake Weakness as Roy came to this conclusion all on his own.
    • However, destroying the stone instead of just separating the homunculus from it works, but it seems that can only be done by using alchemy to release all of the souls from it, which only Tim Marcoh seems to be capable of.
  • Done in Yaiba during the battle against Gold and Silver in the Underworld arc. it doesn't really work as well as hoped.
    • Yaiba defeat both Orochi and Onimaru by cutting their horns
  • Holyland mentions this, as well as where not to aim for, with regards to humans from time to time. For example, a good chop to the back of the neck can stop takedown attempts quickly, but hitting the head above the cheekbones is generally a bad idea.
  • The crystals on the chests of the Skrugg in Heroman.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: In the Final Battle, when Simon and the eponymous mech fail to overpower the Anti-Spiral's Humongous Mecha, he just takes the smaller Gurren Lagann mecha and boards the Anti-Spiral home planet (which is on the mecha's forehead), finishing off the Anti-Spiral himself.
  • Bleach: It's more a blind spot but it was the only option to actually have a chance at hitting Aizen. Subverted in that he placed several layers of protection in anticipation.
  • Sailor Moon had a lizard monster in the fifth episode of the first season that could only be hit from a huge blinking weak spot at the base of its tail. Conveniently, Sailor Moon and Luna discover this right when the monster is holding Sailor Moon up by said tail, giving her a clean shot at it.
  • In Crossbone Gundam, the Jupiter Empire has a Stone Wall called the Tortuga, with incredibly thick armor and battleship-class beam shields. In the final chapter, Tobia finally destroys it by shoving a beam saber into one shoulder joint and punching it out the other side, ripping through all the internals in between.
  • Magical girls in Madoka Magica are extremely resistant to damage, especially if they have self-healing powers; but a direct hit to their brightly-glowing Soul Gem causes instant death. This happened to Mami, Kyoko, and Madoka in a previous timeline.
  • Girls und Panzer, final episode of the first series. Even a point-blank attack from one tank can't get through the opposing tank's armor - but then the tank crew's Cloudcuckoolander points out their opponent's weak point.

Comic Books

  • In Megalex, the Undergrounders, especially Adamâ, have an uncanny ability to hit the robotic Shock Troopers right in the control chip, through a tiny gap in their armor.

Fan Works

  • Played oddly straight in the highly-recommended Mega Man fic Whispers in Time: the previous Curb Stomp Battle left Bass and Proto Man to attempt suicidal attacks on the awakened Zero...who has mostly shrugged them off by the time he comes to kill Mega Man and his successor. The half-healed chest-wound amounts to a weak spot that allows Rock to bring down the Red Ripper, albeit at the cost of his own life.
  • Interestingly, played straight in Zero Shock. Jack is attacking a giant golem, and so Derflinger advises him to attack its core. However, there are problems: there's no real guarantee that the core is even there. And if there is one, then there might be a chance that it explodes on destruction.

“If it has one. Usually a sphere of some kind. Mostly stones with runes on them, squiggly little things like the one on the back of your hand. Some of the time. I think. Saw a few that had just a smiley face and a name on them. One of them just had a rude word on it! But anyway, find the core, partner! You might need to do some searching, though, since sometimes there are more than one core, sometimes there aren't even any! Most fun of all,some of them blow up! But one thing's for sure; the best thing is to go for the core, partner!”


Films -- Live Action

  • In Star Wars, the Rebels learn the Empire's Death Star can be destroyed by attacking a small thermal exhaust port, right below the main port. The exhaust port led right to the main reactor.
    • In Attack of the Clones, Anakin demonstrates his tech-savvy by ordering the gunship he's on to target the Techno Union Hardcell-class ships (the ones that look like and take off like real-life rocketships) right above their fuel cells.
    • The Empire's strategy at Hoth also falls under this. In this case the weak point was the shield generator that stopped them from either landing their troops next to it (they had to come several kilometers overland), or simply leveling the place from orbit.
  • Invoked and then comically subverted in Galaxy Quest. When the other crew members suggest to Commander Taggart to try attacking the Garignak's vulnerable spot, Taggart replies, "It's a rock! It doesn't have any vulnerable spots!"
  • In Star Trek VI the Undiscovered Country, Kirk kicks out the knee of an imposingly large and aggressive alien, causing it to groan terribly and collapse. Then the following conversation takes place:

Kirk: I was lucky that thing had knees.
Martia: That was not his knee.
Kirk: ...
Martia: Not everyone keeps their genitals in the same place, Captain.

    • But apparently everyones genitals are a weak point that cripples them with pain when attacked.
  • In Star Trek: First Contact during the fight with the Borg cube, Captain Picard tells the fleet to fire all their weapons at a specific spot on the cube. Data comments that his coordinates do not appear to be a weak point, but Picard knows it is due to his earlier assimilation with the Borg. It works and the cube blows up.
  • The laser cannons of the motherships of Independence Day.
  • In The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, Watson, who has seen Moriarty play tennis, yells "No backhand, Holmes! No backhand!" to Sherlock Holmes, who is then able to win the climactic swordfight.
  • In Ip Man 2, Ip suggests that the Twister, who has so far taken plenty of punches to little effect, has a weak point, which pays off when his turn comes up.
  • Dogma. Cut an Angel's wings off and they become human, developing a conscience and the ability to be killed. The Big Bad covertly informs a pair of banished angels of this to inspire them to set up a Thanatos Gambit which is part of HIS Batman Gambit.
  • Battle: Los Angeles: the squad dissect one of the alien troops (while it's still alive)) in order to find its weak spot.
  • In "Imitation General", Glenn Ford devises a plan to ambush advancing German tanks. To get them to expose their weakest point (the underside) they put a crude sign saying (in supposed German) "Bridge Mined" on a small bridge. The German tank commanders don't believe it, but neither will go first and the plan works.


  • The Russian Hind military helicopter that Rife used as an escape vehicle in Snow Crash was made of reinforced steel, capable of shrugging off the type of small-arms fire that Rife (and the Russians who used to use them) was expecting. However, as Hiro (and incidentally, the Afghan rebels years before him) realized, the cockpit glass was just that: Glass. That's right: the Russians made an armoured helicopter that had a cockpit of completely non-bulletproof glass. Hiro was never given an opportunity to demonstrate this, however, as the magnetic properties of the belly of the chopper turned out to be a much more deciding factor in bringing it down in the end.
    • In Real Life the cockpit is surrounded by armored titanium, aside from the aforementioned glassy bits. Reinforced steel would, in some respects, be a downgrade, especially in the "light enough to take off" department.
      • Also, the Real Life helicopter could take 12.7 shots to the screen with no problems. It was a very well armoured craft for such weapons.
  • The Hobbit: The dragon Smaug was killed by an arrow hitting a chink in his armor.
    • This was parodied in Guards! Guards!, where the Night Watch reason that the dragon must have some kind of 'voolnerables', and play the odds to get a Million-to-One Chance of hitting it. Deliberately doing things like standing on one leg and wearing a blindfold to influence the odds, they end up at something like 998473 to one. However, while Million To One Chances crop up nine times out of ten by Discworld narrative logic, 998473:1 chances do not, so they fail. Because the dragon was female, however, the odds of success were 0 from the start. Later, they do accidentally get a million-to-one chance to survive the dragon's counterattack.
  • Similarly, the dragon in Beowulf is killed by a sword hitting a chink in the exact same place on his armor.
    • The film version upgrades this to Beowulf reaching through said chink and pulling out the dragon's heart. Now that is Badass. He knows this because of a speech from Hrothgar about dragon-slaying, in which Hrothgar claims to have succeeded with this exact technique on a dragon named Fafnir. Now, anyone who knows anything about Norse Mythology or the works of Richard Wagner could tell you that Sigurd killed Fafnir, which hints that Hrothgar is as big a liar as Beowulf.
      • That unarmored spot in the belly or beneath the chin is the traditional Achilles' heel of dragons. It dates back at least as far as the Volsunga Saga, a mid-13th century Icelandic Saga. Any dragonslayer worth his salt of the time would be aware of it.
      • Dates back at least as far as the 13th century? Beowulf was at least 11th century...
  • Percy Jackson and The Olympians uses the River Styx from Greek Mythology. In a slight change, the weak spot is required to survive the process. Percy chooses the small of his back as his weak spot, while Luke's weak spot is his left armpit.
  • In Outbound Flight, Commander Thrawn takes out several Trade Federation cruisers after realizing that a point directly above the fuel tank is vulnerable.
  • Somewhat inverted in one of the Animorphs books. An alien species called the Orff are introduced, which have transparent skin so that their vital organs are apparently visible. However, Jake reasons that having their weak points visible would be an evolutionary disadvantage, and that their apparent organs must be decoys. Sure enough, when he hits one in the most transparent section of its body, it collapses.
  • John Christopher's The Sword of the Spirits trilogy. In Beyond the Burning Land Luke fights and kills the Bayemot (a giant ameoba-like creature) by striking at its nucleus deep inside its body with a sword.
  • Fleet Action has the Kilrathi getting savvy with this trope and designing a dreadnought with multiple layers of armor shells throughout the ship, specifically to eliminate conventional weak points and shrug off full salvos of anti-ship torpedoes. Too late they realized it just made a different kind of weak point... Marine boarding parties setting off massive blasts inside the ship, which would be contained by the armor and completely gut everything inside.
  • In the Mistborn series, Lord Ruler specifically created minions with such a weakness (removing a spike driven through their spine would kill them), because he was that sort of person. The Lord Ruler had one too: he gave himself Immortality by means of Feruchemical bracelets, the removal of which would restore him to his previous state, the one where he should have died almost a thousand years ago.

Live-Action TV

  • In the late fourth season, most of Angel's cast is fighting Skip and getting hammered. Wesley, though every shot he's taken has bounced off the creature's armor, sees one of the few wounds it has suffered: A horn has broken off. He aims for the hole... and thanks to the Million-to-One Chance, the bullet enters the head. This is lethal even to super-badass demon guys.
    • Of course, there's also the fact that vampires are Nigh Invulnerable except for a stake to the heart or decapitation...
      • Taken to its extreme when a demon from a different dimension captures a vampire and disembowels him using his organs and skin as part of a giant web/artpiece as an offering to his deity. The vampire is still alive and begs to be just be killed already. The demon, upon being told what a vampire is, simply cuts the guys tongue out and goes back to work on his offering.
  • In Doctor Who, a cloned alien warrior race, the Sontarans, are vulnerable to attacks directed at their "Probic Vent", where they feed on energy. "The Probic Vent is no weakness because Sontarans always face the enemy."
    • Not that this particularly helps against the Doctor, who once disabled a Sontaran through applied squash.
    • The new series Daleks come equipped with a forcefield against bullets, that is apparently weaker around their eyepiece. Many characters about to fight Daleks are told to "aim for the eyepiece."
      • Old-school Daleks worked the same way, despite lacking forcefields. Their 'Dalekanium' casings would laugh off most attacks, but shooting or otherwise obscuring their eye-plunger would blind them and cause them to spin around shrieking "MY VIS-ION IS IM-PAIRED" in a most undignified manner.
      • Not so anymore, however. Daleks have developed a way to keep their eyepieces clear, as evidenced when Wilf shoots one with a paintball gun and it specifically said "MY VIS-ION IS NOT IM-PAIRED!"
      • Used more effectively in the Seventh Doctor story Remembrance of the Daleks, in which he mentions this weakness to then-companion Ace. A short time later she takes out a Dalek by shooting it in the face with a rocket launcher. There's a reason she was the originator of the Crowning Moment of Awesome.

The Doctor: "You killed it!"
Ace: "I aimed for the eyepiece."

    • Lampshaded in "Silence in the Library", when the Doctor describes their latest enemy.

Doctor: Sontarans, back of the neck. Daleks, aim for the eyepiece. Vashta Nerada? Run. Just run.

  • Regenerators in Heroes can be rendered "dead" if a foreign object is lodged into the base of the skull... until the object is removed.
    • Of course you could just decapitate them, which they can't regenerate from.
    • Or a bullet to the head, as Adam told us and Arthur showed us.
  • Kamen Rider Kiva featured a villain named Rook, an Implacable Man who menaced the cast in both 1986 and 2008. He's only defeated when, in 2008, Megumi attacks an old wound her mother Yuri put on Rook 22 years ago.
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Lord Zedd's Putties were allegedly more powerful than Rita's Putties, but they could be defeated with one punch to the giant Z medals on their chests.
  • Mahou Sentai Magiranger features Drake, one of the ten Gods of the Infershia, who shrugs off everything thrown at him due to his armour - until one of Hikaru's energy attacks hits him in the back of the neck.
  • Subverted in an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The crew of the starship Valiant discover a new, massively powerful Dominion warship. They discover a weakpoint and plan an attack accordingly. The attack goes off masterfully, causing a massive explosion... which then dissipates and reveals the ship, still battle-worthy. The Reliant is soon destroyed, and most of her surviving crew is killed when the Jem'Ha'Dar decide to Sink the Life Boats.


  • Dragons almost always have a weak spot on their neck or chest, this goes back at least as far as Fafnir. See the above examples from The Hobbit and Beowulf.
    • And speaking about Fafnir, bathing in his blood rendered Sigurd/Siegfried invulnerable. Apart from a spot on his shoulder where a leaf had stuck to him.
  • The Greek hero Achilles was invulnerable everywhere but his heel (where his mom Thetis had been holding him while dunking him in the River Styx).
  • There is actually a whole class of legendary heroes who achieved invulnerability by almost but not quite total immersion or exposure to something except for one small spot. Achilles had his heels and Siegfried had his shoulder. The Persian Esfandyar had his eyes closed while bathing in a pool of invulnerability and the Indian Duryodhana, after bathing in the Ganges, protected his groin from his mother's gaze, which was the very thing that gave him invulnerability. You can probably guess how well that worked out for any of them.
  • The Bible: Goliath got killed, partly, due to this trope.

Newspaper Comics

  • One The Far Side cartoon shows a pair of cavemen with bows looking at the body of a mammoth, apparently felled by a single arrow striking a certain spot on its underside; one turns to the other and says, "Maybe we should write that spot down."

Tabletop RPG

  • Gamma World adventure GW1 The Legion of Gold. There's an amoeboid monster almost a kilometer wide in a lake. Its body can withstand 1,000 Hit Points of damage, but its nucleus can only take 50 Hit Points before it is killed. The catch: the nucleus is in the center of the lake under 150 meters of water.

Video Games

  • The Trope Namer is a demonstration of Genji: Days of the Blade at E3 2006, in which Bill Rich demonstrates one of the game's boss battles—namely, the battle against the "Giant Enemy Crab" boss. After he "flips over this crab on its back," he narrates, "And you attack its weak point for massive damage."
    • Surprisingly while the Giant Enemy Crab sparked a massive meme relating to attacking weak points for massive damage, the fact that a game supposedly based on "Famous battles which actually took place..." was not parodied as much.
  • The Contra series likes the red, glowing orb variety, at least in earlier games.
  • Virtual On Operation Moongate Final Boss Z-Gradt has one where he is grey with ultra-heavy armour most of the time, but turns gold at one point, while also deploying a truly MASSIVE cannon. During this period he is much more vulnerable, as long as you aren't hit by his cannon.
    • Oratorio Tangram's midboss Bradtos employs a similar method, although the shots it use when it exposes the weakness is far weaker than Z-Gradt's cannon.
  • The colossi in Shadow of the Colossus all possess glowing sigils on their flesh that can only be revealed by sunlight reflected off the hero's magic sword. Hitting this spot is the only real way to inflict any injury to them; somewhere between half to ninety percent of the fight (depending on the boss) is exposing it/getting there.
  • Resident Evil 4 gives us this with a variety of baddies, but the worst are the Regenerators and Iron Maidens. Scary as hell and nigh invincible, and you see the first one before you can even Attack Its Weak Point. They require a thermal scope on a sniper rifle, but always attack from close range. That means while you're trying to snipe off their 3-7 weak points they're eating, impaling, flailing at you and freaking you the hell out.
    • Regenerators and Iron Maidens have nothing on the Resident Evil 5 Reapers, giant cockroaches who not only quickly regenerate lost limbs and heads, but can shield their weak point, a squishy white egg sac. A number of other RE5 enemies have weak points that may or may not require a partner to expose and exploit, such as Popokarimu's squishy under-abdomen, Ndesu's giant plaga growth, Uroboros' glowing red clusters, and Wesker's concealable weak spot / any rocket he catches in his hands. And of course, who could forget the ever-trusty bullet to the face?
  • The bosses in the House of the Dead series take minimal damage if hit anywhere other than a designated weak point, though blasting at that weak point really will deal out huge damage to them. However, the first boss in the first game—Chariot—subverts this just a tad by having its armor blown off when its health gets down to a third, allowing you to fire at the soft, pink body underneath anywhere you wish.
    • This is also the in-game manual's Hand Wave for why agents in the spinoff/parody Typing of the Dead are running around wearing keyboard-guns - the typing feeds into an autotargeting mechanism which eliminates all risk of friendly fire and automatically discovers and isolates weak spots in targets.
  • Metroid:
    • In general, the series uses this trope liberally. Just about the only boss that isn't hit for massive damage is Ridley, with whom the only strategy is "make him dead before he makes you dead". And even then it only applies sometimes- Meta-Ridley always has at least one form that can't be damaged unless you aim for his torso. Omega Pirate from Corruption inverts this: He has no specific weak spots, but before you can harm him you have to first blast away his armour (so in essence you attack his strong points).
    • Hilariously in the first Metroid Prime game, there's a rock monster boss that looks almost exactly like the one in Galaxy Quest. You must use the thermal visor in order to find his weak spot (a random piece of rock that changes after he takes enough damage).
  • The bosses in the original R-Type used this system, and the third level took it to extremes by featuring just a single, giant enemy with a number of weak points; the player had to pilot his ship around the boss itself, blowing up each part in turn.
  • In Chrono Trigger, there is a boss called the Son of the Sun, who is a giant eyeball surrounded by a ring of flames. You can only attack the surrounding flames, and all but one of them counterattacks when hit. The one that doesn't is where you have hit to actually deal damage to the boss. To make this worse, it uses an attack called "Roulette Shuffle," that spins the flames around so the one you attack is in a completely different area.
    • Subverted by Chrono Trigger's final boss, Lavos, who appears to be a humanoid figure flanked by two orbs that fire energy blasts. It turns out that the "Lavos Core" is actually one of the orbs, and both the humanoid figure and the other orb are its defenders that get regenerated. Many parties die before finally discovering this crucial fact.
    • Similarly, many FF games feature at least one boss composed out of multiple parts (mostly body and two arms). While the minor parts are fairly easy to kill, they regenerate after a while as long as the main part is alive. In some cases (like in Chrono Trigger), the minor parts need to be defeated to expose the weak point for a while.
      • Some games (FFIX, at least) also feature normal Mooks that work like this. Per example, one of the Random Encounters in Cleyra are some sort of sand-elementals where you actively need to target a little, pink heart-like part of it. Not realizing this fast enough can result in throwing away lots of HP and mana in battle against the main body of the Mook.
  • The Star FOX series is fond of this, often in the obviously-glowing-red variation. Of particular note is one boss in Star Fox Command whose weak point is essentially a giant glowing butt. The enemy forces are mainly apes and monkeys, you see, and this boss is a Humongous Mecha baboon.
    • Peppy basically makes this trope. "Aim for his back!" "Aim for the open spot!" "Maybe it's an arm! Aim for the arm!" "Shoot the tentacles to open the core!"
    • The series also features some subversions, though. Andross in the 64 version seems like the eye-type, but shooting his eyes only stuns him briefly. To defeat him, the player has to first shoot his hands off, then shoot the head anywhere BUT the eyes. On the right route, he then reveals his true form: a giant brain with detachable eyeballs that shoot lasers.
  • Almost all of the large Grigori bosses in Star Ocean: The Last Hope have a glowing core that needs to be struck in order to cause anything more then Scratch Damage.
  • Lost Planet takes this to the extreme. Every single Akrid—from the weakest cannon fodder all the way up to the Bonus Boss—has one or more glowing orange weak points. It's worth noting that although Akrid make up a significant portion of the enemies in the single-player game, they're not the only ones; humans (the head) and Vital Suits (the engine or the kneecaps) also have them.
  • The majority of the Heaven's Smiles in Killer7 have a glowing yellow spot somewhere on their body. Shooting this kills them instantly and grants you far more blood (used to heal and for power-ups) than gunning them down the standard way. Heaven's Smiles without the yellow spot have similar vulnerabilities—the enlarged part of a Phantom Smile, the eye of a Giant Smile, the shirt on an Ulmeyda Smile, the cockpit on the part of it's body that looks like a jet that it uses to fly around...
    • Most comical is the Ceramic smile boss, a big hulking monster of a smile that runs fairly quickly. Just shoot his heart through the convenient hole in his chest once. At least he has the sense to turn tail and run when you have your gun pointed at him.
  • Traditionally, the only way to harm Dracula's first form in the Castlevania games is to hit him in the head.
    • Later on in Order of Ecclesia, there is the giant mecha-centaur demon knight (well, at least it's original) called Eligor. To kill him, you have to attack his eyeball, which is for some reason on the back of his head. The only way to actually be able to damage him is to get onto his back, and getting there requires destroying a number of glowing red orbs on his knees first.
  • In a few boss battles in the third Sly Cooper, particularly those fought in Sly's biplane or with Dimitri's speargun, the weak point is Dr. M, who is connected to the boss monster via the massive plug in his head.
  • The final boss of Doom 2, the Icon of Sin, has you firing rockets into the brain of the Icon. When using the idclip cheat, however, you can go into the brain and see... John Romero's severed head impaled on a stick. Also, if you reverse what the demon chants at the start of the battle, you'll hear the message "To win the game you must kill me, John Romero!"
  • Both the larger and smaller versions of the "Children of Karras" in Thief 2: The Metal Age have a glowing-red coal hatch on the rear of their boilers. Unless you have an implausibly large amount of fire arrows or explosive mines available, hitting that coal hatch with water arrows is the only way in the game to disable one.
    • Unless you count Cherry Tapping with your blackjack, which can disable one within a few minutes (due to their peculiar structure, with the right obstacle positioning it won't be able to do worse than be very noisy during that time). The designers evidently never thought of it.
  • In Team Fortress 2:
  • The "headshot=death" rule has become more-or-less universal, providing players with an intuitive, sensible advanced technique for dispatching foes. Famously, completing the Halo games on the punishing "Legendary" difficulty requires a mastery of it.
    • This was avoided, though, in Team Fortress 2 (for everyone but a zoomed-in sniper, anyway), which deliberately removed them (and replaced them with more-or-less random criticals) because the developers felt that headshots rewarded obsessive players at the expense of casual gamers and were unfriendly to team play.
    • Also avoided in PlanetSide. The in-universe justification is apparently that the Auraxian factions were smart enough to give their soldiers durable enough helmets to take your average rifle round without causing more damage than a body-shot. The sniper rifle takes off 75% of your average armored grunt's HP in one shot no matter where you hit, anyway.[1]
    • On the flip side, Metal Gear Online (at least the version packaged with MGS4) has an in-game option in which players hosting a match can decide to enable a "Headshots Only" mode, in which you're penalized if you shoot an opposing player anywhere but their head. And considering just how headshot-unfriendly the game's controls are to begin with...
  • The MDK games.
  • Lampshaded in Conker's Bad Fur Day. One Terminator-like robot boss sports a huge flashing red button on his back reading "Do Not Push." The next boss combines this (hitting him in his vulnerable spot is literally the only way to hurt him) with a rather nasty form of Groin Attack (crushing his "vulnerables" between a pair of bricks).
    • Nearly all the bosses have this—Mecha-teddy has the gigantic yellow hole that opens up when you shoot his possessed dolly, the big caveman can only be dealt with by using your velociraptor to headbutt his groin, and then bite his ass....
  • Inverted in Mega Man ZX. The eight main bosses have a weak point, but hitting them there damages the biometal you are trying to take from them, resulting in costly repairs after the fight, or a rematch. The ideal outcome is to defeat them without ever hitting the weak spot. A few bosses actually have annoyingly easy-to-hit weaknesses.
    • Played straight in its predecessor, Mega Man Zero though, with Omega. In the aforementioned Boss' first form, he's only vulnerable on the black portion of his torso. For his One-Winged Angel, the target is raised, with the horn of the central head as the target.
    • ZX Advent plays this straight enough, since Model A copies the bosses' DNA at the same quality no matter how hard you bang on weak points.
      • Interesting to note that Model H can use the lower screen to display the enemy's/boss' weak point and Life Meter (the latter is pretty much useless against bosses who show it anyway though). You can figure out the bosses' weak points even without Model H, as they make a special and different sound when you hit them.
    • In the pre-predecessor Mega Man X, expect the Giant Enemy Crab and all variants to have its head be the weakness. That also applies to the nearly omnipresent Big Bad Sigma, who most often has his head or the gem on his forehead being the weakness.
      • It's however averted with X8's Final Boss Lumine, who despite having an obvious crystal sticking out his chest, is vulnerable to hits on his actual body whenever his shield isn't up.
    • Lampshaded in Mega Man Legends, where the villains complain whenever the mooks expose a weakpoint in their indestructable vehicle order to make a rear-facing attack.
  • Attempted justification in Metal Gear Solid: the Humongous Mecha's designer was an eccentric soul who felt that it needed a "personality flaw" to make it complete. Therefore the only part of the mecha which isn't practically invincible is the target-shaped box of sensors sticking off the side, without which the pilot is deaf and blind. This forces the pilot to open up the cockpit in order to see what he is doing, leaving the controls vulnerable to your missiles. Strangely, the weakest part of the cockpit is not the guy sitting in it.
    • In MGS3 this is justified: the back of the Walking Behemoth Shagohod falls off when you attempt to destroy it by blowing up a bridge from underneath it and the only part left unarmored is the back of the cockpit, which was never to be exposed. Shooting the threads with the RPG-7 also helps considerably.
  • Beating Vamp is made a lot easier in Metal Gear Solid 2 if you shoot for the crotch.
  • In Half-Life, Nihilanth. Though not exactly with single shot.
  • GLaDOS in Portal is a massive supercomputer taking up an entire room... but she also happens to have a massive Venus-like structure hanging out from the roof... with 4 glowing orbs on it (which are also massive). Hmmm... oh look, it's your old pal, the rocket turret!
  • Lampshaded in this clip from Heavenly Sword, where Kai threatens a guard with a very painful Groin Attack if he doesn't cough up the password to the armory where the titular sword is.
  • The enemy ships in the Squaresoft shooter Einhander, aside from small-fighter type cannon fodder, were usually segmented. Shooting the main body of the ship would destroy it eventually, but simply destroying the cockpit and (in some ships) the engines would cause the ship to crash and explode.
    • Hint: Shoot the part that has a green glowing thing (such as a visor) on it. Nine times out of ten it's the weak point.
  • Gradius: Shoot the Core!
  • King Hippo in Punch-Out!! has two weak points: his belly-button and the back of his throat. And you can't get to either right away.
    • In Punch-Out!! Wii's Title Defense mode, he covers up said belly button with a manhole. This turns out to be a Double Subversion of this trope, as the way to beat him is to knock off said manhole and expose his weak point.
    • All fighters are obviously vulnerable to a hard right hook, but Glass Joe is especially weak, getting knocked out by one punch.
  • It's hard to notice, but this is actually subverted in the PC version of Far Cry. The large, glowing green orbs in the chests of the rocket launcher-wielding Giant Mooks are actually part of their armor, and they actually take less damage when shot there. Their real weak point is, common-sensibly enough, their head.
    • Played straight, but in a fairly tongue-in-cheek manner, for the final boss. He's a super-mutant with loads of health, but he can be killed in less than a second by shooting him in the crotch (something of an Easter egg, as there is no in-game indication that shooting him there would have that effect).
  • Beowulf from Devil May Cry 3 can be struck in his eye for greater damage than attacking the rest of his body. If Dante or Vergil lowers his health to the points where he Turns Red by hitting the eye, Beowulf will stumble and give a few more vital seconds for dealing damage. Cerberus from the same takes more damage from getting hit on either of his three heads. The Leviathan Heartcore, also from the same, needs to have its two accompanying "organs" destroyed before it opens up and makes itself vulnerable.
    • In the original, Phantom could only be hurt by strikes to the face (high damage, but that's where he shoots fireballs from), and back (less damage, but less risk). Nightmare had a weakpoint that you had to expose by first solidifying it, then smashing the glowy circle.
  • The final boss in Descent 2 is covered by a force field in the front, and thus can only be hit from the rear. Worse, unless you happen to be cloaked, he will always turn to face you. You're meant to detonate one of the game's multi-warhead missiles on a wall behind him, causing the secondary warheads to hit his weak spot. Didn't stockpile enough Game Breaker Earthshaker missiles ahead of time? You're screwed.
    • It is possible to slide around behind him if you get in close, but it's still very tough and only nets you a split-second chance at hitting the weak spot. Afterburners can help with this too.
  • In the Halo games, Hunters have strong armor covering most of their bodies. The two main unprotected areas are the back, which is bigger and generally easier to go after, especially on co-op, and under the chin, which is much harder to hit but has the advantage of being accessible while they're facing you. If you shoot the infection form inside the Flood combat forms, they take more damage, or die in one hit if you have the right weapon.
    • In Halo 3 and its expansion comes the Scarab. You can waste a bunch of missile firing at its legs or you can just pick a Ghost, land on its platform, go around it and throw some grenade in its reactor core. There, the Big Bad is down.
  • Although nearly all bosses in Rocket Knight Adventures (with the exception of Axel Gear) follow this trope, the third boss in the first game displays an interesting variant. The boss is a fish-shaped submarine-like vehicle partially submerged in lava, and the vehicle itself is completely invulnerable. The only way to deal damage is to wait until the rare occasions when the pilot is exposed and attack him.
  • Pokémon - The anime's issues with New Powers as the Plot Demands aside, Parasect doesn't have just a quadruple weakness, it has a quintuple weakness thanks to one of its abilities. Just so happens that it's the Fire type.
    • Shedinja takes it even further, with its special ability. Only super-effective attacks or indirect damage (poison, weather) will work at all, but it's a guaranteed KO.
  • Tanks in the Battlefield games take realistic damage; shooting rockets to the front of the tank does minimal damage, more damage to the sides, and the most damage to the back. Smart players with this knowledge will always try to flank around to the back of the tank rather than take it head on.
    • The battlewalkers in Battlefield 2142 can shrug off most everything short of a suicidal transport pilot. However, there is a flimsy vent underneath that potentially allows someone with a pistol to inflict massive damage. The Titan supercarriers present a similar situation: they can only be damaged from outside by BLOC-3 missiles, but can be infiltrated to get to its creamy nuclear core.
  • Almost every enemy you encounter in Dead Space, although how you are supposed to hit them is a bit different. Headshots are a joke in this game, instead you must shoot their limbs (hands, legs, tails, tentacles). The big ones even have their joints explicitly shown to the players. Exploders even have two weak points: their explosive pustule and its joint with the shoulder. Bosses and mini-bosses have big yellowish pustules that you should obviously know what to do with them. The "almost" part in this case are the Swarmers, which die in one hit no matter where you hit them, and Dividers, which do not have a weak point.
    • New enemies in Dead Space Extraction still follows this trend. Yes, even the untransformed humans, their weak point is just like every human enemies: the head.
  • Justified in Valkyria Chronicles. The Applied Phlebotinum powered tanks generate huge amounts of waste heat, and need radiators to avert a catastrophic heat explosion. Aim for the radiators, and... well, any weapon that is normally effective will usually kill them in one hit, maybe two at the most, and weapons that normally bounce off tank armor can chip at their health. Still, it seems that only one character in the game had the idea to put armor over his tank's radiator. As for ground troops, shooting them in the head rather than the body results in less of a chance to hit but far greater damage - a unit that will take 4 or 5 hits to kill in the torso will only take 1 or 2 in the head. While both the radiator and headshot weakness go for your troops as well as the enemy, fortunately the enemy AI will only abuse the radiator weakness.
  • Taken to its logical extreme in Monster Hunter. Although no boss in the game has a specific weak point, all of them have parts that are weaker or stronger against player attack. Further, depending on the method of attack used, the weak points may be different (some parts are weak against blunt force but resistant to damage from edged weapons, for instance).
  • Zone of the Enders: the Second Runner does this at one point. Jehuty has to destroy five battleships, and can go about this in one of three ways: find and destroy every destructible piece of paneling and weapon on the ships, or use the Vector Cannon to hit their generators, or (related to the last one) line up the Vector Cannon and fire at them to blow them up with just sheer damage. To be fair, the generators are protected by a shield of compressed space, and normal weapons do no damage to them; if you can hit the generators, you've got enough firepower to take down the ship through pure damage anyway.
  • In the Onimusha games, scoring a counter-hit on an enemy during a narrow window of opportunity will have the screen flash bright yellow as your current character (usually) delivers a lunging slash. This will instantly destroy Mooks and inflict Massive Damage against Boss characters, and in the case of characters equipped with an Ogre Gauntlet result in a much higher Soul payoff than normal.
  • Tank crews in the World War II MMOFPS Battleground Europe (a.k.a. WWIIOnline) pretty much have to know the weaknesses of every tank type they might possibly come up against, because the game tries to realistically model armor penetration. Trying to pound away at the front armor of a panzer MIGHT work, but it's far less dangerous to aim for exhaust vents, the cupola, or anything else with thin armor. If you are driving a vehicle (or pushing an anti-tank gun) with small caliber shells, this might be the only way you will ever damage them at all. Then, of course, your gunner could very well get shot in the neck by an infantryman because you forgot to close the hatch.
  • Dark Maker Humongous Mecha in Jak III have five locations, each of which can take a moderate amount of damage, then becomes invulnerable. If you don't notice the targeting reticules around the hips and knees, you can spend half an hour shooting them in the head (true story).
  • Ace Combat: "Its only weak point is in the front air intake. You'll have to attack it head on to take down Morgan."
  • Every boss in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates has a glowing red crystal that does more damage than hitting the rest of the boss.
    • These glowing red weak spots are also present in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time on most bosses.
    • Final Fantasy V Advance makes fun of the Trope Naming quote in its description of the Gladiator's Finisher command. Then again, they made fun of a lot of things.
  • Every Fraxy boss has a weakpoint—it just depends on how big it is and how many there are!
  • The Caterpillar in American Mc Gees Alice can only be damaged by attacking a glowy soft spot on its underbelly.
  • If ever a The Legend of Zelda game appears in which not a single boss uses this, it will be proof that the developers have been kidnapped and are being held hostage somewhere. Ever since the first boss of the first game (which was only vulnerable on its horn), it's been making use of this. It especially likes the Go for the Eye variant, and making you figure out how to expose said weak point.
    • The Moldorm's tail in The Legend of Zelda a Link To T He Past and The Legend of Zelda Links Awakening.
    • Ocarina of Time was chock full of this. Gohma had her eye, Barinade had his soft skin under his jellyfish armor, Morpha had its nucleus, Bongo Bongo had its eye (which was exposed once you attacked both of its other weak points), and Ganon had his bright blue tail.
    • There's a particularly fun (if easy) variant in The Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass involving whacking a seesaw with the hammer in order to reach the giant golem Eox's weak point.
    • The eyes of Diababa, Morpheel and Armogohma, the jewel on Fyrus's head, the Twilight Sword in Stallord's head, and the open point in Argorok's armor (on its back), Battle 3 with Zant had his shoes, and Beast Ganon had his underbelly, all from The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess.
      • Beast Ganon's weakness is caused by a wound on his stomach which extends to his humanoid form.
    • Various bosses and enemies use this in The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword, often with the added twist of only being vulnerable from a certain angle, requiring the player to time and angle their attack just right in order to actually hit it.
  • The Factory boss in Beyond Good and Evil is only vulnerable at its "core," which it protects with a metal grate. Luckily, its legs aren't so well-protected, and if you Use Your Head, figuring out how to knock him over isn't so tough.
  • The third boss in Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy has a rather obvious "heart lid" on its chest to attack, but it keeps it closed most of the time. (And anyway, it's out of the reach of your sword anyway.) However, you are capable of throwing things that high... and indeed, you have to throw rocks at him to make him expose his weak point. Harder than it sounds—he's reeeeaally fast, and you when burdened by a rock? Not so much.
  • Numerous bosses in Psychonauts are only truly vulnerable at one part on their body. The most notable is probably The Butcher—the only part of his massive body that's vulnerable is his head, and even then, it's too high to reach normally or hit with ranged attacks. In round one, you can climb up his arms when he does a certain attack, but in round two, you have to throw telekinetic projectiles at him when he does the same attack. And he's much faster now.
  • The first boss from Star FOX Adventures can be attacked, but you can't truly harm him not matter how much you whack his tail with a stick. In fact, he's so tough, he can only be hurt from within. Feed him explosives? No! Do enough damage so he gets annoyed and tries to eat you, silly!
  • The Mechwarrior games have this all over the place. All mechs (including your own) have much weaker armor in the rear than they do in front; this doesn't really matter much when you're in an assault mech picking off light ones, since they pretty much die like flies either way. However, when you are in a small/medium mech, or a big one that's taken a lot of damage, and the radar cheerfully bleeps and tells you an enemy 100-ton behemoth is heading your way, the rear weak spot suddenly becomes a lot more important, because targeting it is the only way (barring sheer luck with critical strikes or a particularly incompetent enemy) to survive the encounter.
    • Since they usually always face you, the leg are also always weak points on a mech, destroying them also permit to salvage the mech, very useful to capture the heavy armed 100-ton battlemech. Putting together enough precision weapons like lasers, autocannons, Gauss guns, or missiles with targeting computers to quickly destroy their leg is a damn good tactic.
    • The "weaker rear armor" bit is taken straight from the board game; the torso locations can each only have so much armor altogether and attacks coming in through five of six hexsides will strike the front, so that's the side that gets the lion's share of the armor and the rear is left comparatively vulnerable to a determined attacker who can get there. Beyond that, actual aimed shots tend to be fairly rare because even with an advanced targeting computer success at hitting the chosen spot isn't guaranteed and the overall chance to hit in the first place goes down, and without one chances to even try are pretty much limited to immobile targets and/or the occasional melee attack.
  • Sonic Adventure:
    • All forms of Chaos (except 6 which requires that you get him into a specific state... of matter) require that you attack his brain. This is fairly easy the first two times with Chaos 0, and then he starts jumping around on lampposts and punching at you, and you have to wait until he comes down, at which point he's easy again. 2 makes you wait until he misses a punch and freezes in place a couple of seconds, while 4 has to surface and float in place before you can attack him there. Perfect pretty much makes you have a minimum speed so that when you get to him, you spiral up the inside and hit his brain. If you're not going fast enough, you're just ejected and have to find him again. Actually, you could almost make a case for 6's weak spot being Froggy, at least in Big's version: once Big lands him, he wins.
    • The Egg vehicles have the cockpit as the weak point. The Hornet stays at bay and shoots shall missiles at you, then tries to drill you into the ground. If he misses, there's your chance. The Walker makes you play Simon Says (sort of) with its ankle joints; one, two, or three of the feet stomp, sending out a shockwave which you want to avoid, but also making that joint vulnerable to brief malfunction if you jump near it. If all the glowing joints malfunction, that brings the cockpit down for semi-easy pickings. (You can hit its underside this time.) The Viper, the first three times, from time to time shows its belly, trying to lure Sonic in with a path to the cockpit while it's charging its (other) laser, which it will fire if you don't hit the cockpit in time. Then you have to wait until it yo-yos spinning spiked discs at you so you can jump on one and use it to reach Eggman.
    • Zero, whom Amy is fleeing throughout her stages, is only vulnerable once Amy knocks him into the electric fencing surrounding the boss stage. This causes him to flip his top, exposing a button which you then attack.
  • Sonic Adventure 2:
    • Boss GUN vehicles, much like Egg vehicles, are only vulnerable in the cockpit. How easy they are to get to varies.
    • The Biolizard has a tank on its back which you have to attack. To reach it, however, you have to wait until it's tired from chomping at you and shooting balls of dark energy at you. Then you can grind up the rail that begins at its mouth, and then you can attack.
    • The Finalhazard. "Aim for the red swelling area to damage him!"
  • Sonic Heroes has a notable Egg boss where it's weak point ISN'T the cockpit (it has none) - the Egg Emperor. It's weak point is the glowing orb in the middle of it's body with the slightly-hard-to-see-during-gameplay picture of Eggman on it. However, it's smart enough to protect itself with a giant shield. You have to either destroy the shield with a Power character, or temporarily paralyze the shield-arm with Thunder Shoot in order to do any damage.
  • Bosses in the Parodius series almost always have a weak point, which the game helpfully points out to you. One boss in Sexy Parodius is a huge tanuki, complete with arrows telling you what his weak point isn't.
  • Lampshaded in Star Wars: 'Republic Commando regarding spider droids:

CT-01/425: Its durasteel plating is rated for starship hulls and is nearly invulnerable to small arms fire. Only its optical cluster, the red orb on its abdomen, is unshielded and vulnerable.
Scorch: In other words, shoot the big red spot.

  • World of Warcraft features a quest in which you must defeat undead that are unkillable unless you destroy the crystals that keep them moving. These crystals become vulnerable only when the undead in question has taken enough damage that it would otherwise be defeated. (If you don't destroy the crystal then the undead, merely stunned instead of defeated, snaps out of it and resumes attacking even though it has 0 health).
    • This resulted in some hilarious griefing potential early in the game's run where the designers forgot to put a "leash" on the crystal-bound undead like most enemies have, forcing them to return to their normal area when lured too far away. Since they didn't have this, some players would pull the invincible undead all the way to a town or a major city, where they would slowly but inexorably murder any opponent, no matter how statistically outclassed they should have been. And the only way to stop it would either be a server reset or luring the undead all the way back to their crystal.
  • Freespace 2 features alien communication nodes with a giant crystal in the center. Blowing up the crystal causes the thing to self destruct in a massive explosion. Somewhat subverted in that these devices are far behind enemy lines, and were not expected to be attacked.
    • In the original, the Lucifer had five reactors which could be destroyed which would then blow up the ship. Like with the above example however, these reactors were never expected to be vulnerable - they powered the massive energy shielding that normally renders the Lucifer completely impervious.
  • Lost Kingdoms II has The God of Harmony. It's easily That One Boss unless you know what cards can cripple and/or kill it outright:
    • Your first fight can be ended with Wraith (which can be missed since the Ghoul card can be missed if you progress too much), Sandworm's Sandstorm or the Lizardman combo since it doesn't flinch from an attack, just like a Petrified target.
    • The second fight which is the final boss can end with Vampire's Death Spell or a properly placed Catapult.
  • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga has Cackletta as the final boss, in smokey ghostly spirit form. You have to take down her hands and her head for her to expose her heart, which is her weak point.
    • Earlier against Queen Bean you have to attack her arms to deflate them (She's HUGELY muscular) and to make her lose her crown on her head, cause you know, spikes hurt when jumping on it.
      • Or you can just equip the badge that lets you jump on spikes (and deal DOUBLE DAMAGE, no less) though you still do more damage if you deflate her arms first.
      • Or you can also learn the advance command for the Bros. Attack Splash Bros. Mario performs a spin jump at the end of the command sequence which allows you to attack her weak point without buying the badge or deflating her arms.
    • Even more drawn out in the final battle of Partners in Time, the second in the series. You have to attack her tentacle legs, which enables you to attack the crown which enables you to attack the boss herself. Oh, and the crown regenerates after a while, rendering any attack to her useless. And if that wasn't enough, the legs also regenerate, sometimes forcing you to do the whole thing again.
    • The final boss of the third game, Bowser's Inside Story, is even MORE complicated. You begin the fight as bowser. After you've dealt a certain amount of damage the boss fully heals and grows big. Then you must punch his stomach to make him spit out the Dark Star core. Then you must suck it into Bowser's stomach where Mario and Luigi takes over. Now you have to fight an Eldritch Abomination version of Fawful. His weak points are his legs and glasses, if you don't destroy the glasses first he will retract some of his legs while you are attacking. After killing his legs he will fall to the ground, revealing the Dark Star core, the boss' REAL weak point. You have approx. two turns in which to damage it before it escapes, and you have to REPEAT THE ENTIRE PROCESS untill he FINALLY dies. Phew.
  • Lampshaded in The Simpsons Game, where a cutscene shows an alien saucer attacking the Simpsons house. It starts moving around, firing then stops, prompting Bart:

Bart: Guys, look! The hatch opens after every four laser bursts! That's the weak spot when we need to fire!
Kang: Hey Kodos, that ugly kid's right. Why are we exposing our weak spot every four laser bursts?
Kodos: You're right! Why do we even need to expose our weak spot at all!?
Kang: Thanks for the heads-up, Earth dumbass!

  • The basis of Blood of Bahamut. The giant monsters that are the game's entire basis can only be damaged at their Cores (if you hit anywhere else, damage is along single-digit lines). Indeed, some missions are entirely to remove armor over a Gargantuan's core before you can actually fight it.
  • Army of Two has heavily armored enemies that can only be hurt from behind. The general strategy is to use the game's aggro mechanic to get them to focus on one of you while the other sneaks around behind them.
    • Amusingly, one of my friends killed said armored mook by just shooting him in the head several times with a sniper rifle. Sometimes we just shoot a rocket at his face.
  • All bosses in Legend of Kay have a glowing red amulet that must be hit. The in-game justification is that those amulets enable the bad guys to enslave dangerous animals and force them to do their bidding.
  • The final boss in Mass Effect 2 is a giant terminator with a multitude of orange 'Shoot me here!' lights in place of its eyes and a big hummer on its chest. They're not the only place that will take damage, but they do take damage at a higher rate than elsewhere. In case that wasn't obvious enough, they're actually labelled as "Weak Point" on your HUD.
  • In Alien vs. Predator (2010), to have a real chance of beating combat synths as the marine, you need to hit them in their weakpoint—their legs. No, really. Knocking off their head just blinds them and makes it harder for them to hit you, their torso can take absurd amounts of punishment, and although their arms would theoretically work too, they're too hard to hit in practice as they're holding guns. Aim for the legs.
  • Almost every enemy in Borderlands has some body part that will take bonus damage when hit. Soft parts like head and eyes are common targets, as are underbellies.
  • Spoony's review Microcosm describes the boss's weak points as "huge fuck-me lights".
  • In another Mook example, the Drones in The Conduit have huge red glowing orbs on their chest... but these are part of their armor and don't take more damage than anywhere else. Their weakpoint is, sensibly enough, their head—although they can still take more punishment there than a human.
  • Enemies in Resonance of Fate tend to have Cognizant Limbs that absorb damage from a certain angle. Strong enemies and bosses can have heavily-armored parts covering most angles, but one or two lightly-armored angles that leave the main body open to attack.
    • And if you jump, your bullets hit random body parts. Shoot enough times with a submachine gun, and you will eventually almost completely fill up with scratch damage. Then, all you have to do is jump and attack with a direct damage weapon. No need to worry about pesky body parts after all.
  • Rise of the Kasai has a few bosses like this; three bosses(two that are fought at the same time) take the form of dragons that fly around the platform and will breathe fire at you that will instantly kill you if it hits. They're far out of reach for most of the fight and can only be sniped by arrows right before breathing fire, and then will only take damage if they arrow hits a weak point on their chest. The final boss can be stunned, but not killed, by attacking it over and over again, however, it's Soul Jar is floating right above it. Once again, arrow to that equals dead boss.
  • In all of the Silent Scope games, the boss's weak point is always the head, which is one shot, one kill. This is later subverted for laughs in the third game Sogeki, where the third boss has two weak points. The first is obvious, his head. The second is not so obvious, his teddy bear. Shoot the teddy bear and he goes down.
  • In Wing Commander III, while the Kilrathi dreadnaught isn't totally invulnerable, it's much more prone to damage from shooting at it inside the hangar, where there the fast-recharging shields don't protect.
    • In Wing Commander IV, the only way to kill the Vesuvius is to drop the Flashpak in the hangar, where they don't use the quite effective armor found on the outer hull.
    • Played realistically in Wing Commander Prophecy with killing capital ships. The majority of the ship is too heavily armored and shielded for fighters to destroy them with massed fire. Instead, you have to take down their shield generators and hit the critical subsystems: Bridge and Engines. Even with those destroyed, the ship doesn't explode as in most games... it's left dead in space, with occasional secondary explosions across the hull.
      • Subverted to a degree by the fact that your own carrier has the same vulnerabilities and the AI is smart enough to use that. Also, it's only thanks to your on-board targeting system that you can identify anything on the enemy ships to begin with; it all looks the same, really.
  • A couple of bosses in Yoshi's Island. Naval Piranha's only weak spot is a bandaged lump on its stem (presumably the "navel", although it looks more like an adam's apple). Eggs thrown at Sluggy the Unshaven just deform its outer shell without hurting it, but once its clearly-visible heart is exposed, it can be destroyed with a single strike. In both cases, Kamek draws your attention to this, in the first case by, bizarrely, calling Yoshi a "cutie without a navel", and in the second case by announcing "This slug has no weak points!"
  • Bulletstorm has the usual weak spots - groin shots and headshots - but some fully mutated enemies have several glowing sacs of... um... stuff on their body. Shoot any of the sacs and the whole body will go up in a blast of orange bodily liquids. Also, the plant boss has several weak spots to hit before it recharges its hitpoints.
  • Pikmin 2 has the Segmented Crawbster boss, which has to be tricked into rolling into a wall to reveal the weak spot on its belly. A non-boss example would be Anode Beetles from the same game, which can be flipped over simply by throwing a pikmin directly onto its back.
  • In Yoshi's Island, Hookbill the Koopa is defeated by knocking him down then ground pounding his stomach.
  • In the web game "Pico's School" on Newgrounds, the only way to do damage to Casandra's monster form in the final battle is by targeting the dangling genitalia between her (or is that his?) legs.
  • Lampshaded by Goodstyle from Wario Master of Disguise.
  • Heavy Weapon has a few bosses like this. The Battleship is weak in the control tower, Eyebot was vulnerable in the eye when it is open, and the Segmented Serpent Mechworm was weak in the head.
  • Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back for the Atari 2600 was perhaps the earliest game to give the player a glowing target (on the Imperial Walkers) to shoot.
  • In Super Smash Brothers Brawl, there are a type of smoke-like enemies with large, curved blades. The only way to kill them is to attack the large, red, glowing orb in their chests.
  • Battletankx has the Rhino Tank, which is described as "A trainload of armor on front." You have to either use grenades or hit the tank from behind.
  • Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 treats Mobile Armors like this: you have to strike them when and where they are vulnerable to do any damage at all. Thankfully the third game does away with this: in that one Mobile Armors can be harmed at any time, but you do a lot more damage if you strike the weak points.
  • Capital ships in Tachyon the Fringe have destroyable subsystems. Take out the powerplant, it can't move. Destroy the weapons generator, it can't shoot. Blow up the shield generator, and its Deflector Shields won't regenerate. There are occasions where time constraints make this mode of attack inadvisable, but they're rare.
  • Super Mario Bros. games have this all the time. The worst though are when the boss has a giant target basically painted on them, like the bandage on the Whomp King in Super Mario 64, the target on Topmaniac's head in Super Mario Galaxy or the glowing/coloured lights/symbols on Megahammer in Super Mario Galaxy 2
  • For the final fight against Omega Supreme in Transformers: War for Cybertron, you first have to attack his exposed turrets, which are explicitly stated to be outside of his shields. Destroy enough of them and his shields go down and his chest becomes the vulnerable spot.
  • In Scaler, the Rattlecrab (an Unexpected Shmup Boss) has four blue weak spot that glow red when it's going to attack. The first two are on its pincers, the third one is on its tail, and the fourth one is in/on(?) its mouth.
  • Humanoid enemies in Alone in the Dark 2008 can only be killed by igniting the fissures on their bodies.

Web Comics


Torg: The big eye is too obvious a weak spot! You'll be wasting our one shot! You've got to look for a more difficult target! . . . Ah-ha! There's markings on one of its teeth that resembles a bull's-eye!
Sasha: You want me to shoot it in the tooth?!?

    • Aylee's giant crab form is only vulnerable on her "gummi worm neck," which she's fully capable of retracting to within her Nigh Invulnerable shell.
    • Similarly, Chaz states that demon lords like Horribus can only be killed by decapitation or by plunging a magical weapon into their "soul" (which is apparently located somewhere in the middle of their chests).
  • Fighter in Eight Bit Theater's gives us a basic rundown of this trope:

Fighter: Oh, well weaknesses are bad. Except on bosses where you have to shoot at the core 'cause the rest of it is pure invincibility. It makes you wonder why they built a core at all, gave it no protection, and then put it where it would be exposed to intergalactic gunfire.


Western Animation

  • In Code Lyoko, all of XANA's monsters in the game-like virtual world have one or more "XANA Eye" symbols (sometimes actual eyes) somewhere on their bodies. Hitting this spot will usually de-rez the monster instantly.
  • The red circle on Zod's belly in Challenge of the Go Bots.
  • Parodied in one episode of The Simpsons, when Homer and Bart enter Battlebots, and discuss how to beat Professor Frink's giant killing machine. Bart mentions it has a weak point, only for him to notice Frink welding a comically large sheet of spiky metal over it.
  • In South Park, punching Mecha-Streisand's nose will drop the Diamond of Pantheos allowing Robert Smith to defeat her.
  • Winx Club features an example of this being undermined via editing: In the original version, we see Tecna finding the weak point of a monster, under its throat, prompting the Specialists to attack the area. In the dub, Tecna says she's found the weak point, but never says where it is, and because of what appears to be a discretion shot, we never see where the Specialists attack. Video.

Real Life

  • Tanks are almost always vulnerable from above and below, and to a lesser extent, the sides and rear. Tank Destroyers and other specialized AFVs often take this further, in some cases resulting in open-topped or open-backed vehicles such as the M10 and Marder series.
    • It's usually difficult, if not impossible, for an infantry team to attack a tank from above. If the enemy has a good formation, attacking it from behind is difficult too. To solve this problem, the Javelin Missile Launcher was created. This is a missile that can either fire in a straight line, like most missiles, or, in an awesome display of Roboteching, travel about three feet forward and then straight up to a height between 500 and 1000 feet, before inverting and smashing down on the tank from above. The only defense against a Javelin Missile attack is to kill the user before he can fire it. Or go underground (but then, the missile still fires straight if need be...).
    • The Molotov Cocktail was devised as an anti-tank measure by Finns fighting the Russians during WW 2. It seems the tanks had poor ventilation around the engine and they could be disabled by overheating the engine this way. The fumes and smoke were also pulled into the tank forcing the crew to evacuate.
    • During the battle of Stalingrad, Yakov Pavlov commanded a platoon that took over a apartment building (now known as Pavlov's House). They found that by placing one of the outdated Soviet anti-tank rifles on the roof they could actually shoot nearly straight down onto a tanks turret (with them being so high up the tank couldn't shoot back). Pavlov is said to have taken out over a dozen tanks himself this way.
    • Military ground vehicle designers are getting smarter about protection, what with the introduction of the V-shaped hull to certain armored vehicles.[2] V-hulls borrow the deflecting hoo-ha used by sloped armor. In simple English, it's supposed to take most of the damage from the bad guys standing straight ahead [3] or from explosives underneath the vehicle and then point it elsewhere. What you end up with is a vehicle that's not as scratched as compared to a regular vehicle in the same situation.
      • And in the case of a tank which would rather make the first move than try to resist a pounding, it's an active protection system, which goes way back in the 1970s, apparently pioneered by the Soviet Union. The first APS, codenamed the Drozd, had a point-defense problem: a good portion of antitank rockets still made their way through the tank and the Drozd only covered the front. Recent developments have fixed this problem, though.
  • Battleship deck armour in general was significantly thinner than the belt (side) armour, making them vulnerable to attack from above. Hence the ridiculously large number of anti-aircraft guns fitted to the last generation of battleships. Plunging fire at long range could be at least as effective than a broadside at point-blank. Hits below the belt (e.g., torpedoes) could also be fatal.
    • HMS Hood provides an excellent example: her deck armor proved too thin and was pierced by a German shell with catastrophic results. Specifically, it was in a part of the armored deck a few feet from where said deck had been thickened during a refit. Right above the amunition magazine.
    • British ships suffered much less severely from kamikaze attacks in the Pacific than American ships, as the British usually had armored decks, while the American had only wooden decks that could be easily smashed through by a plane.
  • The German battleship Bismarck was incredibly highly armed and armored, and the greatest warship ever built at the time. A single lucky torpedo from an obsolete British biplane bomber hit and disabled the rudder, making her essentially a sitting duck. Without any support by other ships, she was attacked the next morning by a fleet of 16 British ships and sunk without causing any significant damage to the attackers.
    • Well armed and armoured maybe, but its design of three propeller shafts rather than four was a big flop, not only did it critically weaken the keel, (leading to the 'ability' of a single torpedo to jam the rudders), but it also made steering a pig (not helped by a really too small rudders). She was a battleship, with emphasis on the 'battle' rather than the 'ship'. She was also more vulnerable to plunging fire than contemporary British designs, which resulted in one of the shells from the Prince of Wales severing the forward fuel line. The secondary armament wasn't much good either, making it especially vulnerable to low-altitude torpedo bombers. The same issues were faced by the Scharnhorst class, though in neither case were they to prove critical, since Gneisenau was wrecked in her docks, while Scharnhorst fell to naval gunnery and torpedoes.
  • Groin Attack in a sparring match.
    • There are many spots on the human body that remain vunerable to simple attacks of people's hands and feet, no matter what sort of training you do—like, your eyes. But Wait! There's More!! The throat, the nose; really, the head in general...
    • Most of these are justified by the function of the body part in question. Testicles must be on the outside to enable them to be cooler than the rest of the body; if they were kept inside, the body heat would reduce fertility. Eyes can't be shielded very much or they can't see as well. And so on.
  • Most cats HATE tummy rubs because their instinct is to protect their vulnerable tummies. :A cat rolling over and showing you its stomach is a sign of trust. Sometimes, if feeling threatened, the cat will roll over on its back to better wield its claws in a stance that basically says "don't come any closer". If the threat does come closer, the cat can then strike with its fangs and four sets of claws at the same time. On the other hand, when they are feeling safe and surrounded by trustable loved ones, they will sometimes instinctively roll over and expose their bellies as a display of this trust and love, as if to say, "I totally don't think you're going to try and kill me, bro." Want to show your cat some serious cat-language affection? When they do this, pet their heads; for cats, that's the friendliest way to acknowledge the relationship, whereas actually petting their bellies is like saying, "oh, you acknowledge me as your superior in the social structure, huh? Yeah, you better!"
    • The same goes for dogs, in that if a dog shows you its belly, it trusts you. On the other hand, if the dog rolled over first (or if the dog is lying on you in a way that it's impossible to tell whether or not it has in fact rolled over), dogs are generally very happy with such rubs. Oh, dogs...
  • Predatory animals typically attack the throat or belly of their prey, as the front of the neck contains vital airways and blood vessels, while the belly is less well-protected by bone than other parts of the torso.
  • Safes, of all things, have weakpoints where their defense is intentionally lower. Naturally, their location is a guarded secret and not advertised.
    • Although a safe bet is to turn the safe on its side and try and crack the bottom.
  • By the early Renaissance, plate armor had become so good at protecting the wearer that they were nearly immune to anything up to and including musket fire. The standard way to kill someone wearing it was to beat them with something heavy until they were knocked to the ground (the poleaxe or warhammer were popular choices for this), then stab a thin, pointy dagger into the joints, or through the slots in their visor.
    • This is where the phrase "chink in the armor" comes from - the joints were notable weak spots for the dagger.
    • Even the strongest plate armour was vulnerable to the point of a warhammer, which was a weapon specifically designed to punch through it with massive leverage. Also, it was during this time that the plate armour reached its maximum weight, beyond which the warrior had no chance of actually fighting in one, resulting in their phase out during the following two hundred years.
  • This video of ants attacking a crab for food. The ants managed to do this by probing the crab for weak points in its armour then attacking them For Massive Damage.
    • Also by chewing its eyes out and also PRYING ITS GODDAMN MOUTH OPEN and sending ants inside.
  • The field of social engineering came about as a method of attacking the weak point inherent in every digital security system. The people who use it. There's no better method of getting a password than convincing someone who knows it that they should give it up.
  • Really any form of combat style at any level is "attack weak point/prevent same". The tricky part is getting at it and sometimes finding even what it is. At high policy levels this can often require what amounts to telepathy to decide which mind tricks will demoralize the foe and which will just make him angrier, or worse make neutrals mad.
  • The German word for this translates as "sharp place". Basically in their old blitzkrieg doctrine, much of which is still sound (though making it work is as always the tricky part), the offensive starts by feeling around about the front (which means the poor chaps that "feel out" the wrong place get shafted) until it starts to give in one place, then rushing reserves to it and shatter it then racing the tanks which did this through rather recklessly while ignoring their flanks (they are going too fast to be hit on a flank anyway), and being rather cavalier about supply lines (this was a doozy and was often the Achilles' Heel of the whole system), as well as getting in among the enemies' infrastructure to cause a cascade failure in supplies, morale, and pretty much everything.
    • The same thing was done in the Pacific by both the Americans and the Japanese though the Americans did it better, in the end having more resources. There were differences. It is easier to get into the enemy territory at sea than on land because the sea is so big and ships are so small compared to sprawling divisions of tanks and infantry. One limit many people do not know about is that aircraft at the time needed a fairly steady prevailing wind to get lift under the wing -- which meant that not only could you not bypass every island, the islands you could not bypass could reasonably be guessed at. All that said, the Pacific often looked like a nautical version of blitzkrieg with carriers as armored divisions, battleships as artillery, and Marines as infantry doing the dirty mop up.
      • Actually the mop-up was done by the army. Marines were more likely to spend a few really intense days and be pulled out to train for the next island and the army was more likely to be dealing with what was left of a garrison that occupied some island that couldn't be bypassed. Perhaps the Marines were like the mechanized infantry prying open the breech the tanks made and the Army was like the infantry stomping on whatever fragments were left.
  1. The real reason? While the developers were working on the game, they played a lot of Counter-Strike and Unreal Tournament as "research." Their boss apparently sucked at both of them, and after getting killed hundreds upon hundreds of times with headshots, he insisted that there be no headshots in their game.
  2. (basically, it's just taking a boxy iron car and giving it angled sides)
  3. because most of the time, that's where you find them holding antitank weapons, anyway
  4. which to this day tend to be the fastest ships in most navies that have them