Destructible Projectiles

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In most Video Games, projectiles are intangible things whose only interaction with the outside world is that they inflict Collision Damage on the first thing they touch and then promptly cease to exist.

But sometimes the projectile is indeed a tangible object that can be attacked or affected by other projectiles or attacks. Can't dodge an incoming attack, for example? Try deflecting it before it hits you!

This is also the mechanic that enables Playing Tennis With the Boss. Sometimes it can also provide a renewable source of health or ammo pickups, especially in extended Boss Battles (where it may overlap with Boss Arena Recovery).

Contrast Shoot the Bullet, in which this is an extraordinary (Moment of Awesome/Cutscene Power to the Max) feat instead of a normal gameplay mechanic. In simulators, the harder it is to shoot a missile, the more efficient tend to be other countermeasures. Painfully Slow Projectiles or Bullet Time are usually the reason this is possible. Homing missiles and grenades are the most common candidates for this.

A Smart Bomb often (especially in Bullet Hell games) has the secondary effect of destroying all projectiles on screen, even when this is not usually possible.

Examples of Destructible Projectiles include:

  • Many Shoot'Em Up games have oval- or oblong-shaped projectiles that the player can shoot down. Homing missiles in such games are usually destructible too.
  • Most enemy projectiles in Cabal and Blood Bros. are destructible. It's easier to dodge them, though.
  • Many projectiles in La-Mulana can be destroyed by hitting them: for example thrown bones, fire chunks, and even the burning excrements bonnacons attack with.
  • In Cave Story, many projectiles can be shot and drop hearts, energy crystals or ammo, which makes them a useful source of Boss Arena Recovery.
  • In the Clonk military packs "Eke Reloaded" and "Codename: Modern Combat", grenades and rockets can be shot to safely destroy them.
  • Some Mega Man projectiles.
  • Guxt missiles can be shot.
  • Most projectiles in Castlevania games.
  • The fireballs launched by Minecraft ghasts can be reflected by hitting them.
  • Homing missiles in Solar Jetman.
  • Pink projectiles in NieR can be destroyed by attacking them. Black ones will go right through your weapon.
  • In the second Drakengard, attacks from enemy mages and archers can be blocked by striking them with an attack, although the precise timing for this can be difficult to accomplish when fending off swarms of other Mooks at the same time. Some projectiles (like the bounty hunters' knives) can even be deflected back at the thrower For Massive Damage.
  • In various Metroid games (Super Metroid in particular), certain projectiles can be destroyed for health or Missile refills during boss battles.
  • Hero Core homing missiles.
  • The Redeemer in Unreal Tournament, UT2004 and UT3, can be shot down with a well-placed shot, as well as the AVRiL missiles in 2004 and III.
  • Certain projectiles act this way in the Star FOX games, allowing you to destroy them for health power-ups.
  • In the Super Smash Bros. series, every character can activate their shield to deflect projectiles, and can reflect them directly with perfect timing. Multiple characters like Fox, Ness, Mr. Game and Watch and Mario possess moves that can reflect or absorb projectiles. Most projectiles can also be canceled out by simply hitting them with an attack that has a higher priority.
  • In Viewtiful Joe, the player can punch or kick bullets and missiles back at targets while using slow motion, and can shoot them while in the Six Machine. This is crucial for defeating several bosses, including the Helicopter, Harrier Jet and both tanks.
  • In Team Fortress 2, the Pyro's flamethrower's alternate fire shoots out a gust of air that can deflect a soldier's fired rocket, bouncing it right back where it came from.
    • You can also shoot a Huntsman arrow at rockets, and the rockets will disintegrate, leaving the arrow to continue unharmed.
  • Most projectiles in Beat Hazard can be shot.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction (the spiritual predecessor to Prototype) gave the Hulk the ability to either punch missiles back at the tanks that shot them, or to catch them and throw them back like footballs.
  • The last Ganondorf fight in Ocarina of Time uses this. You have to play "tennis" with his energy balls.
  • Bullet Bills in the Mario series are a gray area between "lifeless projectile" and "enemy character", considering that in the sidescrolling games you can Goomba Stomp them like any other enemy. However, it might be worth noting that in New Super Mario Bros., Bullet Bills can deflect off each other, whereas in the 8- and 16- bit sidescrollers they simply passed through. Bullet Bills in Super Mario Sunshine can be destroyed by spraying water at them.
  • In Fallout 3, held and thrown grenades can be shot to make them detonate prematurely. Of course, it's darn near impossible what with combat being so hectic and them being so small and fast. However, using VATS mode allows you to select them and shoot them with far greater accuracy. There's something special about the first time you detonate a wastelanders arm by shooting the grenade they planned to lob at you. And the following fifty.
  • Terminator II: Judgment Day Arcade Game. During the sequence in the future, the enemy regularly throws bombs at you. You can shoot and detonate them before they hit you.
  • Cactus's game Burn the Trash! is a Shoot'Em Up where the player's ship has a secondary weapon that destroys all enemy bullets in its path. The "ship" from the same author's Deep/Wing/Break can shoot and destroy enemy bullets with its regular weapon. Minubeat has a weapon that instantly destroys all enemy bullets on screen, in what would be otherwise a typical Bullet Hell game.
  • In Resident Evil 4 and 5 you can shoot down thrown weapons like sickles or crossbow bolts. There is even an achievement/trophy for using your knife to deflect a crossbow bolt in Resident Evil 5.
  • This trope is the entire point of Missile Command.
  • Justified in In the Hunt, most enemies fires missiles and explosives which can be destroyed by your missiles and explosives. The ones to watch out for are those whose projectiles are not destructible.
  • Enemy fighters' homing missiles in Top Gun for NES.
  • Heavy Weapon has most of the enemies trying to drop destructible bombs and missiles on your tank. And a good thing they're destructible, because one of them drops instant-kill atomic bombs that will blow you up if they hit the ground.
  • In the games of Battle City series, one of the main gameplay mechanics is being able to shoot down enemy projectiles.
  • In Serious Sam series, the rockets fired from major biomechanoids can be shot down. In Serious Sam 1, alduran reptiloids' slimeballs and many other projectiles are also destructible.
  • In Mini Robot Wars, enemy projectiles can be destroyed. This is an important mechanic, because if any projectile gets past your defense line, you lose health!
  • The rocks the Tank throws in Left 4 Dead can be shot down by gunfire, but it requires precise aim and a good amount of bullets to shoot a thrown rock slab out.
  • In Battlestar Galactica Online, you can destroy missiles. Normal bullets are no-go though. Strikes usually are relegated to this role in big battles, where the presence of Escorts makes it hard for them to get any useful licks in.
  • In Super Mario World, you can destroy certain projectiles (like the fireballs and bones enemies throw) with the cape spin, which is useful if you've got nowhere to run.
  • In Elite series this can be done - but how likely, depends a lot on the player's skill, ship and missile type.
  • In Vega Strike missiles (but not "bolt" type gun projectiles) can be tracked with radar (there's even automatic warning for missile locks) and shot. Anti-capship types have noticeable level of armoring, but lesser missiles pop from a single hit with almost anything. Only capships and subcapships have proper turrets, but there are also autotracking mounts. Most beam weapons do it easily - this may be the main reason to buy rapid-fire lasers at all - and Ionburster, despite modest range and rate of fire, also hits anything it can in one simulation frame and uses cheap near-Bottomless Magazines. There's even an anti-missile missile that tracks only other munitions and delivers a weak, but wide blast.

Non-videogame examples