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Most Videogame protagonists spend most of their time standing tall on two feet. It's faster and more mobile but many videogames allow you to change your stance to fit the circumstances. The most common is a crouch option, closely followed by the ability to go prone. The effects are usually some combination of the following:

  • Less Visible: Crouching gives you a smaller profile and potentially drops you down below where most enemies will be aiming. In multiplayer games that use headshots the drop-shot (suddenly crouching on when fired upon) can result in the shots going over your head, at the risk of turning shots aimed at the torso into headshots. Prone makes your front profile as small as possible at the cost of most of that profile being your head.
  • More Concealment Equals Cover: The waist high wall that only protected your legs when standing will cover all but your head when crouching, and even long grass will hide you when prone.
  • Better Accuracy: Being able to brace yourself means that you will have better control of recoil and able to shoot more accurately. Sniping especially will be more accurate when prone, and often Sniper Scope Sway will be reduced.
  • Slower and Quieter: Crouching can often be used as an alternative to the walk button, slowing your down and allowing you to control your movements more accurately, as well as reducing the noise of your footsteps. Prone is even slower, even quieter but usually makes it more difficult to turn, and often has restrictions on where it can be done, since you need enough room to stretch your legs out.
  • Fit Through Small Spaces: Finally, crouching allows you to fit into the strangely large air vents that seem common to most games. A more realistically sized vent or other small tunnel might require going prone.

Most realistic First Person Shooters include crouching and prone these days, typically only the more arcade titles keep you standing at all times. Platformers and Third-Person action adventures usually include crouching with its slower movement and ability to fit through tight gaps.

Examples of Crouch and Prone include:

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons and Dragons 3rd edition provides a +2 bonus to accuracy on melee attacks against crouching or kneeling characters, while ranged attacks suffer a -2 penalty under the same conditions. Attacks made against prone characters have double the bonus/penalty (+4 to melee, -4 to ranged), in addition to melee attacks made by prone characters receiving a -4 penalty (A prone character cannot use bows or slings, but there is no penalty on attacks with ranged weapons which can be used in that position)

Video Games

  • Call of Duty games feature this. In the earlier games when the Stand-crouch-prone trope was new to video games, it even included an icon on your HUD to show you which stanceyou were currently in. Later games make sniper rifles (and eventually, all weapons) easier to aim at long distances when crouched or prone.
  • Half Life games make heavy use of crouching, since Gordon Freeman is constantly using air vents and tunnels, though how low the camera goes seems to indicate he's actually going prone instead.
    • By Extension, the offshoot games Counter-Strike also allow crouching. Day Of Defeat added falling prone (that's how you use some weapons' bipods, for one) and crawling.
  • Games using the Gears of War style cover mechanic will typically have the characters automatically crouch behind the waist high walls and then stand up to take shots.
  • The Metal Gear series included these actions in various games. As a Stealth Based Game making use of cover, staying quiet and infiltrating through vents are all aided through crouching and crawling.
    • Metal Gear Solid 4 is one of the few games that allows you to roll sideways when prone, a sensible method of changing position quickly without getting up.
  • In the Tomb Raider games its possible to make Lara crouch and crawl and many gamers have used this to appreciate the games graphics from a new angle.
  • Metroid allows Samus to crouch, but she can't do so while moving. To move through smaller areas you have to pick up the morph ball ability (which allows her to morph into a ball).
  • Old shareware game Capture the Flag: your team members can balance stealth and speed by choosing to crawl, walk slowly or run.
  • Stealth game Death To Spies allows crouching or crawling along the ground.
  • Covert Action tactical part uses crouching to hide from guards behind medium-height objects (like a desk or chair).
  • X-COM Troopers can crouch to increase their accuracy. This also slightly reduces their chances of getting hit and can be done in mid-air with flying Power Armour.
  • Oddly enough - despite being WWII-set tactical First Person Shooters - in Brothers in Arms games you could crouch, but not prone.
    • Except for Hell's Highway.
  • Team Fortress 2 - Crouching slows you down, but it grants you more cover, and you can jump onto otherwise inaccessible areas by mashing the crouch key at or near the apex of your jump. However, unlike most other Source Engine games, it won't improve your accuracy.
  • In Minecraft, crouching prevents the player from falling off the edges of blocks, and won't trample crops down (so you can get that damn pig off your lawn)
  • In the first System Shock game, you could not only crouch and go prone, but could also lean from side to side to facilitate shooting around corners.
  • Left 4 Dead makes crouching give you better accuracy and allows teammates to shoot over your head during an intense shootout against a horde of zombies, though you will move slower while crouching.
  • STALKER lets the player crouch, but instead of a prone stance it uses a low crouch. Crouching effectively reduces the recoil of your weapon and allows you to aim more accurately when not using the gun's sights.
  • In Fallout 3, crouching initiates "stealth mode", giving you a visibility notification and making it easier to sneak and pickpocket. Your firing accuracy also improves.
    • Bethesda lifted this mechanic wholesale from their previous game, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. All of the above, plus attacks that break stealth get a damage multiplier. Throughout the series, simply crouching to activate stealth mode lets the player hide in shadows or even in plain sight with sufficient skill levels, while standing up in the same spot would draw enemy aggro like a beacon.
    • Fallout: New Vegas expands on this, greatly reducing how much your gun moves about when crouching, allowing for more accurate shots. In 3, the only gun that did this was the sniper rifle and its variants.
    • Fallout Tactics uses the positions in much the same way that X-COM does. It's quite difficult to see enemies lying prone behind even fairly small obstructions.
  • All Halo FPSs allow the player to crouch. Apart from decreasing the player's profile it makes one not register on enemy motion trackers. In Halo: Reach crouching also causes reticle bloom to reset more quickly, not an increase in accuracy but an increase in the rate at which one may fire accurately.
  • The first Mass Effect allowed one to crouch, but this was scrapped in the sequel, only allowing Shepard and co. to crouch when behind cover.
  • Perfect Dark allows the player to crouch (which improves accuracy when using ranged weapons, as well as crawling through tight spaces) but only enemies can lie prone.
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