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In the genre of Fighting Games, this is the ability of characters to endure damage without suffering the "flinch", the recoil/stun animations that are associated with the hit. In some games this is known as having "Super Armor" (not to be confused with armor that actually is super-powered).
Believe it or not, those little flinching animations that accompany damage are actually an important tactical concern in these genres: Interrupting the player's control over their character means the opponent has a chance to land a Combos for massive damage. This works both ways (usually), but it can become a problem for Competitive Balance, such as when pitting a Mighty Glacier against a Fragile Speedster -- no matter how weak the Speedster's hits are, the Glacier won't be able to get a single strike off if the Speedster can land hits faster than the Glacier can react to them and win by a Death of a Thousand Cuts.
But if a character is Immune to Flinching then their actions cannot be interrupted if the opponent lands a hit; a Glacier with this ability can safely counterattack the Speedster even while he's enduring the incoming flurry of hits. The downside is that if the Glacier no longer has to worry about avoiding or defending against his opponent (as he can simply punch right through them), he could become a Game Breaker in the process, and a duel between two such Glaciers may yield nothing more than a Button Mashing contest to see who can land their most powerful blows the fastest.
Thus, many games limit the extent to which a character is (and is not) Immune to Flinching in the name of fairness:
- Sometimes it only works on a limited number of hits at a time -- a character may be able to take single hits without flinching, but a continuous stream of incoming strikes (such as a Combo) will "break" through and knock them aside just the same as a character without the protection.
- It may be part of a character's Super Mode or Limit Break, giving those modes an extra tactical advantage but only for limited periods at a time.
- Sometimes it is dependent on the exact action being performed, and/or may require precise timing to execute -- there may be a hidden Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors relationship in play, where certain actions (e.g. Limit Breaks) cannot be interrupted by other actions (like basic attacks) and will punch through them even if the attacker receives damage. Some special moves may even have this as their defining feature, and an attacker can plow through an opponent's projectiles with careful timing. But be wary: Certain moves may also have noticeable drawbacks to discourage a player from spamming them over and over.
- If the character is exclusively a Boss Battle, they may have this as their default state, especially when they are much larger in size than a player character; this increases the difficulty of the battle because the boss can execute their attacks with impunity while the player must dodge and time their attacks carefully to avoid getting caught off-guard.
Compare Feel No Pain, which is a non-gameplay version of this trope, Knockback Evasion, which requires you to actively parry to avoid knockback, and Invulnerable Attack, which is invincible to everything.
- In Dissidia Final Fantasy, Garland's EX Mode gives him super armor to anything that isn't armor piercing (or an HP attack).
- In the Gundam Battle Assault titles, boss mechs have this as their default state, sometimes at the expense of being able to guard/block against attacks.
- In the Marvel Vs Capcom titles, larger characters like Juggernaut or Sentinel have various amounts of Super Armor -- there is also "Hyper Armor" status which temporarily renders a character completely immune to flinching and knockback. Boss characters (like Galactus) have this as their default state.
- Street Fighter IV gives every character a focus attack, which allows them to endure one hit without flinching while it is charging; they will also recover the damage taken during the charge if they don't receive another.
- In Super Smash Bros, many of the slow, hard-hitting characters (Bowser, Ganondorf, etc.) have attacks that cannot be interrupted by an opponent's move, although they will still flinch from attacks in their default state. Certain special attacks (like Ike's "Aether" strike) also have short moments in which the character is not interrupted or knocked back by any attacks, even ones which would otherwise KO them.
- In Tatsunokovs Capcom, giant characters Gold Lightan and PTX-40A are Mighty Glaciers; extremely slow and unwieldy compared to the rest of the cast, but in exchange they are nearly impossible to flinch, and can stomp through even the strongest special moves from other characters easily. As a handicap, hitting them too many times in succession does end up dizzying them, leaving them open for an extended beating, while other characters can't be dizzied outside of Alex's Stun Gun Headbutt super. Most special throws also work on them just as well as normal characters despite their size (which they lampshade in some of their victory quotes) and some characters have moves that bypass their armor completely and put them in hitstun just like anyone else.
Examples from other genres:
- In the Mega Man series in general, Robot Masters (or Mavericks) can typically endure blaster fire without flinching, although they often do recoil when hit with their particular weakness; Wily and Sigma bosses, as well as Ride Armors, are immune to flinching and knockback.
- Mega Man Battle Network provides Super Armor as an ability; later games had the same effect during certain transformations such as Guts Soul or Metal Soul.
- Enemies in Odin Sphere may or may not flinch when struck by the player's attacks, and bosses are immune to flinching as their default state. The player can receive this status only through use of the "Painkiller" potion (which also reduces damage by half); the "Fire Spirits" and "Ice Spirits" potions also allow the player to absorb three hits without damage or flinching.
- Maple Story has this as an ability for many of the classes. Each of the adventurer warriors, Aran, Battlemage, Dual Blade, and Evan has a 90% chance of not flinching due to a class skill. All adventurer magicians, Wild Hunters, and Cannonshooters have similar skills (mount in the case of Wild Hunters), but which have a lower probability of triggering. Some classes like Mechanic and Demon Slayer can receive 100% protection from flinching at earlier levels.
- MMORPGs and Action MMOs often give each character class at least one move with this property so they can break stunlocks in PVP. How balanced they are is often debated among players.
- In the Dark Crusade campaign, some heroes can use wargear that reduces the effects of knockback.
- In The Legend of Zelda Oracle Games, there's a ring that can be found that considerably reduces the distance you get pushed back. Can be quite useful when most powerful enemies knock you back when you hit them.
- A few Pokémon (Cradily for example) have the Ingrain move that allows them to root themselves into the ground to prevent being removed from battle.
- There is also the ability Inner Focus, which, well, prevents the Pokémon from flinching (flinching causes a Pokémon to lose this turn).
- In Terraria, knockback can be bothersome in battle as well as exploring (such as being hit into a tall chasm, taking fall damage). The player can equip the Cobalt Shield or its upgrade, the Obsidian Shield, which both completely prevent knockback.
- Sometimes referred to as "Penetrate" in some of the Tales (series) games. It's the ability for some bosses to take a certain (Sometimes visible) amount of hits or damage without flinching, after which they can be hit with a proper combo, but they'll regain their flinch resistance once the combo ends. Also shows up in a more traditional fashion with the bosses frequently being immune or highly resistant to flinching while attacking and the party being able to utilize it with skills, buffs or by activating the game's Super Mode.