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Everyone knows That One Boss is so hard (among many other reasons) because he's only vulnerable for five seconds out of every sixty. Won't he be pleasantly surprised when he realizes the Player Character has learned to do this too!
There are two kinds of Invulnerable Attack; the first happens in games that have a Charged Attack mechanic, and while it's charging the player is invulnerable to enemy attacks (though he might still suffer knockback). The second is when the charged attack executes, so while the overly long CGI plays out the player can take a nuke to the face without flinching.
The aversion is pretty common though, that being hit during the charge up or execution to the attack does cause damage and may even interrupt it altogether. Usually it's far, far more common for a charged attack to leave you motionless and vulnerable - this is usually an intentional counterbalance to charge up attacks being more powerful.
A savvy player can use this to "block" otherwise unblockable and unavoidable area attacks. Even if the boss is also immune to the charged attack during his own "unavoidable attack", the player can save a boatload of health. Similarly, part of beating most bosses involved players learning to dodge or avoid the parts of their attack pattern where they're invulnerable.
- Pokémon has a variety of moves ("Dig", "Fly", "Dive", and "Bounce") that provide one turn of invulnerability to most attacks before striking the opponent on the next turn. This is moderately useful in single player, but less so in competitive multiplayer where a Genre Savvy opponent knows how to quickly counter or defend against the incoming strike.
- On the other hand, "Focus Punch" is a very powerful attack, but strikes last in a turn and will fail to do anything if the user takes damage from the opponent's attack.
- Jumping in many Final Fantasy games makes the user invulnerable to all attacks for a while, then letting them deliver Death From Above (and deals more damage with a Spear) as they drop back in.
- If it's a charge-up attack, the protagonist of The Force Unleashed is basically untouchable while charging up his Force Maelstrom power. Very handy if (as the game does) you have to take out an End of Level boss and he's got some Mooks around to help him.
- In Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, enemy pilots don't suffer knockback when they're charging up for a Musou attack (typically only used when the pilot's health is more than halfway depleted).
- ~Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero?~ has this, except you're invincible while charging, and it's not an attack: it's a dash. (Though you can segue from the dash to an invincible slide.)
- Sonic the Hedgehog's spindash charge in the original games left him protected from enemy Collision Damage. He was still vulnerable to attacks, spikes, projectiles, etc., so not completely invincible.
- Iji's Retribution move.
Anime and Manga
- In the original Slayers Light Novels, Lina describes how a magic user is protected by a weak forcefield while chanting a spell - it's not usually powerful enough to repel an actually dangerous attack but it helps a little. When she sees Xelloss' field deflect an incoming fireball she knows that she is dealing with someone who is really quite powerful. His amplification trinkets don't hurt, mind, and the resultant spell is... very messy for the victim.
Examples of invulnerable attacks:
- In No More Heroes, Travis is invulnerable while executing a charged attack. It's mostly useless throughout the game, because none of the charged attacks last very long, and they're a huge drain on your weapon's power...until you get the Infinity+1 Sword and its power upgrades. It comes with a charged combo and the upgrades give it infinite energy, making it pretty much a Game Breaker, especially in subsequent playthroughs.
- God Hand has a glitch that makes the player invulnerable during a charged attack, and only during a charged attack.
- In Ninja Gaiden for the Xbox, Ryu can avoid most attacks by charging up his Nin-po, helpful for avoiding otherwise fatal blows. This also applies to Ultimate Techniques, throws - though not the initiating or recovery frames, so be careful - and off-the-wall attacks. You will need every last invincibility frame you can milk.
- In Devil May Cry 3 and 4, Dante is invulnerable during a Royal Release. Only a Royal Release, mind, not a normal Release. Death or Glory Attack much?
- Unlike God of War where the enemies practice Mook Chivalry when Kratos is in a grab animation, in ~Dante's Inferno~ the enemies will continue trying to attack. However, as long as Dante has already started the kill animation anything that is not a grab will just pass harmlessly through.
- In Viewtiful Joe, you are completely invincible during a spin kick.
- The title character of Batman: Arkham Asylum can learn a One Hit KO move that can't be interrupted and is usable every time you get 5 hits without being interrupted. On hard mode, you'll probably defeat all enemies in large groups with either this or the Coup De Grace. (Unfortunately, Giant Mooks can interrupt this attack even though normal ones can't, and it has an Overly-Long Fighting Animation, so fights with both giant and normal enemies are the only legitimately difficult battles on hard mode.)
- I-No's Megalomania attack does this to her when you fight her as the final boss of Guilty Gear X2.
- Also the Burst attack which every character has. Some Overdrives also have a brief period of invulnerability as they start.
- This is Anji's gimmick as well. Several of his attacks will automatically block incoming strikes, though only to the extent that a regular guard would.
- The character doing a dragon punch in Street Fighter II is immune from damage while going up.
- In later games, many super and ultra attacks also have invulnerability as they start.
- On the flipside, The King of Fighters inverts this by having the startup frames of many supers be able to be snuffed by weak attacks such as jabs. Of course, once they get going for a while, the supers are death on wheels.
- In later games, many super and ultra attacks also have invulnerability as they start.
- In Super Smash Bros Brawl, characters are invincible while using their Final Smash. Interestingly, a couple of characters have another attack that provides a brief period of invincibility during execution, but these attacks aren't nearly so spectacular; in Captain Olimar's case, it's his whistle.
- A few Final Smashes do leave the player open to taking damage during its duration, but prevent any knockback (Such as Bowser's Giga transformation). Ike's normal Aether attack works this way too.
- Marth is invincible during the first 5 frames of his Dolphin Slash special attack. The first hitbox comes out on frame 5, so the attack is uninterruptible.
- Most of the non-Final Smash attacks don't render the character invincible; rather, it makes the attacker unflinchable, so that no matter how much damage they take, their attack won't be interrupted and the attacker won't be sent flying.
- Notably, even though final smashes makes you invincible/unflinching, you can get damaged if the attack is countered. Only a few characters can counter: Ike, Marth, Lucario, Fox, Falco and Wolf. If they get hit while doing the brief "counter" pose, all damage they would take is negated and the attacker gets hurt instead, unlike a normal shield, where only damage is negated. Most Final Smashes such as Mario's fireballs or the Star Fox characters' Landmaster summon can't be countered, but direct melee attacks like Ike's Great Aether can. It's extremely humiliating to get your presumably invincible instant-kill technique slapped right back in your face.
- Blaz Blue's Bang Shishigami has this as a game feature. His drive allows him to do a special attack, and there's a nice, long second during each of these attacks that he's completely invulnerable to damage. If he gets hit during this, and the attack is successfully blocked, you can teleport behind the enemy and hit them there. Jin Kisaragi has something similar with a few of his attacks. Iron Tager has some as well, most clearly with his Magnatech Wheel Distortion Drive, and has been given more invincible attack frames as part of his Continuum Shift buffs. As a counter-example, Hakumen is/was considered low-tier not just from sloth but also from a shortage of these making him quite punishable.
- In Bleach: Dark Souls, using a standard throw move grants you temporary invincibility until the opponent is thrown backwards. Also, a number of characters have a charging technique which grants them a momentary no-flinch status.
- In MUGEN, this is known as "Infinite Priority", meaning that a character has an attack hitbox but no collision hitbox when attacking, and is therefore immune to attacks. Obviously, this is one of the aspects that makes a character a Game Breaker.
- Leon from Brutal Paws Of Fury is invincible when using his guitar riff attack, which hits continuously for its duration. This makes him an excellent choice for fighting Dalai Llama, who is invincible during his smoke attack but can't block immediately as the attack ends.
- Castlevania has this a lot. Typically when an Item Crash is used like Hydro Storm. In Lament Of Innocence, unlockable character Joaquim would be invulnerable when using a powered move that created a massive beam, this was invaluable because he had a very limited move set and could not dodge or block a lot of enemy attacks.
- Kirby often has these in his Copy Abilities, particularly the Stone ability and moves that involve grabbing and throwing an enemy. These attacks are often utilized against larger bosses, who are easy targets but are often difficult to hit without hurting Kirby as well.
- The "Boss starts charging, use the guard command" is used in a few fights in Persona 4, because 4 introduced the "guard" command.
- Averted in Persona 3, the best way to avoid The Hermit's charge attack is to score a critical hit and knock him out of it.
- In The World Ends With You, Shiki is invulnerable during her finisher.
- Not an attack per se, but in Mabinogi, you can dodge delayed attacks like the generally fatal Fireball by taking advantage of invincibility frames in the throw paper plane action. Which has the effect of the character nonchalantly throwing the plane after being struck (but not affected) by the attack.
- Causing an opponent to crash in Burnout Paradise or Need for Speed Hot Pursuit causes the camera to pan to the disintegrating vehicle. During this time, your own car will drive itself and will be invulnerable to damage. It will even clip right through police roadblocks and get through the sharpest hairpin at any speed.
- The Autopilot item in early Wipeout installments would take over control of your ship when activated, turning it into an AI drone for a few seconds. In this state, it would ignore wall collisions. You could literally head directly towards a crash barrier or plummet towards the ground, activate autopilot at the last moment and flawlessly pull out of the dive or clip right through the wall on your way back to the ideal line. Horribly averted in recent titles where you will actually crash in this situation; not only that, but the autopilot does not know how to activate the airbrakes around difficult corners, which makes you wish the semi-godmode was reinstated.
Shoot Em Up
- Most Shoot'Em Up games will make the player invincible while they use a Smart Bomb. Taking advantage of this is generally an acceptable technique in some games. Especially the Touhou Project games, wherein it is more a basic survival method rather than a means of dealing damage.
- Silent Hill 4 gives Henry the charged attack. This mechanic is counterbalanced by making the charge time directly proportionate to the weight of the weapon being used.