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Pretty much what it says: A variation of the Self-Imposed Challenge where the goal is to win with no damage, or at least no deaths. This requires a lot of experience with the game in question, and due to the randomness/unpredictability of many games it can be very challenging, if not impossible. Virtually impossible in RPGs (due to Random Encounters and Scratch Damage), for example, and exceedingly difficult in the higher levels of Fighting Games (where someone is bound to hit you once with a weak punch) and First Person Shooters.
Many tool-assisted Speedruns are also No Damage Runs, since the player can control the character precisely and manipulate random events in his favor. You'd think it would be "most", but taking damage or even dying actually saves time in many games, thanks to Mercy Invincibility and the often-resulting knockback from taking damage which usually ends up being the fastest way to move or respawn points strewn across long travel distances, so they can be used for Sequence Breaking.
A variation common among Shoot-em-ups in particular is the 1CC, or "1 Credit Clear", meaning that the game is completed without continuing (dying is still permissible). Given that Shoot-em-ups will often provide the player with infinite continues, most fans agree that to claim to have beaten a shmup requires a No Continue Run. A No Death Run (aka 1LC, "1 Life Clear") is even more impressive, especially considering that most Shoot-em-ups have the player as a One-Hit-Point Wonder.
Still another variant, especially used among the Doom community, is the "Maximum Minimum Health" run, where the player attempts the level on "Ultra-Violence" or "Nightmare" mode. Their score is the lowest health they had at any point in the level, or, if they didn't take any damage, their final health at the end of the level.
If a No Damage Run is too much for you, you can instead strive for a No Death Run or a No Continue Run.
- In Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, each boss yields a special Medal if defeated without taking any hits, making this a game-encouraged challenge. It's even easier when you get the Death Ring, which boosts your stats absurdly (meaning less hits needed to kill a boss), but kills you if you take even a single hit while it's equipped (which makes retrying easier).
- This is part of the reason why the Combat School missions are so damn hard in Metal Slug 7: In order to get the best possible score, you not only have to clear the challenge in the fastest time, but do it without dying once. In a Shoot'Em Up where your character is a One-Hit-Point Wonder.
- Bubble Bobble games impose this in order to view any secrets at all.
- Ace Combat 6 awards you with the Platinum Ace medal if you go through the story mode and avoid any damage.
- Little Big Planet has the "No Lives Lost" challenge available in all levels, also known as "acing" a level. Get through an entire level without dying once (including use of the Try Again command if you get stuck in a level), and you get some extra goodies at the Scoreboard. Required to get One Hundred Percent Completion in Story Mode, because completion is measured by how many items you've collected in all levels, and items given by No Lives Lost definitely count. Some levels, like Survival Challenges, are literally impossible to do this, because to finish you MUST die somehow (usually part of the challenge, like collect Score Bubbles while staying out of the Horrible Gas), but these aren't counted in this; you just have to complete the Survival Challenge levels to add to your completion percentage. Player-made levels have this option, so the creators can give extra gifts to players who are really good at their levels, but these aren't required for 100% completion.
- Super Smash Bros. Melee requires this of you in Adventure mode to get an unlock. Using Donkey Kong makes it slightly easier.
- These types of runs are frequently required to unlock New Game+ modes in the various installments of the Resident Evil franchise.
- Required (until one reaches the secret boss, at which point it's lifted) to get each character's second ending in Bushido Blade.
- Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10 have separate achievements for doing a run with no continues, no deaths, and no damage. A no death run can actually be easier than most expect by using a lot of items, but good luck doing a no damage run!
- If you don't die any time during The Legend of Zelda Links Awakening it is revealed that Marin escaped the Dream World.
- The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess actually requires this for one of its sidequests, carrying an exceptionally fragile barrel across monster-infested Hyrule Field. In addition to the barrel breaking if you so much as look at it funny, it's a Timed Mission: wait too long, like, say, killing the monsters, and it cools down to uselessness.
- Devil May Cry games have traditionally made no damage running part of the requirement for getting some Bragging Rights Rewards.
- A bonus mission in DMC 3 requires you to defeat a patch of enemies untouched to receive one blue orb fragment.
- Devil May Cry 3 had a difficulty based on this, Heaven or Hell where both the player and the enemies die in one hit. DMC 4 had two, the aforementioned difficulty from 3, and Hell and Hell where you die in one hit, but the enemies don't and are based on the hardest "normal" difficulty.
- Required to beat I Wanna Be the Guy on the highest difficulty, since you're a One-Hit-Point Wonder and can't save your game. You will not want to try this, as only TWO people have EVER finished it on that difficulty. One of them went on to make a fan sequel.
- Similar to IWBtG, only much less difficult, is Rocket Knight Adventures' Hard mode. The default difficulty is Easy, by the way.
- Super Mario Galaxy had "Daredevil Comets", requiring you to complete one of the level's challenges (often a Boss Battle) as a One-Hit-Point Wonder. The game's That One Boss, Bouldergeist, and the Daredevil run through Melty Molten Galaxy deserve special mention.
- One of the bosses in Cave Story gives you a Cosmetic Award when killing it with no damage taken. Of course, no damage runs are fairly common in that game.
- Especially in the Wii version's "Hard" mode which removes all Heart Containers from the game, against enemies that do increasing amounts of damage.
- To get the 'I Will Survive' trophy/achievement for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Turtles in Time Re-Shelled, you are required to play "survival mode" where you only have one life to get through all eight levels of the game.
- Several LEGO Adaptation Games have this. There's an achievement for doing this in one level of Lego Indiana Jones, and achievements for EVERY level in Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy.
- Painkiller has this as an optional card condition for Orphanage, the first level in the expansion pack Battle Out of Hell.
- Both Crystal Caves and Secret Agent give you a lot of bonus points at the end of level for performing these.
- The Papillion suit in P.N.03 turns Vanessa into a One-Hit-Point Wonder - completing the game while wearing this means never taking a single hit.
- In Fable I, you can take optional boasts during quests (which gives extra Renown if you succeed in completing the boast), one of which is taking no damage. It's incredibly easy to pull this off once you get the game-breaking Mana Shield spell, since taking a hit with the shield on doesn't count.
- It is possible in some Hogs of War missions, and you even get a nice medal for it, however, in the course of the single player game any pig that dies in more than two invidual battles is Killed Off for Real. It's nigh impossible to finish the entire game without losing at least a few good pigs.
- Subverted in In the Hunt, if you got to the final form of the Final Boss one one credit, you'll get the special Downer Ending where you submarine doesn't escape the exploding enemy headquarters (after beating said boss). If you want the good ending, you'll have to see the continue screen at least once.
- In order to reach the true ending of Soul Calibur III', the player must complete a No Death Run with at most one ring out.
- Completing Ketsui with no lives lost, AND no bombs used, AND at least 120 million points, grants you access to a harder version of the second loop.
- MadWorld has level challenges which require this.
- Required in Super Meat Boy for a series of achievements titled "Iron Boy" runs, which require you to complete an entire world without dying. The achievements start out relatively easy with the first few worlds, but eventually get harder, going all the way up to Impossible Boy, which requires you to beat the Cotton Alley Dark World without dying, which is somewhat of an inhuman feat, considering the game's difficulty. Only 0.1% percent of all Steam users who have the game also have this achievement, and a good majority of them are cheaters.
- Although, depending on the world that is being played, the game will let players use alternate characters (with the exceptions of Steve? and Meat Ninja) for the run, and let players play levels out of order, so it's more flexible with this trope than other games.
- Bit.Trip games reward the player with a flashing rainbow PERFECT! on the high scores table for not missing a single beat or other collectible (later games add the requirement of not getting hit by specific projectiles). The difficulty of such a run depends on the game, but they are notoriously difficult, enough that the official site recognizes anyone who manages to accomplish such a feat.
- In the very first Super Monkey Ball, beating all 70 stages of Expert, Expert Extra, and Master in a single no-death no-warp run would actually be acknowledged by the game with a special message during the credits (which varied depending on which monkey you chose to play as). In addition, the Play Point values were set up so that such a feat would net you exactly 9,999 Play Points; die once or use a single warp to skip a level and you'll end up with less.
- Beating VVVVVV unlocks a No Death Mode, which challenges you to play through as much of the game as you can on a single life, much like the Impossible difficulty in I Wanna Be the Guy above. All checkpoints are removed, you can't save, one room is modified so that you no longer need to die to nab the Shiny Trinket in it, and dying ends your game and kicks you to a results screen. Successfully completing the entire game in No Death Mode awards you a trophy.
- In Kirby Mass Attack, completing a level or defeating a boss without any Kirby getting hit earns you a gold star. You can't use a mid-level shortcut, however. And you have to do this with EVERY level and boss as one of the Checklist challenges.
- One of the Checklist challenges is to defeat Level 3's boss with only 1 Kirby. Since pretty much every attack KO's a Kirby in one hit, this makes a no damage run a necessity.
- A requirement for most of Dead Space 2's Hardcore mode; while you still have infinite lives and can take a few hits, dying/continuing places you back at the beginning of the game or your last save (thus undoing hours of progress), there are no checkpoints , the game is permanently stuck on the hardest difficulty (very strong enemies and few items), everything from your inventory (including upgrades) cannot be carried over through New Game +, and you can only save three times over all 15 chapters. And all you get is the same unlock hard mode gets you; another suit with slightly different stats. And a novelty foam finger with "#1" on it for a gun. And Issac shouts "BANG!" when it's fired.
- Night Striker combines this with Pacifist Run. You get a pacifist bonus at the end of a level if you complete it without getting hit, AND not firing any shots. Very hard to pull off, especially in later stages.
- Completing a mission map in Dragon Saga without taking any damage earns you the "Fly like a Butterfly" medal, which boosts your maximum HP by 100 points when equipped.
- Kingdom Hearts. Typically, the sorts of people who do this also import the Final Mix games, and play them on Critical. Blocking is mandatory.
- X3: Terran Conflict has Dead is Dead mode where your save is erased when you die. It also has an achievement for finishing all the quest lines.
- Finishing the original NES version of Ninja Gaiden is already difficult enough as it is. Completing it in a single life is widely considered one of the hardest gaming challenges you will ever undertake in your gaming career.
- To obtain the perfect ending in Crash Bandicoot, you have to break all boxes in every stage without dying. This gets REALLY hard in the later stages. This was no longer the case in the sequels.
- Some of the more recent Sonic the Hedgehog games have an achievement for this:
- Sonic Generations has one for beating the final boss without getting hit. In addition, the Challenge act that rewards Modern Sonic's Endless Boost skill requires one, as the skill turns him into a One-Hit-Point Wonder.
- The 2011 port of Sonic CD has one for defeating Metal Sonic without getting hit.
- Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I has one for beating the E.G.G. Station Zone with no damage.
- save for one at the disc change point in the Xbox 360 version; note that it becomes void if you so much as return to the main menu
- the game formerly known as Dragonica