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In a realistically portrayed fight, a fighter who gets knocked to the ground tends to have a hard time getting back on their feet unless their opponent allows it. Not so in Video Games, which have to make this ability to return to action possible, or else the (NPC) opponent could make the game Nintendo Hard or even impossible to complete. If taking a single hit, when you can still take more, is functionally a game over, this causes every attempt to be a No Damage Run, and completely counters the point of even having defense at all, slower characters who rarely hit first, or many other game mechanics.
So, one safe way to counter an opponent's strategy of Attack! Attack! Attack!? Grant that strategy to the player. The Recovery Attack is where a fighter can attack while recovering from being knocked down. They may still be able to be damaged, but the ability to return fire causes the player's character to have a safe way of stopping damage, and starting to turn things around.
Contrast the One-Hit-Point Wonder.
Not to be confused with Healing Shiv.
- In X-Men Next Dimension, these are called Tech(nical) Attacks.
- Travis can perform one to recover in No More Heroes. When crowded by enemies, this can knock them back giving room to plan and counter-attack.
- In the Super Smash Bros series, a Recovery Attack can be performed both from knockdown and when hanging from a ledge on the end of a stage to make a safer recovery. However, once a fighter's damage exceeds 100%, the fighter's ledge recovery attack typically has a slower animation but deals slightly more damage.
- In the Viewtiful Joe games, Joe has a move called Ukemi where he can recover, decrease damage taken, and counterattack all in one.
- In Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, one of the special moves when you are knocked down involves using The Force to propel yourself off the ground and kick the enemy directly in front of you in the chest, knocking him down, in turn. The animation time of the move, unfortunately, means you might not be able to move out of the way when your opponent uses the same move, potentially leading to a kick-falldown-kick loop.
- In Undercover Cops, it's possible to do one of these when button-mashing. It doesn't do a lot of damage but it gives some breathing room.
- Present in Kingdom Hearts and Dissidia Final Fantasy games as an ability.
- Heihachi can do this in the Play Station 2 version of Soul Calibur 2, where he jumps up from lying down on his back and kicks with both feet. Throughout the rest of the series, most characters can only use rolls away or quick stands to get back up.
- All of the classes in Dragon Nest are capable of performing this if knocked down or knocked into the air, with different variations of attacks with each class, from the Cleric performing a Ground Pound to the Archer doing a spinning kick.
- Double Dragon 2 on the NES has the Hyper Uppercut and Flying Knee, both of which are executed by a button press while your character is crouching as a result of getting up from a knockdown or a fall or landing from a jump. The timing is pretty tricky but these moves are very powerful, and if you can time it correctly, you can chain as many Flying Knees as you want since each one causes you to jump.
- Wake-up Attacks are possible in Mortal Kombat 9, where they can consume some of the super meter if used instead of an evasive roll.
- Asura's Wrath has a rage-based twist on this; press A after taking significant damage from a pushback attack, and Asura defies all gravity with a summersault and heals a portion of the damage!