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This is a trope that's very common in old-school video games, especially arcade games and arcade-like games.

Basically, when you die, you come back to life... right at the very spot where you died or at least right on the screen, and lose no progress.

The thing is, that does not mean that Death Is a Slap on The Wrist. In fact, this design element is most common in games which have a distinct lives limit, and running out of lives could mean starting the level over, or ending the game altogether.

You often get Mercy Invincibility for a while, since you're probably still in the middle of whatever dangerous conditions killed you.

Some games have this feature only in the multiplayer mode, but not the single player mode, which instead brings you back to the last checkpoint. Players also have to go back to the last checkpoint if all of them are defeated at the same time. This is sometimes done so that players who are defeated while their friend is still alive can quickly rejoin the action, rather than waiting for the next checkpoint to be reached.

Not to be confused with Auto Revive, which is an item or spell in RPGs that allows you to come back to life on the spot, but must first be obtained or invoked. This trope is instead about a consistent play mechanic. Contrast Check Point Starvation, where you can respawn way earlier in the game.

Examples of games that always let you do this:


  • Most modern shmups follow this practice, as opposed to older shmups which tend to adapt the practice of using checkpoints: this is mostly because they're focused around getting high scores, as opposed to just surviving.
  • Life Force / Salamander has your spaceship respawn right away flying in from offscreen after being destroyed, which is different from the Gradius series it is a spinoff of.
    • Gradius V does this as well, despite being part of the main series.
  • Konami's beat-em-ups - all of them, such as X-Men, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade, The Simpsons arcade, etc.
  • The Contra games have you respawn from the corner of the screen right after you die.
  • In the Lego Adaptation Games, players respawn exactly on the spot with only a loss of studs.
  • In Torchlight you can respawn on the spot, at the start of the floor or back in town depending on how much XP and money you're willing to lose. So there's a choice, and a penalty to go with it.
  • The Mr. Driller series has you respawn physically right where you stand.
  • This happens in But That Was Yesterday when you fall off a cliff or a roof.
  • Glider PRO has the glider respawn on the same screen.
  • Mach Rider has the biker split into pieces on death... and the pieces re-combine at the same spot.
  • Jet Set Willy had this, though it sometimes respawned you in harm's way, leading to a very fast Game Over due to lack of Mercy Invincibility.
  • Metal Slug series would respawn player on the screen after death, along with brief Mercy Invincibility. Location would often be either left side of the screen or middle of it.
  • In Wario World, if you die, you can continue right where you left off as long as you have enough coins.
  • The Sega Genesis game Sub Terrania offers this when fighting against the Final Boss: otherwise, you Respawn On The Starting Platform.
  • E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy has "Resurrectors", which will bring the player back to life where he died. There are a limited amount of resurrectors, and resurrectors are shared between players online. Falling into bottomless pits or running out of resurrectors results in the player being transported back to the dream world, stating that the previous life was just one possible future.
  • The Raiden Fighters shoot-em-ups almost always let you respawn without losing any progress, no matter how many credits you burn through. However, the final mission of each game requires you to beat it with one credit, since if you use a continue you get sent back to the beginning of the level.

Examples of games that only let you do this in multiplayer:

  • New Super Mario Bros Wii, if you die in multiplayer, you soon come back to life in a bubble. If all players are dead at the same time, or they all put themselves in bubbles at the same time, you go back to a checkpoint.
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns behaves in the same way, but with balloons instead of bubbles and no way to self-balloon yourself except death.
  • The original Chip and Dale NES game allowed the defeated player to come back on a balloon as long as one player survived. If both were defeated, it's back to the last checkpoint.
  • The Serious Sam games, although it's a server setting. The game host can choose to enable respawning at checkpoints (which are plentiful), or respawning on the spot. Both forms of respawning only exist in the cooperative mode.
  • Kirby's Return to Dreamland has a somewhat unbalanced form of this in multiplayer. Players 2 to 4 can die without everyone being sent back to the start of the current level section, but player 1's death always puts you back at the start of the section.
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