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A visual trope that usually only appears on a single panel or frame before an actual fight starts. It will features characters on two or more sides in static positions that can easily be reused for future splashes. They will be profile shots, usually of the upper body but sometimes showing the entire body instead.
Somewhere on this splash will be the word "vs" or "versus". Sometimes "and" will be used to indicate team-ups. While these are secondary to the actual image, the presence of these small words is still a hallmark of the trope. Sometimes, a voice will announce the confrontation as well, and if so, expect the announcer to be a Large Ham.
While serviceable and almost unnoticeable on its own, this trope makes for great parody fodder and self-one-upsmanship in that viewers are trained to expect awesome fight scenes whenever they see one. Thus, overusing this trope can easily crank up the viewer's excitement in a short period of time.
- Used liberally in Eyeshield 21, most often during football matches, though they appear in other places for epic effect, most notably an early story that begins with with Sena AND Shin VS motorcycles. The motorcycles lose.
- The last episode of Yuru-Yuri used this for the competition among the girls, complete with angry faces and everything. Until it gets to Ayano, who's all out of competition and is left standing opposite a question mark.
- Used in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World for each confrontation between Pilgrim and the Evil Exes.
- Professional Wrestling usually introduces this with a "this is why they're fighting" montage. Also played completely straight when Darts and Snooker get this treatment, mainly used to introduce highlights of a match.
- The Trope Codifier is Street Fighter II, where at the beginning of each match-up after stage selection, a screen would flare up with profile shots of the two battling characters before switching to the actual fight. It predates that game, including use in the original Street Fighter.
- The Super Smash Bros. series has this with a memorable voiceover guy who says "Versus!" before each match.
- Happens often against tough opponents in the Pokémon series. It started out with Pokémon Stadium, then downshifted into the main series games, starting with the Advance Generation. It's now a common aspect of plot-significant fights, to the point where (beginning with Pokémon Platinum) certain sprites are now made specifically for such "versus" screenshots, usually in a mugshot pose such as this one (which features Sinnoh's first Gym Leader, Roark).
- Appears in the Soul Series, where pressing a button will make a character say something. In Soulcalibur II, it gets ridiculous with Link's Voice Grunting.
- BlazBlue has quite an elaborate one which begins with the character's sprites posing before zooming in to a more traditional versus splash with their insignia behind them.
- The game's predecessor, Guilty Gear, also did a similar one, but with closeups of the portraits instead of the posing sprites.
- A staple of the Ace Attorney series' trial sequences.
- Shows up in Strong Bads Cool Game for Attractive People: Strong Badia the Free during the Maps and Minions mini-game.
- Mortal Kombat. You can also enter kombat kodes during this screen to alter the fight in some way.
- Legend of Success Joe, before the in-ring matches, shows the faces of Joe and his opponent next to each other on a screen that dissolves to show their names. Amazingly these are some of the worst graphics in the game: the faces are the small character portraits blown up and shifted to grayscale.
- Mario Party 9 uses one just before the boss battle mini-games.
- The final boss of Sonic Rush had a "Sonic vs. Dr. Eggman" and "Blaze vs. Eggman Nega" splash displayed on the spare screen.
- Despite Skullgirls having plenty of Shout Outs to other fighting games (and more), this trope is notably averted; instead there's just a long loading screen between character select and match start. The development team cites technical difficulties (i.e. even more loading) as their rationale.
- Appears in Batman the Brave And The Bold regularly, specifically setting up which two characters are teaming up for a certain adventure. Usually shows up twice an episode, once for the Batman Cold Open and the other for the regular story, though some have variations on the theme.