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File:Ffx random encounter 7451.jpg

We interrupt this adventure to bring you this important Random Encounter!


Graphic effect where you hit a Random Encounter and the screen flashes, breaks or does another psychedelic transition before revealing a generic backdrop (usually themed according to the environment) upon which the actual fighting takes place. At the same time, the area's background music abruptly stops while the Battle Theme Music kicks in.

While most games use a single transition sequence when fading from scenery to combat, some games may provide variations depending on context. Sometimes the Fight Woosh occurs without interrupting the background music; sometimes the game may provide a different transition before a Boss Battle, or the transition itself may hint that one side (either player or enemy) is going to get an advantage (such as a preemptive strike) at the start of battle.

Video Game Examples

Action-Adventure Games

  • The original Blaster Master, when entering a boss room the screen flashed repeatedly and an alarm sounded before the room faded to a black background where the player fought the boss.
    • Blaster Master: Blasting Again's usual loading screens showed either Roddy or SOPHIA travelling through a void towards the next room. However, when encountering a Boss Battle the loading screen was instead the word "Warning" flashing with an alert siren in the background.
  • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, every time you touch a big blue cloud of smoke, the screen would vanish, the music would change to the predetermined for fighting and the image would reappear with Harry (and, depending on the time, Ron and/or Hermione) in front of an enemy. Played with, as the setting was a lot like the place where you were before entering the fight.
  • La-Mulana opens Boss Battles with a very understated version of this (probably because the player has to trigger it deliberately): the game falls silent for a few seconds while the Ankh turns into a wisp which flies offscreen, and the boss fades in.
  • In The Guardian Legend, a siren sounds when a boss is about to appear, and in the overworld, the screen gets surrounded with blocks to prevent you from running away.

Adventure Games

  • Occurs in Quest for Glory III, where overland travel is performed via World Map. A random encounter places you immediately on a "normal" savannah or jungle screen, with the opponent approaching rapidly before the melee begins. Most games in the series prefer keeping you moving between normal screens, requiring no transition.

Fighting Games


Real-Time Strategy

  • A variant occurs in the Turn-Based-Real-Time-Strategy hybrid Total War series (From Rome onward). When two (or more) enemy armies engage on the Turn-Based campaign map, a top-down Fight Woosh zooms down to the block where the fighting takes place; after the loading screen, an exact replica of the block, but with much more details and massively upsized, will be used for the Real-Time battle.


Role-Playing Games

  • Chrono Trigger is a famous exception; there was no Fight Woosh, with the fights taking place on the same map as everything else. In some areas, such as scripted gauntlet battles, the music doesn't even change, either maintaining the normal stage theme or the battle theme for the duration of the segment.
    • Final Fantasy XII is also famous for this, as anyone who skipped Final Fantasy XI (the first FF to do away with traditional random encounters) was caught off-guard by it.
  • Earthbound introduced an interesting variation - the actual COLOR of the Fight Woosh would change depending on whether one side had the advantage. This carried over to the game's sequel, Mother 3.
    • A gray whoosh (or blue, in the case of Mother 3) meant no advantage.
    • A red whoosh meant your enemies got to strike first.
    • A green whoosh meant you got a free hit on your enemies. Even better, if you were sufficiently stronger than your enemies, there would be a flash, a "YOU WIN!" message, and free experience.
      • Sometimes if you were particularly powerful, a gray whoosh would result in an automatic win as well.
      • Just to clarify the system, you would get a green whoosh if you attacked the enemy's icon on the overworld from behind, and he would get a free hit on you if he attacked YOU from behind. The reason most people are getting the YOU WIN message coinciding with the green whoosh is that when you are strong enough to not have to fight, most enemies try to run from you (thus presenting their backs to the party.) But if you back him into a corner or he moves erratically, he might turn around at the last minute despite having no hope of victory, thus giving you a gray whoosh without a battle.
    • Also, a spiky blue whoosh was reserved for boss battles.
    • Breath of Fire 4 used this as well, with blue for normal, green if you got first hit and red if the enemies did, although its prequel, Breath of Fire 3, had no Fight Woosh and Random Encounters took place on the field.
    • Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden has this effect too (and chooses randomly between a bunch of different patterns). Green if you have the advantage, gray if neutral, and red if enemy gets you from behind.
    • Also in Earthbound, during the Fight Whoosh, players can change the direction of where the character is facing before the animation starts. This can only happen when encountering the enemy and the background scenery loses color. This was a helpful tool to avoid getting the first hit from an enemy. However, it excluded from boss fights as they only go straight into battle.
  • The Tales (series) also has color-coded whooshes of the glass-shatter variety. Blue is a standard battle. Gold-yellow is a boss battle or other unavoidable fight. And as in Earthbound, red is a battle where you've been ambushed, and green is for fights where you have a significant advantage at the start.
    • In Tales of Vesperia, the "glass" will receive extra cracks in it depending on the number of mobs you pulled before the fight starts.
    • Tales of Phantasia, the first one, only had a traditional spinning woosh. The shattering may have only started with the sixth-generation games (like Symphonia).
  • Just about any Final Fantasy game has one:
    • Final Fantasy X has two - the regular full-screen transition (The screen "shatters" and the pieces fly offscreen) before random fights, and a slight blurring before boss battles, which are fought on the same background where they were standing in the cutscene.
    • Final Fantasy XII has the Victory Whoosh instead after boss battles, while your allies discreetly move into position for their Victory Poses.
    • When ported to different consoles, Final Fantasy IV, V, and VI have used different whooshes.
    • Final Fantasy VIII also uses a different Fight Woosh for boss battles than it does for normal encounters.
    • Final Fantasy XIII has a particularly cool fight woosh: The character will lock blades (or fists) with the enemy and the screen fades to black while streams of light that match up to specific elements (lights in the background, weapon glints, the metallic bodies of enemies) streak by.
    • Final Fantasy IV the After Years has the "shattered glass" variation for boss fights and two different ones for normal encounters.
  • Pokémon actually has hundreds of different Fight Wooshes, depending on the type of battle you're going into.
    • Random Encounters use various transitions depending on the area (a wavy or watery effect while surfing, for example). These are coupled with different Battle Theme Music for each type too.
    • Battles against other Trainers use different transitions with Poké Balls added.
    • Starting in Generation III, important battles (such as Gym Leaders or the Elite Four) also throw in a Versus Character Splash.
    • In Generation IV, Legendary Pokémon (and Rotom) now have a new transition where the screen pulls back, before zooming in while shaking.
      • But Cresselia gets the regular one, meaning it turns up without the forewarning of the Woosh. Not fun if you encounter it when it's weak and, say, KO it by mistake.
    • Pokémon Black and White have different Fight Wooshes for the different legendaries: Reshiram and Zekrom just have the screen pause and fade to black, Kyurem has some energy balls swirl into the center, the Raijin trio has a beam shoot across the screen and an energy swirl expands from the center, and the Musketeer trio have a sword that slashes across the screen a few times before it "shatters" and falls away to reveal the battle screen.
  • All the Persona games, as well as most other Shin Megami Tensei games. Persona 3 and Persona 4 employ an "advantage" system similar to Earthbound mentioned above, where if you attack the enemy's model on the dungeon map from behind you get a blue flash (after the Fight Woosh) with the words "Player Advantage" and a bonus round, while if the enemy gets you from behind there's a red flash and "Enemy Advantage." There's no flash after the transition in the case of neither side having an advantage.
  • SaGa Frontier does this as well.
  • The single most popular Fight Woosh is making the screen break like glass to reveal the battle scene. It's shown up in Xenogears and Final Fantasy X, among others.
    • Xenosaga 2 uses this brilliantly: after beating the Big Bad, you're greeted with the usual post-battle results screen, without him changing forms or powering up...except the characters listed in it aren't likely match and everyone is lv which point the results screen shatters with the usual battle transition effect and the second part of the fight begins.
    • Shadow Hearts (Covenant and From the New World) does that. The original game does a swirly-thing fight whoosh.
    • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles uses this sort of woosh for boss battles. Being an action RPG, it doesn't have or need wooshes for random battles.
    • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story uses this kind of woosh for its final boss.
    • In Xenogears, you can usually hear the Play Station's laser move just before the actual Fight Woosh begins.
  • Skies of Arcadia, pretty well-known for excessive random encounters, has a whoosh sound when you're about to fight coupled with a random special effect, including the screen breaking into pieces or spinning around. Also, on the Dreamcast version, you could hear it load before a fight would take place, at which point you could open the menu, change a weapon and it would prevent the fight... for a while.
    • The Fight Woosh was shortened in the Game Cube remake along with battle loading times, and a reduction in random battles was thrown in for good measure.
      • However, some would agree that the Game Cube remake still has too many random battles.
  • Legend of Dragoon had a reeeeeally looooong Fight Woosh, but it wasn't so bad, because random encounters were less frequent than in, say, Final Fantasy games.
    • And you probably know how close you are to a fight by the marker over Dart's head. If it's red when you first enter an area, then you have to collide with enemies on screen to fight. This is always so in places like Hellena Prision or The Black Castle
  • Raidou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Army has a very quick fight whoosh, and usually shows the enemy and your familiar teleport into the battle field.
  • Parasite Eve changes the colors of the scenery to various shades of gray and an echoing heartbeat plays when you find enemies. In the sequel, only one heartbeat is heard and the color change is instant.
  • Justified in The World Ends With You, as the battles actually take place in an alternate dimension. Or something like that.
  • Wild Arms 4 and 5, which take place on a hex "playing field", have the screen break into mini-hexes which then flip themselves around to form the battlefield. There are several different animations depending on what sort of battle it is (normal, surprise attack, boss, special boss).
  • Inverted in Kingdom Hearts. Like Chrono Trigger, almost every fight takes place in the same area where you first ran into the enemy. There is, however, a fight woosh at the end of most event battles, especially boss fights, often followed by a cutscene.
    • Played straight in Chain of Memories and Re:Chain of Memories, as the special fight zones are needed for cards to only be used then and there.
  • Suikoden V has a rather annoying fight woosh designed to mask the load times: The sun beams down on the screen while the transition to the battlefield occurs. It's much more interesting (and bearable) if you are playing the game off a hard drive.
  • In The Last Remnant, there is a pretty energy-like Fight Woosh when you collide with a hostile. Unlike most RPGs, in this game, you have a button dedicated to starting a battle (complete with awesome pose), and when you enter a battle this way the playing field is even, and the Fight Woosh is a nice blue-white colour. If you allow the enemy to charge at you, your character cowers slightly and the Fight Woosh becomes a red-orange colour, and the enemy gets an advantage. Finally, boss battles begin with the screen dividing into several dozen little cubes that fly toward the screen.
  • The Mario and Luigi RPG series transitions to the battles with a polygonal star. It also accompanies them with quips:

 Mario: "Let's-a go!"

Luigi: "Okey-dokey!"

    • The quips changed if Mario or Luigi got hit from behind or jumped on a spiked enemy:

 Mario or Luigi: Oh no!

    • And if Luigi was by himself:

 Mama mia...


    • In the third game:

  Bowser: "Showtime!"

  • Averted in Rogue Galaxy, where the beginning of battle is simply a flashing warning message, and the battle occurs on the field map in realtime. Boss battles tend to be a bit whooshy sometimes, however.
  • Paper Mario the Thousand Year Door had a stage curtain drop when a battle started, then raise to reveal the battle on a literal stage. The background elements were themed on the location where the battle was started, and in The Thousand-Year Door, these elements could randomly fall over, hurting Mario and his partner, the enemies, everyone on stage, or nobody, depending on the prop's size. The Fight Woosh was the same for every battle, though it had overlay text if you attacked the enemy on the field ("You got the First Strike!", followed by an extra attack on the enemy when battle started) or if an enemy hit you first ("The enemy struck first!"); the two First Strike messages are complimented by a burst of introduction music. Super Paper Mario didn't have Fight Wooshes, as all the battles (except one) were platformer-style.
  • Due to its fully real-time battles, Project .hack and .hack Conglomerate games do not feature this. Instead, there's simply a warning sign where battle phase is taking place. In the second series, GU, while not wooshing, a "wall" encircles the fight area and the characters pull their weapons out. Not the case in the first four games since their weapons are out all the time (and no wall either; running away from enemies are always a valid strategy, except in dungeons).
  • In Okage: Shadow King, upon entering battle, the screen will blur and swirl, before fading into a battle sequence.
  • Okami has demon scrolls and gates that, when touched, send Amaterasu to the demonic plane, surrounded by a barrier of kanji and swirling colors. The game does let you escape by finding a weak spot and attacking it, although doing so causes you to take more damage in subsequent battles.
  • In Endless Frontier, the music stops abruptly and there's an almost sub-audible "CRASH!" as bits of glass rain down the screen.
    • That was just for bosses. Normal battles have a Final Fantasy-style zoom-in accompanied by blue motion lines and a "SHOOP!" sound effect.
  • Resonance of Fate transitions from the map to random battles with several gunshot effects making bullet holes appear in the screen. This is more obviously a disguised loading screen than some because the number of shots can be different. Dungeon battles don't do this since you move into a new area to start each fight.
  • The Chosen: Well Of Souls transitions from a map to a side view with background (each opponent starts on one side of the screen) in combat.
  • Panzer Dragoon Saga uses a fairly simplistic Fade to White whenever a battle triggers with some teensy possible changes. Normal random encounters cause the flight in progress to freeze in place when the fade occurs; cutscenes which precede a boss fight continue moving as the fade occurs.
  • In Legacy of the Wizard for the NES, the screen starts scrolling wildly when entering or exiting a Boss Battle.
  • Lord of the Rings The Third Age had level specific fight wooshes where something would obscure the screen accompanied by a monstrous shriek. For example, the first area, a forest, would have leaves gather up from the ground and cover the screen. They would then fall away and reveal the battle at hand.
  • Mega Man X Command Mission did this with screen blurring and a screeching guitar chord.

Turn-Based Strategy

  • Heroes of Might and Magic V uses a Fight Woosh similar to Total War's one: The camera zooms to the battlefield, which (somewhat) resembles the environment.
  • Combats in Odium start by the screen melting away to the sides and a Loading Screen with a rotating buzzsaw popping up for a while before the battle begins.

Non-Video Game Examples



  • Being that it was a parody of all things Fantasy, including Dungeons and Dragons, The Colour of Magic includes a random encounter, where a troll is whisked from its mountain home to the middle of a plain to attack the heroes, much to their--and its--confusion. The way it's described, it almost perfectly matches most of the effects described above, despite predating nearly all of them.

Web Comics

  • Mocked in this Adventurers! strip.
  • Also mocked in RPG World, where one character becomes dizzy and disoriented and the other calls it "almost as much fun as the fight!"
  • Seen in Homestuck when John is attacked by an imp here.
    • And again when Squarewave ambushes Dirk in a rap-off here.

Web Original

  • Similarly parodied in one of the Arfenhouse flash movies, with Joe crying out in disorientation as the woosh happens.
  • Parodied as well in Yu-Gi-Oh the Abridged Series, when Yami defeated Kaiba.