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"Disturb not the harmony of fire, ice, or lightning, lest these titans wreak destruction upon the world in which they clash. Though the water's great guardian shall arise to quell the fighting, alone its song will fail, and thus the earth shall turn to Ash. O Chosen One, into thine hands bring together all three. Their treasures combined tame the Beast of the Sea."
—The Shamouti Prophecy, Pokémon 2000
Fire, Ice, and Lightning — the definitive trio of Elemental Attacks, used in nigh-all videogames that were inspired by the original Dungeons and Dragons and quite a large number that aren't. If you have attack spells, Magitek, psychokinetic abilities, or even Mons, there will be one each of fire, ice, and lightning, all of which are otherwise equal in power or usefulness.
It's not hard to see why these three are so popular. Fire is fire, ice is fire's opposite due to being shinier and more crystalline than water or earth, and lightning is louder, glowier, and comes from the sky. Furthermore, if you conceive of ice as just "coldness", all three are forms of Pure Energy (or pure lack-of-energy,) and thus can be shaped into Energy Weapons or launched as Glowy Beams of Doom.
They're usually Color Coded for Your Convenience. Fire is always red, ice is always somewhere between white and bright blue, and lightning is always yellow. As a result, these powers are the all-time number-one origin of Palette Swap Underground Monkeys.
One can justify their unlikely pairing by imagining a common origin in basic particle physics — supposedly, fire (or heat) comes from speeding up atoms, ice (or cold) comes from slowing down atoms, and lightning comes from rubbing atoms together (or pulling them apart to reveal matter with a net charge). Sort of. Or by considering their elemental natures: Fire is life, Cold is death, and Lightning is the motion from one state to another. Or, you could remember the Rule of Cool. Your choice. It may also be simply that these three are easier to weaponize than other combinations.
Despite being a trio, they do not usually form a complete Rock-Paper-Scissors triangle; in the usual cases, fire and ice beat each other, and are neutral towards lightning. But in rare cases, lightning beats ice (it's just water) and is beaten by fire because heat increases resistance to electricity (at least in metals; in air, heat decreases resistance, so fire will make lightning stronger...?).
Sometimes the trio is expanded with a fourth member, Earth, to form a quartet similar to the classical Elemental Powers (with ice = water and lightning = air).
If put on a Freudian Trio, Fire will be The Id due to its raw, passionate and emotional nature; Ice will be The Superego due to its cold, calculating and stoic nature, and Lightning will be The Ego for its neutral, balancing and leading nature. Alternatively, Lightning can also be interpreted as The Id for its impulsive, chaotic nature while Fire can be interpreted as The Ego for its raw and powerful nature. Lastly, Lightning and Ice can switch roles as well, being related to technology and scientific matters, Lightning could easily switch to being the Superego. While Ice with it's balanced share of strengths and weaknesses can fill in as the Ego, it can melt into water to deal with Fire and solidify to trap Lightning.
- Three brush techniques in Okami use these elements, and behave the same way - you can draw a line from a source of the element to a target, or draw a special symbol for a stronger, more expensive attack. The three final weapons - the Solar Flare reflector, Tundra Beads, and Thunder Edge glaive - are always burning/frozen/shocking, so Ammy always has an elemental source to draw from. Water exhibits somewhat similar behavior, as a line of it can be drawn from the source to a target and another, more expensive brush technique produces a brief rainstorm, but there is no water-elemental weapon and water does not directly damage most enemies. (It still slows them down or has other effects, and a handful of enemies are weak to water.)
- The obscure game Graffiti Kingdom allows you to create your own creatures, right down to choosing their attacks (up to four, not counting the combo). True to this trope, the elements you can choose from in every attack type are Fire, Ice, and Lightning. In fact, the only attacks that don't have elemental forms are the movement attacks, which are Exactly What It Says on the Tin: "attacks" used to move, like jumps.
- Also, one of Palette's moves is to simultaneously shoot three homing balls of fire, ice, and lightning.
- Cole McGrath, Kuo, and Nix form this trio in the second game. The former is your more lawful ally and the latter your chaotic one. Cole also is able to team up with them to create combination elemental attacks.
- Seen often in the Onimusha saga. The first one introduced the peculiar trio of elements (Lightning, Fire and Wind). The second games add also Ice and Earth, so Fire, Ice, Lightning is possible. In the third game, Jacques' Oni Weapons are based on Fire (Enja, a whipsword), Lightning (Raisen, a sectioned double spear) and Ice (Hyousai, a flail).
- In The Legend of Spyro Trilogy, the titular dragon can use all three of these elements, and Earth.
- The Legend of Zelda has its own "big 3" elemental themes for regions and dungeons: Forest, Fire, and Water, which are featured in nearly every game since The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time. When it comes to weaponry, Link's arrows frequently come in three types besides the normal one: Fire, Ice and Light rather than Lightning. The Light Arrows are sometimes found in games where the other two elemental arrows are not present.
- Plays it straighter in The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword where the dragons are Water, Fire, and Thunder. Even though the regions are Forest, Volcano, and Desert, and the regional colors are Green, Red, and Yellow. (The dragons are Blue, Red, and Yellow, though.) The volcano and desert have fire- and lightning-elemental enemies respectively, while almost all of the aquatic enemies are found in the forest region.
- The first Devil May Cry has three elemental-themed bosses: Phantom for fire, Griffon for lightning, and Nightmare for ice. Dante gets a lightning sword (Alastor) and fire gauntlets (Ifrit), but doesn't get anything for ice.
- Devil May Cry 2 has these as the three elements you can equip to your Devil Trigger form, as well as three varieties of wizard Mooks who use them and a boss fight against three floating heads which each use one of the elements.
- Devil May Cry 3 includes five weapons: your basic elementless sword (Rebellion), ice elemental nunchuks (Cerberus), paired fire and wind swords (Agni and Rudra), a guitar that shoots electric bats (Nevan), and gauntlets that do light-elemental damage (Beowulf).
- Devil May Cry 4 is a partial exception, in that there are no fire/ice/lightning weapons. There's still the fire boss (Berial), the ice boss (Bael and Daegon), and the lightning Sub Boss (Blitz).
- Nero's Red Queen sword attacks while combined with Exceed needs a special mention to fire weapons though (the sword uses a motorcycle-like gear shift to spray a flammable propellant over the blade, which requires a specific gameplay mechanic outside of just slashing with the sword to use. Can get particularly impressive with attacks that are fully upgraded to use more levels of Exceed at once).
- Appears in varying degrees in the Quest for Glory series. The Magic User can learn the spells Flame Dart, Frost Bite, and Lightning Ball. In addition to their combat utility, the series often frequently makes use of these spells for puzzle solving. For example, Frost Bite can freeze liquid surfaces so the player can cross them, while Lightning Ball can be used to recharge the Anachronism Stew technology the player finds throughout the series. Zap also falls under this trope, as it allows the player to charge their weapon with electrical energy for a little extra damage when striking the target. Generally, the only time which spell used matters is during puzzle solving. Frost Bite, however, is particularly useful when fighting The Dragon of Doom.
Beat Em Up
- Guardian Heroes has Fire, Ice, and Lighting attacks for many of it's characters, and such attacks also add an additionally-damaging effect that's contagious. Anyone not blocking if they are hit by a person who is burning, frozen, or electrocuted will have the same effect passed on to them. In a tightly-packed group, this can cause the effect to last for several seconds after the attack itself is long done (and if not careful, you can catch yourself in the effects of your own attack!).
- In Bayonetta, The Durga weapon can change between fire, which is stronger and slower, and lightning, which is faster and weaker. Additionally, the weapon Odette is a pair ice skates that have (surprise surprise) the ability to freeze your enemies.
- In the SNES version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Turtles in Time, final boss Super Shredder has an attack of each element.
- Tatsunokovs Capcom Ultimate All Stars has an online statistic that gauges the play style of the player. Fire is used for offensive players. Ice is used for defensive players. Lightning is used for speedy players.
- Seeing as her character is based off of the Mage and Wizard classes from Ragnarok Online, Kano Kirishima of Eternal Fighter Zero possesses tiered versions of fire, ice, and lightning spells as her specials.
- Super Smash Bros Brawl plays this as well, having 3 enemies in subspace being a fire, ice, and lightning element. Similar, Lucas' special attacks have these 3 elements.
- Similarly, they are the three elemental effects that you can get hit by in all the Smash games (set on fire, frozen in ice, electrocuted). Melee added Shadow as a fourth. Brawl, which actually put in resistances, added a ton more, but those are still the only four visible damages.
- Giga Bowser embodies this trope in his smash attacks: up-smash electrocutes foes on his spikes, down-smash freezes foes with a spinning shell, and forward-smash is a burning explosive headbutt.
- Scorpion, Sub-Zero and Raiden from Mortal Kombat.
- Though you could substitute Raiden with Rain if you want to keep it strictly ninja.
- Cinder, Glacius and Chief Thunder in Killer Instinct.
- In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, all of Amaterasu's Super Moves are centered around this theme.
- In older games of the Marvel vs. Capcom series, Blackheart had three variations on his Inferno attack; a meter draining electric Inferno, a powerful ice Inferno and a speedy fire Inferno. In Marvel Super Heroes you could pick which version he would use by inputting a punch button during the attacks' start-up period.
- There's also the Silver Samurai, who has a techique to shift from any of the three elements, resulting in different techniques and effects: fire is stronger, ice can stun for a brief moment and lightning is faster.
- Pyron (fire), Sasquatch (ice) and Victor (lightning) in Darkstalkers.
- One of Anakaris' EX Moves has him using these three in the exact order.
First Person Shooter
- Bioshock's Chemical Launcher weapon shoots napalm (fire), liquid nitrogen (ice), and electrical gel (electricity). Also, your Plasmid-granted abilities include Incinerate, Winter Blast, and Electro Bolt.
- In Metroid Prime, in addition to her standard-issue Power Beam, Samus also gets a Plasma Beam (fire), a Wave Beam (electric), and an Ice Beam (guess). This is a notable change from the 2D games, where Plasma and Wave aren't elemental.
- All attack magic in Eiyuu X Maou is one of these types, though in game mechanics none of them are different from any other attack. In-story, fire is described to burn, ice freeze, and lightning chaotic and undodgeable. No one stands out as Playing with Fire, but An Ice Person is a misanthrope noblewoman who doesn't mind freezing the world for her comfort, and the Psycho Electro is a human-hating demoness who makes sadistic play with her lightning.
Hack And Slash
- The original Diablo had fire, lightning and "pure magic", but no ice. However, the Sorceress class from Diablo II is the epitome of this trope. Her three skill trees are (of course) Fire,
IceCold, and anything that could possibly be considered related to Lightning. Diablo himself likes this trope: Amongst his attacks are a freezing touch, a couple of fire attacks, and his infamous Lightning Beam of Empty Red Orb.
- Viking: Battle for Asgard uses this approach to magic and simply refers to the magic by element and calls it a day.
- Warriors Orochi lets you add fire, ice, and lightning effects to your weapons. Yes, that's "and" not "or". You can add all three to the same weapon. It's probably best not to ask how that works.
- The 3 types of magic a High Elf mage can learn in Sacred 2 are the Arrant Pyromancer (Fire spells), the Mystic Stormite (Ice spells), and the Delphic Arcania (Support magic, with a lightning bolt as it's main attack spell).
- Sengoku Basara has Fire, Ice and Lightning, alongside Wind, Light and Darkness.
- World of Warcraft makes use of this trope to an extent, except that Lightning is merged with Earth and Poison into Nature (And Water with Ice into Frost, but there aren't many Water spells to begin with). The prime example of this trinity is the Shaman class, which has various totems, a weapon enchant and a magic shield (except for fire), as well as "Shocks" (instant damage spells with varying effects) for each. Mages come close, but their energy-ish spells are Arcane (pure magic).
- While there are at least ten elements in the MMO Ragnarok Online, the main elemental circle is Fire-Earth-Lightning-Water (Water is mostly ice attacks), and the Wizard class (of which the above mentioned Kano is one of. She just doesn't use Earth spells.) uses those four primarily, along with the 'Ghost' element, in case the monster happens to be resistant to all in the circle, or is a Ghost-type itself (yes, like it is in Pokémon).
- Phantasy Star Online has Foie (fire), Zonde (lightning), and Barta (ice) as techniques. Phantasy Star Universe adds Diga (earth).
- Mabinogi uses this for magic spells, with all but four spells (Blaze, Healing, Party Healing and Enchant) being tied to one of the three elements. Alchemy abilities use the Four-Element Ensemble instead.
- Wizard 101 has this in the form of the Fire, Ice, and Storm schools.
- Castle Crashers has three out of the four playable characters available from the start fits this. There is an ice magic user blue knight, a fire magic user orange knight and a lightning magic user red knight. For the fourth, instead of the classic earth element, we got a poison magic user.
- The Mega Man Zero and ZX games have Flame, Ice, and Thunder elements for the weapons and bosses. Flame beats Ice, Ice beats Thunder, and Thunder beats Flame. This has some odd consequences, such as fire being the best thing to use on underwater bosses.
- Interestingly, Mega Man X Command Mission replaced Ice with Water, and reversed the order of weaknesses, so Water beats Fire, Fire beats Thunder, and Thunder beats Water. The fourth category would be shadow, but in Zero and ZX is reserved for bosses with primarily physical instead of elemental attacks.
- Zero's sister series, Mega Man Battle Network, also reversed the order of weaknesses (and threw in Wood). Star Force has continued this.
- As Battle Network 3's own Dark Man moves about the field, he will cycle between a fire attack, an ice attack, and a lightning attack which he will only use when you are right in front of him, but considering he also summons BATS that will MUG you if you don't dodge every which way it's not that hard to find yourself on the receiveing end of a linear bolt or a killer snowflake (yes, that's his ice attack — a snowflake that will move up and down across two of your columns, taking up a lot of room and further annoying you). Luckily, he will change colors as he changes attacks.
- The elemental blades in EXE 2. Sure, 3 and on added in BambooSword, but in 2, the Dream Sword 2 PA was made of... say it with me... FlameSword, AquaSword, ElecSword. (Replace with Blade for the next level of the PA, Dream Sword 3.)
- Or heck, the first Mega Man 1 with Fire Man, Ice Man and Elec Man. Elec Man's weapon beat Ice Man, and Ice Man's weapon beat Fire Man. Fire Man's weapon didn't beat Elec Man, though: it beat Bomb Man, and Elec Man was beaten by Cut Man's weapon. Just about all the games have at least one, if not all three.
- Mega Man 2 averts it with just fire. There is a Bubble Man, though. Mega Man 3 has two electric bosses: Spark Man and Magnet Man. Mega Man 4 had none. (It did have water-elemental Toad Man, though.) Mega Man 5 had wind (Gyro Man) and water (Wave Man). Mega Man 6 had fire (Flame Man), ice (Blizzard Man), and wind (Wind Man).
- Mega Man 7 had Freeze Man (ice), Cloud Man (lightning) and Turbo Man (a Transforming Mecha who attacked with flaming wheels)
- Mega Man 8 had Sword Man (fire), Frost Man (ice) and Clown Man (who attacked with electricity)
- Mega Man and Bass had Dynamo Man (electricity), Cold Man (ice) and Burner Man (fire). Electricity beat ice, and ice beat fire, similar to the original game.
- Mega Man 10 has Solar Man (fire), Chill Man (ice) and Sheep Man (electricity).
- The same goes for the Mega Man X series:
- The original game had Flame Mammoth, Chill Penguin, and Spark Mandrill. Chill Penguin was weak to fire, and Spark Mandrill was weak to ice.
- Magma Dragoon, Frost Walrus and Web Spider in X4.
- X4 also had the final form of the final boss, who summons three coloured heads (blue, red and yellow). The first shot out icy gas, the second shot out fireballs in fours, and the last shot out electric balls that spread shockwaves across the walls/floor.
- X8 reverses the weakness: it had Gigabolt Man-o-war, Avalanche Yeti, and Burn Rooster. Like in the original, lightning beat ice, and ice beat fire.
- In Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge, the three special varieties of egg ammo available (in addition to the basic, non-elemental variety) are Fire, Ice, and Battery (Lightning) Eggs. (Banjo-Tooie had Fire and Ice eggs, but the other two special varieties were bombs.)
- The isometric-platformer-with-RPG Elements Scurge: Hive has a unique variation: Its main weapons elements are Fire (Pyro), Energy (Lightning), and "Diffusion," which is anti-energy (it's something of a "power sink" ability). It does have an Ice power, but instead of being part of the elemental cycle, it freezes small enemies indescriminately and doesn't do damage.
- The Kirby series includes multiple abilities centered around these elements, with a specific long-ranged and close-ranged version of each appearing in at least one game. Squeak Squad even went so far as to allow these elements to affect the terrain (electricity is conducted along metal and water, ice can freeze water, and fire can burn things), as well as letting you create elemental swords and bombs, and temporarily apply elements to Tornado and Wheel. Since Adventure, Kirby has also had unique damage animations for when he's hit by any of these three elements.
- Additionally, in Kirby Super Star, the hats for Fire, Ice, and Plasma are all palette-swapped crowns. Later games distinguish their appearances by making them look like they're actually composed of flames, ice crystals, or electricity.
- Kirby64 also featured Ice, Fire, and Spark powers that could be combined with the other elements in the game, which was the games' gimmick. Fire + Lightning made Kirby rub his head with tin foil, causing sparks until his head caught on fire and he ran around at high speeds. Lightning + Ice turned him into a refrigerator, which shot food that could later be consumed to heal yourself. Ice + Fire created steam in a very small area, making it mostly worthless.
- In Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, Sypha gets fire-, ice- and lightning-based special attacks instead of the holy items usable by Grant and Trevor.
- Yohko also uses these attacks in Dawn of Sorrow's Julius Mode.
- The magic system in Castlevania: Circle of the Moon contains ten elements, each personified by a different creature; besides Fire(Salamander), Ice(Serpent), and Lightning(Thunderbird), there's also Plant(Mandragora), Earth(Golem), Stone(Cockatrice), Poison(Manticore), Wind(Griffon), Light(Unicorn), and Dark(Black Dog, kind of like a Hell Hound).
- In addition to Fire, Ice, and Lightning, Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin and Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia feature Light and Dark.
- In Ty the Tasmanian Tiger, each new area is unlocked by an elemental boomerang. While the fire and ice boomerangs have multiple functions throughout the game, the final electric boomerang need only be thrown once.
- In Run Saber, the three Cyborg-enhanced Run Sabers use the three elements: Kurtz uses the red "Flair Saber", which generates pillars of fire; Allen uses the green "Thunder Saber", with which he can create a dragon made of electricity; and Sheena uses the blue "Ice Saber", which works at absolute zero and can unleash a blizzard.
- Three of the planets encountered in the final Bowser level of Super Mario Galaxy, in order of appearance, are a lava planet, a dry ice planet, and a quicksand planet surrounded by electric beams.
- Sonic 3 and Knuckles has a trio of elemental shields that form a common variation on this trope, the Fire Shield, the Electric Shield, and the Water Shield. The first two offer immunity to damage from their elements, while the third prevents drowning. Each of the three also grants a special move Sonic can do (Tails and Knuckles keep their basic flight and gliding powers), and the Electric Shield pulls nearby Rings inward.
- Puyo Pop Fever: Although the actual types didn't affect the gameplay, these were among the special attack callouts used when making combos for two characters. Amitie uses "Flame, Blizzard, Lightning Bolt!", while Arie uses "Fire, Ice Storm, Thunder!".
- Nethack only has three wands that launch Hyphens of Doom (not including the standard Magic Missile), and they are indeed the wand of cold, wand of fire, and wand of lightning.
- Ancient Domains of Mystery has the four elements of fire, ice, lightning, and acid, with bolt and ball spells for each. Lightning is less commonly resisted and does slightly more damage then ice and fire, but acid trumps lightning on both of those scores. However, the only improved ball spell, which hits a radius about a targeted location rather than centering on the caster, is fire.
- The Freeware game Castle of the Winds has a magic arrow spell, as well as three bolt spells, fire, ice, and lightning, and three ball spells, one for each element.
Role Playing Game
- The Pokémon games love this trope:
- Pokémon Red and Blue contained a trio of Fire, Ice and Electric-type legendary birds, three Fire,
IceWater and Electric-type evolutions of Eevee, and three hard-to-find no-evolution Ice, Electric, and Fire humanoid Pokemon (Jynx, Electabuzz, and Magmar, respectively).
- Pokémon Gold and Silver followed suit with a trio of Fire,
IceWater (but with Ice attacks) and Electric-type legendary dogs/cats/wolves/panthers/gophers/whatevers (let's just call them "beasts" and be done with it), and a pre-evolution to each of Generation I's hard-to-find-no-evolution-humanoid trio.
- Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire more or less averted it with its legendary trio of Regirock (Rock), Regice (Ice) and Registeel (Steel). Also to be noted are Groudon (Ground type, but numerous Fire-type attacks), Kyogre (Water, naturally learns at least one Ice attack), and Rayquaza (Dragon/Flying, but you'll definitely get the lightning association--and Kyogre's Ice and Groudon's Fire--if you play Pokemon Pinball Ruby and Sapphire, where the Rayquaza in the bonus stage can stun your ball with Thunder, or Super Smash Bros. Brawl where it attacks with lightning.)
- Likewise, Pokémon Diamond and Pearl mostly-averts-but-doesn't-really-avert it with a trio of Color Coded for Your Convenience Psychic-types, Mesprit, Azelf, and Uxie, who are pink, blue, and yellow. However, you can find the Fire Blast, Blizzard and Thunder TMs in the Lake areas where they reside. Hint much?
- In Pokémon Black and White, Reshiram and Zekrom's secondary types are Fire and Electric respectively, and Kyurem, a Dragon and Ice type legendary, is an outsider "third" member. It has two alternate forms in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, once of which appears to be a Fusion Dance with Reshiram and the other with Zekrom.
- This is so pervasive in Pokémon that the second movie (featuring Generation I's birds) was themed around it, as mentioned in the above quote.
- There are also the three elemental punch attacks, FirePunch, IcePunch, and ThunderPunch, and the three elemental fang attacks, Fire Fang, Ice Fang, and Thunder Fang. And while they have other elements, a lot of "move variations" (moves with shared properties like power and PP) have these three — Ember, Powder Snow, Thundershock; Flamethrower, Ice Beam, Thunderbolt; and as mentioned above, Fire Blast, Blizzard and Thunder.
- In the original Gold and Silver games, you could just buy the three elemental punches. You can still get the three punches in the remakes (and presumably in Diamond, Pearl and Platinum), but it's slightly harder.
- And there's the move Tri Attack, which has your Pokemon shoot three colored energy beams (that are red, blue, and yellow), show your opponent getting hit with fire, ice and lightning in the game animation, and can burn, freeze, or paralyze your opponent.
- Averted with the starter Pokemon trio, which goes Fire-Water-Grass instead for no real reason. Though it does match the usual Zelda Trio above.
- A more recent trend for the series is pushing a trio of Psychic-Dark-Fighting, with Ghost on the outer.
- Lance's three Dragonite in Generation II and the first battle against him in Generation IV know Thunder, Blizzard and Fire Blast respectively. Also, in the first battle against him in Generation IV, his Gyarados, Aerodactyl and Charizard know Ice Fang, Thunder Fang and Fire Fang respectively.
- With respect to moves, the Tao Trio (Reshiram, Zekrom, Kyurem) has an interesting take on this trope. Reshiram and Zekrom each learn one signature move related to their respective types (Fire and Electric), but Kyurem learns three. Two of them also inflict the Burn and Paralysis ailments, which are the respective Status Ailments normally associated with Fire- and Electric-type attacks.
- Pokémon Red and Blue contained a trio of Fire, Ice and Electric-type legendary birds, three Fire,
- The Final Fantasy series almost always plays this trope straight. The magic system in every game contains at least the Fire, Blizzard, and Thunder series of spells. Other elements may be added to extend the Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors set, but even so, Fire, Ice, and Lightning are make up the majority of elemental spells, summons, and items. Even Final Fantasy X, which adds Water as a "core" element on the same standing as these standard three still plays this trope straight: the three elemental summons are Ifrit (Fire), Ixion (Lightning), and Shiva (Ice).
- Final Fantasy XIII has a trio in its party members. Lightning, Snow and Sazh all specialize in one of the elements and their Eidolons follow suit. It should be fairly obvious who has which element.
- Chrono Trigger is interesting in that it's actually Fire Water Lightning, with Marle and Frog differentiated by their use of frozen and unfrozen water. However, in the Japanese version, Lightning is actually Heaven, and the DS remake compromises with Light.
- Also, the fourth and final element, Shadow, is said to be composed of the other three elements combined, Fire, Ice, and Lightning. This is explains why most triple techs that combine the three elements are of Shadow element, and Magus's ability to use Fire, Ice, and Lightning is due to the fact he is of the Shadow element.
- Same stuff, different names in Chrono Cross, although each gains a partner element style and is put on a six-point chart. Fire (and magma) as 'Red' against ice (and water) as 'Blue'; oddly, lightning gets partnered with earth as 'Yellow' against grass and wind as 'Green', breaking the lightning/air pairing.
- The World Ends With You doesn't play Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors (strictly speaking, at least). Never the less, it still has fire, ice, and lightning attacks. They don't differ in "element" - and, in fact, all share the same "negative/ranged" element - but instead differ in the way they're used.
- The Shin Megami Tensei games seem to use these three in all their games, plus one other "elemental" group (to round out the four elements) and two "other" groups capable of dealing instant death (along with non-elemental physical and almighty attacks.) Agi is Fire, Bufu is Ice, Zio is lightning, and depending on the game:
- Three characters can get their melee attacks enhanced in X Men Legends — Magma, Iceman and Storm. All three basically fall under "energy". (Telepaths can enhance their attacks with "psychic" damage, which has different effects.)
- The Elder Scrolls mixes this up somewhat, in that the apparent fourth element is poison, insofar as having corresponding weaknesses and resistances. Then again, it doesn't play elemental rock-paper-scissors as often, where, whilst they may have the ability to inflict fire-elemental damage, having a weakness to ice is another specific attribute of a creature. In-game tactics include using spells to cause these weaknesses to increase the power of the elemental spell.
- Oblivion has fire, frost, lighting, damage health and...rust
- Skyrim plays it straightest of all, with just the three. Each has an advantage to the other two: Fire is the cheapest and has afterburn damage, Frost slows foes down and depletes their stamina bar (needed for sprinting, power attacking, or breath-hold bow aiming), and Shock is a Hit Scan projectile and depletes magicka (which is good against mages).
- Kingdom Hearts, as could be expected from a Final Fantasy crossover, has the usual Fire, Blizzard and Thunder spells.
- 358/2 Days has 13 elements... but the only ones you have easy access to are Fire, Ice, Lightning and Wind.
- Birth by Sleep introduced "Command Styles", special themed movesets unlocked by filling the Command Gauge with certain types of attacks. The basic, non-character-specific styles fit this pattern.
- Arisu Reiji from Namco X Capcom and Endless Frontier has a flame sword and a lightning sword, and his partner Xiaomu has an ice/water sword. Their Evil Counterpart Saya has a full set of three.
- The Madou Monogatari series plays it straight with Fire, Ice Storm and Thunder spells.
- Xenosaga III's ES battles divide attacks into fire, ice, lightning and beam; considering these are mechs, beam is probably thermally and electrically neutral, like a neutral particle beam.
- The trio of PK Fire, PK Freeze and PK Thunder are the three basic offensive PSI of the MOTHER trilogy, with all three being available to the three female leads Ana, Paula and Kumatora (though Ana and Kumatora have access to other offensive PSI as well). In Super Smash Bros Brawl, they're given to Lucas in order to give his fellow party member representation. Ness is given nearly the same moveset, replacing PK Freeze with his naturally learned PK Flash in order to represent Paula.
- In Seiken Densetsu 3, Lightning is lumped under Air, Ice is lumped under Water, and Earth, Light, and Darkness are about as common as Fire, Water, and Air. However, Angela's Grand Divina class learns a spell called Double Spell which combines a Lightning spell, a Fire spell, and an Ice spell.
- The Primal school of magic in Dragon Age: Origins has four spell tracks: fire, ice, lightning, and stone (which does normal physical damage instead of having its own elemental damage type).
- Shows up, oddly enough, in Mass Effect 2 with ammo types and tech powers. For fire you've got Incinerate and Incendiary Ammo, which works well against armor and causes organic enemies to panic, Overload and Disruptor Ammo for lightning, which damages shields and synthetic enemies, and for ice you have Cryo Blast and Cryo Ammo, which freezes enemies solid so you can take a breather or knock them into walls or off cliffs for an OHKO (unlike the other two, though, they do no additional damage to any defense type).
- Also with heavy weapons: the Firestorm is a flamethrower, the Avalanche freezes enemies, and the Arc Projector shoots lightning.
- Depending on how you want to look at it, this trope exists in the first game as well: Incendiary and Inferno Rounds are definitely fire, Cryo and Snowblind rounds fit the bill for ice. Phasic and Proton rounds don't have an obviously electrical effect, and instead ignore enemy shields when shooting them, but their descriptions mention charged particles and the icon used for them is Disruptor Ammo's icon in the second game.
- Played even straighter in the third game: Overload now damages and stuns organic enemies and can be upgraded to Chain Lightning.
- Also with heavy weapons: the Firestorm is a flamethrower, the Avalanche freezes enemies, and the Arc Projector shoots lightning.
- Most spells in Dubloon center around this. Ricky also gets water spells.
- Okage plays this straight. Everyone in the game that fights has an element, and they're all locked in an elemental triangle that is good or bad against the other. Naturally, it's Fire, Ice, and Lightning. Except for Ari...who is Neutral.
- The Flame, Ice, Thunder, and Violent Light swords and armor in Ys IV: Mask of the Sun, and the Livart (wind) Brillante (fire), and Erricil (lightning) swords in Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim. Also, the elemental magic stones in Ys V.
- Used as the three main elements in the Etrian Odyssey series. Alchemists and Zodiacs can learn to harness all three; however, the player may decide it's better to focus on one or two than spread their precious points across all three.
- The damage-dealing spells in the Shining Force games are Blaze, Freeze and Bolt. While mages usually learn two or more of the spells at the basic levels, each games usually features one mage per element that learns the highest level spell, such as Tao (Blaze), Domingo (Freeze) and Alef (Bolt) in the first Shining Force game.
- The three primary "coatings" (elemental equipments) found in Opoona are the Fire Coat, Ice Coat, and Thunder Coat (with their improved versions being the Solar Coat, Frozen Coat, and Plasma Coat). There are numerous other coats available, including an Earth coat, but that's the primary trio.
- There's also the "elemental" series of enemies, whose three members are Flamehead, Icehair, and Plasma Ball.
- In Breath of Fire, usually there are 3 levels of spells for the three elements, and variable amounts for the others (Earth, Wind, Water, etc.) depending on the game. There are also characters with specific magic-affinity.
- Breath of Fire I: Bo can use up to level 3 magic of the three elements. Ryu can access two sets of fire/ice/lightning elemental dragon forms.
- Breath of Fire II: Ryu has, once again, two sets of dragon forms with the three elemental abilities. Sten has a fire affinity, and Nina can use the three elements, plus Wind and Earth.
- Breath of Fire III: This time, Ryu creates dragons by mixing genes with special characteristics. Obviously, he has a fire/ice/lightning gene that grants the resulting dragon form those abilities/spells. There's also the Trygon, which merges the three into a single form. In terms of characters, Rei (lightning) and Garr (fire) fills two, with Nina wielding all three, plus Wind.
- Breath of Fire IV turns lightning into a combo spell, only created after one cast a wind and water/ice spell back-to-back. Thus, no character has it as an afinity and Ryu doesn't get a lightning dragon. Otherwise, all playable members have specific elemental affinities: Ryu (fire), Fou-lu (ice), Nina (wind), Cray (earth), Scias (water/ice) and Ursula (fire).
- Dungeon Keeper 2 apples this trope to it's traps, with 3 of the most useful being the freeze trap, the lightning trap, and the fireburst trap.
- In Backyard Baseball the powerups include a fireball, a freezing ball, and a lightning-bat line drive. Add water (slippery ball) to the list of elemental powers too, and maybe even metals (via the aluminum power bat).
Turn Based Strategy
- The primary offensive spells from throughout the Shining franchise are Blaze, Freeze and Bolt/Spark. Priests have access to a fourth elemental attack, Blast/Tornado.
- Super Robot Wars NEO features this as part of its gaming system. Fire attacks cause extra damage, ice attacks cause debuffs, and thunder attacks cause stun.
- The Disgaea series has wind replacing lightning in the standard trio of elements (All of the electricity or lightning based attacks are non-elemental), and has Star as a fourth element, which no unit has any innate resistance or weakness against.
- Throughout the Fire Emblem series, the trinity of "nature" magics known as anima magic has always been a slight variation: Fire, Wind and Thunder. That said, ice spells like Blizzard and Fimbulvetr regularly appear, and they're just lumped in with Wind spells.
- In Heroes of Might and Magic V, a hero who takes the 'Destruction Magic' skill is also allowed to learn 'Master of Elements' skills to enhance their spells: Master of Fire makes their fire spells reduce their opponent's defence, Master of Ice lets them freeze enemies with ice spells, and Master of Lightning makes their lightning spells stun opponents. Earth spells are also available as part of the Destruction school of magic, but no corresponding ability exists to make them more powerful.
Real Time Strategy
- Humans in Warcraft III have the Blood Mage (Fire), Archmage (Ice, though his basic attack is a fireball), and Mountain King (Lightning). On a wider scale we also have the Humans in general (Fire), Undead (Ice), and Orcs (Lightning), which is reflected in some of their heroes, units, and items. The Night Elves are thematically associated with Earth/Nature.
- There's a cutscene where you witness a meeting between three demon lords, each of whom represent one of the three elements; Tichondrius represents fire, Mephistroth represents Ice, and Anetheron represents Lightning.
- The three resistences of the main three colors of Pikmin are fire, electricity, and... water. Close enough.
Non-video game examples:
Anime and Manga
- In Bleach: The Diamond Dust Rebellion, the Big Bad Sojiro Kusaka and his two subordinates use Ice, Fire and Lightning powers respectively.
- The three main ninjas of Beat Blades Haruka: Haruka uses lightning (and her strongest attack paralyzes the enemy for one turn), Narika uses fire, and Subaru uses ice. The elements themselves don't have any real effect on enemies, except for the effects of each one's strongest attack.
- In Sailor Moon, the first 3 members to join the titular character (Mars, Mercury, and Jupiter) have these as their elements, though Mercury's dominant element is water and Jupiter has wood as her sub-element.
- In Animerica, the male members of the second major group (Eric, Yusuke, and Takato) are often grouped together because of this (although Takato's main power is wind and Yusuke can also manipulate water).
- The three Marine Admirals in One Piece is probably meant to be this. Akainu is Magma, Aokiji is Ice, and Kizaru is Light. The only reason they can't use actual Fire and Lightning is because there are other characters that already have those powers.
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, there are people who possess a "magic conversion nature", allowing them to convert their mana into a specific element without the need to even consciously think about it, though normal mages could display similar effects if they work hard at it. Examples of these include Signum, who has a magic conversion nature of fire, and Erio, who has a magic conversion nature of lightning. Based on supplementary materials released for StrikerS, these come in three forms. They are, you guessed it, Fire, Lightning, and pretty rarely, Ice.
- Mahou Sensei Negima have a good example of this, one ultimate spell for each element, Blazing Heat In The Sky for fire, Eternal Glacier for ice, and The Thousand Bolts for lightning. We have been shown the versions of magical arrow for each. (but magical arrows also contain elements of darkness, sand, wind and light.)
- Though, now we also have Tearing Earth as the ultimate spell for the earth element.
- In Saint Seiya, the 5 main saints have elemental affinities, with Ikki (fire), Hyoga (ice) and Shun (his Variable-Length Chain can generate lightning) filling in the three. The Gold Saints lack a fire-based member, with Leo Aioria (lightning) and Acuaris Kamus (ice) filling in the other slots
- In the spin-off series Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas, Scorpio Kardias is given a fire motif, completing the trio with Leo Regulus and Acuarius Degel.
- Tiger and Bunny has something like this, with Blue Rose and Dragon Kid. 'Fire' fits with Fire Emblem due to his tendency to include himself when referring to the 'girls' of Hero TV.
- Ultimate Spider-Woman: Change With The Light has this trope in the arachnid heroine's Rogues Gallery. The petty criminal Blizzard is An Ice Person, the Pyromaniac Firebrand enjoys Playing with Fire and Stalker with a Crush Superchargers is a Psycho Electro.
- In Kamen Rider Kiva, the eponymous hero's original three alternate forms carry an elemental association with them: Garulu Form is Fire, Basshaa Form is Water, and Dogga Form is Lightning. It makes sense since the latter two are modeled on the Gill-Man and Frankenstein's Monster, but Garulu is a little harder to justify.
- An earlier Kamen Rider example was with Blade. Blade was lightning, Garren was fire, Leangle was ice and Chalice added air to the mix.
- A borderline example is Accel from Kamen Rider Double. His Engine Blade has three settings: Jet (fire), Steam (water), and Electric (lightning).
- In Engine Sentai Go-onger / Power Rangers RPM Gold and Silver's dagger weapons have fire, ice, and lightning for three of it's attack modes.
- Interestingly enough, it is optimal to use elements outside of the standard Fire-Ice-Lightning (such as Acid or Sonic) in Dungeons and Dragons, because due to their rarity, few monsters resist them (whereas every non-humanoid non-animal in the Monster Manual resists at least one of the three).
- Technically, it isn't optimal to use elements at all. The best spells don't even do damage, and the best damage spells are Force effects such as Maw of Chaos and Wings of Flurry. But yes, sonic and acid are superior to the main three.
- Most effective nuke based caster builds rely on the feat Arcane Thesis to hugely multiply the power of one favorite spell. One strategy for these actually is to take either a fire or ice spell, and Energy Substitution: Fire/Ice to reverse its element as needed, since fire and ice are the most common weaknesses in addition to most commonly resisted elements. Either Fire/Acid or Ice/Lightning are more favorable for casters who wish to use Energy Gestalt to add debuffs to their spells.
- The four elements wielded by characters in LEGO Ninjago are fire, ice, lightning and earth.
- Monster High Brought us Frankie Stein (Lightning), Holt Hyde (Fire), and Abby Bominable (Ice).
- In Winx Club, the Trix are Icy (Ice), Stormy (Lightning), and Darcy (officially Darkness, but she can create fire)
- In some foreign versions, Darcy's power is called "Black Fire."
- In The Year Without a Santa Claus, Snow Miser and Heat Miser control pretty much what you'd expect, and Mother Nature conjures lightning a few times while talking to them.
- The three main utilities for a house are heat (fire), water (ice), and electricity (lightning).
- Thanks to the Thermoelectric effect you can actually cause the trio to appear simultaneously.
- This is most easily noticed in a certain optional room on Bryyo, where there are three work golems require you to use these weapons to activate them, and then use their effects in puzzles (melting a wall, freezing fuel gel, and electrifying magnetic rails, repsectively)