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When videogame characters get shot, slashed, burned etc., they can usually count on finding a box of medical supplies or similar, with which they can instantly restore their health. Even back up to one hundred percent, which presumably means all cuts and bruises are completely gone. They don't even seem to need to apply the medication, or even open the package — as soon as they pick it up, their health is improved. Imagine that. In fantasy they usually have the character eat special fruits or partake of elixirs and say A Wizard Did It. In sci-fi, the character will shoot up with Nanomachines and say pretty much the same thing.

There are some ways of lessening this effect. One is to hint that the Life Meter is actually indicating how badly affected the character's armor is, and one is simply patching up one's suit. Another, in sci-fi stories, is to allow the character's armor special medicinal abilities, which just requires health to be picked up or downloaded off an installed device.

Most classic healing items work instantly, but some modern games give them a delay time. Using one gives the player a "ghost" Life Meter, which works its way up to the level indicated over a minute or so. Taking any damage may nullify the effect. This keeps a player from using one in heated combat to stay alive.

A corollary to this trope is that no matter how hurt your character gets, even if he's an inch from death, he can still run around killing things with as much vigor as ever. This often applies to the enemies, as well. This can be interesting in strategy games, where a large unit is still doing 100% damage at one HP, and smaller units that collectively cost the same are losing effectiveness one by one as they die. Some titles reduce speed and damage linearly with HP, but this is equally unrealistic.

As a side note, the International Red Cross Society has been raising some legal issues over the repeated use of their trademarked Red Cross logo on health items in video games. See this article from the Canadian Red Cross. The generic logo for commercially available "First Aid" products in reality is a white cross on a green field for businesses not directly affiliated with the Red Cross Society, to conform with the Geneva Convention (the Red Cross logo is protected). It's a serious issue.

An extreme, but common, subset of this trope is Hyperactive Metabolism, where you are instantly healed simply by eating.

See also Heart Container and Healing Potion, and beware of the Poison Mushroom. Compare The Medic.

Examples of Heal Thyself include:

Action Adventure

  • In The Getaway, the main character heals by... leaning against walls for a few seconds.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (and sequels), when Link is low on hearts, he'll double over and pant for breath if you stop walking around, instead of standing up straight and fidgeting as he does when you have a full health meter. When playing, though, his abilities remain unchanged.
  • In the game StarTropics for the NES, your main character heals with generic hearts, but there are other healing items as well. Enemies will, on rare occasions, drop stars (1/5 of a heart, in practice) and single hearts, but the environment will provide you with Double Hearts, Medicine (which heals 5 hearts and is saved until used), and quadruple hearts much later in the game. However, the most interesting healing item is the Vitamin X capsule, a rare item that completely heals all 22 hearts you are capable of getting in the game... even if you don't have them yet. Over time, the additional health goes way whether you get hit or not, but the duration of the extra health is surprisingly long, for a game that is generally unforgiving about taking any damage.
    • Of course, you will only get one Vitamin X capsule before you hit the heart max.

Action Game

  • In the original Gungrave, the only way that Grave can recover his hit points is to expend 1 gauge of demolition shot power ("Recover Life Now"), as there are no items that can be picked up in the game. Presumably he's absorbing the collected beats to regenerate his health and shield (and the shield "heals" and protects him in the sense that his Healing Factor allows him to shrug off most damage except for big attacks). In the second game, your character's health is restored by some amount that depends on how much damage you caused when using a demolition shot--the higher the Jackpot bonus, the more hit points are recovered.
  • Bloodline Champions has an ability available for all players called the Bloodline Medallion to heal. However, it takes a long time to finish and is interrupted upon contact from enemy effects or damage.
  • Jurassic Park Warpath by eating random animals
  • Ditto Primal Rage, except it was people.

First-Person Shooter

  • In the Wolfenstein and Doom games, there are big white boxes with red plus signs on them which instantly heal you. What's more, the Wolfenstein hero has Hyperactive Metabolism and can heal up by eating all the food left around without slowing down in the slightest. Its modernised remake, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, is equally guilty, despite being more realistic in other ways.
    • Beyond dog-food, if you had really low health in the original, you could also drink blood from the floor with a nice slurping sound. Squick.
    • In the X Box Live rerelease, the plus signs have been changed to hearts, due to the aforementioned Red Cross trademark restrictions.
    • The original Apple II game Castle Wolfenstein had a One-Hit-Point Wonder protagonist, but the sequel Beyond Castle Wolfenstein had a dose of realism in that getting shot actually caused you to limp and slow down, and that application of a first-aid kit to restore your agility took several seconds of inaction.
  • In Deus Ex, the protagonist has separate health levels for arms, legs, torso and head. If the torso or head health reaches 0%, he dies. If both legs are "killed", he falls down to waist level but can still move about using any remaining arms.
    • Depending on your point of view, this is justified or handwaved by the mention that Nanoaug agents are equipped to metabolize med kits for quicker use.
  • Gordon Freeman in Half-Life gains back lost health by plugging his hazard suit into health and energy recharging stations scattered around the levels. The suit has a strongly implied but never fully explained ability to protect him by sacrificing some of its energy in response to almost any hazard from extreme temperatures to submachine gun rounds. Sometimes, its mechanical voice mentions that it's dispensing morphine or detecting a major blood loss, but it's all just a Hand Wave in the end. Freeman, like most video game and TV heroes, is Made of Iron.
    • Spoofed in the Half Life 2 webcomic Concerned, where medkits are capable of not only healing everything and anything, but also instantly removing any blood stains from clothing. They are also Eco-Friendly and will instantly biodegrade upon use.
  • In the Rainbow Six series, as might be expected from its devotion to realism, there's no healing during a mission. If a character is wounded, but survives, it could be months of in-game time before he's back in action, if he comes back at all. This forces you to use second-stringers as your character and his team-mates.
    • With the exception of the Rainbow Six: Vegas games, where if you die, you die, but if your teammates die, then they must be revived with, apparently, a massive dose of arenaline in a syringe. Even if done multiple times, there's no risk of heart attack or death from blood loss.
  • In Battlefield 2, the medic class can revive critically wounded teammates by simply applying a defibrillator to any part of the body (even the limbs), which instantly restores them to full health.
    • The semi-sequel Battlefield 2142 also features the magic defibrillator, able to revive anyone regardless of any number of headshots by a .50 cal sniper rifle, RDX charges, or knives to the face. A lot of the meta-game behind the BF series involves finding ways to permanently kill your foes (consequently making the Engineer the most deadly class with his insta-kill rockets). Of course it is semi-justified with the defiberator merely supercharging the soldier's personal nanobots which patches him up to full health.
    • In both games, it's much quicker to kill and revive your teammate, rather than wait for the medkit to do its thing (or even return to your kit if you've already left one somewhere). There are quite a few situations where the choice between avoiding a teamkill and saving precious seconds is a sane one.
  • Star Wars: Republic Commando has no medkits. Instead, it has fixed emplacements that infuse bacta to the commandos, healing them in a short time. Given the almost magical healing abilities of Bacta in the Star Wars universe, this is not actually completely insane. However, should a squadmate's health reach zero, they'll just drop down and moan occasionally, whereupon all that's needed to revive them and give them half their health back is a zap from a defibrillator-like device. The player character can "die" in this way as well, and call on a squadmate to be revived. This gives rise to an interesting technique for the few areas of the game where bacta is rare: if a squadmate's health is less than half, one can shoot said squadmate until he "dies". When revived, he'll have more health than before. A player whose own character has less than half health can even toss a thermal detonator at his feet, "die", call on a squadmate to be revived and enjoy the same benefit.
      • "Hostile Commando!" Yeah, your mates don't really like you shooting them.
    • It is slightly hand waved by a single mention of a "Bacta processing implant", this doesn't explain how Kyle Katarn, Mara Jade, Jaden Korr, Revan and The Jedi Exile instantly heal with med kits (The last 2 even predate bacta!)
      • Not entirely; Revan and the Jedi Exile had a sort of proto-bacta called Kolto; there's a mission in the first KOTOR where Revan visits the sole planet that it comes from. It turns out that its created by the dominant race's distant ancestor and Revan has the choice of killing it or letting it live
  • America's Army averts this trope; players who are shot in the game bleed for a certain amount of time, effectively draining their hit points bit by bit. As your health decreases from Green (Full/Near Full) to Yellow (Moderately Hurt) to Red (Near Death), you run progressively slower and are less accurate. Medics can only stop your bleeding, and there is no way to restore health once lost.
  • Averted in Day Of Defeat, where wounds cannot be healed at all. You can bandage yourself, but this only stops you from bleeding to death.
  • In Medal of Honor: Airborne the player can "round up" their health to the next quarter by resting, but still require medkits to heal beyond that.
  • Averted in Bet On Soldier, where you cannot restore your health during a mission. However, you wear armor on top of your health, which can be restored mid-mission, either by mechanic allies or purchasing armor repair at buy stations. Unfortunately, the game's final boss and a few other boss enemies are equipped with armor-piercing weapons that damage your health directly.
  • Far Cry 2 mixes this trope with elements of its direct opposite, Walk It Off. Your health meter is divided into five blocks. If you take damage, then get away for a bit, your health will refill, but only to the top of the block you're currently down in, except the last critical block (more on that later). To actually get back to full health, you have to inject yourself with little healing syrettes that you find in traditional medical cabinets and boxes around the game world. Perhaps most interestingly, if you're knocked to your last health block, it starts draining slowly instead of regenerating. To escape this, you have to trigger a longer emergency healing sequence (some of the animations for which are disturbing enough to be Nightmare Fuel), which brings you back to 2 full health blocks.
    • To elaborate, one of the prolonged healing sequences involves shoving a knife into your wound and digging out the bullets. Made of Iron indeed ...
  • In Left 4 Dead has an interesting take on healing. Simply being hit will slowly lead to the charecter moving more slowly. Get incapacitated, and promptly revived however, and now you'll both move slowly and bleed health. Pain pills offer temporary health boost that slowly degrades. Using health kits has an animation of the charecter bandaging themselves or someone else and (almost) all their wounds are instantly healed. Get incapacitated too many times and the color will bleed out and the next time you get knocked down kills you.
    • The sequel tosses in adrenaline shots, which only recovers 25 points of health (temporary) but for a short time, your survivor runs faster (even if their health is in the red), can't be slowed down by zombies, and can do many actions at a quicker rate (healing, revive, etc.). The only side effect is you get tunnel vision and the sounds become mono.
      • The shot is better used on a healthy survivor rather than an injured one, as the 25 temporary health can act as a buffer while the healthy player revives/heals an injured one in the heat of battle. Most people just use it as a weak pain pill alternative, however.
  • Pariah has an series of health blocks while automatically restore if their is even the smallest bit left but needs a health injection if it blips out.
  • Alpha Prime, like Half-Life, features both medkits and health dispensers. When you approach a medkit (or any item you can pick up), it flies toward you and instantly restores health. The health dispensers seem to pump out some sort of red fluid. On the eponymous asteroid's surface, there are also oxygen dispensers.

Hack and Slash

  • Drakengard requires that you either find one of the Inexplicable Treasure Chests scattered across the land and hope they contain healing, or kill a certain amount of enemies in a certain amount of time to receive healing as a reward for having a high enough chain. Either way, healing comes in the form of a benign, green-glowing orb.


  • In World of Warcraft, bandages heal everything. Ripped tendons, cracked skulls... everything. And apparently, silk bandages help more than linen ones.
    • Fridge Logic: With all that cloth, why can't anyone make a tourniquet to stop the bleed effects?
  • Kingdom of Loathing takes this to a deliberately ridiculous level for humour. Its many, many status effects invariably wear off over time. While this makes some sense in terms of the effects of a spell, or the effects of a potion, or having a song stuck on your head, or being in a certain emotional state, or having a disease, other things aren't so realistic. Your character is capable of shrugging off being exfoliated into a skeleton in only a few turns, for starters, and the caption for the status effect 'Missing Fingers' is:

 Some of your fingers are gone. It really hurts, and they're going to take a little while to grow back.

  • Phantasy Star Universe subverts this as it utilizes a relatively simplistic system. If You happen to walk over a medic point, it slowly regenerates your health at a stable rate. This is also partially subverted in that your characters are protected by line shields that mitigate damage so you don't take visible injuries.
  • Guild Wars partially subverts this trope in that there are no items in game that provide healing. Each class has ways to regenerate health (of varying degrees of practicality), and neither attacking nor taking damage for a certain period of time will cause health to regenerate automatically (this is actually a game mechanic that certain builds plan for, as enemies have the same options). Some of the more interesting versions of healing include:
    • Monks have an entire skill (Divine Favor) that makes them automatically heal allies just by casting spells on them.
    • Warriors can use their adrenaline (caused by hitting with weapons and taking damage) to heal, but this temporarily deactivates any Signets (skills with no energy cost, but a higher-than-average recharge time) they have equipped.
    • Elementalists have a buff that causes them to heal a percentage of the energy cost of every spell they cast while it's active.
    • Paragons can let out a shout that will heal any allies in earshot once a condition is met (i.e., "Heal for 57 when you cast a spell"). Alternately, they can grant health regeneration until a condition is met (i.e. "+5 health regeneration for 8 seconds or until you attack").
    • Mesmers can eat enemy buffs to regain health and energy.
    • Necromancers have a wide variety of vampiric abilities, ranging from eating enemies to eating their own minions.
  • Battlestar Galactica Online has Damage Control Packs for when you need a pick-me-up and can't escape battle to let the Regenerating Health kick in.

Platform Game

  • The modern-day Prince of Persia games allow you to fully heal by drinking water. The original games featured health potions.
    • What's really weird is that the Prince can heal from any source of water. In the beginning of Warrior Within the Prince can drink right out of the ocean and in the beginning of The Two Thrones, the prince can drink raw sewage! It heals you in both cases...
    • In his alternate forms in Warrior Within and The Two Thrones, the Prince is healed by absorbing sand. To be fair, he is a sand creature at those times.
  • Like the Ocarina of Time example above, in the later Mega Man, X and Zero series, when your character is low on health, he will grab an arm and pant heavily (wait, pant?) when standing still, though he'll still play the same. One game even has an item that increases your power when you're in this "desperate" state.
    • In Super Mario 64 the titular character would begin breathing heavily whenever he stood still and had his health in the red. Given that Ocarina was created on a heavily-modified version of the Mario 64 engine, it's not surprising that there is a similarity.
  • The Life Meter-enabled Sly Cooper games had not normal white boxes with the red plus sign, but actual red crosses that scattered around, spinning on the lower leg. Not sure if that'd run afoul of the Red Cross trademark or not.
  • The medipacks in Tomb Raider had the Red Cross symbol on them, up until Tomb Raider 2 Gold, at which point they were changed to green crosses. This stuck until Legend, and all games following it, in which the medipacks have red asterisks on them.
  • In Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, acorns were the healing items.
  • In Ecco the Dolphin, you healed by eating fish, or by finding a healing clam. (You just had to watch that you didn't accidentally hit an evil clam that'd drain you more)

Real Time Strategy

  • A somewhat odd (but explainable) example of the corollary is found in the Battle For Middle-Earth games, in which Ents and Trolls actually become better as they receive more damage. Ents move faster, as being damaged makes them "hasty", while Trolls go berserk and do lots of damage to all nearby units - including allies.
    • Of course, when Ents and Trolls reach this point, they're pretty much about to die, so it's more of a last "screw you" to your opponents than a sound tactical choice.
  • Similar to the Lord of the Rings topic above, in Super Robot Wars there are various skills that only kick in when a character's health hits the red. The most common is "Prevail", which raises a character's hit and dodge rates.


  • Roguelike games like Nethack have potions of varying degrees of potency which can be carried around by the player and used when needed. Of course, if a monster finds them first then it will pick them up and use them in the middle of a fight to stay alive longer.

Role Playing Game

  • Fallout 2 has a healing item, the Super Stimpack, that heals 75 points of damage instantly, but does 9 points of poison damage a little later (justified in-game by the item even stating that "this much healing at one time can be hard on the body"). This makes it possible to covertly assassinate the Enclave's President late in the game, by healing him nine times and resting for about 10 minutes, at which point he drops dead from the "healing" damage.
    • In Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas you can be healed by eating, drinking, bloodpacks stimpacks (2 kinds)and with the right perks, radiation, and sunlight.
      • New Vegas brings back the bad effect of Super Stim Packs, but they now provide a stat debuff instead of hit point damage.
  • The RPG Exile or XZR in Japan uses various forms of drugs as healing items. It's possible to overdose and die from too much "healing"
  • In the Paper Mario series, Mario enters a danger status at 5 or less HP, and a Peril status at 1 HP. Mario begins panting in battle, and outside them if in Peril. Nonetheless, Mario still controls the same, and some of the badges requires him to be in these status in order to work. This can create a setup where you can purposely lower your max HP to 5 in order to always have the danger badges' powerups in effect.
  • Mass Effect has medi-gel, a nearly magical substance that can cure just about any traumatic injury. Predictably enough, it comes in little red dispenser boxes bolted to the walls of zombie-filled starships, open mine shafts and other unsafe workplaces.
    • Having emergency safety equipment in predictable, easily-accessible locations is part of OSHA compliance. And the zombies are rarely a planned workplace design feature.
    • In true Mass Effect fashion, the Codex helpfully explains that medi-gel doesn't actually cure you, it just stops the bleeding and provides enough medication to keep you going during the mission. The actual healing is stated to take place offscreen when you return to the ship's medbay.
      • It's even noted that medi-gel is technically illegal under Citadel bioengineering laws; it's just so useful that the law never cracks down on it.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, in a Mage Guild quest, there is literally a chest labeled "Heal Thyself," which contains potions.
  • Legend of Dragoon's "Guard" command restores a portion of the character's HP every time it is used in battle, making it a viable healing method during the game's many Random Encounters.
  • Potions, HP Ups and Restores are this way in Pokémon games, though they only restore HP, not the PP of a move. PP Ups exist, but they're rare.

Simulation Game

  • In the PC game B 17 Flying Fortress The Mighty 8 th, injured crewmen, possibly riddled with shrapnel and bullets, can be healed by other crewmen giving first aid. Fair enough, but the first aid involves shaking them, slapping them in the face, and saying "You'll be fine".
  • Trauma Center has the green "Stabilizer" fluid, a drug that you inject into your patient's body to raise their vitals (which are rated from 0-99). It doesn't matter how many tumors pepper the surface of the stomach, or how tattered the heart is from the innumerable lacerations covering it; stabilizer cures everything! It's never actually explained what's in the stabilizer, but it doesn't seem like there's a chance of overdose.
    • The series also has the "Antibiotic Gel," which completely disinfects anything it touches within milliseconds. It also heals small cuts instantly, raises vitals, reduces the speed at which vitals fall and removes stains without hours of scrubbing!

Stealth Based Game

  • Generally speaking, in the Metal Gear series, healing is primarily achieved through a Hyperactive Metabolism - namely, eating rations or other food.
    • Averted somewhat in Metal Gear Solid 3, where while you do use herbs and random items to heal yourself, you can get helpful information from your radio medic explaining exactly how it works. Also, wounds require logical actions to heal them. For example, a deep cut requires you to apply a styptic to stop the bleeding, disinfectant to prevent infection, a suture to sew it up, and a bandage to cover it all. However, you can receive multiple injuries in the same area and heal them each time, without suffering any lingering side effects other than cosmetic damage, and the items can be applied in any order.
      • Any and EVERY order. For instance, you have been poisoned. How can you cure yourself? By using the following items in this order on the site of the injury: Knife, bandage, cigar, stitches, knife, disinfectant, knife, cigar, anti venom. It works with no side effects beyond extreme amusement.
      • It's also notable that all this just removes the lingering effects of wounds, like bleeding or recurring damage. Restoring your Hit Points requires resting and eating (while not seriously injured) or using LIFE medicine, an instant-heal item which your support team will explain as "an experimental Soviet drug" that "doesn't really make sense."
    • In Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots healing is mostly a matter of eating and drinking or having a high psyche meter, which will allow you to slowly heal automatically. There are also some tunes on your iPod that allow you to heal more quickly using the latter method.

Survival Horror

  • Resident Evil is particularly bad for this, suggesting that you can heal yourself just by using a random green herb you ground up. Though it's unclear if you're applying it to the wound, eating the herbs, or as many fans jokingly say, rolling it in a joint and smoking it. It's not as if it's armor either, as you are clearly seen getting impaled, cut, burnt, or thrown into walls by the enemies. Once their health is below a certain point, a character will move slower and clutch their stomach, but this is the extent of the character's "injuries". Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 Nemesis notably have the characters barely able to move when they're on dying status, making them an easy target to whatever is trying to kill them.
    • Apparently, they're sprayed onto the body, per Resident Evil 5.
      • Sheva! Here let me stab you with some adrenaline, that should make you forget the fact you've been impaled with a spear.
  • Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth notably averted this to a great extent. First aid kits contain several rolls of gauze, a spool of suture, a splint, and a few doses of antitoxin. Each must be used separately — with associated animation — on the appropriate body part for the appropriate injuries. For example, suture converts major wounds (which gradually bleed out your health bar) to minor wounds (which merely prevent you from recovering health). Bandages remove minor wounds, allowing your health to automatically refill over time. Broken limbs decrease movement speed or gun accuracy until repaired with splints. Additionally, movement speed and accuracy are severely impacted by having a low health bar, and when near death the character experiences a grayout as color drains from the scene. Morphine is available to counteract these effects at the cost of severe sanity loss. While not entirely realistic (applying a splint makes a broken arm good as new), it's about as close as one can get to a realistic injury system in a FPS where you can't take months off for bones to knit nor leave the injuries in place for the game's duration.
    • All that stitching and bandaging also has to be done in real-time, so you can't magically heal yourself while monsters are gnawing on your head (at least if you don't want to end up dead).
  • Cryostasis has warmth instead of health. You continuously lose it when you go into a cold area, and can regain it using any available heat source. While this is fairly realistic when dealing with actual cold, enemy attacks also drain warmth. As a result, you can be shot, clawed, and beaten nearly to death, then completely recover by holding your hands out to a fire for a few seconds.

Third-Person Shooter

  • Max Payne has an interesting take on this trope: instead of healing himself, Max just downs painkillers by the fistful, the effects of which to a while to fully set in. While this is a somewhat more realistic take in the short run — people certainly can ignore a few bullet wounds if you give them enough amphetamines — before too long it becomes clear that by now he ought to be too bullet-riddled and drug-addled to stand.
    • His clothing for much of the first game does look baggy enough that he might conceivably be wearing a ballistic vest with a trauma plate. (After all, he does keep his Hyperspace Arsenal under his jacket.) All the same, one wonders how much time he spent between the first and second games being treated for broken ribs, internal bleeding and the effects of a colossal painkiller overdose.
  • Oni's health items, hyposprays, serve a dual purpose. If used when Konoko is close to full health, it will rise above 100%, and trigger a "super mode". It lasts until her health is reduced to full, over time or by damage. Otherwise, the health gain is delayed (can be interrupted, making it dangerous to use in combat).
  • In Blood Rayne, the main character is a Dhampir (half-vampire), and regains health by sucking the blood of her enemies. In the sequel, her guns are blood-fueled as well.
  • Let's not forget Gears of War, which has a similar knockdown situation in the Co-operative mode. All it takes is your buddy to essentially kick you in the butt before you stand up and are ready to fight again. Which can lead to annoying situations of playing 'Injury tag' "He shot me!" "I'm back!" "He shot you!" "You're back!" etc.
    • Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory has a similar system, with each player having a limited supply of "adrenaline syringes" for reviving colleagues. It's thus very tempting in bored moments to take your teammate out yourself and play chicken with the death timer...
  • In the Crusader series of games, the Silencer can instantly heal even the most severe wounds with a medkit (of which he can carry up to ten at a time), though he might need more than one. Not even bringing up the question of how he can do this with his arms full of gun and the kits in his backpack, the game's lit explains that the medikits are more lifesavers than they are actual medicine, just something to keep the soldier alive and out of shock until better treatment can be found, and that there may be nasty side effects of prolonged or overuse. It's entirely possible Silencers are genetically engineered to take full advantage of them without side effects, but the game makes no mention of that...
    • And then there's the medical booths, which are kind of like the opposite of suicide booths.
  • The James Bond game From Russia with Love for Game Cube uses the armor version. James can pick up random bulletproof vests that wear out as he gets shot. However, once the meter for the vest runs out, the damage goes straight to your health.

Turn Based Tactics

  • The X-COM series (Sold as UFO Defense in Europe) simulates a realistic injury system very well. Injured characters have their speed, accuracy and morale reduced, and may have bleeding wounds that deal further damage each round and can only be cured using a medkit. Doing so also recovers a handful of HP, while painkillers can reduce the morale penalties. Otherwise the wounded character is stuck until the end of the battle, at which point they become unavailable for anything from a few days to a few months depending on the degree of injury. Many players prefer to transfer the injured soldier out of X-Com and hire a new recruit rather than pay their salary while they recover.
    • The "realism" aspect goes out the window in the second game, where all the same rules apply - but underwater. For example, apparently having your skull ruptured does not, in fact, mean your diving helmet is no longer air-tight - or does it?
  • The game Jagged Alliance 2 features a fairly realistic injury system. Characters will take hits first to their armor, reducing its effectiveness in future battles. They will then take the hit to their health. This will show up on the health bar as a yellow area. When they are healed in the field, this will be covered up in pink, to show that it is bandaged, but will be lost more quickly next time they are hit, potentially causing them to start bleeding. Characters must be healed on the world map to remove the pink and turn it to the default red, a process which takes time. In addition, characters have a stamina bar, making it possible for characters to faint or collapse in the field, requiring immediate medical attention and stamina-recovering water. Furthermore, being hit drains not only health but also stamina, so even if a character survives with only minor injuries, the stamina drain will give them an action point penalty, significantly reducing their combat effectiveness, if not knock them out outright.

Wide Open Sandbox

  • The title characters of Killer 7 use the blood of their enemies to heal their own wounds. Given their nature, this is possibly the most sensible entry on this list.
    • It's got to be the right kind of blood, though.
  • Prototype subverts this nicely. Since your character is capable of absorbing genetic materials from anyone, medkits are... people. Down on health? Grab someone by the neck, smash their head in, absorb their body into your own, and voila, you're healed!
    • Although this is down to your 'health' bar not actually measuring your health. Rather, it's a display of your current mass(or rather biomass), hence Critical Mass when you over-fill it.
    • Similarly, In Famous has all your powers based on electricity, so anything that runs on power can be used as a medkit.
      • Including people!
  • Terraria has standard healing potions in varying strengths. Hyperactive Metabolism is also at play in the forms of mushrooms and goldfish. However, all healing items (except goldfish) come with a 60 second "Potion Sickness" debuff that prevents you from using another in that time. Goldfish do not cause this debuff, but their healing is inefficient and they are difficult to obtain.

Non-video game examples:

Anime and Manga

  • In the Dragon Ball series, the magic Senzu Beans can cure any injury instantly, with the side-effect of making you full for three days straight from the energy it infuses into you. However, the beans cannot cure diseases and such, which ends up being a plot point in Dragon Ball Z.


  • Red vs. Blue lampshades this with the fight sequence in Revelation, Chapter 10. After Tucker slices open a giant crate hurtling towards the gang, its contents (dozens of med packs) spill out on Sarge and bury him.

  Sarge: Rrr, what happened? I feel defeated, yet inexplicably rejuvenated!

    • In the next episode, Grif can be seen applying one of these kits directly to his balls after a series of repeated Groin Attacks.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • In Phineas and Ferb, in the episode Gaming The System, the game Phineas and Ferb makes has no health drops, but you're granted full health if you can defeat three enemies simultaneously.