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A video game trope, in which performing well repeatedly prompts different scripted ratings. Most often in fighting games, though it can persist outside of them.

Note that longer Combos are not always a positive: in some places the Law Of Diminishing Returns dictates that the longer a combo is, the less reward (damage per hit, for example) is offered.[1] This can actually be helpful, though. You don't want your punching bag to suffer a Critical Existence Failure halfway through your awesome combo.

This is a subtrope of Awesomeness Meter, where the reward is a different name for the length of your combo, which is generally specific and special to the game itself. Kill Streak could also be related in a similar way.

Examples of Idiosyncratic Combo Levels include:

  • The Capcom vs. Whatever. games have this. Normal names are used for small combos, such as "Yes, Good, Great". Higher combos and more recent terms up the ante with words like "Wonderful, Viewtiful, Galactic, Cosmic". Often, at least one combo level is named for the company Capcom is picking fights with (Such as Marvelous or "Tatsunical")
  • MadWorld rates the impressive nature behind your kills as various levels of "violence". This includes "routine violence, ultraviolence, hardcore, etc."
    • Note that each of those combos can be applied to even a single kill, if you're good enough. Multiple kills in a row are met with "Double, Triple, Massacre, Genocide or Madness"
  • Team Fortress 2 has these in the form of achievements for the characters, such as "be efficient" for the Sniper.
    • "Strange" weapons. These are identical to the normal weapons you use, except for two major differences: Their name is written in orange text, and they keep track of the number of kills you make with that weapon. The first rank, "Unremarkable", is at 10 kills. As you get more kills this weapon, the rank changes from "Unremarkable" to higher levels, such as "Scarcely Lethal", "Mildly Menacing", "Truly Feared", "Gore-Spattered", "Totally Ordinary", "Rage-Inducing", "Server-Clearing", and finally, at 8,500 kills, "Hale's Own", named after the MANLY CEO of Mann Co., Saton Hale. Read the rest of the levels here.
  • The Halo games have ratings for killing sprees achieved in a set amount of time. 2 is Double Kill, 3 is Triple Kill, 4 is Overkill, 5 is Killtacular, 6 is Killtrocity, 7 is Killimanjaro, 8 is Killtastrophe, 9 is Killapocalypse, and 10 is Killionare.
  • Jade Empire parodies this trope during one segment where you play as Black Whirlwind killing mooks during a boos fight. The announcer eventually gets annoyed.
  • Unreal Tournament in regards to killing sprees, in addition to kills made in succession (Double Kill! Multi Kill! Mega Kill! Ultra Kill! M-M-M-M-MONSTER KILL!)
  • Mortal Kombat Armageddon's Kreate-A-Fatality system adds a new level with each hit, from simply 'Fatality' to 'Ultimate Fatality'.
  • The God of War games give you increasingly bloodthirsty combo levels as you rack up hits and kills with Kratos.
    • The first game and Chains of Olympus both have "Vicious", "Gory", "Savage", "Inhuman", "Bloodthirsty", "Relentless", "Merciless", "Pitiless", "Monstrous", "Tyrannical", "Immortal", "Ferocious", "Godly", "Omnipotent", "Olympic", "All-Powerful", "Herculean", "Supreme", "Unearthly" and "Impossible".
    • II has "Vicious", "Sadistic", "Savage", "Inhuman", "Bloodthirsty", "Relentless", "Merciless", "Pitiless", "Monstrous", "Tyrannical", "Immortal", "Ferocious", "Godly", "Omnipotent", "Olympic", "All-Powerful", "Herculean", "Supreme", "Unearthly" and "Impossible". Once you start getting into the really ridiculous combos (starting at 100,000 hits), you get things like "Keep Going!", "More, more, more!", "Not bad for a Mortal!", "The Mystery is Unfolding!", "More Hits! More Hents!", "Your destiny is Awaits!", "Your fate is Untraveling!", "Almost There!", "The secret is Neare!" and finally "". And yes, all of them are written exactly like that.
  • And then there's the Style Point system from the Devil May Cry series: it's actually alphabetical. Towards the end, it goe 'Beautiful!' 'Amazing!' 'STYLISH!', all the way up to "SSSweet!" The exact words change between games.
    • Devil May Cry has "Dull", "Cool!", "Bravo!", "Awesome!" and "Stylish!"
    • Devil May Cry 2 has "Don't worry", "Come on!", "Bingo!", "Are you ready?" and "Showtime!!"
    • Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening takes it further with "Dope!", "Crazy!", "Blast!", "Alright!", "Sweet!", "SShowtime!!" and "SSStylish!!!"
    • Devil May Cry 4 has "Deadly!", "Carnage!", "Brutal!", "Atomic!", "Smokin'!", "Smokin' Style!" and "Smokin' Sick Style!"
  • Sonic Adventure 2 awards you bonus points for the number enemies you kill in a combo. As Sonic/Shadow, this means number of enemies you kill without touching the ground. As Tails/Eggman, this means number of enemies you kill with one round of seeker shots. The number of bonus points you get increases as you kill more enemies, with each combo being complemented by a ranking. They range from Good to Tight, Radical, Jammin', Perfect, etc. Most of them are meant to keep with the "'tude" that Sonic has.
  • Combos in the Bit.Trip series are rewarded two ways: by a more conventional "Mega, Super, Ultra, Extra, etc" score multiplier system, which also adds more notes to the background music. Furthermore, this is the core of the gameplay, as by the end you're making a fully fleshed out song.
    • Funnily enough, a new level of the first system is added in each successive game. The gameplay of the fourth game meant that the "negative combo" mode for missing too many, Nether, had to be taken out.
    • There was less emphasis on the second system as the series goes on, confirmed by Word of God as a reflection of the protagonist's Character Development. However, it returns in full force in the last game, as the background changes as well. The highest level, the aptly named "Meta", has a completely different background which visually explains some of the metaphors present throughout the game series.
  • Killer Instinct label combos based on the number of hits. Starting at three and going up by one, they are "Triple", "Super", "Hyper", "Brutal", "Master", "Awesome", "Blaster", "Monster", "King", and "Killer" (for anything 12 and up). The battle-ending combo-related Finishing Move is called "Ultra" (usually around 20), and a combo that leads directly into the fighter's actual killing No Mercy move is called "Ultimate".
  • X-Men Next Dimension and some other X-Men games have half of the combo levels include the letter "X": eXact, eXciting, eXtc...
  • The fighting game version of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure starts off relatively normal with its combo labels, then says "To much!" [sic], "Stop!", and "No Way!" for combos of 70, 80, or 90 respectively.
  • Clay Fighter 63 1/3 parodies this with labels like "lame", "cheesy", and "little girlie" for small combos. Bigger ones get labels like "king size", "triple brown betty", "ludicrous" and "insane".
  • Puzzle Pirates has combo levels like "Donkey" and "Vegas"
  • Non video game example: Scoring three strikes in a row in bowling is a "turkey".
    • And thanks to ESPN's Rob Stone, four is a "hambone".
    • And five is "Yahtzee".
  • House of the Dead: OVERKILL ranks your Kill Streak this way. The lowest is "Extreme Violence", followed by "Hardcore Violence", "Ultra Violence", "Psychotic!" and finally "GOREGASM!" These milestones are indicated with tokens next to the combo counter, but GOREGASM replaces them with a waving American flag.
  • The combo ranking for Bejeweled goes from Good to Excellent to Awesome to Spectacular to Extraordinary.
    • Bejeweled 3 also has the Column Combos in Ice Storm mode.
  • The not-as-well-known Atomica, by the same people that made Bejeweled has one as well. "Combo", "Super Combo", "Mega Combo", "Ultra Combo", "Hyper Combo", "Giga Combo", "Max Combo".
  • In Pokemon Puzzle League, When you combo the destruction of same color blocks, the Pokémon you've chosen will say some part of their name, eventually being echoed if you do good enough (five or more combos). The human character you've chosen will say various things as well if you do two or more chains, even being echoed as well if you do good enough (five or more chains).
  • In the Mario & Luigi series, there's 'OK', 'Good', 'Great' and 'Excellent' depending on how well you perform your Bros. Attacks.
  • In Parappa the Rapper, your ratings ranged from "Awful", "Bad", "Good", and "Cool". You needed your rating to stay in the range of Good in order to clear a level while playing the level on a rating of Bad or Awful would reflect in the change of the background and music. Getting to Cool rating had the rap master step aside and the background would change as well while you free style.
  • Mace: The Dark Age refers to combos of at least ten hits as "Excessive" and "Obnoxious".
  • Tales of Destiny gives you more XP with a higher combo after you get a certain item and enable the feature in the game's option menu. Combos are scored by knocking an enemy up into the air and hitting it as many times as you can without allowing it to touch the ground. EXP received from Combos starts to get up to ludicrous levels if you can get a 25+ hit combo (which is not easy by any means), and can be worth more XP than the hardest non-boss monsters in the game. Said XP gain is quadratic, 2-3 hit combos barely give you anything, 5-8 hits are 'meh', 10+ and it starts getting awesome quickly. Thanks to the ability to control multiple characters (thanks to an accessory you get early on with extra copies popping up later), it can be possible to just use their normal attacks on a durable enemy in rapid succession, reach 99 hits and walk away 20-30 levels higher. Apparently the developers realized this, since in subsequent games, the combo EXP bonus scales linearly with the length of your longest combo instead of quadratically, and also scales to the enemy's level.
  • One of the Pilgrim's Bounty achievements in World of Warcraft requires you to kill a certain number of turkeys within a tight time limit. Each milestone towards the achievement awards you a new title, such as "Turkey Terminator!"
  • Skullgirls has at least 250 exclamations, with the exclamation changing depending on the number of hits. Notable ones include "Barely Legal" (18 hits), "Meaningful" (42 hits), "Dude" (69 hits) and "Ultra" (80 hits).
  • Kamen Rider Battle: Ganbaride has this for the finishing blow; you have to hit the button at the right moment to maximize the effectiveness of the attack, and it will, depending on the attack, start with "good!" then continue with "excellent!", "marvelous!", "fantastic!", and finally "Ganbaride!".
  1. Of course, that's a moot point in the "infinite" combo, as even the slightest bit of damage done repeatedly will eventually kill the enemy if damage is not made zero somewhere along the way, and even then a time out will render the combo performer victorious if his energy is greater.