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We're all aware that lasers reflect off mirrors. But some writers and Video Game creators apparently think that lasers can reflect off any flat surface. These bright flashing streams of light -- or sometimes, Pure Energy -- can hit anything from a stone ceiling to a grass-covered field and rebound at the same angle at which they hit.
In video games, they will also be the "slow" variety of laser, so that the player can watch them bounce off each surface in turn, and dodge them just as they rebound toward him. If the player has access to the weapon, expect several Trick Shot Puzzles whereby the player has to bounce a single shot off a series of surfaces to hit a distant switch or enemy.
Anime & Manga
- In ~Wolf's Rain~, blasts from the Nobles' ships go beyond Roboteching -- they change directions in midflight, as if reflecting off invisible walls in the air. It looks cool (and nicely conveys the idea of weapons so advanced as to defy easy comprehension), so we try to let it be.
- One of EI-01 (Pasdar)'s attacks in GaoGaiGar was a laser than could reflect off particles in the air to hit the heroes from multiple angles. In GaoGaiGar FINAL, TenRyuJin copies the attack, using missiles to scatter hundreds of reflective (and apparently refractive) mirrors, then calculating the angles on the fly to strike the enemy from multiple angles at once. (Pasdar had Tokyo's electrical output and computing power to make this all work - TenRyuJin complains about how hard the calculations are when she does it.)
- GGG has one of these on Volfogg's spaceship Susanoh. It fires one gigantic beam (the "Reflector Beam") from the top of the ship and uses a remote-controlled mirror array ("FF Mirrors", standing for Free Float) to aim it.
- Something similar to this trope shows up in the Gundam series, wherein beams (not lasers, as Beam weapons are accelerated particle cannons operating under a specific subset of physics) are fired at a remote I-Field projector and reflected towards their intended target. There must have been some problems with the practicality (or morality, or legality) of this, as it's mostly only the Psycho Gundam Mk. II that does this in the TV series. There, the Mk. II fires off Reflector Bits (self-contained wireless devices controlled through passively-received brain waves and capable of 3-dimentional movement) and fires its own mounted beam cannons at them.
- The Ex-Superior Gundam has a similar trick, except it uses Reflector Incoms (wired devices controlled by actively-scanned brain waves capable of 2-dimentional movement) and its Beam Smartgun.
- In Konjiki no Gash Bell, a minor villain early on in the series, Robnos, uses lasers as his main attack; Gash and Kiyomaro fight him in a warehouse filled with glass, and the lasers reflect all over the place. The lasers are quicker than the normally are for this trope, and are a continuous beam, but Kiyomaro figures out a position where it is not possible to be hit by them.
- The Tournament Arc of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vi Vid has Lutecia using a spell called Reflect Mirage, which seems to work by aiming a Beam Spam at multiple remotely placed Round Shields, causing the beams to bounce all over the battlefield and bombard the target from different angles.
- Cyclops of the X-Men is pretty much the Most Triumphant Example. While his beam is an "optic blast of concussive force" and not a laser, it still bounces pretty well. He has a super-human spatial awareness that helps him pull this off (as well as making him a great pilot and pool player).
Film -- Live Action
- The climactic boat chase scene in Disney's live-action Condorman features a speedboat armed with a turret-mounted laser cannon. Naturally, several shots are seen reflecting off the (choppy) water.
- In Culture novel Consider Phlebas by Iain M Banks, the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits attack a thoroughly moss and vegetation encrusted building. Once the greenery has been roasted off, it turns out that it is built from crystalline prisms and they end up burning and blinding each other with refracted laser fire. Roast by their own petard...#
- There's a weapon in the Artemis Fowl series that does this known as a softnose laser, a weapon ostensibly designed as a mining tool, the beam it emits is magically slowed down (and considering the setting this isn't as far-fetched as it seems} so it can destroy matter. It's described as firing a shot that "bounces around until it hits something."
- Reflec in Traveller is a type of armor that is only effective against laser weapons, fortunately it can be worn with other types of armor for additional protection.
- In Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Ryu's Shinku Hadouken is aimable and now reflects off of the side of the stage. Even when there's nothing there to reflect it.
- The R-Type series! Perhaps its most memorable projectile, besides the huge laser you could charge up.
- The Kirby series:
- Kirby's Adventure, as a special power..
- Kirby Super Star, as the weapon of the Halberd's Reactor Core.
- The Gradius series, as the signature weapon of the Big Core Mk. III, which appears in III, IV and V. Befuddling in that these Reflect Lasers bounce off the surfaces of slightly thicker lasers fired above and below the player.
- Gunstar Heroes, as the weapon of Seven Force's Tiger form.
- Bangai-O, Dreamcast version. In the Nintendo 64 version and the DS sequel, they are Reflect Missiles that reflect in the direction of nearby enemies when they hit surfaces.
- Used with increasingly infuriating frequency by the enemies in Space Invaders Extreme.
- The Gemini Laser in Mega Man 3. And as a Continuity Nod in 10.
- The beam Reflexor in Jak 3, which as an added bonus homes in on enemies. A few shots into a crowded room will clear it out in no time.
- Used in the original Strider game.
- Though it doesn't have lasers, in Nethack any visible beam will reflect off walls. This includes things like lightning bolts, bolts of cold, blasts of poison gas, and so on. Even disintegration beams, which you would think would destroy mere rock walls.
- A major part of most puzzles in Valkyrie Profile Silmeria, the path the beam takes is even displayed on the minimap since it'll be likely to be offscreen most of the time. It was also used to some extent in the original game, but most of its puzzles were more about proper positioning of the crystals the beams created.
- Xenogears has one in the form of the Fort Jasper Cannon, though it's only fired in a cutscene; the effect it has on the eventual target is quite dramatic.
- The Gauss (or Tau) weapon in Half-Life will reflect off walls if the angle is shallow enough. Otherwise it just goes through.
- While the ricochet shot used by a certain enemy in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin is an ordinary (if exceptionally bouncy) bullet, the laser sight she uses prior to shooting fits this trope.
- But that's preceded by the Crystal subweapon in Symphony of the Night, which is a more direct example.
- In between is Dawn of Sorrow, with Paranoia, the boss that hides in mirrors and fires these around the very small room.
- Sometimes, blaster shots (lasers) will reflect off of AT-AT's, AT-AA's, and AT-ST's in Star Wars: Empire at War, and off of the three phases of Dark Trooper in the expansion. The special ability of Endor increases the chance of that happening to 20%.
- Wookie Bowcasters in various Star Wars video games do this. Supposedly because they're solid projectiles "wrapped" in laser bolts....
- One of the Gun skills you learn in Disgaea 2 Cursed Memories is one where the character releases several orbs of light, then fires lasers from their gun in several directions. The orbs then reflect them to strike the target at several angles.
- In Sword of the Stars, ships can be equipped with "reflective surfaces" that gives a small chance of deflecting lasers.
- This is a subversion, as lasers in Sword of the Stars never reflect off of a surface that is just flat, but reflect off of flat and non-flat surfaces that have the reflective coating. Angle also seems to matter.
- In the X-men fighting games by Capcom, Cyclops has a super move where he bounces his eye beams on the floor or walls.
- In the Super Smash Bros games, some characters have Special Moves that can reflect projectiles, but this is mostly just a 180, not angling. However with precise aim and timing, it's possible to "bounce" projectiles off your shield and redirect them. In addition, Super Scope shots will angle off of hills slightly.
- ROB's Robo Beam will actually angle off mostly-horizontal surfaces, and you can control the angle it's fired at to an extent.
- In Dungeon of Doom, walls reflect or absorb energy blasts at random. Shots that miss their target and bounce straight back might hit the target, the shooter, or neither.
- Virtual On brings you Bal-Bados' aptly named Reflect Laser, in which Bal's laser reflects off its own beam shields. It is quite erratic in shooting and difficult to use, but in the hand of skilled Bal players it can be quite a Game Breaker.
- Shou of Touhou Project has an extremely weird version of this. Her lasers curve and weave in all directions, despite there being nothing at all to reflect them. Not even a flat surface. Her lasers are just curvy like that.
- Actually, it's not a property of Shou herself, nor is she the only one that uses them. Her curving lasers come from the object she is holding (Nazrin as the stage 5 midboss used the same object, and also had curving lasers.) Other users in the series include Letty and Merlin from PCB, to a somewhat limited extent Byakuren and Nue from UFO, and even the likes of Iku from SWR pick them up for DS.
- The StoneCastle eye boss in An Untitled Story attacks with reflecting lasers that rebound off the floor and fly upwards away, alongside a laser beam that shoots close to the floor.
- The LASER! Wisp from Sonic Colors does this.
- The final boss of T260G's chapter in Saga Frontier does this with its ultimate attack, Carnage, which fires several lasers that bounce off the monitors in the background several times before blasting the player's entire team.
- In the second Dark Parables game, this trope is applied to unlock a secret in the palace armory - by reflecting the laser off of a crystal ball, mirrors, and polished shields.
- In the PC-DOS game D/Generation, the laser weapon you pick up early in the game bounces off of walls, and even triggers wall switches. Luckily your character will harmlessly soak up any shots that happen to bounce back and hit him.