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Scouter, power level, etc.

It's all well and good that characters with empathy or Super Senses can tell the fighting strength or Power Level of an opponent, and even get the heebie jeebies or outright faint when the penultimate evil shows up, but how do you transmit that to viewers without stilted dialogue and stentorian theatrics?

Using Stat-O-Vision!

Whether it's thanks to a Robo Cam, a mystical talisman, or a cyborg eye, the character is privy to an Enemy Scan that shows their opponent's height, weight, age, fighting style, blood type and preferred brand of chewing gum. Expect any readings to be a Random Power Ranking; if the opponent is weaker, expect Trash Talking (and eating of crow once it turns out they're Not Left Handed) and if they're much, much stronger cries of "It's Over Nine Thousand!!!" with the prompt overloading of the device.

Stylistically, expect a circle around the target or a shaded silhouette, and an architects line (a horizontal line which then inflects at an angle to a box of text). Other than the raw power being in big numbers, all the other stats' and trivia is usually very small, possibly in alienese. If you're watching it on a DVD that can pause and Zoom it will be loaded with Easter Eggs. Rapidly fluctuating bar graphs happen too.

Newer videogames (including those based on Real Life or real history) will often have enemies' stats displayed when they are clicked, moused over or take a hit. This often comes in the form of a Hit Points bar above or around the crosshairs that changes appearance depending on the condition of the enemy. Older games and MMORPGs will have an enemy status display in the same format as the player's which appears in the same situations.

See also Enemy Scan.

This is the Sci Fi Counterpart of Aura Vision.

Examples of Stat-O-Vision include:

Anime and Manga

Comic Books

  • Iron Man typically invokes this trope by scanning opponents. One issue includes a scan of The Sentry which concludes he has no weaknesses.
    • No "I-shoot-him-just-right-and-the-problem-is-solved-weaknesses" that is. Tony is mentioned as having a few plans for this type of thing (specifically asked by Bob, none the less). In the end, he hacks Sentry's robot, which informs him of disasters he could be stopping, so that it puts out hundreds of fake messages. Unable to deal with deciding what to do first, Sentry collapses.


  • In Resident Evil, with the Red Queen's stat readouts of the soldiers. Funnily enough, it listed every single one of them as carrying an MP 5 K regardless of what they actually carried.
  • Used in Resident Evil 2 movie with The Nemesis.
  • The Rundown has The Rock Beck comment on the entire offensive line of Notre Dame with various sports commentator stats showing up for each of them. After he mops the floor with them when they try to stop him from collecting a loan's collateral, his own Badass stats show up. He likes cooking.
  • The various Terminators, including the T-800 from Terminator 2: Judgement Day. In the 'Minigun VS Policeforce' scene, particularly, it seems to measure the total combat-strength of the entire platoon - the only model never given a point-of-view shot being the liquid metal T-1000.
  • In the Iron Man movie, one point-of-view shot reveals that the heads-up display in Iron Man's suit can determine the difference between civilians and terrorists, and labels them as such (likely through AI identification of armed terrorists vs. unarmed civilians).


  • Mitsuru's staff has this power in Brave Story.
  • In Ulillillia's book The Legend of the 10 Elemental Masters, using a Scan spell summons a status screen akin to one from the more recent Final Fantasy games. The status screen is actually a physical object.
  • Snow Crash has a subversion of the trope - Hiro Protagonist at one point nearly gets killed because he's too busy reading the model numbers and specifications of the guns that are being shot at him. He turns the gear off so he can run away properly.

Live Action TV

  • The Buffybot in Buffy the Vampire Slayer sees like this with information about Buffy's friends displayed on screen when they're in its line of sight. Having been programmed by Warren to specifications given by Spike however, the information is extremely basic or displays a laughably 2D idea of the characters. For instance, Willow's screen reads: "Best Friend. Gay (1999-Present). Witch. Good with computers.". Also displayed on screen are the Buffybot's two primary objectives in life, "Locate Spike" and "Make Spike Happy". The latter has a drop-down menu of files with titles like "kissing" and "position-1" and so on.
  • In the "Aerodynamics of Gender" ep. of Community, we see the world as Abed sees it. In addition to scans for weak points in people, he has a memo screen, a list of the upcoming dates of his female friend's "cycles", and a synopsis of the current episode, updated as the show progresses. His memos have all been referenced in subsequent episodes, and his tracking of the "cycles" became a plot point in a later show.

Tabletop Games

  • In Warhammer 40000 there is an old piece of fluff regarding Kharn the Betrayer's helmet incorparating a kill counter. It makes a beep every time he takes a skull. Throughout the story, they are thrown in between describing what is going on, with more "BEEPS" occuring in between sentences over the course of the story. It breaks.
  • Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition has a magic item called the "Goggles of Aura Sight", which tells the user how many Hit Points a monster has left.

Video Games

  • Deus Ex, superimposed over Denton's vision. It even increases weapon damage.
    • Project: Snowblind
    • Deus Ex Human Revolution has all sorts of useful information including persuasion level, if the target is unconscious or dead, the amount of time it take for a target to get bored looking for you, the vision cones of enemies and the last place enemies were looking for you.
      • A targeting reticule, whether someone's a civilian/prostitute/soldier/mercenary/employee/etc., how much noise you're making, another person's personality type and quirks, whether or not there's anything to loot from a body or drawer, how close you are to death...
  • Various Final Fantasy games have this, typically as the effect of the Scan/Libra/Peep ability/spell.
  • Tron 2.0 : The Profiler subroutine. Fully upgraded, it gives a Program's name, armor level, hit points, and inventory.
  • Persona 3 apparently has this as an explicit power of Mitsuru and Fuuka's Personae.
    • Rise's powers in Persona 4 are like this too.
  • The Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System in Fallout 3.
    • The Awareness Perks of Fallout 1 & 2 are probably more accurate examples, as they actually do give stat details. The VATS only gives health levels of body locations, so it's just an extension of the HUD's ability to show overall health.
      • Of course, this is only supposed to be an indication of the Player Character's skill at evaluating others, expressed to the player as S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats.
        • The Fallout New Vegas Mod gives you a version fitting the trope more closely with the ability to scan targets and display stats like Awareness, Threat level, and combat type, as well as health, both in stat form and showing how damaged various body parts are. It takes a moment to work, so it's awesome but impractical for most purposes.
  • The combat display in Mass Effect provides identity, shield and health information for whatever enemy your targeting reticle is resting on.
  • The Scan Visor in the Metroid Prime games is a textbook example.
  • Later Castlevania games, notably Dawn of Sorrow, Portrait of Ruin and Order of Ecclesia, feature either an item, a soul or a glyph that allows the player to see the stats of whatever enemy they're attacking at the moment. They're displayed on the top screen of the DS, while the game is on the touch screen.
  • Any recent Dragonball Z game uses Scouters for the Life Meters and other information.
  • Rosalind has a spell in Summoner that allows her to see the stats of enemies. I was wondering why those darned liches never seemed to take any damage…
  • The Solid Eye in Metal Gear Solid 4, which displays health, affiliation, carried weapons, and emotional state (as expressed through the game's simplified four-emotion system).
  • Juni in Street Fighter Alpha has this ability and forms the majority of her quotes in the Japanese version.
  • The most recent Alien vs. Predator game, the Predator can enter "Focus Mode" which allows him to identify his enemy's equipment. Mostly useless, except to find out if an NPC Marine is equipped with a motion tracker.
  • In C-12 Final Resistance, Vaughan's cyborg eye gives him information about objects he is looking at, including their health percentage.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum gives you Detective Mode, which includes information on your enemies displayed in convenient text boxes. Unfortunately, this information consists primarily of the target's pulse and mental state which, while amusing (watch them go from "Calm" to "Terrified"), is less than helpful in combat. The only important information on an enemy that Detective Mode presents is their location via X-Ray Vision and whether or not they have firearms.
  • Shows up in the Visual Novel of Fate Stay Night: All Masters in the Holy Grail War are able to read and store information such as the status and abilities of all Servants they've encountered. It's also explicitly stated that there is no unified system for it: No two Masters see this info in the same way and each have their own system for actualizing this data in a way they can understand. Shirou uses an S to F grading system somewhat like in a fantasy RPG.
    • Of course, in Fate/Zero, everyone suddenly speaks in terms of S to F, because its what the fans are used to.
  • Humorously done in Season 3 of Sam & Max.
  • Done somewhat in Team Fortress 2. Players can see their allies' health, the health of allied buildings, and the charge level of allied Medics. Medics always see the health of their healing target, and charge level if they're a Medic. Disguised Spies can see the health of enemy players and buildings, and show a fake health level when enemies look at them. A medic with the Solemn Vow equipped can also see enemy health.
  • This is one of the standard features on the Demonica in Shin Megami Tensei Strange Journey. However, it has to scan a demon multiple times in order to incorporate all of their information. The first time you fight one, it can't even see them properly.
  • In Distorted Travesty, clicking on an enemy brings up an analysis screen.

Web Comics

  • In Erfworld, wizards and warlords can see unit stats natively, except for the Trapped in Another World Parson, who needs special help to do so. No one can see Parson's stats, however...
  • This 8-Bit Theater strip with Red Mage using what appears to be a Scan spell, titled "Wherein No One's Power Level Is 9,000".
  • In Goblins, which began as a straight-up spoof of Dungeons and Dragons from the goblins' point of view, all of the characters are Genre Savvy to the point of worshipping the Dungeon Master, consciously levelling up, and, in particular, being able to see numerals representing negative hit points hovering over unconscious or wounded characters.

Western Animation

  • Parodied in Recess where resident bully Gelman's vision is shown like this when he's looking for Gus. It's parodied right down to the stark "night vision green" color and the synthesized voice.
  • Parodied in the Simpsons where Homer is searching for a husband for Aunt Selma. He sees co-workers Lenny and Carl, and Principal Skinner, in green-tinged Terminator-style Stat-O-Vision.