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Whenever a video game character uses his Limit Break, a portrait of him or close-up of his face is flashed on the screen just before he proceeds to beat the crap out of his enemy. This allows us to see the determination on the attacker's face that would otherwise be difficult to convey on the character's in-game sprite or model. If the model is detailed enough to convey emotion, then an alternate option is to have the camera temporarily zoom in on the attacker.

When used with an image, this trope is frequently referred to as a "cut-in."

See also Eyedscreen, Versus Character Splash.

Examples of Super Move Portrait Attack include:

Fighting Game

  • Marvel vs. Capcom
    • Its predecessor, Marvel Super Heroes, had a Super Move Sound Effect, which was a deep "X!" for X-Men (a holdover from X-Men: Children of the Atom), or "Infinity!" for other characters (which also carried over into the first Mv C for the returning cast from MSH).
    • Its successor, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, has the close-up animation varying according to the super move the character will execute. Marvel vs. Capcom 3 also does this.
  • Quite a few M.U.G.E.N. characters, though it's mostly in an attempt to stay true to the games they come from.
  • Used in the Gundam vs. Series series of Fighting Games. The installments centered around Mobile Suit Gundam, Zeta Gundam, Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed Destiny flash the character's portrait when the player activates their Super Mode, while Gundam Vs. Gundam NEXT shows a cut-in of your character if you land the final attack. Gundam Extreme Versus brings back Super Modes, but this time portraits only appear if it's especially critical (ie, if you're low on HP and/or it's the last 30 seconds of a match).
  • Capcom's 2D Fighting Game based on JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. It also appears when activating a "custom combo" input, in which case the portrait lingers for a second or two and the character's facial features twitch to give it some semblance of not being just a still image. There are also "defeated" portraits that appear when a character is taken out by a super move.
  • Done in the Bleach Fighting Games. Taken further, unleashing Bankai causes a short cutscene of their personal activation method to play.
  • Final Smashes in Super Smash Bros. Brawl tend to zoom in on the character using it immediately before the effect.
  • Samurai Shodown V had a variation. Portraits appeared not when a character used a super attack, but when they activated "Mu no Kyouchi" mode (which dramatically slows down the opponent).
  • The Mahjong Fight Club series has in-game AI-controlled avatars of real life Mahjong professional league players. Whenever one of them wins a hand, a cut-in of the pro's face flashes on their opponents' screens right before declaring the win. The pros themselves also have special user accounts that allow them to play as their in-game avatars (with a "real-life person" tag in place of the usual "CPU"), which will have the same effect, though the pro will see his/her own facial cut-in on his/her own screen as well.
  • Street Fighter III and IV both use the zoom-in, screen freeze, flashy lights variant when a Super Art is activated. SFIV goes one step further, and uses full motion zoom-ins for Ultra Moves, to enhance that Oh Crap feeling.
  • Rumble Roses uses this whenever any wrestler performs one of her two finishing moves.
  • Melty Blood, as of Actress Again Current Code.
    • Also happens in earlier games for EX and Arc moves.
  • Based on the trailers, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Gears of Destiny has added these to accompany the Full Drive super moves.
  • Naruto Clash of Ninja has a portrait of your character appear briefly in the background when activating your special attack.
  • The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match did this with the character's MAX 2 supers.

Hack and Slash

  • The Dynasty Warriors: Gundam games LOVE this trope. You get it when you do a combination attack, when you get into a weapons deadlock, and a BIG one when you launch a special attack near death.
    • You mean Koei loves this trope. The same company which made that game presents us with Warriors Orochi, where playable characters can also do combined attacks and character-specific super abilities.
    • If it's been a Koei hack and slash franchise, it's used this trope. They seem to favor extreme close ups over still portraits, but that's mostly dependent on the franchise. Almost all of the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors games have used extreme close ups of the character model, often from multiple dramatic angles.

Mecha Game


  • When a Dungeon Fighter uses their classes "Awakening" skill (or certain high level normal skills), a portrait of their subclass appears on screen
  • Grand Chase does this during special attacks.

Party Game

  • Mario Party 3 does this on the duel boards when one player's partner attacks the opposition.
    • Mario Tennis uses a "VS" version of this.

Platform Game

  • Ape Escape 3 has the bosses do this. Usually before doing a hard to dodge or powerful move.

Rhythm Game

  • Even Dance Dance Revolution started doing this in SuperNOVA 2, flashing a portrait of the dancer in the background whenever the player gets high Combos. (20 or higher, with another portrait flash for every 50 combo)
    • Hottest Party 3 took this up another notch and made it more awesome. Starting from 50 combos the character will make a move on screen, and from 100 to 200 combos, so on, they'll continue to make a fancy celebrating move for it. And better yet, if you end off with a full combo, they'll have a finishing move while "Full Combo Finish!!" flashes on screen. Distracting for easily distracted players, but it's still very awesome.
  • Elite Beat Agents and Osu Tatakae Ouendan have the portrait of the lead member appear whenever the player completes a particularly good string of beats or hits a specific number of combos.

Role Playing Game

  • The Tales (series) uses this for its strongest attacks, known as Mystic Artes (Hi-Ougis) or Blast Calibers, depending on the game.
    • Tales of the Abyss has two grades of Mystic Arte, one which gets a little portrait of the character and the strongest ones, which you can't get in the first playthrough and show a full pic of the character in dramatic combat pose.
    • If you're on a Tales of Hearts New Game +, you have a chance to see Kunzite's Mystic Arte use a different portrait from normal - specifically, with his helmet off.
    • The Updated Rerelease of Tales of Vesperia gives all the main characters new Mystic Artes, and just to show how awesome and powerful they are, the accompanying new Super Move Portrait Attacks are animated. (Because nothing quite says "power" like boobie bounce.)
  • Lunar Silver Star Harmony adds a Super Move Portrait Attack Limit Break system to the normal skills of the game. This makes the game rather easy for half the game, since Luna's move restores all hp and mp.
  • Persona 3 shows a close-up of the hero every time you use a fusion power. Portraits of the Personas involved will appear to his sides.
    • It also randomly shows a cutaway of the character's face when their Persona either hits a weakness or gets a critical hit (and the first time they summon in battle, regardless of how it hits). It applies both to the party members as well as enemy Persona users (and the optional superboss.)
    • Finally, when you've knocked all enemies down, a character will remind you (via portrait pop-up and a voice-over) to initiate an All-Out Attack. Agree, and the screen will throw up the portraits of all characters participating in the attack.
  • Persona 4 features your party's portraits when they perform one of their follow-up attacks. In addition, the random face cutaways are still present.
  • Fusion attacks in The World Ends With You: Level 1 Fusions have Neku's portrait on the bottom screen, and his partner's portrait on the top screen, each in a colored horizontal bar. Level 2 Fusions have the two portraits side-by-side, in colored vertical bars that stretch across both screens; this one of both characters with their eyes closed, opening them simultaneously. Level 3 fusions have full-body, non-bar portraits of the two characters in fighting poses circle each other once or twice before the attack starts.
  • In the third- and fourth-generation Pokémon games, Pokémon using a move outside of battle (Cut, Fly, etc.) flash across the screen and cry before performing the action.
    • It also happens when you're challenged by a Gym Leader.
  • Riviera the Promised Land does this for characters' Level 3 Over Skills and enemies' Max Rage attacks.
  • Despite it being during the era of sprites, before zoom-ins and portraits were feasible, the final battle of Final Fantasy VI manages a variant. When Kefka begins charging his Forsaken attack, a small sprite representing his laughing face will appear on the battlefield. When he appeared in Dissidia Final Fantasy the same attack reappears as his Limit Break and a more traditional close-up of his face is used before pulling back to show the attack.
  • The final boss of Final Fantasy VII made the most of its newfangled 3-D graphics to give the final boss a dramatic face close-up when he performed his infamous Supernova attack.
  • Super Robot Wars: Endless Frontier has two cut-ins for each character: one "normal" one and one showing part of the attack in progress - Harken turning his super revolver into a beam cannon, Aschen removing her personality limiters (and significant chunks of spandex), and so on. They also pop up whenever you switch characters or summon in support characters to join in on the beatdown, and the second game makes them even more elaborate and increases their number greatly as well because of all the support-only characters. It also cranked up the ammount of butt-shots and bouncy breasts.
  • Arc Rise Fantasia with its Trinity Acts and Excel Trinity Acts.

Shoot'Em Up

  • Spell card declarations in Touhou
    • Taken up a few notches with Utsuho's, wherein the portrait is accompanied by large, yellow, radiation-symbol-spammed "CAUTION!" text scrolling across the screen as well as a blaring klaxon. Reason for this being that she is a living thermonuclear weapon.
  • Characters in Otomedius flash their portraits when using a P-Burst or D-Burst attack. The portrait is different depending on which Burst is used.

Turn-Based Strategy

  • Team attacks in Disgaea.
    • In the newer games, the Magichange ability also does this (As shown in the trope picture).
    • Some normal moves do this, as well, the Prism Rangers' Prism Justice (Squeezes the portraits of all seven of them onto the screen), and Mid-Boss' Adonic Buster and Super Adonis (A four person team attack and magichange respectively, both using copies of himself) being particularly noteworthy.
      • Disgaea 4 takes this Up to Eleven with the Prism Rangers ultimate attack. It shoves 13 portraits on screen at once!
  • SRW games in general absolutely abuse this, sometimes using cut-ins of the pilot, the mecha itself preparing the attack (or the next part of it), or both. In some of the games, everything from the most basic attack is precipitated by at least a pilot cut-in. Considering the length of the more powerful attacks, they almost affect the Story to Gameplay Ratio.
  • Advance Wars shows a portrait of the CO whenever they use their CO-Power.
  • La Pucelle
  • Team/Group Attacks in Chaos Wars show face cut-ins of all the characters participating in the combo. When a unit performs a Realize Special, a larger portrait of the unit is shown, and during the attack, just before landing the final blow, a face-cut in appears.
  • Pretty much every Flash Drives in the Luminous Arc series, with the third game also bringing in Unison Strike combo attack between Refi and his partner.
  • If the preview videos thus far are anything to go by, Fire Emblem 13 will be doing this when Skills and critical hits activate.

Visual Novel

  • Even the Ace Attorney series does it, a close up of the Attorney/Prosecutor appears in the screen, generally when doing an Objection!
    • Don't forget at the beginning of the cross-examination, when the samurai eye shots of the prosecutor and the defense attorney are shown glaring at each other with gusto!

Non-video game examples:

Manga and Anime

Web Animation

  • Bunny Kill 4 has the battle in the Dragon Shrine, where both main characters and the Big Bad get one such attack each.
  • ~Banana-nana-Ninja!~ uses these extensively, usually to add emphasis to Baninja's fits of overly dramatic dialogue, but also in action and fight scenes.

Web Comics

Web Original