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Overview

Status effects are special conditions which can be either helpful or harmful for a video game character. They are especially present in role-playing games where the status effects come into play during battles. Some action games have also used status effects, especially those with a character progression system that borrows elements from RPGs; a good example would be Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, where the lead character Alucard can be poisoned, cursed, or turned to stone.

Common Status Effects in Games

These are some status effects that have appeared in video games, and some of the changes that they produce.
  • Poison: A poisoned character loses hit points at a continual rate until death. The hit point loss usually occurs once per turn during a battle, or once per step when walking around the game environment. Poison can be removed with the application of an appropriate healing item or magical healing.
  • Sleep: The character falls asleep and can take no actions until the effect is removed or the battle ends. Sleep may also wear off naturally.
  • Confusion: The character loses awareness of their surroundings and randomly attacks enemies or fellow party members. Confusion can be removed with special items, and some games allow you to attack a confused character to remove the effect.
  • Blind: A blind character's hit rate drops significantly, and their ability to hit a target in melee suffers. Blindness can be permanent until removed. 
  • Mute: Mute characters cannot speak and lose the ability to cast magical spells until the effect is removed.
  • Rage/Berserk: An enraged character becomes uncontrollable and is forced to attack a random enemy every turn. Rage may also strengthen a character's attack. The effect continues until it is removed or the battle ends.
  • Zombie: Zombified characters take on a zombie's traits, such as being susceptible to fire and being harmed or destroyed by healing magic. This effect continues until it is removed.
  • Stone/Petrify: Petrification is similar to sleep in that a petrified character can take no actions, however the effect is permanent until removed.
  • Itchy: Itchiness is a status effect that appears in Final Fantasy X-2. In that game, characters change their class by wearing different costumes within the game's Dress Sphere system. Itchiness makes a particular costume unbearable to wear, and forces the afflicted character to change her class or take no other action.
  • Curse: Curse is a status effect that appears in many games, but can have very different effects from game to game. Depending on the game, a curse may rob a character of their ability to cast spells, deny them experience points, or prevent them from regaining hit points until the effect is removed. A curse can be gained from an enemy's spell, or some special items may carry a curse that activates when the item is equipped. For example, a cursed weapon in Shining Force cannot be unequipped until the curse is removed; although the cursed weapon is extremely powerful, keeping it equipped denies the character from equipping more powerful weapons later. Since the effects of a curse are highly variable, it's recommended to consult the game's rules for specifics.
  • Slow: A slowed character moves at a slower pace, and they take actions at a lower rate than usual. Slowness can be removed through items or magic, and it usually wears off naturally. Slowness may also be canceled by a Haste spell.
  • Haste: Hastened characters travel at a quicker pace, and are able to take actions more frequently or may be able to take more actions per turn. Haste will wear off after time, and may also be countered with a Slow spell.
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