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The Fatal Strike (フェイタルストライク Feitarusutoraiku?), often shorted to FS, is a feature of the Evolved Flex Range Linear Motion Battle System used in Tales of Vesperia and imported into Tales of VS. for characters from that game.
Story-wise, the Fatal Strike is one of many battle features Yuri Lowell learns merely by watching others, as an example of his natural fighting prowess. He learns after seeing Clint of the Hunting Blades guild perform a Fatal Strike at Caer Bocram, spreading the ability to his allies afterward. Performing a Fatal Strike allows the character to fell an enemy with a single blow, regardless of the monster's remaining HP. Though the Fatal Strike does some damage and is subject to such skills as "Half Damage" and "Minimum Damage", simply connecting the hit will defeat a normal foe. For boss enemies, however, Fatal Strikes deal a large amount of damage to compensate for not instantly killing the enemy. As a consequence, damage reduction skills will affect this damage done during these battles.
There are three different Fatal Strikes:
- Blue, denoted by an up arrow
- Red, denoted by a down arrow
- Green, denoted by a right arrow
Every enemy has three bars denoting how much more hits must be performed before that particular Fatal Strike becomes available. This information can be checked in the same manner as checking an enemy's HP. To deplete these bars, the enemy must be attacked with either artes or normal attacks corresponding to that particular Fatal Strike. Normal attacks with the control stick pointed in the same direction: sideways for Green, up for Blue, and down for Red, will deplete that bar for that enemy, while which bar artes deplete can be found in their descriptions. After depleting the bar, a glowing symbol in the same color as the bar depleted will appear on the enemy for a limited time. Pressing the right trigger button while the symbol is active will start the Fatal Strike. Each Fatal Strike has a different animation, and some have limited range, so performing a Fatal Strike does not necessarily mean it will hit. It is also possible for multiple party members to initiate a Fatal Strike on the same symbol; while for the most part useless on normal enemies, it can add up to major damage for bosses.
Performing Fatal Strikes, however, is not the end of the system. By not performing a Fatal Strike, the player can build up an FS Chain, which is a chain of unused Fatal Strike symbols. If a Fatal Strike symbol is allowed to fade, the enemy will continue to be covered in a black aura, and causing another symbol to appear will increase the chain. A large FS Chain gives Grade at the end of the battle as well as causes the enemy to drop more items. If the enemy guards an attack, however, the FS Chain disappears. As the Fatal Strike system is an integral part of the Vesperia's battle system, there are several skills supporting it. All characters can learn the "FS Bonus" and "FS Bonus 2" skills, which allow them to recover HP and TP respectively for performing a Fatal Strike. Repede can learn "Hunter's Fang", which doubles the bonus from green Fatal Strikes. Yuri Lowell can learn "Fatal Finish" and "Fatal Finish Plus", where he can recover all of HP in the former and all of both his HP and TP in the latter for performing a Fatal Strike after a FS Chain of 8 or 16.
Enemies cannot use Fatal Strikes on the party in the Xbox 360 version of the game. This changed in the PlayStation 3 port, where Clint can be fought in an optional battle. Fittingly, as he is the one who, if unknowingly, teaches the party how to use the ability, Clint has a special Fatal Strike he can use, denoted by a unique yellow color. His Yellow Fatal Strike is performed much in the same way as the party does; after dealing some hits, the afflicted party member will have a yellow symbol, at which time Clint can perform a Fatal Strike and to instantly kill that party member. His Yellow Fatal Strike also factors into his mystic arte Goku Fatal Strike, which may activate when he manages to get a Fatal Strike symbol on one party member. In it, he releases a blast of energy in close vicinity to the original target that can create Fatal Strike symbols and then perform Fatal Strikes on every vulnerable party member.
Fatal Strikes make their way to Tales of VS. as a skill for Yuri Lowell, Rita Mordio, and Judith, the game's Vesperia representatives. Equipping it gives them the ability to perform Fatal Strikes by pressing the "O" button at the right time. Unlike in Vesperia, where each arte can only cause one color of Fatal Strike to appear, different parts of an arte may cause different colors to appear, such as Yuri's Rouha Senretsushuu, which can cause both Green and Red Fatal Strikes to appear.