Function and advantages to the player character
The combat inhibitor is a device that controls the machine's targeting parameters and allows a robot to differentiate between friends and foes. Combat inhibitors are very small and are usually located on the back of robots. In the event that the player chooses to cripple the combat inhibitor by targeting it with V.A.T.S. or by accurate free-firing, the robot will go into a frenzied state and attack the closest target to it. The player will be notified that the robot "has been frenzied" as if a limb was crippled on an enemy. Crippling a combat inhibitor has the same frenzying effect on robots that crippling an antennae has on a mutant insect.
A frenzied robot will fight until it dies. Frenzying a robot could be a viable way to take out or soften up a group of enemies if they do not see you, or even taking out a group of friendlies without Karma loss. However, crippling the combat inhibitor will not affect the robot's attitude toward the player, as shooting a robot anywhere will cause it to become hostile if it was friendly.
- Crippling a combat inhibitor is only effective if there are other enemies nearby for the robot to attack.
- Crippling a combat inhibitor will not prevent the frenzied robot from attacking you, if you are the last remaining threat in its vicinity.
- The combat inhibitor of a ceiling-mounted automated turret is called a targeting chip, and the combat inhibitor of a floor turret is called a lens. Crippling these parts will have exactly the same frenzy effect as a combat inhibitor.
- The targeting parameters of a protectron robot or an automated turret can sometimes be altered or cleared using a nearby computer terminal.
- Some computers will display a "no targeting data" message. In this case it is best to simply deactivate the system if it is hostile.
- Combat inhibitors don't replenish, therefore if a robot companion has theirs crippled, they will become irreversibly hostile if dismissed.
- Crazed Mister Handies already have their combat inhibitors ripped out.