A Taste of Power

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When starting a game, often the player starts out with an extremely powerful party, character, weapon or ability, which can easily slaughter anything it comes across, playing through a short battle or dungeon. The player is in no real danger of losing at this point, but this incredible power never lasts long. Once the introductory segment is complete, the player switches to the real party, usually at level 1 with basic starter gear.

The primary purpose of this trope is to get a player into a game and teach them the rules without overwhelming them with dangerous enemies early on. This can also give them a preview of the powers and skills they'll be acquiring later in the game. Common marketing wisdom is that you have to sell your game on the players in the first ten minutes, or you risk them not sticking around to get to the really good parts - hence A Taste of Power to draw a player in.

Another advantage to A Taste of Power is that the player gets to do something and have some fun while the scene is set and the story established, instead of sitting through an uninteractive opening Cutscene or simply wandering around the First Town talking to people and trying to figure out what to do.

Frequently used in RTS games to allow the player to be given a tutorial of all the game elements in one sitting.

This is sometimes done by means of a Crutch Character, who leaves, is killed, or is depowered after the segment is over, weakening your fighting strength. It frequently ends with a Warmup Boss.

If some programming oversight allows you to retain some of this power, such as by removing the ridiculously powerful equipment from a temporary character, the result may make the game incredibly easy.

Also known as "Abilitease" on the Giant Bomb wiki.

Compare Bag of Spilling, where a player character's hard-won power is somehow lost between the end of one game and the beginning of its sequel. If you wind up having to fight the Crutch Character later, you've been walking in Villain Shoes. May coincide with And Now for Someone Completely Different. The inversion is Eleventh-Hour Superpower, where you get special abilities at the end of the game. Also contrast Second-Hour Superpower, where the player character starts generically and gets his/her defining ability only partway through. May be Purposefully Overpowered.

Examples of A Taste of Power include:

Video game examples[edit | hide | hide all]

Action Adventure[edit | hide]

  • Onimusha 3 starts Samonosuke off with the fully-powered versions of his three primary magic swords from the first game (Raizen, Enryuu, and Shippuu) only to rob him of all three by the second level, leaving him with naught but his regular, non-magical katana once again until he can find three new magical weapons. If you manage to find the special orbs in the Dark Realm you can start a New Game+ using the above-mentioned magical swords.
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is a textbook example of this trope. After the (skippable) introductory scene with Richter Belmont, Alucard comes to Castle Drac with a full complement of his signature equipment... which is promptly swiped from him by Daddy's Dragon, Death. It's not until you've explored the entire castle twice that you can get back everything you lost.
    • Humorously, it is possible to skip past the room with Death, making the rest of the game absurdly easy due to your crazy armor that reduces most attacks in the first half of the game to Scratch Damage.
  • Kameo: Elements of Power begins with the titular character infiltrating the fortress of Thorn, the troll king, with three Elemental Warrior transformations intact. Instructions are given on how to transform and use the Warriors' abilities. The attack on the castle fails; Kameo loses her Elemental Warriors, and must retrieve them, along with several other transformations.
  • Ecco the Dolphin: The Tides of Time: Ecco begins the game not having to breathe, as a token of the Asterite's power granted him in the first game. Once something wipes out the Asterite offscreen in one of the first levels, though, be prepared to see that oxygen bar start going down...
  • Shadow Complex starts with you controlling a different character who has the (mostly) assembled suit of Powered Armor you find the pieces of once you start the game proper. For this one shootout with a boss fight afterwards, you have plenty of armor, an assault rifle, grenades and missiles, and a double-jump.
  • Darksiders starts War off with eight Lifestones, a maximum power Chaoseater and the ability to use Chaos Form indefinitely. A couple of battles later, War suddenly loses Chaos Form and four of the Lifestones. After the first Boss Fight, War is brought in front of his masters, the Charred Council, who accuse him of starting the End War early and siding with the demons. They then strip him of all of his powers and leash him with an Exposition Fairy before letting him go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • NieR starts off with Nier accepting power from Grimoire Noir and becoming the Shadowlord in order to protect Yonah. He levels up like crazy and quickly gets access to the Sealed Verses that you have to quest for in the real game.

Action Game[edit | hide]

  • Alter Echo grants the player all three forms in quick succession during the opening chapter, allowing the player to get used to the shapeshifting mechanics and using all three forms in tandem effectively. At the end of the first chapter, the resident super-villain steals all but your basic form until your ally restores your other forms after beating the second and third chapters.
  • Danny Phantom: The Ultimate Enemy Video Game lets you play as Evil Future Danny for the first level and boss fight and in the Boss Rush mode. After that, you play the rest of the game as regular Danny.

Card Game[edit | hide]

  • In Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's World Championship 2011: Over the Nexus, shortly into the game the player participates in a rental deck tournament. For the duration of this tournament they use one of a selection of premade decks that are actually quite powerful and well built to face other, equally well built, decks (the ones the player didn't pick). While winning is optional it does show how a functional deck should look and show off some high level combos while the player's actual deck is rubbish.
    • The predecessor 2010: Reverse of Arcadia tries this by locking you into a "supplied deck" by story. It doesn't really work since the deck isn't that good and is not very fluid, causing several early fights become a horrific Luck-Based Mission where the shuffle is the difference between victory and success.

Driving Game[edit | hide]

  • Forza Motorsport 3 starts out with the player racing in a nice red Audi R8. After the race, you have to choose between a few cheap hatchbacks (like the Ford Fiesta) for the next races until you buy another car.
    • The forth game has a similar beginning, only now you are in a Ferrari 458 Italia.
  • Need for Speed: Most Wanted begins with a flash-forward featuring the player racing in a high-performance BMW which becomes disabled partway through the race. The game then flashes back six days to show how the player got to the race at the beginning before coming full circle and having the player lose the car in the opening race. Then the player must start the actual game by purchasing a more modest vehicle and working back up to overpowered racing machine.
    • EA Games loves this trope, because the same thing happens in Need for Speed: Carbon. Instead of having the car for three and a half races, however, you're treated to a sort of intro to canyon racing that you can only lose if you stop trying, before your car is totalled.
    • Similarly, in Need for Speed: Underground, when you begin a new career, you immediately start a circuit race with modded cars. After you win the circuit, it turns out the whole race was just your daydream, and your own car is completely unmodded.
      • The ending cutscene potentially (and eerily) makes this a dream-within-a-dream.
    • In Need for Speed: Underground 2, a friend of a friend lends you her modified Nissan 350Z as transportation once you touchdown at the city the game takes place in. You're asked to meet up with her at the car lot on the other side of the district as soon as possible so you can pick out a starter car using the insurance payout from your wrecked R34, but you can participate in up to three races with the Z before she gets pissed and demands that you get to the car lot at once.
    • Strangely, Need for Speed: Undercover completely averts the trope when it'd be entirely logical to have it in full force. You're not some out of luck wanna be racer, you're undercover for the FBI. You think they'd give you more than a barely decent car...

First-Person Shooter[edit | hide]

  • Two of the Metroid Prime games begin with a fully suited-up Samus playing through a short level, after which she loses her extra abilities and the real game begins. This is now a Beam Me Up, Scotty joke for the franchise; "Samus always loses her powers near the start of the game."
    • Metroid Prime 3 just uses the Bag of Spilling, but starts Samus off with the Space Jump Boots, Morph Ball and its bombs, and the Charge Beam. Word of God says that it was fun to make Samus lose her gear, but by the 3rd Prime game, they stopped doing it as a plot point because it wasn't fresh anymore. Also, after obtaining Phazon weapon, until you pass corruption threshold on Bryyo, you could shoot anything to death harmlessly, but walk an inch past that cutscene with the Phazon pool and even if you fly back to Norion and go to the generator, you can just overload and lose.
    • Metroid: Other M has Samus keep her abilities from Super Metroid, but then refuses to use them until Adam gives the OK since she is working under his command. During the training session at the start, you get the chance to use the extremely powerful Power Bomb. A little bit later, you're told to not use it because its power can vaporize anyone nearby, thus you can't use the super weapon until at the end of the game.
      • Not using the Power Bombs makes sense, but the authorization system is taken to ridiculous heights later, as Samus must traverse a dangerous area with her health slowly decreasing. This could have totally be avoided if she would use her Varia suit, but she will not because Adam hadn't authorized it. Why she needs authorization to protect herself from hostile environments is not stated.
      • Later becomes a Crowning Moment of Awesome when Samus engages two of her more powerful upgrades without explicit permission and bemusedly asks, "Any objections, Adam?"
    • Recently, in one of the most amazing sequence breaks to date, a way was found to skip the Bag of Spilling in Prime 2. With out-of-bounds glitching, you can avoid triggering the cutscene where Dark Samus leaves you on Dark Aether and your stuff is stolen.
  • In the lesser-known FPS game, Chaser, the only gun you get in the first level is the G11—a powerful and accurate assault rifle with a 50-round magazine and an attached mini-scope. After getting used to effortlessly pulverizing every Mook in sight, you're downgraded to low-power pistols and submachine guns.
  • Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer has something like this. The default classes that can be chosen have stuff, like the noobtube Grenade Launcher for the FAMAS or red dot sight for the UMP45, that will not be available immediately after you gain the ability to customize your own classes.
    • Modern Warfare 3 continues this; only two of the five default classes give you primary weapons you'll immediately have once you unlock Create-A-Class, the other three equipping you with weapons you won't be seeing until level 28 at minimum. Survival Mode does this on occasion as well - for instance, the last unlocked shotgun in multiplayer is available from the beginning in Survival.
  • Mysteries of the Sith, the expansion pack for Jedi Knight, had you play as Kyle Katarn, the full-powered Jedi Knight from the main game, for the first few levels. Then your point of view switched to Mara Jade, who was still in training.

Hack and Slash[edit | hide]

  • God of War II begins with Kratos as a (slightly depowered) god, allowing the player to slaughter his way through the armies of Rhodes, before he becomes all the way depowered.
    • He actually starts the story with fully godlike powers, but Zeus removes some of them with his first backstab, somewhere around a minute before the player is first given control.
    • Similarly, shortly into the third game, he falls into the river Styx, losing almost all of his power in the process. Hardly the worst excuse ever, though.
  • Chaos Legion starts the main character off with Thanatos as his legion, whose powers include wiping out everything and anything that happens to so much as look at you. You lose it once you meet the Big Bad at the end of the tutorial stage, and have to reassemble it.
  • In Guardian Heroes, Han starts off with the powerful Sword of Legend. He loses it to the Golden Hero after the first stage, but may gain another, equally powerful sword if he follows the right path.

MMORPGs[edit | hide]

  • In some MMORPGs, when creating your character, it is depicted wearing very impressive looking, high level equipment. Once your character is actually created though, you only have basic, dull gear.
  • Aion has a version of this around level 5-6, with a couple of flashback quests that take place in The Abyss, a much-higher-level PVP area. You're in impressive-looking armor, can fly, and characters around you are calling you their hero. In the second quest you'll also be facing off against some really tough-looking enemies who nonetheless go down easily before your "might", plus a "legendary" hero from the other faction, who ultimately kicks your butt in a cutscene.
  • In the 2D MMORPG Maple Story, making an Aran places you through a tutorial in the form of a flashback. It introduces you to the Aran's basic playstyle by allowing you to use a maxed out Triple Swing/Final Blow, a 4th job skill combination.
  • Fallen Earth starts with a max-level character, but your DNA data gets corrupted when the cloning equipment is damaged.
  • The first mission of the first Incarnate arc in City of Heroes gives you a taste of what you're going to be working toward; during the mission, you fight several heroes and archvillains – some of whom number among the most challenging in the game – and they pose no threat whatsoever.
  • Two missions added in the August 9th patch of Lego Universe temporarily give new players special armour that has roughly the power of level 2 faction equipment and 4 extra hearts in order to fight the Spider Queen.
  • In Battlestar Galactica Online, one plotline mission gives you a chance to take an Escort-type starship for a spin. If you accept that mission as soon as it's available, it'll probably be the first time you're going to get to use an Escort if you haven't been Bribing Your Way to Victory.
  • The very first mission in the story arc that leads to acquiring Incarnate powers in the endgame of the late, lamented City of Heroes allows you to curbstomp just about every archvillain and giant monster in the game. Sadly, it's just a memory that your future self sent back in time to you to start a Stable Time Loop.

Platform Game[edit | hide]

  • The Sega classic Wonder Boy III the Dragons Trap starts you off in the labyrinth lair of Meka, the Dragon, equipped with Legendary Sword, Shield and Armor, bunches of Heart Containers, and mooks that drop heart refills nearly all the time, making it practically impossible to die at this point unless you do it on purpose. Then you reach and defeat Meka, and he leaves behind a Wisp that curses you, turning you into a lizard-man with a wimpy fire breath.
  • In Captain Comic 2, you get unlimited fuel for your jetpack in the second to last level. The last level prevents you from using your jetpack at all.
  • The new Bionic Commando game has a tutorial shortly after the beginning with several powers available to you. Although you get to practice them all, don't expect to use any of them until the game tells you it's okay (except zip line kicks, those you can do right away).

Real Time Strategy[edit | hide]

  • Command & Conquer 3 allows you to use the GDI's superweapon in the tutorial mission. However, you won't be able to use it again until much later into the game.
    • Also an example of Cutscene Power to the Max. While being highly devastating, Ion Cannon does not, normally, evaporate entire enemy bases in one shot. The NOD buildings are just rigged to all die no matter what via map scripting - try firing the ion cannon at the outskirt of the base rather than the center.
  • The tutorial of UFO: Aftershock consists of 3 missions during which you control characters (1 in first mission, 2 in second and 3 in last part) with early game weapons but with armour (at true beginning you have no armour for your soldiers) and mid/late game skills and abilities (probably most notable is Ranger wielding double laser pistols).
  • The first Spellforce has a lengthy tutorial with a level 5 character who's in little danger thanks to being a tanky Paladin type. Your created character comes in after this and starts at level 1.
  • During the Orc campaign of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, in one level the player has to kill a demigod named Cenarious, which is nearly impossible under normal circumstances since, in addition to him having a decent sized base , he has the highest HP of anything you fight in any of the campaigns and divine type armor which means most attacks only do 1 point of damage to him. The way to beat him is completing the main quest in the level which leads you to a fountain of life that's been corrupted by a demon named Mannorath, and the genre blind orc leader Grom Hellscream and his warriors drink the blood. This comes back to bite them after the level is over, but until then, the player gets Chaos orcs, which deal chaos-type damage, meaning max damage to all armor types, including Cenarious', new Black Mage-type spellcasters called Warlocks, and Hellscream's stats skyrocket.

Role-Playing Game[edit | hide]

  • Lufia and the Fortress of Doom starts the player off with a party of very high-level characters, taking on one of the most powerful beings in the game's universe. This turns out to be a flashback that sets up the story for the rest of the game.
    • The prequel Rise Of The Sinistrals has the very same battle and ends with its immediate aftermath.
  • In Spectrobes, you begin the second game by having everything you obtained in the first game stolen. You technically get it back.
  • Chrono Cross begins with a dream sequence with Serge, Kid and one randomly selected character, at a somewhat elevated level and powers. Perhaps uniquely, it's a premonition, and the party goes through the very same events later in the game.
    • Although in the opening, it's possible for the third, randomly-selected character to be one that's impossible to have in your party at that point. It's also impossible to have the weapons depicted (Silver), as you don't start getting Silver until after that particular dungeon.
  • Devil Children: Book of Ice/Fire takes place sometime after the events of DemiKids, and for a couple minutes you have what would have been a relatively powerful party by storyline standards. However, one of the Big Bad's henchmen does something to reset your level, your Guide's rank, and destroy the device that holds King-class demons.
  • Final Fantasy II gives you the horrendously overpowered Minwu after playing for a short time. The catch is that he specializes in White magic, meaning he can heal you and protect you, but damage is not his forte. In this way, you're allowed to level up your characters without too much worry about death.
  • Final Fantasy III tricks you into thinking you're getting this: the game starts in a cave, and you have to kill the boss to escape and begin the game proper. Fortunately, you're given a number of Antarctic Wind items, which have the same effect as the Ice2 (or Blizzara) spell, and the boss just happens to have a weakness to ice. Nevertheless, you're not actually more powerful ( and you should save those items for the much more difficult Jinn boss that's coming up).
  • The original version of Final Fantasy IV shows Cecil taking out monsters with powerful attack items in an automated battle at the start of the game. The DS remake changed this by placing the player into a real battle with the aforementioned attack items in the inventory, presumably assuming that the player has played the original and remembers the items. Or the player can just take out the monsters themself, using regular attacks. They're not difficult.
  • The sequel gives Ceodore two comrades who have better gear than what he starts with, Fira and Cura in their spell lists, and a Band that destroys everything in the dungeon. You lose them soon after, though you do gain The Hooded Man. Later, you take control of Magic Knight Cecil, who has White Magic and better stats then Ceodore at the time. If you're smart, you'll strip him of his gear and give it to Ceodore.
  • Final Fantasy VI gives Terra a pair of soldiers and powerful Magitek armour until the Esper is found, at which point the armour is destroyed and both soldiers are lost.
    • Note that you only get Magitek armour again for a single (and a second, missable) sequence. And just like the beginning, only Terra can utilize the advanced functions (i.e. anything beyond Healing Force and Fire/Ice/Thunder Beam).
  • Final Fantasy VII does this about six hours after the game begins, when Cloud is telling the story of his trip to Nibelheim with Sephiroth. Sephiroth has a six slot linked weapon, and a six slot linked armor piece, along with mastered materia coupled with All materia, in addition to a ridiculously high strength rating and the inability to be touched by enemies (all attacks default to 0 damage). Needless to say, if and when you find yourself in battle, he kills everything before you can even act. And then we all know what happens next...
    • Think you can let Cloud have a piece of that mastered materia action? Tough luck, because Sephiroth won't let you unequip anything from himself.
    • If Cloud is K.O'd in one of the battles, Sephiroth will use Life 2 on him before continuing to own everything in sight.
  • In Final Fantasy X, in the rematch against Sinspawn Gui, himself being a fairly challenging boss, especially for new players, the game gives you a party of White Magician Girl/Healing Hands Yuna, Badass Longcoat/...just badass in general Auron...and Seymour. Seymour is perfectly capable of winning this fight singlehandedly without a scratch on him, and everything he does (asides from his character-specific Overdrive, naturally) is something the player will be capable of doing. It's very impressive.
    • Even Seymour's Overdrive is available by using Rikku's Mix.
  • Final Fantasy XII had you play as Reks who, while still only Level 1, travels with a small squad of Dalmascan soldiers, most notably Captain Basch, who will kill everything that isn't boss-strength in one hit, and one soldier that throws around healing potions to anyone who ever needs them, and never runs out. Then you change to his little brother Vaan. To put in perspective, you have to grind to at least level three in the first area to survive the sub-boss you have to face upon taking control of him. Also, you are introduced to the wonder and glory of the greatsword weapon class through the guest party character Vossler—you won't have effective greatswords of your own for quite some time. Another example is Lamont/Larsa, who has unlimited Hi and X-Potions, and isn't afraid to use them. During your first trip with him, dying isn't much of a concern.
  • Final Fantasy XIII inverts this trope to drill the combat basics into the player. See Second-Hour Superpower.
    • Final Fantasy XIII-2, on the other hand, plays this straight, starting you off as a very powerful Lightning before you switch back to Serah. To put it in perspective, Lightning has roughly ten times as much HP as Serah does at that point.
  • Since the main hero in Suikoden V is a prince, he gets to spend much of the first part of the game with a party of strong allies, including the kingdom's most powerful bodyguard, who is compelled to leave him midway through the game. (The hero still has his own personal bodyguard as a permanent tagalong, until plot events remove her from gameplay as well.)
  • Suikoden II starts you off with Jowy and Riou, the two main characters. Although they are relatively weak, being only level 1, they have access to the devastating Combination Attack "Buddy Attack", which hits every enemy without fail for as much damage as they would inflict with two regular attacks. Needless to say, the enemies that survive the attack are quickly killed.
    • Suikoden IV does the same thing in the beginning, with Lazlo and Snowe having access to the powerful Friendship attack at the beginning of the game. It only targets one enemy, but is more than enough to take out any bosses you meet with two or three shots.
  • Tales of the Abyss has a powerful spellcaster join you during a seemingly Hopeless Boss Fight, allowing you to defeat it very easily. Shortly afterwards, aboard his ship, all his powers are suddenly sealed.
  • Baldur's Gate had an illusionist at the very start of the game teach you group tactics along with several midlevel NPC friends (who weren't illusory) against swarms of illusory monsters that would have overwhelmed your character normally but which didn't deal any damage.
    • And, just to be clear, there was a way to glitch their equipment so it could continue existing well-beyond the tutorial. As many times as you could fit it in your inventory and carry.
  • EarthBound has your player character start off with your bug-like guide, Buzz-Buzz, circling you around. You also have two somewhat helpful NPCs with you as well (Picky and your Dog), as well as one totally useless one (Pokey). Because of Buzz-Buzz's great and awesome PSI abilities, you are basically invincible for the first few minutes of the game. Then Buzz-Buzz gets swatted by Pokey and Picky's mom, who thinks it's a bug. Now you are all alone.
  • The Hentai RPG Knights of Xentar starts your character at the lower-mid levels, with decent stats. However, the moment we're done with the introductory area, the plot depowers you and strips you nude.
  • In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, the prologue level is played as Darth Vader. He plays like the normal player character would after being powered up to the max, with all the combos and powers available, except he does not have the dash powers.
  • In the older computer RPG Ultima VII part 2: Serpent Isle the player starts off with a good set of gear from the previous game, including the Infinity+1 Sword from the previous game's Expansion Pack, the Blackrock Sword. This sword can kill any foe in one hit. Upon setting foot on the titular Serpent Isle with all of the amazing gear from the first game, you and your party members are struck by magical lightning that swaps all of your gear (and your party members themselves) with otherwise innocuous objects, leaving you alone, wielding such things as a pumice rock and a furrier's cap. However, each item is a clue to where the corresponding powerful item ended up.
  • Star Ocean the Second Story has one of the two primary characters start out with a futuristic (and powerful) energy beam weapon. It doesn't take long for it to run out of energy, and the game doesn't provide a way to recharge it.
    • During the battle tutorial in Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, the main character has a ridiculous amount of HP and MP, but has only about a tenth of that in the first real battle. This is explained in-game by the tutorial being a video game within the game's world. (This is also foreshadowing.)
  • Secret of Evermore gives the player character the bazooka, one of the strongest ranged weapons in the game, in the very first fight. However after going into an escape pod afterwards and landing on Evermore you lose the bazooka and have to fight your way to the next village with... a bone.
    • Halfway through the game, this trope strikes again. You meet someone that found your bazooka, and he gives it back to you for free - with one round of ammo. You can buy more ammo from the guy that sold you the bazooka, but the cost is extremely prohibitive (1000 gold coins for 10 shots, compared to 1000 credits[1] for 50 shots later).
  • Breath of Fire III forces you into dragon mode at the beginning of the game. Your attacks consist of a normal melee attack (which is weak) and a dragon breath attack (which kills all enemies in one hit). In the event that you don't get initiative and the enemy attacks first, you have a 100% counter rate and automatically use the dragon breath attack. The only way to die in the initial battles is to attack yourself a few times (although doing this still advances the plot).
    • Breath of Fire IV lets you play as the game's Big Bad at certain points in the story, usually near the beginning of each chapter. He's at a ridiculously high level and has the best equipment in the game, giving you a taste of what The Hero can do once he achieves the same level of butt-kicking power.
      • He is not only a ridicolous high level, he is above the level limit your normal party has! Mind, your normal party can have a maximum level of 60. The Big Bad starts of at 60 and will most probably end up at 61 and 62 in the end.
    • Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter does this in an odd way - the main character is given the power of The Wyrm Odjn, after being 'killed' by Bosch. Using this power, you can do tremendous damage to anything in your way - the catch is that every time you do, The Wyrm takes over a little bit of their soul. When The Wyrm takes over their soul completely... Odjn bursts out of his body violently, ending the game.
  • Kingdom Hearts II had an early boss fight in which you fought with two keyblades. It also had one with an inordinate number of reaction commands. The latter taught you how to use them. The former was just a teaser, and the ability wouldn't be regained until you went to Yen Sid's Tower.
  • Crisis Core, while it didn't exactly dazzle you with power, had the strongest of the 3 basic spells, a decent command attack, and several levels put on Zack for a level with a bunch of soldiers and a Behemoth.
    • It can happen again later in the game, when Zack is assigned to protect Hojo. A simulation designed to test new materia gives that materia to Zack and forces him into a fight. The materia is quite powerful...and lost as soon as the fight is over.
      • The real kicker is that that materia exists only for that battle - it's completely unobtainable for regular gameplay.
  • Legacy of Goku II uses a "flash-forward" version, taking full and clever advantage of a plot point in the show...the alternate future where the androids have destroyed everything. You play as Trunks, at a fairly high level (but unable to go Super Saiyan yet). And future (Badass) Gohan runs you through the basics of your power and Ki Attacks, including, as mentioned, a failed attempt at going Super Saiyan. Then you're released to chase after Gohan just in time to see him killed by the Androids. Then in the cutscene, Trunks goes Super Saiyan in a rage, the screen flashes white, and you end up in the present, as Gohan, at Level 1, with none of the power or Ki abilities Trunks had in the future.
  • Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World has the player start with Richter in his party, who can take down any of the first-dungeon enemies with ease. He leaves after about twenty minutes and only rejoins for four other brief periods in the game, and that's assuming you do the sidequests.
  • The prologue of Tales of Innocence gives the player control of Asras for one easy battle. Asras controls are quite different from any other character you actually play, even his own reincarnation.
  • In Avalon Code, after receiving the Book of Prophecy, you use it to summon twin "Genesis" swords for a fight, which are very powerful. Immediately after, the Book runs out of power, and the Genesis sword becomes a rubbish rusty old sword.
  • In Boktai 2: Solar Boy Django, you start with the very powerful solar gun, Gun Del Sol. It is stolen from you a few screens later. You get it back near the end of the game, but it is damaged and uses many times as much energy as it used to.
  • In Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, you start the game in a battle where you have a Level 50 Salamence squaring off against a Level 50 Metagross. After the battle you realize that it was just a sim battle and you actually own a Level 10 Eevee instead.
  • The first chapter of Riviera: The Promised Land is Ein (our hero) and Ledah heading to the title country. Ledah carries one of the two Unbreakable Weapons in the game, heals far more health than he can be damaged for each turn, and is capable of doing about 200 damage a hit (which is usually instant death), and both characters are far stronger than their foes. Once you complete the chapter, Ein gets zapped away, ending up with his stats cut in half when he lands in Riviera proper.
  • In the first chapter of the Flash game MARDEK, the main characters pretend that they are legendary heroes, and the tutorial is played through using their extremely powerful imaginary personas.
  • Tower of the Sorcerer has you starting out with the Holy Sword and Holy Shield, which you promptly have to hand over to the Big Bad in Tower 3, and get thrown in prison. Luckily, there's a friendly thief (oxymoron much?) who will get you out, albeit with you unarmed.
  • The Neverwinter Nights module Kingmaker starts you off at level 10 with four level 10 allies in a War Sequence populated by enemies that would be moderately challenging for a level 2 character. Then you get killed and resurrected at level 2, and have to choose two of your allies to resurrect alongside you.
  • In the first dungeon of Lunar 2, Lucia has incredibly strong magic until you leave the dungeon (at which point plot/the Big Bad strips them from her), which she'll eventually get back later in the game.
    • This is actually very useful, since you can use her to level up your other characters to make the upcoming boss fight much easier.
  • Dragon Quest V has the Hero's father Pankraz accompanies you early in two points of the game with Sephiroth-like strength. He can wipe out all monsters before you can attack. You'll be awarded with exp. and even heals you after battle.
  • Fallout 3, as well as the first two games to a lesser extent, occasionally allow the player to come into possession of a powerful late game weapon early on. However, ammo for it is often limited to a point it cannot be used regularly until much later. For example, A3-21's plasma rifle, one of the most powerful weapons in the game, can be acquired as early as level 3, but the microfusion cells it fires are highly uncommon early in the game (unless you know exactly where to look), and the repair parts in the form of other plasma rifles to cannibalize on are practically non-existent until around halfway around the main quest.
    • However, if this isn't the player's first playthrough, he may be able to utilize the game's non-linear nature to turn an early taste of power into a Disc One Nuke.
  • Digimon World: Dawn/Dusk gives you a full party, and depending on the pack you choose, two Ultimates whom will slaughter everything in their path with little difficulty, even against your rival, who has mons several levels ahead of yours. Even after the mysterious interloper devolves both of them, you still have a level 20 Coronamon/Lunamon and two level 1 rookies with high stats right off the bat.
  • .hack//INFECTION has Orca, Kite's first Party Member. Good news, everyone! He's one of the strongest players around! Nothing can stop us now! Wait, who's this white-clad girl? What's with that book she gave him? And now we've got a new monster carrying a Cross Q-Stick who's immune to Orca's attacks. Uh oh...
  • Before your first boss fight in Shin Megami Tensei you can fuse your dog with a demon and get the very powerful demon Kerberos, who will obey you even though you're far below his level 43. (Usually demons won't obey someone who's lower level than them.) After the fight, he unwisely attacks a teleporter station and vanishes, not to be seen for a looong time (specifically, thirty years). The trick is revisited in the sequel, although more justified: The Madame lends him to you to track down a rogue scientist, and returns to her when you're done. After Valhalla District is devoured by Abaddon, he'll join you again permanently, even if you're still underleveled - he recognizes your strength and potential, and he wants revenge on the people responsible for killing his master.
  • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn has this when Isaac and Garet join your party for a bit and let you borrow their Djinn. They let you have enough Djinn to use at least a level 3 summon, but when combined with their Djinn, you can summon a level 4 one. After they leave the party, they take back their Djinn too, putting you back in square one.
  • Agarest Senki 2 has Weiss facing off against Summerill, servant of the dark god Chaos. He at this point is level 99 and equipped with Veldafard, a very powerful sword. You get to own Summerill in your first fight. After which, a cutscene happens and you get flung over to who knows where at that point. When Weiss recovers, he gets reduced to level one, and you can't equip his sword anymore for some weird reason, not to mention he now has amnesia. Turns out, there's a lot more to that story later on.
  • Dragon Age 2 begins with Varric telling a somewhat exaggerated story about Hawke. During the first ten minutes or so of the game you play as a veritable god with Regenerating Health, extremely quick Cooldown times on all your powers, Infinity Plus One Swords, and the ability to vaporize darkspawn by looking at them funny. Eventually Cassandra, Varric's audience calls BS, whereupon Varric rewinds a bit and tells her the real story...
  • Inverted in Inazuma Eleven 3, where the opening cutscene shows off some of the awesome power of the rivals you'll be up against, as well as foreshadowing little bits of the plot involving those characters.
    • Subverted for a first few matches. Your character do have evolved skills and game breaking abilities, however, these players have horrible stemina, and get tired after a few uses of specials, usually even before the first half ends.
  • The opening section of Infinite Space, which also doubles as the tutorial, has you fighting a couple of easy battles as the dread space pirate Valantin, at the helm of his awesomely powerful battleship Corsair, capable of basically annihilating anything you point it at. After this sequence is over and the rest of the introduction has played out, you're left as a teenage boy at the helm of the good ship Daisy, a converted civilian vessel.
  • Anebriate starts off with the maximum amount of gold, experience, etc. After a Curb Stomp Battle, you lose everything and get to stare at your old items when they pop up from time to time in NPC shops.
  • Dunban in Xenoblade Chronicles provides this, with you controlling him in the opening whilst he wields the Monado, the game's titular weapon. He later temporarily rejoins the party for an early segment of the game, still wielding the weapon, and while he relinquishes it to Shulk before the end of that segment, he's still likely to be around 10 levels higher then the rest of the group and far stronger then them even without it. He rejoins for good at a point where everyone is likely to have caught up to him in level.
  • Halfway through Monster Girl Quest Paradox, you come across the Armored Berserker. Losing to him causes Nero to intervene, and you gain control of him to continue the battle. Nero is on his own... but he doesn't need any help. It's entirely possible to defeat the boss using nothing but normal attacks, and if you decide to try out some of Nero's skills, it'll be over ridiculously quickly.

Shoot'Em Up[edit | hide]

  • Super Nashwan Power (http://www.nashwan.org/), from Xenon 2. Oh Oh, Oh Yeah!
  • Wingnuts 2 starts you out with the best plane in the game (fast, strong, a ton of missiles, etc.) as you shoot down training blimps. Then, when the action starts and the Baron busts loose of the Temporal Prison, you have to fight a boss... which steals your plane right as you defeat it. Your next selection of planes is... not as good.

Simulation Game[edit | hide]

  • Ace Combat 5 Arcade Mode, Operation Katina, gives the player an F-22 Raptor to toy with, which is far more capable than the F-5 Tiger that the player is made to start off with in campaign mode. The Raptor doesn't become available again for quite some time (even if the player unlocks it for purchase from the start by beating Operation Katina, being a high-tier plane it's hideously expensive).

Stealth Based Game[edit | hide]

  • In Assassin's Creed I you start off with all equipment and a great deal of health. Sadly none of this is enough to stop you from failing the first mission (albeit by the fault of the protagonist), and being stripped of everything - including, rather confusingly, abilities that shouldn't be possible to take away, like dodging and being able to grab ledges while falling.
    • Assassin's Creed Brotherhood starts off right after the final battle of Assassin's Creed II, with Ezio having all the endgame equipment of that game, only to lose most of them soon afterward when his villa is sacked, Ezio having woken up and rushed to the ramparts with only a longsword and a hidden blade vambrace—fortunately, it was the one with both a built-in pistol (a late-game weapon in AC2) and a poison injector (an AC2 mid-game assassination tool).
    • While the Armor of Altaïr that he wears in the beginning was lost in the villa attack, the player may also unlock an Armor of Brutus that's statistically identical, and/or download an Armor of Altaïr outfit through the Uplay service so that Ezio will appear to be wearing those robes and armor irrespective of what he's equipped with.
  • Justified in the Splinter Cell: Double Agent. In the first mission, you're flouncing through the fjords weighed down with a plethora of high tech gadgets. In the second, you're locked up in prison and have to crawl through an air duct to snag a lockpicking kit. Ouch.

Turn-Based Strategy[edit | hide]

  • Almost every Fire Emblem game starts the party with at least one tier 2 character. This can be good for beginning players, and useful for taking out early bosses, especially the heavily armored ones. However over using them takes valuable experience points away from all your tier 1 characters so your team can stay unbalanced for far too long. Experienced players tend to use them as Meat Shields or just forget about them entirely.
  • Makai Kingdom opens with the player taking control of the level 2000 "Badass freakin' overlord" (yes, that's his actual title) Zetta (who also has the best stats in the game) during the tutorial battle, who in the first subsequent cutscene ruins his entire life by accident and is rendered unusable as a playable character, despite still being the main character. When appearing -- in book form -- as a Bonus Boss in Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories, he is still the most powerful overlord in the multiverse.
    • Another example from in the game is when Alexander tries to kill Zetta, Salome, whose level 1200, interferes and allows you to take him down easily. This is actually necessary since Alexander is level 1000 and unless you're leveling up the BonusBosses, you have no chance of beating him.
  • Soul Nomad and The World Eaters has moment of this in both its normal and demon paths. In the normal path, the player can get boasted to level 2000 if they accept Gig's power during during the first fight with Fienne, allowing for an easy win, but resulting in a Nonstandard Game Over afterwords since accepting Gig's deal leads to him taking over your body. Later there's an automatic occurrence of the player getting the same level boast during the 2nd fight with Fienne for no reason apart from the fact that she, like Alexander in Makai Kingdom, is far too strong for the player if they been leveling up normally. In the demon path, the player briefly Guest Party Member in the form of Blazing Ghestal/ zombie Median the Conqueror, who is by far the most powerful unit/character in the game.
  • The first level of the Ryusei route in Super Robot War Original Generation lets you play as the best pilot in the game, although he's in the worst unit. He doesn't become permanently playable until the penultimate level. The Kyosuke route is a better example, featuring several levels with the equally Badass Sanger Zonvolt and his Grungust Type 0, who leave the party for most of the middle of the game. Since both of these guys show up as bosses in the mean time, it serves as a taste of the bad guys' power as well.
    • The 2nd game does the same thing with Gilliam, Sanger and Elzam, oops, Ratsel for a nice chunk of the game.
  • In Super Robot Wars Alpha 3, especially in Kusuha and Bullet's route, you get Mazinkaiser and Shin Getter Robo right off the bat, with everything from Alpha 2. A few stages later and a lot of GaoGaiGar ass-kicking, and they're right back to Mazinger Z and Getter Robo G (granted, it's plot related - Mazinkaiser's getting its Scrander back and Professor Saotome's gotta fix Shin Getter's power imbalance)
  • Ramza's first battle in Final Fantasy Tactics is fought at the courtyard of Orbonne Monastery, defending it from brigands with the help of two Knights, a Squire, Holy Swordswoman Agrias, and Dark Knight Gaffgarion. The party is monumentally overqualified for engaging the brigands, it's nigh-impossible to get a Game Over, and Agrias and Gaffgarion make short work of them with their skills. Upon the end of the battle, the game flashes back to several months ago, where Ramza is allowed only a few other Level 1 Squires and Chemists to accompany him on his mission.
    • Unlike other battles, if Ramza is KO'd, then he gets flashing stars over his head indicating he will not be turned into a crystal, and the NPCs complete the battle normally. It is in fact, almost impossible to lose this battle.
    • Interestingly, if you take the time during the flashback to level Ramza up to a higher level than he was in this scene, it will carry over to the rest of the game. Meaning that Ramza could, in theory, go from being a fair match for the brigands to curb-stomping them within one in-game day.
  • In two Tactics Ogre releases: Let us Cling Together and The Knight of Lodis, you play the first few levels with the support of very powerful, experienced units (the Zenobians in LuCT, and Rictor + Orsen in KoL.) You're separated from these powerhouses quickly, and left commanding nothing but a bunch of poorly-armed rookies.
    • Also in Orge Battle 64, during an Escort Mission where the player has to protect prince Yumil, which is kept from being nearly as bad most missions of its kind by the fact that he's protected by four black knights, a high level melee class that isn't available to you until much later in the game. Unlike most examples on this page however, the black knights are guaranteed to rip through everything because while they're much stronger than anything the enemy throws at you in the level, you can't control them and they never stop heal, meaning they can die if they get worn down by too many fights.
  • The final campaign in Heroes of Might and Magic V: Tribes of the East starts with a level 25 Zehir, but as he has to pay with experience to move his flying city, the very first summon (enforced in a cutscene) promptly drops him to level 8.
    • Hilariously, his aide doesn't tell him about the price until after he moves the city.

Wide Open Sandbox[edit | hide]

  • Grand Theft Auto Vice City Stories sorta does this. Vic is in the army and guess what he gets? Military hardware. That means while the Cholos and average thug is limited to baseball bats and pistols, you are cutting them down with your handy rifle received from unsuspecting patrols in your base (they will retaliate after the first patrol dies though.)
  • The start of Scarface the World Is Yours has the player take Tony through the film-ending mansion shootout and play around with an unlimited-ammo M16+ M203. After the mission ends, Tony loses everything and is somehow made to lose the rifle too, forcing him to rebuild his reputation. The M16 does not become available again until much later in the game and it is no longer unlimited-ammo out of Blind Rage.
  • Prototype begins with a scene featuring Alex Mercer rampaging through Times Square, showing off several of his powers. Then we flash back to three weeks prior, when his life bar was smaller and he didn't have the blade, hammerfist, or claws.
    • The thematically similiar Spider-Man: Web of Shadows also pulls the same In Medias Res variant of this trope.

Non-video game examples[edit | hide]

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • Digimon Xros Wars: In the first episode, Taiki somehow manages to create a strange spectral incomplete variation of Shoutmon X3 from just Shoutmon and Ballistamon, which is powerful enough to cause severe damage to MadLeomon's forces. They wouldn't be able to properly form Shoutmon X3 until numerous episodes later, when Dorulumon finally joined Xros Heart.
  • Mazinger Z: In the first dozen of episodes, the Mechanical Beasts barely can even scratch Mazinger-Z, let alone threatening it. They were too weak, their weapons not powerful enough, and the battle was over as soon as The Hero Kouji managed connecting several consecutive attacks. The only reason for Kouji struggled during that time was he was still trying to learn how to pilot his Humongous Mecha. When Spartan K5 -a Gladiator-alike Beast single-handily beat the crap out of Mazinger as easily shrugging all its weapons off- showed up in episode 14, it was a wake-up call of playtime was over and Big Bad Dr. Hell was at last stepping up his challenge.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Parodied in the Sluggy Freelance storyline "Years of Yarncraft." When Torg first creates his character for an MMORPG, he's got a cool looking sword and some impressive armor. These are almost immediately revealed to be a cardboard cutout concealing the real character, who's only got some cheap clothes and a small dagger. The game then takes away Torg's dagger and gives him a stick.

Torg: "Well that didn't take long!"

  1. that's 125 coins