Bonus Feature Failure

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Imagine, if you will, an anonymous troper. Our new friend likes video games.

You are currently playing through the timeless classic "The Legend of Alice and Bob: Hilarity Ensues". Up until the point they are in the game, Alice and Bob were the sole playable characters, but suddenly, a message appears on screen:

"You have achieved One Hundred Percent Completion! That Troper has been unlocked!"

Mildly curious, you go to the character select screen to investigate...

What's this!? He only has three weapons! He can't even do most of the levels! WHYYYY!?

That Troper has become a victim of this trope.

At its most basic, this is when an extra (not necessarily unlockable) feature present in a game or other medium

  • Lacks functionality compared to other aspects of the game
  • Does not work properly in the context of gameplay, often struggling to complete basic tasks other characters easily do (in the case of an extra character) or not meshing well with the rest of the game (in the case of bonus levels or items)


Note that in this case "bonus" and "extra" refer to something that may not be found in normal gameplay; if you're not sure, a good litmus test would be the question "Could I conceivably play through the entire main game from beginning to end (One Hundred Percent Completion notwithstanding) and not once find or utilize this feature?"

This most likely occurs due to a Cosmic Deadline. With the Almighty Deadline looming inexorably in the near future, many sensible developers would probably do the logical thing and make sure the game as a whole works properly and the main playable characters and scenarios are as complete as possible before working on giving Awesome McCoolname The Unlockable Anti-Hero Bringer Of Death some toys to play with.

Compare Dummied Out, where the extra stuff was axed entirely. Contrast Show Within a Show, where the extra content is a full-fledged game in and of itself. Characters afflicted with this tend to devolve into Spoony Bards. And contrast Bragging Rights Reward.

Beware! Since the vast majority of examples deal with unlockable rewards and other goodies, spoilers ahoy!

Examples of Bonus Feature Failure include:

Action Adventure

  • The bombchus in The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages/Seasons are only acquired as a bonus after starting a New Game+, are not particularly useful at any point in the game, and cannot be restocked through drops from defeated enemies.
  • In Ocarina of Time, the final reward for the gold skulltula sidequest is money. By that point, you have almost no use for it.
    • Ice Arrows serve no purpose except to freeze enemies, which you can do with other items that don't require depleting your magic meter. However, Majoras Mask required you to use them to create platforms at certain points.
    • In Majoras Mask, the final Great Fairy treasure is the Awesome but Impractical Great Fairy Sword, and you may already have upgraded to the more practical Gilded Sword by this time. And all bets are off if you obtain the Fierce Deity Mask, which gives you a helix-bladed BFS; too bad you can only use it in the final battle.
  • Old Axe Armor in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin is a solo character instead of a team of two, has only two special moves (one of which is used solely for navigation) and is simply a Palette Swap of an existing enemy. However, it is very likely this was intentional.
    • Almost every Metroid-ish Castlevania has an unlockable mode where you play as another character who can't do most of what the main character can (e.g. can't collect items, can't level up sometimes, and, most idiotically, don't have a pause menu, even for changing controls or sound options). To be perfectly fair, a lot of that is much more in line with the original games that the modes are harkening back to. Sometimes, however, these come with stories of their own. Keep in mind, this is usually to balance them against their Game Breaker abilities.
  • Luigi's Mansion has a hidden mansion for beating it, but it only makes the Poltergust and ghosts stronger (a la an old school Second Quest). The PAL version has a lot more changes, though.

Action Game

  • In the PS2 Shinobi, Joe Musashi can be unlocked as a playable character, his bonus being that he has unlimited shurikens and no life draining tate bar. The pro to this is that you don't have to worry about getting huge combos to keep your life and damage enemies, and you can just continually chuck shurikens at some hard to kill enemies. The downside is that there are some bosses that pretty much require you to get huge combos in order to defeat them in a timely fashion, however you can also chuck shurikens at them continually. A perfect beginner character... only you don't get him until you've gotten 40 Oboro coins, which is only possible if you had already beaten the game once on Normal and again on Hard.
    • He's improved upon in Nightshade. His unlimited shurikens now have the ability to perform Tate combos and can break armor, which gives him a distinct advantage over Hotsuma (one of the two other hidden characters), who needs to get up close to do it with his superior slashing power.
  • Unlocking all the options in Ghostbusters: The Video Game essentially makes your character unbeatable, but most of them are acquired after clearing the game completely anyway. Especially useless is the option that gives your PKE meter a faster scanning ability, but only after you've already scanned 50% of the enemies anyway.
  • The US and EU versions of Dirge of Cerberus had the 'bonus content' of letting Vincent Double Jump... Which does absolutely nothing at all, since the level design is the same as the JP version where Vincent couldn't, and isn't designed to take this new, truly awe-inspiring, ability into account. About the only thing it does is make the Insurmountable Waist High Fence even more annoying since you should now be able to clear enough distance to leap right over the sucker but can't for some reason.

Driving Game

  • Sweet Tooth and Minion in Twisted Metal 2. You get them after you beat the game once. There's just one problem in the PSX version of the game: you get no continues. If you get stomped on level 7 out of 8 (the number is a deliberate choice), you're finished. At least Minion is intentionally overpowered. Sweet Tooth is exactly as strong as a regular character and therefore very hard to beat the game with. Thankfully there's a Classic Cheat Code to unlock them right away.
  • The Piranha ship in Wipeout 2097/XL. It is super fast, super agile, super this and that, only you can't use weapons. It still wins everything, but the game just got a lot more boring. They fixed this in Wipeout 64, though they still gave the Piranha the most useless superweapon.
  • The final unlockable course of F-Zero GX is Mute City: Sonic Oval, a beginner-level course that consists of a NASCAR-style oval. It's not even used in the AX Cup; you can only play it in Time Attack, Practice, and multiplayer. It's also on the wrong place in the AX Cup course listing; in F-Zero AX, it's the first course in the list rather than the last.
  • Finding all wrecks in an area in Test Drive Unlimited 2 grants you a free car if you have the garage space for it. The first wreck you assemble is a Volkswagen Beetle. A C4-class car (Which means you can actually enter it into some competitions, unlike the B2-class V8 Buggy you find next) with a top speed that can only exceed 85 mph with massive tuning or the much simpler method of driving it off a cliff. At least the V8 Buggy you get from the next ten wrecks is useful for exploring. Another 10 gets you The Citroen 2CV (also C4 class), even worse than Beetle. It tops out at about 70 mph, even after tuning. Then again, what do you expect from a car with only 18 horsepower?
  • Mario Kart 7 has a few unlockable gliders you can earn. However, some of them are just a copy of the Super Glider in terms of stats, basically giving no bonus, and the rest are just a copy of the Peach Parasol in its bonus stats.

Fighting Game

  • Soul Calibur II had secret characters Berserker, Assassin, and Lizardman, unlockable only through special means in the Weapon Master Mode. The kicker is that they can't be used in most game modes (including Weapon Master itself), and their moveset lists are inaccessible from the start menu like every other character. Additionally, they only have one weapon each, but they all have six costumes when two or three is the standard. This is especially aggravating because to unlock Lizardman, you needed to beat every stage in Weapon Master Mode, including the ridiculously hard bonus stages. This is slightly made up for due to the fact that Lizardman becomes a full-fledged character in Soul Caliburs III and IV.
    • When he had already been a full-fledged character in the first Soulcalibur. Yes, Namco intentionally downgraded an established fighter to a half-assed bonus. Also, Berserker and Assassin use movesets lifted entirely from existing full-fledged fighters who didn't make SC2's roster, namely Rock and Hwang.
    • In a similar manner, Li Long from Soul Blade reappears in Soul Calibur a bonus character using a moveset usually reserved for created characters. He's expanded in Soul Calibur III Arcade Edition, but fans still felt cheated. In a similar manner, Hwang and Amy also appear as bonus characters who use generic movesets. Whilst Li Long and Hwang went from being unique characters to being generic, Amy went from being generic to being a unique character of her own in Soul Calibur IV, meaning that this trope was reversed.
  • In Bloody Roar 5 4, there is Career Mode which you have to battle multitudes of rounds among the same characters over and over while gradually progressing through a very tedious and confusing map. As a certain game reviewer points out, among the other flaws this game has that seems all the more clear it's aimed to revive the series, the map can be fully completed and yet still leaves you with well over 800 more fights you must do in order to unlock the Very Definitely Final Hidden Character (everyone else is mercifully much easier and sooner to unlock and you will get everyone else long before you complete the map). So you have to fight repeat battles to make up the difference, and, guess what? The final unlockable character turns out to be Ryoho. No, not Ryoho & Mana, the Ice Climbers to the Bloody Roar series you get right from the get-go, but Ryoho-the-incredibly-cheap-guard-cutting-Gaia-pisser-offer-dragon. Not only is he an incredibly cheap character to fight against as a boss, but also just as cheap as he is under your command and otherwise not terribly different from Ryoho as a human from the Ryoho you get with Mana. Not to mention there are already a few other characters that are already unlocked for you early on that are also just as cheap and overpowered. Of course this is assuming anyone bothered to go ahead and fight those repeated battles just to get that far to see Dragon!Ryoho.

First-Person Shooter

  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has "Spec Ops" mode, a series of brief co-op missions unrelated to the main plot or each other. Spec Ops itself isn't the Bonus Feature Failure, but rather its conspicuous lack of a matchmaking function, meaning it is the only multiplayer gametype in the entire series that can only be played split-screen or by specifically inviting another player.


  • In Master of Magic, the best quest rewards were: extra masteries, extra spell books, rescue of an elite hero, or an elite item. If you had the maximum number of spellbooks, heroes and masteries, the game was forced to give you some crap like an Item of Lame.

Hack and Slash

  • Warriors Orochi 2... There's a HUGE roster of officers to unlock, and while several of them have suspiciously similar movesets, each of them is, at least, a BIT original. However, the hardest character to unlock, by an order of magnitude, is Orochi Z - his appearance in your roster basically signifies that you have achieved 100% Completion and then some. (You have to spend DAYS just grinding levels, well after you have finished completing every scenario on every difficulty, to unlock the last Dream Scenario - and then beat that to unlock Orochi Z.)
    • Now, Orochi Z is basically the Final Boss, so that's awesome. He's not JUST a Palette Swap of Orochi either, having different hair. However... firstly, he's doesn't have his own set of weapons, like everybody else does - he just uses the same set as Orochi. Second, his moveset is less than half the size of anybody else, and he never learns new moves - though, granted, those few moves he DOES have, are pretty powerful. Finally, every other character has a series of artwork - various design-sketches, posed character-models, screenshots from cutscenes they're in and the like - that are unlocked as you use them. Orochi Z has none. So effectively, once you've taken him into combat ONCE to check out all 3 of his moves, there's literally no point in ever using him again - especially since, by that point, you've already done basically everything in the game.
  • In the The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King game, completing the game unlocked Merry, Pippin and Faramir as playable characters. However, Faramir was just a skin swap of Aragorn and all four Hobbits were essentially skin swaps of each other.

Platform Game

  • In Shadow the Hedgehog, there are hidden keys in every level that, once you get them all, unlock a secret door for that level. While most of the doors have powerful weapons or enable shortcuts, the door in Lost Impact gives you an armored a close-walled, cramped space station level. And you can't even take it very far, as there are walls you have to spindash under, and rail segments where the car can't go, almost immediately after you get the prize.
    • Most of the unlockable weapons/secret doors are like this in Shadow. Particularly Egregious are the secret doors for Westopolis (similar to Lost Impact, it gives you a bad-controlling lowrider with no special weapon which you get 75% of the way through the level) and Lethal Highway (a minigun with 80 ammo, which is pathetic if you were hoping for a More Dakka rampage). Additionally, the weapons you unlock for completing certain endings are extremely Nerfed Infinity Minus One Swords, particularly the Samurai Sword, Omochao Gun and Vacuum Gun, which are powerful but have a laughable ammunition capacity (even when levelled up!) that hardly makes it worth the effort.
      • While the Omochao Gun and Vacuum Gun really are laughable, the Samurai Sword is not. While its low ammunition would lead you to believe that it cancels out its outrageous power, it's in the level 2 Sword that its potential is revealed: the level 2 Samurai Sword shoots out Sword Beams that do as much damage as a slash from it, but do not consume its ammo. Therefore, a master of the weapon can clear out a whole level without ever needing to pick another one up solely by killing everything with that Sword Beam.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 lets you play as Tails, who is identical to Sonic in every way except he can't go into super form.
    • Tails gained his signature flying ability in Sonic 3, as well as lowered jump height and running speed, and you can finally be Super Tails if the game is locked on to Sonic and Knuckles and you get all the Super Emeralds.
      • However, Sonic 3 does it again with Knuckles. He was playable in it's multiplayer but got no abilities, which put Tails into Game Breaker status. Locking Sonic 3 on Sonic&Knuckles still doesn't fix that despite Knuckles having extra powers in singleplayer.
  • Sonic Adventure DX has Metal Sonic as the all-emblems reward. However, he is identical to Sonic in every way, and can only be used in Trial Mode. What's worse is that he only flies at medium speed, switching back to running at maximum speed, so you don't even get that.
    • He also gets his own emblems to collect, but nothing happens if you collect them all.
  • In Mega Man X 8, the navigators Alia, Palette, and Layer are unlockable as playable characters. They are basically clones of X, Axl, and Zero, respectively; however, Alia cannot get X's capsule upgrades and Palette cannot copy enemies. You also have to purchase all of X, Axl, and Zero's purchasable upgrades a second time in order to access them on Alia, Palette, and Layer. Additionally, using even one of them when running a stage will forbid you from choosing a navigator for that stage.
    • Vile's mode in Mega Man X Maverick Hunter X is one of the "can't do the whole game" variety. Although you get to go through the first couple of fortress levels after the eight bosses and beat Bospider and Rangda Bangda, at the end of the third fortress stage you fight X and Zero instead. After beating them, you get the ending for Vile's alternate story, so there's no D-Rex to fight, and no battle with Velgauder or Sigma. On the plus side, afterwards you can go through the game again with unlimited power to select any weapons you want.
    • X3 is the first game in the series that allows you to play as Zero. However, you can only call on him once per stage, and he automatically switches back to X when he reaches a boss door (with one exception). So you can only play as him for 1/3 of any given level, and he can't be used for bosses or mini-bosses. Oh, and he has only one life, so if you die once using him, he's Lost Forever. And he doesn't get any special weapons or upgrades. You do need him to access a special upgrade for X late in the game though (even if it is a bit of a Guide Dang It), and whether he's still alive or not at the end of the game affects the ending.
  • Proto Man is unlockable via DLC in Mega Man 9; however, his mode has no story, and he cannot unlock achievements or access the item shop.
    • The higher difficulty levels, similarly, have achievements disabled.
    • 10, however, fixed this by allowing achievements to be accomplishable in different difficulty settings and giving Bass, the DLC character for the game, his own shop and story scenes.
  • In an odd example, Sonic Advance 2 let you unlock the Tiny Chao Garden by meeting certain conditions in the game... Even though the first Sonic Advance had the exact same mode available from the start.
  • The Legendary Starfy has a multiplayer mode that lets another player control Starly. This can only be used in a few specific areas of the game.
    • Also, you do get to play as Starly in a bonus world after you beat the final boss in her own mini-storyline.
  • Star Fox Adventures had Cheat Tokens which did a few things when you dropped them into the well in the maze under the Warpstone. Two of these stand out:
    • The Dino subtitle, which allowed you to see the subtitles in Dino, the game's substitution cipher. However, it doesn't replace "[Dino Talk]" with what was actually said, and the subtitles are actually significantly wrong in spots.
    • The part of the Sound Test where you can listen to tunes. Just about every sound test in any video game has some way of identifying the tune, even if it's just a number. This one? Nothing.
      • One "cheat" beat those two out in being impressive in its unimpressiveness. It unlocks the options to play the game in black and white. Yes, the player can unlock an option to do what one can accomplish by adjusting one's TV set/monitor without the extra effort (unless they completely lack tech savvy beyond dealing with game consoles).
  • Getting all 120 stars in Super Mario 64 results in the grate being taken off that cannon outside the castle, allowing you to blast up to the roof where Yoshi will give you 100 lives. Too bad you've literally done everything the game has to offer already and there's no point to playing anymore.
    • You're also given a flashy new triple jump that makes it a little harder to place your landing.
      • There's also a Wing Cap block on the roof. To some, the real prize is getting to fly around the outside area.
    • In Super Mario 64 DS, the last minigame rabbit is on the roof instead of Yoshi (due to him being playable), and the game that is unlocked, if you got it last, is nearly identical in every respect to one unlocked beforehand.
  • Super Mario Galaxy has the Grand Finale Galaxy. It's just a level based on the game's intro scene with all the characters present, with nothing to do other than collect purple coins.
    • Probably the worst of these is Flying Mario. Getting the Red Star unlocks the ability to use it in the Observatory. The problem is, outside of the initial mission to unlock it, that's all you can do, and it isn't good for anything short of snagging a 1-Up. It's fun, but that's about it.
    • Super Mario Galaxy 2 adds more NPCs and other stuff as you progress, but few of them really serve any purpose. Sure, they give you hints (that you most likely already know by that point...). The worst part, though, is a duo of NPCs that each give you a 1-Up, once. The game doesn't save how many 1-Ups you had between sessions, and there are enough ways to get them anyway.
      • There is also a collection of the various powerups Mario found in the machinery room. Can you use these for anything? Nope.

Puzzle Game

  • Tetris: The Absolute - The Grand Master 2 PLUS offers the TGM+ and T.A. Death modes, neither of which have high score rankings. While Death mode is very popular and offers its own grading scale (M for completing the first half of the game in under 3'25", GM for that and completing the whole thing), TGM+ has no grading scale whatsoever.

Rhythm Game

  • The True Final Boss of DJMAX Technika's Heartbeat Set, "Area 7", obtained by finishing the first 3 stages with at least 95% of your notes being "MAX"es (you get the normal Final Boss, "Colours of Sorrow", if you don't). Not only does it have an awkward chart, but it has a lower max combo, meaning that getting this song instead of CoS is actually harmful to your score. So to get an optimal score on this course, you will need to Do Well, But Not Perfect on the first 3 stages.

Role-Playing Game

  • The unlockable Mission Mode characters in Kingdom Hearts 358 Days Over 2, who each get only five or six usable weapons, compared to the normal characters who each have more than 20.
    • Being able to play as Mickey Mouse makes up for this for many people.
  • The two bonus characters in Star Ocean: Till the End of Time: Director's Cut may count. Adray is really just a less capable wizard (a spot already filled by Sophia) with a weapon set nearly identical to Albel's, while Mirage uses effectively the same attack set and play-style as Cliff, but is 40-50 levels lower. The player has the option to gain Adray early into the game when he would be at a similar level to the party, but if you opt to gain him at the next opportunity (much later near the end of the game), he'll still be at that level (lv 19 when the party is roughly 55-70).
    • In the original, buggy version of the game sold in Japan, the four "optional" characters (Albel, Nel, Peppita, Roger) were required. Meanwhile in the North American release, only two of them can be chosen while Mirage and Adray are necessary.
  • The Bonus Dungeon in Dragon Quest VI is just several levels from normal dungeons stuck onto each other with no rhyme or reason (but with stronger enemies), and no justification.
    • Same for Dragon Quest VII, but at least at the end, you get to punch out Cthulhu fight God.
    • In the GBC Video Game Remake of Dragon Quest III, every monster in the game Randomly Drops Bronze, Silver and Gold Medals. Get enough of them, and you can go to Divine Dragon's Castle and gain wishes. Get more, and and you unlock the ultimate Bonus Dungeon with the Grand Dragon of Everything. Get every medal in the game and the Grand Dragon...falls asleep.
      • You get the Rubiss Sword if you beat him in a time limit, which is the strongest sword in the game and casts the strongest spell in the game if used as an item. However, given that you've at this point done everything there is to do in the game, it's totally useless.
  • In Final Fantasy VI, defeating optional boss Kaiser Dragon in the Advance release rewards you with the Diabolos Magicite. Its summon and the spells it teaches are all bound by the damage limit so he'll never do more than 9999 damage, a limit you're already pushing against if you're strong enough to beat Kaiser in the first place. The only use Diabolos has is his level up bonus "HP+ 100%", meaning your HP increases twice as much when you level up, which is good but other Espers give "HP+ 50%", so ultimately Diabolos does nothing you can't already do with the other Magicite pieces.
    • Averted with the other three optional Magicite shards - Leviathan teaches Flood which is a water-elemental spell so you exploit that elemental weakness in enemies easier (prior to the Advance release there were no water-elemental spells at all except for Strago's Aqua Rake), Cactuar gives a speed boost on level up and is one of only two Espers to do so (and the other one doesn't give as good a boost anyway AND can be given away and Lost Forever), and Gilgamesh teaches the Quick spell letting you teach it to two characters at once, definitely a boon since it only has a learn rate of 1% and thus takes forever to learn. And those three are obtainable much earlier on, if you know where to look.
  • In Final Fantasy VII, defeated Ruby Weapon gave you a golden chocobo... Except it's Nintendo Hard to defeat it without breeding one in the first place, and this new golden chocobo sucks at races. Averted with Emerald Weapon, where the reward is a set of "Master" Materia. The only other way to get them is to master every Materia of each type, which will take hours upon hours of training.
    • However, in the time spent grinding to be able to defeat Emerald Weapon, you can master most, if not all, of your materia anyway. Still, an extra set of Master Materia is a pretty good reward.
  • The main reason most people don't ever bother to completely finish the Bonus Dungeons in any of the Valkyrie Profile games: yes, doing absurd amounts of damage per hit is one of the main draws of the game, and a weapon that's at least 10 times stronger than anything else in the game that can be equipped by anyone is still moderately amusing for a while even if you can already easily kill everything else easily. So exactly WHY do you feel the need to give it a retarded property of doing random amounts of damage and only rarely being able do as much damage as its attack stat would suggest, programmers?
  • Mass Effect 2 offered the Blood Dragon armor as a downloadable purchase bonus... that didn't allow any sort of customization, making it useless for combining the various useful pieces of swappable armor, such as the shield power chestplate, extra ammunition legplates and bonus headshot damage visor. You couldn't even take your helmet off to see your customized Shepard face.
    • The Cerberus Assault Armor, another set of free[1] DLC armor, has the same problems.
  • Fallout: New Vegas had a similar scenario with the pre-order bonus/Courier's Stash DLC items. Most of them were lackluster to begin with, but were made worse by lack of compatibility with Perks and other DLC. The way the game's engine is written, any given DLC cannot directly act on another—the end result was that most of the pre-order equipment was counter-intuitively excluded from Perks added by main DLC (for example, the pre-order shotgun is the only shotgun in the game that doesn't benefit from the And Stay Back (10% chance to knock enemies over when they are hit with a shotgun) Perk added in Dead Money.). Some of the weapons would accept mods, albeit with glitchy results. The only truly unique item was the Vault 13 canteen, an item that would automatically drop the player's dehydration level in Hardcore Mode, but not enough to subsist upon it alone (and it was useless if not playing in Hardcore).
  • White Knight Chronicles II made a pretty big deal out of the fact that one of its features was that your avatar character would gain the ability to transform into a (fully customizable!) Knight like the other main characters could. But when do unlock the Arc Knight? Right before heading off for the final dungeon. Oh, and you need to complete an easily-missable sidequest to unlock it. And that whole "fully customizable" part? You need to spend months Level Grinding your Guild Rank and Item Farming the right amounts of the right arbitrary items in order to make and equip the parts that change the Knight's appearance. It got so so ridiculous that Level 5 went and released DLC that replicated all the Knight parts and billed them as being "cheaper" to manufacture than their in-game counterparts. ...But not by much.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, completing the main questline unlocks the Imperial Dragon set of armour, which can't be found anywhere else in the game. You'd expect it to be some of the best equipment available...but it's mid-game quality at best. If you're a high enough level, you can get much better armour from shops.

Shoot'Em Up

  • Imperishable Night has, as unlockables, solo versions of each team (Reimu only and Yukari only for instance, as opposed to Reimu and Yukari). However, this works by essentially locking your shottype to focused or unfocused. Human characters still can't shoot through familiars, making stages much worse, and youkai characters can't shoot familiars, causing problems with a number of bosses. In addition to this, Remilia's options have a bit of lag when you try to move them when she's solo, and you can't focus to center Youmu's ghost half anymore. Just to make things worse, most solo characters are missing a large portion of their phantom gauge, making them difficult to score with. Except Youmu, whose shortened gauge makes her the best character to score with, even if she's awkward to use.
  • Gradius V and Ikaruga have continues that increase for each hour of play, culminating in "free play" (unlimited continues) after a set number of continues obtained. But if you improve yourself at either game, by the time you unlock free play you most likely won't need it anymore. Gradius Gaiden is a similar case, save for the increasing credits; you start with 9 instead of 3, and they never go up save for when you unlock free play.
  • A variant of the Konami Code can be used in Contra: Shattered Soldier that grants the player 30 lives for their first credit. However, Shattered Soldier features a grading system that evaluates the player's performance at the end of each stage, deducting a percentage of their hit rate based on the number of lives lost. This means that player must lose as few lives as possible (preferably none at all) to achieve a perfect grade. Getting an overall grade below "A" gives the player a bad ending. The Konami Code simply makes it easier to get the bad ending.

Sports Game

Stealth Based Game

  • One of the most hyped features of Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions was the fact that players could finally control Solid Snake's old war buddy Gray Fox, aka the Cyborg Ninja. This feature was so much of a selling point that Gray Fox's face is not only used on the packaging illustration, but also on the actual title screen itself. Despite all the effort required to unlock him (which is even more complicated in the Japanese Integral version, since it required the player to complete the main game and trade data using the ill-fated Pocketstation memory card), he only has three missions out of the 300 actually featured in the game (that's literally 1% of the game) and they're all set in the same stage with only slightly different objectives between each: the first mission involve destroying a set number of stationary dummy targets, the second mission involves killing a set number of Genome Soldiers, and the final mission involves assassinating Solid Snake, who appears as a head-swapped Genome Soldier patrolling the area.

Survival Horror

  • Resident Evil 4 is big on this trope. The original version has the Hand Cannon, a souped-up Magnum with massive stopping power and the ability to go through multiple enemies per shot. You get it by getting maximum rankings with every character in RE 4's Mercenaries mode, which can be remarkably hard for certain characters... But by this point, chances are you've already beaten the game once and probably bought the Chicago Typewriter, Infinite Rocket Launcher, or even just fully upgraded another regular Magnum which makes the Hand Cannon look pretty pointless in comparison.
    • The PlayStation 2 and Wii versions introduce the PRL-412, a futuristic anti-Plagas weapon that is only obtained after beating Professional (hard) Mode, which means there isn't much of any reason to use it, since the player's probably finished everything by then anyway. It's not even particularly great, being a slow charging laser that serves mostly as an unlimited supply of flash grenades unless you spend the time charging it to full power in which it kills Plagas villagers instantly, but not much else.

Third-Person Shooter

  • Most of the higher-up skins unlocked in Gears of War 3 are simple reskins of existing characters. For example, "Civilian Anya" is the same character as "Anya Stroud," albeit minus her armor and with a different hairstyle. Anya's basic form is available by default--"Civilian Anya" isn't unlocked until level 45.

Turn-Based Strategy

  • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is a two-in-one combo. It has several unlockable characters; Some of these are unique characters that cannot change classes or learn new abilities, while others are merely normal units with special sprites. One, notoriously, doesn't unlock until after you have nothing you can possibly do with him.
    • Of note is Ezel, who gets the short end of the stick. He has only two abilities: Astra, which grants the party immunity to status ailments once, and Azoth, which puts all enemies to sleep. Ezel can also use items, but by the time you get him, you will most likely not even need items. Ezel has absurdly high magic power, but none of his abilities do any damage, making him a complete waste.
      • YMMV, this troper found Azoth extremely useful in many battles, enough so that Ezel became a regular party member in any fight that wasn't a storyline match, and on a second playthrough even those saw Ezel in action, provided there were enough enemies to make Azoth worth it. Having half the enemy team put to sleep with an easily-spammable skill can be a huge weight lifted off your shoulders.
    • Not to mention some of the special characters can't even enter the water, all because they don't have sprites drawn of them being in the water. Feather Boots can fix this since it makes the wearer walk on the water rather than in it.
  • The original Final Fantasy Tactics has the Byblos. He joins you as a Guest Star Party Member when you fight the Bonus Boss, and if he survives, he joins your team afterward. Is he any good? Well... he's a monster unit, which means he can't use equipment or change classes. He's nowhere near as strong as the other special monster unit you get, Worker 8, and doesn't have Worker 8's innate magic immunity. His skills are thoroughly mediocre, and (being a monster unit) he'll never learn more. The best thing you can really say about him is that he has innate Poach, but teaching that to human units is easy. Waste of a character, to be honest.
    • Bonus character Cloud Strife can also fall into this category. You get him at the end of a fairly long sidequest...and he's level 1. In addition, to use his unique abilities, you need his special weapon, which is only obtained by having someone with Move-Find Item step on a particular tile in a particular place (though at least, unlike all other Move-Find Item spaces, there's only one possible item to get), and is only so-so in strength. If you have the patience to get his sword and level him up though, he's a decent party member, and doing the sidequest also nets you several other party members and good rewards, so it's not really a waste.
  • Al-Cid, once you recruit him to your party in Final Fantasy Tactics A2, is a very situational unit. Almost every single ability he has, except for one, revolve around the gimmick of female units in the party in the current battle. His abilities range from buffing up a female unit, covering female units from harm, and doing increasing damage the more females there are in the party. Al-Cid can't change jobs so unless your party has a high female ratio, he can be either totally useless or very powerful.


  • In Champions Online there are three crafting schools, Weapons, Mysticism, and Science. Each of these used to have a single SPECIAL BONUS "crafted travel power" the player could claim/build. For instance, in Weapons the travel power was called the "R.A.D. Sphere." It required leveling your character's crafting ability up to the 300-400 range, buying the blueprints, crafting a few dozen items, which were each in turn crafted from a dozen other items apiece which you ALSO had to buy the blueprints for, then gathering another dozen or so increasingly rare dropped artifacts, then assembling them all together...with another blueprint. The result for all this running back and forth to the crafting table, spending a fortune in points, and scouring the countryside pummeling various monsters to get them to drop rare items? Your character got the power to crouch down, wrap his arms around his knees, and roll forward. At about running pace. It looks stupid, is ridiculously slow, and if you should actually wish to level this power up, you had to go through the above hunt-and-gather grinding rigamarole all over again to BUILD the next iteration. The Mysticism and Science crafted travel powers were actually worse, being nothing more than bog-standard flight power with, respectively, some purple glowy dots and some electrical sparks tacked on.
    • And with the recent (April 2012) complete overhaul, these are now purchaseable outright with in-game resources, at which point they become available as normal powers to any toon you have. The epic grind for them no longer exists.


  • In WarioWare: Twisted!, unlocking every microgame and clearing each of them will unlock the final souvenir; what is it, you may ask? Wario Ware: Twisted. Selecting it restarts the game with a modified intro. Doing all that work for a glorified restart button, superb.
  1. with a new copy of the game, or a used one whose Cerberus Network card wasn't redeemed