Drunken Master

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Some men are like musical glasses: to produce their finest tones you must keep them wet.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

You know that feeling you get when you get drunk? Like you can take on the whole world?

In fiction, this is precisely what happens next.

When somebody consumes alcohol, they become much more proficient at their discipline of choice, be it fighting, studying, writing... you name it. If it involves skill, that skill will be magnified tenfold when the character is drunk. Given what may seem the obvious drawbacks of drunkenness in general, this trope may bear some relation to a Disability Superpower.

Sometimes this trope is an example of Truth in Television—though we strongly advise you against trying this at home.

This trope, by the way, doesn't have an explicit relationship with the martial arts style known as Drunken Boxing (which is based on unpredictable movement and surprise attacks), but according to legend most of its early masters obeyed the trope. Initially, drunken styles were produced due to medicines having alcohol which affects coordination. Combine this with a practicing kung fu master and the style was born.

Some individuals, particularly artsy types, may attribute such miracle abilities to other substances. Drugs are bad, m-kay. Unless you're Isaac, in which case they could help.

If only the personality has changed, you have In Vino Veritas. See also Super Serum. In kids shows or dubs, may be replaced with a G-Rated Drug.

It's also the name of a famous Jackie Chan movie. See also Confusion Fu.

Examples of Drunken Master include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Rock Lee in Naruto is an incredible hand-to-hand fighter in normal conditions, but if he gets even one tiny sip of sake... just run.
  • Ranma ½ had a confusing example. Kuno suddenly shoved a bottle full of sake down girl Ranma's throat, but when she started the drunk-fu Genma claimed it was a technique where she was just pretending to be drunk
    • ...and then she passed out, completely and utterly sloshed.
      • This was only because the fight was taking place at their school and the delinquency officer was protesting.
  • Misato Katsuragi in Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of these. She's shown to be pretty much constantly drunk, even at work. The few times she really sobers up, things tend to go badly, especially when she stops drinking in the last few episodes and everything goes to hell.
  • Inverted in El-Hazard: The Magnificent World, where Fujisawa actually loses all of his superpowers when drinking -- much to his dismay.
  • In the Tenchi Muyo! OVA, Mihoshi feeds Ryo-Ohki (the dual-class rabbit/spaceship) some wine, and the ship's wobbling avoids the Macross Missile Massacre.

Kagato: Now that's a very capable evasion. I wonder if it's due to the power of the boy's sword?

  • Saiunkoku Monogatari has a character named To Eigetsu who is intelligent, quiet, and mild-mannered, until he gets drunk. Then his Split Personality Yougetsu takes over and starts kicking ass and taking names.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho had Chu, who became more dangerous after taking a swig of Ogre Killer. No wonder the guy is pictured above.
    • Taken to whole new levels when his most powerful attack actually involves mixing his energy with alcohol to make an energy ball powerful enough that it took two shots of Yusuke's Spirit Gun to equal it.
      • Actually, the first shot weakened the attack and the second shot burst through it, punching a whole in the middle but not actually stopping it. I'd say it was weaker than two shots, but still strong and big enough to keep going after getting hit.
    • Even better, he has a special kind of alcohol that... well... induces vomiting. Once he's emptied his stomach, he gets drunk even faster, which summons more of his demonic energy for him to use.
      • Tequila?
  • Bottle Fairies Ruko and Yukari from Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu, on the pure power of booze, are able to infiltrate a highly-guarded mansion and take out several armed men, something thought impossible by some of the top Ninja Maids in the show. They then collapse immediately.
  • The doctor aboard the Irresponsible Captain Tylor's ship, the Soyokaze is a highly proficient doctor who loves to drink and has been doing so for over 30 years (the drinking, not the doctoring, he's only 33 years old). The primary drawback is, when low on rubbing alcohol for wounds, refuses to use his own liquor, citing it a waste.
  • Hilariously played with in Bleach filler. Shuusuke Amagai, a Shinigami captain who really Can't Hold His Liquor, saves his squad from the enemy... then passes out, drunk off his ass.
  • Shinnosuke in Airmaster reveals Drunken Boxing to be his ace in the hole when his weapon is destroyed by a particularly huge thug.
  • Kamijou Touma, in the light novel, one time gets drunk, dodges Misaka's lightning attack instead of negating it, then walks around town for five minutes and ends up with over 10 girls clinging to him like iron sand to a magnet.
    • So it not only amplified his fighting prowess but his Chick Magnet abilities as well? That's got to be the best drink ever.
  • Inverted with Master Roshi in the Eighth DBZ movie. He is a professional Martial Arts master, and is capable of doing the Drunken Punch. However, when he became drunk with alcohol in the movie (which ended up bowdlerized/woolseyized as him becoming both berserk at someone hiding all his girlie magazines, and being sick from eating too much Tuna Sandwiches), he is completely useless, a notable example being when he attempted to beat Broly with his max power form, but only ended up making a fool of himself by changing facial expressions using his fools mask as a curtain.
    • Much earlier (n the Dragonball manga) he managed to outfight Goku by pretending to be drunk - since Goku had never been drunk himself, he couldn't predict Roshi's movements. This lasted until Goku came up with his own style of Confusion Fu to counter with. This was likewise bowdlerized into "Mad Cow Style" in the Funimation dub.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Corto Maltese once met an Australian soldier that couldn't shoot true when sober, but was an awesome crackshooter when drunk. (In the The Celts album)
  • Tony "The Insensible Iron Lush" Stark. In the Ultimate series, he's asked if he really has to drink so much, and he answers, "Who in their right mind would climb into this thing sober?"
    • Even moreso in Ultimate Marvel, where because Tony has brain tissue throughout his body, making him super-smart but causing constant pain, so he drinks to dull the pain.
  • Despite providing the page quote, Ninjette may not be a good example... She's drunk pretty much every time we see her fight, so there's really no way to tell how well she fights sober.
  • A hilarious subversion can be found in the British comic Viz. The Brown Bottle undergoes his heroic transformation by drinking six bottles of Newcastle Brown and gains the ability to...slur incomprehensibly, stagger about and piss himself. The villains invariably leave in pitied disgust.
  • In Sin City, Marv is highly dangerous but it is explicitly stated that he becomes even more of a threat when drunk. In Hard Goodbye, he kills two hitmen in an alley while drunk (and he purposefully got that way since he was expecting trouble and needed to "get mean"). In A Dame To Kill For, Dwight recruits him to take down the Big Bad's enforcer. Before he does that, he makes sure Marv is drunk, which makes him "good and dangerous".
    • Also, he was likely drunk when he killed the psychotic rich guys who were killing homeless men in Just Another Saturday Night since he was downing an entire bottle of whiskey at the time.
  • Viz parodied this trope with the character Brown Bottle, an ordinary man who believes he can turn into a superhero by drinking Newcastle Brown Ale. In fact he just becomes a foul-mouthed drunk (albeit one dressed in a superhero costume) but usually ends up inadvertently saving the day anyway.


Film[edit | hide]

  • In Beerfest Barry is a master at drinking games, but only while inebriated.
  • The Shaw Brothers' classic "Come Drink With Me" introduces the Drunken Master to western cinemaphiles. Displaying wisdom beyond logic and martial ability beyond discipline, this character has full understanding of his own weaknesses. This in vino veritas introspection empowers this character to open for repair the Achilles' Heel of the hero or heroine while protecting him or her by rebuffing the villains with comical exploitation of their weaknesses. Warmly comic, resembling the gruff uncle, getting by on the kindness of the public, popular with children, aspiring to nothing more than his next drink; this character comes from the ancient Asian reverence of the holy madman, the embodiment of unknowable chaos. Buy this movie. It has high example of many tropes including the Determined Sister, as later seen in "Kill Bill" and the Sinister Kensei as later played by Jet Li in "Lethal Weapon 4".
  • Drunken Master, a Jackie Chan movie.
    • A commentary track for that movie partially explains this. Apparently you need to be just a little buzzed and loosened up to properly execute its erratic moves. At the same time, you need to be careful not to be drunk enough that you start to lose control. This was something of a plot point in the sequel, "Legend of Drunken Master," where Jackie's character tries to go as long as possible without resorting to the booze.
    • This was either shouted out to or homaged by the Drunken Master style in Jade Empire. Oddly, despite drinking a hell of a lot of bottles that Henpecked Hou gives you, you never die of alcohol poisoning. That wouldn't be fun.
    • Not that either Jackie nor his mentor stop at "a little buzzed". As evidenced by his pacing and palsy just before challenged by the Stick King, So Hai is a functional alcoholic: he literally cannot function unless drunk. During the climactic fight against Thunderleg, So Hai tosses his student a gourd full of "100 proof White Lightning" (according to the English dub track: this would make it moonshine on par with Chinese baiju or western vodka) which gets chugged like weak table wine.
    • Done twice in Jackie Chan Adventures by...Jackie Chan himself. Obviously a tribute to the film.
    • Also homaged by the man himself in The Forbidden Kingdom.
      • Not really a homage, so much as just a chance for Jackie Chan to use Drunken Boxing again. Jackie does Drunken Boxing because A) The character is claims to be one of the 8 Drunken Immortals, who are credited with inventing the style, B) Jackie Chan likes Drunken Boxing, and C) Part of the point in the movie was for Jackie and Jet to show off as many different fighting styles as possible.
  • In Old School the character Frank the Tank became an eloquent debater after drinking large quantities of various alcohol.
    • He was sober during that scene.
  • The drunken gunfighter played by Lee Marvin in Cat Ballou (1965).
  • Cassie's mother in "Push" is said to be this. Cassie as well.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Dionysus in Everworld can only use his full godly powers when he's plastered.
  • This editor remembers reading a short story in a science fiction anthology where a man is able to pilot a flying saucer (which he just happened to find) while drunk—apparently, the alcohol "unlocked" some sort of telepathic link between the man and the saucer's control system. He doesn't remember the name, unfortunately.
  • Sergeant Helian from Malazan Book of the Fallen is only a capable soldier and leader while she is drunk, even though she only has a vague idea what is going on. Or perhaps that is the reason...
  • A would-be Noodle Incident mentioned by Obi-Wan in Star Wars Episode III as "That business on Cato Neimoidia" was fleshed out in an Expanded Universe book - Obi-Wan, despite staggering around after a dose of narcotic fungus spores, completely obliterated a roomful of battle droids.
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Wizard gives the Cowardly Lion "liquid courage" to make him not a coward any longer.
  • In the Gallagher stories by Henry Kuttner, Gallagher is a genius inventor only when he's drunk. Most of the stories begin with him waking up with a hangover and no memory of the night before, to discover that he's just invented some new thing so amazing that before he can even begin to figure out how it works he has to figure out what it does.
  • Stephen King could be considered an example, as many of his best works have been written when he was either drunk or coked up, and he's admitted to being a big fan of LSD in the sixties.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • In an episode of The Drew Carey Show, it was discovered that Mr Wick was only a persuasive speaker while slightly drunk, and his skills were needed for some kind of meeting, but he was in rehab and not supposed to have any alcohol. In the end, they tried to get him just drunk enough to do his job but at the meeting he kept sneaking more and more until he became completely tanked.
  • Johnny Fever of WKRP in Cincinnati once participated in a demonstration of how drinking impairs your reflexes—only to have his reflexes improve instead.
  • Red Dwarf's Dave Lister has his skills for playing pool with planets greatly enhanced by alcohol.
    • So much so that he performs a trick shot with said planets.
  • Earl's brother Randy from My Name Is Earl becomes an incredibly convincing liar when he's been drinking beer; "four seems to be the magic number".
  • In Delta House (a mercifully short-lived Animal House television sequel) Bluto's mousy cousin Blotto would become strong enough to knock down large trees or lift cars after a pitcher of beer.
  • In Titus, Titus's father spends all of his time drunk, with a beer in his hand more often than not. In one episode Titus and his friends try to get his father to stop drinking, and succeed. It turns out that he cannot function sober, becoming both depressed and bad at everything he tries. They end up having an intervention, telling him he has a not drinking problem.
  • In one episode of Monk, "Mr. Monk Goes to Vegas", Captain Stottlemeyer, normally The Watson, while on vacation in Vegas, solves a murder while plastered and calls to tell Monk to come meet him. Unfortunately, when Monk arrives in the morning, Stottlemeyer wakes up with a hangover and no memory of what happened. Monk and Stottlemeyer investigate and try to figure out what was going through the Captain's mind. Eventually, it turns out that, while drunk, Stottlemeyer noticed a clue that even Monk didn't find. (In later episodes, Stottlemeyer occasionally shows some uncharacteristic insight after drinking alcohol.)
  • A one-shot enemy in Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger comes from an alien species that gains power the more sake they drink. In order to combat him, one of the Rangers gets drunk herself. It was...weird, especially when the Sixth Ranger popped up after the monster grew manning the drunken Ranger's Transforming Mecha and lampshaded the fight with a PSA against drunk driving.
    • Retsu also invokes this in Juuken Sentai Gekiranger. While a more than competent fighter when sober, getting him drunk unlocks Jaguar suiken (Japanese for Drunken Boxing). As the fight wears on though the alcohol takes its toll and he switches to Jaguar nemuken (literally sleeping fist but in context, passed out drunk).
    • Kazu in Gosei Sentai Dairanger uses Drunken Boxing as his primary fighting style (like Gekiranger, the series places a heavy emphasis on martial arts). This is believed to be one of the reasons Saban didn't use Dairanger's suit footage when they made Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. In Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, anyone who uses the Kirinranger key (usually Luka) likewise gets to use Drunken Boxing.
  • Raj from The Big Bang Theory can only talk to women when he's drinking alcohol—or, in one episode when he charmed Summer Glau on a train, when he thinks he's drinking alcohol.
    • Arguably Truth in Television - if the problem is being overly self-concious about yourself, alcohol tends to fix that in a pretty good hurry.
  • Isaac's superpower on Heroes originally only worked when he was high on heroin. He eventually learned to use it clean with the help of HRG and Eden.
  • Mitchell and Webb assert that the true secret of Drunken Mastery is to be ever so slightly drunk; to have had nearly two drinks. To learn the truth about The Inebriati, simply follow this link..
  • In the Season 2 premiere of Raising Hope, Jimmy's parents find an old tape revealing that he was a great singer and pianist as an early teen; however, he's now completely tone-deaf following an unfortunate accident involving a golf club. After a night of drinking beer together, they discover that Jimmy can still sing after all, but only when drunk—and that he'd been slipping sips of beer in his younger years. Subverted in that his most recent performance actually was still tone-deaf-- Jimmy's parents were just so drunk that they thought he was on key.
  • On Happy Endings, Penny is able to speak fluent Italian when drunk.
  • In an Episode of Entourage Turtle enters a video game competition, then discovers that he is only good at the game while he's high. This leads to a frantic search to get him some marijuana before the start of the competition. He loses anyway to an adolescent boy.


Music[edit | hide]

  • Pick a metal guitarist. Any metal guitarist.
  • In that case, pick a rock star from the 70s and 80s.
  • Freddie Mercury deserves special mention, because quite literally at death's door, he slammed some vodka to get through the last track of Innuendo - and did it in one take. The track? "The Show Must Go On."
  • Zoot Sims was once asked by a fan how he could play so well when loaded, he replied with “I practice when I'm loaded.”


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Variation: the indie table-top RPG Don't Rest Your Head had Madness Disciplines and Exhaustion Talents. They were powered by insanity and getting tired, respectively.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • There is a prestige class based on this trope. It's called the Drunken Boxer.
    • Sword and Fist version is actually called the Drunken Master. It also includes a Shout-Out to Jackie Chan, as along with the usual effects (unpredictable moves, dulled sensations of pain) the prestige class also grants Improvised Weapon Proficiency.
    • Bride of Portable Hole parody sourcebook had two brawny classes with "Drinkin' Man" feature - penalty to Intelligence, Wisdom and Dexterity with the equivalent bonus to choice of Strength or Constitution, that adds up as the character drinks more booze - and magic-using prestige class The Twit that got class feature "Immune to Silence While Drunk".
  • Unknown Armies has Dipsomancers, mages who can warp reality while drunk.
  • The Hong Kong action movie inspired Feng Shui lets characters get training in the "Path of the Empty Bottle".
  • Hong Kong Action Theatre has Joi Kuen (Drunken Boxing) as a "substyle" of kung fu which can be added to any style, which adds Dodge and Nerve Strike as additional maneuvers to any existing style. In addition, there's the "Drunk" Signature Move from the To Live and Die in HK supplement which allows a character with the signature to ignore all damage penalties for three combat turns if he or she can take a good swig during a fight, as well as adding a +1 bonus to Dodges and Nerve Strikes due to their Joi Kuen.
  • Exalted, which also borrows heavily from kung-fu movies, has Orgiastic Fugitive Style, which also works with other illicit substances such as opium and hashish, and allows the use of liquor bottles and hookahs as Improvised Weapons.
    • Apparently Exalted is also fun to 'play' while drunk.
  • In the table-top RPG "7th Sea", a swashbuckling alternate of Europe, there is a combat school for Avalonians (Britons) called the Rory Finnegan school. You must drink to use your Knacks (abilities) in game and take inebriation penalties to all of your rolls. Once you become Master rank, all of those penalties reverse into bonuses.
    • "7th Sea" also has a feat that is the opposite of this trope: Able Drinker. Drink as much as you want, you'll never get drunk. This is such a waste at parties.
  • Munchkin Fu has the 'drunken' style enhancement, which grants a +1d6 combat bonus modifier to the style. This inevitably leads to hilarious combinations of styles and enhancers, such as the Drunken Banana Fu or the Drunken Blindfolded Wire Fu.
  • Legend supports drunken fighting very well - a chain of feats allows characters to heal themselves or gain a Strength bonus (at the cost of a Dexterity penalty) by consuming alcohol. The default setting of the game, Hallow, traces the origins of this fighting style to raucous dwarf masters of drunken combat who have been imitated by all other races.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • In Dwarf Fortress - every single Dwarf in the world, be it male, female or child. We're talking about people able to build enormous strongholds or beating a bull to death, as long as there is enough booze for everyone.
  • In the Yakuza series, it's a very bad idea to pick a fight with Kazuma. It's an even worse idea to pick a fight with Kazuma when he's drunk: while drunk, his Heat meter recharges faster, and he even has some special (not to mention bone shattering) moves that he can only do while drunk. You will probably spend lots of yen just getting him hammered or buying alcohol to go to always make sure you always have a little extra oomph.
    • Somehow, the enemies don't understand this and will attack you more often if you're drunk, thinking you're an easy mark.
    • In the movie, the enemies actually panic when they see him drinking from a bottle
  • The Demoman of Team Fortress 2 is commonly depicted as a drunkard who is very good at his job despite the fact that he is consistently inebriated.
    • Or perhaps because of. It's not a job you'd want to be doing when tense. As he explains-one crossed wire, one wayward pinch of potassium chlorate, one errant twitch-and kablooie! Also, once one becomes an alcoholic, stopping is very difficult-a well known side effect of alcohol withdrawal is 'delirium tremens', literally meaning 'the insane trembling'. This would be a great many 'errant twitch'es. Thus, stopping would probably be fatal in short order.
    • Surprisingly, despite being a drunkard and a Scotsman, the Demo is portrayed as a very nice guy who cares for his family, lives in a mansion, has three jobs including demolitions expert and makes five million dollars a year.
      • In fact, the comic almost seems to imply he's drunk only for work.
  • Zegram from Rogue Galaxy has an attack that requires him to take a swig of liquor first.
  • Shun Di in the video game series Virtua Fighter is an Old Master of Drunken Boxing. One of his moves is to swig alcohol, and the more drinks he takes (the game keeps count just under his life bar), the more moves he can perform.
  • In Okami, Mr. Orange declares that performing a mystic dance, the Konohana Shuffle, to coax a sacred tree into bloom requires that he "break his vow of temperance" and take a sip of sake. He then chugs down a huge bottle. In the same game, different types of sake augment the main character's attack and defense abilities.
    • It doesn't work out so well for Orochi. Getting him totally smashed is actually the key to defeating him. In the original legend, Susanoo just left out a bunch of sake and waited for Orochi to pass out, then came and lopped off his heads. This version is a bit more action-packed.
  • Fallout Tactics allows the player to pick the "Drunken Master" perk, which boosts Unarmed skill by 20% while drunk.
  • Deus Ex: One segment of the game ends with a helicopter evac, the chopper piloted by a character previously seen drinking in a bar an hour or so beforehand. "You don't want to fly one of these things all wound up", he explains. "They have a temperament, especially in a crosswind."
  • Touhou has Suika Ibuki, the (apparently) underage Drunken Master. It's never explicitly stated that she needs the alcohol, but despite reeling around in an apparent drunken stupor, she's every bit as dangerous as the other characters. (In Japanese mythology, Oni, like Suika, are frequently depicted as party animals who love gambling and drinking. Supposedly, it's a rare human that can outdrink one of them.)
    • It's said that no one has ever seen her sober. It helps that she has a gourd that never runs out of sake.
    • Suika's friend Yuugi Hoshiguma doesn't put down her sake to start a fight with the player in Subterranean Animism. Her sake not even drop!
    • Also, ZUN has never been seen without a beer close by. He also admitted being drunk during some of Imperishable Night's development. Memes being what they are, he is frequently depicted by fans as never being sober.
  • Subverted in Wing Commander III, where before a ship defense mission you're given a choice of drinking over the loss of the PC's love being revealed, or talking with the head mechanic. If you choose to drink, in the scramble mission that followsyour controls will occasionally reverse or fail to respond. Sober, the mission isn't too difficult, but drunk, more often than not you're lucky if you survive the engagement, never mind meeting any of the mission objectives.
  • In Warcraft, the Pandaren are a race of Pandas who, besides being skilled fighters have a natural love of alcohol, with a particular caste known as Brewmasters who go out into the world to make the best of the stuff.
    • Further, in Warcraft 3, the Brewmaster hero can drench his enemies in booze before breathing fire on them (to great effect), and has a skill called "Drunken Brawler", which combines the effects of the passive abilities of the two best heroes in the game.
    • In Mists of Pandaria, the fourth Expansion Pack to World of Warcraft, the Brewmaster is one of the talent trees of the newly-introduced Monk class, which is available to all races save for Goblins and Worgen.
  • The previous contributors to this page have shamed their ancestors by neglecting the awesome Drunken Master style of Jade Empire. You regain some hit points by drinking the bottles Hou conjures up, and you do hit a little harder, but your reflexes become sluggish.
      • Hou's Backstory also points out the downside to Drunken Master. He did get alcohol poisoning, and ended up ruined. There was a fellow that stepped in and offered him a chance for a comeback, but there were some "drawbacks" including the reason he's now called Henpecked Hou.
      • By contrast, Black Whirlwind loves to drink and fight...and doesn't care about the order which they're done in. He admits that he was naked and drunk during one of his better rampages. Later, you team him up with Hou, which gives him a chance to do the two things he loves the most at the same time, to his utter delight.
  • In Condemned 2: Bloodshot, Ethan has become an alcoholic. When using a firearm, his arm wavers and jitters heavily while looking through the iron sights. After draining a bottle of whiskey, though, his DT's disappear and his aim is dead-on for the next several minutes.
    • It ceases to be a problem about two thirds of the way through the game, after a bizarre dream sequence in which he fights and kills the Anthropomorphic Personification of his alcoholism.
  • Shadow Hearts : From the New World has a cat named Mao who practices Drunken Fist.
  • Misha, the drunkard jet pilot from Mercenaries 2: World in Flames who can't fly his (junker) jet sober (or do anything else). According to him, no one in their right mind would get in that jet sober. In spite of being to drunk to stand ("Don't need to stand to fly jet.") he can still deliver two unguided 500 lb bombs to within 2m of a smoke grenade in the same run.
  • Brad Wong in Dead or Alive 3. Not only does he use the Drunken Fist style, he keeps a flask handy and even drinks from it during a fight. In fact, his Story Mode on DOA 3 is about him searching for Genra/Omega because he was told that was the name of some alcohol.
  • Soda Popinski/Vodka Drunkenski from Punch-Out!!!!. He always comes to the ring with a bottle of vodka in hand (replaced with "pop" in the NES version), and in the Wii version, takes a drink from the bottle to restore his stamina and increase his punching power for a short time. When he fights, you can see the alcohol bubbles surrounding him.
    • He's drinking soda, hence "Soda" Popinski. At least in the Wii version, as it really is soda this time around.
    • In the NES version, sometimes he will say the following between rounds: "I drink to prepare for a fight. Tonight I am very prepared!"
      • The original character was Vodka Drunkenski, changed for the American release. This made it into the Wii version as well, hence it's inclusion here.
  • BioShock (series) and its sequel feature several tonics that give the player the ability to restore EVE, the goo that fuels the crazy superpowers, by drinking alcohol rather than having it reduced. This is counterbalanced by the drunkenness messing up the aiming of your deadly lightning and fire blasts.
  • Bo'Rai Cho
  • Sleip of Blaze Union - like Suika above, she is never sober, but this is to forget her entire clan being wiped out.
  • The titular hero of The Witcher can learn a skill called Buzz which makes his attacks do more damage and makes him immune to pain. There's nothing more awesome than watching him drunkenly stagger over to a foe and bring his sword crashing down on its head.
  • The Reaver from Bloodline Champions is drunk all the time. This allows him to do absurd things from parrying bullets to kicking people so hard they explode.
  • Cyrus in Forevers End is known as "The Drunken Swordmaster", and gains access to new stances and powers by drinking booze.
  • In Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, drinking allows Frank West to charge is photography faster. Doesn't seem like much until you realize that this also gives him better weapons to use. Off course, drinking too much makes him throw up.
  • Minions and dwarves (of course) in Overlord gain a temporary stat boost after guzzling mugs of beer.
  • Majoras Mask combines this with Drunk on Milk in the pricey "Chateau Romani" drink, which gives you unlimited mana; that is, until it's time to reset everything.
  • Bastion has the main character "equip" drinks as part of the leveling system.


Webcomics[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Peter in Family Guy can only play the piano while drunk.

Peter: That's not true. I can also vomit, fall over, and make dirty calls to [Lois'] sister.

  • A Simpsons episode had Homer forsaking his usual reckless drink-induced behavior. Things got so calm it drove Marge around the bend to where she entered a demolition derby to break the monotony. When she got into serious peril, Homer came to the rescue, first downing some beer like Popeye eating his spinach.
    • Homer's friend Barney is an inversion of this. He's utterly useless while drunk, but when he and Homer are selected to be astronauts, he's forced to go sober. This unleashes his inner genius, as he proves himself to be incredibly smart, physically fit, and an all around better person when he's not drowning himself in booze. Homer, being the jealous man he is, decides to sabotage Barney's newfound success by getting him drunk again.
      • Well he tried but failed. Barney got drunk off of non-alcoholic champagne when he passed so Homer was the default.
  • Bender on Futurama is an interesting example. Since he runs on alcohol, he needs to drink to do, well, anything at all, except that drinking alcohol doesn't make him drunk. In fact, NOT drinking makes him act like a drunk.

Fry: Bender, you're blind stinking sober!

  • NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER pick a fight with Roger after he does a line of coke, he's like freakin' Morpheus.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Perhaps the Trope Maker and Trope Codifier, all at once: drunken boxing, one of the oldest martial arts styles, really is easier for many to do while drunk, or at least tipsy, as it helps with the floppy, loose-limbed movements of the style. In addition, many of the legends surrounding the art's beginnings involve people who were amazingly better fighters drunk than they were sober- which is why we call it drunken boxing to begin with.
    • That's actually a common misconception, perpetuated by those with no experience with the martial art. In reality, just like with any martial art, practicing it while drunk is very dangerous and always ineffective. Though it may SEEM like a practitioner is drunk, they will always be sober.
      • That's true, "it works better when you're drunk" is a huge misconception. The whole point of the martial art is that you appear to have little control over your motions while having *extremely strict* control over them. It is key to maintain perfect balance in stances and moves that seem impossible to control that way. The whole point is deception and there is a lot of sophistication and strength involved. Alcohol doesn't help with sophisticated movements, and even tiny amounts of it *severely* hinder reflexes, even when no effects of being drunk are felt. The only things alcohol is good for in a fight is numbing the pain. Loosening one's muscles comes at the price of loosening one's control over them, which makes the benefit impossible to use - the one feat that drunk people pull off surprisingly well is falling down and not getting hurt, but even here skill trumps alcohol. And the loosening effect of alcohol is a skill that experienced martial artists can use at will, anyway.
        • However, drunken boxing did develop from martial artists that used medicine containing alcohol. The movements have now been refined to perform without inebriation, but the basis lies among the fact that having to fight whether sober or intoxicated comes with the life of devout martial artists.
  • Professional Poker player Layne Flack struggled with alcoholism for a time. The main reason was that Drunk Layne Flack was a better poker player than Sober Layne Flack.
    • And more recently, former Main Event champion Scotty Nguyen was very, very drunk at the final table of the WSoP's H.O.R.S.E. event in 2008, and proceeded to be incredibly belligerent and make a huge ass out of himself. He also won the whole thing.
    • Poker playing could potentially improve when drunk because it's more difficult to discern tells when the person in inebriated. Of course, it could also go the other way and make their tells more obvious.
    • There's also the idea that since alcohol lowers inhibitions, drunk poker players take more risks than they would sober.
  • Sam Totman from Dragon Force (video game) often claims that he plays just as well drunk as he does sober. Unfortunately, experience proves that this may all be in his head...
    • So in his case, it's not that he plays better while drunk... he just so drunk he doesn't realize he's playing badly.
  • Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis hurled a no-hitter in 1970 while under the influence of LSD.

"Richard Nixon was the home plate umpire ... I thought I was pitching to Jimi Hendrix, who was holding a guitar ..."

    • David Wells claims he was "half-drunk" when he threw a perfect game in 1998.
  • in Gap Tom's skill at the PC game Portal are increased in proportion to the amount of beer he has consumed.
  • There is a World of Warcraft raider type called the "Drunken DPS". These people (usually mages) started raids sober or slightly buzzed. As the raid progressed, they would get drunker and drunker, and their damage output would rise as well. Apparently they were pretty valuable, provided they didn't fall off their chairs while facing the dungeon boss.
    • Drunken Healers exist as well. Really good healers during battles but have to be reminded which instance they are in from time to time.
      • This has much to do with the incredible amount of stress that can be placed upon a raid healer in certain encounters. Where a sober player would be jittery from adrenaline and potentially lock up, a drunken player will be calmer and can actually respond more quickly.
      • That ties into the notion that the less stressed you are about something, the smoother it is to do it. Ever try tying your shoelaces while in a rush? Same principle applies here.
      • Further note: Since stress/adrenaline causes the body to focus on "big muscle movements" (biceps, triceps, the thigh muscles) at the cost of decreased focus on "little muscle movements" (like those in your fingers), this is probably a further source of drunken computer gaming prowess. Since the alcohol is counteracting the adrenaline to some degree, it probably really is restoring considerable fine motor control (at least until you hit the point where the alcohol is reducing your fine motor control, rather than just taking the edge off of the adrenaline).
        • Speaking from personal experience in Mabinogi, aside from countering the effects of adrenaline, alcohol also does much for countering the Scrooge mentality. Sometimes it is a lot easier to get things done effectively when not constantly worried about wasting potions or minimising durability-loss on gear.
      • One should also note that simply "Acting" drunk WILL get you thrown out of a raid pretty fast if your DPS or HPS does not skyrocket. Nobody wants to have to babysit a drunk player, they will only tolerate it when the smashed player is actually getting the raid somewhere.
  • Nickname of journeyman boxer Emanuel Augustus, although he wasn't actually drunk, just extremely unorthodox. Also, his 38-32-6 professional record suggests less mastery and more strong ability to get the crap beaten out of him for 10 rounds.
    • To be fair, he's actually very talented and has given Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Micky Ward tough fights. His style doesn't lend him well to the judges and he's lost a lot of close fights because his style rub wrong with judges, or at least gave them an excuse to rob him.
  • Abraham Lincoln claimed that Ulysses Simpson Grant had a form of alcoholism that "made him a better field commander". He was a self-aware alcoholic, which meant he knew EXACTLY when he needed to be roaring drunk to make the decisions that would win a battle.
    • That's partially because Lincoln realized the only way to actually win the war was to employ the We Have Reserves strategy - and very few commanders will employ that sort of strategy in a war already famous for being disproportionately lethal while sober. He fired a long string of generals who did the smart thing - heavy defenses, slow advances, and fighting only the battles you know you can win - for doing the smart thing, when what was needed was "**** it, fix bayonets and charge".
  • Winston Churchill, perhaps the only Master of Strategy who was also a Drunken Master; he was "the only man I ever met who improved after having a third drink" - Richard Nixon
  • Charles "Champagne" Townshend, a British politician known for making brilliant speeches when drunk is notable for convincing Parliament to pass the Townshend Acts of 1767 which taxed Americans heavily and caused the Boston Massacre, while drunk.
  • There's a condition known as state dependent learning. If you learn something while under the influence of a drug (like alcohol), then the learning is forgotten while sober. Once the state of inebriation is recovered, the learning returns. This is why many people can only dance while drunk. It's not just that their inhibitions are lowered, but that they learned while drunk and cannot dance while sober until they learn sober.
    • Also, it extends to things like finding stuff you lost while drunk. If you get to the same state of inebriation that you were in when you lost the item, then you've got a much, much better chance of finding it again. The theory is that you 'learnt' where you left your stuff, and thus can only remember what you learnt while you're in the same state of mind.
  • Standard culinary joke: "The only chefs who aren't alcoholics are in AA".
    • "I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food."
    • The same for waiters, except that cooks tend to function better drunk, while waiters tend to 'herbal' performance enhancers... the New Orleans hospitality industry in particular has a different standard for alcoholism: if you drink on the job, you're typical, but if you go to work drunk, then you have a problem.
    • Every stereotype you've heard about chefs and alcohol is twice as applicable for writers.
  • Ditto with bar jobs in the UK; if you're drunk then the sack awaits you, but it can be quite difficult to distinguish between the smell of alcohol on someone's breath and, say, the smell of alcohol on their clothes and around them. Bottle-jockeys, like waiters, tend towards smoking dope rather than drinking, as it's significantly easier to collect glasses/hump crates up and down stairs/etc stoned than it is drunk. Doing it sober just results in a variety of cruel and embittered jokes about what arseholes drunk people are.
  • Canadian Snooker player Bill Werbeniuk was known for drinking as much as thirty pints of beer a day. He would traditionally drink six pints before a match, and one beer for each frame. While never a champion, Werbeniuk was a more than competent pool player, ranked as high as 8th in the world in the 80s. Werbeniuk wasn't just a sloppy drunk though, he actually drank so much to combat a mild tremor in his hands. In fact, he even claimed he wouldn't think of picking up a pool cue if he was sober. What's more, he was even able to write off his beer purchases to the Inland Revenue (the British equivalent to the IRS) as a business expense.
  • Many professional darts players drink before, during, and after darts matches. Most claim that the relaxing effects of alcohol loosen up their throwing arms, making it easier to hit the targets. In fact, it is said that it's amazingly rare to find a darts player who can play sober.
  • Christopher Hitchens might have been the literary version of this trope.
  • This troper believe Hunter S. Thompson is just as, if not more, applicable. Although he was more of the Cokehead Master.
  1. see Xkcd above