Joke Character

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search

Master Tang: "Pay no attention to Wimp Lo, we purposely trained him wrong... as a joke."

Wimp Lo: "If you've got an ass, I'll kick it!"
Kung Pow: Enter The Fist

Characters, often in the form of Easter Eggs, deliberately unbalanced in the negative sense. They mainly have a humorous value and the fandom often likes them due to their sheer awkwardness or strangeness. This is mainly a trope of fighting games. Joke characters are sometimes used by especially proficient players to beat other players, mainly for bragging rights.

Note this is not the same thing as a Easter Egg where the player's appearance simply switches (like a redone sprite) or a Fighting Clown (a character who simply looks silly but plays well). Part and parcel of Cherry Tapping. Compare Blessed with Suck and What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?? If this character happens to have some worthwhile utility, they're a Lethal Joke Character. If they take a considerable level in badass after a while, they have Magikarp Power. Sometimes, if this character becomes popular enough, expect the fans to turn them into a Memetic Badass and the developers to turn them into a Lethal Joke Character.

Part of Competitive Balance. See also Joke Item. Contrast with Purposefully Overpowered, which is the opposite.

Examples of Joke Character include:


  • The most famous Joke Character is probably Dan Hibiki of the Street Fighter series. He was created as a joke about SNK's Art of Fighting and King of Fighters games, whose protagonists borrowed heavily from the Street Fighter games.
  • Mortasheen has The Devilbird of Sloth. While the other Devilbirds are like a combination of demons and The Heartless, with all sorts of truly nasty Mind Rape abilities that leaves them open only to higher level players, Sloth... is just an egg. That does absolutely nothing.
  • Norimaro in Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter.
  • Roll in the original Marvel vs. Capcom. (Upgraded in the sequel, where ServBot fills the Joke Character role).
    • Somewhat helped by the fact that servebot is so hard to hit! He's unbelievably small, which makes hitting him problems for people whose attacks travel in lines and don't connect with the floor. He's also fast, though weak. He can mainly be used to stall for time for a time over victory. Some hyper combos also cancel out because the first move into the combo goes right over servebot's head!
      • It also helps that while Servbot's own hyper combos can be weak, one of them has rather insane chip damage. The opponent get hurt more when BLOCKING the attack.
    • She retained this status for both editions of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. Like Servbot, however, her height (half as tall as most other characters) makes many attacks miss her completely, and her speed helps balance her general weakness.
  • Pokémon has a few:
    • Luvdisc. The only fully-evolved Pokémon with lower base stats have gimmicks that make up for them; Luvdisc lacks even that. For further information, read this review.
      • Luvdisc actually did have a gimmick in the third-generation games - Heart Scales, which are used to re-teach moves Pokémon have already forgotten, could only be found attached to wild Luvdisc. In the fourth-gen games, however, it's much easier to just dig up Heart Scales in the Underground, making poor Luvdisc completely pointless once again. It is made even more pointless when the Pokewalker is in play because one of the few areas there allows you to get Heart Scales with ease.
    • Spinda, which has a similar problem, only without the decent Speed. It probably says something about Luvdisc that Spinda's attack strength is double that of Luvdisc...and still horrible.
      • Spinda's primary purpose in the game is similar to the below Unown's, although it's not nearly as well known: each and every Spinda has a unique pattern of spots. (Well, okay, technically there are only 4,294,967,296 different Spinda spot patterns.)
      • One new Ability in Black/White, Contrary, reverses stat changes for the Pokémon, and Spinda is one of the few to have this Ability. Might not put it into Lethal Joke Character status just yet, but it's funny seeing some players experiment with combos involving Spinda of all the Pokémon.
    • Unown, whose only learned move is of unknown type, determined by an intricate number manipulation involving values to which you normally wouldn't have access. And it comes in 28 different flavors! Collectors can seek out all 28 forms (about all they're good for), but they probably won't be used for battle.
      • And lest you make the mistake of believing that Unown is potentially worth using for that move (the moves main use is obtaining odd move types on a mon that could not otherwise learn, and even then it is so much of a pain to set up that it only gets used in simulators where it can be picked from a menu instead of excessive inbreeding), every Pokémon in the game capable of using TMs can learn it too, and the only Pokémon aside from weak species like Magikarp that can't use TMs are gimmicky things (like Unown) anyway. Not to mention that Unown isn't the only Pokémon that can learn it without a TM. Shellos and Gastrodon can do that as well, the difference being that it isn't the only move they can learn.
    • There's also Farfetch'd, which has exactly two things going for it: a personal item that greatly increases its chance of getting a critical hit, and the fact that it looks cool. The personal item really doesn't matter, considering its stats are so bad that it will still be a weak hit even with a critical, and that's if it can survive long enough to hit anything.
      • In the original Red and Blue versions of Pokémon, you could only get Farfetch'd by trading with an in-game character for it (Yellow Version however lets you catch them in the wild, as do Gold, Silver, and Crystal). As fans of the series know, a Pokémon obtained via trade can not have its nickname changed. For this reason, no one in the entire country owned a Farfetch'd that didn't have the unbelievably-stupid nickname "DUX".
      • It could be Rule of Cool, but "dux" means "general" in Latin, "general" as in "leader of troops."
        • In fact, the title "Duke" is descended from "Dux".
    • Ditto. The ability to transform into anything the opponent uses sounds decent enough, but Ditto has three issues:
  1. Ditto's stats are horrible. Most importantly, its HP and Speed. HP because that is the only stat that carries over after it transforms, meaning it will almost certainly be weaker overall than whatever it becomes. Speed because its defenses are horrible and thus the opponent can just kill it before it even transforms at all. It has a personal item called Quick Powder to remedy the latter issue, but it becomes completely useless after the transformation, effectively leaving Ditto without any item boost at all.
  2. Transforming is the only thing it can do. At all. This means it is incredibly predictable, and thus the opponent can simply switch in a team member that another team member can easily defeat, then just switch that in.
  3. There are two other Pokemon that can learn Transform, Mew and Smeargle, both of which have much better stats than Ditto, and in both cases their movepools are huge so the opponent will likely never see it coming. Granted, Mew is usually banned in Tournament Play, but that still leaves Ditto outclassed by Smeargle.
  • Smeargle has better HP and much better Speed than Ditto, yes, but its stats are pretty horrible too, especially its Attack and Special Attack which are among the worst in the whole game. There must be a counterweight to being able to learn almost any move in the game...
  • The one upside to Ditto is that it's the universal breeder- you can use it to get eggs of Pokemon you only have males of, male-only Pokemon, and even genderless Pokemon. (It's the only way you can breed a Phione from a Manaphy, for example).
  • As of the 5th generation Ditto may no longer be a joke character. Changes to the transform move and Ditto getting what's basically an automatic transform ability may make it much more useful now. Transform now copies all the stats and stat boosts of the opponent (except HP). And if it has a Choice Scarf, it'll be faster than its opponent (except if the opponent has a choice scarf too). The people at Smogon are discussing whether Ditto is useful thanks to this.
  • However, until his Dream World ability is released legally, he remains a Joke Character.
  • Nearly every Joke Character in Pokemon has some sort of strange gimmick. Chatot interacts with the DS microphone, Smeargle can learn any move in the game through Sketch, Plusle and Minun have an interaction in double battles, etc. Sometimes a gimmick allows one of these to be a Lethal Joke Character; most of the time, they are stuck being the Tier-Induced Scrappy.
  • Due to the different varieties of play, however, even Pokemon's Joke Characters frequently get their day in the sun. A few of them (notably Spinda, Ditto, Farfetch'd, and Smeargle) are highly useful for breeding purposes (thereby making already-useful Mons even better), and others are highly competent at Contests or the Pokethlon.
  • Castlevania Lament of Innocence and Castlevania Curse of Darkness featured a secret character named Pumpkin. In Lo I, Pumpkin becomes playable after beating the game as Joachim: his max HP is lower than Leon's, but he starts with far more MP, hearts, higher defense and the Vampire Killer whip. He also starts with all special attacks and posesses an unique subweapon that he can't replace that also posesses a random assortment of other subweapons' Item Crashes. He's also a much smaller target and thus he has an easier time avoiding some enemy attacks. In CoD, he is a secret Innocent Devil who is almost useless in combat (and very easy to kill by monsters), but provides huge stat bonuses for the player as long as it is alive.
  • Gon in Tekken 3; he was a character in a long-running manga making a cameo appearance. Also arguably Dr. Boskonovitch, one of the few non-boss characters not to appear in any future games in the series.
    • In the case of Dr. Boskonovitch, the major problem was working out how to use him, given that he seemed to spend a lot of time falling over and getting beaten to death. He became much more powerful once you'd got the hang of him, as he was quite awkward for normal characters to fight.
    • Gon may look pathetic, but he has long range projectiles. And you can't grab him, either.
    • Actually, Gon is one of the most lethal characters in the game. He can attack at all heights, hit repeatedly, charge across the ring to deal massive unblockable damage, and if all else fails, utilize and armour-piercing fart.
  • Hercule/Mister Satan in the Dragon Ball Budokai series. In the first installment, his attacks and special attacks can do reasonable damage to any other character, pinning him in the same tier as other decent fighters and even receiving a bonus story featuring him fighting his way through the Cell Games. In the third installment, he's the only character in the game whose base ki only goes up to two bars instead of three or more, he can't shoot ki blasts, and often his special attacks are actually things like him tripping and accidentally headbutting the opponent. Furthermore, in the Tenkaichi/Sparking series, damage dealt by his melee attacks is far lower than any other character, he hurls short-ranged rocks and grenades instead of Ki blasts, and his Ultimate Attack will either cause a somewhat reasonable amount of damage (around a regular character's 'Blast 2' damage, which is still pretty bad for a UB), or do 1 point of damage! In Budokai Tenkaichi, characters don't even flinch from his melee attacks, making them incredibly hard to do, and making it nearly impossible for him to take on Oozaru, who are immune to all of his special moves.
    • Mr. Sat-Hercule is also notable for this in The Legacy of Goku II. After Goku dies in the Cell Games, he becomes a playable character. If you get him up to level 50, you can view an alternate ending where instead of watching everyone summon the Dragon and stuff, Hercule appears on a Talk Show talking about how awesome he is.
  • Edward from Final Fantasy IV, who happens to be the Trope Namer for Spoony Bard, had pitiful stats in everything except speed; then again, one of his character abilities was to run and hide.
    • The DS remake improved him to the point where he was legitimately as useful as characters like Rosa and Yang.
    • And in the sequel, with the right equipment and some leveling, he'll be your fastest character, hitting as hard as your tanks (or harder) from the back row, and able to heal the whole party almost instantly to full health (his HP and defense still stink, though). And with a little luck, Bardsong can either buff your whole party, or debuff the enemies, all for 0 MP with no charge time.
    • The GBA version lacks the inherent usefulness of Bardsong that the DS remake has...but late game, where you can pick Edward up again, his stats explode rapidly, to where he'll be one of your fastest chars, and one-shotting most Dragon-type enemies you'll encounter.
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time had Adray Lasbard and Mirage Koas - again, both powerful characters who were nonetheless clearly identifiable as bonus characters added to the original release; they came so late and at such a low level they were a lot of trouble to bother leveling up. This was enhanced by the fact that both of them were slightly stat-fiddled versions of previously existing characters (Sophia and Cliff, respectively) who were just as good or better and were gotten early in the game.
  • Hyena in King of Fighters Maximum Impact 2 moves erratically and has several... odd attacks. Most notably, his super move "The Century's Most Fearsome Acting!" has him walk at the opponent, fake being KO'd if hit... and then spring back up with a powerful kick. But if they throw him, which is quite likely given his pace, he really gets KO'd...
  • Magic: The Gathering is full of cards that seem underpowered or even useless, such as One With Nothing and Norin the Wary, that exist solely for Player Archetypes who like to try and make a workable deck out of such cards.
  • In a similar vein, Yu-Gi-Oh Card Game has an amazing number of cards that have no conceivable use, or that simply don't do their job well. Witness Thousand-Eyes Idol, a monster with the lowest stats possible (0 attack and 0 defense) and no effect. Then again, some of these cards eventually become Lethal Joke Characters...to wit, Thousand-Eyes Idol. Fuse him with Relinquished, and you get the (now banned in advanced format) Thousand-Eyes Restrict, which FREEZES EVERY MONSTER ON THE FIELD, and steals whichever of your opponent's monsters you want to copy its stats. (Granted, most people used other methods to get Thousand-Eyes Restrict out rather than intentionally putting a monster in the deck that can't do anything on its own.
    • Shapesnatch due to his "horrible power". Ironically it is amongst the best when it come into low=stat normal monsters
    • In general, the early sets were loaded with relatively low-stat normal monsters—nowadays it's rare to even see anyone using a normal monster unless they have other cards that require them.
    • A notable one is Fusionist, a Fusion monster (requiring three cards to get out) that actually has less power than one of its pieces (which was already pathetically low) and no effect. And it's a rare!
  • Pichu in Super Smash Bros. Melee is basically a weakened version of Pikachu (it damages itself when it attacks, it's lighter and easier to knock off, has drastically inferior range, and often has to use his head in the place of Pikachu's longer, more powerful tail). There are some advantages, such as it being a little faster and having higher knockback, but most would agree that that doesn't make up for all of the disadvantages.
  • Kon and Bonnie in Bleach: Blade of Fate both qualify. Kon has one special move and takes more damage than any other character in the game, and Bonnie has no normal attacks. One is a stuffed animal and the other is a giant boar.
    • Another in Hanataro in Bleach: Shattered Blade for the Wii. Hitting an opponent with your sword actually heals them, leaving him dependent on headbutts and a trip/roll attack for damage.
    • Amusingly, Bleach: Dark Souls sharpens Kon and Bonnie's claws slightly. Kon gains three more special moves and has actual supers now, while Bonnie retains her original movelist but gains basic attacks. Hanataro joins the cast, but he only has one move that uses his sword. The real joke character is Yuichi, the little boy Chad protects early on - he has zero range, dies in five hits, and his moves are him panicking.
      • Dark Souls also has one of the highest joke character counts of any game, with 8-13 characters of the 44 member cast qualifying. This is due to every generic mook from the story mode being playable, from generic Shinigami to nurses to the familiars a near-joke character summons.
  • The Can parts in Custom Robo for the Gamecube are basically less powerful versions of the parts you start the game with. The Can Legs decrease all capabilities, while the Can body is ridiculously weak and easy to knock down.
    • The DS version has the Chick Robo. Which is a baby bird with horrible stats and all of its guns shoot chickens.
  • The Temple of Elemental Evil features three joke characters, Ted, Ed and Ed. They are hopelessly weak, being first level in the 'final' area and having 3 Hit Points between them.
  • Hong Meiling in Immaterial and Missing Power. She's the worst character in the game, but she's not totally unusable. It's more that China's strengths don't work in this game. Playing as China has the feel of trying to kill Spider-Man by dropping him off a cliff.
    • In the main series, but also lacking a storyline, is Merlin Prismriver in Phantasmagoria of Flower View. Horrible stats, the worst scope in the game, slanted shots that only make it difficult to hit things, and her only half decent attack is the one you can't control.
    • Sakuya may have been a Game Breaker in Perfect Cherry Blossom, but the nerf she got for Imperishable Night was ridiculously excessive. Very weak firepower even at maximum, encouraging the player to get close to the bosses in a bullet hell just to deal decent damage - and even then, only Alice and Reimu have less firepower. Her focused speed is the fastest in the game and her unfocused speed is the slowest, when the ideal is the reverse. Her only redeeming quality is her ability to cover a wide area...except that Yuyuko can do the exact same thing without any of the above drawbacks. And unless you're playing extra, Yuyuko gets more bombs than Sakuya, just to rub it in further.
  • Mega Man ZX Advent had the unlockable "Model a". Note the lowercase a, not to be confused with the default Model A, since the "a" stands for "ancient. Model a is an 8-bit version of the main character's default mode, and has exactly two powers: a shot, the weakest attack in the game (or at least on par with the basic attack), and a slide. It also moved slowly compared to every other form in the game, including unarmored, had a low jump, couldn't wallslide... just there for the nostalgia.
  • The Sixty Whiners from Mutant League Football are the weakest team in the game. They're composed entirely of fragile skeletons with piss-poor skills and mediocre audibles.
  • Most Gran Turismo games have at least one car so ludicrously underpowered its only use is to laugh at their slowness. The first game was rather low key, with the 86 hp Mazda Demio being the weakest car, but GT2 started playing this one with the 32 hp Daihatsu Midget and the 25 hp Fiat 500R. The fourth game finally upped (downed?) the ante with the Benz Motorwagen and the Daimler Motor Carriage, the first internal combustion vehicles in history, both of them barely reaching the SINGLE horsepower!
    • Not necessarily there for humorous value. The franchise is marketed as "the ultimate driving simulator", and the target audience (especially hard-core motorheads) may appreciate the opportunity to get behind the wheel of one of the Great Old Ones (no, not those Great Old Ones!).
  • The boss for the DLC extra stage in Mega Man 9 is... no, not Evil Counterpart Bass, not Mega Man X's Zero...it's Fake Man! Yeah, the phony police robot that arrests Dr. Light at the start of the game. Let's refrain from obvious jokes about using Donut Man's weapon, shall we?
  • In the Vampire: The Requiem Sourcebook Bloodlines: The Legendary, there is a Mekhet bloodline called the Players. They're essentially one giant Take That at vampire groupies - their origins lie with a vampire who was obsessed with Hollywood. Their weakness is monstrously crippling - it's much easier for them to get dramatic failures on mental-based Disciplines (of which all but four qualify), and if they do, the target is permanently immune. On top of that, their Viniculums, eternal blood slave bonds, last a ridiculously short time. They're such jokes, in fact, that other vampires are mildly scared of them - something that weak and laughable could not be an accident...
  • In Magical Battle Arena, the final character you can unlock after a downright brutal battle is... a Gadget Drone. Yup, the grunt-type Mecha-Mook from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha that every character beats up for their first stage. With only two special attacks, no supers, and pathetically low HP, its powers are truly fearsome.
    • Then again, its special attacks, while not very powerful, have a very high priority, and quick loading time. So much that only 1 character had a higher priority melee special, and only 1 character had a quick ranged special that could beat it. While not exactly a Lethal Joke Character, if played well by a player skilled in interruption tactics, it can be a real nightmare. And it can defeat Hayate pretty easily because of said interruption ability.
  • Forum Warz lets you pick a character class after completing the tutorial... or you can continue as a Re-Re, without any free stat bonuses and only gaining a fourth of the abilities that other classes do. Reaching level 10 allows you to advance to "Permanoob."
  • Wangan Midnight: Maximum Tune had a secret code that would allow one to select the Toyota Celsior, also known as the Lexus LS 400 in North America. While the car itself wasn't a joke at 250 stock horsepower, it's a luxury car and not a racing car, and its basic tuning had useless "ricer" parts and comments such as "Chrome tails confuse the enemy!"
    • WMMT2 also had a code to select the Toyota HiAce van/bus and the Corolla coupe.
    • WMMT3 had another code to select a kei car. It begins with 64 stock horsepower, and after one tuning step it, like other cars, jumps straight to 300 horsepower. In other words: adding a turbo to the car adds 236 horsepower.
  • The original Shining Force (a TBS game where you controlled a dozen fighters out of a pool of 30 or so) had a number of characters that could be found or missed during your travels. One was a character called Jogurt the Yogurt. Jogurt was a hamster with a helmet. Jogurt only talked about his helmet. Jogurt had 1 hit point. Jogurt did 1 damage. Jogurt had a magic ring that turned other (adjacent) heros into little hamsters like him. And then broke. EVERY time. Levelling takes 100 exp. Killing someone nets 48. If, somehow, you manage to get Jogurt to kill 3 people (or 2 plus 4 other attacks) doing 1 damage in close combat, he levelled - and gained NO abilities, remaining at lvl 1. You could also 'promote' fighters. Jogurt can be promoted right away - yup, no change. Jogurt is THE paragon of this trope.
    • The sequel, Shining Force II, included a hidden character called Kiwi, this time a turtle with a helmet. Kiwi somewhat subverted the trope, as while he could rarely do anything more than 1 damage and was slow as molasses, he had more than 1 hit point and his shell meant that most enemies could only do 1 damage to him per attack. You could also actually level him up enough to change class and turn him into a giant fire-breathing turtle a la Gamera. The downside was that by the time you got him there, the enemies were nasty enough to overcome his defense, and he drops right back down to useless again by the end of the game.
  • The Robot Buddy duo Heavy and Bomb in Knuckles Chaotix. Since your partner is selected via crane game, there was about a 1-in-3 chance you'd pick up either one of these two. Heavy inhibits your movement by slowing and weighing you down, even when using the rubber-band speed boosts, and Bomb will explode if it gets hit, costing you all of your Rings if you get caught in the blast (and you most likely will).
  • The secret creations in Geneforge. They're livestock.
  • Resident Evil 2 included a Bonus Level which told the story of Hunk, one of the Umbrella commandos who was knocked unconscious and forced to fight his way out of the Raccoon Police Department after the events of the main game (now throughly overrun with enemies). The truly hardcore could play that level again as Tofu, truly Exactly What It Says on the Tin, a block of bean curd with a knife.
    • Apparently Capcom added Tofu as a Take That to people who beat RE1 under an hour only using the knife.
      • Tofu was also not actually created to be a playable character or even a tofu. It was a block the developers made to test hit detection for the game. But they decided to take the joke and run with it after development.
  • Several in the Tony Hawk series, though the most obvious and fitting is Benjamin Franklin (the Benjamin Franklin) in THUG 2, who has the lowest stats out of any playable character. There's also Paulie "Wheels of Fury" Ryan (a ten year old boy in a body cast and wheelchair) Jason "Wee Man" Acuna (a little person best known for being a cast member on Jackass), Jesse James (of American Chopper. He rides on his suped-up segway), a cowardly Spanish Matador, an Australian Aborigine in a go-kart, a Cajun voodoo priest on a rocket powered tricycle...
  • Several of these exist in the fan-made Kinnikuman game Kinnikuman: Muscle Fight. For one, background character Canadianman is made into a full on Expy of Dan Hibiki himself; He's one of the few characters who can taunt[2], has variations on this taunts like Dan, and even uses Dan's Super Taunt - though his version actually does a little damage. Oddly, he's a pretty legitimate character aside from that. There's also a couple of "two button" characters who only use the Weak and Medium attack buttons - most notably, the Mari (a walking volleyball) and Chienowaman (a walking chain link puzzle). They can tread into Lethal Joke Character territory, though, since they're small, agile, and speedy.
    • Later, Kinnikuman's "sidekick" Meat became playable, and, well... he's the smallest character in the game, standing at roughly a third the height of the average character, and his moves have poor damage. This makes sense considering how in canon, Meat is one of the only main characters to not make his living as a wrestler; the only reason he's in the game at all is because of the fact that he participated in exactly one match throughout the Long Runner series, where he managed to defeat a significantly weakened opponent by being privy to his Achilles' Heel. Like the Mari and Chienowaman, Meat can easily hit Lethal Joke Character territory; as with them, his small size makes him hard to hit and he's very quick and agile.
    • Finally, there are a handful of characters who are literally jokes, meant to be played for laughs rather than competitively. Take, for instance, the series of Street Fighter-patterned characters, whose movesets are limited and not very damaging and have unimpressive supers (if any at all).
  • Depending on which version of Robopon 2 you have, most battery combinations will yield either a Gear or a Bulbot. Both of these monsters are worthless because they have weak stats and unlike Magikarp and Feebas, they don't get any better at all.
  • Eric Bischoff in WCW/nWo Revenge has pitiful strength and stamina and is the only character in the game who can't grapple (justified, as he's not a grappler in Real Life). His high speed is the only thing going for him.
    • Press R1 4 times, L1 4 times, R2 4 times and L2 4 times to unlock a buttload of joke characters in WCW Thunder.
  • The Old Axe Armor in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin. It's a regular enemy which is playable if you defeat 1,000 of them. It's annoying to unlock, and once you have, you'll find it has no partner (the only mode of the game as such), is very slow, can't slide, has only two subweapons, and generally is awful to play as.
  • PlayStation 2 beat-em'-up Urban Reign has William Bordin, who can take only two to three punches at most or a single submission hold before going down. Especially annoying, considering he's the Final Boss and the hardest character to unlock!
  • Mr. EAD in the F-Zero games. Oh, yeah, he's got an A grade boost, but an E in body and a D in grip, meaning he can't keep speed and he can't take hits and he doesn't corner very well either. All of his stats are practically nonexistant, as well. His machine, the Great Star, was designed with utter disregard to pilot safety because Mr. EAD is a robot, so it's not that big a deal, but damn is it fragile.
    • Great Star is also a Flying Brick (Not to be confused with Superman's Super Powers) at its weight, and with that terrible Grip, it's gonna go wall ramming. Using EAD? Good Luck.
    • Daigoroh's Silver Rat has one thing going for it, and that's acceleration. On the other hand, it has the lowest top speed in the game. Its boost may be A-ranked, but it lasts for such a short time that it's not any good anyway, and every one eats up a huge portion of the Silver Rat's already very small energy bar.
    • The Golden Fox in the first game. On the higher difficulties, some races are Unwinnable when using it.
  • In the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja series (starting with the third entry), you can unlock Konohamaru, the Third Hokage's grandson... and he's about seven years old. His attacks are freaking hilarious. Good luck trying to beat someone with him.
    • In Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 2, we have the Big Guy of Naruto's generation, Choji Akimichi. Despite being reasonably powered in both the anime and manga (even helping Kakashi take on PAIN of all people), in the game he's rather worthless unless he's chosen as support. His attacks are so slow, they can be dodged easily even on higher difficulties, he can't run (only stomp around like a Sumo Wrestler), his Ninja Dash is the slowest in the game, and his attacks, while they hurt when they land can be broken easily.
    • From Naruto Shippuden Clash Of Ninja Revolution 3 we have Nine-Tailed Naruto. He's pretty much average Naruto except that he takes at least double damage from opponent attacks.
  • WWE games have a history of joke wrestlers like Jim Ross, Mike Chioda, Lillian Garcia, Michael Cole, Jonathan Coachman, Fred Durst and Al Snow's mannequin head.
    • Subverted in the legendary No Mercy, as some of the added characters like Linda McMahon are repositories for all of the moves that didn't get assigned to regular characters. This turns Linda into an MMA powerhouse, and her daughter Stephanie has the legendary Tiger Driver '91 as her finishing move because no one else was using it.
    • No Mercy did have some joke moves however. One of the specials was a move where the target would hit the user, who would fall over and plead for mercy, and then sucker-punch the target in the gut. The move took long enough to run out the special meter in all likelihood, and was ranked "G" for power (the lowest for any move, special or not).
  • The PS 1 Medal of Honor games had characters like Napoleon, Casablanca's Rick Blaine, the Statue of Liberty, a velociraptor, a werewolf, a maid, Panzerknacker and the Philippine national hero Jose Rizal (he's pretty big in Germany).
  • The classic PS 1 game 3Xtreme had aliens, monsters and toy cars as joke characters.
  • Samurai Shodown 5 had Galford's dog Poppy.
    • Kuroko however tends to fall into the lethal range. More examples of regular joke characters in the series are Paku Paku, Mamahaha/Shikuru, and Chample, all from Samurai Shodown VI.
  • Phantom Brave has the Old Man and Granny characters. They're both painfully slow, have terrible stats, and can't stay on the field for more than two turns.
    • They're not intended for combat, however—Old Men gives free exp to other phantoms, and Grannies can remove dark points from other phantoms. Also keep in mind that Titlists are almost as useless in combat, yet they can give titles to other phantoms, items, and dungeons (and possibly give them drastic increases, such as +30% to every stat).
  • The Bugatti Veyron in Need for Speed ProStreet. In real life, this is the second-fastest car in the world (253 MPH top speed) and they put it in a game that's mainly about racing tuned Golfs and RX-7s, with a few exotics here and there. It is also only obtainable through a hack in the PC version or by buying the car online for the console versions. So you put down the cash and... it handles like a freaking land barge. You can go fast in the straights, but good luck getting the car to turn. Oh, did I mention that you can't actually tune it? And that this is a tuner game? Whoops.
  • Test Drive Unlimted 2 has Bugatti Veyrons, Nissan GT-Rs, Shelby Daytonas and Ferraris aplenty, so naturally, your starter car will be a Citroen 2CV.
  • The boxing game Knockout Kings has a history of joke characters like rappers Jermaine Dupri and Q-Tip, shoe designer Marc Ecko, comedian Marlon Wayans, basketball player Tim Duncan, referee Mills Lane, a baby, a clown, a bulldog, oh and a bear!.
    • Hell, I'd buy a game just to see Marlon Wayans mauled by a bear.
  • NASCAR Rumble had things like a golf cart, a tow truck and an RV.
  • Hydro Thunder had the a hovercraft (a bitch to maneuver), a military boat, a fishing boat with an outboard motor and "The Tinytanic".
  • Taokaka was supposed to be BlazBlue's version of Dan, though she ended up just being a Cloudcuckoolander.
  • Jeff from Maniac Mansion. He's a surfer dude who can inexplicably fix phones, but that's it; like the main hero Dave, he has no way of getting past Purple Tentacle at the endgame.
    • Not to mention that Bernard not only can also fix phones, but many other things that Jeff can't.
  • Gundam Seed Destiny: Alliance vs ZAFT II gives us...the ZAKU Warrior Live Version. For those not familiar with Destiny, this is a Humongous Mecha painted pink with heart decals to serve as a giant mobile stage for Idol Singer Meer Campbell. In battle, the ZAKU prances instead of walking, throws grenades as if it's blowing kisses, performs one-hit melee attacks that resemble dance moves, and its unique ability involves Meer coming out onto its hands and singing, "donating" your Super Meter energy to your ally. While it can be effective if used properly, and carries a whole lot more grenades than any other ZAKU that has them as a weapon (TWENTY grenades compared to eight carried by Lunamaria's Gunner ZAKU or four for the regular ZAKU Warrior, with or without the Gunner Pack), it's generally easier and better to use an actual combat machine.
    • Built on in SD Generation Wars where her Zaku literally has no attacks of her own and simply consist of her ordering other Zaku's to attack before waving. Unlike the one in RvZII, this version is not viable in actual combat because its single attack has an absurdly low hit rate and damage.
  • Dragon Quest III had one joke class, the Goof-Off. Ridiculously low stats (except for luck), no abilities, very little usable equipment, and would often fail to do anything at all. Seems useless, until you find out that it can upgrade to one of the best classes for free (other classes required a magic item).
  • Jorge Garcia of the Backyard Sports series, who always had below average stats in every game at first. A few years after they increased his stats to make him less of a Joke Character, but he still ends up as one of the worst.
  • Oddly enough, (or not) Mafuyu in Seitokai no Ichizon compares herself to one of these in an attempt to explain how she doesn't really stand out. Yeah, it's that kind of show.
  • Gundam Assault Survive has the Zudah; if you boost while your boost meter is empty, you take damage, leading to many deaths. This reflects the Zudah's depiction in Gundam IGLOO, where its powerful but highly unstable engine lead to several test units suffering from Explosive Overclocking.
  • Baby Classes in Ragnarok Online, no transcendence 75% HP/SP of their counterparts and 50% success rate in alchemy/smithing. Combined with a super novice and you got a big joke class.
  • The Time Splitters series is made of these and lethal joke characters (there are however some borderline sane characters), all mixed together with Crazy Awesome. For instance you have (keep in mind this is an FPS)...
    • Gingerbreadman, Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
    • Snowman, again Exactly What It Says on the Tin. just read his description. Brought to life by a child's wish. The Flying Snowman traverses time in search of death or glory.
    • Dinosaur, do I need to say it again?
    • The Impersonator, an Elvis impersonator who sings in pain instead of screaming
    • Handyman, (who by the way is the product of a Mafioso's cheese enduced nightmare) is a hand. With matchsticks for limbs.
    • Leo Krupps, a former lion tamer who dresses up as a lion.
    • Robert One-Oh-Seven, a man who thinks he's a robotic Zealot sent to save the world from evil.
    • Calimari, a squid alien, who is still fully capable of weilding human weaponry.
    • Statwise, these characters are mostly terrible, but often have redeeming qualities, for instance Handyman technically doesn't have a head, making him headshot-proof. And these guys are just the stand-outs in the... strangeness... that is Time Splitters.
      • Definitely averted with Rob "107" and Handyman. The latter is a 4-star level and the former is a 5-star level. And despite being a normal man with cardboard boxes on himself as armor, Rob is still counted as a robot and is thus immune to fire attacks.
    • The real joke characters would probably the the Monkey characters that have been in every game. The only even semi-decent one is Ninja Monkey, who is a 3-star level, while all other monkeys are either 1-star or 2-stars.
  • the Z Zaku in Gundam Climax UC
  • The flash Mascot Fighter Newgrounds Rumble has Henchman, a character obtained by clicking Hank's sunglasses in the selection screen. He has Hank's moveset, but only about 40 health, in a game where average health is around 300. This is made even worse by the fact that Hank is designed as a Mighty Glacier. This is deliberate, since he's a Madness Combat character, famous for having mooks which are Made of Plasticine.
    • That said Henchman also does lower damage. However, it's still entirely possible to beat other characters, but it requires some knowledge of the game's AI and some luck.
  • Most, if not all of the NPC classes in Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 could fall under this trope. None of them are designed for player use, none of them, bar the Adept who gets weak spells and a familiar, have any class features beyond a skill list and weapons, and most have low saves, Base Attack Bonus, and hitpoints. The Adept and Expert are considered to be below average at best compared to regular classes, the Aristocrat and Warrior are near the bottom of the barrel, but the Commoner, representing completely normal people, has all poor saves, proficiency in one simple weapon, Squishy Wizard-level hitpoints and Base Attack Bonus, and no class features whatsoever.
    • But NPC classes are specifically designed to be used for non-hero characters. They can earn have experience and levels to reflect years of accumulated knowledge and skills but they are supposed to be "underpowered" compared to PC classes. I think a lot of people who are not very deeply familiar with D&D don't realize that a very small proportion of a typical in-game municipality would have class levels at all, and of those most would be under level 6 or so.
  • Meat Boy gives us Tofu Boy, a Take That aimed at PETA; you play him by typing "PETAphile" at the character select screen. He can't even complete most levels due to being too slow and barely able to jump.
  • Ace Combat 5 has the Hawk T.1 fighter. Worse still, there is a mission that forces you to use it. Joint Assault has the WWII A6M Zero and F6F Hellcat fighters. Appropriately enough, these two have no missiles.
  • Grey Ogmo in Jumper Three is slow, jumps low, has a special ability that only slows him down, and you get him very late in the game. Plus, you need to commit suicide when you actually get him. However, he has the highest skid-jumping in the game, but that's not going to be useful for the next two stages.
  • The Lord of the Rings Online allows you to play as a Level 1 Chicken. First you stay in the peaceful Shire, but then you get send into ares where enemies are of level 36-40 and kill you with a single hit. Ouch...
  • Salsa from Mother 3. He has atrocious attacking power, low defense, and very mediocre abilities, with only one having any real use.
    • Salsa is something of a deconstruction of a Joke Character. He's nigh-useless in battle, but Fassad puts him through so much that you can't help feeling terrible for the poor little guy.
  • If you manage to beat Bayonetta's lost chapter Angel Slayer (big emphasis on if) you unlock Little King Zero, a legless skeleton with a beard (yeah…) that talks only in high pitched grunts. In combat, he's just as effective as Bayonetta and has the same powers and weapons. The problem is… there is no such thing as Scratch Damage with him. Any tiniest hit will take off his entire lifebar, leaving only his Last Chance Hit Point. Which means he can be instantly killed even by a single Decoration (the weakest among the weakest ennemies) ! Needless to say, beating the game above Easy Mode with him by using no items officially makes you a badass.
  • In the tabletop fantasy football game Blood Bowl (and its PC adaptation) a lot of the teams are stronger or weaker than others, but the Ogre team is the one that is simply not competatively viable. Its strengths? You can hire up to six Ogres (without the usual 'Loner' drawback that big guys like that usually have) who are incredibly hard-hitting, dangerous and quite durable, the Snotlings you hire to make up the numbers are ridiculously cheap and are so agile they can all but ignore enemy tackle zones, and the Ogres can throw the Snotlings downfield in some truly bizarre plays. Their weaknesses? Pretty much everything else. Ogres are ridiculously expensive, not very agile and due to being as thick as lard each have a 1 in 6 chance of forgetting what they're supposed to be doing every turn, while Snotlings are slow (thanks to their short legs), so weak they get beaten up by Halflings and have a tendancy to die when the enemy so much as looks at them.
    • Speaking of halflings, they compete with ogre teams for being the worst team ever and are (even more than the ogres) certainly treated this way in the game's fluff. About every halfling game mentioned in the rulebook involves downright slaughter of the entire halfling team, and one particularly famous incident had a halfling team failing to win a match against an opponent who didn't show up. Halflings are so bad, they can't even win by default.
  • In the English version of the Zatch Bell game Mamodo Battles, Ponygon is this. In the Japanese version he has a partner, but to avoid spoilers Ponygon doesn't have one in the English version. What does that mean? Since a partner is required to use a spell, Ponygon can only use melee attacks, and while they serve decent damage, spells are the main damage dealers.
  • As part of a Take That from Capcom to Koei, Kanetsugu Naoe in Sengoku Basara is introduced into the series as one of these. According to a line by Keiji Maeda in the third game, he even gets beat up by kids.
  • Megane in Inazuma Eleven is a rare example of a joke character that you start out with on your team. This was probably an intentional move by Level 5 to train players to swap out team members and avoid settling into a Player Preferred Pattern. This is taken even further in the anime adaptation, where it's repeatedly lampshaded that his 2 primary contributions to the team are naming hissatsu techniques and acting as a Combat Commentator. And he gets upset and cries whenever someone else steals his thunder and fulfills one of those roles instead of him. He does score one goal in the entire series... by letting the ball hit him in the face to redirect it into the goal.
  • The GameFAQs Character Battles always have one - CATS, Weighted Companion Cube, MissingNo... and the most glorious example, the L-Block from Tetris, who managed to even win a contest in 2007!
  • In the boxing video game Fight Night: Champion, players have the option of fighting as Butterbean, a (real) 400 lb boxer/wrestler/mma fighter. The game does not use his real name ('Butterbean' is used as his last name and he has no first name) and he is among the lowest-rated boxers in the game.
  • Every monster from the Monster Rancher series has a joke sub-species.
  • Syphon Filter 2 had these for 2-player games such as one of Phagan's test subjects, a homeless woman and a corpse.
  • Fire Emblem Thracia 776 has Shanam (not to be confused with Shanan.) He has completely horrible stats, and he accidentally teaches Marita how to use Astra...which is a skill that he doesn't even have in the first place.
  • If you're willing to consider a starship a character, then the OTAS Sirokos in X3: Terran Conflict and X3: Albion Prelude is one of these. It's the games' poster boy for Crippling Overspecialization: it can carry ten more marines than any other M7M (30 instead of 20), at the cost of only being able to fire boarding pods and Mosquito missiles. It works fine for capturing TL-class ships (slow lumbering transports with enormous cargo bays capable of transporting space stations), but since it lacks offensive weapons it can't really do anything else.
  • The North American release of Custom Robo has a set of "Can" parts that were underpowered and designed to look like they were built from industrial storage drums. They function exactly like standard parts, but with reduced stats. Even their flavor text implies that they're not strong. While every body part has a distinct pair of victory and a defeat stance at the end of a battle, the Can Body has one animation for both: falling over forward on its face. They are acquired by talking to the people in Lucy's room after winning the tournament inside Hero's Home. It is implied that the Can Parts are recurring Joke Parts when a virtual recreation of a character from a previous game mentions that can parts where his favorite.
  • Technically, there aren't really Joke Characters in Kingdom of Loathing. However, players can take familiars to assist them, and here we find joke characters. Most familiars heal you, increase your stat gains, meat gains, or item drops, or attack your enemies. The Pet Rock... does absolutely nothing. Neither does the Crimbo Log or Bulky Buddy Block. The ultimate joke familiar, though, is the O.A.F., or Optimal Ascension Familiar, created as a vicious Take That against players who deem familiars with any nonessential features useless - it actively works against you, even more so than the Black Cat (and the Black Cat was designed for challenge runs).
  • Guilty Gear Isuka has the Goon Squad. Three generic enemies you fight by the hundreds in the side-scroller part of the game. How useless they are? Well, their moves are so limited, some of them can't even jump.
  • Penn from Shining Force III is a secret character that requires the player to spend the whole game doing stupid things with chickens and eggs until you can finally get him. However he starts at level one, can barely do scratch damage to the enemies you're currently facing and will die in one hit. Did I mention he also doesn't speak, he just repeats his name so you won't even get any cool backstore or conversation out of this. It is possible to level grind him if you baby sit him in a training area but it isn't really worth the effort.
  1. [1]
  2. Beauty Rhodes and Jean Steamboard are the others.