History Main / CrutchCharacter

22nd May '18 2:32:00 PM MBG159
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** [[WhiteMage Minwu]] in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyII'' is the UrExample for ''Franchise/FinalFantasy''. He joins with just under 200 HP and several high-level WhiteMagic spells at a point when your characters have only begun to learn magic and have almost 100 HP, ''if'' you've been level grinding.

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** The Red Mage in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyI'' starts out as a JackOfAllStats, especially thanks to their high base stats and some buggy mechanics making them equal to the White and Black Mages in terms of pure power (though not as frequent of a caster). But as time goes on, the White and Black Mage learn more powerful spells and their charges become more numerous, and the Fighter and Black Belt (and [[MagikarpPower eventually Ninja]]) considerably outstrip the Red Mage in damage due to better stat growth. By the endgame, though hardly useless, they've fallen into MasterOfNone territory.
** [[WhiteMage Minwu]] in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyII'' is the UrExample for ''Franchise/FinalFantasy''. He joins with just under 200 HP and several high-level WhiteMagic spells at a point when your characters have only begun to learn magic and have almost 100 HP, ''if'' you've been level grinding. [[GuestStarPartyMember He then leaves the group.]]
16th May '18 2:43:25 PM JapaneseTeeth
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* ''VideoGame/XenobladeChronicles2'' has Tora. Early on, he's an extremely effective Tank character due to his high HP, but his continued usage is heavily hampered by the fact that he can't use any rare blades, and the only way to upgrade his own blade is by playing a minigame. Early on, this isn't a big deal because none of the other party members can fill his role in the party and only a limited number of blade are available anyway. But once the player obtains another character who can fill his role, his usefulness takes a dive. That said, it becomes a SubvertedTrope in the endgame and postgame once his blade's final form is unlocked, and with sufficient minigame grinding he can actually do more damage than anyone else at in the party.
13th May '18 10:44:42 PM josh6243
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** A downplayed example but [[Anime/BuddyComplex Dio Junyou Weinberg]] and his Bradyon is this for [[Anime/BuddyComplex Aoba Watase]] in his Luxon as Aoba starts ''VideoGame.SuperRobotWarsX'' at a low level with zero kills on his belt and only has the "Persist"[[note]]Decrease damage taken by 87.5% for one battle.[[/note]] spirit command for a large portion of the early game while Dio has both "Focus"[[note]]For 1 turn, hit & evade rates increase by 30%.[[/note]] and "Flash"[[note]]100% chance to evade the next attack.[[/note]] which both can share with the "Coupling"[[note]]At 120 will, if either Aoba or Dio cast Focus, Flash, Bullseye (100% chance to hit an enemy for the entire turn) and Intuition (casts Bullseye and Flash on self)[[/note]] mecha ability. However later on, Aoba is able to build up morale on his own with the "Spirit"[[note]]+10 will to self[[/note]] spirit command and can survive in the front lines while Dio will start to rely more on Aoba with Aoba's spirit commands and has a harder time to reach the morale thresholds needed for their CombinationAttack plus his combination attacks aren't post movement unlike Aoba's.

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** A downplayed example but [[Anime/BuddyComplex Dio Junyou Weinberg]] and his Bradyon is this for [[Anime/BuddyComplex Aoba Watase]] in his Luxon as Aoba starts ''VideoGame.SuperRobotWarsX'' ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsX'' at a low level with zero kills on his belt and only has the "Persist"[[note]]Decrease damage taken by 87.5% for one battle.[[/note]] spirit command for a large portion of the early game while Dio has both "Focus"[[note]]For 1 turn, hit & evade rates increase by 30%.[[/note]] and "Flash"[[note]]100% chance to evade the next attack.[[/note]] which both can share with the "Coupling"[[note]]At 120 will, if either Aoba or Dio cast Focus, Flash, Bullseye (100% chance to hit an enemy for the entire turn) and Intuition (casts Bullseye and Flash on self)[[/note]] mecha ability. However later on, Aoba is able to build up morale on his own with the "Spirit"[[note]]+10 will to self[[/note]] spirit command and can survive in the front lines while Dio will start to rely more on Aoba with Aoba's spirit commands and has a harder time to reach the morale thresholds needed for their CombinationAttack plus his combination attacks aren't post movement unlike Aoba's.
13th May '18 10:44:12 PM josh6243
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** A downplayed example but [[Anime/BuddyComplex Dio Junyou Weinberg]] and his Bradyon is this for [[Anime/BuddyComplex Aoba Watase]] in his Luxon as Aoba starts ''VideoGane.SuperRobotWarsX'' at a low level with zero kills on his belt and only has the "Persist"[[note]]Decrease damage taken by 87.5% for one battle.[[/note]] spirit command for a large portion of the early game while Dio has both "Focus"[[note]]For 1 turn, hit & evade rates increase by 30%.[[/note]] and "Flash"[[note]]100% chance to evade the next attack.[[/note]] which both can share with the "Coupling"[[note]]At 120 will, if either Aoba or Dio cast Focus, Flash, Bullseye (100% chance to hit an enemy for the entire turn) and Intuition (casts Bullseye and Flash on self)[[/note]] mecha ability. However later on, Aoba is able to build up morale on his own with the "Spirit"[[note]]+10 will to self[[/note]] spirit command and can survive in the front lines while Dio will start to rely more on Aoba with Aoba's spirit commands and has a harder time to reach the morale thresholds needed for their CombinationAttack plus his combination attacks aren't post movement unlike Aoba's.

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** A downplayed example but [[Anime/BuddyComplex Dio Junyou Weinberg]] and his Bradyon is this for [[Anime/BuddyComplex Aoba Watase]] in his Luxon as Aoba starts ''VideoGane.''VideoGame.SuperRobotWarsX'' at a low level with zero kills on his belt and only has the "Persist"[[note]]Decrease damage taken by 87.5% for one battle.[[/note]] spirit command for a large portion of the early game while Dio has both "Focus"[[note]]For 1 turn, hit & evade rates increase by 30%.[[/note]] and "Flash"[[note]]100% chance to evade the next attack.[[/note]] which both can share with the "Coupling"[[note]]At 120 will, if either Aoba or Dio cast Focus, Flash, Bullseye (100% chance to hit an enemy for the entire turn) and Intuition (casts Bullseye and Flash on self)[[/note]] mecha ability. However later on, Aoba is able to build up morale on his own with the "Spirit"[[note]]+10 will to self[[/note]] spirit command and can survive in the front lines while Dio will start to rely more on Aoba with Aoba's spirit commands and has a harder time to reach the morale thresholds needed for their CombinationAttack plus his combination attacks aren't post movement unlike Aoba's.
13th May '18 10:43:38 PM josh6243
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Added DiffLines:

** A downplayed example but [[Anime/BuddyComplex Dio Junyou Weinberg]] and his Bradyon is this for [[Anime/BuddyComplex Aoba Watase]] in his Luxon as Aoba starts ''VideoGane.SuperRobotWarsX'' at a low level with zero kills on his belt and only has the "Persist"[[note]]Decrease damage taken by 87.5% for one battle.[[/note]] spirit command for a large portion of the early game while Dio has both "Focus"[[note]]For 1 turn, hit & evade rates increase by 30%.[[/note]] and "Flash"[[note]]100% chance to evade the next attack.[[/note]] which both can share with the "Coupling"[[note]]At 120 will, if either Aoba or Dio cast Focus, Flash, Bullseye (100% chance to hit an enemy for the entire turn) and Intuition (casts Bullseye and Flash on self)[[/note]] mecha ability. However later on, Aoba is able to build up morale on his own with the "Spirit"[[note]]+10 will to self[[/note]] spirit command and can survive in the front lines while Dio will start to rely more on Aoba with Aoba's spirit commands and has a harder time to reach the morale thresholds needed for their CombinationAttack plus his combination attacks aren't post movement unlike Aoba's.
28th Apr '18 3:04:48 PM nombretomado
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* ''Franchise/{{Suikoden}}''

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* ''Franchise/{{Suikoden}}''''VideoGame/{{Suikoden}}'':
26th Apr '18 4:35:40 AM Luigifan
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Crutch characters, however, are player characters (typically available early on) who start out powerful enough to [[OneManParty carry your party to victory on their own]], but who CantCatchUp with the increased powers of newer enemies or their fellow characters, or because they simply leave the party at some point (possibly because they are TheMole), or [[BigGuyFatalitySyndrome they are]] [[PlotlineDeath killed]], forcing the player to somehow come up with a replacement. Worse, without LeakedExperience, the crutch may actually cripple your party if you lean on them too heavily - if they leave, or if their diminishing returns make their [[EmptyLevels levels empty]], then you've functionally wasted experience points that could have made other characters powerful. In short, they are the character equivalent of a DiscOneNuke.

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Crutch characters, however, are player characters (typically available early on) who start out powerful enough to [[OneManParty carry your party to victory on their own]], but who CantCatchUp with the increased powers of newer enemies or their fellow characters, or because they simply leave the party at some point (possibly because they are TheMole), or [[BigGuyFatalitySyndrome they are]] [[PlotlineDeath killed]], forcing the player to somehow come up with a replacement. Worse, without LeakedExperience, the crutch may actually cripple your party if you lean on them too heavily - if they leave, or if their diminishing returns make their [[EmptyLevels levels empty]], then you've functionally wasted experience points that could have made other characters powerful. In short, they are the character equivalent of a DiscOneNuke.



Thus, they are like a crutch - you can lean on them to overcome a weakness early on, but eventually, the game will kick the crutch out from under you, and your other characters must have learned to stand on your own two feet by that time, or you are doomed to fail (and if you still have it by the time you're fully healed, it will be much more of a liability to carry around).

The Crutch Character serves two purposes -- his strength prevents the player from being overwhelmed in the early stages of the game when he's still learning the rules, and he provides a useful object lesson. Most novices, given a powerful unit, will come to overly rely on him, and won't raise their other units enough, leaving those characters weak and unable to defend themselves. By quickly obsoleting or otherwise removing the Crutch Character (or perhaps making the Crutch's later function different), the designers deter this strategy; in other words, it's a way of attacking the UnstableEquilibrium. Of course, if the designers forget to deter this strategy, you have a OneManParty.

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Thus, they are like a crutch - you can lean on them to overcome a weakness early on, but eventually, the game will kick the crutch out from under you, and your other characters must have learned to stand on your their own two feet by that time, or you are doomed to fail (and if you still have it by the time you're fully healed, it will be much more of a liability to carry around).

The Crutch Character serves two purposes -- his strength prevents the player from being overwhelmed in the early stages of the game when he's still learning the rules, and he provides a useful object lesson. Most novices, given a powerful unit, will come to overly rely on him, and won't raise their other units enough, leaving those characters weak and unable to defend themselves. By quickly obsoleting or otherwise removing the Crutch Character (or perhaps making the Crutch's later function different), the designers deter this strategy; in other words, it's a way of attacking the UnstableEquilibrium. Of course, if the designers forget to deter this strategy, you have a OneManParty.



A specific form of TheAce. See also OverratedAndUnderleveled, SkillGateCharacter, LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards and ChangingGameplayPriorities. Contrast with MagikarpPower and OneManParty. This character often acts as the EXP version of SoLongAndThanksForAllTheGear.

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A specific form of TheAce. See also OverratedAndUnderleveled, SkillGateCharacter, LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards, and ChangingGameplayPriorities. Contrast with MagikarpPower and OneManParty. This character often acts as the EXP version of SoLongAndThanksForAllTheGear.



* Mordecai characters in ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}'' who focus on Bloodwing with leveling up. Early on during the game, Bloodwing can one hit kill enemies left and right, turn boss battles into a joke. Once you get to the higher levels though, Bloodwing barely scratches the majority of the enemies you face. Luckily, Borderlands allows you to respec your abilities on a whim, so Bloodwing-spec hunters aren't screwed once they get to the lategame.
** Likewise Bricks who go into maxing out Brawler/Tank trees with the right cooldowns & class mods (Having a five second cooldown on your minute default skill? Sure why not). Extremely potent in the first playthrough, arguably to the point of being a GameBreaker, but because of how the game scales Berserk damage, it skill becomes decreasingly useful throughout the second playthrough prompting a lot of Bricks to respec into the Blaster/Tank trees and use Berserk for healing.

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* Mordecai characters in ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}'' who focus on Bloodwing with leveling up. Early on during the game, Bloodwing can one hit kill OneHitKill enemies left and right, right and turn boss battles into a joke. Once you get to the higher levels levels, though, Bloodwing barely scratches the majority of the enemies you face. Luckily, Borderlands ''Borderlands'' allows you to respec your abilities on a whim, so Bloodwing-spec hunters aren't screwed once they get to the lategame.
** Likewise Likewise, Bricks who go into maxing out Brawler/Tank trees with the right cooldowns & class mods (Having a five second cooldown on your minute default skill? Sure Sure, why not). Extremely potent in the first playthrough, arguably to the point of being a GameBreaker, but because of how the game scales Berserk damage, it skill becomes decreasingly useful throughout the second playthrough playthrough, prompting a lot of Bricks to respec into the Blaster/Tank trees and use Berserk for healing.



** Salvador's Brawn tree. His action skill makes him dual-wield, regenerate ammo, reduce damage, and heal 50% of his total health. Brawn increases his survivability. However, most of these skills are based on either health regeneration (which doesn't grow near as fast as enemy damage) or only work while Gunzerking (which has a time limit). By the time you get to True Vault Hunter Mode, most enemies will be able to kill in 2-5 hits, while every regen ability at once will take well over ten seconds to restore full health. In contrast, many high-level offensive builds will have their skills all working together to boost damage exponentially, letting you kill almost everything before it gets a hit in.

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** Salvador's Brawn tree. His action skill makes him dual-wield, regenerate ammo, reduce damage, and heal 50% of his total health. Brawn increases his survivability. However, most of these skills are based on either health regeneration (which doesn't grow near nearly as fast as enemy damage) or only work while Gunzerking (which has a time limit). By the time you get to True Vault Hunter Mode, most enemies will be able to kill in 2-5 hits, while every regen ability at once will take well over ten seconds to restore full health. In contrast, many high-level offensive builds will have their skills all working together to boost damage exponentially, letting you kill almost everything before it gets a hit in.
17th Apr '18 7:47:57 PM BattleMaster
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** A special kind of magic from 3rd edition, chaos magic, allows a caster to create spells on the fly, what allows some really devastating effects, and associated classes have no daily limit except for self-inflicted damage for every spell cast. However, failing a cast (always possible on a natural 1) progressively harms the user in a random way, until their eventual demise if they fail one too many times, and [[DeaderThanDead no wish or miracle spell can do anything about it]]. A chaos mage is then ridiculously powerful but has a high risk of dying permanently from their repeated tampering into the forces of chaos.

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** A special kind of magic from a third-party 3rd edition, edition supplement, chaos magic, allows a caster to create spells on the fly, what allows some really devastating effects, and associated classes have no daily limit except for self-inflicted damage for every spell cast. However, failing a cast (always possible on a natural 1) progressively harms the user in a random way, until their eventual demise if they fail one too many times, and [[DeaderThanDead no wish or miracle spell can do anything about it]]. A chaos mage is then ridiculously powerful but has a high risk of dying permanently from their repeated tampering into the forces of chaos.



** Several classes in 3.x were considered "front-loaded", with the majority of their benefits coming within their first five levels. For those early levels, the class would be dominant, and afterward, it tended to peter off; the traditional player response was to ''only'' take those useful levels and then jump out by any means necessary. The fighter was the most famous example: fighter level 1 gives full weapon and armor proficiency and a free combat feat, fighter level 2 gives another free combat feat, and fighter level 3 gives... [[EmptyLevels absolutely nothing.]] Time to find a PrestigeClass.

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** Several classes in 3.x were considered "front-loaded", with the majority of their benefits coming within their first five levels. For those early levels, the class would be dominant, and afterward, it tended to peter off; the traditional player response was to ''only'' take those useful levels and then jump out by any means necessary. The fighter was the most famous example: fighter level 1 gives full weapon and armor proficiency and a free combat feat, fighter level 2 gives another free combat feat, and fighter level 3 gives... [[EmptyLevels absolutely nothing.]] Time to find a PrestigeClass. But the Ranger really beat the Fighter at this in 3.0 edition. At first level, you got nearly everything from the Ranger class that was actually useful. From then on, you got nothing at all until you hit fourth level, at which point you got access to the Ranger's incredibly weak spellcasting ability. It was ''far'' better to simply take one level of Ranger, then switch to Fighter or Barbarian.
8th Apr '18 12:41:26 AM infernape612
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** Chie is the polar opposite. While [[spoiler:Naoto]] is good for random encounters and bad for bosses , Chie is a physical fighter and becomes useless if the enemy can block/repel her attacks, but, if you buff her speed and critical hit, she can knock most bosses, and you know, [[GameBreaker knocked enemies lose their turns...]] Chie also has the interesting issue of being a Character who's strong early on, but weaker at midlevels, but then gets strong again. This is because her skill learning is unbalanced and she learns no midlevel skills, leaving her with basic ice spells and a mid level physical attack while everyone else is learning Dyne spells or support magic or strong attacks, but once you level her past 60 she learns Power Charge and God Hand, making her the next strongest boss killer in the game barring Kanji and the MC. Golden fixes this by letting her learn additional skills through her S Link, letting her get Bufudyne and other skills to keep her useful until you learn God hand.
* In ''VideoGame/PersonaQShadowOfTheLabyrinth'', Naoto escapes this status, instead becoming a total [[GameBreaker Game Breaker]] due to the Boost system all but making MP management irrelevant and the fact that just about everything in the game is weak to OneHitKill spells, but it still has a straight example in the form of Zen and Rei. Zen and Rei ([[TheDividual yes, they fight as a single unit]]) can't equip Sub Personas, but to compensate they have very slightly above-average stats in all areas, and learn a huge variety of skills covering physical attacks, elemental spells, HP and status healing and buffs. They first join when the Sub Persona system isn't available yet, so at that point they're extremely strong compared to the rest of the party, and they remain strong while Sub Personas are still low-level. At higher levels though, the skills available from Sub Personas ''vastly'' eclipse theirs, and their skills take far longer to upgrade than the rest of the party members, so their damage output really lags behind. They're also unable to use the Skill Card system to learn new skills due to lacking Personas.

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** Chie is the polar opposite. While [[spoiler:Naoto]] is good for random encounters and bad for bosses , bosses, Chie is a physical fighter and becomes useless if the enemy can block/repel her attacks, but, if you buff her speed and critical hit, she can knock most bosses, and you know, [[GameBreaker knocked enemies lose their turns...]] Chie also has the interesting issue of being a Character character who's strong early on, but weaker at midlevels, but then gets strong again. This is because her skill learning is unbalanced and she learns no midlevel skills, leaving her with basic ice spells and a mid level physical attack while everyone else is learning Dyne spells or support magic or strong attacks, but once you level her past 60 she learns Power Charge and God Hand, making her the next strongest boss killer in the game barring Kanji and the MC. Golden fixes this by letting her learn additional skills through her S Link, letting her get Bufudyne and other skills to keep her useful until you learn God hand.
* In ''VideoGame/PersonaQShadowOfTheLabyrinth'', Naoto escapes this status, instead becoming a total [[GameBreaker Game Breaker]] due to benefiting from the Boost system all but making MP management irrelevant and the fact that just about everything in the game is weak to OneHitKill spells, but it still has a straight example in the form of Zen and Rei. Zen and Rei ([[TheDividual yes, they fight as a single unit]]) can't equip Sub Personas, but to compensate they have very slightly above-average stats in all areas, and learn a huge variety of skills covering physical attacks, elemental spells, HP and status healing and buffs. They first join when the Sub Persona system isn't available yet, so at that point they're extremely strong compared to the rest of the party, and they remain strong while Sub Personas are still low-level. At higher levels though, the skills available from Sub Personas ''vastly'' eclipse theirs, and their skills take far longer to upgrade than the rest of the party members, so their damage output really lags behind. They're also unable to use the Skill Card system to learn new skills due to lacking Personas.



** ''VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn'' has a straight and intentional version of this; in the very first dungeon, two heroes from the first VideoGame/GoldenSun join your party. They're AI controlled, but practically indestructable and deal massive damage (compared to your own characters at least), though they may not attack at all against lesser enemies. After the first dungeon, they kick you out of the house to fend for yourselves.

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** ''VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn'' has a straight and intentional version of this; in the very first dungeon, two heroes from the first VideoGame/GoldenSun ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'' join your party. They're AI controlled, but practically indestructable and deal massive damage (compared to your own characters at least), though they may not attack at all against lesser enemies. After the first dungeon, they kick you out of the house to fend for yourselves.



* In ''VideoGame/MaddenNFL'', there will usually be a few players who, for whatever reason (age, injury concerns, off-the-field concerns,) were not signed by a team in RealLife but are available in Madden as free agents in franchise mode. Usually these players still have relatively high overalls (80+) compared to those you can typically find as free agents in-season in franchise mode, so signing them will give your team an extra boost. However, if the player is older he may retire after only 1 season or, if not, will see his physical stats deteriorate as he ages. If he is oft-injured, he may not play many games for you before getting hurt. This was much more common in the late-90s/early 2000s Madden games as they lacked the ability to receive roster updates via the internet. More recent games (from the late 2000s on,) will receive roster updates throughout the year to clear out players like this, but it still happens.

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* In ''VideoGame/MaddenNFL'', there will usually be a few players who, for whatever reason (age, injury concerns, off-the-field concerns,) concerns) were not signed by a team in RealLife but are available in Madden as free agents in franchise mode. Usually these players still have relatively high overalls (80+) compared to those you can typically find as free agents in-season in franchise mode, so signing them will give your team an extra boost. However, if the player is older he may retire after only 1 season or, if not, will see his physical stats deteriorate as he ages. If he is oft-injured, he may not play many games for you before getting hurt. This was much more common in the late-90s/early 2000s Madden games as they lacked the ability to receive roster updates via the internet. More recent games (from the late 2000s on,) on) will receive roster updates throughout the year to clear out players like this, but it still happens.
8th Apr '18 12:37:23 AM infernape612
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*** [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyTheAfterYears The sequel's]] protagonist is, well, a particularly weak weakling at the start. The game compensates by giving you [[RedShirt Biggs and Wedge]] then The Hooded Man, who are much better, to assist.

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*** [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyTheAfterYears [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyIVTheAfterYears The sequel's]] protagonist is, well, a particularly weak weakling at the start. The game compensates by giving you [[RedShirt Biggs and Wedge]] then The Hooded Man, who are much better, to assist.
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