Created By: TrueShadow1 on July 13, 2013 Last Edited By: Alucard on January 9, 2014
Troped

Mechanically Unusual Fighter

A Fighting Game character with a bizarre playstyle and mechanics compared to others

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
While Fighting Game characters often have different attacks and playstyles, they usually still share the same basic commands. Pressing A results in a light melee attack, back results in blocking, double forward results in a dash, and so on...Except this character. This character has bizarre mechanics going on compared to other fighters. Maybe this character cannot jump but instead can float around. Maybe this character's crouching actually makes her taller. Whatever it is, playing this character won't be anything like playing the others. Mastering these gimmicks is a major part of this character.

The result of this weird control scheme can vary. Sometimes it makes the character a difficult to learn but very satisfying to master one, and sometimes it makes the character nigh impossible to play instead.

This character often uses variations of Confusion Fu. May invoke Damn You, Muscle Memory if one is too used to other characters.

A good way to determine if a character fits this trope is to ask "If the character lost his gimmick, would he still play similarly or very differently?". If the answer is the latter then it is this trope.

Different from Fighting Clown, which is about the character's whacky appearance rather than the actual mechanics (although the two may overlap). Different from Joke Character, lethal or not, as this character is intended to be a viable option without resorting to an obscure tactic. Also compare Mechanically Unusual Class, the more RPG-like sister.


Examples:

  • Some of the Touhou fighting games:
    • The loli goddess Suwako Moriya from Hisoutensoku. Her standing is actually crouching, and her crouching is conjuring a lily pad underneath her, making her taller. Her regular walking is slowly hopping like a frog (and while hopping she counts as being in the air), and her ground dash is swimming underground, making her invincible to all attacks. Her air movement is her flapping her arms around, and is limited to several directions. Her attacks are relatively normal, though.
    • Koishi Komeiji is the whacky fighter of Hopeless Masquerade. To start, like Suwako, her dash is her prancing around while invisible, making her immune to all attacks. Unlike Suwako, her main whackiness is in her attacks. For most of her attacks, she doesn't instantly perform them when you input the commands. Instead, she "stocks" them and use it automatically when certain conditions are met. For example, her 8B is performed only when she's under the opponent, and Catch and Rose is activated only after you hit the opponent with another attack. Also, she needs about 1-2 seconds before the moves are ready to activate, so you really need to predict the situations beforehand.
    • To a lesser extent, Byakuren, who needs to charge her specials first before being able to actually use it.
  • Shadow Labrys from Persona 4: Arena. Other characters' Personas only appear for a short while to perform attacks, and then disappear. Shabrys' "Persona" Asterius however, stays on screen the entire time, follows Shabrys around, and can attack concurrently with her. To compensate for being around all the time, Asterius has armor so it can't be broken easily, and Shabrys' heavy Persona attack is actually telling Asterius to block. Playing Shadow Labrys is effectively controlling both her and Asterius at the same time.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 3:
    • Frank West has a Magikarp Power system - his moves aren't so impressive at first, but he can rack up "EXP" by comboing the enemy with enough hits and then takes a snapshot with his camera, in order to "level up". He has 5 levels; higher level means improved moves as well as unlocking certain moves to use.
    • Phoenix Wright plays entirely around "evidences" and Stance System: Investigation Mode (his weakest form) is mainly to find evidences, the Trial Mode is used to use the evidences as weapons. When he has 3 evidences ready, during this mode he can pull off an OBJECTION! which, if hits, will let him go to Turnabout Mode, with improved normal and special attacks, as well as his Lv 3 hyper that is the strongest in the game.
  • Guilty Gear: Robo-Ky has to manage two different meters: A thermostat, which builds up as he fights and can only be vented via a certain command or risk a damaging explosion. He also has a power gauge which, unlike everyone else, cannot be charged conventionally and can only be charged via a laid-out power mat. His special and Overdrive attacks drain from this power gauge.
  • BlazBlue: Just as Robo-Ky lacks a tension gauge, Hakumen replaces his heat gauge with a magatama gauge which automatically fills and can store up to 8 stocks. While other characters can perform their specials at will, each of Hakumen's specials uses a certain number of magatama stocks.
  • In Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Gold Lightan and PTX-50A are very massive fighters (who are about 3 times the average height of other characters) and so they fight alone, as opposed to fighting in duets. They also move slowly and have to crouch often to attack.
  • In Dissidia: Final Fantasy, most characters fight using Bravery attacks to build up Bravery, HP attacks to deal HP damage, and landing attacks generates EX Force that fills an EX Gauge, when filled the character can enter EX Mode for a temporary power boost. With Gabranth however, his Bravery attacks are slow and weak and his HP attack automatically charges up his EX Gauge. When it fills and he enters EX Mode, his entire moveset changes, turning him into a Lightning Bruiser with powerful attacks and high movement speed, but only until the gauge depletes, at which point he goes back to normal and has to charge it up again.
  • In the Bleach DS fighting games, Don Kanon'ji has a "Ratings Meter", befitting his TV personality, where certain attacks do more damage the better he is performing. Missing attacks or calling for certain attacks when he does not have the energy decrease his ratings, while doing damage gains ratings. Taunting significantly increases his ratings.
    • Hanataro Yamada has a weapon that heals instead of cuts, then, when enough wounds are healed, it deals damage in one attack equal to the damage healed.
  • Nariko in Playstation All Stars Battle Royale fights using a "key pose" system that momentarily places her in different stances based on how she uses her Square attacks, made for opening up unique combo-trees. What makes her odd is that the game has a number of conventions tied to the Square attacks, and this in turn influences the button-placement for other common mappings: Up Square is generally a Launcher Move (hers is Up Triangle, which is usually used for Anti-Air attacks), Grounded Down Square tends to be a sweep/tripping attack (hers is a weird ground bounce) and Neutral Circle is a Counter Attack (hers is Neutral Triangle).
  • Dracula in Castlevania: Judgment has little-to-no mobility and cannot be knocked down. His dash/sidestep moves are all changed to teleports, including a variant where he teleports directly behind the opponent. Rather than jump, he teleports into the air and can stay up there for as long as his super meter holds out. The majority of his attacks, including normal ones, are projectiles and ranging moves. Basically, he utilizes a variant of his standard Castlevania moveset, in contrast to other boss characters who are given more traditional fighter designs.
  • Shang Tsung from Mortal Kombat is capable of turning into other characters. In some games he can turn into any character at will, in others he can only turn into his opponent (at least, when used by a human player). In later games, he can also heal himself by taking energy from his opponent.
  • Super Smash Bros. - In the first installment 3 of the 12 had at least one quirk making them different form the standard character template. Yoshi's command for third jump was instead a projectile, but he gained armor during his extended double jump. Ness' third jump was a remote control projectile that you had to hit yourself with to get an aerial boost, and Jigglypuff had no 'third jump' at all, instead a combination of her neutral special and 4 'double jumps' were used for recovery.
    • Melee added the Ice Climbers, where one player would control two characters simultaneously, Zelda who could transform mid battle, and Pichu whose attacks damaged itself.
    • Brawl made Samus unusual in that her Final Smash triggered a transformation. Olimar, where the majority of his attacks are tied to his Pikmin, Lucario who get's stronger the more damage he takes and points he falls behind, and Pokemon Trainer who not only can rotate between three transformations, but if you stay in any for too long you actual start to get weaker. This makes for about 8 of 35 characters that are different from the typical mold.
    • From pre release material both Mega Man and Rosalina are shaping up to be unusual fighters in Smash 4. Mega Man has projectiles for his basic attacks and Rosalina fights using a Luma as a puppet.
  • Both Voldo and Dampierre's from Soul Calibur main attacks largely involve being unable to block due to their stances, be they facing away from the enemy or being downed on the ground.
  • Tekken: Dr. Bosconovitch (only in the third game) spends his time prone to the ground and (at his best) crouching; he never jumps or indeed stand still. It's tricky both to play and fight him.
Community Feedback Replies: 50
  • July 13, 2013
    Larkmarn
    The description is just the video game folder of Confusion Fu, but the examples are more "Mechanically Unusual Fighter" which is pretty much the same, but not quite.
  • July 13, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    Um, yeah, I was actually going for Mechanically Unusual Fighter. Need some help with description I guess.
  • July 14, 2013
    DAN004
    It's "Wacky" not "whacky", just sayin'
  • July 14, 2013
    StarSword
    I feel like this is mostly covered already by Mechanically Unusual Class, which was split off of Spoony Bard.
  • July 14, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ That is definitely a related trope, but it's only covered RP Gs or games with RPG Elements. This trope covers Fighting Games, Action Games and other games with many selection of playable characters.
  • July 15, 2013
    DAN004
    • Marvel Vs Capcom 3:
      • Frank West has a Magikarp Power system - his moves aren't so impressive at first, but he can rack up "EXP" by comboing the enemy with enough hits and then takes a snapshot with his camera, in order to "level up". He has 5 levels; higher level means improved moves as well as unlocking certain moves to use.
      • Phoenix Wright plays entirely around "evidences" and Stance System: Investigation Mode (his weakest form) is mainly to find evidences, the Trial Mode is used to use the evidences as weapons. When he has 3 evidences ready, during this mode he can pull off an OBJECTION! which, if hits, will let him go to Turnabout Mode, with improved normal and special attacks, as well as his Lv 3 hyper that is the strongest in the game.
      • To a lesser extent, MODOK flies when he tries to jump (super-jumps still work normally, though). Like Frank West above, his strategy relies on using Analyze Cubes to power up his specials.
      • Some characters have them shoot projectiles as a normal move, such as Doctor Doom's air H, Iron Man's crouching H and Sentinel's standing and crouching H. As a result their combos are unique and played differently than other characters.
  • July 15, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    Need further explanation on the MODOK example, and the projectile-normal-moves are just attack variations. The first and second example are good, though.

    To qualify for this trope, the character needs to have the bizarre-ness all around, not just for one or two moves.

    I think Carl aclover and Platinum the Trinity from Blaz Blue would qualify, but I don't know how they exactly work. Can someone elaborate on them?
  • July 15, 2013
    MrRuano
    Carl's example is somewhat like the Capcom Fighter Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure, which allows the player to summon an alternate character to fight alongside them. In Carl's case, he can activate Nirvana for a limited time, who can fight with him via commands and take some blows.

    • Guilty Gear: Robo-Ky has to manage two different meters: A thermostat, which builds up as he fights and can only be vented via a certain command or risk a damaging explosion. He also has a power gauge which, unlike everyone else, cannot be charged conventionally and can only be charged via a laid-out power mat. His special and Overdrive attacks drain from this power gauge.
  • July 16, 2013
    DAN004
    • In Tatsunoko Vs Capcom, Gold Lightan and PTX-50A are very massive fighters (who are about 3 times the average height of other characters) and so they fight alone, as opposed to fighting in duets. They also move slowly and have to crouch often to attack.
  • July 19, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    I've been thinking for a while. Does Mechanically Unusual Class cover individual characters as well or does it only cover Character Class System? If it's the former, then maybe we can just merge this and that together.
  • July 20, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ As far as I can see from the examples, MUC only covers class systems. So yeah, this trope can stand out as its Sister Trope.
  • July 21, 2013
    StarSword
    ^I'm leaning towards agreeing.
  • July 21, 2013
    Arutema
    • Blaz Blue: Just as Robo-Ky lacks a tension gauge, Hakumen replaces his heat gauge with a magatama gauge which automatically fills and can store up to 8 stocks. While other characters can perform their specials at will, each of Hakumen's specials uses a certain number of magatama stocks.
  • July 23, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    Okay, I'll continue this then
  • July 23, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    In Dissidia Final Fantasy, most characters fight using Bravery attacks to build up Bravery, HP attacks to deal HP damage, and landing attacks generates EX Force that fills an EX Gauge, when filled the character can enter EX Mode for a temporary power boost. With Gabranth however, his Bravery attacks are slow and weak and his HP attack automatically charges up his EX Gauge. When it fills and he enters EX Mode, his entire moveset changes, turning him into a Lightning Bruiser with powerful attacks and high movement speed, but only until the gauge depletes, at which point he goes back to normal and has to charge it up again.
  • July 25, 2013
    DracMonster
    This may invoke Damn You Muscle Memory in some cases.
  • July 25, 2013
    StarSword
    Suggest adding Mechanically Unusual Class to the related tropes line as a Sister Trope. Hatted this already.
  • July 25, 2013
    wanderlustwarrior
    • In the Bleach DS fighting games, Don Kanon'ji has a "Ratings Meter", befitting his TV personality, where certain attacks do more damage the better he is performing. Missing attacks or calling for certain attacks when he does not have the energy decrease his ratings, while doing damage gains ratings. Taunting significantly increases his ratings.
      • Hanataro Yamada has a weapon that heals instead of cuts, then, when enough wounds are healed, it deals damage in one attack equal to the damage healed.
  • July 25, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    By the way, if the game has many characters with gimmicks, please only list one or two whose gimmicks stand out the most, which make them play very differently to the other characters. For example, in the Persona 4 Arena example, nearly everyone has their own gimmicks (Yukiko can increase damage and add guard-break property to her fire attacks, Labrys has an Axe that gets stronger as you attack and gets weaker gradually, and so on), but only Shadow Labrys got listed because she has the biggest gimmick.

    Basically, ask yourself "if the character loses its gimmick, would it play very differently or still similar?". If the answer is the former, then it's this trope. I don't want this page to be filled with characters of only minor gimmicks.
  • August 14, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    Bump

    No more examples? :(
  • August 14, 2013
    DAN004
    Not much examples and yet 5 hats already. :/
  • August 26, 2013
    Alucard
    Nariko in Playstation All Stars Battle Royale fights using a "key pose" system that places her in different stances based on how she uses her Square attacks, made for opening up unique combo-trees. What makes her odd is that the game has a number of conventions tied to the Square attacks, and this in turn influences the button-placement for other common mappings: Up Square is generally a Launcher Move (hers is Up Triangle, which is usually used for Anti Air attacks), Grounded Down Square tends to be a sweep/tripping attack (hers is a weird ground bounce) and Neutral Circle is a Counter Attack (hers is Neutral Triangle).
  • September 6, 2013
    FalconPain
    Dracula in Castlevania Judgment has little-to-no mobility and cannot be knocked down. His dash/sidestep moves are all changed to teleports, including a variant where he teleports directly behind the opponent. Rather than jump, he teleports into the air and can stay up there for as long as his super meter holds out. The majority of his attacks, including normal ones, are projectiles and ranging moves. Basically, he utilizes a variant of his standard Castlevania moveset, in contrast to other boss characters who are given more traditional fighter designs.
  • September 6, 2013
    DAN004
    Sir Halen, don't just copy and paste the examples as-is. Click the pencil icon next to the post first, then copy that text. :P
  • September 7, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    Fixed. Someone might want to just launch this. Not feeling like launching it myself for some reason.
  • September 7, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Patience, sir, patience.
  • September 17, 2013
    Alucard
    So, is this going to get launched or not? It seems ready to me.
  • September 17, 2013
    acrobox
    • Super Smash Bros - In the first installment 3 of the 12 had at least one quirk making them different form the standard character template. Yoshi's command for third jump was instead a projectile, but he gained armor during his extended double jump. Ness' third jump was a remote control projectile that you had to hit yourself with to get an aerial boost, and Jigglypuff had no 'third jump' at all, instead a combination of her neutral special and 4 'double jumps' were used for recovery.
      • Melee added the Ice Climbers, where one player would control two characters simultaneously, Zelda who could transform mid battle, and Pichu whose attacks damaged itself.
      • Brawl made Samus unusual in that her Final Smash triggered a transformation. Olimar, where the majority of his attacks are tied to his Pikmin, Lucario who get's stronger the more damage he takes and points he falls behind, and Pokemon Trainer who not only can rotate between three transformations, but if you stay in any for too long you actual start to get weaker. This makes for about 8 of 35 characters that are different from the typical mold.
  • September 17, 2013
    Alucard
    ^ Zelda and the Pokemon Trainer are covered by Stance System, Lucario is covered by Critical Status Buff, and Olimar is covered by The Minion Master.
  • September 18, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ But if nobody else does that in the game then they're unique. :P
  • September 18, 2013
    GoldenDarkness
    For now Mega Man for the upcoming Wii U / Nintendo 3 DS sequel may fit, as his basic attacks is shooting with his Mega Buster instead of physically attacking with fists or swords like everyone else. He even shoot while running and jumping. Of course, this is due to him hewing very close to how he's controlled in his games.
  • September 18, 2013
    Alucard
    ^^ How is it unique when there's a trope to define it? Shouldn't a true example break most conventions with their control-scheme or approach to battle? If you could create a Mechanically Unusual Fighter by porting an idea over to a fighting game, wouldn't there be more examples than this?

    Every example I mentioned is fundamentally identical to rest of the cast; their mechanics remain largely the same. A Stance System lets you alter the mechanics at will, but the mechanics themselves stay the same. Doing higher damage under some condition ultimately leaves the mechanics identical, and maybe Olimar is odd enough to count.

    Altering the fundament should be a basic requirement to qualify.
  • September 19, 2013
    DAN004
    Okay, sir True Shadow 1, you be the judge.

    Though he already said this:
    • Basically, ask yourself "if the character loses its gimmick, would it play very differently or still similar?". If the answer is the former, then it's this trope. I don't want this page to be filled with characters of only minor gimmicks.

    I... couldn't exactly judge it by that. Maybe I'm just an idiot. :P
  • September 19, 2013
    acrobox
    then maybe under this stricter definition Olimar is the only one who counts for the Smash Bros series
  • October 9, 2013
    DAN004
    Pulling one hat for now.
  • October 15, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    Okay, sorry for my inactivity, but basically what Alucard said. The third jump examples also seem a bit too minor, but I'm not familiar with the series. More elaboration on Ice Climbers, Samus, and Olimar please?
  • November 12, 2013
    Alucard
    So, it says Up For Grabs, and True Shadow 1 said outright that someone else can do it. Anyone mind if I launch it?

    If this falls to the second page without a reply, I'll assume there aren't any arguments.
  • November 12, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Regarding the Smash Bros examples: What matters is whether or not the fighter is unusual in its current context. As such, Ice Climbers, Zelda (but only in Melee... Pokemon Trainer in Brawl means she's no longer unusual), Olimar, and Lucario would count since they're all based around a unique gimmick.

    • Drunken Master Shun Di from Virtua Fighter has a mechanic where he can take swigs of wine, which improves his stats and certain moves can only be performed after a certain number of drinks.

    • Almost all robots in Tech Romancer have a gimmick of some sort, but only a few are based around their gimmick:
      • Rafaga, an expy of the Valkyrie from Macross, can freely change between its three forms (robot, jet, and a hybrid of the two).
      • Wise Duck is the only robot in the game to completely lack a jump. Instead, it has the ability to drop a landmine.
      • Twinzam V, an expy of Getter Robo is made up of two jets that combine into one robot. Depending on which is on top, it looks and controls completely differently.

    • The BAL-series of robots in Virtual On is built around launching its limbs and using them as Attack Drones.

    • Shang Tsung from Mortal Kombat is capable of turning into other characters. In some games he can turn into any character at will, in others he can only turn into his opponent (at least, when used by a human player). In later games, he can also heal himself by taking energy from his opponent.
  • November 12, 2013
    Alucard
    ^ You're encouraging Trope Decay. Most game designers will choose to pick from a list of familiar character typings and gimmicks at least one, and only one example to fit their game (Cast Speciation and all that). If you include everyone unique in context with their own environment, but not unique in context with other games of their genre, the trope becomes too broad (taking a laundry list of characters seen in Competitive Balance and Video Game Characters doesn't make a trope).

    What you should be looking for are characters unique in terms of the conventions set by their own game's mechanics. Mechanics very specific to their game that somehow get broken (such as a simple control-scheme; things too particular to be troped). It's okay if that character's gimmick has already been troped at one point, but it's not okay if that trope is common in the genre the game occupies (Stance System has been used in fighters for years). A good example would be porting tropes regularly seen in adventure games to a fighter (like Dracula), or making a character fight with a system more usually applied to RPGs (like Frank West). I'd even count Phoenix Wright mainly because his "Stance System" isn't a true stance system at all: he can't change freely between them, but instead relies on a resource to reach a distinctly more powerful state, making him an oddity by fighting game standards.

    I'd still count some of your other examples: a game where everyone else can jump, while one character does something completely different is a perfect example (Tech Romancer). Relying on a pseudo-Super Mode wouldn't be an example, but unlocking giving the character access to several new attacks in a game that normally gives the player access to an entire move-set is surely an example (Virtua Fighter).

    Your other examples are covered by Mega Manning, Drone Deployer, and Stance System, none of which are unheard of (or particularly special) in fighting games.
  • November 12, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Yes, they're covered by it in those games but the thing is they're unusual for that game.

    A game that has a single Shotoclone in a gi where everyone else was a flying robot that turns into a racecar should qualify, as they're mechanics are unusual for that game. It shouldn't matter if they're not unusual for the genre. Similarly, if a character relies on a Stance System but no one else in the game does, it's still mechanically unusual for that game.

    This isn't Trope Decay because this is the trope; the description specifically says it's about characters who are unusual "compared to other fighters... playing this character won't be anything like playing the others." What's significant is how the character is relevant to the context he's in, meaning his own work.
  • November 21, 2013
    Alucard
    Well, I'd say we're at an impasse here, because what you're describing doesn't sound like a trope to me: it sounds more like any number of standard molds and typings being fit into a single fighter (which always happens anyway).

    I was hoping to launch this, but it looks like we'll need the opinion of the OP, assuming he comes around again.
  • November 21, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Yeah, we'll need someone to make a ruling here.
  • November 22, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    ...this is what I get for making a fighting game trope when I'm not even that familiar with the genre

    I'm agreeing with Alucard here. I'm thinking that you should consider if the other characters fit certain stock archetypes as well. For example, Aigis in Persona 4 Arena is the only one with the Stance System, but I wouldn't say she counts as this trope because looking at the other characters, Yosuke is the stock Fragile Speedster, Yu is the stock Jack Of All Stats, etc, so she's the stock Stance character. But if she's in a game where everyone is a Mighty Glacier and she can change between slow mode and fast mode, then she would count. So Larkmann's example of a Shotoclone in a world of transforming robots would also count.

    In short, if it's a common stock system, then it probably wouldn't count, unless it's really unusual in that particular game.
  • November 22, 2013
    Alucard
    ... I'm starting to think I'm not the right person to launch this. I'm not even really sure how you would quantify "weird in their own environment." What kind of environment does it have to be?

    Maybe there needs to be a note in the OP that if archetypes are going to be added, they have to very unusual for that game. Again, I have no idea how you would quantify this sort of thing.
  • December 21, 2013
    DAN004
    Bump.

    Compare Wrong Context Magic, the narrative version of the trope.
  • December 22, 2013
    OmniValor
    How has nobody mentioned Voldo from soulcalibur, super weird fighter
  • December 22, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ add Dampierre to that. those are the only two who's main attacks mainly involve being unable to block due to facing away from the enemy or being downed on the ground.
  • December 29, 2013
    abateman
    I'm having trouble remembering this right, but wasn't there a character who couldn't jump in one of the old Mortal Kombat games? Goro maybe?
  • January 8, 2014
    wanderlustwarrior
    ^^^Because mention it yourself and don't complain when someone else hasn't yet.

    ^I think so, but...
    • The most mechanically unusual fighter in older Mortal Kombat games was likely Shang Tsung, who had a move set that used almost every possible input, because he could use his own moves and turn into anyone else in the early games, then use their moves, all of which had their own inputs.
  • January 8, 2014
    DAN004
    • Tekken: Dr. Bosconovitch (only in the third game) spends his time prone to the ground and (at his best) crouching; he never jumps or indeed stand still. It's tricky both to play and fight him.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=3jbbyvocohyy5aep64wu644g&trope=MechanicallyUnusualFighter