Created By: LemGambino on December 28, 2009

That One Weapon

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In video games, you're bound to find at least one or several weapons you like to use, and use them regularly. Then there are weapon that're either hard to use, or totally useless in most situations, or just plain unfun to utilize. Most people try to avoid using these weapons if they can afford to do so, but some games require you to use such annoying items, usually to defeat a boss, solve a puzzle, or find an important item. Note that this is not limited to just weapons: magic, offensive items, Mons, or fighting moves can fall into this catagory. Note that this is different than Useless Useful Spell, which usually deals skills and such that inflict status effects (in RP Gs, mostly); this trope concerns offensive weapons/magic and similar tools, though some exceptions can be made.


-The Ratchet and Clank series was the main inspiration for this trope. The first game had a handful of weapons that were quite useful (Visibomb Gun, Pyrocitor), and some that were almost useless (Drone Device, Sonic Summoner). The second game and onwards introduced leveling up weapons, further polarizing the effectiveness of weapons. It was quite easy to level up weapons that were easy to use and fairly powerful (Negociator and Constructo Shotgun from A Crack in Time, for one), and weapons that barely got any use (such as the wimpy Buzz Blades) would never be able to level up except on the weakest ankle-biter enemies.

-Pokemon's a good example as well; there are a slew of Mons that are simply unsuitable for competitive play, and some of them are too weak to even be effective against the story mode battles. Pikachu, despite being the mascot of the Pokemon world, fits in the latter category because of its frail defenses and being outclassed by other Pokemon such as Jolteon. The only way one would make a Pikachu a viable threat (at least in competitive battling) would be to give it a Light Ball, which doubles its attack stats. However, the Light Ball is a painfully rare drop (only from other Pikachu), and even then Pikachu's hardly a top-tier battler since so many more Pokemon can outspeed/damage it.

-Yu-Gi-Oh. There are so many cards in that metagame that it's hard to name examples, but half the time when you open up a booster pack you're going to come across some spell/trap cards and a few monsters that'll make you go "Why did they make this?" when you look at it. Granted, some of the "weaker" cards can stand up in competitive play, but half the time, "junk" cards like that are just that--junk. -The Lego Crossover Games have so many characters, vehicles and unlockable Extras (they're essentially cheats that can be switched on and off) that it's easy to lose track, but there are some which either have a such a minor impact on gameplay that they're not even worth using. Lego Batman in particular has the Minikit/Power Brick detectors (you can just look up the locations on GameFAQs), Always Score Multiply (the regular stud multipliers more than makes this pretty much worthless), and the worst of the lot, Immune to Freeze. Why would anyone want to use an Extra that makes them immune to the attacks of EXACTLY one character (Mr. Freeze)? Most players would only fight Freeze once in a regular playthrough if they're going for 100% completion, and if you want to avoid getting frozen by Freeze, just play as him or make sure your AI partner isn't playing as him!
Community Feedback Replies: 19
  • December 28, 2009
    Tier Induced Scrappy, as applied to weapons rather than characters?
  • December 29, 2009
    Yeah, that sounds about right.
  • December 29, 2009
    Metroid Prime has Plasma Beam's missile combo, the Flamethrower. To be honest, all missile combost exept Super Missile are situational at best, but Flamethrower is the only completely useless one. It shoots a stream of flames that has a short range and eats through you'r ammo like crazy (and unlike the similar Wavebuster, it does not home or stun the target). It's made even more useless when you consider that a charged Plasma Beam shot kills 90% of normal enemies with a single hit (there's one enemy in the game that can get hurn by it but doesn't get killed in one shot), so you could just be using that instead.
  • December 29, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Sounds like a good idea.

    A really ubiqutous example in First Person Shooter games is the pistol. Thanks to the Sorting Algorithm Of Weapon Effectiveness, the Pistol (in its many incarnations) is generally one of the first weapons you come across in the game, and also the worst, generally being a pathetically weak peashooter for picking off only the most basic mooks the game can throw at you. You're very likely to only ever use it for the first hour of gameplay until you find something better, and only as an Emergency Weapon ever afterwards unless your melee attack is potent enough. Half Life 2 and Halo are major offenders in this, although Half Life 2 also has a much more potent Hand Cannon, and in Halo's case the pistol's scope can still make an effective sniping weapon, which makes it very popular in multiplayer.
  • January 6, 2010
    Several weapons in your arsenal in Daikatana. To sum it up: The ion blaster's shots bounced off walls and could hit you. The C4 vizatergo launched proximity mines with blast radii roughly equal to the range you'd be firing it at; if you didn't end up getting caught in the explosion, your AI helpers probably would. The Shockwave launched am erratically bouncing ball that created shockwaves whenever it hit a surface... which could easily kill you. The Eye of Zeus hit every enemy in sight with lightning when the staff's eye opened, but if no enemies were on-screen, it would kill you. Nharre's Nightmare summoned a demon that, like the Eye of Zeus, would turn on you and kill you if there weren't any targets. Finally, the kineticore's shots rebound off walls and (all together, now) can hit you.
  • January 6, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    As far as First Person Shooter games go, melee is an even more egregious example than pistols. For instance, in Unreal Tournament, the Enforcer pistol is a very viable option, and if you Dual Wield them, they're quite vicious. In Postal 2, your pistol is the second-best long-range slugthrower in the game, next to the hunting rifle (and the best period if you're playing in Enhanced mode, where the hunting rifle fires exploding rounds.)

    In both of these games, melee is next to worthless; UT's Impact Hammer and Chainsaw can both potentially one-hit-kill, but both of them make tons of noise (making sneaking impossible), and telegraph their instakill attacks so heavily that using them will likely get you killed. In Postal 2, your kick is good for opening doors and spreading out burning corpses, and sometimes kicking items out of trees. That's it. And compared to the Shovel and Police Baton, it's the best melee weapon you've got.

    Further examples of comparatively useless/extremely situational FPS melee weapons can be found in the Doom series (unless you have the Berserker Pack), the Turok series (melee kills can earn you a spirit mask for free health in Turok 1, but only normal hunters can really be knifed, and your bow does the same thing if you load it with normal arrows), and the Half-Life series (as iconic as the crowbar is, does anyone really use it for anything but self-imposed challenge or box-breaking once you get something with range?)
  • January 6, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    • In the original Perfect Dark, most the weapons were all pretty good, but there were a few that were nearly worthless. The standard human Rocket Launcher was easily the worst explosive in the game, and one of the worst weapons in general- it's low rate of fire, slow-flying rockets and small capacity made it useless in almost every situation. Probably the worst weapon in the game, however, was the Ripper, an alien (Skedar) gatling gun with the worst accuracy of just about any weapon you'll ever see in a first person shooter, and firing it required you to bring up the speed of the motor before any bullet went off. It's secondary fire, which basically turned it into an enormous blender, was a mostly pointless melee weapon.
  • January 6, 2010
    Needs A Better Title - will induce confusion with That One Boss, That One Level, That One Attack etc., which are challenges that drive people crazy. Not every example here is required to be used, hence they aren't challenges.
  • January 6, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    In the original Unreal (and its expansion, Return to Na Pali), there's the Stinger, which fires Tarydium shards. Primary fire is a rapid machinegun-like effect, secondary produces a shotgun-like spread of shards.

    While a great weapon on paper, both firing modes really lack the stopping power to be useful against anything you wouldn't already be killing with the Auto Mag (aka Pistol). It's so useless, in fact, that there's another weapon that mimics the Stinger's secondary fire (the Flak Cannon) which does the job so much better than the Stinger could ever hope to.
  • January 6, 2010
    If you aren't using the Buzz Blades (or equivalent) in Ratchet And Clank : A Crack in Time, you're seriously missing out. By level 5, they're doing serious damage. By 10, you can kill a Hydra Tank without using a full lot of ammo.
  • January 7, 2010
  • January 7, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Possibly a supertrope of With This Herring?
  • January 7, 2010
    I'm not sure if most conventional melee weapons (i.e. stuff that *really* pales in comparison to the rest of your arsenal) would be part of this simply because they're meant to be a last resort, which is to say, ideally never used. There's a difference between running yourself out of ammo and having to club dudes to death because you're a horrible shot and/or don't know to conserve ammo and having the game give you a bad weapon and look at you expectantly like it just did you a favor. Although that bad weapon could be the default melee weapon depending on how much emphasis the game places on using it, so.


    • The upgraded Lava Gun from Ratchet And Clank: Going Commando. The basic weapon fired a steady stream of molten rock, was one of the best guns to use when you were surrounded (hold down button, spin, watch things burn) and was generally very powerful overall. The upgrade turned it into a burning rock machine gun, which basically did the same thing as another one of your weapons (the Lancer), except it fired more slowly, had less range and shot in a low parabolic arc. Fortunately Insomniac realized what they did and changed the final upgrade to the Liquid Nitrogen Gun in Up Your Arsenal, having it keep its elemental bukkake properties from beginning to end.

    • Mines usually fall into this category in single-player games, such as the trip mines from Duke Nukem 3D and the first Half-Life, due to their being defensive weapons in games where you're usually on the offensive. If you plan on using them your options are either setting up a trap and luring enemies into it (at which point it's usually just easier to shoot them) or putting them in select points to stop ambushes (but you'd only know that the ambushes were coming if you had prior knowledge of the game, making the "ambush" a moot point).

    • The grenade launcher from Kingpin: Life of Crime. Most grenade launchers either fire grenades that explode on contact with enemies, hold more than three rounds in a magazine, let you carry more than 18 rounds total (especially if the game's bazooka has a clip of five shots and an ammo cap of *one hundred rockets*), take less than four seconds to explode, exist in games where enemies aren't smart enough to run like hell before the 'nade goes off or some combination of the above. Kingpin's grenade launcher is not any of these things. It's so bad that not even the AI can figure out how to kill you with it.
  • January 7, 2010
    Wanna ruin your day in a Castlevania game? Grab a Dagger. Particularly sucks in the original NES games, especially if you had the Holy Water or Boomerang.
  • January 7, 2010
    If you get a slingshot in a Legend Of Zelda game, then chances are it'll become completely and utterly useless as soon as you get your bow and arrows.
  • January 9, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    In Evolva, the only reason for the Flame's existence was to light flammable plants, and even then, there are other weapons (like the grenade) that can light them on fire.

    Potentially even more useless is the Claw, which despite being the only unlimited weapon, never really gets used except for breaking rocks once you get better weapons. It too suffers in that its purpose gets taken by future weapons (again, the grenade.)
  • January 10, 2010
    I say launch it, but consider this a second (third?) vote for Scrappy Weapon as the title.
  • January 11, 2010
    Third or fourth vote for Scrappy Weapon, here.

    While I'm thinking of it, some addendum should be added regarding how this is different from that other trope about weapons that you start with or get early and use for a bit, only to have them become obsolete when you get a better one. The weapon in that instance isn't *bad*, it's just... not as good. At least I think it's different...

    Oh wait, I remember what I was talking about now. Have a little note at the end of the write-up regarding how this differs from So Last Season in that SLS is more along the lines of "good to better" (AKA "oh hey, a stronger pistol!") whereas this is "total shit to anything" (AKA "a gun that doesn't suck! Fucking *finally!"). Something tells me I'm being unintentionally redundant, though.

    • The Insect-a-cutioner/bug spray from Blood II. While superficially another version of the aerosol can from the first game, it was generally useless due to the short range, low primary fire damage, long secondary fire prep time and the fact that its ammo was also shared with the assault rifle's underslung grenade launcher, a more damaging and altogether more useful weapon.
      • The death ray also deserves mention for effectively being a battery-powered assault rifle whose shots reflected off walls and could hit you as well. Any batteries you found were better off being used with the singularity cannon.

    • The Prankster Bit from Tron 2.0 is the game's BFG and looks pretty cool, but the energy usage is obscene, the damage is overkill against everything you fight, and you get it so late in the game that you're literally unable to fully upgrade it. It's not even worth using against the final boss due to how the game handles damage dealt to it.
  • January 11, 2010
    Worms features a number of weapons one never really wants to use. One would only really want to use the Baseball Bat or shove for Cherry Tapping, for example.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable