Half-Assed Bonus YKTTW Discussion

Half-Assed Bonus
(permanent link) added: 2009-11-02 16:41:08 sponsor: superfroggy (last reply: 2009-11-02 18:28:09)

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Okay class, here's a hypothetical situation for you all to chew on. Imagine, if you will, an anonymous troper; let's call him/her Report Siht. Our new friend Report likes video games.

Report is currently playing through the timeless classic "The Legend of Alice and Bob: Hilarity Ensues". Up until the point he/she is at in the game, Alice and Bob were the sole playable characters, but suddenly, a message appears on screen:

"You have achieved 100% Completion! That Troper has been unlocked!"

Mildly curious, Report goes to the character select screen to investigate...

What's this!? He only has three weapons! He can't even do most of the levels! WHYYYY!?

Poor Report has become a victim of this trope.

At its most basic, this is when an extra feature present in a game or other medium
  • Lacks functionality compared to other aspects of the game
  • Does not work properly in the context of gameplay, often struggling to complete basic tasks other characters easily do (in the case of an extra character) or not meshing well with the rest of the game (in the case of bonus levels or items)

Note that in this case "bonus" and "extra" refer to something that may not be found in normal gameplay; if you're not sure, a good litmus test would be the question "Could I conceivably play through the entire main game from beginning to end (100% Completion notwithstanding) and not once find or utilize this feature?"

This most likely occurs due to a Cosmic Deadline-induced case of They Just Didn't Care. With the Almighty Deadline looming inexorably in the near future, many sensible developers would probably do the logical thing and make sure the game as a whole works properly and the main playable characters and scenarios are as complete as possible before working on giving Awesome McCool Name The Unlockable Anti-Hero Bringer Of Death some toys to play with.

Compare Dummied Out, where the extra stuff was axed entirely. Contrast Show Within a Show, where the extra content is a full-fledged game in and of itself. Characters afflicted with this tend to devolve into SpoonyBards.

Examples of this trope at work include:
  • The unlockable Mission Mode characters in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, who each get only five or six usable weapons, compared to the normal characters who each have more than 20
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 lets you play as Tails, who is identical to Sonic in every way. (He gained his signature flying ability in 3, as well as lowered jump height and running speed)
  • In an odd example, Sonic Advance 2 let you unlock the Tiny Chao Garden by meeting certain conditions in the game... Even though the first Sonic Advance had the exact same mode available from the start.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask give us Bombchus, delightful little crawling mice-bombs that are difficult to find and are required for one throwaway puzzle in Oo T, and are not used at all in Majora's Mask; the one thing they can do that normal bombs can't is blowing up the seldom-seen Iron Knuckles from a safe distance.
    • They fit this even better in the Oracle games, where they exist solely as an unlockable bonus in a New Game+, are not particularly useful in any situation, and, worst of all, are limited in supply; once you use all 20, they're gone for good.
    • They finally Took a Level in Badass in Phantom Hourglass, where they are among your most useful items.
  • Old Axe Armor in Castlevania Portrait of Ruin is a solo character instead of a team of two, has only two special moves (one of which is used solely for navigation) and is simply a Palette Swap of an existing enemy. However, it is very likely this was intentional.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is a two-in-one combo. It has several unlockable characters; Some of these are unique characters that cannot change classes or learn new abilities, while others are merely normal units with special sprites.
  • The Legendary Starfy has a multiplayer mode that lets another player control Starly. This can only be used in a few specific areas of the game.
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