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Adaptational Badass: Video Games
  • Super Robot Wars tends to do this quite a bit. Boss and his Boss Borot originally were Joke Character tier in the early games, but by the Alpha series had upgraded to low-medium usefulness, and by the J/W/K/L handheld era he got very good if not outstanding. Bright Noah, already badass in his own right and a competent ship captain in the early games only got better to the point that he can take down Angels.
  • Taizo Hori, hero of the original Dig Dug, and member of the Mr. Driller cast, pictured on the main page in his appearance in Namco X Capcom. Besides changing his look to one that's more realistic and rugged, the game also altered his background so that he's a former soldier in addition to being a digger. Actually, Namco X Capcom has a lot of this.
    • Ditto for Hudson's Bomberman and Lode Runner. Although you'll never see Lode Runner's new look without playing the cell phone version of this game. And, after all, new Lode Runner will look like a kid. Yeah...
    • Sierra, on the other hand, made him look like a more matured adventurer.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, the Tau Fire Warrior is a basic grunt unit. When adapted to Fire Warrior, the eponymous Tau grunt is able to single-handedly take on the forces of Chaos, and be able to take out several contingents of the Emperor's finest Space Marines. The novel, however, delves into some of the Tau lore and explains it a bit better: Kais is fighting a different battle, only his enemy is the very warlike and self destructive aspect that pushed the Tau to the verge of extinction that they thought they no longer had to worry about. His mentor explains that it is something every Fire Warrior has to face and come to grips with.
  • A milder example is the 'commando' from Command & Conquer, who suffered Crippling Overspecialization and was weaker than basic grunts against vehicles. The First-Person Shooter Renegade made him a badass wielding all weapons and more, which included three vehicle-killers.
  • For twenty years, Garland in Final Fantasy I was known for two things: his famous declaration that he "will knock you all down!" and being the first boss in the series. Then Dissidia: Final Fantasy was released. Now Garland is a Boisterous Blood Knight with a transforming BFS bigger than entire characters, his hamminess was ramped up, and he got a few shades of Deadpan Snarker. His archrival, Warrior of Light, went from being a AFGNCAAP to being a Fettered Cape, a paragon for light and goodness that refuses to give up no matter the odds. And the Big Bad of the original game, Chaos? He's raised up from a generic demon to a Physical God that is able to call upon the other Final Fantasy villains to serve him, effectively making him the Bigger Bad of the entire series. And just wait until you see him fight...
  • Mickey Mouse gets this in Kingdom Hearts and Epic Mickey, becoming a Badass Adorable who fights freakish Eldritch Abominations.
    • Donald goes from a short tempered household name to a Badass Abnormal, Goofy is a Badass Normal who fight just as well as the characters WITH magic. Minnie may also count but we only get so little out of that escort mission in Kingdom Hearts II.
    • Of course, this is just an expansion of the currently underutilized in America side of Mickey as a great adventurer. Comics have always been a place for his badass side to shine, especially in Italy.
    • Also from Epic Mickey, there's the Phantom Blot, a minor (though admittedly effective) criminal mastermind from the comics and a few cartoon appearences, who becomes a horrific monstrosity.
  • Pretty much the whole cast of American McGee's Alice.
    • In Wonderland at least, in the second game it's driven home that in the real world, Alice faces the very real dangers of being a mentally unstable teenage girl in Industrial Revolution London.
  • The Hobbit from 2003 does this to Bilbo. Sure, he doesn't get to fight trolls or dragons but he can fight hordes of goblins, giant spiders, the undead and liches. He can break enemy shields with his sword, and create a shockwave on the floor with his walking stick that sends enemies flying. And he can pole vault with the stick too.
  • The guy from Minecraft (who's apparently named Steve? (? included)) got this kind of treatment in his cameo appearance in the PC version of Super Meat Boy. Just like in Minecraft Steve? can both lay blocks in the game world as well as dig through anything, making the usually challenging platforming game comically easy. Essentially this ability goes so far beyond game breaking that Steve? is basically bending the game over a table and having his way with it.
  • Bumblebee in his Transformers: War for Cybertron incarnation is a Hot-Blooded playable character who can easily rack up a triple-digit kill count over the course of the Autobot campaign. He doesn't have the raw power of Optimus Prime but he makes up for it with speed, skill and determination.
  • Phoenix Wright from the Ace Attorney games, a fairly normal lawyer, is playable in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. Among the cast are Physical Gods such as Thor, Amaterasu and the other Phoenix to name a few. He's set up as a Lethal Joke Character, with abilities focused on, appropriately, defense.
  • Alan Grant in just about every single video game adaptation of Jurassic Park. In both the book and film, he's The Worm Guy who largely gets by running and hiding and doesn't ever kill anything. In games, he becomes a Badass Action Hero who expertly wields a plethora of guns and who can kill legions of dinosaurs singlehandedly.
  • Some of the gods in God of War are depicted are being much stronger than the Greek Myths presented them as. Ares, the Big Bad of the first game, is presented as a titanic warrior the requires a MacGuffin for Kratos to have a fighting chance against, where in the Greek myths he was a coward that would run away from a fight at the first sign of trouble despite being immortal (though Ares as an Adaptational Badass is also done in every other adaption of him—including Roman mythology), and Persephone in Chains of Olympus, who was simply mentioned as being dragged off by Hades in the Greek myths, is presented as being able to fight Kratos in hand-to-hand combat.
  • Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage featured Mamiya as a full playable character. In the series, she was shown to be reasonably affective against small groups of Mooks, but against large forces or serious Martial Artist types, she'd inevitably turn into a Distressed Damsel in need of rescuing. Being a playable character, however, means that she's now fighting on par with Kenshiro himself - tearing through armies of hundreds if not thousands, and singlehandedly disassembling top-tier bosses. It probably helps that she's picked up an Automatic Crossbow somewhere - heck, she can even pull a SECOND one out of Hammer Space for one of her Signature Moves.
  • The original The Simpsons arcade game from 1991 took a rather combatically intept family and made them able to take on the entire town of Springfield and then some with household items (Marge), toys (Bart and Lisa), and bare fists (Homer).
  • Liu Shan in the original Romance of the Three Kingdoms is the definition of Suck Sessor, completely inept at fighting and ruling, and in the first sight of danger, he surrenders. Dynasty Warriors turns him into an actually Badass Pacifist by the virtue of being playable. Not exactly top tier, but much more competent, savvy and in a way, virtuous like his dad, although he's a bit scatterbrained (or so he presents himself to public). On the assault on Cheng Du, he fought against Sima Zhao first before retreating, rather than surrendering on sight. Only after their next encounter he surrenders. note 
  • Arthur from Ghosts N Goblins is a little guy in a suit of armor. When he appeared in Cannon Spike, he notably was changed into a giant, muscular weapon of destruction.
  • Jack Driscoll in the 2005 version of King Kong was a pretty meek guy whose every attempt at being heroic always inevitably failed. In the corresponding video game, however, he's the human Player Character. Despite having no military training, he wields a variety of firearms, can throw spears like a pro, and kills all sorts of dinosaurs and monsters before getting off the island.
  • Slash of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was depicted as a meek lackey of Bebop and Rocksteady in the cartoon, only helping them because he was being withheld a toy palm tree from them. In the Super Nintendo version Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, he is easily That One Boss in the Prehistoric Turtlesaurus level, plowing through most of your turtles with spinning attacks, a sword with a long reach, and the ability to block which you do not possess.
  • Kart Fighter is a bootleg fighting game starring the cast of Super Mario Kart (yes, really), so this was almost inevitable for half of the characters (namely Peach, Toad, Yoshi and the Koopa Troopa).
  • This applies heavily to the entire roster in Playstation All Stars Battle Royale, but it's particularly notable with Fat Princess, who goes from being an immobile Adipose Rex who mainly ate cake and played the flag in her game's capture the flag gameplay to being able to smack people in the air with her scepter or jump around and crush them with that massive weight of her's. In fact, due to Gameplay and Story Segregation, she has more combo-potential than Sweet Tooth and is a better close-combatant than Colonel Radec, a trained knife-fighter and "expert" in personal combat.
  • When Freddy Krueger first showed up in Mortal Kombat 9 he seemed like more of an Adaptational Wimp, having lost most of his supernatural powers and being forced to rely almost entirely on his Wolverine Claws to fight. Then you remember that he only has his powers in the dream world while in the physical world he's pretty much just a foul-tempered burn victim with knives on his hands. In the movies, getting dragged into the physical world is basically a death sentence for Freddy, as the first movie in the franchise showed us he can't even outfight an untrained teenage girl in the real world. So watching him hold his own against people like Liu-Kang and Shang Tsung without his nightmare powers is actually pretty incredible.
  • Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion did this. While characters like Numbuh 1, The Powerpuff Girls, and Samurai Jack were always pretty badass to begin with, the game also has characters like Mac and Bloo, Chowder, Flapjack, and even Captain K'Nuckles able to hold their own in a fight.
  • Bass.EXE from the Mega Man Battle Network series. when compared to Bass from the classic series, he went from a somewhat challenging rival of Mega Man to the Bonus Boss of the franchise, and with good reason. He is also considerably more unhinged than in the Original series.
  • Hyrule: Total War takes the defenseless people of The Legend of Zelda and turns them into powerful warlike races; The Anouki are the most extreme example.
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us Characters like Batman are shown being able to survive being punched into orbit thanks to competitive balance. In-universe, it's the use of Kryptonian nanomachines that handwaves Badass Normal characters being able to fight toe-to-toe with Superman.
  • Dynasty Warriors: Gundam turns a few notable Gundam characters into this, most notably Elle Vianno, who was pretty inept with the Gundam Mk-II, and Lacus Clyne, whose only moment of piloting a Mobile Suit was guiding the Infinite Justice down to Earth.
  • In The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri never does anything violent throughout his journey through the afterlife. In the very first level of Dantes Inferno, he kills The Grim Reaper and steals his scythe, which he naturally ends up using against the souls of Hell and Lucifer.
  • Even Ryu of Street Fighter, who is never by any means a wimp, gets this treatment in the Capcom vs. Whatever series. In Street Fighter, all variations of his Hadoken are only Energy Balls/Fireballs, whereas in the Capcom vs. series, the higher-grade Shinku Hadoken becomes a Kamehameha Wave-like Wave Motion Gun.
  • Due to the series' nature, Super Smash Bros. brings the fighters in many a Nintendo character, even for those who never showed fighting prowess. Particularly strong examples are Villager, who brings his everyday tools and deep pockets to battle; Wii Fit Trainer, a trainer of one of the most peaceful activities possible who uses yoga to beat opponents into submission; and the Miis, who gained fighting prowess never featured before, on par with characters such as Mario, Link and Samus.
  • Enforced by plot in Alien: Isolation, thanks to the addition of non-xenomorph enemies and actual weapons combined with the retention of the originally planned "sneak and hide focused" Survival Horror gameplay. In the movie continuities, xenomorphs are dangerous, but of a "Glass Cannon with acidic blood" flavor, being difficult to kill only when they can't be allowed to bleed or the humans have no weapons. In the game, the lone xenomorph is, by demands of the plot, an Implacable Man, which can't be more than staggered by any weapons the player has. This can be handwaved to an extent (the flamethrower is a jury-rigged piece of junk, the pistol and shotgun are deliberately low-velocity to avoid hull-breaches, the technology in general is less advanced than that in the second film), but when pipe bombs detonated right at the alien's feet merely scare it off, and it's immune to the bolt gun, which can oneshot kill Working Joes. This has led to backlash.
  • All the classes from Ragnarok Online that show up in Ragnarok Battle Offline got themselves some massive power boosts, in order to be able to deal with the many bosses that are tossed in their direction, who are also taken from Ragnarok Online and didn't exactly lose power. Curiously, some particular attacks got buffed hard enough to qualify for this, like Magnum Break going from a mediocre Splash Damage hit to a fiery whirl of sharpened death, and Lightning Storm going from a crappy AOE attack to an electric cataclysm that can fry screens worth of monsters.

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