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Dumb Muscle: Video Games

  • Fire Emblem is quite fond of this trope:
    • Seisen no Keifu: Arden to some extent
    • Thracia 776: Marty
    • Fuuin no Tsurugi: Gonzales, Ward to an extent
    • Rekka no Ken: Bartre. "Big words... make head hurt. I'm gonna go over there and punch that rock until my head feels better."
  • Guy in Final Fantasy II, a massive brute who is barely capable of speech. The Japanese-only novelization of the game's plot reveals him to be a former Wild Child — which is why he can talk to animals.
  • Gaira Kafuin in Samurai Shodown is a parody of the Martial Pacifist mold, being a Buddhist monk who is actually a violent knucklehead.
  • Balrog from Street Fighter. After Bison's disappearance, Balrog was left in charge of Shadowloo, and promptly ran it into the ground.
    • And then there's Hugo...
    • Zangief is another example. He's fairly lacking in intelligence and seems to be more brawn than brains, yet is a proud nationalist of Mother Russia and a gentle giant.
    • Rufus arguably qualifies as well; While there doesn't appear to be an ounce of actual muscle on him, he's quite the imbecile in his own way, though the comics apparently makes this as part of a Bunny-Ears Lawyer aspect since his size and nonsensical ravings makes him easy to underestimate.
    • In the same universe we also have Bratken, the Frankenstein's Monster-like manchild and unwitting pawn of Mad Gear in Final Fight II.
  • Ogres in World of Warcraft. Most of them, anyway; Two-headed ogre mages are utter geniuses even compared to other races. To Ogres, might makes... might, and leadership is decided by who can beat up who.
    • Pit Lords are not noted for their grasp of tactics or subtlety. When they're bigger than houses, wield two-end spears the size of trees, and hit enemies so hard it spills over to bystanders, they don't need to.
  • Chang Koehan from the King of Fighters series is a colossal numbskull with unbelievable physical prowess.
  • Titanic Tim of the Saturday Night Slam Masters series of fighting games. One of his prefight quotes is "No one can sink the Titanic", which certainly sounds intimidating until you examine it for one second (hint: the Titanic actually did sink, but it's that exact sort of boasting that made its sinking memorable).
    • And King Rasta Mon, who was actually an original rejected design for Wild Child Blanka from Street Fighter. His Japanese name is "Missing IQ" Gomez.
  • Sabin from Final Fantasy VI. He seems a pretty clever fellow up until the point when he's taken to the opera.
    • Sabin is actually played as a tech-savvy, fairly intelligent character otherwise. He's got the book smarts, but he's culturally oblivious.
    • Umaro is probably a better example, using Hulk Speak on the rare occasions when he speaks at all. His main solution when he sees something he doesn't like is to repeatedly bash away at it until he destroys it. This can be the enemies he beats with his giant club, or the walls in Kefka's Tower that he smashes down to clear a path for his friends. Which, in its own way, is almost clever.
  • Bud Bison from Mega Man Star Force, though, atypically, he's very sentimental and is easily manipulated from an emotional angle.
  • Ayla from Chrono Trigger, a rare female example of this trope.
  • Victor von Gerdenheim in Darkstalkers, a childlike behemoth who doesn't understand the concept of death — or the fact that his appearance is frightening and monstrous.
  • Big the Cat from the Sonic the Hedgehog series.
    • Knuckles is also portrayed as a bit slow - considering all the times he's been tricked by Eggman it's not a surprise.
    • Storm the Albatross from Sonic Riders is a straight example, however.
  • If you play as a fighter in the Quest for Glory games, your intelligence and communication skills start out lower than the mage or thief, and characters will sometimes remark about the lack of refinement in your speech. There's one scene in the fourth game where you read a book in the adventurer's guild about climbing, and the narrator notes that it was "obviously meant for fighters" as it is written in very simple language.
  • Bully has Russell, who pretty much defines this trope.
    Russell: Russell... likes to hurt people... for peace.
  • The Heavy Weapons Guy from Team Fortress 2 is a subversion; although speaking simple English, he's a lot more eloquent in Russian and even has a PhD in Russian literature (if you take his appearance in Poker Night at the Inventory as canon). The Soldier, on the other hand, spent years fighting World War II after the war had actually ended, repeats everything the announcer says, and has trouble remembering the password of '1111'. And he gets Sun Tzu confused with Noah.
  • City of Heroes/Villains. Wretch. Oh, Wretch.
  • Cirno, the Strongest
    • Also the oni, for obvious reasons.
    • Neither are perfect examples. Cirno isn't that strong compared to the rest of the cast, and she's mentally on par with the average fairy. For the oni, Suika is fairly intelligent, as seen in her story path of Immaterial and Missing Power, Kasen definitely isn't dumb and her status as muscle is dubious, and we just haven't seen much of Yuugi. A better example would be Utsuho, who is extremely powerful, being essentially a living sun, and not all that much smarter than an actual crow.
  • Minsc, from the Baldur's Gate games, is a blend of Dumb Muscle, Gentle Giant, Boisterous Bruiser, and Crazy Awesome.
  • Beat from The World Ends with You. His ridiculously slow wit is balanced by his equally overwhelming abundance of power.
  • Berserker from Fate/stay night, along with all other Berserkers in the Nasuverse, where becoming stronger at the price of getting dumber is an explicit ability of members of the class.
  • Little Eddie, the first boss of MadWorld. Little Eddie loves his big bada-booms! He also promises to "murderlize" Jack, and the slurring of his speech suggests actual mental impairment to some degree.
    • And Frank. Kreese specifically describes him as "dumber than a box of blondes but strong as shit. Clumsy fucker, though; Jack can take him if he plays smart and fast." Both Little Eddie and Frank are several times larger than Jack, by the by.
    • Kreese himself is implied to be at least as strong as Jack (since he talks about performing feats Jack can perform) and is completely illiterate. And he's not too good with numbers, either. He blames our schools.
  • Goren from Guild Wars qualifies, being large and stupid are pretty much his main bits of characterization.
  • The Hunters and Brutes in Halo seem to be this, but the expanded universe shows that the Hunters are Warrior Poets who were one of the more advanced species to be incorporated into the Covenant, and that the Brutes are one of the few Covenant species who don't consider modifying Forerunner technology to be blasphemy.
  • Spark Mandrill in Mega Man X is actually aware of the fact that he's not so bright, and is also, you know, a punishing apelike robot. "Now, X, you never thought that maybe Sigma was right and you were wrong? I don't like thinking, either. Maybe we can find the answer together, in battle!"
  • Dekar from Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals is a classic cutout for just the two words "Dumb muscle" put together.
  • Flay in Mana Khemia falls pretty blatantly into this category, most of the time.
  • Almost every Golden Sun character indicated to be Dumb Muscle, (by Nintendo's strategy guide, even) turns out to actually be pretty bright, just Hot-Blooded or careless. Even Agatio. Especially Agatio.
  • Completely and totally averted in the case of the Qunari of Dragon Age. They are certainly big and strong, but while they tend towards the xenophobic and unimaginative they are in no way dumb. Every Qunari Hawke meets in Dragon Age II is perfectly capable of countering every argument Hawke makes against the certainty presented by the Qun.
    • Played straight, however, where Oghren is concerned.
  • Played with by Dr. Mundo from League of Legends. On the one hand, he's a genious chemist capable of enhancing his own body to many times its physical limit and granting himself a massive Healing Factor. On the other han, he forgets his own name if he doesn't constantly say it to himself.
  • In the Visual Novel Dating Sim Hatoful Boyfriend, you start with 1 wisdom, 800 vitality, and 5 charisma, and you do not get more than about 35 to 40 possible points of stat increase throughout the game. That said, your character is quite erudite regardless of what you do with stats.
  • Arche, the main character from Fortune Summoners literally gets called "Dumb Muscle" at one point. Might have to do with the fact that she's a little girl, but even compared to her classmates she has a hard time with math or understanding some words (butler/butter, for instance).
  • Taokaka and Makoto from BlazBlue are both very physically strong and rather dim. Although you probably couldn't tell from looking at them.
    • Makoto is actually a strong subversion of this trope. Her overt lack of intellect is more the result of a cocktail of a juvenile mentality, an aversion to studying, and an overdose of racism-induced childhood trauma, and most of the former two are shown in the Academy backstories. In the present day, she's shown to be surprisingly smart and perceptive, on top of showing dangerous levels of competence in Intelligence work.
  • Levi, the Material of Power in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Gears of Destiny. She's as strong as her title suggests, but comes with a very childlike and simple-minded personality. As in, 'easily pacified with a lollipop' childlike and simple.
  • The first two Fallout games are renowned for allowing you to not only play as this trope, but actually finish the game with it. Of course, you miss out on a lot of content, but people's responses to you are funny enough that it's worth it.
    • And for an NPC example from the second game, there is Sulik, a tribal searching for his sister whom you can recruit in your party. Not exactly the brightest follower, but give him a super sledgehammer and a Power Armor and he will waste every enemy in sight.
    • Fallout 3's Super Mutant Behemoths are, not surprisingly, the least intelligent of their kind, and never speak, vocalizing solely in monster roars. The Vault 87 Mutants, with the exceptions of Fawkes and Uncle Leo, are in general dumber than the Mariposa ones.
  • In Live A Live, we've got Masaru, a pro-wrestler with absurbly high health and a huge variety of damaging martial arts moves, but no matter how much you Level Grind, his base IQ always stays at a paltry 25.
  • Sleeping Dogs has the Water Street Boys gang, which is basically a gang-wide case of this, complete with leader Winston Chu's right-hand man Conroy Wu (both described as possible steroid abusers) making his boss look worse for having himnote  as unable to achieve their goals due to lack of sophistication, respectabilitynote  and just about anything except fierce loyalty to one another and brute force violence. Then Wei Shen comes along...
  • Crag Hack of Heroes of Might and Magic may be a barbarian, but as his fellow barbarian Yog notes, most barbarians aren't quite so dumb as Crag Hack — this is a man who, despite decades of experience as a mercenary across (at least) two continents, not all of in combat, still hasn't picked up that 'Mister' is a title, not a name.
  • Borderlands 2 features Goliaths, the Giant Mook of the Bandit enemy type. Extremely slow and very childish, Goliaths also possess size and strength befitting their name. Strangely, they seem to get smarter when they lose their helmets.
  • Buldogue from Capoeira Fighter has one of the highest strength stats in the game but she also has had no schooling of any kind. In Ramba's arcade mode you can show her how to apply her strength better in matches and force her to get an education.
  • Little Busters has Masato, who is almost obsessed with muscles but isn't particularly bright and admits to having no good subjects at school. Though Riki does think at one point that if he spent as much time on schoolwork as he does on training he wouldn't be doing nearly so badly.
  • In Bible Adventures, Noah can lift up to four animals — five for short distances — even things like horses, cows, and oxen, and carry them on his head... but apparently, he chose to put a platforming challenge as the way to get to the door of the ark instead of a ramp. Oh, Noah...
  • Subverted by the Neverwinter Nights mod A Tale of Ajandel where part of the loot from a minotaur in a mazelike cave was a diary which briefly mentioned building the maze so that it could have a private place in which to write the "great minotaur novel" and mourn its late wife.
  • Tiny the Tiger in the Crash Bandicoot series. In his debut, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, he's a large, roaring pile of muscle, and his appearance in the third game shows his talking for the first time in Hulk Speak, but Crash Of The Titans, like with everyone else, decided to modify his character, making him still muscular but without the "Dumb" part.
  • Bowser of Super Mario Bros. is frequently portrayed this way, especially in the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi games. In particular, Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story gives him a Brains: Evil; Brawn: Good dynamic with Fawful, where the latter sets up a Gambit Roulette and utilizes various gadgets and robots while Bowser simply punches his way through the Mushroom Kingdom to get his castle back. Averted in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, where Bowser displays a surprising amount of competence from the get-go.
  • The Marine in Sword of the Stars: The Pit is a stereotypical brainless grunt. His base in-game stats reflect this lore by making him high in Might and combat skills but low in Brains and technical skills.
  • Yellow Heart from Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory has childish speech patterns, can only read and write very simple words, and is generally dumb as a brick. She can also slug the other CPUs hard enough to knock them out of Super Mode and send them over the horizon. Part of this comes from the fact her normal form is a LOT younger than her CPU form looks, but counts as Double Subverted since she's still dim even for a child.
  • Mutons in XCOM: Enemy Unknown. True, they're physically imposing and resistant to gunfire, but they have no real initiative. Fittingly, they're very predictable tactically, and their Will score is so low that any psionic trooper you have will mop the floor with them.

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