Glass Cannon: Video Games

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  • Castlevania franchise:
    • An extreme example is found in Castlevania: Circle of the Moon. With the right DSS cards, Nathan can transform into one of the skeleton enemies; the bones he throws have a small chance of being giant bones that inflict 9999 damage. The catch? Any damage the skeleton takes is worth 9999 too. You'll never have that much HP, so this transformation is very risky.
    • In Order of Ecclesia, the Death Ring causes all your stats to shoot to impossible levels... but one hit will kill you.
    • Most of the later games have an unlockable glass cannon that you can play as after beating the game once. You usually get a third of the HP the main character has, and you can't use items or equip new weapons. To make up for it you get bigger, stronger weapons, a faster running speed, and special abilities like double-jumping, super-jumping, and sliding at the beginning of the game rather than gradually learning them. Examples include Richter from Symphony of the Night, Maxim from Harmony of Dissonance, Julius from the Sorrow Games, and Albus from Order of Ecclesia.
    • In Symphony of the Night the Ring of Ares is an item that turns Alucard himself into a glass cannon, minimizing his defense while drastically increasing his attack power.
      • There's also an enemy example in the Nova Skeleton, which has as much health as a normal skeleton (which is very little) but shoots a laser that can do at least 90 damage the first time you meet it.
    • Maria Renard in Castlevania Rondoof Blood. She is amazingly powerful almost to the point of being overpowered with her double jump and animal buddies but just a couple of hits and she'll die.
  • The Black Imps in Ōkami are supposed to be the most powerful of the imp enemies, yet can be killed easily with the more powerful weapons and Brush Techniques in the game.
  • Stranger himself in the later parts of Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath, where after being revealed as a Steef, any upgrades he's got have been stolen by him, including health/armor. However he later gains much more powerful versions of his ammo, a charge attack to replace his headbutt and because of the fact that Moolah is no longer of use to him, he doesn't have to pull punches and keep enemies alive now.
  • Cave Story:
    • King, an NPC , is like this in the cutscenes. On the one hand, he's able to take out Balrog with one hit (which the player character can't do, even with the same weapon King used). On the other hand, he gets pushed around by Toroko, and a single hit from Misery is enough to mortally wound him.
    [Misery blasts King across the room.]
    The Doctor: My, are they really so fragile before the rage takes them?

     Action RPG 

     Beat'em Up 
  • Dynasty Warriors likes this one in varying quantities, due to its large cast that hits each and every gaming archetype shamelessly just so the gameplay can support 70+ characters.
    • The worst is Cao Cao in Dynasty Warriors 3, where he could get a sword that killed Mooks in one hit (and damaged stronger enemies significantly) with a death-based elemental attack on a certain special move (which in turn filled up his Musou gauge nearly instantly), but was extremely weak defensively, to the point where he'd die frequently even though his near-constant Musou attacks made him invincible during their use.
    • In Dynasty Warriors 4, a special item could be applied to allow one's character to turn into the Glass Cannon: it halved defense while doubling offense.
    • Also one of Mori Ranmaru's two special abilities in Samurai Warriors 2 was to lower defense but raise offense, albeit this was as a command move with limited duration.
  • Hyrule Warriors has Wizzro, Cei, Lana, and Ruto. All focus on range and power but are vulnerable to combos while pulling their attacks off. Lana - with the Summoning Circle - has the most powerful combos in the game, but they require you to use a slow randomized move first, are also slow to start, and leave Lana rooted to a spot until they are finished.
    • Giant Bosses are this compared to regular commanders. They have devastating attacks, but the vulnerability system lets you take them down in two to five combos if done right. Regular commanders get to block most combos and have much smaller windows to hit their vulnerability gauge, taking significantly longer to kill, particularly defensive ones, like Zant and Volga.
  • Odin Sphere: Mercedes is definitely the Glass Cannon of the game, considering how much damage she dishes out contrasted with her basically non-existent HP. An astonishing number of things will One-Hit Kill Mercedes.
  • Sengoku Basara Heroes:
    • Ishida Mitsunari. While also having aspects of a Fragile Speedster, his extremely fearsome melee range and rapid attacks turn him into this. Mitsunari is capable of tearing most enemies to shreds in melee but can't take it in return: At around level 30 his HP is about the same as most other characters' are at level 1, and his defence score is the second worst in the game after Kotaro's.
    • He's not the only one. His Dragon Yoshitsugu has very impressive range and crowd control abilities but since he's a sickly leper his health is pretty dinky (luckily both Mitsunari and Yoshitsugu are of the Dark element, meaning that with an elemental weapon they gain health by killing mooks). Also, any characters who use guns like Nouhime or Magoichi, who are pretty much Game Breakers when used properly.
  • Wendy Milan in Brawl Brothers, as well as Al in The Peace Keepers.
  • Pink Ostrich in Battle Circuit. She has fairly high damaging moves when used right. In fact her power-up gives her higher chances to dish out critical hits, making her moves even more damaging. But she can only take a few hits with a (non)upgraded life bar. This is especially true against bosses.

     Collectible Card Game 
  • Several allies in Shadow Era are this. Allies like Blake Windrunner and Belladonna have far more attack then they have health, able to kill many allies in a single hit but die just as quickly. Other's like Chimera can gain attack points by reducing their health. Shard of Power gives all your allies +2 attack by reducing them to one health.

  • The Jansen Carbon X12 in Burnout Paradise: Very fast, very agile, can turn very sharply into its enemies; but very light, very weak, and very easy to wreck.

  • M.U.G.E.N has two extreme examples:
  • Shin Akuma and Ultimate Rugal in Capcom vs. SNK 2 have insane attack power, but they also take far more damage than any of the other characters. Naturally, since they're classified as SNK Bosses, this doesn't seem to be a problem at all for the computer... if they let you hit them.
    • Akuma having low defense has been a recurring gameplay mechanic to his character since the Street Fighter Alpha series to balance out his high-damaging offense options. He didn't have this handicap for his first few video game appearances since Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, which led him to be banned for competitive play.
  • Super Street Fighter IV: Makoto. She has slightly lower than average health and defense, but much better than Akuma or Seth, and in the second highest tier for base damage. But what makes her this is her potential; she has some, if not the best, mix-ups and mind-games out of anyone, and her ultra's and supers are the highest damaging in the game, with a maximum potential of near twice the lowest damage and a good 30% higher than the closest competitor. She dropped from top 5 easy to near bottom, if not actual bottom, due to parrying being removed, as this provided her single real defensive capability, but she still has the ability to cause more damage in a shorter space of time than any other character.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 3:
    • Phoenix. She dies with two hits... provided that she doesn't kill you in five. And that's not even counting her Dark Phoenix persona....
    • Zero. If he even lands a single hit on you, prepared to be trapped in a long and damaging combo, ending with a super move. On the other hand, he has some of the lowest health in the game and can be taken out with a few hard hits or combos.
    • Magneto is capable of some of the best offense in the series with insane speed and mix-ups, has an incredibly useful projectile, and can deal massive damage even if you aren't willing to use any parts of your hyper meter. He barely has more bulk than Zero or Akuma, meaning that he himself can be taken out very quickly if one of his more unsafe options is countered.
  • Jigglypuff in the Super Smash Bros. series, particularly with regard to her lethal Rest attack. To add to Jigglypuff's Glass Cannon status, having her shield broken sends her flying off the top of the screen at incredible speed, resulting in an instant KO. similarly, Kirby has powerful moves like Rock and Hammer, and can pick up some of the most powerful moves in the game (Falcon Punch, Donkey Kong Punch, and Plasma shot) but is barely heavier than jigglypuff. Mr. Game & Watch from the same series is almost as light (he's a two-dimensional character resembling an old LCD display) but has a multitude of quick and powerful attacks. In Brawl, Zelda has become updated to where she has downright deadly kicks and a powerful long-range attack, but is still easily tossed around. in Melee, Mewtwo is powerful, but lighter than his size or speed would imply.
    • With the addition of customization in the fourth installment, any fighter can become this (some more than others) by equipping attack-boosting equipment.
  • In the Mascot Fighter Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion, Chowder is this. His burping, spinning and Kimchi fart attacks hit hard and have good range, but he's too light and he can get KOed at 85% with a really strong hit.
  • Melty Blood: Tohno Akiha, in her Inverted form (dubbed Akiha Vermilion) has the most damaging set of moves in the game, but the lowest defense. With her in a match, you can expect a round to end in two or three combos.
  • The King of Fighters:
    • Shen Woo. Incredible strength, short and easy-to-connect combos, fast and powerful fisticuff-based attacks... and such a low defense that it only takes five or six hits to knock him out.
    • Bao is an even more blatant example. He's got such awful defenses that a single combo ending in a SDM can either kill or bring him in the red. On the other hand, his specials and Supers do an absolutely sickening amount of damage - he has one of the few Supers that, when used properly, can result in a One-Hit Kill'.
  • Mortal Kombat Deception's Shujinko could acquire moves from multiple characters in the game, giving him the most moves out of everyone else by the time you got them all. The downside is, he has lower defense than most characters.
  • BlazBlue:
    • Ragna the Bloodedge has a very high damage output, but has the second lowest HP in the game and rather sucky defense. Not even the life-draining ability that he has is rectifying much of the problem. He doesn't have ranged attacks or a sword long enough to play keep-away with, either. As a warning, this is the game's main character. Tier-Induced Scrappy Nu-13 also has very good damage, especially with spam her Drive, but she shares the second lowest HP place with ragna and her defence ain't too hot either. As it is she's reviled already; she would be a full-blown SNK Boss if it got any better.
    • In the third game there's Amane Nishiki who has even lower HP and defense than Ragna but can take off huge chunks of your own health, even on block. Especially on block.
  • Viper II and its descendants from Virtual-ON can count as this, too. Their models are basically designed to have more powerful weapons and greater speed than Temjin with the downside of having a paper-thin armor.
  • Alpha-152 in Dead or Alive can be classed as this. She can easily take away half your life bar in a single combo or a well-timed offensive hold, along with being able to critical burst within 3 hits. However, she lacks regular wake up kicks, her counters are rendered useless if the opponent is backed against a wall and her floating stance leaves her floating helplessly long enough for an opponent to attack her. Of course, none of this applies when facing her AI.
  • The fighter Prizm from Tattoo Assassins is this. He has powerful moves that come out lighting quick and as a sub-boss, he animates at double speed, meaning he can be knocked away, get up and be back to launching attacks before your character even finishes their attack animation. The downside? He can take four hits and ONLY four hits before he shatters.

     First-Person Shooter 
  • Left 4 Dead:
    • The Hunter is a Fragile Speedster, and but if a skilled player can land a pounce from maximum range it can hit like a ton of bricks with claws. Not to mention that it's a guaranteed kill if the player you pounce on can't be rescued by his allies.
    • The Boomer may qualify too. It's even more fragile than the Hunter, but a skillful puke can nail all four survivors and indirectly do far more for the Infected team.
    • And in Left 4 Dead 2, the Spitter has the second-lowest health of the Special Infected after the Boomer, but if someone's stupid/experimental enough to stand in a puddle of the goo from start to finish, will be almost downed on Normal difficulty, and being spat at during a horde is NO FUN AT ALL.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • The Scout, while mainly being a Fragile Speedster, can inflict some serious ouch with his Sawed-Off Shotgun. His unlockables tend to enhance this status: the Force-a-Nature lets you fire two shots in half a second, but has little use in prolonged combat. The Sandman lets you stun an enemy to disable their weapon, but significantly reduces your health. Finally, the Crit-a-Cola makes all damage you inflict and take mini-crits.
    • There's also the Spy, who relies on cloak and disguise to get past the enemy, and can be killed by stray bullets. Successfully getting behind an opponent, however, yields instant death. Speed, distance and stealth, all accounted for. The Ambassador makes him able to deal serious damage in head-shots, just don't expect to be a tank with it.
    • And the Sniper, for much the same reason as the Spy. Snipers have low health, fairly weak close-to-mid range attack options (unless you're dealing with a Sniper using the Huntsman), and are exceedingly prone to getting backstabbed while scoped. However, a single charged headshot is enough to kill just about anything, and charged body shots are still exceedingly painful. A properly positioned Sniper can be just as devastating to an attacking team as a sentry.
    • Pretty much any non-Heavy soldier suped up by the Medic. They are super-powerful, but if the Medic dies, they're pretty much screwed.
  • Franchise/Halo franchise:
    • Hunters are like this, especially in the first one. They are the most powerful enemies with the strongest cannon (even if their accuracy leaves something to be desired). However, aiming for the orange spot is an easy way to kill them, and thanks to a programming error in the first one, it's a one hit kill. They were upgraded to Mighty Glaciers in the second game, and were outright Lightning Bruisers by Halo: Reach.
    • The Scorpion in Halo: Reach (in the Beta at least). Its cannon pretty much slaughters the opposing team with lethal effect... but an Elite rolling/Jet packing up close to board it can take it out with just one measly grenade easily.
  • ''Borderlands:
    • Of the four player characters, Mordecai the Hunter is this trope. He's the only character who doesn't get a skill to boost his health or shields, the only character who doesn't get a skill that regenerates shields, and his health recovery skills require an enemy to take advantage of. On the other hand, his Bloodwing can tear through several high-level enemies when leveled up and he specializes in critical hits, sniper rifles, and revolvers.
    • In the sequel, the sniper Zer0 is once again the lightest in terms of defenses of the four starting hunters (and probably even including two downloadable ones), but has some of the most potent damage output, including his Sniping skill tree where it's possible to stack an absurd number of attack bonuses with his sniper rifle. Drop the buff or fail to score a Critical Hit, however, and he's toast.
    • The downloadable Psycho Vault Hunter, Krieg, is also like this, as he can put out horrific amounts of melee damage in short order while rushing enemies at high speed, but a lot of his skills require him to take hits to his shield's abilities (and thus his survivability) or set himself on fire to gain them.
  • ORION: Prelude lets the player invoke this by customizing the game with prehistoric mode; They can set the dinosaurs to have 25% of their normal health, but 400% normal damage.

     Flight Sim 
  • The Ace Combat's games' use of the F-5 Tiger amounts to this; this also applies to the "Mobius One" version (it's DownLoadable Content) of the F-22 Raptor in Ace Combat 6: dramatically reduced Defense in return for maxed out Mobility, Speed, and Air-to-Air ratings. It also applies to the Yellow 13 version of the Su-33 in that same game. In Ace mode all planes are One Hit Point Wonders to a missile hit (except in X where some planes have enough defence to survive one more), so the question is not how strong the glass, as in lower difficulties, but how much cannon and Speedster/Lightning it's packing.
  • A few ships in FreeSpace fall into this. Ironically, it's most apparent in the ship design of the Omnicidal Maniac Shivans, who build their ships with all the firepower in front. They have much more effective weapons, but a ship to the sides or behind will tear them apart. This is not always an exploitable weakness; destroyers like the Ravana can jump in and shred their targets in seconds, leaving it up to the reinforcements to exploit its blind spots, assuming it doesn't just leave.
  • The X Universe has M5 light fighters. They're mostly meant as scout ships and as such carry almost uselessly weak lasers, but there are a few that can mount respectably powerful missiles. As you can shoot rather a lot of them in a short time, this can cause a tiny M5 to actually present a credible threat to even such things as M3 heavy fighters... as long as the enemy ship can't land a shot on them. This is easier to say than to do, due to the M5s' rather impressive speed, but if something does hit them they tend to disintegrate like they were made of paper.

  • Final Fantasy:
    • The Black Belt/Monk character from Final Fantasy I has staggering attack power and speed and won't last if an enemy pokes him. The class's physical defense value is equal to their level, which means they can have the highest defense in the game. The trade-off is the fact that their magic defense is pitifully low. There's a head armor item, the Ribbon, which drastically decreases magic damage, but only has a defense value of 1. Considering the other armor the class can equip is almost equally weak in terms of preventing physical damage, and you either have him glass against physical attacks, or glass against magic.
    • Final Fantasy IV:
      • Rydia and Palom have powerful attack magic but suffer from low HP and weak defenses.
      • Tellah becomes this after he learns all of his best spells in an epiphany. He actually starts out with a respectable amount of HP relative to the other characters in the beginning, but his old age catches up with him quickly. As he levels up, his magical stats increase, but his physical stats actually decrease. After a while, he ends up being the usual mage that dies in two hits, but can blow up the entire enemy party in one.
    • Final Fantasy VII:
      • Tifa attacks quickly and can deal impressive damage, especially with her unique Limit Break which stacks all the limit breaks she has learned. Notably she is the only character to gain weapons that increase her damage the more debilitating status effects she has, if it weren't for the damage cap she could be doing the most damage in the game. However, her HP is mediocre at best, and the fact that she must be in the front row to deal full damage makes her even squishier.
      • Any character can become this if loaded up with enough attack magic Materia, which boosts the MP and Magic stats while nerfing HP. The most likely candidates are Aeris and Red XIII, since they have the strongest natural Magic stats to start with and weapons that grant many Materia slots.
    • Final Fantasy IX: Vivi has the powerful attack magic and weak defenses of the archetypal Black Mage.
    • Final Fantasy X:
      • Dark Shiva in Final Fantasy X International. Her most powerful attack will do, to maxed out characters, nearly 90,000 damage, and the others have pretty nasty status-related properties, one of them inflicting Death, Berserk and Confuse, and the other removing * all* positive statuses, both of them doing fairly decent damage too. On top of that, she's lightning fast. However, her HP and Defence are extremely low.
      • Everyone ends up as this after you get them Celestial Weapons (which have Break Damage Limit and ignore defense) but before you can finish the sphere grid, which takes a lot of Level Grinding. When Tidus has 20,000HP and can dish out 99,999 damage, a confuse attack can lead to your entire party murdering itself in one hit each. Just another reason to hate those horrifying Greater Malboros.
      • Final Fantasy X-2 has a few. Berserkers are very strong but have pitiful defense, and Alchemists can mix some powerful attacks but have low HP & Def.
    • The Dark Knight job in Final Fantasy XI, made more so by the fact that many of their abilities consume their own HP.
    • Filo in Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings. She has one of the strongest attacks in the game, but letting her near ranged enemies typically results in her quick death.
    • The Parivir job of Final Fantasy Tactics A2 is offensively the strongest hume job available, but has the endurance of wet paper if raised as a Parivir.
    • Final Fantasy XIII:
      • Hope. With some nice weapon upgrades and the potential to throw some killer accessories on him, combined with having the highest natural magic stat in the game, he can slaughter enemies in seconds... and he had better, given his pitiful HP (the lowest in the game by a significant amount). What's more, given the way battles and stats work in this game, lots of players give up on "decent survivability for Hope" as a lost cause and choose to augment instead his damage (and his healing output—he is hands-down the best Medic in the game). Add a few hundred points to his Magic stat and give him the Auto-Faith granting accessory, and watch the fur fly. He even has a weapon that further boosts his magic ludicrously. at the cost of lowering his HP to horrifying amounts.
      • Lightning is also an example. She has the second best Strength and ties for second best magic, and she excels in both the Ravager and Commando roles, making her an excellent damage dealer in any situation. However, she also has the second worst HP, and when you eventually unlock her Sentinel role, you'll find that she has no Guard abilities (though she does have a great evasion-based setup, thus playing into the Fragile Speedster style).
      • In Final Fantasy XIII-2, the rare drops of Lightning and Amodar (Coliseum DLC) can turn Serah and Noel into one. The accessories boost Strength/Magic by 66%, but halves their HP and gives them a constant poison effect.
  • Persona 4:
    • Yukiko and Teddie. Both are magic/healing specialists with a focus on respectively fire and ice. They have huge MP pools and get access to high-level fire/ice spells and Boost/Amp skills much faster than anyone (barring the main character). Both have low HP, fairly low Endurance stats, and their personas never get rid of their elemental weaknesses unlike with all the other party members. Naoto also has aspects of this, gaining the insta-kill Hama/Mudo skills, almighty spells and the attack-doubling Mind Charge spell, but is barely better than the above two in HP. Naoto is also dependent on physical skills for high damage on single targets, and physical skills are Cast from Hit Points.
    • Chie isn't quite this in early parts of the game. And then she starts getting Power Charge, God Hand and Agneyastra. The latter two cost 20%+ of Chie's HP. If you have Chie on your party, you'll be using them a lot. To compensate, there's also Galactic Punt.
  • Mipsy in NeoQuest II can use many powerful spells (offensive and defensive) and so is of valuable assistance in battle. Her HP doesn't leave the double digits until she hits level 23, though, and coupled her low defense and the fact that many early-game monsters' normal attacks hit for around 10-20 HP at a time....
  • Romancing SaGa has several; Romancing SaGa 3 has Muse, Leonid, and Fairy. Muse has 6 LP and no weapon levels but can easily learn techniques, Leonid can remain in your party even when he runs out of LP and has 20 in several weapon types but he only has 1 LP and can only heal by drinking your allies blood (so in the final battle he falters) Fairy has decent levels in weapons but only 7 LP and a piece of permanent equipment taking up a vital slot for equipment, it also is weak against attacks used on flying creatures. Romancing Sa Ga Minstrel Song has Captain Silver, very powerful but only 7 LP.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Aqua. She's the mage, next to a Fragile Speedster and The Big Guy. She ends up with the highest magic, best weapon, and the second best attack. However, being mage-type she still suffers from low health and defense compared to said big guy. Doesn't stop her from being the most Badass though.
    • Squishy Wizard Donald too. The good: magic includes healing. The bad: he's relatively easy for the Heartless to stomp.
    • Both Sora and Riku are this in Kingdom Hearts 3D, thanks to their defensive stats being absolutely pitiful compared to those of their Dream Eater allies, on top of already taking more damage than them due to the damage formulas (For instance, the Dream Eater take 50% more damage on Critical Mode, whereas Sora and Riku take three times as much). The damage formula favors them, allowing to cause far more damage than their allies.
  • Dragon Quest IX: The Gladiator vocation is a rare melee variety. They can equip the strongest weapons in the game, have the highest Strength in the game to match, yet their defense isn't much to write home about and they can't equip shields by default. Subverted in the fact that they can equip some of the best armor in the game and are one Elite Tweak away from equipping shields. Double Subverted in the fact that one of their abilities, Double Up, turns them into a textbook Glass Cannon despite the above; it doubles their attack and halves their defense. However, one Buff spell from your priest and the primary weakness of this setup is gone, leaving you to kick ass without any worries.
  • Not as extreme as some of the other examples, but Geno from Super Mario RPG. He has got powerful physical attacks and strong non-elemental specials with below average hp, and weak special attack and defense. One can use the level-up mechanic to take away his weaknesses and turn him into a Lightning Bruiser.
  • In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, the "Great Force" item (based on the Triforce) doubles all damage, regardless of whether it's being given or taken.
  • In Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, the Daredevil Boots item practically exemplifies the trope. On one hand, your attack power is doubled. On the other hand... you die in one hit. Fail to dodge even the weakest Goomba and you keel over.
  • The famous "Danger Mario" build in Paper Mario will make you into one of these. By exploiting numerous badges that only activate when Mario is at 5 HP or less and then setting Mario's maximum HP to five, you can become a powerhouse who can also dodge almost anything, but will spontaneously combust if you take so much as a scratch of actual damage. However, this can be dealt with by having a good supply of Life Shrooms ready. They revive Mario every time he dies, effectively making him able to actually withstand hits instead of being a One-Hit-Point Wonder.
  • Ivan from Golden Sun is the magical powerhouse of the party, and properly equipped, he can do massive physical damage, too. He's got the lowest defense of the group. The game takes this a little far; he's also the most emotionally fragile party member.
  • Etrian Odyssey:
    • The Ronin class possess incredibly high attack power, and have exclusive access to one of the strongest classes of weapon, but can equip very little in terms of armor, leaving them quite vulnerable.
    • The Gunner class can also be considered a Glass Cannon, except Gunners are supposed to be back-row characters anyway, which mitigates their low defense, to an extent. A more proper example, however, would be a Hexer specialized in using Revenge: so long as its HP is low, they'll be able to deal huge damage (up to 255% the amount of damage they've taken). As long as you can keep them alive, of course.
  • The Hare species from Monster Rancher, especially in the series' earlier incarnations, is an entire race of Glass Cannons. They tend to have extremely high attack and speed, but their HP and defense are quite pathetic. Their speed makes them hard to hit, but if they do, they're in for a world of hurt.
    • The pixie even more so. Lowest hp, high speed, and deadly magic attacks.
  • Tales series:
    • Leon Magnus of Tales of Destiny is this combined with Fragile Speedster, especially in the remake, with easily spammable and hard-hitting abilities and techniques, but very low HP. He's pretty similar in the sequel.
    • Colette Brunel from Tales of Symphonia is, in a way, a Glass Cannon. She's slow, has sub-par HP and DEF, but despite her deceptive ATK, she has easily some of the strongest hits in the game. For example, her Para Ball tech only uses 14 TP, but deals out 4.6 times her normal damage, which is higher than an average Level 3 tech.
    • Rita Mordio of Tales of Vesperia qualifies. As a mage, she deals the highest damage out of all the party members and is arguably the cheapest character in the game, but if any bosses get near her she's good as dead. Strangely, this quality isn't reflected in the storyline.
    • Beryl Benito of Tales of Hearts. In a game where four out of six characters have spells and everyone has techs, Beryl marks herself as the Squishy Wizard with high Tech Attack and spells in four elements, more than any other playable character, and three of the highest-level spells (there are seven, and only one of each in the whole party). She also has significantly less HP than everyone else, and dies very fast on any difficulty higher than Normal unless she was taken along a growth path that sacrifices either abilities or spells for increase stats.
    • Hubert Oswell, of Tales of Graces is an extremely versatile and hard-hitting melee character, putting out some of the strongest numbers among the cast, but his defense is also extremely low, meaning in order to properly make use of him you REALLY need to learn how to dodge.
  • The mages of Majesty: Fantasy Kingdom Sim are absolutely brutal nuke-machines on higher levels and practically required to knock down some of the most powerful enemies. The problem is actually keeping them alive until they reach the higher levels, with what so little HP that a falling leaf would down them.
  • In the RPG Mega Man X: Command Mission, he eventually obtains a bad-ass looking fire sword called the Red Lotus Saber. Offensively it's so powerful it renders his ultimate combo skill and the secret Absolute Zero armor virtually pointless, but then he takes over twice the damage other party members do from the same attacks when equipping it.
  • In Wild ARMs 3, you get a sand ship, which you can customize at the cost of moderately rare items. You can increase various stats of your ship, but if you just scrape up enough to buy the best cannon and arrange your party properly so you always go first, you can use the "Fire All Ammo" command and one-shot anything you fight in it. At all. Including the boss blocking you form accessing the larger portion of the sand-sea.
  • The Archer line of classes in MapleStory fall into this category by the endgame, gaining some of the most powerful attacks in terms of raw DPS, but dying in 2 hits to enemies twenty or more levels below them, and a single hit (without HP-increasing buffs) to many bosses with unavoidable magic attacks.
  • Remeer and Ferris, the two selectable playable protagonists from Mystic Ark. Next to the fighter and ninja, they're the best hitters of the game, but have some of the lowest Guard in the game. Getting trapped in the haunted mansion world alone doesn't make this any better.
  • Video Game/Mother series:
    • Buzz Buzz from EarthBound was very powerful for a character that early on in the game. However he is killed (by swatting) easily by Pokey's mother, who apparently thought he was a dung beetle.
    • Kumatora can deal out way more damage than she can take.
    • The cake is well and truly taken, however, by Ana from the first game: Her Offensive PSI repertoire is absolutely insane, complete with the only two official one-hit kill moves in the entire series, but she's almost laughably easy to kill.
  • Breath of Fire III and IV both have a spell called Last Resort that turns the user into this by converting all of their defense points to attack. Scias in 4 does this automatically if knocked to critical health.
  • The Sundown Kid in Live A Live deals a lot of damage with his guns and one skill has a random chance of dealing max damage, but he also has the lowest health of any character.
  • The Pokémon series has a bunch of these. Competitively speaking, they're often referred to as "sweepers"- 'mons which are built to take down as many foes as they can before going down first. Glass Cannons in the series also tend to overlap with Fragile Speedster.
    • Archeops. It has good speed and has base Attack higher than Salamence and great Special Attack, but not only are both forms of Defense poor, it has the Ability Defeatist, which halves both forms of attack when it gets below half health.
    • Attack Form Deoxys has the highest Special and regular Attack of all Pokémon (and great Speed), but both Defenses are at rock bottom (it has the lowest Special Defense and tied for 4th in regular Defense of all Pokémon).
    • Another Fossil Pokémon, Rampardos has the highest Attack of all non-Legendaries. It also has access to Head Smash, a move with base power equivalent to that of a Hyper Beam and deals 50% more damage due to being a Rock-type attack. However, said attack deals 50% damage dealt back as recoil. Combine that with its poor defenses and ludicrous Attack, and it'll One-Hit Kill itself with this attack. Its Rock-typing, a type with five weaknesses, doesn't help it much.
    • Shuckle is a more extreme case when Power Trick is used on it, switching defense with attack stats, and Shuckle has the highest of both forms of defense in the games. Give it a decent Attack (like, say, Rollout, which gains power as the move continues and deals 50% more damage when Shuckle uses it), and it would be devastating- of course, at this point it'll keel over if you look at it the wrong way.
    • Ice-types and Dark-types, generally. The former is one of the strongest offensive types (super-effective against four types, one of which is Dragon) but the worst defensive type, only having one resistance (to itself) and four common weaknesses. The latter is just this by statistics. Combine the two types, and you have a shining example of the Glass Cannon-Fragile Speedster overlap as well: Weavile. It's the fastest Dark and Ice-type there is (125 base Speed) and has great Attack (120 base), but its Defense is lackluster, its health is below average, and it has a poor typing, making it weak to five different types, one of which is a double weakness.
    • Also, Fire-types are generally offensive powerhouses but have many common weaknesses. The metagame crippled them when the infamous entry hazard Stealth Rock came out, particularly the Fire/Flying ones that originally were used to defend against Ground-type moves.
    • Psychic-types in general, really. Alakazam, for example, was a Game Breaker in Gen I, due to high Sp. Attack and an immunity to Ghost-type attacks; however, their Physical Defense is almost always pitifully low — one successful Night Slash or Megahorn and they can cry "Uncle!"
    • The move Shell Smash can turn the user into this, sacrificing defenses for huge offensive and Speed boosts. As can Power Trick, depending on the user (particuarly Shuckle, as mentioned above).
    • A rare Fighting/Steel Pokemon is Lucario. It can dish out a lot of damage against the opposing Pokemon and has good speed. In terms of defenses, however, it's relatively weak and can get KO'ed easily.
      • Lucario's Glass Cannon status is highlighted more in Super Smash Bros. Brawl where his Aura properly forces him to deal a lot of damage at low health while at the same time makes him more vulnerable to being knocked out of the stage easily with very simple attacks. Even at full health, Lucario still gets beaten up around the stage easily.
    • Pokémon X and Y introduces the Steel/Ghost BFS Aegislash. In Shield Form, it's a Stone Wall with great defenses but bad attacking stats. In Sword Form, those defenses are swapped with its attack, making it have Attack and Special Attack on par with legendaries... and rather pitiful defenses. Its low health will not save it if it takes a hit in Sword Form, but it's ridiculous defenses will allow it to shrug off more than a few super-effective hits in Shield Forme.
    • Also introduced in X and Y is Aurorus. It has great stats, with excellent Special Attack, huge HP, and decent defenses. It has a unique ability that turns Normal-type moves into supercharged Ice-type moves, and an Ice-type move strong against Water-type Pokémon (normally resisted). What puts it under this trope and not Mighty Glacier? Its typing of Rock/Ice. Offensively, it's strong against many different Pokémon, and the only types that can resist its STAB combination are Water/Fighting, and most Steel-types. Defensively is where it really falls apart. Rock/Ice has been calculated to be the worst type combination in the game. It's weak to Grass, Water, Ground, Rock, Fighting, and Steel, the last two being double weaknesses. Attacks of those types are extremely common in the metagame, especially Ground and Fighting. Steel getting an offensive buff in that generation did not help the poor sauropod at all.
    • The almighty god of this trope, however, is Shedinja. It has exactly one point of health, and the only thing that makes it even decently useful is its ability, Wonder Guard, which nullifies all damage except for Super-effective type attacks and indirect damage.
  • Jessica of Dragon Quest VIII is the Squishy Wizard variety. She's got more varied and powerful offensive spells than any other character, a buff spell that doubles the target's offense, and can also Whip It Good. A fully-buffed Twin Dragon Lash is capable of one-shotting some bosses. She's also got the lowest HP in the party by a good margin and poorer armor options than the other characters for much of the game, meaning she requires constant attention from The Medic to keep her standing.

  • In World of Warcraft essentially every damage dealer. Plate wearing damage dealers are slightly more durable due to heavy armor, but most raid bosses are noted for their ability to kill anything except a tank in under two seconds.
  • Depending on your character build in The Secret World, a DPS-oriented character can have less than 1/5th the resiliency of an equivalently equipped tank while dishing out over 5 times the damage, and of course vice versa, making for a huge range of character statistics. Given the flexibility and lack of classes, playing with either extreme would be an example of voluntary Min-Maxing.
  • The Blaster archetype in City of Heroes is built around this trope. They have the highest damage output of all the archetypes. However, not only do they share the lowest rate of hit-point gain with a couple of other Squishy Wizard Archetypes, but whereas every other Archetype has at least one power set devoted to defending themselves, boosting their natural abilities, hindering enemy attacks, or summoning pets to protect them, the Blaster's power sets are Ranged Attacks and... Melee Attacks. Not for nothing do Blasters refer to themselves as the 'Floor Inspector's Union' - a blaster expects to get defeated (and they spend a lot of time face down looking at the floor) at least once per mission.
  • EVE Online:
    • Stealth Bombers, the Tech 2 version of a missile frigate. A half-dozen can take out a Battleship in one volley, but they will die if you so much as look at them funny. Of course, their two best defenses are the Covert Ops cloak (lets you warp around cloaked with no speed penalty, neither of which other cloaks can do) and the fact that large-size guns and missiles (like the ones a BS would mount) have a hard time hitting a target the size of the SB (frigs, both T1 and T2, are considered small-sized targets, and guns/missiles are designed to be most effective against the same size target).
    • Tier-3 Battlecruisers are practically designed around this trope: nothing short of a full-fledged capital ship can mount more firepower (eight battleship-class guns, matching the most powerful sub-capital battleships in the game), but their defenses are paper-thin. In combat, they'll be priority targets because their massive firepower can be neutralized quickly, but if a squad of Tier-3 battlecruisers warps into a firefight while the enemy's focus is elsewhere....
  • Kingdom of Loathing:
    • The Pastamancer and Sauceror classes in Kingdom of Loathing. Their highest-level spells allow them to hit MUCH higher damage totals than any other classes (except maybe a Seal Clubber at super-high levels), especially since they can use Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors to REALLY lay down the pain. However, they also have naturally low Muscle and Moxie, so they're easy to hit and won't take much punishment before getting beaten up. Saucerors outgrow this by midpoint in development and become Stone Walls, but Pastamancers' offense becomes ever more powerful without any of the defenses a Sauceror acquires.
    • After the class revamps, Saucerors actually lean more towards Glass Cannon than Pastamancers. On one hand, Pastamancers have more practical healing skills than Saucerors do, and if they summon an Undead Elbow Macaroni, their base Muscle will be set equal to their Mysticality. They also have a skill that grants a buff that reduces physical damage by a percentage. Saucerors, on the other hand, have healing skills that fall off later in the game, plus they have a skill that reduces max HP for more max MP.
    • The Avatar of Jarlsberg special challenge path is an even bigger glass cannon. It gives you almost no defensive or self-healing ability (unless you invest in the Mr. Store item "Jarlsberg's pan"), but it does give you access to some of the most damaging spells in the game.
  • The consular's glass cannon status can be subverted in Star Wars: The Old Republic where the Shadow sub-class of Consular can be specced as a Mitigation Tank. That being said, they are still the "squishiest" of the tank specs, relying heavily on shields. However, they are able to pull more DPS and hold more aggro than a Jedi Guardian or Vanguard Trooper in addition to using stealth and stuns, making them Difficult but Awesome.
  • World of Tanks:
    • SPGs are glass cannons to an absurd degree. They can blow you to smithereens from the other side of the battlefield, but, if you can get close enough to them, you'll find that shells go through them like tissue paper.
    • Tank Destroyers, to a lesser degree, are also this. For example, the ISU-152 and Object 704, with their tp gun can kill a great many tanks in one shot, and any tank in, at most, 4, but they have armor that is paper thin, and will not last if they're caught alone.

  • Agility carry heroes from Defense Of The Ancients and DOTA 2 partially fit this archetype. Their primary and damage-determining attribute, Agility, also affects attack speed, thus making them good DPS dealers. The rub comes in the tradeoff on Strength, which affects health maximum and regeneration. However, Agility under the WC3 engine also affects physical damage-reducing armor, thus lessening the "glassiness" slightly.
  • League of Legends: "Attack Damage Carries" (or "ADC") are this type of character. Ashe, Vayne and Tristana are exemplars of the trope, being among the frailest characters in the game, but capable of fearsome amounts of damage when they get their items.
    • Assassin-type characters, also known as "AD jungles" are basically melee ADCs, capable of causing insane damage but their defense is made of paper. Their purpose is to ambush (gank) the enemy and unleash as much damage as they can before they die. Examples of this type of character include Master Yi, Fiora and Akali.
  • In Heroes of Newerth Puppet Master fits this to a T. 2 of his skills are essentially extra DPS and he has low strength growth. What makes him different than the Agility carries is that their Agil growth boosts their armor significantly; being an Intelligence hero, Puppet gets the short end of that one.

  • Mega Man:
    • Zero of Mega Man X and Zero qualifies, especially compared to his fellow hunter X. He's a devastating close-range fighter, but he takes lots of damage and there's not much you can do to change that. X, on the other hand, gets tons of upgrades every game, and one of them is always an armor part that cuts the damage he takes in half. Thus Zero starts each game stronger than X but is outclassed heavily by the end. Capcom seems to like it that way, because they've twice provided secret armors for Zero that double the damage he deals and the damage he takes (Black Zero in X8, Junk Armor in Zero 4).
    • Proto Man has become this in the later games in the classic series. His charged shots deal a lot of damage (in Powered Up they kill most stage enemies in one hit), but he also takes a lot of damage; about twice as much as Mega Man.
  • SonicTheHedgehog:
    • Sonic himself. He wrecks robots like nobody's business and defeats Eggman's most powerful machines with almost as much ease. But after he loses his rings one hit can kill him.
    • Shadow too. He's got incredible offensive power, but goes down just as easily as Sonic (and in games with actual health bars, even more easily). Even with Cutscene Power to the Max, he still can't take a hit.
    • As far as bosses go, Zor is the fifth member of the Deadly Six to challenge Sonic in Sonic Lost World and can only take half as many hits as the next-most-fragile member. Naturally, as Sonic encounters him so late into the game, Zor is capable of mounting offenses that make hitting him even once a challenge and is smart enough to only pick battlefields where he has the terrain advantage.

  • The Wizard class in Puzzle Quest: Challenge Of The Warlords. Players will spend their first twenty or so levels getting punked by enemies the other classes could take out with little trouble, thanks to the Wizard's low physical attacking strength and lower hit points (and lack of the Druid's defensive spells). Aggravated depending on which version you're playing (The PC version has stricter recharge times on spells like Fireball, which is spammable in the DS and 360 versions). By the time the Level Cap is hit, the attack and life points are still low, but the player will have an array of spells capable to taking out most enemies in five rounds or less.

     Real-Time Strategy 
  • On the whole, the Terrans are like this in Starcraft. Their units can do fearsome single-shot damage, but they don't have nearly as many HP as comparable Protoss units. The Terrans don't have many units that have more than 150 HP, while the very first (combat) unit the Protoss builds comes with 160.
  • WarCraft:
    • The Night Elves from WarCraft III are a largely Glass Cannon based faction. Their tier-1 units, the Archer and Huntress, are the most efficient damage-dealers around on their tier, and remain useful throughout the entire game with upgrades, but Archers have pathetic HP and armor, and will begin dying rapidly if a few melee units get close enough, while Huntresses have "unarmored" as their armor type, which means that they will go down fast against ranged fire. Even the Night Elves' late-game heavy melee unit, the Druid of the Claw, is more cannon-like than its Human, Orc, or Undead counterparts, with a strong attack and useful spells, but lower HP and/or armor than its equivalents and vulnerability to anticasters.
    • The Troll Berserker of the Horde averts and plays this trope straight, They have a decent amount of Hit Points (450 vs 245) unlike the Night Elf Archer, but come with a Berserk "mode" that increases their attack rate AND damage taken by 50%.
    • Like Zerglings in Starcraft, fully-upgraded Undead Ghouls act as little fast-moving heavy-DPS melee cannons, although their survival is often aided by dual auras from a Dread Lord - Death Knight hero duo. Still, that doesn't do a whole lot to save them when faced with splash fire from heavy air units or AoE spells from enemy heroes, which will cut through them in seconds.
    • Several heroes also function as Glass Cannons, especially ranged Intelligence types. The Archmage, Blood Mage and Lich go down particularly fast, yet will also deal devastating damage with their spells if they are allowed to survive long enough. The Blademaster and Warden can also be played like this, though they do have some defensive abilities that allow them to last longer or retreat when under attack.
    • Battleships and Juggernauts in Warcraft II. They have 50% more hitpoints than Destroyers, but their firepower is completely out of proportion to their durability in combat, as it takes only about two direct hits for a battleship to sink another battleship.
  • The Atreides Sonic Tank in Dune II, Dune 2000 and Emperor: Battle For Dune is incredibly powerful, but has practically paperboard armor.
  • Pyro's and Charnel's units in Sacrifice. Charnel's units are not only weak, they don't regain hitpoints over time.
  • Carriage Ballista in Rome: Total War expansion "Barbarian Invasion". Mobile artillery that can tear apart any Mighty Glacier unit but will die if an enemy as much as looks at it funny. Also prone to Friendly Fire problems.
  • A few examples in the Command & Conquer series:
    • Artillery cannons in general. While they're powerful, have great splash damage, and sometimes possess ridiculously long range, if as so much as a rocket soldier comes near, you can pretty much kiss it goodbye. Well, it's not that bad if you can run over it.
    • Red Alert 2 has the Prism Tank (which fires long-range Frickin' Laser Beams that can hit multiple units), Mirage Tank (it disguises itself as tree and several of these can take out an Apocalypse Tank easily), and Tesla Tank (which is just powerful, has long range, and ignores line of sight requirements). However, two-three shots from the basic Soviet Rhino Tank will take any of these out.
    • Red Alert 3 pretty much continues the tradition; artillery units will get hammered even by weak infantry units. Most aerial units are pretty much glass cannons as well; Allied Century bombers can carpet bomb entire bases out of existence, WWII-style, Soviet Twin Blade helicopters pack a lot of firepower, especially in numbers (helps that they're somewhat inexpensive) and Japanese Rocket Angels are one of the few units that can devastate both air and ground/sea targets with equal aplomb, but all three types tend to suck in one-on-one battles against anti-air units.
    • The demolition truck from Red Alert and Red Alert 2. They pack a nuke, so it's a nuke on wheels and I believe they have a faster build time than the nuke's charge time. But if they take any damage...
    • Against infantry, and sometimes tanks: grenadiers and flame throwers. When in groups, they can wreak devastation. However, when they die, they explode, taking down the rest of their squad mates.
    • To an extent, the Obelisk of Nod and Tesla coils. Granted they dish a lot of damage, they also have the problem of being only able to target one enemy at a time. They also chew up a lot of power and are expensive. And they're about as flimsy as a house of cards.
    • C&C Generals has units such as the Chinese Inferno and Nuke Cannons, the GLA Scud Launcher and Bomb Truck and (debatably) the US Humvee, that have tremendously high attack power but are in mortal danger if so much as one or two basic infantry with rifles walk up to them. The Nuke Cannon sometimes even says "Careful, she's fragile" when selected.
  • Myth: The Fallen Lords has Dwarves and Fetch who throw Molotov cocktails/shoot lightning from their fingertips respectively. Devastating to a horde of slow-moving units such as thrall, but it only takes a few arrows or sword blows to kill them.
  • All Artillery units in Star Wars: Empire at War and its expansion, although the Consortium's artillery at least has shields to let it last longer....
  • The eradicator Unit from Machines Wired For War can wipe out nearly any other unit but is weak, slow and probably will destroy itself in close combat.
  • In Warhammer: Dark Omen your Bright Wizard is obviously like this, capable of raising inferno on a specific patch of land and soaring across the battlefield on a teleport-like Fire Wings but easily killed (well, as easily as almost any other human combatant in your army, it's just that they fight in squads and he is alone). To a lesser extent this trope is fitted by the flagellants. They are fast, furiously insane and swinging Epic Flails, but on the other hand they are few and cannot wear armor.
  • In Company of Heroes the British have the Sherman Firefly, which has an extremely powerful 17-pounder gun but still features the same weak armor and lackluster mobility of any other model of Sherman tank. Tank-Destroyers, such as the Marder III, are also examples, as they typically feature powerful guns attached to a lightly armored chassis to improve mobility, as well as to reduce cost. The ultimate example is the American M18 "Hellcat" which has a powerful gun and paper thin armor, but is also one of the fastest units in the game.
  • Total War: Shogun 2 has many glass cannons in several varieties:
    • All the ranged units (the matchlocks, the archers, European cannons, etc.) all can do quite a bit of damage at range, but will die to just about any melee unit if they are let within range.
    • The Loan Sword Ashigaru have a high attack (for an ahigaru) and lots of but low armor and morale.
    • No Dachi Samuria have only as much armor as a Ashigaru, almost no staying power in melee, and pretty poor morale. However, they have a massive charge bonus, a giant attack, and an ability that makes their morale unbreakable for a short time. The common notion among players is that a No Dachi can kill anything it gets a good charge against, but it is killed by a most if it doesn't get a good charge.
  • Warlords Battlecry, as many other RTS games, has siege weapons fulfilling this role. Dark Dwarves in III, however, have specialized siege weaponry that takes this much, much further: the Flame Cannon, which after upgrading hits harder than titans, and the Hellbore, which can pummel through anything that doesn't resist lightning (which is very, very few things), but both can die easily to anything that makes it to melee range.
  • Tzar The Burden Of The Crown: Both Ballistae and Mages fit the bill. The former deals outrageous damage of 61 in a game where non-magical end-game ground units have 180 at best, but moves slowly, costs a lot and is incredibly vulnerable to damage, making it more of a case of Awesome but Impractical. The latter can lay waste to the mightiest of armies(particularly Arab Mage that has Fire Rain at his disposal) with his spells, but statistically speaking is just a much more expensive Archer with better attack range getting one-shotted by Priests.
  • "Video Game/Pikmin": The Bulborb Larvae in the second game can eat Pikmin in milliseconds, but they die from a single captain's punch.

  • When Alex Mercer of Prototype starts, he's a Lightning Bruiser. Nothing can hurt him much, and he kills with virtually no effort. Suddenly, only several missions in (after only a few following gaining the armor), his defense begins losing its value. He still kills like nobody's business and can tackle Thermobaric Tanks, helicopters and even entire buildings with little effort on offense, but even with an upgraded health bar he takes HUGE damage and begins realizing how squishy he truly is. The enemy also picks up on this as the game progresses, as he is often interrupted from healing by rocket fire. Although this is not so much that he is glass from the start - he can take multiple anti-tank missiles or tank shells after all - but that the enemy is upping its offensive game faster than he is his defensive.
  • Cole MacGrath of inFAMOUS can generate electrical grenades and rockets and pull lightning from the sky, but will still go down to some gun toting gangbangers. While his healing factor lets him recover from incredible abuse, attempting to get into a punching match with all but the weakest of Conduits will result in Cole dropping after the second hit.

     Shoot'Em Up 
  • Contra has been designed this way all the time, as Bill Rizer and his partner can kill lots of enemies in one powerful shot - especially with the Spray Shot. However, they die by just taking a bullet, making the dodging skill extremely important for players to beat the game. (The Japanese version of Contra Hard Corps gives the heroes an ability to take 3 bullets before dying, but it still applies here.)
  • Angry Birds Transformers has Energon Starscream, who can destroy a selected target in seconds, but he can be easily taken down if you don't kill the enemies onscreen first.


     Survival Horror 
  • In Eternal Darkness, you can control Dr. Edward Roivas, Alex's grandfather and de facto narrator of the story, in one level. He has probably the lowest health in all the game. However, in his level you can acquire the Elephant Gun, which can be set to fire double-barrels, and often knocks scrawny Edward flat on his ass when he fires it. But you can do massive damage to, if not outright kill a lot of enemies with even one single barrel shot with it.

     Third-Person Shooter 
  • The Commando class from Battlefield Heroes combines a knife wielding, invisibility-enabled spy with a sniper. Knife attacks can kill other players more or less instantly while the piercing shot ability makes sniper rifle bullets more damaging that a direct hit from a tank cannon, but they have only 80 health and die extremely quickly.

     Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Fire Emblem:
    • The Myrmidon character class; very powerful, but dies if a heavy-duty attacker so much as looks at it funny.
    • Any flying unit, with their really low defense and weakness to arrows.
    • The fighter and pirate classes sometimes fit this definition, they have good strength, but unimpressive defense. Dart from Blazing Sword comes to mind: absurdly high Strength and Crit ratio, poor defense and resistance, and at the beginning more than one Skill problem.
    • The Bishop and Sage classes tend to have relatively low HP and Defense, but tend to have massive Skill and thus can deal very frequent critical hits. A particularly good example is Lucius from Blazing Sword: he is a powerful light magic user and has more Skill than your average Monk/Bishop so he'll get many criticals on his enemies, but his defense is so abysmal that he should be kept away from the front lines at all costs until at least he's promoted.
  • The Dracosage class of Soul Nomad & the World Eaters has abilities that can take out entire groups from many spaces away as well as ridiculously strong magic, but has extremely low HP and defense and dies very quickly.
  • Shining Force: units are either incredibly sturdy or some form of this trope. The most prominent two are any promoted mages (they start out not dishing out much more damage than your other fighters, but when they learn level three spells, they become this) and centaurs, who are the strongest in terms of physical damage along with dwarves and have as much durability as a piece of wet tissue paper, even if you equip them with a lot of defensive accessories.
  • Nintendo Wars:
    • Grimm from Advance Wars: Dual Strike. He has 130% attack power to all units, but only 80% defense day-to-day without using forces. One of the upsides to this is that his CO gauge fills up more quickly, since he's both doing and taking more damage, but the same could be said of the opponent.
    • Sturm from the first Advance Wars, in Campaign mode, has 120% attack and 80% defense.
    • In general, indirect units. They can do rather gigantic amounts of damage to anything they attack, but they cannot counterattack should they be hit, nor can they attack things that are too close to them. They also tend to have fairly low movement range. In Gameboy Wars 3, this is particularly true, or at least the parts about low defense and lack of counterattack. But they do have range fire to work with.
      • The rocket units are probably the glassiest ranged units. They have good range and can hit fairly hard, but can't shoot back if they get attacked and are expensive to repair or replace if they are damaged (which happens easily). They have less durability than the cheaper artillery units. Even the regular infantry can take off about 4/10 of its health if it's on a road (which it often is for movement reasons).
    • Bombers are monstrously powerful and are out of reach of most units, but pretty much anything that can hit them downs them in 1-2 hits.
      • Same can be said of all air units, really, given how effective anti-air units are at their job. Newer planes like the Stealth (DS) and Seaplane (Days of Ruin) trade the Bomber's raw power for the ability to attack ALL units ... and having some of the worst supply problems in the game. It's surprisingly easy to trap either one and just wait for it to run out of fuel.
    • The Mega-Tank also counts as this trope, in a manner of speaking; it can pound most anything to pieces but only gets 3 shots before requiring resupply and is slow as hell, so the moment one gets caught without support it's filled with holes in very short order.
  • Super Robot Wars
    • Katina Tarask. When she first joins, she's one of the few characters you'll have that'll get the dreaded Hot-Blooded Spirit command early on. She'll also eventually get the R-Gun, which literally a robot that turns into a giant gun. Too bad her defense is shoddy, and aside from destroying enemy units, the only way to boost her morale is to either have her take hits or miss her shots.
    • At least in J, Domon Kasshu also seems to be one of these. He has Hot Blood, of course, and once the Super/Hyper Mode activates and he gets his Finishing Moves online, he can do ridiculous quantities of damage in or out of his size range. His Shining/God Gundam is, shall we say, missing the defensive side of the Super Robot archetype, and his dodging skills are mediocre.
    • Getter-1 is traditionally one of these as well. While it has all of the powerful boss-killing attacks (Getter Beam, Shine Spark, Stoner Sunshine), it also can't dodge or take hits.
    • Dancougar is the posterchild for this. Four (later five) pools of Spirit commands to work with combined with very powerful attacks for both close and long range combat. It is much more efficient and practical than Combattler V or Voltes V except for having very thin armor and a very low health bar. Upgrades can alleviate this, however.
    • Pretty much EVERY Super Robot in Super Robot Wars Destiny is this because of a Game-Breaking Bug that makes higher armor not work properly for damage reduction.
    • Perhaps the best example for the whole series would be the Dunbine and Billvine/Billbine. They are incredibly fragile with non-existent armor and are as fast and dodgy as that would imply. The catch is that they also hit like bricks with their "Hype Aura Slash" attacks which are powered by their pilot's "Aura Battler" skills, making the billbine one of the best units to do huge amounts of damage, but a single hit to it means you lose a unit.
  • Sword of the Stars:
    • The Zuul combine this with Fragile Speedster. Their ships are basically lots of gun turrets glued together on a frightfully fast frame, and their general battle style tends towards We Have Reserves.
    • The Liir are an almost better example. Liir ships are slow tactically, bulky, fragile, have few turret mounts, and have very high mass for their size (because they're filled with liquid). But the Liir's frightful research speed ensures they'll almost always be a level above you in the high-tech weapons, their ships have a lot of special weapons slots (such as for heavy beams and torpedoes), and they can quickly reconfigure their ships to counter your own technological advances. Their ships also turn on a dime and have the highest base strategic speed outside of the Node drive. They're also more likely to get those nice hard-to-get techs, such as point-defense phasers (which can defeat most Macross Missile Massacres) and advanced cloaks (which allows you to fire while being invisible). This is taken Up to Eleven in the sequel, where the Liir-Prester Zuul Alliance gives Liir access to Zuul riders with the More Dakka that implies but no real durability benefit.
  • Luminous Arc 2's Ayano is one of the strongest and fastest fighters in the game, yet for obvious reasons, her physical defense isn't quite as high. But she can tank against magic, due her high Resistance.
  • A number of units in The Battle For Wesnoth fit this trope:
    • The Horseman, which uses a Death or Glory 'charge' attack that causes it to deal and take double damage in melee on it's turn. Good for dealing finishing blows or hitting Squishy Wizards, but can backfire catastrophically against a melee target. Its upgrade, the Lancer, takes this Up to Eleven.
    • An even more extreme Death or Glory attacker is the Dwarvish Ulfserker, and its upgrade, the Berserker, pictured above. It will not stop attacking in melee until either it or its opponent is dead. The Ulf is thus extremely effective against Squishy Wizards and other ranged units, but since the ability triggers in the enemy's turn as well, it also makes it extremely vulnerable against almost all standard melee units, which will either defeat it or heavily injure it in a straight fight, and are usually cheaper too.
    • A more mundane example would be the Mage and it's upgrades, and its chaotic counterpart, the Dark Adept. These units are just standard Squishy Wizard Glass Cannons, with powerful magical ranged attacks but low HP, no impressive resistances, and pathetic or no melee attacks. A melee Glass Cannon would be the Thief and its upgrades, but they need to Back Stab in order to gain their high damage.
    • There are also the various offense-oriented upgrade options for units that were, in themselves, not Glass Cannons, but became so upon leveling up. Such as the Deathblade, which deals a good 25% more damage and moves 20% faster than it's counterpart, the Revenant, but has lower HP and cannot level up further. Or the Shadow, which gains the ability to skirmish, nightstalk, and Back Stab For Massive Damage, but loses the defensive edge granted by the life-draining ability of its counterpart, the Wraith. Or the Elvish Marksman, which does very high damage for its level and gets an accuracy-boosting ability, but sacrifices the melee strength, HP, and hiding ability of the Elvish Ranger. The list could go on and on...
    • The Drakes are an entire race of Glass Cannons. They're super fast with their wings and have powerful attacks - all but one of the drake units have both melee and ranged attacks - but they're exceedingly weak against anything pointy or cold. They're also lawful and very expensive. Fighting undead with them is, therefore, an exercise in getting all of your drakes into defensive positions by nightfall and using horribly weak saurians to try and keep your attacking momentum.
  • Alpha Centauri:
    • The game lets you design units like this, and the game's combat mechanics exacerbate it tremendously. When a unit attacks another, the only factors involved are the attacker's firepower and the defender's armor rating (not, as one would think, both sides' firepower modified by the opposing side's armor). So a unit can be utterly unkillable so long as it's doing the shooting, but turns into the Red Shirt Army when on the defensive. Of course, units with both heavy armor and heavy weaponry are exponentially more expensive, so it's often best to built Stone Wall units to stand alongside them on the off chance someone starts taking shots at them.
    • Helicopter units, which are the only air units able to attack multiple times per turn, epitomize this. Unless the defender has some interceptors or units with anti-air tracking, a few helicopters with decent weapons can rapidly trash a city's garrison and let your ground forces stroll in and take over.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic:
    • Sorcerors and related classes tended towards this trope, as is traditional for mages in RPGs, though VII and VIII's Liches played with it a bit by combining low HP and an inability to use shields or armor heavier than leather with being the only way whatsoever to become immune to any school of magic.
    • Halflings in Heroes Of Might And Magic III. They are pretty good ranged attackers but if the enemy gets in melee range with it, you can kiss the guys goodbye.
    • Fiona from from the Spin-Off Clash Of Heroes becomes this when using the Spider Cloak relic. It boosts the attack power of her units by 100%, allowing her to take on enemies far above her level. But she starts the battle with only 10% of her hit points (and depending on the platform, it's capped at 10, rather than reduced).

     Visual Novel 
  • Red spirits in Eien no Aselia fall into this role. They have a lot amount of actions per round and have poor shield skills, but do damage to all opponents at once. Pretty heavy damage, too. Orpha would be the strongest example as the beefier green spirits or Etrangers normally have at least twice the amount of health she does.

     Western RPG 
  • Ultima series: A Glass Sword is an insta-kill, but naturally shatters after one use. Clever in the games where these are limited, a bit of a Game Breaker when you can have indefinite numbers.
  • Mass Effect:
    • In Mass Effect, Garrus Vakarian is pretty much one of these. He is one of only three squad members who can use assault rifles - the most powerful and versatile weapon in the game - and one of only two characters who can use sniper rifles. On top of that, his class is Turian Agent, which gives him up to a 30% bonus to assault rifle and sniper rifle accuracy and damage. On top of that, he has access to Assault Training, which gives him an additional 10% boost to all damage, plus the Adrenaline Burst talent, which lets him remove the cooldown timers on all of his talents. On top of that, he has access to the Sabotage, Overload, and Damping powers, allowing him to shut down enemy weapons, shields, and tech/biotic powers. In short, he can lock down an enemy and slaughter the remainder faster than anyone else, and then do it all again a second later, all from a very long range. The only problem is, of all the "combat" characters, he has the lowest health, cannot use the Fitness talent (which boosts health and provides the Immunity power) and can only wear medium armor at best, and that only after significant investment in talent points. Fortunately, the Electronics talent lets him boost his shields several times over to make up for that deficiency.
    • In Mass Effect 2, Garrus is joined by Kasumi Goto and Mordin Solus.
    • Mordin has both hard-hitting offensive tech powers (Incinerate and Cryo Blast), plus Neural Shock (which paralyzes opponents), but has extremely low health and shields.
    • But the crowning glory has to be Kasumi Goto, a thief with fragile health and shields, along with the distinction of having one of the only melee abilities in the entire game. A very effective ability that she cloaks and uncloaks to use, but still.
    • Also Thane Krios, who is essentially Garrus with biotic powers instead of tech. Still very squishy.
    • And, of course, there's Jack. Her biotic powers may be cranked Up to Eleven, but they're all geared exclusively towards offense. She has one of the lowest defensive capabilities of any of the party members (only Mordin and Kasumi have lower values), and is likely to die if left to hold the line at the game's final battle. If you leave her behind and want to keep her alive, you'd better make sure she's loyal.
    • In Mass Effect 3, it is revealed that the Quarians have fitted their massive "Live Ships" with very big mass drivers. This effectively makes them some of the most heavily armed ships in the galaxy. The fact that they carry no armor and little defensive armament, and that they also carry the Migrant Fleet's civilian population, leaves most people who learn this utterly appalled. Joker actually drops this trope's name when explaining why it was such a terrible idea.
    • Mass Effect 3 multiplayer:
      • The drell and geth characters fall squarely into glass cannon territory with a healthy dose of Fragile Speedster to boot. Drell characters are blessed with one of the best racial passive powers (Drell Assassin), which pushes their weapon and power damage both to levels higher than most other race/class powers, and receive bonuses to their movement speed from Fitness, but have only half the normal barrier strength of most classes. The geth, on the other hand, abuse Hunter Mode to send their damage output through the roof (the Geth Infiltrator actually has the highest potential weapon damage of all playable classes) at the cost of half their maximum shields. The exception to the geth rule is the Trooper Soldier, which is...obscenely hard to kill.
      • The Volus are an even more extreme example, having pitiful amount of health and not even able to use cover perfectly (although they are short enough for this normally not to be an issue). They can, however dish out an insane amount of damage, and have a lot of nice abilities (such as the ability to turn invisible) as race abilities, regardless of class.
    • The M-44 Hammerhead Hover Tank is fitted with jumpjets, a heavy seeker missile launcher, and a scanner that can do everything from reading computer discs to actively mining for 400 units of iridium. What it is not fitted with is armor made from something more resilient than old shoeboxes layered over bubble wrap. Which is a bit of a nuisance when you're under fire; expect to hear lots of alarms and occasionally burst into flames in any situation where you have to deal with enemies within direct fire range. Lampshaded when Cortez explains why you don't have one any more in 3 - the Hammerhead was undergoing retrofits on Earth in the hope of making it more durable when the Reapers came, and so the tank itself is presumed to lie under a few hundred tons of rubble.
    • Cerberus Nemesis snipers are capable of inflicting horrific long-range punishment, but a well-built Engineer can go right through their shield and health bars with one hit from Overload - and this is if they specced into the low-intensity crowd-control Overload rather than the high-damage, single-target version.
  • The 2004 The Bard's Tale game has the Vorpal Rat. Has the highest damaging attack among your summons, but it has only 1 HP.
  • Geneforge series:
    • Shapers and Agents usually prioritize Intelligence and either Shaping or magic skills over Endurance (which raises health) or Strength (which increases the weight of equipment a character can equip). The Gruesome Charm item, which appears in all games after the second, encourages this by raising Intelligence and Dexterity at the cost of lowering Endurance.
    • The Wingbolt creations have fast and blistering attacks, but are very frail. They're best placed at the back of a Shaper's army, but a Shock Trooper can make best use of these by tanking and healing as they snipe.
  • Knights of the Old Republic:
    • Jedi Consulars, along with the Prestige Classes Jedi Master and Sith Lord in the second. They get lots of Force powers (three every two levels) and positively silly amounts of Force points to use them with, but they get much fewer Vitality Points than the more combat-oriented class, in addition to getting fewer feats and skill points.
    • Certain party members also count. Mission Vao is a Twi'lek teenager with high dexterity and a nasty sneak attack, but she's got the lowest hit points in the party. T3-M4, your faithful companion droid in both games, can be equipped with flamethrowers and heavy blasters, but the little guy also doesn't have much for armor or shields.
  • In Baldur's Gate 2 Big Bad Jon Irenicus goes down very quickly if you can remove his protection spells. Just hope you can pull it off before he tears you apart with Time Stop and Power Word spells. Contrast with the Made of Iron Big Bad of the previous game who can take plenty of hits and has insane magic resistance but is limited to powerful melee power attacks.
  • The Arcane Horrors from Dragon Age: Origins are pretty fragile, but hit hard with their magical attacks.
  • EYE Divine Cybermancy combines this with Magikarp Power due to the several layers of complication with Polyclones. Not-so-direct copies of the Player that die in a few shots and wield lowly pistols with little use later on. They don't become CANNONS unless you develop your PSI-Force stat to higher levels, which gives them access to more decent weaponry (like Machineguns incapable of Full-Auto), and at a remarkably high amount; will gain access to anti-tank rifles, grenade launchers, and even a Chain Gun. Your PSI-Force will also determine the amount of clones summoned, so imagine that AND the amount of upgrades they get by then. They STILL have inconsistent accuracy until you can issue a shortcut to "Order" them to "Go Hunt!" to where they will begin to become as Competent as the AI; taking cover fire, lobbing grenades, and shooting VERY accurately. And to top it off, they also share the same movement speed as the player character, so wearing lighter armor would turn them into Fragile Speedsters.
  • Goggs in AdventureQuest are definitely this. They always go first in battle and deal abnormally high amounts of damage when they strike. However, their defenses are so awful that any well-equipped character should be able to kill a Gogg in one or two hits on the Counter Attack.
  • Instead of a character class per se, the Glass Cannon archetype is a strategy in both Demons Souls and Dark Souls. The idea is to stack items and weapons capable of boosting damage (mostly magic, but physical damage is not unheard of). Usually, there are multiple items that boosts attack either at the cost of defense (eg Monk's Head Collar or Crown of Dusk, which increases magic damage at the cost of magic defense) or only activates when your health is low (such as Clever Rat's Ring, Morion Blade, or Red Tearstone Ring). Combining all of them, and you get a character that is very low on health such that he/she will die in one poke, but deals such absurdly high damage that one good shot is all it usually takes. It works horribly well in both PvE and PvP environments. For bonus aesthetics, when the low-HP buff effect takes place, the character glows with a characteristic aura.
  • This is a typical build for stealth-based characters like assassins or thieves in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Stealth-based characters can deal ludicrous amounts of damage: 3x damage with bows, 6x damage with one-handed weapons, and 15x damage with daggers (which can be doubled again with certain equips), so long as the attack is done while undetected. Thus, stealth-based characters are likely to have lower armor skills (because they never or rarely get hit, resulting in very little relevant experience being gained in that skill), and on level-up, are likely to neglect raising health in favor of magicka (for spells) or stamina (for archery zoom time and sprinting to get away from overwhelming force), resulting in characters who regularly one-shot bosses, but will die to a regular mook's Offhand Backhand. Note, though, that this mostly applies to stealth characters whose prefer offense is physical/weapons-based. Magic-oriented stealth characters are more likely to be Gradual Grinders.