Assist Character

Not all characters in Fighting Games are cut out to be playable. Maybe they're subject to Crippling Overspecialisation, maybe their power of heart just doesn't cut it, even with Competitive Balance, or maybe there's another issue (technical or not) preventing them from appearing as fully playable. Still, The Cameo isn't going to do itself, and, even with a simple background cameo, the fandom won't be happy if their Ensemble Darkhorse doesn't at least do something.

What's left to do? Simple: summon them from nowhere, let them do their thing, then they disappear like they never existed! Problem solved.

These characters may become Ascended Extras and be ascended to the main roster if the fandom or the developers are sufficiently fond of him/her/it in the game.

Related to Summon Magic. Compare/contrast the Non-Player Companion, who also assists the Player Character but sticks around them the entire time. See also The Cameo and A Boy and His X. Compare Mons and Minion Master, where the entire point is summoning others to fight for you. One step up from this is for the character to be actually controllable in some way, turning them into the "puppet" part of a Puppet Fighter. Contrast It's Up to You, where you do everything without any kind of help.


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    Fighting Games 
  • The Ur-Example is in Data East's Avengers In Galactic Storm; four characters (players can have Iron Man, Thor, Vision, or Giant Man if an Avenger is being played, or obscure characters Ultimus, Ronan, a Kree Sentry robot, or Captain Att-Las if an Kree character is being played, as the assist character) can be summoned by pressing all punch buttons when the meter is half full. Why Iron Man and Thor are assists instead of fully playable characters are another story altogether.
  • The Capcom vs. Whatever series frequently uses this:
  • A lot of The King of Fighters 2000's Another Striker cameos.
    • Also the strikers in 99: Evolution.
    • There's also Original Zero in KOF 2001. In said game, you could assign characters on your team to be Strikers, but it'd cost a bar of super to bring them in. Original Zero has three, which he uses as command normals, at any time. This is a good part of the reason of why he's a SNK Boss.
  • Street Fighter Alpha 3
    • Mika is famous for hitting her opponent hard with her powerful behind, but in this game, her Critical Art has her call in her tag team partner, Nadeshiko to give the hapless opponent a double ass smash.
  • M. Bison himself is this for Juni in when she uses her Psycho Streak Super, he appears and mows down the opponent with a Psycho Crusher.
  • Several characters in Darkstalkers have friends they can summon using special moves:
    • Felicia: The catgirls who appear in her Please Help Me special. They each even have names, home states, and a couple sentences worth of backstory.
    • Anakaris: Khaibit, the toothy-grinned restligeist who appears in several of his attacks and animations; also, he can summon a team of mummified harem girls with one of his Super Combos.
    • Lord Raptor: Le Malta, who appears during his Hell Dunk and Dark Force moves.
    • Sasquatch: He has a whale, explosive penguins, and a pack of dogs, who appear in some of his moves.
    • Huitzil: In Vampire Savior 2, one of his specials consists of three other Huitzil units coming down to assist him with Beam Spam moves.
    • B.B. Hood: John and Arthur, the two bulky hunters that appear in her Dark Hunt Super Combo.
  • Super Smash Bros.
    • Since the first game in the series Poké Balls have been a staple item. They summon a Pokémon when thrown, who then proceeds to assist its summoner in some manner (with a few exceptions). They can hold from common regular Pokémon to rare legendary Pokémon who usually wreak havoc on the battlefield with powerful attacks.
    • Brawl adds assist trophies to the mix. They function similarly to pokéballs, but they can summon all kinds of characters instead of being limited to one series, bringing characters from a wide range of franchises both with and without playable representation in the series.
    • Some characters bring help to battle with some of their regular attacks. Peach pulls out a Toad to serve as a Human Shield, King Dedede throws his minions at his opponents, and Duck Hunt summons the 8-bit bandits from Wild Gunman to open fire at their opponents.
    • Some Final Smashes have the character summon aid to join in for a Combination Attack. Mega Man is joined by his counterparts from the X, Battle Network, Star Force and Legend series to blast at his opponents; Robin summons Chrom to pull off an aerial beatdown; and Shulk calls Dunban and Riki for a 3-man smackdown.
  • The wrestling Video Game based on The Simpsons has Mr. Burns, which uses Smithers to do all the work, assisting by throwing plutonium bars as a special move. Smithers himself can summon Blinky the Three-eyed fish as an attack. The Bumblebee Man can summon his chihuahua and Marge can summon Maggie.
  • The Ultimate Ninja line of Naruto fighting games features this; your assist character drops items for you during combat, and one of these items calls them to perform one of their special attacks.
  • Throughout the Guilty Gear series, some characters which can't be played tend to pop up, such as Dizzy's sentient wings (Her main form of combat) or A.B.A.'s sentient key.
    • Related, in BlazBlue, Carl is always assisted by his giant puppet and sister Nirvana and a large portion of Rachel's attacks come from her familiars Nago and Gii. Later on, Carl's father, Relius was added. Like Carl, he fights alongside his giant puppet and wife Ignis.
  • Capcom's JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Fighting Game has the Stands. Each character has one, except Young Joseph. Further on, Hol Horse not only has his stand (Emperor, his gun) he has two playable versions where he's assisted by another character; his "Standard" version is aided by Hanged Man and in his "& Voing" version he's aided by Voing (who is, himself, aided by his stand, Thoth).
  • In Touhou Hisoutensoku Sanae is assisted by her gods, Kanako and Suwako. Which can be kind of weird, as Suwako is also playable. (All There in the Manual explains god's can spiritually divide themselves, essentially existing in two places).
    • Yukari Yakumo can call upon her shikigami (Ran) and the shikigami of that shikigami (Chen). Only difference here is they're called upon as spellcards. She's been able to call upon them since Perfect Cherry Blossom. Basically, if Yukari appears as a playable character, count on her using one or both of them in her attacks (this even extends to Ran providing roughly half of her firepower in Imperishable Night, which is part of the main series of games.)
    • In Hopeless Masquerade, Mamizou has her tanuki partners to assist her or turn into weapons for some of her attacks. If they are hit too often, then they can't be used for a short period of time, similar to Persona 4: Arena's Persona mechanics.
    • Then there's Ichirin, whose strongest attacks actually come from a huge cloud spirit named Unzan. In Unidentified Fantastic Object, Unzan supplies Ichirin's spell cards; he manifests as an enormous, bald, bearded head peering down from the top half of the screen, and attempts to punch the player (represented by large fist-shaped bullets) while also launching various other bullets. In Urban Legend in Limbo, in which Ichirin is a playable character, Unzan manifests in order to punch the opponent, similar to a Stand.
  • In Arcana Heart, Maori's sisters assist her in some of her special attacks.
  • In Jump Super Stars and its sequel Jump Ultimate Stars, characters that take up 2 or 3 panels (or "Koma", as commonly called by the fans) are used as Support characters that can be summoned anytime in battle by tapping their frame on the DS's bottom screen (or using an assigned shortcut button in Jump Ultimate Stars). Support characters use a bar from the Special meter (which is also used for special attacks), and playable characters can also serve as Support characters in addition to the non-playable Support characters. Represents battle koma, minor characters (like Gaara and Gohan) and characters who couldn't really fight (like Light and Kon).
  • Vanguard Princess is built entirely around utilizing support characters.
  • Dissidia: Final Fantasy's prequel, Duodecim, has incorporated this system into its gameplay, allowing you to summon another playable character to perform either a Brave or HP attack, which varies depending on the position of the enemy. All playable characters can fill this role. Aerith is an Assist-only character for players who purchase a paid demo of the game.
  • Taken Up to Eleven in Super Cosplay War Ultra with Ziro, who has a posse of lackeys who do all his fighting for him, including taking hits when he blocks.
  • Persona 4: Arena turns the various Personae the main characters summon into more complex versions of this. They appear, perform their attacks, and vanish. However, they're also targetable; If a Persona takes too many hits, it "breaks" and can't be summoned for a while.
    • This is similar to how Stands worked in JJBA, save that breaking a Persona doesn't stun you like a Stand Break did.
  • Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion takes the Assist concept one step further with Synergy Attacks, which happen when a certain character summons a specific Assist (i.e. Kevin Levin and Numbuh 4, Grim and Mung Daal, Captain K'nuckles and Captain Stickybeard).
  • Peacock, a zoning-type character from Skullgirls, uses her toony buddies to pester the opponent from afar in this manner.
    • As seen in the page picture, Parasoul summons some of her Black Egret soldiers to assist her in some of her special moves and all three of her Blockbusters.
    • DLC character Eliza has two bodyguards that resemble ancient Egyptian deities, one named Albus, who resembles Anubis and another named Horace who resembles Horus.
  • One Piece Gigant Battle and its sequel feature assist characters. You can pick up to three, and not only can you summon them in battle, but they also give you passive bonuses like increasing your damage output or health bar. Those passive bonuses depend on the character you chose to play as: usually, the stronger connection there is, the better the bonus, though putting two enemies together (Like Crocodile and Vivi) gives you a malus instead. Setting up certain teams (For example, four Straw Hats, or Sanji with three beautiful ladies) can also give you additional bonuses on top of that. Long story short, choosing your assists in these games is very important.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle:
    • J. Geil with Hanged Man, for Hol Horse. However, in-universe it's the other way around.
    • Erba Gatta with Stray Cat and Hayato Kawajiri, for Kosaku!Kira.
  • In the Sega/Dengeki Bunko fighting game Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax, each playable character can equip and use an assist character prior to combat, each with a single, unique action, called by pressing the Assist Button when the Assist Gauge is full. Many assists are derived from a series that a playable character comes from, including Mikoto Misaka (playable) and Touma Kamijou (assist), Shizuo (playable) and Celty (assist), and Asuna/Kirito (both playable) and Leafa (assist).
  • Several examples from the Crossover Doujinshi Magical Chaser: Stardust of Dreams:
  • In Kinnikuman Muscle Fight, a doujin fighting game based on Kinnikuman, most of Atlantis's special attacks are assists from Black Hole, Stecasse King, the Mountain, and/or Mr. Khamen. Pentagon is assisted by Black Hole in about half of his moves, including supers. Since most of the characters operate in tightly-knit groups, nearly all of them appear as assists in someone else's super moves, as well.
  • The doujin game Eternal Fighter Zero features some assist characters:
    • Akane Satomura can call her friend Shiko to attack her opponent, as a reference to the Striker System in The King of Fighters 99.
    • Mai Kawasumi can call a Cute Ghost Girl with multiple attacks to assist her in battle, very similar to a Stamd.
    • Misuzu Kamio, aside of her crow partner Sora, can also summon Yukito, the protagonist of AIR, to keep distance, and extend combos.
    • Minagi Tohno fights on par with her best friend Michiru, you control Minagi directly, and Michiru via special moves.

    Other Video Games 
  • In Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time, the fairy-like familiars will help in battle by strengthening magic or physical attacks, but they are not actual party members.
  • Super Robot Wars occasionally has characters who are generally too small or minor to get their own units appear to help a main or secondary character in some of their stronger attacks. In W for instance, KorRyu and AnRyu each has an attack where they would assist the human-sized Renais in attacking, and both Cagali and Mu can summon the Astray Girls to triple-team the enemy. Also some bosses (particularly large spacecraft or King Mooks) will have an attack where they summon a large number of minion units to attack all at once.
  • Lunar games has the party accompanied by a baby dragon - Nall in the first game, Ruby in the second. Rather than directly participating in fights, they fly back and forth in the background of the battlefield, and occasionally jumps in at the end of a turn to assist in some way. Specifically, Nall sometimes revives fallen party members, and Ruby sometimes attacks enemies. If anyone in the party is suffering a status effect at the end of a fight in the first game, Nall also cures them automatically.
  • The Gundam Vs Series added Mobile Assists in Gundam vs Gundam, with the number of uses being determined by how powerful the assistance is. While they were standard in that game and its sequel Next Plus, the Extreme Vs. sub-series changes things; typically a unit has an assist only if it doesn't have enough standard weapons to fill out the usual five-attack moveset. Additionally, in Extreme Vs., some units' assists "reload" over time while others don't but have more uses to make up for it; in Maxi Boost, all assists "reload", with some losing one use in order to balance things out.
  • The Scott Pilgrim videogame has this with Knives Chau. If you beat her father as a bonus boss, you can summon him too. And if you're playing as Knives, you summon Mrs. Chau instead.
  • The DS remake of Final Fantasy III has characters that periodically join the party and hop in every now and then during battle to help out.
  • In the beginning of Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Isaac and Garet join the party and help out.
  • In Captain America and the Avengers, The Wasp appears to assist during the Unexpected Shmup Levels.
  • In the Famicom Star Wars game by Namco, R2-D2, Obi-Wan, C-3PO, Leia, Chewbacca and Han Solo can be summoned for assistance after being rescued.
  • Momiji and the Regent of the Mask fight alongside you in two sequences of Ninja Gaiden 3.
  • In Sonic Generations: several missions involve summoning various other Sonic characters to do your bidding. Also, Tails in Sonic the Hedgehog 4.
  • The Pokémon move Assist lets the user use one of the other party members' attacks at random. Beat Up calls the entire party out to pummel the opponent.
  • In the second PokéPark Wii game, you're allowed to call in one of the Pokemon you've befriended once per battle to perform an attack. This often can deplete most of your opponent's HP if it's hitting their weakness.
  • Dragon's Crown has Rannie, a thief that runs around picking up stray bits of loot and unlocks chests while you do the fighting.
  • The Distress Call function in Marvel: Avengers Alliance allows you to call in a random hero or fellow agent to get an extra attack in against the enemy.
    • Constrictor's Level 9 move is a distress call that specifically summons a Lockbox hero.
    • The Falcon's Level 9 move gives him the 'Friends in High Places' buff, which has a chance of calling in a SHIELD agent as a Counter Attack.
  • Xeno Gears has Margie, who assists Bart in one of his fights early on in the game. Interestingly enough, she was originally intended to be a full party member, but then the budget ran out. On the villainous side of things, Miang gives assistance to Ramsus every time he fights the party, before eventually getting a boss fight of her own.
  • The Eidolons in Final Fantasy XIII appear when summoned by the party leader, replacing the other party members and dealing massive damage to the enemies for a brief time before disappearing again.
  • During certain boss fights in Freedom Planet (usually involving Serpentine,) the other characters will show up and provide health pick-ups, or even attack the boss themselves.
  • The Locate Keystone in LEGO Dimensions can summon characters or objects from any of the numerous universes in the game to solve puzzles. It's often used for humorous purposes such as summoning a talking tree to pelt apples at Sentry Turrets, summoning Homer's snowplow to clear debris in Hill Valley, or, best of all, summoning HAL 9000 to irritate GLaDOS.]]
  • The smartphone port of The World Ends with You reworks the partner characters into this, as the original game's partner mechanics are dependent on the Nintendo DS's dual screens.

    Visual Novels 
  • In one of Fate/hollow ataraxia minigames, Assassin goes as Caster's equivalent of Noble Phantasm attack.

  • If "Thing Flips" is enabled in The Addams Family, Thing will help the player by operating the lefthand mini-flipper.
  • Monster Bash has the similar "Phantom Flip", where the game will automatically operate the main flippers if the player doesn't touch the controls.
  • While not an actual character, Rollergames has the Deep Freeze Magna-Flip, which holds the pinball next to the upper-right flipper to enable an easy shot up The Wall.
    Announcer: Don't flip! — FLIP!

    Non-Video Game Examples 
  • Quite a few Monsters of the Week in Power Rangers could summon whatever Mooks the Big Bad had access too, but in the two-part episode "White Light", Nimrod the Scarlet Sentinel could summon two other monsters named AC and DC for backup. They didn't speak or have much personality, and when Nimrod was defeated, they disappeared. (Or maybe ran for their lives; the battle was so intense, even Nimrod started to panic.)
  • Smash Bros Lawl gives quite a few characters their assists for various specials and Final Smashes.
    • Tommy Wiseau can summon Mark for his Up-B to hand him a football. Mark also teams up with Wiseau in his Final Smash, where they pass the football back and forth, until Wiseau jumps before pounding an enemy with the football.
    • The King has his royal guard Fari perform the grabs for him. Gwonam also appears with his magic carpet for The King's Up-B.
    • Frollo can summon his guards with a Down-B. The guards will act as a sentry, striking those who get too close, as well as occasionally going archer.