Balance, Speed, Strength Trio
Video games are not unfamiliar with the Rule of Three
, specially when it concerns characters
. This is seen mostly in the Beat 'em Up
genre and its sister genre Hack and Slash
, in which the main trio is often composed of these three characters:
- The Balanced One: Usually The Leader, The Hero and/or The Protagonist. Exactly What It Says on the Tin, the balance between speed and strength, in most of the cases recommended for those who're new to the game.
- The Fast-but-Weak One: This character is usually The Lancer or The Chick of the group, a (usually) skinny character that's also the fastest one of the group, having not just more speed and movement, but also being able to make the largest combos in the game. If it's not skinny, then it's Weak, but Skilled compared with the other two, probably a trained martial artist.
- The Strong-but-Slow One: This character usually is The Big Guy, The Brute or the Boisterous Bruiser of the group, who can deal more damage than the rest of the characters, but also is the slowest one. This kind of characters usually are Difficult, but Awesome to manage in the game compared with the other two.
While this is a video game trope, it can also be applied to other media, as well other video games genres besides the Beat 'em Up
, like Shoot 'em Up
. And it's not just for the good guys, this trope also can very well be applied to a Terrible Trio
. Big, Thin, Short Trio
also overlaps this, being the Big usually cemented as the strength, while the Thin and the Short vary between balance and speed.
If a fourth character joins the trio having abilities the others don't, then the group often becomes Balance, Power, Skill, Gimmick
. If one of the trio is The Chick
(usually the quick one), then it's the íThree Amigos!
. And of course, if a couple of characters join the main trio during the adventure, then it's Three Plus Two
of Power Trio
and Video Game Characters
. Compare and contrast other famous Rule of Three
tropes seen in video games: Damager, Healer, Tank
; Fighter, Mage, Thief
; With a Friend and a Stranger
and Three-Stat System
Video Game Examples
Beat 'em Up
- Final Fight uses this trope in most of its games:
- Starting with the first one that has Cody Traversnote (balance), Guy (speed) and Mike Haggar (strength). In an interesting example, Haggar is Playing Against Type, since he's The Protagonist and The Hero of the series, later reusing this formula with another Capcom character: the barbarian-turned-lion Leo.
- The sequel Final Fight 2 has Cody and Guy being replaced by Carlos Miyamoto (balance) and Maki Genryuusai (speed), with Haggar still on the lead.
- In Final Fight 3 and the Arcade Mode of Final Fight: Streetwise, there's a fourth character added to the mixture which have different abilities than the aforementioned trio (Guy becomes this in the former, with Lucia and Dean being the speed and balance respectively; and Cody in the latter, leaving the balance to his brother Kyle), but the pattern is still there.
- About Capcom, the pattern repeats in Knights of the Round, where Arthur is the balance, Lancelot is the speed and Percival is the strength.
- While you can't always manage the three of them, the usual setting of Battletoads is Rash as the balance, Zitz as the speed and Pimple as the strength.
- In Streets of Rage series, Axel Stone and Blaze Fielding stay in all games as the balance and speed respectively, having the character of strength variable between games (Adam Hunter in 1, Max Thunder in 2 and Dr. Zan in 3), with the addition of Eddie "Skate" Hunter in the last 2 games as a middle point between balance and speed.
- Being an obvious expy of Final Fight, there's the SNK version of this game: Burning Fight, which have Duke Edwards (balance), Ryu Saeba (speed) and Billy King (strength).
- Technos Japan's The Combatribes, the three main characters follow this pattern with Berserker (balance), Blitz (speed), and Bullova (strength).
- The Ninja Warriors Again has the strong "Ninja", the speedy "Kunoichi", and the balanced "Kamaitachi".
- The King of Fighters:
- While there're various teams that use this trope, the best known in all the series is the "Korea Team" or the "Kim Kaphwan Team", generally composed by Kim as the balance, Choi Bounge as the speed and Chang Koehan as the strength.
- Another good (and classic) example is the "Japan Team", especially its classic lineup with Kyo Kusanagi (balance), Benimaru Nikaido (speed) and Goro Daimon (strength).
Shoot 'em Up
- In the Cop storyline of Need for Speed: Rivals, you can choose every mission by choosing one of the three kinds of police vehicles: Patrol, Enforcer and Undercover. The former has the highest acceleration, the middle has more strength and durability, and the latter has the max control, being these three cars the speed (Patrol), the strength (Enforcer) and the balance (Undercover).
- The starfighters you can control in the Rogue Squadron series often fall under these categories. Some examples include the X-Wing (balance), A-Wing or TIE Interceptor (speed) and Y-Wing or B-Wing (strength). Of course there are some ships that excel in speed, firepower and shields, like the Naboo Starfigher or the Buick.
- Cube Colossus: A.M.U.s 01, 02, and 03. A Jack-of-All-Stats, Stone Wall, and Fragile Speedster, respectively.
- Unlike past games of the series, in 19XX: The War Against Destiny allows you to choose between three planes with different skills: Lockheed P-38 Lightning (balance), the series's staple and the most balanced plane of the three; de Havilland Mosquito (strength), returning from 1941 and focused on firepower; and Kyushu J7W Shinden (speed), a newcomer plane and the fastest and most maneuverable ship.
Non-Video Game Examples
- As seen in many Robin Hood stories, it's assumed that Robin is the balance and Little John the strength, so the speed could be Will Scarlet or Much the Miller's Son, all depends of the story or the adaptation.
- A common set-up in High Fantasy RPGs such as Dungeons & Dragons, where players usually choose a knight or warrior (balance), a thief or ranger (speed) and a barbarian (strength). Same counts in the case of choosing races, in this case a human (balance), an elf or hobbit (speed) and a dwarf or half-orc (strength).
- While the three have similar powers, The Powerpuff Girls usually invoke this trope, Blossom being the balance, Bubbles the speed and Buttercup the strength.