The trope name comes from the term Street Fighter games used to refer to knocking out the enemy with a jab punch or short kick. In the Street Fighter Alpha games, the win icon for that round would appear as a pair of cherries. Doing it in Street Fighter III or IV causes the enemy to slowly collapse (instead of flying away as usual) while reciting a special defeat quote.
Using Dan in general is often considered Cherry Tapping — he also has the Otoko Michi (a parody of Akuma's Shun Goku Satsu that reduces Dan's health to 1% and does about as much damage as a Medium Punch) and Premium Sign (QCF+ Kick) which only ever does 1 pixel of damage, regardless of whether it's blocked or not, and causes the "Super Flash" if you defeat them with it.
Dudley from Street Fighter III has a special taunt where he throws a rose at his opponent, which does a fraction of damage. Woe to those who meet an (un)dignified KO blow this way. When the damage effect was removed from his appearance in IV, fans were pissed.
Dudley isn't the only one with a damaging taunt, since every character's taunt has a practical use, and there aren't that many unique effects to go around to the 20-character cast of 3rd strike. Other characters with damaging taunts include Sean, who shoots a basketball, which is actually part of the Parry the Ball bonus stage in the arcade mode; Ken, whose taunt is a "come on" type hand motion, and which can damage the opponent; and Necro, whose taunt involves sticking his tongue out at the opponent and flailing it about, which can be sustained if the taunt buttons are held.
Even better, Rogue's taunt did a small amount of damage in X-Men vs Street Fighter if you hit with the heart (Chun-Li and Sakura also can inflict damage with their taunts) and her power drain kiss move was fairly weak and easy to counter, but it's still possible to beat someone by kissing him/her to death.
Again with the Capcom, in this case Super Gem Fighter's Felicia: defeating an opponent with nothing but the dreaded 'nummy nummy' attacknote counts as a throw, fairly difficult to pull off, does minimal damage because it involves jumping on the opponent and licking them repeatedly for a second or two is a major put-down. Just like a coarse-grade sandpaper noogie.
In the NES version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 (The Arcade Game), the safest way to defeat most opponents, be they mooks or bosses, is to constantly jump-kick back and forth across the screen. The jump kick is very low damage, but is high mobility and the kick stuns for a half second, long enough to jump-kick out of reach of counterattack, whereas using conventional attacks in most cases guarantees taking damage in return.
Using joke weapons, which often look quite silly and make amusing noises upon each strike, doing very little damage. Examples include Astaroth's giant squeaky hammer and Seung Mina's "Open Hand Slap", a giant golden hand on a stick.
In Soul Edge, the first game in the series: blocking enough to lose one's weapon and then pummeling one's enemy barehanded.
Xianghua's facefault floor wail. She literally throws a tantrum, which can do a minor amount of damage provided you're right on top of the your opponent...
An example of using a useful move to do cherry tapping: Link's throw move in Soul Calibur II can actually throw the victim around the ring instead of out of it if done properly, causing a rather humiliating defeat to whomever is caught up in it.
In both the original Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros Melee, Luigi is the only character in the game with a taunt that does damage, and even that only works at extremely close range under certain circumstances (e.g., while the opponent is hanging off the edge of a cliff) and does very little damage. Nevertheless, it is possible to finish off an opponent with his taunt, and this makes for a truly humiliating defeat (not to mention, it has to be done at least once to unlock a special trophy, and thus obtain 100% Completion).
This is encouraged in Melee, thanks to one of the highest KO point bonuses being rewarded for defeating an opponent using your basic A button attack.
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, in addition to Luigi's kick taunt, Snake's taunt (he has three, but they all consist of him getting under a box in different poses) can damage foes when he throws the cardboard box away at the end of the taunt.
Sonic's spring jump does 3% damage if you manage to hit your opponent with the falling spring and knocks them a very short distance away. However, it still gives them enough momentum that if they collide with the underside of the stage, they'll mostly get KO'd by it.
And in relation to gimping recoveries, the footstool jump. It does no damage and can can only be used when right on top of the opponent, but can send an opponent down to the bottom of the screen, or at least enough to keep from recovering.
Also in Brawl, using Samus's Screw Attack or Pit's Propeller Blade attack is a more effective strategy against the Master Hand than more powerful or damaging moves. They only do about 12 points of damage at a time, but they prevent the Hand from being able to hit back.
Mr. Game and Watch's turtle. That thing looks ferocious.
Mr. Game and Watch is made of this, at least as far as unconventionally lame-looking weapons. Aside from the brokenness of the turtle, his most powerful aerial is a packing box, his slowest but most powerful smash attack is a Scuba Helmet, and he can even kill you with SAUSAGES by hitting them out of a double-jump.
Mr. Game and Watch's Judgement Hammer can easily be this, as it rolls a d10 to determine its attack power. Anything below 7 might as well be a worthless jab, though these hits can still cause special damage effects. However, anything rolled above this leaves Cherry Tapping territory and becomes One-Hit Kill territory...especially 9.
Diddy Kong's Down Special move, "Banana Peel", throws a banana peel on the stage. You can then pick it up and throw it to damage opponents, and yes, you can use it to land the final blow on any of the bosses.
If playing on an especially confined stage, it's possible to get into insane damage numbers (such as 999%) where Mario's FIREBALL will give enough knockback to send a character into next week twice.
Finishing someone in mid-air by lobbing an item rather than using it as intended is usually very satisfying. The ultimate of this always seems to be Poké Ball to the head, thrown BY a non-legendary Pokémon (especially Pichu), from which springs a post-victory Goldeen.
For that matter, getting owned by any Pokémon that doesn't do damage. Some actually do decent damage, though.
Piplup, for example, is a cheery-looking blue penguin Pokémon. On a flat suspended stage, it will sweep you all the way across, then ride you down into the pit.
Getting knocked out by Marill (who moves in a similar manner to Piplup).
In terms of humiliation, nothing is more satisfying than pulling off a successful JigglypuffSniperBomb. Over and over again. There will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth in your opponents.
Jigglypuff's Down Special, "Rest", with the right timing and position (very slightly above the opponent), is an extremely powerful attack after which Jigglypuff falls asleep for a few seconds. If you miss, Jigglypuff just falls asleep anyway and the opponent can take his/her sweet time to launch a fully charged Side Smash, a Falcon Punch or some other slow (or not) powerful attack, making it an extremely risky (at high percentages anyway) move.
Jigglypuff's Cherry Tapping prowess does not end here. It can finish off Tabuu by singing to him, because Sing (Up Special) does damage to airborne bosses rather than lulling them to sleep.
In terms of outright embarrassing your opponent, nothing will sting more than losing to Captain Olimarwithout his Pikmin. Olimar is virtually useless without Pikmin, so some players will resort to severely handicapping Olimar by simply not using Pikmin... For the Lulz, usually. Otherwise known as Nolimar ('No' Pikmin), LOL-imar, and Solimar (Solo Olimar), Olimar loses many of the abilities that makes him among the most aggressive and vicious characters in the game. Without Pikmin, Olimar loses all of his smashes, almost all of his aerials, the Pikmin Toss and Pikmin Pluck special moves (for obvious reasons), his dominating ability to grab, and his recovery is severely weakened with his shorter tether recovery. He's also lighter and easier to knockout, too. Nolimar relies solely on six weak attacks to put up any offense (did I mention he doesn't have any useful finishers anymore? Yeah, you'll have to push your opponents beyond 160% before even thinking about a kill), and relies on his (now horribly Nerfed) recovery, his whistle guard, and skills to survive... Good luck beating any competent Brawler with Nolimar.
It is a similar (though not as extreme) situation for the Ice Climbers. Killing one of the two Ice Climbers leaves the other Ice Climber severely handicapped in terms of power, jump, and recovery. It's satisfying to finish off other characters with the weirdo duo to begin with, and even more satisfying if you only have one left. That said, a solo Climber still has a full range of moves, unlike Nolimar; they just have reduced effectiveness.
At least all of the above examples involve attacking. Some tournament matches are decided with a Footstool Jump.
Using one of the Fire Emblem characters (Roy, Marth, or Ike) to Counter, Peach to use Toad, or Lucario to use Double Team in order to defeat a foe by counterattacking is highly satisfying, especially since it often doesn't do a huge deal of damage (if you're only lucky enough to counter a simple light attack), and they can only blame themselves for attacking you at the wrong time.
In the Def Jam Series games, Rapper Capone's Limit Break has him launching a brutal barrage of blows, but when he goes for the last punch he pauses, looks at the opponent, then simply pushes them over.
While Killer Instinct makes use of gruesome fatalities, one surefire (and extremely amusing) way to show your opponent how badly they got pwned is through "Humiliation". If you bring your opponent down to his/her breaking point while you still have your full life meter, you can force your opponent to dance themselves to death, as shown by this video compilation.
A variation of this can occur when tagging a teammate in. Team enters by doing a Dynamic Entry for minor damage. This can also work as a knockout blow if the opponents health is small enough.
In Ultimate, we have Phoenix Wright's bad evidence, useless random items that must be thrown away to make room for proper evidence. Doing so only causes a minuscule amount damage on the opponent if it hits. But if your opponent just happens to have a minuscule amount of health...
KOing an opponent with an Objection! is not unheard of, it does a fair amount of damage for a single move that's used solely to transition to Turnabout Mode, and is used to cause stuns in said mode. If you're in Investigation mode or don't have 3 pieces of good evidence, Phoenix yells Hold It! instead, which does pathetic damage and needs to be used a lot more times to cause stun, making it very impractical. Still possible to K.O. though.
Super Skrull has a move called Worm Stomp. He stomps the ground. It's only useful with an opponent lying on the floor, but there are much better alternatives for that that do more damage and can be comboed out of. Worm Stomp seems to exist solely to deal a pathetic amount of damage to a pathetic person.
In Mortal Kombat II, the fight against Bonus Boss Jade is unlocked by winning a certain fight using only Low Kicks. Weirdly, the same tactic - jumping low kicks ad infinitum - is one of the best ways to defeat the final boss.
Speaking of Mortal Kombat, later games also subverted the usual Finishing Move by having other options available, which are usually meant to humiliate your enemy further. Like Friendship.
The Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi series makes little to no attempt to balance the fighters. Therefore, most fights are heavily imbalanced, and using weaker characters is a standard handicap for skilled players.
Videl is an underpowered character whose attacks often have embarrassingly girly imagery (which really doesn't make a whole lot of sense, as Videl's... well, not all that girly.)
Hercule. Not even another Hercule flinches from his basic melee attacks. Humorously enough, he also possesses one of the most powerful specials in the game, "Present for ya!" (at least in Budokai 2). He can quickly become a Lethal Joke Character if you pump up his health, Ki, and Blast 2 stats because of it.
Aside from Hercule, Videl, the Frieza Soldier, most early-Dragon Ball-incarnation characters, and to some extent anyone who may happen to be on the opposing end of Super Saiyan 4Gogeta, the assertion that there is little to noCompetitive Balance in the Budokai Tenkaichi series, especially compared to how many fights would go in the canon material, is highly debatable.
Using a regular, uncharged Ki blast to finish your opponent is also quite humiliating for them. Bonus points if you wait for your opponent to charge his/her ki to the max before tapping the one button needed to end it, stopping their counter-attack before it begins.
In the Naruto Gekitou Ninja Taisen (Clash of Ninja) fighting games, there are the odd characters who can be used to defeat your opponent in extremely embarrassing ways. Among them is Tsunade - she is super strong and uses melee attacks, but she has one attack where she swings her arm up into her opponent's chin (only stunning them) and then instantly flicks them in the forehead with one finger, sending them flying. This actually comes directly from the manga/anime; she used it in an early appearance to demonstrate to Naruto that being able to beat Gaara does not mean you can now throw down with one of the Sannin.
Tsunade's flick-attack is also in Naruto: Clash Of Ninja Revolution, and another character, Kakashi, can pull out and read a book in the middle of a fight. He counters you if you attack him while he's reading, though.
Also in Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution: Itachi has a combo move which ends with his shadow-clone giving the opponent a light push backwards, where the real Itachi is waiting with a kunai thrust that appears to be no more forceful than slowly straightening his arm. Still does quite a bit of damage.
Finally, to an extent, Guy's ultimate attack. While actually capable of doing damage, there is something particularly embarrasing about being called a great person, and then summarily hugged... TO DEATH! (DUN! DUN! DUUUUUNNN!)
In the Narutimate Hero/Ultimate Ninja games, if you're playing as Yellow Flash/Minato Namikaze and get your butt kicked by Konohamaru, you have the right to be humiliated and mocked beyond all reason.
Melty Blood character Neko Arc Chaos holds out a cigarette when crouching, and while you move forward towards opponent, it actually burns opponents with one damage, and knocks them down.
Urban legend says that if you kill an opponent with this "move", the world ends. It would be quite a feat though, as the average Health Points on characters is around 12,000.
In Robot Arena 2, it happens oh so often that despite only having one wheel left, you get a lucky attack in on your opponent and leaving them hanging over the edge of a Pit, giving you a perfect opportunity to shove them down and win, even in your wrecked up state.
In the Fanservice-packed game Bikini Karate Babes, Persephone's grab move allows you to spank your opponent into submission, while she struggles and squeals in embarrassment.
In Lugaru, you play an anthropomorphic rabbit, frequently having to fight multiple powerful opponents. At one stage, you fight six wolves, preferably one at a time, but it is fairly easy to get all six pissed off at you. You can then kill them with a normal punch. It's not a pathetic move, but this is the game where moves include leaping through the air, kicking people with both legs, and throwing them hundreds of feet backwards.
Alternately you can kill enemies by punching the bodies of their former comrades at them. It's hard to aim, harder to time, and does do respectable damage. Still, it's hilarious.
In Rumble Roses, there is a Humiliation Gauge, which, when full (the enemy's, not yours), makes the character blush and gasp "N-no!". Afterwards, you can use a H-Move, which is a very powerful submission... and as you can guess from the name, most are embarrassing (and hot). Some would have you scratching your head trying to find the "H" in the move, but just blame it on the character being too naive or something. From the options, you can even set Humiliation Finish Only, so that the loser must be humiliated. Fun in multiplayer. In the story mode, one of the characters insists on having a H-Finish Only match after losing once, because she really wants to win. She does not.
In Bushido Blade the rapier is a fiddly and unsatisfying weapon. It also looks puny and toy-like in the hands of the heavier characters. However, it's the one weapon with no backswing, meaning it's impossible to trap a rapier-wielder against a wall where using any other weapon would cause their swings to collide with the wall and stun them, and in the hands of a strong character it will punch through your defenses irritatingly often. And you just got slain by a giant guy holding an oversized toothpick.
Nina Williams and her sister, from Tekken, can beat a huge demon monster thing by kicking it in the sack. Repeatedly.
Or, you could always try winning a match with Hwoarang. Without kicking. Cue Rage Quit.
Streets of Rage effectively makes this a deadly tactic. If you keep jabbing at a stunned opponent, they won't be able to move, and you can just keep chipping away at their health meter until they fall down. Its possible to do this with up to six people at the one time if you're positioned well, have good timing, and perhaps have a bit of luck. Can be hilarious to watch as six guys go down to slow jabbing.
Final Fight players can use Cherry Tapping to equally deadly effect. By simply turning around before you finish your combo, you can continuously jab your opponents, beating them to death little by little without giving them the opportunity to attack back. And, just like in SoR, in FF, you can use said jabs against multiple opponents at the same time, provided you can corral them into the same position.
Cody from Final Fight is a playable character in Street Fighter Alpha. He has a super move called Final Destruction, that... has him cherry tap his opponent just as the example descrives.
BlazBlue has Taokaka's taunt, which does a tiny amount of damage if you can get close enough to your opponent. The humiliation that comes from being defeated by this is increased by the fact that she often adds "Fluuuuuffy-wuffy!" in a sing-song voice when doing it.
While the taunt itself is rather weak, back in in the first Continuum Shift the "taunt loop" was one of Taokaka's strongest and hardest combo to use, dealing about 60% damage when pulled off perfectly.
A number of challenges for the Wii version of Punch-Out!!!! are effectively this, particularly ones that involve KO'ing your opponent in less than a minute, in a certain small number of punches, or ignoring your natural instinct to avoid your opponent's attacks. Also, most of the One-Hit KO attacks reward you for counterattacking them with an instant knockdown for an otherwise minimal-damage punch.
There are opportunities for Cherry Tapping in the original Dissidia: Final Fantasy—but nothing particularly notable in this regard came along until the sequel, Duodecim. For most characters, managing to perform an Exburst will do a lot of damage, even if it wasn't performed perfectly. However, with Gilgamesh's Exburst, failure to perform it perfectly will result in it doing single-digit damage. However, it does do damage, so it is in fact entirely possible to kill an opponent outright using the game's greatest Epic Fail move. Sweet victory.
In the Guilty Gear series, Johnny's Glitter Is Gold special has him toss a small golden coin at the enemy for a little bit of damage. Its primary function is to power up his Mist Finer special but its perfectly possible to SLASH the opponent with a little penny.
Olivia of Battle Fantasia has a special throw that deals one damage. Its primary use is that it leaves the opponent very briefly staggered and at exactly the right range to hit them with her C attack or some of her special moves as a follow-up... but it's possible to weaken an opponent, then finish them off with one or more applications of it. There's even an achievement/trophy for managing this in arcade mode.
First Person Shooter
Melee kills in many First-Person Shooter games. One exception would be the single-player mode of Call of Duty: World at War, as the fact that the melee attack animation (whether it hits or misses) interrupts the reloading animation makes the melee attack a lifesaver when you get banzai charged. Also, the bayonet versions of the Arisaka and the M1 Garand give a little extra reach.
Very much subverted in Modern Warfare 2: Lightweight (move faster) + Commando (Deadly Lunge) perks + Tactical Knife attachment for pistols (attack and recover faster), with perhaps Marathon (infinite sprint), means it is very much possible to eschew guns and use the knife as a primary weapon. You'd be hard-pressed to find a game without at least one player doing this effectively.
On the knife issue, it's actually easier to knife because the server accounts it faster than a bullet. So a FAMAS with Stopping Power vs a knife user at, oh say 5 feet (Commando Perk used) lunging at him, knife user wins. Granted the guy may have already killed you on his screen....
In Modern Warfare and World at War multiplayer, a thrown grenade will do a tiny amount of damage if it smacks into someone before exploding. If they die because of this, the icon in the killbox displaying the weapon of their demise is hilarious. You can also do it if you fire the M203 in Modern Warfare at someone too close for it to arm and explode. It's an instant kill as long as it hits.
Flash bangs do a little bit of damage when they explode and it's possbile (especially in hardcore mode, when players have less health points) to finish off previously wounded enemy with them - which is more or less Truth in Television, as the concussive blast of the detonation can injure and the heat can still burn.
Players often use a flashbang to kill an opponent in last stand/second chance mode, so they can just lob it over cover to get the kill.
Tribes 2 offers another exception where the shocklance (only melee weapon) is not only a viable weapon, but incredibly dangerous in the right hands.
More in line with the trope is the Blaster: possibly the least damage per shot of any weapon in the game, the messages that appear in the chat window when a kill is made with it specifically invoke this trope; for example, something along the lines of "Player 1 was fatally embarrassed by Player 2's pea shooter." and "Player 1pingedPlayer 2 to death".
The Blaster is fairly unique in that you can skillfully ricochet shots off the floor or walls to strike opponents... or yourself, if you're not careful!
Also, in Marathon, punching (unless you are running while punching) does less than one tenth of a player's health in multiplayer. Of course, if you have the invincibility power up, you can corner somebody and punch them to death. Of course, you better pray that they don't have a fusion pistol.
In the original Marathon, there is a regular level where you have to kill the four Juggernauts, AKA "The Big Floaty Thing What Kicks Our Asses". Three of them are floating over lava, meaning it is best to break out the rocket launcher on them. The fourth is an example of this trope, as it is hovering over solid ground, meaning you can literally run up to its face and start punching away, without any risk of being damaged (unless another Pfor is present in the same room). It won't fire its Warpedos when you're that close, and its arm cannons literally cannot hit a target right in front of its face. (Of course, once it starts falling, you have to make tracks for the other side of the room to avoid Massive Damage.)
In Jedi Knight and the sequels, this would work in the inverse in that killing a lightsaber-using enemy with ranged weapons, particularly a mere blaster, instead of in melee (ie. with a lightsaber) would be pretty humiliating. Good luck pulling that one off, though.
In Descent, you can humiliate your opponent by killing him with a flare. A flare is really only for illumination, but does a single point of damage if it hits an opponent.
Not a bad idea to throw out a token flare while firing if you can. It doesn't happen often, but getting a direct or near-direct flare to the face will light up the enemy's screen with a yellow glow and do a good job of blinding them. Failing that, it makes them more noticable and unable to hide in dark areas.
In a Capture the Flag game, getting killed by someone holding the flag. Flagbearers have no defenses beside hitting opponents with the flag itself. There's also an achievement for staving someone's head in using their own flag on a Legendary map. The real kicker? It's worth 50 Gamerscore.
In Halo: Reach, the Frag Grenade does a small amount of damage (One health bar) when it hits an opponent directly (before exploding). Killing people in this way is rare but very hilarious because their corpse often ends up glitched into the floor.
Killing enemies with the oddball/skull is also a favorite.
Even though it is capable of dishing out large amounts of damage (especially in Halo 2 when you can Dual Wield them), in many circles it is considered dishonorable to be killed with the needler (or "gay pink gun" as it's oft known).
This could be because the needler is usually a easy way to kill someone (it drains your shield so fast that you could blink and miss it happen), it doesn't help that the thing outright insta-kills you if you got no shields.
And, of course, there's always the good old molly-thwap (getting smacked in the back of the head by a weapon melee)
In the first game, the humble human pistol was absurdly accurate and could kill an enemy combatant in 2-3 headshots from a safe distance. In large arenas, this was an easy way to win matches and piss people off.
Every class has a "kill-taunt" associated with a certain weapon, in which an elaborate, impractical (and usually very vulnerable) animation ends with a short-range attack that will insta-kill any opponent. (The Pyro does a hadouken, the Sniper stabs someone with an arrow, the Heavy quick-draws a Finger Gun.) The Engineer, the last class to be updated, actually has two kill taunts. The Pyro has three (two of which were introduced in its second major update).
The true humiliation of this comes at the end of the Match, when the losing team drops their weapons, and the winners are supposed to be able to slaughter them for fun. The losers can only taunt, but the above taunts can still kill. You think Cherry Tapping is bad? How about getting Cherry Tapped by the guy who already lost?
Certain defense and support classes (Engineer, Medic, Sniper, arguably Spy) are simply not supposed to engage in head-on combat with the front-line classes (Scout, Soldier, Pyro, Demo, Heavy). Consequently, being beaten to death with a pipe wrench or bonesaw can be quite the humiliation.
The Scout has The Sandman, a bat that has the unique ability to hit baseballs at the enemy. Though this is primarily for stunning opponents, the ball also does a very small amount of damage. Killing someone with the ball even has its own kill icon!
Any projectile, including the Sandman and the Flare Gun, can be reflected back at the opponent and can possibly kill them. These also have their own kill icons, with every single possibility present. This means you can kill another Pyro with a deflected flare gun shot, and since Pyros don't suffer afterburn, this is the ultimate Cherry Tapping (the flare itself does negligible damage).
The Scout also has the Fan O' War, his weapon from the Shogun Pack. It trades 90% of the regular melee damage dealt in exchange for causing all damage taken by the target to be mini-crits for 10 seconds. Getting an actual kill with this is even more humiliating than a Sandman ball, because it can do a respectable 45 damage on a full critical hit: the Fan O' War does a whopping 13 per full crit.
Doing just slightly more damage than that is the Short Circuit, whose main function is destroying enemy projectiles, but also does 5 damage.
Another Scout melee weapon is the Holy Mackerel, a fish wrapped in foil. It has the same stats as the default bat (Meaning it has low damage output, but a faster firing speed), but it differs in the fact that it keeps track of every hit you make on an enemy while you're using it. And when you actually kill an enemy with it, the screen will show "FISH KILL" just to drive the humiliation home. The official description even shows this:
Holy Mackerel Description: Getting hit with a fish has got to be humiliating.
There is a variant of this weapon, the Unarmed Combat. It's functionally identical except it uses "ARM KILL" instead of "FISH KILL". You're basically slapping someone to death. Double points if the enemy's a Spy; the Unarmed Combat is a Spy's severed arm. You're literally slapping him to death with his own arm.
The Mantreads are a "weapon" for the soldier which allow him to Goomba Stomp other players dealing triple his fall damage to anyone he lands on. A shame that fall damage rarely exceeds 30 to 40 damage in a game where even the weakest classes have 125 health and you can see why the boot's kill icon rarely shows in the kill feed. Many players do not even recognize it and will ask what item caused it.
Most spies will run away if they fail a backstab on you. Some, however, prefer to stab you to death anyway, despite their knife having the lowest DPS of all default melee weapons. This is common enough to be known as "butterknifing", and is quite the humiliation, as it implies the player who killed you cannot even play properly (he'd have backstabbed you if he could).
Also Team Fortress Classic was full of this, most players that see a spy faking his death stand on top of him so he can't stand up, teabag a little, then kill him with the crowbar.
On the other end, Spies have a tranquilizer pistol which fires near-painless darts... at a very slow rate. Considering spies also have grenades, a double-barrel shotgun, and an instant-kill knife, tranq-kills are so rare they're stuck borrowing the kill-icon from the Scout's puny nailgun.
Scouts drop a handful of sharp caltrops, which clumsy enemies can step on. Like tranqs, they're near-painless and intended only to slow enemies. Considering the class that drops them is more-flight-than-fight, and caltrops rest visibly on the floor, and each injury from a caltrop slows the enemy (from walking onto more), getting him to impale-his-foot-to-death is extremely special.
Concussion grenades of the Medic and Scout don't inflict any damage, but they might propel an enemy high enough into the air for the landing to kill him. There's no better way to cherry-tap than killing a manner which isn't even recognized as a frag.
In Red Orchestra, getting killed by a melee attack (whether it's from being hit by the butt of the weapon or the bayonet) is considered extremely humiliating. Usually only possible on snipers who don't take care to watch their surroundings.
In Source and Global Offensive, the impact from any grenades does exactly one point of damage, making it possible to kill someone with a flashbang or a smoke grenade (they even have unique kill icons). This leads to the "Dodgeball" Game Mod where everyone is a One-Hit-Point Wonder with an infinite amount of grenades that do nothing but inflict impact damage.
In the original Half-Life, you can deal the killing blow on the final boss with the crowbar, by jumping inside his split-open cranium and whacking his brain.
Not to mention you can also beat tanks until they explode with just your trusty crowbar. However, the big tank's the explosion will kill you if you are too close.
In Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, the 9mm pistol is usually scoffed at (beyond the crowbar or stunstick, the two melee weapons). However with a little luck and skill it its possible to get at least a couple kills per life thanks to its ability to shoot as fast as you can click and its huge ammo supply. Most servers play a clip saying "HUMILIATION" when killing or being killed with/by the pistol.
The Specialists mod is all about stylishly blowing people away by running up and down walls with Guns Akimbo, a Hand Cannon, or leaping kicks. Or you can take the Ruger .22 pistol, which kills after several headshots.
In Battlefield 2142, there are awards for getting a certain number of pistol or knife kills. The game also encourages knife kills with the inclusion of collectible dog tags. But the real Cherry Tapping weapon is probably the lowly smoke grenade. It provides a pitiful amount of smoke when used properly, but if thrown at a player, it can knock off that final hit point. It gets its own kill message, but sadly, perpetual stats for smokes aren't kept. Other possibilities include standard grenades (which also inflict striking damage), assault rifle rockets used inside their minimum range (striking instead of exploding), parachute stomping, roadkill by air vehicles, and the commander's supply drop.
Smoke grenades do exactly 2 damage if you hit someone with them. Also, you can kill an enemy by using a defibrillator on them, although this is often used as a slower, but more humiliating alternative to knifing them.
The bosses of Doom have many hit points, hit for massive damage and of course have predictable patterns that enable a player to kill them without getting hurt. As a result there are a number of videos showing someone killing a Cyberdemon or Spider Mastermind with a lowly pistol or even fists.
In Doom 3 you can bludgeon people to death with the flashlight.
On the subject of defibrillators, also see the Battlefield games. The defibrillator, if it successfully connects with an enemy trooper (it can't be used to teamkill for obvious reasons; accidentally zap someone twice when trying to revive them? oops!), counts as an instant kill no matter the victim's armour type or their current health. In 2142, however, it overheats after three rapid uses, so you have to be careful in order to kill with it, as the range is also very lacking. Nerfed further in Bad Company 2 in that 2 shocks are required for a kill.
For extra special hilarity, the Project Reality mod for Battlefield 2 has the Civilian Collaborator in its Insurgency style gameplay. Civis carry no weapons and meager equipment, including a rock for irritating soldiers. Their saving grace is that (unless disqualified by the Rules of Engagement) they must be arrested (Melee'd) to deal with them (shooting them = + 60s respawn). So civis can ping rocks off armor with impunity (useless, but incredibly annoying for the armor crew). Alternatively, you can find that annoying sniper and crack him in the head with a couple rocks (or six to the torso), which is easily the most embarrassing way to die in the mod, especially since the civi then picks up your rifle and turns it the other direction. In previous mod versions, it was also possible to run over civis to arrest them, which led to sappers placing a pile of IEDs under a civi's feet and waiting for heavy armor to try to run them over.
While were talking about Battlefield, how could we forget using the Repair Tool (Used for fixing friendly vehicles and dismantling enemy ones while they're occupied) on someone rather than sticking your knife in them. Particuarly humilating on a prone sniper who can't turn fast enough to shoot you.
In fact, doing that is one half of the unlock criteria for the G53 submachine gun in Battlefield 3. After unlocking that, blowing up an occupied enemy vehicle with the repair tool is part of the unlock criteria for the QBZ-95B SMG.
The fourth Call of Duty game has challenges (basically, in-game achievements) for killing people by striking them with grenades.
Appropriately enough, one of them is called "Ouch!".
Call of Duty: World At War has an achievement for killing Gen. Amsel with a pistol. The deal here is that first off, there's only one pistol in the entire level, and it has about 15 to 20 bullets. Secondly, when you get the opportunity to shoot Amsel, he's surrounded by several soldiers with more pouring in every second, half of which open fire on you. Third, you're roughly 200 yards away and can't get closer (you're meant to use a sniper rifle to kill Amsel.) And finally, if all that weren't enough, the pistol is so weak that only a Headshot will kill him.
The FPS Operation7 lets you use your firearms as melee weapons — whether by long gun (held at both ends) or by pistol, machine pistol, shotgun, or even a GRENADE, it's still beating the guy to death with your weapon. Knives are premium content for time-limited use (pay real money for a certain number of consecutive days in which you can equip them), but can be used as traditional FPS knives... or thrown.
If you play VS mode in Left 4 Dead, nothing spells humiliation for the infected players than having a survivor beat you to death with his gun (or worse, his medkit) instead of shooting you. Although, Boomers explode when killed and Tanks are not affected by shoves.
This actually was both effective and humiliating, since the survivors can just huddle in a corner during big horde rushes and basically be untouchable. This led to the creation of the fatigue meter so it wouldn't be abused.
Left 4 Dead 2 adds an achievement for defeating a tank without the use of ranged/thrown weapons. Yes, this means beating the tank to death with melee attacks.
Nothing quite compares to the satisfaction of finishing off a weakened survivor with a slap from the weak and fragile Boomer.
There's also the "Akimbo Assassin" achievement, which is gained completing an entire campaign using only your pistols.
Duke Nukem's Mighty Foot in Duke Nukem 3D. Also, there were a couple of weapons, like the shrink gun, and the freeze ray, that allowed you to perform the coupe de grace with the aforementioned mighty foot.
BioShock's Telekinesis plasmid lets you throw practically anything and do damage (indicated by blood spurting from your foes). This includes the pitifully weak HP restorative item Potato Chips.
In Rune you could cut off an adversary's arm and use it as a weapon against him. You could also pick up the heads of decapitated enemies and throw them at other enemies for small amounts of damage.
Online freeware FPS/RTS crossover Tremulous, in which players play on either a human or alien team, has a couple of these. On the human side, all classes have the blaster, an extremely weak weapon with infinite ammo, intended as a backup. That doesn't stop people from trying- and succeeding- to get kills with it. On the alien side, the Granger, the builder class, has a melee attack, like all other classes, but by far the weakest out of all of them- and then there's the ranged Spit attack, which does a crippling 4 damage. Given the long repeat time, you'll probably be dead long before doing anything critical. Good luck!
Similar to the Call of Duty example above, Flash Grenades in Conduit 2 deal a small amount of damage to anyone close enough to the blast. It is possible to kill a player this way.
In the FPS/RTS hybrid Natural Selection 2, and its predecessor Natural Selection, the human space marines may purchase/be given a welder that is mainly used to repair the armor of teammates, or base structures. However, it replaces your melee weapon and does pitiful damage, but can still be used to kill an alien opponent with very low health.
There is an entire collection of videos for the Xbox remake of Ninja Gaiden, demonstrating defeat of the game's single-battle (one of them aside) missions using the Wooden Sword, which is the weakest weapon that can actually hurt all enemies.
Also this video of someone killing an enemy by doing nothing but juggling him with shurikens, which is the REAL most weakest weapon in the game. It can't damage bosses or certain enemies, though.
Dead Space deserves mention for the sheer thud and manly scream that comes with Isaac's curb stomp attack, which can only be performed on enemies who are already knocked down on the floor.
Dead Space also has an achievement/trophy for beating the game using only the Plasma Cutter, the first weapon picked up during play.
Which is actually quite doable; it's a very, very effective gun.
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin gives you a bonus spell if you defeat the secret boss Gergoth using the Blank Book, Charlotte's weakest weapon. It's not that hard since you have to finish him with the book, so if you count down his HP until he has just enough to survive one more hit, it's easy.
Dawn of Sorrow introduces an ability that makes the Drop Kick even better: Medusa Soul. It lets you stay perfectly still in the air for as long as Soma's MP holds out. The Drop Kick's attack is based on airtime, and Medusa Soul can be used within its animation. As a result, it's possible to begin the kick, then hold the Medusa Soul for a very long time before finally descending in a glorious, insanely damaging impact on whatever the poor thing is right under you.
The prequel Aria Of Sorrow had a Medusa Soul as well that worked the same way, but the kick didn't gain any extra strength with longer airtime.
If you're going for uses of the kick, Aria Of Sorrow has the best example of cherry tapping you can get. Remember Julius Belmont? That One Boss? Wanna know how to totally punk him, possibly without getting hit? Kick him in the face. He'll always recoil and fly back long enough for you to jump up and do it again until the battle's over.
That's nothing. Remember the Iron Golem? The monster with 9999 health, resistance to everything and literally INFINITE defense? Remember how you're supposed to kill him by switching his HP and MP values with that lame 'magic handkerchief'? Some people didn't have that the first time they saw the Iron Golem; and because everything hits an Iron Golem for 1 damage anyway (yes, even criticals) YOU KICK AN IRON GOLEM 9999 TIMES.
Symphony also has the fist weapons, or just plain ol' punching unarmed. They can hit literally as fast as you can mash the attack key (with the exception of the Blue Knuckle, which is kind of crap) and have an insane crit chance, offsetting their very short range. So you can, quite literally, Punch Out Cthulhu. Or, you know, Death. Or even The Big Man Himself!
Dead Rising features a wide variety of Joke Weapons, as it is a Zombie Apocalypse game set in a shopping mall ripe with Improvised Weapons. Some are much less effective than others, but it is still possible to kill zombies with stuffed teddy bears, ping-pong ball launchers, frisbees, and coat hangers.
However, one joke weapon can actually be used effectively in a boss battle against a human sniper. By using a hockey stick to shoot pucks, the hero can shoot the sniper from cover (as only the stick is not covered) and literally beat the sniper into submission with hockey pucks.
To be fair, hockey pucks have gotta hurt, or hockey players wouldn't wear so much protection.
In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Link must battle the otherwise-invulnerable dark wizard Agahnim by reflecting his own magic back at him, using the legendary Master Sword (which you spend the entire game up until that point trying to acquire). Turns out that the Bug-Catching Net that a kid in Kakariko Village lets you play with accomplishes the feat just as well.
In A Link to the Past, there are two upgrades to the Master Sword that increase its damage. You can beat the game while avoiding both upgrades, but the un-tempered Master Sword is so weak that it cannot hurt the final boss without charging the sword and using the spin attack.
A similar example from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: To make Ganondorf vulnerable to attack, first you must reflect his magic attacks back at him. This can be done with the Master Sword...or an empty bottle.
Using the bottle is actually easier in some ways than reflecting the attacks with a sword — it takes more reflections to finally break his guard, but the window on the bottle swing is much wider, meaning that it becomes much, much easier to time the attack. The bottle also has a faster swing.
You think the Empty Bottle trick is Cherry Tapping? You can beat Ganon (Ocarina of Time) with Deku Nuts. That's right - you can kill Ganondorf by hitting him with your nuts. You could probably get to the end of the fight's second phase if you had a bigger carrying capacity for them.
Unfortunately, the battle is scripted so that the strike that takes him down HAS to be the Master Sword; try beating him with the Biggoron's Sword, and it may go on for nearly a half hour. One swing with the Master Sword, and he's ready for the killing face stab.
One surprisingly effective way of defeating Dark Link is the Broken Giant's Knife. Due to a bug, Dark Link cannot do the "stand on your sword and unavoidably hit you" attack, making him easy to hit if he actually attempts it.
In the video game version of The Godfather, one hit contract gives you bonus cash for taking out an enemy boss by throwing glass bottles. Difficult to do, as there aren't enough bottles in the vicinity to do even noticeable damage to him.
In God Hand, if you land enough hits on an enemy without taking any yourself, they go dizzy and you can use a special attack on them. Usually this is one of four - Pummel, Stinger (on fat enemies), Cobra Twist (on skinny enemies) or Spank (on female enemies) - but if they're down to the absolute last sliver of life (so that it doesn't even show in their life bar), the attack becomes "Poke of God"... which sees Gene simply push them over with one finger. This attack is most impressive when used against the game's demon opponents, who literally explode into dust when they die.
In Chapter 13 of Spec Ops: The Line, Captain Walker is confronted by a mob of angry civilians. Trying to move forward without either shooting them or scaring them off with a warning shot will result in a one of the civilians shoving Walker back and inflicting a small amount of damage. Your Regenerating Health is disabled in this segment, meaning that moving forward enough times without killing or dispersing the crowd will result in Walker literally being shoved to death.
In Assassins Creed I, you can opt to forgo using your various bladed weapons during combat for your bare fists. The awesome part is that this works pretty well when fighting opponents one-on-one; sure, Altair can't block, but your opponents can't counter or parry your fists, making it entirely possible for you to literally pummel your assassination targets to death.
In Assassins Creed II you can use a broom as a weapon, which works and even sounds just like a war hammer. There's even an achievement for it.
You can also kill the last boss In Assassin's Creed II by kicking him in the shins over and over again, and he is powerless to stop you.
Canis Canem Edit (AKA Bully) has humiliation attacks, where you can spit in the faces of your opponents, force them to beg, and perform other such juvenile attacks.
Even better, it is entirely possible to WEDGIE someone to defeat, since it does a (small) amount of damage when you perform it. Even on Russell.
Amaterasu, the wolf protagonist of Ōkami, can learn the moves Golden Fury and Brown Rage. The former involves Ammy cocking a leg and peeing on her enemy, while the latter involves Ammy throwing her poop at them.
Exploding poop. Literal Holy Shit.
Played with in Conkers Bad Fur Day. At the end of the very first level, you meet a gargoyle blocking a bridge you must cross. So you fetch the first thing that could come in handy, which is a frying pan. As anyone would expect, using a frying pan against a stone gargoyle is like putting out a forest fire with a water gun. The gargoyle knows this and starts laughing, and he laughs so much that he eventually loses his grip and falls off the bridge. All because of a frying pan (which becomes Conker's primary weapon from then on - except when the situation demands otherwise).
In the GBA rendition of Return of the King, the Witch-king of Angmar can be slain with a spoon.
In the 2008 Hulk game, the Hulk can pick up and throw anything. Everything he throws does damage- so you can knock down buildings or kill bosses by throwing pedestrians at them. That's gotta hurt.
BloodRayne 2 's Harpoon does very little damage in and of itself, and you would normally use the move while in slow motion, in order to set up multiple plummeting kills for maximum "Carnage" (the game's equivalent of a "Rage" mechanic). Sometimes the opponent was just that weak that a single shot with the harpoon would kill them, causing them to simply fall while the harpoon was rapidly retrieved.
Beyond Oasis had the Alt. Knife, the unbreakable side-weapon you are given at the beginning of the game, which could be used in lieu of other, better (but typically breakable) weapons you are given. It's the weakest weapon in the game, and its only real benefit is its special attacks, which can be fairly difficult to perform regularly, and for getting the unbreakable versions of stronger weapons.
In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion it is also possible to fight with your bare fists. But even better than that is a magical club which healed the enemy but messed with his fatigue... You can kill several large groups of enemies by knocking them out with a healing weapon and watching their helpless ragdolls drop off of a cliff.
Drain Health spells. Drain Health damages your opponent's health BUT ONLY TEMPORARILY. For example "Drain Health 10 pts. for 5 secs." means the attack does 10 points of damage, but after the 5 seconds pass, the health comes back, which to one with normal logic faculties sounds like a bum deal. HOWEVER, if an enemy has less HP than what the attack drains, it's an instant kill. By doing the Mages Guild quest and getting access to a Spellmaking Altar, you can make an Apprentice Level Drain Health spell that does 100 HP of damage for 1 second on touch... which will kill pretty much any lesser Daedra instantly, and which would easily kill most humanoid foes after just hitting them a few times with any weapon. This spell costs a measly 32 Magicka to cast.
In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim it is possible to take a perk that multiplies damage done by daggers by 15. You can also get armor that multiplies all damage done by 2. Along with having a high one handed skill and a good dagger, you can one-shot a dragon making the answer to Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?? a resounding Yes. See an excellent demonstration here, which is made even more humiliating for the dragon by slashing at its tail.
Albeit there is a bug in the game where daggers don't benefit from the armor damage enhancemetns. But still, there are some gloves which make your sneak attacks deal double damage... Yep, that means 30x sneak attack damage for daggers with that perk. That should be enough to kill just about anything.
In Syphon Filter, the player is given a large variety of weapons, including an M-16, an M-9 Grenade Launcher and, finally, to make you wonder what it was for - a Taser. The Taser could be considered the Cherry Tapper, as it didn't actually damage them, just made them shake in place... unless you held the button down. In which case, the enemy eventually just caught on fire from the sheer amount of volts being pumped into them. Still a humiliating way to go.
Using a wand or a staff or other melee weapons as a Necromancer or Sorceress.
The Telekinesis spell, particularly in Diablo I, is the ultimate way to cherry tap your enemies.
The Sorceress does have access to a spell that adds substantial fire damage to any ranged or melee weapon, potentially turning any weapon (or even her bare fists) into a harbinger of fiery doom. Likewise, the Necromancer, when equipped with any dagger, can perform a special stab that causes incredible poison damage over time.
A very obscure Barbarian build for Pv P is based around using a poison damage buffing wand in each hand along with an AoE Whirlwind attack and an inventory completely full of powerful poison damage charms. The result is slaying other well-equipped players while holding what looks like two venomous forks.
One forum member at the inc.gamers Diablo 2 fan site tried to make a Boxer build with the Barbarian class, aka no weapon at all. Punching always does 1-2 damage in-game, so he had to rely on percentage-reduction damage bonuses. Needless to say it was very item-dependent and, as he admitted, very boring due to how repetitive it got.
In the spirit of the trope, though, one player tried to play through the game using nothing but the Sorceress' weakest, most basic spell.
The Amazon, in Diablo 2, is said to be able to beat Diablo with a broken short bow on Hell difficulty.
And the Druid can have his ravens peck the Big Bad to death. It only takes about 30 minutes of realtime for Normal difficulty...
Try to beat the end boss of Ratchet & Clank by using the blaster. Then the flamethrower. Then the bomb glove. Then the suck cannon on the final stage. You even get a bunch of suckable enemies, just in case you're out of ammo.
Later Ratchet & Clank games award skill points for beating various levels or bosses using only your wrench.
Actually the best way to win the final boss battle in Scarface: The World is Yours. The programmers apparently didn't expect anyone to sheath their weapons and pummel Sosa with their bare hands, and he reacts by standing there passively until he's dead.
In Silent Hill 3, you can take down the Splitworm with the knife.
How about the dildo in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas? No, wait, it gets even worse: you can beat people to death even with a goddamn flower bouquet. Yep.
The best part is that all of these weapons are obscenely powerful, killing any non-boss in three hits!
Throws and kicks actually do a flat rate of 10 damage (in the third game, at least), regardless of what difficulty you're on (yes, even Instant Kill).
In Monster Hunter you can kick, which is the weakest attack in the game (but it has its own button!). But the satisfaction of killing a dragon by just relentlessly kicking at it's feet is just... Incomparable (and it's also just horrendously funny).
From Monster Hunter Dos and onwards, there's a gesture that makes your character start shadowboxing, the punches it does are even weaker than the kick (1 damage, the kick does 2), and yet, with really crazy careful planification (or cheating) you can still kill a gigantic dragon by punching his tail.
In all of the games, throwing a paintball or stone at a monster will also deal a measly one HP of damage to them (Five instead if you have a certain skill equipped).
Though not quite as extreme as the previous examples, this video of Monster Hunter Tri shows Cha Cha, a very weak computer-controlled sidekick who's only meant to provide minor support for the player, killing the Great Jaggi on his own. Though granted, this is very dependent on Cha Cha wearing the False Felyne mask, as it would otherwise take much longer.
In Manhunt 2, there are a variety of small objects you can pick up and throw to distract enemies. However they can also do miniscule amounts of damage to anybody they hit. It is entirely possible to kill an enemy just by repeatedly throwing an empty soda can at him.
Defeating the God King with Ruin, the weakest weapon in the game (attack power: 1) in Infinity Blade unlocks the "Insult to Injury" Achievement.
In Kid Icarus: Uprising, the Idol Transformation ability can only be used successfully on a foe that is just shy of death... but if they are, you take out the foe, and you get their statue without having to play the Idol Toss Mini-Game.
The fourth boss of the game is the Great Reaper. You can shoot him in the chest and head until his forehead splits open, at which point you can deal the finishing blow. Or, you can just pummel his feet until he falls to the floor (did we mention he's three stories tall?) with his untouched head inexplicably split open. Palutena lists it as an option, and Pit explains that Stubbing your toe hurts a lot.
Some weapons have extraordinarily weak melee (Flintlock Staff, for example, is exclusively a ranged weapon), and you probably won't use a weapon with weak melee that still has stats in melee attacks. Good idea in multiplayer, the single player, however, has a couple enemies that can only be taken out by melee or it's just a better idea to use melee, at which point you're either cherry tapping them for a long time before they die, or just shooting them and dealing with the consequences.
Heavenly Light seems to be made solely for cherry tapping anyone near you. You can also deal minimal damage with Super Speed and Angelic Missile.
Role Playing Game
Infinite Space has the Taurus, a space station that can take out the players entire fleet in a few attacks... unless you fly right up to it, where you are too close for its weapons to attack you, and spend the rest of the fight hitting it repeatedly with your own short-range weapons, which cause anything between about 1 and 3 damage. Maybe 10, if you get a critical hit.
In Final Fantasy X, you are literally invincible during the final battle. This gives you plenty of opportunity to, if you have time to kill, hack the Big Bad apart with the most pathetic weapons, characters and techniques in your arsenal — and you don't even have to do that either: You can sit back and let the boss whittle his own health away with percentage-based attacks that affect everyone including himself, and land the finishing blow when his attacks stop damaging him.
There are several such enemies - often bosses - in the series. A revivify or a Phoenix Down is all you need to take down the Phantom Train in Final Fantasy VI.
You can do a " No Sphere Grid Play through". Basically you keep your characters at level 1, and yes, people have finished the game this way.
When you have an enemy down to single-digit HP, you're supposed to hit them with your most powerful attack and go for the Overkill. Still, it's much more fun to have Yuna or Lulu finish them off. Especially Lulu, with her dolls. Seeing a Malboro go down at the hands of a Moogle is not something easily forgotten.
It gets worse when you consider that the first weapon you get with Deathstrike is Lulu's Fatal Cait Sith.
The best thing is giving one of Lulu's dolls Death Strike and Counter Attack. She will One-Hit Kill enemies with a backhanded slap!
Try beating the entirety of Final Fantasy VII using the Buster Sword. Okay, no problem? Now beat the Sephiroth at the end without using the limit break.
Then there's killing Ruby Weapon, the second-strongest enemy in the entire game, with a level one character. Like this.
You actually have the option in Final Fantasy XII to not be equipped with a weapon and fight with your bare hands, which makes it more gratifying when you return to early parts of the game after leveling up and punching enemies to death.
Killing enemies with bare hands is all well and good (high combo chance and all of that), but what is truly humiliating is getting killed by a Measure, a weapon so weak that it will actually buff the target, and it deals pathetic damage, even for an armor-piercing weapon. Ending the Big Bad through this method makes the scene after totally worth it, even at max stats.
Measures aren't supposed to be used as offensive weapons in the first place... you're supposed to use them to buff your own party for free.
If you think beating enemies with measures is pathetic enough, try beating a boss by throwing rocks at it, aka Knots of Rust. This item also appeared in Final Fantasy Tactics A2.
The job system recurrent in the Final Fantasy series can allow for particularly fun humiliation. For example—it is not exceptionally difficult to beat the Final Boss of Final Fantasy V using a party of Dancers, and !Dance as their only offensive move. It is, in fact...a cakewalk.
In a rare example by a computer-controlled character, the Nu in Chrono Trigger has two head-butts: one head-butt reduces the target's HP to 1, regardless of how much HP the target has, and the other head-butt does 1 HP of damage.
And yes, the 'you now have one hitpoint' attack does 0 if you're already at one hit point. The fact that you can find that out quite readily (he's not terribly smart about exploiting his two hit kill combo) makes it worse when he DOES manage to kill someone. Especially if you stopped healing yourself thinking it was a waste of effort...
If you've gotten every ending, done the 9999 point damage strike without using Ayla, had multiple suits of the best stuff for every character and enough tabs to max out all your character's stats except evade, and went back and played through all the game's variants (e.g. killing/not killing magus), you still haven't beaten Chrono Trigger. You haven't done that until you've beaten Lavos with a mop. No techniques except "confuse" your first time, no direct damage except the attack command afterward. Cherry tapping Lavos has to be the entire reason the mop was included in the game.
Some NetHack players like to slay Anti-Climax Boss Vlad the Impaler, with an oddball object such as a thoroughly rusted tin opener which they then name "Vladsbane".
Meanwhile, some classic tales of silliness from the roguelike Angband include The Shoveller, named for fighting monsters only with a tool intended for clearing rubble, and the Bookless Mage, whose weapon of choice was a thrown spellbook.
In Dragon Quest IX, many of the quests which unlock advanced jobs require the party to engage in some type of Cherry Tapping (i.e. kill 3 Wyverns ONLY by poisoning them and letting them die from it, wait until full Tension then kill a Slime, etc)
In Tales of Symphonia, a special title can be gained if Lloyd goes through roughly a third of the game wielding only the wooden swords he starts the game with.
Defeating Abyssion using the poison Pow-Hammer strategy. Basically it involves a physically weak character defeating the game's toughest optional boss by throwing a rubber hammer at him, waiting a few minutes, and then hitting him once(a total of two hits for a boss with hundreds of thousands of HP). You can continue to attack after the hammer affects him but it's more fun to just watch.
A multitude of the Tales Series games have the Minimum Damage skill, which makes you only deal one HP of damage with all of your attacks. It's mostly meant for practicing combos, but whatever you decide to use as a target dummy is going to go down eventually.
Wiegraf, That One Boss of Final Fantasy Tactics, can be defeated by spending turn after turn evading him and using temporary stat-boost moves to bring up the speed and strength stats to insane levels, then ending the fight by one-shotting him with...a thrown book.
Also fun: Beating down any of the bosses to single digit hit points, then killing him via thrown-rock-to-the-face.
Or better yet, don't get them down that low and beat them with a dash. Off a cliff. Only works on some levels, though.
Even funnier: hit an enemy with a thrown rock just to make him move one space and fall of the cliff.
In EarthBound, it's more than possible to beat up the Smug Snake Carpainter without ever launching a single attack — the player is given the Franklin Badge shortly beforehand, which reflects his most powerful attack back at him, and indeed is required to fight him at all. Hence, with a little bit of level grinding and maybe the occasional healing spell, the player can simply sit back and wait for him to kill himself. And there's really nothing more spiteful than that.
Except, of course, using PSI Paralysis on Mondo Mole (which he will never recover from) and having Paula beat him to death.
F.E.A.R. from Pokémon definitely counts. Watching a Level 1 Rattata decimating a Level 100 anything brings laughs to you and humiliation to your foes.
Also Shedinja, who has the dubious honor of being the only Pokémon weaker that the one it evolves from (strictly speaking), but, thanks to the fact that it cannot be harmed by attacks that are not super effective, it can stand up to some game-breakers such as Kyogre or Palkia, who usually cannot hit it despite being behemoths in their own right.
In general this can apply to anyone in the competitive online Pokémon battling scene who uses Pokemon from the Underused or Neverused tiers in a Standard (or worse, Uber) tier battle for the purpose of humiliating an opponent that is presumably using entirely Overused Pokémon.
Or not fully evolved? For example, a shiny Hypnosis Yanma trained for Speed. You've never seen someone swear so loud as when they get stomped by a little blue bug.
Bibarel can knock out the likes of Uber teams, especially those that run multiple Arceus/Mewtwo/Deoxys teams. The laughs are amazing, and humiliations abound. Utilize Neverused Pokémon sparingly if you want to keep your competitive friends.
The "Let's Play" review of KOTOR 2 chose to display extra special contempt for the mid-boss Darth Nihilus by disarming all his characters to fight him barehanded. Or, as he put it, they played a game called Punch The Sith Lord. (Scroll down towards the end)
In the Fullmetal Alchemist console RPGs, the squeaky mallet was expressly designed for this, as it does 1 HP of damage at most and gives you additional experience points for landing a hit.
The Fork of Horripilation from Morrowind is literally a fork and happens to be one of the weakest weapons in the game, draining your magicka while you hold it. The feeling of accomplishment after killing anything with it, however, is quite unmatched.
It's an item needed in a quest, and completing it will give you one of the best spears in the game.
And guess what? It's back in the Shivering Isles Oblivion expansion! You don't get a spear at the end of the quest, but you can still kill things with it. Particularly fun to beat Jyggalag this way.
In Fallout 2, if you have your character learn about hitting targets critically, you can eventually make anything die by hitting it in juuuust the right spot. There are a few situations in which you'd want to kill a creature without actually damaging it, and so it's useful to carry around the weapon equivalent of dandelions to hurl at people's eyes.
The Rock-it! Launcher of Fallout 3 can use any type of Junk as ammunition. That means you can kill a Super Mutant Behemoth with any type of Junk. That means you can kill a Super Mutant Behemoth with a teddy bear. And it will blow his mind.
Keep in mind that it magically increases the damage of said teddy bear to levels close to that of an assault rifle. The real Cherry Tapping is the BB gun. This is the weakest weapon in the game, by far. If you had a BB gun in perfect condition (really hard to get), and happen to have maxed small weapons skill, it would take 500 shots to kill a Super Mutant Behemoth. And it is pump action. In comparison, the Launcher would only take 40 teddies.
Phantom Brave allows this with anything. A handful of grass. A sunflower. Another enemy. The corpse of an enemy slime you just killed with a handful of grass. There is also the special attack "Dud", which consists of using a nonfunctioning bomb to repeatedly beat someone in the face.
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time actually offers battle trophies concerning the Metal Pipe (Fayt's first weapon) which range from defeating a opponent with it, defeating certain bosses with it, and doing the maximum ammount of damage with it. Thankfully, all of these trophies are obtainable by enhancing the Metal Pipe with the item customization system.
The game also tends to use this in-story as well, where the heroes try to disable a Brainwashed and Crazy friend's mech by using their weakest weapon to destroy a key system. The practice gets subverted in the second Original Generation game.
In Arcanum, the interface allowed the player to use absolutely everything as a thrown weapon, with damage being dependent on the item's weight. If the character was properly built, he could defeat even powerful enemies by hurling newspapers, precious gems and gold coins at them.
In Demon's Souls there's the Needle of Eternal Agony which is a total pain in the ass to get (you got to defeat the one boss maneater, which turns out to be 2 bosses) and only deals 10 physical damage per hit, making it completely useless for such a hard game, but extremely funny to brag about in pvp.
In Episode 1 of Penny Arcade Adventures, one of your party members is a cat whose hairball attack always inflicts 1 damage to all enemies. He is therefore all but useless, unless you manage to get an enemy down to 1HP. (There is even a trophy/achievement for doing this.)
Of course, it's a lot easier when you find out the fact that it has an instant kill move, and you can get the achievement doing that. Granted, this attack activates around 2% of the time, IF that much, but it's certainly a sight to see when it happens.
Namely, you get a blueprint for the weapon you've just broken.
Using the Curry Ladle to defeat monsters is fun, too.
In the second Kingdom Hearts game, it is a perfectly feasible option to beat down the parade of final bosses with the Sweet Memories keyblade. It has no attack, defense, or magic bonuses, but it has a finisher, and that's all you need. Just for added humiliation, the sound and visual effects makes it seem like you're beating down an entity of nothingness using a stick with an adorable honeycomb inside. It's death by cute at its finest.
In Birth by Sleep, there is a rather difficult Bonus Boss that can have his A.I broken in a hilarious way. If you hide behind a rock on the stage, the boss's A.I will try to hit you through the rock. To easily defeat him,simply stand behind the rock and spam Strike Raid or one of its variants, some of the weakest and earliest obtained commands in the whole game.
Also in Kingdom Hearts II: during the boss battle against Luxord, he can turn you into a die or a playing card. As demonstrated here, it's entirely possible to defeat him by tackling him to death as a die.
In Kingdom Hearts 3D, Sora's Slide Roll ability is meant to be used defensively, but for some awkward reason, causes a fixed one HP of damage to anything you roll into. As bosses can't be defeated by your party members and instead remain at one HP, using an Unnecessary Combat Roll to finish them off is easily possible.
Very minimal damage can be done using the vertical and horizontal spin flowmotions without using a flowmotion attacks. And it can kill.
Bosses have limits on how much damage can be done with single attacks, causing powerful single attack commands to be extremely weak on anything but standard enemies. Anybody that doesn't know this will probably assume a boss has a lot of health and beat them using Meteor and Mega Flare anyway.
The AI in Fossil Fighters will always use a vivosaur's most basic attack to take one of your vivosaurs down when its HP is low enough.
Using your weakest weapons in Grandia actually gives you better experience (more hits, more exp) than just using your strongest ones and finishing the enemy in one blow.
It is quite possible and was popular when it was new among "extreme" gamers to beat Fable and its expansion pack Fable: The Lost Chapters using no healing items or magic and no other weapons or armor than the Apprentice Robes and wooden stick you get at the start of the game.
Wild ARMs rewards you for cherry tapping with the very low-power spell Lucky Shot which, if it kills the enemy, grants even the rarest of enemy drops.
In Mass Effect 3 multiplayer it's frustratingly easy for basic mooks like the Cerberus Assault Trooper to land a downing hit and then the Finishing Stomp.
On the other hand, as an asari, a common tactic is to use stasis before headshooting an enemy. But one of the ultimate evolutions of this power is a bubble. On some maps (like Firebase White), you can throw your bubble just over the landing point of the troopers, and watch as they fall to their deaths before setting a foot on the ground, killing them with your only power that doesn't deal any damage.
In Xenoblade Chronicles, hitting a Mechon with a physical attack from a weapon that lacks the ability to pierce their armor will deal only one point of damage (Unless they're toppled). It's entirely possible to finish them off in this fashion.
You also deal with a few humanoid enemies who are similarly resistant to the Monado, only they always take one damage from it, regardless of whether they're toppled or not.
In Dark Souls you can totally do stuff like this to both Bosses and other players. Whip builds are the most popular and amusing just because of how much the two available whips suck.
The Last Story has bosses that must be taken down in a way more similar to an action game by putting it in a weakened state or expose its weakpoint in some way. Or, you can just attack it head on, dealing minimal damage but relying on chains to deal more damage anyway, and diffusing healing circles as they come to keep your party alive.
In EVE Online killing anything in a swarm of noobships (the basic free ship that everyone gets in the beginning or after loosing his ship and docking up) can be considered a cherrytap. On a more experienced level, corps such as Goon swarm used cheap tech I ships to destroy superior (and much more expensive) tech II ships.
In City of Heroes (and Villains), every player character has an attack power called Brawl. It usually manifests as a simple punch or kick, and does only minor damage. Once your character has a decent number of real attack powers, it serves two functions: it's an efficient way to down an enemy with only a few hit points remaining, and somehow it just feels better to take down that annoying enemy by simply punching his lights out.
For some characters, like those using Bows or Dual Blades, the punch is replaced with a kick instead. It can be even more gratifying to finish off an archvillain/superhero with a solid kick to the groin.
One invention-origin enhancement gives taunt powers a chance to do minor psionic damage, allowing characters to annoy people to death. Better yet, since all tanker taunts gain a short-range AoE, it's possible to kill an entire mob with a one-liner.
The game also allows for substantial after-market alteration to any class by way of optional generic powers; consequently, one can take a Controller archetype and outfit him or her for hardened brawling. The end-result - a 'Scraptroller' - is kind of like being beaten to death by Professor X.
Enemies who slow your attack rates, while highly annoying, are more likely to be taken down this way simply because you start using cherry-tap attacks while your effective ones are still recharging. It makes for satisfying revenge.
In World of Warcraft, using your melee weapon as a mage, priest or warlock (or alternatively for the warlock, using the imp or voidwalker). Wands are almost universally better for these classes and are ranged weapons.
Arguably the closest thing World of Warcraft has to Cherry Tapping is the concept of low-manning, i.e. taking on raid bosses (encounters designed for large, coordinated groups of players) with an understrengthed raid party. This is sometimes taken to ridiculous extremes, either for profit (less people to share in the loot), or - more often - for bragging rights. Famous examples include a warlock and a paladin killing the dragon Onyxia (a boss originally designed for 40 players), a four-man group besting Gruul the Dragonkiller (made possible by cleverly manipulating the combat stats on a rogue so that the boss had literally no chance of landing a hit) and a very determined warlock solo-killing Hydross the Unstable (a 25-man boss).
With the onset of lvl 80 characters and items, this was no longer a big deal. 1-manning Onyxia was fairly commonplace, at least by certain hybrid classes - shaman, druid, warlock and paladin - who are capable of both melee power and self-healing (warlocks doing so using their pets).
Hogger is a level 11 "Elite" (a creature who has more health, attack power and defense than a normal creature of the same level) very near the human starting area. A "Hogger Raid" is the lvl 1 equivalent of an end-boss raid by max-level characters. Hogger Raids tactics are generally limited to Zerg Rush until he is dead. (And incidentally are stupidly fun/funny to participate in....) YouTube video here (but some profanity over voice-chat). "I've got aggr—oh, never mind."
A pvp version is using a priest to Mind Control an enemy player in a duel. They can't hurt themselves and you likely can't access and waste their cooldown abilities. But if you're in the right position, you can make them jump off a very high cliff.
This video shows a Warlock (a casting class with virtually no melee power) using a Firestone-enhanced weapon to melee players to death in Pv P. The Firestone was a Warlock-specific weapon enhancement that, aside from adding spell power, caused the Warlock's weapon to occasionally (frequently, in practice) hit the target for a burst of fire damage. A large burst of damage. Especially compared to the kind of melee damage a Warlock normally does. Unfortunately Firestones no longer exist.
One of the most well-known Pv P video series of pre-Burning Crusade World of Warcraft was World of Roguecraft, in which someone displayed how overpowered rogues were by defeating well-geared players while completely naked aside from the weakest weapon in the game by "stun-locking" them for the entire fight, thus preventing them from hitting him more than once or twice, and utilizing an attack that did the same damage regardless of what stat bonuses the rogue had from gear.
Stun-locking is still a major part of rogue Pv P, but due to certain changes to stats and mechanics, it now takes some gear to pull off and the target has to be ungeared.
World of Warcraft also has a number of items that technically count as one-handed melee weapons such as large fish or mugs full of beer. They are not particularly useful as weapons, but imagine being defeated in PVP by someone wielding catfish...
It's possible to humiliate allies similarly. With dual talent specialization, raiding healers can have a separate spec for questing and 5-man dungeons. A geared priest can create either a Holy or Discipline secondary spec which takes talents and glyphs for Smite and Holy Nova, queue as healer for random Heroic dungeons, and pull respectable damage for a DPSer while keeping the group healed with ease. You're almost guaranteed to have at least one DPS who can't keep up. If the DPS is not freshly level-capped, humiliation ensues — often in the form of someone asking "Uh, why is the healer outdamaging you guys?"
You can pull off the inverse as a Retribution Paladin, a class who's main utility lies in it's ability to heal allies, if you outgear the healer enough, you can quite literally take over his role.
Naked fist-fights consist of well, two people dueling eachother with no gear whatsoever and just auto-attacking eachother to death.
The Headshot skill in Urban Dead applies whenever you give a killing blow, no matter what weapon was used. It has become an accomplishment to deliver your final strike with a simple Punch, both because it has the lowest hit chance and only does 1 damage, and the image of socking someone so hard that their head explodes is frickin' awesome.
This also applies to many other weapons and skills in the game. An update also allowed many other things to be used as weapons, so it's possible to kill people with gas cans, toolboxes, pool cues, pumpkins, Christmas Trees and even tinsel, as well as many other things. There are now entire groups built around kills with unusual weapons
Through clever use of URL manipulation, it's possible to use the zombie skills Bite and Headbutt as a living survivor. This can lead to hilarity as human suvivors are seen biting zombies/people to death.
The game of Perihelion included a turn-based combat system with action points and weapons doing like 30-120HP damage, that took either a fixed percent (30-70%) of AP or a fixed number, like 50 or 120AP. Finishing characters had about 120-200AP. But there was that one tiny puny knife to be found, that did puny damage but took only 2AP to hit. The end battle could be finished in two rounds with one character using only that knife, jabbing the UNBORN GOD sewing machine style with it.
There are videos of Runescape players taking down Tz-Tok-Jad, one of the game's hardest bosses, with a rubber chicken.
What makes this even funnier is that according to Word Of God, Tz-Tok-Jad is allergic to chickens.
This video features a player single-handedly taking down Kree'arra (level 580) with a sling, the weakest ranged weapon in the game.
The Duel Arena, where players fight each other in one-on-one battles, has an option that only allows the players to use silly weapons that give negative combat bonuses, like the aforementioned rubber chicken and flowers.
In Guild Wars, getting "wanded" in Pv P is a humiliating form of defeat. Technically, a wand deals as much damage as a sword, but since there are no attack skills for wands, plinking away at someone's health with a wand (or a staff) is a vastly inefficient method of killing them, especially since every second spent wanding is one spent not casting spells (which are much more effective). Thus, dying to an enemy's wand or staff implies that you - and your team - are so completely incompetent that the opposing team doesn't even need to use skills to take you down.
Mabinogi features the "Deadly" status, where you (or a monster) is in negative HP and any hits landed will kill you. While it is incredibly rare for a boss monster to be put in Deadly, it doesn't change the fact that (given enough time and/or luck) you can potentially take down a main story boss with Rock Throw (which otherwise does no damage)
In the case of the Banshee in Peaca Basic, one of the favoured ways of killing it is just to set up spiked barriers with alchemy, and then throw rocks at it to goad it into breaking the barriers, which bypass its immunities with small amounts of chip damage. It can take a while, but is generally far safer than trying to take the Banshee head-on.
Vindictus, the sequel/prequel to Mabinogi, is much more centered around effective strategy against the dungeon bosses, meaning that a skilled player can kill them while wearing only their underwear and using the starting weapon. There's even bonus points in some dungeons for completing it without armor.
On zOMG!, it was at one point possible, and a huge source of bragging rights, to have no attacking rings, but just layer on buffs and heal until major bosses KO'd themselves with reflected damage.
The Metagame of Starcraft II is constantly evolving, with individual units falling in and out of favor as the builds change. However, the usage of "builds" and metagaming only truly applies to players that understand the basic game mechanics well enough to begin with. One pro player, Destiny, compiled a series of videos where he utilize Zerg Queens (normally only used spawn extra larvae and creep and not an effective combat unit) as his main army unit of choice.
In Fire Emblem 10 observant players will notice an in-universe example: Zelgius The Black Knight's real identity fights Skrimir with an iron sword, the series's standard run-of-the-mill sword (only the infrequently appearing slim and bronze swords are weaker). Fitting, as Skrimir getting pwned in this fight completely breaks the Laguz morale.
In some games, the AI even uses this as a tactic! They intentionally come at you with the weakest weapon they got (occasionally using a stronger one) specifically to chip your unit's health away just so that one of them will eventually finish them off.
In the third/twelfth game, it's not unheard of for players to defeat Emperor Hardin... using Feena, a dancer, who is capable of fighting but generally isn't at all good at it.
Even more hilarious is defeating him with a frying pan, a laundry pole, a bamboo sword or a toy bow, which are pretty much the worst of the worst when it comes to weaponry ... except when they are forged to the point of awesomeness, which is incredibly cheap considering their default stats.
More Dancer Death hilarity continues in Seisen, with Sylvia, Leen, and Laylea. It's actually possible for them to take down Barons and their ilk. Which can be quite surprising. And they can win their rounds in the Arena thru use of the Prayer Skill/Prayer Sword. It's pretty funny to see Sylvia take down an arena boss that trashed Sigurd...even if it takes an hour (real-time) for her to do so.
Killing the most powerful tanks with infantry in Advance Wars. Takes a lot of units, but it feels so satisfying.
World of Tanks has a tiered system sorting the various vehicles in the game into their respective power levels. Why is this relevant? Killing a tank two tiers higher than your own tank is a hard enough thing to do, what with increased damage dealing, greater health pools and more impressive armour values allowing higher survivability the higher you go. However, killing a tank FIVE tiers (or more) higher than yours is a special something (which requires certain circumstance, in a random match). They'll be humiliated by the cherry tap KO while you bask in (brief) glory.
Hydro Thunder Hurricane has a boat exclusively for online matches: a giant rubber duck. It's supposed to be used for the team-based Rubber Ducky mode, but you can use it in vanilla races, too. It has the weakest stats of all the boats, but it is possible to beat seven players using the rubber duck. Special bonus points if the other guys are all using Rad Hazard.
The Worms games, especially Worms Armageddon with its large arsenals, have weapons primarily designed for this purpose. The Pistol is woefully underpowered, and "Prod" does no damage whatsoever, other than poking your opponent a bit, nudging them into water, or off high cliffs; though a player can manipulate that to position an opponent above explosives. Even the manual describes "Prod" as being the ultimate humiliation.
Cherry Tapping kills are standard fare in Worms, either due to a limited arsenal where you wouldn't want to waste your strong weapons or simply because it's fun.
Worms 2: Armageddon for Xbox Live Arcade, and Worms Reloaded on Steam, have winning a match using Prod as an achievement.
Made impossible in FreeSpace 2. Capital ships can have all their subsystems disabled, their engines stopped, all their turrets stripped away and their hull strength reduced to 1% by weak lasers fired by a single fighter also armed with patience. However, only a powerful hit will finish them off.
In the Rune Factory games, your farming tools all count as weapons and deal damage to enemies, if they hit. Defeating Terrable with a light sprinkle from a watering can? Hell yes.
Getting a Wing Commander's killmark with a clean Level 1 standard weapon in Ace Online (clean weapons have no enhancing pre- or suf- fix, and no enchantments to boost performance - Wing Commanders are extremely high-level players). Those things do single-digit damage per hit.
In X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter the flare countermeasure did a small amount of damage, which could be used to finish off opponents. The really tricky bit was that the opponent had to be behind you and quite close for the flare to hit.
Carbon also includes a drivable police interceptor sedan and a dump truck. One of the challenges requires you to outrun the cops in said dump truck.
Need for Speed II also includes the ability to drive traffic cars with a code.
Hot Pursuit II has a "Be The Cop" mode. Included cop cars include the Lamborghini Diablo, BMW M5... and the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. The Crown Vic is going to return in the new Hot Pursuit game, as well. Have fun catching the Bugatti drivers in the Crown Vic!
The End actually does this to you in Metal Gear Solid 3. He only uses tranquilizer rounds, but since he's so good at sniping, it actually makes for a fairly effective weapon. Plus, losing to him is actually even more inconvenient than just dying, since he knocks you out and carries you back to the basement of a lab you went through earlier. You can do it to him as well, though, as the only way to get his rifle is to defeat him with the tranquilizer pistol you've been carrying since the beginning of the game.
Transcendence offers up much potential for Cherry Tapping - as much as it does for overkill. Due to the ability to enhance even low level weapons to rather ridiculous levels, one of the most over-looked weapons in the game, the dark acid cannon, can be used to kill the final boss.
It was once also possible to kill the Commonwealth's most powerful class of ships in this manner. The EMP cannon's effect stacked, so one could blast away on autopilot, leaving the Star Carrier spinning helplessly for hours while the player could blast away with a relatively low level weapon. The Actinide Waste cannon was also usable here, and could only be considered cherry tapping in that it was regarded as as useful as the dark acid cannon, since it's ability to one-shot the shieldless carriers due to its radiation effect (which only works if the target has no active shield) was more of a case of revive killing zombies.
The Uncharted games reward the player for doing this: It's called "iron fist." Weaken an enemy with gunfire, then finish them off with one punch. Your reward is more points to buy bonus materials with.
Later on, you can add insult to injury as you can pick up somethings during certain brawls - allowing you to KO someone with say...a fish.
Since it's played on the PSP and Nintendo DS, some incarnation of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Card Game that allows it (most notably the World Championship and Tag Force lines) will list achievements that can be unlocked of you win a Duel a certain way (like achieving damage/monster/spell/summon/trap quotas, deck outs, etc.) One of them in one game was if you won the game with an attack from a Skull Servant.
Non playable example: in the X-Universe games one of the backstory news articles discusses a UFC-style tournament in which a pacifist monk won a match by dodging all his opponent's blows until the guy finally collapsed from exhaustion.
Also, pounding another ship that can't turn enough to face you while armed with a weak weapon. The bailing-out mechanic actually encourages it: each hit on a ship with shields down has a chance of causing the pilot to abandon the ship, leaving it for you to claim it for use or sale. The Pulsed Beam Emitter, which does tremendous shield damage but almost no hull damage, is very popular because of its ability to force rival pilots out while leaving their ship relatively undamaged.
Gran Turismo. While the most used technique is "put the fastest possible car in the race to win easily", there's a lot of room for Cherry Tapping. Beating a Minolta Toyota 88C-V (800+hp Le Mans prototype) with a 500hp Alfa Romeo 155 racecar on a wet track? Check. Humiliating Volkswagen Golf R32 and BMW M Coupč with a tuned '90 Fiat Panda? Check. A properly tuned and driven car can do an awful lot. Actually, Cherry Tapping is the best way to get a lot of A-Spec points... but A-Spec points do nothing.
Vega Strike occasionally ecourages this with its Defeat Equals Explosion mechanics. E.g. a ship you would kill with stronger Painfully Slow Projectile and short-range weapons may explode so hard it will destroy yours. So you fire, e.g. Grav Thumper point blank at a capship to shred its shields and armor, then move a few kilometers away and finish it off with more conventional weapons. Also, once you break armor in a sector, all shield-piercing damage, no matter how small, will have a chance of causing Subsystem Damage, so after opening with a few missiles or other strong hits, Death of a Thousand Cuts by something otherwise weak like massdrivers is a viable tactics.
In Forza Motorsport 4's multiplayer, nothing is more annoying than getting beaten on Fujimi Kaido in a Ford F150, or worse yet, a Hummer H1. Mind you, Fujimi Kaido is a very twisty mountain pass course thats over 10 miles long and takes upwards of 8 minutes to do a single lap due to the length and massive amount of turns.
In Minecraft, it's entirely possible to defeat the Enderdragon (200 damage points) with a whole load of snowballs (1 damage per ball), as the time that an enemy is stunned after it's damaged is slightly more than the time it takes to throw a snowball.
Many of the more out-there combo decks in Magic: The Gathering can be used to savage an opponent in the most humiliating ways imaginable. This was particularly prevalent during initial playtesting, before all the rules were finalized. One story goes that, before the "only four of any card except basic lands" rule was instituted, one player loaded his deck with bunches of Swords to Plowshares and Llanowar Elves. Eventually, his opponent would be out of creatures and at a ridiculous life total. So in went the elves...60...59...58...57... Another story involves a character playing Lord of the Pit against a Clone deck. The cloning player could die from it or Clone it...but had no way to pay for it...
Creatures that are unblockable could count as well, since the fact that they can't be blocked is usually balanced by giving the creature a low Power (rarely going higher than 2 without other effects to increase it). Creatures like Invisible Stalker especially, since they're difficult to remove on top of dealing almost-guaranteed damage.
There's a Pokémon TCG deck called the "No Energy Stall." It contains a bunch of high-HP Pokémon, healing Trainers, and no energy whatsoever - which means you can't use any attacks. The point is to hold out as long as you can until the other player runs out of cards.
A similar deck is the Mulligan Mewtwo deck. 56 Psychic Energy, 4 Base Set Mewtwo, which have Barrier and Psychic. Odds are you won't get any starting Pokemon for your first few starting hands (you MUST draw a Basic Pokemon, or you reshuffle and draw a new hand), so your opponent might lay on the extra cards (they can draw 0, 1, or 2 each time you reshuffle) until s/he catches on. Once you get one, attach a Psychic energy each turn until you can use Barrier, then just keep using it until your opponent decks out, building up the other Mewtwo as a precaution for things like the old Gust of Wind.
Yata-Garasu lockdown did this for Yu-Gi-Oh!. Basically the combo wipes the field and both players hands, except for the lone Yata Garasu left in the controlling player's hand. He can then play this and Yata forbid his opponent from drawing if the card causes any lifepoint damage. Yata only has 200 attack points (as opposed to the 8000 players start with), meaning the opponent will get cherry tapped to death as he does not have any cards in his hand, nor the ability to draw any more cards. Since Yata returns to the hand after the turn ends, this also means that cherry tapping will likely be the only viable way to finish the game (as you can only make one summon per turn, unless another card is used to bypass this).
"Sparks," a spell card that does a measly 200 points of damage to the opponent, has basically no use other than this. Some video game versions of Yu-Gi-Oh! give you a bonus if you can ever manage to successfully finish off the opponent with a "Sparks" card.
The Gravity Bind trap prevents all monsters level 4 and higher from attacking. For a time, a very efficient deck could be build around this trap and direct attack monsters, which are generally weak and low level.
In the Alien vs. Predator card game, it was entirely possible to weaken the fearsome Predator with a barrage from your heavily armed Colonial Marines, such that the final killing blow could come from a rescued pet cat.
The C'tan in Warhammer 40,000 are really, really hard to take down. We're talking a maximum 25% chance for a direct hit from an anti-tank missile to hurt them. Slightly. So how can you take them down? Sniper rifles, which are usually only used to force enemies to take Pinning tests. Using a psychological weapon to punch out Cthulhu.
The lasgun is considered to be universally the worst weapon in the game, with less than 16% chance to even cause a wound (and that's before armor saves are involved) per shot. So how do you kill anything with it? Just shoot a bunch of them at the enemy. A guard player using the First Rank Fire Second Rank Fire on a combined platoon of Guardsmen can feasably roll 150 dice, Cherry Tapping anything and everything to hell in but a handful of turns.
This method of handling them was made canonical in 3e/3.5e... but ignored by many GMs and most Dungeons & Dragons video games because it's easier to use them as cannon fodder than to play them as devious users of traps and ambushes that are a serious danger to even fairly powerful Player Characters if fought on their home turf.
Often a very valid tactic in BattleTech, especially if you're using a fast mech armed with a long range energy weapon (energy weapons in BattleTech don't require ammo) while your opponent is a mech that's slow enough that it can't catch you and doesn't have any weapons with enough range to hit you. Provided there's enough room to maneuver without getting pinned against an obstacle or the edge of the map and nothing to obstruct your line of sight, you can keep running away and firing- eventually you're going to take him down.
The main structure of ping-spam attacks in Exalted. Especially nasty when your opponent doesn't have a flurrybreaker.
In Blood Bowl, this is the main appeal of playing Halfling or Goblin teams. Nothing says 'humiliating' quite like being trounced by a team of midgets.
Anime and Manga
In Naruto, Tsunade defeats Naruto with a self-imposed restriction of using only one finger. In the first bell test, Kakashi is able to avoid Naruto's attempts to seize his bells while continuing to read Make-Out Paradise, and only retaliates with 1000 Years of Death and the basic Substitution Jutsu.
In One Piece, when Zoro meets Hawkeye for the first time and they have a duel. The world's strongest swordsman decides to add to the humiliation by completely mopping the floor with the triple-wieldingZoro using a tiny dagger, lamenting that it's the smallest blade he owns. This was actually an attempt to go easy on Zoro, which becomes more apparent when he finally does unsheath his full-sized sword.
In Tenjou Tenge, during the bowling alley attack on the Juken Club by the enforcers, Mitsuomi Takayanagi uses the forged needle attack on Souichiro Nagi; when Aya Natsume attacks him in retribution...well, just see.
One episode of You're Under Arrest! has Shouji Toukairin fight and defeat three kendo practitioners with a banana.
In Yu-Gi-Oh 5Ds, Big Bad Rex Go(o)dwin's Earthbound Immortal, Wiraqocha Rasca, has an attack rating of 1. One of its special abilities: HP to One on the opponent. Its real life counterpart loses the Cherry Tapping factor though. (Its attack score can be as high as 3,100, depending on how you summon it, and it does not have the effect that reduces your opponent LP to 1.)
And in the previous series, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX , Manjoume/Chazz was at one point forced to duel one of his brothers, with the fate of Duel Academy riding on the outcome of the duel, and to make it extremely unfair, his brothers said he could only use monsters that had 500 attack points or less, while his brother would be using a deck that was full of rare cards. In the end, he won with superior tactics, which gave this troper an intense feeling of satisfaction as the Aesop that monsters that had weak attacks could still defeat more powerful monsters by using the right tactics.
In Dragon Ball, Mercenary Tao kills General Blue in battle using only his tongue as a weapon.
In issue #23 of Batgirl, the eponymous heroine has called in support from the Teen Titans during her battle with the Reapers, a group of college students with advanced combat armor that have been runing around Gotham for a few weeks. The fight is a Curb-Stomp Battle as a whole, and it seems that some of the Titans are only there to pass the time. When Supergirl is fighting Slipstream he remarks that this is something of a fantasy for him, only for Supergirl to defeat him with an Offhand Backhandwhile checking her nails.
Spider-Man once knocked out the Walrus with simply a flick of his finger. (Note that the Walrus could likely be at least a moderatly competant villain if he tried... He just doesn't.)
One of the page quotes comes from The Chronicles of Riddick, in which the eponymous Bad Ass further establishes his Bad Ass nature by killing a guard with a teacup. He makes the rest of the guards run away when he threatens to follow this up by killing them with a can key.
In The Twilight Samurai, main character Iguchi Seibei defeats Koba, a boorish, abusive samurai captain, in a duel using only a wooden stick, thus dishonoring and humiliating him. The other purpose of this was that dueling between clan members was strictly forbidden, so Seibei used a non-lethal weapon. In the climax, a suicidal samurai is just about to agree not to duel Seibei until he learns that Seibei intended to fight him with only a wakizashi. Insulted, the samurai then insists that they duel.
In Ratatouille, one of the chefs, Horst, is said to have done time, but he changes the story every time he's asked. One story is that he robbed a bank using only a ballpoint pen, another is that he killed a man with his right thumb.
In Iron Man 2Black Widow pepper sprays the last guard after a rather awesome fight sequence.
In the X-Wing Series book Starfighters of Adumar, Wes Janson gets into a duel with a pompous and arrogant native noble using "blastswords," basically blasters on a stick, the prefered weapon for such things. First, he hurls a bunch of insults, prompting a hasty attack from the noble, which ends with the noble disarmed. Then, Wes throws his own blastsword away and proceeds to deliver a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown all the while explaining what it means to be a real warrior. It ends when they guy is so beaten down and disoriented that he doesn't even know where Wes is (standing right in front of him) who then knocks him out with a slap to the face, specifically for this purpose.
The climax of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Voldemort, the Dark Lord, has his Killing Curse deflected back to him by Harry's Expelliarmus. Basically, Voldy is killed by a spell also known as the Disarming Spell, a spell specifically chosen by Harry as his signature attack because of it's non-lethality.
Also - not exactly non-lethal, but definitely primitive compared to a wand: in the final phase of the Battle of Hogwarts, Neville fights the entire time using only the Sword of Gryffindor - no magic.
The Heroes of Olympus: Bacchus technically pulls one of these on the two giants after spectating Percy and Jason beating them down for him. He simply steps in after they're done and, after a brief appeal to the crowd of ghosts whether he should or shouldn't, he simply bats them on the nose with his pine-cone staff, finishing them.
Mundane weapons in general could be considered Cherry Tapping when they're used to kill a channeler. The fact that they wield such immense magical power leads some non-channelers to forget that even the strongest Aes Sedai or Asha'Man can die just as easily to an injury as a normal person.
There's one Animorphs book where Marco gets to spend a week or so harrassing one of their enemies in an attempt to make him snap on live TV - while disguised as a toy poodle. No blood, no killing - just ripped pants legs, nips, puddles, and endless, nonstop yapping twenty-four hours a day. The rest of the book is pretty rough on Marco, so he admits that the toy poodle stuff starts giving him way too much pleasure - just making someone absolutely miserable and not even needing to feel guilty about it afterwards.
Live Action TV
On Leverage, Eliot specializes in this, having defeated opponents with everything ranging from plastic bats to an appetizer. However his best example comes from this:
Hardison: "Look, nobody's asking Eliot to kill someone with a Nerf sword..." Eliot: "Damascus. 1992."
On Doctor Who, the Doctor has brought down entire empires using (among other things) a satsuma, a recorder, and the master tapes of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
He took down a major political figure with 6 words.
When the Doctor has defeated the garrison of Demons Run, he tells Colonel Manton to order his troops to run away. Not surrender, not stand down, not even retreat, but "run away". Those exact words. Why?
The Doctor: I want you to be famous for those exact words. I want people to call you Colonel Run-Away. I want children laughing outside your door, 'cos they've found the house of Colonel Run-Away. And when people come to you and ask you if trying to get to me through THE PEOPLE I LOVE is in any way a good idea... I want you to tell them your name.
Game of Thrones has two examples - first, Khal Drogo kills a challenger after deliberately dropping his own weapons, by dodging all of the challenger's attacks, then stealing his weapon and using it to kill him. Second, Syrio Forel knocks out several heavily armed and armoured Lannister soldiers with a wooden training sword.
On later seasons of Wipeout, the thing that is causing more and more players to consistently get knocked around the most are the smaller bits of an obstacle that fire off out of nowhere. For instance; crossing a thin platform against a wall with moving steering wheels and gas pedals. No one told you about the air bag that just randomly goes off on one of them.
This is the basis of Kat's fighting style in Not A Villain. She uses unconventional "Special" attacks that manifest as hideously-drawn smiley faces, and attack in "nice" ways such as making you overwhelmingly happy, or attacking you only if you attack someone else.
In some cases, this is known as counting coup - it was a favored practice of the Plains Indians to touch an armed, hostile enemy with one's bare hand, or a short stick, then evading any wound at all. The goal, of course, was half humiliation, half 'good stories to tell'.
Anderson Silva's fight with Forrest Griffin. Silva pummeled Griffin for several minutes, landing power punches and knocking Griffin all around the arena. The blow that finished it, however, was a short jab with his weak hand while backing away.
Street fighter Kimbo Slice lost all of his reputation as a heavyweight MMA fighter when he faced Seth Petruzelli, a light heavyweight who took the fight on short notice. Within half a minute, Petruzelli landed a single jab that staggered Slice and ended the fight.
In most countries, news reports about "Death by Swine Flu" tend to involve cases of people who were already gravely ill, getting Cherry Tapped into the next life by Swine Flu (which, it should be noted, is apparently LESS lethal than the normal flu).
This is the way HIV infection works: it's not AIDS that kills you directly, but other, often otherwise easily-treatable infections (usually pneumonia) that finish you off after your immune system has been compromised.
One of the first tip-offs of the disease were outbreaks of extremely rare diseases, many of which were easily fought off by people with functioning immune systems.
Many supremely talented boxers do this at various times during their careers:
Featherweight great Willie Pep once won a round without throwing a single punch, his defensive prowess was so great.
Roy Jones Jr. used to actively clown around in the ring and rarely ever showed his full skillset in a fight because he was so much better than everyone else.
Muhammad Ali made it famous with his 'rope-a-dope' technique, in which he absorbed blow after blow from an opponent in order to 1) lure his opponent into a false sense of confidence and 2) tire his opponent out, thus allowing him to finish the fight fairly quickly from that point..