Disc One Nuke

A minor form of munchkining, wherein a player exploits the ability to gain a powerful item or weapon early in the game. This allows the player to rush through the first (potentially tedious) parts of the game without major challenges. There are a few ways to do this, many involving patient use of the reset button and quick access to a save point:

  • Attack a relatively strong enemy near a restore/save point in the hopes it Randomly Drops a useful item to use or sell.
  • Abuse a game's Item Crafting mode. In most cases these involve using seemingly useless item(s) to craft a rare item either to sell or use.
  • Grind early mini-games as much as possible so that their (typically low) prize money adds up enough to swap for an item hiding behind a Cash Gate.
  • Steal equipment from a temporary party member (So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear in reverse).
  • Having the creator "encourage" buying a previous game to automatically obtain that item from the previous game.
  • Level grind and combine for hours to get the best Mon; either the Mon itself is the Nuke, or it enables access to it.
  • Being given a Taste Of Power, and then finding a way to keep those items forever.
  • Acquire a very niche spell which is normally highly impractical but very useful for grinding a particular species of a Beef Gate which is not supposed to be beatable at this point. Results in loads of EXP and an overpowered party.

It should be noted that the first three cases can be used together in tandem depending on the nature of the game itself. For example, a rare item from a enemy can used to craft another rare item to be used in another situation such as grinding in another area.

More dishonestly, you can outright cheat with various popular "all items" codes, as many of these items can be (patiently) used to achieve the effects of other codes that may wreck your game by screwing with Event Flags.

Depending on the game, this may be a form of Sequence Breaking, since many adventure games rely on the logical order of obtainable equipment or abilities (to reach the boss you need the grappling hook, found across the lake for which you need the flippers, found behind the boulder for which you need the bombs, etc. all the way back to you at the very beginning with nothing but your wooden stick sword and good intentions) to maintain the game's geographical and plot linearity. The "Breaking" part of the term is a deliberate cautionary word choice, since doing this in some titles can cause the game to crash entirely and necessitate a complete restart, sometimes many hours of play after the sequence is initially broken.

Distinct from a Game Breaker in that it's usually not enough to carry you through the entire game, although the two can overlap.

Level Grinding can theoretically get you to this point, but in most games it would take so ludicrously long that it's way more tedious than just getting on with the game. There are plenty of Disc One Nukes that exploit some aspect of the game to make grinding way more lucrative than it should be, however.

New Game+ is a form of this that requires you to complete the game without it first. Twinking is when you do this by using a high-level character to feed loot to a low-level one.

Compare Magikarp Power. Last Disc Magic is the inverse of this. See also Peninsula of Power Leveling, where you can gain experience early on rather than items or equipment. If it's potentially purchasable in a store, you may be looking at a case of Teaser Equipment.


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     Action Adventure 
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The classic The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past has a minor Sequence Break that allows the player to easily get the Magic Cape, which makes Link invisible (and by extension invincible...as well as somehow being able to walk through large bumpers found in some caves and dungeons) at a cost of draining magic when in use. To get it, the player just needs to go to the cemetery in the Dark World, get inside the fence surrounding the solitary grave in the upper right corner of the cemetery (which only requires the player to destroy one of the bushes surrounding it in the Dark World, while the Light World version of the location is surrounded by an indestructible stone fence with heavy black stones blocking the way which can be only lifted with the Power Glove upgrade), warp to Light World and dash against the headstone to reveal a secret passage.
    • The player could also get the second-strongest sword as soon as he had the item to the first Dark World dungeon, the hammer. It, along with the mirror, could be used to rush into the fourth Dark world dungeon, grab the upgraded glove, save the blacksmith south of the town early, and get your sword upgraded. This upgraded sword lets you kill the second Dark world dungeon boss in two hits.
    • Possibly the earliest such item in the whole series is the Ice Rod from Link to the Past. As soon as you obtain bombs (basically the instant you leave the Sanctuary, the game's tutorial zone) you can make a somewhat dangerous trek to the lower southeastern corner of the map. Blow up one wall and you've got access to the Ice Rod, an optional item that is usually obtained much later in the game. It will go through your early magic meter at an alarming rate, but it does ludicrous amounts of damage to early bosses, allowing you to two-shot the bosses in the second dungeon.
    • In the original game you could, with luck and perseverance, go into the first level with six hearts, the white sword, the blue ring, and the big shield. In the second quest you either had to get the whistle from the second dungeon or beat the first two dungeons before you could get the white sword (which, for the record, requires you to have five heart containers). It's also worth noting that, with just the bow from the first dungeon of the first quest, you could take an (extremely dangerous) trek to level eight to get the magic key, which, when successfully obtained, allows you to bypass large portions of entire dungeons.
    • One glitch from The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening would allow the player to grab the final dungeon's weapon, the Fire Rod, at the very beginning of the game. Also, using the select-button warp trick in one room of the cave to the mushroom allows Link to enter a glitched part of Level 7 Eagle's Tower to get Level 3's power bracelet, then move over - then back, one can grab Level 7's upgraded Power Bracelet - which allows Link to go through several areas much sooner then he's supposed to and thus gain enough heart pieces/usable items/etc. to make many early boss fights much easier then they should be.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, at the very first dungeon, you can collect Deku sticks, which are twice as powerful as the Kokiri sword (your main weapon). When used with the jump attack, they are four times as powerful, allowing you to 2-hit kill the first two or three major bosses, and 1-hit kill everything in between. Also, within an hour or two of becoming Adult Link you can get the Biggoron's Sword. While it does take a little more dodging skill to get used to, it's considerably more powerful than the Master sword with better reach and more useful in most situations.
  • Castlevania:
    • Aria of Sorrow. With one of three possible soul combinations, it is possible to acquire by far two of the most powerful equips in the game as early as the midpoint: the giant sword Claimh Solais, which has both incredible reach and speed, a high attack rating and is holy attribute, making it effective against most enemies, and 2) the Eversing Armor. Additionally, grinding for one of those monsters' souls (Curly) can be done in the same room as the Valkyrie soul, which is expensive on MP but disgustingly powerful and one of the few forms of holy damage aside from the Claimh Solais itself. In yet another example, the Mystelain is one of the other holy swords, and while it's nowhere near as good as the Solais, it can be found in a secret room in the Clock Tower, which is a fair bit before that weapon. Again, it's the holy damage that's key, and it's very useful against Death, the boss of the tower.
    • In the sequel Dawn Of Sorrow, the Mandragora soul throws a shrieking mandragora into the middle of the screen, which explodes like the enemy does. It can be obtained pretty early if you're willing to grind for it, costs little MP, has very good range, and does quite a lot of damage and remains useful for most, if not all of the game.
    • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night:
      • Jewel Knuckles. You're supposed to not get them until you've got the mist form, but there's a secret lift that appears if you wait a while in the room above it, allowing you to get them earlier. They have little range, but are quite strong. Mastering the Holy Water early on also counts as this - the sooner you figure out how you can own bosses in seconds with it, the better. Figuring out the button combinations of certain spells too - these spells are good throughout the entire game, if you can get used to the control scheme and have some MP left.
      • Alucard's spells are this as well. Normally you're supposed to wait until you purchase the button commands from the Master Librarian to use them, but if you just happen to know the button command (or look up a walkthrough online) you can cast it and have it added to your menu right at the beginning of the game. Soul Steal (recovers HP as you attack enemies) breaks the first half of the game wide-open.
  • Just before going to Kyoto the first time in Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams, you'll have access to Roberto, whose unique ability is to move heavy objects, and Jubei, whose small size lets her maneuver in tight spaces, such as holes and narrow walkways. Backtracking to the first area of the game (The Plains Highway), you can now use these characters to create shortcuts through the area. This gives you access to a room with a Test of Valor/Secret Mission in which you must kill 100 enemies. Getting a Gold Ranking rewards you with the Red Bell, an accessory that makes enemies drop more red souls (which levels up your weapon and armor). You can repeat this mission as much as you want - and you will be overflowing with enough red souls to max out the weapons you can have at this point and build up your armor (as leveling up increases your number of accesory slots), which includes the Onimaru, if you have it. Subsequent rewards for Gold Ranking is the Sweet Herb, a fairly uncommon material that can be used to make strong healing items. All of this makes later stages like the Oni Mansion much easier to handle.
    • In Satta Pass/Fortress of Suruga, there's a door near Jubei's starting point (when you first entered the stage) with a number lock that normally you cannot get the clue to open it until the last quarter of the game. If you spare the time to fiddle with combinations (it's always a fixed number), you can unlock the door and get a Rare Antler, which can be used to make powerful equipment, such as the Blue Bell.
  • Mega Man Legends has the Machine Buster arm, a laughably weak rapid fire weapon that you can get as soon as you save City Hall (About a half-hour in). If you spend about three hours grinding the little bird Reaverbots in the nearby ruin that drop surprising amounts of Zenny and max out every stat of the weapon except "Special", the weapon turns deadly. It'll destroy the Marlwolf so quickly that the dialogue will glitch out, and mow down every boss up until Bruno in mere minutes. Even then it's not useless, just outclassed by other weapons and your now upgraded buster gun.
  • Tomb Raider: In parts made by Core Design, there is always a shotgun or other equally powerful weapon hidden right where the game starts.
  • Dark Souls 2
    • Soul Spear, the late game sorcery from Dark Souls can be obtained early on in Huntsman's Copse, heck, you can even farm duplicates by burning Bonfire Ascetic at the first Bonfire of the area.
    • Moon Butterfly Set, an armor supposed to be unlocked in New Game+, can actually be obtained by merely burning Bonfire Ascetic at Majula Bonfire and be bought in the armorer's shop once you've got the souls, heck, it reduces falling speed, falling damage and even inflicts poison by merely standing to anyone!

     Action Game 
  • In God of War, an exploit involving the tutorial for using the Medusa's Head magic, the XP bonuses given by the combo system, and the Poseidon's Rage magic you get on the first level allows you to potentially stockpile enough experience to instantly max out the levels of every new spell you acquire the instant you get it, along with the gear you have at that point.
  • In the next-gen version of Spider-Man 3, the player can unlock all the webswing speed upgrades by completing races even before completing the the second story mission.
  • Resident Evil 5's stun rod is very much worthy of mention. Its shock packs a very heavy punch, prevents the plagas from manifesting after you kill the Majini, and there's hardly an enemy in the game that doesn't flinch when hit by it. And it can be bought as soon as the second mission for a meager 3000 gold, an amount of money you'll likely get on the first mission alone.
  • Resident Evil 6's own Jake Mueller can be turned into this. Equip him with the Melee, Defense, and J'avo Killer skills (If you've played the chapters in order, you'll have gained enough points to have level 2 of each of these skills). He'll be strong enough now to run right up to enemies (while being SHOT no less) and beat them to death with his Hand To Hand, and since your health regenerates, you don't have to worry about scratch damage. Not only is it actually easier to kill your enemies like this than it is to shoot them, but it let's you stock up on ammo to battle the Ustanak.

     Beat Em Up 
  • If you keep going through the first level of Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, you'll eventually have enough money to buy tonnes of upgrades from the shops in the first level. In particular though, if you stockpile the money to a ridiculous amount (just over $500, a lot in a game where most enemies have at most $1.50 on them), you can go to the video store, pay off Scott's late fees, and unlock some fantastic stat boosts for just $4.95 each. Once you've done this, you can easily unlock all the combat moves that make the game easier, not to mention enhance your stats to be able to one-hit kill most enemies, and even the first boss.
    • There's also a hidden shop on level one that has some items that give ungodly boosts to your stats without having to pay 500 bucks first. There's also a secret passage that you can reach that is filled with flying piggy banks that you can break for cash. Combined, you can attain high levels with ease. Of course, the shop's location is revealed in one of the trailers that promoted the game, so anyone who was watching the game before it came out would know exactly where it was. Look for stars.
  • Double Dragon:
    • In the NES version, the player can level-grind his way through the first few fight scenes alone by simply spamming the same basic punches and kicks on enemies. This is due the fact that the player gains experience points, not by defeating enemies, but by landing attacks. Since enemies aren't killed until they're knocked down to the ground, it's possible to attack an enemy as long as possible while they're still standing up.
    • There's also a glitch in level 2 that let's you erase an enemy from the screen by back-tracking. However, if you stand where he was and punch, the game will register it as a hit and you'll gain experience. It's possible to have max experience and all the available techniques in about 2 minutes.
  • In Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King from EA, a smart player will focus their skill points towards the purchase of the counter-kill "Bane" abilities, which is ridiculously easy to pull off and puts the character into Perfect Mode on a successful execution, making all resulting kills in that brief period "Perfect" kills, earning the player far more experience points.

     Card Games 

     Driving Game 
  • In Gran Turismo 4, you can import cash from your GT 3 save, up to 100,000 credits. With that sort of cash, you can buy a car that will storm all of the opening races without breaking a sweat. Or, you could get a decent car, work the licenses to an A grade, win the first rally and with a Cien, which will storm most races it can enter. Or, you could win the second rally and sell the car you win for a cool 250,000. Winning either of these rallies is easier than it sounds, as they are on tarmac and thus do not require dirt tires, an expensive option which shuts out most starters.
    • Gran Turismo 3 allowed you to do the Rally license tests without needing to complete the other license tests. This means that, provided you got the gold on all of the tests, you had access to the Subaru Impreza Rally Car Prototype, allowing you to plow through most of the early game races, as well as some mid-game and rally races, too.
    • Gran Turismo 2 has the Grand Touring Event Series. All of the 3 races. Every race rewards you a JGTC car and JGTC cars in this game are unrealistically fast. The last one, which requires a 550HP car to have a chance of winning, rewards you a JGTC Skyline, which has no restrictor plate and thus makes around 700 horsepower instead of the 493 horsepower (500 PS) limit in JGTC. And it's a 4x4.
  • The 1989 Dynamix PC game Death Track allowed you to choose between three cars: Crusher (high firepower), Pitbull (heavy armor) and Hellcat (high speed). If you chose the high speed car, and in the shop sold a couple of the default weapons that came with the car, you could afford the fastest engine available, making you able to win all the first races by lapping everyone else. The frequent wins allowed you to fully upgrade your car early on, allowing you to beat the whole championship quite easily.
  • In Test Drive Unlimited, selling a car to a friend with high amounts of cash for an exorbitant sum allows one to buy advanced cars early on in the game, allowing you to smoke the competition using overwhelmingly fast cars.
  • In Need For Speed Most Wanted (the 2005 one), any of the Blacklist racers' cars. After beating one, you get two choices out of six markers, three of which are hidden. The markers are get out of jail free cards, extra impound strikes, various high-quality parts from the car shop, or the pink slip to the other racer's ride. Each of these cars is much faster than a) the same car bought from the dealership and upgraded to the same level and b) anything else you're going to find on the road. Often the car won't be unlocked for several more hours, and each car is more than powerful and agile enough to beat the next couple racers. Early on, this is crucial, because you'll be saving money on parts that you can use to keep your heat level down. Once you get the Lamborghini Murcielago, though, the game is essentially over barring a bit more level grinding with the police, as when fully upgrade it is faster than anything else, equaled only by the Infinity+1 Sword BMW M3 that this whole thing started over.
  • In Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, when you purchase the Metal Sonic DLC he's already at the highest possible level and has access to every mod including his Console Mod, which gives him low acceleration and turning for high speed and boost, making most A-class events a lot easier.

     Fighting Game 
  • In Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 2 for both Wii and PS2, you can get ALL the Dragon Balls as early as in Chapter 4 of the Saiyan Saga, provided you know where they respawn. You can wish again and again for very powerful Potaras, thus having absurd stats to plow through Story Mode (and others as well) with little effort. This is averted in Tenkaichi 3: Dragon Balls are now randomly found among the rubble in the Story Mode fights, as there is no world map anymore. Then again, they won't be of much use as Story Mode characters have prescripted equipment, all the Potara system was reworked so that you couldn't max more than 2 stats out of four total, health not included, the high-level Tournaments are difficult for the wrong reasons (damage carries over to the next fight) and your skills matter way more than stats when playing online.
  • In Soul Calibur III, you can begin unlocking various helpful weapons and characters/character parts/classes soon as you boot up the game - if you have a spare controller to enable use of Versus Mode. Many of the aforementioned stuff can be unlocked in multiple ways, the simplest is fighting X number of battles (both wins and losses are counted). All you have to do is make a custom fighter, go to Versus, and choose the character for both player and opponent (with player 2 at 0% health). Defeat the opponent 50 times (setting VS. matches to 1 helps) and all the weapon styles for that class is unlocked. You can repeat this for the other default classes and you'll also be unlocking other things along the way - it's possible to have the Edge or Calibur type weapons before even setting foot in Tales of Souls. This method also makes going through Chronicles of the Sword much easier.

     First Person Shooter 
  • Deus Ex:
    • The GEP Gun. You can get it within a minute of starting the game, and it will allow you to breach locked doors and chests, take out security bots in one shot and One-Hit Kill Anna Navarre, if you don't use her killphrase. Assuming that you explore a bit, rockets are easy to come by, although the Dragon's Tooth Sword takes over for the breaching potential a third of the way through the game. Notably, you don't have to sequence break or glitch anything to get it - just pick the right option in Paul's conversation (the other two options are a tranquilizer crossbow, which some of the mooks in the first level drop, or a sniper rifle, which is rarer but also easy to get in the first stage). Anyone who's played the game once knows what your answer should be.
    • Even the humble pistol (which the player starts with) is a fearsome weapon. It's highly lethal, killing most human enemies with a single headshot and the more durable ones with two-three hits in the head. It's compatible with the laser sight and/or scope (both found on the first stage), making it viable for sniping even at a low skill level, and you get a free silenced pistol after completing the first stage. And the default skill level for the pistol is "Trained", unlike the other weapons ("Untrained").
    • You can get a free Assault Rifle just by killing or incapacitating the UNATCO soldier walking up the stairs after dealing with the terrorist leader in the first stage. Combined with the mods you can get from this level (which include the aforementioned laser, as well as accuracy and range mods), it becomes a fearsome weapon by the time you get to Battery Park. Likewise, you can also get a Sawed-Off Shotgun by searching the sunken boat beside Harley Filben's shack, which comes in very handy over the next two stages.
    • This is also the case in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. After being augmented, the Zenith Pistol is carried by the first enemy you come across, is incredibly common, uses cheap and easy to find (or farm) ammo, Can be upgraded with a Silencer, Laser Sight and the Armor Piercing mod (the latter of which is found in your own apartment) before leaving the first hub world. The armor piercing mod makes the Pistol's shots ignore all armor modifiers, allowing you to headshot any mook in the game for an instant kill. Due to the number of generic upgrades the pistol can take, it is just as useful near the end of the game as it was early on.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. has several.
    • In Shadow of Chernobyl, you can acquire the Stalker suit (later patched into a slightly weaker Mercenary suit) in the first town in the game, by climbing on top of roofs and searching for a hole in a roof with the suit inside. This is pretty much only a helpful nudge, though, considering the small portion of combat damage even the best armors in the game reduce and how annoyingly fast the same armors turn into Swiss cheese with zero protection. There's the fast firing AK as well: it can be found with a bit of exploring in the third area and boasts a rate of fire that won't be matched until the final third of the game. Even after more advanced weapons start turning up, it's still better to stick with the fast firing AK until weapons using NATO rounds start dropping. But the Most Triumphant Example is the OC-14 "Groza" chambered for the ubiquitous 5.45mm. Its advantage over anything else with the same caliber is that its damage attribute is the exact same of its common brethren in 9x39, meaning that it punches far above the weight of the AK or the Abakan using ammo that weighs far less than the 9x39. The problem is that the gun is both a Guide Dang It and a ridiculous Cash Gate if you're trying to get it from Sidorovich at the start of the game, and unless the only stalker that has one of these dies of natural causes, it's almost impossible to obtain without becoming enemies with one of the Zone's most powerful factions, one that happens to control a Hub Level that you'll need to go through repeatedly.
    • Earlier in the game, you can get lesser Nukes if you're willing to be a complete and utter bastard (or a total One-Man Army). In the first map, there will often be military troops walking around (there's a base to the south of the starting village, but assaulting it with nothing but a leather jacket, a pistol, and possibly a sawed-off double barrel is virtually suicide) who can be ambushed or led to the Loner village nearby. It's a tough fight and will probably get most of the Loners killed if you use them, but winning will net you several AK-variant rifles, which are hilariously overpowered for that part of the game. IF you're very lucky, one or two will have an Abakan, which when toggled to it's 2-shot burst mode can economically down anything you'll be seeing for a good while, which leaves getting ammo as the only complication (easy enough to pull it off all the dead military guys you'll be slaughtering). On the other hand, the friendly Loner Bes you meet early on the second map has a unique silenced AKSU, so delaying that battle until you have something more suited for ambushing is also an option if you're willing to shoot him in the head or let him get killed by bandits and/or mutants. There's also an SMG in a nearby railroad tunnel that uses the same ammo type that is used in your silenced pistol and is present on virtually every body you come across until you start finding guys using .45 pistols. Between these two weapons, you'll be set for the next several maps, after which you'll probably switch to NATO weapons... which you can get several of on a mission you take for an informant, who sends you to kill a "master" stalker who is carrying an L85 that is lighter than the standard model. The guy right next to him has a silenced version. And while you're in that area, stop by the village (and dodge those bloodsuckers in the process) and get a revolver grenade launcher, which falls under Awesome but Impractical due to ammo scarcity but can be traded to the Duty leader for a load of high-end weapons and armor. And over in the Dark Valley where you raid a bandit base, one of them will have a "Storming Abakan", which has an underbarrel grenade launcher grafted on with no weight penalty. Finding grenades is tricky, but not impossible at that stage of the game, letting you hit harder than anything you'll be facing for several hours if you attach a scope that can be pulled off the rifles of the snipers in the Wild Territory to it.
    • Shooting the bandits at the first town often yields a grenade or two. With a slight amount of stalking you can get to the downslope past the road the military patrols on, hit the soldiers with a grenade and then rush the survivors with a sawed off. They don't yield much as stated but if you hit the first group another larger patrol will roll through later with precisely the same results. If you got the merc armor before, now you have grenades, military medkits, 5.45 ammo and maybe even an Abakan. This is more of a disk one nuke than anything because it really just requires one or two good grenade throws. If done at night or at least in the dark it might not even require that.
    • The subsequent games are even worse about this. In Clear Sky you can find your character's old Vintorez near the top of the first map where he dropped it, and while ammo is scarce for a while you can repair it for 9000 rubles—easy to make. You can exploit a clipping bug to steal an AK and scope from the CS mechanic, and the game practically throws high-end weapons at you constantly. The way they did stashes in Call of Pripyat, though, takes the cake—they're more realistically hidden in cubby holes and other out-of-the-way places rather than randomly appearing in containers, but that means that once you know where they are you can go fetch game-breaking weapons and supplies pretty much the moment you start the game. From the exact beginning of Call of Pripyat, a player can find; the second-best shotgun in the game, a nice mid-tier assault rifle, the best scoped rifle in the game, the second-best pistol and an upgraded version of the beginner armour set for free, without even talking to anybody. Or firing a single bullet. Through Nimble (who is located at the very first hub of the game), however, a perspective player with some extensive artifact moneymaking can outfit himself with some of the best equipment in the game before he even begins the plot.
  • System Shock 2 has a somewhat mild form of this. By abusing an exploit in the training rooms in the tutorial level, you can start the game proper with- among other things- a Laser Pistol in perfect condition, maintenance tools, an assortment of healing items, a Standard Pistol, and a Psi Amp. The weapons in perfect condition are the biggest boon, since it takes a while to fully upgrade the maintenance stat.
    • Additionally, you can unlock an armory very early on if you already know the code (which normally is given to you three levels later), gaining access to the game's best weapon before you could possibly have the skill to use it- but ensuring that you'll already have it whenever you do acquire the skill.
    • Further abuse of memorization provides early access to other keypad locks. You can skip the entire first level this way, not to mention large sections of other levels.
  • To an extent Borderlands, because of a promise to play with and give loot to anyone who proved they preordered the game. This resulted in many low level people getting guns they couldn't even use yet, though they could sell them for plenty of money.
    • Borderlands 2 has similar issues:
      • Due to the random-gun spawning algorithms that generate loot, in any playthrough there's a decent chance of stumbling over a gun (usually legendary weapons) that are powerful enough to let the player steamroll through the next few story missions.
      • Gearbox's SH!FT service (which is an in-game code entry system) allows the players to enter codes to get additional skins and Golden Keys. Currently, one can get 130 Golden Keys just by entering Golden Key Codes into the system, which usually aren't immensely powerful, but always allow the player to have a gun that's much more powerful than their current level.
    • In Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, if you have save data of the previous games, you start off with a unique Jakobs pistol and a Hyperion shotgun that are likely to be better weapons than the ones you start off with and can probably carry you for quite a while. In the case of DLC character Aurelia, being a wealthy Baroness means that she starts off with Purple-quality weapons and a large chunk of money that lets her anything she wants from Vending Machines.
  • Metroid Prime, at least the original, non-Players' Choice version, allows you to cheat the system and get the Space Jump Boots right as you land on Tallon IV. As a result, you can skip every single boss in the initial run of the Chozo Ruins except for the Incinerator Drone. It also allows skilled players to skip right through the Magmoor Caverns without the Varia Suit, a feat considered impossible otherwise. Basically, once you land on Tallon IV, you can snag the SJBs, speedily grab the weapons and Energy Tanks, and be in the Magmoor Caverns faster than you can say "Metroid".
    • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes gives you the "taste of power" variety of disc one nuke, except normally it's stripped away from you when you go to the dark world for the first time. Using a glitch called Infinite Speed and a bit of Secret World trekking, you can skip losing your powerups entirely. Beware, triggering the cutscene where you lose your powerups after actually collecting an item causes you to lose everything you've collected to that point permanently.
  • Halo 4's Spartan Ops have a small-scale version of this in many chapters, if you have a lick of common sense. You can steal Wraths instead of destroying them. The developers did not plan for this, and so often, you'll have a a plasma-firing tank when you are supposed to have two sticks and a rock, and you're got to share the rock. It makes stuff on Legendary possible without invoking We Have Reserves. Over time, they've wised up... and put in barriers you can easily get around if you're smart (break the wings off, normally).
  • The Ranger Pack DLC in Metro 2033, along with the Season Pass in Metro: Last Light, can make their respective games quite easy by giving the player access to ridiculously powerful weapons early in the game. The Ranger Pack bestows the Volt Driver, which can kill virtually anything short of a Librarian in one or two hits, as early as the second mission of 2033's Chapter 2, while both it and Last Light's Season Pass give the option to purchase the Heavy Automatic Shotgun. As the pages for both games state, "nothing that can be killed survives the entire belt".
    • In Last Light, you get to pick your choice of weapons and attachments from the Ranger armory in D6. At the end of the first mission, you get captured by Nazis and your weapons are taken away. On regular difficulties, you have to make do with looted enemy weapons upon your inevitable and prompt escape from captivity. In Ranger mode (now DLC only, unfortunately) you can find your weapons on a rack not long after starting your escape, letting you rock out with silenced assault rifles and silenced six-round shotguns when the human enemies are packing cobbled-together submachine guns and pistols. Of course, this being Ranger Mode, you're going to need the extra firepower.
  • Nosferatu The Wrath Of Malachi:
    • Father Aville is one of the first family members you'll probably rescue. He gives you the chalice of holy water, which is arguably the most powerful weapon in the game. It hits in a wide arc, can kill almost anything in ONE HIT, and the only things in the entire game that are immune to it are the penultimate boss, gypsies and devil dogs, the latter two being arguably the weakest enemies in the game anyway. Even the bosses fall after just 2 or 3 hits. Not to mention it can be refilled indefinitely at any water trough.
    • There's a hidden revolver in the very first room of the first major section of the game the player is going to enter, long before you can save a family member that will give you a revolver.

     Four X 
  • Master of Orion 2. There are a number of "special" systems which generally have some kind of reward for reaching them and a top quality planet to colonise. The catch is, they have a big space monster who will kill any interlopers. It seems expected that you need to build up a strongly armed ship or two in order to kill the monster. However, generally a fleet of about 10 scout sized ships armed with MIRV nuclear missiles can take them out - even if you lose most of your fleet in the process. This trick works because most of the monsters have only 1 or 2 extremely powerful attacks - each will easily kill a ship, but only one at a time. Doesn't work on hydras, the Guardian, or Antarans though, they have too many attacks.
  • Civilization 4: Emphasize science and tech straight to Feudalism to get Longbowmen, a vicious defensive unit that can protect your cities well up until you unlock riflemen. This is doubly true of any cities you founded on hill tiles.
  • Civilization 5: Play as Persia. Go hell bent for bronze working to get Immortals. Build up an army and declare war on someone immediately; score as many great generals as you can. Start a golden age, which lasts twice as long as any other civ. Keep extending it with every great general you get. Sit back and laugh as you conquer the world, since the golden age also makes your military units stronger.
    • Play as Greece and get hoplites, which replace spearmen and are only one point weaker(and much cheaper) than swordsmen, the default assault unit after basic warriors. Hoplites also have the added benefit of tearing apart cavalry.
  • Ascendancy: Find a planet with xenoarcheological ruins? Drop a colony module right down next to the ruins, start digging them out, and on the day before the dig is complete, save. Advance a day, and if you discovered tech you don't like, reload and let the RNG give you something else. Doing this can net you the various nano-level technologies, maxing out your civilization's propulsion, weapons, energy generation and shielding systems, potentially before leaving your home star system.
  • X-Universe series:
    • In an early mission, X2: The Threat gives you temporary control of a fairly well-outfitted Argon Express. If, upon returning to Terracorp HQ, you sell off the shields and rear gun, you'll get over 200,000 credits, enough to fix up the stripped Argon Mercury you're about to be given and still have enough to make a decent trading run.
      • This is actually The Dev Team Thinks of Everything, the condition you get the Mercury in is directly proportional to the condition you return the transport in. If you give the ship back with the shields and weapon, the mercury will already be near full health.
    • X3: Terran Conflict has many abandoned ships drifting a little off the beaten path that you can find, and either sell or use. Some of them, like the Advanced Barracuda, are powerful enough to last for large chunks of the game.
  • Galactic Civilizations: Finding a planet with a quality over twenty, which can support more than twenty buildings, nearby your homeworld. A player can use this to build a huge tech base and get useful technology early on, or as an economic base and have ludicrous amounts of cash.

     Hack And Slash 
  • The Diablo-like Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance series allows you to import character from other save files - even the character that you are currently playing. Abuse of this can enable a player to max out their character's levels and equipment as soon as they reach the town.
  • Diablo II:
    • The game allows you to trade between your characters online. One neat trick is to make Khalim's Will, which is usable by characters of any level (because it's a quest item) and provides obscene amounts of damage for most if not all characters below level 25 (when you acquire it, you're generally around level 21-24).
    • Enchant Skill, while normally a relatively useless sorceress skill that adds fire damage to a target's weapon, with incredible amounts of + skills, can get fire damage added up to somewhere between 3000 and 9000. It's still somewhat useless by the time you can get it there barring a very specific build. However, joining a normal game and giving that much damage to a character in normal mode essentially means anyone can go through the whole of normal one or two-shotting every monster with a regular short bow. To put it in perspective, Diablo only has 14,000 HP on Normal (though fire resistance does factor in) and Baal, the boss of the expansion only about twice that. The most a regular enemy has is about 3000. Makes early level grinding in Hardcore a breeze.

     Mecha Game 
  • Armored Core features the Human PLUS system, which can only obtained by failing missions until the credit count reaches -50000. During the mission "Work Robot Removal", destroying all of the generators to fail the mission on purpose can guarantee you -50000 credits, yes, you fail the mission in order to grant the power of Nineball.
  • MechWarrior 3 had a salvage system which allowed you to get just about any enemy mech, provided you shot one of it's leg off (and anything could be equipped on any mech). As a result, you could end up with a 75 ton mech after mission 4 (that one is canonic, according to the novelization), and 2 100 ton mechs after mission 8.
  • MechWarrior 4 Mercenaries features a gladiator arena, where you can play 24 missions very early on. When you get out, you have enough money to buy a few of the best mechs on the market, and the in-game time has advanced enough for them to be available.

  • It was more common in older games to allow high-level characters to give high-powered equipment and Status Buffs to low-level characters (aka twinking). Newer games generally try to prevent this by having minimum experience requirements.
  • Heirloom items in World of Warcraft can make leveling alts ridiculously easy, as they scale with character level and have stats appropriate to rare items. The weapons can also be enchanted with level-60 endgame enchants such as Fiery Weapon, +90 Spellpower, and Crusader (+200 strength proc, which is overkill at low levels). This is intentional, as you have to already have a level 80 character and spend a fair amount of justice points to acquire them.
    • In the Good Bad Bugs camp, there have been a few instances where Blizzard forgot to make quest reward gear Bind on Pickup, meaning that, since they have no level restriction, players could equip them on their low level alts. These bugs were quickly squashed, however.
    • Another of those bugs involved Enti's Quenched Sword, a grey (lowest level quality) sword, basically intended as vendor trash for high level players, but it had no minimum level to equip and so could be sent to a low level alt. While its base damage was ridiculously low even compared to the weapons you started with, it still counted as a high Item level item, and could therefore have the high end weapon enchants applied to it, which when sent to a low level alt, gave him a VERY powerful weapon. Sadly the lack of a minimum level to equip was fixed in the next patch.
  • In the original Guild Wars campaign, there was a lively economy of high level players who would party up, for a price, with low level players and run their party from the first non-tutorial town (or, more commonly from the last outpost before the high level enemies show up) to the last large town where they could get the best armor in the game. Both the running service and the armor would cost much more money than a beginning character has, but since you can freely transfer money from all other characters on your account this was not much of a problem.
  • In RuneScape, grinding your mining and smithing levels while selling off the goods gets you not only a good amount of cash, but also some very powerful weapons and armor— and since the enemies around the first couple of towns generally don't aggro on sight, it's easy for your fighting levels to be too low to use said weapons and armor. Likewise, grinding your fishing and cooking stats can give you lots of powerful food items for health recovery, enabling you to tank around monsters with a significantly higher danger rating.
    • There is a member's only quest called the Waterfall Quest that can be completed at the beginning of the game as there are no required quests to complete, no level requirements, no enemies that need to be fought (though you have to avoid some), and the items required to complete it cost very little. The reward is a sizable amount of experience, enough to jump from level 1 all the way to level 30 in Attack and Strength, which improves one's damage rate significantly.
  • Formerly possible in zOMG!— experience is tied to the rings, so at the time the game debuted it was possible to simply buy high-level rings off the Marketplace. Gaia Online staff quickly realized the many problems with this and locked the rings.
  • Realm of the Mad God is one of the few games that doesn't have level requirements for equipment AND they don't have vendors to buy unwanted items. Not surprisingly, one may see level 1 characters with top tier equipment, and veterans will frequently give their unwanted items to newer players. On the downside, one will also frequently hear newer players begging for items.

     Platform Game 
  • In Kirby 64, combining Cutter with bomb gives you the exploding shuriken ability. You can get it by spitting the second & third enemy at each other in the second level. The ability is infinite, you only lose it if you die or quit or it gets knocked out of you & you fail to get it back quickly enough (but that's extremely easy), & if that happens you can just go back to the second level & get it again. The attack can kill enemies from about a screen & a half away, most enemies only have 1HP, & minibosses are stunned by it long enough for you to do massive damage before they even get near you. You can also miss pretty badly & still kill enemies with the explosions. It makes the first few worlds really easy even by Kirby standards. It won't be so helpful though when you're going for 100% completion because you need to use a variety of abilities for that.
  • Intrepid Metroid players often abuse the open-endedness of the game's levels to get new weapons or items much earlier than intended.
    • In Super Metroid, this was practically encouraged by the inclusion of the obvious but difficult-to-master Wall Jump technique, which lets Samus climb walls and jump way higher than intended very early on in the game.
    • And in Metroid: Zero Mission this actually was encouraged, as there are pictures obtainable only by completing the game with a minimum percentage.
    • By the time Metroid: Fusion came out, Nintendo was well aware of the sequence breaking that had occurred in earlier games — so much so that there is a certain cutscene in Fusion that can only be obtained by sequence breaking.
    • Metroid: Fusion also has an example hidden right before the first boss. Almost right above where you find your first Energy Tank, you can missile open the roof and find a second Energy Tank, effectively doubling the ammount of health you would normally have at that part of the game.
  • LEGO Harry Potter contains a nice little gem. After the second level in the whole game (the first one at Hogwarts) you have the ability to get to the "Collect Ghost Studs" Red Brick powerup, before the plot would normally allow you to. It only costs 50,000 studs, which can easily be obtained by this point, but it allows you to collect the "Ghost Studs" dropped by Nearly Headless Nick as he leads you to the next level/lesson/cutscene, which are worth 1,000 studs each. You can easily get the 4 million needed to get Accio (which makes a lot of the puzzles moot by just giving you potion items) as well as other spells in just an hour or so of grinding. Makes 100% Completion extremely easy. Add to this a glitch that sometimes allows you to collect ghost studs after you finish year 4 (when you shouldn't be able to) and this really edges into the territory of Game Breaker.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 had a way for determined players to get hold of all seven Chaos Emeralds - and therefore, gain the Super Sonic ability - in the very first Act of the very first Zone through judicious use of the reset button.
    • And even without the reset button, it's possible, with skill and patience, to get all 7 before the end of Act 2 of the first zone.
  • Sonic 3 had a continually spawning enemy whenever you stood between two alarm points. It suicide dived at said alarm. Put yourself into a Spin Dash, but don't release and it'll rack up the points to eventually give you loads of lives. Not really a Disc One Nuke as it occurs in the last zone of Sonic 3, but if you're playing Sonic & Knuckles connected you can breeze through Sonic & Knuckles with tons of lives.
    • In Sonic 3, a skilled player can get all of the Chaos Emeralds within the first two levels of the game. Angel Island contains two giant rings per act, so before finishing the first level a player could have four of the seven, then another four, two in each act in Hydrocity. Alternatively, one can wait and not get any of the giant rings the first two levels, and just use the eleven chances available in the third level, 8 rings in the first act and 3 in the second. Needless to say that getting it on the first two levels means the rest of the game can be blown through.
      • This was also possible in Sonic & Knuckles. Both acts of Mushroom Hill combined have at least 7 giant rings. It was much harder to do as Sonic (but still possible), and much easier to pull off as Knuckles (due more to the amount of special stages available on Knuckles' unique routes than the difference in abilities.)
  • One of the most famous examples is the Metal Blade from Mega Man 2; it is unquestionably the most powerful weapon in the game, and one of the most powerful in the entire series; besides being very easy to acquire from the start due to it's easy to beat robot master, it delivers high damage and can cut through multiple mooks at a time, has a machine gun rate of fire, fast speed and long range, the ability to shoot in eight directions, and an ammo capacity so ridiculously large that would take a conscious effort to deplete it! And on top of that, it's the only weapon in the game that, some more than others, works effectively against half the robot masters (it deals good-to-decent damage to four of them, including the boss you get it from in the rematch, and it's also the weakness of one of the Wily bosses). If it weren't for it's sole handicap of several enemies being completely immune to it, it would make the Mega Buster all but obsolete!
    • Mega Man 10 has a similar instance with the Triple Blade, obtained from Blade Man. He's the easiest boss once the player gets his strategy down, and is thus a good contender to fight first. Although it doesn't have as much ammo as the Metal Blades, the Triple Blade also allows you to attack forward and diagonally with a Spread Shot, each shot is stronger than the standard weapon, and they also penetrate foes they destroy.
  • Mega Man X5:
    • Savvy players can get X's Ultimate Armor and/or Zero's Black Armor early; they simply need to fire the Enigma cannon and/or launch the shuttle at the space colony before striking out on any of the eight Maverick levels, then go through the first three Sigma levels and slide down to where the armors are being held. Of course, doing this is a one-way ticket to the bad ending, and usually makes it impossible to get Zero's upgrade unless you're very lucky.
    • A more "legal" example is Zero's C-Sword skill, obtained from Grizzly Slash. It has good range, and can strike multiple hits. And defeating Slash also rewards you with the Double Jump ability, which, as many fans would know, is very useful. What makes it a Disc One Nuke is that Grizzly Slash is the easiest boss (and level) in the game, and a good choice to start on the 8 bosses.
  • In Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X, Storm Tornado is a very useful weapon; it hit multiple times and can go through enemies to hit ones behind them, making it good for clearing out the levels of enemies so you can focus on navigating the level. Storm Eagle himself is also an easy boss to beat once you unlock the dash (in addition to helping you get out of the way of his vertical attacks, it also allows you to shoot him while he is performing his Ring Out attack).

     Puzzle Game 
  • Puzzle Quest: Challenge Of The Warlords has the Knight class. Abusing the Divine Right spell (which collects every Purple Star on the board for + 1 EXP each) and putting all the upgrade points into Battle (Attack power) and Morale (HP and spell resistance) allows you to easily create a Level 50 death dealer, before even reaching the Dragon Realms, the game's halfway point. And that's even if you don't get lucky with which Runes are being offered in the shops (in the PC version, at least).
    • The game's crafting and spell research and skill buying systems also allow for severe Game Breakers. The above mentioned Divine Right spell can be learned by any class after capturing a knight and building a mage tower, which can be done before reaching the first boss. Similarly, the chill tough spell, which causes your opponent to miss 3 turns, can be learned at about the same time. Similarly, the components for the absolute best gear in the game can be acquired at about the game's halfway point, allowing for every boss from then onward to be a cakewalk. Normally, leveling up only helps with certain enemy, as the game scales Random Encounters. However, you can buy skill points without leveling up, allowing for a level 1 character to have more attack power than any enemy in the game.
    • Another skill combo that can be a Game Breaker is the Warrior skill Berserker Rage combined with Conflagration. The former converts all red gems into skulls, and the latter changes all gems of a particular colour into red gems. With proper items it's possible to achieve turn one kills from level 20 onward, making for very disappointing boss and multiplayer battles.

     Real Time Strategy 
  • In DOTA 2, you can defeat Roshan at the first 20 minutes at the game as Ursa, once you get Vladimir's Offering because Ursa has an ability called Fury Swipes, which makes the enemy suffer more damage from you the more you hit it (And as such, you will recover health even more). Heck, you can get on level 1 if you have a friend with you and ask him to pick Wraith King. That is because of Wraith King's Vampiric Aura, which gives Ursa and himself a lifesteal attack. As such, you can give your entire team 200 gold and yourself an extra life at the start of the game. The game even acknowledges that, as Fury Swipes has a timer of 15 seconds to fade away on an enemy if Ursa doesn't hit it. Only in Roshan the timer is 6 seconds. And whenever you pick Vladimir's Offering, Ursa will actually say a voice line regarding of killing Roshan.
: Ursa can pull this off in the original Defense Of The Ancients as well. Other notable heroes include Huskarr, Lycan, Syllabear, Troll Warlord, and Enigma.
  • Unusual for a strategy game, completing the second mission of James in Sacrifice in the 'good' (and most obvious) way gets you the support of Sirocco, a hero-version of Persephone's strongest unit, in further missions. The fact that the player's avatar is needed to permanently beat enemy wizards is pretty much the only reason why you can't point Sirocco in the general direction of the enemy and win the next 3 missions while you go and get a drink.
  • In Mech Commander 1, the game allows you to salvage fallen enemy mechs, provided they aren't written off (i.e.: power core explodes) It's possible to salvage a Mad Cat mech in the 3rd mission of the game. The Mad Cat is one of the best mechs available - in the Heavy class, but with a speed of 24 m/s it can outpace most medium mechs. Having it makes the game a lot easier (although it's kinda pot luck in terms of getting it - at the time of the level, your mechs are unlikely to beat it normally - you have to detonate some explosive gas silos that the Mad Cat runs by).
    • The developers did release a patch that gave you a Mad Cat at the start to reflect the opening cinematic (though that looked like a power core breach). Getting the second Mad Cat through sheer persistence (20th time lucky...no, 21st time lucky...no...) was still important though to split the enemy fire between two targets.
  • In the sixth mission of Homeworld: Cataclysm, it was possible to capture a Taidani Battlecruiser when the most advanced vessel you could build yourself was a frigate. This ship would then be able to carry you through the next 8 or so missions, only becoming vulnerable to destruction when you gain the ability to build your own big ships. Really takes the fear out of those Escort Missions.
  • Dawn of War:
    • Dark Crusade's Space Marines have a disc one nuke of sorts in multiplayer gameplay. By going straight for T2 and immediately purchasing Grey Knights and a Chaplain, you'll cripple your economy but gain a small squad that deals substantial damage and is extremely difficult to kill, plus possessing a snare (thanks to the Chaplain) and a high-damage, morale-breaking AoE spell (thanks to the Grey Knights). The Chaplain's cost was intended to discourage players from purchasing him so early in a match, but it can be done and is very effective, often requiring the entire enemy team to coordinate to take out the squad.
    • Import the Old Save Bonus from the Dawn of War II campaign into Chaos Rising and your Space Marines start at level 20 of 30. After the first mission you can reset and reassign their skill points and thus, through min-maxing, acquire the high-tier abilities, such as infinite, stamina-based mines and frag grenades in bundles and artillery strikes. All of them are easy and safe to use and ridiculously powerful. Except for some particularly nasty bossess, the game will become a walk in the park.
    • Retribution's campaign and Last Stand mode have wargear packages for each of the factions that, while not particularly powerful themselves, provide some crucial bonuses and can be equipped at level 1, giving the player a vital early advantage before they can equip better gear later on. You have to buy them, however.
  • In Earth 2150, the UCS plasma cannons are available much earlier than similarly powerful weapons from other factions. Add to this the weapon's Game Breaker status (high damage, high rate of fire, infinite ammo) and you can utterly annihilate the other factions with an early rush.
  • Shogun: Total War has Warrior Monks, provided you didn't start the 1580 Scenario, or the Mongol Scenario. The Warrior monks are amongst the strongest melee units in the game, and to top it off, they also give a morale penalty to any non-christian unit they encounter. They can be got simply by building a garden (which trains emissaries) and then a temple. On top of this, most early factions deploy large numbers of ashigaru, which have terrible morale; the result is that one unit of these monks can potentially scatter armies if judiciously deployed. They can also unlock the No-Dachis, which gives the single strongest offensive infantry unit in the game. The Warrior monks main listed weakness is that if the opposition is christian, they lose their morale debuff. However, the main balance against warrior monks is in fact the humble Samurai Archer, which can bring them down by the dozens and potentially scatter them if combined by a judicious flank assault.
  • The Medieval II Total War mod, Thera: Legacy of the Great Torment, has a fair few, actually:
    • In the desert landmass of Syrianna, some provinces allow you to hire a Monster Bombard as a mercenary unit. It costs a whopping amount of upkeep to maintain, and you need to actually get to Syrianna and back if your civilisation isn't already on it, but... It's a Monster Bombard! It's an elephant-sized superweapon that flings half-ton cannonballs! It's the final word in anti-fortification fire-power, and it renders any fortress or city wall a sad joke.
    • The Ducado and Faustian Reich have access to cannon carracks while everyone else has galleys, dhows and longboats. I bet you can see where this is going. No faction can match them on the water, except for maybe the Privateers, with their startlingly powerful pirate ships.
    • In a similar vein to the Monster Bombard example, if you can get to the south-west continent, where Lao Che is, you can hire elephant units, including ones with rockets and cannons on them. They are decisive. If not, you could head instead to the dark mountains of the northern continent, Norselund, where the Jotnarr have been known to offer their services...
  • Depending on how you arrange your skills in Warcraft III, many spells can be this when rushing against the computer (where taking out the hero or making him run away early on until your troops come in is crucial). The Paladin's Divine Shield makes him invulnerable, the Death Knight's Unholy Aura makes him run and heal faster, etc.
    • The Alliance used to have one, where you could build a town hall near the enemy's base, continuously building peasants and making them into militia (same damage, twice the armor, half the health and cost of a footman) to swarm the enemy. Now only the starting town hall can convert them.

  • NetHack:
    • Sacrificing for Artifact Weapons because certain roles get powerful weapons as guaranteed first-sacrifice-gifts, and Wizards get their best weapon as a guaranteed first. An early co-aligned altar virtually guarantees ascension for a well-played Wizard.
    • The spell of Charm Monster for a Tourist (their special spell) or Wizard. No one ever does it because it requires spell-friendly armor to cast during combat, getting the spellbook is not guaranteed, and it takes even more patience than normal NetHack play. (Which requires a lot of patience.)
    • Through a particular method of Sequence Breaking, where one digs to the castle in the beginning of the game, one can get ahold of a guaranteed wand of wishing and use it to gather endgame equipment (the "ascension kit") at a very low level, assuming one survives. This strategy is referred to as "digging for victory."
  • Ancient Domains of Mystery has these en masse. The Small Cave is guaranteed to have several items inside, including a very useful waterproof blanket and several weapons. Sometimes, you can find ridiculously out-of-depth items like eternium weapons or armor.
    • There's a massive one for players who get the Raven starsign. Completing a certain quest nets normal players the Rune-Covered Trident, a very powerful artifact weapon, when they reach level 36, but usually that's a little too late to make a big difference. Raven-born characters, however, get the trident at level 16, and at that point it's almost guaranteed to be a major upgrade to their current weapon.
    • The 'Heir' talent, a semi-hidden talent obtainable at the start of the game, provides your character with an item - usually an improved weapon or armor piece. These range from 'slightly better than starting equipment' to 'carry you through a good chunk of the game'.
  • Even in the original Rogue, it was occasionally possible to obtain both a wand of polymorph and a wand of lightning/fire/cold on the first level of the dungeon. If you polymorphed the creature you were facing into a high-level monster (say, a Griffin or a Jabberwock), and then killed it with the damage-dealing wand, you'd instantly earn enough experience points to jump to level 10 or 11. The next ten or fifteen dungeon levels are trivially easy to survive with that many hit points.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light has this due purely to the random nature of the game. It's quite possible to acquire some powerful gear right out of the gate—for instance, you could jump into a debris field in sector 1 and find a Halberd Beam, which, while not the most destructive of the beam weapons, can still tear right through many early enemy ships. However, it's notable for being very hard to veer into Game Breaker due to no single weapon being flat out superior to any of the others (the aforementioned Halberd beam, for instance, will be laughed off by a level 2 shield or higher).
  • In the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games, some starter pokemon fall under Disc One Nuke territory. Pikachu and Treecko are this in the first two games, Skitty only in the second, and Axew in the third:
    • Pikachu gains Thunder Wave extremely early in the game, which neuters any opposition that doesn't resist it and even works on bosses due to a lack of Contractual Boss Immunity. Quick Attack lets him attack from two squares away, useful as most early-game Mooks lack a distance move, and can be used from behind a teammate, allowing Pikachu to spam Quick Attack while using a teammate as a Pokemon Shield. In the second games, right around the time Thunder Wave and Quick Attack start becoming obsolete, he gets the room-clearing Discharge ability, which hits every enemy hard and has a chance to paralyze the survivors, and Agility, the undisputed best move in the game. Agility gives Pikachu and all allies two moves per turn at no cost, and the boosts stack, allowing for up to four moves per turn by each ally!
    • Treecko also gets Quick Attack early game and learns Absorb to drain HP from his targets, boosting his survivability. Pursuit, which he also learns early, reflects enemy damage back at the attacker for full. The move is a known boss-wrecker that is viable well into post-game. With a bit of luck, you can snag a Bullet Seed TM early, which gives him a strong multi-hit move that can hit from across the room. Like Pikachu, he also picks up Agility when his tricks start to wear out.
    • Skitty is this thanks to her Normalize ability, which turns all moves into Normal-type. This includes her standard attack, which is normally typeless, and it gives the move a damage boost which makes it deal out damage on par with actual typed moves, but without a PP requirement. This makes her a monster early game and eases PP loss, which can be a major issue in some of the tougher early dungeons. Unlike Pikachu and Treecko, she cannot stay viable all game due to the early edge given by Normalize and is in fact one of the worst party members lategame, verging on Crutch Character.
    • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, Axew is the best starter. His Dragon typing gives him immunity to four very common attacking types and his base attack is much higher than that of his fellow starters. He learns Dual Chop, a strong dual-hit move, very early in the game, and not long after learns Dragon Dance, which raises his attack and gives him an extra move—which he can use to use Dragon Dance again, maxing his attack and giving himself four moves per turn in a single action. With Dual Chop, that means eight max-attack hits per turn. Even the Final Boss will go down in a handful of turns to this strategy, and Axew can pull it off barely a third of the way into the game.

     Shoot Em Up 
  • A rare Shoot 'em Up example: The Plasma Storm in Tyrian. Although it has very limited ammo, it can destroy most bosses in a matter of seconds. And it's obtainable even before the first stage of the first chapter of the game!
  • An early Wave in Raptor: Call of the Shadows has a Air-Ground Missile pickup from a destroyed building about 30 seconds into the Wave. You can then quit out to the hangar menu, keeping the weapon, and sell that weapon for half price on the Black Market (in this case, 70K). Repeat this process until you have enough money. Alternatively, if you're more patient (or have access to the level warp cheat), there's a later Wave that drops a Dumbfire Missile worth even more credits.
  • The Tektite Blaster (T-Braster) in Gaiares, which has a bit of a Guide Dang It on how to get it (Fire the TOZ 6 times, missing all of them, and then capture an enemy weapon with the 7th TOZ shot).
  • In the tank-based Seek And Destroy The Challenger is unlockable in the third town. It just happens to be one of the best armoured tanks in the game second only to the Maus (unlocked at the endgame), and has a large amount of carry weight meaning that it can be upgraded with sufficient weaponry and armour to make the game something of a cakewalk...

     Simulation Game 
  • Harvest Moon, surprisingly. In Harvest Moon 64, you can get Karen up to a pink heart in a matter of minutes, just by showing her your dog a couple hundred times. Also, this might be debatable as "early" depending on your priorities in the game, but by getting a seed maker in A Wonderful Life and a fruit tree you could sell fruit tree seeds and be easily set with money for the rest of the game. Another Wonderful Life tried to tone it down by making fruit tree seeds sell for less, but it was still a huge cash cow compared to... well, raising cows.
    • Rune Factory does it one better by making it possible to mine high-quality sapphires in the second dungeon. The sapphires reset once you come out and go back in, leading to a lot of players becoming millionaires in no time at all. House and farm upgrades became an instant piece of cake.
    • No Harvest Moon embodies the Disc One Nuke better than Harvest Moon DS. With clever Save Scumming while mining, the right guides, and a fair bit of patience, it's possible to become a multi-millionaire who can work past exhaustion without penalty, have access to the ultimate crop-growing area, AND have all of the legendary tools within the first two days of the game.
  • Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception has the XFA-27. It can be unlocked as early as five missions in, yet its stats are comparable to lategame fighters even before tuning. Plus it comes with QAAMs out of the box. At 26k it's only slightly more than half the cost of the much later-appearing F-22 and can be bought one, maybe two missions after unlock if you're stocking up the cash from doing well. Given that it was the Game Breaker superplane of Ace Combat 2, though, this is perhaps unsurprising.
    • In Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, the F-5E starting plane can carry a few QAAM missiles, which are essentially guaranteed kills against aircraft. The Su-37 Terminator is also unlocked after mission six and has very good special weapon options (and 82 standard missiles).
  • SimCity 2000 allowed an easy solution to power problems for very cheap. By starting the game via map editor, the player could begin in a territory with a "pyramid" of waterfalls - free of charge. Filling this pyramid with hydro plants would provide power for the entire city, making early game a breeze as unlike most other plants, the hydro plants don't need to be rebuilt after a set period.
    • In the original SimCity, a player could completely ignore roads and build only rail lines. While they cost twice as much to build per tile, the citizens don't seem to care about the inconvenience and it eliminates an enormous chunk of your pollution and all of your traffic.
  • In the first two Naval Ops games, blueprints for advanced ships (as in guided missile destroyers when the enemies are still using WWII tech) can be obtained fairly early on with the right research and come with weapons and auxiliary systems that would not be normally obtained until much later. Advanced anti-sub missiles for your battleship are especially welcome.
  • Finding your Dwarf Fortress site contains a volcano or a magma pipe near the surface: Priceless.
  • Elite Plus introduces the ability to buy different ships, but in most versions your starting Cobra Mk 3 -despite being woefully badly-armed- is a mid-tier model and quite valuable. Trading it in for a smaller and theoretically less capable craft nets you a significant amount of cash to spend on various useful upgrades. Other games in the series toned this down heavily, for better or worse, but Oolite reproduces it faithfully.

     Sports Games 
  • EA Sports is notorious for this
    • In the NHL series, EA frequently inserts a Make-a-Wish kid as a free agent with extremely good stats and little to no salary demands. In 09 it was Sabrina Ladha, a 95 Overall goalie who wanted only $500k a year, a pittance. Virtually any team could become a Stanley Cup contender by picking her up and using their existing goalie and salary cap room as trade bait. And since she was a pre-teen, she'd be kicking ass for decades.
    • Madden NFL had a similar situation happen with Steve Young and Barry Sanders, who both retired early. EA placed them in the free agent pool the following year with 90+ ratings, allowing owners to scoop them up and instantly have an elite offense.
      • Madden games also have "money plays" — plays which will always work against even an All-Madden level computer-controlled team for a guaranteed five yards, at least. Here's an example play from Madden 10.
      • The games from the early 2000s had a nuke in the form of any "play action" play. Safeties, even with maximum awareness on the highest difficulty settings, would bite on the play fake with near 100% consistency, leaving the corner one-on-one with the receiver (and usually a step behind him) deep down the field. It was not unheard of to set NFL passing records with an otherwise mediocre offense simply by abusing this exploit. (This became less and less prominent in the latter part of the decade as the overall AI of the games began to improve.)

     Stealth Based Game 
  • Assassin's Creed games have the Hidden Blade and its Counter Attack. It's Difficult but Awesome, but if you master it early enough you can One-Hit Kill everyone.
    • In Brotherhood, while the parts of the game where they are received vary by player, the crossbow and poison darts make most of the guard encounters a breeze, even in stealthier missions. The ability to instakill most enemies silently is extremely boring, yet practical!
    • Revelations is full of these, largely due to the fact that basically everything opens up to you fairly early on in the story. The Master Assassin Armor set is attainable as early as Sequence 3, giving you massive amounts of health compared to the two pieces of basic leather armor available at blacksmiths at that point.
      • Another example is the Datura Bomb. Easy to create, as bombs and bomb ingredients are unlocked rather early, yet makes every mission where getting detected is a fail incredibly easy. Just get high up in a rafter and toss a Datura down upon the unsuspecting Mooks. Watch in glee asyour enemies choke and drop dead. As an added bonus to not being detected for it, nearby mooks will then walk over to see what happened. Right into the line of fire for the rest of your Datura Bombs... Rinse and repeat as needed.
  • The Cardboard Box in the NES port of Metal Gear, due to the fact that you could shoot from it and guards ignore it even when it's in front of them, murdering them. You pick it up very early in the game.
  • The Rapist Scenario at the Supermarket in This War Of Mine. It will only happen if you didn't get the Three Armed Men scenario (three men are there first, but allow you to scavenge in peace so long as you stay out of their way and don't attack them) and is somewhat difficult, but very rewarding. In it, you meet an army deserter who attempts to rape a woman. Back Stab him and take his rifle, ammo and moonshine and the supermarket is yours, giving you ample food for several days. No one else will be there to scavenge the place. It also gives your characters contentment because Smiting Evil Feels Good instead of depression from killing an innocent.

     Survival Horror 
  • Resident Evil had the shotgun which could be obtained very early in the game. Normally you are supposed to get the broken shotgun, which you can't get for a while, and swap it for the real one otherwise you set off a trap. However, you can go straight there as Jill and take it, and Barry will save you from the trap at the last second. Since it can one-shot zombies (by aiming up and shooting right before they grab you), it lets you stock up on other ammo for everything else.
  • In the "Left Behind" DLC for The Last of Us, you play the entire sequence as Ellie. While Joel has to scavenge to hell and back to craft shivs to sneak attack, Ellie has an unbreakable switchblade which can One-Hit Kill anything she faces if she gets behind them.
  • The Evil Within: The Agony Crossbow. An elemental-type crossbow acquired early in the game that can shoot harpoon bolts, explosive bolts, flashbang bolts, electric bolts, or freeze bolts. The best part? You can craft ammo in the middle of combat.
    • Harpoon bolts deal more damage than a sniper rifle, especially when upgraded. At level 5, they set enemies on FIRE. This is especially useful since fire is a key weakness of almost all enemies in the game, and only a few things deal fire damage.
    • Explosive bolts are mines that are specially coded to the crossbow that they were shot from, so you can run through your own minefield and lure hordes into the blast radius.
    • Flashbang bolts don't work that well on bosses, but leaves grunts and some bosses open to a damage-multiplying sneak attack. This attack is a one-hit kill against mooks and more damaging than a shotgun to the face.
    • Electric bolts will stun ANY enemy for a long period of time, as long as you don't accidentally destroy them. They're also traps, so they are best used against agile enemies.
    • Freeze bolts are the most expensive but cause the enemy to stop moving, allowing you to hit their weak spots repeatedly.
    • Poison Bolts are a DLC specialty that poison the enemy.
    • Incendiary Bolts are a DLC specialty that are the most expensive but set enemies on fire. These become obsolete if you upgrade the harpoon bolts to deal fire damage.

     Tabletop Games 
  • In Exalted, it is entirely possible to create a character capable of hitting anyone, aywhere, with the spell "Total Annihilation". Or how about being able to create a curse that kills off everyone who falls within a broad category - say, humans? Or any number of combinations of spells, charms, artefacts and/or backgrounds that will make your character able to do one thing, and one thing only - but that thing will most likely involve a LOT of pain for whoever gets hit. In fact, most of the effort when creating a character goes into resisting the urge to crank up your favourite attack before you even begin playing.
    • Pretty much the defining characteristic of Mage: The Ascension in the minds of most players. A game where the progression and power limits were entirely defined in terms of a single character, with a loosely-written "cooperative casting" mechanic written in about five minutes before publication that essentially allows you to add mage statistics together with a spell and keep rolling until it was as powerful as you want? That definitely won't be a problem at all.
      • For reference, you put build points into schools of magic, and most effects need a couple points in several schools (for instance, you need a few dots in forces to start a fire, but can't hit a person with said fire without life, and have to aim it manually without space). So on an individual level dumping all of your initial points into a single sphere is crippling. Not so much with rituals and cooperative casting, a group of four or five players can essentially throw the sun on top of anyone on the planet they've ever met while sitting safely on the Moon from session one.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has the infamous Pun-Pun, a kobold (or other reptilian creature, but kobolds are traditional) "Squishy Wizard" who is able to have any special ability, and has "arbitrarily high" stats — most players treat this as Pun-Pun having ascended to godhood, and for good reason. Strict mechanics allow this as early as 11th-level, but technically it could be done as early as 1st with the right magic item, or demonic knowledge. The key to this is one random (but official) splatbook for the Forgotten Realms setting.
    • The game has plenty of more mundane examples and in fact a number of mechanics have been used at various times with low level survivability in mind. But third edition had some doozies, not the least of which was Haste, which was a result of the dev team not understanding the change in action economy from 2nd edition to 3rd, allowing wizards to cast two spells per round without suffering the second edition drawback of aging more rapidly (which itself could be mitigated somewhat by playing an elf but 3rd edition made that part unnecessary.) Of course the trade off is you blow through your spells that much faster but you can usually talk your party into letting you recoup after an intense battle.
    • Certain classes have a delayed casting progression, like the paladin, which only ever learns fourth-level spells and gets them much later. To compensate, these classes also learn some spells earlier, so they can remain competitive; the aforementioned paladin learns the useful Lesser Restoration as a 1st-level spell, while the cleric gets it as a 2nd-level spell, so the paladin only gets it a level later. Then there's the archivist, who can add any divine spell to his spellbook and cast it at its original level. A canny player will abuse this ability to obtain spells at a far lower level than normal. The aforementioned Lesser Restoration is one of the most common choices, as well as the 4th-level Scrying and Freedom of Movement as 3rd-level, the 6th-level Heal and Antilife Shell as 5th-level, and the 8th-level Summon Giants as 4th-level. This is all up to Rule Zero, of course, but by pure rules-as-written, an archivist could learn a spell that summons a CR 12 fiendish fire giant or three CR 9 fiendish hill giants at a level where a CR 3 howler is the best summon otherwise available.
    • The Warbeast template in Monster Manual II was designed to show what an animal looked like when bred and trained for battle. It was mostly pretty small bonuses all-around, plus stuff to make it easier to handle. That wasn't the problem. The problem was that it included a formula for price... and instead of using something sensible, like a table by HD or something exponential, it used the simple formula (for creatures with more than 4 HD) of 100 + 75 x the creature's HD. This meant that a 16-HD T-rex with the template was looking at a market price of 1300 gold... less than a suit of full plate. While hurling thriftily-priced dinosaurs at the opponent doesn't stay effective forever, it's still insane for something you can manage at 3rd-level, and a guaranteed way to make your DM ban something.
  • Age of Aquarius First Edition had the infamous "Psychic Vampirism" exploit. Psychic Vampirism is a power that lets you drain psychic energy from any random Joe Shmoe and claim it for yourself; (un)fortunately, the authors forgot to specify how many Confidence points you are allowed to store, which means as many as you wish. And six Confidence points and above make you into a psychic god. Just go down into a crowded subway and drain one Confidence point from every random passer-by; you'll be able to levitate mountains, fire lightning from your fingertips and mind-blast Cthulhu himself.

     Third Person Shooter 
  • In SOCOM Fireteam Bravo 3 on PSP, the OC-14 or RA-14 mentioned above is also a relatively easy to get and useful gun. Although to get it you have to score 750 kills, but you can just bang away in the first mission or custom missions with the lowest difficulty. It uses 7.62x39 rounds which is abundant in the 3rd and last mission, kills with 3 body shots at most, and had better overall stats than the AK103 used by Elite Mooks. Plus, it also can be fitted with a silencer which the AK103 can't.
  • An intrepid player can get a distressing amount of equipment within the first missions of the Crusader games; notably, can usually acquire the shotgun and rocket launcher in the first mission of each with relative ease, while finding secret areas later in the game can result in the character being fully-armed and armored by halfway through the game.
  • Gotcha Force has the Barrier Girl. She has a fairly quickly charging normal attack, a melee attack that drills opponents (so it does several rapid hits, good for juggling), and a fairly quick charged shot that she can use if the situation warrants. All of that would make her decent if not spectacular, except for the "barrier" part of her name. Said barrier is a shield that will simply absorb a decent amount of damage, and can be redeployed. Granted, it takes a while (unless Power Burst is active) for said barrier to recharge, but Barrier Girl is one of the more agile combatants - she's quick enough that she can strafe opponents without taking damage even without the shield. Even the wonky AI can abuse her ability to tank unless the player abuses the only early attacks that can chip the shield quickly (drilling attacks... like the one a Barrier Girl does in melee), and the computer can't handle them without breaking out the very powerful opponents using a Wave Motion Gun or a BFS.

     Turn Based Strategy 
  • In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, it's possible to exploit the hospital prizes and the Dark Assembly's promotion exams to get very powerful equipment, a huge amount of money, and all your units above level 20 before so much as setting foot on the first non-tutorial map.
    • That's still lots of grinding, and still somewhat ineffectual as it only carries you to about episode 5 or 6 depending upon the amount of people you did get to 20. It's much easier to abuse the random dungeons in Phantom Brave, mostly due to the entire fusion system. Getting to level 100 takes only a couple hours if you know what you're doing with your weapons, and in fact in that time you can also create a weapon that will demolish everyone up to and including the final boss, as once you have about level 70 or 80 and a good beefed-up weapon, you can pop a 'bad' title on a level 400-500 dungeon, stealing high mana items with your bottlemail, and supercharge that weapon to be totally invincible. Just remember to stay away from those fraggin' weapon-stealing mushrooms! (Or select a weapon whose final abilities have insanely large areas of effect to kill them all at once, like a bomb, egg, or vase. RES weapons work the best as they can complement Marona's own gigantic RES stat which renders her nigh-invulnerable to damage.) Also you gain much more experience for tilted-level kills, the only grinding necessary in the game is for facing down the final three EX bosses and building up the amount of attacks you can do. (Instead of SP your amount of attacks is tied to weapon experience level.) But with a + 28000ATK weapon in the first few hours of the game, who needs that! (At least to complete the initial game)
    • The level 20 thing is a relatively small bonus, though, in comparision to having the funds to buy end-game quality equipment before the first map. Not to mention the the Muscle Star, Chaos Orb, and Testament, which will send the Attack, Magic, HP, and SP of whoever equips all three that early on through the roof, which makes all grinding until level 50 or so ridiculously easy. And it takes only about six promotion exams per chartacter to get that grinding over with, so it doesn't take that much time.
    • Pleinair, in the DS version, is a Double Subversion, as she can only be persuaded to join you upon starting up a New Game+, but since losing to the boss in chapter one counts as finishing the game, you can still get her within about half an hour.
      • In the PSP version of Disgaea 2, the game just gives you a level 100 Pleinair at the start of a new game if you've downloaded the free DLC pack she comes in. You can then use Pleinair to easily beat level 100 Sapphire (also a free DLC download) and have her join as well. Presumably this could be done with paid DLC characters as well.
    • Disgaea has yet another easily abuseable method of game breaking. Go to the item world until you find one with an invincible geo panel. Level up Laharl's spear mastery to 25 — takes about an hour if you're lucky. You can then get the second best spear in the game, Longinus. Using the aformentioned lose-to-Mid-Boss trick, you can get it AGAIN, and sell it to make a TON of money.
    • The second one has a more blatant example. One of the levels about a third of the way through pits you against a squad of enemies sitting on effect panels that level them up by 10% of their current level every turn. It takes a little mindless, repetitive turn ending, but after a while they get all the way up to the max level of 9999, starting at about 10. Because you can capture any monster that's at most 2-3x the level of your highest level character, this allows you to quickly build up to having a team of these 9999 level monsters within five hours of starting the game. By comparison, the final boss of the main story is level 90. The PSP version patched out this exploit in 2 ways. The first by not allowing you capture any monsters that you can't create, the second by not allowing you to capture anything whose level is higher than your highest levelled party member.
      • But wait, there's more. At the end of the third chapter, you are thrown into a Hopeless Boss Fight against an enemy who is on average one hundred times your current level, with the gear to show for it. Typically, you would now be resigning yourself to getting mercilessly ground into pixellated paste or trying to line up the odd Fastball Special maneuver to nab a few treasure chests. However, due to the way the item stealing probabilities are calculated, even the most basic stealing item used by the most recently-generated thief will always, always, always have a 1% chance to steal one (and only one) item from said opponent. Now, the item to go for here is something called a Testament. It gives any character equipped with it a whopping 200 points in every single stat, apart from health, which gets twice that bonus. At a time when your average attack stat is roughly 100. Add to that the fact that character equip multipliers add another ten percent at least on top of that, and you have yourself a character whose curent level is 12, but whose effective level (i.e. the level at which he would possess stats of this kind without equipment) is pushing 50. Just keep reloading, and sweet sweet overpoweredness is all yours.
      • And then, coming off that honking stat jack, we have the Item World. Summarising briefly, it is a completely randomly generated dungeon created entirely off an item, and is crucial to postgame powerlevelling. Early on, it is mostly where you go to build up Felonies. But there's a twist: infrequently, you might be attacked by enemies called pirates - retitled versions of normal enemies. These are usually well above your current level, but your main character is now not only more than a match for them (thanks to having endgame gear at the start of your adventure), but also has an ability which does a percentage damage boost as long as his level is below that of his opponent. Proceed to demolish pirate booty with extreme prejudice, and appropriately massive experience points are all yours. Do it all right, and we have ourselves a level 25 character with nearing a thousand HP, easily 600 attack, and one metric shedload of Mana to pour into creating better Player Mooks... while the rest of your team is woefully underpowered in comparison. Mind you, considering that this is Disgaea we're talking about, this'll save you about 0.0003% of your actual levelgrinding time.
  • Phantom Brave:
    • It's possible to get a Bottle Mail (a phantom that easily "steals" items it is confined into) as soon as you start a new game and create enough characters to make a human pyramid so that Ash can reach the highest point on the map (this also earns his first Changebook that allows for Phantom Brave's spin on the Reincarnation ability that resets a character level to 1 with stat bonuses equal to the number of levels he gained before). It takes only a little bit of grinding after that to start exploiting random dungeons to farm items, mana, money, and titles.
    • Then there's the trolley — an improbable weapon that boosts Speed and uses Speed to determine the strength of its attacks. Since Speed also determines how often you get to go, grabbing a high-level trolley through "failure dungeon" grinding breaks the game in half and lets you clear all the main story stages without the enemies getting a single turn.
    • One map in the second chapter contains two enemies who will constantly level up on each turn. However, although their stats - including defense and maximum hitpoints - increase, they only retain the fifty or so hitpoints they start with. Also, the Titlist class has a special skill, "Big Bang", which causes damage to everyone around them when you confine them, and it ignores defense, doing damage proportional to the character's level. In other words, as long as you have two Titlists (or fuse Big Bang to another character) of enough level, you can just start the level, wait until those two enemies reach level 9999, then take them out with Big Bang. Instant massive level up, and absurd amounts of money.
  • Makai Kingdom: Fill up your favorite characters with bonus points by repeatedly confining them to starred items and killing them by wishing for huts. Reincarnate into classes with stat-boosting skills so those bonus points boost everything. Grind map 3-4 by taking out the "invincible" level 101 superfortress with your overpowered character. Congrats, you've made the main game a cakewalk. And you're in a good position to start preparing for the postgame.
  • In Fire Emblem 8 there is a colosseum in the fifth stage. If you have Seth with you when you enter the stage have him go there. Its risky, as the opponents range from weak to insanely powerful, but played right you can grind the Crutch Character up to a ridiculous degree and reap a whole lot of cash in one go.
    • Joshua can also be leveled up in the arena fairly easily. However, the usefulness of this is tempered by the fact that you have no class-changing items at this time and won't be getting a Hero Crest until Chapter 9. Of course, you're about to get a Guiding Ring, and sending Seth and Joshua into the arena so many times is bound to provide plenty of healing opportunities...and you can certainly afford to continually restock your healers with more staves...yeah, that's right, you can have a Bishop by the start of Chapter 6. As in, the class that absolutely destroys all of the monster enemies. This is totally broken.
    • You can pull the exact same stunt in Fire Emblem 7, but thanks to a Good Bad Bug involving Ninian, you can also have your character possess a godly defense boost virtually assuring they will never actually die in the arena. By only taking bets in the 700-730 gold area (Anything less is practically a waste of a turn, and anything more is pretty dangerous) you can easily level every single character to 20 (Even healers) if you care enough to spend all your time on it (Not only that, but you'll end up with far more money than you put in, especially considering that using the arenas doesn't use up weaponry and equips you with their weaponry.) The only exception being axe users, which are vastly unreliable against swords (The arenas almost always pit you against the type you're good at and it's essentially Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors with swords and lances, and quite literally with magic, with the loser not being as likely to hit.) in that they won't have a good enough hit to do damage and will often get double attacked due to high speed sword users. Not only that but it's a recurring situation; there's arenas in levels 16x and 23 in FE7, 5 and 12 in FE8, etc.
    • From the first game and its remakes, the Excalibur tome. It's obtained in Chapter 4 and only Merric can use it at that point. It is powerful and also has a high critical hit stat and is also effective against any flying enemy. Couple that with most of the enemies not having any resistance...
    • The "split story" nature of Genealogy of the Holy War makes for an interesting one. The second half of the game begins at Chapter 6 featuring the children of the characters from the first half, and their equipment will be determined by what their same-gender parent had in their inventory at the end of Chapter 5 (except for Briggid's kids, who inherit from their opposite-gender parent instead). If Lewyn's son is a magic-user like his father, he'll inherit the ultimate wind magic, Forseti, as long as Lewyn received it near the end of Chapter 4. Tailto's son Arthur is a mage who arrives in Chapter 6, so if she was paired with Lewyn... On another note, Shanan gets the Balmung almost as soon as he joins up at the start of Chapter 7 and will be able to dodge pretty much everything due to the massive speed boost it grants, making him your premiere boss-killer until other legendary weapons are obtained.
      • Ares's Mystletainn is a Double Subversion. He arrives midway through Chapter 7, and he already has his legendary weapon, so it'll be one of your first and should kill just about anything. However, when he first arrives, it's almost a liability as it provides no bonuses to dodging or physical defense, it can't attack at range, and the AI seems to love to target Ares, not to mention the fact that since it will kill almost any enemy on the counterattack and enemies tend to come in large groups in this game, he's going to get mobbed and can easily be attacked 10-15 times in a single enemy phase. However, the final two chapters are filled to the brim with enemies that wield long-distance magic and/or Sleep staves (which in this game automatically hit if the target's magic resistance is lower than the wielder's magic), and many of the bosses are also magic-wielders, making Ares one of the most useful units in the game—Mystletainn gives a healthy boost to magic resistance.
    • The same game has Sigurd recieving a Silver Sword in the prologue chapter, at a point where everyone else has Iron weapons. In fact, this Silver Sword is good enough to last him until he gets his legendary weapon (which is right at the end of his story). Especially since sticking with one weapon is recommended in this game: once a weapon gets 50 kills, it gains an increased critical rate. Sigurd's Silver Sword is likely the first weapon that will attain this status.
  • In Super Robot Wars Z save your money until stage 10. Full upgrade Kei's Bronco II weapons after this stage.(upgradeing his Bronco is cheaper) When you get him back in his Orguss a few stages later, congratulations! You now have the most powerful character in the entire game.
    • Setsuko's route lets you get the Mega Bazooka Launcher and Great Booster attacks MUCH earler, as well as most her early stages giving you Ace Pilot Kamille Bidan.
    • In Super Robot Wars Judgment, the Original Generation are insanely powerful, especially Granteed; you get them on the first (Toya's route) or second (Calvina's route) stage and never lose them.
    • One of the problem that the Mazinger units has(in term of balancing), is the fact that they are acquired early, and really often also has one of the, if not THE highest offensive power in the entire game, while also having the highest raw Armor out of any unit in the game. This is at its worst in Super Robot Wars Reversal where they acquired an extremely overpowered Finisher move WAY too early(not long after Tetsuya's Game-Breaking Injury is cured), at the point where the other Mid-Season Upgrade is nowhere in sight, while also having a numerous amount of extremely useful Combination Attack, and favored by the game's Relationship Values. Sometimes it make you wonder why they even bother giving the other Mid-Season Upgrade that late.
    • Aside form the Crutch Character in Super Robot Wars L, Kotetsushin Jeeg started with Jeeg Bazooka and the Mach Drill, both of which is an extremely powerful Combination Attack beetwen Jeeg and Big Shooter that cost Ammo instead of EN. Just like the Mazingers in R, they acquired their final Mid-Season Upgrade midway through the game in form of slightly more powerful (Old)Jeeg which comes with an even more powerful Combination Attack with beetwen both Jeeg. Put simply, the only thing that stopped them from being the best unit in the game is Gaiking The Great, and Koji/Tetsuya.
    • While Kaiking is a relatively mediocre mecha, its first early game upgrade, Gaiking is a powerful L Size mecha with Armor/Hit/Evasion/Critical boosting ability, essentialy turning it into a Lightning Bruiser. Midway through the game(unlike K where it is a late game upgrade), you can combine it with Raiking and Vulking into Gaiking the Great, who is even more powerful, has S Rank on every terrain, and have amazing stats, well worth the deployment slot that you need to spent to deploy it.
    • In Jigoku-hen, the Delta Plus, with its decent stats and a post-movement Range-5 ALL attack, is a godsend for your UC pilots, especially Kamille and Amuro, who are stuck with really crummy mook units for half of the game.
  • Age of Wonders II, courtesy of the Design It Yourself Equipment system. The system itself prevents most Game Breaker items from being made. However, in a campaign game you can bring equipment and heroes across scenarios. Lingering on the first level to build superior equipment for later scenarios shatters any difficulty, as your heroes can handle any enemy troops, allowing you to leave the entire rest of your army on defense. Nothing like giving your hero a sword with Double Strike, Extra Strike, and Life Stealing. And if you're worried about dying, there's always equipment to make your hero take only 50% damage from any element type, or heal all your HP at the end of a battle, or...
  • The Crescent Hawk's Inception starts you off in a Chameleon training Battlemech. If you play out the story as intended, you're jumped by four Jenners and lose the 'mech, but escape with your life to begin seeking your revenge. Except that it's possible to simply run away as soon as the Jenners appear, letting you begin the game in a 50 ton Chameleon. Considering that the largest enemy 'mech you'll ever face in this game is only , it makes you the biggest badass on the planet from the very start of the game!
  • In Project X Zone, Frank-Lei-lei/Hsien-ko and Chun-li-Morrigan are the two units who probably will blast through the early-middle stages of the game. Frank and Lei-lei learn their Multi-hit attack at a a really early level which can make them blast through Mooks really easily, and they're attacks are also easy to chain. In Chun-li and Morrigan's case, the first attack skill they learn is Chun-li's Focus Attack that obliterates an enemy's barrier, which is perfect for almost everything in this game. And they learn their Multi-attack faster (but not as fast as the former mentioned unit) than anyone else and they learn their final attack skill a lot earlier while everybody else is learning their Multi-attack skill. The only problem is that Frank and Lei-lei are more of the Mighty Glacier people though this is almost easily remedied by placing Alisa with them to let her cast her spell that doubles the speed of the unit plus Frank's skill that enables them to move 2 more squares. Plus triple the Chainsaw Good usage!
  • In Mission 5 of Front Mission Driscoll and his very powerful and overlevelled Wanzer are at the edge of the battlefield but won't attack unless you target him first. Normally attacking him is suicide, but by intentionally blowing off the limbs of a few Mooks (rendering them unable to attack) and positioning them so they're between you and Driscoll, you can Cherry Tap him to death with the Grenade weapon while he can't counterattack or escape. It'll take a while but he gives 7xp for each turn and a whopping 1000xp and 7000 dollars when you finally blow him up. This will, guaranteed, level up Lloyd to learn both Guide and Duel much earlier than intended which will turn him into an overpowered Crutch Character for quite a while.

     Turn Based Tactics 
  • In XCOM, focusing your early game research on weapons tech can let you field Heavy Lasers in the second or third month. Since you'll still be up against Sectoids and Floaters at this point, your Heavies are nearly unstoppable. If you go a different way, and play with Operation Slingshot enabled, you can even unlock Blaster Launchers by month three. This is terrifying and wonderful. The Blaster Launchers are made slightly less useful by the scarcity of the resources needed to build one (chances are you'll only have the equipment you get from Operation Slingshot for quite a while), but even one can take out clusters of weaker enemies in a single shot.
  • In Jagged Alliance 2 right from the get-go you can hire the best mercs in the rooster armed with high-end weapons. Sure, with your starting funds you can only afford a couple of days of their service, but that'll suffice. They'll curb stomp through the first several missions, and then you can strip them of all their fancy gear, hire some more affordable mercs and carry on with a substantial edge.

     Wide Open Sandbox 
  • With the right strategy in Minecraft, it's possible to obtain a few diamonds within minutes of spawning. That'ssss a nice diamond sword you got there...
    • Finding a NPC village also counts, as you get a safe place, a source of food and a way to get rare items all in one.
  • Thanks to the incredibly open-ended gameplay structure of the Grand Theft Auto games, you can complete many sidequests, and in doing so, acquire extremely high-powered weapons and accumulate hundreds of thousands of dollars ? all before even accessing the game's opening tutorial missions.
    • Out of all the deliciously abusable sub-missions in San Andreas, one of the easiest ways to gather funds early-on is (un)surprisingly the the oldest profession in the book. Provided you can find the right type of car for the Pimping submissions and have lots of time to burn, you can gather completely ridiculous amounts of money early on.
      • Or, if you have something else to do, in San Andreas you can go to a strip club near your starting location, and stand on the stage, where patrons will throw money. As long as you don't touch the stripper, you can stand there, collecting money (albeit at the slow rate of like 5-20 dollars a minute). This adds up after a day or so of leaving the game on, however...
      • You can also simply save the game, go to the horse track, bet everything on the long odds, reload if you loose, save if you win, and rinse and repeat until you're filthy stinking rich.
      • Same can be done at the Casino, but that doesn't come until later in the game.
      • Hands down the best one is the Hunter helicopter (basically an Apache). It flies, it has a machinegun, it has missiles, it's insanely hard to kill, and you can do Vigilante missions in it. Take the Vigilante Missions to Level 150 or so and you'll have in excess of $40,000,000 in about an hour. Oh, and you can do this in Vice City as well.
      • Drug dealers are often hanging out around Grove Street and usually have around $1000 and a gun on them. If you get a wanted level killing them, just save back at CJ's crib to erase that. $5,000-$10,000 will be more than enough to carry you through the early stages of the game
    • The off-track betting place can serve a similar purpose if you bet on the horse with the longest odds and abuse the save/reload system. Similarly, the drug-trading mini-game in Chinatown Wars can effectively render the in-game economy meaningless after a good hour or so of savvy trading.
    • If you are pretty good at losing wanted ratings you can go to the UN building in GTA4 and kill the guards to aquire their M4s long before they are made available in the game. Also works with getting the last available weapon, the Combat Pistol - attack a gun dealer and take it. Or if you'd rather play it safe, the Combat Pistol and M4 (as well as all other weapons with the exception of the Rocket Launcher) can be picked up at various locations even on the first open islands.
    • In Grand Theft Auto V, you can recruit Packie McReary as a crew member almost immediately after you start the game. He's a rather skilled gunman and takes a lower cut than other gunmen of his skill level, meaning that once you find him, your firepower throughout heists will be pretty well covered throughout the rest of the game without tearing into your profits.
  • Scarface: The World is Yours let you play as your henchmen for quick cash once you got the ability to unlock them. What made them easily abused was taking their preset weapons and stuffing them in Tony's car, adding it to his collection. One of the henchmen starts out with a grenade launcher! Do this enough times and Tony will pretty much have all the ammo he needs with very little effort.
  • Crackdown has two major Disc...erm...Island One Nukes. First off, buying the DLC gives your character some ridiclously powerful weapons accessible at any time - including your first loadout screen. However, you can also get the most powerful weapons in the game by driving to the third island first and killing basic street thugs that have them - once you reach a Supply Point with them in hand, they're yours for the rest of the now significantly easier game.
  • In The Godfather game, the aversion of Broken Bridge means you can, if you so desire, grind your way to high levels and the cash needed to upgrade your weapons through various means as soon as you can start free-roaming.
    • The sequel has Broken Bridge preventing you from getting the best henchmen and weapons early on, but you can still earn the cash needed to fully upgrade yourself not far from the start.
  • Saints Row 2 has two possible Disc One Nukes. As soon as you get your first crib it's possible to store any ground vehicle at it and be able to retrieve it whenever you want even if it's destroyed. It's easy to get a high wanted level and steal an APC with a machine gun mounted on it then use it for the rest of the game. The second Disc One Nuke can be gotten as soon as you have your hideout. The hideout has a helipad on it and through a combination of skill, luck, and persistence it's possible to jump out of your own helicopter and parachute onto a SWAT attack helicopter that comes for you when you're at the highest wanted level. If done properly you can enter the SWAT attack helicopter and store it at your helipad where it can be retrieved later. The attack helicopter's secondary fire is laser guided/homing missiles that make any combat where it's usable ridiculously easy.
    • Or, for the more feeble among you, simply head to the top of the police station and nick one. They don't always spawn though.
    • Side quests that gives you infinite ammo perks. Doesn't really matter which one. Pick one that's the easiest.
  • Saints Row: The Third follows similar suit. Once you gain a garage, and access back to the National Guard Depot, you can enter the depot, and hang around until you gain enough wanted stars to spawn tanks, then you can steal the tank and take it to a garage. You also have the option of using your own vehicle on some of the side missions, which means you can do drug runs in tanks, operating the mounted machine gun (or laser gun, at later tanks) while the dealer drives around the city in the tank.
    • Likewise, once you gain access to a HQ with a helipad, you can raid the National Guard depot again for armed helicopters.
    • Some of the DLC for The Third gives you a Saints-themed STAG quality laser-armed tank and armored car from the beginning, as well as guns like the Professor Genki mind-controlling cuddly octopus gun and the sewer-shark summoning shotgun. These make the early game near trivial, even on the highest difficulty.
    • The Unlockable Pack DLC gives access to most mission reward items and bonuses in the game; this includes the Apoca-Fists you get from the first time you defeat Killbane and every money and respect bonus, so you can start the game off with a 30% increase in hourly payments and a 35% increase in Respect gained from missions.
  • Saints Row IV lets you get a semi-auto shotgun shortly after dropping into the Steelport simulation, then when you return after "The Real World" you can play Keith David's sidequests for a Destructor tank, two versions of the Void UFO, and the Dubstep Gun, all within about 1-3 hours of starting.
  • Because of random enemy equipment generation and a complete aversion of Unusable Enemy Equipment, Mount & Blade will sometimes do this. It's not impossible to run across bandits or deserters wearing surprisingly good armor (including strength modifiers like Reinforced or Thick) or wielding weapons bearing the Tempered/Balanced/Heavy/Strong/Masterwork modifiers, all of which improve the weapon in some form or fashion. This can lead to low-level, just-starting characters riding around Calradia on an old nag of a horse dressed in shabby commoner's clothing, but carrying a powerful high-quality sword plucked from the corpse of some bandit.
  • Terraria has loads of them. Depending on world size, you could find iron, silver, maybe even gold as soon as you spawn. There's also a small amount of demonite that can be found throughout the world. Another way to nuke is to join any multiplayer server. Someone in the server WILL be either fighting a boss (who usually drop loads of items used in the making of the third best metal armor, or some better weapons/tools) or just giving out random things. One other way to nuke is to head to the dungeon. You usually have to drop down a few feet before you're really in trouble, so stay up in the lobby. You might find anything between a water candle (which are common), a water bolt (a pretty cool spell), or even a chest with dungeon loot.
    • In 1.2, the Truffle NPC shows up when you have a house open in a surface mushroom biome in a Hardmode world. If you create one prior to Hardmode (which is easy, if rather time consuming), he'll show up almost immediately. If you have enough gold, you can buy the Mushroom Spear right away, which outclasses pretty much every weapon you'll be making for a while.
    • 1.2.4 added fishing, which is pretty broken as a whole, but special mention goes to the Reaver Shark, a fish which doubles as a pickaxe. It has just as much pickaxe power as the Molten Pickaxe, meaning it can mine the first-tier hardmode ores. You can get it as soon as you have a fishing rod, just go to the ocean. You also need bait, which you start catching after buying the Bug Net from the Merchant for one gold.
  • In Dead Rising, if you get the Zombie Genocide achievement early, the game rewards you with the Mega Buster. It's insanely powerful, capable of downing most psychopaths in 5-10 shots. On top of that, it has a massive clip (300 shots) and if you use it up, it respawns. It is very tempting to just plow through the entire game with the Mega Buster alone.
    • More famously is the mini-chainsaw, a one-handed juggling chainsaw. Two of them can be obtained by killing Adam early on (though the fight can be difficult, it's easily beatable by a low level character if the player is savvy and prepared beforehand), and it respawns at his death zone afterward. When you unlock the passage between the plaza where the chainsaw spawns and the opening area linked directly to your safehouse, you can pick one up any time you want. Not that you'll need to do that often: with the right combination of durability-enhancing books taken from the various bookstores in the mall, you can make a single chainsaw last an obscenely long time. Couple that with high attack power and speed and capable of being stored in the inventory (whereas the full size chainsaw is too big), and you've now broken the game.
  • Zoo Tycoon 2 and its Extinct Animals expansion gives one the ability to create animals from fossils. While it costs 8000 and requires you to find the fossils first, what you end up with is the potential for unlimited, free animals who start off young, and thus live longer than purchased animals. In Challenge Mode, this can be a handy little trick
  • Project Zomboid has zombies that are quite tough in a fight, and the smarter tactic is to avoid them rather than fight them; however, from the very first house the player spawns in, they can potentially find numerous Kitchen Knives, which turn the player from a terrified survivor into a full-on Knife Nut. Kitchen Knives break easily, but are very common, are the only melee weapon that reliably one-hit-kills zombies, and to top it all off, the one-hit-kill special attack it almost always performs leaves you immune to individual zombie damage for several seconds.
    • There's also a chance to find the Fire Axe, one of the rarest and strongest weapons in the game, on any zombie corpse, meaning the player can potentially find one within minutes of beginning the game. It's highly durable, can frequently insta-kill zombies, and can chop down any door in the game with ease.

Alternative Title(s):

Disk One Nuke