"Some men are like musical glasses: to produce their finest tones you must keep them wet."You know that feeling you get when you get drunk? Like you can take on the whole world? In fiction, this is precisely what happens next. When somebody consumes alcohol, they become much more proficient at their discipline of choice, be it fighting, studying, writing... you name it. If it involves skill, that skill will be magnified tenfold when the character is drunk. Given what may seem the obvious drawbacks of drunkenness in general, this trope may bear some relation to a Disability Superpower. Some individuals, particularly artsy types, may attribute such miracle abilities to other substances. This is almost Truth in Television. There is a technique known as Drunken Kung Fu, but it involves mimicking the movements of a drunkard. Trying it while actually hammered won't end well. The Trope Namer is the Jackie Chan film of the same name, which introduced Drunken Boxing to the mainstream. Drunken boxing, Zui Quan, is a real concept within Chinese martial arts. Compare Addiction Powered. If only the personality has changed, you have Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Jack Daniels. See also Higher Understanding Through Drugs, Super Serum, In Vino Veritas, Artistic Stimulation, Booze-Based Buff. In kids shows or dubs, may be replaced with a G-Rated Drug.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Rock Lee in Naruto is an incredible hand-to-hand fighter in normal conditions, but if he gets even one tiny sip of sake... just run. Lee's combat moves are normally pretty direct, albeit quite fast and hard-hitting. Drunken, however, his moves become all but impossible to read, predict, or counter. And if anything, even faster and stronger.
- Ranma ˝ had a confusing example. Kuno suddenly shoved a bottle full of sake down girl Ranma's throat, but when she started the drunk-fu Genma claimed it was a technique where she was just pretending to be drunk
- Misato Katsuragi in Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of these. She's shown to be pretty much constantly drunk, even at work. The few times she really sobers up, things tend to go badly, especially when she stops drinking in the last few episodes and everything goes to hell.
- Inverted in El-Hazard: The Magnificent World, where Fujisawa actually loses all of his superpowers when drinking — much to his dismay.
- In the Tenchi Muyo! OVA, Mihoshi feeds Ryo-Ohki (the dual-class rabbit/spaceship) some wine, and the ship's wobbling avoids the Macross Missile Massacre.
Kagato: Now that's a very capable evasion. I wonder if it's due to the power of the boy's sword?
- Saiunkoku Monogatari has a character named To Eigetsu who is intelligent, quiet, and mild-mannered, until he gets drunk. Then his Split Personality Yougetsu takes over and starts kicking ass and taking names.
- YuYu Hakusho had Chu, who became more dangerous after taking a swig of Ogre Killer. Taken to whole new levels when his most powerful attack actually involves mixing his energy with alcohol to make an energy ball powerful enough that two shots of Yusuke's Spirit Gun couldn't equal it. The first shot weakened the attack and the second shot burst through it, punching a hole in the middle, but not stopping it. He also has a special kind of alcohol that... well... induces vomiting. Once he's emptied his stomach, he gets drunk even faster, which summons more of his demonic energy for him to use. (Tequila?)
- Hard drinking party girls Ruko and Yukari from Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu, on the pure power of booze, are able to infiltrate a highly-guarded mansion and take out several armed men, something thought impossible by some of the top Ninja Maids in the show. They then collapse immediately.
- The doctor aboard the Irresponsible Captain Tylor's ship, the Soyokaze is a highly proficient doctor who loves to drink and has been doing so for over 30 years (the drinking, not the doctoring, he's only 33 years old). The primary drawback is, when low on rubbing alcohol for wounds, refuses to use his own liquor, citing it a waste.
- Shinnosuke in Airmaster reveals Drunken Boxing to be his ace in the hole when his weapon is destroyed by a particularly huge thug.
- A Certain Magical Index: Kamijou Touma, in the light novel, one time gets drunk, dodges Misaka's lightning attack instead of negating it, then walks around town for five minutes and ends up with over 10 girls clinging to him like iron sand to a magnet.
- So it not only amplified his fighting prowess but his Chick Magnet abilities as well? That's got to be the best drink ever.
- This is Touma we are talking about here, considering the size of that man's harem when he DOESN'T want one, all the booze probably did was make him decide he WANTED a bunch of girls around him, and, well, the Touma version of the Tohno Gland did the rest.
- Inverted with Master Roshi in the eighth Dragon Ball Z movie. He is a professional Martial Arts master, and is capable of doing the Drunken Punch. However, when he became drunk with alcohol in the movie (which ended up bowdlerized/woolseyized as him becoming both berserk at someone hiding all his girlie magazines, and being sick from eating too many Tuna Sandwiches), he is completely useless, a notable example being when he attempted to beat Broly with his max power form, but only ended up making a fool of himself by changing facial expressions using his fool's mask as a curtain.
- Much earlier (in the Manga/Dragonball manga) he managed to outfight Goku by pretending to be drunk - since Goku had never been drunk himself, he couldn't predict Roshi's movements. This lasted until Goku came up with his own style of Confusion Fu to counter with. This was likewise bowdlerized into "Mad Cow Style" in the Funimation dub.
- In the Fishman Island arc of One Piece, we're introduced to Hyozou, the best swordsman on the island, who always has a gourd flask at his side. When he gets drunk, his cohorts think he is useless, but then its revealed that Hyozou fights at his best when he's like that.
- Corto Maltese once met an Australian soldier that couldn't shoot true when sober, but was an awesome crackshooter when drunk. (In the The Celts album)
- Tony "The Insensible Iron Lush" Stark. In the Ultimate series, he's asked if he really has to drink so much, and he answers, "Who in their right mind would climb into this thing sober?"
- Even moreso in Ultimate Marvel, where Tony has brain tissue throughout his body, making him super-smart but causing constant pain, so he drinks to dull the pain.
- Empowered: Despite providing the former page quote, Ninjette may not be a good example... She's drunk pretty much every time we see her fight, so there's really no way to tell how well she fights sober.
- A hilarious subversion can be found in the British comic Viz. The Brown Bottle undergoes his heroic transformation by drinking six bottles of Newcastle Brown and gains the ability to...slur incomprehensibly, stagger about and piss himself, albeit in a superhero costume. He ends up inadvertently saving the day anyway, usually because the villains leave in pitied disgust.
- In Sin City, Marv is highly dangerous but it is explicitly stated that he becomes even more of a threat when drunk. In Hard Goodbye, he kills two hitmen in an alley while drunk (and he purposefully got that way since he was expecting trouble and needed to "get mean"). In A Dame To Kill For, Dwight recruits him to take down The Dragon of the Big Bad. Before he does that, he makes sure Marv is drunk, which makes him "good and dangerous".
- Also, he was likely drunk when he killed the psychotic rich guys who were killing homeless men in Just Another Saturday Night since he was downing an entire bottle of whiskey at the time.
- Subverted with Hank's father in The Shadow Hero. He used to be a Drunken Master, but had to give it up and become a total pacifist because he became an alcoholic.
- Flight: Deconstructed. Arguably, Whip probably would have crashed the plane, killing everyone on board had he been sober, however, the effects that his addictions have on the rest of his life are horrendous.
- Master Gregory in Seventh Son is VERY fond of his alcohol, which he says is to kill "cowardice." At one point he beats up a man in a bar fight using his mug of liquor as a weapon - without spilling any of his drink.
- In Beerfest Barry is a master at drinking games, but only while inebriated.
- The Shaw Brothers' classic Come Drink With Me introduces the Drunken Master to western cinemaphiles. Displaying wisdom beyond logic and martial ability beyond discipline, this character has full understanding of his own weaknesses. This in vino veritas introspection empowers this character to open for repair the Achilles' Heel of the hero or heroine while protecting him or her by rebuffing the villains with comical exploitation of their weaknesses. Warmly comic, resembling the gruff uncle, getting by on the kindness of the public, popular with children, aspiring to nothing more than his next drink; this character comes from the ancient Asian reverence of the holy madman, the embodiment of unknowable chaos.
- Drunken Master, a Jackie Chan movie.
- A commentary track for that movie partially explains this. Apparently you need to be just a little buzzed and loosened up to properly execute its erratic moves. At the same time, you need to be careful not to be drunk enough that you start to lose control. This was something of a plot point in the sequel, "Legend of Drunken Master," where Jackie's character tries to go as long as possible without resorting to the booze.
- Not that either Jackie nor his mentor stop at "a little buzzed". As evidenced by his pacing and palsy just before challenged by the Stick King, So Hai is a functional alcoholic: he literally cannot function unless drunk. During the climactic fight against Thunderleg, So Hai tosses his student a gourd full of "100 proof White Lightning" (according to the English dub track: this would make it moonshine on par with Chinese baiju or western vodka) which gets chugged like weak table wine.
- Done twice in Jackie Chan Adventures by...Jackie Chan himself. Obviously a tribute to the film.
- Also homaged by the man himself in The Forbidden Kingdom.
- Not really a homage, so much as just a chance for Jackie Chan to use Drunken Boxing again. Jackie does Drunken Boxing because A) The character is claims to be one of the 8 Drunken Immortals, who are credited with inventing the style, B) Jackie Chan likes Drunken Boxing, and C) Part of the point in the movie was for Jackie and Jet to show off as many different fighting styles as possible.
- The drunken gunfighter played by Lee Marvin in Cat Ballou (1965).
- Cassie's mother in Push is said to be this. Cassie as well.
- Coke Ennyday, the drug-addled hero of The Mystery of the Leaping Fish (1916), is listless to the point of stupor until he shoots up with cocaine, whereupon he becomes an awesome detective.
- X-Men: First Class: Although Dr. Charles Xavier doesn't gain any abilities from becoming drunk, his inebriated state certainly doesn't hamper his telepathy, either. He sobers up when he realizes that Agent Moira MacTaggert had encountered dangerous mutants, and needs his help to stop them. Does seem to hamper his skill with pick-up lines, though.
- Dionysus in Everworld can only use his full godly powers when he's plastered.
- Sergeant Hellian from Malazan Book of the Fallen is one of the most capable squad leaders of the Malazan army, despite being falling-down drunk during every living moment. As it turns out, if given time to go proper Cold Turkey, she becomes frighteningly competent.
- A would-be Noodle Incident mentioned by Obi-Wan in Revenge of the Sith as "That business on Cato Neimoidia" is fleshed out in the Star Wars Legends book Labyrinth of Evil—Obi-Wan, despite staggering around after a dose of narcotic fungus spores, completely obliterates a roomful of battle droids.
He was in the Force, to be sure, but deep in some other zone as well, giddy with astonishment, as the world unfolded in slow motion.
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Wizard gives the Cowardly Lion "liquid courage" to make him not a coward any longer.
- In the Gallagher stories by Henry Kuttner, Gallagher is a genius inventor only when he's drunk. Most of the stories begin with him waking up with a hangover and no memory of the night before, to discover that he's just invented some new thing so amazing that before he can even begin to figure out how it works he has to figure out what it does.
- Stephen King could be considered an example, as many of his best works have been written when he was either drunk or coked up, and he's admitted to being a big fan of LSD in the sixties. He once stated that he really likes Cujo, so it's a shame that he has absolutely no recollection of writing it.
- A Kingdom Besieged has a weather mage who can only use his magic while drunk. He attributes it to having learned the magic from elves, while he's human. He hates alcohol.
- Haymitch is a hopeless alcoholic in The Hunger Games, but his knowledge of people and tactics is astounding.
- Codex Alera has an unnamed bosun serving under the pirate Captain Demos. While dealing with some monsters, Demos notes that the bosun is a far more dangerous and deadly fighter when he is drunk. Unfortunately, the man ran out of whiskey and hasn't resupplied.
- In an episode of The Drew Carey Show, it was discovered that Mr Wick was only a persuasive speaker while slightly drunk, and his skills were needed for some kind of meeting, but he was in rehab and not supposed to have any alcohol. In the end, they tried to get him just drunk enough to do his job but at the meeting he kept sneaking more and more until he became completely tanked.
- Johnny Fever of WKRP in Cincinnati once participated in a demonstration of how drinking impairs your reflexes—only to have his reflexes improve instead.
- Red Dwarf's Dave Lister has his skills for playing pool with planets greatly enhanced by alcohol.
- Earl's brother Randy from My Name Is Earl becomes an incredibly convincing liar when he's been drinking beer; "four seems to be the magic number".
- In Delta House (a mercifully short-lived Animal House television sequel) Bluto's mousy cousin Blotto would become strong enough to knock down large trees or lift cars after a pitcher of beer.
- In Titus, Titus's father spends all of his time drunk, with a beer in his hand more often than not. In one episode Titus and his friends try to get his father to stop drinking, and succeed. It turns out that he cannot function sober, becoming both depressed and bad at everything he tries. They end up having an intervention, telling him he has a not drinking problem.
Titus: When dad wasn't drinking he started pissing women off before he slept with them.
- In one episode of Monk, "Mr. Monk Goes to Vegas", Captain Stottlemeyer, normally The Watson, while on vacation in Vegas, solves a murder while plastered and calls to tell Monk to come meet him. Unfortunately, when Monk arrives in the morning, Stottlemeyer wakes up with a hangover and no memory of what happened. Monk and Stottlemeyer investigate and try to figure out what was going through the Captain's mind. Eventually, it turns out that, while drunk, Stottlemeyer noticed a clue that even Monk didn't find. (In later episodes, Stottlemeyer occasionally shows some uncharacteristic insight after drinking alcohol.)
- Super Sentai:
- A one-shot enemy in Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger comes from an alien species that gains power the more sake they drink. In order to combat him, one of the Rangers gets drunk herself. It was...weird, especially when the Sixth Ranger popped up after the monster grew manning the drunken Ranger's Transforming Mecha and lampshaded the fight with a PSA against drunk driving.
- Retsu also invokes this in Juken Sentai Gekiranger. While a more than competent fighter when sober, getting him drunk unlocks Jaguar suiken (Japanese for Drunken Boxing). As the fight wears on though the alcohol takes its toll and he switches to Jaguar nemuken (literally sleeping fist but in context, passed out drunk).
- Worth at least a token mention is Gosei Sentai Dairanger's Kazu, who uses Drunken Boxing as his primary fighting style (like Gekiranger, the series places a heavy emphasis on martial arts). This is believed to be one of the reasons Saban didn't use Dairanger's suit footage when they made Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. In Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, anyone who uses the Kirinranger key (usually Luka) likewise gets to use Drunken Boxing.
- Raj from The Big Bang Theory can only talk to women when he's drinking alcohol — or, in one episode when he charmed Summer Glau on a train, when he thinks he's drinking alcohol.
- Isaac's superpower on Heroes originally only worked when he was high on heroin. He eventually learned to use it clean with the help of HRG and Eden.
- Mitchell And Webb assert that the true secret of Drunken Mastery is to be ever so slightly drunk; to have had nearly two drinks. To learn the truth about The Inebriati, simply follow this link..
- In the Season 2 premiere of Raising Hope, Jimmy's parents find an old tape revealing that he was a great singer and pianist as an early teen; however, he's now completely tone-deaf following an unfortunate accident involving a golf club. After a night of drinking beer together, they discover that Jimmy can still sing after all, but only when drunk—and that he'd been slipping sips of beer in his younger years. Subverted in that his most recent performance actually was still tone-deaf— Jimmy's parents were just so drunk that they thought he was on key.
- On Happy Endings, Penny is able to speak fluent Italian when drunk.
- In an Episode of Entourage Turtle enters a video game competition, then discovers that he is only good at the game while he's high. This leads to a frantic search to get him some marijuana before the start of the competition. He loses anyway to an adolescent boy.
- In Chinese Paladin, Taoist Master Mo Yixi, "the Drunken Sword Immortal," basically plays this trope for all it's worth.
- Subverted in How I Met Your Mother: Ted thinks he becomes a master of beatboxing when drunk. Lily disagrees.
- A Saturday Night Live sketch from the 80s involved a character named "Drunk Man", who, while having no superpowers, was brave enough while drunk to intimidate barroom bullies through sheer confusion. And yes, he had a superhero costume.
- In one episode of The F Word, Gordon Ramsay challenged Top Gear presenter James May to a cooking challenge. James turned up and made a deceptively simple fish pie while knocking back several glasses of wine. And he won. By a significant margin.
- Pick a metal guitarist. Any metal guitarist.
- In that case, pick a rock star from the 70s and 80s.
- Freddie Mercury deserves special mention, because while at death's door, he slammed some vodka to get through the last track of Innuendo - and did it in one take. The track? "The Show Must Go On."
- Zoot Sims was once asked by a fan how he could play so well when loaded, he replied with “I practice when I'm loaded.”
- Keith Moon, often considered one of the greatest drummers ever thanks to his hyperactive, flowing drumming style. Although he also had a large amount of Deconstruction/Subversion in the mix; At one point he was so high on animal tranqs that he passed out mid-show (leading to the now infamous Scott Halpin incident), and another time Pete Townshend became so infuriated with the rampant drug use that he flushed all of Moon's drugs down the toilet. Moon died due to a severe drug overdose - he had been mixing handfuls of prescription antidepressants with alcohol.
- Shane MacGowan.
- Bassist James Jamerson was so wasted when he went to record the part for the title track of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On that he had to lay down on the floor to play his instrument. His performance is regarded as one of the highlights of his legendary career.
- Subverted in "Fisticuffs Multiball" in The Champion Pub — your opponent is so drunk that he can't hit you.
- There is a Dungeons & Dragons prestige class based on this trope. It's called the Drunken Boxer. In 3.5, it's actually called the Drunken Master. It also includes a Shout-Out to Jackie Chan, as along with the usual effects (unpredictable moves, dulled sensations of pain) the prestige class also grants Improvised Weapon Proficiency. At high levels, drinking alcohol grants you a breath weapon. Beware going too far with your ordinary monk levels, though, as the 11th (in addition to making it impossible to get the breath weapon in a non-Epic campaign) makes it impossible to get drunknote .
- Unknown Armies has Dipsomancers, mages who can warp reality while drunk.
- The Hong Kong action movie inspired Feng Shui lets characters get training in the "Path of the Empty Bottle".
- Hong Kong Action Theatre has Joi Kuen (Drunken Boxing) as a "substyle" of kung fu which can be added to any style, which adds Dodge and Nerve Strike as additional maneuvers to any existing style. In addition, there's the "Drunk" Signature Move from the To Live and Die in HK supplement which allows a character with the signature to ignore all damage penalties for three combat turns if he or she can take a good swig during a fight, as well as adding a +1 bonus to Dodges and Nerve Strikes due to their Joi Kuen.
- Exalted, which also borrows heavily from kung-fu movies, has Orgiastic Fugitive Style, which also works with other illicit substances such as opium and hashish, and allows the use of liquor bottles and hookahs as Improvised Weapons.
- Apparently Exalted is also fun to 'play' while drunk.
- In the tabletop RPG 7th Sea, which features a swashbuckling alternate version of Europe, there is a combat school for Avalonians (Britons) called the Rory Finnegan school. You must drink to use your Knacks (abilities) in game and take inebriation penalties to all of your rolls. Once you become Master rank, all of those penalties reverse into bonuses.
- 7th Sea also has a feat that is the opposite of this trope: Able Drinker. Drink as much as you want, you'll never get drunk. This is such a waste at parties.
- Munchkin Fu has the 'drunken' style enhancement, which grants a +1d6 combat bonus modifier to the style. This inevitably leads to hilarious combinations of styles and enhancers, such as the Drunken Banana Fu or the Drunken Blindfolded Wire Fu.
- Legend supports drunken fighting very well - a chain of feats allows characters to heal themselves or gain a Strength bonus (at the cost of a Dexterity penalty) by consuming alcohol. The default setting of the game, Hallow, traces the origins of this fighting style to raucous dwarf masters of drunken combat who have been imitated by all other races.
- In the MOBA League of Legends, there is a character named Gragas, known as the Rabble Rouser, because his favorite pastime is to go to bars with his good friend Jax, get himself hammered drunk, and proceed to beat up everyone in the room. In the game itself, Gragas' entire ability set is built around his liking for alcohol.
- His passive ability is called Happy Hour, which restores 2% of his maximum HP over a few seconds every time he uses an ability.
- His Q ability is called Barrel Roll (no, not in that way), in which he rolls out his keg, which explodes and deals ability power-based damage.
- His W ability is called Drunken Rage, in which he chugs from his keg to restore some of his mana, increase his attack damage, and reduces damage from all sources. It costs nothing, and it can activate Happy Hour above, which makes him one of the stronger laners in the game.
- His E ability is called Body Slam, in which Gragas charges straight for wherever you're aiming, dealing damage to enemies hit. This can be used to go through walls, either to escape or to engage.
- Finally, there's his ultimate (R) ability, Explosive Cask. Gragas throws his barrel, which explodes upon hitting the ground, dealing damage to all enemies in the radius and knocking them straight back from the epicenter of the explosion.
- Yasuo is a downplayed example. Most of his lines and gameplay don't touch on it, but his joke and recall show him drinking from a flask and very skillfully manipulating it with his sword.
- Maginx the Brewmaster in Defense Of The Ancients Allstars has the ability to dodge attacks and occasionally deliver a critical strike with his drunken fighting technique. He can also toss alcohol at enemies, slowing them down and causing most of their attacks to miss. In Dot A 2, it's stated in his lore he earned his title by drinking and fighting the old Brewmaster for nine days straight.
- The Drunken Master from Heroes of Newerth is a more traditional version of this trope. He fights by using odd but deadly maneuvers that resembles a drunken person, and his skills become more effective if he has enough to drink.
- His Q ability, Lunge, has him lunge at an enemy, spinning around it as they are left stunned. He can follow up with another attack that pushes him away from him. If he's sufficiently drunk, the enemy is also slowed.
- His W ability, Drink, is the source of his drunkenness, granting him drinks in charges every few seconds. He can also stop and chug his drink down, restoring health over a short period of time. He'll also celebrate an enemy hero kill with more drinks.
- His E ability, Stagger, has him stumble a short distance away, dodging any projectile that was heading toward him and dealing some damage around where he stumbled to. If he's drunk enough, he also gains a large movespeed and damage buff for a short time.
- His ultimate, Unbreakable, not only gives him an attack speed boost for a short time, it makes him completely shrug off any single-target ability projectile that hits him. If he's drunk enough, he also gains a significant damage reduction bonus.
- Ringo from VainGlory is always carrying a large gourd of alcohol during battle. He's also a marksman. Despite being inebriated, he remains accurate enough to consistently shoot fleeing enemies in the ankles to slow them down. His ultimate ability is to breathe fire at his enemies to deal massive damage.
Ringo: I see... three of them. Eh, just shoot all three!
- Bacchus from Smite is the Roman God of Wine, and he uses his drunkenness to fight. He has his own Drunk-O-Meter, which he gains from drinking out of his wine jug, that gives him more magic power and damage reduction if he's tipsy, or even more damage reduction if he's smashed. He can damage enemies with an ungraceful belly flop or a belch, which becomes stronger if he's tipsy. His ultimate drenches everyone with wine, dealing magical damage, and also getting more magic power if he's smashed, because he's angry about the lost wine. Apparently, MOBAs love this trope.
- In Dwarf Fortress, every single dwarf in the world, be it male, female or child. We're talking about people able to build enormous strongholds or beating a bull to death, as long as there is enough booze for everyone.
- In the Yakuza series, it's a very bad idea to pick a fight with Kazuma. It's an even worse idea to pick a fight with Kazuma when he's drunk: while drunk, his Heat meter recharges faster, and he even has some special (not to mention bone shattering) moves that he can only do while drunk. You will probably spend lots of yen just getting him hammered or buying alcohol to go to always make sure you always have a little extra oomph.
- Somehow, the enemies don't understand this and will attack you more often if you're drunk, thinking you're an easy mark.
- In the movie, the enemies actually panic when they see him drinking from a bottle
- The Demoman of Team Fortress 2 is commonly depicted as a drunkard who is very good at his job despite the fact that he is consistently inebriated.
- Or perhaps because of. It's not a job you'd want to be doing when tense. As he explains, one crossed wire, one wayward pinch of potassium chlorate, one errant twitch - and kablooie! Also, once one becomes an alcoholic, stopping is very difficult - a well known side effect of alcohol withdrawal is 'delirium tremens', literally meaning 'the insane trembling'. This would be a great many errant twitches. Thus, stopping would probably be fatal in short order.
- Surprisingly, despite being a drunkard and a Scotsman, the Demo is portrayed as a very nice guy who cares for his family, lives in a mansion, has three jobs including demolitions expert and makes five million dollars a year. In fact, the comic almost seems to imply he's drunk only for work.
- Zegram from Rogue Galaxy has an attack that requires him to take a swig of liquor first.
- Shun Di in the video game series Virtua Fighter is an Old Master of Drunken Boxing. One of his moves is to swig alcohol, and the more drinks he takes (the game keeps count just under his life bar), the more moves he can perform.
- Chin Gentsai of The King of Fighters fame also fits this trope. He uses his liquor jugs as projectiles, and his DM/NEO-MAX has him taking some chugs and then blowing fire on you. Also, in XIII you must make him take chugs and fill a counter to unleash some of his moves.
- In Ōkami, Mr. Orange declares that performing a mystic dance, the Konohana Shuffle, to coax a sacred tree into bloom requires that he "break his vow of temperance" and take a sip of sake. He then chugs down a huge bottle. In the same game, different types of sake augment the main character's attack and defense abilities.
- It doesn't work out so well for Orochi. Getting him totally smashed is actually the key to defeating him. In the original legend, Susanoo just left out a bunch of sake and waited for Orochi to pass out, then came and lopped off his heads. This version is a bit more action-packed.
- It's also parodied with one of the Brush Gods, Kasugami. In her introduction, she is presented as drinking from a large sake waterskin as a few Imps attack her by hurling instruments at her. She leaps into the air... only to utterly fail to dodge any of them.
- Fallout Tactics allows the player to pick the "Drunken Master" perk, which boosts melee damage by 20% while drunk.
- Deus Ex: One segment of the game ends with a helicopter evac, the chopper piloted by a character previously seen drinking in a bar an hour or so beforehand. When JC begins to call him out, the pilot defends himself by claiming that "You don't want to fly one of these things all wound up. They have a temperament, especially in a crosswind."
- Touhou has Suika Ibuki, the (apparently) underage Drunken Master. It's never explicitly stated that she needs the alcohol, but despite reeling around in an apparent drunken stupor, she's every bit as dangerous as the other characters. (In Japanese mythology, Oni, like Suika, are frequently depicted as party animals who love gambling and drinking. Supposedly, it's a rare human that can outdrink one of them.)
- It's said that no one has ever seen her sober. It helps that she has a gourd that never runs out of sake.
- Suika's friend Yuugi Hoshiguma doesn't put down her sake to start a fight with the player in Subterranean Animism. Her sake not even drop!
- Also, ZUN has never been seen without a beer close by. He also admitted being drunk during some of Imperishable Night's development. Memes being what they are, he is frequently depicted by fans as never being sober.
- Subverted in Wing Commander III, where before a ship defense mission you're given a choice of drinking over the loss of the PC's love being revealed, or talking with the head mechanic. If you choose to drink, in the scramble mission that follows your controls will occasionally reverse, or not respond to the player's directions. Sober, the mission isn't too difficult, but drunk, more often than not you're lucky if you survive the engagement, never mind meeting any of the mission objectives.
- In Warcraft, the Pandaren are a race of Pandas who, besides being skilled fighters have a natural love of alcohol, with a particular caste known as Brewmasters who go out into the world to make the best of the stuff.
- Further, in Warcraft 3, the Brewmaster hero can drench his enemies in booze before breathing fire on them (to great effect), and has a skill called "Drunken Brawler", which combines the effects of the passive abilities of the two best heroes in the game.
- In Mists of Pandaria, the fourth Expansion Pack to World of Warcraft, the Brewmaster is one of the talent trees of the newly-introduced Monk class, which is available to all races save for Goblins and Worgen. They tank by getting tanked.
- And just to prove further that MOBAs love this trope, Blizzard's own take, Heroes of the Storm features one of those Brewmasters, Chen Stormstout, who can drink on his brew and magically granting him shield as long as he drinks, and his moveset involves breathing fire out of his booze or drenching his enemies with his booze, slowing them down and making them more susceptible from his aforementioned fire breath. When talented, he gains evasion skill like a drunken master evading things with ease.
- The Drunken Master style of Jade Empire. You regain some hit points by drinking the bottles Hou conjures up, and you do hit a little harder, but your reflexes become sluggish.
- Hou's Back Story also points out the downside to Drunken Master. He did get alcohol poisoning, and ended up ruined. There was a fellow that stepped in and offered him a chance for a comeback, but there were some "drawbacks", including the reason he's now called Henpecked Hou.
- By contrast, Black Whirlwind loves to drink and fight...and doesn't care about the order which they're done in. He admits that he was naked and drunk during one of his better rampages. Later, you team him up with Hou, which gives him a chance to do the two things he loves the most at the same time, to his utter delight.
- In Condemned 2: Bloodshot, Ethan has become an alcoholic. When using a firearm, his arm wavers and jitters heavily while looking through the iron sights. After draining a bottle of whiskey, though, his DT's disappear and his aim is dead-on for the next several minutes. It ceases to be a problem close to the end of the game, after a bizarre dream sequence in which he fights and kills the Anthropomorphic Personification of his alcoholism.
- Shadow Hearts: From the New World has a cat named Mao who practices Drunken Fist.
- Misha, the drunkard jet pilot from Mercenaries 2: World in Flames who can't fly his (junker) jet sober (or do anything else). According to him, no one in their right mind would get in that jet sober. In spite of being too drunk to stand ("Don't need to stand to fly jet.") he can still deliver two unguided 500lb bombs to within 2m of a smoke grenade in the same run.
- Brad Wong in Dead or Alive 3. Not only does he use the Drunken Fist style, he keeps a flask handy and even drinks from it during a fight. In fact, his Story Mode on DOA3 is about him searching for Genra/Omega because he was told that was the name of some alcohol.
- Soda Popinski/Vodka Drunkenski from Punch-Out!!. He always comes to the ring with a bottle of vodka in hand (replaced with "pop" in the NES version), and in the Wii version, takes a drink from the bottle to restore his stamina and increase his punching power for a short time. When he fights, you can see the alcohol bubbles surrounding him.
- He's drinking soda, hence "Soda" Popinski. At least in the Wii version, as it really is soda this time around.
- In the NES version, sometimes he will say the following between rounds: "I drink to prepare for a fight. Tonight I am very prepared!"
- BioShock and its sequel feature several tonics that give the player the ability to restore EVE, the goo that fuels the crazy superpowers, by drinking alcohol rather than having it reduced. This is counterbalanced by the drunkenness messing up the aiming of your deadly lightning and fire blasts.
- Bo'Rai Cho, who in the storyling of Mortal Kombat, invented this style of fighting.
- Sleip of Blaze Union - like Suika above, she is never sober, but this is to forget her entire clan being wiped out.
- The titular hero of The Witcher can learn a skill called Buzz which makes his attacks do more damage and makes him immune to pain. There's nothing more awesome than watching him drunkenly stagger over to a foe and bring his sword crashing down on its head.
- The Reaver from Bloodline Champions is drunk all the time. This allows him to do absurd things from parrying bullets to kicking people so hard they explode.
- Cyrus in Forever's End is known as "The Drunken Swordmaster", and gains access to new stances and powers by drinking booze.
- In Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, drinking allows Frank West to charge his photography faster. Doesn't seem like much until you realize that this also gives him better weapons to use. Off course, drinking too much makes him throw up.
- Minions and dwarves (of course) in Overlord gain a temporary stat boost after guzzling mugs of beer.
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask combines this with Drunk on Milk in the pricey "Chateau Romani" drink, which gives you unlimited mana; that is, until it's time to reset everything.
- Bastion has the main character "equip" drinks as part of the leveling system.
- Super Robot Wars Z3: Jigoku-Hen has Gadlight Meonsam. His character portait always looks like he's plastered, yet he's the strongest pilot from the planet Gemini.
- In the games Wakfu and Dofus, the Pandawa race embody this trope, using "Bamboo Milk" to enter a drunken state and utilize abilities such as "Boozer", "Drunkeness" and "Alchoholic Breath".
- The protagonist of this stick figure short. True to form, he drinks about 4 bottles of booze and takes an additional level in badass.
- Qrow from RWBY; he fights Winter to a stalemate despite being completely trashed (and he was apparently holding back, as he never activated his weapon's scythe mode), and he's said to be permanently drunk (according to Glynda).
- Dr. Cossack in Bob and George: "While I am an excellent programmer while sober, I am a programming MASTER when tanked."
- Or so he says, anyway. The actual evidence suggests otherwise. He's a master at the actual programming part, coding seven separate robot personalities overnight. The end result of the coding session does, however, leave
somethingeverything to be desired.
- Or so he says, anyway. The actual evidence suggests otherwise. He's a master at the actual programming part, coding seven separate robot personalities overnight. The end result of the coding session does, however, leave
- XKCD played with it in The Ballmer Peak.
- Penny from Out at Home is already adept at Breaking the Fourth Wall, but getting plastered seems to make her able to travel through time. Word of God-approved, according to comments in a later strip.
- Played with by Nobody Scores!.
- Between them, Tales of the Questor's Quentyn, Kestrel, and Fen were able to take a broken sword used to practice enchanting objects and turn it into a Cool Sword capable of just about all the Unpredictable Results you can possibly imagine overnight while drunk. Though according to Word of God the Ballmer Peaknote is reality for Racconans.
- Hazel of Girls with Slingshots writes her best articles hammered.
- Peter in Family Guy can only play the piano while drunk.
Peter: That's not true. I can also vomit, fall over, and make dirty calls to [Lois'] sister.
- An episode of The Simpsons had Homer forsaking his usual reckless drink-induced behavior after recovering from a jaw injury. Things got so calm it drove Marge around the bend to where she entered a demolition derby to break the monotony. When she got into serious peril, Homer came to the rescue, first downing some beer like Popeye eating his spinach.
- Homer's friend Barney is an inversion of this. He's utterly useless while drunk, but when he and Homer are selected to be astronauts, he's forced to go sober. This unleashes his inner genius, as he proves himself to be incredibly smart, physically fit, and an all around better person when he's not drowning himself in booze. However, after being selected for the mission Barney takes one sip of celebratory champagne and immediately goes crazy, which puzzles the NASA men as it was nonalcoholic champagne.
- Barney eventually gets off the sauce entirely for awhile and manages to become a competent helicopter pilot (able to pull off a rescue in the midst of a volcanic flow). However he falls off the wagon and ends up an intoxicated dullard again.
- Bender on Futurama is an interesting example. Since he runs on alcohol, he needs to drink to do, well, anything at all, except that drinking alcohol doesn't make him drunk. In fact, NOT drinking makes him act like a drunk.
Fry: Bender, you're blind stinking sober!
- American Dad!: NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER pick a fight with Roger after he does a line of coke, he's like freakin' Morpheus.
Roger, coked up: I'M EXTREMELY FOCUSED RIGHT NOW!!
- Zui Quan, or "Drunken Fist," is a real concept within various Chinese martial arts in which the practitioner uses stumbling and swaying movements that are supposed to make him look drunk (it's a form of Confusion Fu). Supposedly some masters actually practiced the martial art while legitimately drunk, but in reality this would make it much more difficult.
- Most of the legendary origins of Zui Quan (the actual origins have been lost to time) involve this trope. In one version, Zui Quan originated from a hot-headed kung fu student who impulsively challenged another group of fighters to a match. He later realized the depth of his mistake, as the other fighters were much more experienced and his kung fu was only middling at best. Too proud to retract the challenge, he promptly reported to the nearest bar to get sloshed. The next morning he showed up for the fight still slightly drunk, but where before his kung fu was stiff and awkward, the student was now loose and fluid and trounced the other fighters.
- China also gave us Zhang Xu, a master of Chinese cursive (grass script) calligraphy that does his best work when drunk. Along with the poet Li Bai, he was counted as one of the Eight Immortals of the Wine Cup, for fairly obvious reasons.
- Professional Poker players sometimes play high stakes poker while buzzed or drunk. It could conceivable make it more difficult to read your tells and make you more aggressive player, but it could also have equally negative effects.
- Layne Flack struggled with alcoholism for a time. The main reason was that Drunk Layne Flack was a better poker player than Sober Layne Flack.
- Former Main Event champion Scotty Nguyen was very, very drunk at the final table of the WSoP's H.O.R.S.E. event in 2008, and proceeded to be incredibly belligerent and make a huge ass out of himself. He also won the whole thing.
- Sam Totman from DragonForce often claims that he plays just as well drunk as he does sober. Unfortunately, experience proves that this may all be in his head.
- Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis hurled a no-hitter in 1970 while under the influence of LSD.
- David Wells claims he was "half-drunk" when he threw a perfect game in 1998.
- There is a World of Warcraft raider type called the "Drunken DPS". These people (usually mages) started raids sober or slightly buzzed. As the raid progressed, they would get drunker and drunker, and their damage output would rise as well. Apparently they were pretty valuable, provided they didn't fall off their chairs while facing the dungeon boss. Drunken Healers exist as well. Really good healers during battles but have to be reminded which instance they are in from time to time. This has much to do with the incredible amount of stress that can be placed upon a raid healer in certain encounters. Where a sober player would be jittery from adrenaline and potentially lock up, a drunken player will be calmer and can actually respond more quickly.
- Nickname of journeyman boxer Emanuel Augustus, although he wasn't actually drunk, just extremely unorthodox. Also, his 38-32-6 professional record suggests an interesting balance between mastery and being able to take a beating. He seems to be very talented and has given Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Micky Ward tough fights. His style doesn't lend him well to the judges and he's possibly lost a lot of close fights because his style rubs the judges the wrong way.
- Abraham Lincoln claimed that Ulysses Simpson Grant had a form of alcoholism that "made him a better field commander". Grant was quite self-aware and a drinker but not actually an alcoholic, which meant he knew EXACTLY when he needed to be roaring drunk to make the decisions that would win a battle. Grant being a lightweight meant he didn't have to drink much to behave as if he were on a bender, although having been caught on an embarassing major bender some years before the war, he never managed to shake his reputation as a drunkard.
- Grant's drinking was probably more the result of his lethality than the reason of it. When you just sent 10000 men to their deaths, there is really nothing else to do except drink yourself to sleep.
- Winston Churchill, perhaps the only Master of Strategy who was also a Drunken Master; he was "the only man I ever met who improved after having a third drink" - Richard Nixon
- Charles "Champagne" Townshend, a British politician known for making brilliant speeches when drunk is notable for convincing Parliament to pass the Townshend Acts of 1767. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
- The language centers of the brain actually relax somewhat with mild alcohol entoxication. This means that yes, it is actually easier to use foreign languages while slightly drunk. In fact, it's a common and encouraged practice for language students to get a slight buzz prior to testing.
- There's a condition known as state dependent learning. If you learn something while under the influence of a drug (like alcohol), then the learning is forgotten while sober. Once the state of inebriation is recovered, the learning returns. This is why many people can only dance while drunk. It's not just that their inhibitions are lowered, but that they learned while drunk and cannot dance while sober until they learn sober.
- Also, it extends to things like finding stuff you lost while drunk. If you get to the same state of inebriation that you were in when you lost the item, then you've got a much, much better chance of finding it again. The theory is that you 'learnt' where you left your stuff, and thus can only remember what you learnt while you're in the same state of mind.
- Standard culinary joke: "The only chefs who aren't alcoholics are in AA".
- "I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food."
- The same for waiters, except that cooks tend to function better drunk, while waiters tend to 'herbal' performance enhancers... the New Orleans hospitality industry in particular has a different standard for alcoholism: if you drink on the job, you're typical, but if you go to work drunk, then you have a problem.
- Every stereotype you've heard about chefs and alcohol is twice as applicable for writers.
- Same thing for programmers., but as a rule they tend to prefer caffeine over alcohol.
- Subverted in the case of geologists - while they're (arguably) the most booze-happy of the scientific professions, and constantly being in remote parts of the globe means being able to sample the local specialties, most geologists will attest that actually getting hammered in the field translates to a hellish experience.
- Ditto with bar jobs in the UK; if you're drunk then the sack awaits you, but it can be quite difficult to distinguish between the smell of alcohol on someone's breath and, say, the smell of alcohol on their clothes and around them. Bottle-jockeys, like waiters, tend towards smoking dope rather than drinking, as it's significantly easier to collect glasses/hump crates up and down stairs/etc stoned than it is drunk. Doing it sober just results in a variety of cruel and embittered jokes about what arseholes drunk people are.
- Canadian Snooker player Bill Werbeniuk was known for drinking as much as thirty pints of beer a day. He would traditionally drink six pints before a match, and one beer for each frame. While never a champion, Werbeniuk was a more than competent pool player, ranked as high as 8th in the world in the 80s. Werbeniuk wasn't just a sloppy drunk though, he actually drank so much to combat a mild tremor in his hands. In fact, he even claimed he wouldn't think of picking up a pool cue if he was sober. What's more, he was even able to write off his beer purchases to the Inland Revenue as a business expense.
- The public impression of dart-playing is often that many professional darts players drink before, during, and after darts matches. This is a common misconception. Since the early 90's Professional Darts Tournaments have banned any alcohol consumption, in no small part due to professional darts players becoming tired of being lumbered with this stereotype. As the above demonstrates, clearly they curbed this image...
- Christopher Hitchens might have been the literary version of this trope.
- He once spent a whole day getting sloshed with literary friends (we're talking 10 am to 4 am the next day) and then he sat down and typed up 3000 words on Charles Dickens. His friend Salman Rushdie notes that the essay was perfectly coherent and brilliantly written. All while drunk.
- Hunter S. Thompson was just as, if not more, applicable. Although he was more of the "Any Shit I Can Find" Master.
- One of Israel’s most prolific writers, Natan Alterman, was an alcoholic. At one time he went to his favourite café and the waiter asked him, ‘So, what will you be drinking today? Vodka? Whiskey? Arak?’ Alterman replied, ‘I don’t mind the order.’ Summer Celebration has a rather amusing poem about himself wondering whether or not he should drink the next glass, and eventually does; this poem is now a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, as alcoholism eventually killed him.
- Most people have a fine line between when the relaxing effect of alcohol reduces the stress errors and snarls that may otherwise make while doing something, and when the depressant effect of alcohol reduces their coordination and cognition too much for them to perform properly. This grey area is where the drunken master trope originates.