tend to give you awesome stuff to play with and immediately take it back, giving you little to no time for playing with it, be it awesome and flashy Infinity+1 Sword
which you get to kill the final boss, an interesting and powerful character or a tank you get for only one mission.
Very common in Class and Level System RPGs
, if you get your final levels and most powerful skills near the very end of the game.
A Super Trope
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- Subverted in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. Sure you get the awesome Fierce Deity's mask at the end of the game, but the game's time reset gimmick let's you go back in time and redo any of the old dungeons of fight previous bosses as much as you want with your current equipment.
- The first Onimusha game features the unlimited-magic-attack, superpowerful Bishamon Sword... immediately before the final boss. And only if you've collected all of the random hidden collectibles throughout the game. Thank god for New Game+.
- Samus' Power Bombs in Metroid: Other M. In the beginning of the game, you're allowed to use it as a part of a tutorial. After Samus agrees to help Adam and his men on their mission, Adam forbids the use of Power Bombs due to how destructive they can be to humans. From there, you can't use Power Bombs for the entire game except at the very end when it is needed to beat the Metroid Queen and even then, the game never tells you that you can use the Power Bombs but will say you can after you beat the game and start the Playable Epilogue!
First Person Shooter
- Similar to the above, some have complained that the various vehicle segments in the Halo games are sometimes too short. (These are somewhat mitigated, though, as crafty players can often find ways to keep those vehicles long after the level designers intended for the player to relinquish them).
- Jolly Jack mentioned this in a "how to play" comic.
- Notably averted in Half-Life 2 with the gravity gun, which you get comparatively early.
- Played straight when you only get the super upgraded version which can even grab people for one level. However, you get to play with it again at the very start of Episode One.
- Jedi Academy has the duel sabers/saber staff/three style single saber option only usable in the last set of missions. Mods exist to allow you to use them from the start of the game Jedi Academy also features a neat but mostly useless and forgettable little trick with Tauntauns in the first Hoth level. There are a few fallen rocks where you are intended to abandon your initial ride (and have an encounter with a Wampa), but it is possible to use the Tauntaun's momentary boost to clear the rocks with it.
Hack and Slash
- Slashers love to do that. Devil May Cry 4 gives us Lucifer (a very interesting and unique weapon) and Pandora (a suitcase full of awesome) when it's almost time to say "Good-bye, Dante!" And this is why you get New Game+ and Bloody Palace.
- Super Mario Bros.:
- Whenever Super Mario Bros. gives you a Starman, you'll probably get a nice stretch of enemy-filled land to exercise your invincible bashing capabilities on.
- Super Mario Galaxy gives you the Red Star powerup that grants flight in any direction... near the end of the game, and you can only use it in a handful of levels and the Hub Level. In a broader sense, many powerups such as the Fire Flower which traditionally last until you get hit are instead on a timer, forcing the player to rush to do everything they need with them and making it impossible to use them in levels they're not included in.
- In between the mach speed sections (and to a degree, snowboarding), the glitches, the loading screens, the amigo characters, cutscenes, and hub crap, actually playing a level in Sonic 06 (almost? YMMV) feels like this.
- Burn Out 3 has "preview races" in which you and your opponents have much faster cars than you normally would for that point of the game.
Role Playing Game
- Jade Empire: most truly awesome styles (e.g. Dual sabers and Iron Palm), but especially the Jade golem and the Red Minister, which you get when the game is almost done. Thankfully, there is a ridiculously difficult Jade Master difficulty, in which they become upgraded from cheap immunity-bearing GameBreakers to essential life-savers.
- Also there are these little things called 'Harmonious combos' that can you can use as soon as you are through with the practice fights but which are unfortunately denied to the player later on. These godlike moves are mostly only useful in the first chapters of the game as the story progression introduces you to a number of enemy types that these combos will not work on (monsters, demons, ghosts) and from then on when you actually are fighting puny humans it is usually an important battle for the plot, and your devastating combos will not work in those either.
- In the first Shin Megami Tensei, Law-path players are granted three outrageously powerful seraph companions for a time in the final dungeon. However, they have to give them up in order to fuse a necessary MacGuffin.
- Tales of the Abyss does this twice.
- First, they give you Jade Curtiss, who is less a mage and more a tactical nuclear weapon (since he's about 40 levels higher than you are). He helps you out during an unwinnable boss fight. His power is then promptly sealed and he's reverted to party level.
- Quite a bit later, they give you Asch, who is basically a better version of your main character with better equipment and a lot more skills. He's only available for a short time, as well. (Later on in the game, he comes back, but by then he sucks).
- While not exactly a weapon, a bicycle is available during a small section of Earthbound. The bike lets you get around faster in outdoor areas, is capable of outrunning most enemies, and comes with its own background music (with optional bell-ringing sound effects). Following on the heels of your new bike is a second party member, who renders your single-seat bike useless. Heck, the bike comes at a time when you can start buying teddy bears, which follow you like party members, and they render the bike useless too. This actually leads to one of the strangest secrets in the game: a sound effect that can only be heard by riding the bike in the swamp. This is only possible by beating the final boss, ditching all your partners in the extended epilogue, heading to the swamp, and, of course, remembering that you have an otherwise-useless bicycle in the first place.
- Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days and Kingdom Hearts II: Roxas Dual Wielding Oathkeeper and Oblivion.
- Makai Toshi SaGa (The Final Fantasy Legend) has the King equipment to collect in the very first world. It is some of the best equipment in the game, but you have to give it up to advance the plot.
- In Super Robot Wars Original Generation 1, the first time your units get to combine into SRX, it only lasts 3 turns and you won't get this ability back until near the end of the game. You also only get 2 of the best characters on the last mission of the game.
- Some of the better Guest Star Party Members are like this, for instance, in Final Fantasy IX, Beatrix is only with you for one short but fun section of the game.
Third Person Shooter
- Some people find those missions in Red Faction: Guerilla when you crush random stuff on a Nigh Invulnerable mech best and painfully short.
- The final weapon which requires near 100% completion in Gun comes when there is nothing (as the only things not required are non-combat missions) to use it on.
Turn Based Strategy
- In the fifth prologue of Project X Zone, Chris and Jill arrive with a MAP attack that deals a lot of damage compared to what you can pull off at that point in the game. Naturally when the stage ends, you won't have access to any MAP attacks for awhile unless you Level Grind Frank and Lei-Lei/Hsien-Ko.
Wide Open Sandbox
- Assassin's Creed I combines this with A Taste of Power immediately after tutorial.
- Da Vinci's flying machine in the sequel. We saw more footage of it in the trailers than was actually available for use in the game, sadly.
- In Assassins Creed III, the carpenter at the Davenport Homestead tells Connor that he found designs for Da Vinci's flying machine and has built it. Connor immediately goes to the cliff overlooking the homestead's bay, climbs onto the flying machine, leaps from the edge...and promptly flies right into the water.