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Dumb Muscle / Video Games

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  • Fire Emblem is quite fond of this trope:
  • Guy in Final Fantasy II, a massive brute who is barely capable of speech. The Japanese-only novelization of the game's plot reveals him to be a former Wild Child — which is why he can talk to animals.
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  • Gaira Kafuin in Samurai Shodown is a parody of the Martial Pacifist mold, being a Buddhist monk who is actually a violent knucklehead.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Persona
    • Akihiko Sanada from Persona 3 most certainly wasn't this in his original game. It's made clear that he's a very good student on top of being insightful, keen, and good at planning during fights; in fact, he's the first one to connect the dots in regards to why those large Shadows appear during full moons. His only shortcomings, mentally, are his sorely lacking social graces. Once Flanderization kicked in during Persona 4: Arena and Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, his more bookish intelligence is thrown out the window, his tactlessness is ramped up, and he becomes far more aggressive than even his worst moments in 3, as demonstrated by his battle quotes in Arena and his constant whining and arguing with his friend Shinjiro in Q. Throw an obsessiveness with protein that wasn't in the original game and you've got one dumb, tactless boxer.
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    • Kanji Tatsumi in Persona 4 plays it a bit straighter than Akihiko, being far more academically inept and clueless (how he gets involved in the action in Arena involves him falling asleep and falling into his television set, and he spends his entire story mode thinking he's in a dream.) It's emphasized with his more brutish fighting style, which involves smacking chairs and other blunt objects, whereas Akihiko is a trained boxer.
    • Ryuji Sakamoto plays this straight in Persona 5. A Hot-Blooded Book Dumb Japanese Delinquent with excellent physical stats. He's the self-proclaimed "First Attacker of the Phantom Thieves" and has a bad tendency to shout about the Thieves' activities when it's least appropriate. Compared to the more conventional weapons of his compatriots, Ryuji starts out with a pipe and admits that Joker is far smarter than him.
  • Balrog from Street Fighter. After Bison's disappearance, Balrog was left in charge of Shadowloo, and promptly ran it into the ground.
    • And then there's Hugo...
    • Zangief is another example. He's fairly lacking in intelligence and seems to be more brawn than brains, yet is a proud nationalist of Mother Russia and a gentle giant.
    • Rufus arguably qualifies as well; While there doesn't appear to be an ounce of actual muscle on him, he's quite the imbecile in his own way, though the comics apparently makes this as part of a Bunny-Ears Lawyer aspect since his size and nonsensical ravings makes him easy to underestimate.
    • In the same universe we also have Bratken, the Frankenstein's Monster-like manchild and unwitting pawn of Mad Gear in Final Fight II.
  • Ogres in World of Warcraft. Most of them, anyway; Two-headed ogre mages are utter geniuses even compared to other races. To Ogres, might makes... might, and leadership is decided by who can beat up who.
    • Pit Lords are not noted for their grasp of tactics or subtlety. When they're bigger than houses, wield two-end spears the size of trees, and hit enemies so hard it spills over to bystanders, they don't need to.
  • Chang Koehan from The King of Fighters series is a colossal numbskull with unbelievable physical prowess.
  • Titanic Tim of the Saturday Night Slam Masters series of fighting games. One of his prefight quotes is "No one can sink the Titanic", which certainly sounds intimidating until you examine it for one second (hint: the Titanic actually did sink, but it's that exact sort of boasting that made its sinking memorable).
    • And King Rasta Mon, who was actually an original rejected design for Wild Child Blanka from Street Fighter. His Japanese name is "Missing IQ" Gomez.
  • Sabin from Final Fantasy VI. He seems a pretty clever fellow up until the point when he's taken to the opera.
    • Sabin is actually played as a tech-savvy, fairly intelligent character otherwise. He's got the book smarts, but he's culturally oblivious. Which makes sense given that he spent the last decade before the start of the game in the mountains learning martial arts from a hermit master.
    • Umaro is probably a better example, using Hulk Speak on the rare occasions when he speaks at all. His main solution when he sees something he doesn't like is to repeatedly bash away at it until he destroys it. This can be the enemies he beats with his giant club, or the walls in Kefka's Tower that he smashes down to clear a path for his friends. Which, in its own way, is almost clever.
  • Bud Bison from Mega Man Star Force, though, atypically, he's very sentimental and is easily manipulated from an emotional angle.
  • Ayla from Chrono Trigger, a rare female example of this trope. She's physically stronger even than Robo, the war robot from the future, while also being every bit as primitive as you'd expect of somebody in a society of tribal cavemen.
  • Victor von Gerdenheim in Darkstalkers, a childlike behemoth who doesn't understand the concept of death — or the fact that his appearance is frightening and monstrous.
  • Big the Cat from the Sonic the Hedgehog series, though he's more simple minded than outright stupid.
    • Storm the Albatross from Sonic Riders is a pretty straight example, however.
    • Knuckles the Echidna is certainly the best example. He can break huge boulders bare handed, lift things many times over his weight and still falls for Eggman's "I'm good now, but Sonic is evil and is trying to steal the emeralds" lies.
  • If you play as a fighter in the Quest for Glory games, your intelligence and communication skills start out lower than the mage or thief, and characters will sometimes remark about the lack of refinement in your speech. There's one scene in the fourth game where you read a book in the adventurer's guild about climbing, and the narrator notes that it was "obviously meant for fighters" as it is written in very simple language.
  • Bully has Russell, who pretty much defines this trope.
    Russell: Russell... likes to hurt people... for peace.
  • The Heavy Weapons Guy from Team Fortress 2 is a subversion; although speaking simple English, he's a lot more eloquent in Russian and even has a PhD in Russian literature (if you take his appearance in Poker Night at the Inventory as canon). He also lampshades this by saying people can outsmart him, but they can't outsmart bullet.
    • The Soldier, on the other hand, spent years fighting World War II after the war had actually ended, repeats everything the announcer says, and has trouble remembering the password of '1111'. He gets Sun Tzu confused with Noah, once stating that Noah used his fight money to buy a boat, and brought two of every animal aboard said boat to beat the crap out of every single one.
    • He also collects the heads of his enemies, has tea parties with cardboard cut-outs, and wore a costume made of household rubbish, thinking he had fooled an army of robots into believing he was one himself (though to be fair, it did work until their newest creation singled him out). Safe to say, he's none too bright. It is later revealed in the comics that this was due to lead poisoning in the water he drank.
    • In-Game, bad Heavies and, most of the time, W+M1 Pyros also qualify. "If I keep going forward and shooting, I'll score some kills!"
  • City of Heroes/Villains. Wretch. Oh, Wretch.
  • The Imperial assassin droids in Star Wars Droidworks play this to an extent. Lacking droid brains, they don't have much tactical advantage, and sport weapons so short-ranged that they have to be in contact with the target. But that doesn't stop them from spouting all sorts of nightmarish taunts at you, and one of them shows enough skill to have sabotaged a nuclear reactor on its own.
  • Cirno, the Strongest thinks she's this (being able to pound a nail in with a banana, after all), but is closer to a Squishy Wizard who vastly overestimates her abilities, and is likewise considered smart for a fairy, the average of which is much less intelligent.
    • Also the oni, for obvious reasons.
    • Neither are perfect examples. Cirno isn't that strong compared to the rest of the cast, even though she far surpasses regular humans and yokai in magical ability, to the point that she is at risk of losing her nature as a fairy, and the immortality that goes with it: in this respect, it could be argued that they're dumb muscle compared to her, being physically stronger due to their natures yet unable to use danmaku. For the oni, Suika is fairly intelligent, as seen in her story path of Immaterial and Missing Power, Kasen definitely isn't dumb and her status as muscle is dubious, and we just haven't seen much of Yuugi. A better example would be Utsuho, who is extremely powerful, being essentially a living sun, and not all that much smarter than an actual crow. While crows are quite smart for birds, they're still just birds. And most other characters have intelligence that's just as human-like as their appearance.
  • Minsc, from the Baldur's Gate games, is a blend of Dumb Muscle, Gentle Giant, Boisterous Bruiser, and Crazy Awesome.
  • Beat from The World Ends with You. His ridiculously slow wit is balanced by his equally overwhelming abundance of power.
  • Berserker from Fate/stay night, along with all other Berserkers in the Nasuverse, where becoming stronger at the price of getting dumber is an explicit ability of members of the class.
  • Little Eddie, the first boss of MadWorld. Little Eddie loves his big bada-booms! He also promises to "murderlize" Jack, and the slurring of his speech suggests actual mental impairment to some degree.
    • And Frank. Co-Commentator Kreese Kreeley specifically describes him as "dumber than a box of blondes but strong as shit. Clumsy fucker, though; Jack can take him if he plays smart and fast." Both Little Eddie and Frank are several times larger than Jack, by the by.
    • Kreese himself is implied to be at least as strong as Jack (since he talks about performing feats Jack can perform) and is completely illiterate. And he's not too good with numbers, either. He blames our schools.
  • Goren from Guild Wars qualifies, being large and stupid are pretty much his main bits of characterization.
  • Guild Wars 2 has an entire race of these with the Ettin, bulky two-headed ogres with apparently half a brain in each head. Most are aggressive monsters who know no other combat tactic than bludgeoning things to death and stomping the ground really hard, a few of them are peaceful NPCs who cannot understand any word longer than three syllables.
  • The Hunters and Brutes in Halo seem to be this, but the expanded universe shows that the Hunters are Warrior Poets who were one of the more advanced species to be incorporated into the Covenant, and that the Brutes are one of the few Covenant species who don't consider modifying Forerunner technology to be blasphemy.
  • Spark Mandrill in Mega Man X is actually aware of the fact that he's not so bright, and is also, you know, a punishing apelike robot. "Now, X, you never thought that maybe Sigma was right and you were wrong? I don't like thinking, either. Maybe we can find the answer together, in battle!"
  • Dekar from Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals is a classic cutout for just the two words "Dumb muscle" put together.
    • Guy in Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals. He's not a complete moron (like Dekar), but he'll be the first to admit that his expertise lies primarily in smashing things.
  • Flay in Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis falls pretty blatantly into this category, most of the time.
  • Almost every Golden Sun character indicated to be Dumb Muscle, (by Nintendo's strategy guide, even) turns out to actually be pretty bright, just Hot-Blooded or careless. Even Agatio. Especially Agatio.
  • Completely and totally averted in the case of the Qunari of Dragon Age. They are certainly big and strong, but while they tend towards the xenophobic and unimaginative they are in no way dumb. Every Qunari Hawke meets in Dragon Age II is perfectly capable of countering every argument Hawke makes against the certainty presented by the Qun.
    • Played straight, however, where Oghren is concerned.
  • Played with by Dr. Mundo from League of Legends. On the one hand, he's a genius chemist capable of enhancing his own body to many times its physical limit and granting himself a massive Healing Factor. On the other hand, he forgets his own name if he doesn't constantly say it to himself. Apparently those body enhancements had side effects.
  • In the Visual Novel Dating Sim Hatoful Boyfriend, you start with 1 wisdom, 800 vitality, and 5 charisma, and you do not get more than about 35 to 40 possible points of stat increase throughout the game. That said, your character is quite erudite regardless of what you do with stats.
  • Arche, the main character from Fortune Summoners literally gets called "Dumb Muscle" at one point. Might have to do with the fact that she's a little girl, but even compared to her classmates she has a hard time with math or understanding some words (butler/butter, for instance).
  • Taokaka and Makoto from BlazBlue are both very physically strong and rather dim. Although you probably couldn't tell from looking at them.
    • Makoto is actually a strong subversion of this trope. Her overt lack of intellect is more the result of a cocktail of a juvenile mentality, an aversion to studying, and an overdose of racism-induced childhood trauma, and most of the former two are shown in the Academy backstories. In the present day, she's shown to be surprisingly smart and perceptive, on top of showing dangerous levels of competence in Intelligence work.
  • Levi, the Material of Power in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable : The Gears of Destiny. She's as strong as her title suggests, but comes with a very childlike and simple-minded personality. As in, 'easily pacified with a lollipop' childlike and simple.
  • Fallout
    • The first two Fallout games are renowned for allowing you to not only play as this trope, but actually finish the game with it. Of course, you miss out on a lot of content, but people's responses to you are funny enough that it's worth it.
    • And for an NPC example from the second game, there is Sulik, a tribal searching for his sister whom you can recruit in your party. Not exactly the brightest follower, but give him a super sledgehammer and a Power Armor and he will waste every enemy in sight.
    • Fallout 3's Super Mutant Behemoths are, not surprisingly, the least intelligent of their kind, and never speak, vocalizing solely in monster roars. The Vault 87 Mutants, with the exceptions of Fawkes and Uncle Leo, are in general dumber than the Mariposa ones.
      • Which isn't to say that the Mariposa mutants weren't stupid. By and large most Mariposa mutants were stupid, possibly/partailly due to a mix of radiation damaging the genes of humans (as the Master believed) and/or due an airborne strain of the Forced Evolutionary Virus inoculating wastelanders without mutating them (as Lieutenant believed). Regardless, humans with little to no radiation damage and immunity to FEV are able to stay smart.
    • Fallout: New Vegas has Mean Sonovabitch, a super mutant employed as a bouncer/guard. He's incredibly simplistic (his lack of tongue doesn't help) and acquired his name because everyone kept saying he was one, so he assumed it was his name (he's actually very nice).
      • Another super mutant kept trying to get his car repaired and functional so he could drive it around. It was a toy car so small only a mouse could fit in it. In general, nightkin super mutants have trouble with this sort of thing, due to their Stealth Boy exposure adding a healthy dose of mental instability to the mix. Some are intellectually fairly bright under the insanity, though.
      • The Dead Money DLC adds Dog, a Nightkin super mutant who's not much more than a violent animal who barely follows your commands. However, he's actually a subversion as he's got dissociative identity disorder, like many Nightkin, and his alternate personality, God, is highly intelligent but useless in a fight.
    • Fallout 4 has Strong, another Super Mutant. He's not nearly as smart as Fawkes or Uncle Leo, and thinks the "milk of human kindness" from "Mack Beth" is something he can actually drink to become a more powerful Super Mutant.
  • In Live A Live, we've got Masaru, a pro-wrestler with absurdly high health and a huge variety of damaging martial arts moves, but no matter how much you Level Grind, his base IQ always stays at a paltry 25.
  • Sleeping Dogs has the Water Street Boys gang, which is basically a gang-wide case of this, complete with leader Winston Chu's right-hand man Conroy Wu (both described as possible steroid abusers) making his boss look worse for having himnote , and both men plus their gang are collectively describednote  as unable to achieve their goals due to lack of sophistication, respectabilitynote  and just about anything except fierce loyalty to one another and brute force violence. Then Wei Shen comes along...
  • Crag Hack of Heroes of Might and Magic (New World Computing verse only, the Ashan incarnation was quite a clever man in his appearances) may be a barbarian, but as his fellow barbarian Yog notes, most barbarians aren't quite so dumb as Crag Hack — this is a man who, despite decades of experience as a mercenary across (at least) two continents, not all of it in combat, still hasn't picked up that 'Mister' is a title, not a name.
  • Borderlands 2 features Goliaths, the Giant Mook of the Bandit enemy type. Extremely slow and very childish, Goliaths also possess size and strength befitting their name. Strangely, they seem to get smarter when they lose their helmets.
    • Most bandits come off as dumber than hell because they're way too violently insane to possess any higher mental faculties, but special mention goes to the Psychos. While an ordinary Psycho is a scrawny human of average height, the Badass and, God help you, Super Badass Psychos are monstrously huge, mindlessly aggressive, and apparently still dumber than hell.
    • Brick, who was playable in the first game, is an eight foot tall behemoth of a man and melee specialist, who was either named Brick because his parents knew he wasn't smart, or later had his name changed to Brick to reflect that he isn't very smart. Subverted in the second and later games, however, especially the Assault on Dragon Keep DLC; he certainly acts dumb, but he also knows a lot about the A Song of Ice and Fire parody and gets into the Dungeons & Dragons spoof well before Mordecai does.
    • Mr. Torgue is a Genius Ditz version. He is an enormous, muscular man whose entire brain has enough room for exactly two ideas at a time, and one of them is always Stuff Blowing Up, leading to the owner of his galaxy-spanning company (who bought it from him for twelve bucks and a high-five) calling him "the dumbest person in the world". At the same time, he is a weapons design genius as long as your hopes for that weapon involve exploding rounds, leading to the Torgue corporation being one of the top shotgun and rocket launcher manufacturers in the game.
  • Buldogue from Capoeira Fighter has one of the highest strength stats in the game but she also has had no schooling of any kind. In Ramba's arcade mode you can show her how to apply her strength better in matches and force her to get an education.
  • Little Busters! has Masato, who is almost obsessed with muscles but isn't particularly bright and admits to having no good subjects at school. Though Riki does think at one point that if he spent as much time on schoolwork as he does on training he wouldn't be doing nearly so badly.
  • In Bible Adventures, Noah can lift up to four animals — five for short distances — even things like horses, cows, and oxen, and carry them on his head... but apparently, he chose to put a platforming challenge as the way to get to the door of the ark instead of a ramp. Oh, Noah...
  • Subverted by the Neverwinter Nights Game Mod A Tale of Ajandel where part of the loot from a minotaur in a mazelike cave was a diary which briefly mentioned building the maze so that it could have a private place in which to write the "great minotaur novel" and mourn its late wife.
  • Tiny the Tiger in the Crash Bandicoot series. In his debut, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, he's a large, roaring pile of muscle, and his appearance in the third game shows his talking for the first time in Hulk Speak, but Crash of the Titans, like with everyone else, decided to modify his character, making him still muscular but without the "Dumb" part.
  • Bowser of Super Mario Bros. is frequently portrayed this way, especially in the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi games. In particular, Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story gives him a Brains Evil, Brawn Good dynamic with Fawful, where the latter sets up a Gambit Roulette and utilizes various gadgets and robots while Bowser simply punches his way through the Mushroom Kingdom to get his castle back. Averted in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, where Bowser displays a surprising amount of competence from the get-go. Additionally, this is generally averted in the main series.
    • Morton is one of the biggest and strongest of the Koopalings, and is "more brawn than brains" according to his Super Smash Bros. 4 trophy.
  • Most of the hard-hitting heavyweight characters in the Super Smash Bros. series - Donkey Kong, Bowser, and Charizard - have shown below-average intelligence and poor judgment in their home series (or in Charizard's case, it's merely an animalistic character). Exceptions include Ike (who is of average intelligence), Ganondorf (who is a Genius Bruiser), and Bowser Jr. (a Gadgeteer Genius who classifies as a heavyweight due to the vehicle he's riding in).
  • The Marine in Sword of the Stars: The Pit is a stereotypical brainless grunt. His base in-game stats reflect this lore by making him high in Might and combat skills but low in Brains and technical skills.
  • Yellow Heart from Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory has childish speech patterns, can only read and write very simple words, and is generally dumb as a brick. She can also slug the other CPUs hard enough to knock them out of Super Mode and send them over the horizon. Part of this comes from the fact her normal form is a LOT younger than her CPU form looks, but counts as Double Subverted since she's still dim even for a child.
  • Mutons in XCOM: Enemy Unknown. True, they're physically imposing and resistant to gunfire, but they have no real initiative. Fittingly, they're very predictable tactically, and their Will score is so low that any psionic trooper you have will mop the floor with them.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons Online, in one of the challenges resides a boss named Ugg the Assertive, having the lovely Boss Subtitle <Confused Meatshield>.
  • Pony Island: Unlike his more sophisticated comrades, Beelzebub's programming isn't very complex, and thus the fight with him is downplayed into a very generic boss battle. Asmodeus even Lampshades this.
  • Darkest Dungeon: The Swine King is the gigantic, brutish and extremely dangerous result of your Ancestor summoning some extraplanar creature into the body of a common pig. Unfortunately for him, what he got was too stupid to be useful in the least, and he locked it up in the warrens. When you fight it, it actually needs a helper to tell it who to target.
  • Krogan are generally considered to be this in Mass Effect by the other races, especially salarians and turians, and you'll find plenty of krogan thugs throughout the series that play it straight. Any krogan who's actually got a name is probably smart enough to avert the trope, though. Wrex, Grunt, and Drack certainly all are, while in Mass Effect 2 and Andromeda there are even krogan scientists, engineers, mechanics, and technical minded individuals who are shown to be quite good at what they do.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Many of the series' physically larger minor races, such as Giants and Minotaurs, are considered this by the races of Men and Mer, but most subvert it by displaying greater intelligence than they are typically given credit for. Ogres are one exception, typically being every bit as dumb as they are described to be. Exceptions exist, but they are fairly rare.
    • This is also the case for many forms of the series' lesser Daedra. Some, like the massive Ogrim and crocodilian Daedroth are quite powerful but have little intelligence to speak of. Even among the most intelligent and civilized varieties, such as the Dremora and Golden Saints, it tends to be Downplayed. While sapient, they often put Honor Before Reason and prefer to attack issues head-on, which, despite their power, isn't always the best course of action.
  • The Prone race in Xenoblade Chronicles X are collectively like this. Their homeworld had been ravaged by a millennia-old war between two rival clans even before the Ganglion incorporated them into their ranks, and that whole time they never developed proper strategy, to the point that one Prone is fascinated by Sun Tzu's writings. They also frequently speak in Hulk Speak. Contrast all this with the Wrothians, who are also a Proud Warrior Race but are much more intelligent.
  • In Sly Cooper, the Flashlight Guards are this, especially from the second game onward. Murray also counts as a semi-heroic example.
  • Spirit Hunter: NG:
    • The main character, Akira, is shown to be intelligent enough to solve puzzles and mysteries, but is hopeless when it comes to educational endeavours like reading and studying, and intelligence is his lowest stat. He makes up for it with his near superhuman physicality, soaring to the top of an underground fighting ring and serving as the party's main bruiser.
    • Kubitarou has superhuman strength, but was addled by mental illness in life. She was given a poor education and treated as dull-witted by her village as a result.
  • The Warrior in Dicey Dungeons is the most straightforward beatstick among the characters, making him in many ways a Mechanically Unusual Class because he doesn't have a weird gimmick while the other five do. He entered the Dungeon in the hope of winning a monster truck, and he's generally shown to be the dumbest and most gullible of the adventurers.


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