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Hypercompetent Sidekick / Video Games

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  • Sora from Kingdom Hearts is an interesting example. While he's The Hero of the games themselves, he also has the honor of being the sidekick to most of the Disney Universe. In any given world, his first instinct is to help that world's main character with whatever's troubling them. In most cutscenes and story events, that character will take center stage (since the worlds are adaptations of Disney Movies). However, Sora is far more powerful than any world companion and is always the one who takes down the main villain for each world (this is in fact a gameplay element— bosses can only be finished off by Sora's attacks). He's often also the one who provides the initiative for said main character to do whatever it is they need to do.
  • One of the Horde starting zones of Wrath of the Lich King has Varok Saurfang, grizzled veteran and Memetic Badass of the game, working in the shadows to mitigate the effects of the reckless commands of Garrosh Hellscream, a young and brutal but successful commander, whom he fears might reawaken the dark side of the orcish race.
    • In Cataclysm (and for much of Mists of Pandaria), Saurfang becomes a Shell-Shocked Veteran and, in his place, the player becomes a Hypercompetent Sidekick to Garrosh, who was made the defacto leader of the Horde. As Garrosh wasn't any less reckless in Cataclysm/Mists than he was in the previous expansion, the player often found themselves cleaning up his messes selflessly.
    • In fact, in a lot of quests, scenarios, and raids in the game, the Player Characters often take up this role. Sure, sometimes the NPC heroes may show up and swing their hammers around (looking at you, Arthas in the 'Culling of Stratholme'), but when push comes to shove, it is often the coordination and skills of the players themselves that really gets things done.
    • Drakuru is one of these to the Lich King, while at the same time you play this role to him. When you learn who his allegiance is with though, you turn into The Mole and sabotage his plans.
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  • Flea and Slash are far more effective battlers than Ozzie in Chrono Trigger.
  • Beatrix does all the heavy lifting in Final Fantasy IX, compared to Queen Brahne's incoherent rages.
    • That's why she's a general instead of a queen.
  • Thunder God Cid (Orlandu) in Final Fantasy Tactics, working under Duke Goltanna.
  • Touhou Project:
    • Eirin Yagokoro of Imperishable Night does pretty much all the work while Princess Kaguya just sits around doing nothing, at least as far as fanon is concerned. Many fans also believe Eirin to be a more difficult boss than even the true final boss of the game.
    • Reisen gets shades of this plus a little Only Sane Man on the side...when she's not busy being the Butt-Monkey of the Eientei group.
    • Similarly, Sanae Kochiya from Mountain of Faith is often portrayed as a much more mature character than the goddesses she technically serves.
    • Undefined Fantastic Object also brings us Nazrin, who is increasingly portrayed as much more serious and diligent than her "master" Shou, thanks to Shou canonically losing her Jeweled Pagoda, forcing Nazrin to find it for her.
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    • Even earlier is the maid Yumeko, right-hand to Shinki. Sure, Shinki created the whole of Makai, but Yumeko single-handedly takes care of the day-to-day affairs of the whole of Makai. She is often compared against her Windows-era Expy Izayoi Sakuya, a human maid who serves the vampire Remilia Scarlet (though not an instance of this Trope).
    • It's still at least a partial example. Though her mistress Remilia Scarlet is by no means weak and helpless, chief maid Sakuya Izayoi is very hypercompetent and pretty much runs the Scarlet Devil Mansion almost by herself (since the fairy maids she commands are hardly any good at all). Good thing Sakuya's power to stop time allows her to do massive amounts of housework with extreme speed.
  • Lin from Advance Wars: Days of Ruin is this to both Brenner and Will, being the tactical brains behind the operation while her superiors act more as The Heart. Lin is fine with working under them, and admires Brenner immensely, but she's also the single most competent and practical character in the main cast; coming up with the army's tactics, showing much more practical, if cynical, solutions to the problems the groups face than the others do, killing General Ripper Greyfield, and generally helping to stop the MASSIVE Hero Ball Brenner and later Will carry from causing too much trouble. She's so good at what she does that it serves as a hindrance to her later in the game. Her decisions, while necessary and practical, are so cold and heartless that she gets called out by the other survivors who come to mistrust and think of her as a monster; it's left to Will to be The Heart and take command to win back their trust and give them hope.
  • In Persona 3, Jin serves as The Dragon and hypercompetent sidekick to suicidal Nietzsche Wannabe/Dark Messiah Takaya, often restraining the latter when he decides on a whim to point a gun to his head to make a message or take on a large group of Persona-users quite capable of beating him with just four of its members.
  • Tron Bonne from Mega Man Legends. While her brother Teisel is seen as the head of their "Evil Family", she's clearly the one that keeps things moving. No wonder she's the protagonist of her own game.
  • In the Castlevania series, Dracula is often a pansy Anticlimax Boss, where as Death is more often than not one of the hardest bosses in the game, generally being much harder to hit, faster and having much better attacks. In Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, Maria is a little girl Richter rescues, and playing as her makes the game MUCH easier. It's taken to an extreme in Castlevania: Lament of Innocence. Dracula aka Mathias relies on Death to do all the heavy lifting in the endgame such as stealing Walter's vampire soul and Death is the Final Boss.
  • Eddie Riggs in Brütal Legend, as the ultimate roadie serves this role to The Resistance, whose leaders lack The Power of Rock and Eddie's skill with stage building, handling of equipment, and organizing large groups of people so that they can work in coordination with each other.
  • Katakura Kojuro from CAPCOM's Sengoku Basara. His young master Masamune isn't incompetent by any sense, but he seems to be far too focused on being the Engrish-speaking Blood Knight badass that he is to take care of the details, such as ruling his province, which Kojuro handles.
  • If you listen to memes, Private Ramirez is this to pretty much the entire 75th Ranger Regiment.
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms X is known for having a weak AI, even for high-stat leaders. As a result, if you're playing as a vassal instead of a ruler, it's entirely possible to have more troops in your district than all of your force's other districts combined.
  • Entirely possible in Crusader Kings, if a character has low stats a council stocked with the best advisers in the realm is very helpful.
  • Volkanon from Rune Factory 4 is suggested to be this, as he can toss aside massive logs like it's nothing, and can single handedly build large bridges in a matter of seconds.
  • Genis from Tales of Symphonia is this to Lloyd. Tales of the Abyss has Guy. Granted that it's not hard to look hyper-competent compared to the 7-year old Luke, but Jade suspects that Guy is not a mere servant because he is too smart for a commoner.
  • Alexei Stukov is this to Gerard DuGalle in the StarCraft series. DuGalle has successfully managed to screw up nearly everything the UED has done, and is easily tricked by Duran. He even got tricked into having Stukov killed! Meanwhile, Stukov is very hesitant to follow his boss's orders, knowing what the outcome would be, and easily sees through Duran's deceptions. It's very obvious that if he were the one in charge, the UED would already own the universe. It's even stated in the manual that he's the smartest of the two. Kerrigan mocks DuGalle this way. She claims that Stukov was twice the man DuGalle was, and she's ever so grateful that DuGalle saved her the trouble of killing Stukov.
    • The player's Non-Entity General fills this function throughout the campaigns, commanding forces for most of the plot important events in the story. Chief among them, the UED Captain due to DuGalle. This only applies inside the first game, as the characters are either dead, retconned into another character, or no longer relevant in the books and the second game.
  • The protagonist Luis Fernando-Lopez of Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony, is this to Gay Tony. Tony shows that he knows how to use a gun, but in the very frequent event they have to kill/strong arm someone, it's usually Luis's job to handle it. Of course, the one time Tony does attempt to do some killing, he's heavily dosed on unspecified drugs. Luis also finds himself this trope to a number of rich people he's introduced to through their nightclub business, including Mori Kibbutz. (Tony handles the actual nightclub stuff almost exclusively, Luis's work is just killing, roughing people up, and he half jokes at one point, being around to share the blame with the IRS when they catch money vanishing.)
  • Jyunichi is this to Shogo Akuji in Saints Row 2. Even thinking in meta, Jyunichi's boss fight is a long katana duel, whilst Shogo's boss fight you just gun down some mooks and briefly chase him on a motorcycle.
  • Super Mario Bros. has Luigi. It's stated in an interview that he's the more powerful of the two brothers, and in the games you see that he's faster, quite a bit better at jumping, and a reality-destroying entity.
  • From Sonic the Hedgehog, Miles Prower A.K.A Tails is often joked about as being this. Gameplay-wise, he's as fast as Sonic (as least in the classic games), can fly, and can respawn whenever killed without using up lives (when he's the second player). On the other end of the spectrum, he also has a reputation of being a Bumbling Sidekick thanks to his flawed AI when he's controller by the computer, which can lead to him making things harder for the player or even getting him killed. Officially, however, he's not as fast and brave as Sonic, but he's still one of his Bash Brothers and an invaluable ally to him, being a mechanical genius with an Improbably High I.Q. Later games, however, have flanderised him into being a Cowardly Sidekick and Non-Action Guy who is only good for building gadgets.
  • An interesting variation in Skies of Arcadia occurs with Aika, the Lancer to Vyse. The game has a Swashbuckler Rating, which gives a title to Vyse and affects his reputation, ranging from the ability to recruit crew members to prices at shops (the higher the rating, the lower your prices). There are But Thou Must! trees in the game that can increase, decrease, or not affect the rating. Making a crapload of bad choices sends your rating down (the lowest you can go is Vyse the Ninny), and whatever Vyse says in those makes Aika this trope. Whatever Vyse suggests in a good choice (i.e, "shall we sneak into the Coliseum" or "save everyone right now") will be suggested by Aika in a bad choice.
  • Otacon has been called more effective than Snake at everything that Snake does, despite his tendency to urinate in fear.
  • Stern of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable : The Gears of Destiny, what with being the Material of Wisdom to the Evil Overlord Royal Brat Lord Dearche. She's the one who inevitably calls most of the shots amongst the Materials since her logic easily trumps Lord Dearche's childish orders, a fact that annoys her lord a lot.
  • Bleu (Deis) from the Breath of Fire series can be recruited into your party and aid your quest. She's pretty much a beautiful, ancient sorceress that's the strongest character in your party.
    • In Breath of Fire III and IV, she really is a Physical God. In IV she's stuck inside a suit of armor and the main character is a free god, so it's a bit less jarring.
  • Prince of Persia (2008): Elika is the Double Jump, the source of your magic attacks, can do all the same acrobatic moves you can (without his trumped up glove), and is the one who heals the land. Oh, and she saves him from certain death all the time. The only thing the Prince has that she doesn't is a sword. Justified in a sense in that she planned to save the land by herself. The Prince is more of a Supporting Protagonist.
  • A radio show on Fallout 3 featured "adventurer Herbert Dashwood and his stalwart ghoul manservant, Argyle." In each episode Herbert's bumbling landed them in situations Argyle would singlehandedly extract them from. The player could meet Herbert in game, who claimed he wasn't really that big of a fool but admitted Argyle was most certainly a badass.
    • You can find Argyle's corpse later. He fell trying to defend a village from slavers in a battle Dashwood barely escaped from, the news of which will crush Dashwood.
    • Fallout: New Vegas: Just about every companion can be this if you play them right. Give them the proper equipment and do their quests to obtain the right perks, and they will crush armies with you. The game also gives one to the player in the form of Boone. In particular for Speech/Science/Barter style characters, the best way to win in combat is to hide behind cover and wait for Boone to kill everything.
  • The module The Light Reborn for Neverwinter Nights has you literally play the sidekick to the actual hero, he tackling the main enemies while you go on the smaller errands. This all culminates into a giant "tipping the scale" moment that's even based on a player's earlier decision and can thus fail. Never has being the sidekick felt so rewarding.
  • In The World Ends with You, Joshua is none other that Shibuya's Composer. Even though his powers are diminished, he manages to kill some Taboo Noise, which are the hardest to beat in the game, with a single blow.
  • There's a failed, to an extent, attempt to avert this in Ancient Domains of Mystery. A necromancer or a bard can easily have an extremely powerful sidekick (or a few!), in extreme situations rarely ever having to fight at all. The penultimate level, however, is a Slippy-Slidey Ice World, so you can't take any sidekicks with you. But... if you take a Scroll of Familiar Summoning with you, you can summon a new friend in the final level. And the power of a familiar depends on the so called "danger level" of a dungeon. Cue a Greater Earth Elemental of an insanely high level mopping the floor with the several boss monsters guarding your objective.
  • The Flash game Help The Hero is all about this. While the hero is the one that fights monsters and gets all the glory, the player is his sidekick who has to make sure that he's properly equipped for said fights or else end up beaten to a bloody pulp.
  • The main character of Radiant Historia is one of these in one of the two timelines. While his commander and best friend Rosch is fairly competent on his own, Stocke is The Ace, and thanks to Time Travel often comes across to other people as Crazy-Prepared and nearly prescient. Stocke is just fine with this, since he feels Rosch is a much better leader, and when he's nominated for a command position turns it down with a rather vehement no.
  • In Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem ~Heroes of Light and Darkness~ a unit called the "My Unit" is created at the beginning of the game, and is the eponymous "Hero of Shadow." The thing is, no other character in the Fire Emblem series has been so powerful. This character is given a unique class selection with amazing bases (the Myrmidion My Unit starts with TWELVE speed at level ONE. Compare Athena, the Myrmidion you get at the Prologue, who has the same amount of speed at level TEN), custom growths, theability to reclass and alter these growths to become even better (unlike Marth) and an eight-part prologue that just fills him/her with ungodly amounts of experience, and, since the chapters in the prologue can be completed in a minute or so, a strategy for the higher difficulties is to reset the game until the My Unit gets the growths the player wants. The reason he/she counts as a Hypercompetent Sidekick? They are the "Hero of Shadow," meaning, in the history books, Marth gets all the credit for the My Unit's achievements. This becomes incredibly jarring when in the later chapters, the My Unit is running (or flying, as reclassing into a flying unit is entirely possible) around, killing everything while Marth is running around visiting the villages and trying not to die.
  • And then Awakening goes even further. The Avatar has customizable growths like New Mystery's My Unit, has access to every regular class as well as a pretty useful exclusive one, can support with every unit in the army, can marry any unit of the opposite gender, and can have at least one child with all of them who will almost certainly go on to be even more game-breaking than they are. And unlike New Mystery's My Unit, the Avatar actually has a major presence in the story, even eclipsing Chrom and Lucina at some points.
  • While Kondou in Hakuouki is not particularly incompetent, it's his second-in-command Hijikata who does most of the work of leading, planning strategy for, and maintaining discipline within the Shinsengumi. The negative consequences of this become clear after the Battle of Toba-Fushimi; Hijikata's efforts to protect Kondou from the harsher realities of leadership leave him unprepared to cope with the Boshin War and unable to retain the respect of his men when things start to go wrong.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, the droid TT-32 serves as this for his blind owner, Tien Tuub, pretty much helping him with all labor required in the store. With help from the player, IT-31, the previous incarnation of Tien Tuub's helper droid, will return to him and fill this role too.
  • In the first Mercenaries game, there is Josef, a Russian mafia lieutenant flown from Moscow to North Korea with the express intention of supporting Sergei, the exceedingly incompetent local mafia boss. With the help of the main character, Josef excels at reluctantly making his boss' insane plans come to fruition. Being so hypercompetent actually works against him, as Sergei grows increasingly paranoid about Josef planning to usurp his position (which wasn't even the case, as Josef honestly felt honor-bound to obey his boss no matter what, at least prior to Sergei's attempt to kill him, at which point Josef has enough and takes over).
  • You play as one in Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn in the Nod campaign. As you progress, you succeed your boss in traditional Nod fashion. A similar scenario happens in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 with the Soviet campaign.
  • Hibiki Kohaku of BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma plays this role in regards to Kagura Mutsuki, usually carrying out multiple requests on his behalf whilst keeping him reined in, especially when the ladies are around. He and Kokonoe share a moment contemplating the stupidity of people they know in the Sector Seven story. Dummied Out commentary with Makoto suggests he has multiple complaints from various women about Kagura's lechery.
  • In White Knight Chronicles, Bishop Ledom is this to Emperor Madoras. Ledom is the one who does all of the heavy lifting and scheming while his boss does absolutely nothing being technically dead and all while his soul is split apart among the five Knights. Ledom pulls off his part in the evil plan (effectively 99% of it) absolutely flawlessly and successfully revives Madoras. His boss on the other hand is defeated minutes later by his old enemy Queen Mureas (technically her reincarnation Cissna) — again without actually accomplishing anything.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • In the series' lore, this is the case for Peryite, the Daedric Prince of Pestilence, Tasks, and the Natural Order. He is looked down as a "loathesome" Butt-Monkey by the other Daedric Princes, and isn't helped by being the weakest Daedric Prince. Still, he is tasked with ordering the lower levels of Oblivion and keeping the lesser Daedra in-line. It's not a glamorous task, but Someone Has to Do It.
    • In the series' backstory, Emperor Tiber Septim, who was the first to conquer all of Tamriel and founded the Third Empire, has a Multiple-Choice Past. According to the more "heretical" tales of his life which aren't accepted by the official Imperial histories, he was less the legendary heroic warrior-king and more an overly ambitious scheming bastard who happened to have some powerful friends. Included among them was his Imperial Battlemage, Zurin Arctus. Septim likely would not have been able to conquer Tamriel without the aid of Arctus, who, most famously, found a way to power and control the Dwemer-constructed Numidium, which Septim used to complete his conquests.
    • One Morrowind Fighters Guild quest involves you being one of these to an Imperial Legion soldier. She is looking to get revenge on a Daedroth, a crocodilian-looking lesser Daedra who she wounded in a past encounter, but nearly killed her in the process. She's no slouch, but both the Daedroth and the deadly Dwemer ruin you have to guide her through can get her killed without your aid.
    • From an outsiders perspective, the Champion of Cyrodiil is this toward Martin Septim in Oblivion. As the last surviving member of the Septim family, Martin is The Chosen One who is the only person who can perform the ritual required to end the Oblivion Crisis. The Champion, however, does most of the heavy lifting (including rescuing Martin from certain death) which makes victory possible.
    • Quite a few examples in Skyrim. The housecarls generally are able to scout traps and detect enemies long before you do, and they can also usually take a lot more punishment than you too, especially at earlier levels. The standout though is Erandur, the Dunmer priest who assists you in the "Waking Nightmare" quest: he's unique among followers in that his level is 50% higher than the players on encounter - if you encounter him at level 20, he'll be level 30. Additionally, his level cap is 50, one of the highest in the base game, matched only by Cicero, the members of the Circle, and the housecarls. And then there is Ancano, a high-ranking Thalmor wizard who works in the College of Winterhold as an adviser to Arch-Mage Savos Aren. His aim to destroy Mundus is something he's pursuing a lot quicker than most of colleagues, even Elenwen, and he comes pretty damn close to achieving it too. To put it in perspective, Elenwen's idea of delaying them and causing Mundus to fall apart is to start a civil war, which has ultimately led to a revival in Talos worship and has taken several years to engineer. In the span of merely a few weeks, Ancano nearly destroys the world single-handedly.
  • Rico Rodriguez in Just Cause 3 when he goes back home to help the rebellion against General Di Ravello. Before his arrival, the rebels were on the verge of collapsing but he is singlehandedly capable of turning the tide of the war on their favor as soon as he shows up. With that said, his childhood friend Mario is the nominal leader, and later on Rosa Manuela is poised to become the country's president and fix its course after Di Ravello is ousted.
  • Deconstructed with Sima Yi in Dynasty Warriors, as his campaigns in 7 and 8 start with him lamenting his status as such now that Cao Cao and Cao Pi are dead, leaving only their bumbling successors behind, and ultimately decides to perform a coup to seize control of Wei and reunite China himself (which he and his family ultimately succeed at.)
  • In Banjo-Kazooie, Kazooie gets second billing and is the one to basically live in Banjo's backpack, but generally comes off as the more competent of the two. Most of the best attacking moves in the game require Kazooie to work, and even the best mobility tools in the game basically amount to her carrying Banjo.


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