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Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain / Video Games

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  • Paper Mario series:
    • Jr. Troopa from the first Paper Mario tries so hard to be intimidating and actually puts up a bit of a fight later on, only to be humiliated and beaten by Mario on a regular basis. The game also allows you to jump on him, hammer him, hit him with Kooper's Shell, and even bomb him. The poor guy even gets frozen after beating him in Shiver Snowfield. Yet he never gives up.
    • Bowser in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is trying his hardest to be the Big Bad, but is always one or more steps behind the rest of the cast. Also has a very not-intimidating appearance in the Glitz Pit.
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  • In Xenogears, Kahran Ramsus appears as a primary villain early on, and, with his prettyboy features, white hair, and usage of a sword as his weapon, seems destined to be the big bad. By the end of the game, his wallflower-like personal assistant has turned out to be the real Big Bad, he finds out that he's a failed clone designed to mimic the powers of the main character (who he has repeatedly lost to), and is abandoned by his masters for his repeated failures.
  • Final Fantasy
  • Disgaea
    Vyers: I see. So you saw my potential and decided to strike first against moi... Such wonderful intuition... Well played, son of Krichevskoy.
    Laharl: I've never even heard of you. It's only a coincidence that we're here. You're just a tiny stepping stone on my path to the throne.
    Vyers: * gasp* How dare you! I'm the Dark Adonis Vy...
    Laharl: Who gives a damn about you? Your new name is "Mid-Boss".
    Mid-Boss: M-m-mid-Boss!?
    • The second and third games have Axel, a fame-hungry 'Dark Hero', and the Vato Bros, a trio of orcs monsters who sound like they were shipped in from Venezuela. Axel returns in the fourth game.
  • Solt and Peppor, the bumbling duo from Chrono Cross, fail continually to succeed at anything, even acting as combat tutorials for the main character, because of how ineffective their combat planning is.
    • Subverted the final time you face them. They are properly tough bosses and will probably kick your ass by spamming Earthquake.
  • Rose, from Zack & Wiki, gets this in her second appearance. She gets frozen in ice and used as a statue! ’’Which is then necessary to complete the puzzle and defeat the boss’’
  • Winston Payne from the Ace Attorney series, while not a villain, is a prosecutor, and therefore an antagonist. He was once the famous "Rookie Killer" who claims to have never lost a case in his first seven years as a lawyer, but lost one case along with his hair and, from then on, basically became a joke.
    • It apparently runs in the family, as his younger brother Gaspen somehow manages to be an even bigger joke. His sheer incompetence actually becomes a plot point in Spirit of Justice to demonstrate just how much of a farce the Kingdom of Khura'in's legal system is:in the short time between his trouncing in Dual Destinies and the beginning of Spirit of Justice, this blundering buffoon somehow became that country's Chief Prosecutor.
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  • Dist from Tales of the Abyss certainly comes off as one, introducing himself as 'Dist the Rose' but ending up being called 'Dist the Runny'. In every fight, he sweeps in with an over-dramatic entrance and then gets made fun of immediately, usually by Jade, before his humiliating and undignified loss.
  • Kingdom Hearts
    • Pete from Kingdom Hearts II, and loads of it. Seems more like he just picked the wrong side.
    • Demyx arguably fits in the same category, especially in Days. All he wants to do is chill with his sitar, and Saix and Xemnas make him act evilly. Averted later when he puts up one hell of a fight.
  • Steambot Chronicles has Dudley, an obnoxious, tough-talking, muscle-brained trotmobile rider who the player runs into on about 4 occasions (3 during the main story and another in an optional encounter). While not necessarily a villain per se, the oaf constantly boasts about his strength and generally acts like a prick (he picks fights with anyone he can, destroys a farm just because "flowers are stupid", and think that a massive zeppelin is hoarding treasure). In the hero ending of the game, he can even be seen during the credits making what appears to be threatening gestures towards Vanilla (who is leaving on a ship for his homeland).
  • Halo has the Unggoy/Grunts, the main cannon fodder for the Covenant. Small (even when compared to Puny Earthlings), requiring gas masks to breathe in non-methane atmosphere, and mistreated by the other races, they're slaves who come across as cowards. This is in large part because, fearing an uprising, the Covenant doesn't want to give them any actual combat training. Half the fandom feels sorry for them. The other half loves to slaughter them. That said, from Halo 3 onward they take several levels in badassery (even if they're still lovable cowards at heart).
  • Professor Nakayama in the Borderlands 2 DLC add-on "Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt". He outright has to beg the Vault Hunters to come fight him, since they're more interested in hunting with Sir Hammerlock. Once the Vault Hunters decide to thwart his plans just to shut him up, he immediately realizes how deeply in over his head he is as the Vault Hunters mow down waves of his best minions and destroy crucial components of his plan with minimal effort. Sure, he's trying to clone Handsome Jack, and he's succeeded in creating a handful of genetic abominations, but a criminal mastermind he ain't. You don't even get to fight him. After putting a stop to his "plan", he walks out to confront you himself... annnnnndd promptly falls down some stairs and dies. Thus, you're spared from feeling like a total prick; he's just that pitiful. He's even more pathetic in the Pre-Sequel, in which he is characterized for his obsessive crush on Handsome Jack, and his incompetence in the realm of science gets highlighted even further; apparently he had to lie about his doctorate to even get hired by Hyperion in the first place. Then again, in Tales from the Borderlands, it's revealed he managed to perfect his Jack AI sometime between the events of the Pre-Sequel and Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt, causing a lot of problems for everyone.
    Claptrap: Man, what a loser! And that means a lot coming from ME.
  • Given that he does try to kill you upon his first appearance, Zevran of Dragon Age: Origins counts as this for all of five minutes before he joins your party (or you finish him off, if you decide to be a bastard). Jowan is a slightly straighter example, owing to how many of his life plans blow up in his face.
  • Wheatley in Portal 2. Which makes sense, seeing as he's programmed to be stupid.
    • Unfortunately, his sheer incompetence is the reason he's so dangerous. He's entirely harmless when he's given a meaningless or easy task, but once he's in charge of the incredibly complex Aperture Science facility, his utter stupidity almost leads to the facility's nuclear reactor going critical.
  • The Bonne pirate family in Mega Man Legends is 100% this. While their spinoff game The Misadventures of Tron Bonne proves that they're perfectly competent under most circumstances, Mega Man manages to make complete and utter fools of them every time they square off, to the point that by the sequel, they're more comic relief than anything.
    • Glyde, Bola, and Klaymoor from Legends 2 could count as well, considering they're no more of a threat (and in some cases arguably less so) themselves. While at least Bola and Klaymoor are old (the former was even retired before the latter brought him back into action) and work entirely on their own, Glyde has no such excuses: despite being young and having at least the same resources as the Bonnes at his disposal, he somehow manages to be even more of a laughingstock.
    • In the end, though, it may not be entirely their fault; after all, none of them have likely ever come across a highly advanced precursor battle android who's hundreds of years old before.
  • Papyrus from Undertale, when you first meet him. Unlike the Royal Guard, he's not actually out to kill the player character, but he still wants to run them through a gauntlet of puzzles before capturing them and sending them to King Asgore (who's killed six other children already). But he's not particularly good at it - with some covert help from his brother Sans, his puzzles become a non-issue, and the bars of his prison cell are wide enough to walk through (escape enough times and he'll ask you to let him know beforehand next time, because he got worried about you when you disappeared. And he means it). Averted, though, when his boss fight hits - first he drops the "ineffectual" part, then he decides to let the player character go, becoming a sweet and loyal friend for the rest of the game. The game strongly implies that he could be quite competent if he wanted to, but he's intentionally holding back because he only ever wanted friends and holds no malice towards humans whatsoever.
    • Lancer from Deltarune is more of a straight example; he might actually be a nasty piece of work if he weren't so adorably bad at being mean, let alone dangerous. But he does try, and recognizes a seasoned pro — Susie — when he sees one, first taking cues from her behavior and then accepting her as a partner after her Face–Heel Turn. At which point Susie, who earlier threatened to bite your face off right in the middle of school, immediately falls prey to the trope herself, spending most of the chapter making "plans" with him to kick your asses when she could probably kill you in one or two hits of her axe. Lancer sucks so much at being a bad guy, he manages to drag a real baddie down to his level.
  • Team Skull in Pokémon Sun and Moon, especially in comparison to the evil teams in the past games. The only person who ever actually takes them seriously is Lillie, otherwise everyone dismisses them as a non-threat despite how much they try to be Gang Bangers. You even have the option to walk away from them during your first encounter with them! Of course, the team is mostly a front to distract everyone from the real villains who provide Team Skull's funding: the Aether Foundation and their president Lusamine, who are much more threatening.
  • Veigar in League of Legends is a wannabe Evil Overlord whose poor target priority, small size, and deeply-buried good heart mean that he not only achieves little in the way of actual villainy or respect, but actually ends up gaining the support of the people he's "oppressing" because he generally takes out some actual threats while running around hurling murder spells at things.
  • Reptile from Mortal Kombat, big time. All that the poor Jobber wants to do is revive his race, but he can't even do that in most of his non-canon endings. In Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, his story consists of undergoing a Sanity Slippage during an Imagine Spot, fighting imaginary opponents until he squares off against the source of all his failures: himself. Thankfully, Mortal Kombat X gave him a bone by giving him a new Benevolent Boss who respects him, even if he is still a jobber and hardly anyone else does.
  • Martin Madrazo from Grand Theft Auto V. While he comes off as a legitimate threat early on and jump-starts much of the game's plot, he falls into this status quickly later on as bigger villains start to emerge and especially once he crosses paths with Trevor. In most other GTA games, Madrazo would have all the defining characteristics of the Big Bad; however, in this game, he simply can't catch enough of a break to be anything more than a mild annoyance.

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