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Adaptational Wimp

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"I never read any of the comics, so I don't know what Silver Surfer's powers are, but isn't he supposed to be pretty strong? So why'd they make him into a wimp?! Why is he fucking up rubber ducks and weeping like a crybaby?"

So there is this character, strong, independent, intelligent and resourceful. They are a valued member of any team and more than contributes their fair share to the team. They might not have been a true bonafide badass, but at the very least they were capable of standing on their own. Then the work was remade by new writers and everything changed. The once awesome Action Girl is now a Damsel in Distress. The Badass Bookworm is now just a plain old nerd. The Action Survivor is now just The Drag-Along, or worse.

This character has been the victim of Adaptational Wimpification. The reasons behind this happening are varied, and not inherently a result of bad writing. A character may be reduced to a cameo and their most notable contribution passed on to a more prominent character. The character may have been The Ace as an Invincible Hero and this trope makes them a more compelling protagonist with real dramatic concern for their safety. Or perhaps their less active traits were eliminated to make them more specialized in a team of badasses. Or maybe the adaptation is Lighter and Softer than its source material, and the writers made those vile villains harmless to avoid scaring the kids.

As with the inverse trope Adaptational Badass, this is not about characters who suffered a minor power decrease or had their most badass moment cut from the adaptation. It is when their usefulness, agency, and contribution to the plot is significantly reduced. It is not this trope when the character "only" easily defeated twenty Mooks instead of a hundred; it's when the character struggled to take down even one. Realize too, that this may be intentional and in a long-running series may have the character take a level in badass to provide Character Development and align them better with the original version.

Something similar often appears in parodies, either exaggerating a character's existing weaknesses or just as a cheap way of making them look ridiculous.

Contrast Adaptational Badass and Adaptational Skill. Compare Badass Decay, Chickification, and Took a Level in Dumbass, for when the character becomes a wimp within the original work. Often happens in the case of a character who isn't fully understood by the new writers. Not to be confused with Ukefication, which is a fanfiction specific variant of this often occurring in Hurt/Comfort Fic, most often in Slash Fics (and usually affecting more on an emotional level). Particularly awful cases of this have been known to cause an Audience-Coloring Adaptation. Unrelated to Pacified Adaptation.

As always, remember that Tropes Are Tools. This trope can be (and often is) invoked on purpose in order to tone down an Invincible Hero or Invincible Villain, thereby adding more suspense and drama to the work. Resist Complaining About Shows You Don't Like or screaming that something is Ruined FOREVER.


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    Comic Books 
  • Convergence: Those unfamiliar with her stint as Batgirl would be forgiven for thinking Cassandra Cain was just a pretty standard Badass Normal instead of someone more skilled than Batman in physical combat. Steph describes her as such, but it's still a case of Show, Don't Tell.
  • Green Lantern: Earth One: Subverted. It initially seems like the Green Lantern rings are much weaker in this continuity (one Lantern can barely take down a single Manhunter), until it’s discovered that the Manhunters have actually sealed off the main power battery on Oa, meaning the rings are only barely charged by ambient green energy traces. When Hal manages to pierce the shielding around it, the Green Lanterns are powered up again and wipe the floor with the Manhunters.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • Metal Sonic got hit with this in the Archie comics. For the longest time, Metal Sonic was just one of many Mook bots getting sent out to annoy Sonic, the longest-lasting version being Metal Sonic v3.3, who lasted two dimensional hops and battled Shadow, Blaze and Marine to a standstill. All the other times, he barely lasted an issue. This got changed during the reboot, at least partially because Sega themselves stepped in and told Archie to cut it out.
  • Spidey Super Stories featured Thanos at one point, who traveled around in a helicopter and was arrested by the police after dropping the Cosmic Cube.
  • The Star Wars What If? miniseries tones down several aspects from Star Wars like the Jedi and the Sith not having any powers since the Force functions more like a standard religion rather than a source of power for its believers. They are still very skilled fighters with lightsabers nonetheless.
  • Suicide Squad (2021): The War For Earth-3 arc saw the Crime Syndicate note  who were perfectly capable in their own comic taken down by Amanda Waller and C-list heroes/villains in their own turf. The worst member hit by this is Owlman, who goes from a tactically-dangerous cutthroat in the vein of his good counterpart Batman to a tryhard with no back-up plans and an easily-demolished attack jet who (after being effortlessly incapacitated with a spine-snap and later captured) reveals he doesn't even know how to use a computer.
  • Superman:
    • When Pre-Crisis Supergirl battled Luthor for the first time in The Death of Luthor, she easily beat his tricks and humiliated him before turning him over to the cops. When her vastly less powerful and more poorly trained Post-Crisis incarnation engages Luthor for the first time in Girl Power, she is easily beaten by his tricks, humiliated and nearly killed off.
    • Downplayed in Superman Smashes the Klan. As the book is set in the Golden Age, Superman's power set is around that of him at that time (powerful leaps, a measure of invulnerability, super strength, no extra powers). In the final book, when young Roberta convinces Superman to stop holding back, he starts displaying all of his modern day powers.
  • Transformers:
    • The Transformers: Combiner Wars: Menasor in the original cartoon is one of the strongest combiners, and easily one of the most effective Decepticons. As he defeats Bruticus and in his debut and he overpowered Superion, a rarity for a show where the Decepticons almost always lose badly. In the comics, Menasor is one of the weakest combiners. His debut fight with Superion is a Curb-Stomp Battle with Superion easily trouncing him and when the other Combiners show up, Menasor is defeated easily and subdued by a trio of regular-sized bots. Coincidently Menasor's toy from the line that the comic is supposed to promote, is considered one of the most poorly designed.
    • The Transformers: Windblade: Bruticus gets similarly hard hit, but it's more justified in this case because one of his components was brain dead and of the other four, only Onslaught and Brawn really are cooperating. Unable to effectively coordinate, Bruticus is easily beaten by Ironhide (who also had the most experience fighting Combiners of anyone on the planet).
    • This applies to a lot of characters who are considered obscure or C-list, but their scant appearances beforehand wrote them as far more skilled. Boss of the Turbomasters is The Ace according to his bio, but he's usually a Red Shirt the few times he appears. Japanese leader characters like Metalhawk, Star Saber, and Dai Atlas lose their fantastical Super Robot skills in favor of being, at most, somewhat stronger than the average Transformer. And Emirate Xaaron was made a glorified extra who is only occasionally implied to hold anything like the high position he did in the original comics.
    • In an oddball case of this, Fortress Maximus and Scorponok's toys and animated appearances depict them as truly gigantic sorts, with their altmodes being armored bases and their robot modes towering far over even Combining Mecha. In the comics, they're consistently depicted as big, but not much bigger than most characters, usually being about twice average height. This owes to the fact that the comic tends to play up the "leader" side of their characters, and it would be hard to have them giving orders if they couldn't fit in a building. The cartoons and toys resolved this by having them be Headmasters, meaning the part giving the orders was a Mini-Mecha and the giant robot was a mindless Meta Mecha used for combat — the comics used different rules for Headmasters and therefore couldn't do this.
  • Ultimate Marvel:
    • Carol Danvers. As did the original Carol Danvers, she starts as a Colonel Badass without powers. But unlike the original one, she stays that way for the duration of the universe, and never becomes Ms. Marvel or Captain Marvel.
    • Wendell Vaughn. This version of Wendell never becomes Quasar, and remains a hapless S.H.I.E.L.D. guy.
    • The 616 incarnation of Kraven the Hunter is one of the strongest and most dangerous humans alive and an unrivalled hunter; Kraven is not only able to match Spider-Man in combat but has even proven capable of killing Spidey. Conversely in Ultimate Spider-Man Kraven is a pathetic Fake Ultimate Hero whom Peter knocks out cold with a single punch.
    • Cain Marko aka Juggernaut is the unstoppable avatar of Cyttorak who lives to make everyone his bitch on Earth 616. In Ultimate Marvel he’s just a strong mutant. True he does get Cyttorak‘s power later on but he also gets killed by a freaking poison dart, something that would just bounce off OG Juggernaut.
    • Kl'rt aka the Super-Skrull. The original 616 version of the character was granted the powers of all four members of the Fantastic Four. The Ultimate Version has no such powers, instead relying on an "anti-assassination" suit which allows him to duplicate the powers of any superhuman within a thousand mile radius. He is beaten by a human Ben Grimm who had no powers for the suit to duplicate.
    • Adamantium gets this in Ultimate X-Men. The 616 version Adamantium truly lives up to its reputation being completely indestructible (even Thor has trouble denting it). The Ultimate version of Adamantium on the other hand is only slightly more durable than titanium and the likes of Hulk and Colossus can snap it (along with Wolverine) pretty easily.
    • The Ultimates: James Braddock Junior. When your counterpart's powers include "multiversal reality warping", anything else is going to be a step down.
    • The Defenders. Initially, they are neither good or evil, just a bunch of fans with delusions of grandeur. They made a deal with Loki and get super powers, and attack the Ultimates with them (except for Valkyrie, who became Thor's lover and an Ultimate herself).
    • Emma Frost does not have telepathy, only the power to turn into diamond.
    • This Deathstrike might be a "skilled motorcycle rider and thief" but she lacks any of 616 Deathstrike's martial arts training. Unsurprisingly, she's not nearly as formidable a fighter.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Originally, on what would be termed Earth-Two, Etta Candy was an incredible fighter who took no nonsense while having a sense of humor and the leader of a semi-secret paramilitary group that tracked down spies and fought super-powered foes on behalf of the US government. When the book moved over to Earth-One that version of Etta was a gossipy secretary who couldn't fight her way out of a paper bag and was the brunt of jokes rather than making them.
    • While Diana's aunt Melanippe is usually one of the weaker physical Amazons even in the main continuity she's no pushover and is willing to sacrifice herself to save her loved ones. In The Legend of Wonder Woman she allows herself to be bullied into aiding the villains and doesn't even put up a token resistance, just asking that her sister be spared but doing nothing but looking sad when she's told her sister will be killed if she gets in the way.

    Films — Animated 
  • In most other incarnations Barbara Gordon is widely known to be an Action Girl who fights crime for the sake of justice and always looked up to Batman as a hero and even when disabled, remains a competent Mission Control for her senior. But in Batman: The Killing Joke, she comes across as a whiny, Clingy Jealous Girl who fights crime just to impress her own crush in Batman, does very little crime-fighting and the ones she did are because she perceives them as making a move on Batman. Essentially, the writers attempt to give an Adaptation Expansion in order to prevent a Stuffed into the Fridge situation ended up instead making Barbara a Satellite Love Interest for Bruce.
  • Batman: Hush does this to Bruce's friend Thomas Elliot as in the comic he is the titular Hush who has been playing Batman like a fiddle faking his own death, manipulating Batman's Rogues Gallery and generally wrecking Batman physically and mentally in spectacular fashion. In the animated retelling, he's just a regular nice guy surgeon and the actual Hush is actually The Riddler.
  • Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts sees the Flash as a less experienced hero compared to the Bat-Family and Green Arrow.
  • From the BIONICLE films:
    • Takua in BIONICLE: Mask of Light. In the Mata Nui Online Game, Takua flew as Kongu's second during the Gukko Force's attack on a Nui-Rama Hive, led six Matoran in a hopeless defense of Kini-Nui against hordes of Rahi, and braved the depths of the Makuta's lair itself. In the Wall of History animations, Takua aided in the liberation of Le-Koro, stood up to an entire Pahrak swarm, and joined the Toa Nuva in their pursuit of the Bohrok-Kal. In Mask of Light... Takua constantly shies away from his duty and responsibility, panics in the face of danger, and abandons Jaller after getting scared by Makuta. It's not until he stands up to the Rahkshi in Onu-Koro that Takua finally shows off some of his former badass qualities.
    • Onua from the same film. In prior media, he was one of the strongest, most capable, intelligent and reliable of the Toa heroes, and Onua saving others became a kind of running joke in the fandom because he was so good at everything. Yet not only does Mask of Light portray him as dumb and reckless, he's the first Toa to suffer a clear defeat with just barely putting up a fight, and his actions lead to so much trouble that others have to rescue him. A complete 180 compared to his original character.
    • Sidorak in BIONICLE 3: Web of Shadows. In the books and comics, Sidorak was a fierce warrior king who led his Visorak hordes into battle. In Web of Shadows, Sidorak is a sniveling coward who always needs Roodaka to do things for him, and Roodaka even outright says that he would never dirty his hands with conflict.
    • All of the villains, sans Metus who was a weakling to begin with, in BIONICLE: The Legend Reborn:
      • Bone Hunters and their Rock Steeds: Short but deadly and merciless desert bandits riding on savage dinosaurs. In the movie, a bunch of weak Mooks who ride on dinosaurs that behave like horses.
      • The Skrall: Spartan-esque soldiers who have never been beaten in a one-on-one duel before. In the movie, they run around squawking like animals and fall to a single hit. Elite Skrall are the same but more so — several times tougher than regular Skrall, even weaker and dumber than them in the movie.
      • The "Mighty" Tuma: In the stories leading up to the movie, as well as in the novelization, he's a ruthless and savvy overlord who came close to conquering the planet, and was only defeated because his size made him a slow fighter in close-combat. In the movie, he's a bumbling, full-of-himself brute who considers pushing over a much smaller opponent a deed worthy of celebration. He is defeated by the hero battering a wound on his back, which he left entirely unprotected every time he turned his back on him to bask in his own glory. Even the story writer must have been aware of Tuma's laughable movie depiction, which is why he inserted an extra chapter into the film's novelization to flesh him out as a more respectable villain.
  • In Disney Fairies, nearly everyone is this, compared to the books. Tinker Bell no longer carries her dagger with her everywhere, and her personality became a lot brighter and more cheerful compared to her well-meaning but somewhat jealous and bitter persona in the novels. Most notable, though, is Queen Clarion; in the books, she ruled singlehandedly, and was a main character who went on quests and once fought a dragon using an earring as a shield. In the movies, she's more motherly, was Demoted to Extra, and gained a Canon Foreigner love interest.
  • The Jungle Book:
    • In The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, Kaa the python one of the oldest, wisest, and most feared animals in the jungle. His wisdom and hypnotic dance make him one of Mowgli's most powerful allies, and even Bagheera and Baloo are wary about going to him for help. In the animated Disney adaptation, Kaa, while still dangerous, is a cowardly and unsuccessful villain who acted as Trope Namer for Smug Snake. He becomes even more of an Adaptational Wimp in the sequel, in which he is beaten with a stick by Mowgli's little stepbrother.
    • Akela and the wolves also get this, as in the opening of the film they give Mowgli to Bagheera because they feel that they cannot protect him from Shere Khan. In the book, Shere Khan himself comes to demand the child, and the pack stands up to him. Akela remains an important ally to Mowgli until the wolf's death.
    • Mowgli himself, who in the original story survived the jungle's and the man-village's dangers by being too badass for either of them to be able to handle, was reduced to just a defiant child who only is able to ward off Shere Khan when the vultures tell him about his fear of fire.
    • Even Bagheera is noticeably less formidable in the movie. In the book, he's one of the jungle's most feared and respected inhabitants — not so much in the movie, where he's more of a Comically Serious Butt-Monkey. In the sequel, he's become a full-fledged Chew Toy whose sole role is to get beat up a lot.
    • In the book, Hathi is a formidable fighter, who hates humans after injuring him and has razed human villages, and whom everyone minds their pleases and thank yous around. In the film, he is a bumbling, semi-senile old fart.
  • Played for Laughs in The LEGO Movie with Green Lantern: An absolute badass in nearly all of his works (Emphasis on "nearly"), but is just a whiny clingy nerd with a one-sided "friendship" with Superman.
  • Madeline of all people loses her good luck from prior works in the film My Fair Madeline, whose resultant upsetting plot slaughters her home series. Downplayed in that she was unlucky there, but still, the franchise would continue running had the movie's creators not made her The Woobie.
  • Shrek actually had the ability to breathe fire, swallow lightning, and shoot Eye Beams in the original book. While a formidable hand-to-hand combatant, he lacks the aforementioned powers in the films.
  • Deathstroke from Son of Batman goes from a well-known villain of the DC Universe to the punching bag of Damian Wayne. In the movie, Deathstroke is considered a Leader Wannabe who loses his eye in a fight to a child, gets zero respect from everyone, and is defeated by the hands of said child he was trying to best. He returns in Teen Titans: The Judas Contract as the Psycho for Hire of the comics, capable of some of the same feats he did in its source material, but he still has to rely on Terra for help when capturing Damian. On the other hand, it takes the combined efforts of both Damian and Nightwing to defeat him here.
  • In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Scorpion, Tombstone and the Green Goblin despite being very badass in the comics, are reduced to cannon fodder for Kingpin. Even Aunt May can beat up Tombstone.
  • In Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay, this is the case for both Amanda Waller and Reverse Flash, aka Professor Zoom, though it's justified here. Regarding the former, she's known having some kind of terminal disease, most likely cancer, and is dying significantly younger here given that the card she wanted becomes used up. Regarding the latter, Deadshot points out he'd usually be able to kill them right there and then, but it's then revealed that the Zoom here is the same one from Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, who was shot in the head by Thomas Wayne's Batman, and is literally moments away from death's row.
  • In Superman: Doomsday, Mercy Graves is presented as Lex Luthor's personal assistant and not his bodyguard, hence not even having the combat skills of her DC Animated Universe counterpart.
  • For the Golden Films Animated Adaptation of The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Which is an unofficial sequel) while Mopsy, Flopsy, and Cottontail aren't badass or violent. In the film "Peter Rabbit" Peter's sisters act more like goof balls and would sometimes be air-headed while all three of them are more wiser and smart (At least compared to Peter Rabbit) in the books.
  • Turtles Forever: The 1987 Ninja Turtles from their series were jokey due to being Lighter and Softer to market them for kids, but were still competent fighters and knew when to take a situation seriously. The movie, however, displays them as being extremely childish even in the face of the entire multi-verse threat, joking every few minutes, can barely fight, and heck, one point, acting like crybabies when they barely avoid an attack by a powered up 2003 Shredder. Likewise '87 Shredder is showcased to be utterly incompetent; while the original show did turn down his threat level and gave him comedic defeats, he was still a leader and a mastermind.
  • Due to the elseworld nature of Justice League: Gods and Monsters, the majority of the scientists murdered through are in the comics and other adaptations are major superheroes (Cyborg, both the Ray Palmer and Ryan Choi Atoms, the Kimiyo Hoisi Dr. Light, Bumblebee, S.T.R.I.P.E., the Michael Holt Mr. Terrific) and super villains (Dr. Sivana, Mr. Freeze, Emil Hamiltion when he's on the "Heel" side of the Heel–Face Revolving Door) in the DC Universe are just normal scientists. In fact the only exceptions are Cyborg's father, Slias Stone, and Stephen Shin, who are normal scientists in those other versions, anyway.
  • In Norse Mythology, Fenrir was a genuinely ruthless and cunning Beast of the Apocalypse. In Legends of Valhalla: Thor, he's just Hel's pet, and not a very bright one at that.

  • Applies to practically everyone in the widely hated Baldur's Gate novels (at least the two first ones) as compared to the original games.
    • The protagonist Abdel Adrian is initially more like the opposite, because instead of starting out as a novice just out of his childhood home like the Player Character, he's already an experienced mercenary. However, by Shadows of Amn, he becomes an Adaptational Wimp instead, because he's still the same rather crude thug he always was, whereas the game has the characters advancing to pretty epic levels and fighting demons and dragons. If you think in terms of the game, it's like he started out at level 5note  and stayed there. He gains vague super powers by the end of the book to compensate. He's also rather weak in terms of intellect and willpower.
    • The protagonist's companions become pretty useless. The worst might be Jaheira, who's plummeted into Faux Action Girl status faster than you can say "Abdel saw a more delicate side behind her tough warrior exterior." Imoen is another candidate by virtue of not having any kind of combat or other skills even as an Informed Ability.
    • The villains of Shadows of Amn: Bodhi turns from a menacing, superhumanly powerful vampire into someone who wants to seduce Adrian every time they meet and is torn apart by his Superpowered Evil Side. Meanwhile, Irenicus is still a vaguely powerful wizard, but this is nothing compared to his absolutely overwhelming power in the game. Besides, his personality goes from chilling monster to, well, like the most generic villain stereotype but with less personality. We're not even told what he looks like, probably because his game outfit was so weird.
    • This applies even to minor characters (and scenes and plot elements, but that's not this trope) so that it seems almost like you're reading a parody. From Shadows of Amn: Aran Linvail, head of the Shadow Thieves in Athkatla and thus a Diabolical Mastermind by definition, becomes some random assassin who needs to be killed along the way for not much reason. Saemon Havarian, a flamboyant sea captain and repeatedly backstabbing Karma Houdini, becomes a drunk with a boat.
  • In the novelization of Doom³ , Councilor Swann is a typical Dirty Coward Obstructive Bureaucrat corporate suit, while in the game he was an aversion of the stock character type, being actually competent and decisive.
  • While Paris wasn't much a renowned warrior in The Iliad, it's worth remembering he was the one who killed Achilles, in David Gemmell's Troy series however he's a nebbish Book Worm who gets killed by Achilles in a matter of seconds when he goes charging to face him when the Achilles launches a surprise attack on his home.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe this occurs in equal measure to both the New Republic and the Empire compared to their incarnations in the earlier ''Legends'' EU:
    • While the Empire begins fragmenting after the Emperor's death in both continuities, thanks to attempts to consolidate power at various points by individuals such as Ysanne Isard, Grand Admiral Thrawn, and later Daala and Pellaeon the Empire remains enough of a threat that it does not formally surrender for another fifteen years. In the new EU these attempts are never made and things go to pieces much more quickly with the Empire losing planets and war materiel to the Alliance at a much greater clip in the wake of Endor, and the Galactic Civil War ultimately comes to an end barely a single year later. Of course, not helping matters for the Imperials is the fact that in this continuity Palpatine had a Thanatos Gambit in place intending to have his most fervent loyalists hasten the "failed" Empire's collapse in the event of his unexpected death.
    • As a consequence of the above the nascent New Republic isn't forged in a crucible of continued war and greatly downsize their fleet in order to avoid potential bad PR after twenty-five years of Imperial rule, with the bulk of it kept stationed around the capital at any one time. By the time of the sequel trilogy the government is so complacent and conflict-averse that they stick their heads in the sand and ignore the warning signs pointing to the First Order's emergence, allowing them to wipe out their leadership and most of the navy in one fell swoop come The Force Awakens. By contrast, while the New Republic of Legends do make similar mistakes in the New Jedi Order series at the outbreak of the Yuuzhan Vong War, they start off on better footing and after reorganizing into the Galactic Alliance they come out victorious by fighting both harder and smarter.

  • This version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from Coming Out of Their Shells are very easily frightened off by a device that is meant to nullify music (not their mutated physiologies, music) and seem reluctant to fight at all.
  • In Hamilton, Aaron Burr is depicted as a quiet pushover who simply goes along with the winning side no matter what he personally believes (until he Took a Level in Badass following "The Room Where it Happens"), and politically he refuses to take any hard stances in order to avoid burning bridges. In real life, Aaron Burr was incredibly ambitious and was absolutely not afraid to get into a fight; he was the first of the show's characters to join the Revolution, and politically he was a bonafide genius, inventing the form of electioneering that we still use today and pulling an incredibly cunning maneuver to con the Federalists out of their banking monopoly. In fact, his Catchphrase of "talk less, smile more" more accurately describes Jefferson than it does Burr.
  • Intentionally played straight in A Very Potter Musical and its sequels: Draco, who was Harry's rival in the books, is now little more than a minor annoyance, making lame insults that rarely land. Additionally, in the books he was moderately popular, but now is liked by almost no one. This is all Played for Laughs, especially with Draco now being a Cross-Cast Role and his deeply pretentious nature.
  • Westeros: An American Musical: Loras Tyrell in Act II. In Act I, he co-conspires with Renly to make Margaery Robert's mistress and is the figurehead of the Tyrell army in "The Siege of King's Landing". In Act II, Olenna has to intervene to keep Loras from getting harassed by the Sand Snakes and he's mostly silently helping out with whatever Olenna and Margaery are up to.

    Video Games 
  • Heracles (better known as Hercules) is arguably the best well known Greek hero and poster boy of inhuman strength. In Age of Mythology he is a hero unit from the Heroic age with some pretty mediocre stats, making him worse than heroes like Bellerophon, Perseus or Polyphemus.
  • In Classical Mythology, Athena is usually portrayed as a Badass Bookworm Lady of War who can usually kick fellow War God Ares' ass whenever she feels like it; in Altered Beast, she's reduced to just a Damsel in Distress who needs a resurrected, non-godly man to save her.
  • Batman: Arkham Series:
    • Harley Quinn. Of a sort, and oddly for this series. While the Joker trusts her with more than he usually does in other media, including being his main agent and controlling his gang, she's on the whole far less intelligent or capable a combatant than most other incarnations. Likewise, she lacks the (admittedly mild) super-strength and agility of her comics counterpart. Quite the opposite in Knight (mostly).
    • In the comics Black Mask is a brutal mob boss, fond of torture, not afraid of anyone, and has no problem going head-to-head with any member of the Bat-family. His only appearances in Batman: Arkham City have him get his ass kicked by random Tyger Mooks and Robin in the DLC, in Batman: Arkham Origins he gets Hijacked By Joker, and in Batman: Arkham Knight, Red Hood kills him.
    • While Deathstroke does display the assassin skills he has in the comics, he loses to an inexperienced Batman in his second year under the mantle, whereas in the comics, even a highly experienced Batman will struggle greatly to survive a fight against Deathstroke. Then, he gets taken down in one punch in Arkham Knight during their rematch.
    • In the comics, Lady Shiva is considered to be the best and most feared martial artist in the DC Comics Universe and Batman has never beaten her in a fair fight. In Origins, she fights like the martial artist and ninja thugs and is ridiculously easy to take down. Of course she was only testing Batman's abilities and wasn't giving it her all. In the Initiation challenge map, she is a little bit tougher, being invulnerable to regular strikes and must be taken out with beatdowns or counter attacks.
    • In the comics, Deacon Blackfire is an incredibly clever and charismatic cult leader who temporarily conquered the city and was able to defeat and humiliate Batman the first time they fought, leaving Batman so broken that he even considered retiring. In Arkham Knight, while he has his cult, he seems to be a rambling old man with no real plan besides causing chaos and ritual sacrifices, and Batman pummels him with relative ease.
    • Rick Flag spends most of Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate in an office with Waller and thus, we don't get to see him in combat.
    • Subverted and justified with Bane. In the comics, he's a Genius Bruiser who can match Batman both physically and mentally, and actually defeated Batman during his debut. Contrast that with Arkham City, where he's little more than a drug addict whom Batman both outsmarts and outmanouvers easily — in a cutscene, no less — and ends up trapped in a small space that a man of his size and strength could easily escape from. Arkham Origins, a B-Team Sequel, retroactively establishes that Bane used to be intelligent, to the point of figuring out it's Bruce Wayne under the mask, but a series of In-Universe events caused him permanent brain-damage that explain his previous wimpiness.
  • Battle Cats Rangers:
    • Strong Cats from the main game, like Dragon Cat and Titan Cat, are quickly and horribly outclassed by other helpers. One of the biggest examples is Can Can Cat — while it's insanely powerful for its cost in the original, here, it's superseded in power by Kotatsu Cat (a Stone Wall in the original) and Boogie Cat (a Cat only useful as Cannon Fodder).
    • All of the enemies. Instead of actually fighting back, they just sit there and take hits until they die or the time limit elapses. This is an Enforced Trope, as it's a clicker Idle Game and not a tug-of-war-style Tower Defense.
  • The NES game Bucky O'Hare did this with Toadborg. While The Dragon in the TV show, here he is the boss of the Green Planet, which is arguably the easiest of the four worlds you can choose from. Add to that his attack pattern is easily predictable and his attacks are easy to avoid. A far cry from the Knight of Cerebus who delivered the heroes' first defeat.
  • Castlevania:
    • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow:
      • Subverted with Carmilla and Death. They've both lost their signature powers (the giant floating skull that weeps acid blood for Carmilla and millions of sickles for Death) but have new powers making them equal to their counterparts (lightning for Carmilla, and Death is a powerful necromancer who can control who lives and who dies across the world).
      • Justified in the case of Dracula, since this story takes place before he becomes a vampire. By the end of the two DLC chapters he has gained power equal to what he's supposed to have.
      • Played straight with Brauner. In Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin he had the ability to create Portal Pictures and even bring his paintings to life, and he was so powerful that he almost managed to steal Dracula's Castle away from him. Like Carmilla and Death he loses his original powers, but unlike them his new powers are nowhere close to equal to what he had before.
    • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate: Sypha Belnades in the original timeline was a powerful sorceress that went on blasting the forces of evil with her magic, aiding Trevor Belmont and eventually marrying him, whereas her magic-inclined genes were passed on to the Belmont clan, augmenting it with magic powers and also occasionally has a branch family tree that aided the Belmont clan. In this new continuity, all that remained was Sypha's marriage with Trevor, she's otherwise a normal woman that gave birth to Simon and easily got killed by Dracula's forces in the beginning of the game, becoming a Missing Mom.
    • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2: While the game fully averts this trope with Death this time around by returning his trademark scythe to him, it instead plays it straight with Abaddon. In Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow and Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin Abaddon was a locust demon with the ability to summon swarms of insects against you. Even a single rush of his swarm could stun-lock and potentially kill you. Lords Of Shadow 2's version was just a generic demon. He was a very big generic demon, mind you, but not really special.
  • The video game adaptation of The Crow: City of Angels had this bad. In the movies and comics, the Crow is difficult to kill because he's immune to pain and has a Healing Factor. Conventional weapons like handguns and rifles are little more than an annoyance. Even if his immortality is overtaxed and he is killed, his crow guide can revive him provided his body is still intact enough and the crow guide itself is not killed. In this game, he can be beaten to death by simple humans and guns can easily kill him. He will also permanently die if he is killed and not be revived like how he normally would.
  • Final Boss Adam Smasher in Cyberpunk 2077 was an absolutely lethal force of nature in the TTRPG and anime, being a Lightning Bruiser Implacable Man who in the former is an SNK Boss. There was one fundamental rule with him in the tabletop game: you didn't fight Adam Smasher unless you wanted to die. In the game however, he's a lumbering Anti-Climax Boss who, after having Arasaka protocols getting fried, manages to be dispatched by a dying V on their last legs.
  • Danger Girl turns Natassia Kassle, a competent and dangerous Dark Action Girl from the comics, to a pathetic Dirty Coward and a "Get Back Here!" Boss who, upon having her doomsday device destroyed, then flees from Abbey (instead of fighting her directly like in the comics) while throwing mooks in the way. When she gets forced into a gunfight while cornered at the edge of a pit, the boss battle is hardly impressive, since Natassia's health bar gets shredded within seconds if Abbey happens to have an automatic weapon. She even whimpers as she falls to her death, something Comic!Natassia wouldn't do no matter what.
  • Dante's Inferno:
    • The Devil, Lucifer in the flesh, is far less formidable than in The Divine Comedy. In the game, the devil pretty much loses to a mortal man who should have been easily crushed by his might and breaks down crying how God made his life horrible. In the original literary work, the devil was The Dreaded Emperor of Hell who made giants look like normal men and who would go undefeated until God gave the Last Judgement.
    • Beatrice, who was a noble hero who saved Dante's soul all by herself in the original source material, ends up becoming a Damsel in Distress for him to save instead of the other way around.
  • Nicole-458 in Dead or Alive 4. While she is an original character, created specifically for DOA4, she is supposed to be a Spartan-II from the Halo series, an enhanced Super Soldier wearing Powered Armor. In Halo, even when not in armor, a Spartan-II is capable of easily beating (to the point of sometimes unintentionally killing) even multiple Badass Normal opponents. The MJOLNIR armor makes them even more powerful. In DOA4, though, Nicole is just as strong as any of the Stripperiffic female characters, and her MJOLNIR armor doesn't do much to protect her.
  • Dead by Daylight: Guest Fighter survivors like Bill, Steve, Ash, Heather and anyone from Resident Evil are more than capable of being able to defend themselves and take up a lot of hurt in their home series. Here, they are unable to fight back due to a lack of weaponry and can be brought down to a crawl in three hits from any of the killers.
  • In DmC: Devil May Cry:
    • In the classic Devil May Cry continuity, Vergil is one of Dante's most powerful foes and actually wins their first battle in each of the games they fight in, whether as himself or as Nelo Angelo; with Dante needing to embrace his powers and get considerably stronger over the course of the story in order to first give him an even fight and then finally beat him. In both the story as well as the actual player controlled battle, Vergil remains one of the toughest bosses Dante ever faces. In DmC, Vergil is still powerful, but Dante is far stronger and Vergil needs him to act as his enforcer. When they duel at the end of the game, Dante wins handily.
    • Sparda gets it even worse. The original continuity's Sparda was a One-Man Army Ascended Demon so powerful, skilled and fearless that when he decided to fight for humanity, he singlehandedly took on the entire legions of Hell, and then on Mundus himself, and won. This Sparda, after Mundus finds out he betrayed him, goes into hiding. When Mundus finds him, Mundus easily kills Eva, before his demons capture Sparda and take him away to be imprisoned and tortured without much resistance. This is even reflected in his design. The original Sparda looked like a truly imposing demonic warrior. DmC Sparda looks like just some dude with horns.
  • In the Nintendo port of Dragon's Lair, Dirk is much weaker than in the original game. He dies by walking into a door.
  • Fate/Grand Order
    • Invoked In-Universe with the Dioscuri Twins. They were originally full-fledged gods. The idea of them being demigods was created later and everyone believing that lowered their Divinity. More importantly, the most famous version of their story is the version that Pollux got Zeus' immortal genes while Castor got Tyndareus' human genes, so Castor got completely downgraded from god to human. He's so offended by this that his actual Class is Avenger despite being summoned as a Saber with his sister.
    • The mythological Jason was a warrior who was strong enough to pull two bulls at the same time with the only help he received for the task being a fire-resistance potion from Medea, not a wimp who relies on others for protection. The fact that he was trained by Chiron is still there, but he didn't seem to really get any of his lessons and would have preferred if he had taught him how to deal with landmine-like women like Medea. He's still a Servant worthy of the Throne of Heroes by the usage of analysis and trickery, but compared to his mythological self who also does the physical weight-lifting in the same time... In general, it seems to pull heavily from his famously unsympathetic portrayal in Medea.
    • Caster of the Nightless City/Scheherazade, as opposed to the famous steel-nerved girl who sacrificed herself appeasing a murderous king's paranoia by her eloquence and patience alone, has been reduced to a Nervous Wreck who fears death so much she'd rather ignore humanity's call for help than die once again in the process. She reveals more of her positive qualities as the Agartha chapter and the Ooku event go on, such as her patience, calm calculation, and ultimately her ability to work under pressure, but at her core, she's still been fundamentally broken by her ordeal in life.
    • Mephistopheles from Faust is a homunculus in the Nasuverse rather than a demon. While Mephistopheles has excellent Magic Circuits, he has nowhere near the amount of mystical power an actual demon would have in this setting.
    • Kazuradrop in the manga adaptation of "Abyssal Cyber Paradise, SE.RA.PH." is not the same intimidating, super-powerful AI she was back in Fate/Extra CCC Foxtail. This is justified, as not only was Kazuradrop so powerful due to having already eaten Meltryllis, Passionlip and most of BB- and thus getting access to their powers- but here, BB is controlling her id_es to make her more obedient.
    • Tokugawa Iesayu is usually depicted as either a Smug Snake or a Grumpy Old Man in popular fiction. In "Tokugawa Restoration Labyrinth: Ooku," he's a Nervous Wreck, albeit one who can technically still fight. While it's a rather novel direction, it's a bit of a step down from most popular fictional depictions.
    • Fate/Grand Order: Arcade introduces Larvae/Tiamat, who is essentially Tiamat in Sleep-Mode Size (or at least, a Giant Woman's equivalent). As a fragment of her true self, she's naturally less powerful than she was as a Beast, but she suffers most in areas in which she formerly excelled incredibly. She specialized in her absolutely tremendous rankings of her physical attributes, possessing unparalleled strength and durability, befitting of being the primordial dragon of Mesopotamian myth, with a Monstrous Strength skill to make her even more of a juggernaut. In her Larval incarnation, they rank at a subpar C, with the aforementioned skill removed and her agility score still being worse.
    • The twenty-two demons as described in the Lesser Key of Solomon all had different designs, designations and powers from each other. In contrast, all of the Demon Pillars here look very similar and are part of a greater Mind Hive where most of them aren't as distinct from one another.
  • Fate/hollow ataraxia has Caster describing Jason as weak and cowardly, a far cry from the charismatic leader of the Argonauts in the myths. We don't see exactly what she means until Fate/Grand Order, where a trip to Okeanos shows him to be all that and more; he doesn't even fight alongside his troops, preferring to hide behind them while they do his fighting for him (which is even demonstrated in his playable version). In fact, according to a younger Caster, all he had going for him was his charisma. However, as shown in the Atlantis Lostbelt, Jason is an incredibly skilled strategist when backed into a corner, he's just too much of a coward to show it most of the time (and even then he's closer to a Cowardly Lion).
  • Felix the Cat has a couple instances of this:
    • Master Cylinder, who was a much greater threat in the 1960's TV cartoons than The Professor, is now working for him in this game, and is fought as a boss twice. He's barely as big as Felix in-game and has a ridiculously simplistic attack pattern. If you use the plane power-up against him, the fight is turned into a complete joke, since he goes down in a few hits. In the second fight, he uses bubbles instead of lasers to attack. That said, if you fight him without power-ups, he becomes the hardest boss in the game.
    • The Magic Bag of Tricks also goes through this. In the Joe Oriolo cartoons, it was a Story-Breaker Power that could turn into or create anything and could get Felix out of any situation. The NES game significantly nerfs its powers to where it can only do four different attacks, three of which need power ups and have a time limit, and occasionally turn into vehicles in certain contexts (i.e. canoes, a plane, a spaceship). Understandably, it would be impossible to properly transition the Bags limitless abilities into a video game, and giving the bag limits ensures that the gameplay still has challenge.
    • The Magic Bag gets hit with an even worse case of this (and combined with Demoted to Extra to boot) in the video game Baby Felix Halloween. It's not even a regular gameplay item anymore — it's reduced to a trivial item that merely refills your health bar when you grab it.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VII Remake: In the original Final Fantasy VII, Reno's boss fight at the Sector 7 Plate had him fighting a full party by himself, and even after losing, he still manages to activate the plate separation sequence while still escaping on his own. In the Remake, he's fought early and decisively defeated by Cloud alone in a Duel Boss and his second boss fight against Avalanche has Rude joining him. Both fights also end with him nearly being killed by Cloud if not for outside interference.
    • In Crisis Core, Aerith is reduced to a Damsel in Distress who relies on Zack to save her and is generally afraid of SOLDIERs and violence. In Final Fantasy VII, she was a street smart woman who ran away when she knew she was outmatched and to avoid capture by SOLDIER, but wasn't afraid of violence if needs be (and threatened to castrate a slum don to get the truth out of him). Here, it's implied the only reason Shin-Ra haven't captured her is that they're just observing her instead. Crisis Core was a prequel, but it's still noticeable considering what Aerith achieved in the original game.
    • Shinryu is a recurring Superboss in the series, completely optional and the player has to either have maxed out his party or berserk it in its debut appearance to even stand a chance against it. Nova Dragon, as Shinryu is called in Final Fantasy IX, is a storyline boss so it is mandatory for the heroes to beat it.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem Heroes does this to many characters across the franchise who suffer from poor statlines or lack advantages they had in their home games. Two of the biggest examples are Seth from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (who goes from being widely considered the most powerful unit in the entire franchise to a mediocre sword cavalier outclassed by nearly every other sword cavalier) and Fallen Takumi from Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest (who goes from being an absolutely monstrous Final Boss who has 4 range, takes half damage from all attacks, and spits out energy waves every 2-3 turns to a Master of None with a gimmicky and situational weapon).
    • The OAV of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light does this to both Marth and Caeda. In the game, Marth was somewhat naïve with a soft touch but eager to get the job done. Caeda was a devoted Action Girl who was fighting beside him right from chapter 1. Here, Marth is a mopey Emo Kid who cries at the thought of killing a deer while poor Caeda catches the Distress Ball and instead of rushing in to fight the pirates, tosses Marth the sword and sits in the backlines folding bandages — and she's portrayed as a Tsundere to boot.
  • In Friday Night Funkin', the protagonist and his girlfriend, Boyfriend and Girlfriend, are depicted as Fearless Fools who can beat up the likes of even Sonic.exe once they find out that there is no McDonald's in his dimension. The dozens of Game Mods, however, don't depict them as such, like in Vs Whitty and Mid-Fight Masses where Girlfriend shakes in fear when Word of God confirms that she won’t, and in the case of Vs. Auditor: Gateway to Hell, Boyfriend audibly screaming in fear of something that isn’t thunder or bugs, like the appearance of the titular Auditor, who has a fire motif.
  • The God of War series does this hard to Typhon. In the Greek myths, he was a giant monster that sent most of the Olympians running in fear at the mere sight of him with only Zeus staying to fight him and nearly losing, and the battle describing as ripping mountains out of the ground and throwing them. When he appears in God of War II, he's demoted to just being one of the titans, with little power besides his size and nothing implied to special about compared to the others. Even the way he attacked, blowing air, giving hints of him having wind powers, falls flat when Chronos in God of War III is seen doing the same thing, hinting that again only came from his size.
  • Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee: Mothra, the heroic giant butterfly who serves as one of the toughest giant monsters and Godzilla's greatest ally is rendered one of the weakest characters in the game. Not helped by the fact that her larvae form is the one you must start out with, which only renders her vulnerable to serious attacks. This was the same creature who scared Gigan and King Ghidorah while still in her basic form.
  • Thanos appears as the first boss character in Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series, and is significantly weaker than he is in the comics. The Guardians actually manage to kill him, and the rest of the plot revolves around what happens when they take a powerful artifact known as the Eternity Forge from his corpse.
  • Gundam 0079: The War for Earth: The Gundam in the original series is a Super Prototype, demonstrating its power before it has even stood up for the first time when the shots from Gene's Zaku Machine Gun bounce off of its armor. Here, that same machine gun can destroy the Gundam. Notably, Char in the anime has to get creative when trying to destroy the Gundam by bringing heavy weaponry or applying brute force so that Amuro being thrust around in the cockpit will inflict injury, while one of the fail screens here show that his Zaku punching the Gundam in the face is enough to destroy it.
  • Hyrule Warriors:
    • Stalfos were difficult minibosses in Ocarina of Time. Here they're just mid-level squad leaders. Granted, they were low-level Mooks in the first game, and in the series overall, the state of any monster can fluctuate between this and Adaptational Badass from game to game.
    • On a similar note to Stalfos, Gibdos in most games are Nigh-Invulnerable, only able to even be harmed at all through the use of fire. While they're still fairly tough and have the ability to resist flinching from attacks, they have lost their resistance to non-fiery attacks.
    • King Bulblin was a unique individual from Twilight Princess who was the leader of the Bulblins and a Recurring Boss. In this game, not only are there multiple copies of him, they're Elite Mooks at best. Ends up getting subverted as of the Twilight Princess DLC pack. It turns out the others weren't King Bulblin, they were just particularly large elite bulblins. The King Bulblin appears in a few of the new Adventure Mode missions as a major NPC. He's bigger than the common versions, with much more HP and damage potential, and almost always comes with a duo of elite henchmen.
    • In most Zelda games, Darknuts are some of the most dangerous Elite Mooks. Here, if anything, they are weaker than the other captains such as Moblins. Stalmasters have also been weakened considerably, to the point where they are little more than Palette Swaps of Darknuts.
    • For pragmatic reasons, The Imprisoned only appears in its base form, without its arms or tail, and fighting it here is much more straightforward than it was in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. He's still one of the hardest bosses, second only to Ganon himself.
  • Injustice 2 has this happening to Wonder Woman of all people. The comics that expand the universe showcase her as a Flying Brick that can stand toe-to-toe with Superman in an even no-holds-barred fight and can shrug off massed assault rifle fire like it wasn't even there (her Super Toughness is such that she doesn't even use her signature "bullets and bracelets" trick, just letting the bullets bounce off her skin). The cinematics of this game show her getting curb-stomped by Batman without prep time (take notice that every other fight the Dark Knight has with another superpowered being in Story Mode has Batman pulling out some gadget to weaken his adversary beforehand or using Powered Armor) and using her bracelets to prevent Harley Quinn's magnum rounds from hitting her.
  • Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death: Judge Mortis. The reason he's so dangerous in the comics is because his decaying touch works on pretty much anything, making him basically an Implacable Man who can melt his way through doors, walls, and people. Here he becomes trapped by an ordinary chem hazard containment room.
  • All individual Velociraptor go from being the Big Bad Ensemble to just foolish Elite Mooks in every Jurassic Park video game. But the games that weaken them the most are Jurassic Park: The Game and LEGO Jurassic World, where the raptors are easily distracted. At least in the latter they can never be directly taken on in a fight due to their size.
  • In LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, despite the fact that he's the leader of one of the most technologically advanced nations on Earth, Black Panther can't use the computer panels that other geniuses and tech-based characters like Iron Man, Doctor Doom, M.O.D.O.K., Black Widow, and Ant-Man can. Thankfully, they rectified this in the sequel.
  • The Little Mermaid severely downgrades Ursula's One-Winged Angel form, where despite possessing Triton's trident, she lacks the ability to cast lightning or summon shipwrecks, only controlling the sea currents.
  • In Make a Good Mega Man Level Contest 2, the end boss of The Stage Nobody Asked For, Spiked-Wall Man, is toned down considerably from their appearance in the Flash cartoon "Dr. Wily Fails at Life", where it kills Mega Man instantly by simply being a room full of spikes. Since such a situation would make the level Unwinnable, it's changed into a proper boss battle that, while still difficult, is fair and allows Mega Man to actually win.
  • Likewise, many of the more powerful Marvel characters tend to suffer from this in the Marvel vs. Capcom series. For the sake of gameplay balance, absolute powerhouses like The Incredible Hulk, Apocalypse, Onslaught, Thanos (with the Infinity Gauntlet!) and Galactus can be defeated in physical combat by human characters like Jill Valentine, Hawkeye, Ryu, Chun-Li or Phoenix Wright. Yet the biggest sufferer of this is undeniably Shuma-Gorath. Shuma-Gorath in the Doctor Strange comics that introduced him basically treated him as up there with the Powers That Be. He's older than the universe, a Reality Warper, rules countless dimensions, him simply existing in our world is treated as a massive threat, and Doctor Strange, himself one of the most powerful Marvel heroes, struggles to even keep him contained. The only character in the entire roster who would stand even a chance against him is Thanos with the Infinity Gauntlet, and even that's arguable — Shuma-Gorath fighting someone would basically consist of him blinking them out of existence. But the developers of the franchise didn't know any of this — rather, they picked Shuma-Gorath because they liked his design and thought it would make a fun and unique character for a fighting game. As a result, he shows almost no signs of having any of the powers of his comic counterpart: his moves almost universally focus on simply having him jump around hitting people with his tentacles, with the occasional round of shapeshifting or Eye Beams to break things up. He did have one move reworked to imply a bit of his true power (Chaos Dimension), but other than that, he comes across as downright cuddly rather than terrifying. Even his endings in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 play him for comedy, with him becoming a gameshow host.
  • Metal Slug Code J, a 3D remake of Metal Slug, noticeably weakens the rebel air force units from the original games. The Eaca-B planes (which weren't too tough to begin with) can now be destroyed with just a handful of shots, which players blast out of the sky in droves (for comparison, the original games usually have the Eaca-B showing up three to five at a time) while the Masknell choppers have their firing rates decreased, making them easier to avoid and removing their Demonic Spiders status.
  • Alucard makes a cameo appearance as a playable character in Obakeidoro... as a member of the human team. Suddenly the son of Dracula can be easily bested by a Bed Sheet Ghost plopping him in a cage.
  • Oriental Legend is an arcade game based on Journey to the West, and actually tones down some of the novel characters' powers for balance of gameplay.
    • Sun Wukong is nowhere as invincible as his novel counterpart, though he's still stronger than his brothers. His abilities to leap 3,000 miles with a single jump is also reduced to a slightly longer leap.
    • The Magic Gourd used by the Horned King Brothers, in the novels, can imprison gods, and anyone sucked in it will remain trapped for good. In the game players can perform some Button Mashing to escape; the brothers themselves are nowhere as dangerous as their novel counterparts, serving as a pair of Warm-Up Boss(es).
    • Meanwhile, the Mighty Garuda who's the strongest of his brothers and a dangerous enemy in the novels is a Fragile Speedster Mini-Boss.
    • Probably the most glaring of them all, Hong Hai-er the Red Boy went from a dangerous, cunning enemy who defeats Wukong in the novels, necessitating Buddha himself to intervene, is now the game's third boss fought halfway through. His ability to breath Samadhi flames which is impossible to extinguish is absent as well.
  • One Piece: Pirate Warriors:
    • Averted for Kaido in the fourth game, keeping up with what was already known about his threat level in the One Piece anime and manga. In gameplay, he's incredibly powerful and only fought as the Final Boss. In narrative, said fight involves every allied character in the arc dogpiling his dragon form with their most powerful techniques just to open him up to one good hit from Luffy, and all that does is convince Kaido that holding Wano isn't worth the effort and he leaves of his own volition, unharmed.
    • Played straight with Big Mom in terms of story. While she’s still plenty powerful, she doesn’t quite measure to Kaido here. In canon, she’s his equal in terms of power, yet Kaido effortlessly sends her flying in the prologue (albeit, while she's caught off guard). Also unlike Kaido, Luffy and the others managed to definitively defeat her in Wano.
  • In the mainline Persona series, the protagonists from Persona 3 onward are the only party members capable of switching Personas, cycling through twelve at maximum, making them a Master of All capable of filling any niche. In the Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth series, this ability is crippled by the Sub-Persona system, locking them to their Initial Persona and only allowing them to add one more Persona to their skill list. On the upside, the Sub-Persona system is available to all the playable characters, allowing the player to customize the party with whatever Personas they have in the Compendium.
  • Pokémon GO's simplified, faster-paced battle system had this effect on many Pokémon, mainly ones that use status effects or other tricks in combat, since this game only features direct-damage attacks and the stats were, for the most part, not rebalanced to compensate for this change.
  • In the Resident Evil 2 (Remake), Femme Fatale Spy Ada Wong out of all the cast gets this, especially compared to Claire Redfield. While Ada does get a strong introduction saving Leon from a zombie dog and then Mr X, it all goes downhill from there. In the remake, Ada notably lacks any of the combat skill she had in the 1998 version and instead relies on gadgets, and Leon (the rookie cop) to aid her throughout the game. Perhaps most embarrassingly Anette Birkin a middle-aged and sleep-deprived scientist takes Ada out twice in Leon's scenario, while in the original game Ada soundly overpowered Anette in a physical confrontation.
  • Resident Evil 3 (Remake) does this with both its main characters!
    • The original game had Jill Valentine being able to go toe to toe with the Nemesis and she's caught off guard only once when it uses its tentacle to infect her. The remake has her getting her ass kicked and tossed around like a ragdoll by the Nemesis and she's nearly always limping away when she finally loses him each time. Furthermore, unlike in the original where she is the one to always take down Nemesis, either by outrunning, outwitting, or outfighting him, where other characters only ever serve to slow him down or briefly distract him — in this game it's Carlos and Mikhael who do the most damage to Nemesis, with the former blowing off his coat with a rocket to save Jill from him, and the latter blowing him up on the train which severely damages him into his One-Winged Angel "dog" form, and Jill rarely escapes or fights him without help from others.
    • At the same time, Nemesis was severely nerfed from his status of Hero Killer in the original to much more of an ineffective killer. He's much less resilent when you encounter him in streets, whereas the original standing your ground against him was suicide without being very good at the game and properly equipped, the remake has him go down to a single grenade and has him be rather easy to evade and fight with small arms fire. It's best summed up by Pastra's review which goes into great analysis how the game's heavy use of scripted chases, big spectacle boss battles, and serious changes to the game's mechanics severely Nerfed Nemesis into someone "who anyone could take down":
      "About 15 minutes into the game, and so far we have stopped him with a bookshelf, run him over, called him "Fuckface", and blown him up, all before he's even killed anyone or we've had the opportunity to interact with him outside of poorly-done scripted chases or RE6 style quicktime events. This game completely and utterly humiliates Nemesis every single opportunity it gets. Characters constantly insult him and throw him around, every time he can kill Jill he just chooses not to, and the only two people we actually see him kill are Mikhael on the train, who blows himself up before he can even secure the kill, and Tyrell who he literally kills in the final area of the game!"
  • Exaggerated in Silver Surfer (1990), where one of the most powerful superheroes in the Marvel Universe became a wimp who can easily be defeated just by grazing a rubber duck.
  • In the original timeline of the Soul Series, Chai Xianghua was considered The Hero of the original Soulcalibur and canonically she was the one who used Soul Calibur to defeat the Humanoid Abomination Inferno. Also, her Love Interest Kilik was injured after defeating Nightmare, and couldn't take part in the battle. In Soulcalibur VI, a Continuity Reboot that retells the events, one major change was that Kilik was given a case of Adaptational Badass that also had the effect of making her this trope by extension. In this version, Kilik defeats Nightmare and then uses his Purified Malfested Form to defeat Inferno after Xianghua failed to beat him, herself getting injured from an earlier fight. Though in the end, Xianghua used Soul Calibur to land the final strike, it was largely Kilik that did the heavy lifting.
  • Spider-Man (PS4): Silver Sable Inc. mercenaries are, in most continuities, a highly skilled, professional and disciplined force of Private Military Contractors. In this game, they are... roughly on par, morally and in terms of skill, with the random goons Kingpin employs. It's given a handwave, in that it is mentioned that Silver Sable had recently been on a massive mission and taken heavy losses, and was scraping the bottom of the barrel to make up numbers.
  • This is done a lot in the Star Trek: Armada games, for reasons of game balance. For example, the Defiant-class starship, one of the most effective and powerful Federation warships in canon, is reduced to little more than cannon fodder. Borg Cubes are also changed from unstoppable engines of death that can plow through entire fleets to slightly above-average battleships. Species 8472, despite being one of the most powerful races ever seen in the show and the primary antagonists of Armada II are widely considered the weakest faction in Armada II multiplayer, due to their hard-to-master playstyle, and their overall power and effectiveness not being any greater than that of the other factions. It also doesn't help that their superweapon, which was capable of rapidly destroying entire planets in the show, is turned into a nearly useless gimmick in the game, requiring 8 ships to create a perfect formation and an impractically long charge time, and just one of the ships being disabled or destroyed before it's ready will make the entire thing fail, meaning that 99% of the time you'll never get a chance to even fire it.
  • Star Wars Chess: Zigzagged with Luke and the Emperor. While the battle sequences involving both depict them as being just as powerful as would be expected from them, during gameplay, they are used to represent the King and are therefore not particularly useful for capturing other pieces.
  • A number of Superman games downplay Superman's powers in order to provide some risk for the player character. The problem is for those that they go too far and also remove the fun of playing as a ridiculously powerful character like Superman.
    • The notorious Superman 64, aside from making Supes an absolute weakling, also did this with many of Superman's Rogues Gallery. Darkseid in particular went from being one of the most powerful and dangerous villains in the DC Universe to being punched out and taken to the police station.
    • The Fighting Game Justice League Task Force for Sega Genesis and SNES has Superman, Wonder Woman and other super-powered heroes go toe-to-toe with the likes of Green Arrow and Batman with straight punches as if they are all equally strong.
    • In the 16-Bit game The Death and Return Of Superman (based on the eponymous comic arc and Reign Of Supermen arc), Supes can be hurt by simple mooks with baseball bats.
    • Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe reduces Superman's power level to prevent him from simply punching the Mortal Kombat fighters into orbit. The game justifies it using Superman's somewhat well-known weakness to magic. To be fair, though, his primary opponent is Raiden, who is an actual Physical God.
    • Injustice: Gods Among Us plays with this trope a little. While characters like Harley Quinn and The Flash can hurt characters like Superman and Wonder Woman simply by punching them, super attacks show them at vastly different power levels (with Superman literally punching his opponent into space) even if they all do about the same amount of damage. Plus, story-wise, things only shift in favor of the heroes after the non-evil Superman is brought to the Injustice universe.
  • This trope is evident in any Massive Multiplayer Crossover, but especially so in Super Smash Bros. Major examples include:
    • Shulk, who even in his early game form can still see into the future. Sure, he uses it as a counter, but it decreases in power each time it's executed.
    • Kirby, who can crack planets.
    • Bayonetta, who slows time with every dodge, kills gods, and fights like this.
    • Justified with both Kirby and Yoshi, who can usually One-Hit Kill foes by Eating the Enemy. Since that would have been overpowered in a fighting game, enemies can somehow survive being eaten (Kirby just copies their power and they pop back out, while Yoshi lays an egg the fighter bursts from).
    • Mewtwo. Compared to the anime version, it's pretty pathetic. In the movie, his Psychic Powers are so excessive that he's practically invincible, and can mind-control people and teleport himself or large groups great distances. He's not quite as overpowered in his home games, but he's still one of the most powerful Pokémon, being considered essentially uncounterable in his debut, and would have no problem dealing with any of the other playable Pokémon unless they had a massive level advantage. In Smash Bros. he's nothing special, and in Melee is actually considered somewhat underpowered.
    • In his home series, Ganondorf is a master swordsman, highly proficient in dark magic, can fly and teleport, and possesses a number of other Antagonist Abilities that make him a consistent thorn in Link's side. However, due to being added as a last-minute clone of Captain Falcon in Melee and retaining the moveset in subsequent games despite it not fitting his character, the playable Ganondorf lacks most of these abilities aside from a select few sword attacks in Ultimate.
    • Goldeen, a somewhat decent Pokémon in the main RPGs is regaled to the role of a Critical Failure when it appears from a Pokéball in Smash Bros. One wonders if Goldeen was mistakenly substituted for Magikarp, who, until it levels up, really is that useless, but on the other hand it may be a nod to Pokémon: The Series, where it often did that in early episodes.
  • Shockwave in Transformers: Fall of Cybertron gets really downgraded compared to his animated counterparts. He's the Evil Genius of the Decepticons, but relies on the Insecticons to fight for him. In most incarnations, Shockwave is a Genius Bruiser who was a potential candidate to be the leader of the Decepticons if Megatron were to fall in battle. This one displays no skills of fighting or leadership whatsoever compared to Starscream and even cowers at the site of Grimlock in his T.rex form. Averted in its later prequel, Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark, where Shockwave has a level as a playable character and is not only as battle-competent as anyone else, but shows that he essentially gained control over his Insecticon minions by beating them into submission.
  • Some special weapons in Vermintide II are much weaker than what is described within the lore of Warhammer:
    • Bardin's Drakegun and Drakefire Pistols. In-game, they are a typical example of Videogame Flamethrowers Suck. In lore, Drakefire is the fantasy equivalent of napalm. It burns white-hot for days on end, and the heat is so intense that even heavy gromril plating crafted by master Dwarf artisans cannot protect from it; Irondrakes have to be provided with special armour enchanted with magical runes just to stop the operators from broiling themselves alive with their own weapons.
    • Kerillian can use arrows tipped with Hagbane poison. It creates a little puff of green smoke that takes a couple of seconds to kill anything they hit, and deal decreased damage from impact compared to normal arrows (which is why many Kerillian mains consider it Awesome, but Impractical and stick with her basic Longbows most of the time). In lore, Hagbane poison is crafted from forest deadwood corrupted by the spilt blood of a particularly evil Beastlord, Morghur the Shadowgave, and is so potent that, quoting official description, "should one of these arrows so much as break the skin, their victim is destined to end their life in screaming agony".
    • Kruber and Saltzpyre's repeater handguns have much lower damage-per-shot than handguns to avoid making them straight upgrades, which is what they are on the tabletop. On the other hand, blackpowder guns also only take two or three seconds to reload and shoot again; presumably this is Rule of Fun, as taking half a minute out to reload your matchlock pistol/musket would rapidly kill any enjoyment out of using them.
  • War in Middle Earth despite being at the core a strategy game portrays the Nazgul as surprisingly weak. Even right at the beginning of the game just the four hobbits have a good chance of killing a lone Nazgul, should they encounter one.
  • In Warhammer 40,000 the Primarchs are described as virtual gods and show it in the novels (doing things like stopping a Titan with their bare hands). But in the Talisman Horus Heresy video game, the Primarchs are really no better than the regular Space Marine heroes in the game (for example Corvus Corax has a melee ability of 3 and shooting of 2, while a Space Marine Praetor is 3 and 3 in those skills).
  • Berserk gets hit with this in Wild ARMs: Million Memories. In both the original game and its remake, winning against him in Adlehyde resulted in him mocking you for failing to give him a challenge. In this game, your party absolutely trounces him at the same point, and he fares even worse in later fights. This is justified as your party is significantly larger and he spent the last thousand years Taken for Granite in the Abyss.

    Web Animation 
  • Dark Secrets Of Garry's Mod: G-Man's control over spacetime is simply nonexistent in this series and has the same abilities as regular human.
  • Gaming All-Stars:
    • In their home series, the Rabbids are usually shown to be pretty durable, but here, it does not take much more than a pickaxe to the head for Steve to kill one of them.
    • In Super Mario Galaxy 2, Cosmic Clones are nigh-invincible and only vanish after the player grabs a star. In this series, they are easily taken out by ToeJam & Earl, a far cry from the Mario doppelgangers' original incarnation.
  • SMG4: Bowser from the games is a rage-fuelled One-Man Army that even the Mario Bros. have trouble with. The Bowser in this series is easily pummeled and restrained and much more prone to collapsing into a sobbing heap when things go wrong.

  • Though not physically weaker in Akuma's Comics, Dr. Cossack is portrayed as a less impressive roboticist. His Robot Masters are revealed to have been created by Dr. Wily and Cossack stole the credit, both to get back at him for kidnapping Kalinka and because his own robots weren't impressive. That said, he does make original Robot Masters later in the strip.
  • While Palpatine in Darths & Droids is still relatively formidable — a ruler and a Master Swordsman — compared to the original, he goes from being the Big Bad, The Chessmaster and generally the most dangerous character in the series to someone who gets manipulated more than he manipulates others, is unsure about his harsh methods for Utopia Justifies the Means, and gradually loses his grip on sanity (and not in the enjoyable kind of way either).
  • Lore Olympus:
    • In the Greek myths, Thanatos was the personification of death, feared and hated by all, and is close to Hades in the Underworld food chain. In the comic, he's a mid-range employee at Undercorp and something of a whiny suck-up. He's frequently belittled by his superiors and co-workers and it's implied that anyone could fill his shoes in retrieving mortal souls.
    • Ares is shown to be the only Olympian Zeus is afraid of and the only one who can physically stand up to him. However, in the original myths, Zeus frequently has to help Ares in even minor fights and he makes it clear that he considers his son the most pathetic of all the gods and that he would have killed him if it wasn't for his mother.

    Web Original 


Video Example(s):


Avatar movie earthbenders

Nostalgia Critic rants about how underpowered the movie earthbenders are compared to the show.

How well does it match the trope?

4.76 (42 votes)

Example of:

Main / AdaptationalWimp

Media sources: