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Bonus Feature Failure

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This is when an extra, not necessarily unlockable, feature present in a game or other medium:

  • Lacks functionality compared to other aspects of the game.
  • Does not work properly in the context of gameplay, often struggling to complete basic tasks other characters easily do, in the case of an extra character, or not meshing well with the rest of the game (in the case of bonus levels or items).
  • Is simply a Palette Swap or Underground Monkey Clone of an existing object.

Note that in this case "bonus" and "extra" refer to something that may not be found in normal gameplay; if you're not sure, a good litmus test would be the question "Could I conceivably play through the entire main game from beginning to end, 100% Completion notwithstanding, and not once find or utilize this feature?"

This most likely occurs due to a Cosmic Deadline. With the Almighty Deadline looming inexorably in the near future, many sensible developers would probably do the logical thing and make sure the game as a whole works properly and the main playable characters and scenarios are as complete as possible before working on giving Awesome McCoolname The Unlockable Anti-Hero Bringer Of Death some toys to play with.

Compare Dummied Out, where the extra stuff was axed entirely. Contrast Game Within a Game, where the extra content is a full-fledged game in and of itself. When the unlocked item or character seems clearly intended to be bad, it's likely a Joke Item or Joke Character. Characters afflicted with this tend to devolve into Quirky Bards. And also compare Bragging Rights Reward, where you obtain extra content but only past a certain point where you probably won't have much use for it.

Beware! Since the vast majority of examples deal with unlockable rewards and other goodies, spoilers ahoy!


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    Action Adventure 
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time:
      • The final reward for the Gold Skulltula sidequest is an unlimited supply of money. By that point, you have almost no use for it.
      • The Ice Arrows serve no purpose except to freeze enemies (an action you can do with other items that don't require depleting your magic meter); even if they had a use, it's obtained very late because it requires items housed in end-game dungeons. The game even lampshades this via a Gossip Stone located in Desert Colossus. In Majora's Mask, the Ice Arrows are legitimately useful, but only because they were upgraded to a progression-critical item, so they're no longer a bonus feature to begin with.
      • The Stone of Agony, which is obtained by collecting 20 gold Skulltula tokens. It causes the rumble pak to vibrate if you're near a hidden hole that can be revealed with a bomb. Naturally, the feature is completely useless if you don't own a rumble pak. The Virtual Console version also doesn't make the item work since the emulator doesn't support the rumble feature at all. The Nintendo 3DS remake redesigned the item (now called the Shard of Agony) so that it makes a sound and flashes its icon on screen when you're near a secret.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games: The Bombchus are only acquired as a bonus after starting a New Game Plus, are not particularly useful at any point in the game, and cannot be restocked through drops from defeated enemies.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: The HD remake turns the Hero's Charm into this, since it's gotten there at the end of the Savage Labyrinth instead of Windfall Island. And the Labyrinth is where the Charm would be otherwise very useful to check the HP of the stronger enemies to know how much they have before they die.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: Getting all the Poe Souls rewards you a Silver Rupee (200 rupees) every time you ask... but by then, Link has already beaten seven dungeons and the Cave of Ordeals to get those souls, filling up his wallet along the way. By comparison, the earlier reward of getting a bottle full of Great Fairy's Tears seems much better. It's Not Completely Useless, though, since Rupees also serve as fuel for your Magic Armor.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild:
      • The Tunic of the Wild set, aka BotW's rendition of Link's classic green clothes. It's obtained by beating all 120 shrines in the game, at which point Link is completely overpowered. And even if he wasn't, this Tunic is not the best armor set of the game, stats-wise. That's still the Champion's Tunic, and there are other two armor sets that have the exact same defense stats as the Tunic of the Wild that are infinitely easier to find, namely the Soldier's Armor and the Ancient Armor. You'll also probably have those armor sets fully upgraded at this point, and to get the Tunic of the Wild up to par with them you'll have to upgrade it as well, which requires tedious grinding to find dragon parts and Star Fragments. The fact that a lot of people find the clothes design bafflingly underwhelming doesn't help either.
      • The costumes included in the DLC campaigns. While they add some fun Mythology Gags, they cannot be upgraded at the Fairy Fountains and most of them have the same effects as equipment found in the regular game. This makes them useful early in the game, but leaves them soon outclassed by equipment found later.
      • The Master Cycle Zero, a magitech motorcyle that Link can summon almost anywhere in the world, making it a useful alternative to a horse. However, it can only be unlocked after clearing all four Divine Beasts, by which time most players will have unlocked fast travel points in every corner of the map, making any other means of transport redundant.
      • For players going for 100% Completion, the Amiibo-exclusive armour sets. The game is very generous when it comes to Link's armour inventory, but he still doesn't have enough space to own every piece of armour made available to him via Amiibo.
  • Castlevania: Downplayed with almost every game from the Metroidvania group, which have an unlockable mode where you play as another character. While playing through the game again as another completely different character is fun, it still counts for the trope to some people as the unlockable characters can't do most of what the main character can (e.g. can't collect or use items, can't level up sometimes, and doesn't have a pause menu, even for changing controls or sound options).
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption had some unlockables, such as bumper stickers and a Mii bobblehead for Samus's gunship, that were only made available by trading friend vouchers over the internet. The limited-edition Trilogy version of the game also had friend vouchers, but Trilogy vouchers could only be sent to other copies of Trilogy; you couldn't send vouchers to or from regular copies of Corruption. Subsequently, since the servers shut down in June 2013 due to the Wii's production life ending, it's now impossible for anyone to unlock the friend-voucher features if they haven't yet done so. Fortunately, some people have uploaded new save files that have all the vouchers.
    • Metroid: Samus Returns: At the end of the game, Samus can backtrack to previous areas with the baby Metroid, which can destroy blue crystals that are blocking off some bonus tank expansions. Some of these endgame-exclusive expansions are missiles... which are unfortunately useless at this point in the game. By now, Samus is equipped with the Screw Attack, Plasma Beam, Super Missiles, and Beam Burst that can make quick work of any common enemies, and she should not need more than the default 24 missiles for any puzzles that require her to shoot blocks that can only be destroyed by missiles. Further cementing this fact is that Proteus Ridley, the only remaining challenge of the game, is completely immune to standard missiles. The only real reason to collect these expansions is for 100% Completion (and therefore the Chozo Memories).
  • Luigi's Mansion: What do you unlock for beating the game? A hidden mansion! What happens in said mansion? Well, the ghosts and Poltergust are stronger... and that's it. Averted in the European versions of the game and the Nintendo 3DS remake in all regions, which feature more changes. It's impossible to get the best rank without playing the Hidden Mansion, for one thing, because the normal mansion doesn't have enough money. It also mirrors the entire game, ramps up the difficulty (ghosts deal more damage and there are fewer hearts), changes some of the puzzles a little, switches the money and gem locations all over the house, and retools some of the boss encounters, varying from mild variations in their attack pattern to an entirely different Boolossus fight, which has the whole floor covered in ice so that Luigi has to ride the Poltergust to "snowboard" across the arena.
  • Boktai:
    • The Gun Del Hel, which is obtained by beating the game twice on any difficulty and then one more time on hard, is statistically the most powerful weapon in the game, but in practice is less effective than your starting weapon. Since it is dark-element it's incapable of damaging or stunning the majority of enemies, and against enemies it can damage it's still less effective than lenses that exploit their elemental weaknesses and are obtained normally over the course of the game.
    • The infinite battery. It's obtained by defeating the Silver White Knight of the Azure Sky Tower, which is such a prohibitively difficult task it's for all intents and purposes impossiblenote . Even as an easy unlockable the item would only be somewhat of a convenience at best, as item and ammo capacities are high and means of recharging are plentiful, and anyone who would cheat it into their inventory with a Game Genie could just as easily pop in an unlimited ammo code.
  • What do you unlock in The Quiet Man for beating the game? Sound. Your reward for getting through this dialogue-less, incomprehensible, nonsensical beat-em-up, is to play the exact same game again with the mute button off. And, while it does at least explain what is going on, the story and its characters aren't very interesting and it still doesn't explain what the hell that spectral bird monster was. There's a reason this game appeared on most "Worst Games of 2018" lists.
  • Tomb Raider (2013): the Tomb of the Lost Adventurer DLC is short and lackluster, but above all it is fatally bugged and if you burn the trees in the wrong order you can't complete the quest. You either revert to a previous save (before ENTERING the tomb) or restart the playthrough altogether, if you want to complete this minor challenge.
  • By getting all S-Ranks in the Cyber Space Challenges in Sonic Frontiers, you unlock... Power Boost for the Cyber Space stages. While the extra speed boost can be useful in some cases (like getting the S-Rank for stage 1-2), it's more of a novelty, since you've already proven you can easily clear these stages without it. It can't be used in Arcade Mode either, which is the one mode where it would most likely see the most use rather than in the main story.
  • Wallace & Gromit in Project Zoo: Most of the unlockable rewards are video previews and short clips from various shorts from previous Wallace and Gromit entries. While it may've had value at the time, you could easily cut your losses and simply buy the Complete Collection and Curse of the Were Rabbit on DVD if you want to watch the shorts and the bonus ones respectively instead of going through tough bonus levels to unlock short clips.

    Action Game 
  • Shinobi:
    • Shinobi (2002) on the PlayStation 2, Joe Musashi can be unlocked as a playable character, his bonus being that he has unlimited shurikens and no life draining tate bar. The pro to this is that you don't have to worry about getting huge combos to keep your life and damage enemies, and you can just continually chuck shurikens at some hard to kill enemies. The downside is that there are some bosses that pretty much require you to get huge combos in order to defeat them in a timely fashion; however, you can also chuck shurikens at them continually. A perfect beginner character... only you don't get him until you've gotten 40 Oboro coins, which is only possible if you had already beaten the game once on Normal and again on Hard.
    • He's improved upon in Nightshade (2003). His unlimited shurikens now have the ability to perform Tate combos and can break armor, which gives him a distinct advantage over Hotsuma (one of the two other hidden characters), who needs to get up close to do it with his superior slashing power.
  • Unlocking all the options in Ghostbusters: The Video Game essentially makes your character unbeatable, but most of them are acquired after clearing the game completely anyway. Especially useless is the option that gives your PKE meter a faster scanning ability, but only after you've already scanned 50% of the enemies anyway. Even worse is that the "Gozerian suit" is unlocked with 100% completion (scans AND art, plus beating the game) and it only serves to make you immune to slime. The actual invincibility upgrade is obtained much earlier, where being slimed is of little consequence.
  • The US and EU versions of Dirge of Cerberus had the 'bonus content' of letting Vincent Double Jump... Which does absolutely nothing at all, since the level design is the same as the JP version where Vincent couldn't, and isn't designed to take this new, truly awe-inspiring, ability into account. About the only thing it does is make the Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence even more annoying, since you should now be able to clear enough distance to leap right over the sucker, but can't for some reason.
  • Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening has a two player mode that is utterly worthless. When Dante is using Doppelganger style, or fighting alongside Vergil during Mission 19, a second player can press start on a second controller to play as Shadow Dante or Vergil. However, they are then subjected to camera issues, because the camera only focuses on Dante, leaving P2 attacking only empty air off screen.
  • Getting an S-Rank on every mission of Urban Reign nets you Bordin, the corrupt Mayor who is behind all of the game's events. As he's not a real fighter though, he has mediocre moves, awful stats and no assets to offset this.

    Driving Game 
  • Crash Team Racing: Completing the first four gem cups unlocks the first four bosses, so fans were incredibly incensed and let down when they beat the final cup, which was incidentally much harder to even gain access to in the first place, and were handed Fake Crash instead of Nitros Oxide. Justified however, as the developers later explained they originally did intend to have Oxide unlocked in the purple gem cup but were forced to dummy him out when they were unable to adapt his unique kart and larger size for play without glitches or messing up the game: Oxide is almost fully functional if accessed via a cheat device, and you'll even hear unique lines from him when you control him, but he'll crash the game if used in multiplayer due to overflowing the game's memory and his huge hovering kart makes it difficult to see the track. The remake rectifies this by scaling his kart down to roughly the same as everyone else's as well as promoting him to playable.
  • The final unlockable course of F-Zero GX is Mute City: Sonic Oval, a beginner-level course that consists of a NASCAR-style oval. It's not even used in the AX Cup; you can only play it in Time Attack, Practice, and multiplayer. It's also on the wrong place in the AX Cup course listing; in F-Zero AX, it's the first course in the list rather than the last.
  • Knight Rider: The NES version allows you to start with maxed out shields/gas/acceleration in Mission mode if you complete the Driving mode twice and play the Mission campaign. However, due to a Game-Breaking Bug, the game will crash at the upgrade screen before the Miami mission.
  • Mario Kart:
    • Mario Kart 64: The game introduced the ability to save Time Trial ghosts to race against later. However, you need the Nintendo 64 Controller Pak to use this feature, and it takes up all but two pages on the Pak for only two ghosts. In addition, you can't save your ghost if you crash into anything, fall off the track, take too long to complete the race, or even pause the game. Finally, the feature flat-out doesn't work in the Virtual Console version since it doesn't emulate the Controller Pak.
    • Mario Kart Wii: By getting a star rank in all 150cc Retro Cups, you unlock the Jetsetter/Aero Glider as a kart. Unfortunately, said kart also has terrible stats in everything except top speed and weight, meaning anyone who unlocks it will likely never find a use for it in the actual game.
    • Mario Kart 7 has a few unlockable gliders you can earn. However, some of them are just a copy of the Super Glider in terms of stats, basically giving no bonus, and the rest are just a copy of the Peach Parasol in its bonus stats. This also includes all the golden parts that take so long to get, even if used together.
    • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: If you make the grueling effort to complete the 200cc version of all cups, you get rewarded with... Gold Metal Mario. A number of players will admit that they were expecting something more than just a Palette Swap of an existing character for completing the game's hardest mode.
  • Sideswiped: The Nerai minigame unlocked at the end of Mission Mode has absolutely no purpose outside of a minor distraction and offers zero additional functionality. In addition, the exceptionally difficult bonus events unlocked at the same time serve no purpose as, by the time you get there, you'll already have enough money to buy absolutely everything you could possibly want, making their massive cash prizes useless.
  • The Simpsons Hit & Run has several cheats that are total misses (not counting the cheats that are intentionally screwy for fun, like "drunk driving mode"). "High acceleration" and "no top speed" make the car spin out of control almost constantly, and will actually make missions more difficult to complete. "Grid mode" turns on some sort of weird debug mode that puts gridlines everywhere which lag the game so badly it becomes nearly unplayable.
  • Finding all wrecks in an area in Test Drive Unlimited 2 grants you a free car if you have the garage space for it. The first wreck you assemble is a Volkswagen Beetle. A C4-class car (Which means you can actually enter it into some competitions, unlike the B2-class V8 Buggy you find next) with a top speed that can only exceed 85mph with massive tuning or the much simpler method of driving it off a cliff. At least the V8 Buggy you get from the next ten wrecks is useful for exploring. Another 10 gets you The Citroen 2CV (also C4 class), even worse than Beetle. It tops out at about 70 mph, even after tuning. Then again, what do you expect from a car with only 18 horsepower?
  • Wipeout 64 and Wip3out both had a challenge mode that went nowhere. The former unlocked all of its bonus content after completing the basic sets of challenges, but then presented you with "combo challenges" and then "gold challenges" which basically amounted to getting gold on the previous challenges. Your reward? A different menu screen. The latter unlocked tracks, ships and Phantom difficulty as rewards for winning in single race mode; the challenge, eliminator and championship modes were completely useless and unlocked nothing other than the next challenge, leaving you with nothing to show at the end. Bonus points because it wasn't explained anywhere how you were actually supposed to unlock content. And the very first Wipeout ended with a championship with no reward other than some scrolling text promising "Wipeout II, coming soon".

    Fighting Game 
  • Soul Series:
    • II had secret characters Berserker, Assassin, and Lizardman, unlockable only through special means in the Weapon Master Mode. The kicker is that they can't be used in most game modes (including Weapon Master itself), and their moveset lists are inaccessible from the start menu like every other character. Additionally, they only have one weapon each, but they all have six costumes when two or three is the standard. This is especially aggravating because to unlock Lizardman, you needed to beat every stage in Weapon Master Mode, including the ridiculously hard bonus stages, and the fact that he was a full-fledged character in the first Soulcalibur (alongside Hwang and Rock, whose movesets were adapted into Assassin's and Berserker's). This is slightly made up for due to the fact that Lizardman and Rock become full-fledged characters again in Soulcalibur III and IV (and V in Lizardman's case).
    • Li Long from Soul Blade reappears in Soulcalibur III... as a bonus character using a moveset usually reserved for created characters. He's expanded in Soulcalibur III Arcade Edition, but fans still felt cheated. In a similar manner, Hwang and Amy also appear as bonus characters who use generic movesets. Whilst Li Long and Hwang went from being unique characters to being generic, Amy went from being generic to being a unique character of her own in Soulcalibur IV, meaning that this trope was reversed.
    • Soul Edge/Soul Blade has a ridiculous one: Go to all the trouble of beating Edge Master Mode (the game's notoriously hard Story Mode) with every character and you are rewarded with a bonus character called Sophitia!!, who is Sophitia without armor.
  • Tekken:
    • The first game has the game Galaga remade for its loading screen. Beating all 8 levels simply rewards you with a differently suited version of Kazuya known as Devil Kazuya. Due to technical limitations, he really is just Kazuya in a purple suit, with none of the functionality of the Devil of later games (though the implication is that he is the same guy). Many players don't even bother. Many hadn't even seen him in action until Youtube came along. Interestingly, if you unlock Heihachi (who has to be unlocked by beating the game without losing), his matches will all be against Sub-Bosses, with the final boss being Devil Kazuya, but you don't unlock him this way. It's quite likely you were supposed to, but the game developers overlooked it.
    • Despite everyone else — including Downloadable Content characters — having a vast array of customization options and an ending in the home port of Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Tiger Jackson does not.
  • In Bloody Roar 4, there is Career Mode, in which you have to battle multitudes of rounds among the same characters over and over while gradually progressing through a very tedious and confusing map. As a certain game reviewer points out, among the other flaws this game has that seems all the more clear it's aimed to revive the series, the map can be fully completed and yet still leaves you with well over 800 more fights you must do in order to unlock the Very Definitely Final Hidden Character (everyone else is mercifully much easier and sooner to unlock and you will get everyone else long before you complete the map). So you have to fight repeat battles to make up the difference, and, guess what? The final unlockable character turns out to be Ryoho. No, not Ryoho & Mana, the Ice Climbers to the Bloody Roar series you get right from the get-go, but Ryoho-the-incredibly-cheap-guard-cutting-Gaia-pisser-offer-dragon. Not only is he an incredibly cheap character to fight against as a boss, but also just as cheap as he is under your command and otherwise not terribly different from Ryoho as a human from the Ryoho you get with Mana. Not to mention there are already a few other characters that are already unlocked for you early on that are also just as cheap and overpowered. Of course, this is assuming anyone bothered to go ahead and fight those repeated battles just to get that far to see Dragon!Ryoho.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has "Spec Ops" mode, a series of brief co-op missions unrelated to the main plot or each other. Spec Ops itself isn't the Bonus Feature Failure, but rather its conspicuous lack of a matchmaking function, meaning it is the only multiplayer gametype in the entire series that can only be played split-screen or by specifically inviting another player.
  • In Doom³: BFG Edition, it has the first two classic Doom games (based on their Xbox 360 ports) bundled together. While a nostalgic novelty for its time, and on PC it gave players a legitimate way to access the previously Xbox LIVE Arcade exclusive No Rest for the Living expansion for Doom II. After the turn of 2020, the BFG Edition's version of these games on PC would be eclipsed by their newer and enhanced Unity ports after they became available on Steam,, and Epic Games Store, which offers improved visuals and sounds, many quality-of-life improvements (e.g. the option for 16:9 presentation, support for higher frame-rates), has fewer censorship changes in order to make the game available in Germany, and the ability to download curated mods (including No Rest for the Living, Final Doom, and Sigil among many others) plus sideload other vanilla-compatible WADs over the BFG Edition, making their inclusions on PC redundant and quite inferior by comparison nowadays. This is not an issue for 8th generation console and PC re-releases of BFG Edition by Panic Button, which stripped them out entirely in favor of the Unity ports.

    Hack and Slash 
  • Warriors Orochi 2:
    • There's a HUGE roster of officers to unlock, and while several of them have suspiciously similar movesets, each of them is, at least, a BIT original. However, the hardest character to unlock, by an order of magnitude, is Orochi Z - his appearance in your roster basically signifies that you have achieved 100% Completion and then some. You have to spend DAYS just grinding levels, well after you have finished completing every scenario on every difficulty, to unlock the last Dream Scenario - and then beat that to unlock Orochi Z.
    • Orochi Z himself is the Final Boss, so that's awesome. He's not JUST a Palette Swap of Orochi either, having different hair. However... firstly, he's doesn't have his own set of weapons, like everybody else does - he just uses the same set as Orochi. Second, his moveset is less than half the size of anybody else, and he never learns new moves - though, granted, those few moves he DOES have are pretty powerful. Finally, every other character has a series of artwork - various design-sketches, posed character-models, screenshots from cutscenes they're in and the like - that are unlocked as you use them. Orochi Z has none. So effectively, once you've taken him into combat ONCE to check out all 3 of his moves, there's literally no point in ever using him again - especially since, by that point, you've already done basically everything in the game.
  • In the video game adaptation of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Isildur can be unlocked as a bonus character, after only being playable in the Prologue tutorial level. But the game will treat him as a re-skin of Aragorn, since he will play literally every role Aragorn played in the levels, and even the dialogue and voice files will be the same. Particularly egregious is the fact that Isildur's version of the "Tower of Orthanc" Bonus Stage has the same script as Aragorn's version, down to Saruman referring to him as a "ragtag Ranger".
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, completing the game unlocked Merry, Pippin, and Faramir as playable characters. However, Faramir was just a skin swap of Aragorn and all four Hobbits were essentially skin swaps of each other (with Pippin and Merry basically being clones of Sam).

    Then when you finish all the levels in the game, you can play as any of the nine characters in all the levels, even where they weren't initially present. The problem? If they weren't originally meant for that level, the cutscenes won't even render them properly. The role the original character played in cutscenes will be taken by an invisible entity (though the original character's voice is still heard), while the player's character will just stand around somewhere in the background.

    Also, the characters will very rarely have any specifically recorded dialogue for levels they weren't originally in (Gandalf's narrations not withstanding). Instead, the dialogue spoken by the character they replaced will be totally removed from gameplay, although lines of dialogue directly addressing the original character will still be used throughout the level. This can leave conversations completely one-sided, as well as confusing, in certain levels.

    One notable moment is that both Éowyn and Merry have to be protected during the "Pelennor Fields" level, even when the player has selected Merry as their character.
  • In Dragon Quest Heroes, defeating Atlas will grant the player the Elevating Orb. Said orb increases experienced earned by the wearer by 5%. The problem is that not only is Atlas the single hardest fight in the game by a long shot (meaning most players will be at level 99 anyway), but the Orb also only increases defense by 1 point, worse than any other armor in the game, including generic armor that can be bought the instant one unlocks the armor shop near the start of the game.

    Platform Game 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 lets you play as Tails, who is identical to Sonic in every way except he can't go into Super Mode, and unlike in later games he can't fly when controlled by the player (except in the HD mobile version). Sonic 3 does the same with Knuckles. He was playable in its multiplayer but got no abilities while Tails could fly, putting the fox into Game-Breaker status. Locking Sonic 3 on Sonic & Knuckles still doesn't give Knuckles any abilities despite the fact that he has extra powers in singleplayer. This is especially bad because Knuckles actually has the proper chibi-sprites for gliding and climbing in Competition mode, even in Sonic 3 alone.
    • Shadow the Hedgehog:
      • There are hidden keys in every level that, once you get them all, unlock a secret door for that level. While most of the doors have powerful weapons or enable shortcuts, the door in Lost Impact gives you an armored car... in a close-walled, cramped space station level. And you can't even take it very far, as there are walls you have to spin dash under, and rail segments where the car can't go, almost immediately after you get the prize. In fact, most of the unlockable weapons/secret doors are like this in Shadow. Particularly egregious are the secret doors for Westopolis (similar to Lost Impact, it gives you a bad-controlling lowrider with no special weapon which you get 75% of the way through the level) and Lethal Highway (a minigun with 80 ammo, which is pathetic if you were hoping for a More Dakka rampage). The worst is Mad Matrix, which only gives you an alternate path to the Goal Ring. This is only remotely useful if you're trying to save some time to A-rank the neutral mission, and even then it's far from necessary.
      • The weapons you unlock for completing certain endings are extremely Nerfed Infinity -1 Swords, particularly the Omochao Gun and Egg Vacuum, which are powerful but have a laughable ammunition capacity (even when leveled up!) that hardly makes it worth the effort.note 
      • Getting an A rank on every mission on every stage would unlock Expert Mode, supposedly like Sonic Heroes's Super Hard Mode, where the levels' layouts are changed to be a lot harder, and you go through every stage, one after the other, without stopping. But in Shadow, they barely changed any of the layouts at all.note  And by that point, you've probably played through all the levels so many times, there isn't any point to playing what's mostly the same ones all in a row.
    • Sonic Adventure DX has Metal Sonic as the all-emblems reward. However, he is identical to Sonic in every way, and can only be used in Trial Mode. What's worse is that he only flies at medium speed, switching back to running at maximum speed, so you don't even get that. He also gets his own emblems to collect, but nothing happens if you collect them all.
    • In an odd example, Sonic Advance 2 let you unlock the Tiny Chao Garden by meeting certain conditions in the game... Even though the first Sonic Advance had the exact same mode available from the start. Amy being the final unlockable isn't impressive either. In the first Advance, her slow, non-rolling moveset greatly changed how you had to handle the game, but here she plays just like everyone else.
    • In Sonic Forces Red Star Rings give new bonus stages and put Number Rings in the stages. Whilst not bad, this is still disappointing considering in previous games red star rings gave you things like concept art and new music. Once you collect enough they unlock a new type of item to collect; Silver Moon Rings, which are a much straighter example considering all you get for collecting them all is an achievement.
  • Mega Man X:
    • In Mega Man X8, the navigators Alia, Palette, and Layer are unlockable as playable characters. They are basically clones of X, Axl, and Zero, respectively; however, Alia cannot get X's capsule upgrades and Palette cannot copy enemies. You also have to purchase all of X, Axl, and Zero's purchasable upgrades a second time in order to access them on Alia, Palette, and Layer. Additionally, using even one of them when running a stage will forbid you from choosing a navigator for that stage.
    • Vile's mode in Mega Man X Maverick Hunter X is one of the "can't do the whole game" variety. Although you get to go through the first couple of fortress levels after the eight bosses and beat Bospider and Rangda Bangda, at the end of the third fortress stage, you fight X and Zero instead. After beating them, you get the ending for Vile's alternate story, so there's no D-Rex to fight, and no battle with Velgauder or Sigma. On the plus side, afterwards you can go through the game again with unlimited power to select any weapons you want.
    • Mega Man X3 is the first game in the series that allows you to play as Zero. However, you can only call on him once per stage, and he automatically switches back to X when he reaches a boss door (with one exception). So you can only play as him for 1/3 of any given level, and he can't be used for bosses or mini-bosses. Oh, and he has only one life, so if you die once using him, he's lost forever. And he doesn't get any special weapons or upgrades. You do need him to access a special upgrade for X late in the game though (even if it is a bit of a Guide Dang It!), and whether he's still alive or not at the end of the game affects the ending.
    • Mega Man X4 is the first game to include cheat codes for extra content, one code for X and one for Zero. X's code gives him access to the Ultimate Armor, which doubles his defense and gives him the air dash, hovering ability, unlimited ammo (except for charged attacks), a plasma shot and a spammable Giga Attack. Zero's code gives him access to his Black Armor... which is black... and that's all. At least it's fixed in later games, where it doubles his defense, raises his attack, makes him more agile and gives his saber the ability to destroy energy projectiles.
  • Proto Man is unlockable via DLC in Mega Man 9. For the most part it was very well received, but there are three minor gripes: his mode has no story, and he cannot unlock achievements or access the item shop.
    • The higher difficulty levels, similarly, have achievements disabled.
    • Mega Man 10, however, fixed this by allowing achievements to be earned in different difficulty settings and giving Bass, the DLC character for the game, his own shop and story scenes.
  • The Legendary Starfy has a multiplayer mode that lets another player control Starly. This can only be used in a few specific areas of the game and in a bonus world after you beat the final boss in her own mini-storyline.
  • Star Fox Adventures has Cheat Tokens which do a few things when you drop them into the well in the maze under the Warpstone. Whilst some of them are amusing and even helpful, most are underwhelming. Two of these stand out:
    • The Dino subtitle, which allows you to see the subtitles in Dino, the game's substitution cipher. However, it doesn't replace "[Dino Talk]" with what is actually said, and the subtitles are actually significantly wrong in spots. And it's not even included in the European/Australian version, so there's a Cheat Token that does absolutely nothing.
    • Playing the game in black and white. Yes, the player can unlock an option to do what one can accomplish by adjusting one's TV set/monitor without the extra effort (unless they completely lack tech savvy beyond dealing with game consoles).
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario 64: As a reward for completing the game 100%, the cannon outside the castle will unlock, giving you access to the castle's roof. Up there, you meet Yoshi, who will give you 100 lives if you talk to him. 100 lives that you have no use for, since you have completed the game. Made especially obvious by the lives being delivered by Yoshi, who you can't ride and who disappears right after. You also get a special triple jump, which replaces the standard third jump with a sparkly somersault that makes you invincible while flipping and protects you from fall damage. This is also pretty useless, as there are very few instances in the game where being invincible during a high jump would come in handy, you already have several ways of stopping fall damage, and the new triple jump can't be chained into a Wall Jump, making it a downgrade from the default in some cases. According to an interview with Shigeru Miyamoto, Yoshi was originally planned to be part of a more elaborate event that was ultimately cut, but they didn't want the model to go to waste, so they added him to the end of the game as an afterthought.
      • Super Mario 64 DS is worse than the original in this regard: Since Yoshi is playable in this version, no one appears on the roof, there's no upgraded Triple Jump to be unlocked and only three extra lives to be found, and worst of all, the only thing of interest on the roof is Luigi's final rabbit... which gives you a virtually unchanged version of another mini-game you're most likely to have unlocked by that point. The Korean version slightly rectifies this by replacing the roof rabbit with a ! Block that generates infinite 1-Ups, but only because the Rec Room is completely removed (to comply with the country's anti-gambling laws).
    • Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 has a special World e that lets you play brand new levels not present in the original Super Mario Bros. 3. To access these levels, you need to scan them in with the appropriate Nintendo e-Reader cards, which required two Game Boy Advances, a Link Cable, an e-Reader, and a copy of the game in addition to the cards themselves, which is a lot of trouble and money to go through in it of itself. However, there is one big problem: the cards were released in packs as part of a set, with there being four series in all, but only two series made it to America while Europe didn't get any (with World e being out-right blocked off in that version) due to the failure of the e-Reader outside of Japan, locking most players out of half or all of the bonus content. Not to mention that the cards themselves have become prohibitively expensive on the used market. Thankfully, the Wii U Virtual Console re-release includes all of the levels by default in all regions, marking the first time half of the World e levels left Japan, and fan patches have since emerged for the original ROM that have patched in all of the World e levels.
    • Super Mario Galaxy: The Grand Finale Galaxy. You'd think this would be a tough bonus stage designed to reward players for getting 100% Completion like Grandmaster Galaxy or World S8 Crown, right? It's not, it's just the game's intro scene, with purple coins added and all the characters present. The atmosphere is nice enough, but it's not really much of a level nor a decent true finale.
    • In Super Mario 3D Land, collecting all the Star Medals and getting all golden flags as Mario and Luigi unlocks Special 8-Crown. This by itself isn't a bad thing. What is bad, however, is that you lose the convenient warp pipe between Special 8 and World 8 (the Warp Pipes are the only way to switch between the normal and special worlds), as Special 8-Crown replaces the pipe to World 8, and the pipe in World 8's map disappears. In other words, you are now forced to use a Warp Pipe in a different world in order to travel between World 8 and Special 8. A more logical solution would have been to give Special 8 an extension that houses Special 8-Crown, serving as a parallel to World 8's map extension featuring World 8-6 and The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Kirby's Dream Land had a mode called Extra that enabled alternate, stronger versions of enemies and made bosses tougher. In Kirby's Adventure and its remake, all it does is make things harder by cutting your life meter in half. Thankfully, the remake makes up for this by introducing a new mode where you can play as Meta Knight, and the extra modes in Kirby's Return to Dream Land and later games have further unique content (including tougher bosses).
  • Ratchet & Clank:
    • In Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, the Clank Zapper, a weapon that lets Clank shock nearby enemies with his antennae which was cut from normal play but included as a Challenge Mode weapon. The problem? First, despite being available in Challenge Mode, its damage output is still set to Normal Mode levels, so it's woefully ineffective against even the weakest of Challenge Mode enemies. Second, it was cut for a reason: the enemy detection, fire rate and the time it lasts is not conveyed at all, so you're never really sure whether its ended or just taking a long time between shocks. Third, the Clank Shocker (which takes a while to level up to), adds laser eyes, which are just as weak and only fire behind Ratchet. And fourth, it costs a million bolts to buy. Eventually that becomes chump change, but if you first start Challenge Mode and buy it, you just wasted money you could have spent on a few Mega Weapons, the RYNO II, or the Carbonox Armor instead.
    • For more than a few fans, the Insomniac Museum in Ratchet & Clank (2016). Its Museum houses a collection of assets, models, and promo art from across the franchise, which is certainly neat in its own way, but unlike the previous Insomniac Museums and the High Impact Treehouses from past titles, it offers no insight into the development of the game itself.
  • In the Rehydrated version of SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom, the Movie Theater. In the 2003 original it contained a wide selection of enemy and level concept art. In the 2020 version, it's four or five poorly-compressed level thumbnails from the pause menu. It still costs 40,000 Shiny Objects to unlock. Ver. 1.0.3 remedied this, with the Movie Theater displaying new, original concept art made for the remake.

    Puzzle Game 
  • Tetris: The Absolute - The Grand Master 2 PLUS offers the TGM+ and T.A. Death modes, neither of which have high score rankings. While Death mode is very popular and offers its own grading scale (M for completing the first half of the game in under 3'25", GM for that and completing the whole thing), TGM+ has no grading scale whatsoever.

    Rhythm Game 
  • The True Final Boss of DJMAX Technika's Heartbeat Set, "Area 7", obtained by finishing the first 3 stages with at least 95% of your notes being "MAX"es (you get the normal Final Boss, "Colours of Sorrow", if you don't). Not only does it have an awkward chart, but it has a lower max combo, meaning that getting this song instead of CoS is actually harmful to your score. So to get an optimal score on this course, you will need to Do Well, But Not Perfect on the first 3 stages.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Chrono series:
    • Chrono Trigger: The DS version has a Bonus Dungeon (the Lost Sanctum) that consists of almost nothing but Fetch Quest after Fetch Quest (most requiring time travel), forcing you to trek back and forth across the entire dungeon with an unskippable battle every time. Along the way, you can fight an unbelievably annoying Metal Slime (with nearly impervious armor that counters every attack with a meteor swarm) that requires several New Game Plus' worth of stat grinding, but when it finally dies you can get an armor that renders the wearer 100% immune to magic! Except only one character can wear it, and it has little application outside of a single optional boss fight. The other three Bonus Dungeons, the Dimensional Vortexes, are not much better. There's no backtracking, but the areas are purposelessly labyrinthian, composed mostly of pieces of areas you have already been, and capped by uninteresting boss fights.
    • Chrono Cross: The New Game Plus mode, among other features, allows you to replace the main character with another party member for battles. This allows you to experiment with more diverse party combinations... a feature that might mean something if your party wasn't already strong enough to take down the bosses in the first half of the game in a round of basic attacks.
  • Dragon Age: Origins allows the player to export their player character (with their gear, stats, and skills) from the original campaign into the Awakening major DLC sequel, but none of the unique items added by the Warden's Keep DLC (an additional short quest inside the original campaign, with new items) will be transferred. It's especially infuriating because one of its rewards is Starfang, the best longsword/greatsword available. Also, playing the Awakening campaign while Warden's Keep is activated causes a bug where Starfang's asset replaces the model of Awakening own Infinity +1 Sword.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • The Bonus Dungeon in Dragon Quest VI is just several levels from normal dungeons stuck onto each other with no rhyme or reason (but with stronger enemies), and no justification. Same for Dragon Quest VII, but at least at the end, you get to punch out Cthulhu fight God.
    • In the GBC Video Game Remake of Dragon Quest III, every monster in the game Randomly Drops Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medals. Get enough of them, and you can go to Divine Dragon's Castle and gain wishes. Get more, and and you unlock the ultimate Bonus Dungeon with the Grand Dragon of Everything. Get every medal in the game and the Grand Dragon...falls asleep. You also get the Rubiss Sword if you beat him in a time limit, which is the strongest sword in the game and casts the strongest spell in the game if used as an item. However, given that you've at this point done everything there is to do in the game, it's totally useless.
    • In Dragon Quest VIII, you can get the Gospel Ring, an accessory that prevents all random encounters, as a reward for completely filling out the monster list. The problem with that? You have to beat all 8 forms of the Optional Boss in a row to get their entries on the list. By the time you're tough enough to do that, you don't need the ring at all; not only will any random encounter cease to be any sort of challenge, but the other methods of reducing encounters, Holy Water or the hero's Holy Protection spell, will also prevent all encounters while they last, for the low cost of a very cheap item or a couple MP.
  • Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth: The game has DLC that offers new portrait options. Unfortunately, these DLC portraits, like the ones that are part of the base game, can only be used on new characters and "apprentice" characters that replace retired characters. This can come off as a screw-you to those who downloaded the demo and worked hard to get their characters to the demo's level cap of 10. This was corrected in Etrian Odyssey Nexus, in which you can change your characters' portraits at any time.
  • Fallout: New Vegas had a problem with the pre-order bonus/Courier's Stash DLC items. Most of them were lackluster to begin with, but were made worse by lack of compatibility with Perks and other DLC. The way the game's engine is written, any given DLC cannot directly act on another — the end result was that most of the pre-order equipment was counter-intuitively excluded from Perks added by main DLC. For example, the pre-order shotgun is the only shotgun in the game that doesn't benefit from the And Stay Back (10% chance to knock enemies over when they are hit with a shotgun) Perk added in Dead Money. Some of the weapons would accept mods, albeit with glitchy results. The only truly unique item was the Vault 13 canteen, an item that would automatically drop the player's dehydration level in Hardcore Mode, but not enough to subsist upon it alone. In Normal mode, it provided a slight automatic healing effect every time you sipped from it (once every few minutes), making it useful only for saving healing items when outside of combat if you were fast-traveling or had some time to kill in a safe area where you didn't have to worry about an attack, and given how many stimpaks you'd be carrying by the midpoint of the game, that wasn't terribly useful either.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VI:
      • Defeating optional boss Kaiser Dragon in the Advance release rewards you with the Diabolos Magicite. It's summon and the spells it teaches can easily hit the damage limit... but so can lots of other things, all of which are available before fighting the game's optional super boss. Likewise, the HP+100% level bonus would be nice, but if you can beat Kaiser, any further leveling is entirely superfluous.
      • Averted with the other three optional Magicite shards - Leviathan teaches Flood, which is a water-elemental spell, so you can exploit that elemental weakness in enemies more easily (prior to the Advance release, there were no water-elemental spells at all except for Strago's Aqua Rake and Clean Sweep), Cactuar gives a speed boost on level up and is one of only two Espers to do so (and the other one doesn't give as good a boost anyway and can be given away and Permanently Missable), and Gilgamesh teaches the Quick spell, letting you teach it to two characters at once — definitely a boon since it only has a learn rate of 1% and thus takes forever to learn. And those three are obtainable much earlier on, if you know where to look.
    • Final Fantasy VII: Defeating Ruby Weapon gave you a gold chocobo. However, it's Nintendo Hard to defeat it without breeding one in the first place, and this new gold chocobo sucks at races. Averted with Emerald Weapon, where the reward is a set of "Master" Materia. The only other way to get them is to master every Materia of each type, which will take hours upon hours of training.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days: Dual Wielding Roxas in mission mode. Sure, in story mode he's awesome (though you only get him for an extremely short time), but in mission mode he's worse than Roxas. This is for two reasons: Mission Mode's enemies are stronger than normal, and the final mission's enemies have their levels programmed to be ridiculously low for the end of the game, so that Roxas feels as badass as he is in KHI's Secret Ending.
    • Kingdom Hearts II: Unbeknownst to most players, pressing the Select button activates a First-Person mode. It works fine, except the game is forced back into third-person whenever a Reaction Command is activated, making playing only in first-person practically impossible.
  • Magical Starsign's Glissini Caves, a Bonus Dungeon unlocked after beating the Final Boss Shadra, stands out as not just incredibly hard, but also incredibly tedious. Every floor of the 20-floor-deep dungeon is connected by a 100-tile-long ladder — and in this game, you can't run on ladders, forcing you to go down at your slow normal walking speed. With a few exceptions, enemies in the dungeon — even the Optional Bosses — are nothing more than Underground Monkey clones of earlier enemies and bosses. However, their stats are inflated to the point that lots of Forced Level-Grinding is required just to stand a chance; a level 60 or so party that can take on the afore-mentioned Shadra will be ripped to shreds by the Ant Nobles and Clockwork Goats on the very first floor, and even a party at level 99 will struggle with the last few floors. And what's your reward for getting to the very end? One Putty Pea, which does nothing other than give you another fragment of the game's backstory.
  • In the Neptunia series, following the release of Megadimension Neptunia VII, its newest protagonist Uzume was added as DLC to the Steam versions of the earlier-released Re;Birth trilogy. In Re;Birth1, she serves as a Crutch Character at best, able to join early and build up EXE meter quickly but with skills that are quickly outclassednote . But in Re;Birth3, she's also stuck with her default weapon, quickly making it near-impossible for her to deal any damage at all.
  • Persona 4:
    • For maxing out all Social Links in a single playthrough you get the Mandara Robe armour. Which has pathetic defense but boosts Exp gain by 50%. There's several issues with this. First is by the time you max all the Social Links, you only have the final dungeon left to complete, so you probably won't need to grind anymore. Second is it's protagonist-exclusive, and due to Can't Drop the Hero it's likely the protagonist is overlevelled already. Third, it's outclassed by the Haikara Shirt, which not only has the same effect, better defense and can be equipped by anyone, but is also far easier to obtain. By contrast, completing all Social Links in Persona 3 unlocked a unique Persona for fusion.
    • The protagonist's ultimate Persona, Izanagi-no-Okami, can be fused on a New Game Plus. Except you need to be Lv 91 to summon him and he can't be registered to the Compendium. So all you can use him for are the Final Boss and the Optional Boss, and at Lv 91 it's very likely you don't even need him.
  • Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 is infamous for this trope, particularly after the Nintendo DS' Wi-Fi service was shut down in 2014. While the games boast a very impressive repertoire of bonus features, many of them rely heavily on said WFC or inter-game communication, making them much more difficult to access and much less functional years after the games came out. A particularly notorious example is how the games' difficulty modes are tied to the Key System; Challenge Mode, a much-coveted and -desired feature in a Pokémon game, is finally available, but can only be accessed in Black 2 after beating the main storyline (i.e. long after it's actually needed), and can only be applied to either of the two games by communicating with another game that has Challenge Mode unlocked.
  • Recettear lets you unlock Arma as a playable adventurer after completing Lapis Ruins, the first postgame dungeon. As a boss, she's extremely fast-paced and vicious, uses nearly her entire arsenal of weapons, and most of them will demolish you in just a few hits. As a player character, she starts at level 1, moves very slowly, has no useful specials (the Wave-Motion Gun eats your entire SP bar and you'll usually take more damage charging it than if you just attacked normally), her weapons are all prohibitively unwieldy and/or do anemic damage — generally both — even after leveling up to par with everyone else, and very slow recovery after firing any of them leaves her wide open to counterattack. Even the Omega Cannon, her ultimate fused weapon, fires at such an awkwardly high and slow (backward!) arc and has such a pitifully short homing radius that it's more likely to hit empty space behind your targets when the shots bother curving forward toward them at all. By the time you unlock her, literally any other character in the game save maybe Elan will be able to tackle long dungeons and thick bosses alike much more easily and safely.
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time:
    • The two bonus characters in the Director's Cut/overseas versions. Adray is really just a less capable wizard, a spot already filled by Sophia, with a weapon set nearly identical to Albel's, while Mirage uses effectively the same attack set and play-style as Cliff, but is 40-50 levels lower. The player has the option to gain Adray early into the game when he would be at a similar level to the party, but if you opt to gain him at the next opportunity, much later near the end of the game, he'll still be at that level (lv 19 when the party is roughly 55-70).
    • In the original, buggy, Japanese version of the game, the four "optional" characters, Albel, Nel, Peppita, Roger, were required. In the Director's Cut/overseas versions, only two of them can be chosen while Mirage and Adray are necessary, however.
  • The main reason most people don't ever bother to completely finish the Bonus Dungeons in any of the Valkyrie Profile games: your reward for doing so is a weapon with a huge attack stat, but the catch is that not only is it obtained at a point you can most likely already kill everything else easily, but it can also inflict random damage, with it rarely being able to do as much damage as its attack stat would suggest.
  • White Knight Chronicles II made a pretty big deal out of the fact that one of its features was that your avatar character would gain the ability to transform into a (fully customizable!) Knight like the other main characters could. But when do you unlock the Arc Knight? Right before heading off for the final dungeon. Oh, and you need to complete an easily-missable sidequest to unlock it. And that whole "fully customizable" part? You need to spend months Level Grinding your Guild Rank and Item Farming the right amounts of the right arbitrary items in order to make and equip the parts that change the Knight's appearance. It got so ridiculous that Level-5 went and released DLC that replicated all the Knight parts and billed them as being "cheaper" to manufacture than their in-game counterparts... but not by much.

    Shoot 'em Up 
  • Touhou Eiyashou ~ Imperishable Night has, as unlockables, solo versions of each team (Reimu only and Yukari only for instance, as opposed to Reimu and Yukari). However, this works by essentially locking your shottype to focused or unfocused. Human characters still can't shoot through familiars, making stages much worse, and youkai characters can't shoot familiars, causing problems with a number of bosses. In addition to this, Remilia's options have a bit of lag when you try to move them when she's solo, and you can't focus to center Youmu's ghost half anymore. Just to make things worse, most solo characters are missing a large portion of their phantom gauge, making them difficult to score with. Except Youmu, whose shortened gauge makes her the best character to score with, even if she's awkward to use.
  • Gradius V and Ikaruga have continues that increase for each hour of play, culminating in "free play" (unlimited continues) after a set number of continues obtained. But if you improve yourself at either game, by the time you unlock free play, you most likely won't need it anymore. Gradius Gaiden is a similar case, save for the increasing credits; you start with 9 instead of 3, and they never go up save for when you unlock free play.
  • DoDonPachi DaiFukkatsu for mobile devices (DoDonPachi Resurrection outside of Japan) has Hibachi as a playable character in Arrange Mode, unlocked by reaching and defeating him on one credit or inputting a cheat code (which wears off when your game ends). However, his special shot requires that you tilt your device to aim, making it tough to use in a moving vehicle and outright useless on a tablet.

    Sports Game 

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • One of the most hyped features of Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions was the fact that players could finally control Solid Snake's old war buddy Gray Fox, aka the Cyborg Ninja. This feature was so much of a selling point that Gray Fox's face is not only used on the packaging illustration, but also on the actual title screen itself. Despite all the effort required to unlock him (which is even more complicated in the Japanese Integral version, since it required the player to complete the main game and trade data using the PocketStation memory card), he only has three missions out of the 300 actually featured in the game (that's literally 1% of the game) and they're all set in the same stage with only slightly different objectives between each: the first mission involves destroying a set number of stationary dummy targets, the second mission involves killing a set number of Genome Soldiers, and the final mission involves assassinating Solid Snake, who appears as a head-swapped Genome Soldier patrolling the area.
  • Some of the unlockable bonus camouflage from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater wouldn't be worth picking up for free, let alone actually going to the effort to obtain:
    • Both The Pain and The Fury's camouflage. The former's makes bees follow you harmlessly and attack guards instead, and the latter reduces explosion damage and grants immunity to catching flame. The problem isn't that neither of these abilities are so esoteric you'll never bother to use them (why attack with bees when you have guns and there are few opportunities to benefit from the fire resistances), but that they tend to give poor camouflage indexes, often negative values, which will greatly hinder you. Ironically The Fury's camo is actually quite useful against The Fury himself, but that means you'll still have to beat him once without it and carry it over into a New Game Plus.
    • The Nine National Facepaints, rewarded to the player for getting all 27 ranks in Snake Eater 3D. Not only do they all grant poor camouflage indexes, but they grant absolutely no abilities whatsoever. Compared to the much easier to acquire green and brown facepaints that grant unlimited grip or oxygen (respectively), such a difficult to acquire prize being only a Cosmetic Award is a fantastic fail.

    Survival Horror 
  • Resident Evil 0 has two of these:
    • You can unlock Leech Hunter on Easy but if you unlock the E rank reward from said mode (sub-machinegun ammo), it won't be useful at all there since you can't obtain the sub-machinegun in that difficulty level.
    • Besides gameplay differences, Wesker Mode in the HD versions is pretty much the same deal as the main game, only with Wesker's model instead of Billy's and nothing else was done to acknowledge the change (besides a few written lines).
  • The Samurai Edge handgun from the 2002 Resident Evil remake. It fires three rounds at a time in quick succession and has infinite ammo, but it's only marginally more powerful than the default handgun and its probability of blowing off zombie heads isn't much higher, either. It's certainly useful early in the game, but it'll get tossed in the item box at the exact same time the regular handgun normally is since your shotgun, magnum and grenade launchers still outclass it by a mile.
  • Resident Evil Code: Veronica lets you play as Albert Wesker in the Battle Game. You remember, the same guy who runs across walls in bullet time and bitch slaps Claire Redfield effortlessly? Yeah, in Battle Game he can't do any of that and gets only a knife to play with. While it carries on the usual thing of villains having tougher inventory sets to play with in minigames, it's still a bitter pill to swallow. You can get a Colt Python with which to fight Alexia. However, not only does it not have infinite ammo like everyone else's guns, but whether you get it or not depends on luck.
  • Resident Evil 4 is big on this trope:
    • There's the Hand Cannon, a souped-up Magnum with massive stopping power and the ability to go through multiple enemies per shot. You get it by getting maximum rankings with every character in RE4's Mercenaries mode, which can be remarkably hard for certain characters... But by this point, chances are you've already beaten the game once and probably bought the Chicago Typewriter, Infinite Rocket Launcher, or even just fully upgraded another regular Magnum, which makes the Hand Cannon look pretty pointless in comparison.
    • The PlayStation 2 and Wii versions introduce the PRL-412, a futuristic anti-Plagas weapon that is only obtained after beating Professional (hard) Mode, which means there isn't much of any reason to use it, since the player's probably finished everything by then anyway. It's not even particularly great, being a slow charging laser that serves mostly as an unlimited supply of flash grenades unless you spend the time charging it to full power, in which case it kills Plagas villagers instantly, but not much else. Even worse, a weak flash can kill the final boss immediately. The HD re-releases tweak it to have a much faster charge and a screen-clearing effect that kills or destroys everything in front of you, which dashes the challenge factor into a million pieces.
    • Because using the Raccoon Police Department/"pop starlet" outfits for Leon and Ashley is also supposed to enable Ada's "Assignment Ada" tactical outfit during the main game (who only appears during cutscenes in the main game), the original PC version and the PS2 version miss out on seeing this because of their use of pre-rendered cutscenes (which were only derived from a playthrough with the normal outfits and no secondary versions of these scenes were ever recorded for an alternate outfit playthrough). However, the original GameCube version of the game and all releases after the original PC port use in-engine cutscenes, meaning characters stay dressed however they appear during gameplay and thus Ada will show up wearing her tactical gear during cutscenes.
  • Finishing Resident Evil 5 unlocks the New Game Plus where you play the exact same campaign over again, except as Sheva instead of Chris. Um... yay. It boils down to getting to do about six or seven slightly different things in the otherwise identical campaign, making it look monumentally lame when compared to Separate Ways of the previous game or even the Game B modes of Resident Evil 2. Even that wouldn't be so bad if they didn't foist an Interface Screw on you: Sheva's entire screen is mirrored, which takes a lot of getting used to and which most people won't bother doing for the sole purpose of playing as Sheva. The following game learned their lesson from this one, letting you toggle the screen at will and choose which of the two characters you want to play as right at the start, and rewarding you with an entire fourth campaign starring Ada Wong for beating the game.
  • Resident Evil 6 has Ada's campaign which used to be single player only. Fans complained about it since it meant they couldn't play Ada's campaign with a friend. Capcom later added a generic Umbrella soldier named Agent to be Ada's co-op partner. Almost no effort was made in making Agent actually work like a proper player character; Agent does not possess the grappling hook, thus an Agent player has to wait for the Ada player to move ahead and get teleported next to her. Agent also cannot solve any of the puzzles nor open any briefcases since only Ada can do that. On top of all the above, Agent can't even open doors. Overall, Agent is just being strung along since they can't do anything besides kill things and they don't even appear in cutscenes either.
  • Silent Hill 3 has the Heather Beam and Sexy Beam, two movesets that you can unlock for New Game Plus. While being able to shoot eye lasers sounds like the coolest thing to have in this game, it's surprisingly underwhelming. The raw damage is worse than some of the weapons found in the normal game, the attack takes a while to start up, and it uses Heather's stamina as ammo, which runs out quick and leaves her exhausted. They also take a really long time to unlock - you have to kill 333 enemies in total, which will take at least 2 playthroughs to accomplish, but likely more if you weren't specifically aiming for it from the start. By comparison, the infinite ammo SMG is another bonus weapon you can unlock after just 1 playthrough, and it's far more effective in every way. The only reason you actually need to use the beams is to see the UFO ending, which requires getting kills with them. However, some unlockables require you to beat the game as much as ten times, and since the UFO ending stops the game at the halfway point, this indirectly makes the beams very useful for cutting down the amount of grinding you'll have to do.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Most of the higher-up skins unlocked in Gears of War 3 are simple reskins of existing characters. For example, "Civilian Anya" is the same character as "Anya Stroud," albeit minus her armor and with a different hairstyle. Anya's basic form is available by default—"Civilian Anya" isn't unlocked until level 45.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is a two-in-one combo. It has several unlockable characters; some of these are unique characters that cannot change classes or learn new abilities, while others are merely normal units with special sprites. One, notoriously, doesn't unlock until after you have nothing you can possibly do with him. Some of the special characters can't even enter the water, all because they don't have sprites drawn of them being in the water. Feather Boots can fix this since it makes the wearer walk on the water rather than in it.
    • Especially bad with Ezel Berbier, who is locked into a class with high magic attack growth and low physical attack growth, and has no ability to learn any skills that use his magic attack stat.
  • The original Final Fantasy Tactics has the Byblos. He joins you as a Guest-Star Party Member when you fight the Optional Boss, and if he survives, he joins your team afterward. Is he any good? Well... he's a monster unit, which means he can't use equipment or change classes. He's nowhere near as strong as the other special monster unit you get, Worker 8, and doesn't have Worker 8's innate magic immunity. His skills are thoroughly mediocre, and (being a monster unit) he'll never learn more. The best thing you can really say about him is that he has innate Poach, but teaching that to human units is easy. Waste of a character, to be honest.
    • Bonus character Cloud Strife can also fall into this category. You get him at the end of a fairly long sidequest...and he's level 1. In addition, to use his unique abilities, you need his special weapon, which is only obtained by having someone with Move-Find Item step on a particular tile in a particular place (though at least, unlike all other Move-Find Item spaces, there's only one possible item to get), and is only so-so in strength. Even worse, his skills target panels instead of characters, meaning that unless you go out of your way to prevent it, his target will likely end up moving out of harm's way before it goes off. If you have the patience to get his sword and level him up though, he's a decent party member, and doing the sidequest also nets you several other party members and good rewards, so it's not really a waste.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, you can earn several special party members by going through the two bonus dungeons, the Tower of Valni and the Lagdou Ruins. These characters are all characters who existed in the main story as Non-Player Characters, some of whom were even bosses. Sounds cool, right? Unfortunately, you can only unlock these characters after playing through the entire main campaign, meaning all you really can use them in are the dungeons in which they are unlocked and random battles on the world map. Worse still, the vast majority of them are some of the worst units in the game, due to coming with high levels, poor base stats, terrible growth rates, and being unable to support other units; even the best among them are easily outmatched by units you recruited in the main campaign. The only ones with any useful equipment or skills are Ismaire (who comes with a unique weapon), Valter (who has an exceptionally rare item), Caellach (likewise) and Lyon (who has a unique class capable of summoning phantoms, as well as a unique infinite-durability tome and a rare staff); the others come with various generic weapons and Shop Fodder. Even for completionists, recruiting Lyon may be more trouble than it's worth, because getting him requires you to fight through the Lagdou Ruins three times. Just to rub salt in the wound, they are, for whatever reason, unable to be used against other players in the Link Arena.
    • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance is similar, featuring enemy characters that can be played post-campaign. Unlike Sacred Stones though, there is no post-campaign, so instead you can only play with them in six bland "trial" chapters (three of which require an Old Save Bonus, and are just copies of levels found in the main game), which have no story or named enemies in them. Also, it requires a downright silly number of playthroughs to unlock them; you don't get the first until finishing the lengthy game three times, and the Big Bad requires fifteen full passes of the game to unlock. It doesn't help that most of them, barring the last one recruited, are rather lackluster and only worth looking at due to their rare equipment.
    • Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, like Path of Radiance, also has characters unlockable for use in a series of dull trial maps (though Binding Blade only has five unless you were lucky enough to win more in promotional events), and has similarly silly requirements for unlocking them (the last one, Guinevere, requires a full nine passes through the game to unlock). To make it worse, most of them are markedly inferior to your normal units anyway; in particular, the first one recruited, Narshen, is too weak to survive much of anything in the trial maps. Only Guinevere is really notable, and then, mostly because of her unique gimmick of having access to both Light magic and Anima magic at the same time.
    • Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon has the Elysian Whip item in the game's online shop. When used on a female unit in the Pegasus Knight class, it promotes them and causes their Dracoknight promotion to be replaced with Falcoknight, its promotion from other games in the series. The trouble is, Falcoknight is worse than Dracoknight; it trades off Strength and Defense (both highly useful stats its users very much want) for Resistance (situational and easy to increase), and trades off axes as a secondary weapon (best base damage and a Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors advantage against half the enemy roster) with swords (worst base damage and disadvantage against that same half). The only thing Falcoknight has going for it is a slightly higher Speed cap, which only comes into play against a handful of enemies on the highest difficulties of the endgame; even then, said Speed cap matches the Paladin, which does everything the Falcoknight does bar flight without any special trouble. New Mystery of the Emblem buffed the class to make it more of an actual tradeoff, but also made the Whips available in the main game, making them no longer a bonus.
    • Fire Emblem: Awakening continues the trend with its six Spotpass characters, available as free DLC and recruited in six special downloaded chapters. Unlike previous examples, most of them range from decent but underleveled to surprisingly powerful, and two even have completely unique skills that no one else naturally has access to. However, they're only able to be recruited right before the final chapter, and some of their recruitment chapters are harder than the final chapter itself. Worse still, their support pool is extremely limited, as all six of them can only support the Avatar; in a game where two units achieving an S-Support can make them obscenely powerful when paired up, this is a harsh drawback. While the existence of other DLC chapters prevents them from becoming truly useless like previous examples in the series, the final one, Apotheosis, basically requires an army consisting of nothing but S-ranked units paired together with maximum stats and the absolute best skills available, meaning at most exactly one of them will get a chance to participate. They're not as bad as previous examples, but are still generally underwhelming all the same.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses featured the recurring shopkeeper Anna as part of the game's paid DLC season pass. While Anna does get her own paralogue, she doesn't have any support conversations, not even with the player character. This is a sharp contrast to the game's other DLC characters, who all have multiple supports. In particular, Jeritza was released at the same time as a free update for all players, and he has multiple supports and paired endings.

  • In Champions Online there are three crafting schools, Weapons, Mysticism, and Science. Each of these used to have a single SPECIAL BONUS "crafted travel power" the player could claim/build. For instance, in Weapons the travel power was called the "R.A.D. Sphere." It required leveling your character's crafting ability up to the 300-400 range, buying the blueprints, crafting a few dozen items, which were each in turn crafted from a dozen other items apiece which you ALSO had to buy the blueprints for, then gathering another dozen or so increasingly rare dropped artifacts, then assembling them all together...with another blueprint. The result for all this running back and forth to the crafting table, spending a fortune in points, and scouring the countryside pummeling various monsters to get them to drop rare items? Your character got the power to crouch down, wrap his arms around his knees, and roll forward. At about running pace. It looks stupid, is ridiculously slow, and if you should actually wish to level this power up, you had to go through the above hunt-and-gather grinding rigamarole all over again to BUILD the next iteration.
    The Mysticism and Science crafted travel powers were actually worse, being nothing more than bog-standard flight power with, respectively, some purple glowy dots and some electrical sparks tacked on. And with the April 2012 complete overhaul, these are now purchaseable outright with in-game resources, at which point they become available as normal powers to any toon you have. The epic grind for them no longer exists.
  • City of Heroes has several "accolade" powers that can be earned by accomplishing various tasks in the game. These powers are either small but significant passive boosts to hit points or endurance, or powers that need to be actively used. These latter active powers have extremely long, double-digit cooldown times, but can provide powerful effects for the short time they're up. The exception is the Crey CBX-9 Pistol (and its equivalent for villain characters, the Stolen Immobilizer Ray); this power is functionally identical to a weak level 1 power that most characters with access to don't even want, except slightly slower because the character first needs to draw the weapon to fire it. It also shares the same massive cooldown as the other active accolade powers, despite the power it's a clone of recharging in only 4 seconds.
  • Mabinogi had an event that makes you play Bingo using a Roulette from an NPC who says he's always lucky. The Main reward for completing the Bingo board is a unique Bag that gives you more inventory spaces. Unfortunately, the Bag requires a Premium service in order to open, and as Mabinogi being made a Free MMO, this reward will go unused and will be gone by the time the event is over. Said NPC lost his lucky status after reappearing in another event. They've given out similar bags as a reward during their spring 2013 Vocaloid event. Same issue, although for people who do subscribe the bags are an improvement over what's normally available, and they're entirely up front in the description of the event what the limitation on the bags is. In general, the combination of Everything Fades (though bags actually don't), continual introduction of new things to the game which Permanently Missable Content applies to, and limited storage space for players can easily lead to feelings of this.

  • In WarioWare: Twisted!, unlocking every microgame and clearing each of them will unlock the final souvenir; what is it, you may ask? WarioWare: Twisted. Selecting it restarts the game with a modified intro. Doing all that work for a glorified restart button.
  • The Nintendo GameCube can output supported games in 480p. The caveat? Due to the way the signal is processed, you need a proprietary component cable to actually get 480p video. Said cables were produced in very small quantities, were bought by a very small number of GameCube owners, and were very quickly discontinued. For a while, the cables were very expensive (topping off at $300 on eBay), though cheaper third-party cables have eventually entered the market. However, even if you do have the component cables, it occupies a special "Digital A/V Out" port on the console, which was removed in a 2004 console revision due to the low sales of the component cable. You're almost better off getting a Wii, which can not only play GameCube games in 480p (or at least the earlier models can), but is overall cheaper, with the component cables not being as rare and expensive.
  • PlayStation 2: Any games that required the i.LINK port for LAN play is this, as the port was removed on later revisions of the PS2. So if you had a game that required i.LINK for LAN play and not the Network Adapter and planned on linking more consoles together for multiplayer, you were out of luck.

    Non-Game Related 
  • Depeche Mode's remastered CD/DVD-A sets had a good selection of B Sides...but moved all that material to the DVD, for no apparent reason but to preserve the albums as intended. That means if you want to hear them you always have to play the DVDs, which of course, cannot be played or copied like normal CDs can. You wonder why they didn't just give the B Sides a bonus CD to themselves. Luckily you can get them elsewhere thanks to the band's extensive singles collection, and many were on earlier CDs of the albums, but still.
  • Lampshaded in Welcome To Youtube when he gleefully mentions Youtube has a 3D feature, only to abruptly change the topic and never mention it again:
    Did you know Youtube has a 3D feature? Me neither!
  • The Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition of Jean-Michel Jarre's Oxygène Trilogy is supposed to include clear vinyl LP's of all three albums, but many sellers short-change audiophiles by leaving out the vinyl of the middle installment, which is especially shameful as the standalone vinyl pressing of Oxygene 7-13 is quite scarce and expensive.