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Cutscene Power to the Max

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"Jack draws her power from cutscenes. While in normal combat she has some usefulness...she's a biotic goddess during cutscenes. She can take three giant robots solo in seconds, but with a squad she'll get knocked out against two during normal combat. Cutscenes must be filled with eezo or something."

The character is powerful. Really powerful. Like, destroying-galaxies powerful. In fact, they could probably win the entire game by flexing their muscles...

...y'know, if they actually had these powers available in the gameplay. Outside cutscenes, they have less impressive powers. How powerful the character is in battle sometimes seems inversely proportional to how strong they are outside it. In negative situations, this character is Overrated and Underleveled.

Granted, being this powerful during the gameplay would make the game extremely easy. On the other hand, some degree of consistency is expected between the rules of the gameplay and the rules of the story, and when cutscene spectacle overrides that, the game has a serious problem. Then again, an explanation for a number of cases may have to do with technical limitations such as gameplay type or platform specs.

A flagrant and particularly annoying form of Gameplay and Story Segregation, but under the right circumstances, it's acceptable as seen above. This goes hand in hand with Heads I Win, Tails You Lose. See Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke for where superweapons aren't as super in the gameplay. Cutscene Incompetence and Plotline Deaths are the opposite of this, though oddly, they're not necessarily mutually exclusive: a character can demonstrate amazing power and skill, and also forget those skills seconds later, or even utilize what seem to be vastly different skills from their ingame counterpart.


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    Action Adventure 
  • In Astalon: Tears of the Earth, the Black Knight's introduction has him effortlessly kill all three of the protagonists. He's next encountered not too much later in the Mechanism, where he can reasonably be fought off by a character who hasn't at all gotten stronger since they last met. The same cutscene also features him killing Arias with a descending Disintegrator Ray and telekinetically lifting Algus into the air, neither of which are attacks he has in any of his boss encounters.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: When Ganon reveals himself in Ganon's Tower, Link uses the flute to summon the bird to give chase and take him to the Pyramid of Power. However, during regular gameplay, the bird can only be summoned in the Light World.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker:
      • Ganondorf himself was able to give Link the old one-two and then have him at his mercy; not so much during the battle. (Although to be fair the king of Hyrule had just wished for Ganondorf to drown with Hyrule while Link to have a future, so he was destined to lose that fight no matter how much stronger he was.)
      • Shooting a single ice arrow at a specific erupting volcano will freeze the lava and put the eruption on hold for 5 minutes. Ice arrows aren't normally anywhere near as powerful as in this little cutscene. A corresponding frozen island can also be heated up to a safe temperature for 5 minutes with a single fire arrow.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess:
      • Midna's Fused Shadows. She could destroy practically anything with them, yet she leaves Link to risk his life doing all the dirty work. This one may be justified in that she doesn't want to risk being seen talking to human Link.
      • Midna can only warp Link when he's in wolf form... except for when you've just finished a dungeon.
  • Prodigal: In gameplay, you can only use the Dread Hand to warp between statues, reset Oran's position in the room, and later make a shadow copy of him to switch places with, but Oran will automatically use the Dread Hand to teleport himself home after finishing most dungeons. Later on, he even uses it to teleport Caroline and Hugh away as well as himself. For some reason he doesn't think to use it to escape an icy cave about halfway through the game, though.
  • In Titan Quest, the area around the Gorgons' lair is full of statues, and they've managed to one-shot petrify a particular npc you're trailing before you show up. During the eventual fight with them, though, their petrifying gazes are only good for stunning you temporarily. At no point does the game acknowledge that you're either immune to their power or using tactics to negate it (such as Perseus' classic not-looking-into-their-eyes-trick).
  • Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider: Anniversary. Lara can survive a huge fall in an early cutscene that would naturally cause instant bone-shattering death when tried in-game (proven in the remake, in which this area is playable just before the cutscene).
    • In a cutscene towards the end of Anniversary Lara reaches a ledge by essentially grappling on nothing, despite it being very established by then that it could only work on specific points, this is made worse by the fact that the original game already provided a plausible (within Lara capabilities) ending to this sequence.

    Action Game 
  • Relatively avoided in Asura's Wrath, due to the sheer number of in game cutscenes with QTEs that are really intuitive. In fact, this particular model is exactly what the developers were going for to deliberately avoid this, as it was made to feel like you're still doing all the stuff in the cutscenes via intuitive button presses.
  • Every Batman video game ever.
    • This is less of a problem in the spinoff game of Batman Begins. In this game you're not supposed to be over the top powerful and that the whole point is that you need to use stealth and fear to tip the battle in your favor.
    • And it's completely averted in Batman: Arkham Asylum, where Batman is essentially as competent in cutscenes as he is during gameplay, dropping his Titan gun down a Bottomless Pit aside.
      • The trope is true though during the final boss fight, where Batman sprays Explosive Gel over his fist to power up his punch. Though it is explained why he can't do this normally as he severely injured his arm doing that in said cut scene.
    • Also averted in Superman Returns where you need to protect the city from being destroyed. Getting hit merely slows you down.
  • Played straight most of the time in Bayonetta where both Bayonetta and Jeanne perform outstanding jumps, attacks, counters, and dodges that are not possible in the game, display building-tossing Super-Strength, and consistently One-Hit Kill enemies with the default guns that are nowhere near that powerful during gameplay. In addition, whenever Bayonetta has to use Witch Time in a cutscene, she simply activates it at will instead of with a dodge.
  • Dante from the Devil May Cry series is fairly intimidating even during normal gameplay. However, his powers become almost absurd in any cutscene sequence, and especially ridiculous in the third installment. His feats include his getting staked to the ground by his own sword and calmly pulling himself up through the blade (and the huge ass wickedly pointy crossguard!), shrugging off horrific injuries to kill his enemies with the pieces of their own weapons embedded in his body, and casually surfing on a missile. Furthermore, he kills enemies with single attacks, a feat that cannot be replicated in-game except by difficult-to-use moves. His single-shot killing of enemies is most certainly not replicable in-game (semi-joke "Heaven or Hell" mode aside). One exception is when Dante rides a fallen enemy like a skateboard while shooting other enemies, something he can also do in gameplay. Taken to the logical extreme, in that nothing can beat Cutscene Dante, except maybe Batman if he has time to plan.
    • In the Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition of Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, Vergil himself is the WORST offender. Also happens to be Overrated and Underleveled when you consider the fact that despite having access to all of his weapons from the start, you STILL need to purchase his stronger moves and many of them from his Devil Trigger like the Judgement Cut Storm aren't available for use when you are given control. Add that to the fact that Vergil can generally own everything in his path in cutscenes, yet still needs to smack demons around a couple of times with the scabbard before making the Clean Cut during normal gameplay (barring Heaven Or Hell Mode) and Vergil is made even less effective (if cooler because Katanas Are Just Better) than Dante.
      • Vergil's sword Yamato gets a heck of a lot of this in DMC 4. In cutscenes it's a hilariously overpowered Game-Breaker. It's like everything dies just by being in the same room as this sword. In game, it's not any better than the default sword, and some experts consider it to be worse.
      • Subverted when Nero tries to fight Dante using Super Mode and Yamato. Well, that didn't go as well as he expected. So, Dante's cutscene power overrides Yamato cutscene power. He is just that good.
    • A sub-example of this is guns. In gameplay, DMC's guns are somewhat notorious for being barely more than Scratch Damage against most enemies (hardly useless, but killing an enemy with just gunfire is going to require dozens of shots). In cutscenes, Dante can easily take down enemies in just a shot or two from those guns.
    • Alto Angelo is a Mini-Boss example. In cutscenes, the Alto Angelo is able to kill two Elite Mooks in one fell swoop.
  • In the God of War series, if Kratos were allowed in normal gameplay to pull off acrobatics and feats of strength a fraction as impressive as the ones he does in cutscenes, a huge chunk of the games obstacles would suddenly cease to be an issue.
  • Enter the Matrix had several level-ending cutscenes involving Niobe or Ghost using some fancy martial arts or dramatic rooftop-leaping. There was no pressing reason why they couldn't have let the player do that themselves.
  • In The Matrix: Path of Neo Neo is much more powerful in cutscenes than actual play. There are a few in-game cutscenes where Neo busts through a brick wall with a single punch, and does the same to a heavy steel door that sends it flying across the room. Try to do it in the game itself and Neo can't even touch the door or wall. There's also the cutscenes where he flies around the city, impossible during the game itself.
  • Metroid Fusion has a scene where the SA-X obliterates a doorway with a Super Missile. If you try this outside of the cutscene, the hatch tends just to open, not blow up spectacularly...
    • Similarly, there's a scene with a Power Bomb, which normally can only affect certain blocks, but the scene displays them every bit as destructive as they're described in conversation.
  • Ninja Gaiden mostly avoids this as there aren't too many scenes of Ryu fighting, except for one scene in Ninja Gaiden II where he cuts a Mook in half with one swing.
  • A particularly heavy example with Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando: During the Giant Robot battle on Snivelak, even your most powerful weapon does only Scratch Damage to the Robot (with some points on the robot not even registering damage) and yet, during the cutscene, Ratchet just shoots part of the chest off with a single shot from the Heavy Lancer, which is one of the weakest weapons in the game (not to mention the first weapon you get, although it hasn't upgraded.)

    Beat 'Em Up 
  • Awesome aversion in God Hand; in one of the few cutscenes involving him fighting, Gene, the protagonist, proceeds to launch three enemies to the sky. While the moves are not normally "one-hit-kill" type in the game, they're pretty much available to the player, and if one takes advantage of counter hits and the tension gauge/roulette, can accomplish the same thing in-game.
  • Hero of Sparta has the introduction of the Axe of Ajax. You obtain it halfway into the game, and as a gorgon tries sneaking behind you, you turn around and relive the gorgon's cranium almost effortlessly. In gameplay, while the Axe deals better damage than your default sword, it's not that powerful.
  • One cutscene of The Legend of Tian-ding have you grabbing and evacuating a dozen civilians on a train about to crash in a single swoop, saving everyone in a single move. During gameplay, you can grab only one person with each sash throw. There's also the alternate ending where General Shimada is revealed to still be alive, before pulling a Taking You with Me trying to take you down, at which point you restrain him in two seconds - an ability you can't pull off in the previous boss battle. Then again, Cutscene Incompetence is there too as the game ends with you getting killed by a single bullet.
  • Downplayed in Loopmancer - you're a badass in gameplay who can take down hordes of enemies in regular gameplay, but the cutscene before you fight Hiroyuki on the oil rig exeggerates your skills where you wipe out twenty ninja enemies Hiroyuki sent at you within two seconds. Including dealling a few One-Hit Kill moves on enemies that in regular gameplay, tanks far more damage.
  • MadWorld has a minor one. When facing the Shogun in a power struggle, Jack does a Barehanded Blade Block first, and then a regular block with his right arm and knee. Jack cannot block outside of that quick time event, as he can dodge only.

    Fighting Game 
  • In BlazBlue, using Ragna's Blood Kain in gameplay only gives a temporary Deadly Upgrade. If he activates it before the fight starts and control shifts to the player, though, what you get is Unlimited Ragna, who gets permanent attribute bonuses without health loss, and in fact triple health.
  • Darkstalkers:
    • Consider Pyron. According to his storyline, he is an immense, powerful alien who feeds on planets and stars. In his ending sequence, he treats Earth as if it was a piece of jewelry around his finger. Now, disregard all of this plot and simply play a few matches against him, and he comes across as nothing more than a fire elemental with a small degree of shapeshifting prowess. The real kicker? He's not even the most powerful character in the storyline. Gameplay-wise, he's less of a challenge than his dragon Huitzil/Phobos. If only because Huitzil is a Cheating Bastard.
    • Morrigan is one of the most powerful demons in the series, at least according to her backstory. Gameplay-wise she's a Shoto Clone.
  • Ninjas (and Eliot) in Dead or Alive only ever use their swords in cutscenes. In Hayate's ending for DOA4, he slices a Mook in half and brings down an entire blimp with one arrow.
  • Digital Devil Saga: Cielo's "Plot Lasers". In one cutscene of the first game Cielo was a laser breath weapon that he uses to rescue Sera and then never gets brought up again. He even lapmshades this in the sequel, pondering if he should have used the lasers to survive for a bit longer.
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy is generally pretty good about averting this. Characters fighting in cutscenes tend to use the same attacks that they use in gameplay. At the same time, there are quite a few instances of this, such as Terra casting teleport, Ultimecia and Cecil using what appear to be their respective EX Bursts without hassle, and Squall blocking most of Ultimecia's aforementioned EX Burst during his final confrontation with her in his storyline.
    • And there's lots of people dashing past Onion Knight in the intro FMV, while in actual gameplay he's the fastest character in the game.
  • Technically, at least four characters in Guilty Gear are Gears, i.e. living weapons of mass destruction that humanity fought against for a hundred years (one of them going so far as to wipe out an entire fleet all at once in supplemental material), and the Gears almost won. That doesn't mean an adolescent crossdressing nun armed with a yo-yo and a teddy bear can't defeat them during gameplay, though.
  • The trailers for Marvel vs. Capcom 3 feature several instances of playable characters displaying their powers at levels that far exceed what they can do during actual gameplay matches. For instance, Magneto is shown in one trailer using his magnetic powers to effortlessly toss X-23 and Arthur aside with just a small flick of his wrist, but he can't do that to anybody during actual matches. Ironically, the power levels that characters display in the trailers are mostly accurate to their established power levels in their own series while most of them are severely watered down during gameplay for the sake of matches lasting longer than a couple seconds.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • Mortal Kombat 9:
      • This is taken to new levels with Sindel, who effortlessly curbstomps 10 people at once in Story Mode, killing all but Johnny Cage and Sonya (as seen here for those who like spoilers). Granted, she was empowered with Shang Tsung's soul (and by proxy, all of the souls he absorbed), but still. This even leads to a Heads I Win, Tails You Lose moment with Nightwolf; you can walk all over Sindel in the actual battle, but storywise, Nightwolf is going to have to sacrifice himself kamikaze-style to finally bring her down.
      • When Kabal is hit by Kintaro's fire breath, he is scarred permanently to the point that he requires a respirator mask. When Kintaro actually uses that move in a playable fight, it just takes off a chunk of your life meter.
    • Several characters in the MK franchise are more powerful in gameplay terms than they are in actual Kombat. The biggest offender, by far, is probably the evil Elder God Shinnok, who in some end scenes was shown to be literally capable of killing Kombatants with only a look or even "a mere thought", is declared in the 10th game to be completely unkillable, and in the 4th game and the Gold edition is strongly implied have enough power on-hand to destroy entire realms and even the whole universe all by himself. Yet, repeatedly in every game he is in, he is one of the weakest villains to play as or to fight and has a fairly unoriginal and unimpressive move set, and requires a power-up in game 10 to become a standard SNK Boss like Shao Kahn or Goro (and even then, his defeat comes at the hands of a completely new human character in a straightforward fight).
  • In the New Legends of Project Soul artbook released as a companion to SoulCalibur V, Nightmare is described as being "capable of destroying several mounted and heavily armored soldiers with a single sweep of the massive Soul Edge, and can pull out his victims' very souls using his misshapen right arm", and his Soul Wave is described as ripping out the souls of those caught in it, but nowhere outside of the scant few cutscenes does he display this level of overwhelming power.
  • Elizabeth is a secret boss from Persona 3. Being absurdly powerful, you require a ton of specific things in order to even stand a chance against her. She even has a set of unspoken rules that you must adhere to; failure to follow them results in her nuking you with a 9999 damage spell until you die. Aside from being a secret boss in Persona 3, she also appears as a playable character in Persona 4: Arena. During cutscenes, she is still absurdly powerful, breaking through barriers and even defeating the final boss with ease. But as a playable character, she is quite a bit underwhelming compared to her boss and cutscene self. Having the lowest amount of health in the entire roster at 7500, this is a big difference to the 20,000 that she had in Persona 3 (the player's max health was capped at 999).
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl: Characters in The Subspace Emissary often perform actions in cutscenes that aren't possible in gameplay:
    • Sheik takes out an Arwing by teleporting onto its canopy and putting her fist through the glass of the cockpit windshield.
    • There's also an instance of Captain Falcon taking out a giant ROB with a single flying punch.
    • In Subspace Emissary, right before Tabuu turns everyone into a trophy again, Sonic appears and smashes his wings with incredible speed and power. In gameplay, Sonic's adjusted like the other fighters.
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: The opening cutscene of World of Light shows Galeem vaporizing the whole cast effortlessly. Once its time to confront the lord of light, he displays no such ability during his boss fight. This is because he needed a LOT of time to charge the attack. If you focus too much of your efforts on Dharkon's forces during the final battle or even defeat Dharkon himself, Galeem is given a second chance to obliterate the fighters.
  • Tekken:
    • In Tekken 3, Bryan Fury is able to take bullets to the face and chest, a shell from a tank, and then proceed to rip the turret off and throw it at the retreating soldiers. In TTT, he gets shot several times by Lei Wulong and manages to continue fighting as if nothing happened. However, in game he's just one of the slightly quicker big bruisers. Bandai-Namco managed to fix the discrepancy in Tekken 5 though.
    • Then Tekken 6 goes even further in the Scenario Mode opening cutscene, where Lars deflects missiles with his bare hands and runs faster than bullets. Stopping a mook with a gun by charging him head on in actual gameplay? Not such a good idea.
    • Likewise with Yoshimitsu, Bryan's Arch-Enemy, who ever since Tekken 3 is often depicted with the ability to become virtually invisible, and whose katana is an Absurdly Sharp Blade able to slice thru walls of solid concrete and whatnot. In game? He only has a limited ability to teleport, and a slash from his katana is not fatal at all (even his most deadly "Sword Stab" unblockable does a lot of damage, but it really doesn't kill in one hit).
  • In Storm's ending in X-Men: Children of the Atom, she's able to destroy a Sentinel with a single bolt of lightning. In the actual gameplay, while Storm is pretty powerful, her projectiles aren't nearly that strong.
  • Likewise, a cutscene in X-Men: Next Dimension shows Wolverine and Storm easily taking out multiple Sentinels, each with a single blow. The Sentinels are much harder to beat in the actual game, and Wolverine and Storm aren't significantly stronger than any of the other playable fighters.

    First Person Shooter 
  • In Clive Barker's Undying, your character Patrick Galloway suddenly jumps like a flea through a stained glass window many feet away to escape danger. Normally he only jumps about as high as a normal man.
  • Subversion: in Crysis: Warhead, a cutscene has the main character getting shot multiple times by a pistol and essentially having it bounce off the nanosuit. While it may seem like an example of this trope, you'll actually notice that the suit and weapon stats stay the same for all difficulties — the AI just gets better at finding and shooting at you. This is also proven by the game's configuration files. However, the AI's gotten so much better on Delta, that you won't even notice, and it won't even matter if your suit stats are the same.
    • Played straight in some of the other cutscenes in the series; although you mostly can pull off what they are doing in them, even if it isn't to the same degree.
    • Also, doing special ability combos with cloak/maximum speed/maximum strength that would work if only you had five times the energy you have.
  • Inverted in Crysis 2 where the main character has arguably the worst case of Cutscene Incompetence ever, with two scenes requiring a quick time event to revive the dead player character. The only actual cutscene that shows impressive feats of derring-do is right at the beginning, features the player's suit but NOT the player's character, and merely showcases the nanosuit's capabilities in a manner that is visually impressive but functionally no different than what the player him/herself might accomplish on his/her own.
  • For a rare example of this trope being justified, see The Darkness game. While you play the game as Jackie Estacado, controlling the eponymous Darkness you're a force to be reckoned with. During two of the cutscenes where The Darkness controls Jackie... let's just say at one point he pulls down a helicopter with one tentacle and leave it at that. However, the game is fairly explicit in that The Darkness' powers are restrained by Jackie, or at least his limited moral scruples. Therefore, when Jackie loses control, (hence, cutscene) the Darkness is rather ridiculously powerful.
  • Far Cry has this in spades. While your character (Jack) is made of tinfoil in gameplay (you can't drop more than a few feet without suffering massive damage; you'll die after being hit with a handful of bullets — which forces you to always use cover), he becomes much more acrobatic and resilient in the cutscenes. At one point, Jack is thrown out of a helicopter hundreds of feet in the air and lands without a scratch, but falling three stories in-game will instantly kill him. Better yet, in a later cutscene, Jack is shown diving over a console to avoid a hail of bullets (something he can't do in-game).
  • Half-Life 2 has an interesting example with Dog, who has no combat AI whatsoever and will run from any and all enemies. However in scripted sequences, the game's equivalent of cutscenes, he effortlessly and painfully crushes everything in his path, from regular soldiers to a Strider.
  • Halo:
    • In the cutscene leading up to the final battle of the original Trilogy, 343 Guilty Spark utterly obliterates Master Chief and the Arbiter with his superpowered beam weapon. Once actual gameplay begins, however, the ensuing fight is one of the easiest and least exciting battles in the history of FPS video games, as Spark just floats in one spot and fires (inaccurately) in your general direction.
    • In one of the last cutscenes in Halo Wars, three Spartans solo about twenty Elites by tossing them around like rag dolls, dual-wielding SMGs like John Woo, and performing vaulting flips at least ten or fifteen feet into the air. The sad part is that this is about in line with the Expanded Universe, but nothing like what you're actually allowed to do in the games when you play as a Spartan.
    • There's also the issue of whether or not the Master Chief can get hurt by falling. Starting in Halo 2, Master Chief can fall any distance without getting hurt — unless the developers don't want you to go into that area. This leads to bizarre situations like the Chief being able to surf a small metal plate down from a spaceship in orbit and land on Earth with nary a scratch but being unable to survive falling down a fifteen-foot deep hole.
    • In Halo: Reach, Emile pulls off a sick trick in the opening cutscene of the last level where he downs two Banshees with a single grenade launcher shot. Then for the rest of the level he's completely useless, as his AI thinks his shotgun is a sniper rifle.
    • Halo 4: Spartan Ops's cutscenes feature Palmer and Fireteam Majestic cutting through tons of Elites and Promethean Knights with only a few shots from pistols and basic rifles. Not even in Easy Mode are Knights and Elites that easy to kill with those guns in actual gameplay. One of the story guys even all but admitted that they had exaggerated the killing power of the UNSC's basic weapons for Rule of Cool.
    • Played with in Halo 5: Guardians's opening cutscene; while the impressive mobility abilities Fireteam Osiris show off are almost all doable during gameplay, the team cuts through Covenant and Prometheans at a rate that's impossible for the player to do even on Easy (especially when enemy vehicles are involved). Also, Osiris enter the battle by jumping from a dropship high in the sky; good luck surviving a fall anywhere near that high in the actual game.
  • Averted completely in Left 4 Dead for the opening intro. The scene shows the survivors doing things that you can do in game such as throwing pipe bombs to lure zombies away from you and using your pistol to defend yourself when you get incapacitated.
  • Left 4 Dead 2:
    • Averted in the intro opening up until it shows Ellis having a grenade launcher and a rifle attached to his back while holding a shotgun. In the game, you can only carry a main gun (rifle, shotgun, etc.) and a secondary weapon (pistols or melee weapons). Likewise, when Ellis fires the grenade launcher a Tank, it stumbles. In game, Tanks can't be stunned by grenade launcher blasts, but an explosion from a propane or oxygen tank will.
    • The preview trailer for The Sacrifice DLC shows Zoey handing over a sword to Louis, despite the fact that you can never give weapons to another player in game unless you use a mod.
  • In Medal of Honor: Vanguard, the first time a Tiger 1 appears the Bazooka Operator destroys it in one shot with a Bazooka during a cutscene. Whereas during gameplay, it takes three shots for the player to destroy a Tiger 1.
  • In Metroid Prime, Samus is able to perform her iconic spin-jump only in cutscenes. In Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, she eventually gains the ability to use it in the specialized form of the screw attack under player control late in the game. In the multiplayer mode of Prime 2, however, you can see other players doing it even though they can't see it themselves. This implies that Samus really is doing the spin jump, but her visor somehow keeps the view going straight so she doesn't get dizzy. (Samus also jumps ridiculously high in cutscenes — which is completely justified by her Powered Armor, which causes your inability to do so in game to make even less sense)
    • In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, a single shot of Samus' Power Beam can throw Space Pirates (and unarmored Ghor) a good 15 feet in cutscenes, even uncharged. In gameplay, a single shot of the Power Beam does nearly nothing, and a charged shot will only push them back slightly.
  • In Overwatch:
    • Nearly all weapons are more powerful in cut scenes than in the game, taking down people in one or two shots. Somewhat justified, as most of the cast is made up of superheroes and are inherently stronger than the average person or omnic.
    • In the cinematic trailer, a young boy says that Doomfist's punches could level skyscrapers. When he was finally added to the game, this was obviously not the case in order to keep him balanced, although at release his punch was one of the only one-hit kills in the game. This escalated when he was reworked into a tank and could not deal a one-hit kill at all.
    • Until it was patched in a rework, this was the case for D.Va, whenever promotional material (such as the trailer for when she and Genji were added to Heroes of the Storm) showed her flying and shooting at the same time. Although Genji is still not able to ride on top of her mech, as was shown in the trailer.
    • In "Shooting Star", can fly her mech perpetually, while in-game it can only fly for a few seconds. Inverted for D.Va's self-destruct ability: using it in the short nearly killed her (although perhaps that was the fall several hundred feet into the ocean), while in-game, she can use it at close ranges without taking any damage.note 
    • "Dragons" showed Genji blocking and redirecting Hanzo's ultimate, Dragonstrike with the use of his own ultimate Dragonblade. Although this is possible in-game, it's done with Reflect, not Dragonblade, and requires Genji to deflect the arrow that ignites into Dragonstrike instead of the dragons themselves. In-universe, this is hand-waved as the Shimada clan's ability to "control the dragons" (whatever that means). For that matter, Hanzo is able to withstand the entire Dragonstrike, barely even moved by the attack. In-game, this would instantly kill any 200-health hero like him standing dead center in it.
    • "Alive" has several examples; Widowmaker's Venom Mine nearly kills Tracer (it deals 75 damage in game, only half of Tracer's total health), Widowmaker's Grappling Hook is used as a garrote and hung from (in game it can be used to get up to high places quickly, but that's about it), and Tracer's Pulse Bomb has a much further range than in-game (and can curve, for that matter) while Widowmaker can shoot it in mid-air to destroy it.
    • In "Recall", Winston's prototype shield explodes due to a design flaw, nearly killing Reaper in the process. When Winston's shield runs out of health or time, it simply disappears.
    • Until the ability was buffed to allow for an unlimited timer, the 15-second timer on Sombra's Translocator simply wouldn't allow for the minutes-long conversation she has with Volskaya in "Infiltration". Sombra is also depicted hacking mecha suits to control them, while in-game all her Hack ability can do is disable other players’ abilities.
    • Reaper's wraith form in cutscenes is immensely powerful, allowing him to turn into a swift, incorporeal cloud of smoke at will, fit through tiny gaps, teleport and even fly through the air. In-game, he just moves slightly faster and becomes immune to enemy damage and CC for a few seconds. His in-game Shadow Step does allow you to teleport, but the time required to aim and cast the ability is far more cumbersome than it is outside of gameplay.
    • Winston's Ultimate "Rampage" is depicted as an unstoppable crushing machine in cutscenes, while in-game it lowers Winston's already low damage-per-second and is more useful for stalling or knockback. It's also a poor way of fighting back against Doomfist and Reaper like he does in the story, as both classes have extremely high close-range DPS and gain health from damage dealt.
  • All of the Team Fortress 2 promotional videos show the RED team being absurdly competent:
    • In "Meet the Heavy", the Heavy exaggerates the firing rate of his minigun (he claims it fires 10,000 rounds per minute, but in actual gameplay the rate is 2,284 rounds per minute), and in the "gameplay" scene, nobody seems to be shooting at him while he rains bullety death on everyone. (And in "Meet the Sandvich", the exact scene is replicated, except this time the Heavy is munching on said Sandvich, and yet BLUs can be heard dropping dead left and right.)
    • "Meet the Soldier" is the most gameplay-like during the action, yet the Soldier gets very lucky, including killing a Spy the moment he tries to backstab him — by that point, if it were the game, he would be dead.
    • "Meet the Scout" shows the Scout run straight into a Sentry Gun's line of sight and apparently move fast enough to avoid its targeting. At the range he approached it, the Sentry would assuredly lock onto him and shoot him to death in a matter of seconds—Sentries are considered the hard counter to Scouts for exactly this reason. The scene of him beating a Heavy in melee is certainly possible for a skilled player, but it favors the Heavy considerably (the Heavy has more than double the Scout's health and can kill the Scout in two hits or a single crit), and the Scout is only shown hitting the Heavy three times to bring him down (in-game, this would only be possible if all three hits were crits).
    • In "Meet the Demoman", the Demoman has more stickies deployed than he currently is able to by default (to be fair, though, at the time of the video he really did have that ability — then it was nerfed). He also tricks a Sentry into tracking his grenades instead of him, which in-game Sentries never do (although Demos are considered a good counter to Sentries in-game).
    • In "Meet the Engineer," the Engineer has four sentries up. In the actual game (barring some short-lived exploits), you are limited to one.
    • In "Meet the Sniper", the Sniper uses his default rifle to shoot two targets at once (he can only do so with a much later unlock) and indirectly cause some barrels to explode (not an in-game feature). The Sniper is also shown climbing a tower in the "Gold Rush" map, but there's no ladder climbing mechanic in-game, nor is said tower even accessible in the playable arena.
    • The most extreme has to go to the Spy who saps a sentry from a distance, disguises himself in plain view, and wins in direct melee combat against the Sniper and the Medic (in the latter case, he's shown fighting with his bare hands, something he can't do in-game). The crux of the short is the BLU team being unable to determine who's the RED Spy amongst them, but in-game it would be easy to tell due to lack of friendly fire: just shoot each other, as only the disguised enemy Spy will take damage. Also because, in-game, the Spy's disguise will fail momentarily if he even touches a member of the other team (something that happens repeatedly in the short). The undisguised Spy killing both a Soldier and Heavy together at the end would also be extremely difficult to pull off in-game, due to them both being damage-heavy and tanky classes, while the Spy has very low health and is specialized for isolated stealth attacks.
    • "Meet the Pyro" then proceeds to top this by turning the Pyro into a One-Man Army who is The Dreaded by his/her/its own teammates. The BLUs who aren't immediately killed don't even try to fight back at all. Notably, the first one Pyro is shown killing with ease is a Heavy, but in-game the Heavy is considered the best counter to the Pyro. Furthermore, the Pyro is shown burning down the entire town, while there are no destructible environments in-game.
    • "Meet the Medic" features what is apparently the very first ÜberCharge, so only the Heavy is marching down the field being invincible. None of the BLUs think to Shoot the Medic First. Also, the ÜberCharge is shown lasting much longer than it does in-game (maximum of eight seconds).
    • The BLU team also displays a lot of Cutscene Incompetence—in "reality", if the "Meet the [Class]" videos weren't scripted for RED to win, they would've suffered a Curb-Stomp Battle. (A number of Machinima exist that show exactly this.)

  • utawarerumono: Genjimaru. The first time we see him fighting he drives off four Av Kamiw single handed. Literally, because he's carrying his granddaughter. Then he roflstomps Karura in a duel and later manages to actually injure Diy. When you get to play as him? He's among the weakest characters you can use because his skill sets haven't been trained, so Hakuoro/Karura/Touka etc are hitting quite a bit harder on their first blows than he lands on his entire attack.

    Hack And Slash 
  • In Dynasty Warriors 2, Zhang Jiao, leader of the Yellow Turbans and renowned as a mystic, attacks your allies with a fireball in a cutscene when he's first approached in the battle... then fights with a generic sword moveset the rest of the time. This was fixed in later games in the series, where like everyone else he gets a unique movset and (unlike most other characters) gets several moves with use fire (though in some they're rather low on damage).
    • Dynasty warriors in general love to do this. The opening cutscene in just about every game is especially blatant, oftentimes showing characters doing things that you could not possibly hope to do. The online version is especially bad.
  • Ninja Blade uses the same Action Commands model as several of the above examples, but turns the 'Awesomeness' dial up to 11. You can pull off some nice combos and nifty acrobatic wall-runs in the actual game, sure, but in the cutscenes, all bets are off. Driving a motorcycle across the side of a bus in midair, then throwing both into the mouth of a gigantic foe while they explode? Check. Grab a gigantic fly with your grappling-hook and spin around on the spot to hammer-throw it into a nearby building which then explodes? Check. Clim the Tokyo Tower by jumping off of falling debris? Check. Throw a skyscraper at a boss? Check-checkity-check!!
  • No More Heroes' protagonist Travis Touchdown is notable for being Made of Iron in cutscenes. He survives getting blown up by grenades (which are shown to be capable of literally blowing a person's head off), electrocuted, pummeled and then blasted with a Wave-Motion Gun (the lethality of which is demonstrated by a floor strewn with corpses), sawed in half (although it was supposedly part of a magic trick, the very same buzzsaw is used to finish off the opponent who used it) and punched through the heart (by a woman who is shown to be capable of killing a man by punching him through the crotch). The only thing shown to be capable of bringing down Travis is an insane girl in a frilly dress who happens to be a bit too happy with her baseball bat; that was the only fight he didn't simply walk away from, in any event. Outside of cutscenes, Travis is still sturdier than your average mook, but very much mortal (even if his body seems to be resistant to being chopped into pieces the way virtually every other foe is — including bosses!).
    • Lampshaded in the first teaser of No More Heroes (viewable in the finished game), where Travis gets up after being hit by numerous MISSILES (which does seem to surprise his opponent).
    • This also brings up a bit of Fridge Logic: Travis and the cast know that they're in a video game, and Travis himself has certainly played enough. So why does he do such stupid shit in cutscenes? Because he's actively enforcing this trope. Therefore, as long as the player isn't in control, knows he can't die (unless the plot says so).
  • Samurai Western have you playing as a samurai in a western-style setting (well, duh) where in the opening cinematics, you managed to parry a hundred bullets fired at your direction within seconds. In gameplay while you could perform some Parrying Bullets move, it's nowhere as exaggerated as the opening scene suggests.

    Mecha Game 
  • Humongous Mecha games like this one. Armored Core 2 (the original, not the expansion) had an intro sequence with ACs blasting their rocket boosters all the way, shooting perfectly at enemy mechs, and destroying an entire supply base with just four missiles. The latter one you can actually accomplish: shooting pretty much any destructible object once will blow it up. But in-game, booster-skating only works for a few seconds and makes it nigh-impossible to aim.
    • It should be noted however that Armored Core averts this trope after AC4. The game will give you an intro movie showing you making high-speed missile dodges, boosting and boost-dodging through the air. Once you start playing the game, you not only can do everything the movie does, you can do it faster.
    • The most guilty offense that Armored Core offers constantly are mechs that are featured in the openings of the original games (AC, Project Phantasma and Master of Arena), as well as in Armored Core 3 and Silent Line: the featured ACs are overweight! Somewhat plausible by the existence of Human PLUS upgrade which does enable overweight loadage in the former, and the latter simply allows overweight ACs, albeit with greatly reduced performance. Not only that though, the ACs featured looked cool, but some of the designs were grossly impractical (cf. Master of Arena where the featured mech wields very powerful weapons, but very limited ammo, and very low AP body parts). Despite all that, they're all very competent in said cutscenes...
    • Armored Core 4's opening continues the tradition by displaying actions that you just can't perform in-game. Sliding down the walls with a Humongous Mecha? Check. Firing in two opposite directions at once? Check. Impaling an enemy with your assault rifle? Check! It's partly justified since the offender is Berlioz's Supplice, but you don't see him doing that in the game, either.
  • In Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, Char Aznable's Zaku II can block the Bakunetsu God Finger with its heat hawk and survive being caught in the blast caused by Wing Zero's twin buster rifle, combining this trope with Popularity Power and Plot Armor.
    • Also inverted in one case. Loren Cehack's Moonlight Butterfly SP attack is usually notable for its lengthy invincibility and reposition rather than its pitiful damage. When used in a cutscene, however, it instantly disintegrates everything near him and wipes out half the map. Those who haven't seen ∀ Gundam migh be surprised to learn the cutscene is closer to the machine's actual capability.
  • In Front Mission 4, both opening cutscenes show robots almost skating across the ground with rocket boosters. Ironic, considering the in-game robot's slow, basic walking speed was one of the most common complaints against the game.
    • The game developers seem to take the complaints to heart with Front Mission Online. While Front Mission has always been a turn-based RPG with Humongous Mecha, FMO throws the concept away and instead adopts an Armored Core-esque shooter, where you can actually slide on the ground, or snipe (but not both... not yet anyway).
    • Front Mission 3 has a robot disable another robot with a punch, while in-game is pathetically weak. That is, without factoring the random occurrence of said punch causing stun effect...

    Platform Game 
  • In Donkey Kong Country Returns, DK punches the moon into Tiki Tong's tower.
  • In one cutscene in Jak 3: Wastelander, Jak is able to fly up using his Light flight ability, while in-game (bar cheats) you'll only ever glide down, no matter how hard you flap.
  • Cutscenes in the Mega Man franchise tend to exaggerate the power of the hero's Buster (Arm Cannon). In most of the games, it's relatively weak compared to the weapons you can get later — but it's his signature weapon, so when he finishes off a boss in a cutscene, he always uses the Buster. This is particularly noticeable in the Battle Network series, where even the weakest BattleChip is much more effective than your default weapon.
    • In Mega Man ZX, Serpent has a One-Hit Kill lightning bolt attack that he can call down whenever he feels like it... in the first cutscene in which you actually encounter him. The next two times, he doesn't seem to bother, and when you actually fight him, he doesn't actually use the attack. Though a good Handwave to explain it would be that he can't use this attack indoors. Note that the other two encounters were indoors (in a cave and in Serpent's own HQ, respectively).
    • In ZX Advent, Prometheus's signature Sword Beam attack in cutscenes is shown to anywhere from heavily damaging (crippling Grey/Ashe with one strike while damaging the large metal container behind them) to straight up One-Hit Kill (murdering Master Albert's fake body). In the actual fights of both games, while a powerful move it's ultimately not much more dangerous than the rest of his arsenal. Though a Handwave could be in the actual fights the protagonist is actually in their Megamerged forms, which naturally makes them much tougher.
    • The Classic series isn't immune either. In the fourth Game Boy game, there's a brief cutscene with Mega Man taking out a Wily Flying Fortress in relatively few shots with his default weapon. He doesn't even appear to charge!
    • Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X does this as well. The animated cutscenes seem to portray the charge shot as an immense death-blast. Even Vile pisses his pants when faced with one. In-game is an entirely different story; even an upgraded charge shot will do maybe three damage to bosses with 28 health.
    • In the OVA provided in the same game, X uses this glowing hand that inspired many Mobile Fighter G Gundam jokes because X in the English version has the same voice actor as Domon Kashu, which he tears off a bit of Sigma's face with. In game, he has no such weapon.
    • A particularly jarring example occurs in X7, where Axl's handguns go from being completely ineffective against Sigma despite Guns Akimbo rapid-fire to being powerful enough to blast Sigma through a wall with one shot. Although, Axl was shooting Sigma in the chest first, whereas the last shot was a contact shot right under Sigma's jaw.
    • In Mega Man Network Transmission, at the beginning of the game there's a cutscene where Mega Man finishes off the Life Virus with a charged megabuster shot. Yet he's back at beginner stats when you first get control of him. Not even given any explanation as to why this is.
    • Mega Man Star Force has a cutscene in which Geo Wave Changes fifty feet from the nearest wavehole and teleports from roof to roof. That's, um, not how he operates in play, to put it mildly.
    • In the Battle Network series, any time that Megaman's real name, Hub, is dropped, you can expect a MASSIVE increase in power.
      • And, nicely enough, sometimes this does have an effect on gameplay. In the first game, it gives Megaman enough power to completely destroy the Final Boss by only using the Megabuster.
      • In the 5th game, Megaman/Hub is able to take out Nebula Grey with a wave of his hand. It comes back after he loses power, but still.
  • Mirror's Edge is a lot more lenient during cutscenes over what is considered to be a fatal fall. In one cutscene Faith falls about three stories through a glass roof and lands on her back. She's back up and running without so much as a complaint within five seconds. Later in the game she gets violently thrown a distance that's about twice what is usually fatal, and gets up about thirty seconds later like nothing happened.
  • In the Prince of Persia: Sands of Time trilogy your character is able to grab hold of specific ledges and bars to move around the area. In certain cutscenes, though, he is shown to be capable of much more elaborate maneuvers. This style was actually moved into Assassin's Creed made by the same people, where you can literally grab onto almost anything. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time features the worst example, where in one cutscene the Prince runs down a wall to survive what would otherwise be a fatal drop. Around 6:14 here
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog series is a terrible offender, with characters pulling all sorts of stunts in the cutscenes that you could never do in game.
    • Sonic's maximum speed has typically been a cutscene superpower starting as early as Sonic CD. Fast things are just too hard to control in a video game after all, and due to technology constraints, the Genesis-era gameplay focused more on using momentum to sling yourself off ramps and navigate levels instead of running nonstop. Unless every game in the series is playing in Bullet Time, Sonic has never even approached "the speed of sound."
    • In Sonic's opening scene in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Knuckles punches him hard enough to knock him out of Super Sonic mode and take his Chaos Emeralds. Super Sonic is normally outright invincible, only harmable in-game by being crushed or drowned. Many zones later, when you finally interact with Knuckles outside a cutscene, it turns out to be the easiest boss fight in the game.
    • In many pieces of Sonic related media, Sonic is shown as almost literally being able to fly by simply running 50 feet and jumping off something. If he has to use the spin dash on anything larger than a house he starts Roboteching, being able to stop on a dime in midair and change direction at will. And in Sonic X and cutscenes he can breathe in space, be frozen by its vacuum, AND survive re-entry without a space suit but falling off a platform in his final stages in Sonic Adventure 2 will simply turn him into a screaming fireball.
    • In Sonic Adventure, E-102 has a propeller-type thing that deploys whenever he is above water, enabling him to hover slightly above it. This is the only time this ability ever appears during gameplay. However, in the cutscene where he escapes from the crashing Egg Carrier, he does so by engaging his propeller, and using it to literally fly in the air to get off the ship. What makes this even more egregious is that this cutscene happens practically just after he gets the Jet Booster, an upgrade that enables him to glide through the air similar to Knuckles. Eggman said he needed this for his next mission, but you really need to wonder what he needed it for, because he wasn't even using the Jet Booster when he did this. One also needs to wonder why the devs didn't just have him use the Jet Booster, as that would work just as well without going outside what's possible in gameplay.
    • Particularly noticeable in the "Dark" Story of Sonic Adventure 2 when Sonic makes a far higher jump than possible in gameplay to instantly KO the Egg Golem... which naturally gives you much more trouble when you actually face the boss as Sonic in the "Hero" side of the Story.
    • Shadow the Hedgehog is another serious offender. If only you could fly and deflect bullets in the game as well as in the cutscenes...
      • Even worse when it comes to his abilities. The intro shows Shadow driving his motorcycle into a large alien and leaping off at the last second leaving it to crash and cause a huge explosion to defeat it. In game the jump button becomes break on a vehicle so attempting to do this will cause Shadow to come to a full stop at the foot of your target before politely getting off/out of your vehicle. The intro also displays using multiple quick and short Chaos Controls to fight multiple enemies at once which also can't be done.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) takes this to ridiculous levels. Sonic's first cutscene shows him moving like a speeding bullet and being really badass. Can you do that in-game? No. Shadow's first cutscene shows him plowing through robots and jumping over a giant gate. Can you do that in-game? No. Silver's first cutscene has him flying, and speeding off into the distance. Can you do that in-game? No, although Silver can glide for a short amount of time. Also Rouge flies (she can only glide in-game), Tails flies way better than he actually can, and Sonic generally moves a lot faster than you'll be able to ever move him outside of the mach speed sections.
    • In Sonic Rush Adventure, in the cutscene right before the boss for Coral Cave, Blaze shoots a huge fireball at Captain Whisker. During gameplay, she can't even shoot small ones, although she can temporarily become one to attack surrounding enemies.
    • Thankfully averted in Sonic Unleashed, where Sonic boosts through enemies to destroy them, bounces off of them like pinballs as he destroys them, quicksteps out of the way, and even "drifts" around tight corners. All of these things are done by Sonic in cutscenes, and can be also done in-game. The one thing you couldn't do in game that Sonic did in the cutscene is play as Super Sonic, except during the final fight.
  • In Star Fox Adventures, Fox walks over towards a defeated T. rex boss to obtain a Plot Coupon. As he picks up the said item he realizes that the boss isn't dead. As the T. rex lunges out at him Fox jumps 10 feet in the air, does a backflip while pulling out his staff, and stabs the boss through the head. However, in the gameplay segments Fox cannot backflip or even jump that far, and you can't use your staff in midair.
  • From the Super Mario Bros. series:
    • King Boo in Luigi's Mansion. He captured freaking Mario in a painting, manages to teleport characters if they don't capture enough Boos, scares Luigi into near death when he first appears... and gets relatively easily beaten in the final battle. And then in the sequels, beaten by Mario a heck of a lot. Heck, he's beaten by Peach twice... However, it's justified, at least in Luigi's Mansion. It is explicitly said in-game that Boos gain great power in groups. It takes fifty of them plus King Boo to capture Mario. By the end of the game, at least 45 of those must be captured. In other words, he gets weaker every time a Boo is captured.
    • Mario himself is a huge offender. He effortlessly roots Larry's castle from the ground in Super Mario World and kicks it away.note  In Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, he jumps higher than Luigi during cutscenes (when Super Paper Mario established Luigi's jump height as being about three times as high as Mario's).
    • In Wario Land 3, the treasures can only be used in the cutscenes immediately after they are collected. Thus, treasures like the Ax of Destruction and the The Detonator, despite seeming like the kinds of items that could be used in many different situations, are only used once to open new paths.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Believe or not, Professional Wrestling has this in droves. For example, a wrestler's finisher is sometimes not enough to win a hotly contested match that has gone on for several minutes, yet when one performs their finisher on someone outside of a match, there's a very good chance they'll lay the opponent out for several minutes. Naturally, all video games based on the medium will invoke this as well.

    Rail Shooter 
  • The intro to Omega Boost shows the player's Humongous Mecha destroying a whole fleet of space ships in one fell swoop with a massive beam weapon. Your armaments in the actual game amount to a machine gun and only slightly more powerful homing lasers. Interestingly, when you do encounter an almost identical fleet, you can take care of them with similar ease, but with an entirely different attack.
  • In Star Fox, during a brief cinematic sequence in the Space Armada stage Fox executes a complex flying maneuver to navigate the twisting corridors of the control ship which would be completely impossible for the player to perform with the game's controls.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • This trope also happens in Real-Time Strategy game series such as Command & Conquer.
    • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Series:
      • In Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn, the Orca VTOL assault craft is shown dodging missiles in a cutscene in the original game and repeats the stunt in another cutscene in Tiberian Sun while destroying several Nod SAM Sites. Try this in-game however, and prepare to watch your expensive aircraft go down in flames. Also the Mammoth Mk.II from Tiberian Sun is considerably more powerful in the cutscenes. Similarly, a Ion Cannon strike destroys a small base in a cutscene. In-game, it only strikes one building, and can't even kill the larger buildings.

        Buried in Tiberian Dawn's readmes is a partial explanation for some of these: health doesn't just represent health, armour and general structural integrity, it also represents not getting hit (that's why ordinary infantry don't get immediately killed by pretty much any attack). So you can't dodge the missiles in-game, but on the other hand it takes more than one missile to bring you down.
      • In one of the early GDI cutscenes in Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, a single GDI light infantry blows up two cyborgs with a single shot each using a laser rifle that isn't available during gameplay. In-game, light infantry are the least expensive and weakest units and a cyborg can withstand multiple shots from light infantry (and it takes a lot more than one light infantry to kill a cyborg).
      • In the FPS spinoff Command & Conquer: Renegade, Havoc kills enemy soldiers with single pistol shots in cinematics. In game, even with headshots, the same soldiers take several shots. Relatedly, when he gets ambushed by cloaked Nod forces, the amount of units present in the cinematic exceed any amount of enemies you ever face at once in normal gameplay.
    • Command & Conquer: Red Alert Series:
      • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert, a cutscene shows several tanks and two helicopters being teleported by the chronosphere. In game, you can only teleport a single tank at once, and cannot teleport air units or APCs with people, with the given reason that the people in the APCs will die, which really doesn't make sense because the tanks have to have people in them (these limitations make the Chronosphere something of a Useless Useful Spell in Red Alert 1, while in Red Alert 2 the shortcomings are largely corrected).
      • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2: Yuri's Revenge, the Psychic Dominators shown in the opening cutscene are able to mind control entire sections of continents. To prevent it from being an enormous Game-Breaker by giving Yuri's faction the ability to instantly control every unit and structure on the map if one is activated even once (like the Psychic Beacon did at the end of the third Soviet mission of the normal game), in the game it can take over 9 units at most and cause a lot of base damage. There is some justification in that thanks to the time-travel plot of the expansion the in-game Psychic Dominators are an earlier iteration of the versions seen in the opening cutscene (in the Allied campaign, he even kidnaps Einstein to work on the Dominator project, which backfires when Einstein is able to sabotage the prototypes), but that is still an extreme difference.
      • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 didn't have very much combat in its cinematics (the intro cutscene showing a King Oni jumping towards a Kirov notwithstanding), probably to avoid this, but its in-game cutscenes are just as bad. Superweapons routinely take out entire bases, and the Imperial and Soviet support superweapons, which temporarily physical block off an area and render units invulnerable, respectively, have an unlimited duration (the Chronosphere, which teleports units around, generally does what it's supposed to — with the caveat that it "teleports" in units that didn't exist before.) Sometimes this works for you, though, such as the final Imperial mission, which opens with Yuriko and a host of troopers attacking from within a Psionic Decimator shot — it's usually not half as discriminating in who it kills.
  • In Homeworld 2 the player obtains a Progenitor Dreadnaught, an ancient warship built by the Precursors. The first time it goes into battle is in a cutscene, where the Dreadnaught effortlessly reduces an enemy battlecruiser to scrap with a single shot from its main cannon. When the player controls the Dreadnaught, its power is drastically reduced to where it will barely survive a duel with a battlecruiser completely identical to the one it vaporized in the cutscene.
  • StarCraft similarly has a big statistics difference between cuts and game.
    • The Battlecruiser's Yamato Gun supposedly blasts another unit (e.g. a starship) with one shot and keeps going — in-game, it takes two full shots for the Battlecruiser to kill another capital ship, and more for the larger buildings. Also, the Battlecruiser in gameplay only fires a single laser shot at a time with a pitifully low rate of fire, compared to cutscenes where they're actually The Battlestar armed with More Dakka and Beam Spam. Even more drastic, standard Zerglings take two shots of said Battlecruiser's lasers to die, whereas in cutscenes a Ghost can kill them with just one shot! (The Ghost itself takes three or four shots to end a Zergling in-game as well.)
    • The weapons of other races also are much stronger in cutscenes, often slicing each other outright, in contrast to the Critical Existence Failure shown in gameplay. In one instance in the Brood War opening cinematic, the Marines even use a weapon (a grenade launcher) that they don't have in-game at all!
    • The grenade launcher actually has an interesting explanation. Most of the cutscenes for StarCraft were made in the beta phase of the game. The Terran Marine unit was originally supposed to have a grenade firing ability with limited ammo, along the lines of the Vulture's Spider Mines, but this was Dummied Out and removed after being seen as too hard to balance. The result is that all images and cutscenes with Terran Marines clearly show them having the underslung grenade launchers on their rifles, but no such ability in-game. This was one reason why the grenade launchers were removed from the rifles in StarCraft 2, instead having bayonets which could be pushed out underneath the barrel ... which were however also removed during that game's beta phase, again leaving the Marines with a cutscene weapon that they can't use in-game.
    • One cutscene shows a single Zergling take out two Marines with ease. However, in the game, the Zerg, being the Trope Namers of the Zerg Rush, tend towards many weak units. Zerglings are the equivalent frontline fodder to Marines, and two Zerglings are produced when they are built, for the same cost and less time than one Terran Marine. The Guide Dang It! literally states that Zerglings are half as powerful as Marines, so one Zergling taking out two Marines would imply he was four times as powerful as he should be!note 
    • The worst example has to be the Gantrithor, Tassadar's flagship (a hero-level Protoss Carrier). In the storyline and opening cutscene, the Gantrithor has a Wave-Motion Gun that causes Apocalypse How-level damage via planetary sterilization and glassing, and comes at the head of a fleet of other ships bearing the same, and the only reason the Zerg are even a problem on the Terran capital world of Tarsonis is that Tassadar didn't want to kill the Terran population in the process. In-game, the Gantrithor is about twice as tough as a normal carrier, which is good but hardly planet-scouring, and its robotic Interceptors are the same as any other Carrier's.
    • In-game cutscenes frequently use this trick with a unit killing some other unit in a single hit.
      • Done rather poorly in the first game, since even during a cutscene, you can still select units so you can see their hitpoints dropping to zero, or their attack's damage suddenly becoming one hundred times more powerful than it should be.
  • Based on the complaints above, StarCraft II deliberately made a number of cutscenes that averted this.
    • Completely averted with Zeratul. Before the start of his first mission in Wings of Liberty, there's a cutscene in which he, among other things, Flash Steps around the battlefield and bisects hydralisks in one shot. The player then gets to control him... and he really is that powerful. Those four years have been incredibly productive for him, apparently. note 
    • Artanis also is shown one-shotting zerglings and clearly uses his Resurgence ability in the "Alone" cutscene. However, he also uses a psi-storm, which he should know as a high templar, but does not have in-game.
    • SC 2 features a rather jarring example of Cutscene Power To The Normal. In the end of the third mission your flagship Hyperion arrives and proceeds to your besieged base, while decimating the zerg hordes that press on it... wait, somebody can actually fire on the move in Starcraft?! In-game this marvelous ability is reserved for the unique flagships of each race, and one special prototype terran tank.
    • However, this trope is still in effect with Kerrigan, as cutscenes show her flying and one-shot-killing marauders. Towards the end of Heart of the Swarm, she is extremely powerful, but that power comes from use of her abilities, not physically ripping opponents in half like in the cutscenes.
    • In a convenient conjunction with Plotline Death, during the final cutscene of the last Terran mission the artifact can still be destroyed before it discharges its final blast. This will not affect the outcome of the mission, and the artifact will still release its final blast, destroying all zerg forces, and awarding the player a victory.
    • The opening cinematic of Legacy of the Void has numerous cases of this. Such as a Zealots being able to one-shot Hydralisks and go up against Banelings 1-to-3, High Templars being able to fire blasts of psionic energy at individual targets (an ability that wasn't introduced until patch 4.0) and an Archon being able to annihilate a dozen Zerglings with a single psionic shockwave and pull a Taking You with Me move on an Ultralisk, all of which is impossible in the game proper.
  • In Total Annihilation's opening cutscene, all the units' weapons are greatly powered-up, to the point where the AK, the most puny and useless unit in the game, is one-shotting enemies with its lasers. The speed of building things is also shown to be much faster, and a Commander builds a heavy laser tower, something it's not capable of doing in-game.
  • Warcraft III trigger system allows you to create your own Cutscene Power To The Max moments by healing near-death characters or having them deal massive damage with the right "code" at the right time. Of course, that means you can remove the official moments yourself by toying with the campaign map files.
    • Arthas also gets this. In cutscenes, he demonstrates the ability to drain someone's soul with his sword and turn them into a banshee he controls, raise the corpse of a giant dragon, and possibly teleport. Outside cutscenes he can temporarily raise six dead things as zombies, but it doesn't work on dragons.
    • Played even further in World of Warcraft, where Arthas continues to use numerous powers he never bothers to employ when fighting for his life. Other characters wield powers that grant immense, game-breaking bonuses to fighters around them (as seen in the Battle for Undercity, when faction leaders grant bonuses that render the players in the battle functionally immortal), but won't use the same auras and powers if being swarmed by enemy combatants in their own throne rooms.
    • Earlier on, at the end of Warcraft 2, the mage Khadgar destroys the Dark Portal with a single devastating spell that no regular mage is capable of in-game.
    • At the end of the final mission of III, Archimonde destroys your base with a single wave of his hand. The mission itself has you aid your allies' bases to beat off his army's assaults for 45 minutes. This begs the question of why Archimonde didn't just come in and blow up everything in the first place. Hell, in his introductory cutscene he destroys a whole city from afar, by magic alone. Three measly bases should've been a breeze.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, oh how your intro cutscenes indulge in this. The opening for the first game depicts, amongst other things, a Dreadnought effortlessly shredding a bunch of pouncing Orks with a single sweep of its Assault Cannon (though it does gain this ability in the sequel) and both Space Marines and Orks killing each other in single attacks. Good luck doing that in-game without an Imbalance Mod. In fact, this applies to the source Tabletop Game itself — just replace "cutscene" with "background material".
    • Winter Assault features one infamous cutscene amongst tabletop game players of a Chaplain, a minor Space Marine leader, beating a newly-spawned Bloodthirster, a monster capable of withstanding minutes of your best guns, in single combat, and quickly to boot. That kind of thing does not usually happen in the source tabletop or the game itself. Given that the Bloodthirster's death animation used the same movements as a Captain with a Daemonhammer, the original design of a Commander killing the Bloodthirster was not nearly as far fetched, given how good Daemonhammers are at killing Daemons.
    • Let no one claim Games Workshop doesn't realise it, though: the game's magazine (White Dwarf) had an article posting the "stats" of a "movie" Space Marine, a jibe at the backstory. Each of these Space Marines was probably more powerful than any actual unit in the game.
    • An enemy example: In Dawn of War 2 the worst an enemy can do to your heroes is incapacitate them, and they are easily revivable after that. But when a Tyranid Warrior attacks Davian Thule (a seasoned veteran, mind it), he does enough damage to him to send Thule into a prolonged coma where he teeters on the brink of death for days and can only return to battle entombed in a Dreadnaught. There is mention of some sort of Tyranid poison, which would be acceptable if it appeared at all in the game proper.
    • In Chaos Rising add-on, a new Space Marine hero Librarian (mage) is introduced in a hurling storm of Warp energy that obliterates several squads of Eldar. Then he spends the rest of the mission (and most of the others) lying around beaten waiting for the others to revive him only to collapse immediately after.

    Role Playing Game 
  • A case of Back Story Power to the Max. In Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura, a game set in a fantasy world that is experiencing an industrial revolution, many NPCs claim that the last major war was won by the side with the guns. And we are all know the benefits of guns over swords and the like. However, in gameplay, a basic rifle is clearly inferior to a melee weapon like a sword for a number of reasons. Guns don't benefit from the wielders strength. Only a handful of enemies (including rats and the like) die to single shot or strike. On average, you get more attacks per turn with melee weapons. Guns are more scarce. And more expensive. And unlike sword blows, require bullets. Most importantly, you don't even have the benefit of distance since in the best scenario (good gun and careful positioning) you will get the maximum of two rounds of shooting against a single foe (w/RPG hp) before he manages to close in. Also, magick spells have many ways to enhance a melee warrior.
    • An argument could be made that guns were a game breaker not because they made one character super-powerful, but because any novice could use them. While it takes training to teach someone to use a sword properly you can hand anyone a gun and say "point and shoot". Sure more training makes a gunner better, but ultimately an inexperienced mook with a gun is more deadly then an untrained mook with a sword. Thus guns would allow a large mook army with little training to overwhelm a smaller, better trained, army using the more powerful magic and melee abilities. Of course for this argument you would have to assume that guns were mass-produced and not as rare as they are in the game.
    • Arronax suffers from this trope as well; his backstory plays him up as a terrifying force of destruction who single-handedly committed genocide against an entire city and killed most of the Elven Council with a single spell, and one flashback cutscene shows him using Disintegrate, a fifth-level Force spell. In-game, he hasn't spent a skillpoint learning Disintegrate, and there are many characters who are/can become stronger than him. If he survives the end of the game, the ending narration describes him using his magic to restore the city he once destroyed to its former glory, a feat which he'd have no way of replicating in the game itself.
  • Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy: At the end of the Ancient Mana Workshop, Ryza's party is attacked by the Colossus Soldier, the dungeon's boss, necessitating a Big Damn Heroes rescue from Lent, who staggers the huge monster with a powerful slash, letting Ryza escape. He then joins the party... except that since the Atelier series runs on Equipment-Based Progression, Lent will be the weakest member of your party at this point due to only having basic starter equipment with no traits. He's especially not capable of filling up a boss's Break Meter in one shot. Cutscene Power also applies to the Colossus Soldier itself, since once your party regroups and heads back to fight the boss, it's not particularly strong, and any decently-equipped party should have little trouble taking it down, despite the preceding cutscene showing it wiping the floor with the heroes.
  • Chrono Trigger has oodles of these. The most obvious and ridiculous of all are Frog, who was able to summon such power from Masamune and himself he was able to split a mountain apart with a single sword slash (and whose in-game attack stats were usually beneath Crono's), and Lavos itself, who disintegrated the main character (or a clone thereof) with a beam from its eye... and then never used that attack in battle, despite the deadly threat posed by the good guys.
    • Frog is merely opening an already existing passage, though. And by the time you face Lavos again, you've leveled up several times.
    • Interestingly enough, there is a battle where the Masamune's power carries over from the cutscenes. During the Ocean Palace Disaster, the Red Knife made to destroy the Mammon Machine becomes the Masamune after being stabbed into it, and channels its energy. Later on, you can end up fighting the Mammon Machine, and the Masamune still has the power to absorb its energy, making the boss fight a lot easier if you use Frog.
  • Throughout the plot of Digimon World Dusk, the Big Bad Grimmon is shown using an attack that's capable of instantly incapacitating and brainwashing whatever gets hit by it. He later gets a powered-up version he uses to make an entire union of Digimon Tamers hellbent on destroying everyone in your union. During the final boss fight against him, he uses it on a regular basis... and all it does is inflict the sleep status effect on your party.
  • Cielo in Digital Devil Saga has the ability to fire lasers that he only seems to be able to use in cutscenes; no such skill exists in game. He even lampshades this near the end of the second game when he doesn't use them, and it gets him killed.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest V:
      • Bishop Ladja's Kafrizzle spell always totally destroys the target's body in cutscenes, making any reviving method impossible. Thankfully, while his spell is still powerful in the battles with him, it can never kill your members off permanently.
      • Using the Magma Staff to clear the path to Diggery Pokery. You level a small mountain with it, but it does piddling damage in combat, since spells cast for free from items do half damage.
    • Terry in Dragon Quest VI uses Dragon Slash on a Hacksaurus in a cutscene near the middle of the game. He doesn't have this skill when he's recruited much later.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In the intro video in some versions of Final Fantasy II, Firion manages to take down an Empire soldier with a thrown knife and Leon is capable of holding his own in direct combat against a soldier. The moment you gain control of the characters, they're pitted against a group of Black Knights who splatter them each in a single attack while being unable to even touch the Knights. Even the weakest Imperial Soldier would one-shot any of them at their starting stats.
    • In Final Fantasy IV, after going through the Eblan cave and finding yourself right outside of the Tower of Babil, the heroes wonder how they're going to get in. Of course, Edge the ninja teleports all of them in. Gee, why do we even bother travelling anywhere or climbing up towers the hard way if you can teleport through walls?
    • This may explain why everyone in Final Fantasy VII movie Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children seems a whole lot more powerful than they did in the game — most notably in the Bahamut SIN battle sequence, in which the party help Cloud reach a rapidly ascending monster by throwing him in the air one after another.
      • The post-Advent Children FFVII-games use this style in their cutscenes. Vincent can indulge in Roofhopping, backflipping, and even jumping 30 feet in the air with ease in Dirge of Cerberus. In gameplay, you're lucky to be able double jump — if you own the US-version. Also, in cutscenes Vincent can take down a helicopter with just a shotgun, but in gameplay it can be a struggle just to take down a group of poorly-trained soldiers. (Though poor controls may have something to do with that.)
      • The intro to Crisis Core has Zack jump down from a flying helicopter about a hundred feet in the air. In the actual game you can — roll on the floor. Then there's that Sephiroth memory cutscene from the DMW where Zack takes out a monster in a Single-Stroke Battle.
      • One of the concepts in Final Fantasy VII Remake was making combat that was more grounded in realism than the explicitly impossible combat in the Compilation titles. Characters' abilities are more consistent here between gameplay and cutscene, with the obvious exception that the gameplay has no jump button. (Cloud's ability to jump huge distances does show up in his basic gameplay attacks, though.)
    • In Final Fantasy VIII, in one cutscene, Edea brings gargoyles to life and sends them on a rampage targeting civilians. Needless to say, that "spell" is not drawable nor is it a limit break. But on the other hand, Edea is a sorceress. Also, after you defeat her in your first direct confrontation, you get a cutscene in which she uses her Limit Break to end the battle single-handedly by impaling Squall through the chest with magic icicles. When she joins the party as a temporary playable character, Ultimecia is no longer Connected to her, and said Limit Break isn't nearly as effective against enemies.
    • Final Fantasy IX has a distinct difference between the power of summons during cutscenes (Bahamut, Atomos and Odin are all shown as capable of laying waste to entire cities) and in-battle — where none of the above summons can do more than straight 9s in damage — the same damage cap as your characters. Alexander was an exception to all of this, but then again Alexander always was a badass summon power — and Garnet never gets to acquire him as a regular summon, either. However, it's implied that the Eidolons that Garnet eventually uses are toned-down in terms of power just so she can properly use them: before her Eidolons are forcibly extracted by Zorn and Thorn, all her summoning powers are far too expensive in MP to use; however, when she finally gets them back in the third disc, the MP costs are far more reasonable.
      • When Garnet arrives to save Zidane during the "You're Not Alone!" sequence, her entrance is announced by her casting Curaga, regardless of whether or not she has learned it yet.
    • In the opening FMV of Final Fantasy X, there are a lot of moves shown in Blitzball that you will never be able to use in gameplay. Among these moves is a bodyslam that takes the player of the receiving end and literally throws them out of the arena.
      • Said moves are performed by Tidus, who has a really weak attack stat in the actual Minigame (He's all Shooting and Endurance). He can't even steal the ball, let alone do enough damage to knock someone out of the field. He can gain the Jecht Shot through another minigame, but due to his level during the first game, he can only use it once.
      • The cutscene where the Aurochs take on the Al Bhed Psyches is hilariously absurd given that the Aurochs are an entire team of that nerdy kid in school who always got picked last for every sportnote  — the Aurochs baseline is level 1, while the Psyches start at level 3, meaning that you will not be able to replicate this experience in the blitzball minigame without Level Grinding first. Either Wakka is a blitzball god, or someone was betting heavily on the Aurochs and drugged the Psyches before the match.
      • In the FMV where Seymour summons Anima, Anima is able to rapid-fire its special move "Pain". When you get through the game enough to actually summon Anima yourself, every time you use Pain, it kicks your next turn back a few pegs. There is actually justification for this, though — the cutscene in which Anima rapid-fires Pain implies it causes a lot of, well, pain to Anima (noted from her eye bleeding like crazy towards the end of the scene). The "cooldown" imposed in the gameplay might be applied by Yuna, in order to keep Anima from getting hurt, because Yuna cares about her Aeons and doesn't want to torture them.
      • A mild example happens during a scripted fight with a Zu on Bikanel Island. When Lulu comes to save Tidus, she announces her arrival by casting Thundara on the enemy — even if she hasn't actually learned that spell yet.
    • Final Fantasy XIII: In Chapter 7, Hope unleashes a giant sphere of light magic from his body. It's powerful enough to throw Snow off the building they're standing on and causes massive destruction to the area around them. This ability is never unlocked in the game, and there's nothing that would come even close to it in terms of the destruction Hope can actually cause with his magic.
    • Final Fantasy XIV zig zags with the trope. Characters who use the same classes as the player will usually use the same skills as the player. At other times, characters may use a skill or an enhanced version of their normal skills that the player can never use. For example, when fighting the Warriors of Darkness, the enemy Warrior will use Holmgang to completely immobilize the player and their party to end the fight. Normally, a player Warrior can only use Holmgang to bind one target. An early level Samurai quest has an enemy Samurai that uses skills from that job, but he also uses Paladin skills. Players can't mix and match skills from multiple jobs, though the enemy in question is called out for being a cheater and having no dignity.
    • In Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers, Layle can lift tons of objects and fling them at his enemy in the blink of an eye. During cutscenes. During actual gameplay, you must target the object, wait for the lock-on gauge to fill, lift it, and throw it. One object at a time. Then, there are things like barriers, and crushing an enemy into the ground. None of these feats can even be partially re-created by the player. It seems that the coolest things Layle can do occur when he leaves the player's control.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics: Get used to seeing defeated enemies teleport away from the battlefield in story missions even if they don't have the absurdly broken 100% guaranteed successful (enemy only, of course) Teleport 2 skill equipped.
  • The Force Unleashed features Action Commands somewhat similar to those of Kingdom Hearts that allow Galen to finish off bosses with highly dramatic moves that would be quite impossible normally (AT-ST crushed into a cube, anyone?).
    • He's able to use the Force to move something the size of a Star Destroyer in a cut scene, a degree of power never evidenced even in other cut scenes, let alone in play. Also, he can toss Darth Vader around like a ragdoll using The Force during cutscenes of the end fight. Try doing that in-game. Nope. Nothing. Vader can resist your Force powers, but you can't resist his too much.
  • Freelancer is particularly patchy with this one. There are several plot relevant cutscenes where capital ships are taken down by a single torpedo salvo from a squad of fighters, making you wonder if the various navies have decided to armour their capital ships with tissue paper. In game the battleships function effectively as space stations and needless to say you can't shoot them down. This is unless you need to take down said capital ship for plot reasons, in which case you'll generally have a fair few wingmen with you, because it takes a lot more firepower than in those cutscenes.
    • The first time it happens, it's a high-ranking Rheinland military officer and ambassador is on an important mission. The cruiser he's on doesn't appear to have any escorts.
    • While not cutscene-related, the same mission features you taking on Order's "Anubis" fighters in your piece-of-junk armed with peashooters... and handily winning. Near the end of the game, you get to buy yourself one of those "Anubis" fighters... and it's one of the best fighters in the game. There's no way your peashooters shouldn't even dented it if they weren't deliberately nerfed.
  • Partially subverted in the first Grandia, where Feena uses her Icarian power to destroy a room full of large hostile stone statues. The ability is then unlocked, but requires some extensive training to actually use it in battle. Then, of course, there's her ultimate ultimate ability, where, by the time she achieves the necessary levels, each and every one of the characters has the strength to practically take over the world singlehandedly.
  • In GreedFall, you'll notice magical vines sticking up from the ground at places of conflict with the natives. There's also a scene in which Síora uses her magic to call a vine from the ground to immobilize an enemy and strangle another. However, in gameplay this is impossible, and magic attacks are limited to target-locked green wisps.
  • Haseo of .hack//G.U. gets this to the extreme. In a cutscene he jumps about 50ft in the air and attacks with a sword (it's even worse when you consider that you can't jump during gameplay).
  • Jade Empire:
    • Practically all of your followers are introduced as supremely skilled and competent fighters, both in the cutscenes and when you happen to fight them, but as soon as they join you, you'd be lucky if they would take a Mook down on their own.
    • A single shot from Mirabelle in an in-engine cutscene makes a guy explode.
    • In a rare enemy case, Master Li's first action cutscene involves him blowing up a ship by poking it. That he loses this skill when the player actually fights him is probably for the best.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Kingdom Hearts II: Several times in the game Sora and company will one hit enemies that will normally take several strikes or combos to defeat. "I don't have time for you!". Sora can also slice entire buildings in half in cutscenes via Action Commands.
    • And in 358/2 Days, Xion arguably uses this as a plot point. While typically when she helps in story mode she sucks compared to the player (even in the missions where your level is cut in half or you're fighting with a stick), in cutscenes she frequently slices boss heartless in half after suddenly gaining the strength to do so seemingly out of nowhere. She's actually unknowingly tapping into Roxas's, or perhaps Sora's, power for herself.
    • In Kingdom Hearts III, Donald Duck at one point casts Zettaflare. An attack that is not even used by the strongest forms of Bahamut. So, this duck has a spell that is of planet-destroying capability at the very least. However, he does collapse after he uses it, so this might be the reason he doesn't use it more often.
  • Niskaru in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning are a type of enemy that becomes very fast and deadly in a cutscene or scripted event, being able to effortlessly take out allies in a single hit and retreat before even being seen by anyone. When you fight one in a normal battle, though? They're somewhat fast, but they're easy to hit and aren't hard to take down even in groups.
  • Lost Odyssey plays the trope straight with regards to the Immortality of several of the playable characters; in the opening cutscene, Kaim survives a catastrophe which wipes out every other living thing in the area and is not so much as mildly singed, and several of the flashbacks provided by the "Thousand Years of Dreams" similarly imply that the immortals are completely indestructible. In gameplay, however, they take damage like anyone else and can be KOed, and although they get back up again after a few turns, if the whole party goes down it's still Game Over.
    • When an immortal is 'killed' they are incapacitated for a short period of time. One could infer that during this time a smart enemy may chain them up so they can't fight back. The immortals are also regularly fighting with more mortal allies who would die if the immortals fall, it could be implied that the lost of their more mortal allies left them too vulnerable to take on the Big Bad later. While mortals are far less powerful then immortals, they are a key source of special abilities that the immortals can master. Of course this only partially justifies this trope, the immortals still seem too busy avoiding damage rather then just soaking it up and trusting they will be revived later.
    • In the opening cut scene a level one Kaim is shown taking on dozens of mooks at once without a thought, at level one. Of course this may be cutscene power to the normal, as when you later fight the mooks they are only slightly more powerful then they are shown in this particular cut scene. The really sad thing is that the enemy mooks are shown as more capable then your ally mooks. Kaim at level 1 is far weaker (even in a purely physical battle) then the white mage preteen girl with no combat experience gotten at the beginning of disk 2. The enemy mooks are less then 1/10 the strength of Kaim even ignoring his immortality, and the allied mooks are weaker then then enemy mooks!? So in short the entire army could be beaten up by a little girl.
    • In one cutscene, Sarah uses a spell that cuts a metal train carriage clean in half. You'd think something like that would be useful to get past various obstacles later in the game. It's never seen again.
  • Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals has Dekar, a ludicrously over-the-top warrior who boasted of his incredible combat skills. When you first meet him (and in other subsequent cutscenes) he shows off his incredible skill by using powerful and implausible abilities such as the aptly-named "Blastmaster" that wipe out hordes of enemies at once. While he is actually in your party, he has no such abilities (though he still may be the strongest character regardless). This is averted in the remake—the attacks Dekar uses in cutscene are his special attacks in gameplay. His "Blast Wave" is apparently powerful enough to destroy an entire dimension, but you don't see Dekar using it.
  • In Lunar: The Silver Star, the Big Bad's minions are shown to be capable of mind-controlling and turning to stone two of the Four Heroes, who saved the world prior to the events of the game. On the occasions that the other heroes join you, they're both at max level, but when you fight said minions near the end of the game, they're beatable at much lower levels.
  • Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis's Anna is proven to be very capable with her katana. Like wiping out her workshop deadly, who might as well be some of the strongest and most competent in the school. Naturally, some of the other characters can dealt more damage in battle.
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance, the spiritual successor to the X-Men Legends series, also has quite a few examples of this. Perhaps the most egregious example is Thor. In the game's opening cutscene, he is shown to effortlessly plow directly through the middle of an attacking enemy ship, causing it to explode without injuring him at all. He then shrugs off a shot from a second enemy ship and promptly destroys it with a giant lightning bolt from his hammer. He does all of this while hovering in the air a few hundred feet above the ground. When the player gets to actually control him, he can only fly about five feet above the ground and can only maintain that altitude for a few seconds. His lightning attacks are also considerably weaker and have a much shorter range than the one he used in the cutscene and he cannot simply plow through enemies and shrug off their attacks in the fashion that he did in the cutscene.
  • A cutscene in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order has Colossus lift up a Sentinel and hurl it through the air without breaking a sweat. While he's pretty strong in the actual game, he's definitely not that strong.
  • In Mass Effect some cutscenes/conversations have the player pointing guns (usually the pistol) at people. In game it takes many shots to kill them, but here it takes only one.
    • An interesting example is when Shepard and Wrex are facing off. The game goes out of its way to have Shepard / Ashley Quadruple Tap them with a pistol / shotgun, which is entirely accurate to gameplay. The inaccurate part is Shepard using a shotgun with only one arm!
      • This is also strangely inconsistent, since there are a couple of cutscenes where a character takes a hit from a weapon and actually is protected by his/her shields, suffering no ill effects at all.
  • In Mass Effect 2, your party members are often found slicing through hordes of mooks like a hot knife through butter when you first meet them. When you get control over them, they are substantially less powerful.
    • Especially bad with Jack, who biotically punches three massive YMIR mechs — each a substantial boss fight on their own — into shreds. Actual abilities? Two long-range biotic attacks, an Abnormal Ammo ability, and Squishy Wizard levels of health. On top of that, her abilities have no effect on mechs in the actual game!
    • Miranda gets one during her loyalty mission, where she manhandles an asari mercenary with what appears to be a combination of Lift, Stasis, and Throw, all over the course of 3 seconds. She can't use any of those powers in-game, and her loyalty power, Slam, which you unlock after the mission, is considerably less impressive.
    • And holy hell does Kasumi deliver this trope during her loyalty mission; she practically defies gravity with her repeated ninja-jumps to reach a flying gunship! If only she could do that with every other gunship in the game...
    • Samara's introductory cutscene has her flying using her biotics. It's kind of disappointing that you only see it once and it's never mentioned again.
    • During a cutscene in Lair of the Shadow Broker, Liara shields herself, Shepard, and Shepard's two companions behind a biotic barrier. Now, this would have come useful during the subsequent attack on the Shadow Broker's ship. note 
      • Similarly, all biotics suddenly get the ability to make a kind of biotic barrier for the Suicide mission, even if they never displayed anything like it before. In fact, the only character who does have Barrier as one of his abilities is a poor choice for this part of the mission and will get someone killed if he's used.
    • During the Cinematic Trailer for the game, Thane somehow gains the ability to Lift enemies. He does not have this ability in-game. Said trailer also Jack managing to take down an entire room full of guards with one biotic attack. Grunt is seen single-handedly exploding a Thresher Maw as it tries to eat him, using some kind of overcharged shotgun attack. Later on, he somehow turns the exact same shotgun, which only has one round per clip, into a multi-shot weapon. Foes which inexplicably do not have shields, and are clearly significantly nerfed for the cinematic, going down in single hits. From a pistol.
    • This affects even some of the equipment — namely M-44 Hammerhead which can barely lift itself about 10-15 metres above ground during the game before its engine overheats, but when it is picked up by Normandy it can be seen several hundred meters above the ground.
  • The uncontested worst case is Kai Leng in Mass Effect 3. In both of his major encounters, characters are eating the Idiot Ball like a gobstopper in order to make him look like a badass, such as an assassin charging at him with a gun rather than keeping his distance from Leng's sword, Shepard not using their tech or biotic abilities, and avoiding pretty much every bullet fired at him even at point-blank range. You could be beating him like a drum on Thessia, but then BOOM cutscene and he suddenly goes from being soundly thrashed to looking like he had the upper hand the entire time. What's worse is that he needs a gunship to back him up for most of the preceding fight. Nearly every cutscene he's in bends over backwards to give Leng the upper hand and escape with a win.
    • In the cutscenes found in the Omega DLC, Aria T'Loak is seen doing godlike things with her biotics. During those points of the game where you control her as a squadmate, her abilities are, while effective, somewhat less than the "godlike" levels. This prompted at least one Lets Player to complain about how Aria is a "biotic showoff".
    • At the end of the Aralakh Company mission, Grunt kills around a dozen Ravagers in quick succession, which is fairly impressive given that they can both take and dish out a ton of punishment. Most impressively, he can one-hit them with a shotgun, a weapon that isn't well designed to punch through Ravagers' heavy armour.
      • Somewhat justified by the setting of the fight — Ravagers cannot attack if their enemies are too close to them, and Grunt jumps right in the middle of a group.
    • Miranda gets in on the act again by hurling her jackass father through a window with her biotics, despite still not having Throw on her power list — even in the Armax Arsenal Arena, she's picked up Reave instead.
  • Persona 3:
    • The Dragon has a revolver as his main weapon. Naturally, in battle it deals a moderate amount of damage, not too much to worry about alone. However, in cutscenes he kills three people (with only a single shot each) from the same gun. Two of them are party members, but one gets revived by a Heroic Sacrifice. What makes it worse is that no one even thinks of using a healing ability on the shot characters, and they still die in one hit even when wearing kevlar armor.
    • When the Magician attacks the dorm, Yukari uses Garu, a basic wind spell, to try and slow it down. Once you get control of her, however, she doesn't know that spell until a bit later on.
    • When Chidori sacrifices herself to revive Junpei, causing Hermes to evolve into Trismegistus, Junpei launches a fireball and sends Jin flying 10 feet through the air through sheer Unstoppable Rage. In normal gameplay, Jin repels fire.
  • Persona 5: When most characters awaken to their Persona in a cutscene, they tend to incapacitate or kill every nearby Shadow instantly, which they then can't reproduce in following battles. For instance, party member Ann uses an enemy's BFS when she first awakens, but can only equip whips for the rest of the game. Similarly, Fighting Spirit Goemon uses an area of effect freezing attack when Yusuke first awakens, only for Yusuke to lack Mabufu or any other multi-target ice magic in the mini-boss battle that happens seconds later.
  • The opening animations for Phantasy Star Online 2 show ARKS members pulling off all manner of acrobatic feats, sometimes bordering on Le Parkour. In gameplay, the players' acrobatic abilities are somewhat more limited: while some special attacks (particularly Gunner abilities) are quite athletic, the extent of your free-running abilities are running, jumping, and nothing else.
  • In the Pokémon games, if you believe the Pokédex descriptions, several legendaries fall victim to this. Uxie, for example, wipes out the memories of anyone who sees its eyes. Dialga and Palkia control time and space, respectively. Arceus created the world, thus making it effectively God. You'd think that these features might translate to special abilities in-game, but not really. These legendary Pokémon have generally high stats, but none of the instant-win powers that you might suspect they have. Even some average, non-legendary Pokémon have out-there entries, such as the burns of a Houndoom supposedly never healing.
    • In Platinum Version, there is some text saying that the power of a Pokémon is inhibited when it is captured with a Poké Ball, which is why Cyrus wants to capture Dialga and Palkia with Red Chains instead.
      • This explains why captured Pokémon can't do those things, but it doesn't explain why wild ones aren't using their abilities to their fullest nor why wild Pokémon are much, much weaker compared to trained ones. Trained or not, being restrained should give wild Pokémon a huge advantage. Perhaps that thing about wild ones attempting to prove their worth/test your worth could be used as justification...
    • Dialga and Palkia at the very least have some nod to their powers: Roar of Time and Spacial Rend respectively, very powerful unique attacks that manipulate time and space, which is in correspondence to the Pokémon's Pokédex entries. Arceus also has Judgment — an attack befitting an Olympus Mon.
    • Many descriptions in the Pokédex describe Pokémon eating other Pokémon, while in the actual games, all they can eat is either bait, Berries, Pokéblocks, or Poffins.
    • In HeartGold and SoulSilver Versions, when the player defeats Lance, DJ Mary runs into the room. The leading Pokémon dashes behind the player, even if it's supposed to be very slow, like Shuckle or Snorlax.
    • Even common Pokémon can be subject to this. Magcargo is a decent Fire/Rock type. According to the Pokédex, its body temperature is 18,000 degress Fahrenheit. The surface of the Sun is about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Just one of these things should kill everything that comes anywhere near it.
      • Another rather common Pokémon to fall under this has to be Gardevoir. While it's true that Gardevoir has a really high Special Attack stat, according to the PokéDex, it can create black holes for God's sake, and in this case the justification of 'its powers being inhibited by capture' stated above also does not hold true, because its dex entry in multiple games clearly states that its power peaks when its protecting its trainer.
    • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, Kyurem effortlessly disposes of Hydreigon and gives the hero a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown in his first appearance following the Wham Episode, only to later to be taken down by the hero and their partner rather easily in a boss battle.
  • Rave Heart:
    • In the Granian Research Facility, Heron easily knocks out Klein with a few psi attacks, despite losing the battle earlier.
    • In Rave Palace, Klein himself uses his psi powers to disable three robotic minions and pull the Erran children away from Reverend Sergio, which is far more complex than what he can do with his gameplay psi abilities. Justified because he expended all his psi energy, which later causes him to collapse.
  • Throughout the Shadow Hearts series Yuri demonstrates several impressive feats, that do not really carry over to gameplay.
    • In the opening of the first game, Yuri gets his arm sliced off by a monster, and then catches said monster (that is fast enough to parry bullets), crushes its head, and calmly reattaches his arm. Neither his speed nor regenerative ability are never alluded to again.
    • In Covenant, Yuri's Amon form is shown to be outright Immune to Bullets, which is not quite true in gameplay. Later on, the same Amon fusion is shown to be powerful enough to destroy a huge airship, a level of power not quite consistent with its powerful, but not Game Breaking status in gameplay.
  • Star Ocean:
    • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time is a wonderful example of this, the main point being where, in a cutscene, Fayt gets pissed off, vaporizing an alien spaceship with a single attack. Eventually, you can use this attack during battles, but with nowhere near the destructive power originally shown. Additionally, this attack is only available after you beat the game and delve through one of the unlockable dungeons.
    • In Star Ocean: The Last Hope, Bacchus is introduced blasting his way through the walls of the Cardianon Mothership, saving the party from a cell normally accessible only by teleportation. Needless to say, that ability doesn't stick around when he joins the party.
  • Summoner uses Western-style summoning. One apparent exception is dragon summons (summoning a hundred foot long dragon), which function as Summon Magic, Eastern style. The problem comes when your party needs to get back to their home continent for the endgame. The party asks for a flotilla back, their friend then says that's not necessary, because they can simply SUMMON A DRAGON AND FLY ALL THE WAY TO ANOTHER CONTINENT. Needless to say, you still have to walk everywhere after you get there, and you still can't get the dragons to stick around and act like the other summons in battle.
  • Tales of Symphonia:
    • In a short cutscene that takes place in the King's castle in Meltokio, Lloyd takes out a huge, heavily armed Imperial Guard soldier who happens to be looking the other way by saying "Sorry about this!" and punching him in the back. When you encounter such guards in-game, they are worthy foes that require quite a bit of damage before going down. Said guards are also an example of Cutscene Incompetence.
    • One boss' signature attack is to fire energy bolts at you and naturally he does this as his base attack during his fight. Soon after losing the battle, he appears in the following cutscene sneaking up on the heroes and points his blaster at one of the characters. Another character sees this and immediately dives in the way to save them. It is implied that his one shot was potentially fatal while you could easily take about a dozen of them in battle without healing. I guess while crawling up from his defeat he "Set his laser from stun... to kill."
    • Two of the party members have wings and can fly... in cutscenes. During gameplay they are just as restricted by the Insurmountable Waist Height Fences as everyone else.
    • Genis' weakest spell, Fire Ball, is always highly effective in cutscenes, even on the Final Boss. Lloyd's Demon Fang is also much better in cutscenes than in-game.
    • Sheena can casually summon 4 summon spirits at once in cutscenes. In gameplay you get you summon one and even that's only as a Limit Break and with high Mana cost.
    • Regal displays this...semi-frequently. In both Tales of Symphonia and the sequel Regal fires very large energy beams that could rival Ryu or Goku's, but only when the party is in tight situations in the story. This is justified in-universe in that he swore to never use his hands to fight another living being again.
  • In Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, the first time the protagonists encounter Lloyd, Marta is pretty evenly matched with him in the cutscene, trading blow for blow. After that cutscene ends, you fight Lloyd for real...and he outclasses your characters at that point so badly it's pretty much a Single-Stroke Battle. There is a way to beat him, but it requires New Game Plus benefits and emphatically does not involve using Marta.
  • Tales of the Abyss:
    • The main character, Luke, kills a fully-armored, heavily-trained soldier with a wooden training sword. By accident.
    • Tear, at various points, puts an entire house to sleep, slits a man's throat with a throwing knife, and takes a hit for someone with much higher defense. In battle, the sleep spell only affects one target, her knife based attacks are pitifully weak, and her defense is among the lowest in the party. She's still very good, just not at what the cutscenes would suggest.
  • In Tales of Vesperia, during one cutscene, Yuri and Flynn take out ten mooks in seconds. Yuri can knock out mooks by throwing pebbles at them in cutscenes. Mooks wearing helmets.
  • Tales of Xillia 2 has an odd example of this where alternate Julius gives Ludger and Jude a beatdown that leaves them both on the floor in the pre-battle cutscene. It gives off the vibe you'd get from a Hopeless Boss Fight, but it's required that you win (And you don't end up losing afterward, either).
  • Justified in Tales of Berseria. Despite being a noncombatant and claiming she can't fight, Magilou nonetheless manages to blow away a room full of Exorcists with a single spell in a cutscene. However, when she joins the party properly, she really is capable of taking mid-game enemies like that out in a spell or two. The reason she doesn't fight earlier was because she was missing her Malak, so her spells would do nothing to the daemons the party spend nearly all their time fighting. Not bothering to clarify this earlier is exactly the sort of half-truth she's notorious for.
  • After you defeat the Final Boss of Temtem, there's a Coup de Grâce Cutscene where the Archtamers send out all six Tulutions, who combine their powers to kill the Big Bad with an attack called Pansolar Beam. Apart from anything else, you can only send out two Tems at a time during gameplay.
  • This is justified in the case of Kanna, from Three the Hard Way. The first time she appears in the game, she managed to wipe out entire armies, but when she becomes playable, she had very poor stats and is pretty much useless in the game's battles. She explains that her "powers" are derived from Alchemy, and the one she demonstrated in the cutscene was her most powerful spell, which would be very difficult to recreate because of the rare ingredients it requires.
  • The intro in Throne of Darkness shows your characters doing all sorts of cool moves they can't do in the game, such as throwing enemies into each other and using severed enemy limbs as weapons.
  • Cutscene powers are at an all time high in the Trails Series where characters can jump around and easily smack enemies twice their size but in gameplay, especially in The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky and The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero, physical attacks are terrible. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is even worse in this regard where The Hero can slice through enemies rather easily in cutscenes but can't do so in-game especially during the Divine Knight fights. Cold Steel III depicts Aurelia Le Guin, the Golden Rakshasa, one-shotting a cryptid monster that your entire party already fought once before in a pitched battle, but she then joins you as a regular Guest-Star Party Member, albeit an extremely powerful one.
  • Lezard Valeth from Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria manages to teleport the party to safety in his introduction scene, and probably knows the location of the artifact the party is searching for because he's from an alternate future (and thus could circumvent a whole chapter of the story with his magic), but in normal gameplay as a party member he learns his abilities in an order that usually makes him obsolete by the time he leaves the party permanently.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, the Sheriff establishes himself as The Dreaded in an early cutscene by calling up spectral wolves and insect swarms to Curb-Stomp Battle a group of Mooks. He uses neither of those powers if the player character fights him in the end. Zig-zagged in that he instead breaks out Teleport Spam attacks and then goes full One-Winged Angel, which are considerably more powerful abilities.
  • Wild ARMs 2 featured Kanon, who you battled a number of times where she lays waste to your party numerous times. Upon being recruited to battle the evil forces of doom and destruction, she continues to use the same attacks, yet they go from several thousand damage to about two hundred. She does learn some absurdly powerful attacks later on however (good thing she didn't know them when she was an enemy).
  • The Witcher — Geralt handles a monster spectacularly well in the introduction video. You fight the same monster later in the game and Geralt has none of the cool moves he had in that cutscene. Justified as the battle took place before Geralt suffered from Laser-Guided Amnesia.
  • Zigzagged by Joshua in The World Ends with You who in a cutscene takes out a Taboo Rhino Noise, which are notoriously durable, in one hit with a beam attack never seen before. After this cutscene, that exact beam attack is added to his moveset for the player's use. It's a major upgrade from his other attacks, but still not powerful enough to one-shot that particular enemy — but it's implied that he's now deliberately holding back, as a Reaper who saw the feat told him that only a still-living person has that level of power, and while a rule violation that flagrant is normally punished by instant erasure, that Noise had been a nuisance to the Reapers, so Joshua gets off scot free just this once, as long as he doesn't let any other Reapers catch on.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has several examples of this:
    • Late in the game, Pyra and Mythra gain access to a Super Mode, and are shown using it at will throughout the cutscenes. In gameplay, it can only be used in specific circumstances and only once per battle.
    • When Nia reveals her blade form, her healing powers are strong enough that she's capable of bringing back the recently dead as well as defeating Malos by causing the cells in his body to multiply uncontrollably. Naturally, in actual gameplay, while she is the strongest Healing-type Blade in the game she can't do either of those things.
    • Herald supposedly had so much raw power that she was sealed away after her old driver killed themselves because no one was capable of stopping her rampage. While is is powerful, she's not even close to being the strongest Blade on the team.
    • Zenobia is supposedly so strong that it's impossible for her to have a satisfying battle due to no enemy being able to put up an adequate fight. While she is very strong compared to the other Blades, she's nowhere near that strong gameplay-wise. Her sidequest lampshades it: after undergoing a rather arduous battle with a powerful monster, she promptly punts it over the horizon without breaking a sweat as soon as the following cutscene starts, shocking the rest of the party in the process.
  • KOS-MOS in Xenosaga is a glaring example. The original game at least attempted a nod to this, as she was the one of the few characters who did not need to ride a AGWS. Jin Uzuki is another offender, as in the second game he splits an entire giant robot mecha in half with one slash of his sword. Other characters stand in awe. But then when you get to control him he isn't that much more powerful than anyone else. chaos, as well, is shown able to destroy Gnosis with a touch of his hand in his introductory cutscene. This would have been useful in gameplay, especially since he's pretty much Jesus Christ.
    • KOS-MOS is a particularly horrible example because the game constantly implies that she is significantly stronger then her teammates. In the third game she is shown in a battle defeating hundreds of gnosis at once while her creator watches in shock, yet her creator is the same level and at least as capable of taking on a large group, possible more so due to her ability to self heal. Worse there is a certain point where KOS-MOS fights alone against a certain enemy while her 7 other teammates cower behind (with good plot based reason) and acting helpless. The game does make her amazingly strong but gives all her abilities massive MP costs.
      • KOS-MOS may be one particularly good example, but the trope is pretty general to all characters by Episode III; their capabilities (particularly their manueverability and firepower) are significantly higher in the cute scenes, with the difference being all the more stark for 1) how well choreographed the super-powered cut scene duels play out, 2 the battle gameplay being particularly stiff in the animation and glacially slow, even for an RPG, and 3) the insistence in the third episode in particular of inter-cutting the two very sharply for pivotal moments. Not necessarily the wrong choice, but certainly what makes it such an archetypical exemplar of this trope.
      • But while the scenes with KOS-MOS and Telos are particularly striking in this respect, the trope is also present whenever there is a direct confrontation with a Testament: the fights manage to invoke their Complete Immortality by making them seem completely unfazed by the most potent of physical attacks, which is essential to selling the menacing nature of the Testaments — they have been given effectively limitless power and immunity that goes well beyond Made of Iron, but this makes the battle with them feeling like a crawl to a hidden and arbitrary amount of damages that represents not the Testament's defenses being overwhelmed, but rather the gameplay condition that triggers the next plot development: usually they were Just Toying With the protagonists or trying to test some the waters on some vaguely defined property of KOS-MOS or Shion, but while their entrances and exits are highly cinematic, the majority of the battles play out in the turn-based combat, and the continuity between the two can be pretty obvious. (Still worth it for excellent fight sequences that are among the best of what was ever developed for the PS2.
  • X-Men Legends:
    • Magneto is a massively powerful mutant, able to challenge your entire 4-person squad of X-Men, and throws Sentinels about like toys. In the sequel, he is no more powerful than any other character, certainly no more able to fight Sentinels than any other character, and begins, like all of them, at novice-level experience. Prior to the events of X-Men Legends II, he wiped out whole fleets of fighters with his magnetic powers, and in the opening cutscene, tosses soldiers and metal doors aside with little effort. His subsequent encounter with yet more soldiers becomes jarring, as they now provide him far more serious opposition.
    • There's also Magma. In the opening cutscene of the game, she's powerful enough to nearly level an entire city block with a single attack. In a later cutscene, a single attack of hers practically disintegrates around 30 Danger Room robots. When she's eventually unlocked as a playable character, she's considerably less powerful.
  • The Final Boss in Yakuza: Like a Dragon is an Anti-Climax Boss who more likely than not will go down without having landed a significant hit on Ichiban. However, the post-fight cutscene shows the two as far more evenly matched, with the boss landing several big hits and drawing blood.

    Shoot Em Up 
  • Touhou Project doesn't really have cutscenes beyond simple dialogue, but almost all characters canonically have terrifying powers such as "destruction of anything and everything", or simply instant death, that they will obviously never use ingame. The in-universe explanation is that everyone has agreed to a system of non-lethal duels, but the games include a number of characters that couldn't have learned the rules.

    Simulation Game 
  • From the Wing Commander series:
    • In the intro scene for Privateer, the player's ship is shown taking down a pirate fighter with three shots from one mount of the weakest gun of the game. Not even after you acquire the "wondership" and load four of the most powerful guns in the game onto it can you match that feat.
    • Also from that intro, the player character's ship is shown maneuvering around asteroids as a hostile missile avoidance / redirection technique, in a ship that not only is half as fast as the missile, but marginally less maneuverable to boot.
    • Seether's mine trick in Wing Commander IV isn't available within the game engine, though Blair does get to use it in the novelization.
    • Mostly averted in Wing Commander Secret Ops, whose cutscenes are all rendered by the game engine in realtime (with one or two scenes requiring special coding, due to game engine limitations).

    Sports Game 
  • Some characters in Punch-Out!! are shown doing amazing feats in their intros before the fight, like Piston Hondo outrunning a bullet train or Mr. Sandman who punches down a building. In battle they are tough to beat, but still are on a rather human level. Either that or Little Mac is absurdly strong. Title Defense Bald Bull is shown to take a charging bull to the chest and not fall down, if only barely; he reacts to same way to Little Mac's punches.

    Stealth Based Game 
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • In the Attract Mode video for Assassin's Creed Altaïr uses a crossbow to take out a guard. You don't have access to one. There was supposed to be crossbows in the game, but it was removed for the final version and replaced with throwing knives.
    • Assassin's Creed II:
      • Big Bad Rodrigo Borgia of Assassin's Creed II has this in spades. Close to the end of the game Ezio, together with pretty much the entire cast of competent Assassins, fights and easily corners him in Venice. But as soon as the ensuing cutscene starts, this mildly obese, middle-aged man somehow just shoves them all aside and runs away, with no chase given. When you finally duel him in Rome, he wields the dreadfully powerful Staff of Eden... whose power he can only use in cutscenes. Gameplay-wise he's just an ordinary mook with a ton of health.
      • Averted in the Attract Mode video, where the things done by Ezio — using Courtesans to distract a target, Counter Attacks, disarm-kill on a spear-wielding guard and the hidden gun — are replicable in gameplay.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear Solid:
      • Thanks to the game's control system, which is designed for stealthy motion rather than battle, Snake is awkward in a fight. However, he does things he could never do ingame in the game's cutscenes. This is especially true in The Twin Snakes, where, during one sequence, he actually leaps atop an incoming missile, fires off a Stinger launcher, and jumps clear before it explodes!
      • That is put to shame by the cyborg ninja Gray Fox. When you fight him as a boss, you beat him in a fist fight, yet later he displays enough strength to hold up Rex's foot and survives, albeit barely, getting slammed by Rex against the wall. Also possible with Liquid Snake, whom off-screen supposedly shoots down a pair of jet fighters using a MI-24 Hind attack helicopter (which is not nearly fast enough to deal with super sonic jets), which he can't beat you with.note 
      • Twin Snakes becomes completely ridiculous with the Rex battle, which Snake decides to preface by leaping about fifty feet to jump kick it. Which is justified... oh, wait it doesn't do a goddamned thing because he just karate kicked a giant warmech.
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty:
      • Snake is a rather accurate shot when he's in gameplay. But when Emma's been stabbed and needs to be rescued? He runs across the walkway, sniping things from a hundred yards with his handgun without flinching.
      • Near the end of the game Solidus Snake takes down several Metal Gear Rays using only his P-90 submachine gun. During gameplay for Raiden to do the same thing to just one Ray requires several Stinger missiles aimed at a specific weak spot.
    • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater:
      • The game's combat system notably averts this trope, as a flashy close-quarters combat cutscene is fairly closely based on Snake's actual gameplay CQC abilities; although pulling off something on that level would be extremely difficult in gameplay it is, in theory, possible. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker further averts this trope by introducing a CQC chaining system that makes the tricks Snake used in that MGS 3 cutscene much easier. Even better, you get an achievement for doing it.
      • The Boss is invincible in cutscenes. Every time Snake encounters her, his shoulder gets dislocated and his elbows get snapped. He is no match for her. Until you actually face her in a gameplay encounter. Then she is defeatable and nowhere near as badass as she is in the cutscenes. This is entirely deliberate; each time Snake fights her in a cutscene, he lasts a little longer, and she's still a tough Final-Exam Boss. It also helps that her mission is complete and, as it turns out, she wants to die. In addition, it helps that the player is usually smart enough not to rush her head-on like Snake keeps doing in the cut-scenes.
      • Considering the average amount of damage you can take during actual gameplay, the amount of punishment Snake survives in the cutscenes is ridiculous: He gets his ass kicked by The Boss and thrown off a bridge that if you jump off during the game at full health, kills you. Later on, he gets his eye shot out from a gun blast, and gets the shit beaten out of him again by Volgin.
      • During the fight with Revolver Ocelot, if you jump into the cave you die in gameplay, but survive the fall in a cutscene.
      • EVA is possibly the worst offender; despite being treated for her injuries after a motorcycle crash, she's still little more than dead weight, moving slowly and requiring constant feeding in order to keep up her stamina, refusing to go on if it gets too low. But when they reach the lake in the cutscene? She walks it off.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Liquid (Ocelot) completely destroys a battle weary Snake in combat in their first first encounter. Their second encounter takes place after the war was over. Snake had gone through the microwave, was shocked repeatedly by Mini-Gekko, and on top of all that, his seizures were at their worst at this point. After passing out, he finds himself on top of a ship, with Liquid. Liquid pumps him full of the stuff he uses to up his Psyche, before fighting. Considering how bad a shape Snake was in beforehand, Snake was fighting through sheer power of will. A rather lengthy fight scene starts, with the two toe-to-toe with each other, even though Liquid is in great shape compared to Snake at the time. After sticking each other with syringes once again, the gameplay finally begins. Surprisingly, Liquid could actually end up being an Anti-Climax fight, as long as you keep the pressure on.
      • You have two of these happening at the same time where Meryl and normally useless Johnny are fighting the FROG troopers and slaughtering them with Hong Kong Bullet Ballet, meanwhile Snake crawls through a microwave corridor which is roasting him alive (earlier when he just stepped in it, he burst in flames) and manages to go all the way to shut down the Patriot system. This from a guy who dies if he gets rifle-butted 3 times when in game.
  • In Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven in the second mission, Ayame effortlessly defeats two guards in tight quarters using just her blades, mostly while looking the other way. Since the game is primarily a stealth game, it is very difficult to fight multiple enemies without using special equipment like smoke bombs, grenades, or super shuriken.

    Survival Horror 
  • In the cutscene where you encounter the final boss of Dead Space, it kills someone else by grabbing them with its tentacle and crushing them against a wall. Naturally, it never does this to you when you fight it.
  • In Fatal Frame II's trailer, one can see Mio running as fast as she can to rescue Mayu, and damned if it wouldn't be nice if she could run that fast in-game!
  • Hewey in Haunting Ground can perform amazing feats of acrobatics during cutscenes. During gameplay, he's stuck with barking and biting.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Resident Evil:
      • There is a cutscene where Barry Burton kicks open a locked door to save Jill Valentine from a Descending Ceiling trap. This is the only time in the entire game that any character is able to open a locked door without a key or unlocking it from the inside.
      • Hunters are introduced in a cutscene that shows one opening a door, but this never happens again during actual gameplay. The remake, however, averts it as hunters will sometimes burst into the room when the player least suspects it.
      • In the remake, Jill's first encounter with a zombie has Barry shooting it three times with his revolver... and then it gets back up like nothing happened. In the player's hands, Barry's revolver kills 99% of enemies in one shot, including bosses.
    • The intro of Resident Evil – Code: Veronica has Claire outrunning a helicopter, dodging bullets, and reacting faster than gravity. This is a significant contrast to her performance in cutscenes throughout the rest of the game, in which she displays numerous cases of Cutscene Incompetence. Then there's of course Steve, who goes into Bullet Time a couple of times during the game, usually when saving Claire's ass.
    • In Resident Evil 0 cutscenes Billy is able to jump around and shoot things in slow motion, Max Payne style. In gameplay he can only turn and shoot with Resident Evil's trademark awkward controls.
    • Resident Evil 4:
      • Leon S. Kennedy in is equipped with all sorts of gadgets like grappling hooks and tracking devices that only show up during cutscenes, although sometimes you have to use them yourself with Quick Time Events.
      • Subverted in one cutscene: Leon runs up to an enemy and does a straight kick on them. Leon can't kick an enemy without first shooting them in the head, or for this specific kick, the knee and having them be stunned by the shot (in this case the knee shot has to make the enemy kneel). Leon doesn't even have a gun out in this cutscene when he does the kick. However, the target of his kick just grabs Leon's foot like nothing and tosses him across the room hard enough to knock him out for a good hour or two. Leon probably should have stunned them with a gunshot first.
    • Albert Wesker in Resident Evil 5. His combat prowess in cutscenes is almost god-like, whereas his behavior in actual gameplay is almost boring by comparison. In cutscenes he jumps off walls and ceilings, totally dominates the protagonists using complex martial arts moves, appears to "teleport" (a la Nightcrawler) out of the way of bullets, and even impales someone right through the chest with his bare hand. But when you face him in boss fights he's significantly less badass. Granted he's no pushover, but he isn't nearly as agile (most of the fights involve him slooowwwwllly stalking towards the player to attack them), he clearly dodges bullets rather than teleporting out of the way, and his martial arts are very easily countered by a well-timed button press. And the strategy used to defeat him in the next-to-last boss fight? You turn out the lights so he can't see you. Yeah.
    • It continues in Resident Evil 6. It turns out Sherry Birkin's exposure to the G-virus all the way back in Resident Evil 2 has given her amazing regenerative powers! ... Except only ever in one cutscene. In the actual game, she doesn't have any more health than anyone else, and certainly doesn't regenerate it.
    • Jill in Resident Evil 3 (Remake) gets tossed around hard by the Nemesis many times and takes a few hard impacts (whether by falling or being inside of a car while it plunges off the roof a parking garage). Jill does limp after the cutscenes are over, even if you're in perfect health, but she quickly recovers and her injuries are never long lasting.
  • Averted for the most part in Rule of Rose. Jennifer is a much, much weaker character during cutscenes than during gameplay. This of course results in Cutscene Incompetence.
  • In Silent Hill 2, there's a scripted sequence where Pyramid Head chases James and Maria down a hall and into an elevator. Although Maria (and of course James) can die before reaching the elevator, it takes plenty amount of damage to do so. However, as soon as James reaches the elevator, the game switches to a cutscene where Pyramid Head one-hit kills Maria. She gets better, though. Sort of.
  • In Silent Hill 3 this trope is entirely averted. The only instance where it could've been played straight would've been Heather's first monster encounter, and then she fires seven shots into the creature, which is about the same way Closers go down during gameplay.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • Army of Two's cutscenes think that you have an assault rifle at all times. It gets really funny when you are rapid-firing WITH A SHOTGUN.
  • Gears of War 2 featured Skorge the new Dragon to replace Raam as the biggest scariest locust, his cutscene introduction shows him cutting a tank in half with a chainsaw staff. However when it comes time to fight him... you never really fight him. He basically runs away from you and summons minions and easily avoided over telegraphed AOE attacks from outside the combat zone, punctuated with really brief rock simple QTEs. Just about every fight you did in the level proceeding the encounter is a hell of alot harder, and to add further insult the next time you see him is in a rail shooter segment where he ultimately falls off his flying mount and breaks his neck when you shoot it out from under him and that's the end of him roughly eighty percent of the way through the game. I don't think it matters how much they built him up, he just comes across as a total punk.
    • In Gears of War 3's "RAAM's Shadow", the ending cutscene shows Minh charging through a swarm of Kryll attacking him and only suffering a few little cuts if anything while the rest harmlessly bounce off his armour. During gameplay, Kryll will tear things to Ludicrous Gibs pretty quickly, including Minh.
  • Shadow Guardian have one such moment in the Alexandria stage, where the player character, Jason gets attacked by an enemy helicopter. After a Quick Time Event, cue Jason performing an absurdly long horizontal jump from the side of a building to the helicopter's front, as he lands expertly on the cockpit before shooting the pilot from point-blank, a feat he couldn't pull off in-game.
  • In several cutscenes in the Syphon Filter series, Logan performs death-defying actions such as Super Window Jumping through a glass ceiling and falling a height that would kill him in-game. Conversely, he also occasionally suffers Cutscene Incompetence.
    • This is even more jarring on Syphon Filter 2's first cutscene video, where we get a kill montage of Gabe making his way to rescue Lian from the terrorists. For example, he rolls and shoots a bad guy in the head mid-roll. What.
  • Depending on the situation, this pops up in Vanquish's cutscenes, with Sam being able to run and jump far faster and farther than he can in-game, and there are certain special attacks against bosses that take it to almost ludicrous levels, i.e. stopping an Argus 'mech's stomping leg, shooting it in the core with his off-hand, then leaping on top of the stunned machine and drilling down into its core with his feet.

    Turn Based Strategy 
  • In Battle Moon Wars (being based on Super Robot Wars below), whenever a new attack is introduced, it will either kill or heavily wound the enemy it's being used on. Which is usually a boss. Which means it often does tens of thousands of points of damage in one attack. They're less effective in the actual gameplay.
  • In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, Laharl destroys an entire fleet of human battleships without much hassle during a cutscene; in the next subsequent battle you'll be facing the cannons of the only sufficiently armed ship — and you'll likely have to run away without massive Level Grinding. And during his appearance in the sequel, well, suffice it to say he takes losing to the protagonists during the fights extremely badlyyou're not supposed to beat him (which, again, can be done through massive Level Grinding or a New Game Plus).
    • In Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance, Killia is introduced defeating dozens of the Lost soldiers on his own. By the time you start controlling him, he's at level 3 and nearly gets thrashed by three mooks using basic attacks in the tutorial.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce: In general, characters in story bits are as powerful or vulnerable as they are in gameplay, with one exception. In the introductory episode for Guren Tiger, Platinum and the rest of the game come to the rescue when she fires a rocket at a group of Tarantula fight commandos while driving her van, wiping a cluster out in one hit. Sadly, van-driving rocket-launching doesn't feature in actual gameplay, and Plantium normally requires consistent investment to reliably wipe out a mook group in one hit.
  • In Fire Emblem, cutscene powers are abused so much that the instant gameplay leaves your hands, nearly anything can happen.
    • A cutscene in Shadows of Valentia has Alm confront a hypnotized Delthea. In her madness, she blasts Alm with an Aura spell, and while he's noticeably harmed he just gets back up and continues fighting. In the actual map, Alm has very low resistance, and depending on his Speed rolls, Delthea might be able to do double attacks on him. This means if Delthea ever attacked him in-game he'd die immediately.
    • In Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, a scripted battle has Midir face off against the Starter Villain Munnir/Gandolf. Gandolf defeats him in a single blow with a Critical Hit. If you actually check Gandolf's stats, you'll realize he doesn't actually have the Critical skill, nor a weapon capable of critting. The whole thing should be completely impossible.
    • An odd one that happens in the ingame engine in Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade: at one point, the Mage General Cecilia has a battle with Big Bad Zephiel. It's a scripted Curb-Stomp Battle, as you might expect, with her missing him completely and him getting a crit that does 87 damage... but the "power to the max" part is that Cecilia survives. She was apparently knocked out, sure, but by any sane measure, that attack should have splattered her across the castle. Given that this is a series known for Permadeath, attempting to repeat this feat with Cecilia in-game, even with enemies that don't do three times her max HP in a single blow, will not have her recovering.
    • In The Blazing Blade, pretty much any villain worth his salt has the ability to magically teleport, although the only things in-game that offer teleportation are staves, which must be used by someone other than the person who is teleporting. This isn't even limited to magic-users. Even the assassin, Jaffar, is seen teleporting. Jaffar is also seen triggering his one hit KO ability whenever he so chooses, while he can neither teleport nor reliably trigger the kill in the level where he deserts the Black Fang for the love of Nino.
    • Ephraim from Sacred Stones basically runs on cutscene power, especially early in the game. A particularly egregious example is after Chapter 5x, where he and his two Cavalier subordinates manage to escape from Valter. Even if they had the stats to reasonably stand up to him at this point, there's the fact that they're a foot soldier and two mounted units trying to run through a forested area to get away from a flying unit (who could easily catch up to them gameplay-wise).
    • In a cutscene in Radiant Dawn, Shinon is seen shooting a bow from a tree at a ridiculous range and severing a rope, yet he can still only shoot three squares away from himself.
      • In the same cutscene, Ike kills four mooks with a single swing of his sword. In gameplay, it's impossible to attack more than one enemy at a time. He also doesn't seem to be hindered at all by having to fight while carrying Lucia, despite the equivalent command imposing heavy stat penalties.
    • Fire Emblem: Awakening:
      • The game begins in a Flash Forward moment with Chrom and the Avatar charging at Validar who effortlessly dodges and blocks Chrom's attacks, as well as the Avatar's magic bolts. He follows up in the moment by teleporting up in the air and unleashing a dark power wave that immobilizes the duo, then scoffs at them. During actual gameplay, this villain's defensive and avoid stats are horrible, and at the highest difficulty he'd blow roughly 40% of the heroes' health before they defeat him. He waits until his defeat in the next cutscene to brainwash the Avatar and force him/her to kill Chrom.
      • Don't try to recreate the Chrom vs. Marth cutscene in Chapter 4, since Marth has a much better weapon and a higher speed stat. Chrom doesn't stand much of a chance without any team support.
      • Just before Chapter 9 starts, a cutscene plays where Flavia snipes Emmeryn's executioner with a throwing axe. She's on the ground, and he's several dozen feet up in the air, at least. In actual game play, ranged weapons can only hit up to two squares away from the unit at most.
    • In Fates, Laslow joins on the Conquest path by pulling a Big Damn Heroes and holding off Ryoma, the ultra-badass samurai prince of Hoshido, single-handedly. It's not advised that you try and re-create this in the actual chapter's battle, since Laslow is only a mid-level Mercenary and Ryoma will tear him to shreds.
    • In Three Houses, Those Who Slither in the Dark and their allies can teleport in and out of any location, but only in cutscenes. Thales in particular demonstrates the ability to sense and interrupt Divine Pulse, which he uses to prevent Byleth from saving Jeralt's life. However, when it comes time to fight Thales, you can use Divine Pulse all you want and he can do nothing about it.
  • In Super Robot Wars, In the cutscene-like moments that happen before or during a battle, mecha are often shown moving or shooting much further than they can in the game. By contrast, many of the cutscenes that show the attacks made in battle are often more deadly-looking than they are in effect. To Humongous Mecha, it seems, being cut in half is only a minor inconvenience.
    • In Super Robot Wars W, Genesic Gaogaigar destroys Palparepa Pranja in a cutscene... with an attack that does 99999 damage. The damage cap for attacks is 65536.
  • During Monomachus's Last Stand in Tears to Tiara 2, he plows through a huge bunch of mooks, 1hkos all of them, and takes down a kraken all by himself before collapsing. In comparison, as he uses a spear, his attack in game is on the lower end for melee members, and no one's going to be soloing a kraken.

    Turn Based Tactics 
  • Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis shows the Sacred Spear firing bolts of energy in a cutscene. It cannot do this when you obtain it, however it could be chalked up to Unreliable Narrator, or simply justified as the spear losing power over time. (It still does, however, perform its main function... Breaking Shaher's barrier.
  • In Valkyria Chronicles II, the impressive V2 units are tough nuts to crack on the field, and always a priority target, but with certain captured weapons and taking down their weakly armoured supply APCs a prepared played can drop an entire field's worth in a turn or two. In the Cutscenes, however, while their power level displayed is par for the gameplay, characters react to them as if they were indestructible death machines that single-handedly wipe out entire enemy forces, and perhaps most baffling of all, question if the V2s are actually mortal at all, despite having not only faced, and felled, dozens of them already, even discounting replaying maps for grinding!
  • X-COM: UFO Defense:
    • The opening animation shows X-COM soldiers routing Mutons with your starting rifles and miniguns in mid-air after jumping out of the Skyranger. Try fighting Mutons with those weapons in the actual game, and you'll get your ass kicked!
    • Shaojie Zhang one-shots a Sectoid with a pistol in his introduction scene. Then he throws away the gun to join the X-COM squad as an unarmed VIP who needs to be escorted to safety.

    Tabletop Games 
  • While there aren’t exactly cutscenes in this medium, sometimes G Ms will forgo rolls and simply describe events for the sake of the narrative. Success and failure become guaranteed, fulfilling the spirit of this trope.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • In Destroy All Humans!, Crypto's weapons are clearly stronger, what usually takes many shots to take down will only take one in a cut scene. Also where Crypto's Jet Pack will only give a brief high jump, Crypto can fly will this in the cut scenes .
    • In the second game, during a cut scene Cryto is lowering Natalya down into the volcano lair with his telekinesis while using his jet pack. He isn't able to do this in game until the 3rd game.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. No matter how low C.J.'s very relevant stats are, if you make the corona over the hitman's plane, he can now defy the laws of physics and leap from one plane to another and somehow get inside.
  • In inFAMOUS 2, it usually takes a lot of firepower to take down a helicopter. However, in a cutscene Cole is able to nearly destroy a helicopter with a single shock grenade.
    • In the cutscene where Alex Mercer gains his Armour power, the transformation comes with an effect that throws the Infected piling up on him away. Would it have made the game intolerably easy to let us players do that too?
    • The opening cutscene for a new game. Claw power simultaneously with a Blackwatch commander's disguise. Blocking a grenade launcher shot with the Blade power. Both unavailable during gameplay. This becomes a gameplay element in [PROTOTYPE 2]; Heller can not only block rocket shots (using shields), but he can actually bounce them back at the person who fires them.
  • In [PROTOTYPE 2], Heller shoots tendrils out and absorbs all of the Infected after consuming Mercer. You can not do this in gameplay.
  • In the intro movie of Vangers, the puniest of the regular battle cars fires a high-end weapon that wouldn't even fit on that car in-game!
  • In Way of the Samurai 4, firearms are among the weakest weapons in the game in terms of offensive strength. Despite them being capable of slowly killing an enemy without them reaching you, they lack any real damaging techniques, while swords are able to instantly kill an enemy in one attack. However, when someone wields a firearm during a cutscene, expect another character to be at least heavily injured or, in worse cases, even killed. On the other hand, Kogure is seen deflecting bullets with his katana, while bullets are considered to be unblockable in gameplay.

     Non-Video Game Examples 
Tabletop Game
  • The box art for both HeroQuest and Space Crusade, the closest thing such games can have to cutscenes: In the HeroQuest one, the heroes are fighting a huge roomful of monsters at one, something they would be unlikely to be able to handle, and, apparently, still find the time to fight each other too. In the Space Crusade one, the Space Marines are fighting Genestealers and the Destructor with nothing but Bolters — they'd be reduced to a wet patch on the ground within a minute, especially considering Destructor's defences are too high for Bolters to hurt it even in principle.

Web Comics

  • In the El Goonish Shive NP story "Parable", Susan (who knows she's currently in a video game parody) realises she's in a cut-scene when she's prevented from fighting the way she prefers to. When this inspires Rhoda to pick up a huge hammer, Susan snarkily comments, "She's about to do an amazing super-move she's never going to use again, isn't she."
  • In RPG World, Eikre introduces himself by insta-killing a monster with an ability called Top Cut. Once he actually joins the party and Hero asks him to use Top Cut again, Eikre refuses and explains that he "just doesn't do" that ability anymore.


Video Example(s):


"No need. Rakshasa Onslaught!"

In "The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III," as your party enters the Juno Naval Fortress, they find themselves facing a powerful cryptid monster, one that they had already struggled to defeat previously. Rean readies to split them into attack and support teams, but Thors Branch Campus Principal Aurelia le Guin steps forward and one-shots it. "No need. Rakshasa Onslaught!"

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / CutscenePowerToTheMax

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