Follow TV Tropes


Disc-One Nuke

Go To

A minor form of munchkining, wherein a player exploits the ability to gain a powerful item, weapon, ability, Mon, or character early in the game. This allows the player to rush through the first (potentially tedious) parts of the game without major challenges. There are a few ways this can happen:

  • Item Farming or using Video Game Stealing to acquire a powerful Random Drop from a foe. May involve Save Scumming if there is only a fixed number of that type of foe and they aren't guaranteed to drop the item. Even if you don't want to/cannot use the dropped item, it can often be sold for a nuke-level fortune.
  • Advertisement:
  • Find a way to defeat a Beef Gate which is not supposed to be beatable at such an early point. Often drops powerful/valuable items, money, or tons of experience to power you up. (May involve the use of an Outside-the-Box Tactic strategy, a Useless Useful Spell which is particularly effective against this foe, an otherwise impractical ability, something not intended for this use, or simply lots of effort and luck.)
  • Excessive Level Grinding, particularly if there is an early game Peninsula of Power Leveling. Either your leveled up characters/Mons become the nuke, or they allow access to it (such as Level-Locked Loot or a higher-level ability).
  • An Easy Level Trick to complete a challenge designed for higher-level characters, earning you commensurate rewards which serve as the "nuke".
  • Abuse a game's Item Crafting mode. In many cases, this involves using seemingly useless item(s) to craft a rare item either to sell or use.
  • Advertisement:
  • Grind early game sources of (typically low) prize/reward money such as mini-games or repeatable quests in order to purchase what is supposed to be Teaser Equipment or items behind a Cash Gate.
  • Steal equipment from a temporary party member. (Essentially So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear in reverse.)
  • Pushing a Crutch Character into an early powerhouse, potentially in some form of Crippling Overspecialization.
  • Applying an Elite Tweak or Min Maxers Delight to give someone or something a major early boost.
  • Being given a Taste of Power or something Awesome, but Temporary, and then finding a way to keep it permanently.
  • Simply knowing where to look in order to find a hidden powerful/valuable item.
  • Having the creator "encourage" buying a previous game to automatically obtain that item from the previous game.
  • Advertisement:
  • Acquiring powerful DLC items/abilities/Mons, which are sometimes available for free from the very start of the game.

It should be noted that many of these options can be used in tandem depending on the nature of the game. For example, a rare item drop can be used to item craft a niche weapon to be used in another area where it is particularly effective against the local enemies for easy grinding.

More dishonestly, you can outright cheat (such as using the various popular "all items" Cheat Codes) or make use of exploits/glitches. Note that these carry the danger of ruining your save file by, for example, screwing with Event Flags.

Depending on the game, this may be a form of Sequence Breaking, since many adventure games rely on the logical order of obtainable equipment or abilities (to reach the boss you need the grappling hook, found across the lake for which you need the flippers, found behind the boulder for which you need the bombs, etc. all the way back to you at the very beginning with nothing but your wooden stick sword and good intentions) to maintain the game's geographical and plot linearity. The "Breaking" part of the term is a deliberate cautionary word choice, since doing this in some titles can cause the game to crash entirely and necessitate a complete restart, sometimes many hours of play after the sequence is initially broken.

Distinct from a Game-Breaker in that it's usually not enough to carry you through the entire game, although the two can overlap.

New Game+ is a form of this that requires you to complete the game without it first. Twinking is when you do this by using a high-level character to feed loot to a low-level one.

Compare Magikarp Power, where the subject is weak early on but becomes much stronger later. Last Disc Magic is the inverse of this.


    open/close all folders 

    Action Adventure 
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • From the original game:
      • Both quests:
      • For newcomers who are unacquainted with how to find everything, the Boomerang is a big boon to have, and it can be found in the first dungeon. It requires no ammo, it has a long range and it can stun any enemy except for the bosses, either letting you evade them easier or giving you a free shot at attacking them (especially useful if you're at full health and are thus able to use the Sword Beam), which is very, very helpful in a game with a lot of close quarter combat. It also kills minor mooks like Keese as a bonus. On the second quest, it is immediately found in the room on the right after killing 5 red Goriyas.
      • Bombs. Can be received at anytime in the game. Giant radius of damage. Does the same amount of damage as the Magical Sword. Several walls can break for shortcuts. The only thing stopping this from being a game breaker is the limited amount of supplies.
      • The First Quest can be done in the order it is placed (minus Level 6 which is often played last before 9), so most of the following would be more Awesome, but Impractical due to the difficulty required to get some of those items:
      • The Bow and Arrow in Level 1. If you are stacked with rupees, this will make your life much easier in the case you are not in full health at any point in the game to shoot sword beams.
      • If you know where to look, are somewhat good at evasion, and willing to grind Rupees for a few minutes, it is possible to get three of the five overworld Container Hearts and therefore the White Sword, and the Blue Ring before entering the very first dungeon in the first quest. The three extra hearts and the White Sword can easily be gotten quickly and will allow you to breeze through at least the first half of the game, but the ring is very expensive at 250 Rupees (five away from the maximum) and thus requires more time spent finding hidden rooms in the overworld for larger caches of Rupees if you want to buy it quickly (and without savescumming or Rupee-farming), but it is also a major boon to have itself. (You can also manipulate the money-making game with Save Scumming, which will greatly cut down on the time necessary to farm Rupees).
      • The Magical Rod in Level 6 without any other items than bombs. Good luck with a room where you are required to defeat Wizzrobes and Like-Likes, but this will make the 1st half easy in case you don't want to to exhaust rupees for the Bow and Arrow.
      • The Magical Key in Level 8. Get the bow in Level 1. Good luck dealing with Blue Darknuts and Blue Gohmas, but you don't have to cash in rupees for keys.
      • The Second Quest's difficulty inconsistencies make this a must to do in this particular order:
      • The Ladder in Level 6 can be collected very early by just having the Recorder. You do not have to defeat any of the wizzrobes in 3 rooms to achieve this, but you just have to be very careful approaching. Most players would go for this after completing the first 3 dungeons, have 9 hearts health, the Blue Ring, Magical Shield, and Water of Life stocked. The ladder in this quest will be used much more than the first quest for sure, and sure will make this a blessing to tackle...
      • Level 8's big 3: The Magical Key, Wand, and Bomb Upgrade. Doing the above for he ladder is required. This dungeon doesn't feature any enemies harder than Blue Goriyas, this quest's revamped Stalfos, and Digdogger. Those 3 things would make the second half of the game a LOT easier than just doing them in the order designed.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past:
      • A minor Sequence Break allows you to easily get the Magic Cape, which gives Link invisibility (and by extension, invincibility and the ability to phase through large bumpers found in some caves and dungeons). To get it, you just need to go to a certain grave in the Dark World (inaccessible in the Light World until late in the game) and warp to Light World to enter a secret passage.
      • You can get the second-strongest sword as soon as you get the Hammer, an item from the first Dark World dungeon. Along with the Mirror, it can be used to rush into the fourth Dark World dungeon, grab the upgraded Glove, save the blacksmith south of the town early, and get your sword upgraded. This upgraded sword lets you kill the second Dark World dungeon boss in two hits.
      • The Ice Rod is an optional item that is usually obtained much later in the game. However, as soon as you obtain bombs (basically the instant you leave the Sanctuary, the game's tutorial zone) you can make a somewhat dangerous trek to the southeastern corner of the map, blow up one wall, and get the Rod early. It will go through your early magic meter at an alarming rate, but it does ludicrous amounts of damage, allowing you to two-shot the second dungeon's bosses.
    • A Link Between Worlds has the upgraded Fire Rod. Deals as much damage as the Master Sword? Check. Can hit enemies multiple times? Check. The pillar of fire can travel up and down stairs and even be thrown at targets lower than you? Check. Big area of effect and travels a whole screen's length, and will keep hugging a wall if it hits it at an angle? Check. Easy on the magic meter? Check. Available before you enter Lorule for a modest amount of Rupees and a few Maiamais? Checked to hell and back.
    • A glitch from The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening allows the player to grab the final dungeon's weapon, the Fire Rod, at the very beginning of the game. Also, using the select-button warp trick in one room of the cave to the mushroom allows Link to enter a glitched part of Level 7 Eagle's Tower to get Level 3's power bracelet, then move over - then back, one can grab Level 7's upgraded Power Bracelet - which allows Link to go through several areas much sooner then he's supposed to and thus gain enough heart pieces/usable items/etc. to make many early boss fights much easier than they should be.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time:
      • The very first item you'll get in the game is the Deku Stick, which has longer reach, the damage output of the Master Sword, and can be used with Jump Attacks for four times the damage output of your Kokiri Sword. Even with the drawback that they break each time you use one they are readily available, and a very easy glitchnote  will render them unbreakable.
      • You can get the Biggoron's Sword within an hour or two of becoming Adult Link. While it does force you to sacrifice your shielding ability, it's twice as powerful as the Master Sword, has better reach, and is more useful in most situations.
    • Majora's Mask:
      • The Bunny Hood and the Blast Mask, both of which can be easily obtained in the same day cycle as soon as you're able to leave Clock Town. The former increases your speed by 1.5X and the latter amounts to a cost-free (if you use your shield) infinite supply of bombs. These two items make the first dungeon laughably easy, and will continue to be useful throughout the entire game.
      • That said, with dedication and without cheating (so no Good Bad Bugs) it's possible to have six full hearts, the Adult's Wallet, the Big Bomb Bag, and a handful of masks (Most importantly the aforementioned Blast Mask and Bunny Hood) without even setting foot in the first dungeon. With glitches, it's fairly easy to bypass the fence blocking the Great Bay and get the Zora Mask and Hookshot, which in turn grant access to even more items, before even beginning the main quest.
      • Before starting the second dungeon you can take a little detour to Ikana Valley with the Lens of Truth and obtain the Stone Mask, which makes all enemies ignore you and makes dungeons and especially the Pirate's Fortress much easier.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild:
      • The Champion's Tunic. In terms of raw defense, it's the most powerful piece of armor in the gamenote , and it's very easy to find it very early in the game since, despite being an open world game, the main storyline heavily nudges you into it. Plus, it's also pretty easy to max out if you know what you're doing, at which point the vast majority of enemies will barely damage you at all. Not even at the end of the game, if you combine it with... any other piece of armor.
      • The DLC Phantom Armor utterly breaks the early game, even on Master Mode. It's obtainable as soon as you leave the Great Plateau. Each piece has 8 armor, 24 when the entire set is worn, which is absolutely massive at the beginning of the game. It also has the same set bonus as the (considerably harder to obtain) Barbarian set: +50% damage dealt. The only downside is it can't be upgraded, but by the time you're far enough in the game for that to become a problem you can just replace it with one of the endgame sets.
  • Castlevania:
    • Aria of Sorrow:
      • The Winged Skeleton Soul is often overlooked because it's the soul that you start with. In fact it is quite powerful and can be used to take out the first boss by itself in just seven uses without doing any grinding whatsoever. The downward trajectory is useful in taking out enemies below you and the spear does more damage as it sticks to the ground. While it takes some practice to aim, it's actually very possible to beat the game without ever switching out your bullet soul.
      • The Creaking Skull soul has a 2% chance of being dropped by the first boss, but if you manage to get it, it's a very useful shoulder attack soul for the entirety of the game. Even if you don't get it at the beginning of the game, you can still farm for it later and it never stops being useful for adding extra damage to your DPS for very little MP requirement.
      • With one of three possible soul combinations, it is possible to acquire by far two of the most powerful equips in the game as early as the midpoint: the giant sword Claimh Solais, which has both incredible reach and speed, a high attack rating and is holy attribute, making it effective against most enemies, and 2) the Eversing Armor. Additionally, grinding for one of those monsters' souls (Curly) can be done in the same room as the Valkyrie soul, which is expensive on MP but disgustingly powerful and one of the few forms of holy damage aside from the Claimh Solais itself. In yet another example, the Mystelain is one of the other holy swords, and while it's nowhere near as good as the Solais, it can be found in a secret room in the Clock Tower, which is a fair bit before that weapon. Again, it's the holy damage that's key, and it's very useful against Death, the boss of the tower.
      • Also to note is the Lightning Doll, whose soul grants the Plasma Blast ability, that can strike multiple enemies multiple times per shot. It uses a costly 46 MP but grants such insane damage output that it's actually very cost effective: draining your MP bar hurling these blasts will do much more damage to a boss than draining your MP bar to throw anything else at it. The attack can be learned as early as the Clock Tower, which thanks to a minor Sequence Break can be reached as soon as you earn the Double Jump ability.
      • The aforementioned Plasma Blast is lightning-element, which all the various "armor" enemies are weak to. Including the massive Great Armor encountered right before you battle Death, who dies in three hits from it, yields whopping amounts of experience, and can drop a Great Sword and Iron Plate which will give you quite the attack and defense boost for the next portion of the game. The torches on either side of the armor also always drop large hearts, allowing you to also keep your MP charged while repeatedly killing said armors.
      • The Whip Sword can be acquired as soon as you reach the Study by carefully using the backdash ability. Its attack is a modest 16, but its massive range will make it useful for grinding and fighting dangerous enemies for much of the game.
      • If you manage to get a Baselard drop from a zombie in the very first hallway, or a Hammer drop from a Bomber Armor in the hallway before Manticore, you're going to have a much easier time until you find the Lance.
      • The Buer Soul is very easy to farm and activating it will cause a circle of flames to swirl around Soma dealing minor fire damage. The ability costs next to nothing to keep active and the extra DPS is definitely worth keeping it active.
    • Dawn Of Sorrow:
      • The Mandragora soul throws a shrieking mandragora into the middle of the screen, which explodes like the enemy does. It can be obtained pretty early if you're willing to grind for it, costs little MP, has very good range, and does quite a lot of damage and remains useful for most, if not all of the game.
      • The Bhuj can be acquired before fighting Balore, and can actually be taken all the way to the end of the game. It's an Axe that has slow speed but makes up for it with a much higher raw attack power than you are expected to have up until much later in the game.

    • Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance:
      • The Holy Water combined with the Ice Book should be your go to method for the first few bosses (provided you skipped fighting the bat). All of them are grounded opponents and even if you run out of MP, the holy water itself will tear into the ground based bosses.
      • If you decide to fight the optional Minotaur Boss, you'll be rewarded with the book of Wind, which can be used very effectively with the Cross for utility. A group of crosses will circle around Juste and each cross will deal minor holy damage, but they will all hit 3 times before breaking. Overall you will do some serious damage with this move. Likewise, you can also use it in conjunction with the Bible, which will provide an attack similar to the Wind/Cross combo with the exception of the surrounding Bible force being a bit smaller, but it will deal more damage and instead of absorbing the attacks to break the spell, it will last on a set timer.

    • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night:
      • The Iron Shield/Shield Rod combo summons a full screen attack that deals massive damage, requires no random drops, can be obtained very early in the game, and can get you through the entire game with relative ease.
      • Jewel Knuckles. You're supposed to not get them until you've got the mist form, but there's a secret lift that appears if you wait a while in the room above it, allowing you to get them earlier. They have little range, but are quite strong.
      • With clever jumping a player can reach the Holy Rod as soon as they reach the Long Library. It's attack of 12 isn't all that special, but its Holy attribute, speed, hitbox, and hidden "special" move (Tap left, right, attack) will make it a devastating and attractive primary weapon for the entire first castle: even more attractive than the "stronger" (and well-hidden) Holy Sword found in the Coliseum.
      • Mastering the Holy Water early on also counts as this - the sooner you figure out how you can own bosses in seconds with it, the better.
      • Alucard's spells are this as well. Normally you're supposed to wait until you purchase the button commands from the Master Librarian to use them, but if you just happen to know the button command (or look up a walkthrough online) you can cast it and have it added to your menu right at the beginning of the game. Soul Steal (hits every enemy, breakable object, and even projectile on the screen multiple times and each hit restores 8 HP) breaks the first half of the game wide-open.
  • Just before going to Kyoto the first time in Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams, you'll have access to Roberto, whose unique ability is to move heavy objects, and Jubei, whose small size lets her maneuver in tight spaces, such as holes and narrow walkways. Backtracking to the first area of the game (The Plains Highway), you can now use these characters to create shortcuts through the area. This gives you access to a room with a Test of Valor/Secret Mission in which you must kill 100 enemies. Getting a Gold Ranking rewards you with the Red Bell, an accessory that makes enemies drop more red souls (which levels up your weapon and armor). You can repeat this mission as much as you want - and you will be overflowing with enough red souls to max out the weapons you can have at this point and build up your armor (as leveling up increases your number of accessory slots), which includes the Onimaru, if you have it. Subsequent rewards for Gold Ranking is the Sweet Herb, a fairly uncommon material that can be used to make strong healing items. All of this makes later stages like the Oni Mansion much easier to handle.
    • In Satta Pass/Fortress of Suruga, there's a door near Jubei's starting point (when you first entered the stage) with a number lock that normally you cannot get the clue to open it until the last quarter of the game. If you spare the time to fiddle with combinations (it's always a fixed number), you can unlock the door and get a Rare Antler, which can be used to make powerful equipment, such as the Blue Bell.
  • In Mega Man Legends the second you've dealt with the attack on City Hall you can head to town and find the Blumebear Parts, then into the Cardon Forest ruins to grab the Cannon Parts and some money. These will make the Machine Buster, a laughably weak rapid fire weapon, and the Powered Buster, which is effectively a rocket launcher. Though it'll take you a couple of hours grinding, you can fully enhance both of these weapons to yield a pair of deadly Hand Cannons with insane range and ammunition: The Machine Buster will destroy The Marlwolf so quickly that the dialogue will glitch out and mow down every boss up until Bruno in mere minutes, and the Powered Buster will one-shot pretty much any fool Reaverbot that dares to enter your field of vision. Then once you can reach Uptown you can find all the parts to make the Vacuum Arm which is very cheap to fully upgrade and, at the cost of a secondary weapon, allows you to instantly collect every Zenny and health powerup on the ground no matter how far away. This will make grinding and gathering health so easy it's actually worth foregoing a secondary weapon for the rest of the game.
  • Mega Man Legends 2 has two, one weapon and one glitch:
    • Again, the Machine Buster can be found as soon as you reach the Sulphur Bottom and can be fully upgraded around 250,000 Zenny, which can be quickly acquired on Forbidden Island. It will eventually be outclassed by better weapons (even your buster gun), but will make the first half of the game a breeze and is invaluable during the notoriously difficult battles against Glyde's pirates owing to it's range and quick recharge speed.
    • The Rapid-Fire Glitch, easily performed by locking onto an enemy and tapping forward while holding the fire button, allows you to fire as fast as you can tap forward. Though useful throughout the game, many early enemies are slow-moving Damage Sponges which can be quickly and easily destroyed using this. It also allows you to treat your buster's rapid attribute as a Dump Stat and focus more heavily on attack and energy in the early game when buster parts are much weaker.
  • Boktai has the Luna Lens, which uses no energy but also can't stun or damage enemies, limiting it's usage to flipping switches and distracting enemies. However, it is possible to level the lens up by using sunbeams, fire traps, and grenades to kill enemies, and leveling it up can easily be done before even entering Bloodrust Mansion. At level three the lens gains the ability to stun enemies, giving you an infinite ammo offensive weapon that will be invaluable for the early parts of the game where you have very little battery life.
  • Boktai 2 has quite a few examples:
    • The Solar Forge is a Disk One Nuke goldmine. Merging two level 1 swords yields a level 2 sword, two level 2s yields a level 3, etc. If you have a lot of time to kill to grind some cash and are good enough at forging, you can buy a buttload of Gradius', Short Spears, and Clubs to go charging through the second dungeon with a +15 Murasama, White Queen, or Daybreak.
    • A very easy Sequence Break allows you to access the Bonus Dungeon after the second dungeon rather than the second to final one. You're not supposed to go to Dream Avenue until you have the gun back, but it can be accessed much earlier by purchasing Coffin Monster Elephan which comes with a built-in projectile attack. With a bit of luck and patience you'll level up 7 or 8 times on your first trek through and come out with weapons that are much stronger than the ones the Devs meant for you to have at that point. Most notably this supplies some handy weaponry for the aforementioned solar forge.
    • Foregoing armor will turn you into a Fragile Glass Cannon, since your movement speed is based on your speed stat minus the weight of your armor. While it does mean you'll die in a couple hits, it also makes it near impossible for enemies to hit you at all and will give you a massive advantage in the early game since most attacks are easily dodgeable. This remains a viable tactic until late game when you find the Fairy Robe or Earth Robe which give decent defense for next to no weight.
    • Your unarmed punch attack. Short range, yes, low damage, yes, no recovery time, yes. You can throw punches as fast as you can mash the button, so if you spend some time grinding your unarmed skill to 99 it can demolish even the toughest enemies in seconds.
  • Boktai 3 has the La Vie En Rose, obtainable as soon as you finish the Noob Cave and reach the town. By purposely welshing on a Dark Loans debt and having to be "punished" for it three times, Doomie thinks you're doing it because you love her and gives you the sword. It will remain a useful weapon throughout, as it's unbreakable and powers up as you level up, but will be an invaluable crutch weapon for the first couple of dungeons. Particularly against the obnoxious Hresvelgr.
  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has the Gale Crawler, a wind-type attack that sends a shockwave across the ground that hits every enemy in its path for good damage and can be thrown for a paltry 12 MP. It can be obtained and leveled up to Rank Six by farming Aellos, which drop the shard itself and the item needed to upgrade it that far, before even entering the castle. This attack will be instrumental in taking down Sabnocs and Blood Grinder Nights, who would otherwise be Beef Gates and who drop longswords and scale armors which are decent equips for this point in the game, and it's also a useful attack against the rude awakening that is Zangetsu.
  • The Mummy Demastered:
    • The flamethrower is the first weapon you get that actually inflicts decent damage on most enemies, as well as inflicting outright ludicrous damage on bosses. To make matters better ammunition for the weapon is very plentiful allowing for you to rely on it as a primary weapon fairly often, or even all the time if you're a little more frugal with it. In short, this Video Game Flamethrower Does Not Suck. Its only drawback is it has very short range, but since most combat in the game is close-range anyways this won't set you back much, and even in spite of this the game becomes noticably easier once you find it.
    • While it's more of a Disk Two Nuke, a little bit of a sidetrack mid-game will earn you the Mercury Harpoon, a slow-rate-of-fire weapon that will kill most enemies in one shot, and if not a guaranteed two shots. Suddenly the flaming skulls and the zombified knights aren't so scary anymore. The only drawback is the weapon is uncharacteristically weak against bosses, but of course, you have your trusty flamethrower for them: carrying these two weapons in tandem will carry you through the game until the Mercury Harpoon is replaced by the late-game Plasma Cannon that, while weaker, utterly dominates enemies with its ability to penetrate walls and targets alike.

    Action Game 
  • In God of War, an exploit involving the tutorial for using the Medusa's Head magic, the XP bonuses given by the combo system, and the Poseidon's Rage magic you get on the first level allows you to potentially stockpile enough experience to instantly max out the levels of every new spell you acquire the instant you get it, along with the gear you have at that point.
  • In the next-gen version of Spider-Man 3, the player can unlock all the webswing speed upgrades by completing races even before completing the second story mission.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and its remake feature a few:
    • Jafar's Enemy Card prevents cards you use from being broken, even by zero cards. This extends to sleights, meaning you can use low-value sleights like Ars Arcanaum to your heart's content.
    • The Maleficent Enemy Card (increases damage for the next 30 attacks at the cost of deck reload speed) is obtained extremely early in Reverse/Rebirth since Maleficent is the first boss of that mode. Because Reverse/Rebirth doesn't have the card reload speed mechanic of the main story and all Enemy Cards are permanently part of your deck after being obtained instead of taking up the limited deck space, the Maleficent card can be used from the get-go without any real penalty.
  • Early on in the original Devil May Cry, at the start of the 4th mission ("Black Knight"), Dante is pursued by Phantom. Dante can either run away to another room to avoid fighting—however if you managed to purchase the 'Air Raid' attack, it can deal a large amount of damage to the boss, and defeating it will usually yield a lot of Red Orbs at that point in the game. You can save, and then quit the game, reload, and you can repeat this process and eventually have all of Alastor's skills, an improved health and magic (devil trigger) meter before you even leave the castle.
  • About halfway through the first chapter of Metal Gear Rising, Raiden will find himself near a factory with an old Ferris wheel nearby. There is a ranked fight and a box on the opposite side of the wheel that needs Blade Mode to open. The blade mode box always contains a Holo-Chip worth 5,000 BP, and A-Ranking or S-Ranking the battle will yield 4,000-6,500 BP. You can win the fight, grab the chip and save (Courtney or the Customize menu), and when you restart from the last checkpoint, Raiden will be standing near the wheel, fully healed, all item boxes reset (including the blade mode box) and be able to redo the battle. You can repeat this to earn a lot of money/points, handy for buying all possible moves for the HF Blade, equipment/health/energy upgrades, and the DLC skins, if you have them accessible.
  • Monster Hunter Generations has the "BujaBujaBu" armor set. By collecting parts from common small monsters and the Warm-Up Boss, and a handful of things from the environment, a mixed armor set can be created that gives Attack Up L at the very start of the game. Due to how damage scaling works, a flat +20 to base attack makes the player do much more damage than expected, allowing them to blow through Low Rank much more easily. It's less useful in High Rank and beyond as the set's defense doesn't really keep up, but it'll get you there in record time.

    Beat Em Up 
  • Scott Pilgrim Vs The World
    • If you keep going through the first level of the game, you'll eventually have enough money to buy tonnes of upgrades from the shops in the first level. In particular though, if you stockpile the money to a ridiculous amount (just over $500, a lot in a game where most enemies have at most $1.50 on them), you can go to the video store, pay off Scott's late fees, and buy some pretty broken things: they sell extra lives, 1,500 XP, and +10 to all 4 of your stats for only $4.95 each!
    • There's also a hidden shop on level one that has some items that give ungodly boosts to your stats without having to pay 500 bucks first. There's also a secret passage that you can reach that is filled with flying piggy banks that you can break for cash. Combined, you can attain high levels with ease. Of course, the shop's location is revealed in one of the trailers that promoted the game, so anyone who was watching the game before it came out would know exactly where it was. Look for stars.
    • There's a cheat that lets you commit suicide and spawn $50 at your death. However, if you have a snack with you, you won't lose a life because the snack will Auto-Revive you. Since you can buy snacks once you get halfway through the first stage and reach the shopping district, you can break the game almost immediately by buying the cheapest snack with the money you no doubt have accumulated over the course of the first half of the level, and since you get roughly $50 at your death, you'll definitely have the funds to buy another snack and repeat the process to get the money necessary to abuse both of the aforementioned shops.
    • There's a cheat that gives you The Power of Love (the sword with a heart handle that you find near the end of the game) at the start of every level. If you use the infinite money to get to a high-enough level that you can use the Grand Slam move (swinging any held item 3 times in succession) and level up your strength (allowing you to swing held items faster), you can then steamroll through the game.
  • Double Dragon:
    • In the NES version, the player can level-grind his way through the first few fight scenes alone by simply spamming the same basic punches and kicks on enemies. This is due the fact that the player gains experience points, not by defeating enemies, but by landing attacks. Since enemies aren't killed until they're knocked down to the ground, it's possible to attack an enemy as long as possible while they're still standing up.
    • There's also a glitch in level 2 that let's you erase an enemy from the screen by back-tracking. However, if you stand where he was and punch, the game will register it as a hit and you'll gain experience. It's possible to have max experience and all the available techniques in about 2 minutes.
  • In Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King from EA, a smart player will focus their skill points towards the purchase of the counter-kill "Bane" abilities, which is ridiculously easy to pull off and puts the character into Perfect Mode on a successful execution, making all resulting kills in that brief period "Perfect" kills, earning the player far more experience points.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • A number of cards exist which allow you to play stronger cards on much earlier turns than you normally would be able. Examples include Tolarian Academy, Sol Ring, and Black Lotus. Most of these cards are now on the banned list for this reason.
    • Some 1-mana cost cards and 0 mana cost cards, espeically in Black and Red colors, give you this for major early turn advantage. They do this by either providing you a creature with ridiculous stats for the low cost (Such as Vexing Devil or Kird Ape) or an effect that normally would cost much more (such as Sign in Blood). While they usually come with some sort of drawback to not make the completely overpowered, once they hit the field they are no different than any other late-game creatures or spells you can play for a higher cost (and no other drawbacks). Hence why these type of decks need to win as fast as possible; as soon as the game progresses past "disc one", they're as good as dead. Fortunately, with the right set up, they can win quite easily before then (hence the "nuke").
  • Daily Life With Monster Girl Online does this intentionally by giving you Miia as your very first character. She's significantly weaker than other characters of similar rarity, but she's strong enough to carry you through most of the early game maps until you get stronger characters from the gacha.

    Driving Game 
  • In Gran Turismo 4, you can import cash from your GT3 save, up to 100,000 credits. With that sort of cash, you can buy a car that will storm all of the opening races without breaking a sweat. Or, you could get a decent car, work the licenses to an A grade, win the first rally and with a Cien, which will storm most races it can enter. Or, you could win the second rally and sell the car you win for a cool 250,000. Winning either of these rallies is easier than it sounds, as they are on tarmac and thus do not require dirt tires, an expensive option which shuts out most starters.
  • Gran Turismo 3 allowed you to do the Rally license tests without needing to complete the other license tests. This means that, provided you got the gold on all of the tests, you had access to the Subaru Impreza Rally Car Prototype, allowing you to plow through most of the early game races, as well as some mid-game and rally races, too.
    • Also in Gran Turismo 3, getting all golds in the National B license tests gives you the Mazda MX-5 LS, a pretty average car right? Well, when you get the International A license, you gain access to the Roadster Endurance event that requires a Mazda Roadster and lo and behold, you have the best one for the event! Winning this gives you a decent amount of cash for starting out, but the real prize is the 25% chance to get a formula one style car that can demolish any event it can enter all the way to the professional league.
  • Gran Turismo 2 has the Grand Touring Event Series. All of the 3 races. Every race rewards you a JGTC car and JGTC cars in this game are unrealistically fast. The last one, which requires a 550HP car to have a chance of winning, rewards you a JGTC Skyline, which has no restrictor plate and thus makes around 700 horsepower instead of the 493 horsepower (500 PS) limit in JGTC. And it's a 4x4.
    • Another great choice is the last race of the 80's Sports Car Cup. This race is fairly easy with a well-upgraded car around the HP limit for the race and awards you the Nissan Skyline Silhouette Formula, a race car capable of taking on any race that it can do with a bit of skill.
    • The license tests also give downright broken cars if you can get all golds on them. Such examples include:
      • The Spoon S2000, a great beginner car that, when upgraded, can handle a lot of early races.
      • The Dodge Copperhead Concept Car, while less powerful than the S2000, is light, nimble, and when racing modified, an absolute blast to drive.
      • The Mitsubishi FTO LM Edition, A great all-round racing car, capable of taking on the GT 300 championship and many other races.
      • The Toyota GT-One, An ridiculously powerful and nimble LMP car that can immediately take on events like the GT 500 championship, the Gran Turismo All-Stars event and even the Gran Turismo World Championship (if it was available at the start).
  • The 1989 Dynamix PC game Death Track allowed you to choose between three cars: Crusher (high firepower), Pitbull (heavy armor) and Hellcat (high speed). If you chose the high speed car, and in the shop sold a couple of the default weapons that came with the car, you could afford the fastest engine available, making you able to win all the first races by lapping everyone else. The frequent wins allowed you to fully upgrade your car early on, allowing you to beat the whole championship quite easily.
  • In Test Drive Unlimited, selling a car to a friend with high amounts of cash for an exorbitant sum allows one to buy advanced cars early on in the game, allowing you to smoke the competition using overwhelmingly fast cars.
  • In Need For Speed Most Wanted (the 2005 one), any of the Blacklist racers' cars. After beating one, you get two choices out of six markers, three of which are hidden. The markers are get out of jail free cards, extra impound strikes, various high-quality parts from the car shop, or the pink slip to the other racer's ride. Each of these cars is much faster than a) the same car bought from the dealership and upgraded to the same level and b) anything else you're going to find on the road. Often the car won't be unlocked for several more hours, and each car is more than powerful and agile enough to beat the next couple racers. Early on, this is crucial, because you'll be saving money on parts that you can use to keep your heat level down. Once you get the Lamborghini Murcielago, though, the game is essentially over barring a bit more level grinding with the police, as when fully upgrade it is faster than anything else, equaled only by the Infinity +1 Sword BMW M3 that this whole thing started over.
  • In Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, when you purchase the Metal Sonic DLC he's already at the highest possible level and has access to every mod including his Console Mod, which gives him low acceleration and turning for high speed and boost, making most A-class events a lot easier.

    Fighting Game 
  • In Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 2 for both Wii and PS2, you can get ALL the Dragon Balls as early as in Chapter 4 of the Saiyan Saga, provided you know where they respawn. You can wish again and again for very powerful Potaras, thus having absurd stats to plow through Story Mode (and others as well) with little effort. This is averted in Tenkaichi 3: Dragon Balls are now randomly found among the rubble in the Story Mode fights, as there is no world map anymore. Then again, they won't be of much use as Story Mode characters have prescripted equipment, all the Potara system was reworked so that you couldn't max more than 2 stats out of four total, health not included, the high-level Tournaments are difficult for the wrong reasons (damage carries over to the next fight) and your skills matter way more than stats when playing online.
  • In Soul Calibur III, you can begin unlocking various helpful weapons and characters/character parts/classes soon as you boot up the game - if you have a spare controller to enable use of Versus Mode. Many of the aforementioned stuff can be unlocked in multiple ways, the simplest is fighting X number of battles (both wins and losses are counted). All you have to do is make a custom fighter, go to Versus, and choose the character for both player and opponent (with player 2 at 0% health). Defeat the opponent 50 times (setting VS. matches to 1 helps) and all the weapon styles for that class is unlocked. You can repeat this for the other default classes and you'll also be unlocking other things along the way - it's possible to have the Edge or Calibur type weapons before even setting foot in Tales of Souls. This method also makes going through Chronicles of the Sword much easier.
  • Punch-Out!! on the Nintendo Wii takes pity on you and gives you a set of protective headgear that reduces all the damage you take if you lose 100 matches. Yes, the same set of headgear Glass Joe gets to wear after he loses his 100th match against you. Nothing other than your sense of pride, and perhaps your patience, is stopping you from just losing 100 matches on purpose to nuke the rest of the game (save for Last Stand mode, where it doesn't work).

    First Person Shooter 
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. has several.
    • Shadow of Chernobyl allows you to nab a mid-game armor with Night-Vision Goggles in the very first village with a bit of jumping skill, unique second-tier weapons often appear by the third area (usually in the hands of easily dispatched mooks), and by the time you unlock the Bar not a quarter into the game, nothing stops you from heading to the Army Warehouses, a reasonably quiet late-game area where Duty and Freedom kill each other in a scripted event, leaving you free to loot their bodies. In fact, doing a few low-effort missions for Freedom there allow the Marked one to net a valuable pump-action shotgun and the best suppressed weapons of the game (the AS Val and the VSS Vintorez) with barely any effort - it's just a matter of knowing who to talk to and what info to disclose.
      • Not to mention the enormous stash of 1000 armour-piercing 9x19mm rounds you can grab from some boxes in a watchtower at the Vehicle Graveyard. Barely a few minutes into the second major area and you can deal with just about any threat for the next quarter of the game with a basic SMG.
    • In Clear Sky you can find Scar's Vintorez near the top of the first area where he dropped it in the beginning cutscene, and while ammo is scarce for a while you can repair it for just an easy-to-make sum of 9000 rubles. You can exploit a clipping bug to steal an AK and scope from the CS mechanic, and the game practically throws high-end weapons at you constantly.
    • The way they did stashes in Call of Pripyat, though, takes the cake—they're more realistically hidden in cubby holes and other out-of-the-way places rather than randomly appearing in containers, but that means that once you know where they are you can go fetch game-breaking weapons and supplies pretty much the moment you start the game. From the exact beginning of Call of Pripyat, a player can find: the second-best shotgun in the game, a nice mid-tier assault rifle, the best scoped rifle in the game, the second-best pistol and an upgraded version of the beginner armour set for free, without even talking to anybody. Or firing a single bullet. Through Nimble (who is located at the very first hub of the game), however, a perspective player with some extensive artifact moneymaking can outfit himself with some of the best equipment in the game before he even begins the plot.
  • System Shock 2:
    • By abusing an exploit in the training rooms in the tutorial level, you can start the game proper with- among other things- a Laser Pistol in perfect condition, maintenance tools, an assortment of healing items, a Standard Pistol, and a PsiAmp. The weapons in perfect condition are the biggest boon, since it takes a while to fully upgrade the maintenance stat.
    • Additionally, you can unlock an armory very early on if you already know the code (which normally is given to you three levels later), gaining access to the game's best weapon before you could possibly have the skill to use it- but ensuring that you'll already have it whenever you do acquire the skill.
    • Further abuse of memorization provides early access to other keypad locks. You can skip the entire first level this way, not to mention large sections of other levels.
  • Borderlands:
    • In all games, the Random Number God charged with generating guns can net you some pretty neat stuff even early on, such as a Fulgurating (x4 elemental multiplier) submachine gun in the third game area visited, looted off a Skag refuse pile.
    • Gearbox's SH!FT service (which is an in-game code entry system) for Borderlands 2 allows the players to enter codes to get additional skins and Golden Keys. Currently, one can get 130 Golden Keys just by entering Golden Key Codes into the system, which usually aren't immensely powerful, but always allow the player to have a gun that's much more powerful than their current level.
    • In Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, if you have save data of the previous games, you start off with a unique Jakobs pistol and a Hyperion shotgun that are likely to be better weapons than the ones you start off with and can probably carry you for quite a while. In the case of DLC character Aurelia, being a wealthy Baroness means that she starts off with Purple-quality weapons and a large chunk of money that lets her get anything she wants from vending machines.
  • Metroid Prime, at least the original, non-Players' Choice version, allows you to cheat the system and get the Space Jump Boots right as you land on Tallon IV. As a result, you can skip every single boss in the initial run of the Chozo Ruins except for the Incinerator Drone. It also allows skilled players to skip right through the Magmoor Caverns without the Varia Suit, a feat considered impossible otherwise. Basically, once you land on Tallon IV, you can snag the SJBs, speedily grab the weapons and Energy Tanks, and be in the Magmoor Caverns faster than you can say "Metroid".
  • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes gives you the "taste of power" variety of disc one nuke, except normally it's stripped away from you when you go to the dark world for the first time. Using a glitch called Infinite Speed and a bit of Secret World trekking, you can skip losing your powerups entirely. Beware, triggering the cutscene where you lose your powerups after actually collecting an item causes you to lose everything you've collected to that point permanently.
  • Halo 4's Spartan Ops have a small-scale version of this in many chapters, if you have a lick of common sense. You can steal Wraths instead of destroying them. The developers did not plan for this, and so often, you'll have a plasma-firing tank when you are supposed to have two sticks and a rock, and you're got to share the rock. It makes stuff on Legendary possible without invoking We Have Reserves. Over time, they've wised up... and put in barriers you can easily get around if you're smart (break the wings off, normally).
  • The Ranger Pack DLC in Metro 2033, along with the Season Pass in Metro: Last Light, can make their respective games quite easy by giving the player access to ridiculously powerful weapons early in the game. The Ranger Pack bestows the Volt Driver, which can kill virtually anything short of a Librarian in one or two hits, as early as the second mission of 2033's Chapter 2, while both it and Last Light's Season Pass give the option to purchase the Heavy Automatic Shotgun. As the pages for both games state, "nothing that can be killed survives the entire belt".
  • In Last Light, you get to pick your choice of weapons and attachments from the Ranger armory in D6. At the end of the first mission, you get captured by Nazis and your weapons are taken away. On regular difficulties, you have to make do with looted enemy weapons upon your inevitable and prompt escape from captivity. In Ranger mode (now DLC only, unfortunately) you can find your weapons on a rack not long after starting your escape, letting you rock out with silenced assault rifles and silenced six-round shotguns when the human enemies are packing cobbled-together submachine guns and pistols. Of course, this being Ranger Mode, you're going to need the extra firepower.
  • Nosferatu: The Wrath of Malachi: There's a hidden revolver in the very first room of the first major section of the game the player is going to enter, long before you can save a family member that will give you a revolver.
  • In Shadow Warrior (1997), at the very start of the first level of the first episode, if you throw a shuriken at the gong in the locked room right behind you, you open a secret compartment behind a painting that contains a nuclear warhead. Meaning once you have the means to deliver it (rocket launcher), you can clear just about any room and down any non-boss enemy in one hit. It's worth noting that the first episode is shareware, and the retail-only weapons, while powerful in their own right, pale in comparison.

    Four X 
  • Ascendancy: Find a planet with xenoarcheological ruins? Drop a colony module right down next to the ruins, start digging them out, and on the day before the dig is complete, save. Advance a day, and if you discovered tech you don't like, reload and let the RNG give you something else. Doing this can net you the various nano-level technologies, maxing out your civilization's propulsion, weapons, energy generation and shielding systems, potentially before leaving your home star system.
  • Civilization:
    • In Civ IV, emphasize science and tech to rush Feudalism and unlock Longbowmen, a vicious defensive unit that can protect your cities well up until you unlock Riflemen. This is doubly true of any cities you founded on hill tiles.
    • China in Civ IV had the "Oracle Slingshot" by starting the Oracle wonder, but not quite completing it until after researching Archery and Metal Casting. This would unlock Machinery as a research option, and normally trying to research it would be prohibitively expensive until the player finished other pre-Medieval techs, but the Oracle grants a free technology as its wonder ability. Cue China running around with Chu-Ko-Nu when its neighbors haven't finished all the Ancient Era techs yet.
    • Persia in Civ V had a nasty way of snowballing, at least until the Golden Age mechanic was reworked. Rushing Bronze Working unlocks its unique Immortals, which heal faster than normal Spearmen, then Persia could declare war in hope of generating a Great General. This Great General could then be used to start a Golden Age, triggering Persia's unique ability and buffing its military, and any subsequent Great Generals could be used to extend that Golden Age.
    • The Shoshone in Civ V have the Pathfinder unit, which moves through terrain like a Scout, fights as well as a Warrior, and uniquely lets you choose the outcome of exploring the ancient ruins scattered across the map at the game's start. With luck a Shoshone player can get a tremendous head start on their rivals, by selecting free Settlers, technology, culture points, etc. over the less useful rewards of gold or maps that are among the normally-random rewards.
  • Master of Orion 2. There are a number of "special" systems which generally have some kind of reward for reaching them and a top quality planet to colonise. The catch is, they have a big space monster who will kill any interlopers. It seems expected that you need to build up a strongly armed ship or two in order to kill the monster. However, generally a fleet of about 10 scout sized ships armed with MIRV nuclear missiles can take them out - even if you lose most of your fleet in the process. This trick works because most of the monsters have only 1 or 2 extremely powerful attacks - each will easily kill a ship, but only one at a time. Doesn't work on hydras, the Guardian, or Antarans though, they have too many attacks.
  • Stellaris. If you have the Ancient Relics DLC and the map generates in your favor, it's possible to find an archaeology site that, when completed, rewards you with a Titan-class warship. The tech to unlock them and build for yourself usually doesn't become available until halfway through the mid-game.
  • X-Universe series:
    • In an early mission, X2: The Threat gives you temporary control of a fairly well-outfitted Argon Express. If, upon returning to Terracorp HQ, you sell off the shields and rear gun, you'll get over 200,000 credits, enough to fix up the stripped Argon Mercury you're about to be given and still have enough to make a decent trading run.
    • X3: Terran Conflict has many abandoned ships drifting a little off the beaten path that you can find, and either sell or use. Some of them, like the Advanced Barracuda, are powerful enough to last for large chunks of the game.
    • The Xtended Game Mod for Terran Conflict adds in the ability for NPC craft to cause each other to bail out in combat (previously exclusive to ships being attacked by the player). Normally one is just likely to find abandoned and heavily damaged Pirate scout ships that lost battles to the Border Control, but every once in a while you can find abandoned corvettes, station transporters, and capital ships. However, claiming corvettes and larger ships requires a special piece of software that costs a half a million credits, as much as a kitted-out interceptor.

    Hack And Slash 
  • The Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance series allows you to import character from other save files - even the character that you are currently playing. Abuse of this can enable a player to max out their character's levels and equipment as soon as they reach the town.
  • Diablo II:
    • The game allows you to trade between your characters online. One neat trick is to make Khalim's Will, which is usable by characters of any level (because it's a quest item) and provides obscene amounts of damage for most if not all characters below level 25 (when you acquire it, you're generally around level 21-24).
    • Enchant Skill, while normally a relatively useless sorceress skill that adds fire damage to a target's weapon, with incredible amounts of + skills, can get fire damage added up to somewhere between 3000 and 9000. It's still somewhat useless by the time you can get it there barring a very specific build. However, joining a normal game and giving that much damage to a character in normal mode essentially means anyone can go through the whole of normal one or two-shotting every monster with a regular short bow. To put it in perspective, Diablo only has about 14,000 HP on Normal (though fire resistance does factor in) and Baal, the boss of the expansion roughly twice that. The most a regular enemy has is about 3000. Makes early level grinding in Hardcore a breeze.
  • Similar to Diablo II's Khalim's Will, Titan Quest has the Sickle of Kronos. It's a white item, common, that is used by an NPC to free Typhon from his imprisonment shortly before the end of the pre-expansion game. Said NPC then becomes a boss who has a chance of dropping it. It's useless by that point in the game, but has no minimum equip requirements so can be sent to a new character. It doesn't hold up nearly as long as Khalim's Will, but proves devastating for the first leg of a new game.
    • The Deathweaver's Legtip is a rare drop weapon encountered early in Act 1. The combination of high attack speed, high damage, poison damage, and other bonuses mean it's possible to not find a better weapon until the middle of Act 3.
  • Hyrule Warriors has two weapons for Link (Epona and the spinner) and one for Zelda (the Dominion Rod) as Downloadable Content. The difference between these weapons and all others is that all three levels are unlocked once you download them, as opposed to needing to get the higher levels unlocked in Adventure Mode or Story Mode. Thus, they can be found any time a weapon spawns as a pickup. Should the second or third level get spawned (and as using a Link, Toon Link, or Zelda amiibo will spawn a level three weapon for that character if used, such spawns are easy to find), you'll get a powerful weapon to clear through early parts of the game very easily. DLC characters Twilight Midna, Young Link, and Tingle also come with all of their weapon levels unlocked and available as drops, but their use is restricted to Adventure Mode, so it's not as strong of an effect.
  • Fire Emblem Warriors has three of its downloadable characters: Azura, Minerva, and Linde. Each of them comes with their personal weapon at 160 power - that's the power level of an A-rank weapon on a Level 1 character with no need to craft any badges or unlock any weapons for them, and 150 power higher than Rowan and Lianna start off with. You'll be destroying bosses with little effort even on Lunatic difficulty.

    Mecha Game 

  • World of Warcraft:
    • In the Good Bad Bugs camp, the game at release had a few instances where Blizzard forgot to make quest reward gear Bind on Pickup, meaning that, since they have no level restriction, players could equip them on their low level alts. These bugs were quickly squashed, however.
    • Enchants in the classic game intended for level 60 players had no level restrictions; so a twink could wield a weapon with +90 spellpower or a +200 strength proc, overkill at low levels. It was expensive, though, and levelling characters go through gear quickly.
    • Heirloom items are an intentional feature to make leveling alts easier, as they scale with character level and have stats appropriate to rare items. They can also be given level-60 enchants, without worry of having to replace them. They may cost a lot of special currency or require a particular drop from your high-level characters, though.
    • Another bug involved Enti's Quenched Sword, a grey (lowest level quality) sword, basically intended as vendor trash for high level players, but it had no minimum level to equip and so could be sent to a low level alt. While its base damage was ridiculously low even compared to the weapons you started with, it still counted as a high Item level item, and could therefore have the high end weapon enchants applied to it, which when sent to a low level alt, gave him a VERY powerful weapon. Sadly the lack of a minimum level to equip was fixed in the next patch.
    • The minimum level requirements for enchantments were removed in Mists of Pandaria, and instead scale with level; however blips in the scaling can make enchants on heirlooms into Game Breakers. Colossus, an enchantment that granted a moderate absorb effect for a level 90 character, absorbed roughly 200 points of damage on an heirloom and procced often. Until around level 30, players using Colossus could solo dungeons because they would renew their absorb effect faster than enemies could wear it down.
  • In the original Guild Wars campaign, there was a lively economy of high level players who would party up, for a price, with low level players and run their party from the first non-tutorial town (or, more commonly from the last outpost before the high level enemies show up) to the last large town where they could get the best armor in the game. Both the running service and the armor would cost much more money than a beginning character has, but since you can freely transfer money from all other characters on your account this was not much of a problem.
    • Players who pre-purchased Prophecies received access to unique weapons depending on the store. The weapon had no minimum level requirement but had stats that would allow it to last well into the middle of the game, making it much stronger at low levels.
    • This became even worse in Nightfall with the Consulate Docks, a mission outpost selling max level armor located adjacent to the starting city. Lower level characters are technically barred until they complete enough of the storyline but higher level players could ferry them inside to buy the armor at even lower levels than the first campaign.
    • Speaking of Nightfall, physical damage dealing professions from that campaign (Warrior, Ranger, Paragon, Dervish) can get enough competence points as early as level 6 to get to a score of 9 in their main weapon competence score (thanks to the 15 additional points quest being available quite early on), which makes dealing damage with max damage weapons available to them fairly early on.
  • RuneScape:
    • Grinding your mining and smithing levels while selling off the goods gets you not only a good amount of cash, but also some very powerful weapons and armor— and since the enemies around the first couple of towns generally don't aggro on sight, it's easy for your fighting levels to be too low to use said weapons and armor. Likewise, grinding your fishing and cooking stats can give you lots of powerful food items for health recovery, enabling you to tank around monsters with a significantly higher danger rating.
    • There is a member's only quest called the Waterfall Quest that can be completed at the beginning of the game as there are no required quests to complete, no level requirements, no enemies that need to be fought (though you have to avoid some), and the items required to complete it cost very little. The reward is a sizable amount of experience, enough to jump from level 1 all the way to level 30 in Attack and Strength, which improves one's damage rate significantly.
  • Formerly possible in zOMG!— experience is tied to the rings, so at the time the game debuted it was possible to simply buy high-level rings off the Marketplace. Gaia Online staff quickly realized the many problems with this and locked the rings.
  • Realm of the Mad God is one of the few games that doesn't have level requirements for equipment AND they don't have vendors to buy unwanted items. Not surprisingly, one may see level 1 characters with top tier equipment, and veterans will frequently give their unwanted items to newer players. On the downside, one will also frequently hear newer players begging for items.

    Platform Game 
  • Banjo-Kazooie:
    • The Wonder Wing move in the first game. You learn it as early as Clanker's Cavern, and it effectively makes you invincible against enemies and kills all of them, even normally invincible enemies like the Mummies and Skeletons. The only catch is that you can only hold 10 feathers at a time for the move, and refilling it isn't easy due to how scarce the feathers are.
    • Banjo-Tooie gives us Kazooie's dragon transformation. All you need to do is grab the Ice Key in Jinjo Village once you learned the move to reach it, and then learn the Talon Torpedo from Jolly Roger Bay, which lets you access an area in Glitter Gulch Mine, granting you the Mega Glowbo. Trading it in to Humba Wumba in Isle O Hags lets her turn Kazooie into a dragon, which replaces the Rat-A-Tat with a fire breath attack that can one-hit kill any enemy and even scare most enemies away (and it works for Kazooie's standalone form as well) and gives you infinite ammo for Fire Eggs, which is a huge help. On top of that, the transformation can be used for as long as you like for the entire game!
  • The hidden HAL Rooms in Kirby titles often contain Copy Essences for abilities that either can't be gotten until the late game (such as Fighter and Wing) or are exclusively gotten from mid-bosses (Hammer being the only one). While their power depends on the user, being able to get them early on is very nice.
    • A well-hidden room in Kirby's Adventure lets you get the powerful UFO ability in the very first level. You can't normally take it into later levels (you lose it if you exit the level), but a very simple glitchnote  lets you keep it for a majority of the game.
    • In Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, combining Cutter with Bomb gives you the exploding shuriken ability. You can get it by spitting the second and third enemy at each other in the second level. The ability is infinite, you only lose it if you die or quit or it gets knocked out of you (and you fail to get it back quickly enough, but that's extremely easy to do), and if that happens you can just go back to the second level and get it again. The attack can kill enemies from about a screen and a half away, most enemies only have 1 HP, and minibosses are stunned by it long enough for you to do massive damage before they even get near you. You can also miss pretty badly and still kill enemies with the explosions. It makes the first few worlds really easy even by Kirby standards. It won't be so helpful when you're going for 100% completion, though, because you need to use a variety of abilities for that.
    • Kirby: Planet Robobot allows you to get the Smash Bros. ability in secret rooms hidden throughout the game, one of which is located in the fourth stage of the first world. Smash Bros. is an absurdly versatile and powerful ability, and it can't be gotten anywhere else, barring the ability testing area (which only opens up after beating the final boss). Additionally, buying certain amiibo allows you to gain specific abilities at will; this includes the aforementioned Smash Bros. (Super Smash Bros.-line Kirby) and the famous Game-Breaker of U.F.O. (Kirby-line Kirby), which isn't obtainable in-game period until you beat the game 100%.
  • Metroid Fusion has an example hidden right before the first boss. Almost right above where you find your first Energy Tank, you can missile open the roof and find a second Energy Tank, effectively doubling the amount of health you would normally have at that part of the game.
  • LEGO Harry Potter contains a nice little gem. After the second level in the whole game (the first one at Hogwarts) you have the ability to get to the "Collect Ghost Studs" Red Brick powerup, before the plot would normally allow you to. It only costs 50,000 studs, which can easily be obtained by this point, but it allows you to collect the "Ghost Studs" dropped by Nearly Headless Nick as he leads you to the next level/lesson/cutscene, which are worth 1,000 studs each. You can easily get the 4 million needed to get Accio (which makes a lot of the puzzles moot by just giving you potion items) as well as other spells in just an hour or so of grinding. Makes 100% Completion extremely easy. Add to this a glitch that sometimes allows you to collect ghost studs after you finish year 4 (when you shouldn't be able to) and this really edges into the territory of Game-Breaker.
  • LEGO Star Wars, due to a programming oversight, by default made any custom character with a red lightsaber a sith. Sith characters are the only ones able to interact with black LEGO bricks, and normally you aren't supposed to have access to such a character until you beat Episode One and unlock Darth Maul. However you're free to make a custom jedi with a red lightsaber and be able to move black LEGO before you even beat the first stage, giving you access to several red bricks (cheats) much earlier in the game.
  • Various LEGO Adaptation Game:
    • All have several unlockable characters that can be accessed by entering a cheat into the extra menu (some also have cheats to unlock red bricks). Usually at least a couple of these characters will have abilities you aren't supposed to access until much later, allowing you to access secrets in the Hub World and Free Play modes earlier than intended. The Laser Swat (lets you break gold bricks much earlier) from The LEGO Movie and InGen Hunter 1 (has the shoot and grapple abilities) from Jurassic World are even borderline Game Breakers for what they give you access to and are both unlockable via a cheat code.
    • Studs X2, which doubles every stud you find. It's almost always unlockable very early in the game, often in the hub world or after beating only a couple of stages. The extra money is nice, but it doubling the speed of the TRUE JEDI/WIZARD/ETC meter (which if filled awards a second gold brick) is what will make the game laughably easier for quite a while.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has a way for determined players to get hold of all seven Chaos Emeralds - and therefore, gain the Super Sonic ability - in the very first Act of the very first Zone through judicious use of the reset button. And even without the reset button, it's possible, with skill and patience, to get all 7 before the end of Act 2 of the first zone.
  • Sonic 3 & Knuckles:
    • The final Zone of Sonic 3 (or the first half of S3&K) has a continually spawning enemy whenever you stand between two alarm points. It suicide dives at said alarm. Put yourself into a Spin Dash, but don't release and it'll rack up the points to eventually give you loads of lives. Not really a Disc One Nuke as it occurs in the last zone of Sonic 3, but if you're playing Sonic & Knuckles connected you can breeze through Sonic & Knuckles with tons of lives.
    • In Sonic 3, a skilled player can get all of the Chaos Emeralds within the first two levels of the game. Angel Island contains two giant rings per act, so before finishing the first level a player could have four of the seven, then another four, two in each act in Hydrocity. Alternatively, one can wait and not get any of the giant rings the first two levels, and just use the eleven chances available in the third level, 8 rings in the first act and 3 in the second. Needless to say that getting it on the first two levels means the rest of the game can be blown through.
    • This is also possible in Sonic & Knuckles. Both acts of Mushroom Hill combined have at least 7 giant rings. It is much harder to do as Sonic (but still possible), and much easier to pull off as Knuckles (due more to the amount of special stages available on Knuckles' unique routes than the difference in abilities).
  • One of the most famous examples is the Metal Blade from Mega Man 2; it is unquestionably the most powerful weapon in the game, and one of the most powerful in the entire series; besides being very easy to acquire from the start due to its easy-to-beat robot master, it delivers high damage and can cut through multiple mooks at a time, has a machine gun rate of fire, fast speed and long range, the ability to shoot in eight directions, and an ammo capacity so ridiculously large that would take a conscious effort to deplete it! And on top of that, it's the only weapon in the game that, some more than others, works effectively against half the robot masters (it deals good-to-decent damage to four of them, including the boss you get it from in the rematch, and it's also the weakness of one of the Wily bosses). If it weren't for its sole handicap of several enemies being completely immune to it, it would make the Mega Buster all but obsolete!
    • Mega Man 3 had a much more mundane, but very helpful mini-nuke in the form of "Red A6". This simple, beautiful password starts you out with 9 E-Tanks, letting you take on any boss first and allowing you to power through much of the game with ease. Notably it also allows you to effortlessly steamroll Needle Man first and acquire Rush Jet, which makes certain other stages you'd likely have to beat before him (the aerial segment of Snake Man's, the disappearing blocks in Magnet Man's, for two examples) much much easier. Unsurprisingly the rest of the 8-Bit era games don't let you save E-Tanks via passwords and by the time Mega Man 7 rolled around, only being able to have 4 at a time wasn't nearly as overpowering.
    • Mega Man 10 has a similar instance with the Triple Blade, obtained from Blade Man. He's the easiest boss once the player gets his strategy down, and is thus a good contender to fight first. Although it doesn't have as much ammo as the Metal Blades, the Triple Blade also allows you to attack forward and diagonally with a Spread Shot, each shot is stronger than the standard weapon, and they also penetrate foes they destroy.
  • Mega Man X1:
    • It's tricky, but far from impossible to beat Storm Eagle first (without the ability to dash against his wind) so long as you know where and when to start running. The reward, Storm Tornado, rips through stages like nothing.
    • If you have the guts to take on Sting Chameleon and Storm Eagle second and third (after Chill Penguin) and get the Buster upgrade from Flame Mammoth's stage soon after, you're rewarded with the ability to constantly turn yourself invincible for the rest of the game, and all for relatively little ammo consumption to boot!
  • Mega Man X5:
    • Savvy players can get X's Ultimate Armor and/or Zero's Black Armor early; they simply need to fire the Enigma cannon and/or launch the shuttle at the space colony before striking out on any of the eight Maverick levels, then go through the first three Sigma levels and slide down to where the armors are being held. Of course, doing this is a one-way ticket to the bad ending, and usually makes it impossible to get Zero's upgrade unless you're very lucky.
    • More patient players can pull this stunt and keep Zero, albeit still with a slight chance of it not working. The likelihood of Zero turning evil and you losing him as a character is related to how often you use him: the more you use him the less likely you are to lose him. Picking Zero for the tutorial level, and then playing a lot of stages but getting game overs as him will allow you to fire the Enigma without a single boss beaten and give you a very high chance of it being successful.
    • A more "legal" example is Zero's C-Sword skill, obtained from Grizzly Slash. It has good range, and can strike multiple hits. And defeating Slash also rewards you with the Double Jump ability, which, as many fans would know, is very useful. What makes it a Disc One Nuke is that Grizzly Slash is the easiest boss (and level) in the game, and a good choice to start on the 8 bosses.
  • In Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X, Storm Tornado is a very useful weapon; it hit multiple times and can go through enemies to hit ones behind them, making it good for clearing out the levels of enemies so you can focus on navigating the level. Storm Eagle himself is also an easy boss to beat once you unlock the dash (in addition to helping you get out of the way of his vertical attacks, it also allows you to shoot him while he is performing his Ring Out attack).
  • Encouraged in the Skylanders games; your Skylanders' stats are saved to their figures instead of the game's save file, so after you beat a game once you can play it again with your now around level 10 Skylanders, breeze through most of the game and get them to the level cap along the way. After that, you can now take your max-level and fully upgraded Skylanders to the next games in the series (or the previous games, if they're compatible with them) and go on a rampage. You'll get similar results with the more powerful trappable villains in Trap Team, particularly Kaos who is a Game-Breaker in and of himself. Also encouraged with the Purposely Overpowered Eon's Elite figures, which go up to level 30 and have massively boosted stats.
  • Super Mario World has the Top Secret Area, found in only the second world and easily accessible if you're aware of how to unlock it. Each time you enter it provides two fire flowers, two feathers, and a Yoshi egg. Being able to come here as often as you like to easily gather items is good enough, but the true nuke comes from the free 1-up you get every time you come here with Yoshi.
  • In the very first level of Blender Bros, you can find Puwape, a Mini Bro who lets you walk on water. This isn't gamebreaking itself at all, but if you know the music to use, Puwape can be evolved into Cyupy, who can steal health from enemies and give it to Blender. This takes the form of a never-miss attack (so long as you're in range) which you get five charges for a level. This is powerful in normal levels and makes the normally-difficult bosses much easier.
  • In Hollow Knight, the Howling Wraiths spell, a vertical three-way burst that deals twice the damage of the Vengeful Spirit, can be obtained by a brief side trip to Fog Canyon immediately after acquiring the Mantis Claw. Furthermore (thanks to the game's non-linear design), after getting the first Nail upgrade, unlocking the Waterways, and defeating Dung Defender (you don't need the Desolate Dive to reach him, only to get to the nearby save bench), you can descend to the Ancient Basin to retrieve the Pale Ore piece necessary for the second upgrade. Both of these render the Soul Master battle significantly easier. The spell is also a boon against certain Warrior Dreams that don't get knocked back hard enough, such as Gallien.

    Puzzle Game 
  • Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords:
    • Abusing the Divine Right spell (which collects every Purple Star on the board for + 1 EXP each) and putting all the upgrade points into Battle (Attack power) and Morale (HP and spell resistance) allows you to easily create a Level 50 death dealer, before even reaching the Dragon Realms, the game's halfway point. And that's even if you don't get lucky with which Runes are being offered in the shops (in the PC version, at least).
    • The game's crafting and spell research and skill buying systems also allow for severe Game Breakers. The above mentioned Divine Right spell can be learned by any class after capturing a knight and building a mage tower, which can be done before reaching the first boss. Similarly, the chill tough spell, which causes your opponent to miss 3 turns, can be learned at about the same time. Similarly, the components for the absolute best gear in the game can be acquired at about the game's halfway point, allowing for every boss from then onward to be a cakewalk. Normally, leveling up only helps with certain enemy, as the game scales Random Encounters. However, you can buy skill points without leveling up, allowing for a level 1 character to have more attack power than any enemy in the game.
    • Another skill combo that can be a Game-Breaker is the Warrior skill Berserker Rage combined with Conflagration. The former converts all red gems into skulls, and the latter changes all gems of a particular color into red gems. With proper items it's possible to achieve turn one kills from level 20 onward, making for very disappointing boss and multiplayer battles.
  • The first two 5-star monsters, the first being Amaterasu that players get in Elemental Story serve this role for a while until the player can amass enough resources to do a roll which may drop another 5 star monster. However, Amaterasu, being a healer, is less useful compared to the other monster.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • In Dota 2, you can defeat Roshan at the first 20 minutes at the game as Ursa, once you get Vladimir's Offering because Ursa has an ability called Fury Swipes, which makes the enemy suffer more damage from you the more you hit it (And as such, you will recover health even more). Heck, you can get on level 1 if you have a friend with you and ask him to pick Wraith King. That is because of Wraith King's Vampiric Aura, which gives Ursa and himself a lifesteal attack. As such, you can give your entire team 200 gold and yourself an extra life at the start of the game. The game even acknowledges that, as Fury Swipes has a timer of 15 seconds to fade away on an enemy if Ursa doesn't hit it. Only in Roshan the timer is 6 seconds. And whenever you pick Vladimir's Offering, Ursa will actually say a voice line regarding of killing Roshan.
    • Do note that since this tactic is widely known by players, attempting to do this will cause them to ward the Roshan pit and periodically check up on the pit to make sure that Ursa isn't trying to solo Roshan alone.
  • In Mech Commander 1, the game allows you to salvage fallen enemy mechs, provided they aren't written off (i.e.: power core explodes) It's possible to salvage a Mad Cat mech in the 3rd mission of the game. The Mad Cat is one of the best mechs available - in the Heavy class, but with a speed of 24 m/s it can outpace most medium mechs. Having it makes the game a lot easier (although it's kinda pot luck in terms of getting it - at the time of the level, your mechs are unlikely to beat it normally - you have to detonate some explosive gas silos that the Mad Cat runs by). The developers did release a patch that gave you a Mad Cat at the start to reflect the opening cinematic (though that looked like a power core breach). Getting the second Mad Cat through sheer persistence (20th time, 21st time was still important though to split the enemy fire between two targets.
  • In the sixth mission of Homeworld: Cataclysm, it was possible to capture a Taidani Battlecruiser when the most advanced vessel you could build yourself was a frigate. This ship would then be able to carry you through the next 8 or so missions, only becoming vulnerable to destruction when you gain the ability to build your own big ships. Really takes the fear out of those Escort Missions.
  • Dawn of War:
    • Dark Crusade's Space Marines have a disc one nuke of sorts in multiplayer gameplay. By going straight for T2 and immediately purchasing Grey Knights and a Chaplain, you'll cripple your economy but gain a small squad that deals substantial damage and is extremely difficult to kill, plus possessing a snare (thanks to the Chaplain) and a high-damage, morale-breaking AoE spell (thanks to the Grey Knights). The Chaplain's cost was intended to discourage players from purchasing him so early in a match, but it can be done and is very effective, often requiring the entire enemy team to coordinate to take out the squad.
    • In the Chaos Rising expansion to Dawn of War II your Space Marines start at level 20 of 30. After the first mission you can reset and reassign their skill points and thus, through min-maxing, acquire the high-tier abilities, such as infinite, stamina-based mines and frag grenades in bundles and artillery strikes. All of them are easy and safe to use and ridiculously powerful. Except for some particularly nasty bossess, the game will become a walk in the park.
    • Retribution's campaign and Last Stand mode have wargear packages for each of the factions that, while not particularly powerful themselves, provide some crucial bonuses and can be equipped at level 1, giving the player a vital early advantage before they can equip better gear later on. You have to buy them, however.
  • In Earth 2150, the UCS plasma cannons are available much earlier than similarly powerful weapons from other factions. Add to this the weapon's Game-Breaker status (high damage, high rate of fire, infinite ammo) and you can utterly annihilate the other factions with an early rush.
  • The Total War series:
    • Rome: Total War:
      • The Britons can recruit Glass Cannon Woad Warriors once a Shrine to Andrasta has been constructed. Shrines are the most basic religious building, and can be built in any size settlement right away. Woad Warriors are a grade above the warband rabble melee units otherwise available to the Britons, though their lack of armor makes them vulnerable to missile fire and they become outclassed once you start running into other factions with better-armored infantry.
      • Macedon can recruit Light Lancers. Despite being classed as light cavalry, Light Lancers have a charge strength equivalent to Roman Legionary Cavalry. Legionary Cavalry is a high-tier, post-Marian Reforms, expensive, two-turns-to-recruit heavy cavalry unit. Light Lancers are cheap, only take one turn to recruit, and can be recruited right away at the start of the campaign. Though their lack of armor leaves them vulnerable to missile fire and prolonged melee combat, they can decimate everything your opponents can throw at you save for forward-facing phalanxes in the early part of the campaign. Their weaknesses eventually make them outclassed, but they continue to have their uses even late into the campaign.
    • The Medieval II: Total War mod, Thera: Legacy of the Great Torment, has a fair few:
      • In the desert landmass of Syrianna, some provinces allow you to hire a Monster Bombard as a mercenary unit. It costs a whopping amount of upkeep to maintain, and you need to actually get to Syrianna and back if your civilization isn't already on it, but... It's a Monster Bombard! It's an elephant-sized superweapon that flings half-ton cannonballs! It's the final word in anti-fortification fire-power, and it renders any fortress or city wall a sad joke.
      • The Ducado and Faustian Reich have access to cannon carracks while everyone else has galleys, dhows and longboats. I bet you can see where this is going. No faction can match them on the water, except for maybe the Privateers, with their startlingly powerful pirate ships.
      • In a similar vein to the Monster Bombard example, if you can get to the south-west continent, where Lao Che is, you can hire elephant units, including ones with rockets and cannons on them. They are decisive. If not, you could head instead to the dark mountains of the northern continent, Norselund, where the Jotnarr have been known to offer their services...
    • In Medieval II: Total War itself, Russia gets access to Cossack Musketeers with a ranged attack value of 17 (one of the highest around) from long range, armour-piercing muskets. These gunners are utterly decisive firing down at enemies from atop a city wall or in the field supporting the powerful Russian cavalry. And all you need to begin training them is a city with Huge Walls, no specialised gunsmithing infrastructure is required.
    • In Total War: Warhammer:
      • Vlad von Carstein of the Von Carstein spin-off Vampire Counts faction is notoriously a borderline Game-Breaker example. Not only is Vlad himself a deadly melee beatstick, but he starts out with a unit of Blood Knights. These are tier 5 heavy cavalry who can score hundreds of kills in a single battle. His "Coven of Undead" unique ability gives all Von Carstein units an XP boost. And last but not least, he gives all armies under his control Vanguard Deployment, mitigating one of the Vampires' biggest weaknesses. He can have all these abilities in thirty turns or less.
    • Imperial Mortars. At surface glance they're unimpressive, until you realize that, unlike every other artillery piece, mortars don't require line of sight and have extreme range. This, combined with them being excellent at tearing apart globs of infantry and disrupting unit formations, makes them very viable all the way up to the late game, despite being at the bottom of the artillery building chain.
    • Surtha Ek begins the game with a chariot mount, two chariots and a war elephant in his army, and if you can defeat him by routing as Norsca or Wintertooth you can confederate him and get a powerful lord, two mid-tier and one end-tier unit as fast as turn 10, which can boost Wulfric/Throgg's army significantly (or just use Surtha as a four-unit stack-killer crew). This is a double-edged sword however, as your economy will probably not be up to snuff for the upkeep costs that early.
  • Depending on how you arrange your skills in Warcraft III, many spells can be this when rushing against the computer (where taking out the hero or making him run away early on until your troops come in is crucial). The Paladin's Divine Shield makes him invulnerable, the Death Knight's Unholy Aura makes him run and heal faster, etc.
  • In Lords of the Realm 2, armies consisting solely of macemen. Though they don't have much defense, they are fast and powerful, able to move nearly as fast as knights, and are dirt cheap to produce. You can often win most non-siege fights with nothing but macemen, and even a small group of them can whittle down and soften up a stronger enemy army for your main army to then take care of.
  • For the earlier "Shadow of the Horned Rat", you automatically get the Amber Wizard, Allor early in game. He's rather meh initially, but when he's levelled enough he can learn "Flock of Doom" which generates a cloud of powerful birds of prey to peck enemy units to death. Those that survive usually have their morale so battered, they break almost immediately. The sequel Warhammer: Dark Omen, you begin with the Grudgebringer Cannon company in your warband, it's got long-range and capable of wiping out a strong enemy company in a single shot, there's a reason they start off rated as elite.
    • The sword Grudgebringer counts. Morgan Bernhardt starts off with it in all games and its fireball attack means he's almost guaranteed to kill at least one enemy warrior before his cavalry charges into battle. Grudgebringer's bonuses to melee and his cavalry's high stats and armour, means that Bernhardt will usually win most fights even before his company gains a level.
  • In Level 8 (formerly Chillingo) iOS game Modern Command, if you're willing to grind for 400,000 credits - you can then purchase the AI-256 "Tracker". This is a self-guided autocannon shell that goes through armor like it wasn't there and greatly boosts damage as well as rate of fire. Normally in this game, you have to research every bit of equipment and ammo before you can buy it. But the "Tracker" is one of the two highest research tier autocannon ammo and it's available to buy after the first mission (no research) - this is important as R & D takes hours and days of actual time and that's for mid-tier items!! The "Tracker" will turn even the shoddy starter autocannons into hard-hitters and will last you until the enemies start using force fields (Note that ammo only applies to the weapon it was used on, you can't unequip ammo from one gun and use it on another so best - not to use it on the awful starting weapon).
    • You can also earn Stars and then buy a Starter Pack with them (this gives you some advanced weapons, a base upgrade and air support power) with the best being the Power Pack which has the mighty Pounder heavy autocannon and Meteor multi-purpose missile. At 200 Stars, the Power Pack is expensive so if you can't wait that long then you can buy the Heavy Pack at 70 Stars which gets you the Inferno long-ranged missile and Titan heavy missile (these are both great weapons but they become obsolete eventually unlike the two mentioned above). With a lot of grinding, don't be surprised if you get a Pounder loaded with "Tracker" ammo before you encounter the first boss.
  • In King Arthur The Roleplaying Wargame, depending on your choices you can get a mighty unit of giants or Unseelie warriors very early. Also fairly early on there's a mercenary Knight who has the power to paralyze a group of enemies, making battles involving thie guy a cakewalk.

  • NetHack:
    • Sacrificing for Artifact Weapons because certain roles get powerful weapons as guaranteed first-sacrifice-gifts, and Wizards get their best weapon as a guaranteed first. An early co-aligned altar virtually guarantees ascension for a well-played Wizard.
    • Through a particular method of Sequence Breaking, where one digs to the castle in the beginning of the game, one can get ahold of a guaranteed wand of wishing and use it to gather endgame equipment (the "ascension kit") at a very low level, assuming one survives. This strategy is referred to as "digging for victory."
  • Ancient Domains of Mystery has these en masse. The Small Cave is guaranteed to have several items inside, including a very useful waterproof blanket and several weapons. Sometimes, you can find ridiculously out-of-depth items like eternium weapons or armor.
    • There's a massive one for players who get the Raven starsign. Completing a certain quest nets normal players the Rune-Covered Trident, a very powerful artifact weapon, when they reach level 36, but usually that's a little too late to make a big difference. Raven-born characters, however, get the trident at level 16, and at that point it's almost guaranteed to be a major upgrade to their current weapon.
    • The 'Heir' talent, a semi-hidden talent obtainable at the start of the game, provides your character with an item - usually an improved weapon or armor piece. These range from 'slightly better than starting equipment' to 'carry you through a good chunk of the game'.
  • Even in the original Rogue, it was occasionally possible to obtain both a wand of polymorph and a wand of lightning/fire/cold on the first level of the dungeon. If you polymorphed the creature you were facing into a high-level monster (say, a Griffin or a Jabberwock), and then killed it with the damage-dealing wand, you'd instantly earn enough experience points to jump to level 10 or 11. The next ten or fifteen dungeon levels are trivially easy to survive with that many hit points.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light has this due purely to the random nature of the game. It's quite possible to acquire some powerful gear right out of the gate—for instance, you could jump into a debris field in sector 1 and find a Halberd Beam, which, while not the most destructive of the beam weapons, can still tear right through many early enemy ships. However, it's notable for being very hard to veer into Game-Breaker due to no single weapon being superior in all situations (the aforementioned Halberd beam, for instance, will be laughed off by a level 2 shield or higher).

    Shoot Em Up 
  • A rare Shoot 'em Up example: The Plasma Storm in Tyrian. Although it has very limited ammo, it can destroy most bosses in a matter of seconds. And it's obtainable even before the first stage of the first chapter of the game!
  • An early Wave in Raptor: Call of the Shadows has a Air-Ground Missile pickup from a destroyed building about 30 seconds into the Wave. You can then quit out to the hangar menu, keeping the weapon, and sell that weapon for half price on the Black Market (in this case, 70K). Repeat this process until you have enough money. Alternatively, if you're more patient (or have access to the level warp cheat), there's a later Wave that drops a Dumbfire Missile worth even more credits.
  • The Tektite Blaster (T-Braster) in Gaiares, which has a bit of a Guide Dang It! on how to get it (Fire the TOZ 6 times, missing all of them, and then capture an enemy weapon with the 7th TOZ shot).
  • In the tank-based Seek And Destroy The Challenger is unlockable in the third town. It just happens to be one of the best armored tanks in the game second only to the Maus (unlocked at the endgame), and has a large amount of carry weight meaning that it can be upgraded with sufficient weaponry and armor to make the game something of a cakewalk...

    Simulation Game 
  • Harvest Moon, surprisingly. In Harvest Moon 64, you can get Karen up to a pink heart in a matter of minutes, just by showing her your dog a couple hundred times. Also, this might be debatable as "early" depending on your priorities in the game, but by getting a seed maker in A Wonderful Life and a fruit tree you could sell fruit tree seeds and be easily set with money for the rest of the game. Another Wonderful Life tried to tone it down by making fruit tree seeds sell for less, but it was still a huge cash cow compared to... well, raising cows.
    • Rune Factory does it one better by making it possible to mine high-quality sapphires in the second dungeon. The sapphires reset once you come out and go back in, leading to a lot of players becoming millionaires in no time at all. House and farm upgrades became an instant piece of cake.
    • No Harvest Moon embodies the Disc One Nuke better than Harvest Moon DS. With clever Save Scumming while mining, the right guides, and a fair bit of patience, it's possible to become a multi-millionaire who can work past exhaustion without penalty, have access to the ultimate crop-growing area, AND have all of the legendary tools within the first two days of the game.
  • Ace Combat:
    • Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception has the XFA-27. It can be unlocked as early as five missions in, yet its stats are comparable to lategame fighters even before tuning. Plus it comes with QAAMs out of the box. At 26k it's only slightly more than half the cost of the much later-appearing F-22 and can be bought one, maybe two missions after unlock if you're stocking up the cash from doing well. Given that it was the Game-Breaker superplane of Ace Combat 2, though, this is perhaps unsurprising.
    • In Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, the F-5E starting plane can carry a few QAAM missiles, which are essentially guaranteed kills against aircraft. The Su-37 Terminator is also unlocked after mission six and has very good special weapon options (and 82 standard missiles).
  • SimCity 2000 allowed an easy solution to power problems for very cheap. By starting the game via map editor, the player could begin in a territory with a "pyramid" of waterfalls - free of charge. Filling this pyramid with hydro plants would provide power for the entire city, making early game a breeze as unlike most other plants, the hydro plants don't need to be rebuilt after a set period.
  • In the first two Naval Ops games, blueprints for advanced ships (as in guided missile destroyers when the enemies are still using WWII tech) can be obtained fairly early on with the right research and come with weapons and auxiliary systems that would not be normally obtained until much later. Advanced anti-sub missiles for your battleship are especially welcome.
  • Finding your Dwarf Fortress site contains a volcano or a magma pipe near the surface: Priceless. This is because you can use magma to power your forges indefinitely, meaning you don't have to waste wood or coal to do that, and magma is also a great way of disposing of prisoners, as well as invading goblin armies and elves.
  • Elite Plus introduces the ability to buy different ships, but in most versions your starting Cobra Mk 3 -despite being woefully badly-armed- is a mid-tier model and quite valuable. Trading it in for a smaller and theoretically less capable craft nets you a significant amount of cash to spend on various useful upgrades. Other games in the series toned this down heavily, for better or worse, but Oolite reproduces it faithfully.

    Sports Games 
  • EA Sports is notorious for this:
    • In the NHL series, EA frequently inserts a Make-a-Wish kid as a free agent with extremely good stats and little to no salary demands. In 09 it was Sabrina Ladha, a 95 Overall goalie who wanted only $500k a year, a pittance. Virtually any team could become a Stanley Cup contender by picking her up and using their existing goalie and salary cap room as trade bait. And since she was a pre-teen, she'd be kicking ass for decades.
    • Madden NFL:
      • When Hall of Famers Steve Young and Barry Sanders surprisingly retired early (Young due to injury and Sanders due to Losing the Team Spirit after being stuck on a bad Lions team), EA left them in the game but simply added them to the free agent pool, available for any team to sign in Franchise Mode. There's nothing like adding Hall of Fame players with ratings in the 90s to nuke the competition.
      • In 2008, Brett Favre "retired" from the Green Bay Packers, only to then sign with the Jets. As that year's Madden games had already shipped, Favre, who was on the cover of the game, was made available as a free agent until the first roster update.

    Stealth Based Game 
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • The Hidden Blade and its Counter Attack. It's Difficult, but Awesome, but if you master it early enough you can One-Hit Kill everyone.
    • In Brotherhood, while the parts of the game where they are received vary by player, the crossbow and poison darts make most of the guard encounters a breeze, even in stealthier missions. The ability to instakill most enemies silently is extremely boring, yet practical!
    • Revelations is full of these, largely due to the fact that basically everything opens up to you fairly early on in the story. The Master Assassin Armor set is attainable as early as Sequence 3, giving you massive amounts of health compared to the two pieces of basic leather armor available at blacksmiths at that point.
      • Another example is the Datura Bomb. Easy to create, as bombs and bomb ingredients are unlocked rather early, yet makes every mission where getting detected is a fail incredibly easy. Just get high up in a rafter and toss a Datura down upon the unsuspecting Mooks. Watch in glee as your enemies choke and drop dead. As an added bonus to not being detected for it, nearby mooks will then walk over to see what happened. Right into the line of fire for the rest of your Datura Bombs... Rinse and repeat as needed.
  • The Cardboard Box in the NES port of Metal Gear, due to the fact that you could shoot from it and guards ignore it even when it's in front of them, murdering them. You pick it up very early in the game.
  • The Rapist Scenario at the Supermarket in This War of Mine. It will only happen if you didn't get the Three Armed Men scenario (three men are there first, but allow you to scavenge in peace so long as you stay out of their way and don't attack them) and is somewhat difficult, but very rewarding. In it, you meet an army deserter who attempts to rape a woman. Back Stab him and take his rifle, ammo and moonshine and the supermarket is yours, giving you ample food for several days. No one else will be there to scavenge the place. It also gives your characters contentment because Smiting Evil Feels Good instead of depression from killing an innocent.
  • Having difficulty even in the first stage of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots? Want to be able to afford every gun in the game? Well in the first level, there's an area where a group of militants are facing some mercs and a Stryker. Hidden in the area is a sniper who will pick off the militants who are exposed to him. So look for the militant carrying an rpg and then run into him. He'll get angry and stand up to yell at Snake. This exposes him to the sniper, who kills him and then you can pick up his weapon which is worth $6000. Since the militants respawn, you can easily accumulate enough money to buy everything that Drebin can sell you (including all his rocket launchers and the .50 sniper rifle in the next Act).
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain:
    • The SV-Sneaking Suit, an Old Save Bonus for transferring a save from Ground Zeroes into Phantom Pain. Most of the benefits of the regular Sneaking Suit (silent footsteps and damage resistance), but it can be acquired virtually at the start of the game (only requiring a Level 4 R&D Unit, versus the regular version's Level 12 requirement). Not only that, but it's cheaper to develop it at higher grades. While players will likely switch to the regular Sneaking Suit later on, the SV variant is extremely cheap and can carry the player through most of the early game without a problem.
    • The Sneaking Suit (Naked Snake) fatigues (initially from the DLC, later included in the Definitive Experience release) has even more benefits, can be acquired right after you get Mother Base and is also extremely cheap to upgrade.

    Survival Horror 
  • Resident Evil has three, with Jill having special advantages:
    • The shotgun is available to both Jill and Chris, it hits much harder than your pistol, and ammo is (relatively) common. Moreover, if you can get the timing and mechanics right (aiming up and shooting right before they grab you), it lets you give a One-Hit Kill to zombies, as well as keeping them from turning into Crimson Heads in the Updated Re Release. It's even better an example for Jill, since she can obtain it very early in the game. Normally you are supposed to get the broken shotgun, which you can't get for a while, and swap it for the real one otherwise you set off a trap. However, you can go straight there as Jill and take it, and Barry will save you from the trap at the last second. This lets you stock up on other ammo for everything else.
    • Right at the beginning of the game as soon as Jill and Barry split up, you can head upstairs and yoink the Bazooka from Forest's corpse. It comes pre-loaded with six grenade rounds, and Barry will give you six acid rounds not much later when you run into him in the main hallnote . The Updated Re Release made this one a little less powerful by locking the upstairs balcony door with the Armor Key, forcing you to wait until much later in the game (as well as face the zombified Forest) to find it.
    • Exclusive to the Updated Re Release, there's the automatic shotgun. It's got all of the benefits of the regular shotgun, has a larger ammo capacity, it fires and loads faster, and it has slightly better damage and knockback. You just need to save Richard with the serum and then he'll drop it when one of the game's boss monsters kills him. Again, Jill gets the edge, as she obtains it in the first fight with Yawn in the attic, whilst Chris has to wait until he reaches the Aqua Ring and kills Neptune.
  • Level 3-1 of Resident Evil 5 is a large area consisting of numerous islands where you can scrounge close to $25,000 worth of treasure as well as find a free rocket launcher in under 10 minutes of gameplay, and you're free to save and replay as many times as you like. Enemies only spawn when you do specific actions or enter specific areas, all of which can be easily memorized and avoided while helping yourself to enough money to beef up your weapons and saving up rocket launchers for the bosses. Spend a couple of hours in 3-1 and the game won't get difficult until pretty much the final mission.
  • In the "Left Behind" DLC for The Last of Us, you play the entire sequence as Ellie. While Joel has to scavenge to hell and back to craft shivs to sneak attack, Ellie has an unbreakable switchblade which can One-Hit Kill anything she faces if she gets behind them.
  • In Metro: Last Light, playing on Ranger mode lets you find your Ranger-issued weapons at the end of the first story level. On Ranger mode, you'll need them.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Exalted, it is entirely possible to create a character capable of hitting anyone, anywhere, with the spell "Total Annihilation". Or how about being able to create a curse that kills off everyone who falls within a broad category - say, humans? Or any number of combinations of spells, charms, artefacts and/or backgrounds that will make your character able to do one thing, and one thing only - but that thing will most likely involve a LOT of pain for whoever gets hit. In fact, most of the effort when creating a character goes into resisting the urge to crank up your favorite attack before you even begin playing.
  • Pretty much the defining characteristic of Mage: The Ascension in the minds of most players. A game where the progression and power limits were entirely defined in terms of a single character, with a loosely-written "cooperative casting" mechanic written in about five minutes before publication that essentially allows you to add mage statistics together with a spell and keep rolling until it was as powerful as you want? That definitely won't be a problem at all. For reference, you put build points into schools of magic, and most effects need a couple points in several schools (for instance, you need a few dots in forces to start a fire, but can't hit a person with said fire without life, and have to aim it manually without space). So on an individual level dumping all of your initial points into a single sphere is crippling. Not so much with rituals and cooperative casting, a group of four or five players can essentially throw the sun on top of anyone on the planet they've ever met while sitting safely on the Moon from session one.
  • This is why Black Lotus is such a Game-Breaker in Magic: The Gathering. It gives you three mana and then is sacrificed. Play this on your first turn, and suddenly you've got tough mid-game monsters out while your opponent is stuck with things that only cost 1 mana. There are even combinations with Black Lotus that allow you to win the game on turn 1, without your opponent being able to fight back.
  • The Witcher: Game of Imagination give few, to compensate for Early Game Hell:
    • Mages start the game with amount of spells equal to related skill. Usually it's Story-teller's choice what to give them at the start, but if players want to make the decision themselves, they have a budget of 50 Points of Proficiency for starting spells. It's entirely possible to start the game as a mage with Lighting Bolt, the most powerful spell from the source book. Or just pick some efficient combo of mid-tier spells within given budget.
    • Witchers' starting swords. While one-handed, they deal the damage of two handed weapons, and half of it is fixed. Even with the worst possible damage roll they still surpass any regular sword with the maximum damage roll.
    • In similar vein, dryads start with a special type of bow. It's already second most powerful bow in the game, but the main point of the weapon is lack of any requirements - other bows take specific levels of Strength and Agility to use. Dryad's bow has none of it.
    • Combat maneuver Second Attack costs only one point to buy during character creation, being the cheapest of them all, and is as broken as it sounds. While the second attack comes with a penalty, it can be overcome with sufficiently high Armed combat skill.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The infamous Pun-Pun, a kobold (or other reptilian creature, but kobolds are traditional) "Squishy Wizard" who is able to have any special ability, and has "arbitrarily high" stats — most players treat this as Pun-Pun having ascended to godhood, and for good reason. Strict mechanics allow this as early as 11th-level, but technically it could be done as early as 1st with the right magic item, or demonic knowledge. The key to this is one random (but official) splatbook for the Forgotten Realms setting.
    • The game has plenty of more mundane examples and in fact a number of mechanics have been used at various times with low level survivability in mind. But third edition had some doozies, not the least of which was Haste, which was a result of the dev team not understanding the change in action economy from 2nd edition to 3rd, allowing wizards to cast two spells per round without suffering the second edition drawback of aging more rapidly (which itself could be mitigated somewhat by playing an elf but 3rd edition made that part unnecessary.) Of course the trade-off is you blow through your spells that much more quickly but you can usually talk your party into letting you recoup after an intense battle.
    • Certain classes have a delayed casting progression, like the paladin, which only ever learns fourth-level spells and gets them much later. To compensate, these classes also learn some spells earlier, so they can remain competitive; the aforementioned paladin learns the useful Lesser Restoration as a 1st-level spell, while the cleric gets it as a 2nd-level spell, so the paladin only gets it a level later. Then there's the archivist, who can add any divine spell to his spellbook and cast it at its original level. A canny player will abuse this ability to obtain spells at a far lower level than normal. The aforementioned Lesser Restoration is one of the most common choices, as well as the 4th-level Scrying and Freedom of Movement as 3rd-level, the 6th-level Heal and Antilife Shell as 5th-level, and the 8th-level Summon Giants as 4th-level. This is all up to Rule Zero, of course, but by pure rules-as-written, an archivist could learn a spell that summons a CR 12 fiendish fire giant or three CR 9 fiendish hill giants at a level where a CR 3 howler is the best summon otherwise available.
    • The Warbeast template in Monster Manual II was designed to show what an animal looked like when bred and trained for battle. It was mostly pretty small bonuses all-around, plus stuff to make it easier to handle. That wasn't the problem. The problem was that it included a formula for price... and instead of using something sensible, like a table by HD or something exponential, it used the simple formula (for creatures with more than 4 HD) of 100 + 75 x the creature's HD. This meant that a 16-HD T-rex with the template was looking at a market price of 1300 gold... less than a suit of full plate. While hurling thriftily-priced dinosaurs at the opponent doesn't stay effective forever, it's still insane for something you can manage at 3rd-level, and a guaranteed way to make your DM ban something.
    • The Moon Circle Druid in 5th Edition focuses on using Wild-Shape primarily as opposed to being a caster. When hitting level 2, this allows the Druid to change into creatures like Lions, Bears or Dire Wolves, all CR 1. These creatures typically have HP over 30, when other fighter-type PCs at level 2 will only have around 20. Their Attacks also rival Fighter and similar classes of the same level as well, while having some nifty effect bonuses like Advantage if an ally is within 5', or the ability to automatically attempt to knock an enemy prone in addition to dealing damage. The real kicker is that their HP are also considered Temporary bonuses. Although the various animals don't have great ACs, having their 30+ HP chewed through will simply revert the Druid to their normal form at their original health, less any extra carried over from dropping the animal to 0. This power can be used twice before needing a Short Rest. This means that although the level 2 Fighter in the group might have an 18 AC and 20 HP, the Druid can shape-change into an animal with 32 HP and effectively gain 64 bonus HP before needing to rest to regain the power. Even if the Druid doesn't rest yet, they still have their normal complement of spells/powers. This disparity in power tends to taper off around level 5, when other party members tend to catch up.
    • Also in 5th Edition, a level 1 Variant Human with Heavy Armor Master, which reduces all nonmagical physical damage dealt to a heavily armored character by 3, which just so happens to be the average damage dealt by the enemies you are likely to face at level 1. By the time you could pick it up normally at level 4, it is merely useful, and falls off quickly as enemies start to deal dozens of points of damage per attack at higher levels.
    • The Aura of Vitality spell in 5th Edition is balanced around being exclusive to Paladins, a half-caster class with delayed spell progression that can't access it until character level 9. The Lore Bard gains the ability to "steal" spells from any other class's spell list at character level 6, a significant head start in a game where character levels max out at 20 and the majority of the game is played between 5 and 12 or so. Add in a one-level multi-class dip into Life Cleric for a bonus to healing, and this may well be the only healing spell your party ever needs.
  • Age Of Aquarius First Edition had the infamous "Psychic Vampirism" exploit. Psychic Vampirism is a power that lets you drain psychic energy from any random Joe Shmoe and claim it for yourself; (un)fortunately, the authors forgot to specify how many Confidence points you are allowed to store, which means as many as you wish. And six Confidence points and above make you into a psychic god. Just go down into a crowded subway and drain one Confidence point from every random passer-by; you'll be able to levitate mountains, fire lightning from your fingertips and mind-blast Cthulhu himself.
  • Pathfinder has a few classes that qualify.
    • The Magus, a semi-hybrid that sacrifices the higher-level magic and versatility of a Wizard to gain the martial prowess of a Fighter. They gain the ability to enhance their weapon with their own arcane power, giving them a boost to their accuracy and damage for minutes at a time. The ability only grows from there, gradually allowing them to add special effects to their weapon instead of just a flat bonus to attack and damage rolls. Taking it a step further is the "Bladebound" Magus archetype, which trades in some of their normal class features for an intelligent magic sword that automatically grows in power with them without even needing to spend resources to improve.
    • The Summoner can function as this as well. While the character themselves will likely not be any more powerful than another person of the same level, Summoners come with an eidolon companion: an outsider with decent stats and a pool of evolution points that the Summoner can spend to improve them with things like additional and more powerful attacks, increased defenses, and special abilities like flight and utility spells. While they eventually fall behind actual player characters due to the way their power scales with their master's, a properly-built eidolon can easily take the roll of a party's main damage sponge or melee combatant at low levels, especially if their master focuses on buff spells to further increase their power.
    • The Summoner also has the Synthesist archetype, where their summoned eidolon takes the form of an armor-like covering rather than a separate creature. A Synthesist uses their eidolon's Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution instead of their own, on top of gaining all of the evolutions given to their eidolon. With this archetype, a Summoner can focus exclusively on boosting their Charisma (since Charisma is the stat all of their abilities run off of) and still trounce most enemies in a straight fight.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • Ratchet & Clank:
    • In Ratchet & Clank (2002), the RYNO nine-homing-missiles-at-once-launcher becomes purchasable about a quarter into the game. However, it costs 150,000 bolts which is such a large amount that a player would only be expected to obtain it on a second or third play-through. But since enemies and crates respawn when exiting a planet, the player can fly between the limited amount of early-game planets, repeatedly clearing them of all currency and eventually scrounge together enough to purchase the RYNO.
    • Played with in Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando. The RYNO II, a fast firing homing missile launcher than can mop the floor with most enemies and even kill the bosses in mere seconds, can be accessed as early as Tabora, barely a quarter into the game—but it costs a million bolts, making it unlikely that the player will be able to afford it until after a huge chunk of the game has been played.
    • Ratchet: Deadlocked:
      • Holoshield Launcher itself isn't that useful. However, it can be easily fully upgraded by last story-line mission of Sarathos due to its level-up mechanics (being determined by damage taken), the fact it disappears after certain time instead after taking given amount of punishment and an abundance of enemies there having highly damaging laser attacks. Fully upgraded version has five speed and ammo mods, which can be really useful on other weapons, especially so early in the game.
      • Omega Freeze Mod. Besides dealing extra damage, it also slows down enemies you're shooting. Especially useful on Dual Vipers/Raptors, since that is the only weapon you can use on grind-rails.
    • Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus gives us the Fusion Grenade, once it hits V3 and becomes the Fusion Bomb, which explodes into Pyrocidic Nitroballs. It gets better when you use your Raritanium to increase the amount of Nitroballs that fly out.
  • In SOCOM Fireteam Bravo 3 on PSP, the OC-14 or RA-14 mentioned above is also a relatively easy to get a useful gun. Although to get it you have to score 750 kills, but you can just bang away in the first mission or custom missions with the lowest difficulty. It uses 7.62x39 rounds which is abundant in the 3rd and last mission, kills with 3 body shots at most, and had better overall stats than the AK103 used by Elite Mooks. Plus, it also can be fitted with a silencer which the AK103 can't.
  • An intrepid player can get a distressing amount of equipment within the first missions of the Crusader games; notably, can usually acquire the shotgun and rocket launcher in the first mission of each with relative ease, while finding secret areas later in the game can result in the character being fully-armed and armored by halfway through the game.
  • Gotcha Force has the Barrier Girl. She has a fairly quickly charging normal attack, a melee attack that drills opponents (so it does several rapid hits, good for juggling), and a fairly quick charged shot that she can use if the situation warrants. All of that would make her decent if not spectacular, except for the "barrier" part of her name. Said barrier is a shield that will simply absorb a decent amount of damage, and can be redeployed. Granted, it takes a while (unless Power Burst is active) for said barrier to recharge, but Barrier Girl is one of the more agile combatants - she's quick enough that she can strafe opponents without taking damage even without the shield. Even the wonky AI can abuse her ability to tank unless the player abuses the only early attacks that can chip the shield quickly (drilling attacks... like the one a Barrier Girl does in melee), and the computer can't handle them without breaking out the very powerful opponents using a Wave Motion Gun or a BFS.

    Turn Based Strategy 
  • In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness:
    • It's possible to exploit the hospital prizes and the Dark Assembly's promotion exams to get very powerful equipment, a huge amount of money, and all your units above level 20 before so much as setting foot on the first non-tutorial map.
    • It's much easier to abuse the random dungeons in Phantom Brave, mostly due to the entire fusion system. Getting to level 100 takes only a couple hours if you know what you're doing with your weapons, and in fact in that time you can also create a weapon that will demolish everyone up to and including the final boss, as once you have about level 70 or 80 and a good beefed-up weapon, you can pop a 'bad' title on a level 400-500 dungeon, stealing high mana items with your bottlemail, and supercharge that weapon to be totally invincible. Just remember to stay away from those fraggin' weapon-stealing mushrooms! (Or select a weapon whose final abilities have insanely large areas of effect to kill them all at once, like a bomb, egg, or vase. RES weapons work the best as they can complement Marona's own gigantic RES stat which renders her nigh-invulnerable to damage.) Also you gain much more experience for tilted-level kills, the only grinding necessary in the game is for facing down the final three EX bosses and building up the amount of attacks you can do. (Instead of SP your amount of attacks is tied to weapon experience level.) But with a + 28000ATK weapon in the first few hours of the game, who needs that! (At least to complete the initial game)
    • Pleinair, in the DS version, is a Double Subversion, as she can only be persuaded to join you upon starting up a New Game+, but since losing to the boss in chapter one counts as finishing the game, you can still get her within about half an hour.
    • In the PSP version of Disgaea 2, the game just gives you a level 100 Pleinair at the start of a new game if you've downloaded the free DLC pack she comes in. You can then use Pleinair to easily beat level 100 Sapphire (also a free DLC download) and have her join as well. Presumably this could be done with paid DLC characters as well.
    • Disgaea has yet another easily abusable method of game breaking. Go to the item world until you find one with an invincible geo panel. Level up Laharl's spear mastery to 25 — takes about an hour if you're lucky. You can then get the second best spear in the game, Longinus. Using the aformentioned lose-to-Mid-Boss trick, you can get it AGAIN, and sell it to make a TON of money.
    • The second one has a more blatant example. One of the levels about a third of the way through pits you against a squad of enemies sitting on effect panels that level them up by 10% of their current level every turn. It takes a little mindless, repetitive turn ending, but after a while they get all the way up to the max level of 9999, starting at about 10. Because you can capture any monster that's at most 2-3x the level of your highest level character, this allows you to quickly build up to having a team of these 9999 level monsters within five hours of starting the game. By comparison, the final boss of the main story is level 90. The PSP version patched out this exploit in 2 ways. The first by not allowing you capture any monsters that you can't create, the second by not allowing you to capture anything whose level is higher than your highest levelled party member.
    • But wait, there's more. At the end of the third chapter, you are thrown into a Hopeless Boss Fight against an enemy who is on average one hundred times your current level, with the gear to show for it. Typically, you would now be resigning yourself to getting mercilessly ground into pixellated paste or trying to line up the odd Fastball Special maneuver to nab a few treasure chests. However, due to the way the item stealing probabilities are calculated, even the most basic stealing item used by the most recently-generated thief will always, always, always have a 1% chance to steal one (and only one) item from said opponent. Now, the item to go for here is something called a Testament. It gives any character equipped with it a whopping 200 points in every single stat, apart from health, which gets twice that bonus. At a time when your average attack stat is roughly 100. Add to that the fact that character equip multipliers add another ten percent at least on top of that, and you have yourself a character whose curent level is 12, but whose effective level (i.e. the level at which he would possess stats of this kind without equipment) is pushing 50. Just keep reloading, and sweet sweet overpoweredness is all yours.
    • And then, coming off that honking stat jack, we have the Item World. Summarizing briefly, it is a completely randomly generated dungeon created entirely off an item, and is crucial to postgame power-leveling. Early on, it is mostly where you go to build up Felonies. But there's a twist: infrequently, you might be attacked by enemies called pirates - retitled versions of normal enemies. These are usually well above your current level, but your main character is now not only more than a match for them (thanks to having endgame gear at the start of your adventure), but also has an ability which does a percentage damage boost as long as his level is below that of his opponent. Proceed to demolish pirate booty with extreme prejudice, and appropriately massive experience points are all yours. Do it all right, and we have ourselves a level 25 character with nearing a thousand HP, easily 600 attack, and one metric shedload of Mana to pour into creating better Player Mooks... while the rest of your team is woefully underpowered in comparison. Mind you, considering that this is Disgaea we're talking about, this'll save you about 0.0003% of your actual level-grinding time.
    • One mid-game exploit that works in any Disgaea game is the "Level 99 trick", where defeating an enemy that is exactly level 99 will award roughly the same amount of EXP as if they were level 323 note . Each game usually has several maps where it is possible to have level 99 enemies by passing Stronger Enemy Bills and/or combining them.
  • Phantom Brave:
    • It's possible to get a Bottle Mail (a phantom that easily "steals" items it is confined into) as soon as you start a new game and create enough characters to make a human pyramid so that Ash can reach the highest point on the map (this also earns his first Changebook that allows for Phantom Brave's spin on the Reincarnation ability that resets a character level to 1 with stat bonuses equal to the number of levels he gained before). It takes only a little bit of grinding after that to start exploiting random dungeons to farm items, mana, money, and titles.
    • Then there's the trolley — an improbable weapon that boosts Speed and uses Speed to determine the strength of its attacks. Since Speed also determines how often you get to go, grabbing a high-level trolley through "failure dungeon" grinding breaks the game in half and lets you clear all the main story stages without the enemies getting a single turn.
    • One map in the second chapter contains two enemies who will constantly level up on each turn. However, although their stats - including defense and maximum hitpoints - increase, they only retain the fifty or so hitpoints they start with. Also, the Titlist class has a special skill, "Big Bang", which causes damage to everyone around them when you confine them, and it ignores defense, doing damage proportional to the character's level. In other words, as long as you have two Titlists (or fuse Big Bang to another character) of enough level, you can just start the level, wait until those two enemies reach level 9999, then take them out with Big Bang. Instant massive level up, and absurd amounts of money.
  • Makai Kingdom: Fill up your favorite characters with bonus points by repeatedly confining them to starred items and killing them by wishing for huts. Reincarnate into classes with stat-boosting skills so those bonus points boost everything. Grind map 3-4 by taking out the "invincible" level 101 superfortress with your overpowered character. Congrats, you've made the main game a cakewalk. And you're in a good position to start preparing for the postgame.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Many games have the Jagen and Oifey archetypes, a character who starts off significantly stronger than your other allies and joins early on. While Jagens tend to fall off as the game progresses, Oifeys keep on nuking right up through the endgame.
    • In some games (such as Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, and Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones), you can get early access to an arena that allows you to grind your units up well past their natural abilities and make a buttload of gold in one go. You'll also gain plenty of EXP for your healers when patch them up after the fights.
    • In the original Shadow Dragon, Jagen starts with the rather powerful Silver Lance weapon. The intent of this is that Jagen is a prepromote with dreadful growths and therefore he gets basically nothing out of killing enemies, so him and his Lance are used as a "panic button" option to kill tough enemies. However, by a funny coincidence, Caeda the Pegasus Knight also starts with a high enough Weapon Level to use the Lance. Caeda has awful Strength, but with the Lance in hand, she one-rounds most enemies, especially since she's also super fast and doubles reliably, and she's a lot more mobile since she can fly, and she's an unpromoted level 1 so she actually gains levels. On top of this, Jagen's strong enough that making him use a weaker lance still leaves him strong enough to handle early enemies, or at least scratch them down to the point that Cain or Abel can get the kill and XP. The strategy was so prevalent that the remake, which changed the weapon rank system, handed Caeda a personal weapon to make up for not being able to do this anymore—and it was actually better than the Silver Lance.
    • The "split story" nature of Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War makes for an interesting one. The second half of the game begins at Chapter 6 featuring the children of the characters from the first half, and their equipment will be determined by what their same-gender parent had in their inventory at the end of Chapter 5 (except for Brigid's kids, who inherit from their opposite-gender parent instead). If Lewyn's son is a magic-user like his father, he'll inherit the ultimate wind magic, Forseti, as long as Lewyn received it near the end of Chapter 4. Tailtiu's son Arthur is a mage who arrives in Chapter 6, so if she was paired with Lewyn... On another note, Shannan gets the Balmung almost as soon as he joins up at the start of Chapter 7 and will be able to dodge pretty much everything due to the massive speed boost it grants, making him your premiere boss-killer until other legendary weapons are obtained.
    • Fire Emblem: Thracia 776: Finn starts off with a Brave Lance, a powerful weapon that allows him to attack twice in one turn, and joins in the first chapter. He can easily crush the beginning parts of the game using said Brave Lance. There's also Orsin's infamous Bhuj/Pugi Axe, essentially the best of both worlds between a handaxe and a killer axe that combines with Orsin's naturally high crit rates to let him basically get a crit every turn.
    • In Fire Emblem Heroes, new players are handed two 5* units (the rarest and most powerful in the game) for free on a silver platter: a choice between Roy: Brave Lion, Lucina: Brave Princess, Ike: Brave Mercenary, and Lyn: Brave Lady, and a choice between Celica: Warrior Priestess, Hector: Brave Warrior, Ephraim: Sacred Twin Lord, and Veronica: Brave Princess. Note that those last three characters are all considered to be the absolute best of the best on at least two different tier lists, plus this very website. You can also get three more 5* units with little effort: completing Book II Chapter 1 nets you Fjorm: Princess of Ice, completing Xenologue 3 nets you Ike: Vanguard Legend, and completing Book III Chapter 1 nets you Eir: Merciful Death. Fjorm and Ike have Distant Counter built into their weapons, allowing them to counterattack from any distance, while Eir is a Glass Cannon that hits like a dump truck; all of them are fine additions to your army, and together with the Brave heroes can utterly annihilate the early game.
    • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Lysithea is a very strong Glass Cannon, capable of incredible magical damage but hampered by miserable HP and Defence. But if you play through Lorenz's paralogue you're rewarded with a relic that increases range for spells, allowing mages to attack without worrying about being countered. Give it to Lysithea (who is able to wield it to its fullest potential due to having the same crest) and she becomes an unstoppable force of destruction. Most notably, at B rank Reason she gains Dark Spikes T which deals extra damage against cavalry, allowing her to one-round KO the Death Knight many, many chapters before the player is actually expected to.
  • Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri:
    • If you're fortunate enough to begin near a landmark, which give some sort of resource bonus to bases in their radius, it's a big help.
      • The most awesome is the Monsoon Jungle. If you start in the immediate neighborhood, and you don't border hostile factions, you basically get enough resources to do a very early population boom in your cities while mass building colony pods to expand much more than any other faction. Since the more cities and population you have, the more energy, production and research you get, the advantage is immense. All special places in the map grant really good benefits for their owners, but the Monsoon Jungle simply makes the most viable strategy in the game (the so called infinite city spam) quicker, faster and stronger to broken levels.
      • Special mention also to the Ruins and the Unity wreckage. The Ruins are a cluster of 8 Monoliths, which each give 2 of each resource, while the wreckage gives you a Unity Chopper, Mining Laser, and 150 energy credits.
    • "The Weather Paradigm" early secret project increases the rate of all terraforming actions, save for removing xenofungus, by 50%, and also lets you raise and lower terrain, and build boreholes and condensers, without needing the mid-game technologies normally needed to enable them. It requires a little micromanagement to fully benefit from its gifts, but if wisely used they can give a terrific increase in power to a faction.
    • For Zakharov, "The Virtual World". The Virtual World makes every Network Node in the player's faction double as a Hologram Theater, quelling drones and providing Psyche—it so happens that one of the perks of the University is that every base gets a free Network Node upon construction. Zakharov's problems with extra drones, which were intended to balance the strong bonus to research of the faction, just got solved for the next century or so, allowing ridiculous expansion possible.
    • If rushed for, the Hunter Seeker Algorithm can be gained in the early-mid game by the University faction. What does that project do? Oh, only remove their biggest weakness, probe teams. Permanently. Averted in the expansion Alien Crossfire, since the special ability "Enhanced Algorithms" allows probe teams to break through digital security of the Hunter Seeker Algorithm (although with low chances of success).
  • The nature of the upgrade system in Super Robot Wars games means any unit can become a Disc One Nuke with enough investment of early funds, as most games reward investing extensively in the player's favorite characters rather than spreading funds around between many units. That said, nearly every game has at least one early unit that's a cut above the rest or provides a higher return on early investment than normal:
    • The Original Generation character created for the game is usually somewhere in the top ten units, available from the start of the game, and the only character guaranteed to be with you regardless of story routes, but Granteed and Ialdabaoth are noteworthy standouts as units that can solo the entire game with ease due to simply being much more powerful than nearly anything else. The Nadesico in J is also commonly considered a candidate due to its unusual strength for a battleship and the tendency for enemies to try and Zerg Rush it.
    • Super Robot Wars Z gives the player one opportunity to upgrade Kei while he's still flying the Bronco II, before it becomes the titular Orguss. Upgrading the Bronco II's weapons is considerably cheaper than doing so for the Orguss later.
    • In the same game, three units (the Gundam X Divider, Gundam Mark II and Impulse Gundam copy any money invested into them over to their successors, the Double X, Zeta, and Destiny Gundams, while still allowing you to keep the original units to give to new pilots. Spending early cash on these units gives the player two powerful units for the price of one.
    • Super Robot Wars W offers a truly outrageous degree of upgrade carryover, with one unit potentially mirroring its upgrades onto as many as five or even six other units. Just utilizing some, not even all, of the instances allows the player to have an army of nineteen units fully upgraded for the cost of four.
    • Super Robot Wars L features early access to Kotetsushin Jeeg, who comes by default with two Combination Attack moves that cost Ammo instead of energy while also being substantially more powerful than other moves available so soon. Jeeg is also a plot-central character and thus gets a number of Mid-Season Upgrade events that make him even stronger, and because of the game's unusual pacing he gets these endgame abilities merely halfway through. Gaiking is another early standout due to its plethora of Combination Attack moves with its supporting cast, and the powerful Flame skill that boosts its all-around performance as the pilot's level rises beyond what its stats suggest. Again thanks to L having unusual pacing, you get the ability to combine it into the Lightning Bruiser Gaiking the Great halfway through the game.
    • Super Robot Wars V presents the Yamato as an obvious contender for the trope, but it's actually the Crutch Character, and the story soon takes the ship away after the introductory stages with the whole next arc of the game being about retrieving it. The actual Disc One Nuke is Might Gaine, the first super robot the player gets that stays with the party once obtained. He's much more powerful than the horde of Gundams the player has had up until that point, comes with a number of advantages to incentivize his deployment, and using him enough in the early stages even rewards you later with Black Might Gaine, who's like having a second copy of him. While there are two other super robots given to the player sooner than Might Gaine, the story takes them away at the same time as the Yamato and doesn't give them back until much, much later.
    • Gurren Lagann is available very early in Super Robot Wars X and makes scenarios a breeze to get through.
  • Age of Wonders II, courtesy of the Design-It-Yourself Equipment system. The system itself prevents most Game-Breaker items from being made. However, in a campaign game you can bring equipment and heroes across scenarios. Lingering on the first level to build superior equipment for later scenarios shatters any difficulty, as your heroes can handle any enemy troops, allowing you to leave the entire rest of your army on defense. Nothing like giving your hero a sword with Double Strike, Extra Strike, and Life Stealing. And if you're worried about dying, there's always equipment to make your hero take only 50% damage from any element type, or heal all your HP at the end of a battle, or...
  • The Crescent Hawk's Inception starts you off in a Chameleon training Battlemech. If you play out the story as intended, you're jumped by four Jenners and lose the 'mech, but escape with your life to begin seeking your revenge. Except that it's possible to simply run away as soon as the Jenners appear, letting you begin the game in a 50 ton Chameleon. Considering that the largest enemy 'mech you'll ever face in this game is only , it makes you the biggest badass on the planet from the very start of the game!
  • In Mission 5 of Front Mission Driscoll and his very powerful and overleveled Wanzer are at the edge of the battlefield but won't attack unless you target him first. Normally attacking him is suicide, but by intentionally blowing off the limbs of a few Mooks (rendering them unable to attack) and positioning them so they're between you and Driscoll, you can Cherry Tap him to death with the Grenade weapon while he can't counterattack or escape. It'll take a while but he gives 7xp for each turn and a whopping 1000xp and 7000 dollars when you finally blow him up. This will, guaranteed, level up Lloyd to learn both Guide and Duel much earlier than intended which will turn him into an overpowered Crutch Character for quite a while.
  • In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the "Slingshot" DLC is this. You get to capture an alien battleship early in the game. It's a tough mission and there's no penalty for skipping it, but doing so will get you plenty of alien alloys and elerium to build weapons, enough alien computers to build your satellite control network, enough Alien Power sources to build the most powerful power plants, and two fusion cores that unlock research for the most powerful aircraft weapon (which you won't be able to research due to high cost in alien weapon fragments and won't be able to install on your regular aircrafts as it only goes in the late game craft, but at least you won't have to hunt down a battleship when you'll want to make this research), as well as for a guided rocket launcher that never misses (that once again has a high cost for research that you won't be able to afford for a while, but at least you won't have to hunt down a notoriously hard to shoot down battleship). The rest of the Slingshot DLC also has powerful enemy spawning at predetermined places, allowing you to intercept them and take them alive for interrogation and to loot their weapons without triggering their Self-Destruct Mechanism.
  • Advance Wars: Dual Strike introduced the Skills mechanic. For every 1000 points you earn with a given CO they rank up and gain a new set of equippable skills as well as a new empty skill slot. However, points earned in the non-canon War Room count as well, so with patience you can beef your preferred CO up before even starting the main game. Not only do said abilities stack, but ones like Soul Of Hachi (turns every city into a deployment spot for units) and Sandscorpion (+20% attack during sandstorms, in a game where every difficult mission takes place during one) make you practically unstoppable. It's no small wonder this mechanic was completely removed from Days of Ruin.
  • In Jagged Alliance 2 right from the get-go you can hire the best mercs in the rooster armed with high-end weapons. Sure, with your starting funds you can only afford a couple of days of their service, but that'll suffice. They'll curb stomp through the first several missions, and then you can strip them of all their fancy gear, hire some more affordable mercs and carry on with a substantial edge.
  • Total War: Warhammer: The Von Carstein faction. Vlad von Carstein is one of the most powerful low-level legendary lords, as he starts out with excellent stats, a powerful army and the ability to hire his wife Isabella for free from turn one, giving you two legendary lords for free. A canny player can easily use these advantages to conquer Vlad's ancestral home of Castle Drakenhof at turn 3, sacrificing the ability to potentially confederate Mannfred, Kemmler and Ghorst in the lategame for a very potent opening that will (likely) see you rule the entirety of Sylvania before turn 10.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • With the right strategy in Minecraft, it's possible to obtain a few diamonds within minutes of spawning. That'ssss a nice diamond sword you got there...
  • Thanks to the open-ended gameplay structure of the Grand Theft Auto games, you can complete many sidequests, and in doing so, acquire extremely high-powered weapons and accumulate hundreds of thousands of dollars - all before even accessing the game's opening tutorial missions.
    • Out of all the deliciously abusable sub-missions in San Andreas, one of the easiest ways to gather funds early-on is (un)surprisingly the oldest profession in the book. Provided you can find the right type of car for the Pimping submissions and have lots of time to burn, you can gather completely ridiculous amounts of money early on.
    • Or, if you have something else to do, in San Andreas you can go to a strip club near your starting location, and stand on the stage, where patrons will throw money. As long as you don't touch the stripper, you can stand there, collecting money (albeit at the slow rate of like 5-20 dollars a minute). This adds up after a day or so of leaving the game on, however...
    • You can also simply save the game, go to the horse track, bet everything on the long odds, reload if you lose, save if you win, and rinse and repeat until you're filthy stinking rich.
    • Drug dealers are often hanging out around Grove Street and usually have around $1000 and a gun on them. If you get a wanted level killing them, just save back at CJ's crib to erase that. $5,000-$10,000 will be more than enough to carry you through the early stages of the game
    • The off-track betting place can serve a similar purpose if you bet on the horse with the longest odds and abuse the save/reload system. Similarly, the drug-trading mini-game in Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars can effectively render the in-game economy meaningless after a good hour or so of savvy trading.
    • Abusing the hidden weapon spawns allows you obtain the SMG and the assault rifle at the very start of the game, allowing you to breeze through the early game.
    • If you are pretty good at losing wanted ratings you can go to the UN building in GTA4 and kill the guards to aquire their M4s long before they are made available in the game. Also works with getting the last available weapon, the Combat Pistol - attack a gun dealer and take it. Or if you'd rather play it safe, the Combat Pistol and M4 (as well as all other weapons with the exception of the Rocket Launcher) can be picked up at various locations even on the first open islands.
    • In Grand Theft Auto V:
      • You can recruit Packie McReary as a crew member almost immediately after you start the game. He's a rather skilled gunman and takes a lower cut than other gunmen of his skill level, meaning that once you find him, your firepower throughout heists will be pretty well covered throughout the rest of the game without tearing into your profits.
      • The Epsilon missions: Available to Michael as soon as you unlock him, costs just short of $100,000 and a lot of patience to complete, but ultimately pays out $2.1 million, one of the highest payouts in the entire game.
      • Due to a programming oversight during the side mission "Fair Game" (the second of two hunting missions with Cletus), it's possible to access areas that normally cause extreme challenge for the player, netting overpowered vehicles and aircraft in the process. During this mission, traffic becomes noticeably lighter and no wanted stars are received if the player walks into restricted areas like Fort Zancudo, which makes it possible to steal a Lazer jet or Rhino tank extremely early, and stash them at the Sandy Shores Airfield for later use. It's also possible to glitch the game (via parking a vehicle outside the Fort and then killing yourself within the base itself) so that Rhino tanks start spawning outside the restricted zone, making it a convenient source of tanks.
      • The RPG in GTA Online doesn't unlock until level 100, and most of the game's other long-range explosives have similarly high level restrictions. However, the homing launcher is a DLC weapon, and as such doesn't have a level restriction. Considering that next-gen/PC preorders got a bonus $700,000 in Online, players who preordered can get a heat-seeking rocket launcher as soon as they can get to a gun store. (And before they're even allowed assault rifles, to boot.)
      • The armored Kuruma car in GTA Online is a defensive form of this trope. Unlocked during the very first heist mission string, it features armor plated body panels and windows that offer near-total protection from bullets, making nearly every mission vastly easier to complete because players can simply turtle inside the vehicle while shooting out of its window slits. While the $525,000 price tag is hefty, players who preordered the game and received a huge bonus cash grant were able to immediately afford it and a cheap safehouse to put it in.
  • Scarface: The World Is Yours let you play as your henchmen for quick cash once you got the ability to unlock them. What made them easily abused was taking their preset weapons and stuffing them in Tony's car, adding it to his collection. One of the henchmen starts out with a grenade launcher! Do this enough times and Tony will pretty much have all the ammo he needs with very little effort.
  • Crackdown has two major Disc...erm...Island One Nukes. First off, buying the DLC gives your character some ridiculously powerful weapons accessible at any time - including your first loadout screen. However, you can also get the most powerful weapons in the game by driving to the third island first and killing basic street thugs that have them - once you reach a Supply Point with them in hand, they're yours for the rest of the now significantly easier game.
  • In The Godfather game, the aversion of Broken Bridge means you can, if you so desire, grind your way to high levels and the cash needed to upgrade your weapons through various means as soon as you can start free-roaming.
  • Saints Row features three hitman missions, each requiring the player to kill eight different targets. Upon completion of each mission, the player receives one of three "signature weapons", which are enhanced versions of regular handguns, SMGs, and shotguns the player can buy:
    - a gold plated GDHC .50 handgun (resembling a Desert Eagle Mark VII)
    - a platinum plated T3K Urban SMG (TEC-DC9)
    - a platinum plated AS12 Riot combat shotgun (Franchi SPAS-12)
    - completing all three missions unlocks the fourth and final signature weapon, a platinum plated RPG Launcher (RPG-7)

    Each of these signature weapons is far more powerful than the regular versions of these guns, with larger magazine size, larger overall ammo capacity, and increased damage — they are hands-down the four most powerful weapons in the game. Additionally, the player doesn't have to keep scavenging killed enemies for ammo or spend literally tens of thousands of hard-earned dollars at weapon shops, but can instead refill all the ammo for all signature weapons for free at his hideout.

    What makes these guns Disc One Nukes is the fact that all three hitman missions become available after the first four story missions, which are all rather easy since they're just tutorials. And despite the fact that the hitman missions are veritable cases of Guide Dang It! and Fake Difficulty because some targets are incredibly hard to find, they can all be completed before doing any more story missions or other side activities.
  • Saints Row 2 has two possible Disc One Nukes. As soon as you get your first crib it's possible to store any ground vehicle at it and be able to retrieve it whenever you want even if it's destroyed. It's easy to get a high wanted level and steal an APC with a machine gun mounted on it then use it for the rest of the game. The second Disc One Nuke can be gotten as soon as you have your hideout. The hideout has a helipad on it and through a combination of skill, luck, and persistence it's possible to jump out of your own helicopter and parachute onto a SWAT attack helicopter that comes for you when you're at the highest wanted level. If done properly you can enter the SWAT attack helicopter and store it at your helipad where it can be retrieved later. The attack helicopter's secondary fire is laser guided/homing missiles that make any combat where it's usable ridiculously easy.
  • Saints Row: The Third:
    • Once you gain a garage, and access back to the National Guard Depot, you can enter the depot, and hang around until you gain enough wanted stars to spawn tanks, then you can steal the tank and take it to a garage. You also have the option of using your own vehicle on some of the side missions, which means you can do drug runs in tanks, operating the mounted machine gun (or laser gun, at later tanks) while the dealer drives around the city in the tank.
    • Likewise, once you gain access to a HQ with a helipad, you can raid the National Guard depot again for armed helicopters.
    • Some of the DLC for The Third gives you a Saints-themed STAG quality laser-armed tank and armored car from the beginning, as well as guns like the Professor Genki mind-controlling cuddly octopus gun and the sewer-shark summoning shotgun. These make the early game near trivial, even on the highest difficulty.
    • The Unlockable Pack DLC gives access to most mission reward items and bonuses in the game; this includes the Apoca-Fists you get from the first time you defeat Killbane and every money and respect bonus, so you can start the game off with a 30% increase in hourly payments and a 35% increase in Respect gained from missions.
  • Saints Row IV lets you get a semi-auto shotgun shortly after dropping into the Steelport simulation, then when you return after "The Real World" you can play Keith David's sidequests for a Destructor tank, two versions of the Void UFO, and the Dubstep Gun, all within about 1-3 hours of starting.
  • Because of random enemy equipment generation and a complete aversion of Unusable Enemy Equipment, Mount & Blade will sometimes do this. It's not impossible to run across bandits or deserters wearing surprisingly good armor (including strength modifiers like Reinforced or Thick) or wielding weapons bearing the Tempered/Balanced/Heavy/Strong/Masterwork modifiers, all of which improve the weapon in some form or fashion. This can lead to low-level, just-starting characters riding around Calradia on an old nag of a horse dressed in shabby commoner's clothing, but carrying a powerful high-quality sword plucked from the corpse of some bandit.
  • Terraria has loads of them.
    • Shuriken can be bought very early in the game as soon as the Merchant shows up. The merchant is usually the second NPC to appear in the player's house. Shuriken are inexpensive, do decent damage, have high attack speed, high range, go through any enemy they hit, hitting large enemies twice or three times in the process, and have a chance to be able to be recovered and used again.
    • Molotov Cocktails. With a little Sand, Stone, Wood, Gel, Cobwebs, and Iron, you can make these fairly early. Crafting information  They do a lot of damage for the early game, and the only consumable ingredients you need for the molotovs themselves are the wood, gel, sand, and cobwebs. Material hints  These improvised firebombs make short work of pretty much every monster and even some bosses before you enter Hardmode. The 1.3 Big Update adds Pink Gel to the ingredient list and reduces the raw damage, but molotovs still remain a powerful tool in pre-hardmode Terraria.
    • The floating islands early on. You could find the indispensable, fall-damage-removing Lucky Horseshoe, the powerful Starfury, or the jump-improving Shiny Red Balloon, as well as large amounts of Gold/Silver ore, from which you could make better armour out of in the early game. This is partially balanced out now by the existence of the harpy enemies who spawn at that level and attack player as long as they are up that high. 1.2 makes it even more worthwhile to raid Floating Islands, as you can now harvest actual clouds and Skyware deco furniture and bricks in addition to the loot in the chests.
    • The Extractinator makes amassing ore and gems pre-hardmode practically effortless, as the extremely common slush and silt blocks tend to spawn in massive veins that are easy to clear out. Not only does it make getting some of the best armor and weapons early game easy but it also drops coins, up to and including the extremely rare platinum coins, essentially making money a non-issue until hardmode. This is balanced out by the fact that the Extractinator can only be found in underground desert shacks, which can be hard to navigate early on but once you do find one, the early game becomes significantly easier.
    • Christmas Presents and Halloween Goodie Bags can give a serious headstart to any player's arsenal, in addition to seasonal random drops. Getting, say, the Red Ryder rifle from a present even before you go Underground for the first time is entirely possible, as is randomly getting the Machete from some mook at a similar time.
    • Daring players can wade into the Ocean in hopes of finding a Water Chest with a Trident inside. That trident, with all the benefits of the Spear class of melee weapons, will have enough attack power to last you a good while in pre-hardmode Terraria. If you're even more prepared, you can even bring a Recall Potion (that is easily found in Surface wooden chests) and teleport straight out of the sea before you run out of breath and escape mostly unscathed with your loot.
    • If you're canny enough to survive in the Marble Cave mini-biome, Hoplites drop Javelins, which are strong throwing weapons for the early game and are dropped in large stacks.
    • Fishing can net you several helpful items as soon as you can get some bait and a rod together. In addition to items you can fish up (such as potion ingredients, explosive Bomb Fish, and a jump-enhancing Balloon Pufferfish), you can also get crates, which can contain further items like the Tsunami in a Bottle, which grants a second jump, or the Falcon Blade, a fast and powerful (if somewhat short) sword you can get well before you can craft anything that surpasses it, and if you hold off on opening a few crates until hardmode, you can get a fair bit of hardmode ores before you even break any of the alters, possibly ending up with the best set of armor and weapons as soon as you start hardmode if you're lucky. Fishing in the Ocean biome may nab you a Reaver Shark, a very powerful (pre-Hardmode-wise) pickaxe that can mine the first set of Hardmode ores.
    • Ice Golems can be fought as soon as you enter Hardmode and enter a blizzard. They drop the Frost Staff, a decent magic weapon, Ice Feather, which are used to craft high-tier Frozen Wings, and Frost Core, which, with Adamantite, Titanium or Hallowed Bars (depending on the world and game version), allows you to craft Frost Armor.
    • If your lucky enough with dungeon spawns, it's possible to get a Water Bolt fairly early on, above the danger line in the Dungeon where the Guardian would promptly spawn to kill you. The Water Bolt is a great magic weapon that bounces off of walls for a set number of bounces. With a proper arena to abuse this, it can absolutely shred through bosses and is great for crowd control early game.
    • If you're good enough and dodging corruption/crimson mobs, you can sneak down into the respective biomes to smash one of the orbs, which in turn lets meteors start spawning. The meteor set is a great early game armor and it's set bonus, the space gun costs no mana, is amazing early game, allowing you to tear through mobs and bosses rather handedly.
    • Eaters of Souls in the Corruption have a small chance of dropping Ancient Shadow Armor, which is functionally identical to the Shadow Armor crafted with drops from the Eye of Cthulhu and Eater of Worlds and outclasses almost any armor you can craft early on. If you're good at dealing with the Eaters and get a bit lucky, you can basically get the entire Shadow Armor set without having to fight a single boss.
  • In Dead Rising:
    • If you get the Zombie Genocide achievement early, the game rewards you with the Real Mega Buster. It's insanely powerful, capable of downing most psychopaths in 5-10 shots. On top of that, it has a massive clip (300 shots) and if you use it up, it respawns. It is very tempting to just plow through the entire game with the Mega Buster alone.
    • More famously is the mini-chainsaw, a one-handed juggling chainsaw. Two of them can be obtained by killing Adam early on (though the fight can be difficult, it's easily beatable by a low level character if the player is savvy and prepared beforehand), and it respawns at his death zone afterward. When you unlock the passage between the plaza where the chainsaw spawns and the opening area linked directly to your safehouse, you can pick one up any time you want. Not that you'll need to do that often: with the right combination of durability-enhancing books taken from the various bookstores in the mall, you can make a single chainsaw last an obscenely long time. Couple that with high attack power and speed and capable of being stored in the inventory (whereas the full size chainsaw is too big), and you've now broken the game.
  • Zoo Tycoon 2 and its Extinct Animals expansion gives one the ability to create animals from fossils. While it costs 8000 and requires you to find the fossils first, what you end up with is the potential for unlimited, free animals who start off young, and thus live longer than purchased animals. In Challenge Mode, this can be a handy little trick
  • Project Zomboid has zombies that are quite tough in a fight, and the smarter tactic is to avoid them rather than fight them; however, from the very first house the player spawns in, they can potentially find numerous Kitchen Knives, which turn the player from a terrified survivor into a full-on Knife Nut. Kitchen Knives break easily, but are very common, are the only melee weapon that reliably one-hit-kills zombies, and to top it all off, the one-hit-kill special attack it almost always performs leaves you immune to individual zombie damage for several seconds. There's also a chance to find the Fire Axe, one of the rarest and strongest weapons in the game, on any zombie corpse, meaning the player can potentially find one within minutes of beginning the game. It's highly durable, can frequently insta-kill zombies, and can chop down any door in the game with ease.
  • TerraTech: Randomly-selected Invaders can contain blocks far above the player's license grade, including the strongest cannons and missile launchers. If the player can take out the Invader without being destroyed or destroying the weapon by mistake, it's theirs to play with.
  • Red Dead Redemption II:
    • You can find an "Arabian", an elite horse with the game's highest stats from a spawn point on the northwestern point of Lake Isabella. It may take a few visits to spawn, but you can obtain one as early as Chapter 2. It can be recognized from its snow white coat and for being pretty much the only horse that spawns on the freezing climate.
    • Several powerful guns can be acquired early in Chapter 2 by performing the right side quests around camp and in the nearby First Town of Valentine. Notable examples include Schofield Revolver (acquired by robbing the Valentine doctor), the three unique Revolvers/Pistols acquired during "The Noblest of Men, and a Woman" side-quest available at the Valentine saloon, and the Pump Shotgun (acquired during "The First Shall Be Last" side-quest given by Javier in camp). None of these weapons costs a dime to acquire and most will easily carry through the rest of Chapter and even into Chapter 3 with the right upgrades.
    • The Stage Coach Fence at Emerald Ranch becomes available early in Chapter 2. Once unlocked, it can become an easy source of nuke-level money. Simply steal stage coaches and bring them to the fence for an easy $15-$40 a pop. Emerald Ranch itself is within sight of several crossroads that are traversed frequently by stage coaches. Once you learn the most valuable/least risky wagons to look for (2+ horses, nice looking wagons, single occupant), you can easily haul in $400+ per real life hour. It's more than enough to upgrade every weapon you have available, max out your ammo, spoil your horse(s), and upgrade your camp with ease.
    • You can unlock the legendary animals in a mission immediately after the map opens up in Chapter 2. Once you hunt the legendary buck (which is relatively close by to the camp and you have to go there inevitably to start a mission anyway), you can use it at the fence, which unlocks a bit later into Chapter 2, to craft a trinket to spawn more three-star animals. Three-star animals drop perfect pelts which can be sold for a pretty penny as well as to craft upgrades for your satchel. You can get the legend of the east satchel which carries 99 of everything right after you've got the trinket if you so choose. Most counts say it takes about six hours of outside work to get it but you can have it not even halfway through Chapter 2 if you want by forgoing story missions and just focusing on hunting to be able to make it.

Alternative Title(s): Disk One Nuke


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: