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Lethal Joke Item

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"... I feel like I'm gonna break this damn thing!"
J appraising the Noisy Cricket, Men in Black

So, you found a worthless Joke Item after hours of grinding and beating the Superboss at the bottom of the Bonus Level of Hell. Its stats suck, it looks like a wet noodle, and everyone comments on how stupid it looks.

You may as well try it out- WHOA! Did you just curb stomp That One Boss in a single round using a mop!? Maybe there's more to this than meets the eye.

The Lethal Joke Item seems ridiculous at first, but it has a hidden property that overshadows your other, more mundane items when used. This "hidden property" is always in play, though it may need some Required Secondary Powers to employ properly.

Compare Lethal Joke Character, where the "item" is an actual character. The equivalent outside of video games is Heart Is an Awesome Power. Contrast Joke Item, where the item has no actual use. If it starts out a joke but eventually 'unlocks' further potential through use, it's a case of Magikarp Power.

Not Completely Useless is like this, except it only works on specific obstacles and is truly useless otherwise. If the "lethal" effect can be employed in most situations, even if it needs to be set up, it's a Lethal Joke Item. If the effect can only be employed in certain situations, regardless of setup, then it's just Not Completely Useless.

If the item simply looks ridiculous but functions just as well as a normal item, it's a Nerf Arm.


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     Action Adventure 
  • In Assassin's Creed II, the broom (or "Doom Broom", in some circles) acquired by bumping store owners holding them was treated as both a sword and a hammer for the purpose of counters. Since all of the counters but the ones that just knock the enemy down are 1-hit kills, the broom becomes insanely powerful. See that elite-looking guard in massive shining armor that dwarfs normal guards' armor? Let him strike at you and then counter, and you will hit them in the (armored) gut with the soft bristles and proceed to finish them off with an upswing that should merely give your enemy's helmet a dusting. Or, if you are really lucky, you will finish them off by slicing into their neck and pulling it out with a glorious spin. And yes, blood will fly.
  • The Staff is unarguably the least badass weapon in Battle Princess Madelyn. It looks like a toy, and even when fully upgraded, it only fires tiny rainbow-colored musical notes...that hit like a freight train. The Staff can take down even the toughest regular enemies with only a couple of hits, and only its homing function (that renders its shots somewhat unpredictable) prevents it from being completely overpowered.
  • The Binding of Isaac loves this trope, employing many pick-ups that are nigh-useless except when combined with specific characters or other pick-ups. Examples include the Dead Cat, which grants the player 9 lives but reduces them to one Heart Container (and resets them back to one upon each death.) More trouble than it's worth normally, unless you're playing as ??? (who can't collect Heart Containers and has to subsist on Soul Hearts) and The Lost (who's already a One-Hit-Point Wonder.) There's also the Cursed Skull, which ejects you from the room you're in whenever you take a hit and is reviled because getting ejected causes you to lose all your progress in that room, but if it's combined with the Scapular (which grants you 1 Soul Heart upon entering a new room if you're below one heart's worth of normal health) the player becomes unkillable. There's also Plan C, which deals enough damage to kill anything in the game several times over, and then kills you 3 seconds later...unless you have something that gives you an extra life, in which case it's a one time use "I win" button as long as you're on your opponent's last form.
  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night:
    • Summon Chair is such a useless Shard at first glance that even the description questions its own effect. What the game doesn't tell you is that sitting in the summoned chair increases your MP regeneration rate. Max out the Shard and you'll have insanely fast MP regen for a negligible cost to summon.
    • Holy crap, 8-Bit Fireball. It looks harmless, moves slowly and is very expensive to enhance as it requires the expensive 8-bit coins to do it, but it's easy to farm the shard to boost its grade and if you get it to rank 9 it fires a massive spread and hits like a goddamned semi truck, doing well over 1000 HP damage if you hit an opponent at close enough range so all the fireballs hit. With skill and patience it can be acquired and maxed out as early as the first encounter with Gebel. Standing beside the Superbosses O.D. or IGA and punching this thing into them as fast as you can mash the button will down them in about 30 seconds.
  • Castlevania:
    • The key subweapon in Castlevania: Rondo of Blood and Castlevania: Dracula X is mainly for opening a few locked doors, but like all other subweapons, it has an Item Crash. The key's Item Crash looks silly (Richter or Maria rises into the air with the key in hand, then falls with a question mark over their head), but you're invulnerable during the animation and it costs zero hearts, so you can dodge attacks with ease. The key also damages any enemies it directly touches while you're floating, and you float higher than a normal jump, so you can kill enemies on upper levels from below (again, for zero hearts).
    • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night has the Alucart equipment, which is basically joke copies of the true Alucard equipment. They give you poor stats and shouldn't be used — unless you use them all together, in which case your Luck is jacked up considerably (and your name in the status screen is Alucart!), making it much easier to get those random drops. Like the Crissaegrim. The Basilard is another one you find early in the game that seems pretty worthless because it does lower numerical damage than even the basic Short Sword. But, if you actually equip the thing, you'll discover that its lower attack power is more than compensated by its insanely fast attack speed (akin to the superior Combat Knife, only without the slower follow-up slash), making it a very useful weapon through the beginning portions of the game.
    • In Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, you have the Waiter Skeleton soul. It throws out a plate of curry that acts as a landmine, causing damage to any enemy that touches it. The damage is minimal, it's a pain to get, it only stays for a few seconds, and it's less of a hassle to just smash something than hope the enemy walks across it. Then you meet the Iron Golem and Final Guard, both of which move slowly and have titanic defense, and learn that a well-thrown plate of curry will hit them dozens of times, whittling their HP down far faster than almost any other weapon. It's also required to make the Yeti appear so that you can kill him and get his soul.
    • One of Jonathan's sub-weapons in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin is a Cream Pie, which deals Dark-element damage in a game where the majority of enemies are resistant to it. However, its low MP cost makes it ideal for spamming close-range attacks, especially against the Whip's Memory.note 
  • In Dark Souls II
    • The Handmaiden's Ladle is a weak and fragile "weapon" that breaks after only a few hits. Its only advantage is that each attack with it has a very low stamina cost. Upgrading it to the Mundane type gives a fixed damage bonus to every attack that it won't lose if it breaks, so if you build your character to take advantage of the Mundane type,note  it is very capable of a Death of a Thousand Cuts.
    • The Ladle also functions as a Stat Stick that increases your Vitality, Endurance and Adaptability by a small amount when out. So small as to be useless on normal playthrough, but if you're doing a Soul Level 1 run, the Ladle in your off-hand and a couple of items from the Worker's set (which has dreadful stats, but a small Adaptability bonus too) is enough to get you to the next Agility breakpoint. You'll be swapping between the Ladle and the Work Hook (otherwise useless, but gives a bonus to Dexterity) in your off-hand throughout most of an SL1 run.
    • Santier's Spear is a sub-par weapon whose only draw is its insanely high durability (in a game where most weapons tend to break pretty quickly). However, if you manage to wear down that huge durability bar and break it (typically by smacking it against a bird's nest for several minutes), it not only becomes better than its unbroken version, but since it's already "broken" and permanently at 0 durability (the game won't even let you repair it), you now have an unbreakable weapon.
    • The humble Binoculars, due to the way they function in this game. In the first and third games, they are an inventory/hotbar item. When you look through them, you can't move or do anything else except move the camera and zoom in. In II, however, they function more like a shield instead. You equip them to a weapon slot and hold the corresponding button to hold them up to your eyes. This not only allows you to move and dodge while they're held up, but also to first-person aim spells like a bow, which is incredibly useful for anyone who uses offensive magic.
  • In Dark Souls III, Anri's Straight Sword isn't a joke, exactly, but it scales primarily off Luck, which doesn't affect any other weaponsnote , and you normally don't get it until well into the game, after you've already decided on a build and have found a weapon you're comfortable with sticking with for the rest of the game. However, if you do decide to use the sword and start raising Luck (or just visit Rosaria and have her respec your stats), you'll find that its scaling is so excessive that it eventually starts hitting as hard as an Ultra Greatsword.
  • Dead Rising: A big element of the game is using lethal joke items. For example, the King Salmon. Sure, it breaks after two hits, but that one hit does happen to do more damage than a katana. Not terribly useful when surrounded by zombies, but when there's one psychopath with a huge lifebar around...
  • In Far Cry 3, the Flare Gun seems like a useless weapon at first. It has a slow rate of fire, short range, and it's easy to set the area around you on fire with. However, it will set any vehicle in the game on fire in one shot, disabling it and turning it into a time bomb. It's also extremely effective against wild animals, either scaring them off or killing them.
  • Grand Theft Auto V:
    • The Rhino Tank can fall under this. Thanks to a nerf to the tank's armor, many players now see it as somewhat of a joke vehicle in Online. However, it still has that powerful cannon that can take anything out in one hit. Don't have any explosives? You're still screwed.
    • Likewise, snowballs. They're plentiful and practically unlimited during festive seasons, and they're by logic harmless. But three of these can kill a NPC!
    • The Flare Gun. Useful for showing another player where you are in certain situations, but not much else. If you manage to fire a direct hit onto another player or NPC, they'll be set on fire!
  • In Iji: you can acquire more powerful weapons, but the Banana Gun still packs an explosive punch — in the form of a rubber squeaky toy shaped like a banana. It is also the only weapon affected by gravity, and thus can be thrown from above.
  • This has become a long-running tradition in The Legend of Zelda series:
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past started the trend. In the game, you could deflect the dark wizard Agahnim's projectiles with the Master Sword... or the Butterfly Net, which was normally just used to catch insects and fairies in bottles. Later games had the bottles themselves do the catching and deflecting.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening has two: the Shovel, which deflects Agahnim's Shadow's projectiles, and the Boomerang, which normally doesn't affect bosses, but takes down the final boss in one hit.
    • Ocarina of Time:
      • Deku Sticks; they break in one hit, are only available as a child, and their intended use is to light torches... but that one-hit-per-stick is as powerful as the Master Sword, able to take down most of the child bosses in one to two well-timed Jump Attacks. And because of a glitch, every so often you'd get a stick that only broke part-way, letting you continue to use it indefinitely until you switch to something else.
      • An unintentional example with the Broken Giant's Knife from the same game. Thanks to a glitch in its hit detection, it tears Dark Link apart in about five seconds.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask had the Blast Mask. Normally explodes when you hit B, but damages you each time you use it. Since bombs are plentiful, it would be useless, except a quirk in the game's code lets you put up your shield to protect yourself from the blast, even though it's originating from your face.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, the second dungeon's boss, Kalle Demos, dies in one hit from... pouring Forest Water on him. Forest Water's main use is to purify sick plants during a sidequest, so this application does make a lot of sense. Despite existing ever since the original version of the game, fans only discovered this one 14 years later when a speedrunner was messing around with the HD version.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games:
      • The Whimsical Ring. It decreases your attack power... though each swing of your sword has a 1 in 256 chance of causing a One-Hit Kill to which not even the final boss is immune.
      • In Seasons, some Subrosians steal your Roc's Feather and leave you with an item called the Fool's Ore. All you can do with it is swing it like your sword, which does nothing. However, if you find an enemy to use it on, you can kill it in 1 hit. The only enemy, however, is the Fire Pokey (which you sometimes dig up), and you can't leave the area until you get the Roc's Feather back, which replaces the Fool's Ore.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, the final Arena-style sword battle with Ganondorf can be made ridiculously easy by using your fishing rod as one of these. The fishing rod has no practical use in battle, since you normally use it only for fishing, but if you pull it out, Ganondorf will stand and stare at the line while you wave it around, completely confused as to why you're doing this during a life-or-death battle. You can then quickly whip out your sword and slash at him while he's caught unawares... rinse and repeat, because he never catches on.
    • Following this trend, in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, the net you use for catching bugs will also distract Demise during the first half of the battle, and not only does it deflect the projectiles he fires in the second half, it's the only way to do so — your shield can only block them and trying to use your sword just gets yourself electrified.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has the Spring Loaded Hammer, which is the weakest weapon in the game. You could cherry tap enemies to death with it, but the impact of the final swing will send enemies flying across the field. Do this near a cliffside and you can watch your foes fly off into the abyss below as they take major fall damage or even be killed by it. It also serves as an excellent nighttime weapon, since you will run into boatloads of Keese and Stal enemies...all of whom (or at least, the skulls of the Stals) have 1 HP, meaning you won't go through much of the Hammer's 80 durability while swatting them away like flies.
    • Equally useful against nighttime enemies is the Korok Leaf. Its gusts will knock Keese right out of the sky and stun them from a safe distance, allowing you to take out the ice, fire, or electric varieties without worry. It can also deal the 1 point of damage needed to kill them.
    • In Hyrule Warriors, various DLC packs included 8-Bit weapons, which repurpose item sprites from the NES The Legend of Zelda as new weapon variants for most weapon sets belonging to the original 13 characters. Despite looking silly, they're incredibly powerful and equivalent to regular Level 3 weapons. In the Definitive Edition, the 8-Bit weapons are reskins for the Level 4 and 4+ weapons and not separate items; the 8-bit appearance can be switched on or off in the Settings screen. Additionally, the game gives you an 8-Bit Sword for Link directly upon starting up the Wii U version of the game, giving a very useful Disc-One Nuke.
  • MediEvil 2: With swords and guns available, who needs a cane stick? Turns out it's not meant for just hitting things; it actually fires a variety of energy blasts, including firing in multiple directions at once.
  • Monster Hunter has quite a few:
    • The Melynx series of weapons are basically stuffed animal toys. They tend to have very low damage output as a result, but also have the very useful Paralysis status effect, which renders monsters immobile for several seconds and leaves them vulnerable to beatdowns.
    • The Corn Gunlance, known as the "Pop Corn" or "Cornpopper" in the international versions, is a BFG made out of a huge corn-on-the-cob that inexplicably makes stock cartoon noises with every move. While it has low Sharpness compared to many endgame Gunlances, it also has Lv. 5 Spread Shelling, the strongest shelling power available to said weapon type, with later games even giving it a hidden Blastblight attribute.
    • The Teddybear. It's a giant stuffed teddy bear that makes squeaky toy noises when attacking, which you use as a hammer. Although it has relatively low raw damage, it has the highest Sleep ailment stat in the game (a whopping 43, whereas most of the other Sleep weapons have 20-25) and a substantial amount of white Sharpness when fully upgraded.
  • Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones has several joke weapons that can be obtained through Cheat Codes and wielded as secondary weapons to complement the Dagger of Time that is your primary weapon. One of them, the swordfish, deals One Hit Kills to non-boss enemies.
  • The Ratchet & Clank games:
    • Several games have a weapon whose sole use is transmuting enemies into animals or other things, in a series where most of your weapons are based around bullets, lasers, explosives, and the like. However, these end up surprisingly useful in many situations, including the fact that most of them aren't constrained by an ammo counter.
      • The Morph-o-Ray from Ratchet & Clank (2002) can be found for free on a side path on Oltanis, and turns your enemies into tiny chickens when used. These chickens happen to be perfect ammo for the Suck Cannon, which can only suck up small, weak foes in this game. When upgraded to the Gold Morph-o-Ray, the chickens become too big to be picked up, but now serve as effective decoys.
      • The Sheepinator in Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando can be found for free on an optional route on Todano, and is still free to use. The Black Sheepinator that it upgrades to, however, makes your transmogrified enemies explode.
      • The Qwack-O-Ray of Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal turns your enemies into ducks quite fast, but with low reach, making it risky to use. Enemies get transformed faster the lower current HP they have (you can badly damage a tough enemy from a distance with other weapons then get up close and finish it off with a now much faster morph, so the Quack-O-Ray gets an EXP boost equivalent to the kill, making levelling it up easier). Every level of upgrade makes it more lethal. The ducks start laying exploding eggs (V2), which then become homing eggs (V3); at V4 the ducks themselves will also attack enemies, and finally at V5, if you don't already have one, the next morphed enemy will turn into a flying, flaming duck that locks onto and charges into enemies of its own accord. Once it expires from dealing out damage, you'll get a new one from the next morph. Since it consumes no ammo whatsoever, it's the perfect weapon for Arena challenges involving waves of mooks, and the otherwise-infuriating constant spawn of Amoeboids when hunting for Sewer Crystals on Aquatos (which also greatly assist in power-levelling this weapon).
      • The Winterizer from Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus. Unlike the others, this one does use ammo, but it's no less silly for it; the weapon turns your enemies into inanimate snowmen while blasting a choral rendition of Jingle Bells. The weapon even has an upgrade that causes the snowmen to drop presents containing bolts, Nanotech, and ammo for your weapons.
    • There's also the device known as the Groovitron, a disco ball that can cause any enemy nearby to start dancing. Including the bosses. Including the final boss. And while they're dancing, you're free to attack them with everything you have. Using this during the final boss battle in Tools Of Destruction will give you vital moments to switch weapons, pick up ammo and Nanotech, and all in all just unload destruction on him.
  • Resident Evil 2:
    • There is a flamethrower for Leon to use. It's the same type that Chris gets in the previous game and is just as worthless against zombies, lickers, and bosses, but it makes very quick work of Ivy monsters, who otherwise take loads of precious ammo to kill.
    • The Spark Shot that Claire receives is so laughably useless that you'll probably end up wasting it on zombies just to save handgun ammo. But if you hang onto it, it absolutely trashes William Birkin and the Tyrant T-103-Type.
  • Resident Evil 4 has the Flash Grenade, which is explicitly non-lethal, but can disorientate groups of enemies. However, the "plaga-headed" Ganados, normally much more lethal and durable, will die instantly if caught in the blast radius of the Flash Grenade.
    • It also opens whole groups of enemies for melee takedowns, which deal huge amounts of damage. Not only is this a big ammo saver for Leon, it's also a vital tactic for The Mercenaries mode, where ammo comes on drips. In fact if you haven't mastered this technique by the time you start tackling The Mercenaries, you won't get anywhere close to a gold rank.
  • Resident Evil 5 has the electric rounds for the grenade launcher that are pitifully weak against Majini, but are great for stunning Reapers and exposing their vulnerable spots.
  • Yakuza 0 and Kiwami feature Mr. Random, an expensive handgun that looks like a toy. True to its name, its shots have random effects, including poison, stun, extreme knockback, and setting the target on fire.

     Fighting Game 
  • In Kengo: Master of Bushido, the strongest "sword" with the longest reach is actually an oar. Though it doesn't have a Spirit move, because it's made of wood, you can use it instead of a bokken when facing another dojo. This is probably a Shout-Out to the sword saint Miyamoto Musashi's (in)famous duel versus his lifelong rival Sasaki Kojirou, in which (long story short) he used an oar and won. It's worth mentioning that Sasaki's katana is waaaay longer than a normal katana.
  • Super Smash Bros.
    • The Fan deals very little damage but is really fast, doesn't allow your enemies to move (much; it IS possible to escape...most of the time) while you're hitting them, and can be spammed. You can deal insane amounts of damage to your enemies to the point that throwing the fan once you're done can send them flying offscreen. And if your foe is foolish enough to try to shield, if you smash with the fan, you break it instantly. Throwing the fan will also send an opponent straight upwards into the air, a property that very few attacks or items reliably have. These properties resulted in the Fan being removed from the game entirely in later installments.
    • The Bumper does no damage (unless you throw it right at someone) but a lot of knockback. It's especially impressive when the damage ratio is turned up (resulting in more knockback for the same hits), where it can become a one-hit KO unless you're on a very large stage or there are a lot of obstacles in the way.
    • The Mr. Saturn item normally walks around the stage harmlessly, pushing items around as it travels and doing a minuscule amount of damage and knockback if you pick it up and toss it at someone. However, its shield damage has been buffed with every iteration of the game, and any unlucky sap who decides to try and shield a thrown onenote  will find their shield broken instantly. Getting your shield broken leaves you in a stunned animation for quite a long time, making you a sitting duck for the strongest attack in an opponent's arsenal.

  • EverQuest has the Mossy Twig. It does very little damage and it initially seemed like a joke. Until someone figured out it was really, really fast. When you have spells or other items that go off every time you swing a weapon, it can be devastating.
  • Ragnarok Online: The weapon Dagger of Counter, which is an extremely rare Level 4 weapon (Level 4 is highest level of weapon in the game) that is only obtainable as MVP boss drop or from a random content special box dropped by monsters in one of the hardest endgame dungeon in the game, and adds massive Crit rate, not to mention being enchantable to add a little more effect to it. There is even an upgraded version that's although non-enchantable, but is overall more powerful due to its effects, and it's called Illusion Dagger of Counter. It is even harder to obtain, requiring you to make it in an endgame dungeon with highly upgraded Dagger of Counter as one of the materials. What makes the two daggers a pure joke, is that they are only equippable by Mage class. Who obviously prefer to use magic than the physical Critical attacks, as not only magic can't Crit, the magic skills are also far more powerful anyway. But then Soul Linker class is introduced, and suddenly these daggers become a Lethal Joke, as Soul Linkers not only are able to equip everything a Mage class can, but also are better suited for the dagger, as the class has two branch of skills, one of the branch is a full support skill branch that has absolutely no attacking skills at all, meaning those who pick that branch can only rely on physical attacks for leveling. By focusing on a physical build, a full support Soul Linker can become the most capable support character in leveling on their own, with physical Critical damage that is roughly on par with, and depending on buffs and the rest of the equipments, can sometimes exceed, the Assassin class.
  • World of Warcraft: The Last Relic of Argus, an item made through Archaeology. It's got a random teleport effect that sends you who-knows-where, but its secret value is that the teleport spell takes only three seconds to cast, where the usual methods of teleport take ten seconds on average, making it a very effective escape hatch.

  • Castlevania: Rondo of Blood: The Key subweapon. It's normally used only to open the doors leading to the cells where the maidens are trapped, but as it turns out, it does four times the damage of a normal whip stroke (provided that you get close enough to hit the enemy with it). Also, its Item Crash costs no hearts to use, and serves as an Invulnerable Attack that allows you to dodge in a pinch.
  • In Kirby's Adventure:
    • The Ball ability. To the average player, it can be a pretty bad weapon, as it greatly limits your movement and makes you really vulnerable, and basically of little more use than Sleep. However, it deals damage proportionate to Kirby's speed, and gives quite a lot of invincibility frames, meaning that Kirby can just bounce through most closed areas killing everything in his path, up to and including minibosses.
    • The Hi-Jump ability is almost completely useless as an attack and typically only handy for moving through levels. Except against bosses; every boss goes down with ease except Meta Knight, who forces you to use the Sword ability against him.
  • Mega Man:
    • In Mega Man 3, the Top Spin appears to be Mega Man's lamest special weapon. However, it can One-Hit Kill Dr. Wily's final phase. Additionally, if you know the quirks of the weaponnote , it's surprisingly effective against common enemies.
    • Bounce Ball from Mega Man 11 fires a bunch of squeaky bouncy balls that seem like they'd be a complete joke. As it turns out, a spread shot Pinball Projectile weapon where each projectile can hit multiple times and you can even aim it up and down is actually pretty effective. It's also the only weapon capable of destroying the Elec Crosser and Elec Xtender obstacles in Fuse Man's stage.
    • A somewhat literal example of a lethal joke item is provided by the Humor program in the Mega Man Battle Network series, which does nothing but replace Mega Man's usual advice with extremely bad jokes when it's placed properly. However, starting from the fourth game, if you intentionally glitch it, it instead has the highly beneficial in-battle effect of randomly causing his next attack to deal double damage.
    • Ever make "Junk" out of Item Crafting in Mega Man Zero 4? They're actually ingredients for the Junk Armor, a set of armor that makes him even more of a Glass Cannon and doubles all damage he deals and receives. There are also S-crystals, which are never used as Custom Chips either, but make two of them and bring them to your friend Hirondelle for two free Sub-tanks.
  • Oscar has an unintended one of these: namely, among its many Poison Mushroom items, there's a ball and chain that cuts Oscar's speed significantly. Sounds terrible, but as a post-Sonic Mascot with Attitude, Oscar's normal speed is considered so slippery and so quick to accelerate that he's Too Fast to Stop (which also doesn't play well with the game's level design). When slowed down, he becomes much easier to control.
  • Sonic The Hedgehog:
    • In Shadow the Hedgehog, after hitting pieces of the scenery, they typically break apart into things like sticks, stop signs, and neon test tubes. They seem useless until you realize they work exactly like swords, and can kill enemies. (That said, they're rather weak, but better than nothing). There's also the Omochao Gun, which looks really out of place, but its ammo can ricochet three times before running out of steam. It's surprisingly useful for wiping out Black Arms larvae. The Egg Vacuum also looks very silly, but is effective at quickly taking out most enemies in the game (it's unable to suck up particularly strong enemies) and can also be used to suck up rings, which can be particularly useful in Circus Park's hero mission.
    • Sonic Adventure 2 has Sonic's Magic Hands. You have to remain still and scroll through a cumbersome action menu to get to it, but literally every enemy in the game that is not a boss or a part of the scenery WILL be turned into a ball. Furthermore, the ball you get from the enemy, when thrown, is able to break through any and all defenses.
    • Sonic Riders has the Hovercraft gear. The thing over-steers like a fiend, meaning that unless you're taking a sharp turn, you'll end up swerving all over the road from the slightest nudge of the control stick. On the other hand, though, it has maxed-out stats for every other stat and it's the only gear other than the Heavy gear that can maintain cruising speed while charging a jump. Once you figure out how to work around the over-steering problem (or not, if you're able to at least keep it on the road for the majority of the race), then you can easily steamroll anything that comes your way.
  • The Boots of Force from Wizards & Warriors. Why on earth would you want a short-ranged and awkward kicking ability when there are flashy projectile weapons you could get in that slot? First of all, it damages everything, even the otherwise unkillable enemies. Secondly, it does more damage than anything else in the game, including a guaranteed three HP of damage to any boss when most weapons do 1/2 HP at best. Finally, you can kick open chests that you don't have the key for.

  • Ancient Domains of Mystery:
    • The wand of wonder has the ability to randomly cast any spell in the game, which is marginally useful in and of itself. However, it also instantly teaches the spell to your PC (just enough to cast it once or twice), even to classes that aren't supposed to be able to learn spells. You can cast from books without decreasing the spell marks; if you get lucky, find the right spellbook, and have enough power points, your mindcrafter can cast bolt spells.
    • The Phial of Caladriel initially seems useless, as its only obvious use is to light up an area using all of the player's PP. Which in many circumstances is worse than useless. But its real strength comes in when you throw it at a humanoid enemy, which blinds them. Since this works even on enemies such as ultimate doppelgangers (or theoretically quickling queens) and bosses such as the Chaos Archmage, the Phial of Caladrial can be very useful under certain circumstances.
  • In Dicey Dungeons, the Inventor's "No, You" gadget and Polarity Flip item in the Halloween Special can swap the target of the next item, which is effective in using what are otherwise Joke Items:
    • The Backfire attack only deals 5 damage to herself, but she can make it hit the enemy instead, provided that she can roll a 1 for it.
    • The Hall of Mirrors' counterpart Wall of Mirrors gives the enemy an extra dice during the battle, but the Inventor can give it to herself instead.
  • Enter the Gungeon has Casey, a bat named for the "Casey at the Bat" saying. In a game where everything is a gun, Casey is the only 100% melee weapon in the game so it's a bit of an odd-man out, and since the Gungeon doesn't like weapons that have melee components, picking it up gives you a level of curse. The Lethal part comes in with its ability to return bullets to sender with the same damage they were fired with, send enemy corpses flying into other enemies, and if you feel brave enough to get under a stream of bullets and hit point blank, Casey does 100 damage per swing, which is only outdone by a very small handfull of weapons, most of which have far worse balancing factors than just putting yourself in harm's way like low magizine, low rate of fire, or low firing speed.
  • In HyperRogue, the most useful of all the magical orbs is the Dead Orb. While other Orbs let you throw lightning, teleport, summon golems, or walk through fire unhurt, the Dead Orb... does nothing. The description comments on its pointlessness, and says you might as well drop it. In fact, it's the only item you can drop, so it's often the only way to mark your path and find your way back somewhere.
  • As expected from its core mechanics Streets of Rogue has several:
    • The Water Pistol is probably the best example. It's as useless as you'd imagine on its own but clever players will notice that you can taint the water inside with any chemicals you might have handy. This can expand the functionality to anything from buffing your followers, instigating brawls between NPCs with Rage Poison or even filling it with Cyanide to create a one-hit kill weapon.
    • The Leafblower seems similarly useless since all it can do is push people around the map and quickly runs out of ammo. However, any NPC that falls into a pit is instantly killed and most floors have several pits scattered around, meaning that this can also be a one-hit kill weapon with some careful positioning and planning.
    • Cyanide itself can appear to be this to new players, since at first glance it doesn't appear to do anything but instantly kill the player if ingested. There are numerous ways to get it into your enemies instead though, such as the aforementioned squirt gun, offering them poisoned cocktails or pumping it through their air vents.
    • Banana Peels can be surprisingly effective as well. They don't deal very much damage but they're very easy to acquire, allow a patient player to whittle down an opponent without ever engaging them directly and stun the victim with a short animation that can buy you just enough time to flee or finish them with a more powerful attack in a pinch.

     Role Playing Game 
  • Ar nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star has this for every item you craft. A cathode is filled with cream soda and instantly becomes better than the stock. The extra space in a Bios is turned into a mechanism for eating the jelly inside, and is again made better than the stock. A dangerously overclocked CPU is kept functional and from bursting into flames via a ring of ice cream scoops cooling it down, and is once again made better than the stock. The characters Lampshade this often, and the flavour text constantly points out how utterly ridiculous many of these are.
  • The Baldur's Gate series:
    • A pair of Golden Pantaloons can be found early in the first game, and have no obvious purpose. In the second game, one can also find the Silver Pantaloons and the Bronze Pantaloons as well. If you managed to get all three items, they can be used to create the most powerful armor as well as a couple weapons near the end of Throne of Bhaal, the last add-on. Overall the difference to standard equipment isn't that huge, though; the weapons especially aren't that useful.
    • In the second part of Baldurs Gate, you can also learn the spell "Limited Wish", which gives you (depending on your Wisdom) a number of dialogue options to be granted as wishes. If your wisdom score is really low, you may demand to be "protected from undead right now", which summons 6 hostile vampires. Combine this with the fact that evil clerics can control undead of lower level and you got yourself a free army of bloodsuckers (completely ignoring the Arbitrary Headcount Limit).
    • Somewhere approaching this trope lies another item. In Baldur's Gate 1, you can find "Arrows of Detonation" that explode into a 30-foot fireball when they hit something. In Throne of Bhaal you can find the Club of Detonation.. .very dangerous usually. Very useful if you've got over 100% fire resistance.
  • Cyberpunk 2077 — An Optional Sexual Encounter can lead V to have a one-night-stand with a Corpo agent, after which you can pick up a vibrator called Sir John Phallustiff, which can be wielded like an electric baton. The thing is, this is one of the game's Iconic Weapons, which can be upgraded to very powerful levels, has high initial damage, and has an increased Crit chance that rises higher if you can hit your opponents in the face with it. It also deals non-lethal damage, which can be important in certain quests where the goal is to take your victim down alive. All of this combines to make it one of the very best clubs in the game, and players have taken to using it when they want to beat Adam Smasher and other boss characters in a humiliating way.
  • Disgaea
    • Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice has quite a few "joke" weapons of varying usefulness. Probably the best is the Puppy Paw Stick, which grants a 20% chance to steal a random piece of equipment from each enemy the wielder defeats. This is especially useful in the Class World, where the player can randomly encounter duplicates of the party member hosting the world, wearing duplicates of that character's gear.
    • Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten, on the other hand, made it harder to pull that trick off. To obtain the PPS, you have to catch a Basset (Tier Six Nekomata) and hope that the chest contains the stick. Mind you, getting the Stick in the last game only required you to beat a fairly easy post-game boss. In exchange, using the Stick is much easier, as the new Android class can go berserk at will to turn itself into a neutral NPC, with gear that can thus be replicated by the Stick.
    • Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance introduces the subweapon slot, which makes "joke" weapons much more useful since you can equip those weapons as subweapons with the full effects of their respective Unique Innocents and still have your characters bulldoze everything with Infinity Plus One Swords as their main weapons. You can't really laugh at a Physical God carrying a clothes hanger along with their usual staff of kill-everything when that clothes hanger provides a flat 20% boost to all of their Aptitudes.
  • Dragon Quest
    • Dragon Quest III features a Noh Mask, which has the highest defense power of any item in the game, but makes the wearer permanently confused and spending most of their time attacking the other members of the party; however, a solo character can essentially fight normally being confused, making this item invaluable for very hardcore or very desperate players... or just to trivialize a certain dungeon only the Hero/ine may enter, as there are thus no party members to randomly target.
    • Dragon Quest IV: Meena's Silver Tarot Cards were lethal to enemies and allies in the original. In the DS game, they favor your party much more. (Use them three times in the same battle, however, and they will always yield the Fool, casting Whack on your whole party).
    • The 3DS Updated Re-release of Dragon Quest VIII has a downloadable candy cane weapon for Yangus, which is classified as a Scythe and always does 1 damage. However, if you have Yangus use (Stainless) Steal Sickle every turn with it equipped and have everyone else defend or heal Yangus, you can easily grind for Rare Random Drops.
  • Dungeons of Dredmor: Plastic platemail has exactly the type of armor value you would expect... but lowers your dodge stat a lot less than other armors of similar protective value, making it highly useful for a dodge-specced build.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Morrowind:
      • The Boots of Blinding Speed. They're boots that let you run really fast, but blind you. However, a bit of Magicka resistance reduces or eliminates the Blinding effect, allowing you to move around very, very quickly without using fast travel. If you're a Vampire, these become borderline essential, as the fast travel NPCs won't talk to you.
      • The scrolls of Icarian Flight, which let you jump all the way across the continent in a single bound, zig-zag this trope; while at first glance they appear straightforwardly awesome, if you use one you find out that they are indeed lethal... to you, since they wear off before you hit the ground and lead to a generally-fatal impact. When combined with a Slow Fall or Levitation spell near the end of your jump (or just jumping up to a very high platform), they become amazingly valuable... but there's only three in the entire game, so they also become Too Awesome to Use. That said, it's quite telling when one of these scrolls is the main cog in the wheel of Speedruns...
      • Tribunal adds the Bi-Polar Blade as a reward for completing "The Match Maker" side quest in a certain way. The two enchantments on the blade cancel each other out, which is fitting given the name of the weapon, but it is still a powerful blade in its own right - dealing base damage on the level of the game's other artifact two-handed blades. Unlike the other artifact two-handed blades, which are in the hands of powerful enemies toward the end of lengthy faction quest lines, the Bi-Polar Blade can be obtained as soon as you reach Mournhold and requires no combat as part of the quest to obtain it. (It can also be sold to the Mournhold Museum for a cool 20,000 gold if you prefer.)
    • Oblivion has the staff Wabbajack, an artifact of Sheogorath, which transforms its target into a random creature. It'll even work on Mehrunes Dagon, potentially turning the game's nearly indestructible final boss into a script-breaking puddle. There's also the Voice of Sheogorath staff, obtained at the end of the Shivering Isles questline, which hits all the creatures in front of you with a freeze-in-time type of effect. Since they're unkillable while frozen, this is of limited value; but the above "battle" with Mehrunes Dagon requires the player to escort an NPC past a large horde of enemies and Dagon himself without letting said NPC get killed... These items are entirely in keeping with Sheogorath's character; several in-universe novels are about him defeating his opponents with some tool that seems completely useless for the situation. For example, his candidate for a physical battle between powerful monsters was a small songbird.
    • Morrowind and Oblivion both have the Atronach Birthsign. At first, it looks like a joke; it has the best maximum Magicka boost out of the birthsigns, but the trade-off is that you lose your natural Magicka regen. This, however, is made up for by the fact that you also have a 50-50 chance of absorbing any spells cast at you (with the absorption negating damage while giving you Magicka back), which additionally serves to make Mages much less magically squishy. Take Alchemy and make a lot of Magicka regen potions, and you can overcome the Magicka stunt altogether, leaving you with a hefty 50% chance at spell absorption (a spell effect that is extremely rare to get, if at all) and the best Magicka boost in the game.note .
    • Skyrim:
      • Skyrim's version of the Wabbajack nerfs the transformations and makes the enemies return to their original form after getting struck by an attack. But then there are now a whole slew of different effects it can take, including turning a target into a Daedric Lord and, although it is still your enemy, it will also become the enemy to creatures around it, causing them to fight against each other (probably while you start sniping them with arrows or magic). And there's one big exception to the nerf on transformation: If the Wabbajack turns a target into an inanimate object — either a pile of coins or a sweet roll — they're dead for good. It's a low-probability but 100% fatal way of killing dangerous foes. Besides all that, it has a good chance of just making an explosion of fire/frost/shock magic on the target (in fact, against dragons it can't do anything else), giving the Wabbajack a fair role as a conventional weapon on top of all the transformation-related insanity.
      • Skyrim's Hearthfire expansion adds the Wooden Sword. It's meant to be a toy to give your adopted children, should you choose to have them...but for gameplay purposes, it is a weapon, that can be enchanted like any other and tempered with no particular smithing perks. A Dragonborn with high enough Smithing, Enchanting, and One-Handed skills could absolutely make Alduin run from this.
      • Forks and knives are usually virtually worthless, but occasionally you can find versions that are wieldable. These wieldable forks and knives have a base damage of one, cannot be improved at a grindstone, and do not benefit from any weapons skills... but they can be enchanted, which given a certain developer oversight that allows the player to use alchemy and enchanting to create enchantments that deal hundreds or even thousands of damage...
    • The Elder Scrolls Online: For the Jester Festival (April Fool's Day), one year they added a "Pay to Lose" category to the store with joke items including a broom that can be wielded as a weapon. The broom itself is a joke item with very low stats, but if you transmute it with an actual powerful weapon, that funny little broom now has the abilities of your most powerful weapon.
  • Fable: The "Hidden Booty Hunt" Sidequest has six components, three of which are quests in themselves, and rewards the Hero with... a frying pan. However, it's the best piece of Socketed Equipment in the game, and can be filled with enough augmentations to make it an incredible Stat Stick.
  • Fallen London has the Ridiculous Hat, the Bottled Oblivion, and the Talkative Rattus Faber (now only the latter lowers stats, though it lowers them tremendously) — all they do is take up an equipment slot and reduce your main stats, which would seem to make them joke items at best. However, due to the way the game works, the ideal Change-Points-per-action ratio is achieved with Chancy challenges — meaning that, if you want to level up quickly, you have to make sure that every challenge you take is Chancy. And just like that, the Talkative Rattus Faber goes from worse-than-useless to vital. The icing on the cake: it lets you do this with the lower-level storylets that don't fill up your menaces when failed, so you can grind in peace without having to worry about your wounds/nightmares/suspicion/scandal. (Also, the Boatman's Dynamic Difficulty is a step function. You want your Watchful to be exactly one less than the amount that causes him to scale up.)
  • Fallout:
    • In Fallout 2, there are the flares. They do 1 point of damage, and cost one Action Point to throw. But if you take the perk Living Anatomy, you do an additional 5 points of damage per attack. These 5 points ignore armor. So with 10 AG, Action Boy (Insert Girl if you wish)*2, jet*2, and cookies*2, you can have 18 Action Points, allowing you to do 90 damage per round to any non-robotic enemy. Including Frank Horrigan.
    • Fallout: New Vegas:
      • Euclid's C-Finder. Seems to be a useless thing that a kid was using as a toy raygun. Turns out it's the target spotter for the Archimedes II laser satellite. Lampshaded by your companion Veronica commenting it was lucky the safety was on if you decided to activate Archimedes II.
      • The Abilene Kid LE BB gun. Its base damage is a piffling 4 points, but it gets more bonus damage for critical hits than a sniper rifle. Sneak attacks are always critical, and it is a silent weapon.
    • Fallout 4:
      • The Thirst Zapper is an adorable 1950s retro-future style squirt gun that shoots water and is completely harmless... until you get your hands on some classified Pre-War military research notes and learn how to craft certain soda flavors into hideously lethal squirt gun ammunition. The most powerful one of these, weaponized Nuka-Cola Quantum, turns the Thirst Zapper into a bright-red nuke pistol whose damage output surpasses that of missile launchers and even actual military-grade atomic hand grenades. Doesn't stop the Zapper from making that cute little squirt sound every time it blasts stuff to smithereens.
      • Nuka-World also introduces weaponized paddle balls. Seriously. It deals one deplorable point of damage in its base configuration, but upgrade it with the aforementioned weaponized Nuka-Cola ammo and it becomes a dismayingly deadly tool, albeit a somewhat impractical one due to its rare ammunition (the string is sold one piece at a time for 50 Nuka-cade tickets each) and abysmal range. Hey, it's a paddle ball, what did you expect?
  • In Final Fantasy IV, doing a sidequest gives you the reward of a Spoon. What do you do with it? Throw it! Apparently it's the best throwing item Edge has. Unfortunately the joke goes away in later versions where they "properly" rename it Knife. The fact that the game contains a spoon item and Edward, the archetypal Spoony Bard, can't equip it is a travesty.note  More properly translated, it's a kitchen knife. It is in fact a series-spanning joke weapon sometimes translated as "Chef's Knife", used by Tonberries to gently poke your party members and obliterate them.
  • Final Fantasy V also has a few of these.
    • The Recurring Boss drops a sword at one point which he claims to be the legendary sword Excalibur; only, it's actually the Excalipoor, which seems powerful on the stat screen but really only deals 1 damage per hit. This is lampshaded in the Boss Fight beforehand, where he attempts to use it on you with about the same rate of effectiveness (none). However, since the "Always hits for 1 damage" routine is run after fight damage is calculated, Skills that use the attack value, like Blue Mage's Goblin Punch and Ninja's Throw, use the listed value. However, those would merely make the sword Not Completely Useless.
      The true value of this sword is that it "Always hits for 1 damage" when the "Fight" command is used; it never misses. Because Magic Sword skills enhance a weapon, with the strikes themselves inflicted with the "Fight" command, any magic sword spell that inflicts negative status will always affect the enemy without immunity to that specific status, including the few bosses that are not immune to instant death, petrification, or tension (warp). It is almost an essential item to low-level runs. It is also useful for killing the game's Metal Slime, the Skull Eater, which is nigh invulnerable despite only having one HP, except against a sword that never misses and always does 1 damage.
    • The Chicken Knife becomes more and more powerful as your escape count increases (increasing by 1 ATK on each escape, maxing at ATK 127). Even though it usually causes you to automatically run away from battles, with a few tricks, or using it on inescapable battles, it can be a really strong weapon to use. On the other hand, the most powerful sword, the Brave sword (ATK 150), will decrease its ATK stat by 1 on each escape, thus normal players have almost no use for the Chicken Knife while low-level run players will love it. While the Chicken Knife's maximum ATK is 23 points lower than its counterpart, your agility is calculated in addition to your strength when determining damage for knife-type weapons, making it actually stronger than the Brave Sword.
      And as well, the Knife doesn't cause you to run when you use certain Job abilities (e.g. the Archer's 4x Attack), meaning with the right couple of abilities, your knife becomes the strongest and fastest weapon in the vanilla game. In the Bonus Dungeon, though, there are weapons that surpass it.
    • The Apollo Harp. It is one of the Twelve Legendary Weapons, but being the signature weapon of the Bard, it has this effect. The most it has going for it is that it does x8 damage to dragons and the undead. What takes it from Not Completely Useless to Lethal Joke Item is the Chemist's Mix ability. One of the items they can make is the Dragon's Kiss which gives the target Contractual Boss Immunity... and the dragon type, making them weak to the Apollo Harp
  • Final Fantasy VI has Imp equipment. Being Imped makes a character much weaker, and wearing Imp equipment does just about nothing, but by Their Powers Combined, a character may become near-godly. With enough grinding (all of the Imp equipment is randomly dropped), it's possible to go into the final boss battle with thirteen of fourteen characters (one character cannot equip anything except Relics) transformed into Imps, but bristling with awesome equipment. This arguably makes the last boss easier; while it locks your special skills, all characters (even weak fighters like Relm) can strike with Imp Halberds for massive damage. Though the amount of grinding required to do that would make the characters too strong to need the boost.
  • Around the mid-point of Final Fantasy VII you start acquiring joke weapons for each character (such as the Nail Bat for Cloud, or a mop for Aeris) that have no Materia slots, but have very high attack scores, making them solid mid-game weapons if you don't mind having less customization options. (They're also incredibly useful for the Yuffie-stole-the-party's-Materia sidequest, if you put it on hold long enough to get the weapons.)
  • Final Fantasy XI has several of them:
    • The Kraken Club has the absolutely pathetic damage rating of 11, and a fairly average delay rating, but the bonus effect of 'occasionally attacks 2 to 8 times' (per attack 'turn'). By occasionally, of course, they mean almost always. Combined with FFXI's Limit Break system, and the fact that it can be held in the off hand while using Dual Wield, this has the potential to be extremely powerful. It could also be used on its own with the Dark Knight abilities "Souleater" and "Blood Weapon", the former transferring a percentage of current HP directly into damage and the latter restoring HP equivalent to damage dealt for a period of time. It was discovered to be previously the only way to beat a previously nearly unbeatable boss, Absolute Virtue, extremely quickly before it was fixed. Of course, the way FFXI's Limit Break system works (long story short: Enemies get various Limit Breaks too, based on how many times they get hit) also means that it can be just as lethal to the person using it. However, with the advent of content above the natural level cap that requires equipment with "Item Level" (i.e. the equivalent stats of leveling to up to 119), it's useless for almost all endgame content now.
    • Hocho stands out. Passable stats for its level, completely useless at End Game, and a 1% drop rate or less on a rare Lottery Spawn Tonberry. It's a Katana that also increases your cooking skill. Yeah. And not by a trivial amount like +1 — oh, no. It raises it by +3, the same value as all the other +cooking skill equipment combinednote .
    • A couple holiday-themed cosmetic weapons that only have 1 attack also have the property of being open to all jobs. This allows some jobs access to weapon skills via subjob that aren't otherwise possible. Since some content revolves around triggering an enemy's random weakness via weapon skill, this makes it possible for fewer people to cover all possible bases.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics: Tactics' array of swords includes the "Nagrarock", a sword that is pathetic in power, will deal absurdly low damage when it hits, and every once in a while turns people into frogs. It also grants a huge movement bonus, for those into Dual Wielding.
  • Grim Dawn has the Soiled Trousers Epic-tier pants. And the ability they grant is Throw Feces, which is hardly the most dignified way to fight the hordes of monsters you'll face. But the skill has no cooldown, the impact damage scales with your retaliation damage, and it inflicts a respectable amount of poison Damage Over Time. The pants themselves grant substantial bonuses to retaliation and acid/poison damage, meaning that for the right character build they're surprisingly effective.
  • Nigh on every item in Guild of Dungeoneering is this. A pigeon's nests worn on the head grants Life Drain, for example. For another, a cup of tea counts as a flamethrower, presumably by letting you Food Slap enemies with scalding Earl Grey.
  • Kingdom Hearts
    • The Sweet Memories Keyblade unlocked from 100 Acre Wood in Kingdom Hearts II has 0 attack and magic power in the original game making it the weakest keyblade in the series. That weak attack power makes it ideal for levelling up the Valor drive form which gains experience from each hit dealt to an enemy. It also has the Lucky Lucky skill, which increases the rate of item drops. The Final Mix version rejigged its moveset so it has +4 magic, which makes it one of the most powerful magical Keyblades equalling Bond of Flame and only topped by the Infinity Plus One Swords. It also got Drive Convertor, meaning it can also be used to level up all Drive forms but particularly Master form which gains experience from drive balls.
    • Also from Kingdom Hearts II is the Gull Wing. It had no magic power in the original game (the Final Mix boosts it) but it also increases experience earned if HP is below 50%.
    • In Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days Roxas use a stick for a single mission. It is entirely useless, but somehow retains the passive abilities of whatever Keyblade you had equipped. Which means with the right setup, it can randomly light Heartless on fire or freeze them solid. As Xion puts it:
    Xion: Roxas, that's a stick.
    • Days also has the Mystery Gear and the Casual Gear. When obtained at the earliest possible moment, they are the most powerful weapons available at the time with the Mystery Gear in particular being very powerful with the right panels equipped. They turn weapons into such things as umbrellas, sandwiches, brooms, heart shaped sabers and a shield with a snowman on it.
  • The Banana Peel Arrow In The Last Story is a gag item only used to play pranks on people in town or set up hilarious traps for the few human enemies you will face... or you can use them to disarm Zangurak, a feat that is otherwise possible only by attacking him en masse for several seconds or with a perfectly-timed counter-attack. Plus, the satisfaction of seeing the second-to Final Boss fall on his rump has no equals.
  • Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals and Lufia: the Legend Returns have the Bunny Sword. While its stated Attack is a whopping 500, standard attacks with it only deal 1 or 2 damage. Unless you use IP attacks, which do use its full power to determine damage.
  • Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals has a Chopping Board that Tia can equip as armor. While its defense is sub-par, it's the only means of giving Tia the Rush Attack passive that doubles damage to knocked-down enemies.
  • In Mass Effect 3, the M7 Lancer is a Shout-Out to the very first assault rifle of the very first game. So obviously, it's outclassed by the current crop of weapons with three years of technological advancement over it, right? Wrong! The Lancer has firepower and fire rate comparable to a Cerberus Harrier, and it retains the first game's cooldown system, giving you unlimited ammunition if you're patient. Also, it's incredibly lightweight, making it possible for power-centric classes like Adepts or Engineers to use it as their only gun for the whole game.
  • In Might and Magic VII, a club called Mash adds 150 points to strength and can be used by anyone without needing a skill. Of course, it also drops intellect and personality to near-vegetable levels. Whether it's worth the price is your call. If you're not a caster...
  • Mother series:
    • The Casey Bat from Earth Bound. Joke? It has a very low chance of hitting, depending on the strength of the enemies and the number of party members. Lethal? When it does hit, it hits hard. (This is also a Shout-Out to the baseball poem Casey at the Bat — Casey swings hard, but strikes out.) When the random encounter system checks if you auto-win, it checks your attack power. With the Casey bat, this is much higher than it ought to be, so the game will let you auto-win fights earlier than you would be able to otherwise.
    • The sequel Mother 3 brings us the Honey Shower. It covers the opponent in honey, and bees mob them. The bees don't do a whole lot of damage, but they're sometimes followed by a bear who does.
  • Persona 3 FES introduces a crafting system wherein you fuse personas with blank templates to create powerful weapons. Those crafted with personas of the Fool arcana all have an attack score of 1, but an accuracy of 99 and powerful secondary effects - hefty stat boosts, inflicting deadly status effects on hit, or a high resistance to magic damage (which only one other item in the game grants) if you fuse one with Orpheus Telos.
  • The Phantasy Star series has these too.
    • Phantasy Star Online has Akiko's Frying Pan. While weak compared to the higher-level rare weapons, it has a low enough attack power requirement that with the right equipment, a level 1 character can equip it. It also has the Samba Maracas (which work like machine guns) and a toy hammer. There are also several umbrellas and parasols, which are easily the most powerful multi-hit weapons female non-melee classes can equip.
    • The Akiko's Frying Pan card in Phantasy Star Online III, which has AP and TP equal to half that of the opponent you attack it with, is one of the best cards to use against Pollux, whose AP grows every turn, and thus lets the pan do more damage.
  • Pokémon:
    • The only stated effect of the Iron Ball is that it severely cuts the Speed of any Pokemon that holds it. However, there are some moves like Gyro Ball that are stronger the slower your Pokemon is than the opponent, and under the effect of Trick Room (slow Pokemon go first, not last) it practically guarantees first attack. Even more important is the Guide Dang It! use: The move Fling throws your held item at the enemy, and a Flung Iron Ball is not only the strongest Dark-type attack, but one of the hardest-hitting attacks in the entire franchise.
    • The Toxic Orb and Flame Orb will respectively badly poison or burn the holder at the end of a turn, and have no other properties. Normally, crippling your own Pokémon with a debilitating status condition is the last thing you want, but a number of abilities are triggered by the holder having a status ailment, such as Gutsnote  and Poison Healnote , and the Orbs are an excellent sure-fire way to activate them. They can also be Flung at enemies to inflict the status ailment on them.
    • The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon spinoffs aren't exempt either. Explorers of Sky, in particular, has some mis-named items that change the item's effect. The Y-Ray Specs make it so you cannot see enemy Pokemon, but they also give that effect to an enemy Pokemon holding it so they will not attack you because they can't see you.
  • Shadowrun Returns: In Dragonfall, there was the Slapdash Pistol, found in Gesundbrunnen. It has a cost on par with a decent assault rifle, looks like someone poured superglue into a pile of scrap gun parts (some bits are hot-glued on,) and is out-damaged by starting pistols. However, its hidden stats (crit modifier and damage multiplier) are the highest in the game, meaning it will not even scratch an appropriate-level enemy with a regular hit... but it will Critical Hit two times out of three and One-Hit Kill 80% of the enemies in the game on a Critical Hit.
  • Skies of Arcadia has the Tuna Cutlass for Vyse and the Swirlmarang for Aika. They're Joke Weapon rewards for beating a secret boss (in the GCN version) or downloadable extras (in the original DC version). The Tuna Cutlass, which is a giant fish with a gutting knife as the secondary sword, has extremely low accuracy, but devastatingly high attack. Most of the time it'll miss, but if it doesn't, watch out. What's more, Vyse's S-Moves count his weapon's attack stat, but ignore the accuracy stat. In other words, they won't miss. On the other hand, the Swirlmarang, which was a giant lollipop, had extremely low attack, but high accuracy, and a 100% chance of causing panic as long as the enemy wasn't immune to it.
  • In Star Ocean: The Last Hope, there's the Tri-Emblum. At first glance, it's like the Tri-Emblem, the best unmodified accessory in the game... except with 1/100 of the stats and none of the cool factors. However, it has a particular hidden stat whose worth doesn't become apparent until the post-game: A Synth limit of 8. This allows you to synthesize up to 8 other items onto it to beef up its power. The regular Tri-Emblem has a limit of only 3, but transfers 100% of its stats when synthing. If you synth some Tri-Emblems together, you can get one awesome one with 4x the stats. Or, you could synth 8 of them to a Tri-Emblum, getting an accessory with 8x the stats of a regular Tri-Emblem, three of the four awesome factors found on the Tri-Emblem, and best of all, able to be duplicated for the dirt cheap price of 1 Magical Clay, allowing you to outfit your whole party with them. What's not to love?
  • In the first Summon Night: Swordcraft Story, at roughly the halfway point of the game, you can craft a sword tech from the Craftlord of Sapphire, who is basically just messing with your character. The tech turns out to be a cooking ladle, with pretty much the stats you'd expect combat-wise — in other words, abysmal. However, by putting a Mystic Ore into it, you can imbue it with the Fire element... and increase its durability. Eight-fold. Bear in mind here that the goal of most boss battles is to break their weapon before they can do the same to your weapon, because breaking your opponent's weapon is the key to doing so teaches you the technique of the weapon in question. Much of the challenge of this is that you might accidentally get their HP to 0 first — and again, the ladle has pathetically low Attack. It helps that the ladle maxes out its TEC at 255, where the overwhelming majority of weapons max out at 100 or less, and TEC increases your combo speed, and that the ladle increases your AGI by 10 on top of that. Wish your enemies luck in breaking out of your combos before their weapons are broken — they'll need it. Another property of the ladle that makes it even more lethal is that it costs 1 Mystic Ore to imbue it with Fire, but melting the Hot Iron Ladle down into your forge gives you 2 Mystic Ores. The value of this cannot be overstated; Mystic Ores are ridiculously hard to come by in any decent quantity, and always extremely valuable. To the point where discovering the Hot Iron Ladle in the first place seems like Insane Troll Logic, since it requires using 1 Mystic Ore on a useless weapon.
  • Super Mario RPG has several.
    • The Quartz Charm, acquired by beating Culex, seems to do absolutely nothing... but, in actuality, it lets you start every battle with the "Attack Up" and "Defense Up" statuses (that you normally get from flowers and Geno Boosts), which double your attack and defense. It also protects against instant-death attacks. The Ghost Medal is similar, but only works for defense.
    • The Lazy Shell armor grants such a massive increase to defensive power that whichever character you equip it on becomes practically invincible, at the cost of giving that character such a massive decrease to attack power that the enemies will be practically invincible as well. However, it becomes an absolute Game-Breaker when equipped on Princess Toadstool, since she's a healer who has no business attacking anything in the first place. Shoot the Medic First is a trope for a good reason: If your healer can't be killed, then neither can the rest of your party (and even if they are, the healer can quickly fix that too).
  • Super Robot Wars Alpha has Tem Ray's Circuit. When you put it on any mech, its stats will be drastically reduced; the plus side is that the mech will cost only 10 credits to repair (in other words, the part turns it into another Boss Borot). If you want real menace, however, just put it on EVA-01 along with another part to lessen the penalty, then send Shinji on a suicide attack. Paying only 10 instead of 40000, using Berserk EVA now sounds like a practical strategy.
  • The Developers Rooms in Titan Quest contain some Easter Egg equipment. When the player character is in The Time of Myths, wearing a pirate costume or throwing snowballs seems ineffective. This equipment comes with very valuable secondary stats, however, and as they have no stat restrictions (only being Level-Locked Loot), they are invaluable for Dexterity-heavy builds, which otherwise have a hard time finding equipment.
  • Undertale:
    • The Instant Noodles. If you use them during battle, it takes you through every single tedious step of how one prepares noodles, including putting them in a pot, adding water and boiling it. And it makes you wait for it to finish boiling. In the middle of battle. And after all your waiting, you are rewarded with a measly 4 HP. Should you use them in Serious Mode (certain battles where item jokes are not present), however, your character will instead eat them raw, which restores 90 HP.
    • The Dog Salad, which can randomly appear when using the self-replicating Dog Residue. Upon use, it will randomly restore either 2, 10, 30, or all HP.
    • To a lesser extent, the Bad Memory obtained from the Memoryheads. It will remove one HP if used, EXCEPT if your HP is 3 or lower, in which case it will restore all your HP.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X has the Ramjet Rifle. You get to keep it after field-testing it for a weapons researcher, who decides against developing it further as most of its stats are absolute garbage (for instance, it has an attack of one at a point in the game where other weapons of the same type will be closer to ten). The key word being most: While its attack is awful and it has an absurdly long cooldown, it also gives 300 TP per attack, meaning with the right build you can practically spam powerful attacks that would otherwise take a while to build up TP for.
  • The Xenosaga trilogy has swimsuits for your characters, weak Armor which provides about as much protection as you'd expect swimwear to. But, it's much more than simple fanservice - wearing them also grants a 25% boost to all Tech Points earned by that character, allowing you to power up their stats and techniques significantly faster than normal.

  • In Borderlands 2, players completing the mission called "The Bane" are awarded an SMG with the same name. Those who try it despite its terrible stats will find it: a) reduces your movement speeds to a crawl when held, and b) the gun makes horrible screaming noises when it's fired and reloaded (even if you change the game's volume settings). Players who persist will find that the gun's stats are much better than listed, and it deals fantastic damage for an SMG — albeit at the cost of getting you kicked if you ever use it in multiplayer. Being a Hyperion brand gun, The Bane becomes more accurate the longer it fires and due to its large ammo count you can shoot quite a few rounds before you have to reload. Combine with Maya's perks that boost elemental damage or Gaige's "Anarchy" ability to get the most bang for your buck.
  • Unlockable only after reaching the highest level of Prestige, the MP44 in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is both a Joke Weapon and a Call-Back to the WW2 roots of the franchise. Players often disregard it, as it can't accept any attachments and it lacks the accuracy of other weapons. However, it is one of the most powerful automatic weapons in the game. With the Stopping Power perk in place, it can kill Juggernauts in three or four shots.
  • Destiny's The Dark Below DLC added an exotic sniper rifle named No Land Beyond that could be equipped in the primary weapon slot. What made it a joke? The fact that it was bolt-action, with fire rate and damage far below what its stats suggested, iron sights that obscured whatever you were aiming at, and a tiny ammo capacity. At first it was exclusively used as a Self-Imposed Challenge, but after No Land Beyond dodged several nerfs that made special ammo less abundant, had its sights changed, and with the players discovering a glitch to cancel the bolt animation and fire faster, the rifle actually became one of the most widely used snipers among skilled players.
  • DUSK has bars of soap. Yes, really. You'll find them around the levels as seemingly-useless physics objects that you can pick up. However, if you manually grab one and manage to throw it at an enemy, it kills them instantly. Including bosses. Very handy at the end of Episode 1, where you can find a Secret soap bar right before the boss...
  • Office Point Rescue, a loving retraux to old-school arcade games, has a "Light Gun", which like it's namesake, resembles one of those plastic guns in arcade consoles back in the 90s. It fires high-power energy blasts that can One-Hit Polykill enemies, something even the shotgun couldn't.
  • Prey (2017): The Disruptor starts off as a largely weak and inefficient weapon, allowing only 4 shots per battery, taking over a second to charge a shot, having pitiful range, and weak damage even against its preferred enemy types. Once upgraded, it becomes far more deadly, capable of holding 15 shots per battery, charging in a fraction of a second, shooting across rooms, and dealing immense damage against its preferred enemies and stunning them for a long period of time.
  • SYNTHETIK has The 420 Sniperdragon. This weapon has the "360-Noscope Damage Bonus" weapon module. You may think it's just a stupid weapon, but this sniper rifle actually can deal a fantastic amount of damage by turning yourself 360 degrees before firing it.
  • The Riot Gun in System Shock fires rubber bullets which do very little damage, so it's pretty useless in a pitched battle. However, every bullet also has significant knockback on both objects and enemies, which can turn it into a tool for strange experiments - pushing enemies into live landmines (or live landmines into them), knocking foes off ledges, moving heavy objects to create barricades, and so forth. Owing to a Good Bad Bug you can also load it with magnum rounds if you only use the keyboard-bound reload key, letting you fire hollow points as fast as you can click the mouse or hit the fire key.
  • Team Fortress 2.
    • Jarate is basically an ascended joke weapon, said weapon being a jar of the Sniper's own urine (it was first advertised as an April Fool's joke in a prelude to the Sniper & Spy update, using assets from Meet the Sniper). But it is useful for extinguishing teammates on fire, shorting out Spy cloaking and revealing their location until it dries, subjecting enemies to mini-crits for the next minute or so... and forcing your enemies to accept a terrifying new existence where people do awful things to them all the time for no reason and dignity does not exist.
      Spy: "I have been SHOWN who is the BOSS!"
    • The Heavy's fists. Not very useful against any enemy charging you with a gun, but sneak up on a distracted enemy and taunt.
      Heavy: POW! HAHA!
      Victim: AAAARGH!
    • The Sticky Jumper is ostensibly a training version of the Demoman's stock Sticky Bomb launcher that has more ammo, but does no damage or Knock Back to the Demoman's enemies (but also does no damage to the Demoman himself, hence the training utility). Normally, this would be of no use to a class focused on blowing up one's enemies. However, when paired to the Ullapool Caber, itself almost a Lethal Joke Item (being a WW2-style 'potato masher' grenade of the sort one would usually throw being used to smack people, turning the Demoman into an Action Bomb), things like this happen. This is because in a previous iteration, the Sticky Jumper negated all self-inflicted explosive damage, including damage from one's own sticky bombs, grenades.. .and the Ullapool Caber. Because a single swing from the Caber can One-Hit Kill seven of the nine classes at their starting health, Valve understandably nerfed the Sticky Jumper back to the level of 'training equipment.' Player outcry appears to have gotten Valve to remove the 'take double damage' item penalties and brought the Sticky Jumper back to Lethal Joke status (though it was later smacked with a nerf that only allowed up to 2 stickies at once, to prevent the usual 8-sticky In a Single Bound shenanigans that let Demomen cross the whole map in a second).
    • Similarly to the Sticky Jumper is the Rocket Jumper; a counterpart training weapon for the Soldier. Like the Sticky Jumper, it negates all explosive damage. To some degree the weapons "Escape Plan" and "Equaliser" (two weapons that are duplicates and opposites of each other in terms of stats) has a taunt, which makes the Soldier grab one of his grenades, pull the pin, and blow himself up along with everything in the immediate vicinity. Normally, Soldiers are loud and easy to spot, so it would be really hard to actually catch anyone in this (especially since they can just shoot your face in). However, with the Rocket Jumper, not only could you maneuver to the back lines extremely quickly and without drawing attention (you can jump extremely high without worrying about self-damage, and no one ever looks that high up), you also didn't die from your own suicide attack! This is especially potent against Snipers and Engineers setting up their sentries, as they will be completely vulnerable and unaware you're there and will generally be unmoving. Sadly, this has since been removed from the game.
    • Another combination with the Rocket Jumper is a variant with the Market Gardener. The Market Gardener deals crits if you use it against someone while rocket jumping. This by definition means being in the air after Rocket Jumping. As the Rocket Jumper gave you "free" rocket jumps without hurting you, this made it the ideal pairing to the Market Gardener, since you could ensure that you were always rocket jumping. Next up, however, are two items that takes this from "joke combination" to "lethal": The Mantreads and the B.A.S.E. Jumper. The Mantreads deal 3X fall damage to whoever you land on, if you would take fall damage. Since the Rocket Jumper lets you jump extremely high, most people use this to "cover" all their bases; they either whack the victim with the Market Gardener or stomp on them with the Mantreads (or, if you have really good timing- both). The other one is the B.A.S.E. Jumper, which lets you prolong your jump by slowing your fall (Friendly warning not to do this if you haven't already mastered the Market Gardener, since it can easily be a crutch and make you a sitting duck if you use it wrong). This, with correct timing, completely negates fall damage (as deploying it a split second before touching the ground slows you down enough), but also, because of what defines a "rocket jumping" strike, it also means you can slow yourself down and continually smack the same person for multiple rounds of crits. Players would often find a way to jump as high as possible and deploy the Base Jumper and then glide about until they see a target, at which point they immediately drop down and re-open the B.A.S.E. Jumper, smacking the poor sod into oblivion. A Market Gardener crit deals 195 damage, so even one hit is enough to deal with everything but a Heavy (And a full-health Soldier, but only barely), and the high mobility means that you can take out the Glass Cannon classes and jump away before anyone can retaliate. Due to how frustrating it can be to die to a random Soldier coming out of nowhere and then One Hit Killing you, this build is known as the 'Trolldier'.
    • The Holiday Punch is a literal Lethal Joke Item. On a critical hit (which occurs both randomly and when they hit someone in the back), no damage is dealt, but the target is forced into a 5-second taunt where they laugh helplessly. The Holiday Punch also has a taunt kill, which is normally Awesome, but Impractical because it takes 5 seconds to pull off... do the math. And though it's a little more situational, the Holiday Punch's crit effect works on everyone, even people rendered invulnerable by Ubercharge. About to mow down the enemy team, take out a Sentry nest, or just do something awesome in general? Nope, Heavy just punched you, and now you're laughing away your 8 seconds of invincibility.
    • The Second Banana: This item was given to the Heavy to commemorate him losing the Heavy vs. Pyro war from the same update. The update page for the item shows Heavy looking at it in disappointment whilst the Pyro flies around on a jetpack with his new items, and the name is an idiom for "Second Best". Despite this, and unlike Heavy's other edible items, the Banana is a reasonable sidegrade to the Sandvich. It heals 67% of the Heavy's health as opposed to the Sandvich's 100%, and heals only 20% of allies' health when thrown as opposed to 50%, but it recharges thrice as fast, which makes it ideal for a "lone wolf" playstyle.
    • The Holy Mackerel is a variation. It's a reskin of the Scout's stock melee weapon that is literally a mackerel wrapped in paper, jiggleboned so it flops around while you move. It doesn't have any of the special stats that usually make a Lethal Joke Item, but it's entirely viable and, as the item description says, "getting hit by a fish has got to be humiliating." The game will even announce who's currently getting slapped by the fish, and any kills with the Holy Mackerel are announced as a 'Fish Kill', just to make it more embarrassing for the Scout's opponents.
  • TimeSplitters Future Perfect:
    • You'd think the Monkey Gun would be a simple joke item — like hell it is. It has slightly limited use in that if you fire it, you have to use up the full 64 round magazine in one go (your limit is 4 mags total), but it gets rid of those in a fraction of a second, and just one of those rounds can be lethal. This makes it an excellent weapon if you're cornered by mooks.
    • On a similar note, the Mag Charger is pretty useless — until you realize that it can both see AND fire through literally ANY scenery on the game. It doesn't do a huge heap of damage, but it's accurate, fires quite rapidly, and anyone on the entire map is a viable target, even if you're completely hidden. Just have a back up for if someone gets too close, because it's no good in close quarters.
    • The Brick returns from previous games, being nothing more than a literal brick that you throw at enemies to deal damage. What makes it this trope here instead of simply a Joke Item like in the previous games is the improved, modernized aiming system that the game provides (previous games relied on an auto-aim system with a wonky manual aim akin to Goldeneye), as well as the throw distance no longer being determined by the alt-fire system, which was changed to be more intuitive, allowing you to actually throw those bricks reliably and realistically, making it much more possible to score headshots and land a hit.
  • The Shield Gun from Unreal Tournament 2004. It's fine for blocking attacks, but has a terrible range in terms of dishing out attacks. Fully charged, however, it is capable of blasting away more than half of a victim's energy... provided they aren't shielded. This also works as a rocket jumper, but a very risky one.
  • The Rumblejack dagger from Warframe. The melee weapon of The Drifter, it a reward for completing The New War and comes with an Orokin Catalyst pre-installed. Since it's an Impact and Eletricity damage weapon (both of which are rather niche damage types), it seems destined to be mastery fodder, especially since said quest also rewards the bow Nataruk...except that its Back Stab attack inflicts a guaranteed electicity status effectnote  before applying the True damage of all finishers. Combined with Shattering Impact and either a Cold Mod or Toxic mod (which ones depends on the enemies you are facing) and a warframe that can force enemies into being vulnerable to finishers, and you have a weapon that can consistently one-shot opponents even on The Steel Path.
  • The Squeaky Hammer in Water Warfare. It slows you down, has no range, and temporarily replaces your water gun, and, when used on people, simply stuns them briefly... except during those rare instances where it acts as an instant KO. It also grants invincibility, at least.

     Stealth Based Game 
  • Hitman:
    • In Blood Money, you can get a nailgun. Very inaccurate, can only hit at close range, deals almost no damage, and it has a pause between each shot. However, when you realize that a headshot with any ranged weapon is an instant kill, your huge-clipped weapon becomes useful if you hide behind a corner while under attack by a large swarm of guards.
    • The explosive rubber ducks in the World of Assassination Trilogy. Every bit as effective as normal ICA issue concussive or fragmentation triggered explosives, but looking like a kid's toy makes them unsuspicious, so most of the time guards will walk right past them.
  • Metal Gear Series:
    • The Monkey Mask of Metal Gear Solid 3 can briefly fool the final boss into dropping their guard. Similarly, the Mask (although it's required for a brief section of the game) can do the same for another boss.
    • Metal Gear Solid 4 has the Tanegashima lead ball musket in a mildly futuristic game. But it has a 1 in 3 chance of creating a tornado in outdoor areas, and most of the game does take place in outdoor areas.
    • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker's best co-op weapon requires grinding three very hard hidden bosses (which need to be killed non-lethally) just for the chance of possibly getting one of three rare parts to drop. Your reward for grinding and then investing vast amounts of R&D's time and money? A human slingshot that requires four people to operate (and even uses the fourth member as ammunition), but insta-kills any boss.
    • In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, finding the five enemies hiding in boxes unlocks the wooden training sword as a weapon. While it does prevent any cutting attack damage and allows for a Pacifist Run, every hit carries a chance of making an enemy disappear, giving the potential to finish an enemy faster than with a lethal weapon. Upgrades can even increase the fade chance and/or decrease damage, but a Japan-only DLC takes the ridiculousness even further through an unlockable version that shouts phrases in Solid Snake's voice when you hit things.
    • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has the Water Pistol. While apparently just a toy, it has so many uses that in certain stages it can be considered overpowered. It can short-circuit electronics without any noise and put out fires, making it ridiculously easy to sneak at night. If shot near a guard it will make a noise that attracts them, but it won't leave any suspicious marks. Shot at the face can disorient a guard enough for Snake to reach him and subdue him, and it can stun the Skulls and subdue the Man on Fire, the most powerful enemies in the game (save for Sahelantropus), although it takes several shots for the latter. And, since it looks like a real gun you can use it to hold up enemies. Since it has infinite ammo, you don't even need to get supply drops for it.

     Tabletop Game 
  • The UrbanMech in Battletech. It is a light mech, a category usually populated by Fragile Speedsters. Conversely, it is sluggishly slow. It additionally looks goofy, like a trash can with legs and a cannon for an arm. Its status as a Joke Item is memetic in the game's community. However... that cannon is an Autocannon/10, which does a rather large chunk of damage and is often considered a main armament on heavy 'mechs, and is enough to breach the armor on any 'mech's head in the case of a head hit. Against another light mech? Only the heaviest, best armored light 'mechs could hope to take an AC/10 hit without incurring an armor breach, and they can do that at most once per body part. And UrbanMechs are cheap. Variants of the design involve sacrificing armor to include an even bigger Autocannon/20, and one that has an Arrow IV artillery missile launcher... which can load nuclear-tipped missiles. Its potential as a Lethal Joke Item merited a Clan variant as well, using their more refined and advanced military technologies.
  • The several editions of Dungeons & Dragons have had quite a few of these intended as such. Honestly, in the hands of a creative thinker, damn near anything could qualify.
    • There's the "wand of wonder", an item that gives random effects when used — one charge might crisp a baddie with a fireball, the next might replace the user's hair with flowers. For many players, it was too unpredictable... until the 2nd Edition Tome of Magic introduced the "Wild Mage" class, which has a chance of controlling the wand.
    • The gray Bag of Tricks is an item that produces small animals that easily die, which can be used to distract a large group of guards and get them to leave their posts. Especially useful if combined with ghost sound to have the animal taunt the guards. It may not be a curb stomp, but it is using an item that is normally useless to high-level players to get into a place without having to fight. Also, a stronger version of the Bag of Tricks has a chance of summoning rhinos or elephants.
    • Darts were usually given to mages for when they ran out of magic missiles. However, in 2nd ed, with weapon proficiency rules, a haste spell and gloves of returning, and +5 darts in each hand, a dart-specced warrior could unload enough damage in one round to kill gods (provided he didn't fumble — and he was critting on anything higher than a 2). Beware the dart warrior.
    • The Tree Token is a one-use item that creates a large oak tree on command. Combine with a flying broom and a sorcerer who's run out of spell slots in high seas combat, and watch the DM's face contort with rage/go slack with shock as you ask, "What's the damage on a caber?" 30' oak trees are also useful when you realise a creature is lurking on the 20' high ceiling of a room.
    • One D&D player reported in a comment on DM of the Rings #17 that an enchanted spoon that fills any vessel with gruel makes a decent dragonslaying tool. They had the cleric cast mud to stone until the dragon's cave was sealed, then made a small hole and stuck the spoon in it, drowning the dragon.
  • In Monopoly, the purple/brown properties (Baltic and Mediterranean in the original) are the least valuable properties in the game, but can get you up to $250 or $450 rent with hotels, which immediately wipes out the default "Go" salary and can prove very costly if landed on repeatedly. Additionally, savvy players will often use the cheapest properties to stash houses. It only costs $400 to load both up with 4 houses each and later in the game, when the inevitable housing shortage hits, other players won't be able to build as many houses on their much more lucrative properties. If you have other properties you want to build houses on, you can upgrade these properties to hotels for a mere $100 extra and suddenly you free up 8 houses to put on your other properties. And because so many players view these spaces as worthless, you can often get them in trade as throw-ins or for extremely meager sums.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has Broken Bamboo Sword. Ordinarily, Equip Spells either boost the monster's ATK or give it an ability (for your cards) or lower the monster's ATK or impose a restriction (for your opponent's). Broken Bamboo Sword, meanwhile, increases the equipped monster's ATK by 0 and does nothing else, which means it does nothing but fill up the field, right? Well, actually, it has three support cards, all of which are game-changers. Golden Bamboo Sword lets you draw two cards, while Soul-Absorbing Bamboo Sword forces your opponent to skip their draw if the equipped card does damage, and Cursed Bamboo Sword lets the equipped card attack directly, so long as you send a Bamboo Sword back to your hand (which makes it easy to recycle Soul-Absorbing Bamboo Sword) and searches a Bamboo Sword upon being sent to the Graveyard. Basically, if you have Broken Bamboo Sword, you can duplicate the effects of Pot of Greed and Yata-Garasu, two of the strongest cards in the game. This ended up being a notorious Game-Breaker in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links, enabling decks that could draw out their deck and One Turn Kill the opponent before they could do anything, and caused Konami to respond unusually swiftly by Limiting its key components.
    • Of course, even without those support cards, it would still have an impact on monsters that themselves have an effect that benefits from Equip Spells.

  • The Fang in Backyard Baseball. It will always be a ball, but the batter will normally swing at it, resulting in a strike.
  • The MechWarrior series has always had the machine gun weapon, which is invariably a short-range anti-infantry peashooter. Since you don't get to fight any infantry in the first place, and the weapon does piddling damage against anything else, most players tend to forget it even exists. But if you look at the hard stats and take into consideration heat generation and ammo tonnage, the machine gun comes out as one of the most efficient weapons in the whole series. It doesn't do much damage by itself so using just one or two is pointless, but if you take a ballistic-focused Mech and fill all its slots with machine guns you'll have created a fast short-range brawler that'll wipe the floor with pretty much anything within its range, and will keep doing so long after more typical short-range Mechs will have run out of LBX ammo and SRM rockets.
    • Light Lasers are another example. Normally they wouldn't be considered much of a threat, with their short range and lack of punch, but light weight allows you to stack eight or ten on them on a light mech. With sufficient heat sinks, you can zip up to a heavy mech and fire them off in rapid succession, blowing its leg off.
    • BattleTech changes the customisation rules to limit the number of "support" weapons an individual mech can carry but gives machine guns and small lasers a substantial Critical Hit bonus and no minimum range, and furthermore they're the only weapon type that a mech can fire in the same turn that it makes a melee attack. You're unlikely to kill an enemy mech with them alone but they're very good at Sniping the Cockpit of an already damaged mech and doing follow-up damage after a melee attack has chewed up the armour; the Hatchetman, which has the most support weapon hardpoints of any mech in the game, is tailor-made for a build based around this tactic.
  • Minecraft:
    • The anvil. While the setup is incredibly difficult, setting up a trap where a player or mob gets stuck in a pit they can't get out of, then having an anvil fall on them, does two full hearts of damage for each block height that it drops (reduced if the target is wearing a helmet). Combine with a dispenser for fun and profit. Although, in more recent versions, anvils gained a rival that looks as potent as it is, in the form of Pointed Dripstone.
    • Thrown snowballs do precisely jack diddly to most of the enemies in the game. Except Blazes, who take massive damage. And the frickin Ender Dragon.
    • The most effective weapon against the Ender Dragon is beds, of all things. The joke: You can only sleep at night, so trying to sleep in The End, which has no time, causes your bed to explode in a Puff of Logic. It's actually stronger than TNT, much faster to set off, and only costs wood and wool to build instead of the more costly (and sometimes risky) gunpowder and sand.
    • Another one is the trusty Wooden Boat. A simple but useful aquatic transportation method that can be utilized in many ways, including a quick straightforward Nether transport using blocks of ice. It has other uses; You can force any mob (excluding bosses) into the boat and prevent them from moving unless it's destroyed. This makes Ender Dragon battles significantly easier as you can just put those dastardly Endermen into a boat and prevent them from ever moving or teleporting (Enderman can only attack from up close).
  • In NGU IDLE, the Forest Pendant starts off with no stats at all, but when it hits level 100, it ascends into an Acsended Forest Pendant, an item with good stats, and can ascend even further, keeping it up in progression all the way up to the endgame.note 
  • Not actually a video game, but certainly similar; in the sport of Robot Combat, chain flail weapons have always been considered utterly useless weapons. Epic Flails they were not, as they usually just dragged around on the floor of the battle arena, occasionally bumping against an opposing robot to absolutely no effect or getting caught on something and anchoring their wielder down. However, in Series 10 of Robot Wars, a robot called Nuts 2 (previously a Joke Character) had amped up the spin speed of their 2-wheeled body to unprecedented levels, meaning the chain flails equipped on either side spun at an incredible velocity, finally giving the hammer weights at the end of the chains the necessary impact to smash enemy components and batter their armour, and allowing them to take meaningful advantage of the long reach a chain flail was always intended to offer. Combined with a bit of customised technology called a Meltybrain circuit, Nuts 2 was also able to move across the floor while spinning at full speed and with its new deadly weapons a robot that had previously never won a battle reached the Grand Final and even overcame the unbeaten reigning champion Carbide in the first melee round!
    • Also of note: there was Diotoir's fur in the earlier series. All it ever seemed to do was catch fire really easily, so it was practically useless right? Wrong. The robot was barely actually damaged by the fur if it did catch on fire, and the fur had a very nasty tendency to snag off onto the opponents robots and interfere with their systems, as Pussycat and Tornado found out.
  • Sword Art Online: In Gun Gale Online, the Photon Sword became this following the events of the Phantom Bullet arc. When Kirito first came to GGO, Photon Swords were considered a Joke Item due to its attack power being offset by a combination of restrictive energy requirements and the fact that it was a melee weapon in a game centered on gunplay: by the time anyone got close enough to hit someone with a Photon Sword, they'd be dead from being riddled with bullets. In Kirito's hands, however, the Photon Sword is a deadly tool, allowing him to deflect bullets while closing in on the enemy. After the events of Phantom Bullet, other players would be inspired to take up the Photon Sword and attempt to replicate Kirito's feats, to very limited success.
  • Terraria has the firework rockets sold by the Party Girl. They're single-use items that are relatively expensive and only available in hardmode. They're considered furniture, meaning that they can only be placed on solid surfaces. However, said "furniture" also deals 150 damage to whatever they hit. With a lot of planning and timing, it is possible to use them to kill the Final Boss Eldritch Abomination in 3.5 seconds.


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Alternative Title(s): Lethal Joke Weapon


Bar Of Soap

Hidden in every level is a bar of soap that will instantly kill an enemy when thrown at them, even if they are a boss.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / LethalJokeItem

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