One of the most important things that developers have to get right is the look and feel of the characters in their game, especially the player character, as it can have a real effect on how it feels to play the game. They need to feel that there's a power behind their movements, unless the developer is purposefully attempting to make the player feel powerless. This is why there's a lot of work put into character design, which is what we're looking at today.
What we've done is pull together some video game characters who are actually stronger than they look, their design pulling away from what the player can do with these characters. Then, we'll move onto some characters that are pretty weak. Some of them are designed to look as such, but others don't, their imposing body or backstory not making sense when placed next to the low power they actually have in the game. There are a lot of characters that just don't add up to how they look, and we've gathered them all together for TheGamer readers.
So, is everyone ready to look at some characters that are far stronger than they look? How about the weaker characters that live in the history of video games? We think it's about time that we got started! If we've forgotten any that really stand out, just let us know... strength can absolutely be deceptive!
30 Strong: Max Payne
While he may seem like a normal man at first, this guy has the power to dodge bullets, which is a pretty amazing power when you think about it. Not only that, but he can take a lot of hits before he goes down.
He looks like a grizzled ex-cop, a drinker who is attempting to come to terms with his past actions.
Despite that fact, he is able to take on hundreds of men single-handedly, throwing himself at battle after battle and always coming out on top no matter how bad the odds are.
29 Weak: Goomba
As one of the first enemies that Mario faces off in the first game in the Super Mario series, it's no surprise that it poses pretty much no threat to the player.
While we have seen the enemy utilized in new ways in games like Super Mario Odyssey, allowing players to stack them. Once they're stacked too high to jump on, they can pose some threat. However, even then they can merely be dispatched by being taken over and then forced to run off an edge...
28 Strong: Eddy Gordo
When people first see Eddy, it's no surprise that they probably don't think of him as much of a heavy hitter, partly down to the fact that he has a style of fighting that incorporates dancing as well.
However, as soon as someone picks this guy, they see that there is a lot going on beneath the surface.
He can cause a huge amount of problems in a short amount of time, with some massive combos that see the guy dancing his way all over the competition. It's good for new players and is also great for a master.
27 Weak: Magikarp
This Pokémon is known for being very useless, never offering much attack power to the poor trainer that is saddled with one of them.
However, if a trainer perseveres with this Pokémon, they will be given the chance to train up the evolution of Magikarp, the Gyarados.
Until that point, they're forced to either horde some rare candies or constantly swap out the weak fish until they're slowly forced the fish to evolve into a Pokémon that is actually useful!
26 Strong: Albert Wesker
This guy is weird, a slim and sneaky man who is able to do a lot behind the scenes and manipulate people in ways that they'll never understand. He may not look like much on the surface, but he as a lot underneath.
While he seems to be no longer a part of the Resident Evil series, we wouldn't be surprised if he was able to find some way back.
He has been the guy behind the rise of the zombies so many times at this point that it seems hard to believe he won't make a comeback...
25 Weak: Glass Joe
The first boxer that people come up against in the now famous Punch-Out is Glass Joe, a man that begs the player to let him win.
The man is incredibly weak, essentially acting as a tutorial for the rest of the game. All of his moves are easy to counter, and he takes punches like no other character in the game. Seeing as his name is a pun on the term glass jaw, it should be obvious why we've put this guy on the list. He may look muscular, but he's an incredibly weak man.
24 Strong: Galen Marek
Okay, we know that this guy has so much strength that he could take us down by flicking his hand, but that doesn't mean he looks like it. Darth Vader is an imposing figure, somebody that we would never want to go up against, but this guy? If he didn't have the lightsabers going for him, we think that he'd just look like any other guy in scrappy clothing that we have all seen when walking down the street in any major city. Seriously, tell us that you couldn't take this guy on if you saw him in the real world without his lightsabers!
23 Weak: Dan Hibiki
Unlike a lot of the characters on this list, there's actually a real-world reason why this character ended up so weak, originating as he did as a parody character. The developers put him in as a joke, mimicking the two lead characters from SNK's Art of Fighting series, as the developers of Street Fighter felt their character Ryo Sakazaki was a clear rip-off of their characters, Ryu and Ken. Yes, the developers purposefully made this character weak and difficult to play as. Amazing...
22 Strong: Cole MacGrath
If somebody saw this guy on the street in the real world, they would just think that he was a normal man. However, underneath the surface is the ability to take on anybody with some serious lightning powers.
Anybody that can shoot lightning bolts from their hands is incredibly strong in our opinion.
He may not look like much, but this guy has what it takes to take on anyone that wants to fight, but we think they'll end up regretting their opinion when they see his hands start to flash...
21 Weak: Tingle
While he is definitely an important character throughout the Zelda series, especially in Majora's Mask, there's no denying that this guy is very weak.
He offers the character maps, giving the player a chance to get a proper hold on the world around them and make note of where they need to be and when.
All in all, he's a very weird character, and we think that the developers made him this way. He's not in the story to be strong but is there to be an important NPC for people to rely on.
20 Strong: Alex Mercer
After he's caught up in an experiment gone wrong, Mercer finds himself without his memory and constantly on the lookout for people who are after him, and will do anything to find him.
Despite this, he's one of the strongest characters on this list due to the powers this experiment gave him.
Unlike other superheroes out there, this guy refuses to play by the rules and is willing to be a bad guy if it means getting what he wants. Not only that, but his powers are always growing.
19 Weak: Ashley Graham
This woman has become infamous at this point in the gaming world, and it's a testament to how well designed the fourth installment in the Biohazard series was that she still didn't manage to spoil it. Throughout various points in this game, we're expected to look after this woman as she follows us, which is fine until she's expected to do anything on her own. It's one of the most annoying parts of the game, keeping an eye on her as she slowly works her way towards a switch or a crank, unable to defend herself at all.
18 Strong: Sephiroth
While he may be an imposing looking character, we don't think this guy looks that strong without his sword. Despite this, he's quite possibly the strongest character, good or bad, in the entire history of Final Fantasy.
He has become so well known for being a strong villain that he was placed into the Kingdom Hearts series as quite possibly the hardest boss of all time.
Behind the almost emotionless demeanor, this man has what it takes to go up against any video game character you care to mention.
17 Weak: Tails
We never understood why anybody would choose to play as this guy when they were offered the choice. He is so weak that in the Sonic Adventure series they had to put him in a robot mech to give him any chance of surviving. This was a bit of a step backward though, as it took away his ability to fly, which was his only worthwhile power in the earlier games! Honestly, we would be fine with never being able to play as this guy again...
16 Strong: Majora
While nobody is denying that this is quite clearly a very uncomfortable mask, any inanimate object that is able to communicate through living beings is pretty strong if you ask us.
Not only that, but this mask is able to turn into physical forms, each more dangerous and uncomfortable than the last.
All we know is, if we saw somebody with this mask, we'd be running in the opposite direction, never to return. Anybody who thinks it's just a mask is a fool.
15 Weak: Luigi
We have a lot of love for Luigi, but as a character, we have to admit that he is very weak. It's as if he's unable to understand that he actually has the same powers as his brother.
He is constantly shivering, crying, or worrying about what is waiting for him around the corner, which doesn't exactly make the player feel very strong or powerful. This works well in the Luigi's Mansion games, but anywhere else it can start to get on our nerves pretty quickly.
14 Strong: The Prince Of Persia
At first, this guy seems like a spoiled child, a daddy's boy who will never be able to live up to the man who birthed him due to his obsession with class and gaining material items.
However, we soon see that he a brilliant ability with a sword that has him taking on numerous enemies from humans to inhuman monsters.
Throw in the fact that he quickly gains the ability to mess with time and what we have here is an incredibly powerful video game character. He may not look like much, but he has a lot to prove...
13 Weak: Falco
This guy may talk a bit game, but all in all, he's pretty weak. He rarely steps up in the Star Fox games to prove he has the strength to back up his big talk, and when he's out of his ship, he's not strong enough to come up with his own moves. If this guy was forced into a one on one with Star Fox, he'd find out what it means to have true strength. It's time that somebody knocked this guy off his pedestal if you ask us!
12 Strong: Bayonetta
We think that everyone can admit this woman's character design screams something, and it's certainly not strength! However, this assumption proves to be false once you see this woman in combat, taking on angels and demons like it's nothing. Not only does she have incredibly strong hand to hand combat skills, she has the ability to use four weapons by strapping two to the bottom of her feet. Her flexibility allows her the chance to take on people who are much bigger than her, proving that we shouldn't judge a book by its cover.
11 Weak: Baby Mario
Look, we know this is a baby, but this little guy can drive around and ride on the back of a Yoshi. Not only that, but he's the baby version of one of the most prolific video game heroes of all time.
Maybe we're asking too much from a baby, but we think that this guy is just using the baby part of his name to get away with doing less than his adult counterpart... Grow up and become useful already, Baby Mario! We're tired of you doing nothing all the time...
10 Strong: Dante
At first, this guy just seems like a bit of an arrogant young man, somebody that would get completely ended if they went up against the wrong guy. However, this couldn't be more wrong.
Infused with the life of a demon, Dante is able to pull off some amazing moves with a wide array of items to do it with.
While he's known for his trademark sword and pistols, he picks up a lot of other items throughout the games, all of his he uses to dispatch enemies quickly.
9 Weak: Rain
This guy may be a reference to Prince, which is very cool, but he's otherwise a boring and weak character. Why would anybody want the power to control rain and water? If at any point in the future you are handed the chance to take on an element as a superpower, something you'll be able to control for the rest of your life, please don't pick water. We'll admit that he looks very cool, but we would never pick him as our Mortal Kombat main...
8 Strong: Kirby
Despite the fact that he's a little ball of pink, a ball that would be able to roll his way around the world if he wanted to, he's quite possibly the strongest character on this list if you ask us. If he wants to, he can tug anyone into his mouth and either eat them or take on their powers, meaning that pretty much anyone is fair game. Not only does that show strength, it shows that he's able to take on the strength of others as well, which makes him stronger than any one video game character on this list.
7 Weak: Big The Cat
Easily the largest Sonic The Hedgehog character, you would think that this guy would come with a lot of strength and power, but sadly, you'd be incorrect.
In most of the games he features in, he's either too dopey to be of any help or he spends the entire time running around with a fishing rod looking for his friends... Yes, he's got into some battles in the past, but nowhere near enough to warrant being this size!
6 Strong: Goku
While he's not a character that started out in video games, he's been in enough that we feel comfortable calling him a video game character at this point. He's also one of the most powerful characters in every video game he's in.
This guy can take on anyone and stand a chance of winning, always having something waiting in his back pocket.
Let's also not forget that he has taken on literal Gods and won. He may look like a standard muscle man, but there's a lot of power underneath those clothes!
5 Weak: Lester The Unlikely
Okay, so this is a perfect example of video developers getting it perfect when it comes to character design. It's impossible to see this guy in action without immediately understanding how weak he is.
In fact, it gets to the point where this character is so weak and annoying that it gets difficult to play as him.
Honestly, stay away from this guy unless the concept of playing as an all-round weak man is something that sounds fun to you.
4 Strong: Sonic The Hedgehog
How powerful can a hedgehog really be? We've seen so many of them snuffling about in the back garden, weak and in need of help, so why would one of them end up on this list. Two words: Chaos Emeralds.
One Sonic has pulled together the seven chaos emeralds, he's essentially unstoppable.
Even when he doesn't have the emeralds, he has the ability to use his homing attack to take on the smaller enemies. He's a powerful little guy when he wants to be.
3 Weak: Slippy The Toad
Unlike Falco, this guy doesn't even pretend to be worth a look when it comes to strength. He has an annoying whine of a voice which he uses to offer rubbish strategic advice.
Why does Fox even have this guy on his team? We're sure that he does a lot behind the scenes, but then why do we have to see him in the main game as well? If it was up to us, this guy and his annoying personality would be scrubbed from video game history for good...
2 Strong: Mario
When we first saw this guy in video games, all he was jumping on were turtles and Goombas. However, he has moved up in the world, going after much bigger enemies that show just how strong he can be. No matter the size of his enemy, this guy will go for them in an attempt to save the world and his beloved Princess Peach. Bowser has taken on different forms, even ending up as big as a planet, and yet Mario is still able to take him down.
1 Weak: Rosalina
Despite the fact that this woman seems to have some serious powers when it comes to the manipulation of space and maybe even time, she needs an Italian plumber to sort things out for her. If it was up to us, we would've given this woman her own game, maybe even her own franchise, just to show what she had to offer. We know that she has some power to her, but she should have a lot more strength backing her up, to be honest. The fact that she needed Mario at all is ridiculous.