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In video games, you're bound to find at least one weapon or offense-oriented piece of equipment that you like to use, and use it regularly. Then there are the weapons that are either difficult to use effectively, useless in most situations or just plain unfun to utilize. Most people try to avoid using these weapons if they can afford to do so, but some games require you to use them at least once, usually to defeat a boss, solve a puzzle, or find an important item, at which point they are either discarded or forgotten. Note that this is not limited to weapons: Magic, offensive items, Mons or fighting moves can also fall into this category.
Compare with Useless Useful Spell, which deals with skills and spells that deal status effects in RPGs. Contrast with Joke Item, which is an intentionally weak or useless weapon or item, So Last Season, where a weapon that was good for what it did is replaced by a newer, better one, and With This Herring, which is about deliberately being given poor (albeit usable) equipment by the important NPCs when the fate of the world is at stake. While this list contains weapons that suck, none of them are to be confused with Weapons That Suck.
- Wanna ruin your day in a Castlevania game? Grab a Dagger. Particularly sucks in the original NES games, especially if you had the Holy Water or Boomerang. Someone on the dev team apparently noticed, since in later games the Dagger's low damage is usually offset by making it the cheapest subweapon to use, and sometimes giving it semiautomatic rate of fire.
- However, they will quickly become your weapon of choice in Circle of the Moon when you are in archer mode (but ONLY in archer mode). That is because all of your subweapons get a damage boost, making it a strong weapon. The second is that the upgrade at no cost, is the homing dagger. And it is VERY useful. (ties with the cross as the cross does more damage and hits more targets, but the dagger homes). Played straight with every other mode though where they are virtually useless. (outside of item crashes)
- However, it's quite effective against the Cyclops in Castlevania III. The dagger deals a lot more damage to him if you can time it right with the lightning. It's also your only hope if you die against the Frankenstein monster in the first game.
- A similar offender in the main weapon category is the Blank Book in Portrait of Ruin. It has worse stats than Charlotte's starter weapon, even lowering some stats from unarmed. The only thing it's good for is completing a quest.
- The keyblade in La-Mulana has exactly two uses in the game. 1) Defeating one of the final boss's forms, and 2) Using its range to destroy a pot in one puzzle. It's one of the weakest weapons in the entire game, and the katana, chain whip, and flail can all do what it can do better.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- The Slingshot in The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess. Some of the other items suffer from an understandable Cardboard Obstacle scenario, but the slingshot is even more irrelevant because of the bow and arrow.
- In The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword, the Slingshot returns, with an almost as useless upgrade in the form of the Scattershot. Not only are the pellets too slow to really hit Keese and lack range, the only enemies they really do anything to ARE Keese (the only other enemies it can kill are wall skulatus, which you can use the beetle on, and that doesn't have an ammo limit, everything else the slingshot just stuns). That said, it's over halfway through the game before you get the Bow and Arrow, and it can be quite creative when you need it to be: Bokoblin + Tightrope + Slingshot = Fun.
- In Evolva, the only reason for the Flame's existence was to light flammable plants, and even then, there are other weapons (like the grenade) that can light them on fire.
- Potentially even more useless is the Claw, which despite being the only unlimited ammo weapon, never really gets used except for breaking rocks once you get better weapons. It too suffers in that its purpose gets taken by future weapons (again, the grenade.)
- The X-Universe has several.
- The Fragmentation Bomb Launcher sounds like a dangerous weapon. It's loud and produces a pretty explosion. But it burns weapons energy fast, and unless you manage to hit the target before it detonates and produces its Flechette Storm, you're not going to hit anything. Its only saving grace is its price tag: as Vendor Trash a recovered (or manufactured) FBL will net you a roughly quarter of a million credits.
- The Cluster Flak Array is the FBL scaled to frigate size. It does, however, have one further saving grace. Some players like to pair it in gun batteries with the Ion Disruptor, which can chain-lightning between the flak shards to reach further than it could normally.
- Almost every unguided missile: they are inaccurate and do very little damage. The exception is the Tornado, which can be used to rig certain M3 fighters as bombers for anticapital work.
- Lasertowers fit this in X3: Terran Conflict because Out-Of-Sector combat mechanics render their chief advantage (range) worthless. Some players have had success using them in large quantities to support blockades, however. In X3: Albion Prelude they're much more useful thanks to a buff in firepower and shielding.
- Before X3TC brought some sense to the weapon types the previous games had small fighters that could mount small guns, medium fighters that could mount medium guns, and heavy fighters that could mount heavy guns. Each gun type was further divided in three subcategories: alpha, beta and gamma, in increasing order of destructiveness. There was no reason to ever use alpha guns in anything, and betas were only useful in heavy fighters (as gamma heavies were restricted to capital ships).
- Deus Ex: the single-shot plasma pistol, that you could only carry one of at a time, and wasn't powerful enough to one-shot most mooks.
- The actual plasma rifle itself is also regarded rather unfavorably. Although it can be applied effectively, it's still overwhelmingly the least popular heavy weapon; very few players use it.
- The Light Antitank Weapon also combined the "can't have more than one" problem of the plasma pistol with greater space requirements, but it did at least offer more raw power to balance that out.
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution brings us the mine templates. Place a grenade in it and it becomes a mine that explodes with that grenade model's effect. Sounds useful until you realize that the arming delay is so ridiculously short that unless you throw it at wall from a healthy distance, you will blow up with it.
- Metroid Prime has the Plasma Beam's missile combo, the Flamethrower. To be honest, all missile combos except Super Missile are situational at best, but Flamethrower is the only completely useless one. It shoots a stream of flames that has a short range and eats through your ammo like crazy (and unlike the similar Wavebuster, it does not home or stun the target). It's made even more useless when you consider that a charged Plasma Beam shot kills 90% of normal enemies with a single hit (there's one enemy in the game that can get hurt by it but doesn't get killed in one shot), so you could just be using that instead.
- Several weapons in your arsenal in Daikatana. To sum it up: The ion blaster's shots bounced off walls and could hit you. The C4 vizatergo launched proximity mines with blast radii roughly equal to the range you'd be firing it at; if you didn't end up getting caught in the explosion, your AI "helpers" probably would. The Shockwave launched an erratically bouncing ball that created shockwaves whenever it hit a surface...which could easily kill you. The Eye of Zeus hit every enemy in sight with lightning when the staff's eye opened, but if no enemies were on-screen, it would kill you. Nharre's Nightmare summoned a demon that, like the Eye of Zeus, would turn on you and kill you if there weren't any targets. Finally, the kineticore's shots rebound off walls and (all together, now) can hit you. Sensing a pattern?
- In the original Perfect Dark most the weapons were all pretty good, but there were a few that were nearly worthless. The standard human Rocket Launcher was easily the worst explosive in the game, and one of the worst weapons in general -- its low rate of fire, slow-flying rockets and small capacity made it useless in almost every situation. Probably the worst weapon in the game, however, was the Reaper, an alien (Skedar) gatling gun with the worst accuracy of just about any weapon you'll ever see in a first person shooter, and firing it required you to bring up the speed of the motor before any bullet went off. It's secondary fire, which basically turned it into an enormous blender, was a mostly pointless melee weapon.
- Meanwhile, Perfect Dark's spiritual predecessor Golden Eye 1997 had the Klobb, a weak, slow-firing, inaccurate SMG that was outclassed by literally every other automatic weapon in the game.
- Every weapon in the game. A pistol would serve you better. The Klobb takes two shots for a headshot kill! In fact, there was a Max Stats (007 Mode, all enemy stats cranked up to full) run for Golden Eye 1997's Archive level where any shot was instant death. Except the Klobb. On that note, the Klobb was pretty cool in License to Kill mode.
- Lamphaded by this book-cover redesign, part of a larger project showing classic games in the style of classic books.
- Mines usually fall into this category in single-player games, such as the trip mines from Duke Nukem 3D and the first Half-Life, due to their being defensive weapons in games where you're usually on the offensive. If you plan on using them your options are either setting up a trap and luring enemies into it (at which point it's usually just easier to shoot them) or putting them in select points to stop ambushes (but you'd only know that the ambushes were coming if you had prior knowledge of the game, making the "ambush" a moot point). It's just an extra pack of explosives that never misses, but usually is less tactically valuable than a pipebomb/satchel.
- The grenade launcher from Kingpin Life of Crime. Most grenade launchers in video games either fire grenades that explode on contact with enemies, hold more than three rounds in a magazine, let you carry more than 18 rounds total (especially if the game's bazooka has a clip of five shots and an ammo cap of one hundred rockets), take less than four seconds to explode, exist in games where enemies aren't smart enough to run like hell before the 'nade goes off or some combination of the above. Kingpin's grenade launcher is not any of these things. It's so bad that not even the AI can figure out how to kill you with it.
- The Insect-a-cutioner/bug spray from Blood II: The Chosen. While superficially another version of the aerosol can from the first game, it was generally useless due to the short range, low primary fire damage, long secondary fire prep time and the fact that its ammo was also shared with the assault rifle's underslung grenade launcher, a more damaging and altogether more useful weapon.
- The death ray also deserves mention for effectively being a battery-powered assault rifle whose shots reflected off walls and could hit you as well. Any batteries you found were better off being used with the singularity cannon.
- The Prankster Bit from Tron 2.0 is the game's BFG and looks pretty cool, but the energy usage is obscene, the damage is overkill against everything you fight, and you get it so late in the game that you're literally unable to fully upgrade it. It's not even worth using against the final boss due to how the game handles damage dealt to it.
- The Halo series of games have several:
- Halo has two: the Assault Rifle and the Needler. The needler is a devastating weapon against one type of enemy, and one type of enemy only: Sentinels. Against pretty much any other target, it's useless. And Sentinels are very rare, appearing as opponents only a handful of times -- not nearly often enough to justify keeping the weapon on hand, given that you can only carry two weapons at any given time. Pretty much any alien weapon (plasma pistol or rifle) works about as well. The Assault Rifle meanwhile just does very low damage in general, low damage against shields in particular, and an obnoxiously wide bullet spread.
- In Halo 2, the Assault Rifle was replaced by the SMG. It's an improvement, but not a huge one. And the Needler became more usable, at least when dual-wielded (a new feature in Halo 2), but they're still not exactly top-tier go-to weapons. The Brute Shot bounces its ammo, making it difficult to use outside of melee. Oh, and the Sentinel Beam's not exactly a power-house, easily the single weakest weapon in the series.
- The only point is ever is using a Sentinel beam is against the flood, and even then the shotgun and energy sword do a better job.
- The SMG itself became something of a scrappy weapon itself, due to its very high kickback, and relatively low maximum range. On its own, anyway--it's designed to be dual wielded, which let it strip shields in close combat with incredible speed. Combined with a plasma rifle, it's not half-bad, but terribly outclassed by the Battle Rifle in every other way.
- The Needler has since been Rescued From the Scrappy Heap. While it lost its duel wield-ably, its power got boosted and is far better balanced in Halo 3 and Reach.
- Magnum, while useful in the first game, is nerfed in Halo 2, losing its scope feature and is much weaker in all respects.
- In Halo 3, the Sentinel Beam is still fairly terrible, and the SMG's power is downgraded as part of a general nerfing of dual-wielding. The flamethrower is very difficult to use effectively, although it's hellaceous when used properly. Perhaps the scrappiest Halo 3 weapon is the Mauler, a single-handed dual-wieldable shotgun that, when dual-wielded, has less power and ammo than the shotgun at the expense of disabling use of grenades and melee. ...yeah. Its sole saving grace is a Game Breaking Bug that allows you to shoot at melee at the same time, generally considered cheating and annoying as hell.
- Sentinel beams, if you ever use them in a PvP situation (you'll have to do it with a custom map), it's got the fastest headshot in the game.
- Halo: ODST's scoped and silenced SMG was still not as powerful as the assault rifle. Its main purpose was to deplete enemy shields before switching to the scoped pistol for a fatal headshot--and for swatting drones out of the air.
- In some circles, the Halo shotguns--all the Halo shotguns--are considered scrappies due to their wet-cough range, unpredictable damage, and the presence of instant-kill melee weapons.
- Though in Halo:Reach, they also kill instantly.
- Arguably, most shooters (especially older ones) where their Standard FPS Guns ruthlessly fell prey to the Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness. In Doom for example, there was no reason to ever touch the pistol once you had the chaingun.
- In Doom there was no reason to ever touch the pistol after the first few rooms - you didn't even need to finish the first level, as the shotgun you find four rooms in is more effective than the pistol even for long-range shooting.
- Team Fortress 2 has a fair share of examples:
- The Razorback, a sniper weapon, does nothing except prevent one backstab. However, wielding it requires you to give up your secondary weapon, meaning that you have to rely on your rifle and melee weapon for self-defense. Oh, and the only class to use backstabs also has a revolver that can kill you in three hits (or two, if they have one of the Ambassador), and can see your backstab-preventing shield. Since its release, it has been indirectly buffed by the introduction of new knives that give bonuses for backstabbing people, since it can deny Spies those bonuses and make them much more vulnerable, but still remains largely useless outside of Medieval Mode (where the shields are the only secondary items you can use).
- The Sydney Sleeper, a sniper rifle that can't get headshots (requiring players to resort to bodyshots, already an unpopular tactic) in exchange for covering its target in Jarate if you stay scoped for long enough.
- The Sun-on-a-Stick deals less damage than its stock equivalent, but deals more damage to enemies that are on fire. Too bad you can only use it when you're playing Scout, who has no way to ignite people. Oh, and you can't get it before March 2011 except by pre-ordering Rift.
- The Scottish Resistance is a defensive alternative to the Sticky Bomb launcher that can place more bombs and doesn't have to detonate all its bombs at the same time. However, it also takes longer for them to actually explode once you hit the detonate button, making it unsuited to direct combat, where the Sticky Bomb Launcher excels.
- It is a much, much better offensive weapon. In competent hands, you can pretty much deny defensive Demomen from using Stickybombs for area denial.
- The Backburner used to be this, as it lacked the stock flamethrower's ability to reflect projectiles but dealt more damage, giving it a reputation for being used by W+M1 Pyros, but since then has gained said ability (at a steep ammo cost), making it much more popular.
- For a long time, the Force-a-Nature had this reputation. On one hand, it can fire off two shots very fast, deals extra damage, and sends enemies flying (as well as allowing you to take advantage of Recoil Boost). On the other, it takes ages to reload, only has two shots, and sends enemies flying out of range with the first shot, meaning that to maximize damage you have to fire one shot, chase your target, then fire the second once you catch up, which neutralizes the fast fire rate. Oh, and its Recoil Boost makes it impossible to do air maneuvers while firing.
- The Phoenix from Clive Barker's Undying. Is the last weapon found in the game, at about 30 minutes before the final boss. Not only it's quite weak compared to your arsenal (which by now include the Celtic Scythe, the Tibetan War Cannon and the Spear Thrower), but each shot must be guided in first person. Except that it's too fast to be properly controlled.
Light Gun Games
- Ghost Squad has both versions of The Guardian. Compared to the other weapons in the game, they're stupidly useless: 6 or 10 bullets, and no extra features like piercing or permanent dot sight.
- Taken Up to Eleven with the AGB1, which is a crossbow in a game featuring an assortment of firearms, and has to be aimed properly because arrows don't travel as fast as bullets. At least the two Guardian pistols could hit their enemies instantly.
- The Ratchet and Clank series was the main inspiration for this trope. The first game had a handful of weapons that were quite useful (e.g., the Visibomb Gun, Devastator) and some that were almost useless (Pyrocitor, Taunter). The second game and onwards introduced leveling up weapons, further polarizing their effectiveness. It was quite easy to level up weapons that were easy to use and fairly powerful (the Negotiator and Constructo Shotgun from A Crack in Time, for instance), and weapons that barely got any use (such as the wimpy Buzz Blades) would never be able to level up except on the weakest ankle-biter enemies.
- The Taunter is more of a situational weapon. It's not going to get used in every level, but in some levels, where the enemies are dumb enough to walk off cliffs, or walk into laser fences, you can use it to save some ammo. A true scrappy weapon is the Gold Morph-O-Ray. It takes away one of the original Morph-O-Ray's uses, creating ammo for the Suck Cannon. But no weapon is truly useless in the first game at least, it's just that some see a lot more use in a lot more levels than others. Same can't be said for the sequels mind. In particular, the formerly useful Visibomb gun becomes so nerfed that it goes from a most used weapon, to near useless, and the rest suffer an even worse fate.
- The Meteor Gun, the Lava Gun's upgraded form in Going Commando is another instance. The basic weapon fired a steady stream of molten rock, was one of the best guns to use when you were surrounded (hold down button, spin, watch things burn) and was generally very powerful overall. The upgrade turned it into a burning rock machine gun, which basically did the same thing as another one of your weapons (the Lancer), except it fired more slowly, had less range and shot in a low parabolic arc. Fortunately Insomniac realized what they did and changed the final upgrade to the Liquid Nitrogen Gun in Up Your Arsenal, having it keep its pretty, pretty stream of destruction all the way through the game.
- Which gun is the scrappy is something of a matter of opinion. The Lava Gun had terrible range and accuracy, low damage in general, and the burning status effect didn't so much burn as sting. It also took a moment after you started firing (and using ammunition) to reach it's full range, which could annoy the more ammo conscious players, and the wrench had about the same range and better damage. The Meteor Gun had better range, excellent damage, and could be equipped with a lock-on mod. While it did end up working like the Lancer, this isn't necessarily a bad thing since the Lancer had ceased to do meaningful damage around halfway through the game, while the Meteor Gun would be a reliable damage dealer through to the end.
- Even platformers are not immune. Mega Man gives us plenty of these, as noted under Power-Up Letdown. The most infamous is the Top Spin, which only notable use is destroying the final boss in one hit, but several more have accumulated over the course of the long-running franchise...
- Interestingly, Top Spin is actually one of the better weapons in Mega Man 3...if you know how to use it (like in a Boss Weapons Only run). You can actually one-shot a large number of enemies with it, and it's got a large amount of ammo. It's primarily considered a scrappy weapon because you need to use it at close range, because it's a horrible weapon against enemies it can't one-hit kill (thus requiring memorization to use properly) and because of a poorly executed mechanic that can cause it to use up the entire ammo bar in a single use. One Top Spin costs one power, but top spin constantly "fires" as long as the player's finger is on the button. Hit an enemy immune to Top Spin, or a vulnerable boss during its brief second of post-attack invulnerability, and the power gauge can be depleted in a second if the player is careless.
- Mega Man 10 gives us Thunder Wool, which is nigh impossible to aim, and blows through all its ammo in 6 shots. To quote one Gamefaqs poster "Anything the Thunder Wool does, another weapon does better and for less ammo cost."
- The Rolling Shield in Mega Man X is the worst boss weapon in the game. The boss who is meant to be vulnerable to it, Launch Octopus, is more vulnerable to the Boomerang Cutter, which severs his tentacles, reducing his firepower and preventing him ftom drawing you in; the Rolling Shield has no special effect on the boss and isn't effective at doing damage. Surprisingly enough, though, the Rolling Shield works well on Sigma's One-Winged Angel form.
- Shield weapons in general get this, because you often lose them as soon as you move.
- Of course, the worst one is Mega Man 2's Bubble Lead. While it does allow diagonal attack (in as far as it follows the ground), it's so ridiculously slow, and you can't jump and aim with it. It is, however, the only weapon that can kill the tiny spring-head things.
- Quick Boomerang kills those as well, so Bubble Lead isn't even useful for that. The enemy Bubble Lead is actually used for is the final boss, as absolutely nothing else will damage him.
- Earthworm Jim 2 has the comically underpowered Bubble Gun.
- The torch in the Ghosts N Goblins series is slow and travels in an arch, while most of the enemies come right for you, so the players try to avoid it as much as possible.
- Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel have the Spring Mushroom, which transforms Mario into a living spring, jumping at great heights to higher spots. The problem is, though, that it's very difficult to maneuver, as the powerup moves Mario perpetually, so a misaimed or poorly calculated jump can result lethal when chasms and pits are close.
- Pokémon both subverts this and plays this straight. On the one hand, there are no truly useless Pokemon. On the other hand, in terms of competitive play, there is a tier known as "Never Used (NU)". This is because they often have horrible stats and are not very good in battle. HM Slaves (Such as Bibarel), for example, are very useful when getting around from "Point A" to "Point B" but are terrible in battle.
- On the other hand, there are a few truly "useless" moves. One example is Detect, and its counterpart, Protect. Both do the exact same thing (protects the user from most attacks for one turn; more likely to fail if used repeatedly). But Detect only has 5 uses, compared to Protect's 10. Also, all Pokemon can learn Protect with the item TM17, while only a few dozen Pokemon can learn Detect, which has no TM. Another example is the infamous Splash attack which does absolutely nothing. This is even lamshaded in Pokémon Stadium, where using splash will cause the announcer to exclaim "What's the point of splashing?!"
- Practice Bows in Mount and Blade if the player character is not built as an archer. You are pretty much doomed in any arena/tournament fight if you spawn with one and you aren't lucky enough to get a new weapon really quick as you can't fight at all in melee with one.
- Fixed in Warband, you will also start with a practice knife if you spawn if a bow. While it can't block, it can at least fight back and if you are strong enough disrupt attacks.
- Fallout and Fallout 2 have the Mauser pistol, a one-of-a-kind weapon in Fallout and one of the rarest guns in the sequel. It's also the only weapon in both games to use 9mm ammunition, which is very rare in and of itself and so must be carefully managed if one intends to use it. Obviously the Mauser must be one of the most powerful small guns, right? Wrong: it's one of the weakest, with no redeeming features whatsoever - not even a high selling price. One wonders why the devs even bothered putting it, and its very own ammo type, in the game at all.
- Fallout 3 has the Chinese Pistol. Despite using the same ammunition as the 10mm, it has 2 fewer shots, is no faster or more accurate, does less than half the damage of its American counterpart, and does not come in a silenced version. Its only saving graces are that it sells for a fair deal of cash, and that it has more than twice the durability of the regular 10mm. The latter is just about useless, as the low damage makes degradation approximately equal to that of the 10mm.
- The unique variant is more useful, as it is capable of setting enemies on fire in addition to the base damage. In spite of this, it's still probably one of the least powerful unique weapons out there (even weaker than many regular weapons) and is only good for supplementing another firearm or for lighting up occasional pockets of gas.
- In the Final Fantasy series, any weapon with randomized damage, i.e. axes, especially once your attack power goes high enough that randomization only hurts your damage potential.
- In Fire Emblem, Devil Axes. More likely to kill you than your enemy, and pretty inaccurate to boot.
- They do, however, gave a huge amount of weapon exp, meaning they're mostly used for grinding a character's axe skill. The risk of killing yourself is still pretty frustrating though.
- Certain skills in Guild Wars are either completely useless or completely outclassed, although this changes from time to time based on buffs and nerfs.
- some are also useless because they're absolute clones of others.
- Specific mods for Knights of the Old Republic, made by a specific modder, would include the 'broken bottle' as a joke. It's clearly tailored to be useless in any way possible, dealing exactly one point of damage, and providing a large array of penalties, making sure that nobody would use it. It's description refers to it as a "crude weapon of an uncivilized age".
- In the basic game, guns. Generally speaking, blasters of all varieties were only useful until you got your hands on a lightsaber. (Of course, being a Star Wars property, the lightsaber's position at the intersection of Awesome and Powerful was pretty much guaranteed.) The sequel made them more powerful and versatile, but even then there were a whole host of weapons you simply did not want. Most often, these were non-upgradeable weapons, which were almost never powerful enough to be worth missing out of upgrade parts.
- The Shamrock, your 2nd tank in Valkyria Chronicles, can use one of three weapons: the standard cannon, a flamethrower or a Gatling Gun. However, of the three, the Gatling Gun is virtually useless. Sure it fires a lot of shots, but its accuracy is poor, and it's the only weapon out of the three that can't really hit multiple targets. Meaning it basically boils down to "kill one enemy foot soldier", something your own foot soldiers can achieve more reliably and for less CP consumption. The Flamethrower, on the other hand, is quite capable of killing 5 or more foot soldiers in a single shot, and the cannon comes with a mortar to kill infrantry in addition to being effective against tanks. So really, anything the Gatling Gun does, the other two do better.
- The enemy weapons you get off Aces tend to fit this trope too, as they generally have higher power, but poor range and accuracy. Their Sniper Rifles are especially ridiculous, what's the point of a sniper with the range of a machine gun and Aim D?? Oddly enough, the enemy flamethrowers avert this, in fact they're more powerful that your flamethrowers can ever be, and are borderline Disk One Nukes.
- In Morrowind, Polearms. You wouldn't know this by hearing the fanbase, but nobody actually used them in Morrowind because they were worthless. (Didn't help that one-handed swords were much more numerous and stronger...or that you pretty much had to have some skill in them.)
- World of Warcraft: Fist weapons, and pre-Burning crusade, polearms. Both were hampered by the fact that there were just not enough in the game, and the ones that were there were overshadowed by better weapons. It didn't help that Dagger specialization for rogues was much better than fist weapons. Burning Crusade remedied this by adding more polearms to the game, although they were most commonly used by hunters for stats. Mists of Pandaria is hopefully going to tackle Fist Weapons.
Shoot 'Em Ups
- Gradius ReBirth has Type E's Double shot, the V-Shot. It fires up and down, but NOT forward, thereby depriving you of any and all horizontal coverage. Type E's Laser, the Vector Laser, becomes this too on Stage 2 and bonus stages, where it cannot damage destructible walls. Needless to say, if you equip the Vector Laser and then go into Stage 2 on higher loops or difficulties, or into a bonus stage, both of which require destroying walls to advance, you are DEAD.
- Just about any melee weapon in the Tenchu games (at least Wrath of Heaven) that you can get from a dead Mook. Especially as they get rid of your one-hit stealth kills. The higher-scoring need-for-powering-up stealth kills. The you're-a-ninja stealth kills. (Well, yeah, the fun-to-do stealth kills.)
- Proximity Mines in Resident Evil 5 might be considered this. Though they have some use in Story mode (usually by leading bosses and strong enemies on them), in Mercenaries they are next to useless, since you need to do melee anyway and you can't even use them to clear the mob in a pinch. No reason to bother with bosses. And in Versus, if you happen to be seen placing them, the enemy player can detonate them by shooting while you are still close. This added to the fact that good players won't be caught stepping on them anyway, since it's easy to tell the set mines from the dropped ones.
- The knife from most of the Resident Evil series was absurdly weak (usually taking several dozen stabs just to knock over the most basic of enemies), had zero range, and took up valuable inventory space, so was typically dumped in the first item box, unless you were just that good and wanted to give yourself a Self-Imposed Challenge. Code Veronica was the first game to give it even limited usefulness, as one swipe counted as several hits, but it wasn't until Resident Evil 4 made it as powerful as the handgun, just trading range for unlimited use, that it stopped being a Scrappy Weapon. A skilled player could save a lot of ammo using it, and some bosses were actually easier with the knife. The fact it no longer counted against your inventory space helped as well.
- Silent Hill 1 has two: the Kitchen Knife and the Hand Axe, the first and last melee weapons you get, respectively. The Kitchen Knife is a mandatory pickup, has zero range and in terms of defense is much worse than simply running from danger, and it's as if the game realizes how worthless it is because you can find the Steel Pipe, one of the game's more useful weapons, less than a minute later. The Hand Axe is a barely-noticeable upgrade to the Kitchen Knife, which is rather unacceptable since by then you're 75% through the game and already have the magnificent and deadly Emergency Hammer. You don't have to get the Axe, though it does have one use: Breaking the lock keeping you from the sewer. Other weapons can break it, but it requires careful positioning and the Axe makes it easier.
- Dungeons and Dragons 3.0, 3.5, and Pathfinder made the heavy crossbow nearly useless. A user could fire it a bit further than a light crossbow and on average did one more point of damage on a hit compared to a longbow or a light crossbow. However, the weapon took an entire round to reload, leaving the character useless for an entire turn. Characters who knew how to use a bow would always do better to use the bow if they planned to make more than one attack in a round or spend more than one round shooting. Characters above first level could almost always afford a bow that let them add their strength to the damage, negating the heavy crossbow's advantage to damage. Characters who couldn't use a bow would usually rather shoot and move with a light crossbow or were spellcasters whose actions in combat were almost always better used casting a spell. Feats (special tricks characters learn) were priceless, and using one to select "Rapid Reload" for a heavy crossbow was generally a terrible choice. Even the range advantage was usually useless due to the metagame; most GMs who use maps don't set many encounters at distances where the extra range comes into play. If the adventure takes place inside a dungeon of any kind, forget it. Many "subpar" weapons have tons of uses for smart players, but the game's rules render heavy crossbows worthless. Even the siangham (a monk weapon which does less damage than the monk's fist) has its uses.
- The double crossbow in Pathfinder is even more Awesome Yet Impractical. It fires two bolts with one trigger pull, but penalizes both shots by -20% to hit (even if you know how to shoot it) and costs a feat just to learn to use. It takes two standard actions to reload, meaning a normal character using it would fire once every three rounds unless he dedicates even more precious feats to the weapon. Meanwhile, the Manyshot or Rapid Shot feats applied to many weapons and imparted lower/no penalties to hit and allowed for similar effects for dedicated ranged characters. If the character was a spell-caster or melee fighter, spending a feat to learn to use a double crossbow was a very bad choice, especially compared to repeating crossbows, longbows, or other options available to these characters.
- Bastard swords saw little use, as they were two handed weapons which did less damage than two handed swords or great axes, and only by spending a feat could a character use it in one hand. Feats were too precious to spend to gain the minimal damage bonus a bastard sword had over a longsword. Magical longswords were also far more common to find whether the loot was based on GM whimsy or random rolls, making longswords even more attractive compared to the bastard sword.
- Exotic weapons in general had this problem except for D&D's spiked chain, which could be a Minmaxers Delight. It was severely nerfed in Pathfinder. Any benefit the exotic weapon provided was grossly overshadowed by the thought of "wasting" a feat and the low chance of finding a magical version of the weapon. If an exotic weapon was associated with a certain race, allowing that race to use it more easily, it would see modest use. The rest almost never saw action.
- While many players can find use for most anything in both versions of Warhammer, something that is always useless is the Chaos Spawn. It's stats are decent, but it's movement attacks are completely random meaning it's far too unreliable to be much use.
- The humble lasgun is the weakest basic weapon in the game, having extremely low strength and zero capability of piercing armor. However, Imperial Guard players are forced to use it since its their army's default weapon. If given the chance, lasgun wielding troopers are commonly swapped out for more powerful or useful weapons. The only way lasguns can put any sort of hurt on an enemy is through extremely large volleys of fire.
- The "Kozlice" shotgun from Operation Flashpoint. It's more accurate than the average game shotgun, but that's where the good bits end. It's weak, only holds two shots (and you can only carry 10 rounds total, as opposed to 300 for an assault rifle), and takes twice as long to reload as any of the other weapons. It'd almost be more effective if you could use it as a club.
- Gears of War. The Scorcher flamethrower has exceedingly short range, which unfortunately forces you into the killzone for everyone's favorite weapon: The Gnasher shotgun. Not only that, but despite being a flamethrower, it lacks any significant DoT effect which would help justify its existence.
Wide Open Sandbox
- The Saboteur's Terror Flamethrower. "Typical video game flamethrower" sums it up fairly well, with its short range and flames that cover up your field of view. It would be good for close-quarters combat in theory, except that at around the same time you gain access to an automatic shotgun with a ridiculous ammo capacity (150 rounds with a dirt-cheap upgrade) that's surprisingly effective at stopping targets well out of the flamethrower's range.