9 awesome video game powers that get taken away far too soon

Hey, give that back!

You've just found the Sword of Doom--it's the most powerful sword in the game. It slices through goblins like butter, shoots lasers out of its hilt--and oh yeah, it causes gold coins to rain from the sky. Awesome, right? Unfortunately, your joy is short lived, because that sword is actually the key to make it into the next room, and you can't take it with you.

Video games love to tease us with awesome powers, weapons, and abilities, only to take them away just when we start enjoying them. Or even worse--they give those powers to us right as the game is almost done, and we hardly even have a chance to mess around with them before the credits start to roll. Here are some of most painful examples of some awesome powers that get yanked away from us far too quickly.

Infamous: Second Son gives you the last set of powers during the game's final boss

Delsin is on a one-man quest to steal every single superpower he can get his hands on, and by the Infamous: Second Son's last mission, he's working with smoke, neon, and video powers. But there's still something missing, if those grayed out boxes on his upgrade list is any indication. Once you make it to Second Son's final boss, you finally get access to that final, elusive power: concrete.

And then the game ends before you even have a chance to put your new skill through its paces. You power it up a bit, beat the final boss, and the credits roll. Sure, you can hop back in and clean up the rest of the game's side quests, but once that's all over, there's little reason to even go back and experiment with the concrete power's unique abilities--which is a shame, because freezing people in place and hovering around while shooting rocks out of your hands sounds pretty awesome.

The bicycle in Earthbound is rendered useless almost immediately

Travelling the world in Earthbound is kind of a hassle, as you spend 90% of your time hoofing it from one end of the country to the other. But once you leave the sleepy burg of Onett and make your way to the bustling town of Twoson, you finally have access to a free bike rental--complete with a little bell on the handlebar. The bike lets you pedal your way through the game with increased speed, and even comes with its own special tune to get you in the bike-riding mood.

Unfortunately, this bike is basically useless as soon as you get it. See, it's only got one seat on it, and as soon as you get a second person in your party (or buy a damage-soaking, semi-sentient teddy bear), it becomes a worthless hunk of aluminum with wheels. And wouldn't you know it--you get a second party member within minutes of getting the bike. Time to give Escargot Express a call and have them put it in storage for you.

Power Bombs are prohibited shortly after the intro in Metroid: Other M

Metroid: Other M took a really weird approach to upgrade progression. In typical Metroid games, you have to go and find all of your powers in the environment. In Other M, you have access to your entire repertoire right from the start, as the tutorial teaches you how to use everything from your Charge Beam to your Power Bombs. But once you accept your mission, you agree to restrict your abilities to those authorized by the mission leader. Wait, what?

So yeah, those Power Bombs you got to use earlier? They're considered too much of a threat to human life, so you won't be using those again for the rest of the game. Well, that's not entirely true--you can finally use them on the final boss of Other M, but the game doesn't even bother to tell you that you can until after you beat it. Hrm.

Super-powered Gravity Gun in Half-life 2 is only available for the final levels

When Half-life 2 released in 2004, the gravity gun was unlike any toy we'd ever seen before. Being able to manipulate objects in the environment, then shoot them back at your hapless foes--few things beat picking up a buzz saw and hurling it at a zombie, slicing it in half. It may not seem like much now, but ten years ago, this was pretty hot shit. You even get the Gravity Gun pretty early on in your adventure, so you get plenty of time to mess around with it.

But the best moment of the game occurs in the game's second to last chapter, as you are taken prisoner by the evil Dr. Breen. All of your weapons are confiscated except for your Gravity Gun, which has been mysteriously charged up by an alien device. Now you have the power to pick up pretty much anything (yes, including those evil Combine soldiers) and launch their energized bodies back at the other enemies, sending them flying. All of this culminates in a frantic boss battle that requires you to grab and throw massive energy balls--it's really thrilling stuff. Once it's over, though, that's it--the game ends, and this awesome toy goes away. Unless you're like me and immediately replayed the last two chapters.

Da Vinci's Flying Machine in Assassin's Creed 2 is used in one mission

Leonardo Da Vinci was a man of many talents--painter, writer, inventor, and friend of assassins, apparently. Many of Da Vinci's ideas, like this weird take on what would become the helicopter were way ahead of their time. Assassin's Creed 2 took those ideas and, like a stoned college kid, asked "What if, they, like, actually worked?" And Ubisoft sold that idea hard, showing off a mission where you get to fly one of Da Vinci's crazy flying machines at several events, playing up the excitement of actually getting to fly this bizarre contraption.

Then we got the game, and we got to fly it a grand total of once. Maneuvering Ezio through a series of updrafts while deftly avoiding arrows on this thing that has no right being in the air is awesome, but it gets destroyed shortly after you make it to your goal, and you never get a chance to take to the skies again. At least Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood fixed the problem by letting you mess with a whole bunch of Da Vinci's inventions.

Snake gives you the HF Blade in Metal Gear Solid 2, but you get to use it for maybe 15 minutes tops

Metal Gear Solid 2 is completely bonkers, and during one of the crazier parts of the game, Snake shows up and hands a freshly clothed Raiden (it's a long story) a pretty rad sword. You get to spend about five minutes or so practicing with it, learning its unique and nuanced controls. Moving the right analog in different directions makes different slicing motions, you can switch between kill and stun modes--using the sword just feels good, and unlike anything you've ever gotten to mess with in the series thus far.

Once you're done practicing, you move into the next section of Arsenal Gear, fending off soldiers (all while the infamous fourth wall-breaking "fission mailed" stuff is going on in the background). You're slicing fools while your buddy Snake backs you up, and you're generally having a grand old time. But it's short-lived--all that's left are a few cutscenes, a fight against some Metal Gears, some more cutscenes, and the final boss. I'd ask why Kojima would go through the trouble of putting a weapon in that you could only use for the length of a sitcom, but then I remembered that logic doesn't exist in the world of Metal Gear.

You get the Light Arrows at the end of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and you can't even use them

A Link to the Past may have formed The Legend of Zelda's overworld-dungeon-item-boss formula, but The Ocarina of Time really locked it in. Since Link's N64 outing, the all-powerful Light Arrows have been a late-game addition to his Ganon-beating repertoire--in fact, the Light Arrows are usually the only way to beat Ganon at the end of the game.

The thing is, most Zelda games give you the Light Arrows a bit before that final showdown, so you have a chance to explore and use them if you need to before you go and finish off the game. Not so in Twilight Princess. You get the Light Arrows during the final battle with Ganondorf (Ganon's human form)--correction, Zelda gets the Light Arrows during the final battle with Ganondorf. You don't even get to use them. And of course, once you beat the boss, the game is over, and you never get to touch the Light Arrows again--at least until the next Zelda adventure rolls around.

You get one of the best weapons in The Final Fantasy Legend in the first world, only to give it up

There's something fishy going on in the beginning hours of the Game Boy RPG classic, The Final Fantasy Legend. Within the first few minutes, you get your hands on the King's Armor and Shield, two incredibly powerful pieces of protection. Then, you find the King's Sword--one of the strongest weapons in the entire game. "This is weird," you're thinking to yourself. "Why would they give me the best equipment in the game, this early on?"

It's because the game is messing with you, that's why. You can run around, get into some random battles early on and use them to strengthen your crew, but in order to progress to the second level of the tower you're in, you have to give up all of your newly acquired loot to unlock the door. You do end up getting better equipment eventually, but this massive tease still stings.

Getting the best weapon in Gun means you'll have nothing to use it on

Before the fantastic Red Dead Redemption, there was Gun, a western-themed shooter from the team that made Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. It actually wasn't a bad game, but there was one problem--the best gun in the entire game was only rewarded to you after you completed all available missions.

The thing is, the world of Gun is pretty empty, and once you've completed every single missions available to you, you pretty much have nothing to use that shiny new gun on--which is a shame, because the thing is basically a portable cannon with a shotgun spread. There is a way to replay old missions, but the method to unlocking them is so hidden and convoluted, it might as well not count.

I was using that...

First rule of video games: never trust anything you see, because it could all be gone in an instant. Are there any powers, weapons, or abilities in games you wish you got to play with for a bit longer before they were so rudely stolen back from you? Let me know in the comments!

Looking for more? Check out this list of the 100 best Easter Eggs of all time, or this list of the 12 most re-released games of all time.

David Roberts
David Roberts lives in Everett, WA with his wife and two kids. He once had to sell his full copy of EarthBound (complete with box and guide) to some dude in Austria for rent money. And no, he doesn't have an amiibo 'problem', thank you very much.