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"What, did you read the 'Peasant's Quest' walkthrough or something? Go talk to my brother, first!"
When the hero of a Video Game gains a new weapon or item, it can come with a whole set of attacks, spells, or other useful things. The player, whether with experience from a previous play-through or a strategy guide, knows the button presses or secret codes to activate every function - but the hero can't use them yet. He has to "learn" those new moves.
If the move requires certain conditions, like a Limit Break or Super Mode, it can still count as this, as long as "learning" the move in-game is still required to execute it once these conditions are met.
Likewise, in most Functional Magic settings, just saying the magic word won't be enough. And if there is an instrument with a bunch of Magic Music songs, and the hero knows how to play the instrument, you can do the button presses that play a song at any point before you learn it, and still it won't have any effect until you get to the right point in the game, earn enough experience, or pay enough money for it.
The Stalking Mission, which tasks the player with following a Non-Player Character to a specific destination, almost always invokes this. If the player possesses foreknowledge of the target's ultimate destination (either because they've played the mission before or consulted a Strategy Guide), they usually can't just go there directly. Instead, they must follow the NPC and "learn" of the destination as the designers intended.
A form of Double Unlock.
- The sword techniques in Zelda II the Adventure of Link, The Legend of Zelda the Minish Cap and The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess. Can lead to Damn You, Muscle Memory! if going from a nearly-finished game to a new one.
- If you play a song before you've officially learned it in The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, The Legend of Zelda Majoras Mask, The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker, or The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks it won't have any effect.
- To get the ice and fire arrows in Wind Waker, Link has to warp to a specific place that he shouldn't know about until somebody tells him. If the player warps there earlier than necessary, the fairy there will be confused and tell you to come back later.
- In The Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass, Link can use a slate to summon cyclones that will transport him to different parts of the map. To summon the cyclones, the player draws certain symbols on the slate. Drawing the symbols before being told about them will yield no results.
- The celestial brush strokes in Okami, along with some combat moves. This is mostly justified, since Ammy hasn't acquired the power of the appropriate brush gods. However, at the beginning, you can't access the brush screen until Issun tells you you can, and you can't use Sunrise (which Ammy supposedly had all along) until you've jumped through the appropriate plot hoops.
- The attacks in Sonic and The Secret Rings.
- Zero in the Mega Man X and Zero games. He gains new attack moves instead of sub-weapons from bosses. Justified/Handwaved in the latter series by amnesia, making him forget attacks that he should have memorized countless times already.
- Sabin's blitzes in Final Fantasy VI, special attacks that are activated by pressing a specific sequence of buttons like in a Fighting Game. You can try and use the sequences for blitzes he hasn't learned yet, but they don't do anything until he learns the blitz in question.
- Zell's Limit Breaks in Final Fantasy VIII appear to be like this, but you can actually do any of them right away IF you know the button inputs for them AND exactly where in the move sequence you can use them. Which is a whole lot of guesswork. Then again, the way to get the most damage out of his Limit Break involves just spamming the first 2 or 3 moves until the time runs out but that's getting more into the Game Breaker territory.
- Likewise, if you have the ingredients, you can completely ignore the weapons magazines that tell you how to upgrade your weapons, allowing for a Disc One Nuke when you consider that all of the ingredients necessary for Squall's Infinity+1 Sword are available in disc one, and the limit breaks available to him depend on his current weapon...
- Some attacks in Devil May Cry.
- In Spyro the Dragon 2, Spyro must pay Moneybags "a small fee" to "teach" him how to swim underwater, climb ladders, and Ground Pound giant rocks, despite that all Moneybags gives for this fee is a quick explanation of the (simple) controls for each move.
- To use a spell in Eternal Darkness, you need a scroll, three runes, a spell circle (3, 5, or 7 slots) and the runes' codices. However, thanks to the game's spellcrafting system, it is possible to create a new spell with only the required runes.
- Having the codices makes it child's play, though. Translate the three Gods as Magic, Life, and Sanity, and you can craft whatever spell you want. Absorb-Life-Self is just the Recover Health spell. You also can add the Pargon (Power) runes yourself to make more powerful spells (3, 5, or 7 runes in a spell).
- In Enchanted Folk And The School Of Wizardry for the DS, if you know (or can puzzle out) the magic alphabet words and necessary actions for a spell, you can cast it even if you haven't officially learned it yet.
- In Ultima Underworld, the runes for most of the game's spells are written in the manual (not to mention identical to earlier games in the series), but you have to actually find the runes first and reach a necessary level in the spellcasting skill to cast them. For those few spells that someone teaches you in-game, though, you can cast them as soon as you have the runes and skill. Some spells can only be found through experimenting.
- Earlier Ultima games avert this. In Ultima 4, 5, and 6, you need to learn the proper mantra for each Virtue; but they are the same in every game, and if you remember them from the previous installment, it'll still work.
- Most moves in Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie cannot be used until you've officially "learned" them from Bottles or Jamjar. This makes some sense with moves that aren't altogether intuitive. In other cases, it should be obvious. Particularly Egregious in the case of first-person egg shooting in the air or underwater, which works exactly the same way as egg aiming does on land, barring that the terrain-appropriate movement controls also still apply.
- In Legend of Legaia and its sequel, Legaia 2, you can use and learn any normal art (and in Legaia 2, any super art) as soon as you have a big enough move bar for it (or temporarily lengthen it by using items or other moves). However, Mystic Arts require you to have a book before they'll work properly. Also, in Legaia 2, Maya can learn basic spells without a problem, but the more advanced ones require a trainer.
- Darwinia features command gestures that allow you to run certain programs. Using the gestures before the program has been found simply results in the Mentor telling you it hasn't been implemented yet.
- Annoyingly done in Overlord where you can't tell your minions to stay in one spot before you've been told how to, after defeating the first boss, it's one of the basic commands! You can however use it in the dungeon battles before you're taught it.
- In Patapon, you don't learn new drum beats until you unlock the relevant "drum" (i.e., button) by finding it in the stage.
- Alchemy in Odin Sphere: even if you put the right ingredients together, you won't get anything other than material unless you actually have the recipe in your possession.
- Harvest Moon series:
- In most Harvest Moon games, your character can cook any recipe in the book, as long as he has the kitchen and the right ingredients. Not so in Island Of Happiness, where you only have access to Cooked Rice and Toast to begin with (and unlike the other games in the series, rice and bread isn't available from the store. You must grow the grains yourself). You have to gain the recipies either by giving ingredients to the cafe and/or diner owners (and you can only learn one per day from them) or making it to the bottom of the mine, where the Harvest Goddess will give you one on every even numbered trip down (your second, fourth, etc).
- The follow up, Sunshine Island makes things a bit easier on you, by having the Diner and Cafe available from the start and certain ingredients available from Chen's shop. But then it takes two steps back with a "Degree System" , meaning you have to have to have a high enough score (which is hidden from you) to make most recipes. If your score isn't high enough, you'll just end up wasting your ingredients (some of which are quite rare, expensive and/or labor intensive).
- Spin-Off series Rune Factory does this for cooking and item forging, though the recipes/formulas require mostly patience to acquire.
- Brutal Legend has Solos, which you play on your guitar and learn through exploration or game progress, in almost exactly identical fashion to The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time. The primary difference is that the guitar's magic literally comes from The Power of Rock.
- In Avalon Code, you can't make an item unless you've actually scanned either of the two corresponding Metalize first.
- The Advanced Moves in Mario & Luigi RPG. After enough uses of the move, Mario will adopt a "thinking" pose for a moment, then a "Eureka!" one, followed by the word "ADVANCED!" On-screen prompts then indicate how to perform the Advanced variant of the move, but memorizing the moments to hit each button will not let you perform the move earlier.
- Even after you get the hammers (and later the hand moves), if the back bro uses it on the front one, it will have no effect (other than making him angry) until you actually learn the related move.
- Aquaria averts this with its recipe system - you can cook any food item that you have ingredients for, which includes most of the most powerful ones, for which the game will only tell you the recipe much later - but plays this straight with its songs. You have to have the experience (usually beating the right boss) that teaches you a song before you can sing it. This seems reasonable in that Aquaria's songs function like powerups in other Metroidvania games.
- Not to mention that half of them are of the "Granted power by a dying powerful being" (read: the boss you just killed) form, and the song is just used to call upon it.
- In World of Warcraft, recipes for crafted objects must be found in-game by aspiring crafters. (Contrast this with Final Fantasy XI, where you can attempt any synth you have the ingredients for.)
- The drawbridge password and the poodle/hellhound's name in Wishbringer. There are only three options for the password, and the dog's name never changes, but guessing or looking up the name in the hintbook results in the bridge or dog deciding that you're just guessing and thus not obeying.
- In Riviera the Promised Land, if you try to use a battle function (say, switching the row order) before your party members explain it to you, they inform you that you don't understand it yet and you shouldn't fool around with it. It can get annoying, because the tutorials are part of the narrative and take place across the first two chapters. Yggdra Union is similar in that certain functions just can't be used until a certain point in the game whether you know how to use them or not. Knights in The Nightmare thankfully solves this problem by separating the tutorials from the main game, and letting you access them from the start menu instead.
- In the Paper Mario games, special moves cannot be done until you learn them, even though it's just the buttons you input.
- In The white chamber, if you use the color code before you can actually learn it, you unlock an Easter Egg.
- Kingdom Hearts:
- In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, some Synthesis items won't appear in the Shop menu until you have obtained their recipes or one or more of their ingredient items. After an item becomes listed, you can see what else you need and how many of it to get.
- Averted in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. You can meld any command you have the base components for, but unless you have the recipes, which are found throughout the game, you wont have any idea what it is you're melding. Even once you've made a command once, it won't show you the results of it's melding until you have the recipe. This can be amazing when accidentally create a giga command fairly early, and amazingly frustrating when you end up creating three of the same crappy command in a row even though you used very different inputs.
- The Magic Music in Loom works this way; if you try a draft before you've learned it, nothing happens. Since the game randomly generates the magic songs for each new game, this isn't noticeable unless either you're doing strange things with saved games, or you're trying every combination of notes to see what happens.
- The CD version didn't randomize the songs (they were always the same for every playthrough), but you still couldn't play them before you learned them. You do get a small amount of "sparkles" to indicate you've hit an actual spell.
- A lot of the items in Power Stone 2, when mixed together, create new items (or at best randomly old ones, at worst "a failure", which gets you a special coupon). However the most "special" of items won't be created till you've found the proper "recipes" no matter how many times you throw the right ingredients together, though you know you're at least doing SOMETHING right when it just generates a random other item. Of course there are ALSO items that literally rely on random chance too, where even the "proper recipe" could get varied results every time.
- For the most part, you can craft items in Kingdom of Loathing without unlocking the recipe, which will automatically add the recipe to a "discoveries" list. However, there are a few "recipes" that have to be unlocked, but some of them are ridiculous, such as not knowing how to combine brownie mix and white chocolate chips.
- It was your Mom's secret brownie recipe. Being carried by a random encounter monster.
- One of the optional quests takes place in a Zork-esque text based adventure. In it, you can find two pieces of paper. One tells you about a spell that turns monsters into harmless lizards, and the other will let your character cast that spell in the main game. However, even if you know both words, typing them into the prompt will do nothing until you've found and read both those notes.
- The PC game Secrets of Da Vinci: The Forbidden Manuscript has a bookcase in one room with a different letter on each book's spine. To open a secret passage, you must click on the books that spell out the name of da Vinci's lover. Even if you know the name from a previous playthrough, however, the passage will not open until after you've been told the name by an NPC.
- In Breath of Fire II, Cute Bruiser Katt has several high grade attack spells in her inventory, but lacks the MP to use them. The only way to use them is to find the Black Shaman (which won't unlock until you've found all the others) and fuse Katt with her and the Blue Shaman (one of the first Shamans you can find), at which point Katt will become a Lightning Bruiser (at least until she takes enough damage to undo the fusion).
You can also get a house resident who will boost Katt's AP stat roughly threefold, allowing her to use the much more physically powerful Black/Red fusion, but this is something of a Guide Dang It even by the standards of Breath of Fire II.
- In Oddworld: Abe's Oddyssee, the locks in the rooms of the Paramonia and Scrabania Temples requires a melody to be played using the 3 bells. You might know the correct melody from a previous playthrough and you can try to enter it, but it won't work. You must learn the melody and then go back to the bells, which will now play the melody automatically and open the door.
- Dead Rising 2 lets you create Combo Weapons before you've attained the proper Combo Card that tells you how to make it. However, without the Combo Card you don't gain the x2 PP bonus you would usually get from using a combo weapon, and you don't have access to the weapon's "Heavy" attack.
- Numerous passwords and keycodes in the original Deus Ex are hardcoded, so use of a guide can net some very unfair bounties. One notable exception is the entrance to the Luminous Path compound. The code to the main door only works once it is given; before it is given the code won't work. Additionally, using tricks to get into the compound in a different way (usually by going over the wall) will affect another keypad deeper within the compound: not only will its code (normally the same as the main door code) not work, but somehow the 4-digit keypad becomes a 6-digit keypad.
- In Heir Apparent, Janine has to be careful when requesting help and other things from people from previous tries that she is not supposed to have met yet. Needless to say, it gets quite frustrating, especially when she doesn't have very good staying-alive-abilites.
- Astral Heats in Blaz Blue Calamity Trigger - if you haven't cleared Arcade mode with the appropriate character except for Rachel, Ragna, and Nu-13, the input for them will do nothing, even if the other conditions required for use are in play.
- Dungeon Siege II has its Chants that you can use at Incantation Shrines, that is if you have found the appropriate scroll first. Even if you know the words to use. Partially averted in the New Game+ modes, wherein you can use chants you learned the first time through, but you still can't use chants you never found in earlier playthroughs until you do find them.
- Averted in the Expansion with the artifact recipes. If you know the required reagents and have the appropriate item to enchant, you can make the artifacts without knowing the recipes first.
- The Battle of Olympus has Prometheus "teach" the player how to draw fire from the Staff of Fennel (hold up on the controller when pressing B) but even if you already know this ahead of time, it won't work until you talk to him.
- Phantom Brave: You can't lift items on your home island until you've played the appropriate tutorial. You can still lift people, and this makes it easier to reach a certain Easter Egg.
- Mechanically speaking, there is not a single puzzle in Golden Sun Dark Dawn that actually requires Insight Psynergy. All you actually need for the Ouroboros dungeon is the Arid Heat power from the Sand Prince Gem. But the game railroads you into fetching the Insight Glass anyway because that's what prompts Amiti to join the party.
- Another example is that after you use Arid Heat dozens of times to navigate Barai Temple and get the Insight Glass, Amiti pops out at the entrance to the Ouroboros to prompt you to use Arid Heat on the basin of water there that is exactly like all the basins of water in Barai Temple that you already manipulated using Arid Heat. Thank you, Amiti.
- In Gears of War 3, you need to attempt to start the cable car and have the characters realize it's tethered before you can bypass the barbed wire fence leading to the room where you cut the tether. If you try to open the wire fence first, Marcus will say "Can't do that yet."
- In Flink, Flink can't create a magic spell until he reads the magic scroll that tells which three ingredients he needs.