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Top 10 Failed Floaters

You’re probably reading the title of this list and wondering, what the hell is a failed floater? Well, I suppose I’ll tell you. Failed floaters are the video game characters that should really know how to swim (based on their species, other games, or dialogue), but just can’t. They drown, or get flung out of the water. These are the characters who ruin your suspension of disbelief.

Now I know many retro games simply used water as a replacement for the bottomless pit or spike trap, and that was fine for some games and video game characters. However, that cliché should have been avoided for the following 10 characters.


10.) Guybrush Threepwood

A common misconception about pirates is that they’re all strong swimmers. However, there’s a myth that they never learned because of a fear of the sea, or because they didn’t want to prolong their floating.


So it’s not too farfetched to think of a pirate who can’t swim, but Guybrush still makes this list. In the first game, Guybrush boasts that he can hold his breath for 10 minutes (he really can). Then later he claims he can’t swim he can only sink.


For being so boastful, then just failing… Guybrush just barely makes the list.


9.) Coco Bandicoot

This one is pretty high on the list because it’s pretty obscure. In addition, bandicoots in real life can’t swim either.


In Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, there are several levels where you play as Coco Bandicoot, Crash’s sister. In some of these levels Coco is riding along on her trusty pet tiger, but in others she glides across the water on a jetski, or maybe it’s a waverunner, I don’t know the difference. In these levels, if Coco hits an object the jetski explode and she is seen wading in the water, perfectly fine.


Somehow in the next game in the franchise, Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex (Yes, we’re counting PS2 era games/characters in this list too!), Coco just forgets how to swim. Any contact with water equals death. It gets even worse because almost all of Coco’s levels are just full of water.


8.) Scrooge McDuck

Even the great Capcom NES class, DuckTales, isn’t immune to the instant water deathtrap.


Scrooge McDuck is known for his ability to swim through a solid mass of gold coins, but he can’t swim in water. He’s a duck who can’t swim in water, but has the ability to defy the laws of physics.


The only reason this unlucky duck isn’t closer to the top 5 is because there are barely any water deathtraps in the game. The only one I can think of is in the African Mines.


7.) Sly Cooper

Sly Cooper is another character who knows how to swim at one point, but just forgets later on.


In the first Sly Cooper game, you play as a sneaky raccoon. If Sly falls into the water, he’ll lose some health, but quickly jump out. If you have no health, then you will die when you hit the water. Later on in the game Sly acquires the Water Safety Technique. This allows him to be dunked, without losing health.


Then the sequels come along and suddenly Sly forgets the technique and is damaged by water all over again. Even if we ignore the fact that raccoons are terrific swimmers, his two partners are a turtle and a hippo, who also don’t know how to swim! That’s just ridiculous.


6.) Spongebob and Patrick

I get the joke, but I still call bull-dookie on this one.


Spongebob Squarepants and Patrick Star are the two zany best friends from the hit Nickelodeon cartoon. If you don’t already know, Spongebob is a sponge that lives underwater and Patrick is a starfish that lives underwater. So how can they be failed floaters?


Well apparently in both the cartoon and the two Spongebob games (Battle for Bikini Bottom and The Movie), there is water underwater. No, it doesn’t make any sense. Also, Spongebob and Patrick can’t swim in this water under the water. If they touch it in the game, even if it’s just in a fountain, they die. They’re underwater creatures… who can’t swim.


Only reason it’s not any high, is that it’s kind of funny.


5.) James Bond

So far we’ve had characters who forgot how to swim from one game to the next, or some who never knew how to swim at all, but really should’ve. However, James Bond actually can swim and can’t swim in the same game.


Nightfire is one of my favorite James Bond games for the PS2 and Gamecube. It has the best multiplayer since Goldeneye, and a great single player campaign too.


In this single player campaign, international man of mystery swims a few times. However, when you change to split screen multiplayer, everyone loses their ability to swim. It doesn’t matter which character you’re playing as, if you touch water you die. This is especially confusing since many of the multiplayer levels in which you drown, and the same levels you swam through in single player.


4.) Superman

Even the Man of Steel aka Superman isn’t immune to the retro game cliché of drowning.


Superman for the NES was a strange game. It received mixed reception but was a game I frequently rented growing up. If you know anything about Superman, you know his powers are basically limitless. He has mind-erasing kisses, yet he can’t swim. He can go back in time, yet he can’t tread water. He can sneeze away planets, but a little H20 renders him useless.


This only really matters in a few caverns and Freedom Island part of the game, but it’s inexcusable that such a powerful being can’t even swim.


3.) Sonic the Hedgehog

You all knew Sonic would make an appearance sooner or later on this list. He’s the one who inspired it after all.


In nearly every Sonic game, water is your biggest enemy. There are numerous water levels in the Sonic games and they are all terrible. It’s because Sonic can’t swim. He slowly sinks to the bottom of and his speed is useless. Meanwhile, you need to hurry because if you spend too much time in the water you will drown.


According to rumors and legends, Sonic can’t swim because the game creators were under the fallacious belief that hedgehogs in real life can’t swim. They were wrong… very wrong.


2.) Frogger

Frogger is one of the worst failed floaters in gaming. He almost took the number one spot.


In the original Frogger game, all you had to do was avoid the cars, cross the street, and cross a river to get to the other side. It was simple arcade fun.


There was one thing that bothered me as a kid, and still bothers me today. You lose a life in Frogger if you get run over, which is fine, but you also lose a life if you hop into the river. A frog, can’t swim in the water… That’s like playing about a bird that dies in the sky. It doesn’t make any sense.


1.) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are the most failed floaters in all of video games and it’s all thanks to the original game on the NES.


In the sewers of the first level, if the turtles fall in they will struggle and be carried away by the current. In some ports of the game they’re carried to the beginning of the stage, in others they die.


There are many problems with this.


First off, they’re turtles so their species dictates that they should have the ability to swim.


More importantly is the fact that the very next level in the game is the dam. In the dam, the turtles are swimming throughout the entire level.


They can’t swim in sewers, can swim the dam, and can’t swim anywhere else in the game. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles defy all logic in gaming by not adhering to their own rules.