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[[quoteright:350:[[Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanDeadMansChest http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/three_pirates_9.jpg]]]]

->'''Gabe:''' Well, isn't the enemy of your enemy, like, your friend? Or whatever? Can't they team up?\\
'''Tycho:''' Not exactly. In ''this'' setting, the enemy of your enemy is still a floating, greasy, armored brain.\\
'''Gabe:''' Well, what about ''his'' enemy? Maybe you could be friends with ''him''.\\
'''Tycho:''' No, because ''that'' guy is a mechanical horror in an undying battle shell. He sails from world to world in a flying tomb, serving gods who eat ''hope''.
-->-- ''Webcomic/PennyArcade'' (on ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}''), [[http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2007/03/05/in-the-grim-etcetera "In the Grim Etcetera"]]

This is any fight where there are ''at least'' three sides involved (i.e. against each other), with no prearranged alliances.

We can be talking individuals or armies, although the version with the individuals is usually more fun since the army one often degenerates fast into a free for all. Often noted by directors and fight coordinators as being very difficult to set up or film properly, although often worth it for the aforementioned fun if they manage to pull it off right.

Almost always begins as a MexicanStandoff as the various sides try to figure out who to shoot or stab or fireball first. Things get particularly fun if you have several guys with a [[GunsAkimbo gun in each hand]], each trying to keep aim on the other two targets simultaneously. Expect a lot of sweating, twitching, and flicking eyes until the [[BlastOut inevitable happens]].

This trope calls for no prearranged alliances because then it's not really three-sided -- unless there are so many sides involved that even taking prearranged alliances into account, there are still at least three sides! However, it is fairly common that after a short amount of fighting, two of the sides will accidentally or on purpose end up [[EnemyMine ganging up]] on the third, often with an unspoken agreement to finish dealing with each other once the third side is out of the way. As a general rule, at the very least two of the sides will have to be in an EvilVersusEvil scenario and at the very most ''everyone'' involved.

Often enough, this alliance will be helped along when the third side assumes that all its foes are on the same side.

Alternatively, if neither side can win the battle on their own, the outcome depends entirely on whom the weakest of the three will ally themselves with, resulting in the KingmakerScenario.

[[TakeAThirdOption As another alternative]], a particularly devious side may manipulate the others into LetsYouAndHimFight, then go after whomever is left.

In a video game, especially a FirstPersonShooter, 99% of the time the three sides will consist of the player and any allies vs. enemy soldiers vs. some sort of mutants/aliens/zombies.

The trope name comes from the French phrase "Ménage à trois", which basically means a threesome. Who knows if that's connected to what this trope means.

No real relation to ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros Melee'', [[MascotFighter although that trope appears quite prominently in that series as a whole]].

Compare GambitPileup, which is like this trope but with gambits instead of fights.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* This becomes second nature in ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}'' due to its large cast.
** The Grand Punk Railroad Arc has originally the Lemures vs Ladd's gang vs Jaccuzi's gang, but then Czes, Rachel and the Rail Tracer also joins in the fray.
** The Slasher Arc has Jaccuzi's Gang vs The Gandors vs Larvae vs Martillo Family
** The Alice in Jails arc has Huey vs Nebula vs Police, in a sense.
** 2002 Arc has The Masked Makers vs SAMPLE vs Angelo+Firo
* ''LightNovel/MagicalGirlRaisingProject'': The ACES arc have [[BigBad Puk Faction]] vs [[NominalHero Osk Faction]] vs [[FaceHeelTurn Princess Deluge]]'s Team vs [[spoiler: [[BrainwashedAndCrazy Ripple]]]].
* Multiple times in the ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}'' multiverse:
** ''[[Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam Zeta Gundam]]'': Titans vs. Axis Zeon vs. AEUG. The most memorable of the Free for Alls, homages of this set-up continue down to Gundam 00.
** ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundamZZ Gundam ZZ]]'' briefly dabbled in AEUG vs. Zeon vs. Blue Team during one episode, but that was quickly swept away once the titular mech showed up. However, at the end of the series it does essentially become a showdown between the AEUG, Neo Zeon, and [[spoiler:Glemmy Toto's faction of Neo Zeon]].
** ''[[Manga/MobileSuitCrossboneGundam Crossbone Gundam: Ghost]]'' has a confusing four-way battle erupt among the Crossbone Vanguard, the Zanscare Empire, [=ThouCus=], and the League Militaire at one point.
** ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing Gundam Wing]]'': Gundam Team vs. World Nation vs. White Fang. Though eventually, the Gundams decide to side with the World Nation, mainly because White Fang is the actual threat. Though Wufei ended up fighting Treize, the World Nation's leader, anyway.
** ''[[Anime/AfterWarGundamX Gundam X]]'': Vultures vs. New United Nations Earth vs. Space Revolutionary Army
** ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundamSeed Gundam SEED]]'': ZAFT vs. Earth Alliance vs. [[strike:Orb]] the Three Ships Alliance
*** Subverted in ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundamSeedDestiny Gundam SEED Destiny]]'', in which, in the final episodes, ZAFT defeated the Earth Alliance, and after that, the Three Ships Alliance defeats ZAFT.
** ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundam00 Gundam 00]]'': At the start of the series, the main conflict would be between the three major power blocs of the Union, the HRL, and the AEU. Also known in modern times as the United States, Communist Russia and China, and the European Union, but mostly actually just small conflicts in the Middle East in countries supported but not formally belonging to any one of these and no major war.
*** After everyone gets GN Drives the first season winds up to be Celestial Being (with Aeolia Schenberg/Sumeragi Lee Noriega as "proxy") vs. Thrones (Alejandro Corner, but really[[spoiler:Ribbons Almark]]) vs. everybody else (UN Forces). It's interesting because it kind of goes back to being a MexicanStandoff considering that this season ended in a complete STALEMATE. Remember,[[spoiler:while the Thrones and Corner himself did die, Ribbons was controlling them. It's his set-up of A-Laws that begin the second season. Celestial Being didn't get wiped out, they build new Gundams for the second season, and the regular military gets left alone, which doesn't matter as they're the weaker force that's just happy to be there.]]
*** In the second season, after the timeskip, and especially after the endgame really gets going, you can see that the entire season has interconnecting melees. The main story arc is essentially the continuation of the first season with Celestial Being [[spoiler:and Regene Regetta]] vs. A-Laws [[spoiler:read Fucking Ribbons and The Innovators]]vs. everyone else (Earth Federation (the "Regular" army with Smirnoff and Mannequin calling the shots, serving the Kingmaker role). However, the B story is Katharon vs. A-Laws (SPECIFICALLY. No [[spoiler:Ribbons]]) vs. Celestial Being, and in that specific order because Katharon and Celestial Being were technically not allies unless A-Laws did something stupid, and even then, it was because global catastrophe would ensue otherwise.
** A variant of this exists twice in ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundamAge Gundam AGE]]''. First, we have Zalam and Euba fighting each other, with Flit fighting to stop Zalam and Euba from fighting, and later we have the Diva's crew who wants to destroy the UE, the corrupt Earth Government who wants to capture Grodek and the Diva, and the UE who just seems to be killing everyone they see mercilessly...
** You can make the point that Flit, [[spoiler:Asemu]] and Kio do this ideologically since while both [[spoiler:Asemu]] and Kio disagree with Flit's kill-em-all attitude about the UE, Kio doesn't agree with [[spoiler: Asemu]]. And they're[[spoiler: family]] that each have their own personalized Gundam and backing army. (Literally. Diva Crew, [[spoiler:Bisidian]] and Abis Team/Algreus, respectively]] for Chrissakes! If it weren't for the fact that the entire goddamn thing was [[spoiler:an Ezelcant setup from the very start]] that provides some very convenient enemies who [[spoiler:are in fact the VICTIMS]] they'd be at blows themselves.
** ''Anime/GundamReconguistaInG'' does this all over the place; fans have counted at least six or seven different factions, each with their own objectives. Alliances are formed, fall apart, and shift on a near episode-by-episode basis, and is further confused by the antics of various double agents. The primary conflict, however, is the Earth nation of Ameria vs the also Earth-based Capitol Tower vs the space nation of Towasanga.
* ''Anime/JubeiChan 2'' has this; Jiyu vs. Freesia. vs Kita. Kita was the weakest of the 3, but Jiyu and Freesia couldn't ever focus on him because of each other. That is, until [[spoiler:the end, where he gets possessed by the spirit of his father. By then, though, the two Jubeis have made up.]]
* This appears in ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' early in the Freeza arc. You have three separate factions (Gohan and Krillin vs Freeza and his men vs. Vegeta) all looking for the Dragon Balls and trying to undercut each other at the same time.
* Pulled off near the beginning of ''Manga/LiarGame''... actually, most of the time.
* ''Anime/MartianSuccessorNadesico'', as a series, is a three-way running brawl between TheFederation, {{Corrupt Corporate Executive}}s, and an AlienInvasion. Sometimes the former two work together, sometimes they don't, and the titular CoolShip is ''always'' stuck in the middle.
* About two thirds of the way through ''Manga/DeathNote'', [[spoiler:following the end of the original Light vs. L feud, two new characters are introduced: Near, replacing L as the new mind-gaming uber-sleuth, and Mello, a criminal mastermind. All three have very good reasons to eliminate the other two, although Near and Mello's relationship is a tad more confusing, and Light treats the whole thing as an extension of fighting L.]]
* At the end of ''Anime/OutlawStar'', Gene and the crew of the Outlaw Star vs. the [=MacDougal=] Brothers and Gwen Khan vs. the Kei pirates. The C'tarl C'tarl Empire also shows up outside the Leyline, but is unable to get in.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'': Tsunade vs. Jiraiya, Shizune and Naruto vs. Orochimaru and Kabuto. Although Tsunade takes up Jiraiya and Naruto's side more or less right away, she does first poison Jiraiya.
* ''Manga/OnePiece'':
** Whitebeard and his entire fleet is attacking Marine Headquarters, where the Admirals, the Seven Warlords of the Sea, and all the important Marines have gathered. Luffy just brought in the Impel Down convicts. Also on board are Crocodile, Buggy, and Jimbei, who do not feel any particular loyalty to him. Meanwhile, [[spoiler:Hancock is attacking ''everyone''. Luffy just had a chat with Whitebeard and while they are not working against each other, they are not working together. Luffy also basically declared his hostilities towards Whitebeard even as he protected him from Crocodile, who attacked him because he probably killed Crocodile's crew or something. The remaining Seven Warlords are all practically factions in themselves. It's hard to tell just how many factions are actually fighting right now, and for whom.]] In the end, [[spoiler:another faction, led by [[BigBad Blackbeard]], shows up so that Blackbeard can take Whitebeard's power and use it to destroy Marineford, and yet ''another'' faction, led by Shanks, shows up to end the war.]] All in all, there's at least five different factions, with individuals breaking off from their group to do their own thing in the middle of all of this.
** The Survival Game in Skypiea is a struggle between three factions; the Straw Hats, who want the gold, the Shandians, who want to reclaim their homeland, and Eneru's minions, who want to see who is worthy to go to Endless Vearth. The Ordeal of Iron features Zoro and Gan Fall vs. Wyper and the Shandians vs. Ohm and the Enforcers vs. a giant snake that swallowed Luffy, Nami, and Aisa.
** In the Water 7 Arc, while Luffy and Franky are fighting each other over their respective grudges (Luffy has a grudge against Franky for attacking and robbing Usopp, while Franky wants revenge against Luffy for destroying his house), the Galley-La shipwrights attack Luffy because they believe he sent Robin to shoot Iceberg, and attack Franky for getting in the way, as he [[TheOnlyOneAllowedTODefeatYou doesn't appreciate their taking on Luffy]].
** On Green Bit, a fight takes place between Law, Fujitora, and Doflamingo.
** During the Dressrosa arc, the fighting eventually boils down to the Straw Hats and their allies (including the Revolutionaries) who want to take down Doflamingo, the Donquixote Pirates who want their enemies dead, the Marines who want to capture the Straw Hats and Doflamingo's crew and stop the whole mess and the confused citizens who are trying to survive by capturing people on Doflamingo's blacklist.
* In ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'', just about [[SpyVersusSpy every intelligence agency in the world]] is out for every other one's blood, which is only exacerbated by the activities of TheSyndicate and [[GovernmentConspiracy PANDORA]]. And ''then'' [[spoiler:[[WhatMeasureIsANonSuper Evening]] [[LaResistance Primrose]]]] gets involved, making the already GrayAndGrayMorality into an even more tangled mess. Things do not get any easier in the second season, either, where we have the CIA, [=MI6=], Japanese special forces, bits of TheSyndicate, and Madame Oreille all playing their own games with what's going on, plus [[spoiler:messages left by Amber, making her a postmortem [[TheChessmaster chessmaster]]]].
* Happens fairly often in ''Anime/CodeGeass'', particularly in the second season with [[spoiler: Lelouch vs. Schneizel vs. Charles, the father of the previously mentioned two.]]
** In ''Manga/CodeGeassNightmareOfNunnally'', most of the battles involving Nunnally have this, with Britannia trying to suppress the Japanese, the Japanese trying to defeat Britannia, and Nunnally trying to stop the violence.
* In the first season of ''Anime/{{K}}'' HOMRA and Scepter 4 oppose each other, while both are trying to hunt down the protagonists Kuroh and Shiro. This comes to a head in the end of the season, when [[OneManArmy Kuroh]] ends up fighting both sides (particularly Red and Blue's strongest fighters, Misaki and Saruhiko).
* In ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'''s Bount arc, Byakuya and Ichigo fight Kariya, but Byakuya doesn't seem to care if he hits Ichigo with his attacks, so it looks like this trope at times.
* ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}'' descends into a four-way war between [[ThoseWackyNazis Millennium]], [[KnightTemplar Iscariot]], [[NinetiesAntiHero Hellsing]], and [[DrunkWithPower Enrico Maxwell]] (who conducts ThePurge against all Protestants and Catholics who disagreed, including Iscariot).
* The Synchro Dimension arc of ''Anime/YuGiOhArcV'' has multiple factions warring against each other. The first are the [[BigGood Lancers]], the main characters, who came to the Synchro Dimension to rally people against the second faction, [[BigBad Academia.]] Academia has kidnapped people who are important to their plot, while turning people into cards and using their souls for their grand scheme. A third faction is introduced in this arc: Jean-Michel Roget and his Security. He defected from Academia and has worked his way into a position of power in the Synchro Dimension, and fights the other two factions to keep them from getting in the way of his own power. A fourth faction exists in the city council, who Roget works under. Roget wants to overthrow them and take more power for himself, while the city council only acts to preserve their own interests. They hinder all other sides, and only side with the Lancers in the end when they offer them protection from Academia and Roget.
* In the [[spoiler:Arcobaleno Fight arc]] in ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'', there are ''seven'' teams all doing this; the number seven [[ArcNumber is kind of]] an ongoing thing in this manga.
* Volume 15 of ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'' is this. Five organizations from the dark side of Academy City made up of four people each fight it out. Add in how three of the groups have [[SuperPowerLottery Level 5's]], one group hires 5000 mercenaries, and a subordinate of one of the organizations rebels, and you have one book practically made of awesome moments.
* ''Literature/BattleRoyale'' has aspects of this, both of the indirect type and the very direct type. There are several "groups" involved- Mitsuko, Kiriyama and 3 or 4 minor characters,all out actively hunting all the other students (and thus, each other), although 3-way confrontations are rare. However, there is the moment when Kyoichi confronts Shuya/Noriko, and Shogo appears, aiming at them both (although mainly at Kyoichi, because he has clearly snapped. And, obviously, who could forget the Melee a Cinq/Six in the lighthouse?
* ''Manga/FairyTail'' has [[{{Determinator}} Erza]] vs. [[AloofDarkHairedGirl Kagura]] vs. [[SmugSnake Minerva]]. While both Kagura and Erza hate Minerva for holding their mutual friend hostage, Kagura is also after Erza because [[spoiler: [[StarCrossedLovers Erza is in love with Jellal]], whom Kagura wants dead because [[YouKilledMyFather he murdered her brother]].]]
* In ''Anime/PrincessMononoke'', the main plot revolves around three fractions in midst of a war. There is Lady Eboshi and Irontown who wants to protect Irontown and expand their mining, the spirits of the forest who want to protect their homes from Irontown's expansion and a samurai warlord who wants Irontown for its wealth. And that's not including Ashitaka who became involved to find a way to cure his curse and Jigo who plays Lady Eboshi and the forest spirits to find the Deer God.
* In ''Manga/ShokugekiNoSoma'', [[spoiler:the final match of the Tootsuki's 43rd Autumn Election is between Souma, Hayama and Kurokiba. It's the first time in the history of Tootsuki that a three-way final is held.]]
* In the anime of ''Anime/NinjaScrollTheSeries'', there's the Hiruko [[spoiler:and Jubei's group]] vs. the Kimon vs. [[spoiler:the Yaguya]].
* In ''Manga/BlackButler'', at the climax of the ''Campania'' arc. When the mastermind behind the zombie dolls is revealed to be [[spoiler: Undertaker the rogue shinigami]], Ciel and Sebastian try to arrest him to answer to the Queen for his crimes, while Grell and Ronald try to bring him in to answer to their superiors how he was able to revive the dead. This conflict of interests leads to Sebastian fighting the reapers for arresting rights, at the same time both sides are trying to overpower [[spoiler: Undertaker]].
* In the ''Anime/YuGiOh'' film, ''Anime/YuGiOhTheDarkSideOfDimensions'', Aigami, Yugi, and Kaiba have a 3-way conflict, with Kaiba trying to get the pieces of the Millennium Puzzle from both Aigami and Yugi, and Aigami wanting to foil Kaiba's plans and destroy Yugi, while Yugi had opposed both Kaiba and Aigami on separate occasions.
* In ''Literature/{{Gate}}'', teams of special forces from America, Russia and China all collide in their efforts to capture the royals from beyond the gate. Then, [[PragmaticAdaptation in the manga and anime]], [[OurGodsAreDifferent demigoddess]] [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Rori the Reaper]] [[FromBadToWorse joins the battle]].

[[folder:Board Games]]
* ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sannin_shogi Sannin shogi]]'' is a kind of chess with 3 players playing against each other. However, an alliance is automatically formed if two players gang up on the third.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Diplomacy}}'' features ''seven'' sides, and the only good way to get an advantage is by convincing other players to join with you in ganging up on somebody else. Since the rules are explicitly designed to allow you to lie to other players about what you are going to do in your next move, things quickly get crazy. Many players have remarked that playing Diplomacy is a good way to ruin friendships.
** And that's just the original; many variants can have up to eleven players, but these boards tend not to be as balanced as the original, so some countries are doomed from the start, unless the player is exceptionally good.
* This is actually quite common in board games, whether the games range from simple to mind-bogglingly complex. Consider ''TabletopGame/{{Risk}}'' and its variants, ''TabletopGame/TwilightImperium'', Dirk Henn's ''Shogun'', and dozens of other examples. Heck, even a lot of games that prohibit direct conflict, like ''TabletopGame/SettlersOfCatan'', ''TabletopGame/{{Monopoly}}'', etc., allow for the same dynamic as this trope -- if you excuse a broad enough definition of "conflict".

[[folder:Card Games]]
* There's a format in ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'', which appropriately enough is called "multiplayer chaos", which consists of at least 3 players against each other, with no predetermined alliances, and no rules saying you must adhere to alliances you make over the course of the game.
* The card game ''TabletopGame/{{Munchkin}}'' in all its forms lives and breathes this trope. Although it can be played with only two people, it works perfectly fine up to six with just one box set, and even beyond if you have enough expansions, all of which are a side unto their own.
* Also by SteveJackson, the game ''TabletopGame/{{Illuminati}}'' isn't any fun with fewer than three players. Players can support each other's attacks and defenses, and sides will change rapidly as players approach their respective goals.
* TabletopGame/{{Poker}}, and its deformed brother Texas Hold 'Em.
* Speaking of poker, the ''TabletopGame/{{Deadlands}}'' CCG ''Doomtown'' (which uses a poker mechanic to resolve shootouts) can be played this way.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''ComicBook/ThePunisherMAX'', the first arc essentially boils down to a giant all out war between the CIA, [[TheMafia Cesare Family]], and ''[[UpToEleven every other crime syndicate in New York]]''. All of whom are trying to get their hands on Frank with the intention of either killing him or recruiting him.
* The great big battle at the end of ''ComicBook/{{Lucifer}}'' is between Lucifer, allied with the angels of the Silver City, and Lilith's faction. Halfway through the battle, Christopher Rudd appears leading an army of demons and the damned combined. When his general asks who they're attacking, he responds, "Both. We attack both."
* Also seen in Franchise/TheDCU's mega-crossover ''ComicBook/AmazonsAttack''.
* ''ComicBook/SonicTheHedgehog'':
** In one issue: Sonic vs. Scourge vs. Shadow vs. vs. Amy vs. Rosy vs. Rob 'O vs. Metal Sonic vs. Silver... with absolutely no real clear way to tell who's fighting who and when. Though it quickly turns into everyone vs. Scourge when he [[spoiler:turns Super]].
** At issue 162-164, an all-out battle for the crown of Acorn was fought between The Freedom Fighters, Mammoth Mogul and the Destructix, and Ixis Naugus and the Arachne. Naugus joins with Mogul during the battle when he was told by him that Mogul was the founder of the Order of Ixis, turning the battle into a simple two-sides war. The battle was interrupted by Dr. Eggman, however, and he captures Mogul, Naugus, and their forces back to his capital prisons. The Freedom Fighters won, but at the cost of [[spoiler:Sir Connery]].
** And during one of the ''[[ADayInTheLimelight Sonic Universe]]'' arcs, we end up with Team Rose (Amy, Cream and Cheese, and Blaze), Team Dark (Shadow, Rogue, and Omega), Team Hooligan (Nack, Bean, and Bark), and the Babylon Rogues all fighting each other over a Sol Emerald. Teams Rose and Dark briefly [[EnemyMine team up]], but by the end of the story, it quickly devolves into a four-way battle.
** A later ''Sonic Universe'' arc, ''Pirate Plunder Panic'', briefly becomes one of these as Team Rose and the rival pirate crews of Captain Metal and Captain Whisker fight over control of the last Sol Emerald. However, Whisker's crew gets taken out pretty quickly, leaving it a normal two-way fight.
* ComicBook/SpiderMan sometimes gets in between certain [[AntiHero Anti-Heroes]].
** He stops Comicbook/GhostRider from killing the [[LegacyCharacter Demonic Hobgoblin]], and then later tries to stop the [[SuperPoweredEvilSide Demogoblin]] from killing the depowered Hobgoblin. None of the parties like the others. Then there is the 2006 story involving all three versions of Mysterio, one of whom is (un)dead at the time.
** Half an issue into Eddie Brock's transformation into Anti-Venom, we get a three-way fight between him, Spidey, and the then-current Venom (Scorpion). Spidey and Anti-Venom soon realize they're more or less on the same side and gang up on Mac, but not before Peter quips:
--->'''Spider-Man:''' Hey, what's black and white and red all over?
* In ''ComicBook/ThroneOfAtlantis'', the battle is initially between the [[Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica Justice League]] and [[BigBad Ocean Master]]'s Atlantean forces. Then [[spoiler:the Trench]] are freed from their watery prison and attacks both sides. [[spoiler:When Aquaman becomes king again, he orders Atlantis to ally with the League and fight the Trench]].
* The climax of the Eppy Thatcher arc in ''ComicBook/{{Grendel}}'', with the corrupt Pope's army of fanatics fighting Orion Assante's anti-corruption followers fighting Pellon Cross's horde of vampires, with Eppy acting as a lone agent of chaos and a load of drug-crazed worshippers caught in the middle.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* The plot of ''Fanfic/TheDarkLordsOfNerima'' is kicked off when one lone, outcast [[MonsterOfTheWeek youma]] tries to instigate one of these between [[Anime/SailorMoon the sailor senshi]], [[EvilEmpire the dark kingdom]], and [[Manga/RanmaOneHalf the Nerima crew]] in order to kill the sailor senshi and get back into the dark kingdom's good graces. They will accept the deaths of many youma if it means killing them. [[spoiler:It works [[GoneHorriblyRight only too well]]. Ranma and Ryôga end up fighting and defeating [[SNKBoss Jedite]], which is something no amount of dead teenagers can forgive.]]
* ''Fanfic/{{HERZ}}'': [[http://web.archive.org/web/20021201015617/http://www.geocities.com/zhuoyilong/HERZfaq.html In this faq]] the different factions are listed. Essentially you have: HERZ fighting SEELE's attempts to set Third Impact off and other nations' programs to build their own Evas; SEELE fighting HERZ, GEIST and the UN to initiate Instrumentality; GEIST fighting SEELE and the different world nations; the UN fighting SEELE but not particularly liking HERZ; and other nations fighting HERZ and the UN and not liking SEELE but being prone to strike a bargain with them.
* ''Fanfic/ThousandShinji'': You have four sides in war against each other: The Angels, alien monsters intending to replace humankind with their own species; Gendo and Nerv, trying to exterminate the Angels (and Gendo willing to kill everyone to see his wife again); Seele, a group of old men plotting to kill everyone to create a new god and become one with it; and Shinji and his fellow pilots, fighting to protect humankind and gunning for revenge against Gendo and Seele. The war concludes with [[spoiler:the fourth side winning and utterly annihilating the other sides.]] Discussed by the three Children in chapter 5:
-->'''Asuka:''' Well then we should be friends. "The enemy of my enemy" and all that.\\
'''Rei:''' "And all that"? [...] You mean "dies next"?\\
'''Asuka:''' No, the phrase goes "the enemy of my enemy is my friend".\\
'''Rei:''' I prefer Shinji's version.\\
'''Asuka:''' What have you been teaching her?\\
'''Shinji:''' I think it's a more valid interpretation in my opinion.
* Near the latter end of the ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'' fanfic ''[[FanFic/Zero2ARevision Zero 2: A Revision]]'', [[BigBadEnsemble Demon and UmbraDevimon's]] armies invade the Real World at the same time and immediately start [[EvilVersusEvil fighting each other]], with the humans stuck in the middle. And then the Gravemon [[FromBadToWorse show up...]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom''[=/=]''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' crossover fic ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5426153/1/ HIVEMinded,]]'' Jump City ends up as the sight of a brawl between the HIVE, Plasmius' army of ghosts, the Guys In White, the Titans, and the local police forces. Oh, and then the Franchise/{{Justice League|of America}} sends a few members to try and help, but that doesn't work out so well.
* ''FanFic/ShinjiAndWarhammer40K'' has a GambitPileup with Shinji vs. Gendo vs. SEELE vs. Kaworu. This eventually culminates with an actual melee between [=NERVs EVAs=] and Magnos Tancred vs. Kaworu's Warborn vs. Keel Lorenz's MP [=EVAs=], although Kaworu temporarily joins Nerv.
* In the ''Anime/{{Naruto}}'' fic ''FanFic/{{Hakumei}}'', the heroes return to Konoha to help LaResistance rebel against [[TyrantTakesTheHelm Danzou]]... on the same day as the Sand/Sound Invasion, which occurs more or less as in canon. No one realized in advance that there was more than one conspiracy ongoing, so the eventual three-way battle is not good for ''anyone's'' plans. [[LampshadeHanging Sasuke said it best]] when [[spoiler:they found out that Itachi and Kisame were there too.]]
-->'''Sasuke:''' We're only missing a joint Kumo-Iwa invasion and then everyone will be represented.
* ''Fanfic/QueenOfAllOni'': The fight in the shrine of the Three Shades -- the J-Team goes there looking for information about the Shadowkhan, the Shadow Hand follow them so that Jade can steal a powerful Shadowkhan artifact, and the monks are duty bound to protect said artifact (one tablet of a TomeOfEldritchLore). Of course, since the monks are all TrueNeutral, they interpret "protect the artifact" as "fight anyone who shows up who isn't there to join the order", so even though they and the heroes are technically on the same side, they fight both them ''and'' the Shadow Hand. And it should also be noted that this fight is a total CurbStompBattle, as the monks utterly wipe the floor with the other two sides.
** Likewise, the fight over the second tablet in the [[EldritchLocation Vault of Endless Night]] is between the J-Team, the Shadow Hand, and the various evil creatures [[SealedEvilInACan sealed down there]]. This time around, the heroes are at least aided by the [[AncientKeeper local guardian]] (a giant feathered serpent called Nameless), who joins forces with them the moment he realizes they're not evil. The Shadow Hand still wins however, managing to grab the tablet and get away at the last minute.
* '''Team Death Match''' in ''WebVideo/CodeMENT''.
* ''Fanfic/NobodyDies'' is escalating into this, with humanity (NERV) vs. the Angels vs. the Cherubim. No one's entirely sure where the newly-unveiled Grigori fit into this, and there's even ''another'' faction of Angelic beings, the Seraphim, who have taken notice of the conflict on Earth but have thus far not done anything directly. And to make things even more confusing, a few of the Angels appear to have their own agendas, which may or may not tie into the above conflict.
* The Harry Potter fanfic ''The Return of the Marauders'' features a very elaborate three-way conflict between Harry's Marauders, Voldemort and his Death Eaters, and ManipulativeBastard Dumbledore and his Order of the Phoenix. Among other things, double agents abound.
* ''Fanfic/ABriefHistoryOfEquestria'':
** The Lake Trot Crisis started as the Celestine Junta attacking the Hyracotherium Republic and Kingdom of Unicorns for control of said lake. Then [[GeniusBruiser Wind Whistler]] kicked off her coup, which led to the troops loyal to her attacking those loyal to [[TheCaligula Sullamander]]; both the Earth ponies and unicorns decided to take advantage of this to take more territory for themselves, and started attacking each other as well as the pegasi.
** The Winter War wasn't ''supposed'' to be one of these — nominally, the Republic and Kingdom were [[EnemyMine allied]] against the Junta. However, only the Royal army obeyed that; the nobility's mercenary forces splintered, with only some fighting the Junta, some fighting the Republic, and some fighting ''everyone'' for the sake of riches.
* ''WebAnimation/TurnaboutStorm'' gets a courtroom version during Gilda's cross examination when the defense, the prosecution, and the witness all start to verbally smack one another, prosecutor-witness relations be damned. Since ''Franchise/AceAttorney's'' courts run on MundaneMadeAwesome, the overall treatment is not that much different from a physical version.
-->'''Judge:''' A three-way tussle between the defense, prosecution and witness! [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} My! How exciting!]] Er- I mean... ORDER!
* In ''Fanfic/TheSwarmOfWar'', the first arc has: 1)The King’s Army. 2) The Loyalist Space Marines and Duke Verin’s forces. 3) Judanus with his Chaos Marines and cultists. 4) Bugklaw with his Orks. 5) The Swarm.
* Chapter 6 of [[Fanfic/GameTheoryFanFic Power Games.]] Wolkenritter [[spoiler: plus one unknown]] vs. [[spoiler: Alicia's weird doll monster]] vs. Earth natives vs. TSAB vs. [[spoiler: Team Testarossa]] vs. [[spoiler: Mariage.]]
* ''Fanfic/TheRiseOfDarthVulcan'': The battle of the Everfree Castle is fought between Vulcan's forces, Chrysalis' changelings, and [[spoiler: Sombra]]'s brainwashed minions for control of said castle and the Tree of Harmony beneath it. [[spoiler: And that's all before the Princesses and Royal Guard show up.]]
* ''Fanfic/{{Webwork}}'': There's one in Chapter 13, with an all out brawl between [[FallenHero Jade]] and her minions, Chang and his Samurai Khan, and an [[EnemyMine unwilling teamup]] between the J-Team and crime boss the Old Colonel.
* In the Literature/{{Worm}} fanfic, ''FanFic/{{Intrepid}}'', we have the ABB going against the PRT, the E88, the Brockton Bay Brigade, Faultline's Crew, and the Undersiders in Arc 2.
* ''Fanfic/{{Wonderful}}'': Shortly after the [[EldritchAbomination Leviathan]]'s attack the drug-dealing gang called The Merchants declare war on everybody else. In chapter 12, the battle between the local Protectorate -a super-hero organization- and three crime gangs -the ABB, the Empire 88 and The Merchants- begins.
* ''Fanfic/ChildrenOfAnElderGod'': In the FinalBattle, [[spoiler:the main characters have to fight the dead [[Franchise/CthulhuMythos Outer Gods]] once again.]] However the {{Eldritch Abomination}}s hated each other as much as they hated the Children, so they tried to fight the main characters and each other simultaneously.
* ''Fanfic/LastChildOfKrypton'': In this story there’re several sides fighting each other: The Angels; SEELE; NERV; and [[spoiler:the Justice League and their successors: Shinji, Asuka, Touji, Kaji, Misato…]]
* ''Fanfic/TheLastSpartan'': Chapter 31 sees a four way fight between [[BigBad Saren's]] troops, Promethean Knights, the Flood, and Master Chief's squad. When Saren reveals that the Chief has data leading to a Halo, the first three groups all team up to take the latter on. [[spoiler: They end up [[CurbStompBattle curbstomped]].]]
* ''Fanfic/TheNewAdventuresOfInvaderZim'' quickly turns into this when Tak returns to Earth, as she's now competing with Zim to conquer the planet, and Dib is now trying to stop them both. This leads to several three-way fights over the course of the story.
* ''Fanfic/BlackCrayons'': In one of the installments ''A Child's Innocence'' (a retelling of ''Film/TransformersDarkOfTheMoon'') has a three-way fight between [[BigGood Optimus Prime]], [[BigBad Megatron]], and [[spoiler:[[SixthRangerTraitor Sentinel Prime]]]].
* In ''[[Fanfic/GuardiansWizardsAndKungFuFighters Guardians, Wizards, and Kung-Fu Fighters]]'', the big fight in Chapter 9 starts as the Guardians, Caleb, and Jade against Daolon Wong and his Shapeshifters when the latter show up to claim an Oni mask that's in the same area as the former group's ski trip, but then Hak Foo shows up to claim the mask himself, and [[InspectorJavert Quentin Ross]] (who had been trailing the group) steps in to try and capture Hak Foo.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''Anime/PrincessMononoke'': no less than eight distinct factions, what with San and the Wolves, Ashitaka, Eboshi and Irontown, Jigo and his hunters, the Boars, the Apes, the Deer God, and Asano's samurai. All at cross-purposes. Of course, they aren't all actively trying to kill every other faction, but the resulting tangle is pretty impressive.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanMaskOfThePhantasm'' is largely a three-way conflict between Batman, the Phantasm, and Joker, as demonstrated by [[http://www.worldsfinestonline.com/WF/batman/btas/backstage/motpstyleguide/13.gif this]] nifty color guide. By the time they're all gathered in the same place, though, EnemyMine has come into effect.
* ''Anime/PokemonTheRiseOfDarkrai'', which has the original Japanese title of ''Dialga vs. Palkia vs. Darkrai''. Basically, Dialga and Palkia are having a territorial feud (the reason for which wasn't revealed until two movies later), a battle which they incidentally bring to the town of Los Alamos, Darkrai's home. Darkrai has to protect the town from the two OlympusMons' rampage, making ''him'' the [[DarkIsNotEvil hero of the movie]].
* ''Anime/TekkenBloodVengeance'' has a really impressive brawl between Heihachi Mishima, Kazuya Mishima and Jin Kazama.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'': All of the movies have some point or another where this sort of thing happens. It's almost always Pirates vs. other Pirates vs. Country (Spain or Britain). Or all of them against [[TheUnfettered Jack Sparrow]], because he's just so [[BlatantLies likeable]].
** ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanTheCurseOfTheBlackPearl'': The crew of the ''Black Pearl'' vs James Norrington and the British vs Will Turner and Sparrow. Until Sparrow starts betraying everyone, and it seems to all ''almost'' work out in the end. Turner betrays Norrington to make sure it does.
** ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanDeadMansChest'': Will Turner vs. Jack Sparrow vs. James Norrington, with Elizabeth standing disgusted on the sidelines. Notably, does not feature two of the sides joining temporarily. Unless you count Will and Norrington both attacking Jack and ducking out of each other's way, but that doesn't last long.
** ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanAtWorldsEnd'' begins this way (Barbossa's pirates vs. British Redcoats vs. [[YellowPeril Sao Feng's pirates]]), but the two illegal factions quickly postpone their differences for a later date.
** ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanOnStrangerTides'': Blackbeard's crew vs. Barbossa's crew vs. the Spanish for control of the Fountain of Youth, with [[WildCard Jack]] caught in the middle.
* The original ''Film/DawnOfTheDead1978'' has a climactic 3-way fight between Peter, the zombies, and the bikers invading the mall.
* ''Film/FaceOff'' features a six-way MexicanStandoff in this manner.
* A very short but awesome fight happens between Yuen Biao, Creator/SammoHung, and Creator/JackieChan in ''Dragons Forever''.
* The famous climax of ''Film/TheGoodTheBadAndTheUgly'' is a MexicanStandoff between the three eponymous leads, well-known enough that [[TrailersAlwaysSpoil almost half of it is in the theatrical trailer]], although it stops short of showing the outcome. Although a picture of the scene would make a good trope-picture, it turns out to have a minor subversion since [[spoiler:The Good had unloaded The Ugly's revolver, so he knew there was only one threat on the field. But since the viewers and the other two combatants didn't know, the delightful tension before the battle was still there.]]
* Parodied in the film ''Film/AnchormanTheLegendOfRonBurgundy'', when a brawl between rival news broadcast teams escalates to ridiculous levels as all the other stations in the city show up one by one.
* ''Film/TheMatrix''
** In ''Film/TheMatrixReloaded'', Morpheus and Trinity vs. the Merovingian's twin wraiths vs. two Agents, during the highway chase involving the Keymaker. One of the twins even helps Morpheus aim at an Agent when he interupts their own GunStruggle.
** In the sequels overall, it was the Humans vs. the Machines vs. [[TheStarscream Smith]] and his clones. By the end of the last movie, Smith is a sufficient threat to unite the other two against him, leading to a ceasefire.
* ''Millionaire's Express'' is a 1986 Hong Kong movie that appears to juggle a complex set of storylines... until the final 25 minutes or so, when the movie erupted into an all-out anarchic brawl ''spanning an entire town'' and involving some of the biggest names in Hong Kong movie asskicking at the time: Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Hwang Jang Lee, Cynthia Rothrock, Yukari Oshima, Corey Yuen, Dick Wei, Richard Norton, Lam Ching-ying, and Yasuaki Kurata among them.
* [[TheMovie The film adaptation]] of ''Film/{{Hitman}}''. Agent 47 and three other assassins are at an impasse. However, rather than [[BlastOut the usual resolution]], they drop their guns, pull out swords, and deal with each other in that manner instead. Of course, it's not entirely clear why the other assassins go at each other, since they're on the same side. Presumably, the guy who takes out 47 gets the bounty on his head.
* ''Film/District9'' has one around the climax. Wikus and his [[spoiler:Mini-Mecha]] versus the MNU Mercenaries versus the Nigerian Gangsters.
* The fight on the baseball field between [[spoiler: Jason, Duncan and Charlie]] in ''Film/MysteryTeam''.
* ''Film/TheDarkKnight'':
** During the climax, Batman has to take on the Joker, along with his goons and dogs, while simultaneously incapacitating S.W.A.T. officers who have been fooled by a DisguisedHostageGambit. Saying the S.W.A.T. officers don't cause much of a problem would be an understatement, however.
** Earlier in the film, the Joker sets one of these up between three goons, forcing them into working for him, but claiming that only one spot is open and holding "try-outs". He leaves a broken pool cue in front of them and leaves, telling them to "Make it fast."
* ''Film/KillerElite''. The hitman protagonist Danny is tied to a chair by his antagonist, ex-SAS man Logan for interrogation and killing. A third party then enters and takes Danny prisoner, binding his hands behind his back. This leads to a three-way fight involving two [[WithMyHandsTied bound badasses]] trying to kill their captor and each other at the same time.
* ''Film/TwoGuns'': The climatic shootout is between the two heroes and the entire BigBadEnsemble, who spend as much time shooting each other.
* This is how four of the five team members meet in ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy''. Quill has stolen an item of immense value and has a bounty on his head; Gamora wants the item and Rocket and Groot want the bounty. Gamora and Quill get into a battle in the middle of a busy street, with mildly interested onlookers watching. Just as she's about to deal the killing blow, Rocket and Groot come out of the woodworks and the fight becomes one of these, with Quill trying to escape and the others trying to take each other out of commission without losing Quill in the process. Then they all get arrested.
* ''Film/FreaksOfNature'' features a town where humans, zombies and vampires leave at peace with each other until [[OutsideContextProblem aliens]] arrive. Immediately, humans and vampires accuse the other of bringing the aliens to get rid of them and zombies riot because they haven't received their [[BrainFood brains]] yet. This results in a town-wide fight between all three populations, who are then all attacked by the aliens.

* ''StarWars: Literature/ShadowsOfTheEmpire'' The final battle at Xizor's skyhook has the Empire vs. the Rebels vs. Black Sun.
* In one of the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' books, a good Dwarf brawl is described as having "100 participants, and 150 alliances."
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'':
** Creator/SandyMitchell's ''Literature/CiaphasCain'': A series staple.
*** In ''For the Emperor'' Gravalax is the site of a mini-SpaceColdWar between the Imperium and the Tau, but relations are somewhat amicable because neither side actually considers the planet to be worth getting into a shooting war over. Then the planet falls into a civil war between PDF factions, directed at the top by genestealers, and [[spoiler:the Tau join the Imperial Guard in an EnemyMine.]]
*** ''Caves of Ice'' is initially between the Imperial Guard and the Orks. [[spoiler:Then a necron tomb awakens and lays into both of them.]]
*** In ''The Traitor's Hand'', the fight against the Chaos forces is greatly simplified by the fact that two separate Chaos factions are on the planet. [[spoiler:At the end, Cain follows Chaos Space Marines to a ritual they are trying to disrupt; the Marines clear their path.]]
*** In ''Cain's Last Stand'' the main conflict is between the Perlian PDF with Cain as ''de facto'' leader and a Chaos invasion under the aegis of the 13th Black Crusade. [[spoiler:Then the necrons get involved and wipe out a considerable amount of the Chaos forces on the way to their objective.]]
*** {{Invoked}} in ''The Emperor's Finest''. While working with the Space Marines Cain ends up trapped on a genestealer-infested space hulk. [[spoiler:He tricks another group of stowaways, an Ork WAAAGH!, into fighting the genestealers for him, reducing it to a mop-up job for the Space Marines.]]
*** In ''The Last Ditch'' it's Imperial Guard, orks, and tyranids.
** In Creator/DanAbnett's ''Literature/{{Ravenor}}'', there are the forces trying to summon a daemon, the forces trying to exploit Enucia, an [[BlackSpeech evil language]], and then the Inquisitor Ravenor and his retinue. When the daemon-summoners try to assassinate one of the language forces, Ravenor watches it psychically, making the target assume he had been behind the plot.
** In Creator/JamesSwallow's ''Literature/BloodAngels: Deus Sanguinius'', a battle between [[spoiler: the Blood Angels still loyal to the God-Emperor and those who have thrown in with Arkio]] is complicated when Word Bearers Chaos Space Marines join in.
** ''Literature/GauntsGhosts: First and Only'' by Creator/DanAbnett has an InterServiceRivalry between the Tanith First and a Jantian regiment flare into violence in the middle of an invasion of a Chaos-held world. [[spoiler:Gaunt comes out on top because he'd befriended the Vitrian Dragoons also assigned to the assault.]]
* In the ''Literature/GreenRider'' series by Kristen Britain, there's a board game called Intrigue which is considered best played with three players in a Mêlée à Trois type game.
* Creator/CJCherryh's ''Literature/DownbelowStation'' features a war between Earth and the rebel Union that becomes three-sided when the Stations and Merchanters, caught in the middle, form an Alliance so as not to be sold out in a peace treaty between the other two.
* ''Literature/TheHobbit'' has the Battle of Five Armies: Elves and Lakemen vs. Dwarves vs. More Dwarves vs. Orcs and Wargs. Gandalf intervenes to get the dwarves to ally with the elves and men right at the outset, however. Other semi-independent factions that join the goodies later on include the Eagles and Beorn.
* The central plot conflict of ''Literature/AtlasShrugged'' has three sides: the strikers, the scabs and the looters.
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' features a great number of factions fighting each other, each with their own point of view justifying their actions. This is most overt in the War of the Five Kings, which is ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin. Even after that war grinds down, new factions rise up or splinter away.
** While there were technically five kings ''in total'', only four were active at any one time [[spoiler: for Renly was slain before Balon Greyjoy crowned himself]].
* Any Creator/MatthewReilly book will probably have at least one of these. Most of the battles in ''Scarecrow'' turned into these, with the heroes repetedly fighting 3 different mercenary armies, as well as whoever they were trying to fight in the first place.
* At the end of ''Literature/WarOfTheSpiderQueen'' between [[spoiler:Halisstra, Quenthel, and Danifae.]]
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'':
** ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix'' has the Death Eaters versus the Ministry of Magic versus the Order of the Phoenix. No group likes any of the others very much. [[spoiler:Later, the first two groups become one and the same.]]
** [[BigGood Dumbledore's]] backstory involves one with him, his brother Aberforth, and his partner Gellert Grindelwald. [[spoiler:His sister Ariana is killed in the crossfire.]]
* ''Literature/RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms'' has the Shu, Wei and Wu kingdoms all fighting to unite and be [[TheEmperor The One Ruler]] of China. It lasted for a ''dynasty''.
* ''{{Literature/Redwall}}''
** At the end of the book ''Pearls of Lutra'', it's Martin II, Grath, and the other heroes vs. Emperor Ublaz and his monitor lizards vs. Rasconza and his corsairs.
** In ''Triss'', it's the good guys vs. Princess Kurda and her vermin vs. three giant adders.
* ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour'' had Oceania, a totalitarian empire consisting of all of the Western Hemisphere plus Great Britain and the southern half of Africa, fighting Eurasia, essentially Soviet Russia and Continental Europe, fighting Eastasia, a cultist union of China, Japan, Korea and Northern India. They usually united against each other, but also betrayed each other just as easily. Of course, they are almost indistinguishable apart from location and language.
* In the Literature/ConanTheBarbarian novella ''The Flame Knife'', what starts out as Conan and a handful of Zuagirs besieged by Yezmites winds up as a pitched battle of Yezmites vs. Kushafis and Zuagirs, then a massive engagement of Yezmites, Kushafis and Zuagirs vs. the Iranistani army, and finally a route of Yezmites, Kushafis, Zuagirs and Iranistanis as they flee the city and[[spoiler: a horde of ghouls eager to devour ''all four'' human forces]].
* The Battle of Artaleirh in ''Literature/{{Rihannsu}}: The Empty Chair'' by Creator/DianeDuane begins with Romulan rebels, with the aid of the USS ''Enterprise'' and the renegade Romulan cruiser [=ChR=] ''Bloodwing'', fighting a pacification force sent by the Star Empire's government. Then the Klingons show up hoping to take out the winner and get the system cheap; they finish off the Imperial ships in passing and then start on the Free Rihannsu. [[spoiler:Fortunately, that's when Tyrava Ship-Clan turns up as TheCavalry for the Free Rihannsu.]]
* The "Truel", a piece of math folklore usually credited to Martin Gardners "Mathematical Games" column in the "Scientific American". [[http://www.mathgoespop.com/2009/10/martin-gardner-and-the-three-way-duel.html Description here]]
* The second book of ''Literature/TheSilentWar' 'has the heroines, empowered [[DemonSlaying demon hunters]], getting into an extended fight with the Brotherhood of the Pit, an old secret society of dark sorcerers, AND the Night Hand, a cult devoted to [[SealedEvilinaCan the Death Lords]], and with a bad history with the Brotherhood.
* The second book of ''Literature/TheWitchlands'' has two of those:
** Safi, Vaness and their group are making their way out of the arena where slaves and slaveowners are battling, with both sides attacking them because they thing they're the enemy.
** Iseult and Aeduen fight two gangs of pirates who want to get to them and who recently turned on each other as well.
* In Mister Midshipman Easy—a sea story set in the Napoleonic wars, by Captain Marryat, first printed 1836—the eponymous hero, Midshipman Easy, newly joined to the frigate Harpy, quarrels with two of the warrant officers, and insists on fighting them on the same day. The officer charged with arranging the duel, fancying himself a mathematician, places the three men at the points of a triangle, with instructions that each is to fire at one opponent, and receive the fire from another. Easy realizes his advantage at once.
* While the party in ''Literature/{{Below}}'' is battling a force of goblins, a tiny but agile squad of gremlins appears behind the party and attacks ''both''. The goblins and gremlins have been at war, so it's not even clear which group the goblins were trying to find in the first place. The gremlins would have been better off engaging only the goblins, but despite their intelligence they take typical "greenskin" concepts of friend and foe to the simplistic extreme.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'' episode ''Warrior of the Lost World'' features a big fight meet between the various rag-tag gangs who eventually team up to overthrow the evil Empire.
* Sheridan's forces in ''Series/BabylonFive'' engineer one of these against the Vorlon and Shadow fleets.
* Creator/JonStewart, Creator/StephenColbert, and Creator/ConanOBrien staged one of these over who was ultimately responsible for Mike Huckabee's political showing. This one ''did'' start with an alliance, between Stewart and Colbert, but that was quickly abandoned because the true Mêlée à Trois is funnier.
** The Colbert Nation provides an alternate name for this one: ''menage a awesome''. (Let the record also show that the whole thing was concocted as a way to "waste time on all three of our shows" during the writers' strike.)
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': In one episode, a fight breaks out between Buffy vs. a cowboy vampire vs. a horde of innocent bystanders under mind control by a demon. Buffy and the vampire don't actually team up, but they do take a break from fighting each other to focus on the bystanders. A person just tuning in might think they were on the same side.
* This is very much a thing of the heisei (post-2000) series of ''Franchise/KamenRider'' starting from ''Series/KamenRiderRyuki'' as mentioned bellow. Multiple riders make for some very complicated conflicts sometimes.
** Considering that every rider in Ryuki and its US counterpart ''Series/KamenRiderDragonKnight'' has their own motivation and goal, this is bound to happen. It's even the whole point of Ryuki in nutshell.
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'' was, for its first three seasons, a conflict between the Oceanic flight 815 crash survivors and the mysterious Others. However, the survivors essentially wiped out the Others in the season 3 finale, just as the third combatant, a freighter with a mercenary team sent to kill everyone on the island, arrived. Both the survivors and the Others had separate conflicts with the freighter, though by the end of season 4 the survivors and Others had teamed up and successfully repelled the freighter.
* ''Series/TheTonightShow'': The Great Series/LateNight [[Creator/{{NBC}} Debate]] [[ExecutiveMeddling of 2009-2010.]]
* ''Series/StargateAtlantis'' developed a three-cornered fight between the Atlantis team, the Wraith and the Asuran Replicators. Although there was never a three-way ''battle''; the closest is when Atlantis pulled an EnemyMine with the Wraith to take out the Replicators.
* Has happened more than once in the various [[SuperSentai Sentai]] and ''PowerRangers'' series. It's a sort of tradition to have TheDragon [[TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou interrupt a]] MonsterOfTheWeek [[TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou about to win so he can beat the Ranger(s) himself]]. Whether this results in a Mêlée à Trois or not varies from series to series.
* The ''Series/PersonOfInterest'' episode "Aletheia" has Team Machine end up in one against Northern Lights, the shadowy government agency that gets the Machine numbers relevant to national security, and Vigilance, WesternTerrorists opposed to [[BigBrotherIsWatching government surveillance]]. [[spoiler: The actual fight ends up with Northern Lights [[CurbStompBattle effortlessly defeating]] Vigilance and Team Machine disappearing. In the end Decima Technologies is the real winner, having already achieved the prize, the alternative to the machine. ]]
* ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' develops one in the lead-up to the Dominion War. The Klingons launch an invasion of a newly democratic Cardassian Union.[[note]]Based on the grounds that, [[InsaneTrollLogic there's no possible way a civilian uprising could overthrow a military government -> the Cardassians have been infiltrated by changelings.]][[/note]] The Federation tells their erstwhile allies to knock it off, to which the Klingons respond by breaking off the alliance and then attacking the Federation when they provide protection to the Cardassian government. The real winner in this is the Dominion, which hasn't gone to open war yet but is working in the shadows to play the Klingons, Federation, and Cardassians off against each other to pave the way for their invasion. All they had to do was plant the suggestion and then [[HonorBeforeReason let the Klingons be Klingons]].
* ZNation: "White Light" consists primarily of a battle between the main group, a group of bounty hunters, and Murphy who doesn't want to go with either.
* This happened in the two melee matches in the first round of each heat during the 4th, 6th and 7th series of ''Series/RobotWars'', with the contestants thrown into the arena in two groups to cut the numbers down to four so the survivors could be paired off against each other in the second round. In the 4th Wars there were two 3-way fights with the first robot knocked out eliminated, while in the 6th and 7th Wars there were four robots in each melee with half of the eight contestants being eliminated at once (the 3rd and 5th Wars instead had four one-on-one fights in the first round, while the first two series instead used the Gauntlet and the Trials to eliminate two of the contestants before the battle stage even started). Taken to extremes in the Annihilator episodes, where ''six'' robots were thrown into the ring at once and battled until one was eliminated, over and over until at the end of five rounds there was only one robot left standing.
* ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'' does this a fair bit, with most seasons having several different factions all fighting each other. Season 2, for example, had SHIELD vs HYDRA vs the US military vs Skye's father, [[spoiler: Calvin Zabo]], and later SHIELD vs HYDRA vs Ward vs the Inhumans vs [[spoiler: the self-proclaimed "Real SHIELD"]].

[[folder:Music Videos]]
* The bizarre abusable child music video addition: What looks like the entire lineup of Music/CobraStarship does one of these with hidden pies around a table piled with cash in the music video for "The City Is at War". This doesn't really constitute a pie fight, however, as they're meant to be basically gun/knife stand-ins, with being pied in the face being a cause of death.

[[folder:Pro Wrestling]]
* Occurs rather often in Professional Wrestling, in the form of a "Triple Threat Match" or "Fatal Four-Way" (those are the terms used by Wrestling/{{WWE}}), or the "Three/Four-Way Dance" (as Wrestling/{{ECW}}[=\=]Wrestling/{{Smokey Mountain|Wrestling}} called it).
** Wrestling/RingOfHonor uses a combination "four-way" and tag match (separate from a four-way tag team match with eight participants) called "Four Corner Survival," where either of the two 'legal' wrestlers can tag in either of the two wrestlers but only one can win (which is just a cooler name for the old "four corners" match).
** Matches can go from Triple-Threat Matches to Fatal Four-ways to Six-Pack Challenges to full scale 20-60 man Battle Royals.
* Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin vs. [[Wrestling/DwayneJohnson The Rock]] vs. Wrestling/TripleH in 1999.
* This is basically [[WhatCouldHaveBeen how it looked like]] the [=InVasion=] storyline was going to play out. To sum up: after the WWF (later Wrestling/{{WWE}}) very publicly buying out Wrestling/{{WCW}}, it turns out that [[Wrestling/ShaneMcMahon Shane]] pulled some last-second shenanigans and now "owns" it, and a massive WWF/WCW feud builds up. Suddenly from left field comes Wrestling/PaulHeyman and the {{Wrestling/ECW}} Originals, sick of [[TheUnFavorite playing second fiddle]] to the Big Two, especially since their buy out was ''far'' more low-key and basically ignored while their wrestlers were quietly filed into place. [[TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot But then]], it turned out he was just TheDragon to [[Wrestling/StephanieMcMahon Stephanie]], who was in fact allied with Shane against [[Wrestling/VinceMcMahon Vince]], supposedly set-in-stone contractual alliances [[ShockingSwerve changed almost on a weekly basis]], only a handful of people from either ECW or WCW were saved from becoming jokes, and by the end of it [[FanonDisContinuity most folks would rather just forget it ever happened]].\\\
It got so bad that when Wrestling/VinceRusso was eventually re-promoted to the position of head writer of the WWE, his first act was supposedly to suggest relaunching the entire debacle again, YEARS after the whole thing was dead and gone. Debate still rages on whether, if true, it was a case of [[ObfuscatingStupidity being so rash as to force them to let him go]] or simply [[TooDumbToLive thinking that doing the exact same thing again would turn out differently]], since obviously [[ViewersAreGoldfish no one would remember how horribly the last one turned out]].
* ''IWA Mid-South No Blood, No Guts, No Glory'' in featured a three-way [[GarbageWrestler bloody]] [[GimmickMatches war games]] match between Team IWA, Team NWA and Team Fannin.
* Wrestling/{{N|ationalWrestlingAlliance}}WA Empire's Lord Of The Dance Title and Vendetta Pro Wrestling's Triforce Title could only be won in three way matches. Wrestling/{{TNA}} tried to enforce this limitation on its X Division but it was negatively received, since the X Division title was introduced with no limits as far as who could win it.
* The first holder of Wrestling/DragonGate USA's Open The Freedom Gate was decided mostly by a series of multi man matches. One of the few men to advance in the {{tournament|arc}} by way of a one-on-one match, [=BxB Hulk=], ended up being the winner.

* On June 26, 1944, a "Tri-Cornered " UsefulNotes/{{Baseball}} Game was held in UsefulNotes/{{New York|City}} between the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Yankees, and New York Giants. The exhibition match was held to raise War Bonds for the American effort in UsefullNotes/{{WorldWarII}} and raised $5.5 million USD ($73.8 million USD adjusted for inflation) in bonds. [[labelnote:link]] http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/1944-ny-baseball-teams-faced-support-war-effort-article-1.1787483[[/labelnote]]
* German racing series DTM in its early years was this with car manufacturers Audi, Opel and Mercedes-Benz fighting for wins and titles - until Opel withdrew from the sport. BMW joined in 2012, making DTM an example of this trope again.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'':
** The [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters humans have a policy of extermination for all xenos/mutants/heretics]], the [[OurOrcsAreDifferent Orks are biological war machines]], the [[OmniscientMoralityLicense Eldar consider humans barbarous space monkeys]], the [[OmnicidalManiac Necrons want to kill all life]], the [[HordeOfAlienLocusts Tyranids want to eat everything]], and [[TheCorruption Chaos is]]... [[AlwaysChaoticEvil Chaos]]. The sole exception are the [[TheFederation Tau]], who are happy to recruit other races into their little space commie family, [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans with force and brainwashing if necessary]].
** Most of the factions above ''also'' spend a lot of energy on internal squabbles: [[TheEmpire the Imperium]] is constantly engaged in insurrections and reconquests, the Eldar have a break-off group of {{evil counterpart}}s who prey on the other Eldar as much as any other race, the forces of Chaos are divided amongst rival gods, and the Orks will happily fight each other if there aren't any other enemies available. Not even the Tyranids and Necrons are immune to this in-fighting; the former is controlled by a HiveMind that will occasionally run survival-of-the-fittest tests on itself, and the latter has recently been broken up into multiple rival "dynasties", some of which are lead by rather... damaged individuals. Even the Tau have a break-away faction led by a former military hero now bent on exterminating the orks, and while not currently actively hostile to the Tau Empire is an affront to their "Greater Good" philosophy and a deserter to boot.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}} Fantasy Battles'':
** During the storm of chaos, the Empire is fighting the forces of Chaos led by Archaon. Then Grimgor and his orcs turns up, fights their way through both forces, kills the Chaos leader to prove that he is the best and goes away -- leaving both forces badly damaged. Most worldwide campaigns pit everyone against everyone, though. Old Imperium motto used by fans: "The enemy of my enemy is the next one to ''die''.
** In general, the forces of Chaos are locked in the four-sided variety of this trope. There are four Chaos gods, and a given Chaos warrior is aligned with one of them and opposed to the other three. The key is getting the four sides to stop fighting long enough to actually accomplish something. But hey, at least they get an army of Demi-Gods by feeding thousands of raw recruits to their chosen champions.
* In the setting of the RPG ''TabletopGame/CthulhuTech'', the Aeon War is a grand Mêlée à Trois between the New Earth Government, who want to live; the alien Migou, who want humanity to die so they don't learn more of the mythos and accidentally wake up the Old Ones; and the Cults of the Old Ones, who want the Old Ones to wake up which would result in the death or massive alteration of everyone else. It's a fun time all around.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}'' has the official agenda of The Computer, the clandestine agendas of over a dozen secret societies, the office politics of several service groups, plus the personal goals of six [=PCs=] and as many [=NPCs=] as Friend Gamemaster can keep track of. Any two of these ''may'' sort-of-align at any given moment (in the sense of "yes, this person will screw me over, but this other person will screw me over faster and harder"), or may pretend to do so. Some official missions up the ante by having everyone pursue the same MacGuffin at once.
* Since even the heroes of the setting are professional domestic terrorists, ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'' tends to turn into this. Corps hire runners to do their dirty work and even if a lot of runners shun wetwork (outright assassination contracts), they aren't above sabotage, bombings, espionage, theft, and occasionally offing some security guards if things get messy. As a result, runners tend to be grey-area men and women working for bad people against other bad people. Other teams of runners rarely cooperate past a pulling a big job together and many will betray each other for the sake of a bigger cut. To quote one book's fluff:
-->''The only mate a runner should trust is himself... unless some corp brainwashed him into one of those sleeper sorts who go blow themselves up when they [[TriggerPhrase heard the phrase "warm bacon"]]. Then he probably would be best off not trusting himself either''

* The Mahri Nui saga in ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}'' has five sides fighting over the Mask of Life: The Toa Mahri need it to save the world, the BigBad Makuta also doesn't want the world to die but the Toa (justifiably) don't trust him, the Barraki want the mask because it can reverse their mutations and allow them to try conquering the world again, Hydraxon thinks it's too dangerous and must be destroyed, and a Gadunka beast is just territorial. Not to mention that the Mask passes from person to person in the conflict, and some of the Barraki decide to just go solo and escape, leading to an internal conflict within the Barraki group as well. [[TheAtoner Brutaka]] arrives at some point to fight Makuta, for reasons of his own. The mad ruler Karzahni also got an interest in the Mask after hearing about it, but [[spoiler:he never to join the conflict as he was defeated and taken captive by Lesovikk in a side-story.]]
* Aw, come on. Like your Franchise/PowerRangers and Franchise/{{Transformers}} and ''Franchise/StarWars'' figurines and Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles didn't all fight each other.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The final few missions of the main story in ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}'' see the protagonist mowing down dozens of both Crimson Lance soldiers and the indigenous "Guardian" aliens as the two also battle each other.
* For all intents and purposes, ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'' had three parties at conflict: Cruxis, the Renegades, and Lloyd's group, who wove in and out of the conflict between the first two in an attempt to save Colette and end the system without sacrificing anyone.
* The first two missions in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4'' have the local militia vs [[PrivateMilitaryContractors Ocelot's P.M.C.s]] vs [[WildCard Snake]]. Of course, [[TakeAThirdOption this changes quite quickly]] if you make it clear to the rebels that you are [[EnemyMine out to get the P.M.C.s]].
* This is often seen in RealTimeStrategy video games when there are three or more factions. Generally, the two factions opposing your own are hostile to each other as well as you.
** Often subverted when [[GangUpOnTheHuman the A.I. drop their differences to kill the player.]]
* This shows up a lot in video games that feature both enemy human soldiers (or just humanoid, really) and enemy monstrous creatures. Typically, the soldiers and monsters fight each other as well as you. Examples include Franchise/{{Halo}} (alien soldiers vs zombies), ''VideoGame/{{inFAMOUS 2}}'' (fascist redneck militia vs feral mutants), ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' ([[PsychoForHire Talon mercs]] vs Super Mutants), ''VideoGame/DeadRising2'' (mercenaries/security guards vs zombies), ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'' ([[HeroAntagonist US marines]] [[ArmiesAreEvil Blackwatch soldiers]] vs [[OurZombiesAreDifferent Greene's Infected army]]), and...
* ''VideoGame/HalfLife''
** Three-way firefights between Gordon Freeman, the marines, and the aliens are one of the defining attributes of ''VideoGame/HalfLife1''. The marines usually end ahead of the aliens, and [[OneManArmy Gordon consistently trounces both]].
** It happens in scripted sequences too, to remind you that yes, there is a battle raging. For example, three Alien Grunts get dropped off by a Xen Flyer only to be immediately bombed by a F-16.
** In ''VideoGame/HalfLife2'' and the Episodes, it becomes Human/Vortigaunt Resistance vs. Antlions vs. the Combine vs. Headcrab Zombies (Antlions and Zombies were rarely in the same place at the same time in the original game, but Episode 2 features a particularly epic brawl in an abandoned mine shaft). The Combine use headcrab shells as a weapon against rebel-controlled areas, and at one point the player gets to control a bunch of antlions.
*** In fact, the ''very first time'' Overwatch soldiers show up, they're seen killing zombies that wander out of the Ravenholm mine shaft.
** In ''Opposing Force'' there are ''four'' sides in play (the player and the friendly Marines, the Xen Aliens, the new aliens that have since disappeared from the story and the Black Ops that used to be with the Marines), and with a level editor there could be five (the traditional "enemy" Marines), but without that level editor you never see more than three in the same place at once. The Black Ops and Race X don't fight as much as the Xenians and Marines, but they do indeed so. More noticeable in the final few chapters.
* ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'':
** TheRepublic and [[TheEmpire the Sith Empire]] have enough on their plate fighting a major galactic war with each other. Then [[spoiler: Darth Malgus betrays the Empire to [[RenegadeSplinterFaction form his own]]. He fights both armies]]. Then the Hutt Cartel gets involved.
** Alderaan is engulfed in a CivilWar at the start of the game due to the death of all the Royal family's heirs. There are three, possibly more, factions all shooting at each other. First, we have [[TheGoodKing House Organa]] (Leia's future adoptive family) which supports TheRepublic and recieves military support from them. Then there's [[TheQuisling House Thul]] which is backed by the Sith. And [[TheUsurper House Ulgo]] which started the war to begin with when their leader Bouris Ulgo stages a coup in a bid to ironically end the planetary legislature's stalemate on choosing a new Royal family. It's eventually revealed that [[spoiler: he was the mastermind behind the previous Monarch's assassination and he slaughtered most of the Panteer clan, because he saw them as weak and unable to face a possible Imperial invasion]]. And if things weren't crazy enough, [[TheSwarm the long-hidden insectoid Killiks]] are accidentally disturbed and are thus [[BugWar drawn into the war]] themselves.
** On Hoth, TheRepublic, TheEmpire, and the White Maw Pirates are fighting over the lost technology in a graveyard of crashed starships from the last war.
** And then in ''Knights of the Fallen Empire'' (the newest and to date, largest expansion) we have the biggest example of this yet. The Eternal Empire of Zakuul, a powerful new faction hailing from a region in space not fully explored. This new Empire reveals itself to the galaxy, wages war against both the Republic and the Sith Empire....[[TheBadGuyWins and WINS!!]] Thus beginning [[LaResistance the Fallen Empire storyline]].
* ''VideoGame/LegendaryTheBox'' revolves around the Council of 98 (which includes the player) vs. the Black Order vs. the Monsters running amok in the world.
* The Story Mode in ''Videogame/GodzillaUnleashed'' consists of four sides: Earth Defenders, Global Defense Forces, Aliens, and Mutants. The sides differ on how they deal with the crystals that arrived from a meteorite and start royally screwing up the Earth, sent by the BigBad [[spoiler: Spacegodzilla]]. The Earth Defenders goes out of its way to destroy the crystals, even though their efforts do cause massive property damage. The Global Defense Forces work to stop the monsters running amok from trampling all the cities, and try to maintain order throughout the course of the game. The Aliens are loyal to the Vortaak, and want to use the crystals to conquer and enslave Earth. The Mutants wish to use the crystals for power and are willing to trample anyone to get it, whether they are monsters, humans, or aliens.
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfSpyro: A New Beginning'', in the level Dante's Freezer, Spyro arrives right when the Ice Soldiers and the apes are in the middle of a war. Neither of them are pleased to see him. They spend a lot of time bombing each other as well as Spyro, which can sometimes mean that the gigantic mass of enemies in front of you that you're sweating over is wiped out in ten seconds by the other side.
* In ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'', you can set up fights as free-for-alls of up to 4 players, or team battles consisting of 2-on-1, 2-on-2, 3-on-1, or 2-on-1-on-1. Technically only if you have four humans. If it's you and three AI, [[GangUpOnTheHuman you can count on the CPU going for you instead of another CPU if they have a choice.]]
* Averted in ''VideoGame/StarCraft''... most of the time. Despite the seemingly perfect set-up of Terran vs. Protoss vs. Zerg, each race consists of various factions. Infighting ensues.
** In the novels, the Battle of Tarsonis was depicted as one of these (in the game, there were three separate missions for the battle, allowing them to show that each side was around without having a true melee), with Confederates, Sons of Korhal, Protoss, and Zerg beating the crap out of each other. Mostly, though, the various factions were canny enough to sit back and watch when they found two enemies fighting. ''Mostly''.
** Another example can be found in Broodwar, when the UED follows Fenix, Raynor and Mengsk to Aiur and not only encounters Fenix' forces there, but also a bunch of Zerg broods that are still around.
** The novel ''Shadow of the Xel'Naga'' ends up with a three-way fight over a Xel'Naga temple between the Dominion's Alpha Squadron under General Duke, Kerrigan's new Kukulkan Brood, and a protoss battle group. [[spoiler:Nobody wins: after taking serious casualties Duke orders the temple nuked. The warhead wakes up a baby EnergyBeing inside that eats the protoss and zerg and blasts the rest of Duke's warships out of his way as it leaves the planet.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}} 3'' has a few missions where this occurs.
** In "Reign of Chaos Night Elf 4", the three factions are Night Elves (player), humans and orcs, and undead and demons.
** "Frozen Throne Blood Elf 3" has the Blood Elves (player), humans, and undead. There are a couple points within the mission where the players has to go through the other two factions fighting it out.
* ''VideoGame/MarioParty'' is in essence a four player free for all (at least in a standard game), but for the minigame at the end of each turn, teams are determined by the color of the space they landed on, leading to basically random and constantly changing 2v2 and 1v3 alliances, as well as free-for-alls if everyone lands on the same color.
** To lesser degrees because Bowser is a more minor threat, Mario and Luigi vs. the Shroobs vs. Baby Bowser in ''Videogame/MarioAndLuigiPartnersInTime'', and Mario vs. the X-Nauts vs. Bowser and Kammy Koopa vs. Beldam and the Shadow Queen in ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor''.
* ''Videogame/DevilMayCry'':
** In ''Devil May Cry 4'', there are actually three factions: the Player Characters Dante and Nero, the Order of the Sword, and the Demons. When you're in a battle with enemies from both enemy factions, they will occasionally attack each other instead of Dante/Nero if you stand back long enough and watch the carnage. You're given hints about this situation [[spoiler:in Mission 9 when two Assault enemies that were introduced in the last mission jump past and ignore Nero to attack the two Bianco Angelos guarding the Order of the Sword HQ, only to be killed effortlessly as part of an introduction for the Alto Angelo enemies]] and later [[spoiler:in Mission 12 when Fortuna comes under attack, and the Savior and its army of Bianco and Alto Angelos come in to attack the Mephisto army.]]
** In ''Devil May Cry 3'' before it, there was the conflict between Dante, Vergil and Lady, until [[spoiler: Arkham de-allied with Vergil]] and led the Sons of Sparda to work together against him, while Dante [[DefeatMeansFriendship Befriended]] Lady shortly as well.
* The final boss battle in ''VideoGame/{{Bloodrayne}}'' is a 3-way fight between Rayne, the super-powered Nazi Commander, and the Devil.
** Eariler in the game prior to the aforementioned final boss battle, there are also 3-way fights between Rayne, the Nazis and various Vampire creatures. And before that we also get Rayne vs the Nazis vs the Daemites.
* ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'':
** ''VideoGame/HaloCombatEvolved'' has Humans vs. Covenant vs. Flood vs. Sentinels, and ''VideoGame/{{Halo 2}}'' has Humans vs. Covenant Loyalists vs. Covenant Separatists vs. Flood vs. Forerunner Sentinels. In ''VideoGame/{{Halo 3}}'', things settle down into a simpler two-way Everybody vs. the Prophet of Truth and his loyalists, with [[spoiler: Gravemind and the Flood taking over as the BigBad guys after Truth is finally killed near the end]]; specifically, ''3'' serves as an inversion [[MindScrew and subversion]] of the typical FPS case, with the [[spoiler: Flood essentially becoming your temporary allies ... and then backstabbing you again]]. As [[spoiler: the Arbiter]] says, "We trade one enemy for another."
** ''VideoGame/HaloWars'' also has Humans vs. Covenant vs. Flood vs. Sentinels.
** In ''VideoGame/Halo4'', you can find Covenant Remnant and Prometheans fighting in the first level that they are both in, making it possible for you to mop the floor with whoever's left. The rest of the game subverts this by having the Remnants and Prometheans unite [[spoiler:under the command of Didact]]. In ''VideoGame/Halo5Guardians'', the two groups oppose each other again, with the opening level dropping your team right into the middle of a big battle between the two.
* One Mission in the ''VideoGame/MagicalBattleArena'' [[ExpansionPack Lyrical Pack]] takes this trope and multiplies it by ten (plus 1) with a [[Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaStrikers Gadget Drone]] Mêlée à Trente-et-Un. Naturally, your mission goal is to be the last Gadget Drone standing.
* In ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarOnline2'', the native creatures of the various planets can often be seen fighting the [[EldritchAbomination Darkers]] (and vice-versa) when they aren't attacking you.
* The Item World in ''Franchise/{{Disgaea}}''. In the earliest levels, the "specialists" that you must kill to level up your weapon ignore everything until you attack them, at which point they may counter, but won't attack. Once you get deeper in, however, you see that their "NPC Ally" designation on your map screen isn't just for show, and you may have to pull off some tricky maneuvers to make sure your enemies don't kill them first if they start out too far away.
* The game ''VideoGame/SinsOfASolarEmpire'' has this as its basic structure -- a three-way fight between different factions with different abilities (tech, psionics, wormhole manipulation). Also, Sid Meier's Civilization series, the Dominion games, (most [[FourX 4x]] games, in fact)...
** The ''Rebellion'' ExpansionPack has the main three factions each split into Loyalists and Rebels with slight differences between the two. Mainly, each of the six factions has their own Titan (unique ginormous warship that dwarfs entire fleets).
* ''VideoGame/{{Crysis}}'' has the USA vs. North Korea vs. Aliens, but only in the expansion game ''Crysis Warhead''. In the original ''Crysis'', the Koreans were killed off. You see Koreans standing around everywhere, frozen solid.
** ''Crysis 2'' & ''3'' have a similar dynamic, with you fighting both CELL [=PMCs=] and the Ceph who also fight each other.
* One of ''VideoGame/SamuraiWarriors 2'''s more interesting fights takes place during Hanzo's story, a three-way fight between Hanzo, Kotaro, and Nene (the game's three playable ninjas). Also Kotaro Fuma's Musou Mode in general, where he often doublecrosses his supposed allies and ends up kicking everybody's ass indiscriminately. Then again, he claims to be Chaos... Also, in the first ''Samurai Warriors'', Masamune Date's ENTIRE STORY MODE consists of nothing but him butting in on other generals' conflicts and annihilating both sides without stopping to think overmuch on whose side is right or wrong... or stopping to think at all, for that matter.
* Normally averted in the ''VideoGame/FireEmblem'' franchise, where enemy factions who should theoretically hate each other just as much as you will GangUpOnTheHuman, but played straight in Chapter 12 of ''VideoGame/FireEmblemWarriors''. Hoshido and Nohr are being manipulated into fighting each other, and it's up to you to subdue both of them while preventing them from killing each other.
* A few of the battles in ''VideoGame/SengokuBasara'' also involves this. The second game has one in which Keiji butts in on the Betrayal at Honnouji and ends up in a battle between Nobunaga and Mitsuhide (all for the reason of just ''saying hi to Nobunaga'') and one where characters crash a battle between Kenshin and Shingen. The third has certain campaigns ending with the characters intruding in on the Battle of Sekigahara and wiping out both Ieyasu and Mitsunari's army.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Iji}}'', the conflict eventually becomes [[OneManArmy Iji]] vs. Tasen vs. Komato.
* The final mission in ''VideoGame/TheIncredibleHulkUltimateDestruction'' is a frenetic chase and final boss battle between the Hulk, the Abomination, and General Ross' troops.
* The FinalBoss fight of ''RefleX'' is a three-way battle between yourself, an alien HumongousMecha, and two Kamui fighters from the developer's previous game.
* The fourth to last mission in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars OriginalGeneration 2'' takes place in space, just next to a battle between the Einsts and the Shadow Mirrors/Inspectors. Your team arrives to destroy everybody still standing.
* In ''VideoGame/OverlordII'', it's the [[HeroAntagonist well-meaning]] but [[StupidGood idiotic]] [[OurElvesAreBetter elves]], versus the [[PuttingOnTheReich Roman-themed]] [[TheEmpire Glorious Empire]], versus the forces of the titular EvilOverlord.
* In the [[VideoGame/ShogunTotalWar first]] [[VideoGame/MedievalTotalWar two]] ''VideoGame/TotalWar'' games you could end up in this situation if two or more powers attacked a third at the same time. In later games, this kind of massive free-for-all is only possible in the custom battles, but boy could this make for awesome battles if your computer could handle the weight.
* ''VideoGame/ArmoredCore'' is kind of complicated in a way this trope is played. In 2 it was [[{{Megacorp}} Zio Matrix vs. Emurade vs. Balena,]] with the [[TheGovernment LCC]] later joining with Balena. But it led to some confusion involving a CivilWar between Zio on Earth and on Mars and Balena being caught between the now Corrupted Martian government and the Earth Government.
* Near the conclusion of ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty: VideoGame/ModernWarfare2'', after [[spoiler:General Shepherd's betrayal]], the player is caught in a battle between Makarov's men and [[spoiler:Shepherd]]'s, though you're encouraged to let them kill each other off.
* ''Trinity'' and ''Hilo Monster'' in ''VideoGame/ImpossibleCreatures'' feature three players in an [[RealTimeStrategy RTS]] free-for-all. Also mission[[spoiler: 14]] of the single-player campaign, between you, the island's caretakers, and [[spoiler:TheVirus infected creatures]].
* ''Franchise/AlienVsPredator'' games have [[CoolVersusAwesome Predators vs. Aliens]] vs. {{Space Marine}}s vs. [[MegaCorp Weyland-Yutani]].
* Several of the battles in ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor'' are like this, and frequently let you choose to intervene on one side or another. In one particularly complex example on Day 6, you have to intervene to stop some demon tamers from escaping the barricade in the midst of a fight between several angels and demons. You can choose to fight either the angels, the demons, or both; meanwhile both the angels and demons will try to kill the tamers before you can defeat them and remove them from battle, resulting in a game over.
* The plot of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' quickly becomes a three-way battle between Cloud's group, Shinra and Sephiroth.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'', some RandomEncounters will have one group of monsters fighting another group of rival monsters. You can use this to your advantage to take out the stronger group as the weaker ones whittle their health away.
** In Chapter 12, Cocoon's capital city Eden gets invaded by no fewer than 3 different factions: your six l'Cie party members, the traitorous army faction known as the Cavalry, and a truly ludicrous number of monsters from [[DeathWorld Pulse]]. The [[BigBadassBattleSequence ensuing battles]] feature the [[TrueCompanions l'Cie]] vs. [[EliteArmy Eden's Homeguard army]] vs. [[OurMonstersAreWeird the Pulse monsters]] vs. [[DefectorFromDecadence the Cavalry]]. Even though the l'Cie & the Cavalry are [[WeAreStrugglingTogether supposed to be on the same side,]] but [[spoiler: it wasn't their fault they got turned into crystal zombies.]]
* Frontline [=PvP=] battles in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'' pit players of the three Grand Companies of Eorzea (Limsa Lominsa's Maelstrom, Ul'dah's Immortal Flame, and Gridania's Order of the Twin Adder) against one another.
* ''VideoGame/JediAcademy'' has several examples in different levels, with the player character being the third party.
** One level has Imperial Stormtroopers fighting Noghri assassins, both also hostile to you.
** In another, the Disciples release a Franchise/{{Godzilla}}-like mutated Rancor to ravage a city, but it begins eating them just as surely as it will chase you. That doesn't stop the cultists from attacking you while you're trying to run away from the danged thing before it breaks down the wall between you and it and kills everyone on the other side.
** Most notably, the final levels have the Jedi and students from Luke Skywalker's academy fighting the Disciples of Ragnos. If you've chosen to play the Dark Side, the Jedi will sense your evil and attack you as well. This leads to a number of different Mêlée à Trois situations.
* In the Drak'theron Keep dungeon of ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', the Scourge is attacking the Drakkari ice troll-controlled keep. Both sides are hostile to the player. At the Wrathgate battle, the Horde and Alliance put aside their differences to fight the Scourge until [[spoiler:Putress launches the New Plague that kills the living and the Undead at the Alliance, Horde and Scourge forces, killing many and starting a war between the Alliance and the Horde. Both factions then invade the Undercity, which Putress' master Varimathras has taken over; the Alliance hopes to reclaim Lordaeron while the Horde wants their city back]]. As a result, in Icecrown Citadel, the player must fight through soldiers of the opposing faction, and board their faction's gunship to fight off the other side's.
** In ''Warlords of Draenor'', the main conflict is the combined Alliance/Horde forces vs. the Iron Horde vs. the Shadow Council/Burning Legion.
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquer'':
** ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert2: Yuri's Revenge'' has the Allies vs Soviet Union vs Yuri's forces. The Allies and the Soviets allied with each other until Yuri was defeated, then continued to fight against one other, which forced the Soviets to use their own time machine, leading to the events of [=RA3=].
** ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert3'' has the Allies vs the Soviets vs the Empire of the Rising Sun.
** ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberiumWars'' has Global Defence Initiative vs Brotherhood of Nod vs Scrin. The best part of it was that the leader of Nod, [[MagnificentBastard Kane]], had [[JustAsPlanned manipulated all the three factions for his own agenda]], and without none of them realizing it. In the mission "Operation Stiletto" as Nod, the GDI and Scrin are launching full scale assaults against each other and you have to make sure they don't completely destroy each other while you capture each other's construction yards.
* In ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' it was Sora and his allies vs. Organization XIII vs. Maleficent and her allies, and TheHeartless regularly changing sides among the latter two depending on which one is the strongest for the moment.
** In the manga adaptation for the same game, it's [[{{Disney/Hercules}} Hades]] vs. [[{{TheDragon}} Pete]] vs. [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyX Auron]], with a BoundAndGagged Megara caught up in the middle, Hercules lying unconscious nearby, and Sora and his friends on the side rooting for Auron.
* ''VideoGame/SyphonFilter'': Logan & Xing vs. Rhoemer's troops vs. Pharcom. The last act of second game has Logan & friends vs. the Agency vs. the NYPD.
** ''VideoGame/SyphonFilterTheOmegaStrain'''s Minsk mission has the Agency vs. Jandran's mooks vs. the University guards.
* The entirety of ''VideoGame/ShadowTheHedgehog'' is one huge war between [[HeroAntagonist G.U.N.]][=/=][[TheHero Sonic]] [[FiveManBand Heroes]], the [[HumanoidAliens Black Arms]], the [[{{Egopolis}} Eggman]] [[TheEmpire Empire]], and the [[AntiHero titular hedgehog himself]], who can [[WildCard side with whoever the player wants to]].
** The final boss of ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'' sees Perfect Chaos break free of Eggman's reins after obtaining the power of all seven Chaos Emeralds. Eggman tries to stop it himself but only ends up with another destroyed Egg Carrier on his hands before Super Sonic steps in and cleans up the mess.
** The TrueFinalBoss of ''VideoGame/SonicMania'' pits [[spoiler:Super Sonic against Eggman and the leader of the Hard-Boiled Heavies, Heavy King, in the middle of a tug-of-war between Eggman and Heavy King over the Phantom Ruby]]. The battle is fought as a DualBoss where Sonic fights both of them, each of them trading places whenever the other is hit.
* Averted in ''VideoGame/OgreBattle''. If there are two or more enemies, [[EnemyMine they will spontaneously ally]] [[TheComputerIsACheatingBastard against you]].
* ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' involves an upcoming battle for Hoover Dam (and by between [[TheFederation The NCR]], [[TheEmpire Caesar's Legion]] and [[ManipulativeBastard Mr. House]], with the main character deciding who they want to side with as the WildCard of the game. Of course, if the players wish, they can even fight for an Independent New Vegas in which ''they'' essentially take over Vegas.
** It gets even more complicated with DLC, which reveals that [[spoiler: Elijah and Ulysses]] also want to wipe out the three main factions competing in the Mojave. And they fully have the means to do it.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' has the Brotherhood of Steel as the main good faction and the Enclave as the main antagonists, along with several lesser factions fighting with or against the player as well as each other. At the optional Capitol Building, you may get involved in a four-way battle between yourself, the Enclave's troops, the Super Mutants, and the Talon Company Mercs. In another location, there can be a threesome between Outcasts (friendly to the player unless you piss them off), Mutants, and Raiders. Or better still, Raiders, a [[BearsAreBadNews Yao Guai]], a [[LizardFolk Deathclaw]], and a [[MechaMooks Sentry Bot]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 4}}'', you have four different factions: the Brotherhood of Steel, the Minutemen, the Railroad, and the Institute, all with their own agendas. Aside from the Minutmen and Railroad, who mostly don't care about each other, all of them oppose all the others. In the story mission The Battle of Bunker Hill, you actually have a three-way brawl between the Railroad, the Institute, and the Brotherhood. At that point in the game, it's entirely possible to be working for all three factions, so they'll all treat you as a friendly. Even if you're busy slaughtering them. Yeah, this is basically HilarityEnsues: The Mission. And the battle can get even more complicated if an outside force like Raiders, Super Mutants, or a hungry Deathclaw get attracted by all the fighting.
** The DLC's continue the tradition. ''Automatron'' has the Sole Survivor and Ada, plus other robots they may have crafted, versus the Mechanist's robots, vs. the Rust Devils and their robots, while ''Far Harbor'' pits the citizens of the titular harbor town, the synth colony of Acadia, and the Children of Atom against each other, as well as possibly the Institute or the Brotherhood if the Sole Survivor has allied with one of them.
* ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'' starts out as Alex Mercer vs. Blackwatch/US Marines, but shortly thereafter, the Redlight virus and Elizabeth Greene hit the scene as well, adding legions of viral mutants to the fray as well. Later on, [[spoiler: Greene is killed and her virus starts to die off as well, but the Supreme Hunter takes her place as the third party, although not until the FinalBoss fight.]]
* ''VideoGame/AceCombat'':
** The uncut ''VideoGame/AceCombat3Electrosphere'' eventually had ''four'' sides fighting each other in every one of its MultipleEndings: UPEO vs. General Resource vs. Neucom vs. Ouroboros. In fact, each ending was mainly characterized by who your character was fighting for in the end (Ouroboros technically got two).
** ''VideoGame/AceCombat5TheUnsungWar'' had the setup of Yuktobania vs. Osea vs. [[spoiler:Belka]] in the last few missions. Also, your own squadron had to fight all of them ''at once'' until the truth about the third participant went public.
* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedRevelations'' has this, between the Ottoman guard, the Byzantine Templars and their guards, and the Assassins. It's not uncommon to see both of the opposing factions fighting (or sometimes cause it by forcing them to meet somewhere).
* ''VideoGame/SaintsRow'' often has the player fighting off both rival gangs and police. Nowhere is this more evident than ''VideoGame/SaintsRowTheThird''[='s=] penultimate mission, "[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Three Way]]", where [[spoiler: the city of Steelport breaks out into chaos as the Luchadores and STAG engage each other in mass warfare, and the Saints have to clean up the mess...by killing off both sides at the worst areas of fighting, along with any extras that show up due to maxed notoriety for both sides]].
** The second mission of the [[VideoGame/SaintsRow1 first Saints Row]] has a Melee A ''Quatre'', with the Saints crashing what was ''already'' a three-way gang war and wiping out all the other parties in the confusion.
* By the third game in the series, the conflict in ''VideoGame/GearsOfWar'' has the remains of humanity, the Locust, and the Lambent locked in a three way war.
* ''VideoGame/ReturnToCastleWolfenstein'', in levels with undead enemies, pits you vs. the Nazis vs. them.
* ''VideoGame/KidIcarusUprising'':
** Pit vs [[CloningBlues Dark Pit]] vs Underworld Forces in Chapter 6.
** Pit vs Space Pirates vs Underworld Forces in Chapter 8.
** The big one, starting in Chapter 11, is Palutena's Army vs [[spoiler:Hades' Underworld Forces vs Viridi's Forces of Nature]].
** And then you throw [[spoiler:the Aurum and later the Chaos Kin]] into the mix... Does anybody get along in this game? As a matter of fact, if you stop to pay attention, you will see mooks of different factions beating each other up. Sometimes they'll even kill each other for you so you don't have to.
** Actually subverted in [[spoiler: the Aurum's case, since Palutena's Army, Hades' Underworld Forces, and Viridi's Forces of Nature join together in defeating them.]] Played straight with [[spoiler: the Chaos Kin, however, as there it's Hades' Underworld Forces, Palutena's Army (under control of the Chaos Kin), and Viridi's Forces of Nature, with Pit siding with the last since they're the most decent group left.]]
* In ''VideoGame/SniperElite'', you are an American OSS agent/ColdSniper dropped into the middle of the [[UsefulNotes/WW2 Battle Of Berlin]]. You can come across Germans and Russians fighting each other, and can join in whenever you like or simply observe until one side destroys the other.
* ''VideoGame/EndOfNations'' the player chooses to side with either the Liberation Front, and the Shadow Revolution, as they fight the Order of Nations and each other.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Driver}}'''s [[DifficultySpike final mission]], The President's Run, both the NYPD and the Mafia are all over Tanner like fire ants.
* ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime2Echoes'' has, in progressing order, Luminoth vs Ing vs Robots, Federation Marines vs Space Pirates vs Ing then Robots vs Ing vs Space Pirates vs Dark Samus vs [[LateToTheParty Samus]].
* Happens in almost every game of the ''VideoGame/TotalWar'' series, with multiple nations fighting it out in campaign mode.
* In the second mission of ''VideoGame/PerfectDarkZero'', you can trigger a three-way battle between yourself, Killian's gang members, and Datadyne's personnel.
* Happens on two ''separate'' occasions in the ''VideoGame/JakAndDaxter'' series.
** In ''VideoGame/JakIIRenegade'', which focuses on the three-way struggle between the Underground Resistance, Baron Praxis and the KG, and the Metal Heads.
** In ''VideoGame/Jak3Wastelander'', Haven City becomes a war zone between the resurgent Metal Heads, the Freedom League, and the army of KG robots [[spoiler:led by a cybernetically-revived Erol]], and that's not even bringing Spargus [[spoiler:or the Dark Makers]] into the mix.
* The story of ''VideoGame/HeroesOfMightAndMagic: A Strategic Quest'' is that three sides are battling it over who'll become ruler of Enroth when a noble stumbles through a portal from another world and starts a ''fourth'' faction with the same goal.
* Happens twice in ''VideoGame/MaxPayne3'': First in chapter 3, where Max and Raul's meeting with the Comando Sombra is rudely interrupted by the Cracha Preto, and second in chapter 9 where the UFE stick their heads into the same.
* ''VideoGame/MarvelUltimateAlliance'' 2: The fight in prison 42 soon explodes in a three way battle against the Pro-SRA heroes, the Anti-SRA heroes, and the nano machine controlled super villains.
* ''VideoGame/BrokenHelix'' focused on a [[SemperFi U.S. marine team]] being sent to Area 51 to eliminate both renegade scientists and aliens (including [[HalfHumanHybrid hybrids]]). [[spoiler:The player can join either of them.]]
* The obscure FirstPersonShooter ''Team Factor'' pits NATO special forces (eg. [[UsefulNotes/YanksWithTanks Green Berets]], [[UsefulNotes/WeAreNotTheWehrmacht KSK]], [[UsefulNotes/BritsWithBattleships SAS]], [[UsefulNotes/GaulsWithGrenades GIGN]]) vs. terrorists vs. the [[UsefulNotes/RussiansWithRustingRockets Russian Spetsnaz]], around the world.
* Tom Clancy's ''VideoGame/EndWar'' pits [[{{Eagleland}} the United States]], [[UnitedEurope the European Federation]] and [[MakeTheBearAngryAgain Russia]] against each other in a three-way conventional war; they simply don't nuke each other into oblivion due to a nuclear missile defence shield covering the territories of all combatants.
* The ''Videogame/StarWarsConquest'' GameMod features three playable factions: the [[TheAlliance Rebel Alliance]], the [[TheEmpire Galactic Empire]], and the [[TheCartel Hutt Cartel]]. Although the formers begins the campaign at war against each others while the latter is neutral at first, the situation will eventually become this trope.
** If the player character decides to create his own faction, it can even become a Mêlée A Quatre.
* The ''VideoGame/StarWarsEmpireAtWar'' expansion ''Forces of Corruption'' has the [[TheEmpire Galactic Empire]], the [[LaResistance Rebel Alliance]], and the [[TheSyndicate Zann Consortium]] duking it out, culminating in a massive final battle over Kuat, in which Zann at first allies with the Rebels only to betray them once he has control over the Super Star Destroyer ''Eclipse'' and its OneHitKill laser. At that point, it's a straight-up three-way fight.
* At one point in ''VideoGame/Sly2BandOfThieves'', there is a three-way battle between the Cooper Gang, Neyla and the Contessa, the latter of whom has Carmelita Fox captured.
* In ''VideoGame/GalakZTheDimensional'', TheEmpire, [[SpacePirates Void Raiders]], and [[BigCreepyCrawlies Space Bugs]] aggro on one another just as much as they aggro on the player.
* In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'', Skyrim finds itself in the middle of three different wars: an active war between the [[VestigialEmpire Cyrodilic Empire]] and the [[YourTerroristsAreOurFreedomFighters Stormcloaks]], a cold war between the Empire and the [[ANaziByAnyOtherName Thalmor]], and everyone versus the [[OurDragonsAreDifferent dragons]]. One of the missions you can elect to take during the main mission chain is to call a meeting between the three factions to get them to stop their fighting and [[EnemyMine accept a truce in order to fight the dragons]]. Meanwhile, the [[TheRemnant Forsworn]] want to kill all the Nords in one part of Skyrim and [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Harkon's vampires]] want to make the sun never rise again in order to rule over the mortal world. And to top it all off, the player themselves can be a force to be reckoned with, following their own agenda, if they so wish.
** Before that, ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion'' featured seven specially named goblin tribes whose lairs contain totem staves, which the player can steal and give to another tribe to provoke a war. The only time most players encounter this mechanic is a sidequest where a farmstead placed right between the caves of two warring goblin tribes asks the player to stop them fighting nearby. The players' options range wildly here, from wiping one or both tribes out, returning the staff one tribe stole from the other, or stealing them both yourself and dropping them somewhere else to simply move the fighting.
** ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsOnline'' has the Aldmeri Dominion (High Elves, Wood Elves and Khajiit) vs. the Ebonheart Pact (Nords, Dark Elves and Argonians) vs. the Daggerfall Covenant (Orcs, Bretons and Redguards). Naturally, [=PVP=] devolves into this quickly.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Battlefield 4}}'', the multiplayer maps can be played with some combination of the [[EagleLand United States]], [[MakeTheBearAngryAgain Russian Federation]] and the [[UsefulNotes/ChineseWithChopperSupport People's Republic of China]], though the maps can only be played with two factions at once.
* Taken UpToEleven in the ''VideoGame/HalfLife1'' mod ''VideoGame/HeartOfEvil'', with [[PlayerCharacter Percy]], Barney, and MIKE troops vs. the 1st Air Cav vs. the Viet Cong and the [=NVA=] vs. Kurtz's zombies vs. exploding dogs [[MyFriendsAndZoidberg vs. gorillas]].
* ''VideoGame/EscapeVelocity Override'' features the Strand War, fought between the Zidagar, Igadzra and Azdagari (all cultures of the same species). WordOfGod is that it was deliberately set up this way: [[spoiler: their original home-planet was nuked by internal warfare into being a dead rock. The Council that was set up by the survivors debated how best to ensure the survival of the species. The answer they came up with was to split the species into three sides, as that would be the number easiest to keep balanced in war, while a single state would be at greater risk from internal unrest outside the Council's influence. This works fine until they run into humans, who are apparently born meddlers ''and'' there's not a single Council operative amongst them, so the Council ends up going 'fuck this' and just openly assuming control, ending the Strand War.]]
* Both ''Videogame/PlanetSide'' games take place in the middle of a ForeverWar between three splinter factions - the [[TheEmpire oppressive Terran Republic]] [[TheRemnant remnant]], the [[MegaCorp corporate New Conglomerate]] rebels, and the [[CyberneticsEatYourSoul transhuman Vanu Sovereignty]] [[MachineWorship cultists]]. Because of the [[PreCursors Ancient Vanu]] [[NanoTechnology nanite sequencing system]], anyone killed is [[DeathIsASlapOnTheWrist shortly re-assembled inside a facility spawn tube]], leading to the endless slaughter. Fights over bases in both games often have the defenders blasting at another empire on one side... and the ''other'' empire attacking in the opposite direction.
* There's a brief one in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV'', with the meth/arms trafficking wars between Trevor Philips Enterprises, [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIVTheLostAndDamned The Lost MC]], and the [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas Varrios Los Aztecas]]. [[spoiler:Shortly after the player gains control of him for the first time, Trevor proceeds to wipe out both opposing sides ''[[OneManArmy almost entirely by himself]]''.]]
** Later on in the mission "The Wrap-Up", [[spoiler: a four-way shootout occurs with Michael, Dave Norton and Trevor vs. an FIB SWAT team vs. a team of IAA agents vs. a whole platoon of Merryweather mercenaries with several Buzzard attack helicopters. And it should be noted that Michael, Dave, and Trevor are all on shaky ground with each other to begin with.]]
** The possible final mission, "The Third Way", [[spoiler: begins with a grueling shootout between the three protagonists (Franklin, Michael, and Trevor), a team of FIB agents, and some Merryweather mercenaries. True to the trope, the FIB agents and Merryweather soldiers help the protags out by shooting at each other.]]
* ''VideoGame/VandalHearts II's'' main plot thread starts off as a simple East vs. West civil war in the country of Natra, and then things get complicated when the heroes form a third side, the Central faction, with the help of some disillusioned nobles and generals. Things get even ''more'' complicated when it turns out there are also at least three other outside factions who are manipulating the entire civil war for their own benefit, all of them acting independently of each other (the [[CorruptChurch Church of Nirvadia]], the [[ApocalypseCult Kudur Cult]], and [[TheEmpire the Zora-Archeo Empire)]].
* ''[[VideoGame/FirstEncounterAssaultRecon FEAR]]'''s later levels have three-for-alls between the F.E.A.R. and Delta Force units, the Replicas, and ATC's rent-a-cops.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'': While there're [[GambitPileup many factions and individuals with their own agendas competing with each other across Ferelden]], the main conflict is between the Grey Wardens and their allies, [[WellIntentionedExtremist Loghain]] and his allies, and the [[TheLegionsOfHell Darkspawn]]. The main plot is about the Grey Wardens trying to gather allies in order to fight off the Darkspawn, while being antagonized by [[BigBad Loghain]], who betrayed them in an attempt to seize Ferelden for himself, forcing the Grey Wardens to deal with him first before they can deal with the [[BiggerBad Archdemon]].
* As discussed in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' and ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'', the island nation of Seheron is currently being fought over by the Qunari, the Tal-Vashoth (former Qunari), the Tevinter Imperium and the Fog Warriors (Seheron natives).
* ''SpecOpsTheLine'' follows a three-man Delta squad as they make their way through the apocalyptic wasteland that was once the city-state of Dubai. They end up fighting both armed civilian insurgents (led by CIA agents, one of whom has plans of his own) and the 33rd Infantry Battalion, who are of course fighting each other. This isn't counting the more rebellious elements of the 33rd that were executed before the events of the game, or the civilians who are fanatically loyal to the 33rd's leader John Konrad...
* ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'':
** The mission "Skirmish" opens up with one of these between Starfleet, the Klingon Defense Force, and the True Way (TheRemnant of the old Cardassian military dictatorship). [[spoiler:You learn later there's a fourth side, Devidians preying on ships in the area, including the True Way.]]
** Upon arrival at the [[spoiler: Preserver]] outpost world, the player finds several Breen and Jem'Hadar ships fighting for control of whatever's on the surface. The player's crewmates encourage them to attack while both are distracted.
** On a macro scale, the conflict between the Voth, the Alpha Quadrant powers, and the Borg, shown in Dyson Reputation cutscenes and spoken of in the dev blogs. The Voth are fighting the Borg in their home space, as is the Alpha Quadrant, but the Voth are fighting the Alpha Quadrant for control of the Dyson spheres. Then ''Delta Rising'' adds the Vaadwaur to the mix, who are at war with the Voth, Borg, ''and'' the Alliance. [[spoiler:Then the Vaadwaur have an EnemyCivilWar 2/3 of the way into ''Delta Rising'' and one side allies with the Alliance.]]
** "A Step Between Stars" is initially just between the Voth and the Dyson alliance. [[spoiler:Then the Undine blast their way into the Jenolan Dyson sphere and wipe out what's left of the Voth fleet before engaging the Dyson alliance.]]
** In ''Delta Rising'''s "Borg Disconnected" STF, what starts as an effort to rescue Borg drones liberated after "Hive: Onslaught" from re-assimilation turns into a Mêlée à ''Quatre'' between the players and Borg Cooperative, the Borg Collective, the Undine, and the Voth.
* ''VideoGame/UniverseAtWar'' has the [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy aggressive]] [[PlanetLooters world-bestriding]] [[TheEmpire Hierarchy]] vs. the robotic [[MechanicalLifeforms Novus]] vs. [[spoiler:the {{Sufficiently Advanced|Alien}} {{Human Alien|s}} [[ThePrecursors Masari]]]]. Humanity is less than pleased with the idea of three hyper-advanced and powerful alien races duking it out on their InsignificantLittleBluePlanet, to say the least. [[spoiler:Eventually the Novus, Masari and humans team up on the Hierarchy and manage to defeat them]].
* The three-way ideological rivalry reflective of history in ''VideoGame/HeartsOfIron'' between the democratic Allies, the fascist Axis, and the communist Comintern. Each version of the game had slightly different means by which individual nations could join or drop out, but the three groups start out more or less hostile to one another and have their own set of victory conditions to accomplish by the end of the game.
* ''VideoGame/DeadIsland'':
** In the Jungle level, a local militia would make an attempt to gun you down at a waterfall. What they don't know is the zombies will ambush them. You can let them fight each other and then finish off the remaining foes.
** The same scenario happens again in the Prison. The Police is hostile to everyone since they are overly paranoid. You can let them fend off the zombies and then finish them off, or finish the cops first and then the zombies.
** You can deliberately invoke this by baiting the zombies to the Punks in the Town level.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Bloodborne}}'', the Beast Possessed Soul is outright hostile to everything when he is a mob, and will attack the other creatures within its sight. You can use it to dispatch other creatures for you.
* In ''VideoGame/DarkSoulsIII'', the Darkwraiths and Ghrus in Farron Keep are hostile to each other. The Ghru may still attack you while fending off the Darkwraiths, but the Darkwraiths are much stronger and would prioritise on killing the Ghru first, usually resulting in the Darkwraiths defeating a pack of Ghrus before focusing on you.
* Mercenaries vs. Trigens vs. Jack, Val and Doyle in ''VideoGame/FarCry''. The level "Rebellion" showcases it best, when Jack has to go through battle sites between the Trigens and the Mercs, and can be targeted by both if he doesn't wait for one side to be wiped out.
* ''VideoGame/CrusaderKings'': If two separate claimants launch wars for a title, they automatically become hostile to each other as well. This mechanic can sometimes result in a morass of warfare consuming entire continents.
* ''VideoGame/PiratesVikingsAndKnights'': [[CaptainObvious Guess who the three factions are.]]
* The ''VideoGame/SenranKagura'' series is absolutely full of this. Originally in the first game ''Burst'', it was Hanzo Academy vs. Hebijo Academy to evoke the traditional sense of "[[BlackAndWhiteMorality Good Shinobi vs. Evil Shinobi]]", but this gets completely abandoned near the end of the game when the true BigBad shows up and releases an EldritchAbomination on both of the factions. After that, the Hebijo students break off from their faction to form their own called the [[RenegadeSplinterFaction Crimson Squad]].
** ''Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson'' has Hanzo Academy and the Crimson Squad vs. [[spoiler:[[BigBad Dougen]]]] and the [[TheHeartless Youma]] vs. Naraku and [[LivingMacguffin Kagura]]. It gets complicated.
** It gets even more complicated in the ''Versus'' series. ''Shinovi Versus'' introduces Gessen Academy, a KnightTemplar faction, and the new Hebijo faction formed from new students in the wake of the Crimson Squad's breakaway. Leading to instances of GoodVersusGood, EvilVersusEvil, and GrayAndGreyMorality throughout the whole game. ''Estival Versus'' introduces the Thousand-Year Festival Executives, a faction with a FreudianExcuse who engages the other four factions in a five-way competition.
** And let's not even get started with [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters New Wave]]. [[UpToEleven Whoo boy]]!
* ''VideoGame/UnrealTournament''[='=]s Team Deathmatch and Domination gametypes can support up to 4 teams.
* ''VideoGame/{{Nexuiz}}'' and its SpiritualSuccessor ''VideoGame/{{Xonotic}}'' have multi-way Team Deathmatch, Domination and Key Hunt matches. Some of those matches can even be found in both games' respective campaigns.
* Happens in ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' during Scream Fortress (Halloween Mode). As usual, you have the RED and BLU teams shredding each other to bits, but then you have Merasmus and the other spooks like MONOCULUS!, the Horseless Headless Horsemann, and the Helltower Skeletons who'll attack both of the teams on sight. It's nothing but frantic free-for-all chaos once the October month sets in.
* In space strategy ''VideoGame/{{Reunion}}'' it's you against Morgruls-Kalls alliance against the League.
* ''VideoGame/Warhammer40000SpaceMarine'' starts out as the Ultramarines and Imperial Guard vs. the Orks, but two-thirds of the way through [[spoiler:a Chaos Space Marine warband shows up and starts summoning daemons.]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Stellaris}}'', an event called War in Heaven becomes one of these between two fallen empires alongside their respective allies and an alliance of all the factions that decided to stay neutral.
* ''VideoGame/NexusWar'' games revolve around the titular War between Angels, Demons and the free-willed Transcended. Transcended can join either of the other sides instead of forming their own factions, but this serves to keep both Angels and Demons distrustful of them.
* By the end of Act I in ''VideoGame/{{Tyranny}}'', you have one of these on your hands between the Disfavored (empire-aligned, honorful warriors, elite army), the Scarlet Chorus (also empire-aligned, army of thieves and whores, the horde) and the Rebellion, which is split into even more sub-faction that might or might not get along. Made even more complicated by a number of neutral groups that just want to be left alone, such as the beast people tribes, those that are mostly in it for the money (the Bronze Brotherhood), and the Court of Fatebinders, which is the judicial part of the Empire and the faction the player belongs to initially. The player then can ally with either of the main factions, support them while trying to stay neutral in their role of fatebinder, or betray everyone and start their own anarchist faction.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* The Flash video series ''WebAnimation/SuperMarioBrosZ'' pits the Mario team (Consisting of Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, [[Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog Sonic and Shadow]]) against the Koopa Bros (From ''VideoGame/PaperMario'') and the Axem Rangers X (Upgraded versions of the Axem Rangers from ''VideoGame/SuperMarioRPG''), in a fierce battle on Yoshi's Island. Later, Mecha Sonic appears, who fights against all three, though only one team at a time. He enters the battle by [[spoiler:ramming into the Koopa Bros, taking them out instantly.]] With them down, he then proceeds to [[spoiler:nab the Axem Ranger's Chaos Emerald and destroy their gunship. The Rangers attack him, but he systematically beats and then kills them.]] This leaves only the heroes, Mario, Sonic and the gang, to take on Mecha Sonic, and the rest of the episode revolves around this fight rather than the earlier MeleeATrois.
* The entire ForeverWar in ''VideoGame/PlanetSide'' is a MeleeATrois - Three empires in constant warfare over some tiny rock god-knows-where. Often, three empires will fight over the same base, usually with one team already holding the base and trying to stave off the other two empires (who are busy shooting each other and the defenders at the same time). The areas between bases often turn into deadlocks between two empires until the third empire barges in for some kills.
* In the Recollection saga of ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'', it's the [[RagtagBunchofMisfits Blood Gulch Crew]] vs. Project Recovery (and, by extension, the [[TheFederation UNSC]]) vs. The Meta. Though, with the introduction of other characters and elements, the sides shift quite constantly.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* During the "Stormbreaker Saga" from ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'', a straightforward battle between the kingdoms of Trent and Mercia is interrupted by K'Z'K attacking both sides with its demon army. Whether any of the Trents or Mercians join sides (besides Torg and Zoe) is unclear.
* An appropriate quote from ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'':
-->''The enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy. No more, no less.''
* In ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'', you have:
** Agatha and her friends, plus (now) Castle Heterodyne and all the Jägermonsters.
** Baron Wulfenbach and his army (with Gilgamesh torn between this side and Agatha's).
** House Sturmvoraus (with [[TheLancer Tarvek]] being of dubious allegiance, and possibly choosing Agatha's side).
** Zola and the conspiracy backing her.
** The Other and her minions.
** Othar Tryggvassen, GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER.
** And many others, including any power-hungry Spark that would get involved. It doesn't simplify things that [[spoiler:The Other, Lucrezia, is currently inhabiting Agatha's body.]]
** The best illustration of a Mêlée à Trois, though, would certainly be [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20100716 this page.]]
** In one arc [[spoiler:there's at least ''seven'' different factions fighting for control of Mechanicsburg, and word is ''more'' are on their way.]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'':
** God-tier Vriska vs. Eridan vs. Gamzee! STRIFE! Subverted, [[OurVampiresAreDifferent A newly undead]] [[BewareTheNiceOnes Kanaya]] kicks Gamzee [[GroinAttack in the crotch]] and off a cliff, punches Vriska and sends her sliding away, and breaks Eridan's wand and [[ChainsawGood pulls out a chainsaw]] on him.
** Later on in the act, there's a showdown with a '''quintet''', existing of the aforementioned Kanaya and Gamzee, but also with [[spoiler: Karkat]], [[spoiler: Sollux]] and [[spoiler: Terezi]]. The first one is named 'Attempt a rare 3x showdown combo', and the second one is titled in the same vein: 'Attempt a rare [[RecycledInSpace and highly dangerous]] 5x showdown combo'.
** Much later, in the climax of Act 6, there is a three-way between Terezi and Dave and Dirk on one side, Spades Slick on another, and Jack English on the third. Both Jacks are equally hostile to everyone.
* In the web comics of ''VideoGame/UrbanRivals'', the B team have to protect their captured leaders from Zlatars robot ninjas, and the Ghiest clan.
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'': This briefly occurs during the Battle of Azure City, when both one of [[BigBad Xykon's]] decoys and some ninja assassins sent by [[AristocratsAreEvil Daimyo Kubota]] try to kill [[SupportingLeader Hinjo]]. Humorously, the duplicate and one of the ninjas actually argue over who gets the kill, before Hinjo suggests a third option:
-->'''Hinjo:''' I call my proposal [[BigDamnHeroes "Giant Dwarf with a hammer".]]
* Two instances in ''Webcomic/TowerOfGod'': First in the crown game, where up to 5 teams could and would face off against each other, and then the three-way fight between [[BadassLongcoat Viole]], [[PapaWolf Hon Arkraptor]], and [[TheBigGuy Kang Horyang]].
* ''Webcomic/GoneWithTheBlastwave'''s premise is three armies (the protagonists' faction Red, plus Blue and Yellow) fighting a ForeverWar in a bombed-out city. [[spoiler:An AprilFools [[http://www.blastwave-comic.com/index.php?p=comic&nro=73 page]] has the Red protagonists find their way out of the city to find that the entire war is a giant museum exhibit or memorial to a war that, for everyone else, ended centuries ago.]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''RolePlay/YuGiOhEastAcademy'' there was a battle royale between Justin, Marcus and an NPC called Yikhezkel.
* After the (entirely satirical) feud between WebVideo/TheAngryVideoGameNerd and WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic got really heated, the Critic busted in on one of the Nerd's autograph signings. Also there was fellow Internet personality Captain S, who wasn't involved with the feud at all but invited himself in anyway, resulting in a slow motion three-way brawl in the parking lot that simultaneously spoofed ''Film/TheGoodTheBadAndTheUgly'' and ''Film/RockyV''. [[http://www.thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/thatguywiththeglasses/nostalgia-critic/529-the-battle-of-epic-proportions It kind of has to be seen to be believed]].
%%* [[http://www.intuitor.com/forchess/ Cutthroat Forchess]].
%%* [[http://www.oldeenglish.org/gymclass.html Gym Class]].
* Occurs in ''Roleplay/SurvivalOfTheFittest'' on a couple of occasions. For example, Andrew Klock vs. Xian Chun vs. Cole Hudson (becoming Xian and Cole vs. Andrew) and Maxie Dasai vs. Johnathan Rizzolo vs. Emma Babineaux (and turning into Maxie vs. Riz and Emma).
%%* ''JustForFun/TheWarOfTheAbridgedSeriesCreators''
* One of ''Roleplay/{{Zeonquest}}'''s [[AlternateUniverseFic main deviations from the UC canon]] is the One Year War turning into one of these. [[spoiler: [[EvilPrince Ghiren Zabi]] attempts to poison his father so he can seize control of Zeon and win the war [[ColonyDrop his]] [[NukeEm way.]]]] The news of this causes the royal family to split into the Legitimacy and Loyalist factions.
* This is going on throughout the ''Literature/WhateleyUniverse'' story "Saks and Violence" but the final battle in the wrecking yard is Jadis (the protagonist) and her fellow Bad Seeds plus as many minions as she could hire on short notice vs. the Empire City Guard and the Cadet Crusaders vs. the armies of the Anti-Champion. Plus whatever Jobe is up to, and the general untrustworthiness of anyone whose last name is Wilkins.
* Happens sometimes in ''WebVideo/EpicRapBattlesOfHistory'' with a third person dropping by to smack both contestants:
** Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates vs. [[spoiler:HAL 9000]]
** Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney vs. [[spoiler:Abraham Lincoln]]
** Ghostbusters vs. Mythbusters vs. [[spoiler:The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man]]
** Exaggerated in "Rasputin vs. Stalin" which was first interrupted by [[spoiler:Lenin]], then by [[spoiler:Gorbachev]] and then by [[spoiler:Putin]], each dissing out all previous contestants.
** Also exaggerated in "Steven Spielberg vs. Alfred Hitchcock", where the battle keeps getting interrupted by [[spoiler:Quentin Tarantino]], [[spoiler:Stanley Kubrick]], and [[spoiler:Michael Bay]].
* Perhaps a very downplayed example, but the whole format of ''WebVideo/MovieFights'' feature a three-way verbal battle between three movie nerds arguing about movie trivias. And, yes, they get very heated in their arguments, especially if [[SitcomArchnemesis Nick Mundy and Roger Barr]] are on the set together.
* ''Franchise/{{Noob}}'':
** ''[[FictionalVideoGame Horizon]]'' started out with two factions, the Empire (the faction in which the protagonists are playing) and the Coalition. Later installments introduce the Order, which is hostile to both, causing this trope to happen.
** Season 5 finale of the webseries had a fight between the three UltimateGamer386 characters. Fantöm and Amaras ended teaming up to have a chance to beat Spectre, who's good enough to put both of them in OvershadowedByAwesome territory.
* ''Literature/TheRuinsOfAnAmericanPartySystem'':
** The German Civil War of the 1920s is a three-way conflict between the Communists, the Nazis, and a more centrist movement that supports a restored (and constitutional) monarchy. [[spoiler: The latter wins.]]
** The Indian Civil War of the 40s is even more complicated. On the surface, it's the British and their loyalists vs Hindu nationalists vs Muslim nationalists vs Communist revolutionaries. But both nationalist groups are further divided by factions willing to work with each other against the Communists, and those willing to work with the Communists against the British. And there's also the maharajas, who are playing the field amongst the British and both sets of nationalists to fend off the Communists.
* ''Literature/AMorePersonalUnion'' has a few examples:
** The Italian theater of the Great War becomes this, as the Pavian Compact is formed by the otherwise neutral northern Italian city-states to kick both the French and the Spanish out of their territory once their fighting spills into it.
** The unrest in China during the early 1600s has the Imperial court, a sizable army faction that's gone rogue out of disgust at the court's corruption, [[TheCaligula Red Tiger's]] revolutionary army, and the Jurchen invaders (the latter two eventually reluctantly teaming up), as well as numerous smaller groups, all fighting each other.
** The [[spoiler: Spanish Civil War]] has four claimants fighting over the throne, as well as having to deal with an uprising by the Muslim Moriscos.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'':
** In "[[Recap/AvatarTheLastAirbenderTheChase The Chase]]", Azula vs. Aang vs. Zuko. Then one by one the rest of the Gaang shows up, as does Iroh. Eventually collapses into everyone vs. Azula by silent agreement that [[EnemyMine they all hate her the most]]. She [[ISurrenderSuckers "surrenders"]] but [[MagnificentBastard gets away anyway]].
** This is also present in the rest of the series as a sort of RightHandVersusLeftHand between Zuko and the rest of the Fire Nation (especially Zhao) fighting over Aang, while Aang is trying to avoid capture.
** An earlier episode has a three-way battle between the Gaang, the Fire Nation, and pirates.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSpectacularSpiderMan'':
** Gang lords auction on a disc with the key to New York. This leads to a battle between Spidey, Hammerhead, Silver Sable, Rhino, and Roderick Kingsley, the guy who actually bought the disc. The winner of the fight? [[spoiler:Norman Osborn, who sold Kingsley a fake disc knowing it would never survive the ensuing chaos, and now has all the money Kingsley gave him and the real disc.]]
** Also, the brawl between Tombstone, Doc Ock and Silvermane in "Gangland" with Spidey watching from the side, only getting involved to prevent collateral damage. The villains form a (very) brief alliance to take him down, but Tombstone turns on them to [[SlaveToPR maintain his image, as he couldn't be seen in public siding with the bad guys.]] The winner? [[spoiler:Norman Osborn ''again'' as his main rivals were arrested, or in the case of Tombstone had their assets severely crippled.]]
* After the Foot Clan got taken down a few notches in ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2003'', New York became a battleground between what was left of the Foot, the mob, and the Purple Dragons gang.
** Most of the major conflicts in the series are less Turtles vs. Shredder and more Turtles vs. Shredder vs. Baxter Stockman (who eventually pulls a TheStarscream on Shredder and remains a persistent thorn in both sides' sides by hitching his wagon to the aforementioned mob and later Bishop). Stockman usually gets eliminated from the three-way first, though.
** The "Turtles in Space" arc has the Turtles caught in the crossfire between two galactic dictatorships that are nearly identical in their corruption, militarism, and insanity.
* ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'':
** The second season of ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'' is Autobots vs. the Decepticons still working with Megatron vs. Starscream [[spoiler:and [[MesACrowd his clones]]]], with lone enemies like Swindle, Blackarachnia, and Meltdown showing up occasionally.
** ''WesternAnimation/TransformersTheMovie'': Autobots vs. Decepticons vs. Unicron.
** ''Anime/TransformersEnergon'': Autobots vs. Decepticons vs. Alpha Q and Team Rodimus (before their HeelFaceTurn).
** ''Anime/TransformersCybertron'': Autobots vs. Megatron's Decepticons vs. Starscream's Decepticons.
** ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'': Autobots and their human allies vs Decepticons vs MECH. Also put in a temporary independent-acting [[spoiler:Starscream]], [[spoiler:Airachnid]] and her [[spoiler:Insecticons]], Unicron, and the Predacons. All with the ever shifting alliances, backstabbings and betrayals Series/GameOfThrones style to go with it.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheBatman'': Batman vs. Catwoman vs. Ragdoll, as they fought over stolen goods.
* ''WesternAnimation/ExoSquad'': Exofleet vs. Neosapiens vs. Pirates. Pirates are the KingMaker.
* ''War Planets'', a.k.a. ''WesternAnimation/ShadowRaiders'', involved an ages-long war between four planets, until they are all forced to cooperate because they are attacked by a fifth, far more powerful enemy.
* ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'':
** In the episode "Flirting with Disasters", it was Danny vs. [[DatingCatwoman Valerie]] vs. Technus. Danny's prime target is Technus, though he has to shake Valerie off without hurting her. Valerie primary aims for Danny, though being a ghost hunter, she would eventually have aimed for Technus. Technus concentrated more on world dominating, but he would have warded off both of them as he attempted throughout the episode.
** Also, briefly, Danny vs. Vlad vs. Valerie in "Reign Storm" before they all decided to [[EnemyMine team up]] against a bigger foe.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'', Shego, Monkeyfist and Duff Killigan all fight each other for possession of Ron's naked mole rat Rufus. Added awesomeness here as they fight on, in and around the Eiffel Tower, with Kim intervening to save Rufus from harm.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheAvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'' episode "Hail Hydra!", there is an EnemyCivilWar between HYDRA and A.I.M., with the Avengers trying to stop it, and S.H.I.E.L.D. trying to stop ''everyone''.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' episode "Winner Take All", the final battle among friendly competitors is between Robin, Speedy, and Wildebeest. The competitors hold no grudges and are only playing to win the tournament. The fight becomes a one-on-one once Wildebeest loses.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'' episode "Drop Zone", on the Team's first mission, they find themselves going up against Bane and the cult organization Kobra, who are also warring against each other.
* Happens frequently on ''WesternAnimation/CelebrityDeathmatch'', often unintentionally.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' episode "Beware the Creeper", the Joker and Harley Quinn are trying to take down the Creeper, since the Joker feels that he's ruining his "act". The Creeper is trying to get revenge on the Joker (and seduce Harley) for turning him into the Creeper. Batman and Robin are trying to stop all of them from causing even more chaos than they already have. HilarityEnsues.
* The "Shanghai" trilogy of ''WesternAnimation/DCNation'' shorts ends in a three-way fight between Catwoman, Bane and [[spoiler:Batman]] over a valuable scroll, cutting to a suspiciously similar image of shadow puppetry as the battle goes on.
* The ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' episode "Daring Don't" features [[MacGuffin The Ring of Destiny]], which is fought over by Daring Do with the Mane Six who want to destroy it, Ahuizotl who wants it for his dark ritual, and Dr. Caballeron with his henchponies who are just in it for the money.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* UsefulNotes/TheYugoslavWars were a three-way melee between the Serbs (Eastern Orthdox, backed by the Russians, Greeks and other East Europeans), the Croats (Catholic, backed by Western Europeans) and the Bosnians (mostly Muslim, backed by Arabs and other Muslims). Various alliances were formed and many backs were stabbed in the course of the four-year war.
* This was also the case in Yugoslavia during UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo where the Chetniks (nationalist partisans), Tito's communists and the [[ThoseWackyNazis German occupiers and their allies, most notably the Croat Ustashe]] were also trying to gain or retain control of Yugoslavia. Tito's eventual victory was not wholly due to Soviet intervention, setting up his rivalry with Stalin and the 1948 split with Moscow. There were many alliances forged: Italians weren't really happy with NDH[[note]]''Nezavisna Država Hrvatska'', or "Independent State of Croatia"[[/note]] (they didn't even allow NDH forces to cross to south part of the state), partisans were fighting against any occupiers for communist Yugoslavia, and Chetniks for royalist Yugoslavia, while Germans simply wanted resources from NDH. So Italians often protected Chetniks and Partisans from NDH, and fought them at other times; Chetniks made alliances with Axis forces against Partisans as well with Partisans against Axis forces; Germans and Ustashi fought Partisans constantly, but sometimes allied with Chetniks against them...
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanese_Civil_War The Sectarian civil war that occurred in Lebanon from 1975 to 1990.]] You may hear it referred to as "war between Muslims and Christians". But in actuality, there were countless factions such as the [[ChurchMilitant Phalangists]], [[TheRevolutionWillNotBeCivilized Palestine Liberation Organization]], Amal, Druze, Hizbullah and [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters others]]. [[UsefulNotes/IsraelisWithInfraredMissiles Other]] [[UsefulNotes/{{Syria}} countries]] got dragged into it too. An infamous method of execution that happened during the war was "Identity Killings". Every Lebanese person at that time had an I.D Card which listed their sect or religion. The result was that if you were a civilian trying to get through Beirut in your car, you would come across a checkpoint manned by militants. [[MoralEventHorizon They would demand to see your I.D, and if you happened to be from a sect that they didn't like, they would pull you out of the car and shoot you in the head]]. [[EvilVersusEvil Such behavior by all parties involved characterized the war]].
* UsefulNotes/TheCrusades: Roman Catholics vs. Orthodox Christians vs. Muslims, with the Jews caught in the middle.
** And members of all three sides taking the opportunity to attack rivals within their own faction -- occasionally with the help of members of another faction.
** It got more complicated with the Ninth Crusade (1271-1272). Abaqa Khan, the monarch of the Ilkhanate, allied with the Crusaders against the Mamluks. He was a Buddhist. On the other hand, the Northern Crusades (or Baltic Crusades) featured various Catholic factions at war with the last remaining Pagan tribes of Northern Europe. Said Catholic factions rivaled each other and did not hesitate to go into open war. For example the long conflict between Poland and the Teutonic Order. Add a number of Orthodox states, mainly Novgorod, getting involved and you have even more complexity than the Middle Eastern Crusades.
*** Even more complicated. The Mongols who conquered the Russian lands, the Golden Horde, converted to Islam and went to war against their Ilkhanate cousins in Persia.
*** Mongols were also involved in the Northern Crusades, but against the crusaders in this case, as the statelets of northern Russia were also vassals of the Golden Horde (and Alexander Nevsky, the Novogorod prince, was a sworn brother of the Mongol Khan (of the Horde).
* The Haitian Revolution: one group wanted to remain loyal to the French Revolution (mostly free blacks, supported by France), one group wanted independence so they could keep things as they were under the monarchy (mostly whites, supported by Britain), and one group wanted independence for a black nation (mostly slaves, supported by Spain). The free blacks won, but when the French Expeditionary Force arrived and started acting like dicks, the free blacks teamed up with the slaves and established an independent Haiti.
* In many governments, the power is often divided up into three branches, with the idea being that no one branch can get all of the power because it has to compete with two other branches. Apart from America, many Commonwealth countries like United Kingdom and New Zealand have separation of power where the government is split into 3 branches (parliament, judiciary and executive). Many [[strike:Commonwealth countries]] countries in general also have several parties jockeying for position. As just one example, UsefulNotes/{{Canada}} has had everything from Melees A Trois to Melees A Cinq. The Liberal, Conservative and New Democratic Parties have been competing for decades, with various other parties (Social Credit, Reform, Bloc Quebecois, etc.) being elected to Parliament at any given time.
* In the old Soviet Union, the Communist Party, the Armed Forces, and the KGB tended to function as competing political power blocs.
* [[GambitPileup Let's not even get started on the causes of the First World War.]]
** Many smaller countries went into the war nominally allied with one side but with the full intention of seizing land or other perks from the weakened victor, even if that victor was ostensibly an ally.
** Several countries backed efforts to establish a southern Slavic state (Yugoslavia) purely because it would weaken the Austro-Hungarian Empire or allow a pretext for war.
** The "Young Turks" allied with Germany, bringing the Ottoman Empire with them. They then participated in a covert plan to travel the Middle East, fermenting various nations to call for a 'jihad' against the British Empire. To the Germans, this was a tactical plan to force Britian to either expend troops quelling uprisings, or lose India, the crown jewel of its empire. The Turks, however, intended to use the holy warcry to found an all-Turk empire of the Middle East. The plan failed on its very first mission to Afghanistan due to a wide array of tactical and diplomatic blunders, as well as [[CrimeFightingWithCash the British keeping hefty bribes flowing to Afghanistan]]. It didn't help that the German agents decided to brew schnapps and get drunk in a country where alcohol was unheard of. Intoxicated European provocateurs flaunting disregard for local religious laws rarely help under-the-table diplomacy.
* UsefulNotes/WorldWarII was one of these, as two separate wars (Japan vs. China in 1937, Germany vs. Poland in 1939) broke out on opposite sides of the globe and eventually merged into a single massive conflict.
** Indeed, the Chinese conflict was a straight example. The Japanese came and took over the major cities in the eastern area. In theory, this caused the Communists and the Kuomintang to [[EnemyMine work together]] to fight a guerilla war against the Japanese. In practice, the Japanese tried to keep control over the area, while the rebels tried to gain popular support, with all three sides taking pot shots at each other trying to remove the competition.
** Germany and China had an excellent relationship prior to World War II. Indeed, Chiang Kai Shek's best troops were equipped and trained by the Germans and German advisors were still planning their operations when the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out--and would continue to do so until 1938, when Hitler agreed to withdraw them. So, for a year or two, the Germans were indirectly fighting the Japanese in China!
** After the Germans pulled out, Soviet Union stepped in as the major supplier of arms (and "advisors") to the KMT government. When the KMT armies (unofficially) clashed with the Communist Chinese forces from 1939 onward, they may well have been doing so with Soviet arms.
** Soviets had a complex role in the Chinese communist movement. Cominten (i.e. Soviet) agents in China distrusted Mao and the local communists (though there were Soviet-style Chinese communists, such as the Twenty-Eight Bolsheviks) and often clashed against them, even while they were supposedly fighting together against both the government and various warlord armies.
*** Chiang, for his part, was only nominally allied with some of the warlords. Zhang Xueliang was none too pleased that Chiang preferred to focus attention on his fellow Chinese communists rather than the Japanese invaders, and took him prisoner until he agreed, on paper, to play nice.
** Soviet aid to the KMT government (against Mao's forces) and the earlier hostile role played by Comintern agents against Mao and his followers in the Chinese communist movement were not forgotten by the PRC leaders after 1949. They were among the contributing factors to the breakdown of the relationship between PRC and USSR in 1950s.
** Ukrainian Resistance fought at the same time against Polish Resistance, German Army and Russian Army.
** Ditto in parts of Lithuania that were also claimed by the Poles--e.g. around Vilnius.
** Similarly, several countries had [[LesCollaborateurs local pro-Axis troops]] fighting against [[LaResistance both pro-Western and pro-Soviet resistance fighters]], who [[WeAreStrugglingTogether often also fought each other]].
** The vicious nature of the bureaucratic system in Nazi Germany also often resulted in this, especially in the early days of Nazi rule. There was a time when a shooting war between some combination of the SA, SS and the Wehrmacht could have been a real possibility, and was a major motivation for the SS to viciously consolidate power in the late 1930's.
** When SS General Sepp Dietrich was told of the failed assassination attempt on Hitler in July, 1944, the first thing he wanted to know was whether the attempt was carried out by the SS or by the army, in order to figure out which side he should join. Likewise, in the last days of the Third Reich, Heinrich Himmler supposedly thought that he could make a separate peace with the Western Allies, along with his SS, against the rest of the Nazi regime.
** Finland's role in the second world war could be boiled down to "fought almost everybody". The Finns had just ended the Winter War fifteen months prior to the start of Operation Barbarossa, and were convinced to ally with Nazi Germany against the Soviet Union, which in turn led to the Soviet Union's allies, Great Britain, to declare war on Finland. When the war turned against Nazi Germany, Finland sued for a separate peace with the Soviet Union, which in turn caused the Germans to attack Finland. Finland entered a mutual co-operation pact with the Soviet Union (though they only provided a little bit of areal support for one campaign), but were still ''technically'' at war with them and the British. They weren't formally at peace until 1947, when the Paris Peace Treaty was ratified.
* Likewise, the UsefulNotes/ColdWar had [[HollywoodHistory not two]] but three main factions: [[{{Eagleland}} the Western world]] featuring [[TheAlliance NATO]], the [[RedsWithRockets Communist bloc]] and the [[TrueNeutral Non-Aligned Movement]]. Adding to the complication was the defection of China which became a power in its own right opposed to the Soviet Union.
* The term "battle royal" refers to a fight in which three or more combatants fight until only one is left standing.
** The term was first coined by the Romans to describe gladiatorial fights involving three or more combatants who would fight until one remained standing or alive. Such battles were considered brutal even by Roman standards, such that early Christians such as Clement of Rome and Ignatius actively campaigned against it to no success.
** The battle royal was revived in the arena of boxing in 19th century America, appearing on the undercard of boxing matches. Before the abolition of slavery, such matches featured five or six black slaves who fought blindfolded and bare-knuckled until either one was left standing or until two fighters remained, at which point the blindfolds were taken off and the fight continued as a normal bout. The practice of the battle royal continued long after the abolition into the early 20th century, with the fighters being allowed to keep their winnings.
** Nowadays, battle royals occur in ProfessionalWrestling (see above), with [[Wrestling/{{WCW}} World Championship Wrestling]] holding the largest battle royals in the industry in the form of the annual 60-man ''World War 3'' pay-per-view events.
* China has the "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" period that was pretty much this trope. In fact, this trope can be easily summed up in just three battles of this time period: Chibi, where western Shu and eastern Wu alliance to battle against northern Wei; Fan Castle, where Wu betrays Shu with the help of Wei to take control of an incredibly important part of central China; and Yi-Ling, where Shu responds to the betrayal by attacking Wu, losing a huge chunk of troops and their leader, and eventually surrendering to Wei who promptly sweeps up the remainder of the country[note]but not before falling to a coup themselves and, technically, becoming Jin [/note].
* Korea had a similar time period which saw three dynasties battling it out, which were also called The Three Kingdoms.
* Large chunks of Chinese history follows this trope, when there were multiple rulers claiming imperial title and "mandate of heaven." A particularly prolonged yet "stable" 3-4 way conflict took place between 10th-13th centuries. Most of the China, by the end of 10th century, was unified by the Sung Dynasty. However, northern borderlands were controlled by Khitan Liao Dynasty and the western borderlands were controlled by Tangut Western Hsia Dynasty, while the Manchurian lands were in the hands of as of yet divided Jurchen (Manchu) tribes, all of whom were fighting one another. Sung was able to defeat Liao with the aid of Jurchens, who became a unified empire that called itself the Jin, but, after a Sung betrayal, Jin invaded Sung and captured all of northern China...and continuing the 3-way warfare against both the Sung and the Western Hsia. Then Sung made another alliance with some upstart nomads to the north under some guy calling himself [[spoiler: UsefulNotes/GenghisKhan]], who would become a party to this conflict until his grandson eventually conquered all the rival empires in China.
* Basically every war on the North American continent before the 1840s involved Native American tribes that could lead to... complicated allegiances and events.
* UsefulNotes/TheFrenchRevolution which saw the French against more or less everyone at some point, even the US (undeclared naval war). The best example would be the Jacobin Republic, which fought against the British, Austrians and Prussians, while fighting their own civil war against both the moderate Federalists/Girondins in the south and the reactionary Vendeans in the west. The Federalists might have been tolerable to the British, the Vendeans were absolutists like the Austrians, and had they ever met they would have shot each other.
* The [[TheWarOnTerror Iraq War]] was a clash between the US-led coalition, the Shia insurgents, and the Sunni insurgents.
* Creator/DisneyChannel, Creator/{{Nickelodeon}}, and Creator/CartoonNetwork have been competing for the attention of a generation of preteen children, with higher-level digital networks following suit.
* ABC, NBC, and CBS competed for the attention of the entire nation.
* The UsefulNotes/EnglishCivilWar of the 1640s often had the Royalists, Parliamentarians and 'Club Men'. The latter were locals who just thought the other two factions should go and fight over the fate of the country somewhere else.
* Even better was the contemporaneous wars in Ireland. It was already complicated -- with Catholic Irish (who wanted to be ruled by the Pope), Less Catholic Irish (who wanted the king to treat them better), Nationalist Irish (who wanted independence) and English and Scottish settlers (who trusted each other as little as they trusted the natives). When the civil war broke out in Britain most factions then split along King or Parliament lines as well.
* The conflict in Mali has alliances changing at the drop of a hat. Broadly speaking, there are three major factions: the military junta in Bamako who want to rule the country, the secularist Tuareg MNLA, who want an independent secular Tuareg republic in the Azawad, and a collection of allied Islamist groups (most notably Ansar Dine, the flagship Tuareg Islamist movement, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and an AQIM splinter group called the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa) who broadly agree on the goal of an Islamic government in the region but differ on technical points and objectives. In early 2012, after the junta took power in Bamako, the MNLA formed an alliance with the Islamists, and the victorious alliance created the Islamic Republic of Azawad in the northeastern half of the country. However, since then the alliance has crumbled, and after the French and [[TheAlliance ECOWAS]] began to deploy forces to support the junta and bring down Ansar Dine in January 2013, the MNLA agreed to work with the French to throw the Islamists out.
* In the Middle East, there is a cold war currently going on between Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Israel.
* The situation in Syria: there's the Assad regime backed by Russia and Iran, the "[[TheRevolutionWillNotBeCivilized Free]]" Syrian Army backed by the Western countries, and then there are the mujahidin aligned with Al Qaeda. While Assad is slowly weakening and the FSA is fraying, the mujahidin has been gaining ground.
** As of Summer 2015, it became even more complex. Assad, Russia, Iran, the remnants of Iraqi government (via indirect support), and Houthi rebels in Yemen on one side; NATO, the [[MiddleEasternCoalition Saudi-led coalition]], the Iraqi government (yes!), and "good" militias (including Kurdish groups) on the other; and the [[TheHorde Islamic State of Iraq and Levant]] all by itself and quite successful.
** Complicated further by Turkey beginning an all-out attack on both ISIL and [[YourTerroristsAreOurFreedomFighters American-backed]] Kurdish militias (who have been raising trouble in Turkey and pre-invasion Iraq for ages), and trying to make NATO support it.
* The [[UsefulNotes/RedOctober Russian Civil War]]: While it's often remembered as a straight-up Reds vs. Whites, there were actually many other factions, such as the Blacks (anarchists), Greens (local peasant militias, sometimes backed by the Social-Revolutionary party), foreign intervention forces and many local warlords who shifted their allegiance as it suited them.
* In early days of [[UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar First Indochina War]], there were not only fights between French army and Viet Minh, but also skirmish between French and Chinese. To make the whole thing even more complicate, the whole thing, early during the First Indochina War, French were helped by [[UsefulNotes/KatanasOfTheRisingSun Japanese]] [[TheRemnant remnants]].
* The JidaiGeki period. There was a reason why the era is often referred to as "The Age of the Country at War". At some point, every major power in Japan had a battle with someone else and alliances were very shaky indeed.
* This is expected to happen in the far future, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andromeda%E2%80%93Milky_Way_collision when the Milky Way collides with the Andromeda Galaxy.]] The latter has a large companion, the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangulum_Galaxy Triangulum Galaxy,]] that will participate too in that event, perhaps even colliding with our galaxy before Andromeda arrives.
* The UsefulNotes/ThirtyYearsWar started as a fairly simple rebellion of Protestant nobles in Bohemia against the Catholic Emperor. In the end it was a free for all with Catholic France fighting on the same side as Protestant Sweden (which in turn went on sidequests fighting against Denmark and Poland) against the Emperor. Oh and several German petty states switched sides more than once. To mention nothing of individual soldiers or generals, who rose through the ranks, showed signs of ChronicBackstabbingDisorder or were murdered once they had [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness outlived their usefulness]]. Whoever won that war (and many point to France) the common people who got caught in the crossfire sure as hell lost it.
* The most famous "drama" in YouTube history- iDubbzTV vs. Keemstar vs. LeafyisHere, which involved iDubbz [[LetsYouAndHimFight successfully pitting the other two against each other]] and then [[TheChessmaster coming out victorious.]]