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Artificial Stupidity / Platformers

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Platformer games aren't really known for having good AI, as these examples will attest.

As a rule of thumb, pretty much any platformer game from the 8-bit and 16-bit era of video games is going to have rudimentary AI at best, and sometimes they won't even have AI at all, just basic functions like turning around if they bump into a wall (i.e. the Goombas in Super Mario Bros.). The jump to 3D games raised the bar higher, but not by much.


  • In the Banjo-Kazooie games, the AI for Gruntilda's mooks is dumber than Banjo himself. It’s most obvious in Tooie, where many enemies won't even so much as blink at you, even if you're right in their line of sight, unless you're standing directly next to them or a few feet in front of them. When you become a giant T-Rex in Terrydactyland, the pterodactyls will still try to attack you instead of fleeing like the Stegosauruses, even though they will die on contact with you. It’s also possible to trick the Minjo enemies into literally running circles around you.
  • The 2009 version of A Boy and His Blob is kind enough to note it — when Blob cannot reach the player or seems to be getting stuck, he turns pink (as he turns gray near the enemies).
  • In The Castles of Doctor Creep, the monsters and Ray Gun all have some form of stupidity. In this case, though, the stupidity is deliberate, as the puzzles are built around the monsters' specific forms of stupidity.
    • Mummy: They always try to follow Player 1 (or Player 2 if Player 1 is not present) along their floor. They don't climb ladders or slide down poles, so they can't leave the floor they're on. They'll gladly walk under an active lightning machine or into an inescapable corral area the game has let you set up.
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    • Frankenstein's Monster: They walk in a straight line until they encounter a climbable ladder or a slidable pole (or, if already on one of those, a floor), then they attempt to move toward the nearest player; they also change direction if they walk into another of their kind. They have a tendency to get off at the wrong floor, however. It is also possible to get them stuck against a conveyor belt going in the other direction, since they don't attempt to change direction while walking against it, even if a player walks right behind them. A few puzzles take this exact behavior into account. Like the mummy, it's easy to get them to walk under an active lightning machine and into certain corral areas.
    • Ray Gun: They attempt to follow the nearest player, and will fire if on the same level horizontally as a player, even if the player is behind the gun, or there's an impenetrable object or monster in the way.
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  • Conker's Bad Fur Day has adjustable AI for its multiplayer modes, but the Raptor game has some hiccups, no matter what setting it's on. For some reason, the Raptor is averse to jumping from high ledges if your caveman jumps off in time, tricking it into walking all the way back around instead of leaping after you, which lets your caveman buy time to carry an egg to his giant frying pan. It's also possible to get the raptor locked in a loop of constantly walking up and falling off of a nearby ledge if you stand in a certain spot near the frying pans handle. The AI for your bot squadmates is clearly bugged too, and it frequently gets stuck in a certain corner of the level (which can unwittingly get the Raptor stuck in a loop as well).
  • In Flashback, Flashmen are both dumb and smart. They are dumb in that they can't materialize on the edge of the screen, so you can easily corner them and get your hits in while the Flashman impotently warps in and out of the same position. However, they are smart in that they can climb ledges as well as Conrad can.
  • In Ghosts 'n Goblins, Lucifer is an Anticlimax Boss because of this. He takes only a few hits to beat and he spends the entire fight sitting on his throne without even bothering to dodge. So much for being the Prince of Darkness.
  • In Jump Super Stars, if you're using an attack, any nearby A.I in front of you is likely to block even if the damaging part of the attack is several seconds away & they'll sometimes try to block unblockable attacks with a clear chance to dodge. In sudden death, the instant an A.I. opponent leaves the ring, they'll consistently start moving in the opposite direction instead of trying to recover.
  • Kirby:
    • Computer controlled helpers in Kirby Super Star have their uses, but don't expect them to live very long. Fortunately, they're easy to replace.
    • Kirby & the Amazing Mirror: Your AI allies can be counted on for jack squat. They'll mill around in random areas, getting random abilities (including abilities not in their current area), and if you call them to your side...well, it's usually for one of three reasons: a boss fight, the fact that they bring health-restoring food with them, or one of them somehow snagged the Smash ability and you're just waiting for them to screw up so you can use it yourself.
    • Kirby: Triple Deluxe: Sometimes, if a CPU opponent is cornered and you throw a Gordo in front of them in Kirby Fighters, rather than fly over it, they'll repeatedly run into it until it disappears.
  • The Mega Man series has plenty of this to go around.
    • Mega Man: While Elec Man is one of the toughest bosses in the game (especially if you fight him without his weakness), it's possible to exploit his crude A.I. by jumping and shooting him in a very carefully timed pattern, freezing him in place while also allowing you to dodge his attack. Also, use the Super Arm or Magnet Beam against the Copy Robot, and watch as it continually runs left to right, never touching the far left corner and only jumping when the shoot button is pressed. It is worth noting the boss recycles the aforementioned Elec Man's A.I.
    • Mega Man 2: Quick Man can easily be destroyed by tricking him into running into the same properly placed Crash Bomb over and over. He also tends to get caught on the uneven terrain as he was initially programmed for a flat arena. This was intentional, as the developers added uneven terrain without amending his A.I. because they felt he was too hard on a flat surface.
    • In Mega Man 4, Toad Man's A.I. is all kinds of broken. First off, he will only use Rain Flush if he's a certain distance away from you; get right up in his face, and he'll try to jump on you. This leaves him open to a Mega Buster to the back, causing him to jump again. Lather, rinse, repeat. Even better, those of you with good timing can stand just far enough away and pelt him with Buster shots in a certain rhythm; time it correctly, and he will stop and restart his Rain Flush animation every time he takes damage, rendering himself completely immobile. (Bright Man has a similar issue, only using Bright Stopper when his health is at certain exact HP levels, which means he won't use them if you Mega Buster him to death or spam pellets at the right thresholds. Bright Man still will shoot at you, so he's not a total pushover.)
    • In Mega Man V (the Game Boy version), Tango the Cat can quite often miss an enemy entirely and end up jumping into a Bottomless Pit. Fortunately, there's no real consequence for that other than you having to summon him again, but it can get a little annoying if he does it in a difficult situation with lots of enemies and places to fall to your death.
    • In Mega Man X1, Flame Mammoth's AI is very rudimentary compared to the other bosses, since he just mindlessly and slowly jumps around and occasionally shoots flames at you. The best way to fight him is to just hug the walls while shooting and then dash over his head if he gets too close.
    • In Mega Man X3, the bosses have embarrassingly bad AI. They will constantly reset their attack patterns after being hit with their weakness. Even if you don't aim for their weakness, many of them don't have an awesome strategy aside from going from one direction to another and ramming the wall.
    • In Mega Man X5, the battle against Zero isn't very spectacular due to the fact that Zero's AI makes him spam his easily avoided (with some practice, anyways, but you're certain to get some) Giga Attack over and over again. This results in a decidely unspectacular battle.
    • Mega Man X7: The final boss can be defeated with Zero by taking about two steps forward, then two or three steps (depending on camera angle) to the right and then holding down the button that executes Zero's reflective guard move. The boss either misses or hits himself with every attack. The actual position is a little tricky to get into, unfortunately, but once there, you're set.
    • In the first level of Mega Man Zero, Zero has to escort Ciel out of the underground lab while protecting her from enemies. It's a good thing Ciel can't actually die in it, because her AI is as dumb as a brick. She just mindlessly trails behind Zero wherever he goes, so if he decides to backtrack, she'll just mindlessly waltz right into either lone enemies or groups of enemies that will stun-lock her in place with collision damage.
  • Nuts & Milk: Nuts isn't too bright, and frequently kills himself trying to shadow your movements. Exploiting his stupidity is the key to winning each level.
  • Papo & Yo enforces this. Monster, when docile, is perfectly happy to sit around eating coconuts and sleep... But once he becomes angry, he is extremely fast and is almost impossible to avoid if you don't run, and FAST.
  • In Prince of Persia 2, the enemies often behave suicidally or instantly forget about the player in certain conditions.
  • Project Spark: In the sixth level of the now-gone Champions Quest mode, you fight two Goblins at a time as a boss fight. Whereas the first fight against one in the third level was tough due to it being a formidable Damage-Sponge Boss, you could buy time in the second fight by having the scenery block their paths while you attack them from a distance while you spam your attacks on them.
  • Ratchet & Clank (2002):
    • The Birdbots on Novalis and the Blarg Paratroopers on Batalia and Gaspar both have brain-dead AI, even by the standards of the game’s enemies. They just mindlessly shoot their guns in a narrow path while standing frozen in place, even if Ratchet is standing right next to them. They'll occasionally fly or flip around to reorient themselves, but they have the reaction time of a sloth and will more than likely be smashed to pieces by your wrench before then. And they'll even mindlessly shoot their own comrades if they stand between you and them.
    • The Chomper enemies on Gaspar sometimes love to walk into lava while pursuing you.
    • Orxon occasionally has a glitch where a Blarg Space Commando will just stand idle and not attack Ratchet.
    • The Gemlik Base Blarg Troopers AI amounts to "If Ratchet is in line of sight, shoot". This leads to a hilarious scenario when you go behind them, hop right into their gun nest, stand right on top of their gun in front of their eyes, and watch as they mindlessly fire away at nothing.
    • The Gadgebots have awful AI. You often lose one or two of them, since the way they follow you is spotty, slow, and clunky.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando: The enemy A.I. was slightly improved for the sequel, but it still has a lot of holes, and the enemies are still prone to mindlessly attacking their own comrades if they accidentally step into their line of fire. This can even be exploited in the Arena challenges. Some, like the challenge where you have to kill all enemies with only the wrench and without taking a hit, practically require you to trick the enemies into killing each other so you can stay out of range of the flamethrowers of the MSR2 bots.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal has rather flawed A.I. for some of the tyrranoids. The tiny ones in particular are programmed to just move and chomp — if you're standing on a stack of crates in Marcadia, they'll just mindlessly run facefirst into the boxes without even thinking to chomp the crates or jump to get to Ratchet.
    • If you use the Tyhrra-Guise within the vicinity of other One-Eyed Tyhrranoids, they will ignore you and not attack you, even if they see you transform out in the open. However, other Tyhrranoids will not be fooled.
    • This is invoked with the Clank sections where Scrunch the Monkey pops up to help out. There are sentry robots with searchlights that Clank can’t avoid, and he will be killed instantly if he's caught in the lights. So to work around this, Clank uses a Banana Gun to shoot bananas into the searchlights. Scrunch will always blindly run into the light to eat the banana and thus set off the sentry, unwittingly distracting it by drawing its fire while Clank sneaks by. Thankfully, Scrunch is functionally invincible for gameplay purposes, but he never learns if he's tricked into distracting the sentries again.
  • In Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction and Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time, the A.I. for the Mr. Zurkon weapon is very spotty. He'll often miss or ignore a target that’s clearly in his line of sight or ignore anklebiters in favor of harder-to-kill larger foes.
  • In Rick Dangerous, enemies can and will blindly walk into Spikes of Doom, which are as fatal to them as they are to Rick.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 2: Tails, when being controlled by a computer instead of a second player, has absolutely horrible AI, to the point where on certain levels, he can spend more time dead than alive despite being invulnerable to enemies.
    • In Knuckles Chaotix, one of the biggest sources of frustration, besides the all-around wonkiness of the teamwork mechanic, is that your partners are so dumb that they'll more often than not get you stuck or weigh you down instead of helping you. The dev team probably anticipated this and added the "Call" button (which summons your partner back to you at the cost of 10 rings) to the game as a result.
    • In Sonic Adventure, Tails' levels have you race against Sonic, who is technically another player controlled by an AI. Because of this, Sonic tends to struggle when dealing with obstacles (which is particularly notable at the end of Casinopolis, where he takes a very long time just to jump through a bunch of spikes), but he makes up for this by rubber-banding his way to the goal. The last race against Eggman averts this because he's not an AI at all; instead, he just follows a straight path to the goal. The fights against the other playable characters in the game (such as Sonic vs. Knuckles) aren't much better, as they simply charge at you and don't bother dodging your attacks. Because of this, each fight will usually last under 20 seconds.
    • In the Chao Gardens of Sonic Adventure 2, Chao have an odd habit of wanting to jump into the pool of each garden (indicated by a panting sound, as if they're thirsty), the problem being that they'll do this even when they can't swim yet. You'll sometimes get Chao that will immediately head straight back to the water right after being pulled out, and will repeat this several times. Thankfully, they can't actually drown, just flail their arms in a state of panic.
    • Sonic Heroes: During team battles, flying out of the enemy team's reach makes them spin around in circles without attacking until you land. Since you can fly infinitely as long as you stay in one place, you can safely use Thunder Shoot until the Team Blast meter is full to make the fight much easier. That is, as long as the enemy team doesn't kill themselves first.
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), the partners’ poor AI tends to constantly make them fall into pits and die.
    • In Sonic Mania, the player challenges Eggman to a game of Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine as the Chemical Plant Zone: Act 2 boss. Thankfully for the player, Eggman absolutely sucks at playing Mean Bean. Ironic, as he's the final boss of Mean Bean.
  • In Spyro the Dragon, while designed with diverse personalities, most of the Gnorcs are boiled down to "idle, approach Spyro, pause, attack, gloat, repeat".
  • In Super Mario Bros., Goombas and Green Koopas are programmed to act in two ways; turn around if they bump into a wall, and walk off a ledge and into a bottomless pit.
  • In Super Mario 64, it's possible to trick Yoshi's AI into making him walk off the castle roof, as proven here by pannenkoek2012. On occasion, Goombas and Bob-Ombs will walk or run off a cliff to their deaths, be it from chasing Mario or their own volition. You can trick Goombas into running circles around you in Tiny-Huge Island. Koopa Troopas will also chase after you if you ride on their stolen shells, even though they'll die on contact with you.
  • Tak and the Power of Juju: Nerbils have the ability to follow you across platforms by jumping, but they don't necessarily know which distances are actually crossable, so they can easily end up falling to their deaths.
  • In Spelunky, The Mothership is guarded by several miniature tanks that fire bombs that can easily blow you to pieces, doubly so because they explode instantly if they hit you before touching the ground instead of stunning you. However, each one is a One-Hit-Point Wonder, and more often than not ends up driving straight into the same bomb it just fired.
  • The first NES Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game had a hilarious bit with the foot soldiers; walk away from them at exactly the right moment as they jump at you, and they get confused and start hopping in place without attacking. Makes them rather easy to beat.
  • In TY the Tasmanian Tiger, mooks will almost always run straight toward you, even if you are firing directly at them.
  • 20XX has both in-universe and out-of-universe examples. In-universe, Manticore enemies are capable of little beyond "point self at enemy and raise shield briefly", and they can't turn around while the shield is up (the artillery is even less intelligent, although given that it has no ability to turn around and has no way to detect its targets, the best programming on the planet probably wouldn't help). Out-of-universe, the exploding spider drones tend to just rush straight towards the player, even if there's a gap between them — an awful lot of drones can be dealt with just by waiting for them to fall into endless drops.
  • Jak and Daxter:
    • The Krimzon Guard in Jak II: Renegade are not good drivers. They will pursue you in their jetbikes when the alarm is raised with remarkable passion but little regard for things like other vehicles, walls, impenetrable forcefield barriers for which you do not yet have the security pass, and so on, leading to an awful lot of crashing and dying on their part.
    • Also in Jak II, your competitors in the races will regularly attempt to take a jumping shortcut over a Bottomless Pit, miss, and explode.
    • Marauders in Jak 3: Wastelander will drive directly towards you, even if you're at the bottom of a cliff and they're at the top. Fall damage exists. The marauder vehicles rarely survive the landing.
  • SOS: People in your group, once called, will all take the same path in the same way, even if that involves jumping to their death after seeing someone else do it or just getting stuck in the floor for five seconds before continuing normally.


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