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Multiplayer-Only Item

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There are video games that feature both Singleplayer and Multiplayer modes, and in at least some of those games, the gameplay has little to no differences between the two. Yet despite this, the Multiplayer tends to have special items, abilities and such that either do not appear in the Singleplayer mode at all (even though they technically could), or they do appear, but are completely useless in it. This trope is about such cases.

One of the potential reasons is that usually, these items are about causing Interface Screws to other players, which wouldn't work against AI-controlled opponents. In some other cases, certain items might appear only on Multiplayer because they would be too destructive or powerful in Singleplayer, or to give a sense of accomplishment to those who get their hands on them. Other times, things like The All-Seeing A.I. render things like stealth useless when used against computer-controlled enemies.

Note that this isn't specifically about just items, but also any kinds of abilities, powerups, units and such that either only appear in Multiplayer, or are worthless in Singleplayer. Also, both Multiplayer and Singleplayer must have very similar or identical gameplay for it to count; it doesn't count if Multiplayer and Singleplayer are wildly different and each uses completely different items.


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    Action Adventure Game 
  • ToeJam & Earl:
    • In the first game, one of the presents available exclusively in two-player mode is called "Togetherness". When used, it brings the other player to the player who used it. In single-player mode or if the other player runs out of lives in a two-player game, "Togetherness" becomes "Un-fall" which warps the player who opened it up one level.
    • Back in the Groove splits Togetherness into two; "Togetherness Come" brings your friend to you, while "Togetherness Go" sends you to them. There's also a present that lets you send a present to another player in the game, and one that lets you heal your allies.

    Artillery Game 
  • Worms series:
    • Both Worms Armageddon and Worms World Party feature Invisibility, an utility that renders the entire team invisible to other players, which lasts until someone from the team fires a weapon. It appears only in online battles, which by default are restricted to human players.
    • In Worms Blast, there are a few weapons that are useless against AI-controlled opponents. A good example is the tentacle monster, which, if it catches a player, requires you to quickly mash a button in order to not get killed - AI enemies ALWAYS come out of it unharmed, meaning that it only causes them to be immobilized for like 5 seconds. The utility that reverses the controls doesn't seem to have any effect either.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Battlefield games ever since they've started having full singleplayer campaigns as of Battlefield: Bad Company tend toward this as well. Bad Company 2 in particular has a metric ton of modern Russian weapons that you never see outside of maybe one level, settling for arming 95% of the endless Russian hordes with just two guns. Battlefield 3 makes it less apparent, but still has some notable omissions from its campaign, like the fact that you only get to use a pistol one time (an M9 at the start of the first and last mission), and NPCs only use them twice (Solomon's .44 Magnum in the same missions as above, and Dima's MP-443 in a cutscene). 3 also has an inversion with the Barrett M107 - the devs felt there was no way to keep a proper depiction of the weapon balanced, so they opted to just not include it in multiplayer.
  • The Crystal Ball from Blood allows you to spy on other human players. Since there are none in singleplayer, the Crystal Ball is not present. To an extent the Orb's Secondary Fire is multiplayer-only as well, as it requires more Focus than Caleb has available.
  • Call of Duty has been doing this since the second game, with each game typically having at least a small handful of guns that can only be used in multiplayer. The Call of Duty: Black Ops games expand this to Nazi Zombies-only weapons, though alongside inversions with weapons only available in singleplayer, such as various World War II-era weapons taken from World at War showing up in the game, some only available in Zombies mode and others only usable in the singleplayer flashback mission "Project Nova". Black Ops II goes even further with the inversion, including an entire set of 60s-era weapons from the first Black Ops that can only be used in singleplayer.
  • Doom (2016) features a large number of weapons that are exclusive to multiplayer, such as the Burst Rifle, and features grenades and abilities designed to disorient players that are absent in the singleplayer modes.
  • GoldenEye 007:
    • Some characters only appear in Multiplayer, and many others only become playable in Multiplayer. The most notable example is Oddjob, whose low height is such a huge advantage that most groups demand, "No Oddjob!".
    • Inverted in the case of one weapon that can be obtained without cheats in single player. The Phantom submachinegun is only available on the Frigate mission and does not appear anywhere else.
    • The Proximity Mines and Timed Mines only appear in multiplayer.
  • Half-Life 2 has the S.L.A.M mines, the equivalent of the laser tripmines from the original Half-Life albeit with an alternate remote detonation mode, which were cut from the campaign and relegated to use in Deathmatch multiplayer. Same goes for the Stun Baton, which can only be used by Metrocops in singleplayer but is available to Combine players in Deathmatch.
  • Medal of Honor: Vanguard has the M1911 and Gewehr 43, which are only available in multiplayer, as they are absent from singleplayer.
  • Death Ball in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and Death Alt in Metroid Prime: Hunters are temporary powerups that give the character's "alt form" an "Instant Death" Radius similar to the Hyper Ball from Metroid Prime Pinball. The classic Super Missiles are also available in Echoes Multiplayer, allowing super missiles to be rapidly fired.
  • Quake series:
    • Quake II: Ground Zero has the Doppelganger,note  the Vengeance and Hunter Spheresnote  and the proper A-M Bomb.note  Some source ports also enable the use of the Dummied Out Disintegrator Gun.
    • Quake III: Arena has the Flight item, located at only one map and only in multiplayer mode.
    • In Quake IV, the Gauntlet replaces the Blaster for multiplayer games. Later patches added the Napalm Launcher in certain maps.
  • The first South Park adaptation released in The '90s had the Alien Dancing Gizmo, which causes players to sing and dance uncontrollably when hit by its beam (just like Cartman in the episode "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe") — if you hit Cartman with it, he'll make one of two comments after it wears off. Obviously, it is completely useless in the Singleplayer mode if you use cheats to have a full arsenal. To a lesser extent, there's the Warpo Ray. In addition to the piranhas, you can fire a yellow laser that shrinks other players, and a purple beam that transforms other players into helpless animals. When used against Singleplayer enemies, however, they merely damage them.
  • Some inversions and straight examples in the Timesplitters games. The Rocket Launcher and Proximity Mines are nowhere to be found in Timesplitters 2's story mode. Meanwhile, the Time Grenades in Future Perfect aren't available in multiplayer. Possibly because it was too difficult to program the time slowdown for other players.
  • In the PC port of Halo: Combat Evolved, the fuel rod gun was Unusable Enemy Equipment only used by heavy grunts and self-destructing after the owner died, but could be wielded by players in multiplayer. Additionally, the flamethrower can only be found in multiplayer on certain maps.

  • Final Fantasy XIV has a set of abilities for each class that are only usable in PvP and cannot be used in PvE.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has items that grant players extra PvP fights per day, as well as items that you use to defend your campground when other players attack you. Both are useless if you don't opt into PvP.

    Platform Game 
  • Banjo-Tooie has a Multiplayer First-Person Shooter mode whose selectable characters are mostly NPCs in the Singleplayer game. It also has two exclusive items: Proximity Eggs, and Honey Jars (which grant temporary invisibility).
  • Several weapons and items in Conker's Bad Fur Day are exclusive to the Multiplayer mode, and those that appear in the story mode may only be used at specific points rather than full time. Examples include the katana, the silver magnum and the bat.
  • The two-player versus mode in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 would randomly replace item boxes with teleports (swaps the two players' positions) and Robotnik (causes the player to take damage and lose all of their rings). Sonic the Hedgehog 3 would later add the latter item to some single player levels as an environmental hazard.

    Puzzle Game 
  • In Gruntz, the Multiplayer levels are about conquering other players' fortresses. These Multiplayer levels feature Curses: special items whose purpose is to cause some temporary inconvenience (primarily Interface Screw) to other players, which includes shrinking the screen to a tiny rectangle, making the terrain pitch black, forcing the screen to shake, or causing the gruntz on the battlefield to randomly change their colours. While it's technically possible to put a Curse item on a Singleplayer level, they serve no purpose there, since there are no human players to be affected by it and AI-controlled opponents don't react to it either way. The only Curse that can be potentially useful is the one that changes gruntz' colours, allowing for a "remember who is who" kind of level.

    Racing Game 
  • In Crash Team Racing, the Invisibility and the Super Engine are only available in the multiplayer battle arena. There's also a Dummied Out but fully functional spring item, which just makes you just jump and likely would have been exclusive to battle mode too.
  • Super Mario Kart: The "Ghost" item is only useful in purely competitive multiplayer ("Match Race" and "Battle Mode"), and thus is only enabled in these modes.
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: The Cape Feather, which previously appeared in all modes of Super Mario Kart, is exclusive to Battle Mode here. It is used to jump over obstacles and incoming attacks.
  • WipEout has the Multiplayer-only "REVCON" weapon that reverses an opponent's controls.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn had some multiplayer-only units such as Commandos for both sides, as well as napalm missile launchers and chem soldiers for the Brotherhood of Nod.
  • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert, several units, buildings, and special abilities (Tanya, Soviet rocket soldiers and allied nuclear missiles, among others) are normally not available in the Singleplayer campaign, although they sometimes appear as unique units (sometimes even required to survive) in a couple of missions.
  • There are a number of examples that go both ways in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2:
    • The Navy SEAL is only available in the Allied campaign and often seen in the later missions of the Soviet campaign, and cannot be trained in its Skirmish or Multiplayer mode, as multiple Tanyas can be trained instead, who is all but identical to the Navy SEAL in terms of stats, but requires a Battle Lab rather than just the Air Force Command to unlock. Its expansion pack, Yuri's Revenge, makes the Navy SEAL available in these modes as Tanya has been changed to become a unique Hero Unit and was upgraded to compensate.
    • Various units unique to the nation sub factions are seldom seen in the base game's campaign, usually used by the enemy, with the sole exception being the Iraqi Desolator trainable in a single Soviet mission. In Yuri's Revenge, many of these unique units can be produced in a mission or two, with said mission often having a gimmick that greatly encourages the use of these units.
  • Pikmin: In Pikmin 2 and 3, the multiplayer modes include several items that can be earned randomly, and each of them provides a different effect either in favor of the player who got it, or against the rival player.
  • StarCraft II: Several Singleplayer upgrades are not available in Multiplayer (for obvious reasons), but there are some Multiplayer upgrades unavailable in Singleplayer. For example, both Marines and Marauders can use stimpacks in Multiplayer, but only Marines have it in Starcraft II Wings Of Liberty Singleplayer. Similarly, you can give Zerg units one of three upgrades at a time in Heart of the Swarm's campaign, but in Multiplayer, Zergling can have both attack and movespeed increased (instead of one or the other or increased life).
  • Warcraft III:
    • The Night Elf campaign denies you the use of Chimeras, their most powerful air unit, for Fake Difficulty. The expansion allows you to use them during couple of missions, but only due to both involving sieging huge bases, and removes them (along with other air units) in the final one.
    • The expansion's Blood Elf campaign removes all human and dwarven units (though some have elven equivalents). However, it also gives you Game-Breaker Naga units to compensate.
    • Many missions have only one or two neutral structures selling items and mercenaries (and even then, they tend to be watered-down versions), while Multiplayer can have many more.

    Role Playing Game 
  • Bravely Default has abilink, which allows for using moves and skills that were sent or learned, respectively, by anyone on your 3DS friend list.
  • Dark Souls has summon orbs: they allow you to "invade another player", which means entering another player's game to do PvP. Of course, they are absolutely useless in solo mode - the few times you can invade NPCs (Lautrec in the first game, Licia in the second) requires using unique orbs meant only for that purpose.
  • Mass Effect 3:
    • The characters you can play as in the Multiplayer co-op mode have exclusive powers pertaining to their own race that don't appear in the Singleplayer mode. There are DLCs that allow Shepard to use those powers, but only two powers (Dark Channel and Lash) are brought from the Multiplayer to the Singleplayer mode.
    • More in line with the trope, there are the "Supply" items: missile launchers which Instant KO any enemy touched by the blast, Health Packs that instantly restore all health and shields, and an Ammo Pack which refills all Ammo and grenades.
  • The Wonder Launcher in Pok√©mon Black and White allows you to use items in matches against other players, including items that do not show up in single-player modes such as more powerful X items (e.g. the X Attack 2 applies the effect of 2 X Attacks at once in a single turn, which would be broken in single-player but is balanced out in multiplayer by all Wonder Launcher items having a point cost).

    Shoot 'em Up 
  • Bazookas in Star Fox 64, if you do well enough in Singleplayer to earn them for Multiplayer. Star Fox: Assault has demon launchers (a more powerful homing launcher), stealth suits, fire burst pods, booster packs, predator rockets, demon snipers and cluster bombs.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • The KRISS in Spec Ops: The Line. Subverted with the TAR-21, which available as a hidden pickup near the end of a certain level late in the game (it's your late teammate's weapon of choice).
  • Splatoon:
    • The Rainmaker, a Purposely Overpowered weapon that can charge up and shoot massive bursts of ink with no need to refill your ink tank. However, due to its weight, carrying it will slow a player down considerably. It features in the eponymous Rainmaker mode, where players fight to pick it up and carry it to their opponents' base. This is actually subverted, however, during the Final Boss of Splatoon 2, where Sheldon delivers a modified version of the Rainmaker to use during the final phase.
    • The first game has Mystery Canned Specials in its local multiplayer Battle Dojo. Unlike the canned specials in single-player, which grant you a set special weapon you can save for later use in the stage, collecting a Mystery Can automatically causes a random action to occur during your 1v1 match. These range from causing the players to Super Jump and switch places, to granting you temporary use of a special weapon, to inflicting your opponent with a status condition, to boosting your movement speed for a short period of time.
    • The Salmon Run mode, introduced in Splatoon 2, has the Grizzco weapons which are available exclusively in certain Salmon Run shifts. This set of weapons includes the Grizzco Blaster, the Grizzco Brella, the Grizzco Charger, and the Grizzco Slosher. Any (or very rarely, all) of which may be added to the mix during a wild card rotation; the Grizzco Blaster and Grizzco Brella both have insanely high rates of fire for their weapon classes, the Grizzco Charger lets you fire its full Charged Attack in an instant, and the Grizzco Slosher fires single, slow-moving projectiles that deal massive damage, even to armored enemies. They're outright stated to be illegally modified weapons though, so don't tell anyone.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Culdcept has the Haunt spell, causing a Cepter to be controlled by the (not very bright) computer for two turns. Quite damaging to players, but useless in Singleplayer (to you, anyway) since your opponents there are already controlled by the computer.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • In Grand Theft Auto V, some cars available in Online do not show up in Singleplayer: specifically the Hijak Khameleon and Grotti Stinger GT from the core game.
  • Terraria:
    • The Invisibility Potion originally made the player cosmetically invisible, which could be used to sneak up on other players in PVP but had no effect whatsoever on hostile mobs. It was later given a much-needed Balance Buff that also gave the player a greatly lowered aggro radius, making it no longer this trope.
    • Wormhole Potions allow you to teleport to another player on your team. They obviously can't be used if you're playing in singleplayer. The same goes for Team Dyes, which change your hair and/or clothes to match whatever team you're on.