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Spiteful A.I.

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Artix: Oh, you motherfucker.
Fedule: See, this, right here, is the AI playing against you rather than your "army". A real thief would've gone for the Gem, out of duty, or his Lockpicks, out of pride.
Artix74 and Fedule, on Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade and seeing the message "A Vulnerary was stolen."

Often, Video Game A.I. characters don't seem to care if they win so long as you lose. AI racers will ruin their standing just to screw with you, Mascot Fighter combatants will ignore weakened enemies to zero in on you and RTS opponents will hit you with everything they have even with your AI ally running rampant in their base.


While Spiteful AIs are more obvious in free-for-all situations, you'll see them in other places, too. It could be as simple as a Ledge Bat that can't fly, but will still ensure you fall to your death as well. Perhaps, in an FPS, those terrified guards become reckless, suicidal berserkers as soon as the cutscene ends. In a Tactical RPG, enemy units might insist on certain death meandering around in the poison swamp instead of giving themselves a chance against your men, just to deny you the experience.

In short, this trope applies whenever it looks like the AI puts thwarting (or challenging) the player ahead of its own "well-being," whether in terms of the NPCs' survival or the objectives of the game. This is often the case.

Note that whatever it may feel like, the AI doesn't actually have it in for you. Right?


Tropes that can make you feel like a victim of Spiteful AI:

  • Action Bomb – A gray area: some enemies are simply built, born or trained to blow up on you. Fine. But why would wild animals or average soldiers act like that? (Why indeed?)
  • City Guards – Guards turn a blind eye to monsters terrorizing the populace and bandits openly assaulting citizens, though sometimes they'll protect everyone but you. If you step a toe out of line? Instant death penalty.
  • Collapsing Lair – Specifically, the idiots who often stay behind to impede you as you flee.
  • Gang Up on the Human – Apparently, second place and below doesn't care about winning so long as they can stop you.
  • Match-Three Game - Especially evident with those with goals, it is entirely up to the AI whether you can complete the level or not.
  • Shoot the Medic First - They may not care so much about dying... as long as they can take the medic down.
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  • Suicidal Overconfidence – Even when they're doing Scratch Damage and you're killing a dozen with each shot, the enemies still charge at you in a suicidal effort to chip off a few Hit Points, or none at all.
  • Super-Persistent Predator – Especially annoying in games that claim to represent whole worlds or ecosystems.
  • Too Dumb to Live – On the part of allies, obviously, but also includes enemies that you're trying to capture or that you need to beat up to fill your Mana Meter. Apparently, they're willing to die to stop you from pulling off your infinity plus-one combo.

Not to be confused with A.I. Is a Crapshoot, although a lot of those can be pretty spiteful, too. Related to We Win... Because You Didn't, X Must Not Win if X is the player.


  • Japanese soldiers and Marines in Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault will prioritize in incapacitating the Player Character over their own wellbeing, or for that matter, going after the rest of your squad, achieving this mostly by trying to bayonet you or gun you down. And if and when they do actually incapacitate you, they'll even do the Coup de Grâce by bayonetting you, slashing you, or just shooting you in the head.
  • The AI in Age of Empires II will often skip around your actual defenses to try and attack your town and production buildings, which (assuming the player prepared for this) tends to lead to their entire army strung out and attacking houses while the player's army runs up and kills them all.
  • In Baldur's Gate and similar games, when enemies manage to paralyse or stun one of your party members, they'll invariably gang up on and murder them, taking advantage of the fact that an immobile party member can't avoid hits. Tactically, it would make more sense for them to focus on the characters that can still move and attack; killing the one that can't take any action anyway doesn't help them win. What it does do is weaken you for the next group of enemies.
    • If an enemy targets one of your characters, they will almost never change target unless you put a lot of distance between the character and enemy, go invisible, or get away in some other way. Maybe you get hurt and want to back off and let healthier characters take over the fight? Too bad, that monster will push its way past your fighters and archers even as they fill it with arrows and swords, just to finish what it started. This can be used to kite the enemy while the rest of the party wails on them with impunity, or to lead them into a series of traps, but it's still annoying.
    • Being attacked in the city by muggers? The City Guards, who will leap on you for so much as picking a lock for XP, don't even lift a finger.
  • In Call of Duty, the AI simply loves to taunt the player by shooting their corpse. And by that, we don't mean a few more bullets to make sure (they do that to everyone, but only the side hostile to the player), we mean unloading a whole MP-40 mag into the darkening camera or dropping a grenade at point-blank range then yelling "''Granate!''" and fleeing.
    • Not to mention instances where a German rushes upstairs, spots a Russian less than two meters in front of him... then immediately spins 180° and opens fire on the player who did absolutely nothing to give away his presence.
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops allows for this with its Combat Training AI, who attempt to replicate the movements and actions of human players with less than desirable results. The teams always seem to end up evenly split between a team of drooling idiots who forget they have guns in their hands, go for knife kills at counterproductive times, and then frequently forget how to knife if they survive to get in range (your team) and a team of near-aimbots that will track you through walls, shoot the instant any part of you pokes out from behind cover, and hit every bullet with no recoil or bullet spread. While they get less like aimbots in later games, they make up for this by ramping up the blatant cheating in other ways: particularly in Black Ops II, everyone on the opposing AI's team will have one or two people using a launcher as a secondary weapon, and the very instant you call in an air-based Kill Streak, a missile is already in the air to shoot it down - and even setting the game rules to disallow launchers of any kind won't help, because the opposing team will just straight-up ignore the rules and use them anyway.
  • In Candy Crush Saga. When compared to a free Match-Three Game, the board seems less random and more actively conspiring against you. Nowhere is it more evident than in Order levels, where you need specific combos or colours of candy to complete a board. Most levels require some degree of speed or strategy, but on the Order levels special candies suddenly become a lot harder to make, and where before all candies dropped fairly evenly, it will pick one of your Order's colours to skimp on. If the AI doesn't want you to pass this level, you won't.
    • In early timed levels, tons of +5 candies will drop. Later on, you'll see less and less of them, and they'll be dropping in places that are a waste of time to reach as well. Moreover, once you've made your point quota (ie, the AI has lost and is just running out the clock) they start dropping more frequently.
  • The AI in Civilization IV sometimes do this, sending all of their armies to pillage your country while they themselves are being crippled. This can sometimes be explained with the 'personalities' of the civilization rulers, and other times it's just the AI taking leave of its senses.
    • Barbarians are basically defined by this, having seemingly no purpose other than to try to cause mischief. For instance, say you have an extremely powerful unit within striking distance of the barbarians, and a capture-able civilian unit within range of both that unit and the barbarians. A sensible person would withdraw. The barbarians will immediately charge in and capture the civilian, and then be obliterated next turn.
  • In the first Command & Conquer games, attacking a harvester or ore truck will cause the computer to go berserk and throw every single unit it has at you. It also has a habit of surrendering when all important structures were destroyed and it had no chance to win. Yuri's Revenge had the titular faction come across as spiteful, particularly the gattling and magnatron tanks and mind control units. The former loved to chip away while out of range, before running from any retalliation. Didn't matter if it killed anyone, what counted was they hurt and annoyed you. The latter takes damage if it mind controls too many units, but is only too happy to destroy itself if it means just turning one more unit and forcing their allies to shoot them.
    • In the early games, if the AI decides it can't win, it will sell off all its buildings to create an army of infantry and throw them all at you. However, this behaviour was retained in some of the later games, which had the option to set victory conditions to destroy all buildings rather than all units…meaning the AI effectively commits suicide when it does it.
  • The AI doesn't even try to hide it in Crash Bash. In a four player match, the AI will actively band together to defeat you. At best, they will attack you whenever they get the chance. At worst, the three computer opponents will actively coordinate their moves together just to defeat you. If they get a power-up in a minigame, you can guarantee that you're the only one they will hit (unless they happen to miss while aiming for you), they will corner you if they get the chance, and they will get in your way, but never in each others' way. It's not a four player match: It's a three versus one.
  • Destruction Derby 2 has the Death Bowl, an enclosed arena with a cliff. Even if you drive straight off all the other drivers will go after you to make certain you're wrecked.
  • Just one of the many factors confirming The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard in Dissidia Final Fantasy. When playing through any of the protagonists' campaign mode, encounters against certain mooks have in-battle conditions to be fulfilled (for instance, winning with a Flawless Victory, scoring a Critical Hit within a time limit, etc.) in order for a chance to win back Destiny Points (which deplete with every turn you take; the more you have by the end of the campaign, the better the rewards you receive). It seems that the computer wants to deny you ALL of this, and, from the start of the battle, will immediately take measures to prevent you from fulfilling these conditions.
  • Enemies in Disgaea will sometimes kill their allies with area attacks, depriving you of experience and items. They also prioritize destroying any treasure chests, level spheres, or innocents/specialists present on the map over attacking you, just so you can't claim them (No longer the case for the former two in Disgaea 3 and Disgaea 4, thankfully).
    • The Druid class introduced in Disgaea 2 has an ability called Bonus Blast, which in enemy hands removes one of the bonuses you can potentially receive at the end of the fight from the list (friendly Druids using this ability just generates a new bonus list). Given the that the Disgaea series has No Fourth Wall, you can be sure that this ability specifically exists to spite you and deny you good loot.
  • In Driver, police will not interfere with any other activity done by other AI drivers, including two AI drivers involved in a car crash directly in front of a police car. However, once the heat is on you, ALL police cars in the area become laser-guided missiles aimed at destroying your car, even if your car is at a dead stop. Furthermore, the computer police will callously crash into other vehicles on the road just to get to you. Apparently the lives of other motorists takes second place to catching a person who was driving 10 miles over the speed limit.
    • Not only that, but they will often try to smash each other out of the way to get to you. Do any replay with the camera facing behind you, and you can watch them destroy dozens of their own cars this way.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The series has City Guards notorious for this behavior. In Morrowind, they won't lift a finger to help you if you're being assaulted by an NPC. However, if you start the fight, they'll be on you to arrest you in no time flat. In the rare event they do intervene in a fight (such as if you lure a creature or monster into a town), they become a liability as accidentally striking them while fighting the enemy counts as an assault on them. Their behavior gets even worse in Oblivion, where they will chase you to the ends of the earth (including into Oblivion itself) to attempt to arrest you for any crime. What's more, if you're caught stealing even a SINGLE Septim, the guards always seem to be right there waiting to yell "Stop right there, criminal scum!" and haul you off to prison.
    • Beyond the guards, most NPC enemies show an absurd lack of self preservation. Enemy mages will cast large area of effect spells while standing right next to you, often killing themselves in the process. Bandits and the like, even the weakest ones in line with Bullying a Dragon, will continue to attack you even after you've easily slaughtered their half dozen friends and it is clear they pose no serious threat to you. Retreat is never an option considered by the AI.
  • Elite, at least the Commodore 64 version, featured shuttles that would launch from a space station directly into the lane of oncoming traffic (i.e., you)—even when you were literally less than a second from successfully docking. If the collision didn't kill you outright, the instant plunge into wanted criminal status (for destroying an unarmed passenger shuttle) would mean getting ganked by the space police the moment you launched. Not so much the AI being spiteful as just dumb, but it wasn't hard to feel like the game was out to get you all the same.
  • AI frequently does this in Europa Universalis and other Paradox games. It can take many forms. Little, pitiful nations, for example, frequently will ally with you, then almost immediately declare war against someone much stronger than them. Other countries, if they have constant casus belli against you, will declare subsequent wars even if they were beaten several times. It's especially infuriating if it results in a strong country deciding to abandon you, which invites other potential enemies to gang up on your poor nation.
  • It even applies to bugs. Fallout: New Vegas has several glitches that seem to exist solely because a character's AI realizes the player will be screwed out of a quest and its reward if they screw up at one specific point in time and it decides to take advantage.
    • If you decide to rescue Ted Gunderson for the quest "Beyond the Beef", he will act like a regular companion and follow you through every door - except for the one that leads you where you need to take him. It is still possible to complete it in this manner, though - you just need to fast-travel outside of the Strip to get him to teleport back to you, then run back into the Strip before the security robots at the door blow him to pieces.
    • One of the Boomers at Nellis AFB lets you hear the history of how they left Vault 34, blew up everything they came across, and settled at the air base. Hearing their history is part of how you're supposed to become accepted with the group so they'll let you take on their quests. Naturally, 100% of the time the kid stops completely after the first part of the speech and won't continue or let you talk to him - and if you leave the room (your only option that isn't "prove you're insane"note  or "stop playing"), you gain infamy with the group instead. Console commands to reset his AI are all that can save you here.
  • Fatal Racing has eight teams of two cars on the track, and on higher difficulty levels most races take about 10 minutes. It is not uncommon to see opponents turn around and head the wrong way if they are lagging behind, apparently to try and eliminate someone else out of spite because they are doing poorly. On higher damage settings this is a legitimate danger: hit one and you take enough damage to burst into flames and slow down, enabling other opponents to catch up to you and kill you before you reach the pitlane.
    • And sometimes a driver on low health heads into the pitlane and doesn't stop, plowing into anyone standing there waiting for repairs and catapulting them back onto the track. This typically results in a quick death for both cars involved.
    • Somewhat averted in that the enemies don't specifically target you, they just decide they can't win and attempt to ruin everyone else's day.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics A2:
    • There are quite a few escort missions, and while in some the allies will actively flee your foes, some insist on diving right into the action, exposing themselves to certain doom as the enemies will usually target them when able. The Paladin's Cover ability can solve this problem, though.
    • In one quest you have a single character supporting a bunch of moogles in a fight. This is a teammate who will constantly try to use the haste spell until it works. The problem with this is it's a tinkerer, meaning that he will keep using Red Gear (randomly grants one team's entire party haste) and, if failing, keeping the other team sped up getting in too many attacks that the player can do nothing at all against it. The thing is, unless you can haste your entire party, he will do this unless rendered unable to, such as by debuff, and the second one member has slown down he will start up again. However, aside from that he actually acts rather smartly in combat, meaning that if you can stop him from casting he will start fighting.
  • In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, if you leave any one of your three lords exposed, it's actually best to hope that they don't kill the enemies attacking them so the rest of the enemies get body-blocked while you use the next turn to retreat and put someone stronger in the way. Numerous times the AI will sacrifice their nameless mooks to chip your health down so that one of them runs in and gets a kill, causing a game over. This most commonly happens on Lyn and Eliwood, especially later in the game where they throw a lot of lance-wielding enemies at you and the two sword-users are disadvantaged against lances. (And Lyn can't even counterattack if she has a bow like she gets later on!)
    • On that note, Lyn not counter attacking may be preferable if she's strong enough to kill enemies in melee combat but not agile enough to simply dodge everything thrown at her. A bow will almost guarantee that melee enemies will get body blocked very quickly, which means fewer attacks on her and less damage.
    • An arguable example in Fire Emblem Awakening but when fighting one of the Risen attacks, while being supported by another team, the Risen seem to usually focus their attacks on the other team, even if they won't be able to do anything and die in one hit. The problem with this is that since your AI partners are killing them, none of your units are getting experience.
      • Awakening takes this even further. If an enemy has no chance of even damaging your units, he'll rush the most powerful one you have to keep your weaker units from leveling up.
    • It is a running gag among fans that the AI hates the player specifically, and will do its utmost to sabotage the player above accomplishing their supposed goals; it will prioritize killing units over completing goals, and the allied AI will find some way of screwing the player over. The page quote is a good example of this; after stealing an enemy Thief's only set of Lockpicks, you'd expect him to either try to steal them back, or write them off and go for the high-value Vendor Trash, but he instead takes the Vulnerary, your only and very precious source of healing early in Hector Hard Mode.
    • An example that seems to have no actual tactical purpose but serves only to annoy the player: throughout the series, when you're forced to take a chance and expose a unit to potentially fatal attacks, the enemy will more often than not take all its other actions first, forcing you to sit through its entire turn (sometimes upwards of two minutes long) before the dice get rolled on the one or two actions that determine whether you need to restart or not.
    • There's a recurring mission throughout the series where you have to defend several helpless NPCs from enemy forces. Inevitably, these NPCs will be actively trying to get themselves killed. For instance, their AI is set to rush the enemy forces instead of running and hiding, even they can't fight at all and will die in one hit. But it doesn't stop there. They'll do things like move out of the player's range so you can't protect them, take valuable healing supplies and items so you lose them if they die, sit on Villages/Houses with rare items so the player can't visit them, even actively (and obviously) coordinate with the enemy forces the AI also controls. The lengths some of these NPCs will go to to screw over the player can reach Artificial Brilliance sometimes... Despite the fact that they should want to live.
  • Grand Theft Auto V online has this to an absurd degree. During missions for biker gangs or CEOs, any mission that requires you to deliver a car will have the traffic AI deliberately get in your way as often as possible just to make your task that much harder. In any other mission or just playing around in freemode, the AI behaves normally. People that looked up the game's code found out that the AI was actually programmed to interfere with the player delivering a car.
  • Forza has the normal or bog standard racers play dirty. Dick Dasterdly dirty. Car Fu and high performance vehicles are mandatory. Then you get to the street races where you can almost hear the other drivers communicate with each other, "Doesn't matter who wins, she loses. Shunt her off the road and into that house so she misses the checkpoint, cause a crash up ahead to cut her off, call your mates to head the other direction, do it now, ram her off the road." Try a speed or drift challenge and suddenly the roads are worse than Sydney peak hour to make it harder. Or say you're just in freeroam, maybe building up skill points. Other cars will actually make a beeline for you and make you crash.
  • The first F-Zero featured (non-competitor) vehicles so low on health that one touch would make them explode. Of course, rather than pull over to the side of the road and try to live, they prefer to try to ram you.
  • The AI in Galactic Civilizations is spiteful, but they're fair and rational about it:
    • A fairly common occurrence when on the verge of victory at war with an AI is for that race to surrender… to another AI. This is explicitly spelled out as spiteful to you. However, you can be on the receiving end of this tactic as well; AIs at war with each other will occasionally surrender to you to spite their conqueror.
    • If you make peace with an enemy and then turn right around and declare war on them again, the AI will remember this. Trying peace negotiations with them again will result in a message along the lines of "What, you think we're idiots? Why the hell would we trust you to keep your word?" This even if the alternative is the destruction of the AI's civilization: it would rather go down fighting than give a backstabbing warmonger any kind of concession.
    • The AI will also absolutely refuse to trade warfare technologies with a player who has a history of attacking other civilizations. The player's warmaking tendencies are explicitly pointed out as the reason for this.
  • Gothic would have all enemy creatures attack you together. This could mean a wolf, a badger, an orc and a zombie somehow working together against you. As soon as the player was gone from their sight, they would turn on each other.
  • Hyrule Warriors: The Giant Bosses typically each have ONE action where you can use a particular item to expose their Weak Point Gauge. How often they actually do the action in question is another story.
    • Adventure Mode missions require you to get an "A" rank to get special rewards like weapons, heart containers, etc, which typically means completing it in under a given timeframe with little damage and/or having beaten a certain amount of enemies. In the Wii U version, Ghirahim's level 2 weapon mission is complicated by a cuccoo (chicken) that follows the player around like a lost puppy until it takes a fair bit of damage from the player, goes into golden attack mode, and summons a never-ending hoard of cuccoos that will hound the player. Not impossible to manage, but definitely a pain. Damaging it in the first place can easily happen if the player inadvertently uses Ghirahim's AOE combos within range of the cuccoo.
  • Iggy's Reckin' Balls: The AI gets more aggressive towards opponents that have attacked it in the past. Sometimes it will simply race alongside you, but if you've screwed it over in the past, it will make sure to return the favor. Thankfully, the game averts Gang Up on the Human: the AI does this to other AI players just as readily.
  • In Inazuma Eleven, especially the later iterations, the AI will do anything to make sure you don't get the ball. This includes sacrificing even their own strikers' TP just so that you'd not get a chance at scoring, even if they're losing (so that you cannot complete the 5-0 conditions, in post-ending challenges). They also have a tendency to use their bench players IMMEDIATELY after their players lose all their TP, regardless of how much sense it would make. Comes back to bite them in the buttocks when you exploit their weaker benchers.
  • In Just Cause 2, the enemy armament is more dependent on what the player is using than on how rare their guns are supposed to be. Take the shotgun, assault rifle, and machine gun: the latter is supposed to be the rarest of the three, and if you're using one yourself it is - but then drop it for an assault rifle and suddenly everyone you kill with that is dropping the machine gun instead.
    • Every now and then you can get "support" from one of the three allied factions to attack Panauan military installations. There's little possibility for you to sit out the fight and let your allies take care of things for you, as if you're anywhere nearby when it happens the military will know you're involved and start shooting you too. This very frequently leads to the player being forced to handle every bit of destruction and even just exploration with guns blazing from the get-go, because as soon as they get anywhere near a village with some destructible object, an ally will drive in at full speed and immediately get themselves shredded just so the military turns their guns on the player.
  • In the LEGO Star Wars games enemies will only attack the character you control (unless you're a droid). This becomes extremely frustrating when Obi-Wan is swinging a lightsaber in the face of some stormtroopers, and all Han Solo wants to do is build a switch to open a door. Needless to say, the enemies don't give a damn about anyone but the guy who isn't attacking them.
    • This is also why Force Ghost characters cost so many studs. They're not seen, and partially transparent, so not targeted, and weapon fire passes through when shooting at others. Their sabers still work as well.
      • Worse still, computer-controlled allies never do damage to enemies, which of course isn't much help. This also carries over to the rest of the LEGO Adaptation Games. Some of the later games attempt to script events so that allies can more or less hold enemies and appear useful.
  • In Lords of Magic enemies will always prioritize killing your mage over anything else, even though the mage likely expended all of their mana at the very beginning and will have no further effect on the battle (besides the enemies ignoring all the real dangers to chase them down). They do this if they're a band of marauders loyal to no one, fighting to defend their capital city, or any other circumstance that should make them prioritize winning the current battle over denying you use of the mage in future battles against someone else.
  • Mario Kart. Specifically, Super Mario Kart, where all non-player characters have unique attacks in Grand Prix mode, like Mario and Luigi's invincibility, Bowser's fireballs, or Yoshi's eggs, but they will never use them against each other and will be perfectly happy to remain in whatever spot they started the race in. But if you come up behind them, or you had the insolence to take their spot…
    • Mario Kart DS makes this worse with team races or battles. Because friendly fire applies, the AI on your team doesn't care WHO they hit as long as they hit someone with an item, even if it costs your team the whole game.
    • Mario Kart 7 takes the spiting AI to a whole new level. The AI will aggressively swerve into your path just so you don't get the item boxes or coins you were trying to get. It's possible to go an entire lap without getting a single item because the AI wants to make sure you don't get any.
    • Mario Kart Wii has AI, when set to aggressive, go out of their way to run into you when they are influenced with a star or mega mushroom. Should you drive off course to avoid getting run down, it's entirely possible for them to follow you off road and even throw themselves off cliffs for the sole purpose of running you down. Aggressive indeed.
    • The AI drivers in some games, 8 for instance, have been known to intentionally run into and wipe themselves out on your back-held item just to make sure you can't use it. Especially if it's a red shell, which would be great for catching the racer ahead of you, or the Bob-omb, which would blow up and take you out with it. This also especially shows up with the later games' "super item", like the Lucky 7 or the Crazy 8. If you actually roll this item, the AI racers will rush to try and either hit the Bob-omb that appears with it, destroying most of the other items in the process, or to try and steal the Star.
    • AI drivers have been known to launch items backwards at you when there are racers in front of them that they would theoretically benefit more from targeting.
  • Mario Party frequently abuses this. If a CPU is chosen to pick another player to compete against in a Duel mini-game, they'll almost (if not always) ALWAYS pick you. Even if you're in last place, or more surprisingly, if you don't have any stars and just one measly coin.
  • In the Mario Super Sluggers minigame Ghost K, you throw baseballs at ghosts attempting to rack up the most points. Each ghost has a different color, which gives a certain player more points if they hit it. Red for P1, blue for P2, yellow for P3, green for P4. When playing on single-player mode, at least one CPU player will aim for your ghosts just so you can't grab the extra points, even though they don't either.
  • AI troops in Mass Effect 3's multiplayer mode can "execute" downed players, usually by stomping on their corpses, to deny other players the chance to revive them. That isn't spiteful; it has a tactical purpose. What might be spiteful is that they'll ignore other, active players (including ones directly in front of them, ones attacking them, and ones trying to revive their victim) in their rush to double-tap. What's definitely spiteful is that they won't execute the last player on the team, making the humans wait around in observer mode for the last one to bleed out before the game ends.
    • Of course that may be left on purpose so the last man standing can use medigel and try again to survive the round.
  • In Master of Orion, especially MOO 1, any A.I faction you are at war with won't hesitate to deliberately vote for your opponent in the Galactic Council election just to spite you, which if he is elected causes him to win the game, making the AI faction lose the game themselves as a result of their vote. Note that there is no allied victory in MOO, it's every man for himself. The only rational thing to do for the A.I faction in such a situation is to abstain, which ensures that nobody is elected and therefore prevents the player from winning just as much, but the AI hates you so much that they're willing to deliberately lose the game just to make the player lose as well.
  • Good freakin' luck winning any game against multiple computers in the PC game Monopoly Star Wars: pretty much the only way to win a game of Monopoly is to get… well, a monopoly, and the AI will orchestrate trades with each other so that everybody has a monopoly except for you. There's nothing you can do about this; the trade goes off so long as all affected parties (both AI players) agree to the trade. If the trade doesn't affect you, you have no say. You'll also have difficulty trading with the AI because the AI will not accept a trade unless it massively screws you; they won't give you a single property unless you give them about five properties and most of your money. Put simply: unless you nab all of the properties in a color by just landing on them normally, you are screwed. Don't forget the AI rolls the dice too. They also won't give you a monopoly in a trade unless you give them one in return; that's common sense, but it also means your odds of winning a game are typically- at best- 50/50.
  • In Mordheim: City of the Damned, the AI in the single player campaign will seemingly do pretty much anything to screw up your campaign, helped along by them having effectively infinite warbands to throw at you:
    • If you're playing on a Bounty mission, the AI will actually loot their own dead to take the bounty items you need to collect to win. The AI will also even devote multiple units to looting your dead to take any rare and valuable gear they're carrying.
    • If your warband is hanging on by a thread and mostly being carried by a Hero Unit, the AI will cheerfully Zerg Rush them with all of its units to try and bring them down, loot all of their gear and maybe even leave them with a crippling injury. Conversely, if you're trying to train some raw recruits, the AI will target them and gleefully massacre them before you can train them and get use out of them further down the line.
    • If you're on the last couple of days before your daily Wyrdstone shipment (not fufilling these shipments will eventually lead to a game over) and only a few stones short, the AI will send out all of its units and grab every last Wyrdstone on the map then scatter, forcing you to hunt down their units. If any of your units manage to get a hold of some, they'll gang-rush Wyrdstone bearers to prevent you from getting your quota met.
    • The story missions don't just pit your warband against infinitely-respawning enemies who aren't affected by morale and no weaker than normal (or may even be stronger than normal), but are often specially tailored against the faction you're playing in a very cruel twist on Character Select Forcing. For example, the Sisters of Sigmar (powerful melee fighters with terrible mobility and a complete lack of ranged weapons outside of some spells) for their first story mission face extra-powerful melee units holding chokepoints (which means either Zerg Rushing them with Cannon Fodder or sending your own powerful Hero Unit at them and hoping the Random Number God doesn't screw her over) while all the enemy ranged units snipe at your warrior-women from the balconies, and when you finally break through... your wounded and exhausted ladies have a difficult climb up a tower (which they have an inherent 40% chance of failing due to their heavy armour and generally poor mobility) while being continually hounded by endless waves of units who have no such difficulty climbing after them.
  • In Mount & Blade, your entire army could be standing five feet away hacking at enemy soldiers, and the bulk of those enemy soldiers will still completely ignore the men hacking away at them to try and get a piece of you. This makes fighting in melee combat very tedious since you can be swarmed very easily. It's even more annoying when you're standing alone on a hillside away from the main battle and half of the enemy's archers are firing arrows at you from two-hundred yards away rather than trying to defend themselves from the infantry slowly marching up the hill at them. It could be justified partially by the fact that (at least in the vanilla game) incapacitating you immediately leads to your entire army's defeat, but since the reverse isn't true for the enemy commander, it's still a good example of this trope.
  • Neverwinter Nights
    • The game has an "enemy" faction, a "noncombatant" faction, and allows custom factions to be created in development. Any faction that becomes hostile to you (by hitting even one of their members) will cause them all to join the enemies. So if you come across some drow butchering innocent villagers and hit a dog, the drow, the villagers (including children), the dogs, and any animal (regardless of being a predator or prey) will all team up against you.
      • This isn't always true, depending on whether or not the faction is set to global or not. If a faction is not marked as global, only observers will become hostile. And they'll still attack other enemies.
    • Spellcasters love to cast Dispel Magic and the like to get rid of your buffs, often as a first priority. So, you barge into their lair and are heading straight for them, and their first priority isn't to cast defensive magic on themselves, cast a spell to try to kill you, cast a spell that attempts to slow or stop you, but rather cast a spell to remove some random buff or two from you so their allies will have an easier time killing you in revenge after you've beat them down.
  • Phantom Brave:
    • Enemies will sometimes waste attacks on the corpses of your party members, even before you get the ability to revive. This does absolutely nothing to help them win the match, but makes it much more expensive to revive your guys afterwards.
    • Players who spend long enough in the random dungeons might eventually come across a map filled with awesomely powerful items and objects strewn about all over the place, and a bunch of enemy Prinnies. The Prinnies will focus exclusively on systematically wandering from item to item, picking them all up and throwing them all out of bounds, one by one. They pretty much won't stop until all the stuff you might have wanted has been destroyed.
      • Not to mention the enemies who constantly try to steal your weapons.
      • Also, the chances of stealing an item only depend on the unit's level and species (Merchants are better than average, Bottlemails have an almost 100% chance even if they're half the enemy's level.) Enjoying beating up on weakened level 150 enemies with your level 60 Marona armed with a super-duper weapon?Just wait until one of them finally gets one single turn, and uses that turn to nab your weapon and use it to kill you in one hit.
  • The chess app Play Magnus has Magnus at lower levels, who doesn't Know When to Fold 'Em yet and will play to the bitter end no matter what. He may be many pieces down, and going on would probably just drag out a near-inevitable defeat, but he won't resign. If you're generous enough to offer a draw in such a situation, or even one in which he has no way to win anyway, he'll refuse. A programmer who worked on the game has explained this behaviour: Magnus doesn't resign because that forces beginners to learn how to deliver checkmate after building up an advantage — accidental stalemates (which are draws) are a common problem in beginner games. His refusal to accept draws is to keep players from farming points by playing on a low level, grabbing a few pieces, and then offering a draw.
  • Pokémon:
    • Wild Pokémon such as Geodude and Voltorb will often blow up on you for no good reason. Why would wild animals knock themselves unconscious just to damage you? How bizarre.
    • Pokémon that can inflict status conditions can (and often will) continue trying to inflict status conditions on your Pokémon even though there can only be one non-volatile and one volatile status condition on a Pokémon at a time. This sounds completely pointless and a case for Artificial Stupidity, but it's extremely frustrating when the player tries to use a healing item on their Pokémon only to watch them be status'd all over again, wasting a resource.
    • In the 5-Maid Knockout Exact-Turn Attack Challenge of Pokémon Platinum, you go up against five trainers in a row, each of then with one Clefairy. The idea is that you have to beat them all in a specific number of turns. Not "equal to or less than"; an exact number of turns. The problem is that every single one of the maids loves to spam the Endure move, which allows a mon to survive any hit with one hit point remaining. There is absolutely no reason to do this in a battle; the CPU just wants to throw off your turn count.
      • Additionally, the trainer match you get as a reward's true purpose is to steal the Rare Candy from their one Pokémon, since this is the only way Rare Candies are farmable (you can take the challenge once a day, but the item is replaced every time). However it will immediately destroy the item by using the move "Fling", so you still can't get it unless the first mon in your party can, in addition to taking down all those Clefairy at the exact right time, steal it from them immediately or keep them from attacking and switch to a different mon that can steal it.
    • Similiarly, both X and Y and Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire have battle restaurants where you get extra rewards for finishing battles in the right number of turns. The AI just loves to employ luck-based strategies such as spamming Protect and Double Team, or utilizing a Prankster+Stun Spore combonote  to paralyze you before you can attack. None of these strategies are actually going to help it beat you, it's just trying to stall you out so you lose the rewards.
    • All too often, that Olympus Mons that you're trying to catch would rather commit suicide by self-damaging moves like Double Edge, or just faint from Poison/Burn damage, than allow itself to be captured by you. And woe betide you if you try to capture a mon with a suicide move (see above) without putting them to sleep first.
    • Up until the 5th gen, the battle facilities were particularly cruel about this: if you tie (such as if you KO their last Pokemon with a recoil move, but faint to the recoil) the AI wins. Yes, you read that right. And this will often happen through no fault of your own via the AI exploding their last Pokemon. Fortunately, this was fixed in Black/White.
    • The spite continues in the latest generation, Pokémon Sun and Moon, with the "Minior" creatures: There are seven different colors / variants, but they all have an identical outer shell. You can only know which color the one you're battling is by reducing it to under half health. All of them have the Self-Destruct move, which they will use at random, often on their first turn. The only way to prevent it working and catch all seven variants reliably is to battle them using a Pokémon with the "Damp" ability (Golduck, Parasect), which prevents Explosion and Self-Destruct from working when used by anybody (friend or foe) while the Damp Pokémon on the field.
  • The military in [PROTOTYPE] is hell-bent on stopping you, and only you. If you so much as twitch wrong in their presence, they will drop whatever they're doing, no matter how suicidally stupid that may be, and try to turn you into mush. You could be standing in a crowd of pedestrians or even other soldiers, and they'll still unload on you with no care as to who gets caught in the cross-fire. Sometimes it seems like the death toll would be much lower if they just let Alex kill a few thousand people without interfering. While the military is just as reckless with the infected, they still prioritize you over all else. There are a scant few missions in which the military outright will not attack you, but that's it. Even during the boss fights, they'll try to pick you off, though they're not as persistent about it.
    • Justified in that Blackwatch's (who is commanding the military here) SOP is to massacre everyone and everything in even the same vague area as a plague outbreak, animals included, for fear of contamination spreading. Those civilians? Written off as acceptable losses, the instant Alex is spotted.
    • The Infected are quite similar, with the added bonus that they can spot you in disguise or not. However, the game subtly justifies this later on, when a cutscene shows an Infected's point of view: to the Infected, you're glowing like the freaking sun, so naturally they'll focus on you above the dim bulbs that are regular humans.
  • Pedestrian drivers in Rad Racer will not get out of your way for any reason, and some will even start changing lanes as you approach just to get you to crash into them.
  • Sohees from Ragnarok Online often kill themselves when their HP is too low, so you don't get any items or XP.
  • In Star Wars: Battlefront 2, the AI, no matter how far away they are, will often ignore every other threat just to target you, even when they are physically incapable of hitting you. Try shooting a walker on Hoth with a sniper rifle and you'll see. Even the giant AT-AT pauses in its march to turn and start blasting at a sniper for a stray shot that did nothing.
    • The allied AI is just as bad. They literally give away control posts to the enemy, moreso if you originally spawned from that post or had a hand in capturing it at all (which means pretty much all of them).
  • The Saints Row series. If you're on the run from police and make the foolish mistake of trying to make your getaway in a vehicle, every pedestrian car in the city will suddenly think they're a cop too and deliberately get in your way, moreso if it's an activity where you can't afford to damage your vehicle. And then if you're on foot, they'll just panic from all the noise and lights and proceed to run you over, no matter where you are in relation to them.
  • In Saints Row: The Third, if you are being shot at by gang members and run past some cops, they will shoot you too. Even if you're unarmed. What's more, if you are in a car pursuit and have to slow down for any reason, some pedestrian will run up to your car and initiate the excruciatingly lengthy and completely unskippable, let alone blockable animation of pulling you out onto the pavement. It doesn't matter to the AI that you will literally vaporize them the moment the animation ends and jump right back into the car: they just hate you, the player, personally and want to make your car chase experience as frustrating as possible.
  • Shining Force would have a poor AI that basically prioritizes Max or Bowie even if they can kill a squishy.
    • If an enemy is about to die though they'll gladly take anyone they can down with them, even if it means going completely out of their way to do so.
  • Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne has certain enemies capable of a Self-Destructive Charge. Should they toe the line between life and death, they will just blow up, not only damaging you considerably and denying you some XP and cash, but sometimes even hurting their own allies and triggering their own self destructs.
  • In Smuggler's Run, the police cars don't really do much except try to crash into you as hard as possible. They don't mind flipping over in crazy ways that no normal human could survive, or brutally totalling their car every now and then. They just want to TAKE YOU DOWN.
    • Same thing happens in the Grand Theft Auto series. Even if you're driving a tank and their cars instantly explode when they hit, the Lemming Cops will still constantly ram you just to slowly drain your Hit Points.
    • Another way the police AI in Grand Theft Auto, and it's clones, hates you is seen when other criminals go after you. In one of the early missions in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, you can be riding a bicycle while three men in a car are gunning you down. Even if a policeman is standing in the line of fire, he won't respond. But god help you if your bicycle hits the policeman. Some older games take this Up to Eleven: The police may be in a neutral or hostile (to you) state, and any criminal action against the police by AI enemies will cause the police to act as if YOU attacked them.
    • Somewhat averted in another sandbox game where the player deals with police frequently (Postal 2). If the police see or hear another NPC fire a weapon, whether it's at you, them, or anybody else, they will attack back - in fact, the NPCs have it worse than you in this case, as the cops will continue sending more men until that NPC is dead, whereas the player has the option of throwing down his weapon and surrendering. However, if the above NPC was shooting at you and you try to fight back, or even if you just have a weapon in hand when in a cop's line of sight at all, they'll drop everything and focus on you instead.
  • Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed has the AI act extremely hostile towards you and only you, especially on the higher difficulty levels. Unlike Mario Kart where the AI tend to throw items out as soon as they can, the AI in this game will hold onto their items for a while until you get within striking view. The AI is particularly nasty with the Ice item since they will usually spam all 3 ice balls in quick succession so that you get frozen and slow down a lot. There's also challenges where you have to deal with moving road obstacles and some types purposely swerve into your path just to make you lose time.
  • In Space Empires IV if you get too large, all the other races in the galaxy will all suddenly break off relations with you, make peace with each other, and put together a massive military alliance that declares war on you. Even races that had "brotherly" affection for you and have been in a partnership for centuries, even pitiable races that are thousands of years less advanced and have been your vassal state for most of their existence, they all will spontaneously join in the free-for-all and attack you. (They will do this against another AI empire, but with a much harder-to-meet criteria of "too large"; also, the definition's weighed in a way that human playstyles tend to more rapidly fill. Also, this part of the stock AI is optional and may be absent or different for the plethora of third-party species.)
  • In Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 2, the TIE fighter AI would occasionally crash a random fighter into the player, often costing a life (and earning the affectionate Fan Nickname "Darth Bob"). It is generally accepted that this wasn't what the programmers intended, and that it's a flaw in the programming the AI taking things into its own hands to kill you.
    • Similarly, in the sequel of Battalion Wars, just to make enemy Fighters' Demonic Spider status even worse, they will crash into your AI Fighters to make them die instantly sometimes. As if your AI Fighters not picking up Jerry Cans and being Too Dumb to Live as a result wasn't enough.
  • In SSX, if you keep knocking down your opponents, they get a red exclamation point over their head. In Tricky, these racers will slow down if they're ahead of you to wait for you and try to knock you down.
    • For once, the trope is justified. If you were repeatedly knocked over by someone while trying to race you'd be pretty spiteful too, and want to return the favor.
  • The pirates will fight you to the bitter end in Super Metroid, even by attacking you as you flee after killing the Load-Bearing Boss. They might have an excuse, though, since it's not often a whole freaking planet that's exploding. Where would they escape to?
    • There is one available method of escape: your ship. They must be trying to kill you and take your keys. Except in Zero Mission, in which your ship has long since been shot down and you need to steal one of theirs. For some reason, the pirate pilots helpfully oblige you by hopping out of their ride in their great zeal to personally kill you, instead of just leaving you behind on the exploding mothership.
  • Super Smash Bros. is guilty of this. In multiplayer free-for-all, computer controlled opponents will still fight each other, as it is free for all. However, stray far enough from the fray, and notice how enemies tend to drift towards you, all while fighting each other. This is even more prevalent in Brawl, where certain finishing moves (such as the Dragoon) will always be aimed solely at you, even if you aren't in the lead. Likewise, Final Smashes won't get activated unless you, the human player(s), are the target(s).
    • Doubly so with Final Smashes, triply so when it's a Final Smash that targets one person (Link, Ike, Marth) or moves about the screen (Pikachu, Sonic). You can spend an entire four-minute 4-player match (you plus 3 computers) just running away from someone with a Final Smash because the computer refuses to use it on anyone except you, they will hunt you down everywhere you go (and if you're on a huge stage like New Pork City and Hyrule Temple, and the computer grabs the Smash Ball when you and he are on opposite sides of the stage, you get to watch as the computer runs across the stage after you, completely ignoring the other computer opponents).
    • Computers have been known to waste certain Final Smashes, like Snake's (which has an ammo/time limit), just waiting for a human to respawn, completely ignoring any other computers that are present.
    • In Brawl, you can make a custom stage where you can trick the AIs into an inescapable cage, or put yourself on a platform that none of them can reach. Watch as they pace back and forth without even attempting to attack each other.
    • AI characters are programmed to taunt after a K.O. regardless of who scored and who was the victim. This can lead to them taunting right after respawning, celebrating their own failure.
    • Super Smash Bros. for 3DS has Rival Smash. You're surrounded by weak Mooks, you have an AI rival playing the same character you are, and you're rated by how many more KOs you get than the rival. If you're KO'd, the game ends. The rival often ignores mooks right in front of them in order to Gang Up on the Human, which is detrimental to its ability to get a high score, as the game ends when the player gets KO'd.
    • In the Classic Mode in Smash 4, there will be prizes like trophies and equipment attached to certain CPU trophies that the player will only win if they KO that enemy during the multi-man match that normally follows, and nothing if they're beaten by another AI. The CPU players with nothing attached to them have a tendency of ganging up on the ones that have prizes on them just to try and keep the player from getting them.
    • The A.I. has been known since Super Smash Bros. Melee to leap right off the stage and get KOed if a human-controlled character has been launched away from solid ground and is taking too long to return. Similarly, in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's Spirit battles, if you're up against multiple computer players at once, they will often pursue you off the stage to ensure you fail to come back, even if they themselves have no hope of returning either.
  • The Baldur's Gate example actually happens in Tactics Ogre. Often they might petrify a party member...and then proceed to find the immobile party member and beat the shit out of them. Additionally, if you bewitch an enemy, they know you won't damage them because that'll end the bewitching...if they can't cure the bewitchment, they may instead heal the bewitched enemy so when it does wear off, you have to beat them back down again.
  • In Toontown Online, in the Cog Thief minigame of all places. The cogs try to steal money, and you try to throw pies at them to make them explode. If they hit you, they explode and you fly into the air. When this happens, the cogs currently on screen will turn away from the money and try to run into you, even though they will instantly explode upon running into you.
  • Total War players. An enemy nation might be down to one city, every port blockaded, its treasury so far in the negative that it's threatening to plunge the world into a new Ice Age, but will it sue for peace or stop sending rag tag bands of peasants to get slaughtered by your invincible armies ? Fuck no, motherfucker, THIS IS TOTALLY SUICIDAL WAR !
    • Don't forget the goddamn Pope. You might have been fighting a defensive war against a nation 3 times larger than you for 5-6 game years. You finally launch a counter attack on your former city AND THE POPE THREATENS TO EXCOMMUNICATE YOU. Muslims have it easy...
    • AI countries can be excommunicated too — in theory — so at least they'll get punished for their spite. In theory.
    • Trade deals. Trading ressources between nations in a way that mutually benefit both of them, with no actual downsides to it? Unless they really like you, the A.I.s will constantly refuse to trade.
  • Lampshaded in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. Throughout the game, enemies continue to shoot at you, even when trapped in a burning building, a sinking ship, or a collapsing ancient city. Drake figures the enemies just don't care. It's later revealed that most of them are hyper-loyal to Marlowe. Others are not the sharpest tools in the shed (read: the pirates).
  • VanishingPoint suffers from early implementation of aggressive AI. Rival cars in front of you will swerve to block, and will even collide with other rival cars or traffic if it means stopping you from passing them. Cars coming up behind you will deliberately aim for you if you are stuck on a wall or otherwise stopped. Non-highlited traffic will always slam on the brakes when you are close, punishing tailgating players. Given the game's floaty physics, tournaments not letting you restart events past the first race and the time-attack nature of races, these accidents usually lead to spectacular multi-car wrecks, restarted races and frustration.
  • In Vanquish even if you are surrounded by bulky marines carrying rocket launchers while you are completely out of ammo, every single enemy will try to gun you down specifically provided you aren't hiding behind cover, in which case many enemies will suicidally charge forward just to get behind your barricade and stab you in the face. It is somewhat justified in that the enemies for 99% of the game are robots and the fact that you have the super prototype ARS, you are probably considered to be a bigger threat. Not so justified when your allies seem to enjoy running in front of you while you're firing or rushing into an enemy warp point which pretty much automatically kills them as well as 'sitting' on grenades. Even worse, the more allied kills you get, the lower your overall score.
  • In first Wangan Midnight games (especially R), all your opponents are this, since they can overtake you in sudden, throw you away, bumping you into crashing walls or traffic cars, or blocking you for passing. Having Life Meter and Time Limit Bosses make it worse, since you can lose the race by time out instead of having your life meter depleted.
    • In Maximum Tune sequel series, Story Mode opponents who drop out will get ahead of you on purpose just so that when they break down, quit, spin out, or do whatever else causes them to leave the race, they can potentially block you and cost you your victory. Given that the series has several rewards for completing Story Mode without losing a single race, it's clear the game is just trying to screw you over to compensate for the otherwise-easy AI.
  • Warcraft III has the multiplayer mode. The enemy hero units are worth enough experience to advance to level two, so it's usually a good idea to try and kill them before they can make any additional troops. If you get the heroes down to low health, however, they will run off in search of the nearest monster do they can die and deny you the experience. It doesn't help that by that time you're usually too low on health yourself to fight the monsters.
    • In multiplayer LAN games with one or more human players, AI will always attack the host, even above the other humans. The AI could be in the middle of attacking you, but turn around and attack a gold mine your buddy just built on the other side of the map without any way of knowing this had even happened — all because you aren't the host.
  • The WWE Video Games series has this in several ways, from the Rubber-Band A.I. snapping completely and going berserk to actively cheating to multiple person matches involving Gang Up on the Human to the point they'll only attack each other because one is preventing the other from attacking you, or not content to end the match when it has clearly won, it has to injure you first.
    • The worst however is the Comeback mechanic. When soundly beaten you may have the ability to do a series of moves that gain you massive amounts of momentum (which let you use your finishing move.) Try and activate and the CPU reacts by, "Oh you'll pay. You will pay for trying to make this a competitive match." You would sooner see Jean Paul Levesque have Roman Reigns job to CM Punk (his Real Life biggest pet project and most hated enemy) than be allowed to start a comeback, much less actually pull it off.
  • In some of the Yu-Gi-Oh! video games, the AI often end up destroying their own high-level monsters and nets of traps with cards that hit both sides, like Torrential Tribute and Heavy Storm just to harm you, even though they are the ones that suffer far more damage in the process.
  • In Zippy Race, it's painfully obvious that the other cars will actively try to swerve right in front of you.


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