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Multiplayer Games That Ruin Friendships

Video games often walk the fine line between engaging and enraging. But throw another player into the mix and things can get real messy, real quick. Whether you're playing against—or alongside—your Player 2 pal, no friendship is safe when a fighting game tactician resorts to cheap button-mashing or a co-op comrade goes full Leeroy Jenkins. Here are some of the most frustrating, friendship-ruining multiplayer games of all time.

GoldenEye 007

While N64's GoldenEye 007 proved to be an all-around riveting and cinematic experience, it was the shooter's split-screen multiplayer mode that gobbled up every wannabe Bond's afternoon. That is, until someone chose Oddjob and threw off everybody's rhythm. Seemingly designed to quench the local troll's thirst for blood and lulz, Oddjob boasted an unavoidable advantage over his fellow fraggers—his vertically challenged stature. He's roughly the height of other characters' chests, so nabbing a successful kill meant manually adjusting one's aim between combatants, as auto-aimed gunfire would zoom right over his head. More often than not, the miniature maniac would gun his opponent down in cold blood before they even had a chance to react.

But picking the pint-sized punisher wasn't the only way to ensure an IRL beatdown from a former BFF. That honor goes to the player who snagged the Golden Gun in "The Man With the Golden Gun" deathmatch mode. The now-infamous weapon was a single-bullet pistol that rendered any player dead with one well-aimed shot. Of course, anybody had the chance to kill the Golden-Gun-toter and claim the legendary firearm as his or her own—but good luck prying it from their cold, dead hands.

Soulcalibur

There are two kinds of Soulcalibur players: the seasoned veterans who've poured over the move-list, honing their skills to the point that they can play blindfolded—and the button-bashing barbarian. Two-player matches between friends sometimes feature both of these gamers, with the latter often coming out on top despite their obvious inexperience. It's not even remotely fair, but that's what players get when they decide to settle personal disputes in a fighting game with a guy like Nightmare on the roster

Wielding a massive sword called the Soul Edge, Nightmare can put even the most skilled savage out of his misery with a couple of combos—little to no skill needed. And don't even get us started on the ever-so-broken Yoda, who made his brawler debut in the Xbox 360 version of Soulcalibur IV. A number of attacks will go right over the jolly green Jedi's head, and he's literally immune to being grabbed thanks to his diminutive frame, forcing gamers to relive their Oddjob-themed nightmares all these years later.

Beautiful Katamari

Namco Bandai Games' quirky Beautiful Katamari boasts two distinct multiplayer modes, both of which are frustrating enough to turn a friendly game-a-thon into a fist fight. In co-op mode, players are tasked with sharing a Katamari—a cosmic ball that sticks to random objects as it's rolled around a city. But since most gamers have yet to master mind-reading, keeping in sync with one's partner means predicting movement patterns and mastering knee-jerk reactions as players barrel precariously through city streets. It's not uncommon for players to find themselves moving in the opposite direction of their co-Katamari-roller, and, as a result, literally going nowhere.

Competitive mode is a whole other nightmare, with players controlling separate Katamaris in a white-knuckle race to score the most objects before time runs out. And while that sounds lighthearted, the option to ram your Katamari into another player's, thereby detaching their collection of objects, can inspire real life blows. To add insult to (potential real) injury, a player's intergalactic avatar can even roll their opponent up into their Katamari, dangling them helplessly as they wriggle around in rage.

Catherine

Catherine is the tale of a 30-something slacker falling for a succubus and entering a recurring nightmare as he's judged by an otherworldly entity posing as his bartender. In other words, it's a typical Atlus game.

In co-op multiplayer mode—or, "Babel"—a pair of players take the form of game protagonist Vincent and his girlfriend, Katherine (not "Catherine"—it's complicated), working together to reach the summit of one of four randomly designed towers. Like any romantic relationship, avoiding pitfalls in Babel means communicating, keeping calm, and working together. And since each level is randomized, planning beforehand is a waste of breath. One wrong move and it's game over.

Co-op isn't Catherine's only multiplayer option, either. Frenemies can butt heads in the competitive "Colosseum" mode. Opponents play as a pair of pillow-wielding sheep racing to the top of a block tower. Like its co-op counterpart, Colosseum's gameplay sounds relatively civil—until Player 2 knocks their unsuspecting opponent off of a block three steps from the top of a tower, and they're sent plummeting to their doom.

Equal parts engrossing and controller-chucking-ly frustrating, Catherine tests friendships as intensely as players' skills. And in a game so hard that its developers scaled down its difficulty with a post-release patch, that "test" plays out more like a no-holds-barred gauntlet than a friendly competition.

Contra

Konami's classic run-and-gun pioneer has gone down in gaming history as one of the hardest video games of all time, and for good reason—literally every enemy in the game can send players six feet under with a single hit. Taking up arms with a fellow commando should cut the challenge in half—but while that sounds good on paper, it doesn't quite play out that way. It's really easy to accidentally execute their fellow gunner simply by maneuvering around the game's environments.

If a player scales a vertical level too quickly, the floor will suddenly drop out from beneath the feet of their formerly grounded companion. Likewise, an unfortunate game mechanic sometimes prevents players from completing a jump if their teammate trails too far behind. Couple unintentional companion kills with the series' notorious difficulty and the ability to steal another player's stock, and former pals will be butting heads before the inevitable game over screen. The Konami code can give you 30 extra lives, but it can't repair a broken friendship.

Left 4 Dead

The zombie apocalypse is no time to be a hero. But those who stray too far from the pack in Left 4 Dead must've missed that memo. Whether players are fighting back floods of flesh-eating pests in survival mode or dodging the dead in the co-op campaign, Left 4 Dead encourages survivors to fight as a unit, share resources, and stick close to their team. In a way, Valve's co-op undead fragfest plays like the interactive equivalent of a high school group project—one careless schmuck could spell disaster for the whole squad.

Unfortunately, every group of gamers has that one friend who just can't stick to the script, either heading off on his or her own or camping alone to thwart the zombie threat solo—typically to disastrous results. All in all, this game is best left to a group of friends who'd trust one another in a real doomsday scenario. Shoddy communication could mean a bloodbath, plus a whole bunch of nasty words you just can't take back.

Portal 2

Unlike its single-player campaign, Portal 2's co-op mode puts players in control of two dim-witted robots, ATLAS and P-body, who are tasked with completing a series of increasingly challenging portal-based puzzles. And while the point of the cooperative campaign is to legitimately complete the puzzles together, messing with one another to the point of rage-quitting can be just as satisfying. Who doesn't love jettisoning their trusted companion into GLaDOS's scrapheap courtesy of a well-placed portal?

Even if players' intentions aren't devious, maintaining a steady pace and determining the correct course of action to solve GLaDOS's complex "tests" takes a lot of patience that some gamers simply don't have. Plus, the evil AI's blatant favoritism of one player—and constant heckling at the other—don't exactly nourish a sense of camaraderie. Needless to say, it doesn't take long for Portal 2's co-op campaign to dissolve into a contest to see who can be the first to trap their robotic companion in an endless portal loop.

The Switch's best-kept secret, Snipperclips: Cut It Out, Together! is Nintendo's answer to the age-old question, "How awesome would it be to slice your friends up into a pile of bite-sized chunks?" Two-player mode sees besties stepping into the shoes of paper protagonists Snip and Clip as they literally put their heads together—and then snip them apart—to progress through a wide variety of lighthearted, laugh-out-loud levels. Snipperclips starts out simple enough, encouraging players to experiment with their shapeshifting abilities and assuming that they trust one another to properly cut across the dotted lines. But as puzzles grow more difficult and shapes demand increasingly creative snipping, common sense takes a backseat to trial and error as players bicker over the best way to tackle each ensuing obstacle.

Luckily, the game offers partners a sure-fire way to take out their frustrations by allowing them to slice and dice one another to shreds—which is also something they can do in the competitive Dojo mode. In fact, "clip or be clipped" is pretty much the only rule of Dojo mode. But that's exactly why it's more fun—and infuriating—to tear your buddy apart in co-op. Like Portal 2, Snipperclips offers players the freedom to mess with their friends, play the game properly, or do a little bit of both.

Overcooked

Cooking a meal can be frustrating. Cooking 30 meals while dashing from platform to platform is enough to squash players' culinary dreams for good. But that's exactly what inexperienced players are in for in Overcooked's co-op campaign, which forces a duo of chefs to dish out plate after plate while avoiding the temptation to knock one another's teeth out with their controllers. From "accidentally" ramming one's so-called BFF off of a speeding truck to starting a kitchen fire, there's no shortage of ways to sabotage a promising playthrough in Overcooked.

Competitive multiplayer switches things up, pitting teams of two against one another in an all-out clash for gastronomic glory. Of course, with higher stakes come increased team tensions, so you'd better break out the swear jar for this one—especially in the dreaded ice levels, where slipping into the frigid Arctic water results in a painfully long timeout.

Mario Party

Don't let its innocent virtual board game premise fool you. Nintendo's quintessential bond-breaker, N64's Mario Party—and its many successors—can dissolve even the strongest BFF bonds. Every entry in the series boasts its own brand of betrayal-inspiring four-player "fun," turning compassionate compadres into monsters as their opponents are crushed by boulders, launched off of cliffs, and otherwise dispatched in the Mushroom Kingdom's most brutal blood sports. Alliances rise and fall with the roll of dice, Bowser and his minions snatch your stars and coins every chance they get, and real-life thumb injuries mount with each aggressive joystick-rattling mini-game. 

Now that we think about it, Nintendo must have a thing for turning longtime friends into bitter nemeses. Between Mario Party, Super Smash Bros., and Mario Kart, no other company has so thoroughly tested the strengths of gamers' relationships.