My Rules Are Not Your Rules

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Games have rules. These rules aren't always fair: The average First-Person Shooter pits a single player against multiple groups of enemies, all of whom are trying to kill him.

Some games, however, supposedly apply the same rules to the human and AI players. The red bike has a max speed of 230 kph, batteries for 500 laser shots, can't take corners well... wait a minute! The blue bike has a max speed of 190 kph, so how did it overtake your red bike when it was going at max speed?

This is one of the most Egregious forms of The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard, in which the AI players break the explicitly laid-out rules of the game. This throws any idea of equality out the window. However, since many games would be rather dull if the AI played fair, some believe this to be a necessary evil. Others, meanwhile, will take great, detailed pains to elaborate to their associates what horrors they would adore visiting upon the game programmers.

Sometimes this is done to provide a challenge to the players - The AI has to naturally be handicapped so that the player has a fighting chance. The computer can mash buttons faster than a player can ever hope for and knows every move.

Note that this applies only to games and situations where the human and the AI are supposed to be on an equal footing. If the rules say the AI is in a different situation to the human, treating them differently isn't cheating.

Compare Rules Are for Humans, which applies to adaptations of existing games.

Examples of My Rules Are Not Your Rules include:

Tabletop Games

  • In Dungeons & Dragons, the first rule for Artifacts is "Artifacts Cheat". They are not bound by the game's established rules for magical items, and can be as powerful as the DM wants or needs them to be. While this can certainly unbalance a campaign, that's the idea. An Artifact is supposed to be a Plot Coupon and MacGuffin that plays a vital role in a campaign, not just something randomly found in a treasure horde.

Video Games

  • In the original Civilization, Triremes built by the player couldn't leave the coast without being lost. Computer built triremes had no such restrictions, allowing them to circumnavigate the world.
    • Most of the Civilization games have AI that largely ignore some of the basic game rules when playing on the higher difficulty levels with the recent edition of Civilization V being the worst, where the AI can just ignore some of the game rules. For example, when a player founds a city it decreases the overall happiness of his empire thus resulting in things like lower production and a lower growth rate. This is done to prevent the player from expanding too quickly via settler spamming. Plenty of players have reported however, that on the higher difficulty levels the AI can more or less just do as it pleases and produce vast number of cities without any penalties, and produce units at a much faster rate then the player for no reason. The actual AI itself however, does not actually appear to get smarter, making this a perfect example of Fake Difficulty and The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard.
    • The computer can also apparently build nukes without uranium.
    • In Civilization IV, the difficulties bellow Noble give you faster production and technology than the computers, but even on these low difficulties, they still build military units way faster.
  • In the earliest versions of Street Fighter II it was not uncommon for a CPU controlled Guile to use his Flash Kick from a standing position, often as he's walking toward you. For those who don't know, the Flash Kick requires you to hold down (crouch) for two seconds, then immediately press up and a kick button, which would make this tactic completely impossible for a human player to do.
    • In a similar vein, AI-controlled Balrog is able to throw out dash punches without the requisite charge command (hold back for two seconds, then forward and punch).
      • Balrog is actually worse because he can combo three dash uppers on you, taking out way more than half your life and stunning you. Effectively, if you are hit by one dash upper while in the ground, you'll lose the round no matter how much health you have.
    • Blanka also does this by launching his rolling attack while walking forward. Oddly, after Turbo, while he still does that, he'll pretend to charge for his rising rolling attack.
    • In the max difficulty, some CPU characters will have the starting frames of some attacks cut to zero in order to use the infamous magic priority trick. Especially noticeable in a Ryu vs. Ryu match: if you try to sweep him, he can crouch and swipe you before you complete your sweep.
  • Ah, Mario Kart, let me count the ways... All of the Mario Kart games have some level of this, but the following examples are all from Mario Kart 64:
    • The computer's top speed is not the same as a player using the same character. This is most evident when Toad gets passed by Bowser on a straightaway. For the uninitiated, Mario Kart 64 gives light weights like Toad higher top speeds than heavy weights like Bowser, at least in theory.
    • The computer does not need to go over an item block to get an item. This is most evident on Toad's Turnpike, where the item blocks are all in the pit area that the computer never enters, but that doesn't stop them from leaving bananas all over the place.
    • The computer does not get certain items: Especially in 64, they never seem to get banana chains or any of the shells, including blue ones. Note that this is a good thing.
  • Super Mario Kart deserves special mention because of how different you are from the other racers. Your car's max speed is determined by how many coins you have. You lose coins when you hit someone or fall off the track. The other cars? They don't even have coins. They can't even pick them up. So while you hitting them means you slow down, it means nothing for them besides being hit.
    • It's stranger for powerups. You have to drive over a power-up block to get a random power-up. They don't get random power-ups. Each AI character has a single kind of powerup that they use at regular intervals. Donkey Kong throws banana peels, Princess Toadstool drops mushrooms, Mario and Luigi can spontaneously turn invincible, etc. And they only use these powerups against you; they will only activate them if they are exactly one place in front of or one place behind the player.
      • This system has advantages compared to some of the later games in the series. Rivals don't deplete power-up boxes, they don't use unexpected or unexpectedly powerful attacks, and anyone more than one place ahead of or behind you can be ignored (especially important for the ones behind you, since racers closer to the back get better items). It also provides an incentive for maintaining first place: only one rival will actually attack you.
  • In the Pokémon games, it's fairly common to see an NPC using Pokémon evolved far earlier than they should be, or using moves they shouldn't have by that point. For example, Lance in Gold/Silver/Crystal versions uses two Dragonite at Level 47 and a third at Level 50, while the lowest level at which a player can legitimately have one is Level 55. In Red/Blue/Yellow, his Dragonite knows Barrier, a move which is impossible for a human-owned Dragonite to learn. His Gold/Silver/Crystal Aerodactyl has Rock Slide, which that generation's players' Aerodactyl didn't have access to, but later generations did (too bad you can't trade back...).
    • Theoretically, since some Pokémon are seen evolved early in the wild, there is nothing that says the AI opponents couldn't simply have been to places you haven't where their particular early-evolved Pokémon are found at a low level, and it has always been possible in various ways to obtain Pokémon with special moves they can't otherwise learn at events or through spin-off games. While they're not the same special moves some AI-controlled Pokémon have, one could say this is justified.
    • Back to Lance's Dragonite. In HeartGold/SoulSilver, he has one at Level 40, two at Level 49, and one at Level 50. Dragonite can once again only be obtained at Level 55 or higher, except through an event at Level 50, which is STILL higher than three of Lance's.
    • Goes back to the first boss in the game: Brock has an Onix that is much lower-level than any Onix you will encounter in the game. However, Brock could have bred Onix which hatch at Level 5 or Level 1 (depending on the game), then trained them to around Level 9. While breeding was not a game mechanic in R/B/Y, their remakes imply that breeding is possible, just not in the region the originals cover.
    • In Black/White you have the pleasure to face a Level 54 Hydreigon. Normally, it's pre-evolution wouldn't evolve until Level 64. It also has perfect IVs and uses all its EVs. It will destroy your team. Earlier, Grimsley uses a Level 50 Bisharp - there is no way to legitimately get a Bisharp until 52.
    • Now for an Inversion - the default "Shift" battle style allows players to change their active Mon after knocking out the opponent's, and they're even told what the opponent will be sending out next.
    • One particularly annoying example is witnessed in the Battle Tower. Should the player and the opponent be down to their last Pokémon, the Self-KO (Kamikaze) Clause comes into play, where the player loses if he or she happens to command a Pokémon to use Explosion or Selfdestruct. But say the computer decides to finish the match with an all-out Explosion? The player STILL loses without the opponent being penalized, despite the sacrificial KO being solely the fault of the computer. Similar unfairness occurs when both Pokémon faint simultaneously due to the effects of Destiny Bond or Perish Song. So if you lose, the computer wins. If you "tie" with the computer, the computer still wins. To "win" (and thus preserve streaks), you have to WIN, no questions asked.
    • One WMG theory that may cancel all the angst about evolution levels: the game you play is only your experience, and the evolution levels you discover are not universal. So yes, your Pidgey always evolves at a certain level, but nothing says that all Pidgey do.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics A2, abilities are all learned by specific jobs. Blood Price, for instance, can only be learned by Spellblades, a Viera-only class. Now, there exists a job changing system, so you can use abilities from one class to another, so this means finding Red Mages and Summoners (both Viera jobs) with Blood Price isn't terribly out of the ordinary. However, AI units tend to ignore the exclusivity of support abilities like these, and you'll find plenty of enemy units with abilities they just simply shouldn't have. Illusionist (Humes and Nu Mou only) with Blood Price, despite lacking the Spellblade job necessary to get it? Sure, why not? And, whenever you compete in the "Cup" missions to get scions, some enemy units will have support skills that raise Magick/Resistance, or raise Attack/Defense (which can also be learned by monsters, but they could simply just be abilities only learned by those monster), or support skills that allows the unit to evade all ranged attacks (not Evade Magick, that's a reaction skill). Your clan will never learn such skills, oh no. What really rankles is when you fight with a certain unit using one of these unobtainable support skills ("Impervious", which makes them immune to all Standard Status Ailments), and then later on you get to recruit this character, and he's suddenly forgotten this amazing ability.
    • Let's talk about Final Fantasy Tactics A2 some more. A very literal example of My Rules Are Not Your Rules is the law system itself. In the prequel, laws were universal: everyone in the conflict was bound by the judge's ruling. In this game, your clan has its own personal judge, who deals you one law per battle, which only applies to you. Best of all, the laws are not random, so if the judge thinks that your battle against the nigh-Demonic Spider Flans would be improved by disallowing all magic, then prepare for a long, painful battle. Presumably other clans have their own judges imposing similarly arbitrary laws, but you never see them or their effects. Thankfully, breaking the laws in A2 is far less severely punished than it was in Advance: instead of having the violators sent to prison for several in-game days, you simply lose the benefit you'd chosen (annoying, especially if you'd chosen a benefit that occurs after the battle, like an EXP bonus), and the ability to revive your fallen comrades (though this doesn't apply to the Auto-Life spell). It's still quite annoying to watch the enemies gleefully do what you can't.
      • This could possibly be justified, however, in the sense that the law is applied to you because you are in an adjudged clan. The enemies, especially if they are monsters, are not adjudged, and therefore are not subject to the laws that the player has to follow. The downside to not being a part of an adjudged clan, however...
    • Speaking of Laws, let's speak of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. The law system in that game was, if anything, even more restrictive. There were anything between one and three laws up for any given mission, which were randomized depending on the day. The enemies actually had to obey the laws (Enemies that disobeyed would be red-carded and jailed just like your party members, and sometimes waiting for the right law would cripple an enemy), except when they didn't. Many enemies of any real importance would have a special medal on them (just a mark on their profile, not an actual item that you could steal or break) that made them immune to getting red-carded. So they could get yellow-card warnings all day for flagrant disobedience of the laws that would get your clanmates jailed on the spot. And you could never get this kind of law-protection.
      • Technically, the laws weren't random. They just cycled every day. So if on one day outlaws Swords, Knockback, Knives, and you move once, the new laws would be Knockback, Knives, Other, move another day and it'll be Knives, Other, Other2. The only time the laws truly randomised is when they appear Blue.
  • In the PSP remake of Final Fantasy Tactics, the Onion Knight job is marked by being able to use any piece of equipment, being unable to use abilities, yet having extremely high stats when mastered. However, in one link mission, you and your partner must defeat a team of master Onion Knights who have a full range of powerful abilities equipped.
  • In Final Fantasy XII the only elemental spell that doesn't have a higher-level version is Water. Unless you're one of the many enemies with Watera or Waterga. Do the PCs get it? No. And there are many opponents who are weak against water. Those enemies tend to attack en mass, where a multi-target water-based spell would be great. Oh, and one of your Summons gets Watera, but won't use it very often. Real fair.
  • In Mortal Kombat II, the AI jumps while its sprite is still in the "laid on the floor" animation to counter any hope of continuing a combo after a knockdown.
  • Goenitz in The King of Fighters '96 could do desperation moves without restrictions while giving more and receiving less damage to/from the player.
  • The nigh-forgotten Eternal Champions games on the Sega Genesis and Sega CD were 2D fighters that took the unusual approach of requiring "inner energy" for all special moves. Theoretically, this forced the player to learn the characters and apply specific strategies in every possible matchup... Except against the AI, which could always execute specials with sheer and utter disregard of its own energy levels.
    • Even more, well, insulting, characters have an ability called Insult which allows them to sacrifice one piece of their special gauge to destroy a little more of their opponents. The computer, especially the final boss (bosses in the Sega CD version), is quite fond of repeatedly Insulting you from a distance to render you impotent, usually shortly before, with a blatantly flashing EMPTY gauge, they execute their ultimate full-gauge-requiring attacks, some of which do things like rendering the character completely invincible (the final boss(es) have these, naturally). If you lose in the final battle, you can't continue?
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics, not all enemies have the required job levels to use their current job. (This is really a minor issue, however, having those levels doesn't affect their performance and won't make a difference unless the player invites them to the party.)
    • A more egregious example is that the AI has unlimited item stock. That rare Infinity Plus One sword you've been crawling around Deep Dungeon for, while fighting through the hardest enemies in the game? Yeah, they toss those babies around like it was nothing; preferable, straight into your face. And that's not mentioning the Elixir Spam and the Draw Out Spam. Fortunately, this is hardly a problem in game where you can wipe out the whole enemy force in one turn in most battles, and sometimes, before they can even move! You can also turn the enemy's tendency to throw Infinity Plus One Swords at you into an advantage with a reaction ability that allows you to catch and keep any weapons thrown at you.
  • Justified in Digimon: Digital Card Battle. Most enemies avoid this, but one of the bosses fights with a deck containing all the top cards and which doesn't have to be shuffled, while simultaneously moving the player's partner cards to the bottom of their deck. The game explicitly states he's a cheater. However, this trope is used to your advantage in Digimon World 3: the player has access to a set of Digimon other humans don't; others have a separate pool to choose from where their forces can only have three moves.
  • In Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2, players often have a limited number of missiles (to shoot down enemies with) and flares (to decoy enemy heat-seekers), and each plane has its own physical limitations on what it can do (such as turning radius and speed). But when the AI uses those same planes, not only do they have an unlimited number of missiles and flares, their planes can pull hairpin turns instantly the second they're in your sights, at speeds that would normally make that plane stall out. And, even when you have radar-guided missiles, those same flares still work against you. This often forces players to close the distance and use their cannon for up-close-and-personal work.
  • In Hearts of Iron 2 the computer does not obey range restrictions when using naval units. Which leads to japanese CABG's in the Baltic.
    • The computer now plays by the same restrictions as the player in Hearts of Iron 3.
  • Similarily in Europa Universalis 2 the computer does not suffer attrition for it's naval units.
  • In Epic War 3, the computer is not bound by build limits, or build times, however this is only to counteract the greater advantages you have as the player.
  • If you set the original F-Zero to the Master difficulty you'll notice that all computer vehicles now have a top speed of 478 kph and masterful cornering ability.
    • And on any difficulty, if you crash into an AI machine, your machine will go spinning out of control in general observation of standard racing game physics, while the other machine will invariably be nudged slightly to the side and then go on as if nothing happened. This is especially evident if you catch two A Is crashing; they'll both be nudged in exactly this manner, and often go right back and crash into each other again, multiple times.
  • Although it seems like a small detail to get fussy about, in Shiren the Wanderer small details can be the difference between life and death, and one of these things happens if you have party members with you when you encounter a Skull Mage. One of the random effects that can result from a Skull Mage swinging its staff at you is that you become twice as fast for a few turns. If this happens to one of your allies, they remain at double speed for much, MUCH longer than you. Enemies that obtain double speed, such as when waking up after you use a Scroll of Sleep, also retain the speed bonus for much longer than you.
  • In Warlords (that is, any of the seven-plus Warlords games) the percentages are so lopsided in favor of the AI you can only accomplish a fair fight if you sacrifice ludicrous amounts of cannon-fodder at an equally powerful enemy group before launching a main assault. Interestingly, the difficulty settings do not modify the artificial intelligence, only the degree to which it cheats.
    • Especially conspicuous since the warlords franchise was promised by developers and marketing alike to feature strong AI in lieu of common cheating methods. It seems they lied.
  • In Dissidia Final Fantasy, all equipment has a minimum required level before it can be equipped. Accessories don't have a level restriction, and instead fall into several classes, depending on how many of the same accessory you can equip at once. Abilities are earned based on your level, and cost "CP" to equip, so even if you know an ability you might not be able to use it without removing an existing ability. Needless to say, none of this applies to the computer. Strictly speaking, these limits still apply to the AI, but only outside Story Mode. In Story Mode though, the AI can screw these rules as it pleases.
  • In Chrono Cross, the player has to attack multiple times in order to build up enough energy to cast high-level magic and skills, and can only cast one spell (max) per turn. The computer is completely unbounded by this rule. It can and will cast magic and skills from the first turn of battle, on consecutive turns, or in some cases, more than once in a single turn, without ever having to build up energy with standard attacks.
    • However, enemies have predictable patterns instead. So if you know what's coming next, you have the advantage.
      • This is actually VITALLY NECESSARY to get the best ending.
    • In addition to the above, there are spells that can only be used by characters with the same innate color as the spell. Some bosses are able to use these spells despite having a different innate color. Grobyc, for example, can use the blue innate character only spell Vigora even though he is black innate.
      • Which is also purely for show since Vigora regenerates stamina, which player characters need to act. Enemies don't HAVE stamina and, as written above, can already act however often they're scripted to.
  • Similarly in Seiken Densetsu 3, enemies who can use Techs can use them as a counter to your Techs/Magic, as a desperation attack when they're almost dead, or whenever they feel like it (even though the player needs to attack multiple times to use a Tech). This can be particularly dangerous near the end of the game when some mooks have Techs that can wipe out your entire party in one or two hits.
  • The Simpsons Hit & Run does this. AI opponents can overtake you whilst driving an inferior car. They also don't suffer from the penalties for hitting people on the road.
  • In the original Dawn of War, certain powerful units had a limit on the number of them that a human player could build. For some reason, the computer wasn't subject to said limits, allowing it to spam otherwise unique uber-units.
    • Tau bases in the Dark Crusade expansion campaign could build listening posts around their bases rather than on strategic points. You, however, can only put them on SPs, since that is what they are for. The discrepancy was due to the fact that the Tau had no static defensive structures except for these strategic point turrets. As the base building code demanded static defenses, the developers had no other option but let the AI cheat.
      • Also in the Dark Crusade campaign, your army has an "honor guard" consisting of your commander and several elite units. You can purchase an elite unit during your turn so long as you control the territory that grants it - and if you lose the territory, you lose the unit, no matter where you army was. If you lose the unit in battle you have to wait until your next turn to buy it. Your AI opponents, on the other hand always have a large number of honor guard units, even if you control required territories. It becomes especially obvious and insulting if you have gained the "attack twice each turn" ability: should you attack the enemy army and wipe out their honor guard, forcing them to retreat, if you attack them again immediately they will have replaced their entire honor guard, for free, during the middle of your turn.
      • This problem also exists, albeit in a significantly more annoying way, in Soulstorm. Again, honor guard units are won by conquering a territory; lose the territory and you lose the unit. If you have 0 territories, you have 0 honor guard units. However, for the AI, the amount of honor guard units is related to how long the game has gone on. This means an enemy force can have a full set of honor guard units despite only having a single territory. On harder difficulties this can make the game completely unwinnable as some territories have the enemy spawn with 2 bases. And 2 commanders. With a full honor guard each. You're outnumbered at least 2-1 by some of the most powerful units in the game, and they will attack you instantly.
  • In Lego Racers, where speed, acceleration and handling are built entirely on the car's weight and distribution thereof, Basil the Batlord (the third opponent) drives much faster than he has any right to. This might not be obvious at first, but upon facing him in a rematch with what seem to be the exact same parts, it's clear that he knows something we don't.
  • In the NES version of Punch-Out!!, if Little Mac gets knocked down three times in a match (even if it isn't the same round), no amount of button mashing will let him get up the third time. His opponents can potentially get up many more times provided it isn't three in one round for a TKO (or if you're fighting King Hippo, who never gets up from the first knockdown).
    • The Wii version adjusts this: Little Mac now has three knockdowns he can recover from (barring a TKO), and can occasionally force himself up on the fourth. (A fifth will end you.) The opponents all have secret knockdown values - once exceeded, they collapse in a KO on the next knockdown.
    • In all versions Little Mac has to get to a full standing position before the KO count will stop, but the opponent only needs to twitch to stop or pause it.
  • The Struggle in Kingdom Hearts II. When you get your opponent down to 0 HP, they are knocked out for a few seconds so you can collect more orbs, then they revive with full health. When YOU get knocked down to 0 HP? You lose instantly.
    • It helps that the only remotely dangerous Struggle opponent is Vivi, whom you cannot fight again after Roxas' part of the game is over.
  • Chain of Memories on the Game Boy Advance. Enemies have an unlimited deck size and never have to recharge. (Riku never does either, however, but he still needs to shuffle his deck) And enemies that do have to reshuffle appear to have infinite CP and can float out of the way so you can't hit them while they're recharging. You however, cannot do this. (You actually can attack them once or twice while they're charging, however. They only float out of the way when you do hit them once or twice.) Larxene is a prime example of this.
  • Enemies in the RPG Evil Islands never run out of fatigue needed to run (no pun intended) and cast spells. Thus even a frigging troll (an ugly, pimply, lumbering bulk, you know the kind) can always outrun the player.
  • Most enemies in Castle Crashers follow the same rules as the player, but a few, like Fire Demons, can cast magic without their magic field active.
  • Sid Meier's Pirates! is really foul about this. Not only is your ship ridiculously slow, even by 1660 standards, but the damn Marquis, Baron Raymondo, and everyone else on the board does not age while your player character does (with their skills going down the pan as they do).
  • Both Left 4 Dead games have the special infected AI cheat by spawning inside the safe room at the end of a level, whereas players controlling the infected are told by the game they are not allowed to to do the same thing because it's a restricted area.
    • However. a player infected can still spawn in the ending saferoom if they are auto-spawned.
    • The survivor AI will sometimes teleport to save other survivors form a "point of no return" this being that. once you get past it. there is no way to go back. survivors that are hanging behind will sometimes get pinned by infected. a human survivor could not help the pinned survivor. tho a AI survivor will teleport back to save the pinned survivor. thus "cheating"
  • In Madden NFL, the AI is allowed to audible from the Wildcat formation while the human players cannot.
    • Rather surprising, as well, in that the series has long been founded not on any "arcadish" feel, but on the philosophy of trying to provide the purest American Football video game experience possible, where every option available to any real coach/player of the game is in play.
  • In Heroes of Might and Magic II, resting in a city will restore your hero's magic points at the beginning of your next turn; if the computer attacks while you are resting no points will have been restored. The computer, on the other hand, has its points restored as soon as their turn is over; attack a city housing a hero who had no spell points left, and voila! they have them all back, even though in the same situation you'd have none.
    • This is because you get the magic points restored (and other end-of-turn effects) after all players have had their turn. If you're player 1, everyone else gets a chance at you before you've recovered, but if you're the last player, nobody does. It has nothing to do with the AI.
  • An odd couple of AI appear in the Command & Conquer Generals expansion Zero Hour. Prince Kassad (the GLA stealth-specialist general) can make terrorist motorcycles by default (usually a bonus of the Demolition-specialist, otherwise made by tediously combining a motorcyclist with a terrorist) and enjoys using them in excess. And the rocket-infantry units of all AI USA generals can use laser guidance (increases range and rate of fire) on any target, including other infantry and buildings, yet players can only paint vehicles. However, these both seem more like happy accidents that improve the challenge the AI offers, since the AI is not always very bright. These quirks are above and beyond the usual RTS AI cheats, such as extra resources and unit-building bumper-crops.
  • In Puzzle Kingdoms, your hero has four slots in which he can equip stat boosting items. You are limited in both type (one item each from Helm, Armor, Weapon, and Accessory) and by the point cost of each item. Computer opponents, OTOH, are given items completly at random, not only ignoring the points cap, but frequently stacking item types (which occasionally results in completely unfair combos like enemies with three shields, soaking up 90% of your attacks).
  • In the majority of Shin Megami Tensei games and spinoffs, you have Physical attacks, which consume a precentage of the user's HP (Prior to Strange Journey, where they use MP) and Magic attacks that use up magnetite, spirit points, or traditional MP. Naturally, Physical attacks, while powerful, will deplete your health in a hurry and are thus relatively risky to use. Enemy characters can use as many Physicals as they want and stay perfectly healthy.
  • The AI competitors in Railroad Tycoon get to build several track configurations that aren't available to human players, including stations with non-straight-through track (it can leave at a non-opposite angle and have multiple accesses - while humans are restricted to N-S (say), AI can build N-SE, N-E and N-E-W...), and diagonal bridges that can cross more than one square.
  • Indy game AI War Fleet Command uses this as its central concept. The player is told outright that the AI team flagrantly disregards things like tech level requirements and resources. On the other hand, the AI team's current aggression and tactics are limited by factors known to and manipulated by the actions of the human team - much of the game's strategy comes from figuring out how to destroy objectives and taking strategic locations without pissing off the AI so much it declares "fuck this" and pulls an insurmountable tech-three fleet out of its ass.
  • Vs Shooter Change Air Blade
    • The player needs to fill up a charge meter (while being in the top half of the screen) in order to perform their change (which turns them into a boss-like vehicle and prevents their armor from being damaged until the change is destroyed). The computer lacks such a meter. Instead, they change automatically after they hit a certain amount of damage (provided you aren't in the top half of the screen, which is 99% of the time since the pickup you have to get to swap positions rarely drops in 1P mode), regardless of what attacks they just did. Even if that attack would drain the charge meter if done by a human.
    • Sigma Lancer's first change is used near the end of his second life bar. His second change is used near the start of the third life bar. His third change is used the very instant the second change gets destroyed. You cannot damage Sigma Lancer while his change is active.
  • In Fire Emblem 4 opponents have infinite uses of their weapons and staves. The former is rarely an issue as all weapons except the Earth Sword have 50 uses. (Though it is annoying when it comes to long-range spells like Bolting and Meteor, which only had 5 uses in later games.)
    • Fire Emblem 5 contains an example that you'll only realize in retrospect: throughout the game you face Dark Mages, who use a spell that does heavy damage and inflicts Poison. When you later get a Dark Mage of your own, the same spell used by you doesn't poison.
  • Final Fantasy VII has Joe, a chocobo racer, and Teioh, his black chocobo, in the Golden Saucer. Their stats will always be higher than yours, even if your chocobo's stats are all maxed out. After a point it doesn't matter, as you can train your Gold Chocobo enough (get it running in a straight line) that it has enough stamina to sprint from start to finish on the long course. Joe doesn't start sprinting until the final stretch and so is easily beatable.
  • In a literature example, XB-223, the navigational computer in The Red Tape War moves chess pieces when Pierce isn't looking, and deals whatever cards it wants in card games rather than using a random-number generator. Pierce caught on a long time ago. Nobody else has.
  • In the 2 car races in Gran Turismo 4, there is a penalty (your engine gets shut off for a few se) for colliding with the other car, but this is never accessed against the AI. Even if they ram you, if anyone gets the penalty, it will be you.
  • In Ogre Battle the computer is not restrained by the same level restrictions for class change as you are, and its characters can have advanced classes that they do not qualify for. The player starts the game with a number of characters who follow the same principle (because the tier 1 classes cannot lead units), but for the computer such characters are the rule rather than the exception.
    • Ogre Battle 64 does the same thing. Also, unlike the previous game where the computer followed the cap on how many units it could deploy at once, in this game the enemy can field as many squads as it wants, despite you being limited.
  • Zig-zagged with mystic artes in Tales (series) games. In some games, you have to be in overlimit to use Mystic Artes. Bosses have to follow this rule too, although for some reason, they're able to just pull them out of nowhere as well as through overlimit. This is especially prevalent in Tales of the Abyss and Tales of Vesperia, where bosses that have Mystic Artes more often surprise the player when they suddenly pull it out of nowhere. This is also part of why that makes a certain boss in Vesperia That One Boss; because he'll use his mystic arte numerous times, and chances are, you will be caught by surprise when he pulls it out of thin-air.
    • Doesn't apply in some games though - in others, enemies can use mystic artes out of nowhere or if they're programmed to as a response. (For example, in Tales of Destiny 2 and subsequent appearances, Barbatos only uses a mystic arte, No Items Ever! if the player uses an item.)
  • In Freelancer, you can only mount a level-3 or lower gun on a level-3 hardpoint like you get on the Defender. The corrupted Liberty forces flying the same Defender can mount level-7 Nomad Energy Cannons. AI-controlled ships also have unlimited weapon capacitance and thruster burn-time.
  • Wizard 101 has this late in the game for an optional tower. Depending on the enemy, the cheat varies from casting spells that they don't have the pips (spell points), to super powered spell that do more damage than normal, to casting a defense spell on themselves during your turn. Justified though as the enemies that do cheat are in the most difficult parts of the games and are meant to be fought with a full team of level 50 (the LevelCap until Celestia was released)
    • Unfortunately, a second one of these now exist and at one point in time the it was not optional to access the last world. Fortunately the developers noticed this and, instead, just made it That One Sidequest.
    • In Celestia many enemies get extra pips at the start of the battle than is possible for the PCs.
  • League of Legends. Because the AI is ungodly stupid; they compensate by screwing the rules and having ungodly reflexes. The AI is somehow able to pull gold and levels out of nowhere, have high-level champions respawn as quickly as a low-level champion does, heals faster than a player does, etc. And oh yeah, they don't need to worry about several stuff that the players do? The AI bots never lag or ever have to worry about a griefer. It's likely they also get faster respawn timers, too.
    • On the bright side, if you have someone who disconnects for whatever reason, an enemy bot will leave to compensate for the missing player, thus making things fair-erish.
  • In Global Agenda, the Player Versus Environment AI is not restricted by power pools like the players are. Thus, even if their power is being sapped (such as by a robotics beating them in the back), they will still be able to shoot with no regard whatsoever to the fact that a player in their situation would be out of power to shoot with. Many of the NPCs can also completely ignore recon stealth with no warning or ability use whatsoever.
  • Inverted, strangely enough, in Monster Galaxy. Every Mon has a special status-inducing attack. When the computer uses one, they spend a turn to do it. For humans, however, it's a free action; if it misses, you can just use it over and over again until it hits, all without ending your turn (Your turn can only end if you use one of your mon's damage-dealing attacks).
  • In Resonance of Fate, your characters must take turns moving one at a time, but the enemies can all move at the same time. So, for every turn one of your characters take, every enemy gets a turn. The enemies are also aware of which character you're currently controlling and prefer targeting that one so you can't aim. This makes the limited run-while-shooting Hero Actions practically the only way to fight, since if you try to shoot while standing still the enemies will almost always interrupt your aim.
  • In Stunt Car Racer the computer opponent cannot crash - any collision between you and the computer will most likely result in you flying off the track while they drive on unaffected.
  • Early Command & Conquer games allowed the AI to rebuild destroyed buildings without regard for building adjacency rules (which forbade placing a building too far away from others). On the bright side, the AI always built on the exact same spots, so a single infantry unit can stall the AI by being where the building used to be.
  • For a non-video game example, the agents in The Matrix, though some people can cheat back.
  • Aerobiz: The game does this and plays unfair with money at once. If your airline runs in the red for a year, it goes bankrupt and you lose. If an AI airline runs in the red for a year, it goes bankrupt, changes its name and gets a huge influx of cash to start over and bounce back.
  • The game MS Saga for the PlayStation 2 has a system where you can upgrade and equip suits to fight other suits. The enemy ms's are not at all confined by your system having vastly more powerful suits and loadouts you can't duplicate.
  • In World of Warcraft, Whirlwind is a Warrior ability that strikes all targets around the user for damage that is lower than a typical weapon attack. When bosses and some enemies use Whirlwind, however, they will often spin for a few seconds, hitting anyone standing next to them multiple times for damage comparable to their typical weapon attacks, more akin to the Blade Storm talent (only accessible to Arms warriors at the very end of the talent tree, and having a cooldown of about a minute and a half). This is one of many examples of player abilities being different in bosses' hands.
  • In later Disgaea games, you can merge your monster-type units into giant monsters with higher stats and increased range on their attacks, and you can turn monsters into weapons for your humanoid units to use (called "Magichange"). However, Fusion and Magichange normally only work for a few turns without a special ability. Unless you're the computer, for whom it will never wear off. (On the other hand, given the computer's tendency to fuse/Magichange on the first turn of battle, and its tendency to sit still doing nothing until player units are in range, this can be seen as a practical way to keep the player from just waiting the fusion/Magichange out from the other side of the battlefield... but then, once the enemy unit is close and trying to murder your units, it STILL doesn't wear off.)
  • In the Captain Tsubasa games every action costs guts. If a character has not enough guts, he can only do basic actions like pass the ball—unless he is AI character, who never runs out of guts. Expect AI forwards to spam special shots until your goalkeeper runs out of guts to do his special save moves.
  • One of the minigames in Ripper lets the play with different rules. It's a chess-type game where you and the computer are trying to capture each other's kings. But while the computer can move all its pieces from the beginning, the player can only use their knights after all of their pawns have been killed. The computer knows this, and will actively go out of its way to avoid capturing your pawns.
  • There are plenty of Roguelike games (like Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, and the first, but not the second, Izuna game) where enemies aren't affected by traps. Most likely because their AI is so bad they tend to walk recklessly even into visible traps all the time, but it still can get annoying.
  • Eye of Judgment: Legends for the PSP
    • AI explicitly cheats throughout the entire story mode, sometimes to nigh-insurmountable extents. This is all the more egregious considering that Eye of Judgment is essentially a trading card game, where even a slight mana or attack advantages compound over time to give the abusing side an enormous advantage.
    • The final boss is particularly nasty about this in that the game actually lies about the extent to which he cheats. While the boss description states that he gets one mana off the summoning cost of any of his ultra rare creatures, he actually gets the summoning cost reduced to one. Prepare to see him pull out insanely powerful cards like Ouroboros Dragon out of nowhere while you're stuck summoning bottom tier monsters. Oh, and he uses a stacked deck. Prepare to see his trademark card Scion Triumphant summoned around turn 5 every time you battle him even though he only has one copy of the card in his entire deck.
    • The second to last boss has the ability to use any spell cards at no mana cost, and his deck seems designed to abuse this power to the fullest extent. This is particularly evident when he casts Elven Dismissal, a card which returns an opponent's monster to their hand by paying an amount of mana slightly higher than the monster's summoning cost. Since the boss essentially has an infinite amount of free spell mana at his disposal, the game interprets this as allowing him to sweep away ANY of your monsters for free. If he decides to take out your most powerful defensive monster and already has board control, you can kiss the match goodbye.
  • In Makai Kingdom, building bonuses and special weapon abilities tend to vary depending on whether you're the player or not. For instance, units deployed from an Academy gain +50% EXP for players... but enemy units instead gain a sweet level-up each turn. If an enemy hits one of your troops with a mallet, you go down a level, but the same thing doesn't happen when your troop holds the mallet.
  • The execrable Mega Man Battle Network spinoff game Battlechip Grand Prix loves this trope. The game rules restrict the Program Deck size and slot-in capacity for the player, but these restrictions never apply to the computer—which leads to ugly surprises like Ring having Jealousy as her slot-in chip in the E-rank tournaments, when you don't actually have the memory capacity for Jealousy until after you've beaten the game.
  • In the Chaos Rings series, the harder bosses in the game all have the ability to take two consecutive turns while the player only has one.

Western Animation

  • While ReBoot isn't a video game, as a world inside a computer it uses this trope all the time with its Game Cubes.. The pinnacle of this is during a Pokémon style game, where Matrix and Bob utterly ignore the "Mons vs Mons" rule and go straight for the User handler.

"You're a renegade! Cheat!