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Frenemies with: Ratchet and Clank
Qwark is a huge, selfish coward, but the big lummox means well – or at least, he seems to. Lately. Enough so that Ratchet and Clank keep letting him hang around, even after his deliberate attempts to kill them and his annoying tendency to switch sides whenever the chips are down. Not that it’s much better when he toughs it out and stands by the heroes; in those cases, his contributions to the team mainly involve either needing to be rescued, or drafting elaborate plans that seem to have no purpose other than to get Ratchet killed.
Starting out as a galactic superhero, Qwark was revealed to be a fraudulent dirtbag in the first Ratchet & Clank, relentlessly self-promoting in an attempt to win a cushy spokesman/henchman job. In the sequel, Going Commando, he went so far as to impersonate a corporate CEO, attempting to create a menace that he could defeat (thereby restoring his tarnished hero status) and trying to murder Ratchet and Clank along the way.
Above: Qwark in an increasingly less-than-rare moment of not attempting to murder Ratchet
By the time the third game rolled around, however, a brief stint as a feral tree-monster brought about a change of heart for Qwark, prompting him to actually lend Ratchet and Clank a hand. Since then, he’s been a more or less constant fixture in the duo’s lives, in spite of an innate selfishness that drives him to muck up their plans, temporarily distract them from their goals and/or take credit for their accomplishments in order to become president.
Frenemies with: Leon S. Kennedy, Albert Wesker, Jack Krauser, and probably several more
Ever the double agent, Ada Wong is a frenemy to just about everyone in Resident Evil, routinely double-crossing her would-be allies regardless of their place in the good/evil spectrum. Whether she’s getting Leon Kennedy shot in Resident Evil 2 or betraying her bosses to keep him alive in RE4, she’s always operating under her own agenda, and it’s never entirely clear where her allegiances really lie.
More often than not, she’s dedicated to her mission, whatever that might be – and if that involves betraying her friends at gunpoint, leaving them incapacitated or blinding them with a flashbang, then so be it. She’s about as trustworthy as a cobra, and yet Leon keeps falling for her act, over and over again, as she routinely uses him to get at whatever horrible bioweapon she’s trying to get her hands on.
Maybe it’s because Leon knows that, in the end, Ada almost always comes through. She’s never actually tried to kill him (although she’s threatened to, more than once), and not even her own apparent death can keep her from tossing Leon a rocket launcher just when it matters most. She’s the Catwoman to his Batman, always working at cross purposes with him, yet never really meaning to harm him. Not permanently, anyway.
Frenemies with: Mario, Peach and to a lesser extent Luigi
In the “main” Super Mario Bros. games, Bowser is always a straight-up villain, kidnapping Princess Peach and daring Mario to come after her. There’s seemingly no “friend” aspect there. Even in those games, though, there’s a weird dynamic that’s developed between Mario, Peach and Bowser, like they all expect this to happen. Kidnapping Peach is just something Bowser does, for no other reason than… well, because it’s something he does.
Above: A rather transparent attempt to stay relevant by raising the stakes
It’s like a game they play, with Bowser always acting as Bluto to Mario’s Popeye. Bowser sets up a vast obstacle course and steals the girl, Mario destroys it all and steals her back, and then they all get together again and do the same thing a week later. Life must be awfully boring in the Mushroom Kingdom.
Speaking of games, the three seem to get together to play them on more or less friendly terms more often than not. In fact, the volume of games in which Mario and Bowser are friendly competitors now outweighs the ones in which they’re archenemies by a pretty hefty margin, with the various Mario Kart, Party and sports games easily outnumbering the 11 or so “main” Mario titles.
Of course, you don’t need to like someone to play sports against them. But Bowser’s actually partnered with Mario and Luigi more than a few times, declaring one hasty cease-fire after another in nearly every Mario RPG. As soon as it looks like some common enemy might jeopardize their regular kidnap-and-rescue habits, Bowser immediately turns to his “worst enemies,” Mario and Luigi, for help. You can shrug it off as an attempt to take advantage of the heroes’ basic goodness, but we like to think that when the chips are down, Bowser grudgingly admits – to himself, if nobody else – that all the fighting’s just for show, and that it’s time to give his oldest friends a hand.