There are a many games where the campaign can be played in split screen co-op mode – often the main character is paired with a random protagonist in whose role Player 2 can slip. And in most cases, this has no effect on the storyline – Player 1 and Player 2 experience the same action and face the same tasks and enemies. But Kane & Lynch: Dead Men was different and the split screen campaign held an extremely absurd moment that still stands out from the common couch co-op experiences.

I was playing the game with my younger brother. One evening, after a successful but challenging bank robbery, we made it back onto the street. Apparently nobody noticed us – nobody followed us. Deep breath, all well! But while I continued walking with “my” Kane towards the getaway car, my brother suddenly stopped with “his” Lynch, screamed in panic and fired wildly around himself. I turned around with Kane to get an overview of the scenery. I was horrified to see that my brother Lynch was killing numerous uninvolved civilians. What the,…! I was angry, because we were still in danger and they would discover us now. I screamed at my brother – he screamed back and continued shooting unflinchingly. But when I looked at his part of the split screen I stopped yelling at him: My brother Lynch saw no peaceful and uninvolved pedestrians … all pedestrians on his screen looked like armed police officers who wanted to kill him. His reaction to defend himself with gunfire didn’t seem completely wrong anymore – but it took me a while to convince him that he had to stop the shooting.

In fact, at that moment, the game, by itself and completely unexpected for him, triggered Lynch’s “psychotic fear” filter, which leads exactly to this scenario: All innocent NPCs suddenly appear to Lynch, who has a medically certified schizophrenia, as cops. This absurd moment, which could only be experienced through the couch co-op mode, is still been remembered to this day. Kane & Lynch: Dead Men may not have been the best co-op title we’ve ever played together, but this kind of deliberate and totally unexpected misleading has meant that the game hasn’t been forgotten.

Kane & Lynch: Dead Men is a third-person shooter by Danish game developer IO Interactive and was released in 2007 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

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