Created By: Nap1100 on October 31, 2013 Last Edited By: Nap1100 on February 2, 2014
Troped

Puppet Fighter

A character in a video game who can control multiple entities at the same time.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
In most video games, it's usually assumed that the player is in control of a single character. However, in recent years video games have been trying to overcome this by giving the character control of two entities at the same time.

A Puppet Fighter is a character from a video game—particularly Fighting Games— who has the ability to actively control two separate persons or entities simultaneously. Usually there will be one entity will that acts as the main character, with the other acting as an extra tool, hence the "Puppet" in the trope name. They may either start off with the puppet on stage or they may keep the puppet off the battlefield except when certain attacks are used.

Done poorly, these can result in a Game Breaker because they can control more of the screen than any of the cast. These characters may be balanced by creating an execution barrier to be able to get the puppet in control at all, losing options when they have the puppet in play, or placing a limit on how much the puppet can be used.

This is strictly a Video Game Trope about the player controlling a character that has multiple entities. Any examples from media who control other characters or objects are likely a different trope.

Not directly related to Marionette Master, though the two can overlap. Compare to Minion Master and Assist Character. The puppet in question may be an Attack Animal.


Examples:

Action Game
  • In Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, Dante can get The Doppelganger Style. which allows him to duplicate himself with the weapons he currently has equipped (the dupe can't change weapons). The doppelganger performs attacks for the weapon it has equipped even if you changed your weapon after transforming. you can also control it to have an input lag between his mimicking you. Also, once he's activated, if you have a second controller you can press the Start button there to independently control him with it.
    • Also in the same game, Vergil can be controlled independently in the same way together with Dante in the second half of the Boss Fight in Mission 19.

Fighting Game
  • Jojos Bizarre Adventure Heritage For The Future is filled with these, and may well be the Trope Maker. Every character has a Stand, which depending on the character either acts like simple special moves or as their puppets. These Stands had a separate meter to them, and if it was depleted the character would temporarily lose access to the stand for a bit.
  • Zato-ONE/Eddie from Guilty Gear, who uses his shadow to act as the puppet. If it's out, the character himself can attack by pressing the button while the shadow can attack while releasing the button. He can only summon his shadow as long as his shadow gauge is full, though, and once it's depleted, it can't be used for a long time.
    • To a lesser extent, there's Bridget, whose puppet is his yo-yo (or Roger, depending on what move he used). His control over the yo-yo is much more limited than Zato's/Eddie's control though, since he can only set the yo-yo out into a fixed spot on the screen and activate attacks to make it move rather than actively control it during the match.
  • Spiritual Successor to Guilty Gear BlazBlue features Carl Clover, a Marionette Master whose puppet is Nirvana, an automaton that's really his sister Ada. Similar to Eddie, Carl can actively control Nirvana using his drive and use her for attacks to keep his opponent stuck blocking, but only for as long as his gauge lasts. Once it depletes, Nirvana is deactivated and can't come out for a while.
    • His father Relius, on the other hand, prefers to use his puppet Ignis in a different way. By activating his drive, Ignis is summoned and can attack like Nirvana can, but will stay close to Relius whenever he attacks and will follow him on the battlefield rather than be at a completely different spot.
  • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS has Rosalina, who can summon a Luma to act as her puppet. Said Luma can be controlled separately from Rosalina, even when Rosalina's being grabbed, so she can use it to break herself free from anyone that tries to grab her too much.
    • The Ice Climbers are a downplayed example. One acts as the "lead" character while the other acts as a support, controlled by the AI through "copying" the lead character. By de-syncing the Ice Climber's moves through wavedashing or similar techniques, you can cause them to perform attack after attack after grab after taunt after whatever with the two alternating between attacks. Trying to completely separate the two is suicidal, though, since doing so will change the AI on the support and cause it only to run to the lead Climber, preventing it from attacking.
  • Viola from Soul Calibur V is probably one of the first examples of this in a 3D fighting game. Her puppet is her crystal ball, and certain attacks and actions will set the ball somewhere on the playing field to stay at, similar to Bridget. She has completely different attacks whether the ball is set or whether it's in her hands, so players need to learn which one is best for which situations to properly play her, hence her notorious difficulty curve.
  • Ms. Fortune from Skullgirls uses her head. Really. She can take off her head using certain attacks or lose it by being stuffed by an opponent during certain attacks. When she does, she gains access to a slew of special moves that aren't normally available to her, but her mobility game with her actual body is decreased slightly. Also, if she gets hit on her head by the opponent, she'll take half the damage the attack usually does, meaning that you can take 1.5x the damage you would normally get if they hit both the body and the head.
  • Most characters in Persona 4: Arena are this, similar to Jojos Bizarre Adventure Heritage For The Future. They can all summon their Personas to perform certain attacks that would be unavailable to them otherwise, but can lose access to their Persona if it gets attacked.
    • The most blatant example is Shadow Labrys, who has the most active control over her Persona. It always moves alongside her and can be used in pressure strings by pressing the button to start up her Persona, comboing, and set up so the Persona's attack connects. Of course, this comes with the drawback that it's the easiest Persona to break since it's out all the time.
  • Alice Margatroid in the Touhou Project fighting games would be able to set her dolls to either use as regular moves or act as her puppets. One spell card, "Futuristic Bunraku", allows the player to briefly control a doll directly while Alice stands off to one side.
  • In the Naruto: Clash of Ninja series, Kankuro acts alongside his human-sized puppet Karasu. He's able to position Karasu independently of himself, to either take hits for him or perform combos from difficult directions. Amusingly, Karasu itself can be played alone as a secret character, which plays the trope rather literally.

First-Person Shooter
  • When the Engineer from Team Fortress 2 uses the Wrangler, he can move around the map on his own accord while letting his sentry act as his puppet.

Real-Time Strategy
  • DOTA 2:
    • The Lone Druid controls both the druid himself and his spirit bear, who also has abilities and can equip armor and weapons.
    • Meepo takes this up to four: Four semi-independent copies of Meepo can be controlled at the same time, each with their own abilities, but the copies can't equip things. And if any Meepo dies, all Meepos die.
Community Feedback Replies: 54
  • October 31, 2013
    Alucard
  • November 1, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    Alice Margatroid in the Touhou Project fighting games uses her dolls in a lot of attacks. on some attacks they can remain in place to setup traps.
  • November 1, 2013
    AP
    Non-Video Game Examples

    • In Gamer, the Big Bad controls a gang of mooks much like a line of marionettes due to nano implants. He even has them dance a little bit before he starts kicking the crap out of the protagonist.
  • November 2, 2013
    Nap1100
    Bump
  • November 6, 2013
    Nap1100
    Bump
  • November 6, 2013
    Alucard
    You should know that simply editing the OP will bump a YKTTW to the top of the page.
  • November 6, 2013
    Bisected8
    Compare Attack Animal (which can be an example of this trope in a game) and Attack Drone (which is completely autonomous).
  • November 6, 2013
    Nap1100
    Thanks Alucard.
  • November 6, 2013
    DAN004
    Would The Engineer from Team Fortress 2 count? His Sentries are the puppet in this case...
  • November 7, 2013
    Nap1100
    Probably not. A Puppet Fighter has active control over the Puppet. The Engie simply creates the Sentry and lets it act on its own.
  • November 7, 2013
    Bisected8
    The engie does get a few pieces of equipment that let him control it manually.
  • November 8, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Then it counts as zigzagged example?
  • December 5, 2013
    Djanchorhead
    Kankuro from the Naruto series is a Puppet Fighter literally his puppets do the fighting instead. Besides Kankuro there's also Chiyo from Sunakagure and Sasori from the Akatsuki.
  • December 5, 2013
    zarpaulus
    Tabletop Games
    • In Shadowrun riggers usually have a small fleet of drones. They can alternate between giving their "dog brains" commands, direct remote control, and "diving in" via VR.
  • December 9, 2013
    Nap1100
    I think there's a bit of miscommuniction. This is strictly supposed to be a gameplay trope, not a trope across other media. I'll make a note of that in the description.

    I guess the Engineer could sort of count if you use the Wrangler.

    I do know the Naruto games have straight-up puppet characters, but I didn't add them because I haven't played the games. If anyone else could provide details as to who those characters are I'd appreciate it.
  • December 10, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    Played them. the Naruto example doesn't count. they're more Equippable Ally than anything. they cannot remain for a while and attack on their own. and sasori is the puppet in both his forms. you only control one character when playing as them.

    I believe this needs a rename, given it gets confused with people simply using puppets to attack.
  • December 11, 2013
    jatay3
    Does this include games in which the player is an authority figure like a monarch or a general?
  • December 12, 2013
    Nap1100
    No, that should probably be made clear too. That's one of the reasons I tagged that the description needs help, since I don't know how that would be explained in clear terms.
  • December 16, 2013
    DAN004
    Of course Non Entity General (and RTS games in general) wouldn't count (and wouldn't have this, except perhaps in an in-universe level).
  • December 18, 2013
    Alucard
    Rosalina in the newest Super Smash Bros for the Wii U and 3DS seems to play like this with Luma.

    I also fixed some of the name-spacing.
  • December 18, 2013
    Nap1100
    Yeah Rosalina is definitely a Puppet Fighter. I'll add that.
  • December 24, 2013
    JonnyB
    Would the Half Life mod "Opposing Force" be an example? The player can control a squad, telling them where to go. Also Half Life 2 gives you a similar ability to direct a squad of resistance fighters.
  • December 24, 2013
    Stratadrake
    • In the "Clash of Ninja" line of Naruto fighting games, Kankuro's battle puppets don't move around the battlefield with him, thus his ability to fight effectively depends a lot more on tactical positioning than other characters on the roster.
  • December 24, 2013
    Grey
    Can't believe no one's mentioned Olimar and his Pikmin (SSBB/4) yet.
  • December 24, 2013
    Nap1100
    That's because he's not. Olimar only sends the Pikmin out when he throws them—he never actively controls them once they're away from him. The essence of the Puppet Fighter is that they have to control the puppet once it's out.
  • December 24, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Compare Minion Master (which Olimar is one).
  • December 26, 2013
    Arivne

  • December 26, 2013
    Stratadrake
    @Nap: I'm not sure how you should define "control the puppet". From an in-universe standpoint perhaps? because in Olimar's case, his Smash attacks execute via his Pikmin rushing out and hitting someone; this is distinct from his Side+B attack where he throws a Pikmin and it latches onto the opponent to continue dealing damage. On another angle of the coin, where the Ice Climbers are concerned they are a pair of equals in gameplay perspective, you just control one with the other generally following your movements. (The secondary Ice Climber is perfectly capable of grabbing/throwing other players and items around.)
  • December 26, 2013
    Nap1100
    I mean in-universe, to an extent. If the Pikmin could be controlled after they were thrown out, then it would be a puppet. As it stands, Olimar just sends the Pikmin out and lets them do their own thing.
  • January 1, 2014
    randomsurfer
    Unless you can identify the different trope that non-videogame examples are "likely" to be, I don't understand why this has to be a videogame-only trope.
  • January 1, 2014
    Nap1100
    Because the "puppet" in this case is a gameplay term. It means the player is controlling the character and the puppet. The examples otherwise suggested fall under other things like People Puppets, a Minion Master, or a similar archetype. The puppet is strictly a gameplay term.
  • January 2, 2014
    DAN004
    So I'd call it Separate Entities Fighter. :P
  • January 3, 2014
    Nap1100
    Sounds like too much of a mouthful, honestly.
  • January 4, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ But it's much clearer.
  • January 9, 2014
    Quantumawsome
    I can confirm that the characters of Kankuro and Chiyo in the Naruto Clash of Ninja series are definately this trope.
  • January 10, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ Explain.
  • January 10, 2014
    wanderlustwarrior
    They literally control puppets to attack for them.
  • January 11, 2014
    Nap1100
    That's not the point of the trope—how do the puppets work? Are they on the field at the same time as the character and can they character control them as a separate thing?
  • January 11, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ See, that's how the title can be confusing... :P

    I'd up Separate Entities Fighter again.

    Compare Combat By Champion btw
  • January 11, 2014
    Nap1100
    I'd rather have something a little shorter. I'll change it if someone can do that.
  • January 11, 2014
    Alucard
    How about Flunky Fighter? To tie it into Flunky Boss.

    You could also use the words "Lacky" or "Peon" as well. If you want to be goofy and yet alliterative, you could call it Lets His Lackies Lead (I know that'll get shot down, but I had to say it).

    Personally, I like the current name, but I can see how easily confused it is for something else.
  • January 11, 2014
    DAN004
    Flunky Fighter would be close to Minion Master.
  • January 11, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    • In Devil May Cry: Dante's Awakening, Dante can get The Doppelganger Style. which allows him to duplicate himself with the weapons he currently has equipped(the dupe can't change weapons). The doppelganger performs attacks for the weapon it has equipped even if you changed your weapon after transforming. you can also control it to have an input lag between his mimicking you. Also, if you have a second controller you can press the Start button there to independently control him with it.
      • Also in the same game, Vergil can be controlled independently in the same way together with Dante in the second half of the Boss Fight in Mission 19.

    That said, can't we use Doppelganger Fighter Entity or Independent Fighter Entity to tie in with Guardian Entity?
  • January 11, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ This trope ain't always doppelgangers. The latter title may be good, but my Separate Entities Fighter would be shorter :P
  • January 11, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ Good point. though you have a point, that sounds better, good point.
  • January 12, 2014
    Nap1100
    I'm wondering if maybe the title could be Stand Fighter, named after the concept from Jojo's. My only problem with that is that it would probably fall under Trope Namer Syndrome and it might not be clear to anyone who isn't aware of Jojo's.
  • January 12, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ And "stand" is the opposite of "sit". Or a place where you sell things. :P
  • January 20, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ LMFAO. A fighter who uses a "(fruit) stand" XD!

    ^^ yep, pretty much. you can get past the syndrome with Entity Fighter though. but that broadens it to include people who just use entities to attack.
  • January 20, 2014
    DAN004
  • January 21, 2014
    Nap1100
    I still think that title's too long. If there was something shorter and less of a mouthful I'd go with that.

    I'll tag it to see if anyone else can come up with something.
  • February 1, 2014
    Enlong
    I prefer Puppet Fighter myself.
  • February 1, 2014
    DAN004
    "Puppet" would be confusing...
  • February 2, 2014
    Enlong
    How so? I feel it evokes the sort of relationship the fighter has with the secondary fighter they command.
  • February 2, 2014
    Mamona
    • DOTA2:
      • The Lone Druid controls both the druid himself and his spirit bear, who also has abilities and can equip armor and weapons.
      • Meepo takes this up to four: Four semi-independent copies of Meepo can be controlled at the same time, each with their own abilities, but the copies can't equip things. And if any Meepo dies, all Meepos die.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=bbrw8r5c7n22hr0hrwa8pk1h&trope=PuppetFighter