Created By: EddieValiant,Jr. on June 19, 2012 Last Edited By: SolariusScorch on September 4, 2016
Troped

Intercom Villainy

A villain in a video game trolls you constantly via the intercom system.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Villains in video games sometimes use an intercom system to relentlessly mock the player character, or simply to make funny comments that amuse the player and offer some insight into the villain's personality—particularly, that they feel confident enough in their strength to not make greater efforts to stop you, feeling content to merely make fun of you in often clever ways. This almost always overlaps with sinister surveillance, as it demonstrates that your enemy can see your every action.

This is often used to characterize the villain and help establish a relationship with the player while keeping them well out of shotgun range.

You'll usually hear the villain become less confident and more desperate as you destroy their Mooks and get closer to them. You might even hear a Villainous Breakdown over the intercom. Also expect a lot of This Cannot Be!.

Examples:

Comic Books

Film
  • Simon in the third Die Hard installment doesn't use an intercom, but his messages have much the same effect. Jigsaw in the Saw series communicates with his victims via pre-recorded messages on microcassette tapes, but it's more or less the same trope.

Video Games
  • Banjo-Kazooie:
    • Gruntilda in BanjoKazooie1, possibly the trope maker. She harasses you constantly as you traverse her lair, making badass boasts and cracking jokes at Banjo and Kazooie's expense, always in rhyme. She also speaks up the first time you're hurt by specific hazards. Once you beat her, you can still explore her lair, but the intercom is silent.
    • Similarly, the sequel, Banjo Tooie, introduces the "Eagle-Eyed Foreman", a nameless, faceless corporate goon who informs you of certain goings-on and sics robotic drones on you if he spots you on one of his many security cameras.
  • The Joker throughout Batman: Arkham Asylum. The Joker, Harley Quinn, Penguin, and Two-Face in their respective bases in Arkham City.
  • BioShock After a certain point, Andrew Ryan will start communicating with you via the portable radio you picked up at the start of the game. Sophia Lamb does the same in the sequel.
  • Borderlands2: Handsome Jack does this through the echo system.
  • Command & Conquer Red Alert 3: Sometimes it is just your allies being snarky but it is Tim Curry on that one and Andrew Divoff.
  • de Blob 2: Although he's technically speaking gibberish, Comrade Black taunts you throughout the final level, promising that you can't get to his orbital hypno ray in time. He even gets kind of meta, telling you to access the menu and quit the level.
  • Duke Nukem I: Dr. Proton mocks Duke in some levels via videophone.
  • In Fable, during fights with Jack of Blades' minions, he constantly taunts you telepathically, with cruel but hilariously accurate imitations of your own Stop Helping Me! guildmaster.
  • FEAR: In the third game, a succession of psychic commanders taunt you (they seem to really hate the Point Man, possibly because of his connection to Alma, and thus the highly traumatic "upgrades" they were given).
  • Gears of War 2 offers a subversion of this when Cole takes over the speaker system the queen is using for giving orders he offers this little gem.
  • Half-Life 2: You hear Dr. Breen through public address systems throughout the game. In the final chapter, as you approach his office, he talks to you directly through the building's intercom.
  • Tomator from The Lost Vikings and its sequel.
  • In Manhunt 1 you are trapped in some sort of sick cinematographic experiment and the director follows you around and trolls you through the earpiece.
  • Max Payne: In the final level, Nicole Horne taunts you as you make your way to her in the Aesir Corporate Building.
  • Mother3: Porky taunts you as you travel to every floor of the Empire Porky Building EXCEPT the 100th floor.
  • Morrowind's Dagoth Ur does this to the player once he enters the final dungeon and prepares to face off with him, taunting that he could not possibly defeat a god.
  • Mystery Case Files: Escape From Ravenhearst — Charles Dalimar included an audio system in the underground areas specifically so he could tell the Master Detective what she's supposed to learn about him in this area.
  • Several bosses in Neverwinter Nights do the telepathic version of this.
  • Portal:
    • GLaDOS in Portal, possibly the trope codifier. A malevolent supercomputer with a quick wit and a sharp tongue that cracks wise almost constantly in her creepy monotone.
    • Wheatley from Portal 2 attempts this, but he just can't match the wit of his predecessor.
    "Let's try it her way. Fatty. Adopted fatty. Fatty-fatty-no-parents."
  • In Rocket: Robot on Wheels, Jojo will taunt you whenever you activate ticket switches. He also does this throughout Jojo World.
  • Sonic Colors: Doctor Eggman makes funny announcements over a PA system and occasionally tries to lure Sonic into an obvious trap.
Community Feedback Replies: 65
  • June 19, 2012
    legendofhugh
    The Joker throughout Batman Arkham Asylum. The Joker, Harley Quinn, Penguin, and Two-Face in their respective bases in Arkham City.
  • June 19, 2012
    Bisected8
    In the third FEAR game, a succession of psychic commanders taunt you (they seem to really hate the Point Man, possibly because of his connection to Alma, and thus the highly traumatic "upgrades" they were given).
  • June 19, 2012
    Surenity
    Not a video game example, but Joker also does this to Batman in the graphic novel The Killing Joke.
  • June 19, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Duke Nukem I: Dr. Proton mocks Duke at each level via videophone.
  • June 19, 2012
    Astaroth
    After a certain point in Bioshock, Andrew Ryan will start communicating with you via the portable radio you picked up at the start of the game. Sophia Lamb does the same in the sequel.
  • June 20, 2012
    Shrikesnest
    This is often used to characterize the villain and help establish a relationship with the player while keeping them well out of shotgun range.
  • June 20, 2012
    Routerie
    • Half Life 2: You hear Dr. Breen through public address systems throughout the game. In the final chapter, as you approach his office, he talks to you directly through the building's intercom.
    • Max Payne: In the final level, Nicole Horne taunts you as you make your way to her in the Aesir Corporate Building.
  • June 20, 2012
    Mauri
    No Command and Conquer: Red Alert series examples?
  • June 20, 2012
    Antigone3
    Mystery Case Files: Escape From Ravenhearst -- Charles Dalimar included an audio system in the underground areas specifically so he could tell the Master Detective what she's supposed to learn about him in this area.
  • June 20, 2012
    DalekKolt
    • Wheatley from Portal 2 attempts this, but he just can't match the wit of his predecessor.
    "Let's try it her way. Fatty. Adopted fatty. Fatty-fatty-no-parents."

    • Porky from Mother3 taunts you as you travel to every floor of the Empire Porky Building EXCEPT the 100th floor.
  • June 20, 2012
    InvasivePlague
    Handsome Jack from Borderlands 2 does through the echo system.
  • June 20, 2012
    surgoshan
  • June 27, 2012
    EddieValiant,Jr.
  • June 27, 2012
    Bisected8
    Compare Mission Control Is Off Its Meds for when a normally helpful voice goes crazy.
  • June 27, 2012
    Stratadrake
  • June 28, 2012
    henke37
    Do we have the sister trope where someone at leas neutral is constantly using the intercoms.
  • June 30, 2012
    planswalker
  • July 2, 2012
    EddieValiant,Jr.
    Playing through Banjo Tooie again, I notice that a lot of bosses actually do this, not just the eagle-eyed foreman. That's still the same general example though.

    Any more examples? Any more hats?
  • July 2, 2012
    dalek955
    • In Fable, during fights with Jack of Blades' minions, he constantly taunts you telepathically, with cruel but hilariously accurate imitations of your own Stop Helping Me guildmaster.
  • July 2, 2012
    raven2785

    as far as quotes go just look at portal and pick ANY line said by G La DOS, here's an example:

    GLaDOS: Did you know humans frown on weight variances? If you want to upset a human, just say their weight variance is above or below the norm.
  • July 2, 2012
    nitrokitty
  • July 5, 2012
    EddieValiantJr
    Okay, bump again. I should launch this soon. Any more hats?
  • July 5, 2012
    planswalker
    you should add the examples given to the YKTTW page itself. Helps people see what's going on and will make people feel more comfortable about adding a hat.
  • July 5, 2012
    wanderlustwarrior
    Yeah, Rolling Updates are a definite help, and even make it clear to one's self whether it's ready for launch or not.

    Um, 3 needs examples tags doesn't really help.

    I wouldn't really recommend that Glados quote for the page quote. There's better ones, from her and elsewhere.
  • July 6, 2012
    Mauri
    Start putting those examples in. They will help it look better and put them in order so they won't cause problems with maintenance.
  • July 6, 2012
    abk0100
    Something you might add to the description:

    You'll usually hear the villain become less confident and more desperate as you destroy their Mooks and get closer to them. You might even hear a Villainous Breakdown over the intercom. Also expect a lot of This Cannot Bes
  • July 6, 2012
    Generality
    Might be a big brother, or something, to Boss Banter.

    • Although he's technically speaking gibberish, in De Blob 2, Comrade Black taunts you throughout the final level, promising that you can't get to his orbital hypno ray in time. He even gets kind of meta, telling you to access the menu and quit the level.
  • July 6, 2012
    raven2785
    ^^^ I agree Wandelustwarrior, that quote isn't very good, I added it on the hopes people would go "that quote sucks, here's a better one" I think there's way better quotes from G La DOS out there, To be honest I would pick some of the stuff the Joker says in either Arkham Asylum or Arkham City.

    The Joker: [Over P.A System, about Batman] Remember guys, he may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot, but don't let that fool you, he really is an idiot.
  • July 9, 2012
    BecomeTheFuture
    Better Name: "Televillainy."
  • July 10, 2012
    GeminiSparkSP
  • July 10, 2012
    Blubble
    In Manhunt 1 you are trapped in some sort of sick cinematographic experiment and the director follows you around and trolls you through the earpiece.

    The Director: You're my big ugly Alice! So go on, follow the white rabbit.
  • July 10, 2012
    Blubble
    I recommend this as the quote:

    Tell me, Dr. Freeman, if you can. You have destroyed so much. What is it, exactly, that you have created? Can you name even one thing? I thought not. Wallace Breen, Half Life 2 (note that this is particularly irritating since Freeman can't speak)

    or from the same source:

    When the singularity collapses, I will be far away from here. In another universe, as a matter of fact. You, on the other hand, will be destroyed in every way it is possible to be destroyed-and even in some which are essentially impossible.

    Dr. Freeman. You really shouldn't be out there. At the moment of synapse, as I teleport, this chamber will be bathed in deadly particles that have yet to be named by human science. Perhaps when I have the leisure to do the work myself, I'll name one after you. That way you won't be completely forgotten.

    Your mentors are partly to blame, of course. My disappointment in Eli Vance and Isaac Kleiner is far greater than my sorrow over your unfortunate choice of career path. In a way, I suppose you could not have done otherwise. Who knows what seeds of iconoclasm they planted when you were young and gullible. But while they certainly share a great part of the responsibility for the recent troubles, it is you alone who have chosen to act with such willful disregard for humanity's future.
  • July 10, 2012
    Boston
    You could probably expand this a little. Simon in the third Die Hard installment doesn't use an intercom, but his messages have much the same effect. Jigsaw in the Saw series communicates with his victims via pre-recorded messages on microcassette tapes, but it's more or less the same trope.
  • July 10, 2012
    NESBoy
    In Rocket Robot On Wheels, Jojo will taunt you whenever you activate ticket switches. He also does this throughout JojoWorld.
  • July 10, 2012
    Mauri
    At the rate the original draft is going (no updates, there is a nice edit button eddievaliantjr start using it) it may be wise either to remind to put the examples in or that someone takes the edition to put the examples in for making it workable before it saturates and it won't be easy to do it.
  • July 10, 2012
    Cider
    It's only trolling if the perpetrator is trying to get a response, so I'm not sure all the examples go with the description, including the first three. If you're just talking about generic taunting then sure.
  • July 10, 2012
    Mauri
    I do go with insights and or moments for funny if you consider what can be said in said "intercom" messaging. It gets interesting if it works with your own side and is pulled to different degrees depending on the game. Starcraft included some of the story this way.
  • July 11, 2012
    Perey
    An early possible example: Impossible Mission (1984). The game opens with, "Another visitor! Stay a while... stay FOREVER!" And every once in a while, when you enter a room, you'll hear further comments like, "Destroy him, my robots!"

    Digitised speech in a computer game (on the Commodore 64, originally) was pretty darn nifty for the time, not to mention taking up a lot of resources, so there wasn't much of it. (Actually, it's possible that "Destroy him, my robots!" was the only comment from the villain between the start and the end... which I never reached, but at which he supposedly cries, "No, no, NO!")
  • July 11, 2012
    Tiiba
    "You'll make a nice meal for a karkian" - Bob Page.

    Every time you defeat an obstacle, he gloats about something else he has prepared. Icarus AI and Gunther Hermann also promise you a dim future over the infolink at various points.
  • July 13, 2012
    TBeholder
    Taunts are covered by I Shall Taunt You
  • July 13, 2012
    Cider
    Fine, then Eddie should remove the examples that aren't actually trolling if he's insistent on keeping it in the description. If the party in question can't respond or the perpetrator isn't actually trying to get a response then it is not trolling.
  • March 4, 2013
    EddieValiantJr
    Okay, I did a lot of Rolling Updates just now (not all of them, but most). Just to give people a better idea of what this trope is about like some of you said. I also thought of this line from Banjo Kazooie to serve as a page quote:

    I'm still here, I watch you play, but I can't think of much to say!
    --Gruntilda
  • March 4, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    This is the entirety of Polly's appearance in Jump Start Adventures3rd Grade Mystery Mountain. She's sitting inside a secret chamber that has monitors for every room, and she pops up on monitors in every room to dispense facetious remarks, directions and hints as well as general gloating.
  • March 13, 2013
    EddieValiantJr
    Yanno, I'm just gonna go ahead and launch this soon. Is Intercom Heckling good for everyone?
  • March 13, 2013
    DracMonster
    Or possibly Villain Has The Mic. Intercom Heckling is good though.
  • March 13, 2013
    Koveras
  • March 13, 2013
    Shinr
    I disagree with Glados being a Trope Codifier and Gruntilda being a Trope Maker, as SHODAN predates them both, and there are certainly Ur Examples older than her.

    • In Ultima Underworld 2, the Big Bad Guardian will periodically telepathically harass you during your rest.
    • SHODAN from the System Shock series, a megalomaniac AI who considers herself a Goddess, and will remind of you this constantly in both games. In the sequel a Ship AI XERXES and the alien species known as The Many also do this.
    • From Marathon we have Tycho, a rampant AI with the big grudge against humanity and a bigger one against another rampant AI, Durandal, who might also count depending on your definition of a villain.
  • March 25, 2013
    ArcadesSabboth
    The examples need to be sorted into folders by medium. Don't launch a trope with the examples formatted like this.
  • March 25, 2013
    StarSword
    Compare The Computer Shall Taunt You.

    First Person Shooter:
    • Dr. Ned in the Borderlands DLC "Zombie Island" does this as you head for the boss fight with him. He starts out saying you'll never get through is Undead Mooks and gradually starts to get worried as you blast them into oblivion.

    Oh, and speaking of oblivion:

    Western RPG:
    • When you enter Mankar Camoran's Paradise in The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion, he gives you a piecemeal Motive Rant telepathically, partially about his pet theory that Mundus is really another plane of Oblivion formerly ruled by Lorkhan and that Mehrunes Dagon is coming to reclaim it. (No word from Bethesda on whether that's actually the case.)
  • March 25, 2013
    xanderiskander
    Organized, and alphabetized the examples. Also fixed several links to example pages.

    Also do examples have to mock the player to count as Intercom Villainy? Because I can think of at least one example of a villain who intimidates the characters over an intercom, and is supposed to be scary while doing it.

    talking about this:

    Visual Novels

  • March 26, 2013
    Chabal2
    • The final part of Deus Ex has the villain alternately threatening and pleading with JC (claiming he'll make a nice meal for a carchadont to offering him Europe) as he moves from area to area.
    • Used in Dawn Of War: Dark Crusade in the stronghold missions, except that usually it's your character doing the taunting as you complete objectives that deprive the enemy of some advantage. Eliphas stands out as he keeps up the threats throughout the level, sending them directly into your leader's mind.
      • Soulstorm, sadly, does not have the threats tailored to each character, instead using generic threats. Particularly painful is Chaos Lord Fireavus Carron, who alternately boasts and despairs, and at one point starts crying.
    • Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!) does this to a bunch of Tau sympathizers who've disabled a ship, using their commbeads to spy on their movements and feed them false information.
  • July 19, 2013
    Knight9910
    Is anyone going to launch this? It seems pretty much done.
  • July 19, 2013
    OlafMerchant
    Videogames

    • Morrowind's Dagoth Ur does this to the player once he enters the final dungeon and prepares to face off with him, taunting that he could not possibly defeat a god.
  • July 19, 2013
    DAN004
    Launch plz.
  • July 20, 2013
    Koveras
    Apply Rolling Updates first, plz, then launch.
  • July 21, 2013
    Morgenthaler
    • Played with in Command And Conquer Red Alert 2. During the penultimate mission against the traitor Yuri, he is constantly taunting you and suggesting ill-advised tactics to speed up your defeat. It's suggested that he's doing this psychically.
    • In Assault On Dark Athena, Revas regularly interacts with Riddick through the Athena wirecom and one time by tapping into a mech suit Riddick is wearing at the time. She gets increasingly hostile as he continues mowing down her crew.
  • July 21, 2013
    DAN004
    • Kirby Super Star:
      • In Revenge of Meta Knight sub-game, we have Meta Knight and his minions on the Halberd comment on Kirby stampeding into it. Whenever Kirby faces a boss battle there, they will act as if Kirby's hopeless against it, only to break down (in increasing intensity) whenever Kirby beats the bosses.
      • In the Ultra remake, the new sub-game Revenge of the King's final level has this, in the vein on the above (replace Meta Knight for Dedede and the Halberd for his castle).
  • July 21, 2013
    DAN004
    Related to Enemy Chatter, btw
  • July 21, 2013
    nitrokitty
    This sounds closely related to Canned Orders Over Loudspeaker.
  • July 22, 2013
    StarSword
    If anyone wants this, it's Up For Grabs. OP hasn't touched it since March.
  • September 5, 2014
    arbiter099
    This has hats, bump
  • September 5, 2014
    Prfnoff
    Is there any reason to strictly limit this trope to video games? If there isn't, I think The Secret of the Unicorn might make for a good example.
  • September 5, 2014
    Chabal2
  • September 6, 2014
    Koveras
    • In Spec Ops The Line, Colonel Konrad starts giving Walker Not So Different Breaking Speeches over a radio Walker finds soon after the white phosphorus incident. Except it's all actually in Walker's head, who slowly goes insane,—and the radio has no batteries in it.
  • September 6, 2014
    henke37

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=uu3h3a1smfhncyon5vrl4y8k