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Hack Your Enemy

So, you are fighting robotic enemies. Maybe it's a Robot War or your enemy just uses computer controlled soldiers. Why not hack some of them? You can turn them off without a fight or - even better - reprogram them to think you are their commander and their commanders and allies are their enemies, so you get free reinforcements and ideal infiltrators.

For biological alternatives, see Puppeteer Parasite, Brainwashing, and Mind Control. You may notice that they are much more "evil" things to do, presumably because even Ridiculously Human Robots lack a "soul" of some sort and therefore it is not a bad thing to completely alter their personalities. Can lead to a Face Monster Turn or Apologetic Attacker.


Anime and Manga

Comic Books
  • Magnus Robot Fighter pulled this stunt at least once, by knocking the robot offline, opening up the back panel, disabling its wireless and setting it to local speech control.
  • Rai (Valiant Comics) has this as a superpower. With the cry of "MINDLOCK!" he can take control of any one machine within the range of his voice.

  • In Terminator 2 and Terminator 3, the future John Connor reprogrammed a captured T-800 and sent it back in time to protect his younger self from a more advanced Skynet-programmed terminator.
  • Flynn hacks a guard program in TRON: Legacy.
  • Pretty indispensable in Robot.
  • Little hacker girl Nikko deters ED-209's demands for compliance in RoboCop 3 by hacking it to be "as loyal as a puppy".

Live-Action TV
  • In episode Deliverance of Stargate Universe they hacked enemy unmanned fighters to fight other fighters
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. John Connor reprograms yet another Terminator (named Cameron) and sends it back in time to protect his earlier self.
  • In Get Smart Hymie the Robot was an invention of KAOS to infiltrate CONTROL, which CONTROL then reprogrammed for niceness instead of rottenness.

Tabletop Games
  • Deckers/hackers in Shadowrun can do this, subverting control of hostile drones (or even the smartlinks of enemy weapons) and take them out of the fight or switch their IFF readings to turn them into allies. They can only do this to autonomous or remote-controlled drones; if a rigger has jumped into a drone, it's immune to hacking. Instead of directly hacking control, they can spoof commands, making the drone think that its owner is giving it new instructions (like "reboot"), which requires knowing the rigger's access ID, but is considered easier than wresting control away by force.

Video Game
  • In the multiplayer mode of Metroid Prime 2, one of the powerups you can get allows you to hack your opponent using the scan visor. This results in them taking continuous damage and a fuzzy screen for a short time (pictured above).
  • In Fallout 2 you can hack turret control to use them against final boss.
  • In Half-Life 2 Alyx hacked security system in Nova Prospect and programmed turrets to shoot guards and not Gordon. Gordon himself reprograms land mines by simply grabbing them with gravity gun.
  • In Mass Effect 1, AI Hacking is an unlockable ability for an Engineer-class PC and Tali. In 2, it is also available for Legion, whose loyalty mission also involves taking control of enemy turrets and a virus that would have rewritten the "mainstream" geth into Reaper-worshipping "heretics". Whether you actually use the virus is up to you.
  • In BioShock you can hack the flying defense turrets, which then follow you around and shoot the enemy. You can hack security cameras as well, but that's another trope.
  • In Project Snowblind you can hack pretty much any robotic enemy.
  • In the original Alter A.I.L.A., Orange's special ability involves this.
  • In flash game I Am An Insane Rogue AI you play as insane rogue AI. At the beginning, hacking maintenance robots is the only way to kill inhabitants of buildings you attack. Later you will gain access to various other methods, but hacked robots and turrets will remain primary cause of fatalities.
  • Iji lets you do this to pretty much any mook if you have enough points in "Cracking".
  • In GoldenEye Wii you can use your smart phone to hack the computer controlled guns, which will then kill any mook in their range.
  • System Shock 2 allows you to hack defense turrets if you can sneak up to them, turning them over to your side.
  • One of the Reality Shifts in Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance], called "Code Break," allows you to hack enemies and cause them to attack their own or become walking time-bombs under your control.
  • In Crysis 3 you can hack turrets, mines and Scorcher drones if you're close enough and have clear line of sight.
  • In a video game based on Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, obtaining unit ID and hacking key data from defeated enemy commanders allows the player to hack other members of their unit. This can be used for scouting or taking out other enemies, but the hacked enemy drops dead once the connection is cut. Also, it can be done at almost any distance and through several walls.
  • In Iji, Iji can hack turrets or one Annihilator to go against the enemy; she can also destroy enemy weapons if she sneaks behind them. This is also the only way to beat the otherwise Nigh Invulnerable Iosa.

Western Animation
  • In one arc of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, a rescue operation involved reprogramming separatists' droids to think R2-D2 is their commander.
  • In the Teen Titans series, Gadgeteer Genius Gizmo often uses this technique on Cyborg.
  • An aversion in Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers when it came to the Queen's Mooks. While they appeared to be standard 80's era Mecha-Mooks, the fact that Doc never used his tweakers to hack into them was a major hint that they weren't robots at all. The episode "Tower of Combat" did have him use this trick against the General's replicants, so we know he was at least capable of doing so.

Real Life
  • Supposedly, one of the reasons that the United States Navy suffered no casualties during the 1986 "Line of Death" confrontation with Libya was that the American military successfully hacked and effectively disabled Libya's air defense systems.

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