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Villain Override

It's the next-to-final battle, and the heroes are moving in on the fortress. The Big Bad dispatches his Quirky Miniboss Squad and The Dragon, but while they pose a challenge for a while, they too fall. He is obviously miffed, but it's not like he can go out there himself...

The next thing that the fallen minions see is their boss' face looming above them. He informs them that they have failed, and they panic and retreat — and suddenly stand up with Mind-Control Eyes. Healed to full and twice as strong, they rush at the heroes again, but something's wrong. The villain is possessing them to finish the job.

A favored trick of The Man Behind the Man, to show that he really is the biggest threat despite hiding in the back. Also used in case of Non-Action Big Bad, when the villain is established as lacking the ability to be a legitimate Final Boss by the virtue of being unable to fight the heroes on an equal footing. This may result from him being too weak, too powerful, or an incorporeal force that never truly dies, and has to resort to trickery instead.

A form of Sequential Boss. Contrast I Know You Are In There Somewhere Fight, Heroic Willpower, and Brainwashed and Crazy, which use heroes as the controlled. If the miniboss(es) survive, expect a quick Mook-Face Turn, or that they were Good All Along.

Compare Berserk Button and Brainwashed. This is basically Mass Hypnosis or Face Monster Turn done to one's allies instead of the enemy.

I will direct these examples personally.

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Battle-City arc of Yu-Gi-Oh!, every time one of Marik's minions (the Rare Hunters) was defeated, the symbol of the millennium items (the Eye of Wadjet) appears on their forehead, and they start talking in a notably different voice as Marik is now controlling them through his Millennium Rod, having sent their minds to the Shadow Realm (though this isn't a thing in the original). Almost always preceded by "Master! I'm sorry! Please don't — *evil cackle commences as Marik takes over*"
  • The finale of the Pure arc of Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch. It looks like the amalgamation of Knight Templar Michel and his Clingy Jealous Girl host body Michal have finally been reached by The Power of Friendship, as has the Great One, who was just as much of a pawn. The real threat, small annoying creature Fuku, fears that his plans will go to waste, and overrides Michel/Michal.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, Quattro does this to Lutecia when it seemed like the words of Caro and Erio were finally getting through to her. This causes her to summon a large amount of giant insects against the two, including one that's approximately the size of Godzilla.
  • Happens to the sleeper agent Anew Returner in Gundam 00 when she decides to forego her mission and stay with her boyfriend, which sadly ends in her death.
  • In the final battle with Sensui in YuYu Hakusho, this happens to Yusuke! His demonic ancestor possesses him, boosting his power ridiculously high and easily dispatching his enemy. He doesn't like being made into a puppet like that, though.
  • In the final episode of Sailor Moon's first season, The Man Behind the Man Metallia merges with Big Bad Queen Beryl.
  • The anime only Amagai arc from Bleach features a series of weapons used by the villains. Kumoi's assassins and elite soldiers are given named Bakoto with unique abilities that grow more powerful depending on the user. The mooks are given unnamed Bakoto that only do this.
  • In Naruto, the black Zetsu can hijack Obito's body due to half of it being composed of the same cells as Zetsu. Subverted when Obito resists the first attempt, then played straight with a second attempt.
    • People resurrected with the Edo Tensei technique are bound to their summoner's commands but have enough free will to work against them by shouting warnings and offering tactics. To counter this, the summoner can use a seal to completely suppress their free will, although this greatly reduces the victim's combat ability.
  • In Pokémon Special, the Kanto Elite Four are a villainous group... except for Bruno, who merely desires a fair fight with a strong opponent. To get him to go along with their schemes, Agatha is forced to use the Gym Badge Enhancement Device to mind control him. He perceives these overrides as blackouts and has no memory of what happened during them.

    Comics 

    Fan Fic 
  • A staple of the Dungeon Keeper games, it's no surprise that it shows up in Dungeon Keeper Ami. A Keeper can Assume Direct Control of any minion in their employ, gaining any natural abilities, talents, or skills possessed by said minion. Most Keepers also use their minions as an additional layer of armor- if the possessed minion is killed the keeper is merely ejected with minimal ill effects. Ami, as a rare heroic example, only uses her minions to complete specific tasks, and is unusually careful to keep them alive.
  • In the fanfic The Immortal Game, King Titan is capable of doing this with Terra's puppets. While they don't quite have Titan's godlike levels of power and invulnerability, these alicorn puppets are still very, very hard to kill.
  • In the Pony POV Series, General-Admiral Makarov, the Big Bad of Shining Armor Arc, is able to do this with his robots and Alicorn Cyborgs, due to being a reality warping Equineoid Abomination.
  • Downplayed a bit in Calvin and Hobbes: The MovieChapter 10 reveals that one of the aliens had possessed one of Moe's friends to coerce him to get Calvin to attend Camp Pine.
  • Mirrors Image: While not exactly the villain of the story, Queen Chrysalis is capable of talking through her changelings, but she usually just uses this ability to upbraid Princess Celestia.
  • Aurora: At one point, Dawnbringer does this with his captured minion Midnight Dream in order to speak with and taunt Luna. After the connection is broken, Midnight Dream (who wasn't sane to begin with) is left catatonic by the process.

    Film 
  • Happens during the final battle at the end of TRON. The Master Control Program transfers his functions to his damaged minion, Sark, making him grow many times his size.
  • Happens to the dead Septimus in Stardust.
  • The agents in The Matrix can override anyone that is plugged into the system.
  • Real Steel has both a heroic and a villainous example. During the final round of the climatic fight, both Charlie and Tak assume direct control of their respective robots.
  • Happens in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra with a dose of Cyanide Pill thrown in for good measure. Nanomites are fun.

    Literature 
  • In Brisingr, Galbatorix does this to Murtagh, turning the tide in the battle against Oromis.
  • In The Dresden Files novel Cold Days, Nemesis pulls this on Cat Sith. Unusually, it actually makes the victim less effective.
  • In Left Behind, Satan takes over Nicolae Carpathia's body to resurrect it during The Indwelling.

    Live Action TV 
  • Super Sentai:
    • The Go Go Five finale has the Big Bad do this to her Dragons for a final battle, and is killed when they are. (Power Rangers fans, you know this episode as Rise of the Super Demons. In the sentai version, "Olympius" and "Diabolico" both spoke with the voice of "Queen Bansheera" after that lightning spell thingy. If you're wondering about their bizarre death scene and the Rangers being way too happy for having just had to kill Diabolico... it's 'cause this is what was happening in the original scene.)
    • In Abaranger, Desumozorlya is a disembodied consciousness who communicates by controlling the body of minion Rije/Rijewel. Near the end, he controls Rijewel almost full-time, using her to do battle. Once she gets free, he takes over his monster-of-the-week makers, Voffa and Mikela, turning them into one hideous body for himself. He survives its destruction; they're not so lucky. His last body is a non-sentient suit of cursed armor that had been passed around throughout the series.
  • Speaking of Power Rangers, there's always Ivan Ooze taking over Hornitor in the final battle of the movie, although in that case the possess-e wasn't exactly sentient to begin with. After the Ninjazords destroy Scorpitron, one of Ooze's two mechs, he merges with the remaining one.

    Tabletop RPG 
  • In Exalted, every Primordial/Yozi is capable of possessing its souls and (in the case of their fetich) harnessing their own Charms through them.

    Video Games 
  • In the first Galaxy Angel game, the mercenary Hell Hounds, despite being evil counterparts of the Moon Angels, fall pretty easily in their last fight. Noah appears on the monitors in their pseudo-Angel Wings, takes control of the ships, and shoots out glowing thread into the backs of their heads to control their minds. The next battle has them significantly stronger.
    • In the manga, this is partially subverted, in that the effect makes them weaker against the Emblem Frames' Eleventh Hour Superpower upgrades, which would not have likely had any effect had they NOT been under Noah's control.
  • Several times during the original Xenogears game. Just as the party was finishing off a particular boss, Grahf would appear, give a short speech about the nature of power or whatnot, and brainwash and/or transform said miniboss into a more powerful form.
    • "Doth thou desire the power?"
      • The Perfect Words guide explains exactly what he does. Every Gear's slave generator (that absorbs power from the Zohar engine deep in the planet) has a limit on it that controls the amount of power its allowed to absorb. He unlocks this, allowing the generator to absorb unlimited energy from Zohar and push the Gear far beyond its limits.
  • Virgil uses this to Kick the Dog in Xenosaga, forcing the already mortally wounded Realians to drag themselves into a suicide attack. Somewhat subverted by the fact that they were okay with it.
  • In Silhouette Mirage, after winning the final battle with Zohar, Har dramatically reveals that he's a Guardian Angel and disables his free will, allowing him to access his true power and transform into the gigantic, polygonal Cypher Zohar.
  • Subverted touchingly in Super Robot Wars R where the Big Bad is fatally wounded by the heroes, and her Replacement Goldfish sacrifice their souls to heal her... but their bodies keep going, still determined to carry out their last wish... Even more touchingly, the Big Bad asks each of them what they desired, promising to fulfill it when she resurrected them.
    • Played straight in the Original Generation version, where she demands two of the three (the third is elsewhere and ends up being spared this as a result) rejoin with her and consumes them entirely to power up to her final form. They obey her at it is their purpose of creation, but they aren't exactly happy about it.
  • Occurs with a slight twist in Dark Cloud 2. Emperor Griffon takes over Gaspard after Gaspard is defeated and betrays Griffon, making this also an example of You Have Failed Me.
  • In Hollow Bastion in the first Kingdom Hearts, after Riku loses to Sora near the beginning, he takes advice from the mysterious Black Cloak, who convinces him to give in completely to The Dark Side and possesses him, showing up later as the penultimate fight for that world. He proceeds to give Maleficent a Villain Override as well, forcibly turning her into a dragon for the heroes to fight and kill.
    • In Kingdom Hearts 3D, Word of God states that this is how Young Xehanort is able to ignore the effects of Mickey's Stopza and fight Riku; his older self (Who wasn't present to be affected by the time freeze) taking control of him. Without this information, most would simply chalk it up to his nature as a Time Master.
  • Arguably what happens to Manah in Drakengard towards its first ending. Not obvious in that ending, but later endings seem to suggest that a Villain Override is happening here.
    "She breaks the seal and becomes a giant. What monster is this child?!"
  • After you beat the Big Bad of Cave Story, he returns and posesses The Dragon (who'd been trying to convince the hero to leave and not to destroy the island's core), the Distressed Damsel, and the "core" of the island, for a three-on-one fight.
  • Subverted during Statesman's Task Force in City of Heroes. Turns out that Lord Recluse's lieutenants were buying time for his A God Am I powerup machinery to come online. After they fall, he comes out to deal with your team of superheroes himself.
  • In Mass Effect 1, after you defeat what seems to be the Final Boss, Sovereign takes control of him via his cybernetic implants and turns him into a fast-moving, rocket-spamming, weapon-overheating husk. This actually proves to be a mistake; Sovereign invests so much focus on Shepard that, when Saren is crushed, the Reaper drops its shields from the backlash and becomes vulnerable to a barrage from the massed fleets of the Citadel, who promptly rip its main shell apart and put it down for good.
    • Mass Effect 2 has Harbinger, the Collector General, who commonly takes over a Collector drone in the middle of — Assuming direct control.
      And because he can do this to any active drone, he can pull this trope off more than once in any given — Direct intervention is necessary.
      In fact, he does this so often as to reach Demonic Spiders stat — We fight as one.
      Don't forget the parts where he'll take over a Collector that you're about to finish — I am assuming control of this form!
      • Inverted in the final sequence. As the Collector base fills with explosions, the image of a Reaper, the real Harbinger, looms over the Collector General. It declares the Collectors have failed and then releases control, having directly manipulated the General until that point. This is because Harbinger is actually a Reaper, and learned a thing or two from Sovereign's attempt to do this with Saren earlier—he was using the Collector General to avoid the psychic backlash that occurs when whoever he's in control of is killed, and when the General's own life is in jeopardy, he cuts the connection to him as well.
  • In Fire Emblem 7, (the first released outside Japan) Nergal summons morphs in the form of all the hardest enemies fought previously, but with the best weapons in the game and much higher stats. It's implied that they're actually the originals whenever you kill them.
  • One of Falkner's favorite tricks in Vanguard Bandits is to give your apparent allies a dose of Brainwashed and Crazy once you're done with his mooks. In the bad ending of the main story branch, he does it to you.
  • Ameno-Sagiri in Persona 4 first reveals itself when it possesses a defeated Adachi and uses his body to manifest its true form. Also something of a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere.
    • In Persona 4 Golden it's explained that the being in question had been "following" the character ever since the beginning of the game. Furthermore, it also has two "siblings" that serve similar roles, and all 3 are acting as the eyes of the true final boss.
  • Happens in Mega Man & Bass with King, who after being defeated once, is ready to stand down until Wily brainwashes him into fighting further.
  • In Mega Man Battle Network too, with Magicman.EXE.
  • The World Ends with You has Uzuki and Kariya fighting the protagonist over three days. First Uzuki alone, then Kariya alone and both in the same day, and then both of them, somehow upgraded by The Dragon's master plan.
  • Super Paper Mario has you fight recurring boss O'Chunks several times. In your penultimate fight with him, fellow Quirky Miniboss Squad member Dimentio plants a leaf on his head that causes Mind Control and strengthens him. Subverted in that you fight him once more later, when he's holding nothing back, and he's even stronger.
  • One of the purer examples is in Dungeon Keeper (especially the first game). Using your possession spell to directly control a minion, that minion is faster, stronger, tougher, can ignore bodily needs almost indefinitely, can deliberately dodge attacks, and can fight intelligently for a change. You are the Villain Override.
    • In the second game, certain creatures also got unique abilities while you possessed them (such as the rogue's camouflage, or the giant's dwarf tossing) and enabled you to disable traps and unlock doors. This last one turned out to be such a Game Breaker that it was disabled in a later patch.
  • The second Overlord game requires you to do this to complete a few areas. Most of these sequences are simply a matter of your minions entering an area that is to small for you in order to remove and obstruction and let you in, but there are a couple of longer sequences.
  • In the Shadowfall War in AdventureQuest Worlds, the evil lich Noxus does this to the entire undead army of the Shadowscythe Empire under Empress Gravelyn, which counts as this instead of Mass Hypnosis due to the fact that he himself first created this army for Sepulchure, Gravelyn's father. The only undead minion to escape Noxus' control? Gravelyn's own creation, Chuckles.
  • For a given value of "villain", the Engineer in Team Fortress 2 can do this to his sentry gun if he has a Wrangler, giving his sentry infinite range, a defensive shield and doubled fire rate. Considering sentries are already quite powerful, a well entrenched Engie with a Wrangler can become an enormous pain if the opposing team doesn't have good spies.
    Engineer: "This thing ain't on autopilot, son!"
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, Malladus pulls this on his minion Chancellor Cole near the end of the game, possessing his form and transforming it into a warthog-type creature.
  • In .hack//QUARANTINE, the final boss of the Cursed Wave, Corbenik, is taken over by The World's AI, Morganna Mode Gone.

    Web Original 
  • At the climax of Worm, the Villain Protagonist uses her newfound mind control powers to take control of essentially every major faction in the world- and several alternate realities- to get them to stop fighting each other and perfectly coordinate the assault preventing Scion from wiping out humanity.

    Western Animation 
  • In Teen Titans, Slade takes control of Terra via the suit she's wearing after her rematch with the Titans went poorly. It didn't work out very well for him.


Unhappy MediumMind ManipulationWeak-Willed

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