An instance, generally restricted to video games, wherein the player gets to control a main villain, as opposed to the hero. This doesn't apply to spin-off games or multiplayer modes; it only counts if it takes place during the course of the story. This is often done to give the player a Taste Of Power
, especially if the villain is the Big Bad
himself or far more powerful than the player character. If done well, this also establishes that the villain could kill you with his pinky finger without having to see him do it to you.
Doesn't have to involve awesome spiky
villain boots, but it helps.
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- The Force Unleashed - in the very first level, you play as Darth Vader, whom you oppose eventually in the story, before switching to the Apprentice.
- A bonus level from the 2nd Rogue Squadron game had the player assume the role of Vader during the Death Star attack of the 1st movie.
- In Ultimate Spider-Man for Nintendo DS, the first level is playable with Green Goblin.
- In the home console versions (and maybe the DS, I don't know), you control Venom, the main villain, for about half of the missions. Despite this shared screentime, he is still clearly the villain, as the player always controls Spider-Man during their fights.
- The game based on the first Spider-Man movie did this trope with a twist: after beating the game once, a New Game+ was unlocked where you played as the Green Goblin...which, in this case, was Harry Osborn trying to find out what happened to his father. You still played through exactly the same stages, with the Norman version of the Goblin having a distorted, deepened voice.
First Person Shooter
- Halo 2 has you play as the Arbiter for quite some time. The Arbiter is an Elite, with a very specific grudge against the Master Chief for destroying one of the halo rings, and for being the whole reason he was in that mess. The two never directly fight, but the thought was definitely there.
- Perfect Dark bonus level "Mr. Blonde's Revenge" lets you play an alien poorly disguised as a human.
- Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 has one level where you play as Big Bad Raul Menendez. He is noticeably more powerful than a normal Call of Duty protagonist, and the entire level is pretty much a complete one-man rampage.
- The Nintendo DS version of Crash Of The Titans features short sections after each boss where you play as Cortex's niece, Nina.
- In Tonic Trouble, you get a chance to transform yourself into the game's villain at one point, which is used to fool a guard into opening a door for you.
Real Time Strategy
- In Star Trek: Armada, the fourth series of missions has you playing as the Borg. The final mission in that series has you assimilating Earth.
- The second campaign of Starcraft has you playing as the Zerg, the Horde of Alien Locusts who kill and assimilate everything they come across. The Brood War expansion later lets you play as Magnificent Bastard Kerrigan.
- Warcraft 3 has a much more extensive version of this, where a quarter of the gameplay is devoted to massacring countries, raising armies of the undead, and desecrating everything that your main hero once held dear. This hero being, in fact, Arthas as a Death Knight.
Role Playing Game
- In Lost Odyssey, players get to take a crack at wielding Gongora's magic against his hapless apprentices. (Also a Kick the Dog.)
- This scene also involves a decision that affects a future Boss Battle. Whichever apprentice you kill last will be Killed Off for Real and won't be present when the party eventually fights them.
- Chrono Cross. Entirely justified because you switch bodies with Lynx.
- In Live A Live, the final level, should you choose to play it as Orsted.
- In Final Fantasy VII, you don't control Sephiroth during Cloud's flashbacks, but he is in your party, and it definitely fulfills the role of showing the player that he's ridiculously powerful.
- He also glares (or whatever ... means) at the player if you try to mess with his equipment.
- Breath of Fire IV has segments where you play as Fou-Lu. At the end of the game you can choose to have The Hero (they're both halves of a dragon god) merge with him, kill all your friends and Take Over the World.
- In World of Warcraft, a handful of quests in Icecrown allow you (the player) to take control of Arthas the Lich King in flashback sequences, thanks to a ghost who specifically wants to show the hero how powerful the Lich King is.
- Final Fantasy IV: The After Years puts you in control of Kain's evil side on his quest to destroy Cecil and have Rosa for himself .
- You also get a chance to play as Golbez in a flashback sequence: you basically take control of Golbez in a recreation of each of the fights with him from the original game.
- Not really villains, but Part III of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn has the player alternately controlling two forces fighting each other. And for a straight example, the Black Knight is one of the main villains and is controllable in a couple of maps.
- Though not A Taste of Power, as unlocking the mode requires 100% Completion, Luc's Chapter in Suikoden III is definitely Villain Shoes.
- Like the FFVII example above, Final Fantasy X allows you to control Seymour several hours before he's revealed to be a villain by anything other than suspiciously unnerving leitmotifs and being a non-hero Bishōnen in a Final Fantasy game. It also, like Sephiroth above, establishes Seymour's sheer power quite well and drives the point home by making his partner for that segment, Auron, seem totally useless in comparison.
- The Bowser segments in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. These are particularly awesome segments because they're reconstructed versions of levels from the original Super Mario Bros.. All those enemies and obstacles Mario had to carefully maneuver around all those years ago? Yeah, Bowser just smashes and burns his way through, no big.
- In the event that you manage to fail those levels, Bowser just gets to try again because, unlike Mario, Bowser has infinite lives.
- One quest in Dragonfable lets you play as the Ax-Crazy pyromancer Xan. Fire ensues.
- In the Nintendo DS remake of Final Fantasy IV, there was a segment where you play as Golbez in his childhood, although it was only in a town, and with no battles.
- In Arc Rise Fantasia, you play as the villain's party consisting of Alf, Clyde, Dynos, and Adele in the Ruins of Ebur. Sadly, this is the one time that you can't strip your guests of their items before they leave you. Well, you can, but you don't get to keep any of the items. They have their own, separate inventory. You do get to play around with some amazing Excel Acts, however.
- In Suikoden III, four of the villains actually count as the 108 Stars of Destiny. Collecting the other 104 before gaining access to the Final Dungeon, followed by beating the final battle, unlocks their leader's POV on the Trinity Sight System, allowing the player to go back and see bits and pieces of the story from their perspective.
- In Valkyria Chronicles, the DLC 'Behind Her Blue Flame' grants you control of Selvaria Bles and an Imperial squad in a side story of three missions, taking place during the early days of the Imperial invasion of Gallia. Two of the missions are actually alternate versions of each other, depending on whether or not you fulfill specific requirements in the first mission. Clearing all three with an A rank or higher unlocks a hidden fourth mission, where you control Selvaria in her Valkyria state.
- In Xenoblade, this happens not once but twice with both of Dunban's allies in the Sword Valley battle. Mumkhar was pretty obviously evil and shows up as a willingly mechanized Face, but then Dickson turns out to be the servant of sleeping, malevolent bastard god Zanza. Also two partial examples with Alvis, since he's not really evil but he's definitely working with Zanza initially and arguably even Shulk, before it's revealed that he's been dead fourteen years and a vessel for Zanza the entire time. Seeing as how it all draws heavily from Nietchzean philosophy, this is not really surprising at all.
- Vacant Sky has the player start out controlling Dark Action Girl Sandarga and the enigmatic masked villain.
- In Lord or the Rings: The Third Age has Evil Mode, where you reenact key battles, but on the villains' side. Including getting to play as the Balrog, Grima, the Witch King, and Sauron himself!
- The Code Geass RPG for Nintendo DS had interludes in New Game+ where the player would briefly get to control Original Generation Big Bad Castor rui Britannia before jumping back to the main plot. Amusingly, the way to force the game back into the canon storyline is by having Castor mouth off to an armed soldier and get shot dead.
Stealth Based Game
- Tenchu 2 let you play as Tatsumaru.
- Siren 2 had a level playable as a Shibito.
- The first historical stage of Eternal Darkness has you playing Pious Augustus, and it's your choice as to which Eldritch Abomination Big Bad he devotes himself to. Unusually, while highly competent in melee combat, Pious is possibly the overall weakest character in the game as he doesn't have any access to the Tome's magic and lacks any ranged weapons. Of course, this takes place before he becomes The Dragon of the game and is just a normal guy with a sword.
- Yet, he has very high health and stamina, and unlike any other character he has unlimited sanity because he's that dedicated to the mission. He'd be pretty fun to play with in a level that didn't last five minutes.
- The Ryder White DLC of Dead Island is a campaign where you play from the perspective of Colonel Ryder White, the game's Big Bad. He's got better stats than any of the 4 regular hero characters, since he's designed to fight solo instead of as part of a 4-player co-op team. his campaign also reveals that he was a good guy all along, and that the main heroes were actually the Unwitting Pawns of the story's real Big Bad.
Third Person Shooter