Once again, it's time to put on your (evil-looking and spiky) villain-hat... as might be suggested from the name, Overlord is a series that lets you step into the flower-stomping, minion-kicking, heavily-armored shoes of an Evil Overlord. With such a premise, it can hardly come as a surprise that the games use or subvert half the entries in the Evil Tropes index...Written by Rhianna Pratchett, daughter of Terry Pratchett.Due to the series' playstyle, it's often seen as a Darker and Edgier Medieval Pikmin, though they don't clash as much as you would think.Games in the series include:
Overlord: The Overlord goes after the heroes that defeated his predecessor, who have each since been corrupted by one of the Seven Deadly Sins.
Overlord II: Follows the son of the first game's Overlord. The Glorious Empire is on the march in its quest to stomp out everything magical - pfft, like an Overlord is gonna let that happen.
Overlord Dark Legend: A Wii prequel centered upon teenager Lord Gromgard (pictured above), a previous Overlord in a Fairy Tale setting.
Overlord Minions: A spinoff for the Nintendo DS. A cult called the Kindred is trying to raise the Dragon Kin so they can rule the world. Obviously, the Overlord won't stand for any competition, so he sends a squad of Elite Minions to stop them.
Captain Ersatz: The overlord looks a LOT like Sauron. The similarity varies depending on your choice in helmet and armor, but with the right variations (and the Mace Of Doom, of course) you're basically his Equally Evil Twin.
The whole idea of the game series. The game contains more hints at Lord of the Rings, like the name of the village, Spree (Bree), and an inn with a Kicking Mule hang-out (Prancing Pony).
The Overlord of the second game carries more than a few passing similarities to The Lich King.
Crapsack World: This is the default state of the Overlord's world. The conceit is that an efficient evil Overlord is likely preferable to well-intentioned (or not so well-intentioned) incompetent rulers.
Dark Is Not Evil: The game teeters back and forth on this option. Some games present options for being a good guy with scary armor while Overlord II has you merrily massacring hippies while slaughtering stadium crowds. The sequel suggests that darkness is somewhat necessary for when Light Is Not Good, however.
Die, Chair! Die!: One way to leave yourself a crumb trail is to smash everything to crumbs. You know you've already been down a passage when the furniture is splintered, feast tables are empty, and the minions have pissed on the carpet.
Dismantled MacGuffin: The Overlord's tower. You start out too weak to survive without Browns backing you up in each fight, but the more Tower Objects you recover, the more powerful you become until you're able to take out an arena full of Battler Beetles single-handed.
Dumb Muscle: The minions are this, especially the brown ones. Gnarl even comments in one of the games that "Thinking only slows them down".
Evil Chancellor: Gnarl serves you in this regard. Fortunately, you're evil too. Not that that stops him from betraying you the moment your predecessor turns up, though this is depicted as merely a duty and encourages you to defeat the Old Overlord so that he can rejoin you.
The ending of Overlord II implies that Gnarl may be planning to pull an Eviler than Thou and backstab the Overlord.
Evil Redhead: Both Overlords have a thing for redheads. The last mistress in Overlord II, the Dark Fay, is likely an intentional play on this trope. However Rose and Kelda, the main mistresses are generally non-evil and support the Overlords for their own reason (Rose because she thinks he'll bring order and Kelda because she's the Childhood Friend of the Witch-Boy).
Evil Sounds Deep: Although the Overlord doesn't talk, he does grunt and growl occasionally. That's some deep-sounding grunts.
Evil Tower of Ominousness: Where you park your armour after a hard days' smiting and pillaging. The Dark Tower of the first game changes tone drastically depending on where the Overlord's Karma Meter. By the second game the original Tower's been obliterated, with your new Tower being located in the Netherworld.
Evil Versus Evil: Pretty much the premise of all the games. Overlord provided the top-of-the-page quote for that article. Save for the Elves (who are portrayed as largely ineffectual), it's all you fight.
Expy: All Overlords are essentially parodies of Sauron.
Face-Heel Turn: Quite the big one, in fact. It turns out that you were an "eighth hero" that suddenly showed up on the original seven hero's journey to defeat your predecessor. You, the eighth hero, killed your predecessor and gravely injured yourself, The overlord before you hitched a ride in the wizard's body, and serves as the game's final boss
Failed a Spot Check: The elves in the temple call themselves "watchers", even as they fail to notice thieves sneaking in right behind them.
Flunky Boss: If you were a boss, this is what you'd be. As for actual bosses; Oberon, Sir William, Khan, the Wizard, and the Forgotten God. Especially Khan - good luck trying to beat him with multiple beholders spitting out enemies and insta-killing you if you accidentally get run over by one. The Spider Queen and the Devourer in the sequel also count. The Devourer periodically summons just about every non-boss enemy in the game.
Glass Cannon: The Reds and Greens, who are quite fragile but are pretty deadly when used right.
Glowing Eyes of Doom: The Overlord. Interestingly, in Dark Legend and Overlord II the respective candidates have glowing eyes even before they become full-fledged Overlords, though the Overlad is justified since he is actually a Enfante Terrible. Gromgard is apparently just destined for evil.
Seeing how the Overlad skin seems to be blue, it might be a mutation.
It's also worth noticing that the minions also have glowing eyes, though their glow is not strong enough to make their pupils invisible.
Interface Screw: The first game took hits in reviews over poor responsiveness and awkward camera tracking. The second game boasted smoother controls, but still retained wonky camera, incomprehensibly capricious sweep controls, and negative criticism.
Justified Tutorial: You can rest assured that every time you acquire a new Minion type (and Mount in the sequel) you'll be pitted against a series of puzzles and enemies that require you to master the abilities of that exact Minion type. The series is pretty good at setting up the tutorials without breaking the flow, for example in Overlord II an ambush by a squad of soldiers proves the perfect opportunity to demonstrate your new tamed wolves' ability to break enemy formations.
After a few reveals, the karma meter in the first game becomes Anti-Villain Vs. Ax-Crazy. The sequel doesn't give you a choice between allegiance, you're evil regardless, your karmic choices come down to Mind Control or Ax-Crazy again.
Karmic Death: According to Word of God, all Overlords end up in the Abyss one way or another. That's not so bad for the canonical Noble Demon protagonist of the first game since he's also its new ruler.
This can lead to Karma Houdini, what with an Overlord now ruling the Abyss, it's unlikely he's going to play by the rules that would've screwed him over had he went there naturally.
Considering the aforementioned, it probably won't suck all that much for His son, either, considering the aforementioned canonical Noble Demon behavior, he'll most likely cut his own flesh and blood some slack.
Large Ham: For a decrepit old minion, Gnarl indulges in quite a bit of this.
Laughably Evil: The entertainingly destructive antics of the Minions, coupled with their tendency to stick just about anything on their head.
Which is lampshaded by Gnarl in the second game, "I remember my days as a young minion. Oh the things I used to put on my head."
Magic Knight: The Overlord is capable of casting magic, either to kill his enemies or to power up his army by driving them into a frenzy and his alignment in the Karma Meter can influence how his spells will work. In the second game, the Overlord's status as a magical being puts him at odds with the Empire.
The Medic: The Blues. They are the most fragile Minion and rather useless in battle. They make up for it by being able to revive dead Minions and by being able to swim. They also have the most magical nature out of all of the minions; in the first game, there are some enemies that only Blues can attack, and in the sequel, they're the only way to clear away the glowing blue magical fallout; any other minion trying to touch it gets warped into an even-more-homicidal Mutant Minion and turns aggressive towards you.
Mighty Glacier: The Overlord himself. He's somewhat sluggish in combat and tends to swing his weapon awkwardly, but he carries really big weapons and hits really hard.
Note that the Overlord is really only slow compared to his minions, who are quite happy to scramble along as fast as their little legs can carry them in order to get to the thing that needs smashing, bashing, or killing.
The Minion Master: Also the Overlord. You're pretty much reliant on your minions for everything, including combat and puzzle-solving.
Mook Maker: They tend to pop up from time to time; Halfling huts spit out halflings until you send in minions to wreck the place, and Beholders summon enemies until you take them down. On your side, any Minion Pit you can reach in combat functions as an effective Mook Maker as long as you have lifeforce to fuel it.
Nice Hat: Besides your own spiky helmet and Quaver's jester hat, the minions in general are fond of strapping random stuff to their heads, be it actual hats and helmets to flowers, pumpkins, and dead rats. In Overlord II, some bosses will drop special minion hats, as well.
No-Gear Level: An original variation, since the minions are the Overlord's weapons. This is expanded on in Overlord II, when the Overlord has to recover each minion individually after a shipwreck.
Our Goblins Are Different: The Minions are fairly standard goblin-like critters - some of which are immune to fire, poison, drowning, and have natural affinity with various beasts.
Our Elves Are Better: Subverted in that while the Elves are usually less evil (being at the worst Jerkasses) and are the closest thing to Hero Antagonists that the Overlord has, they are still generally ineffectual and just as dumb as anyone else. For the record, they're whiny emos in the first game and hippies in the second.
Pyro Maniac: If you use your fireball spells to set scenery on fire in the first game, all of your minions get way too excited about it.
Poke the Poodle: Several such pastimes are provided that don't even nudge the Karma Meter, such as slaughtering sheep and stomping sunflowers. The early parts of Overlord II feature a lot of killing of baby seals.
Polyamory: Averted in the first game with the choice of mistress. Gnarl says that you must choose either Velvet or keep Rose as there is only enough room in the Dark Tower for one mistress. Played straight in the sequel where you collect three mistresses over the course of the game, are allowed to keep them, and chose any one to be your primary one at any point in the game.
Portal Network: You travel to the stages through magic portals opened up by your base.
Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Essentially your modus operandi if you're more focused on Destruction (though less of the former and more of the latter). Otherwise you're encouraged to keep conquered citizens alive and content to some extent so that they can continue serving you.
Really 700 Years Old: The Minions, surprisingly enough. According to the developer's FAQ, no one knows how old minions get because no minion has ever died of natural causes. Gnarl, in particular, is by his own account old enough to remember what the long-extinct dragons were really like, and Giblet has served at least three different Overlords.
Red Right Hand: the spiky helmet that leaves your face as a mass of shadows with pinpricks of light for eyes, pretty much SCREAMS 'villain' from the moment you boot up the game. Not that you need the hint. The Overlad was creepy-looking from birth, having blue skin and glowing eyes that caused him to be viciously bullied by the children of Nordberg.
Screw You, Elves!: Elves are generally a race of either idiots or jerkasses who continually get shafted throughout the series, either by the Overlord's antagonists or the Overlord himself if he so wishes.
Shoulders of Doom: you grow spikes in many places as you get eviler, but your shoulders are where they get REALLY big.
Gnarl: Oh great, a Labyrinth. Sire, if you see any goblins or rosy-cheeked maiden, just ignore them, if there's singing, kill them all.
Silent Protagonist: the Overlord never speaks, which actually raises his intimidation factor considerably during cutscenes. Compare the Wizard possessed by your predecessor in the first game who never shuts up.
Someone to Remember Him By: The Fourth Overlord, for the The Third. Despite him not technically being dead, the fact that Rose discovers she's pregnant with the Overlad after his father ends up permanently trapped in the Dark Abyss means it qualifies.
Sorcerous Overlord: depends on how you want to play the character in combat though you look mostly like the warrior type and rule over your kingdom like a sorcerer. No matter what however, the Overlord is always a Magic Knight.
Squad Controls: The game has the commands Sweep (the whole cluster of minions follows your cursor, smashing, killing or looting anything they find along the way), Send (minions charge either straight ahead or towards a selected target, again smashing, killing and looting) and Return. These commands can be used for anything from a single minion to the whole horde.
Squishy Wizard: Generally the Blues and specifically the Wizard, whose health drops like an anvil if you can just get past his magical shielding.
Gnarl: There's nothing a minion likes more than breaking things. ...Well, except killing things.
Super Drowning Skills: Any minion that aren't Blues will instantly drown. The Overlord will simply wade through waist-high water and will not enter anything deeper.
Surrounded by Idiots: your Minions are loyal to the point of willingly embracing death at your merest whim. They're also dumber than a sack of particularly dull hammers. Ah well, you can't have it all...
Kelda in II has this opinion of the citizens of her hometown, to her, the minions are actually an improvement because "They can at least think and act at the same time."
Virgin Sacrifice: If you terrorize the people in the first game, the villagers will offer a virgin for you, amidst loud protestations from the girl that she's not called 'Haystack Harriet' for nothing.
Voice with an Internet Connection: But without the hardware. Gnarl, and sometimes one or more mistresses, can communicate with the Overlord over any range through the Tower Heart.
When All You Have Is a Hammer: Minions. Halfing? Send minions. Empire tries to Take Over the World? Send minions. Emperor tries to become a god? Send minions. Forgotten God tries to regain his powers? More minions! you can count the problems you can't solve with use of minion with one hand.
Which you'll then clench tightly around the handle of your weapon of choice, and pound said problem out of existence.
We Have Reserves: Your typical attitude to the Minions. Dark Legend has you throttle minions to turn them into suicide bombers, but subverted in II where you can resurrect fallen ones that you've taken a liking to.
...or sacrifice them to regenerate your life.
What the Hell, Hero?: Almost everyone in this game who is supposed to be "good" is actually pretty corrupt. Ironically, despite the fact that your character is the Evil Overlord, he has more redeemable traits than almost anyone.