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Mission Control Is Off Its Meds

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Um, colonel, you okay there?

The Mesmer can open the jawlike recess in its protective outer shell in order to [ERROR463] share its beauty... Do not resist...

Assessment: Draw closer.
Mesmer Databank Entry, Subnautica

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Mission Control has been acting strangely. It's acting like it can't make up its mind whether it loves you or hates you. It gives you orders which, if followed, get you brutally killed. It taunts, belittles, and lies to you. What's going on? Why is this happening? As it turns out, Mission Control is off its meds.

This can take the form of an insane AI that's in a position to give you messages, a voice that speaks from the character's own mind, or just someone insane or evil that's in a position to issue commands.

These types sometimes offer rewards that never materialize. Others bring you so far only to inform you that You Have Outlived Your Usefulness.

It comes in two main forms:

  • Deliberately Malicious: Mission Control, or any voice that follows you around, is evil, abusive, misleading, or working to your detriment. This also covers scenarios where the true Mission Control is replaced by an impostor, temporarily or otherwise, or is given bad information by someone higher up the chain of command.
  • Dangerously Defective: Mission Control is not deliberately attempting to come across as disturbing or malevolent. Mission Control might even be genuinely trying to do its job and provide help, intel, and advice to the best of its ability. The problem is that it is completely insane, or an Artificial Intelligence program that... well, broke.

This trope covers any subject that could be Mission Control, but is clearly insane, clearly evil, or otherwise not nearly as good at aiding the character as it should be. Compare Treacherous Quest Giver, where the person giving you directions does not have your best interests at heart; Annoying Video Game Helper, which is annoying or unhelpful, but not intentionally so. When used in video games, Mission Control Is Off Its Meds can be considered a variant of Unreliable Narrator or Lemony Narrator. More extreme and surreal variants (such as the page quote) can dip into Word-Salad Horror.


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    Comic Books 
  • Exiles: After a while, team mission control the Timebroker, who had previously claimed to be a psychic entity made up from the team's collective unconscious, starts acting more and more assholish, up until he just dumps Holocaust from Age of Apocalypse on the team. Soon after the team finds out the Timebroker is actually a hologram, and his sudden change in attitude is because an evil version of Hyperion has taken over the operation.
  • JLA (1997): Subverted during the "Rock of Ages" arc. The Martian Manhunter serves as Mission Control usually thanks to his telepathy, and when he and Superman are trapped in the Injustice League's decoy satellite base that's controlled by the mind of The Joker, J'onn decides the only way out is to use his shapeshifting powers to make the irrational parts of his brain bigger so he can think like the Joker and guide Superman out of the maze, which naturally leads to some mad rambling. However, aside from a few weird and cryptic comments that creep Superman out, he doesn't steer him astray.
    "Reason is at your core, Superman. They threaten you with....unreason. Ha...ha..ha"
  • In one issue of Paperinik New Adventures, the villains are aiming to release a virus that will bring down the global web, with the earliest symptoms being random glitches. Naturally, Paperinik's resident AI UNO is affected. Starting with merely small mistakes (making the training simulations a tad bit more deadly than intended), but soon escalating to full on insanity.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • In the Hungarian animated film Cat City, the Rat Gangsters have a Cool Car that they can't operate properly partially thanks to this trope. It has a helpline with quirks that range from the annoying (addressing everybody as "ma'am") to the downright deadly ("Push the red button and rest in peace"). Eventually it turns out that the hero hacked the system and trolled them from the beginning.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the novel, the actual Mission Control, staffed by sane and non-murderous humans, is still there for Bowman and he finds out exactly what went wrong with Hal and why. This is cold comfort to Bowman, who's over an hour away by radio (the Solar System is a big place, even at light speed) and more alone than anyone has ever been. And in the end, all Mission Control can do is sit there while he utters his Famous Last Words (which oddly enough you don't get to hear him say in the original film — though they are the Cold Open for the sequel). "My God - it's full of stars!" And it is. Literally.
  • Airplane!:
    • Mission Control in this film is clearly insane. Largely as a result of going back on his meds. If you count amphetamines and glue-sniffing as meds.
    • The voices announcing loading zone rules at the beginning are operating at cross-purposes, and start arguing directly.
  • Airplane II: The Sequel
    • The mission control computer aboard the trans-planet shuttle breaks down, thanks in large part to being built from defective parts due to cutting corners by a Corrupt Corporate Executive and has to be destroyed before it drives the airplane into the sun.
    • The actual mission control is little better as it's run by said Corrupt Corporate Executive, and he's trying to cover it all up until an outside agency takes him into custody and takes over.
  • Alien: MU-TH-UR, the ship's mainframe, (possibly influenced by the HAL-9000 above) is unhelpful to the point of betrayal, answering questions vaguely and spending much of its time "collating". It does eventually give the specifications of Special Order 937 ('Crew Expendable') but far too late.

  • In Iron Man 3 JARVIS goes a bit loopy after the attack on Tony's mansion leaves them stranded in the middle of nowhere in a damaged suit.
    Jarvis: Sir, I think I need to sleep now...
  • Gerty from Moon subverts this excellently. The production sets up GERTY as a close cousin of HAL 9000 from 2001, and seems to be keeping a terrible secret from Sam. In the end, however, GERTY was programmed to help Sam, not protect the mining operation. When Sam begins to figure things out, GERTY helps him do that as well.

  • Moon Base in Destination: Void by Frank Herbert. The Earthling is the 7th Voidship and all six previous ones have been destroyed on orders from Moon Base. Every crew member has been brainwashed in such a way as to, should the proper orders be given, play their part in the destruction of the ship. And Moon Base gives those orders like crazy. There are multiple redundant switches to blow up the ship. The ship is designed to fail, and directives for recovering from that failure are deliberately suicidal, with almost everyone involved sure they will result in the destruction of the ship. The intent is not to kill them, but to put them in a situation where they have to solve the real problem they were sent to solve—or die.
  • In Timothy Zahn's Spectre Of The Past, Control directs Luke (in disguise as a pilot) through the pirates' base. Then he taunts him about the Jedi trap he led him into.
  • World War Z. USAF pilot Christina Eliopolis relates to the interviewer how, after her plane went down in zombie territory, a local "Sky Watcher" going by the handle "Mets Fan" talked her through the hike over land to a rescue point. Only when she's finished telling the story do Christina and the interviewer remark on the fact that her radio was found to have been ruined in the crash, and that no one ever found Mets, the cabin that she claimed to be holed up in, or any evidence that a Sky Watcher using the handle "Mets Fan" ever existed. Her Mission Control was probably a hallucination... a fact hinted at several times throughout the story. (The biggest such hint being when Christina was about to give up and let herself die, "Mets Fan" shouts "What are you, your mother?!" to get her to get back up and keep going. Naturally, no "Sky Watcher" would have any way of knowing the details of Christina's personal or family life.)
  • The Plan in N or M is to invoke this; the Nazi agents in Britain will, on a certain day, feed enough false orders to throw Britain into disarray, allowing a Nazi takeover with a minimum of resistance. Fortunately, British counterintelligence has a couple aces up its sleeve, both named Beresford.
  • I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream: It's so bad that Mission Control is the story's Big Bad.
  • AIDAN from The Illuminae Files.

  • In the manhua Infinity Game, D.D. 00, who guides the main party for the beginning of the game is shown to repeat a few sentences twice. This of which is a Foreshadowing on discovering how the Computer Virus was implanted into the game.

  • In the Torchwood: The Lost Files story "The House of the Dead", the "Gwen" who Ianto believes to be helping him via radio is actually an Eldritch Abomination impersonating her, to manipulate him into working towards its objectives.

    Tabletop Games 
  • This can depend on your GM. Done right, it can liven up the game with paranoia and unpredictability, keeping the players on their toes. Done wrong, and it might just seem more like a Killer Game Master is making with the Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies.
  • Paranoia. Depending on play style, the role of Mission Control may be filled by The Computer, or by a more traditional Mission Control staffed by clones. Either way, they are either off their meds or on too many, and/or just making sure that any failures are blamed on you and not them.

    Video Games 
  • Professor T Bird from Battletoads is more than happy to provide some encouraging words if you're making one too many mishaps in the series.
  • GLaDOS from Portal. At first she appears to be going through technical difficulties. It later becomes obvious that she's deliberately screwing with Chell, partly because GLaDOS enjoys doing so, partly because she's crazy since she really doesn't work as intended.
    • Part of the reason the first game is so widely praised is that it uses typical gaming conventions as non-verbal storytelling for the plot and characterisation. The short length and gimmicky premise leads one to assume that it is a straightforward Puzzle Game with the amusing, slightly-glitchy computerised Mission Control serving as nothing more than an excuse for a Justified Tutorial of sorts. But someone who would put a trapped human being through arbitrary dangerous tests for seemingly nothing more than their own amusement is prime villain material in any other context, which she eventually proves herself to be, as once the testing is over she has no more use for you, and tries to dispose of you. At the same time the player character, someone who is inventive and determined enough to survive and beat all those tests, isn't going to take that lying down and escapes to wreck havoc on her captor.
    • In Portal 2, GLaDOS is back, and is no longer as insanely homicidal as she is vengeful. Wheatley, on the other hand, well, let's just say it's not an accident that he's apparently a complete moron. Cave Johnson also counts, posthumously, to judge by the recorded messages he left behind.
  • The Narrator in The Stanley Parable tends to get... twitchy if you don't follow his pre-ordained path. Sometimes this is funny, a couple of times it's sad, and decently often it's downright creepy. Stray Off the Rails and he reveals his mastery of Passive-Aggressive Kombat, among other things.
    • And if you try to hack the game, you find out how serious he can be.
  • The first-person puzzle-platformer Twin Sector borrows quite a bit from Portal in terms of setting and concept. It should come as no surprise when your A.I. task-giver turns out to be a malevolent maniac.
  • The voice from Give Up Robot 1 & 2. The voice acts as Mission Control, but either hates your guts or is totally insane. It introduces each game with your "orders," which are garbled and quickly corrected, and congratulates you when you die while telling you to give up or that it hates you if you beat a level.
    • That said, the computer voice's sole purpose appears to be tormenting Robot — or capturing him when he escapes from their little world in the sequel.
  • The narrator from Bastion starts to do this when The Kid accidentally inhales some mushroom spores. Most of the lines are repeats of lines from before, but with negative emphasis. The fact he's normally a reliable narrator makes this level extremely creepy. The creepiest part is when he starts humming Zia's song, a war ditty Zia's people wrote about killing his own people.
  • BioShock: Mission Control isn't outright crazy, but Atlas was manipulating you into getting rid of Ryan the whole time, and is actually the Big Bad.
  • Bravely Default
  • The narrator/voice/whatever the hell from Loved. The voice presents occasional questions to the player, and then does the opposite of what the answer would logically prompt. When you disobey its commands, it asks, "Why do you hate me?" as though it were expecting otherwise. Example:
    Throw yourself into the barbs.
    Player: "Hell no." *jumps over barbs*
    How disappointing.
  • The voice from Depict1 by Kyle Pulver. It professes a desire to protect you and keep you safe while simultaneously giving orders that get your character killed, if followed.
  • Sirrus and Achenar from the first Myst. Especially Achenar, who's straight up Ax-Crazy, while Sirrus is at least calm and composed (though still just as much of an evil Jerkass as his brother.)
  • The Deceiver in the "Capture the Flag with Trow" level in Myth II does this.
  • Cortana starts becoming this in Halo 4 as her rampancy worsens. Nonetheless, she remains 100% loyal to the Chief, and is crucial in helping him save the day.
  • The Joker in Batman: Arkham Asylum serves as this for the enemy minions. As it becomes clear that they can't actually do anything to stop Batman, the Joker starts taunting them about how Batman is probably right above them.
    • This is a series staple. Every Bat-villain you go up against yells at their mooks over the radio during the Predator sections. Well, except Scarecrow. Instead, he gives his mooks a long, quiet, vividly detailed lecture about the psychological nature of the fear they are currently experiencing, and how they will never truly forget it.
  • In Lamplight City, Player Character Miles Fordham is haunted by what appears to be the spirit of his Dead Partner, Bill Leger, who wants Miles to find his killer so he can finally find eternal rest. Bill manifests as a voice in Miles' head, who will chime in with his own occasionally helpful, but mostly snarky comments and opinions on the objects Miles examines and the people he talks to. But in the event, Miles should choose to come clean with his wife, Addy, and admit that the reason why he has been behaving so strangely and been in a dark mood for the last couple of months is because he has heard Bill's voice inside his head, Bill will get extremely upset at Miles. In the following scene, whenever Miles tries to examine an object, Bill's usual snarky comments will instead either be coldly dismissive or be about he is convinced that any moment now, men in white coats will show up and take Miles away to be locked up in the local asylum.
  • Any of the AIs in Marathon that aid, or pretend to aid, the player are examples of this. Leela is nice and helpful, but grows less and less coherent as she's being hacked by the enemy. Durandal is completely insane and would rather mess with you, write songs, or ramble about his personal philosophy than actually give you your mission objectives. He gets better in the second game, but he still has his moments. Tycho is outright malevolent and constantly abuses you, and Thoth is an ancient AI who is barely even comprehensible.
  • Your future (and, later, past) selves in Time Fcuk count as this.
  • Metal Gear:
    • In Metal Gear, Big Boss was Solid Snake's handler for the mission, and partway through, he starts giving you orders that put you in danger, or send you back to the starting area. He even goes so far as to tell you the mission is over, and that you need to turn your console off. Of course, it turns out Big Boss is behind everything, and he fully expected you to get killed before you got as far as you did, so he started actively trying to get you killed.
    • Master Miller in Metal Gear Solid, who is actually Liquid Snake in disguise, sabotaging the mission by making the Colonel suspicious of Naomi (though it actually turns that Naomi is indeed not trustworthy), and cluing Snake in on the true nature of his mission and the FoxDie virus. Neither Campbell nor Snake notice until Liquid breaks his kayfabe, and Campbell notices that Miller's transmissions have been coming from Shadow Moses all along.
    • The Colonel in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty towards the end starts to break the fourth wall even more than the series usually does, and talks about things like aliens, gardening safety, and the fact that he needs scissors. 61. He turns out to be an AI impersonating the real Colonel from Metal Gear Solid; and the nonsense occurs thanks to a computer virus that corrupts the AI.
    • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater does something similar to Sons of Liberty, as part of its overall theme of deconstructing James Bond and Spy Fiction in general. The main hero, Naked Snake, is sent on a mission to assassinate his mentor, The Boss, who had defected to the Soviet Union. He joins forces with the typical Bond Girl Eva, defeats both his fallen mentor and the Big Bad, alongside his Weapon of Mass Destruction, and is hailed as a hero. All's well that ends well right? Nope. Turns out in the big reveal, the Boss was actually a Fake Defector who had been implicated by the US government as a scapegoat for them to retrieve a huge sum of money, Eva is actually a Chinese spy who had been manipulating Snake's emotions, and the entire operation was just a way for the government to save face, with The Boss, an agent who was like a mother to Snake, and who loved her country, forever known after this as a traitor of the worst kind, when the truth was the exact opposite. Both Snake and the player find out about this at the same time, which greatly contributes to the depressing tone the game ends on. No surprise then that Snake later becomes Big Boss.
    • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots does something similar to 1. Thought through the game you were fighting Liquid to stop him from taking over the world? Nope, again just part of his agenda. In fact he was really Good All Along because it wasn't really Liquid, he's been dead since the first game. Ocelot just underwent hypno-therapy and use of nanomachines to make him think he was. Why? To deceive the Patriot A.I.s and pry its grasp off the world. He was just playing the role of the villain so Snake, i.e you, could get the pieces in place to finally shut them down.
    • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker: The general plot is that Snake goes to help a CIA agent drive out a military force in a Cuban country mainly at the behest of the agent's cute female companion who just wants peace as well as find out if the Boss is alive or not after hearing a recording of her voice. We got a usual clear cut villain in Hot Coldman, a extremely bonkers Knight Templar who truly think if the world starts a nucular war, that'll keep them from wanting to do it again, never mind the countless lives that'll be lost. Ultimately in the end, he's defeated and his plans are barely stopped and Snake somewhat gets some closure to the Boss. Except, as usual, it turns out it was a ploy by the US government to get Coldman's research and, if you play the latter half of the game scourging for the parts needed to make your own Metal Gear, you find out said girl, Paz, was really an agent of Cipher (aka the Patriots) who were trying to bring Snake and his group under their control and you essentially just gave her the means to complete her plans via the Metal Gear which you have to put down. Yes, you build up a Metal Gear of your own just to have to destroy it later. Dick move, game.
    • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain continues the story of Big Boss and his further descent into the villain you would know come the first Metal Gear game. After all, he has become disillusioned with the Boss' ideals following the events of the Peace Walker, ends up losing his base of command in Ground Zeroes, loses his arm, and labeled a terrorist by the world. So the only thing he can do is just focus on rebuilding and paying those back who destroyed his base. Except he's not the Big Boss, the character you play through the game is really the nameless medic from Ground Zeroes that got caught in the helicopter blast, he was just given cosmetic surgery and hypnotized into thinking he was the real Big Boss to act as the decoy to the Patriots while the real Big Boss rebuilds his forces in secret (in fact, Ishmael, the man who helps you at the beginning of the game, is the real Big Boss just helping you escape to put his plans into motion). It's heavily implied that this is the Big Boss you fight in the first Metal Gear game. So you pretty much more or less created the villain of that game.
    • The off-his-meds Colonel even made it into Super Smash Bros. Brawl, appearing when Snake uses his Smash taunt against Luigi. While the AI isn't as nonsensical as before, you can still tell it's the AI when he gets to the "La Li Lu Le Lo" part.
  • System Shock 2:
    • The game begins with you waking up from cryo-sleep with cybernetic implants stuffed into your head and throws you into a spaceship overrun with aliens. Sounds relatively standard so far... except that you realize that something is... off with your Mission Control Polito, as she gets more and more demanding, hostile and condescending. Eventually, you discover that Polito is really SHODAN, the Big Bad of the first game, who lied to you by assuming the identity of someone else... oh, and tampered with your memory restoration. SHODAN then remains as Mission Control, declaring that your only chance to survive is to destroy the alien infestation with her help, so you go along with the plan as she creepily dotes on you and declares you to be her "avatar" (or, more correctly, pawn).
    • There is also an Easter Egg in which one of the telepathic monkeys uses the comm system to offer the player fruit, nuts, a tire swing, and "an attractive hirsute companion" if he defects.
  • In the Colour My Series, the signs tell you to give up and go home.
  • The Doom³ mod Conscientious Objector features a mission control which constantly taunts or insults you, and attempts to lead you into traps.
  • The Mother from Prey (2006).
  • At the end of the expansion of the first Fable, Jack of Blades becomes this, replacing the familiar promptings of the guildmaster with taunts and advice that makes you more evil if followed.
  • Satan from Messiah, once he reveals his true colors.
  • Xana of Dark Messiah is fused to the player and functions like a typical mission control. As you get farther in the game, her comments become more and more blatantly evil and eventually on the insane side. Of course, it's not secret from the very start that Xana isn't nice or all there.
  • Atlas of BioShock is this to a degree. Would you kindly kill Andrew Ryan for me?
  • Red from Penumbra: Overture is a nice-ish guy and his advice is usually pretty good if you can separate it from everything else he says, but from the first moment he talks to you, it's clear that he's not, strictly speaking, all there. He does try to kill you once or twice as revenge for insulting him with your judging, judging silence, but doesn't see why that should stand in the way of the pair of you being the bestest pals.
    "How does my brain-flesh know your fluids are leaking? Because Red tricked you! [laughter] Spidery tunnel was far from a necessary evil, more-so it served more as a well-deserved punishment. You thought my mind had been lost to the ravages of time, but poetic justice has struck with a sonnet and an eight-legged baptism of fire! With justice now served cold, I hope we can be good friends."
    • The sequel Black Plague features Clarence, a voice in your head who spends half his time trying to get you killed, the other half trying to keep you alive, and every moment he can insulting you, rifling through your memories, screwing with your perceptions and generally being a huge jerk.
  • Jodie from Metal Wolf Chaos may be unambiguously on the player's side, but also happens to be completely insane.
  • The Tower's God in Tower of Heaven starts out as a slightly arrogant, but more or less just divinity who wants to test your abilities to see if you are worthy of being rewarded. As you progress, he becomes increasingly hostile and intent on making you fail, as he imposes more and more random and unjust rules on you. By the tenth level, he experiences a true Villainous Breakdown:
    "How... How dare you continue to live?! Is it merely to spite me? You damn fool!"
  • In 1213, it is increasingly difficult to tell if Westbury is trying to kill you or help you escape, but he is definitely not at all there. The commentary explicitly points out that Westbury's mind has been completely snapped by the circumstances that led to everyone being trapped on the space station, and doesn't care what he has to do to get off it.
  • The voice that guides the protagonist of K.O.L.M. belongs to his emotionally abusive mother, who claims to have a plan for him but refuses to explain it. Once he gets the item she needs, she tries to get him killed.
  • In Command & Conquer: Renegade, the automated anouncer in the Temple of Nod goes completely nuts after the Temple is hit with an ion cannon strike, randomly blurting out non-sequiturs like "Intruder alert! Alert cancelled! Intruder alert! Alert cancelled! Intruder alert! Intruder cancelled! All intruders please report to the detention centre for debriefing!"
    • Also, in the Nod campaign of the original Command & Conquer, there's Seth, who gives you progressively stickier assignments, until, worried that you'll supplant him, he first lies to you about your most difficult mission to date being trivially easy, and once you've finished that he sends you on a suicide strike on the Pentagon (not that he bothers telling you that it's suicide). Kane ensures that you supplant him anyway, in time to order you to recall your troops rather than carrying out the doomed assault, and from then on Mission Control is back on its meds.
  • In Jables's Adventure, Squiddy is something of a Cloudcuckoolander. He tries to teach you how to break blocks with your mind (you can't), and every time you collect a fruit he tells you a fact about the fruit that may or may not be complete nonsense (some of which even he doesn't believe).
  • Mission control in Canary (a parody of Survival Horror in general and Dead Space in particular) is fighting his own battle while you fight yours, under assault by hundreds of monsters. Right after he seems to have been overwhelmed, he suddenly and suspiciously informs you that everything is fine.
  • While Fallout: New Vegas might not have any good examples in the game proper, the Dead Money addon gives us Father Elijah, the man who abducted you and mastermind of the Sierra Madre heist. He gives you general orders which, frankly, would be tantamount to suicide if anyone but the Courier were assigned them. He specifically states that once You Have Outlived Your Usefulness, he'll detonate your bomb collar so you don't get in the way.
    • Likewise for Professor Calvert in the Fallout 3 DLC Point Lookout, who activates a squad of robots to kill you after outliving your usefulness.
    • The Mentats-addicted Think Tank members in Old World Blues use the Courier to retrieve the three Old World technologies so they can escape the crater and conduct their experiments on the citizens of the Mojave. Unlike the above examples, you can reason with them rather than killing them.
  • The Mission Control named Mission Control from Thelemite is explicitly sending you on suicide missions because the organization it works for didn't allocate enough of the budget to incinerate the mutant player character after the experiment that created him. Eventually, he just gives up on that and tries to kill you directly as the final boss.
  • The Announcer in Team Fortress 2 clearly has a bit of a personality problem and is in charge of both teams, but before they fixed that glitch, when a King of the Hill game went into overtimenote , she clearly went off her meds. Even with the fix she pretty well loses it whenever the cart has almost reached the final terminus.
    "Go, Poopy Joe, soar! Kill Vladimir Bananas!"
    • Some of the later Halloween and alternative mode maps count too: Merasmus in Ghost Fort and Carnival of Carnage very obviously wants all of the mercs to die, and Redmond and Blutarch spend all of Helltower bickering and taking jabs at one another.
  • Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard features this in one of the later levels. It turns out to be the impostor variation, and Matt actually figures out what's going on before the reveal.
  • The Guardian in Ultima VII. He goes out of his way to be helpful for a little while at first, but rapidly moves on to trying to get you killed.
  • Dungeon Keeper has a mission control who's helpful through most of the game, but in the last level apparently lets your successes go to his head, and counsels you to destroy the enemy base so you can reclaim the Avatar. This is an absolutely terrible idea, as the enemy base cannot be claimed due to your inability to build bridges, which greatly inhibits your ability to reinforce or regroup your troops. Which you'll want to do, because their base is also stuffed full of traps, doors, high level vampires that use their wind spell to scatter your forces all over while using their Drain, Heal, and ability to repeatedly resurrect to be incredibly difficult to take out, while the enemy keeper will disease your troops and start pounding them with lightning. Alternatively you could ignore him, sneak up a side passage, and reach the Avatar without the enemy doing a thing to stop you.
  • Towards the end of Iji, unless you take steps you won't know of on the first playthrough, Dan gets killed. Iji drags his body to a bed, convinces herself that he's still alive, and starts responding to imaginary prompts as if he were still giving them.
  • Variation in Eternal Darkness - The closest thing Alex Roivas has to Mission Control is her grandfather's ghost, who occasionally offers supportive words and advice between chapters. Late in the game he starts sounding more sinister, eventually telling Alex that he hated having to raise her after her parents died. Of course, that was just the Liche messing with her, and she saw through the illusion.
  • In The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, Samson acts as Hulk's mission control, giving him objectives via simple, one-word hypnotic suggestions in his mind ("Destroy", "Retrieve", "Protect", etc."). However, during one mission he sends Hulk off to destroy several military buildings, gleefully whispering, "Do it, Hulk. Blow them to smithereens..." It turns out it's actually Devil Hulk, a malevolent new personality emerging from Bruce's psyche and tricking him into attacking civilians.
  • In Spec Ops: The Line, you don't have a Mission Control. You do, however, have little Objective checkboxes in the upper left of your screen. Late in the game, they start getting... odd, giving you objectives such as "Obey" or "Run, goddammit!". The enemies get a straight example in the Radioman, who gets his kicks by mocking the men he's sending to their deaths. The loading screen messages also start getting more and more hostile to the player.
  • Far Cry
    • The original Far Cry has you getting information from what turns out to be the Big Bad, who gets you to seriously mess yourself up and make it so Everything Is Trying to Kill You.
    • In Far Cry 3, Buck sends Jason to find a Chinese dagger. The whole while, he sends him on ridiculously dangerous tasks that are nearly suicidal, acts condescending and treats Jason like a disobedient schoolboy. Later, this trope is given a twist. You find out that the helpful Rakyat, who empowered you with the tatau and help teach you to survive and rescue your friends, have been doing so ultimately to have you become their greatest warrior, and try to make you kill those same friends.
  • Tasselfoot in Give Up (no relation to Give Up Robot) stops being helpful after the second stage, and begins trying to persuade you to hit the "GIVE UP" button at the bottom of the screen. He becomes increasingly insulting and spiteful with each level you complete.
  • In the invasion of Panama in Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Hudson deliberately misleads Mason and Woods for the entire mission, which is usually blamed on faulty comms. It ultimately leads to Mason dying... or maybe not.
  • PlanetSide 2 is full of raging General Failures yelling conflicting orders - as becoming a Commander (ability to give server-wide orders and attack/defense requests) simply requires a few unlocks. It's not uncommon for one commander to call an attack on a Tech Station, then for another to call for the defense of a Biolab, causing both to start yelling at each other over the global orders channel. Other times, the Orders chat is used to give completely inane advice (Remember to brush your teeth before bed!) or yell propaganda (PRAISE MALORN! BUFF THE CARV!)
  • First-person horror game Daylight begins In Medias Res, although it becomes pretty clear rather quickly that there's something sinister and not-quite-right about the mysterious voice on the radio giving you orders.
  • In the present day missions of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, John from IT gradually descends into a type one of this.
  • In Poacher, the narrator, a.k.a. the Judge, tries to prevent Derek from rescuing Rebecca from the Abyss by indicating to the player that Derek is supposed to leave without her. Of course, Derek refuses to do this.
    • In the secret ending, the Judge realizes that Derek might be the person prophetized to kill him, and intervenes even more directly in story by trying to kill Derek. Of course, he thereby gives Derek a chance to make that prophecy self-fulfilling...
  • Q.U.B.E. features two people wanting to be Mission Control for the Amnesiac Hero protagonist. One claims that the protagonist is in the middle of saving the world on a weird alien spacecraft, while the other claims that both he and the protagonist are actually prisoners and test subjects in an Elaborate Underground Base which uses memory wiping to prevent them from doubting whatever nonsense they're told. Evidently, one of the two would-be Mission Controls is lying or delusional.
  • In The Swapper, the voice over your radio gives you contradictory instructions, and generally acts unstable. It's because she's actually three people in one body.
  • Eye of the Beholder II: The Temple of Darkmoon. The last time Khelben Blackstaff contacts you, it's actually the bad guy in disguise. He tells you to go to the next room and drop dead, almost literally. Considering your last conversation was abruptly cut off by a magic barrier, it should be fairly obvious that something's fishy — in the Amiga version, it also plays distinctly different background music for the cutscene.
  • In Strife, Blackbird becomes this if you end up in the bad ending, abruptly revealing herself as The Entity having manipulated you into bringing The Sigil to it. Presumably she was killed and replaced at some point after the bad ending is set in motion.
  • The Secret World: The Pyramidion, leader of the Illuminati, is rather like this whenever he gets into the mission control role. One sentence, he's calmly telling you exactly where to go and what he's seen with his all-seeing eye in order to direct you and following a proper plan, the next sentence he's referencing an outdated meme in the exact same calm tone, and then he's back on track directing you the sentence after that, then going back to making a bizarre PA system announcement, then back on track... he's good at what he does, but you need to ignore about half of what he says.
  • Fredbear and Friends: The voice on the phone, which initially aids Thomas in avoiding the animatronics, starts mocking him after Thomas survives until 6AM, revealing that while he's shut down all the animatronics that'd been hunting him so far, he's released his "two favourites" and locked Thomas in the pizzeria to watch him scramble for an exit code for his own amusement.
  • In Do You Copy?, you’re Mission Control, playing as a park ranger trying to guide a lost hiker to safety. Naturally you can invoke this trope, feeding him bad directions or deliberately doing stuff that gets him killed by the monster that’s hunting him. There’s actually one point where you have to be a jerk to him to win, as he asks you to turn your floodlights on one more time to calm his nerves. If you do that, the monster figures out your location and kills you, so the only option is to ignore the hiker, despite him being obviously terrified.
  • The Company of Heroes series, thanks to being Real-Time Strategy games, has units invoke this against the player for their Stop Poking Me! line or when a unit is ordered to attack an enemy unit they are horribly outclassed against and can only hope to do scratch damage to. Such as an infantry squad with no anti-tank capability being told to fight any decently armored vehicle. Some will even flatout insult, curse at, or threaten the player directly rather than calling you HQ or some variation of Commander.
  • Warframe: The centuries haven't been kind to Cephalon Ordis, your ship AI. He typically acts as a slightly senile butler, but mentioning weapons, forceful solutions to problems, or pushing his buttons briefly reveals a loud persona that revels in violence.
    Excellent armaments, Operator. Please return - COVERED IN BLOOD - safe and sound
    • After finishing "The Sacrifice" story mission, The Lotus, who is the mission control character communicating with the Tenno during missions, gets kidnapped and turned back intro her true form, a Sentient and leaves the Tenno behind. Since this left a big cliffhanger, players have to deal with a digital recording version of Lotus taken from her helmet on the ship. The problem is that all of her lines of dialogue during missions are now filled with distortion and cracks.
  • Subnautica's guide is your PDA, a pocket computer allowing you to gather intel on different plants and creatures, and who gives you helpful advice and anecdotes. However, when looking at a Mesmer, the PDA starts giving very counter-intuitive directions. This is likely not the actual PDA, but rather the player character hallucinating the voice of the thing they trust the most, but then again, the Mesmer's databank entry is equally in favor of getting closer...
    It is your primary directive to swim closer to that beautiful creature... Swim closer... Swim closer now... It looks so friendly...
  • The Borderlands series is the undisputed king of playing this trope for laughs. Given Pandora's status as a planet of Comedic Sociopathy, a lot of your quest-givers and people who talk to you over your ECHO are complete nutbars, including but not limited to Scooter and Ellie, Mad Moxxi, Patricia Tannis, Claptrap, Marcus, Dr. Zed, Tiny Tina, and Mr. Torgue. It's played far more seriously in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! as Jack becomes more unscrupulous and insane as he gets closer and closer to becoming Handsome Jack, the Big Bad of Borderlands 2.
  • Bandog and Long Caster in Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown. The former serves in a penal unit and it shows in his dialogue, which is half bare minimum vital info, half threats and telling everybody to shut up and die. The latter is competent... If you disregard the food metaphors and how much he loves talking about how he has sausage rolls and burgers in his plane.
  • Metroid Dread: ADAM's monotone diction makes him a little hard to read, but he starts seeming a bit... off early on with comments like "accept your helplessness" regarding the E.M.M.I. drones, and as the game progresses he starts pontificating creepily on Samus' developing Metroid powers and belittling her chances against Raven Beak. That's because it is Raven Beak, who's been impersonating ADAM since the start of the game proper.
  • In Returnal, Player Character Selene is stuck in a "Groundhog Day" Loop on a bizarre alien planet. Most exposition is done via item descriptions and audio logs, all written (and voiced) by different iterations of Selene. Most are dry and clinical, describing objects and observations with scientific, Beige Prose. But some of the entries go far, far off the deep end, sometimes not even being coherent.

    Web Animation 
  • Vic from Red vs. Blue serves as the liaison to both Red and Blue Command, although the Blood Gulch soldiers don't know that. His advice to both teams generally ranges from irrelevant through obvious to actively harmful. Season 14 explains why Vic is the way he is. He's apparently a Virtual Intelligence Computer designed to manage the stalemate at Blood Gulch. However, Agent Florida tripped over a cable, shorting Vic's circuits and scrambling his software.

  • The GPS from No Reason, as shown here and here.
  • In Sequential Art, the rogue A.I. OzBasic is essentially an Expy of GLaDOS, for an arc that's an homage to Portal.
  • Castle Heterodyne in Girl Genius acts like this to the team of prisoners attempting to repair it. While it's homicidal at the best of times, the problem is intensified by the castle's damage causing a fracturing of its personality. Fragment A might kill all repair crews entering an area that Fragment B desperately wanted repaired, for instance. However, even once Agatha fully restores it, it still hugely abuses its repair crews For the Evulz.
    Castle Heterodyne: Oh, come now, we had fun! And alerting you to every other trap was more than fair!
  • In Homestuck, many characters do this. Like many ideas in Homestuck, it shows what would happen if you gave video game roles to sentient living beings. They make mistakes, they get angry, they try and manipulate you for their own ends, they die, come back and die again. Even guides created by the In-Universe game are zany and odd.
    • Doc Scratch outright tells the heroes he's working for the Big Bad.
    • Terezi is on the good guy's side but is nuts and trying to screw over her rival.
    • Vriska is tenuously good but mainly acts to make herself look good and struggles to care about anyone who isn't Vriska.
    • Kernelsprites have access to a great deal of important information about SBURB, but they are required to present it one or two pieces at a time, in a roundabout way. The only exception to the rule is Davesprite, who helps main-Dave as best he can with no bullshit.
    • Also, the exiles, especially the ones who don't really know what the consoles do. But with few exceptions, none of them are actively malicious, just kind of adorably incompetent.
    • Dirk Strider's auto-responder has a few things to answer for itself. It's an AI programmed by Dirk at age 13 to be a perfect copy of his personality at that time, and has developed in its own fashion since then. It seems relatively benign of intent but it still has its own agenda, and is pretty cagey about disclosing what that agenda is. Even better, the real Dirk hates it and argues with it all the time.
  • VG Cats parodies the Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty one here.
  • Awful Hospital: Crash had been steadily deteriorating ever since someone (possibly Jay) unexistalized the technician responsible for his maintenance.
    Just remember your goal while I break your entire skeleton.

    Web Original 
  • In the Interactive fiction game You Find Yourself In A Room, the A.I. ABOMI is both insane and completely sadistic. It repeatedly proclaims how it's non-humanity makes it superior to you, throws some brutal, heartbreaking insults your way, and eventually CUTS OFF YOUR HANDS WITH A ROTARY SAW.
  • Welcome to Night Vale sometimes gives orders or advice to the listener, in "ads", proverbs, or on the twitter. It's usually creepy, nonsensical, or both.
    Here’s a health tip from the Greater Night Vale Medical Community. It’s possible you won’t be able to kill it. If it manages to burrow under your skin, stop fighting, because it has already become part of you. Welcome your new body-mate! Listen to what it has to say, and see where the new symbiotic lifestyle takes you.
  • SCP-3122 is a car navigation system that pulls people into a bizarre extradimensional desert when line of sight with the vehicle they're driving is broken, apparently to use them as human sacrifices. It starts giving strange, cult-like commands instead of directions after doing so.
    "Follow the road for 300 meters, then embrace oblivion. He will be nourished."

    Western Animation 
  • In the Kim Possible episode "Hidden Talents", Wade directs Kim and Ron to grab one of Professor Dementor's inventions, deliver it to a drop-off point, and leave without seeing the recipient. Kim finds this odd, but takes his word for it and carries out the mission. "Wade" is actually Dr. Drakken, hacking into the Kimmunicator line and using CGI to impersonate Wade.
  • Teletraan One in The Transformers episode Kremzeek, after the title character damages him.
    "Alert! Alert! Evil Martian flangoes have invaded supermarkets across the planet. They have come to steal Earth's ammonia."
    "Choco rations down 2 grams! Doubleplusungood!"