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Villain Shoes

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An instance, generally restricted to video games, wherein the player gets to control the villain for a short period of time, as opposed to the hero. This doesn't apply to spin-off games or multiplayer modes, or being a Villain Protagonist; 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. Sometimes, it may involve with a Perspective Flip in which you can learn his motives behind his villainy.

Compare Villain Episode, when an episodic series gives the villain A Day in the Limelight. If your current Player Character turns out to be the villain in the sequel, this is Rogue Protagonist, which may or may not involve with Dueling Player Characters.

A subtrope of And Now for Someone Completely Different and a subversion of No Campaign for the Wicked. Doesn't have to involve literal shoes, but it helps.


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     Action Adventure 
  • In the Batman: Arkham Series, there are multiple opportunities to play as a villain:
  • Shadow of the Colossus lets you stomp around as the resurrected Dormin for a few moments before inevitably getting sealed in a new can.
  • The Witcher 2: If you follow Roche's storyline, you play as King Henselt at the beginning of Act 2. Henselt's decision trees are different shades of asshole, and the mission ends with Henselt murdering a priest in a fit of rage, then staring in horror at the realization that he fucked up.

     Action Game 
  • 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, 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 Plus 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.
  • In Hyrule Warriors, after the heroes defeat Cia, Hijacked by Ganon kicks in. The kicker is that you get to control Ganondorf as he performs his takeover, beginning with him dominating the monster tribes in the desert and ultimately ending in a Near-Villain Victory where he has the entire Triforce. There's also a minor side story (Originally DLC but made baseline in the Legends rerelease) where you play as Cia and her army as she recruits her generals and leads her initial assault against Hyrule and ending after her Villainous Breakdown shortly before the final battle.

     First-Person Shooter 
  • Halo 2 has you play as the Arbiter for quite some time. The Arbiter is a Covenant Elite, with a very specific grudge against the Master Chief for destroying one of the Halo rings, and for being the whole reason he's an Arbiter in the first place. 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 II 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.

     Platform Game 
  • Celeste has a brief segment in the Mirror Temple where you play as a Seeker, which also serves as a tutorial on their abilities — which you will need to know to complete the level after you switch back to Madeline.
  • The Nintendo DS version of Crash of the Titans features short sections after each boss where you play as Cortex's niece, Nina.
  • Super Mario Odyssey features this one indirectly: the final level consists of Mario using Cappy’s capture ability on Bowser, then finishing the level as him.

     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.
  • WarGames Defcon 1 gives the players a choice of choosing between NORAD, the human defense forces, or WOPR, a rogue AI amassing an army of drones and mechanized war machines to Take Over the World. Complete the latter campaign and players are rewarded with WOPR successfully wiping out all the humans' defenses and ruling the rest of mankind.
  • Empire at War has the Empire as a playable faction with their own campaign. The Forces of Corruption expansion adds another less-than-nice faction opposed to both sides in the form of the Zann Consortium, complete with its own campaign.

     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 Chapter, should you choose to play it as Oersted. As the newly christened Lord of Dark, Oersted takes control of the first seven main bosses in order to kill the previous protagonists. Success comes in either killing them all normally or getting to low enough health to initiate Armageddon.
  • 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:
    • The game puts you in control of Kain's evil side on his quest to destroy Cecil and have Rosa for himself .
    • You 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.
  • In the Birthright campaign of Fire Emblem Fates, the time spent with the Nohrian army in Chapters 1-3 count as this. Nohr acts as the antagonist in this mode, although they are the protagonists of the Conquest campaign and co-protagonists of the Revelation campaign. Likewise, the time spent with the Hoshidan army in Chapters 4 and 5 could be considered this for the Conquest campaign since they are the antagonists on this route.
  • 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.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics, the player begins the game with Fell Knight Gaffgarion in their party during the intro sequence, whose strength completely outclasses the foes you face. After the intro, the character flashes back to a few months prior, but upon returning to the present time later on in the game, it is revealed some time later that Gaffgarion was really a gold-hungry mercenary secretly working for the true villains the whole time, and betrays the player, leading them into a fairly tough fight against him and a large unit of opponents.
  • 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 Chronicles 1, 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.
  • The Lord of 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 Plus 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.
  • Sands of Destruction has you control Naja during the Action Prologue; after you get control of The Hero Kyrie, though, Naja becomes an antagonist dead-set on preventing Kyrie's Love Interest Morte from using his powers to end the world (Kyrie himself isn't big on wanting to end the world, either, but definitely does want to help Morte and that's what she wants). Of course, given the game's playing with Black-and-Grey Morality and Villain Protagonist, it's hard to say controlling Naja actually counts as "villain" shoes. There's also a segment later in the game where you lose Kyrie and take control of Morte in his place, but by that point she's reconsidered destroying the world and decided she'd rather try to fix it instead.
  • Due to the episodic nature of the Trails Series, this trope happens quite a bit.
    • The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky The 3rd has Alan Richard, who was the Big Bad of FC. Renne Hayworth also applies in The 3rd as well after being a major antagonist throughout SC.
    • The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure has Garcia Rossi who teams up with Lloyd in breaking out of prison for a short time and then leaves him. He was also The Dragon to the mafia in Zero No Kiseki and was antagonistic for the most part against the SSS, who are affiliated with the police. In the same game, Arios MacLaine starts out assisting Lloyd, Noel, and Dudley in the prologue of the game. He ends up being The Dragon who has to fight the SSS near the climax of the game.
    • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV has numerous characters who are villains or at least enemies for most of the Erebonia arc before they finally become playable and can be taken to the True Final Boss fight. Including the list are: Crownote , Duvalie, Ines, Ennea, Vita, George, Leonidas, Xeno, and Victor who was brainwashed to serve the bad guys in the fourth game.

     Stealth-Based Game 
  • Tenchu 2 let you play as Tatsumaru.
  • Siren 2:
    • There's a level playable as a Shibito.
    • In Siren: Blood Curse you play as Amana for one level.
  • The early part of Assassin's Creed III is told from the point of view of Haytham Kenway up to his reveal as a Templar.

     Survival Horror 
  • 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. While he's highly competent in melee combat, has very high health and stamina, and has unlimited sanity because he's that dedicated to the mission, Pious 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.
  • 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.
  • The Resident Evil series has provided a few such examples. Both The Umbrella Chronicles and The Darkside Chronicles has levels where you played as Albert Wesker and Hunk, Resident Evil 2 has The Fourth Survivor bonus stage again starring Hunk which was canon with the storyline, and anytime you play as Ada Wong might count depending on whether or not you consider her to be a villain.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's 2 has hidden minigames where you play as some of the killer animatronics that gun for you in normal gameplay. The third game also has these minigames, but Freddy and friends are long gone by the time the events of the regular game occur.
  • The Evil Within: The Executioner DLC lets you pilot a Keeper, a Pyramid Head knockoff who uses traps to compensate for his slow attack speed. This is a catharsis episode that lets you quickly decimate the many Haunted who have been tormenting you throughout the main game.

     Third-Person Shooter