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Video Game / Overlord I

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Overlord is a 2007 third-person Action-Adventure video game about, as its name implies, an Evil Overlord.

You've just been awakened from your dark slumber by a handful of loyal minions, and find - to your chagrin - that when your predecessor fell to a group of seven do-gooder "heroes", they ransacked your Dark Tower, stole most of the magic objects, emptied the armoury AND treasury, and generally made a mess of things. On top of that, said heroes have fallen to corruption and are now besieging the very land they once protected.

Well, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get up to some serious evil! Rebuild your Dark Tower, recruit a fresh army of suicidally-loyal Minions, regain your magical powers, forge new equipment imbued with the lifeforce of mortals, terrorize the peasantry, slay the heroes that thus inconvenienced you, and CONQUER THE WORLD!

Or, you can choose to be a benevolent overlord, help the peasants, and conquer the world... in the name of good. Well, a happy populace is an obedient populace!

An expansion called Overlord: Raising Hell was released on February 15, 2008. Portals open up around the Overlord's conquered lands which lead to the "Abyss", a hell version of the normal world.

There's a sequel: Overlord II

This game provides examples of:

  • Adipose Rex: King Melvin has managed to become a spherical body.
  • Adjective Animal Alehouse: Spree has The Happy Mule.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Your character is actually one of the heroes that slew the previous Overlord, but got left for dead by his comrades, and lost his memory.
  • Anti-Villain: The player villain, especially if you follow the "Less Evil" path. Given that he turns out to have been the Eighth Hero and the one who destroyed the previous Overlord by a Heroic Sacrifice, his actions in the game could be seen as a willingness to use evil to fight evil, turning the resources of the Dark Tower against the Fallen Heroes, which would technically make him an Anti-Hero. It's mainly the fact that he doesn't give up his position and control over the Minion Horde after he defeats all of the Seven that slots him into Anti-Villain.
  • Bar Brawl: You can earn corruption points for starting one in Heaven's Peak in the first game.
  • The Berserker: Kahn, the Fallen Hero of Wrath.
  • Big Bad: The Wizard is the leader of the corrupted Seven Heroes and leading them in terrorizing the land, though he is possessed by the previous Overlord.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: If you go down the Anti-Villain path the game becomes this, as the Overlord is a villain in name only mainly fighting genuinely evil and psychotic Fallen Heroes. For reference the latter are so bad the peasants will initially cheer you on when you fight them and consider you a hero.
  • Black Knight: Your armor starts out metal-colored, but as your Corruption-level rises, it gradually darkens. With maxed-out corruption, you ARE a Black Knight. And yes, the armor and helmet are permanent fixtures.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Every death is clean and Everything Fades. In cutscenes centered on a death, the vanquished simply glow with red light.
  • Boring, but Practical: Need a bunch of Life Force in order to raise a lot of Minions for your Forging? Go to the Tower Dungeon and pick Beetles to fight. Each Beetle drops three Life Force essence each, so you get a substantial amount. Sheep don't fight back, but they only drop Brown Life Force. The Beetles come with each type.
  • But Thou Must!: You have to choose between saving the elves or taking the dwarf gold. However, at this point in the game you almost certainly have a high enough minion cap that there's no mechanical reason not to do both.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The Jester is a textbook case. In the main game he starts worshiping the Wizard within seconds of his arrival, then he conspires to free the Forgotten God in the expansion.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The Reds are your ranged combat troops, and if you summon a horde of nothing but them, there are very few non-boss enemies that can handle having dozens of fireballs being thrown at them without dying quickly. But though they will engage in melee combat if enemies get close enough, they are extremely vulnerable to it (with only the Blues being weaker) and often die in one hit from even minor enemies.
  • Deconstruction: Of the fantasy genre. The former heroes, having nothing left to fight for after defeating an Overlord, go back to their homes and become complicit in their fame and power as they have little else to live for, causing them to easily become corrupted. Meanwhile the generic Evil Overlord the player controls can manage to prove much more likable than them after their fall because of his Pragmatic Villainy. It's essentially the fantasy genre turned on its head.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: In the Evernight Abyss, you can find a mold for the 'Mace Of Doom'. Gnarl cheerfully comments that he hasn't seen an 'Of Doom' weapon in years, before explaining its powers.
  • The Dragon: In the first game, the playable Overlord serves as the unwitting Dragon to the Old Overlord.
  • Elves vs. Dwarves: Following your previous 'fall', and prior to your awakening, the Dwarves attacked the Elven forest of Evernight out of sheer greed, nearly annihilated the entire Elven race, and took the last survivors as slaves.
  • Enemy Within: The Wizard was possessed by the evil spirit of your predecessor, and was slowly taken over by him. By the time you face him, The Wizard is long gone, and the True Overlord basically just wears his body 'till he can find something better.
  • Enslaved Elves: The homeland of the elves is a haunted forest littered with ruins, and the elven populace has been dragged off to slave for the dwarves. It's possible to free the elves, or ensure their extinction.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Paraphrased by Gnarl when describing the poor hygiene of green minions.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Wizard, the Overlord you're technically usurping gets his own brand of Minions, darker and meaner than your own. Being attacked by hostile Blues is kinda sad, though.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The ending epilogue lampshades this.
    Gnarl: And so the Evil Overlord defeated the other Evil Overlord. And the land rejoiced...
  • Eviler than Thou: The Wizard tries to pull this at the end, but of course, since YOU'RE the player character, you win anyway.
  • Exact Words: Gnarl, the minions, and all the Tower's power are loyal to the Overlord. You might notice that Overlord is a title, something that can change hands rather easily.
  • Excessive Evil Eyeshadow: One of the consorts.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Melvin in the first game, who is even implied to have a taste for humans. Note that in his particular case this isn't actually cannibalism, since he is a halfling.
  • Face–Heel Turn: All of the heroes who defeated the original Evil Overlord. Including yourself.
  • Fallen Hero: Worth special note, as an very unusual example of a Tomato Surprise, with you being one of the original heroes who lost his memory. Also see Amnesiac Dissonance.
  • Fat Bastard: "Melvin ain't so small now! Squish food! Eat food!"
  • Fireballs: There's a Fireball spell that allows you to throw fire.
  • Glass Cannon: Large numbers of Reds can take down an enemies HP quite effectively by bombarding them with possibly dozens of fireballs, but even fully geared-up, they often go down with one hit. The Browns are the only group of Minions who have a chance at surviving for more than a few seconds against most enemies.
  • Grand Theft Me: The Wizard got GTM'd by the previous overlord.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Jewel doesn't actually need to steal things; she just can't stand other people having them.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Oberon, the Hero of Sloth.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: The climax has the Wizard steal the Overlord's title, tower, spells, Minions, Gnarl, and finally the main theme music. Granted, they all technically belonged to him from the beginning, but finder's keepers.
  • Hulk Speak: Kahn the Warrior drops into this whenever he gets angry. Which is most of the time, since he's an embodiment of the Sin of Wrath. His Southern American accent makes it sound absolutely ridiculous, but given the tone of the rest of this game, that's probably intentional.
  • IKEA Erotica: Of the visual kind, up to the point where the scene with Rose suggests your tower is merely shaking from a headache or something. The implications were there, but the visuals didn't carry it - and the orgasmic 'pincer maneuver' was unadulterated Narm.
    • Then again, with Rose being the stuck-up, stiff as a board mistress that she was, that was probably the joke.
    • Compare her sister, who just says it's time to get you out of your armor. Rose spends the whole time going over spreadsheets.
  • Jabba Table Manners: Melvin's eating habits disgust even your minions'', who are pretty crude themselves.
  • Karma Houdini: The Jester gets away scot-free for betraying the Overlord twice. Although considering that he's replaced in the sequel, he may have gotten his comeuppance offscreen.
  • Karma Meter: Depending on your choices, your Overlord can range from Benevolent Tyrant to Incarnation Of Pure Hatred. Overlord II ranges from Domination to Destruction.
  • Kick the Dog: If you want to achieve 100% Corruption, you'll have to kick a LOT of (metaphorical) dogs. Committing an entire race to extinction for a bag of gold? Done. Wrecking every house in the peaceful farming village? Check. Killing hundreds and hundreds of innocent civilians? On it. Stealing the uber-holy Statue of the Mother-Goddess from the Tombs of the Elvish Warriors just 'cuz it'd look good in your foyer? Been there, done that.
  • Lady Macbeth: Both of the possible Mistresses fit the trope, each in their own way.
  • Last Lousy Point: The (probable) last requirement for 100% corruption requires a genocide of 1000 generic human NPCs around the cities. This isn't necessarily hard, but it's very time consuming, requiring a constant back and forth between your tower and whatever place you decide is a good grinding spot.
  • Les Collaborateurs: When Kahn takes over the first village you conquered, most of the peasants switch sides in a hurry. Mostly because the dude is twice your size and you're big to begin with. Once you've beaten back the invading forces, it's up to you what to do with them...
  • Life Meter: There's a red meter that tracks your health, divided into sections that represent how much health is healed by sacrificing a minion.
  • Mana Meter: There's a mana meter that tracks your mana in blue.
  • Noble Demon: An uncorrupted Overlord might actually qualify in the first game, with all the former heroes corrupted by one of the Seven Deadly Sins, while the Overlord aims to conquer the world by defeating the corrupted heroes and freeing the populace so they will be happy under his rule.
  • No Canon for the Really Wicked: The Overlord canonically chooses Rose and spares the lives of the Elven Race. It seems you did not take the corrupt route.
    • Or at least not 100% corruption. You can get up to 80% without contradicting the sequel.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Used verbatim by your former 'comrades' during a flashback, after you fell off a cliff.
  • Numerical Hard: If you purchase the Raising Hell DLC, you will have the option of playing the game on Legendary Difficulty. Enemies deal and take more damage, while the Overlord and his Minions are weaker.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Dwarves are basically angry beards on legs. Angry, beer-soaked beards on legs.
  • Our Elves Are Different: They're whiny emos. They return in the second game as a bunch of hippies trying to protect the magical beasts from the Empire.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: The Dungeon, which can create any enemy you've slain at least one ofnote . You can't actually get experience there, since Overlord has no experience mechanic, but fighting beetle mobs there is an excellent way to grind for Lifeforce.
    • Also, a series of places, including Understreets 2, The Brewery and Ruborian Desert that become great sources of Minion Equipment when cleared.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Playing as a corruption-free Overlord, you really only have Gnarl's word that you're doing anything evil at all. Freeing slaves, deposing corrupt leaders, sealing off gates to the Abyss to prevent them from claiming any more victims, you're basically Dark Is Not Evil incarnate.
  • The Plan: The Wizard and your predecessor, who are one and the same have pulled off a truly impressive gambit.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Gnarl justifies the good choices as such (feeding a village for regular sheep for more minions, staying faithful to Rose to exploit her planning abilities, etc.). This is also Rose's whole schtick, to the point that most of her relationship scenes (including the consumation scene) involve going over spreadsheets or otherwise discussing resource effeciency off-camera.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Could describe you, prior to your awakening at the start of the game. Or so it would seem...
  • Seven Deadly Sins: In addition to optionally succumbing to each yourself, each of the 7 Fallen Heroes represents corruption by one of the Seven Sins. In order:
    • Gluttony: Melvin
      • You can return the stolen food supply to the villagers or keep it all for yourself.
    • Sloth: Oberon
      • Defeat a group of bloody unicorns without harming the uncorrupted grove or take the lazy approach by just burning the whole place down with a single fireball.
    • Lust: William
      • Stay loyal to your mistress Rose or dump her in favour of her far more stripperiffic and evil sister.
    • Greed: Goldo
      • Save the elven race or leave them to die while you grab the dwarven treasury.
    • Envy: Jewel
      • Return the Mother Goddess Statue to the elves or keep it for no other reason than to furnish your tower.
    • Wrath: Kahn
      • Forgive the villagers for their betrayal or kill them in revenge.
    • Pride: The wizard/old overlord, and the player character with 100% corruption.
  • Shout-Out: To Diablo, possibly. The plot is extremely similar to that of Diablo II, only with a different protagonist. The weapon and armor names are also reminiscent of the series.
    • There is quite a number of references to J. R. R. Tolkien in the game. The developers didn't even try to hide the fact that the Halflings' home village is based on the Shire, and with the human town next door being called Spree, it gets even more obvious.
    • The Dark Tower bears more than a passing resemblance to Orthanc.
    • And also (humorously enough) to Star Trek, what with the Wrath of Kahn...
  • Slave to PR: If you choose to go down the 0% corruption route. Inverted with 100% corruption, in that all your choices have to be evil ones to get there (slave to Evil PR?). Ironically, it's a lot easier to redeem prior evil choices with good ones than it is the other way around.
  • Spanner in the Works: Just when the Wizard/Second Overlord's victory seems assured, your Mistress and the Browns turn the tide.
  • Speaking Simlish: The halflings and dwarves (although that might actually be Angrish).
  • Spikes of Villainy: You actually grow more and bigger spikes as you do evil things, as does your Dark Tower.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Dungeon Keeper. The general design aesthetic and quintessientially British humor can also evoke comparisons to Fable.
  • Tragic Hero: All of the villains to some extent except the Wizard, but Oberon really fits this trope. Unlike the rest, he still tries to act for a good cause, but commits evil because he's not entirely in control of himself. He is also the only one to realize how his selfishness has destroyed him, while the others revel in their fatal flaws. This makes him the only antagonist that is portrayed sympathetically.
  • Training Dummy: The Jester.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Having a Mistress doesn't just help you decorate your Dark Tower in various stylish ways... she'll also help you by upgrading your Minions, thus making you stronger, and towards the end whichever Mistress you chose will save your life when the one you scorned helps The Wizard ambush you and drain all your powers.
  • Unicorn: The first unicorn you run into is eating a dwarf. They are vicious and will kill a great deal of minions without careful maneuvering. Oberon's forest has messed with the Unicorns quite a bit.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Your minions can pick up the things of whatever they kill, but you can't. Justified in that you, as an Evil Overlord, deserve better than what Gnarl refers to as "old steal-me-downs." Besides, you're an Extra Ominously Large being and your foes range from Small to Medium (and then skip right to colossal), so nothing the Minions can equip would be scaled to you anyway.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Amazingly this is very much an option. You can go through the game without killing any innocents and do all the good options when they come up, essentially making you at worst an Anti-Villain and at best a dark Anti-Hero.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can kick your court jester in the face. Repeatedly. Oh, so therapeutic.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Try this on any of the tower females, mistresses or servants though, and you get knocked back.
  • Villain Protagonist: That would be YOU. Maybe not so much of the former, but still...
  • Welcome Back, Traitor: Humorously inverted by Gnarl who, in the act of betraying you, calmly states that he'll gladly take you back if you beat the old Overlord.
  • Welcome to Corneria: If the player lets the battle drag on long enough, the Final Boss of all people does this, spending the entire fight incessantly saying the same exact story about how he corrupted the 7 heroes over and over again and nothing else.
  • Wham Line: Somewhat spoiled by the subtitles, which are on by default.
    Gnarl:"All hail the return of the Overlord. The one true Evil... Oh no, not you. The real Overlord."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's never explained what happened to Jewel, Rose or Velvet (based on whoever is rejected as Mistress by the player), and The Jester.
  • Whole Costume Reference: Guess what the Overlord's armor is based on. But for legal reasons, you can't say it out loud.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: The Overlord's preferred method of expanding his Dark Realm is to roll in, find whoever is in charge, and kill them stone dead. This is also how he became the Overlord in the first place.