Video games have a lot of common tropes that are present in many of their iterations. On the verge of becoming clichés, these are sometimes an integral part of a video game experience. One such recurring trope is when the protagonist is confronted with themselves in battle.
This trope has appeared throughout video game history. You could even say it’s a legacy gaming trope. Through trickery, genetic manipulation, or simple reality-defying events, the protagonist is forced into battle with a version of themselves.
The next section dives into a list of games that mirror, sometimes quite literally, the protagonist.
Fans of the following franchise would remember these gameplay moments
1) Essej – Control
Remedy’s Control is full of strange objects possessed by forces from alternate realities, referred to in-game as Objects Of Powers, or OOPs. Some of these objects can be encountered throughout the video game if players wish to explore outside of the main story. One of these Power Objects is a mirror locked in the Synchronicity Lab.
While the lab can be seen early in the lab, Jesse will need to have clearance level 6 to locate the mirror, hidden deep within an area labeled Mirror Test. Once the mirror is located and unlocked, Jesse can intervene and be teleported to a mirror dimension.
A little exploration here will reveal that Jesse is not alone, as a mirror version of her, Essej is there with her as well. Thus ensues one of the game’s most exciting boss fights against Essej.
She has all of Jesse’s powers and abilities and uses them to effect. Defeat this doppelganger and existing Mirror Dimension players with the Asynchronous Suit, the best outfit in the game.
2) A clone – Mass Effect 3
Mass Effect 3’s Citadel DLC is a different story told before the video game’s main story ends, where Commander Shepard is offered a luxurious apartment and goes to live in the Citadel. It also features a small campaign story, taking a much less serious tone than the main story, and sees Shepard come into confrontation with his clone.
After a confusing turn of events involving identity theft and an assassination attempt on the Commander, it is revealed that an exact clone of Shepard is behind the plot. This clone was apparently bred when Cerberus resurrected Shepard during Project Lazarus. Having escaped confinement, he plans to kill the Commander and take his place.
The final battle takes place on the hangar of the SR-2 Normandy, with the clone and Shepard facing off. In the end, Shepard is victorious, which he credits to his friends, showing how the clone failed because he wanted to pursue his goals on his own. With that handled, Shepard returns to his apartment and prepares to throw a party for his crew.
3) Mimic Tear – Elden Ring
Elden Ring has a number of boss battles scattered throughout its world, some reminiscent of previous video games in the series. Others, on the other hand, offer a completely new experience and level of difficulty.
It’s a FromSoftware game, after all. Most open world bosses are generally optional and not required to complete the main game. The Mimic Tear is one such boss fight, which also offers a new experience in the Soulsborne series.
Found on the way to Nokron, the Eternal City, a hidden area of the game, players encounter an empty, ruined structure with a blob-like creature in the center. Then, as the music suddenly kicks in and the golden mist gate seals the way back, this creature suddenly takes on the appearance of the player character, albeit in a colorless spectral form.
Thus, this boss fight sees the player take control, facing an enemy with the same stats as him, wielding the same weapons and armor. Combat can be ridiculously complex or fairly simple, depending on what players had in their gear when they entered that arena. If fast enough, players can enter the arena with negligible armor and weapons. Once the mimic has copied this, he can quickly switch to his regular gear, which makes combat ridiculously easy.
4) Dark Link – The Legend of Zelda Series
Dark Link made his first canonical appearance in Zelda II: Link’s Adventure. Towards the end of the game, when Link is on a journey to claim the Triforce of Courage, his shadow separates from himself to become his doppelganger. This dark version of him, then known as Link’s Shadow, serves as the video game’s final boss.
Since then, this evil or look-alike version of Link has appeared in several games and inspired certain outfits. For example, Dark Link appears as an alternate costume for Link in Super Smash Bros., while in Breath of the Wild it is an inspiration for the Dark Armor Set.
Dark Link’s most notable appearance is in Ocarina of Time, in which this character appears as a mandatory boss during the Water Temple dungeon. In a room half filled with water, Link stumbles across this aberration now rising from its reflection in the pool, leading to a somewhat harrowing boss fight.
5) Shadow the Hedgehog – Sonic Series
Shadow the Hedgehog is an artificial creation of Sonic’s nemesis, Dr. Robotnik, using Sonic’s genetics. This creature looked like Sonic but sported black fur with some red and white highlights. He was first introduced in the video game Sonic Adventure 2, where he was a main antagonist.
Serving with Dr. Robotnik and Rouge the Bat, Shadow was the flip side of the gameplay, which changed the outlook between Sonic’s team and Robotnik’s team. Shadow was Sonic’s counterpart, both playing the same way and reaching a climax at the end of the game.
While Shadow was meant to be a unique villain, he was well-loved by fans, which led to him appearing in later games like Sonic Heroes. He eventually got his own spin-off video game titled Shadow the Hedgehog, though he ditched the Sonic formula and aesthetic altogether instead of taking a much tougher route. He made an appearance in the second live sound film.
Note: This article reflects the views of the author.
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