We’re taking a look into the mirror and highlighting games that challenge you to face yourself
As humans, we tend to occasionally make things hard for ourselves.
We put ourselves down, we allow others to determine our worth, and we lack confidence and think negatively.
We really can be our own worst enemy.
Well, sometimes video games take
this concept and make it a bit too
literal. How many times have you been
playing through an exciting adventure,
defeating villains and gigantic
boss creatures left and right,
only to finally be faced by someone that looks
all too familiar. It’s a trope that can make for
some memorable moments, and lots of lovely
symbolism, if you like that sort of thing.
For this video, we’re taking a look into the mirror and highlighting games that challenge you to face yourself. Whether
it’s an exact replica, or a version of you that’s been twisted into something evil and disturbing, expect to be see the clones, doppelgangers, and lookalikes of the video gaming world arrayed before you.
Oh, and we’re not counting mirror matches
in fighting games, or we’d be here all day!
I’m the one-of-a-kind Ashton from TripleJump,
and here are 10 Times You
Fight Yourself in Video Games.
10. The Legend of Zelda
Throughout the Legend of Zelda series,
Link’s various incarnations have overcome
numerous dangerous creatures, gigantic
monsters, and nefarious evildoers,
but none more enigmatic and menacing
than the shadowy version of himself.
Known as Dark Link, this unsettling entity first
showed up in the Game Boy Advance remake of The
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, but is more
famous for its first 3D appearance in Ocarina
of Time. Here, Dark Link is encountered in the
already infamous Water Temple, and is apparently
born of Link’s reflection in the water. It’s a
tough fight, with Dark Link gradually becoming
more aggressive throughout, and possessing
an uncanny ability to dodge Link’s attacks.
Dark Link continues to show up throughout the
Zelda series, and the worst thing about him
is that he’s never really been given an
explanation. Ganondorf is scary and all,
especially in giant pig form, but at least
we know his deal. Dark Link just seems to
appear menacingly and without context,
red eyes glinting with evil intent.
Heck, even Toon Link gets his spooky counterpart
in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks’ “Take Em
All On” mini-game in Castle Town. Nothing like
a chibi-style embodiment of the evil that dwells
within our souls to mess with your head.
9. Mass Effect 3 – Citadel DLC
Commander Shepard has been known to face some
intimidating foes across his or her galactic
adventures. Ancient, insectoid alien queens,
super-dangerous, advanced techno-assassins,
and one or two eternal, cosmic robo-squids
are all on the list of potential Spectre
victims. In The Citadel DLC expansion for
Mass Effect 3, however, Shepard finally has
to face the most devastating and effective
force in the entire galaxy. Him- or herself.
While The Citadel DLC offers lots of
missions and side activities for the
Spectre and their companions to
enjoy during their shore leave,
there’s still a dangerous conspiracy
going on behind all the arena fighting,
casino shenanigans, and home decorating. This
conspiracy seems to stem from a mysterious figure,
whose face and voice are hidden behind
advanced digital disguising techniques.
Sure enough, this turns out to be a
clone of Shepard, created by clandestine,
galaxy-spanning organisation, Cerberus, when
they brought the Commander back to life at
the beginning of Mass Effect 2. Shephard
and clone Shephard eventually do battle,
with poor version two Shepard
falling to their death in the end.
There’s also a nice little
correlation between the famous,
real-life practice of cloning
sheep and the fictional,
futuristic practice of cloning Shepards.
You know… Shepherds? Sheep? Ah, fugeddit.
8. Kirby & The Amazing Mirror
Kirby & The Amazing Mirror was a Game Boy Advance
exclusive platformer released in 2004 that tells a
story of the titular pink blob as he explores an
evil world created by a magical wishing mirror.
Considering the setting, and the game’s inclusion
on this list, I think it’s pretty clear where this
is going, but just in case you’ve not been paying
attention… we’re talking evil Kirby, people!
I know, it doesn’t seem possible does it, but
this monochrome version of the spherical mascot
will turn up during levels and attack Kirby.
Like any other enemy, he can be sucked into
Kirby’s cavernous maw, giving our spherical
hero access to powers he’ll need to progress.
In the end, though, it is revealed that Shadow
Kirby is just misunderstood. He was just fighting
to protect his mirror world from interlopers,
and eventually allies with Kirby to save the day.
Once the big bad is defeated, Shadow Kirby
joins regular Kirby and the other Kirbys
of various colours (it’s complicated) in a
victorious star ride, and then waves them off
as they go home through the magic mirror.
You see, even a sinister, shadowy Kirby
from a horror dimension can’t be evil. He’s
just such a wholesome little all-devouring,
7. Silent Hill 3
From cute, happy blobs to grim, relentless
horror now, as we discuss the terrifying
version of herself that Silent Hill 3 protagonist,
Heather, has to face. In this third entry into
the Silent Hill series, players step into the
shoes of teenager, Heather Morris, who becomes
wrapped up in a sinister cult’s machinations
to bring about the birth of an evil god.
Heather’s disturbing double is faced in the
Otherworld version of the Lakeside Amusement Park,
on a filth-encrusted merry-go-round complete
with twitching corpse horses. Known as the
Memory of Alessa, the creature looks exactly
like Heather except it possesses dark hair
as opposed to Heather’s blonde bob. Oh,
and she also appears to be rotting and
lots of her skin is falling off.
That’s another minor distinction.
The explanation for all this is that Heather
is actually the reincarnation of Alessa,
who was originally intended to bring about
the birth of the new god, and this horrific
psychic imprint of Alessa is trying to stop
the evil cult’s plans by destroying Heather,
her reincarnation. It’s complicated,
but basically this rotting mirror image
of the protagonist is actually a
force for good, in her own way.
Just like Shadow Kirby! I mean,
the tone is slightly different,
but everything else checks out.
6. Secret of Evermore
The player-named protagonist of SNES RPG, Secret
of Evermore, is a teenage boy who must explore
different eras of the world of Evermore with
his trusty canine pal. Said hound accompanies
the hero through various time periods, and
changes his shape to reflect the ambiance.
Throughout the adventure, the protagonist must
face shadowy copies of himself. These mostly
show up in the Dark Forest area of Gothica,
the medieval part of the game, and seem to be
formed of multiple small, goblin-like creatures.
They use all of the hero’s moves and attacks,
and will throw some of the players alchemy
spells back at them, making them dangerous foes.
One more shadowy version of the protagonist will
show up during the game’s final battle, in the
futuristic space station known as Omnitopia.
The player character is far stronger by now,
and the clone has the same stats as the originals,
so is easily dispatched. All good, right?
Nope, because the protagonist’s
dog, now a futuristic robo-dog,
has also been given the doppelganger treatment,
and this mimicking mongrel has stats and hit
points appropriate for the end game! How
dare they turn man’s best friend against
me? Making evil clones of me is one thing, but
evil clones of my dog? You have crossed a line,
Secret of Evermore.
5. Streets of Rage 3
Over the course of the original Streets of
Rage trilogy, things got gradually more “out
there”. The first game features mainly
street thug and martial artist enemies,
with the most fantastical element being
how they got the police car onto that
boat. The second game adds a sprinkling of
sci-fi, with jet-pack equipped bad guys,
and some rare, clanky robot boys
towards the end of the game.
Streets of Rage 3 tears down all semblance
of reality, with cyborgs, combat kangaroos,
brains in jars, and more. One such extravagance
is the Axel clone that is fought at the end
of stage 3. This bad guy matches the moves and
appearance of Streets of Rage frontman Axel Stone,
but has one heck of a health bar, and gets
disconcertingly redder as he takes damage.
This ex-cop impersonator is actually the final
boss if you’re playing the game on easy mode,
meaning that players who want to get to the
bottom of why they’re fighting mirror-Axel will
be left disappointed unless they’re willing
to take on the game’s significant challenge.
Still, once fake Axel’s robotic
endoskeleton is revealed, even easy mode,
players can make a decent educated guess
as to what’s going on. Franchise big bad,
Mr. X, has clearly gotten mixed
up with Terminators now, too.
4. Tomb Raider
By the time you get towards the final stages of
the original, 1996 Tomb Raider, you might start
to notice that a lot of the enemies seem
to lack a certain something. Their skin,
to be exact. As if these regular meaty
monstrosities weren’t disturbing enough for
Lara and her young fans to face off against,
the game had another surprise up its sleeve.
Looking like someone fused ET’s head onto Lara
Croft’s body and then got the skinning knife out,
this disturbing and gangly creature will mimic
Lara’s moves exactly, and cause harm to Lara if
she decides to, as any right-minded person would,
unload a clip of handgun ammunition into it.
Smarts are required to defeat this disturbing
Lara clone. Only by using clever manoeuvring
will players be able to trick the thing
into falling through a trap door into
the lava below. Hold on. If hitting the thing
with bullets hurts Lara, why doesn’t dropping
it into lava? Hmm, truly the mysteries of
the Atlanteans are deep and complex indeed.
Lara clones do show up later on in the franchise,
too, but these tend to go with shadowy versions of
our tomb-raiding icon instead of the original’s
more unsettling theme. We think Super Meat Lara
is a far more disconcerting prospect.
3. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
If there’s one thing that we learned from
researching this video, it’s that Nintendo love
an evil doppelganger. Mario alone has faced more
than his fair share, including the shadowy villain
in Super Mario Sunshine, and the intergalactic
clones that appear in Super Mario Galaxy.
Those cosmic lads don’t really do anything
though, and while the Super Mario Sunshine
clone does manage to get our movie
star plumber friend into trouble,
we’d say that the moustachioed
doppelganger from Paper Mario:
The Thousand Year Door is the most
memorably duplicitous of the bunch.
This imposter is encountered in the Creepy
Steeple, where Mario and friends defeat an odd,
ghost-looking fellow with a party hat. He proves
to be a somewhat anticlimactic boss fight,
save for his curious ability to change into
a shadowy form of Mario towards the end.
Long story short, this mysterious version
of Mario is actually Mario, and the ghost,
a being named Doopliss, has taken on Mario’s
colourful form, and proceeds to parade around
as him, being mean to Mario’s friends and
enjoying the adulation of various NPCs.
This complicated affair isn’t going
to sort itself out without a fight,
and in a visual subversion to how these kinds of
encounters often appear, this time it’s the actual
Mario who’s the shadowy clone. They don’t prepare
you for this sort of thing in plumber school.
2. Prince of Persia
In the original Prince of Persia,
released all the way back in 1989,
the player controls an unnamed protagonist as
he attempts to save a princess from an evil,
power hungry vizier and wizard called Jaffar.
Yes, we’re quite aware that sounds very familiar,
but it’s different, and Prince
of Persia actually got in first.
Anyway, the hazards standing in our
hero’s way include various devious traps,
sword-wielding guards and, you guessed
it, a shadowy doppelganger. This copycat
will first appear fairly early on, when the
protagonist has to pass through a strange
mirror to continue. A shadowy fellow will run
back the way you came, and that’s that, right?
Of course not. This duplicate is finally faced
towards the end of the game. Unsurprisingly,
his attacks and feints mirror your own,
and he will be able to read your moves,
deftly blocking and dodging your strikes,
and even sharing your health bar.
In this instance, the path of peace is the
way to victory. Sheathe your sword and your
doppelganger will do so as well, enabling
our protagonist to merge with his dark half,
finally becoming whole again before his
final showdown with the evil Jaffar.
No, I already said, not that one!
1. Elden Ring
Massive 2022 action role-playing game, Elden
Ring, is renowned for its plethora of mighty
bosses. Ranging from gigantic dragons to
guys with gigantic dragons on their arms,
these foes are enough to test the skills
of even the most experienced player.
Throughout this long, difficult and harrowing
adventure, you might come across something
called a Mimic Tear. A specialised version
of the more-common Silver Tear enemy,
these gelatinous blobs of metallic goo are found
in a couple of locations throughout the game,
and are able to take on the form of their
opponents. This results in an optional boss
fight in which players must face an
exact replica of their own character,
complete with the weapons and armour they
have equipped, in intense, one-on-one combat.
Except, people quickly figured out a way to
cheese this particular encounter. The Mimic
Tear’s propensity to exactly copy the player
is easily exploited if you know what’s coming,
and you can unequip all of your
stuff outside the boss room,
and then quickly re-equip it
at the beginning of the fight.
This dishonourable tactic results in a
battle between a fully-armed combatant
and an identical one armed
only with fists and a plucky,
can-do attitude. Poor little thing. At least
now I know why it’s called a Mimic Tear…