The phrase “one-man army” implies that a person is either strong enough or capable enough to be worth an entire platoon of soldiers all by their lonesome. Some combatants, however, take it for a more literal meaning, as rather than being one person with the skill of many, they split themselves off into a literal many.
This is accomplished through a variety of means, usually either magic or holograms. Sometimes these duplicates are only meant to trick an onlooker, while other times, they’re all as real and dangerous as the one who made them.
9 Link – The Legend Of Zelda: Four Swords
The sword wielded by Link in The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords isn’t the Master Sword, but rather a similar enchanted blade aptly named the Four Sword. According to legend, when a pure and just-hearted individual draws the Four Sword from its pedestal, they are divided into four identical copies of themselves.
When the evil wind mage Vaati escapes from his confinement within the sword to kidnap maidens and terrorize the land, Link takes it up to stop him, splitting into four separate Links colored green, blue, red, and purple. These four Links can work independently of each other, though they can also team up for powerful, wide-reaching formation attacks.
8 Gemini Man – Mega Man 3
A member of the third generation of Robot Masters designed in tandem by Dr. Light and Dr. Wily, Gemini Man’s first and foremost ability is to create holographic duplicates of himself. This ability, used in tandem with his bouncing Gemini Laser, allows him to dazzle and confuse his foes.
Unlike some Robot Masters, it’s not really clear what kind of practical purpose Gemini Man would serve, if any. His duplicates don’t have mass, so they can’t move things or attack on their own. Maybe Dr. Wily thought he could make an army out of just one robot and decided to cut a few corners?
7 Dreamy Luigi – Mario And Luigi: Dream Team
Duplication isn’t part of Mario or Luigi’s usual playbook, but in the unbound realm of dreams, just about anything is possible. When Mario enters Luigi’s dreams with the help of Prince Dreambert, he maintains his physical form, while Luigi joins him as Dreamy Luigi, a dream avatar of sorts.
Dreamy Luigi, being a figment of imagination, has the ability to endlessly duplicate himself into an army of “Luiginoids,” which aren’t that strong individually but can group up together to increase the mass of their attacks. In dire moments, they can even amass themselves into a gigantic Luigi!
6 Timothy Lawrence – Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
When Handsome Jack needed a team of Vault Hunters to assist him with his attack on Helios, he didn’t just put out a call and leave it at that. He struck a deal with a recent college graduate named Timothy Lawrence, offering to pay off his student loans in exchange for becoming Jack’s body double.
As part of this mildly questionable deal, Timothy got access to some of Jack’s personal Hyperion tech, including the ability to create teams of “Digi-Jacks.” Digi-Jacks can fight off enemies, draw their fire, and even be modified with several skills and kits, such as swapping out their wrist blasters for shotgun blasters.
5 Maxwell – Don’t Starve
Maxwell originally serves as the main antagonist of Don’t Starve’s Adventure Mode, having been bound to the Nightmare Throne and forced to drag more people into the Constant. In the epilogue of Adventure Mode, you can set him free, after which he’ll become a playable character.
Maxwell’s special power, Codex Umbra, allows him to fragment his mind into Shadow Puppets cast in his own image. These puppets all have the capacity to fight and assist with tasks like mining and logging, though every puppet Maxwell summons takes a severe toll on his sanity.
4 Emily Kaldwin – Dishonored 2
Much like Corvo before her, Emily is skilled in the usage of the supernatural abilities born of the Void and granted by the Outsider. One ability that Emily picked up before Corvo is the Doppelganger ability, which allows her to create an identical copy of herself.
In its lesser forms, this copy can only be used to distract and confuse opponents, but as it becomes more powerful, it can engage in direct combat and even perform assassinations. Emily can even summon two copies at once for double the assassinations!
3 Ryu Hayabusa – Ninja Gaiden 2
Creating duplicates of yourself is a classic ninja trick, so it’s understandable that Ryu Hayabusa, one of the most classic ninjas in gaming, can employ it as well. In the second NES Ninja Gaiden game, collecting a particular power-up gave Ryu the power to create several duplicates of himself.
These duplicates will follow all of Ryu’s movements and attacks to a tee, allowing him to gang up on enemies and turn one sword slash into three. Unfortunately, he doesn’t use this trick anymore in the more recent games.
2 Meepo – Dota 2
Technically, all of Dota 2’s heroes can create phantom duplicates of themselves by using the Manta Style item. There are a few heroes, however, that have this ability natively, and one that exemplifies its usage is the Geomancer Meepo. Meepo’s Ultimate Ability, “Divided We Stand,” creates a squad of illusory Meepos who share his stats and abilities.
These illusions are semi-autonomous and can be set to perform simple tasks like grinding gold and experience, allowing Meepo to build himself up while focusing his attention elsewhere. The only downside to this ability is that if one Meepo dies, original or not, they all instantly drop dead.
1 Mergo’s Wet Nurse – Bloodborne
A Great One, and one of the enemies you may fight at the end of Bloodborne’s main story, Mergo’s Wet Nurse possesses frightening abilities well beyond its large size and intimidating appearance.
One of these abilities involves blanketing the arena in a dense, purple fog, from which a duplicate of the Wet Nurse will appear, swinging its sickles at the Hunter in tandem with the original. Both the original and duplicate vanish and reappear at random, often behind the Hunter, in an effort to catch them off guard and impale them.
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About The Author
Daniel Trock (31 Articles Published)
Having played a litany of video games since childhood, Daniel is an old school gaming fiend. He first got into the sphere in the age of the Nintendo 64, and has amassed a respectable personal library over the years, with his Steam library alone currently numbering over 600 games. Daniel enjoys researching his favorite games extensively, from their developmental histories to their narratives and characters. Recently, Daniel has been a regular game guide writer for Gamer Journalist, as writing gives him a chance to gab at length about his favorite topic.