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A mental battle fought through emotionally charged memories, leading to a flashback montage. Can be done with positive or negative memories. Typical scenarios are:

  • Attempted Mind Rape: Using Psychic Powers, or a technological equivalent, the villain drags up all the defender's bad memories - every failure, every moment of humiliation - and forces the hero to relive them. The hero may fight back by focusing on his good memories; first kiss, lives saved. The hero doesn't need mental powers of his own to mount this defense, just heroic willpower.
  • High Charisma Villain: The Villain tries to talk the hero over to the Despair Event Horizon, perhaps with a scathing lecture on the hero's failings, perhaps with an assault on all he believes. To resist, the hero focuses on his good memories, reminding himself why he fights.
  • Redemption: To reverse More Than Mind Control, or redeem a villain, the hero forces positive memories to the surface, or outright restores them - making the mind control victim relive the good times he had with his friends, for instance. This may be done with words alone, or with psychic powers, but if there is a direct mind-to-mind connection, the villain will fight back, dragging up dark memories.

In the first two cases, if the hero loses, he'll succumb to More Than Mind Control, or be driven to suicide.

Compare with Yet Another Christmas Carol, where time travel is used to witness the actual events from the outside; and Battle in the Center of the Mind, where the fighting is done through mental avatars.

Examples of Fighting Down Memory Lane include:
  • The Cycle of Fire uses this a lot.
  • In The Wishsong of SHannara, Jerle brings his sister back this way.
  • God of War: During your final confrontation with Ares, after direct combat has failed, he sucks you into some kind of mental plane, where he forces you to relive your most defining moment: the day you unwittingly murdered your own family. Or at least, he tries: you have to fight off a horde of 'clone' Kratoses while protecting your family. Fail, and Kratos will simply collapse with a moan of "No... not again...", as the clones slaughter him.
    • Comes up at the end of God Of War III, where Zeus forces Kratos into the darkness of his mind, revisiting his old memories. However this time Pandora guides him using the fires of hope to help cleanse Kratos' soul.
  • CS Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia novel The Silver Chair: While the Witch is trying to More Than Mind Control the heroes into thinking that their memories of Narnia are false, the Marsh-Wiggle Puddleglum fights back.
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 Puddleglum: But I know I was there once. I've seen the sky full of stars. I've seen the sun coming up out of the sea of a morning and sinking behind the mountains at night. And I've seen him up in the midday sky when I couldn't look at him for brightness.

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  • Harry Potter: The Dementors do the mind rape variant to everyone nearby.
    • The Drink of Despair causes the drinker to relive their horrible memories.
  • In Don Rosa's Uncle Scrooge story "The Dream of a Lifetime", the Beagle Boys use experimental technology, stolen from Gyro, to enter Scrooge's mind as he dreams. Since they're inside his mind whatever he's thinking of is given away, and they're hoping if they ask him the combination to his vault he'll be forced to think it. Scrooge spends the night dreaming of the greatest moments of his past (and not his money, to the surprise of the Beagle Boys), so it effectively turns into this.
  • In a Mickey Mouse birthday comic, all of his old enemies team up, kidnaps him, and uses a memory-erasing gun on him in order to turn him into their henchman, and this cue the cut-aways to older Mickey Mouse comics. However, Mickey's strongest memory, the day he met Minnie, proves too much of a challenge for the eraser gun, and he manages to regain his full memory and uses this element of surprise to attack the villains with their own weapon.
  • In Sailor Moon, this is done during the corruption and redemption of Chibi-Usa.
  • Doesn't involve any actual fighting, but the sequence in the crater at the begining of Disc 2 of Final Fantasy VII certainly seems to fall under the first category as Sephiroth forces Tifa and Cloud to relive the destruction of their hometown and uses the gaps in Cloud's memories to convince him he isn't who he thought he was and manipulate him into doing Sephiroth's will.
  • This is how Batman defeats Darkseid's scientists during Final Crisis.
  • The DLC for Alan Wake Takes place in one, constructed from both Alan and the Dark Presences memories of Bright Falls. It gets a bit warped.
  • Digimon Tamers: D-Reaper, posing as Jeri, confused Takato by mentioning Jeri's memories about Takato.
    • Digimon Frontier: Ranamon tricked Zoe into eating a hallucinogenic apple, which reminded her of her painful past.
  • In Puyo Puyo Fever 2, there are two items which make the opponent's movement slower by evoking their sweet memories.
  • Bleach: In the anime-only battle with Tsukishima, he forces Chad and Orihime to "relive" their fake Friendship Moment with him, distracting them at the critical moments.
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: Done first with words alone, and then with psychic powers. When Discord corrupted all of the main casts, Celestia sends Twilight's friendship reports back to her. After reading them, she re-realizes the importance of friendship, and she uses memory spells to her friends which reverts them to their previous selves.
  • Natsume Yuujinchou: Emotion Eater takes the protagonist into a painful incident from his childhood, and then asks him to let it eat his memories.
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