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Dark Is Not Evil: Video Games
"We work in the dark to serve the light. We are Assassins. Nothing is true, everything is permitted."
Master Assassin, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

  • In God of War: Ascension, Orkos. He looks like a Living Shadow and in fact has powers related to that, but he is probably among the most decent and kind characters in the whole franchise.
  • Doom. The character's back story is pretty dark if you look into it. He punched out a commanding officer which got him posted on Mars. Plus, he has that dark goth look in Doom 3 about him.
  • Max Payne, especially in the 2nd game, where he spends most of the time running around in a black leather jacket and black trousers, in comparison the Big Bad, who wears all white clothing.
  • Artix from AdventureQuest Worlds is The Champion of Darkness and he is on the side of good. He's a regular, undead-slaying paladin or rather, an Undead Slayer since he can't actually cast holy spells who has fought, and always will, fight for the side of good till the very end.
  • Terry the Terrydactyl from Banjo-Tooie. Despite his attempt to kill the duo, he's just being overly-protective of his nest; he's really a nice guy who wants to find his lost babies. After the misunderstanding's cleared up, he even asks you to find them and rewards you with a Jiggy for doing so.
  • Deus Ex. JC Denton is always dressed in a black overcoat with shades. Of course, you can play JC as an amoral killer, but that's your choice.
    • Similarly Adam Jensen, while pretending to be an assassin it is noted he "certainly looks the part"
  • Darksiders II gives us Death, who, despite being a Horseman of the Apocalypse and generally living up to his name in the looks department, is on a surprisingly selfless mission to save his brother War by resurrecting humanity. He also demonstrates a great deal of kindness and loyalty to the people who help him on his quest. He's also a Deadpan Snarker and can be heard genuinely laughing sometimes.
  • The Necromancer from Diablo II, who sees raising undead as a necessary evil for the greater good. He may be on to something, as the years he's spent in the crypt studying the dark arts make him much more likely to resist being corrupted by diablo's evil like the heroes of the first game. You even find his apprentice in a random event in Diablo III, carrying on his master's legacy of using necromancy for the greater good, and he comes across as being rather noble.
  • The Witch Doctor from Diablo III uses zombies and voodoo as part of a mutual pact with the spirits, it's not treated as a twisted abomination or desire for power, but sheer reverence for the spirits of the departed. The witch doctor himself is also a very kind and mellow (if somewhat backwards) person.
    • The Demon Hunter, also from Diablo III, dresses in mostly black capes and hoods, utilizes the Power Of Hate and is a rather grim, cynical person overall. Nevertheless, they genuinely want to help the innocent, each Demon Hunter knowing all too well what can happen if demonic forces are left unchecked.
  • Dragon Fable really likes this.
    • At the end of the Dragon Egg quest chain, The Hero ends up with the Dragon of Chaos destined to destroy the world, while the Big Bad ends up with the Dragon of Order destined to save it. The destiny got little twisted.
    • There is also a race of Dark Humanoids with horns.
    • If you check Tomix's stats when you have him as a guest, he actually does Evil-elemental damage. As for the Chapter 1, he is a broody loner holed up in deserted underground town and one of the good guys.
  • Millenia from Grandia II is a textbook example of this. Despite being a piece of the setting's local Satan figure, she's actually a rather pleasant person when she's in a good mood. Eventually she becomes one of the main characters' love interests.
    • Overall, this trope is pretty much half the point of the game itself...the other half being Light Is Not Good.
  • Dante of Devil May Cry, although he's mostly an exception as nearly all demons in the series are evil. Sparda, Dante's father, was an extremely powerful devil and nicknamed "The Legendary Dark Knight"; he was also a very nice guy who saved humanity from extinction. Trish and Lucia from the same series are also demons who fight for the good of mankind.
  • Dark type Pokémon are no more inherently bad than those of any other type. A good example is Absol, who can sense disasters and tries to warn people of them, but gets Mis-blamed as the perpetrator, or Umbreon, which evolves due to happiness (at night).
    • Despite this, the original Japanese name for Dark type is "aku" or "evil" type. This could be because of the nasty effects Dark-type attacks often have, however - most of them involve "fighting dirty", like pretending to cry (Fake Tears), ganging up on one opponent (Beat Up), biting (Bite, Crunch), thievery (Thief), and throwing foreign objects (Fling).
      • Additionally, in Pokémon Colosseum, the original Japanese name for Shadow Pokémon is Dark Pokémon. They, for the most part, were used by an evil organization, inverting this trope. This trope was also ironically played straight, as not every Dark Pokémon was an "evil" type.
    • Darkrai is a Dark-type Legendary Pokémon that personifies the new moon, and inflicts terrifying, unending nightmares upon all who draw near it. This happens to be a defense mechanism that it has no control over, and it sequesters itself on a remote island far away from civilization so that no one will be affected by its power. It even serves as the hero of the anime's tenth movie (although it is accused of causing the events until Dialga and Palkia make their presence known).
    • Giratina gets a lot of this. It's the closest thing to a canon Eldritch Abomination the Pokémon verse has, being a creature from another world, an embodiment of Chaos, and being very, very angry when it makes its presence known in the games. All that said, though, it isn't evil, and its interference is actually a Big Damn Heroes moment in Platinum; it saves the world by its actions, although in the process it does inadvertently create another problem that the player must solve by confronting it.
    • Ghost and Poison types are also similarly treated in the same way that Dark types are, Ghost types having paranormal powers and Poison types being associated with pollutants, venomous animals or sickness.
    • Pokémon White gives us Zekrom, who, despite the black scales and red eyes, sides with the player to stop N and Reshiram. Their roles are switched in Black, though.
    • Same goes for the trainers who specialize in Ghost- or Dark-types- while villains will often use these types, anyone who makes a point of using them is just as likely to be nice or on your side. Though Ron the Death Eater will occasionally come into play....
    • Pokémon X and Y has the legendary dark-type Yveltal, a red and black wyvern-like Pokémon whose sphere is destruction, contrasting Xerneas' theme of life and creation, and has an appropriately nasty signature move in Oblivion Wing, which drains the target's life force. However, Yveltal itself isn't malicious or evil, and its destruction is described as a cosmic balance, destroying so that new life can be created by his counterpart. This is made most evident in the fact that it's just as interested in thwarting Team Flare's genocidal plans as Xerneas is, allowing itself to be captured and used for that purpose by the player.
      • Not to mention its reactions when you play with it in Pokémon-Amie...
  • The Longest Journey and its sequel has the Dark People, these aren't evil despite the fact that they are cloaked, dressed in black or seem to lack legs. They are librarians and collectors of stories and knowledge and actually helps the main characters on several occasions.
  • The Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children games, for the Game Boy systems, are probably king of this trope: the eponymous heroes are half-demons who explore Makai and various other worlds training demons, at some points even collaborating with Lucifer. Naturally, they're trying to save the world. Then again, positive portrayals of some "dark" supernatural entities is pretty standard for MegaTen.
    • Igor from the Shin Megami Tensei spin-off Persona game series is a very sinister-looking character, with a hunched back, bulging eyes, an enormously long nose, and pointed ears. He's actually a steadfast ally to the main characters throughout the series, giving advice and his services of Persona fusion. And he's the only character to appear in all Persona-related media to date, including the anime.
    • Shin Megami Tensei in general has a very literal example of Dark Is Not Evil. The series uses a two-axis alignment system, with the axes being Law/Neutral/Chaos and Light/Neutral/Dark. However, despite what you might expect due to its similarities to Dungeons & Dragons, Dark Is Not Evil, and Light Is Not Good — they have to do with the mythological reputation of the being in question, not its actual morality; Dark demons can be good, and Light demons can be quite nasty indeed.
  • The Dark Warriors of Final Fantasy III. They helped save the world in the past of the game world when the Light got too powerful and threatened to destroy the world in the Flood of Light.
    • Most Black Mages in Final Fantasy aren't evil at all.
      Not hate, but love.
    • Cecil, too. Yeah, he throws away his own Dark Blade and becomes a Paladin, but the prophecy mentions wielding both dark and light... and indeed, at the end, it takes both Cecil and Golbez to finish off the Big Bad.
      • Also, there's nothing evil about the Dark Crystals, they're simply the underworld counterparts to the Light Crystals.
      • For that matter, Golbez himself, especially in Dissidia: Final Fantasy when he's teamed up with characters who are both Dark-themed and evil.
      • And Cecil again. In Dissidia, he uses the powers of both the Dark Knight and Paladin, switching freely between them as he fights. Dissidia's position on this is made clear with the description of the "Twin Form", a material needed to forge Cecil's ultimate weapons:
        Without darkness there can be no light... So how can darkness be truly evil?
      • In Final Fantasy IV The After Years, this gets... complicated. In the first half of the game, we encounter Dark Kain, and later in the story, we have a surprise reunion with Dark Knight Cecil. It initially seems as though both are pure evil. However, Dark Kain saves Porom from a horde of undead without a second thought, and Dark Cecil is less evil and more... angry. Venting the hatred that Cecil tried to forget. Their dark selves seem to be more a representation of their deepest feelings and strongest emotions given form. In fact, Dark Cecil truly believes that he is the true Cecil. In both cases, it is only when the character accepts the dark half of their soul that their journey is complete.
      • Jecht as well, who represents a good mindset amongst the Chaos faction of Dissidia.
    • Squall in Final Fantasy VIII wears black and is up-front about being a mercenary who'll fight for whoever pays his contract, contrasted with his Rival Turned Evil Seifer, who is blond, wears white, and styles himself as a Knight in Shining Armor.
    • Vincent Valentine from Final Fantasy VII has strong goth/vampire themes, and turns into horror creatures as part of his Limit Breaks, but is nevertheless a force for good, more or less.
    • In Final Fantasy X, the Dark Aeon Anima is an expression of motherly love and devotion, who barring completion of a sidequest, aids you in your quest to save the world at the cost of her own life.
    • In Final Fantasy XI, Diabolos is simply cynical and even allies with the player if a certain quest is completed. Odin might also qualify for this.
    • Vivi is a Black Mage, but far from evil. His "brothers" aren't either, when they aren't brainwashed or tricked into being evil.
    • In Final Fantasy Dimensions, while the flood of darkness that consumes half the world is very much a bad thing, the Warriors of Darkness are every bit as heroic and right-minded as the Warriors of Light, albeit led by the more cynical Nacht. The real evil is the Avalonian Empire.
      • In addition, the Warriors of Darkness can forge a pact with Diabolos, an Eidolon of purest darkness, who gives the exact same warning as Alexander, an Eidolon of purest light, gives to the Warriors of light; that light and darkness are meant to be together, lest horrible things happen to the world.
  • Riku from Kingdom Hearts in the more recent two games; at the end of Kingdom Hearts 2 Riku was purified of Xehanort's darkness, but he keeps his own darkness-based abilities because they're part of who he is.
    • Terra from Birth by Sleep is an even better example. He's basically Riku's predecessor and also uses darkness despite being a good guy. However, unlike Riku who becomes kinda emo about it for most of Kingdom Hearts II and wangsts about how he gave into the darkness, Terra angsts about it for a few minutes but gets over it and remains a slightly stoic but kind, heroic and loveable goof even after he starts zapping people's eyes out with dark energy. Unfortunately, he learns the downside of dark power in the end. Whether it's used for good or evil, use of darkness weakens a person's heart's natural defenses of light, making him helpless when Master Xehanort attempts Grand Theft Me. So it seems that while darkness can be used for good, it is much more hazardous to wield.
    • Pure-hearted Mickey himself uses the keyblade from the Realm of Darkness, if only because it's the first one he found and he doesn't want to take Sora's.
    • The friendly Spirit dream eaters who serve as your allies in Kingdom Hearts 3D are beings of darkness, just as the antagonistic Nightmares are. The entire theme of this installment, in fact, could be summed up in this trope...especially considering that towards the end of the game, it's revealed that the real protagonist of this one is Riku. Riku has even temporarily become a Dream Eater, protecting Sora from the villains by consuming the darkness of the Nightmares. Riku's character arc ends in this game (as does the zig-zagging of whether Dark Is Evil) with him accepting the darkness but using it selflessly, to protect his friends instead of benefit himself. As if to cement it, at the end of the game he is dubbed a Keyblade Master... and Sora isn't.
    • In general, Darkness is stated to be neither evil nor good in and of itself: Mickey points out that it makes up half of everything, and that creation couldn't exist without it. However, the power it offers tends to attract unsavory people, and since all the characters are from the Realm of Light, Darkness often has negative effects on them.
    • The real Ansem actually notes that if one treats darkness with neither fear or caution, the negative side effects become a non-issue.
  • The Forsaken of World of Warcraft. There have been plenty of arguments between those who say they're evil and those who say they're doing what they have to in order to survive. Blizzard themselves flip flops on this issue.
    • The Wrathgate storyline more or less proved both sides of the debate right. Putress and his followers certainly weren't 'doing what they need to to survive,' when they betrayed their allies and killed the delegation at Wrathgate. However, the subsequent Battle for Undercity storyline makes it plain that Putress and Varimanthras were only a splinter group and that most of the Forsaken, including Sylvanas, remained loyal.
    • Also Warlocks, who are described in the character creation menu as "the bane of all life", and whose magic focuses on (1) summoning demons, (2) sucking life energy out of people, and (3) setting people on fire. Nonetheless, they're able to do all the same heroic deeds as any other playable class. (Having said that, all important warlocks in the story are evil.)
    • The Good aligned troll tribe are called the Darkspear. Similarly the Shadow Tooth tribe of Dark Trolls aided in the battle of Mount Hyjal.
    • The night elves, while being WoW's version of dark elves, aren't evil. Yes, they're nocturnal and have fangs. Sure, they're mysterious, distrustful of the other races, and rather prideful. They have made some (rather large) mistakes in their past, namely tearing the Warcraft world's Pangaea-like supercontinent apart with overuse of magic. But for the most part they're okay folks who want to preserve the balance of nature and stuff.
      • If you really get into the lore, you begin to find that the ones who are actually still dark elves are largely, in fact, the ones who managed to avoid being responsible for all of the above mistakes.
    • The new Death Knights are pious fighters of the light who died, and where brought back as mindless servants of the Scourge. Towards the end of the questline the Lich King loses control over the player, and the player joins either the Alliance or Horde depending on race.
      • One of the biggest examples is the NPC Death Knight Thassarian, first to rejoin the Alliance. Even while still loyal to the Scourge, he shows a bit of weakness by showing concern for a captured ally, frowned upon by his colder comrades. After returning to the Alliance, he's primarily concerned about saving his sister.
    • The Cataclysm Expansion Pack features Gilnean Worgen, not entirely unfortunate victims of a lesser version of Arugal's curse. Unlike their truly cursed cousins in Silverpine, they retain control of their minds in wolf form and can switch between both at will. While they look less ugly then true worgen (extradimensional invaders that have one form and one form only), having no tusks and well-groomed fur, they still look fairly menacing. They're members of the Alliance, as opposed to the endearing goblins of the Horde.
      • It's worth noting that the worgen in Gilneas didn't have free will at first; it took a potion from the royal alchemist to restore free will on even a temporary basis. Night elf druids provided the more permanent solution (which also allowed shapeshifting between human and wolf forms), with the help of what is implied to be the (previously lost) Scythe of Elune—only then did the worgen curse become a case of Cursed with Awesome.
    • Gilneas also fit this in Warcraft II, in which their color was black. Though tremendously selfish Jerkasses, they still fought with the Alliance during that war. They did isolate themselves from the rest of the Alliance via a wall shortly afterward, though.
      • "Damn the orcs, damn the Alliance, and damn you! The last thing Gilneas needs is sponges from other nations drawing from our resources, Dalaran wizards meddling with our affairs, and someone else's enemies killing our soldiers! Gilneas is its own nation and it always will be. This is the last time I'll ever talk to you, Terenas, so I hope you were listening." - Genn Greymane, the king of Gilneas.
    • The Arakkoa Outcasts in Warlords of Draenor are mottled arakkoa that gain their power over shadows through the Curse of Sethe and are hunted by the genocidal followers of Rukhmar.
  • The Ghosts of Razgriz in Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War fly a 4-ship formation of all-black fighter jets while kicking the Big Bad's asses.
  • The country of Darkworld is on the good guys' side in Wonder Boy In Monster World; apparently it's called that because it's dark most of the time (which is also why there's so much ice), even though the world is flat.
  • The Twili in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Indeed, the entire game plays to this trope in one way or another. Consider the golden wolf that turns into a menacing skeleton warrior... who then proceeds to teach you how to sword-fight. Or the monstrous black headless bird summoned to attack you that, once its master is defeated, happily gives you a ride to your next destination. Or the hungry yetis, who send you on fetch quests for treasures that turn out to be soup ingredients, and don't attempt to eat you at any point in the game (Well, the big guy might've considered going after you in wolf form if he hadn't just gone fishing), in fact they let you have as much free soup as you want any time you want, soup with very effective healing power. Or the Temple of Time, where you spend the first half evading vicious enchanted armor, and the second half controlling it. Or when Midna finally uses the Fused Shadow, which seemingly goes out of control and turns her into a massive tentacled shadowy beast... and then a boss fight doesn't happen. And all this is on top of the premise of Link being a wolf for much of the game, complete with the way the public reacts.
    • The part about the Twili is even mentioned by Midna when Link is in the Twilight Palace. Midna mentions that even though every Twili you've seen so far has tried to kill you and they, in general, look evil, the Twili are generally quite peaceful.
    • It should be noted that prior to her character development, Midna (while wanting to help free the Twili) cared nothing for mankind or Hyrule and only saw Link as a means to an end. But after he got her the last Fused Shadow, she planned to let him go back to a normal life instead of disposing of him. But when she knew her plan would be more complicated, she stayed with him longer, fueling a bond between the two.
      • Plus, she's the dark counterpart for the light-elemented Zelda, and the two are actually friends.
    • Of course, Midna's lack of interest in helping the humans wasn't exactly evil more than the Twili's policy of leaving the Light World alone.
    • And when you defeat the seemingly bestial King Bulblin, who has never indicated anything other than sheer goblin brutality:
      King Bulblin: Enough. I follow the strongest side! ...That is all I have ever known.
      Midna: Link! He...he spoke!
    • Also the Sheikah race who are known as Shadow Folk. Though we've only seen two members of the race (Impa and Impaz) and aside from their red eyes they aren't all that different from Hylians.
    • The Gerudo in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time at first come across as a dangerous race who kidnap and lock up men, attack Link, and hail Ganondorf as their king. They are perfectly willing to accept Link into their tribe when they see his strength and skill though, and Nabooru is introduced as doing her best to prevent Ganondorf's evil plans.
    • Koume and Kotake from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. Both are shriveled hags who appeared in the previous game as villains. In this game, they're pretty nice (if a little grumpy) and will provide Link with some useful items and help him move forward in the game.
    • And then there's the demon Batreaux from Skyward Sword. He may have a very demonic appearance, but he is a very nice guy.
  • Soma Cruz, the resident white haired Bishōnen in the Castlevania: Chronicles of Sorrow duology wields the dark power to absorb his enemies' souls and use them as weapons, a result of either inheriting the power of Lord Dracula or being Lord Dracula reborn. That said, he is quite a nice person, selflessly working for the good of mankind and looking after his childhood friend, who later proves his sweet-as-pie not-girlfriend who has so far completely failed to be kidnapped.
    • Lampshaded by Alucard (you already know it's him!). When Soma freaks because he's told his powers are dark, Alucard tells him it is just that, and not evil.
    • Other examples from the series include Dracula's son Alucard, the peaceful beastman Cornell, the traitorous devil forgemaster Hector, and a golem who was temporarily given a soul.
  • Demons in Disgaea and Makai Kingdom. Though most would likely insist that they are, in fact, totally evil, the only affect demonhood would appear to really have on one's conscience (as Flonne and others turned into demons would probably tell you) is a natural predisposition to be a smartass. And slightly dimwitted: Adell, who never actually figures out he's really a full-blooded demon himself doesn't even manage that much 'evil', other than a love of battle.
    • King Krichevskoy particularly exemplifies this. Far from being a Card-Carrying Villain, all evidence points to him being a very nice if rather eccentric demon who would even treat complete strangers with kindness. He was even shamelessly married to a complete Love Freak. All this from the man who just happened to be the king of The Netherworld.
    • Of course, there are a few demons who are genuinely evil even though the majority of their kind lean more towards chaos, so much so that most of the other demons find them repulsive. Demon Overlord Seedle was a "hero" who tried to rape the woman who would become protagonist Zetta's Love Interest and became Overlord of the Netherworld just to get revenge for her fighting back. Fake Zenon was a general asshole who ruled Veldime with an iron fist, perpetuated a curse to drain away the residents' memories and conscience in exchange for his own power, and captured the amnesiac reincarnation of the real Overlord Zenon as a trophy before burning the people raising her into the ashes of history.
    • Driving the point of this home is a sequence in the first game. The angel Vulcanus sneaked down to the netherworld out of rage that Flonne had be sent to deal with the situation there instead of himself. He steals a pendant that Flonne (or any trainee angel) needs in order to survive down there. As he's escaping the Netherworld, the pendant starts to blaze into heat in his hand, causing him to drop it, for the Noble Demon Veyers Mid-Boss (who turns out to be a reincarnation of Laharl's dad, mentioned above), to find and pick up. Before the last battle of the chapter, the main characters find Mid-Boss in possession of the pendant, and Flonne warns him that it will burn the hands of anyone with an evil soul. Not only does its failing to do so in Mid-Boss' hands display this trope, But what does it say about Vulcanus back up there?
    • And then there's Valvatorez, a vampire Tyrant with a very Villainous Fashion Sense (High Collar of Doom, Red and Black and Evil All Over, Creepy Cool Crosses, Ominous Opera Cape, etc.) and titles such as Blood-soaked Valvatorez of Absolute Evil and the Bloodthirsty King of Fear... who prides himself in keeping even the most inconsequential promise, gives dramatic speeches on the power of camaraderie (and/or sardines), and generally comes off as a hammy, slightly spacey Nice Guy. This is even more so with his original Tyrant form which, in addition to all of the above (Minus the sardines), has an incredibly deep and intimidating voice, especially in Japanese.
    • Marona, the protagonist of Phantom Brave, is technically a mercenary necromancer who binds and commands the spirits of the dead. She is a thirteen-year old girl who just wants to be happy and get along with people, is kind to even her enemies, and arguably the nicest person in any Nippon Ichi game. The Phantoms themselves are ghostly spirits, but they're overall pretty decent people. You also cross paths with Fox, Puppeteer of the Dead, a true necromancer... who is just a regular merc and not a particularly bad person either. He aids Marona during the final struggle, along with all the other Ravens.
  • Yuri from Shadow Hearts is a "Dark"-elemental character, and the main character- a heroic main character, even. He can transform into various demons, but he uses that power to fight against the really nasty bastards, and himself suffers absolutely no evil attitudes other than being a bit of a dumbass and a slight pervert. There's also Shania, in the third game, who is not only the main heroine and a Proud Warrior Race Guy... er, girl, but very much a Darkness element character.
    • Lucia from Covenant is also a Dark-elemental character...who's also a ditzy and nice fortune-teller, barring the whole attempted murder by giant, pink pussy on the cat (she has a good reason for that).
    • Also in Covenant, you get a vampire in your party. The fact that he's a vampire kinda takes the back seat to the fact that he's a gay pro wrestler, though.
    • Said vampire is part of a family of vampires whose members have joined the heroes in each game. His older brother Keith joined Yuri in the first game and their younger sister Hilda aids Shania and Johnny in the third game.
  • The Protoss Dark Templar of Starcraft are pretty damn heroic. They are also some of the only Protoss seen so far to have a sense of humor. As for the mainstream Protoss, its a case of Light Is Not Good, because most of the Khalai Protoss, with a few exceptions, are blind, arrogant, Lawful Stupid religious fundamentalists. The Dark Templar are actually peaceful, it's the Light-aligned Khalai Protoss who are the war-mongers. During the course of the series so far, the Khalai Protoss have declared war on the Dark Templar at least three times. The Dark Templar have declared war on the Khalai Protoss...never. They just want to be left alone.
"Though we strike at you from the shadows, do not think that we lack the courage to stand in the light."
  • Nina of Breath of Fire 2 fame is a pure-hearted maiden, but her feathery black wings make her an outcast and scapegoat for disaster in her hometown. Also a Black Magician Girl.
  • The hero's power in Illusion of Gaia is dark-based, and his badass form is called a dark knight. The Big Bad itself is neither Light nor Dark, the hero and his Love Interest fuse into a Yin-Yang Bomb to fight it.
  • The Daedric Princes of The Elder Scrolls. Despite many of them being outright evil, and the general association of Daedric meaning Demonic, quite a few of the Daedric Lords are benign or outright Good. Meridia, Azura and even the Ax-Crazy Sheogorath, Daedric Lord of Madness, turns out to not be really evil.
    • Meridia; she wants to fight undead and necromancy (though she may be a poor example — she has an association with light, and as Daggerfall and Morrowind shows, undeath and necromancy can themselves be an example of this trope). And even Malacath, who has you protect the honor of Orcs and Ogres when they are abused by other races (such as a Dunmer Hero taking credits for the exploits of his Orc servant in Morrowind, or humans using Ogres as slaves in Oblivion). While their methods are ruthless and violent, their goals are not always evil.
    • A further example is Divayth Fyr from Morrowind - not only does he run the only hospital for sufferers of a certain truly horrific disease and show genuine compassion for them, he is also the only person in the game to wear full demonic armour.
    • Nocturnal would either be this trope played absolutely straight or subverted, if she wasn't so damn MYSTERIOUS! About the only action that has been stated that might be good or evil would be the curse of the grey cowl of Nocturnal, and that seems more like a Take That than anything else. Most of the time she calls on the PC to take care of some matter that's causing her grief.
    • For an example of this trope from ordinary Daedra, Sheogorath's enforcers in Shivering Isles. The Dark Seducers are much friendlier than their counterparts, the Golden Saints.
    • Sheogorath is the Prince of Madness, but it's not always Ax-Crazy madness. In Morrowind he calls madness a "bitter mercy" that is sometimes a blessing for people who would otherwise fall into despair. And in Skyrim, the new Sheogorath acts as a therapist to the spirit of a dead and Ax-Crazy former emperor. Being a deity of madness also means knowing how to treat madness.
    • The Underking from Daggerfall. It turns out that he doesn't want to destroy the Empire and take over Tamriel, he just wants to die, and needs the Mantella to do this. Of course, he still hates the Empire for reasons deliberately left vague, so he's not exactly good either.
    • Paarthurnax from Skyrim is the leader of the Greybeards and one of the major forces of good in the game, despite being a Dragon. Since Dragons are nearly Always Chaotic Evil, he explains that it takes daily meditation and enormous self-control to resist succumbing to his baser instincts.
    • Likewise, those who are Dragonborn are regarded in legend as being heroic figures, despite having the same innate urge to dominate and destroy as all Dragons do.
      • The exception to this rule is, ironically, the first Dragonborn, Miraak, who was definitely evil. He could have easily helped the Tongues defeat Alduin, but he just didn't feel like it.
    • Serana from the same game. She's one of the Vampire Lords created directly by Molag Bal, the evilest god in TES-verse. However, she's a nice girl who just wants not to be involved in world-shaking plots, and if you side with the Dawnguard, she's perfectly willing to help the vampire hunters or, possibly, even become human at the end of all this.
    • It should be emphasized that more than once is it pointed out that regarding any Daedra (including Azura) as good is not a good idea. Daedra operate under Blue and Orange Morality — it is just that some of them base it on things that are more compatible with what mortals regard as good behaviour (Azura, Meridia, sometimes Malacath — even Sheogorath at times (he is the Daedric Prince of madness... madness in all forms, including not just treating it but also the little bit of madness behind things like creativity and artistry)), while others focus on things mortals tend to regard as evil (Molag Bal oh so very much, Vaermina, Mehrunes Dagon most of the time (he tends to focus on the destruction thing, and usually on a grand scale)). Never make the mistake of thinking Azura is good — but also never make the mistake of thinking everything Mehrunes Dagon has a connection to is a bad thing.
  • Vivian in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is considered an enemy since she is the sister of the other two "Shadow Beauties Sirens" that are working for Grodus. However, about midway through Chapter 4, Vivian ditches her witch sisters and joins Mario's party in order to not be pushed around by Beldam anymore and as thanks for Mario helping her find the Superbombomb. She uses many witch-like powers, such as setting enemies on fire or pulling Mario into a void to dodge enemy attacks, which falls under the Dark Is Not Evil trope since she's helping Mario on his quest to defeat the Man Behind the Man.
    • The same can be said about the people in Twilight Town. They live in a pretty dark and depressing place, wear dreary outfits, and have dull personalities. Despite that, though, they're not dangerous and they're hospitable to Mario and his friends. The hotel owner actually leaves a peach if the player takes a nap there.
    • A few games have depicted Luigi with rather dark powers, even having the potential to be the most powerful destructive force in existence. He's a good guy, and not even an Anti-Hero or Ambiguously Evil.
  • Sonic in Sonic Unleashed unwillingly gets turned into a werehog after absorbing some of the Big Bad's dark energy. He may look ferocious but he's still (mostly) the same hero we all know and love.
    • Shadow the Hedgehog qualifies for this after his drawn out Heel-Face Turn.
    • Dark Chao appear as (quite adorable!) little demons. Newborn chao can become this way if they're shown affection and treated well by otherwise-villains (Shadow, Rouge, Dr. Eggman). They act no differently from any other chao, and those that are interacted with by a character they like show signs of joy and affection.
  • The video games Star Ocean: The Second Story and Final Fantasy IX have child magic users Leon and Vivi, respectively, available as player characters. Both of them, especially Leon, use shadowy and dark magic in some of their attacks, even to the point of summoning up The Grim Reaper to instantly destroy the villains, but neither Leon or Vivi are themselves evil. Far from it, at least in Vivi's case.
    • In Star Ocean: The Second Story, Leon's ultimate weapon is the Necronomicon. Evil flavor text about opening portals to hell and summoning demons also included.
  • Oichi in Sengoku Basara is known for her demonic powers and even has 'dark hands' as her special moves. But she's pretty much an innocent, melancholic woman that doesn't seem to be pure evil, driven by her love with Nagamasa. Push her too far, however, and she'll really show that she can be destructive (or to be exact she gets taken over by her dark side and wreaks havoc). Another example would be the jovial ninja Sarutobi Sasuke, who is only "dark" due to his shady job.
  • The Summon Spirit, Shadow, who is the summon spirit of darkness, in Tales of Symphonia, and again in Tales of Phantasia is one of the nicer Summon Spirits. (In Phantasia especially, as he does not require a fight to obtain.)
    • He's contrasted in Symphonia by Luna and Aska, who will kill you if you lose the pact-making fight, and they're the Summon Spirits of Light. (Note that in Phantasia, neither Luna nor Aska had a fight either.)
    • Because of Tales of Eternia's magic system, Shadow makes whatever mage is equipped with him the designated Dark mage. Also, the Dark Aurora used by Shizel and Meredy. See also Yin-Yang Bomb.
    • Tenebrae, from the sequel, is also a very straight example-besides being a servant of you know, the king of all monsters, he's also the Centurion of Darkness. He's also a pure good guy, albeit one with a nasty sense of humor.
      • Emil, the protagonist in the sequel, is also Darkness-affiliated. Although with his Ratatosk Mode, this may not be a perfectly straight example.
    • The series also has several Dark-elemental playable characters - Leon Magnus of Tales of Destiny, Ricardo Soldat of Tales of Innocence, and Kunzite of Tales of Hearts all use primarily Dark techs, spells, and abilities. However, the original Leon doesn't really count as he remained a sadistic Jerkass, it wasn't until the remake where his personality gets retooled into a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. On the other hand, his alter ego Judas counts very much.
      • Judas (as well as Harold) both feature Light and Dark elemental spells in their moveset. Judas's stronger hi-ougis have him using Light elemental attacks, and his best move involves him materializing a sword of light out of thin air. As a result, he could be considered an example of a Yin-Yang Bomb... Except that his usual outfit, involving all black and a mask made out of a dragon's skull, also makes him fall into this trope.
  • The dark worlds in Dragon Quest III and Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King are pretty much called that because they aren't as bright as the worlds the heroes come from and not because there's evil everywhere (though almost everything in the one in VIII is black and white for some reason, with the residents commenting on the heroes' colors). In fact, most (if not all) of the human residents encountered aren't evil at all. The one in Dragon Quest III is actually Alefgard, the country the original game takes place in, which also appeared in the second. The main character defeats the Demon King Zoma and restores light to the land and is given the title of Loto/Erdrick, becoming the legendary hero that the main characters of the first two games are descended from.
  • Neither Demitri nor Morrigan from Darkstalkers are evil.
    • Neither of them, however, are good. Morrigan is a self-indulgent and childish princess, and Demitri is a power-hungry vampire who wants to conquer Makai/the Dark World. However, several of the characters the closest to purely good in the series also fall under this, including Rikuo/Aulbath, the fish-man; John Talbain/Gallon, the werewolf; Anakaris, the living mummy; Lei-Lei/Hsien-Ko, the Chinese Vampire; and Victor, the Frankenstein's Monster.
      • At the end of Morrigan or Lilith's routes in Vampire Savior, however, it does show Morrigan starting to actually grow up and accept responsibilities.
  • City of Heroes liberally uses and plays with Super Hero tropes, and this is no exception. The primary example is Infernal, a demonic-looking warrior from another dimension who controls demons and binds them into his armour, but is always portrayed as a hero (excepting his Evil Twin from the Mirror Universe, who shows that demon binding is a risky business). City of Villains added a large amount of rather villainous-looking costume pieces, but all of them are equally accessible to hero characters as well.
    • Also, the various Dark power sets, which have a variety of quasi-vampiric powers, are freely usable by heroes and villains. Pain Domination may or may not involve this trope, as it is a set of villain-only healing powers with a black-and-red color scheme.
    • Since the recent advent of power customization, you can have a hero with cloven hooves, horns, a demon's tail and wings, a skull head (and a costume consisting of skulls, chains and barbed wire) who fires off black energy blasts or carries black swords.
    • There's also the Nictus: Scientifically modified energy beings that feed off their unmodified brethren, work with The Council and 5th Column, and want to make earth their new homeworld. Reformed Nicti/human unions are a Hero exclusive archetype, called Warshades. If you want a Villainous Warshade, you have to side switch it. No Praetorian Nictus for you.
    • Masterminds are slated to receive "Demon Summoning" in Issue 17. Currently, Masterminds are an exclusively Villainous Archetype, but when Going Rogue is released one can easily play a demon summoning hero.
    • Hell, Going Rogue is this trope, (mixed heavily with Light Is Not Good). Even Arachnos Mooks can be heroes now.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic V plays with this. The Dark Elves are not generally evil, although some of their clans are. The Necromancers are initially presented as evil, but in the Tribes of the East stand-alone expansion they are allied with the good factions against the Demons. The Orcs from the same expansion are also not evil and part of the alliance. Of the 8 factions, the only one that's Always Chaotic Evil is the Demons.
    • The Dark Elves of the old verse were slightly-dusky mercantile-focused city-dwellers whose last war with their Light cousins was a long time ago. In the one game in which they show up in, you work for their Merchants' Guild to save the world (admittedly, it was destroyed not long after anyway, but that was for unrelated reasons they couldn't have done much about).
    • Necromancers and other wielders of Dark Magic were generally evil in the old verse, but the point was made that it was not an inherent aspect of the magic, and a few necromancers turned to be (or end up becoming), if not exactly non-evil, then at least in possession of standards and a fairly laid-back attitude (and Falagar the Warlock became the mentor to your world-saving band of heroes in Might & Magic VI).
  • According to the backstory, in Prince of Persia (2008) Big Bad Ahriman, God of Darkness, was an example of this trope... until his Face-Heel Turn a thousand years or so before the game started. Becoming the Sealed Evil in a Can hasn't helped matters any in that regard.
  • Second Sight introduces members of the psychic Zener Children that were horribly mutated by the treatments used to activate their powers: despite their repulsive appearance and cannibalistic habits, when John Vattic arrives in the lower levels of the Zener Project base, they are quite generous in assisting John through the passages, eventually banding together with the unmutated Zener Children in the final battle.
  • The World of Mana series has Shade, the spirit of Darkness. Despite having spells with names like "evil gate" and pitting the party of one game against a monster in order to prove their worth, he's still a purely good entity, as dedicated to saving the world as the heroes are.
    • It should be noted that at least in Secret of Mana, he's the only one not possessed and only attacks to prove your worth.
  • In the Fire Emblem series, offensive magic can be divided into anima (thunder, fire, wind, sometimes ice), light and dark (darkness, energy absorption). However, this doesn't determine the user's alignment; e.g Nergal from FE 7 is a dark magic user and the Big Bad, whereas your group can recruit a shaman named Canas who's actually a quite nice guy and directly invokes this trope (though he also points out that "dark" magic users prefer the term "elder" magic).
    • The Sword of Seals (FE 6) game also uses this trope, as you can recruit three dark magic users: two shamans (Ray and Sophia, the first one being cynical but not evil and the other being a Shrinking Violet) and a Druid (Niime, a Hermit Guru and Canas's mother).
    • In FE 9 and 10, the character Soren, who is both dressed in black and born with the "dark" affinity, is possibly THE most loyal character to the protagonist's cause... and one of the most amoral and cynical of the Greil Mercenaries.
    • Pelleas, who uses Dark Magic and is implied to have become a Spirit Charmer to get that ability, is kind and honorable, albeit naive.
    • This is actually Lampshaded in FE 8. Look up Lute and Knoll's support conversations.
    • In 10, your army ends up working for the goddess of chaos against the goddess of order. The goddess of chaos is considerably kinder than the goddess of order.
    • A mention to FE 5's Salem, a Lopto Mage (a servant of a Dark God (who really is evil)) is pulling a Heel-Face Turn when you encounter him. If you successfully capture him you'll find he's not evil, unlike every other Lopto Mage ever.
    • 'FE 8 has Knoll, a Shaman who is also one of the kindest and more unfortunate people in the game. If you promote Ewan into a Shaman, he also becomes an example of this. In contrast, Lyon is an Anti-Villain who uses Dark Magic... and has an horrible Superpowered Evil Side
  • Meta Knight, Gooey, and Shadow Kirby from Kirby.
    • Gooey from Kirby's Dream Land 3. He is shown as Kirby's friend from the beginning, and the only way to reveal he should be with the bad guys is doing 2-player on the Final Boss. Gooey attacks Zero without hesitating the slightest, as if he never was on their side.
    • For clarification: When you bring Gooey into the final boss against Zero you need to be flying. Gooey can fly on his own. Now the relevance is the fact that Gooey looks exactly like a dark matter, his body changes its overall shape and he gets the orange nubs on the back, the only difference between him and regular dark matter is he has a face instead of a single eye.
    • Shadow Kirby is actually just the Kirby of the Mirror world, meaning he should be the hero, but he was tricked into thinking Kirby was a threat by the real Big Bad. He wises up and helps out in the last battle by retrieving the Eleventh Hour Superpower for Kirby if he loses it.
  • Planescape: Torment really likes this one. Your party alone can include Fall-From-Grace, a chaste succubus uninterested in consuming mortal men's souls, and Morte, the sarcastic foul-mouthed disembodied talking skull who went to Hell when he died... who is also the only Good recruitable NPC and the only true friend you start the game with.
  • In Jak 3: Wastelander one of the reasons Jak is banished is because he is tainted with Dark Eco. While he's rather darker than he used to be, Jak still has his heart in the right place.
    • However, Dark Eco is still pretty nasty stuff that turns benevolent gods into monsters, makes nice heroes go bat-shit insane, or else just kills things in a horrifically painful way. Not to mention that most of the major baddies thrive off the stuff, some more literally than others.
  • The true ending of Eversion: The princess was a monster all along! But wait... your character was also a monster all along!
  • The Asmodians of Aion. They look faintly demonic, and are rather harsh and violent — both due to living in a wasteland that at its brightest exists in what could be called "shadowy twilight", and due to being descended from those who supported continued war with the cruel and brutal Balaur rather than attempting to sue for peace. They're ultimately only trying to survive, and just as dedicated to fighting the real villains as the more angelic Elyos. Unfortunately, both sides are just as dedicated to fighting each other, out of a combination of blaming the other side for the ruin of their world, and the belief that one of the remaining stumps of the Tower of Eternity has to be destroyed to save what's left of the world from total destruction. Each side also blames the other for their current state of war.
  • In Odin Sphere, the "Shadow Knight" Oswald is somewhat cold and ruthless, but definitely a good guy. The "Demon Lord" Odin is one of the most morally ambiguous characters in the game but never comes across as "evil". Even Odette the Queen of the Underworld, despite being as cruel and vindictive as you'd expect for someone in her position, doesn't seem to be a real villain. The game DOES have definite villains and Odette doesn't even come close.
  • Furcadia's Dark Primes aren't all bad. Tallus, for example, was an "evil" god of prophecy and only considered evil because he could see the apocalypse.. He also was a thief but normally only stole from those who were unwary, unlike the light goddess M'rill who steals anything she wants. Tallus, according to in-game lore, died protecting his brothers and sisters, but in-game actually died in a bar as he tried to defend himself from an unprovoked attack by the light god Viveravus. He could have won, but did not want to harm the mortals around him. Taglin Tigh is considered the king of the Dark Primes and the god of Nightmares, but actually is friendly and helpful to anyone not a light prime. His main problem with the light primes is that they murdered Tallus in cold blood for no reason. He also is renowned as a "good father" to his many children and often his own brothers and sisters. When seen in public with his less-sane family members, he is always taking care of them and preventing them from hurting anyone..
  • The ghouls of Fallout generally have either gone completely feral or are just regular people with severe skin issues. Fallout 3 subverts this in the Tenpenny Towers questline, where the racists are refusing to let Roy Philips and other ghouls move in. Roy's actually worse than the residents and ends up killing all humans in the tower if the player helps him. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
    • Similarly, the Family turn out to be Friendly Neighborhood Vampires. Well, they aren't really vampires, they're a gang of cannibals that model the tenants of their society around vampire mythology, drinking human blood to control their cannibalistic urges. Get past that, and they're just some fairly decent people trying to get by in a Crapsack World that reviles them.
    • And in some extent, some super mutants like Fawkes, Uncle Leo and Marcus.
    • The Talking Deathclaws in Fallout 2. Deathclaws in general may look frightening, but they're not evil per se, just really dangerous.
  • Toby from Quest for Glory IV is this giant, furry, hulking, red-eyed, fanged, ill-tempered monstrosity. However, he's just protective of his ward to the point where he will sacrifice himself to bring her back to life.
  • Pick a youkai from Touhou, any youkai from Touhou. In spite of youkai supposedly having a diet consisting of human, almost none of the characters are ever admitted as having actually done this. (Notable exception: Vampire Remilia Scarlet, who, disturbingly enough, is otherwise very much a friendly neighborhood vampire.) Even if, at first glance, The World Is Always Doomed, almost none of the supposed Big Bads were actually doing something as dangerous as it at first seemed, and after the shooting ends, tea parties are in order, and the characters are invited into the greater cast for whatever random adventure they'll be up for next.
    • Subterranean Animism featured youkai hated even by other youkai for their distasteful powers, and exiled to the Underworld. Yamame, the friendly Cute Monster Girl spider monster could inflict diseases at will, but was popular for her friendly, cheerful personality. Yuugi, a much-feared Oni, mostly played around (though very roughly) with the heroines before helping them out. Satori and Koishi both had telepathic powers that terrified youkai and humans alike, forcing them to live with nothing but animals, even if they had done no actual wrongs to anyone. Rin carries away corpses and uses them to regulate the Hell of Blazing Fires, and initiated the game when she began driving evil spirits above ground, but only to lure the more powerful beings living there underground to stop her friend Utsuho from doing anything foolish or dangerous. Even Utsuho herself, the nuclear-powered hell raven with ambitions to Take Over the World, just went a little mad with power and was fine after having some sense blasted into her.
  • Death from Romancing SaGa is actually quite an important deity, as he is in charge of the cycle of reincarnation; he even helps out the heroes if you fight in areas where Death is worshipped or use his vortex enough; in which he will instantly kill most enemies, even some Bosses (Sadly undead and certain bosses are exempt).
  • Rose from The Legend of Dragoon, who, being the dragoon of the dark dragon, has such attacks as: sucking out an enemy's life force, doing something that leaves the enemies utterly terrified, and sucking the enemy party through a portal to hell. She can be rather harsh, but she also saves the main character's life, teaches him how to use her powers, and faithfully follows the rest of the party in their missions. It's eventually revealed that as the only apparent survivor of the original seven dragoons, she has spent the last 11,000 years taking the unpleasant but necessary steps to keep the world from being utterly annihilated by the supposed Messiah.
  • In the tragically-underexposed PAL-only PSX Konami-Atlus survival horror game Hell Night (Dark Messiah in Japan), the Cult antagonists in the game give the protagonist a test (which you have to pass in order to get a key item) to determine if he understands "True Darkness". The impression one gets is that such darkness is not supposed to be in conflict with, but actually in complement to the Light:
    1. You see 2 birds. Which bird will you help? A black dove or a white crow?
    2. There is a city. Who lives in it? Small children or big grown-ups?
    3. Which you do you prefer: the darkness of outer space or the darkness of the deep ocean?
    • Correct answers are all B.
  • Super Robot Wars Alpha 3 gives us Cobray Gordon, who pilots the Werkbau and eventually upgrades to the Dis Astranagant. Werkbau is dark-colored and vaguely demonic in appearance, but the Dis Astranagant looks like something the Grim Reaper would pilot, complete with a Sinister Scythe, Attack Drones that look like a swarm of bats, and Ain Soph Aur, a Wave Motion Gun which draws power from dead souls in order to wipe an enemy from existence. Is this badass son-of-a-bitch the final boss? The Dragon? An anti-hero? Nope, he's one of the four selectable main characters, and he's every bit as heroic as the other three.
  • The Vernal deity Urlach of Lusternia, who used The Undead as shock-troopers to stand against The Soulless Gods. His views brought him into conflict with other, more idealistic Vernals, but he never failed to get results and never stopped fighting.
  • Soul Reaver features a Crap Sack World and a number of fearsome-looking characters who could not exactly be called blameless, but their appearance is no guarantee of their moral alignment. The protagonist Raziel is former vampire, twisted by cruel execution into a ghoul who must feed on the souls of humans and monsters alike. However he rejects the brutality of his former brethren and acts with honor and is genuinely searching for the truth. The vampires are revealed to be the victims of a curse by their enemies, and were once a race of winged celestial beings. The vampire Vorador is a green scaly monstrosity but is basically decent. Even Kain, the Big Bad, is partially justified in his actions in the end. Contrast this with the supposedly righteous human characters, who are xenophobic, religiously fanatical exterminators of anything not human, including Raziel in his pre-vampire days as a member of the ruthless Sarafan order.
  • Noctropolis features a post-cataclysmic city in perpetual night under a cloud of volcanic ash. The city's main hero restores his health, powers and equipment by immersing himself in a pool of Applied Phlebotinum called Liquidark, the distilled liquid essence of darkness, created by the Brotherhood of the Night as research into the extradimensional Elementals particularly the Patronage of Darkness, none of whom seem malevolent. The protagonist takes up the hero's mantle to fight the Big Bad revealed to be his predecessor switched over to Light in a Face-Heel Turn to take over the world.
  • Ragna the Bloodedge, the main character of BlazBlue. He has white hair and heterochromia (with onered eye), carries an Artifact of Doom like nearly everyone else in the game, wages a one man war against the ruling government, the "Novus Orbis Librarium" or NOL for short, by destroying their bases and slaughtering everyone in them, and has a drive ability called "Soul Eater" which steals life from his foes. Despite all this he's not really a villain due to the very questionable morality of the government he's fighting against. He's also nice enough to share food with a hungry Taokaka (who promptly starts calling him "Good Guy"). His rage and frustration with the world at large is also somewhat understandable since his life just sucks so much.
    • There's also Rachel Alucard and her butler, Valkenhayn R. Hellsing. Rachel may be a vampire who acts quite bitchy and condescending towards almost everyone around her, but that doesn't change the fact that she also genuinely cares about the cast, and wishes to devote as much she can to defeating Terumi Yuuki, the man who has caused all of the suffering which takes place in the game's universe. Her faithful butler, Valkenhayn, is a werewolf and was one of the Six Heroes who saved the world from the Black Beast, an abomination that destroyed most of the world.
    • Chrono Phantasma newcomer, Kagura, the so-called "Black Knight". With his dark features, flowing black cloak and large black & red zweihander, fire-based attacks that verge into hellfire territory, he's the current head of the Mutsuki family, the highest ranked of the Duodecim families, he is also in Japanese voiced by Keiji Fujiwara who has a reputation of voicing vicious, jackass and cunning villains, and... he's also the only member of the N.O.L who isn't a rigid templar for the Imperator's words or a Jerkass Upper-Class Twit. He's actually a cool, affable guy who actually cares about the people, and to this end is plotting a coup to remove the current Imperator and install Lord Tenjo's young son Homura into power. The only problem is he's a bit of a skirt-chaser.
  • Shadow from Twisted Metal. A ghostly black hearse that's had several drivers (including an undead mortician, a goth girl, and a nerdy kid with a pet frog), all with fairly sympathetic motives.
  • Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier has the Orchestral Army, and to an extent the entire demon world of Formido Heim, although they did cause a bloody war ten years ago. However, special mention goes to the Orchestral Army's leader Ezel Granada, an axe-wielding demon whose head is a demonic skull with glowing red eyes and ram horns, constantly displaying a fanged grimace. He's also quite possibly the most noble character in the entire game, having spent the past ten years shouldering the burden of protecting the Endless Frontier from the Einst, as well as the guilt from being tricked into starting the war.
  • Neverwinter Nights has no alignment alterations for appearance. So yes, with an upgraded game to get the right color options you can run around as a paladin with matte-black skin and hair dressed in black and red, and still have people treat you like you look perfectly normal and are not at all creepy.
    • The rebel drow in Hordes of the Underdark, though their replacing the traditional drow black and red with blue and purple uniforms doesn't hurt either.
    • Ammon Jerro, the second game's resident Knight Templar, is a demon-summoner with grey skin and glowing spiderweb tattoos that the game tries to convince you is the Big Bad for the first two chapters. If you have enough Influence with him by the scene at Shandra's farm, he will not be quite as evil as he was before.
  • Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening has one in the form of The Spirit of Justice, who in the Fade is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. However in the real world he ends up becoming stuck in the corpse of a Grey Warden named Kristoff and joins your party as a Lawful Good Zombie.
    • And in the original, blood mages. Blood magic is a terrifying power that lets you Cast from Hit Points and take control of people, but it's no more evil than any other form of magic. It does come with a high risk of With Great Power Comes Great Insanity if used recklessly however and Blood Magic is normally learned via a deal with a Demon. While it doesn't necessarily make the user evil, it is still a very dangerous power that shouldn't be treated lightly. While most blood mages that you meet in the series are pretty nasty, Jowan is well-intentioned (even if he screws everything up) and Merrill of Dragon Age II is the kindest person in your entire party (though she's portrayed as being quite naive and overconfident when it comes to Blood Magic).
    • Also from the original, the werewolves. They're actually the descendants of humans that killed Zathrian's son and raped his daughter centuries ago. Zathrian cursed the humans so that they and all of their descendants would be werewolves. The werewolves were just desperate to be cured, so they attacked and infected the Dalish hoping that Zathrian will lift the curse once he saw the curse affecting his own people. They're not purely good, but then neither are the Dalish. This is Dragon Age: Origins, remember.
    • Near the end of Awakening, during the defense of the City of Amaranthine you encounter a Disciple (sentient Darkspawn) sent by The Architect that fights alongside you if you let it. If you choose to let it go afterwards, the epilogue states that it becomes a hooded traveller that helps those it encounters (though it accidentally spreads the taint where it follows).
    • The Grey Wardens. To better fight the Darkspawn horde, every prospective Warden must drink a special concotion of Darkspawn blood and submit themselves to their Taint. However instead of becoming mindless ghouls that serve the horde, Grey Wardens manage to retain their humanity and turn their newfound power against them. Likewise, it's heavily implied that the ritual likewise has some basis in Blood Magic.
  • Feynriel in Dragon Age II: if you help him fight off the demons in the Fade, he journeys to Tevinter and learns to control his power from a magister, remaining a good mage at heart.
    • Cassandra Pentaghast during the narration scenes. She's basically part of Thedas' equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition, wears all black, and is extremely grouchy... and she's also trying to stop a major war from breaking out for entirely selfless reasons.
    • In the DLC "Legacy", Malcolm Hawke is revealed to have been a Blood Mage. However, he was still a good man, and he only used blood magic because it was the only thing powerful thing to seal away Corypheus. And he only did it because the Warden-Commander Larius threatened Leandra and their unborn child (Hawke). The Key from "Legacy" is another example. Though it was forged with Blood Magic and has a distinctly intimidating appearance, it's a powerful weapon of good in Hawke's hands.
    • Technically, Tallis of Mark of the Assassins. Despite the fact that she's a follower of the Qun, one of the most hated factions of the series, she is portrayed as relatively heroic and an idealist who believes the Blue and Orange Morality World of Silence of the Qunari really is the best option.
    • In the "Destiny" trailer for the game, Hawke is depicted as using Blood Magic during the fight against the Arishok. As this is done to save the city from the Qunari, this falls right into the realm of Pragmatic Villainy.
  • The beginning of Splinter Cell: Conviction has a flashback to Sam Fisher telling his daughter who's scared of the dark that the dark can be used to protect you from bad guys.
  • The Duty faction in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. While their uniforms have dark tones with red marks and their attitude can come off as harsh and somewhat elitist, they're not inherently evil (or good, for that matter).
  • Serenade from Mega Man Battle Network 3 may also apply. It claims to be a "denizen of the Dark" when it is defeated. It also rules over the game's post-game area, which is pretty much the original form of the Undernet, an unspoiled, peaceful sanctuary.
  • Guild Wars- Necromancers have all sorts of creepy and sometimes disgusting powers, but they're one of the most popular professions. The three NPC necromancer heroes - Olias, the Master of Whispers, and Livia - provide the personnel for two of the most powerful player/NPC team combinations in the game, the so-called "Sabway" and "Discordway" skill sets. The NPC female necromancer Eve is one of the poster girls for the game.
    • On that note Grenth, the patron god of necromancers, the undead, and death in general isn't actually that bad(despite being cowled and having a deer skull for a face). Grenth overthrew the previous god of death who ruled over the dead with an ironfist, and didn't allow the dead to be resurrected(whereas Grenth does). So every time you resurrect in Guild Wars, you can thank Grenth.
  • Assassins in Guild Wars are generally treated with respect, partially due to their killing abilities, but also because their works are (unfortunately) vital and necessary. At one point, an Assassin instructor compares Assassins to Rangers- whereas Rangers maintain order and balance within nature, Assassins use their abilities to maintain order and balance in society- through espionage, subterfuge, sabotage, theivery, and of course, outright assassination. This is shown first-hand to Assassin players when they are tricked into fulfilling an assassin job that disrupts that balance, and they are instructed to rectify their mistakes. Also, their Shadow Arts attribute is generally not tied towards dealing damage as much as it focuses on healing and providing defensive buffs.
  • Ōkami seems to imply that technology itself might count as this. It's heavily implied that Yami, Lord of Darkness is the originator of all machinery and is indeed a Mechanical Lifeform when you confront it. However, when used by mortals, technology isn't evil at all and helping a Mechanist complete his invention ends up empowering Amaterasu.
  • In Shinobido, Goh Asuka is known as the Crow and wears black from top to toe, but he's the good guy.
  • In The Legend of Spyro, Cynder is the only black dragon in the game and has control over the element of Darkness but is only a villain in the first game, after being freed of being Brainwashed and Crazy, turns out she's actually a pretty nice girl and a loyal ally, and love intrest, for Spyro, even becoming playable in the third game.
    • Speaking about the Spyro series, Skylanders also has plenty of this; the Skylanders are basically the Spyro Universe's version of the Justice League, yet they have absolutely no problem in recruiting Undeads and Ghosts such as Ghost Roaster and Chop-Chop, the Elven undead Necromancer Hex, Troll Mad Bomber Boomer, Orc Warrior Vodood or Cynder. Spyro is even revealed to have learnt to use his Dark Spyro form to heroic purpose.
  • Garret from the Thief series may seem like an uncaring and dark fellow who'd do anything for some extra gold, but he never goes so far as to kill anyone that doesn't deserve it (that is if the game is played properly, of course) and usually ends up doing the right thing, whether intentionally to or not, even saving the world a few times.
  • Ysuran, an elven Necromancer in Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II, plays with this. He learned to harness the Shadow Weave while working for a group of terrorists, but was struck with amnesia following a magical duel with his mentor. When he learns the details of his past, he becomes The Atoner and uses his dark magic for good.
  • Soranica Ele's Zenobia has a power called Lucifer that commands the forces of darkness to strangle her opponents and disguise herself. She's really not a bad person, and in fact carries a heavy burden from all that she's been through, and seeks forgiveness for it.
  • Riviera: The Promised Land has the Arcs, a tribe of benevolent bat-winged and eared Sprites entrusted with guarding Lacrima Castle. Their race was almost completely wiped out by demons and by a Grim Angel, Malice, before the heroes' arrival. Serene, the sole survivor of the race and one of the main heroines, exhibits these traits. Played with during a battle event in Mireno Cemetery against two vampires:
    Mercedes: Why are you with them, comrade...?
    Lina: You're a vampire!?
    Ein: So your wings...
    Serene: These are Arc wings! How could a cute girl like me be a demon...?
  • The Grey Order from League of Legends are former Noxians who broke off from their nation due to its evil, but still study dark magic. Their representative Champion is Creepy Child Annie, who doesn't necessarily qualify as good, but is certainly not evil.
    • Yorick Mori is an undead necromancer who summons ghoul to rip apart his enemies in battle. He was also the last member of a long line of gravediggers who never produced a heir and died in shame. His grief was so great he was unable to pass on, and returned to the world of the living as a hulking undead behemoth. He joined the League of Legends only to bring his family name into the light once again, and his League Judgement makes it clear how much of a Woobie he truly is.
    • There's also Nasus, who's powers revolve around draining life from his targets and withering them into dust. He also constantly rambles on about the deaths of his enemies. However, he mainly joined the league to help fight the unjust forces of Runeterra, particularly his Ax-Crazy brother Renekton.
    • Kassadin is a humanoid abomination whose powers come from the Void. However, he fights to protect Valoran from the creatures of the Void, in contrast to Malzahar, who wants the opposite.
  • REW casts you in the role of a monstrous teddy bear, with the first scene showing him in a kitchen where he has murdered a little old lady...but the scenes are actually being shown in reverse order, and it's gradually revealed that the little old lady was actually an evil witch who abducted an entire village of cute teddy bears, either killing them and dumping their corpses in a pit or turning them into her monstrous minions.
  • In the PC game "Pajama Sam in: There's No Need To Hide When It's Dark Outside", the titular Pajama Sam wants to vanquish the Darkness so he can return home, due to being scared. However, by the end, he discovers that Darkness is actually a very nice guy, who enjoys playing Cheese and Crackers. Sam returns home, and hopes to play with Darkness again the next night.
  • The plot for Off Switch has the hero fighting to save his world (which is composed of shadows) from the invading light demons.
  • Several armors and weapons in the Monster Hunter games are rather dark and sinister-looking, some even coming with descriptions that indicate a "cursed" legend or attributes considered "evil". However, your character is usually doing heroic things like saving villages and forts from gigantic, vicious monsters.
  • The antagonist of Distorted Travesty is an entity known only as "The Darkness", which is using a "Phase Distortion" to draw various video game worlds and the real world together into one reality. It is also capturing and holding prisoner anyone who stands against it. Turns out The Darkness is a computer program that got way out of control, and is merely trying to protect itself from destruction. The end of the game is less about destroying The Darkness (which would actually be a bad thing considering how much of the world it's enveloped at this point), and more about trying to reason with it and work out a peaceful coexistence.
  • Galm from the Shining Series is a complicated character but not really evil. He's one of the most powerful Vandals, a race that where sealed away but are trying to come back to reclaim their kingdom, but seems to be completely disinterested in helping out. In fact in Shining the Holy Ark he helps out the heroes attempting to stop the revival of the Vandals. Then again he did rape and/or impregnate a couple of women so he isn't exactly good either.
  • Shown in this article, a prelude to Vindictus. note 
  • Mass Effect has the Human and Turian militaries, which tend to wear dark or drab shades (but fly brightly-painted ships), but it also has the Reapers, a massive aversion of this trope.
    • This seems to be the main theme for the squad of Mass Effect 2. The fact that (aside from the returning teammates) Shepard's squad is comprised mainly of criminals, assassins, Cerberus operatives or otherwise untrustworthy individuals didn't sit well with some fans. However, the problem is that, aside from nominal heroes Jack and Zaeed (before Character Development sets in), none of your squadmates are evil per se. With one exception.
    • In Mass Effect 3, even the Reapers are revealed to have a sympathetic motive. They are merely trying to stave off the end of all life in the galaxy by periodically culling civilzation to prevent what they believe is an inevitable Robot War.
      • Mass Effect 3 also has Rila and Falere, Samara's other two daughters who despite being Ardat-Yakshi are not sociopathic murderers like their sister Morinth and are actually content in their exile.
    • The rachni are giant bugs who are legendary bogeymen, but the queen you meet in the first game only wants to be left alone. Saving the original queen in the first and third games will not only bring them onto your side, but contribute about a hundred points of War Assets to the Crucible project.
  • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn has a huge hearty double-helping of Dark Is Evil, first by way of the sinister Tanglewood Forest, and secondly under the monster-spewing shadows of the Grave Eclipse. However, the only light strong enough to dispel the latter is also strong enough to burn to ash anyone who tries to use it. The solution? Darkness-enhanced safety gear, sized to fit only the sweetest, most gentle member of the party.
  • RosenkreuzStilette gives us the stoic Grolla Seyfarth, who wields the almighty Demon Sword Grollschwert and the also-almighty ability to turn the moon and night sky blood red. She's also willing to protect her colleagues at any cost.
    • We also have her grandfather and mentor, Raimund Seyfarth, who mastered Grollschwert as well as the Devil Scythe Grassense. He was called the God of Death, and not without good reason. That explains why Graf Michael Sepperin brought him Back from the Dead as a wraith resembling The Grim Reaper. Since the Seyfarth family runs with the whole Dark Is Not Evil idea, this means he's not such a bad guy, either.
    • Speaking of Graf Sepperin, he's a good man at heart who made a pact with the devil, learned the forbidden arts, and became a vampire while he was at it, using his new dark powers to launch a coup against the Empire to protect his fellow Magi and his daughter Iris (whom he trusted so much that he didn't know she was manipulating him all along). He's a very Well-Intentioned Extremist Anti-Villain indeed (only without much of the villain part), and for good reasons; he truly cares for his fellow members of RKS that much.
  • Asura from Asura's Wrath is very demonic looking, and wears dark colors and tends to be very angry. But he is easily the nicest of all the Demi-gods shown in the game. This is played with even more and Up to Eleven when he gains a Superpowered Evil Side as a result of becoming too angry...and even then, he still won't hurt innocents in his berserker wrath form.
  • The automatic connotation of "light = good" and "dark = bad" is heavily deconstructed in Dark Souls. The Age of Fire is initially presented as a good thing and the dying of the light is presented as bringing doom to the world. But things become darker and grayer the more you dig into the setting, with implications being that prolonging the Age of Fire is prolonging the horrible suffering that the world is going through. Taken even further when you learn that the "Dark" Soul is actually humanity, and that the Age of Dark that will supposedly come after the Age of Fire ends will be a golden age for humanity.
    • The Covenant of the Darkmoon Blades is, in action, a force for order and law, with a motif based around the Moon, contrasting the Sunlight theme Gwyn and his other kids have. Yes, the leader Dark Sun Gwyndolin has expectedly ambiguous motivations for the order (namely killing those who reveal the illusionary nature of Gwynevere and Anor Londo), but they do also serve as a peacekeeping force, combating those who slaughter living innocents, mostly the Darkwraiths.
    • The Downloadable Content "Artorias of the Abyss" reveals that darkness can be pretty evil and destructive if it goes out of control. The Dark Soul turned one primeval human into a monster more fearsome than any demon, dragon, or god. The message seems to be that humanity is, for better or for worse, the most powerful force in existence.
    • Dark Souls II further blurs the line with Hexes. On the one hand, they're quite powerful, rely on "Dark" affinity, and the people who teach them are either insane or, possibly, no longer quantifiably human. Then again, it's hard to call foul since there's plenty of hypocrisy with Miracles (which come from a notoriously Corrupt Church) while Sorceries and Pyromancies have their fair share of Mad Mages. It's also worth noting that Hexes require both Faith and Intelligence (instead of just one or neither).
  • Supposedly, necromancy in Duel Savior Destiny isn't evil and is in fact related to healing. This falls a little flat when the only people using necromancy are bad guys. Then again, there's some of this perception in universe since it's related to why Lobelia pulled a Face-Heel Turn: She was convinced people hated her and her magic.
  • While the Black Getter from Getter Bobo Armaggedon is dark and violent at its finest for it is piloted by the Batshit Ryouma, Super Robot Wars Alpha 2 & 3 puts it as a secret unit piloted by the classic and heroic Getter Team.
  • Kingdoms Of Amalur Reckoning gives us the Dokkalfar. They are stated to be dark elves and have a reputation as either a manipulative bastard/bitch, magnificent bastard/bitch and PuppetMaster's yet people STILL live with them. Why? They are social creatures out and out. They, generally, are easy to talk to and love to chat. Sure they'll trick you into doing something but after they'll apologize and explain why they did. Being hot, flirtatious, athletically built elves who like wearing Stripperific clothes might add to it.
  • Monster Girl Quest: Monsters. Literally, they embody a dark element that keeps the world in motion. Alice looks especially the part with her blue skin, yellow eyes, tattoos, and serpentile body.
  • The Exile in Knights Of The Old Republic II is revealed near the end of the game to have never regained their lost connection to the Force at all, but instead has been unwittingly using their ability to easily create Force-bonds with others to draw forth the Force from them, being more akin to a Force Black Hole. Despite this, the canonical version of the Exile is nonetheless aligned with the light-side.
  • The Cybran Nation from Supreme Commander. Well, they're no more or less good than anyone else in this game, but this trope applies since their units are painted red and black and are the most menacing looking overall.
  • Valkyrie Profile gives us Brahms, the King of Vampires. Considering the other vampires in the game (at least two that murder multiple innocents, plus some mooks fought by the main character), you'd think that job description would put him very high on the ranks of the evil food chain. He's actually calm, soft-spoken, and tries to convince the main character to not fight (despite being more than capable of wiping out the whole party). The sequel goes into even more detail, where his one crime was explained: he actually rescues Silmeria from being imprisoned by Odin (who attempted to do so after Silmeria tried to stop Odin from destroying Midgard), and uses her power to prevent the end of the world the best he can. He's only the King of Vampires so that he can have the power to protect the weak, as revealed by the invocation for his Soul Crush in the second game: "My strength is the sword of the oppressed!"
  • In Dungeon Maker II: The Hidden War, we have Niko the half witch apprentice of the magic shop owner. In addition to being half witch he also specializes in dark magic. He also happens to be one of the nicest characters in the game.
  • In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the Omniscent Council Of Vagueness seems to be every conspiracy theorist's Nightmare Fuel. However, despite having their spokesman completely shrouded in shadow and speaking in an extremely............... threatening manner, the Council seems to be comprised of Reasonable Authority Figures who compliment you for your good work and only offer criticism if you really screw up.
  • Despite the Terran Republic in PlanetSide 2 having sinister gas mask infantry, red and black/gray uniforms, and an obsession with putting as much lead downrange as possible, they are arguable the least "evil" faction - they saved the Earth from a near-Forever War that was consuming humanity, are a genuine democracy with a large welfare state, and genuinely want to reunite the warring factions on Auraxis (but probably lopping off a few heads in the process to show who's boss), but the Auraxis remnant have been pressed into drastic actions due to resource shortages and insurrection on the damaged colony fleet as it tried to find a new home. In contrast, the New Conglomerate wants to abolish much of the welfare state and set up more a laisezz-faire system for their operations ("A miserable free man is better than a contented slave"), and the Vanu Sovereignty want to forcibly "enlighten" everyone.
    • Averted, however, with the Terran Republic in PlanetSide 1, where it was an oppressive oligarchy that kept the Earth under an iron fist for a thousand years. Their uniforms and equipment was much darker (such as the almost completely black Prowler tank), and their gas masks more intimidating.
      • Really all the factions are this for the most part since...
      • The Terran Republic have kept the peace by sacrificing liberty and human rights and creating a police state, albeit a mostly benevolent one. And despite being democratic, they have still managed to remain in power as a one party state for over a millennia, suspect in it's own right, and they clearly are not alright with citizens of their empire attempting to secede.
      • The New Conglomerate want to rule themselves and are fighting for the right of self-determination from a controlling oppressive government which is completely unwilling to let them go peacefully. However it is clear they have resorted to using terrorist tactics and the 'Conglomerate' part of their name comes from their backers, a group of extremely powerful corporations using the rebellion to free themselves from Terran Republic rules, regulations and presumably taxation. Their leadership also comes into serious question on both moral and tactical grounds since - on pretty shaky justifications - they have also declared war on the Vanu Sovereignty and forced themselves into a war on two fronts for no reason.
      • The Vanu Sovereignty are scientists and free thinkers who believe artifacts left for them by Vanu and his people are the key to uplifting the human race. They (re)invented immortality on Auraxis and gave it to all and only want to improve people's lives through technology. They didn't even want to fight the NC and offered something akin to an alliance, which was rejected. They don't even really want to rule Auraxis, but are fighting to preserve and protect the Vanu artifacts there, since they believe uplifting the species will end petty factional disputes anyway. They are also cultish in nature, extremist, zealous transhumanists surrounded by rumors of sick and inhumane experiments, willing to uplift people whether they wish it or not, convinced that they and only they are able to decide whats best for their lost brothers and sisters, whom they see as stupid misguided children begging to be taught. Given that they are undoubtedly the most intelligent people in the setting, and that Vanu is reluctantly confirmed by the TR to have existed, they may or may not be right.
  • Yoshimitsu from Tekken is one of the most bizarrely and terrifyingly looking characters of the franchise, but definitely one of the nicest.
  • Nihilumbra: The protagonist, literally a chunk of the void given a mind, who looks like a windswept scarecrow made of pure darkness. Sounds villainous enough, but he's actually just like a curious child, eager to see the world, who means no harm to anyone.
  • Borderlands 2's Zer0. Creepy Monotone voice, default costume is mostly gray and black, The Faceless, might not even be human. The only sense of 'expressions' you get from him are red holographic letters and numbers used as emoticons. In spite of this, he's one of the Vault Hunters opposing Handsome Jack, and after Maya is probably the most sensible of the second team of Vault Hunters (given that Axton is a Military Maverick with no regard for innocents, Gaige has lapses into crazy during gameplay, Salvador is a hyperviolent Blood Knight, and Krieg is a literal Psycho), since the reason for most of what he does, including bar fights and assassinations, is an endless search for a Worthy Opponent to truly test him. Doesn't hurt that he's a Sophisticated as Hell Warrior Poet either. He also really likes driving fast cars as much as the next guy, since every time he gets behind the wheel, his reaction is a big red ":D" displayed over his face.
  • While most of the Dire heroes of Dota 2 are scary and evil, there are a few who fail on the "evil" part. Examples of that include:
    • Sand King (Who is simply an embodiment of a desert, seeking to communicate with the world)
    • Clinkz (A heroic knight who was granted immortality at the same time as he was burnt by eternal flames)
    • Dazzle (A tribal priest; he is actually the brother of Huskar, who is on the Radiant side)
  • Dark Pit in Kid Icarus: Uprising. As his name would imply, he was originally intended to be an Evil Twin of Pit created by the Mirror of Truth to serve the Underworld Army. However, he turns out to be an Anti-Hero.
  • Malenz fits this trope to a T. Let's see, the first thing you see when you enter his room is that it's cast in red light with plenty of dark spots still in the room. Mechanical eyes cover the wall, and Malenz is pretty scary looking himself, what with the spider-like legs. Things aren't any better inside his simulation: The Malwastes are what the planet's surface might be like if it was industrialized: dust and garbage is constantly blowing in the harsh winds, and there's a really scary looking construct in the background. Then, you get to the dome on the edge of the map...and find a cute toy village populated by wooden people who sing praise on how Malenz shelters them from the harsh outside world.
    • If anything, Malenz can even be thought as a sort of deconstruction of why dark is no longer evil (or, in his case, realist): He was suppose to be the realist of the group, starting out with simulated miners mining simulated ore. But years of no contact with Earth and the virus ravaging at his systems made him realize that all life is meaningless, because to him, all life wants you to die. So he retreated into a little fantasy world, like a little kid playing with toys, and doesn't really care if the virus destroys him or not. Poor guy.
  • The heroine of The Legend Of Dark Witch, Zizou, is a dark witch who's out to save the world.
  • Immorta from The Wonderful 101 drives a black-and-red spaceship and wears an outfit remarkably similar to the villainous Vorkken, but she desperately wants to help the Wonderful 100 defeat GEATHJERK. Vorkken's first mate, Chewgi, turns out to be this, and Vorkken himself becomes this after GEATHJERK's nanoweapon is removed from his body.

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