- The lights are flipping from on to off for no reason* ;
- The player needs to perform a certain action to ensure a well-lit path through the darkness;
- A Broken Bridge-like situation where a specific item is required to see the way forward;
- The lighting is fairly consistent, but dirty, old, dim, close to going out, and flickering a little every few minutes, but it's really more for atmosphere's sake than an actual problem.
Examples of levels:
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- Haunted House. The entire game mechanic revolves around this.
- A staple of The Legend of Zelda is the dark cave or dungeon where you need to use a lantern or some similar item to see the way forward. This can be just a little frustrating when you run out of lantern oil or green mana in the middle of a monster-infested cavern.
- Some areas in Ganon's Tower from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past have invisible walkways that are revealed by lighting the torches in a room, or using the Ether magic.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess you have the standby of your wolf senses, but they are significantly nerfed in the aforementioned dark caves.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, certain portions of the Tower of Spirits are almost completely dark, save for one or two torches near the entrance; you can use the Boomerang to transfer fire from them to the conspicuously unlit torches further ahead, but this only lights up small, circular areas. Ghost-like Nocturns also patrol the dark, and are completely invulnerable unless caught in the light, making it dangerous to stay in the darkened areas too long. One of the types of Phantoms encountered in these darkened areas carries a flaming sword which is its own light source.
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds has caves and dungeons similar to those in A Link to the Past where the area is pitch black except for a small dimly-lit circle around Link. This time around, snuffing out the torches in the Dark Palace reverses the effect (read: the dungeon is well-lit except for a dark circle around Link) while also revealing hidden platforms and walls.
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has Typhlo Ruins, a forested area that is Always Night. You can only find your way by following and lighting the bird-shaped stone torches scattered about which conveniently point straight toward another torch. The interior of Divine Beast Vah Rudania is also briefly like this until you get the map and open up its back panels.
- Aquaria - The Abyss. You need Sun Form to be able to see down there, though there are bioluminescent organisms as you proceed further down (and Alluring Anglerfish out to kill you).
- As well as being one big Big Boo's Haunt, the game Luigi's Mansion is also an extended exercise in Blackout Basement maneuvering. Normally, the lights in any given room of the mansion turn on when all the ghosts have been captured or otherwise defeated, but in the last fourth of the game, a mansion-wide blackout forces you to retrace your steps from the third-floor balcony to the basement to turn on a backup generator, enduring merciless ghost attacks along the way.
- The level "Sea of Darkness" in Ecco: The Tides of Time is exactly what it sounds like; since the level takes place in an underwater cave, visibility is extremely poor. Of course, Ecco's a dolphin, so making him use his sonar makes things light up for a few seconds.
- Symphony of the Night has a Spikes of Doom-lined tunnel that must be crossed with the bat form. Said bat form needs to be upgraded with a sonar ability that will allow you to see in this dark passageway. Once you cross it and step on a lit-up platform at the end, the entire room lights up permanently.
- Harmony of Dissonance has a similar area in which only the area immediately around Juste is visible, unless he equips a certain item, which only gives him a somewhat greater radius of vision, rather than brightening the whole room. Said area also has Spikes of Doom.
- Order of Ecclesia also has a pitch black room filled with spikes. It's possible to navigate between the moving spikes and absorb the glyph at the end of the room causing the darkness, or come back later with a certain ability that let's you just trash all the spikes.
- Belmont's Revenge had a room in Stone Castle where whipping all the candles (As Belmonts tend to do) would plunge the room in pitch blackness. Not a healthy thing with Bottomless Pits all over.
- In La-Mulana, the Chamber of Extinction drives home the point that the area is a terrible place—the lights are off in the first several rooms, and all you can do is grope around in the dark and watch as enemies dive-bomb you. Apparently, whatever happened there was so terrible that it even caused the lights to shut off.
There's a few sparse hints that you can use the Flare Gun in certain spots to (temporarily) activate some lighting, but the only way to permanently dispel the darkness is to solve a puzzle that resides in a different dungeon. This puzzle, by the way, was changed in the remake.
- Shaman King: Master of Spirits: One of the level paths features a dimly lit cave where you can't see much around you. You can light up the cave if you equip the spirit Gabriel.
- An Untitled Story features DarkGrotto, the meaner, bigger brother of The Grotto, where the only light emanates from torches, the player, the boss and their shots.
- Ghostbusters (1990) on the Sega Genesis
- The burning building level, which for some reason was bathed in pitch-black darkness note . Luckily, you CAN buy an Infrared Scope (read: Paragoggles) at the Item Shop. They're only useful on the one level, and the batteries wear out.
- The Woody House level where the entire level is pitch black except for the tiny area surrounding your character so you can see him. You would have to use the Infrared Visor to see the whole screen and it only lasted for a few minutes. What made the trope more annoying was the entire level was engulfed in flames and embers and should have made things bright naturally.
- Goof Troop has dark rooms where Goofy and Max's visibility is reduced to a very small radius, or slightly less small if they carry a candle.
- In Mystic Tower, certain rooms are very dark and require you to activate light switches in order to see anything inside them.
- The Pumpkin Fields in Shantae and the Pirate's Curse becomes this near the end of the game when the Pirate Master takes over Sequin Land Palace and covers the island in darkness. All you could see in the area are silhouettes that initially hide the fact that the early game enemies had been replaced with late game ones.
- One of the Warrior Trials in Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice sees Senua thrust into a pitch-black area whose visuals eventually turn to film grain-littered grayscale to stress the emphasis she is putting on her other senses to find her way around. Her only comfort, as her love Dillion's voice reminds her, is that if she can't see the things in the dark, they can't see her, either...
- Ninja Gaiden II (NES) has stage 3-1, the path to the Tower of Lajha. Enemies and item boxes are still visible. The backgrounds' animation never stops, even if you pause the game. Therefore, you can use this to light your way and avoid falling into your demise.
- Alien Soldier had a level in pitch blackness save for a few background lights (not bright enough to help you see)- the only way to light it up was via Muzzle Flashlight. It's best you used a weak weapon as you did not have Bottomless Magazines...
- Level 4-10 of Plants vs. Zombies takes place during a nighttime thunderstorm, and you can only check the layout of the yard when lightning strikes. This is also where players can find the Zombie Yeti. Less annoyingly, all of Level 4 is at night, with the bonus of fog encroaching upon the yard which must either by lit through or blown away.
- Action52's third game, "Illuminator" had this. The lights would go out after a couple of seconds, restored when you killed a vampire. The results were terrible, as always.
- NES Remix has some levels that make the level flicker in and out of visibility.
- In Zork, there are certain sections of pitch-black cave where you are likely to be eaten by a grue if you wander around without a source of light.
- The basement in Maniac Mansion. Or the entire mansion, if you turn the power off.
- Towards the end of Monkey Island 2, Guybrush falls into a dark room, and you have to search the darkness pixel by pixel until you find the switch to turn on the light. Of course, when you do, turns out the Big Bad is standing right in front of you.
- The Dark World in Yume Nikki until you find the lamp. There's also a dark maze elsewhere in the game that can actually be bypassed by trial-and-error even if you don't have the lamp.
- Colossal Cave is impossible to navigate without the lantern. Heaven help you if you run out of batteries.
- An interesting variation on the usual Interactive Fiction darkness puzzle is the dark place in So Far, where you're not supposed to use a light; instead, you're supposed to navigate by the sounds emanating from various directions.
- The Stoneship Age in Myst required you to activate a wind-up generator to light up the pitch-black tunnels, then find a hidden room with a compass rose puzzle to light up the room with the linking book back to Myst. Getting the compass rose puzzle wrong will drain the generator, leaving you to find your way out in almost complete darkness.
- The Svartálfaheimr levels in Munin are notably dark, and so it’s often intentionally difficult to see Munin or the feathers you have to collect.
- The basement of Blackwood Manor plays this to great effect in Scratches. And at one point, during the second night, you have to go down there with an old oil lamp as your only source of light and climb inside a furnace there, to locate the source of strange scratching noises you hear echoing throughout the house.
Beat 'Em Up
- One of the stages in Streets of Rage 3 is set in a disco, where the lights flicker on and off every few seconds.
- Certain levels in the Micro Machines racing games are set in cellars lit only by candles; the level of illumination of the screen varies depending on your car's distance away from them. In addition, one of the selectable weather options in Micro Machines 96's Construction Kit circuit-building mode was a storm setting in which the track would only be clearly visible during brief flashes of lightning.
- In Super Smash Bros., the Pokémon Togepi will occasionally cause the screen to go entirely dark. (though this will not affect the CPU's efficiency) In Brawl, the Nintendog will block the action instead of obscuring it. In 3DS and Wii U, Nightmare from Kirby's Adventure turns the whole stage dark.
- One event in Super Smash Bros. Brawl pits Falco against a CPU Mr. Game and Watch on Lylat Cruise, but the screen continually fades to black, then to normal. One guess as to whether Game and Watch is affected.
First Person Shooter
- Doom introduced this to FPS games, to the point where almost every Doom level is a Blackout Basement. The use of light, shadow, and strobe effects was one of the major selling points of the games.
- It's notable that there is a Light Amplification Visor power up that gives you perfect light for a limited time, but it's rarely put in the levels; with the limited engine, varying light levels and effects are crucial to level atmosphere. The invulnerability powerup also effectively makes everything perfectly lit as part of its inverted B&W vision effect; it's rarely put in the levels, even in custom maps, because it's a goddamn invulnerability powerup, silly.
- Heretic, being based on an updated version of the Doom engine, uses this quite a bit too. Torches replace the Light Amplification Visor, and you're generally assured to find one on any level with very dark parts.
- Doom 3 is all dark, but there are two specific areas that play the trope perfectly straight:
- The Coolant Control Junction at the tail end of Alpha Labs Sector 2 is a big section of walkways with no more than 3 or 4 working lamps far spread from each other, as according to a scientist, EM pulses have blown out all lighting. The only sources of light in the place are your own torch+ and the lantern carried by said scientist as you escort him.
- You never get a flashlight in Hell after you're forcefully teleported there. The dimension of the damned is just as dark and difficult to navigate as the UAC base, and the few glyphs showing where to land in the platforming sections aren't always clearly visible. You're SOL if you don't have a lighting Game Mod or aren't playing the BFG edition. Thankfully at the very start of the next level, back in the UAC base, it's impossible to miss out on one.
- Perfect Dark, yet another Rare game, features this as well. There are a couple darkened areas that require Joanna to use night-vision goggles that, curiously enough, are only in your inventory during missions where you'll use them. This happens twice in Level 1-3, where the lights temporarily go out at the beginning, then Cassandra turns them off again near the end. The kicker is, her bodyguards also have night vision gear.
- There's also an unlockable cheat that turns the entire game into one of these, night vision goggles included.
- Turok 2 had a similar cheat.
- In Perfect Dark Zero's fifth mission, you deactivate the lab's power generator and navigate under cover of darkness. Unlike the original, you don't come equipped with night vision goggles, you have to find them first.
- There's also an unlockable cheat that turns the entire game into one of these, night vision goggles included.
- Some parts of the FPS areas of Jurassic Park SNES on the Super Nintendo are like this. However, without night-vision goggles, you'll get killed by raptors on the first step in.
- Marathon also did this a bunch, particularly in the first level, G4 Sunbathing, the alien levels, and the derelict jjaro ship levels (which already have creepy noises).
- Descent series:
- Descent 2 let you do this yourself—all the lights in each level were destructible by stray weapons fire. An intense firefight could leave you in total darkness. Additionally, a particular enemy - the ubiquitous Diamond Claw - would short out all lights in the vicinity (and send a tracking ball of plasma your way) if attacked by a non-hitscan weapon, i.e. anything but the Vulcan and Gauss cannon. Thankfully the developers included a Headlight powerup for just such occasions.
- Descent's first secret level has a large pitch-black room populated by Demonic Spiders such as Fusion Hulks, Drillers, and Class 2 Platforms.
- It is possible to turn any level in Unreal Tournament into this with the custom "Eavy Darkmatch" mutator.
- Unreal has at least two examples.
- The Sunspire is mostly well-lit, but on the levels near the entrance, the kitchens, bathing chambers and bedrooms are all very dark, either because of the dim Tarydium lamps in the latter two or because there's no light whatsoever for no adequately explained reason. Flashlights and flares are at a premium there.
- Towards the end of the game, you have to retrace your steps through an area where the power's been cut. The entire thing from beginning to end is pitch black, requiring you to keep your light on at all times. Right before this, you find a hand-held floodlight with a big battery.
- Whenever you have to go through tunnels or indoors in either Left 4 Dead game, the only light sources are from your gun-mounted flashlight. Since they're gun-mounted, you can't see a thing whenever you need to shove enemies or reload. Not to mention that if you don't want to be horribly mauled, you need to turn off your lights whenever you start to hear a witch crying. While for the Valve-created campaigns the fog effect creates a downplayed Hollywood Darkness that can dispense the use of the torch, all bets are off in custom campaigns such as "Suicide Blitz 2" and the aptly named "Blackout Basement", where the lightless sections are about what you'd expect out of Nightmare House.
- Gordon and Alyx in Half-Life 2: Episode 1 are forced to wait on an elevator to escape a blacked-out basement. Until the elevator arrives, Gordon is armed only with early light weapons and an inadequate flashlight while endless zombie hordes attack from all directions. This is further complicated by the many explosives dotted around the level, and the zombies who charge in close with active grenades in hand.
- BioShock has the rather alarmingly black segment involving you and the shotgun you've just managed to find. You know you want it, you've been waiting for it, it's the barrel of laughs that discharges lead plugs into people! Here you go, here's thirty rounds on the house. Now I'm gonna kill the lights and send screaming crazy people at you from all directions. There is nothing more disconcerting in this game than voices from the dark howling about their lost and/or exploded babies, quests to find Jesus, dead husbands/wives or a bizarre mixture of the three.
Well, it's not pitch black... there is one shaft of light that illuminates you and only you. This somehow makes it all the worse when the loonies dip in and out of the tiny circle of light.
- In Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project, the Sinister Subway levels are already pretty dark, but the underground GLOPP factory takes the cake. Duke even lampshades it.
Duke: Jeez, you'd think Morphix could afford a few light bulbs.
- The last part of Soldier of Fortune's first mission is an almost pitch-black subway tunnel. And your night vision goggles are practically useless, while the enemies can see you just fine without goggles.
- Team Fortress 2 has the fan-made map 2fort_night, which is basically 2fort under a dark, moonlit sky. Depending on where you are the lighting varies from "lit by electric lights" to "dimly lit with shadowy corners" to "pitch black". There's even a corridor of flickering lights. The altered visibility changes gameplay somewhat, though unfortunately it's still basically 2fort. Team Fortress Classic has similar map called nao_2fort, which is set in night and bases are illuminated by some neon lights, with plenty of shades. It's an excellent playground for spies.
- One level of Pathways into Darkness has Goddamned Flying Rats that constantly attack you until you turn your flashlight off.
- The nighttime level in Gears of War has the Kryll, who instantly kill anyone without a light source. Good thing that Stranded have scattered butane canisters all around the place.
- Serious Sam uses this for some challenges. One has you fighting waves of monsters while a wall of darkness sweeps up and down the hall. Another gives you a path of light to walk along across an otherwise dark room; straying off the path results in vicious attack by monsters waiting in the shadow. One is where the room goes dark and has to be lit by shooting a button.
- First Encounter Assault Recon tends to overlap its blackout basements with Big Boo's Haunt. Impressive when the games are paranormal Nightmare Fuel most of the time.
- The abandoned section of the Old Underground Metro Area, a location explored in Perseus Mandate, is a section of Fairport that was buried in an earthquake and left abandoned, with the new Fairport being built on top of it. Lighting is very sparse, with only a few scattered strings of connected lamps providing lighting that work more for mood than anything. Many times, your only source of light will be your own ten-second headlamp, even in combat. Against almost invisible enemies that can only be clearly seen with your light on.
- One paranormal sequence in F.E.A.R. 2, in the Wade Elementary school, does this.
- Some levels in Quake have pitch-black rooms, such as the hallway in E1M6 that lights up after you get the silver key. The game as a whole suffers from some degree of Who Forgot the Lights?. Quake II has a number of levels with this trope; picking up the power cubes in the Supply Station deactivates lights, and the Warehouse is dark until you replace the cubes there.
- Operation: Crimson Hook in Rainbow Six: Raven Shield. Good thing you have night vision googles.
- In Modern Warfare's second mission, which is actually titled "Blackout", you cut the power to the house where Nikolai is being held, and infiltrate by night vision. Likewise for the dark building at the beginning of "The Bog".
- Modern Warfare 2's "Second Sun" takes place at night in the middle of an EMP-induced Big Blackout, which means your night vision goggles and other electronic gadgets are rendered useless.
- The Marathon mod Siege of Nor'Korh, in addition to having state-of-the-art lighting effects overall, has this happen at least twice in the game, with the area going almost completely pitch black.
- One mission of Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter not only takes place at night in an ill-lit wooded area, but features jamming devices that mess up your optics. The thermal vision is of little help, due to its limited range.
- In Metro: Last Light, most places where an anomaly known as the Darkness is present. It disables Artyom's headlamp and Night-Vision Goggles, forcing him to either a) use his lighter's flame to illuminate the way and possibly light up torches and candles along the path, or b) if he has a gun with a night vision scope, navigate while aiming the gun, a slow walk with a restricted field of view. Either option slows down gameplay and creates tension, a fully intentional effect on the developers' part.
Light Gun Game
- In the Glider series, some rooms would be dark until you found the light switch (assuming there was one), keeping you from seeing the deadly furniture until then. This typically happened on basement levels.
- The abyss levels in Feeding Frenzy: Shipwreck Showdown are pitch black. Thankfully, the playable character in these is an anglerfish which can light the area surrounding it. It can gobble down bioluminescent plancton to intensify the light emitted by its esca.
- One of the most fan-loathed puzzles in Myst Online is the caves of Eder Gira. The last Journey Cloth is somewhere inside, and the caves are a small, pitch-black maze. Solution: the sister world of Eder Kemo has fireflies that follow you around if they can keep up (i.e. no running, and a certain number fly away whenever you jump, with all of them gone once you've jumped twice - that is, you have only one jump allowed). With these fluttering around you, you can find certain light sources in the caves and turn them on. Problem: the flies don't like water, and, true to form, the caves are behind a waterfall. Due to the means of getting around this, you need to do this twice... or more, if you fall in the water, get caught in the rain, or walk over a steam vent. Like the one that's right in front of your feet when you link in from Eder Kemo to Eder Gira. This one is made even worse by the fact that to put stepping stones in place so you can get behind the waterfall without jumping, you need to kick them around. There is no option to hand-position them. And they might not stay quite properly positioned when you link out and back.
- The "Tomb of Immortal Darkness" was an April Fools' Day joke from Blizzard. Supposedly it was a new World of Warcraft dungeon that would be added during Cataclysm and was pitch black; players could find gear that would give them a small bit of illumination around them, and rely on a Companion Bat's echolocation to detect monsters. Later on, World of Warcraft would get a real example in the End Time dungeon. In it, the Emerald Dragonshrine was plunged into darkness, and only spots of light appear as players make their way through the darkness towards the Echo of Tyrande.
- Jazz Jack Rabbit: The planet of Lagunicus in Episode C contains a pair of beach/underwater themed stages. The deeper the character swims, the darker it gets. There are arrows pointing the direction he has to take and TNT can be used to light up the place for a second.
- According to Howard Phillips the Ur-Example is the original arcade Donkey Kong. Specifically, A glitch on one faulty cabinet would cause all the ladders to become invisible and change the reds to blue. The game was still playable, and this would later be adopted by Mario Bros. and the Trope Namer.
- Donkey Kong Country:
- The Trope Namer is a stage from the original set in a factory basement wherein the lights flicker on and off every few seconds. When the lights are off, your characters are still visible, but the enemies, obstacles and pitfalls are all obscured in total darkness.
- And to properly crown Donkey Kong Country as the king of this trope, two other stages used similar gimmicks. To wit: "Loopy Lights" requires you to find temporary light switches through the stage in order to light your way, and "Torchlight Trouble" has you followed by a parrot with a lantern strapped to its foot for lighting.
- Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest and Donkey Kong 64 have stages called "Glimmer's Galleon" and "Gloomy Galleon" respectively, both of which feature areas set in sunken pirate ships where you must use a passing angler fish for lighting.
- AND again in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! with the level "Floodlit Fish" where lantern fish had to provide light for some time.
- Donkey Kong Country Returns uses on and off lighting in The Mole Train. The first time through, you can easily see the moles coming up and avoid them or stomp on them, while the third time through, the light comes and goes, making spotting enemy moles much harder.
- Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze has the level "Rodent Ruckus" which also features Minecart Madness and a giant cheese wheel of a touch of Level Ate.
- And in the Super Mario Bros. games:
- The original Yoshi's Island on the Super Nintendo features several rooms where a bubble of light surrounds Yoshi in a dark room, so you can't see any enemies or hazards until they're very close to you. A more frustrating variation is an early fort stage, where lighting is provided by fireball-like enemies that turn on and off at will.
- Yoshi's Island DS has a few more examples, including the aptly named A Light in the Dark and a section of Yoshi's Island Easter Eggs with light switches that go off only a few seconds after hitting them, appropriately noted as 'Panic in the Dark!'
- The final castle in Super Mario World is a dark place, but Mario can light it up somewhat by hitting a red block found in the second half of the stage.
- The chapter "Go to the Cellar!!" in Wario Land II has switch blocks that Wario must hit to alternate the lights so that platforms and doors can be seen. You can technically use the platforms and doors even if the room is dark, but it's harder unless you've memorized the layout.
- A one-versus-three mini-game called "Candlelight Flight" in Mario Party 4 features one player carrying a candle and the three others carrying squirt guns. The three players must extinguish the one player's candle, but the wetter the candle gets, the harder it is for the three players to see it.
- A similar game in Mario Party 2 has three characters carrying huge light bulbs being menaced by the one carrying a huge mallet.
- In Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, there are areas where the babies navigate dangerous mazes in dark zones with special lightblocks that keep going out. The safe rails are so narrow that even if you memorise the layout, you probably won't get far without the lights on.
- Underwhere Road in Super Paper Mario. Once you've gotten Bowser back into your party, he can use his flame breath on the lanterns hanging on the walls to illuminate the entire screen. The lanterns will go out after a short while, however, requiring you to keep lighting more as you continue onward.
- Some levels in New Super Mario Bros. Wii are in the dark. The players get a little spotlight, and fireballs can light an area around them, while players under the effect of a Super Star light up the entire room. Perhaps the most notorious is Level 8-4, which combines this trope with Down the Drain.
- Even Hotel Mario features this kind of setting in two separate hotels. The second hotel of the game, Roy's HardBrick Hotel, has you deal with flickering lights that go out at regular intervals in parts of the level. Only by finding the toaster room (marked by lightning bolts flying from a door) can you correct this problem (by overloading toasters with surplus sourpuss toast, no less). The game's third hotel, Larry's Chillton Hotel, is a different story. Here, the entire level is dark except for the floor you're currently on. But did Mario bring a light? "No?"
- The Flash Black Galaxy in Super Mario Galaxy 2. You can't see any ground or walls at all except for about a second long glimpse every time the music beats.
There's also a variation on the 'spotlight' example: When Yoshi eats a Bulb Berry, he generates an aura of light which reveals/creates hidden platforms. This gradually wears off over time, and unless you make it to one of the safe zones, or eat another fruit, there will be nothing for you to stand on when it wears off. Have fun.
- Super Mario 3D World features several Big Boo's Haunt levels where it is so dimly lit that you have to use Light Boxes to see the way through. Luckily, the Light Boxes also let you kill all the ghost enemies, who would otherwise be Invincible Minor Mooks.
- Banjo-Tooie (coincidentally, another Rare game):
- There is a western mine stage in which you must activate generators as you go in order to light your path. However, if you have enough gold feathers (or are using the infinite items cheat), you can easily light your way using the Wonderwing ability. Fire eggs will also illuminate an area around them, and they can be bounced along the ramps.
- The same game features a cave stage where lighting is provided by glowing green demons flying around at random. You can only see the way when one of them gets close to you, and stepping outside the maze-like path results in moderate damage. Hell, in most cases, looking closely can show you the edges of the path even without burning Gold Feathers. You could also just turn up the brightness on your TV.
- In the Mega Man (Classic) series:
- In Quick Man's stage in Mega Man 2, between the stage's infamous two vertical shafts with deadly laser beams, there is a horizontal passage that is illuminated solely by a fire-type enemy — destroying them blacks out the stage, but at least you don't have any Bottomless Pits to worry about.
- In Mega Man 3, certain enemies in Shadow Man's stage and Dr. Wily's third stage would black out the stage (though other enemies and certain platforms remained visible), and you had to destroy these enemies to re-light the area.
- Bright Man's stage from Mega Man 4 is also a good example, where destroying one enemy cuts the lighting off, while destroying a different one turns it back on. Naturally, the former are more plentiful, and will attack you if left alone. They also serve as Ledge Bats during a moving platform section.
- Mega Man 7 got in on the act with the later Wily stages with moving platforms on faulty tracks that cut the lights off every time you landed on them; you had to keep jumping and keep the room illuminated so you could avoid getting tossed off.
- Mega Man X series:
- If you visit Spark Mandrill's stage in Mega Man X after defeating Storm Eagle, you'll find wreckage of the Eagle's ship strewn about the opening area of the stage, and the lights will flicker on and off in two areas during the stage. If you play the stage before beating Storm Eagle, the darkened sections aren't completely blacked out, but you'll have to contend with flowing electricity.
- The "Pitch Black" stage in Mega Man X8 is exactly what you might expect.
- Two stages in Mega Man X6 can have this effect, depending on what order you do the stages in. Because of the Nightmare effect system, going to Infinity Mijinion's stage will result in his Nightmare effect showing up in Commander Yammark's and Rainy Turtloid's stages, unless it is overwritten by the other possible effect that can occur there afterward. His Nightmare effect causes parts of the stages to become darkened, lit only by a pair of spotlights that move back and forth.
- Super Metroid features a firefly-like alien creature that inhabits dark areas. Trigger-happy players can shoot them if they want to, but doing so will significantly decrease the light in the room. A similar creature shows up in Metroid Prime, in a few rooms of the Chozo Ruins. Not a major inconvenience there, though.
- In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, you're required at one point to kill the power to get an item behind a force field—which also douses the lights and releases all those Phazon Metroids you've been safely walking past just to get here.
- The same goes for the first Metroid Prime, quite literally. After acquiring the Thermal Visor, the lab's power cuts off and you have to fight stealth Space Pirates (and freed Metroids) with nothing but your new powerup to track their thermal signatures by. Likewise, some areas of the Phazon Mines are completely black other than the glowing giant mushrooms and Phazon pools, requiring either the Thermal or X-Ray Visor to navigate.
- Surprisingly averted in Metroid: Fusion with Sector 6 (NOC). You're repeatedly told that it is a pitch-black sector filled with dangerous enemies, but when you get there you find it's not that dark and the enemies go down easy (except the Blue-X, mind you). It's also possible Adam didn't want you to look around too much and accidentally uncover the Restricted Lab.
- Common in the Crash Bandicoot series: The first game features the levels Lights Out and the hidden level Fumbling in the Dark, where the player has to pick up an Aku Aku mask for illumination. Get hit once or dilly-dally around too long without picking up a new mask, and you lose your light source. The sequels swapped these out for glowing insects, keeping the time limit but removing the one-hit penalty. The second game includes the levels Night Flight and the secret Totally Fly, while the third only features one such level, named Bug Lite.
- The secret levels "Totally Bear" in Cortex Strikes Back and "Area 51?" in Warped also qualify, since both are pitch black barring the area immediately surrounding Crash. Both of these levels also involve moving forward rapidly with limited control (the former being a bear-riding level, and the latter being a motorcycle race), where being able to see obstacles ahead of you is critical. Thankfully, the latter also lights up the areas immediately surrounding the UFOs that you're racing against, making it slightly more manageable.
- Sonic the Hedgehog games:
- Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles respectively feature the second act of Carnival Night Zone, where Knuckles cuts the power to the lights early in the level and you turn them back on later, and the second act of Sandopolis Zone, where you're trapped in a pyramid and must keep lighting torches to keep the ghosts from attacking you. Neither one has total darkness, just a much lower light level.
- Tails Adventure features Sonic's vulpine sidekick crawling through the Polly Mountains. While technically accessible before you pick up the Night Goggles, good luck getting anywhere in complete pitch blackness.
- Sonic the Hedgehog 4 has the second act of Lost Labyrinth Zone, where Sonic has to use a torch to illuminate the darkness around himself. Hey, it could have been worse — it was originally an entire motion-controlled Minecart Madness level.
- The Sonic Adventure series has two of these. The first is Lost World, where one section finds Sonic making his way through the dark ruins by pointing lights at mirrors. The second is Lost Colony from Sonic Adventure 2. Since the ARK has been abandoned for 50 years, Eggman must maneuver to the control room in darkness, and the only way to improve the lighting is to shoot stuff.
- In Sonic Shuffle, in a mini-game called "Great Escape", the characters are in a maze atop a roof, which is completely dark, save for a spotlight hovering over it. To find their way to an escape rocket, they must carefully navigate the maze, making sure not to fall into any pits that send them back to start. There are four switches in the maze, which turn the light on when stepped on, and turn it off when stepped off.
- The fan game When Tails Gets Bored has the second act of Minimalist Madness Zone, which is completely dark save for the characters' eyes and colored balls that guide you.
- In Spelunky, any level outside of zone 3 may randomly be darkened. Your limited supply of flares combined with forced management of handheld items can make this problematic at times. And then there's the possibility that a drop is too high for you to see the bottom within your circle of illumination... Be sure to bring plenty of ropes. The upside is that those skittering golden scarabs you'll often see here are bonus loot if you can reach out and touch them and, in the HD remake, there are torches you can ignite, giving a source of light and something to relight your torch with.
- Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy features this in a section of the spider cave, requiring the player to hit crystals for temporary illumination.
- Crystal Caves has several dark levels, one of which has inverted gravity, adding to the confusion.
- Klonoa - In the PS2 sequel, Dark Sea of Tears has light enemies that, when shot with a Wind Bullet, light your path for a certain time. However, there is a twist: the darkness can attack you, making it important to complete sections quickly.
- The cave stage (Act 9) in The Smurfs (1994).
- The night tree stage (stage 14) in Prehistorik Man, where a trained firefly follows the player character around.
- Some of the levels of the Wii version of A Boy and His Blob are dark, especially in the caves. The first time you visit one, Blob will eat a firefly that turns him into your flashlight—if you wander too far from him or leave him in one place, it'll be pitch-black. However, the "special" prize for the second world is a lantern that allows you to play every level in the dark like this.
- The mine area of Bunny Must Die! Chelsea and the 7 Devils was only partially lighted by lanterns. You could find switches to turn on electric lights that illuminate the whole area, but if you did so, the light woke up some particularly annoying enemies.
- LittleBigPlanet has The Darkness, where you need to use the light from your dog's flashlight, and candles to help you get out of the level intact.
- In its first sequel, part of the level "Fireflies When You're Having Fun" takes place in dark caves that are occasionally illuminated by fireflies.
- The original Jumpman had a level called "Now You See It," where every time the player defused a bomb, the screen would toggle on and off. There were also multiple "Mystery Maze" varieties, where the level only became illuminated as the player moved around.
- Par for the course, Rayman has one of these as well, with the infamous level Eat At Joe's. As far as level design goes, it's not quite as maddeningly difficult as some of the other levels in the game, but only being able to see your immediate surroundings (or having to use your fist to see any further) makes it just insane. An undercover blackout basement no less, as when this game was released, most common computers could not run the game on the "high" graphics setting; the low reducing the blackout to just dim lighting of the level.
- Impossible Mission II frequently had pitch black rooms that required the Light Bulb item to light the way.
- The first half of Bright Man's stage in Rockman 4 Minus Infinity. Mega Man generates light to see. Destroying the lightbulb enemies reduces the range of vision, while destroying the fireworks enemies increases it.
- In the Flash Horror game The Bright in the Screen, two levels are dark except for a flashlight that shines if you click on yourself and a few words in white.
- Rockman No Constancy has one section of Flash Man's stage. Particularly infuriating in that you can't see certain blocks (one of which blocks your jump) until the end of the section.
- The Jetsons: Cogswell's Caper had the Blast Furnace level, where you had to keep pressing switches to turn the lights back on.
- "Off The Wall" and "Back to The Wall" in Cool Spot.
- In Atlantis No Nazo, several zones are pitch dark. There is no way to turn on the lights permanently, but, with the light bulb powerup, throwing bombs will do so for one moment.
- Darkave in Something Else. The blocks light up the way for Luigi and the only enemies are basically a Palette Swap of the green blobs in Super Mario World.
- "Boo! Haunted House" from The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures uses the spotlight variation.
- Tiny Toon Adventures games:
- In the NES game of the same name, at the beginning of the final stage, Montana Max's Mansion, Monty's butler Grovely will briefly turn out the lights.
- In Babs' Big Break for the Game Boy, the basement of Acme Looniversity has a flickering light in an otherwise dark environment.
- Some areas in Shovel Knight are in darkness, but are periodically illuminated by lightning strikes. Even entities like the player and enemies appear as only black silhouettes.
- In Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi, the second-to-last stage "Into the Darkness" is a cave with bands of pitch-black shadows obscuring the view.
- Astal has "Into the Darkness," an Underground Level where the lights continually fade out and return.
- In Maldita Castilla, the second half of stage four is a dark cave in which the only source of light comes from a seemingly friendly creature who serves as a guide. Several of the dangers take the light out of his torch more frequently than directly harm the player.
- Certain rooms in Blender Bros are dark. They're completely un-enterable unless you use a Mini Bro named Neon. In Shelltarl they're required to enter to proceed, but in other worlds they just contain secrets.
- Limbo places with very little light and even a few secret places that are pitch black.
- Scribblenauts has a background as well as a level that is a dark cave. Good thing you can just summon a sun to light the place.
- In Tetris Friends, after reaching level 20 in Survival mode, the game enters a bonus round in which the stack flashes on and off. And before that, we have the completely-invisible bonus rounds of Tetris: The Grand Master 2 and 3, which can only be attained after fulfilling a series of very difficult requirements, In 2, you need to survive for one minute to get the Grand Master rank; in 3, the bonus round is an opportunity to boost your grade by clearing lines, but surviving it won't necessarily net you GM rank (there are far, far more difficult requirements for that).
- In Xor, frowning masks turn off the lights when collected. Finding a second one turns them on again. While the lights are off, only the walls are hidden; everything else remains visible. Sometimes frowning masks are placed so you have to take them to complete the puzzles.
- In Closure, the levels are inconsistently lit with a major twist: when something is not illuminated, it does not exist.
- In 1000 amps the rooms are pitch-black when entered and must be lit completely for the room to stay lit.
- LIT revolves around navigating through a school that's been taken over by monsters and darkness; setting even one foot into darkness results in getting killed by the monsters, so the player must activate various light sources in the room to forge a path from entry to exit.
- In Tiny Toon Adventures: Wacky Stackers, if you have six tokens in Vs. mode, you can darken your opponent's screen. Montana Max will appear and leave a little bit of it brightened by shining a flashlight.
- Downplayed with the Dimensiov realm of Ball Revamped IV: Amplitude. You only see a small area around the ball. There's a Power-Up that lights up the room, but also a Poison Mushroom that takes away what little light you have.
- The Castles of Doctor Creep have a few rooms with black floors. The only effect this has is to hide the positions of trap doors and conveyor belts.
- In Pokémon:
- The "Flash" attack is most useful for lighting up dark rooms and caverns. (In battle it merely decreases your foe's accuracy.)
- Brawly's gym in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire/Emerald is a nice example, as it expands the player's view as you beat the gym trainers. Pretty funny since his badge allows you to use Flash... The most likely explanation is that the trainers inside use Flash themselves, and are lighting up the way for you as a reward for beating them, so the final reward is suitably learning how to light up the way on your own.
- Altmiller Cave in Golden Sun. You can make use of Reveal to see more of your surroundings, though this probably isn't an intended use for the spell.
- Tales series:
- The first stage in Mega Man Battle Network 3 has a variant of this, as the level (just like, oh, all of them in the entire series) is a computer system. Oh, and while the lights are off, you can't see the Mystery Data (it's there, just completely invisible).
- Every Dungeon in Dragon Quest I. Hope you purchased plenty of torches, because you're going to need them...
- Barheim Passage in Final Fantasy XII, but only the first time you go through it, when you have to kill all the Battery Mimics chewing on the electrical wire.
- Inverted in Apollo's world in SaGa 2 where there is a cave that's so bright that you need the TrueEye MAGI to see anything.
- In Hydlide, many of the dungeons will be dark until the player finds the Lamp.
- The Abandoned Mine in the original Ys, Galbalan's Island in Wanderers from Ys / The Oath in Felghana, Limewater Cave in The Ark of Napishtim, et. al.
- Queen Hospital in SD Snatcher.
- Dark Souls:
- The Tomb Of The Giants is pitch-black, requiring a special item to get a practical amount of visibility. It's also filled with tough monsters and Bottomless Pits.
- Also, the Abyss. It doesn't get any blacker than this, unless you close your eyes. No point in bringing a light though, as it's just a huge void where you fight the Four Kings.
- This trope is in play to various degrees throughout Dark Souls II, as a new element is carrying a torch, sacrificing the use of one hand for better visibility, longer lock-on distances, and the ability to light sconces. In practice, though, you can see most things even in dark areas without a torch, and this trope is really only used in a few areas—namely the Gutter, certain parts of the Black Gulch, and the Lost Sinner's Boss Room.
- Played with in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim; the player's eyes will realistically adjust to dark areas. You do have the option of using light spells or torches, but they're almost never necessary. The main difference between the Conan Hyborian Age mod and an unmodded Skyrim is that Conan Hyborian Age plays the trope completely straight. Most of the Hyborian Mound is filled with complete darkness, the only exceptions being either rare rooms with lit candles or braziers, or rare instances of rooms with holes in the ceiling. The mod's description even explicitely advices to bring torches.
- Faria has dark mazelike caves where you need a flashlight running on limited battery power to see a small area around you, except when trapped in the constantly occurring Random Encounters.
- A Blurred Line had the Dark Catacombs inside Eisen’s simulation, where it’s literally pitch-black, the darkness only abating for a second when you use Dalia’s fire attack. You can permanently remove it by lightning a torch, but those aren’t always present and are typically far away from the entrance.
- Sore Losers had a level where you’re required to perform an assassination for your two friends to carry you out of the city. Several buildings and sewers there are very dark, and there's rarely a light source available. This means you would struggle to find items and detect enemies, who, on the contrary, have no problem in finding you.
- Certain areas of The Underwhere in Super Paper Mario are very dark and require Bowser's fire breath to light up, which only lasts a few seconds. Fitting since it is the video game equivalent of the afterlife.
- Undertale has one room where it is too dark to see where you are going without repeatedly turning on lanterns, which will only light up the room for a few seconds at a time. It doesn't help that this room's paths are set out like a maze, meaning it might take a few tries before you find the right path to the next room (Which is slowed by an occasional Random Encounter). Thankfully, the room is permanently lit after defeating that area's boss.
Shoot 'Em Up
- Jungle Strike features a mission played at night. It's almost pitch black except for when you shoot your weapons, leading to lots of random chaingun fire to see where you're going.
- In Star Fox 64, the underwater planet Aquas is very dark in many areas, requiring you to use the submarine's homing torpedos for light (unlike the bombs on the Arwing and the tank, you have an infinite supply).
- Level 4 of Shark Attack, the Command Center, has a lot of fun with this trope.
- The first leg of the Fortress in Gradius III has the lights blink on and off. As usual, you have Deadly Walls everywhere.
- The Trauma Center series have in the dark operations. You get your assistant to hold a flashlight on a specific area so you can see, but the batteries eventually die and your replacement light sources get worse and worse until all you have is a camera flash that only gives you a second to see where everything is.
- In Fisher-Diver, the sea depths become progressively darker until your entire surroundings are pitch black, save for the immediate area around you and what's revealed by your flashlight.
- In Ao Oni, the basement is pitch-black. When the player first goes down there, they must search around until they find a candle to light. The entire time the lights are out, the sound of heavy breathing can be heard. Nothing's there when the lights come on, though...
- The Otherworld segments of Silent Hill are typically pretty darned dark. Not only was this used to add to the tension, but clever players could use this to their advantage in a few of the games:
- Most enemies couldn't see in the dark much better than you could, so putting out your flashlight could help you avoid conflicts, typically with the nurse enemies which tend to not move at all until you either touch them or shine a light on them.
- Equipping the Great Knife and dragging it with your flashlight off in Silent Hill 2 would make enemies actively avoid you, since they thought you were Pyramid Head.
- Silent Hill: Origins allows you to obtain a pair of night vision goggles that not only avert this trope, but also prevent enemies from seeing the light of your flashlight. Unfortunately to obtain them you must beat the game without using the flashlight for longer than 3 total hours, firmly making this a Bragging Rights Award.
- In the otherwise very difficult to navigate Otherworld segments of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, heading toward the nearest source of light (be it the moon, the only still-working street lamp, or even the headlights of a car) would always lead you toward the exit.
- In Silence of the Sleep, there are a few areas in the game that are practically pitch-black, with only your flashlight able to penetrate the darkness.
- In Monstrum, some lights flicker with little effect on the actual (low) lighting, but the lowest levels tend toward pitch-black or nearly so.
Third Person Shooter
- Resident Evil 5 has the pitch-black mine tunnels in Chapter 2-2, where one character has to carry a very bulky searchlight, and just like in Doom 3, they can't hold both it and a weapon at the same time.
- The Syphon Filter series has a number of areas where it is pitch black or nearly so (e.g. Rhoemer's Stronghold after you kill the power, the dark highway tunnels in the second game, the last part of the Quarantine Zone in Omega Strain), requiring you to use the flashlight or night vision goggles, which the enemy also usually has. In the first three games, this is done automatically.
- Everything or Nothing has several parts where you're required to use Thermographic Vision in order to see. Needless to say, darkened areas are often absolute hornets' nests, so it's a good idea to switch on BEFORE heading in. Also note: Q-Spiders don't have thermo-vision.
- P.N.03 has a night mission in Level 8, where the only lights are searchlights that give you away to the sentry guns. Level 9 turns into one of these after the Load-Bearing Boss is defeated and the Self-Destruct Mechanism activates.
- In Dead Space, some corridors have flickering lights or aren't lit at all. Altough player has light on his gun, those parts are mostly absent of Necromorphs. Mostly.
- Vanquish has one of these in the first act, aptly named "Darkness".
- Chapter 3 of Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls begins on the top floor of Towa Tower, which turns pitch black. The Detect ability will help you locate footprints that guide you through the dark area.
- Final Fantasy Tactics has an interesting version, in the Bonus Dungeon; the battlefield starts out pitch-black. As folks die, they turn into crystals — which light up the area.
- In some stages of Fire Emblem games, sometimes the field is obscured by fog, or darkness. Your vision changes to be on top of your units.
Wide Open Sandbox
- Minecraft has no Hollywood Darkness; thus, you will need plenty of torches (or jack-o-lanterns) for expeditions into any cave that goes deep into underground, not just for visual convenience but also to ward off dangerous mobs.
- Both Endless Ocean games contain an abyssal zone — the Abyss in the first game, the Zahhab Depths in Blue World — which are lit by nothing but your portable flashlight, which doesn't have very much range. You'll often find yourself hugging the crevice wall and sea floor just to keep some sort of orientation during your dive.
- A common trope in many haunted mazes to prevent guests from seeing the entire room and allowing the actors to hide in darkness. An interesting example was used by Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights, where Terror Mines in 2005 and The People Under the Stairs: Under Construction in 2006 had very little lighting (yes, even compared to other houses) and instead handed out helmet lights to every 5th person to light the way; the lights would strobe, change color, or simply turn off when tripped by sensors throughout the house. Unfortunately, this meant that 4/5 of the guests would often be left blind when their light person ran too far ahead and left them behind.
Bet your eyes hurt, eh?