(For the proper stroboscopic effect, open and close your eyes repeatedly as you read this.)
Blackout Basement is a level in a video game where the lighting is inconsistent. It could be that the lights are flipping from on to off for no reason, that the player needs to perform a certain action to ensure a well-lit path through the darkness, or that a specific item is required to see the way forward. Certain variations of the former variety can result in Nintendo Hardness, seeing that changes in visibility are often arbitrary, with a special knack for happening at the worst possible times. In another variation, the lighting is fairly consistent, but dirty, old, dim, close to going out, and flickering a little every few minutes, but not really problematic.
The darkness may apply only to certain layers, so that the player and enemies remain visible at all times, but immobile hazards like Spikes Of Doom are as invisible in the dark as the other elements of the background layer.
See also: Muzzle Flashlight, Interface Screw, Room Full of Zombies. If overused, may become Who Forgot the Lights?
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 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: 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.
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.
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, where the only light emanates from torches, player, boss and their shots.
Ghostbusters on the Sega Genesis had the burning building level, which for some reason was bathed in pitch-black darkness note This probably represents what your field of vision would be in a building that's under siege with fire ghosts.. 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Doom introduced this to FPS games, to the point where almost everyDoom level is a Blackout Basement. The use of light, shadow, and strobe effects was one of the major selling points of the game.
It's notable that there was a Light Amplification Visor power up that gave you perfect light for a limited time, but it's rarely put in the levels; with the limited engine, varying light levels and effects were crucial to level atmosphere. The invulnerability powerup also effectively made everything perfectly lit as part of its inverted B&W photograph vision effect; it's rarely put in the levels because it's a goddamn invulnerability powerup, silly.
Heretic, being based on an updated version of the Doom engine, used this quite a bit too. Torches replaced the Light Amplification Visor, and you were generally assured to find one on any level which had very dark parts.
Doom 3 got a lot of flak for its decision to not let you use the flashlight and any gun simultaneously through its really dark areas. Someone made a Duct Tape mod in disgust which put out a light in front of you when using guns, saying "Our hero manages to find a roll of Duct Tape somewhere in this base, letting him tape his flashlight to his weapon." Apparently it was a game design decision. The developers wanted to create a sense of hopelessness and force the player to choose between their light or their weapon.
The Resurrection of Evil expansion pack also had the flashlight duct-taped to the pistol. Furthermore, the BFG Edition attached the light to the players' armor, allowing them to use any weapon with it.
Quake IV has several pitch-black areas, although not as much as Doom 3, and unlike that, the pistol and SMG have built-in flashlights.
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.
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.
Some parts of the FPS areas of Jurassic Park 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 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.
In Unreal, this happens in an early indoor level when the player gets to the end of a narrow hallway. Suddenly, the lights dim to a minimum and a Skaarj warrior jumps at him while "action music" starts to play. It's one of the most nervewracking moments in the game.
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. You find a hand-held floodlight right before this.
Whenever you have to go through tunnels or indoors in Left 4 Dead, the only light sources are from your gun-mounted flashlights. Since they're gun-mounted, you can't see a thing whenever you need to melee 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.
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.
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.
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.
One paranormal sequence in F.E.A.R. 2 in the Wade Elementary school does this. The terrifying variant of this trope.
The level "High Charity" in Halo 2 has several parts where it is nearly pitch black, the only illumination being provided by dim, red emergency lights and your own Ten-Second Flashlight. And there's Flood everywhere, shrieking in the darkness.
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-inducedBig 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.
The mansion level in Silent Scope is dark until the power is reactivated towards the end. The night vision scope actually makes it harder to see.
One of the most fan-loathed puzzles in Myst Online: Uru Live 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.
The "Neon Multiball" mode in Cirqus Voltaire is a three-ball multiball mode where the only illumination comes from the neon tube in the cabinet.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Two stages in 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.
Likewise in Metroid Prime, in a few rooms of the Chozo Ruins. Not a major inconvenience there, though.
In Prime 3, 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. Genre Savvy players can anticipate this moment from a mile away.
The same goes for Prime 1, 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.
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.
In Kirby: Canvas Curse, there are levels where the player must find and tap lanterns in order to see. You can navigate blind if you've memorised the layout.
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.
The obscure 1995 puzzle-game spinoff 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.
In Spelunky, a level 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... I hope you have 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.
Jak and Daxter 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 first 16-bit The Smurfs game.
The night tree stage (stage 14) in Prehistorik Man, where a trained firefly follows the player character around.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ghostbusters on the Sega Genesis had 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Xor has frowning masks, which 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.
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.
The Tomb Of The Giants in Dark Souls 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 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.
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.
Resident Evil 5 has the pitch-black mine tunnels in Chapter 2-2, where one character has to carry a lantern, 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.
James Bond 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.
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".
Turn Based Strategy
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.
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.