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[[quoteright:349:[[VideoGame/DragonQuest http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Bunch_of_slimes_5649.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:349:[[MascotMook Slime]], [[DistaffCounterpart She-Slime]], MetalSlime, [[KingMook King Slime]], Bubble Slime, [[TheMedic Cure Slime]], [[GemstoneAssault Gem Slime]], Jelly, Slime Knight, [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot Metal King Slime]], the list goes on...]]

->''First they devour planets; now they're copying enemies? Ugh, lowlifes!''
-->-- '''Viridi''', ''VideoGame/KidIcarusUprising''

Sprites and textures are expensive[[note]]and use up precious memory, on older hardware.[[/note]]. Original ideas for monster types are even more so. As a result, there is a tendency to keep the number of distinct enemy types small. In an RPG or similar game where the player is expected to become more powerful over the course of the game, this is a problem, as the monsters stop being challenging about the time you GetOnTheBoat.

The solution many games go for is to have a small set of monster types, but have them appear with different graphics. Often, this change of design will be accompanied [[TieredByName by a new adjective to go with their name]] (if the monster was based on a mythological or cryptozoological creature, subsequent names will be alternate names for the creature ([[BigfootSasquatchAndYeti Bigfoot to Sasquatch to Yeti]]), or the name of a similar creature (Cockatrice to Basilisk)). Typically, all such monsters will be vulnerable to the same strategy, or a variation thereupon, but later colors will tend to be more powerful. [[ElementalPowers Elemental]] variations are a common version of this trope as are variations in size and adding or removing features like horns, [[FlyingMook wings]], or [[KingMook crowns]].

Underground Monkeys are often {{Palette Swap}}s, meaning only the colors change but models are recycled, but they don't have to be. As long as they're recycled versions of previous enemies, the changes between the different versions could be anything. You might have normal [[TheGoomba Goombas]], [[AirborneMook winged Goombas]], [[TheSpiny spiked Goombas]]... Even [[KingMook King Goomba]] is a type of Underground Monkey.

Results in the somewhat strange phenomenon that as you travel a diverse world, rather than simply seeing a diversity of creature types, you also see the same creature types, in a diversity of versions: in TheLostWoods, you find the Wolf, the Giant Rat, and the Forest Dragon; in the SlippySlideyIceWorld, you find their icy counterparts Arctic Wolf, the Snow Rat, and the White Dragon; in the TempleOfDoom, you'll face their dark counterparts, Dire Wolf, Plague Rat, and Zombie Dragon.

The most common Underground Monkeys are those whose names begin with one of [[FireIceLightning fire, ice or lightning]]. In games which play ElementalRockPaperScissors, the colors may also indicate elemental weakness.

Contrast ArtifactMook, which is when an enemy appears in places and quantites that defy its original context.

[[TropeNamer Named]] for a RunningGag in ''Webcomic/{{RPG World}},'' wherein the Underground Monkey is suspected of being attracted by GenreSavvy characters.

Not to be confused with actual monkeys living underground, such as [[VideoGame/EarthBound beneath Dusty Dunes Desert]] or [[Manga/CromartieHighSchool under the sewers]].

!!Video Game Examples:

[[AC:Action-Adventure Games]]
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'':
** Versus Books' StrategyGuide for ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'' characterized the White Wolfos as being "like regular Wolfos, only, um, whiter."
** The Bad Bat is an outdoor version of the Keese.
** Keese themselves come in several elemental varieties in the 3D titles. Along with regular Keese, there are [[PlayingWithFire Fire Keese]], [[AnIcePerson Ice Keese]], and as of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'' [[ShockAndAwe Thunder Keese]] and [[BlackMagic Cursed Keese]].
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'' and ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'' avoid this with every enemy except for Darknuts, whose armour changes colour to indicate different levels of strength, and the various Chu types, the ''Zelda'' take on the classic slimes. There are some minor palette swaps as well, but these take the form of giving the enemies extra armour and better resistance to the player's special attacks.
** In the ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOracleGames'', most enemies come in red and blue, indicating respectively a better attack and a better defense. This and various other instances of [[PaletteSwap palette swaps]] throughout the series are nods to the [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZelda very first game's]] use of two palettes for most enemies, usually a red/orange palette and a blue palette, where one would take more damage to kill than the other.
** In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks'', there are five types of rabbit you can collect, matching the environment in which they're found, including one that lives in the sea.
** Chu-Chus in ''Twilight Princess'' come in a variety of colors, but not to differentiate strength. Rather, if you fill the remains of one in a bottle, it's color determines the effect of using it. If two different-colored Chus combine, the result is the default color, which was pretty worthless.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaFourSwordsAdventures'' and ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheMinishCap'' feature Fire and Ice Wizzrobes alongside the standard kind. ''Four Swords Adventures'' also includes Force Gem-sucking Wizzrobes.
** White Wolfos are larger and tougher than the standard Wolfos, and found mainly in icy areas.
** The Dinolfos is an upgraded version of the Lizalfos with heavier armor and sometimes fire breath.
** Floormasters are {{Wallmaster}}s that, instead of [[MookBouncer transporting Link back to the entrance]], stay on the floor and attack him, can temporarily turn invincible, and split into smaller versions that can regrow into a full-size individual.
* ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}'' has the same set of tactics with occasional additional attacks for the successive areas of enemies. Difficulty is achieved late in the optional extras with nigh-endless waves of enemies.
* Games based on ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}'', since the toys are pretty much like this. "You are attacked by an Air Burnak." "You are attacked by a Stone Burnak." "You are attacked by an Ice Burnak."
* ''VideoGame/CaveStory'' has a nice variety of enemy types, but recolors the critters (those beanbag-looking hopping things) and bats in several different caves.
* While the main-series ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' games largely avoid this by simply scaling the strength of enemies found in later worlds, ''358/2 Days'' plays it straight, with up to three different versions of many mooks where the only difference is size, a design choice that may have been mandated by limited space for the game data.
* ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'' series has several: the Brain Sucker in ''3'' is an upgraded skin-swap of the Drain Deimos, the Sweeper in ''Code Veronica'' is a poisonous version of the Hunter, ''RE 2'' has Advanced Lickers with longer claws and the ability to sense the player even when they are standing still, the Iron Maiden in ''RE 4'' is a [[DemonicSpiders more demonic]] version of the Regenerator, etc.
** The UsefulNotes/NintendoGameCube remake introduced "Crimson Heads", the stronger variant of zombies that could run and slash with long claws. There are two in the game that are mandatory to fight, the rest are the result of [[NiceJobBreakingItHero not properly disposing of zombie corpses]].
* In ''Videogame/JablessAdventure'', there are [[BearsAreBadNews regular forest-dwelling bears]], a SCUBA-diving bear, and a volcano-dwelling bear with a flamethrower. There's also the slimes, which get {{Palette Swap}}ped and appear in darn near every area of the game.
* In ''VideoGame/TheTwistedTalesOfSpikeMcFang'', the Desert Clove, Frozen Clove and Forest Clove appear in later levels as increasingly tougher variations of the [[TheGoomba Killer Clove]].

[[AC:Beat Em Ups]]
* ''VideoGame/DoubleDragon'' did this. While it certainly wasn't unusual or unexpected for a game of the arcade era, the fact that all of your opponents were human meant that different coloured characters got rather stupid toward the end. Whilst a man with brown or pink skin made sense, the same character with better fighting skills and blue, grey or green skin later in the game was cause for raised eyebrows.
** ''VideoGame/DoubleDragonNeon'', in addition to palette swaps, also has model variations for mooks, such as the Afro Williams, Mohawk Linda, and Tatooed Cooley hat-wearing Abobo.

[[AC:Fighting Games]]
* ''Videogame/DissidiaFinalFantasy'': Every enemy in the game is a crystallized palette swap of the 22 characters you can use in the game, and all the bosses are those same characters, only normal. The only enemy that is at all different is the FinalBoss, Chaos.

[[AC:First-Person Shooter]]
* ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime2Echoes'': A lot of enemy concepts are recycled from ''Videogame/MetroidPrime'' with new models. Some are barely changed (like the recoloured Triclops) while others are given a complete overhaul: the Beetle becoming the much smaller Splinter, the Elite Pirate the Ingsmasher, Baby Sheegoths becoming Grenchlers, Chozo Ghosts becoming Pirate Commandos, etc. There's also a few examples in the games themselves, like the normal/ice/plated Parasites in ''Prime'' and the light/dark creatures in ''Echoes''. The Ingsmashers simply reused the Elite Pirate combat codes from ''Prime'' with only a small tweak for the shield thingy.
* FPS games regularly do this with at least one of the more basic enemies (but tougher opponents sometimes get the same treatment). In the older era, this was done by changing the colouring of otherwise identical sprites, in 3D games it takes the somewhat more advanced and differentiating form of using different skins for the same model (or even different models for the same enemy). Common expressions of this includes;
** Different weaponry and/or levels of toughness of the opponents (e.g. the processed humans of ''VideoGame/QuakeII'', the Cabal followers of ''VideoGame/{{Blood}}'', Barons of Hell and Hellknights in ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' and ''VideoGame/{{Doom}} II'').
** Somewhat different abilities between the enemy types (e.g. the semi-invisibility of Spectres in the ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' series, the personal teleporters of Alien captains in ''VideoGame/DukeNukem3D'')
** Just plain diversity, especially common in regards to enemies meant to be more or less regular human beings. This in order to avoid the effect of feeling that the enemies faced are the same individual cloned countless times, usually to the effect of creating the impression that such cloning rather took place on [[YouALLLookFamiliar three to five different individuals]] instead.
** In ''VideoGame/{{Turok}} 2'', Blind Ones, Fireborns, and Troopers are skin swaps of Sentinels, Endtrails, and Mantid Soldiers, respectively. The former two are literal underground mooks.
* ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'':
** In the original trilogy, Elites and Grunts got different-colored armor based on their military rank (determined largely by AsskickingEqualsAuthority), while Jackals got different colored shields and some minor armor changes. There were also special classes, like Honor Guards and Elite Councilors, with more distinct (and often far more ornate) armor.
** While Brute ranks in ''VideoGame/{{Halo 2}}'' were indicated by whether they had a bit of armor and/or a flag on their back, ''VideoGame/{{Halo 3}}'' dramatically revamped their appearance, with each higher rank having more noticeably elaborate armor, while sub-ranks (Minor, Major, Ultra) were represented by palette swaps. The [[KingMook highest class]], Brute Chieftains, have red or gold-accented black armor and warbonnet-like helmets. ''VideoGame/HaloReach'' re-simplified the system by doing away with the sub-rank palette swaps.
** ''VideoGame/Halo3ODST'' gave Drones a ranking system, that was unsurprisingly also differentiated by color. The game also featured the only appearance of gold-armored Hunters fighting alongside their standard blue-armored counterparts.
** ''VideoGame/HaloReach'' was the first game in the series where you could tell what rank and specialty ''every'' Covenant mook had even if you removed all the color, due to dramatically increased differentiation between their armor, which has carried over into subsequent games.
** Most bosses in ''[[VideoGame/Halo5Guardians Halo 5]]''[='s=] Warzone game mode have the same appearance as normal enemies but with a different color. [[UpToEleven The Legendary and Mythic variants are the same way with regards to the weaker bosses]].
* The later levels of ''VideoGame/PathwaysIntoDarkness'' feature Ghasts (aka Earthquake Zombies), Green Oozes(which are [[InvincibleMinorMinion invincible]], but avoid the player if he is poisoned), Venomous Skitters (which as their name implies, inflict [[StandardStatusEffects poison status]]), and Greater Nightmares (who are armored and shoot homing projectiles).
* In ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}'', when you're done with your first playthrough and start on a second one, the enemies get more health and different names, but their models don't change. Played straight in the first exapansion and the final expansion, which featured [[TheUndead zombified]] and [[UnwillingRoboticisation "-trap'd"]] enemies. The zombies had noticably different AI, but the claptrap-ised enemies just had different skins and dialogue.

[[AC:Hack and Slash]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Diablo}}s I'', ''II'' and ''III''' were full of this. Every single enemy in the games, apart from quest specific bosses, came in various levels of strength denoted by colour and had otherwise identical sprites as others of its type. It's mentioned in the first game manual that this is because the Prime Evils, the leaders of the demons, would alter their servants forms to better deal with whatever threat they were facing at the time.
* In the original ''VideoGame/{{Strider}}'' and its sequel, there are very few enemies of this type, such as the green/red Russian Infantryman or the gold Balrog Marine Corps in the final stage of the first. The 2014 reboot, however, takes the trope and goes with it full-force, having almost exclusively variations of the same "Light Trooper", only changing their weapons (rifle, sniper, bazooka...) or their color depending on location (Military areas have red troopers, Research areas have white).

[[AC:Maze Games]]
* It all started with ''VideoGame/PacMan'', where the color coding of ghosts let the designers get away with only having one enemy type -- the colors indicated different AI strategies in how they pursued the heroic circle.
* Many early arcade games did this, due to the hardware limitations of the day. Some examples include ''Videogame/{{Berzerk}}'', ''Videogame/MissileCommand'', and ''Pengo''.

* ''Videogame/SuperMetroid'' has half a dozen different colours of Space Pirates of increasing power, from the wimpy grey Pirates in Old Tourian to the nasty red variant in Maridia that requires the plasma beam to harm. There were also a pair of [[EliteMooks gold Pirates]] that served as sub-bosses before Ridley's lair.
** There's a lot of enemies like this in ''Franchise/{{Metroid}}'' games. Nearly every zone has its own variation of the basic Zoomer/Geemer (which itself comes in a few different colours in both the original game and ''Super Metroid''), Sidehoppers and Desgeegas are the same enemy with different skin, Gerutas are [[LethalLavaLand Norfair]]'s version of Reos, Ripper [=IIs=] are faster moving Rippers...
* ''Videogame/MonsterTale'' applies it not only to the enemies but also to one of the heroes; Ellie's partner Chomp has three basic body types (Child, Teenager, and Adult), and all of Chomp's various forms are variations of those - one may be the basic form plus wings, another plus a tail, with spikes, with just one eye, etc.
* Many enemies in ''VideoGame/OriAndTheBlindForest'' get stronger {{palette swap}}s later on, and some of these have new abilities as well, e.g. the green Rams (rhino-like armored creatures) are {{Action Bomb}}s with a RollingAttack, red spiders have a {{spreadshot}} attack, the pink slime blobs' projectiles become damaging spikes when they hit a surface, the large slugs have a variant that jumps out of the ground when attacking, some of the plasma orbs shoot insta-kill laser beams in addition to fireballs, and "fire" and "ice" variants of enemies appear in the Forlorn Ruins and Mount Horu, respectively.

* ''VideoGame/GuildWars'':
** The game will often subtly alter the mesh of different "species" of the same sort of enemy (the Tengu, the minotaurs, the Nightfall insects, and so on).
** ''VideoGame/GuildWars Eye of the North'' has plenty of enemies recycled from the three previous campaigns, but the most noticeable example is re-using a species of monsters called "Mandragors". These insect/plant hybrids are found in the deserts of ''Nightfall'', burrowing under the sand. In ''Eye of the North'', identical monsters with the same name live in cold climate and burrow under snow, without as much as a LampshadeHanging to explain it. See also: the frogmen, though this is lampshaded by the fact that each color appears to designate a different tribe. This doesn't stop them from being modified versions of the Heket from Nightfall, though.
* ''Videogame/PhantasyStarOnline'' does this in Episode I. The Forest enemy type Boomas, the Caves enemy type Sharks, and the Ruins enemy type Dimenians all have the same basic "skeleton" and body structure, and the same attack animations. Later episodes seem to avert this, possibly because they were designed for more powerful hardware than the Dreamcast original.
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'': Minor cosmetic variations on enemies are the rule, rather than the exception, due to the sheer size of the game:
** Nearly every zone has some version of a wolf or boar to kill.
** As humanoids go, nearly every zone has some version of a gnoll or murloc. They are just ''[[GoddamnedBats everywhere]]''!
** Terokkarantula is tougher than the smaller spiders nearby, as would be expected by it's named nature and elite status, but a player who hasn't been there before is probably not expecting a spider that's larger than a house.
** In later expansions, the developers go through a good deal of work to create a few "unique" creatures for each expansion (especially the alien planet Outland). Still, you're unlikely to hit a zone that doesn't have at least two or three models you've seen before.
* The creeps in ''VideoGame/WarcraftIII'' are often subtle variations of each other, with the creep's size being a general indicator of its strength in comparison to others like it.
* ''Videogame/LordOfTheRingsOnline'' re-skins meshes all the time.
** They have even ''[[LampshadeHanging hung a lampshade on]]'' the practice with a quest in Evendim, in which you are sent out for your umpteenth "kill me some boars" quest. [[spoiler:It doesn't actually tell you to kill the boars, just look for some. This is important in that there are no boars in Evendim.]]
*** Which was further lampshaded in a later introduced dungeon in Evendim, [[spoiler:where you actually ''can'' encounter boars. If you kill one, a quest starter item will drop giving you the quest to ''finally'' bring the original questgiver his boarmeat.]]
* ''Videogame/EverQuest'' used this extensively. It may have been possible to fight a "variety" of [[DemBones Skeletons]] -- sharing one model and possibly one texture (with {{Palette Swap}}s) -- all the way from level 1 to max level.
** ''Videogame/EverquestII'' has some sort of skeleton or zombie in almost every zone.
* Perhaps parodied with ''VideoGame/KingdomOfLoathing'' with the [[http://kol.coldfront.net/thekolwiki/index.php/Perpendicular_bat perpendicular bat]]. Its description when you fight it is "This bat is perpendicular to the ground! That makes it totally different from a regular bat!" ''Definitely'' parodied with the [[http://kol.coldfront.net/thekolwiki/index.php/Completely_different_spider completely different spider]], an upside-down version of the "big creepy spider." The game uses crude StylisticSuck artwork, making these shortcuts especially silly.
* ''VideoGame/AdventureQuest'''s many different Zards definitely qualify. They typically serve as TheGoomba.
* The King Of Towers has many berserk enemies that have drunk demon's blood, which are naturally located at the Lava Plains.
* Prior to the first update in ''VideoGame/RFOnline'' there were a fair number of reskinned creatures, although the story behind them made more sense. When the new "Episode" addons were introduced, many of the creatures were recolored and resized for the newer areas. In fact even the players became this, as equipment above level 50 would be a reskin of an earlier piece of equipment. The newest update migated this somewhat with Elfland, where the reskinned enemies were few and far between, and a lot of new models were made for it. [[LevelGrinding Too bad you wont get a chance]] [[OneHitKO to enjoy it]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Mabinogi}}'' is a particularly egregious user of this trope. There are a very limited number of enemy types; and they tend to get recycled constantly. The most blatant example are mongooses in Iria. They exist in nearly every part of the Maiz Prairie region, and are indistinguishable except by tail colour (even their names reflect this), with each colour indicating a different difficulty level.
* ''VideoGame/RagnarokOnline'' has a few of these: (Archer/Soldier/Pirate) Skeletons, Kobolds/Goblins and to some extent Orcs, the [[MascotMook Poring family]] and some others. There are also lots of monsters that have just one stronger palette-swapped version, and a few families of monsters that have the same name and behaviour, but different colors and attacks/stats/elements appearing in the same areas.
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfTanks'' does this with some of its tanks turning up across different nations' technology trees. More than one nation has vehicles built upon the Renault FT-17 and the Russian T-54 family, along with some British and American tanks (the M5 Stuart). Justified from historical reasons, though - the British and the Americans did export tanks to the USSR under Lend-Lease, the Renault FT-17 was in service across many nations as a training tank well into the beginning of the Second World War, and the Russian T-54 family of tanks and its derivatives were the most widely produced tanks in history, landing up in service under many Soviet allies.

* In ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'', red-shelled Koopas are implied to be "more powerful", at least in that they have enough sense to not stroll off of cliffs like their green counterparts.
** This leads to the Green Koopas marching in straight lines unless they come upon some sort of block or another enemy creature (like a Goomba), which makes them turn around. (They also tend to turn around if they walk into ''you'', which is easiest to see when the action freezes as [[DeathThrows Mario falls off the screen.]]) Red Koopas behave the same way, except that they also turn around when they come upon a cliff (instead of just walking off the edge like the green ones.)[[note]]Granted, you wouldn't be laughing if a Green Koopa fell on your head, but... yeah.[[/note]]
*** There is a much greater difference between the Green and Red Paratroopas. Green ones tend to hop along in a straight line ([[GoddamnedBats leading to major headaches]] as you are forced to decide whether to try to dash beneath them or hop over them, and more often than not wind up in the wrong place at the wrong time); red ones just fly back and forth, "patrolling" a specific area without changing elevation. Sometimes the red ones instead fly up and down without any horizontal movement, and occasionally the green ones do that too. In any event, once you stomp on a Paratroopa and knock its wings off, it reverts to the AI of its ground-bound counterpart (not that you'd notice if it falls into a BottomlessPit).
** In ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros2'', Shy Guys come in ''pink'' [[note]]Blue in the [=SNES=] remake[[/note]] and red, with pink being the marginally smarter. However, Snifits come in a rainbow of colors, each with different behavior. And yet there is only ever [[UniqueEnemy one red Snifit.]]
*** The second version of Mouser is a different color, takes twice as many hits to kill, and throws bombs with greater frequency. The original ''VideoGame/DokiDokiPanic'' includes an even tougher albino Mouser, which is replaced by [[GiantEnemyCrab Clawgrip]] in ''SMB 2''. There are also three versions of Birdo; the first is pink and spits eggs, the second is greenish and spits fire, and the third is reddish and spits both eggs and fire.
** The ''VideoGame/PaperMario'' games are prone to this in the later areas. Although each chapter tends to have its own set of themed enemies, a few will return as recolours. For example, there's normal reddish-brown goombas, a pink and blue pair of bigger "goomba bros", a king goomba, [[MythologyGag dark blue cave-dwelling]] [[VideoGame/SuperMarioBros1 gloombas]], and greenish hyper goombas. The pit of trials that appears in each game lives off this trope.
** ''VideoGame/SuperMarioWorld'' has four colors of Koopas. Yellow drops from ledges like green, moves faster, drops a coin when taken out of its shell, and can jump into a shell to make it into an "invincible" flashing shell (or [[FanNickname "disco shell"]]). Blue doesn't fall from ledges, and recovers much faster than the others after getting knocked out of their shells (they're also much thicker, implying they're stronger) and usually kick the shell away instead of reentering it.
*** It also affects the powers Yoshi gets from them: Green does nothing, red gives him a one-time flame attack, yellow makes him damage nearby enemies upon touching the ground, and blue lets him fly. Flashing shells give all powers at once.
*** For that matter, Yoshi himself: A green Yoshi eating a shell only gets the shell's power, but a non-green Yoshi also gets the power from his own color (so a blue Yoshi can fly with any shell).
* ''VideoGame/WarioWorld'' does this a lot. There's a few unique enemies, but generally there's about four or five standard enemy types, and each world just changes the theme of them. You've got Magons, which then get reused as Skeletal Magons, Clowns, Snowmen, Wolves, Puppet Magons and Mummy Magons. You've got Cractyls which come as Bone Cractyls, Pigeons, Snow Bombers, Hawks, Masked Crows and Mummy Hawks. And the same for another four or so types of enemies.
* Played straight in ''VideoGame/WonderBoyIIITheDragonsTrap''. Red foes are weak, green are stronger, and blue are the strongest, often with the blue variants being given surprisingly powerful attacks after the player had gotten used to fighting the weaker variants.
* Several of the bosses in ''VideoGame/WonderBoyInMonsterLand'' do this, such as the Red Knight/Blue Knight/Silver Knight, the GrimReaper / God of Poverty(steals your Gold), and the Giant Kong/Snow Kong(spawns mini-Snow Kongs instead of throwing boulders).
* In ''VideoGame/{{Purple}}'', basic mooks like slimes, bats and cannons get {{Palette Swap}}ped at least three times, each with a slightly different behaviour.
* In the first ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry1'' game, Krusha came in two varieties. The first kind was blue with green camo and was only beatable by either of Donkey Kong's main attacks or a barrel (Diddy Kong's attacks were laughed off). The second kind only appeared once in the SNES version, in the very last level before King K. Rool. This version was grey with purple camo. The only thing that could beat him was a barrel, making him the strongest of the Kremlings.
* The Super Hulk or Super Mech from ''VideoGame/{{Descent}}'' is a red version of the Medium Hulk that is much tougher and armed with homing missiles. The Fusion Hulk is [[DegradedBoss a scaled down version]] of the first boss armed with a Fusion Cannon. In the second game, the Spawn is a green version of the Red Hornet, and the Tiger or Red Fatty Jr. uses the same model as the first boss, although it is smaller and has completely different weapons.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Bug}}!'', you fight snail enemies in [[GreenHillZone Insectia]] Scene 3, each of which were very slow and took three hits to die. And then when you get to [[BubblegloopSwamp Splot]], you see them again. Except that they take ''nine'' hits, and move twice as fast. And when they see Bug, they take out freaking '''[[MoreDakka MACHINE GUNS]]''' from their shells and fire at him!
* The Stage 6 and 7 bosses in ''VideoGame/BlasterMaster'', which are otherwise {{palette swaps}} of the Stage 2 and 4 bosses, have different, more powerful attacks than their predecessors.
* Enemy types in ''VideoGame/SaintSeiyaOugonDensetsu Kanketsu Hen'' are only three: normal, [[BladeOnAStick spearmen]] and archers. They all use the same sprite, only changing colors as the player progress in the game.
* In ''VideoGame/SonicHeroes'', [[MechaMooks Badniks]] are limited to models that come in different variants with abilities typically determined by their colors. The best example is the Egg Flapper, which come in red for no weapon, green for single-fire cannons, pale green for lightning underneath them, navy blue for machine guns, etc.
* In the remake to ''VideoGame/KirbySuperStar'', all of the new bosses save [[VideoGame/KirbysDreamLand Kabula]] are stronger versions of bosses from the original:
** ''Revenge of the King'': Whispy's Revenge for Whispy Woods, Lololo and Lalala's Revenge for Lololo and Lalala, Kracko Jr's Revenge for Kracko Jr, Kracko's Revenge for Kracko, and [[spoiler:Masked Dedede for King Dedede]].
** ''Helper to Hero'': [[spoiler:Wham Bam Jewel for Wham Bam Rock, doubling as a nod to Crazy Hand from ''Super Smash Bros'']].
** ''Meta Knightmare Ultra'': [[spoiler:Galacta Knight for Meta Knight]].
** ''The True Arena'': [[spoiler:Marx Soul for Marx]].

[[AC:Real-time Strategy]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Pikmin}}'' uses this with common enemies as well as the titular creatures.
** Pikmin themselves come in red, blue, and yellow initially, later adding purple, white, rock, and winged, all of these having their own sets of characteristics and combat abilities.
** Bulborbs, the game's most iconic enemies, come in red (known as spotty in the originals), orange, snowy, and as the much more dangerous Bulbears, each having its own dwarf variety.
** The cave-dwelling Dweevils in ''Pikmin 2'' are red (fiery), blue (caustic), yellow (anode), purple (munge), and black with a bomb on its back (volatile).
*** [[ColourCodedForYourConvenience The color lets you know which Pikmin to use]] (except for Munge Dweevils, which require white Pikmin, and Volatile Dweevils, which can kill any of them).

* {{Roguelike}} games employ this device to a fare-thee-well, since all of the monsters are represented by ASCII characters, of which fewer than one hundred are printable symbols, color coding is often the only easy way to tell them apart. Of course, sometimes two monsters have to share the same letter and color. Which leads many players to use alternate graphical "tile sets" which offer more information. Whether or not you should do this is one of the major fault-lines in ''VideoGame/NetHack'' fan circles.
** It's interesting that this trope still appears in roguelikes not just in that the monsters look the same but in that there are different variations of the same monster, even though in those there is NO work required in generating sprites for new monsters, so the imagination is the only limit. Given that ''VideoGame/{{Angband}}'' has close to 1000 unique monster types, the reason for this happening in such a game is probably more that the designers started running out of ideas rather than not being able to animate distinct monsters.
** ''VideoGame/DwarfFortress'' inherits this particular version, including the tileset option. For example, color is usually the only way to differentiate between rocks of different ores (which can be very important when you need to smelt metals) without looking at them specifically.
** In ''VideoGame/NetHack'', this can also lead to YetAnotherStupidDeath, in ways both obvious and surprising. Not only might the player not distinguish between a dwarf lord and a mind flayer, in some contexts ''the game itself'' doesn't distinguish between them. Ooh a blessed scroll of genocide! You'd better cap the mind flayers, having to remap levels is a bitch. What's that? You were playing as a dwarf? Congratulations: you have succumbed to death by palette swap. (Blessed scrolls genocide a class of monsters, in this case h, Humanoid)
* ''VideoGame/DungeonsOfDredmor'' has an absolute ton of these sorts of monsters. Most have different effects - Diggles are just annoying, but Sickly Diggles debuff you and Diggle Commandos are invisible.
* ''VideoGame/{{Elona}}'' takes this to the extreme, with whole lines of monster such as the minotaur and most of the golem line being [[PaletteSwap the same singular sprite tinted a different color]] to denote their difficulty and abilities. This leads to oddities such as Juere swordsmen and robbers with purple and red skin, among other things.

[[AC:Role-Playing Games]]
* Nigh-on every non-boss enemy in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars [[OriginalGeneration OG Saga:]] VideoGame/EndlessFrontier'', presumably to make room for [[HurricaneOfPuns more boob jokes]].
* ''Morrowind'' had a considerable lack of diversity amongst its native fauna, resorting heavily to underground monkeyism to create a wider range of enemies. This was somewhat justifiable in the sense that most of the game took place on a single island, and travelling northwest to the island of Solstheim introduced you to a set of entirely new creatures. Who also has some underground monkeyism, though unlike the base game most of them at least have new textures.
* ''VideoGame/SuperMarioRPG'' has this with a LOT of enemy types. Sometimes in quick succession.
* In the ''[[VideoGame/DragonQuest Dragon Quest/Warrior]]'' series, the majority of monsters in the series have at least one recolor, including regular bosses. In fact, the secret boss of Dragon Quest 6, arguably the single most glorified, powerful antagonist in the franchise, is a palette swap of an earlier boss. It's easier to count the few enemies with unique sprites.
** Special note must go to the [[MascotMook Slime]], which has taken this so far it has ''its own entire monster-class''. In almost every game, one of the first common enemies you encounter is the standard blue slime. Then, you meet the She-Slime (which is, in fact, [[MoreDeadlyThanTheMale slightly stronger]]), or Red Slime in early games. Going beyond that, we'd have to split this up to organize it better. Note in advance that a lot of sub-types are basically cross-breeds between more established types of slime, with [[BreadEggsBreadedEggs an appropriate naming convention]]. The ''Dragon Quest Monsters'' spinoff series created all sorts of these.
*** Slimes that retain their basic design include the Slime, the She-Slime, the Mottle Slime[[note]]Which appears in Dragon Quest VI and is your first major clue that something is very ''different'' about the world of the game[[/note]], the Mottle She-Slime, the Mottle Mendslime, the Behemoth Slime, ''the Beshemoth'' Slime, the Slime Stack (a tower of three slimes achieved by [[FusionDance slimification]]), and the King Slime (a slimification of ''eight'' slimes). We'll also count the Grandpa Slime, who competes for the top spot of all slimes with a handful of other slimes.
*** KnightErrant: The Slime Knight series consists of slimes who run around carrying blade-swinging riders. There's the basic Slime Knight, the Metal Slime Knight (which is, strangely, ''not'' a MetalSlime kind of enemy), the Dark Slime Knight (who rides around on a Dark Slime and has AnAxeToGrind), the Dark Lancer from ''Dragon Quest Monsters Battle Road'' (who rides on a Black Slime recolor and wields a JoustingLance), and Dragon Quest IX introduced the Slionheart, Prime Slime, and [[FourStarBadass Shogum]].
*** TheMedic: The Healslime series, which in design are essentially floating jellyfish slimes, spend most of their time healing other monsters. There's the basic Healslime, the Cureslime, the Medislime, the Sootheslime[[note]]While the healslime is the basic variant, the Cureslime, Medislime, and Sootheslime bounce around in terms of power -- the Medislime was originally stronger than the Cureslime when it debuted, but later games demoted it to an intermediary level. Sootheslimes from DQIX furthered the gap by being situated between the Medi- and Cureslimes[[/note]], the [=Man'o'War=] (which [[StandardStatusEffects inflicts paralysis]] instead of healing... and is usually the only one of these jellyfish to ''hang out near the ocean''), the Magic Slime (which appears in the GBA and NDS Monsters titles), and the King Cureslime (which is actually just a green PaletteSwap of the King Slime).
*** MetalSlime: The Metal Slime (of course), the Mettle Slime (a "baby" Metal Slime that appears in Dragon Quest Monsters Joker 2) the Metal Medley (which is three Metal Slimes stacked one atop the other) and the Gem Jamboree, the Liquid Metal Slime, the Metal King Slime, the [=DrakMetal=] (a crossbreed with Drake Slimes from DQVII), the Metal Kaiser Slime, the Platinum King Jewel[[note]]Creator/AkiraToriyama-inspired (and designed!)[[/note]] (and its variants Gem Slime, Slemperor, and Darkonium Slime), the Diamond Slime, and, as of DQM Joker 2 Professional, the Liquid Metal King Slime.
*** Unsorted slimes from the {{Mons}} game include Treeslime, and Wingslime, and Halo Slime, and.... It also featured color-coded dragons.
*** ''VideoGame/DragonQuestMonstersJoker2'' takes this particularly UpToEleven, where the strongest slimes include the [[OlympusMons zodiacal]] [[GiantEnemyCrab Canzar]], the HenshinHero Slider series -- that's the [[TheHero Ultra Slime/Slider Hero]], his partner [[MoreDeadlyThanTheMale Slider Girl]], his enemy [=Nemeslime/Death Slidark=], and his HumongousMecha Slidark Robo... and then there's the KillSat Sli-Blaster.
*** ''Terry's Wonderland 3D'' went so far as to introduce even ''more'' Slime humanoids with the [[{{Ninja}} Sli-Shinobi]] series, with a dozen new monsters to this sub-series, and then you learn about the Metal Star, which is a Metal King Slime transformed into ''the frigging [[Film/ANewHope Death Star]]''.
*** ''VideoGame/DragonQuestHeroesRocketSlime''. Each of the 100 different members of the MonsterTown is a different type of slime.
** In some games, boss monsters will have basic enemy variants that are even more powerful than they are, given relative power levels. This led to the amusing situation of Geyzer, the first boss of ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII'', who's actually the weakest variant of his own monster-type (Merman) in the game.
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' uses this in most incarnations, especially with the ElementalRockPaperScissors aspect: the blue monster casts water spells and is weak against thunder, the white monster casts ice spells and is weak against fire, etc. ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' made some extra use of this, as a side quest rewarded players for capturing entire "species" of monsters. It was especially common in the earlier, sprite-based games due to [[PaletteSwap Palette Swaps]].
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI'' has tons of instances of monsters that look exactly the same, only stronger and with a different name, including several Notorious Monsters.
*** And when monsters of the same species don't look exactly the same, they are palette swaps. In some cases this is justified. For example, rabbit type enemies have different fur color in different climates. It gets a little harder to justify with the Wings of the Goddess expansion, where forest tigers from 20 years ago are neon orange for no apparent reason.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'' manages to subvert the spirit of this trope without subverting the letter of it, by making slight differences in the meshes of any given group of monsters (i.e. some toads have claws, others have webbed feet).
*** More prominent example: the Hellhound has a large horn that the Desert Wolf does not.
*** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'' also [[JustifiedTrope justified]] it to some extent, as many of the monsters who share a given sprite are in fact related to one another, as the Bestiary implies.
*** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'' is a good example of how to do palette swap enemies, with different species of monster varying by environment: their primary diet, the climate, and some being mutations caused by [[AppliedPhlebotinum Mist]].
** ''VideoGame/CrisisCore: Final Fantasy VII'' took this to ridiculous extremes. If a monster got a special white coloration with feathers, and a pattern of a certain character's face, it became a 'copy' of that character. Despite essentially being the same monster, it was implied to be much more powerful as a result.
** Worse yet, after a certain point, they didn't even bother to change the enemy colors. This left you with about 200 missions of fighting the same, boring avatars.
** Both ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' and ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'' avert this trope, where (almost) every monster type in the game has a unique mesh, animation, and sound effect. The only exceptions (for VIII, anyway) are for human and humanoid enemies, plus Elvoret and Elnoyle.
*** ''IX'' has a few palette swaps; the ten {{Fairy Battle}}s, and the Crystal versions of the Four Fiends.
*** ''VIII'' bosses Catoblepas and Red Giant were recycled from mooks, and Omega and Ultima Weapons were swaps of each other.
* GameBoy games had a lack of memory that justified Underground Monkeys, but were also monochrome and so had no way of switching palettes. Generally, this led to enemies either never improving or simply gaining more hit points, though turn-based [=RPGs=] (Such as the ''VideoGame/{{SaGa}}[=/=]Final Fantasy Legend'' series) were able to circumvent this by giving the sprites new names. (Say, isn't that Master Dragon the exact same size as the Baby Dragon from the start of the game?)
** This hardware limitation led to an inversion in ''Franchise/{{Metroid}} 2''. In the original, getting the Varia upgrade made the sprite change color, which wasn't possible on the Game Boy. To compensate, now the Varia granted the huge shoulders that are now the character's trademark look.
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' games, a common practice was to have different individuals represented by a sprite of the same person (usually the male and female sprite used for the PlayerCharacter, no less) stuck in a different suit of armour or clothing. The second game in the series contained a couple of self-conscious LampshadeHanging jokes on this theme, including the henchman of a crime boss confiding that he suspects there must have been a big cloning accident at some point in the past, and an EasterEgg location in which a pair of sprites originally intended to be player characters but retooled to only fill {{NPC}} duties lament over their fate.
** ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' is a more modern 3D game and as such gives every human character different appearances. And while all Feral Ghouls look mostly the same, the different species of Ghoul are easily identifiable. Ferals are the standard, Reavers from the ''Broken Steel'' DLC get a different face ''and'' abilities and Glowing Ones... well, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin glow]].
*** ''Broken Steel'' also adds Hellfire Troopers, which are Enclave troops with high-impact fire-resistant armor and heavier weapons, and Albino Radscorpions, albinistic versions of Giant Radscorpions that are much faster and tougher, and regenerate HP in sunlight.
*** Fire Ants look like normal Giant Ants but also spit fire. Like real ants, they both have several ranks with varying appearances and statistics.
*** Mirelurk Hunters are bigger, tougher, and have a different model than base Mirelurks, Nukalurks are a glowing blue version of Hunters found in the Nuka-Cola plant, and Mirelurk Kings are a completely different species, being mutated turtles rather than horseshoe crabs.
*** The Mister Gutsy robot is an upgraded version of Mister Handy with better armor and a plasma cannon in addition to the standard flamethrower.
*** Normal Super Mutants, Overlords (''Broken Steel'') and Behemoths are ''very'' easy to tell apart and are fought with different strategies; unfortunately the Brutes and Masters only have slight armor and HP varieties from the standard ones. Overlords use the same model as Behemoths but are smaller and wield [[BeamSpam tri-beam laser rifles]] or [[GatlingGood gatling lasers]], whereas Behemoths exclusively wield [[TelephonePolearm fire hydrant polearms]].
*** The ''Point Lookout'' expansion adds swamp versions of Feral Ghouls, Mirelurks, and Mirelurk Kings, as well as the Robobrain Sentries that guard the FinalDungeon, which really are just palette swaps with slightly different abilities. Except for the Swamplurk Kings/Queens, which have 100 HP more than a Deathclaw and a new acid attack that deals 100 HP damage plus poison health drain.
*** Likewise for Maintenance Protectrons (lack the US Army livery) and Nuka-Cola Security Protectrons (painted with the Nuka Cola logo) in the base game.
** In ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' and its add-ons, the Spore Carriers are reskins of the Trogs from the ''Fallout 3'' DLC ''The Pitt'', with an added ActionBomb capability. The Trog model is also reused for the Tunnelers in ''Lonesome Road'', some of which can [[KnockBack knock down]] or [[StandardStatusEffects poison]] the player character.
*** Lakelurks are renamed and slightly recolored Mirelurk Kings.
*** ''Old World Blues'' introduces the Mr. Orderly, a medical version of Mr. Gutsy, Construction Drones (repaints of Protectrons), and Berserk Securitrons.
*** Also in ''OWB'', Police and Military Cyberdogs are mostly identical, except for the latter's sonic emitter attack.
*** The Feral Ghouls in Vault 34 wear vault jumpsuits or armor and are named according to their human roles, but statwise are identical to normal Ferals or Glowing Ones, except for the Overseer, who is a boss version of the Reaver type with stats similar to ''FO 3'''s Reavers (minus the radioactive gore attack). Similarly, Camp Searchlight is inhabited by Feral Ghoul-ified NCR Troopers, which wear trooper armor and attack with knives or other melee weapons.
*** Golden Geckos are upgraded yellow versions of the standard Geckos, Fire Geckos are spinier and breathe fire, and Green Geckos from ''Honest Hearts'' are twice as large and spit acid.
*** In addition to the ranks from ''Fallout 3'', Super Mutants have a blue-skinned variant known as Nightkin, who are equipped with {{Invisibility Cloak}}s and different apparel and weaponry than the normal Mutants.
*** Bark Scorpions use the same model as Radscorpions, but are smaller, brown in color, and have [[InterfaceScrew more potent]] [[StandardStatusEffect poison]].
** Deathclaws have had several variations through the games. ''New Vegas'' introduced Mothers, who have blue skin and swept-back horns, and Alpha Males, who have dark skin and elongated horns. Both are notably taller, faster, and stronger than the vanilla Deathclaws.
*** ''Fallout 4'' added Glowing Deathclaws, which glow green and deal radiation damage, Albino Deathclaws with very high health, and Chameleon Deathclaws which can change color.
*** ''4'''s ''Nuka-World'' add-on added Quantum Deathclaws, which mutated in the same way as the Nukalurks and glow blue-purple, and Gatorclaws, essentially Deathclaw-shaped alligators created from splicing gator and Deathclaw DNA. The Nukalurks themselves also return, with the addition of Nuka versions of Mirelurk Hunters and Kings.
** In ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 4}}'', most enemies generally have a level-scaled list of variants with corresponding upgrades to stats, equipment, and abilities; e.g. Raider Psychos are TheBerserker and tend to use chems more often, Raider Scavvers most commonly wear PowerArmor, Raider Wasters wear combat armor and wield combat or assault rifles, Raider Survivalists are expert snipers, and Raider Veterans are heavy weapon-toting EliteMooks.
*** ''Far Harbor'''s Wolves and Fog Ghouls are mainly cosmetic variations of the main game's Mongrels and Feral Ghouls with little statistical difference. Mirelurks also have a powerful "Bloodrage" variant that can also spawn in the Commonwealth at high levels.
*** In the Automatron DLC, Junkbots, Swarmbots, Tankbots, and Scrapbots are heavily modified Protectrons, Mr. Handys, Sentry Bots, and Assaultrons, respectively, and in turn have their own sub-variations (Cybermech, Servomech, Integrated, Quantum, etc.).
* In ''Literature/BraveStory: New Traveler'', the ''exact same enemy'' can come in multiple different colors, so the difference between genuinely different enemies is at least slightly greater, with a few exceptions. This was part of the game's world design. Monsters were designed to be "organic" in that one given monster species would have biodiversity. The player could encounter three mobs in the same battle, and each would have slightly different stats. In general, colour had less to do with power than size, with larger mobs being significantly stronger.
* This was the design strategy behind the monster designs in early ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'' games. Many demons share the same body type as a way tp get around hardware limitations.
* ''VideoGame/{{Persona 2}}'' also has a small handful of these, thanks to palette swaps and the occasional replacement part in monster sprites (several Chariot Arcana demons the most obvious of the latter, using the same giant brute body with different heads and colors).
* ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' is another good example of this trope--practically every enemy inside [[ItsAllUpstairsFromHere Tartarus, the game's sole real dungeon,]] uses one of a select number of sprites, and most sprite-sharers are vulnerable to the same kinds of tactics (if not necessarily always sharing elemental weaknesses).
** Amusingly, the weakest type Shadow in the game: Lv 2 Cowardly Maya, is also the strongest in the game: Lv 99 Indolent Maya.
* Every boss not important to the story is simply a giant version of a normal enemy, a practice that would carry over to ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}''. {{Justified|Trope}}, due to the [[TheHeartless nature]] of the Shadows.
* ''VideoGame/{{Persona 5}}'': Subverted. On [[PreexistingEncounters the field]], enemies are slightly retextured versions of one or two enemies. For instance, the first dungeon only has a knight in silver armor, and the exact same knight with a gold armor texture on him. In battle however, the enemies are all custom models from several decades of ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'' designs.
* The ''VideoGame/MonsterHunter'' series uses this repeatedly. A prime example is Yian Kut-Ku, one of the easiest wyverns in the game, which appears later on as the Blue Kut-Ku, a stronger (and blue) version identical in every other way. Not only does the game do this with the enemies, but the armour then made from the enemies looks exactly the same apart from a colour swap to fit with the wyverns' colour.
** Kut-Ku is one of the few cases where the alternate version doesn't have an appreciable difference in elemental weaknesses, body part strength, moveset or move frequency. For example, a green Rathian's head is its weakest part, and it will [[ThatOneAttack charge at you a lot]], with occasional [[StandardStatusEffects backflips]] thrown in. Conversely, a [[LawOfChromaticSuperiority Gold Rathian's]] wings are its weakest part, and it backflips all the time (which [[HoistByTheirOwnPetard ironically makes them easier to deal with]]).
** Some subspecies have a different element than the main species, and sometimes live in a different environment. For example, Agnaktor lives at the [[LethalLavaLand Volcano]] and uses [[PlayingWithFire Fire]], while its subspecies Glacial Agnaktor lives at the [[SlippySlideyIceWorld Tundra]] and uses [[AnIcePerson Ice]] and [[MakingASplash Water]].
** Some other examples of monster counterparts behave exactly the same but have very different appearances. For example, the Aptonoth looks like an amalgamation of different species of dinosaurs, while the Tundra-inhabiting Popo looks like a very short, trunk-less woolly mammoth. Both species behave pretty much identically, and they both fill the role of the harmless herbivore that gets eaten by everything else.
* ''VideoGame/GrandiaII'' starts doing this about halfway through the game.
* ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' does not perform {{Palette Swap}}s of its [[{{Mon}} monsters]] aside from rare "shiny" Pokémon which are the exact same species (think albino). The closest thing to recycled enemies might be evolved forms of previously encountered Pokémon, or the ''same'' Pokémon at higher levels. This lack of palette-swapping monsters makes sense when you consider the whole premise of the game is built on having a wide selection of Pokémon to customize your team with. There are many Pokemon based on similar animals who are mostly differentiated by the location they live in though. Take Pachirisu, an Electric squirrel of the Sinnoh region and Emolga, an Electric flying squirrel of the Unova region. Pikachu, a rare Electric mouse that lives in forests and Marill, a rare river-dwelling mouse. Also, the same species of animal may be represented more than once in the same area such as Pansage, Pansear and Panpour who are all forest monkeys but each of a different elemental type.
** Played completely straight with some of the ''Trainer classes'' -- while there are no palette swaps, and the in-battle sprites of the Trainer classes are all unique, often several classes share the same ''overworld'' sprite. While this problem was also prevalent in the first 3 generations, it's especially noticeable in ''VideoGame/PokemonDiamondAndPearl''. For example, Ace Trainers, Rangers, Bird Keepers, and Dragon Tamers look the same until you fight them (and the overworld sprite of all 4 are clearly that of the Ace Trainers). [=PIs=], which is a Trainer class that wears a red trenchcoat and hat, also use the same overworld sprite as the Rich Boy Trainer class. The most egregious example is perhaps the Psychic Trainer class, as, despite being a class available for both genders, the overworld sprite for both genders is completely identical, meaning the only way to find out their gender is to battle them.
*** While ''VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite'' and ''VideoGame/PokemonBlack2AndWhite2'' has mostly kept the overworld sprites of Trainers classes consistent to their battle sprites, the boss version of the Clerk Trainer class shares the same overworld sprite as the more common variant. This is particularly odd, seeing how there are unique overworld sprites for both of the variants of the Worker Trainer class.
*** ''VideoGame/PokemonXAndY'' also keeps the overworld models of the Trainer classes consistent to their artwork, but some models are reused for different classes, with the only difference being that each class has a different palette. For example, ever wonder why the Veteran classes in the overworld look a lot younger than they do in their artwork? That's because their overworld models are actually palette swaps of the Ace Trainer overworld models. Ever confused as to how the Fairy Tale Girl's hair looks completely different in the overworld? That's because her overworld model is actually a palette swap of the Twins overworld model.
*** In the [[VideoGame/PokemonRedAndBlue first generation games]], all Gym Leaders (With the exception of Giovanni) all use overworld sprites that other [=NPCs=] use. This is later averted in later generations, where all Gym Leaders have their own unique overworld sprite.
** An InUniverse example would be Shellos and Gastrodon, which are only cosmetically different on the West and East sides of the continent. The justification was divergent evolution (that is, allopatric speciation rather than metamorphosis) after being separated by Mt. Coronet.
** Also played straight with the cry sounds. There were only 37 cry sounds in the original game, and while some were sped up or slowed down, some cries, even by unrelated Pokémon, were identical. Charizard and Rhyhorn, Ditto and Poliwag... Caterpie and Goldeen technically have different cries, but you'd have to listen to them in succession to hear it. Less noticeable in ''VideoGame/PokemonXAndY'', where the revamping of the Pokémon cries meant that the cries of the original Gen I Pokémon went through DivergentCharacterEvolution. (but they still sound similar).
** Interestingly, this ''was'' played straight with [[PaletteSwap Shinies]] in ''VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver'': unlike in later games, which have a "shiny flag" on the {{Mons}}, Pokémon with specific base stat totals were Shiny, which resulted in Shiny Pokémon having somewhat higher base stats.
** ''VideoGame/PokemonSunAndMoon'' introduces the concept of regional variants, existing Pokémon species that have changed their typings, abilities and appearances after adapting to a completely different environment. The ones that are found only in Alola are known as Alolan forms. These include the Alolan Sandshrew and Sandslash (which are now Ice/Steel-types after having to adapt to snow-capped mountains), Exeggutor (which grows to an astounding 35 feet tall due to the year long tropical sun), and Raichu (which is an Electric/Psychic type that can levitate by "surfing" on its tail... [[ItRunsOnNonsensoleum No concrete reason is given for this change]]).
* Taken to a more extreme level by the ''VideoGame/{{Wizardry}}'' games, particularly VI and VII, wherein enemies were given graphics by type-all slimes use the same graphics, as do all demons, all bugs, etc, including non-hostile [=NPCs=] and bosses. Further complicating matters is that unless a party member has a high mythology skill, all you'll see attacking you is generic "birds" or "crawling wastes". Experienced players can usually determine what particular monster is attacking them by the area they're in or the attacks the monster uses. Occasionally leads to party kills when the player mistakes a very nasty enemy for an easy one.
* ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' includes the "Debugger" and "Debuggest" robot-bug enemies; "Rolies", "Polies", and "Rolypolies"; "Cave Apes" and "Goons"; and "Mutants" and "Metal Mutes", among others.
* ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'' has this all over the place, although there are certain occasions where an enemy will be slightly powered up without changing the name/color.
** There are even some unused variants of certain enemies hidden in the game's coding, complete with differing {{Palette Swap}}s and names.
* The later sprite-based ''VideoGame/MightAndMagic'' games, especially the seventh incarnation, played this trope hilariously straight. How do you tell the difference between a minotaur and a minotaur lord? The nastier version is almost identical - it's just a bit bigger. And bright purple.
** Ditto on [[http://homepage3.nifty.com/rfish/index_e.html Elona]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Albion}}'' does this a little differently. The enemies are different on each continent, but come in a small variety. Stronger versions of certain creatures accompany larger packs. They don't even bother with creative names (Animal3)
* ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou'' has four or five varieties of every monster type in the game. Including bright pink elephants. At least they have slightly differing attack patterns and (sometimes) vulnerabilities.
** [[LampshadeHanging When you're drowning in a sea of work with not enough time,...why pour your soul into assets that get used all of... what, once? Really. Have some compassion.]]
* In ''VideoGame/MOTHER1'', the Lone Wolf, Silver Wolf, and Wolf are all the same sprite with different colors, and the Stray Dog is a wolf sprite colored brown with a chain around its neck.
** The entire trilogy does this, although ''VideoGame/EarthBound'' and ''VideoGame/MOTHER3'' give the palette swaps goofy names. For instance, you have the 'Manly Fish' and his stronger swap, the 'Manly Fish's Brother'.
* The Swedish parody RPG ''Playelf'' has this with ninjas - there are red ninjas, blue ninjas, black ninjas, white ninjas, etc - as well as "hurry up-ninjas" which appears when the players are dithering. But the most awesome ninja...
--->"There's also supposed to be a camouflage-coloured ninja, [[IncrediblyLamePun but no one has ever seen him]]".
* Present throught out the ''VideoGame/TalesSeries''. Monsters that are purely palette swaps are most common in the games that utilize sprite based graphics, while the 3D games usually change their model a little, as well.
* ''VideoGame/{{Boktai}}'' has this in all its incarnations, though sometimes coloration is used as a hint to its [[ElementalRockPaperScissors elemental affinity]]. This is more egregious in ''Lunar Knights'', where many enemies are colored solely by affinity - namely, the Ghouls, Vorns, Slimes, Hounds, and Chloroformin' come in different colors on this alone. The Slimes, strangely enough, are the only ones in this group that come in [[LightEmUp Sol]] flavor.
* ''VideoGame/UltimaV'' contains literal monkeys found only underground -- the Mongbats -- but they resemble nothing else in the game.
** ''VideoGame/UltimaIII'' has multiple enemy types with the same colours where the only difference is the name - however, that's ''literally'' the only difference. No change in stats, health, damage dealth, weaknesses... Just Orcs, Goblins and Trolls, all exactly the same.
* ''VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptunia'' has this in spades, especially considering some of the monsters are from other games.
** [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] to the point of parody in ''VideoGame/HyperdimentionNepuniaRebirth1'' in an early dungeon, which contains several varieties of "Shampuru", enemies that are completely identical apart from stat variation, and can't be distinguished until you're already in battle. Exactly one of them is a "Buff Shampuru". [[BossInMookClothing It will absolutely destroy you]].
* Done frequently by the ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigi'' games. Most of them are simply {{Palette Swap}}s with boosted stats that attack faster, but some such as the Dark Mechawful from ''Bowser's Inside Story'' diversify themselves from their vanilla cousins. ''Dream Team'' is particularly egregious, as many Dream World enemies are altered versions of Pi'illo Island enemies, and several other enemies get stronger R forms. Of particular note is the Capnap, which also comes in [[UpToEleven Dreamcap, Dreamcap Captain, Dreamcap R, and Dreamcap Captain R varieties]].
* ''VideoGame/EvilIslands'': You'll find several types of wolves, boars, toads, tigers, trolls... that look the same except for color or size.
* Done in all the games in the ''Franchise/BreathOfFire''. Usually, the initial weaker enemies will have simple "AttackAttackAttack" patterns while their stronger color-swapped versions will have a new, unique skill to which their entire strategy revolves around.
* Several mooks in ''VideoGame/ChildOfLight'' come in elemental variants with differing stats and weaknesses. Their element is usually denoted by their colour or texture- fire spiders would be orange and on fire, ice spiders would be blue with ice clouds, and earth spiders would look greenish.
* Referenced in ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'' when checking Moldsmal in Waterfall. Of course, the battle system is DeliberatelyMonochrome, so it's also a parody.
-->''It's a different color, so it's a bit stronger now.''
* ''VideoGame/DarkestDungeon'': All enemies, including bosses, have upgraded versions whose appearance differs, at most, by a subtle palette swap.

* The [[MechaMooks Gorgies]] in ''VideoGame/{{Vanquish}}'' have four variants; the red USN type are TheGoomba, the yellow USR's lead squads and are more intelligent and well-armed, the green USS's are snipers that can kill OneHitKill Sam, and the blue USG's are EliteMooks with flight capability and the most powerful weapons. The standard {{Giant Mook}}s, the Romanovs, also have four varieties with different weapons and abilities.
* ''Videogame/{{Warframe}}'' relies on this trope quite a bit. The Grineer generally prefer a more cosmetic approach, changing up textures for fundamentally-similar units based on the terrain; as of Specters of the Rails, there are standard combat, jungle, desert, and amphibious varieties. The Corpus and Infested tend to use altered coloration to denote different abilities instead, although the Grineer also do this for Archwing enemies, and every faction resorts to it for [[EliteMook Eximus units]]. All three factions also contribute reskinned variants of various units for [[BrainwashedAndCrazy the Corrupted]] in [[EldritchLocation the Void]].
* In ''VideoGame/SunsetOverdrive'', the subtypes of each of the three {{mook}} categories (Overcharge Mutants, Scabs, and Fizzco Security Bots) all have distinct appearances, attacks, and weaknesses; for example, Overcharge Drinkers are the standard "zombie" enemy, Herkers are {{Giant Mook}}s with an excavator shovel on their left arm, Scab Rushers are TheBerserker, Scab Shooters use ranged weapons, Blade Bots are armed with {{Laser Blade}}s, Tank Bots are [[HumongousMecha giant walking tanks]], etc.

[[AC:Tower Defense]]
* In ''VideoGame/DesertMoon'', we have Runners, Bursters and Hunters, all of which look similar with only palette and size differences. All three of them act differently- Runners are [[TheGoomba basic]], Bursters are faster, tougher and [[ActionBomb blow the hell up when killed]], and Hunters are extra tough and [[KungFuProofMook tunnel underground, invulnerable to damage until they rise]] when they get near your units.

[[AC:Turn-based Strategy]]
* In all of Creator/NipponIchi games higher variations of PlayerMooks classes are recolors of their basic sprite.
** A prime example are the Witch and Mage classes in the ''Disgaea'' series. Unlike other classes, the tiers are all functionally identical, Save for the types of spells they can use.
* ''VideoGame/ShiningForce'' uses this in all of its games and it is jarring. The original, for example, had regular [[GoddamnedBats Bats]], and their aquatic cousins, ''Sea'' Bats.

* In the first few ''VideoGame/{{Tenchu}}'' games, most enemies are simply different texture swaps of the same weapon moveset with only extra hit points. In the first game, for example, the weak Ronin and Rouban from early stages, the stronger Footsoldiers and Patriots in the middle and the end-game Manjisou and Shikabane Soldiers are all simply the same "sword/katana" set with more hit points.

[[AC:Wide-Open Sandbox]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Minecraft}}'' has gradually introduced location-specific variants on their basic monsters. Cave spiders, introduced at the tail end of beta, are smaller (able to crawl through a 1×1 hole), bluer spiders that spawn in abandoned mineshafts and can inflict a poison effect on the player. Wither skeletons spawn in Nether fortresses, wield swords instead of bows, and can cause the "wither" effect (which is similar to poison but less severe and also obscures the player's health meter). Version 1.10 added Husks, zombies that spawn in deserts (where there are no trees to hide under) and don't burn up in the sun; and Strays, skeletons that spawn in icy climates and fire potion-tipped arrows that slow their targets.
* Hunter and Crystal Slimes in ''Videogame/SlimeRancher'' are described to be cousins of Tabby and Rock Slimes respectively. The first lives in the Moss Blanket, where no Tabby Slimes are found. The other lives in a unique volcanic area in the Indigo Quarry. The Hunter Slime looks like a wilder version of Tabby Slimes, but brown, while Crystal Slimes look like Rock Slimes with [[CaptainObvious crystals]] on their head instead of stones.

!!Non-Video Game Examples:

* ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'' as a whole loves this. The anime itself has recolors who are merely a different attribute (such as say, [=BlackGarurumon=], who is a Virus-type counterpart to Garurumon), different element (such as Yukidarumon and Tsuchidarumon, snow and ground respectively), or just a recolor for the sake of being a recolor.
** The Digimon games add to this by not only having the original recolors included, but several entirely recolored evolution lines, Rookie to Mega, in Vaccine, Data and Virus flavors.
*** Taken to an absurd extreme with with likes of Soulmon, who is a Bakemon with a wizard's hat (that's the ONLY difference) and [=NiseDrimogemon=], which is merely a Drimogemon with a ''swirly mustache''.

* [[ColorCodedForYourConvenience Color-coded dragons]] predate most video games, as they appeared in the Tabletop Game ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'', which was first published in 1974. Evil ("Chromatic") dragons have scales of a particular solid color reflecting their place in the ElementalRockPaperScissors spectrum, and good ("Metallic") dragons have scales the colors of precious metal. Interestingly, though, these aren't "{{palette swap}}s"; as it is possible to readily identify different species of dragons in greyscale artwork (for example, white dragons have a peculiar vertical crest on their head, while silver dragons have backward-pointing horns and a ribbed frill along their necks).
** On one occasion, the color-coding is used as the basis of a truly heartbreaking MonsterIsAMommy story, when a noble silver dragon is born with albinism, and is hunted down and killed by an adventurer who thinks it's a white dragon. Who then proceeded to find the silver dragon's children.
*** One adventure featured a similar story with an albino [[KillItWithFire red dragon]], causing the party to prepare to fight it in ''the least effective way possible.''[[note]]White Dragons, using [[AnIcePerson ice]] take double damage from fire. Red dragons, using fire [[NoSell are completely immune to it]].[[/note]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' has many different cases of this.
** A particularly infamous example is the Rothe, which is a semi-literal UndergroundMonkey ''of a bison''.
** The Elves of D&D come in high, wood, sea, grey, wild and several other varieties.[[note]][[LoadsAndLoadsOfRaces At least 27 varieties in fact]] for 3.5[[/note]]
** The third edition of ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' features ''templates'', giving uncreative [=GMs=] the opportunity to color-code ''any'' monster into a water monster, a fire monster, slime monster, etc.
*** Although one 3rd edition ''Magazine/{{Dragon}}'' article about creating monsters included "But this one's blue!" in a list of how ''not'' to do it.
** Fourth Edition includes at least one extra variety of every monster in its Monster Manual entry. Many of these fall into Underground Monkey status, being simply higher level versions from a different environment-normally, a different plane.
** Crossing over with OurWerebeastsAreDifferent, the second edition of the game included no fewer than ''seven'' types of werewolf, altogether: regular, loup-garou[[note]]bigger and tougher, coming in two flavors; mountain loup-garou are bigger and stronger still, have a HealingFactor, and are vulnerable to gold instead of silver[[/note]], loup de noir[[note]]evil humans who use enchanted pelts to shapeshift into dire wolves[[/note]], lythari[[note]]good-aligned silver-colored otherworldly elf lycanthropes[[/note]], and seawolf[[note]]aquatic werewolves who can shapeshift into an amphibious wolfman or a wolf-headed seal, divided into Lesser and Greater versions; Lessers have no special defenses, whilst Greaters are vulnerable to cold iron as well as silver and magic[[/note]].
* While discouraged due to the WYSIWYG rule of the game, ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' still has shades of this. Space Marines have more rules than the rest of the other playable factions combined, and the only way to tell them apart is by their armor and what kind of bling they have (Robed and Green, it's probably Dark Angels. Spikey and/or evil looking, probably Chaos. Red and Blood drops, Blood Angels. Knightly helmets and book emblems, Grey Knights. Swords and seals, Black Templars, etc...). Even within a single army, the difference between an elite squad of veterans armed with modified boltguns and a simple tactical squad is sometimes literally a differently painted shoulderpad. Averted with the other races, where each type of trooper generally gets their own model.
** There's now specific models for veteran Space Marines, with custom boltguns that look a bit different and shoulder pads that have embossed icons for non-codex chapters. Of course, these models are more expensive, so some players stick with the old palette swap method, especially since some veteran models are non-customizable and don't have optimal wargear (though that last one can usually be fixed by some part exchanging and sculpting).
** Forgeworld, Games Workshop's main subsidiary, also produces new kits with their own rules, but more relating to this trope also produces additional pieces so you can kit out your units in specific ways just as you want, provided you are willing to pay more money. This typically means shoulder pads, weapons and doors for your vehicles, but they also produce entire alternative ranges of Space Marines in their various armour types, some of which are more fitting for a theme army (say, Iron Warriors using Mk. II/III armour which look much more medieval than the standard one).
** Two of the Dark Eldar troops are one of the few non-marine armies to play this straight; the Kabalite Warriors and Wyches and their elite variants, Trueborn and Bloodbrides. These literally use the same model and in fact are upgrades to their base form's unit entries as of 7th edition. Their only difference, game wise, is a slightly improved profile and the ability to take more weapons.

* Other toys use a similar system, often called redecos (when identical molds are used but the color of plastic is altered) or retools (when most parts stay basically the same but are altered to include, for example, new accessories; this can also include a redeco). For example, in one series of ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'', [[http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Storm_Cloud#Classic_Series Stormcloud]] is a redeco of [[http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Powerglide#Universe_.282008.29 Powerglide]], while [[http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Sideswipe_(G1)#Universe_.282008.29 Sideswipe]] is a retool of [[http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Sunstreaker_(G1)#Classic_Series Sunstreaker]].
** This even leads to recolors in characters in the cartoon--for example, Thundercracker and Skywarp were repaints of Starscream. This became very confusing when someone accidentally colored two Starscreams.
** The most annoying use of this in recent series has been making Galvatron a redeco of Megatron.
* For most of its run, ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}'' sets were just recolors of each other with slight differences in assembly and parts. Sometimes, the ''only'' difference would be their [[CoolMask masks]] and their tools/weapons. Then, the Mahri Nui saga came along in 2007, and the [[EvilOverlord Barraki]] were released, each looking very different from each other. Since then, the sets have been largely [[AvertedTrope averted]] this trope.
** Played with in the larger sets. While each large set was in of itself different from other large sets, each early large set could produce two near-identical creatures. Justified in that back then Bionicle toys were more akin to Rock'em Sock'em robots, and the kids were expected to play against eachother so the toys had to be identical to make it fair. Newer large sets averts this since they lost the Playability of the older sets in lieu of posability.

* Gets parodied in the ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' "Years of Yarncraft" (spoofing VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft, of course) [[http://sluggy.com/daily.php?date=080814 here]], [[http://sluggy.com/daily.php?date=080817 here]] and [[http://sluggy.com/daily.php?date=080920 here]].
* As mentioned in the trope description, the TropeNamer is ''Webcomic/RPGWorld'', and was originally a LampshadeHanging by showing a number of "Underground (animal not usually found in caves)" enemies in succession.
* Parodied in the webcomic ''[[Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick Order of the Stick]]'': in one comic, a paladin discovers the titular party has killed a dragon. She then accuses them of possibly killing a creature of benevolence and wisdom, and asks why they thought it deserved death, to which Roy Greenhilt replies, "Erm... its scales weren't shiny?" which placates the paladin. Elan then breaks the FourthWall by winking at the reader and saying, "Dragons - now ColourCodedForYourConvenience!"
** Ironically, the comic does this itself with goblins/hobgoblins/ghouls.
** Vaarsuvius rants about the use of this trope to populate the Underdark in ''Snips, Snails, and Dragon Tales''.
--->'''Vaarsuvius:''' It is exactly the same as the upper world, only dimmer! JUST STAY AT HOME AND PUT ON SUNGLASSES!
* Lampshaded several times in the webcomic Webcomic/{{Adventurers}}:
** At one point, the Ice Dragon, boss of the Ice Cave, paints himself red and calls himself a Fire Dragon to fool adventurers.
** At another point, [[BigBad Khrima]] says that he's busy making monsters, and a flunky points out that most of the time all he does is take an existing monster and put "Fire" in front of its name.

[[AC:Real Life]]
* TruthInTelevision: Members of the same biological genus are usually similar enough that the main differences are color and location. Things like size, basic body shape, and diet are all almost identical.
* Automobile manufacturers will often use a single common chassis with minor changes to styling, features, trim, and tuning to produce cars aimed at different markets or market segments.