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Dark World

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Really? A literal pun?

"Man lives in the sunlit world of what he believes to be reality. But... there is, unseen by most, an underworld. A place that is just as real, but not as brightly lit... a DARKSIDE."

Drive down the old highway at midnight, walk through an ancient shrine to the Elder Gods, or "sleep off" a bad trip from a strange drug that's darker than oil... and you'll end up in a parallel world made of your worst nightmares. This is the Dark World.

It is a twisted fun-house mirror version of our own world, filled with the dilapidated and distorted reflections of normal buildings, decayed into Sinister Subways and Abandoned Hospitals. The changes can even extend to the layout of the city or area, the geography will turn malevolent as it gets huge gaping holes, fences, or other barriers added — or removed. The dimensions don't have to add up the way you learned in geometry class.

Its inhabitants will likely be similarly warped, if not monsters or unfathomable spirits outright. If the real world is also populated with monsters, expect the former to be tougher. Perhaps they feel at home in the dark? It's not always literally darker, but often is. It might not necessarily be evil, but often is. The nature of the Dark World might never be revealed, but could very well be entirely "natural", or outright hellish.

Entering the Dark World can be distressingly easy: drive to a little old town, walk into a Haunted Castle, activate a strange device, fly into a Swirly Energy Thingy, crawl through a hole in your bathroom or go into a Convenient Coma near a psychically charged place. The last one tends to be freakiest because whatever Nightmare Fuel the darkness throws at you will most likely be reinforced by your own mind. Returning to the "real" world is always harder; even if you have control over your transitions between the worlds, your objective will often be in the more dangerous one — and even if you walk away, the Darkness might just follow you home...

The most creepy part of this trope is how mundane it is. It is really difficult to imagine oneself in an obviously Eldritch Location, but it's easy to imagine that you got lost in your home town and ended up in some district that really gives you chills.

See also Mirror World and Spirit World, which may overlap at times. Frequently used as the horror genre form of Environmental Symbolism, the Dark World shares some qualities with, but is distinct from, Time Travel and Another Dimension. If you travel from your hometown to a Bad Future where it's in ruins, that's Time Travel. If you travel from your hometown to an Enchanted Forest, that's Another Dimension. But if you travel from your hometown to a dark, twisted parody of your hometown filled with monsters... congratulations, enjoy your stay in the Dark World.

If you merely go back to your hometown when it's dark, even if the town's been infested by The Undead, then you're in a Remixed Level.note 

A Dark World is usually a type of Alternate World Map, if used as a video game world map.

A Sub-Trope of Shadowland. Not to be confused with Blackout Basement, where the world is literally dark.


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  • One was featured in an ad for a hearing aid of all things. Showing a man walking with his granddaughter, who gradually grows fuzzy, before fading completely. The colors desaturate as he enters a dark version of the park, with no other life besides faint indistinct whispers on the wind. Probably the most nightmarish commercial ever seen.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Multiple iterations of Black★Rock Shooter take place in or revolve around these. Whether it'd be the OVA or anime's parallel reality that both affects and is affected by events in the real world, with darker and far more powerful versions of some of the real world's inhabitants that can interact and merge with their counterparts if a connection is established, or the Innocent Soul manga's Threshold, which is basically purgatory for souls that could not fully pass on, twisted by the memories and perceptions of the souls in question, they're almost always pretty freaky to be in. And also almost always decked out in Astral Checkerboard Decor.
  • The Obsolete Space in Den-noh Coil. Bits and pieces of outdated virtual environments (often representing buildings and locations that have been demolished in the real world) mashed together, filled with obscuring mist and Living Shadow-like Illegals.
  • Digimon:
    • DigiQuartz in Digimon Xros Wars: The Young Hunters Who Leapt Through Time. It resembles a corroded, overgrown version of Tokyo, and miscreant Digimon behaviour there tends to have effects on the real world, up to and including the kidnapping of schoolchildren.
    • Digimon Universe: App Monsters has the same idea: an AR Field usually looks like the real world as rendered by a computer that's not very good at it. The colors are warped, the buildings look moldy and abandoned, the sky looks like the Digital World sky as seen in the Xros Wars era, and there are places where it looks as if the world is a hologram that's breaking up, letting you see a strange purple void behind it. The real world's technology is affected; if an attack hits a building in the AR Field, expect technology in the building to go haywire, power to go out, and even things like cell phones to stop working.
    • The Dark Ocean in Digimon Adventure 02, gloomy home to digimon that... aren't really digimon, in thrall to a Cthulhu Expy.
    • The protagonists of Digimon Ghost Game can use a function on their digivices to pull themselves and their enemies into AR Field-like Phantom Zones that resemble an altered version of their location that contains a single biome and a perpetual overcast that resembles the Digital World's sky from the original Adventure series. A later message from Hokuto reveals that the Digivices map environmental data recorded in the Digital World onto the characters' surroundings to create them.
  • The hell-banishment scenes in Hell Girl take place in an Afterlife Antechamber that sometimes looks like wherever the wrongdoer of the week hurt the episode's client. Notable divergences from the world of the living include it being nighttime or having a red or purple sky. The sunset realm where Ai resides when not doing her job is also a reflection of the world of the living, namely the valley where she lived before she died and destroyed her village in an act of vengeance against the villagers who murdered her. It also becomes more of a Dark World when she meets clients to lay out the terms of her deal as the sunset turns from a normal sunset to a blood-red glare. Michiru also gets a sunset version of her hometown when she becomes a second Hell Girl.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords (2004), the Dark World is, like it’s game counterpart, a twisted dimension that Shadow Link can teleport things and people to and from. Children lost in the Dark World turn into living toys after spending enough time there.

    Comic Books 
  • Dark Nights: Metal introduces the Dark Multiverse to the cosmology of the DC Universe. It's a multiverse that runs entirely on Finagle's Law, where For Want of a Nail turned pivotal events to their worst possible outcome, twisting the hope and nobility of DC's heroes into monstrous nightmares. Each world in it is said to be the worst nightmare anyone had at any point in their life come true. The best people can hope for there is to be traumatically deformed into monstrous beings, incapable of becoming anything like they were ever again before their worlds are erased, or die. The worst outcomes turn heroes into monsters immeasurably worse than the villains they fight, who are motivated to seek out uncorrupted worlds to take over when theirs ends.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Ruins takes place in a Death World that runs entirely on Murphy's Law, where nobody has the Required Secondary Powers necessary to keep their powers from killing themselves and everyone around them while the Badass Normals just end up getting themselves killed.
    • Age of X takes place in a universe where instead of doing heroics The Avengers are a government death squad dedicated to wiping out mutants. Captain America is a Broken Ace Just Following Orders, Iron Man is slowly being killed by his suit, Susan Storm sold out the rest of the Fantastic Four for harboring mutants, and The Punisher calls all the shots.
    • Immortal Hulk showcases the Hulk as a horror story and along with the darker tone comes the Below-Place. The Below-Place is depicted as the lowest point of existence and even lower than every hell. It was stated by Brian Banner, Bruce Banner's Archnemesis Dad, that the Below-Place is the foundation of the idea of hell. The Below-Place takes on the older interpenetration of hell being a place utterly devoid of anything and cut off from everything, including God. The Below-Place itself spans the entire multiverse and is a desolate landscape littered with signs of ruined civilizations copied from the multiverse serving as the dark mirror to creation. To make matters worse, while there are "people" in the below place called qliphoths that are duplicates of every sentient creature in the multiverse but still don't count as companionship as they are empty husk people and devoid of souls while spouting phrases their templates said during their lives with no real thought. If this dark existence devoid of all true life and contact with anything else weren't bad enough, there is the being trapped there since before existence began. A being of pure hate and the Unseen Evil in the multiverse that despises all living beings while wanting to annihilate everything to make all dead and hollow as itself. A being that has influenced every evil entity and person consumed by evil subtly without anyone even realizing its manipulations. The shadow below the multiverse and creation's other face....The One Below All.
  • In Supergirl story Demon Spawn, Supergirl is kidnapped and brought to the Innerverse, a world which exists inside her own mind, born from her dark side, and inhabited by hordes of demons and monsters. The sky is a featureless, violet void, the trees are dried and leafless, the land is barren and rotten, and the water is poisonous.
    Nightflame: This is Innerverse! It exists upon one of the atoms that make up your own brain! It is a world of sorcery! A dying world... dying because your goodness is eating away at the evil this microcosm is composed of!

    Fan Works 
  • The Dimensional Drifter: The titular Dark World from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is briefly brought up in a conversation between Judai and Johan. Yuya, who was listening in, takes one look at their faces and decides he's better off not knowing the details.
  • Subspace in Go Jyu Sentai Gigaranger.
  • Power Rangers AVX introduces the Phantom World, where the magic the Rangers use is nullified, while the bad guys’ power is amplified.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away, the seemingly abandoned theme-park/town undergoes a similar transformation at sunset as the streets and buildings come alive with eerie spirits. It isn't actually evil, though; it's merely where kami and ghosts go to relax, and naturally is only active after dark.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Carnival of Souls: It may be one of the first films to use this. The protagonist would at times slip out of the perception of those around her, losing all sound as well. Other times, near the titular Carnival, the games and rides would come alive, as would ghoulish dancers who beckoned her...
  • Constantine (2005) has the titular protagonist travel to Hell that looks like the immediate aftermath of a nuclear strike of modern Los Angeles. With demons.
  • In The Dark (2005), Adele takes a trip into Annwyn which is certainly a Dark World even if it is meant to be a sort of Celtic hell.
  • In Dead End (2003), a family was coming to celebrate Christmas with relatives, but made a wrong turn and ended up on a really weird, neverending road with a creepy woman in white and a sinister black car that takes people away.
  • Occurs in a New Zealand short film, The French Doors. A man moving into a new home buys a pair of French doors and installs them. The next morning, he wakes up to a beautiful day with sun shining though the windows... except through the French Doors, which remain in complete darkness. Going out through the doors, he finds a darkened version of his garden and realizes that he's not alone.
  • When they are summoned to Earth, The Cenobites from the Hellraiser series create and/or inhabit these- for example, they can be filling empty rooms with meathooks and torture devices.
  • Insidious has "The Further", a shadowy realm populated exclusively by demons and spirits. The only way a human can access it is if they were born with the ability to mentally travel there through the astral plane. Renai and Josh's son Dalton has such an ability, and slips into a coma when he ventures out too far into the Further and gets lost. It turns out the ability is spread genetically, and his came from his father, who was unaware of having the same power. When Josh eventually finds out he shares the same power, he uses it to enter the Further and rescue his son, at the cost of getting possessed by a demon.
  • Jacob's Ladder seems to revolve around a character's frequent shifts from his ordinary life into a nightmarish dark world filled with demons. It eventually turns out that he's been Dead All Along, and both worlds represented his refusal to let go of his earthly cares and embrace the afterlife. This film unsurprisingly served as a primary inspiration for the Silent Hill series.
  • MirrorMask, although there is also a Light World.
  • Many dreamscapes in the A Nightmare on Elm Street films resemble a Dark World version of Springwood.
  • "The Gloom" or "Twilight" in Night Watch (2004) and Day Watch (2006) — based on the novels by Sergey Lukyanenko — is a black-and-white version of our world, with some useful magical properties, but it drains the person entering of their life energy so it's used at high risk.
  • Sony's Spider-Man Universe is a Crapsack World full of supervillains and monsters who would prefer to not kill innocent people, and since it is an Alternate Universe to the more idealistic MCU and other Spider-Man- related universes, the SSU can be seen as this trope in comparison.
  • In Super Mario Bros. (1993), the parallel dimension city is essentially the Dark World to New York. It's suggested in supplementary materials this was done consciously, Koopa looking at New York when he passed through the portal several decades earlier and getting ideas for how to rebuild the other world that he had just taken over.
  • The afterlife for people who killed themselves in Wristcutters: A Love Story is essentially a mild version of this trope. It's just like the regular world, only less colorful and more depressing, and nobody ever smiles. And there's a black hole under the front passanger seat of the protagonist's roommate's car.

  • In John Metcalfe's 1920 short story The Bad Land a new arrival at a British health clinic soon discovers an abandoned road that gradually leads him into an eerie, twilight version of reality that only one other resident has experienced. That resident has a theory that pockets of "the bad lands", as he calls them, are erupting and invisibly spreading from central points all over the world, but the story leaves open the possibility that both of them are mentally unstable.
  • This is essentially what became of the Domain after the Skulltaker (not that Skulltaker) offered up the skulls of the Kurgan, Hung and Tong chieftains at the Black Altar in Blood for the Blood God by C.L. Werner. This is because the original leader of those clans used those lands to bargain with Khorne for power, but instead of using it to glorify the God of War as he promised, he used it to establish his own little kingdom. In essence, Khorne was just taking his due. The moral of this story, as said by the pants-shittingly frightening Norscan Khornate is: don't try to cheat a god.
  • Crouch End, a short story by Stephen King, is about a family couple who gets lost in an unfamiliar district of London. The district looks almost normal with shops, restaurants, etc., and yet there's something off about it; its inhabitants include a couple of scary children and an ugly cat with a disfigured face. In fact, it gets even somewhat less scary when the actual monsters appear.
  • Henry Kuttner wrote a novel with the very apt title The Dark World about this trope. The dark world of the story is an alternate version of Earth which has drifted into a fantasy world, although the magic is given a scientific explanation.
  • In Downtown by George Right, the protagonist gets on a wrong subway train and ends up in a very strange and creepy alternate version of New York. He was actually Dead All Along, and the world is a very dark version of Mundane Afterlife.
  • The Nevernever from The Dresden Files can have aspects of this. As an Eldritch Location, Nevernever is an all-encompassing spirit realm that could have some near-Earth level physics to it, to places very unreal to the human world. It is said Hell, Heaven, Hades, Valhalla, and any other number of religious domains exist there. When the titular character Harry Dresden opens a portal in the shadows of the Pyramids of Giza, he describes a giant crystal pyramid with smooth edges and a sun hanging above. The beams of sunlight refracted in the crystal and made the light even more intense. Harry notes the beams are strong enough to melt metal. What is worst is there isn't a ratio for the human world. Had Harry opened up a portal in a different spot around the pyramids, he could have entered a totally different realm.
  • The Eleven-Day Empire from the Faction Paradox series is this for the entire city of London, guarded by thousands of Eldritch Abominations under a pleasantly blood-red sky, like something was forever burning, just beyond the horizon...
  • When it was first brought up in Elfstones of Shannara, the Forbidding was never really seen, but it was given a vague description of being a dark and empty void to which the demons had been imprisoned. When we finally get to see it in the High Druid series, it was revealed to be a Dark World of the Four Lands.
  • Alan Dean Foster's Into the Out Of, where the Out Of is the parallel dimension where the demons are coming from. The heroes have to go there to close the gates.
  • Thomas Ligotti's horror fiction:
    • "The Frolic", in which an inmate of a mental asylum describes a sort of ruined and rubbish-strewn Dark World.
    • The titular dream-dimension-thing from "Vastarien" is a particularly surreal example, seeing as it is, essentially, the protagonist's vision of paradise.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings has the world of the ringwraiths, which one can enter by putting on the One Ring. This trope applies especially to the movies, where the wraith world is depicted as a spooky shadowland.
  • Some Philip K. Dick stories feature dark versions of the "real world" of the protagonists, such as Martian Time-Slip in which a powerful Martian colonist named Arnie Kott uses an autistic and/or schizophrenic boy and a Martian ritual to send him back a few weeks into his own past so he can make a business deal, but finds he is in a hallucinatory version of the past tainted by the boy's fearful fixations on entropy and death.
  • The Earth from where vampires and gypsies originate in Brian Lumley's Necroscope series is a dark version of our Earth. Although for their inhabitants our Earth is the dark version.
  • Downplayed in Richard Laymon's Night in Lonesome October. The protagonists tends to wander his home town late at night, and some really bizarre stuff happens. He ends up on streets he's never seen before, meets creepy passersby and cannibals that live under a bridge; the general feel is that the town at night is some realm completely different from daylight version of it.
  • In Nightside by Simon Green, the eponymous Nightside is a dark side of London which has demons, aliens, vampires, werewolves, Jekyll and Hyde, limousines fueled by blood, a Tunnel of Love amusement park ride operated by a succubus, pornographic versions of Agatha Christie mysteries... and much much more.
  • The first level of Twilight in Night Watch (Series), which Others can enter by stepping into their shadows, is like this. The deeper layers don't resemble Earth at all - the second level has, among other things, three moons and much weaker gravity. Also, at the second level, you can barely even see man-made structures. They resemble a dark mist, which you can fall through if you're not careful. Anton kills a low-level Dark Other on a TV tower by entering the second level and pulling the Dark Other down. When the Dark Other emerges back into the human world, he's hanging under the walkway with his fingers embedded in the glass floor. Interestingly, in Last Watch, Anton notes that, as he goes deeper into the Twilight, it looks, at first, less and less colorful, but, at some point, being to look more and more colorful until the sixth level looks almost like the human world if humans had never evolved. Of course, this is because the Twilight is circular, and the seventh level is actually the human world.
  • The Darke Halls in Darke are basically this.
  • In Shaman of the Undead the world in mirrors looks like oddly-colored, distorted and creepy-ish version of our own. Creepiness mostly comes from the fact that the demons and other unpleasantries are visible there.
  • Swan's Braid & Other Tales of Terizan: In "Sometimes, Just Because" Terizan goes into a parallel world like this via a Magic Mirror, where she enters a version of Oreen that's (almost) completely empty and gives her unsettling feelings at once. She is hunted there by an invisible pursuer before too long.
  • The first of two Mirror Scares in The Taking features one of these as the leviathan passes over head. The protagonist Molly sees a version of her bedroom that's ruined and overgrown with plant life like nothing in the region where she lives. There's also something watching her from the other side, which she only catches a brief glimpse of. The mysterious invaders that follow do their level best to make the real world fit this trope over the course of the next day.
  • The Territories in The Talisman is something of a smaller magical reflection of our world. The Territories themselves are an alternate reality version of America and as such there are many ways in which the two worlds mirror each other. One of the first is the town of Oatley and one of the last is the nuclear wasteland that is the Territories' version of the great plains.
  • Villains by Necessity: The parallel world the shadow walkers enter. All the shadows are there, and through these shadow walkers can exit into the normal world wherever they exist, making it a godsend for assassins like Sam. He fears, though, that as the Light grows, the shadow world will fade and eventually disappear.
  • In both the book and the film of What Dreams May Come, suicide victim Ann spends the afterlife in a dark world version of her own house. The similarity is enough to confuse her into thinking it's the same house.
  • Dark Manhattan in the first book of the Young Wizards series. And in the first book of the Feline Wizards Spin-Off series, the underground city of the Children of The Serpent is also described as a twisted reflection of Manhattan.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ash vs. Evil Dead: People who are killed by the Kandarian dagger end up in a lifeless mirror version of our world with an unsettling Sickly Green Glow and inhabited only by some nondescript shadow monster that feeds on new arrivals. The physics don't make much sense either, like trying to go through a door that may open to the other side of town — and it constantly changes.
  • The Charmed Ones had once traveled into a dark version of their world created to keep balance with their version.
  • Community has the Darkest Timeline, an alternate timeline where everything went to hell because Jeff rolled a 1, Chang still rules the school with an iron fist, and the Study Group turned evil. Though whether it's real or just one of Abed and Jeff's delusions is up for debate.
  • Kamen Rider Decade has the Negative World, where the heroes arrive after helping out in the worlds of their nine predecessors. It looks like Natsumi's homeworld, but is full of human-hunting monsters and evil Kamen Riders like Ryuga, Orga, Dark Kabuto and Dark Kiva.
  • Kingdom Hospital: Psychic Sally Druse called the spirit world "Swedenborgian space." Those who ventured into it saw it as dark, haunted parodies of either the Old Kingdom (the hospital from the 1930s) or the Civil War-era Gates Falls Mill, whose ruins both hospitals were later built upon.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Adar tells Galadriel that Sauron made horrible experiments on the Orcs in his tries to obtain the power of the Unseen World. The three priestesses from Rhun are revealed to be wraiths. When the Stranger defeats them, is implied they returned to the Unseen World.
  • Stranger Things revolves around The Upside-Down, where Will is trapped for most of Season 1, a reflection of our world which is always cold and dark, and which is filled with toxic fog and predatory creatures, and is covered in Meat Moss.
  • Twin Peaks had the "White Lodge" and the more often seen "Black Lodge." Both realms have hidden entrances in the woods: the former is an idyllic garden, the latter is an Eldritch Location comprised of checkered floors, chairs (the 'waiting room'), and distinctive red curtains. The Black Lodge is also home to the Doppelgangers — manifestations of the evil within each of the show's characters — one of whom escapes into the body of Cooper in the series finale.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The Kabbalah gives us the Sitra Achra (Aramaic for Other Side), a sort of evil mirror image of God's creation of the real world.
  • Inverted in talamancan mythology, the mythical world is the real world, here in the material world we can only perceived the inverted reflections/projections of everything that exists.


    Tabletop Games 
  • The Vigil in Anima: Beyond Fantasy. The manual suggests the mess left behind by Eljared is weakening the barrier between it and the world.
  • Several planes in Dungeons & Dragons have this trait.
    • The Plane of Shadow, is a monochrome land with a pitch-black sky. Its terrain is roughly analogous to the Material Plane, so that if you cross to it from a city you may find yourself in a dark and ruined settlement, complete with shadowy inhabitants whose twisted features are recognizable as your friends and loved ones. Things get more fluid the further you go, and you might find a shadow castle where none stands on the Material Plane, or an old battlefield instead of a dungeon - these "shadow mirages" are thought to be the result of influence from alternate Material Planes, leading some seers to visit the Plane of Shadow to search for hints of potential futures. The plane is inhabited by a variety of shadow-touched creatures as well as undead who enjoy the ambience, light-based magic is naturally impeded there, and areas called Darklands are so saturated with negative energy that they can drain the life from living creatures, but unlike the Lower Planes, the Plane of Shadow is not inherently evil. Despite its dangers, it still sees use as a "transitive plane," since any distance traveled on the Plane of Shadow is doubled upon return to the Material Plane, and a brave traveler who seeks out the "Deep Shadow" can find themselves in the dark reflection of other planes entirely.
    • The Shadowfell, which replaced the Plane of Shadow in the Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition iteration of the Multiverse, is one part this and one part The Underworld; it's a "dark reflection" of the living world, where the terrain is altered to suggest decay, fear, darkness, misery or madness. All departed souls pass through this realm on their way to their final fate, and the undead are born from its influence. There are communities of living beings here, but it's considered an unhealthy environment; the place literally drains living beings of hope, joy and positive emotions. Whilst often conflated with the Plane of Shadow, there are some key differences, the simplest of which is that the Plane of Shadow has no connection to the afterlife.
    • The Plane of Faerie, or Feywild, is home to The Fair Folk, a twilit realm of fantastic terrain. Instead of a volcano you might find a towering mountain studded with enormous fiery crystals, a muddy brook on the Material Plane might be represented by a wide and raging river, or a wetland might become a trackless bog.
    • The Spirit World is an exaggerated, more primal version of the Material Plane, so a waterfall there would be taller, louder, its waters purer, and probably home to an elemental or spirit.
    • Domains within the Ravenloft setting which recapitulate actual Material Plane locations such as Barovia (as opposed to being crafted from scratch to suit a darklord's proclivities) are invariably this trope. Some are obviously that way, while others bear a close enough superficial resemblance that no difference is noticed until night falls and the spooky kicks in.
  • Exalted: The Underworld is a realm of stasis, death, and shadow brought into existence by the destruction of several of the Primordials who created the world, populated by ghosts, and ruled by the emissaries of the undead hulks of those same Primordials. It isn't always geographically coterminous with Creation proper, but it makes up for it in sheer creepiness. Shadowlands are essentially the Underworld overlapping with a part of Creation in a spot where gruesome deaths occurred. You might not even notice that you walked into a shadowland right away...
  • In JAGS Wonderland, Chessboard Two is like this, being a broken and deserted reflection of "Chessboard Zero" (the real world, or at least the world we live in) populated by uncanny things.
  • KULT has the endless city of Metropolis and the nightmarish realms connected to it, filled with twisted mockeries of life and sanity. And there is also Gaia, the darkside of nature where "eat or be eaten" is taken to an extreme. Both of them are The True Reality, as opposed to the illusion of the "real world" that mankind lives in.
  • The Shadowmoor setting in Magic: The Gathering is the Dark World version of Lorwyn. Lorwyn and Shadowmoor are the same plane, the former experiencing eternal day and the latter eternal night. The plane alternates between the two every 300 years. While Lorwyn is a bright fairytale plane whose inhabitants are mostly peaceful, Shadowmoor is dark and its inhabitants exemplify The Fair Folk.
  • The New World of Darkness has a few of these: the Shadow Realm (an animistic reflection of Earth occupied by spirits), the Underworld (seldom glimpsed, but not a bright and cheery place), and the Hedge (the midpoint between Earth and Faerie, equally wondrous and dangerous).
  • Princess: The Hopeful has its Dark World, a freezing and decaying reflection of the real world. It's the place where the All-Consuming Darkness comes from, and there are theories that this is what the world will look like right before it wins...
  • The Old World of Darkness had the Penumbra and Dark Umbra. The Shadowlands from Wraith: The Oblivion may be the best example — the wraiths gaze out on the same world as us, but everything seems to be in a state of decay. Also, in a meta example, the old World is written as a dark reflection of the real world, where extremes are more stark, gothic architecture abounds, and things are generally worse than in the real world. The new World tends to play it as the real world but with supernatural elements, which is a much different approach.
  • The Nightlands invading the real world is the central premise of Palladium's Nightspawn/Nightbane RPG (name changed after first printing for legal reasons). The Nightlands are ruled by demonic sorcerers and illusionists who keep the mindless doppelgangers of real world people as slaves. There is also The Dreamscape where nightmares are literally real, and can find their way into the real world.
  • Lord Entropy's Chancel in Nobilis is actually known as "The Evil World". Since the Darkest Lord is a Card-Carrying Villain, it lives up to its name — complete with monsters that die immediately if they undergo a Heel–Face Turn — and it can occasionally overlap with Prosaic Reality. As a general rule, just... don't go down Samael St. Augustine unless your will is up to date.
  • The Wretched Hives of Shadowrun's Sprawls can either become that way due to malicious city spirits, or the spirits can become disgrunted by urban decay. Anyone capable of astral perception may witness a Darker World than the usual City Noir. Astral travel/perception in general has a lot of potential for this, in places where powerful spirits or elementals are hostile, territorial, or bound to guard from astral intrusion, even corporate facilities and datastores. The projected forms of Runners and corporate agents themselves take on surreal appearances. It's a different kind of warzone for the magically active characters.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game, there is the Dark World archtype. All the monsters are Humanoid Abominations and the images on the Spell and Trap cards depict a hellish landscape with organic looking walls. Unusually for this trope however, according to the Master Guides, despite being mostly Dark-attribute fiends, they're actually pretty decent guys. They were hit with Adaptational Villainy in the anime however. In fact, them being decent guys is best exemplified in Zure, Knight of the Dark World's Flavor Text:
    The name of this illustrious knight is known by all residents of Dark World. He never oppresses the commoners.

    Theme Parks 
  • Universal's Halloween Horror Nights in 2002 was set in a twisted mirror version of the Islands of Adventure park, called "Islands of Fear", where each of the areas were a dark equivalent of their regular daytime counterpart. Examples including a Port of Entry that was instead a "Port of Evil", a Marvel Super Hero Island where Carnage killed all of the heroes and took over, a Toon Lagoon filled with demented cartoon characters, a Jurassic Park with both carnivorous dinosaurs and gruesome dinosaur/human hybrids running around freely, a Lost Continent ruled by an Evil Overlord deity, and a Seuss Landing set in a derelict Who-Ville during the events of Halloween Is Grinch Night.

    Video Games 
  • In Akrasia, if you go for some time without collecting pills in the maze, the maze goes from bright and cheery to dark and gloomy. And then a monster descends upon you, reversing your direction keys. You can easily return to the light world by taking a pill. The Dark World is actually the world that contains the exit from the maze; if you keep on taking the pills to stay in the non-dark world, you'll be unable to escape the maze (and will eventually die). The seemingly nightmarish world is meant to represent drug withdrawal in that it can be frightening at first and very tempting to flee back to the apparently much more pleasant world with just another pill, but that if the player resists the temptation to take more pills in favor of finding an actual way out, s/he successfully "kicks the habit" and is able to return home.
  • In Armillo, portals to a parallel world are located in various places in each level and must be entered to solve some puzzles. This version of the world is covered in purple fog and Armillo can only survive in it for a limited amount of time, forcing the player to complete these puzzles quickly.
  • The PC Game Blair Witch Volume I: Rustin Parr uses this trope to help explain some mysteries of the movie The Blair Witch Project. The woods of Burkittsville contain hidden "paths", as described by Native American lore, that twist through different levels of reality. While the normal forest is safe enough, there are other versions of it, such as the crimson-lit "Red Woods" and the foggy, twilight "Blue Woods", each inhabited by its own monsters and bearing key geographical differences (for example, in the normal woods, Rustin Parr's house has burned to the ground, but it's still standing in the Red Woods). The worst of these worlds is the Black Woods, a snowy, pitch-black level of reality that "the Hecaitomix" has made its home.
  • Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance features a Dark World referred to as Castle B, and you've been flipping back and forth between the two, though you won't find this out until halfway through the game. Castle B is exactly the same layout as Castle A, except with different enemies, bosses and items, but it's all wrecked compared to the pristine Castle A.
  • In Chaos Field, the game's setting takes place in a world being invaded by an unknown alien force seeking to take over the "Order" Field with its own titular "Chaos" Field, and the game's central mechanic revolves around shifting between the two Fields to maximize firepower while dealing with more aggressive bullet patterns and managing their Meta gauge to perform special attacks or to pull up defenses.
  • In Constantine 2005, you keep alternating between the real world and Hell (which, as mentioned above, is a hellish version of the real world) to solve puzzles, leading to some ridiculous situations. At least one reviewer snidely remarked that this is the first game that literally makes you go To Hell and Back to open a door.
  • The 10th dimension from Crash Twinsanity is a warped, reversed version of the regular universe the rest of the series takes place in. The peaceful, natural beauty of N.Sanity island is twisted into a unnatural hellscape called Twinsanity island. Everyone from the regular dimension have opposite counterparts, with the kind, goofy Crash being mirrored with the violent, cannibalistic Evil Crash (there were other 10th dimension counterparts planned, such as Evil Coco and Good Cortex, but they were sadly cut from the final game due to time constraints). Even the soundtrack on Twinsanity island is a less bouncy, spooky sounding version of N.Sanity island's theme.
  • In the Dark Seed games, the Dark World is a twisted, desolate alternate version of Earth. It doesn't help that H.R. Giger designed it. It ultimately turns out the evil aliens that are threatening the real world actually aren't from the Dark World and just recently conquered it from the mostly peaceful original inhabitants.
  • In The Darkside Detective, the Darkside is a distorted and sinister reflection of the real world that can be accessed through magical portals.
  • Deadly Premonition has the "red world", which you enter for combat sections and which overtakes the entire town after midnight. It's never really explained what exactly the world is, although it's pretty clear that it's not just York being crazy.
  • Amaterasu Server in Digimon World 3 is something like a Dark World version of the regular game world. Not really evil, just shrouded in eternal darkness. Comparatively, the Asuka Server where you start out in is always sunny 24/7. Travel between the two "servers" is done using a combination of 2 different secret (and dangerous) routes.
  • Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories features an unlockable Dark World, all the regular stages are similar with much stronger enemies and a malevolent sun that screws with the players every few turns.
  • The Casket at the beginning of D'LIRIUM is apparently some sort of portal to Hell. Opening it apparently transforms the manor it's set in into a haunted wasteland filled with tormented souls.
  • Doom³ has moments throughout the game where the hero seems to see reality change from the already wrecked, lifeless base into a blood-streaked, skeleton-littered nightmare world, only for everything to snap back to normal a second later. And the "Resurrection of Evil" expansion has a Non-Player Character outright state that the Delta Labs area is phasing in and out of the Another Dimension, Hell, creating a more tangible Dark World where the two intersect. In fact, the penultimate level of Resurrection of Evil has you going through previously-visited areas as reality constantly shifts back and forth every couple of seconds.
  • Several sections in Downfall (2009) and its sister game The Cat Lady take place in a nightmarish world rife with Bizarrchitecture and grotesque Nightmare Fuel.
  • Dragon Age: Origins, another BioWare product, has The Fade, which consists largely of flawed copies of material-world areas floating in a spooky void. This is justified though, since the landscape of the Fade, with the exception of the Black City, is an ever-changing reflection of the dreams of mortals brought into being by spirits and demons.
  • Dragon Quest VIII has a Dark Is Not Evil version, because although the world is a darker version of the normal world (and everything is black and white, with very little color being present in it, in contrast to the vibrant world the heroes came from) and the Sealed Evil in a Can the heroes are after hails from there, the people there are as friendly and helpful as in the normal world. Unfortunately, unlike most examples such as the Trope Namer, only a small part of this game's Dark World is visited (specifically, the Dark World's counterpart of an island the heroes visited; the heroes have no way of getting to the rest of the Dark World because they have no way off the island, since they only have a ship in their own world), even though the full world would have no doubt been very large like the normal world map.
  • The Red Night in 11eyes, a world categorized by its overlarge black moon and red sky. Electricity doesn't work in this world, all people except for the chosen six disappear, and horrific monsters roam the streets. Scary place.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
  • The freeware game Eversion starts out in a typically cheerful retro platformer world, but in order to progress you must "evert," traveling through a sequence of mostly-similar worlds that each contain crucial differences (i.e. whether particular obstacles are intangible, solid, or breakable) allowing you to navigate through a maze and collect all the gems. Once you get to the third world, it becomes clear that each World in the sequence is gradually Darker than the last — a "descent into Platform Hell" if you will.
  • Fear & Hunger: Termina: Interacting with ritual circles with Rher's sigil transports the player into an alternate dimension mirroring the real world, filled with rotting wooden pathways, dark pits and strange monsters. Traveling here is often necessary to complete objectives around the city, and can also be used to discover secrets.
  • The Final Fantasy series has a number of these:
    • Final Fantasy II inverts this in the Soul of Rebirth bonus quest—the path taken in the quest is assumed to be the Jade Passage and Pandaemonium, locations in Hell. It turns out that the areas are actually Raqia and Arubboth, and the party is in Heaven, which appears as a mirrored reflection of Hell with a lighter color palette.
    • Final Fantasy XI:
      • Dynamis is a dream world originally created by the avatar Diabolos to escape the Emptiness, other beings began to be pulled in, and turned it into a Beastmen-dominated version of Vana'diel. The area itself is warped enough that aside from temporary visits by players (even then, they need spiritual assistance to get in), if you get stuck in there, it's for good.
      • The Emptiness itself resulted in the creation of Promyvion — bizarre, half-complete mockeries of the vicinity of the crags that hold pieces of the mothercrystal. Promyvion is implied to be composed of fragmentary memories of decayed souls.
      • Finally, we have Abyssea, perhaps the straightest example of this trope: a depressing parallel universe where the Crystal War was lost horribly, the aforementioned crags are missing, and XP parties play somewhat like Dynamis runs.
    • In Final Fantasy XII, the late-game boss battles against Pandaemonium, Slyt, and Fenrir take place in perpetually-eclipsed versions of the Nam-Yensa Sandsea, Cerobi Steppe, and Paramina Rift respectively. The boss arenas are locations that are above or below traversable areas in their real counterparts.
    • Final Fantasy XIII-2 has Academia city. In the year 400 AF of the original timeline it's a Film Noir-slash-Cyber Punk-ish metropolis whose management AI has gone bonkers, secretly assassinated its creators three centuries ago, and starts indiscriminately turning inhabitants into monsters to attack Serah and Noel the moment they arrive. In the year 4XX AF (a timeline "forked" by Noel and Serah's actions), it is a sunny Crystal Spires and Togas utopia where the worst that can happen to you is tripping and falling on your face (and boy, do the local kids do that a lot).
    • Final Fantasy XIV has two examples, both of which are alternate realities to the world of Hydaelyn created by the eponymous goddess's victory over Her rival god Zodiark.
      • The first is the Void, a realm where the forces of Darkness have defeated the forces of Light so thoroughly that the entire world is shrouded in perpetual pitch darkness. So strong is this darkness that it can mutate living beings into Voidsent. The Void is only visited in a few instances.
      • The second is the First, the main setting of the expansion Shadowbringers and also a Zig-Zagged example: rather than falling to the forces of Darkness, the First saw the forces of Light win. Unfortunately, Light Is Not Good in this case, and the ensuing Flood of Light has destroyed all of the world except for the continent of Norvrandt. Also, like with the Voidsent, the overflow of Light has given birth to a unique breed of Eldritch Abomination called "sin eaters". In various respects, Norvrandt has much in common with Eorzea: the same races inhabit both worlds (although with different names, like Elves for Elezen or Humes for Hyur), and the various regions of Norvrandt are similar to those of Eorzea (the Black Shroud and the Rak'tika Greatwood, Kholusia and La Noscea, etc.).
    • Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, the setting of the game "World B" is a copy of "World A", the world of the original Final Fantasy, but is entirely desolate with different terrain and Mordor on the north-western continent.
    • Final Fantasy Dimensions: The World of Dusk. contains areas from both World of Light and World of Darkness, but the color scheme is sombre brown with melancholy music. The overworld contains much stronger enemies, most towns are empty, and some areas are just plain not there.
  • The unreleased point & click adventure Game X was obviously going to be about this, albeit with a comedy touch. As the drunken protagonist Arpy comes home, he encounters all sorts of strange characters and surreal events (like a faceless man in a black coat), and it is unclear how much of this is real and how much is caused by his drunken state.
  • Although it was only briefly glimpsed at the end of the original Ghostbusters movie (where it housed Gozer's otherworldly temple), Ghostbusters: The Video Game reveals that the ghost world is like this in spots where the dimensional boundaries have weakened, giving rise to a ghost world New York Public Library hovering in a cosmic abyss, and a ruined, cobweb-shrouded version of the Sedgewick Hotel.
  • The adventure game Gibbous takes place in a Lovecraftian alternate version of our world with death cults, monsters and EldritchAbominations. The atmosphere is not really scary and much more reminiscent of Lucas Arts classics like The Curse of Monkey Island.
  • Guacamelee!: A Lighter and Softer version, as the people there are fun-loving skeletons who are upset about the Big Bad rising to power.
  • In Guild Wars: Nightfall regions can become "Nightfallen" when there is a strong enough connection between the Realm of Torment and Elona. These areas are heavily warped, have the same dark sky as the Realm of Torment, and are populated by demons and Margonites. Within the actual Realm of Torment several Nightfallen versions of zones from Elona can be found, which are even more warped.
  • Legacy of Kain:
    • Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver had the "spectral realm" you had to enter to solve certain puzzles. The geography would often twist and warp, creating paths that weren't in the physical realm. Not to mention the soul-eating monsters that would hunt you down.
    • Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain has Nupraptor's keep is in the shape of a skull, built on a cliff. Looking through one eye socket will show you the lush landscape below. Looking through the other will show you the world through Nupraptor's eyes, a dead, twisted land with blackened ground and lava for water. Kain remarks that Nosgoth doesn't need help to make its corruption apparent.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: The Dark World is the Trope Namer. Once it was the Sacred Realm (or Golden Land) and home to the Triforce, but after Ganon was banished there centuries ago, it became corrupted into its current form, a dark mirror of Hyrule. Some landforms are exaggerations of their Light World counterparts, like the ruined Village of Outcasts that stands in place of the settlement of Kakariko; other places are environmental inversions, such as the Swamp of Evil replacing the Light World's desert. Regular people in the Dark World are turned into weird monsters that reflect their hearts, while evil people are turned into demons. Link himself is turned into a pink bunny unless he gathers the correct item. Beyond the Dark World reflecting the Light World, in some cases events on one will affect the other, as seen when Link drains a Light World lake to gain access to a water-themed Dark World dungeon.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: The encroachment of the Twilight into Hyrule creates this effect. Any area under the sway of the Twilight looks nearly identical to its normal state, except that the colors are washed out and little bits of darkness constantly peel off of everything and float up toward the sky. Sapient beings are turned into spirits that look like little wisps of light, and non-sapient beings are turned into black, tentacled versions of themselves. What little is seen of the Twilight Realm proper seems to be a dark inversion of the regular Hyrule, complete with its own ruling Princess and peaceful inhabitants.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has the Silent Realm, a blue-and-orange world that Link accesses by thrusting the Goddess Sword into specially marked spots. This realm is unique in that it's not evil by nature, as it was conceived by the goddesses to test Link's physical and spiritual skills so he can prove his worth and acquire important tools for his adventure. Because Link has to leave his sword behind to stay in the Silent Realm, he must rely on his agility to survive against the Guardians, monsters that can One-Hit Kill the player. The three Triforce pieces are located within as well, suggesting that it is or will become the Sacred Realm seen in later installments.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds has the kingdom of Lorule, which is very similar to the Dark World from A Link to the Past but, instead of being a corrupted Sacred Realm, is a parallel dimension to Hyrule that has been corrupted by its residents destroying their Triforce centuries before. As a result, the land of Lorule itself has begun crumbling away, leaving gaping abysses across the landscape, and monsters have overrun much of the country. Its people are all parallels to those of Hyrule but altered in some way, usually leaving them more pessimistic, more cowardly or more malevolent than their Hyrulean counterparts.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: The Depths, the vast subterranean regions where there's little light and where Gloom has drenched many places, technically exist in the same plane of existence as the Hyrule introduced in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, just way underneath it. But like the original Dark World, its geography mirrors the layout of Hyrule: bodies of water on the surface have monolithic rock structure counterparts in the Depths, surface canyons are subterranean mountains and vice versa, mines in the Depths are right under towns on the surface, Lightroot fast travel spots have Sdrawkcab Names of Shrines directly above them, and the entry method of diving into Chasms feels like a more involved version of entering the portals to the Dark World in A Link to the Past. It's even where Ganondorf was sealed away in the distant past.
  • In ClockUp's Maggot Baits, we have the Abyss:
    An extradimensional space wherein lies the source of chaotic power.
    A mystical dimension also called Hell, Purgatory, Hades, etc.
  • Max Payne:
  • Super Meat Boy has darker counterparts to the "Light" worlds where the levels usually have a darker tone and are much more difficult.
  • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes takes this to the logical extreme with Dark Aether, which was created when a Phazon-infused meteor struck the surface of Aether and split the planet into two parallel dimensions. In addition to being populated by tougher monsters, Dark Aether constantly drains your health (ridiculously quickly at first, then more slowly once you get certain upgrades) if you're not standing in a safe zone generated by certain crystals. It's the goal of the native Ing to destroy Aether and let Dark Aether take its place in the primary dimension, and they were literally two rooms from doing it at the beginning of the game before Samus came along and put a wrench into matters.
  • One of the first video game appearances of a dark world is in the cult classic NES game Monster Party, a platformer that has a boy named Mark help a gargoyle named Bert defeat a bunch of monsters. The first level's set in a pastel Ghibli Hills world with rows of happy people in the background beneath a a bright blue sky. Halfway through the level, a bolt of lightning crashes, and everything changes: the people are rotting corpses, the world's turned to sickly shades of green, red and black, and the music's changed to a solemn dirge. Unfortunately, this very interesting and disturbing gimmick is confined solely to the first stage.
  • Although Outworld in the Mortal Kombat series is usually just Another Dimension, one arena in Mortal Kombat: Deception crosses into this territory. The Yin-Yang Island is a tropical island that's caught between dimensions: it shifts constantly from the sunny, sandy beach on Earth into a stormswept Outworld nightmare during the battle, with the palm trees changing into giant snakes and back, and the ocean either being clear and peaceful or murky and swarming with piranhas.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer takes you to the Plane of Shadows on many occasions, which is depicted as a shadowy, hazy, Deliberately Monochrome version of the Prime Material Plane.
  • Stygia in Nexus Clash is an evil and corrupted Mirror World of the angels' home plane of Elysium. They're the same place, seen from two different perspectives.
  • Another early example comes from the NES A Nightmare on Elm Street game. While you're exploring the regular town, a sleep gauge slowly drains away. If you don't keep it recharged with coffee, you'll eventually shift into the dream world. On the bright side, you can then change into one of four superpowered forms. On the not so bright side, the setting becomes darker and more twisted, with water turned into blood and the enemies stronger and now bearing Freddy's features. And once you're in the dream world, another, unseen timer begins to count down until Freddy's Ironic Nursery Rhyme theme begins to play. If you haven't woken up by the time it finishes, you'll end up trapped in a Recurring Boss fight with Freddy™ himself.
  • The Alternate World in the Violet Sector of Paper Mario: Color Splash. The main enemies are Boos and Dry Bones, the colors are dark and demented and the music is twisted and distorted. Things that happen in this world affect those of the real world, but to the real-world residents it seems those objects change on their own.
  • Prince of Persia: Warrior Within has a variant of this trope. The twist is that (being a game about time travel) the Dark World is the present, your world, where you explore the Island of Time after some cataclysm befell it in the past. The castle lies in ruins, with trees and vegetation growing over crumbling architecture. If you find the time portals, you can travel to see the island and its castle in its former glory, some time far in the past. Certain areas are passable only in the past, or the present, requiring you to go back and forth between to make your way to the throne room. And then you learn that you are the cause of the catastrophe.
  • RuneScape has a dark universe counterpart to the mainstream universe called "Erebus". Instead of a universe of life, it is a universe of entropy, flooded with shadow anima and seemingly ruled by dark counterparts to the Elder Gods. Its native inhabitants are possessed by festering hatred towards life, and immediately detect the player the one time they visit.
  • The Secret World:
    • The game combines this with Amusement Park of Doom in the Savage Coast area. Not only is Atlantic Island Park pretty horrible already (being overrun with zombies, like most of the island), there's also a shadow version of the park (entered by riding the ferris wheel) that players have to enter in order to hunt down the evil behind the haunted park. This also serves as a possible explanation for the vastly-different layout of Atlantic Island Park during The Park.
    • During the mission "The Vanishing Of Tyler Freeborn," players find a dark world-style replica of the entire town of Kingsmouth, incarnated as a nightmarish Lovecraftian surburbia: here, you can find a world of eerily identical whitewashed houses, jagged picket fences, and seemingly endless roads strewn with tendrils of Filth, all languishing beneath a pitch-black sky. Plus, it's infested with Filth-infected replicas of townsfolk you've met and befriended, all of whom will attack you on sight. It's been created by the Dreamers as a vision of what the world will be like when they finally escape; worse still, it's been drawn from the memories of all the people who've been infected by the Filth - because everyone in Kingsmouth has received a tiny but lethal dose. And there's nothing you can do to save them or stop the Dream.
  • Used few times in the Shin Megami Tensei series.
    • Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne downplays it with the Mirage dimension in Kabukicho Prison. Visually, the lighting and mist actually make it less creepy than the real one even if it's upside-down. Then you see that empty rooms in the real world are torture chambers to drain Magatsuhi from Manikins in this side...
    • The original Persona has the two worlds coexisting beside each other. Early in the game, the city is replaced by a dream facsimile. The east side of town appears normal, while the west side is enveloped in darkness, indicating that it is under Guido's control. The previously-visited subways and shopping malls on this side have deteriorated into war zones; store mannequins wear bandoleers and riot gear, and everyone is now dressed in Mad Max punk fashions.
    • Persona 2 has the so-called "Other Side", which is merely the result of the heroes failing in their mission. When Nyarlathotep kills Maya Amano and destroys the world, Tatsuya implores his spirit guide, Philemon, to turn back time. The sequel, Persona 2: Eternal Punishment takes place in a parallel world in which Innocent Sin's events did not occur. Nevertheless, a few characters (JOKER in particular) remember the "Other Side", and imply that it still exists. The game's ending has Tatsuya, who also remembers the Other Side, swap places with his alternate-universe counterpart, allowing one Tatsuya to resume his life in blissful ignorance. The other Tatsuya returns to the Other Side to help rebuild.
    • Persona 3 has a "Dark Hour" between midnight and 12:01am when the Shadows come out to play: the sky turns a sickly green, the city's splattered in blood, a twisted supernatural tower dominates the landscape and most humans are turned into indestructible coffins. They're the lucky ones.
    • Persona 4 places all of its dungeons in a world accessed by sticking your head through a turned-off TV. Each new dungeon reflects how the victim of the month sees the world around him. The big winner of this is Magatsu Inaba, which is a dungeon based off of the actual town of Inaba.
    • Persona 5 has the Palaces, corrupted versions of real world locations that grow and transform based on the warped hidden desires of a human "master", which exist within the Metaverse, a world of human cognition.
    • There's a Dark Realm in the Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha games, although it's not quite as creepy and twisted as most of these. It's mostly just, well... dark, and full of demons.
    • In Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, you eventually get the ability to "phase between dimensions" in certain areas, allowing you to progress and reach new areas. The Schwarzwelt, its name literally meaning "Black World", is also in and of itself a Dark World, with several dungeons being twisted parodies of various parts of the human world.
  • SIGNALIS has two towards the end of the game. Initially, it seems that the Sierpinski 23 mining station is being overrun by a typical zombie plague, with one case of Meat Moss in a kitchen. By the time the protagonist jumps into the depths of the caves, she enters a nightmare realm made almost entirely of non-euclidian rooms, meat moss everywhere, and distorted versions of prior locations. This returns in New Game Plus, with a world made of memories of an apartment complex in the planet Rotfront being slowly consumed by growing cancerous growths as the protagonist gathers plot relevant items.
  • Silent Hill features multiple levels of this trope in play. Most games feature the main character flipping back and forth between the derelict, fog-shrouded town and its hideous, blood-and-rust Dark World form. The relatively more normal-looking fog-shrouded town itself may be a Dark World mirror of an ordinary populated town (Purgatory versus Hell), depending on the continuity and your preferred explanation.
  • Splatoon 2: Labyrinth Station in Octo Expansion seems to take place in the tutorial area from when the main game is launched, except the atmosphere is dark and gloomy, with garbage lining the streets, tougher enemies, and sinister music.
  • Sunless Skies: Apparently created and exploited for the resort town of Worlebury-juxta-Mare, the dark world version being called the Off Season. It apparently occupies the same space, but all the rides and structures are in disrepair, everything is caked in awful filth and the various creatures are having nasty issues. Here is where the maintenance staff resides, and they can actually affect the regular version of the place and maintain it from the Off Season without being seen, keeping every last speck of imperfection they can remove from reaching the sights of visitors.
  • the white chamber two main "dark world" sequences, complete with more terror than usual, Room Full of Crazy, and really, really weird reality warping. However, the "regular" station you go through most of the game in is also a dark world of sorts, you see what the station really is supposed to look like at the end.
  • The moving through "The Veil" in Wolfenstein (2009) can cause some objects to look very strange. Examples include all light sources emitting a blue flaming aura, and brand new fighter planes looking as if they had already been shot down before they've even engaged in combat.
  • Since the introduction of phasing in Wrath of the Lich King, World of Warcraft missions sending the player to such locations have become increasingly common. The Realm Of Shadows and the Emerald Dream, connected to death knights and druids respectively are both represented in-game as a shadowed and oftentimes corrupted version of the present world, roamed by nightmarish beings.

  • Awkward Zombie: One strip parodies The Legend of Zelda's tendency to invent a seemingly new but functionally identical Dark World whenever a game needs one, as Link from A Link Between Worlds gets lost amid a series of parallel worlds — including the Dark World from A Link to the Past, Subrosia from The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Seasons, the Twilight Realm from Twilight Princess and the Silent Realm from Skyward Sword — while trying to get from Lorule to Hyrule.
    There are many parallel universes out there, and it turns out a lot of them are slightly darker and blurrier.
  • Final Enter has a dark world called TAILS with sealed monsters inside it. It's the world that the protagonist wants to go to.
  • Zimmy from Gunnerkrigg Court occasionally gets pulled into a twisted city, with subtle Alien Geometries, defaced mannequins in boarded-up buildings, bizarre silhouettes of people and centipedes in the windows, and a native population that consists entirely of creepy people with no faces and even creepier doppelgangers of people Zimmy knows. It's unclear if this place is real, or just a dark corner of Zimmy's mind. Tom Siddell loosely modeled this place after his hometown, Birmingham. Given the way he describes the city, he seems to consider Birmingham a Real Life example of this setting as well; this led to many of the fans referring to Zimmy's mind city as Sunny Birmingham or Zimmingham.
  • In Horror Shop there exists a parallel dimension to the real world called Shadow, inhabited by closet monsters, bogeymen, and other Things That Go "Bump" in the Night. This dimension can be accessed from closets and other doorways and resembles a version of the real world where everything was designed by Tim Burton.
  • In Sinfest, when Slick wakes, finds his (evil, animated) reflection gone, and goes into the mirror, he discovers that it's this.
  • In What Birds Know, a mysterious tower acts as a gateway between the normal world and a crooked, empty version where people lay eggs, your deepest insecurities are amplified, and other bizarre and disturbing oddities.

    Web Animation 
  • Dreamscape: The Unworld is a dreary world of no escape that people are dragged into by Shadow Hands sent out by the resident Evil Overlord. "A Curse or a Blessing" casually reveals it's the root of all evil too.

    Web Original 
  • In Bogleech's Don't Get Spooked you will wind up in one of these if you get spooked 3 times. While the normal world is full of strange monsters, the ones here are so alien they can't even be communicated with and the walls and floor are made of meat.
  • The Master of Darkness of The Questport Chronicles turns most of the world into a shadowy, distorted reflection of what it normally is. It's implied that staying in the Darkness for protracted periods of time may be fatal.
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-3283 leads to an Always Night version of the city of Boise where the buildings seem to be freshly constructed and beyond city limits is an endless forest. The stars are too bright and don't match Earth's night sky. A member of an exploration team even references the trope name when describing it.

    Web Videos 
  • The flagship Minecraft world of Achievement Hunter has Dark Achievement City, a version of the main City built on the same spot in the Nether. While mainly a scale recreation using Nether materials, Edgar is replaced with a villager, the bulletin board advocates murder, and the Tower of Pimps is upside down.
  • Dynamo has the Shadow States which seem to resemble more normal cities (particularly the non-Shadow State city of Shade) but built upside down and lit up red. On top of that, most of its denizens look like silhouettes, sometimes with glowing red eyes.
  • Most Epic NPC Man skits take place in Honeywood. However, occasionally adventurers visit its darker counterpart, Darkwood, where suspiciously similar NPCs with drastically opposite personalities are found.
  • In Everyman HYBRID/Tribe Twelve (they crossover), there's a strange world called the "Candleverse" that Noah visits in the latter. It doesn't always make logical sense, has lots of weird color distortion going on, and oh yeah, HABIT lives there.

    Western Animation 
  • Brady's Beasts: Crowtown appears to be a dark parallel-world-version of Ravenville, but it's actually a mundane neighbouring town that just happens to look like a darker, mirror-flipped version of Ravenville.
    Stitch: Everything the same... but different.
    [pan up to a backwards "Pet Shop" sign above him]
  • The Halloween episode of Invader Zim has, appropriately enough, a nightmarish dark world born out of (or, at least, somehow connected to) the hero Dib's mind. Eventually the Eldritch Abominations lurking within it manage to capture and use Dib as a gateway into the real world... and the sight of the series' own Crapsack World sends them fleeing right back into the dark world.
  • Phineas and Ferb: In the Made-for-TV Movie, Across the Second Dimension, the titular Alternate Universe is a warped version of the Tri-State Area under Doofenshmirtz-2's dictatorship. For reference, here is Phineas and Ferb's house in the primary universe, while the 2nd-Dimension 2308 Maple Drive looks like this. Then in the Grand Finale, various objects, animals, and so forth vanish into an empty, grayed version of Danville after they are Ret Goned away thanks to Candace and Doofenshmirtz messing with time and space. This includes Phineas and Ferb themselves, and it's up to Candace to rally together their friends and save them.
  • The Real Ghostbusters did this prominently in one episode. Egon, Peter, and Ray are transported to a hellish alternate version of Manhattan populated by ghosts and malevolent spirits. Interestingly, physics seem reversed there — the visiting humans have supernatural abilities, whereas the native spirits don't. New York City proper has also been transformed into a Dark World version of itself in a few episodes.

Alternative Title(s): The Dark World