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Video Game / The Darkness
aka: The Darkness II

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Embrace the Darkness
Once The Darkness gets ahold of you, you start to lose control. You start to wonder what the fuck you're doin'. Time slips away from you. And then, all of a sudden, it's like you're sittin' in a theater, watchin' a movie of your own life. And you're up there on the big screen. Big as life, you're a fuckin' movie star. And you're killin' all the bad guys, tearing them limb from limb. And you feel good. You look good. Fuck, you are good. And then you realize something. Everyone else in the theater: they're screamin', 'cuz they're watchin' a horror movie. And you're not the hero... You're the monster...
Jackie Estacado, The Darkness II

The Darkness is a 2007 First-Person Shooter based on the comic series, developed by Starbreeze Studios. The game follows Jackie Estacado, nephew of don Paulie Franchetti, and hitman for the Franchetti Crime Family. During his 21st birthday, he inherits the evil known as the Darkness, which grants him abilities beyond his wildest blood-spattered dreams. Among these is the power to summon Darklings, little gremlin bastards that act somewhat as his multiple tiny alter-egos that are mostly interested in spouting off politically incorrect commentary and humor, but can disembowel an enemy at a moment's notice if Jackie commands it. Before Jackie first manifests the Darkness, Uncle Paulie betrays him and marks him for death, leading Jackie into a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.

A sequel was released in February 2012, developed by Digital Extremes and taking place two years after the first game. Jackie is now the head of the Franchetti Crime Family, and has managed to suppress the Darkness. However, when a mysterious group known as The Brotherhood attacks him looking for the Darkness, he must unleash it once again.

For tropes exclusive to the source material, see here.

The first game contains examples of:

  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: One for each game: watching To Kill a Mockingbird together at Jenny's apartment on Jackie's 21st birthday in the first game, and dancing with her at a diner in the second.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Jenny has one for Jackie: "Ratface". It's apparently one she started using when they were much younger.
  • Alternate Continuity: While the first game was mostly based on the first story arc it changes some things like Jacky being in a relationship with Jenny Romano whereas the comics he considered her a sister (at least at the beginning of the comic). Frankie Franchetti also didn't try to assassinate Jacky and kill Jenny until much later after Jacky gained his powers.
    • The sequel also changes The Brotherhood Of Darkness into a group that was once noble turned evil while the comic always portrayed them as assholes. Jenny also became the The Angelus, which never happened.
  • All There in the Manual: The origin story for Anthony Estacado is explained in a special comic book issue published at the same time as the game. Reading it sheds a lot of light on the nature of the Darkness and Anthony's character that is otherwise left completely unexplained in the game. Fortunately, the book is viewable in-game as an unlockable extra.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: In the first game, Jackie's strapped to a chair with a light shining on his face, requiring him to activate the Darkness to escape when a mook walks in front of the light. If you still haven't figured this out after exhausting all of the dialogue options, one more choice will pop up where Jackie says "the light's in my eyes," along with a button prompt telling you to summon the Darkness.
  • Art Shift: The first game used a more-realistic art style; the sequel is cel shaded.
  • Back from the Dead: Jackie. Twice.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: By carrying out his vengeance, Jackie sacrifices his soul to the Darkness. Exactly what this entails, however, isn't quite clear. You are not given the option to spare Paulie.
    • Paulie quite literally gets the last word when he says he hopes Jackie rots in hell forever before dying.
    • This also happens in the sequel. Jackie frees Jenny from the Darkness, but she reveals that she's the new host of the Angelus, the Arch-Nemesis of the Darkness, and traps Jackie's soul in Hell.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Despite being a powerful mob boss, Paulie can't take what he orders dished out. He doesn't stand a chance against Jackie so he runs off, hides, and gets his men to do all the dirty work for him. On top of that, most of the evil deeds Paulie commits end up working against him, since it causes his own men to turn against him and help Jackie, leading to his downfall at the end.
  • Birthday Beginning: The first game opens on Jackie's twenty-first birthday. He gets a gift from Frankie in the form of two handguns, and a "gift" from Uncle Paule in the form of a mob hit with a bomb.
  • Bittersweet Ending: About a hair's breadth away from a Downer Ending. Jackie finally surrenders himself to the Darkness during an eclipse in order to take out Paulie and his army of mooks. Jackie's personality is consumed entirely by the Darkness, but he's given a few moments to see Jenny one last time before he goes. It's implied by the "light in the darkness" lines that it may not be completely over for him, either... hopefully.
    • However, according to the sequel's intro, Jackie has managed to suppress The Darkness in-between games.
    • The ending to the sequel mirrors the original; a horrible entity is taken down, another entity is free to do whatever the hell it plans on doing, and Jackie is screwed. At least the Angelus is a much better Eldritch Abomination compared to The Darkness. Maybe.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • The game has "The Green Olive Grove" restaurant.
    • Also, in the subway you'll find posters advertising a fictional orange soda called "Sulo", which is a reference to the real-life norwegian orange soda known as Solo.
  • The Blank: The undead German soldiers.
  • Blatant Lies: This conversation by two Darklings.
    Berserker Darkling: I want to kill someone.
    Gunner Darkling: I am unfamiliar with the concept. [Attacks a mook.] Maybe not, I guess.
  • Bloody Hilarious: The Darklings are psychopathic Cloudcuckoolanders.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: More than anything, one gets the impression that the Darkness simply does not understand how people work — physically or mentally — beyond their capacity for receiving and causing suffering.
    The Darkness: "Jackie, I fixed your broken head ball."
    • Hell, the Darkness expected him to be pleased after it forced him to watch Jenny be murdered because this would "make him stronger" and it seemed utterly bewildered when he chose instead to kill himself.
  • Border Patrol: By all means, head directly into the subway tunnels. See what happens.
    • The Darkness mocks you when you do this, saying something along the lines of "this is not a very good idea..."
  • Boring Yet Practical: The pistols have pin-point accuracy even when fired as fast as possible, and you're tripping over spares for most of the game. Zoom in, aim for the head, and you can take out a bunch of enemies while saving energy you would have otherwise used on a black hole.
    • The first Darkness power, Creeping Dark, can move further with each level, and the NPCs are notoriously incapable of hitting it. Furthermore, after making a kill, you can eat the heart of your victim to refill Darkness energy to full. This combination makes it possible to clear entire rooms without entering them through most of the game.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: All four of the darklings in the game have their idiosyncrasies, but the Berserker darkling is particularly unhinged. Even better, it's voiced by Richard Steven Horvitz.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The game itself is M-rated. Did you expect anything less?
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: At one point in the game, Shrote captures Jackie and tortures him by taking a power drill to his face. In the sequel, Jackie gets crucified by the Brotherhood. Both times, he gets better.
  • Convenient Eclipse: The final stage of the first game is set during the middle of the day, but under an eclipse so that Jackie's Darkness powers can still work.
  • Cross-Melting Aura: In the first game, a solar eclipse supercharges Jackie's powers to the point where light bulbs (which would previously need to be shot or smashed) start exploding just by his very presence.
  • Cuckoo Nest: In the sequel, several segments take place in an asylum where various characters show up in different roles (including the Big Bad as a doctor and your girlfriend as an orderly). In this case, you're outright told by a sympathetic party that the asylum is just a construct the Darkness is using to keep you from going to Hell to save your dead girlfriend. Late in the game, you're given the choice to stay in the asylum, or jump to your "death"; the latter leads to the final sequence of the game. In an interesting and amusing twist, you can find The Darkness comic books in your room, implying that you made the whole thing up after reading the comic.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Jackie wears black and commands the powers of an Eldritch Abomination, but he fights against corrupt cops and mafia members.
  • Defiant to the End: While being tortured by Shrote, most of Jackie's dialogue options involve flinging insults at the nearby cops. True, Jackie actually intended to die on this particular mission, but it's pretty impressive considering that Jackie is managing to speak with a hole drilled through his face.
    Keep lickin' Eddie's ass, ya cunts. Polish that sweet butt crack.
  • Dirty Cop: Tons of 'em. Jackie has disdain for said cops as well as for the mobsters who partner with them, since it dirties both of them.
  • Downer Ending: Both games end very, very badly for Jackie. The first has Jackie's soul consumed by the Darkness, while the second game ends with him trapped in Hell with Jenny becoming the Angelus.
  • Easter Egg: Unlockable concept art and full issues of the comic.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Of a kind: In the last stage of the game, Jackie mounts a one-man offensive against Uncle Paulie's island fortress. The attack begins at daylight, which would seem to be a stupid move on his part... except that an eclipse is due, and as it progresses, Jackie's power spikes. Lightbulbs start shattering by his mere presence.
    • Subverted by the eclipse both empowering Jackie and weakening his control over the Darkness, which starts to manifest without his control and causes him to black out several times only to wake up surrounded by mutilated bodies. By the end, all it takes is one more murder for Jackie to surrender completely to the Darkness.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Jackie and the old-school mobsters really hate partnering with dirty cops, drug money, and other bottom-of-the-barrel underworld stuff.
    • The old-school mobsters are particularly disgusted when Paulie bombs an orphanage, while at the same time you can overhear Paulie's minions laughing about it.
  • Evil Is Petty: Just about all of the evil things Paulie commits is done over an incredibly childish reason. For starters he tries to have Jackie killed all because he questioned the way he does things and later blowing up the orphanage Jackie grew up in just to further spite him. He is also mentioned to kill people if they look at him the wrong way or if they disagree with him over something (such as a baseball game).
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Sometimes. The Darkness sometimes speaks in a low, gravelly tone, but sometimes uses a high, menacing hiss. One thing's for sure, it always sounds incredibly disturbing.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Johnny lampshades this in the Vendettas trailer. Jackie might have the moral high ground, but that's damning with praise considering some of the stuff he does and the company he keeps.
    Johnny: Evil is evil. Face it, we're not talking about soda pop here. There's no 'sugar free' option.
  • Expy: In one of the nightmare levels, you have to kill a big demon creature that bears a striking resemblance to the Shambler from Quake. This is possibly not a coincidence, since Jerk Gustafsson, one of the lead designers for The Darkness, is a very big Quake fan.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Occurs twice in succession in first game for some bathos. The corrupt Chief of Police gets a power drill ready to drill into Jackie's head for some Cold-Blooded Torture, complete with the one-liner "There may be some discomfort"... and the drill comes unplugged. The Chief walks over, plugs it back in a little closer, and tries again. The second attempt works, as the drill messes Jackie's face up to hell and back, but then the drill jams. This prompts the frustrated chief to yell "Chinese piece of SHIT!" and throw the drill away, leaving his henchmen to try and keep Jackie intimidated while he fiddles with the broken drill.
  • Fantastic Noir: The tone, atmosphere, and plot (especially the Private Eye Monologues) of the game resembles a mix of film noir and lovecraft lite story.
    • The second game strays more to the lovecraft lite direction, especially with the introduction of The Brotherhood and The Angelus.
  • First-Person Ghost: Averted. Jackie's lower body is fully visible in the first game. The second game does have Jackie's lower body be invisible, but there are multiple mirrors across the levels that show Jackie fully-rendered.
  • First-Person Shooter: Albeit with skill trees, and a few abilities not typically found in first-person shooter games thanks to the Darkness.
  • First-Person Smartass: Jackie's monologues. He's snarky in the real world too, but the neutral space where he monologues shows the most smartass lines.
  • Forced to Watch: The Darkness holds Jackie helpless while Paulie shoots Jenny in the head.
  • For Inconvenience, Press "1": One of the collectible phone numbers.
    Operator: "If someone is currently stabbing you, press 4."
  • Good Hurts Evil: Good irritates evil. The Darkness refuses to manifest itself around the subway stations full of normal people, and if you try, it'll complain that it finds the people too boring to attack; the Darkness is attracted to darkness, and even the metaphorical darkness of the heart is preferable to it. When meeting Jenny for the first time:
    The Darkness: "She reeks of innocence!"
  • Good Old Ways: Jackie receives aid from the old guard of the Mafia.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: The Darkness grants Jackie either Regenerating Health, or the ability to eat hearts to recover it. This is shown in the second game's intro stage, where Jackie's broken leg gets healed good as new once the Darkness is released.
  • Guns Akimbo: Your first weapon is a pair of pistols.
  • Hate Sink:
    • Uncle Paulie Franchetti is a Bad Boss whose men openly hate his guts, and he keeps making increasingly bad decisions over paranoia about Jackie. All of Jackie's misery is a result of Paulie's actions, and the entire first game is spent with Jackie coming for Paulie's head. Paulie is such a Dirty Coward that he throws everything he can into stopping Jackie, none of which helps him; if anything, Paulie's ever-increasing desperation makes more of his men turn on him.
    • Captain Edward Shrote is an irredeemable Dirty Cop of the first order who abuses his good publicity so he can do evil things behind closed doors. In addition to being a sadistic and unrepentant scumbag, he shamelessly helps Paulie with his plans (blowing up the orphanage Jackie grew up in, kidnapping Jenny as bait to lure Jackie), as well as covering them up. He spends most of the game trying to slow down Jackie's efforts to get to Paulie and generally making things consistently worse than they already are. However, what makes Eddie especially loathsome is how he callously taunts Jackie over Jenny's death before engaging in some Cold-Blooded Torture on Jackie.
  • Have a Nice Death: Depending on when and where you die in the game, you're treated to a series of warped, distorted images of the next location in the game while the Darkness hisses something cryptic, usually about how it's not going to let you die.
  • Hell Is War: The Otherworld in the first game is a nightmarish, unending version of World War I that Anthony Estacado is stuck in.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Jackie has shades of this. Although he is a brutal and remorseless killer, he does openly disparage some of the actions of his mafia family, and when his girlfriend Jenny gets killed, that's when he begins his real Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
    • More mundane examples include the side missions helping people in the subway. Jackie can help a busker get a bully off his back, help a lady retrieve a bracelet she lost on the tracks, and help a woman whose boyfriend kicked her out of her apartment (only to later help the landlord evict her for not paying her rent).
  • Hollywood Darkness: Averted in the first game; areas without light can go completely pitch-black (but using your powers lets you see in the dark.) Played straight in the more stylized sequel; "dark" areas are so well-lit it's sometimes hard to figure out where the lights are at a glance.
  • Hub Under Attack: Jackie Estacado's lavish penthouse apartment is usually a safe place to plan your next move, study the artefacts you've collected so far, and shoot the bull with your fellow gangsters. Roughly halfway through the game, the Brotherhood attacks, forcing Jackie to break back into the building to save the day. It ends with Aunt Sarah being horribly murdered.
  • Humans Are Bastards: It is implied that the Darkness wasn't originally evil, but having to deal with human hosts for millennia (what with their wars, and greed and sickness) has driven it insane. Though this is learned in the Darkness' own realm, so it could be just another Mind Screw on its part...
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Jackie does not reload his pistols or SMGs. He drops them and pulls out new ones. This is shown when you notice different types of pistols in his hands, or when one of your SMGs suddenly has a silencer. This trope is played straight when you realize that each "clip" in your arsenal is actually a different gun, and you can hold more than 2 dozen pistols and SMGs in your coat.
    • Then again, it's most likely justified here, as Jackie may well be keeping the Darkness under his coat, providing him with an actual pocket dimension to store said guns.
    • Averted in the sequel. Jackie is limited to two one-handed firearms, which can be dual wielded, and a single two-handed firearm.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: You can recharge by letting the Darkness rip out and feed upon the hearts of your enemies.
  • Kill the Cutie: Jenny.
  • Kill the Lights: At the end of the game, when the Darkness becomes superpowered by a solar eclipse, it gains the ability to shatter any lightbulbs it gets close to by sheer force of will.
  • Kryptonite Is Everywhere: Light. Very dim lighting doesn't affect you too much, but standing under or near any strong light source will quickly drain your powers and leave you vulnerable. The bad guys eventually realize this and start setting traps for you with floodlights, and flashbangs are extremely effective at disabling Jackie. This is an upgraded weakness from the comics, where Jackie was only vulnerable to daylight.
  • Large Ham: The Darkness itself, wowie wow. Fittingly, the second game has it literally Chewing the Scenery on occasion (figuratively...all the time). The (cockney?) British Darkling as well, though not quite as much.
  • Mad Bomber: The Kamikaze Darkling.
  • Mercy Kill: Once you obtain the Darkness Guns, you'll be able to kill the Allied soldiers in Chapter 2 & 4 permanently. Since all of them are horribly disfigured and in constant pain, you'll feel little remorse for doing so.
  • Money to Burn: One of your missions to sabotage Uncle Paulie is to find out where he's stashing a large amount of his cash and burn it.
  • Mook Horror Show: When the Darkness first manifests itself the player is treated to it slaughtering the hit squad after Jackie. And again at the end of the game, when the eclipse supercharges Jackie and an extended sequence of horrific slaughter occurs, including one chilling moment where four mooks are backed into a corner begging for their lives while Darklings crawl down towards them.
  • Morality Pet: Jenny. Then Paulie offs her. A very, VERY bad move on Paulie's part.
  • Multi-Take Cut: Done in the loading screens. Nicky has a series of monologues while he's sitting or standing under a spotlight. He talks directly ahead but the camera will constantly change angles.
  • Nerf: The Darkness' creations crumble in any strong light, not just sunlight, in order to make the entirely nocturnal game a challenge for the player.
  • New Weapon Target Range: Jackie is attacked by Dirty Cops piloting a police helicopter at several points in the course of the game. The last of these is an ambush shortly after Jackie acquires the Black Hole superpower, which he can use to put the helicopter out of commission for good.
  • Not Wearing Tights: Jackie never sports his costume from the comic series. Many other supernatural elements are also cut. This has the effect of making the supernatural elements actually more impressive when they do show up.
    • The second game introduces a skill tree system including the comic book "Darkness Armor" as an upgrade.
    • When the Angelus finally does make an appearance, she looks exactly like she did in the original comic.
  • One Bullet Clips: Averted. Despite being a first-person shooter (where this is common), Jackie does not reload his pistols, but picks up new ones from his coat. As well, assault rifles accurately lose all unused bullets in the clip being discarded for a new one. Ammo is categorized by "Bullets in gun"/"Total clips/guns", and if you reload early, you have full bullets in gun, and lose 1 clip. Somehow, though, you realize the same rule applies to shotguns...
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The Undead soldiers in the hell inside the Darkness's mind. The Hun are typical monstrosities, but the Brits are fully aware, stuck fighting the same war for centuries while unable to die. Most disturbing is one of the first soldiers you meet, who's endlessly trying to commit suicide by shooting himself in the mouth over and over in between reciting poetry. There's even a little sign that indicates that he's in a designated spot for it.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The game more or less takes what works about the Darkness comics and runs with it. One change they made is making Jackie weak to any light, not just sunlight, which arguably improved the experience as a whole (allowing savvy villains to pose a threat to Jackie as long as they have floodlights or flashbangs). Jackie also doesn't have his Top Cow-ian "Darkness Armor", just a black trench coat with lots of Darkness-tendrils popping out of it while using his powers (though the sequel adds the "Darkness Armor" as an option upgrade.)
  • Reconstruction: Of the '90s Anti-Hero, just like the original comic. See the trope page for more, in both the Comic Book and Videogame sections.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: In the finale chapter, Paulie and his Mooks (And the player, for that matter) get to see first-hand what a fully-powered-up Jackie is capable of doing.
  • Show Within a Show: Jenny and Jackie can watch To Kill a Mockingbird in its entirety, as well as several full-length TV shows that are now public domain.
  • Second Hour Superpower: Jackie's Darkness powers don't manifest until after the first level in the original game.
  • Self-Deprecation: One can overhear a casual conversation between NPCs about the alleged sexual openness of Swedes, involving, among other things, having sex with a moose. The game's developer, Starbreeze Studios, is Swedish.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: In the game, the Kamikaze Darkling's attack is to run up to the target, pull the detonator off his back, push the plunger and explode.
  • Stupid Evil: Paulie's downfall at the end of the first game is a direct result of his own despicable behavior, such as mistreating his own men (who end up turning against him), killing them or abusing them for the slightest of reasons, and committing atrocities such as blowing up the orphanage and killing Jenny while Jackie is Forced to Watch.
    • Eddie Shrote also counts, since he thinks it's a wise a idea to taunt Jackie over the murder of Jenny, which is just Tempting Fate, considering that Jackie has the Darkness on his side, and Shrote is well-aware of that, but decides to continue to taunt Jackie anyway, because he is (over)confident that he can easily defeat Jackie, and to say he is horribly mistaken is a complete understatement.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: By all means, run toward the tentacle-spouting glowy-eyed superpowered hit man. Never mind that he can kill you five different ways without even needing to raise a pistol.
    • The game subverts this to some degree in that the Mooks generally will still try to shoot you, but the dialogue that goes along with most scenarios consists of panicky yelling about what you are and how to get rid of you (or get away from you). In one scripted scene, dozens of them are screaming in terror and trying to run away while Jackie in fully-powered Darkness mode hunts them down and brutally eviscerates them.
  • Swirly Energy Thingy: The Black Hole power.
  • Taking You with Me: When he's captured and tortured by Shrote, Jackie manages activate the bomb he had put in the suitcase.
  • The Blank: The undead German soldiers you fight in the Otherworld.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Strange version. Jackie has several flashbacks of himself and little Jenny in the orphanage, but at least once, Jenny seems to be aware that they're being watched...
  • They Were Holding You Back: The Darkness believes this about the mob and Jenny. It sort of has a point in the former, considering that the incompetent Paulie is leading it. But Jenny is the love of Jackie's life. It even forces Jackie to watch Paulie kill her, which really starts Jackie's rebellion against the Darkness.
  • Throw-Away Guns: Jackie's method of "reloading" pistols and SMGs, all of which he keeps in his coat.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Jenny is shot in the head by Paulie.
  • Torture Technician: Shrote proves his credentials in this field when he manages to capture Jackie.
  • Useless Useful Spell: The game lets you use a couple of types of automatic weapons, but all firearms are useless compared to the One-Hit Kill properties of the Darkness powers (particularly the whip and the black hole). Guns are mostly a fallback for when there's too much light for you to use your Darkness powers.
    • The Darkness II places greater emphasis on gunplay, complementing it with The Darkness' mostly melee-based powers. For example, the Black Hole is now effectively an enemy drop grenade, instead of an AOE spell, so to speak. However, getting close to the Black Hole as it explodes can also kill you.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: On the other hand, the game lets you retrieve an elderly woman's wedding ring off the subway tracks, deliver a long-lost memento to a widow, and watch a movie with your girlfriend.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: But you can also go around being a dog-kicking asshole slaughtering civilians, and the only thing that changes people's reaction to you is whether or not you're in Darkness mode... which is to say, random people in the subway will always be nice to you even if you've killed most of New York City in incredibly brutal ways, as long as you don't have Combat Tentacles sprouting from your back and shoulders. Which may, in fact, be accurate.
  • Weirdness Censor: For a good portion of the game, no one in the cutscenes actually acknowledges that Jackie has a demonic entity on him, and he doesn't mention it in them either. The first time it's explicitly mentioned is by Shrote, which just happens to be in the cutscene where Jenny is murdered. He also seems to recognize Jackie's weakness to light. Weird how he managed to find his two biggest vulnerabilities at the same time, huh?
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: In the hell that Jackie finds himself, the Brits have been fighting World War I for centuries.
    • Somehow inverted at the same time, as Jackie's segments there take minutes-hours of gameplay when days pass in the real world.

  • Zero-Effort Boss: Uncle Paulie is the final boss of the first game. Considering he's an out-of-shape fat guy going up against a heavily-armed hitman whose girlfriend he killed possessed by a spirit of primordial Darkness that's just been supercharged by the recent eclipse, he goes down with one hit.

The sequel contains examples of:

  • Actionized Sequel: Not that the first game was lacking in action, but the second game is not nearly as subtle as the first.
  • Adolf Hitlarious: Dolfo's Asylum counterpart believes himself to be Adolf Hitler.
  • Affectionate Nickname: The Darkling calls Jackie "monkey".
  • Ambiguously Gay: Enzo from the second game remarks on one character "Keeping his strong arm on the pump", comments on Jimmy the Grape's "grapes", and admires Fat Tony's "Salami" and says he'd be very attractive if he lost weight.
    • "Adolph" in the Asylum comments on how much he admires the sight of sweaty young men digging ditches.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted. Armored Brotherhood agents and especially shielded ones can take more punishment than ones with no armor, though sufficient upgrades can decrease its efficiency greatly.
  • Art Shift: The first game used a more-realistic art style; the sequel uses Cel Shading for a more comic-like look.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: Lampshaded in a conversation between Butcher Joyce and another mobster, who both agree that "that fuckin' thing of his" was what made Jackie the Don.
  • Back from the Dead: Jackie, for the third time in the series. And the fourth. And the fifth. It seems like Jackie just can't stay dead.
  • Badass Bookworm: J.P. Dummond.
  • Been There, Shaped History: According to the relic descriptions, the Darkness has performed a number of historical feats, including killing Moses, as well as murdering Buddha and trapping his soul in a torture prison for eternity.
  • Benevolent Boss: The second game shows Jackie to be this to the Franchetti crime family, taking the time to talk to his hitmen and getting to know them. He even offers his condolences when a hitman loses someone. It's a notable contrast to the complete self-serving monster his predecessor was. The other members of the mob family seem to universally agree that Jackie's the better boss, as they show way more respect to him than they did to Paulie.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Jackie tells a story where after getting jumped by a rival family only two people stayed near his hospital bed the whole time: Jenny of course and his aunt Sarah. When nursed back to health his aunt give him a kiss and a note with the addresses of the guys that jumped him.
    Jackie: One look and I get the lesson. I wasn't gonna make the same mistakes those fuckers did.
  • Big "NO!": Jackie belts one out at the end of The Stinger, when he realizes he is trapped in Hell and Jenny is now a host of the Angelus.
  • But You Were There, and You, and You: The Asylum of the second game is populated and staffed by twisted reflections of people Jackie knew in the real world: Tony, Dolpho, Swifty and even Johnny Powell appear as patients; Vinnie, Chief, Frank, Eddie, and Mr Peevish are orderlies; Jenny is one of the nurses; Jimmy the Grape and Brother Victor are doctors. Also, the Darkling makes a surprise appearance as a human janitor, the only key to his true identity being his hunchback and Cockney accent.
  • Call-Back: The first level of the sequel has you briefly revisit the Canal St. subway station from the first game. While down there you can spot things like the hobo's TV in the shopping cart (which you could previously watch cartoons and music videos on), and George Hadel's harmonica, seat, and radio in the same spot as in the last game.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The weird-looking janitor in the asylum is actually the Darkling, who ends up helping Jackie escape.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: The Brotherhood's attempts at getting Jackie to surrender the Darkness involve a lot of this: the first time , they crucify him and then force him to watch as one of his friends is executed. The second time, they shove him into an iron maiden; once they succeed in extracting the Darkness, they light a fire under the iron maiden and try to cook Jackie alive.
  • Cool Old Lady: Aunt Sarah is Jackie's beloved aunt, who gives good advice and, oh yes, has spent most of her life involved with the mob. This leads to things like her casually saying that a restaurant has lost her patronage for being unable to prevent a bombing, and talking about feeding someone their liver. She was probably not being literal.
  • Demoted to Extra: Butcher Joyce barely gets screen time and only optional dialogue, whereas he had a mission devoted to him in the original game.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Jackie kills himself with the Siphon in direct defiance of the Darkness. He does it again to free Jenny's soul from the Darkness's grasp.
  • Didn't Think This Through: The Darkness really thought it was a good idea to imprison Jenny in its realm where it also happens to have The Angelus imprisoned. You know, it’s own mortal enemy that also happens to require a female host? Didn’t quite think about that, did it.
  • Downer Ending: Jackie manages to free himself from The Darkness and rescue Jenny's soul from hell, complete with touching reunion... and then The Angelus - which had been kept there by The Darkness as well - shows up in the after-credits epilogue, co-opting Jenny and returning to Earth to enact some seriously righteous smiting while essentially condemning The Darkness and its host to their fate. Jackie doesn't even lift a finger to counter her, and winds up stuck in hell for the time being, once again separated from Jenny.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: A very complicated and double-sided case happens during the conversation between Jackie and “nurse” Jenny. Jackie is suspecting that the Darkness is keeping him and Jenny stuck in the asylum, but becomes agitated when Jenny responds how she doesn’t understand any of what Jackie’s saying. However, the ending reveales that it was actually Jackie who was missing the point during that conversation – “nurse Jenny” was just a projection of the Darkness, along with the rest of the asylum, and in order to find the real Jenny he had to die while in the asylum.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Jackie describes having the Darkness as feeling like your the star of your own action film, killing all the bad guys and looking good while doing it. That is, until you look around and realize everyone else is terrified, because your not an action star, your actually the monster in a horror movie.
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: The boss fights aren't especially hard, but the fact that you can't heal your health in many of them (due to there not being any Mooks around and therefore no hearts to eat) does create a significant amount of challenge, especially if you've been going through the game by chaining executions together to constantly heal.
  • Elite Mooks: The Brotherhood has a number of special units, including guys armed with floodlights, armored guys with energy whips that can disarm you of your weapons, knights in riot armor equipped with bulletproof shields, and Superpowered Mooks with enhanced armor and health who can Flash Step all over the place using Darkness power.
  • Evil Cripple: Victor, leader of The Brotherhood. Despite the fact that he walks with leg-braces, he can simply Flash Step with the power of The Darkness.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: As in the original, the Darkness is extremely guttural. Brian Bloom is also quite deep as Jackie.
  • Extreme Mêlée Revenge: Halfway through the second game, Jackie catches up with Mr Bragg, the Brotherhood thug who led the attack on the mansion, murdered Aunt Sarah in cold blood, and gatecrashed her funeral. After defeating him in battle and letting the Darkling smack him about for a little while, Jackie uses the Darkness to slice open his torso and tears out his heart with his bare hand.
  • Eye Scream: The second game opens with Jackie going to a restaurant and meeting a pair of identical twins- one of whom is shot in the back of the head by an assassin who'd been aiming for Jackie; the bullet exits quite graphically through her eye.
    • The Darkling likes to finish off opponents by jumping up and gouging their eyes out with his thumbs.
  • Fastball Special: In The Darkness II, Jackie can lift the Darkling and fling him at enemies. The Darkling is not amused.
  • First-Person Ghost: Played straight, as opposed to the first game. The only time a player can see any bit of Jackie's current model is by looking into an in-game mirror.
  • First-Person Smartass: In spite of all that's happened to him, Jackie still has his wiseass streak.
  • Foreshadowing: Throughout the mutilation, you will occasionally find relics relating to The Angelus, the Darkness's Distaff Counterpart. Some of them detail that's she's been gone for a LONG time. That's because the Darkness imprisoned her, and when it imprisoned Jenny's soul, she found a host.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: In the Very Definitely Final Dungeon, you find two relics; one of which is "The Prism of the Brothers", the container created by the Brotherhood to hold The Angelus. It disturbs Johnny that the Prism doesn't give off vibes similar to the Angelus, like it never held her. At the end of the game, the Angelus is waiting inside of the Darkness to break her out.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: In the second game, invisible walls may prevent you from progressing through the levels if your frame rate goes beyond 60FPS. Fortunately, enabling the Vertical Sync option prevents this from happening.
  • Glamour Failure: The Darkness does a good job making the Asylum's mundane explanations of Jackie's fantastic experiences seem plausible, but it doesn't seem to understand that H. P. Lovecraft is a poor choice for relaxing television theatre.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Brother Victor is Covered with Scars across his face that look necrotic and ghoulish. "Doctor Vick" on the other hand has burn scarring on the left side of his face, but they are well treated and healed as best they can.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: Jenny is trapped and chained in The Darkness’s realm. Jenny is also barely wearing anything but some kind of torn gown as she would be naked otherwise.
  • Gun Kata: There is actually an upgrade Jackie can be explicitly named this, though it focuses only on the offensive side of it. Taking it allows Jackie's to auto-target enemies while Gun Channeling if he wields Guns Akimbo. Each gun can even independently auto-target a different enemy, allowing Jackie to walk right into a room and take out each mook with a few well placed shots in rapid succession without actually focusing his vision on any one enemy.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Happens to an enemy Mook in the second game when Jackie lets the Darkness out again. It's also possible to do it in gameplay with the demon arm both horizontally and vertically.
  • Have a Nice Death: Depending on when and where you die in the game, you're treated to a series of warped, distorted images of the next location in the game while the Darkness hisses something cryptic, usually about how it's not going to let you die.
    • IN the final parts of the game It's Jackie instead who talks.
  • Healing Factor: During the introduction, Jackie's leg is badly mangled when a car crashes through the window in front of him; when he finally releases the Darkness, the player is treated to the sight of the bloodied leg regenerating. Furthermore, after being crucified by the Brotherhood and barely managing to escape, Jackie clearly sees the holes in his palms sealing shut.
  • Heroic Mime: Averted even in gameplay now. Jackie and the Vendettas characters talk in and out of gameplay with people around them.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the climax of the second game, the Darkling exposes himself to sunlight while helping Jackie escape from the Asylum- the one place where his immortality doesn't work.
  • Hero of Another Story: The Multiplayer happens concurrently to the events of the main game, with the briefings before and after missions making reference to things that Jackie is going through. Jackie himself even plays Mission Control in a few missions here and there.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Inugami, in his lust for revenge and desire to fulfill Kusanagi's bloodthirst has made him even more Ax-Crazy than most of the brotherhood he kills.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Played straight in the sequel; "dark" areas are so well-lit it's sometimes hard to figure out where the lights are at a glance.
  • Hypocrite: If you kill Eddie for the Sadistic Choice, his last words are to call you a son of a bitch. Kill the other guy, and he'll spend the rest of the game telling you that you should've picked him.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: You can heal by letting the Darkness rip out and feed upon the hearts of your enemies.
  • Impaled Palm: Jackie, in both palms, when he is captured and crucified by the Brotherhood.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: In the sequel, Jackie can grab poles with his tentacles and spear mooks with them. There's even an achievement for getting two enemies at once with it: 2 Guys 1 Pole.
  • Instant Armor: The sequel allows Jackie to purchase a talent which gives him "Dark Armor", extending growths of the Darkness across his body when he is out of direct light. This drastically increases his damage resistance.
  • Ironic Echo: If you kill Frank in the Sadistic Choice, his last words are "This is not your fault,"- the same last words as Jenny. Brother Victor lampshades this.
  • It Always Rains at Funerals: The weather is absolutely chucking it down when Aunt Sarah is laid to rest. When the Brotherhood crash the proceedings, it soon becomes a Battle in the Rain.
  • King Mook: Most of the bosses in the Vendetta co-op mode are versions of regular enemies with lots more health.
  • Kryptonite Is Everywhere: Light again. The Brotherhood has been fighting the Darkness for centuries, and have gotten good at exploiting this: at one point, they booby trap a chokepoint with at least a dozen floodlights, incapacitating Jackie and allowing him to be captured.
    • The collectible Relics show that there are actually a surprising number of artifacts capable of harming and defeating the Darkness (or at least the Darkness Host), despite him being a walking Humanoid Abomination Physical God.
  • Large Ham: The Darkness itself, hoo boy.
    • The Vendettas characters definitely qualify, with lines such as: "This pain tastes... sweet", "THE HOUND FEELS NO PAIN!!" and "YOU MEN AND YOUR LITTLE TOYS!!", among others.
  • Lovecraft Lite: Sure the game has perpetual conflict between two Eldritch Abominations with humanity caught in between, but first, you control one of the said Eldritch Abominations, and second, they can be weakened and defeated
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Finding yourself something to use as a shield, be it a torn off car door, a street sign, or an actual combat shield, is useful in gameplay for a few extra hits. Then again, there's also the fact that Throwing Your Shield Always Works if you get a good hit.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: What happens to people who die by Gun Channeling or Black Hole.
  • Mad Bomber: Dolpho. In the co-op campaign, he always provides the explosives needed for the missions. For good measure, there's a good chance he's legitimately insane, given that he spends his free time taking potshots at pigeons, and Jackie won't allow him out of the house.
  • Man on Fire: One of the special kills you can get from throwing a propane tank at enemies in the second game is called BBQ. You also see a few running around as Jackie is escaping from the Brothel.
  • Mr. Exposition: Johnny Powell in the sequel, an occultist who helped Jackie suppress The Darkness and is fairly knowledgeable about it and subjects relating to it. He's also more than a little unhinged.
  • Multinational Team: The characters of the Multiplayer mode in the sequel consist of a Violent Glaswegian, a Japanese swordsman, a Mossad agent and a Cajun Witch Doctor.
  • Multiple Endings: In the second game. The last time Jackie visits the asylum, he can either choose to stay with Jenny or jump off a ledge. Either one is still a Downer Ending, but the former is more of an And I Must Scream moment, because it means that Jackie has become the puppet of The Darkness. The latter turns the whole game into a "Shaggy Dog" Story.
  • Never Mess with Granny: During one of his monologues, Jackie recalls the time a gang jumped him and sent him to the hospital. Once he recovered, Aunt Sarah gave Jackie a list of the names and addresses of everyone who attacked him
  • Neighborhood-Friendly Gangsters: In the sequel, Jackie's family are foul-mouthed and amoral, but don't do anything too evil on-screen. Even Jackie's pretty amiable, so long as you aren't at the business end of his guns or demon arms.
    • But with that said, anyone can look good compared to The Brotherhood. Johnny Powell even lampshades this in a trailer, saying that "there is no sugar-free option" when comparing the heroes and villains in the story.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In the second game, by freeing Jenny's soul from the Darkness, the Angelus has possessed her and leaves Jackie behind in Hell.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Johnny Powell seems truly fascinated by some of the relics that Jackie brings back to the penthouse, calling the soul-destroying Abysmal Maw "dark magic at its sexiest," referring to the Dark Man statue as "this sexy guy," and upon seeing the Sister of Light, he remarks that Jackie always brings him the nicest things. That said, he does get a little bit agitated around some of the more visceral artifacts, and sounds quite disgusted when he reveals that the Reliquary of the Blessed Blood is supposed to contain Jesus' foreskin but in reality, it contains the foreskin of a guy named Miles from South Hammingtonshire.
  • Off with His Head!: The Daisy Pop Hitman execution.
  • New Game Plus: After you finish the game you can start a new one with all Relics, upgrades and such.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The ending sees that the Darkness accidentally hindered its own plans. By trapping both Jenny's soul and the Angelus inside of itself, the Angelus found a host, allowing them to break free after Jackie finds them.
  • Nightmare of Normality: Jackie finds himself occasionally suffering delusions of being a patient in a mental hospital, where all his friends and enemies are either patients or staff, and his life as an Anti-Hero empowered by the Darkness was just a delusional fantasy.
  • No-Gear Level: After Jackie loses The Darkness, he has to fall back to his mundane weaponry until he can steal some of his power back from Peevish.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: One of the Relics you find in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, is "The Ashes of the Unnamed". In a case of Exactly What It Says on the Tin, it's the ashes of a Brotherhood member who saved the world by releasing the Darkness from the Brotherhood's control, preventing them from destroying the world. The Angelus's response? Kill It with Fire up to eleven, so much so, that said Brotherhood member was Ret-Gone. His ashes are all the remains of him on Heaven, or Earth.
  • No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: Much more so than the original game. There are a few corners to poke around it for Relics, but it is mostly just shooting and mutilating your way forward.
  • Non Sequitur Environment: Jackie is rescued from the asylum by the Darkling (disguised as a janitor) and ushered into a supply closet to learn more; upon turning around, Jackie finds that the door has been replaced by a tunnel leading into Hell.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: If you choose to stay with Jenny in the final Asylum level, you will get to see an alternate ending with different music playing over the credits. Afterwards, the game will return to the main menu, instead of allowing you to advance to the final level.
  • Nostalgia Level: A small example. As mentioned above, the first level of the sequel has you revisit the Canal St. subway station from the first game. It's noticeably bigger than it was in the first game, though, meaning it must have gotten some major renovations over the course of the past two years.
  • Not Me This Time: Each time Jenny appears, The Darkness denies any involvement of Jenny’s appearances. Only saying “It deceives you!” Which hints that the Angelus is involved.
  • Organic Technology: When you more or less commit suicide and go to hell, the guns used by it's inhabitants are rather flesh-like. While they don't shoot anything organic but they do shoot Darkness bullets.
  • One Bullet Clips: Played straight, as opposed to the first game.
  • Open Secret: In the sequel, the fact that Jackie is a Humanoid Abomination is known by most of his crew, though they usually dance around the issue by calling it "his thing" or similar in front of the boss.
  • Orifice Invasion: The Throat Plunge Power Execution and Assecution Demonic Execution.
  • Pedophile Priest: Lampshaded but averted, in one of the between level cutscenes Jackie begins to tell a story about a priest that would visit the orphanage called Father Alanso then says "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinkin' and it ain't that kind a story".
  • Pinned to the Wall: You can pick up poles and throw them to pin enemies to walls. There is an achievement for doing that to two guys at once.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Instead of threatening and assaulting Jackie, the Darkness could have easily just straight out told him "Hey, Jenny's possessed by the Angelus, and if you free her it will most likely leave you stuck here in Hell, return to the Earth, and force Jenny to murder thousands of people, including most of your mob buddies". Then again, given how many Blatant Lies it'd fed Jackie over the course of the game, he wouldn't have any reason to believe it.
  • Posthumous Character: Jenny Romano is expanded on far more than she was in the original game. A major goal of Jackie in the game is to save her soul from the Darkness' torment in hell, not to revive her.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Averted. The game is pretty good when it comes to showing realistic head wounds.
  • Previously on…: The Darkness II's optional prologue has Jimmy Powell narrate the origin of The Darkness as well as the plot of the first game. All of these sequences are presented using comic book strips.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Paulie is pretty much an overgrown Spoiled Brat who will resort to threats and violence if he doesn't get his own way and will not take no for an answer. It's also mentioned he chopped off someone's toe over a disagreement over a baseball game, which further shows how petty and childish Paulie is.
  • Sadistic Choice: Between Frank and Eddie. Take too long deciding, and the game automatically kills Eddie (although you do get an achievement for refusing to take part in the Sadistic Choice, and Frank tells you that you did the right thing in refusing to play Victor's sick game).
  • Scary Impractical Armor: Most Brotherhood soldiers wear Darkness armor that covers their face and only their face. It makes them look scary and does protect against headshots, but does absolutely nothing to prevent them from being shot anywhere else in the body. About the only thing it's good for is giving you a lower kill score by making it harder to get headshots.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Jimmy the Grape states that Jackie reminds him of a guy named Vito who he knew back in the 50's who was really good at stealing cars, a pretty clear reference to Mafia II, another game published by 2K games.
    • The achievement in the Vendettas campaign for killing a guy named Luigi is called "Burned Down The Mansion."
    • One of Jimmy Wilson's combat dialog after killing multiple enemies in Vendettas is "Don't make me crabbit. You won't like me when I crabbit."
    • Some of the mooks in the Vendettas mode will call Inugami as Jackie Chan.
    • One of Jackie's skill tree upgrades is named "Gun Kata.
  • Show Within a Show: Just like the TVs in the first game. The Asylum in the sequel plays a shadow theater of a story by H. P. Lovecraft.
  • Sequel Escalation: The first game is primarily a mob revenge story, where the protagonist just happens to have supernatural powers. The Darkness is very much an Outside-Context Problem for the mobsters you spend the game killing; only a single antagonist, Captain Shrote, seems to recognize that Jackie is receiving supernatural assistance and takes measures to counteract it. The sequel has Jackie pitted against the Brotherhood, a wealthy, heavily armed, magic-wielding cult army that fully knows what the Darkness is and is much better prepared to battle and capture its host. Jackie, in turn, is now the head of his mafia family and has a decent number of goons of his own.
  • Sequel Hook: The Angelus has taken control of Jenny and set itself up as the main antagonist of the third game, Jackie's stuck in hell but most likely won't stay there.
  • Second Hour Superpower: The sequel has a short on-rails shooting sequence -before Jackie unleashes the Darkness again.
  • Stupid Sacrifice: The Darkling sacrifices itself to open the door to the roof for Jackie in the Asylum, dying after being exposed to sunlight... but Jackie wasn't actually disabled in any way at the moment. He could have simply just opened the door on his own.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Played straight by melee enemies. Brotherhood cultists, using supernatural armor and axe-like weapons coupled with a religious fervor make sense. But the mafioso with the baseball bats?
  • Take a Third Option: Jackie is forced to choose between giving the Darkness to the Brotherhood and giving them absolute power, or giving the Siphon to the Darkness in exchange for Jenny. He instead chooses to kill himself with the Siphon to go to Hell and rescue Jenny by force.
  • Those Two Guys: Frank and Eddie. And you have to decide which of them dies, thought you can take a third option by refusing to choose either one.
  • Transformation Discretion Shot: Most transformations in the game take place on screen and in full detail. However, during Jackie's visit to the Darkness's Asylum, the true identity of the mysterious janitor is revealed in a cut: after escorting Jackie into the supply closet, he orders him to shut the door behind them, and when Jackie turns back to face him, the Janitor has become the Darkling.
  • Unbroken First-Person Perspective: The perspective never shifts away from Jackie except for during the loading screens, which are third-person. The ending cutscene also breaks away from Jackie as Jenny turns into the Angelus and escapes from Hell.
  • The Unfettered: Shoshanna of the Vendetta campaigns reeks of this, primarily, specifically of types 3, 4, and 5. She is consistently the most focused of the group, wields a weapon, wields a family heirloom weapons that no one has wielded past the age of 30, and is unflinching in fighting the Brotherhood with her Darkness powers.
  • Vapor Wear: Poor Jenny, the only thing keeping her from being completely naked in hell is a very torn gown.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The second game awards experience for each enemy you kill, with more violent and gruesome deaths award you with more points.
  • Violent Glaswegian: Jimmy, dear Christ Jimmy.
  • Virgin Power: Implied to be averted, in contrast to the comic version. In various points during the second game, Jackie references conversations he had with his own father, who, if judging by the rules established in the comic, would not be alive to converse with. Jackie is still a Celibate Hero, however.
  • Weapon-Based Characterization: Each Vendettas character has his or her own specialized Darkness relic.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: Each asylum segment takes only a few minutes, but varying amounts of time pass in the real world while he's there. He's once there for four days.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Darkness II


The Darkness

As Jackie puts it, The Darkness has a way of getting into your head and making you feel powerful as its host even as you commit horrors in its name.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / DrunkOnTheDarkSide

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