- Command & Conquer:
- While this is a series with Black and Gray Morality, the soldiers of the Brotherhood of Nod, the 'bad guys' of the game, show during Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars exceptional bravery, just consider the bulk of Nod military is formed of civilian militia from the ravaged and impoverished Yellow Zones armed with assault rifles, portable missile launchers and light vehicles(they are backed by some elite forces), these guys first manage to outmatch for some time the Global Defense Initiative, which is a coalition of the world greatest powers, and then they hold their ground against a massive alien invasion force with technology capable to disrupt the laws of physics and GDI's full operative military power. It helps that their leader, Kane, is a very cunning strategist, and most of their generals are competent as well.
- Command & Conquer: Generals: the GLA. Yes, they're absolute monsters and are in no way sympathetic, but they end up taking on both China and the United States, with only hideously outdated weaponry, guerilla tactics and vast numbers. The GLA even manage to bring a crushing defeat to the American forces in Europe, although they are soon crushed themselves by the Chinese afterwards.
- Maleficent in Kingdom Hearts, especially in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. She never gives up on her ambitions, or allows herself the luxury of true failure. Evil as she is, you have to respect that. She even fought Sora face-to-face in the first game without hesitation or fear. Remember that Sora hasn't just defeated all her allies and most of her Heartless troops before the battle but also he had the help of Beast, a nine foot tall creature with claws and teeth who has no problems taking down even the strongest Heartless with just one punch. It takes guts to fight something like that.
- The Turks in Final Fantasy VII, who lack the mako-enhancements and materia arsenal of the heroes but still put up a good fight when confronted.
- Fire Emblem:
- In some games, the player gets dragon units, in these cases one also has to admire the guts of the mooks for being able to stand toe to toe with (or even outmatch) a creature that is three times their size.
- Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn has the Daein army in part 3, unusual in that it's also one of the groups the player controls. They're exhausted after two wars in the span of a few years and fighting most of a continent, but still manage to inflict heavy losses on their enemies.
- Fire Emblem Awakening has Mustafa's men insisting they'll stay and fight with him to the last, even though Mustafa had offered to let them retreat after it had become clear that they wouldn't be able to hold the Ylissean army back. Mustafa himself couldn't go because his family would've payed for it. His men stayed because they were loyal.
- In the freeware RPG Last Scenario, the Omega Team does this twice in quick succession. First, after the heroes defeat the Big Bad, they rally to defend him and fight as a full team for the first time, resulting in a Boss Fight many times more difficult than their leader. They manage to escape after losing, but the weight of their unconscious leader allows the heroes to catch up before long. So the alleged traitor Helio stops to perform a Heroic Sacrifice, using a Psycho Serum that he knows will only allow him to stall the heroes while his comrades escape, and will kill him even if he wins, but not before delivering a combination between Villainous Breakdown and "World of Cardboard" Speech proving his unwavering loyalty to his team and their leader.
- The short roguelike Smart Kobold features a tribe of kobolds which your character could kill effortlessly in a straight fight - so, their cave has guards posted to raise an alarm the moment you walk in, and when it goes off the kobolds immediately start snatching up all their weapons, valuables, and babies, and retreat (setting traps as they go) to a large room where they can easily snipe you to death. Where this really crosses the line from cleverness to outright valor, though, is that if you corner one of their mages or archers, he'll often snap his wand or bow in half, so you can't use it when he dies (and you'll need a ranged weapon to have any hope of winning). The implications of this are profound.
- Several antagonists are quite valiant in their efforts to defeat the main party in Tales of Symphonia. The final boss in particular. Just before he dies, he states that he doesn't regret any of his actions and would do it all over again if he could.
- In Transformers: War for Cybertron, Megatron spends the first half of the game being outmatched and trying to accomplish "impossible" goals (such as controlling Dark Energon, storming Autobot City and defeating Omega Supreme) only to come out victorious in all three tasks, despite everyone (both allies and foes) pointing out that the odds are against him. In the sequel, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, he gets off to a rocky start, but soon one-man armies his way nearly to total victory, and whatever else you can say about him, Megatron leads from the front, and shows no hesitation in trying to slug it out with whatever is against him, be it Optimus Prime, Omega Supreme or Metroplex.
- Partially Subverted in God of War 2 due to the ways of Kratos. With Zeus being the King of the Greek Parthenon it would be hard for any one to defeat him unless you're the son of the god himself.
- Since the bad guys are depicted simply as soldiers serving their country enemies in the Ace Combat series often display this, be it going after the seemingly invincible pilot(s) to turn the tide of the faltering war, or to defend against an attack on a vital or sensitive installation. At one point in Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, the enemy stays in a vital munitions storage dump due to it's strategic importance despite it blowing up around them, since their comrades on the front lines need these supplies.
- Something of a subversion, since nobody is really a ''hero'', but in Saints Row 2, during the Boss' raid on the Brotherhood headquarters, The Boss ends up cornering their leader Maero. Matt, who was little more than the gang's tattoo artist jumps on him/her and tells Maero to run. it becomes something of a Heroic Sacrifice when The Boss cracks him in the head with a brick, killing him.
- In Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising, Eliphas is fought twice and both are difficult battles, even for Terminator-equipped squads. The Blood Ravens regard him as a dangerous foe because of this. In the next expansion pack, Retribution, Eliphas is a Villain Protagonist in the Chaos single-player campaign, and here he takes on several powerful armies and Kyras, who respects Eliphas' strength and guile.
Grimskull: I ain't so easy to kill.
- From the original Dawn of War II, The Eldar get in on this trope during the Battle of Angel Forge. Farseer Idranel blankly refuses medical aid in favour of hurrying their goals, and she too serves as a tough boss fight when you reach her, holding off your entire force alone. The lady may be an arrogant, myopic, human-hating bitch, but one thing she isn't is a coward. Also notable is pre-Ascended Extra Ronahn taking potshots at your force from a window, shouting that his mentor (who you assassinated in a previous mission) was the best of them and that he would avenge him or die trying.
- If you play as the Dark Eldar in Soulstorm and defeat the Chaos Stronghold (which is very likely given the close proximity of the two faction's territories), it is mentioned that the Chaos forces "fought heroically" to push back the Dark Eldar tide, to no avail. It compounds just how evil and wicked the Dark Eldar are when the forces of Chaos seem downright heroic in comparison.
- No love for the Ork Warboss from Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine who takes on dozens of Khornate daemons, gets piled on and seemingly falls to his death, and then climbs back up unharmed and takes on the Chaos Sorcerer who summoned them and makes a good account of himself?
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has a couple moments during the Grozni Grad escape sequence. First you see the enemy soldiers dragging their wounded allies from the burning hanger and yelling to them not to give up, and then you watch a helicopter swoop in front of the quickly advancing Shagohod to rescue a single soldier so he won't be run over.
- World of Warcraft has General Nazgrim in the Siege of Orgimmar. Unlike every other boss who's been corrupted or is simply flat-out evil, Nazgrim is simply doing his job and will not let anyone invade Orgimmar while he lives. He even congratulates the players when they win.
- In Starcraft: Brood War, Kerrigan spends most of the game at a large disadvantage compared to her enemies. It's only with a lot of guile and manipulation that she's able to play these enemies off one another, before ultimately taking control over the Zerg broods and becoming the most powerful individual in the Koprulu Sector.
- Undertale flips this around on its head. If you go for the Genocide ending, which turns you into a despicable murderer out to Kill 'Em All, you end up having to fight Sans, who seeks to punish you for your various atrocities, and turns out to be the single hardest boss in the entire game, thus making you the valorous villain in this scenario.
- In Final Fantasy XIV, various Garlean forces, along with the Heavens' Ward of Ishgard display this trope; in particular Gaius van Baelsar and his lieutenants. Arguably anyone that willingly engages the Warrior of Light fits this trope, considering the player's reputation as a God Slayer.
- Near the end of the first level of Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Mason is forced to take Raul Menendez hostage when a few enemy soldiers walk in. Menendez pulls out a live grenade and gets into a fight with Mason, causing him to drop it. If you look past Menendez during this scene, you'll see that a couple of the enemy soldiers have thrown themselves on top of the grenade in an effort to contain the explosion.
- The reason why Mason had to take Menendez hostage is because when he confused him for a radio operator and planned on having him send the soldiers elsewhere Menendez smashed the radio with one punch before Mason even finished his demand, which alerted the soldiers.
- In a later mission which is a flashback to Raul's early life, some PDF baddies hurt his disabled sister Josefina, and Raul. Goes. Apeshit. The whole mission is Raul rampaging through the camp with a shotgun and a machete, slaughtering every goon unfortunate enough to be in the way, while tanking more damage than a Juggernaut while wearing nothing more than a thin shirt. Raul is widely considered to be the best villain in the franchise, and it's really not hard to see why.
- Blazblue: Even though he's a complete monster of a villain, there's something genuinely admirable about Terumi fighting against multiple foes who have the means to kill him easily and eventually Outgambitting three God-like supercomputers.
- Our first glimpse of Darth Revan during Knights of the Old Republic is of the former Dark Lord of the Sith defiantly refusing to surrender while outnumbered by Jedi after the Dark Lord's followers are killed. Of course, considering that Revan was an extremely powerful Sith Lord and the person demanding Revan's surrender was an inexperienced Jedi Padawan, the Dark Lord may have come out of that battle just fine if Malak hadn't tried to usurp his master a moment later, even if the Jedi accompanying Bastila were much more experienced than the Padawan.
Villainous Valour / Video Games