Evil Versus Evil

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A big clue is when both sides have Names to Run Away From Really Fast.
"And so the Evil Overlord defeated the other Evil Overlord, and the land rejoiced."
Gnarl, Overlord

Sometimes, you just need a break from heroes. It can get a bit repetitive to have every protagonist be a white-as-snow goody-goody hero. A refreshing dose of moral ambiguity can do just the trick. When you're tired of watching heroes be heroic, watching a Villain Protagonist be villainous can be a nice change of pace.

But there's a problem with this. See, heroes are so popular because people like heroism. People are, to some small extent, basically good; they like watching other people be happy, succeed against all odds, and so on. Most of the time. The reason villains lose all the time is because they do things that get them into scrappy territory; that's the reason they're villains. Watching a villain defeat the heroes and plunge the world into darkness and suffering might be refreshing at first, but it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

The solution? Pit the Villain Protagonist against the Villain Antagonist. Someone so rotten that no matter how low you go on the Karma Meter, you'll still want to kick his ass. That way, the character(s) can be evil while doing good. It's the best of both worlds. You don't have to do really rotten things like kicking puppies, you can kick fire-breathing demon puppies instead. It's kind of hard to Take Over the World when another Evil Overlord is already ruling it; or wants to destroy it. For a Gentleman Thief who wants the best loot, what better target than other thieves? The Starscream has to have someone to overthrow, right? And even the most vicious Knight Templar is right once in a while. And if both bad guys are bad enough, having them killing each other is a victory for everyone!

Note that if a work's primary conflict is about Evil Versus Evil, then there is a serious risk of Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy. If the viewers/players/readers cannot support any faction, they may simply not care.

See also Even Evil Has Standards and Black and Gray Morality. Contrast Enemy Civil War, Eviler Than Thou, and The Good, the Bad, and The Evil, which are about antagonists battling other antagonists. This trope is the opposite of a Villain Team-Up. Has a Sub-Trope in Evil Versus Oblivion, where one side is world-destroying bad.

No real life examples, please; We know that this is sometimes Truth in Television, but calling real people "evil" is a very bad idea.

Examples of Evil Versus Evil include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Lone Wolf and Cub has Retsudo Yagyu and Abe-no-Kaii Tanoshi. Kaii attempts to destroy both Yagyu and the main character, Ogami Itto, while Retsudo spies on Kaii with plans to kill him after Itto. Eventually, Retsudo gets fed up with Kaii and frames him for a seppuku-worthy crime. Kaii dies.
  • In one of the manga from UFO Robo Grendizer -part of the Mazinger Z trilogy-, Big Bad King Vega killed Emperor of Darkness, Big Bad of the former series: Great Mazinger. Pretty fun, King Vega not only did it because he was a potential competitor -since he also wanted to Take Over the World-, but also because Emperor of Darkness was wanting to ally with the heroes to overthrow him.
  • As an odd example where the worse bad guy is actually the one you might cheer for, Kotomine vs. Zouken Matou in Fate Stay Night. Sure, he's an Omnicidal Maniac but he's not the one who inflicted Sakura's backstory on her nor is he made of worms. Zouken wants immortality. Kotomine wants to destroy the world. Kotomine comes off better. They both die though. After all, Kotomine does want to summon the closest thing to The Devil the Nasuverse seems to have. Kotomine gets a lot of sympathy points beforehand, though. And he saves Sakura and Ilya plus stops True Assassin.
  • Excel Saga. One side is World Domination group ACROSS, trying to take over Fukuoka City as a first step towards taking over the worl. The other side is the very corrupt Department of City Security, trying to stop ACROSS. Both recklessly disregard the lives of the people living in Fukuoka in their attempts to take the other one down.
  • Hunter X Hunter's main villain Hisoka is a pretty good example of this as he often pits himself against other villains either for his own twisted amusement or so that he can be the only one to kill series protagonist Gon and his friends.
  • In Haruhi Suzumiya, Ryoko is extremely forward about her plans. She wants to kill Kyon in order to provoke a massive data explosion from Haruhi. Admittedly, this could cause the end of the world, depending on how much Haruhi loves Kyon. Yuki stops her and deletes her. Fast forward to nine novels later. Yuki is sick. ( She's become ambassador to the Sky Canopy Dominion, because they aren't allowed to kill her after Kyon's threat. Next best thing is to send her to Cthulhu, and hope that'll break her completely.). Just when Suyoh comes out, and attacks Kyon, Ryoko arrives, in a Big Damn Heroes arrival, and protects Kyon. She still wants to kill him, but for now, only she can kill him.

Kimidori: Your potential usefulness was marginally greater than the threat you present.

  • Bleach: Mayuri (who is technically a good guy) achieves his Big Damn Heroes moment when he saves Ishida and Renji from Szayel Aporro Granz, who was gleefully torturing them by snapping every bone and tendon in their bodies one by one.
    • Kenpachi (who is also technically a good guy) versus Nnoitra Gilga.
  • Kekkaishi is oddly getting to be like this. Aside from the guardians of Karasumori, there are two main factions. Sousui is attempting to bring down the Urukai, and Shinyuuchi-hunting. Yumeji is attempting to stop the former, but is also Shinyuuchi-hunting and trying to destroy Karasumori. (For those unfamiliar with the series, Shinyuuchi-hunting is the act of killing a god and taking over its domain. Considered to be the ultimate perversion of the laws of nature.)
  • Baccano!: The most literal example is probably the fight in the Flying Pussyfoot between the Lemures and Ladd's gang. The Lemures are a Cult devoted to the immortal Mad Scientist Huey Laforet and they plan on slaughtering the passengers as a sacrifice to their leader/show of force to free their leader from prison. Ladd's gang are a bunch of psychos who are there to hold the train for ransom...after killing half of the passengers. Ladd's gang only kill the Lemures and by extension rescue the passengers, because they want to kill the passengers themselves, purely For the Evulz.
    • And don't forget about the Rail Tracer, who basically makes this a three-way bad guy fight.
  • Battle Royale has Kazuo Kiriyama against Mitsuko Souma.
  • Gundam also used it a few times. Zeta Gundam featured the first three-way of the series with the Titans fighting with Haman Karn's Neo Zeon, followed by the infighting of the Glemmy faction versus the Haman faction in Gundam Double Zeta.
    • Gundam Wing starts out OZ vs the Earth Sphere Alliance, then the Treize Faction (of OZ) vs (Romafeller Foundation) OZ, then the White Fang vs OZ.
    • Gundam SEED and its sequel have the Earth Alliance/Blue Cosmos/Logos versus ZAFT.
    • After delving deep enough into the plot of Gundam AGE, one can argue that the war between Earth Federation and the Unknown Enemy is this.
  • In One Piece, the Seven Warlords of the Sea, the World Government's Token Evil Teammate serve as this, going after other Pirate crews, who are all viewed as evil by the WG and Marines, and who are almost all not good like the Straw Hat crew. In a way, this sort-of sums up the Pirates versus the World Government. Especially when you have people like Fleet Admiral Akainu and Vice Admiral Onigumo in such high positions in their armed wing, or a guy like Rob Lucci as the leader of your top assassin squad.
    • And whether Dragon's Revolutionaries are actually good remains to be seen. Bartholomew Kuma used to be a member before becoming a Warlord, after all, and he's said to have been a vicious mass murderer (although his actions prior to losing his free will to his cyborg conversion make him look like one of the more decent of the Warlords, so it's not clear-cut in any case).
  • The trope is invoked in Basilisk by the Shogun, to head off another Evil Versus Evil Xanatos Speed Chess occurring between the nannies of his heirs, and remove them from influence over the succession.
  • In Berserk, the Neo-Band of Hawks led by Griffith and the Apostles versus Emperor Ganishka of Kushan. Both sides use different types of Eldritch Abominations in their final battle.
  • Happens to some extent at the end of the first season of the Black Butler anime. A psycho Fallen Angel tries to burn London to the ground as the first stage of an attempt to "purify" humanity. Humanity's only hope ends up being a demon who, for various reasons, wants said angel dead.
    • The second season initially appeared to be leading towards this type of conflict, but very quickly abandoned this approach by having Claude, previously morally ambiguous a la Sebastian, off Alois, briskly setting him up as the main antagonist and effectively eliminating the moral ambiguity aspect.
    • The whole principle of Ciel's role as the Queen's watchdog is like this. Ciel achieves the Queen's desires and keeps stability through many times evil means. It is not too surprising that a police officer calls the Earl a demon.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist pits Greed against the other homunculi and Dante/Father. He betrayed his creator and "siblings", and remains against them right up to his death.

Al: That makes you a friend of Envy, Lust and the others, doesn't it?
Greed: I wouldn't say 'friend'; more like 'sworn enemies' if you wanna get down to the grit.

  • Liar Game is more of a down to earth type of story but it goes on and on for chapters on Round 4 where Yokoya and Harimoto are competing with each other, and in times making alliances even, to a point that our main heroes, Akiyama and Nao, kinda disappear. Even Yokoya and Harimoto kinda disregard Akiyama as a threat for a while. Big Mistake.
  • Ryo Mashiba vs. Ryuuhei Sawamura in Hajime no Ippo. See a greater description on Eviler Than Thou.
  • Black Lagoon has an awful lot of this going on. With very few exceptions it's extremely hard to see what, if anything, distinguishes the protagonists and antagonists on a moral level. Possibly nothing, except for the strength of the person's Freudian Excuse. In Black Lagoon you're either a mafia leader or a complete psychopath. Or both.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh has a duel between Yami Marik, a psychopath who likes to Mind Rape and attempt to murder people, and Yami Bakura, a thief and murderer who wants the Millenium Items for his own mysterious reasons. The chapter/volume this duel appears is actually called "Evil VS Evil", making it an intended example of this trope. We're meant to be rooting for Bakura, as he's got Marik's good half on his side... too bad he loses. It has the honour of being both this and an example of Ham-to-Ham Combat—it becomes the kind of duel that needs to be seen to be believed.
    • Yami Yugi versus all the villains in season 0.
  • In the various Slayers series, the Monster Race shows up to be exemplars of this trope on a regular basis, usually through Xellos. The main plot Arc of Slayers Try is an archetypical example of this trope.
  • In Naruto you have Sasuke Vs Danzo. Someone who's obsessed enough with vengeance that he's willing to destroy Konoha to avenge his clan fights against someone who was responsible for the massacre of his clan and many other questionable deeds, including almost letting Konoha get destroyed so he can overthrow Tsunade and rule as he sees fit.
  • The Namek saga of Dragon Ball Z has Vegeta almost in the role of Villain Protagonist. Keep in mind that he is the Big Bad of the previous arc (barely a month before), and that his methods for obtaining Dragon Balls (devastate the village it is kept) are exactly the same that Frieza and his men employ. But, with Goku in space/healing and Piccolo dead, he is the best chance of holding off or defeating Frieza for most of the saga.
  • Elfen Lied is an example of this in some respects. Lucy is a Villain Protagonist, but the organization that's trying to capture her is led by a Complete Monster and has field agents who are very questionably heroic. Most of the good characters can't really do much in this conflict; Nana is the only "good" diclonius, and she's a bit of a Jobber.
  • Code Geass: Lelouch vi Brittania lampshades this trope to his campaign as the leader of the Black Knights against the Holy Empire of Britannia.
  • An episode of Bakugan Mechtanium Surge was actually called Evil VS Evil.
  • Urotsukidouji - Return of the Overfiend has a lot of factions: Nazi-like humans, terroristic Makemono, Amano, who's working for a god that previously caused The End of the World as We Know It, Faust, who wants to kill said god to obtain his power, Kyo-O, who's said to be the devil (and is probably the lightest shade of grey in the whole bunch)... pick your poison.
  • Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force: The Huckebein Family finds itself fighting others who are infected with the same virus but are Eviler Than Thou.

Comics[edit | hide]

  • The quintessential comic book example: Wanted, the story of the son of one of the world's most skilled supervillains in a world where a much, much more grotesque, inhuman villain is waging war with—yes—other supervillains, for control of the world, which has fallen under the control of—hey, you guessed it! -- supervillainy.
  • The DCU has the Suicide Squad, a US government black ops unit made up primarily with jailed supervillains who agree to undertake dangerous missions against other supervillains with promised clemency if they survive.
  • The Larry Hama-written G.I. Joe comics by Marvel had the Cobra Civil War storyline, where Serpentor and the Crimson Guardsman masquerading as Cobra Commander fought over control of Cobra. Destro and his Iron Grenadiers represented a third villain faction in the conflict. The Joes didn't have much to do but bear witness to events though Serpentor's faction had bought their support from corrupt elements within the Pentagon.
    • The recent revival comic also had a storyline or three about Cobra factions gunning for each other, including one named... Cobra Civil War.
  • Even though it was called Super-Villain Team Up, Marvel's comic series featured Namor and Doctor Doom (Namor being an Anti-Hero of sort during those days. And yes, nowadays again as well.) fighting mostly each other and other supervillains. Only the occasional hero would show up and get involved.
  • The DC crossover event Reign in Hell pitted the half-demon children of Shazam, Blaze and Satanus, against Neron (who was retconned into being the ruler of Hell instead of being just another demon lord) in a bid to control all of Hell. A few of the magic-using DC heroes got involved in the conflict because the fallout of the infernal struggle was screwing up magic in general. It ultimately ended with Satanus defeating Neron by transforming all the demons of Hell into humans (which had the side effect of stripping Neron of most of his power that was absorbed from other demons over the millenia), Neron's head on a pike, and Blaze betraying Satanus in a moment of weakness making her the new Queen of Hell.
  • Geoff Johns' Rogue War, which pitted two teams of The Flash's rogues (one led by Captain Cold, the other by the original Trickster) going up against each other, (over the body of Captain Boomerang, among other things) soon joined by a third group (brought together by the Top). This leads up to a CMOA where Captain Cold, almost the epitome of Even Evil Has Standards, freezes then kills the Top, the whole time berating him why this shouldn't have happened.

Captain Cold: Forgot one of the rules, Top. Rogues shouldn't fight each other. 'Cause when they do... *shatters the frozen Top* bad things happen.

  • In the Marvel UK Transformers Generation 1 story "Target: 2006", Galvatron travels back in time and kicks everybody's arses, trapping Megatron and Soundwave under a pile of rocks. With the Autobots badly beaten, Ironhide decides to free Megatron in a desperate bid to defeat Galvatron. Oh, and while that's going on, Starscream is acting against them both.
    • Happens a lot in the comics, actually. Shockwave frequently faced off against Megatron; Starscream manipulates Scorponok and Ratbat into sending their respective armies into combat in the Underbase Saga; Jhaixus kicks Megatron's arse in Transformers Generation 2 to solidify his position as the real Big Bad of the storyline; etc.
  • Deadpool is recurrently made of this trope. Heck Marvel Comics in general frequently invokes this trope.
  • In UDON's Street Fighter comic series, Bison meets his end at the hands of Akuma after a sound thrashing and "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • The Secret Six. Balancing them fighting bad guys with occasional suggestions of just how brutal they really are is a large part of the series.
  • One issue of the Spider-Man comics featured Electro getting the security blueprints of the banks he planned to rob from a crooked sales representative. Unfortunately, the representative was selling Electro out to the Shocker, who would get to the banks before Electro did and empty the vault. When Electro realizes that he's being double-crossed, he goes back to the crooked sales rep with the intention of frying him, only for the Shocker to interrupt and save the sales rep. Electro and the Shocker then fight for all the loot they both intended to steal. Electro wins.
  • Countdown to Final Crisis is made of this trope, with Darkseid, Monarch, Superboy-Prime, and Bob The Monitor all gunning for each other for various convoluted reasons, mostly having to do with their superhero enemies and said heroes' bizarre, fragmented, mixed-up parallel plotlines running throughout the series.
  • The presidential election in Transmetropolitan. The incumbent, the Beast, is a Richard Nixon Expy who firmly believes that he has done his job if, at the end of the day, a majority of his constituents are still alive, and whose major accomplishments in office consist of abusing his powers to punish demographics that support his opponents and getting the Supreme Court to rule that campaign contributions are personal gifts. Over in the Opposition, meanwhile, the race for the nomination has come down to two men: Bob Heller, a Social Darwinist who would be A Nazi by Any Other Name if the characters didn't keep openly referring to him as a Nazi, and Gary Callahan, a sociopath who confides to the protagonist that he wants to be President For the Evulz. In the end, Callahan cuts a backroom deal with Heller to win the nomination, goes on to defeat the Beast, and becomes a poster boy for President Evil.
  • Boom Studio's french import 7 Psychopaths chronicled a group of army-sanctioned crazies who are trained and parachuted into Germany to kill Adolf Hitler. The group included a sociopathic mimic, a bloodthirsty maniac who shrugged off pain, a man who believed Hitler to be an actual demon, and a mother with impeccable sniper skills.
  • Happens all the time in the Sonic the Hedgehog comics, due to the sheer number of villainous factions in the series.

Fan Works[edit | hide]

Films -- Animation[edit | hide]

Films -- Live-Action[edit | hide]

Aereon: If we are to survive, a new balance must be found. In normal times, evil would be fought by good. But in times like these, well, it should be fought by another kind of evil.

    • An unaired trailer for Pitch Black, the previous Riddick movie, actually had "Fight evil with evil" as its promotional slogan.
  • The Musical and later film Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street has a protagonist who murders his customers and gives his neighbor their bodies to bake into pies to sell. The antagonist is a corrupt Hanging Judge and Dirty Old Man who sentences children to death on trumped up charges and who raped the protagonist's wife after sending him away to Australia and essentially wishes to do the same thing to his daughter.
  • Jackie Brown: A crooked Air Hostess who has no qualms about holding people at gunpoint, working for gun smugglers and betraying people left, right and centre is the good guy, next to the gun smuggler himself.
  • Pretty much the premise behind the movie Payback.
  • Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS: Most of the movie is typically good versus evil until the very end where Ilsa is killed by a fellow Nazi.
  • The Evil That Men Do (1984). Charles Bronson is a hitman hired to murder Dr Clement Molloch, a doctor who advises South American dictatorships on how to torture people. We see Bronson carry out several cold-blooded murders, to the shock of the woman accompanying him as his pretend wife.
  • District 9 briefly has the variant where both sides in the struggle over the fate of the Prawns -both MNU and the Nigerian gangs- are utterly unsympathetic and you really hope they wipe each other out.
  • In the Loop pits a Complete Monster (Linton Barwick) against a Magnificent Bastard (Malcolm Tucker). Linton is so utterly loathsome and charmless that viewers find themselves rooting for the evil-but-charming Malcolm, even when this means willing him to help start an illegal war. The bastards.
  • The Devils Rejects takes He Who Fights Monsters and bashes you over the head with it. Some viewers cheered Wydell on, however, as his depraved acts of torture were done against Complete Monsters who tortured and killed countless innocent people, yet Rob Zombie expected the audience to feel sorry for them once they got a taste of their own medicine.
  • Hard Candy. A sadistic psychopath vs. a child molester. You decide who's the good guy.
  • The Sith Order in the Star Wars films operated under the Rule of Two: There were to be only two Sith in the Galaxy, a master and an apprentice. If the apprentice wanted to become the master, all he had to do was kill his master and take the title for himself. The Rule of Two was specifically designed to prevent this trope on a massive scale, as in-fighting was as big a threat to the Sith as the Jedi were.
  • Paths of Glory (1957) by Stanley Kubrick. Admittedly, the bulk of the film is more of a courtroom drama with Kirk Douglas as an idealist officer/lawyer being the obvious good guy, but its World War I setting and overall anti-war message could classify it as Evil Versus Evil when it comes to the two sides fighting a pointless war, with the French generals coming off as arrogant and foppish with little (if any) regard for the life of their soldiers. One could imagine their British allies, or their German opponents, being exactly the same.
  • The Alien vs. Predator crossover franchise is an example of this without question. Whoever wins, we lose.
    • The first film shows the last predator teaming up with the humans—only because it was the only way he could win. He died in the end, as well as the other predators who knew of the alliance.
    • Although the other predators died in the second film, but it picks up right where the first one left off.
  • King Kong vs. Godzilla was debatably an example of this as well as the obvious Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny since both were antagonists in their original films.
  • Hunting Humans had one Serial Killer hunting another.
  • In Red State the evil church is killing gays and promiscuous teens out of religious mania. Then the ATF shows up, decides they are all terrorists and decides to murder every single parishioner, including the children.
  • The main plot point of Yojimbo, and the works directly inspired by it, A Fistful of Dollars and Last Man Standing.
  • Augustus Gibbons discusses this in XXX by way of explanation of recruiting criminals.

"Do we drop another mouse into the snake pit, or do we send our own snake and let him crawl in?"

  • Outrage is about several groups of Yakuza killing each other.
  • Bully is about a group of vapid, selfish, amoral wastes of space who conspire to commit murder. The victim is a Complete Monster, but the film argues that he's only the same key played louder.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean revolves around this (though they gray up some sides). At least one of the factions consists of amoral pirates. The others include an amoral/somewhat sadistic Psychopomp and the Complete Monster leader of the East India Trading Company. (plus the British Navy, which doesn't do much.)

Literature[edit | hide]

  • The theme of "evil against evil" is prevalent in the book The Exorcist, starting with Merrin's archaeological trip to Iranq where he finds a demon statue that the natives stated was an evil artifact to combat evil. This foreshadows Karras' "evil act" of accepting Pazuzu into himself, to save Regan.
    • Shown Their Work : the demon's Pazuzu, Mesopotamian King of Wind Spirits, monster and main antagonist of the story. As Summon Bigger Fish noted, he was summoned (mainly by pregnant mothers) to combat his arch-enemy and wife, Lamashtu, who was known for killing or kidnapping young children.
  • In Animorphs, Visser One and Three are usually at each other's throats. Visser Three wants Visser One's spot, something Visser One is only too well aware of. In one book, the Animorphs, Visser One, and Visser Three all had their own plans to kill off the other two. Though of the two, Visser One is considerably more sympathetic than the Complete Monster that is Visser Three.
  • Hells Children by Andrew Boland. Though most of the characters occasionally Pet the Dog, it’s mostly Evil Versus Evil.
  • S.M. Stirling's Marching Through Georgia pitted Those Wacky Nazis against The Draka. Most readers end up rooting for the Nazis, because the Draka are even worse.
  • Harry Turtledove has an interesting example in his Worldwar series: we have a lot of scenes of powers often thought of as "evil" such as the Nazis, the Imperial Japanese, and the Soviets fighting the invading Race. The twist is that the Race are much more "civilised" even than the Western Allies (they're possibly an allegory for the Western world in the Nineties) yet they see us as inferior and want to conquer and enslave assimilate us and erase our culture. It can often be an uncomfortable crux for the reader to decide who is the more evil.
    • It Got Worse in the sequels (Colonization). When the Colonization fleet arrives and starts unloading civilians, someone uses a nuke against them, killing millions. It was the United States that did it, and to prevent another war from breaking out the President allows the Race to nuke Indianapolis.
  • Everyone in H.I.V.E. is evil to some degree. Even the leader of G.L.O.V.E.'s rival group, H.O.P.E., hires assassins to kill the world's greatest assassin and a teenaged boy, who just happens to literally have a "binary brain". It doesn't help that the series is based around a school for villains.
  • The Lord of the Rings is often presented as a simplistic Good vs Evil, but in fact the conflict between Saruman and Sauron forms an important part of the plot of The Two Towers, although nothing much in the way of real Evil-Versus-Evil warfare ever comes of it. Likewise Ungoliant and Morgoth in The Silmarillion.
  • The videogame / comic / novel Shadows of the Empire had the Emperor keep Darth Vader and Prince Xizor, head of the criminal enterprise Black Sun, at his right and left hands. Naturally they hated each other; for Xizor it was personal. But they had to remain outwardly civil with each other until the end. It's implied that the Emperor set things up like this because he found it entertaining.
    • And because it distracts his minions from plotting against him; a man who rose to ultimate power by treachery naturally takes many precautions to avoid falling victim to more of the same.
    • Unfortunately, this policy led to a complete fragmenting of the Empire upon his death with warlords running rampant.
    • Also in the Star Wars Expanded Universe it is heavily implied that one of the reasons the Empire was created was to defend the galaxy against extragalactic threats like the Yuuzhan Vong. This is unambiguously one of Grand Admiral Thrawn's key motivations.
      • This was just an excuse, made by Imperials trying to justify it's actions many years later.
  • Hannibal by Thomas Harris. On one hand you've got Dr. Hannibal Lecter himself, serial killer and cannibal, versus Mason Verger who abused his own sister as a child, moved on to molest more children and planned on feeding Dr. Lecter to some pigs he's had trained to eat human flesh.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire generally features Grey and Gray Morality, but occasionally two Complete Monsters are thrown into the ring together: Ser Gregor Clegane vs Vargo Hoat, for example.
  • In the 1632 series, the Thirty Years' War is basically described as this. This does have basis in truth. While mostly thought of as a Protestant versus Catholic conflict in real life—and, indeed, religious tensions did play a significant part—it was largely just a massive, selfish power play between the nobles of the Holy Roman Empire and most of Europe which resulted in the loss of countless of lives. Heck, even the "Catholic" and "Protestant" sides were not rigidly divided along those religious lines. Their armies were often composed of mercenary troops with mixed religions. Both sides' armies also had the tendency to rape, pillage, and burn villages, regardless of the religious make up of said villages. The author repeatedly hammers this point home in the series, as well as the fact that 17th century Europe in general was not a pleasant place.
    • The Truth in Television was not just limited to the nobility's power grabs. Groups of Catholics and Protestants (who were themselves divided mostly among equally hostile Calvinists and Lutherans) frequently tore each other apart when the opportunity presented itself. Rape, looting, and mass murder were employed with equal frequency by any one of the factions against the others.
  • Harry Flashman is a loathsome, profiteering, traitorous cowardly braggart who'll Kick the Dog for fun, betray his country at the drop of a hat, and lie shamelessly about it all to look like a hero afterwards. But he's generally up against some of the nastiest pieces of work the 19th century has to offer, so you'll (almost) forgive him for it as long as they lose in the end.
  • Carrion Comfort, by Dan Simmons. While there are good guys and they are the point of view about a third to half the time, the plot is ultimately driven by the two big bad chessmasters. Most of the cast happen to be their pieces (literally, in some cases), and a good chunk of the cast are sociopathic mind vampires.
  • Michael Marano's Dawn Song, in which there is a battle for dominion over humanity between the demon lord Belial and his succubus minion who represent the aesthetic side of evil and the demon Leviathan who represents mindless, chaotic ugly evil.
  • The ending of the Dragonlance Chronicles trilogy has Raistlin, by this point an evil black-robe, helping Tanis kill Ariakas for his own purposes. In the sequel Legends trilogy, it is revealed that Raistlin's ultimate agenda is to kill and replace Takhisis, the head evil goddess of the setting. In the Lost Chronicles trilogy, particularly Dragons of the Highlord Skies, it is revealed that there was in general a tremendous amount of infighting and back-stabbing among the Dragonarmies.
    • The Dragonlance series does this a lot. The Knights of Takhisis were instrumental in the defeat of the Chaos armies. Lord Soth and several of the Dragon Overlords were killed by more powerful villains after tearing through the greatest heroes on the continent for years. Nuitari, god of the black moon, makes a habit of subtly disrupting any plots by his fellow evil deities that might disrupt the balance of the world. One of the central concepts of the setting is that Evil is typically more powerful, and almost always has the advantage of being the aggressor in a given conflict, but will inevitably turn upon itself and give Good a chance to restore the balance.
  • This is how the Muggles of The Wheel of Time think about The Dragon fighting The Dark One in the back story, since The Dark One is an Expy of the devil, but The Dragon went on to destroy most of the world - people say "The Dragon Brings Both Despair and Hope" for a reason. This makes people understandably nervous about the coming of The Dragon Reborn, but it eventually turns out that The Dragon was basically a good guy who got a heavy dose of Mind Rape (which only partly carries over to his re-incarnation).
    • A better example from The Wheel of Time would probably be the dead city of Shadar Logoth and Mashadar, the amorphous cloud of evil that lives there. Mashadar hates the Dark One and all its minions. However, it's unquestionably a thing of evil that will eat the good guys as quickly as the bad.
    • Several books also detail the conflicts between the Dark One's various minions. The Forsaken are all plotting against each other and at least a few times have succeeded in stabbing each other in the back. The first book also details a trip through the Blight where the characters are running from worms. They are assured that if they can make it to the mountains, the worms will stop: "The worms are afraid of what lives in the mountains."
  • Thomas Ligotti's odd little novel My Work Is Not Yet Done has for its "hero" one Frank Dominio, an Unfettered Reality Warper who sits on the edge of Type V only by dint of the fact that nearly every victim of his Roaring Rampage of Revenge is, to greater or lesser extent, a Complete Monster... If we are to trust him at all. And why should we expect any less, considering the author's usual domain?
  • Grunts! chronicles the struggle between the INCREDIBLY Jerkass Light, and the at best Faux Affably Evil Orcs.
  • In the Chronicles of Amber, Corwin actually describes himself as "a part of that evil which exists to oppose other evil."
  • A good portion of the War of the Spider Queen.
  • In Warrior Cats we have Tigerstar Vs. Scourge during The Darkest Hour. And, depending on your view of them, Stick Vs. Dodge in SkyClan's Destiny may count.
  • Much of Glen Cook's Annals of the Black Company is devoted to the internal conflicts between powerful evil sorcerers. Much of the original trilogy involves the Lady's struggle to keep her Eviler Than Thou husband, the Dominator, from freeing himself, so she can keep ruling her own empire as she pleases.
  • Happens in-universe in Harry Potter, although it's more a case of Jerkass vs. Annoying. When Snape and Lockhart are dueling, Harry and Ron think the best outcome would be if they finished each other off.
  • The final battle of the Books of Swords trilogy is fought between Yambu, the Silver Queen, Big Bad of the first two novels, and Vilkata, the Dark King, the even Bigger Bad of the third book. Interestingly, Yambu only does her Heel Face Turn after she wins the battle but loses her throne. Of course, the third book does give Yambu a sympathetic backstory, including something of a Freudian Excuse. But it's not an accident that she wins the battle using Soulcutter, also known as the Tyrant's Blade, a name she acknowledges.
  • Private Detective and Vigilante Man Mike Hammer, as quoted in One Lonely Night just before he blew away a bunch of Dirty Communists who were torturing Velda.

I was the evil that opposed other evil, leaving the good and the meek in the middle to live and inherit the Earth!

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • 24 does this A LOT; probably because most evil plots involve groups of bad guys working together (a bit of Truth in Television). But of course, since they're bad guys, they'll turn on each other in a heartbeat.
    • Homeland fans that are also yoai fans that liked the Carrie/Nick Brodie romance would be quick to see that as pretty hot. "They'll turn on each other in a heartbeat" and so forth. To the mattresses!
  • Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis has this thing going on. We have the Goa'uld fighting each other over territory and other things, we have the Replicators (not evil per se, but a threat to all life) fighting everyone, including the Goa'uld. In Atlantis we have the Asurans, who battled the Wraith, erasing human life to deplete the Wraith's "food sources". In the end the Asurans proved to by far the greater threat, leading to an alliance between the humans and a Wraith faction to eliminate them.
    • The Wraith are no more friendly amongst themselves than the Goa'uld, that alliance contains nine factions, not the three you'd assume at first glance.
  • Heroes gives us the conflict between insane serial killer Sylar and ruthless Knight Templar organisation the Company.
  • When they're not fighting the Federation, the Klingons and the Romulans spend most of their time fighting each other. (Or other Klingons. Actually, Klingons don't get along with anyone, really.)
  • Season 8 of Doctor Who had this Once Per Episode with The Master and whatever monster he had allied himself with. Some larger-scale examples include: the Sontaran-Rutan war, the Dalek-Movellan war, the Dalek civil war, and the Dalek-Cyberman battle (such as it was).
    • And now, it appears that the war between the Time-Lords and Daleks became this.
  • Lost has the conflict between Ben Linus and Charles Widmore in seasons 4 and 5, as they vie for control of the island. In season 6, it seems to be setting the stage for another one in addition: Charles Widmore versus the show's real Big Bad, The Man In Black.
    • By the end of the series, Ben gets redeemed. And Charles seemed to be on that track, but then Ben killed him... His full redemption doesn't come until after that.
  • The Smallville episode "Injustice". A group of supervillains are sent to take down Doomsday.
  • Power Rangers Zeo saw Rita and Zedd attempting to undermine the Machine Empire. In the end, it was Rita and Zedd that destroyed The Empire, rather than the heroes.
    • This trope is a major part of the Power Rangers Operation Overdrive series. The Corona Aurora, an object of god-like power, is so sought after that there are a total of four distinct villain factions fighting the Rangers and one another for it; they occasionally get along, but most of the time, they're fighting one another as often as they fight the Rangers. Even after being shown they're a much greater threat working together, they go right back to trying to kill each other afterwards.
    • Power Rangers Dino Thunder had Mesogog, the current Big Bad, team up with the previous season's Big Bad Lothor. Once their plans fail, they instantly turn on one another and duke it out. Of course being the present Big Bad, Mesogog ultimately wins.

Mesogog: Looks like this planet has one too many evil villains, and I have no intention of leaving.

  • Dexter is made of this, what with the title character being a serial killer that targets criminals, mostly other serial killers.
  • The demon Crowley in Supernatural is an amusing example of this. He manipulates and double-crosses just about everybody in sight, from the protagonists to his own demonic peers, in order to save his own neck, his comfortable job as a soul merchant and (incidental to those goals) the world. Though a useful ally and unusually honest for a demon, he never makes any attempt to pretend he isn't evil. This makes it all the more impressive that he convinces the good guys to keep working with him even after they've been tricked, thrown under the bus, beaten half-senseless and otherwise abused as a result of listening to him.
    • Crowley becomes the instigator of this again in Season 6; it's eventually revealed that The Mother of All came to Earth and started building armies of monsters in response to Crowley's plans to steal all the souls from Purgatory - the Mother's domain. And when the Mother's killed, the last few episodes of the season are still spent dealing with this trope, as the Winchesters find themselves stuck in the middle of the power struggle between the remaining contenders for the position of Big Bad: Crowley, Raphael, and Castiel, who has Jumped Off the Slippery Slope to prevent Raphael from turning the planet into a graveyard by restarting the Apocalypse. In the end Castiel decides to cut Crowley out of the deal, in response to which Crowley teams up with Raphael, but Castiel Out Gambits them both. He kills Raphael, ascents to godhood, and makes Crowley his servant not much later. In season 7 he's killed due to the strain of containing inside himself, in addition to millions of souls, the Leviathans - absolutely ancient creatures from Purgatory who wish only to consume. Which leads to...
    • Crowley instigating this again in season 7. He attempts a Villain Team-Up with the Leviathan's nominal leader, but is brusquely rejected. Then he orders his demonic forces to ignore the Winchesters so they can hunt Leviathans around the clock.
  • The Masters of Horror episode "Pick Me Up" has Wheeler, a serial killer truck driver, V.S. Walker, a serial killer hitchhiker. The eventual winner? The serial killing ambulance driver duo who pick them up at episode end.
  • Invoked at least once a season on Deadliest Warrior: The Mafia vs. the Yakuza the Mafia won; the Irish Republican Army vs. the Taliban the IRA won; the Viet Cong vs. the Waffen SS the SS won; the Medellin Cartel vs. Somali pirates Somalis won; Saddam Hussein vs. Pol Pot Hussein won; and Hernan Cortez vs. Ivan the Terrible Cortez won.
  • In Covert Affairs Annie Walker trys to provoke this when, instead of assassinating the terrorist she is hunting, she tells him that his father(the head of the organization) had ordered his girlfriend killed.

Print Media[edit | hide]

  • Mad's Spy vs. Spy, in all its various incarnations. Except for their arbitrarily assigned color scheme, the two sides are identical, committing the same horrible (if hilarious) atrocities on each other... which was creator Antonio Prohias's whole point.

Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • Though less common than Face vs. Face, and FAR less common than Face vs. Heel, sometimes happens in pro wrestling, pa rticularly when Vince Russo is at the helm. Making one a success can be difficult though, since one of the cardinal rules of any match is that the audience should be rooting for someone. One major example would be The Corporation Vs. The Ministry of Darkness feud, where both sides were portrayed as bad guys.
    • Though in the end those two groups would merge together to form the Corporate Ministry, and it was revealed Vince McMahon was the mastermind behind both stables all along. It still works as not every member was in on the plan, though those members left prior to the merger and turned face. Though even in the Corporate Ministry there was fighting within the group, especially between The Undertaker and Triple H.
  • On Raw 1/24/11 The Nexus was confronted by The Corre and later the leaders, Wade Barrett and CM Punk faced each other with the loser and his group out of the Royal Rumble.
    • Which led to a Crowning Moment of Funny when John Cena was appointed special guest referee, and disqualified both Barrett and Punk for 'excessive use of profanity on a PG show', eliminating both factions from the Rumble. He was overruled.
  • Any Triple H vs. Kurt Angle match from 2000-2002 was this essentially. Triple H was the sledgehammer-wielding Villain Sue against the pompous Smug Snake Kurt Angle who wanted to take the guy's wife. Though they were both heels, they were tenuous allies at best and vicious enemies at worst. They would feud on and off from year to year, with neither really turning face at all (the closest being their No Way Out match where Triple H was running off of Determinator face heat).
    • During this period Triple H even paused during his catchphrase to allow the audience to finish it—a way of hinting to the smart marks that he was going to turn face. He didn't.
  • Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Hart Foundation could be viewed as this, had it not been for the overwhelming crowd reaction in Austin's favor.
  • Undertaker vs Big Bossman in a Hell In A Cell match was this. This one wasn't so successful, mostly because they had no real chemistry or feud, so the crowd had nobody to root for.

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Pretty much the fundamental premise of Warhammer 40,000, where every side is supposed to be evil, and if the players ever start thinking otherwise, the writers make that side even more evil to make sure it doesn't happen anymore.
    • The Biggest 2 examples being the Eldar and the Tau. The Eldar are psychic space elves that can see the future. They fight against Chaos, which is what Eldritch Abominations fear when they're up late at night. The fanbase tended towards them being the good guys, so the latest editions of the game has played up the "Manipulative Bastard" part to 11 and making it clear that they're all about the long game. In one example, they caused an Ork warlord to attack the Human world of Armageddon, killing billions in order to save a few thousand Eldar lives; in another, they happily attacked both Orkish and Imperium worlds in order to deny the Tyranids biomass. Further, an Eldar captured by the Imperial Guard makes it perfectly clear that once they are back on top they will systematically kill every single human, or Mon-Keigh, in existence.
      • The Tau are anime-influenced space-communists that fight for The Greater Good, and are the closest thing the setting has to a neutral or even good faction. That is, if you ignore the fact that their entire race is being mind controlled by their leaders. Not wanting such an obvious good race in the series, Games-Workshop pointed out that the Tau's plans for humanity include forced sterility, slave camps, and genocide. The kicker? They're still the only thing close to a good race the game has.
      • From one of the Imperium's scholars. This is the same Imperium where aliens are regarded on the same level we regard poisonous snakes.
        • Which still doesn't mean they're wrong given the setting—many of the reports claiming the Tau are the good guys are from Tau propaganda. That's how Games Workshop explains conflicting sources, which is either lazy or brilliant. Or both.
    • The Imperium gets this too. For every hardworking adept who agonizes over every difficult decision, honorable space marine, or working class guardsmen with balls of steel they show you; they are contractually obligated to show ten Knight Templar inquisitors screaming "EXTERMINATUS!"
        • Which really just becomes stupid before long, as rarely do you see a competent Inquisitor.
        • Which could be considered Fridge Brilliance. An Inquisitor actually good at his job most likely works covertly, swiftly and quietly removing any threats to the Imperium, or even preventing them from becoming a threat at all, without anyone noticing. The only way to know if a competent one ever did anything at all, is when he fails and things go from bad to worse.
        • And the Inquisition itself has a lot of Right Hand Versus Left Hand struggles between the factions too, though it rarely breaks into open war, and more individual backstabbing/assassination/purging. Puritans are more eager to purge everything with fire, while Radicals are less constrained in methods and often more competent - or at least experienced.
  • Likewise, the fundamental premise in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Its nice guys - High Elves, Wood Elves, Bretonnians, Empire, Dwarfs - are not.
  • This is sort of built into the alignment system in Dungeons & Dragons, though it's more a result of any Evil alignment taking on Order Versus Chaos: chaotic evil and lawful evil characters theoretically hate each other as much as, say, good and evil ones, and while this isn't applied so much to mortals, the war between demons and devils, which is known as the Blood War, is mentioned more often than the war between celestials and fiends.
    • The Third Edition Dungeon Master's Guide says "...evil rarely gets along with evil, for the desires of one selfish and destructive being, by definition, conflict with the desires of other selfish and destructive beings.
    • The two Fiendish Codexes explain that there is an infinite number of demons, and there's more of them spawning at all times. Angels, Archons, Devils & company are in a finite number. The Devils exist in fact so they can use their superior tactics and team work (due to their Lawfulness) along with similar weapons as those used by the demons, to keep the demons in check. The books make it explicit that if the Devils weren't around, the demons would swarm and destroy all of creation. The books also hint that if the demons vanished, the Devils could probably conquer the Multiverse, being a race composed entirely of Magnificent Bastards and Chessmasters.
      • And in the 2nd Edition of the game, the various forces of good took time to fan the flames, hoping to break their enemies against each other. Planescape has many references to various celestials who help the Blood War along and support either the side they dislike less or both at once - whether because it's the easiest way to get rid of as many fiends as possible, or out of fear the fiends will reach a truce, or reasoning that when the fiends are busy killing each other, they have less free time to roam around and mess with innocent people. In the boxed set Hellbound: the Blood War, there's even an adventure where player characters discover high-ranking angelic beings funneling weapons and armor to their favored side in the war so more and more of the fiends would be killed.
      • Some demon sub-races are also enemies of other demon sub-races (retrievers eat all other demons, for example). Some members of the higher ranking devil sub-races get promoted to the next higher-ranking sub-race by getting their direct superior killed or demoted, while some pit fiends (the highest-ranking sub-race) do the same to replace the devil dukes and duchesses who themselves are The Starscream to the archdevils. There's also much enmity between the archdevils (Dispater and Mephistipholes vs. Baalzebul, Prince Levistus vs. Princess Glasya, all the other archdevils trying to take Asmodeous' throne) and the demon lords (Juiblex vs. Zugtmoy, Baphomet vs. Yenoghu, the three-way battle between Graz'zt, Orcus and Demogorgan).
      • In the Complete Scoundrel supplement, a prestage class called the Malconvoker is introduced which follows the teachings of a book called Vital Pact to impersonate evil for the sole purpose of summoning fiends to fight other evils and other with perpetuate all of the fighting between evil above, since the Celestial beings are too few to win their war against evil otherwise.
    • 4th Edition has several instances, the most notable being the god of war Bane and his eternal war versus god of destruction Gruumsh. While Bane revels in conquest and power, one of his prime commandments is to ALWAYS obey the rules of war. He also likes his followers to be rigidly disciplined and wants to preserve the world so that it will be worth conquering. Gruumsh on the other hand revels in utter destruction and encourages savagery in his followers. Both want to be the uncontested god of war, and thus they've been fighting for eons over their differences.
    • Another example is between the god of fear, Bane (no, not that one) and the god of murder, Cyric, in the Forgotten Realms setting. This isn't a case of Order Versus Chaos or trying to decide which is Eviler Than Thou. These two just hate each other on a very personal level. The problem is that Cyric is currently sealed in a can, so they can't fight directly. Instead, they're marshalling their respective worshippers to go on an (un)holy war against one another. Since in the Forgotten Realms, the gods need worshippers to survive, this is the only way they have to kill one another.
    • More generally, this applies to many of the Exclusively Evil races
      • An orc tribe's worst enemy tends to not be a human kingdom, a clan of dwarves or even a Hidden Elf Village, but a rival orc tribe, and the same applies to hobgoblins and their tribes. Only a sufficiently powerful Big Bad can terrify rival tribes into working together, and the result tends to be a Keystone Army. If the Big Bad dies, rival orc and hobgoblin tribes who were previously intimidated into cooperating will turn on each other with a vengeance.
      • The Chromatic Dragons (black, blue, green, red, and white), are all evil (blue and green are Lawful Evil, black red and white are Chaotic Evil), and all obsessed with gathering hoards, gaining territory, building power, and destroying anything good (especially the good Metallic Dragons). However, they have no love for each other either, and they will fight to kill or chase each other away (even if two dragons, a black and a green for instance, manage to form a truce, eventually and inevitably one or the other will break the truce and resume hostilities). The worst are red dragons, the archetypal evil dragons, who will slaughter anyone and anything in their pursuit of their desires.
      • Frost giants (Often Chaotic Evil according to the Third Edition Monster Manual) often kill white dragons for food and armour or capture them to use as guards. There are both many evil and many non-evil githzerai, but both attack the githyanki and mind flayers on sight. Meanwhile, githyanki and mind flayers are both evil and attack each other on sight as well.
      • Salamanders hate efreet. Most beholders want to wipe out all other beholders.
  • Any two Ravenloft darklords whose domains share a border are quite likely to be bitter enemies, and most domains have one or more lesser villains waiting in the wings to seize power if the dominant evil should slip up. The most famous of rivals, Strahd and Azalin, have been feuding and sabotaging each other's schemes for centuries, although the nature of the Land of Mists prevents opposing darklords from simply overrunning their rivals' territory.
  • The post-war Dragonlance setting is like this. With Takhisis banished to the Abyss, her five Dragonarmies turn on each other. Now, the five factions are just as apt to fight each other as they are to attack the good guys.
  • This is the very principle behind the Tabletop RPG Necessary Evil. An alien invasion has wiped out all the superheroes, so the only ones left to defend the world is the supervillains. After all, you can hardly conquer the world if it's already been destroyed by aliens, right?
  • The Character Alignment system for Palladium games (such as Rifts) establishes that Aberrant characters (think Lawful Evil) refuse to have anything to do with the other Evil alignments and finds them disgusting. It's quite possible to have an all-Aberrant party run a lot like an all-Principled party with only a few slight differences.
  • Vampire: The Requiem is basically built on this, as is the Vampire: The Masquerade. While player characters are perfectly capable of being Friendly Neighbourhood Vampires, (at least until their inner beast makes them tear a few innocent onlookers apart), Vampire society can basically be summarised as an evil monarchy of Nietzsche Wannabes and Chessmasters fighting against the psycho satanists and creepy ninjas.
  • Savage Worlds: Necessary Evil envisions a world where supervillains are the only powerful humans left after a massive alien invasion. They form a resistance to fight back the occupiers, but aren't necessarily reformed. If they drive back the aliens, they'll be in a position to take over the planet.
  • An option for In Nomine casts the setting as Dark Low Contrast, where angels and demons are both wicked, violent fanatics and nobody at all is looking out for humanity's interests. The PCs in such a campaign will normally try to be better than the rest, though.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Shadow the Hedgehog has a path pitting the Affably Evil Doctor Eggman against Complete Monster Black Doom.
  • Syndicate. Set in a future where human life is cheap (and entire populated areas are subject to "lunchtime nuclear testing"), corrupt syndicates vie for control of the world, with no qualms whatsoever about the idea of killing civilians in the process. Or just brainwashing their enemies into doing their bidding if violence is too much of a hassle.
  • Gargoyle's Quest, a spinoff of Ghosts N Goblins, puts you in the role of Firebrand the Red Arremer, a recurring miniboss from those games and a member of the invading demon army. He takes a break from laying waste to the human world in order to heroically defend Hell from the invading demon hordes of another Hell.
    • The sequel, Demon's Crest, sees Firebrand escape from gladiatorial combat to hunt down Phalanx, a demon who has stolen several powerful crests from him and is using their power to rule the world. The catch? Firebrand wants the crests so he can rule the world.
  • The most obvious modern example would be Overlord. You play as the reincarnation of an Evil Overlord seeking revenge on the heroes who defeated you. Conveniently, all seven of them have become so corrupted in the meantime that they rival you in evilness, are now virtual embodiments of the Seven Deadly Sins and enable you to still become a Villain with Good Publicity while killing them if you play your cards right. In fact, the seventh hero is possessed by the actual Evil Overlord, and is the one that corrupted the others. Surprise! You're not the real overlord, you're a Tomato in the Mirror.
    • And in the sequel you play as the previous Overlord's son fighting against an oppressive Empire that seeks to eradicate all magical beings (that would include the new Overlord and his minions too). Also, the Big Bad is the power mad Emperor seeking godhood willing to summon a man-eating Eldritch Abomination to accomplish his goal. Compared to that, the Overlord looks almost heroic! Key word: almost.
  • Before he got into mini-games, Wario of Super Mario Bros. came up with the idea of stealing money from other bad guys. This has worked out rather well for him.
    • Of course, it hasn't stopped other bad guys from stealing money from him.
  • Mass Effect 2 has a few instances where this occurs. In Omega, the Blue Suns mercenary band fought off against the invading Blood Pack in the slum districts.
  • Star Wars swims in this trope—most conspicuously in the video games, Dark Siders fight each other if anything more intensely than they fight anyone else.
    • In Knights of the Old Republic, taking the Dark Side path means fighting Darth Malak for control of his/your war machine, with the conquest of the Republic covered in the epilogue.
    • Ditto for Jedi Knight, Jedi Academy, and any other game that gives you a Dark Side path...
    • Also ditto for the films and the Expanded Universe, which has been a very colorful place since Palpatine was overthrown in favor of the New Republic. The New Republic has completely collapsed in favor of some kind of uneasy coalition of monarchical Imperial factions, independent core planets, and alien invaders by this point, and most of the Skywalker family is back on the Dark Side—and this without being a deliberate Crapsack World.)
  • City of Villains is a good example of why this trope exists. The few truly evil contacts (Westin Phipps in particular) produce a good deal of controversy about whether they're "too evil." Thus, more than half the game's missions could very easily be rewritten for heroes. Many contacts have forced unethical traits and selfish motives written in for why you're stopping a villainous organization from realizing their plans. Hell, you spend more time fighting your "patron" organization of Arachnos than you spend fighting Wyvern or Legacy Chain (Longbow are like cockroaches, though...).
  • Newly unveiled footage from Twisted Metal shows factions gameplay. So very, very much this. Dollface and Sweet Tooth Needles Kane have each recruited followers, and they're squaring off.
  • Probably the only way Kratos in God of War could seem even remotely sympathetic is making the Greek pantheon out to be gigantic bastards, especially Zeus. To be perfectly fair, one glance at mythology will tell you this isn't far off...
    • Most of the Greek Pantheon has few, if any, redeeming qualities aside from the fact that they replaced something that could be considered worse from the Ancient Greek point of view.
    • The gods of Olympus actually Invoked Trope this trope in God of War by sending Kratos, a Sociopathic Hero who's just a hair away from becoming a Complete Monster, to battle other monsters that nobody else can defeat. Kratos utterly slaughters each one, then moves on to the next. He even becomes powerful enough to kill Ares, the eponymous God of War, and takes his place.
    • The creators of the game have stated that the reason they didn't go with a more traditional Greek hero is because they felt that such a character wouldn't last five seconds in the world they were trying to create. There are actually several minor characters in both games who embody various versions of those iconic heroes, and they are usually killed horribly within seconds of their appearance. Perseus lasts the longest, but even he is not immune. Still, if the creators had read the original myths a little more closely, they would have realized that the only thing separating Kratos from those so-called "heroes" is that Kratos doesn't even try to justify his actions by calling them noble. He just kills things. A lot of things.
    • Kratos is actually a traditional Greek hero in every sense of the word. In Greek folklore and mythology, a 'hero' was originally a demigod. Cue the big reveal of God Of War 2.
  • Some parts of Dungeon Keeper pit you against rival keepers, but these events are mostly incidental; the main focus of the plot is still about fighting heroes.
    • Far more focus on this in the unofficial expansion pack Ancient Keeper, in which the focus is on proving that you're tough enough, vicious enough, and (above all else) clever enough to take your place among the ancients of your kind. You still fight heroic forces constantly, but crushing other candidates for the title (often on their home turf) and surviving the current ancients' tests is the goal.
    • Dungeon Keeper 2 gives you an ongoing rival keeper named Nemesis, who commands all of the other rival keepers you face. Again, the primary goal is killing the heroes, though this time it's to take the Portal Gems they guard, some of which have already been looted by the other keepers.
  • During the early part of The Arbiter's campaign in Halo 2, since you're playing as Covenant you get to fight humans to show how they aren't actually worthless in combat, right? Wrong. Instead, you start off fighting Covenant heretics in the ruins of what you blew to smithereens in the first game.
    • It's worse than that. A mid-to-late-game Tomato Surprise makes the Arbiter a sort of Villain Protagonist in hindsight.[1]
    • In the later parts of the first Halo game, one can simply sit back and watch the three-way battles between Flood, Covenant, and Sentinels until one faction kills the others and start actively hunting you.
      • Sentinels are hardly "evil", though. They're just following their programming: defend the Ring from anyone they perceive as a threat. Now Guilty Spark, on the other hand, is a decidedly more complicated matter.
    • Lampshaded in one of the last levels of Halo 2. You can either fight your way up the catwalk to the Tomb of the Arbiter, or rush in headlong. The enemies on said catwalk will follow you inside... and start fighting the other enemies already there.

Cortana: You might want to try sitting this one out.

    • In Halo 3, at one point the Prophet of Truth is about to activate the Halo Array and unleash destruction upon the galaxy. Nobody wants that, not even the parasitic Flood, so for one brief moment you must fight alongside Flood combatants and decimate Truth's bodyguards. Like in the example above, you can even hang back and let the unstoppable hulks do the heavy lifting for you.
  • Excluding the Protoss campaign, you play as a commander in an evil force throughout StarCraft Brood War. This is even lampshaded by the Queen Bitch of the Universe herself.

Duran: Do you think they suspect anything, my queen?
Kerrigan: Of course, Duran. They're simply siding with the evil they know over the evil they don't. They just don't realize exactly what it will cost them.

  • Several scenes in the Half-Life series feature the human enemies and alien enemies fighting each other. In Half-Life 2 and its Episodes, Combine troops, Antlions, and Headcrabs/Zombies all willingly attack each other. After an epic battle between a mob of Zombies, a swarm of Antlions, and Freeman and his Vortigaunt ally, the Vortigaunt comments on how the Antlions and Zombies continue to fight even after the two had escaped.
  • The game GoldenEye: Rogue Agent is a prime example. The only real difference from being Bond is that you can use human shields.
  • In Saints Row 2, the player character is a total sociopath, but so are the leaders of the rival gangs.
  • Wizardry sums it up this way: a good man helps an old lady across the street. A neutral man crosses the street and helps an old lady across while he's doing so. An "evil" male PC helps a young lady across the street. Your enemies help an old lady halfway across the street.
  • Team Fortress 2: Two teams of ruthless, bloodthirsty mercenaries gleefully blasting the shit out of each other, with only the flimsiest justification.
  • Fable will always pit the Hero against the villain Jack of Blades. However, the "Hero" can be evil himself if he so chooses, so his motivation is left up to the player to pick: is he fighting Jack to avenge his loved ones and save the world, or to keep Jack from conquering the world so that he can conquer it himself?
  • Turn-based strategy game Disciples 2: Dark Prophecy features this near the end of the Legion of the Damned's saga. It turns out that Uther isn't really the reincarnation of the Legion's god, but just some evil brat siphoning his power and slowly killing him. Since you're one of the god's loyal servants, you have to fight him in the end. This has the odd effect of giving demons from hell the surprisingly sympathetic motivation of trying to save their god.
    • One of the BEST campaign twists in known history. Added bonus? The fight against Demon Uther is quite possibly the toughest boss in the game.
    • Really, any fight between the Legions of the Damned and the Undead Hordes.
  • In Prototype, we have the sociopathic, nigh unstoppable monster who eats people. He's the player character, and the closest thing to a hero we have (he very slowly develops something akin to a conscience). Then we have the BlackWatch, a secret military organization who created the viral threat in the first place (to target racial minorities), tested it on civilians, and are planning on nuking Manhattan to stop its spread. Then we have Elizabeth Greene and her viral mutants, who essentially intends to unleash a Zombie Apocalypse because she can. The man-eating dude wins. Yay?
  • Warcraft likes this trope. We have the demons of the Burning Legion heavily at odds with the Undead Scourge even though the magic they use and their ultimate aim is almost identical (not to mention the Scourge used to be part of the Legion). Being the original "owners" of Azeroth, the Lovecraftian Old Gods are at odds with both the Legion and the Scourge although they are implied to have a degree of influence on both of these factions. Illidan's motley crew of (evil) Blood Elves, Demons and Naga are engaged in heavy fighting against the Legion due to Illidan's failure in taking out the Undead Scourge for the Legion.
    • In addition, The Frozen Throne featured the Plaguelands Civil War, a four-way war within the Scourge between the loyalists of Arthas, the loyalists of the Legion, the Forsaken (a group of free-willed undead) and the remaining Alliance forces (who are generally good guys but are led by a racist Jerkass Lord Garithos).
      • This one got even worse in World of Warcraft; while the Burning Legion's pawns are exterminated, new conflict is added with the fanatical Scarlet Crusade, Varimathras' loyalists, and the ambiguous Knights of the Ebon Blade. While the Forsaken and the Knights are protagonists of an ambiguously gray morality with both sympathetic and sinister members, the only unambiguously "good" force in the Plaguelands was the relatively small Argent Dawn.
    • The Dark Iron dwarves initially fought in the service of Ragnaros against the Blackrock Orcs, who served the Black Dragonflight. In Cataclysm, however, Ragnaros has joined forces with Deathwing.
    • The main opposition to the gronn-ruled ogres of Outland, which prove a threat to the Alliance and Horde's Outland allies, happens to be the Exclusively Evil Black Dragonflight, which is seeking to avenge the deaths of many of its members at the hands of Gruul the Dragonkiller.
    • In "Wrath of the Lich King", the Scourge conquered the Nerubians and has almost conquered the Drakkari ice trolls, both of which are quite evil (the ice trolls especially so, even compared to the evil and barbaric majority of the non-playable trolls). In Drak'Tharon Keep, both the living trolls and their allies, and the undead trolls and other Scourge members attack the party as they make their way up the keep.
  • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story pits Bowser up against Fawful, who's taken over the Mushroom Kingdom and booted him out of his own castle. Again. This time, however, the Super Mario brothers, for the most part, play a supporting role in the game, powering up his body when necessary (including making him a giant in order to Megaton Punch castles). Later on after Fawful and the Dark Star go One-Winged Angel it's up to Bowser to save the Mushroom Kingdom.
  • If you take the evil path in the vast majority of RPGs, you're still going to have to fight the same evil Big Bad. In a BioWare game, your quest will be close to the same regardless of your alignment, including a struggle against the minions of the Big Bad; maybe, at the end, you'll be given an option to join them instead of fighting them; otherwise, you'll just prove to be Eviler Than Thou.
  • In The Godfather, your character Aldo Trapani runs a protection racket for the Corleones, doesn't hesitate to cause property damage or (threaten to) brutalise shopkeepers in his extortion attempts and can kill people in a wide variety of ways. Pretty much every copper in NYC is a Dirty Cop who at best never turns down a bribe and at worst is a rapist. The other Families don't have the moral high ground, though, as their members are always itching for a fight, rule their turfs with iron fists and don't shy from shooting up civilians blocking their line of fire to you.
  • Tommi Vercetti of Grand Theft Auto Vice City got the most characterization as a villain. Although he appears to be criminal out of necessity in the beginning, he's not just punching a clock; he's been a lifelong career killer, never wanted to be anything else, and has no Freudian Excuse behind it. He has no standards beneath him and doesn't appear to be any better than any of his enemies, yet still manages to be the most Affably Evil character in the series.
  • Any enemy in Doom that either has a gun or throws a different type of fireball can cause monster infighting. The "former humans" are most prone to this, as they're the only enemies in the game whose weapons can hurt others of their own kind. The Arch-Viles can be humorous with this, as they can resurrect an enemy who they just killed and then get into another fight with them, and repeat the process.
    • The Cacodemons and Barons of Hell are also good examples of this. Dead Cacodemon corpses can be found in "Baron halls" and wall images of crucified Barons of Hell can be found in some areas where Cacodemons are the predominant enemies.
      • This feud between the Barons of Hell and Cacodemons is also noted in the expanded universe Doom books.
      • Cacodemons crucified Barons, despite lacking hands or anything resembling tool-manipulators. That's some serious hate.
  • Super Robot Wars has this as a thing that can be done in the game provided there are 2 sets of enemy forces on a battlefield, Primary Enemies (Red) and Neutral/Secondary (Yellow) despite them usually targeting you, they will go for each other if they are in range at times, firing shots and destroying each other, which in larger levels can make life a tad easier. Different villains from various anime are often pitted against each other, with additional original villains throw in.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne this occurs between Chiaki, Isamu, and Hikawa and depending on which ending the Demi-Fiend as well.
    • The ongoing battle throughout the Shin Megami Tensei series between Lucifer and YHWH counts as well.
  • Uram and Hokan of Spellforce.
  • Modern Warfare 2. General Shepard's Infamous Shadow Company vs. Makarov's Ultranationalists. And you in the middle. How fun! Although it only lasts a mission but it's far easier just to make the fight as even as possible then sit back and watch the carnage (typically shadow is ahead).
  • BioShock (series). The idealist objectivist turned bitter despot Andrew Ryan versus the sleazy power-hungry smuggler and rebel Frank Fontaine, both with hordes of insane, vicious mutated Splicers at their command. And you're a mind-controlled test tube baby used by Fontaine (under the guise of Atlas, a noble rebel and family man) to kill Ryan, then he turns on you. He dies. Only you and Tenenbaum, a Jewish Nazi collaborateur and The Atoner, survive the events of the story.
  • In the third Rampage the only reason you don't destroy humanity is that aliens trying to take over the world provide a distraction.
  • Hexen II's sparse story becomes this if you play as the assassin or necromancer. The assassin wants to kill Eidolon to prove she's the best assassin of all time, and the necromancer wants to kill Eidolon so people fear him again.
  • Traffic Department 2192 has evil versus evil versus evil, with evil and evil thrown in for laughs. The final faction initially looks benevolent, since it's composed of Actual Pacifists--nope, they're all Manipulative Bastards, and they're evil too! The protagonist, arguably the most evil of the lot, is also the most beneficial, wiping everyone else out so the few decent people can take charge.
  • Street Fighter IV has Vega/M. Bison pitted against Seth, both of whom are power-hungry complete monsters who want to Take Over the World for themselves.
  • The war between Mishima Zaibatsu and G Corporation in Tekken.
  • If an enemy in any Marathon game accidentally shoots another enemy, they will fight it out while you stand and watch. In the second game the native f'likta fight the phfor as long as you're lying low. In Infinity the A.I. Tycho controls the pfhor hunters, fighters and you, using his forces to fight against the phfor enforcers, compilers, and Durandal's humans [[spoiler: planned by you to keep a CosmicHorror under wraps.
  • In Myth: The Fallen Lords the dark leaders, the fallen lords, hate each other more then they hate you. In one level you sit back for most of the level and let the two forces fight each other, then pick off the pitiful remnants.
  • Ever destroyed another ship in EVE Online? Congratulations, you just killed anywhere between a few dozens to a few dozens of thousands of people. Reduce that by a power of 10 or so for any player-controlled ships. As such, everyone in this game is a mass-murdering lunatic.
  • Legacy of Kain: Protagonist Kain is a Magnificent Bastard Villain Protagonist Evil Overlord. He's the hero of the games mainly because his enemies are Knight Templar Omnicidal Maniacs who are even worse than he is.
  • The Mega Man Legends Spinoff The Misadventures Of Tron Bonne have you controlling one member of the main series' Goldfish Poop Gang and her Adorable Evil Minions trying to pay her brother's ransom. Sure, the main antagonist is an evil bastard trying to rule the world and your motive is quite noble...but you still accomplish it by robbing livestock from a farm, stealing containers from the docks, and blowing up a bank while fighting the police.
  • In Fahrenheit you have two factions fighting over one little girl who could give them the power to rule the world. First you have the Orange Clan, an ancient organization who already control the world, but wish to expand their power. The second is the Purple Clan a group of artificial intelligences who wish to use the girl's power to create a new ice age, killing humanity, and becoming the new dominate race. In between these two you have the hero, Lucas Kane, the Unwitting Pawn of both groups, who has power over The Force, and later gets killed, and brought back as The Undead.
  • Command & Conquer games has quite a bit of this. As Nod, expect to fight Nod separatists at least once. They also fight CABAL and the Scrin at different points. As Soviets, expect to find at least one mission fighting Soviets. Then there's Yuri's Revenge, with Soviets versus Yuri, and Red Alert 3 with Soviets versus the Empire of the Rising Sun. Then in Uprising the Soviets vs Future Tech.
  • A good many of the members in the Organization of Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories are working against each other in order to further their own individual evil agendas. Then in Kingdom Hearts II, Maleficent and the Heartless take on the Organization and the Nobodies. When the Organization takes control of the Heartless, Maleficent then has to pull an Enemy Mine with the main heroes.
  • In Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, one part of the Watcher's Keep involves a maze with three stones needed to escape, and two factions of warring demons, on opposite sides of the Blood War, hold one stone each. You can kill one of the factions and claim one stone off them while taking the other as a reward, or you can kill both of them. If you are a good-aligned character, you will have no choice but to kill them all—the leaders of both sides will sense your innate goodness and try to kill you.
    • Actually, it's having any member of your party be Lawful Good that causes both of them to attack you. Any other good-aligned character can still interact with them. If you don't team up with one or the other of the fiends, you'll miss out on a powerful magical item that they'll reward you with, but having a Lawful Good party member is required in order to get a different powerful magical item found in the same level of the dungeon. You can get both if you do not have any Lawful Good characters when you run into one or the other of the fiends and choose to assist them and get rewarded with the Rogue's Hood (a helmet that buffs thieves), then come back into the maze after that with a Lawful Good character to get the enchanted Paladin-only Bastard Sword.
  • Shogo: Mobile Armor Division features conflict between the CMC, the Fallen, and Shogo Industries over control of Cronus. The UCA is mostly good, but has the potential to become an antagonist in one path of the game when Admiral Akkaraju plans on using the Kato Cannon to destroy Avernus to eliminate the Fallen, playing into Ryo's plans.
  • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire has a borderline case, with the two terrorist teams, Team Aqua and Team Magma. It's borderline because the teams are something of well-intentioned extremists, wanting to expand the sea and land for the sake of Pokémon (or so they say), respectively, and are in direct opposition to each other. However, in Ruby, Team Aqua are actually allies (and vice-versa regarding Magma and Sapphire), but it's played straight in the third game, Emerald, where both teams were portrayed as antagonists to the player while still warring against each other.
  • While Dragon Age II is mostly Grey and Grey Morality, the final conflict between the Templars and the Circle of Magi in Kirkwall devolves into Evil Versus Evil. The leaders of both factions give into their (figurative) inner demons and nearly drag the rest of their members down with them. No matter which side you initially pick, you end up killing both of the leaders to achieve a cease-fire.
  • Probably more 'grotesque monstrosity versus grotesque monstrosity,' but Killing Floor occasionally has instances of zeds fighting each other. This is sometimes relatively even (a Siren versus a Bloat), and sometimes comically one sided (a Clot standing in the way of a Fleshpound). Notable for the fact that, if left alone, they will gladly spend quite some time attacking each other and will often ignore players, even those who are two steps away and pointing a rocket launcher at them.
  • The scrolling shmup Terra Diver makes players mercenaries working for a greedy megacorp of resources around Earth against its rival corporations with the story of eco-terrorist threat as a cover-up of the disastrous war of greed.
  • Can easily happen in Dwarf Fortress - All the nasty creatures and evil factions are only alike in their hatred of the Dwarves, so if two of them happen to arrive at your fort at the same time, expect them to tear each other to pieces.
  • No More Heroes is pretty much this. Travis isn't really such a great guy, and is tearing through mobs of mooks and taking assassination side jobs on possible not so evil people all for the sake of getting laid. Once. Although a few of the other assassins are much worse than he is. Like Destroyman. And Bad Girl. Dear god Bad Girl.
  • Killer7 takes this trope, mixes it up, and paints a pretty psychedelic picture with it. Some of the villains are just so awful, but a few of them are probably better than the main characters who are only doing any of this for the sake of a paycheck. Or maybe not. Not to mention that some of the members of Killer7 are assholes or cowards. Or that barely anything makes any sense in the plot of that game.
  • Though one could hardly think of the title character as evil, the page describes the plot of Sly Cooper almost perfectly: a Gentleman Thief who steals from other criminals.
  • Breath of Fire IV features a Supporting Leader, the noble if heavy-handed literal God-Emperor Fou-Lu being betrayed and abused by The Empire that he helped to found, eventually resulting in a massive Face Heel Turn that sees him become a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. Said empire has an extremely Selfish Evil leader and a Complete Monster at the head of its science department turning people into Body Horrors purely because science thought it'd be lulzy. As you near the end of the game, the only question remaining is, "Which one will be the Biggest Bad?"
  • Uncharted 2's second half of the game sees Lazaravic's soldiers fight the Guardians Of Shambala
  • In Famous 2 features anti-mutant fascist rednecks take on mutants.
  • In Fallout 3, the cruel Talon Company (see ruthless mercs) go toe to toe with super-mutants.
  • The main plot of Fallout: New Vegas revolves around this trope: The Mojave is caught in a stalemate between Caesar's Legion, a brutal dictatorship which indiscriminately crucifies people and wipes out whole towns, and the New California Republic (NCR), which committed a massacre of civilians at Bitter Springs, and whose soldiers will shoot to kill over minor crimes. Both have issues keeping the Fiends, a group of Ax Crazy Chem abusers, in line.
  • The backstory if Fallout was basically this. The Alternate History starting after World War 2 had the Soviet Union collapse much quicker than in our timeline and the Middle Eastern powers go to war with each other. This caused a huge economic crisis. Europe collapsed and became a war torn hell hole, and the US and China tried to solve their oil problems by invading their neighbors (in the US's case, Canada, in China's case, the former Soviet nations). Eventually, these last two functional governments went to war, which started in Alaska and spread to the Chinese mainland, causing China and the US to nuke one another and bring about The End of the World as We Know It. At the time of the war, China was an imperialistic, aggressive, tyrannical nation with an army of Sociopathic Soldiers. The United States was the exact same, except ruled by a puppet government controlled by a Nazi-esque Ancient Conspiracy called The Enclave in addition to all of that.
  • Lampshaded in the GTA IV Episodes when you play as Luis and see Niko and Johnny (who are against you in this but played in the previous games) fight against some Mafia goons in the museum.
  • Somewhat deconstructed in Planescape: Torment, where the Blood War between the devils and the demons inevitably gets mentioned. You might think it's okay for the very, very nearly literally always lawful/chaotic evil beings to slaughter each other, but the suffering the war causes around the multiverse is so great that the Knight Templar angel Trias thinks allowing it to continue is an act of supreme passive evil on part of his fellow Celestials.
  • A late-game quest becomes this in Might and Magic VII if one goes for the evil path. You work with/for guys who want to take over the planet through force of superior weapons technology, and who find nothing wrong with mad laughter (and your personal chronicler finds the discovery of left-over torture instruments from a previous occupant of your castle to be a happy surprise). You still get sent to kill the Kreegans' King Xenofex, though, because the Kreegans are Planet Looters and a big threat in general.
  • Both sides of the civil war in Far Cry 2 talk a good talk about how they're making their country a better place, but both are willing to commit war crimes for tactical advantages or petty vengeance. Some of the mercenaries profess idealistic motives, but all of them except the protagonist choose money over decency. The Underground is well-intentioned, but completely ineffectual, repeatedly requiring the protagonist's help to wipe out hostile mercenaries. The closest thing to a heroic figure is the arms dealer supplying both sides, and that's only because he wants them to wipe each other out.
  • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes has three enemy factions that all want the Phazon on planet Aether to themselves: The Ing, the Space Pirates, and Dark Samus. The Pirates are pretty much the butt monkeys, most of the ones that aren't killed by Samus are either possessed by Ing or killed defending their Phazon from Dark Samus. At first it's unclear if the Ing and Dark Samus are allies or enemies, but a scene just before the second fight against Dark Samus shows her killing a group of Dark Pirate Troopers (Ing-possessed Pirate Troopers) and taking their Phazon.
  • In Odin Sphere, most of the villains are fighting against each other and the heroes are either third parties or unwitting pawns. Odin wants to bring the end of the world and lead the survivors into a new age, the trio of wizards want the same thing and also get revenge on Odin for betraying them before he became a king, King Valentine is simply so broken that he wants to end everything while also wanting revenge on Odin for seducing his daughter, the Fairy Queen (the least evil of the factions) wants a world ending weapon that she uses to keep her people alive, Odin's general makes it no secret he's trying for a coup, Melvin plans to become the new leader of the faries and used Oswald as a test subject for a weapon he wanted to mass produce, the Queen of Death is only interested in running her place as she sees fit and making Oswald her slave, per contract, the last king of Titania wants out of the afterlife to cause some chaos, the Fire King desperately wants Gwendolyn as his wife and is willing to kill anyone in his way and Ingway wants to kill Odin more than anyone for making his life a living hell. Oh, and Griselda, Gwendolyn's sister, manipulated her and Oswald into helping kickstart the end of the world in ghost form. If you couldn't guess, most of these people end up clawing at one another's necks before the game is over.
  • The Witcher, while doesn't always steer close to the novels, maintains the Grimdark part. To quote Jo Pereira‏ - "Witcher is full of hard decisions. Help the cannibal witches or side with the murderous tree?"

Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Sluggy Freelance: Bun-Bun, being a Sociopathic Hero, tends to get this whenever an arc focuses on him. Particularly the "Oceans Unmoving" arc where he's pitted against a naval empire out to enslave everyone in their dimension. It's not that Bun-Bun's got any ethical objections to slavery (he takes a few himself), he just doesn't want to be the one enslaved. He still comes out as the sorta good guy, because, unlike the Navy, he's evil in a cool way. He's a frickin' Space Pirates, after all.
    • Of course, Oceans Unmoving plays it even straighter with Bun-Bun against his treacherous former first mate Blacksoul, aka the Bun-Bun we'd been following throughout the comic as it turns out that Captain Bun-Bun was from before the comic started.
  • The "Midnight Crew" Intermission in Homestuck pits the eponymous Midnight Crew against The Felt. The Midnight Crew is a small yet dangerous gang that effectively rules their city and turn out to be Alternia's versions of the Big Bad and his cohorts though they aren't nearly as evil. The Felt is a rival gang whose members possess time related powers and take orders from an Eldritch Abomination called "Lord English".
  • Ansem Retort. Hell, there's only a couple people that are actually good: everyone else is a murderer, psychopath, Jerkass or all of the above, no matter which side you look at.
  • Vexxarr instigates a war which is essentially this.

Vexxarr: Which side do you pity the most? The side that attempts to enslave anyone it meets or the side that attempts to eat anyone it meets?

Web Original[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The entire purpose for Zhao's existence on Avatar: The Last Airbender was to make Prince Zuko a villain you can cheer for. This was expanded for season two, with Zuko moving further into Anti-Hero territory and the new main villain, Princess Azula, overshadowing him in every possible category.
    • Similarly, Ba Sing Se vs. the Fire Nation in season two. Touted as the Earth Kingdom's last great bastion against the Fire Nation's invasion, it is in fact a city with a puppet king and evil shadow government that practices brainwashing. The shadow government's leader, Long Feng, comes into face-to-face conflict with Azula near the end of the season.
      • Yeah, the Earth Kingdom on the whole is pretty messed up in its own ways. You may recall the soldiers terrorizing that town that Zuko eventually liberates. Not to mention General Fong trying to force Aang into destroying the Fire Nation by endangering his friends. And, then, of course, there's the Dai Li...
  • For the Sequel Series, The Legend of Korra, as of Episode 8, we have Amon vs. Tarrlok.
  • As a Villain Protagonist, Invader Zim inevitably finds himself in this situation, once against a group of Planet Looters attempting to steal Earth, and once against another Irken seeking to cause The End of the World as We Know It before he could (which also required an Enemy Mine situation).
  • This is basically the entirety of the Megatron/Starscream relationship. Even more explicit in Transformers Animated, where Starscream makes his break from Megatron in the first episode.
    • There's also Transformers Prime: in addition to the Decepticons, the Autobots also find themselves fighting the human group MECH. And on top of that, near the end of the first season, Starscream splits from the 'Cons, like his Animated counterpart.
      • Which is then followed several episodes later by the arrival of Unicron, who's such an epitome of evil that Megatron allies with the Autobots to stop him.
  • Gargoyles. Oh dear God do they ever. How many times has Xanatos been betrayed or outright attacked by someone more evil than he is? And then there's Macbeth, who frequently fights against Demona.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man, another Greg Weisman show, as well. The series begins with Tombstone having firm control of New York's criminal underworld, but then he has to defend it from the Green Goblin. Then Gobby disappears, but in the next season the "Gangland" arc pits him against Dr. Octopus's Sinister Six on the one hand and returned former crimelord Silvermane on the other, along with his Dragon Hammerhead becoming The Starscream. And then what happens? The Green Goblin comes back and defeats them all in one fell swoop.
  • Dungeons and Dragons
    • Tiamat and Venger hate each other so much that they tend to fight, completely forgetting about the children. In the infamous "Dragon's Graveyard" episode, the children seek Tiamat's help in trying to kill Venger.
    • Another example from the same series was where the kids were outclassed by an evil wizard. Presto tells Venger what the wizard is up to... queue Venger marching in to deliver a beatdown and the kids running like hell.
  • The Powerpuff Girls formed an Enemy Mine with Mojo Jojo to combat an alien force. He was determined to prove he was the most evil.
  • Lucius Heinous VII (Villain Protagonist) against the Weavils (Exclusively Evil) in Jimmy Two-Shoes certainly qualifies. Also Lucius vs the Rodeo Clowns in "Heinous vs Clown".
  • In Batman the Animated Series, the villains of Gotham City hold a very, very delicate balance between them all. The memorable Bad Guy Bar episode "Almost Got 'Im" features such villains as the Joker, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, the Penguin, and Killer Croc playing poker, all looking like they might kill each other at any moment- and at the end it's revealed that Harley Quinn has Catwoman tied up ready to be fed into a food processor.
    • Two-Face and Poison Ivy have an interesting rivalry, as they used to date before Harvey Dent became Two-Face. One episode shows that as district attorney, Dent had wanted to develop a park into housing, and Ivy pretended to take a romantic interest in him so she could kill him by poisoning him.
    • This leads to a Crowning Moment Of Funny, when Harvey says half of him wants to strangle her and the other half wants to hit her with a truck. Ivy then explains to the others "We used to date." Joker and Penguin immediately nod and say "Aha!" in understanding.
  • Heather vs. Alejandro in the finale of Total Drama Island World Tour. Even lampshaded by Harold in the final song.
  • A three-way version: Professor Pericles vs. Mr. E (his former owner) vs. Mayor Jones in Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated.
  • Conversed in an episode of Hey Arnold!. Sid suggested that he and his friends just watch two bullies, Wolfgang and Ludwig, duke it out over Gerald Field and when they're both dead they can reclaim it. This makes the example more Jerkass vs. Jerkass though, and when they try out the plan, the bullies just force the younger kids to play football to decide a winner rather than get their hands dirty. In the end, the bullies find they like each other, leaving the gang worse off than before.
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle: during the Kirwood Derby arc, Boris Badenov fought Fearless Leader for the Derby. When the narrator asked who would win the fight, they both turned to the camera and shouted, "Who cares? We're both bad guys!"
  • Two episodes of Filmations Ghostbusters featured a villain named Big Evil, who tried to usurp Prime Evil's status as the Big Bad of that series. Both episodes invoked the Enemy Mine trope by having Prime Evil asking for help from the heroes.
  • The second to last episode of Justice League Unlimited "Alive!" had this. The Secret Society Grodd had created had been taken over by Luthor. However with Luthor taking much more of the cut than Grodd did and Luthor himself seemingly descending into insanity as well as not giving Tala much attention, she decided to bring back Grodd from Luthor's imprisonment along with a good number of the rest of the society who also had an ax to grind with Luthor. Of course Luthor won in the end. And then Darkseid came along.....
  • The Teen Titans has Slade teaming up with Robin to fight Trigon the Terible (a.k.a. Satan). He had ulterior motives of course. He is still Slade, but yeah, it was that bad.
  • Stewie VS Penelope in Family Guy. Stewie used to be very evil in the first few seasons, but has mellowed out a lot and is more of a jerk than an evil bastard. He meets Penelope, a baby girl his age who has done her acts of killing people and having a mass amount of weapons of her own. Stewie likes Penelope at first and wants to be with her, but even he starts to have his doubts, getting tired of killing people everyday and he fights her to the death when she goes to kill Brian because Stewie wouldn't do it.



No Real Life Examples, Please means No Real Life Examples, Please Funny that.

  1. Turns out, the heretics were right, and the Arbiter spends nearly all of Halo 3 righting all that's gone wrong.