Darklings are creatures or machines possessed by the Ing. They were the Luminoth's first contact with the Ing, as the Ing cannot exist physically outside of Dark Aether. Darklings become stronger and more resilient, but inherit the Ing's vulnerability to the Light Beam. They can sometimes gain added or enhanced abilities such as the ability to phase in Dark Pirate Commandos or the Dark Diligence Drones unleashing their energy at a much higher rate than Diligence Drones can.
The creatures possessed by the Warrior Ing that stole Samus's equipment gain the abilities to use them, replacing some of their normal attacks in the process, such as the Power Bomb Guardian firing Power Bombs instead of the Sporb's toxic projectiles or the Grapple Guardian's use of the Grapple Beam over the Grenchler's electrical attacks. On occasion, Darklings will lose abilities, such as the Dark Bloggs inability to fire sonic blasts. The Luminoth are able to temporarily resist possession, but if they were to fail they would kill themselves before going under the control of the Ing. Samus is immune to possession due to the Energy Transfer Module in her possession.
- Darkling has the suffix "ing", which is probably coincidentally the name of the creatures that create Darklings.
- "The day came when space was torn asunder, revealing dimensional rifts to a dark place. Horrible dark swarms streaked forth from these rifts, engulfing nearby creatures and transforming them into what we could come to call darklings. The dark creatures became our enemies, and peace came to an end on Aether." —Luminoth Lore (Metroid Prime 2: Echoes)
- "The Ing prize the few Pirate Commandos they manage to take alive. Only Hunter Ing are allowed to possess the Commandos, and the competition for that right is fierce among them. The Hunter Ing ability to phase out of local timespace carries over to the Dark Pirate Commando. They will fire bursts of dark matter at enemies, along with experimental EMP grenades stolen from the Space Pirates." —Logbook (Metroid Prime 2: Echoes)
- "This darkling Sporb has absorbed the ability to generate Power Bombs. It can fire these dangerous weapons instead of the venomous needles it normally shoots. The energies of the Power Bomb weapon have made it all but invulnerable. Tremendous kinetic damage will override the protective field, however." —Logbook (Metroid Prime 2: Echoes)
- "Dark Bloggs somehow lose their sonic blast ability: something about their minds makes them difficult for darklings to fully control. They rely solely on their deadly maws for attack: in most cases they are more than adequate. Target the weak spot inside its mouth to defeat the Dark Blogg with ease." —Logbook (Metroid Prime 2: Echoes)
- "In time, the Ing began to possess Luminoth as well as creatures. Friends and family members became the enemy, spilling Luminoth blood across the land. Desperate, we devised shielding to prevent Ing possession. It was effective, but not perfect. Should the shielding fail, all Luminoth were prepared to self-terminate rather than become a weapon for the Ing." —Luminoth Lore (Metroid Prime 2: Echoes)