|“||Yeah. Malice. A red light made of humanity's hate and anger.||„|
|~ Shania about the Malice energy.|
In the Shadow Hearts videogame series, Malice is a spiritual manifestation of inborn vices, aggression and various other negative aspects of sentience that lead to evil and chaos. Malice is a primordial power that can do a variety of things if stimulated by supernatural beings. When Malice is in a concentrated form, it appears as a bright red energy. It originates from it's demonic home dimension which can be accessed via the Gate.
Malice is first introduced in Shadow Hearts as a corrupting force which the main hero Yuri Hygua is constantly spiritually at war with. Yuri is a Harmonixer, a being with the power to absorb the spirits of demons and reconstitute them as a morphed monstrous body for said harmonixer. Yuri is from a bloodline of harmonixers but his powers were triggered early when he saw his mother killed in front of him by monsters, as a result of Yuri's trauma Yuri has more radical powers than most harmonixers but is spiritually plagued by Malice which is constantly trying to corrupt him. Malice is the main force that causes wicked supernatural creatures and events to manifest in and disturb the status-quo of the world. While there are a few examples of monsters appearing in areas from the occasional warlock, mad alchemist or ancient artifact of power spread out over the world, nearly all the generic monsters that appear in the game are manifestations of the Malice that is magnetically drawn to Yuri as a spiritually traumatized harmonixer. It is stated that all beings have Malice and it slowly creeps into areas and infects people naturally but is kept in balance by the opposing primordial force Will, Malice is simply accelerated or increased by Yuri's presence the excess of which congeals as monsters, dark magic or taints a general area. Malice is not only attracted to areas by Yuri and various evil supernatural beings but can slowly build up in an area over time if such an area met with a disaster or tragedy cursing the location and attracting ghosts and demons, becoming the explanation for things like hauntings.
Shadow Hearts: Covenant
A main flood-gate against Malice was the tower of Apoina in the Vatican. The tower strained Malice as it flowed into the world from it's own plane and made it easier for humans to adapt to Malice and strengthen their Will. In the year 1915 Apoina Tower was opened by Nicolai Conrad in Shadow Hearts: Covenant under the influence of the demon god Astaroth, which he had taken into his body for power. Once released from Apoina Tower the centuries worth of excess Malice spilled into the world all at once and infected the world leading to a sudden rise in aggression during World War I with the use of chemical weapons and wiping-out any desire for peace.
While Malice is established as not the embodiment of evil itself, the drastic and instinctual actions it induces in others makes them more predisposed towards doing evil and creating chaos. All the Lords of Hell like Astaroth, Asmodeus and Fox Face in the games seem to refer to Malice as the embodiment of their power. Yuri's use of Malice makes the prospect of insanity or possession by his own inner demons a very real possibility throughout the games but it also lets him increase his base powers to nigh-divine extremes such as with the Seraphic Radiance/Dark Seraphim.
Shadow Hearts: From the New World
The Malice released remained free in the world until 1929 during the game Shadow Hearts: From the New World when a man called Graham Garland tried to use the cursed book known as the Émigré Manuscript to bring his children back to life. Graham lacked the discipline required to preform the ritual and while one of his children was brought back to life the other became a magnet for the Malice and his daughter Grace's body become a vessel for the Malice, creating a being that came to be known as Lady. Lady attempted to return to the Malice home plane and by natural instinct unleashed massive chaos. To combat Lady the heroes of the game lead by Johnny Garland, Grace's brother, and Shania, the shamaness, opt to stop Lady by releasing Will from the Uyuni Salt Lake, a similar site to the Apoina Tower, that was holding the Will back. Though releasing the Will would ultimately only slow Lady down it did put in check the massive amount of Malice unleashed from the Apoina tower in the previous game. If the player beats the game without getting Shania's last fusion ability and helping her come to terms with her need for vengence the game will end with a scene of Shania standing on a roof-top possessed by Lady's Malice.
Powers and Characteristics
Malice seems to be an all-purpose explanations for various chaotic phenomena, these are a few of the things excess Malice has been shown to cause specifically.
- Attracting monsters.
- Creating monsters.
- Reconstructing and animating the dead.
- Harm to living creatures.
- Creating areas of great power.
- Stimulating insanity/obsession.
- Possession of regular humans, the dead or inanimate objects.
- Enhancing the strength, size and natural abilities of normal creatures.
- Mutating the physical bodies of creatures infected with it.
- Create windows, small one-way portals between the real world and the Malice-based realm.
- Inducing and increasing fear, anger, hate, greed, envy and bitterness in creatures.
Malice vs Will
It is has been stated that Will is just as dangerous as Malice if concentrated in excess levels creating a lack of empathy with others, lust, pride, complacency and delusion. The negative supernatural effects of the power of Will have not been witnessed much except close proximity to the concentrated Will stimulated the repressed power in Johnny Garland's body to revert to his Awakener state when his life was in danger. When in his Awakener state Johnny temporarily lost touch with his basic sense of humanity; though once released the Will seemed to dissipate from the immediate area and return Johnny to his senses. Will also seems to attract and create monsters however the creatures created by Will have more celestial characteristics rather than the traditional demonic characteristics of creatures born from Malice. During Graham's attempt to resurrect his children, Roger Bacon makes note that the process was genius on Graham's part since Malice was just used to create the physical bodies and Will was used purely to attract and lock their souls into the vessels and if Graham had just had the emotional discipline to complete the ritual instead of stopping mid-way through Grace and Johnny would have been brought back to life with no negative consequences. It seems Malice is the manifestation of the baser instincts of mortals and Will is the building block of sentience, both fine in small doses or counteracting each-other but each highly toxic when out of balance with the other.
- It shares the same name with the psionic supervillainess from the Marvel Comics.