The dark powers I gave you can't protect you forever! Since I made you, I can destroy you!”— Baron Praxis
The Dark Warrior program is an experimental Dark Eco research program based on injecting Dark Eco into subjects to transform them into so-called 'dark warriors'. The program was used by both Haven City as well as Aeropa as a method to defend themselves against the Metal Heads, only the latter was effective however and the former was the birth of Jak's dark alter ego; Dark Jak.
The first introduction of the Dark Warrior Program was to help finish a hopeless war in Haven City against the Metal Heads. Its purpose in Jak II was to create Dark Warriors out of humans. In Jak II, Praxis implies that Jak was not their first human experiment, Count Veger definitively states in Daxter (game) that Jak was the fifth subject and only survivor. Jak is captured by Erol's team right at in the beginning sequence of Jak II. It's not explicitly mentioned how Erol knew where and when to find Jak, but the speed and specificity of their search makes Onin a prime suspect: she informed the Program of Jak's existence in Daxter. For the next two years Jak was kept a prisoner of the Baron, and injected him with Dark Eco. Neither the Baron nor Erol express any guilt about this research and experimentation.
The Baron eventually deemed the program a failure, not realizing that Jak was successfully altered and obtained his Dark Jak form as a result. Players never discover exactly why Jak was the only one to survive the Program, but his ability to channel Eco, having at one time channeled Light Eco in the fight against Gol and Maia may have had something to do with it. Either way, he is the only known successful Dark Warrior that Haven produced, and the only known one in existence until later in the series. As a result of being experimented on, his personality changes radically to the point of barely-contained rages (as can be seen in the opening sequence as well). This influence on him continues, until he meets the Oracle in the Monk Temple.
In the beginning sequence for Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier, players immediately know that he is not, in fact, the only one: after Jak tries and fails to transform into Dark Jak, Captain Phoenix says, "You're one of them!" As the storyline continues, Dark Eco Mutants are found underneath Aeropa's capital city, appear and assault Far Drop, and are finally found in Aeropa's Research Rig and Barracks. The coup de grâce is Jak's discovery inside the Barracks of not only familiar control panels, but a machine identical in every way to Haven's Dark Warrior operating table.
Soon after, The Castaway regains his memories as the chief scientist and creator of Aeropa's project to develop Dark Eco Warriors (never explicitly called Aeropa's Dark Warrior Program) and later his attempt to take the facility over by force with his robots. Phoenix admits he was placed in charge of it, because Aeropa at the time was fighting a losing war, but hadn't known the details of the so-called "secret weapons program". As soon as Phoenix realized, however, he immediately rebelled against it, attempted to shut it down and desperate because Skyheed prevented him, resorted to kidnapping Tym to halt development. Tym, according to Phoenix, suffered post-traumatic amnesia and Phoenix isolated him on the Island. Both Phoenix and Tym have lingering feelings of guilt from their involvement in the Program. While Phoenix becomes destructive in order to deal with it, Tym implies that he would rather repair the damage he caused.
Similarities and differencesEdit
The similarities between Haven's and Aeropa's machinery are blatant, which leads the players to believe that this is not a coincidence. While they must have had some form of contact, despite Haven's explicit xenophobia and being under constant siege, there's no clear in-game reference to why these similarities exist.
The relative successes of the two programs are radically different, though, and can be attributed to Tym's involvement, more stable government, or better funding: Aeropa managed to mass produce combat-effective warriors, while Haven only produced one whose treachery meant the program's downfall.