Nightmare Fuel: Batman: Arkham Knight
- Scarecrow is back. This Halloween will certainly not be safe for trick-or-treating...
- At the end of one of the trailers, we have Arkham Knight with Batman on the ground, with a gun to his face, and the screen cuts to black as we hear a gunshot.
- Imagine being a Gotham cop. No, not in the same vein as Asylum (Where you at least had an island to blockade off) or City (Where you could just monitor the wall) or even Origins (The department is still in control of the greater Gotham area). Now you're isolated, in a city that's overrun with criminals on what's supposed to be a night of the year made of terror, capped with the most frightening super-criminal of all threatening to make your worst fears real.
- Arkham Knight is this in the most definite manner imaginable. Arkham Knight is supposed to be less known, while on the contrary. ...He knows more about the Batman than anyone else in Batman's rogue gallery. He's versatile, durable, resourceful, cunning and above all extremely dangerous. He may appear to be the secondary antagonist to Scarecrow. But in all favors he must be much more wily than Scarecrow, The Master of Fear himself. And it's implied that he might have followed Batman since his first early beginnings in Arkham Asylum and the horrific full on destruction in Arkham City. It may explain why he downright mocks Batman both in his armor's appearance and for embroidering the Arkham emblem on himself. The helmet and style of armor shows him destroying Batman's heroism in Gotham and the emblem of the Arkham symbol is a reminder of the two worst nights in Batman's entire crime fighting career which are Arkham Asylum and City. Now the question begs for the previous titles... Who and what is he? Where is he? And finally... What became of him? What drove and caused him to have unfiltered, seething, unbridled, aggressive rage against Batman?
Joker: What's the big secret, huh~? His name. Tell me.Jason: ...Of course... It's—BANG.
- We know now. He's Jason Todd. That begs the question: What could possibly possess one of Batman's former allies to side with Scarecrow?!
Jason: What's the matter, lost for words? I expected more...I'm hurtBatman: Joker sent me the film...I saw him kill you.Jason: DON'T YOU DARE LIE TO ME! How long did you wait before replacing me?! A month? A week? I trusted you...and you just left me to die!Batman: That's not what happened!Jason: You always told me Bruce, focus on what I want to achieve, and it'll happen. Well you want to know what I want now, huh? I want you dead.
- It's revealed that years ago Joker kidnapped Todd and tricked Batman into believing he was dead, all the while torturing Jason for months in an abandoned wing of Arkham Asylum, causing his mind to snap when he believed Batman had abandoned him. Finding out that Tim replaced him as Robin didn't help his psyche either.
- During the second hallucinatory flashback to Jason's torture, Joker at first has him strung up by his wrists as he circles him with a branding iron. After some more talking, Joker lets him down. Jason's wrists are free at this point, he could have made an attempt to escape or attack Joker during this moment. Instead, what happens is Jason cowering on the floor pleading whilst desperately trying to crawl away as Joker moves in with the iron. In a way, its merciful we don't see all of what Joker did to him. To have him that terrified and broken is just chilling.
- Possibly the worst of all is when we see how Jason appears to die.
- We know now. He's Jason Todd. That begs the question: What could possibly possess one of Batman's former allies to side with Scarecrow?!
- The fact that, despite the Nightmare Fuel in the previous games, they got a T rating. Knight somehow got an M. All we know is that it has something to do with blood...
- The "Gotham is Mine" trailer has a fair bit of nightmare fuel, given that it focuses on the villains. Of special note is the Riddler's face. Looks like he's gotten worse since the last game.
- The opening cinematic, revealed in the E3 2015 trailer, begins with the grinning corpse of the Joker being pushed into a cremation oven; rather than the camera cutting away, as it would've done in previous T-rated games, it instead lingers as the rising flames bloodily melt his skin and muscle into a charred, blackened husk. When it finally ends, we get to control (in first-person view) a police officer being dosed with Fear Gas at Pauli's Diner, and seeing him hallucinate it as a hellish, crumbling place ravaged by cadaverous demons; terrified, he begins pumping rounds into the crowd in a panic, not caring if they might be innocent civilians, until a monster finally lunges straight for him. Definitely a sign that this game will be a significant step up in terms of horror.
Joker: This...is how it happened. This...is how the Joker died.
- The quarantined blood transfusion recipients. Not only are they starting to behave and look more and more like the Joker, but they're degenerating from the inside as well — Batman identifies their disorder as a variant of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, meaning their brains are literally rotting apart as dementia and psychosis set in.
- On a related note, the Jokerification of Batman. From Joker's brief hijacking of Bruce's body in the Stagg Airship encounter with Scarecrow, to his increasingly erratic behaviour during and after the Panessa Studios encounter with Harley and Adams, then finally the Joker's takeover hallucination during the endgame, the entire concept is horrifying. Even when in free-roam, Batman hallucinates Joker's face on posters and billboards, and even in carvings in the architecture, and this is not helped by Joker appearing absolutely everywhere, usually with a snide remark and a comment about their shared mental state.
- Stagg's notes, complete with the chambers of his test subjects. Cruelty doesn't even begin to describe it.
- Almost everything about Professor Pyg. His entire "Monster Machine" operating theater, a dank, slimy concrete chamber, is hidden underneath an unassuming beauty salon, where he holds fresh captives captive in giant birdcages while performing surgeries and singing along to opera music. Pyg himself is a hideously deranged, schizophrenic villain, euphoric to the point of religious mania while he talks of beauty and perfection, and his Dollotrons are gruesome bandaged creatures with all traces of free will, pain receptors, and genitalia cut away. Pyg only barely seems to understand he's done anything wrong, mewling and snuffling about how "Mother" will be ashamed if he's locked up.
Pyg: Pyg happy, Pyg glad, Pyg gets to play with flesh, make it look pretty after death!
- The game's design of Man-Bat may be the most disturbing yet, if only for how much more human than normal he looks — his emaciated, nearly hairless body, milky-white eyes and mouth twisted into a yawning howl all show just how agonizing Langstrom's transformation was. Even his introduction is a Jump Scare; as Batman grapples onto a ledge, Man-Bat appears out of nowhere, screeching and trying to claw at his face.
- It gets worse. Later, when you go to his lab, you descend into a lonely, dank place with notes everywhere, a screen showing two brief videos... and Dr. Langstrom's dead wife on the floor. If you watch the videos, first you'll see a cute loving video with the two discussing his research, and then the second one starts to document the treatment... except it goes horribly wrong. It's horrifying imagining Francine's last moments: watching her husband writhe in pain, then (as the sounds imply) watching him transform into a half-man, half-vampire bat... then being killed by him. The final video shot is of her face, after her body falls to the floor. If you look at the floor in present time, the camera is still pointing at her. And you can see the bruises on her legs and the large bruise on her neck where her husband likely bit her... The whole scene is only made worse by the ominous yet sad music. Doubles as a massive Tear Jerker.
- Scarecrow injecting Barbara with his fear toxin and forcing her to commit suicide right in front of Batman. That was the moment both Bats and the player realize that Scarecrow's not screwing around this time. He really wants Batman to suffer. Granted, it was a hallucination caused by Scarecrow's fear gas and she was really alive, but it's still painful to watch.
- As the Scarecrow is about to let Barbara fall off the ledge of the construction site to her death, just to twist the knife in Gordon for "failing" him, she defiantly tells him, "You don't scare me." In response, he leans in and quietly whispers, using the same reassuring tone a parent might give to a child woken by a nightmare, "Shhhh... it's okay to be afraid." Just one line, yet it shows the absolute depths of his evil more clearly than any speech he ever gives to Batman.
- Throughout the game, Batman brushes off or does his best to ignore the growing presence of Joker both metaphorically and literally (given the nature of his affliction) eating away at his mind. Then you corner Scarecrow for the first time, and we see just how much frightening hold Joker has over his mind at this point, culminating in a hallucination wherein a horde of Jokers are egging him on to shoot Scarecrow, even though the gun is all in his mind. He pulls the trigger.
Joker: Look at him... No different than the creep who killed your parents. You need to do something. You need to stop him.Batman silently aims a hallucinated revolver.Joker: Yes, good... Good... Gooood...Batman shuts his eyes. A click of the trigger is heard before he's returned to conscious reality.
- Batman's fear gas hallucination near the end imagines a even further mutated Killer Croc in the near future, almost akin to a Kaiju; he's become gigantic, is now unable to speak, and has grown attributes such as a tail and spiny monitor lizard frills on his shoulders. It's a rather disturbing reminder of just how worse his incurable condition might get.
- The mutations themselves are bad enough to look at, but Alfred theorizes in Arkham Origins that Croc is in near perpetual agony because of them. If it was already painful when he was still recognizably human, it must be pure torture for him now.
- In Batman: Arkham Asylum, he was so powerful and relentless that Batman himself barely staved him off by exploiting the shock collar meant to force him into compliance — he had no chance of subduing Croc physically, and only managed to survive by detonating the ground underneath his feet, dropping him into a huge chasm. Croc has progressively gotten tougher and stronger since then, the collar is long gone, and it's not likely he'll fall for the same trick twice. When encountering Batman in the sewers in City, the only thing that stopped him from ripping the bars apart and killing him right then was smelling Batman's disease and deciding to wait for him to die instead. Oracle considered fighting him to be suicidal during the events in Asylum; the proper word now would probably be futile.
- Players who were relived that they didn't need to fight him in-game shouldn't breathe easy just yet; the DLC is still incoming, and Croc is always hungry.
- The moment when the last remnant of Joker, fighting for dominance in Batman's mind, has to come to terms with a terrifying reality — he will, eventually, fade into obscurity or get lost in the shuffle, his presence no longer feared by Gotham, his name no longer admired and hated by his fellow criminals. Unlike every other defeat he's faced before, he's gone for good this time, and can't ever return to bedevil Batman again; he's only a bad memory, sealed away in the brain of a dying man, isolated forever. When Batman finally arrives to lock him away for good, the once-arrogant villain who sneered "I can't stand groveling" is begging and pleading, near tears, unable to lose Bruce again.
Joker: I need you...
- Additionally, the walls of Joker's cell have some...unsettling words scraped onto them, such as "NO ESCAPE", "ONLY THE DARK" and "HELL".
- By the game's end, Batman and Bruce Wayne are dead to the public. But something is still patrolling Gotham and preying on criminals. And whatever it is...doesn't play fair.
- The Arkham Knight's first audio log showcases Scarecrow interrogating Barbara for Batman's identity. When she refuses to talk, Scarecrow menacingly threatens to inject her with his fear toxin, explicitly detailing the severe long-term damage the toxin can do. Thank God the Arkham Knight intervened when he did.
- A game with the Scarecrow as one of the main villains is a game thick with Mind Screw. Within a few hours of playing, you'll find yourself questioning what's real every time Batman ends up alone. Some of the more unpleasant hallucinations include:
- Flashing back to the Joker crippling Barbara Gordon and taking photographs of his handiwork.
- A room full of KO'd mooks stumbling to their feet and turning into giggling Joker clones while you aren't looking.
- Jason Todd's physical and psychological torture by the Joker, who torments him with Batman "replacing" him with another Robin.
- Remember the Scarecrow nightmare sequences from Asylum? They're back, and they're as terrifying as ever. The nightmare missions have you driving the Batmobile through a hellish, twisted mockery of Gotham that looks like something straight out of Silent Hill while being pursued by a towering Scarecrow, who attacks with fireballs and Eye Beams. At the end of each one, you must fight Scarecrow himself to escape. And each Nightmare has Scarecrow being more aggressive in his attempts to kill you. It's a small mercy that the Batmobile gives you the firepower to fight back. Plus, some of his taunts are downright terrifying.
"Feed him to the crows!""Your parents are in Hell and you're about to join them!""Bring me his soul!"
- The final hallucination. Pretty much all of it but here's an itemized receipt:
- As Joker in a first-person shooter situation, some stone statues of Batman go full Weeping Angels on you, complete with Brown Note musical cues at all the wrong times.
- Before that, as FPS-Joker, gunning down the Rogues can be...unsettling. Cobblepot bargains vainly for his life, Nigma tries to take a hostage, and Dent tries to stop you. Depending on your mood, you can listen to their gibbering, or gun them down without a second thought while a hellish version of Only You plays over and over.
- And before that, there's the hallucination where Batman takes on an army of Jokers. Seems tame to begin with, until you look more closely at the one special he can use during this fight: the "Joker Takedown". It showcases the most brutal takedown animations seen in the game, with Batman using either lethal or permanently crippling force in all of them - curbstomping Joker's face into the ground, snapping his back over his knee, slamming his heel into the small of Joker's back and the fight itself ends with Batman necksnapping Joker at his own insistence.
- YOU. Yes, you. After four games and seven in-universe years of brutal vigilante justice, Batman has a well-deserved reputation as someone who can and will smash your face and break your bones at his leisure. Throughout the course of the game, you vindicate that reputation with interest. Average thugs can freak out at your mere presence.
- The militia, however, are not as Batman-wise as the average Gotham thug, and begin their invasion with high morale. As you continue dismantling their efforts bit by bit, they begin to wise up, and deploy increasingly powerful countermeasures until they're throwing everything they've got at you. It isn't enough. enemy chatter goes from impressed, to concerned, to fearful, and then outright panic as their army slowly crumbles to dust through the efforts of a single man. By Game's end, the stragglers are lost, alone, and stranded, in a foreign warzone with no support and no hope of rescue, while fully aware of just how vulnerable they are. You don't need to be cowardly or superstitious lot to fear Batman; he's enough to give you nightmares regardless.
- One of the story logs you can find shows what happened to Solomon Grundy after City. He had been given a special cell in the city morgue that not only has four extra strength locks on it, but they're Wayne Tech caliber. Even then, that's not enough when the lone coroner realizes that the large body in there is very much alive!
- If you die during the section where Oracle helps you defeat the drones, instead of one of the villains taunting you, you will be greeted with a cutscene of Barbara at GCPD, and all of a sudden, the militia comes in and shoots everyone in sight, and there is screaming in the background. It's really scary when you think about it.
- As if the Joker hallucinations weren't bad enough already, there's the Fridge Horror in that we don't know how much of it is the mutation and how much is Batman's own subconscious. Bits like the Joker's extremely predatory attitude to the vulnerable Catwoman and his telling Batman to leave Nightwing to his fate because of the lack of respect he showed by leaving and taking on his own costumed identity become even worse if you consider that Batman himself might be the origin of those thoughts, and the Joker aspect is merely giving them a face and a voice.