Nightmare Fuel / Castlevania
Given that the main adversaries in this game are all creatures from mythology or horror movies, it's only logical that there's plenty of frights to be had. One could almost say that the real
strength of Dracula's army is its ability to make people soil themselves
- Dracula's castle itself is scary. Due to its different inner structure in every game, it has been referred by Alucard as a "Creature of Chaos".
- Take a good look at Graham's second form near the end of Aria of Sorrow. He is resting comfortably within the heart of two giant pale women with completely exposed ribs and guts, conjoined by their intestines...oh, not to mention the large ring that's holding them together piercing through their eyes.
- After you damage him enough, he rises into the air and screams as his body explodes into a shower of blood that reforms as that giant monster thing. It is disgusting.
- In Dawn of Sorrow, there's a really creepy underwater Homunculus enemy. It just sits there until you approach it. Then, it starts thrashing wildly and trying to chase and kill you, while attached to this tube thing that gives it oxygen. That's not the worst part, though. If you don't kill the guy, he'll still follow you. Eventually, if you wander far enough from its spawn point, the tube will stretch too far and pop off the creature's back. The creature will be reduced to spending the last parts of its life thrashing and chasing you and turning purple as it slowly drowns.
- Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow features a horrific boss named Gergoth that was apparently chained in captivity for thousands of years in a tower. It looks like a half-rotten dinosaur, with exposed ribs and skin on its face that peels off when it's making an attack. You fight it, seeing its rotten flesh and dripping blood further emphasizing its cursed existence. Made even more disturbing when you read the text in the bestiary and find out it was once gentle, but was driven insane by years of imprisonment.
- One of Dawn of Sorrow's bosses, the Puppet Master. He's a giant creepy head with four arms sprouting from it. He has two attacks, the first being to spit dolls, which drain your MP, out of his creepy looking mouth. The other is to summon a puppet, which he slowly drags and places in one of the four iron maidens in his room. If Soma fails to destroy the puppet before it's put in the iron maiden, Puppet Master will use magic to switch Soma and the puppet's places, dealing massive damage.
- Castlevania has one decent shock moment (other than the actual final boss) down in the catacombs of a level; red fish men a la Creature from the Black Lagoon jump out of the water in between spaces where the player jumps.
- The remake Castlevania Chronicles gives the original Level 5 (now 7) an especially gruesome facelift, decorating the laboratory areas with skinned and dismembered human corpses, exhumed coffins with dressed bodies in repose, and a library populated by Creepy Dolls that come to life and attack you. Once you leave here, you come upon an art gallery with a "painting" that is essentially an enormous, flypaper-like trap filled with victims who struggle in agony.
- Castlevania II: Simon's Quest is extremely unnerving for its time. Or — hell, even for now. The gist of it is that you, Simon Belmont, sustained some nasty injuries while fighting Dracula that one time. They're not healing, you feel lousy, and then one morning this guardian spirit appears to you! And she says 'Dracula cursed your wounds, and if you don't exorcise his ghost post-haste, you're going to die and he's going to use your body as his next vessel.'
- Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse seems innocuous enough. Then you meet freaky monster thing Grant, and find out that Dracula turned him into a megafreak for the lulz. And there's hints that Sypha-the-statue was conscious in spite of being, you know, a rock. There's also the music in the catacombs where you find Alucard (appropriately titled "Nightmare").
- The JP version doesn't pull aaaaaany punches about Sypha. She says roughly "thank you for helping me, it was starting to seem like I was in danger of being trapped like that forever." Sypha was aware the whole time, and you don't know how long she's been there.
- Medusa's death sequence from Castlevania: Portrait Of Ruin. She thrashes around violently while tiny Medusa heads come flying out of her body, then turns to stone, shatters, and falls upwards.
- Also, the ceiling of her room features a helpless, petrified commando of modern-day soldiers. Which she shatters when the battle begins. Considering that she can petrify you, only for you to break out of it, those troops might've been aware the whole time, unable to do anything but watch helplessly as she came rocketing towards them...
- Castlevania: Lament of Innocence's Bonus Boss, The Forgotten One (imagine Beelzebub from Symphony of the Night in 3D). It is a three screen tall rotting corpse strung on meathooks that constantly moans and roars while you battle it. The fight consists of three parts: its internal organs which constantly spew maggots and poisonous blood, its skinless left arm (the other arm seemed to have rotted off), and its constantly shrieking, horrifically grotesque head.
- The buildup to the boss can be scary as well. It doesn't seem to help that the area in which the boss is located is called "The Prison of Eternal Torture", and that you hear a horrifyingly loud, monstrous breathing while you descend the staircase, that only keeps getting louder and louder the further you go. And then you reach a room where the breathing has gotten extremely loud, and there just happens to be blood smeared on the walls and floor. Granted, the main level itself is creepy enough with the high-pitched sound of wailing women as background music.
- There's also the Undead Parasite boss and his room (which looks like the belly of some giant monster) and the Executioner enemy, especially when you see this gargantuan, faceless, cleaver-wielding monster coming out of total darkness in front of you.
- Medusa. Her incarnation in the very first game was not bad, but here...well, let's just say the improved graphics really show how terrifying a woman's disembodied and Scaled Up head with snakes for hair can be.
- Of the many versions of Symphony's Legion that appear in later games, the one from Aria of Sorrow stands out thanks to its presentation. Several rooms before the boss, you find yourself in an area full of strange humanoids who come out of doors in the background and walk mindlessly forward. They don't damage you; they don't notice you at all. They just keep making a low groaning noise (unsettlingly reminiscent of Zelda's ReDeads). Only when you reach the boss room do you see what's going on: these are corpses being summoned from their graves by Legion to create its shell. At least the original Legion didn't make you think about where the bodies came from...
- Even worse, the Legion in this version has a fetus inside a cage as a core. This is pretty morbid and unusual for you to find in Castlevania, much more morbid than its previous incarnations and Beelzebub himself. And the Legion here, with all parts of shell still intact, resembles a baby that is being viewed through a sonogram. Makes you wonder what happened to the fetus. This is Silent Hill grade horror.
- Order Of Ecclesia keeps its horror modern by adding a new monster based on Sadako. It appears out of nowhere when you get close enough. Anyone who's seen the movie gets a serious jolt the first time this happens.
- There's also chainsaw-wielding maniacs they have running around. The HAWHAWHAW laugh they have does not help.
- The Wallman. He looks like some sort of Monster Clown from a kid's storybook at worst, and is more annoying than anything. But... the way he dies is some seriously scary Body Horror. His gimmick is he uses glyphs to hide in the wall while you get blown to pieces by bombs. How do you beat him? Simple! Absorb his glyph while he's in the wall and watch him scream as his liquified body sinks to the bottom. And then walk through the wall right afterwards.
- Death's voice in this game is astonishingly creepy.
- How about the creepy laughter of Albus and Barlowe?
- Barlowe was effectively Shanoa's surrogate father, and his Boss Banter can come off as having the vibe of an Abusive Parent:
"DIE, SHANOA! HOW DARE YOU! EVEN FORGETTING! WHO RAISED YOU!
- Evil Force. He's a giant, skinless, realistic-looking demon head that vaguely resembles Freddy Krueger and stares right into your soul. His primary form of attack is lashing out his long, disgusting tongue. He'll try to kill you if you get caught by a Minera Prison Island spotlight (except for the last room, where they throw a Tin Man at you instead).
- After defeating the Golem in Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance, you find a tall shaft that you can't go up. No problem, there's a switch. You hit it with your whip, hear an ear-splitting shriek, and the room starts filling up with pink liquid. You stay on this rising platform, avoiding spiked platforms, and eventually make it to the top. You look to your left, and see a giant green monster arm crushed under a spiked platform. That pink liquid? It's the monster's blood. You drain a monster's blood to get up a shaft. The arm is disconnected and you never see who it belonged to. note
- Then there's how you get the Guardian armor pieces. In Clock Tower A, there's a Living Armor, like the one you fought in The Wailing Way A. It has a giant shield, and is invincible to any form of damage. There are two gears embedded in the wall behind it. How do you kill it? Hit it repeatedly until it falls into the gears. It gets ground up, spitting out the armor pieces. What with all the extremely varied and nasty ways things die in this game, it's hard not to wonder if IGA was getting inspiration from Conker's Bad Fur Day.
- Dracula's final form in that game looks like an amalgamation of body parts.
- There are two Legion in this game. The first one is the kind we are used to, a "ball" of corpse that we crack open, piece by piece, to hurt its core, and he is named "Legion (Saint)". Much later, we meet up with what "was once his body", the "Legion (Corpse)", which oozes a blue blood and screeches whenever it is hit, before opening the middle section to reveal a corpse that twitches whenever you hit it! And that single corpse in the middle IS the core. Ah, he drops some slithering brains too. Have fun.
- The game over screen in Portrait of Ruin's Sisters Mode. Imagine a woman with an eerily calm facial expression as she bleeds out her right eye. That is your motivation for not dying.
- The regular game over screen is also scary, showing a bloody skull with a snake in its eyes and a sword in its wide-open mouth.
- In Castlevania: Curse of Darkness, the basement of the Garibaldi temple. As you descend, the walls start literally coming alive until you reach the bottom and they're breathing and pulsing. Not only that, but there are floating bubbles containing concentrated evil in the form of fetuses (called "Evil Cores") that try to suck you into them. At the very end of the hall, there is a door which leads to the Legion bossfight, which is the same idea as the aforementioned Legion bossfight in "Symphony" — a giant ball of corpses. Only here, the entire room is made of corpses. They raise from the ground and, instead of attacking directly, their heads explode on you, causing massive damage...
- The music is also scary, reaching its peak as the massive abomination is slowly revealed. Thankfully, the following boss, Nuculais, may be eerie, but is far less scary. Actually, when you see him opening his mouth, he'll fall into the Nightmare Retardant category!
- In Castlevania: Circle of the Moon there are the magic cards Nathan can collect and use for differing effects. If he uses one particular combo, Pluto and Black Dog, Nathan will become a skeleton that can throw bones, is killed by any hit while in this form, but also has a random chance of throwing an uber-sized bone that does max damage, even to bosses. While most would see nothing wrong with this, try thinking a little deeper in Nathan's shoes for a moment... On the other hand, using the aforementioned combo with the Bear Ring will turn Nathan into a stuffed teddy bear instead. Still dies in one hit, though.
- In Castlevania: Harmony of Despair's multiplayer, your character can resume play after being killed... As a skeleton. Now imagine someone like Maria or Charlotte or another favourite character getting turned into a skeleton.note Also of note is the second stage, if your character gets caught in one those iron maidens.... and blood comes out either way.
- One of the sidequests in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin involves retrieving "The Statue's Tear". You get the item from a statue of the Virgin Mary in the Nation of Fools. All you have to do is press "up" and a massive amount of blood spills out of the statue.
- Lords Of Shadow, the single darkest and most depressing of the series: The idea of losing your childhood love, who was so dear to you for your entire life, to a brutal, tragic death at your own hands, and subsequently suffering a 1000-year life cursed with immortality without her around to heal your emotional wound, just like Gabriel?
- Speaking of Lords Of Shadow, the mask of the Necromancer Lord is really creepy. Even worse, it is the brainwashing tool the Necromancer Lord Zobek used to force Gabriel to kill Marie and Claudia. And because the game hates you, the ending credits features a closeup of the damn thing the entire time.
- Vampires in this game are quite terrifying. The Mook vampires are bestial savage monsters. The vampire lieutenants are vampirized demons from Hell and look the part. The "child" vampire Laura and her "toys". Of course, they all pale in comparison to Carmilla's true form. One of the scariest moments in the game occurs in the Vampires' castle. Vampires are pouring out of holes in the ground with no end in sight. Fortunately, there are a couple of big windows nearby and if the drapes are uncovered, sunlight will pour into the holes and keep the Vampires from escaping. All is right with the world. Then, after solving a puzzle later in the level, the sun sets. As night falls, Vampires start coming out in waves...
- The Chaotic Realm from Aria of Sorrow: no map to check where you are, balconies that lead to some floaty-void-space-thingy, the entire area itself being composed of glitchy, monochrome versions of absolutely random parts of the castle (even if it means you're in a dry room, and the next one is submerged). And the music just seems to make it worse.
- And then there's the True Final Boss, Chaos, a being of almost Giger-esque incomprehensibility.
- Dawn of Sorrow's end-game area, the Abyss, contains loads of blatantly Satanic imagery and physics-bending area transitions featuring ram-horned skulls and giant knives with a single, bleeding eye entombed in the floors.
- Puppet Master in the sequel. Not only is its face horrible, but its attack pattern is scary. It puts a magical puppet into an iron maiden, then swaps Soma directly into it unless you destroy it in time.
- There's also Menace, a horrific fusion of all the souls Dmitri absorbs, with plenty of faces where there shouldn't be faces (there's one on his left knee, one inside his mouth, and a full head with an elongated neck as one of his nipples. Also, you're fighting him in an arena made entirely of human bodies, not to mention how he appears, with Dmitri screaming in agony as Menace bursts violently out of his back.
- In the first part of the Menace battle, he's trying to stab you with his ribs.
- The face Actrise makes in Castlevania 64 after Carrie defeats her.
- Don't forget the Man-Eater from Aria of Sorrow which looks like a giant skull with 3 eyeballs which spurts blood when they appear.
- The Game Over screens of Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, especially this one◊.