This series is placed in Dream Land. So, the enemies are Nightmare-ish. And they will, in turn, fuel YOUR nightmares. For the anime version, see the Kirby: Right Back at Ya! Nightmare Fuel page.
In order for Nightmare Fuel tabs to survive, a new writing style is going to be used, nicknamed Example Lobotomy. Basic rules: just list facts as they are, don't just say "character X" or "the X scene" (such zero context examples will be zapped), spoiler policy to be determined on a case-by-case basis, italics to be applied to works' names only and not to give emphasis on what tropers say. "X scared me" is already implied by the mere addition of that example by the troper.
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The final bosses of the Kirby series tend to be really creepy: it's appropriate that a series that started in Dreamland would have nightmarish villains.
An enemy named Scarfy is a cutesy flying creature that resembles Kirby, until players turn their backs to it, try to eat it, or get too close to it, at which point it shows a demented mouth and a single eye and tries to eat them. If not killed soon, it explodes. It gets worse in Kirby's Return to Dream Land, where they sometimes act like Phantos when collecting keys. And they do this all the time in Extra Mode.
Also, when possessing Scarfy and forcing it into the water, its eye bulges in the most eerie way before it bites the dust.
The Ghost boss is also incredibly hard to beat without the Triple Star weapon. He's basically a Ghost God!
Club Nintendo (the German version) had a special Kirby comic, wherein Kirby (and likely Dedede/"Nick") is a detective; it starts off with a human woman named Annett giving him a case. At one point he, Dedede, and some fish who isn't Kine investigate an old castle; they sit down at a table expecting to be served dinner, but instead the lights go out. When they come back on, they've been joined by Annett's corpse.
Kirby is a Sugar Bowl of happiness, but the occasional Sugar Apocalypse's being "occasional" doesn't diminish the fact that Dedede is a king who never does a whole lot, there's a race of eyeballs trying to take whatever happiness there is in the galaxy, Kirby's eating everything that walks and maybe even doesn't, there's a race of mice who steal things, and there's no police force to stop them.
Dream Land (1, 2, 3, Crystal Shards, and Return)
Kirby's Dream Land features Mt. Dedede as the final level, where remade versions of the levels can be found: at the end, there's a clone of Kirby pacing back and forth, and in order to move onward, the player must walk into it, causing it to pop.
Kirby's Dream Land 2 features Dark Matter, the black eye that possesses things. He possesses Dedede as the fake final boss. If players don't get the good ending, Dark Matter is only shown as a silhouette and listed as "!?", while Kine looks to the sky knowing something isn't right.
In later games, a possessed King Dedede will open his stomach, forming a mouth with part of his clothes becoming teeth. It's not just a mouth, however: at times, it also is an eye that shoots out blobs of darkness.
The original Zero may in fact be even worse than Zero Two (see below). Seriously, the thing shoots its own blood at Kirby. Thankfully, Kirby's Dream Land 3 has so many Nintendo Hard memory games and Guide Dang It moments that most children won't even see Zero until they're older.
Adeleine's facial expression the moment she is shown to be possessed by the Dark Matter in the cutscene "Art Attack".
Kirby 64 features 02 (Zero Two), who is the reincarnation of 0, and mimics the bleeding out of his eye, and the floating white eye design, only he is an angel now. Not to mention that, after destroying his halo, his green cactus-like "tail" with thorns around it that "bleeds" poisonous gas will extend from below him, giving you an opening to shoot it. Also, although he now shoots explosive lasers at you instead of blood, his concept art still shows his eye bleeding. The platforms in his stage are made out of hexagonal, cell-like structures. And the place where you fight him is a dark red vortex reminiscent of Giygas with inexplicable swirling bar codes in the background. Also, the official strategy guide refuses to mention the final battle (even going so far as to call Zero Two "a friendly inhabitant of Shiver Star" in the Enemy Info Cards section), leaving players who just got all 100 Crystal Shards desperately shooting at Zero Two's eye and wondering why the hell its health meter isn't going down, until finally being blown to pieces...
A popular fan theory states that the franchise takes place in the very distant furture. Earth is now a frozen wasteland. In order to survive, the human race has become the smartest race in the universe (See the level designs!) and turned themselves into robots. The final boss of Shiver Star could be a superhuman mech...
In the game's sound test, Kirby appears, wearing headphones, and will dance and make faces based on the song. For example, if you play the boss battle music, he gets an intense look on his face. If you play this track, he gets a terrified look on his face, and it's really quite disturbing, especially combined with the music. It's the only track where he makes that face.
Dying as Dedede results in Kirby pulling on the pom-pom on Dedede's head, and actually yanking it off, all in a vain effort to rouse Dedede. This is humorous at first, but when you think too hard about it... (Dying as Kirby and Waddle Dee, however, just results in their ride flipping over on top of them, which is just plain comical.) It should be noted that all three death animations use the same music. Oh, and there's one more death animation. Lose to Zero Two, and Kirby and Ribbon tumble endlessly into the void...
The final Ripple Star level before the boss has good music, but that final room with the N-Zs in it has that ominous dark cloud where the ceiling should be. Kind of eerie, thinking Kirby's right beneath Miracle Matter himself at the moment.
There's an enemy in Kirby's Dreamland 2 called Propeller Bomb. Not a threat without animal friends, it becomes a Phanto-level menace when approached with one.
In Return to Dreamland, the pocket dimensions, where you have to OUTRUN ABLACK HOLE. But after that, you get 2 Energy Spheres! ...which get possessed and stolen by a demonic bat-like Sphere Doomer miniboss that you have to defeat in order to collect the Spheres.
What happens when a Ship Part Sphere turns into a Sphere Doomer? You get the Grand Doomer, the boss of Nutty Noon. He is a giant golden Sphere Doomer who isn't very nightmarish normally. ButonEXmode...
Level 5-5 in Return to Dream Land spawns Kirby on a cloud walkway leading to a tower in the sky, with only an ominous wind in the background (which, if played long enough, will eventually add a whispery version of Nutty Noon's map theme playing in the background). After the obligatory, gratuitous Suspicious Videogame Generosity, Kirby's then greeted by five back-to-back miniboss battles set to a rendition of Dedede's theme.Surprise.
Kirby Super Star / Ultra
In Kirby Super Star Ultra's subgame Revenge of the King, all the enemies are given different sprites. Scarfy is replaced with a grinning Granny Smith apple when happy, or a laughing red apple corpse-face with empty eye sockets when angry.
Kirby Super Star features the minigame "Revenge of Meta Knight", in which Meta Knight attempts to take over Dreamland. After defeating Meta Knight, you have a time limit to get off the ship while Meta Knight is chasing you, flying into a huge rage as he angrily hurls big electric sparks and sword beams at you. He enters this segment by shouting "YOU'LL NEVER ESCAPE!" ("I WON'T LET YOU ESCAPE!" in the remake.)
Kirby Super Star's subgame "Milky Way Wishes" features the final boss: Marx, who is at first a cute guy bouncing on a ball. Once Kirby awakes Nova to wish for the Sun and Moon to stop fighting, Marx knocks Kirby out of the way and wishes to rule Popstar, causing him to transform into a demonic jester bat. However, he isn't as bad as Kirby Super Star Ultra's final boss: Marx Soul, who is an updated version of Marx, looks more demented and insane than regular Marx, and attacks in a similar attack pattern as Drawcia from Kirby Canvas Curse (reusing her Paint Barrage and Big Bang attacks). He splits in half to use these attacks, and when you defeat him, he lets out a horrible, ear-bleeding scream as he splits in half, and each half explodes.
Super Star Ultra has Masked Dedede, where Dedede goes crazy and attacks you wearing a mask and wielding a upgraded hammer that shoots rockets. How can you tell he's snapped? The equipment is faulty and keeps giving him electric shocks, and he shrugs them off like they're nothing. Also, rockets, and the arena is electrified — he really means to finish Kirby this time. It's distressing to see a normally Affably Evil villain use such drastic measures.
On the other hand, part of the scary is taken away because of theawesomebattle theme. Then again, it also gives the battle a note of furious frenzy, which is perfectly in tune with what the creators were going for with "Revenge of the King".
Wham Bam Jewel, who appears in the background and attacks after defeating Wham Bam Rock in Helper to Hero (where he's fought right off the bat). His face is living rather than made of stone, and every time he gets hit, his face goes to a distressed look before going to an evil look. Although his face does look kind of silly.
Galacta Knight. He is a badass, like Meta Knight, but Nova's description of him said "He was sealed away because of his great power"; he's a godlike being, who, upon defeat, flies around as if having a seizure before blowing up and having his wings ripped off.
In the original SNES version of the game, the opening cutscene to Gourmet Race probably made many kids wet themselves when Dedede looms over Kirby from Kirby's point of view. That look on his face gives the impression he's about to eat you or worse...
Feel free to separate into more folders if a certain section gets big enough. Make sure to put a game example under its own section.Kirby's Adventure/Nightmare in Dreamland.
Kirby's Adventure (and the updated version "Nightmare in Dreamland") features Nightmare, an entity that King Dedede himself had been keeping at bay. At first, you fight Nightmare as an orb which attacks similarly to another boss in the series (Kaboola/Kabula), only, this fight is timed. Taking too long results in the orb escaping, and Kirby crashing into the planet. The music played in the NES version is creepy as well.
In the GBA version, when you get close to hitting the ground, the background turns into a creepy forest eerily resembling Van Gogh's Starry Night.
The second form isn't much better, looking like a vampire/genie thing with a tornado for a torso. Its death cry can be quite jarring on the NES, being a rather loud buzzing sound.
Kirby: Squeak Squad
Kirby Squeak Squad has an enemy that only appears in two stages, yet is still creepy enough to warrant a mention: a black, shadowy rendition of MasterHand that moans. In one of the levels it appears in, it can morph into a sword with the exact same features. It might not be as bad as any of the final bosses Kirby's had to deal with, but it's still unexpected.
Moans? Oh no, that's not moaning — it's buzzing. Look closely and you can see that the creature is actually a whole mass of tiny black insects taking one of the aforementioned forms.
This music turns otherwise unremarkable levels into pure horror.
Her entire stage as well. The first room has large empty spaces, and long platforms colored with surreal blotches of paint. In the final room, there are snickering paintings with distorted facial expressions. All with very minimalist music in the background. And if Old-School songs are enabled, the stage's background music is the normally cheerful "Museum" song from Nightmare in Dream Land, which might alleviate the creepiness or make it even more so.
Kirby and the Amazing Mirror
Dark Mind's second form in Kirby and the Amazing Mirror first mimics Nightmare, but then attacks as a flaming version of Zero with a mechanical eye.
Kirby and the Amazing Mirror also features Dark Meta Knight, who attempts to kill Kirby, splits him into four, seals the regular Meta Knight in Dark Mind's realm, and then challenges, and is defeated by Kirby. The creepiest thing about him is that when he dies, he shatters like a piece of glass.
In Amazing Mirror, a gray-colored Shadow Kirby occasionally appears with a creepy musical entrance. Hitting him yields an item. The ending implies he's just Mirror Kirby, who is trying to save his own world (hence the item drop).
At first, it looks like this is going to be avoided completely, what with Yin-Yarn, aka Mariachi Man, as the final boss seen here.◊ However, just because the game's cute, the Big Bad looks silly, and the game doesn't take place in Dream Land doesn't mean there aren't nightmares sewn in: those aren't maracas, they're knitting needles (living ones, at that). Given what the world of Epic Yarn is made of, Paranoia Fuel can only be rampant.
Incidentally, Kracko might just be the scariest-looking enemy in the whole game. The fluffy cloud's big bright watery eye has been replaced with a lifeless button.
There's something just wrong about seeing Kirby unwrap to go through those narrow tubes, turning into a long piece of string with a pair of eyes. Claustrophobiacs might find it unsettling.
The villain, Necrodeus (seen early in this trailer), is not just frightening in looks. He nearly kills Kirby at the very beginning of the game while the latter is just having a nap while visiting some nation nearby Dream Land. Then, he wakes up to being zapped by Necrodeus's attack, which splits him into 10, completely defenseless Kirbys and, shortly afterwards, Necrodeus actually proceeds to murder almost every Kirby, and only one manages to escape his massacre by following his (literal) star-shaped heart. The game's goal is essentially that of survival: quoting NoA's twitter for this: "The new villain is so powerful that he almost wipes Kirby out of existence.". During his boss fight, he can devour your Kirbys alive, with no chance of recovering them like in the regular game (meaning they don't turn into angels, they just stay dead for good, until the ending that is).
Dying in this game is surprisingly brutal and disturbing compared to a typical Kirby game. Instead of being comically knocked out and falling offscreen to a fairly cheerful tune, in Mass Attack, if a Kirby is killed, he just dies: his body will lie there for a moment, and then turn into a spirit and begin to drift away. The cute little angel wings do little to lessen the shock of seeing Kirby's lifeless and broken body for that brief moment. And that's assuming there are any remains in the first place, as if a Kirby catches fire and doesn't get to water before the timer runs out, he'll disintegrate into ash. Seeing it through Kirby's eyes is pure Fridge Horror.
Something to really cringe about is the Soarar egg that players must break in one level: not only it was an unhatched egg, but breaking it releases undeveloped Soarars. Abortion and murder for the sake of a medal.
In the fourth level, one of the stages feature a purple, blob-like ghost. It does not harm your Kirbies (it only sends them back to the beginning), but just the look of them is frightening.
It gets worse: There's a Checklist requirement to not touch any of them at all and not use the goal shortcut.