Nightmare Fuel: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
As the darkest games of the Metal Gear
franchise, both Ground Zeroes
and The Phantom Pain
have some A-grade military terror.
Just to give you an inkling of how dark this game gets: We've changed that picture to your right at least three times
since Ground Zeroes
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- Camp Omega. To elaborate, Camp Omega is a not-so-subtle commentary on Guantanamo Bay, where foreign insurgents in the United States are taken and tortured. Several of the things that happen to people in Camp Omega (awful living conditions, immense physical and psychological torture, and sadomasochistic interrogation) are happening right now. The things you see done to Chico, Paz, and the other prisoners of the camp aren't created purely out of imagination. These are real things happening to real people.
- The scene where they cut out an explosive device from Paz's stomach, without anesthetic, to the point where it used to be the page image. Even if it is to help free her from Cipher's control, it's absolutely horrific to watch.
- It gets better. She had several major organs removed to put the bomb in, giving her 24 hours to live at most, and it wasn't the only one they implanted.
- Everything Skullface did to Chico and Paz. Just what the hell IS this guy?
- To sum up Skull Face's atrocities, he repeatedly tortures both Paz and Chico, it's implied that he rapes Paz and then forces Chico to have sex with her, he has screws drilled into Chico's heels (a permanent way to ensure someone doesn't walk, much less run, again), implants a bomb into Paz's stomach, and then implants another bomb within her vagina knowing that Big Boss will come to her rescue (essentially taking out Big Boss as well). Then, after he departs, he annihilates Mother Base. The bomb implanted in Paz blows up and nearly kills Big Boss and everyone else onboard. Damn.
- It's really saying something when a villain's burned face is the least horrifying thing about him. This guy makes Volgin look like a kitten.
- Skull Face's backstory, as detailed in the final cassette you unlock for getting the others, is horrifying to say the least. He grew up building weapons in a factory, wherein he and his family interacted with various other families from his village, and that was sadly the only world he knew. One day, on the order of spies who discovered their factory, planes came droning in and bombed his village out of existence, crushing his life as he had known it. After being burned alive all that remained was a child with no language, no nation, no family, and no skin. The only thing he could hold claim to was his skull, his face having taken on a skull shaped disposition due to his burned flesh, that skull being his ultimate proof of humanity. Skull Face clings to the memory of his past which had been burned away, cleaving to that last shred of humanity so that the will of his people would not die with them but would live on in him. All that remains is this hollow skull of a man, devoid of humanity and cleaving onto a nihilistic "hope" for his future. Truly a disturbing individual.
- The context in which this backstory is told? Relayed to an unidentified man that Skull Face has tortured so brutally that he's incapable of talking and is gasping for breath the entire audio log. Skull Face tries to "educate" this man, invoke in him a desire for revenge like the kind that burns so deeply in his own soul. Skull Face wants to see if this man can live for revenge, prove that he's not the only one who can live that way. The audio log ends with the tortured man dying, with Skull Face giving a dissatisfied groan of disapproval.
- It's pretty safe to say that Skull Face in general is Nightmare Fuel incarnate. In just a few audio tapes, he established himself as, far and away, the most depraved and horrifying villain in the history of the franchise, easily outdoing even Volgin and Hot Coldman.
- In one of the Side Ops missions Big Boss encounters a prisoner who explains what he remembers of his torture and interrogation at Camp Omega. He talks about how his interrogators were of various backgrounds, MI6, BND, ISI, and even heard a Russian man at one point, and how they were all engaging in underhanded tactics and information gathering to gain leverage and control over various world governments and agencies; a multinational group without borders aiming to create a single will. He then goes on to explain how the torture was worse than anything he could have imagined, and how he saw multiple other prisoners break down, and at multiple points he came close to breaking himself. The thing that haunted him most of all was when he encountered a truly strange interrogator (implied to be Skull Face) who unsettled him with his polite personality by telling him "Nothing to be ashamed of, pain gets the better of us all. Let those words comfort you." This helps to establish how far reaching the power of the Patriots truly is, and how truly horrifying and dehumanizing their methods are.
- What makes this even scarier, is that those were the exact same words Big Boss used to Chico...what the hell is up with Skullface?
The Phantom Pain
- The escape from the hospital is as creepy and disturbing as any early Silent Hill game.
- Just the general concept of what Big Boss wakes up to is horrifying. Waking up unable to move, loss of limbs, being haunted by demons, and being hunted by people who want you dead are the subjects of nightmares. And Big Boss has the wonderful luck of waking up to all of them at the same time.
- Miller mutilated by torture, with his right arm removed at the shoulder and his left foot cut off at the ankle, a pathetic heap of the man he used to be. While torture sessions in past games were no cake walk it's horrifying to see torture taken to this extreme where the character's combat career, hell even just the ability to move under their own power anymore, is ruined by the extent of their wounds.
- In the E3 trailer, the Child Soldiers look and act horribly realistic. Having patchwork dirty clothing, as well as their aim being wobbly, as if they were too small to carry the guns they are being forced to use.
- Snake rubbing the ashes from one of the urns into his face. Let me re-iterate: Snake rubs the remains of a dead person onto his own face.
- We then cut to his face covered in BLOOD and surrounded in flames. Men become Demons indeed.
- And one more scene that manages to be this, Tear Jerker, and a dark Awesome Moment of Crowning: the trailer's end features an appearance by the sigils of the various factions in the two games. We start with MSF, then XOF, then Diamond Dogs. Then the last sigil appears, accompanied by the words "Venom Awakens". It's a picture of Big Boss's skull (with a hole for his horn) with wings on the side and lighting framing it in a circle. And above it is the name of the unit: Outer Heaven. "In Outer Heaven, men become demons" indeed.