Nightmare Fuel: Persona 4

"Then I will grant you one truth... You will all die here."

Despite being far Lighter and Softer than other Shin Megami Tensei games, Persona 4 still manages to have its own share of Nightmare Fuel.

  • The first example in the game, is your first visit to the TV World. Ominous music plays while you find an empty room filled with posters of a woman with her face torn out, splotches of blood which the Persona series seems to love so much, and a classic chair and noose arrangement. While this is nothing compared to the crazier things that will happen later in the game, it still makes a striking change from the everyday rural life, minus a murder, up until now.
    • Even aside from the Room Full of Crazy, the entire sequence wandering around in the TV world for the first time is frighteningly eerie, the closest the Persona series has ever come to being an out-and-out horror game. You, Yosuke and Chie wander for hours through a nonsensical eldritch landscape absolutely choked with Ominous Fog, getting tired and slowly succumbing to despair as you can't find a way out, and all the time you have this creeping feeling that you're not alone in this terrifying place...
  • The calls you get if you fail to rescue someone will probably haunt your dreams. Especially the last one from Naoto, wherein she is murdered by Shadows while on the phone with you.
  • The Shadow Selves are pretty terrifying.
    • Shadow Yosuke is your first exposure to the reality of what exactly a shadow is: It's a manifestation of all of your worst flaws and suppressed dark thoughts, and if you deny it, it will kill you.
      • As for Shadow Yosuke in general, he doesn't seem that bad compared to some of the later bosses until you realize that his motives for attacking you are eerily similar to Adachi's.
    • Shadow Chie before transforming, has quite the smile.
      • Even after transforming, she still has a smile drawn on her mask in what looks like blood.
    • Shadow Yukiko is a giant bird with Yukiko's human face. And her face looks soulless.
    • Shadow Rise is a giant multicolour girl tangling herself around a dance pole, with a satellite dish for a face. Her attacks involve her screeching "FEAST YOUR EYES!" or moaning, while humping the dance pole between her legs with a very audible squelch. Even her portrait of all things is just a tad too creepy. And don't forget that because of her inherent powers, you can't beat her; scary thought if you don't know that the fight will eventually cut to a scene where Teddie goes apezoid to defeat her.
      • Even Shadow Rise's normal form is just a bit creepy, which is an achievement for a tantalizing girl wearing a bikini. The other Shadow Selves wandered around their dungeon and pitted the heroes against minibosses because they just seemed to think of it as the right thing to do. Shadow Rise, however, is notably more hostile—she deliberately tries to lure you deeper into the striptease, turns out the lights on you, and when you locate her again, pretends to cooperate before splitting the scene and leaving a giant snake in her place. Add her wide eyes and creepy grin to that, and she's just unsettling.
    • Shadow Teddie. Pictured above, Shadow Teddie is a giant perversion of your favorite pun-spewing teddy bear, with eerily glowing eyes and two giant holes in his face, revealing that there's nothing beneath the monster's husk. Also, he talks with this intimidating voice, going on about how futile your quest for the truth is. Shadow Teddie is no mere shadow, either. He is the shadow of a shadow. An eldritch form of something already pretty eldritch. Could Shadow Teddie be even more of an abomination? In fact, its eyes and voice bring about to mind Ameno Sagiri. And finally, Sam Riegel actually manages to make Shadow Teddie even Creepier then Dave Wittenberg did, if that's even possible.
    • Shadow Naoto. Just think about what it was going to do to the real Naoto...
  • The Void Quest dungeon. Everything's a game! Hurting people just lowers their HP and entertains you! And, of course, you're playing a game just like the one in his mind a couple generations down the line, and grew up on games exactly like the ones that make up his id. Thanks, Atlus. The dialogue in between floors is also really creepy - one is just a single, long "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA".
    • Then there's the boss itself, Shadow Mitsuo. It transforms into a floating baby that speaks in a very creepy, empty-sounding voice. Then there's the matter of his line before starting the battle proper...
    I am a Shadow. Come... I'll end your emptiness.
  • The entirety of the arc involving Nanako getting kidnapped, Namatame being suspected as the killer, the boss fight of the dungeon, and the dungeon itself.
    • First, the arc is rife with Adult Fear. You're a cop still trying to chase after the criminal who killed your wife, leaving your daughter without a mother. Then you get caught up with a case of mysterious murders, only for your daughter to be the next victim...
    • Then, there's the dungeon, named Heaven. At first, that doesn't sound too bad, as it does the great music, design, and atmosphere. The disturbing part comes in the fact that it partly comes from a guy who has a messiah complex, the fact that even though it looks heavenly, the monstrous Shadows still invade it, and while this is a touch more sad than scary, it also partly comes from a girl who misses her dead mother and wishes to be with her once more.
    • Next, is the boss, Kunino-Sagiri. Let's start with how it first enters the scene: The Shadows present starts merging with Namatame, his body bulging with every Shadow that enters his body as his body turns red as Namatane lets out one of the most blood-curling screams in the game. And onto the boss itself, it appears to look like a cross between a Muppet and a giant, animated fetus. It has gears coming out of its head, and bulging, yellow eyes that lack pupils. It looks like it is dressed up like a peace-loving hippie, complete with heart and peace symbols on its angel-like robe, and even flashes "peace" symbols with its gnarled, rotting fingers. A hideous creature like that with that imagery is remarkably unnerving. When its HP gets low enough, it goes limp and slacks its jaw like some sort of bug-eyed corpse. Its battle theme, while awesome, also sounds droning, grating, hopeless, and rather alien-sounding. And finally, it is found at the very top of Heaven, something Yunalesca would be envious at.
    • And finally, if you do not make the right choices after the dungeon, you could get the Bad Ending. And that is, you get caught up in the heat of the moment and kill Namatame, even though the truth is still out there and Namatame is not the killer. Congratulations, you just killed the wrong guy, your little sister is now dead for good, and the fog continues to grow thicker as you've stopped reaching out for the truth.
  • In the last month of the game, Inaba becomes shrouded in fog. The player, and the residents of the town, will probably just dismiss it as regular post-rain fog. However, the fog does not cease, and the weather forecast indicates that the remaining days will be foggy. It progressively gets thicker, and the new town "music" isn't really music so much as some very ominous and quiet sounds. Various people start falling ill, students start to talk about some pretty outrageous things like a "healing club" and the idea of being turned into a monster (and talking about it like it's nothing), and class gets progressively more on edge. On top of that, if you fail to finish that month's dungeon in time, it's not just one person getting killed this time, the Shadows from the TV World are heavily implied to have come into the real world, bringing about The End of the World as We Know It.
  • The lead up to the Downer Ending on 12/3 with the group at their Darkest Hour. Nanako seemingly dies and the Investigation Team is looking for vengeance on Namatame. The real kicker is that it's Naoto, arguably the most level-headed member of the group, who makes the suggestion on the best way to kill Namatame.
  • Izanami, the True Final Boss of the game, is very horrifying. The first phase isn't so bad, until the Orb of Sight that's been happily sitting in your pocket reveals its true form: a giant red skeleton whose screams rival a banshee and makes a disgusting noise every time it even casts a skill. To make matters worse, if you thought Nyx's Night Queen from Persona 3 was bad, this boss takes it up to eleven, using a skill that inflicts your party with a random status ailment (unless you avoid it) and then slaughtering any unfortunate member unlucky enough to be inflicted. The icing on the Lovecraftian Cake is the penultimate attack — A Thousand Curses. First off, it looks like a mass of hands coming out of a blood-red abyss ready to drag its victim down to hell; then your comrades sacrifice themselves one by one until there's no one left to protect you. Uh oh. Worst of all, if you do not know that it is actually scripted, then it is downright panic-inducing to see the long boss battle suddenly take for a worse, just when you think you've won.
  • The Reveal of the killer's identity makes things a LOT more disturbing when you realize that you've had dinner with him, he's been in your house, he's behind all of the madness, facilitating the deaths of several people, including your surrogate little sister, manipulating a guy into doing the dirty work and then watching everything unfold, and you had no idea. Even after Nanako and Dojima are hospitalized, what does he do? Smiles to your face and tell you to go home, while he watches Dojima. He was alone in Dojima's room, and watched him sleep. He could have killed him at any time, but it would've given him away. And to make matters worse, when you actually fight the killer, the familiar Persona critical cut in shows up flashes on the screen with a red background, revealing that this psycho also has a Persona. Finally, it's a little chilling to hear Johnny Yong Bosch audibly go from a bumbling, incompetent detective, to a twisted, terrifying villain, especially to anyone familiar with who he usually voices.
    • Golden manages to make the killer even creepier, by adding him as Social Link. Provided you get the link high enough by the time the Investigation Team are trying to figure out the killer's identity, you get the option to protect him. Doing so initiates a Time Skip to the Protagonist's final day in Inaba, at which point he privately confronts Adachi and asks he's the killer. However, he continues to play dumb, right up until you choose to burn the letter that he sent you & was the only thing linking him to the crimes, at which point he makes this face; before not only admitting to his crimes, but pointing out that destroying evidence is a crime. He then tells the Protagonist that whenever he calls, he will pick up and will not to try to change his number, because Adachi will track him down. Worse yet, you still get the "Social Link Complete" sequence, in a pretty terrifying Mood Whiplash. In any case, enjoy the Accomplice Ending.
    The Killer: Goodbye, partner.
    • Not to mention his reasons for him becoming a killer: jealousy and boredom. After spending his youth doing nothing but studying, followed by a "mistake" that cost him everything, Adachi considers his power to enter the TV as the world owing him. He claims that he killed Mayumi and Saki because they were "worthless bitches" who "betrayed him" and were after Namatame because of his money, when it was because they rejected his advances.note  He also convinced Namatame himself to throw people into the TV just because he wanted to see how the game play out. Worst of all, because of his complete dissatisfaction with the world, he's not just willing, but enthusiastic about committing what amounts to omnicide.
  • The Reaper is back! Though this time, he's only a Chest Monster and the game not only alerts you if you try to open a Reaper chest, it will even confirm if you want to open it or ignore it instead.
    • Golden makes it worse. Originally the Reaper could only show up on New Game+. In Golden, he shows up on the first playthrough. He'll be summoned if you open too many chests on a single dungeon floor. And how do you know he's arrived? Deep, animalistic roars and the sound of dragging chains. You're still warned if you find his chest, but getting away from that fucking sound is reason enough to get to the stairs.
  • The manga often forgets to draw faces on the characters in some panels. It's unsettling when you read it for the first time and aren't expecting it.
  • The Midnight Channel theme, catchy as it is, also highlights the horror of being trapped in the TV world. You're completely alone, no one can hear you, you're powerless to escape, and the real enemy comes from deep within your own mind. Without a Persona, you're totally helpless.