Nightmare Fuel / Pokémon Mystery Dungeon
Everyone's familiar with Pokémon
, right? Maybe you're familiar with the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon spinoffs. You know, the delightful little game with the creatures everyone knows and loves, a partner who will be there when you need them (and when they need you)
, colorful, happy environments, and... enough Nightmare Fuel to rival the works of H.P. Lovecraft
? Was Nintendo's radar
turned off or something?
- Super Mystery Dungeon reveals that all the main games take place in the same universe, which means that the Mystery Dungeon world has suffered at least four near-apocalypses in the span of a few years and is undergoing a fifth.
- So you're walking around a dungeon, and what's this? A Kecleon shop! Hey, wouldn't it be so funny to steal some stuff from the sucker? You're level 100 and already saved the world, so they wouldn't attack you, knowing that it's just a player having a little fun, right? WRONG! More and more of them come up to swarm you in ridiculous numbers. They will catch up to you, and gang up on you so they can slaughter you! A seemingly innocent Pokemon becomes a shopkeeper so determined that he will defeat anyone who steals from him in a violent manner! Not only that. but enemy Pokemon won't even try to stop him! Even so, they'd probably be maimed by thousands of Kecleon swarming their butts. And where did all the other Kecleon come from?
- The mysterious force that kicks you out of the dungeon can be a little creepy the first time you play the games. Dialogue about something "coming closer" appears and while that happens, a breeze moves across the screen with an eerie sound effect.
- Consider this: you're a pretty powerful creature that can do any number of things like hurling rocks, or breathing fire, or shooting water, or generating lightning, or even passing through walls... and yet there's some thing that comes and hunts you down if you take too long, and easily hurls you out of the dungeon. And you never find out what it is either.
- "I can't hold on much longer... help..." The message that occurs when you talk to a companion near defeat.
- Onix and Steelix. They're huge! (though they're also cakewalks if you use the right moves).
- Monster Houses can be considered this. Walking around the dungeon, when you see that the next room is full of useful items, like Gummis and Orbs. Being the innocent explorer you are, you decide to walk in and take some of that loot for yourself. No big deal, right? Nope. Several enemies will jump down from the ceiling and Curbstomp Battle you into the ground if you aren't prepared. Luckily, if you have a good Hit All move like Discharge or Blizzard, or if you're at a high enough level, this becomes a lot less scary. If you don't, well...
- You can't outrun Ghost-types because they can walk through walls and sometimes you may get in the way of one so that it can't get out of the wall for you to attack it, but it can still attack you.
- If you use an Itemizer Orb on an enemy that has used Mirror Move, you're the one who gets turned into an item (as seen here). Sometimes food. This defeats you instantly with no chance of revival. Wonder how the team figures out how to resolve that one. There's a specific game over message for it, too.
- The concept behind the games is freaky too. Imagine, sleeping one night, when you feel like you're being asked questions in a dream. Then, the next morning, you wake up transformed into a Pokémon and in another world, with no knowledge of what happened or how to get back. What happened to your human body in your home world?
Red/Blue Rescue Team
- The first time you play through the storyline, the Silent Chasm and Mt. Thunder missions can be creepy. All the player and partner know is that a "monster" lives in Silent Chasm (it doesn't help that this is the first time your normally brave partner really expresses fear)... and then, at the end of the Chasm, you find a badly injured Shiftry and a terrified Jumpluff. The monster turns out to be a Zapdos, who proceeds to kidnap Shiftry and make you scale Mt. Thunder and fight him to save Shiftry. Bonus points for the "monster" being the first legendary Pokémon encountered in the game.
- In Red/Blue, if you go to Pokémon Square just before you flee as fugitives, you can still use the various shops while the shopkeepers sleep. If you talk to Gulpin and ask for information about remembering moves, he mutters about how you, the player, are quite forgetful and how he wants you to forget a lot of moves so you have to see him a lot. Then he remembers that everyone decided to get rid of you... That's right, Gulpin was dreaming about killing you.
- The Ninetales legend is pretty scary, especially since Ninetales aren't normally that powerful.
- The worst part is that the legend is later revealed to have actually happened. Just ask Gengar.
- Gengar getting everyone in town to kick you out, even those that you mutually trusted. And later the player wonders if he was telling the truth about you.
- Some of the Friend Areas show clear signs of former human occupation; in particular, the Power Plant and Decrepit Lab even mention specifically that they were constructed in ancient times by humans, and then abandoned. In addition, the Pokémon of this world know what humans are but have never met one, as though they were a legend or relic out of the past. Implications are up to the players' own imagination.
- The whole fugitive sequence. You are forced to survive several extremely inhospitable environments filled with hostile foes, have no real safe place to sleep and presumably no reliable source of food or clean water, and almost everyone you know is relentlessly hunting you and your best friend down with the heavily implied intent of slaughtering you both.
- Normal 'mons are bad enough, but add on top of that two legendary pokemon also believing you to be the source of the trouble while having no knowledge of what Gengar said and that's based on flimsy evidence at best (the volcano is warmer than usual/the forest is melting in areas that haven't melted before and you show up, so you must be at fault). You and your partner manage to convince Moltres otherwise, but Articuno is still hell-bent on killing you after your fight. If Absol hadn't shown up when he did, you'd be dead.
- There's also the fact that one of the strongest rescue teams is reluctantly also trying to kill you. Your partner has idolized these guys and now they're explicitly trying to hunt you down on the off chance that killing you might restore the world to order, and have stated outright that anyone going with you is a target as well. Even with the head-start Alakazam gives you and the implied non-stop running you and your partner do, they still manage to catch up with you on the top of Mt. Freeze. Good thing Ninetales was there to set things straight, or...
- During a particular dream sequence, you do not get the particularly peaceful setting you get as you converse with Gardevoir. Instead you get an ominous purple setting, with the Player Character looking particularly uncomfortable, even saying that it hurts. It turns out to be Gengar's Dream Eater. Gardevoir manages to get rid of the pain, but imagine this: You're asleep comfortably expecting a pleasant dream from your Spirit Advisor. Instead you get pain and fear from an unknown nightmare, caused by your arch enemy without your knowing, and you have no idea what's going on or how it is happening.
- Even more so the fact that Gengar snuck into the player's house, while they were sleeping, to eat their dreams, as a form of revenge for his humiliation.
- In Magma Cavern, finding Alakazam, Charizard, and Tyranitar completely wiped out by Groudon, especially because those three were considered to be the strongest rescue team at that time. Really makes you nervous about the ensuing boss fight with Groudon...
- Directly after you defeat Groudon, Xatu contacts everyone via telepathy and informs them that a star is crashing towards their world, and that it has the possibility of destroying EVERYTHING. It doesn't help that a picture of the star is shown, and that it looks like a giant fireball that nearly fills the whole screen... Imagine what could have happened if you didn't convince Rayquaza to save everyone!
- The music that plays in the aptly named Cryptic Cave friend area, home to Mewtwo, complete with creepy moans and bells, plus a static drone throughout. Even scarier, it also plays before you fight Kyogre on the final floor of Stormy Sea and Lugia on the bottom floor of Silver Trench- Especially so in the former's case due to it coming across as being genuinely malevolent, and the fear is doubled if you're afraid of water and/or the dark.
- How about the scene where as you're returning to the human world, Gengar appears and drags you away?
- Actually if you pay attention to the dialogue, it's heavily implied you were nearly killed by the explosion of the meteor and that Gengar saves you. Still, the music and Gengar's lines about dragging you to 'the dark world' doesn't help.
- Also, how about Snorlax in Howling Forest? NO MOVES YOU THROW AT HIM CAN REALLY HURT HIM AT ALL.
- Joyous Tower and similar places: You're without items, without your money, without your movesets... practically de-aged and sent into hell with no way out. And you have to endure 100 floors of this. 100 floors. That's torment.
- Wonder Mail Generators are pretty neat, right? Well, try entering a mission for Howling Forest 15F. The game gets confused when asked to end a mission on an unoccupied floor, so you enter a weird room, and the game tells you there's no one there and it's time to turn back. Smeargle is still there.
Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky
- The entire story mode has this, but especially Darkrai. While usually he's portrayed as misunderstood and maybe even heroic with a self-defense mechanism, this version's Darkrai isn't. He's a cunning, ruthless nightmare master who's behind almost all of the below and admits it. He also sent poor Azurill into an infinite nightmare for the fun of it, and his plan is to send the world into an infinite nightmare so that he may rule. His first attempt was the bad future, in which he essentially corrupted a god. He then sends another god after you, and lures you into a final battle in which he gangs up on you.
- The beginning of the game itself. It shows a black screen, with a storm sounding in the background. There's a ominous dialog between two people, one telling the other to hold on. Then, the other person screams, with a large thunder noise/teleporting noise.
- Your first assignment as a guild member is to retrieve Spoink's lost pearl. No big deal, right? Unless you remember that one of its Pokédex entries states that if a Spoink doesn't keep its pearl balanced on its head, it dies. No wonder the little guy was so frantic...
- The first time you have a vision can be freaky, especially if it's the first time you play the game. You're just talking to Azuril and Drowzee, then all of a sudden the screen flickers a bit. Then, cue the Scare Chord slashing noise, when all of a sudden the screen goes black, and the screen gets cut in half diagonally, showing you a soundless scene. This keeps happening throughout the game, but at least you'll know what will happen.
- According to Bidoof's Diary, Croagunk sneaks into the men's bedroom and watches Bidoof sleep while smiling creepily.
- Think about it: in the Future, the sun never rises and time never passes. Primal Dialga is top dog. Thus, if you die, you will be stuck in that dying state for eternity. Given the fact that the world has become morbidly peaceful from the cold, still, lifeless silence that comes with the destruction of time itself, death is more welcome than trying to survive and eventually going insane from the dark, depressing atmosphere.
- What might be the worst part of "Into The Future". Soon after you and your partner are dragged into the Bad Future, you're set up for execution. And it's not a quick and easy sort, either - the method involves Sableye using Fury Swipes, meaning that you would've been torn to shreds by their sharp claws. Fancy being stuck in that state for all eternity, or worse, dying there.
- Grovyle being tortured by that Spiritomb, which went up his nose, and the expression of pure agony on his face.
- It really makes you wonder what that Spiritomb was doing to him to cause him so much pain...
- Spiritomb in general. Not only does he torture Grovyle, he does the exact same thing to Celebi during the 5th episode of Sky. Makes you glad you defeat him in time, doesn't it?
- The thought of being hunted in a dark, future world by a creepy ghost like abomination and razor clawed beasts is not a pleasant thought. The thought gets even less pleasant when your partner warns that Dusknoir could come back to the present and hunt you down...meaning Dusknoir could easily chase you down again, meaning you're not safe ANYWHERE.
- Time/Darkness also has the little issue of you dying. YOU. The game works hard to get you to imagine you truly are the MC in the game and then it kills you off, and you watch other characters mourn over you. Yeah, you come back, but geez.
- And not long after you come back, the game asks you if you want to kill yourself.
- And don't forget that once you decide that you're not going to kill yourself, THE GOD OF SPACE (as in the time/space variety) decides that he's going to kill you anyway, and takes you to the Spatial Rift, which is almost as bad as the Future is, even though you don't spend as much time there as you do the future.
- Dusknoir and his second mouth.
- His backup plan in the third game involves Literally destroying Grovyle's soul and then possessing his now-empty body, traveling back to the main time period, befriending the Guild members and then destroying them in one fell swoop. Of course, he doesn't thanks to a foreshadowed Heel–Face Turn, but the implications are not good at all.
- Fanart like this doesn't help at all.
- Nor do fanfics like this.
- So! You've just been told that to save the world, you and your best friend should kill yourselves! And talking to your dear friend and trusted confidant about this, your partner wavers back and forth, wondering whether or not to do just that. Come the next morning, you wake up and they're not in bed anymore.
- Add onto the fact that you live in the face of a cliff, which hangs over an enormous body of water. Let that sink in for a while.
- And while it's pretty tame compared with all the above, ceiling Kabutops can give you a bit of a start.
- Right before the post-credits final boss battle, your partner seemingly has a Face–Heel Turn and asks you to join him. He clinches it by saying "The world of darkness is going to be wonderful, [Player Name]."
- This sentence was just as bad. "Darkrai won't want just me... he'll get rid of me..."
- Despite the fact that it was an illusion, the idea that your trusted partner, who's been to Hell and back with you, just gave up and went over to the Big Bad and begged you to rule with them because they know that without you they'd be killed, but they weren't going to go back on it.
- Not only was it scaring you as the character, it was scaring Cresselia as well. It was hard to tell that it was just a nightmare.
- During the battle near the end, Darkrai can sometimes stand there and stare at your character, watching carefully.
- Consider how the Adult Fear sequence must seem from Azumarill's point of view. Just think about it: You have two darling children, your pride and joy. But then you get sick. So sick that you're bedridden and can't take care of them. Your dear, sweet boys comfort you as best they can, insisting that they can run errands for you and take care of things while you concentrate on getting back on your feet. And you might be a bit leery, but you've got to trust them. And besides, you know the town is safe. it's a pretty close-knit community, and you trust the shopkeepers and the locals enough to know they'll look out for your kids. But despite all that, your children are still abducted in broad daylight, right in the middle of town, by a seemingly friendly and helpful stranger who singles out your youngest for his own nasty intentions. And all this happens while you're so ill you can't do anything about it, and you only find out after it's all played out.
- Somehow the fact that the abductor is a Drowzee makes the tone of the whole situation a bit creepier, somewhat funny, or a little of both.
- Azurill's nightmare was creepier than it could've been. There's no food, your hunger increases faster, and there are Pokémon to fight in his dream...
- It may take you a while to catch on, but pay attention to just which species of Pokémon are in the nightmare- Among others, Wigglytuff, Chansey, Spoink, Spinda, Croagunk, Skitty, and Meowth- All of these are either friendly residents of Treasure Town or members of the guild, or Pokémon the player and the partner can potentially be. Yep, in Azurill's nightmare, his friends are out to kill him.
- Just the fact that almost every Pokémon in the dungeon are cute 'Mons generally associated with happiness and fairies (Many being retconned to Fairy in Gen VI) adds a weirdly disturbing aspect to it.
- Time/Darkness/Sky doesn't always even need the storyline in order to be scary. Ever picked up an Itemizer Orb and used it on an enemy Pokémon? What did it turn into, and what did you do with the resulting item?
- Also the misspelled items (such as the Oren Berry) in Sky. Imagine your character getting hungrier and hungrier every move, starting to lose HP. You eat those items to keep your hunger calm, only to realize that they nailed a status effect on you.
- Then, if you dare, you can eat the X-Eye Seed.
- There are some dungeons, particularly the Northern Desert, where the cracks on the walls are shaped like certain holes in a certain story...
- The music from Limestone Cavern in the Team Charm special episode really sends tingling chills down the spine.
- Depending on who's listening. Many people find the track calming.
- While on the topic of the game's music, the tracks In The Future and Planet's Paralysis are quite creepy.
- Team AWD has renown for being cunning and devious, willing to do anything for treasure. They're also all dark or poison types.
- Ultimately subverted. They're actually nice people (though Weavile is a bit of a bitch) and only fought Team Charm due to a misunderstanding, and when Ditto reveals the truth of the treasure to them (its a Time Gear) they agree to leave in peace and neither side seems to hold any grudges. Hell, in the post game, they actually end up giving you helpful tips and advice for tackling Zero Isle.
- This leads to some fearful dissonance for another reason entirely. Simply put, even after the Team Charm episode, the player still doesn't know how much of it is true. Some of the NPCs were part of the subterfuge; others weren't. Weavile denies almost nothing. All you can really be sure of is that they don't intend to freeze the world. While knowing that someone is greedy and malicious is scary in itself, it's an even worse fate to never be sure about it... because then you can't be certain that defeating them is the right thing to do.
- The fifth bonus episode of Sky gives us Grovyle nearly getting electrocuted to the point where his soul would be destroyed.
- You probably know that you can turn around and talk to your teammates right? Well, in the fifth Special Episode in Sky, Dusknoir joins you (playing as Grovyle) for a while. If you turn around to talk to him, what's one of his lines? "Feeling nervous? Having your back exposed to me..."
- As pointed out in the Headscratchers page, if Caterpie and Azurill are considered children in the game's universe, does that mean that all unevolved mons are children? That children are being sent down into incredibly dangerous dungeons?
- It doesn't help that the guild's theme song is marching music.
- It actually is canon that you and your partner are considered "kids" (Chatot addresses you as such when you first meet him). However, he also acts as though you are significantly younger than most of the other members of the guild, so at least sending children to do this type of work isn't considered normal in this 'verse.
- As seen below, you can recruit Pokemon after immediately hatching from eggs, so you pretty much in a sense are "recruiting babies" Which is kind of odd since they are born already fully fluent in speech and preset character traits.
- The fact that you can occasionally receive eggs from missions marked with "???" as the reward in Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky can be a bit of Fridge Horror all on its own; but add in the fact that said egg is usually from a species in the dungeon you just visited as opposed to your client's species...
- Given how the eggs are apparently picked up in dungeons, either 1) your client saved it from all the hostile Pokémon, which makes you wonder what would have happened to the poor newborn Pokémon if it had hatched in there, or 2) your client stole it from its parents. Neither implication is good.
- In Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky, some wild Pokémon explode upon defeat.
- It may or may not have gone unnoticed, but given the fact that you and your partner were described as badly hurt by the Guild members after your battle with Grovyle, it's implied that had Dusknoir not stepped in, Grovyle could have easily killed both you and your partner.
- The fact that EVERY SINGLE BOSS has the desire to murder you, and none seem to have any problem with it. Even Team Skull at the very beginning of the game because your partner has a weird rock. Not to mention the Trio of Protectors (Mesprit, Uxie, Azelf) will basically do anything to protect the time gears, Uxie summoning a Mirage Groudon, while Mesprit prefers up and fighting you head-on, and the clan of Electric Pokémon in the Amp Plains just want to kill you for stepping on their land. Even after you defeat them all, they still want to slaughter you and your partner! And they would've, too, if Dusknoir hadn't stepped in.
- And that is just in the first half of the game. The second half and post game is far darker. Alright, Azelf doesn't actually attack you or Grovyle, he just covers Crystal Lake in a layer of impenetrable crystals. But played straight for everyone else. And then we have the Dark Future, with Spiritomb. And then the Hidden Land and Temporal Tower, with Dusknoir and Primal Dialga. The Graduation Exam is a nice break from the death, but then we have Froslass, who wants to freeze you like she did Scizor. Next, there is Cresselia (actually Darkrai), who attacks you after Azurill's nightmare. And then there is Palkia in the Spacial Rift, followed by a second illusory Cresselia who try to erase you from existence, with you only being saved by the actual Cresselia. Then there is Darkrai, the real one. So about ten bosses all want to kill you.
- The dark future is bad enough by itself, but the worst part about it is the Sableye's methods of executing prisoners. They tie them to pillars and about two or three of them gang up on you and use their Fury Swipes attack until death eventually occurs.
- Darkrai's backup plan to smother the world in an infinite and expanding nightmare is very disturbing for several reasons.
- A Pokémon that cannot wake up will eventually die from malnutrition because they cannot take in any food or water unless they are force-fed.
- A Pokémon that cannot wake up cannot exercise as well which means that their body will slowly self-destruct via atrophy. (First the muscles become useless and then the organs start failing.)
- A Pokémon that cannot wake up will eventually die of exposure. (Freezing to death, drowning, hyperthermia, incinerated from falling into lava.)
- A Pokémon that cannot wake up is completely defenseless from being eaten alive by predators or scavengers.
- A Pokémon that cannot wake up can actually die from being scared to death. They will become so stressed from the endless amount of fear from being stuck in a nightmare and unable to do anything about it that they'll eventually suffer a heart attack.
- Near the end of the fifth Special Episode in Explorers of Sky, Dusknoir has a Heel–Face Turn and rescues Grovyle from a trap he led him into. Primal Dialga's response is to give a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Dusknoir. What makes it particularly striking is that cutscene violence in the early PMD games is typically limited to one, maybe two strikes. Primal Dialga hits him four times, and the contrast to the usual way makes it seem brutal, even with the limitations of the 2D sprites.
Gates to Infinity
- The death of Hydreigon. You've just been through several dungeons, you're mere moments away from safety, and then Hydreigon says everything is starting to get colder. He dismisses it as nothing, and you keep moving only for Kyurem to appear right in front of you, blast Hydreigon with ice and shatter him right in front of you. The fact that it's so sudden and unexpected makes it all the more terrifying. Furthermore Hydreigon is killed instantly, without even having a chance to react or even speak. That kind of horrifyingly realistic death is very rarely seen even in the most mature of games, let alone Pokemon of all things. Then it gets even worse: without even batting an eyelid, Kyurem proceeds to deliver a brutal No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to the protagonist by stomping on him repeatedly. And the partner can only watch, powerless to stop it, while this goes on for a while. Yeesh. However, he comes back at the very end.
- Unlike previous installments, you don't come back post-credits...until you play as the partner to work to bring you back.
- The final boss isn't Kyurem, or even a Pokemon; It's the horrifying Bittercold.
- The Bittercold itself is terrifying, but its motives to turn everybody's loved ones against them is one of the most terrifying schemes ever. And when you're all alone, fighting this evil, spiky, one-eyed(?) ice crystal... thing is enough to make any hero feel hopelessly terrified. It hasn't got any moves itself either. Only zoom-ins of the Bittercold. These attacks send icy fear into not only your character's, but the player's mortal soul.
- What happens to all the other humans that were brought to the Pokémon World. How many of them simply walked into an ambush, thinking they were about to help a Pokémon in need, or otherwise hunted for seemingly no reason? And by the time you even learn of them, there are none left...
- And then you realize what the floating golden orbs the townspeople have been seeing are...
- Kyurem still says they were in incredible pain before they were banished. Sure the humans made it back to their world, but they basically had to experience death firsthand before they did... *shudder*.
- The bitterness and apathy of the townsfolk can be frightening, especially when you learn what's behind it.
- Munna's plan is quite dark. She wanted to destroy the world and kill everyone it in so that no one in that "crapsack world" would ever suffer again.
- The fact that this game is even darker than Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky is this in itself. Yes, this includes the Nightmare Fuel shown in the above section.
- When Cofagrigus walks, its bottom hands move like feet while its upper hands reach out in front of it. A giant, walking, eager, living sarcophagus, following you everywhere... furthermore, the Cofagrigus who runs the Gold Exchange shop seems to take a perverse delight in stalking/spying on the player character as they go on their adventures.
- The fact you may be forgotten and essentially written out of history in the Pokemon world in the ending. Sure, it doesn't happen, but still, very freaky, sad, and generally upsetting.
Super Mystery Dungeon
- Doubles as a Tear Jerker, but realizing that someone who you consider a parental figure was brainwashed to deceive you from the beginning. The horror of realizing that any sort of love they have given you was a lie.
- On Carracosta's part, imagine your child sneaking out at night to go somewhere life threateningly dangerous. His anger is totally justified as the child could have gotten themselves hurt or worse!
- The events before and after the Mystical Forest show what kind of force the heroes are up against, in case Rayquaza running away in fear wasn't enough. It starts out as a beautiful day in which the team get to travel to a new land. Then they overhear a chat about the petrification epidemic that gets interrupted by two objects crashing down from the sky from out of nowhere. They manage to get into the impact site only to find that those objects are Latios and Latias turned into stone after they were caught by an unknown pursuer. Keep in mind, the twin dragons have Super Speed that rivals jet planes; if they couldn't escape... The music doesn't help either.
- Dark Matter is essentially The Bittercold, but even worse. It's plot is to turn everything on the planet to stone, including Legendaries, by destroying The Tree of Life, and then hurl the dead planet into the friggin sun! the fact that it was able to effect Arceus of all things might make Dark Matter the most powerful being in the entire Pokemon Franchise!
- Not to mention that the place you go to when one turns into stone is basically Hell. Seriously, the first Voidlands Dungeon Japanese name is literally Hell Badlands.
- The fact that by the Final Battle, almost everyone is technically dead.