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Nightmare Fuel: Shin Megami Tensei IV
I'm detecting Nightmare Fuel ahead. Do you want to go on?
The Nightmare Fuel is present in this game, even before you start it up. Imagine, if you will, putting the cartridge into the 3DS and expecting a little jingle or a character saying the game's name, only to be greeted by an abrupt DUNNNNNNNNNNN!
The way his battle sprite twitches during the fight. Becomes even worse if you tell him you still consider yourself a Casualry, in which case he'll try (and fail) to fight from the inside.
Before he dies, you'll see his character portrait bleeding heavily.
Much later in the game, one of The White takes his form... but permenantly crying. It's a lot creepier than it sounds. And then the White starts actually showing some emotion as it speaks as it dies, moaning in Issachar's voice, lamenting he could not be saved...
In the bad ending, you are required to destroy the Yamato Gate to activate black holes that will consume the whole universe and destroy everything. The "battle" with the Yamato Gate, if you can even call it that, is accompanied by very eerie music. While the background is the same as most bosses you fight throughout the game, the music coupled with the empty background makes it very unsettling.
The music for Merkabah and Lucifer's second forms are likewise very unsettling.
East Mikado itself. Even at the beginning of the game, its clear that there's something very off about the whole place, from the brutally racist caste system, to the fact that demons live literally right underground the capital city, and the fact that, if Isabeau's comments about France's status as a fictitious country are anything to go by, they believe themselves to be the only civilization in existence.
And then after you capture the Black Samurai, you find out that they consider public executionsnational holidays.
This is actually Truth in Television. It's a comparatively recent development for Executions to be treated as something to be hidden from the public at large. This can also be seen in Pirates of the Caribbean, as well as any Wild West movie with a hanging occurring. It was considered a day out, a time to put on the fancy clothes and gossip with your friends.
Towards the end of the game, the Archangels initiate a bloody purge in Mikado in preparation for Merkabah's arrival. Anyone, whether Luxuror or Casualry, who has read any form of book is butchered (Isabeau is among this list because she reads manga. Even Jonathan would have been added to the massacre had he not joined the Archangels because of his research beforehand). It's implied this caused the near-complete extermination of the entire Luxuror caste.
During the Lawful Ending, you commit what is tantamount to genocide on the entire population of Tokyo. Merkabah also forces you to commit Heroic Suicide with him, because the two of you have learned about the "Filth" of Tokyo..
The Ashura-Kai building and the secret of how they make Red. The demand's up and the women (which they openly call breeders) just can't cope, so they want to start using the children. The slaves there are imprisoned in tiny, bloodstained rooms with buckets of filth in inhuman conditions, brainwashed to love Tayama (a girl comments she once told Tayama she loved him and hoped to be his wife, and the asshole told her "Age is no barrier to love"), used as seedbeds, and having their neurotransmitters harvested. There are people strapped to chairs and treated like livestock, nearly mindless, as they have the ingredients for Red extracted. Friggin' Lilith herself is disgusted by this. As is, well, everyone. Law, Chaos, Neutral. They all find Tayama disgusting.
The poor sap you find in the Reverse Hills Building, clearly retarded to a childish intelligence by continuous harvesting, still moaning very familiar catchphrases. There are children proud of using buckets as toilets, children abandoned or sold by their parents, children brainwashed with Tayama's cheap slogans, being told to say they are being educated. The underground city dwellers are bought, bribed or captured to enter Reverse Hills, only to become more raw materials for Tayama's Red Pills. And the place is over fifty floors underground.
As horrible as Reverse Hills is when you first visit, a post-alignment lock visit will reveal it's only become worse.
"I thought Mom and Dad were in a different building. But the Ashura-kai guy told me they left on a long trip a while back. They went to this place called "Heaven"."
Post-alignment lock, the residents of the Dogenzaka area despaired and eventually found hope... in the Red Pills. The few humans in the area are gone, leaving only the demons.
When you defeat an opponent in a tournament, the audience expresses complete dismay if you don't kill them. Very much reminiscent to the Colosseum fights of Ancient Rome as you are encouraged to kill your opponent.
The Monochrome Forest, mainly due to this music, and what it represents to the game's story.
To say nothing of its rulers. The White are Omnicidal Neutralembodiments of humanity's despair at the sheer suck of the Megami Tensei universe, and wish nothing more than to destroy it, since it's the only way out. And the thing is, they're just so reasonable about it, it's hard to not find yourself nodding along to their reasons for thinking the solar system needs to go. It's very easy to find yourself thinking like them, and that's the most terrifying aspect of all.
The Purge the angels enact is justified in their eyes, as the literature the Black Samurai has been distributing turns humans into demons. The problem? It's normal, human world literature. The people of East Mikado have their beliefs in social castes so ingrained that when an outside force like the books makes them realize there are alternatives to the Crapsack World, they go insane with horror, rage and grief, which is what triggers the demon transformation.
Most of Blasted Tokyo is pretty awful, what with it being a literal wasteland of poison and despair. On your way to combat the source of one of the problems affecting the place you're stopped by a trio with a request to put down a demon in Shibuya. Go there and you find it's a dark, literal ghost town, the human population long since killed off, but earthbound due to the intervention of Ixtab, a Mayan suicide deity. Kill her and some of them fade away, and most of the rest get angry with you for consigning them to the same fate.
The process of making Neurishers and Demonoids can be one. Like normal demon fusion the surgery to make a Demonoid can result in fusion error, which some poor soul ends up suffering from in Camp Ichigaya (he turns into a Mou-Ryo). The Neurishers have to deal with the fact that they'll die if the parts the demon making them into one uses are faulty, and there's no real way of checking before he uses them in the surgery.
Lucifer and Walter's fusion. Let's just say it doesn't seem to be quite as painless as normal. That's not even getting into Lucifer himself.◊ While the getup may be a little goofy, his overall appearance is horrifying: something decidedly inhuman trying to be human and failing horrifically. Or worse, going by the themes of the game, something that is humanity distilled to its purest essence... With Merkabah on the other end, it's really hard not to ask oneself exactly who and what we are to create such abominations.
Hell, both Merkabah and Lucifer are completely insane. Merkabah wants to kill Isabeau because she's read manga. Lucifer just outright insults her as she dies.
The archangels in this game, no longer the human looking beings with wings, they properly assume their form as inhuman abominations.
Even before they are formally introduced, there's this feeling of utter wrongness in the kingdom. The king has been removed from power, and no one bothers to think where he went. The castes are being dissolved, and all of a sudden even the most pampered Luxurors are worrying about physical work. Dissidents and followers of the Black Samurai are disappearing. A man mentions his son was caught at a Sabbath and added to the execution list, and as "expiation", he was given another child to raise. Most demons are gone, and most disturbingly, many people talk about being contacted by "the new rulers" via dreams - dreams that helped ease the transition too smoothly for comfort. And then Sister Gabby ushers you into the Cocoon...
Their debut is absolutely this. These warped, utterly inhuman, incomprehensibly powerful...THINGS descend upon the heroes, looming over them in a way that makes the samurai look absolutely tiny. They calmly introduce themselves and tell you that THEY run the show now, revealing the truth about Tokyo in the process: the hellhole is made up of people who didn't fit into their utopia, who they shall again attempt to exterminate should they try to leave their cage, and they are in the middle of another cleansing. Gabriel commands you to kill the Black Samurai, saying her death is the only thing they need concern themselves with, and the samurai can do nothing but leave, utterly cowed and looking absolutely impotent. The icing on the cake? You're solely responsible for this: the masked people you saved from Kagome Tower earlier were Michael, Uriel and Raphael. You are personally responsible for unleashing these fascistic, godlike Eldritch Abominations upon your home.
What arguably makes their scenes even worse,is their Dissonant Serenity.It's hard to not find their cold declaration of genocide very unnerving.
When you first arrive in the Ikebukuro underground district, you expect hunters and civilians walking about and the usual amenities such as the item shop, the black market dealer, and the Hunter's Association. Instead, these spots have been abandoned; seeing these station staples empty is pretty creepy, knowing that there were once high levels of activity there. There's only a few Hunters present, talking about how thanks to the Ashura-kai being driven out, Xi Wangmu and her minions were able to seize the station, leaving it as the red-hazed wreck that you see. All you find in the station hallways is demons. The music that plays here is pretty unsettling too.
The Game Over scene, should you refuse to accept Charon's offers to revive you. "Let me be clear: Your turn will come up long after the wind erodes the boulders down to sand." What he means is: The queue to cross into the afterlife is so long that you're forced to wait it out for millenia.
There's something very intimidating about the equipment shops in Tokyo, which are black market branches run by greedy, Jerk Ass yakuza-esque thugs. It's also a huge contrast to the exceptionally polite shopkeepers back in the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado.
Dealer: "Make sure you bring more Macca next time!"
Mysterious Story of Tennozu. You get asked to investigate a cult in Tennozu Shelter where investigators keep disappearing. People there are really well-fed without resorting to demon meat, and insist they have beef, a patent lie in the sealed Tokyo (even growing produce is tremendously hard due to the lack of an actual sun). Later, you must confront the cult's leader as they finish some sort of Summoning Ritual. While disarming the leader, the entity manifests. But it needs an offering to gain physical form... It's Baal, who proceeds to chow down on his worshipers. Oh, and that meat the shelter survivors had? Baal's festivals had a cow presented amidst chants and prayers, then sacrificed and served as food. But another worshiper clarifies that since they could get no cows, they presented a normal man dressed in the sacrificial decorations - and then the festival continued on with only that slight variation.
For that matter, the Tennozu shelter music is pretty creepy. It also plays in Minami Sunamagachi, a part of Tokyo that's deserted save for refugee demons, chock full of poison gas, and has one of the 1/256-rateFiends.
If you're not actively seeking out the Fiends, Burroughs's sudden warning if you manage to trigger one can come off as a Jump Scare. And for good reason: Choosing to fight one without proper preparation will get you destroyed.
Areas that have quiet or no music, no NPCs, and demon encounters, due to Nothing Is Scarier of the "Wait for it" type. Examples include the underground areas of Kasumigaseki, the excavation area of Naraku, any Ground Zero area in Blasted Tokyo, Blasted Shibuya, and Blasted Camp Ichigaya. Activating a quest to trigger one of the two quest tracks mitigates itsomewhat.
For that matter, areas that are all of the above, but have no demon encounters, due to the "nothing at all" type of Nothing Is Scarier. Examples include the Blasted CDF base and Blasted Ikebukuro.