Nightmare Fuel / The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

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There's a reason why this game is compared to Majora's Mask in terms of how dark it is, and the ESRB gave it a T rating (the first in the series).


  • In Twilight Princess, you find out that not all the Cthulhu-like Shadow Beasts are transformed Twili; they have attacked and transformed some of villagers into them. You get to learn about it from the perspective of villagers living in constant fear of the same thing happening to them. The knowledge that the monsters you are fighting were once Twili and humans is horribly unsettling.
    Barnes: How long do you think we can hold this sanctuary against beasts that strong, huh? Once they attack, it's OVER! Remember the lady from the general store? Just one of those things attacked her, and a whole gang from town went to save her! And what happened? She was already gone, and there were TWO monsters waitin'!
  • And along a similar vein, the man in Hyrule Castle Town who sold his soul to Poes for wealth. They gave him wealth alright, but also turned him into a living golden statue, permanently stationary with jewel eyes while still being conscious. And it's implied that he's been like that for quite some time before Link meets him.
  • The bird twilight monsters. They look like they have had their heads blown apart by an explosive or a shotgun. They also have these hideous cries and are quite annoying to fight. And in the Twilight Palace, there is an outside section where they are flying all over the place.
  • Colin and the other kids… what would have happened if they weren't rescued?
  • The scene where Link first transforms into a wolf is disturbing. It sounds like he's in pain! Not to mention the crazy psycho strings playing while he gets dragged into the Twilight by his neck!
  • Twilight Princess features one of the worst versions of Redeads in the history of the series: Giant, mummified scarecrows with red scarves around their necks with giant, hollow eyes, shambling about as they drag a sword-cleaver that would make Pyramid Head proud. If they see you, they instantly shriek a hideous banshee scream that paralyzes you instantly. Then, they shamble towards you, and when in range, cleave their swords into you, taking off a good chunk of your health. And what makes it even worse is that you are paralyzed until you are hit or it wears off, and it almost never wears off before you are hit. Heaven help you if you are in a tight room with FIVE of them, cause then you get at least two going after you at once.
    • There is one point in the Arbiter's Grounds where it's possible to be paralyzed by a Redead's scream while you are standing on quicksand. Watching Link sink to his death while paralyzed is arguably worse than watching him get whacked by a Redead's sword.
    • The Redeads in Twilight Princess actually look more like Redead-Gibdo hybrids - in fact, they are still referred to as Gibdos in the Japanese version of the game. They have the eyes of Redeads, and the scream, but they're also mummy-creatures with bandages wrapped all over. That red scarf thing actually looks more like blood soaked bandages whenever one sees them on a TV screen, as opposed to cloth when viewing a still image.
  • The Arbiters Grounds also happens to be home to the Death Sword; yes, that is its name or the only name mortal beings have for it. It starts out as a giant sword in the middle of a room embedded in the floor being held down by ropes covered in sealing charms. This means that whatever this thing is, it is so dangerous that the light spirits couldn't kill it or banish it and had to bind it in one spot with extremely delicate paper charms. Cutting any of the ropes frees it and the blade pulls free, its owner starts out completely invisible to the naked eye, but the enhanced senses of a wolf reveal it to be a horrific horned demon-like creature with a row of fangs and glowing red eyes, it screams with the high pitched noise of a hundred damned souls, and it has horribly emaciated flesh. When it moves, it floats, leaving a trail of darkness wherever it goes. It holds its head at an angle like its neck can't support its weight or has been broken, and when you win the fight, rather then exploding into black dust, it turns into a cloud of bats which fly up towards the ceiling into blackness. Given this is completely at odds with how evil creatures die throughout the rest of the game this suggests it may not actually be dead.
  • Armogohma in Twilight Princess is the largest and most realistic-looking Gohma yet seen in the series, and as such is an arachnophobe's worst nightmare.
    • The part where you had to fight the moving eye was delightful Nightmare Retardant, though, as all you had to do was kill the main eye and the rest of the spiders will disintegrate. Then again, even they come across as rather creepy...
  • So, you're playing Twilight Princess, and you're in some damn dungeon or another. You're having a good time, whacking things with your sword and finding keys, when suddenly, you hear a faint squeaking. And you're not moving as fast as you normally do. So, you go into sense mode and see that you're covered in ghost rats.
    • What's even worse is when you see Midna start to freak out while you're in wolf form. For a character that spends most of the game ordering you around and making snarky remarks, seeing her scared tips you off that something very bad that you can't see is happening. (Many people initially thought that this was a glitch.)
  • So you see a treasure chest on the other side of a quicksand pit and decide to wade across, no problem. But on the way back hundreds of bugs swarm out of the walls to latching on to Link to make him cross slower and sink faster. At least you can see the scarabs unassisted - but Link seems to be quite unnerved by the bugs crawling all over him, as his idle animation with scarabs crawling on him clearly shows.
    • Of course, you can just take out your lantern and every single one of them will fly off you. But then they come back, forming a circle around Link, waiting for the slightest opportunity to jump back on. Whether that makes it better or worse is up to one's opinion, but it makes them seem even more like the flesh-eating scarabs from The Mummy (1999).
  • Speaking of Midna, how about her happy look when she takes out the Fused Shadow after Zant transformed her? Part carnivore, part demented gaping mouth is the best way to describe it. Some expected a Face–Heel Turn from her at some point in the game and that part did not quell those worries.
    • Midna turning into your friends and screaming in terror in order to convince you to be her servant. Fortunately, she becomes nicer, but a lot of those early scenes with her are just plain creepy.
    • Even though it is also a Crowning Moment of Awesome, when Midna uses the Fused Shadows, she transforms into something that looks like an Eldritch Abomination. The initial transformation scene outside of Hyrule Castle is also pretty unsettling.
  • Lanayru's little history lesson. Probably the first time that Surreal Horror has ever been used in the series.
    • In the middle of that scene, Link has a rather... uncanny look on his face, like he's got some insane, evil desires swirling around in his head on account of the vision.
    • Behold.
    • The fact that it obviously scares Link is pretty disturbing. This is the guy who's already faced unimaginable horrors, with many more to come, and he actually falls to his knees, shocked and overwhelmed, when it ends.
    • What makes it especially nightmarish is that it's completely dissonant with the rest of the game. The series is no stranger to nightmare fuel, as these entries show, but this one made absolutely no sense. It's as though they were like "Backstories are boring, let's spice it up by explaining it with the most unsettling visuals a T rating will allow."
    • It's Surreal Horror from a meta perspective as well. Just before those eyes show up, the camera pans down to reveal Ilia, Link's childhood friend, is holding a knife, with which she stabs the fourth wall. This is a freaking Zelda game. The resident Damsel in Distress is not supposed to be trying to kill us. That is not how it works.
      • Additionally, the off-camera sounds, plus her knife falling away, plus Link suddenly standing alone and charging toward the Triforce... yeah, Link was quicker on the draw and killed Ilia first.
      • Oddly enough though it does get the point of how cautious you have to be across really well, this type of power is so tempting and corrupting that it leads best friends just as close as the two of them to kill each other over it.
  • The Poes in this game are a LOT scarier than in the previous ''Zelda'' games. Imagine yourself walking in Hyrule Field at night. Suddenly, you see a light. You go over to investigate and then it chases you. Worse yet, they are already there BEFORE you can even become a wolf at will, so if you run into one before you get all of the Fused Shadow parts, you won't even be able to kill it because you can't see its true form. The creepiest thing about them is that no matter what, even when you're several yards away, their lanterns are still floating there in silence.
  • Ordona shows us how Faron lost his Light. Though there's a Gory Discretion Shot of sorts, Faron actually screams in agony as it's being done.
  • How about that hand that chases after you in the Palace of Twilight? When it gets close to you, this suspenseful music starts to play - but you make it to the door with no real problem. Then as you're casually walking through the next room, the hand comes flying through the wall and continues its pursuit.
  • Skulltulas. Fricking Skulltulas! Unlike Ocarina of Time, these Skulltulas move around like real spiders.
    • Encountering your first Skulltula, your reaction may be something akin to "Wow, they did an amazing job of fleshing their look out" or "Heck those are pretty creepy", and all seems fine and dandy until you get closer and instead of it showing you its belly side, it CRAWLS OFF ITS THREAD AND COMES AFTER YOU! The reaction may be something of a "THAT'S NOT OKAY!!"
  • NOT TAKE MIRROR! [1] Even worse, right before it happens you can see her head twitching erratically in the reflection with her moaning. Seriously bad things are about to happen. Fridge Horror ensues once you realize that this is the same yeti you've been asking for directions that whole entire time. So, the player has been literally interacting with the dungeon's boss that whole time before their battle. It was also a bit unsettling once after you retrieve the boss key and head out the door, she appears out of nowhere saying that she finally remembered where the key was.
  • The Twilit Bloat. To make matters worse, it actually exists.
  • Seeing all of the frozen Zoras in Zora's Domain is just eerie.
  • Zant easily qualifies due to his insanity alone, but what really gets him here is his very, very, very disturbing confrontation with Midna right after you complete the Lakebed Temple, forcibly holding her in place and whispering "I need you" in her ear as he's drooling. And when she refuses, he tosses her into Lanayru just as it attacks with its light beam, which nearly kills her.
    • And the insane music that plays all the while...
      • On that note, we are shown throughout the game before this event that the Twili are really not meant to even be in the world of Light, much less interact with it. Zant throwing Midna into Lanayru, a spirit literally made up of Light power, is horrifying in that context. He also managed to very easily subjugate that same Light Spirit, who again nearly killed Midna with a single blow.
    • What's more terrifying about Zant is how close he came to winning. By the time Link had gotten involved in the plot, Zant had already conquered most of Hyrule with the only province remaining being Link's hometown of Ordon, and that was only stopped because Link just happened to be there when a Shadow Beast appeared to steal Ordona's light. That bears repeating: If Link had not been there, Zant would have won. His conquest of Hyrule was only thwarted by sheer chance.
  • This game features what is perhaps the scariest iteration of beast Ganon in the entire series. Between its grotesque, intimating design and the tribal music playing in the background, this dark being would put most anyone on edge.
  • Ganondorf's death scene has Zant's self-inflicted Neck Snap, pictured above. This isn't that bad by itself, but the background music cranks the scariness Up to Eleven.
  • The fight against Zant is both hilarious and creepy. Before the fight even starts, he has a Villainous Breakdown and starts going nuts, screaming and moving like a maniac. Then the fight starts, and gets progressively intense as Zant gets crazier, until the final phase where he goes fucking apeshit and attacks you madly. The music also gets faster and crazer as the fight goes on. Finally, when you kick his ass, the way Midna finishes him off is the icing on the scary cake.
    • To really drive it home? Even Midna is utterly horrified when she realizes that she popped Zant like a zit with just a fraction of the Fused Shadows' power.
    • The scariest part of all this is how much it clashes with Zant's personality beforehand. In the earlier parts of the game, Zant was incredibly collected and intimidating, possessing a degree of subtlety to him that no other Zelda villain has been able to reach. Then he just snaps. And that's when it becomes clear exactly why he was rejected by the Twili in the first place. They knew exactly what kind of psychopath Zant was and they didn't want a madman like that running their kingdom.
    • Also, the Twilight Realm was said to have made the Twili themselves calm and placid, causing them to lose their desire for revenge against those who locked them there in the first place and other negative emotions. Zant is shown to be a hell of a lot more emotional and unstable than all the others in the game. Imagine feeling things that strongly and constantly being shown that no one else feels like you do, while knowing that this is because they essentially cannot thanks to the magic of the place you are all trapped in. The parallels between Zant and certain cases of real life mental illness are kind of uncomfortable. Worse still, is he simply an anomaly and the only Twili not affected by the Twilight Realm's soothing magic, or are there others? Perhaps the Twilight Realm's calming effect is fading, and others like him will become more common...
  • The bug collector, Agitha, qualifies as this. If you have a bug and don't give her it during her dialogue, she says "I know you have bugs" as you leave and audibly growls.
    • Her fascination with insects can come across as really creepy to some people. Talking about how a stag beetle's pincers "must feel so good", or how she'd like to "bathe" in the slime of a snail, among other things.
  • When you keep in mind that the boss of the second dungeon, Fyrus, is actually Darbus, a sentient being that has been corrupted by the Fused Shadow, it’s very disturbing. The way he's been futilely chained up is like something from an R-rated exorcism movie. When you defeat him and take the Fused Shadow, it's chilling to think that you're gathering artifacts that can completely overpower a proud Goron patriarch like that.
    • Same can be said for the Snowpeak Ruins' boss, Blizzeta, a female yeti who also had dreams and a husband before finding that haunted mirror piece. (See above).
      • Thankfully — to some degree — the other bosses seem to be made wholly of a Piece of Heart and either a Plot Coupon (Diababa, Morpheel, Armogohma, and Argorok) or a dead skull plus magic (Stallord), rather than corrupting a sentient being.
      • Maybe not - it's already been shown that both the Fused Shadows and the pieces of the Mirror of Twilight are more than capable of overpowering very strong-willed creatures (i.e., Darbus) with apparently just a single touch. Hell, Yeta didn't even have to touch her Mirror shard for it to take control of her. This seems to imply that the other bosses (Stallord being the exception) are creatures that have already been possessed, perhaps for a long time in a few cases. Maybe Darbus and Yeta were just the first opportunities that their respective Fused Shadow or Mirror shard had to work with.
      • The implication is that of all the bosses, Diababa is a Deku Baba, Morpheel is a Bombfish or Chu Worm, Armogohma is a Baby Gohma, and Argorok is a Kargorok... Of course, this still speaks volumes, as it means that as dark as these creatures were by themselves, the magic held within the Fused Shadows and Mirror Shards is so dark and corrupting that it manages to turn even them into something far worse.
  • The fight with Puppet Zelda can be rather unsettling. It's mainly because you're hearing Ganondorf's voice coming out of her, and the Demonic Possession in general.
  • The first Skull Kid chase on the way to the Sacred Grove is likely to send some slimy shivers down a first-time-player's spine, what with the endless packs of insane looking, grinning puppets constantly lunging at you, and the nostalgic yet depressing version of Saria's Song playing in the background. It's even more terrifying when you realize that the puppets are created by the Skull Kid blowing into his eerie sounding trumpet, which he plays along to the BGM.
    • Add the appearance of the Skull Kid to this. We were used to that big hat covering the face with shadows, but not anymore. Their real face? A Cheshire Cat Grin version of the moon from Majora's Mask!
  • More of a creepy example than anything, but going on into the middle of Lake Hylia and turning on the Wolf senses can be very unsettling. Just darkness... darkness... darkness... and more darkness. And some sparkly water but, it's just so dark.
  • The boss of Lakebed temple, Morpheel. It starts out in a fashion similar to the boss of the Water Temple from Ocarina of Time (mixed with the Sarlacc scene from Return of the Jedi) but then the second phase begins - and you now have to fight a giant lampray-like creature. But that's not the worst of it. To attack him, you have to Clawshot onto his back, then you have to stab him repeatedly in the eye! Complete with blood spray! And upon his death, what do you see? A lovely view of his empty eye socket! Thanks a whole lot, Nintendo.
    • Someone with an innate fear of drowning would likely find the slow, eerie and macroscopic descent to the lakebed floor where Morpheel lives rather unsettling.
  • Best Boss Ever it may be, but Argorok definitely counts as you go through the City in the Sky. You know it's gonna be the boss and even veteran Zelda players playing it for the first time will just be expecting it to be at the boss room waiting for you. Then you cross a bridge, a cutscene is triggered and Argorok sweeps down out of nowhere and destroys the bridge you just crossed. This can be some serious Paranoia Fuel as it can keep players on edge thinking it could swoop down to wreak havoc when you least expect it. And if you're at a high enough place and use the Hawkeye to look at the highest point of Celestia, you can actually see it flying around the tower showing that it could, in fact, come after you at any moment.
  • Quite a few of the dungeons in Twilight Princess are much creepier than your average Zelda dungeon, due in part to their eerie atmosphere and music. A recurring theme that runs through them is that they all seem abandoned - places of worship and celebration corrupted and left for dead. It gets quite off-putting at times.
    • The Forest Temple is an abandoned place of worship for what appears to be a now-vanished tribe that was heavily involved with the wind, and is now populated by poisonous plants and enormous spiders. Oh, and it's also quite dark - literally, you'll need your lantern quite a bit here.
      • Also, the symbol on the doors of the Forest Temple is that of the Kokiri, who are conspicuously absent from this game despite surviving the events of Ocarina of Time. Nor are they mentioned anywhere by anyone. Not even the Great Deku Tree gets a mention. With the Forbidden Woods of Wind Waker confirmed to have once been the Lost Woods and still containing the Kokiri's old dwellings, it's entirely possible that a similar situation occurred here—perhaps they were driven out by the monsters moving in. Just where they went, though, is anyone's guess, but it's worth noting that the Kokiri were said to die if they left the forest...
    • Lakebed Temple might be one of the creepiest, if not THE creepiest dungeon in the game, due to the fact that is is completely and utterly abandoned, you are underneath what appears to be several hundreds of meters of water, and that it's populated by ravenous monsters eager for your blood. And the boss is completely underwater, so if you don't have the Zora suit, you will drown.
    • The Arbiters Grounds is a dark, hot and dusty abandoned prison populated by ghosts of the prisoners and guards who died there. It is a very creepy place, with ghosts, enormous bugs, and traps around every corner - to say nothing of the four poes you need to hunt down, as well as the miniboss that forces you to shift in and out of wolf mode to beat.
    • Snowpeak Ruins is a very interesting dungeon in that it is an abandoned mansion, obviously not built by the two Yeti that live there. Due to years of disrepair, the mansion has begun to fall apart, and with the Twilight Mirror shard in the bedroom, monsters have begun to roam the corridors and stalk the frigid sections outside.
    • The Temple of Time is unusual in that it centers around guiding a large statue from the highest floor down to the main foyer - but along the way, there are numerous traps and quite a few spider-esque creatures to contend with. Even without taking the dungeon's boss into consideration, this is not a comfortable place for arachnophobes to be exploring. The background music goes a long way in setting the tense atmosphere of this ancient, dormant structure.
    • The City in the Sky is - you guessed it - a largely abandoned city floating in the sky. Between the creepy music, gut-dropping height and complex layout, the city may drive you insane despite it taking place in broad daylight. Scared of heights? This dungeon will have you on edge throughout with all of the traversing across vast pits you have to do. If you fall, you're plummeting hundreds - perhaps thousands - of feet from about the clouds!
    • The Palace of Twilight is the second-to-last dungeon in the game, and oh boy is it creepy. Apart from the sheer darkness of the place, you have to contend with Shadow Beasts by the bucketload, Alien Geometries, and a hand that chases you everywhere, Wallmaster-style.
    • The final dungeon, Hyrule Castle, is nearly abandoned, populated by the toughest monsters the game can throw at you, and is very dark. It is a suitably creepy final challenge for a fairly dark Zelda game.
    • Oh, and most of it has no music. When you do finally enter the building, you get a creepy, foreboding rendition of the Hyrule Castle theme from A Link to the Past, combined with another familiar leitmotif. The tune becomes more openly sinister upon entering the main keep, and the backing leitmotif slowly rises in prominence as you make your way up the tower. By the time you reach the throne room, Ganon's theme has overtaken the original melody completely.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/NightmareFuel/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess