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Nightmare Fuel / Alien: Isolation

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  • The Xenomorph in general. It's an enemy that can't be injured, killed, stunned, or slowed down; the most you can hope for is to distract it or drive it off with fire and flee. Any contact with it kills you. It runs faster than you. There are places all over the game it can go that you cannot; the opposite is NOT true. It knows you're hiding, and the slightest movement or mistake will give away your position. It learns your patterns so you're constantly forced to change up your tactics to avoid it. It can be anywhere, and you are NEVER safe; it can get you during hacking minigames, while you're navigating menus, even while you're saving.
    • Let's step back for a second. Most games in this franchise are derived from or influenced by Aliens, so you're usually a heavily-armed Space Marine or scary alien hunter who's only threatened by a Xenomorph Drone/Warrior if he's ambushed or there's several of them at once. Here, there are no smart-guns, no military-grade flamethrowers, no slicing discs, net launchers or superhuman strength. Just an ordinary Human with no military training. And now you're at the bottom of the food chain.
    • Even if you've seen the Alien movies before, the Xenomorph's Establishing Character Moment is a good reminder of just what you're dealing with. Axel sees the Alien's drool dripping onto his coat, right before he's Impaled with Extreme Prejudice by the Xenomorph's tail.
    • The Alien constantly scaring you is largely due to the fact it is implied that it sees you surviving as an insult. That's right, this particular Xenomorph apparently has developed a sense of pride, and it is going after you because it was slighted. Guess it really did develop human traits...
  • The Working Joes. They never run, approaching their targets at a calm walk while spouting False Reassurance in a Creepy Monotone, and strangle, chop, or bash any unauthorized human when they get within arm's reach. Fighting them off is extremely hard, and making too much noise is likely going to summon the Xenomorph anyway. It's rather telling that, for the longest time, a Joe, and not the Alien, was the image for this page.
    "I'm going to catch you."
    • There's the noise they make when they die as well, like a messed-up radio mixed with choking sounds. It's pretty unsettling. To say nothing of the way they dribble that awful white gunk synthetics use as blood from their mouths as they die.
    • The game does a really good job of showing just how badly they hit the Uncanny Valley; it's no wonder that the In-Universe reaction to them caused the line to fail...
    • Another unsettling aspect of the Working Joes are some of the lines they say. The Joes are portrayed as mindless drones (indeed, one even blissfully walks into an electrically-charged floor plate completely unaware of the danger), yet some of the things they say not only sound like sarcastic quips, but they seem to actively taunt you while trying to kill you. Either the Joes are more intelligent, and more murderous than they let on, or a Seegson programmer somewhere has some serious issues.
      • Using fire on them usually has them remark that they're fire-resistant up to over a thousand degrees, and that "Only animals fear fire." It's deliberately ambiguous as to how much of this is a mere statement of fact and how much is a intimidation tactic.
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    • It's also quite likely the Working Joes are programmed to say a variety of preset corporate platitudes and standardized greetings and responses. The ones they emit while seeking, chasing, and killing targets as well as suffering damage are likely them picking the most vaguely appropriate platitude they have on file. The sheer banality of it all just underscores the creepiness. What makes it worse is when they spout lines regarding searching for you; either Seegson was very thorough with recording lines for it, or the synthetics fully know that they're going to murder you.
    • One possible point that a lot of people don't seem to have thought of is how aware APOLLO itself is. The simple-mindedness of the Working Joes is at arguably due to the crudeness of Seegson's AI tech, most likely due to a lack of miniaturization, and the Joes are designed from the ground up like Trade-Federation OOM-series Command Droids (semi-autonomous, some independent processing power to aid reaction times and to allow them to accomplish simple programmed tasks, but still reliant on a central mainframe for higher functions), giving the possibility that some of their more... disturbing lines might be coming from APOLLO itself. Or from the Weyland-Yutani programmer tasked with reprogramming APOLLO to protect the Xenomorph after Sevastopol was secretly sold to WY.
    • The Working Joes themselves might be approaching some degree of self awareness too. When killed, they might say "to sleep, perchance to dream", a line from Hamlet. This could be a reference to Phillip K. Dick's novel "Do androids dream of electric sheep?" which focuses on androids gaining intelligence.
    • The Hazmat Working Joes deserve a mention. Their voices sound almost demonic when they speak, and the way they say "I'm going to catch you" is just downright creepy. Add the fact that they can't really be stopped by Molotovs, flamethrowers, or the stun baton, and they're perhaps even worse than the regular Working Joes.
    • At first, the Working Joes themselves aren't universally hostile. Instead, you have to pay attention to their Glowing Eyes of Doom. If they're white, they're long as you don't harm them. If they're red, you'd better stay out of sight. However, even that's not that simple. Sometimes you'll find "dead" Working Joes with glowing white eyes. DO NOT turn your back on them unless you want your leg crushed or to accidentally summon the alien. Likewise, if you encounter a Joe in a well-lit area and see it approaching you, don't let your guard down. Its eyes may appear white under good lighting, but the moment it steps into darkness, there's a chance they'll turn red.
    • If you come across a non-hostile Joe, it will stop what it's doing at and stare at you. It's so obvious it's waiting for an excuse to attack.
    • When a hostile Joe spots you it will stare you down for a few seconds before attacking. It's quite creepy and very reminiscent of Michael Myers.
    • The Weyland-Yutani synthetics feature emotions that actually seem sincere, to the extent they are almost indistinguishable from humans. This means they have a capacity to feel guilt and sadness - even the antagonistic WY models seem somewhat sympathetic because they have a degree of guilt to them. The Working Joes by contrast are soulless to the point that killing a human being evokes the same level of emotion in them as mopping a dirty floor or fixing a mechanical problem. Their lack of sentience to the point of banally commenting "I must tidy this up." or "Good day." to dead bodies is weirdly horrifying. They're like artificial psychopaths.
    • The way the Working Joes will stare at the Xenomorph and say "What are you?" before calmly going back to work is in itself quite unsettling.
  • The vents. At first, they are helpful and can allow you easy access are humans and Working Joes. Once the Xenomorph, shows up, though, the vents are scarier than before. The Xenomorph can enter the vents and can corner you easily. Unless you have a means to chase it off, you can’t escape it once it’s in the vent with you.
  • The game's menu itself does more to pay homage to the vast horror of space that defined the original Alien than any other licensed game of the franchise to date. It's a simple view of the Sevastopol orbiting the swirling Gas Giant. Except from where you're viewing it, the massive space station is minuscule, dwarfed by the size of the Gas Giant and the empty void of space. And the menu music is that creepy ass ambient soundtrack from the original film. Check it out here.
  • At one point you come across an android display room which had been locked down. All you find inside are a dozen Android display models doing various poses and a dead secretary. You might wonder how the woman could be dead, since the room was locked down. Then you press a button to open the door...and the androids come alive, forcing you to flee while locking the door behind you. Then they break through anyway. Then they all go on fire while trying to brutally murder you. Hope you collected the ammo!
    • And even after you're defeated them, you may be tempted to reenter the showroom...and you'll still find two Joes standing in there! They won't come alive and you don't have to kill them, thankfully, but let's face it—after the barrage of Joes you just went through, would you really want to risk going back in there?
  • The first half-hour of the game or so after you get on the station is an exercise in Nothing Is Scarier. It's nearly pitch black everywhere you go, you keep hearing things moving in the walls, and things constantly break around you. You're on your toes, because you know this is an Alien game, and it's got to be around here somewhere.
  • Nearly every survivor you come across is Properly Paranoid of the Xenomorph and the remaining crew members. The best you can hope for is telling you to walk away with your hands up; most of them are willing to just shoot Amanda on sight. It really makes the player feel as if there is absolutely no safe place at all on Sevastopol.
  • Waits detaching the Gemini Lab module from the station while Ripley is still inside with the Xenomorph. As in, Ripley has just been ejected into space, seperated from the rest of the station, in a relatively small metal box, trapped with a Xenomorph hunting them. The only avenue of escape is to get past the Xenomorph, open a noisy airlock and don a space suit, which she does just in time to be uncerimoniously sucked into the vacuum of space, slam into the station and manage to grab something, and get to an airlock she was lucky to land nearby. If there was no space suit, she'd be stuck inside this oversized coffin, either to die to the Xenomorph, in re-entry to the gas giant, to starvation, or whatever else could go wrong. Everything after putting the suit on, including that she did put it in time, was sheer luck. Ripley could've been ejected in any other direction and miss the station, she could have slammed into the station and damaged the suit, or maybe she survives all that... and then she can't find an airlock in time.
  • The first time you call and wait for a tram is just nerve-wracking. This happens just after you've caught the first glimpse of the Alien as it killed Axel. You're a complete sitting duck as you have to wait there, all the while this tense background music builds and builds.....
    • It gets even worse. If you get in the tram, but don't use it right away, the Alien will appear right in front of it, staring into it, meaning it's just a few seconds until it kills you.
  • And then there's the moment where you must hack the elevator. It's bad enough having to watch the paranoids die and wait for them to be dead and the Xenomorph to scurry, but if you don't run like hell and get the code entered quickly, you will get killed.
  • In the hive under the reactor core and the final level, it is possible to encounter multiple Xenomorphs at the same time.
    • The hive setting as a whole is practically made of Nightmare Fuel. The walls are covered in the remains of the dead, Alien eggs are everywhere and the shallow water on the floor often conceals Facehuggers. The place is eerily silent except for dripping water and a weird, pained moaning echoing from somewhere deep in the hive. Even worse is when you pull out your trusty motion tracker, only to see a huge mass of swarming green blips which fully illustrate the size of the hive.
    • The Facehuggers are also particularly stressful to deal with, as their small size makes it easy for them to ambush you; furthermore you're practically required to kill them and destroy their eggs as they can kill Amanda in one hit, but killing them often attracts the attention of the full-grown Xenomorphs...
    • Try not to jump when a Facehugger catches you, or really, just the goddamn Xenomorph lunging straight at you. Easier said than done.
  • Some of the survivors in the game just sort of mill about sitting, in chairs, staring out windows into the void of space, even trying to get sodas. These people seem to just be waiting to for the alien to come and get them.
  • One of the scripted moments in the game serves to highlight just how unnerving a close call with the Xenomorph is. After using the computer to stop the alarm, the vent starts making noise, and the Xenomorph can immediately be seen uncoiling itself. Amanda quickly hides under the desk and is forced to wait as the Xenomorph lands on the desk for a few moments (with its tail uncoiling a few inches away) before finally jumping off and walking away. A nerve-wracking experience. Later on, when you are trying to restore door power in Habitation, the Xenomorph crashes through the window in one of the rooms, looks around briefly and leaves. It can and WILL kill you if you don't stay still.
  • Sometimes if it's in an open area, the Alien may start running on all fours. It is incredibly unsettling.
  • Trying to escape Sevastopol as it's slowly beginning to fall into the gas giant. You can hear the station creaking, and no matter where you go, everything is falling apart. There are fires, more corpses, and several areas you have already gone through (the Spaceflight Terminal, Seegson Communications) are complete wrecks when you reenter those places. The whole damn place is collapsing, and there's nothing you can do to stop it. Add the Aliens, the Facehuggers, and periodic emergency announcements from APOLLO and escaping can become incredibly stressful.
    "Orbital stabilizer failure. Abandon station. Abandon station."
    • The emergency announcements themselves are a different kind of nightmare fuel. Normally, during an emergency like this, people would be following the protocol and heading to designated exits and the like. But these announcements are just echoing in a station that's filled with deadly aliens and no humans, apart from Ripley. Every other human is dead, and it really makes you realize that you're all alone now. And suddenly, those emergency announcements become so much more insidious than ever.
  • The ultimate fate of Sevastopol Station. Falling into a gas giant is not a pleasant fate no matter how it ultimately ends for everyone and everything that might still be on board. Best case scenario, the winds of the gas giant are such that they strip the hull like a giant pad of sandpaper on flesh and void the atmosphere, killing everything relatively fast. From there the options slowly get worse, starting with the same effect but not enough to rip the outer hull away just to slowly breach the compartments one by one as corrosive or abrasive winds slowly wear away the metal exterior giving everyone time to know exactly what's happening before it either hits something vital or the station loses pressure entirely. Next would be slow decent into the atmosphere and heavy friction raising internal temperatures enough to kill everyone left by heat exhaustion/dehydration/boiling depending how fast it happens. Last of course would be if the winds were relatively gentle allowing the station to sink into the gas giant until the raw pressure begins to crush the super structure with everyone on board still alive like being caught in a car compactor.
    • That's not including the fact that the station could just hit the gas giant like a meteorite - falling at speed before literally exploding into pieces into the gas giant. Imagine that - you're near a window and all you can see, as the station picks up speed, is fire, the gas giant and then a massive explosion as you die...
  • As you are escaping the space station, when you go for your EVA suit for the first time, you take out the helmet... then saliva drips onto it. A split-second later, a Xenomorph bursts from the ceiling and drags you into it! One might initially assume that they were not paying attention and could have avoided their death. Then you wake up and find that you've been trapped inside another nest. Fortunately, you can escape.
  • On the final level, you have to blow away the docking clamps from the Torrens. This means traversing the bridge and taking a tram towards said ship, outside the station. While there is no danger of being attacked, you can see the destruction of the station unfold and watch in horror as it gradually gets closer to the gas giant. Then when you reach the Torrens and begin removing the clamps, you can see a single Xenomorph on a beam several yards away. And it's just watching you... moving side to side...... what the hell is it doing?
    • Oh... then as you're about to press the final switch, it starts to approach... and then you realize it was waiting for backup. A second Xenomorph appears, then a third, a fourth and suddenly there's a fucking swarm of Aliens ready to kill you! You hastily press the button just as they lunge... and you just barely make it.
    • Or real nightmare fuel... were they waiting, knowing you would disconnect the ship, so the one xenomorph who infiltrated the Torrens can escape?
  • You want to use the Alien to take care of obstacles. Great. Be ready for a massive Jump Scare, because it will pop out of the vent closest to you and then proceed to go on a rampage. Sure the other humans will run off before the Alien kills them. Think it's over? No! The Alien will conduct a thorough search of the entire area where whatever made the noise and will enter a brutal close quarter game of hide and seek with the Alien being a possible corner turn away. And if you want to try the old stay behind the monster trick, the Alien will periodically turn around or double check areas it already looked to be sure. You got your distraction, alright.
  • It's maybe a glitch or a randomization mechanic, sometimes there'll be new/different enemies when you return to an area after you clear it. There's nothing like walking through an area you thought you cleared only to bump into a Joe or crazed gunman. And, of course, if you engage in any way you'll attract the attention of you-know-who.
  • On the Hard difficulty setting, often the alien will crawl up into a vent and then jump down a second later. This would fall into Narm, except usually this happens after you've exited your hiding place, thinking the coast was clear.
  • Whenever you hear a door open and it wasn't you.
    • Worse, when you're in a vent and you hear the vent cover opening. More than likely it's the Xenomorph crawling in after you.
  • Because of their limited power, the console versions of the Xenomorph's movement can be very jerky and cause it to skip frames at times. Because of this, this can make the creature reminiscent of Slenderman at times. As if it wasn't terrifying enough.
  • Dealing with a Joe and the Alien. Fighting the Joe will guarantee you to get attacked by the Xenomorph due to the noise. And in the worst case scenario, the Alien uses the Joe as a decoy.
  • Finally at the end of the game you safely make it back to the Torrens. Everything is quiet except for the quiet pleasant tune that plays when you were on it the first time. It's quiet... Too quiet. You head to the bridge calling out to Verlaine and open the door. Only to be greeted with the sight of another Xenomorph. You slowly back up to the airlock and space yourself in a last ditch attempt to kill the beast. Then, just as your mother before you, everyone is dead, you are the only survivor, and you float around in space until someone picks you up.
    • Taking the above even further into Nightmare territory; both mother and daughter may have been floating around aimlessly, but at least Ellen had the relative safety of the escape shuttle. Amanda doesn't even have that - all she has is her space suit.
  • One of the tips on the loading screens reads as follows: "Hiding is only a temporary solution."
  • How about this scenario: it's pitch black, you assume you are safe, and then all of a sudden, you hear the Xenomorph's snarl to indicate it has spotted you, you wonder whether it attacked you from behind, until you see it knock you over headfirst. The Xenomorph is able to perfectly blend in with pitch black rooms, which make hiding from it a nightmare.
  • You've hidden yourself in a locker, narrowly avoiding the Xenomorph's sight as you try to keep track of its position with the Motion Tracker. Except the tracker indicates motion through both visual and audio cues. If you don't put the damn thing away when the Xenomorph is around, the creature will hear it, rip the locker's door off and get you.
  • Before Ricardo informs you about the Working Joes acting up, you can hear an automated announcement stating that APOLLO has raised the hazard containment level to Omega. This is shortly before two androids on the other side of the main door in the Baggage Claim area attack you.
  • During the earlier level in Seegson Communications, you can hear an automated announcement over the speakers reciting the corporate advertisements for the Working Joes ("You can trust our Working Joes. Always there. Always helpful. Always working for you", along with describing why they're so appealing), but after watching a Working Joe kill a poor guy while you're in the vents, it becomes kind of creepy. Not scary enough? How about in the Solomons Galleria when you're trying to get back to the Marshal Bureau and hearing the corporate propaganda playing over and over again... while the Working Joes are actively trying to kill you.
  • Some of the audio logs on Sevastopol can reveal some pretty terrifying stories from other survivors.
    • During the Trap level, you come across an audio log titled "I Can't Tell Who Escaped" by a woman named Winters (she speaks with an accent). She'd witnessed a group of survivors in a locked-off area get massacred by the Alien, because even though the doors were locked, the ceiling vents were open, and she compares the slaughter to "a fox dropping into a henhouse". She said that there were some bodies, but a lot of them were taken away. Another log she records has her stating that she left another group of survivors after seeing people give into fear and turn on each other.
      • Later on, you can find her last log, titled "Nowhere to Run", where Winters stated she'd hoped to join Sinclair's group in Habitation, only to have the door shut in her face. She states that she could hear noises under the floor beneath her, and that she didn't have very long, which means that her last words were her hopes that the children with Sinclair's group are kept safe, and that she was most likely killed by the Alien after recording this log.
    • Chief Porter's log titled "I Saw It": he saw the Alien walking down the hallway, but when he hid, it was gone. He doesn't even know where it went, saying that Sevastopol is a maze, and that this shouldn't have been kept from him.
      • Earlier on, his log "Missing Engineer". He'd sent one of his team members into the manufacturing room to find out what was happening to the synthetics, but the guy never came back. Seeing as Chief states how every door was locked and he couldn't fit into the vents "without a fight", it's very likely the guy was killed by the Working Joes.
    • A log left by Ransome in the Seegson Synthetics angrily has him wanting staff to come look into the Androids, because he woke up to one in his apartment room that proceeded to lunge at him, and he had to quickly flee his apartment. Given how this is listed as taking place in November and other logs suggest that things went to hell in December, this means that the Androids were either starting to kill people as early as then, or that things were that close to falling apart. Imagine waking up to an Android randomly in your room, and all it does is seemingly try to kill you.
    • Sinclair's last audio log, titled "Blood on my Hands", which you find next to his dead body in the Habitation Decks as the station is falling apart into the gas giant. It's both this and Tear Jerker. In spite of his efforts at making the place secure, he and his team couldn't keep the Aliens out. The log also reveals that his wife was killed and his children had been taken by the Aliens, and he himself was apparently attacked and left to die. He laments over how much blood is on his hands, from the killing of other survivors to the deaths of his team and family. His last words are for "whoever has to clean up this mess", where says to just send in the Marines or blow the place up to take the creatures back to Hell, before presumably dying from his injuries.
  • Alien: Isolation the Digital Series confirms at least one thing about the Xenomorphs. They CAN survive in space and Amanda is right in the heart of where they're napping.
  • There's something otherworldly about the reactor, as if it doesn't belong on Sevastopol. It's in the middle of a gigantic room where you can't even see the walls, floor, or ceiling. Somehow, it's raining indoors. The nodes are constantly being struck by lightning. After the grimy, utilitarian design of the rest of the station, it's like you're in a whole different world altogether, and it feels off, like the Uncanny Valley for environments. And that's not even getting into the hive beneath it.
  • Samuels easily pummeling a Working Joe to death, and evidently, having done the same to a few others before you entered the level. Considering the prevalence of Killer Robot traitors in this franchise and that you barely know the guy, you might be paranoid that this synthetic from "the Company" might also be your enemy and you'll have to fight him... fortunately, that isn't the case. But it almost was.
  • Dr. Lingard's video. The footage is glitchy, leading to some creepy lines that were otherwise... still disturbing.
    Lingard: But GOD HELP ME that woman needed he-e-e-e-lp... there was something INSIDE of her.
  • You don't have to be particularly Afraid of Needles to feel unease at the sheer force with which Ripley shanks herself in the arm every time she uses a Medikit needle.