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Nightmare Fuel / Call of Duty: Black Ops III

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The Black Ops series has never been short on Nightmare Fuel, but the stuff seen in Black Ops 3 takes things even further, almost to the levels of Berserk in terms of imagery.


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  • In the first mission, you patch into an NRC security cam feed to try and locate Minister Said. To find him, you have to scroll through several live feeds of soldiers being tortured by the NRC. Some of the lovely methods showcased include force feeding, being burned with a blowtorch, and waterboarding. If you want proof that Black Ops III is Darker and Edgier, look no further than the first five minutes of the game.
    • At the end of the first mission, we find out how the Player became augmented: it wasn't by choice. Observe helplessly in first person as he or she goes up against a grunt mech by him/herself, result in the violent removal of all but their left leg. Perhaps the scariest thing about this shocking scene is the robot itself. War robots, even in franchises where they're portrayed as being sinister, are generally depicted as being cool and badass. Here, the robots are just soulless metallic husks with only purpose: to kill people with the same efficiency that an industrial robot would use to build a car. It actually gave some people nightmares.
      • Fridge Horror sets in when you realise that the robots don't seem to be able to act of their own free will, meaning that somebody had to explicitly program them to rip somebody's limbs off.
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  • Discovering the human experiments in Singapore. Hendricks makes it clear what's going on:
  • The player kills Goh Xiulan by forcing her head into a fire and melting the flesh off her face.
    • The 54 Immortals' rampage through Singapore beforehand is a flat-out sacking of the city, à la Genghis Khan. Whole city blocks are burned, civilians are strung up from lampposts and left to rot, hundreds more are dragged out into the street and butchered. What's even more frightening is that the authorities are utterly steamrolled by the better-armed Immortals; without the good guys' efforts, it's clear that they wouldn't have stopped until the entire city had been destroyed.
  • The usage of a DNI to hack the memories from others with DNI implants. Only to be used in an emergency if the target is about to die and cannot be interrogated, it leaves the target braindead in a way that is repeatedly noted to be horrifying. Then not only does Corvus get transferred to Hendricks and eventually the player through this method, but we get to see Sarah Hall's Dying Dream personally as her mental state breaks, molds and folds all over into a twisted simulated reality of memories and Corvus' influences.
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  • Taylor forcefully removing his DNI implant, with a combat knife, in a final effort to purge himself of the Corvus infection. For a comparison of what this looks like, imagine someone ripping out the top half of their spinal cord.
  • Corvus' first appearance in Mission 8, in which he takes the form of a crying baby cradled inside one of the human experimentation pods from the SP/CORVUS project. When the Player picks the baby up, it starts to glow with Tron Lines before disintegrating in your hands as its crying is nightmarishly distorted into a synthetic howl. Good God Treyarch, some of us need to sleep!
  • Taylor's team murdering the C.I.A. staff at the Singapore blacksite. They're completely unaware of their actions, having been possessed by Corvus, who is forcing them to murder the staff in an extremely graphic and ritualistic fashion used by the 54 Immortals to deny their enemies reincarnation. The image of Sarah Hall mechanically stabbing a man with her knife over and over again while she stares vacantly at nothing is particularly haunting.
  • The reveal that Nova-6 is what caused the Singapore disaster. Worse, in order to destroy the remaining samples hidden in Coalescence's Zurich building, Kane seals herself in the containment room, forcing the player to watch her skin crackle and bleed as she vomits, convulses, and dies. The updated graphics make it perhaps the most brutal death in the Black Ops 3, probably more so than Goh Xiulan's, and a stern reminder of how horrific this gas truly is.
  • The entire final mission after an initial gigantic firefight. With Hendricks dead, and the player as the last agent for Corvus' DNI infection as well as the last known cast member alive, they put their pistol in their mouth and fire. What follows is a gigantic Mind Screw dream sequence that eventually turns into a giant nightmare, with the player and a mental remnant of Taylor fighting their way through Corvus' Frozen Forest and all sorts of memories of the missions previous. All the while, the player character begins repeating Corvus' Arc Words - initially calmly. Soon enough, screaming and completely insane even in the midst of heavy gunfights.
    • It's hard to put into words just how this plays and feels. Sarah Hall's dying dream had World War II, dire wolves, Inception-esque mindfuckery and Nazi zombies. The player's dream is various distorted realities and amalgamations of previous setpieces, enemy soldiers formed from mystic crows that die in one hit each, gigantic brains representing Corvus and its Frozen Forest as you burn them down, and blood-red waters that the game likes to plunge you into. These are easily the most batshit insane sequences in Call of Duty history, feeling more akin to something seen in Evangelion than a COD title.
  • Some of the Cyber Core abilities result in some extremely Cruel and Unusual Deaths for your human foes. Terminal Breakdown is probably the most horrifying - hack into an enemy's exo-suit which, once upgraded, causes their joints to bend in lethal ways, forcibly breaking their bones in extremely graphic fashion - but some of the other abilities are just as nasty. Adaptive Immolation detonates the explosives an enemy is wearing, causing them to scream in terror for a few seconds before exploding in Ludicrous Gibs. Firefly Swarm burns your target alive, and it takes time for them to croak if you don't put them down yourself. Sonic A.P., although non-lethal, is still pretty f-ed up: it causes violent muscle spasms in your target, causing them vomit uncontrollably while you mow them down.
  • The Shadows Of Evil game mode has a 1930s Lovecraftian tone to it. You know what this means.
  • A more subtle example in Rise and Fall; a pilot inside a crashed VTOL hanging over the edge of a building is pinned to his seat by a piece of rebar through his chest. Your character slowly moves in as he pleads for help, when suddenly the VTOL shifts as a gigantic A.S.P. robot enters the battle...
  • The sheer bleakness of the setting is disturbing before the story even begins. Massive super storms ravage the world, pollution and global warming have meant that water is finally becoming a resource waged war over, rebel and terrorist armies like the NRC and 54 Immortals are running rampant with little to stop them, and the relentless march of bio-augmentation and cybernetics has meant there is a very real existential threat to what it even means to be human. It gets more depressing when you realize that all the pain and sacrifice of the last two games didn't really make the world any better or safer: instead things seem to be getting ''worse''.

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