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Nightmare Fuel / Cave Story

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Just so you know: This is what keeps the island floating in the sky.

Sure it's an adorable game, but it's not so sweet and cuddly beneath the art style...

  • Let us look at it this way: say one day you wake up, and you don't know where you have been. You just know that you're hurt, you're weak, and you're lost somewhere in this dark damp cave with no memory of anything that happened. You look about and find one exit, and there you find, either monsters, killer robots gone psycho, twisted abominations, or, above all else, more darkness with a never ending sense of dread, and no way back.
  • The actual plot of the game is existentially terrifying. Imagine living in a world where life is essentially normal... except for the fact that a World War was rather recently fought over a magical floating island because it contained a piece of headgear that channels the never-ending rage of a Mad God. Said island could - at any time - release a raging horde of monstrous demonic creatures that would easily tear apart all of modern civilization, leaving you in a ruined world ruled by a complete psychopath with infinite power.
  • The red flowers that turn mimigas into super strong monsters with no mercy or fear.
    • One room in Grasstown has a bed with red flower petals scattered on the floor. Then a frenzied Mimiga jumps out of the fireplace.
  • The broken robot you see right before the fight with The Core stands out (In particular, the obviously frantic command to retreat that they give before they short out for good), as does the Undead Core with his bloody faces (the big energy ball-spitting form especially) and Ballos' last form, with the corpses.
    • Also, the blood-red stains on Ballos' face in his last form are what appear to be screaming faces.
    • The stage where you fight Ballos is extra creepy as well. There's something to be said for fighting your boss fight on top of a mountain of skeletons, when every powerful slam into the ground kicking up bones everywhere.
    • Ballos' backstory. Poor guy was sentenced to insanity-inducing torture that made him into the maniac he is today. All because he treated his fellow citizens better than his king did.
  • Post-Waterway Mimiga Village, made worse by the music (especially the enhanced re-release versions). The previously-cheerful village has been turned into a total Ghost Town; the only intelligent life that shows up is Professor Booster if you fulfilled a particular obscure requirement to keep him alive. The same BGM also plays in Santa's and Chaco's - now empty - houses.
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  • And then the revisited Egg Corridor immediately afterwards, which cranks the Scenery Gorn Up to Eleven especially with the bloody remains of half-formed Sky Dragons littering the place.
  • Scenery Porn it may be, but woe betide you if you fall from the Outer Wall.
  • In the Sand Zone, one of the puppies you have to rescue is in a pitch black shack. You have to navigate your way around the lightless, BGM-free interior to get to the puppy, and should you make certain wrong turns, there's a pit with a Sandcroc that's waiting to give you a Jump Scare as you land in the pit. The puppy warns you if you get too close to the pit, though.
    • It's also slightly better in the re-releases, where the background has been made a dark blue/purple to contrast with the black tiles. While it won't help you if you're in a brightly lit room, not that you may be when you play that section, it does help dampen the maze-like structure.
  • Once you start going through the last five bosses, everything gets worse and worse.
    • During his boss fight, the Doctor is smugly confident of his victory... until he loses control of the Red Crystal and mutates into a mindless behemoth who teleports at random, all the while charging like a mad thing and creating dozens of bats from his hands. After beating him, his body dissolves into blood which ascends past the ceiling. Shortly afterwards, the blood reappears. As it turns out, the blood happens to contain the Doctor's consciousness, and he REALLY wants to kill you now. He uses his magic to transform Misery and Sue into monstrosities before merging the remnants of himself with a zombified Undead Core. If you don't have two specific items by this point, you get to see the entire island crash to the ground, killing everything Momorin and Itoh didn't evacuate. If you do have them, you go through the game's equivalent of Hell.
    • Once in Hell, you will learn of a wizard named Ballos who was loved by everyone he met... except his jealous king, who tortured him so severely that he - like the Doctor - lost control of his power and killed the king, his wife, his child, and almost everyone else he knew. After that, he went completely insane. Jenka, his equally powerful sister, couldn't bring herself to kill her own brother, so she sealed him away. Misery, his niece, forced Ballos to create the Demon Crown for her own benefit, only to be cursed to follow the dictates of its wearer. And while you are learning this, you fight against demons disguised as angels, robotic bombs, and a gigantic Press.
    • After you learn the last bit of information, the ghost of a puppy informs you that the Demon Crown can only be destroyed permanently by killing Ballos. He asks you directly, to kill his master. The final room, the Seal Chamber, is utterly filled with bones. In the middle of the room stands Ballos, who orders you to kill him... or he will kill you. As the fight progresses, the humanoid Ballos turns into a giant stone head, then generates eight smaller stones which turn out to be floating eyeballs, then, as his body begins to disintegrate screaming human faces are revealed inside the cracks of his body. And after you kill him, the voices of his victims are heard complaining about how hot it is as they try to crush you to death.
  • The Core, pictured above, boasting what appears to be nine eyes. It is also the core of the floating island you're on, and had Misery and the Doctor not chimed in at the last second to explain what the hell you just did and patch up the Core, you would've brought the island crashing down to the surface. Its undead variant is even worse, periodically opening up to reveal a red, demonic face, or More Teeth than the Osmond Family.
  • Did you have Curly with you after The Core, but fail to drain her out in the Waterway? The game will happily spring a sudden dialogue box while you're navigating your way through to inform you that her life functions have ceased. It can make you jump if this is your first time going to the Waterway with her but either don't know that this extra step can be done or forgot to do it.
  • The bad ending, achieved by talking to Kazuma in the Outer Wall and accepting his offer to take you off the island to live a peaceful, isolated life with him. With you having left the conflict entirely, and Curly either dead or in an amnesiac state, there's nothing left to stop the Doctor from carrying out his plan of raising an army of killer Mimigas. Meanwhile, the screen cuts away to nothing and you're presented with a dialogue box reading "End?" as the haunting bad ending theme plays. Congrats, you doomed the world by being a coward.
  • The Plus versions include a bonus scenario, the Wind Fortress. In it, you have to navigate the underbelly of the island with all the risk of falling off the island. After fighting past a guarding wave of Gaudi bugs, you get into an industrialized zone where you encounter Curly copies that attack you relentlessly, to the point of breaking out of replication tubes to lunge wildly at you even without copies of the real Curly's clothes. It all culminates in a fight with a G-Clone device that is making copies of the real Curly, which will defend itself with a growing army of murderous Curly clones.

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