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Nightmare Fuel / Celeste

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As per Nightmare Fuel page policy, all spoilers are unmarked.

For the video game:

  • Chapter 1
    • The end has a memorial dedicated to those who perished trying to scale Mt. Celeste. It's a reminder that in real life, people can get killed scaling the mountains they like to tackle as their passion, and some people die so high up that their bodies are never recovered.
      • Considering how climbing Mt. Celeste is treated as an analogy for overcoming one's own personal troubles (particularly mental illness)...
  • Chapter 2
    • Go a little ways back to the memorial plaque that you probably read in Chapter 1. The letters are now scrambled and ever-changing.note  The effect goes away after Madeline wakes up, thankfully.
    • This level introduces Badeline, a malicious manifestation of Madeline's negative thoughts with a Psychotic Smirk and red eyes. She follows your movements and kills you if she manages to touch you.
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    • What more, Badeline briefly leans out from her character portrait as she taunts Madeline.
    • The phone booth at the end of the dream part of the chapter rings on its own, indicating that it's the person on the other end who made the call, and explicitly to call Madeline no less!
    • The music for the dream portion of the level ends with a fade-out, some creepy ambiance for the phone conversation, and finally, synthesized "Psycho" Strings in the moment where the phone booth turns into an Eldritch Abomination and eats Madeline.
  • Chapter 3
    • The level is full of these inexplicable red and black...blobs that are lethal on contact. Later in the chapter, it’s revealed that they’re living manifestations of Mr. Oshiro’s anxiety - when he becomes particularly worried about what Madeline will think of her stay, they shoot out of his head in droves.
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    • At the end, Badeline breaks out of a mirror and trash-talks the ghost of Mr. Oshiro, telling him all about how she (and by extension, Madeline) thinks his hotel is a total piece of shit. He snaps hard and turns into a menacing entity who chases you across the hotel roof.
  • Chapter 4
    • The chapter seems pretty routine enough, but at the end, when Madeline and Theo are riding the gondola, Badeline sabotages it in a Jump Scare and Madeline goes into a panic attack (and most likely, so will the player), represented by an ever-encroaching miasma in the background. Theo has to help her get back to her senses.
    • The title of the song that plays at this point says it all: Anxiety.
  • Chapter 5
    • The whole thing is this from start to end. At first, it's a dark, abandoned temple, with Madeline having to pass by unlit torches to light them up. Spooky, but at least the only lethal things here are non-sentient objects. Once she enters the giant mirror...oh boy. The music becomes more oppressive and marks the return of synthesized "Psycho" Strings, eyeball creatures start trying to attack her actively, many rooms have tentacles rather than spikes for environmental hazards, eyes in the walls focus on Madeline's movements, and the whole place turns out to be the manifestation of all the insecurities and other negative things about Madeline and Theo. Finishing the level involves throwing Theo at a giant eyeball that constantly pulsates shockwaves that repel them away from it; said eyeball shrieks as it's destroyed.
    • For even more creep factor, the music is backmasked: reversing it reveals that it's the first segment's theme... but with the addition of a chilling statement by Madeline about her depression and anxiety, which ends with her sobbing hopelessly. Sad and disturbing.
  • Chapter 6 seems like it's off to a happy start, with Theo and Madeline having a long heart-to-heart campfire chat and then Madeline flying high above the ground with the help of golden feathers, witnessing the aurora borealis and coming face to face with Badeline. She happily tells Badeline that she's going to abandon her, that she's not needed anymore; surely this can't go wrong, right? Wrong. Badeline completely loses her shit and has an appendage from the bottom of the screen hold Madeline hostage, while trying to use Madeline's very weaknesses and insecurities in a hell of a Breaking Speech. Madeline tries to use the feather trick from two chapters ago to calm herself down... but Badeline makes a mockery of this technique, slices the feather in half, and sends Madeline flying a looooooooong way down into the mountain depths, where the chapter proper starts.
    • Remember how Baddie likes to sometimes lean a little outside of her dialogue portrait? Here she physically climbs halfway out of the portrait and crawls up into the whole dialogue box as if to really hit home that there is nothing either Madeline or you can do to get rid of her.
  • A quick thing to note while on the subject of the fourth wall. If one were to go check out the soundtrack, one would notice there are two separate albums: one for the normal soundtrack and one for the B-sides. On the normal soundtrack's cover art, it show Madeline holding a cassette tape and looking at it with a blue peaceful snowy background. Now compare that with the B-Side's cover art, which depicts Badeline with the same cassette tape and a dark red tentacle filled background that looks like the mirror sequence from Chapter 5. Now, that would be creepy enough on its own. The thing is, unlike Madeline, she's not looking at the cassette tape. No. She's looking straight at YOU.
  • Chapter 9 opens with a Jump Scare: Madeline approaches Granny, only for Granny to be revealed as an illusion and the weather to abruptly turn rainy while the sprite of Granny turns into a tombstone.
    • Midway through the chapter, after the fake Crystal Heart is collected, the level begins to glitch out, distorting the screen at moments and morphing the walls into broken wireframe as Madeline continues chasing the bird that appears elsewhere around the game. Shortly into this mini-area, a Heart Gate suddenly falls from above out of nowhere with an equally jarring sound effect to match, blocking off the rest of the level until the player has collected 15 (non-fake) Crystal Hearts. Once the gate has been passed, the bright, starry background eventually explodes into a massive black hole that persists for the rest of the chapter, growing increasingly volatile as you progress.
      • A small detail many might miss: that gate can kill you. While this requires Assist Mode's infinite dashes to even attempt, if you try to rush under the gate as it falls... it'll just come down faster and smash Madeline into nothing, even with invincibility on. Speedrun tricks like hyperdashing can eke her underneath the gate with millimetres to spare, but it's still the only object in the entire game that can completely ignore Assist Mode's blessings, reminding you that Celeste Mountain plays by its rules. Not yours.

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