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Nightmare Fuel / Dead Rising

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Dead Rising lulls you into a false sense of security with its over-the-top premise. You are a reporter (he's "covered wars, you know") who gets stuck in a shopping mall full of zombies in search of the ultimate scoop. Sounds safe, right?
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  • Once you start investigating the actual plotline, everything goes to hell. The army attacks you, led by a General Ripper hellbent on covering up the incident by murdering everything in the mall (undead or not), your quirky teammates from the Department of Homeland Security are both zombified before your eyes, it turns out that the zombie plague is transmitted by genetically-mutated wasps that inject parasitic larvae that devour the host's brain, and all the people you worked so hard to save are most likely disposed of to keep the mall's dirty secret under wraps, (except for Otis, who is quite possibly the only other survivor in the end). Even after a climactic escape involving you and Isabella using a jeep with a machine gun to fight a tank, a knock-down, drag-out brawl-to-the-death against the deranged special forces commander, and getting the truth out about the zombie outbreak, the protagonist remains infected by the incurable zombie plague, a walking time bomb that may go off at any moment. And, of course, our villain (despite being quite dead by this point) has already set things in motion so that zombie uprisings will occur all over the country .
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  • Adam MacIntyre the Clown. Wielding two chainsaws (and also juggling them), who also happens to laugh while said chainsaws cut open his stomach and lets "all the little children go on his fun, killer ride?" Said laughter also gets mysteriously deeper until it's little more than a demonic grumble. It almost makes one wonder if he's even human at all...
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran Cliff Hudson, who believes you and the zombies are Viet Cong after he went nuts when his granddaughter was Eaten Alive by zombies? While ultimately tragic, Cliff's intro is pure Nightmare Fuel. When you walk into the room, you see bloody bodies hanging upside-down from the ceiling with their heads chopped off, and the floor smeared with blood. While you're busy taking in all the Gorn, Cliff sneaks up on you, and yells "NAME AND RANK, SOLDIER!!!" When you can't answer him, he interprets you as a Dirty Communist, and takes a swipe at you with his machete. When you get back up — he's gone. Then you hear his voice calling out to you, claiming he's ready to beat on you until you tell where the (nonexistent) guerrillas' hideout is, and you'll be begging for death to take you away by the time he's done. The cutscene closes with Cliff's footsteps on one side of the store, before suddenly going to the other]... Then, unless you're fast enough, the start of the fight has him impaling you In the Back and hoisting your body a good three to four feet off the ground! Frank only survives by being Made of Iron, and even then Cliff is easily the hardest fight of the whole game.
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  • Psycho Lesbian Cop Jo Slade, who keeps four innocent women as her prisoners, and makes not-so-subtle threats to them. Jo had held several more woman held hostage... Janet mentions that she had already killed a couple of them. The timer for Jo's boss fight mission seems pretty long. However, as it shortens, the number of living prisoners Jo has dwindles down from four to one.
  • Steven Chapman is scarier and more unsettling than Adam: While Adam is creepy because of his costume and weapons and has a "good" reason for being insane now, Steven... doesn't. He's slaughtering and killing everyone on simple paranoia, and the fact that he screams at the top of his lungs with nasty close ups of his face with those crazy eyes and all.
  • And in the grand tradition of ground zero zombie outbreaks, only you and one other person survive the opening scene in the mall... and by the end of the game, that number may be too high.
  • Late enough into the game to have rounded up too many survivors to keep track of, there's a detail about one of them that's nagging and inexplicably disturbing. When you meet the guy, Frank notices that he has a neck injury and he very anxiously insists that it's "just a scratch." Three guesses what it most likely is, and even though it's obvious, after you get him to the security room, it's unsettling when you notice him vigorously scratching his neck through the window of the room he's in, only for him to stop as soon as you walk in. Sometimes the women in the same room start yelling at him, open for interpretation, also. And if you're waiting for a call from Otis telling you it may not have been a great idea to leave your survivors alone with this guy, nothing actually happens with him. There's an incredibly chilling piece on the first day. Frank comes across a traumatized survivor called Leah hiding in a Jewelry Store. When you talk to her, she grabs Frank and asks if he's seen her baby, but then she lets go and breaks down, confessing that her baby was killed by zombies, and that she sprained her ankle running away. That isn't the scary part. It's when she begins to explain in detail about the zombies eating her baby.
    Leah: "They ate her. Those damn zombies ate my baby! Right in front of me...oh God, I've never heard her cry like that! Please... Just leave me alone..."
  • If you leave the main menu idle long enough. A cutscene of a mother and her daughter are driving down the road, desperately trying to get away from the zombies, only to end up stranded alone and helpless as a mob of zombies surround them while they scream. Imagine seeing that at around midnight after returning from a quick bathroom break or midnight snack.
  • Sean and the True Eye cult are quite freaky. The way the cultists move just isn't natural (a very slow, shambling crawl which is changed when they suddenly rush forward) and they also have distorted voices that are very eerie sounding. Really, Sean is quite unsettling as well, with his penchant for public executions and his demonic tone of voice. And then, there's his death. Really, if you haven't seen the cult yet, the curious player who explores the movie theater may be unnerved when they wander into Theater 4 and see the bloody eye symbols, the torches, and mannequin idol and wonder exactly what the hell went on in there. You just can't help but wonder: Exactly how long have they been doing this? Also, they're able to somehow bypass the zombies and not get attacked by them, even if they deliberately take a swing at one that gets too close for their liking.
  • The eventual appearance of the army, while spectacularly epic, is also rather terrifying due to their sheer efficiency. Also knowing that they're here to kill you, if you're replaying, doesn't help matters.
  • The look on Brock Mason's face as he falls backwards into the zombie mob, and is Devoured by the Horde. Even the fact he clearly deserved it doesn't help much. It's even worse in that, while his mouth is wide open, Brock doesn't scream or even gasp — he just wordlessly falls to his demise by being devoured. He smiles shortly before he falls into the horde.
  • Larry is pretty much every horrifying butcher archetype all rolled into one ugly, cannibalistic package. The other scary part about Larry is the ambiguity of his sanity; was he in the meat packing area for the entirety of the outbreak, or did he go there looking for safety and got trapped in there because of the zombies in the maintenance tunnels? Either way; being trapped in one area, surrounded by monsters trying to eat you, while being completely isolated and being forced to eat nothing but meat for days on end would drive anyone to sheer madness.
  • Most endings other than Ending A or S have a pretty sinister tone to it.
    • Ending B has Frank, Otis, Jessie, and potentially Barnaby, Isabela and Brad escape with the survivors Frank saved. Despite all this, Frank fails to find out the mystery behind the Willamette outbreak, and zombie outbreaks soon break out all across the United States.
    • Ending C has Ed, on another building, looking through his binoculars to see if Frank made it. Ed can't find him and suggests he's dead. A zombie suddenly appears beside him as Ed screams in terror and the scene fades to black before we see anything more gruesome, but we do hear some rather disturbing crunching.
    • Ending E has Ed arrive at the helipad and help save the survivors, but with Frank nowhere to be found they soon take off, with Frank's fate unknown.
    • Ending F has Carlito's bombs detonate and blow up Willamette, spreading the zombie virus all across America while the government is helpless to stop the ensuing zombie outbreaks. A quick look at the Survivor chart reveals that everyone is dead, with most of them dying in the explosion.
  • Letting a survivor get eaten by zombies (which is tempting due to their Artificial Stupidity) triggers a cutscene of said survivor getting chowed down on, which is obviously horrific to watch, but the one that sticks out the most is when a zombie forces the survivor to the ground, but instead of just taking a bunch of bites out of them, the zombie will jam their arm down the victims throat and pull their esophagus out, and munch away at that, as though there is some kind of reasoning cruelty towards the victim.
  • While their fight is usually undermined by their broken A.I., nobody denies that the Convicts are one of the most memorable fights in the game. There are plenty of jokes online about classical/pavlovian conditioning since Gone Guru by Lifeseeker still invokes both fear and annoyance as soon as they step outside the relative safety of the mall
    • The way they introduce themselves is pretty unsettling, they try to kill Frank in a drive-by attack but Frank gets out of the way. They laugh this off before noticing Sid and Sofie, they quickly speed up to them as Miguel hangs out the passenger side of the jeep and he fatally hits Sid on the back of the head, killing Sid instantly and traumatizing Sofie. Reginald even jokes about "snatching his old lady", implying they intended to rape Sophie before she could get away.
    • In the fight against them, the Convicts can quickly decimate groups of survivors and force Frank to abandon them so he can fight the Convicts alone. When you first fight them, Frank has to find Sophie and get her out of the park before the zombies devour her and before the Convicts can kill her. Considering that and Frank can be as low as level 5 at the time of this fight, and this fight more often begins at night while the zombies are stronger, it makes the fight much more stressful for unprepared players. Then there's the other fact that the Convicts respawn at midnight every day until 5pm of day 3.

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