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Nightmare Fuel / Final Fantasy XII

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As a Nightmare Fuel page, spoilers are left unmarked.

Final Fantasy XII may be a nostalgic Call-Back to the previous titles in the Final Fantasy series, so it also has its share of frights.


  • The Espers. While they are your summons for the game, they look either uncanny or more grotesque than previous' games summons, not to mention having incredibly dark backstories that all boil down to failed attempts to Rage Against the Heavens. To note:
    • The woman attached to Zalera was a shamaness that the Esper fused to himself, and now literally manipulates—that scream during Condemnation isn't just for spooks.
      • The animation for Zalera's super move, Prime Lv. Deathnote , replicates Zodiark's Darkja with the woman's skull coming at you.
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    • Cúchulainn already looks creepy, with his jiggling fat and reptilian grin, but his Blight move has him burst out a scorpion tail to strike the ground and poison the environment. The Bestiary says he looks so monstrous because he swallowed the world's corruption.
    • Mateus did something similar to Zalera and trapped a woman to his own body, in this case an ice goddess, to serve as his meat shield as he fought the gods. Said gods not only had him struck down, they also did so to said ice goddess, despite her complete lack of agency in the whole process.
  • Nabudis, or what's left of it anyway. There is a reason why it's called The "Necrohol", and it's hard to imagine that anybody once lived there. The creepy music, along with the swirling mist and the fact that monsters can jump at you at any moment, really drives the point home.
    • It's an eerie mixture of realistic and fictional effects of an atomic fallout, given that Nethicite is Ivalice's own Fantastic Nuke. The now-called Nabreus Deadlands are a leftover of Nabudis' expanse, with both flora and fauna mutated into horrifying abominations (one enemy is even stated in the Bestiary to be the kingdom's war horses mutated into undead monsters) and Mist swirling in the air in high amounts. Worse, the Baknamy now swarm the place and attack would-be travelers by going invisible amidst the fog, ambushing the player in packs when you seem to only find one wandering around.
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    • The Necrohol of Nabudis. The former home of the Royal Family, once a lush and vibrant palace, now a destroyed, rotted corpse of its former self. Monsters roam the empty halls, the Baknamy have taken it for themselves as well, and the Nu Mou sealed three powerful beasts inside it sometime after Nabudis' destruction, including the Esper Chaos. Keep in mind that, at some point in history, this place was Prince Rasler's home.
  • Guess what happens when you run out of time to defeat both Demon Walls? They run you straight into the wall, complete with them giving you a sinister and scary look before doing so.
    • You'd think the weaker (read: mandatory) wall would be less creepy than its optional counterpart. NOPE. It's harder to get a "crushed to death" game over on it because the battleground is longer and you can stop it temporarily (or speed it up if you're not good at picking out the braziers along the floor), but at least the stronger wall doesn't end its instant game over cutscene by focusing on the wall's face (complete with eyes flaring!) before abruptly cutting to black to give you the game over screen. GAH. The optional demon wall's scene ends with the player actually seeing it smash into the wall, not just end on an evil face shot.
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  • The Nalbina Dungeons. Vaan spends a nightmarish time in these gutters, which are basically the lower portions of Nalbina Fortress sealed off and made into improvised cells by the Imperials. Dead bodies litter the floor and piles are stored and burnt in one of the rooms. An arena is used to execute prisoners at the hands of three horrifying Seeq barbarians, and last but not least, the place is sitting right atop the Barheim Passage. A prisoner even mentions that they're unable to sleep, given the sounds coming from the place in the darker hours. As a reminder, the Passage is home to zombies, ghosts, and Zalera The Death Seraph. An itinerant worker at Nalbina even notes that people will sometimes hear a woman's cry coming from the depths.
  • Judge Bergan. Where do we begin? A Hate Sink among a faction that's mostly Affably Evil, and his first major unmasked appearance has him giving Judge Drace a Neck Lift and throwing her across the room, with her weakly remarking that his strength seems inhuman. After the Stilshrine of Miriam, he leads an Imperial attack on Mt Bur-Omisace, slaughtering the local priests and wounding or killing many refugees seemingly For the Evulz, before killing Anastasis. It turns out he infused his body with experimental Nethicite, which is the source of his superhuman strength. When defeated, the power overwhelms him and explodes, and while Bloodless Carnage is in effect, Balthier's comments heavily imply the overload blew his chest open. His corpse then begins to dissolve.
    • Right before his death, the way his body just spasms and convulses in place unnaturally, then with Bergan looking around himself as if there's something invisible encroaching on him that only he can see before he finally feels the full, excruciating pain of the Nethicite overloading his body.
  • Some of the Hunts can be this. Some of the time, the backstory of each petition is more horrifying than their actual targets.
    • Marks like the Thextera and the Braegh are stated to attack trade caravans passing through different terrains of Ivalice. Makes one wonder how often these people are attacked or killed in the line of duty just to get some goods across the country.
    • The Bestiary defines the Wraith as an agglomerate of the souls of people who died during the construction of the Garamsythe Waterway, most of them fathers and family men, making the creature become attracted towards lone children who wander into the Waterway. The petition is put up by Lowtown resident Milha after a Seeq child encountered the ghost.
    • Something seems off the second you accept the hunt for the Croakadile. Sadeen, the petitioner, is found at the Giza Plains during the Rains, where the nomad village would usually be stationed, except he's by himself in the cold rain and he talks to the party with very long pauses, almost begging them to get back the ring the creature ate. He also flickers when you step away from him, and a Moogle near the save crystal will comment that he doesn't see the "sad-looking man" the party is seeing. Sadeen, as it turns out, is the ghost of Elder Brunoa's former lover, who died trying to get the ring back from the Croakadile. Your hunt was petitioned by a spirit so he could pass on to the afterlife in peace.
    • The Antlion hunt, which allows the party to venture deeper into the Lhusu Mines, is ripe with Adult Fear. The petitioner is a woman whose children ran off into the mines after a disagreement, and this landed them right near the nesting place of the giant man-eating bug. You essentially kill it as it was about to hunt for the two.
    • The Ixtab, a Reaper-class enemy (which are already known for being horrifying) that the Garif High Chief asks you to slay, which is an embodiment of the collective anger of deceased Garif who died at the Henne Mines. What they fail to inform you, however, is that they were killed by Imperial Troops for the sake of their nethicite experiments.
    • If the player waits until the Dry season to talk to Nanau and Roaklo at the Giza Plains but without defeating the Gil Snapper, Roaklo will comment on how he feels weaker and feverish, the implication being that the creature being released cursed him with an illness. Would he have died if the Snapper wasn't resealed in time?
    • Popol, a resident of Nalbina Town, stole an old axe from the Necrohol of Nabudis, causing his dreams to be haunted by a Deathscythe, which repeats the message "surrender the axe" over and over. The creature, a manifestation of the souls who perished in the Nabudis disaster, is slowly draining him of energy through fatigue. Like with the Gil Snapper, it's likely Popol would've died of exhaustion if the party hadn't intervened.
    • The Deathgaze hunt, which takes place aboard a Skyferry, meaning your leisure flight is interrupted by a giant Aevis wyrm landing on the sky deck and threatening to destroy the ship mid-flight.
      • What helps to set the tone is the Mood Whiplash, and not just because you're asked to kill it for a BET of all things. Basically, every time you board an airship for "leisure cruise" at an Aerodrome or talk to the petitioner, your chances of encountering the creature increase. Eventually, instead of the cheery Skyferry theme and personnel briefing, you're met with complete silence and the flight crew calling for anyone who can slay the beast. Cue "Giving Chase" suddenly blaring loudly and the passengers and crew in sheer panic, unprepared to fight the monster. Even worse, if you happen to be on a ship full of Imperials, none of the highly-trained Archadian soldiers are a match for the thing, several of them lying down hurt around the main deck.
  • Both the Great Crystal and the Subterra will randomly Jump Scare you with undead enemies that spawn right in front of you. Sometimes, they're rare game that are even tougher to kill, and in the Great Crystal, you'll get Evil Spirits that can summon even more undead. In the Subterra, this isn't as bad... unless you're in the center ring, where the enemies will never stop chasing you. The Mistmares will teleport after you, but the sloshing sounds of Abaddons chasing you is far more unnerving.
    • In a way, the two areas are thematic foils to each other: both are optional areas and part of a canonical path you must follow, said canonical path leading to a powerful focus point of energy used by the Occuria, and both are filled with high-level enemies, most of them undead. Both are also equally terrifying, although this is one of the ways the two diverge:
      • The Great Crystal starts off well-lit (and only gets brighter the closer you get to the Core) but becomes progressively darker the higher you go. Several of the enemies are undead, such as the Forbidden and the Shadonir, and not only high-leveled, they also seriously love inflicting status effect moves that usually deal all of them at once, or simple One-Hit KO attacks en masse to effectively wipe out the entire party in very little time. The area itself also has the most unnerving Dissonant Serenity to its atmosphere, with its music theme being calm and wondrous to accompany the possibly-frantic escapes the player will have to do to avoid the enemies here as much as possible, or run towards the timed gates they need to open in order to continue climbing. About the only "light" the party will encounter at the peak is Ultima, the Holy-elemental Esper, and that battle in itself can be petrifying for an unprepared player.
      • Subterra is eternally dark, with even the light the player can (and needs to) provide via Black Orbs not being enough to enlighten it fully, although it does help. Undead enemies patrol all three floors (along with Abaddon and the occasional Mistmare), with the same preference for status moves as the enemies at the Great Crystal, along with continuous swarming and respawning. Worse, this is the area where the Magick Pots stay at, legitimate traps for any player who doesn't know how to handle them properly. The dungeon is concluded by the Elite Mark "Shadowseer", a dark-based entity who summons the previous guardian entities fought during the main climb towards the Sun-Cryst plus the Phoenix fought at the Penumbra floor, at an area called "Hell's Challenge". While arguably not as difficult as Ultima, it can still easily overwhelm an unprepared party. Finally, the soundtrack for the dungeon is nerve-wracking, using the second portion of "Ashe's Theme" for great suspense effect and establishing well how there's a danger in every corner. The Zodiac re-release replaces it with the original track "Gloom", which instead gives a feeling of depression and despair.
  • The Occuria can certainly invoke nightmare fuel to a good degree. Design-wise, they are abstract and overly-detailed, with the only thing about them that's remotely close to humanoid being the fact they do have glowing dots for "eyes" on a head that's clearly supported by what passes as a torso, which is fully devoid of limbs. Given their otherwordly nature, it's a safe assumption that their designs are meant to be off-putting to human eyes otherwise, especially in how these bodies barely move and just hover stiffly over the ground with a powerful aura around them. Ashe is visibly uncomfortable when they address her in Giruvegan.
    • What makes it worse is when their true nature is revealed: in a game focused on the theme of Grey-and-Gray Morality and how no one side of a war is truly good or evil, the Occuria are one of the few "factions" of Ivalice that displays Blue-and-Orange Morality, again because of their godly status. The reason why they're pushing Ashe into comitting mass genocide against the Archadian Empire through the different pieces of nethicite they created? They held control of human history for the longest time, and only recently one of their own DARED to propose that humans should be allowed to decide their own fate for once. They're not pushing Ashe as their "champion" out of support for her as a ruler per-se, or even out of respect for her bloodline - which includes their previous Chosen One, the Dynast-King Raithwall - but purely for the fact they cannot STAND the idea of humans being in charge of history's reins and want a new puppet under their sway to kill their defector and everyone following him, innocent or not.
      • The scene where Ashe is summoned by them to their heavenly realm so they can give her the mission to destroy Venat is filled to the brim with tension, even with the calm, serene music playing in the background. Gerun, their leader, butters up Ashe as their Chosen One with several pretty words and poetic arrangements, giving her the mission to cut a new piece of nethicite from the Sun-Cryst, only adding a hissing "destroy Venat" at the very end and giving Ashe only one moment to ask a legitimate question despite saying she's their hero. The second Ashe dares to ask why they would want her to kill one of their numbers, Gerun snaps and silences her before, as they've been doing the entire time, throwing the ghost of Rasler in front of her to make her comply. Even more noticeable in that despite speaking highly of her not seconds before, Gerun is now hissing and growling orders at Ashe like a master to a servant.
      "We give you now the Stone and task. Administer judgment: DESTROY THEM ALL!"
    • The Control Freak nature of the Occuria is disturbing in and of itself since it borders on the psychotic, and nowhere is it more apparent than at the Pharos, the "tower on distant shore" dedicated to the source of their nethicite, the Sun-Cryst. During the ascent, the party will come across glowing glyphs carved onto pillars that echo the Occuria's words, mostly their warnings on how to progress through each section of the dungeon. But if it's not a warning on how to proceed, the inscriptions repeatedly reinforce their belief that humans are too naive to write their own history and constantly remind the reader, supposedly their champions, that they alone are the "true" masters of fate and humanity needs to shut up and accept it. They aren't just needy of control, they're desperate to reinforce the notion at every opportunity.
    • And then there's them using Rasler's ghost to control Ashe, the final nail in the coffin for their selfishness. This illusion is how they keep Ashe on the path of revenge against the Empire for most of the game's story, showing they're not above using a fresh wound to motivate their chosen ones. Worse, Vaan is heavily implied to be seeing a ghost too, except he's seeing his brother Reks. It's all but stated the Occuria wanted to have him as their "Plan B" against Venat should Ashe stray from the path they set for her. They were willing to use a teenager for their plans of all-out genocide.
  • While the Empire is a good example of an antagonist who isn't straight-up evil, Ashe stands firm as the biggest example of a character we're supposed to root for but has destructive intentions, and some of the ways the game chooses to display this are alarming, to say the least. Before Character Development settles in, Ashe is often on the warpath as a furious authority figure for the Resistance, with plenty of legitimate reasons to be angry and seek revenge, but still ultimately so fixated on it that it's scary to think this rude, aggressive Jerkass of a princess is supposed to be the game's "heroine", especially with the Occuria pushing her into becoming as big of a warmonger as the Empire themselves. Perhaps the worst moment of this comes during Giruvegan as the party beholds the core of the Great Crystal, an infinite source of nethicite brimming with tremendous power. Ashe... starts bringing up the idea of using it against Archadia, which Fran points out with exceeding sarcasm that using the Crystal Core could destroy all of Ivalice. Ashe looks down and goes quiet, as if ashamed... but it's clear she's still considering it.
  • Yiazmat. For the longest time, this was the ultimate "superboss" for the Final Fantasy franchise and gaming as a whole, and with good reason. Not only is it Nightmare Fuel in lore, it's Nightmare Fuel in terms of gameplay as well:
    • First and foremost, its design. Even going by the thinnest possible definitions for a dragon or wyrm, none of them even remotely look like this, not even in this game, with only the Hell Wyrm being similar due to deliberately being Yiazmat's less-powerful counterpart (and even then it's very strong). The thing is just uncanny to look at, having no visible face and a very abstract design, with giant and colorful energy rings on its neck and wings while its body looks like an animated, draconic suit of armor. It effectively shows its Light Is Not Good nature with how it looks;
    • Secondly, the fight itself, the main reason why this thing provided the page image for Marathon Boss for the longest time. It is the ultimate definition for a Damage-Sponge Boss, with a little over 50 MILLION HP to take out, as well as several different magical abilities, One-Hit KO chances on its normal attacks, and worst of all, casting Reflectga on your party so it can bounce off Renew at itself, meaning you're essentially starting the entire fight over. At a high-enough level in the original version and with the proper gambits set, the least amount of time to beat this boss was TWO HOURS without breaks.
  • Some of the Bestiary entires are pretty horrific, particularly those of the Undead or Headless enemies. The Forbidden are people who were born with souls permanently attached to their bodies, so they kept on living even after becoming rotten corpses. The Strikers are said to be condemned criminals poisoned with a toxin that causes them constant pain, and only by decapitating people can they know a brief relief.

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