In the original game
While Homeworld 1 isn't a scary game overall, there are some pretty unsettling Fridge Horror
moments during the story.
- Subject did not survive interrogation.
- It's probably justified Pay Evil unto Evil because the captain of the captured ship had taken part in the destruction of Kharak and was slaughtering the last of your people, but it can still be pretty unnerving to hear that casually from Fleet Intelligence.
- Not to mention... what happens to the enemy crews of all those ships you keep capturing?
- A galaxy-spanning evil empire you've never heard before decided to kaboom your entire civilization to oblivion just because your kind set foot into space... Shocking is too mild a word.
- What the Emperor does to Karan at the start of the last level. Being unexplained only makes it more disturbing.
Riesstiu: Karan. You've taken one step too close to me.
- The Ghost Ship in Sea of Lost Souls, or more specifically its ability to take control of any capital ship entering its range.
- Similarily, albeit borderline, the Junkyard "Dawg" at Karos Graveyard, which is capable of grabbing a capital vessel of any size (excluding The Mothership) and carrying it into a slipgate, ostensibly never to be seen again. If you wait around (which you might not, as the ships stolen are hard to replace) you find out that the ship has merely been moved to a different part of the level from whence it can be recaptured with Salvage Corvettes... but what happened to the crew to make that necessary?
- The Kadeshi in The Gardens of Kadesh and The Cathedral of Kadesh are an absolutely fearsome enemy, having spent generations stalking and preying upon any and all intruders who dared to desecrate the nebula they view as sacred. What they lack in armor and sophistication, they make up for in sheer numbers, literally swarming their prey like locusts as they mercilessly strafe them to death. So great was their zeal that the Taiidan themselves dared not approach said nebula.
- The Bentusi's cryptic warning against travel through the nebula says it all:
- Finally, the Kadeshi's cryptic foretelling of your destruction upon the Kushan's decline to join them is made all the more chilling by how casually and matter-of-factly they declare your extermination:
If you will not join, then die. There is no withdrawal from the Garden.
- The ominous reveal of the Headshot Asteroid in Chapel Perilous may very well make your heart skip a beat the moment you realize that this monolithic monstrosity is on a deliberate collision course with your mothership and that you have to destroy it. Fast.
- Also there is the pleasant moment that occurs if you elect to fire upon the Bentusi during your fist contact with this group of otherwise peaceful spacefaring traders. Turns out that attacking these otherwise friendly nomads is a very bad idea, and if you do not heed their warnings to stop firing their tradeship will unleash a beam attack that utterly decimates everything you throw at them. They then focus their fire on the Mothership, destroying it in a 36 seconds. That's right; your greatest allies possess the power to do in less than a minute what an entire Taiidan strike fleet cannot, effectively wiping the last of your kind out of existence if you should seek war rather than peace.
: The Bentusi wish only to trade and make contact. Your attack is unwarranted and ill-advised. Stop now.
- Definitely counts as Harsher in Hindsight once you learn about the ultimate fall of the ancient Hiigaran Empire, and about who was instrumental in bringing about its downfall.
The game's subtitle of Cataclysm is rightfully earned via it's main antagonist, who is flat-out terrifying
. Giving a space battle-focused Real-Time Strategy
game, horror elements unlike any other.
- The booklet that came with the game to flesh out the world and what happened between games includes the note that the people who didn't die with Kharak had either been in the fleet or colonists specifically chosen to have a limited range of ages - meaning no children or elders made it. In fact many colonists had signed up in the certainty that their kin would be safe and secure and would benefit from their efforts, and many committed suicide after reaching the homeworld.
- Let's just say that the Beast IS Nightmare Fuel and Cosmic Horror Story in a convenient package.
- Firsthand, your introduction to the Beast. The screams. They will stay in your memory. It's also loaded with Fridge Horror because you don't see what the Beast did to the interior (and the workers of) your lower deck. But the audio is enough. Watch it, if you dare. (If you are not even slightly unnerved, you truly have nerves of steel!).
- Then you learn what the Beast does to normal lifeforms.
- "It's gotten into the ores!" Which is also something of a tearjerk.
- What the Beast does to the Bentusi - or any Unbound, in fact. Ugh.
Bentusi: To understand our fear, you must know our nature. We are one with our vessels, as was your S'jet persona. We are Unbound. The solar winds blow across our skin. Hyperspace sings in our ears... The universe unfolds around our thoughts. The Devourer does not kill us when it tries to take our ships. It leaves us in place, but corrupts our being. We die, but we're not dead. We would be trapped, slaves within our own bodies. Eternally.
- Speaking of the Bentusi, when you are sent to aid one in the middle of being attacked by a Beast convoy, you arrive basically too late. Once an infected Heavy Cruiser attacks the Tradeship, the Bentusi is scared shitless of it, especially when it fires its Infection Beam and corrupts his ship.
- That's to say nothing of their final death cry:
: It tears at us! Rewriting song, devouring memory, Turning our body against us, Binding us
!! Ghh... This Cannot Be!
! We will NOT. BE. BOUNNND!!!
- Needless to say, after that incident, the Bentusi become so terrified of the Beast (or "The Devourer" as they call it) that they deem the galaxy a lost cause and try to escape it. When the Somtaaw try to stop them from leaving (As they need their help to repair the Siege Cannon), the panicked Bentusi tell a chilling threat to them before launching their own Acolytes (The only known Bentusi combat ship that they still use) to stop them.
Bentusi: Do not attempt to stop our translocation. Cease your attacks or be destroyed! Do you not understand what has happened?! We will NOT be Bound!
- Once their Hyperspace gate is destroyed, the Bentusi go berserk and attempt to destroy the Kuun-Lan and their fleet. Only the ship's Fleet Commander calling them out on their Sanity Slippage stops them from killing them all.
Bentusi: You are mad! It will take irrecoverable time to repair the slipgate! The Devourer will find us by then. Each of us that is consumed takes the story of a thousand Bound worlds with them! The creature will devour all our songs! All knowledge will serve its hunger!
Kuun-Lan Fleet Command: Listen to us. We need your help. We're not here to harm you but if you leave, the Beast will win. You helped us to win our homeworld! You cannot run away now.
Bentusi: We aided the S'jet persona who was newly Unbound. You are not S'jet. Your Bound bodies and flicker-lives make you blind to reality and now we will all pay for your blindness!
- The credits show the nature of how the beast infects regular victims through concept art. It literally strips all flesh and tissue from the body, leaving nothing but the skeleton of the victims if there is nothing mechanical to attach itself to. Though it would make much sense since when you board a disabled vessel of the beast, there are no bodies present.
- Though it is worth noting that those who board the vessel are oddly fascinated by the complexity of the technology that was once their friends and loved ones.
- Every single time the Beast uses its infection beam, if you are close enough to the ships being converted, you will hear the screams of your people getting consumed alive by the Beast. You will soon feel a Genre Shift from Real-Time Strategy to Survival Horror, most especially on the harder difficulties. What's worse, due to the nature of the infection beam you're guaranteed to see one at the absolute minimum of your ships be subjected to this fate no matter how well you play. Something as simple as letting a ship drift ever slightly too close can result in its crew dying horribly.
- The seventh mission : the convoy escort mission. Protect utterly defenseless (and terrified, judging from the distress call they make) convoys against Beast infection warheads. If you do decide to focus on saving some ships at the expense of others, and they destroy the infected ships, it's an easy mission. (You will still hear the screams though) If you want to save all the ships, and are on a higher difficulty challenge, good luck !
- "We have hull breaches across all decks. Something's come aboard! Please, HELP US! HELP UUUUUUS!!!." This said when too late.
- Even worse is that the refugees on board are then converted into more warheads to use against the other ships. That is Grievous Harm with a Body done in an absolutely horrifying manner.
- Worst of all, the Imperialist Taiidan designed those warheads, and decided to test-fire them on refugees. Taiidan refuges. They used them against their own people.
- The voice of the Beast is pretty unnerving.
- The Naggarok, which eats your ships to regain health. It tends to take a lot of time, much more than Beast infection. It is absolutely unstoppable unless you manage to destroy the Naggarok while it is feeding. Now think about the crew inside. Cruel and Unusual Death anyone?
- Hell, the Naggarok itself. It's the source of the Beast, having launched the infected pod that the Kuun-Lan found. It's also far more intelligent than its "children"; while the Beast Mothership can only speak in broken Hiigaran, the Naggarok can hold a conversation in Voice of the Legion. Oh, and it struck a deal with the Taiidani Imperialists to repair its engines.
- If only it was the source... Naggarok contracted the Beast virus while traversing Hyperspace. No specifics of its infection or the true origin of the Beast are revealed, so as far as you know, this is just something that can happen to a starship. Apparently, some precautions are implemented in the wake of the incident, but there's no way to know for sure or if they cover everyone. That's some Warhammer 40,000 -level Paranoia Fuel.
- The Taiidan Empire is so desperate to reclaim their old empire that they're willingly working with The Beast, despite the very real possibility that they'll get screwed over in the end. Their justification for this is chilling, and says a lot about the Imperial Taiidani remnants:
What choice do we have, Hiigaran? Your mad quest shattered our imperial sphere. You took the life of our immortal emperor. Whatever we have been driven to now is your fault.
- The worst part is that, in a twisted way, they are right. The Taiidan Empire's collapse happened because the Hiigarans took back their homeworld, which had been rebuilt into their empire's capital. Hell, the Taiidan Empire in the state it was before Riesstiu IV The Second burned Kharak to the ground was because the Hiigarans used to be their Arch-enemies and did the same thing to their homeworld, which drove the future Emperor Riesstiu I, at the time an admiral, into a Roaring Rampage of Revenge that led to most of the Hiigarans being wiped out by them. A brutal Cycle of Revenge that has left nothing but a trail of blood and death across the galaxy.
- When the Beast drops the pretense of supporting the Imperials in the last mission.
Naggarok: You are what all life is to us! FOOD!!
- As MandaloreGaming put it, the overall tone of the game drastically shifts the feeling of space itself. In the first title, it was vast, explorative, and perhaps conflict-driven but ever omnipresent in your journey. Here, the knowledge that the Beast is out there, that something far worse than one could ever imagine just existing, turns that expanse into a dreadful void. Cosmic storms in the distance, ever-growing tension as the difficulty rises up, the dreadful silence of all but your dying units and the Beast's victims, and an emptiness of an incalculable span where nowhere is safe.
In Homeworld 2
In general, Homeworld 2 is a more straightforward action story than the previous two, but there are some moments that stand out in their own way.
- The progenitor Keeper. You can't kill it, you don't have anything that can stand up to it, it has that god damned screaming face, its mouth spits out fighters that can go toe to toe with most of your fleet on their own, and THIS is how it says hello:
- Present in the first game as well, but far more prevalent in the second. Consider, for a moment, just what kind of beings had the power to make those structures you're seeing in Tanis and the Karos Graveyard. If these are the tombstones of the gods, it begs the question: Just what was it that killed them?
- A major one happens to the Hiigarans at the end of the game, when the Vaygr unleash their final trump card, the 3 T-Mat Planet Killers. Other than looking completely different than anything else the Hiigarans have ever encountered, they are also Nigh-Invulnerable to anything except the Wave-Motion Gun of the Sajuuk. Their sole method of attack is firing Low-Orbit Atmosphere Deprivation Weapons, the same weapon the Taiidans used to kill everyone on Kharak, which must've certainly sent shivers down Karan's spine.