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Nightmare Fuel / Mega Man X

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As Mega Man X is the Darker and Edgier Sequel Series of the Classic series, this was to be expected.

  • Mega Man X:
    • The manga adaptation of the events from Boomer Kuwanger's fight all the way up to Vile's battle in Sigma's fortress have a horrific bent to them. Kuwanger has converted the top of the tower he holed up in into a massive supercomputer that he could offload his mind into, vastly improving his reflexes and speed of thought while rendering it impossible to disable him by attacking his "normal" brain inside his reploid chassis. X is forced to disfigure his arm and overload his X-Buster by crudely jamming high-voltage cables into it, allowing him to obliterate Kuwanger's whole body and the entire top of the tower with a massive blast that reveals Sigma's floating fortress. However, this also leaves his arm cannon horrifically disfigured, warped from the heat of the overloaded shot and its internals damaged from the power overload he forced into it. This renders him helpless against Vile, as he is forced to attempt to short Vile with the raw electricity from his damaged arm and is predictably beaten within an inch of his life, only for Zero to pull his suicide attack.
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    • Admit it, you probably jumped a little when you first saw Sigma's face appear on the Stage Select screen and this music played.
    • Sigma's ominous Final Stage on Mega Man X. It consists of a single narrow pit you must wall climb to reach Sigma, devoid of enemies apart from two holes in the walls of it that spawn tiny maggot-like robots. The eerily calm stage, with disturbing minimalist music as the background plays Nothing Is Scarier all too well.
    • The Stinger at the end of the credits can be rather unsettling the first time you see it. Sigma taunts X from beyond the grave, threatening to gather new Mavericks to continue his war. The same disturbing minimalist music that plays during the final stage also plays during this scene. It doesn't help that like most early Mega Man games, you can't exit to the title screen, leaving you hearing the music and staring at Sigma's visage until you turn the game off yourself.
    Sigma: You have won a temporary victory, X. What you destroyed was only a temporary body — my spirit remains intact. In time, I will find other bodies strong enough to do my bidding, and I will return. I shall see you soon, X. Very soon...
  • Mega Man X2:
    • The manga adaptation of the duel between X and a brainwashed Zero starts off with Zero killing Serges in cold blood, then methodically attempting to murder X, right down to bisecting his helmet in an attempt to decapitate him, before ramming his hand into a gaping hole in his armor in an attempt to finish him off with charged energy! X only even gets a chance to free him from the W chip controlling his actions when it delivers a painful and debilitating shock that paralyses him, and only survives the attacks because he was able to shed the tattered remains of his armor upgrade as they absorbed the potentially-lethal damage.
    • What takes the matter of Zero further into nightmarish territory is the foreknowledge from both later in the X series and from the Classic series at the end of the Power Fighters arcade title, in conjunction with the potential boss fight. Serges's own death quote about Zero being "The last of the doctor's creations" heavily implies that some of the Mavericks did know about Zero's past. Zero's initial appearance was a little 'incomplete' at the start of the first game compared to Wily's schematics of him at the end of Power Fighters and the wireframe schematics of himself and X that Sigma used as the backdrop for his final battle in X5. All this points to Serges having enough of Wily's knowledge to complete Zero's design, improved buster, Z-saber, and all.
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    • Morph Moth's stage, which is a robot scrapyard. It features creepy dummy-looking robots hanging by wires by their necks, shooting them causes the body to fall off and the severed head to remain dangling and shoot you. It also features disheveled-looking robots built out of enemies from the previous game. The stage's mini-boss is fought in a room that has a floor composed more like a giant pit full of dismembered robot parts, which for a robot like Mega Man must be a bit like stepping into a pit full of bleeding, severed limbs. The manga adaptation of the Morph Moth fight is extremely ghoulish, as Morph Moth uses a hallucinogenic agent to make X believe he was being haunted by the zombified remains of the vengeful Mavericks he'd defeated since the first game. How X dispatches him afterwards is fairly brutal, as he ignites the hallucinogenic agent with the Speed Burner and utterly incinerates Morph Moth.
    • You know you're in deep trouble when Magna Centipede drains X's jumping, dashing and X-Buster charging/rapid-firing abilities thanks to his poison attack. The sheer helplessness of you in that situation can be pretty unnerving, especially if you've made it that far.
    • For a particularly good example of 16-bit era Video Game Cruelty Potential in Mega Man X2, X can carve Wire Sponge in half by finishing him off with the Sonic Slicer.
    • The battle against Wheel Gator takes place in a pool that resembles red blood and during the fight Gator spends most of the time underwater, trying to lure X down with Spin Wheels so that he could pull a surprise attack on him. This whole battle can be surprisingly nerve-wrecking as the idea is to avoid Gator's jaws and wait for him to appear.
    • Agile, the most polite of the X-Hunters is a pretty sadistic villain in the manga adaptation of the game, with his most heinous crime beheading a Disk Boy 08 just for trying to escape the X-Hunters' base in the North Pole, and even tastes the blood of the poor Maverick mook on his laser sword!note 

  • Mega Man X3:
    • The Nightmare Police duo of Bit and Byte who serve as Dr. Doppler's henchmen. They first appear in a cutscene with an ominous, sinister music playing in the background while Dr. Doppler orders them to go after X and bring him back to his lab, alive if possible. What brings them into Nightmare Fuel territory is the fact that after defeating two of the eight mavericks, the duo will then randomly start showing up from within the remaining six mavericks' levels and that it can potentially invoke some Paranoia Fuel into some players who aren't quite ready and prepared to face Bit and Byte just yet, especially if they don't have the duo's own respective weakness weapons. And unlike the X-Hunters in the previous game, you can't skip these encounters! Making matters worse is the fact that for every new playthrough of the game, Bit and Byte's random appearances are reset via the Random Number God, meaning that you might encounter the two of them either now or later, once again invoking the potential paranoia fuel for some players.
    • Speaking of Bit and Byte, they aren't the only ones after X. In the same aforementioned cutscene there is another maverick who appears, but is only named as "Mysterious Maverick". Those who have already played the first game recognize immediately who this maverick is, as the ominous silhouette doesn't make him unrecognizable: it's Vile and he's back in business. He even says to Doppler that he "has a score to settle" and that he will take care of things in his own way. Luckily, the encounter with him is entirely optional but if you decided to stray from your usual path in any level, you might come across a portal that leads you to an empty, desolated and dimly lit factory area which serves as a sub-level for Vile to exact his revenge upon X. And when you defeat him, he reveals having set the entire factory self-destruct just in case.
      • The manga adaptation of Vile makes him even more bloodthirsty by boasting he has a "demon" inside him and claims X has one inside of him as well.
    • The manga adaptation of Bit and Byte make them even more unsettling. Bit clearly enjoys sadistically tormenting X, leaving him covered in slash marks from his beam sabre, while Byte beats the utter crap out of Zero to the point where he breaches armor and leaves him looking like a wreck. Their ultimate fate is pretty out there as well, as Bit crucifies X and is just about to kill him when the wounded (former) Mavericks, having been cleansed of their brainwashing by the Sigma Virus and severely battered from fighting their way over, use the last of their strength to throw the upgrade chips containing X's armor over. X's fully charged buster shot proceeds to rip Bit in half, but before Byte can gather up his partner and retreat, Doppler forces them to fuse into their combined form using the centipede-like chips that contained the Sigma Virus. Byte's final shot before being overrun and forced to transform was of a lone eye visible under a writhing mound of centipede chip-robots, clearly looking around madly in panic.
    • Doppler's Final Stage is very unsettling with a sinister Background Music and there are actual Reploids trapped in tanks in the background.
      • The Reploids are most certainly not small, either; just one in the nearest background layer is larger than X's sprite. Considering the mood and the sheer number of them, this is either where Doppler was converting unwitting Reploids into Mavericks under Sigma's cause - or an entire army of Sigma backup bodies.
    • After defeating Kaiser Sigma, the final boss of the game, the game still isn't over. Sigma, disappointed that he couldn't defeat X with his strongest body, decides to become Sigma Virus all over again and outright possess X. Luckily, you don't get to fight him, but you have to start climbing the wall while Sigma Virus causes freaking lava to start rising from the bottom of the screen. There is nothing to indicate it, unless you know it's coming and can catch you off-guard the first time playing. After successfully escaping, Sigma Virus corners X and is about to possess him until Zero/Doppler comes to the rescue and without them he would have been screwed.
    • The X3 manga adaptation has X knocked out and awakened in a world where humanity and Reploids don't have to worry about Sigma or his Virus anymore, since they are living together in harmony. While it seems peaceful at first, X can't seem to use his weapons until he sees his reflection, showing a monstrous image of his face and Sigma taunting him, foreshadowing Copy X's "methods" of keeping the harmony, though mostly for humans, while making Reploids themselves second class citizens by "retiring" them because of energy concerns.
  • Mega Man X4:
    • The "Warning" message that made its debut in this game. You have the word written across the screen in huge red futuristic letters whenever you enter into a boss battle and that it flashes constantly upon sight with a scary alarm sound before disappearing. Most people who saw it were quite scared of it as they didn't expect for something like it to occur so suddenly and to add more horror to its nightmare potential, most of the boss battles from within X4 and beyond had took place from within obscure and solitude places that were quite dark and unnerving (given the PlayStation's darker and sharper graphics). To add even more horror to the "Warning" message's nightmare potential, think back to the first Final Weapon stage of X4 and remember on how both X and Zero had surprisingly ran into both Double and Iris (who at the time were seen as cheerful characters from within a relatively dark game like X4) from within their separate in-game scenarios. When the "Warning" message had instantly flashed from within the room of where the sudden confrontations had took place from, you immediately knew and realized that Double and Iris weren't there to help you out.
    • While it's certainly a nice touch to see shoutouts to defeated Mavericks in the background of various chambers, it's also rather ghoulish. Chill Penguin and Blizzard Buffalo are seen in the background frozen inside chunks of ice, giving the impression that either their corpses were left on the battlefield for years or that Frost Walrus had a macabre hobby of preserving the corpses of ice-elemental Reploids.
    • The manga adaptation of Frost Walrus's fight with X, plus the ensuing fallout, is unexpectedly violent. X is accompanied by a reformed Blizzard Buffalo in an attempt to apprehend Walrus, only for X to get impaled by one of Walrus' giant icicles which incapacitates him into unconsciousness while Buffalo steps in to help X out against Walrus. When X recovers consciousness, he sees Buffalo's shadow and thinks that he won, only to find after getting a closer look that Walrus murdered Buffalo by impaling him and preserving his corpse with the visible wound inside a large block of ice. X proceeds to procure a suit of Ride Armor and pursues Walrus with murderous vengeance on his mind, only to nearly lose to Walrus. However, General appears before them and saves X by killing Walrus for his bad conduct, and leaves while essentially shrugging off X-Buster shots from the wounded hunter. In frustration, X screams and smashes and damages his arm on the floor. This would lead to X hunting down the Light Capsule that contained the Ultimate Armor, which Light warns his son is unstable. The next time Zero meets X, he had just brutally murdered Slash Beast on the Repliforce train, vaporizing most of him with a charged shot that left one of Slash Beast's hands as the largest surviving fragment of him. X threatens Zero not to stand in the way of his vengeance, otherwise he would kill Zero as well, before taking flight with the Ultimate Armor and leaving the scene. Later, he tracks down Storm Owl and shoots him down along with the entirety of the Repliforce air brigade he commanded over a volcano. Badly injured, Owl is befuddled at how X could have such power, and yells that 'he' is the true Maverick, not Repliforce. X then coldly shuts him up with a charged shot to the chest, killing him, with a sinister Slasher Smile on his face. The coldly murderous antics of X will really give you chills if you perceive this as a very dark foreshadowing to Master X's ruthlessness and the dystopia that is Neo Arcadia in the Mega Man Zero timeline.
    • Sigma's incarnation in this game counts as well. In his first form, his attire and body is akin to a Grim Reaper and he has a giant, lethal scythe that looks capable of crushing anything when in strong hands. After this form is defeated, you'll face him the second time, only to find him with two separate forms that alternate with one another. One form is his head attached to an alien cannon. The other form, which takes the cake, is his big head, but disfigured with metallic tubes and wires protruding from him, which makes it look like life support. The music in both battles can intensify these moments, especially the 2nd one.
    • Zero's opening cut-scene starts with a Nightmare Sequence. It begins with Zero waking up only to be ordered by Dr. Wily to destroy his arch-nemesis and then Zero almost immediately suffers from an anguishing headache as he's being forced to carry out those orders. The scene cuts to a laboratory, followed by Sigma screaming for his life, then we're treated to still shots of some Reploids brutally murdered with their mangled body parts scattered and blood splattered throughout, Zero's blood-soaked hands, more dead bodies, then a close-up of one of his victims before finally waking up for real. Zero implies that he has this nightmare more than once.
    • The Zero vs. Sigma flashback. Zero gets the upper hand on Sigma by tearing off his saber arm, then closes in with a Slasher Smile. The next time we see Sigma, he's been beaten to a pulp and half his face is missing along with the eye on that side. The other eye has a single straight wound across it, implying that Zero methodically gouged out one of Sigma's eyes, started on the other, then got bored. Zero then (tries to) finish Sigma by snapping his neck, which he really could have done at any other point before then, showing that he wanted Sigma to suffer and die slowly. Even Omega had the decency to stun-lock you to death in 10 seconds. Zero also spends the entire fight laughing or screaming. Awakened Zero and Omega would at least talk.
    • Iris' death is mostly a Tear Jerker, but the sheer atmosphere, chilling Background Music and the horrific fact that Zero had to kill his Love Interest with his own hands bring this in Nightmare Fuel territory too. Even worse when Zero suffers a Heroic BSoD afterwards, realizing for the first time that all his war efforts could have been for nothing. The English version's cheesy voice acting can lessen the impact, but the original Japanese audio (especially Zero's screams of anguish) is certainly bone-chilling.
    • In X's side of the story, this cut-scene where Double finally reveals his true nature. After being ordered by Sigma to go after X — with the terrible timing of being mocked once too often as his clumsy disguised self by a room of jerkish Reploids — he changes into a more stylized and dangerous form, then single-handedly and bloodily kills them all in a few seconds. The scene ends with Double cutting the last injured one down as he tries to call for help, before falsely reassuring X that there's nothing to worry about when he does answer; clearly in absolute delight at the thought of inflicting the same torture on his former teammate. For reference, the game was originally Rated E for Everyone... and by the time the Mega Man X Legacy Collection re-release came around, it was bumped up to a T Rating due to the horrors of this and Zero's opening cutscene.
      • Related to that scene, we get a brief look at Double's face before he does this. He's smiling.
    • The final stretch after beating the Colonel. Everything's spiky and full of holes and that ominous vacuum like music. Not helping matters is that you fight General, Double, and Iris here...
  • Mega Man X5:
    • Up to this point in the series, bosses were often Mavericks by choice and participating in Sigma's plans for rebellion, or members of the Repliforce in terms of X4 while following their orders to their demises. In this game, however, most of the Mavericks are entirely involuntary due to the spread of the Sigma Virus, some of them even asking for a Mercy Kill knowing that they'll eventually lose their sanity and reasoning if left unattended. Depending on when/if you actually get around to them, X and Zero have to contend with them having gone partly insane, or even completely Ax-Crazy. Just to top it off, the boss theme is the darkest in the entire X line-up, reflecting not only the dire circumstances on a global scale, but also the Last Dance of the bosses as they teeter on the edge of insanity.
    • Sigma's final form here can also invoke this a bit. With its 3D model, it clashes with the overall 2D game.
    • Consider Sigma, his plans in this game, and several other elements of X5. The combination of the Sigma Virus's ghostly aura covering the Earth, the Eurasia Colony Drop with thousands and thousands of humans and Reploids (who didn't go Maverick) looking on in horror/helplessness, the Colony Drop partially/mostly succeeding almost killing the entire human race with Zero going Maverick if the colony was only half-destroyed — this is what Sigma wanted with the Colony Drop, the purple, ghostly portrait of Zero's helmet for the Zero Space stages on the Stage Select screen, and Sigma's ghostly purple face for his stage on the Stage Select screen (later reused in X6 as a dialogue portrait).
    • If the attempts to destroy Eurasia fail, you hear Dr. Wily telling Zero to awaken and destroy X. Then you see Zero on a mountaintop, glowing with purple energy. He finally went Maverick.
      • Along those same lines, regardless of whether or not you destroyed Eurasia, once you reach the end of the third Zero-space stage, you'll get the familiar "Warning" message, and like the Mega Man X4 example above, you immediately knew and realize that Zero (or X if you're playing as Zero) isn't there to help you out. The fated battle that has been foreshadowed for four games is now happening.
    • Plus there's the fact that if the colony crashes, Earth is almost annihilated.
    • There's also the unused track, entitled "Armageddon", for when the space colony crashed. It sounds like a rock ballad, but there's a sense of the Earth being wiped clean. Also, if you listen closely there's discordant violins amongst the guitars.
    • The backgrounds of the first three final stages consist of pure flashing moving straight lines AND terribly mind-numbing music, along with the the scary violet flashes of the appearing Zero Viruses - it's rather chilling.
    • Dynamo is an Ensemble Dark Horse and a little bit of a Breakout Villain, given his appearance in the following game. Cool theme, cocky attitude, amusing dialogue. He's also a mass murderer that exterminated every single living being on Eurasia and sent it plummeting towards Earth on Sigma's orders. There's little dancing around the fact that such an Affably Evil character is also directly responsible for one of the most horrific tragedies that accumulated an unrivaled death toll in the mainline franchise. To top it off, he is the only series antagonist to never die or get arrested, with the Maverick Hunters treating him as nothing more than an annoying Jerkass Troll who just wants to cause unwanted and unnecessary trouble against the main protagonists. He committed near-planetary genocide, got to fight it out with X and Zero for both fun and distractions, and he gets away with it scot-free.
      • Oh, and to twist the knife further, in X6 Dynamo's collecting Nightmare Souls. And not just small trickles - if you can hit him with the right weapons in his bonus fights, he drops up to three fast-completion Boss tier souls each encounter, being downright the fastest way to grind for them. All for the sake of getting stronger so he can fight on or surpass X and Zero's level. The sheer audacity and insanity of the plan is one thing, but that means the guy escaped off-screen with the potential of either going absolutely Ax-Crazy or genuinely harnessing untold amounts of power - and is never heard from again.
  • Mega Man X6:
    • Metal Shark Player's stage is no better. Taking place in a recycle laboratory, you can see scrapped machines in the background. The boss room takes it up to eleven, where the floor itself is made of nothing but pieces of junk! Made even worse with Metal Shark Player, who is a Maverick Necromancer.
    • Fittingly, everything about the, and related to, the Nightmare. First, there's the Zero Nightmare, an insane, homicidal, discolored copy of Zero that seems to alternately claim to be, think he is, or be searching for, the real Zero, and often goes from carrying on a relatively normal conversation to making violent threats, or screaming in rage. Second, there's the Nightmare Virus, which takes the form of creepy, tentacled, DNA-strand shaped robots who can and do warp innocent Reploids into Maverick killing machines on-screen. Third is the Nightmare phenomenon itself, which seemingly has the power to warp reality, causing natural disasters, and creating pockets to alternate dimensions. Finally, there's the Nightmare Mother. Brrrrr... Watch this thing in action... if you dare.
    • Sigma himself qualifies in this game as a result of Gate's botched resurrection attempt. His first form looks like a robotic Revenant Zombie, he's near mindless, is obsessed with getting his Revenge on X and Zero. And while his speech before his second phase is pure Narm, his design in the second phase, lovingly named Hell Sigma, is most certainly not, as it looks like a giant version of Sigma that had its skin removed. Even his themes are much darker: his stage and first battle theme is rather unholy and creepy, while his second battle theme is a more threatening version of his battle themes from the first and second games.
      • Not to mention, when Gate reveals that he resurrected Sigma as a backup plan, Sigma says that he didn't need Gate's help to be brought back, and kills Gate as he screams in extreme pain.
    • One of the Nightmare enemies is a floating torso with DNA-strand tendrils that usually try to fire at either X or Zero, but if an injured Reploid is on-screen, said Nightmare enemy will beeline for it, and if it successfully reaches them, it infects/possesses them and turns them into an enemy. Said Reploid will be considered either lost or dead if killed afterwards (considering that some of these injured Reploids are holding upgrade parts, it's a valid reason to load a save). To make matters slightly worse, when the Nightmare enemies are killed, they sometimes drop their Nightmare Soul. If it's not collected in a short amount of time, the enemy will regenerate for another attempt. Thankfully, they can only do this once.
  • Mega Man X7:
    • That One Boss or no, Flame Hyenard's situation is both horrifying and saddening to think about. He's constantly in pain due to the Sigma Virus, and has been suffering since before you got to him. If his in-game dialogue is anything to go by, as well as the only reason he attacks X, Zero, or Axl being that he thinks it'll get rid of his pain, this torment has been driving him to complete insanity. When you finally do fight him, the infection's in such a late stage that the only way to cure him is to put him out of his misery.
    • A cartoonish video game soundtrack seems like an odd place for nightmare fuel, no? The "Soul Asylum" track disagrees with you. The distorted effects in the track are almost hypnotic...
    • Zero's ending. It starts with Zero standing in a blank white area, before seeing X in the distance, who's charging up his X-Buster while spouting "Eliminate...eliminate the Mavericks...the Mavericks...". X then shoots Zero...before it's revealed that it was Zero's nightmare. The unsettling music that plays in the ending doesn't help. This was foreshadowing of what would happen in the Zero series.
  • Mega Man X8:
    • Lumine. Expressionless, doll-like face, Creepy Monotone, shapeshifting powers, and ready and willing to go utterly Ax-Crazy.
    • The true final boss Lumine has an attack that is instant death. It consists of the screen going black and you hear the character you are playing as screaming at the last second. What on earth is going on behind it...?
    • Sigma's appearance in this game is downright disturbing: he has devilish horns, a borderline skeletal body and a crumbled face which all makes sense considering how many times he has been successfully destroyed in the previous games.
    • Vile is back again and this time he appears three times randomly in the eight maverick stages, similar to that of Bit and Byte in X3, invoking a similar style of Paranoia Fuel to those who are not prepared to face him quite yet. The fights against Vile are significantly easier though, which makes this a little less nerve-wrecking. But if you decided to just randomly enter Noah's Park after defeating Vile in Jakob (and successfully fought him three times before), you are greeted with a surprise encounter mid-level which comes as a Jump Scare, when Vile emerges from the shadows and almost manages to pull a sneak up attack on you.
  • Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X:
  • Mega Man X DiVE:
    • The first time you play through Stage 5-6, you are thrown into a Hopeless Boss Fight against Vile in the Goliath Ride Armor. Much like in the first game, it plays out as a Continuity Nod with ViA filling in for Zero. Unlike Zero, he survives his seeming kamikaze attack on Vile, which leaves half of his face warped, much like Two-Face.
    • Something similar happens later in the "ViA's Deep Log Training" event. After fighting him much like the iconic X vs. Zero fight in X5, he dismisses both you and RiCO, with the screen lingering on the stage for a few seconds. And then...
    ViA: ...... ...... Don't make a move yet. I'd like to observe them for a little longer.
    Unknown ( RiCO?): Hmmm... Sigh... Well, I'm fine either way... Let's hope it will not create more work for me.
    ViA: That's not up to you to decide...the fateful day shall come eventually. Afterall, that's the "mission" we have been given.