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Nightmare Fuel / MOTHER
aka: Earth Bound

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NESS... IT HURTS...IT HURTS...

Inside the mailbox was absolutely nothing.
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It may look like another innocent series made by Nintendo... But it's far worse than the outside implies, and delving deep into its subconscious may end up driving you mad. Case in point and putting it short, it might just be the darkest Nintendo series to date. And that's saying a lot.


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    MOTHER/EarthBound Beginnings 

  • The first playable minutes of the game have an oddly sinister feel to them: you're a child sitting in the middle of a sparsely decorated room (with a background track halfway between familiar and nostalgic), when suddenly a lamp tries to kill you, and you must save your sisters (who also have weirdly minimalistic rooms) from another lamp and a Creepy Doll. It's likely unintentional, but the game's beginning resembles what a modern player might expect out of a (tame) creepypasta.
  • While not nearly as famous as the one in the sequel, the final battle against Giygas is actually pretty terrifying when placed into an appropriate context. If you were playing as a child in 1989, this was probably the very first video game battle you'd experience where everything you thought you knew about playing games doesn't help you. You can try and try with all your might, using all the amazing powers you'd earned during your adventure, but no matter how hard you try, he will just continue mocking your ineptitude, telling you your only options are to give up or die. Coupled with the white-on-black contrast of his sprite, the ear-bleeding eeriness of his "music", and the fact that there's a good chance you're in a dark room, for the NES, that was some pretty unnerving stuff. And as seen below, it gets From Bad to Worse for both the player and Giygas.

    MOTHER 2/EarthBound 

  • Poo's Mu Training. You're controlling an unfamiliar character who is told to go attend a training session. The training initiates a battle, where an outline of a stylized Chinese-ancestor head appears. It then proceeds to (all in text, mind you) break your legs, tear off your arms, cut off your ears, and take away your eyes. Worst of all, before each step, it asks for confirmation. After each step, your health drops. When you lose your ears, the music cuts off. And when your eyes are gone, the whole screen goes blank. The final step reminds the player that all they have remaining to them is their mind—which they are then asked to give up as well.
    • The Japanese version is even scarier; where in English the spirit informs you that he will "I shall steal your sight," in Japanese he says he will "crush your eyeballs." See here for the comparison between the Japanese and English versions.
  • Wait through the logos for Nintendo, Ape (now Creatures), and Halken (now just HAL Laboratories). Eerie red static flashes on the screen, with an quiet, high-pitched noise, and as the flashing slows down, we see a scene of UFOs shooting lightning at a city. Does This Remind You of Anything? Cue Scare Chord.
  • Really, there are some pretty unnerving tunes in this game. Most of it has to do with creating an otherwordly-effect on the atmosphere of certain parts; a good example would be Alien Invasion.
    • The music in Porky's House is pretty scary as well. It starts off normally... then dissolves into cacophonic noises, then a weird carousel theme, and back to the start. It gives the feeling of walking through a house and realizing something is very messed up. Given how abusive the Minch parents are and how unhinged their older son is, it's rather fitting.
  • Threed, anyone? Up until this point, the game has been pretty cheery, and then it drops you into a dark, zombie-infested nightmare where the undead can occasionally even be found walking around near the usually "safe" areas of town. Sure, it's all Played for Laughs, but try telling that to a kid.
    • Not to mention think of the people in the town, they are in a town that is always night, zombies are roaming around, people with Jack-o-lanterns for heads are causing trouble, living dummies pop out from nowhere and chase you, and everyone is literally trapped there. Threed is a living Hell.
  • The penultimate level of the game, where your party returns to Onett to find that Giygas's invasion has begun. The whole city is dark and all of the buildings are locked; while the aliens haven't gotten to the town yet, it's only a matter of time.
  • Happy Happy Village in general is pretty eerie. The presence of the religious cult in the town makes every one act unnaturally happy and strangely obsessed with the color blue. The creepy music in the town alone sets the mood perfectly, telling you things definitely are not right here. The creepy hooded cult members don't help matters.
  • In the Lost Underworld, Ego Orbs can be this, especially on first sight. They move really fast, much faster than the Chomposaur or Wetnosaur. Like most enemies, they can also detect you if they're even partially on-screen, catching careless players off guard, as well as giving them a nasty surprise. Lastly, there's their faces, which easily fall into Uncanny Valley territory and make them suddenly darting toward your position from off-screen all the startling. How would one react when THIS makes a beeline for you?
  • The final level of the game, the Cave of the Past, an eerie and melancholic place with a gray fog covering all the place. You find powerful enemies that easily can one-shot half of your party, then you find the cave where the Devil's Machine lies, at the end of a fleshy, intestine-like corridor, and the whole thing seems to be breathing and pulsating with life. The eerie, ominous music doesn't help at all.
    • And how do Ness and his friends get there? In the words of Dr. Andonuts himself, life is demolished in the process of time travelling, which is the reason why he transfers their "brain programs" to robotic bodies so they can travel, while their bodies stay behind, without any warrant that their spirits would come back to their bodies; this thought can be very terryfing beacuse this means Ness and company are doing the greatest sacrifice by renouncing to their human bodies, and go around in robotic bodies unable to feel pain or anything, and even if they manage to win and come back to the present, they still might be stuck in their robotic bodies forever. Fortunately, it doesn't happen. Upon Giygas' defeat, their spirits go back to their human bodies.
    • The Cave of the Past in and of itself is pretty much Nothing Is Scarier. The area itself is not very visually interesting, the music is extremely minimal, and (besides the enemies, all of which are represented by nothing but diamond-shaped objects instead of the normal, unique enemy sprites you've seen throughout most of the game) there aren't any characters and only one recharge station, way at the beginning of the area.
    • The present-day version of the cave has a bit of creepiness of its own. After exploring the Lost Underworld, you walk in to this strange cave where you can't do anything, and the only thing that keeps you company is this creepy, discordant, almost mocking "song". It's more unsettling than outright scary, especially since it's possible to wander in here earlier than you're meant to.
  • Giygas. That is all. Just... Giygas. Put simply, he is generally agreed to be the single most terrifying Nintendo villain in all of the company's history- which, considering Nintendo's track record, says quite a bit. He is, of course, the most terrifying part of the game, not to mention the most memorable. After having spent the entire game fighting cartoonish monsters with baseball bats and frying pans, Ness and his friends are now fighting an Eldritch Abomination with a terrifying, amorphous visage that looks like a demonic, ghostly hurricane with a warped, screaming face. The creepy, amourphous, jarring background music (and the dialogue inspired by the creator's trauma of catching a glimpse of a murder scene, which he thought was a rape scene, in a movie as a young child) only adds to this. The fact that most of the rest of the game is so childlike and cartoonish only makes this more frightening, because it seems so out of place.
    • Listen to his dialogue. He claims to be happy among his irrational babbling.
    Giygas: Ness... ah, grrr, ohhh... I feel... g...o...o...d.............
    • Not to mention when he starts calling out your name repeatedly...
    • And of course, this bit...
    Giygas: It's not right...not right...not right...
    • Think of it this way. Even after Ness and co. have fought powerful monsters, grown stronger, and even after Ness defeated his inner evil and got that massive level-up, this abomination is so horrifically powerful that all they can do is pray for help.
    • In spite of you defeating him through The Power of Love and Prayer, Giygas constantly says, "It Hurts" as you attack him. Even if he is a horrific evil abomination that threatens to destroy the universe and you are killing him with Incorruptible Pure Pureness, it still kind of makes you question yourself.
    • With praying being your only hope, one could mistake Giygas as a demon, what with the red coloration and the sheer horror that is his appearance.
    • Probably one of the terrifying parts of the battle comes from a small bit of flavor dialogue: just before Paula prays for the last time (which is when you come in), she gets no response from anybody.
      Paula's call was absorbed by the darkness.
    • Not to mention: when you finally defeat Giygas, the visual and audio distortions get worse and louder until they peak, then everything instantly blips out like a TV set turned off. It's jarring, to say the least.
    • Giygas gets even worse if you've played or are familiar with MOTHER/Earthbound Origins. He was once an alien creature whose race was the origin of PSI powers who was adopted by a human who he genuinely loved. However, his conflicting loyalty to his species who sought revenge for humanity stealing the secret of PSI from them and his love for his adoptive mother caused him to undergo catastrophic Sanity Slippage. The Giygas American players are more familiar with is the end result of Giygas' incredible PSI powers collapsing in on themselves due to his mental conflict until an amorphous Almighty Idiot was all that remained. With that being said, his "It's not right" line might just be the last rational part of Giygas horrified at what he'd become.
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    MOTHER 3/EarthBound 2 
  • MOTHER 3 would have a terrifying scene at the final boss fight, but it is cut off. You still can see the unused scenes by special code if you dare...
    • Note that some people think they are unused bosses, but Itoi has said in an interview that they are just unused backgrounds.
    • You can view a fan concept of what the unused backgrounds and cutscenes would have been like here. Again, if you dare.
    • According to Itoi, the final battle was supposed to be a nightmarish sequence similar to the fight against Giygas from EarthBound, except this time with no dialogue. It had to be cut out of the game because it was too nightmarish. The battle backgrounds are theorized to be remnants of this cut sequence.
  • Flint's breakdown after learning of Hinawa's death. Not so bad for a kid, home-hittingly scary for those who are older.
  • The Ultimate Chimera. After the duel with the Almost-Mecha Lion in the Chimera Laboratory, your fellow Pigmask co-worker alerts you to pretty much get the hell out of a room if you see it, and for good reason: running into it kills you, no ifs, ands, or battles. If that warning doesn't scare you, the next part will: the creepy music will cut out, replaced with background sounds of other Pigmasks fleeing for their lives only to get devoured by that thing. Can you confidently traverse from one room to another knowing that such a powerful creature is loose inside the lab? And this is when it's safe and the Chimera isn't around. When the music returns, then you have much more reason to worry about your own safety.
    • Perhaps even more horrifying, if you do run into it, you get to witness the Ultimate Chimera chomping and crunching on Lucas while the screen turns red.
    • Even worse: after you escape the Chimera Lab unscathed, there is a giant, gaping hole on the building to the left of the entrance and an injured Pigmask, implying that the Ultimate Chimera escaped containment and is now out in the wild.note  And if the whiteboard in the lab is to be believed, the Pigmasks understandably have no intention of getting it back.
    • In the last section of the Empire Porky Building's Restroom Level, knock on the right-most men's room door and you'll hear an all-too-familiar Ba-DEET! noise. Knocking on it again will result in something banging the door from the inside. Go inside the room and you'll see the Chimera, inches away from you, on a toilet.
  • The rather horrific changes that Fassad undergoes. It may look funny to some, but he's been turned into a cyborg who can't even speak anymore because they've replaced his mouth with trumpets. The second time around is even worse.
  • The horrible change that occurs to your hometown. In the beginning, no one locked their doors, there was no crime, and everyone helped one another if the need arose... there was no concept of 'money'.
    • By Chapter 7, everyone is gone. All the doors are locked, and the only people left behind are complaining about their lot. The town is still there, but its soul is sucked away bit... by bit... by bit until everyone's gone. Shudder.
  • Tanetane Island. You have to eat the funky-looking mushrooms, which send you into a trippy world of pink trees and creepy music, plus the occasional mailbox (see page quote). Oh, yes - and all the enemies look like people you know, most notably your father and your allegedly dead brother. They spout insane dialogue ranging from funny ("I'm going to lick you all up, ice cream!"), to threatening ("I'm gonna beat you, boy. Daddy's gonna beat you."), to batshit insane: "Touch my heart. See how it beats in and out? Lucas! There's noooothing to worry about now."
    "Everyone's waiting for you. Everyone's waiting to throw rocks at you, spit on you, and make your life hell. Who's "everyone"...? Everyone you love."
    • During the trip, the party can enter an incredibly inviting looking hot spring... but when they enter it, Boney, the only one who didn't eat the mushrooms, will stand outside of the spring and whimper. Come back when the trip's over, and the reason Boney refused to enter is because it was a pool of stagnant pond water surrounded by garbage and hazardous waste.
    • The script for this was rewritten, because the original terrified its creator too much.
  • The People Jars in the Empire Porky Building. Made all the more disturbing by the fact that you can talk to them, and they're all quite 'happy' being there. There's even a cow, who will say he's going to become a wonderful steak. Yeesh.
  • If you've seen the unused sprites, you can pretty much tell what happened between the prologue and chapter 1. As seen in this vid here. To make matters worse, this happens BEFORE the twins were found in the river WHILE they were still with Hinawa.
    • There is also Porky Minch's original (or unused) death scene. While some people like to see what's coming to him for all he's done, others might find it disturbing when they see him in a sympathetic light. His machine crashes into the ground after his supposed defeat, breaking the glass on it. Porky tries to reach out to get out of it, but he starts to go limp and he dies. What a way to go.
  • Speaking of Porky, that's basically nothing compared to his canonical fate. True, he did it to himself and he probably deserved it at this point, but still: he ends up being trapped forever in the Absolutely Safe Capsule. A capsule that will keep whatever's inside it completely immortal, and can never be destroyed or opened from outside or from inside. Even after the death of the sun, Porky Minch will still be alive.
    • Porky's situation provokes chilling thoughts: a little boy trapped in the body of an old man who, by this point, is already the series' equivalent to Dr. Weil.
    • The final battle with him is rather horrifying, in and of itself:
    Porky sprayed something!
    Porky sucked something!
    Porky did something!
    ?!... What did Porky do?
    Porky coughed something up!
    What did Porky do?
    What did Porky do?
  • The final battle theme for the Masked Man/Claus is incredibly creepy. It's basically a giant mess of weird sounds, pianos, drums, and at one point, the Love Theme.
    • One of the unused songs (here) was arguably even creepier — in fact, that might be the very reason it remained unused, because it really is disturbing. Even after it was discovered what it is, it's still not clear what it would have actually been used for. It's DCMC's "One, two, three, four!" line slowed down, but it still sounds unsettling at that speed.
  • How about the zombies from the canceled N64 version of the game? Here's what they originally looked like. Compare that to what we eventually got on the resurrected GBA final version of the game, and most people will agree that they were greatly toned down, since they merely resemble Hinawa and Claus.
  • Lucas gaining access to his PSI abilities by having his head shoved underwater and held there in a hot spring by Ionia, one of the Magypsies. While we aren't shown the actual act, Ionia's dialogue (as well as what occurs afterwards, with Lucas emerging out of the water) makes it obvious as to what they did to him...
  • The Empire Porky Building can create a deep sense of unease. The floors are extremely varied in their contents and layout, ranging from indoor pools of hippos (complete with grass and vines), a game show, a futuristic area, dozens of toilets, and even including a large area still under construction. The whole building seems to be an Eldritch Abomination. Compounding how disturbing it is, the player is repeatedly told that whatever floor they are on is the 100th floor, their goal. An air of futility begins to seep in, as the player may begin to wonder if they'll be trapped in this product of Porky's twisted imagination forever.
  • Some of the monster designs get really freaky with the Body Horror as the game goes on. Special mention to the Hefty Heads in Argilla Pass, who must've dragged their enlarged heads out of the Uncanny Valley.


Alternative Title(s): Earthbound, Mother 3

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