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Nightmare Fuel / Pokémon Mystery Dungeon

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Everyone's familiar with Pokémon, right? Maybe you're familiar with the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon spinoffs. You know, the delightful little game with the creatures everyone knows and loves, a partner who will be there when you need them (and when they need you), colorful, happy environments, and... enough Nightmare Fuel to rival the works of H. P. Lovecraft? Was Nintendo's radar turned off or something?

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General

  • Super Mystery Dungeon reveals that all the main games take place in the same universe, which means that the Mystery Dungeon world has suffered at least four near-apocalypses in the span of a few years and is undergoing a fifth.
  • So you're walking around a dungeon, and what's this? A Kecleon shop! Hey, wouldn't it be so funny to steal some stuff from the sucker? You're level 100 and already saved the world, so they wouldn't attack you, knowing that it's just a player having a little fun, right? WRONG! More and more of them come up to swarm you in ridiculous numbers. They will catch up to you, and gang up on you so they can slaughter you! A seemingly innocent Pokemon becomes a shopkeeper so determined that he will defeat anyone who steals from him in a violent manner! Not only that. but enemy Pokemon won't even try to stop him! Even so, they'd probably be maimed by thousands of Kecleon swarming their butts. And where did all the other Kecleon come from?
  • The mysterious force that kicks you out of the dungeon can be a little creepy the first time you play the games. Dialogue about something "coming closer" appears and while that happens, a breeze moves across the screen with an eerie sound effect. To make it extra creepy, it always comes at a time you don't naturally expect: between your character moving and your partner catching up. Nothing should happen in that time slot, and then something so innocent as a bunch of leaves blows across the screen and the soundtrack cuts out, and then it goes back to normal before you have time to think about it.
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    • Consider this: you're a pretty powerful creature that can do any number of things like hurling rocks, or breathing fire, or shooting water, or generating lightning, or even passing through walls... and yet there's some thing that comes and hunts you down if you take too long, and easily hurls you out of the dungeon. And you never find out what it is either.
  • "I can't hold on much longer... help..." The message that occurs when you talk to a companion near defeat.
  • Onix and Steelix. They're huge! (though they're also cakewalks if you use the right moves).
  • Monster Houses can be considered this. Walking around the dungeon, when you see that the next room is full of useful items, like Gummis and Orbs. Being the innocent explorer you are, you decide to walk in and take some of that loot for yourself. No big deal, right? Nope. Several enemies will jump down from the ceiling and Curbstomp Battle you into the ground if you aren't prepared. Luckily, if you have a good Hit All move like Discharge or Blizzard, or if you're at a high enough level, this becomes a lot less scary. If you don't, well...
  • The series has certain dungeons, such as Joyous Tower and Purity Forest from Rescue Team and Destiny Tower and Zero Isle from Explorers which force you to trek a 100-floor dungeon while setting you back to Lv. 1 (or 5 in Rescue Team DX): You're without items, without your money, without your movesets... practically de-aged and sent into hell with no way out. And you have to endure 100 floors of this. 100 floors. That's torment.
  • You can't outrun Ghost-types because they can walk through walls and sometimes you may get in the way of one so that it can't get out of the wall for you to attack it, but it can still attack you.
  • If you use an Itemizer Orb on an enemy that has used Mirror Move, you're the one who gets turned into an item (as seen here). Sometimes food. This defeats you instantly with no chance of revival. Wonder how the team figures out how to resolve that one. There's a specific game over message for it, too.
  • The concept behind the games is freaky too. Imagine, sleeping one night, when you feel like you're being asked questions in a dream. Then, the next morning, you wake up transformed into a Pokémon and in another world, with no knowledge of what happened or how to get back. What happened to your human body in your home world?

Red/Blue Rescue Team

  • The first time you play through the storyline, the Silent Chasm and Mt. Thunder missions can be creepy. All the player and partner know is that a "monster" lives in Silent Chasm (it doesn't help that this is the first time your normally brave partner really expresses fear)... and then, at the end of the Chasm, you find a badly injured Shiftry and a terrified Jumpluff. The monster turns out to be a Zapdos, who proceeds to kidnap Shiftry and make you scale Mt. Thunder and fight him to save Shiftry. Bonus points for the "monster" being the first legendary Pokémon encountered in the game.
  • The Ninetales legend is pretty scary, especially since Ninetales are a regular species of Pokémon without any real extreme powers to speak of. The fact this one apparently managed to turn Gardevoir into a spirit with its curse, and predicted its trainer would be reborn as a Pokémon (though the wording makes it unclear if Ninetales' power had any part in actually making that happen) despite normally being a bog-standard creature in the series is somewhat horrifying.
    • The worst part is that the legend is later revealed to have actually happened. Just ask Gengar.
  • Gengar getting everyone in town to kick you out, even those that you mutually trusted, is rather terrifying on multiple levels. Using only a story that'd been gaining recognition recently and a bit of context-less information he picked up through following your character around, Gengar manipulates the townspeople who'd previously been your friends to attack you and gets every rescue team worth their salt to hunt you down without mercy, and within an instant your team have gone from well-liked and heroic young upstarts to fugitives fleeing across the world and harsh conditions just to try and survive. Mind you, this is all from a character who had only been a petty nuisance so far, with no decent motive or even real connection to you beyond simply having it out for you due to showing him up once or twice.
    • It makes Gengar pretty terrifying in a real sense compared to a lot of other villains, too - he isn't a powerful Pokémon, you've already handed his butt to him and his team in combat long before this point, and compared to other major antagonists of the series he seems relatively pathetic. He's just a malicious and spiteful bully who knows how to twist a situation to benefit him and holds grudges, and your character was just unlucky enough to cross paths with him and end up taking the brunt of that.
    • If you go to Pokémon Square just before you flee as fugitives, you can still use the various shops while the shopkeepers sleep. While talking to the sleeping shopkeepers is quite goofy, especially with their sleeping portraits in DX, there's something ominous about walking around town when it's completely silent, knowing you're now a wanted fugitive they'd probably have no hesitance in attacking if they were to wake up. Doubly so in DX, as Pokémon Square appears visibly mistier during the event there.
      • If you talk to Gulpin and ask for information about remembering moves, he mutters about how you, the player, are quite forgetful and how he wants you to forget a lot of moves so you have to see him a lot. Then he remembers that everyone decided to get rid of you... while by this point it's fairly likely Gulpin would've thought your team were already chased out of town, it's a rather ominous line that could also be taken as meaning in Gulpin's dream, the townspeople have already killed you.
  • The whole fugitive sequence in general. You are forced to survive several extremely inhospitable environments filled with hostile foes, have no real safe place to sleep and presumably no reliable source of food or clean water, and almost everyone you know is relentlessly hunting you and your best friend down with the heavily implied intent of slaughtering you both.
    • Normal 'mons are bad enough, but add on top of that two legendary Pokémon also believing you to be the source of trouble based solely on flimsy evidence at best (the volcano is warmer than usual/the forest is melting in areas that haven't melted before and you show up, so you must be at fault) and attacking you over it. You and your partner manage to convince Moltres otherwise, but Articuno is still hell-bent on killing you after your fight. If Absol hadn't shown up when he did, you'd be dead.
    • There's also the fact that the strongest known rescue team is reluctantly also trying to kill you. Your partner has idolized these guys and you've heard across the whole game how powerful they are, and now they're explicitly trying to hunt you down on the off-chance that killing you might restore the world to order, and state outright that anyone going with you is a target as well. Even with the head-start Alakazam gives you and the implied non-stop running you and your partner do, they still manage to catch up with you on the top of Mt. Freeze. Good thing Ninetales was there to set things straight, or...
  • During a particular dream sequence later on, you do not get the peaceful background and music you normally find yourself in as you converse with Gardevoir. Instead you find yourself in an ominous purple setting, with the player character looking particularly uncomfortable and talking about being in pain. This turns out to be the result of Gengar's Dream Eater, which he's using to try and find more information about you to use against you. Gardevoir manages to drive him off and is able to get rid of the pain, but imagine this: You're asleep comfortably expecting a pleasant dream from your spirit advisor. Instead you fall into a painful nightmare, caused by your most malicious enemy without your knowing, and you have no idea what's going on or how it is happening.
    • Even more so, the fact that Gengar snuck into the player's house while they were sleeping (to spy on their dreams to find more information to use against them, no less!) to begin with. It brings to light the rather scary thought that quite literally anyone can sneak into your house while you sleep, up to and including your worst enemies. It's a good thing seeing Gardevoir in your dreams causes Gengar to run away in tears to stop him from trying it again.
    • The scene also uses a unique track not found anywhere else in the game called Dream Eater, which is little more than an ominous droning. Definitely not unfitting music for a nightmare.
  • In Magma Cavern, finding Alakazam, Charizard, and Tyranitar completely wiped out by Groudon, especially because those three were considered to be the strongest rescue team at that time. Really makes you nervous about the ensuing boss fight with Groudon...
  • Directly after you defeat Groudon, Xatu contacts everyone via telepathy and informs them that a star is crashing towards their world, and that it has the possibility of destroying EVERYTHING. It doesn't help that a picture of the star is shown, and that it looks like a giant fireball that nearly fills the whole screen... Imagine what could have happened if you didn't convince Rayquaza to save everyone!
    • And in DX, the falling star's destruction by Rayquaza's Hyper Beam is shown in greater detail, as the star is shown closing in on the earth's atmosphere. About 22 seconds later, it's shown again even closer up as it's exploding, complete with the two of you being blown off the cloud. But what's most terrifying about all of this? The size of the star. The original games don't give you much indication of the thing's size, but when Rayquaza destroys it, you're treated to some very detailed artwork showing how absolutely it dwarfs the entire region you've seen of the game. That pink beam is Rayquaza's Hyper Beam. Assuming one of the cloud structures the beam is shooting from in this shot represents Sky Tower, that massive tower in the sky you spent 30+ floors trekking up, it's probably safe to assume the star is at least the size of an entire continent if not several more. If it wasn't easy to believe what was shown of the star in the original game would destroy the world, the remakes go above and beyond to show it wouldn't destroy it, it would obliterate it.
  • How about the scene after the final boss fight, after being knocked out from the meteor's destruction? Your character is shown unconscious against a dark, cloudy sky background, with an eerie track consisting mainly of ambient sounds and deep bells playing. From what just happened, the dark sky background, and the fact that Gengar is able to reach you here, it's heavily implied you've been killed and are now in limbo. Yeesh.
  • Some of the Friend Areas show clear signs of former human occupation; in particular, the Power Plant and Decrepit Lab even mention specifically that they were constructed in ancient times by humans, and then abandoned. In addition, the Pokémon of this world know what humans are but have never met one, as though they were a legend or relic out of the past. Implications are up to the players' own imagination.
    • The music that plays in the aptly named Cryptic Cave friend area, home to Mewtwo, complete with creepy moans and bells, plus a static drone throughout. Even scarier, it also plays before you fight Kyogre on the final floor of Stormy Sea and Lugia on the bottom floor of Silver Trench - especially so in the former's case due to it coming across as being genuinely malevolent, and the fear is doubled if you're afraid of water and/or the dark. In general, most of the legendaries' friend areas have ominous ambient sounds rather than actual music, which does a lot to help convey the idea they're beings on another level from you or other Pokémon.
  • Wonder Mail Generators are pretty neat, right? Well, try entering a mission for Howling Forest 15F. The game gets confused when asked to end a mission on an unoccupied floor, so you enter a weird room, and the game tells you there's no one there and it's time to turn back... while the Smeargle you came to rescue is still there.

Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky

Gates to Infinity

  • The death of Hydreigon. You've just been through several dungeons, you're mere moments away from safety, and then Hydreigon says everything is starting to get colder. He dismisses it as nothing, and you keep moving only for Kyurem to appear right in front of you, blast Hydreigon with ice and shatter him right in front of you. The fact that it's so sudden and unexpected makes it all the more terrifying. Furthermore Hydreigon is killed instantly, without even having a chance to react or even speak. That kind of horrifyingly realistic death is very rarely seen even in the most mature of games, let alone Pokemon of all things. Then it gets even worse: without even batting an eyelid, Kyurem proceeds to deliver a brutal No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to the protagonist by stomping on him repeatedly. And the partner can only watch, powerless to stop it, while this goes on for a while. Yeesh. However, he comes back at the very end.
  • Unlike previous installments, you don't come back post-credits... until you play as the partner to work to bring you back.
  • The final boss isn't Kyurem, or even a Pokemon; It's the horrifying Bittercold.
    • The Bittercold itself is terrifying, but its motives to turn everybody's loved ones against them is one of the most terrifying schemes ever. And when you're all alone, fighting this evil, spiky, one-eyed(?) ice crystal... thing is enough to make any hero feel hopelessly terrified. It hasn't got any moves itself either. Only zoom-ins of the Bittercold. These attacks send icy fear into not only your character's, but the player's mortal soul.
  • What happens to all the other humans that were brought to the Pokémon World. How many of them simply walked into an ambush, thinking they were about to help a Pokémon in need, or otherwise hunted for seemingly no reason? And by the time you even learn of them, there are none left...
    • And then you realize what the floating golden orbs the townspeople have been seeing are...
    • Kyurem still says they were in incredible pain before they were banished. Sure the humans made it back to their world, but they basically had to experience death firsthand before they did... *shudder*.
  • The bitterness and apathy of the townsfolk can be frightening, especially when you learn what's behind it.
  • Munna's plan is quite dark. She wanted to destroy the world and kill everyone it in so that no one in that "crapsack world" would ever suffer again.
  • The fact that this game is even darker than Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky is this in itself. Yes, this includes the Nightmare Fuel shown in the above section.
  • When Cofagrigus walks, its bottom hands move like feet while its upper hands reach out in front of it. A giant, walking, eager, living sarcophagus, following you everywhere... furthermore, the Cofagrigus who runs the Gold Exchange shop seems to take a perverse delight in stalking/spying on the player character as they go on their adventures.
  • The fact you may be forgotten and essentially written out of history in the Pokemon world in the ending. Sure, it doesn't happen, but still, very freaky, sad, and generally upsetting.
  • The holehills are definitely this for anyone with Trypophobia. It doesn’t help that there are several long cutscenes there, and even a few fully rendered cutscenes! Thankfully the dungeon itself uses the generic cave background.

Super Mystery Dungeon

  • Doubles as a Tear Jerker, but realizing that someone who you consider a parental figure was brainwashed to deceive you from the beginning. The horror of realizing that any sort of love they have given you was a lie.
  • On Carracosta's part, imagine your child sneaking out at night to go somewhere life threateningly dangerous. His anger is totally justified as the child could have gotten themselves hurt or worse!
  • The events before and after the Mystical Forest show what kind of force the heroes are up against, in case Rayquaza running away in fear wasn't enough. It starts out as a beautiful day in which the team get to travel to a new land. Then they overhear a chat about the petrification epidemic that gets interrupted by two objects crashing down from the sky from out of nowhere. They manage to get into the impact site only to find that those objects are Latios and Latias turned into stone after they were caught by an unknown pursuer. Keep in mind, the twin dragons have Super Speed that rivals jet planes; if they couldn't escape... The music doesn't help either.
  • Dark Matter is essentially The Bittercold, but even worse. It's plot is to turn everything on the planet to stone, including Legendaries, by destroying The Tree of Life, and then hurl the dead planet into the friggin sun! The fact that it was able to effect Arceus of all things might make Dark Matter the most powerful being in the entire Pokemon Franchise!
    • Not to mention that the place you go to when one turns into stone is basically Hell. Seriously, the first Voidlands Dungeon Japanese name is literally Hell Badlands.
  • The fact that by the Final Battle, almost everyone is technically dead.
  • The mere fact that your character gets killed at one point in the story. Sure, they come back, and the fact they die through petrification makes it a little less shocking, but it's a nasty surprise for a Pokémon game.

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