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Nightmare Fuel / Psychonauts

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Psychonauts is mostly fun and humorous, but some things in it are quite disturbing. Especially since it revolves around facing and defeating personal demons.
  • The most egregious example, of course, would be the Meat Circus level. Mix-and-Match Critters coming out of meat grinders, freaky ghost-things appearing on the walls and wailing Raz's name, a race against rising water which, if you get anywhere near it, drags you in, Adult Fear galore in the form of two characters' crippling Parental Issues, and, as a Final Boss, a giant, evil, Frankensteinian abomination that comes out of a meat grinder after the already-upsetting manifestations of said Parental Issues get thrown in.
    • Holy crap, the Butcher. Even pre-meat grinding, that creature was hair-raising...
    • The Butcher is scary enough, but when he hits the ground with his axe, look at the ground, it's bleeding. It doesn't help that he sees you as a slab of meat if you use Clairvoyance.
    • Though the face in the walls wailing Raz's name becomes somewhat less creepy once you find out who it is.
  • The "secret room" in Milla's mind. Her backstory, on top of being a colossal Tear Jerker, is Adult Fear to an absolutely nightmarish level, and that terrible, terrible place is the representation of it.
    • If you REALLY want to know: Milla used to run her own orphanage before becoming a Psychonaut and took care of the children there. One night, she comes to the place to find it engulfed in flames, with all the children trapped inside. And being a psychic, she was forced to hear them as they all burned to death. The insides of the chest in question take you to a burning landscape with odd nightmareish creatures looming over you, caged off from you, screaming in agony and asking why Milla couldn't save them.
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    • and wouldn't you know it? THEY DO!! Later in the "Milk Man Conspiracy" Raz has to fight these literal nightmares not once, but twice!
    • And it would have been seen if it hadn't been cut: voice clips are still present on the disc and can be listened to here.
  • Crysal and Clem, the two peppy "cheerleader" campers, casually discussing their various suicide attempts.
  • The entire ascent to Dr. Loboto's office, what with the kamikaze rats, gloomy atmosphere, and Sheegor constantly peeking out from corners and staring at you.
    • If you look at the sky near the top of the Asylum, you see some Nightmare Faces in the clouds.
  • Every single mind has at least one nightmarish thing. Every. Single One. Milla? See above. Sasha? His desire for control mutated his Censors into abominations. Waterloo, the colourful and quirky little game field? Has a massive guillotine, with a beheaded fragment floating around it to boot.
  • Some of the "memory vaults" in the game, found while traversing the mental landscapes are very disturbing.
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  • The entire game runs on Nightmare Fuel, quite literally in a number of places. Every in-brain level is, in spirit if not in body, a Womb Level. Brains are yanked from children's heads by a strait-jacketed dentist with a metal claw and a shower cap. It gets so traumatic that they hang a lampshade on it in the last level—if you ask for advice, Raz will calmly sum up the rabbit enemies as "hellish nightmare bunnies spawning from meat grinders", and Cruller will respond with "Well, at this point you might as well just whack 'em", equally unruffled.
  • The sobbing of the Emotional Baggage can be disturbing, especially if said baggage is off-screen, and it takes a while to reach it, with the sobbing in the background all the while...
    • If you listen very carefully, the crying in every mind matches the person whose mind it is. Yes, you will hear Razputin crying.
  • The strange pieces of meat in the Brain Tumbler Experiment level that start to quiver and give off green "gas" when you punch them can be deeply unsettling.
  • While it's one of the funniest levels in the game, The Milkman Conspiracy has its dark underbelly. It's not just the falsely bright and physics-defying overworld wearing on the nerves, the hinge-jawed watchers, sword-swallowing hedge trimmers, and getting pulled not once, but twice into a nightmare world to fight with dark, gas-masked figures that vomit chunks of their former victims, then turn to glass and shatter. While silly at first, the paranoia permeating the level eventually warps the player's thoughts just a little bit towards Boyd's mindset. When you start looking over your shoulder for walking mailboxes, it's a good idea to turn off the console and have a little lie-down.
    • You know what else is scary about that level? A GIRL SCOUT EXPLODES A SUICIDE BOMB. Seriously. She's only a thought, and is evil, but still...
    • That this is how Boyd sees a regular neighborhood.
    • Use Telekinesis on a girl scout and she'll say something to the effect of, "Put me down or I'll scream for the police!". And considering that this is Boyd's actual mind, which would include memories, it is possible that he actually heard that before.
      • Oh yeah, and they're some of the few human NPCs that your Pyrokinesis will actually ignite.
      • Which gets even better/worse when you realize that Boyd's particular "last straw" was burning down the mall that fired him with makeshift Molotov cocktails. He later burns down the asylum as part of his mental programming.
  • Some might find Edgar Teglee's mental world, Black Velvetopia, unnerving. There's just something about it that's incredibly creepy- the way it looks like a parody of an ordinary town or city in Spain, with just enough mental-world surrealism- neon colors on a black background, the giant blazing sun on a black background with a woman inside it crying rose petals, the four queen cards being pulled into portraits by angry luchadores who seem to think you're Edgar and have a bone to pick with him- to make it seem off. The sewers full of red water and high school gym equipment don't help: one gets the impression of them being Edgar's personal Black Bug Room where he's repressed his memories of high school.
    • And the boss of Black Velvetopia, El Odio, just makes things even worse. He's a giant, neon pink bull that is constantly rampaging through the streets of the city while you collect the four queen cards Edgar needs to complete his tower to the sun, and will drag you along with him if you're unfortunate enough to be in the main road when he shows up. And to add icing to the freaky-cake, El Odio is actually Edgar, transformed into a bull by his own rage and hatred towards Lana and Dean, his ex-girlfriend and the guy she dumped him for, who take the forms of Lampita Pasionado and Dingo Inflagrante in his mind. The effect is lessened slightly when El Odio is revealed to be a Bait-and-Switch Boss, but it's pretty jarring having to protect the thing from the real boss, Dingo. Who happens to be a matador. Yeah.
  • The Lungfish boss fight combines gamer-based fear with psychological terrors. It takes place at the bottom of a dark lake, in a bubble of air that the boss can contract from "almost comfortable" to "unbearably claustrophobic" in a matter of seconds. Since the main character and his family have all been cursed to die in water, a pair of glowing green hands hover at the edge of the bubble, following the player's movements and grabbing them the second they stumble across the barrier. At three or four intervals, the boss swims off, dragging the bubble with it and forcing the player to run through a series of harrowing obstacle courses before the water closes in. The Lungfish itself is a hulking mutant, but the truly troubling part regarding it comes after the fight, when it's revealed that she's actually a very kind, intelligent lady lungfish named Linda who was mutated and enslaved against her will, and you've been feeding her boxes of nails. There are also crabs and sucker fish falling from the edges of the bubble constantly, but the latter are actually Nightmare Retardant, as they'll latch onto the top of Raz's head and wobble back and forth with an expression that can only be described as "8B".
  • Fairly subtle, compared to levels like the Meat Circus, but if you think too hard about two of Raz’s throwaway lines from Black Velvetopia, a moment of "I wish I hadn't thought of that" can ensue. At one point, he remarks "I’m beginning to feel like I’m back in high school...which is weird, since I’m only ten..."; the 'Appropriate victory taunt' (to quote Psychopedia) to be used against Cobra is "I beat you just like I did in high school, loser! Wait...who am I?" Talk about an identity crisis... Earlier in the game, it’s implied that Raz is telepathic, which sort of explains the phenomena, but thinking about what might have happened, were there any more inmates or if Edgar or Fred were any worse than they were already.
  • The Brain Tanks are disturbing because either the child's brain they use for a weapon is Mind Raped into trying to kill its friends, or it's constantly given shocks and prods to produce psychic power. It's implied you're only half-conscious inside it, but still...
  • There's something... fairly unnerving about Raz being one of the people that sneeze out their brains. Nearly every character eventually does, and for all of those times it's pretty scary too, (the blank stares, the stumbling and "TV...") but seeing Raz like this is... Turn-away-from-screen-able. It seems off.
    • Which then turns both incredibly funny and unnervingly horrific when Raz's body stumbles off in search of a TV and you play as Raz's brain immediately afterwards for a bit.
    • The ACHOO! Raz lets out when he sneezes out his own brain...sounds really really painful and cringe-inducing. Then again, he IS sneezing out his own brain from his nose!
  • If you try to take Gloria's award statue before you've finished her level, she'll yell "You're supposed to be DEAD!! and lunge for Raz. It's implied it's because she's hallucinating you as her estranged mother who committed suicide, but you won't know that unless you've already been in her mind and unlocked her memories, so it makes it seem like Raz actually stumbled upon a genuinely dangerous mental patient.
  • Whispering Rock gets genuinely creepy once night falls. All the campers are suddenly gone, and dangerous wild animals are now roaming the camp grounds.
    • Psychic dangerous wild animals. Imagine, you're just exploring the area, when you stumble across a bear for the first time. And it then proceeds to use Telekinesis on you.
    • Even worse: the bear can be found during the day (Mikhail even asks you to find it). The mountain lion on the other hand only appears at night. Depending on where you first meet it, you might not even see it, only to suddenly be set on fire.
  • Remember Raz and his family's curse to die in water? How the water forms a hand that drags him down under if he gets in too deep? Do you know what makes up most of a human being? Even though that amount clearly isn't enough to do any amount of harm to him, just the thought of most of your body wanting to kill you can un-nerve.
  • The Milkman subplot is surprisingly terrifying upon reflection. Boyd basically had an alternate personality forced into his head through Oleander's brainwashing, and his mind proceeded to tear itself apart with paranoia over this alien object in his psyche. When the Milkman is discovered and the censors come to remove this foreign object the Milkman instead destroys them and takes over, effectively overwriting Boyd's personality. We later learn that Boyd will recover once the Milkman completes his delivery, but when the mission is completed it looks very much like Boyd's mind has been destroyed and you were inadvertently the one to put the last nail in its coffin.
    • Even worse: the Den Mother yells - upon you freeing the Milkman - that it's too early, that he wasn't ready yet. The game never explains what would have happened if the Milkman would have been ready. Would the Milkman just quickly done his purpose and leave instead of having Boyd being stuck in front of the Asylum until triggered? Or would he have permanently overwritten Boyd, destroying everything that isn't him?

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