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Nightmare Fuel / Shadow Hearts

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The Shadow Hearts series attempted to combine survival horror with an RPG. The result are more than a few horrific moments.

Spoilers below.

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    In general 
  • The monsters, specially in Koudelka and the first Shadow Hearts, are very disturbing.'' The Shadow Hearts games feature a "Library" mode, where you can read nightmarish descriptions about them.
    • Venomous Spider: a giant spider that - according to its bio- injects corrosive venom into the anus of its prey, and then devours its melting insides. One of the first monsters.
    • Mail Man: an upside-down dog standing on a human arm. According to the Library, he is the ghost of a postman who ate all the dogs in town.
    • Echidna: A giant snake-like monster with a woman trapped inside. According to its bio, the snake swallowed a pregnant woman whole and absorbed the fetus into itself. The human half is in agony and screams constantly.
    • Sin, a scrawny naked woman standing on her arms, holding a pike with her toes which goes through a brain.
    • Guinea Pig, a headless naked woman, that attacks you by splitting its whole body between her legs to bite you.
    • Green Flyers, the snail-girls fought in Zhaoyang village, have an absolutely horrible scream.
    • For Covenant, we get male Fan Disservice in the form of a masculine lower body, gliding on its abdomen and legs in the air, which hits you with a huge phallic lump of flesh hanging from its crotch and bites you with mouths in the crook of its knees. And that's not even going into the bosses...
  • Every Shadow Hearts has a Dollhouse sidequest, and all are equally terrifying.
    • First game: A girl named Lilith gets a doll named Laura for her birthday, and all is good until Lilith tragically passes away. Somehow the doll became sentient and kept a man named Ewan as her "pet" for who knows how long. You find the doll in a Room Full of Crazy and it asks for you to be its playmate. Forever. The "Help me help me!" parts really drive it home... not only that but when you complete the quest? All you see is a message on the floor written in blood: "Thank you"
    • Covenant: One of Geppetto's old friends had a daughter who died young, and he became obsessed with bringing his child back, making puppet after puppet to serve as a vessel for his child's soul. Things go horribly awry when it turns out that his best puppet wasn't occupied by his daughter's soul, but a demon called Baal. And then it tries to lure the party to their deaths by masquerading as Cornelia, Geppetto's daughter. Thankfully, Cornelia's soul intervenes, taking up residence in the puppet after Baal gets its head kicked in.
    • From the New World: A mystic named Latisha ran a business in which she would summon a soul into a doll so they could spend one night with a loved one. However, the soul must return to the afterlife after the night is over or it will become twisted and evil. The soul of a woman named Dana rebelled, and sure enough, she became corrupted and had her lover murder Latisha and bury her in the backyard so she couldn't dismiss Dana's soul. Unfortunately, Dana also trapped Latisha's soul in a doll, immobile but fully conscious.

  • Patrick Heyworth's Journal from Koudelka. It is a stark contrast from the rest of the series's nightmare fuel in that it is not gross out scary or Lovecraftian horror scary, no, no, it is much darker than that. It is the first person perspective of a man who makes the transition from desperate, to unhinged, to desensitized, to heart-broken, to suicidal. And Meta-God help you if you read it while the music box you find it in plays. Enjoy getting the Ear Worm out of your head, along with the full detailed reports of a man breaking down with despair as he mutilates innocent people. You'll be hearing that looping-jingle in your nightmares!

    Shadow Hearts 
  • The opening CG, where Roger Bacon murder the Japanese soldiers guarding Alice.
  • The monster designs are extremely disturbing; instead of the usual "giant whatever, robots and ninjas" trifecta of Japanese RPGs, these were usually made up of human body parts re-arranged in a variety of unpleasant ways, and/or moving in very jarring ways. The sequels were generally lighter in that regard, but there are a few notable exceptions, such as the giant spider with fingers for legs from Shadow Hearts Covenant.
  • Zhaoyang Village is a village of cannibals, which is pretty disturbing in and of itself, including a shrine surrounded by the bones of the consumed victims. After being confronted with some demons in one of the homes, the characters exit to the sight of the entire village covered in blood. Your feet even squish as you walk around the place.
  • The small village of Dalian is haunted by Li Li, a girl who had her voice switched with her father's, in exchange for her father's safe return from a terrible sea storm. The only way to get her voice back was to kill her father. She came close to doing so, but never could go through with it. Her father eventually dies at sea, but comes back from the dead as a drowned corpse just so he could be killed by his daughter. Li Li, out of scorn for the village and their local deity, simply walks out into the ocean carrying her father on her back and returns as a bitter and vengeful spirit who kills someone unlucky enough to be caught outside after the sun goes down.
  • Kowloon Fortress has a creepy and bloody Boss Room, where the party confronts the Cursed Puppet.
  • Arcane Olga... once you get past the fact that she looks somewhat like the Fairy Godmother with bunny ears.
  • Atman. It's a malevolent spirit that takes the form of a bloody, cracked mask modeled after a grisly parody of a human face, and it hungers for Yuri's soul. Just look at this if you don't want to go to sleep tonight. The worst part is it successfully kills Alice in the bad ending, also known as the canon ending. Thankfully, Covenant's good ending implies that Yuri went back in time and managed to barge in during its duel with Alice, allowing the two to beat it to a pulp together.
  • On examining the massacre that Bacon has left behind, Kawashima orders that the bodies are returned to the capital.
    Kawashima: I recall the Major saying that his six-year-old granddaughter couldn't wait for Grandpa to come home. The girl will surely shed tears of joy when she finds out he's returning earlier than expected.
    • It's heavily implied that the Major was the man trying to protect Alice until the very end, only to run out of bullets as Bacon approaches them.

    Shadow Hearts: Covenant 
  • The spell, "Nightmare," that caused a cockroach tsunami, in first-person view, that culminated in bugs seemingly crawling on the TV's actual screen, underside facing the player. If you suffer from insectophobia, you'll likely throw the controller down and roll into a ball the first time it's used on you out of the blue.
  • The death of Nicholai. The fact that you don't actually see him get his head crushed by Kato's bare hand and immediately cuts to his lifeless body falling to the ground makes it all the worse.
  • The Adult Fear in the Russia arc. Not only does Rasputin begin by ordering "Kill her" to Anastasia, but he holds Alexei hostage later on and mentions that he's going to kill him.

    Shadow Hearts: From the New World 
  • The game wastes no time in throwing you into the theater. The fact that you don't even see the person Johnny was sent to find get eaten also makes it just as scary.
  • Malice Edna.
  • Although more light-hearted, this game has some of the most terrifying looking bosses in the whole series, including Jeb Niglas and Malice Gilbert.
  • The bad ending, where Shania becomes utterly corrupted by Malice.


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