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Nightmare Fuel / Sid Meierís Alpha Centauri

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  • What can be scary with a Civilization-style 4X strategy game, you ask? Watch the cinematics for, say, Self-Aware Colony or Dream Twister Secret Projects.
    • "We must dissent..." from the Self-Aware colony was really chilling the first time, and it is still creepy It's basically the "Ubiquitous Law Enforcement" of Vernor Vinge's novels come to life. The cinematic shows two dissenters getting vaporized and all traces of them erased from the scene.
    • The sudden audio distortion in Zakharovs' speech for the Singularity Inductor is pretty disturbing. Hell, he's probably the single creepiest character in the game, far outstripping Yang. His clinical descriptions of his research often get very disturbing.
      • "I still have it, in fact. As you can see, the damage was not so great as they say..." — Prokhor Zakharov displaying the lab animal used in the first live teleportation experiment. Though, alternatively, it could have just meant that the rat is perfectly fine - or that the damage isn't visible on the outside...
  • And, though in a slightly different vein, The Cloning Vats. An almost cheerful description of how society will profit from thousands of clones of people who are the best at what they do, combined with video footage of chick sexers at work, ending in a shot showing several cute little baby chickens going down something that resembles a drain. Yeesh.
    • If you know anything about chicken hatcheries, you'll know that the chute leads to what is called a 'macerator', which is used to cull the male chicks as they don't lay eggs and aren't as meaty as female chicks. The implications are... unsettling, to say the least.
    • And the chute in YOUR cloning vats leads to...the recycling tanks.
  • Also, Clinical Immortality. It's a Brain in a Jar, but with a spine and eyes, all to a Bible quote.
  • Not to mention all the graphic descriptions of what Mind Worms do to people.
    "Richard Baxton piloted his Recon Rover into a fungal vortex and held off four waves of Mind Worms, saving an entire colony. We immediately purchased his identity manifests and repackaged him into the Recon Rover Rick character with a multi-tiered media campaign: televids, touchbooks, holos, psi-tours - the works. People need heroes. They don't need to know how he died clawing his eyes out, screaming for mercy. The real story would just hurt sales, and dampen the spirits of our customers." Mythology for Profit, Morgan Stellartots Keynote Speech
  • Mind Worms are nightmare fuel personified. Small, maggot-like worms that travel in gigantic swarms (or "boils") that psychically attack their prey with feelings and hallucinations of extreme terror before boring into their victims' skulls and birthing their carnivorous larvae inside their brains. And keep in mind that this is Planet's immune system against ecological destruction.
    • You can eventually breed Mind Worms yourself to attack your rivals, subjecting them to that same ghoulish fate.
    • An Isle of the Deep is a mass of aquatic Mind Worms that glue themselves together to become a living island. And they can grow large enough to swallow supply pods. Fun.
    • Worse still is the Sealurk, which is a giant waterborne Mindworm that bashes ships wide open with its keratin-hardened head before devouring the people inside. And when you click on them, they emit a monstrous cry.
    • Then, there are the Locusts of Chiron, which are Mind Worms that can fly.
  • Whenever a base that belongs to a human faction falls to the Progenitors, no matter how heavily populated the base was, the population will be instantly reduced to one, with a few colony pods fleeing the city. The game makes it clear that it averts the No Biochemical Barriers trope, and since humans and Progenitors are biologically incompatible, they cannot peacefully coexist under the same government and had to be 'removed'. All those citizens that were unable to escape via the colony pods were slaughtered mercilessly by the alien soldiers and had their bodies recycled for resources. And most of the time, most of the escaping colony pod will be chased down and destroyed by the aliens before they can make it to safety.
    The final transmission from the base shows the full story... humans rounded up and pounded to the ground with the strange alien resonance attacks. Visions of the alien advance guard, their weird, tall forms seeming to push through the very structure of the walls in the base. The humans dying in the hallways, clutching their faces, their heads, their bellies.
    And then that one quick flash, from those three visiting holo-journalists that ran down the wrong hall with their handheld camera. You review the transmission again, almost against your will.
    When that door opened... to see all those humans lying on the floor like stacked wood, their bodies altered into a strange jellylike substance... and that terrifying image of one living human with his face in the corner as the aliens cubed the corpses on the floor and loaded them into white containers.
    Then the camera falls and cuts out. You feel your jaw clenching, against anger and also against fear.
    It looks like the aliens don't want to be friends.
  • Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb, Mary had a little lamb, whose fleece was white as snow. - Assassins' Redoubt, Final Transmission.
    • Made even worse by the near total silence - it's the only secret project video in the game without a voiceover (the text given above briefly unrolls on-screen at the end of the video).
  • The torture scene when you defeat a faction is a little disturbing. The silhouette of the faction leader is encased in the crackling sparks of a punishment sphere, letting out an agonized scream as the camera zooms out. Then it's cut short by the steel doors slamming shut and displaying their faction's logo.
    • When you realize exactly what Nerve Stapling is. Brrrr.note 
      • It matches the description of a Punishment Sphere according to the GURPS supplement. No wonder bases with them have their research halved and lose the ability of their citizens to become talents. Not only that, the GURPS supplement says that it is based on nerve stapling, but instead of performing it every few hours, it does it around every five minutes.
  • Developing the Recycling Tanks facility for the first time gives you this lovely quote about where those bonus resources come from.
    It is every citizen's final duty to go into the tanks and become one with all the people. — Chairman Shen-Ji Yang, Ethics For Tomorrow.
  • Losing to the Progenitors.
    You turn down an even darker hallway, and a metal door hisses open. They hustle you forward, toward what looks like...
    ...a Punishment Sphere. Including a few special alterations, courtesy of the alien scientists.
    You scan your memory, piecing together everything you can of the alien language. A part of you wonders if they enjoy human pain.
  • One disturbing implication if you're playing as Cha Dawn is that if their attempt at Transcendence somehow fails then it is a sign that Planet is rejecting humanity. As far as the Cult is concerned, humanity has already ruined one planet and clearly isn't worthy of living with this one, so the plan becomes wipe out every other human faction on Planet and then commit mass suicide. Yikes.
  • According to the GURPS supplement, the Spartan Federation, like their namesake, are so adamant about their social darwinist ideology that they will gladly commit infanticide if the baby in question is sickly or otherwise unfit to be a warrior. The novels go even deeper, as they'll have children fight each other to the death, if necessary.
  • The Brood Pit facility has this gem:
    Of all the employments, working in the the brood pit was at once the most horrific and the most desirable. Horrific for what we saw occur day after day, and because of the very nature of the sessile native lifeforms. Desirable, because having being chosen to work in the pit, you were highly unlikely to be one of its victims. — Captain Ulrik Svensgaard "The Shadow Resonance"
  • The Bioenhancement Center is no slouch in pure horror, either.
    We are all aware that the senses can be deceived, the eyes fooled. But how can we be sure our senses are not being deceived at any particular time, or even all the time? Might I just be a brain in a tank somewhere, tricked all my life into believing in the events of this world by some insane computer? And does my life gain or lose meaning based on my reaction to such solipsism? — Project PYRRHO, Specimen 46, Vat 7. Activity recorded M.Y. 2302.22467. (TERMINATION OF SPECIMEN ADVISED)
  • The Human Hive's theme can be best described as electronic anxiety, sounding less like Civilization and more like Silent Hill.
  • The University of Planet's theme isn't much better, carrying a very uneasy feeling of dread like some kind of horrible experiment is taking place.
  • The Lord's Believer's theme is little more than faint, warbling echoes like a Tibetan singing bowl.
  • The Cybernetic Consciousness' theme takes the dark ambience cake and runs away with the spoon.

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