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Nightmare Fuel / Soul Series

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The terror known as "The Catastrophe" has revealed itself.

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  • Soul Edge, the series' titular MacGuffin. A demonic blade with what appears to be mutated, decayed flesh and a goddamned eyeball upon the flat of the blade. This thing also has a mind of its own, and yes, it's pure evil. It craves the souls of all living things and grows ecstatic whenever it bathes in the blood of its victims, which is shown by its blade becoming sharper rather than duller.
    • The worst part is that any poor sap who manages to fall for the legends surrounding the sword, that it's a completely unrivaled blade that grants its user unlimited power, and decides to take it pays a steep price. They become its host. Soul Edge mutates, corrupts, and possesses whoever wields it into becoming a psychotic, vicious monster that exists only to feed it souls and murder everything in sight. This thing is responsible for turning good men into Tragic Monsters and evil men into death incarnate.
    • Soul Edge was once a ordinary sword but after being bathed in blood, hatred, and death it became something else. So what is preventing another weapon from becoming like that?
  • Inferno, pictured above. This is the manifestation of Soul Edge's consciousness: a being made out of pure hellfire. He utilizes the powers of the souls he has consumed and both fights and howls like a deranged wild animal. Since Inferno cannot manifest himself in the real world, he transports all those who desire Soul Edge to his home world of Astral Chaos, a mysterious dimension where souls from across time and space coalesce. All who try to claim Soul Edge are suddenly presented with this monster and forced into a battle they aren't prepared for. Either they submit and become Inferno's host in the human world, suffering a Fate Worse than Death, or they get their souls completely destroyed and consumed by the hellfire, ending up Deader Than Dead. Inferno is The Man Behind the Man for all those who desire Soul Edge, all to sate its evil desires.
    • Soulcalibur VI gives Inferno something he never exhibited before: extremely deadly intelligence. The new timeline shows that Inferno is more than just the manifestation of Soul Edge's will: he's a straight-up Eldritch Abomination Dimension Lord that serves as the "mind" of the sword. He manipulates several characters in the story to achieve his goal of reaching Soul Edge's complete form once again.
      • Slight correction: Nightmare (see below) has been shown to be perfectly capable of deceptive stratagems throughout the series, but usually doesn't bother, especially during the Animated Armor phase of III and IV. Siegfried-Nightmare successfully manipulated Ivy into helping gather souls for his ritual and is heavily implied to have been aware of Astaroth's true allegiances from the start. (VI makes the implications clearer by noting how Astaroth's role within Schwarzstrom often keeps him away from Ostrheinsburg Castle, almost as if it was deliberate.) We're also told in Siegfried's backstory (and shown in the admittedly non-canon Legends) that Soul Edge expertly coerced him into making a pact with it under the guise of resurrecting his father Frederick — which is revisited in VI with Nightmare's Soul Chronicle, where we see Soul Edge pose as Frederick to convince Siegfried, some small part of him still managing to influence the Azure Knight, to feed more and more souls to the sword. Then, many years later, Graf Dumas — who may or may not be just Raphael's body controlled by Soul Edge — outright abandons Nightmare's usual methods in favor of political subterfuge that grants them incredible favor with the Holy Roman Empire, ending up firmly perched within Rudolf II's inner circle. In light of VI depicting Inferno as more than a mindless force of destruction, this poses the question of how much, if any, of Nightmare's cunning came from his hosts as opposed to Soul Edge itself.
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  • Cervantes, the first game's boss. Once the most dreaded pirate on the high seas, he just so happened to plunder Soul Edge and immediately came under its thrall. He then proceeded to kill his entire crew and became a one-man army who brutally slaughtered all who crossed his path. The corruption spread so deep that he essentially became a zombie, with eerily pale skin and Black Eyes of Crazy. Even getting killed by Taki doesn't keep Cervantes down for long. With Nightmare's birth, the residual effects of the Evil Seed resurrect him as a lich, gradually transforming his pale skin into a diseased, decayed shade of purple and giving him Glowing Eyelights of Undeath. He eventually gains the ability to teleport at his own leisure.
  • Nightmare. Exactly What It Says on the Tin. One poor soul named Siegfried Schtauffen sought out Soul Edge, attempting to use it to get revenge on his father's killer, hopelessly denying the fact that he was the one who did it due to a broken mind. Fighting off the reanimated remains of Cervantes possessed by the sword's will, it seemed as though he had finally found the instrument of his redemption. Wrong. The sword bit his right arm and mutated it into a grotesque, deformed talon bigger than his own body. And all he could do was struggle and scream to no avail as his last vestiges of sanity were destroyed, leaving him a slave to Soul Edge's will. Now with glowing red eyes and an azure suit of armor, Siegfried had died, and Nightmare was born. And you get to actually see all of it, every horrifying detail, in Siegfried's bad ending in the first game.
    • To give some more perspective into just how terrifying Nightmare really is, he is openly described as such in-universe. He is an unstoppable killing machine with so much strength and agility that he is practically a Physical God, capable of obliterating entire armies. And that's not the worst of it. His very presence corrupts everything around him. Every victim he slays or wounds with Soul Edge becomes a Malfested, a being permanently connected to the sword at a cellular level. In some cases, the infected retain their will and become Cursed with Awesome. Others aren't so lucky, as they lose their humanity completely and get revived as lesser demons or even zombies, nothing more than mindless slaves to the sword's will, assisting Nightmare in his campaign of bloody massacre. You only have two options if Nightmare appears: run away and pray to whatever god you worship that you survive, or die horribly as your soul gets devoured and whatever remains of your body is warped into a slave which will kill all of your friends and family and convert them too.
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    • He gets even worse starting in III. With Siegfried no longer bound to Soul Edge, Zasalamel uses his magic to give Inferno a corporeal body, reviving Nightmare. He still uses a variation of Siegfried's fighting style out of an extremely twisted form of love, because Siegfried's torment and despair made him Inferno's favorite host. His alternate costumes in IV reveal that the body inside the armor is nothing more than a shadowy demon in the shape of a man, with fire coursing through his veins. He still wants to destroy all of existence, but he especially wants to make Siegfried suffer because he was the first host to break away from Soul Edge's control.
      • Notice how Nightmare is described in the manner of a Walking Wasteland above? This reaches its apex in IV, where Nightmare's armor alone is no longer enough to contain the evil power of Soul Edge. So, Soul Edge takes root at Ostrheinsburg, turning the entire city into a Eldritch Location capable of consuming souls on its own for the further nourishment of the cursed sword.
  • Astaroth. An Artificial Human whose heart is located directly on his chest, and it beats. He wields a giant axe, is violently insane enough to match his choice of weapon, and dresses like a medieval executioner. As the series progresses, his design also becomes more monstrous as his humanoid facade begins to fade away. In III, his skin is shown to be blood-red with yellow veins, and by IV, he isn't even human anymore, having become a more traditional depiction of a golem: a being made out of solid rock. Except he's a golem whose blood is lava and courses throughout his entire body. The new model in V is even worse, looking a lot like Frankenstein's monster with green, decayed skin and electrical nodes around his body. His alternate costume in that game is a very odd looking robot version of himself, complete with a reverberating echo filter on his voice.
  • Voldo. Dear God, Voldo. In a series set in the 16th century, he looks and acts more like he came from a mix of a slasher movie, a deranged circus, and a porno film. He wields dual katars, which are essentially practical Wolverine Claws and dresses entirely in BDSM gear. He is completely mute, only growling and hissing like an animal, and no explanation is given beyond that, leaving open the possibility that he had his tongue cut out. His fanatical devotion to his master resulted in him living in a pitch-black tomb for many years, which destroyed his eyesight. His only sense left is his practically supersonic hearing, which he uses to deadly effect. His fighting style involves extremely acrobatic movements that, while awe-inspiring, are also incredibly disturbing when you realize that Voldo is a 50+-year-old man. His alternate costumes, and even his primary costumes on some occasions, take great pleasure in showing off his hips, ass, and crotch to an unnecessary degree. Voldo is easily one of the creepiest characters in all of fighting games, no matter how hilarious his in-series antics can get at times.
  • Apparently someone at Namco thought that having a character called Nightmare wasn't terrifying enough. Enter Night Terror. An even more gigantic, even more demonic version of Nightmare with wings of fire, armor made entirely out of rotten flesh, and eyes all over its body. This... thing is apparently the Anthropomorphic Personification of destruction itself. It has no real conscience to speak of beyond the desire to kill everything that crosses its path. It straight-up erases everything it touches. Even Algol, as in the Hero King who can effortlessly subjugate the soul swords themselves to his will and is the most powerful playable character seen in the series thus far, is afraid of this thing. And the way he is created in III is only one possible way to summon him into the real world. Its appearance may not be canon, but its existence is, according to supplementary material.
  • Pyrrha Omega is quite creepy as well, with her glowing red eyes.
    • This look she gives her brother. Not to mention the bloodlust in her voice...
  • Charade. Just look at it.
  • Like the numb-chilling howls of the original Inferno, there are the creepy grunts of Keres, Will-o'-the-Wisp, Charade, Revenant, and the Shadow Master characters in III.
  • Darth Vader laughs in his ending, meaning bad things for the future.
  • Seong Mi-na. Groin Attack. Saying "bye bye" as she slices.
  • In V, start a fresh edit based on Yoshimitsu. Eventually you can use the same "Mummified" underwear for all your other characters.
  • Patroklos's Establishing Character Moment: killing a man for supposedly being a Malfested.
  • Soul Calibur encases its victims (and even users!) in a crystal ice prison...!
    • Really, just the fact that SCV reveals that Soul Calibur not only has an equivalent to Inferno, but said equivalent is a manipulative Knight Templar can be a bit terrifying to some who thought that it was Soul Edge's Good Counterpart.
      • The signs were already there in earlier installments, particularly II and IV; V simply did away with any false pretenses. All in all, this makes for some scary (and tragic) Dramatic Irony in the case of Siegfried, seeing as one of win quotes in III has him vowing to "never again" bend to anyone's will — something that nearly happens anyway in his final battle with Nightmare depicted in the opening to V when Soul Calibur temporarily possesses him. Worse still, only three of the good-aligned characters in IV (Taki, Kilik, and Talim) recognize the dangers both swords pose and begin to take countermeasures (with Cassandra also becoming wise to Soul Calibur's true nature in her ending); nearly everyone else still believes the "holy sword" is just that, and some of these characters are suggested to have the potential to wield Soul Calibur as evidenced by their story progression/endings, having the spirit sword as their ultimate weapon, or, as seen with Mi-na, both.

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