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Nightmare Fuel / Super Mario Galaxy

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All spoilers are UNMARKED per wiki policy. Read at your own risk! You Have Been Warned.

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  • The game's space setting, while often beautiful and atmospheric in a relaxing way, also comes with its own sense of isolating scale that can definitely feel creepy or claustrophobic at some points.
    • The black holes. Keeping in line with the space theme and taking place of the series' usual bottomless pits, there are black holes in almost all of the levels waiting to suck you in if you fall, which make a warped sound when they pull Mario in that doesn't help at all. And when you don't get sucked into a black hole, going out of a planet's gravitational pull will result in Mario simply drifting off into deep space - endless falls are certainly nothing new to Mario, but it's quite a bit worse when you actually see him tumbling helplessly into a vast expanse.
      • Black holes are maybe even more creepy in the game's brighter levels. It's one thing to see a black hole in a dark and spacey setting, but it's a whole lot more jarring to see one or more floating underneath practically every planet in a level set to a bright, blue sky.
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  • The Hungry Lumas' cycle of gorging themselves, and then exploding into a new celestial object. The game makes it clear that all Lumas are eventually reborn somehow and them losing sentience to become something else is something they're destined and excited to do, nor is it a painful process, but it's still a bit creepy that these guys are happy and willing, if not outright ecstatic that they are exploding.
  • Pipe Interior is a surprisingly offputting song for something as quintessentially Mario as a bonus Warp Pipe room. It's an unsettling ambient song with an ethereal but ominous choir, accompanied by deep instruments and weird "sci-fi" noises. YMMV as always, as many players find it peaceful and relaxing rather than offputting. Super Mario Galaxy 2, being a generally Lighter and Softer sequel, vastly reduces the use of this song, with most pipe rooms now having a Muzak-style remix of the main theme.
    • The pipe interiors themselves can be rather unsettling. They're three-dimensional geometric brick structures floating in a void of endlessly shifting dark matter, with no occupants aside from enemies. This, combined with the music, can give a rather oppressive and lonely feeling to an otherwise innocent-looking area.
  • The NPC bees are cute, but taking a close-up look at their faces reveals they have sharp teeth that make them look like they wear a constant Slasher Smile, which can be pretty jarring given their fluffy and otherwise harmless appearance.
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  • In some of the ghost-themed galaxies, the space background of the level is full of swirling clouds that resemble enormous screaming ghosts. The effect can be very disconcerting. They're actually a reused asset from the Ghost Ship of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, which can make them slightly less creepier, or even more.
  • The music used during the areas preceding several of the bosses is easily one of the most dread-inducing tracks in the Mario series, and it's especially creepy in the build-up to fights like Tarantox, where it kicks in rather suddenly after entering a certain part of the level.
  • Megaleg, the first boss guarding a Grand Star, is a colossal black machine with a face that resembles a gas mask and enormous eyes that shine like headlights. It was by far the largest adversary battled in a main series Mario platformer at the time of the game's release, and it quite literally dwarfs the planet it's battled on and can be seen very clearly from even far away. It attacks by stomping around, resulting in instant death, and to fight it Mario has to perform a Colossus Climb up its legs and then attempt to redirect Bullet Bills to break the container the Grand Star is sealed in. The fight itself isn't especially difficult, but its design and the atmosphere of its stage (where the aforementioned Tension music makes one of its first appearances) is pretty intimidating, especially for only the first major boss fight in the game.
  • Continuing the tradition from Unagi and Eely Mouth, this game introduces its own out-of-place creepy eel in the form of enemies named Gringills, easily the most conventionally scary looking eels in the series with incredibly sharp teeth, freakishly huge eyes and a lifeless stare that puts the original Unagi's to shame.
  • Drip Drop Galaxy, having just one short mission, also has a small world filled with Torpedo Teds, Urchins, two hidden Spiny Cheep Cheeps and some penguins that ask you to get rid of some aforementioned Gringills, which are scary enough. Thing is, the planet itself could be considered a bit...off in some ways. It's a place mostly abundant with water and just two pieces of land to stand on; not to mention the eerie mysterious music of the level per se. Doesn't help the fact that this track is only played in this specific level...
    • What's more is the fact that the place itself is called Tear Drop Planet, which it could be a reference to its similarity to a tear drop because of all the water. However, if you watch carefully, you can also spot a sunken airship and Starshroom and a volcanic vent on the sandy core underwater, and you find that the strange background music isn't just for decoration, and we're talking about a little planet with a short simple Hungry Luma level!!! Just...what happened in this place?
      • The worst part is that even if you ignore that fact, and even if anyone can get out of there (considering all the creatures from other galaxies going back and forth from one planet to another), the only thought of being in that planet in the first place, for the purpose of fishing or not, wouldn't be very pleasant at all...with or without somebody with you. Good thing that Mario went there and destroyed every Gringill, at least.
  • Ghostly Galaxy's background isn't too pleasant, being a dark sky filled with misty streams of what look like ghostly faces, presumably meant to be souls of the dead. It also starts off with a rather creepy and quiet rendition of the underground theme, which gets used in a few other unsettling places in the game.
    • Ghostly Galaxy is also home to the page image, Bouldergeist, who is also perhaps the most unnerving boss in the game. Imagine walking down a dark pathway and suddenly a giant shadowy creature with complete telepathic control of the rocks and ground around you appears right in front of you with a ghastly roar. Bouldergeist can block your path by making rock spikes shoot out of the ground from shadowy pits. And it becomes even worse when it gets pissed off and generates two giant rocky hands it can use to crush Mario, killing him instantly. When you blow up its stony armor, Bouldergeist is reduced to a floating black shadow with a giant, dangling red uvula as its weak point that have to hit with Bomb Boos to damage it, and when its uvula is hit the creautre makes a ghastly high-pitched wail. When you finally finish it off, the uvula pulsates, its head shrinks, and its eyes triple in size while it wails one more time before it explodes.
  • If you're claustrophobic, the ending of Dusty Dune's 'Sunbaked Sandcastle' star could feel a little scary since the sand has risen so much that you're trapped in a glass dome. You'd have no way to escape were it not for the Star at the end warping you out, and it's easy to get crushed against the castle's structure by the rising sand if you're not careful.
  • Bigmouth Galaxy, the galaxy you're taken to by the Bedroom's Hungry Luma, takes you through a dark, underwater cave filled with a gigantic Electric Jellyfish you first see above your head while trying to swim up and around it, the above-mentioned Gringills, and a very creepy theme with harsh beats that put you on edge and may very well bring Jaws to mind. Not exactly the kind of music you'd want to be swimming to, let alone in a dark cave.
    • When you enter Bigmouth, the first segment just has two boss floating around. However, once you take the Golden Shell and head back to the treasure chest, the area suddenly becomes flooded with Boos. Boos aren't even scary on their own, but such a large group of them appearing out of complete surprise can be downright terrifying.
  • Bonefin Galaxy is one of the shorter galaxies in the game yet it manages to be memorably creepy, with its only Star being a boss fight against Kingfin in a menacing, spiky planet filled with nothing but water, and also featuring the aforementioned background from Ghostly Galaxy. Kingfin himself is a massive skeletal shark (wait a minute...) with yellow pupils that shine at you like headlights. This would already be terrifying in itself, but the fight's atmosphere escalates it far beyond, with Kingfin and his lackeys (metallic fish with glowing red eyes and sharp teeth that home in on you and explode) chasing you around a body of water filled with hot gas, and the music (itself an already dramatic and haunting theme reserved only for Kingfin and the already-mentioned Bouldergeist) grows more tense when the boss is near. The fight itself feels less like a battle and more like being hunted by a predator that you're dangerously outmatched by.
    • Kingfin also has a rather special boss intro scene - while most bosses simply get a cutscene where they emerge or otherwise appear in a simple way, when you land in Kingfin's waters, you're treated to a shot from through Kingfin's teeth as it swims through the water towards Mario before the game shows its actual appearance. Quite a first impression.
    • It's also worth mentioning that the level starts you off on top of an isolated green Starshroom with a Launch Star that takes you to Kingfin's planet. There'd be nothing wrong with this if it weren't for the fact that the Starshroom is completely empty, and the only thing on the ship is a Launch Star directly leading to a planet inhabited by a giant skeletal shark, which aside from its robotic minions, is the only form of life found in the level. Why is it there, and what exactly happened to its owner?
  • The main planet of Deep Dark Galaxy, found in the Garden, is pretty much a bigger version of Bigmouth Galaxy that features all of the enemies and music mentioned above, culminating in a combination of deep water, tight spaces and freaky undersea creatures that promises a jolly time for all claustrophobes and aquaphobes. Depending on the mission, the beach at its entrance will have either a rather unsettling and dark, surreal sunset or a bright blue sky, which feels more than a bit out-of-place and creepy when said beach area uses the eerie version of the underground theme heard in Ghostly Galaxy and is surrounded by spiky rock structures.
    • The beach area also has a cannon, which can take you to either a planet with a bunch of Octoguys and a Fire Flower, or a smaller-scale replica of the starting planet from Gateway Galaxy, which is completely empty outside of three Goombas and deflates when Mario spins on top of a screw found on it, leaving you to fall to the former planet. It isn't scary in a traditional sense, but its inexplicable existence and presence combined with the ominous music and being entirely optional to visit gives it a strangely creepy feeling, especially with how the background suddenly and jarringly changes from the beach's sunset or daytime sky to a deep space when it or the Octoguy planet are visited.
  • The game's ending features the entire universe being destroyed. More specifically, Bowser's Galaxy Reactor implodes into an enormous black hole which begins swallowing everything, pulling Mario, Peach, and even the entire Comet Observatory and Bowser's fleet in until all of the Lumas dive into it to neutralize its power in a Heroic Sacrifice. Everyone survives and Rosalina explains that Lumas' lives are a cycle of rebirth, but it doesn't change the fact that the destruction of Mario's universe was shown in some form at all.
    • Also, unlike with the game's other black holes, the cutscene actually shows objects such as Airships being broken down by its force. It's a rather unsettling and subtle reminder of just how powerful they really are.
  • Some of the death animations are creepy:
    • When your last point of health is taken away by electrical sources, Mario turns into a skeleton, and it shows he didn't just get hurt, but he's completely and unmistakably dead.
    • When Mario's hand rises up when he sinks in sand or toxic waste, all while hearing him drown.
    • When Mario touches dark matter, he slowly disintegrates, and his life bar isn't empty until after Mario is completely gone, which means he feels the whole thing.

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