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Nightmare Fuel / Super Mario Odyssey

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  • The core gameplay mechanic of this game - the Capture system - is pretty much this, hilariously enough. Mario, through Cappy, possesses a creature who has an exposed head (and sometimes even none). Mario takes over the body with the cap and mustache as indicators of being possessed. But then we see the cutscene in the game's first capture where Mario goes into the mind of a frog, seeing all of its memories from birth to then adulthood as he takes over the body. And later on we realize that the possessed person has no memories of what just happened and most of the time end up being unconscious. It's Played for Laughs but at the same time has really eerie implications.
    • The fact the Bonneters are a whole race of possessors is unnerving. Returning to Bonneton later lets you overhear a shifty-eyed Bonneter wondering what person to capture next, and one currently riding, and likely, capturing, a New Donker is in awe at the number of heads around to take control of.
  • The Deep Woods, a lower area in the Wooded Kingdom, is terrifying. It's dark and moody, with shadows obscuring everything unless you actually get near them or, as of the February 2018 update, by using the Coin Filter in Photo Mode, and you have no map or compass while down there, so you can easily get disoriented. The area also has absolutely no music, only ambient noises, which adds to the creep factor. There's also a hostile Tyrannosaurus rex living down there who patrols the beaten path, wearing a bowler hat to protect himself from the Capture ability, and immediately gives chase if he sees Mario. Your pulse will race if it's close enough to shake the ground but you don't know exactly where it is. We don't blame Mario for shaking in his shoes during his Idle Animation.note 
  • As a 3D Mario game harking back to Super Mario 64, Mario has plenty of creatively nightmarish ways to die.
    • One of Mario's deaths of particular notice is his drowning animation in the demo version, which looks to take more cues from his eerily-graphic and realistic animation from 64. This seemed too disturbing even for an E10+ rated Mario game that it became the only death animation in the entire game to actually get Bowdlerised for the final release so that it would look more like the Death Throws of most of Mario's other deaths.
  • The cutscene before the Boss Battle with Knucklotec. The guy was the owner of the Binding Band, and he wants it back badly. The Binding Band is said to, “keep the Bride and Groom together, even when the world is upside down.” So seeing as how Knucklotec was the previous owner of the Binding Band, it can be safe to say that it was his wedding ring, and he wants it returned to him, at any cost. Also doubles as a Tear Jerker, as he mistakes Mario for being the one who stole the ring due to Mario's status as a Heroic Mime and not realizing Bowser had stolen the ring beforehand.
    • This makes sense, because the Binding Band is big enough to fit his finger...
  • Before you reach the Metro Kingdom, try hitting any of the boom boxes you find throughout the game. You won't hear a song. But what you will hear is Bowser laughing accompanied by creepy music. Hit it again and again and you'll hear Peach calling for Mario and for help, accompanied by a continuation of the music, and again Bowser laughs. It's one creepy Easter Egg...
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  • Komboos, living seaweed stalk enemies on legs you can find in the Lake and Seaside Kingdoms. Their glowing eyes and the way they look and move are quite unsettling, they can cling to ceilings, and, much like Chinchos, they never stop coming in the areas where they can be found.
  • The Mechawiggler is disturbingly realistic and has very fluid, fast movements, not to mention it makes a horrific shriek.
    • Even before the fight, things are looking horribly grim for the Metro Kingdom. It's constantly raining, the sky is dark, and all the New Donk residents are either indoors, on the outskirts, or on the rooftops. This is because along with the loss of power caused by the Mechawiggler, there are living military tanks and Urban Stingbies, larvae that immediately burst into the form of giant mosquitoes, patrolling the streets. The fact that the Urban Stingbies are outright stated by their name to be the city version of the more cartoony bee enemies from 3D Land makes them feel even more off.
  • Just in case you thought the Mud Troopers and Mummy Mes weren't scary enough, this game introduces Chinchos, who manage to be a Suspiciously Similar Substitute to both enemy groups (and provide the page image). Much like the Mummy Mes, they appear to be mummified spiritual copies of people—in this case, the Tostarenan citizens. For the Mud Troopers, their arms are outstretched, with sad eyes that can be as heartbreaking as they are terrifying. Even the Tostarenan locals comment on the dangers they present. What better pick for the Day of the Dead apparently being celebrated here at Tostarena?
  • Unagis from Super Mario 64, now renamed Maw-Rays, make an unholy HD return, and appear in deep underwater sections of the Seaside Kingdom to get a bite of some fresh Mario. They even appear in a secret area of the Mushroom Kingdom set in Bubbly Clouds.
  • One of the bosses is a massive, bigger than a castle (as in Bowser himself stands on the bridge of this thing's snout), black, lightning-wielding Smaug-esque dragon fought in the desolate crumbling ruins of an ancient kingdom surrounded by ominous thunder clouds. What's really jarring is the dragon doesn't have the typical cartoony design you'd expect to see in the Mario-verse (like the Rex from Super Mario World or Draggadon from Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker); it has a realistic-looking, dark, fantasy-esque design you'd expect from Monster Hunter or Skyrim. After seeing a monstrosity like that, you have to wonder what other unholy beasts are roaming in the other kingdoms.
    • The kingdom itself where this beast inhabits, called the Ruined Kingdom: All that remains are a piece of ruins where the Odyssey crashes, and a tall, ominous and crumbling tower in the distance. The kingdom's flyer shows nothing about its currency or inhabitants (not even about the dragon, who is strongly implied to be the cause of all the kingdom's destruction). What makes even more terrifying is that there isn't any music played in this place.
    • With the way the moon looms ominously behind the clouds and the eerie, empty atmosphere, the Ruined Kingdom wouldn't be out of place in a Dark Souls game.
    • Check out the world map where the Ruined Kingdom is. The gray charred area takes up a lot of land.
    • When you defeat the dragon, it doesn't blow up and disappear like any other boss in the game, but instead drops his head on the ground after letting out one last roar. The reason this is Nightmare Fuel is because in every subsequent visit you give this kingdom from that point forward, the dragon will always stay there, resting with his wings still spread. It makes for an intimidating sight when you use the spark pylon to fly up there. As if that wasn't eerie enough, when you return to this platform, the dragon has his eyes open and they follow Mario wherever he moves, which can scare an unsuspecting player into thinking that it might strike once again any second now. Hell, you can actually talk to the dragon there, at which point it states that it's merely tired, which thankfully does mellow the creepiness down a bit. Nevertheless, it makes for a surprisingly tense moment in an otherwise cheerful and vibrant game.
  • Torkdrift, the boss of Wooded Kingdom. It's a UFO that sucks up flowers for Bowser's wedding. It's extremely detailed, it moves quickly and frantically most of the time — like the Mecha Wiggler — and the room it's fought in is creepily dark. Then there's the music, which sounds nothing like an average Mario theme and more like music from a horror game, using robotic instruments and an ominous tone. Granted, it's not really a difficult fight at all, but it's still creepy. The noises it makes are also rather unsettling, sounding as if it was meant to be cute at some point in its creation process. And to top it all off, it's actively malevolent in its demeanor when angered.
    Torkdrift: DO NOT MESS WITH ME, BIPED.
  • One side area of New Donk City starts out with Mario getting a motorcycle... and being abruptly chased by a T-Rex, and the ground is rapidly collapsing beneath you.
  • Mario wearing the skeleton costume. There is something hilarious and at the same time something disturbing on him when he has this outfit on when you consider that Mario is reduced to a lifeless skeleton when he is electrocuted in Super Mario Galaxy. Also, he looks quite different and less cute when you put him next to a Tostarenan or a Chincho, which are decidely more cartoonish in design.
    • To make matters worse, even Bowser is unnerved by the skeleton costume, to the point where he even admits it in the final battle if you wear it.
      Bowser: And are you trying to scare me with that... totally scary costume? Well, it didn't work, alright?! And y-you WEREN'T INVITED!
    • So is Luigi.
      Luigi: Bro! You startled me! That outfit is kinda, can I put this? I mean, it looks good on you! It looks good, but uhh...yeah.
  • There's something oddly disturbing about Rango being the one to tell Mario that he'll pay for putting the Broodals out of a job. The Broodals having their apparent livelihood destroyed is bad enough, but Rango is the "less focused" one with a funnier design and a habit of prefacing his dialogue with a country laugh, yet he's the one who gives the explanation of their fate with what appears to be Tranquil Fury.
    Rango: No one will hire us now. So, guess what? You're gonna pay — for ALL of it!
  • Cookatiel's Family-Unfriendly Death, falling into and boiling alive in the giant pot of stupendous stew, complete with sizzling sounds and bubbles coming up from where she fell in before she finally explodes in it. Not helping things is the Volbonan with the frying pan in the post-game festival saying the stew is chewier this time.
  • The "ghosts" of New Donk City. For whatever reason, when travelling through the city, the NPCs you can see from a distance will fade away as you approach and the actual interactive NPCs fade in. It's most likely to give the illusion of a large populace without having too much on-screen activity, but it's a very eerie effect. For example, there's a man dancing in the corner of the park where the jump-rope game is. Approach him and he just... vanishes.
  • The various "sublevels" in the game that can be accessed via pipes and doors from the main levels can definitely be this. A good chunk of these segments are simply a series of platforms hovering above an endless sea of clouds, poison or lava, or even drifting out in the middle of space, with the few other entities existing in these places usually being hostile and non-talkative. All of this can make these areas feel so isolated and lonely. The music in these areas can definitely add to the sense of distant other-worldliness, especially the appropriately-named Another World, Inside the Inverted Pyramid, and this particularly somber rendition of the Underground Theme.
    • Two subareas in particular stand out. First, there's a post-end game area of New Donk City that is shrouded in darkness, reducing your vision to a few feet around you. You see the screen shake and then you're suddenly confronted by a towering Stairface Ogre (more on them below). You have to navigate here up a tower whose narrow ledges are constantly patrolled by the damn things.
    • The second subarea, a simple ice-and-block sliding puzzle, is found in Shiveria. The entire area is more dim than usual, and the background is nothing but endless stars, with no Sun, planets or moons to give you any reference points to your location, punctuated by only a sprawling but dull reddish-brown nebula. And the only other thing in the area, aside from the rather small platform you find yourself on, is a lone Ty-Foo, whose presence is less scary than it is simply not comforting.
  • Mario has a zombie costume. His eyes are blank white and never blink or close, his skin is a ghastly greyish-green, and on top of that, he has an axe stuck in his head. And it's also nightmare fuel in-universe: it triggers Bowser and Luigi's "scared" dialogue.
  • The Stairface Ogres. Their design is that of a Whomp with arms and a pair of geta, along with an Oni-esque Nightmare Face, that carry a mallet around and moves quickly. If you are in the red impact square, then you're at best a pancake on their plate at breakfast. And if your health is low... Worse, there are only two ways to deal with these things (which both involve climbing on their mallets after they come down), ground pounding their head or stabbing their forehead as a Pokio, which causes them to emit a scream of pure agony as they disappear.
  • The approach to the Wedding Hall on the moon is strangely surreal and ominous. After emerging from the Moon Caverns, Mario finds himself on a barren plain with the pure white stone church looming in the distance. There are no enemies here, and the only sound is the ringing of the great bell echoing out across the landscape. It's incredibly bleak and haunting, more like something you'd expect from the endgame in Dark Souls than in Mario.


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