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Nightmare Fuel / Tales of Symphonia

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Once you get past the bright and cheery super-deformed graphics, Tales of Symphonia has a significantly large amount of Nightmare Fuel.

Massive Spoilers below. Please do not read further if you don't want to learn the twists of the game.

  • Sylvarant Base's music literally sounds like there are prisoners being beaten. It's creepy the first time you go through it early in the game and doesn't stop being creepy even when you find that the Renegades aren't out to kill you after all.
  • Exspheres and the Exbelua creatures, which are humans that have been horribly mutated as a side-effect of producing Exspheres. These people, despite being giant throbbing masses of green flesh, are also fully conscious and are in ridiculous amounts of pain from the mutation. It's possible to reverse this transformation, but only one mutated character is lucky enough to survive, and only through a sidequest.
    • By far the creepiest version of this transformation is the version Rodyle uses during his boss fight. After attaching a Cruxis Crystal to himself, he becomes what is essentially a miniature version of the Yu-Gi-Oh! monster "The Wicked Dreadroot", which is widely considered to be one of the creepiest monsters in the card game. Even worse is the fact that the crystal's corruption causes his body to disintegrate after he dies, but not before he presses the self-destruct button.
  • Exspheres, if you use them correctly, enhance your combat abilities. However, their original intended purpose is to slowly turn a person into a soulless shell that does not age, cannot eat, sleep, or speak, and cannot feel, taste, or smell anything. Eventually, the consciousness is completely absorbed. And as the game points out more than a couple times, just because your consciousness is absorbed into an Exsphere doesn't mean it stops working.
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  • The Desians and their human ranches, where humans are treated like cattle in order to produce these Exspheres. And the rest of the world's humans don't particularly care, as long as their city isn't being attacked. The Desians also breed humans for the sole purpose of making more Exspheres.
  • Zelos' monologue if you pick him at Flanoir. Particularly watching his mother being murdered in front of him, and the imagery that "red snow began to fall" - with the red snow being his mother's blood.
    • The bonus chapter "Siblings" in the manga actually shows this happen, in all its wonderful glory.
  • Zelos' whole storyline and role in the plot can be this in terms of sheer Adult Fear; essentially, one of your friends is deeply, terribly suicidal, and if you don't treat him right, he kills himself. It's not a comfortable thought, especially for anyone who has a depressed or mentally ill friend, especially as he only hints at how he really feels and it isn't obvious at all.
  • The inside of the Tower of Salvation is decorated with the corpses of past Chosens. And not just a few, we're talking about lots of them. And it gets even worse when you consider that each one of them was wearing a Cruxis Crystal when they died, meaning unless Cruxis was nice enough to destroy their crystal after their death? They were all trapped in an And I Must Scream state until their consciousness got absorbed.
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  • Presea before she's restored to herself. A sweet little girl transformed into an emotionless puppet incapable of joy and programmed like a machine to just do as she's told. Worse, once restored, she remembers being like that and will have to live with those memories for the rest of her life. And as if that wasn't bad enough, she was kept from aging during this time, giving her a mind that's 20 something in a 12 year old body. In the meantime, her neighbours blamed her for their misfortunes and pretty much everyone she cared about died, including the murder of her beloved younger sister. That Presea isn't completely broken is a testament to the poor girl's strength of mind.
  • Paying too much attention to stuff in this may cause nightmares. It's covered by cute graphics, but sometimes even that doesn't help. However, after Colette loses her soul, she's downright creepy, with Glowing Eyes of Doom and a complete apathy towards anything except that which threatens her.
    • The OVA adds in a piece of lore related to the effects of Cruxis Cystals that makes them even more horrifying than they already were in the game: The angel transformation process, without the correct precautions, results in individuals who develop wings and super senses at the cost of them basically becoming living dolls incapable of properly expressing themselves of their own volition right? And it's explicitly stated that children in the mana lineage, who are candidates to be Chosen, are born with Cruxis Crystals. Zelos drops a horror bomb in the OVA that apparently, it's possible for a baby in the mana lineage to be born with their crystal fused to their bodies and having undergone the angel transformation in the womb.
  • Mithos losing his bloody mind after Martel, who he had sacrificed everything and crossed every line known to man to resurrect, gives him a What the Hell, Hero? for his actions.
    Mithos: Martel...even you reject me? No. Martel would never say something like that! Ha...haha...AHAHAHAHAHAHA! I won't allow that, DO YOU HEAR ME?!?

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