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Nightmare Fuel / The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

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Despite its art style, The Wind Waker sure does have its share of horrors.
  • The game opens with an Apocalypse How of the confirmed continental, possibly planetary, scale due to the Flood. To top it off it's possible species extinction happened for several races who either don't appear at all, or at least in very small numbers — like the Gorons, Zora, Gerudo, Sheikah and Deku Scrubs.
  • The Great Sea itself can be rather unnerving to traverse if you know what you're in for. Think you're in for a relaxing sail? Have fun trying to avoid Big Octos, giant cyclones, a ghost ship, and giant flying propeller... Things along the way! Hope you don't have hydrophobia on top of it! The random torrential downpours don't help, either.
  • The Floormasters are skinny, black hands on arms that pop up when you walk close, latch onto your head, and drag you into a black abyss while making some kind of inhuman screech. And in one dungeon, killing them is a lot harder thanks to blue smoke that prevents item usage.
    • You can turn off the blue smoke in one room... but only by opening a chest on the other side of the room from where you came in. In other words, you have to get past the Floormasters without the benefit of items to do so.
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    • The sound file used for them is recycled from Majora's Mask. Not just the game, but the title artifact itself. Definitely adds to the creepiness.
    • There's a notable moment in the Wind Temple where you're controlling Makar and planting trees. Immediately after the last tree is planted, a surprise Floormaster pops out from right behind him and grabs him. It comes out of nowhere and you can't do anything to help.
  • The ReDeads. The scary part isn't that they're hard to fight; they're actually rather easy. It's that if you try to shoot them from afar or from behind, they'll look up and stare into your soul with their empty eyes… before turning back harmlessly to stare into the ground again. It's surprisingly horrifying, especially if you're standing less than two yards behind one of them.
    • The worst part of the ReDeads is that there's just no way to defeat them without getting some kind of terrifying effect. Attack them directly and they let out a chilling scream that will haunt your dreams. Attack them from afar with bombs or arrows and they just recoil from the blast and go back to just sitting there, hunched over. The worst is if you use light to paralyze them first: their normally expressionless faces will twist into expressions of extreme agony, complete with a frowning mouthful of teeth.
      • Something horrifying happens even after you kill them. Instead of immediately disappearing into a puff of smoke after hitting the ground, they just lie on the ground for what seems like an eternity before disappearing. You can't help but worry that it'll suddenly get back up and scream at you again.
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    • In this game, they have one of the freakier screams. Some think it sounds like a high-pitched elephant, but compared to Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, where they let out a little shriek — in this game they let out a very loud banshee-like wail.
    • Also, as you can tell from the picture, these ReDeads are more cartoonish, but they don't wear the masks that make the N64 ReDeads' faces look like coconuts.
    • The worst encounter with them would have to be under your Cabana. You need to go through this mini-dungeon of sorts to get a Triforce Chart. You have to drop into one area and… Two ReDeads are waiting for you at the bottom. Dick move, game, dick move…
    • Don't use your Hookshot on them, either, unless you want a hug. Chuggaaconroy learned this the hard way. (Warning: loud)
    • Making matters worse is the fact that these ReDeads are explicitly undead and not just golems fashioned out of clay. They're emaciated, found in tombs or underground and that pinkish part of their mouths that looks like lips? Look closer, that's where it's lips used to be.
  • Molgera. Imagine walking into a massive room full of sand. Then you hear a flutey tune play, sand starts pouring out the ceiling, and the Triforce disappears under a sea of sand. Then an enormous fleshy worm-thing erupts out of the ground and starts flying around. The worst part is its mouth — the jaws are just whipping around like crazy — and the noise it makes. It sounds like a cross between a donkey braying loudly and an agonized scream. See it here.
    • It releases little baby versions of itself to fight you that lack the flappy jaw thing, but instead have blank, angry faces and a mouth full of human-like teeth.
    • Every boss in the game follows the trend of resembling a common dungeon enemy... Except Molgera. It's just some strange sort of deformed sandworm-thing, and the only creatures in the game that it resembles are its own young that it regurgitates to help fight you. It makes one wonder if Ganondorf had simply run out of ideas at this point and just birthed the most terrifying and freakish monstrosity he could come up with.
    • On that note, remember Ocarina of Time? How you got to be friends with most of the Kokiri tribe? Well, one of them was chosen to be the Sage of Wind... and Molgera ate him alive!
      • It may soften it a tiny bit that you never met that particular one — unless the Fado you met decided to start looking like a boy instead of continuing to look like a girl for some reason — but still...
      • Same thing with Laruto, who was the Sage of the Earth Temple and also the only Zora seen in this game. The thing that killed her was the monstrous king of the Poes, Jalhalla, who enjoys flinging around fire and body slamming his enemies. So Laruto, who just may have been the last Zora, was either crushed or burned to death — or possibly impaled on the spikes lining Jalhalla's chamber.
  • Sailing around the Great Sea and dealing with most of the enemies isn't a problem, with one exception: The Seahats. They're bigger than Link and his boat combined, and WILL chase you until you're out of the area, even if you clip their propellers! It's bad enough running into them in clear weather, but it's even more bone-chilling during a storm — day or night.
    • It doesn't help that unlike most enemies, these things WATCH you the entire time you're at sea. Unblinking, stoic, constantly facing you as you sail about with unbreaking grins. When you get onto an island, they pretty much guard it, waiting for you to sail again.
    • Heck, encountering anything at sea can be creepy in the right situation. The worst is probably when it's almost nighttime and the light is almost gone, but it's just bright enough for everything to feel positively EERIE. The fact that the enemy encounter music at sea is very different and much more unnerving than the normal music doesn't help one bit.
      • God help you if you're sailing through a storm during the night. The atmosphere turns really dark and ominous, which makes it hard to see. The music also starts to play faster. However, the scariest is after visiting Greatfish Isle for the first time, which sets off a never ending storm with eerie music playing until you find Jabun, and it's not the usual sailing music playing faster, but the tune actually sounds like the rain is going to flood the rest of the world if you don't hurry. It doesn't help that your first Seahat encounter will likely be during the storm.
  • The Big Octos. No matter what, they are always terrifying. If you don't know the secret to finding them, they seem to COME OUT OF NOWHERE AND START SUCKING IN YOUR BOAT. Even if you do figure out where they appear — a large flock of seagulls circle their locations — an intentional sail toward them is full of a mixture of Paranoia Fuel, anxiety, and a generally foreboding feeling. The fact that their markers — the seagulls — go away just before you arrive at their locations makes you none-too-sure of just when the beast will show up and doesn't help the "STOP AND TURN BACK YOU IDIOT" feeling your brain is telling you. And then the whirlpool appears along with a giant thunderstorm. God help you if you're afraid of the sea, storms, or octopi.
    • It's very possible to encounter the one near Fire Mountain before getting the boomerang, leaving you no choice but to let it swallow you and your boat and spit you out, sending you flying ridiculously far and giving you massive damage.
    • For maximum pants-browning, simply take the most direct route possible to Windfall after reaching Greatfish Isle. The Dark Reprise of the sailing theme will have you on edge, the incessant storm will obscure the lone tell-tale sign of its location to you, and you will plow right into it. (Oh, and it's the 12-eyed variety, the biggest of the Big Octos.)
    • It also hides their other tell-tale sign, being that for some bizarre reason, sailing close to its location immediately brings about a thunderstorm that lasts until you leave or beat the Big Octo. And it starts storming just close enough to the Big Octo that you know it's there, but it's too late to stop yourself.
    • To top off all the horror already surrounding Big Octos, the southernmost one has eaten the Great Fairy that resided in its region. You have to kill it in order to free her. Luckily, it's only got four eyes, so it's easier to beat than the eight- or twelve-eyed ones.
  • Like with the Cuccos (chickens) in previous Zelda games, don't mess with the pigs in this game. They will hunt you down! You especially don't want to mess with the giant pig on Outset Island. It does three full hearts of damage to you per hit, even more that the Final Boss!
  • The Earth Temple is basically this game's Shadow Temple. It's got a huge population of ReDeads, Bubbles, Poes, and Stalfos, all of which could probably be considered undead. It's pretty much a huge tomb. Oh, and there's also a huge number of Floormasters. And there's that one room that's full of blue smoke, the stuff that makes you unable to use your weapons, that you have to walk through totally unarmed and sneak past what is basically an army of Floormasters. They can see you perfectly, but you might not see them until they've grabbed a hold of you and pulled you into their portal.
    • The music from both temples is pretty creepy. The Earth Temple has a slow tune that is occasionally interrupted by what sounds like a lunatic with a wind instrument. The Wind Temple is creepy in a different way. The overtones are an innocent tune reminiscent of the Kokiri, but there's that creepy, constant humming that undermines it.
      • That sound that starts up around 1:00 is especially creepy.
  • The first time entering the Forest of Fairies, up on Outset Island where Link first meets Tetra, is extremely unsettling, especially for first-time Zelda players. You find yourself facing the first black-entrance cave in the game and have no choice but to go in. Inside, the music seemingly shuts off and fog obscures most of the screen. But actually, listen quite closely, and you'll realize that the music is in fact not gone. The best way to describe it is "tense" and "ominous". Overall, the vibes make the player feel as if something is stalking Link or waiting for him.
    • Again, for a first-timer, the first appearance of enemies in this area can catch him/her off guard. Fridge Horror kicks in when you wonder how enemies are on Outset Island, one of the only "safe" places in the entire Great Sea.
  • Sea Octoroks. They tend to appear out of nowhere RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU with no warning while you are sailing and knock you off your boat, and as you try to get back on your boat, tons of them start popping up all around you surrounding you and firing at you. Not to mention they are also huge, have glowing yellow eyes and heads and make the screen shake every time they attack, and the music… never go west of Six Eye Reef or near Northern Triangle Island after placing the pearl and getting the treasure…
    • While hunting the Triforce Shards, if you are just a little off when dredging one up from the ocean, you'll pull up a pot instead. As soon as it's dropped back into the ocean, a Sea Octorok will spawn DIRECTLY BEHIND YOU, even at normally safe islands like Greatfish Isle or Outset Island!
  • The places where you get the Triforce Charts in general are horrifying. We have; a holiday home with a flooded basement full of rats, ReDeads and claustrophobic crawlspaces, a ghost ship, the Savage Labyrinth, other creepy basements full of enemies, a maze full of Floormasters that chuck you back to the beginning if they grab you, and a series of islands infested with those ear-destroying birds. This might be Fridge Brilliance seeing as Link's Triforce piece is the Triforce of Courage.
    • The oasis is more unsettling than the rest: the place seems fine and dandy, till you turn off the fire in a very unorthodox manner (the fire also hurts Link, which can startle players who think Link can't get hurt inside buildings)… Now we know why the teacher was so happy to be rid of it. Or maybe she had a reason to give it to you…?
    • But the most nightmarish area has to be the Ghost Ship. Just…that place. It appears at night at certain islands, fair enough. But when you get the ghost chart (tells Link where it will appear), the guy giving it to him warns Link that the previous owner of the map "died suddenly" with no explanation. It all goes downhill from there. The actual ship's appearance is accompanied by some extremely unsettling music. Link goes in to find himself in a mostly deserted room, before all the game's undead enemies ambush him at once. And then, there's the treasure chart room itself, a whole new league of nightmare fuel. There's a mask on the wall that resembles a face. If Link looks at it, it seems to be a calm-faced mask. But once he turns his back to it, it gains a horrific Slasher Smile. And the ultimate icing on the cake (in the GCN version)? If Link jump attacks near the chest to get closer to the mask, the game freezes. It locks up with no way out but a hard reset. This does not happen with any other chest in the game.note 
      • The Ghost Ship is designed to resemble the Pirate Ship. The implications are unpleasant.
      • And to top it off? After you get the Triforce Chart, there's a loud shrieking cackle that comes out of nowhere, and then you're booted back onto your ship.
      • The most horrifying thing about the Ghost Ship by far is how little you actually know about it - the game gives next to no information about what it's doing or why, very few characters know anything about it at all, it just...appears and disappears, drifting listlessly past an island each night before vanishing as it moves on to the next one. Even after you've managed to board it and are expecting to discover some answers inside, there are none to be found. Once you've claimed the treasure from inside it, you're returned automatically to the safety of your own boat, and the Ghost Ship vanishes without a trace, never to be seen or heard from again... Nothing Is Scarier, indeed.
  • The King essentially commits suicide right in front of you.
  • After his defeat, Ganondorf is turned to stone with the Master Sword still embedded in his forehead, as the ocean crashes down on top of him. Given that characters who are Taken for Granite in the Zelda series are often still aware of everything, it's likely that he's still conscious and trapped forever at the bottom of the ocean.
    • Or perhaps not. Word of God is that being Taken for Granite was really just for show — Ganondorf is dead, plain and simple... not that that isn't better than the alternative, though
  • Ganondorf's hauntingly deranged laughter when the King steals the Triforce right out from under him: it's the laugh of a man who's lost his very last hope after everything he has ever worked toward has been rendered all for nought. He just snaps completely. What's more, depending on what your beliefs are regarding the Zelda timeline, this is also the last time this Ganondorf ever resurrects.
    Princess Zelda: What are you laughing at, Ganondorf?! You're Insane!
    • To make things worse about Ganondorf's death, just look at Link's expression after he does it, and think about what that wound might have looked like in a less kid-friendly game. Link probably looks so horrified because he's covered in blood.
  • The sailing music that plays when the Great Sea is cursed. Normally, it's light, upbeat music that makes the lengthy sailing easier, but the cursed theme, which is already pretty bad, is made worse by the constant heavy rain and endless dark skies similar to a dark sky you'd see in a literal nightmare.
  • Rock Spire Island. You climb to the top of the island and drop into a cave that seems to be completely empty except for some unlit torches. So you go to light the torches and the room lights up to reveal a hundred freaking Keese right above you. One of the few real Jump Scares in a Zelda game.
  • When you're sneaking around the Moblins in the beginning of the game and one happens to spot you, they suddenly turn their heads towards you as a Scare Chord plays.
  • Although the Poes in this game look cartoony and kind of cute, their way of attacking is very creepy. First, they use a lantern to hit and burn you with, but once taken away, they try to actually possess you. That's right. They come chasing after you, all while laughing with their creepy skeleton masks flapping, trying to possess you. When possessing Link, their distinctive masks chatter and laugh above his head, reversing the movement controls of the game for a short while, leaving you vulnerable and unable to attack. When they are done messing with you, they come out and just disappear while still laughing, never to be seen again. By the way, unless you already shone some light on them, they are completely intangible.
  • Cyclos. Occasionally, Cyclos appears on the Great Sea, residing within large cyclones. If Link gets too close to one of Cyclos' cyclones, he is forced to do battle with him. Similar to a battle with a Big Octo, Link and the King of Red Lions will become trapped in a vortex, all the while trying to strike Cyclos with an arrow. If Link is sucked into the center before he can manage to do so, he is warped to another section of the Great Sea, taking damage. You won't be able to defeat him until later in the game once you have the bow-and-arrow. Therefore, you're bound to be sucked in and hurled away during the first half of the game if caught.
    • Even approaching the thing is horrible. The atmosphere will notably change around the cyclone, which is clearly visible from, judging in-game distance, more than a mile away—to the standard overcast wind and sometimes rain. Everything about the situation blatantly screams "get the hell away". And if you ignore that feeling — even with the bow and arrow — you're in trouble. Unlike other whirlpools in the game, Cyclos sucks you directly into the center and spits you out. You have a matter of seconds before this happens. Good luck.
    • It doesn't help that the deity lets out an Evil Laugh before and after battle.
    • To top it off, you will have one forced encounter with him before you can get a hold of the bow and arrows, at Northern Triangle Island. You can avoid him and get to the island quickly, however, if you pay close attention to the cyclone, you'll notice that it's actively chasing Link, albeit ever so slowly. This means you only have a certain amount of time on the island before he catches you. Try not to panic!
      • Even worse, you can run into both him and Sea Octoroks at the same time in certain islands like the aforementioned Northern Triangle Island and Shark Island. Have fun trying to run away from Cyclos only to go face-first into a swarm of Sea Octoroks.
  • The Tower of the Gods is bad enough to begin with, what with the overwhelming emptiness of the place, but it also has some bottomless pits that you have to navigate around once you get past the waterlogged first floor. What exactly is down there? More seawater? Dungeons? ReDeads? Nothing?
  • Most of the islands are completely uninhabited, but a good number show signs of previous occupants. The implications are sometimes unsettling.
    • The Forsaken Fortress is probably the best example. Tetra mentions to you early on that it once housed a group of pirates she and her group used to compete with, but that they're all gone now. Possibly the reason that they're gone is because of Ganondorf moving in, though just what he and his monsters may have done to empty the place out is up for debate.
    • And when you defeat the Helmaroc King and gain access to Ganondorf's chamber, you find the wall outside splattered with something that looks suspiciously like dried blood, with skulls and machetes strung up over the door. Considering this "rival gang" of Tetra's was probably the Gerudo, it's not hard to imagine what Ganondorf might've done them once he made his return.
  • Two islands have abandoned shipyards. In the first, you have to light torches using your fire arrows to light a path for a lost spirit. In the second, you have to navigate through a warp jar maze that's infested with Floormasters — and every time you use a jar, they respawn.
  • In the Forbidden Woods, Kalle Demos' first act once you reach its chamber is to swallow Makar whole. It then raises itself up so you can see its true form, that of a gigantic, parasitic flower.
  • As this video explains, in the HD remake of the game, there's a pretty massive and creepy glitch. If you get hit while defeating the final boss, you'll have to restart the game. Problem is, the game doesn't recognize this and thinks you've already won. Instead of getting the final scene, you'll get Ganondorf stuck in his test animation, flailing his arms randomly and moving his mouth and Zelda will just stare at you.
  • Miniblins. You would think that as some of the smallest and weakest enemies in the game they wouldn't be very frightening, but somehow they are. First is their appearance. With the horns on their heads, tridents in their hands, and rodent-like faces full of little teeth, they look like some kind of Satanic perversion of Mickey Mouse. Next is their behavior. While very easily to deal with individually, they always seem to Zerg Rush you, in dark places, and while just one of their attacks doesn't deal much damage, a lot of them can add up, resulting in a Death by a Thousand Cuts if you're not careful. After they hit, they also laugh, showing that, weak as they are, they seem to take sadistic pleasure in hurting you. Last but not least, their wall climbing behavior is somewhat buggy, which causes them to get stuck on a wall, jerking around erratically and often clipping in and out of the wall, which looks very creepy and out of place in a game that otherwise has mostly very smooth animations. So in short, Miniblins are sociopathic rat-demon hordes that ambush you in the dark, and are anomalies in the very fabric of the game universe itself.
    • In at least two areas where they appear, Miniblins just keep coming at you. You saw a group of about 5, and finished them all off? Another three are coming at you from behind. They always appear just off camera, from a direction Link isn't facing if you turn him to face it, so neither Link or the player have any clue where they're spawning from. The only way to get them to stop is to stand in a corner and have Link and the camera pointed into the room, but once they've got even an inch of unseen space...
  • First visiting Hyrule Castle frozen in time, having been completely overtaken by monsters, is incredibly creepy. If you listen closely, it actually does have its own music — if you can even call it that. It's a faint, mournful echo of the Hyrule Castle theme's melody played on reeds, interspersed with distant muffled banging and scattering noises that really drive in the emptiness and despair of the once-great kingdom.
  • The Tingle Tuner can provide some very creepy bits when you are in dungeons. For example, in Dragon Roost Cavern, Tingle will state on the GBA; There seems to be something written under the skull. "It looks like my life will end in this heat, I shall leave one last message here". Pretty dark for a Zelda game.
    • Even worse in that there's a distinct possibility it could've been a child who wrote that message. As it's required for each of them to journey to visit Valoo in order to grow their wings, that makes them the most likely to be traversing Dragon Roost Cavern.
  • Wizzrobes may seem like Nightmare Retardant at first until you realize they can summon ReDeads, Darknuts, and even other Wizzrobesnote . The one in the Ghost Ship especially loves to summon ReDeads. And they are really, really annoying.
    • Wizzrobes use the fine line between Nightmare Fuel and Nightmare Retardant as a jump rope. On one hand, they have a rather goofy appearance, resembling wall-eyed toucans. On the other hand, they can teleport at the player when they least expect it, attack them, and teleport away before the player can kill them, leaving them to wonder where the hell they'll pop out of next. Then there's the fact that their teleporting animation consists of them spinning around slowly, with a silly yet somewhat creepy sound. The sound itself deserves special mention because it's a slowed down version of the telportation sound effect used by Ganon in A Link to The Past. And later on in the game, they start summoning enemies....
    • And then there's the one on the Ghost Ship which can summon ReDeads. This is the only Wizzrobe in the whole game that can do this, but players that don't know this will spend the rest of the game worrying about Wizzrobes popping out of nowhere to hurl ReDeads at them.
  • Your first sight of Greatfish Isle is pretty horrifying, especially as it's never made clear what Ganondorf did to it. All that's left is a few pieces of land jutting up from the water at extremely unnatural angles, debris scattered this way and that, and two wrecked canoes sitting on the shore - a far cry from the troubled, but thriving settlements on Dragon Roost and the Forest Haven. You don't even get a chance to discover who lived here before it was destroyed, as the implications are pretty heavy that there were no survivors.
  • When the King makes his wish on the Triforce and disrupts Ganondorf's century of planning, the King of Evil very calmly pulls out a pair of katanas... before lurching around to face the screen and flashing a huge Slasher Smile at the player. He then proceeds to attack both Zelda and Link as Hyrule drowns. It's abundantly clear that Ganondorf has literally nothing to lose at this point, and that he's dedicated the last few minutes of his life to trying to hack his enemies apart.
  • If you thought Nintendo decided to tone down the Great Fairies since they're much less alarming here, you'll have another think coming when you meet the Queen of Fairies, who is arguably the creepiest Great Fairy in the series. The form she takes is giant, but shaped like a young human girl, carrying a doll of one of the normal Great Fairies. It's already kind of creepy that she looks like a little girl and is a solid shifting color, reminiscent of a ghost, but then she smashes the Great Fairy doll to gift you her power, hits on Link, and goes completely limp like a puppet when she fades away. During all of this, a waltzy version of the Great Fairy theme with mechanical toy noises plays, making it feel even more twisted and bizarre. She feels like an artificial form that amused the much greater being, and though she resembles a child, destroying the Great Fairy doll is a disturbing metaphor for her power.
  • The Puppet Ganon intro cutscene is pretty freaky, with an angry Ganondorf raging against the goddesses before transforming somehow into the giant marionette. The transformation is brief and in silhouette, but the animations indicate some very unnatural warping as Ganondorf's arms and body stretch and rise.


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