Some Of The Most Terrifying And Dark Events In Nintendo Video Games
Nintendo is a household name in which many families started their childhood fun of video games. With a classic cast of characters from the italian plumber, Mario, the legendary hero Link, and the fearsome bounty hunter Samus. Nintendo has filled gamers with memories of fun and joy along with following the epic stories of their worlds. From the swelling nostalgia of many musical pieces to the near limitless potential in games, Nintendo is practically fun for the whole family from parents to children, being the beginning of many childhood obsessions.
That said, Nintendo has been able to tell mature stories following dark plots, vile villains, and an eerie atmosphere. It’s not too rare to have a fun gaming session when suddenly the tables turn and tension comes in the form of a change of scenery or grotesque imagery. Many of Nintendo’s famous IPs feature some haunting moments that can chill mature fans and traumatize younger gamers. More often than not these images are downplayed sometimes for the sake of the E and T ratings.
10. Exploring Big Boo’s Haunted Castle
In Mario 64, Nintendo flexed most of their first 3D capabilities at the time. Considered to be the base concept of Luigi’s Mansion, Big Boo’s Haunted Castle is a level within the game that puts Mario in a spooky setting featuring boos and other creepy foes. One of the most infamous of these dangers is a deceptively normal looking piano that suddenly opens up like the jaws of a monster and chases Mario relentlessly. Another is a terrifying disembodied eye that stares at Mario while shooting projectiles. And then there were the boos, who chase Mario until they hide away when he faces them. The main boss of Big Boo’s Haunted Castle is the king of the Boos, who looks almost identical to his minions except for the size. Surprisingly, Mario 64 had other dark moments outside of the Haunted Castle, from the massive sea monster in the water levels and the consequences of running out of health underwater.
9. Kirby’s Battle Against Zero Two In Kirby 64
Kirby is one of the cutest little characters in Nintendo with an insane backstory that baffles the imagination. His world is just as outlandish with one of his bigger adversaries being Zero Two. Zero Two is the resurrected leader of the Dark Matter enemies and the final boss Kirby faces in Kirby 64 after collecting all the crystal shards in the game. Zero Two is more or less a biblically accurate angel-like creature whose appearance consists of a circular body with one large crimson eye, wings on the side like a seraphim, a halo with a bandage on top of the head, and a cactus-like tail. Aside from its looks, it’s pretty creepy to fight and its significance in the story is horrific. Essentially an angelic being that represents an old enemy back from the dead, it’s also believed that it tried to imitate Kirby to take over his home. Defeating this angelic abomination requires aiming for the weaknesses on its head and tail which causes it to bleed profusely, making the imagery even more disturbing.
8. The Distorted Imagery of Giygas
In the game Earthbound, players follow the adventures of physic children like Ness and his friends. One of the most formidable foes the children face is the eldritch horror Giygas. Giygas is a planet destroying entity that is a form of multiple abstract screaming faces distorted with a swirling effect. Giygas is inspired by a very traumatic moment in Shigesato Itoi’s young life when he watched a film depicting a violent scene. Giygas is as unnerving and terrible to witness as the sounds and dialogue attached to the boss. Earthbound is completely centered around Ness’s journey to stop Giygas from destroying Earth, something the entity was able to do in a different future. Giygas is the turning point of the game, as most of the game is whimsical and light in tone, but everything about this planet eating entity is dark enough to make some repressed nightmares.
7. Fox Mccloud’s Grueling Battle Against Andross
The Star Fox series is known for action packed dogfights, intense level design, and interesting boss battles. Aside from Star Fox Adventures which was made like Legend of Zelda, the rest of the series is mostly spaceship battles against armies and imposing enemies. One such enemy is the main villain of the series, Andross, a mad scientist from Corneria. He was a constant threat to Fox Mccloud and started the Lylat wars when he joined the Venomian empire, killed Fox’s father, and experimented in biotech so fanatically he replaced his body with a large disembodied head and two detached hands. In the boss fight of Star Fox 64, Fox shot off most of his biologically altered flesh and bones until all that remained was his brain with tentacle-like tendrils and eye stalks. Even after that was finally destroyed, the nightmarish legacy of Andross lives on in his minions and creations.
6. Trapped With The Dead Hand In Ocarina Of Time
The Legend of Zelda is not shy in unveiling darkness and fear in their games. As the series entered 3D in environments and graphics, developers of the franchise had ground to explore for Ocarina of Time. One scary section of the game is when Link enters the bottom of the well in Kakariko Village and the Shadow Temple. In one of the rooms explored for special items, a garden of bodiless hands overwhelms the confined space. When one of these hands gets a hold of Link and keeps him pinned in its grip, a bloated corpse-like figure with a long neck and deformed maw erupts from the ground and slowly stalks to Link’s struggling body to take a bite out of him. If Link struggles free soon enough, he can swing at the monster’s head for damage, but has to lure it back to surface with each successful strike. This is the Dead Hand, and defeating these creatures is needed to traverse with items for the temples, though they are nasty to look at and stressful to fight.
5. Luigi Finds Mario Trapped In A Painting In Luigi’s Mansion
Luigi’s Mansion is one of the creepier of the Mario games, the whole premise being poor Luigi, the not so brave as Mario hero, having to face off against all manners of ghosts and phantoms to find his brother. Though much of the game follows the Scooby Doo formula of mystery, scares, chases, and the capture of many ghosts, for the first half of the game the question of Mario’s whereabouts were unanswered. Then Luigi climbed down a well and crawled through a small tunnel into an opening blocked by a gargoyle head, keeping him from getting out that way. It was there that he saw an elaborate room, with King Boo looking at his favorite living portrait, Mario. At that moment, seeing Mario helplessly banging from inside the painting to escape, the stakes were high for Luigi and he knew that he had to steel his courage to save his brother. One of the first major moments in Mario’s long career where he was the one in trouble and Luigi was the only one that can save him.
4. Introducing Metroid Prime With A Derelict Pirate Ship
The Metroid series is the default sci-fi horror franchise of Nintendo since the NES. While the graphics didn’t match the atmosphere until Super Metroid on the SNES, GameCube released Metroid Prime, a game that takes players directly into the first person perspective of Space Bounty Hunter Samus. Metroid Prime gives many ways to experience the world of the series, including scanning areas of interest to get an in-game explanation of plants, scenery, and creatures. The first level of the game illustrated this gameplay while Samus investigates a ship belonging to the space pirates devoid of life. On the ship, small details in the gameplay showed that something horrific happened on the ship. Bodies of space pirates and the creatures they captured were strewn about the derelict, each showing abnormal injuries and the atmospheric music doesn’t help with the tension. In classic horror movie fashion, the mystery of the ship builds until the reveal of a parasitic breed of aliens as the first enemies of the game.
3. The Raunchy Entirety Of Conker’s Bad Fur Day
Out of all of Nintendo’s first party games, None have reached the level of hysterical depravity that Conker’s Bad Fur Day did. A 3D platformer in the vein of Mario 64 and Banjo & Kazooie, the game follows a red squirrel named Conker who wakes up hungover in an open field on his way home. After that the game doesn’t settle down and starts showcasing shocking violence that’ll catch veteran Nintendo fans off guard. From a rat viscerally exploding from eating too much cheese to a giant monster formed entirely out of feces. While those dark moments are gross and hilarious, special mention goes to the zombie level, count dracula commanding a vampirized Conker to juice villagers in a machine, and a Saving Private Ryan recreation all featuring cute anthropomorphic animals being slaughtered. Conker’s Bad Fur Day is a one of a kind experience that really challenged Nintendo’s censorship in the 90s and is one of the crazier games to be dark for the sake of comedy.
2. The Looming Doom Of Majora’s Mask
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is a direct sequel to Ocarina of Time and is considered one of the creepiest/darkest entries in the franchise. Following the events of Ocarina of Time, the game follows Link back to his childhood on a journey to search for Navi. After being sent to another alternate world named Termina, Link is driven to stop the mysterious Skull Kid wearing the creepy Majora’s Mask as he sets in motion the end of the world.Link has three in game days to gather all the proper items and complete a series of tasks before a massive moon summoned by Skull Kid with a horrifying glare crashes into the Termina. The game accurately tracks the amount of time left which creates a sense of tense urgency. As the days pass, the moon looms closer and closer with the music changing to a dower tone and the NPC characters responding in fear, panic, and in some sad resignation. The moon of Majora’s Mask is a constant dreary reminder of impending death and destruction that permeates throughout the game.
1. Evading The E.M.M.I Robots In Metroid Dread
In the latest entry of the Metroid series, Metroid Dread follows the concepts and ideas of Metroid Fusion from the Gameboy Advance, which was canonically the latest story in Samus’s adventure. From that game, Samus had to evade and hide from a formidable enemy that’s imitating her known as the SA-X while fighting off monsters afflicted with the X-parasite. Metroid Dread follows this idea but replaces the SA-X with terminator-like robots hunting Samus for her DNA called the E.M.M.I. They are insanely relentless and overwhelming, chasing down Samus if they catch notice of her and seeking out any trace of her movement if they lose sight of her. E.M.M.I are the key source of tension in the game. No matter how many monsters and bosses Samus defeats, E.M.M.Is are practically built to always be out of her league and still capable of taking her down until Samus gets the right upgrades to defeat them
Metroid Dread (2021) Announcement Trailer