With Halloween right around the corner, we here at NintendoGal thought it would be a perfect oppurtunity to look back on some of the scarier moments of the Big N’s long catalogue of games. You may not think there would be that many – after all, Nintendo has always been kid-friendly, right? Not always. And sometimes something can become even more disturbing because of the otherwise innocent landscape surrounding it. So without further ado, here are our top 13 scariest Nintendo moments.
13. Super Mario Bros 3 – Here comes the sun…
Maybe I’m the only one who was freaked out by this as a child, but I never forgave Super Mario Bros 3 for turning the sun against me. The desert level starts out like any other, but midway through changes into a deadly cat-and-mouse chase with the sun itself. And boy, did it look PISSED. The video below is almost a catharsis of sorts, as the sun is finally defeated once and for all.
12. Game Boy Camera – Who are you running from?
As anyone who purchased a GBC knew, the device was more than just a camera. It came preloaded with its fair share of games, and even some easter eggs. However, no one expected the game to have such a quirky sense of humor. If you selected the ‘Run’ function from one of the game’s many menus, a creepy sound effect would play and a disturbing face would appear and ask “Who are you running from?”
I think the answer is obvious – YOU. Although it seems more silly now than anything, it was genuinely disturbing to see this message pop up when you weren’t expecting it as a child.
11. Donkey Kong 64 – GET OUT!
In Fetch Quest 64, er, Donkey Kong 64, there was a level entitled Angry Aztec. No one could be quite sure why exactly the desert-themed area was called that until the game made it quite clear. After collecting a golden banana from one of the temples, the player assumed the mission was over and they were victorious. Unfortunately, the game disagrees. A satanic voice suddenly screams at you to “GET… OUT!” and a target suddenly appears on your poor monkey’s back. If you don’t make it out of the temple in time, it’s an instant kill. Now the only question is what made that Aztec so mad in the first place…?
10. Metroid Fusion – Running from the SA-X
Fusion was a slight departure for the Metroid series, with its more linear, mission-based nature. Many fans decried the change, but it did pave the way for some truly heart-pounding moments. The SA-X, basically Samus’ fully powered suit inhabited by an X parasite, stalked through the abandoned space station, hunting you at every turn. When it saw you, as it inevitably did, your only option was to run like hell, as the SA-X was invincible and armed with an ice beam and super missiles. The moments with the SA-X are arguably some of the most memorable in the entire series.
9. Earthbound – “Ness…”
Earthbound is remembered mostly as a light-hearted, humorous approach to the classic RPG formula, but it is also remembered for it’s slightly terrifying final boss. Giygas, the embodiment of evil itself, was quite a formidable foe. Not only did he have no discernible shape aside from a constantly warping face, but his dialogue were lines taken from a rape scene in a movie. “It hurts…” Shudder.
8. Super Mario Bros series – Time is running out
There have been creepy things here and there in Mario games, but nothing that quite makes you panic as much as the “time is running out” sound effect. Here you are, taking your sweet time, trying to time a jump perfectly, when suddenly the music speeds up and if you don’t run your pixelated little buns off, you will die. It may not be the most conventional scary moment on the list, but there’s no denying that that little sound effect can make grown men’s hearts pump just a little bit faster.
7. Resident Evil – Crimson Heads
The Gamecube was home to more than one Resident Evil, but it all started with this remake of the original game. Many of the scares from the original were altered so as to surprise veteran players, but Crimson Heads were a completely new, completely horrifying, addition. Later in the game, zombies whose bodies were not disposed of would rise again as Crimson Heads, incredibly fast, deadly upgraded versions of the original that could – gasp! – follow you through doors! Nothing is quite so horrifying as entering a room and coming face to face with one of these devils.
6. Killer7 – Smile
Killer7 also started out as a Gamecube exclusive, and it was a strange, strange game. And as most strange games do, it had its fair share of creepy moments. However, the creepiest thing in the game is unfortunately also the most common thing – the Heaven’s Smiles. They are invisible to the naked eye, but you know they’re around when you hear their maniacal laughter. That’s your cue to scan the area and shoot them before they grab you and explode on impact. Terrifying.
5. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – Spending the night in Hyrule Field
Ocarina of Time was the first game I ever played where day could turn to night in-game while you were playing, and it made good use of this tactic to scare the living bejesus out of me. When you first leave the Kokiri Woods and enter Hyrule Field, the entire world (which seemed huge at the time) is suddenly laid out before your eyes, ripe for exploring. You know you’re supposed to go to Hyrule Castle, but there’s just too much else to do! Of course, eventually, all good things must come to an end, and you begrudgingly head towards the castle to continue the quest. The sun is going down, after all. But wait – what’s this? The drawbridge is being raised up! You can’t get in! What’s going on…? That’s when the first skeleton bursts from the ground and lunges at you. The night in Hyrule Field belongs to the terrifyingly named Stalchildren, and they’re hungry for your blood. Luckily, they’re not hard to take down, but they give you no chance to catch your breath until the sun rises the next morning. That’s what you get for stalling…
4. Super Metroid – Crocomire’s last stand
The Metroid series has always been excellent at creating an eerie, isolated atmosphere where you truly feel alone. And while it usually doesn’t stoop to cheap scares, Super Metroid did include one noticeable exception. After defeating the boss Crocomire, the player, feeling good about his/her accomplishment, begins to move on…
…I’ll admit I jumped, and fired off a good number of missiles while I was it. From that moment on, I was always a lot more careful about assuming a boss was gone for good.
3. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – The Forest Temple
Whenever Ocarina of Time comes up in conversation, someone inevitably mentions how scared they were of the Shadow Temple, or the bottom of the well. Granted, these areas were frightening. But in my book, there was no scarier place than the Forest Temple. This was largely in part due to the masterful soundtrack. The music of the Forest Temple alone is enough to give me chills. However, the numerous ghosts, spiders, and wallmasters don’t exactly help to relax things. Another reason why the Forest Temple is scarier than the Shadow Temple? At the end of the Shadow Temple, you face perhaps the goofiest boss in the game, Bongo Bongo. At the end of the Forest Temple? Phantom Ganon, an eerie phantom that charges at you from paintings. I rest my case.
2. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem – Taking a hot bath
Eternal Darkness had all the good ingredients for a horror game. Unsettling enemies, eerie atmospheres, and a Lovecraftian story of epic proportions. However, no one can argue that the most terrifying aspect of the game was the unique sanity meter – or to be more precise, what the game became if that meter went down. The so-called sanity effects ranged from the subtle (busts following your movements down a hallway) to fourth-wall shattering moments like the game erasing your memory card or telling you to plug the controller back in. The most startling and scream-inducing moment though came from a scripted encounter in the bathroom if your sanity meter was low enough. Our heroine, Alexandra Roivas, innocently examines a bathtub…
…sadly, on subsequent playthroughs the moment loses its shock value. But I don’t know anyone who didn’t jump the first time they saw it.
1. Resident Evil 4 – Regenerators
RE4 was not only the best Resident Evil game to date, but for a while, Gamecube owners had the privilege of saying it was exclusive to their system. Of course, it eventually was ported to the PS2, but that doesn’t change the fact that a Nintendo console was the original home of these monsters. About halfway through the game, players found themselves in an underground lab, face-to-face with a seemingly un-killable humanoid creature. The Regenerators would shamble towards you, all the while quivering like an epilepsy patient, slowly yet surely. Of course if you tried running away you would find out just how quickly they could actually move. Eventually, players discovered you could take them out with an infra-red sniper rifle, but that never lessened the horror of facing one down in a narrow corridor – or its even more sinister sister, the Iron Maidens.
Thank you for reading, and have a safe and happy Halloween!
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