Games on Nintendo consoles are often known for their bright palettes, colourful characters and happy, lighthearted narrative. But that's not always how things go. Sometimes, someone deep in the dev team goes mad. They end up making something so terrifying, so vile, so... Not Nintendo. Now little kids lie awake at night, quivering at the thought of what they just saw deep in their favourite, happy, E-rated video game. Having been raised on Nintendo, I've witnessed some of these moments personally, and they've forever scarred my fragile little mind. The following three creatures are the most terrifying I've ever seen in all my time playing Nintendo consoles.
Bowser in Luigi's Mansion
In his oh-so-predictable little way, Bowser almost always manages to make an appearance in every Mario game, and he quite often proves to be a formidable foe. However, in Luigi's Mansion, Bowser's different. He's big, spiky, shelled, hairy-Wait, that's normal. The real kicker is this: He's dead. King Boo gutted and possessed Bowser's corpse, using it as some sort of vile flesh Gundam in the final battle in Luigi's premiere leading role. Lumbering about the rooftop, these reanimated remains of Bowser seem like just another cheesy boss with a slightly morbid twist. That's when things start to get crazy.
After wailing on this poor corpse for a while, the head comes off and just... Floats there. Yeah, yeah, King Boo, I'll get to killing you in a minute, but... This is just disgusting. His head is just floating there with the look of death on its face. Wait... Oh god. Oh god no! He's back on his body... BACKWARDS. Now he's stumbling around the roof, grabbing at his head in vain to put it back on right. Seriously, WOW.
Now, some may argue that this isn't really Bowser, and that King Boo is just using some sort of Bowser robot suit. To them I ask: Where, then, did he get this suit of robotic terror? Plausible answer: None. This is no animatronic suit of reptilian doom. No, this is the honest-to-goodness corpse of Bowser, king of the Koopas. Heck, he dies so often, I wouldn't be surprised is King Boo has a closet full of those things. He had to land somewhere after he was killed in Super Mario Bros. 3!
Never thought you'd see such a gruesome moment in a Mario game, did you? Well, you were sure proven wrong! You can have your Boos, Bouldergeists and haunted merry-go-rounds. I'm gonna stay over here with the true reigning king of scary Mario monsters: The decapitated corpse of Bowser.
...actually, on second though, I'll come stand with you. MAN that's a creepy boss.
Ah, Ocarina of Time. What a wonderful game you were. I remember much of you fondly. Hyrule Field, Volvagia, the Zora Domain... However, there's one part that I have less fond memories of... The Kakariko Well. Undoubtedly the scariest part of any Zelda game, the Kakariko Well is full of so many terrifying things. However, not even 30 ReDeads, Phantom Ganon and Richard Simmons all rolled into one could compare to the abject terror stricken into my heart whenever I go up against Kakariko Well's Dead Hand.
Resembling a pale, bloated corpse, Dead Hand's primary section lumbers about the arena, slowly coming towards terrified little Young Link. Once within range, it slowly lowers its hideous head, bare its long, disgusting teeth, and prepare to attack. Of course, this is the point where you strike. Sounds simple, right? Wrong.
Dead Hand's name comes from the fact that there are, quite literally, arms sticking out of the ground all over the arena. These arms can reach up, grab Link, and hold him still until the lumbering mass that is Dead Hand's body can lurch over, lower its head, and attack. You can fight to escape the hands, or even attack them while free to even the odds a bit. Still, these pale limbs lurk all over the room, slowly moving about, constantly coming towards you. Dead Hand's hungry, and he's feeling like some Hylian food today.
It gets even more terrifying when you consider this: Just what is Dead Hand? Is he true to his appearance, consisting of the limbs of the dead, all controlled by one large, bloated, legless corpse? Is he the embodiment of Ganondorf's insanity? Or is he a severely mutated villager from Kakariko, forever warped and morphed by some bizarre magic? We may never know for sure, and I consider that to be the scariest part of all. When a developer leaves an enemy's origin to the player's imagination... Things can get really, really messed-up.
Dead Hand rarely shows up in discussions about scary Zelda monsters, and I have no idea why. He's far scarier than Phantom Ganon, and leagues above the face-humping hoards of ReDeads. Dead Hand is hands-down (Hurr, pun) the scariest Zelda enemy in history, and if you don't agree, I suggest you revisit Ocarina of Time. Go ahead, get grabbed by his limp, pale hand. Be victim to his ferocious, close-up, tooth-baring attack. Then walk away, change into a clean pair of pants, and tell me ReDeads are scarier.
I'd say "let's give a big hand to Dead Hand", but I'm sure he has enough as is.
Resident Evil 4, on the whole, is likely the scariest game I've ever played. Bloody tendrils sprouting from the backs of dogs, Wolverine-like claws flying at my face, Las Plagas parasites shooting from the necks of angry villagers... It's certainly something that should be played with the lights on. The one enemy in Resident Evil 4 that really takes the cake, though, would have to be Dr. Salvador. With his burlap sack mask, flailing chainsaw, and more longevity than an Energizer battery, this doctor always has an opening for new patients... And his patients always leave with a few extra openings themselves.
The true horror begins before he even comes into your line of sight. You're walking through the village, keeping an eye out for zombies, when, all of a sudden, you hear the revving of a chainsaw. This is when you know you're truly in deep trouble. Suddenly he comes running out of nowhere, charging at you with his chainsaw above his head. One second he's nowhere to be seen, and the next he's lowering his deadly weapon upon your neck. You know how in a lot of commercials it says "4 out of 5 doctors recommend it"? Dr. Salvador's that one who doesn't recommend it, as all of his remedies involve chainsaws and jugular veins.
A really creepy part of Dr. Salvador's bloody campaign is how many times he keeps getting up. You gun him down, you think he's dead, but fifteen minutes later, he's back in a brand new setting to cut you up into bite-sized pieces. You gotta hand it to the doc, he's persistent!
I know that this article is otherwise consisted of terrifying enemies in happy games, but dammit, I just couldn't leave this one out. Dr. Salvador is one terrifying, messed-up son of a Plagas. Or is he? This is where things become interesting. We never find out for sure if Dr. Salvador actually is infected. For all we know, he's just some maniac with a chainsaw who loves his job a little too much. Just imagine if he could talk... "Dammit, Leon, I'm a doctor, not a murderer! Well, actually I'm a murderer too, but I needed a hobby, so here we are. Now, it's jugular time!" That was so poorly written and unfunny it's almost scary!
So then, there you have it: The three most terrifying enemies I have ever seen on a Nintendo console. Do you agree with what I said? Did I miss one? Do you disagree with one of my choices? Or do you just want to whine a little? Well, look no further than the comment section, or this forum thread. Hurry, before Dr. Salvador makes you fun size!
Edit: November 2nd, 2008 at 1:37 AM: One thing I want to add here: I know that there are many, many Resident Evil monsters far scarier than Dead Hand and Luigi's Mansion Bowser. Thing is, I didn't want to put more than one creature on here per franchise. Otherwise, it'd be nothing but Dr. Salvador, the machine gun guy and the zombie dogs. I tried to keep some variety going here, as I wanted it to be an "overall" sort of article, not a "this franchise is scary, man, look at these" article. This way we have a better variety, instead of just three guys from the same game. Heck, if I went for the other approach, I probably would have just scrapped this article altogether. That's how much it would have sucked, to be perfectly honest. Oh, and I don't claim to have played every single scary game to grace a Nintendo console. I'm sure there were some pretty tense and shocking moments in Manhunt 2 poised to make me shed my skin in a most unpleasant manner.
So yeah, that's the story of this article. I actually originally intended to include a version of the above paragraph in the post, but I forgot, so... Now I need to make a big, ugly edit instead. Oh well, live and learn. You guys all have a great Sunday, and I'll see you on Monday (Or 2:00 AM Tuesday; I procrastinate a lot).