One of the biggest names in the video game industry, Nintendo built its brand on innovative and accessible titles for all ages. Though this means many titles tend to leave out elements of horror, there exists no shortage of scary Nintendo characters. They may not appear in the most frightening video games of all time, but the scariest Nintendo characters occupy their own nightmarish niches guaranteed to creep out kids and adults alike. The most well-known Nintendo characters like Mario or Kirby are polar opposites of creations players must face in Zelda, Earthbound, and the Mario series.
Even kid-friendly series such as Pokémon feature their own selection of nightmarish creatures that will forever haunt your dreams. So if you thought Nintendo games can't scare you, read on to find out about some of the creepiest characters. Remember, just like in any video game, you can always turn back now...
Earthbound routinely switches from being a rather charming role-playing game to shoving adult themes at the player. Yet, nothing in the entire experience hints at the nightmare that is the final boss fight with the Giygas. Up against a nearly omnipotent enemy, Ness and his gang travel back in time to a period when Giygas was much younger. In fact, the common consensus sees the final boss fight as basically an abortion, with the player killing Giygas while he remains in fetus form.
This symbolism aside, Giygas itself makes for a terrifying battle, with its demonic visage repeated across the screen while a glitchy, rumbling sound drones on in the background. It's enough to make you wonder if you've just stumbled into your own personal Creepypasta.
Appearing at the bottom of the well and in the depths of the Shadow Temple, the Dead Hand personifies multiple fears in one creepy, six-handed enemy. Rooted in the ground, the Dead Hand traps prey using its hands, which hold victims in place as it lumbers towards them. Its gaping jaws resemble some type of warped clown, only making it much for terrifying for kids – and adults – everywhere.
The groundbreaking Ocarina of Time introduces a number of adult elements to the Zelda series. Its story references civil wars, torture, and brutal violence, but even these pale in comparison to the ReDead, reanimated corpses of those who lived in Hyrule Castle before Ganondorf took control.
As if these zombies aren't terrifying enough, they let loose ghastly screams the moment they see prey, freezing Link in place so they may suck his life force out of his face. A singular ReDead even appears as a final foe before the last boss, providing a last-minute obstacle in the hero's quest. Should Link slay a ReDead, those still standing will surround the corpse as it disappears.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is already one of the darker games Nintendo has released, with an unconventional storyline and gameplay that opens itself up to more macabre elements. One of the most frightening characters is the Moon. The giant celestial body slowly falls towards Termina, ending all life and destroying everything in its path.
Although it was initially intended to be faceless, the game designers decided to add the maniacal face to make the character all the more menacing. It worked, as the Moon ended up being a monstrous-looking manifestation of the impending doom the player goes up against. Even when stopped by the Four Giants, the Moon then threatens to consume everything into its gaping maw.