What's the one enemy that induced the most anxiety?

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FinalDasa

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#1 FinalDasa  Moderator

There was a time, many years ago, where a tinier version of me would sit in front of a small CRT and bash away at Donkey Kong Country with full determination.

Through minecart jumps, perilous barrel blasting, and finding hidden bonus levels there stood only one enemy that would send shivers through my soul. The goddamn bee.

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Bee it the precise balance between barrels or just waiting for one to drop so I could hop on over, this enemy always instilled me with fear.

So what enemies from games past would always put you into a state of dread?

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tfarcevol

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The birds in Ninja Gaiden for the NES.

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Marino

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#3 Marino  Staff
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Zordak Ragefire

I wrote a blog about this situation years ago, but this dragon is an EverQuest monster that is part of the cleric epic weapon quest. At the time, you had to give a quest item to a vendor in this dragon lair, which would end up revealing the vendor to be the dragon and initiate the battle. The vendor would only spawn after an entirely different dragon was defeated. After that dragon fell, the vendor could spawn at any point over the next 96 hours of real time. So, each cleric wanting to finish the quest would have to potentially wait 4 days of real time waiting for this guy. As if that wasn't hard enough, the fire giants in the dragon lair respawn every 6 hours and couldn't be solo'd. So, the cleric needed help 4 times a day to keep the camp. The etiquette on my server was that if you didn't kill the wave of fire giants and someone else's team did, you're out.

I was in a powerful guild at the time, but I've never been great about asking for help. But, I had everything necessary for the quest completed and this was the last thing, so I let everyone know I was gonna try and when. I was physically prepared to stay awake as long as possible. I had backup plans in place if I fell asleep (people checking on me who had access to my account for this). But, the fear of having no one around in the middle of the night if Zordak spawned was terrifying. Or spending 2-3 days in there only to lose it to a team that mobilized faster than mine.

Then it happened. Zordak spawn exactly 1 hour after the other dragon died. Some of my guild was still in the zone and it was 7 PM so literally everyone was online. We comically annihilated the red dragon, I got my epic, and became known as the guy who got "The 1-Hour Ragefire". It was the luckiest moment I'll ever have in a game.

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Atlas

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The poison headcrabs in Half-Life 2. That rattling, clicking noise still haunts my dreams.

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MoonlightMoth

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Pretty much any game that has a large underwater creature gets the anxiety going, especially if they have a large mouth and can eat you. Even though its a game something in my brain just goes off and I struggle to not get a little jittery. Kind of amazed I managed to finish Subnautica to be honest. First noticed it with the eel in Super Mario 64.

Also really hate those mask things that chase you in Super Mario Bros. 2.

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dsjwetrwete

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Obligatory Winter Lanterns from Bloodborne

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FinalDasa

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#7 FinalDasa  Moderator

@kyniro: I knew someone would eventually post a Dark Souls or Bloodborne enemy :P

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BrunoTheThird

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#8  Edited By BrunoTheThird

Yep, Subnautica for me too. In fact, it's still the one and only time I've truly been emotionally wrecked by a digital creature's mere presence. I could only explore the deepest depths for an hour maximum at a time before I started to experience borderline hyperventilation. The sensation of seeing huge abyssal horrors gliding through the vast darkness when you're so aware of the vulnerabilities of your vessel, the distance to your nearest base, the increasing environmental volatillity as you delve, and the importance of finding what you need in these areas to finally escape the planet, is monumental.

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dsjwetrwete

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#9  Edited By dsjwetrwete

@finaldasa:

In this particular case, this enemy actually causes your "frenzy" meter to increase rapidly just by being in its presence. (Think if extreme anxiety = frenzy) When the meter fills, you lose a large chunk of health, and the meter continues to fill up multiple times to screw you super hard.

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csl316

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Alligators in Tomb Raider. I love swimming and couldn't for a couple years!

Don't get me started on the beginning of 40 Fathoms in TR2, man.

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ghost_cat

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Yep, Subnautica for me too. In fact, it's still the one and only time I've truly been emotionally wrecked by a digital creature's mere presence. I could only explore the deepest depths for an hour maximum at a time before I started to experience borderline hyperventilation. The sensation of seeing huge abyssal horrors gliding through the vast darkness when you're so aware of the vulnerabilities of your vessel, the distance to your nearest base, the increasing environmental voilitility as you delve, and the importance of finding what you need in these areas to finally escape the planet, is monumental.

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Reading this alone is giving me a very high level of anxiety. Yesh!

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Undeadpool

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#12  Edited By Undeadpool

The angler fish in "Outer Wilds."

I have a very odd phobia of water in-games (zero fear of going in water in real life), and things that are normally in water being in the sky/space is doubly freaky to me. The whole part in Dark Bramble NEVER GOT ANY EASIER, their fucking hissing and slow, languid movements that could turn harsh and deadly at any SECOND was always building a tightness in my chest that made the endgame especially harrowing.

@brunothethird:

Thank you for confirming for me that I will never play this game. Seems like it would have been awesome, but just that screenshot is making me feel ill.

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NTM

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#13  Edited By NTM

A few enemies or bosses if you want from Outlast 2. I can't choose, but that game was probably the most intense game that I've played at the time thanks to the consistent barrage of chases you have to contend with. Marta, Val, and the creepy monster in the school hallucination.

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mellotronrules

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'bossfight' against David in the restaurant near the end of The Last of Us.

being stalked gives me the heebie jeebies.

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BrunoTheThird

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#15  Edited By BrunoTheThird

@undeadpool@ghost_cat Sorry about that; I gave myself flashbacks, too, ha. I can still hear my ship's A.I. saying, "Entering ecological deadzone..." in my head from time to time, followed by the metallic shriek of a leviathan. Seeing the giant red blip appear out of nowhere on your sonar triggers the fastest LEAVE. NOW. response ever.

I'll stop now.

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SethMode

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#16  Edited By SethMode

@undeadpool: My wife can't even be in the same room as me when I play Subnautica for exactly the same reason. I think specifically for her she feels the urge to hold her breath, and then when I'm in a cave or something she literally starts to panic thinking she will never get out. It's wild, because she also loves swimming and even some mild scuba diving.

For me, when I was a child it was that classic asshole sun enemy in Mario 3, as well as Phanto in Mario 2. Pretty boilerplate answers, I know, but I was like, 6 at the time.

When I was a little older, it's not a specific enemy per se, but the segment on the Floating Island in FFVI where you have a time limit to get to your airship, and you have to leave yourself enough time to wait for Shadow or else lose him for the second part of the game, always filled me with anxiety (there is a boss fight in there, Atma Weapon, I think, so I'll say it counts).

More modern, the Haunt enemies in Thief scared the fucking bejesus out of me and one time my tension level was so high while playing late at night that the resulting scream literally woke up my family who thought I was being murdered.

Finally, very modern day: Breath of the Wild, the guardians. Instant panic and sweats for a large portion of that game, especially while performing certain tasks. Cannot remember how many times I would just found my self serpentining in random directions just hoping I don't get nailed. They lose a little of their suspense once you learn how to parry them because the window is very forgiving, but there are still parts later around Ganon's castle that are intense.

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GiantRobot24

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@undeadpool: I haven't played Outer Wilds yet, but just seeing the angler fish in GB's coverage triggered some weird dread/anxiety in me that I rarely feel in video games. I can't explain why, but that thing is terrifying.

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TheHT

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chamurai

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When I was in middle school and playing Breath of Fire III. The part early in the game where your character and Nina are running from Balio and Sunder got my heart rate up. It was one of my first experiences with RPG's and having a story in my game and 2 kids running from adult gangsters out to kidnap you got me real scared every time they would appear. I would let out a big sigh of relief when I'd give em the slip only to get scared when I'd bump into them again.

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Zeik

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The friggin' hall crabs in Shining in the Darkness.

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This game is one of my earliest gaming memories, so it left a strong impression on me. Unlike most enemies that would appear in random battles, these guys would sidestep out from an intersection as you were moving through the labyrinth, and were accompanied by extra ominous danger music. They were also pretty tough and could easily wipe your team out if you were careless. Especially a kid who was still pretty lousy at video games. They weren't the only enemies in the game that did this, or the hardest, but definitely the ones that left me with the most lasting anxiety.

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Ben_H

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#21  Edited By Ben_H

I'm playing Pikmin 2 right now. Every enemy technically counts for this since I try to minimize pikmin death but especially those assholes that spit out gigantic rocks that can kill like 30 pikmin in one shot. The thing that has struck me most about playing this game again after like 15 years is just how brutal a lot of the pikmin deaths are. You watch pikmin drown, get eaten alive, get lit on fire, get crushed, get captured and dragged into the den of a giant lobster, get stuck onto an enemy covered in sticky goo and then crushed, get poisoned, get blown up, get thrown off cliffs into the void, get chased and disintegrated by gigantic suicidal explosive daddy longlegs, and many other grisly ways of dying. It's quite messed up.

edit: oh I forgot to mention there's an entire level of a dungeon where they just randomly drop explosive balls on you at various points. The entire level is designed to catch you off guard and kill all your pikmin. Drop a bomb while you are digging up a treasure? Nope. Wait until like 3 seconds after you dig up the treasure and drop the bomb as all the pikmin are starting to carry the treasure.

The Pikmin 2 developers are evil. The entire game is an anxiety-inducing nightmare. I played Pikmin 3 before Pikmin 2 and it wasn't nearly as traumatizing.

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Xdeser2

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#22  Edited By Xdeser2

Easily the Winter Lanterns in Bloodborne. Even at my most leveled, prepared and confident I never know if i'm going to win that fight

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BDKMat

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Foot Holders in Mega Man.

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Efesell

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I have a severe aversion to the sound of labored breathing so the regeneraters in RE4 are incredibly hard for me to deal with.

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Quantris

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I was pretty scared of those Redeads in Ocarina of Time. Wallmasters also.

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deactivated-611d8183a00c9

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Resident Evil 7 in VR. Took about 10 hours to accomlish about 15 minutes of actual gameplay. It was terrifying and with the developer having control of all my senses except for smell and taste (even thought they sold some sort of blood candle in japan) was too much for me. It made me swear off VR for good. i

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TheFlamingo352

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@kyniro: Oh god, the worst part isn't even the enemy Winter Lanterns: it's that mother brain in the Nightmare of Mensis, waiting in the dark after you drop it from its perch.

The way the lighting just slowly reveals it is absolutely disgusting; the fact that it gazes at you instead of attacking multiplies that ten-fold.

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redwing42

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#28  Edited By redwing42

The baby demons or whatever they were in the original Silent Hill really messed me up in all their muddy, pixilated creepiness. That chase sequence early in the game was almost enough to make me stop playing all together.

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FancySoapsMan

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The primal aspids in Hollow Knight.

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plan6

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#30  Edited By plan6

Giant's Deep in outer wilds. Its not really an enemy, but it tapped into my primal fear of the endless ocean and being pulled underneath it. Dark Bramble had rules. The giant's deep just had a cloud layer I had to dive through and pray it worked out.

Subnautica is unfucking playable. I refuse to go near that game unless someone is paying me.

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Squadaloo

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#31  Edited By Squadaloo

@ben_h: I was trying to think of an enemy for this and you bringing up Pikmin 2 lead me back to the perfect answer: The Water Wraith. Suddenly dropping an unlikable monster to that can murder every Pikmin you have in a second was horrifying as a kid, especially given the cave it's in has extremely creepy background music.

Fortunately, in my playthrough as an adult, I found I had gotten good enough at multitasking that I was able to clear each floor before the 5 minute time limit marking its arrival expired so I didn't even have to deal with it.

Also as an aside, yeah, the amount of death traps that fall from the ceiling kind of kills that game for me. I thought it was a lot better than Pikmin 1 as a kid but replaying them all last year I actually like it the least now.

Also as someone who generally doesn't do horror games, the Poisonous Headcrabs in Half-Life Alyx nearly made me quit the game out of fear at one point.

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poobumbutt

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The Regenerators in Resident Evil 4.

Now that I've beaten the game a dozen times, know all of their locations, and don't panic anymore when sniping their weak points, they're basically toothless, but MAN. Hearing that breathing that sounds like a cross between my grandmother's snoring and the noise one makes when they need to vacate some phlegm used to freeze me in my tracks for real.

Shout out to the Iron Maiden by the way. The monster that took what my preteen brain thought was the scariest thing ever and turned the notch up to 11. RIP to a real one.

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Goboard

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#33  Edited By Goboard

The skeletons are the product of the actual enemy, but every time I see one of them I get the bad brain feels.

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CyrusRaven

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@kyniro: hey yo I knew someone would post this asshole in here. _o1

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CyrusRaven

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@goboard: Same. The sound accompanying these guys doesn't help with the extreme feeling of unease either.

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SethMode

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@poobumbutt: Jesus, you played that as a pre-teen? I played it in college and it nearly killed me.

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theonewhoplays

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@plan6: I'm playing Outer Wilds right now and it's kind of stressing me out. Going into Dark Bramble for the first time was a nasty surprise... Right now I'm trying to find a way through the ice to the observatory and that place is -pissing me off- unfortunately. Some runs I've been thrown into space like three times before giving up.

Anyway, Nemesis scared me witless when I was a kid and I never beat RE3. Or any RE for that matter, before 4. Playing the second run of RE2R and realizing X could enter the lobby was pretty stressful too. Silent Hill 1 and 2 had me looking away from the screen while trying to play them, but funny enough I still managed to beat both back in the day.

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stantongrouse

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Outside of the ones already mentioned, Subnautica's Leviathans being some of the worst/best for setting the heartrate going, I found most of the Colossi in Shadow of the Colossus would set me off. Particularly if there was a lot of hanging on involved. That, and any cliff in the earlier stages of Breath of the Wild.

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Onemanarmyy

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#39  Edited By Onemanarmyy

hmm..i'm sure i have 10 better answers for this but the one right now on the mind are those Pinwheel enemies in Dark Souls. Whenever that part comes up i'm like ugh... i guess i have to go down this well into this dark maze and be very very careful and abuse the corners otherwise hell breaks loose. It's just not a comfortable enemy to deal with.

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cikame

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I echo Subnautica but for me it's the crabsquids, when you get the first dinky little submarine and go exploring deeper than ever before, then you encounter this m***** f*****.

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I didn't really interact with them much because every time i was entering an area with one in it i would speedrun like mad to get what i wanted and leave as fast as possible without looking at them.
Also yes shoutouts to RE4's regenerators, but they're so easy to deal with on repeated playthroughs, also everything in the last level of the original Tomb Raider.

I'm racking my brain to find my personal choice but i don't play many scary games, it freaks me out when an enemy moves in a smooth motion directly towards me, so i'm thinking about what i call the "Ghosts" in F.E.A.R, also SCP-106 in Containment Breach.

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AKTANE

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#41  Edited By AKTANE
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Y'all castlevania players know what im talking about. they're always accompanied by instant kill pits...

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BrunoTheThird

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@stantongrouse: Great example, that's def my number two on the anxiety meter. Not just the finger-juggling you have to do to climb, jump, grip, rest, shimmy, prime your sword and stab withouth falling, but all the while eyeballing your stamina and the collosi's attack patterns. Not to mention dealing with the emotional strain of the intense soundtrack as you are straight-up murdering the last living examples of an ancient land's native inhabitants...

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BBAlpert

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#43  Edited By BBAlpert

The spider crabs in Ecco the Dolphin were fittingly nightmarish additions to an already panic-inducing ice level. As if you weren't already on edge enough about getting lost in a frozen labyrinth and drowning or getting crushed against a wall by free-floating blocks of ice, you also get to deal with groups of dolphin sized spiders* that can accelerate from stopped to full speed almost instantly, have no telegraphing animations that they're about to attack, and can survive more than one hit from you.

*Not technically spiders, but spider crabs. Still.

(cw: a gif of these spider crabs from the game)

These motherfuckers...
These motherfuckers...

And yet somehow that ice level isn't the scariest level in that damn game?!

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deactivated-629ec706f0783

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This god damn nightmare has ruined so many runs, and will continue to ruin runs. The moment I see one my rhythm is destroyed and the freakout starts.

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HNS

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idkicarus

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#46  Edited By idkicarus

The Brutes in Mass Effect 3 always get to me. Whenever they appear I just can't help flailing. Part of it is the guilt of shooting something with a Turian face. And the other part is how panic-inducing it is to be charged and hope that you have enough ammo/biotics to put them down before they close the distance.

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plan6

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@theonewhoplays: That place is a real pill to get to due to having to walk on the wall a whole bunch. It took me quiet a few tries to get there. But that whole game stresses me out. The whole world is this giant clockwork machine that does not care you exist and it is super stressful to navigate. And your ship is not what I would call a precision machine. Giant's Deep was the worst and I missed an entire section of that planet because I freaked me out.

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cornfed40

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Shodan for me without question. Sure it has something to do with my age when I played that game, but damn she creeped me out every time she spoke

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poobumbutt

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@sethmode: The funniest part is I LOVED being scared as a kid. Though, honestly, the Regens/Iron Maiden were a little much even for a horror lover like me lol. I remember night terrors the first few nights after reaching the island in RE4. Didn't stop me from confusing fear with excitement and beating the game anyway, though. But now that I'm older, I've kind of grown out of it. Games like Alien Isolation should be 12 year-old me's dream game, but today I just don't appreciate that kind of anxiety, unless it's a series I already like.

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MerxWorx01

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@ghost_cat: I just want to add that the creature in his pic is not only extremely massive but it is also beautifully animated. If you have a good hiding spot and it hasn't seen you yet this thing moves like a serpentine ghost darting in and out shadows. It's visually impressive considering large animals in games tend to move weird.