Batman: Arkham City/Nightmare Fuel

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Hugo Strange will enjoy dissecting your brain.

Batman: Arkham City turned everything about the first game Up to Eleven, and the Sequel Escalation includes anything you can think of. Asylum was dark, City is darker. Asylum was scary, City is worse. Read and weep.


  • Hugo Strange and Catwoman, in order to give the above-seen page image context. If you get seen during Catwoman’s Stealth-Based Mission, Hugo Strange appears in the game over screen. One of them is him holding a scalpel with a Slasher Smile on his face and smugly saying: "I will enjoy dissecting your brain, Miss Kyle!", in a totally not-Christopher Lee voice. The way he said it makes it sound like he was eager to slice Catwoman's head open while she was still alive.
  • The premise itself is based on the idea of a city (or a large portion thereof), being turned into what is, for all intents and purposes, a free range concentration/extermination camp. It's especially bad for the many political prisoners who are locked in among the city's various criminals due to the fact that they did pretty much nothing to deserve this other than being opposed to Strange's Arkham City idea. At worst you have several people who worked on a few projects Strange assigned them to, but even then they were mostly low-level people such as construction workers and certainly do not deserve to be tossed into a city filled with murderous prison inmates that are usually just as scared as they are.
  • While it's easy to take the fact that Bruce Wayne is a badass vigilante who strikes fear in the hearts of most of Gotham City's criminals for granted, it's still quite unnerving to see the kind of reception that Bruce gets simply upon entering Arkham City. The various criminals who are being processed along with him will cackle and taunt him, making threats such as making him their bitch and that he's doomed to die there, one guy who is later revealed to be the assassin Deadshot gives a vague yet unsettling threat that Bruce is "on his list", and Peguin has him ambushed and hauled off so he can violently settle an old family grudge. And keep in mind, none of them know he's Batman! They just think he's a rich guy that they can violently rip to pieces for the hell of it! Had Bruce Wayne simply been a rich playboy who found himself locked up in the city, it's hard to imagine him surviving even a day since most of the city's population wants to tear him apart for one reason or another.
    • Protocol 10. On Hugo Strange's orders, TYGER just starts shooting the place up. Extra horrifying because a fair portion of the prisoners are either in there on incredibly flimsy charges or because they knew too much about Strange's plans. They murder roughly a quarter of the prisoners before Batman shuts them down.
    • Also, Strange was planning to do this over in Metropolis and Keystone City once he was done eradicating everyone in Gotham. While the plan might not have flown quite as well as it did in Gotham, the thought of having the likes of Metallo, Captain Cold, Parasite, Zoom and the like locked up in an isolated part of each city then blasted to smithereens, which can be a High Octane Fridge Horror for those who have read the Superman / Batman arc "Absolute Power". In that storyline, there were many alternate universes, including one where Batman did not exist (due to Bruce's parents living) and in that one, Ra's Al Ghul killed the entire Justice League.
  • Listening to Zsasz ramble on about his life before he became a murderer is made worse by the gradual anger in his voice and the sudden breaks in his monotone. And in Zsasz's side missions, you're trying to go save Mr. Freeze, and all of a sudden, you hear a phone ringing off in the distance. Pick it up, and Zsasz taunts you with a challenge of finding him within a certain amount of time. The stakes: you have to find out where he's calling from by going to every phone in the city (within a extremely small time limit), pick it up, and try to triangulate the source, rinse lather, repeat, until you find him. If you fail the side mission, or if you choose to ignore or miss the first several phones, he threatens kills countless scores of people. A rather unnerving deviation from the storyline, especially if you choose to go back to the main trail.
  • Hush/Thomas Elliot's hideout, and his gradual transformation into "Bruce Wayne".
    • Special notice goes to Kevin Conroy for taking the voice that we all know, grew up with, and associate with being a voice of justice and good... and making it terrifying.
    • After the Stealth Tutorial on the church, you can see Hush being treated by another doctor. Said doctor promptly starts to narrate how Elliot cut off his own face.
  • Penguin's shark, Tiny. It's like Killer Croc in the last game, only while walking on ice as it cracks.
  • Azrael. He follows Batman literally everywhere, and if you throw Batarangs at him, he will simply catch them. Yes: someone who can stalk the Goddamn Batman. Curiously swinging to the top of a Ferris wheel results in finding some guy in a hood calmly staring you down.
  • When fighting Solomon Grundy, he's constantly shedding supernaturally huge maggots that attack you. Maggots the size of Batman's foot.
  • Mad Hatter's mission is twenty shades of disturbing, especially because it shouldn't be. The hats, the tea party, the Alice references, putting a bunny mask on Batman... it should be ridiculous. Except it isn't.
    • Said bunny mask is shown as a Jump Scare when you struggle to take it off. It's not helped by the eerie similarities between the bunny mask and the one seen in Donnie Darko.
    • His interview tapes count as well: Hugo Strange giving him free reign to Mind Rape several test subjects who "Nobody will miss" is a pretty horrifying idea. Not only that, but thanks to Mad Hatter giving Strange mind altering drugs, Strange was able to drive Warden Sharp over the edge and cause him to think that he's the Spirit of Arkham. Even the fanatical Knight Templar who goes to brutal extents to punish the wicked is just another victim of Strange's.
    • There's also the fact that Strange is quite willing to feed Tetch's delusion by giving him "Alices" to "Play with" for helping out with his plans. In reality, Strange is giving Tetch unwitting female assistants that are bound to wind up dead and possible raped due to Jervis's extremely poor mental state. It's hard to tell who's creepier here: Strange or Tetch.
  • Harley Quinn has a pregnancy test that says 'positive' in Joker's hideout. Be scared for the third game!
  • The various Nonstandard Game Over sequences count.
  • The Joker's literal swan song during the credits: "Only yooooouuuuu...", though it's sort of funny in a black comedy sort of way. Which was probably the point.
  • The Penguin, previously not a villain to be taken seriously (Batman Returns aside), is now, all of a sudden, enough of a Complete Monster to rival The Joker, with his unpleasant mannerisms and the way he brutally tortures the cops he holds hostage.
    • He also has replaced most of the stuff in his museum hideout's display cases with the corpses of various people in them, usually members of rival gangs, cops, or people who got on his bad side in general that all come with descriptions about how the Penguin killed them. And to make things worse, he has a custom made one for Mr. Freeze that acts like a giant microwave which is a very painful ordeal to Freeze thanks to his condition, and is barely hanging on to dear life.
    • Let's not forget this gem: "I hope you're breathing through fractured ribs and punctured lungs! And if you're not, then you'd better summon up all your energy and run, because after I finish with the Bat, YOU'RE ALL NEXT!". Sure, slight paraphrasing, but take a chill pill, Penguin.
    • The Penguin isn't a good boss to work for either, as a few of his henchmen find out.

Penguin: [blows up a bridge] "See, I told you it would work. Blow up the bridges and cut off the clown's forces. Easy."
Thug: "But Mr. Cobblepot, we're stuck too!"
Penguin: "So?"
Thug: "We can't get back!"
Penguin: "And your point is?"
Thug: "You've left us here with Joker's crew!"
Penguin: "Try an' take some of 'em down before ya die, son!" [disconnects]

    • Another good example of this incarnation of Penguin's cruelty would be the way he tortures a cop over the intercom shortly before the boss fights against him and Solomon Grundy. He freezes the poor guy's hand with Mr. Freeze's gun and smashes it with a hammer, which causes the cop's entire hand to explode. While the development team got a bit lazy and didn't program a painful looking stub in place of the guy's hand, just his agonizing screams during the whole ordeal are enough to show the player just how painful the event really was.
    • There's also the way Penguin welcomed Bruce Wayne into Arkham City: he has him knocked out from behind and dragged over to his turf. He attempts to beat him to death with a set of brass knuckles simply because Bruce's family was more economically successful than the Cobblepot family. While yes, this is also the god-damned Batman we're talking about, so he ends up breaking the Penguin's hand and makes a quick escape, but just pretend for a second that Bruce Wayne isn't Batman. Cobblepot is more than willing to murder an innocent rich guy over a petty family grudge and stuff him into a museum display case reserved just for him, and Bruce hadn't even done anything to personally wrong him!
  • Regardless of how horrifying Two-Face was in The Dark Knight, Arkhamverse's Two-Face is somehow even worse. Just the realistic way his flesh on the scarred half of his face is rendered is enough to make one wince in pain.
  • The Joker's always looked creepier than usual in the Arkhamverse, but this time around his appearance borders on Body Horror: his disease has taken an obvious and terrible toll. After encountering him at the steel mill, the loading screen of his white face and expression make him look like a decaying skull.
    • Solomon Grundy's partially-rotted face is Body Horror as well.
  • During the fight with Mr. Freeze, there's a part where Batman is punching him and Victor is suddenly replaced by the Joker, who reaches out and grabs his face during a creepy hallucination.
  • The glowing bloodlines in Bane's Venom-fueled body, in yet another instance of Body Horror.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum players may have thought Scarecrow's reign of terror was over. It isn't.
    • For those too afraid to tackle the Youtube link, there is a hidden section inside a boat, that functions very similar to the visitors' center in arkham asylum; it is the only part in the game where you are forced into first person mode. The place is very dim and low lit with flickering lights, bugs are crawling all over the place, infront of you is a passed out inmate who is, more than likely, completely screwed up by nightmare gas, and when you approach he will at one point twitch and scream before promptly passing out again, next to a letter to Dr. Crane.
    • That's not the only hint to Scarecrow's return. By using the Cryptographer Sequencer, you can find frequencies where a creepy voice reads off a series of numbers before repeating himself again and again. If you are able to translate the sequences, you get messages such as "I WILL RETURN, BATMAN," "YOU WILL PAY FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE TO ME," and worst of all "FEAR WILL TEAR GOTHAM TO SHREDS!" As you can guess, Scarecrow is pissed and has something big in store for Batman. And in the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight, he makes good on his threats and is set to appear as the game's Big Bad!
  • While he doesn't make an actual appearance beyond a quick cameo, Killer Croc's name is mentioned by the prisoners throughout Arkham City, some even saying that they've seen him in the sewers, thus providing Paranoia Fuel that eventually culminates in that Jump Scare of a cameo of his, in the sewers. He can smell Batman dying and decides to wait until the Titan kills him, then eat the corpse.
  • If you fail to save the Riddler's second hostage, you get to watch him being roasted alive, onscreen. You can still hear his screams as the screen fades to black.
  • Hearing the screams of political prisoners as they're being picked on and beaten up on by other residents of Arkham City can be unsettling the first couple of times you hear them.
  • For another Jump Scare, there's the mechanical and skeletal T-Rex randomly popping up and roaring; even better, one of the Penguin's mooks remarks "I love it when they scream" shortly afterwards. It's related to something else (He's torturing a cop while this happens) but it's still fitting for a first time player's reaction.
  • The Riddler in general is pretty nightmare-inducing in this game: he started as harmless in the previous game, even a little silly, only to turn out to be a Not-So-Harmless Villain in the sequel: in Arkham City, he's putting hostages in equally disturbing death traps.
    • Hostage number 5 is the worst, as he's constantly electrocuting her while you take time trying to solve his puzzles.
  • Reading some of the Arkham City Stories unlocked by completing Riddler Challenges (specifically the actual riddles players must scan) can be creepy: one in particular concerned the obscure villain Ratcatcher. When Arkham City opened he decided to use his rats to smuggle in whatever goods Penguin didn't (mainly necessities like hygiene products, clothing, maybe food, to grant the Penguin some kind of monopoly). Eventually the Penguin decided he wanted to meet his "rival" in the "selling stuff" business: the Ratcatcher was dragged, kicking and screaming, into the Museum that Penguin operates out of and was never heard from again.
  • When fighting Mr Freeze, you can briefly scan him in Detective Mode before his jammer blocks your vision. The creepy part is that while most human characters show up as x-ray skeletons in Detective Mode, Freeze is only a skeleton from the neck up. Just a skull and stump of spinal cord in a robotic suit. Of course, this only means that other than the head, the suit can't be penetrated by Detective Mode's x-ray vision. Another detail some people might find unnerving that unlike other enemies, his heart rate drops to single digits while you're fighting him, but climbs back to normal when outside the fight.
  • Pretty much the whole ending of the main game can be seen this way. "Highlights" include Hugo Strange being stabbed through the chest in a bloody fashion, Ra's being impaled, Talia getting shot and you face off with Clayface before watching as the Joker dies in a messed up version of Go Out with a Smile.
  • During the final battle with Clayface, one of his attacks involves morphing into a ball with a huge, terrifying face with a gaping black mouth, rolling right towards the player.
  • As a sorta-Deconstruction of Holiday Mode, there's Calendar Man's disturbing monologues: while in the main canon he very rarely kills anyone, in Arkham City that's all he does, and each fits the theme of the month in a very grisly way. Each murder is also described in a Creepy Monotone.
    • His story about his father takes the cake. It starts out actually kind of nice, although the player is likely wary about what's coming next because this is probably not the first time they've heard one of his stories. If it is, players are in for one hell of a Wham! Line at the end of the monologue.

Calendar Man: "I wasn't real close to my dad, and after my first internment at Arkham we never spoke at all. Seems he wrote me off as a wacko, a loser. So after I was released, I wanted to clear the air between us. The next Father's Day I dropped by his place and suggested we go fishing. You ever go fishing with your pop? Well, it's some fun, let me tell you. The two of us, out on the water, pulling in one whopper after another. Of course, I was doing the actual pulling. Dad was baiting the hooks. You know, with a finger, a foot, an eye... whatever I had left of him. Even today, whenever I eat a nice piece of fish, I feel closer to my dear old dad."

  • Exploring Gotham City tunnels for a long period of time searching for Ra's Al Ghul and the League of Assassins can be creepy as well, when, after finding him and head back to the surface near the subway: you are greeted with a crapload of bodies piled on top of each other, Holocaust-style. Each of these men were Penguin's soldiers and after Batman took down Penguin and started searching for Ra's, a gang, presumably the Joker's, offed the leaderless clan and executed them all. It was a disturbing sight to behold.
  • In Wonder City, when you enter the second room upon nearing Ra's Al Ghul's lair, you're presented with a roomful of hanged inmates, and a still living one with a sword in his back saying "They're... everywhere!" before expiring.
  • Shortly after exiting the gladiator arena in the Penguin's museum, you walk through a hall with fish tanks on the walls. You can't see much in them besides the fish, but turn on Detective Mode and you're treated to the sight of corpses.
  • In the area before the fight with Mr. Hammer, if you wait around in the area where you can see the majority of the crowd, and not much of Mr. Hammer, one of the inmates will look back to stare at you. While he doesn't do anything, the longer you wait around, the more he'll look back.
  • During the second visit to Joker's hideout, two Joker thugs can be seen hanging a Two-Face mook over acid, demanding information on his boss. Granted, it's just a horrible situation, but waiting around long enough will prompt one of the Joker goons to recall the last guy they did it to - complete with disgusting explanations on how his skin started to burn before he even touched the acid, including a description of how melting flesh smells. Wait around long enough and you get to see them lowering him into it, only for them to stop and raise him up again (in a "why the hell aren't you stopping this, you monster?!" kind of way); however, once you do rescue him, he decides to attack Batman.
  • During (or after) your journey through Zsasz's hideout, if you stop near the floating rafter and turn on Detective mode, you can spot four skeletal figures: one belonging to Zsasz, two are his hostages, and there's a third sitting in the bottom of the flooding and draining room. How it got there in the first place isn't addressed, but then again, knowing Zsasz, it would be almost redundant.
  • During the first trip to the Steel Mill, we see Harley berating a terrified doctor who failed to cure the Joker, before throwing her to a baying crowd of henchman and calling for Mr. Hammer. The sight of the doctor cowering in terror and the metallic clang of the hammer on the ground as the crowd chants "Hammer! Hammer!" is pretty chilling. Case in point: you aren't going to get there in time. Thankfully, Harley calls Hammer off, but if she hadn't, Stacy would have been brutally murdered with Batman less than ten feet away.
  • While searching for the stolen Freeze tech, one thug calmly talks about how he once force-fed his own mother to the point of suffocating after she refused to eat the food herself. These would have been the guys who went to Blackgate because they weren't insane. Yet they kill family members because of not liking them. The other goon he is talking to is in disbelief about the whole thing, but sounds impressed about what this guy did. Nevermind the cake was already poisoned in the first place.
    • What makes it subtly more disturbing is the fact that none of the inmates seem to have any problem with this. It makes one wonder just how screwed up the Joker's entire gang is.
  • Riddler's final challenge room, where you must save Anne Bishop. As you progress through the room, you will hear Riddler shocking her at regular intervals while she screams in agony. And every time, once the electricity stops, she gasps in pain and begs you to save her. And all this while he's taunting you about how stupid you are for not solving it faster when you're probably feeling guilty as it is for not having already saved her.
  • Pretty much all of the villains used in the Arkhamverse are made worse than most other adaptations, possibly because they're portrayed less like crazy costumed villains and more like Ax Crazy, sociopathic, dangerously insane murderers.
  • Harley's Room Full of Crazy in the DLC: a shrine to Joker with incredibly depressing and incredibly disturbing graffiti all over the walls.
    • If you zoom in on the Joker television-mannequins, they start laughing quietly. It's unnerving to a first-time player. Add that to the background music and the fact Harley sounds more insane than she did the first time and you've got a damned effective opening.
  • In Catwoman's mission she can choose to walk off with the loot or save Batman. Walk off with the loot and the game ends, with the credits rolling and horrifying radio messages of how everyone in Arkham and Gotham had been killed because Catwoman didn't save Batman. After a while the scene rewinds back so she can make the right choice.