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File:Humanreaper 1250.jpg
"The Reapers are just a giant nightmare factory that never ends."
Garrus Vakarian, Mass Effect 3

The Mass Effect series is an epic science fiction adventure that takes players on a fantastic journey, visiting all the wonders (and dangers) of the galaxy. However, this doesn't mean there won't be some absolutely traumatizing events that might mentally scar you for life. Here you can find some of the most frightening and pant-wettingly terrifying horrors of the years 2183-2186.


Mass Effect 1

  • It's bad enough when soldiers and police abuse their power and hide behind their respective agencies to avoid justice, but just imagine a rogue Spectre like Saren. Spectres can break almost any law to complete their mission. A good Spectre does his best to minimize collateral damage and innocent deaths. Saren? Not so much. If he doesn't like you, he will kill you - and you won't even get the satisfaction of knowing that he'll get in trouble (at least until his plot to bring back the Reapers was exposed).
    • Reading Mass Effect Revelation will add to your nightmares, as you slowly understand just how much of a dick Saren was in making sure that Anderson wouldn't get a chance to become a Spectre.
  • Two Words: MSV Worthington. A drifting, abandoned ship in space housing a brain-dead man by the name of Jacob on life support systems. Turns out the crew planned on pulling the plug - the only problem being that it did not go over well with Jacob's biotic, PTSD-stricken girlfriend. The part where upon hearing the last entry in the Captain's log, which ended in his bloodcurdling scream, Julia suddenly appears and rabidly attacks you made it even more disturbing. And you can search every corner of the entire ship prior to hearing the logs and find nothing, not even a trace of where Julia might be. This means that she must've been hiding very well, watching your every move the moment you entered the ship, and trying to anticipate how much of a threat you were to Jacob before madly rushing in and attempting to kill you.
  • The VI on Luna instantly putting up barriers in all doorways after trashing the second processor cluster. Even more creepy: The binary code it sends just before it dies? It means "HELP!". Mass Effect 2 reveals that the VI was actually a sentient Artificial Intelligence. So, you basically killed a sapient being that was just trying to defend itself once the Alliance realised it had become self-aware. This should sound familiar. What's more, in-game information you discover makes you realize that Cerberus, those goons you're working for, were responsible for hacking the VI and giving it sentience. Mass Effect 3 reveals that EDI used to be that AI.
  • Oh god, the Rachni Song! It can be observed on various planets and moons, up to and including Luna where no rachni could possibly exist!
  • The appearance of the Protheans themselves, in both visions and their statues on Ilos, shows that they have tentacles coming from where you would expect their eyes to be, and a head spookily reminiscent of Cthulhu.
  • The final battle with Husk!Saren. Body Horror at its finest.
    • Saren's corpse twitching in the air, screaming as his flesh sloughs off, revealing the metallic skeleton beneath.
    • If you have enough Charm or Intimidate points, you'll get treated to the lovely visual of Saren blowing his brains out with a pistol. As in, you can actually see the side of his head explode as he pulls the trigger.
  • The sidequest I Remember Me, available to Colonist background players where Shepard must talk down a deranged former slave woman. To make it doubly so, the horrors Talitha describes? What she went through to drive her to the brink of suicide? Shepard was on the same colony the batarians raided and was the only one who managed to avoid death or capture.
  • When Sovereign reveals itself. Even better if you'd managed to not spoil yourself before then. The music, the voice and the slowly building sensation of dread you feel as you realise just what it is you're up against.

Sovereign: "You exist because we allow it, and you will end because we demand it."

  • Husks are the reanimated corpses of human beings with their nervous systems replaced with technology. The process is done by impaling them on a spike. In fact, they don't even have to be dead to be converted into Husks. The geth (killer robots) don't look creepy (they have flashlights for heads), but the noise they make when they spot your squad made this troper nearly stop playing when he first heard it. HRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH And then there's Shepard's nightmarish visions of the Protheans' war with the Reapers, which mainly consists of the Protheans getting torn limb from limb by evil cyborgs. Further consider this: What you are actually watching in those visions is not the destruction of the Protheans per se, but their conversion into the Collectors. There's one side mission in which, out of the blue, you stumble across another Prothean artifact, which gives you the vision you know inside and out: except this time you are hit with the horrible realisation that one of the figure who is vainly trying to flee has four horizontally arranged eyes which are instantly recognisable. Believe it or not, there is a fate worse than extinction. And you're not just watching the Protheans' conversion, either. You hear mechanical sawing noises. And screaming. Lots of screaming.
  • Imagine it. You're peacefully going about your business in the wards of the Citadel when suddenly, sirens begin to wail. Completely out of nowhere, unknown gargantuan starships of unfathomable power emerge and exterminate everything, spreading out across your empire and slaughtering, subjugating or genetically modifying everything you hold dear, then using the liquefied slurry that used to be your bodies to produce and power more of themselves. This was the fate of the Protheans, and innumerable species before them. And it's going to happen again, and again, and again... Seriously, the Reapers themselves are the scariest thing in the game in this troper's opinion. Made even worse by several of Harbinger's lines in Mass Effect 2: "Sentient beings need never fear me." "We are your salvation through destruction." The Reapers believe that they are doing these species a FAVOR. The ending of the first Prothean message on Ilos springs to mind. "Cannot be stopped! Cannot be STOPPED!" And being turned into diesel was the lucky fate for most of them. The rest were forcibly mutated into the Collectors.
  • The asari commando's corpse jerking about like a marionette as the Rachni Queen talks through her.
    • Speaking of the rachni, there is also the part on Illium in Mass Effect 2 where you're greeted by an asari acting as a messenger for the Rachni Queen if you set her free back on Noveria. The way the messenger's eyes roll back in her head and how her mouth moves always freaks this troper out a bit.
  • Species 37. The Thorian is a sentient plant that controls minds through Pavlovian Mind Rape. Then you find out that those that do get infected by Thorian spores slowly rot away while they're still alive, turning into Thorian Creepers, and promptly lose your lunch. The horror might be somewhat alleviated by the fact that the asari clones it spits out are somehow still quite lithe, but then you realize that the fact that this thing can spit out powerful biotics at will might not be a good thing.
  • Ammo that goes under the category of 'fire', 'ice' or 'poison' in the game will disintegrate enemies upon killing them - and it can happen to you, too.
  • Also, Han Olar telling the story of how he escaped the rachni. The scariest part is hearing how the rachni in the labs are beyond saving. Essentially, the gist is that the rachni are a telepathic sentient species. As long as the smaller ones are within telepathic range of the queen, they become intelligent and sentient. If they're outside the queen's range of influence, they go permanently feral. Just thinking about what that must be like, feeling your connection to the queen go, and then your mind following it, is chilling. Humans need contact with others to stay sane and so do the rachni. Imagine a human child that has never had anyone hold it, comfort it or even talk to it. That's the rachni you now face.

Rachni Queen: "Fear has shattered their minds."
Liara: "A child locked in a closet for sixteen years would hardly be sane."

  • The Hot Labs. Once you trigger the neutron purge, the main part of the chamber is instantly filled with rachni. Dozens of them, and they don't stop. Your radar screen is full of red dots.
  • The first appearance of a Thresher Maw nearly sent this troper into convulsions of terror when it burst from the ground just as he stepped out of the Mako. The fact that he had selected the Sole Survivor background, where Shepard's entire unit was once utterly wiped out by a few dozen of the creatures. Just thinking about encountering more than one of them makes me shiver even now.
  • The literal swarms of Thorian Creepers crouched in the fetal position on the floor, just waiting for you to walk closer, before jumping up, skipping at you and then just standing in front of you for a moment, swaying slightly, then vomiting acid all over you. The fact that they look like ReDeads don't help at all. Remember too that they don't all get up when you get close: they're invulnerable while they're inert, but you could be fending off a wave that's swarming from the next room only to realize that you're surrounded by inert creepers... and they're waking up.
    • It gets worse in a similar side mission in Mass Effect 2. While you're out scanning planets for minerals or side missions, you receive an anomalous distress beacon. EDI tells you there's signs of movement, but no organic life, so you assume either rogue robots or geth, so you create your team appropriately to deal with that. WRONG. The landing cinematic shows a "Blink and You'll Miss It" moment of a husk wandering past the entrance, ignoring you. You decide to go back to the Normandy to reform your team appropriately, but the auto-nav makes it fly away, giving you no choice but to press onwards. Once inside, you find a Resident Evil-style file telling you to get the hell out of there, ASAP. That's when the fun begins. Heading deeper into the mines, you find more Husks than the first Mass Effect ever had, and their exploding cousins, the Abominations. Deeper in, you find more files telling of the miners' fates, along with some Husks dropping down from the ceiling, before going through one more mass of Husks to destroy the mines and complete the mission. Did I mention that throughout the whole mission, you hear constant shrieks and moans from the Husks, despite you eradicating every single one of them?
  • The derelict freighter Cornucopia. You're slowly making your way through the labyrinthine cargo hold and then HOLY FUCKING JESUS HUSK RUSH FUCKFUCKFUCKKILLTHEMKILLTHEMSHOOTYOUIDIOTS!
  • Indoctrination is the worse thing to happen to anyone. Let's take a situation like Benezia's example, assuming the Reaper has an organic commander like Saren. You initially despise him, can't believe you have to put up with him. And as time goes on, you start agreeing with his commands. You sit at his feet, and smile and nod, while he details all his plans of torture and galactic annihilation. Now, imagine after a while, you are now in a glass box hovering above the world, your arms bound but you are still able to move. It hovers over a man or a woman who looks just like you, as s/he walks through a town, slaughtering innocents. Men, women, children, he kills all of them because the man in the angry mechanical cuttlefish says to. And you try so desperately to stop it, to break the glass by throwing yourself into it, but not even a crack appears. You just keep making yourself weaker, the wo/man quickens their step. And then, when you've finally exhausted yourself, s/he stops, and stands. Just stands, and does nothing else. Maybe mumbles some nonsense. And you lie there, bruised and broken, sobbing until the wo/man dies, and you're finally released. That is the true definition of Hell. Worse if you consider that, if you aren't like Benezia, you will feel your mind crumbling bit by bit, until you're just a zombie. Imagine every memory, dream, feeling and desire, being slowly erased, while you're unable to do anything except waiting for your mind to be consumed by the void, leaving nothing... Remember that hanging around a Reaper is not the only way to get indoctrinated: Shepard's "paperweight" can do it as well.
  • Ilos. Think about it, and take the music out. A massive, abandoned city, overgrown with the vegetation of 50,000 years. Completely silent. The only thing you can here is the sound of your own squad's breathing, the sound of wind, and the electronic squawks and clanking of the geth moving around the ruins.
    • The Codex mentions that all respirating life (i.e., all animals, insects, fish, etc.) has died out. Then there's what your team will say if you talk to them:

Garrus: "There are secrets here that were meant to be forgotten."

    • It becomes even worse when you consider Real Life abandoned cities like Pripyat are some of the creepiest places on Earth, as any good Stalker will tell you. Then apply Recycled in Space, make it the only habitable planet in the solar system, cover it with horrific statues of Cthulhu that silently watch you, put in malfunctioning computers that scream "Cannot be stopped! CANNOT BE STOPPED!!!" at you and tell you about the creatures currently eating the brains of the now-dead inhabitants of the planet, and THEN fill it with unspeaking, homicidal robots with plasma weapons who, once they've beaten you down, will stab you onto a ten-foot-tall pole and wait for your organs to dry out in order to turn you into a cyborg zombie. Jesus H. Christ on roller-skates.
    • What gets me are the countless cryo pods... all of them filled with 50,000 year-old-corpses.
  • Sovereign's horrifying Villainous Breakdown after he assumes direct control of Husk!Saren.

Sovereign: "I am Sovereign - and this station... is mine!"

  • Say what you like about them, but Shepard's visions of the Prothean's destruction; something about the close-up shots make things just that much more unsettling because you can't see exactly what's going on. The fact that you just never see what was happening entirely and considering what you learn in Mass Effect 2? Maybe it's better that you don't see exactly what it is that the Reapers do to them.
  • Dr. Saleon's experiments. To elaborate, he grew artificial limbs and organs inside of his employees and surgically removed them when they were done growing. To make matters worse, if the organ wasn't good, he would just leave it inside.
    • Not to mention what you run into when you find him again. They are simply re-labeled Thorian Creepers. These are the end result of Saleon's medical experiments. These are one of only three "zombie" enemies you run into. The first are made with Reaper technology, the second by a 50,000+ year old sentient plant. These? Victims of a fucked-up salarian organ thief. And when you find the man, there is absolutely no explanation given as to what he did or what reason he was doing it for. And there are well over a dozen of these victims.
  • The fact that only Shepard can understand the malfunctioning Prothean VI first encountered on Ilos. Shepard does not merely understand it as one would a language that has been learnt, but literally hears it as English!. Hell, Shepard doesn't even notice this until it's pointed out! This is possibly one of the clearest depictions (aside from visions) that the Prothean Beacon has fundamentally altered Shepard's brain in some way and the sheer power of what effect this has even on a subconscious level.
    • That wasn't the beacon's doing; that was the result of a Thorian cramming 50,000 years worth of Prothean essence into your head over a single mind-meld.
  • For every thousand women, one is capable of bearing children. Roll that one around in your head a bit. As of this writing, approximately 7 billion humans are alive, which would translate into only 3.5 million fertile women - less than the entire population of Los Angeles right now. The remaining billions of women wouldn't even know they're sterile until their children are stillborn. How long before even the barest pretenses of civilization collapse, with the handful of fertile women being little more than chattel for over half the world to fight over? Worse, the condition perpetuates even among the surviving children of fertile women - how long before the population lacks enough genetic diversity to survive?
  • There is a track that was never released on the official soundtrack called "Abandoned Facility". It plays in the prefab bunkers on uncharted worlds and in some parts of Noveria's Peak 15 facility, and it's creepy to no end. Nothing Is Scarier in music form.

Mass Effect 2

  • In the prologue mission, after Shepard is ejected into the vacuum of space, you can see air leaking out the back of their helmet, which they quickly notice as well. Shepard is unable to seal the suit breach and begins flailing, clutching at their throat... a motion which soon ceases as they enter the planet's atmosphere. Is this simple resource-saving with the CG-animation... or Shepard asphyxiating to death long before they hit the atmosphere?
  • The audio logs from the empty areas of Omega's quarantine area are downright terrifying if you listen to them and think about them in turn for what they are:
    • A series of logs from an in-denial but still very infected member of one of the gangs fighting for control of the area, as he and another are locked in and slowly go insane.
    • Even worse, an innocent who was locked into his small apartment during the quarantine - believing it all to be an extortion scheme, that he was going to be let out in a day or two. His body is fresh on the bed at the end of a blockaded hallways. This troper instantly came here after experiencing this.
  • Thane's Photographic Memory, specifically the flashes of light and the look of his eyes.
  • After you break Jack/Subject Zero out of the Purgatory prison ship, you get a message from one of the escaped prisoners you may have talked to on the ship. He thanks you for giving him the chance to escape and mentions that he's going to carve your name onto the body of his next victim.
    • Not forgetting he promised to kill you too because you took a few pot-shots at him. Don't worry, he'll make sure you find your name carved into said chest just before killing you.
  • In Zaeed Massani's loyalty mission, you're given the choice of helping a bunch of workers escape a burning factory and allowing the bad guy to get away, or abandoning the workers to their fate in order to catch the bad guy. If you choose not to help the workers then, for the rest of the level, you have to listen to them screaming in agony as they burn alive. Perhaps even more chilling, after a few minutes, the horrible screams suddenly just... stop.
  • When you activate Legion, and EDI quotes the Bible when he says that he has 1,183 programs running in him at once. Then, Legion understands it, saying, "Christian Bible. Gospel of Mark. Chapter 5, verse 9. We acknowledge this as an appropriate comparison." Legion isn't scary at any other time to this troper, but that cold, metallic voice, saying what amounts to an "I know everything about your entire species". Brr. And this one isn't even Christian!
    • The fact that he knew that is one thing. That particular quote "We are Legion, for we are many", was from a man possessed by about 2000 demons at once. That's right, not only did EDI compare Legion to a demon-possessed man, Legion knew it and totally accepted it as a legitimate comparison.
    • Legion is 1,183 individual geth consciousnesses working as a Gestalt intellect. That Biblical quote fits the context of his existence quite well in this Tropers opinion.
  • Because Reapers apparently perpetuate their genocidal cycle to reproduce, that would mean Reapers aren't just powerful Cosmic Horrors - they each possess the collected biological and technological might of entire civilizations. "We are each a nation", indeed.
    • And as the game heavily implies that the Reapers only choose the strongest civilizations for reproduction and the Protheans/Collectors are still around... The fact that the almighty Protheans might not have been the strongest civilization in their own cycle together with the supposedly 'Prothean' tubes-for-eyes statues on Ilos scares this troper more than anything.
    • And it's even worse than that: If the age estimates of the Great Rift Valley on Klendagon are accurate, and if The Reapers really do repeat the cycle approximately every 50,000 years, that means they've got the combined wisdom and technological might of over 700 extremely advanced civilizations!
  • The Human-Reaper Larva. Take the Terminator exoskeleton, which gave James Cameron nightmares. Now make it black, change its grin to a demonic look and grow it a thousand feet high. Oh, and it's powered by liquefied humans.
  • The incarnation of the Human Reaper we see in the games is just the beginning. The Collectors' Edition art book reveals a few early production sketches and paintings that range from traditional Reaper to human forms. One looks like Sovereign, turned backwards, with a face and exposed brain underneath the cuttlefish crown, with the many tentacles rearranged to look like tiny, malformed limbs. A more human design looked like what can only be described as a gigantic Husk fetus made from running candle wax, three times as big as what we see in the game. Also, what we saw and fought was just a larva in terms of development. Full grown Reapers are all heavily armored behemoths, many times larger than what we faced. The thing in that chamber would have grown, and have gained the equivalent of muscles, flesh, and lots and lots of armor before it was even fit to be "born". Be you unimpressed or already scared shitless by what made the final product, realize that it could have been much worse.
  • Speaking of its fuel... Lilith, the Colonist from Horizon. She's trapped in a Collector pod, see, so it looks like it'll be alright for her. We'll break her out, right?... WRONG. Next thing we know, her skin seems to be dissolving ever so slightly. Shepard tries to open the pod, but it's already too late, and we hear and watch poor Lilith SCREAM IN AGONY AS SHE IS MELTED INTO PASTE. The worst part? THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO SAVE HER. She dies REGARDLESS of anything you do.
    • Made even worse if you take your sweet time getting to the Collector Base. Instead of Lilith, we see Kelly turn into Reaper fuel. Also, half or ALL of the crew dies.
  • The vorcha. Their whole "kill'em all, KILL'EM ALL, KILL'EM ALL!!!" Chaotic Evil schtick (seriously, they want to kill as many innocents on Omega as possible to help the Collectors) makes you think: they're not trying to save humanity like Saren did, nor are they indoctrinated, they don't even have a grudge like the batarians, they just want to see the galaxy burn.
    • Given that they're perceived as being little more than vermin who barely live to see the age of 20 (hard to kill, immune to mass causes of death...yep, space cockroaches), its not surprising. Besides, the Always Chaotic Evil Hat they seem to wear is possibly subverted, as there are references to the existence of vorcha miners and engineers. On top of it all, many of those living on Omega are probably poorly educated and extremely distrustful of other races considering the cutthroat nature of the world which they inhabit.
    • Just for instance, one of them says to you, "Tell Gavron we not kill for him today." Captain Gavron himself tells you that his job is to keep the vorcha "infestation" on Omega under control. There's no quest with it, but it's left heavily implied that Gavron is playing both ends for his own gain: He has the vorcha murder and steal, and he kills the vorcha.
    • On Omega, one of the audio ads in the background offers a 3-, 4- or 5-part plan to wipe out your vorcha infestation for good - all in that cliche, cheery voice of ads everywhere.
  • The science facility that created Jack. A blood-drenched wreck of a building, you can see holding cells that used to be full of kidnapped children, mutant plants tearing the building apart, Jack's own cell where she was tortured, a giant blood-stain where she killed her first human, and you meet a surviving child who came back and wants to rebuild the facility and start everything all over again. Yikes.
    • The room with nothing but a surgical chair and a light over it. "This is a bad place."
  • Prisoner 403. "I can hear the screaming in my head. It's niiiiice..."
    • The obvious assumption is that the dude is mentally unstable. Except this is Mass Effect, where there's a worse explanation for hearing voices, and who knows if he's always been nuts or if he was once a perfectly normal, sane guy who happened to be working with some kind of mining op that discovered an alien artifact...
  • Mass Effect 2 easily tripled the amount of horror in the series. One story mission in particular involves going through the corpse of a millions of years-dead Reaper. It's still dreaming!
    • Considering what we all know about Indoctrination, the mere fact that Shepard and crew voluntarily entered the body of a Reaper is enough to set the tone. The innards of an Eldritch Abomination are every bit as disturbing as you'd expect even without the log entries.
    • "Chandana said the ship was dead. We trusted him. He was right. But even a dead god can dream. A god — a real god — is a verb. Not some old man with magic powers. It's a force. It warps reality just by being there. It doesn't have to want to. It doesn't have to think about it. It just does. That's what Chandana didn't get. Not until it was too late. The god's mind is gone, but it still dreams. He knows now. He's tuned in on our dreams. If I close my eyes, I can feel him. I can feel every one of us." Eldritch Abomination, indeed.
    • And then, when you're good and freaked from the above log entry, Fridge Horror begins setting in: Chandana was apparently going a bit... off just from "listening" to the samples he had collected from the Reaper corpse (that's been dead for 37 million years). By the time you get back into the action two years after the Battle of the Citadel, Sovereign's remains have been neatly and expertly mopped up by various agencies - and there is no record of exactly where all the pieces went. Imagine some poor, unsuspecting groundskeeper picking up a memento and keeping it in their quarters for two years and counting. And that's a good scenario.
    • Not necessarily. The derelict Reaper was merely crippled, and could still operate some systems. Sovereign was blown to pieces - there is a limit to Reaper durability. We shall have to wait and see.
    • There's one other video log on the derelict Reaper that also manages to be fairly scary. It shows two Cerberus technicians talking, and one of them starts reminiscing about the day he got married. Then the other one stops him and says he's talking about HIS wedding day. It turns out both of them have the same memories of that wedding, and neither one can now remember whose wedding it actually WAS. Watching that video log left this troper deeply, deeply unsettled.
  • In Samara's loyalty quest, you have to hunt down Morinth, an Ardat-Yakshi (AKA an asari who kills her partner when they meld). Shepard acts as the bait and goes to her apartment alone. Just before she gets ready to do the deed with him/her, her eyes turn black. Asari eyes always turn black when melding, which has always been a bit creepy, but when you know that the asari is getting ready to kill you, it is absolutely terrifying.
    • Not to mention the death scene itself should you decide to romance her...
    • There's also the incredibly ominous music that plays while you're wandering around her apartment, and the foreboding talks about death she gives while you examine your things. The fact that you're completely unarmed for this mission makes you feel that even Shepard, Badass Extraordinaire isn't going to make it out of this one.
    • Something else that's horrible? In Mass Effect 3, Liara says that Morinth was just hitting her stride. She's already racked up a huge body count, mindraped entire villages to serve as cannon fodder and can match an asari matriarch with centuries of combat training, and she's just getting started.
  • Speaking of Samara, she mentions fighting a Spectre; now that in itself is odd, but what's even odder is who she fought: Nihlus Kryik. According to Samara, he killed an unarmed civilian and Samara attacked him because of this, but eventually had to let him go because he threatened to kill more unless she let him go. Now, one could say that the unarmed civilian was an unarmed criminal, but it's still worrisome that your mentor-to-be would have been a killer of civilians.
  • The justicar code in general. If you uphold the law, you've got nothing to fear from a justicar. But if you break the law, you're screwed. Justicars won't stop until you're brought in. Even if you distract her, like Nihlus did, as mentioned above, she will hunt you down with patience and precision. And if you fight back, no amount of begging or pleading will save you.

Samara: "If I must kill a man because he has done wrong, do I really wish to know that he is a devoted father?"

  • There are the Husks, who no longer make those electric explosion things. Now they just try to beat you to death like normal zombies. Then there are Abominations, which are Husks that are ON FIRE and EXPLODE. Then there are Scions, which are three husks melded together into a massive walking turret, and then the motherfucking Praetorians. Praetorians are beetle-like flying things that can also land and fight in melee combat - when they do this, they are almost impossible to destroy. And guess what? They are made by fusing THIRTY HUSKS TOGETHER. THIRTY. Worse, their armor acts as a sort of container - it can open and close. When it opens, you get to see the thirty Husks' heads staring at you.
    • As for Praetorians, did you ever take a good look inside their "mouths" or whatever those are? I mean a really good look? (Just below the eyes) [1]
    • You're forgetting what happens when you fail Joker's mini-mission near the end of the main story. Joker gets spotted by a Scion, panics and falls down. You're then treated to a close-up shot of the Scion from Joker's perspective before a massive hulking claw reaches towards you, followed by a gasp from Joker and a Game Over screen.
  • Listening to Joker's frantic repetition of "oh shit, oh shit, oh shitshitshit..." as the Collectors swarm through the Normandy and haul the surviving crew away to a fate potentially worse than death. Considering the number of Cosmic Horrors he's shot up and flipped off over his career, anything that could rattle Joker that badly is some bad juju indeed. Except that he did all that as a pilot.
    • Or when a Scion rams its hand through his eyes.
    • Well, he's always had his ship to hide behind, and if it came to, Shepard and his/her companions. A man with very fragile bones shouldn't be in that situation, much less soldiers who aren't Shepard. Like he said, the most he can do is break his arm at them.
    • Joker's never had to look the monsters he's fought in the eye: there's a big difference in horror level between gracefully pirouetting around a missile barrage and hauling your crippled ass past the Cosmic Horror that's slaughtering your shipmates. Also, linked up with EDI's report on the situation, he realizes in startling clarity how boned they really are. Him trying to find refuge in humor at a console is gallows humor at its best, though.
    • The screams of the crewmembers as they're dragged off by the Collectors - particularly Kelly - are just too horrific for words.
  • The inside of a Collector cruiser. The Protheans probably didn't build their ships like that... not to mention the thousands of pods hanging from the ceiling.
    • Oh dear GOD, the pods... As you see the first lot, it sort of hits you how bad the Collectors are, but then when you step out into that chamber the haunting feeling of knowing everybody on Earth could be transported in that leviathan rears its ugly head. That's true fear, my fellow Tropers.
    • Tali's line sums up the realization better than the wordier descriptions offered by the other party members: (moment of awed silence) "Keelah..."
    • Made all the more chilling by your squadmates pointing out that the Collectors could stick every man, woman, and child living in the Terminus Systems in those pods and still have most of them left over. On One. Single. Collector. Ship. Now recall the Collector Base at the beginning of the suicide mission. Note how small the ship is in comparison to the base and consider how many more must be in there. We only hear of about 3-4 separate Collector ships out and about over the course of the game. That means that for all the havoc the Collectors wreaked on human colonies around the galaxy, they were holding back. Additionally, the suicide mission implies that one Collector base = one construction facility for a new Reaper. Given the final scenes of the game's ending, how many more bases you suppose there might be?
    • The thing that creeped me out the most was that before the fighting starts, someone or something is still out there, SCREAMING. It doesn't help that a scream comes from nearby right as you are told that the ship has apparently been stalking you.
    • The Oculuses you encounter during the Suicide Mission are pretty terrifying already, considering their beams tear holes through the Normandy even with the armor upgrades, but the really scary part? Cut content suggests that that they aren't automated security machines. They have pilots. Collector drones, who have been taken apart until they are just a nervous system, wired into machinery and suspended in a gel that keeps it from getting damaged in the vacuum of space.
  • The attack on the lab in which Shepard wakes up at the beginning of the game, i.e., "The Lazarus Project." You have no choice but to watch YMIR mechs blast people to bits while being unable to help them, some of them even begging Shepard to help them before their blood is splattered all over the window.
  • The And I Must Scream situation that the Collectors put people in. The Seeker swarms come in and freeze you. You fall to the ground, conscious but unmoving, and YOU CAN SEE THEM as they come towards you and stick you in pods. You're STUCK like that until they MELT YOU DOWN FOR GENETIC MATERIALS.
  • Shepard him/herself for his/her enemies. Seriously, look at it from someone else's point of view: By the end of ME2 Shepard has semi-bulletproof skin, indestructible bones, heals at absurd rates and is strong enough to beat down a Geth Prime. This means that Shepard can probably punch a hole in a shielded and armored synthetic that is arguably a walking tank. And no matter what Shepard's class is, they terrify their enemies; let's take a quick look, shall we?
    • Soldier: The enemy in front of you is heavily armored and has more weapons than you've ever seen someone carry. You and your platoon start to open fire, but in hardly a fraction of a second, the soldier pulls out their assault rifle and sweeps it through the air, firing wildly. You laugh, thinking they've just wasted their ammo, but suddenly there's a number of dull thuds behind you. You don't have to look; your HUD tells you your squad all just flatlined. And Shepard's just finished reloading. It doesn't help that Soldier Shepard is so pumped up with genetic modifications that s/he could probably juggle a small space cruiser. It's a wonder the people you punch still have heads afterward.
      • Soldiers with the M-98 Widow Anti-Materiel Rifle: The enemy in front of you is heavily armored and has more weapons than you've ever seen someone carry. Before anyone in your platoon touches their trigger, your lieutenant's kinetic barrier and head explodes. You blink and the enemy has already taken cover. Your platoon provides suppressing fire to keep the enemy pinned, but to no avail; in a fraction of a second, the enemy takes aim at YOU with the most big ass sniper you've ever seen, and you last see the deep dark hole that is the sniper's barrel flash with a magnificent blue light...
      • Soldiers with M-76 Revenant Light Machine Gun: The enemy in front of you pulls something large and heavy off of his back. Some of your companions gasp, realising what the weapon is, before he squeezes the trigger, a veritable wall of accelerated rounds cutting into your buddies. No flair, no gun fu, no martial arts, just a single squeeze and your friends are dead. Panicking, you attempt to run for cover, when your enemy seems to speed up, storming towards you before caving your face in with the Light Machine Gun he just killed your buddies with.
    • Vanguard: Your band of mercs ambushes this stupid guy, laying down some serious suppressing fire. Suddenly, your companion freezes solid and, in a flash of blue light, the guy you ambushed turns into a blazing blue comet of death and rams into your friend, sending him flying through the air until he slams into a wall and shatters. The krogan on your team starts to charge the guy, but he swivels on the balls of his feet, so fast you hardly see it happen, and there's a sound like a cannon as half of your buddy's face just disappears. Then the guy turns to you, pumping the slide of a shotgun built exclusively for krogan as a blue biotic corona flares up around him/her.
    • Arguably gets even more terrifying in Mass Effect 3, with the addition of Nova. The guy charges into your group, and one of your guys goes flying. But hey, you've got him right where you want him, with a half-dozen of your buddies surrounding him. Then he glows again, and punches the ground, sending out a biotic shockwave that sends everyone around him flying. And then he's charging again immediately after. He never even bothers with his gun.
    • Engineer: You shoot at them, and your weapons don't fire. They shoot at you, and your shields don't work. Your armor is burned away by napalm. You try to hide, but they send a drone that electrifies you and forces you out into the open. The mechs you brought along suddenly gain kinetic barriers and start shooting at their masters. Then you freeze solid, the monster points a pea shooter at you, and you shatter like glass. And the worst part is knowing that you were defeated in combat by a geek.[1]
    • Infiltrator: Your platoon is walking along their patrol. It's your turn on point. Nothing's really out of the ordinary, but you think you hear a far off gunshot. Confused, you wave your squad forward. Then you hear the sound again, closer - but this time a spray of blood hits you. You turn back to find that two of your men's heads are just gone. You all dive for cover but another of your men dies, shot in the face even as he dove for a rock. But you saw where the shot came from. You turn and open fire as the distant sniper ducks back under cover. Your team coordinates fire on the spot, keeping the damn sniper pinned as you advance towards their position. Then there's the sound of a sniper rifle, and another one of your friends' heads bursts open like a ripe melon. Your men start firing on the new position and you force them to coordinate to keep both of the snipers pinned down. There's another shot and someone else dies and you can't find the sniper. Everyone scatters, firing wildly. Terrified, you and a companion hide in a small rocky alcove, huddling together out of fear. You watch on your HUD as one by one every other member of your patrol goes dark until it's just the two of you. Where's the sniper? How many are there? Then you hear a sharp crack as your friend's neck snaps, and someone suddenly blurs into existence beside you, the barrel of a pistol jammed against the side of your head. To summarize: You and everyone you care about/work with could be killed, and you'd never even see who was doing it. The Predator wishes he could be Infiltrator Shepard.
      • And if you get the weapon specialization, s/he can carry a sniper rifle DESIGNED TO PIERCE TANKS and will SHATTER THE ARMS of any average human who fires it and use it on normal infantry.
    • Sentinel: Your shields fail before a wave of their hand. Your barrier explodes around you. Your weapons jam as you try to fire. Your armor distorts and rips itself apart. They knock you out of cover with a thought. And no matter what you do, no matter how many times you shoot them, no matter how many people shoot, no matter what you shoot them with, they just won't die.
    • Adept: To try and put this into perspective: think about how much Jack terrifies everyone that knows about her. Think about what she can do for a long moment. Got it? Good. An Adept Shepard is arguably as strong a biotic, if not stronger, than Jack. They can create small black holes with a thought repeatedly and with relative ease. Hide behind cover, and a blue blurry bullet of energy curves around to send you floating through the air, completely helpless. One of Shepard's team members might pick you off... or Shepard might send another blue blur to slam into you, throwing you off the edge.
      • Or sending another blue ball that causes an explosion that tears you apart. Your skin pulled away from your flesh, your organs crumpled and shredded, the energy pulsing through your body and ripping you apart from the inside.
      • Then picture Jack fighting alongside Shepard and shit yourself.
      • Jack? Think about GRUNT!!! How would you feel if a giant, hulking beast came charging at you, roaring "I! AM! KROGAAAAAAN!" at the top of their lungs? Not to mention that if said beast hits you, he would probably break every bone in your body.
        • How about both? This troper refers to Grunt and Jack (or Wrex and Liara in the original) as his "wrecking ball" squad.
      • Paragon Shepard does not care for your past sins, s/he forgives all. Shepard offers job opportunities for those who get the work done, s/he offers haven like the grey wardens. Paragon Shepard may offer mercy and help for your past problems, and secure your loyalty. But not for one moment think s/he does not have you down his/her sights. Any traitor that has met the Cutscene Pistol of Doom will either back down or die. Shepard always wins, and his/her crew knows that. Offer one hand, arm the other indeed.
      • Even worse, Jack and Morinth alongside a very questionably sane (Renegade) Shepard... with Dominate. This means you will witness your friend abruptly lose his shields and armors only to be brainwashed into attacking you All while you can be rendered completely helpless as your own friend picks you apart. And if you manage to survive... you have the aforementioned Shepard, a psychotic chick with a shotgun and an asari who kills people by eroding their nervous system. All of whom are arguably the strongest biotics in the galaxy. The phrase "sucks to be you" never applied to a scenario more accurately.
        • Or fighting Shepard, Jack and Samara. You see a group of people, and order their deaths. First thing you saw was your friend getting killed on the inside (Reave), and then you see another merc get killed by the crazy girl. Then you saw your unarmored/unshielded team get killed instantly with a miniature black hole (or singularity). You now noticed that they disabled your armor and shield and the asari just used her technique on you, and its killing you on the inside. Worse, she gains your health while you die, feeling your life go away every second. Your last words in your mind would be "SHIT!".
    • Also, think about the above class scenarios then add in some of the kinds of armor and weapons Shepard can use, namely the Recon Hood, the Collector Armor and Assault Rifle, and the Terminus armor and Blackstorm (aka the Black Hole Gun). The Soldier scenario would only be more terrifying as what looks like a Human-Collector hybrid holding a bizarre three-pronged organic gun-thing mows down your friends, the cold emotionless expression of the Recon hood behind the barrel of that pistol for the Infiltrator scenario, and the Terminus Armor holding the Blackstorm no matter what the class. The Cain just goes without saying because even if you didn't see it hit, you very likely heard that explosion and, if you were talking to a buddy on the radio, getting nothing but static at about the same time.
    • Just to add fuel to the fire, consider the options your Shepard can get with Advanced Training. Imagine the description of the soldier, but now s/he has the ability to drain the very life essence out of your friends with a thought. Or an Adept that's able to not only easily take down your anti-biotic shielding, but use that to steadily boost their own shielding while you hopelessly unload round after round into them as they get ready for their bone-crushing Throw to cool down.
    • Shepard and the Normandy combined are potentially Nightmare Fuel for Harbinger. So you're abducting another human colony when this human in battle armor starts killing your troops. Not only is s/he immune to the seeker swarms, but s/he looks exactly like that Shepard whose ship you blew up two years ago so you wouldn't have to worry about him/her. S/he actually manages to activate the defenses, forcing you to withdraw. Later, you set a trap for him/her. Not only do you confirm that it's Shepard, but you catch a glimpse of his/her ship. It looks like his/her old one - didn't you destroy it? Finally, you're at your home base when that ship attacks. It's almost identical in appearance to the one you destroyed... only twice as big, and packing a lot more firepower. It shrugs off your initial attack before blasting your ship to pieces with what looks like a miniature version of Nazara's weapon. Finally, Shepard boards your base, takes out your unfinished human Reaper on foot, then destroys the base, along with all your work. In short, you killed this guy, obliterated his ship and scattered his crew throughout the entire galaxy. And it was all just a temporary setback.
      • As Garrus noted, Harbinger killed this guy, and all it seemed to do was piss him off.
      • For reference, Sovereign stayed dead. If you threw all the things it took to stop it at Shepard, he may not survive, but damn it, he'd survive not surviving. So he's essentially unstoppable, and you just shot in his general direction.
    • Shepard and Liara as a Battle Couple. The latter is a super-powerful biotic who held off mercenaries at dig sites for decades, who is a Violently Protective Girlfriend to Shepard (she doesn't even have to be Shep's girlfriend/LI) and is on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the Shadow Broker. She is indeed referred to as the elite in her download mission and at the end is perhaps the most powerful person in the galaxy. With mild Yandere tendencies.
      • No kidding. Even for an asari, she's a biotic juggernaut. She's the daughter of one of the strongest asari biotics in the galaxy possibly two, if Aethyta really is her father, and her biotics are as strong or stronger than Samara's, a justicar who is several centuries her senior and Morinth's, an Ardat-Yakshi who has absorbed the life force of thousands. She can make black holes with her brain, with you at the center. You do not mess with Shepard while she's around, and if you do, bring a coffee cup, because what's left of you is going home in it.
  • Several of your squadmates may be this to your enemies, too. Think about it. A cold, emotionless assassin that could kill you in a heartbeat? A psychotic woman who's an extremely powerful biotic that would kill you without a second thought? A massive, hulking krogan that could break every bone in your body with a single punch?
    • Not to mention, that krogan's young. He's not even fully mature yet.
    • Garrus' tendency to put people down in sadistically ironic ways is both hilarious and disturbing when you think about it. That takes a lot of time and effort to kill someone in an appropriate manner.
    • And that psychotic/psychopathic woman who's a wickedly powerful biotic? There might actually be two of them, and it's truly hard to say who's scarier. Imagine a back-from-the-dead, half-cyborg commander with glowing red eyes and scars and his/her biotic-goddess pals - one an impulsive, destructive, hateful test subject with a serious thirst for revenge and the other a hedonistic alien sex vampire who only gets stronger as she kills more people. Both are powerful enough to rip your spine out the front of your body without laying a finger on you, and you're standing squarely in their sights. Now imagine them playing rock-paper-scissors for first dibs on your head.
    • No mention of Legion? Okay, so let's say you are this poor, unfortunate Merc squad. You see Shepard. Oh, no. S/He's a really bad human. Then imagine the first thing you hear is a robotic "Hostiles Spotted" in a dull emotionless tone. Standing next to this heavily armed human is a geth. Speaking English. The butchers of Eden Prime, the ravagers of the Citadel, the besiegers of Feros. The most horrifying enemy the galaxy has ever known (since you and most of the rest of the galaxy don't know about the Reapers) and this man/woman has one working with them. But it's not so bad, one lone geth right? No smarter than a varren? Suddenly, it pops one of your squadmate's heads like a cherry with its own Widow anti-material rifle. Oh, it's smarter than a varren alright. It's a cold, logical death machine that only sees you as an obstacle to an objective, nothing more than a statistic in a combat data projection. Then it's aiming its anti-tank cannon. Right at-
  • There's an assignment where you go to a mine after picking it up on a scan. The first indication that something is really wrong? You find a datapad on a box close to the entrance. Know what it says? "If you can read this, GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE! NOW!"
    • This mission just gets creepier and creepier as you work your way through the winding, claustrophobic mine tunnels, hearing the shrieks and moans of the husks echoing from deep underground. Guess we know what happened to the miners and researchers...
  • While we never actually see how batarians treat their slaves, we certainly hear the details of it. The conditions of the slaves are horrific that it drove a seasoned soldier who witnessed a batarian slave run to become a traumatized, alcoholic wreck. And then there's what they did to Talitha...
  • The Derelict Reaper is an extremely creepy playing environment. It's effectively a giant corpse of a dead mecha-god that continues to radiate remnants of its evil will. You will come across Apocalyptic Logs that contain messages from a science team sent to study it but went insane, speaking how "even dead gods can dream", and sharing each other's memories. Add in dozens of Husks, cyber-zombies they turned themselves into attacking you at the same time in one of the most intense battle sequences in the game, and you have the makings of the most disturbing and frightening part of the game.
  • Try picking the wrong biotic to accompany your squad through the seeker swarms in the suicide mission. Or if you (understandably) don't have the heart to, see the consequences for yourself. The screams of agony (oh lord, Tali, Garrus and Thane) will echo in your brain. I tried it once. Once. Nice job getting one of Shepard's beloved squad killed.
    • "No carrier, no carrier, no carrier, no-..."
      • Now think about this. When he says that, he's trying to upload all his memories and programs (which are the actual geth [not the physical form]) and realizing that he's too far away from a mass relay to get everything he has learned and experienced back to his people, which is the most important part of his society, and realizing that all of the over 1000 'people' within him would die there.
        • What's worse is that in the suicide mission, it was your idea to choose who does what, so if one of your squad mates dies there, their death was not at the collector's fault, it was you to blame. Nobody else is to blame, not the Reapers, not the Collectors, only you are to blame for having a squad mate get killed.
  • Jarrahe Station. A space station where the VI went nuts and killed everyone. You have to figure out what happened and shut the station down. The creepiest part? There are no enemies. A fight would have at least helped ease the tension.
    • Look around while you're in the living quarters: there's half a human body lying in one of the rooms. There are no mechs around (if there were, they'd presumably be trying to kill you.) What the hell did that?
  • Minor compared to some of the things on this page, but the end of the prologue. Shepard, twisting in terror (and likely pain) due to a suit breach, trying desperately to be able to fix it. Watching Shepard just... flailing and helpless was surprisingly creepy.
    • Not as minor as you'd think. Turn off the music in any way you can in any of the levels described as creepy (on the 360, you start your own music and then pause it) and play some of this stuff without music. It is quite... unsettling. Especially the prologue.
      • The sound is there along with the sound of Shepard breathing. Though for this troper, the first thought that came to mind was "I [Shepard] make a pretty [shooting] star" after realizing that Shepard would as much burn up on re-entry as anything else.
  • The "duct rats" of the Citadel are mentioned in a throwaway conversation during Thane's loyalty mission, but they have some sad stories. Children so poor they play in the ductwork of the Citadel, which nobody really understands since no living race built it. So, from time to time, these kids get crushed, chewed up by fans, dumped into boiling hot liquids, or even ejected into space.
    • Or falling into protein vats to be fed to other residents of the Citadel.
  • Harbinger, especially on Insanity difficulty. Imagine it from your character's perspective. You just finished fighting off a wave of Collector assassins on some moving platforms. Your ammo is nearly depleted and your team is exhausted, only for you to hear in a deep, flanging voice "I will direct this personally". That enemy you thought was taken care of? Its flesh starts sloughing off and its body glows with yellow light. You shoot at it, but the shields are too strong. Harbinger hurls a supremely powerful biotic singularity at you, enough to rip through your shields just as you take cover, and while you take him out moments later with seconds to spare...you hear his voice, again, from across the room. He's coming for you. He's tougher than anything you've EVER fought, and he'll never, ever stop coming. Until you're dead.
    • Worse still are some of his lines when you kill his current body, just reaffirming how utterly unstoppable he is. "I will find you again."
    • It's even more horrifying if you imagine that Shepard, being A Father to His Men, would never risk the team's safety in any circumstance or ask them to sacrifice themselves in order to save Shepard's life. Imagine now realising that Harbinger isn't interested in your team, to him, they are simply an irritating obstacle between him and you, something to swat aside. And if he defeats them, he won't even take them alive, he doesn't care about them at all. He just wants you.
  • The very end: You've blown up a Human-Reaper with weapons meant to kill squishy organics, wiped out the Collectors and (maybe) given your fallen crew members a hero's funeral. All is well. That is, until you see the thousands of Eldritch Abomination mecha-gods fast approaching the edge of the galaxy. Which is even worse if Shepard dies at the end.
  • The Project Overlord DLC has a bunch of minor scenes, creeping through a 'dormant' geth ship, fighting through station after station of green tinted robots wading through corpses, a smoke-filled geothermal plant that's collapsing around you, and all through it you keep seeing this green face of the out of control VI, making the most ungodly sound you will ever hear in your life.
    • This tropette just played that DLC last night (the night before Hallowe'en). Alone. In the dark. With DJ-grade headphones and the sound turned up to eleven. "Shat bricks" is an understatement.
    • And all of that is just a precursor to what awaits you in Atlas Station.
      • Rogue VI: [unintelligible sounds] = "QUIET, PLEASE! MAKE IT STOP!"

"The square root of 912.04 is 30.2... it all seemed so harmless."

      • And then the distorted elevator music from ME1 playing, cycling from sped up to slowed down, after a computer voice says that it is there to "relieve stress". Did we mention that this is on a crashed geth ship full of inert Homicide Machines?
    • The whole thing is creepy as hell, but it all goes Up to Eleven when you touch the console, glow green and are sucked into what is pretty much the Matrix, while your companions frantically try to pry open the now-sealed doors. You then find out the REAL story behind the VI, topped off with a hearty helping of Body Horror. You know the villain is really bad when the Paragon interrupt is to pistol-whip him.
      • Funny you should mention the The Matrix. What was done to David goes far beyond how humans were plugged into the Matrix. Plugs that go entirely through his arms. A huge neck brace with even more plugs. Suspended in the air. At least three tubes jammed in his mouth and presumably down his throat. Eyelids held open for no discernible reason! And conscious the entire time, screaming. It took awhile for this troper to realize that Archer doesn't even seem to see exactly what's wrong with the whole set up. His eventual breakdown is nowhere near reasonable for what he did. God, Bioware.
      • It's no wonder that shoving your gun in his face is considered the Paragon option.
      • Renegade is maybe a punch, Paragon was the thing said above, and the Paragon interrupt was PISTOL WHIPPING SAID PERSON.
      • No wonder it was saying "Quiet... please... make it stop..."
      • Worse, when you replay it, listen to the VI sounds throughout the levels. At one point, you can hear "Gavin... please... make it stop!" David is BEGGING his brother to make it stop.
      • Also remember that he's autistic. He can't handle too much sensory input at a time. Autistics concentrate on details. Having that kind of sensory overload is any autistic's worst nightmare.
    • Remember the face in the last level? It's STARING AT YOU THE WHOLE TIME.
    • Also, those security cameras with the green lights? That's the VI watching you for the entire mission
      • Try reusing the elevator when you get to the bottom. The doors open, and the elevator's gone. The VI says something like "Brakes not responding", and the elevator slams down the shaft and shatters. And it's never stated, but subtly implied - you are now trapped in an underground facility, with no communications, at the mercy of an insane VI.
    • This is what happens if the VI manages to upload itself onto the Normandy.
    • Shepard's got enough cybernetic implants to be hacked. Let me repeat that. Shepard can be hacked.
  • The sidequest where you must track down the mercenaries with a captured cargo ship. Everything seems normal, the team goes forward, killing mercs and searches the ship. Then you go to the med bay and see the withered corpse on the inspection table. Okay, unsettling. When you move forward you encounter a whole pile of same corpses. Given the bad reputation of the mercs, it isn't hard to see that they obviously tortured the former crew to death one by one. Brrr...
    • This theory doesn't make it any better. They stripped the guys naked, tortured them to within an inch of their lives, then lined them up against the wall and shot them to death.
  • Another thing from Ilos. If you come across the warning about the Reapers, you listen to it and tell your squadmates what you hear. And when you move on, the last thing you hear the console say is this.

Console: "Cannot be stopped! Cannot be stopped!"

  • We've been this far and nobody's mentioned the "Warp" Biotic ability. Think about what it must be like to be broken down at the molecular level by someone's thoughts.
    • Then there's the Lift and Push abilities. Imagine being lifted high into the air, then thrown against a wall at bone-shattering speeds.
    • Slam combines them both into one happy package!
  • Let's just make this simple and just say that the Reapers in general fit this trope. Ridiculously powerful sentient starships, that have been causing mass extinction for AT LEAST 37 million years, in order to melt down organics to make new Reapers or destroy their free will through the horrifying practice of indoctrination. Even when dead, they can be dangerous - for "a dead god can still dream". When one was destroyed, it took nearly an entire fleet with it, and it wasn't even trying to fight back.
  • Jacob's loyalty mission. Miranda lets slip about a ship his father served on sending a distress signal, but the crash was ten years ago. Going to investigate, Shepard and Jacob slowly learn that his father took command during the crash and spent the next ten years turning the place into Richard Laymon's Island, exiling and killing the men and keeping the women as sex slaves. He forced everyone to eat the toxic food, making them insane.
    • The ending's worth mentioning. As Jacob confronts his father, Shepard notices a male, crazed, standing there like a zombie. Soon he's joined by several more. S\he points them out to the third member of the squad, who will lampshade what they will do to Jacob's father if Shepard chooses to abandon him.
    • Upping the creepy factor is the partial crew log of a male survivor who obviously hadn't been forced to eat the local vegetation yet.

Survivor: [static] "...always said no. She even threatened a report if I didn't stop sending messages. But now she's so innocent. They all are. And that look she gives when she smiles... It's sure easier now. What's the harm? We're stuck here any-" [static]

    • Records of one of the women being affected, realizing with horror that she can't remember someone's name or face. Bad enough to have this happen, but to be conscious of losing yourself?
  • Didn't see this one, but remember the Collector Harbinger berates after Shepard wins? He releases control just in time for it to give Harbinger one last look before being vaporized by an explosion. Though this might be a release, all things considered. It's more of a look of "Daddy? Where are you?" the kind of look a child makes when they've been abandoned before realization fully sets in. Which is all the more horrifying - the Collectors as a species know nothing BUT Indoctrination. They have NEVER in their existence been free.
  • Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC: The (current) Shadow Broker is revealed to be a yahg, a massive creature said to be more savage as a species than the krogan.
    • If that wasn't enough, read his dossier after you beat him. While it was nice to see a slaver get his just end, there's a few lines at the end where it shows just how easily one of the most powerful people in the galaxy is killed and replaced... and nobody knows any different. Kind of sobering, isn't it?
      • Even worse for this person is to imagine if the Reapers recruit the Yahg race for their army.
        • It would look something like this.
          • How about Yahg HUSKS? Sleep tight!
  • One obscure side quest drops you on a geth-infested planet where the fog is so thick you can only see about 10 feet in front of you. You have to walk forward, listening to the clicking of the hordes of invisible homicidal robots, waiting for them to pour out of the fog at you en masse.
  • Han Olar's letter, in which he expresses his deep guilt over the woman whose life he sacrificed to save his own, and prays that he is experiencing a dying hallucination, preferring death over his guilt-ridden existence.
  • Here is what happens if you let the timer run out in The Arrival DLC. Sweet dreams.
    • Every Nonstandard Game Over counts as this. Seeing Joker scrabble desperately at the floor while a Scion bears down on him; hearing your tech specialist scream in agony as they're slowly cooked alive in a blocked vent; watching EDI get corrupted by an insane VI; Morinth's Slasher Smile as she melts your brain; watching humanity being slaughtered and mutated by the Reapers...
  • Imagine the perspective of Arrival from the batarian colonists' perspective. You are just a Batarian, not a mercenary or a killer, just a regular colonist, going about your day like nothing is wrong. Then, in what must have looked like forever from where you are standing, cosmic destruction comes straight at you and wipes you and over 300,000 other colonists out.
    • Or worse, imagine you're on another colony in the Viper Nebula. You're talking via Relay channel to your family on Arahtot when suddenly the signal is interrupted by a bright flash of light, and then static. Because the relay is gone and the system is light years away, there's no way to know that they just got wiped out by a supernova-sized explosion. Instead, all of a sudden Bahak just goes dark, and your colony is cut off from the rest of the galaxy. Then a few hours or days later, a fleet of bio-mechanical abominations descends upon your planet without warning, killing, indoctrinating and husking anyone they come across. Without the Alpha Relay, there's no way to escape, no way to send a warning, no way to even ask what the hell those things are that are slaughtering your people wholesale. And worst of all, you personally consigned them to that fate, in addition to the colonists you killed directly on Arahtot. Nice job, Shepard.
      • Aside from that, here's a bit of Fridge Horror for those that played the "Bring Down The Sky" DLC from the first game - namely, if you took down the Batarian terrorist at the expense of the hostages. His Not So Different speech rings a lot truer after Arrival, doesn't it?

Mass Effect 3

  • The Reapers are here.
  • From the promotional material, there are only two words: Rachni Husks!
    • It gets worse. In the game, most enemies have weak points you can strike for an easy kill, and these things are no exception. The twist? Attack that and it unleashes a swarm of mini-rachni that crawl all over your body!
    • Also, there are the descriptions of reaperized krogan and asari, which are simply lovely. The krogan are highly aggressive at first, until you manage to cut through their plating. At which point, they start fighting much more defensively. Because they're having trouble fighting and holding their visible intestines in at the same time.
    • The potential for asari husks has potential for all kinds of Fridge Horror when you consider how the asari normally reproduce and how huskification horribly corrupts one's nervous system. Gives you a whole new definition of Mind Rape.
      • Even worse when you consider that some of those Asari husks could easily be Ardat-Yakshi. And why not? The Reapers could easily do it for fun.
        • It gets worse. The asari husks are Ardat-Yakshi - and they're able to use their AY powers to override your nervous system for a One-Hit Kill.
  • During the E3 demo of the invasion of Earth, Shepard and Anderson are on top of an apartment building watching the reapers lay waste to Vancouver. As they move they come across a large hole blasted through the roof, two husks crawl out to rush them. Shepard and Anderson shoot them down, and jump into the apartment inside. Shepard opens a jammed door for Anderson, only to look back to a duct on the wall and notice a kid inside. He offers to take the kid to safety, but the kid refuses and just says that he's going to die. What would make a kid like that lose the will to live? Then it hits you: those two husks were his PARENTS!
    • Especially since the preview we first saw was essentially re-structured for the demo. While the bit with Shepard opening the door and meeting the kid are the same, they re-made the parts before and after it meaning the preview and the demo should essentially be considered separately. Doesn't detract from the horror of either moment, though.
  • The knowledge that, if you do not make all the right choices, ignore all the sidequests and pretty much just blaze through the game without a thought for the possible consequences, the Reapers will defeat you and continue the cycle of extinction for possibly another several million years. What makes this even WORSE is that you'll essentially be the one responsible for the Protheans' sacrifice being in vain, likely doom the galaxy to never having another chance like this again AND cause your entire species to be the next Reaper of this generation. The whole scenario is pretty much you completely screwing over the entire galaxy.
  • Major Coats experiences one at the end of the first trailer. The look on his face is one of sheer terror as a reaper slowly descends upon his position inside Big Ben. This Is Gonna Suck doesn't even begin to describe it.
  • Banshees. Ardat-Yakshi husks. That's all that needs to be said.
    • Oh, it's worse. The "Ruthless Enemies" trailer shows them using Charge... before impaling Shepard on their hands.
      • According to one article, at least one variant of the asari husk is pregnant.
        • Oh, and as the videos and hacked demo files have shown, they gently stroke and caress your face... THEN impale you.
      • The worst part about the banshees is the mission they're introduced in. You arrive at a desolate asari monastery in the wake of a missing squad of asari commands, only to find... Nothing... No visible enemies, complete darkness for a time... and the screams of the banshees in the background.
  • Brutes. Reaper-engineered hybrids of turians and krogans. Leaving aside the fact that we're talking about a cross between a race of Space Romans and Proud Warrior Race Guys. Leaving aside the fact that their appearance is just hideously monstrous. The most bowel-clenchingly scary part of them is that krogans and turians are incompatible on a protein-level. They can't even eat the same food let alone reproduce. Try to imagine the levels of Body Horror the Reapers had to inflict upon turians and krogans to produce such an abomination. Knowing how the reapers do business, they were probably alive and screaming when it happened, just like the colonists on the collector base. And then you realize that because they're so incompatible, their own bodily fluids are likely killing them. Even if they survive this battle, they won't live to see another day. THAT is what lesser beings are to the reapers. That is what you are. You are just a mere plaything. You are something to be used. If you are lucky, if they think you're good enough, you will be dissolved and used to make more of the beings that murdered you. If you are found wanting, they will change you until they can make use of you. They will break all the laws of nature until you no longer exist as you once were, until your every cell is being killed by the act of being alive. And when you are of no use for you, you will die. Say what you want about The Borg, at least they don't decide one species is worth more to the collective than any other. Even "you will be assimilated" is better than "you will be our tool".
    • Hell, they're worse than the Daleks. Sure, they exterminate anyone who isn't one of them, but at least they don't inflict the most heinous Body Horror on people
  • From The Art Book of the Mass Effect Universe, we see concept art of the Illusive Man as a Reaperized monstrosity intended for the final battle. This was eventually cut in favour of a battle with someone players were familiar with. but the artwork is the stuff of nightmares. If that wasn't bad enough, other pieces of concept art suggest that TIM goes through some major deterioration in the final game, becoming more husk-like and resorting to a life support machine of some kind just to keep his mind functioning.
  • The new CG trailer for Mass Effect 3 starts off with a child playing with her Alliance fighter in a sunflower field. The camera plays around between her and some actual fighters flying over a city. All seems peaceful and cheerful when suddenly the fighters are shot down, the music is muted and Reapers descend on the cities with lasers. There is no warning of their coming, they don't announce themselves and expect surrender, they straight up destroy everything the moment they're within range. The child's look of horror upon seeing a Reaper up close doesn't help either.
  • Batarian Husks are called "Cannibals". Why? They regain health by eating fallen enemies and husks. Nice.
    • They also have an arm cannon which is made out of a human husk.
  • And the best part? All this chaos and destruction has happened before. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of times before. It was one thing hearing about what happened to the Protheans in ME1, and getting glimpses of the horrors they went through. But seeing history repeat itself in person, in full detail to your own people...
  • That moment when you see the first Reaper descend from the clouds. The defense committee members' reactions say it all.
  • With the addition of multiplayer in the demo, you and a squad of skilled human players are this to the AI-controlled Cerberus forces. Rightly so, since each player controlled commando is a member of their race's special forces, the best of the best in the Galaxy; fully capable of taking on entire armies by themselves, and there are four of them working together. Just watching how quickly and mercilessly they massacre wave after wave of Cerberus troopers is awesome yet terrifying. Let's be glad that we're on their side.
    • You, an Assault Trooper, and the rest of your squad fan out backed by an Atlas, Nemesis support, turrets deployed by Combat Engineers, Guardians leading the advance and Phantoms probing the flanks. Your squad leader (Centurion) signals a Guardian ahead of you to advance.
    • Suddenly, his shield is ripped away from him and his head explodes in a gory mess. Within a heartbeat, the Guardian next to him falls forward with his own head missing, having been shot right through the viewing slit of his heavy shield. You and your squad unleash mass-accelerated hell in the direction of the shot but you can't find the sniper.
    • The Centurion lays down smoke to cover your advance, when a cluster of grenades fly through the smoke and detonates, wiping out half your squad. A second later, a black hole appears behind you, leaving the other half of your squad suspended helpless in the air where they are easy prey for the enemy sniper.
    • One of your fellow assault troopers decides he's had enough of that sniper and lobs a grenade in their general direction. Confident that No One Could Survive That, the two of you approach, only to find a whole lot of nothing where the infiltrator's body should be. Well, nothing but the faint glow of an omni-blade as it tears into your comrade's flank, instantly killing him. As you recover from the shock, you fire blindly into the shadows where the infiltrator used to be, but to no avail; the cloaked bastard gets away and continues to haunt the entire battlefield.
    • Your platoon scatters as the Atlas, turrets and Nemeses futilely lay down suppressing fire. From behind, a rocket flies from cover and strikes a deathblow to the Atlas, the explosion killing the troopers nearby. A nearby turret suddenly has its shields replenished before it pumps a stream of bullets into the Engineer who planted it. A glowing orb of light appears and shocks a Nemesis out of cover, where she is torn to ribbons by a stream of assault rifle rounds.
    • You see a Phantom charge the nearest enemy commando, only to be frozen in stasis before a blue comet of death hurtles into her, causing her broken body to fly across the room. The Drell Vanguard, who proceeds to casually Roundhouse Kick a nearby squadmate to death, before unleashing another biotic charge into his next group of victims.
    • The surviving Engineer attempts to plant another turret to turn the tide of the battle, only to be shocked by electricity, causing his turret overload and explode in front of him while his shield collapses. He is so disoriented that he never sees the flaming omniblade of an Alliance commando scythe into his chest, ending his life. He then turns and incinerates another Nemesis before pistol whipping her to death, just to make sure.
    • A second Phantom closes in on the Alliance commando, hoping to get in close and let her katana do its work, when she is smacked aside like a rag doll by a charging Krogan warrior in the throes of blood rage. He charges into the building across from yours, sending a trooper flying out the window after head-butting his squadmates to death.
    • Your elite platoon is in shambles, and all you can do is watch in horror as you hear the cries of your comrades silenced one by one. Only you and your squad's Centurion are still alive, hiding behind a desk. Trying to find a means of escape, the Centurion peaks over the desk to find where the enemy is, only to be grabbed and yanked out of cover by a lithe Asari commando. Turning to flee, all you hear is the thrum of biotic power followed by the sound of your squad leader's head being splattered against the floor.
    • Before you can even get 10 paces, you are struck in the side and feel yourself rapidly freezing solid mid-step. At the mercy of 4 ruthless commandos, you see everything pass as if in slow-motion. The Asari fires a warp which speeds towards you, the Drell hurls another pack of cluster grenades at your feet, while the Alliance commando hurls a ball of fire that arcs in your direction. But all of that is forgotten when you see the Krogan hurtling towards you like a bat out of hell, bent on making sure you end your life with his massive fist shattering your frozen body. All you can do is close your eyes, embrace the inevitable, and wish that you joined Terra Firma instead of Cerberus.
  • The Alliance Daily News for February 27, 2012. They're here.

"Khar'Shan communication gone dark. Batarian economy cut off from colonies. Hegemony: 'Comm buoy disruption due to solar output.'"

    • No they're not. Now they're here (March 4 2012):

ANN Earth is experiencing comm buoy difficulties. Please stand by.

  • From the demo to the launch trailer, we're assaulted by the soulless mechanical screams and groans of the Reapers. Every time they rocket through the air, fear and dread are not far behind.
  • No matter how scary it gets, you always have the comfort of knowing that there's a screen and a game between you and the Reapers. Now imagine this: You live on the Citadel, and one day you check your omni-tool to see Emily Wong reporting live from Earth, talking about a ship like the one that attacked the Citadel being on Earth. You follow the story as it unfolds with mounting horror as Emily encounters husks and Cannibals, frantically tries to warn people away from certain escape routes, and eventually is directly attacked. You receive the signal loss instantaneously, and with it goes your hope of hearing about the situation - maybe the people in charge will still know about what's going on back home, but you won't. All you can do is imagine and wonder what will happen when the Reapers get to you.
  • You press the scan button once... and the edge of the system fills with red arrows and the detection bar fills about 4/5th of the way full. It's a very, VERY effective way to make you know that you are being hunted.
    • As the game progresses, the galaxy map fills up with new star clusters to explore... and just about every one of them has a Reaper marker on it. Perfectly sums up just how badly things are going for the entire galaxy.
      • And then, as the game gets further along... clusters you CAN'T visit have Reaper markers on them. And just before the final mission... every single cluster that has a mass relay, that you can pass through, that you can visit and can't visit, has a Reaper marker over it. The Reapers HAVE THE GALAXY.
      • Doubles as Fridge Horror when you realize that, just before Priority: Earth, you can't access any other system.
  • It's discovered in "From Ashes" that the Protheans were a Proud Warrior Race of Space Romans... with some of the most powerful empathic abilities in fiction, and with their Real Life counterparts' tendency to obliterate the culture of the races they conquered until they called themselves "Prothean" too. Just imagine what it was like facing an invasion fleet of theirs, knowing they can figure out your entire race's history simply by touching a member of it, and that if-when-they win, everything about who you were, as a people, will be torn apart and fed to the ever-expanding empire. And the thing is-it's either them, or their enemies.
    • Even better-you know those Prothean outposts on Mars? Javik reveals that yes, they did uplift promising species... as servants. In case you haven't noticed, humanity has a small talent for war, so ask yourself-what would happen if the Protheans survived to see our capabilities as warriors...?
    • Javik's own backstory has its own horrors. He commanded a ship much like the Normandy, until it was captured by the Reapers and its crew indoctrinated and sent after him. Imagine for a moment in ME2 that you and your group weren't conveniently away from the Normandy when the Collectors invaded, and that all hands besides Shepard were taken by the Reapers. Then imagine that you tried to storm the Collector Base on your own, only to be faced with the indoctrinated forms of Garrus, Tali and the other squadmates (love interests included), and forced to Mercy Kill every single one as they come after you. That is what Javik had to deal with.
    • How about this? If you fail to rescue Grissom Academy; much later, while you're storming Cerberus headquarters, you will find this. Yeah, it's not your entire team. But if she's your love interest, you'll have to mercy-kill the one you love, indoctrinated and not even recognising you.
    • That recording is just terrifying. To think if that had to happen to everybody who was converted into a Cerberus Phantom. By the way Jack screamed, whatever they did to her was not gentle nor was it painless. Likely an accelerated indoctrination process to make her loyal and quick 'n' dirty surgery with control chips, implants and whatever other horrors they can cook up.
  • In-universe example: Shepard has nightmares about a young boy who was killed while trying to flee Earth. There are dream sequences where Shepard finds the boy in a forest, before he burns alive to his\her horrified face.

Harbinger: "YOU WILL FAIL. YOUR EXTINCTION IS INEVITABLE."

  • After the attempted Cerberus coup on the Citadel, Shepard can listen in on a traumatized asari huntress in Huerta Memorial Hospital. She's twitchy and paranoid, asking what color her eyes are and begging to be kept away from humans, refusing to bathe and repeatedly pleading for a gun. By listening to a counselor's attempts to talk her through what happened, you learn why: She was on a colony world, staying overnight in a farming community to wait for a shuttle and the rest of her squad. A hero-worshipping fourteen-year-old farmgirl named Hillary offered her the use of their shower - and when she came out of the shower, still only wearing a towel, the farm was attacked by an Ardat-Yakshi friend of hers who'd been huskified into a Banshee. With farmers dying and no way for her to get to her gun, the huntress grabbed Hillary and fled into the countryside, where they stayed on the run for several days until she realized that the shuttle wasn't coming back and they had to go back to the farm to radio for help. When they did, they found many of the farmers still alive - and when Hilary freed them, they attacked under the influence of indoctrination. The huntress was forced to kill most of them with her biotics, and fled again, taking cover in a barn, but Hillary's leg was broken and she couldn't stop screaming in pain. The huntress had to blow Hillary's brains out with a pistol to keep her from leading the Banshee to their hiding spot, and held out alone until a rescue shuttle finally arrived. The asari government wants to give her a medal for the intel she was able to provide, but she can only miserably blame herself for the deaths of Hillary and the farmers.
    • It Gets Worse. Eventually, a message pops up in the Spectre terminal regarding an asari huntress's requests to obtain a gun. Authorize it, and she uses it to commit suicide, leaving the hospital staff who were trying to help her heavily traumatized.
    • It actually gets even worse. The farmgirl that she killed, the one called Hillary? She was Joker's sister.
    • Actually, it can get even worse than that. Think about it: Hillary's a hero-worshipper, and her brother's BFFs with Commander Shepard. The asari must know that Hillary is Joker's sister, even if only because they were together for several days. And when she's in the hospital, she sees you walk by so many times, all the while thinking to herself "I killed your friend's sister." And then what happens? She gets handed a gun, courtesy of none other than Commander Shepard.
  • Glyph reveals that one colony dealt with an impending Reaper invasion by taking a third option rather than surrendering or fighting a futile ground war: they detonate thermonuclear weapons in all their population centers, sparing themselves indoctrination and denying the Reapers a source of cannon fodder.
  • The sheer lengths that Admiral Han'Gerrel vas Neema is willing to go to fuel his blood vendetta against the Geth. It ultimately culminates in him sending his entire race to their doom unless you either side with the Quarians or made very specific choices in 2 and the build-up to the final choice concerning Rannoch in 3.
  • Legion/The Geth VI's psychotic breakdown if you side with the Quarians.
  • The rachni queen using a dozen-or-so dead krogan to talk through. Seeing their heads bob and move in unison is unnerving.
    • Worse is if you're dealing with the cloned Breeder, had you killed the original Queen. It just sounds... off. The fact that she doesn't use the Royal We like her original counterpart is a definite clue that something is very wrong. And if you elect to leave it behind, it goes ballistic. Having a dozen dead Krogan screaming "KILL THEM! KILL THEM ALL!" is mighty unnerving...
  • Combines with Tear Jerker. Shepard, the galaxy's ultimate hero\badass, slowly breaks until s\he is a broken wo\man, possibly bleeding to death and left with the Sadistic Choice of deciding the fate of the galaxy.
  • Pretty much every ending when thought about:
    • Control Ending: Shepard ascends to a Higher Plane of Existence and is now (supposedly) in control of the Reapers. Considering the odd logic of the Catalyst, there is nothing to say that this won't happen to Shepard's control over time.
    • Destroy Ending: All synthetic life is destroyed, so all the Geth are destroyed, meaning that, at best, the Quarians will have to find someone else to help them rebuild their homeworld. At worst, you let the Quarians die for nothing. It is implied that all VI-type devices are also destroyed, meaning any assistance they provided, be it in weapons, armor, ship interfaces, etc., will cease to work, leaving survivors in an essential dark age. There is also the possibility that future races will inevitably create synthetics themselves, and thus the whole situation will repeat itself again. This is also the only ending where Shepard is hinted at surviving, but if popular fan theory is adhered to, this means that the entire ending is a hallucination of Shepard's, who has now fought off indoctrination attempts... and is lying in ruins, bleeding to death after Harbinger's attack, still no closer to the Citadel beam.
    • Synthesis: Shepard makes the ultimate sacrifice, leading to all organic and synthetic life being fused to make a new DNA, inferred to occur with Reaper tech, essentially meaning they have won. Additionally, there is the problem that this choice is forced upon the galaxy by Shepard, similar to the goals of the Catalyst/Reapers.
    • All Endings: If the Crucible wasn't built correctly (i.e. without enough War Assets), it will not work at all (ergo, the Reapers will eventually win and the cycle continues) or will destroy ALL organic and synthetic life in the galaxy. If it does work, no matter what, the Relays are destroyed. Finally, there is the notion of the Normandy outrunning the Crucible's energy blast and crash-landing on a remote planet, which implies they fled Earth and hit the Relay WHILST Shepard was on the Citadel making their decision. Your True Companions? They left you to die. As others have aptly put it, "Goddamnit, Bioware".
      • Implicitly, they assumed that you were dead and all was lost, and wanted to preserve whatever was left for future generations.
  • Some of the moments here just show how Renegade Shepard isn't just ruthless to enemies anymore and is more than willing to kill his/her own comrades if they step out of line. It leaves you knowing that the fate of the galaxy lies within an completely ruthless type V anti-hero.

YouTube commenter on the above video:
Mass Effect 1: Commander Shepard is a jerk.
Mass Effect 2: Commander Shepard is still a jerk.
Mass Effect 3: Commander Shepard is such a je... OH MY GOD, SHEPARD IS FUCKING EVIL.

  • If Shepard killed the original Rachni queen in Mass Effect 1, but spared her replacement in hopes that she will cooperate with the alliance to fight the Reapers, you will later be informed that, as soon as the Rachni reached the construction site of the Crucible, they betrayed the humans in revenge for killing their first queen by massacring every scientist they could get their hands on, completely wiping out the entire Alliance Engineering Corps.
  • The robotic Eva Core grabbing Kaiden/Ashley, then brutally and repeatedly smashing their skull against a shuttle door frame. They get better, but it's still pretty disturbing to watch since combat's usually a fairly tame futuristic gun battle.
    • Oh, and the Virmire Survivor then gets to team up with Eva's body controlled by EDI, who has a history of violent behavior that the Survivor may know about. No wonder Ash was twitchy...
  • "Goodbye Thane. You won't be alone for long." What's more disturbing, the number who will die against the Reapers or the implication; given everything s\he has gone through, that Shepard is a Death Seeker?
  • Commander Shepard is practically the embodiment of this to the Reapers. You look down on the battlefield and see a single human charging at them, on foot. S/he clearly has no chance, no hope of defeating you, why does s/he persist? You line up your main cannon and s/he simply dodges the beam. Why does s/he fight the inevita- What is s/he picking up? Is that a-? Within seconds, you are broken and crashing to the ground. Then you realise that you forgot the most important thing of all, the reason why Shepard has killed so many of your brethren. S/he has no fear. Until the last Reaper is dead, you will be hunted across the stars. Shepard will NEVER. EVER. STOP!
    • Why else would the Reapers point their dreadnought-destroy guns at a single (wo)man? And even that doesn't stop him/her completely.
  • The iOS app brings us this rather chilling message considering the context.
    • The sheer unadulterated remorselessness of Shepard when you pick the Renegade option. S/he's not trying to justify it. S/he's lying to one of his best friends' faces on why s/he screwed the Krogan, betrayed Wrex personally and shot Mordin in the back to do so.
  • The Illusive Man's transformation at the end of the game is a bit disturbing. For starters, he has gone completely crazy, is under the control of the Reapers and has black veins on his neck...
  • Sanctuary. Just... SANCTUARY. Take a Nazi extermination camp and mask it as a refugee center for people to voluntarily sign in to escape horrors of war, and you have some idea of what the place is like. People by the thousands, if not millions, get subjected to deadly experiments and turned into mind-controlled husks who are then put into Cerberus uniforms and sent to the frontlines. And what's worse, a great portion of the staff are just as blissfully unaware of the true nature of the place as the refugees, and believe that they'll be allowed into the facility proper once they've fulfilled their quota.
    • That place was a very extensive base on Horizon, and likely wasn't built in the previous few months. Most likely, it was at least still being built the last time Shepard was sent to Horizon.
  • The very last level of the game, when Shepard goes through the Reaper transport beam to the Citadel. The room Shepard arrives in is filled with piles of bloody human corpses. Not to mention the implication of what may have happened there after the Reapers seized the Citadel and moved it to Earth. And that they did so so quickly, you never even got a message about the attack until everything was done.
  • Apart from all obvious terror that you witness in your missions, watching how the entire universe deteriorate into a Crapsack World due to the war is really chilling. Especially in the refugee camp that was set up at the dock holding area in the Citadel, with the sounds in the background consisting of children crying and the TV reporting news that more worlds are being overrun by the Reapers. The general sense of hopelessness is both a tearjerker and terrifying in that it is so real and so personal.
  • The final part of Priority: Earth. The Destroyer is dead and Task Force Hammer is massing, getting ready for the final push. And then Harbinger lands at the Conduit.
  • Take a look at Javik. Then take a look at the Collectors. Since the Collectors are Prothean, see how different they are. The Reapers removed their mouths and digestive systems, forced the growth of a chitinous tissue and gave the eyes a strange, soulless glow. Who knows what else has been modified under the skin. It really evokes vibes of the Stalkers of Half Life.
  • The final scene of ANY of the endings. The Normandy has crash-landed on an unidentified garden world, implied to be on the other side of a mass relay from the Local Cluster. The mass relays have just been destroyed. This means that the crew of the Normandy are trapped. Rations are going to run out eventually. But wait, you say. It's a garden world, so they'll be ok. Right? And then you realise - the Normandy has both levo and dextro crew. The garden world can't be both. So either Tali and Garrus are going to starve to death - or EVERYONE ELSE will.

Expanded Universe

  • Mass Effect Retribution has a few genuinely creepy parts, mostly because it explicitly spells out what indoctrination is like. The Cerberus experiments on him involving implanting Reaper nanotech having taken And I Must Scream to new levels, Paul Grayson spends entire chapters desperately trying to exert some kind of control over his body, trying to stop himself, move a muscle, anything- but the Reapers are so skilled that they quickly find ways to keep him incapacitated. By the end, he's trapped within his own body, the Reapers having full control over his body and full access to his memories. Fridge Horror kicks in when you realize this matches the exact same description Matriarch Benezia gave of her indoctrination. ("I am NOT myself, I never will be again!")
    • What makes it worse is how subtle the Reapers are when they're controlling him. He tries to resist them and commit suicide, and is able to resist a direct effort to control him, so the Reapers instead subtly manipulate his emotional centers to make Grayson decide that suicide is a coward's way out, and instead he seeks help from Kahlee to fight the infestation - which is exactly what they want. In other words, they manipulate it so that Grayson's decisions on how to fight back against them helps the Reapers achieve their goals.
  • The description of Hilo'Jaa vas Idenna's injuries after he was interrogated by Pel in Mass Effect Ascension. He was beaten, cut, burned with acid, had his eyelids removed and one eye was swollen, fingers broken and has contacted an alien disease that caused some growth to come out of his wounds. And he was still alive when Grayson found him!
  • Everything Golo'mek vas Usela does.
  • Kicking off the beginning of the Reapers' invasion after Mass Effect 2: Arrival, Mass Effect: Invasion introduces us to a whole new type of Husk called Adjutants. These creatures were created by Cerberus in an effort to better understand Reaper technology and use it against them. Unfortunately, the Adjutants escape, hijack some ships and raid the Omega space station. With every kill, they assimilate the corpses which, in their own horrific way, rapidly change with newly grown wires, converted flesh and reassembled bone structures into other Adjutants, no matter the species. Spreading like a plague mixed with wildfire, the crime boss Aria has to deal with the Adjutants before they take over the entire station and possibly escape beyond the star system. To make it worse, it's hinted the Adjutants were released by Cerberus in the first place, and they're not planning on stopping the spread anytime soon.
    • It's confirmed that TIM intentionally released the Adjutants just so he could take control of Omega.

Notes

  1. Because s/he is. Remember, research is cheaper if you're an engineer.
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