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These things can take you through a world of pain, trust me.

–Milla Vodello

A Nightmare is a creature that can be found in mental worlds. They are supposedly rare, but exist somewhere in all minds. Nightmares are frightening and powerful monsters that embody trauma, or possibly represent powerful feelings of guilt. In Psychonauts, Nightmares are fought twice as a mini-boss in the Milkman Conspiracy, and can also be found in Milla's Dance Party.

Description

The Nightmares have skulls that resemble gas masks. They have two large curling horns, and three sharp teeth on the end of the "mask". Their eyes glow bright orange. They have six arms: two human arms and four resembling bug limbs. Their purple bodies sprout from the ground, and seem to be made up of screaming faces.

Old Psychopedia description
Nightmares are a surprisingly rare mental creature, although everyone has them somewhere in their mind. The head of this demon look much like a dragon, with two long curled horns, a snout with a flexible jaw, and bright glowing eyes. The body appears to be made of some sort of liquid, the outside covered with writhing souls screaming for mercy. It can open up in multiple places, as if the Nightmare was covered in bright red mouths, to extend a multitude of arms. These arms can range from normal looking human hands to sharp scythes that are used for attacking. Nightmares are able to hide underground by creating jaw-like holes in the ground. When underground, they can stretch their arms through the surface to attack or pull someone underneath with them.

If one is unlucky enough to come across one of these monsters, it’s best to attack it with Psi-Blasts from a long range. Physical combat is not recommended, as Nightmares are able to grab and pull their victims underground. Once the beast is nearly defeated, it splits itself in half, releasing small Personal Demons and sucking in energy. Leaving the Nightmare alone during this will let it recover, bringing it back up to full health. To prevent this, one must throw a Personal Demon into the Nightmare’s open body with Telekinesis. This causes an explosion inside of the Nightmare, turning it to stone. This is the only safe time to Psi-Punch the demon and destroy it for good.

Some unstable minds have Nightmares running amok and causing havoc in their Mental Worlds, such as in the Milkman Conspiracy. However, those who still have a grip on reality have been known to lock up their Nightmares in hidden psychic cages to prevent them from causing trouble. Milla's room is an excellent example of this safety precaution.

Psychonauts

Milla's Dance Party

An entire group of Nightmares can be found hidden away behind bars in a small room in Milla's mind near her second memory vault. They cannot be fought or in any way interacted with. Milla tries to coax Raz to steer clear of this room, and her method of locking away the Nightmares is implied to be the healthy way to cope with these demons.

The Milkman Conspiracy

Raz fights two Nightmares in The Milkman Conspiracy with no warning or buildup. He is first attacked by a Nightmare once he exits the post office, and is attacked a second time once he exits the assassin area. The fights are not addressed in any way later on.

Strategy

To defeat the Nightmare, Razputin must PSI-Blast it until it spits the remains of Personal Demons out of its mouth. He must then use Telekinesis to pick up one of the bombs and toss it into its open mouth. The Nightmare will turn to stone which can then be destroyed with a PSI-Punch.

Trivia

  • The nightmares in Milla's Dance Party speak with the tormented voices of her dead children, but Boyd's nightmares are entirely mute.
  • Both Milla's and Boyd's Nightmares relate to fire: Boyd was responsible for at least one department store fire, whereas Milla must simply have felt responsible for not being present to mitigate the tragic fire at her orphanage.
  • Using Clairvoyance on the Nightmares will show Raz as a shadowy figure covered in question marks.
  • The Nightmares were originally called "The Demons".
  • The Nightmare battles in the Milkman Conspiracy are a remnant of an abandoned subplot for the game. Originally, the Nightmares in Milla's Dance Party were intended to escape during the course of the game, forcing Raz to retrieve/defeat them before they could ruin the mental worlds of others. This was later changed (due to the developers feeling that Milla would never allow her Nightmares to threaten the safety of the camp), however the Nightmares that lurk in Boyd's mind still remain. They could have been left in the game accidentally or intentionally to show the harmful effects of Boyd's paranoia on his psyche.

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