At face value, Psychonauts looks and feels like a funny and cutesy adventure game with a weird twist about campers and their strange abilities. I’ve personally played this game multiple times, and each time I’ve found things that I missed in previous play throughs that are just plain nightmare fuel.
Originally released in 2005 for Xbox and PlayStation 2, Psychonauts follows the main character, Raz, who is a young boy with various psychic powers, on his adventure to become a Psychonaut (a psychic spy). Come to find out, there is something a little screwy going on at the camp, and some people might have some ulterior motives. Raz takes it upon himself to figure out what that is. As you traverse the minds of various characters in the game, there are many “what the heck” disturbing moments that definitely took me by surprise. Here are some that totally tripped me out:
Dr. Loboto and his Laboratory
Let me just lay this down straight. Dr. Loboto is one hecked up son of a gun. Before he was crazy, he was actually a dentist… but then he went nutso and got thrown in the loony bin. This asylum eventually went abandoned, leaving Dr. Loboto to take over the place and see out his disgusting plans. Y’see, Loboto sees bad brains like bad teeth and says they must be extracted and disposed of. His laboratory is filled with strange brain-removing tools I’d never want to be within a 50 mile radius of. Needless to say, I got in and out as quickly as possible.
Throughout Psychonauts, Raz enters the minds of various characters and explores their thoughts and memories. Every single mind world includes five different versions of “Emotional Baggage”. These are depicted as literal bags, luggages, purses, etc. It took me a couple of times playing through the game to notice this, but every single baggage is weeping in the voice of the character whose mind you’re in. This game just keeps getting more and more depressing.
Meat Grinder Bunnies
I’ll keep this section vague in order to not spoil some plot points for the game, but near the end Raz enters a world that appears to be an odd mix of a circus and a butchery. Immediately upon entering, a little boy asks you to help him catch a bunny to hid from his dad, because his dad is a butcher and will want to kill it. What the heck?! If that’s not weird enough, there is a meat grinder that spits out messed up looking ground-up bunny enemies. I was not okay.
This is perhaps the most depressing and creepy Easter egg in all of Psychonauts. One of the first minds you enter with Raz is the mind of Milla Vodello, a very popular Psychonaut Agent. Upon entering, you’ll find the atmosphere to be similar to Milla’s personality: chill, fun, and colorful. You’d never suspect her traumatic past that she keeps suppressed in the back of her mind. Apparently, Milla previously owned an orphanage, which at some point caught fire and all of the children… died. Now that is some emotional baggage. You can hear the children cry for Milla’s help in this dark space of her mind. Just watch the video.