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Nightmares are bizarre cutscenes and levels encountered in Hello Neighbor.
The Standalone Nightmares were cutscenes depicting The Protagonist being terrorised by the Neighbor in some manner.
In this build, there was a nightmare in which the protagonist woke up in their own house. Attempting to open the door would reveal it to be jammed shut, and upon approaching the window, a giant version of the Neighbor would appear and try to capture the protagonist, first trying the door to no avail, until eventually breaking the window and succeeding.
In Alpha 1, after being caught by the Neighbor or sleeping at least once, the player would view a cutscene where the Neighbor walks into the basement, which appears to have a road inside of it. A loud crash can be heard, with a car wheel rolling out of the door. The Neighbor emerges a second later, closes the door and walks slowly to the left, ending the sequence.
There was also a different nightmare with an identical trigger method to the Pre-Alpha nightmare. As the protagonist slept, they were transported to a very dark room, with some lights, underneath the map, with the Neighbor covering his face. The player needed to go through the gate and hide either in the wardrobe or underneath the bed, after which a school bell would be heard ringing and the Neighbor would check the wrong spot, ending the nightmare. Not hiding quickly enough resulted in the Neighbor catching the player and the nightmare resetting.
Due to the player's house being barebones enough to lack a bed, and the function of beds being altered slightly, the nightmare sequences were completely absent from this version.
Main Article: Fear levels
Notably, all versions after Alpha 1 lacked a standalone nightmare sequence, and instead had Fear Levels, starting from Alpha 3.
In the files for Alpha 3, there were two nightmare maps, per their map names Fear_School and Fear_Darkness. However, there was no way to access the levels, as the level triggers weren't implemented and both levels' entrance rooms contained nothing of importance. Additionally, neither map could be beaten.
In Alpha 4, two of the nightmare maps (Fear_School and Fear_Darkness) had been implemented. Fear School is accessed by opening the door with the green lock. During Fear School, the player would be required to reach the end of the map while avoiding being caught by the mannequins representing students and a teacher. Upon reaching the end, they would be attacked by a giant mannequin in a similar fashion to the Pre-Alpha Giant Neighbor nightmare, and be required to press the jump key repeatedly to push it over, unlocking the ability to do this with the Neighbor once per chase. Fear Darkness required the player to parkour up the shelves of a storage cupboard and jump at the light switch, turning it on. This unlocked a double jump, allowing the player to more easily explore the house.
Betas 1 & 2
The Beta builds added two more nightmare levels; Fear Supermarket, which is accessed by opening the blue padlock door and throwing a nearby switch to raise a platform, and Fear Factory, which was accessed by draining the flooded vault. In Fear Supermarket, the player must gather five items, try to push the cart all the way to the end, and not get caught by the mannequins. This would unlock an ability where the player would be invisible to the Neighbor (and mannequins, as is required for the level). In Fear Factory, mannequins surrounded the player, who was then required to throw a basketball repeatedly to distract the mannequins for a few seconds. Repeating this and reaching the exit would unlock the "superthrow" ability, a powerful throw capable of knocking the Neighbor over.
The Fear Factory level was removed, as the development team noticed it was a very unfun level. As such, the power-throw was made a default ability. The Fear levels saw some changes, with Fear Supermarket getting the most changes; instead of having to stand still for a second without mouse looking, the player must simply stop moving and crouch to become invisible, with an added screen effect so that the player knows they're invisible. There are also fewer NPC customers, the sizes of the required objects have been lowered to make them easier to fit in the cart, the checkout has lights to show how many of the required items have been collected, and getting caught only returns the player to the start without moving the cart; to compensate for this, the NPCs were made to be able to steal items from the player's cart. Additionally, lockers were added to the spawn point in Fear School after many players found themselves repeatedly failing the level shortly after starting.