Nightmares are supernatural beings summoned by Alma Wade and Paxton Fettel. They often appear during hallucinations, however, they begin to appear in the real world when Alma is released from the Vault.
These creatures are similar to ghosts, in that they float and emit shrill cries. They attack by colliding with their target, inflicting considerable damage (about 35 points) and dissolving into a puff of black smoke immediately afterwards.
Initially, Nightmares only appear in the Point Man's hallucinations. The first Nightmare is encountered during a hallucination that occurs in the South River Wastewater Treatment Plant. After Alma is released from the Vault by Harlan Wade, they begin to appear in the real world through portals, attacking the Point Man in large numbers.
Nightmares also appear in F.E.A.R. Extraction Point and F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate, although less frequently. In one particular hallucination, a number of them flock around the Point Man, but do not attack and cannot be attacked in turn.
Specters take the role of Nightmares in F.E.A.R. 2, with a different appearance and the ability to bypass the target's armor.
- The most effective weapons against Nightmares are the HV Penetrator, MP-50 Repeating Cannon, AT-14 Pistol. One round from these weapons will be sufficient to kill a Nightmare, and the splash damage of the MP-50 Repeating Cannon can wipe out clusters of three or four with ease.
- By contrast, automatic weapons like the RPL Submachine Gun and the G2A2 Assault Rifle are not recommended, as either one takes more than one shot to kill a Nightmare, making their sizable magazines moot. The VK-12 Combat Shotgun is not recommended either due to its slow firing speed and tight pellet spread greatly hampering its crowd control capabilities.
- In F.E.A.R. Extraction Point and F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate, the AP-5 Deployable Turret doesn't fire at them, even from a distance. Similarly, AT-S Proximity Mines are not triggered by them.
- Normally, Slow-Mo will activate by itself once Nightmares arrive, giving the player more time to react. Close to the end of the first game, however, Slow-Mo ceases to self-activate, showing that Nightmares can move startlingly fast. The player must be aware and ready to activate it manually as soon as the sound of a Nightmare portal opening is heard.
- If the player faces a large number of Nightmares, avoid reloading at all costs. Doing this will give them an opportunity window of about 5 seconds to attack the player, which can prove lethal. Always reload after they are wiped out, and switch to another weapon if the current one is close to running dry.
- Automatic Slow-Mo will not shut off if there are unseen Nightmares. Check the surroundings, as they might be closer than previously thought.
- Their extremely low health makes them relatively easy opponents when fought individually, but in large numbers they become genuine threats. Do not underestimate them.
- Curiously, Nightmares bleed when shot.
- While Alma is the primary figure to summon Nightmares, Paxton Fettel sometimes does this as well, as seen near the end of both F.E.A.R. and the Vivendi timeline games.