October is definitely one of the best months of the year and Halloween is definitely one of the best days of the year. So what scary games can we pick up and play on this most awesome of occasions? Read on to find out!
*Spoilers below. Watch your step*
I love scary games, but for most of my life have been too terrified to actually play them. Despite this, I’ve put together this list of 5 moments in games that have made me jump out of my skin! Not all of these games are horror games, but even so, they are good picks if you are looking for something to play at this time of year!
So, in no particular order:
The Evil Within (Tango Gameworks, 2014)
You know that dream where you are trying to run away from monsters but your legs won’t carry you fast enough and you just don’t have the energy to go on? Well that is the plight of The Evil Within’s unfit alcoholic ‘hero’, Sebastian Castellanos. Whilst the linear nature of the game, and the number of times you will die take away from the overall fear factor, this game is still home to one of the scariest moments in video games! This occurs in Chapter 9: The Cruelest Intentions, where the terrifying Ruvik appears at random, chasing you around a mansion. The game tricked me into thinking you could hide from him in a conveniently located wardrobe. So, I’m in there, and think I’m safe, but apparently I spent slightly too long getting into the wardrobe, and he actually knows where I am. Then you can only watch in horror as the realisation hits you and he ever so slowly approaches the wardrobe and……..Ahhhhhhh! I’m dead! Haven’t managed to pick up the sequel yet, but can’t wait until I do!
Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water (aka Fatal Frame 5 – Koei Tecmo, 2015)
This is a quiet, lonely, beautiful game, which makes possibly the best use of the Wii U gamepad ever. It is also completely and utterly terrifying. You don’t have a weapon in this game, instead, you vanquish spirits with a camera. To emulate this in your living room, you use the gamepad as the camera, angling it in order to capture the most hit points on each ghostly foe. Much of the terror of this game is from the aesthetic, both visuals and music, which capture a difficult to describe calmness, slowly luring you to your doom. Although the forest and mountain settings are beautiful and terrifying, for me the scariest bit comes in the antique shop, formerly a safe-feeling locale, when you are asked to monitor CCTV screens, thus losing immediate access to your ghost busting camera. You know what happens next right? I’ll say no more.
Resident Evil 2 (Capcom, 1998)
I had to include a Resi game here, and for me this was the one with the scariest single moment. I quite happily played through the Leon A story. Don’t get me wrong, it is scary and the police station is a creepy location, just grand enough to invoke that haunted feel. But then comes Claire B. At first I think it will be very similar to Leon A: shoot the zombie, find the thing, press the switch etc. But then there’s Tyrant…The strange thing is, that you already know he’s there. You see something being dropped from the sky early on, and you’ve already encountered and escaped from him. However, the bit I’m talking about, illustrated in the video above (many thanks to Sora Zeto for posting the video!), breaks the rules, and therefore terrifies me. It takes place upstairs in the central room of the police station. You’ve recovered your nerve from the previous encounter with Tyrant, and are on the balcony making your way back through the station, I think towards the Library. You go to open the door and…HE APPEARS! That is simply not allowed. Once you press the button to open the door, the animation should kick in and you should be safe! That’s how this game works! Anyway, I don’t think I’ve ever jumped out of my skin faster!
Majora’s Mask (Nintendo, 2000)
Zelda doesn’t generally terrify me to the core, but I think Majora’s Mask is a terrifying tale. The masks give a theatrical horror feel, whilst Skull Kid proves a classic Halloween enemy. The way the music shifts and changes pace as the days drift by, and the way that the moon smiles down at you. All very terrifying. For me though the most terrifying thing in this game only occurs if you let time unravel and you purposefully get to the end of the third day. Everything shifts slowly throughout the day, and by the time you get to midnight, it’s all gone a bit hay-wire. There is something beautiful about the carnival and fireworks, celebrating the end of the world, and when the time comes, the moon plunges into Clock Town, evil grin intact, and Link is swept away to his death. Now, I expected a game over screen, but instead you have a vision of Majora’s Mask and awake to the sight of the (terrifying) Happy Mask Salesman, and it is now the dawn of the first day again. A never-ending cycle of horror.
Monkey Island 2: Le Chuck’s Revenge (LucasArts, 1991)
This was the first game that truly terrified me. Sure it has a creepy vibe to it, particularly all the voodoo stuff, but there is one part of the game, right at the end, which scared the bejesus out of me. As the “mighty pirate” (his words, not mine) Guybrush Threepwood, you are trying to kill Ghost Pirate Le Chuck once and for all, and this culminates with him chasing you around some underground tunnels. You desperately search through boxes and what-not for the items you need to finish creating voodoo-doll Le Chuck and destroy him, but every so often, without warning, he’ll just appear in the doorway, voodoo-doll Guybrush in hand. This entered into my nightmares, and sticks with me as it was a game that for quite some time I was too scared to finish. But then again, I was 8.
Anyway, before I sign off and drink some pumpkin beer…
…A couple of other games that are worth a mention. First, Luigi’s Mansion 2, which I haven’t actually played, but seems to invoke a classic, childlike view of Halloween, all ghosts and ghouls, but no blood or violence (correct me if I’m wrong though!). Then there’s Silent Hill, where you’re just a normal guy. You don’t have magical abilities, you’re not even a cop. You’re just looking for Cheryl. But oh god what is happening?! Arrrrrrrrgh!!
*ahem* Right! So I’ve got Fatal Frame 2 to play this Halloween, but what are you playing to mark the occasion? Perhaps more importantly, what are you wearing!? Let me know below!
“You’ve met with a terrible fate, haven’t you…?”
Good choices – I think Majora’s Mask is a terrific entry (not just because I’m a huge Zelda fan) but that tell creeped me out as a kid. The point at the farm where you need to protect it from the ghosts always bugged me. And the whole generally creepy vibe even when out in Termina Field got to me!
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I won’t start talking about how much I love Majora’s Mask because it’s creepy and thematic and awesome and – whoo, managed to stop it.
When I think of a scary moment in a game that legitimately unnerved me, I go straight to the first Scarecrow sequence in Arkham Asylum. Walking into the room with all the body bags and hearing the whispers “you have to get out” escalating more and more until they’re screaming “GET OUT!!!!!” at you so forcefully really left me shaken. With that in mind, I would probably have much worse experiences playing legitimate horror games, so it’s probably good that I have stayed away from those!
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