With Halloween fast approaching it is definitely that time of year to pay respect to the genre that has even the most hardcore gamer hiding their eyes, jumping out of their skins and running away just plain scared. NFG staff this week look at all scary video games that have spoeked them in the past. How about you? Let us know your most memorable video game scary moments.
I’ve played a few horror games here and there, but I’ve never been a big fan of the genre. The ones I do remember still frighten me to this day. I still the scariest game I’ve ever played was the Gamecube remake of Resident Evil. Indeed the most frightening moment was when the undead dog smashes through the window, but the remake featured an enemy more terrifying than any mutated, flesh-eating monster they could imagine. I’ll spare the spoiler for those of you looking for a good scare.
But, one of the most frightening moments was in Bioshock. I was in Fort Frolic and walked into a nearby store. Six statues stood along the entry hall and I began searching the area. A set of steps led to a flooded basement and more eerie silence. The only thing that gave me relief was the gun upgrade station in there. Feeling comfortable with the situation I upgraded my gun. I turn to leave and right behind me is one of the statues lunging at, scaring me out my seat. But he wasn’t standing for long. Let’s just say you should never scare a man with a loaded shotgun.
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Super Mario Bros 2
Picking up a key at the bottom of a seemingly secluded jar you just dropped into when BAM! In rushes Phanto to relentlessly tale you until you drop that key or he’s had his sadistic wish fulfilled after having slowly but painfully whittling away your health. Forever staring, smiling, a vacant gaze fixed on the player through eyes dark as night… A smile of torment and triumph haunting me well after the many times I panicked and threw that damn key off a cliff, begrudginly returning to Phanto’s waiting place to try and recollect that key.
An odd fear that seemed to spring up in my teenage years was a deathly fear of babies in any game where babies had no place being. I first remember this playing Shadowman back on the N64. I was walking through an area aptly named the playrooms. The all too pleasant and playful melody that played through the are juxtaposed by the disturbing surroundings you explored. The sound of babies was what really started getting to me, getting my so tense that even the slightest movement or sound would see me unload a clip into whatever was unfortunate enough to get in my line of fire.
Should see me lose it playing Dead Space when one of those tentacle baby things appears…
Aliens vs Predator 2
Undoubtedly my scariest, or at least, most intense gaming experience came from Aliens vs Predator 2. The human campaign was awash with low lighting and buildings and backdrops, the colours of which closely resembled that of alien skin. Every time your 180-degree motion sensor picked up movement and started beeping, dramatic music would start playing, the heart would start pumping and an “Oh shit, something’s coming” moment occurred. This was closely followed by a ‘frantic turning’ moment, in which you hoped to find the grey alien on grey background (or worse, tiny facehuggers) and pump them full of bullets before your brains were eaten out of your skull from behind. Playing at night with stereo headphones multiplied the effect and made for some intense, fully-focused, edge of the seat gaming, which is exactly what one wants from this kind of genre.
Hugo’s House of Horrors
Alternatively, one of my most memorable horror-themed games is Hugo’s House of Horrors; a 1990 adventure-horror game in which the character’s actions are controlled through text input. While not overly scary, the endless hours of trying to get Hugo to accomplish simple tasks by typing in commands such as “pick up the key” or “blow the whistle” provided many fond and frustrating memories.
While I can appreciate the value of the Dead Space/Doom3 shock-horror, I’ve always enjoyed the games that preyed upon your psychological state of mind, inducing a more subtle and deeper fear.
Silent Hill 2
Where to begin here? There’s just so many elements here that work together towards making the player soil themselves. I think though, the best part that always got me, in most of the silent hill games, was simply the waiting, and to a lesser extent, the emptiness. You’d just be walking down the street, and then your radio starts emitting louder and louder static, and you can’t see anything…and then it just stops. Or you hear shuffling footsteps down a corridor coming closer, and decide, “hell, I’ve got the shotgun (more like shot-fun right?) I’m going to be brave and you charge towards it..and find nothing.
It’s either that, or the disturbing parts where you find Pyramid Head raping the mannequin monsters…
Amnesia: Dark Descent
NO. Just no. This game, can just go bugger right off. I don’t want to go mad if I see some shapeless horror out of the corner of my vision. I don’t want to be weaponless and helpless. I don’t like it *shudder/repress memories*
If I wanted my mind to melt and become a gibbering wreck, I’d go and try to seduce C’thulu or something…
While the horror genre isn’t exactly my most loved genre, if it is coupled with some fully functional gameplay and action, I can really enjoy it. I guess that’s why I’ve always been quite fond of F.E.A.R. I haven’t played the subsequent F.E.A.R.’s but I hear they’re pretty good as well however it was the original game that grabbed me. I believe I was around 14 at the time I first played it and good- golly, I was balls-to-the-walls scared.
It had a lot to do with the fact there was only one desktop in our house and the only time I was able to play games was late at night coupled with the fact the first night I cracked it open, there was a massive storm in Melbourne. Call it fate or bad luck but the entire atmosphere of my house’s study was a chilling mix of an Umbrella Corp lab and Lou Reed’s mind. Needless to say, there are a few scares in the initial 20 minutes that ensured sleep would evade me for that night. The combat is very fun as well and breaks up the tension in a way that you can summon some resolve to continue tormenting your mind. The story line is quite twisted and has a satisfying ending. Just a generally solid horror/shooter.
Also, the Shadow Temple in Zelda: Ocarina of Time scared the shit out of me.
What games do you play to get a scare? Or perhaps you have a game that suprised you with how scary it was and you weren’t expecting it. Let us know it the comments below.