With Halloween now around the corner and in an effort to better get into the scary season, I figured I’d share some really great freaky and scary games along with some of my personal experiences with them. Disclaimer: Yes I am a wuss when it comes to scary things like games and movies. Don’t read this article with the lights off. Experiences after the break.
Dead Space – Dead Space isn’t about the traditional scares and spooks. This third person action/horror game has the creepy environment, gore, and sound effects that make you feel uneasy. You’re an engineer sent aboard a mining vessel in space to figure out why the ship has gone silent. What you discover is that a plague has run its course over the entire ship causing most of the crew on board to become horrific creatures called Necromorphs. Being an engineer, you are not a trained fighter so you’ll have to do what it takes to survive. The atmosphere is perfect as there are tight corridors, horrific creatures, insane/dying people strewn around the ship, and just freaky sounds. This game keeps you on edge through the entire journey.
Fatal Frame – Confession time. I never played this game, but I did watch a good friend of mine play through it in college. Believe me, that was enough. This is one of the most scary games I’ve seen by far. Based around Japanese style horror, you’re exploring a creepy mansion only armed with a camera. Little do you realize that the house is populated by angry spirits. That’s about all I remember from the story, but honestly, it doesn’t matter. The ghosts are some of the most twisted and disturbed things I’ve seen in a game (besides violent games). One minute you’re walking through a garden outside when you see a woman hanging by her neck from a tree. When you eventually come back to that area, the woman is gone, but you’re attacked by a ghost with rope burns on her neck and a angry expression on her face. There are disembodied heads, ghosts that have been twisted and are looking at you upside down, ghosts with their eyes gouged out…..it’s bringing back night terrors just thinking about it. The sound, the environment, and the enemies all make this game truly terrifying. Maybe not having the lights on, didn’t help the situation.
F.E.A.R – F.E.A.R. is another game that likes to keep you off guard. It does have some scary moments but for the most part it likes to play with your head and makes you uneasy about what’s around you. Every now and then I’d see a little girl named Alma just staring at me. She’d vanish soon after. Other times I’d hear something running in the distance but I couldn’t find the source of the noise. There’s plenty of blood here as well and even times where I’d be in this dream like state following an emaciated woman through a burning hospital. The last level made my hair stand on end and I’d have to pause the game often to try to shake the uneasy feeling. This game is more about the creepy environment than about being a shooter.
Eternal Darkness– Here’s a game that completely messed with your head and was proud of the fact that it could. A completely unique experience, Eternal Darkness is a third person action/horror game where in addition to a Life and Magic meter, the main character also gets a Sanity Meter. The more that meter drops, the more weird stuff happens to you while playing. Your character may fall apart limb by limb, walk into a room filled to the brim with enemies, or cause you to hear crying and whispering to name a few. On the more extreme side, you may get a blue screen of death, your tv may appear to turn off, the sound will go mute, and you may even get a message saying your save file has been corrupted. After a few seconds to let it sink in, the game will reveal it to only be a hallucination and the game continues as normal. There are just a ton of these effects and you’ll always be kept guessing as to whats real and what isn’t. Not only that, the hub world setting was just creepy. You’re in this huge mansion and every now and then you’d hear a knock or a phone ringing or even experience the wall bleeding. The game exudes creepiness and keeps you completely on the edge of your seat the whole time. I whole recommend this game because it’s just downright awesome.
Left 4 Dead – Alright, yes, it may not get you going like Silent Hill or Fatal Frame but it does have its moments. This first person shooter is more about campy, B-movie style horror. Though there are still some tense and terrifying moments. Some elements can be scary, like running into a Witch in a dark room. You can hear them crying from a distance but it’s when you come face to face with it that you want to run the other way. I guess it also doesn’t help that they can take you down REALLY quickly. There’s a level in Left 4 Dead 2 where a big rainstorm hits. The freaky part is you can’t see very well or far in front of you. Zombies seemingly come out of no where, leaving you unprepared. The crescendo moments at the end of each chapter also do a good job of intensifying the situation. You have to hold out and wait for a rescue while a seemingly undead zombie horde tries to kill you. Trying to run to safety with an army of zombies in your way will make any situation tense, that’s for sure.
Some Personal Gaming Experiences
– Any of you remember that damn sewer level from Shadows of the Empire on N64? Hearing those sewer monsters and trying not to get killed by them always freaked me and my cousin out when we were younger. Looking at it now, it’s really no big deal, but it was fun at the time. I think the main thing was that you couldn’t see them above water. Obviously, the N64 couldn’t process or render water anywhere near we can now a days. The texture on top was a brownish green color and all you could hear was the freaky growling noise. Plus, it didn’t help that the actual creatures looked like a freaky octopus thing that wanted to kill you. I’d also like to give a special mention to the Wampas in the Hoth level. For fun we used to release them all in the base and run away. Normally they would do the work for us killing all of the enemies. But it’s always a surprise rounding a corner and running smack dab into one and getting mauled to death.
– Bioshock – I’ve spoken at great length about this game in the past so retread grounds here, but the world of Rapture is freaky enough to warrant a play through. It gives you a creepy and uneasy feeling and also knowing that the remaining populace has mostly lost their minds doesn’t help things. I was exploring a section in the Medical Pavilion and I found an open grate to crouch and move through. I came into a room mostly encased in ice but there were a ton of supplies I could grab. Just as I was thinking this is awesome to myself, a heavy mist completely covered my screen, preventing me from seeing anything. When it cleared seconds later, nothing had changed. The gurney and medical instruments were exactly as they were before. I didn’t think anything of it and continued picking up items. All of a sudden it occurred again, and this time when the mist faded, a doctor splicer was right up in my face, nose to nose. I wasn’t expecting that and was completely freaked out. I paused the game to recover after shooting him in the face with a shotgun.
– I’ve never played the Silent Hill games, but I’ve heard they’re really messed up and terrifying as well. Maybe it’s a good thing I have never played them….
– I never got into the Resident Evil series either, but I’ve seen friends play them enough to know that they do have their moments. Especially the earlier titles.
Any games you guys want to give a shout out to? Any of them made you play with the lights on or kept you up at night?