Halloween is right around the corner, and chances are good that you’re getting in the mood by watching the scariest (or cheesiest) horror movies you can find. However, why watch horror movies when you can play them? The genre has always been a great inspiration for video games, and for all of you gamers who love to be scared, here are five games that will give you nightmares this Halloween.
1. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem (GameCube)
If you still happen to own a GameCube, or even a Wii thanks to backwards compatibility, ‘Eternal Darkness’ is a must-play for horror lovers. An often-overlooked gem, players take control of several different characters, each from a different time period, as they uncover mysterious artifacts and horrifying secrets about an old mansion. ‘Eternal Darkness’ features many gruesome scenes and truly frightening gameplay, but the real depth of the horror is in the way the game messes with your head directly. Walking into a room full of terrifying creatures, only to see a “controller unplugged” message pop up on screen is enough to put any gamer on edge, but discovering that it is the game playing a trick on you gives you a real sense of immersion. Eventually, you’ll start to feel like your character’s sanity isn’t the only thing at risk…
2. Condemned: Criminal Origins (Xbox 360, PC)
We’ve all seen the story. A man is framed for a grisly serial-killing, and in order to clear his name, he must track down the real psychotic mastermind. This is your role in ‘Condemned: Criminal Origins,’ one of the scariest games ever to be released. The entire game is played from a first-person perspective as you make your way through an abandoned apartment building, dark subway tunnels, and even a mall full of mannequins. Crazed junkies and insane criminals hide in the shadows and quickly pass by open doors, making you ever-wary of what could be around the next corner. However, realism is the name of the game here, and your only weapons for survival are common items found in the environments, everything from switchblades to rusted pipes. Play this one with the lights off and the sound up, and be prepared to scream.
3. Silent Hill 2 (PlayStation 2, PS3)
Horror’s favorite town is Silent Hill. The long-running survival horror series has had several top-notch entries, but ‘Silent Hill 2’ will forever remain the most impressive and nightmare-inducing title of all. James Sunderland is an ordinary man, lured to the cursed Silent Hill by a letter from his deceased wife. What follows is an adventure into madness, as James must navigate foggy streets and dark corridors, fight disfigured creatures, and solve mind-bending puzzles in order to discover the true story of Silent Hill. After playing ‘Silent Hill 2,’ the sound of static on the radio will never be the same again.
4. Slender (PC)
A recent indie hit, ‘Slender’ is based on the legend of the frightening legend of the Slenderman. The game puts you in the shoes of an anonymous character, as you navigate a dark forest searching for eight pages that shed light on the Slenderman’s tale. You’ll find abandoned vehicles, buildings, and other explorable objects on your quest, but beware: once the first page is picked up, you will begin to hear the footsteps approaching. The Slenderman chases you constantly until you pick up every page, or he catches you. Don’t look back, for he may be just feet away. The creators of ‘Slender’ have added additional environments as well, and combined with random page placement, the game can scare you for a long time to come.
5. Amnesia: The Dark Descent (PC)
Another lesser-known title, ‘Amnesia: The Dark Descent’ comes from the minds that created the horror hit ‘Penumbra.’ Once again in the first-person perspective, the game is centered around a man named Daniel who has lost his memory but is aware that something is haunting him. Waking up in a dark castle, you must find clues as to what is stalking Daniel and why. Like ‘Penumbra,’ the game relies on full physical object interaction, allowing players to grab and open doors, move items, and so on to solve puzzles. The game also features some incredibly terrifying chase scenes, which involve escaping from spirits and creatures, while trying to barricade doors and find places to hide. The story is a very memorable one, and this title should be experienced by every gamer.
There you have it, five games to get you in the Halloween spirit. These games will test your wits and haunt your dreams for years to come. It might be best to sleep with the lights on tonight, don’t say I didn’t warn you!