October is here, it's getting dark and Halloween is around the corner. Come join us around the campfire as we've decided to share our personal scariest video game moments...
Yes it’s a resident evil wannabe and the series has fallen flat over its numerous revivals over the years but it gets an honorable mention here owing to the little camera trick it pulls at the beginning of the game. The game is similar to resident evil in that it uses pre-rendered backdrops to frame the action so whilst you’re running around the camera is set to a specific place. The developers played some cool tricks early on whereby as you approach the main house the camera view is that from the top window looking down on you and the keen eyed will notice if you go back you’ll be given a much more standard and low down view…someone is watching…
YAY! There’s a non-horror title on the list! Clearly some of the other titles here have influenced the addition of this part of the massive open world RPG however. In the high area of the Emerald Graves map you’ll stumble across the Chateau d’Onterre, a seemingly abandoned manor house which is quiet. Too quiet. Initially many areas are closed off and as you start to unfold the mystery you find ways to access the whole building and the halls become full with stumbling corpses…
SPOILER ALERT – The tale takes a sad twist as you progress and you discover what has transpired at the manor. The Lord and Lady had a daughter who was a mage whom they hid away so no one could come and take her to the circle. The daughter ultimately befriends a pride demon that kills everyone and possesses her. In the finale you have to kill her possessed body…
Hands up who survived their first attempt at the intro to Dead Space 2? Odds are if you did it was on Casual Mode in the day time if you did. Those of us who decided their first go would be in a dark room without having read into it would do what Myself and Mark did and die like 3 or 4 times in a blind panic. The intro itself won’t surprise you. A game called Dead Space is only going to go 1 way in the end. The fact is that you’re first given control in the game whilst straightjacketed to a trolley with the attending nurse’s face splitting in half and turning into one of the game’s many mutants whilst the rest of the ship’s occupants does the same around you…Oh and the room’s on fire too. Go!
I don’t think I have the word count to fully go into the plot of The Last of Us, however just know that 1) it is a very good game and worth a play and 2) it is set during a let’s call it zombie apocalypse kind of thing. This means that times were desperate for some of the survivors of the virus, desperate enough for them to turn on other humans as a food source. Two survivors attempting to get to a zone outside of quarantined areas include Joel and Ellie, a middle-aged tough guy and a witty girl in her young teens. I’m going to keep it spoiler sensitive here so let’s just say that the two become separated at one point during the mission and Ellie encounters the worst kind of people during this vulnerable time, cannibals. She is first approached by David, a guy who seems like a friend but who later locks an unconscious Ellie in a cell. Once she awakens, Ellie witnesses a human cadaver being chopped up, so wisely refuses to trust anyone. The two get into an altercation between the bars causing David to lash out and show his sinister side, he later quotes Ellie’s fears of being “chopped up into tiny pieces”, before leaving her alone until morning, unsure of her fate. Although this scene isn’t quite as frightening as the other few on this list, it was enough to make me uncomfortable, you know due to the thought of eating other humans.
The underlining plot to this game is unsettling to say the least, from kidnapping to murder and origami ransom notes, this game has it all. One part that got my skin crawling though is the scene where Madison spends an evening in her apartment before later being attacked by robbers. The sequence starts out with Madison having a quiet night alone at home doing the usual things, taking a nap, surfing the web and having an optional shower (you know who you guys are!). Once Madison finishes up in the bathroom though, things begin to go south. When she hears a stranger run across the room in her once empty apartment and the power suddenly goes out, she begins to panic. The player then has the choice to either run to Madison’s phone on the desk to call for help or run straight out the front door. Regardless of this choice though Madison is grabbed by different men dressed in all black hidden in the shadows of her apartment. The player must then fight them off or risk Madison being harmed or even killed. Luckily for her, it does eventually turn out to all just be a dream however this fact doesn’t take away how anxiety inducing this entire scene was. Not being able to escape from a threat inside your own house? Terrifying!
Whilst an obvious choice for obvious reasons there are certain parts of the game that standout leave me with a lasting impression over the rest. Those who played the original Silent Hill demo that accompanied Metal Gear Solid may recall that being an earlier build it included a portion of the school where instead of the shadowy creatures with claws, you were attacked by what can only be described by charred corpses of (presumably) the school children wielding knives…whether this was deemed to sinister it was removed from the final version of the game so I’ll pick another part for this article.
The part for me though that sticks out was the brief foray into the town’s sewers. Throughout the whole of the game (and subsequently the entire series) the radio emits white noise whenever a supernatural enemy is nearby. It’s like one of the small comforts you get so as to know when you’re “safe”. Unfortunately you’ll discover all too late that this is limited to above ground. Later into the game upon walking down the dank, dark (yes it’s all dark!) sewer system. Whereas a lot of the fear in the game comes from the suspense of finding what’s looming in the darkness, in the sewer you’ll be attacked quite unexpectedly and chased mercilessly without any static to warn you. To top it off the enemies are specific to the area and swing down from above to provide a rarely experienced jump scare.
I made a conscious effort throughout the rest of the game to clear as many areas of enemies as I could due to the fact I’d likely be retracing my steps but you can bet your arse I got in and out without so much as swinging my sledgehammer once and I pelted it through those parts!
This iteration of Alice in Wonderland is dark and definitely not for kids. The game is a sequel of the 2000 PC game by developer American McGee, simply titled ‘American McGee’s Alice’. The plot of the sequel follows Alice’s further decent into Madness after a house fire kills her entire family that she fears that she was responsible for. Her guilt causes her to hallucinate being in Wonderland, which causes Alice to be sectioned in a mental asylum. Towards the end of her visit to Wonderland, Alice meets The Queen of Hearts - who instead of being based on the hearts on playing cards is based on the hearts that belong in our chests. The Queen resides in a kingdom of what can only be described as muscle and flesh that resemble the inside chambers of a heart. When Alice approaches her, she has the face of her deceased sister Lizzy but with long muscly hands and a loud shrill voice. She lectures Alice before dislocating her jaw and baring her sharp teeth, Pennywise style. This leads Alice to return to the real world in which she is back locked up in the asylum, complete with a shaved head and straight jacket. The player must then hobble around as Alice around the dark, quiet and empty asylum. As Alice enters each room she has painful flashbacks to how she was treated in there previously. When Alice snaps back to reality, the line between sane and insanity blurs again when she starts seeing each room with blood splattered walls, spooky stuff!
When considering 2015’s horror, survival game Until Dawn, it’s hard to remember a moment that isn’t scary. From the scene where Ashley and Chris do a Ouija board, to the moment where Sam must run or hide from the psycho chasing her around the house. The moment that I chose to include in this list though is the worst. Whilst Ashley and Chris did the unthinkable – used a Ouija board – they gained a clue as to what may have led to their friends’ Hannah and Beth’s demise the year before. The two head into the library of the huge lodge in the mountains that the group is staying in and weird things start to happen, to say the least. I initially thought that the discovery of the creepy dollhouse which replicated the events of the incident last year was the worst part about this scene, I was however unaware that a horrific ghost would pop up large on my screen and SCREAM as I walked through the what looked like an empty doorway. It’s safe to say that I was on high alert for the rest of the game after that.
Those of you who follow me on twitter will know of my fear of this game. This is an odd one I admit but it’s one of the few games that the more I played and the more I progressed, the more freaked out I got. If you’ve not heard of this one the story goes that you were walking through a forest with no memory why and come across a hotel where you meet the titular Gregory, a mouse that owns the hotel. You stay a night and meet Death in a dream. He tells you that you’re trapped and to escape he wants 12 lost souls. You then are tasked with stealing a soul from each of the residents as they arrive at the hotel. This is all accompanied by an aesthetic that looks like Animal Crossing had a baby with Parappa the Rapper. As guests arrive they follow a schedule which you must use to work out the best way to obtain it.
If I were to pick a moment it would be early on, Catherine the Nurse. Once her soul is taken she takes to the corridors and will chase you upon sight with the sole (geddit?) intention of draining all your blood with her giant syringe. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been so tense whilst peeking through keyholes only to be noticed and running for my dear life (real life included).
If the title didn’t give it away enough, this game can get pretty disturbing at times. There are a many incidents throughout the game which can be extremely tense and nerve wracking however this moment really does take the cake. The original Little Nightmares game (I mean pre-DLC times) is made up of 4 levels and unsurprising enough, the final level and final boss is the most frightening. In this level Six must make her way through ‘The Lady’s Quarters’ - The Lady being the Geisha woman who is behind all of the scary things happening in the Maw - Six must sneak past The Lady whilst she is singing a creepy song to herself into the mirror and brushing her hair, once Six has passed her into the next room she must break a vase that is placed on the side of a dresser to retrieve a key, as soon as the vase hits the floor and crashes The Lady falls silent. When you slowly sneak back towards the mirror to where she was standing just moments ago, The Lady has vanished. With no idea where she is or what her plan is, this part is tense to say the least. What happens after involves Six adventuring her way through a dark corridor full of mannequins that twitch and rattle as The Lady swiftly and silently passes through them on her way to you, occasionally letting out a screech as she did so. This level managed to get my adrenaline pumping, big time.
This one may have been lost to history by today’s standards. Back 1996 upon Resident Evil’s release a lot of us were seeing graphics which we’d not seen before. Whilst pre-rendered backdrops weren’t new, the ability to control a character in 3D within them was outside PC gaming.
Those that know will know this one. There is an L shaped corridor to the right upon entry into the Mansion. The thing we’d all come to learn very quickly with pre-rendered backdrops is that they don’t have a tendency to change/move unless they contain 3D rendered pieces, which trying their best still stand out against the background. So walking down this seemingly innocuous hallway only to have mutant zombie dogs jump through the window at you when you’re head’s telling you it’s safe can be downright terrifying! It doesn’t stop their either as upon revisiting the mansion later in the game it houses 2 giant tarantula’s who like nothing more than to drop on you from above! Who’d have thought this seemingly innocent room with no other purpose but to connect to the next hallway could hold one of the biggest jump scares in the game?!
And that's our list. We'd love to hear the parts of any games, good or bad, intentionally or otherwise that had you jumping in the dark. Let us know in the comments below.