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Well, it’s that time of the year again when it’s the norm for children to go around asking strangers for candy (after being told that a stranger offering you candy wants to touch you in your special no-no place during the rest of the year). That’s right, it’s Halloween! As such, I volunteered to write a quick summary of the five top scariest games I can think of for your reading pleasure. I decided to take into account not just how scared these games made me, but the enjoy-ability of them, as the scariest game is nothing without game play. Enjoy my bad taste in no particular order:
Project Zero. (PS2, Xbox)
Project Zero, also known as Fatal Frame outside the EU/Australia is the story of Miku, a girl who’s brother went to an abandoned mansion looking for a researcher whom vanished; one obviously surprising plot twist later, her brother is missing, so as all smart heroes must do in horror settings, she heads into the big scary mansion herself.
The unique point in this game is that the enemies, which consist of ghosts, are not fought off using the normal point gun, shoot till it’s dead system. Instead this game brings in an original system in which Miku finds her lost brother’s camera (obviously a good sign), which actually harms the ghosts, which in turn sucks out their energy, which is then used to upgrade the aforementioned camera. You horror fans out there should love this game: camera angles to make you unsure of how alone you are, eerie music unsettles you, and let’s face it — a camera is not the most comforting of weapons. If you hadn’t heard of this before and want to give it a go, you might have to get hold of an old console, but you won’t regret it.
Silent Hill 2 (PC, PS2 , Xbox)
Silent Hill 2 is one of the creepiest games I’ve played for one simple reason. Most ‘horror’ games use the idea that if something unexpected jumps at you, you’re scared, therefore mission accomplished. However, Silent Hill, as a series, but specifically this one, uses sound and setting to set an atmosphere which really sends chills down your spine.
The story goes that you are James Sunderland and you have received a letter from your wife stating that she wishes you to meet her in Silent Hill. On the downside, she’s been dead for a while. With nothing better to do than follow the instructions in a letter written from the afterlife, he decides that nothing could go wrong if he went to Silent Hill. As in the first game, you find yourself a weapon of some sort and an enemy sensing radio and set off round the town solving puzzles and killing horrific mutations of nature. As previously mentioned, one of the key factors of this game I like is the atmosphere. Now some of you might think that a radio that gives out static feedback whenever an enemy is near might ruin that. However, think of this, you’re in a room looking around and the radio goes off, so you know something is near… but where? You have no clue where it is, only that it’s near and then you start panicking because you don’t want it to jump out on you. If that doesn’t sound scary to you then congratulations, but it turns me into a weeping 4 year old girl… so I’m putting it in the top 5.
Resident Evil: Nemesis. (PS, Xbox, PC, Dreamcast)
There isn’t a huge amount that can be said for this game that you haven’t heard from any review of the previous games in the series. You do puzzles, you shoot zombies, you do more puzzles, you shoot more zombies, +5 points for originality. You play as Jill Valentine who has decided that being in S.T.A.R.S is no longer her thing and takes it upon herself to return to Raccoon City to investigate Umbrella. One small flaw though, Nemesis is running loose in the city murdering S.T.A.R.S members and evidently his systems are a little old as he has no comprehension of Jill quitting. As such, you will be avoiding this murderous hunk of meat as much as possible.
There are a few differences between the game play in this Resident Evil compared to previous installments in the series, the areas you get to explore are generally bigger than those previously let loose in, however the downside to this is larger areas to walk across for puzzles. One interesting addition is a choice system added in at set intervals, it’s pretty much a choice of one or the other though, nothing that adventurous but some choices do affect the story adding to replay value. If you’ve enjoyed the Resident Evil games up to Nemesis, then chances are you’ll enjoy this one too if you haven’t already.
Obscure. (PC, PS2, Xbox)
Resident Ev- Oh wait. Sorry. It’s hard to tell the difference, see Obscure is pretty much Resident Evil copied and pasted into a high school. Obscure is the tale of how five stereotypical teenagers find themselves in school after hours, and they pretty much discover monsters in the school and don’t attempt to be witty, it’s not the teachers. Incredibly quick story summary but I’d rather not get yelled at about spoilers as a lot of the atmosphere is in not knowing what’s going on.
This game, while being a copy and paste, does add some new things to the mix. Enemies are not only fought off with guns and the usual array of violent weapons, but with light. Walked into a classroom with a few unpleasant characters in it? No worries, rip off the curtains if you’re lucky enough to be there during daytime and all the monsters will melt or scurry away. Another slightly redeeming feature is co-op on the same console, sadly there’s no online which is unlucky if you’re on a PC. All in all it’s a good game. Yes, I abuse it for ripping off Resident Evil a lot, but if it works, it works, I recommend you go kidnap somebody with vague mental competence and go play it co-op.
Condemned: Criminal Origins. (PC, Xbox 360)
Last but by no means least, Condemned: Criminal Origins. The story behind this little section of our horror pie is that you, FBI Agent Ethan Thomas went to the scene of a crime only to end up framed for the murder of two fellow FBI agents by some psychopath. Naturally, you try to locate him to redeem yourself and put this guy behind bars. Along the way you have to fight off drug addicts and insane folks so often you’re like a bloody magnet for them, but oh god is it beautiful.
The main feature of this game is the melee system. You actually feel as if the weapon you’re using collides with the enemy, the force on his body, the destruction of his bones and tissue. Obviously that’s quite an exaggeration, but it does seem quite real and enjoyable compared to the games where you wave a weapon about as the enemy spouts red pixels until it falls over. What makes this game a part of my five games is the last level. Without giving away any spoilers it actually will make you scared and panicky and there’s really nothing that you can do about it. If you’ve played it, you’ll understand exactly what I mean, if not then it’s a recommendation for you if you enjoy ‘horror’ games.
There’s my five scariest games. Have some that didn’t make the cut? Be sure to comment.