Super Monaco GP. And all the while, the xenomorph’s somewhere on the ship, waiting to pounce…. [William Hughes], System Shock and its sequel (see below) work in part as large-scale interactions with a terrifying antagonist named Shodan, a ship-controlling, world-dominating AI. And nothing is as creative as a scared imagination. The game’s setting is the apex of surreal, illogical survival-horror environmental design: a castle whose absurd interiors, piling up with no regard for coherence or verisimilitude, creates madness. I played this pc game on the school spectrum computers, from what i remember pod was a red blob thing that you had to tell what to do, for example type pod fly and it flys or pod pop and it pops, a very funny game i wish i could play it again. A top-down RPG, Sweet Home sees five characters hunting for an escape route from a mansion with a grim history – and just to add to the fun, the building’s teetering on the brink of collapse. For years after its release, players pored over the game, parsing it for clues about its meaning, its creator, their fate. How good are you at typing precise inputs while running from unseen terrors? A year after Evil Dead came this exceedingly strange horror game, which actually captures the gleeful Grand Guignol atmosphere of Sam Raimi’s movie a bit better than Palace Software managed to. In the latter, you ran around Camp Crystal Lake, trying to find weapons to kill Jason Voorhees. [Gareth Damian Martin]. Brilliantly written by Rob Pike, Wolfman casts the player as a monster who must find a way to control his killer instinct, and it’s impossible to sit through the game without an occasional shudder – proof that the scariest encounters rely not on dazzling graphics, but the player’s imagination. Mind you, he did also state that “My game is the best game ever written,” so maybe we should take this with a pinch of salt. Some lucky few players can survive in this infected environment. [Sam Barsanti], The underrated A Machine For Pigs might share the Amnesia name, but Soma was the game given the unenviable task of actually furthering Amnesia’s legacy. It cackles at you as you boot it up, the menus a jangling dance of disembodied letters. [A.A. Dowd], “This town’s finished,” some bloodthirsty villager croaks after you slice him down early in Bloodborne, and, buddy, he’s not kidding. The game has been highly anticipated, and so far, it looks like it will not let us down. Like Haunted House, it’s essentially a top-down maze game, except you control Ash, who has to keep the demons from entering the infamous cabin in the woods. is a closed circuit of pure evil, glancing feverishly backward as it inches ever closer to the corner. The premise is an Aliens gloss, dropping players into the boots and helmet of a lone space marine stranded on a Mars outpost overrun by Hellspawn. Action, Indie, Adventure, Horror. Alien takes the form of a strategy game, with the aim being to either flush the dreaded xenomorph out of the Nostromo’s airlock or get to the escape ship with Jones the cat in tow. Splatterhouse 3, which got name-checked at the congressional hearings on video-game violence, brought a three-dimensional range of motion to the franchise’s primitive Evil Dead combat. Video game enemies tend to look the same, and the decorations in a video game level tend to look the same, so Condemned plays off of both of those “limitations” by having the enemies look (and act) just like the set dressing, right up until the moment you turn your back and they run after you. Go to Hell programmer John George Jones returned two years later with a game even weirder and grotesque than its predecessor. The jump-scares come early and regularly, but their effect is to set the player on edge as they slowly trawl through the deep-space mining rig Ishimura. [Julie Muncy], “L-l-look at you, hacker…a pathetic creature of meat and bone, panting and sweating as you run through my corridors…” That opening purr, dripping with seductive, hateful omniscience, is the sound of one of gaming’s most terrifying villains coming into her own at last. Set in a strange side corner in the Alien universe, starring Ripley’s daughter, it features a wily, intelligent, unyieldingly dangerous foe. The few sane villagers left cower behind their doors while you disembowel and are disemboweled by howling werewolves and engorged hogs and a ghostly, mutant vicar. Whether Eternal Darkness really qualifies as “psychological horror” is debatable—you still spend most of your time slashing zombies. for Every Budget, 10 Horror Games from the ’80s That Scared Us. It is, unique for video games, a bit other than just straight horror. avg. You recall images—morose teens, malevolent spirits, raving monkeys—but they all only mount to a climactic suicide, and a gutting credits sequence. Even when you’re not running from literally invisible monsters—as in the game’s most celebrated sequence, a bit of sewer-set terror that would earn it a place on this list all by itself—Amnesia is the kind of game where the mere act of looking at the things pursuing you is harmful to your character’s rapidly dwindling mental health. Bodies are stretched on racks, a gigantic saw grinds through a screaming crimson skull, and bloodshot eyes glower out of the screen. Best Horror Games for PC Windows Central 2021. | Visage | Lobotomy Corporation | Paratopic | Dusk | Alan Wake | The Last Door | Doki Doki Literature Club! [Clayton Purdom], Disadvantage is the key (unicorn-, sun-, or otherwise-shaped) to survival horror. You have to fight with infected humans, zombies, and crazed survivors. Alien: Isolation captures, with resounding precision, one of the most resonant fears in modern pop culture: being chased by the Xenomorph from Alien, with nothing but your wits and a flamethrower running on empty. The characters under your control – all named after the ones in the film – will sometimes refuse to follow orders if they get too scared. But they will rise again to hunt you through dim levels designed with such malice that you sometimes have to laugh, too. Universe 3. The rest of the game is equally seedy, following a depraved FBI investigation into the decrepit buildings of a city whose inhabitants seem to be going mad. As you leave it and trundle further down the slope, toward some kind of apocalypse, the game asks you to wonder: “Where does this end?” [Gareth Damian Martin], Take away the monsters, and the impossibly thick fog, and those mysterious air sirens that periodically coat everything in a layer of nightmare rust, and Silent Hill would still be one creepy-ass place: a drab American nowhere in perpetual decay, the kind of ghost town you can find in the forgotten back corners of every state. Mostly, though, this buggy, imperfect party game captures the communal fun of a bad-good slasher, allowing fans to make the same dumb decisions they usually yell at people on screen for making. Zx Spectrum 128K. Meanwhile, Jason has all of the unfair powers that he has in the movies, including teleporting anywhere on the map and silently stalking prey without anyone noticing the huge guy in tattered clothes and a hockey mask stomping through the woods. Raccoon City’s musty corridors unfold into Spain’s village squares and great halls, and a franchise founded on slow anticipation and shock turns into a series of protracted last stands against swarming, head-faking foes. For F.E.A.R., the most beautiful flowering of mid-2000s bro action, horror is just a second way to make the player’s heart race. Post a Comment. $4.99. They’re also fun as hell—a realm where the violence of other games is newly purposeful, and game designers are free to exercise their most out-there tendencies. Games don’t come much more Halloween-themed than this little ’80s curio from Palace Software (the ZX Spectrum version even included a copy of Evil Dead on the B-side, fact fans). You can’t carry much on your person, which necessitates backtracking through zombie-infested territory. It’s not covering wholly original ground—delving into the well-trod territory of life, death, and digitized consciousnesses—but it does so with tact and bold, confrontational scenes that don’t suggest existential questions so much as they strap you down and force your psyche to wrestle with them. Characters lie to you, healing items drain your other stats, and someone, somewhere, is always on the verge of being the Sand Plague’s next victim. If you’re playing as a character with a weapon—from a Clue-like cast of children, professors, and TV stars, whose faces look like photos projected onto paper plates—you can momentarily silence the giggling voices of your pursuers. The crude nature of the sprite design makes Go to Hell more comical than frightening, but then again, the gaudiness also gives the game a sort of neon-drenched, nightmarish air to it – like Hotline Miami, but with crucifixes instead of shotguns. Fatal Frame III: The Tormented is the high point—building on its nearly-as-good predecessor to create an unapologetic, polished work of Japanese folk horror. They’re all just as eager to beat you to death with a pipe as those mannequins were, too. P.T. That there’s a real player, instead of AI, controlling the killer’s movements actually makes them a little scarier. The less information you have, the more space exists for your imagination to fill in the gaps. The character development isn’t window dressing; it lends real dramatic stakes to the game’s intense stealth action, and propels the story forward, through time and across time zones, to a final crucible (and choice) for these desperately bonded survivors. Scary horror games, good horror games—well, those are much rarer. The horror saga continues - in a fresh new way Fans of 80s horror movies rejoice as Friday the 13th: The Game nears its release date at the end of this month. But that first-person vantage also worked like gangbusters as a tool for terror, erasing the safe distance between player and beleaguered avatar. The result is a malformed hybrid of puzzle, stealth, and horror, cast in the cold light of two mirrors turned to face one another. And Silent Hill itself seems mapped according to a psychological logic, as though its city planners used a Rorschach test as a blueprint. Your only interface is a command line, with a unique system of commands that you have to tap in by hand in order to get anything done. Amnesia: The Dark Descent gets that, on a gritty, fleshy, fundamental level. Good luck wringing that kind of suspense out of Double Dragon. Teens are mysteriously waking up in strange places having no recollection of how they got there. [Sam Barsanti], So integral is the original Doom to the evolution of the first-person shooter that people often overlook how effectively it takes a chainsaw to your nerves. It might not look like much from the video above, but Alien is a quite brilliant exercise in slowly-building tension. Get the best of Den of Geek delivered right to your inbox! Through hedge mazes, clock towers, and besieged cabins, Resident Evil 4’s newly liberated camera chases agent Leon Kennedy, spinning with him when he wheels around to shoot the wriggling tendrils erupting from his pursuers’ necks. Hidetaka Miyazaki famously reinvented the role-playing game—and recalibrated the universe’s expectations for video game difficulty—with Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, but Bloodborne’s shift to full-on horror clarified and refined his vision. Although based on decidedly adult properties, neither game brought with it lashings of gore or terror, though Friday the 13th did feature a gigantic, floating head of Mrs. Voorhees. The mood is oppressive and unrelenting, as hiding only ever brings you a temporary peace. Eventually the games would develop a broader mythos, but the economical and brutally effective first installment is the best—a shrine to the jump-scare navigated via a spectral, faulty surveillance system. Protected by the venerable designer from commissioners Capcom, Mikami forced Suda, a serial delegator who has produced more games than he has ever directed, to write and design Killer7 alone. But it remains a subversive triumph, its giallo-inspired mystery and threatening atmosphere impossibly wrenching so much dread out of a humble 16-bit console. Duskers takes minimalism to an extreme, limiting both your knowledge and your inputs. Little in the Resident Evil series works on the player like 4’s crooked parasite wolves or its endgame autopsy rooms, where gasping Regenerators plod slowly after you. But then the program starts pushing aggressively at the boundaries of the fourth wall, tossing up fake crash bugs, filling a folder on your desktop with eerie little messages from its spectral antagonist, and doing everything in its power to present itself, not simply as a game, but as a sort of otherworldly virus infecting your system. The result is a game that understands better than its more official sequels what made Ridley Scott’s 1979 film terrifying. Or maybe it’s the weird minimalism of the sound and the single-colored walls of the mansion itself – the act of repeatedly charging around almost identical screens being like a blocky recurring nightmare. With the release of games like Amnesia: The Dark Descent and, more recently, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard the genre has once again found its rightful place in the limelight. Although hamstrung to a certain extent by the Atari 2600’s simple hardware, there’s something oddly disturbing about Haunted House. In Echo you charge on through cycles of darkness and blinding light, trying to twist the game’s increasingly ornate rules to your benefit. The deliberately placed cameras and static, almost-Impressionist backgrounds allow for a stunning level of authorship that’s so often lost in modern games. These are some of my favorite retro arcade games from the 1980's. 10 Horror Games from the ’80s That Scared Us Haunted House (1982) The Evil Dead (1984) Alien (1984) Go to Hell (1985) Cauldron (1985) Soft & Cuddly (1987) Splatterhouse (1988) Wolfman (1988) A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday The 13th (1989) Sweet Home (1989) [A.A. Dowd], Minimalism feeds into horror. In F.E.A.R. This was the game that spurred its author Will Wright to become embroiled in all those Sim games. [Chris Breault], Left 4 Dead 2 unwinds the sense of isolation and disempowerment central to so many horror games: You’re playing online with a couple of friends, slashing and shooting and dousing zombies with gasoline. Counselors can set traps or pick up weapons, but winning usually comes down to hiding until the clock runs out or figuring out how to escape. Released more than a decade later, Cyberqueen is a short, beguiling piece of interactive fiction by Porpentine about what it would be like to be in her clutches. Apparently, Cauldron was originally planned as a tie-in game based on John Carpenter’s Halloween movie, but designer Steve Brown, unhappy with his work in progress, went off in an entirely different direction instead. You walk in surgical gowns and clerical robes muttering prayers to a god that will be scientifically disproven by whatever shrieking beast comes slashing out of the darkness next. Instead, it simply refined the hoard-and-evade formula, sending players creeping through the fixed, exaggerated camera angles of a new pre-rendered, postapocalyptic environment, including a police station hilariously designed around baroque puzzles. Poorly translated, slow-moving, and as hostile as any game ever released, Ice-Pick Lodge’s unapproachable masterpiece wants to make playing it feel as painful as living through its infected nightmare world would be, emphasizing the horror of surviving in a world of survival horror. [Astrid Budgor], At first glance, there’s not much more to recommend Ivan Zanotti’s indie horror classic (later expanded and re-released on Steam in 2016) than its creepy atmosphere, nastily effective jump-scares, and ever-present fog. Probably not good enough. Expedition Zero. You wake up with your clothes torn, your hands covered in blood, and angry townsfolk gathered around the corpse of a woman outside. [Chris Breault], You can hear it walking. The result is a list of games as varied in the ways they try to terrify players as there are ways to be terrified. Lovecraft cosmic horror: that of a woman. Heroine Fiona is accompanied by Hewie, a White Shepherd whose mood and obedience is up to the player to manage; without Hewie by her side, Fiona is virtually defenseless against a cavalcade of villains who all want her body for their own purposes. Amstrad GX-4000. Where this GameCube cult classic truly distinguished itself, though, was in its ingenious and literally patented “Sanity Effects”: Spotting a monster takes a quantifiable toll on your mental health, and as that particular bar drops, the game begins seriously altering your perception—with aural and visual hallucinations, with apparent glitches in the level design, with simulated technical hiccups and storytelling fake-outs. After the astonishing viral success of Five Nights At Freddy’s, creator Scott Hawthorne cranked out three sequels in less than a year, all essentially reiterating the same titanium-strength formula: Chuck E. Cheese-style animatronics stalking the restaurant halls at night, attempting to murder the night security guard. No, really. [William Hughes], Horror and action fight for the wheel in every chapter of Capcom’s gloriously overstuffed pulp adventure. Cyberqueen builds itself on the assumption that losing your identity at the hands of an omnipotent machine domme is terrifying. A decade and a half later, we’re still getting Deus Ex games... and they’re good Deus Ex games for one simple reason: They’ve stayed true to the original. The city of Yharnam is one of gaming’s great metropolises, a Gothic labyrinth of cobblestone streets and wailing maniacs, but you arrive long after its fall, when the city’s clergy and onetime leaders have summoned great insectoid monstrosities to bear. While Until Dawn‘s nod to the slasher films of the 80s is already a … Stalking back and forth across the halls of the space station, its razor-sharp tail idly flicking. It marks a final burst of creative ambition before the series was shackled to two consecutive Wii systems. These games include browser games for both your computer and mobile devices, as well as apps for your Android and iOS phones and tablets. Maybe it’s because your on-screen character consists of nothing more than a pair of eyes, which glance anxiously about as you move from room to room. Find games tagged 80s and Horror like Babysitter Bloodbath, Bonbon, The Horror Of Salazar House, Dead Pixels II: Straight To Video, Night House on itch.io, the indie game … [Matt Gerardi], Capcom’s Haunting Ground pulls from the psychosexual perversions of giallo director Dario Argento as well as older traditions of Gothic literature to create something uniquely bizarre—and, maybe, the last great classical survival horror game. Most zombie games give you entrails. But anyone who felt even a tinge of panic as the game disconnected their controller or calmly insisted it was wiping their memory card could relate to its repeated mantra of terrified reassurance: “This isn’t really happening.” [A.A. Dowd], From its cartoonishly violent kills to its lovingly recreated ’80s-summer-camp backdrops to the persistent “ki ki ki, ma ma ma” on the soundtrack, last year’s asymmetrical multiplayer adaptation of the popular slasher series is the closest you can get to actually living through a Friday The 13th movie—assuming, of course, that you do live. 8 Call Of Cthulhu: Shadow Of The Comet. Horror games are a dime a dozen. Truly the stuff of nightmares. [Matt Gerardi], No horror game ever created has lodged itself so immediately and enduringly in the playing public’s mind as P.T. Adventure game, Gothic horror, Psychological horror: Daniel Klenk: Microsoft … So to celebrate Halloween, here’s a look back at 10 games from the ’80s and how they used blocky graphics and bleepy sounds to terrify the life out of us. This point-and-click adventure weaponizes your curiosity against you, turning every innocent click on a shower curtain or piano into a tense test of fate that may very well result in the surprise appearance of the Scissorman, a murderous little fella who gleefully pursues our hero, Jennifer, with cartoonish clippers. In fact, the later Resident Evil shares several elements in common with Sweet Home, aside from its mansion setting – the switching of play between characters, the use of an inventory with limited space, and the use of notes and other items to relate the building’s story. But way back in the mists of time, at the dawn of the video game medium, that kind of realism simply wasn’t possible. Its iconography—Lisa standing stock-still and stilt-legged in the foyer, a skinless goblin baby mewling in a sink—is as profoundly, riotously wrong as any in cinema, and its single stretch of hallway, looped forever in a gradual downward spiral, etches itself in the player’s mind like a trauma. [Clayton Purdom], Rereleased this year in an illustrated version, Michael Gentry’s Anchorhead is an interactive fiction game that takes a perspective rarely explored in the near-century of post-H.P. Beautifully written, performed, and designed, The Last Of Us builds its bleak narrative around the relationship between a trauma-hardened smuggler and the teenager he agrees to escort across an America crawling with both bile-spewing mutants and murderous human scavengers. [Sam Barsanti], The horror of recursion is a rare and special kind, and one Echo relentlessly pursues. Suda readily admits he could never make anything like it again, and sometimes it’s hard to imagine anyone ever will. Commodore 64. The history of horror games could serve as an alternate history of games themselves, one where the medium doesn’t get cleaner and more empowering with each passing year but increasingly disorienting, difficult, and abstract. Even a simple jump-scare, often eye-rolling in movies, gains a strange new power when you’re the one inching forward through the basement. And save rooms are spaced far enough apart that the threat of fictional death becomes a threat of very real progress lost. If Lovecraft was repulsed by any person not exactly like him (and, more than a few stories suggest, by himself too), Anchorhead burrows inside that feeling as the subject of repulsion. Deus Ex was one of a few turn-of-the-century PC games to fuse first-person shooting with RPG stats and dialogue options, becoming an “action” game that was much about careful simulation as it was about quickfire shooting. You can tune into enemies’ vision, finding them like over-the-air stations between walls of wormy static, and use their patrols to build your mental map of Hanuda village. Five years of imitation had already driven Frictional’s tricks into the ground, so much so that this sci-fi nightmare’s similar monster encounters felt staid and unnecessary out of the gate. [Sam Barsanti], Horror is a function of powerlessness—the inability to protect yourself, to fight back, even to see the thing that’s after you. They include new horror games such as Scary Teacher Ann 3D and top horror games such as Creepy Granny Scream: Scary Freddy, Trollface Quest: Horror, and Forgotten Hill: … It’s more likely, though, that you’ll make the merest misstep, and send yourself (and the village) on a spiral down into infection, madness, and inevitable death. [Chris Breault], Among other questions raised by Anatomy is this corker: What happens when a ghost discovers the true evil is the house it’s haunting? Comic bakery. But while many games over-egg this architectural metaphor with Freudian basement after Freudian basement, Inside simply slopes the floor beneath your feet, so that any step forward, any progression, is innately linked to the idea of decline. [Astrid Budgor], Back at the turn of the millennium, when anything seemed possible, horror maestro Shinji Mikami took Suda51 under his wing. The A.V. Atomic Heart. Five seconds later, he is dead. In the former, you rushed around in a dream world, punching rats and snakes and collecting the bones which formed Freddy Krueger’s corpse. In the late ’80s, the US toy company LJN began firing out licensed games at a ferocious rate – if you wanted them, there were movie tie-ins as varied as Jaws, The Karate Kid, Warlock, and Back to the Future – in fact, look closely at the second-hand shop window in Back to the Future II (the movie, not the game), and you’ll see a copy of Jaws for the NES prominently displayed. Commodore Amiga. The only thing saving her are her wits and scrambling feet—and even those can fail in her most panicked moments. Check out the first episode of Horror Game History, where we'll be covering games released for the Atari, the NES, DOS, and more! All three of Pathologic’s playable characters are healers, of a sort, but none of them is fully equipped to handle the rot lurking at the heart of its backwater Russian village. [A.A. Dowd], Thirteen years before Amnesia: The Dark Descent made total disempowerment gaming’s horror-mode du jour, Japan’s Human Entertainment made the case for the terror of helplessness with Clock Tower. But, with the day of pumpkins, trick-or-treaters, and apple bobbing almost upon us, this got us wondering: at what point did video games become scary? Despite its fairytale, “lost in the woods” opening, Inside is a game about a lost society more than a lost person. 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