In the spirit of Halloween, we have been getting in the frightful mood with some of our favorite horror games.
The tense search through abandoned corridors, creaking hallways and decaying doors, always on edge as we wait for something to jump out.
Many games can’t deliver the payoff: a generic ghostly child, nameless horde monster number 12, or simply empty levels all in the name of “atmosphere”. Oh god, the emptiness!
Occasionally though, developers fill their antagonists full of so much nightmare fuel, they’re bursting at the seams. Consider these video game horrors that we’re still checking the closet for each night.
The Thing – The Thing
The video game based on the 1982 horror classic, is great for inducing unsettling paranoia. The horror comes not from the creatures or bosses you fight but from the NPC’s who will join your adventure. Just like in the movie, the titular Thing is a shapeshifter capable of replicating any human form.
This means at any point in combat your teammates can be infected by The Thing without you knowing. The Thing will then later expose himself at random moments in the narrative and spring you with a surprise attack.
Players need to be cautious of their team at all times. But it is vital to do this without raising alarm or NPC’s will start to suspect you are The Thing and attack. The game is screaming out for a sequel or a remake, with modern game mechanics the possibilities are incredibly unnerving.
— Left 4 Dead 2 (@Left4Dead2PC) March 23, 2017
The Witch – Left 4 Dead
There are numerous special infected to be wary of in the Left 4 Dead series, but none creepier than the Witch. The Witch appears as a frail woman either wandering around or rocking in a corner. She bellows out with an unsettling weeping that can be heard long before she is visible.
At this point, players will want to watch their step as she is incredibly delicate. Alert the Witch and she’ll lets out a blood-curdling scream before rushing towards you at high speed. She is fast and can incapacitate a player with one hit – she also won’t stop mauling until you are dead. Speaking of sequels, it’s been eight years, get to it Valve.
Laura (Creature) – The Evil Within
You know the expression ‘a face only a mother could love’. Laura is a physiological manifestation of the primary antagonist’s desire for vengeance over his sister’s murder.
She springs upon players at multiple stages throughout The Evil Within and it doesn’t get any easier. If the opportunity to run is there, taking it is definitely recommended. Laura possesses extra limbs as a sort of human-spider hybrid, she is fierce and very difficult to put down.
— cozbyrt (@cozbyrt) October 29, 2014
Blinded – Fatal Frame
In Fatal Frame, the only defence against malevolent spirits is to capture them on film using the camera obscura. Based on popular Japanese belief that a soul can be captured players must seek out violent spirits and deftly put them to rest.
Blinded is a recurring villain in the game and is also the most spine-chilling. As a little girl, her eyes were removed in a demonic ritual. Now she wanders the hallways with her bloody sockets, crying out in search of her eyes.
She is always nearby and it is impossible to escape her in battle. She also has the ability to teleport from sight, appearing behind the player for added jump scares. The only way to stop her is to confront her in the first person camera mode. Capture enough horrifying images and she’ll leave you alone – for now.
Walter Sullivan – Silent Hill 4: The Room
Walter is first referenced in Silent Hill two as a serial killer who has been caught and committed suicide. Silent Hill is a series used to delving into the darkest realms of its principal character’s minds and The Room is no different. After Henry Townshend becomes trapped in his apartment; he must exit through a hole that leads to Walter’s mind.
There are several reflections of Walter within the game but the most disturbing is in the final boss fight. Walter appears as a giant, mangled corpse hanging from the ceiling by chains. Players must fight a human version of Walter whilst spearing this depiction of the murder’s decaying body. He can finally be killed using his own umbilical cord in a grim final encounter.
Slender Man – The Eight Pages
— Sky Atlantic (@skyatlantic) September 19, 2017
No list of video game horrors would be complete without the urban legend Slender Man. Slender did make a return in Slender: The Arrival but it’s The Eight Pages that still keeps us up at night.
Slender Man is a gangly, faceless being who stalks his prey, one look at the towering nightmare will result in a game over. This is where the genius of the horror comes as you’ll spend the entire game avoid eye contact.
Just a glimpse of Slender and you’ll have to quickly spin the other way, knowing he is right behind you without looking. He doesn’t move around the map, he simply appears in a player peripheries as he waits to corner you.
In The Eight Pages, players must run through the woods finding the titular hidden pages before being pounced upon by Slender. There is beauty in the simplicity and his transcendence to other media outside of gaming makes us all the warier.