When playing a game like The Evil Within or Outlast, it’s advised to brace yourself for horror. Make sure you have plenty of lights on and fully stocked up with adult diapers in advance. Usually, the clue is right there on the box art and there’s sure to be plenty of reviews and trailers full of macabre material.
However, sometimes our favorite video game developers like to screw with us by sneaking just a pinch of terror in there. Games marketed as family-friendly adventures for players to enjoy the bright colors and detailed landscapes.
Not cool guys, trying to catch us off-guard. Here are six reasons why we’ll never trust again.
Dead Hand – Zelda Ocarina of Time
With the exception of Majora’s Mask, Zelda is a cartoonishly cute game for all ages. A classic staple of a Nintendo mascot, Link is a happy-go-lucky hero, accompanied by a varied cast of colorful characters. Or so we thought. Two years before Majora’s Mask, Zelda gave us a gander at one of the most terrifying sub-bosses in all of platforming.
Dead Hand is a mutated zombie-like creature that lurks in graveyards or at the bottom of wells. While Dead Hand cuts an imposing figure, it’s his array of disembodied hands players need to be wary of. They reach up out of the dirt and grab Link like dead souls clinging to life. Thank goodness graphics weren’t so good in those days. Still, a generation of children never slept again after encountering this foe.
Descendants – Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune
The first time we met Nathan Drake we didn’t know what to expect. The treasure hunter soon became embedded in our hearts with his quick wit and heroic nature. Highly rendered temples and landscapes accompanied by cinematic cutscenes left players in awe and wonder. If only we’d known what was to come, we’d have stopped to enjoy that scenery a little more.
Just before we reach El Dorado, Drake and co. are attacked by the Descendants. They are the inbred offspring of Spanish colonists who were cursed by the sarcophagus of El Dorado. Again resembling the undead, they come out of walls, and quickly crawl towards you like insects. The insect-zombie hybrids attack in packs, so prepare for them to appear from all angles. It is easy to become swarmed by the creatures and players have to defeat several waves of them before advancing to the end.
Giygas – EarthBound
Another offering from Nintendo, EarthBound was an RPG that wasn’t released in Europe. All Nintendo fans will be familiar with irritating protagonists Ness and Lucas however due to their appearance in Super Smash Bros. franchise. ‘PK Thunder, PK Fire’ – those guys. Having to play as them for an entire game is far from the most horrifying thing about EarthBound though.
That comes in the form of chief antagonist Giygas. Giygas is an alien who doesn’t possess a traditional form. As such he takes over the entire play screen with a series of haunting faces. Many believe Giygas to be a metaphor for abortion and his form being one of a tormented fetus.
— Lane Eugene Krabs Andrew (@Lane_Andrew6873) June 21, 2017
The creator himself stated he based Giygas of a violent rape scene he saw in a movie as a child. What’s more Giygas can’t be defeated by abilities within the game, only by the collective power of prayer.
Players must endure five stages of horror and creepy dialogue such as Giygas repeating ‘it hurts’. After that the only thing left to do is turn the console off and hide under the sheets forever.
Crying Wolf – Metal Gear Solid IV
The Beauty and The Beast Unit serve as principal antagonists for Snake in Metal Gear Solid IV. They are four women, traumatized by the horrors of war, given mechanized suits to produce heartless, super soldiers. The most unsettling of the four is Crying Wolf.
After seeing her family massacred in a bloody coup, she escaped with her baby brother. As they hid from enemy soldiers, her brother began to cry, covering his mouth to silence him, Wolf unwittingly suffocated her infant brother. She carried the child’s decaying corpse across the battlefield until she reached a refugee village.
Tortured by the cries of infants within the village, she went out one night and slaughtered every baby inside. Wolf is haunted by the cries of dozens of innocent babies she killed and they can be heard wailing during the boss battle. Combined with the horrifying dialogue from Wolf as she tries to make Snake feel her pain. It’s a hugely unsettling encounter for a spy who hides in boxes and distracts guards with pornography.
Dr Watson – Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis
This game suffers from unfortunate software limitations that make for a creepy companion character. Holmes is out for yet another investigation, where he’ll need all of his crime-solving knowhow. He’s also brought faithful companion Dr Watson along for the ride, so what could be scary about that? Well, there’s no movement animation for Watson in the game, meaning the character model simply appears, allowing him to keep up with play.
You can keep a close eye on Watson as you walk backwards into a room and he’ll just stand there, dead still, looking at nothing. As soon as the player turns, suddenly he appears behind you. Coupled with Watson’s blank emotionless stare and the fact that he doesn’t speak at all during game play. It makes for a very unintended but unnerving experience. He could be behind you right now!
Ghost Child – Pokemon X&Y
Because Nintendo hasn’t had enough of traumatising small children, they are at it again with one of their most popular franchises. Pokemon is no stranger to creepypastas and spooky origin stories, have you read your Pokedex lately? In fact, the developers that made Pokemon originally made EarthBound and some believe Mewtwo to be Giygas’ final form.
One of the most unsettling moments of the franchise comes in Pokemon X&Y. At one stage of the game in Lumiose City, a ghost of a young girl appears behind you. During the sequence the player is unable to move as the ghostly child circles you, declares ‘you are not the one’ and vanishes into thin air. You never find out what she wanted or who she was looking for. If it’s not integral to the story, just why Nintendo?