Here we go! A narrow list of the games that scared the crap out of me. Some were simply creepy, and others were down right grotesque. Here it is, Ray Nichols’ Top 5 horror games of all time!
#5. The Last of Us
Platform PlayStation 4 • PlayStation 3
Publisher Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer Naughty Dog
Moody and atmospheric, this game really delivers on the story front! I was a little disappointed at first with the pacing, but man you can really get sucked into the story. The monsters themselves are just creepy as anything else! Hearing the Clickers walk around is bad enough, but then they “spot” you and come flying at you! I think a large part of the appeal was the user interface. I know some people didn’t like it, but the layout and intuitiveness of it suited me quite well! I wasn’t really sure what I was in for when I picked it up, I’d heard some good things. The opening though. Hoo boy. I had just tucked my kid into bed, then got hit with….well you know. Excellent story, creative creatures, fantastic kills. I am definitely up for replaying this one!
#4. 7th Guest
Platform PC • Mac • CDi
Publisher Virgin Interactive
My best friend at the time got a PC as his graduation gift. This thing was sweet! We’re talking at least 4 megs of ram, 33 MHz processor, even a 40 meg hard drive! The pièce de résistance? It had a CD-Rom! The possibilities were endless! Spreadsheets, minesweeper, flying toasters. The PC of the future had it all. We needed to push this thing to its limits though. There was a game out, a horror game. It mixed live actors in with the game play! We had to have it. We scrimped and saved, begged and borrowed, we had to have this game! Once we finally purchased it, I believe it was $70 at the time, the experience was akin to a religious experience. The lights went out and we played for days. The creepiness factor for this game is off the charts. The actors gave it an extra oomph that is still hard to beat. And the mini games? They made you want to throw the $3000 computer out the window. They were disturbing sure, but the real frustration was the complexity of them. They were more challenging than any game either of us had played to that time. I occasionally still have nightmares about that damn microscope, germ, Go-like, play board. It could be irritating at times, but the story and atmosphere made up for everything else!
*Disclaimer – The tech specs laid out previously may or may not be accurate. Hell I don’t remember, that was over 20 years ago!*
#3. Dead Island
Platform PC • Mac • PS3 • PS4 • Xbox 360 • Xbox One
Publisher Deep Silver
An island resort that gets hit by a zombie plague. What’s not to love? There are plenty of jump scares, and the open world aspect to it had me playing for weeks and weeks. Forgoing any and all hygiene regimens. Ok, maybe it wasn’t that bad, but dammit I played the hell out of it! The insane amount of side quests kept me going back for more. Sure you could go the linear route and complete the game in a few days, but why? You would miss out on so much! The weapons were amazing. I loved the fact that once the durability was up, you didn’t lose the damn weapon. That is seriously frustrating. You could also throw pretty much anything you could swing! Take a few steps back and lob some machetes? Sure, no problem! The zombies though. For the most part they were pretty straight forward. The screaming and dead run actions of the infected were fear inducing. Get that going in surround sound and you are looking all over the damn place to figure out where these bastards are running from! Huh. I may have to go back and play that one again soon. Seriously replayable!
#2. Silent Hill 2
Platform PS2 • PS3 • Xbox • Xbox 360 • PC
While the first Silent Hill set the pace, Silent Hill 2 turned it into a sprint! Absolutely everything about the franchise that makes it great is here. Pyramid Head, the nurses, the creepy and grotesque town. Just everything about this game is meant to inspire fear. The fog, the music, the sometimes convoluted story line. There were plenty of jump scares too. They really set the player up for them. You think you’ve escaped, maybe you’ll sneak around a corner, then BAM! Creepy demon/zombie/shambling dead pop out and jump you. This was a lights out and sound up kind of game. Tons of fun. There were four(?) different endings, but I only ever got to two of them. The worst. The warning sound. Start running for cover because shit is about to get incredibly Cronenbergian on the streets! Oh wait, the school you just ran into turned into hell. Sorry about your luck! The best part for me is that it was loosely inspired by a real place in the U.S.! Check out Centralia, Pennsylvania sometime. The town that’s had a pit of hell burning under since May 27, 1962 and is still burning to this day!
#1. Clock Tower
Publisher ASCII Entertainment
Developer Human Entertainment
First off, let’s get the versions straight. This is the U.S. import of Clock Tower 2. The first Clock Tower was only released in Japan on the Famicom system (SNES). For some reason around this time, game companies thought it would be less confusing to change the numbering system for game imports. Regardless of this weird trend, the game is simply perfect. The one thing that really sets this game apart is you can’t win by attacking the one enemy in the game! The serial killer known as The Scissorman. You have to run and hide while solving puzzles all the way. It is so fascinating taking this innovative approach to game play. Then there’s the sound of the giant scissors. Shing Shing. Oh crap it’s the Scissorman, run hide! Shing Shing. Jesus, there’s nowhere to go, He spotted me! SHINGSHINGSHINGSHING!! Well shit. Dead. Try again. When that psycho come sliding across the scene chasing you with an enormous pair of scissors, it will cause involuntary tremors. It was one of a few games I had to buy multiple times since it seemed to keep walking away. I don’t currently have it, but last I heard you could get it on the Playstation Network. Far better than dropping $50-$100 bucks on a used copy!
Resident Evil Series, Slender, Dead Rising, Five Nights at Freddy’s, Dead Space, Until Dawn, Fatal Frame Series, Nightmare Creatures, The Suffering. The list goes on and on. Making a top 5 list makes it pretty damn difficult to distill down. Some games didn’t make it on simply because I hadn’t played them yet. At some point the list will be revised and expanded upon. Top 6?
Bonus time. Maybe the most anticipated game of the decade for me. Hell the century, the millenium! I have been obsessed with the production of it and cannot wait to get my hands on it…….
Mother of god am I ready for this one! Friday the 13th the game! I’m going to do a full article on this bad boy later. It looks absolutely phenomenal. Henry Manfredini doing the music. Tom Savini planning the kills. Sean Cunningham’s blessing, and license. Kane Hodder reprising his role with motion capture technology! You can get different skins for Jason. You can actually play as Jason and go after seven camp counselors! Or play as the counselors and try to stop Jason. This is the game that horror fans everywhere have been waiting for!
Thanks for reading everyone!