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Though the Nintendo Wii is known mostly for its kid-friendly titles, don’t be fooled. There are several games that boast eerie, suspenseful plots or delightfully terrifying gore.
Given Halloween’s only a few short weeks away, here are some Wii titles you should check out if you’re looking for a good scare or at least an opportunity to dismember the undead.
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Point and Shoot
These shoot em’ ups are nothing new to gamers. Apart from years of being a mainstay in arcades, both House of the Dead games have made home console appearances on the Sega Dreamcast and the original XBOX. The graphics are nothing spectacular, the voice acting is the worst I’ve ever heard (yes even worse than the original Resident Evil), but despite these shortcommings its a fantastic port of one the most memorable arcade games in recent memory.
The game’s first person view puts you right into the zombie action and the first time the saw wielding zombie runs out you, you can’t help but get spooked. In the part 3, the prison guard with the blunt instrument composed of human skulls is both creepy and spectacularly awesome at the same time.
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The Beginning of Survival Horror
Resident Evil Archives: Resident Evil
Though the title is a blatant reissue of the Gamecube version, this Capcom classic is as scary as ever. While it does not boast great controls like Resident Evil 4, it is still a decent game and totally worth it if you don’t already own it on earlier consoles. With great graphics, eerie sounds and some truly freaky cut scenes, this is still one of the most horrifying gaming experiences ever.
The game plays basically identical to the Playstation title that began the sub genre known as “Survival Horror” and even though I’ve played the game multiple times throughout the years on three different consoles, there are plenty of times when I jump and it gives a genuine scare. Unlike Resident Evil Umbrella, it's more about the survival and terror that pumping zombies with bullets with your zapper – though both are great ways to game.
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Dead Rising: Chop Til You Drop:
This game is not nearly as memorable as the original 360 title, but it’s still a satisfying horror experience. Once again taking control of photojournalist Frank West, you get a real feeling of claustrophobia as you are surrounded by hordes and hordes of the undead. Though, the capabilities of the Wii restrict the number of zombies on the screen at a given time, you're still overwhelmed most of the time.
If the feeling of essentially being a piece of meat in a no holds barred zombie feeding frenzy isn't horrifying enough, the amount of the gore in this game should satisfy the most ardent horror fans. Though Nintendo couldn't completely shake the kid-friendly image, the gore can be turned off, but why on earth would anyone want to do that? Having a zombie game without gore is like playing Halo or Metroid without any firearms.
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More Zombies? Sensing a Pattern Here?
Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition:
Where Resident Evil Archives succeeds in suspense and overall eeriness, RE4 is much more direct. Though the enemies are relatively similar, the environment is totally different. Instead of being locked away in some creepy mansion, you're in a small European village. While the zombies of the pervious Resident Evil titles may seem scarier, the more realistic idea of infected townspeople who aren't quite technically the walking undead is very unnerving.
Particularly horrifying are the regenerators, in fact, just sound of the creatures is incredibly disturbing, leaving the gamer anxious to see where it’s coming from. The Garradors are also freaky, and are deceptive with their speed. The character known as Dr. Salvador, who might as well be called Leatherface, is probably the worst of all. He combines the worst of the two characters I previously mentioned, inhuman speed, a disconcerting look and when you hear that chainsaw start, be ready to react whether it be fight of flight.
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You are the Prey, Predator
Manhunt was a gleeful combination of extreme gore and increasing suspense. The game debuted on the PlayStation 2 and original XBOX, its success demanded a sequel. That sequel would eventually be released on the Nintendo Wii. The executions aren't nearly as graphic as camera angles deliberately disguise what's going on. This was a source of controversy for sometime as it appeared, at least briefly, that the game would be given an "Adults Only" rating and likely not be available in many stores.
Despite the 'softer' executions, the game is still pretty hardcore. The game also boasts dark and gritty environments, making up for the fact that the story itself isn't very scary. However, the anxiety and fear will rise significantly when you're going in for the kill, or when you're being actively pursued. There's nothing more apprehensive than hiding in the shadows, hoping you're not seen. Realism tends to provide the most scares. You don't need monsters or the undead to provide a truly horrifying gaming experience.