Silent Hill 2
Even the most terrifying J-Horror movies are nothing in comparison to the grotesquely insane Silent Hill 2. The psychological horror game is known for its unsettling terror that slowly builds up as the game progresses. From lying figures to nurses to the iconic Pyramid Head, every Silent Hill 2 monster captures your unimaginable fear. The town manipulates the protagonist’s psyche and designs monsters that reflect his deepest fears. Shooting down zombies and aliens is pretty easy, but you need to have serious survival skills to fight against your inner fears.
Dead Space is one of the very few survival horror games that does not take place in a terrestrial environment. The abandoned spaceship setting is very similar to Ridley Scott’s Alien and the game developers did a great job by combining the atmospheric horror of the movie with some panicky moments you see in zombie flicks.
The survival horror game features some of the most horrifying mutations on earth. Called Necromorphs, these reanimated corpses are extremely menacing and will attack any uninfected being on sight. There are different types of Necromorphs, and each mutated menace is scarier than the last. But the scariest of them have to be the Slashers and Lurkers. Dead Space’s amazing heads-up display brings realism to the game. Everything from the holographic display to the health meter makes the game look quite realistic.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
Resident Evil 3’s Dodge Move feature was one of the most novel gameplay features ever introduced into the series. This feature helps players escape from the clutches of zombies and other monsters. This adds an extra dimension to the game and makes survival horror more interesting. The game also introduced a new villain, Nemesis, a prototype of the tyrant programmed to eliminate all S.T.A.R.S. members. The scenes where you confront Nemesis are some of most terrifying moments in the game.
Penumbra Black Plague
Of all the three games of the Penumbra series, Black Plague is the scariest and the most atmospheric survival horror game. The sequel to Overture, Penumbra Black Plague offers plenty of physics-based puzzles that need to be solved in order to escape a weird underground research facility. Combat is not always the right option as you cannot easily access weapons. All you can do is devise crude traps using objects scattered on the ground or look for alternative ways to avoid direct enemy confrontation. The eerie situations you come across in Black Plague are quite realistic. You might be unarmed and the best way to deal with any hideous creatures is either to hurl an object to scare them away or find a safe path to escape. This aspect makes the gameplay more engaging.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Like Black Plague, The Dark Descent pits you against the most terrifying monsters and ghouls and tests your survival skills by limiting your access to weapons. This means you’ll have to run and hide from them, or throw objects to divert their attention. This feature is very similar to the Penumbra games, but the monsters in Amnesia are far scarier than the ones seen in Black Plague and Overture. It takes courage to explore the gloomy castle and confront your deepest fears, which I am sure won’t be easy for you after dark.
If you thought point and click adventure games weren’t that scary, you've got to play Clock Tower. Taking advantage of the early-90's point-and-click mechanics, this game offers an eerily satisfying gameplay experience.
Clock Tower’s plot is creepy. Trapped in a spooky mansion, the protagonist Jennifer decides to explore every corner of the mansion to search for her disappeared friends. But her daring pursuit soon gets interrupted by Scissorman (aka Bobby), a demented stalker who wields a pair of large scissors, ready to snip the heads off anyone he spots at a distance. Players have to help Jennifer avoid direct confrontation with the slasher villain and hide her behind objects.
The game is open-ended and has multiple endings, there are puzzles galore, but you can’t solve them if the scissorman spots Jennifer, and will quickly have to find hiding spots to escape his menacing scissor blades. The game has been lauded for its plot, open-endedness and multiple endings.
Dino Crisis was very popular in the early 2000s for bringing some of the most terrifying T-Rex moments to your TV screens and monitors. Released for the PlayStation in 1999 and later ported to the PC platform in 2000, the game was hailed for creating a sense of panic and focusing more on high suspense than combat.
Dino Crisis’ gameplay mechanic is very similar to Resident Evil and the plot brings back memories of Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster movie, but the game nonetheless recreates those Jurassic Park moments – the dinosaur growls, claws scraping against the wall and prehistoric reptiles hunting for their prey. The eerie background music and sound effects build up the tension. Like Resident Evil, the game has plenty of puzzles to solve and many twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Based on John Carpenter’s 1982 horror flick, The Thing is a decent third-person survival horror game. It mixes the standard survival horror puzzle elements with out-and-out gun play pretty well. New features like the fear system and the trust system add variation to the game.
The fear system comes into play in parasite-infected areas, in places covered with blood or wreck sites. Your AI team members will react to these situations and this will trigger the meter. If the meter shows an increase in the fear level, your team members will not listen to your commands, shoot incessantly or choose to flee. This unique gameplay feature increases the feeling of fear, panic and adds realism to the game. With unique gameplay mechanics, puzzles and standard shooter elements, The Thing is a game that you will love to play with your headphones on at night.
Alone in the Dark
Alone in the Dark’s gameplay concept influenced Resident Evil. While the game isn’t as scary as modern-day games, it sends chills down your spine with its fixed cinematic camera angles (the first few games of the Resident Evil series also used fixed camera angles to create dramatic scenes that scared the living daylights out of gamers.) The most terrifying moments of the game start with the very first scene, where you wander around in one of the spookiest rooms unarmed, unaware of the dangers lurking around in every corner. The polygonal scarefest lets you avoid direct confrontation with zombies and monsters, explore some of the creepiest rooms and solve some puzzles to escape the horrors of the dilapidated mansion.
This short survival horror game is reminiscent of old-school Resident Evil types of games. In the first few minutes of gameplay, you will find lot of gameplay similarities between Obscure and Resident Evil. Instead of S.T.A.R.S. members, we have a bunch of high school students in search of their missing friend at Leafmore High. Compact Discs have replaced ink ribbons as save options and some of the puzzles are altered versions of Resident Evil 2 puzzles. Like any teen horror movie, the game is fun, if not scary, and will give you some moments of chills and thrills.
- All images and screenshots courtesy of the respective game developers.