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Halloween Special – 10 Games To Make Your Night SPOOKTACULAR!

It’s that time of year again, where scares are are in high demand yet not necessarily high supply. Being a bit of a horror junkie, I’ve played my fair share of horror games over the years and I enjoy sharing what I believe to be the best with others, so that they too, may share in the scares. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this list, nor will it be the last, as the entries and order of the list are constantly subject to change. Finally, this is by no means a definitive list, or even an entirely objective one, these are simply a few of the horror games that I’ve played that stand out amongst the rest. Perhaps you’ll find something to occupy yourself this Halloween? So enough rambling, enjoy!

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10. Dead Space

2008 (PC, PS3, 360)

This past generation has been quite a lackluster one in terms of horror games. Dead Space is one of the few titles that even comes close to the term “survival horror”. When the first game came out in 2008, it was a breath of fresh air for horror game fans. You play as Isaac Clarke, an engineer tasked to repairing the out-of-commission ship the USG Ishimura, and of course the moment you step aboard things go terribly wrong. You quickly find out that the ship is infested with creatures known as Necromorphs, which can, and will jump out at you from absolutely anywhere. This, combined with excellent lighting and surround sound made for a tense ambiance that kept you looking over your, or rather Isaac’s, shoulder at all times.

Unfortunately, the series suffered from terrible sequelitis, Dead Space 2 was still a great game but lost much of the original’s magic. Dead Space 3 simply tosses any delusion of horror out the window in favour of a free-for-all necromorph shoot-em-up where ammo and health are plentiful and scares are no where in sight.

Where to get it?

The first game still holds up quite well, being only a few years old. It’s also very cheap and easy to acquire from any number of online retailers or in brick and mortar stores, no matter your platform of choice, making this an easy Halloween gaming night choice.

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9. Rule of Rose

2006 (PS2)

The PS2 was and is the non-PC console of choice when it comes to horror games, featuring some of the most unique and creepy games ever to grace a console. Rule of Rose released at the tail end of the PS2 generation and was overlooked by many who had already moved on to the new gen.  You play as Jennifer, a 19 year old girl with no memories of who or where she is. Drawing heavy inspiration from Lord of the Flies she is trapped in a large mansion, run by several young girls to whom “survival of the fittest” is a code by which they live by. Fortunately, you’re not alone in this madhouse, your canine companion Brown is a loyal ally during your time of need. This is very reminiscent of Haunting Ground, another excellent game that we’ll be discussing later…

Brown can’t actively engage in combat, instead playing a support role, finding items and warning you of approaching enemies. Jennifer isn’t a very aggressive character which is immediately obvious by her lack of any sort of combat skill, which in this game focuses primarily on melee weapons.

The visual style, creepy Victorian mansion, combined with an excellent soundtrack, heavy orchestral tracks composed by Yutaka Minobe of Sky’s of Arcadia fame, make for an eery experience unlike any other.

Where to get it?

Unfortunately due to its low print run, the price of this game has soared well over $100. Unless you don’t mind shelling out that kind of money, you may have to look into alternative means.

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8. ObsCure

2005 (PC)

ObsCure is a mid-2000’s horror game that focused on a group of five highschool students who stumble across a laboratory in which biological experiments are being conducted. The race is on as they must fight their way out to warn their peers of the impending danger. Those who have played Alan Wake will feel right at home fighting the monsters, as they are sensitive to light and you will make cordial use of flashlights throughout the game.

This game very much has that “B-movie” vibe going for it, and actually puts an emphasis on the “survival” part of “survival horror”. Ammo and health are in short supply and if a character dies, the story simply continues without them. However, you’ll need as many living characters as possible if you wish to survive the end game…..

The game also has a sequel, which is not quite as good, but still an enjoyable romp for those who played the first game. It features the main protagonists of ObsCure living completely normal college lives 2 years after the events of the first game, of course, it doesn’t stay that way for long…

Where to get it?

This game is only available via an out of print, boxed PC disc unfortunately, perhaps one day it will make it’s way to Steam.

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7. Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth

2005 (PC, Xbox)

One of the many H.P. Lovecraft inspired games to hit shelves over the past decade. Call of Cthulhu, based on Lovecraft’s The Shadow over Innsmouth, is a horror-FPS mashup, but is by no means a fragfest. The game is a brilliant mixture of FPS mechanics with supernatural enemies and events.

You assume the role of Jack Walters, a man recently released from a mental institution. This doesn’t mean you’re in the clear as you still suffer from amnesia and bouts of schizophrenia – an integral part of the game. There is no HUD whatsoever in this game, allowing for maximum immersion. Your health is measured not by a bar but by Jack’s breathing patterns, and while you DO receive weapons to fight off the hordes of monsters, ammo is extremely limited, so more often than not, you will find yourself knee-deep in trouble, and perhaps, a touch of terror.

Where to get it?

The PC version is available both via disc and numerous digital retailers such as Steam. If you’re more inclined for the console version, finding a cheap-ish copy is difficult, though not impossible.

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6. Haunting Ground

2005 (PS2)

Fiona Belli wakes up trapped in a cage after a car accident, with, you guessed it, amnesia! She is joined by a dog named Hewie who will only obey your commands if you treat him well. You must solve puzzles and avoid enemies in order to survive the night. Survival horror games are all about scarcity of resources, and in this respect Haunting Ground goes above and beyond, that is, it gives you absolutely nothing. You have no weapons or tools with which to fight your enemies leaving you only one option, RUN! Stick around enemies too long and Fiona will burst into panic, fleeing blindly from the dangers that pursue her. You are unable to stop her, though you have limited control over the direction of her flight.

Very similar to the Clock Tower series, due in part to originally being developed as a Clock Tower game,  Haunting Ground is another one of the excellent swath of horror games we were lucky enough to get on the PS2.

Where to get it?

It was rumoured to be coming to PSN as a PS2 classic, though we have yet to see it. For now finding a PS2 copy is your only way of playing this game.

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5. Siren

2004 (PS2)

Set in the rural Japanese village of Hanuda, Siren is a match made in heaven for fans of J-horror. The village was host to a human sacrifice which has left the town devoid of living humans, instead the town is populated by undead humanoids known as Shibito. Fighting them is almost never a good idea as it is impossible to kill them, only to knock them out for brief period of time. The game thusly relies heavily on it’s stealth, combined with the sightjacking ability which allows you to see whatever the creature you’ve sightjacked sees. This adds an additional layer of strategy in dealing with the highly dangerous Shibito.

Siren: Blood Curse, a “re imagining” of the original, adds significant alterations in content as well as allowing for more options in combat giving you a plethora of weapons and finishing moves, which is a far cry from the original.

Where to get it?

Both Siren and Blood Curse are available via PSN, the latter being on sale this week.

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4. Resident Evil (REmake)

2002 (GCN) 2008 (Wii port)

More than just the original Resident Evil with a fresh coat of paint; the REmake as it is commonly called completely rebuilt the original from the ground up adding state of the art visual and lighting effects (at the time) as well as new or tweaked gameplay mechanics and elements as well as story details. Shinji Mikami himself has said the game is “70% different than the original”.

The Resident Evil series is one of the biggest successful horror franchises out there, which unfortunately has caused more recent Resident Evil games to invoke more action-horror type gameplay. This is without a doubt the best the series has to offer in terms of straight up horror.

Where to get it?

Both the Gamecube version and the Wii version are near identical in both look and price, so take your pick. Both can still be had relatively inexpensively.

James

3. Silent Hill 2

2001 (PS2) 2002 (Xbox, PC) 2012 (PS3, 360)

One of, if not the best, entry in the Silent Hill series. While the original may have started the nightmare, Silent Hill 2 perfected it. You are Jame Sunderland, who sets foot in the monster infested town of Silent Hill to find his wife. The game grows continually more nightmarish as you begin to question what you should truly fear, the monsters, the town or yourself.

The game was originally released on the PS2, but received a Directors Cut version, titled Restless Dreams, a year later on Xbox and PC. In 2012, Konami released an HD Collection featuring Silent Hill 2 (as well as 3) for both Xbox 360 and PS3.

Where to get it?

The PS2/Xbox versions are still pretty easy to get, though if you’d prefer improved visuals you should instead opt for the HD Collection. Be warned though, as the HD collection has had numerous reported bugs and glitches.

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2. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem

2002 (GCN)

Another H.P. Lovecraft inspired Gamecube exclusive, Eternal Darkness is one of the most infamous titles released on the system. It’s quite unique in that it spans the stories of a dozen different characters over different time periods skipping between locations as it does so. Protaganist Alexandra Roivas is investigating the murder of her grandfather Edward, whilst exploring his mansion she uncovers a book bound in human skin titled “The Tome of Eternal Darkness”. It is there that the horror begins…

It also continually plays tricks on the player, trying to get them to question their own sanity. What’s that? Your save file has been erased? The sheer terror is undesirable.

Where to get it?

Due to it’s Gamecube exclusivity as well as it’s reputation, the game has begun somewhat of a collectors item, though prices for it aren’t incredibly ridiculous.

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1. Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly

2003 (PS2) 2004 (Xbox) 2013 (PSN)

Where to begin with this one? Fatal Frame has long been my favorite horror franchise of all time, and for good reason. The unconventional gameplay is the same across the series, your only weapon available to aid in your defense against malevolent spirits is the infamous Camera Obscura, an antique camera with the power to dispel spirits. Fatal Frame II holds a special place in my heart however, it is easily the best in the series, followed closely by Fatal Frame IV: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse (Which unfortunately has not seen as NA release).

In Crimson Butterfly you control Mio Amakura as she searches the Lost Village with and for her twin sister Mayu. To progress through the village you must solve various puzzles and fend off a variety of ghosts. These ghosts however, often provide crucial advice or hints required for you to advance through the village. You also occasionally control Mayu as she follows the swarms of crimson butterflies around the village.

While a directors cut edition was ported to the Xbox a year after the PS2 release,  Europe and Japan also received an upgraded Wii version in 2012. This version switches the camera from the traditional third person Fatal Frame to the over the should camera used in Mask of the Lunar Eclipse.

The director of the game, Makoto Shibata, claimed that many players were too scared to finish Fatal Frame 2, hence it have the prestige of being the “scariest” in the franchise. Steps were taking with Fatal Frame 3 to make “the story more interesting, to encourage players to overcome the scariness”.

In my opinion you should play the entire series, but if could only play one, it should be Crimson Butterfly.

Where to get it?

The PS2 version is readily available and cheap to obtain, with the Xbox version being slightly more pricey. The PSN version is however the easiest and cheapest route to go, with the game currently being on sale for a paltry $2 right now. The Wii version is somewhat improved, though not nearly enough to warrant the added cost of importing.

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That concludes my far from all encompassing list! There were several titles I was torn on whether to include but ultimately didn’t make the cut such as Amnesia or Clock Tower. Some, such as Outlast I haven’t yet played, and thus could not include on this list. I’m just a simple horror junkie who hasn’t been able to play every horror title under the sun (or moon?), but that’s what makes it interesting, so feel free to comment and share YOUR personal favourite titles below! 

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4 Comments

  • I see some personal favorites of mine on the list. I’d love to grab Rule Of Rose, but that thing is even more wicked expensive in Europe.

    • I wish it would come on PSN as a PS2 classic or something at the very least, give more people the chance to experience it and all. Shame it went under the radar so much.

  • Love the list. Halloween is generally one of my favorite times of the year. I’ve been too busy as of late to really enjoy it, but I’m trying to make up for lost time tonight. Listening the SH2 soundtrack right now. Horror movies tonight. I need to quit my job and have free time again!

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