Since we’re in the month of Halloween, I think it’s a great time to start making horror themed lists because I’m in a great mood for scares. Don’t you just have that need to see something frightening in any media where you were so eager to feel the fear and the thrilling experience that gets you to be come vicarious? Well, after hearing so many recommendations for some scary games, I have seen so many of them that did not once get be on edge, give me goosebumps, or any sense of fear come out of me. It really isn’t surprising that the horror game library has a reputation of being very horrible (like horror movies) but it really doesn’t take a lot to scare someone like me. It’s pitiful to see developers think that such games are scary for gamers, but for the sake that even the video game press even dares to call them some of the “scariest games of all time” is both disagreeable and embarrassing. I admit that not everybody is afraid of the same thing like how other people fin clowns disturbing while I find them amusing. The point is, is that these are my opinions of video games that did not once get me scared and I reject everyone who recommended these horror games for those who wants to be scared. Remember these are NOT video games that I say that they are at all bad, it’s just that everyone said that they were scary but when I experienced it myself, I filled with so much anticipation to feel something like never before, only to leave my self in disappointment. But I am going to throw out 8-bit and 16-bit games out of the list because it’s a dead giveaway that old pixelated graphics are incapable to scaring me and it’s only the 32-bit and beyond that actually have the technology to create such fright only to miss use them for lackluster scares.
Number 10. – I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream
This is very loosely based on the same novel of my favorite science fiction writer, Harlan Ellison and his presence when he’s voice acting as the computer A.I. named AM is clearly intimidating. I can even say it’s one of the best openings for a video game. It’s just the rest of the game, it really tried, but it’s more recommendable to read the book instead of playing the game. I mean, I really did see that the programmers tried to capture every detail from the novel, but it’s just their level design, animation quality, and even the voice acting is really subpar. I mean I should feel fearful for an evil computer torturing my soul and body for centuries, but for the sake that it doesn’t have the same tone from the book, it didn’t feel at all scary. Okay, there were aspects of the game that did get me on edge like whenever you hear Harlan Ellison’s voice and Ted’s quest when he’s trying to save his fiancé from going to hell, but everything else just didn’t feel like I wanted it to be.
Number 9. – Alone in the Dark
I know, I shouldn’t put this game on the list because it really did frighten everyone when this game first came out. I should honor it as being the very first survival horror game, but just because you’re the first, doesn’t mean that you’re the best. I hate to sound like a graphics-whore, but this game really didn’t age well at all. In fact, it became so non-intimidating that I can just categorize it as an adventure game instead because I enjoyed the puzzles, exploration aspects, clues, scavenging for items and so many more than I was expecting horror. The game really made it very low on the list, unlike every other game higher, because it did offer a lot of surprises and has classic style of horror; the haunted mansion. I just love the comfortable feeling of adventuring through a haunted house seen in this very game, instead of being scared.
Number 8. – Minecraft
Okay, I’m cheating here because Minecraft isn’t categorized as a scary game, but I just hate the hype going around this indie title like its beats any game out there. Sure when you start talking about the creepers and other monsters who are able to kill you, these fans get easily scared. I mean sure, it is fun to encounter them in engaging combat, but I can’t be the only one who think blocky monsters are more than just goofy. In fact, this is the only scare that this game could offer and I’m just sitting here wondering if they react the same way when they see any creeper shirt, toy, or any merchandise. If they really do, you minus well can easily manipulate them by showing them these stupid merchandises just to see how much they can loose their shit with these blocky monster. I do enjoy my time with Minecraft, but never have I seen an overrated game being praised for the wrong reasons.
Number 7. – The House of the Dead series
One reason why I can never put the House of the Dead series in my Top 10 favorite Sega franchises is because they failed to make anything scary. Sure the zombie designs were reallyf outstanding and animation of presenting gore and violence was remarkable to witness, but for the fact that you’re over-killing so many of these zombies, demons, and demonic mutants non-stop, at a point where you feel too powerful, it looses all sense of scares. It really does succeeds in atmosphere, but it looked as if it was more fun to kill these monsters instead of feeling hopeless or any sense of fear. It’s not just because it’s a light-gun shooter, but for the sake that it doesn’t even try to have surprises, instead they just rush everything else outside of the visuals. I mean did you even hear the voice acting in this game? It’s is simply hilarious! And to even make things more funny, you even have “Typing of the Dead” for the Dreamcast that makes you type exact keys to kill zombies. Case closed.
Number 6. – Parasite Eve
This game is awesome! The developers of Final Fantasy 7 have created a great follow-up project about a hot police chick on an investigation of a supernatural scene that video games have already did, but never like in an action RPG-like this. So why isn’t this game scary? Maybe it’s the fact that enemies appear at random (like every other Squaresoft RPG in existence) and there really is no surprise. Sure, the visuals were really stunning for Playstation 1 standards and it really captures the same essence of such classics like Resident Evil, but it failed to do anything remotely scary. Sure it does handicap the player like giving them limited amount of bullets, unsettling atmosphere, and fantastic sound that fits any horror themes. It’s for the fact it has all the JRPG formula from healing yourself in non-real time, trail and error whenever enemies attack, and the enemy variety is too similar to the monsters that we’ve seen from other JRPG and Survival horror games. That’s why I can’t grasp myself in feeling scared in a game like this.
Number 5. – Alien vs. Predator series
It’s really not the Alien, the Predator, or the Alien vs. Predator video game’s fault for not being scary, it’s the hype and over-exposure that ruined all sense of scares for the series. I mean, even people who haven’t seen any of the movies already know what they’re capable of and it’s because the media spoils everything scary about them; making even the game series ruined all sense of scares. Sure, the Atari Jaguar version of Alien vs. Predator is the only great title for that awful system and it got really action packed when you play it on the PC and arcade version made by Capcom, but because everyone and their mothers know what they are all about, there’s nothing to get excited about. I’ll give the game series credit for capturing the essence seen from the movies, but for the fact that everybody wants to see is action & violence with this mythology cross-over, it will never be scary.
Number 4. – Resident Evil 4
Pop question, what is the one game that forever changed horror games to become more action and much less horror? If you didn’t answer Resident Evil 4 this time around, I’ll give you a second chance. In the mean time, let me tell you that change can be a really bad thing. Talk about a massive departure from the series that really lost the whole purpose of the whole franchise. I blame Resident Evil 4 for allowing developers to make even more lackluster horror games in modern day gaming. The fourth installment just made fun of itself where they got rid of the zombies and replaced them with gigantic parasites popping out of their victim’s heads, a midget villain that makes everything laughable, and even the monks using things like a machine gun was really hilarious to behold. However, I won’t lie that there were only two monsters that gave me goosebumps and got me on edge, and The Verdugo from the sewer and the Regenerator near the end of the game. Everything else was like a “gorified” action game. It really is the reason why the later Resident Evil games after 4 really began to suck. They put all enthuses on action at the point where it even bastardized everything good about the franchise, like making Jill Valentine a matrix character as a great example. Capcom should have stuck with the original game design of Resident Evil 4 instead of revamping everything to what it is now because now, the whole Resident Evil series is ruined and will never again be scary.
Unlike Resident Evil 4, I am a HUGE Bioshock fan because it is a spiritual successor of System Shock 2. And being that it is a spiritual successor of that PC classic, it didn’t help that almost every aspect of the game was a revamped version of System Shock 2. The progression, the plot-twist, the scares, it really was too similar to that classic, not to mention that we’re more amazed at the world of rapture than we ever were scared of setting and their monsters. I mean Big Daddy and Little Sister, despite how violent they are, they were indeed adorable characters who unfortunately in a hell hold of the underwater utopia. I think the only thing that at least got me on edge was SPOILER ALERT Would you kindly END SPOILERS. I really love exploring as much as I could whenever I play both Bioshock and Bioshock 2, but nothing really at all scared me because I never got the sense that we would ever drown from the water, the enemies wearing such ridiculous props like rabbit masks, the predictable outcome of where the story is going to happen (thanks to System Shock 2), and especially over powering the character and have no consequences of dying (Resurrection Chamber) it just lost all sense of horror. The only game in the Bioshock series that actually got me scared was Bioshock Infinite’s Boys of Silence. I just like to look at Bioshock and Bioshock 2 to be really intelligent first-person shooters that happens to be set in a beautiful dark world that tried to be scary.
Number 2. – Every Doom Game
The Doom series used to be scary and the key word is “used to.” Back in the early 1990s, we never noticed the pixels like we do now because we couldn’t imagine that graphics could get better than that. Now over 2 decades later, it has became the one of the most entertaining classic instead of being a scary game. Hell, I even put Doom as the best game of 1993 and one of the best games of the 1990s because it’s still fun to play today. Sure everybody back then were shocked to see a murder simulator like Wolfenstein 3D to take a gigantic leap to the hell killer Doom, but it’s really one of those aspects where it’s not as scary as you remembered. I think it’s the fact that both the enemy designs are simplistic sprites to be scary and the player is too powerful to be taken down so easily. I mean you had more than enough ammo, a chainsaw that has unlimited usage, and even rocket launchers and BFG 9000 that obliterate anyone in the player’s way. And don’t get me started with Doom 3, the only reason why anyone could consider Doom 3 game scary is because it’s only scares is making everything hard to see and yet hard to look at as well. Literally, everything is faded into the darkness that feels like a one trick pony for scares. The Doom series, even despite how much exposure of satanic imagery they thrown at us, it did not intimidate me at all. Yet I still love playing them to death!
Number 1. – Alan Wake
This game is not frightening, plain and simple! How can Remedy, the creators of Max Payne, could even make me care less about what’s going on? I mean, Alan Wake was just so dried up to it’s inspiration with Stephen King and Twin Peaks. Since I’ve already experienced both of those works, Alan Wake just did not add anything new to this style of horror. I really dislike its lenear progression, his stupid friend Barry Wheeler, and only have one way to defeat an enemy that gets really repetitive at the point where it feels so dry. I really like that it took the setting in the forrest, but Remedy could really do so much with such a setting. At times, the game made fun of itself, like when Berry was playing as a DJ in an empty concert in the middle of the woods, that was just pathetic to even consider this title horror. I really think Alan Wake is really not as good as how the media praise it to be and yet, this one trick pony left me very disappointed. And I mean VERY disappointed!