Top 10 Scariest Games

This is it, everyone! After all the lists of games that I think that are scary and other various lists of games in the sub-genre of horror games, this is my picks of the scariest games I’ve ever played. This is saying a lot considering that I have played and experienced a lot of horror games. These games hold up as being frightening and never lost its nightmarish appeal. I know that nobody is ever going to agree on what gave is the scariest because we all have different fears. Just like how some find clowns scary, but I find them amusing. But I’m scared of ghosts, while most people find them a cliche. The point is, is that you may not agree with me but this is my list and these games that I find to be the scariest of all time. And that’s the key word here “all time” meaning that it has to be scary back then and still scary now. That’s very hard to do for a game considering that time changes so fast and the standards of scares changes as we mature. It was tough to pick only 10 that I find still scary but I did manage to pull it off. With that being said, be sure to check out all of the other lists that I’ve made that have been a strong contender, if they didn’t make it on the list.

With that out of the way, here are the games that I think are the scariest of all time!

Number 10.  –  F.E.A.R.: First Encounter Assault Recon 

Who you gonna call? Well the Ghostbusters can’t handle such a damning task, so we have the F.E.A.R. squad to do it… except that you’re the only one alive from your squad. You’re looking at one of my all time favorite first-person shooters ever. I never seen so much tension with a video game’s atmosphere in all my life and it does it so successfully. There are just moments that makes you get on the edge of your seat when you see Alma who constantly jump scares you and more than plenty of disturbing scenes whenever your character hallucinates. Not to mention that this game offered some of the best gunplay of the genre. Basically you can activate a slow motion effect (Max Payne style) and watch every single bullet being shot to fly off the screen. Also the bullet shots are purely effective and highly detailed when they hit walls, enemies, and other objects. The physics and the graphical capabilities actually show how engaging and realistic gun combat can really be.  I did say that putting a lot of action in horror games ruins all suspense, but this game has a great balance between action and the horror so perfectly that it’s worth coming back to again and again. It’s just too bad that the sequels of F.E.A.R. totally ruined the experience and the whole point of the original game, but the first game is all that matters. I love F.E.A.R. for every ounce of breath and it shows that this is how first-person shooters should be done!

Number 9.  –  Resident Evil 3: Nemesis

I am one of the few that favors for Resident Evil 3: Nemesis more than Resident Evil 2. I understand that the game is set in the same locations that we’ve already seen in Resident Evil 2, however this game was more action packed and varied in the horror department than RE 2 ever was. Not only there were more zombies and monsters lurking around Raccoon City, but we also have the icon Nemesis who appears at random and attacks you with all that he’s got and never rests. This time the tension and the moment when it suddenly cuts to the bone are taken to an even higher screaming point. I’m very sad to see that this is the last true Resident Evil game before the whole series turned into dumb action games and it’s impossible to see if the series will ever go back to its old roots ever again.

Number 8.  –  The Suffering 

The standard in the traditional survival horror is that you have to have bad controls to play a horror game otherwise the game would be too easy and not scary. Along came The Suffering to prove otherwise. This third-person shooter horror game is completely twisted. Putting us in a haunted prison is one creative concept of a horror game, but what’s just as scary as the monsters is the character that you’re playing as. That’s very rare for me to say that because most of the time the character we play as is the victim. You play as  Torque has been convicted and sentenced to death for murdering his ex-wife and two children, although he claims to have blacked out at the time this happened and cannot remember anything. But that happens to be his very curse because he turns into a beast living within him that’s driving him insane. Balancing the revolution of sadistic monsters and finding out what really happen to Torque, leaves a hopeless world where despair’s only foe is raw, unnatural selection that canvases every corner of the prison. Blood smeared wall, wielding cries for help, and a bunch of hallucinations keeps you on edge throughout; is there anything more scarier than a haunted prison?

Number 7.  –  Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth

In any media, anything that is inspired by H.P. Lovecraft knows what the nature of Lovecraftian or doesn’t know jack about the mythos. Dark Corners of the Earth may not be the scariest game, but it is really the most intense game I’ve ever played. I never ever felt like in a state of panic when the whole city of Innsmouth rushing in after you. It’s all thanks to the gothic atmosphere, the dark score, the sound system that felt real, and the monster designs were really frightening. I never felt so much adrenaline because this very title captures the tone and vision of Lovecraft’s work. Everything is just too mysterious in the game and the more you know the more something bad happens. Never has there been a game before it that demands you to survive and you can really feel it all. Sure people can bitch about how mediocre the shooting and stealth mechanics are, but if it were better, would it be any scarier? Having any disadvantage for the player when it come to facing all of the evils of Innsmouth puts the player in real panic and the last thing you ever want in a horror game is to make anything easy. There are so many moments in this game that get you in panic and at times makes you feel so sad for the characters that it feels like your heart fell off. I praise Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth honoring the name of H.P. Lovecraft for that it shows that its inspiration will continue forever.

Number 6.  –  Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem

Remember when I said that in Metal Gear Solid Psycho Mantis’s mind-tricks were the scariest part of the game? Well imagine that concept into an entire game! You got yourself the most creative horror title of all time! This game offers scares that goes far beyond anything that Psycho Mantis can really do (and that’s saying a lot considering how that character fucked me up as a child). It’s such a shame that Nintendo never seemed to be able to shake off its image as a “kiddy” system, despite the fact that one of its first and finest titles was in fact a full-on survival horror title. Eternal Darkness had me hooked immediately and I played it obsessively until I had finished it in all possible ways. Eternal Darkness’s strengths relied on its subtly creepy atmosphere and colorful set of playable characters, all of whom add variety to the gameplay, with their own lives and strifes becoming wrapped up in the over-arching nonlinear storyline. But of course, the absolutely most chilling thing about the game are the sanity effects. As you hack your way through Zombies, Bonethieves and Horrors your character starts losing his or her sanity until the game starts doing all matter of crazy shit. The first time playing, you’re in for some really frightening and shit-disturbing moments, but the more you play the more you learn how to offset the horrendous illusions. Eternal Darkness had fluid and easy-to-master controls (unlike all the games of the genre that uses tank-controls), a brilliant voice-cast, and an excellent soundtrack, all of which contributed to a brilliant gaming experience. It’s easily the best survival horror game I’ve ever played.

Number 5.  –  The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

I’m surprised to all hell why nobody has ever accuse this game as being a horror game because it clearly is. This game is just so imaginative that its scary. I mean who could even thought of the moon that continuously stare right back at you, inside of the moon (seriously what the hell did I just witness there), transforming into a deku, the skull kids screams, the happy mask man, the death moths, the mask transformations, how you got the Zorra’s mask from a dead Zorra, every time when a day hits 12 AM it’s shows how much time you have left, and the last six hours apocalypse music when your time is running out, and so many more could ever be the most twisted experiences ever?! I can honestly say that if this is not the scariest game, this should be the most unsettling game I’ve ever played and it’s the reason why it took me so long to beat it. Despite how I hate the time limit, it is very effective. This sure as hell isn’t the first time the Zelda series was scary, but Majora’s Mask proves to be the most frightening of them all!

Number 4.  –  Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly

Fatal Frame is a very different type of survival horror game. You are armed only with your camera as you face ghosts in a scary Japanese setting. The second installment in the series is my favorite, with two unique characters and a fantastic ghost story to go along with it. Part of the game’s appeal is that it’s very reminiscent to Japanese horror movies and the way you attack ghosts in this game. The way it’s done is to use a camera to take a clear picture of the ghost to commit exorcism. It has to be a good shot and it has to be up & close, which makes it so terrifying to play because its effective when looking at them that close and you have a higher chance to getting killed by them. I never seen a game the rewards the player for being spooked and on your journey it gets more and more frightening. Fatal Frame 2 is so well crafted that it almost felt like a Japanese horror flick; classy and downright creepy that makes us fear for ghosts again.  That’s why makes Fatal Frame so damn special; it took the best aspects of the earliest survival horror games, but it’s not afraid to scrap the bad parts and make something new and different. Because it gave us all a huge fearful impression when we all first played this game, it became a benchmark in survival horror games!

Number 3.  –  Silent Hill

I’ve stated that the Silent Hill trilogy is the best survival horror trilogy ever! However, if you have to torture me and say which of the three is the scariest, I have to go with the original Silent Hill. It’s very obviously an attempt to capitalize on the growing popularity of the horror genre, spurred by the success of Resident Evil, but that didn’t keep it from becoming one of the best horror games of all time. This pushed the genre forward in some very disturbing (and welcoming) ways. The real reason why this game make it as the third scariest game I’ve ever played because it still remains as the only game that made me faint! You heard me right. I remember when my friend invited me over and his brother just got a copy of Silent Hill brand new in 1999. I remember it was so haunting to see that Cheryl was missing and Harry had to find her to only end up in a gory ally and monsters took over you. When he awoke, he found himself in a diner, only to have a giant-bat, pterodactyl-like monster to crash through the window trying to kill you. At that moment, it was so nightmarish and I was so overwhelmed that I fainted. I woke up with everyone in my friend’s brother’s room worrying about my fainting and they all stopped. I admit that there were scarier moments in the later game and the rest of the trilogy, but never did I ever had such a reaction that felt like an out-of-the-body experience that only the original Silent Hill could offer.

Number 2.  –  Amnesia: The Dark Descent

This first-person horror game is not only frightening, it’s truly overwhelming. The developers (Penumbra) took everything about how to make video game scary and takes a extra mile of fear that we rarely have today. The scariest part of all is that this game refuses to let the player feel like they’re at all powerful; they’re in total danger no matter what happens. When you set foot in the dark you hallucinate. When you run out of time in finding what you need, a monster comes after you. And almost everything you do might come to an end in the most surprising moment. Amnesia is not the kind of game for the person who likes to feel in control of his experience. Frictional seems aware that a key ingredient in the recipe for fear is a feeling of powerlessness which is the key for making a video game scary. The player should be more the victim than the hero, helpless before whatever horrors stalk the halls and lurk in the shadows. Amnesia: The Dark Descent, developed on a shoestring budget by five Swedes, is a rare game that outshines (or rather, out-scares) the high-end, high-budget, triple-A titles that so often lay claim to the horror game mantle. For every praise that this game has gotten, it deserves every ounce of it for what it did for horror games as a whole.

Number 1.  –  Clocktower (SNES)

This is truly my worst nightmare; every aspect of the game I felt like I’m a vulnerable victim. Survival horror is not a genre you often associate with point-and-click adventure games, but Clock Tower combined the two with the inclusion of a relentless stalker known as Scissorman. The stooped tormentor could appear at any point throughout the story, wielding a huge pair of shears that he threateningly clanged together with every step, and the only way of escaping was to either run away and find a hiding place or grab a weapon to temporarily subdue him. This was made even more terrifying by the clunky interface (point-and-click sucks on console controllers), as you frantically clicked the screen to avoid instant death from the killer’s blades. Not only that, but the secrets inside the mansion and knowing what happened to everybody is some truths that I never wanted to see unfold. What makes this game hold up more so than all the other horror game is the fact that every playthrough you make with this game always changes the path and direction that’s outside of your control, making every replay different from one another. This makes Scissorman and all of the scares to come out differently and at randomly. There will be moments of this game where it fucks with you that predates Eternal Darkness’s sanity effects. Not only that, your character Jennifer constantly looses her control when you don’t give her time to catch her breath which makes it even more difficult to manage. Even worse, finding a goddamn hiding place is many times, hard to find as well as intense when you’re being chased down like a worm. It’s so amazing that a 2D game with sprites could ever give me such a crazy impression. It really shows that you don’t need to have the best graphics to make me scared, I mean look at the majority of modern horror games today, they failed at that aspect.

I know most of you guys are thinking what I think of the PS1 version of Clock Tower. Sad to say it, but even with its 3D graphics and voice acting, it’s an inferior version. Unfortunately, in every area, that the Sony playstation Clock Tower fails, the SNES game succeeds and droves. The SNES version of Clock Tower is the pedestal of survival horror. I admit that it’s a biased opinion towards the two is better, but there’s no question that the original had a much scarier plot and it made more sense. The PS1 version that had pointless policemen characters that should have been cut. Clock Tower is explicitly a horror game and it is not afraid to show it. There are just moments of the game that made me jump out of my seat, become very nervous whenever I hear the Scissorman’s theme, and just so many more mysteries and secrets that I haven’t found, but I refuse to do it. This game took way too much inspiration from Dario Argento that makes it even scarier than it already should be. Every time I think of this game, I become a nervous reck and hope nothing that I’ve seen from this game could ever become real. It’s just that very scary feeling that still remains even if you turn the console off and never played the game again. What other horror game out there could ever say the same? That’s why Clock Tower will always be the scariest game I’ve ever played and since then there have only been close contenders.

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