Here at Ripten, we’re nothing if not festive. As the weather turns cold and the pumpkins light up, we take a look at some games that are sure to scare the crap out of you this holiday season. Read on… if you dare! Muwahahaha!
Seriously though, we usually try to incorporate content for all types of people, even the faint of heart. But for you scaredy-cats, read no further. Just go back to watching the Discovery channel.
#10 – Bioshock
Get out the candy corn and your plasmids, it’s time for some Big Daddy ass-whoopin! Bioshock swept us off our feet this summer with stunning visuals and a unique blend of gameplay and narrative.
2k Games received overwhelming praise from gamers and critics alike. However, it was never acclaimed as a horror game, even though the narrow corridors of Rapture held more than one claustrophobic, bloody fright.
#9 – Hellgate London
There are few men I trust more than Flagship’s Mr. Bill Roper to deliver a stellar game. Hellgate promises to be nothing less. Featuring fast paced combat, randomized dungeon layouts, and of course, what every Halloween game needs– lots and lots of zombies!
From gloomy cathedrals to ancient ruins, London lends itself very well as a scary backdrop for players to adventure in. After playing the beta for days, we can’t wait to get our hands on the final version of the game. Equally scary as the demons that infest the streets of London is how fast you get addicted to this game.
You won’t want to stop the mayhem, because a rare item might be one kill away. Flagship really nailed the whole carrot on a stick mentality that all of us remember so fondly from Diablo.
#8 – F.E.A.R.
Throw in some supersmart AI, mix in a little bullet-time, and sprinkle in a dash of the supernatural and you get Monolith’s multiplatform shooter FEAR. What more could you ask for? Hell, even the little girl from The Ring is in this game!
Fans of F.E.A.R won’t have to wait long to get there next fix. The game came out on PS3 earlier this year with a new gameplay mode, and the standalone expansion FEAR: Perseus Mandate hits store shelves the 6th of November.
#7 – The Suffering
Enter Abbott State Penitentiary, where Torque has been convicted and sentenced to death for killing his wife and two children. Torque claims that he blacked out when the murder occurred, and has no recollection of what happened (with a name like Torque, it’s a wonder no one believed him).
When an earthquake rocks the Prison, all Hell breaks loose and it’s up to you to get out of there. The Suffering also implements a light/dark side mechanic, prompting you to make moral decisions, the sum of which will determine the ending of the game. The Suffering easily takes the crown as the best psychological horror game we’ve played.
#6 – System Shock 2
System Shock 2 stands in a genre of its own. Fusing FPS mechanics with deep RPG style character development, SS2 doesn’t ram cheap monster closet thrills down your throat. Instead, it gets inside your head just to mess with you.
You wake up in a deserted space ship, the Van Buren, only to find the rest of the crew horribly killed or turned into monsters. Your character uncovers audio logs and bits of the story along the way.
It’s the subtle nature of the terror slowly welling up inside you that makes this game such a success. It’s no wonder Ken Levine has gone on record stating that Bioshock is the spiritual successor to System Shock.
#5 – Doom 3
As far as horror premises go, this one takes the cake. You’re a Mars security guard doing a routine patrol when all of a sudden a portal to Hell opens and everyone around you turns into damn dirty zombies.
Widely known as the game that kicked off the next-gen era, Doom 3 made PC gamers everywhere empty their pockets to beef up their systems. Doom isn’t just pretty– few games can match its level of immersion. Playing it with the lights out at night is one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had in gaming.
#4 – Alien vs. Predator 2
You can never have enough bug hunts! AvP2 is set on planet LV-426, the same dark, windy world where Aliens took place. Dynamic lighting and strong sound design set this game apart from the rest. You really get the sense that Aliens could be anywhere.
You can play the game through as any of the three species: Alien, Predator, or Human. We recommend you play through the Human campaign first, because the other species don’t seem to chat very often, leaving you hard-pressed to figure out what’s going on.
This game was strong enough to warrant an expansion pack called Primal Hunt which received mixed reviews. As a huge fan of the Aliens movies, AvP2 is one of my personal favorite games of all time.
#3 – Dementium: The Ward
It’s just you, some monsters, and a bonesaw. Even though the DS is not exactly known for its survival horror games, this first-person shooter sets a new standard for handheld dark and scary. There are creepy puzzles with the clues written in blood, skittering bugs that make a freaky chirping sound, and some massively mean bosses out to get you.
Releasing on Halloween, Dementium is a solid offering that tries to cram as much Silent Hill suspense and Doom 3 action into two little screens. Can you hear your heartbeat racing yet?
#2 – Resident Evil (Gamecube)
Resident Evil — Simply put, Resident Evil is the definition of the survival horror genre. Some may argue the original Playstation release of this game should get the recognition, however, which disc would you rather pop in?
We applaud the uniqueness and the effort that the original PSX game put forth. That said, the gorgeous visuals and enhanced gameplay in the Gamecube version make for a far better experience. In addition to the visuals, the enhanced version also features 10 different endings, as well as several new puzzles and plot twists.
RE4 might be a better action game, but RE1 is where the scares are. This is a must-own title for any fan of the horror genre.
#1 – Silent Hill 1 and 2
OK, so we cheated. Two games in the number one slot. But they’re so closely connected that they might as well be some kind of freaky conjoined Jack-O-Lantern.
Silent Hill is as simple a name as one can give to a small American town. Just a simple, sleepy town with the occasional zombie nurse, skinless attack dog, and pyramid-headed monster.
In these games, silence lurks around every corner with a washed-out white color palette. Silent Hill 1 has you playing as a concerned father seeking his lost child, while the sequel is about a distraught husband seeking his dead wife. Both times you make a slow descent into madness as the town seeks to swallow you up.
Silent Hill 2 is the superior game, having improved upon the original in every way. It implemented very original characters while still staying true to the unique vibe of being alone in a desolate and horrifying environment. Gameplay is more focused on exploration and narrative than action.
There is something to be said about the way these games get under your skin. You can’t really pin it down– perhaps it’s the game’s stronger emphasis on character-related drama. In addition to the freaky environments, the story really adds a second layer of horror that few games can match.
When thinking about horror games, the Silent Hill series immediately pops into my head, with SH2 as my all time favorite. When I think about it the answer is simple: subtlety.
Games usually can’t afford to incorporate the same levels of subtlety seen in film and books. From the broken wheelchairs to the plates of food still on the tables, you really get a sense that something terrible happened here, and it happened quickly. The game never directly tells you what happened to the town, which really lets your imagination take over.
So put the disc in, switch the lights off, turn the volume up and get ready for some of the most intense scares gaming has to offer. Just don’t freak out too much when the trick-or-treaters ring the doorbell. Have a happy Halloween!
P.S. If scary stuff isn’t for you then please, be our guest and have a gander at this relaxing nature video…
[youtube width=”425″ height=”335″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zyc3C1kB0Tg[/youtube]