When was the last time you felt scared? Not just my-girl's-gonna-let-me-have-it scared, I'm talking soil-yourself-shamelessly scared. True enough, there might not be a video game out there that'll make you literally crap your pants, and it's far too impractical (and stupid) to find Leatherface to force your dinner down the backdoor. That said, let's just take a look at the things that come close
There have been a lot of video games that tried, but few have succeeded in actually producing a decent scare. By scare, I don't mean surprising you with a sudden loud noise or a lady in her nighties walking right behind you. We want that longer-term fear, the kind that makes you want to put the controller down or hand it to someone else.
Always present on that list is Resident Evil
. Ever since we took our first zombie
down in the Raccoon Mansion, RE has made its mark as a leader in the genre. Couple that with two angry dogs, a huge snake boss, and a chillingly creepy soundtrack, then you've got more reasons not to mention your unmentionables.
"Err...I'm gonna need a bigger knife..."
Years later, improvements on gameplay and knowledge of the plot made RE less and less scary. Sure, the succeeding titles still had their scary moments, but not as much when all you had was a Beretta and little knowledge of what's going on. By the time Resident Evil 5
came along, very little was left to be feared. An pack of lickers? Bring them on, I've just upgraded my shotgun, and I have explosive rounds on my launcher itching to be used.
With upgradable firearms and a hot partner with an accent to help you out, RE didn't feel much like a survival horror game any more, but leaned more on the shooter side.
Then there was Silent Hill
. To this day, the sound of the radio static in that game still sends a familiar chill down the spine. To add to the scare, you have the option of playing through the entire game using an arsenal of improving pipes and hammers. Who could forget the first time the world switched into the Alternate form? Bloody walls, chains, and the whole sadistic feel of the place? Very nicely done, and the similar feel carries across the franchise.
One thing I like about the Silent Hill games is that your protagonist never gets an arsenal that rivals that of a small country. The monsters will still pose some threat, and you won't ever have the assurance that you could go, "Stay still while I aim my Rocket Launcher!"
Speaking of feeling defenseless, there has to be no better game for that than Fatal Frame
. My first encounter with the series was in the second, Crimson Butterfly
, and it stays as as one of the scariest I ever played.
How? First of all, your character is a waify, soft-spoken girl that walks around like she's in freakin' Disneyland
. Then unlike other horror games, she doesn't even have a gun. To add insult to that injury, all she has is a camera. Great concept. It's bad enough you have to look at the freaky @#$%^s, you even have to take their damn picture - you could even wait for them to get closer to get a money shot.
"I ain't sayin' Cheese!"
Like anything horror-related, it's always the first encounter that unloads the full blast. As you go on, the scare seems to die down and you move on to the next. There have been great titles to move on to - F.E.A.R., Dead Space, Siren to name a few.
Of course, fear is subjective, and what may make you squeal like a girl may not even faze the next guy. And so, as this Halloween
post comes to a close, I ask, what are you