We celebrate horror month every month, because horror is just how we roll. However, there’s something about October that makes celebrating the frightening genre just feel right. Last year saw the release of Alien: Isolation and The Evil Within, and this year brought SOMA, Until Dawn, and the upcoming Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water... to consoles that aren’t Xbox. I’ll admit, the Xbox is not the place to party on Halloween this year, but let’s open it up a little.
What are your favorite horror games?
Fatal Frame and Silent Hill are my top dogs (even as an Xbox guy, I’m looking forward to the new Fatal Frame more than Halo 5), but it all started for me with Resident Evil on Playstation. It looks awful in retrospect, but the eerie mansion, the limited inventory space, the jump scares… it was all new territory. I never played the original Alone in the Dark, nor was I ever terrified by the pixels in horror themed games like Ghosts n’ Goblins or Zombies Ate My Neighbors, but my friends and I were sucked in to the world Capcom had created. It became an event and every weekend we’d find ourselves huddled in my bedroom playing through Resident Evil, watching those campy live-action cut-scenes for the 30th or 40th time. Resident Evil’s popularity gave new life to the genre we know and love (like Final Fantasy VII did for RPGs), improving just about everything in the second and third entries.
It wasn’t until Silent Hill where I truly began to appreciate atmosphere and the fear of the unknown. It was this weird combination of The Last Man on Earth meets Hellraiser, and I was scared shitless navigating its foggy streets (named after famous horror authors) the whole way through. Combat was pretty terrible, and I remember having to restart after reaching the giant moth boss with only 2 shots of my hunting rifle left, but that feeling of helplessness added to the overall tension perfected by the series in Silent Hill 2 and 3. Silent Hill 4: The Room is where it kind of lost me, although I still enjoyed what I played of it. Homecoming was a bit of a bust, and to this day I’ve never even touched Origins. And I’m still not sure how I feel about Downpour. Shattered Memories though, that was a pleasant surprise.
Whether it’s the film-grained graphics and telltale signs of Japanese horror found in Fatal Frame, Siren, Haunting Ground, Kuon, Clock Tower, or Rule of Rose, the taste of the Silent Hill that never was in P.T., or the unimaginable monsters lurking in The Evil Within and Resident Evil 4, I love me some horror games. Even some of the bad ones. Ju-On, Calling, and Cursed Mountain were enjoyable in their own way on the Wii. Obscure and Obscure: Aftermath are laughably bad on PS2, but I’d still play through them. The mass amount of Slender or Five Nights at Freddy’s clones on PC though, that’s where I draw the line.
So what about you? What are your favorite horror games of all time? Sound off down in the comments.