Horror games are a favorite of mine. I love the atmosphere they create and the games they can play with your mind. Below I've listed some of my top five creepy games. This was a tough list to compile, but I think it's on point. Also, just a heads up there may be potential spoilers! Don't say I didn't warn ya. Oh and a disclaimer. I know not everyone will agree with my list, but that's ok! Because difference of opinion is what makes us all special!
Let's get right to it...
5. Clock Tower 3 (Playstation 2)
Clock Tower is a series of games (oddly enough, CT3 is actually the fourth installment) that originated as point and click. CT3 was the first to introduce direct control over the protagonist.CT3 wasn't very well received. The combat (only available during boss battles) was clunky and the camera wasn't a friend.
You play as Alyssa Hamilton, a 14 year old girl who returns home after her mother specifically said not too. From there, some really bizarre events go down, and Alyssa suddenly finds herself transported back in time. Her quest is to find her mother, but of course that won't be easy. Gameplay consisted of you solving puzzles all the while keeping away from the Subordinates (each levels boss character). You couldn't fight them, only hide, run and throw the occasional splash of holy water at their face.
What got CT3 on my list is the fact of how visceral it was (especially at the time). You see a little girl get bludgeoned on screen, a woman and her son burned alive in a vat of acid. Not to mention the fact that until Alyssa was at the end of each level, you could not fight. You had to run and hide and pray the Subordinate didn't find you. Alyssa didn't have a health bar in the game, but a sanity bar. If the Subordinate gets too close (even while she is hiding), she will go into a panic, making controlling her nearly impossible and allowing the enemy to get a one hit kill.
The game didn't boast a psychological horror experience, but it certainly had me on the edge of my seat while playing. The fact that Alyssa was helpless combined with the relentlessness of the Subordinate made for a tense play through.
4. Silent Hill 3 (Playstation 2)
A well known series, Silent Hill (whichever number that may be) holds a special place in the heart of many gamers. Sad to say, the series has really gone downhill past the third installment (seen above), but I think a lot of us fans holds hope that one day, it may return to what it used to be.
Silent Hill 3 was a direct sequel to the first game. It followed Heather Mason (Aka Cheryl) who returns to the town to confront her past. Silent Hill 3 was not only bloody (the dark tones of red and rust used to color the levels), but it also toyed with your mind, making you wonder just what the hell was going on.
The dev team took seemingly innocent areas (a mall, an amusement park, a church) and transformed them into a hellish nightmare -which was perfectly fitting. The enemies you faced were not only grotesque but actually had meaning to their shape and form.
The far creepiest part for me would have to be the storeroom in the hospital. You don't realize what is happening, til suddenly it has completely overwhelmed you. You don't want to look away and yet you can't stop watching to see what happens.
3. Fatal Frame (Playstation 2)
Ah Fatal Frame. A personal favorite of mine. Nothing could scare me (not even the later installments) as much as this original game did. You play as Miku, a girl who is searching for her brother in a giant mansion in the mountains. Her brother (Mafuyu), had gone looking for his favorite novelist and never returned.
The Himuro Mansion (where the game takes place) is terrifying on its own without the ghosts. The dev team did a great job establishing atmosphere, the dust covered rooms, the creaks and noises, the way the light plays tricks on you, and the history of the house. Miku's means of fighting against the spirits is not typical, instead of using weapons or running away, she uses the Camera Obscura.
Everything about Fatal Frame was terrifying. If you idled around in any place for too long, a fight was sure to happen. The game burrowed deep into your mind, making you question every noise and object. When ghosts attacked, I found myself wanting to see them better and yet cringing away at the same time.
I know a lot of people will argue that Fatal Frame 2 surpassed this game, but I can't say I agree. The first game had a sense of claustrophobia; that you were trapped in the mansion and there was no way you were getting out. Despite having beaten the game a few times, I still get chills when I start it up again.
2. Silent Hill 2 (Playstation 2)
No list would be complete with Silent Hill 2 on it. A stand alone game in the series, it left Harry Mason behind and introduced one of the best characters ever created, James Sunderland. James is called to the town by a letter he received from his wife, his very dead wife. Despite that minor detail, he goes and delves deep into his own personal nightmare. I know I listed spoilers at the top, but I really don't want to give too much away for Silent Hill 2, as it really REALLY should be played by anyone interested. You can't just read about Silent Hill 2, you have to experience it.
Nearly every single thing in this game holds a deeper meaning than you originally think. After beating it for the first time, I scoured the internet reading plot analysis and interpretations. This is a game that sticks with you long after you have put it down.
The music/ambient effects of the game really stand out. Akira Yamaoka did a hell of job fitting the perfect music (or noise) for the scene. Grinding industrial wails or a haunting piano bring the whole world to life. Like I said, Silent Hill 2 isn't something you can explain. Everyone who plays it takes away something different.
It's amazing that a game from 2001 still holds up today. If you haven't played it, I highly recommend you go out and find a copy (but stay away from the HD release).
1. Amnesia: The Dark Descent (PC)
There we are. Number One on my list. Amnesia is probably the most terrifying game I have played. This is the one game that actually made me take off my headphones and walk away from my computer. I consider myself pretty desensitized to horror games, but Amnesia has a knack for scaring the hell out of me.
You play as Daniel, a man who wakes up only to find he has (can you guess it?) amnesia! Daniel has to make his way through a castle (and other areas) to find out just what the hell is going on. Like Clock Tower 3, Amnesia does not allow Daniel to fight the monsters he encounters. Instead he must flee or hide. Daniel also has a sanity meter which drops every time an enemy spots him, he is in the dark (which is a lot unless you conserve oil), or if he sees something odd.
Amnesia's atmosphere is unbelievable. The slow buildup of tension is palpable. I played as the game suggested I do, in the dark and with headphones on, and I didn't last long. You can't help but feel like you are Daniel while playing. Even starting up the game causes your heart to beat faster, knowing what you are about to go against. The fact you aren't supposed to see the monsters makes it even worse. Basically put, if you can see a monster clearly, you are dead.
Like Silent Hill 2, Amnesia is something that has to be experienced. It is truly one of the most frightening games I've ever played. Everything about it is creepy and the fact that you have to be constantly on guard only adds to it. I'm extremely excited for its sequel, A Machine for Pigs.
And there you have it. My top five incredibly creepy video games. I know a lot of people would argue with what is on this list, but these are the games that really stood out to me.