If you have not seen part one of this list (games 10 – 5), please check it out here.
Now we knuckle down to the final four. Again I must restate, this list hopefully differs from the lists you’ll see on every other site, so don’t get agitated if you’re favourite horror game hasn’t featured – because chances are it’s not been played, or it wasn’t scary enough.
Ahhhh, Fatal Frame! Hello there! Your game title has a camera-related pun in it, how sweet and innocent. Oh and would you look at that – your cover art features a reasonably attractive Japanese female protagonist! What a quaint little game you are. I’m going to pop you in my Playst- oh crap. Crap. Oh balls. This is too intense. God, get me out! I don’t want to play anymore. AHHH!
Yes readers, those were essentially my only feelings I felt playing Fatal Frame 2. In fact, as I was slightly younger and coincidentally half the macho-horror-man I am today… ehem… I could hardly ever play it. I had almost a strict rotor that I had to abide by at all costs:
Rule 1) Always play it during the daytime.
Rule 2) Make sure the daytime is moderately bright. If it’s overcast or dark, or that weird purplish-blue colour it sometimes goes when rain clouds block everything, don’t play.
Rule 3) Sit quite far back from the screen… please.
Rule 4) Maybe don’t play it.
So in the haughty-taughty gaming spirit, I decided to stick religiously to rule 4. And that is why I do not have a “Most standout memory” for this title. Because I was a massive “pussy” or “fag” or any other insult lifted from American Pie 2. Just trust me; it’s a game worth playing if you get the chance. The premise was fantastic (no weapons, just a camera) and as a result forced you to get up close with the enemy. The atmosphere was as oppressive and gloomy as BioShock’s, and it was made a good few years before. I’m sure however, with time it may have lost it’s spooky edge. I’ll have to go back one day and give it another bash – but for now though, it says at a fond, firm, fatal fourth position.
I love Silent Hill. Imma let you all know that right now. I love the stories, the setting, the characters, the creatures and not forgetting the critically panned but (in my humble opinion) fantastic horror movie directed by that awesome foreign bloke. Everything about it is perfect, except for one thing: When I played it I just didn’t get as scared as I got with the top 2 games on this list. It’s a broody, constantly testing game which did genuinely creep me out and mess around with my head a little, but I think the soul reason why I didn’t put this game at number one is because the monsters are just not vicious enough. Before you begin to rant “It’s not about scary monsters making you jump, it’s about the atmosphere” know that I’m not bashing that. If there’s one thing you can’t take away from Silent Hill, it’s the fantastic horror atmosphere. I’m not even asking for jump scares. The monsters look fantastic and horrific, but if they were just that little bit more dangerous and relentless and harshly aggressive (with of course the exception of Pyramid Head) then I think I would have felt far more claustrophobic and petrified than I originally did. Hopefully some people out there can see this point of view, and if you can’t? Go run over to Silent Hill: Homecoming, and try and defend that till your eyes fall out!
Most standout memory: Seeing as this game has remained in my mind since the day I played it, I would hazard to say the majority of the game stood out as being particularly scary. The one moment I can really remember wetting myself over, however, was during the sequence where you had to run away from Pyramid Head. And you’re little lady friend is (in typical horror-like fashion) basically less fit than you and cannot keep up. Such a horrible, horrible yet brilliant game.
Will you guys give me a second to tell you one of the weirdest experiences of my life? Thanks. I had my girlfriend over one night (this isn’t shameless self-glorifying, honest) and we were making out during the Channel 4 TV adverts on one Friday night as a re-showing of some Adam Sandler movie was on. As our lips passionately entwined around the other, I heard a young girl blurting out from the telly a freakish rendition of “twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder where you are…” I turned my eyes to face the screen whilst trying to maintain the level of kissing (that’s multitasking for you) when I suddenly beheld five seconds of watching a bloody corpse of a man standing, bashing his head in against a wall. It all then went black, and the only text onscreen said “no known survivors”. As I watched, completely mind-frakked by what I’d just seen, shown during pre-watershed hours on British television, I’d completely lost my kissing rhythm, to which my girlfriend noticed – looked in my eyes’ direction (by which time the adverts had finished), and thought I was more interested in watching Adam Sandler do his regular funny-voices comedy, than her.
The following day I went on the internet and spent hours upon hours browsing the almost secretive “noknownsurvivors.com” website. For anyone that’s not visited it (it’s still running), the website was a viral marketing device – which made sure not to have any direct associations with the EA logo or the Dead Space name. Therefore, it felt like a completely standalone piece of work, with limbs floating around that if clicked on, would load a small interactive video/game. It was creepy, atmospheric, and immediately had me searching the web at any opportunity to get updates on the Dead Space game. It was finally released and… you know what? I didn’t go out and buy it. Don’t ask me why – I had the money for it, I just wasn’t too fussed. After a while I got it at a steal price (£15 – around $20?) and took it home, and had the living crap scared outta me. It’s a brilliant game, there’s no denying that. Whilst it lifts many of the things it does straight out of pre-made concepts, games and films, it delivers them so well that it feels in a world of its own (literally). The constant sounds of screeching creatures mixed with whispering noises of deceased passengers constantly keeps players on their toes, because who knows what might pop up at the end of a dark, dank, dead corridor (he’s done it again – check out point 4.) The monsters are brutally designed, and are so horrific to look at and get close to that when you see one approaching from the distance you waste whole clips in trying to kill them as fast as possible. They’re a perfectly designed enemy, completely terrifying, relentless, and varied (which is a nice addition to a game like this). The zero gravity moments are beautiful to behold, but I found they got tedious after a while. Finally, if it wasn’t for the backtracking I felt I would have enjoyed it more – but there’s no need to point out the flaws when it stands out as being one spectacular, space, survival shooter (and he’s done it again).
Most standout memory: Perhaps for me, the very first time your team are attacked by one alien and you’re left segregated from them in a small holding room. Then the monster opens the door, and you have to run by it to escape. Weapon-less. Ahhhhhhh!
For some of you this may have come as a shock, for others it may soothe you to know that you’re not alone in finding this game completely and utterly scary as hell. Sure enough, you do have an array of weapons at your disposal, but they never give you confidence whilst playing. They’re useful for disposing all of the enemies, sure, but you cannot shoot Alma. All you can do is stand, captivated by her terrifying appearance when she decides to pop in and check on you on your quest. The story, I find, is rather overlooked by most people – who feel Alma is only there to “jump” scare the gamer. Alma is in fact the mother of YOU – the mute, paranormal investigator character! You were taken from her at birth, and she was murdered. The only way your mother can communicate with you is by coming to you during your investigations in the guise of a creepy, little Japanese girl (okay, maybe that one’s just there for scariez). Throughout the game you’ll be completely slowed as she walks towards you, arms open, smiling. Eurgh – just the thought of those graphics! There’s even one part where a naked “teen” version of Alma comes to get you, opening her arms – just wanting to give you the hug she never got to give. It’s brilliant, and creepy (and of course you don’t find any of this out till the end of the game – so if you haven’t played it yet, unlucky readers). This game can get as screwy as Silent Hill 2 as well, without having to create a whole new foggy world. The depressing bland corridors of hospitals, derelict schools and factories serve as fantastically sinister and petrifying surroundings. And just when you get a little bored of searching round an abandoned corpse-covered hospital, the developers just throw in a few flashing lights. That’s a cheap shot, yeah? But then they’ll make your character halt, or move ridiculously slowly. A bit weird, but okay… And then they’ll fill the room up with blood, and make the door you’re approaching smash like glass revealing a brick wall, and as you turn around – baby Alma is on the ceiling, walking towards you leaving blood prints in her wake, giggling whilst screaming. Then just as she gets close to you… BAM! Something terrifying happens, but I’m not going to spoil any more of this game for you readers, it’s my number one – so I’d encourage you all to give it a go if you haven’t already. It’s scary as hell, but hugely enjoyable and the frightening moments are not few and far between. Stay on your toes, it’s gonna’ be a bumpy ride.
Most standout memory: (I’m going to say these in a code-word sort of fashion, so as not to spoil any of the scary moments in the game). The nurse in the hospital window. Approaching the top of the sewer ladder. Turning round at the bottom of a factory ladder. Searching outside… and turning around. The ending.
Thanks for reading guys, feel free to tell me all about your favourite horror games and maybe I’ll give them a go at some point. As for now, this editorial is officially adjourned – happy Halloween!!!