Masters of Horror: DualShockers' Picks for Gaming's Scariest Characters
With Halloween in full swing, the DualShockers staff shares their picks for the characters that have terrified us most in gaming.
Halloween is here and while everyone around the world will be indulging in trick-or-treating and enjoying classic Halloween horror films, gamers will get to celebrate this Halloween by playing some of the scariest horror games around (or diving into Super Mario Odyssey if scary games aren’t your thing).
Right on time for the scariest time of the year, the DualShockers staff gathered together to share our picks for the the scariest characters that we’ve experienced in games. Gathering together iconic picks from titles like P.T., Silent Hill 2, and even a few unexpected picks, these are just a few of the boogeyman of video gaming that have turned our gaming dreams into nightmares over the years.
Jordan Boyd, Staff Writer
General RAAM (Gears of War)
The scariest character I’ve ever encountered in a game would definitely have to go to General RAAM from the Gears of War series. He’s easily the most memorable enemy from the games, and rightfully so. The final boss battle in Gears of War is up there for me personally as one of the best of all-time.
Even when playing as one of the the beefiest main characters ever, Marcus Fenix, General RAAM can still make you feel small. RAAM carries a serrated sword and has a swarm of Locust Kryll constantly defending him from bullets and devouring enemies at his command. In the Gears of War 3 DLC, “RAAM’s Shadow,” we got the chance to experience his power at our fingertips and it was a dream come true as a longtime fan of the series. General RAAM is easily the scariest character I’ve ever encountered in a video game because of that.
Noah Buttner, Staff Writer
Birdo (Super Mario Bros.)
For me, the most haunting character in video gaming is Birdo. I mean, what is she even? Yoshi is a sick-ass dinosaur, who you can ride. He’s like the best character in every Super Mario game.
But Birdo? She’s this creepily suggestive monster that spits eggs at you, and she is straight up nightmare fuel. She’s essentially a reverse Yoshi. He’s cool as hell to hang out with. I’m not going to lie: Birdo is sick at Super Mario Baseball though.
Lou Contaldi, Editor-in-Chief
The Dogs (Resident Evil)
To date the scariest moment — and by extension the scariest “characters” I’ve ever experienced in video games — are the window-bursting dogs from the original Resident Evil. You know who I’m talking about right? Those low-polygon, brown blobs seen best in the video above.
I remember sprinting out of my dark basement, tears in my eyes when six-year-old Lou was watching his cousins rush through the game. Up until that point, I had never heard of a jump scare — and by no means was I prepared for the glass shattering, barking, and literal hounding to break up the eerily silent mansion’s atmosphere.
Sure, I’ve had spooks since then; my first playthrough of P.T. made me delete the game off my account for the night and Resident Evil 7 in VR is almost unplayable for me with headphones. But nothing has been so pervasive and defining within the horror genre personally than those dumb, terrifying dogs.
Jordan Loeffler, Staff Writer
To properly establish horror, timing is essential. Many franchises set the mood over the course of a lengthy introduction, but others were never afforded that opportunity and made-do with the time they had. Few video game characters have made such good use of that time as Lisa from P.T., the “Playable Teaser” for the ill-fated Silent Hills.
I remember stumbling upon this title on the PlayStation Store one early morning, downloading it, and becoming absolutely petrified in broad daylight. Few characters have ever made me audibly scream, but my wife can attest that Lisa did just that. Peering through the spaces between ajar doors, lurking in the balcony, echoing my footsteps with every stride; Lisa’s disfigured design became my new nightmare, and her in-game symbolism became my new obsession for the months to follow.
Even when I’m clearing space from my PlayStation 4 hard drive, I still can’t bring myself to deleting P.T. It’s an experience I’m annually drawn back to this time of year, and even though I know each scare and puzzle by heart, when I’m done, I avoid looking down the dim hallways of my house for fear of whom I might find.
Azario Lopez, Staff Writer
The Necromorphs (Dead Space)
Since we are talking about scary video game characters, I’ve got to point out how terrifying the Necromorphs in the original Dead Space were.
At the time, I had never played a game where an enemy would run away only to climb through the vents and pop up behind me. These Necromorphs had me on constantly on guard and I remember addictively checking my ammo and healing items to make sure that I would be able to survive a surprise attack from them.
It’s sad to think that this fear didn’t continue throughout the rest of the series for me, but the original Dead Space had me hooked thanks to the dread and anxiety that the terrifying Necromorphs provided.
Taylor Lyles, Staff Writer
Pyramid Head (Silent Hill 2)
In 2001, I was only six years old when I first encountered one of the most terrifying fictional characters of my life, Pyramid Head from Silent Hill 2. When it comes to people you never want to encounter in the middle of the night, Pyramid Head is at the top of the list.
If it isn’t his Leatherface-esque appearance that creeps you out, it’s the way he walks that will certainly make you want to piss your pants. I think that’s what made the encounters with him in Silent Hill 2 all the more terrifying, mainly the fact that he would always appear when you are low on health/ammo; if that isn’t a heart-pounding moment, then I don’t know what is.
Scott Meaney, Community Director
Scissorman (Clock Tower)
My pick for scariest character is almost certainly not going to hold up to the test of time: Scissorman from Clock Tower. Specifically Clock Tower on PlayStation 1. Technically this was the sequel, but it was my first introduction to the series, and I absolutely adored it.
Scissorman was a terrific Jason/Freddy-style slasher villain. Even though you interacted with the world through an awkward point-and-click interface, at the time it was one of the most visceral games I’d ever played. The graphics have aged like milk and the scares are pretty by-the-numbers by today’s standards. But man, Scissorman really got under my skin as a kid. He just had this way of popping up when you least expected him.
Ryan Meitzler, Features Editor
The Chainsaw Man (Resident Evil 4)
It’s funny for me to think back on when I used to play horror games as a kid versus playing them now — today, horror games are some of my absolute favorite titles ever, and this year gave us some remarkable horror games in the forms of Resident Evil 7: biohazard, Outlast II, The Evil Within 2, and many more. Back then though, I was a pansy and was terrified of them, but I think that speaks to the power of horror games to immerse you in a world (and especially creepy environments) that rivals the best horror movies or novels.
However, one of the characters that I often think back on as one of the most terrifying is the infamous Chainsaw Man from Resident Evil 4, a game I’ve continuously gone back to time and time again. Even though I’ve probably fought Chainsaw Man several times over, he still manages to have a gripping effect on me — he’s lumbering, he’s powerful, and I will truly never forget the time that he got too close and I got a nasty surprise in the form of a brutally beheaded Leon S. Kennedy.
So kudos to you, Chainsaw Man, for continuing to terrify me now for 12 years and counting.
Michael Ruiz, Staff Writer
Stephanie Tate (Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within)
It was a dark and stormy Saturday night in the mid 2000’s — seriously, it was actually storming outside — I was sleeping over at my best friend’s house. As we finished playing a few games of NBA Inside Drive 2004, we wanted to close out the night with a scare. My friend suggested a title I had never heard of called Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within. I jovially accepted his recommendation and opened the PlayStation’s disc-tray and inserted the black-backed disc.
My memory of the game’s opening is pretty foggy; it has been more than ten years since I have played Clock Tower II and in a moment, you will understand why I never finished it. While walking down one of the many hallways of the haunted house, a phone rings. As you answer, a little girl laughs into your ear and then says, “I’m going to kill you.”
This was the moment I felt legitimate fear; the one thing that terrifies me the most in any horror movie or game is a creepy, pale little girl who laughs in my face and threatens to murder me. Well, soon after, you’re caught in a room with Stephanie Tate — one of the game’s antagonists — where she, once again, attempts to murder. By “attempt,” I mean she succeeded because my friend and I were so scared we ran to the nearest light switch to extinguish the horrific atmosphere we created.
Who are the horror game characters that make you terrified in the night? Want to share what moment made you change into a new pair of pants? Continue the conversation and share your pick for the scariest gaming character in the comments below!
Header image courtesy of Ranker.