GameCrate’s Halloween Spookytacular: Week 2
Now that the month of October is in full swing, it's really time to start binge-watching some awesome slasher flicks, over-the-top monster movies, and classic horror films. It's also pivotal that we set aside time for video games that are in line with the Halloween season. There's a long line of great titles to play during this creepy month, some of which are critically acclaimed and others you may not have heard about but should totally check out.
Last time on GameCrate's Halloween Spookytacular, we dove into darkness of Five Nights at Freddy's, lost our minds in Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, got back to basics with Alone in the Dark, felt an eerie build-up in Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, explored an abandoned cabin in Anna, entered the haunted house from Sweet Home, and killed a bunch of not-zombies in Resident Evil 4. This week, we take a look at seven more fitting games perfect for playing on or around Halloween.
Silent Hill 2
We're not wasting any time in bringing out the big hits. Though Silent Hill has been around for a long time, it's largely agreed by many fans that Silent Hill 2 is the quintessential entry in Konami's survival horror franchise. While statements like that are always up for debate, there's no denying the impact this game had on its respective series and the horror genre in general.
Rather than forcing heavy doses of combat on you, Silent Hill 2 relies vastly on item collection and riddles. This makes it a fun and creepy exploratory adventure through ravaged levels. The game's story has been widely lauded for its mysterious elements and psychologically disturbing themes. Add to that the unsettling atmosphere, claustrophobic environments, and grotesque enemies, as well as the dreary soundtrack by the legendary Akira Yamaoka, and it's no wonder why Silent Hill 2 is still considered one of the greatest classic survival horror games of all time.
Slender: The Arrival
After the freeware release of the brief yet chilling Slender: The Eight Pages, it only made sense for a sequel to hit digital distribution services on consoles and PC. Slender: The Arrival builds upon the minimalist horror gameplay of the original and continues the fabled tale of the pseudo-folkloric Slender Man, who's super-creepy to look at on account of his unnaturally tall, slim, and faceless appearance.
Though this sequel has been on the receiving end of mixed reactions, it definitely has an eerie vibe to it. It's especially noteworthy for its dark forest setting, camera filters, and reduced light sources. Like many classic horror films of the past, The Arrival is mostly scary because of what you don't see. Still, when Slender Man appears, you're in for a frightening moment, and maybe even a jump scare.
Though I wouldn't go so far as to call the recent Shadowgate remake an outright horror game, it does have a few spooky elements that more or less make it a fine game to play during October. For starters, the game is set within the confines of an old, crumbling castle. This setting is almost reminiscent of something you'd see in a movie from the black-and-white days of horror films.
The writing on hand is solid, but it's more than just descriptive and engaging — the script, dialogue, and narration of Shadowgate succeed because of the use of dark humor. Simply put, it sucks when you die, but it's also kind of funny. The game's cast of ghouls and elven creatures also makes for a fun ride through a creepy castle. It's the type of game that you should play this month, not because it's necessarily scary, but because it's offbeat, good-natured entertainment with an ever-present darkness to it.
For more on Shadowgate, make sure to check out our full review.
This one's a toughie. Though I absolutely love the idea behind Knock-Knock and consider it a genuinely scary game, a few cumbersome gameplay mechanics make it hard to recommend for all but those who are willing to deal with frustration in favor of scares. This is, for all intents and purposes, a creepy game that fills you with dread and makes you jump at times, especially if you play it in the dark with headphones on. The problem is the repetitive, obnoxious nature of the game's progression.
Knock-Knock is the perfect example of great scares hampered by poor design. The ambiance is mesmerizing, enemies are disturbing to behold, the graphics are reminiscent of foreign children's horror stories, and the sound design is absolutely perfect. It's the underwhelming reliance on forcing you back to the start of a level that creates a disconnect in the otherwise remarkable creepiness of this game. Play Knock-Knock if you've got the patience for it — it's certainly worth it ... at least somewhat.
In Alan Wake, darkness is your worst enemy. And when you're surrounded by nothing but eternal gloom, it's hard not to be terrified. The game's premise puts you in the shoes of an author who's suddenly trapped in a world devoid of light, struggling to stay alive as he battles the darkness' minions utilizing any light sources he can find.
Navigating in the dark creates this tense feeling that you don't have control over anything around you, and that at any moment, something evil can and will pop out and attack you. It's terrifying, no doubt, and it makes Alan Wake a game best experienced with all of the lights off and the blinds shut.
Due to Resident Evil and Silent Hill popularizing the survival horror genre in the '90s and 2000s, Haunting Ground doesn't get as much attention as it deserves. Designed like a scary-as-hell game of hide-and-seek, this title puts you in the role of Fiona Bell, a young lady who's trapped in an ancient castle. With no way of finding an escape, she's forced to run and hide from the creatures that remain within the castle, many of which are a terror to witness.
Thankfully, you're not alone. Accompanying you for the ride is your trusty dog Hewie, who adds a nice layer to the survival horror gameplay of Haunting Ground. The White Shepherd can attack or distract enemies and steer you toward hidden items. Interestingly, how you interact with Hewie directly impacts the end of the game, making this four-legged critter more than just an expendable companion inside of the devilish walls of the horrific castle.
Could you believe that a pixelated, 2D game is actually scary? Well, that's exactly the case as far as Lone Survivor is concerned. Developer Jasper Byrne created one of the most unnerving indie games around, dropping you into a world that's completely devoid of humanity. After surviving a vicious viral outbreak, you must find your way out of the city if you have any hope to survive.
The creepy thing about Lone Survivor is how you have to manage your hunger, loneliness, solitude, and sanity. All of these factors come into play early on, and many times, you're forced to make tough decisions, like whether it's worth it to eat a raw rat you've just killed. The ambiance is also haunting, and encountering the disgusting enemies triggers a loud, nerve-racking sound that chills you to the bone, especially if you're playing with headphones, which is always a great idea to get the most out of this wonderfully terrifying experience.