GameCrate’s Halloween Spookytacular: Week 3
We've hit the third of week of October, and the way we're doing it here at GameCrate, you might as well call it the third week of Halloween. One day simply isn't enough to celebrate this most festive of holidays. And if you're anything like me, you're going to want to play as many spook-tastic games and watch as many scary movies this month as possible.
Last week, we bore witness to the grotesque in Silent Hill 2, entered the dark forest of Slender: The Arrival, explored the weird and creepy castle from Shadowgate, got creeped out (and frustrated) by Knock-Knock, became enveloped by the darkness in Alan Wake, fought off creepy castle dwellers in Haunting Ground, and tried to survive a plague in Lone Survivor. It's time for seven more rounds of horror, scares, and fun as GameCrate's Halloween Spookytacular rolls on.
Dead Space 2
Do you know what's scarier than zombie-like monsters? Being trapped in space with said hellish creatures, that's what. In Dead Space 2, it's not enough that you're forced to survive against hordes of necromorphs. No, you need to do it while countless miles away from physical contact with our world. It's a scary direction to take a game, especially when this time around, you're trapped with an entire freakin' space colony of undead baddies.
This setting sets up some truly cinematic sequences and jump scares. Make no mistake about it, Dead Space 2 is out to scare you. It doesn't just scare you by making things pop out at you when you least expect them to, though — that would be too easy. The mood of the game is also quite terrifying, creating this immense tension within you and filling you with sheer, unbridled dread.
Rockstar's take on the horror genre was spectacularly successful back in 2003. Simply put, Manhunt is one of the company's most gruesome games, even by today's standards. The whole thing plays out like a slasher film, but interestingly, it puts you in the role of the guy doing all of the killing. Even more interesting is the fact that, despite playing as a villainous criminal who was sentenced to death, you can't help but to cheer on James Earl Cash as he slices and dices (and on occasion shoots) his way through deranged, bloodthirsty, mask-wearing gang members.
Manhunt is, in essence, a stealth-action game and as such requires you to hide in the shadows a lot of the time. You basically play a game of hide-and-seek with the game's unsettling enemies, and it's up to you to sneak up behind them with a glass shard, baseball bat, machete, or other deadly weapon and execute them. Holding down the kill button longer results in a bloodier execution, though you risk being caught by your pursuers.
The mood of Manhunt is probably its most horrifying aspect. Stages are made up of gritty locales like an abandoned zoo, junkyard, and insane asylum. You can constantly hear as enemies spout out bloodcurdling nonsense and disturbing threats. You hear Cash's heartbeat as he's being chased by gang members. There's even a naked dude wearing a pig's face. It's all massively horrifying and deranged, making this one of the best games you could possibly hope to play on Halloween.
How to Survive
While How to Survive is less survival horror and more straight-up survival, its title is quite appropriate. Basically, you're trapped on an island setting, and you have to figure out a way to build shelter, keep from starving, and avoid dehydration. The game tracks several parameters, and you've got to monitor your character's stats to ensure you don't starve to death while trapped on the island.
Also, there are zombies. That's right, you need to take into account the undead, which means you've got plenty of combat to look forward to. Of course, dealing with zombies drains your stamina, so that's another thing you need to take note of. Not to mention the fact that sometimes you'll have to deal with massive hordes of zombies while you're out looking for essential supplies. It's a true tale of survival that's not so much terrifying as it is intense. Either way, it's a fun ride if you're looking for something to play this October.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
Tone is the name of the game as far as The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is concerned. The game's atmosphere is mesmerizing and twisted, and it ties into the plot seamlessly. You're dropped into a beautifully morose setting with the sole purpose of exploring and discovering. The game looks quite good, and it utilizes its visual design to create a land that's exciting to visit, even if it is a bit creepy and mysterious. Oh, and filled with dead people and strange visions.
A major selling point is the way that Vanishing promotes exploration through its nonlinear environments and story. You can actually miss key elements without even knowing it. When you figure it out, however, it's up to you to go back and piece the whole thing together, traveling through the haunting, wooded areas all by your lonesome. Combine that crazy openness and solitude with a world full of excellent sound design that's meant to disturb you, and you've got one heck of a creepy ride.
For more on Ethan Carter, check out our full review here.
Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee
Hey, this wouldn't be a proper Halloween list without at least one kaiju game, right? That's why my pick goes to Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee. Aside from being one of the better games to bear the Godzilla name, Destroy All Monsters Melee is also true to the subject matter. This game is all about giant monsters battling it out while leaving cities to crumble along their path of destruction.
Though I wouldn't recommend playing the game by yourself (the campaign is somewhat drab), if you can get together with a group of friends and take turns duking it out kaiju-style, you're in for a nice dose of massive monster mayhem. While this certainly isn't the scariest game on our list, it is a celebration of all things monstrous and destructive.
You never know what you'll find when scouring the freeware world. In the case of It Moves, a horror game by developer SnowOwl, you've got a truly worthwhile game that's rooted in suspense and atmosphere. Rather than making you jump any chance it gets, the game utilizes its writing and mood to send shivers down your spine. It's a breath of fresh air if you think the horror genre has become far too predictable.
You take on the role of a young boy who's afraid to go to sleep. The world is a dark and lonely place when this boy is in bed, and it's here that he realizes his greatest terrors. To say anything else would spoil both the fun and the fear that there's to be had here. Give It Moves a play. It's free, after all, so it's definitely worth a look even if you're skeptical.
Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly
Though Fatal Frame started as an obscure survival horror series, it's now become pretty well-known to fans of the horror genre. The consensus seems to be that Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly is the scariest entry in the entire franchise. There's no denying that this sequel took what made the first game so popular and improved upon every aspect in a big way, delivering a better plot, visuals, and gameplay.
The creepy thing about Fatal Frame II is how you look at ghosts, demons, and other awful creatures. You do it through a camera lens, which adds this incredible, awe-inspiring tension. Seeing these creatures move with a static filter over them makes everything surreal, haunting, and horrifying. For a genre that's riddled with games leaning too closely to the shooter spectrum these days, Fatal Frame II is pure, unadulterated horror ready to scare the heck out of you with its depiction of grotesque beings and claustrophobic environments.