GameCrate’s Halloween Spookytacular: Week 4
The fourth week of October is coming to an end, and we're prepping for the weekend by selecting some great titles worthy of being played during this fun and spooky time of the year. By now, you should totally be in the Halloween spirit, but if you're not, maybe these seven titles will get you in the mood. Not every game is necessarily scary, but they're all fun picks for Halloween season nonetheless.
Last time, we explored eerie territory in Dead Space 2, starred in snuff films in Manhunt, used our resourcefulness on the islands of How to Survive, solved the mysteries from The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, went super-kaiju in Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee, were haunted by It Moves, and took pictures of the supernatural in Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly. It's time for seven more rounds of horror as GameCrate's Halloween Spookytacular continues.
If any one game displays the true essence of what Halloween is all about, it's Costume Quest. The game is all about going from house to house and snagging loads of tasty treats. This wouldn't be a proper Halloween game without costumes and a monster invasion, though, and Double Fine Productions made sure to hit all the bases in one fell swoop.
At its core, Costume Quest is an intuitive, lighthearted RPG with mechanics that are easy to grasp and a style reminiscent of old-school Nickelodeon cartoons. Beyond that, the game goes back to basics and reminds you why you loved Halloween as a kid.
It's safe to say that many of the previous Alien games weren't exactly warmly received. And with survival horror not nearly as exciting as it once was, it's easy to see how maybe some folks approached Alien: Isolation with a cautious demeanor, even if it was developed by The Creative Assembly. Thankfully, what you get with this latest installment is a game filled with intense atmosphere, high tension, and great gameplay.
This is what an Alien game should be. Isolation does a stellar job of giving fans of the movies plenty of source material to work with, while also being a fairly inviting game for newcomers. If you've ever wondered what a game of hide-and-seek with a xenomorph is really like, you'll find out exactly how scary it can be in this game.
If amnesia isn't scary, I really don't know what is. In Home, you fill the shoes of a man who's lost his memories, and it's up to you to piece his life back together bit by bit. As you embark on this two-hour journey through a dark, pixelated world, you come across several scenarios that will leave you confused and pondering, as well as shocked and a little disturbed. What you discover depends largely on your decisions, making this an open-ended mystery with multiple possible outcomes.
Like Lone Survivor, Home proves that you don't need a triple-A budget and contemporary visuals to create a horror experience that resonates with the player long after he or she has gotten to the end.
Who says zombie games need to be so serious? Lollipop Chainsaw, from the twisted minds of Suda51 and James Gunn (who wrote the screenplay for 2004's Dawn of the Dead remake), takes the undead formula and amps it up with candy-colored goodness and a lighthearted protagonist. Juliet Starling is a teenager who has to juggle high school life, cheerleader practice, a boyfriend, and hunting zombies. She's a bit young, and her behavior shows it, but things usually work out for the best.
The great thing about Lollipop Chainsaw is that it takes the zombie formula and puts it in a fun and engaging hack-and-slash. No need to aim for the head when you've got a sweet chainsaw at your disposal. It's not very long, but if you're looking to take on hordes of the undead in a game that refuses to take itself seriously, you're bound to have a good time.
If you're going to call your game F.E.A.R., you'd better be able to deliver. As it turns out, F.E.A.R. possesses various elements that make it genuinely scary. For starters, it's influenced by Japanese psychological horror films, so there's this unsettling tone to the whole experience — even though you do a lot of running and gunning, you get this uneasy feeling that you're being watched. It's quite terrifying.
Then there's Alma, the girl in the dress with the long black hair that covers her face. Seriously, kids are too creepy. Not only is she strange to look at, but she messes with you throughout the game, causing your character to deal with hallucinations that are totally messed up and disorienting. F.E.A.R. successfully balances shooting and using cool abilities with horror, making it an all-around excellent package for Halloween.
While the GameCube classic Metroid Prime is more sci-fi than horror, games like Dead Space and Alien: Isolation prove that the dark, star-filled unknown is truly horrific in and of itself. You won't have to deal with jump scares or overtly creepy themes in this game, but there are several things that make it stand out as a fine choice for this time of the year.
Aside from the fact that you visit unknown, uncharted planets in space, there are also plenty of hideous alien creatures for you to encounter in Metroid Prime. Bosses in particular are especially disgusting. As for the mood of Metroid Prime, there's nothing quite like landing on a new planet and feeling like you're completely alone aside from the ugly alien monsters just waiting to crawl up to you and attack. This isn't the most traditional pick for Halloween, but its lonely, mysterious atmosphere makes it a nice unorthodox choice.
The Evil Within
Read our full review of The Evil Within here.
Our last pick here is one of the most recent entries in the survival horror genre, and it's quite a solid game, too. The Evil Within comes from the mind of Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami and proves to be yet another dread-inspiring installment in the genre. Grotesque monsters: check. Horrifying environments: check. A world that's out to get you: check. Claustrophobic hiding places: check. The Evil Within manages to bring traditional survival horror to the current generation of gaming in a package that feels both nostalgic and modern.
Taking a page from both bloody splatter films and gruesome exploitation flicks, The Evil Within is greatly effective at upping the gore and bringing tons of disgusting imagery. If you've got the stomach for it and love survival horror, you'll likely appreciate how gross this game can get.
And believe us when we tell you that it can get pretty freakin' gross.