Spookytacular 2015: 5 chilling moments in video games
October is finally upon us! Rejoice! It's that time of year to drink a pumpkin spice latte, pop in (or stream, because it's 2015) some horror movies, and indulge in the macabre. October is also a good time to play a few horror games, preferably with the lights off. At GameCrate we like to indulge in horror, too, which is why we're glad to mark the return of GameCrate's Halloween Spookytacular. This time around, we'll be listing some of the scariest moments, creepiest music, most surprising scares, and biggest horror fails in gaming.
To kick things off, let's take a looks at some truly frightening moments in games. These may not be the scariest moments ever, but they're right up there with some of the more horrific happenings in the medium – and they're some of our favorites.
Eight-legged freak — Limbo
This quaint, unassuming 2D puzzler features a really scary moment when what appears to be a tree branch turns out to be a massive spider leg. If you're not paying attention, it could very well impale you the moment you encounter it. Worse still is the fact that the spider follows you around, creating feelings of dread and anxiety. It's also scary that it can wrap you up in its web. And when that happens, you don't die on the spot — no, you continue on with your journey, hopping around the level completely wrapped in sticky web.
Also, spiders. Ugh ...
Awful mask transformations — The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
I've always believed The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask to be a horror game at heart. The overall atmosphere is much darker than that of the rest of the series. You're dealing with the apocalypse, the moon looks like Freddy Krueger, and masks are an integral part of the adventure. Speaking of which, that first moment when you don a mask is probably the scariest moment in Zelda history. There's just something highly unsettling about hearing that cracking sound (presumably Link's bones contorting and molding into the mask itself) followed by Link's painful, panic-ridden screams.
Click, click, click — The Last of Us
The perfect horror atmosphere isn't created solely by what you see, but also by what you hear. Sound design goes a long way in contributing to the overall scare factor, and I'm not simply referring to loud music or sounds for jump scares. The Last of Us is a shining example of how a game can utilize sound to instill deep fear rather than simply going for cheap effects or the obvious hideous creatures for an instant scare or two. That said, clickers are damn appalling to look at, but they're even scarier to listen to.
These blind monstrosities can't actually see, so they use sound to stalk their prey. One false move and you could be on the wrong end of a clicker attack. The most terrifying moments in The Last of Us come when you're hiding in a dark room, behind a wall, and all you hear is the clicking sound that these zombified beasts emit as they lurk in the shadows. You don't always know where a clicker may be, but you can always hear it roaming around, waiting for you. That's absolutely blood-curdling.
WTF, Freddy?! — Five Nights at Freddy's
Where The Last of Us goes for scares in a more subtle way, Five Nights at Freddy's takes a more direct approach. Yes, jump scares are cheap, but this game still manages to use them effectively. Part of the reason for that is because it also incorporates excellent atmosphere and mood. There's a feeling of claustrophobia that's impossible to escape, and monitoring the dark corridors of Freddy Fazbear's Pizzera via surveillance systems makes for an endlessly nerve-racking experience.
When Freddy and the rest of his animatronic pals pop up, it always creates a jump-inducing scare. But even more unnerving is that moment when the power runs out, the lights go off, and you hear Freddy's music playing. You see his eyes light up through the dark doorway, and you're hoping that the clock will strike 6AM so you can clock out before you hear his awful shriek and he attacks.
It follows — SOMA
One of the latest entries in the survival-horror genre also happens to include some of the more chilling moments in gaming. SOMA manages to succeed at horror by placing you in dark surroundings and keeping the enemy encounters to a minimum. That makes every one of these encounters completely spine-tingling, as well as entirely meaningful and in no way overplayed. Certain enemies are easier to get away from than others, but when you come across a specific humanoid creature with bright bulbs covering its entire head, prepare to run and hide.
These creatures don't give up easily, and the scenarios that have them chasing you are definitely among the scariest in the entire game. And because SOMA is filled with maze-like corridors, you're bound to think that you've managed to get away from this monstrosity, only to loop around and run right back into it. Just remember: don't look directly at it...