Unlike scary films or television shows, horror video games require a certain amount of courage to complete. When things get too intense while playing through the more anxiety-inducing games, hiding behind a couch or blanket and waiting for that worrying scene to pass simply isn’t an option. You have to stay firmly planted on those couch cushions and suffer through the spooks and frights if you ever want to see the credits. Basically, come prepared to be scared and stay scared throughout with little reprieve. Here are three horror video game franchises that have perfected this formula over the years and still succeed in making you sweat, shudder and scream:
Developer: Monolith Productions
Framed by a serial killer for the murder of two Metro City police officers, FBI agent Ethan Thomas must clear his name by tracking and finding the killer who framed him. But what starts as a slightly unconventional crime game transforms into a full-fledged nightmare as more creepy and insane elements are introduced like drug-addled, psychopathic bums and cleaver-wielding lunch ladies.
A mix of jump scares and slow reveals, including a Santa Claus mannequin playing inanimate, makes this horror game franchise one of the most memorable. And while the sequel from a few years ago toned down the creep factor a bit with a slightly less well-rounded story and more supernatural undertones, the inclusion of a cat-and-mouse online multiplayer where players choose to either side with a band of serial killers or FBI agents really couldn’t get any more hair-raising.
After 16 years of running through creepy mansions, solving puzzles and blasting zombie brains, it’s no surprise that “Resident Evil” popularized the zombie apocalypse phenomena as well as the survival horror genre. Ammo, health and other necessary items are given out sparingly as part of the survival horror aspect, and the older “Resident Evil” games even limit a player’s ability to save, requiring a certain amount of strategy on the player’s part.
Within the third installment of the series, the omnipresent enemy “Nemesis” breaks through walls and appears without warning, even following players through loading screens and making for one of the most terrifying enemies in gaming. And while the most recent games in the franchise have embraced more of an action focus, they still provide a few good scares as enemy zombies are bolstered with more range and speed.
Developer: Visceral Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Another survival horror juggernaut, the original “Dead Space” rocked horror fans back in 2008 after placing them in the shoes of engineer Isaac Clarke. Lost and desperate on a futuristic mining spaceship, players are required to fight through hordes of undead monsters called Necromorphs, relying on plasma weapons to detach their limbs. The inclusion of a terrifying, yet addicting story only prolongs the fright fest.
The sequel, “Dead Space 2,” expanded upon the first game and brought with it an online multiplayer option for friends and strangers alike to shoot or tear each other apart as either space station security guards or Necromorphs. An increase in difficulty as well as a “Hard Core” mode that limits saves and checkpoints serves as a cruel challenge for those who can’t get enough scares.
Compiled by Colin Reid, Bruin senior staff.