With Halloween fast approaching, it is time to look back at some of the scariest moments in gaming. The horror genre of gaming extends from platformers and puzzlers to FPS and even point and click adventure games. Now while the delivery of the scary moments listed below all differ, every one below has given us an “Oh s*%t” reaction. Some were instant scares while others were reactions that took some time to really hit home. But be warned, there will be spoilers ahead.
Doom 3 – Mirror Scare
While Doom and its successor Doom II took players through the gates of hell, they weren’t exactly scary games. There were some moments when an attack would come from a newly opened door that players were not expecting but it wasn’t until Doom 3 that the series had its first horrifying moment. With updated graphics and sound, Doom 3 was able to explore atmosphere in a way its predecessors never could. With a new lighting engine, shadows played a huge part in the game and players had to choose between holding a flashlight or a weapon, making the game incredibly tense.
As a result, when players find a well lit bathroom early on in the game they don’t expect the glimpse of hell that quickly pops up on screen when they face the mirror. Music crashes, flames burn around the player and then almost instantly everything goes back to normal. From then on, no place in the game feels safe. Between the poorly lit corridors seen only through a flashlight’s bulb or the uneasy tension from walking into a bright open room, everywhere a player goes now feels like evil is lurking around the corner.
Limbo – The Spider
At first, it is a little hard to tell just what is going on in Limbo. Players quickly learn by trial and error that the simple environment around them is actually filled with death traps. For the most part, these traps are inanimate objects like bear traps or boulders that act more like puzzles than anything else. But players soon find out they aren’t the only ones in this world. For the better part of the game, players find themselves being stalked by an enormous spider that isn’t just looking to trap them in a web but instead impale them with its razor sharp legs. Though players learn ways to combat the spider, everyone who has played Limbo has seen the little boy taken brutally cut down by the spider.
The Walking Dead: Episode 4 – Lee Gets Bit
One thing that anyone who has followed The Walking Dead comic or TV show has learned is that no one is ever safe. In Telltale’s The Walking Dead adventure game, players become accustomed to get to redo their mistakes that get the main character killed like they are able to in any other game. After all, the player can’t ever really die, right? The end of The Walking Dead: Episode 4 leaves players with that lingering question after the main character Lee has been bitten by a walker on his wrist.
There is no option to reload or a message saying the player failed. Players finish the chapter and now must wait until Episode 5 comes out to see if somehow Lee is able to come out of this. But as far as the player can tell, a bite is just a death sentence and now they must try to survive through it as they try to save Clementine.
Slender – Being stalked by the Slender Man
In most games, players have some form of offense in which they can defend themselves. They usually have some way of knowing when an enemy is approaching them. Slender takes that all away. Players get dropped in the middle of the woods with just a flashlight and the “simple” task of picking up eight pieces of paper. The entire area is pitch black so players need to use their flashlight to traverse the area. The catch though is that the entire time they are being stalked by the Slender Man who can only move towards the player in the light.
This leaves the player with a catch 22. They have to lower their flashlight to get away but then they find themselves getting lost in the woods, losing their bearings and the chances of finding the remaining papers. And of course, the moment you turn around and have the Slender Man staring you down can be a scream out loud moment.
Resident Evil – The Zombie Dog Jumps Through The Window
For some of us, it was probably the first time a video game ever made us really jump because of horror movie tactics. Sure, it was creepy seeing the quick cutscene where the first zombie in the game is seen chowing down on a body but it isn’t the gore that gave gaming one of its scariest moments. After finding out that the mansion in Resident Evil was a very unsafe place for them, tensions start to run high for players.
As they walk through a quiet hallway, players are thrown back when they are surprised by a pair of zombie Dobermans smashing through the window and coming at them. With a few bullets, the dogs go down but from that moment on players know that anything can happen when they least expect it in a Resident Evil game.