The season of the witch is upon us, so what better excuse to dust off some of your old horror-themed classics for a good scare? Like its movie counterpart, gaming's horror genre is awash with bone-chilling set pieces and jump-out-of-your-seat moments. So to celebrate Halloween, we rounded up some of our favourites.
Resident Evil: Dog Attack
One minute you're walking along an L-shaped hallway minding your own business, the next all hell breaks loose as flesh-hungry zombie dogs come crashing through glass. It's two-bit shock horror at its finest, amplified by effective camera angles, mood-setting sound effects and chilling creature design. The speed that these canines move at begs the question of why their human counterparts are so slow, but the laboured crawl of the undead wouldn't have been nearly as adrenaline-inducing.
Splatterhouse: Jennifer's Transformation
Horrific imagery is rife in Splatterhouse, particularly towards its conclusion when protagonist Rick finally tracks down his kidnapped girlfriend Jennifer. Rather than offer up a happy ending, the developers took a meat cleaver to the book of clichés and had our hero's better half turn into a hideous monster. What made this scene particularly unsettling was the fact that the creature changed back into Jennifer at intervals to beg for your help; and to make matters worse she didn't even survive the ordeal. A delightfully twisted offering, albeit a morbid one.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem: Blood Bath
There were many standout scares throughout the game, though none more potent than the infamous bathtub scene. First timers were guaranteed to jump out of their skin when examining the bathtub. A stark white corpse submerged in blood and an ear-shattering scream greeted the player for a text book shock. It's a cheap trick that loses its impact a second play through, but this scene is responsible for more damp trousers than a log flume.
Doom: The 'Missile-Launching Skyscraper With Goat Legs'
The game's manual describes the monstrosity as "a missile-launching skyscraper with goat legs", and that's pretty much accurate. Prayer was your only option when confronted by this tower of terror, unless there happened to be an invincibility power-up nearby. One thing's for sure, Doom really lived up to its name when one of these monstrosities reared its ugly head.
BioShock: The Living Statue
Cohen is a sculptor with a twisted penchant for combining people with stone. Upon entering his abode, you might notice one of his works of art in the bathroom, thinking little of it at first glance. Look around again, and you'll notice that the statue has vanished. By the time this information has registered it's already too late, as the freakish stone being is upon you. Again, this is an age-old trick that has been employed by filmmakers since time immemorial, and BioShock times it perfectly. This sequence will shock unsuspecting gamers to the core.
Silent Hill 2: Pyramid Head
A hulking figure clad in bloody butcher's overalls and a triangular-shaped helmet that completely obscures his face, this insidious stalker is worthy of a place in the modern horror hall of fame alongside Freddy Kruger and Michael Myers. It was the player's imagination that made Pyramid Head an effective monster. We never saw what lurked beneath that mask, yet each individual no doubt envisioned their own worst nightmare. The enigmatic creature had no dialogue, backstory or motivation for its actions, which helped it play on our fear of the unknown. Every inch a classic horror creation, Pyramid Head will have you running for the hills.
Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts: Back To Square One
We still wake up in a cold sweat at the thought of having to beat this brutal game twice. If you're looking for a truly haunting experience this Halloween, nothing will chill your blood like this platformer's brutal difficulty.
What do you think are the scariest moments in gaming? Add a comment in the space below!