Survival horror-based video games are becoming a bit less common lately, especially with Konami dropping its recent Silent Hills project and Capcom turning Resident Evil into a more traditional action series, as evidenced by Resident Evil 6 and various remakes. That said, maybe it’s just time to look back at some of absolutely amazing horror games we already have; you simply need to seek out some of the original genre-defining games to get that bone-chilling experience.
Turn out the lights, and prepare to get scared…
Silent Hill 4: The Room (Konami)
Perhaps one of the most riveting entries in the Silent Hill series, The Room is set in a much different place from the rest of them. Rather than working your way through a quiet, dust-filled town filled with creeps, you work your way into a mysterious room (hence the title) through a hole in your apartment, and come face-to-face with plenty of fears.
Back when the game released in 2004, it caught a lot of fans off guard, especially those expecting its familiar trappings. But the scares came in spades, especially when it came to dealing with ghosts, who could only be held back with ritual swords scattered throughout the game. Otherwise, well, the main character, Henry, doesn’t stand much of a chance.
With plenty of creepy moments, superb ambience, and unpredictability, Silent Hill 4: The Room for Xbox and PlayStation 2 easily stands the test of time. Hunt it down at your game store in time for Halloween.
System Shock 2 (Electronic Arts)
Think Alien Isolation is an uneasy survival horror experience? You haven’t run across SHODAN, the main automated system of your nightmares in System Shock 2. You play a single survivor on a desecrated space ship, trying to figure out where things went wrong–and more importantly, what could have possibly killed your fellow staffers.
As you can see from the trailer above, System Shock 2 loads up on the psychotic imagery, whether it’s a corpse hanging from the rafters or the words of warning painted in blood on the walls. But it’s SHODAN itself who’s unsettling, letting loose with warnings about what’s to come in a scary, glitch-filled voice.
If you’re in the mood to experience one of the best horror experience that kick-started the genre, System Shock 2 is the way to go.
Resident Evil 2 (Capcom)
The original Resident Evil showed that Capcom had the chops to hang out with the other survival horror developers, although some complained that its tank-style controls and mansion trappings left a little bit to be desired. Thankfully, Resident Evil 2 shakes free of these restraints, pitting Leon S. Kennedy and co. against zombies and much larger enemies as they attempt to devise just what the Umbrella Corporation has unleashed.
In addition to providing better gameplay and a much larger area to explore, Resident Evil 2 also innovated with its scares. Think the dogs coming through the window in the original Evil was something? Just wait until you see what’s waiting around the corner for you here.
Eventually, we’ll see a Resident Evil 2 remaster emerge. In the meantime, hunt down the original PlayStation version to see scares at their best.
Fatal Frame (Koei Tecmo)
Top-notch Japanese horror films aren’t too hard to come by, although very few games can match the tone of something like, say, Ringu. But Koei Tecmo’s Fatal Frame manages to hold up, pitting a lone heroine with a “spirit camera” against all sorts of nasty spirits.
The original Frame provided a number of opportunities to make your hair stand on end, with plenty of screaming ghouls and tactics to master in order to stay in one piece. The sequels that follow are full of spooky delights as well, even if you think you’ve mastered everything that the “spirit camera” has to offer.
Thankfully, we’ll be seeing a lot more Fatal Frame in our future, as Nintendo has confirmed that Maiden of Black Water, the latest entry in the series, will be arriving later this year for the Wii U. Seems like an ideal system for it, too, with the GamePad acting as a physical camera. You might want to work on your photography skills.
Dead Space (Electronic Arts)
Finally, we’ve saved one of the scariest games for last: Dead Space, produced by Visceral Games and released by Electronic Arts. You play an astronaut called in to investigate strange goings-on on the abandoned ship where your girlfriend was stationed. Needless to say, things do not go exactly as planned.
That’s mainly due to all of the cross-hybrid human-alien-zombie mutants, each of who means serious business. Isaac will not just need a quick trigger finger, but also rapid-fire reflexes. Otherwise, he could die in a number of way, such as being decapitated by a nasty crawler only to have his body taken over by it.
The trailer above really sets the tone for what kind of game you can expect from Dead Space. Proceed with caution, though – you never know just what might be able to stop Isaac’s journey dead in its tracks.
These are just a few of our favorite horror survival games. Let us know what your favorites are in the comments below and if you’re looking forward to any in the future!