Simple premise this week, to help us get into the Halloween spirit we asked our writers to recap their scariest video game moments. It seemed pretty original at the time…
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Every Wednesday we pose a question on Twitter and Facebook. You can answer from Wednesdays through Mondays on Twitter with the hashtag = #R2A, and in our weekly thread on Facebook.com/HorribleNight posted every Wednesday. Check out this week’s responses at the end of the post, and add to it in the comments!
Doom 3 definitely wins the “Made Me Crap My Pants The Most” award. I think it was mainly due to it being one of the first games I had played that went for the quick scare moments. Playing it on the PC with headphones cranked it up another notch as well. Surround sound is nice, but if you really want to immerse yourself into a game you have to go headphones to drown out any outside noise. Dead Space plays a very close second, but I think I still have to give the cake to id.
Doom 3 definitely makes my Poopy Drawers list, too. That game was one monster closet after another.
Speaking of closets, the first time I remember being genuinely frightened playing a game was probably during Clock Tower for the PSX. It wasn’t a great game, but it did a great job making you feel helpless (somewhat due to the shitty point and click controls) when being chased by the game’s antagonist, Scissorman, who literally wielded giant scissors. Once he started chasing you, the only way to escape was to find a hiding spot and pray he didn’t notice you. The first time he walked by a box I was hiding in, only to suddenly turn around and jam his gigantic shears directly into it (and me), I said “NOPE” and turned the game off.
My first scary moment I can remember is courtesy of Resident Evil 2. I was playing the game at a friend’s house. I was playing the game in the basement, in the dark, while my buddy was on the other side of the room playing Yahoo! Euchre. I was in the part of the game where you roam around in the police station and I had to get something out of the interrogation room. Once I got into the side of the room with the mirror, I went and picked up the item. I thought to myself “That was too easy” and started running out of the room. At this time I am thinking that nothing is going to happen because I knew there was nothing on the other side of the mirror. Boy, I was wrong. Then in a pure cliche moment, a zombie dog jumped through the mirror. I paused the game, and was in a full on panic. My buddy came over to check on me to make sure I wasn’t having a heart attack. It was a true “Oops I Crapped My Pants Moment.”
I’m with JP on Resident Evil 2. I had some scares in games prior to RE2, but nothing is more memorable than the hallway with the boarded up windows in the police station (I think that’s where it was). I walked down the hallway to get something, then confidently came strolling back through the same hallway and a bunch of zombie arms broke through and grabbed me. I let out a yelp that almost deafened the poor soul sitting next to me. If I’m not mistaken, I think that might’ve been Brandon (H21).
Resident Evil 1 and 2 had some really creepy moments and I remember all three members of the Super Moses Brothers jumping like little kids while playing (we tended to triple team those games, for moral support).
Recently, Amnesia: The Dark Descent has taken the award for scariest game ever. No weapons, limited light and a truly intense feeling of dread are the highlights (or lowlights) of the game. The Penumbra series is up there as well (same developers) but the graphics made it a bit goofy at times.
Doom 3 had plenty of jump scares but I played Doom 2 when I was a kid and that impacted my pants pooping way more.
I could keep going as scary games are my thang, but The Thing gets a nod for being scary in a very nerve wracking way. Allies that suddenly mutate make for an uncomfortable scenario. I am really hoping that concept gets reworked after the remake of The Thing movie finishes its run in the theaters.
The first Resident Evil definitely needs added to my list as well. That hallway you walk down near the start of the game where zombie dogs come busting through the windows would get me every time. I found myself inching my way slowly trying to anticipate when it would happen, and it would still make me jump every time.
James is right. I was the poor sap who sat next to him when he flailed about like a drowning octopus. Think about it. It looked like that.
To me, three games take the cake as the scariest I’ve played: Resident Evil, Silent Hill and Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth.
If you haven’t tried Call of Cthulhu, do it. It is freaking awesome. It’s a great detective story sprinkled with H.P. Lovecraft’s mind-melting LSD-like schizophrenia and paranoia wrapped in a neat little shell. There were several moments of that game that made me sweat heavier than a Boomer (Left 4 Dead) in Death Valley. There are moments where something might happen but doesn’t, something just happens, things lurking in shadows, you see things that aren’t there and moments where you just have to ask, “What the hell just happened?”
Obviously the first Resident Evil wins for me. I didn’t know what to expect when I first played the game as I had no previous knowledge of the series heading into it. It was also the first time I had ever played the PlayStation so getting used to a new controller, new control scheme, and scary ass zombies and dogs made it that much more tense then maybe it had a right to be. Or maybe not.
I also remember trying to get into Silent Hill but I just couldn’t play it. The clamminess of my palms led the controller to slip out of my hands. The unknown is always scarier than reality and walking around in the fog of an abandoned town with a flashlight and a radio is pretty darn scary. I didn’t get far in that game because I just couldn’t handle it.
Justin G (GiffTor)
I never found Resident Evil all that scary. I think the first thing I had that creeped me out was probably something from 7th Guest or 11th Hour, but the first time I ever ran into difficulty controlling my anal sphincter was playing Aliens vs. Predator on the PC as a Colonial Marine. Unlike the xenos, who can crawl through vents and treat every surface as if it had gravity to help you stick to it, and the Yaut’ja, who are the biggest badasses on the intergalactic block (I’m quoting from DarkHorse here), the Colonial Marines are, as Gary Larson put it, nature’s equivalent of SPAM. Even with the M41 pulse rifle firing 10mm caseless light armor piercing rounds, it didn’t matter – you’d get charged by a bug, hose it down, praying the acid didn’t hit you, and realize you had two clips left and an entire nest of the vile beasties to deal with. Oh, and that was before you ran into a giant predatory alien in a shiftsuit who hunts the xenos for fun.
Recently, though, it’s been all Dead Space – some of those zero-g set pieces where you couldn’t tell if that biomechanical structure was going to come alive and charge you or what were creepy as hell. Speaking of which, can I borrow Dead Space 2 for Halloween?
I would agree with you on 7th Guest. I completely forgot that I used play PC games pretty regularly and that game always managed to creep me out. It wasn’t a lot of jump scares or anything, but stories with ghosts are never fun-loving tales of unicorns and rainbows. Even Casper and he was a friendly ghost. Unless Ethan knows otherwise.
Ghosts never stick around because of happiness. That’s a damn fact. Dark Corners of the Earth was a fantastic game and I am ashamed I forgot about it. A whole reply to all could be dedicated to that game alone ( or at least an editorial).
Justin L (JDevL)
I’ll vouch for Gifford on the original Aliens vs Predator PC game. It was odd, because I wasn’t prepared to be scared and those are the moments that stand out to me the most versus when I start playing a game that I expect to be scary.
Did anyone else get a bit on edge during Ravenholm in Half-Life 2? Again I didn’t expect to be scared during that game and I found myself creeping around trying to lure out jump scares before I was in any danger.
Oh, man, I hadn’t thought about Ravenholm. That had jump-scares and a high SPF (sphincter pucker factor). I spent a lot of time with the Gravity Gun and one of those lumber-saw blades just because they were so effective at gutting the head-crabbed residents, but boy, if you missed? Total, “Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit…” moment. Actually, there were plenty of those moments in Half-Life, as well, especially once you started going through the bowels of the lab. Even with the GLU gun, there was always the chance that you’d get head-crabbed (and facehuggers and head crabs are frickin’ terrifying.) Also, the Flood moments in all three Halo games were pretty creepy, especially in CE when you weren’t entirely sure what was coming. The first time I tried to use a sniper rifle on one of the anthroform Flood, only to get charged by 30 of them and regret that I had dropped the shotgun? May have had a minor stroke.
Wow, ya didn’t even think about The Flood. I hated them mostly for the tonality shift that they brought to Halo, but also because they made me white knuckle my controller. I can’t say that about every pack of zombies.
Since I’m coming in a bit late, I still have to give a nod to Resident Evil 1. That is my definition of when games started to scare me because of those aforementioned dogs. As I said on the podcast, you also have to give credit to the team behind the Gamecube remake for faking us out by not having the dogs appear the 1st time you go through the hallway. Sometimes the absence of horrific stimuli is even scarier.
I WISH I could be as scared by Dead Space as I was the first time I played through that game. The first half of the game is absolutely terrifying until you figure out the limits of your enemies and the game world. But when you have no idea what sounds to pay attention to, or what enemies are out there and how they can get to you, I was pretty much paralyzed moving through that game. Some of my favorite game nights in history.
Another “oh ya this was scary” game we haven’t mentioned, BioShock. Splicers yelling at you and running at you that you cannot see. Poop.
I think Left 4 Dead had that kind of tension fear when that weird zombie scream began and the mobs came running. Being separated from the rest of the group was also always freaky based on the special infected and their ability drop the hammer on you and your bros.
I do one to give a shout out to Project Zomboid based on the fear of dying since the game ended when you’re dead. Being fully stocked and succumbing to illness or bandits was a big punch in the nut sack.
Wow, so many scary moments have been listed here that I had forgotten about.
Halo: CE and the flood really does stand out. You spend the entire game until that point feeling like a supreme bad-ass killing Covenant aliens, then face an entirely different enemy that can quickly overrun you. The idea of trying to make it through the Library level on Legendary difficulty still sends chills down my spine.
Ravenholm was a pretty disturbing. That section of Half-Life 2 was a complete change of pace from the rest of the game, especially with a shortage of ammo. Anytime I made a mistake playing through that part, I would instantly be overcome with the “It’s all over” dread and panic that a lot of games haven’t been able to capture lately. The way the headcrab zombies actually talked made me feel bad when I killed them, especially if I set them on fire. Father Grigori always had me tense; he never really felt like much of an ally and I spent the entire time waiting for him to turn against me.
Left 4 Dead was a new type of fear for me. All my previous game scares were from playing alone and relying on my own skills to get through it. My first play through a Left 4 Dead campaign was actually with 3 other players (including Brandon/H21) and we took hours to get through ‘No Mercy.’ Every time we heard a horde or a special infected coming, we froze in our tracks. I remember yelling back and forth at each other every time a special infected got a hold of us. It was such helplessness watching a hunter lay into your character and not being able to stop it. You just had to rely on your teammates to keep you alive.
You are kidding me Giant Bomb – Article
We have a mole.
I am Luchadeer.
Bah. Get good, Giant Bomb. This article has way more content, ugly people and we’re talking to each other.
Our version is clearly better because it has time stamps to PROVE that our blatantly obvious, holiday-themed article was conceived prior to GiantBomb’s!
I take it as a compliment that our favorite sites hack into our email and steal our ideas.
Gifford’s success at public relations at PAX makes so much more sense now.
@www1221 – the regenerators in re4 for sure.
@IncreaseBlue – Finding that creature against the fence in Silent Hill 1….then promptly getting murdered. #R2A
Benji M – Hands-down, the sewer boss from Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire for N64. I have an unnatural phobia of giant underwater creatures, and when I first played that game I’m pretty sure I was screaming in horror while fighting that boss. One time in college I thought I’d revisit it and see if I could face my fears. After all, PS2 and Xbox were out so N64 graphics already sucked in comparison, so I figured it would be easier to deal with. Boy was I wrong. I’ll never fight that damn thing again.
While our peers had similar ideas, we managed to hit a lot of destinations on our scary tour. What classic scary moments did we leave out?
REPLY TO ALL – Our weekly conversation where our writing staff offers up their opinions on the gaming topic of the week.
Giant Bomb (images)