I recently decided to sit down and see if I could pinpoint which 10 horror-based video games I would consider to be the 10 best ever made.
One thing to take into consideration as you read the list below is that I’ve, obviously, not played every horror game ever made. Perhaps titling this list “My top 10 horror video games” would have been a better angle to go at it.
At any rate, below are the list of, in my opnion, the top 10 best horror video games..
# 10 – Friday The 13th (for NES) – Sure. It was a terrible game, as far as graphics (Although it’s important to remember that this game came out way back in 1988. Game graphics were less than spectacular back then!) and the game play itself was extremely lame. As a matter of fact, the game was little more than an attempt, by LJN, to cash in on the popularity and success of the Friday the 13th film series. But that’s why it’s on my list. In 1988, LJN new that horror was king, and, at the time, so were Jason Voorhees and the F13 franchise! The game sucked, but it demonstrated the power of the horror genre. And the image of Jason sitting on his arse, pouting like a disappointed spoiler little brat after the player has defeated him, is priceless!
# 9 – Evil Dead: Fist Full of Boomstick (PS2/XBox) – In 2003, THQ and VIS Enterainment brought to horror fans everywhere it’s first game ever based on the greatness of Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead film franchise when they offered up Evil Dead: Fist Full of Boomstick for the Playstation 2 and Xbox game consoles. Complete with the voice of Ash Williams being provided by none other than Bruce Campbell himself and more deadites in need of being put down than you can shake a (boom)stick at, Evil Dead: Fist Full of Boomstick will forever hold a special place in my heart.
# 8 – The Thing (PS2/Windows/Xbox) – John Carpenter’s 1982 remake of The Thing From Another World, titled simply The Thing, is the thing….of legend. The SPFX in the film were groundbreaking and the story was phenomenal. Naturally, Carpenter’s classic film had to receive the video game treatment. And in late 2002, it got just that, as VU Games and Computer Artworks released The Thing for Playstation 2, Xbox and Windows PC. The game, a third-person survival horror game, the game utilized a fear system as well as a trust system, in order to increase the realism of the game. This was implemented by making it possible for one of the player’s teammates to be ‘turned’, and for the player to not realize that until it was too late. If the player killed another squad member, that player would lose the trust of his team members. For me, playing this game felt like I was right there, at the Outpost ruins, actually running the investigation. Hell, all I had to do was to open the windows during the winter, and it was exactly as if I were there. A strong A.C. in the summer wouldn’t duplicate the experience as closely as real snow blowing in through the windows, but it wasn’t too bad either.
# 7 – Evil Dead: Regeneration (Playstation 2/Xbox/PC) – Evil Dead: Fist Full of Boomstick was excellent, but once you beat the game a few times, the awesomeness of the game began to wear off, even though it was still a blast to play. Thanks to THQ and Cranky Pants Games, players and E.D. fanatics needed only wait 2 short years before they’d be able to once again slip into the body (and swallow the soul) of the great Ash Williams, as Evil Dead: Regeneration hit store shelves in mid September of 2005! Bruce Campbell repised the role (The voice anyway) of Ash, and this time, the game is set just after the events of Evil Dead and Evil Dead II. (NO! ED 2 was NOT a remake of the first film. To recount events from the first film during the sequels opening sequence, Raimi and crew had to reshoot scenes from the first film as they did not obtain permission to use actual footage from Evil Dead.) Ash has been institutionalized following the insanity of the the first two Evil Dead films. With puzzles as well as plenty of killing, hacking and severing, Evil Dead: Regenerations is just a tad better than Fist Full of Boomstick. Hail to the king, baby!
# 6 – Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth (Xbox/Windows) – Cthulhu plus video game equals awesomeness personified. In 2005 (Xbox) and 2006 (Windows PC), 2K Games and Headfirst Productions unleashed hell on earth, or at least hell on Xbox and eventually the PC, when it offered up their latest horror game, Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth! The game is, obvious to any horror fan, based on the writing of legendary horror author H.P. Lovecraft, the man who created the Cthulhu mythos. Some of the story is slightly different, but the game is pretty much a reimaging (I know, I hate that term too but what ca I say? I’m allowed to use lame terms from time to time, just like all over writers out there in cyberspace!) of The Shadow Over Innsmouth, a novella by Lovecraft himself. If you disagree with me about this game deserving to be on this list, all I can say is that I truly hope that Cthulhu will show some mercy on you!
# 5 – Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly (PS2/Xbox) – In 2003 (Playstation 2) and 2004 (Xbox), Techmo, with distribution by Ubisoft, brought the sequel to their 2001-2003 hit game Fatal Frame, titled Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly. Playing Fatal Frame 2 is like living inside of a Japanese horror film. If you want to know why this game sits here, midway, on my list, check out the review written for this column by my young, but talented, cousin, Ken Sigler by clicking the following link: http://hornface.com/horror-games-in-national/game-review-fatal-frame-2-crimson-butterfly-review
# 4 – Manhunt (PS2/Xbox/PC) – I can still recall first reading about Manhunt back in late 2002 or early 2003. A video game that made headlines and created controversy as soon as it hit store shelves in November of 2003 (On Playstation 2. It was released for the Xbox and PC in April of 2004), with parental watchdog groups firing on both cylinders, both barrels blazing as they cried foul, claiming that Mahunt glorified crime, murder and especially serial killers. Talk about great PR! You can’t buy that kind of press. And this controversy solds units. Boy did it ever. Natually, I was one of the first in line to purchase my copy of Manhunt, a game that dominated every spare moment of time that I had, and even some that weren’t spare at all. Wrestling personality and promoter Eric Bischoff wrote a book titled Controversy Creates Cash, and I can assure you that Rockstar Games, the creators of Manhunt, whole heartedly agree with this statement made by the man credited with the controversial destruction, devastation and ultimate demise of Ted Turner’s wrestling promotion, WCW. Hell, Rockstar employee Jeff Williams admited that they (Rockstar) couldn’t justify the violence in the game, nor the game’s insistance that the player brutally execute as many of his adversaries as possible. Williams stated that they knew what they were doing. They weren’t pushing the envelope. They weren’t moving the line back. They were blatantly crossing the line. And that fact sold games.
# 3 – Doom – Sure, the many sequels to Doom were fantastic, but, for me, there’s no way that they can outdo what was done by id Software all the way back in 1993 when the original Doom took gamers by storm! Doom invented a genre, and for that, the first game will forever remain one of the best, and most important, horror games in the history of video games, as well as in the history of pop culture. Like Manhunt would do 10 years later, Doom created controversy the moment it hit stores’ shelves. It’s too violent. It glorifies killing, brutality and glamorizes blood and gore. And things sounded very familiar. The same complaints were issued, by many of the same watchdog groups, for decades when horror films were being discussed. Anytime something comes along, be it a movie, video game, or even a book, that although it may appeal to kids, is meant for adults, there naturally will be groups of supposedly concerned, caring, kind and loving citzens who want to see to it that these forms of entertainment are banned. In reality, what they are is bullies. They try to tell adults, those over 18 years of age, what we can or can’t, should or shouldn’t, be able to watch, listen to, read or play. They’re also full of it! More often than not, these same people claim to be of a religious background, often quoting the Bible when badmouthing the movies, games, songs, etc. What they fail to mention or point out is the fact that the bible is chock full of the same elements as the games, movies and songs that they wish to see banned. Heck, maybe they’re not failing to mention it, maybe they haven’t ever even actually read their bibles!?!?! At any rate, the original Doom is a trendsetter, and the Grandfather of today’s 1st person shooter and also today’s survival games.
# 2 – Dead Space (Playstation 3/Xbox 360/Microsoft Windows) – Dead Space, a game that changed horror video games forever, was brought to gamers by EA (Electronic Arts) and Visceral Games in October of 2008, and games would never be the same. Dead Space not only advanced horror games, but it reinvented them entirely. This game took fear and truly used it to against the players of it. Many gamers have often wished it were possible to actually exist inside of a game, much as was done in the film Gamer starring Dexter’s Michael C. Hall and Gerard Butler, with the condition that they couldn’t be hurt, maimed nor killed while playing. They don’t want the danger but rather the scares and fear, that same experience many people get from riding the highest, fastest and scariest rollcoasters. With Dead Space, many players indeed get that same fear, but, of course, there’s no danger. Well, unless you’ve got a bad ticker. In that event…..who knows?
# 1 – Silent Hill 2 (PS2/Xbox/Windows PC) – Back on January 31st of 1999, the very first Silent Hill video game hit the streets and instantly became a smash hit with gamers and horror fans, who happened to be casual video game players, alike. Heck, I wasn’t much into gaming at the time, although I was a huge gamer back in the Atari and NES days (Yep. I am just that old. I even owned Pong!), but Silent Hill forced me to purchase a used Playstation and Silent Hill. I instantly fell in love with the game, as well as the town of Silent Hill. Some 2 years later, Konami gave in to the desires of S.H. fans everywhere, and allowed us another trip to the town where nothing was as it seemed, nor how it should be, when they released Silent Hill 2, for Playstation 2, Xbox and Windows, in September of 2001. Less than one month after the tragic events that took place in New York, Washington, DC and rural Pennsylvania, would gamers be ready to experience the horror of Silent Hill, so soon after they witnessed true life horror, unfolding live before their eyes on their television screens. I’m sure, for some, the real horror was too fresh in their minds to allow horror, in any form, to enter into their lives so soon, but for many of us, we see horror, movies and games alike, as an escape from the harsh and terrifying reality of our actual lives here on this turbulent blue planet known as earth. For me, Silent Hill 2 was not a reminder of the towers being downed in New York, along with them, so many innocent lives being taken far too early, but rather, it was a means to, for the time being, leave that horror and sorrow behind, and take a trip into a town where monsters ruled, but they were twisted freaks of nature, as opposed to the monsters of 9/11, who looked like you and me, making it harder to dissern them from us, the good guys, than it was to know who was good and who was bad in Silent Hill. Since Silent Hill 2 served as a temporary departure from the hell of reality, I had to polish it up, and sit it atop of my list of the top 10 horror video games off all time, in the number one slot!
Please check out all of my hornface.com titles
- National Horror Examiner
- National Action Figures Examiner
- Philadelphia Horror Examiner
- National Horror Games Examiner
- Quakertown Movies Examiner
You can also follow my pages on Facebook at the following links:
And feel free to send me a friend request on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/PhillyHorror
Follow me on Twitter – http://twitter.com/#!/Horror_Examiner
You can email me at email@example.com