I’ve always maintained the idea that horror games will always be scarier than horror films. One reason, comes from the fact that the fright-fest isn’t over after 90 minutes, and you’re actively controlling the dip into terror. Another reason comes in the form of the antagonists themselves, as games are always throwing heavier and scarier obstacles at your face, usually attached to a chainsaw. Here’re ten such abominations that will have you experiencing a warm and liquid manifestation in your pants.
Nemesis – Resident Evil 3
You know what’s great about old school horror games? You can easily outwit an enemy by merely going into another room. Ha! Suckers! Except in Resident Evil 3, a doorway was no guarantee that you wouldn’t be introduced to the business end of a rocket launcher or the aching hamfists of the roid-raged Nemesis that was stalking you throughout the game. With a hate-on that would make Liam Neeson jealous, Nemesis would barge through the game like an angry juggernaut, leaving you lucky to be alive if you ever did manage to give him the slip.
Pyramid Head – Silent Hill 2
What happens when you combine heavy metal album covers with alcohol, a disregard for the laws of physics and an urge to rip the skin off of somebody? You get Pyramid Head, a mathematically perfect amalgamation of hate and ruthless aggression. A manifestation of remorse and guilt, Pyramid Head is arguably one of the more recognisable elements of Silent Hill. As well as a destroyer of pristine pants and clean underwear.
Xenomorph – Alien: Isolation
In most video games, the Xenomorphs were mere cannon fodder, acid-blooded foes looking to deliver the mother of all french kisses. In Alien: Isolation however, they were returned to their roots, with a single Xenomorph easily capable of wiping you out several times. And then several times more. And then even more. It’s one thing to die…constantly, but the beauty of the Xenomorph in Alien: Isolation is that it truly does embody its original movie roots as well as the general feeling of dread when faced with one.
It’s still a complete bastard however.
Slenderman – Slender series
How scary is a tall supernatural figure with a blank face that is determined to horribly murder you the second you turn your back? Actually, really damn scary.
Regenerator Necromorphs – Dead Space series
Necromorphs are simple creatures. They’re dead on the inside and wish to fill your fleshy face with meat-hooks and pain. In a group, they’re bloody terrifying, but easily dealt with when the rules of shoot first and ask questions later are applied. But the regenerator Necromorphs? They’re harder than week-old Christmas fruitcake and almost as dangerous. Unstoppable and with a healing factor that would make Deadpool jealous, you know you’re completely buggered when you find one of these monstrosities hunting you down.
Alma – FEAR series
When it comes down to pure scares, Alma is pretty much what vaguely-defined Japanese horror movie killers look underneath their bed for before they decide to go to sleep. A terrifying master of the jump scare (IN YO FACE!), Alma was a regular menace throughout FEAR and its subsequent sequels. Because hell has no fury like that of an immensely powerful psionic who has been hideously experimented on. I think there’s a lesson to be learned here.
Keeper – The Evil Within
What secrets hide beneath the vaulted head of the keeper? The Krusty Krab formula? The password to Geoff’s secret ION folder? Or is it certain death, unstoppable and determined to do you in? I’m going to go with death. Looooooot’s of it!
Zombies – ZombiU
Easily one of the most divisive launch games ever made, ZombiU may have had some flaws,but it more than made up for them with a Zombie enemy type that was terrifying to encounter. With a herd mentality and an appetite for leg of Larry, the ZombiU walkers are fast, unpredictable and always one step behind you. And in a game that emphasised both survival and horror, that made for a massively terrifying combination.
Killer Croc – Batman: Arkham Asylum
There’s something to be said when a game that puts you in the boots of two-fisted vigilante badass with too much money and psychological issues manages to tiptoe through a level lest he accidentally upset the deranged sub-human cannibal that is currently stalking said hero.
SHODAN – System Shock 2
HAL? Skynet? Ultron? Please, you can keep your killer Artificial Systems, because when it comes to digital destruction, SHODAN is the queen. The Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Access Network was a bigger threat than any flesh-eating former crewmate or genetically unstable monster in System Shock 2, due to the fact that the AI had uninstalled Morality Vista 64-bit edition from her mainframe, ending up with a god complex that made Robert Mugabe look tame in comparison.
What made SHODAN especially dangerous however, wasn’t its lack of morals. Its the fact that it was aware of this problem, and delighted in tormenting the player throughout the game. Evil on its own may be terrifying, but deliberate evil moreso.
Outlast – The main menu
One day, I’ll summon up enough courage to make it past this screen. One day.
Like what you see? Want more frights, chills and thrills? Then don’t forget that The Evil Within and Alien Isolation is out right now. If you’re brave enough, you can grab The Evil Within from these fine stockists on a range of platforms:
Last Updated: October 29, 2014