This is it guys! The final countdown to the game I am most looking forward to this year; ‘Alien Isolation’. It is also October; the month of Hallowe’en so I feel it is only fitting that we do some posts about one of my favourite genres; the survival horror.
Once a week for this month we will be exploring different aspects of survival horrors and to kick off this ‘Fright-fest’ we will be looking at the single most terrifying moments of games.
Read on; if you dare.
Introduction of ‘Pyramid Head’ (Silent Hill 2)
He may now be as synonymous with the game series as the fog that pervades through each and every title but how can we forget about his incredibly bewildering, shocking and terrifying introduction into ‘Silent Hill 2’?
As James Sutherland the player walks around the corner to stumble upon this guy, engaging in the most sadistic looking sexual act on another occupant of ‘Silent Hill’ complete with ghastly and ghostly noises. This hulking brute would out-power you in straight up conflict so you hide in a cupboard.
Although this all happens in a cut scene it subverts everything the player knows starting with your view on sex. By making James hide in a cupboard the player is brought back to childhood memories of hide-and-seek and contrasts the memories of a safe game with the visual images of a ‘rape’. The most powerful technique though is that it is completely unexpected, there is no grand build up, no sudden start of ‘Silent Hills’ infamously haunting soundtrack and certainly no reasoning behind the scene. Your personal safety is now in question!
All you know is that this guy is a bad ass and you should fear him. You do. My God do you fear him.
First encounter of the chainsaw guy (Resident Evil 4)
It’s well documented that ‘Resident Evil 4′ changed the whole concept of survival horror, basically it dropped the survival and focused completely on the horror. As Leon Kennedy the player is charged with finding the Presidents’ Daughter in a tiny Spanish village…he gets more than he bargained for.
Although there are clues that something is awry; it isn’t until you arrive in the village that you realise how FUBAR your situation truly is. The villagers can move like the wind, and they will swarm you until you are overwhelmed. Stand in one spot and you will die. Alas you cannot move and shoot at the same time. ‘Resident Evil 4’ is at home when it creates an unease in the players psyche; it is a terrifying game of risk versus reward, you cannot become complacent.
Imagine the horror when the game suddenly throws an enemy at you who is relentless, who will stop at nothing to get you, who moves faster than you, and who can take a great deal of punishment. Worse than all this you know; in your heart of hearts, that one mistake or lapse of concentration will end you.
This my friends is horror.
Door closing woman (P.T.)
To be fair there are several moments in this game that could’ve and should’ve made this list, I chose the following because it got the biggest reaction from me on my play through.
My God, P.T! You terrifying son-of-a-bitch! The demo was an exercise of terrifying the player through assaulting all their sense (not at once) and the first few minutes are a cerebral assault that when the first jump scare comes it is a terrifying moment.
You’re walking through the corridor for the third time, you get past the first door on your left; which you just know is the bathroom (which the radio announcer will remind you that a family was killed in), opens just a little. You know what you must do. You go to inspect the door. Nothing. You check the gap. BOOM! OMFG! Something closed the door! Shit has been lost! You are now in a world of horror!
You only caught a glimpse of whatever closed that door and you’re not sure what it was, but you are sure of something else…you do NOT want to see it again.
Kudos Mr Kojima.
Window bursting dogs (Resident Evil 1)
You and your team of STAR members have found safety in a creepy abandoned house…what could possibly go wrong?
You encounter your first zombie and decide to go the opposite way, you’re casually walking through a corridor and BOOM! Dogs have just burst in and are hunting you down like prey. Holy shit these guys are a lot more mobile than that zombie guy! Terror!
Fast forward to the REmake! Them dogs will not get you this time, you know they’re going to burst through the window and you will be ready with your weapon. You go through the corridor and…
Phew! Maybe Capcom forgot to REmaster that scene! safe at last.
Only Capcom haven’t forgotten; they’re fucking with you! On the return trip through that corridor, just before you turn the corner and the camera changes it happens…once again you lose your shit and blindly sprint to safety! Who cares if you cannot see your destination, you know where it is, seeing your way is over-rated.
Well played Capcom!
Shopping centre horror (Condemned)
Condemned is a game I played, simply because there was nothing else during those initial release window months of the 360.
Holy shit it was terrifying!
No level was scarier than the shopping centre level. It is terrifying to wander through an abandoned shopping centre (mall for our american cousins).
It was even more terrifying to see reminders of the malls better days; things we associate with happiness and safety are used to pervert our perception of this area. Christmas tree’s fall and lights burst. Condemned spends a lot of time building to the jump scares and it is very effective! However shit gets real when the mannequins start ‘coming to life’. The crazies who populate this world will jump out at you from inside the mannequins!
Rather than cheap out though the developers keep just enough mannequins; mannequins. You can never relax around these plastic clothes horses…scary!
That’s it from us. Do you have a particular scary moment from video games? Let us know i nthe comments below!