Scary Scary – The Best Horror Video Games

Blame Brother Eric for this one.  He wrote a little thing on the scariest video games, and while I wanted to make a little comment, the desire to blather on and on and on and on grew to such levels that I literally could not resist posting here on the subject.

It also helped that he is dead wrong in at least one of his choices.  But, you know, that’s just how it is.

As when I talked about Video Role Playing Games, I’m not really judging game play. I’m judging standards. Your mileage may vary.


Clock Tower (1996)

Promotional image of Scissorman in the game Cl...

Oh yes, the story of a young man and his scissors.  What’s not to love about this game.

Well for starters, the God damn point and click interface.  Point and click is just peachy when you have a mouse, but I played this bad boy on the Playstation.  It’s kinda like having to shout instructions to someone whose partially deaf and completely inable to follow basic instructions.

Actually, as I did a lot of shouting at the screen, skip the “kinda like” and go with out and out “is”.

Ignoring that, what you have is a female protagonist (one out of a possible two) struggling to solve the mystery of Scissorman, an unstoppable killer who has already gone through one game’s worth of characters and is back for more.  Playing Clock Tower is the closest thing to being in a Slasher Movie, though without the obligatory nude scenes.  Scissorman is a relentless opponent you spend most of the game running from.  Or hiding from.  Or dying at the pointy end of his gigantic scissor blades.  And with plenty of endings, what more can you want?

Save decent controls.  Natch

There really isn’t another game out there like it, and I still get a little nervous when I hear scissors opening and closing.  I’d love to play it again.

Preferably with decent controls.

“Hold the elevator! Hold the elevator! WHY WON’T ANYONE HOLD THE FREAKIN’ ELEVAT– oh, giant pair of murder scissors. Right.  Never mind.”

Corpse Party

So this girl, Mayu, is heading off to another high school, and all of her friends (plus a helpful homeroom teacher and a classmate’s young sister) hold a little late night get-together at their school.  After a night of ghost stories, one of Mayu’s friends suggests performing this silly little charm she found on the internet that, if performed properly will mean they’ll be together forever.  Except it isn’t performed properly and they all end up in what can only be called the grade school of the damned.  And guess what?  They can never ever leave.

Things go downhill from there as the player struggles to get multiple groups of high schoolers from point A to point B without them dying horrible, horrible deaths.  And you know they’re horrible when you find yourself reflecting back on the perky girl who hung herself in the toilet and think she got off lucky.

Actually, no.  She didn’t.  Because, ha ha, death isn’t the end for the victims…

Seriously, I have never played a game so relentlessly grueling.  You think you’ve hit the worst of it, then it goes the extra mile just to prove you wrong.  Every.  Freaking.  Time.  This is a game with over forty endings and not a single one is happy.

I can’t say I enjoyed playing Corpse Party, but at no point was I sorry I downloaded it.  Well, yeah, I’m sorry I download it, as I was happier without all the scenes of intense terror and horrific torture scenes.  But when you’re a Horror fan, it comes with the territory.

Amusingly enough, Corpse Party was originally built with RPGMaker.  It even still has hit points, though why I can’t say.  You don’t ever fight anything…

Mayu never does get to her new high school…

Lord of the Rings: The Third Age

What? Just the thought of ever playing this game scares the bejesus out of me.

AH! I’LL BE GOOD! I’LL BE GOOD!

Silent Hill (1-3)

Silent Hill 2

I’ve made my love of this game series known once or twice. Oh, wait, no I haven’t. It’s all been about Silent Hill 2.

And for good cause. Contrary to what some might tell you (Eric), it’s the best damn game in the series. It has a complex, deep main character in James Sunderland as well as some of the most messed up characters this side of anywhere. The story itself (Sunderland searches the haunted town of Silent Hill for a wife he knows is dead while avoiding Lovecraftian horrors) is as creepy as hell, and the multiple endings! While there is a clear and definitive “right” ending in most games (even Corpse Party (note right, not happy)), there is no right ending here. And some of these are damn creepy.

Except for the dog ending.

That’s just silly.

Now I’m not going to talk smack about any of the Silent Hill series. Even the more… unfortunate ones (Heya, Homecoming!) are light years better than most Survival Horror games I played. More, I would play them all again.It’s just that 2 is tops. No matter what some people say.

One of the many friendly, outgoing residents of Silent Hill. (He’s there. Trust me.)

So no to Resident Evil; it’s fun a fun series but not the best.  Didn’t finish Dino Crisis (rental, I think), Siren (unworkable game mechanics) or ObsCure 2 (one obnoxious puzzle).  I’ll mention Doom 3 and Half Life as excellent games, but I don’t have anything that much to say about them.

And that… is that.

Except, once again, Eric is wrong, I’m right.

Which is the way it should be…

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4 Replies to “Scary Scary – The Best Horror Video Games”

  1. I would have called the UI on Clocktower “unusable”. I recognize that “clunky” is a survival horror control standard, but you can’t build suspense when “clunky” goes to “effectively no control whatsoever”. It took dying about three times in that game because the main character was paying no attention whatsoever to where I was clicking for me to stop caring. The SNES Clocktower is scarier. I personally found King’s Quest 3 scarier than Clocktower. .

    I love Silent Hill 2, but I spent – quite literally – half an hour at he beginning wandering around the town with no clue what to do next. No help from the game, just occasional dead-ends and more insane supporting characters. I don’t want my hand held, but I never really forgave SH2 for that pointless half hour. One little scrap of paper vaguely alluding to something I might want to eventually check out would have been enough. Such a thing exists, but only in a building you have no particular cause to go into in the first place – which would have been fine, if there weren’t so damn many buildings like that. Couple that with the things crawling out from under the cars – which were scary at first, but after half an hour’s aimless wandering were just annoying- and the game made a faltering first step. It’s a great game, but that opening section, after you actually get to the town just made the rest harder for me to get into.

    I’ve heard a lot about Corpse Party, but since I don’t have, and probably never will have, a PSP…

  2. On Clock Tower: I hear ya on the controls. It worked for me, though. And maybe the horrible controls added something to it for me, I dunno. All I know is I beat the game with one character and came close to it on another. Not because I liked the controls. But because I wanted to see how it ended.

    And because I paid good money on the damn thing.

    On Silent Hill 2: God, I love/hate the things under the cars. And I never minded wandering around. Speaking of which…

    On Corpse Party: Maybe it’s best you don’t play. Story wise, its grueling, but game wise…

    Gamewise, it doesn’t give a care what you think. I don’t think it came with instructions, even. I had to figure out everything on my lonesome. Not that the controls were that hard, mind. But the “boss battles”… shesh.

    Picture this, if you will. You’re trapped in a room with a ghost. It touches you, you get hurt a little. You’re faster than it, but it can block you’re way by taking out the floor. Not much, mind, but in the end there’s very little room to move.

    The only way to win is to get out of the room, but there’s no hint on how. Only through trial and error and fricking luck did I get past it.

    And whole slews of the game was like that.

    Towards the end of the game I had to break down and hunt up a FAQ to see what I missed. Not a lot, just a hint, but God damn.

    In short, it’s Nintendo Hard. But I think the story makes it worth it.

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