When we play we always like to enjoy ourselves. Even when being beaten to a pulp by online players or enemy AI, the competition keeps us going. This is a list of games which I love, but also a list of games that have made me so uncomfortable that I have barely been able to finish them
7. Thrill Kill
Thrill Kill was a cancelled and unpublished fighting game from 1998 for the original Playstation. It was practically a finished game so it inevitably leaked onto the internet and has become one of the most common bootleg games in modern day.
This game is very messed up. In essence it is a 3D Fighter with all bouts involving 4 people which, for it's day, was pretty revolutionary. The games problem came from the incredible violence, disturbing content and sexual connotations of the games characters. If you so wish, you can read about the characters here.
The thing about this game was how visceral it was. By all accounts it was an average game, hyped only because it was 'banned' - what I had to bear in mind was that I was playing a game that remained unreleased when I was 11. Yeah, I know....
You probably shouldn't watch this video at work!
6. Clock Tower 3
I bought this game for the PS2 randomly and then proceeded to complete the whole thing in just under a day. You play Alyssa Hamilton, a 14 year old school girl and you have to defeat enemies called Subordinates by progressing through a series of puzzles to a boss battle. I can't really remember the full plot details because all I was concerned with was running away. The powerful enemies jump you throughout each level whilst you are trying to solve puzzles and your only option is to run and hide. It's pretty unique because although there any many instances in gaming where it probably makes sense to run away, Clock Tower 3 forces you to run and it is that what makes it so uncomfortable. When you reach the final area of each level you are given a light bow the enemy is simple to kill.
When playing this game I held my breath, as if the killer could hear me and knowing full well if they found you then it was over - there would be no squirming out of any situation.
Meet the Corroder. Asshole.
5. The Suffering
Another game that was under the radar, The Suffering was a 3rd person action game released in 2004 that I played on the PS2. Playing as convicted murderer Torque, you spend the game trying to escape the prison you have just been incarcerated.
The game has monsters that personify various forms of execution so for example, there's one guy who has a decapitated head and blades for arms (guillotine) and another who has needles sticking out of him (lethal injection) and so the enemies continue. It's never really explained if you did murder your wife or not, it depends on how you play the game and it was a very early example of where moral choices carried over into the equal.
The strange thing about this game being on the list isn't that it makes you jump or builds up tension. It is unashamedly violent and grotesque and it never lets up. You have to have a certain stomach to handle this game because it will keep throwing crap at you. Heavy stuff.
Monsters Trailer from The Suffering
4. Resident Evil 2
Just remember that I played this game when it came out in 1998, so although it may not be that scary in general, it terrified the hell out of me so much I would only play it with my cheat cartridge giving me infinite health. Even more controversially, the main thing that made me so jumpy (and the reason I love the series) was the static camera angles.
Walking into a room and not being able to see the way your character was looking, knowing that there was something in there with you and you could either wait for it to come to you (which may never happen) or you have to venture into what was essentially a black hole - there could be anything on the other side.
Walking into a room with the now cliched door loading screen, hearing a hunter or licker and just turning right back into the room you just came from. You know, just to calm down a little bit and make sure your gun is loaded. The game mechanics which now seem dated are one of the reasons it was uncomfortable and no matter how many times I play the damn game I still jump at the bastard crocodile every time.
I always know it's coming. I always jump.
3 . Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly
It's no surprise to see this game on the list, it is widely considered as one of the scariest games of all time due to it's macabre plotline, unique fighting mechanic and Onryō style of Japanese folklore..
The only weapon to hand is the Camera Obscura, an old antique camera which has the ability to capture (kill) spirits in the photographs it takes.
The fear comes in two forms. The game is genuinely creepy as you wonder around a village in darkness that requires a ritual whereby an elder twin strangles a younger twin to keep the hellish spirits under the village at bay. Quite convenient that you're a twin then eh? The game is filled with back story and characters/spirits that try and help and harm your quest to escape with your sister in tow. I'll leave the rest just in case you play it.
The horror is the camera. The lights flash red whenever a hostile spirit is nearby and you know that you have to pull the camera up to your face and there could be anything waiting to greet you when you do. It is tempting at times to ignore the light and just run, what you can't see can't hurt you, right? Then the second part is where you have to look through the camera at a specific point and scan for a small detail and then something jumps out. You know it's going to happen and there is nothing you can do to fight it. It may not seem scary now but you just try playing this at night, alone, with headphones.
The Falling Woman
2. Condemned: Criminal Origins
Condemned wins the jump award hands down.
Never has a game made me jump so much, so consistently and so genuinely. Playing as a detective you go around scanning muder scenes in a kind of rebellious CSI style. It starts fairly logically and then the game becomes more disjointed and surreal and with every plot development comes even more of an opportunity to terrify you.
Condemned is physcical. It is all about melee combat and smacking stuff as hard as you can. Guns are scarce and bullets even more so - there is a real feeling of isolation and desire to survive so even when your back is up against the wall, you always think if that bullet is really worth it. Have you every had a lunatic run at you with a lead pipe? Get used to it.
This clip sums the whole thing up...
1. Silent Hill
Every time I hear white noise coming from a radio I am pulled back to the time when I played Silent Hill on my own late at night.
Silent Hill haunts me like a recurring nightmare I can't snap out of. I have played games 1-4 and have only completed the first game once, while cheating. I can't quite put my finger on it but a combination of fog, heavy sound effects, jerking and faceless enemies, woeful characters and torturous gore. I would actually dread playing this game, dread the siren telling me that any moment I would be going into the 'otherworld' with even worse areas, more blood and more sorrow.
Most of silent hills scares are created out of your own paranoia and that is one of the beautiful things about it. A famous scene where you come to open a locker, fully expecting something to jump out at you, but it doesn't. Then 20 seconds later when your guard is down, then the jump comes.
Pyramid Head is one of the most surreal and uncomfortable characters every created. With a disproportionate sized red head/helmet he is stalking you throughout the second game and serves a very symbolic purpose in the story.
Silent Hill 2 specifically is the most mentally draining game I have ever played. You have to connect with the character and his reasons for being in the town but by doing so you let the darkest demons into your mind and you feel a small portion of what James does - and even that proves too much.
The top 10 scariest moments of the series.
And the rest...
I'm missing a load of games from my list and I would even say that there are scarier games out there; there are certainly more uncomfortable ones. Dead Space would probably be on the list had I played more than an hour of it and things like Left 4 Dead, Doom 3, Slender, F.E.A.R and many more could easily be on this list.
Let me know if you think I've messed anything striking because I could well have forgotten something.