The Witching hour is almost upon us. The time of year where we stuff our faces, watch scary movies and play goulish games. To get you in the mood for this haunting time of year, Count Rockula has put together a list of 13 fiendishly good games for you to enjoy. We hope you enjoy his terrifying recommendations.
1. Resident Evil 2 (Remake)
You could pick any game from the Resident Evil series but I’ve gone with Resident Evil 2. The original game was released in 1998 on the PlayStation and saw ports to the Nintendo 64, GameCube and Dreamcast. The original is a survival horror classic where you play as either Leon or Claire as you make your way through the Raccoon City Police Department, trying to escape the zombie invested city. In 2019, the game would be remade for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Gone was the fixed camera angles and tank controls as well as the zapping system of the original. The camera is now over the shoulder but through the use of lighting and sound, the game is even scarier than the original. The Police Station looks amazingly decrepit. The zombies pose a real threat to you and ammo conservation is an absolute must. The game, like the original, does have plenty of jump scares. It is one of the best remakes we’ve gotten in recent years, even if Mr. X won’t leave me alone…
Of course, I was always going to squeeze a JRPG into this list (and it won’t be the last). Koudelka was developed by Sacnoth and released in 1999 in Japan, before seeing a worldwide release in 2000. You take control of Koudelka, Edward and James as you explore a ruined mansion. This is the game I’ve played most recently and I really enjoyed it. The combat is turn based but does have elements of a tactical JRPG. This means your character positioning is important, especially against the tougher enemies later in the game. It does have a strong reliance on magic, with two thirds of your party being magic users. The setting is sublime. The house and its grounds feel haunting and the music really helps to set the scene. It is also the game that started the Shadow Hearts series, which I haven’t played as of yet but if Koudelka’s anything to go by, I’m in for a treat.
3. Silent Hill
Probably one of the creepiest games released on the PlayStation, Silent Hill was developed by Konami and released in 1999. This is the game I have the least experience with on the list. In fact, I’ve never actually played this one. Instead, I played the demo that came with Metal Gear Solid. The setting is what really makes this one. Watching the town change for the worse as you explore it, all covered in a haunting fog, is quite the experience. There are also several different endings so there is a good bit of replayability in this one. Don’t forget to check out Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3 on the PlayStation 2.
4. Costume Quest
I told you there’d be another JRPG and this one is a fun adventure. Released digitally by Tim Schafer’s Double Fine Productions in 2010, you take control of a group of children as they trick or treat their way through the neighbourhood. Okay, it’s not the scariest game on the list but it is a good one to play. The game is a traditional turn-based JRPG with job classes dressed up (get it) as costumes. Each costume comes with its own unique abilities so there is a level of strategy to it. The setting compliments the game well. The graphics are cute and the music is enjoyable. A sequel was released in 2014 and got a Limited Run Games release too. If you’re a fan of JRPGs, they’re well worth sinking your teeth into.
5. Ghosts’n Goblins
From one of the easiest games on the list to absolute hell. Like pain? This is the game for you. Of course, like a lot of NES games, this one just requires time and patience to get through… oh, and the knife! Released in arcades in 1985, Capcom would eventually port it to the NES in 1986. The game looks and sounds wonderful, even to this day. The controls can feel a bit stiff at first but you’ll quickly get used to them. There is a decent variety of weapons to collect, some more useful than others. Make it to the end and you’ll be in for a nasty surprise (that most people nowadays know about). There are also versions on The Master System, Mega Drive and Super Nintendo that are unique in their own right. It’s a blast to play through but in the words of the Angry Video Game Nerd, “Get The Knife!”
How could I make this list and not include DOOM. I mean, it’s friggin’ DOOM! Released on PCs in 1993, this game has been ported to everything, and I mean everything. It’s an amazing first-person shooter that holds up really well today. The enemies are tough and gruesome, the weapons are amazingly brutal and the music is… well… unreal. I have great memories of playing the first game in the DOOM 3 BFG edition. Four of us would play co-op and try to find out where the hell to go. It was great to just sit around and play it non-stop into the early hours of the morning. DOOM has also seen two new games released in the last few years, DOOM and DOOM Eternal. I haven’t had the chance to play them yet but they look gorgeously gory.
7. Bubsy 3D
Published by Accolade in 1996, Bubsy 3D sees you take control of the titular chara…. what do you mean it’s not a horror? Just look at how terrifying it is and the controls are… oh, fine…
7. Dying Light
Techland’s follow up to their 2011 hit Dead Island, this first-person shooter drops you into a zombie invested land where you’ll have to scavenge to survive. The open world allows you to explore at your will but be warned, when the sun goes down, it really becomes a fight for survival. Like Dead Island, you can craft different weapons from the items you find to help you make it through the night. The game also features a fun four player co-op mode where you can team up with friends to scavenge together. The game is also packed with Easter eggs which definitely encourages exploration. The game also pulls off its parkour movement really well, enabling you to clamber up walls and over the infected heads with relative ease. This is one that I definitely have to revisit someday.
8. Left 4 Dead
From one four-player co-op game to another, Valve’s Left 4 Dead sees you take control of one of four characters as you attempt to fight your way to a safe room. Unlike Dying Light, Left 4 Dead is focused a lot more on fast-paced gun action. The game features a variety of levels from a hospital to the sewers. The zombies can swarm you very quickly and you can be caught off guard if you’re not careful. There’s definitely an interesting mix of enemies here, from the standard infected to tanks and even the fearsome witch. The game did get a sequel in 2009 that expanded on the original, adding new objectives, characters and monsters. Both games are well worth playing, especially in multiplayer.
If there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, who you gonna call? Originally released in 2009 and remastered in 2019, the game sees you become the fifth member of the Ghostbusters crew. All of the familiar Ghostbusters tropes are here, the Sedgewick Hotel, Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, Bill Murray phoning it in… all here. The game is essentially the ending of the original Ghostbusters trilogy. The terror is on a much bigger scale than seen in the films and there are a number of Easter eggs to uncover. The third-person controls work incredibly well and there are a variety of Proton Pack upgrades to acquire. If you’re a fan of the movies, this is a must have for your collection.
10. Dead Space 2
Dead Space 2 is an action-horror game from the now defunct Visceral Games (thanks EA). The original Dead Space had you exploring the Ishimura as you attempted to located your lost girlfriend. Its narrow passages and horrible necromorphs made for an excellent game. The only issue is there’s quite a bit of backtracking in each area. Dead Space 2 took everything from the first game and greatly improved upon it. The graphics look crisper, the sounds more haunting and the setting beautifully detailed. This time Isaac is stuck on the Sprawl as it literally goes to hell. The necromorphs are back and are as terrifying as ever. Each area is wonderfully detailed and the game constantly pushes you forward to uncover the secrets of the city. The most memorable moment for me was the nursery. You’ll understand when you get there. There is a third game in the franchise which isn’t bad but it is hampered by EA’s insistence on multiplayer and microtransactions. Still, it’s nice to round the series off.
11. Zombies Ate My Neighbors
Zombies Ate My Neighbors (or just Zombies here) is a top down action adventure game released by LucasArts on the Super Nintendo and Sega Mega Drive. The objective is simple, rescue your neighbours and find the exit. However, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Along the way you’ll encounter zombies, giant ants, aliens and even a giant baby. The game can be played in co-op and features over 50 levels. There are some unique themes here from back gardens to castles and they do repeat after a while but if you’re anything like me, you won’t see half of them because this game is tough. Still, it’s great fun to play with a friend but just remember, communication is key to your survival.
12. Luigi’s Mansion 3
Luigi, like all of us, needs a vacation and like most has decided on a family trip to a hotel (remember those). Unfortunately for Luigi, it’s haunted and soon both Mario and Princess Peach have been captured. It’s up to Luigi (and Polterpup, the real hero) to save them. The game builds on the foundation of the first two in the series but adds in new weapons and challenges. As you complete tasks in the hotel, more floors open up to explore. Each floor as its own theme, including a movie set and a pirate ship. The controls feel so much more robust than Luigi Manion 2 and the hotel is much more open than the previous entry. As you unlock new abilities, you can revisit older floors to find secrets. This is my favourite in the series and an absolute must-own for the Switch.
What better way to finish off the list than with a classic (and if I don’t include it, Davide will be very upset). Released in 1986 on the NES, Simon Belmont sets off through Dracula’s Castle in order to defeat the monster once and for all. Along the way, he’ll fight Medusa, Mummies, Frankenstein and even Death himself. The game is a challenge but there are plenty of powerups to grab to help you on your way. The controls feel stiff at first and the knock-back is a pain but you’ll quickly adapt to them. The music is phenomenal and the main theme will be stuck in your head for days. This game would spawn a series that would include such greats as Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow and even a hit Netflix show. It is an absolute beast and there’s nothing quite like beating Dracula in the early hours of the morning and seeing his castle crumble to the ground.
There are a number of excellent horror games I haven’t mentioned such as Alien Isolation, Amnesia: The Dark Descent and The Evil Within but I haven’t had the chance to play them yet. What are some of your favourite spooky games?