You Don't Scare Me

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I have to say. The entire first playthrough with Metal Gear Solid on the playstation. Watching my brothers play it, playing it myself. It was a very... Unnerving experience. Then, youknow, the introduction to the ninja scene. Then walking through said Gorey bodies, and through the door.

Thief 1. When Zombies were introduced, I was like, 13 at the time or something, and I was watching my brother play. I was pretty much scared for months. And months. Of the lights on. Sad, really.

But the first time that -I- had this scary moment, where I knew fear, and it unnerved me, and I could not just look away, or stop playing. Was Halo. On the PC. It had to have been, 2 in the morning, dark, and where my computer is, the front door and porch, with windows all around, is behind me, the garage door is a few steps away from me, and a corner going into the kitchen is in the other direction. The bathroom door is almost behind me, opposite of the entrance.

So I was playing Halo for the first time. I was enjoying it, alot. Guilty 343 started playing, swampy, dark, quiet. I got into the ancient structure. Dark, quiet. And quickly becoming foreboding. As there was nothing to shoot, I started observing my surroundings. I eventually got to the cutscene. THAT cutscene. I watched it, and then I saw the flood for the first time, honestly, the first time. There were absolutely no hints to even the existence of the flood. That shook me, that shook me hard. The cutscene ended and I had my pistol out, the smaller parasite floods stormed the room, even though they were defeated I was shaky. Careful twicefold around every corner.

See, funny thing about myself. I played doom when I was 4 years old. There is an ever present fear of the dark that I just can't explain. Really.

So, slowly, I made my way back, fighting this new enemy. Then hastly, rushing to get the level done. I made it to the elevator shaft that I rode down on. I hit the button. And I raised my hands behind my head, streching. I had headphones on, which was my main source of sound.

I heard a loud shrill, and the elevator that was going to take me out of this hell screamed down literally inches from my characters face in a ball of flames.

I stood there for probably a literal 5 minutes. Thats how shaken I was, to have all my comforts pulled out from under me. It got me, it got me bad.

Later I had to do the Library, which honestly, was not a pleasent experiance, but not because of the flood, but because I kept fuggin dying, which helped a LOT to keep my cool, because it turned it into this slow brooding anger, instead of fear. Which I needed.

Of course, there is still the undeniable fact that too this day I cannot play Doom 3 alone. At all. Ever. I can beat it on Co-op no problem, I play Skulltag, the multiplayer Doom 2, alot. But never alone. I just can't, I have to turn it off. I can't even beat the first level.

Survival Horror is one of my most loved genres.(Given most of my avatars)

Top for me still has to be Alien vs Predator: The skittering facehuggers emboy several different kinds of nightmare in one.

An interesting notion is whether you consider L4D to be Survival Horror in certain places. The finales and areas like the Upper floors of the Hospital blend away the idea of hitpoints into a mad dash for survival. No-one playing through on Expert doesn't lose a little chunk of self when they fail to make it through a level.

Oh, and to show how well Survival Horror can be done: The Haunted Motel on Vampire: Bloodlines: You're almost invulnerable, maybe one thing in the entire level can hurt you...And you'll be terrified, even if you've played it before.

Also, The Pit Creature from the original Half Life. Tink, Tink, Tink...

Of course though, an easy game can completely remove fear as well. When a player knows that a boss can be defeated through the repetition of an easy pattern, a hard part can be finished by staying in the corner or each enemy doesn't take that much damage (as well as many more aspects of easy games) they don't respond in the same way to a difficult horror game. It's possible for an easy game to have horrific moments in it. For example in FEAR your average enemy is pretty easy to beat and when they do get difficult, they do not get more scary. When Elma turns up some scary stuff does happen, the ladder part is great in the first game, but these are far and few between and most of the scary parts fail to scare later on because you tend to notice a pattern expect them. You kill some guys, Elma turns up and yells Boo, trippy things happen, you fight more people, rinse and repeat. The game mixes this up a little but not enough to warrant actually fear, just a 'well that was different'. In FEAR you know what to do, you know what's going on.

The most powerful fear that can be created is a fear of the unknown and a fear of death/suffering. Take JAWS for example. In this movie you don't see the shark for the first 3/4 of the film (fear of the unknown) yet you see it kill plenty of people (fear of death). When we are not in control and have a serious risk of death, we get scared. The reason that people find the SAW movies so scary is because they can see themselves having all control removed from their lives and being minutes away from death at the hands of a psychopath. People can see that happening to folks like themselves and are terrified at the thought that control can be taken from their lives and that they can be killed by the unknown. Getting this feeling is what makes a good horror movie. Another example is the original Wicker Man. If you've seen this movie you would know how the unknown, a lack of control and death can make a movie scary.

I think that for everyone there are plenty of scary moments in games in which the player doesn't know what to do, dies plenty of times and is completely and utterly confused as to what they can do. The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time was the first Zelda game I played and so I wasn't aware of hitting the weak spot for massive damage and because I was only around nine or ten I wasn't exactly sure of the controls. I wasn't a good aim and I hadn't nailed Z-Targating. The entire first level, The Deku Tree, had enemies that didn't require much skill to kill, just spiders on the wall that you can take your time with or Deku shrubs that you kill by sitting down with your shield. So leading up to Queen Gohma I pretty much sucked at the game and I had no way to kill her. Suffice to say this was the most fucking scary boss I have ever fought. Not only did the atmosphere of the cavern freak me out, but I just couldn't kill her. I assumed the eye was linked, I had my slingshot, but I couldn't get a shot off in time. I didn't know how to use the Z-targeting so I never got Navi's hints of the auto aim. And so I failed to do any damage to her and then to reward my incompetence these fucking egg things come from the roof, little spiders jump out and then kill me. The second and third attempts to kill were just as scary (if not more) as the first because I knew, walking into that cavern, I wont walk out. The fear of the unknown was still there, I didn't know what to do, I didn't know how to win, all that I knew was that I was going to die. That was a fucking scary boss. I didn't find it frustrating, I found it as freaky as hell. This fear was completely removed the next day when after talking to a friend he described how to use Z-Targating and kill her and I dominated that spider bitch. She wasn't scary because I was in control and all the atmosphere in the world couldn't change that. From then on I've never found a boss scary in the same way. While some are still cryptic, the way to defeat them is never so hidden that you can't beat them. An example of this would be Phantom Gannondorf who was a little like Gohma in that I wasn't sure how to win, but before I died I figured out what was going on and was able to win. Part of the reason I think is Navi, who explains too much. Makes it winnable for everyone, but in some places too easy.

Another example of a player facing and inevitable death because of a lack of control/understanding and fear being caused as a result is that damn acid maze in the first level of Quake. As a kid that part always freaked me out because when I jumped in I knew that I would lose my way and die as a result. I made it a few times but I died mostly and that was always scary for me.

To be a good horror game the player needs moments in which they have no control and may die as a result. This doesn't have to be difficult, in fact the possibility of death may only be alluded to and never followed through or at least difficult to achieve. Once the player may start to recognize a pattern, mix things up and take the control away from them. This causes fear. Not the quick and easily repetitive 'Boo I'm a monster' fear that many games go for, but a slower and more thought out fear that you certainly feel on the inside but wont be seen by people watching you play. These parts aren't necessarily difficult or and don't have to be frustrating, but they are certainly scary. Combine these with some freaky imagery and some 'Boo' scares and you've got a good horror game.

Oh god, staying at a friend's place for the night when I was eleven & hearing his uncle playing Resident Evil 2 in the dead of the night. Jesus, that scared the shit out of me.

Also, a recent second playthrough of Dead Space. Slow-moving zombies aren't all that scary with a fully-upgraded gatling gun of death in your hands, until I came up to the Hunter.
There was a long period on my first playthrough where I didn't play, & thus had forgotten how the first half of the game went. So I was following my blue thread hearing the Hunter moan & clunk through the vents, not knowing if it was going to pop out somewhere. Of course, the sense of fear instantly dropped when I entered the freezing labs.

What about adding a sanity meter of sorts? Dying is one thing, but having your character slowly go mad from one explosion of gore or heaping helping of pain too many, or rather, the constant threat of it, certainly helps with the whole "horror" aspect of the game, and makes your protagonist less of a walking death machine and more of a human being. Cue bad ending and some really creepy mind-screwing if your character should go insane. No madness-inspired suicides though. One major drama point of horror is there is no escape from the horror. Suicides are more depressing than terrifying. (Unless done in a particularly gruesome and disturbing manner worthy of an immediate R rating. Self-disembowellment anyone? Talk about a non-standard game over.)

The constant fear of death is certainly an important part of horror. One of the scariest experiences I've ever found in a game is ironically a form of self-imposed difficulty. The no-deaths run-through. There's a certain dread in that. Now I am not advocating sending the player back to the start of the game if they die, but it certainly increases the tension if you know that if you die, that is it, your character really is dead.

What hasn't been explored is the possibility of permanently dead main characters. What if, when one of your main characters died, they stayed dead and the story adapted around them? Adds to the fear level when your erstwhile allies really are going to die if you let them(assuming you care and assuming they aren't all incredibly stupid.) Of course, most horror protagonists are solo for a very good reason.

The scariest moment I've been through in a game was in the first underground lab in STALKER.
After I had gathered all the ammo in a room I had fought some bandits in I had to go around a bunch of anomalies in order to get an item or another. In order to do this I had to go through a mostly empty room.
That room scared the crap out of me.

In this game, if you run everywhere, you are going to die quickly and a lot. So I decided that instead of going into a certain ambush by going the straight way forward, I'd go on the slightly elevated and lit platform at the right side of the room. This had the disadvantage of not letting me get a clear sight of the rest of the room because of some sorts of tanks (not the military vehicle) being placed beside it.
As I slowly crawled along the wall the game starts throwing all kinds of noises at me. Metal creaking, distant sounds, some anomaly going off somewhere and such. This all makes me increasingly paranoid till the point where I'm moving half a metre at a time and looking suspiciously at all the shadows.
"Oh god, what was that sound? Just metal creaking, probably. Did I hear movement? I must have! Did that shadow just move?!" and such.
Then suddenly something screams, at least it sounded like it, and I shut off the game and didn't dare continue until a few weeks later.

That room was also empty at that point.

When i was a kid the game that scared me most was DOOM II. Visuals, sounds, and the feeling that you are all alone against an army of monsters was too heavy. The game had it's atmosphere on me. Reaching a level exit was such a relief. I never played past first few levels, the game was too stressful for me.

Silent Hill games, at least first ones, are those that define horror gaming genre for me. Fear of the unknown is the strongest fear there is. And SH gave that fear.

ChroniclerC:
Maybe it's a silly thing, but the moment that spooked me most was in the first Metroid Prime, in the Space Pirate base. After a harrowing first battle with a Metroid (during I spent half of which rolling around in terror from the dang thing, since I have no Ice Beam yet), I climb down a spiral pathway lined with cages which contain more of the buggers. I just know they're gonna bust out and eat me any second, but I make it to the bottom unharassed. So I grab the key item at the bottom and...

The power goes out. No or very low lights. No barriers around the Metroid cages. And I have leave the way I came. >.<

^That. I recently replayed Prime thanks to the Trilogyversion, and I loved it, but the moment I was standing before the Thermal Visor..I just didn't want to pick it up.

ET on the Atari. Good god that was scary.

Also one time in FEAR, I was fighting 3 guys, and when the fight was over, there were only 2 bodies. I looked around but couldn't find them, so later on after a particular jumpy Alma encounter, he came out of nowhere right behind me right when I turned around.

He must have followed me, waiting, plotting...

Damn that was scary.

Orange_Clockwork:

Enough of that, I also remember distinctly a very under-rated game. In this game you weren't the tough, chainsaw-wielding bi-curious man (pun) who could kill just about every one with a trained shot, you are as defenseless little girl, so the game contours your imagination to the view point of the girl. Personally, that was my biggest scare. It put the fear of death into frame because you were a defenseless little girl, who's only friend in that world was a dog and everything was going to hurt you. I want a game that makes you feel defenseless in all ways, but only serves to shock, instead of kill. Don't remember what it was called unfortunately.

Edit: RULE OF ROSE, HOLY CRAP, THAT WAS THE GAME.

Hmm, sure of that? I don't know anything about Rule of Rose, but the game you just described sounds more like Haunting Ground to me... the dog bit, mainly.

Anyhoo, to contribute to this thread: Unreal started out pretty scary as well. Spaceship crashed, everyone is dead or dying in front of your very eyes, you get stalled in your progression through the level by a malfunctioning door, upon which you hear a survivor being ripped in pieces. Then the door opens, and you see his torso get slapped against the wall, and a strange creature run off.
After getting out of the spaceship (you haven't encountered any opponents yet at this point), the first thing you see is a beautiful idyllic environment: a large green open field, a small house next to a small pool of water and a waterfall.
Next level, you're stuck in a mine shaft, all lights go out (slowly and one by one, with an audible clunk), and the monster (Skaarj) that ripped apart the guy in the space ship, leaps after you in the dark. The only illumination during that segment are from the energy balls the Skaarj fires at you.

Scared the shit out of me. On the other hand, I was just 10 years old back then. Good times.

I actually just remembered a good example of this. Think of Dead Space. Not too scary a game, despite it's best efforts. That is, however, except for one thing: the Hunter. This enemy can't be killed, and you're trapped in a small room with it. I was genuinely terrified.

The writer of the article has nailed why the Thief games are the ONLY games to have scared me in the last 24 years of computer game playing.

The only thing scarier than Thief was Forbidden Forest (the first one) on the Commodore 64. In 1985. That was poo-pants-scary.

F.E.A.R. on the other hand was a joke. Pretty and fun, but not scary in the least.

Saphatorael:

Orange_Clockwork:

Enough of that, I also remember distinctly a very under-rated game. In this game you weren't the tough, chainsaw-wielding bi-curious man (pun) who could kill just about every one with a trained shot, you are as defenseless little girl, so the game contours your imagination to the view point of the girl. Personally, that was my biggest scare. It put the fear of death into frame because you were a defenseless little girl, who's only friend in that world was a dog and everything was going to hurt you. I want a game that makes you feel defenseless in all ways, but only serves to shock, instead of kill. Don't remember what it was called unfortunately.

Edit: RULE OF ROSE, HOLY CRAP, THAT WAS THE GAME.

Hmm, sure of that? I don't know anything about Rule of Rose, but the game you just described sounds more like Haunting Ground to me... the dog bit, mainly.

I've played haunting ground, but I didn't get the same feel for it than with Rule of Rose, I distinctly remember differences, like the worlds and how they were represented.

orannis62:
I actually just remembered a good example of this. Think of Dead Space. Not too scary a game, despite it's best efforts. That is, however, except for one thing: the Hunter. This enemy can't be killed, and you're trapped in a small room with it. I was genuinely terrified.

How about when you have to move the bunk beds around & it climbs in with you, eh?

Never been really scared by a game, I'm too damn cynical for anything but jump scares, which just tend to make me more pissed off than scared. For one thing, most of the main characters in survival horror games are not supposed to be tough guys, so I don't expect them to do anything but die. What would be nice is if we had an actual competent hero versus something that just can't be beaten, and the end of the game isn't about you beating it but escaping it.

Honestly, the only thing I personally think is close to an actual horror game is Sherlock Holmes: The Awakening. Competent protagonist, up against a threat that's just barely able to be defeated.

For me it still always has to be "Survival Horror" if the game isn't about survival (ala FEAR) then it lacks the punch to scare me. Of course while it has to be about survival it has to be pretty easy to actually survive, which generally means that your character needs a deceptively large amount of health. This means you very easily get to the condition where it looks like you're about to die, but really you very rarely get there. This is because dying breaks the illusion, but also saving does.

The exception is The Path, where you can't survive and really you're not even looking to survive as long as possible. But htat's not even really a game.

I don't play many games with scary elements at all. So I'll have to go with an equivalent. The scariest moment was the first time I heard a balverine in Fable. They did a good job of setting up an atmosphere of being closed in, and then they introduced the monster that you're trapped with. And that howl is just creeeeepy. It loses a bit of the edge on repeat plays though.

Where does "thrill" sit under? Very specifically I'm talking about the kind of thrill where you are immersed in the game, but generally playing in a third person view, and all of a sudden the floor drops out from under you, or you run off the edge of a cliff that you had no idea was around the corner, and your character drops. And then You feel very real vertigo. And it's even better if it's more of a scripted moment in the game that you are intended to live through, as it doesn't interrupt the flow of the game but instead adds to the atmosphere.

Horror is created by the feeling there is something, an evil, impossibly big and menacing around us, that one never fully understands. If you have a suspicion that your cellar door opens into the gates of hell, that's horror. Running into it with a chain gun and rocket launcher, not so much. Killing it in an end-level boss fight, that kills the feeling.

Alien = horror.
Alien 2 = survival.

silent hill 3 ~2AM, alternate hospital and the freaking screechy locker(single one in the center of a blood stained-rusty room with some bloody dresses on the walls) door opening in nurse's room! Guess it was cheesy as hell but at the point i didnt had a thought about cliches, i was so freaked out, guess the phones helped a lot.. also the mannequin room...aaaghr...

I don't know about the rest of you, but the game that really got my adrenaline pumping in the sense of "survival" in several points was Portal. During that first play-through, I played the game like a puzzle game, but it wasn't until those disturbingly-adorable turrets that my heart was pumping. Either I find a way to take them out, or I die in a shower of bullets. "I" die.
I may not play too many first-person-shooters but that thrill to survive definitely left an impact.

Shamus I disagree with the notion of games inspiring a difference in "oh no i'm going to die" and "oh no I'm going to lose" on any basis beside immersion. Silent Hill 2 wasn't very scary for me but something like going into overtime in a friendly football game can get my nerves wracked. The level of danger of failure is cruise control for panicked profanity while whether or not the pipe swinging nurse has a mutilated face is cake decoration.

Scariest moment recently would have to be the Arachne room in mission 10 of Devil May Cry 3 is you want as SS rank you had better pause the game a lot to check for parasites and keep an eye out for that cheap ass web attack.

My favorite games of horror have got to be the Fatal Frame franchise. Let's take a quick run-through.

FATAL FRAME: Second-scariest. My first fatal frame game and had plenty of cheap scares and tense moments. Lemme just say this. The appearance of Blinded as a capture ghost in the Rubble Room on the first or second night. Scared the living shit out of me. Also, the silhouette seen through the screen in the Fireplace on night Three(?). Quiet, slow koto music plays, but if you get too close...TWANG! The silhouette disappears and the music stops.

FATAL FRAME II: Least scariest, but best storyline. The scariest moment of this game has got to be the scene in the Great Hall with the UNKILLABLE Kusabi, and quite possibly any battle with Broken Neck Woman. Oh yeah, the "Curtain Shadow" ghost is creepy as hell. Walk far enough down a hallway and see a pair of disembodied legs walking under a low-hanging curtain.
*Shudders*

FATAL FRAME III: Um...hidden closet much?


Also, the MANY apparitions found throughout your house scare the living HELL out of me. I'm looking at you, Crawling Woman. "LET ME OUT!!! LET ME OUUUUT!!!!!!"

The games are great because as someone (who I can't remember) said before, the best fear occurs when your thoughts and perceptions of what is going on are shown to be wrong. And then, you must face the consequences of your misconceptions.

Also, someone seeing you in Gregory Horror Show is TERRIFYING. Carry on.

You bring up a good point about being emotionally involved in the character to be scared by an in game situation. The scariest moments I've ever been in haven't been in horror games. They've been in Fallout 3 (First Yao Guai: in the dark, at night, hit from behind as I'm walking through a farm full of dead cattle and a few dead people. As I approached the farm, I heard screams and gun shots and then... nothing. Next thing I know some mutated were-bear is chewing on my head.) and Uncharted:

i was thinking about this issue not 2 days ago.. and the obvious example which springs to mind (after reading this article) is the vampire masquerade: bloodlines, ocean house level. That, perhaps stupidly, is one of the scariest moments i can remember i felt in any video game i've played... probably because it was all so unexpected.

The first thing youre told after accepting the mission is that ghosts are harmless.
And secondly you know that youre a vampire who can take huge amounts damage, regenerate and are already dead.

And i was still scared.

Silent Hill one by far f'ed with my head when I played it (back when I was 14 or so). I couldn't sleep because I kept thinking of the crazy lady in the church, which was the point I played to before I decided to call it a night.

Condemned 1 I played more recently and I literally played the whole 8 hours or so straight because I needed closure in the game. And I played it in the damn dark the whole time. The ending was especially terrifying, since I had fear mixed with exhaustion.

I'm not much of a horror guy but I think you can find horror in a lot of places if you're open to it.
I have actually been terrified of Final Fantasy 7 and 8. I know they're not horror titles by genre but they really have had some bizarrely scary moments in them, namely through attachment to the plot, like knowing how powerful a character is, or feeling a time limit that isn't there. There's several particular moments, so, *spoilers*.

In 7, seeing Jenova for the first time freaked me the hell out. I was a lot younger then, but it was really freaky at the time. Thus, when the bitch actually appeared on the boat, I bricked it.
When Cloud went a bit doolally, too; when he was climbing around on the ceilings and walls like some kind of zombie, that creeped me out too, in the same way that Rinoa went all crazy/possessed in space. To see a character that used to be normal, that you feel like you almost know, go all weird and demonic like that, really unnerved me.

However those times didn't creep me out anywhere near as much as when in 7, Sephiroth succeeded in casting Meteor, and when Lunatic Pandora was unleashed in FF8. They both had similar effects aesthetically - the skies changed, all foreboding and sinister. This really had an effect on me and I really don't know why, I just paniced, like the meteor would actually fall if I didn't stop it. The 'time limit' that was imposed on the characters in-game, I felt imposed on myself. I guess that's the power of a decent engrossing story, more than actual horror elements.

Therumancer:
Horror is more or less a dying genere.

I see what you did there.

Horror isn't really dying, it's just been overused. You can still get a really good scare just by being inventive and working on the endemic fear within us.

If you seriously think Horror is dying, cough next time you go into the chemists and see how much Horror you create. Different horrors for different ages.

[quote="Georgeman" post="6.152721.3651296
Silent Hill 2 wasn't difficult at any rate. quote]

Gah it was a b*tch though sometimes, only a twisted mind could comprehend that you needed to shove canned juice down a garbage chute for the key -_-

messy:
First few bits on Bioshock when you just have the wrench and the pistol, oh and summing ou the courage to fight that first big daddy.

I remember that. I hid in a corner swinging that pipe blindly everytime I saw that Spider Splicer. Freaked. Me. Out. The "Would You Kindly" Finale was kinda freaky in its own way. More horror than terror.

I know it's there. It's in that water, I can't see it though... I have to get through to go on but its waiting. I could use all my gernades but how do I know that will kill it? Do I quicksave, jump in, and load if it's still there!?

All of these thoughts manifested in my mind while playing Half-life for the first time. I hate fish monsters.

Left 4 Dead, Dead Air construction site barricade, playing online with 3 strangers on expert level. We light the barricade, then one of our team decides to rush through the flames, and as soon as he does he triggers a Tank. The tank kills him then comes after the rest of us; it catches fire but still manages to kill everyone but me because I run back to the safe room. I wait there for the rest of my team to respawn, then make a run for their closet, and along the way I hear a smoker and a hunter gunning for me. I don't know if I would call the feeling that I got trying to reach that closet fear; it's more like dread. But it is my favorite type of moment in the game; at least it is when I succeed.

Later, playing the Death Toll campaign, on the dock as the ship is coming in, a hunter on fire jumps right at me from the shore but falls short, landing in the water right next to the dock. I swear I heard it make a death whimper, and like a fool I run to the edge of the dock to see. Suddenly it pounces out of the water, still on fire, like the killer coming back to life in a schlock horror movie, and pins me. That is probably the most startled I've been in a game.

In terms of unnerving, not-wanting-to-move-another-inch-frozen-in-my-tracks horror, these 3 games win in my opinion.

Condemned: Criminal Origins (Goddamn mannequins, along with a few other noteworthy scenes that would be hard to describe without spoiling)

Silent Hill 3 (Slurpers and the wonderful sounds they make; They don't know where you are yet, but your radio and their noisy mouths let you know they're around...somewhere.)

Doom3 (Bathrooms...what is it with bathrooms? This and the Silent Hills are notorious for making me hesitate to go into bathrooms in ANY videogame now.)

I don't really play many horror games. But I guess Silent Hill 2 is the best/scariest I've seen. Call of Cthulu: Dark Corners of the Earth is one that I really, really want to play. I mean, it looks completely frustrating, but the story is amazing and it's got some neat sanity effects. I should also play Eternal Darkness.

Oh, now I know! Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter is a "survival RPG." It's really effective at building a sense of mounting dread as you fight through atmospheric underground areas and face increasingly-horrific enemies. I know most people don't think BoF and "scary" go together, but I felt genuine fear when I faced some creepy little buggers later in the game. The save system doesn't do anything to relieve the player's stress, either.

Oh... And Iron Maidens. RE4 isn't scary, eh? Shotguns make everything to easy, eh? Well the game heard you, and now it's gonna produce an enemy that takes forever to shotgun to death, and leaps around like a salmon if you shoot its legs off. Tell me that didn't freak you out the first time you saw it. And since Maidens are slow, you'll see them coming. They're not a "cheap" scare-they are genuinely horrifying.

But Chainsaw Jerk has never been scary for me. On the other hand, the dogs are.

ldbmikey86:
Condemned: Criminal Origins (Goddamn mannequins, along with a few other noteworthy scenes that would be hard to describe without spoiling)

I know how you feel that freaked me out the first time I played the game. It was probably because I didn't actually notice it at first.

The first thing that came to my mind was The Cradle from Thief 3. I never expected what waited for me in that place because it was such a huge shift from the rest of the game's atmosphere.

I still think immersion is a needless buzzword. I was scared in Project Zero. Not because I somehow felt deeply immersed but because the game had uncertainty with gameplay repercussions. It didn't just give you a show that would fit a horror movie but within the actual game rules has no meaning, the enemies disappeared and showed up elsewhere, making you frantically search for them again, getting hit cost a LOT of health and healing items were extremely limited. The actual game mechanics were scary and it didn't matter how "immersed" you were because those ghosts weren't just a show, they were dangerous. Too bad PZ4 was botched so badly that Nintendo refused to localize it until the huge list of problems gets fixed and Tecmo refused to fix them...

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