Scary/Disturbing moments from non-horror game

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Horror games are designed to scare the ever-loving fuck out of you. But what about those scary moments from non-horror games?

Frankly, I feel these moments work so much better than horror games, because you don't expect moments like these to happen.

Half-life 2
When I first started Half-life 2, it was giving off the standard action sci-fi vibe. So imagine my surprise when I found myself in Ravenholm. I mean Alyx did say "we don't go there anymore...." but I figured it was a simple bad memory. The zombies looked absolutely terrifying, even more so than any other form of zombies from other games. Especially when you set them on fire, and they let out those disturbing screams of pain

Batman Arkham Asylum
I am not talking about fighting the giant version of scarecrow; I am talking about all those hallucinations sending Batman into a bad memory lane. It was sad and depressing, and that 4th wall break threw me off hard.

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Even though this game is dark, I would say is far from being a horror game. There are lots of disturbing and creepy moments, but I'd have to give this one to those invisible rats from Arbiter's Grounds. Seriously, I am running around in a wolf form, and all of a sudden I slow down and midna is freaking out. I turn on the scent to see a bunch of rats sticking on to me. I dropped the controller and even let out a small scream

BioShock: The 'statues' that turn out not to be statues. The ones that just appear right behind you, in that dark room...THOSE STATUES!

Gears of War: The first time a berserker turns up. There isn't too much in that series that really freaks/freaked me out, but that monster...sheesh. It's more its breathing more than anything.

-Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: The ReDeads. Yeah, I was, like, 9 at the time, but...they were scary back then, okay?!

Metroid: Fusion: The SA-X. 'Nuff said.

Star Fox Adventures: The "Test of Fear." I mean, it's not outright scary, but it does convey a sense of fear via game mechanics well.

The "zombie" Spanish in the first Uncharted game. You have spent the whole of the game hiding behind cover and shooting at enemies who do the same. Then they introduce enemies that just charge at you wanting to rip you to pieces, man I wasn't expecting that. It adds a genuinely terrifying aspect to what has been a pretty straight forward action game.

Hawki:

Gears of War: The first time a berserker turns up. There isn't too much in that series that really freaks/freaked me out, but that monster...sheesh. It's more its breathing more than anything.

Gears 1 almost felt like a horror game, it's a shame Epic strayed further from that with each entry.

BabyfartsMcgeezaks:

Hawki:

Gears of War: The first time a berserker turns up. There isn't too much in that series that really freaks/freaked me out, but that monster...sheesh. It's more its breathing more than anything.

Gears 1 almost felt like a horror game, it's a shame Epic strayed further from that with each entry.

This may take the thread off-topic, but I'd state that:

-I think it makes sense that the Gears games get more 'epic' with each installment (in the original trilogy). It's basic escalation within a storyline.

-Gears 4 does harken a bit back to Gears 1 (small scale, small squad, isolated, etc.), but paradoxically, it's also the most humorous installment in the series.

This Fucker right here.

image

Serious Sam Second Encounter:

Clearing a room of enemies but being able to hear one last Kleer and having no idea where it is. Then deciding to just go collect ammo and suddenly hear that fucker running at you and when you turn its already jumped and you get face boned.

Psychonauts had a scene where you enter a teachers mind to help her fight off the bads hold on her. Inside you meet her memory of failing to save an orphanage from burning down with the kids in it. Complete with whispers of "why didn't you save us".

Not what I expected out of such a colourful game with such a good sense of humour. Although I guess the whole milkman thing should have given me an idea of how it could go.

Somebody has already nominated the ReDeads from Ocarina of Time & Majora's Mask.

But also, from Ni No Kuni 2;

I remember there's always a Lovecraftian tower in the Fallout games that's usually pretty spoopy.

Hawki:

-Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: The ReDeads. Yeah, I was, like, 9 at the time, but...they were scary back then, okay?!

Yeah... back then... they certainly don't creep me out in my 20s.

The bad ending in Streets of Rage 3. Seeing a nuclear bomb go off on an entire city is not healthy for a 6 year old.

Worgen:
Serious Sam Second Encounter:

Clearing a room of enemies but being able to hear one last Kleer and having no idea where it is. Then deciding to just go collect ammo and suddenly hear that fucker running at you and when you turn its already jumped and you get face boned.

What's even worse is when you grab an item or important key and a group of kamikaze spawns behind you and you barely have any ammo left. I always found that scary at the age 13.

DMC1's fatalities, first person underwater sections, The Nobody's, and the Castle when it gets to night time. The atmosphere and the music turn from an action game to almost a horror game. Then again, it's from the director of RE2, so it's a given.

The Ooze. Just look at the intro. I can't believe I got that for Christmas.

Hawki:

BabyfartsMcgeezaks:

Hawki:

Gears of War: The first time a berserker turns up. There isn't too much in that series that really freaks/freaked me out, but that monster...sheesh. It's more its breathing more than anything.

Gears 1 almost felt like a horror game, it's a shame Epic strayed further from that with each entry.

This may take the thread off-topic, but I'd state that:

-I think it makes sense that the Gears games get more 'epic' with each installment (in the original trilogy). It's basic escalation within a storyline.

-Gears 4 does harken a bit back to Gears 1 (small scale, small squad, isolated, etc.), but paradoxically, it's also the most humorous installment in the series.

I understand that but did they really have to go all tropical? It really killed the dark and gritty mood that even Gears 2 managed to have.

I'll also say that Gears 1 did a lot better job than Gears 4 when it comes to the atmosphere, I played Gears of War UE again recently and I gotta say that it's the best looking Gears game imo.

To stay on topic, I really enjoyed that jumpscare in Arkham Knight where you play as Gordon in first person and when you turn around Batman is right in your face.

BabyfartsMcgeezaks:
I understand that but did they really have to go all tropical? It really killed the dark and gritty mood that even Gears 2 managed to have.

Because gunmetal grey and dog-shit brown had gotten played out, even though in the Gears universe, it's justified. Other games were copying it without understanding or trying to play the "realism" card while following the leader.

Bit of old news here and definitely doesn't stand up to modern standards, but largely because of my age, these were pretty scary:

Half-Life 1, my first encounter with the Icthyosaur (massive piranha thing) was definitely unnerving. And when I was trying to figure out where to go next, all I could think of was "pls don't make me jump in the water with that thing, anything but that". Of course, nowadays I just jump in there and have at it, but it stressed me out as a kid.

Tenchu Stealth Assassin, can't remember if it was the first or the second, but the Manji cult level was just messed up. The atmosphere, creepiness, music, and just the sounds those undead things made. Not like your usual zombie moans, just...disturbing.

Diablo was pretty scary the first time I played that as well. Most Gotchic and dark game I think I had played up to that point, I mean Doom had satanic symbols and blood everywhere but that was just a violent game, not a scary one. Diablo for it's time had the atmosphere. The first encounter with the Butcher really got me, especially because I didn't know what to expect.

I was gonna say Vampire: Bloodlines, but that's already horror-themed, even though I wouldn't call it a horror game. Anyway that had some mentally scary, bad shit going on, and of course the Tzimisce house and haunted hotel are no joke. But I think it's too much of a stretch to call it non-horror.

CoCage:

BabyfartsMcgeezaks:
I understand that but did they really have to go all tropical? It really killed the dark and gritty mood that even Gears 2 managed to have.

Because gunmetal grey and dog-shit brown had gotten played out, even though in the Gears universe, it's justified. Other games were copying it without understanding or trying to play the "realism" card while following the leader.

It was part of Gears that the world was depressing as shit but it was also really good looking at the time. I just think changing the setting to palm trees and sunshine really set a different mood for the game.

Spec-Ops: The Line. All of it.

I was like...7 or 9 when I played it, so you'll forgive a child his fears, but the Spooky chapter in Conker's Bad Fur Day:

Come on, as a kid, coming off of Pokemon and Ed, Edd, and Eddy, that's legit nightmare fuel.

Johnny Novgorod:
Spec-Ops: The Line. All of it.

Homefront had a very similar scene to THAT scene from Spec Ops. But your compatriots were saying one of two things. 1. Gleefully laughing at the now crispy Korens. 2. Aghast at how could your side be willing to do that even to any enemy. And that some friendlies were hit. Overlay this confusion with screaming, about to be dead soldiers. Not as effective as Spec Ops, mainly because it wasn't your "decision" but it did wake me up from a pretty dreary game.

BabyfartsMcgeezaks:

CoCage:

BabyfartsMcgeezaks:
I understand that but did they really have to go all tropical? It really killed the dark and gritty mood that even Gears 2 managed to have.

Because gunmetal grey and dog-shit brown had gotten played out, even though in the Gears universe, it's justified. Other games were copying it without understanding or trying to play the "realism" card while following the leader.

It was part of Gears that the world was depressing as shit but it was also really good looking at the time. I just think changing the setting to palm trees and sunshine really set a different mood for the game.

Well, if Gears 5 makes you feel any better, they're going back to more of a serious, semi-horror tone. The color obviously going to stay the same, but there are some areas that are going for the blood red-brown effect. I don't know if you care for the new cast though.

Johnny Novgorod:
Spec-Ops: The Line. All of it.

Technically, it's psychological horror once you get to the halfway section in the game, but your point still stands.

One of my bugbears in any form of media is when a character is caught by surprise and rendered unconscious, especially if it's slowly from a drug or something. Just seeing the vision get darker while the assailant looms overhead gives off this feeling of utter dread and powerlessness. Then when they slowly wake up all tied up in some dark place and that's even worse because you don't know what's happened while they've been out or what's coming next.

Life Is Strange was the most recent game to do it to me, even knowing Max had rewind powers that was stressful.

I was pretty young at the time but I remember Warcraft 3 really throwing me for a loop. I was perfectly happy fighting orcs and building bases but then Arthas goes genocidal maniac and everyone is zombies.

Halo 1's The Library was certainly a big tonal shift that took me by surprise. I found it genuinely creepy and well done my first time around.

Persona 5 had a number of disturbing moments that earned its M rating in my eyes. The biggest one for me was the point where the God of Control demonstrates its true power to control people's cognition. This comes right after it kicks your ass because it is subconsciously supported by millions of people, all of them willingly locked up in cells and howling madly for your defeat- the exact opposite of what usually happens in these kinds of games.

Sure you're eventually able to turn things around, but damn it's spooky hearing everyone talk like that, and then ignore the city transforming around them and blood raining from the sky as all the free-thinking people start getting erased. It inevitably reminded me of the Blind God from the Acts of Caine books, which does some similar things but exists in a far grimmer setting than P5.

Don't mind me, just passing through to mention Shalebridge Cradle in Thief: Deadly Shadows.

WhiteFangofWhoa:
Persona 5

Damn, ninja'd again!

The Metro Redux games. I don't remember which game it was, but there was a whole abandoned hospital room in the one section that if you kept the camera to just off to the side you saw black shadows of people laying or writhing on beds, one hanging from the ceiling, and as you went further in the room you could hear more sounds. In fact all the shadow ghosts in those damn games were creepy.
There was also the spider filled tunnels and ruins that were just freaky as hell.
In Metro: Last Light there was one level I just was in that if you walked up to a pair of skeletons washed against a grate that suddenly come to life and sit up, just staring at you.
Come to think of it, yeah for not being a horror game, those games were seriously creepy and scary in a lot of parts.

I was an itty-bitty boy when Zelda: Link's Awakening came out for the big damn brick called Game Boy; I'm not even gonna try to cover for the fact that some of the music and situations scared the hell out of me, at first. I made my brother play against the bosses because the themes... Okay, normally, a boss theme will be daunting, but have a small element of "you can do this, you are the hero!" LA's boss theme did not have that, only absolute terror and inevitable, agonizing death. Shoot, even the mini-boss theme signaled one thing: you are in trouble, be afraid.
Thankfully, I got over that quickly enough, so I could enjoy the best portable Zelda game properly.

Little Ninja Brothers for the NES. I was, like, 5, with an imagination so overactive I swear I used to hallucinate characters. Again, looking at some gameplay footage now, it's not scary in the least, but way back then, I about lost my damn mind over some of the imagery. For some reason, I only vaguely recall how, sometimes, during combat segments, the regular mooks would run away and a massive, unkillable minotaur would rush in with a sudden shift in music.
Yeah, I was kinda a coward when I was little. Other kids imagine monsters under their bed, I imagined big hecking minotaurs that wanted to stomp on my squishy self.

Gobliiins! Yes, 3 i's. It's a puzzle game in a fantasy setting, but some of the visuals were terrifying to, you guessed it, itty-bitty me. Zombies that could frighten you to literal death (game over) just be waving their arms around, voodoo dolls that made a guy scream with pain, death traps of all shapes and sizes around every corner... yeah, let's just say I stuck to more conventional platformers for a good long while.

I could go all the way back to the 80's for mine. I remember the flashing lights reflected in my brother's glasses and seeing his face the moment he "got it." When the message finally really hit him. He backed away from the game cabinet, and we left the arcade early. I thought it was weird, we still had quarters to spend but we left. Why would this

affect him like it did. I was just a kid, he was a teen. But he understood, he explained it to me. That was the moment I first faced the possibility of global extermination. Not "game over... continue?" But instead "The End." The end of a game where winning is an impossibility. A game doesn't have to be particularly complex to convey horror more effectively than anything made in the last 2 decades.

Yoshi178:
This Fucker right here.

image

Bah, the fuckin Piano from Mario 64 gave me Nightmares as a kid.

Worgen:
Serious Sam Second Encounter:

Clearing a room of enemies but being able to hear one last Kleer and having no idea where it is. Then deciding to just go collect ammo and suddenly hear that fucker running at you and when you turn its already jumped and you get face boned.

Absolutely! Also, hearing the headless bomb assholes screaming as they approach, but being unable to get a visual immediately... gets the heart rate up, for sure.

CoCage:

What's even worse is when you grab an item or important key and a group of kamikaze spawns behind you and you barely have any ammo left. I always found that scary at the age 13.

Gaaaaw, ninja'd

I get creeped out by the attempt to overly-cutify humans using traits found in baby animals. Not furries, nonono, they're fine (probably). But when humans are made small, given big heads, eyes and ears. Fuck that. What the hell is that about? That isn't cute...it's lazy, manipulative and has the opposite effect (for me). Also digital babies trying to appeal to human brooding are bloody awful and I psychologically and physically reject them like perhaps an arachnophobe would reject pictures of ugly spiders. Like there is this tightening nauseous knot in the stomach that something's not right and that doesn't happen with animals. Normal reality babies don't do that either, they just annoy me or briefly suppress an eternal hunger.

Well, to conform to thread expectations, I'd have to go back to being young enough to not know better and say that Half Life 1 intro first time in the dark when games weren't really a personal experience. Everything going to shit unexpectedly during a science experiment was effective at making my stupid asshole self get jittery and afraid.

Silentpony:
I was like...7 or 9 when I played it, so you'll forgive a child his fears, but the Spooky chapter in Conker's Bad Fur Day:

Come on, as a kid, coming off of Pokemon and Ed, Edd, and Eddy, that's legit nightmare fuel.

Its the sound effects dude. Those sounds are just perfect for terrifying us.

PFCboom:

Little Ninja Brothers for the NES. I was, like, 5, with an imagination so overactive I swear I used to hallucinate characters. Again, looking at some gameplay footage now, it's not scary in the least, but way back then, I about lost my damn mind over some of the imagery. For some reason, I only vaguely recall how, sometimes, during combat segments, the regular mooks would run away and a massive, unkillable minotaur would rush in with a sudden shift in music.
Yeah, I was kinda a coward when I was little. Other kids imagine monsters under their bed, I imagined big hecking minotaurs that wanted to stomp on my squishy self.

I remember that one too. The sequel Super Ninja Bros. had a scary dragon to come along punish you for taking to long to finish a stage, Demon Sword had ghost tigers, and Rygar had this:

All the predecessors of the Reaper in Persona.

Hawki:

-Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: The ReDeads. Yeah, I was, like, 9 at the time, but...they were scary back then, okay?!

Considering the game up until that point there's nothing particularly scary and the game tends to be rather bright and kid friendly, suddenly coming across the redeads can be quite unsettling, either in the royal tomb or in the future castle town which adds to the unsettling nature of them.

On a similar note, in Space Quest 4, when you first arrive in the bad future at the beginning of the game, there's a weird looking dude wandering around the area. It's not immediately clear this person is someone to be avoided, until you get close enough to him, at which point you'll get a close up of his rather gross looking face, where he screams at you in a rather chilling way.

And then an armed attack drone shows up and outright murders you.

The first time it happens, it's quite disturbing.

And there's also the infamous "Continue?" screen from the Arcade version of Ninja Gaiden, where Ryu is strapped to table while a circular saw slowely descends towards his torso as the timer counts down to zero. And in the background a bunch of....things are looking on as it happens.

Yeah, that's a fun image to be treated to as a kid when you inevitably die in that game.

Any game where you're on foot and playing cat and mouse with a big fucking truck or other monstrosity. Naughty Dog understand this fear pretty well, as they've put it in practically every game since UC2 with the tank fight. The Last of Us and Lost Legacy also nailed it.

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