Scary games. Can they keep up?

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I see no one here has downloaded a copy of Zombie Panic: Source then.

the last game to truly scare me was FEAR, before that Silent Hill 2. I am looking foward to Project origin

Silent hill went strong for a long time, the first one i played once for 20 minutes then turned it off and never played it again. i was 6 at the time but when i play one now theyve kind of lost the plot, they should retrace there steps.

mccormick:
Silent hill went strong for a long time, the first one i played once for 20 minutes then turned it off and never played it again. i was 6 at the time but when i play one now theyve kind of lost the plot, they should retrace there steps.

For me silent hill slowed down at 3 and ended at 4. That being said from i prefer the original silent hill over silent hill 2 however becasue i was youngish at the time and was much harder and scared the crap out of me

same here, thats the reason i never touched silent hill again because it was so god damn scary, silent hil the room, eating a strawberry with fur on one side is scarier.

No, I think the scary game industry is dying because another really scary game comes out, you compare the games before and and after that to that game. You don't do better then that game, you think it's just a bad scary game and the industry is dying. Think about it...

bollocks, i play a game, if i unload the amount of lard bought in sheffield a year anually into my silk underknickers its scary, if i have time to pause the game because its just dogturd and have a quick wank its not scary.

RE2. That Licker jumping through the window when I picked up the ammo scared the shit out of me. And I still can beat any RE game before 4. I always run out of ammo no matter how much I conserve.

People like to scare themselves. Like to think they have a bigger set of balls that the next person. So yeah, I think they can keep up.

I have always found underwater sections of games to be the most disturbing parts of games. The weaknesses you have in comparison to the enemy who is purpose built for the environment such as impaired movement increases the fear factor.

As someone has already said Bioshock did the cardinal sin of making death irrelevant and that FEAR wasn't scary because you had a massive arsenal to take the not so hard enemies down. I believe suspense and fear is best created when you fear facing the adversary because it's more powerful than you.

Hey, have you SEEN the Alone In The Dark games? It looks like it has both atmosphere and monster closets. Not much scares me. Creeps me out, yes. Shocks me, yes. But if it's just Doom 3-esque jump out moments from beginning to end, then I'm bored. Oh, and Silent Hill would be scarier if you were more afraid of dying because the controls suck, rather than the fear of death itself. Back on topic, it looks to be the perfect combination. Of course, I could be totally wrong about this, so how about you all stop whining about games that haven't been released yet. Especially you, Cougers. If anything, it's probably going to be an improvement on the old system.

While freeware, one game that I feel did horror right would be The White Chamber.

Not once throughout the game does it invoke the "something jumps out at you" moment found in about every other horror title to date. Even without using this method, however, it manages to present as creepy and intense an atmosphere as any game in recent memory.

It is a point and click adventure though, and there are only a few ways you can actually "die", short of getting the bad ending. For all of you if-I-can't-die-then-it's-not-scary types, you might want to give this one a pass, though I would definitely recommend it to people who like their horror games to be genuinely creepy.

I think "System Shock 2" was one of the scariest games I've ever played. I simply love that game, because it manages to keep up the atmosphere nearly until the end. Sadly, the end becomes more of a standard shooter and drops the "fear" aspect of the game for me.
Same goes for "Call of Cthulhu - Dark Corners of the Earth": First half or so is really well done and pretty creepy / scary through and through. But somewhere along the way the game just changes to be more action-oriented and drops some of the scariness. The arcade-like boss fights then just drop the ball completely.
"Penumbra - Overture" was pretty scary, too, although I haven't finished it and can't say whether it drops the ball, too, or keeps it up.
From the Silent Hill series I've only played the second one, which was great for me. Also Project Zero was pretty good.

Overall I think there will be scary games in the future, no question about that. But I doubt that many games will manage to stay scary / creepy to the end. I prefer an overall creepy atmosphere over lots and lots of "jump" moments. The great thing is: A game that provides a deep and immersing atmosphere through setting and story will get a few "jump" moments for free. A game like Doom 3, where story is nearly non-existant and the setting provides gun power without end, all there is and all there ever will be are cheap, forced, loud "jump" moments that wear off pretty quick and get boring after the first few times. My guess is that most "scary" games in the future will be of the Doom 3 kind: Not much horror through story and setting, but lots of short-lived "in your face" moments featuring some weird abomination that is only scary for exactly two times. But I hope for a few great, truely "horrific" games and I think we will get some gems in that area as well.

I think they should make a game that's shit your pants scary, just for the sake of being shit your pants scary. It should have pop-ups every two seconds, loud noises, chilling suspense and most of all, incredibly graphic imagery and well acted voicing.

I would play ANY game like that, regardless of story or game play.

I thought Doom3 was pretty scary, as long as you played it alone in a darkened room with the sound up, and you allowed yourself to get into what the designers of the game were trying to do. The torch/gun design decision was part of that, which is why I opted not to mod the game to be able to use both at once. I wanted it to be scary, so it was.

I've just started playing Call of Cthulu DCOTE and its got a really horrible eerie atmosphere to it. I like it a lot. From the unfriendly locals to the dirty, old-film grainy screen effect, and the sudden POV scenes of something watching you, it is successfully delivering high levels of tension and atmosphere, for me so far.

Just putting out my thoughts on the best horror games I've personally played or watched a friend play.

Clock Tower: It's a classic. I admittedly hated the point and click style interface on an SNES game, but the plot and multiple end possibilities were worth the slightly dodgy interface. You want scary? The easiest and quickest ending to get to, namely escaping through the garage, was a pretty nice scare. It's also tricky considering you can't fight back, you can just run. I've never played the sequels so I wonder what they're like.

Fatal Frame: I've never played them, but I've seen the series played a bit by others and I'm trying to get a copy of the games for myself (there's even a fourth coming out to the Wii in the future.) They basically play like a Japanese Horror movie, so they're very eerie and give you a sense of unease. Did I mention your weapon is just a camera?

Siren: Very much a survivalist horror in the sense that it's much better to run and hide when possible, and when you do have a gun it's best to conserve ammo since you won't find any more and the shibito can't truly be killed, only stunned. As the game goes on the environment you're trapped in becomes increasingly twisted by the constructions of the shibito and the people who have turned become less and less human. Heck, one of the characters you play, Harumi, dies if hit just once (she's a 10 year old girl). I admit the game is somewhat crippled by oft-times cumbersome controls and odd British voice dubbing that seems very out of place coming from the lips of obviously Japanese characters, but oh well. I enjoyed the game play itself and it admittedly still gets my heart pounding when I play it to this day.
EDIT: I should mention though that some of the secondary goals for each level are so completely and utterly "How the hell did you expect me to know THAT'S what you wanted me to do?!?" That it can get frustrating and have you consulting a faq pretty quick. I would prefer it if the game weren't always so counter-inituitive.

Silent Hill 2: Out of the series I still think this is the best, though it's not as scary to me since you can kill pretty much everything (with of course one notable exception of course, til right near the end) It has in my head the best plot of the series and the most memorable characters. But meh, that's just what I think.

Well, that's it. My own personal take on the best Horror games.

scary needs to head more in a physicological/atmospheric direction like SH and F.E.A.R (sort of) simple jump out scares like in Doom 3, for example are scary for the first few times but then its just generic look round corner blah blah.

For me, there have been some great scary games--or that is to say, some great concepts. Execution of which varied considerably...

1) System Shock. Deep, DEEP atmosphere combined with the classic "Who the hell am I, what am I doing here, and OMGWTF WAS THAT?!?" Conquering your fear as you master various skills doesn't (IMNSHO) detract from the mind-numbing terror of the early levels... It's a natural progression. Perhaps the only flaw with the game is that towards the end it starts to go over the top

2) Eternal Darkness. I LOVED this game. Lovecraftian horror, great execution, and a combat system that didn't make me want to smash the console with a tennis raquette. Too bad the "4 endings" consisted of fighting different colored zombies in a different order... What was great about this game was how the story unfolded and the world got bigger, and more farked up as you got to see just how freakishly huge the Ancient's conspiracy was, and how deeply they had their fingers (tentacles?) in pretty much every major historical event of our human existance. The levels spanning the earth were varied enough that the limited number of enemies didn't detract from the plot--although greater variation between the different "factions" would have made this game near-perfect as a survival/horror. The "Insanity" stat was brilliant... The only problem is that the hallucinations are repetetive... Once you see a certain effect once, it ceases to be a surprise. That said, the whispering and sobbing in the background as your character's mind unravels does wonders for the atmosphere.

3) Call of Cthulu: DCOTE. Masterful atmosphere, genuinely creepy... However, the "railroad" sections where you were "forced" along a specific path made me want to rip off my arm and beat my PC to death with it. Not to mention the bugs. Oh, god... the bugs. I'm still stuck at the last part of the game because it shiats itself if I try to advance. The game also craps itself if you try to "jump the rails" on any of the sections. Like the forced stealth near the police station. Killing the cops early in the sequence sparks off a chain of respawns (who go straight at you no matter where you hide) that don't actually appear until one or two save points later, and who are impossible to kill...

4) The Suffering (specifically the start of each section) Masterful atmosphere, and the critter design is amazing. You spend the first few minutes of each section running like a scared kitten from the mad (and aparantly invulnerable) abominations... Until the difficulty curve swings south, and you cake-walk (with guns blazing) the rest of the way. Makes me want to agree with Yahtzee about games being dumbed down for console-tards... *shrug*

5) FEAR. Standard military action/shooter... but the freak scenes are absolutely masterful. Even to the end. But I have to agree that they don't really fit the game as the whole world grinds to a halt while you are spoon-fed images of that that little girl...

Divinegon:
As long as games don't go so much into the cheap scare or the "The Ring" rip off, then it's okay.

Wouldn't it be a good enough idea if people stopped making the association that fear = monster/supernatural being? How about natural fears? Phobias? I often feel scared with games that don't even have that intention. Take for instance FF7. Back in the days I was scared ******** when Emerald was inside the ocean and I had to go explore around in the submarine, something so tiny compared to a gigantic beast that could slowly materialize as he was heading towards you. Ok, so it goes back to the monster point, but I'm afraid of large depths. Even when Emerald was gone, I felt uneasy during that part. Creating a game that forced you into situations that could cause moments of claustrophobia and common fears wouldn't be bad. Even if you don't have that phobia you'd feel eerie once you notice the tunnel you're going into becomes shorter and shorter until you're left crawling inch for inch in a human sized hole.

This is what we need.

Divi's example of Final Fantasy 7 is reasonable; the whole psychological torture of being small in a very large place, underwater. When designing the game, the writers probably didn't think of the sort of reaction their audience would take to the situation. They probably just imagined we would treat that segment of the game like we did every other. Instead, because of the juxtaposition of the tiny submarine and the mere possibility that, out of the terribly-drawn blue, a gigantic monster could come and swallow you up. Surely that's simply a survival instinct; that if we encounter something enormously bigger than us and we can't fight it, then we naturally get scared: Especially if we're forced into that sort of situation in a videogame, right? Well how come no one experiences that sort of fear when playing Devil May Cry; where we get to go against impossibly huge bosses - at least ten times the size of the main character? Perhaps because that is a more rational situation, and, after all, we've encountered such an enemy a thousand times before in games: A nice, safe, land-based, giant... thing. The greatest feeling we feel against these, typical bosses is awe; not fright.

Another example of the whole 'horror from the depths' thing which may be somewhat unorthodox would be Super Mario 64. Anyone remember the eel, or even Nessy in that underwater cavern? Both reasonably dangerous predators (alright, not so much the latter) who swim around in their respective moist areas, awaiting our beloved Mario, ready to strike. So, both of these creatures are hardly scary in retrospective due to the poor graphical quality which makes up their texture and the crap AI they both contained, but what about more recent examples of this subtle scare? How about the massive sea-snake in Shadow of the Colossus? Fighting that thing in a poorly-lit, huge lake was not a pleasant experience. Why is it, then, do players or humans overall dislike these huge, underwater sections more than a lot of horror games overall? A lot of these so-called monsters can have a greater chance of inducing paranoia, sweat and shock than a lot of the traditional scary moments. Certainly, this does not apply across the board, but enough of these 'rare' cases have been found for it to be certainly taken into consideration for any horror writers. Marine monsters - or simply the mere possibility they are going to be present - are a force to be reckoned with in any player audience. After all, there's a reason why the world is fascinated with sea monsters, and not just because of hopeful biological breakthroughs.

Actually, yeah... I remember the cut-scene from Half-Life when the leviathan comes up out of nowhere to swallow Gordon before being teleported RTF out of there... I swear, I almost **** out my heart the first time I saw it.

There is something to be said about massive creatures... The distant shadow of one approaching tickles that little nerve at the base of your spine that makes you want to get up and run.

How about another misplaced example? The scene from the movie "Finding Nemo" where the two fishes are in the plankton mists watching the shadow of a whale in the distance? It's not the size so much as the scale--where it looks "normal sized" but as it (rapidly) approaches brings on a definite feel of unease. as the world around it shrinks in comparison.

This has been played on by several horror writers. Steven King's "Talisman" talks about paddling across a warf while huge creatures are swimming around--suggested more than seen--as a tool to heighten the mood.

The point about more prosaic fears is well taken.

This is why System Shock 2 was so good; It combined several fears:

1) Isolation (Where is everyone?)
2) Existentialism (Who am I/Why am I here?)
3) Dark (Who turned out the lights?)
3) Claustrophobia (Nowhere/limited space to run)

That the creatures you faced were fantastic was immaterial; it would have been just as creepy to run across "normal" looking crew members coming at you with a lead pipe.

Interestingly enough, there's a tool that a fair number of horror films use that almost never appears in video game horror--but which is used to great effect in movies.

Jacob's Ladder AFAIK pioneered the technique in which characters in the movie are made to move unnaturally quickly, slowly, or jerkil with the accompanying graphical distortion--but only on the character in the scene. Don't know why it works, but it does...

Similar is an effect used in that awful movie "House on Haunted Hill." completely useless movie except that the scenes where some of the ghosts appeared as hand-crank-film superimposed on reality.

Also in "The Grudge" as the vengeful female spirit jerks-and-creeps down the stairs.

Also in "The Ring" as Dripping-Dead-Girl jerks her way out of the well, and stop-jerks her way out of the TV.

Something about the exaggerated and seemingly random movement triggers a fight-or-flight response in the viewer... And yet, I've yet to see it used with any great effect (except possibly one scene in FEAR) in video games...

in my opinion any thing that has as good a chance of killing you as you have of it is scary.

take call of duty 4 for example, ok ok so it isnt a horror game but when the first dog encounter occured and inevitably ripped my throat out I nearly crapped myself. If you want to scare people, make every encounter be a challenge instead of throwing in hordes of cannon fodder. Also no invincible allies, in fact its probably best that you kill the majority of the npcs that the player may become attached to sometime in the game.

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