Movies no longer have the monopoly over creating bowel-loosening terror.
Video games have come about as a finally-tuned instrument of fear that deserve just as much attention on this most unholy of seasons. So without further ado, here are four horror video games to get you in the mood for Halloween.
1 – Until Dawn
A sleeper hit from 2015, Until Dawn should be on every horror aficionado’s shelf.
The setup is right on the money. Eight teenagers return to a cabin in the mountains on the anniversary that two of their friends disappeared on the slopes.
It is a little cliché, but lovingly so. The whole story feels like an undiscovered 80s horror classic. There are enough genuine twists to keep you entertained the whole way through – and that’s before the mechanics kick in.
The Butterfly Effect is a terrible Ashton Kutcher movie, but it is also a nifty mechanic in Until Dawn.
Unlike other games that falsely promise that your choices have genuine consequences (I’m looking at you Walking Dead), Until Dawn commits. In true horror fashion, each of the games eight playable characters can live or die depending on your actions.
For a fun party game, have a group of friends play a single character through the story and prepare to watch your social group break apart as they constantly bicker and question their decisions.
2 – Oxenfree
Say you’re not into visceral horror. Say you’re into something a little tamer. Maybe even something a little more cerebral.
If you’re a fan of indie games, then Oxenfree has what you’re craving.
It’s a classic story about teen friendships, coming of age and accidentally opening a ghostly rift.
In actuality, Oxenfree offers little in terms of any outright scares. It’s much more about making you fall in love with its cast of well-written and beautifully voice-acted characters.
That might not sound like a typical Halloween experience, but let me remind you, the first half of any good horror movie is supposed to make you like or at least relate to the cast. That’s why you care about anyone when stuff starts to get weird.
Oxenfree hands you some unforgettable characters and then threatens to take them away from you in a gruesome fashion.
Plus, the whole game has a campfire, it happened to a friend of a friend mine kind of feel to it that just screams Halloween for me.
3 – Terrordome: Rise of the Boogeymen
You won’t find my next recommendation on any game store shelf. You can’t download it through Steam. You have to go deep into the dark side of the internet, where laws of man and god hold little value.
Or you could check it out here.
Terrordrome: Rise of the Boogeymen is a free fan-made game that has such a strong gimmick that it begs to be included on this list. It is a gimmick so strong that I can look past the janky controls and open-source game engine.
Simply put, Terrordrome is a fighting game with a roster taken from the most iconic horror movies of all time.
Freddy, Jason, Leatherface, Chucky. Even Ashley freakin Williams.
Is the gameplay a bit of mess?
Does it violate half a dozen copyright laws?
Does it deserve to be part of your Halloween ritual?
4 – Resident Evil 4
There are many classic horror video games that all deserve a place on this list. Silent Hill 2, Eternal Darkness and System Shock can all easily become part of your Halloween routine. But there is only one classic that feels tailormade for the holiday.
I am of course speaking about Resident Evil 4.
It’s definitely not the scariest horror game; it isn’t even the scariest on this list. But Halloween was never just about the scares. Along with the trick always comes the treat, and RE4 provides the perfect blend of scares and campy fun.
For every unique and horrifying monster and location, you have a pulpy action plot beat or a corny one-liner. And this guy. Can’t forget about him.
There really isn’t that much more to say about Resident Evil 4. It’s a great game that I always make sure to bust out every Halloween.
Maybe you should too.