Opinion: Great Games To Play This Halloween
Whether you want to enjoy a week of mind-blowing terror in the build-up to All Hallows Eve, or a night of intense dread on the occasion itself, here’s a selection of some of the best titles to check out or revisit – with a room full of friends, or all on your lonesome…
Nightmare House 2
An ingenious Half-Life 2 mod from We Create Stuff, this phenomenal experience is so much more than a mere curiosity – it’s a full-length game complete with its own original plot, characters and nerve-wracking scenarios, and it has to be considered one of the most accomplished horror games of the past ten years.
The scares and chills are perfectly timed, engineered and judged. You’ll encounter gruesome zombies, a recurring Alma-style phantom, and some of the most sinister mannequins ever conceived. Revealing much more would spoil the surprise – so make sure you go and check it out for yourselves.
Resident Evil Marathon
Ever find yourself pining for some old-school survival-horror? Of course you do. Just thinking about the glory days of scant resources, cryptic puzzles and genuinely terrifying shocks is enough to make any horror game fan of a certain age glaze over all nostalgically. And Resident Evil is where it all began.
There can’t be a better way to spend a dark Autumn night than tackling a whole succession of the classic entries in Capcom’s classic series. You could play through them sequentially, or in narrative order (starting with Resident Evil Zero), getting your fill of zombie-blasting, Hunter-fleeing mayhem and suspense along the way.
The truly hardcore will want to see how many games they can complete throughout the night (the original and Resident Evil 2 can each be clocked in less than three hours), but everyone else might prefer to play each title until they die the first time, or until they simply begin to hanker after the next installment.
Oh, and make sure you include the Gamecube ‘REmake’ in your endeavours if at all possible. It’s quite possibly the best of the bunch.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
The serious option for those with nerves of steel (or eager masochists), Amnesia is a supreme atmospheric PC horror from indie devs Frictional that has rightly received great acclaim – and caused numerous gamers to devolve into shaking, gibbering wrecks.
You wake up alone in an ominous, shadowy castle with no knowledge of who you are, or how you came to be there. Even worse, you are completely defenceless against the indescribable terrors that prowl its chambers – forcing you to simply flee and hide in the dark whenever danger approaches. But stay in the darkness too long and you’ll go mad, grinding your teeth into dust, sending the room spinning and alerting the grotesques to your presence.
With some memorably intense and frightening sequences that will have your hair standing on end, this is not for the faint of heart. Also well-worth checking out is the excellent Amnesia DLC ‘Justine’, which somehow manages to be even more disturbing and horrific then the main game at times.
Making inspired use of your computer’s mic and webcam, this genuinely creepy online game takes the form of interactive video sequences and thrusts you into a vacation venue so nightmarish it makes the Bates Motel look like the Beverley Hills Hilton.
Prepare yourself for various trials and puzzles that will see you meet a grisly end should you put a foot wrong. You’ll be forced to sing a lullaby to a demonic child, share a cell with a murmuring madman and flee desperately down hotel hallways as a relentless shadow closes in. Let’s hope there’s a continental breakfast at the end of it all.
Condemned: Criminal Origins and Condemned 2: Bloodshot
Fancy a tour of decaying, dilapidated urban locations infested with psychotic hobos? You’ve come to the right place. Monolith’s original Condemned remains a bona fide gem of a serial-killer thriller, combining the sinister hunt for an unhinged murderer with intense, bone-crunching melee combat and outlandish mental tricks – including bizarre hallucinations and horrifying discoveries.
Despite dispensing with the gritty realism and going bat-shit bonkers with the plot about half-way through, the second game is also palpably terrifying – particularly early on – with its twisted, freakish alleyways, another hotel from Hades, and a F.E.A.R esque trek through an eerily deserted office complex. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Silent Hill 2
Quite probably the all-time pinnacle of psychological-horror in gaming, this second entry in the Silent Hill series still has the power to deeply unnerve a decade after it was originally released. Maybe it’s the weird, wind-up clockwork creatures that prowl its hellish environments. Perhaps it’s the unsettling Freudian subtext that oozes from its every disturbing pore.
It could be the fact that you find yourself pursued by a colossal, vicious brute armed with the kind of gigantic blade that would give Cloud Strife a severe case of sword-envy. Still, whatever the reason, it’s fair to say that Konami’s chilling masterpiece is an ideal Hallowe’en thrill-ride even ten years on.
Got your own top tips for the best games to play this Hallowe’en? Feel free to post them below…