The 50 Scariest Video Games of All Time: 25-11 - Prima Games

The 50 Scariest Video Games of All Time: 25-11

by Prima Games Staff

Welcome back to our countdown of the 50 scariest video games in history. Thus far, we’ve come across a few spooky offerings, from modern releases like Alien: Isolation and The Evil Within to games that you wouldn’t normally think were filled with scares, like Sinistar and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.

Now we’re back with even more offerings guaranteed to send shivers down your spine, including a few surprises that came out of nowhere. Without further ado, hit the lights and continue the countdown!

These video games bring the terror: 50-37, 36-26 


25. Sanitarium

Metallica references aside, when someone mentions the word Sanitarium, some folks can’t help but think of DreamForge Entertainment’s creepy point-and-click adventure. The game does a compelling job of showing the effects of amnesia, and the delusion that can set in when you can’t remember who you are. It follows a victim of a car crash getting up and trying to get to the bottom of why he’s institutionalized, coming to grips with several shocking factors as he attempts to recover his identity. Filled with unsettling scenarios, Sanitarium still provides shivers 16 years after its release.

24. Penumbra: The Black Plague 

The second chapter of Paradox Interactive’s Penumbra series is perhaps the most effective, especially when it comes to freaking you out. This first-person adventure has you playing Phillip, an infected inhabitant who finds himself in brushes with other equally infected, although they’re far worse off than he is. The rest of the game has you scrambling to solve the mystery behind the infection, including ties to an ancient entity called the Tuurngalt. Filled with creepy music and visuals, this game is sure to keep you up nights.

23. Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Exploring a dark and foreboding castle…what can possibly go wrong? Well, if you’re Daniel, star of Frictional Games’ Amnesia: The Dark Descent, everything can and will. Following an excavation of a tomb in Africa, Daniel learns of people tied to his quest dying mysteriously. Nearly driven mad by nightmares, Daniel visits a castle to get to the bottom of the mystery. Though most of the game is puzzle based, Amnesia has enough good scares going for it to make it perfect Halloween fare.

22. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl

Not just your typical first-person shooter, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl is a thrilling game where you’ll have to contend with mutated freaks and soldiers alike. In it, you play Stalker, an explorer and scavenger who has made his way into The Zone, surrounding the Chernobyl Power Plant. Following a meltdown, all sorts of insane accidents occur, building the opposition against you as you fight to stay alive. Packing a faster pace than most of the games on this list, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is sure to keep you on your toes. 

21. Alan Wake

Following its success with the Max Payne games, Remedy Entertainment took a turn for the terrifying with its Xbox 360/PC release Alan Wake. In this game, you play an author looking to find his missing girlfriend, only to stumble upon a mystery involving dark, dangerous beings. Your only hope? Weapons that emit light, including flare guns. This game definitely plays great mind tricks on anyone who plays it, especially when you get to its ominous conclusion. When it comes to swimming in Alan Wake’s waters, it’s definitely an ocean, not a lake.

20. The Walking Dead Season 1

While AMC’s take on The Walking Dead remains quite faithful to Robert Kirkman’s comic books, there’s no question that Telltale’s episodic series was superb in its own right when it debuted for consoles and PC. The game features an unlikely hero, escaped convict Lee, as he attempts to fend for himself and his young charge Clementine, as he deals with everything from violent humans to nasty zombies. With plenty of heart-wringing decisions to be made, and a whopper of an ending that’s sure to floor you, The Walking Dead is easily one of the better horror games out there. Just wait until Season 3.

19. Splatterhouse

One of the goriest side-scrolling platformers of its time, Splatterhouse is hardly for the meek – but those wanting to bash the heads of demons will get a kick out of this game. You play Rick, a man who loses his girlfriend to a house filled with monsters. With the help of a powerful Terror Mask, he vows to get her back, facing everything from evil versions of himself (that bash through haunted mirrors) to a bagged freak with twin chainsaws for arms. This is definitely a classic worth checking out again, either in the arcade or on the Turbo-Grafx 16.

18. I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream

Based on the Harlan Ellison short story of the same name, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream is a harrowing tale that offers no easy answers. This point-and-click adventure has you playing as five different humans, who have been kept alive by an evil computer named AM after the rest of mankind has been wiped away. He preys on each of their individual weaknesses, and it’s your job to try and help them survive its wrath. That doesn’t come easy, and the game’s bad endings are certainly hard to take.

17. Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth

Before Bethesda left its mark on horror with The Evil Within, it worked its magic on this Xbox/PC release, based on the H.P. Lovecraft book The Call of Cthulhu. The game revolves around a detective named Jack Walters, who has enough problems of his own when he’s called upon to find a missing person in an isolated town. The terrors that await will challenge him at every turn, forcing him to use whatever weapons he can get his hands on. Filled with psychological twists and plenty of unspeakable creeps, this one’s a winner. All hail Cthulhu!

16. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem

Silicon Knights’ classic horror adventure is easily one of Nintendo’s greatest sleeper hits, and a big reason to own a GameCube. The game sends you through various places in time in the hopes of solving a mystery surrounding god-like beings, including the Corpse God Mantorok, who has plans of his own. While the adventure doesn’t offer many scares, the sanity effects that the game produces certainly do, particularly the ones that mess with your controls, or worse yet, threaten to delete your entire memory card. That alone freaked us out. 

15. Tecmo’s Deception

In the game, you set up a series of traps to kill visitors coming to your home, although it gives you the final call when it comes to moral judgment. You can choose to finish them off for good or let them escape, although consequences come with both. Escape means less of a rating for you, while killing them has its own repercussions – like a child crying out to the parents you slaughtered.

14. Clock Tower

Originally released for the SNES (and later for PlayStation), Clock Tower is one of the earlier entries in the survival horror market, at least for consoles – and it’s also one of the better ones. The game puts you in control of Jennifer Simpson, an innocent girl trying to get her and her friends out of a large, creepy house. You’ll have to solve puzzles throughout, but you’ll consistently have a look over your shoulder, as Scissorman, a pint-sized freak with a pair of razor sharp scissors, is constantly in pursuit. Barely escaping his wrath is one thing, but failing to help your friends in a timely manner – and watching them succumb to his wrath – is another.

13. The Last of Us

There are two reasons we consider The Last of Us to be a unique horror experience. Number one, the infected creatures Joel and Ellie come across over the course of the game are genuinely frightening, to the point that you may feel hopelessness setting in once you run out of ammunition. Second, the story is realistic, with opposition not only coming from mutants, but also humans that will do anything to survive. It’s an unshakeable experience, and easily one of the best for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. 

12. Five Nights At Freddy’s 

This independent darling came out of nowhere earlier this year, freaking gamers out with the terrorizing thought of…animatronic animals? Yep, Five Nights At Freddy’s is every Chuck E. Cheese patron’s worst nightmare, as you play a security guard keeping tabs on a party location, using a limited amount of power to keep these possessed beings at bay. Although the gameplay doesn’t change much, the genuine scares that come from the animals getting the jump on you can’t be beat. You can bet it’ll continue next year when Five Nights At Freddy’s 2 makes its debut…and without doors to protect you.

11. System Shock 2

Before it closed up shop following the release of the Bioshock titles, Irrational Games (in conjunction with Looking Glass Games) earned its reputation with this classic action/survival horror adventure for PC. In System Shock 2, you play a soldier attempting to reverse the effects of a genetic infection that has broken out across your starship – a job that’s easier said than done, thanks to the effort of the vicious supercomputer SHODAN. The game’s story is packed with shocking twists and turns aplenty, including an ending that’ll floor you.

See you tomorrow for the top ten!

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