Considering it’s almost Halloween, we couldn’t think of a better time to count down the top 50 scariest games. You know, the ones that mess with your head and force you to sleep with the lights on. Regardless of which ones you’re into, make sure you check out these spine tingling greats.
On that note, we’ll kick off the countdown with games 50-37.
50. Deadly Premonition
This Twin Peaks style mystery is definitely on the quirky side, but it has its fair share of scares as you try to solve a cult-like murder while running into a variety of unique characters along the way. You’ll definitely find a few jolts, including a memorable run-in with a raincoat-wearing killer.
Although built more as a straightforward action/adventure game, Bioshock’s tone set the pace for sending chills up your spine. For instance, the introduction to the vicious Big Daddy is enough to send anyone packing, especially after he easily subdues one of Rapture’s unsettled residents with his drill. Ouch.
This 80s arcade hit from Midway Games deserves the nod because of the sheer terror that comes from a fully built Sinistar pursuing you through space. Even if you’re packing a few Sinibombs to deal some damage, that won’t stop him from homing in, letting out a devastating roar and destroying your ship. “Run, coward!”
Putting a horror experience in a theme park is always an interesting idea, if only to see what kind of freaks await around each ride. Illbleed for the Dreamcast is one of the best games to utilize this theme, with plenty of shocks with each new character you discover. Plus, the ability to read your pulse (and avoid cardiac arrest) put a new twist on the proceedings.
46. The Thing
Based on the John Carpenter horror classic of the same name, The Thing perfectly recaptures the ambience of the movie, as you stalk a horrifying creature that can transform into anyone or anything it comes in contact with. The fear of being stalked settles in throughout this game, making it a must-play for Xbox, PlayStation 2 and PC.
45. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
This Nintendo 64 classic deserves a mention because, as you play as Link through this adventure, you can’t shake off the feeling you’re being watched. That’s because a large, foreboding moon hangs over the planet surface, peering at your every move and reminding you that in three days, your world will be destroyed. Yep, shiver-worthy.
Here’s another title that wasn’t built with horror in mind, but still manages to leave your teeth rattling in certain situations. Valve’s classic first-person adventure has plenty of tension going for it, especially when all Gordon Freeman has is a crowbar against those freaky head crabs.
43. Call of Duty: World At War – Zombies
Dealing with the trauma of World War II is unsettling enough, but Activision went the extra mile with Call of Duty: World At War by adding a zombies mode, where you barricade doors and windows the best you can while fending off wave after wave of relentless Nazi zombies. Unlocking extra weapons helps, but there’s no shaking off that sense of dread.
42. Dead Rising
Imagine having 72 hours to survive in a zombie-filled shopping mall, tasked with rescuing everyone you can. That’s exactly what happens with Frank West in the original Dead Rising. While the game is more action-based and gives you plenty of tools to send zombie parts flying, it has plenty of shocks, including when some stupid lady inadvertently starts the attack by simply going to rescue her dog. Yeah thanks, Grandma.
41. Clive Barker’s Undying
Never mind what happened with Jericho – Clive Barker made spooky gaming magic with the release of Undying, a first-person adventure from Electronic Arts. You’ll work your way through worlds filled with creepy enemies, all while using supernatural abilities to try and stay in one piece. A sequel definitely wouldn’t hurt, especially with bigger levels, and dare we dream, even scarier enemies. Barker could definitely conjure those up.
40. Dark Souls
Where Demon’s Souls started the trend of “fighting till you die, then fighting again,” Dark Souls perfected it with even better atmosphere, the introduction of the campfire system and as expected, bigger and badder enemies. This game hammered home the point that no matter how good a player you are, death is inevitable. If that doesn’t leave a psychological effect, we’re not sure what does.
39. The House of the Dead
The House of the Dead played a huge part in strengthening Sega’s arcade presence in the 90s, effectively bringing back the shooting genre by having players romp through a zombie-filled house. Packed with a dread-filled presentation and plenty of scares (especially if you didn’t hit your targets), the game remains a cult classic all these years later – along with its sequels.
38. The Suffering
One of Midway’s sleeper hits from the Xbox/PS2 era was The Suffering, an interesting take on insanity and horror revolving around a death sentenced prisoner who fights his way through a creepy underworld. With an original theme, cool weaponry and plenty of bloodshed, The Suffering is a game that’s definitely worth a look.
37. The Evil Within
After spending years of working on Resident Evil, Shinji Mikami struck back with a whole new story in The Evil Within, following a detective who falls into a twisted tale involving all kinds of freaks. Filled with plenty of jump scares (like outrunning a lunatic with a chainsaw) and a dark, foreboding presentation, this game is easily one of the best you’ll find these days for the Halloween season. Just watch out for those trip mines.
Our countdown continues tomorrow, so be sure to check back!