Spooktober 2018 Entry #15 – Previous Entry: Resident Evil Revelations // Next Entry: 2Dark
Horror can infect a being in many ways.
Maybe you don’t like the look of that dark hallway. Maybe you’re overlooking the city from a great height. Maybe you’re being asked to endure another round of Rainbow Six: Siege. Horror exists in many more ways than its generic approach, and no matter what game you play, the chance to be scared is always there, lurking like a green crisp in a pack of Walkers.
That’s what this list is here for the moments where games got a bit too spooky, even when they maybe shouldn’t have. They can be confronting with their moments, they can be silent, they can be any and all forms of terrifying, and maybe you can play these games up until the specific point in which they get spooky, and then stop playing them. The essence of Halloween, surely?
Also, beware of minor to heavy spoilers for the following games:-
- Fallout 3
- Metroid II: Return of Samus / Samus Returns
- A Hat In Time
- TimeSplitters: Future Perfect
Fallout 3 – Dunwich Building
HEY EVERYBODY, DID THE NEWS GET AROUND ABOUT A GUY NA-AAAAAAAMED BUTCHER PETE?
Fallout 3 is a goofy game, at best. Its ultra-violence contrasting heavily with the arid depression that surrounds you throughout your journey across the Capital Wasteland is nothing short of silly. You’ve blown up towns, you’ve helped talking tress, and it’s all set to the happiest 50s soundtrack you could ever dream of. However, you’ve already been spooked before, with the hallucinations of Vault 106 plaguing you, and just south of Girdershade lies a far more sinister ruin; The Dunwich Building.
Once you walk through the front doors, you notice that it’s quieter. The lighting is slightly off, and more skeletons decorate the interior than usual. Ghouls roam the floors, doors keep closing on their own, objects keep flying from the tables with no visible force, and JUMPSCARE! The screen shows a simpler time before you’re forced to fight a Glowing One, and once you go do into the mined depths? All bets are off as voices whisper to you one single name: “Alhazred”.
It’s bloody effective horror to say the least, and a far cry from the joyful fights you’ve been engaging in since the building. The best part? This directly ties into a quest if you own the Point Lookout DLC, with the creepy beast Obadiah Blackhall asking you to collect a book which may have more meaning to it than just a collectible. It shows good planning on Bethesda’s part, and is executed superbly whether you own the DLC or not.
Celeste – The Confrontation
This was a tough one to decide whether or not it should be a part of this list. It fits, though.
So you’re climbing a mountain, with your sole intention being that you want to prove something to yourself. A part of you disagrees however, and they believe that you are too meek and frail of a human being to achieve the challenge. Despite the fact that you’re escaping and disregarding the criticism every time, they’re chipping away at your mind. Slowly but surely, that part of you will make your change your mind one way or another.
Cut to a rest by a secluded part of Celeste Mountain. Protagonist Madeline is in a dream state, and in said state, she confronts this part of her that demands she cease this pitiful quest of self-satisfaction. Madeline says no, and instead opts for this part of her to simply fade away, with this part of her not reacting to the news in a polite manner. Instead, she chooses to literally crawl out of the screen to let her know she’s wrong, and throws her entire journey off-course, making Madeline fall endlessly down to the bottom of the mountain.
It may not be the most direct form of horror, but it is a reminder that behind every single successful human being (given that they don’t work in the AAA industry as a higher-up), there is a voice wanting them to fail. Whether or not you find it terrifying that there’s a little part of you that wants nothing but to see you suffer is completely down to you, but nevertheless, it is unflinching in its objective, and a little bit sad at worst.
Metroid II: Return of Samus – Mutated Metroids
One of the few games I owned on my purple Game Boy Color was Metroid II: Return of Samus.
It was a fun game, a collect-a-thon of sorts as you’re tasked to eliminate multiple Metroid creatures that are knockin’ about the planet SR388. It’s a great game, although it’s one I’ve never actually completed, because those mutated Metroids are absolutely horrific when you come across them for the first time. Metroid II is the only game I’ve ever played where I refuse to play it because of fear, and fear alone.
It’s not too bad at first, with Samus doing her usual Metroid-y stuff, with the small jellyfish-like Metroids being anything but difficult to fight. Over time however, you’ll return to areas you’ve been to before, and now they’re growing claws, shells and all other manners of Eldritch limbs. The Game Boy’s speaker will screech with the sounds of the grotesque beasts, and suddenly, my Game Boy has been thrown across the room and I’m hiding under my pillow.
Nintendo certainly know how to scar a child, as evidence with multiple moments from people’s childhood games cropping up in this certain discussion. The piano in Super Mario 64, Under the Well in Ocarina of Time, Lavender Town in Pokemon Red/Blue, and the mutated Metroids in Metroid II: Return of Samus are easily at the top of pants-wetting moments in their games. Congratulations! You mean bastards.
TimeSplitters: Future Perfect – Mansion of Madness
In case you don’t already know by now, TimeSplitters is great.
TimeSplitters 2 is objectively the best, although when it came to the freaky, messed up part of the game, it suffered from looking a bit silly. I’m of course talking about the Notre Dame level, where Jacques De La Morte uses vulnerable women to fuel his own immortality. While the idea of a blonde, silent jester creeping around the cathedral and shooting zombie priests sounds terrifying, it isn’t. However, Future Perfect‘s Mansion level is.
Instead of occupying the nearest human near the spot where Cortez lands at, Cortez can now exist in the same timespace without taking over someone. This leads to an exploration of a decrepit mansion in Connecticut with local bad girl, Jo-Beth Casey, and what they find inside is not for the faint of heart. Ghosts, zombies, hideous mutations of Wendigos and other such urban myths, and let’s not forget the Deerhaunter, a towering 10 foot skinned moose that stands on its hind legs.
It is, to say the least, fucking frightening, and when that moose breaks out of its enclosed space, you can practically hear the collective scream of every man, woman and child who has ever played this. Going down even further from there, you come across changelings, mutant spiders and more occult beings living underneath the mansion. When you finish the mission? You’re never quite the same again.
A Hat In Time – Queen Vanessa’s Manor
Ahh, A Hat In Time. What a cutesy little game.
Here we are, running around as an adorable lass, collecting hourglasses for our ship, travelling worlds too saccharine for our own good. Even JonTron is here to have fun, instead of making controversial statements that tank his reputation! It’s a good thing that this is game is quite literally nothing but sweetness, or at least it would be, if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s on this list.
Cut to Subcon Forest, where Hat Kid is simply doing the same business she’s been doing all this time, until you come across Queen Vanessa’s Manor. Queen Vanessa still roams the halls in some way, shape or form, and since Hat Kid is trespassing, Vanessa doesn’t take too kindly to your presence. That’s why she’ll chase you to the end of the Earth, and if she grabs you? You’re immediately petrified in ice, perishing before you can even blink. Even if she doesn’t catch you, her mere presence fills your headphones with easily the most horrible sound in the game.
A Hat In Time employs the same tonal shifts that TimeSplitters does, and executes them with the same amount of grace. While it may be far more sinister than most of the entries in this list, especially considering just how sweet the game is beforehand, you have to remember that Nintendo have been doing the same thing for decades now. Why isn’t it fair for Gears For Breakfast to give it a go?
The Freak Abides…
Well, another day, another collection of small pants-ruining moments remembered and archived. The best thing about all the moments mentioned, is that they’re all great games in their own right, so while these might be prime moments for Halloween, you can still play them afterwards. Which you should! Until next time, goodnight dears. The trees are only swaying because of the wind.
Owner of the largest collection of indie games in the Western Hemisphere, and TimeSplitters’ biggest fanboy.