Scary movies are all fine and good, but what if you're looking for a deeper, more atmospheric experience? One where you can actually be running from the howling wolves, and can interact with the beasts and apparitions you only get to see on film (Without suffering the same fate as an away team ensign in Starfleet Command)? That's where video games come in! Here are 5 of the best of the genre for you to peruse, whet your appetite, and then experience! ...if you dare...
The conceptual forebear to the Resident Evil series. Alone in the Dark started you off as Edward Carnby, an investigator in a house full of zombies and monsters.
While the graphics are seriously dated now, the 3D gameplay and polygonal environments back then made for an awesome experience. Combine that with a forgivably clunky movement interface, and you end up getting into some pretty intense knee-jerk moments.
This game was the quintessential example of how to make a FMV video game. Admittedly, it was mostly puzzles and badly acted cutscenes, but the game did provide for a pretty creepy atmosphere when navigating through the mansion.
7th Guest was followed up some years later with The 11th Hour, which sadly, suffered some pretty horrible bugs, and was overall just as badly acted. One unintentionally funny part in 7th Guest that comes to mind is the magician looking for 'MAGIC!'.
Just about every game in this series serves up some pretty creepy and atmospheric experiences. If it isn't zombies and ghosts you're running away from, just trying to sneak around castle guards can be severely sweat-inducing, especially once they find you!
Honorable mentions are The Haunted Cathedral in The Dark Project and Shalebridge Cradle in Thief: Deadly Shadows.
So, here's an idea, what if you get Clive Barker to put together a story and put some of his bizarro visions into a video game? Undying was the result, and unlike a ton of examples where Hollywood types interact with the video game industry, this was not a big fail. In fact, it was probably one of the most atmospheric and downright creepy games to have graced a pc monitor in a long time.
The basic breakdown is that this was a mansion crawler, set on an island, with a mansion. The denizens of the mansion are a family of occult practicing psycho siblings, and it's your job to stop them from unleashing 'some great evil'.
In space, no one can hear you scream! System Shock 2 was put together by Irrational Games, the same studio that was later bought up by 2K Games and then more recently pumped out a little old game called Bioshock. This game is filled with an overwhelmingly delicious amount of atmosphere.
If the zombies don't see you they just walk about their business moaning random things. Throughout the game you pick up digital notes and recordings of crew members who have 'succumbed' to the entity known as Shodan. This game really pulls you in, this description doesn't really give it justice, just get it.
So, that's the list. What are you waiting for? Go try them out!