Five horrifying video games

Arthur Gonzalez-Martin, Senior Staff Photographer

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Fear, terror, horror and all out dread; As long as humanity has had the ability to tell stories, we have ways to teach ourselves, entertain ourselves and scare our fellow man.

The horror genre has come in many flavors over the years, from the ravings of H.P Lovecraft’s short stories, Stephen King’s “The Shinning” or H.G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds.” They’re all great works of their respective mediums. Now video games are the newest artistic medium which add to the world of horror.

 

  1. System Shock 2

Looking Glass Studio and Irrational Games’ spiritual prequel to Bioshock, takes place on Earth’s first interstellar starship, the van Braun. The player is one of the troops stationed on the craft: classic space marine, engineer or mysterious psychic. The story starts months into the ship’s journey where you wake up from a stasis pod as a cyborg with amnesia. You’re contacted by the scientist Dr. Janice Polito, the scientist who transformed you. She gives you a brief summary of what has happened the past few months: hive-minded aliens, calling themselves “the Many.” have either killed or mutated most of the ship’s crew and set the main A.I. against and it’s up to you to save the ship.

With claustrophobic but practical level design the game feels like you’re on a deep space craft with enemies that will make your skin crawl as they twist and warp the bodies of your former crew to embody horror monsters. From the hybrids who scream “kill me” and “run” as they’re forced against their will to fight you, and the greeter bots who are reprogrammed to self-destruct on contact with you. Its also one of the first games to have audio logs with dialogue that is guaranteed to get under your skin. You can get it through Steam and Good Old Games.

 

  1. Silent Hill 2

Made by Team Silent the production group put together by Konami, this is the best game out of the Silent Hill series. Silent hill 2 is about James Sunderland, a widower who receives a letter from his dead wife to come to their “special place.” Silent Hill, is an old mining town covered in fog. during the day while ash rains down at night, the town may or may not be demonically possessed in away that makes your worst fears come to life.

Many of the monsters are very sexual and violent in their movement and attacks, and grow even more disturbing as you focus into the “other world” a demonic and twisted vision of the level you’re in. Everything has a metallic and rusted feel with a very red rotting texture to everything. On top of that you’re being followed through the whole game by Pyramid Head. robe wearing executioner with a large rusted executioner’s blade who you first encounter raping and killing one of the other monsters of the game. When he’s not doing that, he’s trying to kill you or run to the next level aead of you.

You acquire guns and everyday things but they’re very hard to aim and use as you’re just a normal guy, and ammo is scarce so you have to use it sparingly and make every shot count.

This is a masterpieces of a horror game and one of the best uses of symbolism in any game you may encounter. Look on eBay or local game stores for it.

 

  1. I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream

“I have no mouth and I must scream” by Dreamers Guild and Harlan Ellison himself, is a point and click adventure game based on the Harlan Ellison short story of the same name about a supercomputer named A.M. created by the US government to help win world war 3. Made for war and mentally imbalanced A.M. joins with two other artificial intelligences, built by Russia and china, and destroys all humanity with nuclear fire. Saves just five people who makes immortal and ageless so he can torture them for all time. the game starts with A.M. reading its famed “I cant count how much I hate you” speech to set up a game for each of the five survivors based on their pasts. The five characters are: Gomister an former idealist and pacifist, now suicidal and tortured with memories of having to institutionalize his wife, who went mad sometime before the war; Benny a former army officer who killed his whole unit to protect secrets he didn’t want to get out about his private life, turned into an ape-like thing who’s as closed minded as possible; Ellen, an engineer who is possibly the least horrible person of the five who A.M. has made clostrpobic and fearful of the color yellow; Nimdok an elderly German physician who was a nazi under doctor Mengele, but as no memory of what he did due old age; and Ted a con artist who specialized in scamming rich young women out of all their money, made in to a paranoid schizophrenic by A.M.

It’s your standard adventure game solving puzzles based on each of the character histories and fears that the evil supercomputer has instilled in them over the last 109 years or so. As you try to face the characters’ fears A.M. hopes for you tolose while it finds new ways of torturing the character.

Can be found on steam or GoG.com

 

  1. Penumbra Episodic Series

OK, its technically more than one game, but still a great game to play Penumbra is made by the same people who made Amnesia the Dark Descent fictional game. penumbra is about Philip 30 year old English physics teacher who, after going to his mothers funeral service, a letter in the mail from his father Howard Lafresque telling him to destroy some documents about his research and not to try to find him. But instead of destroying the documents Phillip has them translated so he can find out were his father being all his life. He discovers a mine in the middle of Greenland, where he gets himself trapped with no way of back up to the surface

that’s episode one overture. The second is black plague, in which you must find the lab which has been infected with the Tuurngait an extra-terrestrial hive-minded virus. The third installment, Requiem is trying to get the hell out of the lab.

Penumbra takes a lot of aspects from HP Lovecraft’s storytelling. you feel isolated as you have little human contact. If you see the monsters you’re most likely going to die as there is barely any light sometimes and you’re very weak to begin with. Each ep changes gameplay as you can defend yourself if not poorly in overture from zombie dogs but black plague and on you can only just running from the remains of the research team who are no longer human.

You can find the full series on Steam

 

  1. Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth

What horror list is complete without Call of Cthulhu. By the Head First Productions, Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth is about Jack Walters, a private eye just released from his 6 year stay at Arkham Asylum. He takes on a missing person case in the fishing village of Innsmouth, which is full of strange looking people who don’t take kindly to outsiders. The case goes from simple to crazy fast, as the town tries to kill you in your sleep and you’re forced to flee into the streets. It turns out the town is controlled by the Order of Dagon which is trying to summon its dark god into the world and its up to you to try to stop it because the FBI kept you from fleeing in terror.

For about a third of the game you’re trying to sneak past townspeople and monsters while keeping yourself alive by means of a first aid kit and your wits. It takes time to heal as you have to stop to eat, bandage your arm or splint your leg. It’s easy to get one-shotted if you’re too careless. Even when you finally find some good old 1920s-based firearms, you still find yourself running as you face off against classic Lovecraftian monsters. Bullets don’t stop shoggoths and lesser Old Ones for long.

The game has no heads-up display. You have to use visual & audio markers to track how damaged and insane you are becoming, as what you see and hear in-game can cause your character, Jack, to pass out or kill himself if it gets too horrifying.

You can get it on Ebay and Steam, but you have to get a lot fan patches to get it to work.

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