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FEATURE: The Top 10 Scariest Games!


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The movie industry has always used Halloween as the perfect time to release the latest horror films. With the release of Dead Space, Manhunt 2 and Shellshock 2, it seems the games industry is starting to follow suit. Here we celebrate Halloween by taking a look at the top ten scariest games of all time.





10. The 7th Guest (PC, Phillips CD-i, Macintosh)


The 7th Guest was one of the first games to be available solely as a CD-ROM, due in large to its inclusion of pre-rendered 3D graphics and live video clips. The puzzle element and mansion setting would later become a staple of the horror game genre, but it was The 7th Guest and Alone In The Dark that set the benchmark. The story itself was a creepy tale of a homeless man named Henry Stauf, who, after robbing and killing a woman, has a dream of a doll so beautiful he decides to craft it. He continues dreaming of and making more and more dolls and eventually becomes rich from selling them. The player is put in the shoes of Ego, a clueless character who wakes up in Faust's mansion and witnesses the ghostly re-enactment of a game played by six guests long ago. Ego ends up discovering the secret of the dolls and the fate of a small boy name Tad, who may mean more to Ego than he first thinks.





9. Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem (Gamecube)


Every generation of Nintendo console gets a game that supposedly challenges the family-friendly perception of the Nintendo brand; Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem was one such game. Developed by Canadian developer Silicon Knights, Eternal Darkness was an innovative psychological horror game that genuinely unsettled gamers. The game begins in the present day at a mansion in Rhode Island. The game's heroine, Alexandra, finds a book and by reading it plays out the experiences of the person in the chapter. Every time you finish a chapter you gain the ability to unlock a different part of the mansion and find another chapter. The innovative element of the game comes with the use of sanity effects. The more your character becomes freaked out, the more bizarre things start to happen. The screen would sometimes crash, the controls would invert, monsters that weren't really there would appear and your character would sometimes explode! The gamer would really start to panic when they started hearing noises because they would realise that at any time something could happen that would stop them in their tracks.





8. Dead Space (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)


Dead Space isn't the most original of games - it borrows the gameplay from Resident Evil 4, the Event Horizon plot and the Gears Of War gore. Throw in a bit of Doom 3 and you've nailed the feel of Dead Space. Despite its apparent lack of originality, Dead Space is still scary and even though gamers will turn every corner expecting things to jump out at them, it still send a jolt through your body when they do. What makes this stand out from other space/alien shooters is the game's satisfying makeshift weaponry and limb dismemberment. No matter how scared you are and no matter how many enemies are scurrying towards you, you'll enjoy slicing up the hideous monstrosities. Just make sure they're actually dead before you walk past them.





7. Alone In The Dark (PC, Mac OS, 3DO, RISC OS)


Alone In The Dark is often credited as being the first ever survival horror game. Following the suicide of the owner of a mysterious mansion, the player - either as the victim's niece or a private detective - enters the mansion to look for an old piano. As soon as you enter the mansion, the door slams shut and you are thrust into the action. In order to survive, you must explore the mansion, combat monsters and solve puzzles. The player will eventually uncover the dark secret of the now well-worn haunted mansion and why the former owner committed suicide. The game was influenced by the master of horror, H.P. Lovecraft, and various references to his work can be found throughout. The game spawned multiple sequels, but the original stands out as the most influential in the franchise.





6. Condemned (Xbox 360, PS3)


The advent of the next generation bought with it a great deal of excitement and expectation about better graphics, better sound and smarter AI. Condemned: Criminal Origins fulfilled these expectations and created a world that could make you jump with a flicker of shadow in the distance. Played through a first-person perspective, Condemned was unlike anything else seen before; instead of pumping the enemy full of bullets like most FPS, you often had to use melee combat to vanquish your foe. While games like Resident Evil had previously made you wary about the amount of ammo you used, Condemned made you obsessed. The AI of the enemies was so good that they would often retreat and come back with back-up, meaning that gamers without ammo would be witnessing the game over screen on a regular basis. The sequel, which was released this year, offers even more impressive graphics and an increased focus on the supernatural.





5. Project Zero (PS2, Xbox)


On the surface, Project Zero shouldn't be particularly scary. Armed with a camera that is able to trap the souls of ghosts, you play through an adventure set in a mansion. Ignorant gamers may scoff at the idea of ridding the world of ghosts using a camera, and once again playing in a mansion, but the game is based on Japanese folklore and it has been claimed that it is based on the true story of the Himuro Mansion in Japan. With the true story potential and the style being reminiscent of popular modern Japanese horror films like The Grudge, Project Zero is a must for gamers looking for a legitimate scare, just keep the Kodak handy while you play.





4. Siren: Blood Curse (PS3)


Despite being the third game in the Siren series, Siren: Blood Curse is the standout title. The game, played out in 12 episodes of four chapters, uses stealth and combat to great effect. The Siren series invented the sightjacking mode, which allows players to see through the eyes of the monsters, and it is often used in clever ways to solve puzzles and sneak past enemies. Fortunately this version of Siren is much smoother and less cumbersome than its predecessors, making it a joy to play. Much like Condemned, Blood Curse also utilises lighting and shadows to great effect, but it is the haunting groans and wails that will stick with gamers the longest and ensure that the lights stay on every night after playing.





3. Doom - The series (Multi)


Doom wasn't the original first person shooter, but it was the FPS that put the genre on the map. Back in the early Nineties every first person shooter that followed Doom was a horror frag-fest designed to test your nerves and reflexes in equal measure. After Doom 2 and Final Doom the series would remain absent for some years, until 2004 when Doom 3 would once again test our metal. The original Doom caused panic among gamers when Imps would suddenly appear out of nowhere, but perhaps the scariest moment came when the player was confronted by the Cyber Demon for the first time. A big hulking brute, whose clunking steps caused fear and panic, he appeared as you descended ever closer to hell. Doom 3 attempted to re-establish horror as the staple of an FPS industry that was churning out WWII shooters by the dozen. Although the locations became repetitive, Doom 3's torch and gun dynamic meant that cautious exploration was a necessity when trawling the pitch black corridors. A Hollywood adaptation followed the release of Doom 3, but the less said about that the better.





2. Resident Evil - The series (Multi)



Although the origin of the survival horror can be placed at the feet of Alone In The Dark, it was Resident Evil that made it popular. Capcom's take on the genre arrived in 1996 and was an instant hit. The game has gone on to spawn nearly twenty spinoffs and sequels as well as three Hollywood films. The first game is set in a mansion (surprise surprise) and the player must make their way around, looking for the rest of the STARS team, from whom you get separated at the beginning. It doesn't take long for things to get scary, and most gamers will remember the first zombie you encounter in the now famous cut-scene. The sinister Umbrella corporation is discovered to be at the root of the outbreak, and with a few twists and turns later you find out that even some of your allies can't be trusted. Most of the direct sequels used similar gameplay and puzzle solving features until Resident Evil 4 came along and shook things up. The focus is now on combat and hoards of enemies stalk you at every corner just waiting to be pumped full of lead. With Resident Evil 5 coming next year, gamers are once again chomping at the bit to revisit Umbrella and teach them a lesson.





1. Silent Hill - The series (Multi)


The number one spot has to go to Silent Hill. The game may not be as popular as Resident Evil and the gameplay may be a bit fiddly, but every Silent Hill title leaves its mark in the mind of gamers. This is psychological horror at its best. It combines action and puzzle elements with unsettling characters, hideous monsters and eerie sound effects and graphics. There are so many stand out moments in Silent Hill that it would be impossible to list them all. Needless to say the first time you witness the decaying dark world of Silent Hill, complete with sirens blaring and the radio crackling, you know this game oozes fear. Silent Hill is an adult game, not just because there is violence in it, but because the themes and issues it tackles are perverse and disturbing. The enemies are hideous to behold, but like Pyramid Head - the game's most iconic baddie - they all tie in to the background of Silent Hill and the fears of the character. Boasting six titles, a feature film and various comic books, Silent Hill has scared gamers on so many occasions and it continues to do so. Although perhaps the scariest moment came when Sean Bean attempted an American accent for the movie.



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Eternal Darkness was one I was going to mention as I didn't expect it to be there, such an awesome and underrated game.


I just bought Dead Space, it is fantastic, it's the best game I have played atmospherically, it just completely draws you in then scares the shit out of you, it's like you are the main character in a ridiculously scary movie, you actually feel like you are there.

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