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Feature: Ten Games to Play This Halloween

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Not for the faint of heart

Halloween is now just one week away, while many horrors await: ghosts, zombies, children in masks demanding sweets and candy. Up to now we've focussed on Resident Evil and Castlevania, but now we're just looking for thrills to take us to the darkest night of the year.

To get us started we decided to produce a list of games that can be considered as perfect Halloween gaming. All of these titles were chosen because they're either scary, spooky or, in a couple of cases, simply overwhelmed with an ominous atmosphere. Some of the selections will be expected, while a couple are included for those who want an engrossing experience without necessarily being scared witless. Check them out below.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask — For gamers who want a vintage title with an ominous vibe, Majora's Mask is certainly an option. Considered one of, if not the darkest entry in the Zelda series, this title introduces environments, characters and themes that are anything but cuddly and cute. It's a Link adventure with a spooky vibe, an irresistible combination.

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes — When the original Metroid Prime was released on GameCube, it was roundly praised for creating a sense of isolation on a strange planet. The sequel, arguably, took these themes a step further by introducing frightening new enemies, a light/dark gameplay mechanic and moody, sci-fi gothic environments. An entry in the series that divided opinion, it's suitable nevertheless for an engaging, engrossing experience.

Super Castlevania IV — Super Castlevania IV has plenty of demons and ghouls as a warm-up, before Frankenstein, the Grim Reaper and Dracula emerge onto the scene. The atmosphere in the whole series is wonderfully dark and gothic, with this title getting the nod due to its exemplary controls and level design. Honourable mentions must go to Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse and Castlevania: Rondo of Blood.

Resident Evil 2 — The Resident Evil series is renowned for revolutionising the survival horror genre. While the Resident Evil remake on GameCube was a triumph and Resident Evil 4 took the series in a new direction, we've opted for Resident Evil 2. This was the first title in the series to arrive on a Nintendo console and was packed with B-movie scares and terrifying monsters.

Avenging Spirit — Now available on the 3DS Virtual Console, this title can be regarded as a forgotten gem. While relatively light-hearted in appearance, the premise of taking control of strangers' bodies and discarding them as corpses is remarkably sinister. The horror is in the actions that you take, not how they're portrayed.

Doom 64 — When this title was released on Nintendo 64, it received a mixed critical response due to the gameplay being a relic of a previous age. In terms of horror gaming, however, it's a valuable, shiny relic worth finding. The simplistic shooter gameplay of the SNES original, combined with far superior graphics, means that the environments and horrific monsters are more frightening than ever.

Lit — Rather aptly released on 30th October 2009 in the EU - though less suitably on 9th February of the same year in the US - this title makes good use of darkness as its central premise. Clever use of the Wii Remote, tricky puzzles and a desperate need to stay in the light ensure that this is a welcome entry on the WiiWare service.

Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem — Exclusive to the Nintendo GameCube, this title earned critical acclaim, and a major award, for character development, innovative gameplay and exceptional design. The scope of ambition is impressive, with its moody visuals capturing the imagination, while features such as the 'sanity meter' demonstrate unbounded creativity. Lengthy and challenging, this is a title worth experiencing.

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories — While the title of this game would suggest a remake of the PlayStation entry, this is in fact a wonderful reimagining of the original. The capabilities of the Wii console and Remote are utilised fully, while the top-notch presentation emphasises the horror of the surroundings. Clever use of psychological profiling and the lack of any weapons - if you see a monster, you run - mean that this is a standout horror title on the Wii.

Dead Space: Extraction — When a Dead Space game was announced for the Wii, excitement ensued. The news that it was an on-rails shooter was an immediate disappointment, but developers Eurocom demonstrated that genre limitations need not apply. This title is immersive, well paced, gruesome and, when all is said and done, frightening. Definitely an experience perfectly suited to a dark room and a pair of headphones.

These recommendations should help capture the mood for the upcoming All Hallows' Eve, though we're barely scratching the surface of scary games. You can vote for your favourite from the list in our Facebook poll, and we'd love to hear about titles you enjoy at this time of year: whether they make you play from behind the couch or simply engross you with a gloomy atmosphere. Tell us all about them in the comments below.

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User Comments (68)

Late

#3

Late said:

Out of these 10 games, I have only one, Metroid Prime 2 as a part of MPT. I just played Metroid Prime (1) 10 minutes ago. I thought about getting through it so I can start 2 and 3 (I haven't touched them yet),

I have Doom 1 and 2 on PC, never touched Doom 64.

NintyMan

#4

NintyMan said:

I'll be playing Luigi's Mansion and Super Ghouls N' Ghosts. The latter is scary in both atmosphere and difficulty!

Rawk_Hawk

#5

Rawk_Hawk said:

I guess you could add Gargoyles Quest since it was recently released on the 3DS

TeeJay

#6

TeeJay said:

As soon as I saw the pictures, even before I read the title, I thought it was an announcement for Majora's Mask and I nearly freaked. Sigh.

Xiao_Pai

#10

Xiao_Pai said:

I don't feel like playing MM again. (just beat it last week, lol)
Man, if only Luigi's Mansion 2 was out today.

shingi_70

#11

shingi_70 said:

Surprised that Avenging Spirit got picked over Gargoyle's Quest. gonna try and pick it up today.

cyrus_zuo

#12

cyrus_zuo said:

Metroid: Other M I thought did "something is lurking around the corner" better than any other Metroid game. It definitely is full of creepiness (it also doesn't lack for controversy, but I personally really enjoyed the game play)

Karakato

#14

Karakato said:

A DS/gba and a Playstation 3 is all I need for the ultimate Resident Evil/Castlevania-marathon to keep me company this season. Can't wait to get back to all the retro creepiness that I cherished years ago. Also, This would be the perfect opportunity to complete Dead Space 2. I will stay up all night just for the occasion come 10/ 31.

TheGreenSpiny

#15

TheGreenSpiny said:

Eternal Darkness is the best survival horror game ever made. If you haven't played it, track it down and play it.

Popyman

#16

Popyman said:

I got Eternal Darkness a week ago but between Dark Souls and Batman, I can't bring myself to unhook the PS3 to give ED a spin. :(

cheapogamer4life

#17

cheapogamer4life said:

Out of those games I only have Avenging Spirit and haven't had a chance to play it yet. I guess next week is good would be fitting. :0

Mikau94

#19

Mikau94 said:

This list needs some SNES love and Zombies Ate My Neighbors is perfect for Halloween night.

@SteveW Majora's Mask is pretty dark game, considering it is a Zelda doomsday title with quite a few freaky moments.

SMW

#24

SMW said:

Here are some good retro picks for Halloween:

Eternal Darkness
Quake
Nightmare Creatures
Shadow Man

As for current games, I'd suggest:

Lost in Shadow (not scary, but it kind of has an eerie vibe)

pikku

#25

pikku said:

The only thing scary about Lit are the graphics. Seriously has to be one of the worst looking games i've ever played, ever. Unless the real game is any different from the demo :P

Quazzaazazazaazaza

#26

Quazzaazazazaazaza said:

Hey, I'm doing really good!
I'm playing Majoras Mask right now, and I just played Metroid Prime echoes a few weeks ago.

Yadoking

#28

Yadoking said:

This is a neat feature! You guys should totally do one of these for at least 1 or 2 major holidays a year, or something similar.

RantingThespian

#30

RantingThespian said:

I say, turn down all the lights, pull out the original QUAKE on your PC with Trent Reznor's soundtrack, and play the game on Nightmare difficulty!

Kagamine

#32

Kagamine said:

Metroid: Other M was the best metroid as fa as creepiness goes. i was always wondering what would be next. theres were several times where i literally jumped from enemies jumping out from behind or down from above.

Also its my favorite metroid game ever

Thwiidscube

#34

Thwiidscube said:

What about good old Luigi's Mansion? Sure, it's not scary, but it's a game with a scary theme! :) I've already beat it anyway though...

Tare

#35

Tare said:

For Nintendites, I'd recomened Dementium and Dementium 2.

For anyone with a PC, I'd recomened Penumbra and Amnesia. Those are easily the scariest games I've ever played.

ogo79

#37

ogo79 said:

ive been pondering on getting Uninvited for the Nes. i used to rent it, maybe its time to buy it

Supremeist

#38

Supremeist said:

I'll be playing Avenging Spirit while eating candy on Halloween since it is the only game on this list I have.

Or Resident Evil The Mercenaries 3D.

Sneaker13

#42

Sneaker13 said:

Since I need to finish Luigi's Mansion before Halloween (review for my own site, the link is in my profile), I think I might watch a horror movie, play some Enemy Zero on PC and Soul of Darkness on my 3DS.

SkywardLink98

#44

SkywardLink98 said:

Halloween is the best holiday invented. Not just because it's Halloween but the next day is my birthday, so I can't help but love it.

Bones00

#45

Bones00 said:

This is a great feature. Now I'll have to figure out if I can favorite it.

Retro_on_theGo

#46

Retro_on_theGo said:

I started Playing Resident Evil 2 on my 64 just yesterday. Great game for Halloween. The controls scared the crap out of me but I got use to them, hah.
I almost shat myself when the catridge didn't load like 3 times too. D: This game is all around terrifying!

TheGreenSpiny

#51

TheGreenSpiny said:

Meh to RE2 that game was not scary at all. I'd go for the REmake. That was the scariest game I've ever played. Extraction was also great and has a quite a few scares as well.

OrdonianLink

#52

OrdonianLink said:

@3 Yeah, I played MP1, I loved it and played it again this time with a map and on the second difficulty, got 100% and beat it in 8 hours I think, started #2, but haven't touched it for a while

@52 The scariest part IMO is when you go to open that one door and the zombie pops up, catches you unexpected, or when the hands pop out of the walls.

chiptoon

#53

chiptoon said:

Silent Hill and Dead Space are two of the greatest experiences I've had on Wii. They're both quite incredible games, and both are somehow unlike any other game in their respective genres.

art_kevinc

#54

art_kevinc said:

Need to play Eternal Darkness again. But Amnesia: The Dark Descent is another one to play.

Neram

#56

Neram said:

Doom 64 is the creepiest one imo, I'll be playing Doom 3 this halloween. Also. traditionally, a bit of Castlevania of course.

Capt_N

#57

Capt_N said:

It's really scary for me, as a gamer, when I open a game(that I can't return), or spend Wii points on stuff I absolutely end up hating.

warioswoods

#58

warioswoods said:

I'm a big fan of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. That's one of the best horror experiences I've ever had. The best, in some ways, particularly regarding the story and some genuine emotional involvement. It also proved that fighting doesn't have to be a part of horror games.

Tare

#59

Tare said:

Wario, have you ever tried Penumbra? I only ask because I think you'd enjoy it quite a bit. You could run that thing on a netbook.

gusmento01

#61

gusmento01 said:

Forgot to mention a classic Nes that I own, Fester's Quest, some people enjoy it,some hate it to death but still it's a classic Halloween game that I play from time to time.

grumblebuzzz

#62

grumblebuzzz said:

I agree with the couple of people in the comments who said Other M had a creepy, "I dread what's behind the next door" kind of vibe to it. Glad to see that game FINALLY getting a little bit of positive notice. The atmosphere, while compact and linear, was very unsettling in an amazing way that Metroid had never done before.

phoenix1818

#63

phoenix1818 said:

I really want to play Eternal Darkness, it looks like an interesting and unique game. I guess I'll have to track down a copy for my GameCube.

Rawk_Hawk

#64

Rawk_Hawk said:

Silent Hill Shattered Memories and Resident Evil Remake are two of my favorite horror games. For more afforable spooky downloads check out Ghouls N' Ghosts on the VC or Genesis. Its probably my favorite of the G N G series. Zombie Panic in Wonderland for WW is another good choice. Also Metroid Other M has its far share of eiree tension. Its a good pick too.

warioswoods

#65

warioswoods said:

@Tare

No, but I may have to give it a try. Their official website looks interesting, and I could indeed just run it on my laptop. (I wish October were just beginning... I have so much more horror gaming that I haven't gotten to this month).

jsdman1234

#66

jsdman1234 said:

The only thing on that list that matters to me is Silent Hill Shattered Memories. Played that, and I was an immediate Silent Hill fan.

BulbasaurusRex

#68

BulbasaurusRex said:

Does anyone know if the updates in the European version of Lit were ever added to the full version of the North American version?

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