The only 5 games that ever scared me
Now, I’m not claiming to be some kind of tough guy or anything. Far from it – in real-life I get scared by stupid things like cows, dwarves and The Games Workshop. But in games I don’t scare that easily at all. I’ve passed up on many a reputedly scary title, simply because I just wasn’t scared. But in my entire gaming lifetime, five games have put the willies right up me. Here they are…
Call Of Duty 2
People often think I’m joking when I name Call Of Duty 2 as one of the scariest games ever, but I’m not. Playing through it on Veteran, I can honestly say I was terrified on numerous occasions. Cowering behind a wooden crate with bullets whizzing overhead and grenades going off all around… why wouldn’t you just get up and press forward straight away? Fear, that’s why.
Condemned: Criminal Origins
It might have ended up a messy supernatural first-person action game, and the sequel might have been a bit so-so, but for its first two-thirds, the original Condemned was as tense, as atmospheric and as visceral as they come. The bit in the department store with the mannequins gives me shivers just thinking about it.
This game instils a kind of desperate fear in me that I don’t think I’ve experienced in any other game. There’s something about the way the combat system demands a precise, systematic approach and how those jars against the instinct to panic that just makes the whole thing more of a terrifying adrenaline rush. And the sound design is just genius, constantly keeping you in a state of uncertainty and discomfort.
Project Zero (Fatal Frame)
I didn’t think I liked survival horror games until I played this, but then I did, and it scared the crap out of me. That little sensor light on your camera is such a clever device. There’s a bit where you walk into a small, single-room building and the light glows faintly. You switch to first-person and look all around the room, but the light never gets any brighter. By this point, you’re both scared and confused, but then you think, “maybe I should look up,” and the second you do that something goes “AAAAAAAAAAAH!” and drops down on you from the darkness of the ceiling. I was playing it in a busy office and I yelped embarrassingly loud.
Project Zero II: Crimson Butterfly (Fatal Frame II)
I also played Project Zero II in an office and it didn’t take long before it caused me to embarrass myself again. I was watching one of the early cut-scenes and _ I can only assume by pure coincidence – at the moment where one twin feels her sister’s hand on her shoulder and is then startled to see her sister walk past her with the hand still there, someone touched me on the shoulder. I was wearing headphones and had no idea she was there. I nearly pooped, I tell you.