As I recently pointed out, horrifying ghosts await you within even the most family-friendly of adventures. Well, the good news is that there are games that don't even try to be family-friendly and they too have terrible things just itching to ruin your mind! Oh wait, did I say good news? Because that's so very, very the opposite of good news. Just in case your sleep is too restful at the moment, here are the games you'll want to track down to up the adrenaline in your blood and the urine content of your pantaloons.
10: BioShock: The game as a whole becomes not very scary and simply scary good pretty fast, but man, that medical level is a real heart-stopper. Between the ghosts that wail about failed plastic surgery and that disappearing insane surgeon scene above, you could make a horror movie based on this stage alone without ever going into the rest of the story.
9. Resident Evil: Even though the opening scene is a crime against cinema itself, and the voice acting has you actively rooting for the zombies, the first Resident Evil more or less invented good horror gaming. It had a wonderful knack for scary timing, such as the first time Cerberuses crash through windows after you, the damned mutant shark and the all-encompassing horror of the Hunters' shrieks.
8. Doom II: Doom had some pretty gruesome imagery, but the sequel upped the ante considerably with plenty of corpses displayed after what was obviously some brutal torture. Even that pales in comparison to the dark secret hidden in the game. Creator John Romero secreted his possessed severed head behind the final boss in the game, and included a demonic chant that when played backwards says, "To win the game, you must kill me, John Romero." Use a no clip cheat and you can actually go behind the boss to the room where Romero's head is and chainsaw it to death as it screams.
7. Friday the 13th: Though it was graphically tame compared to the rest of the list, you have to remember that Friday the 13th had something that no other entry here had...no load times. There wasn't a whir of disc drives or an autosave that tipped you off something horrible was about to happen. Jason randomly appeared anywhere and everywhere at a moment's notice. Even when you knew he was in a particular cabin, you didn't know which room, and the fight started without warning.
6. Dead Space: No scene sums up just how incredibly unsettling the Dead Space series is like the infamous Head Banger in the Imaging Diagnostics hallway in Chapter 2 of the first game. There's no sound, then a meaty, rhythmic banging is heard. You turn the corner and a partially reanimated man is weakly but methodically trying to crack his own skull open on the wall in front of him, eventually succeeding. A closer look at his injuries reveals he may have been at this for hours.
5. Fatal Frame: The Fatal Frame series is basically one of those creepy Japanese ghost horror movies come to life, and your only weapon is a camera that you have to wait until they are pretty much right on top of you to use effectively. Every single inch of every game is full of pissed-off ghosts that attack in mind-altering ways from any angle.
4. Phantasmagoria: Back in the late '90s, everyone thought the future of video games was interactive movies with live actors. It wasn't, but damn if they didn't try. Phantasmagoria was released on PC and Sega Saturn over the course of seven discs to hold all the video. That's like an entire season worth of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in CDs. The story follows a writer after she unwittingly releases a demonic magician, who you can see above killing someone by force-feeding entrails to her until she chokes. Oh, and there's a rape scene in the game, too, just in case you weren't already having enough fun trapped in this nightmare. Speaking of rape...
3. Silent Hill 2: As far as famous video game monsters go, few top the embodiment of repressed sexual desire and animal brutality like Silent Hill's Pyramid Head. The huge, helmeted man carries an enormous knife for his butcher work, and when he's not threatening our hero, he likes to relax by graphically raping his fellow monsters. It's one thing to be a monster, it's another to be the monster other monsters fear.
2. Slender: Grown out of an Internet legend, you're dropped in a nighttime forest with no escape and told to find eight pages hidden in various locations. You have no weapons, just a flashlight, and you are being hunted by a faceless specter called the Slender Man. At first you just see him in the distance, watching you as you sprint away, but every second you're in the forest he gets closer and closer. The game is as absurdly simple as it is terrifying, and you will scream like a little girl every single time you play it.
1. Amnesia: The Dark Descent: Even worse than Slender is Amnesia: The Dark Descent, which uses the same sense of being hunted but adds physics puzzles and complete and utter madness into the mix. You explore a castle full of torture chambers and haunted by a mysterious shadow in order to stop a demonic baron from opening a portal to a hell dimension. You can't fight, you can only hide in the dark and pray your sanity doesn't snap while crazed beasts batter down doors to find you.
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