In part one, we looked at more family appropriate and festive games for Halloween. Now it’s time to look at the bloody and horror games worth taking a trip with. Recent and well-known games like Dead Space, Resident Evil, and The Walking Dead are being left out of part two for more games that people may not have heard of.
Alone in the Dark series
Before Resident Evil, there was Alone in the Dark. Alone in the Dark was released for the PC back in 1992 and started the survival horror genre twenty years ago. The game play may be a bit dated now but Alone in the Dark still has a great atmosphere and story. The game begins with a suspicious suicide and players get to choose a male or female character(Edward Carnby or Emily Hartwood) who find his/herself trapped in the haunted mansion, Derceto. There isn’t much combat in the first game as most of the undead are dealt with(or escaped from) through solving puzzles. The player character is very weak and maybe be attacked zombies, and some other supernatural creatures.
Alone in the Dark received two sequels in the 90s as well. Alone in the Dark 2 and 3 didn’t quite nail the atmosphere and horror of the first game but they are worth playing as well. Especially since 2 and 3 come included with it, in the trilogy currently sold on GOG. Unlike some older PC games, thankfully these are easily accessible. After Alone in the Dark 3 in 1994, the series disappeared until 2001. Then, came Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare. The fourth entry was a bit of a departure from past games as can easily be expected after seven years.
The New Nightmare was also the first Alone in the Dark game to appear on console, it was also released on the original Playstation and Dreamcast. It was on the PS2 also, but only in Europe. Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare still features main protagonist, Edward Carnby and takes place on Halloween. Carnby’s campaign is much more combat focused than past Alone in the Dark games, as Carnby has access to a revolver and other weapons. Another character is selectable though, where the progress is more based on puzzle solving. Either way, the use of light against enemies takes a big focus for the game play. For those who find the graphics of the 90s Alone in the Dark games too dated, this one will hold up a lot more. It was also the first to receive an M rating since the violence was more detailed as not much was shown and more implied in the original trilogy. The game is fun to play and has an interesting story so it is definitely worth checking out this Halloween.
The series took another break and the next game in the series didn’t come out until 2008. This one was meant as sort of a reboot, titled just Alone in the Dark. However the original release came with some problems so it didn’t do so well critically or comercially. The Xbox 360 and PC release suffered mostly due to some controls problems that were made a lot better for the PS3 release, Alone in the Dark: Inferno that came about half a year later. Inferno is definitely the best version of the game. Most of the enemies in the game must be defeated using fire and Inferno still has quite a bit in common with past games in the series with it’s supernatural and puzzle elements.
The main difference is that Alone in the Dark(2008) doesn’t have a single narrative and the game takes place through several episodes. The combat and puzzle solving also must both be used to get through the game in a single campaign so it can’t be played as an adventure game. For those who don’t mind that, should check out the game. It’s not the best Alone in the Dark game but it’s still a solid experience if playing the Inferno version or a flawed game with good ideas for the others.
Splatterhouse is not really a horror game, it’s a beat em’ series that revolves around horror camp and gore. In Splatterhouse, the main character Rick finds a hell mask(that highly resembles the Jason mask from Friday the 13th) that fuses with his body and gives him incredible strength after demons kidnap his girlfriend and leave him for dead. So with his newfound powers, Rick is off to beat the snot out of all sorts of demonic creatures. The original game has many horror movie influences as Rick puts the beat down on many supernatural with a variety of punches and kicks. Different weapons may be picked up as well, such as a chainsaw or shotgun.
The first Splatterhouse plays in 2D and was released in 1989 in arcades and 1990 on the Turbografx-16 which saw it’s version on the Virtual Console. Splatterhouse 2 and 3 were both released over the next few years on the Sega Genesis with only 2 being released on the Virtual Console. Splatterhouse 2 and 3 are both unlockables on the 2010 reboot though, which we’ll get to soon. The games are quiet violent even with the green blood as monsters, demons, etc lost body parts as they are being beaten to a pulp. Splatterhouse 3 has several different endings depending on the time the game is beaten in. The beat em’ game play is simple and mindless but it’s nice for some quick fun. The Splatterhouse series disappeared after number three and became more of a cult classic until 2010.
Namco Bandai decided to bring Splatterhouse back, and Splatterhouse was released for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2010. Once again Rick’s girlfriend is kidnapped by demons and he finds himself bound to the hell mask. Splatterhouse didn’t stray from it’s roots so, it’s still a button mashing beat em’ up. Only now it’s in 3D and much gorier such Rick has a larger arsenal of weapons at his disposal. Even his lost limbs can be used as weapons at times. Rick is able to collect the blood of enemies and upgrade his moves.
Also there are nasty finishing moves, known as Splatter Kills. Splatterhouse is great for some gory, cheesy fun. Perhaps with the game being a repetitive beat em’ up, people were unhappy for the full $60 price tag which was what held the game back. It has the look and feel of a budget game and may have had a much better initial reaction if it was sold for $30-40 instead of full price. But now the game can be bought for a small fraction of that so it’s worth checking out this Halloween. As previously stated, Splatterhouse 2 and 3 are also unlockables on the disc . The original arcade version of the first Splatterhouse is present as well. So now it provides plenty of bang for the cheap price.
Corpse Party is a creepy adventure that was released for the PSP digitally over the Playstation Network almost a year ago. The game has received more popularity and is expecting sequels in Japan, but so far in the west we only have the first game. Which will be a shame if we don’t get the others, because Corpse Party is a great experience. There is no combat in Corpse Party but making the wrong choices will lead to one of the many gruesome ends. The game takes place in a school, so the situation for the young characters may be too disturbing for some. Corpse Party is completely story-driven and the game play is all about puzzle solving and making choices.
Most deaths for the main character will lead to a game over so some sections may have to be repeated for those who make bad mistakes. But there are also several endings that finish the game, and not all of them are good either. So Corpse Party offers some replayability for those who play again. The presentation really carries the game here, the sprites look to straight out of a Super Nintendo game but the horror and atmosphere are nailed down. The deaths of many characters and many enemies can be very gruesome and it’s very well done for the low budget.
Sanitarium is a great psychological horror adventure that was released for the PC back in 1998. Here, players take on the role of an amnesiac who finds himself in a disturbing place with no memory. There are five worlds to explore with many puzzles to solve so Sanitarium is a fairly decent length game so those who want to play it for Halloween may want to check it out soon. Thankfully, like Alone in the Dark; this game is also available on GOG so no searching for a used copy or having to get it working required. Almost none of the characters that inhabit Sanitarium are sane so it provides some disturbing scenes.
Sanitarium isn’t especially gory, and relies on it’s characters and setting to provide the horror. The puzzle solving can be fun and the story is definitely worth playing through. Sanitarium would be a great game to play for Halloween for those who haven’t experienced it before.
The Blinding of Isaac
The Blinding of Isaac is a unique and disturbing indie game for the price that is normally sold for the low price of five bucks. Isaac is a young boy, who’s mother begins to hear the voice of God. And he demands that she makes a sacrifice to him, her son. So Isaac espaces to the basement where he must face many deranged enemies and comes across many disturbing things. The Blinding of Isaac is a fun action-shooter RPG roguelike with randomly generated dungeons. It is a very difficult game and a controller is recommended for this one, but is fine playing without one. Unfortunately the game doesn’t officially support controllers.
The Blinding of Isaac plays from a top-down perspective similar to The Legend of Zelda series. Isaac here will have to blast through grotesque enemies and bosses using his own tears. There are also many items and discoveries to find which may help or hinder the player’s progress. They don’t have descriptions either so picking them up may be a big risk factor when deep into a dungeon. It is a fun game that isn’t all that long but with the random generated dungeons and lots of stuff to discover, it is worth multiple playthroughs. This demented adventure is one worth taking.
Fatal Frame (Project Zero) series
The Fatal Frame series (known as Project Zero in Europe) began in 2001 when the first game was released for the Playstation 2. Fatal Frame is a series of horror games where as the title may imply, the main weapon is a camera. However the camera does run out of film and different kinds of film must be found for different abilities so there will be some resourcing to do. The main protagonist is a frail japanese girl who is looking for her brother in a haunted mansion but since the enemies are ghosts it would be hard to physically hurt them even if she wasn’t. The game uses many japanese horror movie influences and for those who like that type of horror, the game is definitely worth checking out.
Fatal Frame II came out almost two years later and is a big improvement. The game features many more upgrades and abilities for the camera as well as a new game plus mode to carry over upgrades. Lots of bonus content can be unlocked such as costumes and a mission mode through beating the game multiple times. The game also has three different endings with even more in later versions. Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly is fun to play through and more polished than it’s predecessor but the scare factor has increased as well. The story and game play events are more interesting as well as the game being bigger since it takes place in a village instead of a mansion. Both Fatal Frame games mentioned were also released later for the Xbox was some extras that are worth checking out, but those are harder to come by. The Playstation 2 versions are still somewhat plentiful so they will probably be the versions that most will want to check out. Project Zero 2 got a remake for the Wii but only Japan, Europe, and Australia got it.
Fatal Frame III: The Tormented was released for the PS2 in 2005 and didn’t receive any ports. It continues with the same game play and horror of the last game in the series without many changes. The game has two endings where the true ending is only available on the second playthrough so it worth playing twice but doesn’t offer as many extras as the last game. It is a good game, but doesn’t quite have the same impact as Crimson Butterfly with that being the best of the PS2 trilogy. All three are worth playing but the second game is definitely the best. Fatal Frame or Project Zero IV was released for the Wii in 2008 but unfortunately, the game never left Japan. Nintendo published the game and decided not to localize it. Nintendo deciding to localize the Project Zero 2 remake in Europe at least shows that not all hope for the series is lost in the West.
There are many of horror and/or bloody disturbing games that could be a great for someone’s Halloween. These were some that are definitely worth checking out. For those who want less scary and/or bloody games can always check out part one.