I’m not usually a fan of horror games, they’re just not my thing. But seeing as Halloween has just passed I thought I would talk about ‘scary sequences’ in some perhaps not-so-scary games.
Let’s start with a classic – Half-Life is one of those games that everyone has heard about. Even if you haven’t played it you will probably know the story. If you are for some reason unaware of such a masterpiece, let me get you up to speed. In short, Gordon Freeman must help liberate the human race from an oppressive alien race that has come through a wormhole created by man.
Now, this isn’t known for being a scary game, but ask anyone about the ‘We don’t go to Ravenholm’ section in Half-Life 2 and they will quake in fear just at the memory of it. Ok, perhaps not, but it is pretty scary for most people, especially upon the first time playing it. Up to that point the game is pretty tame. There’s a little bit of shooting, some puzzle solving, and the occasional crowbar action, but that’s it. Then suddenly you’re thrown into a creepy abandoned town full of zombies and these little jumpy buggers known as head crabs. These guys will find every opportunity to scare the living daylights out of you by jumping from dark corners.
As you progress through the town, the silence is occasionally broken by the screeching of one zombie. You will see shadows on the rooftops as you move through the town and you become very aware that they can see you but you can’t see them. The combination of the silent town, the darkness, the cries in the night and the constant jump scares complete this sequence. By the end you are just grateful to get to the next section of the game, no matter where it might take you.
Moving away from Half-Life let’s talk about Skyrim. Yes, Skyrim can be scary, especially if you suffer from arachnophobia. After the initial dragon attack you escape to find a spider blocking the exit into the world. I’m not usually one to be afraid of spiders, but this thing was something else. I was so creeped out the first time that I cowered around a corner with a bow praying for the damn thing to die. This isn’t scary in the way Half-Life is. To many people, the spiders are just another enemy to vanquish. But to some people, they are genuinely terrifying. The first meeting is perhaps the hardest. You can’t progress into the world without killing the giant arachnid, so it must be confronted. You must face your fear and fight the beast. Or of course you could just download a mod and turn them into bears, but let’s not go there.
These games aren’t particularly scary, but can do as a good a job at times as games such as Outlast. The unexpected moments are the worse, like in Skyrim. Sometimes a game is the most scary when you are least expecting it.