So you've probably gone to some haunted houses this month, what with an abundance to choose from in the Chicagoland area. From the Odeum in Villa Park, IL to the spooky, ghostly street tours in The Chi. Perhaps you've even dressed up and attented some parties already.
- Resident Evil [1997, Capcom] - The horror genre was more or less launched into mainstream all in thanks to this little title, right here. While it may or may not have held up to todays standards as far as visuals goes, it still holds its own when it comes to scares. The game takes place in fictional Raccoon City, which has been completely overrun by mutant beasts and bloodthirsty zombies. You are a member of S.T.A.R.S.--a rescue squad sent into the community to investigate the ominous mansion at the core of the disaster. Take the role of operative Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield and uncover the secrets behind a radical, genetic research facility. With an array of weapons to master and horrors around every corner, the ultimate test may be just to make it out alive.
- System Shock 2 [1999, Irrational Games] - Before there was Resident Evil, there was System Shock back in 1994. However, the sequel listed here improved upon the original in every way. It is now one of the cult classics of PC gaming. The game takes place on board a starship in a cyberpunk depiction of 2114. The player assumes the role of a lone soldier trying to stem the outbreak of a genetic infection that has devastated the ship. Like System Shock, gameplay consists of first person shooting and exploration. The game also incorporates role-playing system elements, where the player can develop unique skills and traits, such as hacking and psionic abilities.
- Silent Hill 2 [2002, Creature Labs / Konami] - In the sequel to Silent Hill, Silent Hill 2 follows James Sunderland, whose life is shattered when his young wife Mary suffers a tragic death. Three years later, a mysterious letter arrives from Mary, beckoning him to return to their sanctuary of memories, the dark realm of Silent Hill. You must guide James through all-new environments and creepy new areas closed off in the original game. Real-time weather effects, fog, morphing, and shadows set the stage for heart-stopping frights. Be brave as you journey to uncover the truth.
- F.E.A.R. [2005, Monolith Productions / VU Games] - This game pushed the limits of PC hardware when it first arrived, but became a favorite amongst horror fans. F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon) makes you part of a classified strike team created to deal with threats that no one else can handle. After a rescue mission ends with one special forces team dead, your team is sent in to clean up the mess. Now you must eliminate intruders with high-tech firearms and classified weaponry such as the corkscrew missile launcher, the rapid-fire battle cannon, and the sub-nuclear blaster that turns enemies to pillars of ash.
- Dead Space [2008, EA Redwood Shores / Electronic Arts] - This game was hyped to the extreme before it launched and with good reason. TheDead Space experience is all about surviving in its sci-fi world through strategic dismemberment, so experience the horror before the Necromorphs dismember you. After all, you are never truly safe in Dead Space. When an immense mining ship, the USG Ishimura, comes into contact with a mysterious alien artifact in a remote star system, its communications with Earth are mysteriously cut off. Engineer Isaac Clarke is sent to repair the Ishimura's communications array, but he arrives to find a living nightmare. The ship is a floating bloodbath, the crew unspeakably mutilated and infected by an ancient alien scourge. Clarke's repair mission becomes one of survival as he fights not just to save himself, but to return the artifact to the planet at any cost.
- Amnesia: The Dark Descent [2011, Frictional Games / ValuSoft] - The last remaining memories fade away into darkness. Your mind is a mess and only a feeling of being hunted remains. You must escape.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent, a first person survival horror. A game about immersion, discovery and living through a nightmare. An experience that will chill you to the core. You stumble through the narrow corridors as the distant cry is heard. It is getting closer.
The title puts you in the shoes of Daniel as he wakes up in a desolate castle, barely remembering anything about his past. Exploring the eerie pathways, you must also take part of Daniel's troubled memories. The horror does not only come from the outside, but from the inside as well. A disturbing odyssey into the dark corners of the human mind awaits.
- Dead Rising 2 [2010, Blue Castle Games / Capcom] - The first game had you attempting to survive 72 hours in the zombie infested Willamette mall, while Dead Rising 2 revs it up with a setting taking place several years after the infamous zombie invasion. Unfortunately, the zombie virus was not contained at the conclusion of Dead Rising, spreading unchecked throughout the United States and Dead Rising 2 depicts a country where zombie outbreaks continue to strike.
- Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth [2006, Headfirst Productions / Bethesda] - It's time for you to draw upon your skills in exploration, investigation, and combat as you battle the evil incarnate. Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth combines both action and adventure elements into a first-person horror experience. You'll combat enemies using the environment, powerful and evil artifacts, Alien technology, and authentic 1920s weaponry. Cthulhu enemies can roam freely around the environment--opening doors and tracking you down single-handedly or in groups. A detailed damage and healing system breaks down the healing process into conditions and treatments. Anyone a fan of H.P. Lovecraft's work should hop on this.
- Condemned: Criminal Origins [2006, Monolith Productions / Sega] - In Condemned: Criminal Origins, players take the role of Ethan Thomas, a SCU agent (Serial Crime Unit investigator that uses forensic tools) framed for a double cop murder who becomes trapped in the condemned sections of a fictional American city named "Metro City" while hunting a serial killer. Thomas' investigation is further complicated by a mysterious phenomenon that is transforming the transient population of these areas into insane, violent psychotics. As Thomas, the player investigates crime scenes using forensic tools and techniques, while fighting off the constant assaults by "the condemned" in the hopes of catching the serial killer and escaping alive, and prove that he is innocent to the police. [Source: Wikipedia]
- Left 4 Dead [2008, Valve Software / Electronic Arts] - Fight together...or die alone. A new and highly virulent strain of the rabies virus emerges and spreads through the human population with frightening speed. The pandemic's victims become grotesquely disfigured, wildly violent psychopaths, attacking the uninfected on sight. One of the "lucky" few apparently immune to the sickness, you, unfortunately, are also trapped in a city crawling with thousands of the bloodthirsty Infacted. Together with a handful of fellow Survivors, you must fight your way to safety or die alone. A co-operative multiplayer action game from the makers of "Counter-Strike," Left 4 Dead is built atop the most advanced version of the Source Engine and introduces version 2 of Turtle Rock's artificial intelligence (A.I.) technology.
- LIMBO [2011, Playdead] - LIMBO, a black and white puzzle-platforming adventure, puts players in the role of a young boy traveling through an eerie and treacherous world in an attempt to discover the fate of his sister. This title is not only dark, and twisted looking, but it's a masterpiece as well. Definitly has a Halloween feeling to it.
- BioShock [2007, Irrational Games / 2K Games] - While this title may not be "scary" persay, it does give you a deeply sorrowful and dark feeling. After your plane crashes into icy uncharted waters, you discover a rusted bathysphere and descend into Rapture, a city hidden beneath the sea. Constructed as an idealistic society for a hand picked group of scientists, artists and industrialists, the idealism is no more. Now the city is littered with corpses, wildly powerful guardians roam the corridors as little girls loot the dead, and genetically mutated citizens ambush you at every turn. Take control of your world by hacking mechanical devices, commandeering security turrets and crafting unique items critical to your very survival. This title is also a sucessor to the earlier System Shock's.
- Dead Island [2011, Techland / Deep Silver] - This just had to make the cut for this list. While it's not exactly a scary game, it does employ you in the role of a survivor trying to traverse across a zombie infested hotel resport. Halloween is all about zombies, ghosts and ghouls, after all. The game is set in the fictional island of Banoi, located off the coast of Papua New Guinea. The main characters—Xai Mei, Sam B., Logan, and Purna—wake up in the Palms Resort Hotel, having been hungover from a high-profile hotel party. They find their way to the elevator shaft where they enter a broken-down elevator via its maintenance hatch. Suddenly, the elevator's brakes fail, and it falls with the characters in it. It stops at a floor where, for a brief moment, an infected individual is seen running towards the elevator. Just before the infected enters, the elevator continues to fall, crashing in a lower floor. As the characters recover, a voice over the intercom warns that they need to find weapons. While the player-character is making a way towards a storeroom in order to obtain one, he finds the corridor to be flooded with zombies.
New or old, all these titles are a good start to get you in the mood for All Hallows Eve.