Halloween is pretty much here, but for some of us that doesn’t mean much. Why is that? Well we’re too busy playing video games to care what’s happening around us. As a result, we may accidentally pass up the day in lieu of just playing something bright and cheery, but there are other options for us shut-ins that still want to celebrate Halloween with some good atmospheric games. So here are 10 Games You Should Play On Halloween.
Resident Evil 4:
Sure, the first game is great and the most recent installment is pretty good, but Resident Evil 4 knocked my socks off when I first played it on the GameCube all those years ago. It was the perfect mix of fluid gameplay with situations that terrified me to no end due to stuff like, oh, I don’t know, chainsaw wielding zombies or Wolverine-style monsters with their eyes sown shut. I freaked, but I never stopped playing.
The thing about RE4 is that it pushed games to be at least as good as it was by deciding what 3rd-person gameplay should be for shooters and what to expect with quick-time events (one of two games I was actually okay with the silly feature). You can pick up a copy for the GameCube, PS2, or PC, and the Wii has a version with motion controls that work extremely well (Amazon’s got it for under $15). Just do yourself a favor and play through if you haven’t already. Just tell me when you get to Del Lago.
Silent Hill 2:
I was forced to play both Silent Hill 1 and 2 by my friends and I made fun of them the whole way through, especially number 2. And why? Because I didn’t want to let on that I’d probably be crying unless I found a means of coping with fear since Silent Hill 2 throws you into a bad situation and just makes it worse. If you haven’t heard of a Silent Hill game, you probably live a happier life than I, otherwise Amazon has the PS2 version for around $10.
See, Silent Hill is a town that’s cursed since a little girl was pushed to become pure evil and fill the town with demons (yes, I hate it when this happens, too). The combat is awful on purpose as the main character isn’t a great fighter or solider. He just wants to find his dead wife because she told him to meet him in Silent Hill (if your dead anything ever says this, don’t go). You will see horrible things and you will hear horrible things and by the end of the game you will have had to do horrible things and you won’t sleep with the lights off for a while. Seriously, if you ever want to terrify someone who’s played a Silent Hill game, flick off the lights and blare a disaster siren. They will go hide in a corner; I guarantee it.
Super Ghouls & Ghosts:
No, not every game has to be extremely terrifying to make for good Halloween playing. Super Ghouls & Ghosts (and really any entry in the Ghosts & Goblins series), will give you nightmares just realizing you can’t make it past the first level. I’ve put the game on easy, cranked up my lives, and still I couldn’t make it anywhere near the end of the first level. The first level! And I’m not a bad game player. I’ve even beat I Wanna Be The Guy (go search this on Google to see what it is), so you know I’m hardcore.
Super Ghouls & Ghosts has you jump in the shoes of Arthur on a quest to save a princess from a demon. Along the way, Arthur will die and die and die because he will be attacked by every manner of zombie and skeleton and unholy death with only two hits before he dies. If that sounds merciful, it isn’t. Ten hits before death is even being stingy. But the game is still worth playing even if you can’t make it past the first few zombies, so go find this on the SNES or the Virtual Console. In fact, this is so dificult that it looks like people are practically giving away used copies on Amazon for under $4.
Super Castlevania IV:
Yes yes and more yes. I’m not going for scary here, I’m just telling you to go play games that put you in a Halloween mood and Super Castlevania IV (so super it needed it in the title), is such a good game that you’d be a fool to just let it pass you buy. It’s on the SNES but also on the Virtual Console, making it an extremely easy and affordable purchase.
Simon Belmont goes toe-to-toe with Dracula yet again, but at this point the structure of the Castlevania games is nearly perfected. The game is tough but fair and beating it yields a sweet sense of accomplishment that games don’t typically give anymore. Just whipping zombies and horrors and Death itself makes this one a game you should be playing anyway.
There I said it. Go play Luigi’s Mansion, one of the first titles released on the GameCube. It gets a bad rap but the game was great, albeit extremely short. So what better game to play through in a single day? This was Luigi’s big chance to shine (the only other game he’s starred in since Mario Is Missing and that doesn’t count), and while he doesn’t get a chance to stomp Goombas, he does get a chance to rid a haunted mansion of ghosts and spirits and such.
Surprisingly, this was one of the best looking games on the system, and it was a launch title. I always found that strange. You’re going around a mansion filled with ghosts and everything makes spooky noises. It’s cartoony but it works. It’s a small diversion but it pays off, especially since you can probably find this title for $5 at a video game store, Amazon inclued. Just think of it like Ghostbusters but with Luigi instead of Bill Murray.
Ghostbusters The Video Game:
Or heck, why not just play Ghostbusters The Video Game? It’s new this year on the PS3 and Xbox 360 (there is also a pretty good Wii version, too), and if you are wondering, yes, it is just what you’d expect from a Ghostbusters game. And by that I mean it’s awesome.
Those games on the NES from back in the day? Yeah, those sucked. This game is like seeing the 3rd movie that never was (but will be due to the high sales of the game). Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis all reprise their roles for the game, and for a video game that’s simply amazing. You play as the rookie, a nameless new guy that the other Ghostbusters don’t want to get attached to since they think you’ll probably get killed testing out the new equipment. The best part of the game is the humor, but they still don’t skimp on the actual gameplay, which is also great. It’s just the perfect lighthearted Halloween game to play, plus it’s under $20. Good deal.
But maybe you don’t want lighthearted. Maybe you want to go over the edge with insanity. So go ahead and pop in Eternal Darkness for the GameCube and watch your mind slowly retreat into itself to hide from whatever you’re about to see on the screen. This game was the answer to anyone that ever called the GameCube a kiddie system. You dare challenge me? Snag it on Amazon for $15 and prove me incorrect.
What sets Eternal Darkness above other horror games is the way you play through multiple characters’ doomed stories. You know that each of these characters will die by the end of their chapter, but you want to see where their section of the plot takes them. Naturally, it takes them to the brink of madness as you have both a health meter and a sanity meter to deal with. If your sanity gets too low then weird things start to happen like the TV volume fluctuating, the screen turning on and off, and even a message telling you that your memory card is being erased. I freaked out around the point that my character thought her head fell off and she had to go pick it up. Read that sentence one more time if you didn’t catch that. Oh yeah is this game messed up.
Yup, another game for the 360, PS3, and PC with play control similar to Resident Evil 4. You are one of very few survivors left alive on a space mining facility where a plague of alien something or other…yeah, it doesn’t matter. All that’s important is the fact that crazy stuff happens all around you and you have to fight off hellish monsters with futuristic mining equipment. Also, that the game is a Bestseller, meaning it’s only $20 these days.
The main draw here is the ability to sever various limbs from the enemies in order to rendering them unable to walk or attack. Instead of headshots being the best way to go, some enemies had more of a weakness in their legs or midsection or something similar to that, making you have to rethink the genre slightly. Not by much, but just enough to be extremely creepy and keep you playing past every insane challenge that comes up.
Left 4 Dead:
Okay, so you could play this on your 360, or you could play it right on the PC. I suggest the PC version. Left 4 Dead is a Valve title and currently it is one of their best (which says a lot). You are one of four characters alive after a zombie apocalypse and you must work with the others to stay alive through swarms of the typical zombie fare. You can play this as a single player, but the best reason to play Left 4 Dead is to blow zombies away with three friends in cooperative play.
This is simply one of the best multiplayer games on the market right now, and Valve has been hard at work delivering patches and new content and a sequel hitting not too long from now (which promises to be just as great, if not better). If you saw Zombie Land this past month, this is pretty much the game that the movie is based off of, even if it wasn’t aware of it.
I will never stop telling everyone to go play Bioshock. Maybe it’s my own guilt for not playing it until just recently, but Bioshock stands out as a game that understands what it means to create atmosphere in order for things to be scary. Out on the 360, PS3, and now on Steam for the PC, everyone can play Bioshock and figure out what I’m going on about.
You play as a character that survives a plane crash and swims to a lighthouse in the middle of the ocean, only to find the entrance to the city of Rapture, a dystopian society that’s been utterly destroyed after people spliced their genes way too much for God to allow. You’ll get to encounter Big Daddies, Little Sisters, Splicers, and Andrew Ryan, my new favorite villain. I can’t wait until Bioshock is made into a movie since the plot alone has me sold.
And that’s my list off the top of my head. I promise that there is something here for everyone, from the hardcore gamers out there to the casual players. But I know this isn’t a complete list, so tell me what I left out. Are there some games I should be ashamed to omit? Let me know with a comment or two in the comments section and let your voice be heard.