Spooktober is well and truly upon us, and here at ABG HQ, while most of the Editors are fully embracing the season by playing such hits as Dead by Daylight, Five Nights at Freddy’s and Left 4 Dead, some of us (Me) are avoiding this particular genre…but it doesn’t mean I’m completely safe.
While most games are pleasant and fun to play there are a few moments in a few games that may leave you wanting to sleep with the light on. So grab your torch and make sure we stick together as we cautiously take a look at some of our SCARIEST moments in non-horror games.
Wolfenstein: The New Order – Giant Nazi Robot Dog- (Rob Whitchurch)
While the Nazis winning World War II and enslaving the entire world is scary enough, thankfully Wolfenstein: The New Order isn’t as scary as it sounds. Alright, it isn’t scary in the slightest… save perhaps the moment that takes place during Chapter 15.
Having mown down what seems like half the German army, your base is suddenly attacked by the SS and set alight. Grabbing your gun and filling the SS with lead, you try and make your way to the hanger where you can escape…When this happens…
Yes…I did jump half a mile when it first happened. Here I was, making sure I had my guns ready for a showdown when out of nowhere a giant attack dog tries to take a bite out of me… and yes I thought hitting it with my knife might do the trick…
You do face miniature versions throughout the game, and to be honest, they are just as evil…but this big b*stard can go do one.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – Giant Spider B*stard (Rudy Manchego)
So, Star Wars games eh, not exactly the scariest thing in the world right? A few lasers here, a couple of lightsabers there, bing bash bosh. So it goes for most of Respawn’s 2019 game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. You play as runaway Jedi trainee Cal Kestis. Armed with a lightsaber and some ginger hair, you want to help rescue other force-sensitive children in hiding.
All fine, all dandy. There are storm troopers, some droids, a few Wookies. All good stuff. Oh and this MASSIVE Spider that jumps you from nowhere and makes you mess your Padawan robes. Yes, Skyrim taught us that sticky goo on the floor probably means spiders (or you strange Uncle Sidney has been round again). Doesn’t matter. We saw the web, ignored it and WHAM the below happens from nowhere. The clip just doesn’t do it justice.
Did we mention we hate spiders?
Outer Wilds – Dark Bramble’s Anglerfish (James)
As first-person rogue-like puzzle games go, Outer Wilds is perhaps the best around. For those uninitiated, Outer Wilds throws you into a perpetual time loop. You wake up, explore, solve puzzles, and either fix the time loop or watch the sun explode. The latter result sees you start the process all over again.
And, like other games in the genre, the game is packed with puzzles. These puzzles, when solved, help solve the mystery of the universe.
What there isn’t, though, is a lot of enemies to face off against. The worlds are, basically, uninhabited by native species.
Bar one planet…
Alongside its plethora of puzzles, Dark Bramble is the only (other) planet with native creatures living there. It is a vast, mysterious, otherwise empty place. As such, Dark Bramble features little in terms of things to properly explore. It’s a misty, cavernous planet with plant-like characteristics and features the game’s sole enemy; the Anglerfish.
The Anglerfish are large, gruesome, and aggressive in nature. If you float too close to them, they can and will chase and eat your ship. And, if you happen to be inside your side at that moment, it’s instant death. The only saving grace to these creatures is the fact that they don’t move without provocation. And, for the most part, are completely blind.
However, if you go into Dark Bramble with your ships thrusters on full, you’ve had it. Or even if you use your thrusters a little bit. They are basically like the monster in A Quiet Place, only as fish. And without Emily Blunt to save us.
The first time entering the Dark Bramble, in your ship, you would naturally go in with a bit of forward thrust. After all, you want to explore the planet and find someplace to land.
Not a wise idea at all for the aforementioned reason.
There are a few Anglerfish in the Dark Bramble, and they don’t get any less intimidating upon subsequent meetings.
Honourary mention from Outer Wilds; any time you find yourself plummeting down into the black hole in the core of Brittle Hollow.
Whilst not necessarily a death sentence, you can easily find yourself falling into it and being flung to a far off reach of the galaxy. And, unless you know what to do/how to do it, you’ll spend the remainder of the loop waiting for the sun to go supernova or, more harrowingly, slowly running out of oxygen.
Metro: Exodus– The Spider Bunker (Olly S)
Many would probably argue that Metro: Exodus is in fact a horror game. Set in a post-apocalyptic Eurasia, littered with bandits, a wide variety of mutated fauna and riddled with radiation, this is no Animal Crossing. But if so, would you consider the Fall Out series horror? It’s certainly spooky at times, god knows there’s some weird shit going on in those bunkers, but horror? Tricky.
But before we plunge down a philosophical rabbit-hole on the whys and wherefores of what constitutes horror in video games, there is one detail in Metro that present a good argument against this classification. Mild spoiler warning…Metro Exodus encourages passivity. Whilst you can while away your time in the wasteland applying your own flavour of DIY to your foes with a makeshift nail gun, you’ll only get the true ending if you exercise a little more compassion. That is, of course, until you enter the spider bunker.
Fucking spiders. Having recently moved house, and having spent the last eight or so years living in a fourth-floor apartment, I had all but forgotten about the crafty little bastards. This blissful ignorance was not to last, and as we exit spider season it’s with some reluctance that I stow the dedicated spider-glass and associated paperback behind the emergency panel. There’s something primaeval about fear of arachnids, and Metro Exodus developers 4A Games knows exactly how to spin that particular web.
Enter the spider bunker. Artyom, your fated protagonist has to retrieve some document or other from a long since abandoned facility underground. The way in is foreboding, with webs covering most of what you can see, and a variety of what appears, and turn out to be spider-sized tunnels cross-crossing the very claustrophobic tunnels that mark your path. No problem, these spiders are afraid of the light. And light there is. Until you reach your goal, and suddenly there isn’t.
This is a video of someone with actual arachnophobia experiencing this delicious slice of eight legged hell. Volume control required
Artyom must then weave his way back in the pitch-black with only a torch to keep him safe. A torch with very limited batteries. The real problem here is that you can hear you would be assailants long before you see them, scuttling around in the recesses of your mind. For me, the anticipation of encountering one of these dog-sized blood-suckers was almost as bad as the encounters themselves. But encounter them you will, and bullets won’t help here either, as all are impervious to gunfire, afraid only of the light.
It is a terrifying sequence. One I knew was coming but with gritted teeth bore as my burden, a necessary chalice to overcome, the prize being the almost perfect experience that Metro Exodus provide. Also massive thank you to 4A Games for adding that absolutely unnecessary (“harmless”) animation of the occasional baby-spider crawling over your fucking hands and gun as you navigate the webs. Without a doubt one of the least pleasurable experiences I’ve grudgingly endured. Then again, it achieved the intended effect. Consider your brown trousers for this particular section.
Halo: Combat Evolved – The Flood (Mike)
Here’s a moment that left many classic Halo fans imprinted through the unexpected. Up until this point in CE, players had done plenty of action-heavy driving and pew-pewing far separated from the tonal shift that awaited them.
From extraterrestrials, spaceships and lasers, to Alien-esque sci-fi horror that has you feeling more like the hunted than the hunter. Only the Master-Schwarz and teenage gamers could fend off the nightmarish gorefest that would await.
Exaggerations aside, back in the day I don’t think any of us were expecting things to get so…dark? Sure, Halo was gory with plenty of blood splats and mature militaristic themes, but the game never necessarily tried to creep us out – until then. The Flood took the tried and true alien shooter formula and induced an overwhelming horrorscape unto the playable character through the thoughtful buildup of suspense, proceeded with an extremely satisfying payoff.
The Flood are something straight out of Event Horizon, parasitic organisms that assimilate the host into a zombie-like abomination of its former self. They have zero awareness for self-preservation and are therefore relentless. Turning friend into foe, they threw the power dynamics of the Covenant/Human war on its head and quite frankly, scared the shit outa kid-Mikey.
Like all the worst parts of Alien’s Facehugger and Half-Life’s headcrab combined.
*shivers* that’s a hard nope from this guy.
Honourable Mention: Pokémon – Lavender Town
Now we all know the scariest part of any horror film isn’t the actual what’s on-screen but the build-up and the music itself…which is why Lavender Town gets a mention. While Pokémon is the least scariest thing to grace our consoles, back in the OG days of Red and Blue (and later Yellow) Lavender Town was one of those places most players felt… uneasy. Now It could be due to the fact you had to battle ghosts and Team Rocket in the Pokémon Tower (The place where dead Pokémon rest) and then defeat the ghost of a dead Marowak but been if you’re not in the tower the town itself is just creepy.
Apart from the little girl asking if you believe in ghosts and claiming there is a white hand on your shoulder if you say no, the town is relatively normal…but then there’s the music.
Played in all its 8-bit glory this creepy track still sends shivers down my spine and I’m always uneasy when I hear it. Even in Pokémon Go, the track is playing during the October Halloween events just to add to the creepiness…just don’t listen to it when you’re alone in the house or walking up a dark road on a moonless night…
Alright, it’s safe to turn the light back on and come out from behind the sofa. We hope you haven’t been too scared reading this list of our scariest moments… we have of course left out the scariest thing a gamer can face….Disconnecting in an online game AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!
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