It doesn’t matter how tough you are, Amnesia: The Dark Descent will make you sleep with the lights on for days. Now that the sequel to last year’s cult hit, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, hasbeendelayeduntilearly 2013, you have a few extra months to prepare yourself for the brutally-haunting madness. We chose a few games that you can play in the meantime.
Slender is the free game that has done the best at capturing the pure fright of a game like Amnesia. You spawn as an unknown character with a flashlight that is supposed to ‘find all 8 pages’. That’s all you know. It’s dark out and you have a flashlight. Even with the flashlight, the entire view isn’t revealed, only enough to see where you’re going. There’s a haunting tone playing and it increases at random moments.
There isn’t a map, so you’ll find yourself looking around at all times. When you first encounter the Slender Man, he’s just standing in the woods. It is perhaps one of the most frightening moments in horror games. As you attempt to run, your screen fills with static. Only being able to run for a short amount of time, you’ll likely be short on breath in a matter of seconds, starting to panic, and looking for an escape. Only there isn’t one, the Slender Man will again appear and this time you won’t make it out alive. His face flashes on the screen and the game is over. It’s possible to win, and you’ll get some cool unlocks, if you can make it through the game without quitting from fear.
Deadly Premonition was a title that took everyone by surprise. It is billed as a psychological horror title that was one of the first to openly let players explore the town that the events were taking place in. You play as FBI Agent ‘York’, an investigator who is sent to the fictional town of Greenvale to look into the murder of Anna Graham, a local.
He soon discovers that everything isn’t as is should be and the town’s dark past. All the while, your actions start to cause commotion around the town. The townspeople don’t like having someone investigating them and neither do the paranormal enemies that seem to inhabit this sleepy burg. There’s just something a bit off with York, the town, and everyone you meet in this twisted title. It makes for one convoluted story that keeps you wondering what could be going on the whole time.
Scratches preys on everyone’s worst nightmare. While staying at a secluded house in the outskirts of the forest, things begin to go awry. Filling the shoes of Michael Arthate, players must find out what is happening around them, but it isn’t as simple as it seems.
As you navigate the house, you are haunted by the blood-curling sound of scratching. It isn’t clear what it is, if there is someone else with you, or why it’s happening, but it’s coming from the basement and it isn’t stopping. To solve the mystery and find out what out is going; players will need to navigate the eerie house and solve numerous puzzles. It’s great practice before you dive into Amnesia.
Dead Space is violent, bloody-horror at its best. There’s nothing reserved about the Dead Space series. You play as Issac Clarke, who is called to a derelict mining ship to figure out why the ship has gone dark. As an engineer, he isn’t equipped for combat, but he makes do with what he has when he encounters a group of mutated human corpses come back to life called “Necromorphs”. They’re among some of the most grotesque enemies in videogame history.
These Necromorphs are torn to pieces by Issac’s blades and laser cutters, but they often get to him first. Issac’s deaths are where the developer, Visceral, shows just how ‘creative’ they can be; often tearing Issac in half or making him explode from the inside. They aren’t his only cause of death though. In Dead Space 2, a botched upgrade surgery can result in a needle tearing through his eyeball and ripping out his face. It was one of the most shocking moments I’ve ever encountered.