With Halloween fast-approaching, it’s time to take a look at a few games to get you in the right frame of mind for the spooky season. Many gamers have tried their hand at horror-themed titles like Resident Evil, Castlevania and Ghosts ‘n Goblins, but here are a few more titles ranging from old-to-new that are worth your time this October, and beyond.
Haunted House (Atari 2600)
By far the most primitive game on this list, Haunted House relies a bit more on imagination than the other entries, and would be best played in the dark, late at night with some candles or a Jack o’Lantern lit. The player controls a pair of eyes, trying desperately to find a few pieces of an urn, the catch being you can only have so many items in your inventory at once. While navigating the “hallways” of the house, you’ll be fending off various baddies including spiders, bats, and of course, ghosts. The graphics are more or less bare bones, but if you’re in the right frame of mind with some friends, you can still get some enjoyment out of a classic like this.
Kid Chameleon (Genesis)
Nothing says “Halloween” more than running around dressed in your favorite costume, and Kid Chameleon definitely delivers on that level. As you control “the Kid”, you’ll come across various masks, each of which grants a different ability used to traverse parts of the level. Over the course of the game, you’ll be able to use these masks to transform into a battle tank, a samurai, or even a hockey mask-wearing slasher, like something out of Friday the 13th or Splatterhouse. Kid Chameleon is a Genesis classic with plenty of charm, and it’s an easy game to pick up and play this season.
Little Nemo: The Dream Master (NES)
Although not traditionally known as a “scary” game, Little Nemo centers on a boy experiencing some weird dreams, eventually ending up in Nightmare Land to confront his true enemy. This Capcom platformer combines its unusual premise and solid side-scrolling gameplay to make for an interesting addition to the NES library. After all, what other games allow you to feed candy to animals and then wear their skins to gain their abilities? Little Nemo is a tough game, but one worth checking out due to both its quality and unique narrative.
Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare (360, PS3, Xbox One)
Undead Nightmare was a DLC-pack for 2010’s Red Dead Redemption, and helped push an already incredible game into legendary status. A zombie plague has taken over the world, and you’ll have to guide John Marston through an all-new story if you’re going to find the cure. The expansion puts a unique horror spin on the Old West towns and plains from the original game, making for a fresh experience filled with plenty of Easter Eggs and homages to other works in the genre. If you’ve never played this one, try it out, as it’s now backwards compatible on the Xbox One, along with the main game.
Alien: Isolation (Xbox One, PS4)
While the films have always been some of my favorites, Alien: Isolation takes the franchise to the next level by allowing the player to step into the terrifying world of the movies and face the xenomorph head-on in this first-person survival horror game. Isolation really nailed the design choices from the Alien movies, creating a super-creepy atmosphere where you’ll be just sure death is waiting around every corner (and it probably is). I’m currently playing through this game, and I can definitely say that it’s worth picking up if you want something to put you in the horror mood. The story, music and gameplay are all compelling, and combined, they create a true sense of dread.