Courtney is Literally, Darling's resident werebaby and freelance video production…
I’ll admit it, I’m no fan of gory horror films or horror games for that matter. But sit me down in front of a creepy adventure game that will send chills up and down my spine? I’m all ears, sweetheart. These are some of the spookiest, creepiest and scariest computer games out there, for your Halloween enjoyment.
1. Nancy Drew: Message In a Haunted Mansion
Herinteractive has made wonderful strides taking everyone’s favorite amateur sleuth and bringing her into the 21st century, but the spookiest game in the series for me is still one of the classics. Based on the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories book of the same name, Message in a Haunted Mansion, or “MHM,” transports you as Nancy Drew to San Francisco where a friend of a friend is having extremely bad luck renovating an old victorian mansion into a modern B&B. Doesn’t sound too spooky, right?
It’s not that scary, until you start receiving threatening notes slipped under doorways, taking part in seances, and get trapped in spooky old attics that haven’t been touched since the 1800s. This game is a particular favorite of mine because the developers have slipped little details in throughout the game that make the player jump at every little thing. From curtains mysteriously blowing on their own, to ghostly shadows down hallways and in front of doors to creaking stairs, it’s the little details that keep you on edge the entire time you’re playing.
I’m also a fan of the first person gameplay style and I adore the mystery in this one. It’s well thought out, yet solvable, and the characters, setting and the backstory are all quite rich. Yes, the graphics aren’t top notch since the game is from 2000, but considering that it’s still very good quality.
Other spooky games from the series that I would recommend are Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake, Curse of Blackmoor Manor and Ghost of Thornton Hall.[divider] [/divider]
2. The Blackwell Legacy
Published by Wadjet Eye Games, The Blackwell series is something that has interested me for a while but I was reluctant to try because the premise of the first game revolves around suicide victims. So, when the Steam summer sale came around, I bit the bullet and shelled out $2.50 to try it. Best $2.50 I’ve ever spent on a video game in my life, I will say that right now.
The premise is partly what makes the game so darn creepy, which is rather unexpected considering the retro-style pixel art. I’ll admit, I figured, “Well even if the story is creepy, it’s pixels. I mean you can SEE the pixels for god’s sakes, it can’t be THAT creepy of a game.” How wrong I was.
Part of what gives the game its flavor is that it’s the first in the series and even if you read the description and know what’s going on—that the main character is a psychic medium with a spirit guide—she doesn’t know that herself quite yet and you see her terror at entering this strange new world.
The plot of this game, however, is definitely the main scare factor. A brand new psychic medium, ghosts galore, Ouija boards and an old, dimly lit mental hospital as well as a string of eerily connected suicide cases that the protagonists, Rosangela and Joey, have to solve in her first day on the job, and that’s only the start of it. I won’t give the plot away, because it is a mystery game, but I’m more than willing to admit that I sat down and played this for several hours straight and then replayed it to get all the achievements because I was so hooked and unwilling to let go.[divider] [/divider]
3. The Dream Machine
Next up we have the winner in the “Creepiest D*mn Graphics I’ve Ever Seen,” department. Advertised as being a video game made of “cardboard and clay,” The Dream Machine takes freaktastic to the next level. Don’t get me wrong, I love claymation, I’ve grown up on Aardman’s “Wallace and Gromit,” but something about The Dream Machine is just so hideously frightening. The characters’ faces are all distorted to the point where they don’t even look human, and yet, they still do. There’s a certain disconnect that comes when you see these creatures and then they suddenly open their mouths and speak and they talk about normal, human things like moving to a new apartment or having a baby.
The eerie music adds to the nightmare fuel, it’s synthetic and sounds like modified wind. Plus the whole concept of the game, without giving anything away… well, it’s not called “The Dream Machine” for nothing.
This game currently has four chapters out with a few more on the way. You can play and enjoy the game with just the first four, or you can wait for the rest to be published if you want to experience the game as a whole.[divider] [/divider]
4. Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles
I may be biased here, because “Hound of the Baskervilles” is my favorite Sherlock Holmes story but I also found this game genuinely creepy. Could it be improved by modern graphics? Yes, definitely, but the setting—creepy old Baskerville hall, out on the English moors—more than makes up for that. The artwork on all of the stills and backgrounds is also good and meshes well with the tone of the game, so the animation quality is something I’m willing to overlook.
The voice acting is good. I’ve enjoyed the voices in the other games in the series and while they are not Benedict Cumberbatch, I feel that they suit the games very well. Sound effects and soundtrack all add to the spookiness of the game with eerie tracks that get stuck in your head on repeat.
The one downfall of this game, if you could call it a downfall, is that it is a bit of a blend of a hidden object game and an adventure game. I personally really enjoyed this, as most adventure games and hidden object games have some sort of overlap with each other, but if that’s not your cup of tea, you’d do well to stay away from this incarnation of Baker Street. May I instead recommend the HP Lovecraft/Sherlock Holmes crossover game “Sherlock Holmes: The Awakening”?[divider] [/divider]
The scariest thing about this game is, in my opinion the automatons, partly due to the fact that I’ve seeen the “Doctor Who” episode “Terror of the Autons,” but also because the plot of Syberia includes a town that is pretty much run by these automaton robots that were designed by the town’s leading family.
You, as Kate Walker, a young lawyer, come to the town to make a deal with the head of the family to talk about manufacturing automatons. The only problem is by the time you get there, she’s dead. The first scene in the game is Kate watching the funeral, in the bleak and depressing rain, watching these robot-like things carry a coffin down the empty streets. The tone of the game pretty much continues from there, aided by a very sombre color palette. Even the characters are dressed in muted colors, there aren’t any real visual bright spots in the game, at least not that I’ve gotten to so far.
It’s not so much a creepy vibe of “Something’s going to jump out and eat you,” as it is a very empty, lonely type of creepy. Particularly while the funeral is going on, Kate walks around town and is the only living soul around, leading to the feeling of the town being abandoned even though it isn’t.[divider] [/divider]
What are you favorite creepy computer games? Tweet us @litdarling.