I like to think I can handle my horror games; after all, the Resident Evil series are some of my favourite games. But that’s because I go in with the understanding that horror is on the cards and I will, in all likelihood, be jump-scared within an inch of my life. It’s the utter bastards that sneak horror into non horror games that make me question my life choices; here are 5 of the scariest moments in non-horror games.
Max Payne – Nightmare Level
This entry is the inspiration behind this list, while at Dublin Comic Con Marty & I were discussing how a certain comic was reminiscent of Max Payne and it got me thinking about that fucking terrifying nightmare level (shudders). While the main game was an action packed shooter, the nightmare level was something more akin to Silent Hill. The player is stripped of their weapons and forced to traverse a spooky corridor all while enduring the sobs and screams of Max’s deceased wife and the crying of their child. A truly haunting moment for any video game horror or not.(“Maybe I should’ve taken a left…”)
Pokémon Red/Blue Lavender Town
Okay, I can already hear you guys scoffing at this one. “There’s nothing scary about Pokémon Gerard you wuss!” to which I reply, read Phantump’s pokedex entry and then we’ll talk. The reason this level makes this list is because the premise is scary as fuck, ghost Pokémon possessing people and forcing them to battle or possessing me and forcing me to wet my pants, terrifying. But then you have the creepy music that plays in the background, a glaring departure from the light-hearted music that generally plays. And if that isn’t enough for you there is an urban legend that links the music from Lavender Town to a rash of sucides, it’s called “Lavender Town Syndrome”.(“Do you guys hear that?….”)
Halo: Combat Evolved – Encountering The Flood
Up until this level Halo: Combat Evolved was basically a video game about one man’s quest to put foot to alien ass without any backup. That is until you encounter the intensely creepy parasitic alien life forms known as “The Flood”, a skittering pile of gross whose only goal is to make everyone else as disgusting as they are. The level in question is “343 Guilty Spark”, Master Chief is tasked with the rescue of a commanding officer, but what he encounters is something with more of a Blair Witch vibe. Blood covered corridors, terrified survivors driven to insanity and some of the creepiest found footage since Donald Trump’s “bus conversation”. All of this is topped off with swarms of seemingly unending enemies and a truly unnerving soundtrack that will leave you sleeping with the light on.(“Just keep shooting!”)
Metal Gear Solid – Murder Corridor
Metal Gear Solid is one of my all-time favourite games, but fuck that corridor leading up to the Grey Fox boss battle. Okay, it’s not so bad these days given the scary games we have, not to mention the real life horror of American politics, but back in the day tiny 10 year old me was petrified. The reason it was so terrifying was because it was so out of the blue, there had been no horror elements up until this point. Then all of a sudden we are standing in a blood soaked corridor listening to an unearthly sound that makes us think twice about proceeding.(“…….Fuck the terrorists I’m going home!”)
Batman: Arkham Knight – Joker
Say what you will about Batman: Arkham Knight, okay I will. It was a broken, nakedly avaricious cash grab that sacrificed unique gameplay and storytelling for a quick buck, but, it did have one of the most amazing moments in any game, that just so happened to make me squeal like a 5 year old girl. So throughout the events of Arkham Knight Batman is slowly succumbing to madness brought on by the poisoning he suffered at the hands of The Joker in Arkham City. This is illustrated by having The Joker pop up and taunt the Dark Knight in cutscenes, but it wasn’t until about half way through the game that the spookening occurred. I was gliding around Gotham beating criminals to a bloody pulp when I spotted a Riddler trophy, so I began climbing a wall and when I reached the top the fucking Joker jumps out and scares the piss out of me! Not only was this a truly terrifying moment, but it was a wonderful bit of narrative interwoven into gameplay, beautifully illustrating Bruce’s descent into madness.
Well, those are the 5 Scariest Moments in Non Horror Games. Can you think of any that should’ve made the list or just disagree? Let us know in the comments below, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel and if you’re feeling generous feel free to donate to our Patreon, thanks for reading.