As any horror-movie director can tell you, keeping up a tense atmosphere for 90 minutes of screen time isn't easy. So imagine, then, what it must be like to try and keep up that same level of tension over 40-plus hours of a survival horror game. No matter how intense you make it, sooner or later, your carefully constructed atmosphere of terror and despair is going to fall flat.
This Halloween, we'll explore seven of the least scary moments from some of the best horror games ever. Be forewarned, however, before you delve into our anti-spooktacular: spoilers lurk in the pages ahead. That goes double if you decide to hit the Movies tab above (or click here) to see all these decidedly un-grisly moments in motion.
7. Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly (PS2, Xbox) - Ghostly hit points
With its first-person camera-combat sequences, genuinely creepy ghosts and cursed-village setting, Fatal Frame 2 is one of the most immersive, atmospheric horror games we've ever played - at least until the first time you fight a ghost, and big hit points and encouraging messages start popping up onscreen. The action is still scary, but the reminder that we're playing a game jerks us right out of our frightened reverie.
We can wrap our heads around the idea of fighting a ghost with a magical camera. We can even accept that a ghost could absorb multiple hits from said camera, or have its remaining energy displayed in our viewfinder. But popup numbers are too much even for our stretched ability to suspend disbelief.