Roll up, roll up. And die!
Ah, clowns--the jolly jesters of history. These amiable fellows have entertained children for centuries, with their comically painted faces and hilarious slapstick routines. Yes, sir: nothing sinister about clowns right? Well In fact, its quite the opposite. Clowns are fucking terrifying. Their horrific painted faces haunt dreams, and can cause even fully-grown men to moisten their trousers in terror.
Theres a joke at the end of Uncharted 2, where Nathan Drake confesses to Elena that hes terrified of clowns. Im with you Nate. Were all with you. So, at significant cost to my own sanity, Ive rounded up the 10 most harrowing clowns in all video games. Some are meant to be scary, others not. At night, they will come for you.
The clown (Heavy Rain)
I feel sorry for Jason in Heavy Rain. Not only is he neglected and abandoned by his father in a crowded shopping mall, but this painted-fiend is the last thing he has any kind of meaningful interaction with. Imagine that--your final conversation on this Earth is with a terrifying clown; a painted hell-fiend who gives you both a balloon, and a deeply unsettled feeling at the very core of your being. Had this bewigged-psychotic not been the last thing Jason interacted with, he may have clung to life more tightly, instead of feeling the kind of vast emptiness in his soul that only a clown can create.
Needles Kane (Twisted Metal)
Before you angrily type in the comments: Hes called Sweet Tooth, you idiot, let me tell you that its the actual truck thats called Sweet Tooth. The driver--a psychopathic, murdering clown (arent they all?)--is called Needles Kane. With that slice of pedantic pointlessness out of the way, I draw your attention to the clown himself. Nightmare fuel. His head / mask is permanently on fire, and his smiley grin is fixed in a deathly grimace, making him the perfect mascot for this savage (but deeply mediocre) car-combat series.
Kefka (Final Fantasy VI)
According to the Wiki entry for Kefka, hes maniacal, short-tempered, flamboyant, destructive, and cruel. He is a psychopath with no regard for human life or remorse for the atrocities he commits, and finds amusement in the suffering of others. So, a typical clown, then. While previous Final Fantasy villains tended to be more cold and calculating, Kefka breaks the mould by being charismatic and utterly unpredictable. The eclectic red and yellow outfit he wears in PSP game Dissidia perfectly reflects his flamboyant, utterly psychotic personality, cementing his place among the very best villains in all of gaming.
Kinky Pinky (NARC)
The name is a real give away. These deranged, perverted clowns from the 1988 version of NARC are among the first examples of terrifying circus-folk in games. Not only do they look like the kind of shit youd see in a David Lynch dream-sequence, theyre also formidable enemies in game. Theyll rush you with knives, intent on stabbing you into tiny man-chunks with no real warning, and they can soak up a bunch of bullets too. Seeing a clown coming at you with a knife is one thing but seeing him still running towards you after slotting a clip-full of bullets into his oversized breeches is downright chilling.
Zombie Clowns (Left 4 Dead 2)
Whats more terrifying than a clown (part one)? Answer: a zombie clown. Because a permanent, serial-killer smile and worryingly-oversized eyebrows arent scary enough, the makers of Left 4 Dead 2 chose to mix these features with the rotten, blood-thirsty traits of the undead. In the Dark Carnival campaign clowns will charge players, attracting other infected with the noise from their squeaky shoes. Up close, theyll claw, kick, and punch survivors until theyre tender enough to eat. Oh my. Also, their trousers come in different colours. After seeing them in action, so do mine.
Adam the Clown (Dead Rising)
Whats more terrifying than a clown (part two)? Answer: a clown with a massive-goddam-chainsaw. Thats exactly what you face in Dead Rising with psychopath boss Adam. Worryingly, this guy isnt even a zombie--hes a human survivor who has gone totally nutbar in the face of the undead apocalypse. All Dead Risings psychos are tough fights, so the memory of Adam chasing you around the games shopping mall stays with you. Forever.
Ronald McDonald (McDonalds Treasure Land adventure)
Look at that screenshot. Hey kids, its Ronald McDonald. Whats he doing? Why, hes stalking his prey, of course. Wow he really can smell blood in this forest! Ok, ok--McDonalds Treasure Land Adventure isnt about hunting small children through a variety of magical landscapes. But fuck me, Ronald looks menacing in that game. Like he really does have a hunger for flesh that Big Macs alone cant satisfy.
Donbalon (Nights Journey of Dreams)
This balloon/clown hybrid is a second-level Nightmarian, according to the nerds who update the Nights Wiki. That means he appears at the end of William Taylors Pure Valley dream, and tries to cause grievous emotional harm to Nights. Donbalon scores extra creepy points for strutting around his circus-style arena as you fight him, and for having those awful spindly arms that stick out from his rotund body like grotesque, fucking spider legs. Shudder.
Unicycling clown (Basement Crawl)
KILL IT! KILL IT WITH FIRE! While PS4s Bomberman-style puzzler, Basement Crawl, didnt live up to early promise (read: its bobbins, but people wanted it to be good) it does feature an absolutely ghastly clown. This playable character is a sort of baby clown (although it looks old), riding a unicycle, holding a joystick. Its the mess of imagery that makes this thing awful, along with the fact that it appears in all kinds of weird, gothic settings. Look, I havent played this game. Maybe the demonic clown baby is basically fine.
Dhoulmagus (Dragon Quest: Journey of the Cursed King)
Unlike all the other clowns on this list, Dhoulmagus is more of a jester than an outright clown. That being said, hes every inch a jerk. Hes a tough, three-form boss in Dragon Quest: Journey of the Cursed King, whose only real weakness is laughing at his own jokes. Like me. Anyway, his final--and true--form is that of a demon, which is irrefutable proof that all clowns are basically Satan. Good day, sir.
Whos laughing now?
Not sure about you, but I doubt Ill ever sleep again. Suppose Ive only got myself to blame. Quick note: if you really are a clown (if its really your job), then I apologise for any offence caused. Oh come on, stop giving me that sad face oh, right, its painted on. Anyway, yeah, comments below. Unless youre too catatonic with terror to type.
Let's face it: you won't be sleeping any time soon. Why not fill your anxious nights with more GamesRadar features? Here's one about Video Game Nazis Who Aren't Nazis (But Really Are) and another about how Aiden Pearce - Star Of Watch Dogs - Is A Total Asshole. Yeah, that happened.