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The Top 7… least scary moments in scary games: Redux

This week marks two important milestones for GamesRadar: the start of Halloweek, a weeklong series of horror-centric features, and the two-year anniversary of our weekly Top 7 lists. To celebrate both at once, we’ve dredged up the original Top 7 article - back from before we had our formula down and our shit together – and updated it with fresh art, better layout, a few revisions and videos that actually work. It’s a recycled idea, sure, but given how impossible it was to find anything on our site in 2006, we’re guessing it’s new to at least some of you. (And if it’s not, don’t worry – all-new Top 7s resume next Monday.)


Above: Remember when our site looked like this? Yeah, we've learned a lot since then

Any horror-movie director can tell you that keeping up a tense atmosphere for 90 minutes of screen time isn't easy. So imagine what it must be like to try and keep up that same level of tension over 10-plus hours of a survival horror game. No matter how scary you make it, sooner or later your carefully constructed atmosphere of terror and despair is going to fall flat.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at seven of the scariest games ever made (and we’re only looking at truly scary games, which is why we don’t have the entirety of Alone in the Dark on this list), and pinpoint the exact moments when they dropped the ball.


With its first-person camera-combat sequences, genuinely creepy ghosts and cursed-village setting, Fatal Frame II is one of the most immersive, atmospheric horror games ever. But that suffers a little when you fight a ghost for the first time, and big hit points and encouraging messages suddenly start popping up onscreen. The moaning phantoms are still eerie as hell, but the reminder that we're playing a game makes it a little harder to really be afraid.


Above: Ghosts are spooky. Hit points, not so much

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.


Topics

Halloweek

39 comments

  • NellyDaHobo - October 30, 2011 4:14 a.m.

    I'm pretty sure that the Pyramid Heads killed themselves because James finally overcame his fear, and fought back. Without something to terrorize, they had no point in life.
  • ShokuaHyuga - November 10, 2010 3:54 a.m.

    I've never played SIlent HIll, but if I did I wouldn't even bother killing that thing; it's too pathetic.
  • big rudy - November 3, 2008 11:02 p.m.

    @carsonnik, so when you fought a regenerator for the first time, without the infrared scope it didn't scare you?
  • DeathByGamer - October 29, 2008 2:57 p.m.

    I love the reapeated kicking of the dino-chicken.
  • GaMeZ4LiFe - October 29, 2008 1:53 a.m.

    Haha. I still love the Pyramid Head suicide. Classic.
  • KEEPFROMFREEZIN - October 28, 2008 8:55 p.m.

    ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh poor voice actors!
  • CAPST3R - October 28, 2008 11:42 a.m.

    that statue was one of the 2 parts of the game that i did 1st time. the other was the final boss which was just too easy. and that sea monster.
  • carsonnik - October 28, 2008 4:05 a.m.

    I must be the only person in the world who didn't think RE 4 was very scary.
  • Corsair89 - October 28, 2008 3:44 a.m.

    Congrats on two years of those excellent Top 7's. Keep them coming!
  • Coolbeans69 - October 28, 2008 1:39 a.m.

    How come you guys didn't rate gh4??? Do u still need to get it? Please review it soon I'm trying to decide whether to get it or not.
  • RaIdEn - October 28, 2008 1:06 a.m.

    i remember the first time i encountered one of those chickens. i heard it coming and i was like " oh crap somethin really big is gonna eat me!" then that thing came and i was like "WTF?"
  • Fluxnard - October 27, 2008 11:55 p.m.

    I am the master of unlocking!!!1!!11!!!one!
  • ragrappy1 - October 27, 2008 11:54 p.m.

    Wow, This stuff is sad. Let me be scary about it SSSSSAAAAAAAADDDD.
  • key0blade - October 27, 2008 11:08 p.m.

    I remember the old days... They were full of crap! :D joking, but good article GR!!
  • CuddlyBomber - October 27, 2008 10:14 p.m.

    Oh ya and four pages! OH NOES!!!!! Now thats scary!
  • CuddlyBomber - October 27, 2008 10:13 p.m.

    Ohman have you guys ever come a long way from your early days. Stay funny G-Radar.
  • zeldagirl64 - November 22, 2008 4:52 p.m.

    *starts to laugh* RE-DEADS. Re deads are scarier than numb bodies. XD (The ones from Zelda, yknow? Yeah. Those dead humpers.) Fear being a teenage GUY with zomie babies up juu butt. *rofl*
  • CashWheel - November 2, 2008 4:03 p.m.

    You should've added the section in BioShock where you put on a Big Daddy costume - it's hard to be afraid when you're dressed in armor and the enemies won't even touch you.
  • ShadowGHX - October 31, 2008 8:57 p.m.

    This article rocks.
  • NelosAngelos - October 30, 2008 9:47 p.m.

    If something like the Numb Bodies started walking (waddling?) up to me, shit that would be scary. I hate that crying whining sound they make. But when you look at it, they aren't too bad. They are about half your size, no mouth full of razor sharp teeth, no arms or even hands to strangle you or hit you, it's just the fact that at first you don't know what the hell they might do to you if you let them get close.

Showing 1-20 of 39 comments

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