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.



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  • ryno - January 4, 2009 2:03 a.m.

    in..... the original..... RE... they...sound... like... William Shatner
  • vdaymassacre - March 14, 2009 6:06 a.m.

    Lol'd at "no seriously what is this?" :D
  • Phantasmagorical - March 14, 2009 10:23 a.m.

    What...? Yes, I'm finally looking at GR articles and reading them. Give me a break! I'm not scared or frightened when it comes to playing games. It merely comes down to an occasional feeling of tension, apprehension about what's to happen next. I do jump from the occasional jump-out scare, though..
  • MrWordman - April 25, 2009 5:39 a.m.

    LOL the Silent Hill 3 thing. It sounded like it wanted to take a shit and needed your help. You weren't spposed to kill it, just help its dinosaur ass, drop some logs.
  • Jenkle21 - May 8, 2009 5:44 p.m.

    Dr.Salvador FTW
  • lava_lamp - October 27, 2008 8:15 p.m.

    pyramid heads rocks so does suntrust bank
  • jar-head - October 27, 2008 8:50 p.m.

    lol good stuff, keep em cummin!
  • oryandymackie - October 27, 2008 8:55 p.m. a BIT scared when that statue came towards me. I thought I'd have to fight it, which I was cool with, but then it started moving!!!
  • georgeguy - October 27, 2008 9:31 p.m.

    these are pretty funny...
  • benjitenji - October 27, 2008 9:41 p.m.

    i wonder why you didnt give a heads up to the SH series's UFO endings, those are equally nofunny and not scary as the dog ending, espically SE:H's, oh wheeler, you loveable twit.
  • Kerfluffle - October 27, 2008 10:20 p.m.

    I think the part where its inferred that Sander Cohen is gay or that if you kill him in Apollo Square and then burn his Quadtych he will resurrect and try to kill you again in BioShick is pretty unscacy since hes a mass murdering psychopath. Or maybe it just makes his powers more frightening o.0
  • bron1417 - October 27, 2008 10:46 p.m.

    way to bring back a classic article and make it beter. funny guys.
  • Valandil - October 28, 2008 12:10 a.m.

    That last video made me laugh alot!
  • Defguru7777 - October 28, 2008 2:40 a.m.

    Two things that will never scare me: Resident Evil's voice acting and the Salazar statue. One thing that does scare me: a sequel to Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg.
  • Cynwyddon - October 28, 2008 5:49 a.m.

  • crustdbeat - October 28, 2008 8:50 a.m.

    The point of clock tower was to feel that you had no chance at all if you were caught, none of this torturing crap. Snippy time!
  • Y2Ken - October 28, 2008 10:05 a.m.

    I remember this. Nice updating though, and well done on the two-year mark for your top 7s.
  • Thequestion 121 - October 28, 2008 7:49 p.m.

    That was good.
  • KHfan - October 29, 2008 1:20 p.m.

    i thought the numb bodies where bloody scary
  • 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.

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