It's spooky season, so we asked the GamesRadar team to dig through their repressed memories and share the gaming characters that really gave them the heebie jeebies. Some are obvious, some are old friends, and some - a small angry mole - probably require some examination in psychotherapy.
This is the latest in a series of big questions we'll be interrogating our writers with, so share your answers and suggestions for topics with us on Twitter.
The Alien from Alien Isolation
Being trapped on a spaceship with an enemy that is looking for you all the time, forever, that can also kill you with a single swish of his tail? Absolutely no thanks. But that's the entire premise of Alien isolation and that particular alien still remains the doe that haunts me to this day. Never did get to finish that game, as brilliant as it was. It doesn't help that I stupidly once tried to play through it using the additional Kinect sensor that allowed the titular alien to hear you *breathe* in real life as an extra way to hunt you down... Apparently I am a glutton for punishment, although I'm never, ever doing that again. Sam Loveridge
The Witch from Left 4 Dead
Oh, this witch. I remember the first time I played Left 4 Dead in high school - I jumped online and immediately rushed into it, blasting away at any zombie that came near me, screeching when the Hunter jumped on my face, but never deterred. Subtlety wasn't (and isn't) my strong suit, so when I stepped into a building and heard her strange theme, I just barreled through the section, ultimately treading on the woman. When she shrieked and began ripping my face off with her twelve-inch long nails (how trendy), I screamed my fool head off. The Witch is scary. From that moment forward, her song sent chills up my spine and instantly made my palms damp with sweat - I'd often make stupid judgment errors when in her presence, just because I was so damn nervous. She dramatically changes the pace of the game, as well as your playstyle. And sure, some people can one-shot her in the face, but not me. I was too busy handling my controller like it suddenly got very hot. That lady scares me, 0/10 do not recommend. Alyssa Mercante
Iron Maidens from Resident Evil 4
I'll be the first to admit I'm a bit of a scaredy cat when it comes to horror games, and zombies have always given me the heebie jeebies. So you might think Resident Evil 4 wouldn't be my bag, but I loved it. Sure, I wanted to hide behind my controller a lot of the time, but I couldn't stop myself... maybe it was down to the allure of Leon Kennedy's magnificent hair. Anyway, the one time I thought I would chicken out for good was when I first came face to face with an Iron Maiden. There's something so terrifying about the way it moves. Lanky and spikey, it menacingly sludges over to you with juddering movements with the intention of impaling you. No. Thank you. What's worse is you'd always hear it before you saw it. Whenever I heard that unsettling scratchy groan it makes when it's nearby, I would always just want to call it quits. That noise still haunts my dreams *shudders*. Heather Wald
The Plague Babies from Demon's Souls
I haven't played Demon's Souls in years, but these things still haunt me. You only encounter Plague Babies in a tiny area of the Valley of Defilement - and doesn't that sound like a great spot for a getaway - but they're far and away the most unnerving little monsters in the entire game. They're these horrible, tiny meat sloths with amorphous limbs and faces. They pop out of the ground and swarm you when you get close, and if you get surrounded, you're as good as dead. Ask me how I know. The worst part is that they don't deal that much damage individually, so you wind up dying to a slow, painful combination of Plague damage and the worst paper cuts known to man. Did I mention they respawn infinitely? Yeah, screw these things. Austin Wood
The Moon from Majora’s Mask
Taken on its own merits, the Moon from Majora’s Mask is creepy enough. Its hollowed-out eyes and crater-filled grimace stands out as being particularly spine-chilling – and that’s coming from a series that already features ReDeads and whatever the hell Tingle is supposed to be.
But it’s what it represents that means I nope out of even the mere thought of replaying Majora’s Mask: time management. I play games for fun, not to check my watch every 20 minutes. The Moon is a persistent, looming reminder that the clock is always ticking – the game over cutscene could just be minutes away and I do not want to be filled with that sort of dread again, thanks. Bradley Russell
Luna from Peggle 2
I maintain that the scariest game this generation is not Resident Evil 7, Alien: Isolation, or P.T. (RIP), but Peggle 2. Yeah, the day-glo PopCap puzzler that is well known for having the second-best use of Ode to Joy (it's just behind Die Hard). Luna is one of the game's masters and she's a child ghost, which instantly pushes it quite high on my creep-o-meter. But it's the fact that the game leans into how skin-crawlingly creepy Luna is, with an occasional flash of a teddy bear with its eyes crossed-out lingering above her or her head briefly turning into a piece of candy corn for no reason. It even has a goddamn jump scare, where her face fills the screen for a few seconds, which has lived in my nightmares for years.
If this appeared in a typical horror game, I wouldn't be so scared of her. But because it appears in a colourful arcade game that doesn't try to get under your skin at any other point makes it terrifying to me, like some malevolent spirit slipped into the game while no-one was looking. I still have a lot of time for Peggle 2, just get an exorcist to cleanse Luna from it. Ben Tyrer
That damn spider from Limbo
Limbo, you're killing me - both literally and figuratively. Death was already a constant companion in this monochrome platformer, but then it had to go and up its game. There you were, minding your own business and trying not to fall into any traps when a hairy, segmented leg unfurls from the corner of the screen. If you weren't fast enough, it'd stab you through the skull before shaking you off like a worn-out plaster. It was all kinds of gross and the very definition of nope. But oh boy, could things get worse. Having decided that your character would make a tasty snack, the spider disgorges itself from its hiding place and begins chasing you down across the level. It always turned up at the worst possible moment, and little can compare with the sheer, pant-wetting terror of seeing it lurching toward you - or the air-punching celebration when you manage to squish it at last. Benjamin Abbott
Alma from F.E.A.R
A semi-faceless ghostly little girl in a red dress. That is already a whole bag of Nope. Oh, she's also psychic, can take down whole squads of soldiers in an instant, causes horror-fuelled sequences filled with fire, blood and murder, and often disappears in a cloud of ash. Yay. Though that's being a bit reductive, the use and role of Alma in F.E.A.R is, for a lot of the time, far more subtle than just jump scares and terrifying fiery visions. She gets right under your skin in a deeply uncomfortable way by running past doorways in the distance or generally unsettling the atmosphere every time you think you've got over her last appearance. In fact, those smaller appearances are the ones that have stayed with me since my very first playthrough: her legs appearing briefly at the top of a ladder when you turn around to climb down it; her appearing in a flash of light when travelling down an elevator with a broken light (naturally). So terrifying, but so well executed you can't help but be a fan of it. Even when F.E.A.R ends with the Point Man finally, but narrowly, escaping the Origin Facility blast by helicopter, Alma appears in a flash of 100% creepiness by climbing onto and reaching into the helicopter with a slender pale arm, causing it to crash. Shiver. Rob Dwiar
A group of zombies lurching slowly toward the house in Night of the Living Dead. A distant, blurry figure following the protagonists in It Follows. Mr. Resetti waiting for you after you turned off Animal Crossing without saving first. All of these things are terrifying because of their inevitability. No matter how many zombies you kill, more will eventually crest the horizon. No matter how many people you spread your haunted STD to, eventually it will kill them all and make its way back to you. And no matter how long you wait after you accidentally turned off your GameCube (or, let's be honest, intentionally restarted it to avoid making your hippo friend upset), Mr. Resetti will be waiting for you. And he will be angry. Connor Sheridan
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