The scariest villains EVER

Any fan of classic horror author H.P. Lovecraft knows about Innsmouth, a tiny, dilapidated seaside town inhabited by degenerate inbreds - and in Dark Corners of the Earth, you'll get to explore it for yourself. Not that it's a particularly nice place - as private detective Jack Walters, you're sent to Innsmouth to investigate a disappearance, and the strange, fish-faced inhabitants seem downright agitated by your questions.

There's something creepy and unnatural about their voices and demeanors, too - their eyes are glassy, their skin is pale and half of them sound like they're gurgling their answers through a throat full of seawater. At first, they're not outright hostile, but that changes when you get a little too close to learning the town's dark secret. After being forced to check into the town's only hotel (run by a leering cannibal named Charlie Gillman), you're rudely awakened when the townsfolk come for you with axes and cleavers.

From there, you're forced into a memorably heart-poudning chase through the hotel's darkened rooms, locking doors behind you in a vain attempt to keep the inbreds from smashing through. And because you're unarmed, your only option is to continually look for new places to escape through. Before long, the fish-faces bust out the firearms, and you're forced to haul ass and find a hiding place if you don't want to be perforated. Hiding doesn't mean safety, either - until you find a means to fight back, you'll be continually hunted by the townsfolk as you creep through town, trying desperately to not be seen - or to attract the attention of things even worse than your pursuers.

From: Clock Tower 3 (PS2, 2003)

Clock Tower 3 has a great premise: as Alyssa, a resourceful but relatively defenseless 15-year-old girl, you're thrown into different times and places to be pursued by the spirits of dead serial killers. It's pretty spooky stuff (thanks in large part to cutscenes by Battle Royale director Kinji Fukasaku), but it suffers from diminishing returns on its baddies - that is, they start out terrifying, and then get progressively more lame until pretty soon you're being stalked by silly ninja harlequins and an eight-foot-tall musketeer.

But in the game's first level - a weird flashback to London during the Blitz in World War II - you have the privilege of being chased by Robert "Sledgehammer" Morris, a hulking brute with an executioner's hood and a hammer that's nearly as big as he is. Your first introduction to the bastard is to watch him horribly murder a little girl, after which he'll cackle and lope determinedly after you until you give him the slip. That's not easy, either - he'll follow you from room to room, chase you out into the street and relentlessly pursue you until you can find a flimsy hiding place that he won't think to check.

Like Scissorman before him (more on that later), Sledgehammer would disappear for long periods of time, and then turn up randomly when you least wanted him to. Usually, you'd have some warning in the form of his creepy theme music, but sometimes he'd just jump out of the shadows, forcing you to abandon whatever puzzle you were trying to solve and high-tail it for the relative safety of a nearby desk or curtain.

You can run and hide, but don't think you can stand and fight. Letting Sledgehammer get too close will result in a few knocks on the head from his hammer, at which point Alyssa's "stress meter" will go through the roof. Once that happens, she flies into a panic and becomes uncontrollable, alternately running around haphazardly or standing still and quaking in fear - and if you take so much as a tap from the hammer while you're in this state, it's over.