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A look at 20 horror games that every gamer and horror fan must play.

20 games every horror fan should play

A look at 20 horror games that every gamer and horror fan must play.
This article is over 8 years old and may contain outdated information

October is the season of fear as pop-culture junkies indulge themselves in any work of horror they could find. It's also the perfect excuse a gamer needs to dig up their old game console and play some classic horror games. Here are 20 horror games every horror gamer needs to play.

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20. Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4 not only rebuilt the gameplay setup of the iconic series but also found a way to balance the elements of action and horror. This was achieved by keeping elements of its predecessors such as limited ammo and challenging puzzles. Leon S. Kennedy returns as a Secret Service agent tasked with rescuing the President’s daughter from the Los Iluminados cult.

19. The Thing

The long awaited sequel to the John Carpenter classic finally answers the question of who or what survived. Set several months after the events of the film, a military unit is deployed to investigate the radio silence at Outpost 31. However the parasite is sill alive while a bio-engineering company has set up a secret lab in the hopes of weaponizing it.

18. Deadly Premonition

Deadly Premonition is a horror survival that could easily be described as a video game remake of Twin Peaks. It featured elements  seen in many works of Japanese horror along with content inspired by David Lynch classic show. The story follows FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, I mean FBI Special Agent Francis York Morgan as he investigates the murder of a young woman in a small town that shares similarities to several other murders.

17. F.E.A.R.

F.E.A.R. takes the fast pace action of a shooter and puts it into a horror survival environment. When Paxton Fettel uses an army of super-soldiers to seize control of Armacham Technology Corporation headquarters, the First Encounter Assault Recon (F.E.A.R.) team is deployed to take him out. However, something more sinister could be manipulating the situation and it's up to the Point Man to uncover the truth.

16. Fear Effect

At a time when horror games were dominated by the Resident Evil series, this cyber-punk themed horror title defined the norm to bring an unforgettable experience. Fear Effect pushed many boundaries at the time, but today is remembered as a horror classic. Three mercenaries are looking for the daughter of a Triad boss only to discover that she is to be sacrificed to a demon god.

15. Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth

H.P. Lovecraft is considered to be one of the most influential horror writers to put pen to paper and was responsible for creating the sub-genre known as Lovecraftian horror. While many games have been influenced by his work, very few have tried to adopt it. Based on the story, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, gamers take on the role of private detective who is hired to find a missing person in the town of Innsmouth.

14. Doom 3

A remake of the iconic shooter, Doom 3 incorporated elements of the horror survival genre into a First-Person shooter. The result is an unforgettable horror experience that redefined a classic series. When an experiment in teleportation opens a gateway to Hell, a lone marine must find a way to escape Mars.

13. P.T. (Silent Hills demo)

Even though its a demo for a canceled game, it had such an impact on horror culture that fans were outraged when Konami removed it from the PlayStation store. Silent Hills was a reboot that was being developed by Hideo Kojima, Guillermo del Toro, and Junji Ito. Had it been completed, it could have redefined the horror genre.


12. The Suffering

A horror classic that took players through a vicious Lovecraftian odyssey that pitted them against the demons of a neglected justice system. After Torque arrives to Abbott State Penitentiary, an earthquake unleashes an army of demons (a manifestation of the prison’s history) that begin a reign of terror upon the inmates and prison staff.

11. Manhunt

Despite so many demons that are created by our imagination, we forget that human nature can be the most terrifying monster of all. This is the premise of Manhunt, a modern retelling of The Most Dangerous Game only set in an urban environment. Players are put in the role of James Earl Cash as he is forced to murder subjects for the amusement of Lionel Starkweather (aka The Director).

10. Condemned: Criminal Origins

One of the earliest games for the Xbox 360, this horror survival takes players on a journey into madness. FBI Agent Ethan Thomas is trying to capture Serial Killer X, a killer that is targeting the serial killers that Thomas is looking for. Condemned: Criminal Origins was a unique horror game as it focused more on puzzle solving over combat.

9. Silent Hill 4: The Room

The first game in the series not set in the town of Silent Hill, yet its memorable for taking players on a journey of madness while remaining connected to the series lore. Henry Townshend wakes up locked in his apartment with a warning by “Walter” to not go outside. Five days past and a hole opens up in his bathroom that takes him to an alternate dimensions.

8. The Last of Us

Praised for its deep story and memorable characters, it has been hailed as one of the best titles for the PlayStation 3. The Last of Us stood out from other horror games by adding a humane element to the survival story while adding a new tone to the zombie genre. 20 years after an infection destroyed civilization, Joel must escort Ellie across the country as her blood may be hold the cure.

7. BioShock

BioShock is a horror adventure that takes players to Rapture, a dystopian nightmare based on the philosophy of Ayn Rand. The story follows Jack, the only survivor of a plane crash, who arrives to Rapture and is forced to participate in the civil war that has torn the city apart. If one has not played this game then, would you kindly play it on Halloween?

6. Resident Evil

Be it the original, GameCube remake, or the recent HD remake, Resident Evil is a gaming classic that established the horror survival genre. Following a series of murders outside the city, the STARS unit is deployed to investigate. However, the team is forced to take refuge in a mansion as Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine work to uncover the secrets of the Umbrella Corporation.

5. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem

Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem was one of the earliest horror survivals that incorporated the need to preserve ones sanity. Alexandra Roivas is investigating the mysterious murder of her grandfather when she finds a mysterious books that unleashes dark forces.

4. Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly

Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly was a break from the traditional horror games of the Sixth-Generation era by creating an eerie atmosphere while forcing the helpless player to confront the demons. The story follows the Amakura twins as they are lured to an abandoned village populated with paranormal entities.

3. Alien: Isolation

Inspired by Sir. Ridley Scott's original film, players must use their wit to avoid the Xenomorph. Fifteen years after the events of the film, Amanda Ripley arrives to the Sevastopol after hearing they may have found information about her missing mother. However upon her arrival, she learns that a Xenomorph is prowling around the space-station. There are no Marines with pulse rifles and you’re not some badass angel of death, your character is an engineer that needs to use her wits to survive.

2. Resident Evil 2

Resident Evil 2 has been hailed as one of the best games for the PlayStation and in the series. The game has become an icon for better establishing the foundation of the horror survival genre and introducing several of gaming most memorable characters. The T-virus has turned the citizens of Raccoon City into zombies while the only survivors must find a way to escape the nightmare. Players take on the role of either Leon Kennedy or Claire Redfield as they must escape the city.

1. Silent Hill 2

Hailed by gamers and critics as the best horror game of all time, Silent Hill 2 has been the measuring stick all others have been compared too. This title takes players on a psychological journey into madness were the players actions will effect how they walk away from the nightmare. James Sunderland receives a letter from his wife (who has been dead for three years) asking him to meet her in the town of Silent Hill.

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Stan Rezaee
Stan Rezaee is a gamer from the Bay Area who has been writing about the medium for over five years. He is an old school gamer who still plays with his N64, PlayStation 2 and GameCube. When on his PC, he could still be found playing classic Counter-Strike with friends.