10 Most Terrifying Horror Game Levels to Revisit for Halloween
Tomorrow is Halloween and for many it is a time to immerse oneself in horror stories to get their goosebumps raising, nerves twitching, and mouths screaming in fear. The market offers tons of horror video games for the occasion, but inside every horror game lies that one most terrifying level that gives players a pants-wetting scare that is worthy of its genre.
These are the ten video game levels taken from every horror game subgenre, from bone-chilling survival horror to gut-wrenching action horror, that should terrify players and keep them awake for the rest of the night this holiday.
10. Condemned: Criminal Origins (The Mall)
Inspired by psychological detective thrillers like Silence of the Lambs and Se7en, Condemned: Criminal Origins is a game filled with mysteries unfolding and mind tricks being played. Players control an investigator named Ethan Thomas, a man desperately fighting off monsters from the real world and from his own psyche. One particular level that scared both Thomas and the players takes place in a seemingly normal department store filled with immobile and faceless mannequins.
As Thomas walks through the mall, the human-shaped plastics can be seen slightly moving or twitching at every glance. It turns out that many of these mannequins were actual human beings, with some being fully alive and hungry for blood. Some of them had blank faces while others were stitched up plastic and dismembered flesh. To make matters worse, a serial killer known as the Match Maker is also hiding in the store.
If you think that Slender Man was creepy, then you haven’t seen the mannequins from Bart’s Department Store yet.
9. Manhunt (Piggsy Boss Battle)
Rockstar is known for its hardcore video games like Grand Theft Auto and Bully, but nothing was more controversial than their 2003 game Manhunt. Often dubbed as a real “murder simulator” by the press, this was probably one instance where people finally said that Rockstar had gone too far. Manhunt stars a convict named James Earl Cash who escaped death row but is now forced to kill people by a snuff film director. Killing idiotic enemies in various ways can be fun in a weird way, but when said enemies are then replaced by a terrifying serial killer, that is where the tension and difficulty begin.
One of the antagonists is a large, naked, chainsaw-wielding maniac wearing a decomposing pig’s head named Piggsy. His strength and durability makes it difficult to fight him up close, so the only way to fight Piggsy is by stealth. But Piggsy can also be sneaky, so players have to be wary as you stalk each other through the dark, creaky hallways--taking bits off of each other at every turn.
Every second of this level is nerve-racking, especially the times where Piggsy chases you down the room squealing with his chainsaw.
8. Outlast (Administration Block)
Outlast is currently one of the most popular horror games today with its simple story of a rather wimpy journalist trapped inside a mental asylum filled with deranged and murderous psychopaths. It had everything fans of survival horror genre love like the eerie atmosphere, the variations of creepy enemies, classic jump scares and tense moments, and also the inability to defend oneself so you are forced to run and hide.
One of its scariest levels is also its first. The first chapter introduces the protagonist and his objectives for coming into the asylum, only for that asylum to be taken over by the mentally-ill patients who started butchering every staff before going for the player himself. The level introduces players to the hellhole that they will be forced to survive for the whole game, as well as meeting crazy enemies like the large bulky Chris Walker and the mysterious Wallrider.
If this was only the beginning of the game, then expect more terrors as you play through the rest. Just don’t forget to pack an extra battery.
7. Dead Space 2 (Titan Elementary School)
Dead Space 2 came out during the time when survival horror titles like Resident Evil, Alone in the Dark and Silent Hill were slowly turning into action horror games. Thankfully Dead Space, while similar to these games, did have some genuinely frightening moments with its religion-themed lore, that isolated feeling of being trapped in space, and those grotesque gory-looking necromorphs.
The game stars not an action horror hero, but an ordinary yet traumatized engineer named Isaac Clarke, who is forced to survive inside a space station filled with zombified mutated people. However, the level that truly put the series in the horror genre map was, of all places, a Daycare Center. The level cranked up the horror by having Clarke fight mutated babies and children. Ripe with scares, the level shows infants turned into slug-like bombs and little children morphed with sharp claws and evil shrieks.
Kids can be terrifying enough for other people, but the children here are a whole new level of disturbing.
6. Clock Tower 2 (Jennifer Chapter)
This list wouldn’t be complete without the grandfather of all survival horror games, the Clock Tower series. The games were legendary for being the first to use gameplay elements that you now see in today’s survival horror games (minus the shooting). While all the games in the series are scary on their own terms, the most terrifying was Clock Tower 2 (released in North America simply as Clock Tower) in 1996.
The first chapter starts off with the protagonist, Jennifer, trying to recoup after surviving the Scissorman--a serial killer who kills his victims using a large scissor in the first game. Just as she was starting to get her life back, the Scissorman reappears one night and chases her throughout most of the game with scores of people being murdered along the way.
The game would certainly make you feel nostalgic of old slasher films. If you think that Jason Voorhees’s machete, Freddy Kruger’s gloves or Leatherface’s chainsaw aren’t scary enough, then you should go and meet the Scissorman.
5. Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly (Tachibana House Chapter 7)
While most horror games have you fight monsters, zombies and serial killers as a tough male action hero, Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly is special from the others for two reasons.
First of all, the game has you fight against ghosts (not the Ghostbusters type, but the sinister ones like in the films The Grudge and Ring). Second, the game has you play as a young Japanese schoolgirl named Mio Amakura. She doesn’t have any guns or blades to defend herself with, but she carries a Camera Obscura--an item that allows her to see ghosts and lay their souls to rest by taking pictures of them. This may sound unorthodox, but this offered a more nerve-racking experience as you try to take that perfect picture without losing your cool as the spirits come at you.
But in the 7th Chapter, Mio is chased down by a ghost named Sae and unfortunately drops her camera. What made this chapter more frightening is the vulnerability of being defenseless, the insanity that some of the characters showed, and other chilling moments that makes surviving this game even more satisfying.
Gameplay and moments like these are why critics named this game the scariest video game of all time.
4. Resident Evil 7 (Main House)
After years of releasing action horror games, the Resident Evil franchise finally went back to its roots in 2017 with Resident Evil 7. Having a shift of gameplay wasn’t easy, but thankfully the game delivered what horror fans really wanted from a true Resident Evil game.
The protagonist of the game is Ethan Winters, a normal average man unlike previous characters like Leon Kennedy and Chris Redfield. The game’s introduction already puts the scare factor into you as you watch your friends get butchered and you get trapped inside a cabin owned by a deranged superpowered family. Escaping from the beautiful but scarily-designed main house is made difficult with the invincible Jack Baker happily pursuing Winters all throughout it. Hiding in walls will be useless since he can just bash his way through like the Terminator. He’ll be taunting you and screaming at you, and all you can do is run.
3. Amnesia: Dark Descent (Cellar Archives)
The Amnesia series is the quintessential example of modern survival horror games and for good reason. The game’s tight and tense levels, filled with unique inhuman enemies and the feeling of defenseless, was well loved by gamers during its release. Amnesia became an instant sleeper hit that would later inspire Outlast, Slender Man and virtually every survival horror games you see today.
The gameplay consists of an unarmed character who had to run away from ghoulish monsters inside an abandoned castle. Simple right? Until you get to the water-filled cellar level where you are pitted against creatures you can’t even see. The cellar archives is filled with these invisible monsters called Kaernks, and the only way to detect them is by listening to the splashes they make in the water. Being blind, the Kaernks also find you by the sound you make in the water, so there’s a need to be both smart and stealthy in order to survive this level.
2. Siren: Blood Curse (Episode 3)
The Siren series is one of the most underrated horror games out there. While constantly being praised as one of the scariest of all time, the franchise never got the fame and popularity that its contemporaries have achieved. And yet its recent titles have proven to be even scarier than what big budget horror game series are producing today.
Siren: Blood Curse introduces a cast of unique characters as they are forced to survive a whole town filled with blood-covered murderous humans called Shibitos. If you thought playing as a young school girl in Fatal Frame II was heart-pounding, in this level you get to control a 10 year old girl named Bella Monroe. Playing as a small and defenseless little girl helplessly trying to hide away from monsters makes you feel sympathy and emotions unmatched by other games on this list. It also makes you feel proud as she bravely faces horror and death even though she is alone and separated from her parents.
This is one of those instances in games where you truly care about a character's survival, especially when that character is just a kid who wants to be with her dad again.
1. Silent Hills PT
For over a decade, the Silent Hill series has scared a generation of gamers with its colorful list of titles that offered both supernatural and psychological scares (and in some endings, even aliens!). Ironically, the franchise’s most terrifying title was a game that never got released. The Silent Hills Playable Teaser was supposed to be the first look at the creation of the dream team of Hideo Kojima, Guillermo del Toro, Junji Ito and Norman Reedus, but sadly the game never got to see the light of day. Fortunately for horror fans, this demo was already enough by itself.
Players take control of a man trapped in a claustrophobic hallway of a suburban house that is stuck in a loop. Entering the door only leads back to the entrance of where he came from. As he continuously enters the door again and again, the hallway becomes bloodier and more horrifying, radio starts to play tragic news, and a disgusting abomination appears in the bathroom.
If this game got released it would have become an instant classic, but the playable demo still did a terrific job in giving horror fans the scare that they wanted. Even far better than full-price horror titles today.
These are only a few of the scariest levels in video games that horror fans can enjoy this Halloween. Each level is rendered beautifully and passionately to create that scary atmosphere that will immerse players right into the nightmare themselves. Now you are not only reading or watching the horrors unfold, you are fighting to survive in it yourself.