RPS Asks: Games For Halloween?

By Jim Rossignol on October 27th, 2011 at 11:49 am.

You are him.
It’s Satan’s birthday on Monday, which means it’s time to sit inside and pretend no-one’s home while the neighbourhood kids prowl for candy. But what games should we be playing while we make absent? It seems to me like Costume Quest is the thematically cute suggestion, and Amnesia is the Actually Scary suggestion. But what else? Your thoughts, please, folks.

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127 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    lhzr says:

    binding of isaac, obv. even more so considering it’s getting a halloween update with new bosses/enemies/items/levels.

    also it’s my fav game for this year, so i wouldn’t even think of recommending anything else.

    • Premium User Badge

      Saul says:

      Yes! I came to post the same thing. But I didn’t know about the update, so that’s even better!

    • Premium User Badge

      Gramarye says:

      It seems they’ve fixed the bug on Steam where you can’t play it more than once without wiping your progress, so I’m down with this!

    • BlitzThose says:

      I cannot believe noone has mentioned They Hunger yet…

    • Kefren says:

      When it comes to GamersGate I’ll definitely buy it. The demo was fun.

  2. Matt says:

    Amnesia is a fantastic choice for the ultimate brown-pants experience…

    I’ll be trying to finish Dead Space 2, myself.

    • TheSaddestSort says:

      One never knows when they might find some Milky Ways.

    • db1331 says:

      I loved Dead Space 2. I spent the last 15 minutes terrified and running for my life.

  3. N'Al says:

    I’ll most likely still be playing Batman: AA on Mon. I’ll be the terror here, thank you very much.

  4. DanPryce says:

    It’ll be the TF2 halloween update for me.

    • airtekh says:

      Yeah same here, TF2′s Halloween update was terrific fun last year.

    • hosndosn says:

      Last year’s Halloween update showed everything that is wrong with modern item-whoring TF2 for me. Unfun map, rushed-in game mode, all servers running the same shitty mode while people getting obsessed about the damn “gifts” and whatnot, stopping to properly play every 30 seconds. Felt like some MMO special event crap.

    • Sigh says:

      I resolutely agree hosndosn.

      Last year’s TF2 Halloween update was what prompted me to stop playing the game which is a pity since the 2009 Halloween update was what prompted me to buy the game during the hour-long $2.50 sale and the Spooky Harvest map was one of my favorites.

      The 2010 update made me realize that I wasn’t playing the same game anymore and that Valve was courting a different type of audience…and more power to players that prefer the microtransaction hat-simulator model.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Big Murray says:

    I wonder how appropriate Limbo is to a Halloween atmos.

  6. Dowson says:

    Well I should probably try and play something scary, maybe finish Penubra Black Plague.

    But what I’m likley to do is to say sod it and keep playing BF3.

  7. thepaleking says:

    Not a PC game, but, the Clock Tower series is about as close as one can get to an interactive slasher film. A very well done slasher film at that.

  8. Real Horrorshow says:

    DoW2 Retribution, Chaos campaign

  9. Canape says:

    Have finally got round to installing Vampire :Bloodlines. Off to the ocean house hotel (or something), which I hear is rather creepy. Shall I wait till monday?

    • frenz0rz says:

      Your first time playing through Ocean House Hotel is best savoured at midnight, with all the lights off, and with nobody else in the house. Halloween, of course, would make a mightily fine bonus.

      But honestly, savour it. Its one of the best ‘scary’ levels (in an otherwise different game) in modern gaming, and for me ranks alongside the Cradle. But as with that, its all about the first time you play it.

    • terry says:

      Oh god, this. More shivering willies than Lady Gaga.

    • Gabryl Kaine says:

      I had no idea what was coming when I first played the Ocean House, and my playthrough did happen to fall around 2 in the morning, looking after an empty house. It still ranks as the most terrifying gaming experience I’ve played. (That said, I’ve yet to play Amnesia, so the Ocean House could very well be dethroned) Bloodlines proved extremely good at making an immortal predator of the night seem like the LEAST scary thing out in the night. (Which is really what the WoD is all about isn’t it?)

      I may have to reinstall bloodlines this weekend and give the Camarilla mod a go.

    • scatterbrainless says:

      I know right! How is it that being an ultra-powerful demon predator actually made the fact that you were out of control MORE terrifying?

  10. misterk says:

    Yahtzee’s 5 Days a Stranger is a pretty fun, creepy little adventure game that’s also free http://www.fullyramblomatic.com/5days/

    • Premium User Badge

      lhzr says:

      hey, why aren’t you recommending the full DeFoe quadrilogy? they’re all good while being different. each plays like a different sort of horror movie (the event horizon horror-in-space type, the slasher type, the lovecraftian type, etc) so check’em out if you haven’t.

    • ArcaneSaint says:

      Yeah, I’d recommend those too, they’re great! Though I never did get far in the text-based one :(

    • outoffeelinsobad says:

      I fucking LOVE those games. Richard Cobbett needs to review all of them, as soon as possible.

  11. Inigo says:

    Granny’s Garden.
    BBC Micro version.

  12. mjig says:

    Yume Nikki is pretty creepy and weird.

  13. Jams O'Donnell says:

    Amnesia is so 2010.

    That said, I might try Call of Chulhu: DCotE again, and try a bit harder this time to get the aspect ratio correct so I don’t turn it off after ten minutes.

  14. mangrove says:

    Sanitarium of course! A classic point and click adventure game. Very dark and unpleasant in tone. It’s even got pumpkins in it!

    • misterT0AST says:

      You were faster than me! Curse you! Writing long comments takes time.

  15. Premium User Badge

    Carra says:

    Maybe I should play Vampires: Bloodlines.

  16. misterT0AST says:

    I’m positively sure none of you ever even heard of it, but Sanitarium was an absolute blast of a game.
    It’s a bit old but it’s the most terrifying, depressing game I’ve ever played.
    The moment you find yourself in a town where the only people left are deformed children is just priceless. And the insect people mutated by a mad surgeon slowly losing their ability to speak normally and think rationally are terrifying.
    Did I mention it’s a point and click game and you get to DIALOGUE with all of these monstrosities?
    Please in the name of God play it, play it, play it, it’s criminally underrated!
    Either that or at least watch a playthrough on Youtube.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWfxPQ6g4Is

    Or please at least check out in this video just the main menu. Nightmarish!

  17. redwolf says:

    Silent Hill 4: The Room – I never could cope well with the holes :(

  18. Droopy The Dog says:

    S.T.A.L.K.E.R Call of Pripyat, with complete mod and weather locked into a permanant ominous thunderstorm.

    It comes complete with pseudo vampires, werewolves and ghosts for all your halloween thrills. (Bloodsuckers, psyhounds and poltergeists respectively)

  19. sneetch says:

    I’m just going to periodically look at that picture. That’s scary enough!

    Or I might finally play Dead Space while going “wooooOOOOoooooOOOOoooooo!” all day.

  20. I_have_no_nose_but_I_must_sneeze says:

    Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth is brilliantly atmospheric. Sadly, the scariest thing about it are the game-breaking bugs. If you’re feeling brave and have a couple of save games at hand to deal with these technicalities, it’s more than worth playing as one of the best games based on Lovecraft’s ramblings.

    Realms of the Haunting is another good choice. It’s an obsure, twist-laden, creepy and epic haunted house tale that I will always defend until I’m blue in the face.

    • Premium User Badge

      lhzr says:

      didn’t encounter any bugs, as far as i can remember. also it’s a pc game, so you can save as much as you like if you’re too scared to play it otherwise..

    • I_have_no_nose_but_I_must_sneeze says:

      I encountered a bug that was impossible to overcome without downloading a save file for after the scene I was stuck in. I’m talking about when you’re on the ship using a cannon against some necromancers on a distant shore. The problem was that there was absolutely no indication of where those enemies were, so unless you got really, really lucky with your blind fire there was no getting past that spot. I remember quite a few others had the same issue at the time, which has never been fixed to my knowledge.

    • Premium User Badge

      lhzr says:

      hmm, i remember that part.. took me about half an hour of saving and loading to get through. iirc there were some lights on the shore which indicated the area you were supposed to shoot at. shooting all around every light, coupled with saving after each hit and loading after a bunch of misses got me through. i thought it was just badly designed. or perhaps there’s a problem with the lights not showing at all?

    • I_have_no_nose_but_I_must_sneeze says:

      Yes, that was the problem. There weren’t any lights.

    • Jet says:

      There. Are. FOUR. Lights!
      hehehehehehehee.

  21. King Toko says:

    For PC I would say play Fallout 3, Dead Space, Bioshock, Dead Rising 2, Costume Quest, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Killing Floor, Left for Dead. There’s too many to count.

  22. Xanadu says:

    Guild Wars halloween quests for me.
    Or failing that, break out Resident Evil 0-4 on the gamecube, which I fail to play every halloween as I’m too scared

    • Premium User Badge

      SMiD says:

      Props. I just finished cleaning up my TV-space, and the thought of running through RE0-4 (Gamecube/Wii style) also occurred to me. I might have to make a weekend of it. Grand idea, I say!

  23. McDan says:

    Play something completely innocent and make it messed up in your head, then tell kids about it when the come to the door. Or put a live feed of your screen as you play through amnesia in the window. Excellent stuff.

  24. neolith says:

    I might be playing a round of L4D2 – haven’t had a chance to play it yet.

  25. gandrewsan says:

    I always found System Shock 2 to be terrifying but then I am a big Jessie. Any excuse to give it another play through though.

    • Mirqy says:

      Stay out of the mall. It crawls.

    • hosndosn says:

      System Shock 2 is the second most scary game after Amnesia, for me. My choice.

      If you’re a SS2 veteran, here’s something to try: They released an official patch that allows multiplayer coop! Hardly anybody knows. I only got to try it for a short while ages ago but I’d love to go back and give it another run. Just have to find someone obsessed enough to do a full, 20 hour coop play-through with me. :D Works excellently, too.

  26. I_have_no_nose_but_I_must_sneeze says:

    Also, has anyone ever tried Nosferatu: Wrath of Malachi? I’ve only played the demo and that was enough. That game will twist your squealing heart in its ice cold fingers until it bursts in slippery scarlet streams.

    • Premium User Badge

      Strand says:

      You are not alone in this. I bought the full version after I fearquit the demo. Obviously, I was playing at optimism, since I have yet to finish it.

      I did watch, however, as my girlfriend plopped down in front of it one evening and beat the game in 3 hours and 16 minutes. On her first try, no less. I remember exactly how long because I never would have believed a human being could hold one’s breath for that duration until that night.

      As far as I know, Nosferatu is the only ‘infinitely replayable’ FPS due to its randomization of the mansion’s layout. I’ll have to take the manual’s word for it, since I can’t muster up the courage to even install the game again, much less play it.

      The game is relatively lo-fi, but has some surprisingly effective flourishes. The music still haunts me.

      I wonder if it was ever released digitally?

  27. Premium User Badge

    Makariel says:

    Playing Dark Souls on that small black computer with limited functionality that’s in my living room. Why oh why is there no pc version of Dark Souls? Also, still have to finish Metro 2033.

  28. TheBigBookOfTerror says:

    Put my vote down for Dark Corners of the Earth as well as Masquerade. Both are perfect for Halloween, especially the haunted hotel. The quest involving the snuff film with the weird little critter type monsters and the reality show gone wrong are also great. Gonna give Costume Quest a go. I prefer the original Left 4 Dead over 2, I just like the levels more. Blood is also good Halloween game.. I’ll probably boot up the Wii for some House of Dead Overkill which is great if you’re having a Halloween party. Oh, and Zombies Ate My Neighbours!

    • Mechorpheus says:

      It bears noting that as far as I noticed all the maps from L4D1 are now playable through L4D2 with all the new kit. Got to love valve’s ‘Throw Content at a 2 year old game’ philosophy. Now if only we’d still be seeing free BF3 level packs in 2 years. Oh, wait………

  29. Mechorpheus says:

    I feel it would be prudent to install Thief: Deadly Shadows and use some combination of cheats/save game download to get to and play through The Cradle. I can’t stand the game itself (not much of a stealth person being honest), but I hear such good things about that level I must at least play it.

    For anyone owning one of those hand held dual screeny things with a Nintendo logo on it, there’s a little known game called Dementium: The Ward. A surprisingly atmospheric ‘Survival Shooter’, reminds me of logically what a Silent Hill FPS would be like. Few little niggles (the most egregious being the fact that enemies re spawn whenever you leave a room, yet your ammunition doesn’t) but otherwise a solid game, if you can get on with the slightly iffy FPS controls on the console. It even has a sequel, which is meant to improve things.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Honestly, The Cradle level tries to hard to be scary. I suspect that it’s one of those things you have to be young enough when you play it the first time. It uses tricks from horror movies that are beyond worn out like exploding objects, children’s voices, and a creepy orphanage.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hidden_7 says:

      Gotta disagree you you there, friend. I think the Cradle is maybe the scariest level in a game ever. People always talk about the Ocean House from Bloodlines, and yeah, that was alright, but in my opinion it was done no favours by being released the same year as the Cradle.

      While I’d agree that some of the Cradle’s tricks are a bit routine, some aren’t, some are classics because they work, some are given new life by being in a game, and thus interactive, and others are simply part of the sum of parts that the Cradle is more than.

      Personally I think the Cradle works so well because it’s more than just a level, which is why I think just skipping ahead to it robs it of some of its power. It’s a mythos within the game world. From almost the very beginning of the game the story of the Cradle is foreshadowed. Overheard snippets of conversation, children’s nursery rhymes played out as level interstitial quotes, references in in game books, seeing the building itself, well before you are set to go into it. It all slowly builds until your briefing for the mission is basically being told a ghost story that has an overwhelming sense of verisimilitude within the world, because the pieces for it have been building for so long.

      The Cradle is more than an effectively scary level, though it is that, and it’s got a very diverse and effective bag of tricks that is much more than simple jump scares. It is a place that, even before you are dropped into it, you very much do NOT want to go into. It is a malevolent place whose influence stretches throughout the entire game.

      Fair enough if it personally didn’t work for you, but I think it’s unfair to characterize the Cradle’s MO as little more that hackneyed horror film devices. It’s a master study in creating frightening game environments.

      I also think that it wins out on the Ocean House’s rather one off side trip to a (rather good) theme park Haunted House, simply by the context of the game it existed in. In Bloodlines you are super human, an undead monster. You’re the scary thing in the night. I found it pretty hard to worry coming from that perspective. As opposed to in Thief where you’re a pretty frail human, regularly out toughed by generic guards, who is really out of his depth. The Thief games managed to be quite as scary as they were by making your character vulnerable, but also by not making that vulnerability an excuse. You were expected to deal with the situation, despite how outmatched you usually were. That’s a rather effective trick that not a lot of games get right.

  30. Etherealsteel says:

    Dead Space series, FEAR series, Dead Island, Left 4 Dead 1 & 2, Resident Evil 5, Dead Rising 2, Dead Horde, Alice: Madness Returns, Killing Floor, Amnesia, Penumbra and of course Costume Quest. I’m trying to remember one more, but I forgot. I guess Resident Evil: Homecoming might do.

  31. mod the world says:

    I will play Tropico 3. I have no need to lower my mood even further, the weather is already depressing enough.

    Edit: Is that William Shatner in the picture?

  32. TooNu says:

    I’m going to be playing Amnesia which I have been saving for MONTHs since I bought it for about £2. It was the obvious choice. Oh and I will be playing champions online for the bloodmoon festival AND I will be watching Aliens as my Halloween movie :)

    It’s going to be fun!

  33. Headwired says:

    Perhaps i shall spend an evening with my CD-ROM, 7th Guest and the 11th Hour.

    It will truly be a night spent in hell.

    • Igor Hardy says:

      Still haven’t beaten all the riddles in the 7th Guest. Maybe this Halloween would be a good time to come back to them after a few years.

  34. buzzmong says:

    More importantly, is that Shatner in the top image?
    If so, you need to add a “The Shat” tag. Just sayin’.

  35. BarneyL says:

    It’s been a while since I played it but Realms of the Haunting was pretty scary first time round and is available on GoG for anyone interested in an FPS with point and click adventure elements plust FMV cut scenes.

    • TheBigBookOfTerror says:

      Oooh yes, that’s a must too. Very atmospheric and makes me jump very often. The excellent sound effects keep that game just as spooky as when it came out.

    • Igor Hardy says:

      Yeah, the storyline is a big mess sadly, but it’s incredibly fun an atmospheric while it lasts.

  36. Squirrelfanatic says:

    If I am able to find a copy of ‘Clive Barker’s Undying’ I’ll play that. It’s an excellent game and really spooky in places, even though it is a shooter.

  37. phenom_x8 says:

    Clive’s Barker Jericho! That’s quite a nice game!

  38. JoWoo says:

    Thief: Deadly Shadows’ Cradle level. And Condemned: Criminal Origins is pretty damn scary in places.

  39. InternetBatman says:

    whoops.

  40. InternetBatman says:

    The most appropriate game would be Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines.

    After that I would cast my vote with the original Thief. The catacombs levels are pretty damn creepy. Also later in the game, the Ratmen dialog is awesome.

    If you want pure existential horror go for the Void. The fact that you have to farm something that is constantly dying in a world that is already dead, and it increases your enemies. That’s horrifying. Then you find the creepy fleshmonsters like wheels of arms.

  41. Brumisator says:

    I’m gonna make my own halloween gaming, all the opposite of an RPS halloween.

    I’ll play Xenoblade on my Wii. No PC gaming, no pumpkins or scary things.

  42. rammeoxxornms says:

    If I’m honest I quite want to revisit Alien Swarm… was a big fan of it back when it was a UT2004 mod but I never actually got round to trying the shiny new (err, ish) version. This is all provided I can actually find Humans to play with.

    Failing that, sticking with the alien theme, and going for something that’s actually a bit scary, the old Alien vs Predator games had me in tatters when I was younger – those shiny, black, polygonal xenomorphs were the stuff of nightmares.

    Other than those, everything else has already been said. TF2 update (and maybe a bit of Dead Rising 2) for fun, VtMB/Project Zomboid for atmosphere and Amnesia for salty, wet, knee-clacking fear. Tower 22 is one that springs to mind, inexplicable obese tunnel lady aside… shame it’s not out yet.

    And as a special early Halloween treat for you all on my first RPS post, a SCARY PICTURE:
    http://tinyurl.com/5ltqa

  43. ChainsawCharlie says:

    Something fluffy please. Like that Kirby Wii game from last year. With lights on of course. Yes I am a sissy and No. It is not your place to judge.

  44. Crispy says:

    Penumbra

    The Thing

  45. Tori says:

    Just play Half-Life 2′s Ravenholm chapter.

  46. Goomich says:

    Sword of the Stars 2.

    • TenjouUtena says:

      Yeah, I don’t care if it’s thematic, this is what I’ll probably be doing.

  47. rei says:

    Last year I played horror/holiday themed fan missions for Thief, and if I have time I intend to do that again. Lots of fun.

  48. Igor Hardy says:

    For a perfect Halloween game you could dig out the ancient Voodoo Kid by the late Infogrames.

    And while you’re at it what about their pure horror offerings – the original Alone in the Dark trilogy, Shadow of the Comet – the best Cthulhu game there is, and the somewhat weaker Prisoner of Ice.

    Other then that you can’t beat Thief: The Dark Project for dark, immersive game world with hours of gameplay.

    But most of all I wish there was some kind of Halloween ‘Trick-or-Treat’ Pirate Kart to be honest.