Monday, November 5, 2012

Happy Belated Halloween!

Happy Belated Halloween everyone! Since its that time of year again, we’re gonna look at something in tune with the season. This is the Top 8 Scariest Moments in Gaming!

Honorable Mention: The Pack from Dead Space 2

Is there anything scarier than a demonic little monster kid who’s trying to kill you? The answer to that is no. The only reason these little bastards are only an honorable mention is because I only played the demo for this game. But holy crap, are they scary. I mean, the regular necromorphs are freaky and whatnot, but you throw a little kid version in there, and that ups the nightmare-fuel by about a thousand. Add to the fact they come in rather large groups, and you have a whole roomful of these things ready to tear you limb from limb.

Honorable Mention 2- Old Tien’s Landing- Jade Empire

Old Tien’s Landing is a town that was flooded by the building of a dam. And the people in charge graciously declined to tell the people living there that they were going to get flooded out. As a result, when the floodgates closed, nobody was prepared and a lot of people drowned. Add to that fact the dead are unable to rest, and you have a nice little setup for creepiness. Now it isn’t so much that the ghosts do anything. They don’t attack you, they don’t talk to you (with only two exceptions), they just float around in the air above you. And there’s just something eerie and weird about it. There’s some ghostly ambience, but it’s not everywhere or all that loud, so they’re more or less just drift about silently. 

8. Baal’s reveal from Diablo II

It may be twelve years since its release, and maybe technology has improved since then, but I still love the between-act cinematics for Diablo II. In them, this guy named Marius is relating to the Archangel Tyrael, his story in how he got caught up with the Dark Wanderer (Diablo in disguise) and the events that transpired. For the epilogue cinematic of act 4, which is the end of the game, it is revealed that Marius isn’t talking to Tyrael at all, but Baal, one of the Prime Evils. This of course leads into the expansion, or act 5. Just that one flash of the light when you realize “oh shit, this was Baal all along”, and what follows, really sets up the idea that this shit just got real. It’s a really nice cliffhanger sort of end to the original game and a great setup to the Lord of Destruction expansion.

7. Scarecrow hallucinations- Batman: Arkham Asylum

  What’s more fun than running around the outside of a square area trying to get from one end to the other? How about doing so with a giant, needle-fingered Scarecrow that’s trying to kill you? And this one is not nearly as charming as Cilian Murphy. And it just happens, you get thrown into a nightmare, such as the death of your parents, the ‘death’ of Commissioner Gordon, and replaying the first scene of the game with Batman and Joker’s places switched. Dr. Jonathan Crane is a master of fear, and this game makes sure you don’t forget that.

6. The Dead Hand- the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

This game has a lot of weird, odd, and even downright cartoony villains. But creepy, that title goes to the Dead Hand. This thing looks like it crawled out of a Resident Evil game; long clawed tentacle arms around the room that grab you, a mutated, deformed looking body that looks like its covered in blood, the arms on the body ending in spikes. Even the way it moves, when on the surface, is creepy. Oh yes, the damn thing moves underground. You only encounter this creature twice in the game, but that’s more than enough to get freaked out by this survival-horror escapee.

5. Children’s Library- Ghostbusters (2009)

This part is both creepy and sad. In the library level, you go into the children’s reading room. In there you can hear ghost children talking, there’s some poltergeist action, and handprints appear on the wall. When you leave the room, one of the voices says “Bye”. That, in combination with the fact its dark , just cements that this is the eeriest, and saddest, room you’ll encounter.

4. Ravenholm- Half Life 2 
                                      This is a double-speed Yakety Sax run. You've been warned.
Ah, Ravenholm. A nice little town. Well-lit, safe, with friendly locals just waiting to greet you, and a lovely ambience. So pack up the car, bring the kids, and come on down to Ravenholm, a great place for the whole family. Okay, back to serious. This place has creepy written all over it. This is the poster-child for fucking creepy. 

3. “Welcome” to Rapture- Bioshock. 
After a very cool cinematic in which your bathysphere shows you the sights and majesty of Rapture, you find yourself docked in a very dark room (at 5:25 in this video). With this lovely lady, who after eviscerating some nameless son of a bitch, proceeds to try and give you her own personal welcome to the city. It’s then you realize, maybe this isn’t going to be as pleasant as I’d hoped. And then the game actually starts and you realize you’ve jumped from the plane crash into the underwater city full of drugged-up psychos. Good times.

2. Hespith’s Chant- Dragon Age: Origins

I don’t know what’s more terrifying about this entry; the thing itself, or the implications of it. In the Deep Roads (one of my favorite parts of the game), you encounter Hespith, who is apparently the last survivor of the party led by the Paragon Branka (whom you are looking for). After reciting her rhyme to you while unseen, you'll later find her and talk to her in person. She tells you about what the darkspawn do to female prisoners. Not long after, you encounter the broodmother, formerly a dwarven woman named Laryn. In my first playthrough of the game, I did so as a Dwarf Noble (also my favorite origin). When I got to this part, I came to the realization of "holy shit, that could have been me! If not for the Wardens, that would be my character!" So not only was Hespith herself creepy, and the broodmothers and their creation unsettling, but the realization that this was almost the fate of my own character, puts this at number 2. 

1. David Archer: Project Overlord- Mass Effect 2
                                          Skip to 5:26 to see what I mean

Maybe it's my fault for playing this late at night. But I tell you, when that computer static started shrieking at me, and then the giant pixel face, I nearly shit myself. And it happens several times. And then shit like this (at 13:52) goes down and you're thinking WTF is going on here? Once you do find out what's going on, it's no less horrifying, except now the reasons are different. This ending gives you one of BroShep's best performances as well, so that's gotta say something right there*. Not matter how you end this, even Paragon like me, you can't help but feel sad and horrified by the whole thing. And you realize that if in a Bioware game, never trust a character voiced by Simon Templemann. It's pretty intense. But as far as creepy goes, those damn jump scares really did it. 

 *Despite my being an exclusive player of FemShep.

Well, I hope you all enjoyed the list, despite being rather late for Halloween. Until next time all!