A death row inmate is transferred to a prison on an island. He does not recall murdering his ex-wife and two children. After an earthquake, multiple horrific supernatural things are released upon the prison and chaos ensues. The supernatural things are themed around executions; for example, lethal injection is represented by a Gollum-like creature with syringes sticking out of its back throws needles at you. This game is different from many I’ve encountered by its morality system. There are three separate endings and the characters interact with the player differently, all depending on what the player does in the game. There are multiple options to save someone, kill them, or ignore them. As the player’s choices accumulate, one of the endings is chosen based on their choices. It really makes you think, even as you are transforming into a monster and tearing people limb from limb.
In the first game, your brother goes missing in a large scary mansion and you are tasked with finding him. Throughout the journey you are attacked by ghosts and can only fend them off with a camera. If you move too slowly, ghosts will come hurry you along. As you move deeper into the bowels of the mansion and the earth, you learn some truly disturbing family history about those who used to live there. I still remember the phrase: “the Blinding Mask is the key to the door.” In the second there is an entire town to explore, and the third goes between waking and sleeping nightmares with ease. My all-time favorite series of games. From Japan, best played in the dark with at least one other person who will leap over the back of a couch with you to escape the terrors on the screen.
Some may argue that this game is not horror. Piffle, I say. Any game where you are being pursued by supernatural forces of this nature is horror, pure and simple. Zombie humans are the most tedious, but there are plenty of other monsters to keep you busy. The greatest horrific aspect of the game is the prevalent darkness, the player being armed only with a flashlight. Sounds of screaming, ripping and other disturbing shit are played through the character’s headset which only adds to the apprehension one feels creeping around these creatures of hell with a flashlight.
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
The first half of this sequel to New Order is straightforward Nazi disposal. After the game’s primary antagonist releases a green glowing something from a dig site, flames erupt all over and suddenly everyone’s a zombie, crawling out of holes and attacking you while your back is turned. There are skills which can be unlocked, for example, by pulverizing ten Nazi zombie heads with your trusty length of pipe, the exploding heads lovingly rendered in glorious chunks. Some still have guns and shoot at you in a random way before running at you to eat your face. Due to the green glowing thing, now if you just wing a Nazi, he becomes a zombie, so head shots become a priority as well as speed. Don’t bother clearing a room. They’ll just keep coming, so move your ass.