5 Lesser-Known Horror Games that You Must Play
Over the years, the genre of horror games has probably seen the widest variety of experimentation. From point-and-click adventures like Five Night at Freddy’s to action-horrors like most of the Resident Evil games, to survival games like Amnesia, horror-based games have always tried different things to give players a creepy experience. While the industry has been largely dominated by major franchises like Telltale’s The Walking Dead series, or Konami’s Silent Hill series, it is worthwhile to go off the beaten track once in a while to look for titles that were not great commercial successes, but impressed nonetheless. So here is a list of 5 lesser known horror games that any fan of the genre must try out.
If you are afraid of drowning and deep sea creatures, then Narcosis will pack all your nightmares into one game. Put into the shoes of a deep sea diver, you are made to scout the ocean floor alone, attempting to reach an escape pod after a natural disaster destroyed the underwater facility and killed everyone. Traversing the dark terrain, the player must manage their Oxygen levels, while avoiding or killing grotesque creatures from the deep. As the game progresses, there is an increasing deterioration of the protagonist’s mental condition, owing to isolation and constant tussles with death. The gradual loss of sanity is reflected through creepy visions, sounds, and distortion of reality in a way that really gets under the player’s skin. While it lacks the jump scares and the blood and gore of standard horror titles, it more than makes up for it with the concept, and the eerie, uncomfortable atmosphere that lingers throughout the game. While the playthrough may seem slow at some parts, once you start it, make sure you follow through to the end, because the conclusion won’t disappoint. The game is available on Steam for $10.
ETERNAL DARKNESS: SANITY’S REQUIEM
Made by Nintendo for Gamecube, Eternal Darkness is one of the classics of the horror genre. The game’s central character is Alexandra Roivas, who seeks to uncover the details of her grandfather’s mysterious murder. In the process, she goes to his house in Rhode Island, where she finds The Tome of Eternal Darkness, and is plunged into a world of dark, sinister magic that she had hardly expected. The game plays out through episodes in the lives of several characters from different timelines, all of which are connected to the overarching plot. The gameplay involves combat using different forms of magic, and progressing through the storyline by solving different puzzles. One of the most brilliant features of the game is the use of the “sanity” meter. The player has to keep getting sanity points, or they will gradually lose their mental capacity, causing disturbances not only to the controlled character, but to the gameplay in general, making it become progressively creepy and unsettling. The game was only released for GameCube, but can be played on PC using a software like Dolphin.
No matter how brave you are, if you say that Scratches is not a scary game, then you are either lying, or you have not played it. The game revolves around the Blackwood Estate, which had seen its original owners dying under mysterious circumstances. After the next possessor disappears, the player is put into the shoes of the Michael Arthate, the current resident of the house, who realizes that its dark past hasn’t really disappeared, as he hears scratches on the walls and witnesses the horrors of the house’s past coming to life. Despite being a point-and-click game, the title does a fantastic job as an exploration-horror game, primarily owing to the combination of a cinematic gameplay and fantastic sounds. The game is available for PC, and its best to go for the Director’s Cut version, as it adds a few extra elements.
NOSFERATU: THE WRATH OF MALACHI
Inspired by Bram Stoker’s Dracula, this game puts you in the shoes of man named James Patterson, as he goes to attend his sister’s wedding in Castle Malachi. However, on reaching, he realizes that things have gone wrong, and that the owner of the castle is a vampire who has abducted the entire Patterson family in order to sacrifice them to gain power. The gameplay involves having to travel through the castle, battling demons and vampires to rescue all the family members within a given amount of time. While combat is initially restricted to fists and a sword, you eventually get access to firearms as you proceed through the game. The map is randomly generated every time, allowing for multiple playthroughs. The game is available for PC.
RULE OF ROSE
Rule of Rose is an extremely disturbing game that takes the ever-effective idea of creepy children, and adapts it to insane levels. The game’s protagonist, Jennifer, is led into an orphanage and ambushed by a group of children known as the Red Rose Aristocrats. Jennifer then finds herself in an abandoned airship run by these cruel children, and she must bring sacrifices for them every month for appeasing their bloodlust. The game’s combat system is melee based, but it focuses more on evasion. Overall, the game’s twisted tale, along with the creepy ambience, makes it a great title for horror fans. It is a PS2 exclusive.