As you know—or as some of you might not know but should—Bioshock 2 drops tomorrow. And there may or may not be a couple of us at Complex HQ with reservations about playing it alone in a dark house. That first one? Splicers everywhere, creepy little girls with yellow eyes, a leaky decrepit underwater city, and a dentist who doesn't know the first thing about personal space? Real talk, there could have even been a couple of spots when we had to pause it until our lady came home. Not that Bioshock is the first title (let alone the scariest) to give us the creeps. Nope, we're not afraid to admit that we're certified soft-batch when it comes to horror games. That doesn't mean we don't still play them, though.
From Resident Evil to F.E.A.R. there have been plenty of titles that had us on the verge of a self-soiling. So the night before you head back to Rapture, take a trip down memory lane with some of these games. Just remember to turn down the volume, turn on the lights, and have your mommy ready on speed dial...
TITLE: Alone in the Dark (1993)
COMPLEX SAYS: Back in the day, Alone in the Dark was one of the first games to have gamers jumping up and down in their seats. It was also one of the first to do the whole "I'm trapped in a spooky mansion" thing. While its success might have opened the door for a lot of horror games, the scariest thing about the series is how bad the latest installment was—not to mention the film adaptation.
TITLE:Clock Tower (1995)
CONSOLE(S): PlayStation, SNES, PC
COMPLEX SAYS: While Clock Tower may not seem scary now (c'mon fam, the killer has a pair of huge scissors—he's not gunning for you, he just got lost on the way to a grand opening), it was definitely one of those nerve-wrecking games. There's a killer on the loose, and the protagonist isn't exactly fleet of foot. Our suggestion? She just needs to hit the gym, work on her fit-ness.
TITLE: Resident Evil (1996)
COMPLEX SAYS: All we can say is "wow." Not only is RE one of the greatest series of all time, but it's probably the reason why survival horror games are even around at this point. Nothing beats a classic, and even with clunky movement, door-popping zombies, window-smashing zombie dogs, and creepy corridors make RE a definite classic. Plus, if you don't like the graphics, the remake on the GameCube should suit you fine.
TITLE:Silent Hill (1999)
CONSOLE(S): PS3, PSP, Playstation
COMPLEX SAYS: As we said, RE is probably responsible for making the survival horror genre so popular, but Silent Hill took things to the next level. While some of the game takes place inside, the game gives you an entire town to be spooked by. It's like going to Flint!
TITLE:System Shock 2 (1999)
COMPLEX SAYS: Sometimes you have good games, and sometimes you have amazing games. System Shock 2 is an example of the latter. Not only is it one of the coolest RPGs ever, but it is also one of the only games to accurately capture an emotion: loneliness. With beautiful soundtrack and creepy (but incredible) voice acting, gamers can experience what it's really like to be all alone on an infected starship. It's like being Sarah Palin's brain cell!
TITLE:Silent Hill 2 (2001)
CONSOLE(S): PS2, Xbox, PC
COMPLEX SAYS: Normally, we try to refrain from putting more than one game in a series on our list, but this time it's completely necessary—plus, to be fair, it's not a direct sequel to the first game. In Silent Hill 2, you play as James Sunderland, a dude who goes to Silent Hill because he gets a letter from his dead wife Mary, who tells James that she will be waiting for him in their special place at Silent Hill. There are three things that are wrong with this situation: A) Who has a "special place" in Silent Hill? B) You've been to Silent Hill before, and you're going back?!, and C) SHE SENT YOU A LETTER FROM THE BEYOND, SON!
TITLE:Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem (2002)
COMPLEX SAYS: Honestly, we didn't fuck with Eternal Darkness at first; our GameCube was strictly used for playing Mario, Zelda, and the RE remake. However ,when we got the chance to play Eternal Darkness, we were kind of hooked. Without giving away too much, we'll say this: any game with a sanity meter is bound to have some seriously creepy shit in it.
TITLE:Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly (2003)
CONSOLE(S): PS2, Xbox
COMPLEX SAYS: The original Fatal Frame was really good, but when a game is regarded by many gaming websites and magazines as the scariest game ever made, the sequel takes the win. Playing as two sisters (one with a limp—scary!), you inhabit a haunted village. Ghosts and ghouls reign supreme, and your greatest weapon is a camera that captures the spirits and gives you information that could keep you alive. Because these aren't no Luigi's Mansion ghosts.
TITLE:Doom 3 (2004)
CONSOLE(S): Xbox, PC
COMPLEX SAYS: Yes, we know the Rock's acting in the movie Doom is scary enough (not to mention dude's unitard in his latest film). Still, if we're talking scary games, Doom 3 is up there. Classic series x upgraded graphics x awesome story x monsters at every corner = win.
TITLE:Condemned: Criminal Origins (2005)
CONSOLE(S): 360, PC
COMPLEX SAYS: Criminal Origins is pretty scary. No? When was the last time you were framed for the double murder of two cops and placed in an insane asylum with serial killers? Never? Didn't think so.
TITLE:Haunting Ground (2005)
COMPLEX SAYS: Haunting Ground is scary not only because you're trapped in—wait for it—a mansion, but also because you have no weapons! Except for your dog, but ever since I Am Legend that little bastard's been a shook one.
TITLE:Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth (2006)
CONSOLE(S): Xbox, PC
COMPLEX SAYS: Within the first 10 minutes of the game, the main character goes insane. So throughout the game, in Eternal Darkness fashion, while you see dead bodies, freakish people, cult traditions, have insufficient amounts of ammo, and are targeted for death, you might lose it from time to time. Good luck!
CONSOLE(S): 360, PS3, PC
COMPLEX SAYS: Imagine if Ghost Busters got serious. That's kind of what F.E.A.R. is. As part of a special forces team, gamers assume the role of an armed official in search of a strong paranormal figure (OK, it's a ghost) that takes the form of a little girl. So it's got the creepy Children of the Corn feeling, too. Thanks, guys, 'cause we weren't fucked up enough by the whole "possessed humans" thing you had going on.
CONSOLE(S): 360, PS3, PC, Mobile Phones
COMPLEX SAYS: We said it up top and we'll say it again: the fact that you can hear the splicers' insane rantings long before they ever jump out at you makes this one of the most underratedly unnerving games we've ever played. Plus that dentist still fucks with us.
TITLE:Dead Space (2008)
CONSOLE(S): 360, PS3, PC
COMPLEX SAYS: Dead Space is one of those games you play at home when it's late and you've got surround sound and you think you're a tough guy...and 10 minutes later you're in bed, with a new pair of underwear, waiting for a homie to bring the aero bed and talk things over. Infected creatures, empty space station—it's something from the school of System Shock, except everything looks too real and seems to pop out when you least expect it.