Five twisted titles for the Halloween-inspired gamer

With Halloween quickly approaching, we take a look at the top five video games sure to give you a fright!

Video games in the horror genre are in no short supply, so be warned, for they are not for the faint of heart, and only the strongest souls can play through them!

1.”Resident Evil” (any title)- “Resident Evil” is among the longest lasting survival-horror video games in history.

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With a debut in 1996 with the first game, titled “Resident Evil” here in the U.S. and “Biohazard” overseas in Japan, this 16-year franchise (a new game is set to debut in 2012) has spawned four live-action movies, numerous CGI animated films, and has several more of each in the works!

This series is like the zombies that populate it, unable to die! From straight-up horror to the more action-shooter based elements seen in more recent titles, the games manage to remain varied and unique throughout their many incarnations, and with such a long history, there’s at least one game for each current system!

2. “Dead Space”- A powerful newcomer franchise since 2008, “Dead Space” encompasses three console video games, one  Xbox Live Arcade/PlayStation Network puzzle game, two movies, and three printed comic books and novels. Like a combination of 1982 horror movie “The Thing” combined with classic zombie fiction and in a deep space, dark and gritty setting, “Dead Space” is one of the most original and terrifying video games ever produced. With a key on atmosphere, replete with white-knuckle, hair-raising horrors and gory visuals, this game is one that will give even the staunchest horror fanatic pause for thought, and the rest of us nightmares for weeks to come after playing.

3. “The Thing”- Speaking of the 1982 horror movie “The Thing,” not to mention the recent prequel to that movie (also, creatively titled “The Thing”) that premiered mere weeks ago, this little-known video game sequel to the original John Carpenter film was an ambitious and well-received foray into intelligent A.I. characterization.

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With a similar premise to the film, the player character and a small team of compatriots discover the Antarctic base from the film and the horrifying alien life form uncovered during the course of the movie’s plot. Your team mates all have a set “trust” and “distrust” function, which, combined with the disturbing tale that unfolds, means you have to carefully measure your actions in a way that very nicely recreates the sense of paranoia and unease that comes from people being possessed by an extraterrestrial monstrosity.

Though only available for last-generation consoles: Xbox and PlayStation 2, and the graphics have not aged particularly well when compared to modern games, “The Thing” still manages to delve artfully into atmospheric, intense, and personal gameplay that makes gamers actually think about their actions.

4. “Alan Wake”- A personal favorite, “Alan Wake” follows a delightfully Stephen King-inspired story about a self-conscious, writers-blocked author vacationing in a small Washington town, when things begin to go horribly wrong. Beset on all sides by a sentient, malicious darkness, and on a journey of self-discovery as he finds hidden pages of a book that he doesn’t remember writing, Alan Wake must piece together his own story and try to save himself, people of the town of Bright Falls, and his wife, Alice.

All the while, he must combat people “possessed” by darkness, using an arsenal of flashlights, lanterns, and road flares alongside firearms, in a system that makes a player not only manage ammunition and weaponry, but also light sources and batteries.

Pacing is a key to this game, as it divides itself into a mere six chapters, each with a brief recap about what happened beforehand like the episodes of a television show, and though easily beatable in one ten-hour playthrough, “Alan Wake” is an intense, influential ride that blends modern storytelling with tight, responsive gameplay.

5. “Doom 3”- Another past-generation title, available on Xbox console, Mac OSX, Linux and Windows, “Doom 3” reinvented the “Doom” franchise.

Remember “Doom,” the original first person shooter for computers? It was the game that defined gaming, letting a

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single player storm through crowded hallways blasting at demon monsters from hell. It had no real plot, no real purpose, no real story, and yet it began the gaming craze in full.

Several sequels later and “Doom 3” was born, published by Activision and developed by id software, and it was another game that defined a new genre. “Doom 3” sported revolutionary new graphics, and a deep and intrinsic, artful, and story-driven horror narrative unlike anything previously seen in the gaming industry. It’s as scary today as it was a decade ago, and looks beautiful even compared to modern games.

While guns and ammo are as important in “Doom 3” as they were in “Doom,” if not more so to emphasize the horror aspect of the game, light has an even bigger part to play, as your player character carries a flashlight that must be equipped and used separate from your weapons, meaning you can’t be illuminating a room and shooting things at the same time, which adds a great deal of tension to the gameplay experience as a whole.

Well, there you have it. Five games guaranteed to creep you out once you’re done partying it up Halloween Night. Though there are many more, equally terrifying games out there to choose from, these listed here are the ones that define the horror genre, and like all games, have their own unique place in history.

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