There are some deliciously evil enemies in video games, and now Halloween is here it’s time to revel in these beings that keep us on the edge of our seats. Coming many shapes and sizes, some may hunt you from the darkness, while others lash out wildly, backing you into a corner. Be it the outright gruesome or sheer psychological terrors, these horrible creatures add a dynamic to games that nothing else can: fear.
Here’s a look at ten of the worst, scariest, most evil and gruesome beings in video games. So turn the lights down low, prepare a hiding place – a safe haven, if you will – and come on a journey to the dark side…
10. Psycho Mantis (Metal Gear Solid)
A truly warped individual, physically and mentally scarred, Psycho Mantis hides behind a gas mask that instantly sets you on edge. Using psychic energy to attack, he launches items from the surroundings at you while you run for cover, but then – darkness. Your television has turned off, panic sets in: what happened? A fear for what’s gooing on behind the black screen sets in as you frantically tap buttons trying to get back to the fight. Of course, this was merely one of Mantis’ games, as he then toys with your fears by telling you what save games are on your memory card, using his mind to shake your controller violently. Psycho Mantis was a terrifying addition to classic mind-bending video game.
9. Hunter (Left 4 Dead)
Zombies were pretty scary, then they began running and they became incredibly scary. Then along came the Hunter and everything changed. Its one thing to deal with swarms of zombies clawing at your flesh, it’s quite another to fend off a Hunter at full ferocity. There you are, part of a team working towards your destination, blasting reanimated corpses left and right, then a piercing screech fills the air. Nothing can be seen; perhaps a shadow darts into darkness in the corner of your eye. Then all hell breaks loose and that scream closes in like a gunshot. You’re pinned to the ground, a Hunter on top of you clawing at your chest with speed, your life bar depleting rapidly. You couldn’t shoot him out of the air, he was too fast, and there was nothing you could do. Oh look, there’s the respawn screen.
8. Cyborg Midwives (System Shock 2)
Guarding the eggs of The Many, taunting the player with phrases such as “babies need meat”, “I’ll tear out your spine” and “I can smell you”, the Cyborg Midwives from System Shock 2 are horrific creatures. Humans with cyborg parts fused to their bodies, they stalk around the player’s environment, using their voice to make your skin crawl and your blood chill. Not only can they crawl into your subconscious and screw with you on a deeper level, but they are incredibly tough to kill. Vicious blasts from their laser arm will have you running for your life, pumping endless amounts of ammo into them before they simply wipe you out.
7. Cyberdemon (Doom series)
The Doom 2 manual has this to say about the Cyberdemon: “a missile-launching skyscraper with goat legs”. If that’s not enough to make you tread carefully through the later levels of both Doom and Doom 2 then maybe laying eyes upon the creature itself will. A towering demon, half unfeeling-mechanical-killing-machine half minotaur, the Cyberdemon audibly stomps around the level announcing its presence. As soon as the beastly creature steps in front of you, uncertainty overwhelms you – “can I even kill this thing? It’s huge!” – then it fires off three rockets at a time from his arm, constantly pressing you, forcing you to backpedal whilst frantically thinking about what in your arsenal is actually going to work her. Using panic to trigger errors in your game plan, surviving encounters with the Cyberdemon truly is rewarding.
6. Slasher (Dead Space)
If there is anything that scares people the most, it’s not knowing what’s around the corner. This feeling pervades through Dead Space as you creep at a snail’s pace through its dark corridors, scouring each and every corner for movement, your weapon held steadfast, ready for anything. But in all this preparation for what might be there, you may still find yourself unprepared for what is there – the Slasher. It tears and swipes at you with speed and power, overwhelming your every sense. Watching as this creature swings at you with scythe-like arms, gouging your body, visibly salivating at the prospect of your expiration, allowing it to tear every part of you into tiny piece – it’s a truly terrifying experience that only heightens the claustrophobia. Don’t get surrounded by these monsters, otherwise you will not see the light of day again.
5. Spider Splicer (BioShock)
Much like the Hunter from Left 4 Dead, BioShock’s Spider Splicer preys on you by disorientating you at every opportunity. It climbs the walls and ceilings so frantically that many of your shots will fly past your target. forcing you to wait until the Splicer itself is ready for the inevitable fight. Dropping down from the ceilings and running at you with blinding speed, the Spider Splicer will lash out at you with its hooks, tearing at your skin before dodging your counterattack by scaling the walls oncem ore, tugging at your frustrations. This enemy is brutal even on BioShock’s easy difficulty, but step up to hard and you’ll find yourself wasting many bullets in your hunt to kill this maniacal fiend as it toys with you, as if you were nothing more than its plaything.
4. Alma (FEAR series)
Little girls with lank wet hair scare me. Teenage girls with lank wet hair scare me. Both with added freaky mind powers seriously shit me up. So watching Alma terrorize you and the world around you is very disturbing. Alma preys on a very different fear to any of the other entries in this list; she plays on your primal fears. Ghostly apparitions will haunt your visions and objects will move on their own, but this is nothing compared to the simple fright of Alma standing at the end of a corridor seemingly burning holes through you with her stare. Creeps me out just thinking about it.
3. Nurse (Silent Hill 2)
Playing on the thoughts of Silent Hill 2’s protagonist regards his wife’s illness and the sexual deprivation he has experienced, the nurses’ low cut uniforms expose their bosoms, contrasted against bloated, ugly heads and their bodies that twitch in a contorted fashion that makes your skin crawl. While they are certainly visually disturbing, they are also a true force to be reckoned with. Approaching you armed and surrounding you in numbers, they will attempt to bludgeon you to death – without remorse. They are true killing machines that will give you many sleepless nights.
2. MA-39 Cerebus (Resident Evil)
I still remember the moment today. Walking down a hallway in that creepy mansion, having already fought off many zombies … that was bad enough. But now I’m low on ammo, and ’cos I’m maneuvering by turning on the spot, moving at haste is particularly hard. After slowly opening a door and making my way to the next room, I’m minding my own business, then all of a sudden the windows smash in on me, and I’m being circled by zombie dogs. Rabid, quick-moving canines with a hunger for human flesh, these doggies are so difficult to run from with the clunky (but enjoyably so) controls, not to mention hard to shoot at while they’re jumping up and chewing on my face.
1. Your Mind [Sanity Meter] (Eternal Darkness)
There is nothing scarier than what your mind can create; it’s often these moments that bring real terror in gaming. In Silicon Knights’ classic title, a feature called the sanity meter was used, and it was a feature which played on your fears. As the game went on, the meter would deplete and start to create tense situations. You’d hear voices whispering, sudden cries and, much like Psycho Mantis, your TV would star to malfunction, turning the volume up and down. As you walked into a new room, you would find yourslef on the ceiling, but this would be a hallucination, just like when the walls would bleed and numbers would cloud your vision. Not that that knowledge made it any less terrifying. In Eternal Darkness, the true enemy was your own mind.