It may only be spring yet we are feeling very spooky at GP. Here we take a look back at the best horror games you must play but might have forgotten about!
Haunting Ground, PS2
Kicking off our list is the scarily good Haunting Ground. Originally released in 2005 (it was re-released on the PS3 exclusive to Japan last year), this is survival horror at its best. You play as Fiona, who wakes up in the dungeon of a castle after being involved in a car accident on her way to visit her parents. She discovers the castle is inhabited with lunatics intent on causing her harm…
The beauty of Haunting Ground isn’t necessarily the story (to be honest it is quite predictable) but rather the element in which Fiona is expected to defend herself. At the beginning of the game, you must evade enemies or hide until they go past (the game will even point out where to hide in new areas) that is until the arrival of Hewie, a white shepherd dog that aides Fiona to escape. At the beginning, Hewie is difficult to command, so building a trust with him is integral to getting further in the game. Fiona can pet him or feed treats which will build the relationship between Fiona and Hewie, which will then enable him to seek out areas, look for items and attack enemies.
The obvious problem for Fiona is the lack of weapons (other than Hewie and her only being able to kick, that also reduces her stamina) against enemies that will often result her falling into “panic mode” this is where visibility will be worse, Fiona will run into walls / trip over and generally try to flee but eventually depletes over time.
The core game in Haunting Ground is what all survival horror games should be about – being able to survive a horrific situation with limited weaponry / help to aid you as a player. This is what makes it fun to play.
Clock Tower 3, PS2
Interestingly, Haunting Ground started life as the sequel to Clock Tower 3, the series that spawned the horror and seek style of game play. It was the first game to be released outside of Japan for PS2.
Again, the story isn’t that great about a 14 year old girl named Alyssa Hamilton who finds herself transported back to WW2 era in a mysterious tower, upon entering a boarding school. She must solve puzzles and piece together events that have led her to be in that time and escape the tower.
Here are the good bits: Clock Tower 3 is classic survival horror – you have a limited supply of holy water against subordinates (enemies in the form of spirits / monsters) and need to hide or escape them before combating them at the end of each level with a bow and arrows. There is “panic mode” same as Haunting Ground which adds to the tension and horror of the situation.
Project Zero, PS2
Now if you’re looking for a real scare, then look no further. Project Zero is the mother of all the terrors, horrors and generally all things that go bump in the night. It has been released on various platforms throughout the years (sadly, I haven’t been able to play the recent iteration, Maiden of Black Water for Wii U) but the original on PS2 is still one of the best.
Known as Fatal Frame elsewhere, Project Zero isn’t necessarily a title you would have forgotten about (it was too terrifying to forget) but needed to be on this list. Released in 2001, Zero focuses on Miku who is in search of her brother Mafuyu in a haunted mansion (that always bodes well). The mansion is inhabited with evil spirits intent on attacking Miku. Her defense? Only an unusual camera named Camera Obscura that can capture ghosts. This is done through first person perspective, with timing being the most crucial element in delivering the most damage – waiting near as possible to last minute before the ghost can rush at Miku, draining her health.
The camera uses film as ammunition that can be found throughout the mansion, with different quality of film dealing more damage.
It’s an understatement to call Project Zero scary – it is the most terrifying experience in a game I have ever played. Sounds of ghosts throughout the mansion are extremely eerie, creating a tension fest throughout the entire game. The story itself is very disturbing – with subplots scattered throughout notes or diaries found in each area.
Arming a young girl with just a camera to stop ghosts in a huge, dark mansion is a genius idea and makes for a really great game and a deeply scary experience – just try not screaming when you play it, ok?