These are the top 9 scariest moments in Xbox games
With horror making something of a comeback on Xbox One, we return to nine of the scariest moments in gaming from across the console generations
Thief: Deadly Shadows
Console: Xbox | Developer: Ion Storm | Release Date: 2004
Has there ever been such a critically lauded level in all of horror? Robbing The Cradle was to be found in the latter part of Ion Storm’s super-stealth adventure Thief: Deadly Shadows, and it’s scary. Like, keep you up at night with the lights on scary. It’s at odds with the rest of the game, sweeping you away from the gothic city and to a seemingly abandoned, horribly haunted, orphanage/mental asylum (obviously, that’s a terrible mixture). It’s powerfully atmospheric thanks to some simply incredible sound design; it truly needs to be played to be believed.
The Walking Dead: Season One
Console: Xbox 360 | Developer: Telltale | Release Date: 2012
Telltale’s take on TWD wasn’t critically acclaimed for its momentous jump-scares, but because of its careful and cautious approach to building character. We grew to love Lee and Clementine as the episodic adventure pushed on. That’s why it made its inevitable conclusion all the harder to swallow. What gamer can honestly say they weren’t gripped with fear as they faced the prospect of forcing poor Clementine to pull the trigger on foster-father Lee or letting him suffer in the forever-darkness? Truly unsettling stuff.
Console: Xbox 360 | Developer: Valve | Release Date: 2007
Half-Life 2 isn’t a horror game, but there’s something uniquely creepy about Ravenholm. This is a level you encounter fairly early on in Gordon Freeman’s adventure, but it lingers in the mind. Shortly after getting your hands on the ever-awesome Gravity Gun, you are facing down a horde of crawling head-crabs in the dank and dilapidated fallen city of Ravenholm. The head-crabs move swiftly making escape across the rooftops a tense affair, while being chased by the zombified humans is forever terrifying – not to mention pretty brutal as you begin decapitating them with spinning blades to save on ammunition.
Resident Evil HD
Console: Xbox 360 | Developer: Capcom | Release Date: 2014
How could we possibly exclude this from the list seeing as Capcom was good enough to give us an HD-remaster? Resident Evil is one of the all-time great survival horror games, and while it’s aged a bit in the twenty years since it first released, it still features plenty of jump scares that’ll have you rushing bashfully to the bathroom. But one stands tall above the rest – a scare that has had people leaping out of seats for generations, and will no doubt continue for generations to come. Those bloody dogs, leaping into that bloody corridor. Ugh.
Console: Xbox 360 | Developer: Irrational Games | Release Date: 2008
Where to begin with BioShock? Irrational never really delved into full-on-horror – although the first Big Daddy encounter and the crawl through Fontaine’s Lair could argue otherwise – but the studio did an incredible job at building tension throughout this early Xbox 360 classic. But there’s still nothing quite like that descent into Rapture, the underwater utopia-turned drug-addled battleground. As you take your first steps, fend off your first Splicer and try to make sense of it all, it’s hard to escape the sinking feeling that you might never escape. It’s a suffocating first few hours; a true masterpiece of terrifying design.
Condemned: Criminal Origins
Console: Xbox 360 | Developer: Monolith | Release Date: 2005
We hate Condemned: Criminal Origins. Hate it. Not because it’s a bad game – it’s actually pretty awesome – but because it’s horrible. This Xbox 360 launch title still gives us the heebie-jeebies. There’s a designer at Monolith that decided to fill a room with faceless mannequins that approach as you turn your back, biding their time until, eventually, they strike. Or they don’t. It’s impossible to tell which are real and which are plastic, which triggers a panicked spree where you hit them all with a lead pipe. You know, just in case.
Console: Xbox 360 | Developer: Visceral Games | Release Date: 2008
Before Alien Isolation came along, Dead Space was the closest thing we had to a pure Ridley Scott Alien experience. Tight, claustrophobic corridors blended expertly with a horror we never quite understood, it was extremely well crafted. While the series has plenty of jump scares, it’s that first encounter with a Necromorph that sticks in the mind. It broke all of the rules we had about modern shooter design. Aim for the head, Call Of Duty said, blast away all of your ammo, Gears Of War said. Why did none of these games tell us to strip monsters to death limb by limb with disused mining gear?
Silent Hill 2
Console: Xbox 360 | Developer: Konami | Release Date: 2012
Silent Hill 2 re-wrote the playbook for modern horror, and its impact extends beyond videogames. It’s a creepy, unsettling and horrible experience. There are so many stand out moments – skin-peeling walls, the howl of a distant baby, the rooms of blood – but perhaps the most noteworthy is the introduction of Pyramid Head. Even in the nightmarish town, he’s one of the most deeply disturbing figures you’ll likely to encounter. Spot that odd-shaped head-cage out of the corner of your eye or hear the ominous sound of a giant sword being scraped along the ground and you know that something bad is going to happen…
Console: Xbox 360| Developer: Monolith | Release Date: 2005
We hope you’re happy, Monolith. As if ensuring we avoid department stores thanks to Condemned wasn’t enough, you also made sure that we can never have kids, either. Seriously, F.E.A.R somehow makes a little girl the scariest thing in the entire world. Each time you climb down a ladder, you automatically check your footing before the view returns straight ahead. Then one ladder climb sees your check his footing, then look up… into Alma’s dead, unmoving eyes, as she suddenly appears in front of you. We made a noise in sheer fright that we’ve never been able to replicate – terrifying stuff.