Welcome to the official Thumb Culture Top 5 Ghostly Games of All Time by Morgan, she takes a look into her gaming past and just like Frankenstein’s Monster, she once again breathes life into games that have long been forgotten. So sit back, close the curtains, lock the doors, turn out the lights and hold on for what could be the scariest article you will read at this particular moment in time. MUWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
Was the evil laugh too much? Sorry….enjoy the article.
Number 5: Super Ghouls and Ghosts
Is it scary? No. Is it a classic? Yes! Super Ghouls and Ghosts for the Super Nintendo is a relentless game that’s perfect for this chilling time of year. It’s a hard ass game, but with a deep satisfaction and wonderful sense of charm. Instead of shrinking when you get hit, your character is reduced to his underwear – what’s not to love about that?
It’s a two-hit death game with perils of all forms coming from every direction. There are zombies, wolves, ghosts, gargoyles, bats, skulls, flames, and all of the other creatures you would find in a typical Halloween setting. Don’t let the cute 16-bit graphics fool you though, you’re going to die a lot in this game. So many times you might as well not even bother counting. Everything in the environment is a hazard, and every enemy around you is ready to push you into it. It’s unrelenting. And when you make it all the way through the game, don’t bother celebrating – the entire second half of the game is just you playing the first half all over again. It’s not exactly fit for the casual gamer.
Super Ghouls and Ghosts is an annual staple in my house this time of year; an enraging, nostalgia stroking experience that puts me in the perfect mood for All Hallow’s Eve. Released in 1991 by Capcom, it still stands strong as one of the hardest games I’ve ever played. Totally worth a try if you’re up to the challenge and a night of strangely satisfying rage screaming.
Number 4: Outlast
I’ll be honest here, I never actually got around to finishing this game because I had it on PC at the time and never fully immersed into the experience, but it still makes the list because it’s just that ghostly.
Outlast is a survival horror game at its purest; a real run-and-hide kind of game that gets the blood flowing and heart pumping. There are no weapons for your character in Outlast, so you’re forced to rely on sleuthing around and some well-timed leaps into lockers and under beds. Your lifeblood item in the game is batteries for your handheld cam – run out of these and you can pretty much kiss your run goodbye.
The game takes place in a run-down insane asylum and you’re a journalist out to get the next scoop. You break into this looming place on a dark and stormy night (real original, I know) and pretty much regret that decision from that moment on. There are devilish creeps in wheelchairs; gigantic monster-men that go on fits of rage and chase you around; blood all over the place and an overall sense of hopelessness. It really is the perfect game to play in the dark when you’re looking to get a bit of terror on a Halloween night.
Outlast was first released by Red Barrels on Windows in 2013 and later on PS4 in 2014. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever played; like Amnesia on crack. I highly recommend giving it a play – just make sure your doors are locked before you pop it in.
Number 3: Resident Evil 4
Let me just come out and say it: this game was no joke for me back in the day. It was my pioneer experience with anything Resident Evil, and anything other than general Nintendo type games (insert copious Mario titles/Banjo Kazooie-Tooie here) to be frank. I popped the undersized, roughly three inch disk, into my periwinkle console with nothing but open expectations.
And it scared the shit out of me. It scared the controller out of my hands, and caused me to then place those hands onto the tops of my knees to commence a subtle rocking position as I curled into a ball with fear. Okay honestly, it wasn’t that bad, but the level of horror and intensity that Resident Evil 4 had, compared to anything I’d played previously was hard for me to get past; so I wound up putting it away for a couple of years. Finally, after years of conditioning with other shooter games that “eased” me into the genre, I returned to face my fears with the lights off and the sound up; and the experienced had seldom been matched since.
While it doesn’t quite top the list of scariest, or best horror games, Resident Evil 4 certainly stands strong among its more modern contenders. It’s an oft-forgotten member of a genre that’s taken one too many pages out of its movie-brethren’s chosen book; by going for cheap scares and overzealous gore-core monster designs, rather than the classic slow-burn psychological fear that has you checking if your doors are locked and your showers are empty before comfortably sleeping at night. It was a living dead-type setting before the popularity boom of the zombie paradigm, and its setting is oddly relatable – the enemies somewhat human, the world entirely realistic – which I think is one of the reasons it’s so damn creepy.
Released in 2005 by Capcom (damn were they good at making games), this title could easily still hold strong if it wasn’t for the stiff and often clunky controls.
Number 2: Bioshock
Bioshock might not come to mind at first when you’re considering spooky games, but I can remember my first time playing the first in the series; your plane crashes and you suddenly turn up in the strange building in the middle of the ocean. With nowhere else to go you must follow the chosen path – there’s nowhere to go but down. You pick up a wrench in the nearby environment, and not long after you hear the footsteps of the first of what will be many deranged baddies… It’s a terrifying experience!
Bioshock takes place in a sort of dystopian world where the human lust for perfection has turned people into disfigured shells of their former selves. They’re still conscious, can still make decisions, but they have no other real desire than to kill in search of their precious Adam. It’s a gorgeous world gone wrong, and there’s something upsetting about that, it just doesn’t sit right. Each time your eyes meet a colorful new environment, they’re likely to find a dead body or two also.
The setting is one big masquerade, where bloodied bodied parts are abound and terrifying lunatics are waiting around each corner. And then there’s the Big Daddies, oh my gosh the Big Daddies. Scary enough to look at when being led around by their sallow-eyed little mistresses, but have to fight them and you’re guaranteed to have a few hairs standing on end.
The first Bioshock in the series came out in 2007 and was truly unique for its time. Released by what was once Irrational Studios, the developers now go by Ghost Story Games; aptly named for such a psychologically chilling game.
Number 1: Super Castlevania IV
Super Castlevania IV is easily the best Ghostly Game to play during the Halloween season (bonus point if it’s on a Friday the 13th!). It’s got skeletons, wraiths, caskets, Medusa heads, harpies, zombies, bats, spiders, and of course vampires – pretty much the whole spooky gamut of baddies that have become quintessential to the season – it even has a doppelganger for Frankenstein’s Monster (no witches though, better luck next game I guess).
The atmosphere is haunting; the graphics are unimaginably crisp and immersive; the gameplay is smooth and and intuitive, and goddamn does this game have some good music. Before I’d ever tried out the game for myself I had binge-listened to the soundtrack on repeat because it’s so catchy. Dare I say the best music for a game ever? Subjective, yes, but it’s a collection of all the best songs from the first few Castlevania games so it’s obviously well thought out.
Super Castlevania IV was first released in 1991 by Konami on the Super Nintendo but it still holds up today. It’s another staple in my house this time of year, a tradition as essential as baking cookies before Christmas.
There’s something exceptionally scary about horror games that trumps the ability for true fear over their silver screen counterparts. Maybe it’s the interactive sensation or the fact that when your character dies it sometimes feels actually permanent, but it’s an experience I love. Even the zombies in Minecraft have this uncanny ability to stand my hair on end (don’t even get me started on the growl of the Enderman). So grab yourself some cider, snuggle up with a blanket pulled way over your head, and pop in your favorite horror title on this spooktacular Friday the 13th.
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