Survival horrors are some of our favourite games at MyGaming, particularly mine.
No other kind of game gets the blood pumping and the adrenaline flowing as powerfully, I just love being scared out of my wits.
Creeping through grisly underworlds and urban decay, being hunted by warped freaks is nothing short of pure entertainment.
With that in mind, with the number 5 spot having reinvigorated my love for survival horrors, here are 5 of my favourite, most terrifying hellzones, in ascending order.
5 – Alien: Isolation
What made Alien: Isolation so utterly nerve-wrecking was the above-shown antagonist, the Xenomorph. This skulking extra-terrestrial possessed intelligence never before-seen in horror games. It almost seemed fully sentient.
The iconic alien could sniff you out, outrun you and was invincible. It would learn your patterns of behaviour and adapt to your techniques.
It could burst out of any vent or hole at any time, sneak up behind you and impale you with its monstrous tail.
Hiding in a box or under a dressing-table waiting for the inevitable whilst the snarling abomination plodded around the room looking for you was enough to strip the myelin sheath from your nerves.
Coupled with a striking and perfectly-realised environment, this was one of the best survival horror titles I have ever played.
4 – Fatal Frame Series
This original franchise revolves around various female protagonists entering decaying Japanese mansions to solve mysteries and the like.
Inevitably, they become trapped in the sprawling haunted structures, populated with vicious ghosts that want nothing more than to snap your neck.
Armed only with a magical camera, players had to photograph the ghastly phantasms to take them out, which had to be timed properly to deal the most damage.
The game offered a refreshing spin on the horror genre with its unique gameplay. The occult, murky, grainy atmosphere put players in a surreal state of mounting terror and discomfort, jump-scares galore.
The Asian spirits could appear and disappear at will and a more powerful feudal-era boss could attack you at any time.
This game was also really difficult, as survival horror games are, as the ever hardening ghosts become more and more resistant to your amateur supernatural photography.
3 – Outlast
Completely deranged, shamelessly debased and unforgivingly difficult, Outlast is a masterpiece.
The game put you behind the handy-cam of a fatally attracted journalist investigating an infamous psychiatric hospital where rumoured inhumane experimentation was occurring.
Not long into sneaking into the seemingly abandoned centre for psychological treatment, the protagonist finds himself trapped in a hellish world of demented, tortured psychopaths, prowling in search of the next sadistic encounter, namely dismembering you.
What made this game so terrifying – what makes most games scary – was taking vulnerability to the next level. Equipped with nothing but your video camera, you could not fight back against the frenzied cretins.
You could only run like hell, hide, or escape into the next zone.
This game had me screaming out loud often, as hulking abominations would materialize from the shadows and one would often suffer the random, unexpected bludgeon to the occipital lobe.
2 – Silent Hill Series
The franchise that needs no introduction, Silent Hill.
This unfortunate town swallowed by the taint of a malicious and vengeful cult’s exploits has spawned several of the best-made survival horror games ever made.
Silent Hill is the epitome of the survival horror genre. The various protagonists who were unlucky enough to misadventure into this nightmarish place all had personalized hells created for them by the evil force manifested in the town, each game being a tour of the damaged and dark minds of the lovable main characters.
With clunky controls, overwhelming stages and uniquely awful enemies, Silent Hill fulfilled all of the requirements for a horror masterpiece.
The franchise unfortunately took a dive in quality when its Japanese creators sold it to an American group of Konami, and faith in the franchise was further tarnished when the temporary promise of Silent Hills was shattered all too quickly.
Despite this, I still believe that Silent Hill can flourish once again. I thankfully downloaded the P.T. demo before it was eradicated from existence.
1 – Siren / Forbidden Siren
My favourite survival horror game and the scariest experience I’ve had holding a controller.
Known as Siren, or Forbidden Siren depending on region, this PlayStation 2 game is an obscure classic I hold fondly in my heart.
The game revolves around events in an isolated village in rural Japan, cut off from the world by a landslide.
These mismatched events are lived out by various characters, from little defenceless children to more capable adults.
Each episode plays out at a different time and players experience the total happening on a stage selection grid akin to an Excel spreadsheet.
Players must sneak around a gloomy and foreboding village populated by transformed zombies known as ‘Shibito’, who gradually mutate into further unsettling forms as the game progresses, becoming the most frightening beings in gaming history.
The unique gimmick in this game was being able to ‘Sight-jack’, which involved hijacking the perception of the growling Shibito in the area to better plan a sneaking pattern and avoid their clutches.
If spotted by a Shibito, the player would see red through his or her now attacking eyes.
The soundtrack, stages, enemies, cut-scenes and storyline all streamlined to create one of the most disassociating and enjoyable climates in any game, a unique culture not enjoyed in any other franchise.
That’s my list, what’s yours? Let us know in the comments or forum.