Tis the season to turn off the lights, huddle around the glow of your television, and scare yourself silly playing some spooky video games. As we played and reminisced about our favorite scary video games ever, we wondered why so many great series ended. With that in mind, we decided to look back and pick some of these amazing horror game series that have fallen away and remind you that we need more.
1. Silent Hill
The Silent Hill franchise left an indelible mark on the horror genre and gaming as a whole. Silent Hill and Silent Hill 2 are still two of the greatest horror games ever created and will cause nightmares despite being developed 20 years ago.
However, a numbered Silent Hill has not been released since 2004, and the last official installment of the series hit seven years ago (Silent Hill: Downpour). No series on this list is quite as heartbreaking as Silent Hills when you remember the phenomenon that was P.T.
P.T. is still widely regarded as one of the best horror games ever despite being nothing more than a playable teaser. Little did terrified PlayStation users realize that P.T. was actually a teaser for Silent Hills, the ninth installment in the series. However, the game ended up being canceled, and Konami removed P.T. from the PlayStation Network. Fans were unable to re-download the game, which caused PlayStations with the game downloaded on it selling for hundreds of dollars.
Silent Hill helped revolutionize the horror gaming genre, whether that be with their third-person view and 3D environments in 1999 or doing so again in 2014 with their terrifying first-person perspective and reliance on mental anguish. All of horror is better off when the folks at Konami are making Silent Hill games.
2. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
Nintendo took an unexpected turn with the release of Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem on the Gamecube. Gone were the bright colors and family-friendly characters, Eternal Darkness brought players darkness and genuinely unsettling gameplay.
Though the game played a lot like Resident Evil, developer Silicon Knights brought something new to the table: the Sanity Meter.
In Eternal Darkness, players had a Sanity Meter, which was a green bar that would decrease when a player spotted an enemy. As this green bar decreased, the more unsettling and weird things players would see in the game. Simple things, like the environment changing slightly or the camera skewing, were common “Sanity Effects.” But players could also see their character randomly dying or fake errors for their Gamecube.
Eternal Darkness messed with players like few games had, or have ever, done since. There was a sequel in the works, but it got canceled. And then a spiritual successor was Kickstarted in 2013 but eventually got canceled, too.
To this day, Eternal Darkness is still an unnerving and fourth-wall-breaking experience for gamers.
3. Fatal Frame
Imagine being stuck in a haunted mansion or town with a camera as your only means of defense against the vengeful spirits. That’s where the Fatal Frame series drops players.
Players need to use the Camera Obscura to defend themselves against ghosts – with the better the focus and photo of the spirit causing them more damage. Ghosts are constantly moving and fading away into nothing. Some ghosts aggressively attack the player, which means taking the photos is a nerve-racking experience. The panic that comes over you as you’re trying to take a picture of a vengeful, mourning spirit as they charge you is one never truly replicated.
Fatal Frame has not seen a release since Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water on the WiiU in 2015, which was far from their best efforts. It truly is a shame if we don’t see another in this series, especially in Western culture as Fatal Frame is the epitome of Japanese horror games.
4. Dead Space
When the first Dead Space was released, nervous players could not put it down. The game offered an amazing setting and played out like an actual top-tier Hollywood blockbuster – but it was the scares that made it truly transcendent.
A silent, isolated protagonist stuck in an interstellar mining ship flooded with horrific reanimated corpses called Nercromorphs. That alone is terrifying but you also need to salvage for weapons to defend yourself. That’s what makes the first Dead Space scary.
Dead Space 2 kicked it up a notch with bigger and more terrifying creatures. The gameplay was more honed than the first, and this time you could play with a friend to diminish the scares just a little bit. Dead Space 3 was the weakest of the trilogy to date but still kept true to its roots of scary monsters and jump scares.
Of all the series on this list, Dead Space is the most likely to keep chugging along in the near future. Though we haven’t seen a release in the franchise in over six years, the series was a big-time seller for EA, and there wasn’t a bad game produced of the bunch. A return to their true horror roots similar to the first in the series could cement Dead Space as an all-time great horror series.
5. Clock Tower
The Clock Tower series was a set of games in the wrong time. The series had astonishing, haunting atmospheres that created a foreboding sense of dread. However, the point-and-click gameplay just fell flat. If someone were to take what made the Clock Tower series special, update it, and change the mechanics to something similar to P.T. or Resident Evil remakes, then fans might be in for something special.
But we digress. Clock Tower (1996) was the cream of the crop of the series. Players set forth trying to discover why Scissorman, a serial killer with a comically large pair of scissors, is seemingly immortal and on a killing spree. As players search for clues, they could be unfortunate enough to hear Scissorman’s music start to play, informing them that they had a short amount of time to hide or else they would be killed.
In addition to the ever-presence threat of danger, there were branching storylines and endings for players in Clock Tower (1996). It makes all the decisions, whether good or bad, feel like they have weight, which was a rarity in 1996.
The Clock Tower series desperately needs to be remade or rebooted. The core elements are perfect. Maniacal serial killer, impending doom, multiple ending. Sure, the game would need an overhaul in many respects, but this is a series that could be infinitely more impactful if they brought it back today.
What horror game series do you want to see make a return?
Let us know in the comments below!
Top image via Konami/IGDB
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