Everybody has heard of big name titles like Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and Dead Space. However, there are some lesser-known titles that can give you frights with the best of them. These games embrace some of the key themes to horror games that make them terrifying. Even the lesser known Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a big name title compared to some of these.
The Dark Eye (PC)
This game is structurally a point and click game but it takes you through a few of the stories of famed horror author Edgar Allen Poe. The dark Eye goes through the stories of "The Cask of Amontillado". "The Tell-Tale Heart", and "Bernice". This, sadly, is not a decision making game. There are no epic life or death choices, but you do get to watch the terror stories unfold. The only sad part of this game is that it does not include more stories. With only three stories to go through, the game is a bit short. It could have been so much better with just a little more effort!
However, you can experience the stories through the eyes of both the victim and the murder which adds for some fun replayabilty. The art style is far from realistic, but it adds to the macabre in its own way. The Dark Eye uses a claymation style that creates ugly and creepy characters to go with the story.
Hotel 626 (Flash Game)
Hotel 626 is a flash game that was created by an unlikely source--Frito-Lays. That's right, the chip company made a flash game. Hotel 626 is a free to play flash game that you can go on the internet and play for free right now. However, you can only play the game from 6 p.m to 6 p.m., thus the name. Hotel 626 also utilizes your microphone and webcam if you have on in some amazingly creative ways.
There is very little plot to Hotel 626 and it is sadly kind of a short game, but essentially you spend your time trying to escape a reimagining of what I think is Hotel California. You spend your time solving puzzles and dodging ghosts while trying to escape this haunted hotel hell hole.
The game dares you to play without any lights on if you dare, and it makes the game experience so much better if you do. Seeing a flash game on this list is probably the last thing you would expected. I am a hardened horror game playing veteran and this game made me look like quite the coward as I could not finish it, so this is just something I could not leave out.
The Grudge (Wii)
You know what is an amazing platform to play horror games on? The interactive Wii platform. The interactivity of the Wii brings horror just one step closer to you in your living room. Now, the movie The Grudge has not been popular for some time, but it still makes for one heck of a game.
You go through the scenes in the movie where you experience the story from the perspective of the character. Sadly, the game is not so much a game as it is an interactive movie, but it still has some heart stopping scares.
LSD: Dream Emulator (PS)
This game is a bit difficult to find, especially in English. It never received an official English release, but that is okay as there is not that much dialogue that you have to read. The game is essentially one big bad LSD trip, thus the name. Though calling it a game is a bit of a stretch as you merely wander through the disturbing imagery.
Dreams last around ten minutes where you wonder around and watch the world transmute into disturbing images and backgrounds. However, if you should happen to die in your dream you are transported to the title screen. The same thing happens when the dream ends.
Haunting Ground (PS2)
The Haunting Ground is a lesser known title by Capcom, the people who brought you Resident Evil. Like it's creepy cousin, it shares many of the same scares. Unlike most of the games on this list, this one feels a lot more like a game as opposed to the aimless walking around you do in some of the other games.
Unlike Resident Evil, the creatures are not out to kill you so much as they are out to rape and torture you. You also cannot defend yourself in the traditional means with weapons, so it makes it all the more terrorizing.
The story of the game revolves around Fiona. She awakes to find herself in the butcher's room of a strange castle after she was involved in a car accident with her parents. The cage that kept her prisoner is left unlocked but there is a rabid beast lurking somewhere nearby. After she leaves the cage, she befriends a white german Shepard named Hewie who then becomes something like a weapon for her. It is a good thing too, because all the occupants of the castle are after something called Azoth which Fiona has inside her.
Cry of Fear (PC)
This one is a mod using the Half-Life engine. Even if the engine is near a decade old, it puts the old bean to good use. Cry of Fear puts you in the view point of a hoodie-clad teen named Simon. He awakens in a dark alley with foggy memories, as they often do. Simon then commences to find his way home through a nightmarish sequence of terrifying places filled with terrifying things.
Cry of Fear is a first person shooter, but ammo is not exactly plentiful. It is similar to early Silent Hill and Resident Evil games where you had to constantly manage your inventory and conserve if you wanted to not die painfully. Essentially that is the problem with horror games today, there's not that fear of running out of bullets anymore. The sheer terror of not being able to defend yourself is just about a must for any horror game.