5. Half-Life 2 – Ravenholm
Not only did Half-Life 2 make the gonads of physics nerds everywhere sizzle with lust, but it also had a few remarkable shifts in tone. No more is this true than Ravenholm, the headcrab hellhole you’re forced to survive by yourself. Well, a psycho priest offers his assistance, but he’s hardly the most reassuring fellow. Headcrab zombies are disturbing enough outside a spooky Scooby Doo village, but here they start to run. And, I mean bomb it at you, like you’ve nicked their phone or something. You’ve a fair share of traps at your disposal, of course, as well as Gordon Freeman’s arsenal of weapons bulging through the seams of his HEV suit. Nevertheless, the first scene in Ravenholm, in which a pair of denim-shrouded legs hangs from a tree flickering in the moonlight, would give even the most gutsy gravity gun user nightmares.
4. Resident Evil 4 – Verdugo Boss Battle
Some say that real terror comes from our fear of the unknown; the big bad lurking round every corner. Flicking back to the original Resident Evil, many will remember the encounter with the first zombie, or the classic dog scene that saw the collective soiling of pants everywhere. No doubt those moments were scary, but even still, there was an ease in dispatching those targets. Resident Evil 4 played this fear of the unknown hard with the Verdugo boss battle. The battle starts with a giant blade appearing out of nowhere while Leon is stuck in the cramped sewers. Verdugo itself is a scary looking beast. It’s a near invincible humanoid/insect that can easily rip Leon to shreds. This is exacerbated with the classic trope of a broken elevator. Combine switch pressing and the looming presence of a monster, and you have one of the scariest moments in gaming.
3. Dead Space – Elevator
As Isaac and his team of engineers fly into the USG Ishimura and begin examining the damage, it is obvious something terrible happened. No one is left alive and the ship looks abandoned. As Isaac begins his repairs, the team sees a creature drop in through the ceiling and begin attacking. As they fight off the creature, they scream at Isaac to run. This is where I took off running down the now open hallway. Moving as fast as the clunky engineer will go, I hear creatures storming after me, dropping down from the ceiling behind me. I get to the elevator, slam on the door button, and run inside. It closes and saves me from whatever was out th- “OH MY GOD, WHAT IS THAT THING?!” The door is ripped open as I get my first clear look at a Necromorph. It reaches for me. BAM – the elevator slams shut, decapitating and dismembering the alien creature. This is where I stopped to turn on all the lights in the room and begrudgingly continue the game.
2. Amnesia – The Water Monster
Far too early on in Amnesia, you find yourself in a bunch of claustrophobic corridors with water lapping at your ankles. “It’s okay,” you tell yourself, “My feet are wet, but I’ll give the socks a good airing when I’m out. Should be in the clear soon. Hey, maybe I could grow to like this castle after all!” Alas, venture a few feet, and footsteps splash out of nowhere, coming straight towards you, music pounding in time with your heartbeat. You have to sprint from crate to crate just to stay alive, your invisible attacker snapping at your heels, even though you’ll turn and there’ll be nothing but rippling water to meet you. You throw a chunk of meat to lure the thing while cranking a door open, and it obliges you. But not for long – NOT FOR LONG.
I’m going back to Animal Crossing now.