Leonid – Dead Space
I remember my first time playing Dead Space back when I was 18 years old when the game originally came out. As soon as it started I could tell I was in a world of horror, scares, great atmosphere, and creepy monsters. . The game was so intriguing and fun to play that I didn’t care how scary it was, and I just wanted to decimate every necromorph I possibly could before going to sleep. Dead Space had some of the best action combat scenarios and horror moments I’ve ever experienced in any horror game in the last seven years. It was a perfect combination of the game being scary enough without trying to be cheesy and yet still fun to shoot things thanks to its fantastic dismemberment system and atmosphere while traversing the infested spaceship. There was just some sort of magic in this game that is hard to explain, and for those who played it know exactly what I am talking about. Dead Space 2 was also a solid game in the series and still managed to be creepy in every way. However, Dead Space 3 went a bit too much the action-game route and the addition of co-op made it lot less intense. Despite that, Dead Space is still one of my favorite survival horror franchises I’ve played ever since, and I am hoping that it will return to next-gen in some shape or form in the future.
Oleg – Alien vs. Predator
In late May of 1999, I was holding in my hands a game that I had bought on impulse. I didn’t hear anything about it before, and the little pictures on the backside of the box showed me that it’s a first person shooter with my favorite monsters from sci-fi movies that are battling each other, this game was – Aliens vs. Predator. The timing was perfect to play the game, late night, the headset was on my head and the thunderstorm started outside. I’ve decided play the game as a marine, and that was a huge mistake. Empty corridors with red emergency lights, siren sound and the quiet sound of the radar that warned you about the oncoming enemy in the vicinity. Lightning strikes made my old monitor blink and when the picture came back to normal I saw a fast moving white dot on a radar, with the “beep” sound of the radar getting louder and louder. Another lightning strike outside and the roar of the thunder, I jumped from my chair and used my finger to mash the left mouse button as quickly as possible, but it was too late for me, and the last thing I saw was the Jaws of the Alien in front of my eyes. I didn’t sleep well after that, my heart was still pounding after that.
Matt – F.E.A.R
Normally, I’m not a huge fan of survival horror games or the horror genre in general. I have a hard time believing most horror films and games, not because zombies and monsters aren’t real, but because the human characters are usually helpless idiots. Zombies are people but worse. They are stupid and slow. I’m not afraid of something that I can avoid by walking away from.
There is one horror game that I really do enjoy, though. And that game is F.E.A.R. F.E.A.R or First Encounter Assault Recon combines survival horror with solid fps mechanics and is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated horror games. In most horror games, they force the sense of helplessness on the player through either a contrived series of events or an unlikely lack of weapons and overpowered enemies. Take Alien Isolation for example. The xenomorphs can’t be killed. That’s BS, not only can they be killed but in the future I have a hard time believing super advanced energy weapons can’t blow one to bits in one shot. F.E.A.R, however, does it differently. The horror isn’t in unfair combat. Sure the AI is good, even frustratingly good at some points but you aren’t afraid of Paxton Fettel’s goons. You aren’t supposed to be. What you are afraid of are the disturbing and trippy things that Alma’s powers can do. They always manage to take you by surprise and the soundtrack works magnificently with the visuals to make it even more terrifying. In F.E.A.R, they did something smart. They didn’t try to make the enemies scary by making your guns suck; they made the game scary by completely subverting that tired trope, and that’s why F.E.A.R is my favorite horror game. I think modern developers could learn lot from that game.
Luis – Silent Hill
Silent Hill was my first introduction to the horror genre, When I started playing it, I saw the intro and what I saw was nothing indicative of a horror game, or neither an action game, it looked more like a sad psychological drama game, It got me wondering what did I get myself into, then I started playing it and when I got to the alleyway part and got killed by the children zombies, I immediately turned off my Play Station, I was horrified, but somehow the game kept calling me to play, I decided to keep playing, it got to a point where I couldn’t play at night, I had to turn any background music down simply because it was just too much for my 12-year-old head, but at the same time I was having fun on a level I never imagined I could before.
This game alone sparked my interest in the survival horror genre, when I finally finished silent hill, I was hooked. I needed more games similar to it, and while doing some research, I found about the resident evil games, alone in the dark, clock tower, etc. I got them, played them, finished them and so on, however, silent hill really stood out for me due to the ambiguity of its surroundings, the focus on psychological horror which was unheard of in games at the time, eerie soundtrack, disturbing environments, the amazing puzzles, the unforgettable scenes such as when Lisa was bleeding off to death due to Samael’s possession and the fact that the hell the character was experiencing didn’t have much explanation at the time and that added to the appeal of the game. Overall Silent Hill is and remains my most favorite horror game I’ve ever played; it’s very sad that the series had been brutally stabbed to death by Konami, just when Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro took it upon themselves to revive the franchise and give it a new life, Konami decided to axe the project and kill the franchise for good.
It’s certainly sad times for the franchise but silent hill will always have a special place in my heart, and I’m sure that in a lot of survival horror fan’s hearts as well.