The 13 scariest videogame characters
Halloween: it’s not just a celebration of dressing up in costume and getting some free candy but it’s also a celebration of things that go bump in the night, like Snookie. Horror has taken on many forms over the years, primarily in movies, art and television but now that video games have become highly evolved the things that go bump in the night now go bump in our consoles. This year, Sean, Paul, James and I have compiled a list of thirteen horrifying creatures in video gaming, so relax, turn off the lights, get out some sweets and from all of us at Thunderbolt, have a happy and safe Halloween!
The Licker made its debut in Resident Evil 2, within the first few moments of the game as you enter RPD. At first you just see a strange entity crawling across the window outside and as you turn the corner in the next room you immediately encounter this fellow who drops down from the ceiling in one of the most memorable cutscenes of all time. Since it has no eyes the lickers rely on their sense of hearing so any sudden rustling will have them rush aggressively towards the source, much worse when they’re found in packs. They’ll either claw at you, impale you on their tongues, or just kill you instantly. Watch your step.
Orb Chaos/King Tamakos/Tamaris
It’s rare to encounter monsters in RPGs that either scare or disturb you. It’s a genre that usually has a payroll catered to dragons, ogres, killer fish, and the occasional psychotic metrosexual. That’s until Shadow Hearts was introduced. The series is filled with odd and graphic creatures but its most disturbing one is this….thing. It has three names but apparently it’s a running theme in all three Shadow Hearts games. It’s a secret boss that has the appearance of a demonic infant’s upper torso set on top of a huge mold of writhing meat. And with each new game in the series it gets nastier looking. The most current game, Shadow Hearts: From the New World even gives this monstrosity its own intro, which can be viewed here.
As a child I was already blown away with the first Mortal Kombat and, needless to say, very much excited when MK2 was released. The game not only increased the violence but gamers were introduced to the hellish dimension of Outworld. For a kid, it was a bit overwhelming to gaze at the grisly sights of living forests, a Hellraiser-ish dead pool stage, and dragons flying around bell towers. But what really got to me was seeing a particular toothy newcomer in the character select screen, a visage so uncommon to see (in a genre filled with ninjas, monks and hot chicks) that I literally stepped away from the arcade machine. For the first time there was a fear that outweighed the natural fear of losing against other players. Later, after researching gaming magazines, I learned that ‘Baraka’ was the name of this freakshow and as if his horrible face wasn’t enough, this fighter apparently has retractable blades that came with his natural anatomy which he isn’t shy in using for slicing, dicing, and skewering opponents followed by lifting them off the ground.
Being that the first Doom came out a month later, and I didn’t pay much attention to Splatterhouse at the time, Baraka was actually the very first video game character that frightened me. But like with a hideous stray cat that a younger sibling has brought into the family, I’ve come to accept the Tarkatan warrior, now a mainstay in the MK franchise. Though I’m now already well used to seeing that ugly mug of his there is no doubt that even to this day, when considering every single character ever made in the fighting game genre, Baraka still wears the crown for being the most creepiest of them all.
The Crawling Woman
You have to give credit to the Fatal Frame series, a franchise that has no problem making gamers scream, drop their controllers, and pause the game for five minutes to recollect their courage. The Crawling Woman appeared in Fatal Frame 3, but that’s all I’m going to tell you. To go into detail about her or post a picture would diminish her fear factor so instead check out this video at the 4:00 mark and let’s hope you’re not alone in the dark when watching.
Arguably one of Batman’s most frightening adversaries, at the start of Arkham Asylum you witness as this hulking behemoth is led outside of a special elevator, bathed in spotlights. He turns to face you and makes threats before lumbering off, shaking the asylum with each footstep. You hope it won’t come to it but deep down you know you’re gonna have to take this guy on at some point. The creators surely made good on the implications that the awaited encounter would be nerve racking. Croc’s lair is a watery maze with flimsy wooden planks as the only means of crossing the waters. You can’t run as it would send ripples through the water alerting Croc to your position and prompting him to ambush you. Even if you’re careful with footwork, Croc still randomly jumps out of the water from random positions. Unless you find out which direction he’s coming from and have a batarang ready you’re lunchmeat.
The Silent Hill series has always been known for making some really…unique looking monsters but the one beast that puts even the popular Pyramid Head to shame are these two headed freaks. Being just made up of a torso, their hands are their only means of travel…and attack. They have absolutely no problem slapping the mac & cheese out of you if you approach but if you stand at a distance and wait for it to make a move it’ll just stand there, point a finger at you and continuously whisper “Receiver”. Creepy. What really makes them more menacing is the fact they take up space, they are HUGE, and the heart automatically races when you see more than one of them stalking an area.
Resistance 2 wasn’t a terribly scary game. As super soldier Nathan Hale you plow through Chimera of all shapes and sizes, few posing any sort of real threat and even fewer pulling you to the edge of your seat. That is until the most feeble of Resistance‘s nemeses arrives, the lowly Grim. Requiring a single potshot from your Rossmore, the Grim is not a hearty adversary, but what it lacks in durability, it makes up with sheer numbers and a blood curdling resilience. The Grims attack with no fear, a reckless abandon that will almost always end in their dismemberment, but they don’t care; they’re blind aggression, instinct.
Perhaps the Tentacle in Dead Space isn’t technically a character, but it represents Isaac Clarke’s most dreadful adversary. When it appears it strikes with an alarming speed and power, it takes your breath away before you’ve realized you were even in danger. And then when you’ve realized it has a hold on you there’s this feeling of dread and hopelessness, as it jerks you towards your increasingly inevitable, brutal demise. This is one of those times where every shot actually matters, and you can feel the pressure, the regret of every errant Plasma Cutter round, until it’s all over. See what I mean?
Ravenholm has long been referenced as one of the scarier levels in recent gaming memory, and for good reason: Fast Zombies. While they have a stupid name, nothing in any video game since has hunted with the same fervor and bloodlust. They’ll run, they’ll scale drain pipes and they’ll leap incredible distances with reckless abandon, all in name of the feast. And by god they will screech, a terrible ungodly noise that lets you know they’re coming, but you’ll never be quite sure exactly where from. And it won’t really matter, after you put that one down there will be two more coming from another direction, and just as motivated and terrifying.
When it comes to the most blood-curdlingly terrifying beasts, you always hear about them long before you meet them face-to-face. That was certainly my experience in Fallout 3 when, after emerging bleary-eyed from Vault 101 to drink in the sprawling vista of the Capital Wasteland, I first heard murmurs about the deathclaw. A creature twice as tall as a man, so the stories went, and with talons capable of slicing through skin like a hot knife through brahmin crap. The exact details changed depending on which loose-lipped drunkard or learned old crow was delivering the tale, but the advice which followed was disconcertingly consistent: stay well away.
But what can I say? I was young, and filled with the showy bravado a post-apocalyptic dystopia will instill in you.
“Pah,” I thought, “These deathclaws have never come across a traveller like me. I have level 50 lockpicking skills, and a laser pistol.” This confidence stayed with me as I went out to the plains in search of something big to kill. It didn’t waiver when I passed the first signs warning of the beasts’ presence, or the first few badly shredded corpses. It ended when I found myself in the presence of my first deathclaw.
When I returned to civilization, sans my faithful companion Jericho and a dozen frag grenades, I didn’t much feel like sharing my story. But anyone who had found themselves in a similar situation knew exactly how I got my battle scars. If anyone asks these days, I tell them of a creature twice as tall as a man and with talons capable of slicing through skin. I also tell them to stay well away.
Certain boss fights evoke a gut-reaction, and I’m sure mine was the same as everyone else’s. “What am I looking at?” and “Do I really have to touch this thing?”
Know those balls that are made out of caramel popcorn? Granfalloon is a lot like that, except he’s a ball of naked human corpses held together by a tentacled parasite. As Alucard carves through layer after layer of it like a gory onion, the monstrosity’s tentacles can be seen poking out, writhing. Granfalloon is something of a departure from the Castlevania norm–less of a classic movie monster and much more of a horror freakshow that set him apart from the typical enemies.
Many have complained that Resident Evil has lost its way and turned its back on pure horror, but if they’ve ever played the remake of the original then they might sing a different tune. Much like Resident Evil 3‘s Nemesis, Lisa is relentless in her pursuit of the protagonists, making multiple appearances throughout the game.
Mutated and driven insane by the Umbrella Corporation’s experiments, Lisa stalks the catacombs of the Spencer Mansion, attempting to reunite with her deceased mother. Her shackled hands, lanky build, and quilt of faces she wears as a mask enhance her already unsettling appearance. Unlike the other bosses, Lisa evokes sympathy just as much as fear and revulsion as she is essentially just another victim of Umbrella’s.
Few games can invoke such a palpable sense of dread as Manhunt can. Pigsy is the final boss of the game and lives up to the name with a severed pig’s head for a mask and the girth to match. Pigsy has only one joy in life and that is to carve people up with his chainsaw, but not before stalking his prey. Like an animal he sniffs for the player’s scent and squeals as he pops out of seemingly nowhere to give chase.