We create ‘The Executioner’ in the genre of “psychological horror.” There are games that are considered classics and the pride of this genre. Today we want to talk about five of them.
The game is quite outdated, but is still considered the “gold standard” of psychological horror. In our memory this is the first example of a game where you gradually understand, as you go along, that everything isn’t as simple and unambiguous as it seems at first.
You are an ordinary person who comes to the strange city of Silent Hill to meet your seemingly deceased wife. And you understand from the first minutes in the city: something here is questionably (a feeling that will haunt you the whole game).
But the game does not say this directly. At first, at least. It takes time before you meet the first monster. Then it becomes clear that something very extraordinary is happening. But this only confirms the already received impression. The whole atmosphere of the town is imbued with the atmosphere of the impending catastrophe, and all the people there just strengthen the sense of wrongness.
And the main discovery game gives is the problem is not in people and not in the town itself. It’s in you. This place represents the sprawn of your sick subconscious full of monsters. And one of them is your alter ego, your projection of suppressed aggression, darkness in your soul.
There is a moment in the game where the hero sees a monster that just passes – by with the edge of his eye, through the latch… But this moment is remembered for a long time.
In general, Silent Hill 2, as well as the next of our Top-5, is a rare representative of the genre, where the source of all the horror experienced by the player lies not in catastrophes, monsters, aliens, the end of the world, but inside the hero himself.
Spec Ops: The Line
This one initially disguises itself as a classic third-person shooter by Yager Development. But in the reviews to this game it was said that its plot was based on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, on which the film Apocalypse Now was produced. And it draw the attention.
At the beginning of the game it seems that this is another not-so-great attempt to repeat the success of Call of Duty: you play a commander of the special unit land at the “hot spot” with a special task to find out the details of the failed military operation … Standard plot. In addition, the studio does not have such money as the creators of Call of Duty or Gears of War, so the game is not impressive as a shooter. And only in the process it becomes clear how great the difference is…
In Spec Ops: The Line it’s pointless to play twice. It is impossible to forget what you’ve learnt, and the second passage loses its meaning. It remains to envy those people who have not played.
In order not to spoil the fun for those who have not seen the game, let’s just say: in the certain moment the hero did something bad. Not that he wanted to do it. But he did. You did. Thoughtlessly, without thinking about the consequences. There is war, after all, so blood is pouring down the river… But then you realize what you’ve done. And this is the beginning of a dark spiral, on which you are doomed to descend to the very end, feeling how insanity and despair are growing inside.
Playing in the first person for the hero, who did something bad, and things get worse and worse after that… It’s hard. It’s a nightmarish feeling of association with a character you can understand – and, at the same time, rejection, because you cannot agree with his actions, and his behavior, and the fact that he begins to absorb madness. How to accept the feeling that you are starting to go crazy with him?
You will probably want to turn off the game – just to make it all over. The war has an inhuman face, and together with the hero you gradually lose humanity. From this I want to be saved. And simultaneously it is impossible to leave the story till the end.
It is a significant A-list game, a classic representative of the horror genre. It stands out from a number of games about “Alien” because the creators perfectly recreated the atmosphere of the first films, where there is a only monster on a huge ship. And its presence made you shiver with fear and nervously squeeze your sweaty palms.
You are alone against a hideously dangerous adversary. One wrong step – and the end will be terrible. You are always on the verge of death, you can’t relax for a moment. And the game demonstrate all of this perfectly.
The Walking Dead
It’s a quite different story. The source of horror here is the situation itself. Apocalypse, zombies, one bite is enough for horrible death… But it isn’t why the game is good.
Today’s announcements are full of speeches about “difficult choices”. Well, The Walking Dead confronts you with a agonizingly hard choices. They may not affect the ending, but when they need to be done, you have to choose one of some obviously bad things.
You can behave in the game as a good, clean moral person. But … Each new choice asks you a question of morality of your actions anew. What would you prefer? To let one of the companions die, as the useless and cowardly man, or to save him and allow him to endanger your other companions again in the future? You don’t have to do anything yourself, just do not help a person who, perhaps, is not worthy of help…
The game deprives you of humanity – little by little, imperceptibly. With every choice, with every lost life, it’s not easy to do humanly. The only one thing left for you to do is to be horrified at how easy it is.
The struggle for survival and cynical pragmatism imperceptibly turn you into someone else. Someone who will survive in any situation… But for what?
Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth.
This game is based on the The Shadow Over Insmouth, story by the ancestor of the horror genre Howard Lovecraft. Those who read the source, can imagine what they will have to face in the game… If it’s only possible to prepare in advance for such things. Lovecraft was good in a “journalistic” narrative, where the author give no guarantees of the authenticity of the evidence, but only transmits testimonies of a witnesses.
The game allows you to plunge into the madness of Lovecraftian horror “from the first person”. Moreover, in accordance with the laws of the genre, you are not a strong hero who bravely meets a danger with a weapon in his hand, but an ordinary man with a fragile body, an even more fragile mind, his own fears and the instinct of self-preservation, which says to hide and run, but not to boldly fight with enemies. You will find the weapon in the end… But there will be the darkness already, and it can’t be repulsed by the weapon.
The game punishes severely for each mistake. The resulting injury spoils your life very realistically. The idea to jump out onto a superior enemy means to die. But the horror here is not even that. Gradually, madness blossoms in your head. You see what you should not see. Your reason loses its former clarity. Yes, you are getting stronger and getting ready to fight with the main enemy … But the premonition already suggests that such stories are not ending with happy endings.
Here’s the kind of compilation we got. None of these games can be called the inspiration for The Executioner, but we went through a good horror school, and we are going to be worthy of our teachers.
And what do you think of the classics of the genre? Share your experience! It’s impossible to play all the games in the world, so perhaps your unique experience will help us learn something new about the variety of horror.