As previous readers will know, I love a good horror game. There’s nothing I love more than running down a corridor screaming whilst being chased by some vicious monstrosity (only in video games, obviously). There’s nothing quite like that adrenaline kick, and there’s nothing quite like the repulsively evil characters that elicit it.
In grim memory of those characters, here are my top 5 horror antagonists:
The Groom – Outlast: Whistleblower DLC
Outlast (and it’s subsequent DLC) was not a game short on blood-chilling antagonists. With The Twins, The Cannibal and Dr. Trager jostling for position, I could have a made a list based just on characters from the outstanding horror game. However, one character stood out most from the rabble of psychotic murderers. The aptly named ‘Groom’ has a penchant for abducting male inmates, shaving them smooth and cutting off their genitals in a sick attempt to create a woman to conceive his child. Falling into his grasp is without a doubt the most frightening portion of the entire game. Seeing just how many people have died as a result of his perverted fantasy is a terror only bested by the thought that some fully-functioning human being thought up this creature.
BEST MOMENT – Incarcerated in a locker, watching the Groom work on his latest victim knowing that you’re next.
The Raincoat Killer – Deadly Premonition
I’m including the Raincoat Killer in this list in place of the malevolent force behind the menacing murderer, as naming it would spoil this truly wonderful game for those unfortunate enough not to have played it yet. Not that the Raincoat Killer isn’t frightening. He’s a mountain of a man, armed with a huge axe, who dons a vast, blood-soaked raincoat, his glowing red-eyes visible from beneath the hood. His fear-factor is marred somewhat by the fact that although he constantly stalks the main character through-out the game, most of his attacks are avoided by a QTE. He’s still scary, but no where near as scary as the real villain of the piece.
BEST MOMENT – Picking up the phone in a small room to hear a deep, ominous voice say “I see you”, knowing that you only have moments to hide before he chops you down.
The Machine – Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
The popular opinion on A Machine for Pigs was that it was nowhere near as good as its predecessor. However, I thought it’s absolutely captivating story and disgusting concepts made it superior, and the titular machine was at the heart of everything that made the game fantastic. A colossal Victorian creation crafted for the sole purpose of slaughtering pigs as efficiently as possible, it wheezes and splutters into life as the unfortunate protagonist blunders through it, blindly obeying its will. Out of all the fantastic characters on this list, the machine was the one that lingered in my thoughts longest, which as horror games go is two mutiliated thumbs up.
BEST MOMENT – You stumble wearily on knowing the end is in sight, whilst the callous machine rants viciously, sensing it’s own demise.
The Witch – Left 4 Dead
I agonised over this choice, as I wouldn’t personally classify Left 4 Dead as a horror game, and whilst the game’s other monsters can be frightening, it’s more intimidation than terror. However, one monster is different. I’ve spent many hours mowing down zombies on Valve’s iconic multiplayer title, and to this day, the sight of a witch truly unnerves me. It’s true that if you alert them, they’ll rip your face off in a heart-beat, but it’s not that which makes them more frightening than the rest of the game’s monsters, because a tank can do that and worse and they aren’t as scary. They sit there weeping mournfully, lank black hair shrouding their face and grey body. They invoke a mixture of melancholy and fear that’s almost unmatched in the heat of the moment.
BEST MOMENT – JESUS CHRIST! WHO THE SHITTING HELL DISTURBED THE WITCH!?
Pyramid Head – Silent Hill 2 (First Appearance)
This list simply would not be complete without the Silent Hill series’ poster boy. He may have been somewhat over-saturated of late, particularly in his ill-fated film appearances, but in the early days of the venerable series, when you heard the scraping of that man-beast’s sword as he drew closer to you, there was no fear like it. What I love most about him is the twisted imagination that went into his design. A giant man with rippling muscles and a blade the size of a small cow, complete with a blood-stained pyramid instead of a head. Who knew that geometric shapes could be so terrifying?
BEST MOMENT – Walking into a filthy room to see Mr. Head raping four pairs of legs, only to jump in a cupboard as he turns towards you menacingly.
Any characters you disagree with? Any horror antagonists you believe to be more frightening than my humble choices? Let me know in the comments.
A jaded horror enthusiast, I get my kicks hiding in cupboards from whatever hideous creatures happen to be around. However, I'm more than happy playing a wide range of genres on both consoles and PC. Apart from writing for Z1G, I'm also a History student.