10 Creepy Moments in Non-Horror Games
This isn’t what I signed up for.
Ah, Skyrim, what a lovely place. Full of Dragons, adventure, and the same ten reliable voice actors. Come on in, make a character and enjoy your first quest. What’s that Skyrim? There’s a tablet lost in Bleak Falls Barrow? Oh sure, I can go there.
What a poor decision that was. From the harrowing noise as you enter the barrow to the draugr crawling from every crevice, Skyrim’s first dungeon seemed an odd zombie nightmare compared to the world around it. Not to mention the arachnophobia inducing moment further on.
Many games love to give us a good scare like this. After all, why not lure us players into a false sense of security before throwing moments at us that would better suit a Resident Evil entry? Well, I can think of a few reasons why not to do that, but let’s not dwell on them. Instead, let’s take a look at ten games that made us believe they weren’t horrors but had some horrifying moments tucked away.
10. The Witcher 3 – Von Everec Manor
Now, many may argue that the most horrifying moment in this level is the short fight against the multiple twisted forms of ginger David Beckham AKA Olgierd Von Everec. Others would say the creepiest moment is the reveal of the Caretaker’s literally blank face. Fewer would say it is the demon dog and cat that unnerve them the most. I say why not include all three aspects of the quest into the past of the Von Everecs as one horrifying amalgamation? Hearts of Stone – the DLC where one would find this content – is full of creepy, unnerving moments, such as the twisted, unknown origins of the main antagonist Gaunter O’Dimm. However, Iris Von Everec’s residence earns the spot on this list as the first really creepy moment of the DLC. It wasn’t sunshine and rainbows until then obviously, but nothing had been quite so unsettling as the appearance of shambling husks imitating Iris’ husband. Combined with the other, previously mentioned elements, the quest into Iris’ past becomes a cacophony of horrors, one in which I thoroughly wasn’t expecting and led to me keeping up my guard for the rest of the DLC.
9. Batman Arkham Knight – Man-bat
A much shorter moment than the entry before it, Arkham Knight’s jumpscare managed to be much more horrifying. Gliding through the streets of Arkham, a player will be unassumingly exploring the map when they are about to climb a ledge when boom, out pops a horridly ugly man-bat hybrid who unceremoniously screams in batman’s face before disappearing into the night. I’ll hold my hand up and be the first to say I probably screamed louder than the Man-Bat myself, but I know I wasn’t the only one who needed a moment after that scare. I never flew around Arkham with the same joy, knowing it could creep up on me again.
8. Bioshock Infinite – Boy of Silence
Another shorter moment on this list, the Boy of Silence is actually quite the comical enemy. He’s just a man with a rather odd siren looking thing sitting on his head. He’s anything but funny when he sneaks up on the player though, and waits for them to pull a lever before screaming point-blank in their faces. Honestly what is it with all the screaming in my face? It’s such a cheap scare tactic, and it shouldn’t work every time. The sad truth though is that it does work every time, and I will always be creeped out by the otherwise hilarious Boy of Silence.
7. Pokémon Red/Blue – Lavender Town
Alright, this is probably the least scary thing on this list. For adults at least. For those of us who grew up playing Pokémon Red and Blue though, Lavender Town was the place where you’d turn the volume on your Gameboy all the way down, so you wouldn’t have to hear the haunting tunes of the town. The stark contrast of Lavender Town’s theme with the rest of the game’s soundtrack only intensifies the eeriness of the small settlement. Even without the added music, the burial ground for Pokémon is already a creepy enough premise to have sent children everywhere running towards the next area.
6. Dishonored 2 – Brigmore Witches
Unlike the rest of the entries so far, Dishonored’s world prepared me for some horror-like experiences. From the rat-plague of the first game to the soulless contraptions featured in the Clockwork Mansion level, Dishonored 2 and it’s predecessor are game set in a grim, dark universe, where one can expect more than their fair share of unsettling content. In the case of the Brigmore Witches though, they exceeded these expectations exponentially. Their design comes straight out of a horror film, with their gaunt, lithe frames and weeping blood from all orifices of their faces. I found myself avoiding them in the levels they appeared not out of want to keep my stealthy run, but out of fear of being noticed and pursued by them.
5. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – The Headless
Perhaps Sekiro was another game where I should’ve expected some horrific element to come lumbering at me. Again, any expectation of horror was far exceeded as an obese headless man lumbered towards me, sword in hand, heralded by an ear-piercing noise. Oh, and to top it all off, I then had to watch as poor Sekiro had his guts ripped out arse-first. Not something I ever thought I’d see in a videogame but at least it was one to remember. Apart from the gruelling death suffered at the hands of Headless’, their main problem is in how many of them there are and how likely they are to catch you unawares. These bloated buggers can even find you underwater if they so desire, often terrorising the player to death due to Sekiro’s instant-death mechanic. All in all, not a great time.
4. Mortal Kombat X – The Krypt
The Mortal Kombat X Krypt combines both the jumpscares and creepy vibes seen in the previous entries into one amalgam of unexpected horror. The first person perspective leaves the player feeling very much as they would if they were dropped into a graveyard full of dog-sized spiders and corpses that reanimate just for a single scare. There’s a reason why the achievement for confronting beasts in the Krypt is called Terrifying Encounter. Every moment spent in the Krypt is a rush to get as many extra skins, brutalities and fatalities as possible before escaping back to the safety of blood and guts galore. Eventually, I ended up concluded that the Krypt – even with all of its content – just wasn’t worth all the mini heart attacks that it induced. I’d rather have my cardiovascular health than a skin where Ermac looks like an Egyptian Pharaoh.
3. Halo – Meeting the Flood
It’s one of the most defining, if underrated twists in gaming, this one. At first, with the colourful settings of Halo, the sometimes-cartoonish aliens and the setup of the story, Halo seemed nothing more than an incredibly entertaining shooter where an 80s power fantasy blasts his way through hundreds upon hundreds of ill-prepared aliens. There would never be a parasitic hive mind of zombie-creating monstrosities out there willing to take over the universe right? Taking over the bodies of humans and Covenant alike, the flood showed a colder side of Halo’s lore. Those funny, inefficient marines soon turned to nigh-unkillable zombies, joining the twisted forms of brutes and elites. Seeing the Flood appear and the devastation it brings was one of the most unexpected and terrifying moments I could have never hoped to experience.
2. Red Dead Redemption 2 – The Strange Man’s Cabin
This moment is one of the hardest to discover on this list, as it requires the player to travel to a small cabin in the middle of the swamp outside of Saint Denis. There is no mission leading Arthur towards this place, nor is there any reason to go there unless you are one of those sick people that love to be terrified. Yeah, that’s right, I see you. You disgust me.
The Strange Man has been a figure of speculation for many Red Dead Redemption players. Some believe him to be an angel, others think he is the devil. Whatever the Strange Man is, Red Dead Redemption 2 confirmed him to be on the darker side of speculation. In the interior of the swamp cabin, one can find a portrait of the Strange Man, along with mysterious writing written along the walls. Finally, and most creepily of all there is the mirror, where one can see themselves (as you’d expect), but at a certain angle, the Strange Man appears behind the player in the reflection. Chilling stuff.
1. Minecraft – The First Night
We’ve all been there. You spend the day punching trees, making a few pieces of equipment to get yourself some stone and enough dead animal meat to survive. Then it gets dark. You couldn’t find any coal in the day for torches, you can’t ward off any creatures of the night. You’re not ready to build a house yet either, so lock yourself in what is effectively a porta potty of dirt and wait for the sun to return. Outside, you can hear the clattering of bones, the moans of the undead and even the dreaded hiss of a creeper. In the time locked away in your dirt cell, you wonder how things ever got this bad, how a game about mining and crafting has devolved into hiding away until you can get a basic bed and sources of light. The nights after that are a breeze of course, with most of them spent either mining away or in a bed to avoid any chance of being killed. But that first night, that first, dreaded night, reminded us all that Minecraft was a survival game first and foremost.