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Talking Point: Which PlayStation Game Gives You the Goosebumps?

Posted by Sammy Barker

Reader beware

Boo! Apologies, it’s Hallowe’en, so we couldn’t resist sending a shiver down your spine. With the spookiest day in the Gregorian calendar very much upon us, we figured that it was a perfect opportunity to position the courageous Push Square team around a fierce camp fire, and force them to share some short stories regarding their favourite, frightful PlayStation games. This isn’t a one-sided coven, though, as we want your input, too. Cast a light upon your facial features, and let’s scare each other into submission.

Sammy Barker, Editor

I’m a big fan of the idea of horror games, but I often don’t enjoy the way that they play. As I’ve likely alluded in previous articles, I’ve grown out of games with severe difficulty spikes – and horror games tend to make you feel useless in order to increase tension. One game that I’m willing to forgive this trait, though, is Siren: Blood Curse. This is a PlayStation 3 re-imagining of Silent Hill director Keiichiro Toyama’s first-party PlayStation 2 favourite, and while it’s a nightmare to control, few games have the same sense of atmosphere. A stealth adventure in essence, the title’s chief mechanic allows you to see through the eyes of the release’s antagonists – zombie-like beings known as Shibito – culminating in some incredibly anxious encounters. Hiding in a closet is one thing, but knowing that your deadly pursuer is staring directly at you while you struggle to remain silent is one of the most invigorating moments in gaming. I’d love a sequel on the PS4, but it seems that Team Siren has been disbanded in favour of Team Gravity. Oh well...

Robert Ramsey, Associate Editor

I always find myself going back to Red Dead Redemption's spooky Undead Nightmare expansion right around Hallowe’en. Zombies may be horribly overused these days, but there's something incredibly creepy about riding across the game's barren wilderness as you spot the occasional shuffler off in the distance. And if I want a real scare, I can always venture into the forest to hunt down some decomposing grizzly bears. Shudder.

Katy Ellis, Assistant Editor

DmC: Devil May Cry is scary. No, really – hear me out. I don't 'do' horror games – I still haven't picked up The Last of Us despite hyping it for months. I think it's my active imagination that caused me to throw my PlayStation 2 copy of Project Zero: Crimson Butterfly out of the window on the first sighting of a creepy Japanese girl resembling the one in The Ring. However, Ninja Theory’s aforementioned reboot can be seriously freaky at points. My heart literally thuds like an uncontrollable washing machine whenever a voice screeches "KILL DANTE", and I'm pretty sure I hold my breath throughout every encounter with a Frost Knight and his demonic buddies. Alright, so it's not jump-out-of-your-seat scary, but it has a witch in it, so there.

Greg Giddens, Reviews Editor

My first horror game is what sticks with me the most, as it genuinely scared me. There was a sequence within the first 15 minutes of play that filled my heart with dread and tainted my dreams for several nights following. It was a cutscene in Resident Evil: Directors Cut of a zombie turning from its human meal and facing me. Sitting in the dark of my bedroom, far too close to the television, this stare caused me to freeze, and as the cutscene ended and I regained control of Jill Valentine, I desperately fought to raise my weapon, fumbling the controller as I tried to aim my gun. But I had so few bullets that it killed me.

Of course I couldn't just start again. I instead went downstairs to spend time with my family. I decided to wait until morning before I tackled anymore undead. This was one day after I had received my PSone for Christmas. Moving from a Mega Drive to Sony's machine was a huge step up, and never before had I played a game like this in the past. I'd never expected this kind of horrific experience. It was a terrifying and remarkable realisation – games were finally capable of sending a shiver down my spine. Oh to be young again...

Ben Potter, Video Editor

I've always been very up front with the fact that I'm a massive scaredy cat. I still find the Dead Spaces and Amnesias of the world too daunting a task to tackle, but when I was younger I was far easier to spook. You know the start of Final Fantasy VII where Aerith is walking around central Midgar doing flower stuff with eerie music playing? That single, thoroughly unscary moment was enough to put me off the game for months.

Somewhere between then and now, I fell in love with the TimeSplitters games, the second being my personal favourite. Gamers laud the series for its frantic multiplayer action and tight shooting mechanics, and while these were admittedly standout points, I really enjoyed the single player campaign as well. A staple of the first-person series is zombies, and there's always one or two levels dedicated to them – this would be my downfall.

Needless to say, the undead themed Notre Dame level haunted me for weeks. The slow, shuffling dead occupied my thoughts, haunted my dreams, and lurked under every bed, in every shadow and behind every door. I've always been a coward when it comes to horror – less so now than I was growing up – but that one game, and that one level in particular, sticks out in my mind as one of the most single-handedly terrifying things that I've ever played.

Jamie O’Neill, Retro Editor

I'm going to bleach my hair blonde, slick it back, and wear dark sunglasses even during night-time for this feature. You see, we were asked to choose one favourite spooky game, but like a shifty Albert Wesker, I'm going to sneak my way into picking one for each PlayStation generation. The horror, the horror.

My perilous PS3 pick is this year's The Last of Us. Journeying across America, with the natural beauty of each seasonal landscape, but persisting past the twists-and-turns of each unpredictable shock, make it my game of 2013. My second choice is Resident Evil 4, for shaking up the third-person survival horror genre in 2005. It also pushed the supposedly creaky PS2 hardware with an admirable conversion, which included extra trimmings. Finally, I select the vampiric Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. It has a grand Gothic side-scrolling grace, and it's my favourite game from the entire PSone catalogue.

Nathan Michalik, Staff Writer

Back when I first got my PS3, I bought F.E.A.R 2: Project Origin on a whim because I had found it for $5 in a bargain bin. I was still in college living alone in a poorly lit single bedroom dorm room. Alma didn't need any help, but the combination of my dingy surrounding and the 'next-gen' graphics was more than enough to scare me into switching on a light or two. While the sequel F.E.A.R. 3 didn't adopt the same terrifying atmosphere or experience, the F.E.A.R. franchise will always be my go-to series for a good scare.


Stop chattering your teeth and join in on the fun. What do you think is the spookiest PlayStation game? What are you going to scare yourself silly with tonight? Shout and scream in the comments section below.

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User Comments (25)

chazaroonie

#3

chazaroonie said:

Silent Hill 2 for me. I can remember having to put the lights on playing that. I loved the atmosphere, the scary nurses, Pyramid head and the screeching noise your radio made when danger was close is something that haunted my dreams at the time. I've got goosebumps just thinking about it.

Epic

#5

Epic said:

Bioshock 2, encountering with Big Sis or Big Daddy was just horrible for me, HORRIBLE.

The first time I met a Big Daddy I thought "Ok calm down he has that HUGE AS DRILL but with that size he must be really slow, I just need to keep distance from him" starts shooting *Big Daddy breaks the sound barrier and starts attacking me. "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH" Then when I thought there was no human being or monster stronger or horrible than the Big Daddy I met a Big Sister. T_T

dudey300Staff

#7

dudey300 said:

Actually, now that I think about it, encountering a ReDead in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time really freaked me out, and still does to this day!

chazaroonie

#8

chazaroonie said:

@get2sammyb that video is awesome! Oh the memories. I remember how impressed I was with the graphics. Considering it was the PS2 I'm still impressed. I may have to hook up my PS2 tonight for a scare fest before bed.

RawShark

#9

RawShark said:

@Epic I've not plkayed Bioshock 2 yet, but it will be tough to top some of the scares in Bioshock 1. (Spoilers follow)

For me, the biggest scare of the game comes in the Fort Frolic section. Frolic is full of dead bodies covered in some kind of plaster placed in various poses so after a while the creepy figures become part of the furniture. When I went down into a basement with a weapon upgrade machine and one of these figure sat in a chair facing the corner of the room, I thought it was creepy, but I didn't think much of it. I upgraded my weapon at the other side of the room and turned around...

At first slightly surprised that I hadn't noticed the statue in the middle of the room as I walked in, but as I say, they were pretty much all over the level, so no biggie. Then I realised the chair in the corner of the room was empty... Then the fucking statue moved.

I promptly shat my pants, yelped loudly and dropped the controller. I fumbled around in the dark for it.. all whilst the disguised splicer beat the bejeezus out of me. I finally got the pad and hit the pause button, then couldn't stop laughing for about 5 minutes. This was at 2am and I woke my flatmate up. Totally worth it.

Madd_Hatter401

#11

Madd_Hatter401 said:

Resident evil 2.. I nearly jumped out of my socks on several occasions while playing. Awesome all around atmosphere and great sneaky freak out moments. Silent hill 2 was a very close second but I remember RE2 as a teen, playing with the lights off while actually feeling kinda scared lol.

Scollurio

#12

Scollurio said:

Halloween, Christmas, Eastern, Birthdays, ... hate them.

Scary games... I played Condemned Series back on Xbox360 and almost crapped my pants. But the scariest thing EVER that I played, to me, was that Project Zero Crimson Butterfly thing! Brr... Shivers!

chazaroonie

#13

chazaroonie said:

@dudey300 while ocarina of time may be a nintendo game it is still one of my favourite games. That and Goldeneye really do keep the N64 up there as one of my favourite consoles ever. I must admit though, I am very very excited for 29 November and my new PS4.

charlesnarles

#14

charlesnarles said:

Silent Hill 4: The Room is my pick. The front cover freaked me out at video stores, but it's nothing compared to the plot. The gameplay is improved upon by the addition of ghosts and the 1st person "room" adds a lot of variety. Crawling thru holes in your apartment leading to burning-ghost dimensions only to discover the most messed-up SH storyline of all. He keeps the umbilical cord... My desktop wallpaper is baby Walter smiling on a white background.

Munkyknuts

#15

Munkyknuts said:

Silent Hill and Silent Hill 2.....the atmosphere, the feeling of being in a genuinely bizarre and freakish situation and that you are a part of something you don't understand and have limited control over your fate. The games fed strongly from existing horror lore and had knowing nods to the works of H.P Lovecraft. The later games tried to hard or lost their way altogether. The games were twisted in a way that got deep into your mind. The 1st Dead Space also did a commendable job of being scary....even if it went more for jump scares than the 'aaaaaaaargh what the hell is that?!? What's happening??i want my mummy!!' Scares of classic Silent Hill.

Munkyknuts

#16

Munkyknuts said:

I'll include Silent Hill 3 as well even if the beasties didn't ever really freak me out because the game references my favourite psychological horror film 'session 9'.

Strofan7

#17

Strofan7 said:

Scariest video game moment for me was back on PS2 playing Indigo Prophecy (Fahrenheit for you European folk). The scene where you're escaping the insane asylum freaked me out so much I was shaking and I've NEVER had anything close to that before.

BornOfEvil

#19

BornOfEvil said:

The lobby segment of The Last of Us. The background noises, stalkers and uncertainty as to whether or not cutting on the generator will cause a bloater to spawn prevented me from playing through that part for a few days.

Ristar42

#20

Ristar42 said:

I'd say Fatal Frame 2 was pretty spooky. It gave you those Resident Evil style camera angles (Wii remake is 3rd person, but I think it made the game less scary), plus a slow moving character with enemies that can pass through walls. Then, you have to actually look at the spooky stuff to progress, using a first person camera.

charlesnarles

#21

charlesnarles said:

@Munkyknuts 4 is way scarier to me even if its a different experience from the first 3 for parts of it. I love the creepy "dead"-quiet tones of 1-3, but the twisted settings in 4 like the child-harvesting cannibals' panopticon tower or the giant-Eileen-face-room just can't be beat. We need more sequels to compare exactly what the town does to folks. Even Homecoming and Downpour are really scary at night alone with no lights. Absolutely can't wait for the (possibly ne'er-existant) ps4 SH made by Kojima!!!!!
@Lelouch lol did that part last week. So hard to actually fight them, I had to take a break before I threw whatever happened to be in my hands which was a ds3

FullbringIchigo

#22

FullbringIchigo said:

when I was younger the original silent hill scared the hell out off me, and I don't think any game since has ever given me as much off a scare as that did

Cowboysfan-22

#24

Cowboysfan-22 said:

The first bioshock gave me the creeps. When you're walking through a hallway and you hear a mutant singing Jesus Loves Me, then he jumps out at you... Good Lord

Madd_Hatter401

#25

Madd_Hatter401 said:

@Lelouch OMG I can't believe I left out the last of us.. I played through the game using turtle beaches on full blast and came close to leaving some unwanted stains in my boxers :D truely some scary moment in a most epic game!

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