Top Ten Scariest Adventure Games
The strange thing about humans is that we like to be frightened. The pounding in our chest, the shivers creeping down our spine, the sweaty hand clenching the mouse desperately – the gamers certainly do love to feel those. Fans of adventure games are no exception. There’s been a lot of interesting productions touching upon the horror and supernatural that are likely to scare the living daylight (maybe even the nightlight in some cases) out of you. Behold the list of Top Ten Scariest Adventure Games you can find on PC. Brace yourselves, the fear you have never experience before is coming.
10. Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder
Lovecraftian themes are understandably really popular among the writers of horror games scripts, since they offer a foolproof recipe for an atmospheric and truly blood-curdling experience. Darkness Within is just that – an oldschool adventure game with a classical imagery, involving old houses and claustrophobic corridors to investigate. We take a role of a police detective in a provincial town who has to track down the titular Loath Nolder, a man suspected of murder and some occult activity. As we traverse various strange locations, we discover more and more about the horror hiding in the dark. All in all, Darkness Within is a fun game if you prefer reading through copious documents to get the plot over some straightforward action and jumpscares. But really, it’s just more Lovecrafty that way.
9. Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened
What could possibly be scary in a Sherlock Holmes game, you might ask. Well, not much usually. Unless the world’s greatest detective comes across something much more sinister than he have ever imagined – Cthulhu Mythos and ungodly cults straight from Lovecraftian stories. Pursuing the mysterious disappearance of a Maori manservant, Sherlock and Watson encounter mutilated corpses, explore a murky asylum in Switzerland and traverse inhospitable swamps only to find a group of insane worshippers of Cthulhu. It is interesting to see how Sherlock’s mind, rational to the very core, deals with issues that are beyond human understanding. Engaging plot and above all, great atmosphere makes this game ideal for people wanting to be entertained, disturbed and grossed out at the same time.
8. Barrow Hill
One does not need heaps of money to make a horror game and Barrow Hill is one of the examples that prove this statement. You play as an ill-fated stranger, whose car breaks down somewhere in the middle of Cornish nowhere. What’s even worse, something prevents you from leaving this place. Since you don’t really have a choice, you start to explore the desolated surrounding and discover what happened to all the people, an archaeological team that was digging in nearby burial site included. Eerie atmosphere, creepy story involving some ancient mystery and the overwhelming feeling of loneliness are things that make Barrow Hill so entertaining for the fans of the genre. If you enjoy slow-paced games that rely on the atmosphere to frighten you, you’ve come to the right place.
7. Call of Cthulhu: Shadow of the Comet
And Lovecraft-inspired game once again. The last one on this list, I promise. In Shadow of the Comet we play as John Parker, a British journalist, who comes to the quaint town Illsmouth in New England at the beginning of 20th century because reportedly it is the best place to observe and photograph the passage of Halley’s Comet. He has an ulterior motive though. When the comet appeared the last time, Lord Boleskine went completely mad after seeing it from Illsmouth. John Parker wants to find out what really caused a completely normal individual to lose his sanity. He has three days till the arrival of the comet. Will he succeed in his quest for knowledge? And, what’s more, will he survive it? It’s all up to the player. The game was released over twenty years ago but is still unparalleled when it comes to the creepy atmosphere and the fear of impending doom. Don’t take my word for it. Just play Shadow of the Comet, preferably along with its successor, Prisoner of Ice.
6. Penumbra: Overture
The Penumbra series was a big hit and very few people didn’t at least hear about it. All three games are definitely worth playing but the first one, Penumbra: Overture, ended up on this list because – at least for me – it has the best atmosphere of them all. The action takes place in the year 2000 and we play as Philip, a thirty-year-old old man, who suddenly receives a letter from his deceased father. This is rather odd, so our protagonist, after doing some research, goes to a desolated location somewhere among the snows of Greenland to discover what’s going on. He founds himself in seemingly abandoned mine. Soon, however, he notices that he’s not as alone as it would seem and the place is crawling with mutated spiders, dogs from hell and even worse abominations. As I mentioned before, the strength of this game lies in its atmosphere. The unwelcoming corridors, danger lurking in every corner and the various notes we find along the way create a wonderful setting for a challenging, but really fun to play game.
There are few more clichéd motives in the horror genre than an old, haunted Victorian mansion on the outskirts of civilization. Still, traditional themes can still mean a spooky experience. The protagonist of Scratches, Michael Arthate, is an author with writer’s block who recently bought the Blackwood estate, hoping that the eerie surrounding will help him finish his novel. The house’s dark past will, however, interfere with the man’s plans, as he begins to witness strange occurrences and hear titular scratches all around the place. It’s a great game that lets you savour the creepy atmosphere and scares you using really subtle but effective means. I can guarantee that after playing it, you’ll feel most uncomfortable next time you’re home-alone.
A true classic, a real gem and a title that any self-respecting gamer should be acquainted with, even if adventure games are not really his or her cup of tea. Don’t be fooled by rather hackneyed beginning – a car accident and a man with amnesia. The protagonist wakes up in a burning asylum full of seriously insane people but when a statue of an angel comes to life and teleports us to a village full of mutilated children, we may be sure that the strangeness has only begun. It’s hard to speak of this game without spoiling the plot and the pleasure of unravelling the mystery yourself, so I won’t say anything else. Sanitarium is one of the most disturbing productions ever and it’s sure to make you feel uneasy throughout the whole playthrough.
3. Dark Fall: The Journal
When I came across Dark Fall: The Journal for the first time I was basically still a kid and the game scared me stiff. Too terrified to play it alone, I asked my brother for moral support and we were trying to get through Dark Fall together. To no avail though. After hearing a creepy sound of a crying woman behind my back, I stuttered “n-nope” and gave up. Many years later I’ve returned to this production and I don’t regret it one bit. The game starts with a message on an answering machine from the protagonist’s brother. He begs us to come to the old Doverton train station in Dorset where he was in charge of some redevelopment work. The man sounds genuinely frightened, so we don’t waste any time and go there immediately only to find the decrepit and abandoned train station notorious for people’s disappearance. Our task is obviously to find out what happened to our brother and a few ghosts can become our unlikely allies in that quest. As I said before, that game is truly frightening. The atmosphere is brilliant, the sounds chilling to the bone and the scares are very subtle but can give you nightmares for months to come. Just play it for yourself along with Dark Fall II: Lights Out and Dark Fall: Lost Souls.
2. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
The most recent and probably the most popular title on this list. Still, in case you don’t know, Amnesia is a best-selling adventure game, causing near heart-attack experience for players all around the globe. We assume here the role of Daniel, who wakes up in an ominous Prussian castle with no recollection of his current predicament apart from the fact that something sinister wants to get him. Soon, he discovers a note, which he had written to himself – apparently Daniel have erased his memory on purpose for some reason and now he has but one quest: he needs to kill the castle’s owner, Baron Alexander. As we descent deeper and deeper into the dungeons, we slowly discover the hero’s past and the reason for his hostility towards Alexander. Amnesia is a great production and for many the scariest game ever. Grim topic, violence (though more implied than showed), cruelty, monsters lurking from every shadow that will chew our face off if we won’t manage to escape or hide in time. Amnesia’s popularity is only strengthened by dozens of free mods created by fans. Play it if you dare and wait impatiently for the sequel that comes out this year.
1. The Lost Crown: A Ghost-Hunting Adventure
The Lost Crown is inconspicuous, flawed in many aspects but beyond awesome nonetheless. No wonder, since it comes from the same person who was responsible for the Dark Fall series – Jonathan Boakes. In The Lost Crown we play as Nigel Danvers, a ghost-hunter, who arrives in a sleepy town of Saxton after fleeing London in rather hasty manner. That’s where he encounters Lucy Reubans and they join forces to discover where the lost Anglo-Saxon crown have been buried. Unfortunately, Saxton’s inhabitants, both living and dead, are not too pleased with what the pair decided to do… The game boasts mostly black and white graphics, matching the tone of the story and really, really atmospheric and unsettling. Some scenes are beyond creepy and on few occasions I found myself hesitating whether to enter certain location or not, sensing that something spooky will happen. I didn’t really expect much from this game but it turned out to be the scariest game I’ve ever played. I hope you’ll check it out and agree with me. And if not, write your own types in the comments.