Everyone can list their top 5 favorite horror games or recall the first time they played a survival horror title: chills shoot down your spine, your heartbeat races and palms get sweaty in anticipation of the inevitable moment ahead. What about, however, those games that aren’t designed to scare you? What about those creepy moments in non-horror games that you just didn’t see coming? Below you will find personal recollections from some of us about our favorite scary moments in non-horror games this generation.
David Jagneaux’s Pick
Game: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
Moment: Zora Mask Transformation
Majora’s Mask is by far the darkest and most twisted game in the Zelda franchise. Let’s get the premise down first: Link is mugged in the forest, has his possessions (including his horse) stolen, finds out the sad, depressed and lonely Skull Kid from The Lost Woods is behind it all and stole a mask from the Mask Salesman that twists people’s emotions and gives him extreme power. What happens next? Link sets out on a quest to stop the Skull Kid from causing the moon to crash down and cause the Terminapocalypse. That’s a word, look it up.
Depressing plot points aside, nothing was scarier for me as a child than seeing Link undergo the mask transformations. Not only did they severely disfigure his face and lead to grotesque animations as he squirms in pain – the sound he makes is spine chilling. Each mask has it’s own disturbing image, but the Zora mask pictured above literally gave me nightmares. It still bothers me to look at it to this day and is by far my scariest moment in a non-horror game. You can check them all out right here.
It takes quite a bit for a game to actually scare the crap out of me, but both Fallout games this generation have forced me to literally jump out of my seat. If I had to pick a moment from either Fallout 3 or Fallout: New Vegas that caused some serious perspiration, it would have to be the mission Nightkin in the Basement from New Vegas. The mission sees you with the task of wiping out a gang of blue Super Mutants named (you guessed it) Nightkin. Nightkin are big and ugly creatures, but that’s not where the fear comes from; it’s the fact that they are invisible until you manage to lace them with a bullet.
Most players make this mission easier by giving them a dose of their own medicine and stocking up on Stelth Boy’s which allow you to go invisible for a period of time. However when I played the game I had not one Stealth Boy on me, which meant unless I was incredibly quiet they would spot me long before I had the chance to discover them. So just imagine trying to creep around a basement, and then all of a sudden having some gigantic mutant freak jumping out to whack you with an oversized block of stone on a stick. Only the giant fire ants in Fallout 3 can compare.
Richard Bailey’s Pick
Game: Batman Arkham Asylum
Moment: Scarecrow Dream Sequences
Rocksteady Studios’ epic superhero title was not only the best Batman video game of this generation for me, but it also delivered several exhilarating moments. When it came to the horror elements of the game, no sequence was more surprising or unexpected than the Scarecrow dream encounters.
Every hallucination that led up to each encounter turned out to be even more twisted then the previous one, including the sadistic cat and mouse search mini-games that followed afterward. These are just a few reasons why Arkham Asylum will be one Batman game that fans will remember for many years to come. If for any reason you have yet to experience these moments firsthand, I would encourage you to check out a video of the third and final dream sequence below:
These are our three picks for scariest moments in non-horror games for each of us personally, but there are plenty more. Can you think of the most surprising scary moments that you just didn’t expect while playing a non-horror game? Let us know in the comments below!