As part of Power Up Gaming’s Halloween spooktacular, today we’re turning our attention to some of the most gruesome, evil and downright disturbing monsters in video gaming (Unfortunately, much to my girlfriend’s dismay, nothing from Scooby Doo! Night of 100 Frights will be mentioned. – Scott). These beasts are so horrifying, that little else can give us greater satisfaction than dispatching of them using a variety of means; more often than not while toting a firearm of some description.
The demented citizens of Rapture are definitely not the friendliest bunch. They may have once been a ritzy class of people; frolicking around in underwater saloons and shopping malls; showing off their fortunes to every other guy or girl in town. The change they have undergone has been drastic, however, a change brought about by splicing their genes with ADAM. Well, something had to be bought with all that free market moolah, right?
They now haunt the halls of Rapture’s many districts, as they search for any poor dead soul to steal just one last drop of that precious drug. They have become hideously deformed, and as a result they hide their shameful looks behind masquerade masks leftover from New Year’s Eve 1960. The most horrifying aspect of any Splicer, however, is its insanity. Hearing most of them coming won’t be a problem, as they jabber to themselves incoherently, or even quote scripture in a haunting melody. Others will be more difficult to detect, namely, the Spider Splicer, who prefers surprise attacks from above instead of the more direct approach. Listen carefully for the cracking plaster; don’t let it get the drop on you.
Necromorph (Dead Space)
Poor Isaac Clarke. The man only wanted to be an engineer, and while he does spend a lot of his time making mechanical repairs, he also ends up fighting for his life aboard a claustrophobic hellhole filled with horrific reanimated corpses known as Necromorphs.
The disgusting factor is off the charts with these extraterrestrial zombies, as they have taken on numerous forms of pathogenic terror. You may have your regular run-of-the-mill Necropmorphs, with their spiked appendages, and disfigured frames, but the yikes factor definitely comes from those of a slightly weirder variety: dead foetuses that shoot missiles from thin tendrils; slow-moving screamers that wield yellow explosive tumours; hugely fat behemoths that burst and spawn a host of tiny parasites; tentacles that reach from walls to pull Isaac into bloody crevices.
All of these creatures can be killed, but only by ripping their limbs off with whatever mining tool is currently available. Except for those that can grow limbs back. With them, the nightmare never seems to end.
The Witch (Left 4 Dead)
Left 4 Dead usually consists of moments that go from soothingly quiet to frantically mental within seconds. It isn’t surprising then that the Witch has a similar function: to change winning situations into those of nightmarish dread.
Approaching a Witch may lull you into a false sense of security, as she remains in a passive position; clutching her head and shuffling around on a small pathway. As soon as she is approached, or a flash light is shone upon her, she will spring into action, attacking with her massive, bloody claws. This usually means death for any player because of her unforgiving strikes that even the most skilled veterans of the zombie apocalypse will find difficult to avoid.
Her passivity isn’t the only unsettling thing about the Witch; her wails will alert you to her presence long before she is seen. The distress of hearing her sobs is deeply frightening, especially when your view is obscured by a downpour and a ridiculous amount of sugar cane. Witches are truly not for the faint of heart.
Nazi Zombies (Call of Duty: World at War)
Remember when you finished Call of Duty: World at War’s awesome campaign? Those credits were quite lovely, but just as you were about to turn the game off, a new cutscene began. In this cutscene, a crashed airplane can be seen to your left, with a group of figures shuffling around to your right. Just before you pass out, a crazy man runs towards you; arms flailing as the screen goes black, and then reads: Nazi Zombies.
Left in an abandoned bunker with nothing but a pistol, you have no choice but to fight round after round of undead fascists. These zombies may not be much of a challenge in the earlier stages, but as you progress they become an unstoppable force that will have you running around blindly, looking for new weapons and trying to activate that extremely valuable Mystery Box.
As if your original encounter with them wasn’t creepy enough, they continued to invade your nightmares in even more spine-tingling locations. The zombies themselves are bad enough, with their fast moving attacks and gurgled growls, but put them in a mental asylum, and you have one horrifying package.
P.S. Where was the zombie Hitler?
Clicker (The Last of Us)
The Last of Us is a game that comes close to perfection in many ways; one of them being its alteration on the typical zombie style. While all stages of this world’s infected are distinctly disturbing in various ways, the Clicker is something else entirely.
Unlike the Runners, the Clicker’s humanity has been lost forever as the fungus has now completely taken over its brain. What is left is a primal, and hungering instinct to pass on the infection, and to ensure the continuation of the parasitic Cordyceps. They will haunt certain areas, mostly in dark and confined spaces; having no desire to leave if they can detect a possible food source.
Their methods of detection are what makes them unique. Having taken over the brain after long periods of exposure, the fungus then seeps through the skull and blinds the infected with huge plate-like protrusions. They then have to use echolocation to find any prey that may come across their path; utilizing distinct clicking noises that will alert you to their presence.
Their lack of vision, frightening gargles and spasmodic movements all present inversions of the society that is fighting to stay alive. They are the familiar, turned unfamiliar – which makes them a chilling reminder of what humanity has left to lose: itself.
What’s scary about a bunch of blocks? Nothing in particular, until they’re painted green and given the ability to slither around on four legs. Creepers are the bane of any Minecraft player’s existence, experienced or otherwise, as they always seem to spring up at the most inopportune of times. They come at you with your back turned and blow up any structure you may working on, with only a faint hiss to warn you of their explosive desires.
The hordes of Creepers are endless and unforgiving. The day may be a safe haven for you, but come night time you better lock yourself into whatever hidey hole you can find, place a few torches on the wall, and pray that there are no green menaces waiting for you beyond those blocky walls.
Slenderman (Slender: The Eight Pages)
Slenderman is certainly one of the most terrifying entities to ever grace a gaming platform. It isn’t so much his looks which are frightening, it’s his lack of features which disturb so much. Clad in a black suit, with only a blank, expressionless face on a white, eggshell head, Slenderman is an unknown force. What does he want from you? How does he work? What exactly is he?
I do know one thing about him: he will never stop chasing you.
As you begin in a dark forest, with a flashlight as your only companion, you are greeted with an eerie silence. Unsure of what to do, you stumble through a mass of trees, until you find a page pinned to a random, and isolated, structure. Taking the page will aid your progression, but it will also bring Slenderman into your world, and begin the awful banging that signifies his heavy footsteps. He will always be behind you; stopping is not an option, and so you are forced to continue through the gloom, collecting pages while avoiding the grasp of that faceless terror.
You may think that turning around would be safe. It isn’t. If you turn around; even for a second, he will be there. Spotting him from far away is just as bad as seeing him up close; you know it’s only a matter of time before he reaches you. Obtaining all eight pages may be an achievement, but after all of that, he will still get you. He will wrap you in his dark tentacles, and transport you back to the beginning of that hellish experience. There is no end in Slender.
Wander (Shadow of the Colossus)
While your main objective in Shadow of the Colossus is to slay sixteen varying beasts around different zones within the Forbidden Lands, it is up for debate as to whether these are even monsters at all. In fact, some may argue that your titular character, Wander, is the true monster of this tale.
Each of the sixteen are imposing in their own way; they are large statuesque creatures made of stone after all, but while they do definitely incite fear, I feel that their attacks against Wander are purely defensive. Don’t get me wrong, I hate giant fish and sand worms as much as the next guy, but that doesn’t mean that they need to be mercilessly slaughtered.
Wander may have his motives for adhering to Dormin’s task, as he tries to resurrect his lost love, but I don’t think that diminishes the impact of his committed atrocities. The colossi are the last of their kind, and will never be seen again, thanks to the exploitation of their weaknesses by a cloaked wanderer.
They may be intimidating, but there is something truly beautiful about each of the colossi. Their absence will leave the landscape barren; more desolate than it was before, and reeking of the monstrous essence of humanity.