We have finally arrived in spook-tober once again and that means another list of scaries to showcase. However, I decided to up the challenge and make this month’s list go up to 13 (I know, what a crazy change). As I was discussing this list with my brother I was reminded that people have different ways of perceiving games’ intentions.
While there are some obvious scary creatures in this list, games can scare you in a variety of ways even if that game is not a horror game. Whether it’s difficulty, surprise, disgust, or a combination of all of these, enemies can instill fear in the player through different methods.
I even thought about breaking my one-entry-per-franchise rule this time around as well but I have decided that one will suffice for this list still. With that, let’s work up the courage, face our fears head-on, and see what’s hiding in the dark.
13. Deathclaws – Fallout Series
The Fallout series has elements of horror in its games but there are rarely enemies that make you quake in your Pipboy like the Deathclaws can. The Deathclaws are like reptilian monsters that were created as a type of weapon by the military but now roam around different parts of the Fallout world.
These monsters rip their prey apart with their long claws and will sprint from a horizon away to try and get its prey. When your radar shows a red dot moving fast, you can rest assured that it’s likely a Deathclaw.
What’s worse is that the player doesn’t stand much of a chance for a large portion of the game, so you either need to sneak around them or completely avoid Deathclaw infested areas. Otherwise, one swipe and you are going to be reloading a checkpoint. Hope you saved your game recently.
12. Snacker the Shark – Banjo Kazooie
Okay, hear me out. You are playing the best N64 game about a bear and a bird with cooky music, a talking mole, and a fat witch. It’s cute and fun and there shouldn’t be anything to worry about. Until you decide to take a quick dip to get a Jinjo in “Treasure Trove Cove” and this bear-sized shark materializes out of nowhere.
He will tease his prey with his desire to eat them. You are just trying to get all the music notes and Jiggies but this sharp-toothed shark is coming for your toes. After your first run-in with this vicious shark, you’ll be hopping between crates a lot more carefully to avoid meeting his hungry gaze again.
11. Volatile – Dying Light
Nothing is scarier than when an enemy is just as athletic as the character and the Volatile are that. There is nowhere where you can go that they won’t be hot on your heels if they catch you out at night. At first glance, these creatures might just seem like any other zombie, but their ruthless hunting patterns will have you checking your corners as you traverse the darkened landscape.
As they jump on you, trying to take your head off, you are forced to look at their misshapen form and the grotesque appearance that their faces have taken since infection. Even the game recommends not confronting these monsters head-on and instead trying to find a safe house immediately. That’s when you know these aren’t your garden variety zombies.
10. Bloodlicker – Bloodborne
These long-limbed freaks are named for their diet as you will find them slurping up the blood of nearby corpses, which collects in a large protruding sack in their abdomen.
Everything about this monster is disturbing, and its attacks will leave you wanting to avoid it just as much. For the most part, the Bloodlicker will shoot out its limbs in different attack patterns to catch you with one of its razor-sharp claws.
However, it can also just bounce around like some grotesque grasshopper trying to smack you with its bulbous blood sack. Being anywhere near this enemy is something I try to avoid at all costs to avoid losing my lunch.
9. Clickers – The Last of Us
The Last of Us does a great job at creating a depressing and realistic post-apocalyptic setting, and part of that is due to its zombies. The Clickers are part of the reason that environment often feels like you need to remain on constant vigilance.
They are the third phase of the infection in the universe and the infection has completely spread across the body. They have begun to take on the appearance of the fungus and have lost their eyesight.
These creatures can often be heard before they are seen as they click to themselves. The clicking can turn any player’s blood cold as the last thing you want to deal with is a Clicker that has gone berserk. Once provoked, they are incredibly difficult to take down, and it’s almost always better to either leave them alone or take them out quietly.
8. Animatronics – Five Nights at Freddy’s
I know that Five Night’s at Freddy’s can be seen as a bit of a meme with how commercialized it became, but there is no denying that we all have memories of our first playthrough where we carefully watched the animatronics as they slowly progressed through the pizzeria.
A sense of dread rising up as Freddy got closer and closer, always gazing directly into the camera – taunting us with the constant reminder that he was coming for us. Besides our trusty camera system, we have little to defend ourselves with besides a door that requires electricity to lock.
And when we overuse our electricity like most first-time players do, and Freddy takes his time creeping through the halls, all we can do is wait until he screams in our face. Our heartbeat only coming to a stop after we turn off the dumb game and play a different game that doesn’t use JPEGs as gameplay.
7. The Witch – Left for Dead
Left for Dead forces bands of players to come together to progress through levels against a horde of relentless enemies. However, only one of those enemies will make every player stop in their tracks, turn off their lights, and say, “do you hear that?”
The Witch is the strongest enemy in the game but will stay out of the players’ way if they stay out of her way. She is more than happy to just cry in a corner as long as players don’t come too close and bother her.
This one enemy, just by the sounds of her crying, can make an entire team rethink its strategy, slow down, and approach with care. Because with one swipe, the Witch will incapacitate you and won’t stop digging her claws into you until you are dead. Plus, there’s nothing more creepy in these games than the sound of this zombified girl crying in the dark, all alone.
6. Chris Walker – Outlast
Outlast’s entire cast of characters could be on this list, but Chris Walker is the big goliath that stalks you through almost the entire game and is the most formidable of them all.
His hulking form seems to suddenly appear from the shadows as you sprint backward, looking for somewhere to hide. You’ll see him wandering about, and his presence is regularly teased, but you’ll ultimately need help to take him out.
Every time I saw this guy the first time I played, I was scared to move out from under the bed that I was hiding underneath. He can break your neck with one hand, and there was no telling what else. Despite the cobwebs and the rotting corpse across the room, the bed always seemed preferable to seeing Walker again.
5. Laura – The Evil Within
Laura might be the most disturbing enemy on this list, as the first encounter with her still comes up in my therapy sessions. As you go to inspect a body in the morgue, Laura’s talons seemingly rip up from the floor, with blood spurting everywhere. She begins to teleport around the room and take swipes at you, and before long, you realize the best move is to run for it.
Laura will be right on your heels, and just as you close the gate, you can hear her beating on it, trying to get through. Laura is terribly difficult to keep down, and she will persistently be coming back no matter how many times you think you outfoxed her. Dead bodies go from being something to fear because they might rise again to something even more terrifying: a monster spawn.
4. Xenomorph – Alien: Isolation
The Xenomorph of Alien: Isolation perfectly encapsulates the feeling that the film captures so well. That feeling of being hunted by an overpowering force that seems like it can be anywhere at any time. You are forced to take each room a step at a time so that you are never putting yourself at a disadvantage if the alien just shows up.
You might be in the middle of a room, and all of a sudden, this long-limbed monster will show up, and you will have to slide into cover in a split second, holding your breath in real life, hoping that they didn’t see you.
All the while, your heart is racing while you watch the Xenomorph slink away to the next room over. It gives me heart palpitations just thinking about its visored-eyes searching for me, just waiting for me to make one wrong move so it can shove its fanged tongue into my face.
3. The Molded – Resident Evil 7
Resident Evil has its fair share of enemies, but the Molded have continued to stick in my mind for numerous reasons. For starters, the Molded are people who have been exposed to the mold created by E-001 and turned into muck-like monsters. Their free will has been stolen from them, and they are cursed to live out their remaining existence in service of another monster.
These muck monsters will melt off of walls and seep from the ceiling to surprise the player. One second it’s just you and the stuffed deer, and the next, there are two enemies throwing mucky fists at you. Especially early in the game, having these foes suddenly appear when you thought you were safe was always terrifying and forced me to constantly be on the lookout for potential spawns.
2. Pyramid Head – Silent Hill 2
Easily the most iconic enemy on this list, Pyramid Head, from the first sight, is a slow- and awkward-moving boss. The first time you spot this weirdo, he is doing something a little sus with mannequins, but the music score and the overall animation of Pyramid Head all lend to make this encounter chill-inducing.
By the time you actually fight this masked man, you will have already built up enough fear of him where any close encounter with him is already asking way too much from you. Every second I had to spend in close proximity was enough to make me pause the game and get another drink.
1. Leaper – Dead Space
All of the enemies in Dead Space are disgusting monsters that will make your skin crawl to think about. However, the Leaper is the scariest to fight every single time. While many of the other necromorphs have easily defined patterns and limbs to shoot, the Leaper will leap across rooms, suddenly sprint on his little legs, or lash at you with its scorpion-like tail.
On top of that, the Leaper is largely horizontal in orientation compared to the other enemies, which makes it a pain in the butt to get clean shots on. What’s worse is this little slithery menace is the second variation of the necromorphs that you meet, so you will fight it hundreds of times throughout the series – each time just as stressful as the last.
I would outwardly sigh with relief every time any other necromorph crossed my path while my crosshairs wildly moved around the screen when a Leaper appeared.