Halloween has passed now. We’ve seen a multitude of various pumpkin carvings and insane costumes take the spotlight over the last few weeks leading up to the holiday. We here at Funstock want to shine that light on some of the best games that encompass the theme of ‘Horror’!
There have been many games that have taken inspiration either the classic horror movie slashers that were made popular through Hollywood, to the works of renown horror novelists such as HP Lovecraft. You have small time Japanese developers taking their passion for horror and making some special titles, to small American companies just trying to bring a new Horror experience to the world!
Some of these aren’t scary or have loads of gore, but when you think of Horror as the broad theme of covering ghouls, zombies, and the supernatural, then these are some of the games that hit the nail on the head and clearly are a massive love letter to the Horror genre! So sit back, and enjoy the spooky after taste of Halloween as we look at The Best Retro Horror Games Of All Time!
Super Castlevania IV
Super Casltevania IV, or simply put Casltevania 4 is one of the all time side scrolling classics that people often forget to mention when they speak about the Sonic The Hedgehogs or Marios of the gaming landscape. Taking on the mantle of well known Vampire Hunter; Simon Belmont, you are tasked with traversing Dracula’s Castle to reach the menace himself to get the nature of the world back in balance.
While the game isn’t the most scary game to play in the world, it has numerous horror elements that cannot possibly be ignored. Taking bosses right out of the pages of classic Horror movies and novels! The Casltevania series has always had a deep history with the Horror theme, from games staring Dracula’s son, to advertures where you are actually the reincarnation of Dracula himself! When you want to think Retro horror games, Castlevania should be one of the first franchises to come to your mind for sure.
Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
The Ghosts ‘n Goblins Franchise has a storied history and is well loved by many people across the world today! Some still hope for a brand new game to come out soon, a proper continuation of the franchise. While Ghosts ‘N Goblins for the NES was the game that started everyone, many of the world really fell in love with the Arcade classic Ghouls N Ghosts. The updated graphics and tougher gameplay didn’t stop it’s momentum though!
This game is classic Horror to a fine point, as you will find many references littered through out of some of the best references to the genre you’ve ever seen. The best part is the gameplay that games with it! Trying to traverse the level for minutes, only to die and have to go through the whole thing over again? Step aside Dark Souls, the real ruler is in town. His name is Arthur and he’s a knight on a mission!
Zombies Ate My Neighbours
One of the best part of classic Horror is the tropes that come with the genre is the character archetype. You’ve got the token sporty girl to the thick headed jock, often meeting unfortunate fates. However it’s not often that these crazy character sets are given the limelight and the heroes of their own little adventure. Zombies Ate My Neighbours is a great example of what I just described, as you’ve got the 3D glasses, skull tee, and crazy hair-do ‘cool’ kid and busty 90’s female on point to fight an adventure through their neighbourhood against an undead horde.
Horror isn’t always the gory blood fest some people often associate it with, and instead Horror comedy is a very unappreciated medium. From Shaun of the Dead to Tucker and Dale Vs Evil. Zombies Ate My Neighbours hits this idea on the head and is a twin stick classic that will always be fun to return to for some retro gaming goodness!
Resident Evil 1
Resident Evil is one of the best horror franchises of all time. Regardless of if you think it’s still holding up today or not, the impact the games made back during it’s launch cannot be understated in any capacity. When we were first introduced to the horrors of the mansion that Jill and co found themselves adventuring through, it was a shock. Filled with Zombies, Giant Spiders, and much more. It was such a breath of fresh air during a time that didn’t seem like it’d focus on that classic Horror feel.
Given the fact that it’s blossomed into multiple movies, sub games, and more. It’s clear to see the Resident Evil series has done quite well for itself. It’s like the Final Fantasy of Horror. You’ll often meet a gamer who loves one specific version over the other, but the most important part is that it’s now become a fixture when you think of classic Horror games, so for that, thank you Resident Evil!
When it comes to a game series that has the theme of Horror down the most in tandem with Retro gaming. Splatterhouse reigns supreme. The tale of Rick and his kidnapped girlfriend is one that came to many as a shock when they were children. The gore was beyond what many people had seen when they were young! You had ghouls hanging by hooks with their guts hanging out, taking a 2 x 4 to the skulls of giant monsters and demons in a haunted house.
The best part was how much it didn’t pull any punches. Your girlfriends fate was less than ideal in the first game and was not the ‘Princess Peach’ ending that most would expect. An art direction that was nothing short of hardcore as well. Even the modern reboot, while it might of been panned by critics, was Splatterhouse as it could possibly be with it’s blood, guts and adult themes. Splatterhouse is one of the biggest love letters to Horror ever made.
That’s our list! We hope you enjoyed reading as much as we enjoyed making the list! The Horror genre does not get enough love, from classic text adventures to unreleased Japanese survival games, it’s always evolving and has many games that deserve some attention and a good playthrough.
Did your favourite make the list? There are a bunch of classics out there in the wild, and we’re sure many amazing Horror games will hit the landscape next year!