I named this article carefully and avoided the word “scary”. I have a particular mindset that doesn’t always get scared by things that are generally deemed to be frightening. Games like Five Nights at Freddy’s tend to have little impact on me as jump scares don’t really get to me (this is probably why nobody watches my Let’s Play videos). Zombies and other hideously deformed entities don’t usually have much effect either; I may have desensitised myself with years of watching video-nasties. It’s the uncertain psychological terror that will always get me with a game. It’s often said that what you don’t see is usually the most terrifying thing and that definitely rings true for me.
With that in mind, I’ve compiled my list of the five most disturbing foes that you will face in gaming.
The visuals of 1980 didn’t give Midway’s Cyan-coloured ghost a hugely intimidating presence in how he looked, but that wasn’t why he was so intimidating. Not everyone realises this, but each of the ghosts had a slightly different personality. Clyde would chase you but wander off when he got too close, Blinky would chase behind you, Pinky would try and head you off but Inky was the worst. He had both the chase technique of Blinky and the cutting-up technique of Pinky. Because of this, he was the least predictable ghost, and the one you really didn’t want chasing you. As a child, I had many tense moments trying to evade his steely gaze long enough to make it to a power pill.
Why are little girls so creepy? There’s something about evil children that just make me want to hide in a cupboard. You can see influences from Japanese horror films like Ring but it’s when you see her destructive powers that she gets even more terrifying. When this tiny little lady could disintegrate you with a blink of her eyes, you have to start worrying about how you’re gonna escape from this.
Whilst she’s not an unholy abomination like the others on this list, GLaDOS makes this list as she always gives the impression that she could flip out and kill you at any moment. With some psychopaths, you know they’re going to try and kill you from the outset. Jason Vorhees never made any suggestion that he just wanted a hug. This insane computer though was scary because you never knew if she was going to give you cake or kill you next.
These guys are a nightmare to face. Very difficult to kill and difficult to find stealthily in order to do so. If you make a sound, they will come straight for your throat so you have to sit in silence and creep around hoping to take them unawares. All the time that you’re doing this, you can hear their creepy clicking sound and when that’s echoing all around you in the darkness, it’s a very frightening moment indeed. The section where you’re in an abandoned underground station with hundreds of these guys is one of the most genuinely unsettling moments in recent gaming memory for me.
Let’s be honest, you knew it was going to be this at number one didn’t you? Pyramid Head is the epitome of sheer terror in gaming. The first scene you see him in he’s sexually assaulting two Mannequins; this rams home how abhorrent he is and how little respect he has for life. The faceless and voiceless character terrorises you throughout the game. That horrible screeching sound as he drags his sword across the concrete floor, that relentless slow walk towards you. As if that wasn’t enough, he’s unkillable as well, so all you can do is try to escape. It all adds up to the complete package. He’s an intimidating, vile-looking, murderous, evil S.O.B. and that’s why he’s the most unnerving of all!