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The 20 Scariest Computer Game Characters of All-time... Part 1

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It’s tricky to pin down what it is about watching horror films that we find enjoyable. Why is being scared an enjoyable experience? Fear in computer games is even more disturbing, as we aren’t just watching the characters – we are the characters. It’s not simply passive, as when we watch a horror flick; it’s an active experience where our actions or inactions could cost us our lives.

It’s this more intense horror experience that has made scary computer game characters so memorable in many gamers’ minds. Where cinephiles have nightmares about The Night of the Living Dead, gamers have nightmares about Resident Evil and only having three more bullets in which to fight four zombies. What follows is a thoughtful list of the twenty scariest computer game characters of all time. It’s a look at what has scared the life out of gamers over the years – at the games that made us unplug our computers or consoles at the wall before we could sleep at night.

20) Lickers – Resident Evil 2

We all remember the moment we first saw a licker. There was a suspicious pool of blood in the corridor that we just had to investigate – why couldn’t we have just walked around it? – Then it cut to the frightening FMV of this horrible figure crawling along the ceiling towards you.  It looked like a person turned inside-out, their muscles and brains worn on the outside. Its mouth stretched open and its huge tongue seethed out like a snake and it made a groaning noise that almost sounded human. Terrifying. They were also quick and much harder to fight than the standard zombie. Lickers have more than earned their place at number twenty.

Image courtesy of EBuyer.

19) Boo – Super Mario Bros

Don’t complain that Boos aren’t scary. Because they are. There have been countless scenarios where there have been more than a few boos surrounding me and I don’t know which way to turn. If I turn right, all of the boos I just turned my back on b-line straight for me. The same goes for the left. I don’t have time to think about what to do, and if I take my eyes off them, they’ll get me (much like Dr Who’s weeping angels). Boos were horrifying in their own special way; not because they looked scary, but because they’d surround you on all sides and make you scared to move, or make the wrong move…

18) Cherubs - Doom 3

Ever wondered what a half-baby, half-fly monster would look like? You don’t need to as Doom 3 pulled this creature straight out of Hell to show you. In Doom 3 the Cherubs were the stuff of nightmares and a tough adversary. It wasn’t just the horrible claws and disgusting insect appendages that really curdled players’ blood; it was the cold, cruel eyes and blank expression on their evil baby faces.

17) ReDead – Zelda, Ocarina of Time

We are just sitting on our sofa playing the delightfully cartoony and sweet Ocarina of Time when we find ourselves in a mausoleum full of brown, wooden-faced zombies. They seem sluggish at first and we begin to believe we’ll be okay. Wrong!  They let out a paralysing scream when we get close enough to them, and while we’re fixed to the floor, frozen, they tip-toe excruciatingly slowly towards us. We bounce up and down on our sofa mashing the controller and crying out in anguish, but to no avail. It’s got us. ReDead are an unexpected horror in a remarkably un-horrific game. They still send a chill down my spine. They’ve more than earned their place at seventeen.

16) Slayers – The Suffering

Some people might read this and complain that the Slayers weren’t that hard to kill. And they’re right. Kind of. But just look at this monstrosity! It looks very like Voldo from Soul Calibre (who almost made it into this list). If you scramble about the walls and floors with blades for feet or hands, then you get on the list. And I don’t want to live in a world where this isn’t the case. Slayers also get pretty challenging as the game continues, as they develop the ability to revive themselves after you’ve killed them – the crafty, knifey, Lazarus-y, mutilated-y spidery creeps.

15) The Spider – Limbo

Anyone that has played Limbo will agree that the spider is a terrifying baddie. Its silhouette sometimes blends into the background and we mistake some of its legs for tree branches or something else seemingly innocuous. Then a branch suddenly snaps out like a viper and impales the unnamed protagonist. The scariest thing is how silently this gargantuan spider comes at you, and its movements are just so… spidery. Do not play this game if you suffer from arachnophobia or if you are upset when your character dies over and over again.

14) Dobermans (AKA Cerberus Dogs) – Resident Evil

These fetid, four-legged fiends certainly aren’t man’s best friend. A nasty prank was played on me at the start of the first Resident Evil game. I was told that if I opened the front door of the house it was a cheat that would let me complete the game almost instantly. Young and naïve, I believed them and opened the door. A video clip ensued where the zombie dog sticks its head through the gap in the door and tries to kill me. I threw the controller on the floor and couldn’t play the game for a few days. In a game full of slow, groaning zombies, the Dobermans were fast and so low to the ground that it was hard to shoot them. They were the scariest bad guys in one of the scariest games of all time.

13) G-Man – Half-life

G-Man is a recurring character in the Half-Life games. It is very vague as to what he actually is or what team he is on. But he is definitely more than (or less than) human. In the game, he seems to be able to teleport into rooms without exits and speak as though he is inside your head. The scariest thing about him is his voice (voice-acted by Michael Shapiro). His voice is slow and arrhythmic, with odd pauses and inflections where they shouldn’t be – a little like a computer that has learned to talk. This might not sound that scary, but it is harrowing. Watch this video and try sleep well tonight. I dare you.

12) Hunters – Halo

The Halo universe is full of scary enemies, but none more so than the Hunter. It’s the change in music that tells you that a hunter is on its way to you. Suddenly every flicker of light or little grunt could be one of these behemoths thundering at you. Like a lot of the scaries on this list, it wouldn’t work without the audio. The Hunter’s music sends a pang of desperation and fear down any true Halo fan’s spine. It’s coming for you.

 

11) MolagBal – Skyrim

MolagBal is a Daedric Prince (Demon Prince) and you meet him by accident in Markarth when a man asks you to accompany him into a house. You explore the house with the man for a moment, then mist suddenly fills every room and the demon speaks loudly, in a cruel, sinister voice and as though he is in your head.

“Weak. He’s weak, you’re strong. Crush him!”

It soon becomes apparent that you have to kill your companion to get out of the house. When you’ve murdered him, you run down through the house. MolagBal calls out to you, “YES! Further! Into the bowels.” You never see him. Just his shrine, but that makes him much scarier. He then orders you to lure a priest back to him as it’s the priest that has imprisoned him in the house. You agree. You feel as though you’ve just made a deal with the Devil. And you have. The glowing mace in the image is your prize for your Faustian deal. It looks like Sauron’s mace and it packs a mighty wallop. But was it worth the blood-price you paid for it?

(Note: Image is not of MolagBal as you never see him - it is of some very cool Daedric armour that Molag would most certainly wear.)

10) Alma – F.E.A.R

Little girls are scary. Fact. Alma undoubtedly taps into the same fear we had when we watched The Ring and The Grudge. There is a lot of mystery around Alma, and we spend most of the first two games discovering more about her. Although she is being held elsewhere, her psychic powers allow her to appear to us and to sometimes possess people. Her presence is felt throughout the game. It’s as though we’re being watched at all times. It’s almost scariest when we can’t see her, because we’re sure she’ll be around the next corner, giggling manically, leaving little bloody footprints in her wake.

Who will be crowned the number one scariest computer game character of all time? Come back tomorrow for the top ten...

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