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The 20 Scariest Computer Game Characters of All-time... Part 2

1st November 2013

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Continuing our countdown of the most terrifying computer game characters we've ever encountered, here's the top ten. Who/what will be crowned the scariest of all time? Read on to find out...

9) The Beast – Another World       

Anyone that played Another World can tell you how frightening the first level is. We are in the lab running a particle accelerator experiment. Standard Saturday night. Then something goes wrong and we’re teleported to this lake in an alien plant. We get out of the water and it’s there. Instantly. It’s there. It’s in the background glaring over with its blood-red eyes – more angry than hungry. It looks a little like the dog-cat beast Sigourney Weaver turns into in Ghost Busters. But I digress. The beast is too far away for now, so you walk along for the next few screens until it jumps down, roars and begins to chase you. No one gets away the first time. Or the second time. It doesn’t slow down and, unlike some modern games, you’re not told how to beat the monster after you’ve died for the tenth time in a row. You just run. And run. And run.

8) GLaDOS  - Portal

GLaDOS is an acronym, standing for Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System. It is the name for the female-sounding computer that guides you through your training in Portal. She slowly and sarcastically gives away that she has a wicked streak. As she guides you through each of the training rooms it becomes obvious that something isn’t right. Before the final test she says something very odd and unsettling: “Cake, and grief counselling, will be available at the conclusion of the test." Then, when you’ve finished your training, she guides you to a conveyor belt that leads you to a fiery death. You have to leap to your escape. Much to her disappointment. Afterwards, with a cheerful tone to her voice, she says:

“Remember when the platform was sliding into the fire pit and I said "Goodbye" and you were like [in a deep male voice] "No way!"  [normal voice] And then I was all "We pretended we were going to murder you?" That was great!

You escape (perhaps on a second try) and attempt to flee the massive Aperture complex. You get into the cracks between the pristine training environments and you see the graffiti on the walls that has been left as a warning by the other people GlaDOS has hunted in the past. Will you ever escape? Just remember one key thing: the cake is most definitely a lie!

7) Witches – Left 4 Dead

For those that haven’t played Left 4 Dead, it’s a co-operative zombie action game where you have to work as a team to survive waves and waves of zombies whilst trying to get to safety. There are various kinds of zombies, each with their own way of killing you. The Witches are by far the scariest. Like many baddies on this list, they are scariest because you hear them before you see them. They sob woefully somewhere in the level and yourheart sinks because know there’s a witch nearby. She won’t attack you straight away, but if you shine a light on her or shoot her, she’ll pounce on you and paralyse you as she slashes you to pieces. Game over. Better hope your teammates are nearby, because witches are as tough as they are terrifying.

6) Water/Chemicals – Sonic 2

This might be a tricky one to justify, because the water or the chemicals in the Chemical Plant Zone in Sonic definitely aren’t characters. They’ve has made it onto this list because of the sheer panic and fear they bring out in people. In Sonic 2 you can run about under water for a while before you have to come up for air. Usually there’s a moving platform or spring to help you get out of the water. I haven’t played it in years, but I still remember the music as it warned you that sonic was low on oxygen. It duh-dum duh-dummed like Jaws and it got faster and more frenzied as your time ran out. But Sonic was nowhere near a spring, or he’d just missed the ledge that would have led him to the surface and to a virtual breath of fresh air. So I’d get this horrible, literal, pain in my chest and stomach as I scrambled around looking for a way to get to the surface. Then the music would reach a heart-stopping crescendo and then…

I’d slump back in my seat, almost relieved that I’d died. I’d avoid the water next time…

5) Piggsy – Manhunt

Piggsy has got to be based on Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre – just look at him. He is fat from all of the human flesh he has eaten and he wears the rank, rotted head of a pig over his own. We never see his real face. He is a mad killer who seems to be part child, part pig, as he squeals and oinks, then screams short, simple sentences. Piggsy is the final boss in Manhunt and he is a tough nut to crack. His weapon of choice is a chainsaw, and he wields it manically, but deftly. One of the rare scary computer game characters that looks just as scary as he sounds. A dark and twisted baddie from a dark and twisted game.

4) The Gatherers – Amnesia

One of the scariest games of all time; the worst thing about Amnesia is that you don’t get any weapons. It’s a horror with monsters and you’re the prey. You get nothing to defend yourself except your own two feet and hiding places dotted about the game. Gatherers are the main enemy and they hunt you on sight. Often, when you’re hiding, they’ve seen you enter the cupboard or larder and they slash at the door, breaking it down to reach their prey. Their job is to hunt you down. It’s their sole purpose. Apart from their face resembling the Scarecrow’s from Batman, it’s the effect they have on your character’s sanity that is the most terrifying part: your vision blurs and distorts as they run towards you, representing your madness.

3) Psycho Mantis – Metal Gear Solid

Psycho Mantis is psychic. I mean really psychic. Other games might be happy for a psychic boss character to be able to read your moves as you do them. Kojima elevated what it means for a computer game character to be psychic by making Psycho Mantis cross the fourth wall. He was able to read your memory card data and comment on any games he recognised, such as Castlevania or Suikoden. He was also able to make your controller vibrate and trick you into thinking your TV’s channel had changed. He did this by making the screen black. Many spent hours trying to beat him. This was before there where hundreds of gaming sites and helpful, fan-made Youtube walkthroughs. [Spoiler alert. Even though the game has been out for fifteen years] It turns out that the only way to beat him is to put your controller into slot 2, thus making your thoughts unreadable to him. He is a terrifying character, and is very deserving of his spot at number three.

2) Pyramid Head – Silent Hill 2

When you first meet Pyramid Head, he is raping and killing two weird female monsters (mannequins) that are made-up of only two pairs of legs stuck onto each other. He drags one along the ground and you shoot at it from inside the closet. If that isn’t scary enough, later on, when you see him, he’s carrying his big Buster sword around with him, dragging it long the ground and walking slowly. (All the scariest things move slowly.) The sheer gruesomeness of Pyramid Head and the size of his sword make him a terrifying bad guy to fight. He’s on the top of lots of people’s lists, but he has just missed out on the top spot in this list. I hope there are no hard feelings.

1) Slender Man – Slender: The Eight Pages

Whatever you do, don’t turn around! Slender Man is a horrifying character with no face who stalks you through a forest at night time. There is all kinds of online lore about him abducting kids, but it’s a mystery as to what exactly he or it is. In the game, you have to collect eight pages from different locations using only your flashlight to find your way around. It’s okay until you find your first page and a drum starts to boom in the distance, announcing that Slender Man is after you. The drum thumps incessantly in the background, driving you mad. For the rest of the game you have to try to collect all eight pages while evading Slender Man. If he catches you, you’re dead. If you look behind you or double back, he is almost certainly there. Slender will only ever be behind you, so don’t you dare look back. When he catches you the screen fizzes up with white noise and static like an old TV going out of tune and his blank, featureless face is the last thing you see. No extra lives. No continues. Game over. The scariest computer game character of all time. If you disagree, he’ll come get you.

There you have it. The twenty scariest game characters so far. With the survival horror genre going from strength to strength, I’m sure a few characters will usurp some of this list over the next few years. No one is safe. Not even the monsters! If you think that one or two characters should have made the list – or if you’d like to exercise your right as an internet troll, then please argue and complain below.

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