Can you believe it is October already? Of course, that means we are close to Halloween so it is time for every blogger out there to start posting about horror related things, right? Absolutely! Although, in all fairness, I have been doing that for a while now, like my post on the PS1 horror games you probably haven’t played (here). But nevertheless, I wanted to start the month of Halloween off with a bang.
So, we are going to look at my top 7 horror games on the original PlayStation. There aren’t really any “hidden gems” in the list, but hopefully, you’ll still enjoy it! Here we go.
7. Dino Crisis
In at the number 7 position for my top PS1 horror games is Dino Crisis. Now, I actually prefer Dino Crisis 2 as a game but that’s more of an action adventure game than a horror game. However, the first game in the series was a great example of what you can do when you take the base Resident Evil formula and add in dinosaurs. Because let’s face it, almost anything is improved by dinosaurs – with the exception of Dino Crisis 3 which was basically just dinosaurs in space…
Dino Crisis took the Resident Evil engine and gameplay as a core, but then turned it all on its head by having fast-paced enemies like Velociraptors hunting you down through a strange facility. The interactions with the T-Rex were terrifying as well! Having been a fan of Jurassic Park, the young me thought I would be unfazed by Dino Crisis… I was wrong!
6. Hell Night
For those of you who don’t know what Hell Night (or Dark Messiah in Japan) is, it is a first-person horror game made long before first-person horror games were cool. Oh, and it also features the “run away as fast as you can” gameplay mechanic as its core, rather than fighting back against the enemy. Basically, if you ever enjoyed the likes of Amnesia or Resident Evil 7, then you can thank the likes of Hell Night for these games existing.
In Hell Night, you and your partner (AI controlled) have to try and escape from a monster that never stops coming after you. You navigate the world, trying to find the best escape route, whilst your partner keeps an eye out for the monster and tells you when it is near. However, your partner can die. If this happens, then you have to figure out the right path whilst also watching out for the monster until you find another survivor who can join you. This makes for a very tense and adrenaline-fueled experience!
5. Fear Effect 2
Moving on, we have Fear Effect 2, the prequel to one of the more imaginative takes on an unforgiving Survival Horror action game that I have ever played. Fear Effect 2 took everything that made the first game amazing, including the difficult, great graphical style, intense gameplay and unnerving storyline, and just ramped it all up as high as it could go. Seriously, the things that happen in Fear Effect 2 will stick in your head forever!
There are so many really weird things that you’ll come across in Fear Effect 2 that I really can’t explain… You just need to play it to understand. It is a great game though! The mix between having to carefully sneak around, blast your way through things and make split-second choices creates a real sense of dread at every step.
4. Parasite Eve
The next game on the list of my favourite PS1 horror games is Parasite Eve, Squaresoft’s mix between an action RPG, a turn-based RPG and a Survival Horror game. Acting as a sequel to the Parasite Eve novel and movie from Japan, the game takes place in a very well constructed New York city over the course of a few days. The story features some of the highest body counts of a horror game outside of Raccoon City (we’ll get to that) and also shows some far too real scenes of an abandoned real-world city.
The monsters are creepy as anything and the game certainly is full-on when it comes to the gore. But that isn’t the selling point or focus of Parasite Eve, nor is it what makes the game one of my favourite PS1 horror games. That, instead, goes to the ingenious way in which the RPG gameplay and horror gameplay is mixed together brilliantly, as well as a great storyline thrown into the mix as well!
3. Resident Evil 2
So we already mentioned the fact that Raccoon City had a huge death toll in the game but honestly, it is really a death toll before the game takes place. The first Resident Evil was a great example of close quarters horror in a small place – a residence of evil, as it were. However, Resident Evil 2 took that idea and just blew it out of the water. Suddenly, the entire population of a city had been infected, meaning that there were thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of zombies out there.
Whilst you didn’t actually encounter that many zombies (nowhere near, in fact), it was the thought that they were all out there slowly moving towards the sound of your gunfire that was always in the back of my mind. That and the sheer terror that Birkin drove into me as a young lad. I didn’t think any Resident Evil game could top Resident Evil 2, and it seems I may technically be correct… Why? Because to me, the only Resident Evil game that might be better than Resident Evil 2 for the PS1 would be Resident Evil 2 for the PS4 and Xbox One!
So what games could beat Resident Evil 2 for me? Well, the first one would be Galerians, a great switch around on the idea of Survival Horror. Rather than playing as a soldier or police officer taking out the monsters or scientific experiments, you are the scientific experiment trying to survive against the security who are trying to kill you. To help with this, you have psychic powers that you can use to knock them back, set them on fire or a variety of other offensive skills.
Galerians didn’t get a lot of attention at the time, mainly because of Resident Evil and Silent Hill, but it deserves so much more. This was a truly unique take on Survival Horror that makes you feel both strong and defenceless at the same time. Especially since, if you were to use your psychic abilities too much, you’ll go berserk and lose the ability to run. Oh, and your health will start to decrease constantly as well!
The very last game in this list should come as no surprise if you’ve been reading this blog for a while. Koudelka is a mix of tactical RPG gameplay and Survival Horror exploration and puzzle solving. The story is extremely dark and depressing, featuring resurrection, suicide, murder and demons. The music is phenomenal, setting the tone for the game as creepy and unsettling. Everything about Koudelka is amazing, at least to me.
It went on to spawn one of my favourite J-RPG series in Shadow Hearts, which kept the horror atmosphere but ditched the Survival Horror gameplay. Koudelka, on the other hand, pushes the Survival Horror idea to the very front of your mind. If you haven’t given Koudelka a try, you really should do!
And That’s All Folks
Well, that was the list of my favourite PS1 horror games. They are all amazing games in my opinion, which you really should try out one day. They offer great gaming experiences that will fill you with terror.
What are you favourite PS1 horror games? Let me know in the comments below!