It’s almost Halloween which is, spoiler alert, pretty much my favorite time of the year. So here’s the first of my Halloween-themed posts: a list of the scariest video game enemies that I have ever faced.
Resident Evil 4 was my first serious FPS play-through. Until then, I had been devoted to fantasy games, mostly those on Nintendo consoles because that’s basically what my family had. Resident Evil 4 is the game that made me addicted to action shooters. Which is strange, considering the number of times this game scared the crap out of me. One of the situations that stand out the most is when I was forced to face the Regenaradores. The Regeneradores are test subjects, infected with leech-like Plagas that you must shoot in order to kill the Regenerador. Of course, when you first meet these baddies, you can’t see the Plagas, leaving the Regeneradores almost indestructible. These creatures lurch down the hallways at you, ready to take you down. They’re the closest thing to a zombie that you see in the game, and are scarier for it. You can unload clip after clip in them, but until you can see the Plagas they just regenerate and heal the damage. In a survival horror game—or as near to a survival horror game as you get with the recent REs—you don’t want to waste ammo like that. In fact, if you do, it makes the next three Regeneradores you face all the more panic-inducing. I had to replay one area a couple of times because I just didn’t have enough bullets to protect Ashley and get past the Regeneradores. She kept dying, and I kept having to face these creepy and nearly indestructible baddies over and over again.
The Chainsaw Ganado comes at you in the first town you visit. I entered into combat with him completely unsuspecting—and then he rushed me and insta-killed me. As the chainsaw ripped through Leon’s shoulder and he died screaming, I shrieked and paused the game in order to regain my composure. In my next attempt, I managed to time a window escape so that I crawled out right into the sweet embrace of rippy, bloody death. Needless to say, the rest of my attempts had me running around in full-on panic mode, just trying to avoid this guy.
The year is 1998. I am ten years old, and my grandmother gave my siblings and me a N64 for Christmas. That N64 came bundled with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time—and I fell in love. I happily went through most of the dungeons, hardly blinking at the baddies…until I had to go into The Well. There, I met the scariest baddie I had ever met—the Dead Hand. The thing about the Dead Hand that really got to me was that you had to allow the enemy to grab you before he would come out of the ground and allow you to attack him. When he grabbed you, though, you were trapped until you could break away. You had to make yourself almost defenseless. And sometimes, as a ten-year-old, I wasn’t very good at whole “breaking away” thing. Terrified, I was finally able to defeat the Dead Hand. And then…I encountered another one in the Shadow Temple. I walked into the room, saw the hand stalks…and spent at least five minutes psyching myself up for the battle. The thing still crepes me out today.
I have a lot of the same issues with the Re-dead as I did with the Dead Hand. However, you can eventually handle the Re-dead really easily, which is why they’re only an honorable mention. Still, the memories of the first time one of these baddies tried to suck the life out of me gets them on this list.
I’m starting to see a trend with these baddies and that trend is that I don’t like to be helpless. I like to be able to shoot an enemy in the face and, if it’s particularly creepy, double-tap just to be sure it’s dead. The Gatherers scared the hell out of me. You can’t fight them—all you can do is try to avoid them or run from them. If they see you, the swoop down on you in moments. It drives you crazy to see them, so your screen is blurring and shaking while you try to find a safe place to hide. It does not make for a relaxed gaming experience. In fact, it was after only my second encounter with a Gatherer that I said “lol, nope,” turned off the game, and didn’t have the courage to pick it up again for a week.
Yet another baddie that you can’t do anything against. You begin the game by walking through the woods with a flashlight that requires you to conserve power. Slender Man stalks you through the woods as you try to collect eight pages, only appearing to you after you collect the first one. When you see the Slender Man, you vision gets static-y and you hear loud noises. As you collect more and more pages, Slender Man appears closer and closer to you. You can run from him, but as you progress in the game you find that you run slower and slower. If he touches you, it’s game over—you’re his now. Slender Man, and the game itself, is minimalist horror at its best. It’s an incredibly effective scare.
These things are scary as hell, but at least you can shoot the shit out of them. That’s why they’re last on my list-of-scary-enemies-that-doesn’t-really-have-any-order-except-what-I-just-mentioned. Infectors prey on both the living and the dead and—as you can tell by their name—try to infect people and turn them into Necromorphs. They can usually be heard coming, which just adds to their ability to induce fright—especially since you usually hear them munching on corpses. Often enough, though, the Infectors won’t give warning of their attack. They’ll just swoop down on you out of nowhere, causing you to try not to shriek in terror as you make that plasma cutter earn its keep.
Did your choice make the list? If not, let me know which enemies YOU think are scarier in the comments!