Much like horror films themselves, good horror-film based video games are few and far between. With the announcement of the Evolve-style Friday the 13th video game, let’s take a look at the top five video games based on horror films to see if this has a legitimate shot at being playable. Given the scarcity of scares, and good film-based games that contain them, we worked with what we have.
Below you’ll find five horror games based on films that are worth a look.
5. Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick
I can’t decide if this game was actually good, or if its relationship to the source material made it just too delightful to not enjoy. Regardless, here we arrive at number five: Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick. Sure, perhaps Army of Darkness (the film in the series this most relates to) wasn’t exactly a horror film, but maybe that’s what made this game work. The Evil Dead film series found out pretty quickly that throwing in a few laughs in between shock-value scares goes a long way. The tone of A Fistful of Boomstick matched the lighthearted, but viscerally appealing feel of the films so perfectly that, despite the demonstrable flaws with the game itself, it’s worth the mention on this list.
4. Saw: The Video Game
Before you bring it up, I know this game will forever be No. 1 on any “Top 5 Worst Combat Systems” list, and it bloody deserves it. The truth of the matter is, though, that it was a mistake the market this game as survival horror. At is core, Saw was a challenging puzzle game. Just like how the only enjoyable part of the movies was trying to wrap your head around its mystery-laden plot, the puzzle-solving and trap mechanics in Saw: The Video Game were a gem in an otherwise trash game. Besides, I did tell you there wasn’t a lot to work with.
3. The Thing
The Thing was an immersive, sci-fi horror movie that had perfect potential for a game tie-in. The Thing video game was at very least the proof of concept. The game was best able to replicate the suspenseful, danger-ridden environment of the cult classic, in addition to doing what it could to gross you out while playing (though limited by budget constraints and graphics engines from the early 2000s). The fear system the game used amplified the tension tenfold, by placing you in an environment where anyone could lose their sanity and kill themselves if you don’t help them. Talk about pressure!
2. Dead Rising
Yes, this game was overtly based on Dawn of the Dead (take your pick between the old one or the remake), and as much as the studio that owns the film hates it, you can’t get a copyright on “zombies in a mall.” Thank god too, (or the judge that struck down the lawsuit) because Dead Rising is the perfect fit for this list. Capcom decided to place you in a mall filled with zombies and tasked you with surviving for three days. What’s your weapon? Anything. Everything. Get creative and put some drills in a bucket and put it on a zombie’s head. That kind of “go nuts” attitude is seldom replicated in video games.
1. Alien: Isolation
Getting much consideration for Game of the Year, I imagine Alien: Isolation will stay atop this list for a long time. It replicated the environment in both feel and aesthetic, it captured the power and unpredictability of the Xenomorph, and it gave you a protagonist that rivaled the great Ellen Ripley. Focusing purely on the first “Alien” movie was a wise move by The Creative Assembly, who developed Isolation. None of its sequels, nor the godawful Predator tie-ins, quite had the feeling of helplessness a good horror game needs. Despite the strength of Amanda Ripley as a character, she’ll still head for the hills at even the rattlesnake-like hiss of what bumps around aboard her spaceship. Come to think of it, so will we.