Six Halloween Inspired Games You Must Play
Finally! My favorite time of the year: Halloween. The only day when you get to dress like a dork and people reward you for it with heaploads of cheap candy and awkward compliments about a costume they just don’t understand. But if you’re either too old to go bother your neighbors for treats or would just rather avoid running into sugar-rush fueled kids, then you might want to stay indoors and play some videogames. You can always play games like Resident Evil or Silent Hill or Dead Space. But in honor of this wonderful date, here’s a short list of Halloween-esque games you must try this season:
Grim Fandango: This game is often viewed as the last, true Adventure game of the 90’s and one of Tim Schafer’s masterpieces. Surprisingly, a lot of people were not aware of its existence at the time of its release, despite the fact that the game was universally acclaimed. In other words, it suffered of the Scott-Pilgrim-vs.-The-World syndrome. Needless to say, if you can manage to get your hands on this game, you’re in for a great ride. The game follows Manuel “Manny” Calavera in a quest to save Mercedes “Meche” Colomar. The game uses a lot of Dia de los Muertos elements and has a very film noir feeling; it is very unique in that way. If you need a good cosplay idea this year, why not Manny Calavera? You can be a hipster AND show your love for games at the same time.
Alice: Madness Returns: A sequel of America McGee’s Alice game that came out years ago for the PC. This new gen game is officially described as a “psychological horror game”, and yeah, it sounds accurate. Unlike most Horror games out there meant to throw blood on your face and make you wanna scream like a little girl, Madness Returns uses more subtle yet cool elements to scare you. Tea pots that you can use as cannons, a pepper grinder that serves as a Gatling gun; this game is just full of originality. You are transported to Wonderland, but this is not Disney’s Wonderland. This is a more twisted version of this world that often makes you feel like you’re on an acid trip. It doesn’t help that Alice herself is diagnosed as mentally unstable between the original game and this sequel. Supposedly, she is better at the beginning of Madness Returns. But hey, the game is called Madness Returns for a reason.
Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare: There are a lot of zombie spin-offs out there. I mean, Call of Duty releases one of these with almost every game. But Red Dead Redemption gets the upper hand for being the only one that has successfully combined cowboys and zombies together. With Rockstar at its helm, you know this game is good. Taking place after the original game, John Marsden must venture across the Old West on a quest to try and rid the world of the zombie plague that has pretty much killed everyone he knows. If you haven’t played it, go do it now! The game was released as a stand-alone disc so you don’t even need the original Red Dead Redemption to play it. Undead Nightmare is very tongue-in-cheek, almost a satirical response to the whole zombie fad. I often found myself laughing at the game’s dialogue and ways people died, which I don’t know what says about myself as a person. It probably means I’m good at game or something. So…thanks, Rockstar!
Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse: What a title, huh? In short, you're a zombie, you eat people, they turn into zombies. Add a bit of humor, a charismatic lead and you got yourself a great game. The beauty of the game is that it follows Stubbs the zombie on a personal quest that is revealed throughout the game. Stubbs was perhaps the first zombie on a videogame that DOES act like a zombie: A drooling, shuffling, deteriorating zombie who can only eat people. The game feels pretty short but trust me, it's worth it. And if you're a sucker for goo music in videogames, this game will not disappoint. In fact, if you can get your hands on the sountrack only, that would be a great gain. Personally, I would even go as far as to guess Rockstar learned a thing or two from this game before releasing Undead Nightmare.
Costume Quest: This game came out a while back as a downloadable game for home consoles (Except you, Wii. You’re not a cool kid). It was developed by Double Fine, the same guys that created Brutal Legend (Also a very Halloween-esque game. Boom! Double game recommendation!). You follow Wren and Reynold, two siblings who are out on Halloween trick or treating. One of the siblings gets kidnapped and you must take control of the other sibling (Your choice) and go kick butt. The game feels much like an RPG, what with the exploring for clues, candy as currency and random battle encounters. Here’s the good part, though: During the battle encounters, your characters get to transform into giant, awesome versions of their costume. So the kid wearing a robot costume transforms into, yes, a giant robot, a kid wearing a unicorn outfit transforms into a real unicorn and so on. This game is the perfect representation of what Halloween should be like. Or at least a fair representation of what Halloween is like inside our heads. So I salute you, Costume Quest, for accurately turning my dreams into a game.
Left 4 Dead 1 and 2: Alright, so I promised myself I would avoid adding FPS-zombie games to this list because those are everywhere and seemed clichéd but whatever. I had to do it; this game is just that good! It is one of the best co-op games ever. You take control of one out of four survivors, the remaining three survivors being controlled as NPC, your friends or strangers from around the world. So people can’t say you’re being antisocial now! You must fight your way through hundreds of aggressive zombies and super mutated version of them. But the thing is, you can only survive as a group. Sure, the game gives you liberty to go wherever and do whatever but it’s in your best interest to be a good teammate and look after everyone. Run ahead or lag behind your group and you might be overwhelmed. Hoard all items and your teammates might resent you. Or worse, they’ll die and your chances of surviving along with them. You can easily join any match at any point, drop out, choose other game modes (Realism, Survival, Versus, etc.), change the difficulty and so on. No match is identical to another so every time you play, things will change. Even the most experienced players can run into trouble easily. I could go on and on but I’m afraid I might break into song. Did I mention this is a really good game?
Zombies Ate My Neighbors: Here's perhaps the first zombie game that tried to be original in a wacky, what-the-heck-is-going-on way. Zombies Ate My Neighbors was a somewhat obscure title for the SNES. I remember walking past it when I was a kid, totally ignoring it because neither the title or the artwork attracted me. Man, was I wrong. Don't do the same mistake I did! If you have a chance to play it, go ahead. You'll thank me for it. This game is what they call run-and-gun, which means kill 99% of the things on sight. Said things on sight are monsters from various horror movies, such as mummies, werewolves, aliens and so on. You must also rescue random citizens, as usual. The more people you rescue, the higher your score at the end of the chapter. The game is known for having an insane difficulty curve so if you like a good challenge, look no further. Oh, and bring a friend. Makes the game much easier.