The 100 best horror games on PC

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ADVENTURE GAMES - PART TWO

White Day

Link:MobyGames
Expect to pay: £10 / £9.99

Hard to find, harder to get working (not least because you need a translation patch to get it out of its original Korean), White Day is a horror adventure worth the time. It's set in a school after dark, with the creepiness turned up to full even before the janitor starts culling the cast. You're not alone, more's the pity, with stealth the only way to survive long enough to get to the bosses that really want you dead. Players complained it was too scary, condemning the horrors to the harder difficulty levels. If you can track down a copy, check it out. It's clunky in many ways, but different in so many more.

Bad Mojo

Link:MobyGames
Expect to pay: £10 / $9.99

Kafka bites back in this adventure we can all be glad is one of a kind. You're a man turned into a cockroach in the world's filthiest apartment, facing scaled up horrors designed to churn your stomach. Spiders. Fly traps. Dead rats in traps. Carved, bloody fish. If you're not already feeling queasy, here's a fun fact: they're real dead animals, acquired by the developers from exterminators and the local market, slapped under hot studio lighting and lovingly carved up for your squeamish pleasure. There's also a plot, but it doesn't matter even a little. Don't play this one just after eating. Make some time afterwards to give your house/room/apartment the clean that you'll have to give it.

The Lost Crown

Link:The Lost Crown site
Expect to pay: £3 / $5

If you can look past the endearingly amateur voice acting, not to mention main character Nigel Danvers' rather alarming face, The Lost Crown is a very British seaside adventure game that should appeal to fans of Most Haunted, creepy English villages, and characters who are called things like 'Nigel Danvers'. Jonathan Boakes has built up a sizeable collection of ghostly adventures over the years, including the Dark Fall series and – very soon – a Lost Crown sequel entitled The Last Crown. This one is a curiously (mostly) monochrome point and click set in a quaint little town supposedly hiding a long-lost Anglo-Saxon crown. Oh and ghosts. Mustn't forget the ghosts.

Sanitarium

Link:GOG
Expect to pay: £7 / $10

Sanitarium is a psychological horror adventure, and for once it's one that lives up to the description, obsessed as it is with sanity and madness and the general inner workings of the human mind. It's set in a surreal series of worlds possibly constructed from the delusions of its amnesiac main character, an asylum patient who survives a car crash only to wake up in a bizarre isometric landscape. Sanitarium is a true curio of the late 90s adventure scene, a cult classic that inspired a spiritual successor on Kickstarter (which sadly ended well short of its funding goal).

Scratches

Link:GOG
Expect to pay: £8 / $13

Authors seeking spooky places in which to write their great works must surely know what they're letting themselves in for the moment they set foot inside that crumbling Victorian mansion, notepad in hand. So it goes with one Michael Arthate, who has acquired an old estate in Northumberland with the aim of getting some peaceful writing done. Yeah, this doesn't happen. Instead, freaky stuff starts happening, which Michael soon investigates by moving a disembodied hand around and tapping it on stuff to solve puzzles. That's the kind of thing you can only really get away with in point and click adventure games – people frown and call you names when you do the same thing in your local branch of Debenhams.

Lone Survivor

Link:Lone Survivor site
Expect to pay: £9 / $13

Jasper Byrne's short Silent Hill demake Soundless Mountain II may have clued you in to the developer's love for all things Team Silent, but Lone Survivor proves it beyond all doubt. Like that classic (if you pretend the last few games didn't exist) horror series, LS boasts a creepy, fog-shrouded town, a heavy psychological element, and the best soundtrack Akira Yamaoka never wrote. Lone Survivor is more than just a love letter to Silent Hill 2, however; it's an accomplished horror in its own right, showing the level of polish and professionalism that comes with labouring over a project for years, rather than knocking something up for a game jam weekend. Every scanline-smothered pixel, bit of wall-gristle, or infected-zombie-thing has been placed with great care, and result is one of the most atmospheric and immersive horror games around. Lone Survivor has a demo if you want to try it out.

I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream

Link:GOG
Expect to pay: £4 /$6

Alternative titles included I Have No Nose, and I Must Sneeze and I Have No Fingers, and I Must Scratch, but thankfully Harlan Ellison and co. went with the slightly more terrifying title they have now. This hugely original horror adventure, based on the short story of the same name, revolves around a computer that has all but eradicated humanity save for five humans it keeps trapped in a sort of metaphorical prison. Not only are they trapped, they're also being kept alive and tortured for the AI's own amusement. There are several different endings depending on your actions, but if you're a fan of humanity (eh, it's alright I suppose), the ultimate goal of the game is to prove that humans are better than machines, and to reclaim what's left of the Earth from an artificial intelligence that has long since written us off.

Alone in the Dark

Link:GOG
Expect to pay £4 / $6 (for a bundle of Alone in the Dark 1, 2 and 3)

In 2005 it became a rubbish film, in 2008 it got a rubbish reboot, but back in 1992 the Alone in the Dark adventure game won critical acclaim. The Guinness Book of Records has it pegged as the first ever 3D survival horror game. It’s set in a mansion infested with zombies, rat-people and various other supernatural creatures. Lesser beasties can be kicked and punched to death, but the rest must be killed or bypassed with puzzles. It was a landmark at the time, but to modern eyes, Alone in the Dark has not aged well, and the attempted reboot failed to match up to the likes of Resident Evil. Alone in the Dark still has its fans, but it’s best investigated as a historical curio.