Find all previous editions of the PCG Q&A here (opens in new tab). Some highlights for you:
Has a game ever felt like it's become your job? (opens in new tab)
What game made you really, really fucking think about life? (opens in new tab)
What game did you hate at first, but eventually love? (opens in new tab)
The spookiest evening of the year is upon us. Being extremely cool and popular, we're spending Halloween out at cool parties, but if that were a lie—which it definitely isn't—we'd probably be at home booting up our favorite horror games. Or trying new ones, like this game that encourages you to scream at your monitor.
For this week's Halloween Edition of the PCG Q&A, we're thinking back to the videogame enemies that have scared us the most, whether it was because they were grotesque or because we knew they were going to stomp us into the ground.
Like last Wednesday, instead of only polling PC Gamer staffers, we hopped into the PC Gamer Club Discord server to chat with members. Our answers are below. Feel free to drop yours in the comments!
Chris: Poison zombies in Half-Life 2 for me. They were gross, made weird noises, the headcrabs would detach and jump on you, and worst they would drop you to 1 hit point for a while which made doing anything else scary.
Steven: Wait, were those the headcrabs that were black and spindly?
Chris: Yes. And there'd be four of them all clinging to the same zombie.
Steven: Chris wins.
Chris: Maybe it wasn't four. Felt like four. Seemed like too many to all be leeching on the same dude.
Steven: I was going to say mimics from Prey, which are basically just those headcrabs but not as scary. But, man, the mind games they would play with you when entering a new room.
Apollo 47: The scariest enemy for me is not so much scary in the Halloween sense. For several years, I was most scared of the Black Knights in Dark Souls. Even after they became pretty easy to take down, if a few things go wrong they can be some of the worse pursuers in the game. Also, they often feel like you are playing a human player in the way they fight. Even today, when I see them (and I know where they all are across the series), I still get scared and start panicking.
Wes: I have a Dark souls answer as well. It's easy fodder for it because most of the enemies in that series are terrifying. In terms of opposing adversaries, the Black Knights are right up there. But they're not scary looking. The bone dog enemies in Dark Souls' Tomb of Giants, a deep, dark area you have to navigate by torchlight, will put the fear in you. They just quietly lurk out there until you get close, and odds are the skull is the first thing you'll see. Made famous by a "NOPE" Gif:
Evan: It's hard to pick from Darkest Dungeon's roster of horrors, but I guess I'll go with the Supplicant (opens in new tab), which as far as I can tell is a giant tick that eats your whole head and turns its host into a puppet so it can get around more easily. In a game with floating spinal cord doppelgangers (opens in new tab), somehow the bulbous body of the Supplicant gets to me—probably because ticks are a constant worry whenever I go hiking here in central California. Also their abilities are "Gather the Blood" and "Predigestion." Yikes.
Bo: Probably the single scariest moment for me (note: I'm a scaredy cat and don't play many scary games) was a scripted jump scare in BioShock. There's this one safe at the end of a short hallway, and when you open it, the game spawns a splicer directly behind you. So you check the safe, then turn around and BAM there's a splicer right in your face. My exact response was "OH SHIT" then lit him on fire and unloaded my entire pistol in his face. Same thing in this video:
Tyler: It's the Witch from Left 4 Dead for me. The first time I played, my teammates warned me about her, so she got this mythic quality because everyone had a story about her and I had no idea what she was. All I knew was that I was supposed to be really careful if we heard her, and more than anything I feared my team would be pissed off if I screwed up—so you know, there's some social unease mixed in with the horrible sobbing.
Wes: I was always tiptoeing around the Witch, but I feel like inevitably in every party there was that one person who'd walk up and unload the shotgun in her face thinking they could get that perfect kill.
Tyler: Always a bad idea. (And probably me.)
Maniak the Misthios: It's totally doable, but only seemed to work like 1/5th of the time. I always hated people who went out of their way to do it.
Tyler: Please enjoy this loop of the Witch crying.
Deej: I'd say Alien Isolation in VR. Had one jump scare, and even though I knew the Alien was coming for me, I jumped and noped out of that game.
Tyler: I played maybe two hours of Isolation, could tell that it was good, and then never started it again. I'm a wuss.
Maniak the Misthios: Haha. What about Evil Within 2? They just added god mode if you need.
Tyler: 2 spooky 4 me.
Deej: I think what gets me is... You know what the threat is and you have a scanner to tell if it's nearby but it's not knowing when. It just felt like a game of hide and seek. Yet I'm fine with horror games in general, I enjoyed Bioshock.
erdelf: Stats- and mechanics-wise... the Terminus in Destiny 2... could one to two-hit kill you and rotates constantly around the stage while the environment protecting you constantly changes, and gets invulnerable every half minute or so.
Tyler: That is cruel.
Titan the Survivor: Gaunter O'Dimm (opens in new tab) from The Witcher 3 seemed dorkishly weird, but turned out to be a very scary being; like a demon from the depths of hell, a trickster in the most evil ways. His defeat was neither easy, nor was I prepared for what it entailed.
Wes: Here's a horrifying one: the Iron Maiden from RE4. They slowly walk towards you like a zombie, but can take a shitload of bullets to bring down if you don't know where to shoot them. For that you need a special infrared scope, which I accidentally missed the first time I played the game. These guys were my nightmare.
Ambassad0rToday: Volatiles (opens in new tab) from Dying Light. They are terrifying throughout the whole game no matter how much you're leveled up and trying to fight them is never easy (unless you cheese it with a car but that only works in DLC). The first meeting with them story-wise and subsequent escape through the city at night is one hell of an experience. Pretty much the only relatively safe way of avoiding them is to smear zombie goo on your face and even that isn't always reliable.
Maniak the Misthios: As a kid, the invisible pinkies in Doom were pretty horrifying to me.
Deej: Scariest enemy for me? Smurfs in CS:GO.
Tyler: Did anyone else play to the end of Clive Barker's Jericho? The final boss (opens in new tab) is a horrible baby thing.
Maniak the Misthios: Yeah I did haha. Interesting concept, meh execution.
Tyler: I hate babies as horror enemies. Especially if they walk unnaturally.
Deej: As a kid, the cutscenes from Abe's Oddysee would scare me, don't know why.
Tyler: Mostly it just ruined my ability to spell 'odyssey' for the rest of my life.
Thank you to the PC Gamer Club members who took the time to share their stories! Aside from access to our Discord server, membership includes monthly game keys, a digital magazine subscription, and an ad-free site—find out more here.