The long-standing prevalence of horror in popular culture suggests that we've always been a species that enjoys a good scare. Video games, in particular, are arguably the most visceral horror experience available, simply because the nightmares are aimed directly at us as the player.
As the popularity of the genre endures, it's no surprise that recent remakes/reboots of classic titles, such as Resident Evil 2 and Doom, have been popular with old and new fans alike. With this current trend in mind, which other gaming nightmares deserve to be revived and unleashed on a new generation? Let's take a look.
10 Dino Crisis (PSX, 1999)
Take Resident Evil, replace the zombies with dinosaurs, sprinkle in some time-travel and a dash of Jurassic Park and you pretty much have Dino Crisis. Your task is to explore a secret research facility on the island of Ibis, which you soon discover has been overrun by vicious dinosaurs.
The gameplay is tense and nerve-shredding and those first encounters with the Velociraptors, the massive Pteranodon and unstoppable Tyrannosaurus Rex are truly memorable. On the harder difficulties, you will die regularly. The sequel is also excellent, upping the pace and action with much more arcade-oriented gameplay, so either game is ripe for the remake treatment. With the return of the Jurassic Park series in recent years, it feels like now is the right time for a new Dino Crisis release (or re-release).
9 Silent Hill (PSX, 1999)
Silent Hill is the only true contender to Resident Evil's survivor horror crown. Despite the similarities of the viewpoint and horror themes, the games are actually very different. Silent Hill focuses much more on psychological terror, shrouded heavily in darkness and mystery.
The in-game fog lends the game an uneasy feeling of the unknown and is a great example of using the limitations of gaming hardware to your advantage. As a result, exploring the creepy abandoned locations while fighting off hideously deformed monsters is a petrifying experience. Considering the genuine love for 2014's P.T. (the demo for the cancelled Silent Hills game), Silent Hill or its incredible sequel on the PS2 are probably due for a remake.
8 System Shock 2 (PC, 1999)
System Shock 2, created by the mastermind behind the Bioshock series, is a futuristic first-person shooter where an alien virus has infected the crew of a starship and you must stop the virus from spreading. Along the way, you'll encounter violent infected crew members, an alien hive mind and a murderous artificial intelligence.
It's frightening, psychologically trying and full of spooky locations. Psionic abilities such as invisibility and teleportation add depth to the gameplay, whilst weapons must be maintained and repaired over time which adds another layer of tension to the experience. System Shock 2 was a unique experience for the time, and even today it's a real shock to the system (sorry).
7 American McGhee's Alice (PC, 2000)
American McGhee's Alice is a macabre psychological horror puzzle-platformer. It acts as a direct (but unofficial) sequel to Lewis Carrol's novels Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass. There's a brutal back story where a young Alice witnesses the death of her parents in a horrific fire.
Wonderland becomes a crumbling shadow of its former self, corrupted by Alice's failing mental health, and the aim of the game is to restore the world to its former glory. A long-awaited sequel, released in 2011, didn't quite live up to expectations so a remake of Alice on modern hardware would be a nightmare worth revisiting.
6 Parasite Eve (PSX, 1998)
Based on the popular Japanese novel of the same name and acting as a sequel to that story, Parasite Eve is a survival horror role-playing game. You play as Aya, a rookie NYPD cop, who must stop a rogue mutant from killing people by spontaneous combustion.
The game features an experience system, customisable equipment and a semi-real-time combat system. Whilst combat takes place in real-time, you must wait a set period of time between attacks, during which you can dodge and avoid enemy advances. Aya can also use "Parasite Energy" to boost attacks and defence. Given the acclaimed source material, a remake of Parasite Eve would be sure to rival modern JRPGs.
5 F.E.A.R. (PC/360/PS3, 2005)
Featuring a paranormal threat controlled by a menacing little girl, a stylish slow-mo gameplay mechanic and deviously intelligent enemy AI, F.E.A.R. has all the hallmarks of a video game classic. You play as a crack member of the First Encounter Assault Recon team, sent in to stop a rogue psychic and his telepathically controlled supersoldiers.
The gunplay is explosive and the game is also genuinely terrifying, taking its cues from Japanese horror movies like The Ring. The final entry in the series was released back in 2011, so a remake of the original game could breathe life back into the franchise.
4 The Thing (XBOX/PS2, 2002)
The Thing is a direct sequel to the 1982 John Carpenter film of the same name; notably endorsed by Carpenter himself. After the events of the film, two special forces teams are sent in to investigate the situation. Ultimately they come across the titular "thing" and chaos ensues.
The game is played from a third-person perspective and you can command up to three squad members. An interesting mechanic means levels of "fear" and "trust" must be monitored to ensure team-mates will follow orders. It's a nerve-wracking game, especially when you don't know who to trust. The graphics are quite dated now, but imagine the transformations of the "Things" and the weather and lighting effects modern hardware could achieve.
3 Dark Seed (PC, 1992)
Dark Seed is a point and click adventure game where you play as an advertising executive who ends up with an alien embryo buried in his brain. As the game progresses, you travel to a parallel universe and if you fail to unravel the game's mystery, the Dark Seed will burst leading to the destruction of all humanity.
It's an intriguing story but the most notable aspect of Dark Seed is the use of H.R. Geiger's stunning artwork. Point and click adventure games have seen a bit of a revival in recent times with faithful remakes of classics like Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion, but for a game with such spectacular artwork, this would look great with some contemporary spit and polish.
2 Dead Space (PC/360/PS3, 2008)
One of the newest games on this list, but still over a decade old, Dead Space is a horrifying third-person experience set on a doomed spaceship in the year 2508. The crew has been infected by an alien virus, turning them into terrifying mutated monsters.
Typically, a shot to the head won't do and the creatures must be dismembered limb by limb before they will finally die. This leads to some particularly fraught and tense battles and a focus on the use of cutting tools and melee weapons. A remake on modern hardware could up the atmosphere and impress with more realistic mutations and dismemberment. Delightful.
1 Deadly Premonition (PC/X360/PS3, 2010)
Deadly Premonition is a surreal survival horror game where you play as an FBI agent investigating the murder of a young woman. The game has garnered a cult following due to its bad (but often hilarious) dialogue, its Twin Peaks vibes and its unpredictable central character.
It's a very polarising game: the story is weird, confusing and self-aware, the graphics are somewhat scruffy and the controls are counter-intuitive, but whether you love it or hate it, Deadly Premonition is an undeniably memorable experience. The game was treated to a bit of a spit and polish with the Director's Cut in 2013, but a full remake is what Deadly Premonition truly deserves. 2020 will be its tenth birthday after all...