Top 10 Terrifying Levels in Horror Games

levels

Throughout October I’ve been revisiting many of my favorite horror games. No matter how many instances I’ve played through, I continue to dread yet love certain levels within them. I’ve compiled a short list of areas in horror games that I feel really stand out amongst the others and have decided to share them with you. This list is in no particular order, so have at it!

The Underground in Silent Hill 2

After a certain point in the game, it feels like you’re leading James Sunderland, the protagonist, deeper and deeper into hell. No better level gives you this feeling than The Underground. Riddled with rotten corpses being dumped into a morgue, jail cells full of invisible creatures chanting ritualistic lyrics, and constantly being forced to descend fatal falls that somehow don’t kill you, this level shocks your senses into overdrive. To top it all off, the infamous Pyramid Head is never too far behind you.

The Mall in Condemned

Condemned manages to turn the most basic areas of every day life into absolutely horrific nightmares, and The Mall level is no exception. Ethan Thomas searches the mall for clues as to the whereabouts of the serial killer that framed him for the murder of two police officers. Within the building, you see his  horrifying hallucinations of living mannequins and flying crows as you explore. But the freakiest part is when you see those mannequins slightly twitch.Thinking your eyes may just be playing tricks on you, the mannequin’s step off their pedestals and chase you down.

The Village at Night in Resident Evil 4

The Village in Resident Evil 4 is where you got your real first taste of being out-numbered by sheer enemies and were forced to barricade yourself into a home and survive. But upon returning to it at night, the falling rain and creepy ambiance puts you on edge as you can just barely spot the enemies glowing eyes in the dead of night. Instead of rushing you in full force, they now slowly stalk the village as silent as possible, surprising you from the corner of your eye as you avoid the bear traps they’ve placed to ensnare you.

The Medical Bay in Dead Space

Dead Space started off with a good first level that introduced you to the environment, enemies, and puzzles, all the while giving you an amazing atmosphere. But the Medical Bay on the next deck ramps up everything. Creatures are bursting from vents and corpses as you move through the operations rooms, the morgue, and even a maternity ward with dead children and infected baby monsters. Few games have as much blood in them as the entire Medical Bay.

The Laboratory in Resident Evil REmake

This is it. The place you’ve been fighting to reach the entire game to find a way out of this nightmare. Unlike its film counterpart, The Laboratory in Resident Evil REmake is small, made of stained concrete and littered with ambient fans swirling giant shadows, sparking wires, and the wet smacks of bare zombie feet stalking the halls. It is here you meet the highly agile insect monsters that you must avoid while carrying a highly explosive chemical and face the Tyrant, one of the most classic bosses in the entire series. Depending on your actions in the game, you’ll even have to fight him twice.

The Tomb of the Giants in Dark Souls

Hell. There is simply no other way to put it. The Tomb of the Giants is a series of pitch black caves with humongous skeleton demons ready to bash you to death with giant arrows and swords, which most of the time just knock you down a fatal pit to your death. Even if you make it all the way through, you’re greeted with one of the strangest, eeriest, and toughest bosses in the game, Gravelord Nito, a literal ball of disease and corpses. To make matters worse, if you’re invaded by a hostile player, a black phantom, kiss your ass goodbye.

The Hotel Basement in The Last of Us

The Last of Us is a game that jumps back and forth from thriller to straight up horror. When Joel falls down an elevator shaft and emerges in the dark, flooded basement, an instant feeling of dread overcomes you. You can barely hear the infected in the shadows and you’re constantly wondering when they’ll strike. Regardless of the difficulty level you’re on, the coming horde in these cramped quarters will rob you of nearly all your supplies and surprise you with a bloater, a giant, poisonous creature that bars your escape.

The Shibito Family House in Siren: Blood Curse

Few games have scared me the way the Siren series does. In the remake of the first game, Siren: Blood Curse, there is one level where you must navigate your way out of a house filled with a family of undead Shibito who continue to live their normal lives in macabre ways. You begin watching them eat dinner while hiding in a cupboard and then stalk by them as they watch TV, do the laundry, and patrol the gardens. It’s tense, dark, and hard to see, making every time you take a footstep an unnerving action. When you make it to the master bedroom on the top floor, beware the pile of blankets and pillows. The thing sleeping beneath them will not be happy to see you.

The Underwater Mansion in Haunting Ground

Haunting Ground is not your typical horror game. With combat nearly removed and few enemies in the games, each one is more like a boss that stalks you through different portions of this insane castle. Come the second enemy, the Maid, you’re forced to descend into a part of the castle that is literally underwater, barring your every escape and forcing you deeper through torture rooms, hideous puzzles, and a living, haunting carousel. Failing to solve the puzzles typically results in death, and exploring the closets and lockers to hide in as you hear the Maid’s crazy laughter may just reveal the Maid herself, waiting for you to discover her.

The Forest in Cry of Fear

Cry of Fear is no slacker when it comes to scares and The Forest is one area that stands far above the rest. The moment you walk in, there is nothing but dead silence and darkness to keep you company. As you progress, you hear something faint that you just can’t make out yet. Suddenly, you realize just what the sound is. You keep telling yourself, “No, it can’t be. Not here of all places!” That denial and the desire to run away are the only things that will keep the Chainsaw Man from taking your head.

  • Steven Bayne

    I enjoyed this article. I definitely think that the underground in SH 2 holds a special place in my heart. By that point in the game I started to sympathize for James. The further I lead him into the abyss,the worst I felt. I’m still chipping away at dark souls,but I know the tomb of the giants doesn’t look too reassuring. (I’m kind of scared to get that far)

  • drachehexe

    Some other great horror levels:

    Shalebridge Cradle from Thief: Deadly Shadows, Ocean House and a couple other levels from VtM: Bloodlines.There were a couple of great levels in The Suffering games too as well as a few awesome ones in Dark Corners of the Earth.

    • Andrey Martim

      The Otherworld Town in Silent Hill 1 and Lisa’s Cabin in REmake for me…

  • Brhoom26

    Great article

  • Earthbound_X

    Can’t say I found the Tomb of the Giants to be that scary, I found the flooded Londo Ruins more creepy to be honest.

    • Taylor Dean

      True, I’d say those levels are more equally terrifying. But unlike New Londo, I can’t seem to find a good way to run through TotG. New Londo has a strategy, so it’s less scary to me know.

  • Tristan.

    You want to talk scary? How about that framerate in blight town, oh lord, the memories.

  • Liseah

    What about the school in SH, the first one?
    And in resident evil 1 the house itself, expecially the dinner’s room :)
    Anyway, great article… Mostly agreed with that :)

  • Sheik Espino

    Where is the water level of Amnesia: The Dark Descent?? That level is one of the scariest of all, it should be in a Top 5 of all time. And there are a couple more levels of that game that are scarier than many of this list…

  • Nico Varela

    the village at night in RE4? seriously? come on… not even close.
    you forgot the midwich elementary school, “nowhere” and alchemila hospital (silent hill 1). and every level in REmake make you shit bricks. also the school in FEAR2 didn´t let me sleep