It's hard to make a good video game. It's even harder to make a good horror game. You not only have to balance your mechanics, but also artfully conceal them, preserving immersion to maintain the delicate tension and release pattern of effective horror. If you do it right, you both entertain and disturb your players at the same time. If you do it wrong, you both entertain and disturb your players at the same time ... but like, in a different way.
The Baker family are the evil residents residing in Resident Evil 7's evil residence. A sinister experiment has turned this brood of nice, normal hillbillies into a roving gang of evil ... well, still hillbillies. They are ruthless, mostly invincible monsters who chase you relentlessly throughout their rather poorly maintained property. But for some reason, their artificial intelligence is limited to the confines of their house, so luring them outside will have hilarious results.
Once Jack Baker finds you, just tease him out by slowly walking away from him. When you're both outside, the door will slam shut by itself, because this is a spoooooky house (and also to prevent the game from wasting resources on areas the player isn't looking at). That's when Jack abruptly decides to give up on this whole "terrorizing normies" business and heads back into the house ... only to get hopelessly stuck at the door.
Note that Jack is perfectly capable of opening doors most of the time, but if he's ever outside, his eagerness to get back in apparently makes him forget how to operate this complicated technology. And this problem is genetic, because the same thing happens to his poor wife:
So in theory, you could lock the entire family out, forget about the plot, and enjoy your sweet new house. Frankly, it would be foolish to bypass such an opportunity, given the state of the housing market.
Dark Souls is famous for being the biggest pain in the ass series in all of gaming. And one of the biggest pains in the ass amongst the already ass-paining Dark Souls bosses is the Capra Demon -- a boss that is in fact three bosses, since he hangs around with two vicious zombie dogs. Appropriately, your greatest weapon against him is the bane of every dog owner's existence: poop.
All the player has to do is gather "dung pies" (the game's cute name for shit), and before entering his arena, fling them monkey-style over the wall. The resulting animation will show your character reaching into his back pocket for the stinky projectile, so feel free to pretend you're throwing your own feces.
Anyway, since there's a solid fog gate between you two, the boss won't be able to get back at you and will slowly succumb to the turds' toxicity -- which can harm you as well, so be careful! It seems the original owner of all those droppings ate exclusively at Arby's.
And this isn't the only boss you can kill with this neat trick. There's also Priscilla, the only boss in the game who makes the mistake of allowing you to throw the first punch. And since throwing poop at enemies doesn't count as an attack (the rules of etiquette are very different in this universe), she'll stand there motionless while black clouds of stench engulf her, and she'll huff dung until she dies.
Another boss you can easily destroy with this strategy is the Stray Demon, an optional enemy who's incredibly difficult for players unaware of the benefits of chemical warfare. Once you enter his arena, calmly walk to the corner of the room, where he won't try to reach you, and unload on him, like this brave warrior who's literally only equipped with shit:
The Xenomorph in Alien: Isolation is unkillable, whereas your character is very, very killable. So it's a good thing that in the future, effective alien monster protective measures have been put into place. We are, of course, referring to ... regular-ass furniture.
What the movies never told you is that as long as you can get a coffee table between yourself and a Xenomorph, you can pretty much avoid it endlessly, or at least until this perfect killing machine teleports away out of frustration. The alien will disappear in front of the player's eyes, as if saying, "Fuck this noise. I'm a Predator now. Deal with it."
It's even possible to juke the monster. Look at how happy it gets when it finally finds what it thinks is a sure way to get to the player, only to be crushed by the sadness of yet another bamboozling:
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Although stated nowhere in the game's manual, players can also bait the monster into looking for them under a table, only to walk up to its back to ask if it needs help with killing something. Yes, you can turn this survival horror game into the Bugs Bunny simulator you always wanted.
Though the Xenomorph's self-esteem is most certainly dead at this point, it remains impossible to kill, so shooting it only makes it look like it's lost the toughest game of paintball in history:
"Ahh!" it seems to exclaim, "Not in the dick!" Sorry, Xenomorph. All of you is dick.
Half-Life 2 finds you fighting mutated versions of humans with the main character's face, so we're gonna say it qualifies as "horror enough" for this article. The game has some amazing ... well, everything except "ending," basically. And for the most part, that praise is deserved. "For the most part" doesn't include this part, though:
The game lets you pick up random objects, and even some pretty inane ones (like the little bottle of supplements in the video above) can serve as surprisingly effective shields. On top of deflecting bullets, the bottle can also deter enemies from shooting at you, either because they assume you're under some serious cover (so they don't want to waste bullets), or because they can't see you behind that tiny piece of plastic.
From then on, it's simple. Walk up to your enemy, which will make him remember that part in combat training when he was told to abandon his turret in case a small bottle ever comes floating toward him, and use his own weapon to kill him.
Ah, the Citizen Kane of the medium (if Citizen Kane's characters were huge dumbasses).
Pyramid Head, if you haven't deduced by now, is a guy with a pyramid for a head. He's rightly considered one of the scariest monsters in gaming history, right behind that piano that jumps at you in Super Mario 64. He spends all of Silent Hill 2 stalking you with his massive knife, and there's nothing you can do about it except run.
Or walk. That works out pretty well too.
OK, so you actually have three options: 1) run around in a panic and inevitably stumble into his insta-kill sword, 2) calmly walk out of the range of the blade and shoot him, or 3) same as 2) but without the shooting, because it turns out that he eventually gets bored after a couple of minutes and goes away anyway. As demonstrated by legendary YouTube hero videogamedunkey, Pyramid Head is so slow and clumsy that he'll even give you time to walk up and taunt him.
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If players manage to get to the corner of the pool -- the place he disappears into -- they will be pushed to another area, where they learn he's just walking down a regular flight of stairs.
And that's the true horror behind Silent Hill: Pyramid Head is a chump.
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