Recognizable horror franchises like Silent Hill and Resident Evil are adored by fans, but what about the scary games that didn’t receive much time in the spotlight? This Halloween, instead of giving you the predictable “Best Horror Games” list, I wanted to shine a light on some under-the-radar titles. They may have not achieved mainstream success, but they still a pack a punch in the horror department.

Rule of Rose (PS2)

Rule of Rose is a horror game you have to play just once. I never want to go back because it’s such a haunting and disturbing tale. Don’t take that as a knock against the game though, as that’s what a good horror game should do: make you terrified of even knowing what’s inside. Rule of Rose follows Jennifer, a girl taken to an orphanage after the death of her parents, who encounters a group of sinister children that call themselves the “Aristocracy of the Red Crayon.” What’s so atrocious about these children is that they force Jennifer to bring them sacrifices, or else she must endure pretty shocking punishments. This isn’t your average horror tale, and there’s a reason there is so much controversy surrounding the game. Kids can be evil, but Rule of Rose takes it to a whole new, terrifying level. 

Corpse Party (PSP)

Corpse Party is all about shocking moments, whether it’s watching someone become possessed and commit suicide, or hearing the last cries and pleas of children meeting their doom. Sounds horrific, I know. But what’s really chilling about Corpse Party is how it uses sound and atmosphere to craft a tale about spirits exacting revenge on five students by locking them in a school and forcing them to fight for their lives. The game was originally created using RPG Maker software, so the visuals aren’t what create the terror; it’s every well-placed scream, light flicker, and floor creak. Startling twists abound, and Corpse Party is worth it if you really immerse yourself in the experience.

Want to see more on Corpse Party? Check out our test chamber.

Illbleed (Dreamcast)

Illbleed was a financial failure, but still has a dedicated cult following due to its crazy B-movie cues and distinct gameplay. Illbleed forces players to study their environment carefully for potential traps. You must also rely on four senses to alert you of potential danger: smell, sight, hearing, and your “sixth sense.” A big part of the gameplay is marking places that could potentially be a trap, so you can deftly avoid them. It all fits in well with the premise, which is to visit a premier horror theme park and clear all the traps in it first. The prize is $100,000.00, so you know it’s on. Exploring the haunted park is fun as the attractions are all based on B-horror movies made by the park’s owner. Expect really over-the-top blood and gore, which isn’t surprising considering its B-movie influence. And, honestly, that’s part of the fun. 

Galerians (PS1)

You have psychic powers, amnesia, and are the only one who can save humanity from genetically enhanced humans. Galerians puts a lot on your plate, but also separates itself from other games by doing so. Not only do you have psychokinectic powers, but an AI named Dorothy has decided she can wipe out the human race and create a superior one. Naturally, you must prevent the catastrophe by finding clues and fending off Dorothy's demented creations.The controls mimic the early Resident Evil games, with psychic powers being your replacement for guns (which is so much more fun, anyway).  I’ll put it to you this way: Whenever hospitals and experiments gone wrong are involved, you’re always in for a treat. 

Want to know more? Check out our Super Replay of Galerians.

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