Ranked: Best and Worst Horror Videogames

  • Publish Date: October 25, 2010
  • Comments: ↓ 121 user comments

Worst horror games for any platform

Next, let's look at the games that put the horrible in horror (or something like that) -- the lowest-scoring horror games in our database. As it turns out, videogames based on horror films are no different than most games based on other types of movies: they tend to be low quality releases, and though several such horror movie adaptations are on the list below, many more narrowly missed inclusion. The list also includes some poorly-executed originals and some sub-par sequels to better games.

Remember, when a game has been released on multiple platforms, we have averaged the scores together and denoted such scores with an asterisk.

The Worst-Reviewed Horror Videogames

(tie) 1. Vampire Rain 34* (Ignition/AQ, 2008)

Released for:
xbox Xbox 360 38
playstation PlayStation 3 30

"Watching a B-movie can be cheesy good fun. Playing and paying money for one ... that's a nightmare."

-- Official Xbox Magazine

The PS3 version boasts the somewhat longer title "Vampire Rain: Altered Species," but it's the same lousy stealth action game on both platforms.

(tie) 1. Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler's Green 34* (Groove Games, 2005)

Released for:
pc PC 36
xbox Xbox 32

"Land of the Dead fails to deliver even the most garden-variety of zombie-killing thrills, due to its inept combat, awful visuals, and cripplingly stupid artificial intelligence."

-- GameSpot

While George A. Romero's movies are deservedly acclaimed by horror fans, the same can't be said about many of the games based on those movies. Designed as a prequel to the film Land of the Dead, Fiddler's Green did offer both single-player and multiplayer modes, though most critics felt that the proper number of players should be zero.

3. Shellshock 2: Blood Trails 35* (Eidos Interactive, 2009)

Released for:
pc PC 40
playstation PlayStation 3 35
xbox Xbox 360 30

"Shellshock 2: Blood Trails is the answer to the question that no one was asking. What if there were zombies in the Vietnam War?"

-- Cheat Code Central

While the first Shellshock was a conventional (though mediocre) third-person shooter set during the Vietnam War, this sequel decided to make things more "interesting" by adding zombies. And by "interesting," we mean "idiotic."

4. Escape from Bug Island 37 (Eidos Interactive, 2007)

Released for:
wii Wii 37

"Escape from Bug Island is a dismal reminder of the low points of survival horror's past."

-- GameSpot

You'll want to make a quick escape from this Wii-exclusive survival horror title, which critics found repetitive and boring despite (or perhaps because of) the presence of giant insects.

5. Dead Space Ignition 38* (Electronic Arts, 2010)

Released for:
xbox Xbox 360 39
playstation PlayStation 3 36

"Ignition's narrative is as static as it is boring and Hollywood-horror generic."

-- Cheat Code Central

While the original Dead Space just missed the cut for our list of best-reviewed horror games, this downloadable "interquel" (which takes place before the events of next year's Dead Space 2) is a hybrid of puzzle game and interactive comic that comes up short on both counts with its tedious hacking mini-games, lousy story, and poor graphics.

6. Painkiller: Resurrection 38 (DreamCatcher Interactive, 2009)

Released for:
pc PC 38

"A host of problems ensure this is one of the worst games of 2009. "

-- IGN

The 2004 first-person "horror shooter" Painkiller should never have been resurrected for this stand-alone expansion, which critics found amateurish and buggy.

(tie) 7. Resident Evil: Survivor 39 (Capcom, 2000)

Released for:
playstation PlayStation 39

"The scariest thing about this game is how awful it is."

-- GamePro

Like any series, Resident Evil has had its share of ups and downs, though its nadir came with this 2000 title, a tedious first-person zombie shooter with little to recommend it.

(tie) 7. Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad 39 (D3, 2009)

Released for:
xbox Xbox 360 39

"Cleavers and cleavage, sadly, aren't enough."

-- G4 TV

While it seems like any game subtitled "Bikini Samurai Squad" would be a critical and commercial smash, this horrific hack-n-slash title offers little other than mindless button-mashing and skimpy outfits.

(tie) 7. Ju-on: The Grudge 39 (Xseed, 2009)

Released for:
wii Wii 39

"It'll scare you a couple times, but they're just cheap scares that even the lowest budget B movie would be embarrassed to have to resort to."

-- Kombo

The Japanese horror film scared audiences enough to spawn both an American remake (and its sequel) and this videogame adaptation, exclusive to the Wii. Designed as an episodic "haunted house simulator," the game offered players little to do and even less time to do it in.

10. Evil Dead: Hail to the King 47* (THQ, 2000)

Released for:
playstation PlayStation 51
dreamcast Dreamcast 49
pc PC 40

"A waste of an excellent license and a great opportunity."

-- Daily Radar

One of four games based on Sam Raimi's Evil Dead movie series, Hail to the King is set eight years after the events in Army of Darkness. But the game suffered mightily in comparison to Resident Evil, with critics finding Evil Dead's gameplay and controls inadequate, though the title did a decent job at capturing the atmosphere of the films.

What do you think?

What are your favorite and least favorite horror games? What is the scariest moment you've ever encountered in a game? Let us know in the discussion section below.

We're sorry, but comments are closed for this article.

Comments (121)

  • Rilo  

    Just because a game has "dead stuff" does NOT make it a Horror Game. Vampire Rain: Not horror. Castlevania: Not horror. Onechanbara: Not horror. Demon Souls: Not horror. Hell, I have issue with Resident Evil 4+ (and games that mimic these titles) as "Horror", as they're more about action that scaring the living crap out of the player. MOST of the games listed are NOT HORROR, they just have dead stuff in it. This is, quite possibly, the WORST RESEARCHED & WRITTEN DRIVEL I have read on the internet. Easily on this site. The author must not like video games and movies (or at least the horror genre) very much to have such a poor understanding of horror.

  • Icaro  

    Metacritic should stop doing these articles altogether. They even listed Dino Crisis in the "favorite horror series" poll. It's embarassing.
    I was hoping to find an overlooked title I might be interested, but instead this is all about number crunching and keyword box descriptions with "horror" in the text.

  • David Craig  

    It was a good feature but why on earth have you called plants vs. zombies a horror title, the zombies are comedy based really, it shouldn't of been included...

  • Daneil  

    I would consider BioShock a horror game - the first time you exit that bathysphere, a splicer having just killed your guide, no light... It's scary. Plus the ammo conservation and collection elements are true to the genre. The splicers' terrifying repetition of their Christian indoctrination ("Jesus loves me / this I know / for the Bible / tells me so" and blood-smeared messages on the wall help as well. Left 4 Dead and Demon's Souls, sure, they're both horror games too, even if more tense and anxious than monster-closet scary. Castlevania, though, is not a horror series at all - and it represents most of the games on the list. It's just a series peppered with vintage Hollywood monsters. Plants Vs. Zombies is a comedy title, so while you were adding that you may as well have included Konami's Kid Dracula. Where's Amnesia? Silent Hill? System Shock?

    This list belongs on the scariest list of under-researched Best & Worst lists.

  • Alastor  

    While i haven't played some of the mentioned titles i do want to put my 2 cents out there as well.
    Bioshock is a great game but it's not really something that is to be classified as a horror game, i think it's pretty obvious that everyone who has played Bioshock 1 and 2 think it's a shooter. Resident evil 5 isn't really worth mentioning as horror, it's a good ACTION game but there's not much horror in it for me.
    Demon's Souls? The setting may be grim and some levels might be as dark as a level from a real horror game but doesn't horror mean that something scares the crap out of you? Demon's Souls is a great game but far from horror.
    Left 4 Dead is a great shooter, great co-op, great fun to play but again, if it doesn't scare the crap out of you, can it really be noted as a horror game?
    And then, the DS games, now i think that, DS games can be great, i've played neither of those mentioned but i find it hard to believe someone can get scared of some 2D graphics.
    I would have at least expected Dead Space to be in that top 10, maybe even FEAR1 (not 2 cuz that ain't horror as well).
    If there is one thing that people can learn from this article it's the following: there aren't enough horrorgames on the market to feed the horde of horrorhungry gamers!
    And please do if you know some indie horrorgames correct me on my statement, i would love to get my hands on some new ones.

  • Yagun  

    Plants vs Zombies ???
    Bioshok 1st? FACE PALM

  • Steve  

    Are these getting rated with respect to how horror oriented they are or how popular they are? Why on earth is Plants vs Zombies up there? I'm not even sure if Castlevania should be up there, it's more action oriented with horror mythos elements. I guess Demon's Souls works, it is scary how difficult that game is.

  • Jake  

    Completely agree with Doug. 90% of the ones listed here won't even come close to being called "horror" by even their developers, let alone in any objective article. Forbidden Siren and Fatal Frame are two other truly horror games, which would probably scare the goobles out of this reviewer, along with the truly magnificent Amnesia, Penumbra and even Sherlock Holmes: the Awakened. Now, that's what I call real horror man.

  • conditionals  

    "The spookiest title ever released on the GameCube" doesn't do Eternal Darkness justice.

  • Dan  

    Are you serious!! Most of these games aren't even real horror games! Bioshock isn't a horror game.. Left for dead is not a horror game... Why is Condemned not on this list?? Ask anyone who has played Condemned and they will tell you that it made them jump and scared the crap out of them. The author of this needs to do his homework!

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