Gaming Column – Spend Halloween with some great games

October 26, 2010 — Leave a comment

Originally published in The Daily Toreador.

I’m not huge on Halloween parties. I’m not much of an alcohol fan and seeing women dressed as sexy versions of the Ninja Turtles creeps me out more than it turns me on (not that my fiancée would appreciate me gawking at other women anyway).

If you’re like me and find the idea of staying in with horror movies a more appealing Halloween plan, then might I suggest some great video games to complement your viewing of “Paranormal Activity”?

“Costume Quest” — This downloadable title available on the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network might not seem like an obvious choice to many, because it looks like a cute little kid’s game. But “Costume Quest,” from comedy gaming guru and “Brutal Legend” creator Tim Schaefer’s Double Fine Studios, is a fantastic RPG for all ages. It’s short, but for $15, I definitely recommend doing a little trick-or-treating and then turning into a giant robot to kill some goblins.

“Castlevania: Lords of Shadow” — This latest “Castlevania” title is extremely different from its predecessors and in fact starts off with bright and pretty gorgeous environments that don’t exactly evoke a Halloween-ish feel. However, over the course of the epic adventure, you will fight plenty of vampires, werewolves and other creatures of the night. Dracula may not be the main threat this time, but there are still great references to Frankenstein’s monster or Death himself. I highly recommend this title even after Halloween ends.

“Saw” — The “Saw” franchise has become a Halloween staple for many horror fans, and the game from Konami received surprisingly OK reviews when it came out last year. “Saw II” was just released for the Xbox 360 and PS3, but I can’t speak to its quality, personally. So, play that one at your own risk for a variety of reasons.

“Alan Wake” — One of my favorite games of the year, “Alan Wake” comes from the developers of the acclaimed “Max Payne” games and follows horror author Alan Wake through a nightmarish journey to save his wife from a dark presence. The story, told in an episodic format – similar to a TV show – is usually very engaging, and the atmosphere is sufficiently creepy.

“Left4Dead 1 or 2” — If you just want to spend your Halloween weekend slaughtering zombies, or being a zombie yourself, you won’t find a better multiplayer choice than “Left4Dead.” It’s more action-packed than scary, but working together with three friends to escape a scenario alive can be a great way to spend your time.

“Dead Rising 2” — Want to slaughter thousands upon thousands of zombies with lawnmowers, electric rakes, spiked bats, drill buckets and more? “Dead Rising 2” is your best option. Dropping players in a Las Vegas-esque environment with plenty of tools available for zombie genocide, the game aims for the part of your brain that gets pleasure from dismembering the living dead.

“Amnesia: The Dark Descent” — I’ll be honest, I haven’t played this one yet, but it might be how I personally spend my Halloween night. From the creators of the terrific and scary “Penumbra” games, “Amnesia” is supposedly pretty terrifying. It appears to be a slow moving adventure heavily inspired by the likes of H.P Lovecraft, which welcomes gamers to play with the lights off. It’s received a ton of critical acclaim, so I’m anxious to check it out myself.

There are plenty of other options from years past, of course. Any of the “Silent Hill” or “Resident Evil” games could provide some great thrills, and I’m personally a fan of the horrific sci-fi adventure “Dead Space.”

If you want some more light-hearted antics, there are some horror-themed WiiWare titles you can download, as well as gaming classics like “Ghosts ‘n Goblins” or the older “Castlevania” titles available on the Wii Virtual Console.

However you spend your holiday, stay safe and have fun.

Britton Peele

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Freelance video game critic for sites like GameSpot and GamesRadar. Amateur fantasy author.

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