Home / Editorials / 15 Stalkers There to Make Your Life Hell, Part 1

 

A good game has to have a challenge, so what happens when that challenge is nigh unstoppable, ever-pursuing and would like nothing more than to use your head as a crude pillow/garden ornament.

Sometimes it might be given an axe, sometimes an axe wouldn’t hurt it at all.

More often than not these stalkers will be the end boss, other times they are just there to add pacing and tension and in some cases giving that game an edge over its competition.

One thing is certain: stalkers make for stressful encounters. Here are a selection of some of gaming’s finest abominations who lust for your virtual blood, with part 2 on its way tomorrow.

15) Friday the 13th The Game (Commodore 64) – Jason

First we start with a horror icon. Jason, well known for his love of killing lusty teens, had in the height of his popularity a lot of merchandise to offload. Naturally with the source material being a sub-standard Halloween clone, the Friday the 13th game for the Commodore 64 wasn’t that good. Jason looked like a guy in a business suit and the areas you roamed lacked character.

However the concept was good. You play a camper who’s task is to find and kill Jason. The catch? He’s disguised as one of the other campers and is going around killing other campers and will occasionally make attempts on you.

The problem? Short of stumbling onto Jason murdering another camper the best way to find him was to slaughter the other campers yourself, ironically adopting the role of a serial killer. Jason makes the list for introducing the idea of being hunted in-game as well as those creepy screams whenever a camper was murdered. He also proves that a game doesn’t need to be scary to be horrifying.

14) The Path – The Wolves

Again this isn’t your conventional stalker type. The Path, an independent game, provides a unique look on the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood, a look which focuses on the creepier aspects of it. You pick a girl and are given the task of following the path to Grandma’s house. Now the dutiful of us can just stick to the path and see Grandma. The fun begins when you stray from it into the woods.

Amidst the trees are a variety of bizarre locations and of course there’s the wolves. Each girl has a different wolf symbolising different dangers in their lives. What makes the wolves good stalkers is the uneasiness at knowing there is something waiting for you beneath the leaves and the fact that you don’t know what you’ll face. They may not look scary but any step into the unknown can be an unnerving process.

13) Run Like Hell – Brutes

The brutes are in Run Like Hell to make you run like hell. As their name implies they’re big hulking brutish creatures that would like nothing more than to bite your head off. Equally they can’t be killed or temporary incapped so encounters with them are frantic, adrenaline fuelled dashes for safety. If they catch you then you’re instantly killed.

They look the part and play the part of stalker quite well but their presence is ruined slightly by the running sections that accompany them. If say they had you choosing where to run then you would feel more responsible for your escape which would amplify the terror tenfold. Instead the appearance of a brute heralds the introduction of a quick time event obstacle dodging sequence where one mistake can lead to having to sit through cutscenes all over again. Additionally you begin to wonder what sort of person leaves so much debris in corridors. 

The game itself has many similarities with Dead Space, what with its space setting, necromorph style aliens and over-the-shoulder camera angle. Unlike Dead Space though it had poor graphics and truly dire lip syncing in cutscenes. Then again it did have Lance Henriksen.  

 

12) Manhunt – Piggsy

Things don’t get more brutal than Manhunt so it’s no wonder that Starkweather mascot Piggsy gets a mention. The fight with Piggsy at the end is an interesting game of cat and mouse where the cat is an overweight, pig mask wearing, mentally retarded sociopath with a chainsaw.

His squeals of delight when he finds you, coupled with how freakishly fast he moves, make for a fun, if somewhat short, fight in a dilapidated attic. For such a unique character it is a shame that he doesn’t feature more in the game as there is nothing more scary than being chased with a chainsaw.

11) Dino Crisis – T Rex 

Think of Jurassic Park and the one stand out character isn’t Sam Neill or that fat guy who gets eaten by the spitter. No it’s the T Rex, the big impractical hunter who somehow manages to ambush everyone. Capcom clearly knew this and as a result Mr Rex is always there to remind you how mortal you are.

He destroys your means of escape, eats members of your team along with being able to devour you, can’t be harmed with conventional weaponry and likes to chase you around when you think everything is going to be okay. 

As is the case with most stalkers there comes a time when enough is enough and you finally stand up to him right at the end. That still doesn’t make him any less dangerous. For its sheer savagery and dickish moves the T Rex deserves to be recognised as a stalker you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley. 

10) Forbidden Siren – The Shibito

It seems that in rural Japan the only past time is participating in ancient rituals. Or at least every Japanese horror game would have you believe that. Forbidden Siren has all the components of a good horror – the rural setting, the creepy story and the unnatural enemies.

The Shibito are the main enemy in the game but are also there to make you behave erratic and fear their every action. They can’t be killed, only temporary stunned, and for the most part you’re best off avoiding direct contact with them and instead finding a nice cupboard to hide in and pray for it all to just disappear.

Weapons are limited and because they only stun you may as well just rely on your wits. But then the Shibito aren’t all that stupid. They know there are outsiders nearby and are on the constant prowl for fresh victims. Their constant presence along with alerting the village when in pursuit make for a nerve racking trip down in the village.  

9) Half Life – Gargantua

How does a first person shooter rank on a list which is primarily a survival horror affair, I hear you ask? Gargantua was always that one creature that offered a fun challenge at the cost of crippling myself. 

Four appeared in the original game and each one was killable, only you had to use nearly all your ammo, health and power just to take one down. Sure there was the option to kill it using environmental means but that wasn’t fun. 

Even then the fights were close with eight out of ten battles ending with a smiling face looking over my charred body. That smile, its joy at my death, gives it that sinister edge making it one of those creatures you just can’t forget about.

8 ) Fatal Frame – Kirie Himuro

Much like Forbidden Siren this plays like a J Horror. Just one look at Kirie Himuro at the top of this page affirms that statement. Floating towards you with her long dark hair covering her face and dressed in a kimono with ropes dangling from the wrists in addition to a weird multibodied shape following her around, you just know that she’s not there to be your friend.

Kirie in part does resemble Sadako from The Ring, what with her emerging from objects or rising slowly out of water. Alongside this is the usual combination of being invincible until the end and being able to instantly kill by brushing against you. Any sane person would run from Kirie if they ever saw her and for the most part that is all you can do.

However unlike most stalkers she isn’t killing for killings sake. Her sorrowful life as a human sacrifice on top of losing the love of her life would make any spirit vengeful.

 

About the author: Sam Robinson

 

The love child of Charlie Brooker and Frankie Boyle, Sam graduated from the University of Sheffield with a black heart and a Journalism degree. When he's not tearing games/films/people to shreds you can find him in the kitchen cooking up a storm.

 

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