It’s Halloween time again, making it a perfect time to fire up some old-school horror games. In the past, we’ve highlighted some other supremely spooky retro horror games, but this time, we’re tackling the truly scary titles that feature all sorts of supernatural oddities. Whether it’s specters peeking in from beyond the veil of death or untold evils wreaking havoc, these scary supernatural retro games are all about the horrors of the unknown. So, as you celebrate this spectacular season of frightful fun, we recommend checking out any of our picks for the scariest supernatural retro games!
The Scariest Supernatural Retro Games
To clarify, this list of retro horror games is exclusively about the supernatural and otherworldly. We’ve specifically chosen to omit games about zombies (sorry, Resident Evil), sci-fi madness, crazed killers, etc. Buckle up, because our list of scary supernatural retro games will absolutely keep you up at night.
5. Luigi's Mansion
To start our list on a lighthearted note, we have to include Luigi’s Mansion, as it’s one of the few truly great kid-friendly “horror” games in existence. Released in 2002 on the Nintendo GameCube, players guide Mario’s iconic green brother on a trip through an exceptionally haunted mansion. Outfitted with a special vacuum cleaner, Luigi must suck up a wide assortment of supernatural ghouls and ghosts to save the day.
While it’s not going to scare the pants off any gamer in their teens, we wouldn’t be surprised if a few nightmares arise from younger players. All told, Luigi’s Mansion might be a colorful Nintendo game, but it’s still remarkably creepy at times.
4. The Suffering
Amping things up a bit, The Suffering is a 2004 action-horror game that was released on the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Windows PC. Set in the fictional Abbott State Penitentiary, this disturbing story follows the death row inmate, Torque. When an earthquake sends the prison into complete chaos, unspeakable evil is released, and Torque encounters plenty of horrors as he tries to escape.
Where other horror games are more subtle with the scares, The Suffering is all about squirm-inducing enemy design, upsetting twists in the story, and fountains of blood. As Torque encounters crazed inmates that resemble tragic victims of torture devices, his sanity slowly wanes, resulting in a terrifying and powerful transformation. If you like a dose of action with your otherworldly horror, The Suffering has you covered.
3. Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem
Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem does its best to get under the player’s skin and question their mental fortitude by slowly dosing out moments of unsettling suspense. This cult classic supernatural retro game was released in 2002 exclusively for the GameCube, and has a reputation for its wholly unique forms of fright.
Inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, the story of Eternal Darkness jumps between four different characters and time periods, each with its own special scares. As you explore the levels in third-person, various fourth-wall-breaking surprises will call your sanity into question. If the standard horror formula doesn’t get your blood pumping, Eternal Darkness offers a much more insidious form of fear.
2. Silent Hill 2
This iconic third-person survival horror game was released in 2001 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Windows PC, and immediately became a fan favorite. Not only is Silent Hill 2 better and more frightening than the first game, but many consider it one of the best horror games of all time. Even when matched against other titans of the genre, it stands strong as one of gaming’s most frightening experiences.
Silent Hill 2 follows protagonist James Sunderland, who travels to the eponymous supernatural town after receiving a message from his deceased wife. Searching through abandoned buildings and navigating the monster-filled streets, players must keep their wits about them if they have any hope of survival. Between the iconic enemies and environments, truly unnerving moments, and ominous atmosphere, it’s easy to see why Silent Hill 2 receives so much acclaim.
1. Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly
While other games have been about running from or eviscerating supernatural foes, Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly is an altogether different beast. Released in 2003 for the PlayStation 2 and later on the Xbox, this Japanese first-person horror game encourages you to get up close and personal with its ghostly foes.
The game follows twin sisters Mio and Mayu as they explore an abandoned village in 1988. Investigating rumors of dark rituals, you must examine the ghost town for clues while battling apparitions. However, the only way to fight them is by taking their picture, forcing you to face down your enemies head-on. Consistently creepy and downright terrifying at times, Fatal Frame II easily tops our list of the scariest supernatural retro games!