I want to discuss three (3) categories with these five (5) games: Enemies, Hardware, and Locations. More categories are planned.
Enemies: ROBOTS – ALIEN BUGS – HUMANS – DINOSAURS – MONSTERS
What group do you think has been depicted the best in these videogames?
The robots in Altered Space aren’t scary compared to the game’s aliens since they don’t chase down the player but their unmanned machine logic behavior is frightening when recalculated upon an unfortunate player collision. They don’t just stand in front of you and attack you until you die but ‘pinball’ off the player, which leads to all sorts of mayhem given the small room space. The man-eating alien bugs in Body Harvest are frightening when outside a vehicle, especially unnerving to see their giant heads poke out around buildings or above hills. While the alien bugs tend to stick to being unnerving, they do enter horrifying (and by horrifying, I really do mean traumatic to the player) territory when you slip up and activate special conditions.
Being forced to fend off a person in Clock Tower changes the nature of horror to a more personal level. The encounters become very distinguished from one another and personalized. Interestingly, they are imbued with the ability to immediately end confrontations here more than the other enemies listed in the thread. The dinosaurs in Dino Crisis generally will “play” with you a little bit, just a couple seconds, before putting you down for good. Their hunting intelligence is superior to the humans in Clock Tower forcing you to keep your guard up and think resourcefully. There is more of a sad air when thinking of the circumstances that led to being enclosed in spaces with dinosaurs compared to fighting against others with deliberate evil motivations.
With that written I’d give Dino Crisis the win in terms of having the best depiction. Running away from raptors and the brutal hostility when engaging them in combat was perfected on Playstation.
Hardware Power: GAME BOY -> SUPER NINTENDO -> PLAYSTATION -> NINTENDO 64 -> GAMECUBE
Do you agree that the N64/PS1 era had the scariest games?
I think that is the case. I have to play Altered Space on Game Boy Color to get a better contrast of things in the environment (green is the dominant color, with the scattering of yellow objects also being significant). 8-Bit scares are accomplished with intense creativity and are limited to being tense and having a blended perception of whether the imagery displayed is cutesy mechanically-driven stuff or disturbing machinations with a cutesy look. Clock Tower on SFC had amusing staircase walking antics that would have appeared much differently on a more powerful system, but I don’t think there was anything outside of that holding back delivering a frightful experience. I can only think of one other game on SNES that had such a shocking moment and maybe that’s what made it that much more impactful. Body Harvest and Dino Crisis character and enemy models have a certain look that balances realism with surrealism. Eternal Darkness wasn’t pushing the GameCube hardware but it did use it in a way I don’t think older systems could in delivering sanity effects.
Locations: SPACE SHIP – EARTH CITIES – HOUSE – RESEARCH FACILITY – ANCIENT TEMPLES
Do you have any preference in locations?
The space ship allowed an oxygen tank in Altered Space. Earth cities allowed venturing out for ancient artifacts and responding to threats in various locations with multiple types of vehicles that would make ‘room-transitioning’ clunky. The house in Clock Tower allowed in-depth story mechanics by allowing the developer to use various scenarios due to short length needed to escape. While the velociraptors in Dino Crisis don’t have names, they certainly are remembered quite well individually by myself as “raptor outside room B”, for example. The other locations from the other games are less of a factor in remembering where enemies are due to their movement capabilities or obvious path-finding. Eternal Darkness had you warping to different places and out of all those the mansion was the most memorable.