In any form of horror, the pictures we see in front of us as well as the ones that stay with us in our heads long after make up only one dimension of the experience. Our ears can add a new layer of terror to a game designed to scare us, one that haunts us for days or even weeks to come after we have finished playing through (or surviving, if you prefer) a horror game.

We’ve made quite a bit of progress in technology with gaming hardware, and the benefits have been reaped through fully orchestrated soundtracks by composers who deserve the same amount of praise that Jerry Goldsmith, Ennio Morricone, Howard Shore and Hans Zimmer receive.

Shut off your lights, cover yourself in a blanket and get ready to shiver as we take a journey through six unforgettable horror game soundtracks!

1. Clock Tower

While the Western world never did get to experience the very first in the series, Clock Tower debuted on the original Playstation thanks to ASCII Entertainment, the second in the series developed by Human Entertainment. Point-and-click adventures don’t necessarily conjure up images that would scare you, but one look at the size of the pair of scissors that the appropriately-named Scissorman chases your character with will make your cursor twitch as you panic and desperately search for a place to hide or an object to temporarily fend him off.

The music you hear on this page jumps in when you think you are safe and are exploring your area for clues, investigating the mystery of the murders. Just when you have finally regained your breath from the last escape, Scissorman leaps out from a bookshelf, locker or shower curtain and sends you into hysterics all over again. Sound designers Kaori Takaoze and Hiroshi Niikura went for what they referred to as a “noise and silence” theme, wishing to bring a sense of dread whenever sounds or music finally came to play in the background. Mission accomplished.

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This article was first posted on July 8, 2012