10 Classic Survival Horror Video Games That Are Still Terrifying

Some scares are truly timeless.

Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth

With its origins going as far back as the NES, survival horror has quietly thrived and evolved over the years, with its rabid fanbase ensuring developers keep churning out scary delights that take full advantage of modern hardware.

But despite the often forward-thinking approach to modern survival horror with games such as Resident Evil: Village and Alien: Isolation, some developers have been looking to the genre's past for inspiration. Titles such as Tormented Souls and the woefully underrated Remothered series have sought to take the genre back to its glory days and remind players of what the core experience of survival horror is all about.

And said classics are the subject of this list.

The games featured here are a testament to the fact that you don't need cutting-edge graphics or dynamic audio design to make a player's blood turn to ice.

More often than not, solid game design, strong art direction, and an understanding of how to both build and deflate tension are all it takes to make a game scary, and all of the following are experts in the field.

10. Clock Tower (PS1)

Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth
Human Entertainment

Of all the games on this list, Clock Tower has likely aged the worst. Its graphics are primitive, the point-and-click interface is somewhat clunky and the voice-acting could rival that of the original Resident Evil.

And yet, despite those shortcomings, Clock Tower still manages to be a tense and surprisingly frightening experience throughout.

Switching between three characters, players must work to unravel the mystery of Scissorman. A killer who was believed to have perished at the end of the previous game, but is back and attempting once again to murder Jennifer Simpson, as well as anyone else who dares stand in his way.

And whilst it may not look particularly scary on the surface, your heart will inevitably leap into your throat whenever Scissorman suddenly appears out of nowhere, derailing your attempts to solve puzzles and forcing you to quickly navigate the claustrophobic areas using the aforementioned point-and-click controls.

It's not the sort of game that will give you nightmares after playing, but when played under the right circumstances, Clock Tower is a compelling and spooky good-time that has many twists and turns that will keep you engrossed. It's certainly not a game for everyone, but survival-horror fanatics should definitely give this a whirl.


UK based screenwriter, actor and one-half of the always-irreverent Kino Inferno podcast. Purveyor of cult cinema, survival horror games and low-rent slasher films.