10 Important Video Games That Defined Survival Horror

10. Resident Evil 2

Released back in 1998, Resident Evil 2 was the long awaited second instalment in a franchise which had set the standard for survival horror pretty damn high just two years previous. Luckily, it was worth the wait.

Nearly everything about Resident Evil 2 was an improvement on the first: the story was grander, the stakes were higher, the character animations were smoother, and even though the environment itself was larger, it still felt just as oppressive and suffocating as the first.

Discovering that the city has been overrun by the undead, and that the vast majority of the city€™'s law enforcement have been savagely murdered, Leon and Claire are left with the task of locating any remaining survivors and escaping Raccoon City. Sure, Resident Evil 2 wasn€™'t considered anything groundbreaking at the time of release -€“ it was essentially just expanding on a formula already perfected by the first game €“- but it brought enough new ideas to the table to more than justify its own existence.

The game was bigger, prettier and more intense - and even the acting felt much improved. Though Resident Evil 2 won€™'t ever be considered as important as the first game, it was certainly the best sequel anyone could have asked for at the time.

9. Sweet Home

One of the principle influences behind the original Resident Evil, Sweet Home was a survival horror RPG developed and published by Capcom back in 1989 for the NES. The plot revolves around a group of documentary filmmakers trapped inside a haunted mansion by a ghost later - pretty standard stuff - who's later revealed to be the wife of Ichir Mamiya, a famous artist who stored many of his paintings inside the mansion before his mysterious disappearance thirty years prior.

Trapped alongside a whole host of murderous nasties, the team must fight their way through the mansion in order to confront Mamiya€™'s wife€™'s ghost. However, unlike other games, if any of the characters die, they cannot be revived, meaning that the difficulty greatly depends on your own ability to keep each individual member of your team from being disembowelled, cut in half, strangled, or just more generally bludgeoned to death by something heavy.

Tense and well designed, Sweet Home is probably one the greatest forerunners to the survival horror genre, not to mention a completely underrated gem of an NES game.


Formerly an assistant editor, Richard's interests include detective fiction and Japanese horror movies.