The 90s simply have to go down in history as the golden age of the survival horror genre. Elements of horror had been introduced in video games in the 80s, but it was in the following decade that the genre really came into its own and set the tone for years to come.
Without the horror games of the 90s, it's likely that many scary modern classics like Outlast and Amnesia simply wouldn't exist. What made these games even more impressive is the fact that the developers were working with such limited means.
Despite having rudimentary graphics and relatively low budgets, these classic titles managed to be genuinely scary and truly terrify players with basic polygons and pixels, relying on an often masterful use of shadows and sounds, as well as tricky controls, eerie environments and horrifying enemy designs to raise the tension.
Video games had already been proven to make us laugh, cry, and fly into fits of rage, but it was in the 90s when players learned that games were also capable of giving us nightmares, and these ten titles were the most frightening of all.
10. Nightmare Creatures
First released in 1997 for the PlayStation and PC, Nightmare Creatures offered a more combat-heavy version of survival horror than many of the other big 90s releases. The game featured two playable characters and spawned a sequel, with talk of a film adaptation floating around in the early 2000s, but never seeing the light of day.
Like so many good horror stories, Nightmare Creatures was set in a dark, gothic vision of 19th century London. The capital had been taken over by monsters and it was up to the wonderfully-named Ignatius Blackward and his newfound companion Nadia to fight their way through the city streets, find the source of the horror, and put an end to it.
Nightmare Creatures was an action-oriented game with brawler-style combat, but the enemy designs and sound effects used throughout were thoroughly chilling, with various zombies, demons, werewolves, gargoyles, and other sinister beasts hiding around every corner. The game's difficulty helped to make each encounter challenging and the dark, eerie setting lent a tense atmosphere to every stage.