9. Silent Hill
In the days of the original PlayStation, players looking for scares had a very limited selection of games to choose from. With the release of Resident Evil, players had been given a slightly pantomime zombie-em-up full of conspiracy, viruses, and giant plants. It was terrifying at the time, but the wonky dialogue and story prevented it from achieving true greatness (though it has gone on to be held in high regard as a classic of the genre).
Resident Evil 2 was a better game all around, but it was still hampered by the slightly science-fiction story behind the horror. It wasn't until 1999 that the first brain bending, terror inducing game of the 3D age came out in the form of Konami's seminal Silent Hill. Silent Hill was survival horror with a paranormal bent. Whereas in other horror games you usually played as a soldier or law enforcement officer who knew how to use a gun, Silent Hill's Harry Mason is a regular bloke stuck in a creepy town, searching for his daughter who is thrown into a story of intrigue, horror, and demonic beings.
He is a terrible shot, he isn't particularly strong or agile, and he is very, VERY vulnerable. Silent Hill's genius stems from Konami's approach to their technical limitations. The PlayStation wasn't a particularly powerful machine and struggled rendering Silent Hill's outdoor sections properly without buildings popping up out of nowhere, so Konami's solution became the defining characteristic of Silent Hill: an oppressive layer of thick fog blanketing the whole town, reducing your visual distance to no more than a block at a time.
Enemies would stalk you outdoors, and all you would have to warn you of their presence was the crackle of static on a portable radio Mason picks up early in the game. The sound of the radio alone was enough to send chills down even the bravest of souls.
Then there is the Otherworld. At set moments throughout the game, Mason ends up in nightmarish versions of the places he has visited, with dirt, blood, and grime covered environments, metallic grates, and more enemies. The game expertly injects a persistent sense of dread into the player and the Otherworld sections are intended to push the player into a near panic.
The game constantly plays with your psyche, attempting to break your spirit wherever you go. From its devilish puzzles to the oppressive setting, you'll be hard pressed to leave Silent Hill the same as you went in.