The Niagara News is the community newspaper of Niagara College located in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. It is created and produced by the students of the Niagara College Journalism program.
By JAMIE BURTON Columnist October is the month of things spooktacular and terrifying, with all manner of ghouls and ghosts haunting, creeping and skulking about. It’s the perfect time of year to willingly put yourself into a bone-chilling fright, and while many outlets of entertainment attempt to offer this spine-tingling sensation, none do it better than survival horror video games. 2014 saw the release of Alien: Isolation, a first-person survival adventure pitting the player alone against the stealthy, stalking Alien aboard the Sevastopol, a ship similar to the Nostromo of Ridley Scott’s Alien film. With few ways to defend yourself, the only goal is to try to survive the cold, dark spaceship while being hunted by a monster out for a feast of your flesh. The AI of the Alien is standout, able to track the player through sight, sound and smell; simply running and ducking under a desk isn’t going to be enough to get away. Newer isn’t necessarily better in the horror genre; some older gems hidden in the library crypts of Steam and tombs of consoles’ past can out-scare their more technologically advanced counterparts. Construction Engineering Technology student Victoria Horne recommends Outlast, a game that is “like if Silent Hill and Amnesia had a baby”, where the player controls a photojournalist investigating an insane asylum overrun by the deranged and violent inmates. Much of the game is spent hiding, as the player has no way to fight back against the would-be assailants. Sometimes the only way to see is through the night vision of your video camera, but with the batteries draining and scarce spares it makes for a tense atmosphere. “It’s the scariest game I’ve played in years, full of subtle jump scares galore,” Horne said. “It’s nerve racking and always puts you on edge.” Another spooky selection is the Fatal Frame series, recommended by Police Foundations student Natasha Waldram. It’s an eerie collection of games draped in an aura of Japanese folklore. The foes in this series are the undead apparitions and vengeful spirits. Some are victims of dark rituals and sacrifice, but they are all out to add the player to their ranks. The only way to combat the ghosts is with the Camera Obscura and its array of limited supply film. But they don’t make it easy; the ghosts are able to pop out at any time, travelling between walls as you navigate cluttered, dark mazes. “I don’t like to play Fatal Frame alone, and I definitely won’t play it at night,” said Waldram. If you’re looking to eschew stealth in favour of jump scares and gore, Computer Programming student Thomas Hoad said Dead Space might be the game you want. A game that “takes atmospheric influence from films such as The Thing and Event Horizon”, Dead Space combines the claustrophobic confines of a space colony with grotesque, body-shredding creatures popping out at silent protagonist Isaac Clarke as he searches for his missing wife. These games just scratch the surface of this immersive, horrifying genre. With many other classics like Silent Hill 2, The Last of Us, F.E.A.R., Amnesia and Slender, getting scared is just a click away.