The Best Freaky/Scary Enemies in Games

Happy Halloween! We have a real treat for you – the team share their favourite freaky/scary enemies that have made memorable appearances in games new and old. Enjoy!


Parasite Eve – Rat

Dominic: Rats, just the sight of them is enough to bring on someone’s musophobia. I personally don’t have an issue with rodents, I even find some of them rather cute, but playing Parasite Eve back when I was in the infant stages of my high school life wasn’t a good idea, even filling me with nightmares.

The reason was down to my lovely pet hamster, who was a cute, adorable little thing, but seeing the disgusting transformation of a rat in Parasite Eve, watching it sprout and outsize its skin into a bloody, fleshy killing machine, all unfolding in, for the time, rather spectacular computer animated graphics, was enough to give me nightmares for days. These weren’t normal nightmares, it included my adorable hamster! He was mutating in his cage, breaking out and chewing on me, then trapping me in its mouth, keeping me as winter food as I slowly staved to death with my some of my limbs missing… It was not pleasant, and it all happened because of those rats in Parasite Eve. I’ll never forget the short torment it brought me.



Fatal Frame/Project Zero II: Crimson Butterfly – Fallen Woman

Dominic: Project Zero II: Crimson Butterfly is without a doubt one of the most scariest games I have laid my hands on. There are plenty of enemies featured in the game that could be selected for this category, but the one that stands out being the most memorable, and the one that creeps me the hell out, is the scenario involving the Fallen Woman and how freaky it is.

It begins with a somewhat nice stroll down a set of stairs leading from the second floor of the Kiryu House to the first, when suddenly the camera switches from the point of view of something jumping from the stairs balcony. The camera moves back to Mio, as she sees a quick flash of a ghostly women staring coldly right at her as she falls past the centre space of a staircase, hitting the bottom with a loud thud, then silence… As the player continues down the stairs, laughter can be heard while the ghost is crawling on all fours towards them, but twisted with her body back-to-front. The Fallen Woman attacks by grabbing the legs of Mio, pulling the life force out of her. The other, more messed up issue, is the Fallen Women is constantly reliving the last moment of her life, committing suicide time and time again, originally trying to avoid the darkness that was taking over the villagers, she now spends her life vanishing and falling from the balcony, repeatedly aiming for Mio with her falling body landing with another loud smack.



Final Fantasy Series – Tonberry

Ian: Tonberries are maybe not what would be considered conventionally scary – they can even be quite cute, but as a young gamer what could be more frightful than potentially losing hours of grinding? Especially due to a little hubris; the overconfidence of being able to handle the nearby encounters with no problems. Well, until a rare little hooded dude with a big-ass knife shows up, that is. With each hit the tiny creature tanks, the player’s feelings slowly creep from curious, to worried, to terrified, and finally devastated as ‘Game Over’ fades in. The first battle always goes something like this –

“Aw, what’s this cool little thing? Wait, what – is that a knife?!”
*It approaches…*
“It barely attacks. That’s weird”
*Closer*
“Why won’t it die?!”
*Doink*
“Oh wow! It insta-killed my guy but it must be almost dead now”
*Doink*
“OH GOD! Use the Limit Break, use ANYTHING – KILL IT!”
*Doink*



Demon’s Souls – Mind Flayer

Ian: Lovecraft wrote of beasts creatures things beyond our comprehension as humans. It’s horror that hits on an existential level because the higher beings in the stories can’t be defeated, nor understood, nor even looked upon without losing one’s sanity. It draws upon the feeling of being so small, so insignificant in the grand scale of the universe and beyond that we might not matter all. Whilst maybe not so extreme, Demon’s Souls’ Mind Flayers (creatures commonly found in Dungeons and Dragons lore with deeply rooted Lovecraftian history) are akin to some of Lovecraft’s lesser demons and render poor adventurers immobile only to then, quite literally, suck out their victim’s brains. With the help of some psionic abilities and a magic, glowing bell I don’t believe many things in videogames to be as scary as being caught unawares by that nerve-shattering ringing when you’re on your way back to reclaim several levels worth of souls – it’s enough to cause paralysis both in and out of the game.

YOU DIED.



Ninja Gaiden II – Jaquio

Jorge: As was proven with cinematic masterpieces like Alien, the technical limitations of a medium can be wisely used to enhance the terror of a monster draped in shadow.

The enemies of the Ninja Gaiden series were already classified as a combination of humanoid mooks and hellbound demons, but the games were never intended to frighten its players rather than pump them up to face another battle (that would take countless continues to conquer…the games were infamous for their difficulty, after all).

And yet, the sudden, shrouded appearance of Jacquio, the first game’s villain who had made a third act reapparance in the sequel, was one of the most terrifying moments I had ever experienced in videogames. The flowing robes combined with the dark shadows had me believe for a long time that he had come back as a giant spider. Regardless, the closeup of his vampiric face and the flashes of 8-bit lightning resulted in an unintentionally (?) frightening sequence that left me shivering in my sheets long before the actual horror games made their way into the console space.



Lifeforce – Brain Golem

Jorge: It was barely a few months into my videogame infancy, and I had barely wrapped my head around the gameplay concepts introduced in Super Mario Bros. The idea of “bosses” serving as the climactic adversary in a stage was still new to me, which is why the giant, grotesque Brain Golem guarding the first stage in Konami’s Lifeforce (known as “Salamander” in other regions) left me with such a fright.

The game’s premise was simple enough for my adolescent brain to process: you’re a spaceship fighting off alien ships on an alien planet (according to the instruction manual, you were literally inside an alien that was as big as a planet.). Even so, I was not prepared for a giant floating brain to pop up out of nowhere, with a pair of monster arms to boot.

It wasn’t until an elementary school friend explained the concept of “weak points” to me, and to focus all of my fire on the Golem’s eyeball. The moment that I managed to defeat the boss was both satisfying and revelatory, as if I had conquered my fears and realized I had possed the power to topple even the most intimidating of adversaries in videogames.



The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask – Moon

Matt: For a game rated E it had a prominent character who creeped me out so very much! I’m talking of course about The Moon. Set on a collision course with Termina by the Skull Kid. This rather insane looking moon could shake people with even the strongest constitution, constantly threatening to destroy Termina and reminding you that you’re running out of time to save everything and everyone. What made it so unnerving was partly the face and partly the fact that he is slowly creeping towards you whenever you look up there he was looking back at you into your soul!



Soma – Construct

Matt: These jumbled mess of a creature wander the halls of Site Upsilon being slow and creepy. Various lights are emitted from bulbous growth on it’s body and it’s slow lumbering movement make it easy to get past if you remain undetected. Once you’ve alerted the Construct is picks up pace and gives chase until you pass out. It’s lonely walking through the halls is even more disturbing with the loud noises it makes like a mixture of dial-up feedback and human screaming it serves as a reminder that nothing in this game is quiet as it seems.



Pac-Man – Ghosts

Simon: When horror games realised that taking away your means of defending yourself is a good way to make you feel exposed and helpless, I was suddenly way better at horror games. Look, I may be a jittery wreck when I must decide on the spot whether to waste my ammunition, engage creepy creatures/the camera in physical altercations, or awkwardly try to navigate around them and escape, but I can outrun an enemy designed to let me do that. Give me this one task of evasion to concentrate on and I’ll be just fine. Unless, of course, your game is a Kafka-esque nightmare scenario where I’m a perpetually moving entity stuck in a blue maze, being percecuted by an angry and coordinated mob that will eventually – inevitably – catch up to me, and make me fold backwards around myself until I disappear.



Bubble Bobble – Baron von Blubba

Simon: This whale like, red eyed ghoul is obviously terrifying, but the real scare here is anticipation. Being told that you have to hurry up or something comes to get you has been the stuff of cautionary children’s tales forever. Only, in a video game it’s less metaphorical and more literal, because a literal whale monster with red eyes shows up and kills you. Plenty of games qualify in this category. Just recently Persona 5 – but, mercifully, my cat bus driving skills saved me the displeasure of being eaten by a whale in that.



Metroid Fusion – SA-X

Thomas: Getting chased by something or someone is always the easiest way to scare in a game in my opinion, and for me the first time this happened was in Super Mario Bros 2. Phanto hates when you take his key, and will relentlessly hunt players down the moment they lay hands on one. He will not give up until the player puts the key back down. He will follow through screens, clip through objects, and hunt through whole levels looking to dive bomb you in an effort to touch you and murder you. In a game where many of the initial enemies you meet walk on predetermined paths Phanto instills fear with his merciless actions. He operates on a level above most other Mario enemies. Birdo belongs on an episode of The Muppet Show compared to him. At the time of writing I am still many Moons away from finishing Super Mario Odyssey, and I live in fear Phanto makes a cameo appearance. If I see him I will throw my Switch out the nearest window in terror. Phanto truly is scary, and to make it worse, looking at the evil smile on his face it seems like he enjoys his job a little too much.



Super Mario Bros. 2 – Phanto

Thomas: Getting chased by something or someone is always the easiest way to scare in a game in my opinion, and for me the first time this happened was in Super Mario Bros 2. Phanto hates when you take his key, and will relentlessly hunt players down the moment they lay hands on one. He will not give up until the player puts the key back down. He will follow through screens, clip through objects, and hunt through whole levels looking to dive bomb you in an effort to touch you and murder you. In a game where many of the initial enemies you meet walk on predetermined paths Phanto instills fear with his merciless actions. He operates on a level above most other Mario enemies. Birdo belongs on an episode of The Muppet Show compared to him. At the time of writing I am still many Moons away from finishing Super Mario Odyssey, and I live in fear Phanto makes a cameo appearance. If I see him I will throw my Switch out the nearest window in terror. Phanto truly is scary, and to make it worse, looking at the evil smile on his face it seems like he enjoys his job a little too much.


Feel spooked about what the team decided was some of their best freaky/scary enemies and want to see more Best lists? Then check out;

The Best Winter Levels in Games

The Best Easter Eggs in Games

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