What is the quintessential video game horror series? Resident Evil, right? There are tons of titles one can play in this series to get into the spooky mood as well as a lot of copycats. Sometimes these closes have even surpassed Resident Evil.
Now all of these may not exactly have direct links to Capcom’s storied franchise. What links them all together are their survival horror themes even if that means one game may feature more running while another may focus more on combat. At the end of the day, one can’t go wrong with any one of these ten titles. So from “worst” to best, here are our rankings.
10 Dino Crisis
Putting any one of Capcom’s own clones on here could be considered cheap. To keep reactions to a dull roar we only included one, Dino Crisis, which was the first of several. Instead of fighting zombies, players instead were trapped on an island facility where dinosaurs were running amok. Sound familiar? Dino Crisis is to Jurassic Park as Resident Evil is to Dawn of the Dead. It wears its inspiration on its sleeve and that’s ok because this was a cool game that unfortunately didn’t see too many good sequels.
9 Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix
Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix is sort of like BioShock meets Resident Evil meets Metal Gear Solid. The biggest copying comes with the tank controls. Players begin in an underwater facility as they are trying to investigate. Pretty soon killer robots start attacking and instead of taking down health, players have a fear gauge. If it gets too hot then they will have a heart attack? It’s not really clearly defined. It takes a while to get used to, but as a clone with a spy twist, this is pretty decent.
8 Luigi’s Mansion
Luigi’s Mansion was not the Mario game everyone expected and or wanted at the GameCube launch. That said it is a brilliant blend of the first Resident Evil’s mansion with its locked doors, backtracking, and puzzles with the gameplay found in a Ghostbusters game. Luigi’s shaky voice as he looks for his brother was charming, to say the least. This solidified him as the best brother as he actually showcased a personality.
7 Parasite Eve 2
Out of the three games in the series, Parasite Eve 2 was the one that was definitely trying to capitalize on the Resident Evil train. The original was a turn-based classic RPG with random encounters.
This game is still an RPG complete with leveling up, but all of the monsters are now just walking around. This is to say it is more of shooter in the realm of Capcom’s classic franchise and yes, it also has tank controls.
6 Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly
This series is one of the most unique premises in the genre and among all of the sequels, Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly is the best one. It is steeped in Japanese mythology and culture with two girls trying to stay alive in ghost-infested mansions and wooded areas. How do they fight ghosts? With cameras. Capturing the soul of a ghoul is the only way to remain safe. The PS2 graphics may be a bit dated now, but it is still creepy.
5 The Evil Within
The Evil Within was basically an attempt at a spiritual successor to Resident Evil. This came at a time when that series was going more for action, losing a lot of its horror enthused fans. This was directed by Shinji Mikami who was at Capcom for a long time with his most notable work being Resident Evil 4. That is essentially what the gameplay style is in this game mixed with the grittiness of Saw and the mind-bending puzzles of Inception. It may not make a whole lot of sense, but we think it is a worthy clone in its own right.
4 The Last of Us
The Last of Us was like a godsend. At this point, zombie culture had reached a critical high between TV, film, and gaming. So the idea of another zombie-like infestation taking over the world seemed like it was a terrible idea, but we were wrong. It has the excellent storytelling one would expect from Naughty Dog thanks to their Uncharted franchise. On top of that they managed to create tension between both human and Clicker interactions. It was the swan song to the PS3 and hopefully The Last of Us 2 will have the same sentiment for the PS4.
3 Silent Hill 2
This list wouldn’t be complete without including a Silent Hill game. Those two are like two peas in a pod, both releasing relatively close to one another. What Resident Evil lacked was psychological horror. Sure, zombies and other monsters in the franchise are frightening, but the creatures found in Silent Hill are unsettling. Silent Hill 2 stands above them all what with its naughty manikin nurses being decimated by a dude with a giant pyramid on his head with a sword that would make Cloud from Final Fantasy VII blush. Creepy does not begin to explain this tale.
As creepy and iconic as Silent Hill 2 is, the one aspect it fails at is the combat making it a game fun to experience, but not so much fun to play. That’s why BioShock is above it.
First of all, it took players to a world never completely realized in a video game before. Sure, games tried underwater settings, we even mentioned one in Fear Effect 2, but they pale in comparison to Rapture. From the beautifully unnerving setting to the satisfying gunplay complete with magical powers, BioShock is one of the greats.
1 Dead Space
BioShock is a hoot to play, but it isn’t as horrifying as our number one pick: Dead Space. This game has it all. Creatures that rival the iconic power of Resident Evil’s zombies. It has a unique setting in space making it feel like the best Alien game ever made without bearing its name. The Evil Within is definitely a more obvious spiritual successor, but a lot of Dead Space’s DNA can also be linked to Resident Evil 4. It is a game that, like that classic title, we love playing every few years around this time.