5 scariest moments in classic PC video games

With Halloween Sale here, many of us are looking for some truly creepy games to enjoy this spooky season. There are plenty of modern choices available, but let’s not forget that many classics had some truly scary moments to enjoy (or hate).
We’ve compiled a list of some of the most memorable scary moments from classic PC games, so make sure to check them out below. Also, for what it is worth, there are some spoilers below, so just know that going into the list.

Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth

Developed by Headfirst Productions and published by Bethesda Softworks, Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth is a survival horror title that first released in October 2005. Based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Call of Cthulhu has you playing as Jack Walters, a detective that has been hired to investigate the creepy town of Innsmouth.
While there are many scary moments in the game, the most memorable definitely happens as you are exploring, and escaping, the Gilman Hotel. At this moment, you must escape the hotel and the entire time you are going room to room, blocking the doors and looking for a way out, your aggressors are close behind, banging on walls, shooting at you, all while ghastly screams surround you.
If you want to get your heart racing, this game and moment will definitely do that for you!

Outlast

If you are looking for a truly horrifying first-person game to play this Halloween, look no further than Outlast. First released in 2013, Outlast is the newest game on the list but has established itself as a classic horror game. In it, you play as a journalist investigating Mount Massive Asylum, located in remote mountains in Colorado. Armed with a camera, you’ll quickly realize things aren’t exactly what they seem.
Outlast combines jump scares with slow-burning atmospheric terror, but there is one moment that shines above the rest for us. Relatively early in the game, you’ll come across a long corridor. Near the middle sits a body in a wheelchair facing away from you. This is creepy enough, but once you muster up the courage, you can pass by it without issue and enter the room with the objective.
After completing your tasks in those rooms, you leave and must pass back by the body in the wheelchair. This time, however, the body is much more lively and will spring at you the moment you get to close. Not only is this moment truly scary, but it lets you know what to expect for the remainder of your time in the game.

Sanitarium

It's a point-and-click adventure game but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some scary moments!
Developed by DreamForge Intertainment way back in 1998, you play as a person that has woken up in a sanitarium. A car crash leaves you injured and without any memory of who you are. As you explore and learn more about yourself, you’ll encounter chilling locations and NPCs that will leave you extremely creeped out.
Sanitarium is all about the psychological horror aspect, keeping you on edge the entire time you play. When you are first in the asylum, you hear inmates talking about children and “Mother” but it is easy to dismiss the ramblings of the patients - until you are transported to the town where you meet the children and “Mother.” While this scary moment is a slow-burn it definitely makes you realize you are in for a wild ride.

Phantasmagoria

This one is a true classic and the only FMV (full-motion video) game to make the list. Phantasmagoria is another point-and-click adventure game to make the list and it was first released in 1995 by Sierra On-Line on seven(!) discs.
It tells the story of a writer, Adrienne, who has recently moved into a creepy old mansion that the audience quickly finds out is haunted by supernatural spirits. There are many creepy and scary moments, but there is one that stands out among the rest.
It happens when Adrienne finds a portal in a mirror and witnesses one of the most gruesome scenes to ever be featured in an FMV game. In the scene, you withness the crazy magician, Zoltan, as he is putting an end to his wife. With the wife strapped to a table, you watch in horror as the man inserts a feeding funnel into her mouth and shoves offal (animal guts basically) into her mouth through the funnel.
While it isn’t a true jumpscare, it is truly gross and definitely one of the most iconic scenes to occur in a game from the mid-90s.

F.E.A.R.

Our final pick on the list, F.E.A.R. features more gunplay than any other game on the list but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its fair share of scares. Developed by Monolith Productions and first released in 2005, you play a member of a special forces team sent to investigate a strange phenomenon involving a little girl in a red dress.
Equipped with superhuman reflexes, you’ll shoot plenty of baddies and use slow-mo to accomplish some truly cool moves, but don’t let all that action fool you, it’s called F.E.A.R. for a reason.
One of the first truly scary moments in the game is still one of the most haunting to this day. You’ve caught glimpses of the girl as you played and while all were scary, sometimes the subtle ones stay with you the longest. It happens as you are exploring some dark corridors with nothing but your flashlight to guide you. As you get to the end of one of these hallways the silhouette of the girl in the red screen dashes across the hall, accompanied by possibly the creepiest kid giggle of all time and dramatic, horror-movie sound effects.
It may not the biggest jump scare of the title, but it is one that has stuck with us for almost 15 years now, so that’s saying something.
There you have it! Our selection of 5 scariest moments in classic PC video games. Plan on trying any of these titles out or have you already been scared by all of them? Let us know down in the comments!