Well, it's nearly that time again - my favorite holiday of my favorite month (in my favorite season). I love this time of year. A few years back I decided to mark the occasion by making a list for you featuring some of my favorite games I play to help get me in the festive spirit. This year, like an undead creature of the night, I have emerged once again to bring you even more. While a lot of these selections are sequels to games on my original list, that shouldn't diminish their value any. On the contrary, I'm sure you will find that some of these games are equally effective at striking the proper tone. So without further ado, allow me to present you with more games to play when it's Halloween:
Ghosts 'n Goblins
- Developer: Capcom
- Platforms: Arcade, Nintendo Entertainment System, Xbox, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Wii U, 3DS
My first pick of the night is also among the very first titles to evoke the type of dark vibe that sets these sort of games apart. In fact, Ghosts 'n Goblins even predates the original Castlevania, which was the ancient treasure that kicked off my previous list. Though it was arguably surpassed by it's even more sinister sequel(s) the Ghouls 'n Ghosts games, the original is still a classic that brings its own special brand of evil to the table. Fun, yet sadistic. All of them are more than worthwhile, but they are infamously unforgiving. Play at your own risk.
Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse
- Developer: Konami
- Platforms: Nintendo Entertainment System, Wii U, 3DS
As more or less the reigning king of dark, spooky monster-filled games (although the Resident Evil series is surely a very close second by now), Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse is but one of numerous brilliant entries I could have chosen for this list (and you can expect to see more of them if I keep these list articles going). That being said, I'm pretty content with my choice. After the slightly disappointing departure that was Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, Konami apparently decided to return to what worked best for the third installment. Playing much like the fantastic original, but with creepy new locations to visit, welcome new gameplay features, and a killer new soundtrack (though the original will always be the best), Castlevania III is pretty hard not to love. It's certainly one of my favorites.
- Developer: Nintendo
- Platforms: GameCube, 3DS
From 1983 to 2001, Luigi's involvement in gaming amounted to little more than the occasionally-included afterthought along for the ride on Mario's spotlight-stealing escapades. With the exception of the somewhat obscure Super Nintendo "edutainment" title, Mario Is Missing, Luigi himself didn't get to experience the star treatment until the 18th year of his existence. That was finally when, with the launch of the GameCube, we got Luigi's Mansion. What plays like a creepy epic mashup of the aforementioned Mario Is Missing title, the first Resident Evil game, and Ghostbusters, Luigi's Mansion was a surefire hit. In fact, it was good enough to garner both a sequel and a remaster on the 3DS. And the series even eventually spawned it's own arcade game. Not too shabby!
Resident Evil 4
- Developer: Capcom
- Platforms: GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Steam, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
As I mentioned above in the Castlevania paragraph, the Resident Evil series is one of the most obvious and reliable choices for a list of this sort. And while I could have easily selected from one of the several great sequels that followed the first Resident Evil game, I decided to skip some of those and go straight to 4. Even though that was the title that changed up the standard gameplay the series was known for quite a bit (and some might even argue that it's more of an action game than a horror one), I would maintain that Resident Evil 4 is every bit as spooky, foreboding and atmospheric as any other entry in the series. In addition to which, it has monsters aplenty, and yes, it is a lot of fun to play.
Costume Quest 2
- Developer: Double Fine
- Platforms: Steam, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Of all the games on my previous list, Costume Quest was by far the most Halloween-esque. How could it not be for a game that has so much to do with just going door to door, trick-or-treating on Halloween night? It was basically the cornerstone of that whole article. So it goes for Costume Quest 2, a time-bending following-up that starts out right where things left off from the first game; on the very same Halloween night, no less. Costume Quest 2 is a highly entertaining sequel that brings out the Halloween spirit like no other game ever could, save the original. And between the two of them, it's almost too close to call.
Batman: Arkham Knight
- Developer: Rocksteady
- Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Steam
In my previous list, I had to make a case for why Batman: Arkham City even qualified as a Halloween game. Don't get me wrong, I'm quite confident that the case I made was plenty strong enough. Thankfully though, I don't even have to worry about such a thing with Batman: Arkham Knight. That's because with Arkham Knight, the incomparable series developer, Rocksteady, was good enough to set the game on the actual night of Halloween. You don't even have to be the world's greatest detective to notice the various characters and minor thugs who say as much throughout the course of the game; or the numerous festive decorations scattered about Gotham City. For good measure, Rocksteady even saw fit to throw in a plot starring the most appropriate Halloween villain of all time, the Scarecrow. So if you're looking for a pretty satisfyingly long Halloween night, look no further.
Well, that does it for round 2. I hope you enjoyed this list just as much the last one. Don't be afraid to share your own picks in the comments section.
(This is a repost of an article that also appeared on 12/12 Games.)
[Images: Rocksteady, Capcom, Konami, Nintendo, Double Fine]