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| Arcade Games

Ghoulish gaming: our favourite scary games

Love the feeling of goosebumps on your skin? Ready for an eerie adventure this Halloween? Head to your closest Timezone to get your fix of spooky arcade games – here are our favourites!

The Walking Dead

Zombies truly are the gift that keeps on giving. The iconic bunch of shufflers that make up The Walking Dead started as a cult comic book (created by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore), became an excellent TV series with several spin-offs (which we kept on watching until we started prepping Doomsday kits and our partners began to worry), and then ended up as the ultimate arcade video game to play on Halloween, thanks to the guys at Raw Thrills. You’ll only have a crossbow controller and your wits to halt the undead and save the innocent. Easy? Nah. The interior lighting and bone-shaking Thrill-D sound system keeps you on the edge of your seat, and one false move earns you a mouthful of gross, bloody teeth right in your face.

Dark Escape 4D

Dark Escape’s basic premise is familiar: you’re trying to escape from a madman’s twisted game by shooting your way out with weapons the creep provides. You get to choose from four fear-themed stages and can unlock a bonus fifth stage after completing the other four. But here’s the thing: the game knows when you’re scared. Panic sensors display each player’s heart rate on the screen and records every panicky twitch. And you don’t just see the experimental creatures and the undead coming at you in 3D: you feel them BREATHING ON YOUR NECK because of built-in air blowers in the game cabinet. All together now: oh, HECK no! Add heavy recoil guns, 5.1 channel surround sound speakers and a rumble seat and that’s a big nope.

Luigi’s Haunted Mansion

Need a break from zombies? Try ghosts instead! This game sees you guiding Luigi through a huge ghost-infested mansion filled with dark nooks and crannies, helping him catch all the ghosts with the help of his trusty Strobulb. The cartoonish neon colours and ghostly sound effects are creepy-cute, and Luigi’s quavering ‘hallo?’ when he enters the Gloomy Mansion just makes us want to give him a big hug. Luigi’s Haunted Mansion is perfect to give your nerves a rest from all the Halloween jump scares: it’s still a bit eerie, but not as terrifying as some of our other favourite scary arcade games.

House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn

There are many rules to live by when it comes to surviving horror movies, but these three are the most important:

  • Never check if the monster is dead.
  • Don’t shout “Hello? Is there anybody there?” when you think someone might be in the house with you.

Case in point: the horror-themed light gun shooter that is House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn. Our protagonists, Kate Green and Ryan Taylor (brother of James, for fans of the previous games), find themselves at a dodgy dinner party (think uninvited giant mutant creatures and a squid-like creature called the “Priestess”) in Scarecrow House because they just can’t leave well enough alone, can they? Once again, they must survive the horrors of the house and take on the evil mastermind behind it all, just so that they can make it to daybreak. A deadly iron rod makes an appearance.

Deadstorm Pirates

We do love us some dodgy dead pirates on an adventure to reclaim forbidden treasure. In this case, something called ‘Poseidon’s Breath’. We keep hoping Roronoa Zoro from One Piece jumps out at us. This ‘theatre cabinet’-style game immerses you in the pirates’ story: you need to use both the recoiling gun and mounted steering wheel to shoot enemies and navigate through treacherous water. There are four selectable stages, each a new adventure. Bonus: Deadstorm Pirates is a great Halloween game to play with your kids, since it doesn’t ramp up the jump scares TOO much. 

Special mention: Pac Man

Well, duh – Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde are only the world’s most iconic ghosts, causing headaches for pie-shaped protagonists since the year dot. They might not be terribly scary – but have you ever been earwormed by the relentless waggawaggawagga sound of the game and the spiralling teewhooeeehoooohwoooooouuuuhhh after Pac-Man gets pwned?

Extra-special mention: The Claw Machine

Ever been on a first date and got pressured to catch a plushie? Yeah. That.

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