Last Updated on October 11, 2023
Here are the best PlayStation horror games to make this halloween suitably spooky, but in a retro gaming way.
The original Sony PlayStation was a revolutionary system with a vast library covering almost every genre you can imagine.
Halloween is right around the corner at the time of writing, and it’s got me itching to play scary games. With this in mind, I think there’s no better time to explore the PlayStation’s best horror titles.
Top 5 PlayStation Horror Games
Here are my picks for 5 of the best, and for variety’s sake, I’ll be limiting my choices to just one title per series. These titles are in no particular order, as each one offers its own unique brand of horror.
5. Resident Evil
What good would a PlayStation horror list be without the original Resident Evil? Many aspects of this game are showing their age, but in 1996, Resident Evil was truly terrifying and put ‘Survival Horror’ games on the map.
In the original Resident Evil, you play as Chris or Jill and explore an abandoned mansion. During the story, players learn about the Umbrella Corporation, responsible for all the terrifying creatures lurking within the estate.
There are puzzles to solve, and the ‘tank controls’ are effective in ramping up the tension of combat. Resident Evil proves you don’t need a monster around every corner to scare the player, and much of the ‘creepy vibe’ is set by the environment and music. Although the voice acting is cheesy nowadays, it wonderfully sets the scene.
And then we have the Zombies. I wonder how the games industry would portray these undead horrors if Resident Evil never existed. With scare ammunition, players must decide whether or not to leave the shuffling undead roaming the halls. This is a game where going in guns blazing is rarely the best course of action.
Playing the original will keep you busy while you wait for the text adventure.
4. Nightmare Creatures
Growing up in the 90s, one highlight of each month was the arrival of the Official PlayStation Magazine. I eventually lost interest in the Magazine as the target audience shifted, but I always enjoyed the free Demo Disc.
Demo Disc #15 contained a playable section of Nightmare Creatures, and it freaked me out as a kid. Revisiting the game decades later certainly takes the edge off that terror, but Kalisto Entertainment’s crack at horror games still holds up.
There are jump scares galore, and some of the monsters are genuinely hideous. Take the werewolf in the picture above, for example. When this thing shows up, it bounds toward the player at speed and can easily take you off guard.
Nightmare Creatures is a little janky nowadays. Combat is stiff and can feel pretty unfair at times. If you can get used to that, there’s plenty of fun to be had with Nightmare Creatures and the sequel.
3. Silent Hill
Silent Hill is another legendary franchise with humble beginnings on the PlayStation. Although the series is dormant right now, Silent Hill has a legacy that few other horror series can hope to emulate.
Back in 1996, I wrote off Silent Hill as a ‘Resident Evil‘ clone, but after finally trying the title, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Silent Hill leans into ‘psychological horror,’ and although jump scares certainly exist, they aren’t what will keep you up at night.
The town of Silent Hill is a creepy place enveloped in a thick fog, which makes the area a nightmare to navigate. When you finally do find other humans to interact with, everything they say and do is weird and out of place. Whether intentional or not, Silent Hill strikes the player as a town gone mad, and on your journey, you start to wonder if you’re about to join them.
2. Alien Trilogy
While arguably not the scariest game on this list, Alien Trilogy is a fantastic game and one of the best to use the license. If Ridley Scott’s Alien franchise puts the fear of the xenomorph in you, you’ll love what’s on offer here.
Alien Trilogy is a first-person shooter that makes full use of the Alien universe. There are countless nods to the movies, from the dark, uninviting metal hallways to the terrifying aliens themselves.
Remember the iconic Motion Tracker sound from the movies? Well, that’s used to great effect in the game, and you simply cannot relax unless it’s silent.
Many first-person shooters on the PlayStation feel rough to play now, but Alien Trilogy still holds up remarkably well. Movement and combat feel excellent, and the locales are just as grim and uninviting as they were decades ago.
1. Dino Crisis
Capcom’s Dino Crisis games are typically summarized as ‘Resident Evil with Dinosaurs.’ It’s a pretty accurate description, but put it this way: Dino Crisis is no Land Before Time.
Dinosaurs are scary, and Capcom makes them far more threatening than the mindless zombies of Resident Evil fame. Your enemies in Dino Crisis rush straight at you. If that’s not scary enough, they sometimes do it in packs. The horror in Dino Crisis comes from knowing you’re always at the bottom of the food chain.
The generic facility Dino Crisis is set in is less inspired than Resident Evil’s mansion or Racoon City but is still a fitting environment for plenty of scares.
Dino Crisis doesn’t shy away from gore, either. Even early on, you stumble across a corpse torn apart or ‘eviscerated’ as the game excitedly tells you. I couldn’t get on with the sequel, but if you’re up for a horror game with a prehistoric spin, you could do much worse than Dino Crisis.
Retro PlayStation horror games are watching you
Those are my choices for the top 5 horror games on the PlayStation. I could easily have included the entire Resident Evil trilogy. Even the Lightgun game, Resident Evil Survivor, is passable. Other popular horror games on the console include Parasite Eve, Alone in the Dark, and Clock Tower, but these are the ones I have the most experience with.
If you’re keen to play these games but don’t own an original PlayStation, the PlayStation Classic is still available on Amazon.
One thing’s for sure. If you’re after a retro horror session on the PlayStation, you’re spoiled for choice.
Anthony is a freelance writer and has worked in the industry for three years. He’s furiously competitive and is always looking for the next big multiplayer hit. Anthony is a passionate PS1 collector and firmly believes in playing games in his collection rather than letting them collect dust on a shelf. He is also passionate about speedrunning and always looks forward to the next GDQ and ESA events.