I love video games – and ever since the days of Splatterhouse, I’ve been captivated by the form. I also love the works of Howard Phillips Lovecraft – so what better way to combine those two things, than in a Lovecraftian inspired video games list? Hello horror fans, and welcome back to the scariest channel on YouTube – Top 5 Scary Videos.
As per usual, I’ll be your humble horror host, as we peel back the eternally corrupted hard drive – and try and figure out what the hell all of these tentacles are doing here – and take a look at the Top 5 Scariest Lovecraftian Inspired Video Games. Roll the clip. For the curious amongst you, that clip was from the Cinematic Trailer of The Sinking City, which is due to be released on March 21st of the this year – and I kind of wish it was already out, so it could have made this list – because it looks absolutely awesome. But, there’s no point dwelling on what could have been, right? It’s interesting – and a lot of you have raised the same point, over and over again throughout our Lovecraftian lists – which is that the realm of Cthulhu and his Old Ones are often ignored as the inspiration for mainstream media, and Lovecraft’s work has consistently sat on the fringes of literature, cinema and entertainment for the majority of the modern age. But, just take a look at World of Warcraft, one of the most successful video games of all time – and you’ll find that the majority of their narrative is a spin on the Old Gods – albeit C’thun, Yogg-Saron and N’Zoth.
You get the picture. Kicking off at Number 5 – Sunless Sea Which is just an incredible game, and a benchmark for all PC gamers and Steam fans out there – and also PS4 players too, I guess. If you’re into that kind of thing. Sunless Sea is a survival exploration RPG neatly packaged into a merciless roguelike – which for the non-bookmakers amongst you, is the best kind of hardcore mode you could ever hope you. Released on February 6th by Failbetter Games, the studio behind the awesome browser game, Fallen London – which, if you’ve got a few spare weeks of your life, is a highly recommended MUD-esque experience – Sunless Sea finds the player exploring the bizarre Lovecraft inspired world of the Unterzee, a vast underground ocean brimming with cosmic horrors and cannibalistic mutineers.
If you can’t tell – Sunless Sea is just a really great game, and it’s a neat little pastiche to all things Gothic horror. Permanent character death, the possibility to eat your own crew – and the opportunity to explore a dark, dangerous universe with nothing but your ship and your wits. Also, the name Sunless Sea is inspired by the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem, Kubla Khan – which is just all kinds of awesome in itself. Highly recommended. Coming in at Number 4 – Shadow of the Comet And I’m kind of cheating a little bit, because I’d also put the incredibly similar Prisoner of Ice, also released by Infogrames, on this exact same spot – but Shadow of the Comet probably takes the crown for its originality and Lovecraftian authenticity.
Released by Infogrames in March 1993, Shadow of the Comet – which was later repackaged as Call of Cthulhu: Shadow of the Comet, is an adventure game directly inspired by Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror, as well as The Shadow over Innsmouth. Similarly, Prisoner of Ice is inspired by At The Mountains of Madness – and focuses on the same thematics laid out in the original game. Shadow of the Comet takes place in the year 1910 – and in typical Lovecraft fashion, focuses on a young British photographer by the name of John Parker – who travels to the isolated New England town of Illsmouth – I guess they couldn’t get the rights for Innsmouth – to witness and photograph the passage of Halley’s Comet, a short-period astral event that is visible from Earth every 75 to 76 years. Turns out – the last sighting in 1834 had some pretty terrible consequences – and John Parker is about to find out exactly what transpired.
Also, for it’s time, this game has some of the best voice acting going – and it’s an equally terrifying graphic adventure into the works of H.P Lovecraft. Next up at Number 3 – Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth Ah – remember when trailers were literally made days before launch with just the bare bones of the games engine? Those were the days. Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth was a seminal release for any early-2000’s horror fan, and possibly one of the reasons why you’re even interested in this list. Released in 2005 for the original Xbox, Dark Corners of the Earth was developed by British fledgling studio Headfirst Productions, and published by Bethesda, of all people.
It was also one of only two video games that Headfirst actually managed to release, and one of four Call of Cthulhu games that somehow didn’t get cancelled. The odds were pretty much stacked against them – but 2005 was a trying time to be a video game developer, especially one that focuses on the works of Lovecraft. Nevertheless, Dark Corners of the Earth was a fantastic sci-fi horror survival game, based on one of Lovecraft’s most famous published pieces – The Call of Cthulhu. On that basis as well, it is also a reimagining of the 1936 novella, The Shadow over Innsmouth, and follows the story of Jack Walters – a mentally unstable private detective, tasked with figuring out what the hell is going on over in the strange, mysterious town of Innsmouth. Spoilers: Fish Men. Most people would stick the Alone in the Dark franchise on this list – but if I’m being honest, I’d always root for the underdog – and Dark Corners of the Earth was exactly that.
But, in my opinion – it’s one of the truest interpretations of the Cthulhu Mythos ever made. Swinging in at Number 2 – The Last Door Which, despite being wholeheartedly released as a mobile game – it’s staggering how authentically chilling and true to cosmic horror The Last Door actually is – and it’s one of the most atmospheric horror indie titles going. True to the narrative form, The Last Door is a point and click adventure game that was released episodically between 2013 and 2016, spanning over eight episodes of a strange, mysterious psychological thriller. First released by The Game Kitchen in March 2013, the studio developed a small, but passionate community that augmented the direction that the story took.
The game itself was heavily inspired by Lovecraft, as well as Edgar Allan Poe, and the plot focuses on four childhood friends who attempt to explore an encroaching supernatural territory known only as the Veil. For the most part, the player takes control of Jeremiah Devitt, as he meanders his way through dark forces, the occult – and childhood pacts that bore witness to the machinations of an ancient world. For an indie game, and on top of that – an 8-bit inspired pixel-art indie game, it’s testament to The Game Kitchen’s love for cosmic horror that makes The Last Door such a horrifying pleasure to play, and although it’s never explicitly stated – Lovecraft is in the bones of this game. Great stuff. And finally, at our Number 1 spot – Eternal Darkness Which perhaps IS the truest interpretation of Lovecraft’s work ever made, although it never truly gives that recognition.
I am also DEAD. Queue trance music. What a great year 2002 was. And what a great game Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem still is. Released in 2002 by Silicon Knights and published by Nintendo themselves, Eternal Darkness is an action-adventure game that legit has the scope of an entire trilogy’s worth of novels.
Originally planned to be released on the N64 – the studio switched it up and plugged it for the GameCube, which may I add is one of the finest consoles of all time – and I’m still hanging on to mine in the hope that the planet will finally realise their worth. Eternal Darkness is also one of the first modern games to introduce a sanity effect, as the player hurtles deeper and deeper into history and realises the bleak futility of humanity. The storyline itself spans between 26 BC to the year 2000 AD – and focuses on the lineage of the Roivas Family, as they tentatively meander their way across the globe and the ages – Ancient Persia, Cambodia, France, turn of the millenium USA – and of course, an ancient underground city that has been hiding underneath our noses the whole time. The voice acting is insane, mechanically it’s a pleasure to play – and the scope of the narrative is a horror fans ideal rainy day all day gaming marathon. What a great game. Well – there we have it horror fans, my picks for the Top 5 Scariest Lovecraftian Inspired Video Games – why don’t you let us know your thoughts in the comment section down below.
Before we depart, let’s read out some of your more creative comments from over the past few days. Liesl Zehner says — Jack, you and Lucy need to do a video together. That would make a great video. — Well Liesl, I’m not sure if you saw – but Lucy and I tried to do a video together, and she ended up stabbing me with a fork. Nah, but I’m just kidding – I bounced back, we’ll make sure to hook up a collaboration. Bmore Queeze says — I love the witch in the background need another creature though.
— Well, sounds good to me Bmore, Agatha the Witch could probably use a holiday somewhere nice. What would you like to see? A dragon? A hippogriff?
A cosmic horror? Let us know, and I’ll see what we can do. Well – cheers for sticking around all the way until the end horror fans, always a pleasure – never a chore.