Although Nintendo’s renown for making family-friendly games and it has created several generations of avid gamers, the publisher has also made a few great horror games as well. While they are few and far between, we’ve seen some real gems on Nintendo consoles through the years, which shook up or completely reinvented the genre. Here is a list of 10 of the best horror games for Nintendo consoles.
10. Zombies Ate My Neighbors
This little known gem made its first appearance on the SNES and Sega Genesis in 1993 and was developed by LucasArts. It wasn’t a huge success, but it did well with critics. The game was noted for its unique art style and sense of humor. It saw players take control of Zeke and Julie as they romped through the world shooting zombies and saving their neighbors. The game may not be a fright fest, but it is immensely enjoyable. Plus, it has zombies, so it technically counts as a horror game.
9. A Nightmare on Elm Street
The NES and SNES saw a myriad of games based on movie franchises, including a 1990 NES title based on the notable slasher series A Nightmare on Elm Street. The NES game was created by Rare (known for the Banjo-Kazooie series) and required players to collect the bones of Freddy Krueger and burn them in the local high school furnace. The classic horror franchise A Nightmare on Elm Street got several video game adaptations, ranging from the NES game to even a slots game published on Oink Bingo.
8. Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir
This is a unique title developed the 3DS by TECMO KOEI GAMES in 2012. It plops players in the usual haunted house scenario, but offers has an interesting twist. The only way to fend of the dangerous ghosts is to capture them on camera. The game requires users to the Nintendo 3DS camera. It’s a unique AR experience that can be pretty frightening at times, often relying on jump scares as well as great atmosphere.
7. House of the Dead: Overkill
This game is a little more camp than horror, but it is still a blast. It’s a rail shooter that has players blasting all sorts of horror movie enemies. It was a huge success in arcades before being ported to the Wii in 2009, which stayed true to its original format, as it allowed players to use their Wii controllers to shoot at the screen. For anyone who’s ever played this title, all we have to say is “Suffer, like G did”.
6. Super Metroid
While the Metroid games are considered action games, there are certainly horror elements to them. As Samus Aran, players traverse the planet Zebes in search of an infant Metroid alien. Many of the creatures in the game (and series in general) have a Lovecraftian vibe to them, and seem to be inspired by popular space horror movies like Alien. In fact, Super Metroid, originally released for the SNES in 1994, isn’t just one of the best horror-related franchises from Nintendo. Many consider them to be one of the greatest of all time.
5. Clock Tower
This is a classic point-and-click 2D horror adventure released for the NES in 1995. While developer Human Entertainment never released outside of Japan, the game had several fans adapt the game to English, which broadened its appeal to a much wider audience. It has since been considered a cult classic. The game received a port to the PlayStation in 1997 titled Clock Tower: The First Fear.
4. Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon
This is a little known RPG title for the Wii that was released in 2009 by Namco Bandai. In it, gamers take the role of Seto, a fifteen-year-old boy who explores the ruins of a post-apocalyptic Tokyo. In the game, players fight ghosts as well as humanoid robots. The game was generally praised for its unique plot and great art style.
3. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
Originally a PC dungeon crawler released in 2011, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is both charming and horrifying. Players take on the role of Isaac, a young boy who escapes his murderous mother through a trapdoor into his basement. There, he fights a variety of monsters (including giant poop). The game is layered with religious symbolism and an abstract plot has kept players guessing at its meaning and conclusion for years. This classic has been given an expansion in the form of The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+, soon to be available on the new Nintendo Switch.
2. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
This game is a 2009 remake of the classic Silent Hill (originally released on PlayStation). There is a unique twist in this game though. Players have no weapons, and must instead run and hide from the mysterious creatures chasing them. It’s a major departure from other games in the series, but it makes for an exciting game. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories often finds itself on the best of Wii horror games lists across the web.
1. Resident Evil 4
How could we make a horror game list without the king of them all? Resident Evil 4 received massive critical acclaim when it was first released by Capcom for the GameCube in 2005. It’s largely considered to be the best game in the franchise, and is often counted as one of the best games of all time. The game has everything: an intense plot, frightening villagers, and a terrifying art style. It also proves that Nintendo can not only make a good horror game, but it could easily be one of the biggest contributors to the genre.