Despite its four years in the market, during which it has seen the release of a significant number of violent games, Nintendo’s ground-breaking Wii console is still regarded as “kiddy”. Fortunately for you, we’re not judgemental, biased writers; we understand that the Wii has its merits and strengths in particular areas, just as the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 do. Therefore, what with Halloween coming up, we’ve compiled a list of our five favourite horror games on the Wii.
These aren’t along the lines of Luigi’s Mansion; there are some Wii games kids just shouldn’t play. From self-inflicted limb amputation to disturbing cases of schizophrenia, we’re bringing you a list of the games that are simply begging to be played this October 31st. Don’t soil yourself just yet, because we’re only just getting started…
5. JU-ON: The Grudge
Ju-On is based on the Asian horror film of the same name, but unlike the film-to-game adaptations you’re probably used to, it’s not just a cheap cash-in. Sure, it doesn’t offer the best in story or character development and it definitely isn’t the most technically impressive game on the console, but it made interesting use of the Wii Remote. The game made occasional attempts to scare the player with jump scenes, disturbing content, and more, and then detected sharp movements from the Wii Remote to recognise whether or not the player was frightened.
Did you tense up? The game knows, and you just got penalised for it. Did you jump? Well, enjoy losing some more score. Ju-On wants you to stay on-edge at all times, and for that reason, it’s one of the scariest games on the platform. It’s certainly not the scariest game on the platform however: we’ve got four more to go before then.
Calling is based on a somewhat clichéd story; ghosts interact with the player through the main character’s mobile phone, á la J-horror flicks One Missed Call and Pulse. It’s not the most subtle game in the world, with some really boring scares, but the game occasionally exercises its capability to scare the player shitless.
The use of the Wii Remote’s speaker as a cell phone isn’t that original, as the feature’s been seen in earlier games like No More Heroes, but it’s definitely the one game that uses it most extensively and most effectively. It’s a game that really could not have been executed so well on any other platform.
3. Cursed Mountain
Cursed Mountain is a game oft tragically overlooked, largely due to its poor marketing leading up to its release in August of last year. The story concerns a hiker searching for his lost brother in the Himalayas, all while fighting off the angry spirits of monks and other hikers who became lost and died in the mountains.
The game’s atmosphere is really immersing, making for a great horror experience despite Cursed Mountain’s lack of traditional jump scares. It’s the overall feel of the game that contributes to its eeriness, not any particular events or gameplay mechanics. Sometimes I am saddened that there aren’t more games like this on the Wii; straight-forward, spooky, and with a solid ending.
2. Dead Space: Extraction
On-rail shooters get a bad rap that isn’t at all deserved. While reminiscent of two-player arcade shooters, where the thrill comes almost exclusively from the plastic gun in your hand and your co-operation with your real life partner, on-rail shooters on consoles are seen as boring, and the product of laziness. Both are incredibly false when it comes to Dead Space: Extraction, arguably one of the most exciting shooters I’ve ever played.
Unlike the original Dead Space, of which Extraction is the prequel, the player doesn’t control his or her movement at all, using the Wii Remote exclusively to aim and shoot: hence the term “on-rails”, as if in a mine cart and unable to move. Extraction uses this form of gameplay to its advantage, submersing players in a detailed and layered plot with very cinematic action sequences that require quick reflexes and skilled movement. From riveting panels shut to literally sawing your own arm off, EA know exactly how to get players worked up, and they do it non-stop.
1. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
After the cinematic wonder that is Dead Space: Extraction, first place has to go to something truly amazing. Fortunately, we’ve given the position to Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, a re-imagining of the first instalment in Konami’s psychological horror franchise. Things are very, very different from the original. The plot seems fairly similar at first: a father is involved in a car accident, and when he comes to, his young daughter who was with him has vanished, and he begins to search for her.
However, there’s something not quite right with the town of Silent Hill, and infrequently the entire town appears to freeze over and the player is trapped in a horror world where they are being chased by faceless creatures. In this telling of the tale, you can’t fend them off: you can push them aside and throw obstacles in their path, but ultimately you’re constantly running away to avoid annihilation.
But despite what you might think, the game doesn’t just follow a straight-forward linear storyline. Every so often, we break away from the action and find ourselves talking to a psychiatrist, who gives you tests to analyse your psyche, information which the game allegedly uses to determine what will scare you more. Each player experiences a totally different game: you might run into different characters and even locations than your friends, and there are a multitude of different endings. The thrill of these chase sequences combined with the strong, haunting narrative and shocking twist ending place Shattered Memories at the top of this list.