It’s T-minus six days until Halloween. If you’re here that means you’re back for more of Mammoth Gamers’ playlist of Halloween-themed music. We’re here in day number four now. What a great time to reflect on moments in gaming that sent shivers down our spines. Let’s see what today’s list holds.
Dark Hallways – Luigi’s Mansion
Maybe I should credit Luigi’s Mansion for the sole cause why I can’t hold up to jumpscares very well. They may not be as jarring as the jumpscares from, say, the Five Nights at Freddy’s series, but that didn’t make the mansion in Luigi’s solo outing any less nerve-wracking. Rooms and hallways in the mansion are always dark the first time you see them. With ghosts hiding in plain sight, it was practically impossible to determine when they would suddenly appear from nowhere. The main theme of Luigi’s Mansion is now synonymous with the green-clad plumber. Its use of heavy strings captures the dreary mood of Luigi’s surroundings. Luigi’s Mansion was the first game I played when I got my GameCube, and I’ll never forget how surprised I was to hear Luigi hum nervously to his game’s own music. Scary? A little. Hilarious? Most definitely. Here’s to the coming of Luigi’s Mansion 3.
Clock Town (Final Hours) – The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is already one freaky trip of a Zelda game. Truth be told, whenever the subject of this particular Zelda game comes up I get a slight chill. Majora’s Mask is all about atmosphere. There’s a calm sense of dread over the land of Termina, to put it mildly. Almost as if the people living in this land have no idea that their own doom is literally upon them. Players are free to look up into the sky any time they wish. There they’ll see a moon with a manic look on its face, inching ever closer to collapse upon Clock Town. The entire game has a three-day cycle that Link can time travel back to the beginning of. On the first day, the theme of Clock Town is merry and jolly, but it’s the final day that has a most depressing theme. It really does emanate the feeling that all hope is lost, and all living things are about to meet a painful, fiery end. And yet, it’s the dreaded toll of the clock tower’s bell that frightens me the most.
Clock Tower – Disney’s Epic Mickey
While we’re on the subject of clock towers being an appropriate scary setting in video games, this particular one from Disney’s Epic Mickey was both trippy and a trip down memory lane. Firstly, at the time the game came out, I loved the entire idea of putting a dystopian spin on the world’s most recognizable cartoon character. Disney’s Epic Mickey took the idea of, “What if Disneyland and Wonderland were smashed together”, and went wild with it. Long before Five Nights at Freddy’s made animatronics the stuff of nightmares, just Google image search Daisy, Donald, and Goofy to see how warped Disney Interactive got. That’s the tone they went with for the clock tower in this part of the game. The tower has long-reaching arms to smash and grab at Mickey. The twisted look on its face is even more alarming. However, the most spine-tingling thing about this encounter is the distorted take on the memorable song, “It’s a Small World (After All).”
Don’t Cry, Jennifer – Clock Tower
Seriously, what is it with clock towers and using them to horrific lengths? I kid you not, it’s now just dawning on me that this particular setting has been used to great effect among several good scary games. That brings us to Clock Tower, and what you might regard as one of the early pioneers in the survival-horror genre. Clock Tower released on the Super Famicom exclusively in Japan, while a remake of sorts did come to North America for the original PlayStation. It’s the Super Famicom version, however, that pushed the 16-bit console to its limits. Jennifer Simpson, and a few other girls, have been adopted by the Barrows family and the group goes to the Barrows mansion to begin their next chapter. Jennifer soon finds that the other girls have mysteriously gone missing. One of them is killed by the Scissorman and Jennifer must avoid him at all costs as she finds a way to escape the mansion. The theme of the Scissorman is a jump scare in itself. It signals his pursuit, which could happen at any moment. Whether he crashes through a window, busts down a door, or (hilariously) hides behind a curtain, the mad dash to escape from his snapping scissors never ceases to thrill.
Midna’s Lament – The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
While not necessarily scary or very frightening, I do believe that a lament can be used to great effect. That is especially true of Midna’s Lament from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Midna is of the Twili, a people that dwell within the Twilight Realm and, thus, cannot survive in the pure light in the Kingdom of Hyrule. Not only has Zant usurped the throne from Midna, and not only has he transformed her into the shape of an imp, he also curses her body and forces her to assume a shape in the harsh light. Because of this, Midna slowly begins to die. Link, also cursed in his Wolf form, must make a long and arduous journey to Hyrule Castle where, hopefully, Princess Zelda can save Midna’s life. The entire race to save Midna has her clinging on for dear life. The lament is played beautifully through piano. It’s a moment that’s as tragically beautiful today as it was the first time I experienced it many years ago.
Thanks again for tuning in to Mammoth Gamers’ Halloween-themed music playlist! If you’re only just checking out our countdown to Halloween, be sure to check out the playlists from previous days. Tune in for more next time!