It’s October, which means anybody who writes on the web is legally required to talk about horror video games before Halloween. But the joke’s on you, because you’ll never actually get to play these. Hah!
Halloween is right around the corner, and Laser Time is in full-on spooky nostalgia mode. We’ll be discussing horror games on Vidjagame Apocalypse, streaming scary games on Twitch, and putting together plenty of lists documenting fright-filled movies, games, and TV shows we’ve grown to love. But what about the projects that didn’t make it? We’ve dug up 7 games that died before they could make it to store shelves. That’s right… these projects are all g-g-ghosts!
Thanks to the wonderful Unseen64, I was able to research about 40 horror games that never saw the light of day. To cut them down to a Top 7, I had to set some ground rules. First, no sequels or major franchises; you won’t see Resident Evil 1.5 or Jurassic Park: Survival here. There’s one major exception, but I know you’ll let it slide. I also tried to select unique games — seven entries about zombies isn’t fun for anyone. And finally, I needed enough information to actually write an entry. Guillermo del Toro’s inSANE might have been a great game, but we just don’t know much about it.
Trimming down to these seven games is a scary task, but it lets me make this sweet transition. Speaking of scary things…
7. Eon of tears (Xbox)
Here’s a million dollar question for you: what in-development horror game was based on the Bible? The answer: Eon of Tears. The overarching story involved traveling through various time periods to solve a mysterious “Bible Code,” unlocking an incredible power (and this was before The DaVinci Code, so you wouldn’t have rolled your eyes back then like you did just now). The gameplay was a mix of RPG and survival horror, which frankly sounds like a hit-or-miss genre mash. You’d expect this game to be aimed at children (they’re easier to indoctrinate), but you’d be wrong — Eon of Tears was built for a mature audience.
Honestly, this screenshot could just as easily be from Tomb Raider.
Take it from a guy who grew up in a Baptist church: there is some dark material in the Bible that fits the horror game bill. I’ll let the wonderful Cracked.com give you the gritty parts of the Good Book, but in case you’re allergic to opening up a new tab, here’s the gist: decapitations, impalement, dismemberment, Amen.
6. Asylum (Xbox, PS2)
Do you enjoy 1987’s The Running Man, but wish the runners were weaker than Arnie and the killers were undead monsters? Welcome to Asylum, also known by the way-cooler-sounding name Darkblack. In this FPS, you took on the role of a game show contestant where losers pay with their lives. I can’t imagine what Merv Griffin gimmick the show used, but it soon devolved into a horrifying experience involving psychos, zombies, and a whole lot of gore. Screenshots also show normal-looking NPCs (other contestants, probably), so some rescue/escort mechanics probably would have come into play.
Dude should have used a lifeline.
In a gaming world where game shows are limited to Buzz! Quizzes and Jackbox Party Packs (watch Laser Time play Fibbage 2, BTW), Asylum would have taken a completely different approach. Seeing other game show mechanics like lifelines, prizes, and audience participation repurposed into horror motifs would have been a treat. And you have to imagine there was a Bob-Barker-as-a-zombie Easter egg right? OK, maybe just me then.
5. Dead rush (Xbox, PS2, Gamecube)
I can summarize Dead Rush in one easy math problem: Mad Max plus zombies (which means it would be greenlit immediately today). After an earthquake rocks the city of Eastport, amnesiac protagonist Jake must figure out why his town is now full of zombies. That’s the setup, but the real meat of Dead Rush was vehicular combat. Abandoned vehicles around town could be salvaged and rigged with additional armor; zombies would then dog-pile onto your sweet ride an tear it apart. The “survival” half of this survival horror title was more about maintaining your means of transportation.
Dead Rush or a GTA: San Andreas mod?
Dead Rush was being developed by Treyarch just a few years before the Call of Duty train barreled out of control, and one of the team’s goals was to release the game with zero load times. One boot up, and you got to play uninterrupted. Shame we never got to start the engine.
There are plenty of horror entries on the next page — including the big one you’re all expecting!