Horror games strike a balance between player control and dread. Getting chased by a murderer with giant scissors or dealing with legions of zombies is pretty scary. Thankfully, brave speedrunners are here to tackle them for us.
Resident Evil Remake, Knife Only
Resident Evil knife only runs are a good way of ruining your childhood. In this video, runner Pessimism clears the game in just under an hour and a half, dicing up bosses and not even flinching when those dogs leap through the windows.
This is the REmake version, which has one of my favourite movement glitches: Stair skating. Speedy button mashing on stairs can cause Chris or Jill to slide up and down them with extra speed. Two of Resident Evil's defining characteristics are the tank controls and slower movement; glitches break them down and give runners a satisfying edge.
P.T. has always been a bit incomprehensible. It's also one of the few games that really scares me. Hideo Kojima's teaser demo for Silent Hills locks players in a looping hallway while solving puzzles that involve looking at random objects and speaking into their controller's microphone. Flaco_Jones makes it look easy thanks in part to a glitch that allows him to clip through the door in the first room, bypassing some of the early puzzles.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Arbitrary Code Execution
Symphony of the Night runs usually focus on furious backdashing and strange clips through obstacles. Arbitrary Code Execution runs hardly bother with that, instead using a strange series of movements and inventory management to write code directly into the game. It looks random, but each input purposefully rewrites the game and changes memory values. This allows runner nathan7878 to warp right to the end of the game.
Monster Party isn't really scary, but it is bloody and strange. Originally meant to feature movie monsters as bosses, the game was changed and all the recognisable monsters we replaced. The result is strange battles against pumpkin-headed ghosts and giant shrimp.
This speedrun is mostly a matter of execution, but Monster Party features one of my favourite in-game weapons. The main character's bat can be used to knock enemy projectiles back at them and can be held out to strike more than once. This run takes advantage of that to beat bosses nice and quick.
This game is on the list mostly because I can't believe someone is speedrunning it. Extermination is an early PlayStation 2 game written by Hidetaka Suehiro that takes a lot of clues from The Thing. I liked it, and apparently someone else did too.
This run literally punches enemies so hard that the runner clips out of bounds. 'Nuff said.
One of the difficulties with going fast in Alien: Isolation is that most actions make a lot of noise that attracts the alien and leads to a quick death. To get around some of this, runners are able to clip through a majority of the doors. It allows them to bypass a slow mini-game where they'd otherwise be vulnerable.
Soulsborne games have a reputation for difficulty, but speedrunnerss use a lot of tricks to smack them silly. The 1.0 version of the game has a trick that allows players to reach the Forbidden Woods early. From there, they can leap out of bounds and end up directly in the boss arena for the Shadow of Yharnam. A quick reload disables the enemy AI and leaves players with an easy, frozen boss to beat up. These runs also take advantage of the powerful cannon firearm to defeat bosses in one hit.
Humans are the true monsters, but if you're lucky, it's possible to toss murderers in gaol in the blink of an eye. Speedrunner i_o_l solves the case with a few button presses. It takes less than a second before Ms Peacock is locked up.
Look forward to tales of ghosts and glitches all week during Kotaku's Spooky Week.