October means one thing: Halloween. To celebrate, let’s explore five scary retro PC games from the 90’s (and one from the 00’s) that are still fun to play. Best of all, they are all available for purchase and play on modern Windows computers. Trick or Treat!
Zork Nemesis: The Forbidden Lands
This underestimated, Myst-style point-and-click adventure from 1996 oozes mystery and gloomy horror. It is full of sloppy puzzles (including a severed head; you have been warned) and many atmospheric places to explore.
At the time of release, critics noted how dramatic Zork Nemesis refrained from the silly tone of the previous Zork game, Return to Zork (although there is still some humor involved). The result is a classic adventure experience that sticks with you as you play it.
Even though you are an MS-DOS title, you can still get it in emulated form on Steam or GOG for modern Windows machines.
Of all the games on this list, you have probably heard of Diablo. It is a masterful action RPG with a dark horror fantasy theme. It was a regular hit for Blizzard in 1997 (although it was released on December 31, 1996). It created several sequels with expansion packs.
IN DiabloYou will find lots of scary stuff, including crypts, undead skeletons and dark magic. The atmospheric soundtrack by Matt Uelman will also blend into your memory – especially the Tristram Village theme.
The best thing is that you can now get Diablo and its helveteseld expansion DRM for free on GOG.
Blood: Fresh Supply
If a screaming first-person shooter with a wise, film-quoting protagonist sounds more like your cup of tea, we recommend Blood. Originally released in 1997 for MS-DOS by Monolith Productions, Blood combines tight controls with masterful level design.
It also has great sound effects and creative weapons for hours of non-stop retro horror fun. And yes, there is plenty of blood, although its delicious presentation makes the stomach feel strangely fit.
Even better, you can now buy a 2019 remaster of the original name Blood: Fresh Supply. It runs on modern Windows computers in widescreen and supports gamepads. So run (do not go) to your nearest online gaming store and try Blood today. You can find it on Steam and GOG.
This exciting adventure from 2006 is located in a scary old house. Even though it’s the latest game on the list, it already feels like a lost Windows classic. Repor combine harvesters Myst-like first-person point-and-click games with lushly illustrated 360-degree environments.
There is a lot to explore and lots of puzzles to solve. It’s also really scary at times, but without being bloody or free. It is a great choice for thrills or atmospheric horror fans.
You can download it from Steam or GOG. And if you like Repor, be sure to check out its spiritual follow-up, Asylum, developed by Repor designer Agustín Cordes.
The Haunting Realms
There is no doubt that 1996 was a good year for scary MS-DOS games. The Haunting Realms uniquely synthesizes the game from multiple genres – first-person shooters, full-motion video adventures and survival horror – into a glorious title.
You play as Adam Randall, who investigates his father’s death in a haunted mansion. Along the way you will encounter wild supernatural enemies and spooky puzzles, all of which are perfect for this time of year.
The Haunting Realms available on Steam and GOG.