Retro Gaming

Best 13 Retro Games Perfect for Halloween

Dive into a world of pixelated horrors and nostalgic chills with these iconic retro games perfect for Halloween

Retro Alex

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This Halloween, consider a different treat. Instead of roaming the streets, sit back and dive into the world of retro gaming. A dim room, the glow of a screen, and classic game sounds are all you need. Revisit the eerie and captivating worlds from gaming’s past. Stay in, get comfortable, and let’s explore the top retro games for a memorable Halloween night.

We’ve put together our list of our favorite 13 retro games to play on Halloween:

Castlevania (1986, NES): Confronting Dracula’s Dark Domain

Few games capture the Halloween essence as perfectly as Castlevania does. Released in 1986 for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), it’s a title that has become synonymous with gothic horror in gaming.

As you step into the shoes of Simon Belmont, a renowned vampire hunter, the haunting environment of Dracula’s castle immediately envelops you. Every corner of this sprawling fortress brims with dark secrets and lurking monsters. From bats to ghouls, to the infamous Grim Reaper, each adversary offers a unique challenge. Armed with the iconic Vampire Killer whip and various secondary weapons, players navigate a series of levels that beautifully blend action, platforming, and horror.

What makes Castlevania a quintessential Halloween play is its atmospheric design. The detailed pixel art showcases eerie corridors, trap-laden dungeons, and grand ballrooms—all set to an unforgettable, moody soundtrack. As you advance, the looming threat of the ultimate confrontation with Dracula himself keeps the tension high.

So, if you’re seeking a game that epitomizes the ambiance of a chilly October night, Castlevania is hard to beat. Its blend of gothic aesthetics, challenging gameplay, and a haunting score makes it an essential Halloween gaming experience.

Ghosts ‘n Goblins (1985, Arcade/NES): A Spooky Quest of Perseverance

First introduced to arcade goers in 1985 and later adapted for the NES, Ghost ‘n Globins is a challenging platformer and the embodiment of the creepy and whimsical side of Halloween.

You take on the role of Sir Arthur, a gallant knight on a mission to rescue his beloved Princess Prin Prin from the clutches of the demon king Astaroth. While the premise might sound familiar, it’s the nightmarish world filled with relentless zombies, ogres, and devilish red arremers that sets this game apart. Each stage introduces its own set of monstrous challenges, pushing players to their limits.

From haunted graveyards to sinister castles, the environment exudes an old-school horror charm. And with Sir Arthur’s armor being just a few hits away from leaving him in his undergarments, the tension is always palpable.

However, it’s not just about the scares. The game’s notorious difficulty is both a test of skill and a testament to one’s perseverance. Dying and retrying becomes a ritual, making the eventual triumph over the game’s harrowing bosses all the more rewarding.

For those wanting a mix of classic horror aesthetics with a hearty challenge this Halloween, Ghosts ‘n Goblins is an unbeatable choice.

Resident Evil (1996, PlayStation): The Survival Horror genre’s Iconic Mansion

There are games that thrill, and then there are games that send shivers down your spine. Resident Evil, released in 1996 for the PlayStation, undeniably belongs to the latter category and is a must-play for Halloween gaming marathons.

In the shoes of either Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine, members of the elite S.T.A.R.S. team, players find themselves trapped in a foreboding mansion after a series of gruesome murders in Raccoon City. The ambiance of the mansion itself is chilling to the core: echoing footsteps, flickering candles, and the eerie silence punctuated only by the distant growls or shuffling of the undead.

But it’s not just the environment that evokes terror. The game mechanics, with limited ammunition and health supplies, ratchet up the tension. Each encounter with a zombie or the more terrifying foes could be your last. Add to this the game’s infamous “door opening” loading screens, which create moments of palpable suspense as you wonder what horror awaits on the other side.

Resident Evil masterfully combines the dread of traditional horror with the urgency of survival gameplay. It’s a game that not only set the gold standard for the survival horror genre but also remains deeply atmospheric, ensuring that players are constantly on edge.

So, if you’re searching for a game that encapsulates the spine-chilling spirit of Halloween, venturing into the corridors of the Spencer Mansion in Resident Evil is a journey both terrifying and unforgettable.

Silent Hill (1999, PlayStation): A Journey into Gaming’s Most Haunting Town

Released in 1999 for the PlayStation, Silent Hill isn’t just a game—it’s an experience that delves deep into psychological horror, making it an impeccable choice for a Halloween night playthrough.

The narrative follows Harry Mason, a desperate father searching for his adopted daughter in the seemingly abandoned town of Silent Hill. But this is no ordinary town. Streets are shrouded in thick mist, and grotesque monsters lurk in the shadows. The most disconcerting of all is the town’s ability to shift from its fog-covered state into a rusty, nightmarish “Otherworld,” a transformation that keeps players constantly on their toes.

Beyond its chilling monsters and environments, Silent Hill stands out for its subtle, psychological terror. It doesn’t solely rely on jump scares; it builds an oppressive atmosphere of unease. The game’s soundtrack, composed by Akira Yamaoka, complements this perfectly with its blend of haunting melodies and dissonant noises.

What sets Silent Hill apart is its mastery in intertwining the external horrors with the internal fears and traumas of its characters. Puzzles, while challenging, often carry symbolic weight related to the town’s mysterious past or the personal demons of those trapped within.

For those brave enough to traverse its fog-laden streets, Silent Hill offers a deeply immersive horror experience. It’s a game that doesn’t just scare—it lingers, making it a perfect candidate to revisit or discover on a dark Halloween evening.

Clock Tower (1995, SNES/PS1): Unraveling Mysteries in a Mansion of Terror

Originating on the Super Nintendo in 1995 and later adapted for the PlayStation 1, this point-and-click adventure game serves up a chilling atmosphere that’s tailor-made for Halloween gaming sessions.

Players step into the shoes of Jennifer Simpson, an orphan who, along with her friends, gets adopted by the wealthy Barrows family. What initially seems like a dream come true quickly spirals into a nightmare. Within the eerie confines of the Barrows Mansion, Jennifer must navigate a web of mysteries while evading a relentless pursuer: the Scissorman. With his massive shears and unyielding drive, this foe transforms every moment into a tense game of cat and mouse.

The genius of Clock Tower lies in its unpredictability. Rather than scripted jump scares or set monster patterns, the game uses dynamic events. The haunting sound of the Scissorman’s shears could indicate he’s near, turning even the simplest tasks—like searching a room or opening a door—into potentially deadly decisions.

The visuals and sound design play a pivotal role in enhancing the game’s eerie ambiance. The mansion, with its dark corridors, creaking floors, and unsettling artwork, is a character in its own right. And the minimalist, often ambient soundtrack keeps players constantly on edge, amplifying the feeling of vulnerability.

For those seeking a horror experience that combines strategy, suspense, and story, Clock Tower is a hidden gem in the retro gaming vault. Its haunting narrative and unique gameplay mechanics make it a prime candidate for a dark, quiet Halloween night.

System Shock 2 (1999, PC): A Cybernetic Nightmare in Deep Space

Merging sci-fi with horror, few games combine these genres with the finesse and intensity of System Shock 2. Released in 1999 for the PC, this first-person action RPG thrusts players into a world where technology and terror are interwoven, making it an electrifying choice for Halloween gaming.

You awaken as a soldier aboard the Von Braun, the first faster-than-light starship. But something has gone terribly wrong. The ship is eerily quiet, save for the mechanical hums and sporadic electronic glitches. As you delve deeper into the ship’s corridors, you quickly realize you’re not alone. The crew has been transformed into grotesque hybrids, and an ominous, omnipresent AI known as SHODAN taunts you at every turn.

What sets System Shock 2 apart is its masterful blend of atmospheric horror with deep RPG mechanics. As players progress, they must allocate cybernetic upgrades, manage a limited inventory, and choose wisely from a range of weapons and tools. Every decision impacts survival in a ship overrun by cybernetic monstrosities and rogue AIs.

The game’s audio design is nothing short of spectacular. The haunting whispers of corrupted crew members, SHODAN’s chilling monologues, and the pulsating electronic soundtrack create a soundscape that amplifies the sense of isolation and dread.

But it’s not just about combat and survival. At its core, System Shock 2 tells a gripping tale of unchecked scientific ambition and the consequences of playing god in the digital age. The twists and turns of the narrative, combined with the ever-present threat of annihilation, keep players glued to their screens.

For those craving a horror experience that pushes the boundaries of storytelling, gameplay, and atmosphere, System Shock 2 is a journey worth embarking upon this Halloween.

Alone in the Dark (1992, PC): Pioneering Horror in a Mansion of Mysteries

Long before the rise of many survival horror giants, there was a game that set the stage, creating a blueprint for others to follow: Alone in the Dark. Released in 1992 for the PC, this title stands as one of the pioneers in the horror genre, offering players a spine-chilling experience that’s perfect for the eerie ambiance of Halloween.

Set in the 1920s, players can choose between two protagonists, Edward Carnby or Emily Hartwood, each venturing into the Derceto Mansion for their own reasons. However, what starts as a simple exploration soon unravels into a fight for survival. The mansion isn’t just old and decrepit; it’s alive with unspeakable horrors, from shambling zombies to otherworldly entities.

One of the groundbreaking features of Alone in the Dark is its use of fixed camera angles, which adds to the tension. Players can never be entirely sure what lurks just off-screen, transforming every corner turned or door opened into a potential scare. The polygonal graphics, though primitive by today’s standards, have a unique charm, creating an atmosphere that’s both nostalgic and unsettling.

The game also emphasizes problem-solving. Instead of relying solely on combat, players need to think their way out of dangerous situations, combining items and deciphering puzzles to progress. This approach, combined with the game’s rich lore rooted in Lovecraftian horror, ensures that the player’s mind is as engaged as their pulse is racing.


For those looking to explore the roots of the survival horror genre and immerse themselves in a classic that still holds its own in terms of suspense, Alone in the Dark is a must-play. Its legacy as a cornerstone in horror gaming ensures that a night spent in Derceto Mansion is one filled with tension, intrigue, and plenty of frights.

Zombies Ate My Neighbors (1993, SNES/Genesis): A Campy, Creature-Filled Romp

When Halloween spirits rise and monsters roam the streets, few games capture the essence of B-movie horror charm quite like Zombies Ate My Neighbors. Released in 1993 for both the SNES and Genesis, this quirky, top-down shooter offers a delightful mix of camp, comedy, and chaos, making it a top pick for some lighthearted Halloween fun.

Donning 3D glasses and armed with unconventional weapons—from water guns filled with holy water to explosive soda cans—players take on the roles of Zeke and Julie. Their mission? Save their neighbors from a vast array of monsters inspired by classic horror films. Whether it’s mummies, werewolves, or chainsaw-wielding maniacs, every level is a delightful nod to the creature features of yesteryears.

One of the standout aspects of Zombies Ate My Neighbors is its vibrant, cartoonish graphics. The game doesn’t take itself too seriously, and this is evident in its over-the-top enemy designs and playful level themes. Whether you’re navigating a haunted castle, fending off aliens in a shopping mall, or evading giant babies in a neighborhood setting, the game’s variety ensures that laughter is just as common as shrieks.

Cooperative gameplay amplifies the fun, allowing two players to team up and tackle the monster madness together. Strategy plays a key role, as players must determine which weapons to use against which foes and how best to navigate the sprawling, maze-like levels to rescue all the neighbors.

For those seeking a break from the darker, more intense horror titles, Zombies Ate My Neighbors provides a perfect palette cleanser. It’s a gleeful celebration of all things spooky, served with a side of humor. Grab a friend, pick up that water gun, and dive into this retro gem for a monstrously good time this Halloween.

Fatal Frame (2001, PlayStation 2): Capturing Ghosts Through the Lens of Fear

Launched in 2001 for the PlayStation 2, Fatal Frame introduces players to a chilling world where a camera becomes the primary weapon against malevolent spirits. This gameplay element ratchets up the tension, as players often need to wait until the very last second to snap the perfect, most effective shot. Its atmospheric setting and haunting narrative make it a compelling choice for those seeking genuine chills on Halloween night.

Set in the dilapidated Himuro Mansion, a place steeped in dark legends and unspeakable tragedies, players step into the shoes of Miku Hinasaki. She’s on a desperate search for her missing brother, but as she delves deeper into the mansion’s shadowy corridors, she encounters restless ghosts trapped between the world of the living and the dead. To fend them off and uncover the mansion’s mysteries, Miku wields the Camera Obscura—a special device capable of capturing and exorcising spirits.

The game’s audio-visual presentation is masterfully crafted to instill a sense of dread. The creaking floorboards, whispers in the dark, and eerie traditional Japanese score set an unsettling tone. The visuals, with their dimly lit rooms and the spectral glow of the ghosts, accentuate the game’s oppressive atmosphere.

Diving into Fatal Frame is not just about scares; it’s also about unraveling a deep, tragic narrative rooted in Japanese folklore and the painful histories of the mansion’s former inhabitants.

For those brave souls yearning for a psychologically intense experience that combines innovative gameplay with rich storytelling, Fatal Frame beckons. But a word of caution: after playing, you might think twice before taking photos in the dark.

The 7th Guest (1993, PC): A Puzzling Soiree in the Mansion of the Macabre

Drenched in atmospheric visuals and brimming with enigmatic puzzles, The 7th Guest emerged in 1993 as a forerunner in the PC gaming world, showcasing what can be accomplished with CD-ROMs. Set within the eerie confines of the Stauf Mansion, this game offers players a blend of horror and mystery—making it a bewitching choice for a Halloween gaming session.

As the game unfolds, players find themselves in the role of an amnesiac protagonist, exploring the vast, haunted mansion built by the sinister toymaker, Henry Stauf. Throughout the night, players witness ghostly apparitions and snippets of the mansion’s dark history. The once-lavish rooms are now filled with challenging puzzles that players must solve to piece together the mansion’s chilling tale. The puzzles vary in complexity, ranging from logical conundrums to intricate brainteasers, ensuring that players remain engaged from start to finish.

The 7th Guest was groundbreaking for its time, boasting pre-rendered, Myst-like 3D graphics that lent a cinematic quality to its haunted halls. The mansion’s rooms, with their detailed decor, shadowy corners, and otherworldly animations, exude a palpable sense of dread. The game’s eerie soundtrack, punctuated by haunting chorals and the malevolent laughter of Stauf himself, heightens the suspense.

For those looking for a cerebral challenge wrapped in a gothic horror aesthetic, The 7th Guest beckons from the shadows. Delve into the heart of Stauf Mansion, where every solved mystery brings you one step closer to its haunting climax. Just remember: in this house, the line between guest and prisoner is perilously thin.

Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem (2002, GameCube): A Mind-Bending Tale of Cosmic Horror

The GameCube era had many gems, but few are as chilling and innovative as Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem. Released in 2002, this game doesn’t just immerse players in a world of gothic and cosmic horror—it plays with their perceptions, making it an ideal choice for a mind-bending Halloween gaming experience.

Spanning across different eras and featuring multiple protagonists, the game’s narrative is an intricate tapestry of stories, all linked by the Tome of Eternal Darkness. Each character’s tale takes players through haunted ruins, dark cathedrals, and ancient temples, battling eldritch horrors along the way. This sweeping narrative scope not only provides a rich, varied setting but also weaves a complex tale of a struggle against dark, ancient powers.

What truly sets Eternal Darkness apart is its groundbreaking “Sanity Meter”. This mechanic reflects the character’s mental state—witnessing or enduring supernatural events causes the meter to deplete, leading to increasingly surreal and unsettling effects. Walls might bleed, characters might spontaneously combust, or even more unnervingly, the game might pretend to delete your save files. This constant play on the player’s expectations and perceptions creates a uniquely unsettling experience.

The combat in Eternal Darkness is strategic and requires players to target specific limbs of enemies, adding a layer of tactical depth to encounters with Lovecraftian monstrosities. Additionally, the game introduces a spellcasting system based on aligning different runes, allowing players to customize spells to suit their playstyle.

For those looking to dive into a horror game that transcends the traditional boundaries of the genre, Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem offers a journey like no other. It’s not just about facing the horrors that lurk in the dark corners of its world—it’s about questioning the very fabric of reality as the game toys with your senses and sanity.

Prepare to immerse yourself in a narrative where the line between madness and truth is blurred, making Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem a Halloween experience you won’t easily forget.

Luigi’s Mansion (2001, GameCube): A Whimsical Haunt with Mario’s Unsung Hero

While most haunted tales plunge deep into the macabre, Luigi’s Mansion lightens the mood, proving that even ghosts can be part of a delightful and whimsical experience. Out of all of the games on this list, this one is probably my favorite. The animations are just perfect.

Launched in 2001 for the GameCube, this title shifts the spotlight from the iconic Mario to his often-overlooked brother, Luigi, delivering a ghost-hunting adventure that’s perfect for a light-hearted Halloween gaming session.

When Luigi wins a mysterious mansion in a contest he never entered, it seems like a dream come true. However, upon arrival, he quickly discovers that the mansion is teeming with playful phantoms and, more importantly, that Mario has been captured by the ghosts! Armed with the Poltergust 3000—a specialized vacuum cleaner designed to capture spirits—Luigi bravely steps into the role of the unlikely hero.

One of the standout features of Luigi’s Mansion is its vibrant and cartoonish aesthetic. Each room in the sprawling mansion bursts with personality, revealing a variety of ghosts, each more quirky than the last. From ballroom-dancing specters to a bodybuilding apparition, the diverse array of ghosts keeps encounters fresh and entertaining.

As Luigi tiptoes through dimly lit corridors and eerie chambers, players will also appreciate the game’s impeccable sound design. The echoing drips, distant wails, and Luigi’s own nervous humming elevate the atmospheric charm of the mansion. And, of course, there’s the joy of hearing Luigi’s endearing calls for his missing brother: “Mario? Maario?”

Combat in Luigi’s Mansion is fun and strategic. Players must stun ghosts with a flashlight before wrangling them with the Poltergust, all while dodging attacks and navigating the environment. It’s a bit of a button masher, and it took me a few battles with the ghosts to really get the hang of it. As the mansion’s secrets unravel, players will also encounter challenging boss ghosts, each requiring unique tactics to capture.

For those searching for a Halloween game that’s more charming than chilling, Luigi’s Mansion is the ideal pick.

Clive Barker’s Undying (2001, PC): An Eldritch Journey Through Gothic Horror

When a renowned horror visionary like Clive Barker lends his creative genius to a video game, the result is bound to be nothing short of spine-tingling. Released in 2001 for the PC, Clive Barker’s Undying delivers a deep dive into the dark recesses of the supernatural, making it an exceptional choice for players seeking a haunting Halloween experience.

The story revolves around Patrick Galloway, a man well-versed in the occult, who receives an urgent letter from his old friend, Jeremiah Covenant. Upon arriving at the imposing Covenant estate, Patrick quickly realizes the magnitude of the horror that has befallen the once-illustrious family. An ancient curse has resurrected the deceased Covenant siblings as malevolent entities, and it’s up to Patrick to confront these horrors and uncover the roots of the curse.

The atmospheric design of Undying is truly a spectacle. The sprawling mansion and its surrounding grounds, from desolate gardens to cryptic mausoleums, are crafted with intricate detail. As players delve deeper into the narrative, they are transported to otherworldly realms, each more haunting than the last. These settings, paired with a brooding soundtrack, create an ambiance thick with tension and dread.

One of Undying‘s standout features is its dual weapon system. Patrick can wield both conventional firearms and powerful magic spells, allowing players to tackle enemies in various ways. The Scrye ability, in particular, reveals hidden messages and the spectral realm, adding a layer of depth to the exploration and puzzle-solving aspects of the game.

The narrative, deeply rooted in Barker’s signature blend of Gothic and cosmic horror, is both compelling and unsettling. Players will find themselves engrossed in a tale of family tragedy, ancient pacts, and otherworldly evils, with twists and turns that keep the story engaging until the very end.

For those brave enough to confront the eldritch nightmares that lurk in the shadows, Clive Barker’s Undying promises a journey that is both haunting and mesmerizing.

Wrapping Up

So that’s my list. I want to go back and replay all of these right now. These retro gems, from haunted mansions to eldritch horrors, offer a diverse array of experiences that capture the essence of Halloween.

Whether you’re in the mood for lighthearted haunts or gripping tales of terror, there’s a game on this list that’s sure to give you a scare. So, as the night draws closer and the shadows grow longer, boot up your favorite console or emulator, dim the lights, and treat yourself to a spine-tingling adventure from the golden age of gaming.