Eurogamer's favourite Halloween games

Which grim grinning greats should keep you company on the scariest night of the year?

Don't answer the doorbell tonight: the local kids haven't put much effort into their costumes, and besides, some of them are hepped up on goofballs by the sounds of it. Instead, stay indoors and dust off your GBA, your GameCube, or, um, your smartphone, and play some spooky games instead.

But which spooky games? Good question. To find out the answer, I asked a few Eurogamer staffers which scary titles they'd recommend and why - and a few of them even got back to me.

Tom Bramwell reckons Costume Quest

PC, PS3, Xbox 360

4

Alongside a decent dose of Spielberg, there's a wonderful Peanuts vibe to Costume Quest.

Last Halloween I played through Costume Quest all in one day. I am a complete sucker for that small-town America vibe of Earthbound, ET or Super 8, and there's a sort of molecular perfection to the way it binds with the kitsch and kooky kids-eye-view of Halloween, a night full of people in bin liners and tinsel walking around darkening neighbourhoods calling on friends and friendly strangers.

Halloween is a great match for the stylised retro-chic isometric RPG, actually, because they are both about suspending disbelief and surrendering yourself to the playful, inexact rules of silly fantasies, and the fact that Costume Quest is about a world where those fantasies are actually real just makes it all the more wonderful. The game itself is overly repetitious, but as a salute to the season I can't think of many finer examples. It takes you back to a childhood you didn't actually have but wish you did.

Chris Donlan (hello, that's me!) points to Boktai

GBA

1

Boktai's sun sensor could not be tricked, alas.

Boktai is a cruel mistress if you live in the UK. It's a vampire-hunting GBA game in which you need to harvest the power of the sun - remember the sun? - if you want to finish off the undead fiends that you spend so long tracking down.

That's the headline feature, anyway, and its solar sensor has provided the Boktai cartridge with its strange, rather loveable form factor. Beneath such gimmickry, though, lurks a wonderfully brooding stealth adventure, in which you pick a path through hideous dungeons, zeroing in on your vampiric targets, and then dragging their coffins back out into the light for blazing justice.

Hideo Kojima was on production duties, which might explain why this simple adventure ended up with so many bizarre-o embellishments - and it may also go some way to solving the mystery of why it got a handful of sequels despite its rather niche appeal. None of that matters, though: this Halloween you'd be well served digging out this atmospheric little charmer - even if you're probably not going to have much of a chance against one of the bosses once the sun goes down and the trick-or-treaters come out to play.

Ellie Gibson is all about Coin Dozer Halloween

iOS, Android

2

Thanks, Ellie. This looks brilliant.

Coin Dozer Halloween for iPhone is a pathetically stupid, pointlessly slow and unbearably repetitive game. I estimate that I have spent around 18 per cent of my adult life playing it.

It's based on those penny pusher machines found in arcades, which reward the dedicated player with net profits of up to 6p after just an hour's play. As iPhones cannot dispense actual coins, this game rewards you with virtual ones. These cannot be used to buy anything. However, you can purchase extra virtual coins with real money. Perfect sense.

Nestled amongst the coins in real machines, you'd find wondrous treasures such as badly moulded Count Duckula keyrings hand-finished with lead paint. Here there is a wide range of virtual items to collect, including pumpkins, ghosts and vampire teeth (Coin Dozer HALLOWEEN DO YOU SEE). All of these items are utterly useless. The compulsion to collect them is insuperable.

While suffering all this, you must endure what is supposed to be ghostly wailing but sounds more like a hippo drowning in a skip. Meanwhile adverts plague the bottom of the screen, imploring you to play games with names like Horse Frenzy and Frog Toss ("It's free!").

Coin Dozer Halloween looks horrible, sounds ridiculous and is about as interesting as a toilet roll. And it never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever ends.

Still, it's free, innit?

Tom Phillips plugs Luigi's Mansion

GameCube

5

Game Boy Horror: I hope the translation team gave themselves the day off after that one.

What better world to explore during Halloween than the darkened corridors of Luigi's Mansion? Nintendo's offbeat adventure takes place in a classic haunted house setting - ghosts lurking in wardrobes, cobwebbed four-posters and small mushroom fellows crying on balconies.

Luigi's Mansion was born alongside the GameCube, which Nintendo launched during the darker months of 2001 in North America and Japan. Europe had to wait until May, meaning I played it - sun reflecting off my old CRT TV - in completely the wrong environment. Even then its atmosphere shone through, as you send Luigi gingerly tiptoeing between candlelit rooms, clouds of dust blooming from his every step. It's just you and your vacuum cleaner against whatever's lurking beyond.

Today, the game's popularity is an example of the quality Nintendo displayed during its GameCube-era creative spurt - energy now focused in other directions. Would Nintendo launch a console these days with an odd new IP starring the wrong Mario brother? Every hardware release since has arguably played it safe - and presumably reaped higher financial rewards. But the popularity of the game has endured for good reason - similar to how perception has changed of Wind Waker - and huge cheers greeted the news of a 3DS sequel at E3 last year. At this rate, that could be the perfect game for Halloween 2013.

Ghoul story, bro

What a deliciously spooky selection. We hope you stay safe out there, by which I mean inside your house playing a video game. Let us know what you'll be playing in the comments. "Assassin's Creed 3."

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