How will you survive the inevitable zombie apocalypse? After 40 years of zombie movies, from Night of the Living Dead to 28 Days Later, your first line of defence should be clear: Don't get infected. Then run.
However, video game characters are a different breed. They don't run away from horror, they run towards it, with whatever weapons – baseball bats, shotguns, chainsaws – they can scare up. And thanks to so-called 'survival horror' games such as Resident Evil and Silent Hill, I know how I'll handle myself when judgment day arrives. Meanwhile, we present the supreme trio of terrifying horror games:
Condemned 2: Bloodshot (Sega, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Dh269)
Poor Ethan Thomas. His investigation of a serial killer in the original Condemned really messed with his head, but he's needed on another case.
This time round, Ethan's got plenty of choices for weapons, from his bare fists to your basic nail-encrusted two-by-four to a toilet seat. The hand-to-hand combat is some of the best yet seen in a first-person adventure, and it's satisfyingly grisly.
Some cleverly executed investigating sequences break up the mayhem, and the story offers plenty of jolts – a new serial killer and a supernatural twist. It's a big improvement over the first game, and points towards an exciting conclusion.
Dark Sector (D3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Dh299)
Early on in Dark Sector, black-ops agent Hayden Tenno is infected with a toxin that turns men into crazed killers. Fortunately for Hayden, he's affected differently: The substance gives him superpowers, chiefly a three-bladed 'glaive' that he can sling from his right arm.
The glaive may be the coolest new video game weapon in years. It works like a boomerang, so it zips right back after you've used it to slice off a monster's head. The gameplay works a lot like Gears of War: you find cover, poke your head out to fire, then duck back.
The downside: The environments are boring, the enemies are repetitious and the plot is nonsensical.
Obscure: The Aftermath (Ignition, Nintendo Wii, Dh150; PlayStation 2, Dh99)
In the original Obscure (2005), a group of teenagers discovered their classmates at Leafmore High had been turned into mutants. In The Aftermath, the Leafmore survivors are now enrolled at Fallcreek University, where more strange things are happening thanks to a trendy drug some kids are using.
The Aftermath has characters that are as grating as the dimwits in a Friday the 13th sequel. And the vision of a frat party being overrun by drooling, brain-dead brutes comes pretty close to my own college experience.
Obscure: The Aftermath is good for a few cheesy laughs, but feels too amateurish to be scary.