Creepiest levels in non-creepy games
Apart from the costumes, the large plates of sweets, and the looming fear that i’m a celebrity will soon dominate TV again, if there’s anything you can look forward to during Halloween it’s lots and lots of scary video games. Spooky Season has an annoying habit of hunting down those of us, including this writer, who aren’t the best at things that happen at night, bombarding our newsfeeds with lists. “The Top Ten Games That Will Disrupt Your Sleep Schedule”‘ or ‘Video game moments that will make you think twice before turning off the lights‘. Yes, we read them, and yes, they keep us awake at night every time.
Some people just don’t like horror – books, movies, or, not least, games. But many of us still enjoy the festivities, albeit in a much more intimate way, with fewer sleepless nights a week.
That is why we have compiled the following list. Made up of games that aren’t creepy at all, we’ve selected some appropriate spooky levels so we can all feel like we’re part of the same holiday without breaking out in a cold sweat of fear. It is important to note that each of the following options are from non-horror Nintendo games. I’m afraid you won’t find Luigi’s Mansion or Majora’s Mask here (look, it’s scary, okay?).
On the contrary, they are much lighter games that have a strange bit of Halloween flavor thrown into a certain area or level. We could include a range of levels here (Nintendo has a real thing for unexpected creepy twists), but we decided to limit the number of levels to 13 because, you know, terrible number.
Even if the Halloween fears are too strong, there’s no reason we can’t all play some holiday games!
The scariest levels in non-spooky games
Big Boo Ghost, Super Mario 64
It’s one thing to have a strange Boo-based level in a Mario game – a fact we’re all reluctant to accept – but the transition from the soothing strings in Super Mario 64’s castle grounds to the empty and metallic wind theme of Big Ghost Boo? Now it’s just a request to give us goosebumps.
Look, many of these spooky levels are highlighted in our minds due to a certain level of nostalgia, but Big Boo’s Ghost is still really spooky today. It may be the blank walls and sharpened profiles of the N64 graphics, but this kind of environment is the kind of nightmarish fuel that Slenderman could only dream of. No wonder the game has evolved into a first-person horror game.
Spooky Castle, Donkey Kong 64
You know you’re on a really creepy level when the game’s designers put it in the title. It’s such an eerie castle. The Donkey Kong 64 stage has everything we need for some low-stakes haunting. Featuring one of the slowest “spooky jumps” ever to hit the screen, Grant Kirkhope’s creepy organ music, full moon, rain, a giant rolling gorilla, it’s got it all.
Yes, this might be one of the most linear levels in Donkey Kong 64, but we didn’t come here to linger in a ghost. Oh no, for the modest amount of fears we’re looking for, linearity works, thank you very much.
Ghost ship, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
For a game that tends to be filled with brilliance and joy, the Wind Waker ghost ship has always won us over in our younger years. Go from a fun ocean theme straight into a room full of terrifying monsters? No, you’re fine, thanks.
Seriously, the Ghost Ship wastes no time throwing you face to face with haunting manifestations of the Wizzrobe, and then you clear the room for what? A shard of Triforce, yes, but the most remarkable thing in our memory is the cackling of laughter before waking up to the King of Red Lions. This is not what we signed up for in a fun little boat game!
Haunted Mansion, Kirby: Triple Deluxe
Look, we can’t include anything from Luigi’s Mansion on this list because those games carry their spookiness right up their sleeves, but what we can do is include levels that fit the atmosphere of Luigi’s Mansion with a T. One such ghostly an appearance can be found in Kirby: Triple Deluxe’s Haunted Mansion, a level full of catching ghosts and sucking them up, only the capture is a little less vacuum cleaner based.
There are plenty of spooky levels in the Kirby franchise, and we’ll admit that none of them will keep you awake at night – but isn’t that the whole point? The haunted mansion in Triple Deluxe may be no more or less creepy than the other offerings in the franchise, but you can’t go wrong with the low-stakes platformer of Nintendo’s least dangerous character.
Don’t tell Kirby we said that.
Land of Horrors, Mario Party 2
As if the thought of putting your relationship on the line for just a few stars wasn’t scary enough, Horror Land in Mario Party 2 ups the ante with some seasonal ghosts to boot.
What could be better for Halloween than replacing the real jumping and screaming horror games with a Mario Party over a big plate of sweets? For this board, the characters dress up in creepy outfits (a tradition we consider as must for the real world too), and enough Halloween iconography to make sure you feel involved in the festivities, in fact, you know, without doing anything terrible.
Lavender city, red and blue pokemon
Many of the other levels on this list have just been inspired in horror, or carry some Halloween theme as a fun symbol for the holiday folk; but Lavender Town, Lavender Town is a true horror show.
Rarely is a name so iconic that just hearing it brings back haunting memories of the soundtrack years after listening to it, and what a creepy track. From those damn bites to Pokémon Tower and concept actual death, Lavender Town is one of the creepiest places in all games. Period.
If it wasn’t for the sheer fun of the rest of the red, blue, and yellow (and green) Pokemon, you know this would be a bootloader right off this list, and along with all the other horror titles.
Mad Monster Mansion, Banjo-Kazooie
When you think of the horrors at Banjo-Kazooie, a lot of things come to mind, but which one is the scariest? Like this,
camera control Mad Monster Mansion! [*raises eyebrow* – Ed]
The level has everything a good Halloween party should have: tombstones, mummies, pooping eggs in flower pots, etc. Throw in some spooky organs – music from Maestro Kirkhope – and you have a recipe for spooky success.
Of course, it’s all accompanied by Kazuya’s screeches and strange interludes of banjo music, so it’s pretty indulgent to fears. At the same time, the pointed polygons of N64 again perfectly play their terrifying role – the cartoon witch has never looked so creepy.
Seven down, six left to complete in this round of 13 spooky levels in other Nintendo games that aren’t spooky…