All right, let’s revisit the scenario from yesterday. You were home on Halloween week, wanted to do something Halloween themed, and were uninterested in a movie or book. So you decided to play a game. Well, what if you’re in pretty much the same situation, but all of your friends are over? What do you now? You grab a co-op game of course! While there aren’t a large amount of Co-op games out there that provide chills and thrills, there are a few and if you make sure to have these titles on your shelf, you’ll be completely prepared when your best friend is looking for some Halloween fun.
Left 4 Dead 1
Left 4 Dead is one of those great ideas that I’m almost surprised no one thought of earlier. Take one Zombie apocalypse (fast, semi-smart zombies) and four survivors who have banded together. Give one survivor to each player, and then throw in special zombies and plenty of crazy escapes. Oh, and a sadistic “AI Director” whose job is to carefully plan where to put weapons or health and when to send zombies at you so that the game plays differently each and every time. Left 4 Dead is, primarily due to the atmosphere and limited weapons selection, far more tense and scary then its sequel, with a lot more panic moments.
Left 4 Dead 2
Yes, I claim these as two separate titles. The reason is that the second one is a lot more tongue-in-cheek then the first. So while in the first you can expect to be fighting off hordes of Zombies on top of a Hospital while waiting for a helicopter to arrive, in the second you can be expected to beat down Zombies with an electric guitar, on a stage, with crazy awesome rock music in the background and fireworks exploding all around you. It still carries a lot of the same ideals of L4D1, but with more weapons (a lot more), more enemies and more options. The first one is a lot scarier, but the second on is drenched in a lot more awesome sauce. It’s up to you which you eat.
Resident Evil 5
Yes, Resident Evil took a stab at the Co-op gametype. And you’d better hope you can find a friend to play through this game with you, because the Co-op AI is dumber then a brick, and I do mean dumber then a brick. It’s a shame really, because that drags down what is otherwise a pretty solid (if not super scary) game with a neat plot, a lot of replayability, and some awesome cutscenes. If you can get a friend in for the first ten minutes, you’ll probably be able to go through the whole game with them. Just set aside a weekend, because this game can take 20-30 hours the first run through.
Why is Valve so awesome? Maybe it’s because they gave away a game like Alien Swarm for free. That’s right, completely free. All you have to do is have a Steam account and a PC, and you’ll find yourself having a ticket to some great co-op action. Alien Swarm is pretty much Aliens. You know, that movie where all the marines fight their way through hordes of classic Alien monsters. Yeah, that’s pretty much this game. But with four different players and ten different characters (5 classes) to play as and dozens of unlockables, you’ll find there’s a lot of fun to be had here. My favorite moment? A terrifying shootout across a bridge a night, snow coming down around you, Aliens coming from all directions, and the only light coming from the muzzle flash of your gun, your little flashlight, and the massive dropship flying alongside the bridge backing you up. Plus it’s free, what more could you want?
Gears of War 2
It may be an action game, but Gears 2 does have some great scary moments, and the game is like RE5 in that it’s built specifically with Co-op in mind. The particular chapter that comes to mind as the most appropriate for Halloween is the Third, which was tense enough that my friend and I spent most of it making our way through at a slow walk. Gears 2 is a great game as is, but its own horrific moments make it a good choice for Halloween.