October means one thing: Halloween. To celebrate, let’s explore five spooky retro PC games from the ’90s (and one from the 2000s) that are still fun to play. Best of all, they’re all available for purchase and can be used on modern Windows PCs. Trick or treat!
Zork Nemesis: Forbidden Lands
This underrated 1996 Myst-style point-and-click adventure is brimming with mystery and grim horror. It’s packed with devious puzzles (including one involving a severed head; you’ve been warned) and plenty of atmospheric locations to explore.
At the time of its release, critics noted how Zork Nemesis moved away from the awkward tone of the previous Zork game, Back to Zork (although there is still some humor involved). The result is a classic adventure experience that will accompany you after you play.
Out of all the games on this list, you’ve probably heard of it Diablo. It’s a masterful action RPG, with a dark horror and fantasy theme. It was a mainstream hit for Blizzard in 1997 (although it was released on December 31, 1996). He spawned several sequels with expansion packs.
In Diablo you will find a lot of scary things, including crypts, undead skeletons, and dark magic. Also Matt Uelman’s atmospheric soundtrack will remain etched in your memory, especially the theme of the village of Tristram.
The best part is that you can now get Diablo and its Hellfire Expansion DRM for free at GOG.
Blood: fresh supply
If an exhilarating first-person shooter starring a wacky, scathing protagonist sounds more like your cup of tea, we recommend Some blood. Originally released in 1997 for MS-DOS by Monolith Productions, Blood combines tight controls with masterful level design.
It also has great sound effects and creative weapons for hours of nonstop retro horror fun. And yes, there is a lot of blood, although its campy presentation makes the blood oddly appropriate.
Better yet, you can now purchase a 2019 remaster of the original called Blood: Fresh Supply. It runs on modern widescreen Windows PCs and supports gamepads. So run (don’t walk) to the nearest online game store and try Blood today. You will find it on Steam and GOG.
This thrilling adventure from 2006 takes place in a spooky old house. Despite being the newest game on the list, it already looks like a lost Windows classic. Stripes combines Myst-like first-person point-and-click gameplay with richly illustrated 360-degree environments.
There is a lot to explore and a lot of puzzles to solve. It’s also really terrifying sometimes, but not bloody or gratuitous. It’s a great choice for fans of atmospheric suspense or horror.
Realms of Haunting
There is no doubt that 1996 was a great year for spooky MS-DOS games. Realms of Haunting Uniquely synthesizes gameplay from multiple genres – first person shooter, full screen video adventure, and survival horror – into one glorious title.
You play as Adam Randall, who investigates the death of his father in a haunted mansion. Along the way, you’ll encounter wild supernatural enemies and weird puzzles, all of which are perfect for this time of year.