That special time of year known as Halloween is just around the corner, and if you have some time in between hiding under blankets after watching that movie you swore wasn't scary and rationalizing eating all the candy you "bought for trick-o-treaters", you may want to cozy up to this week's Vault which features a whole batch of games designed to give you those warm fuzzies. And by "warm fuzzies" I of course mean "paranoia the instant you turn off the lights for bed as you become convinced every sound is a serial killer". If you're feeling really tough, you could also play Amnesia with all the lights off and headphones on, but in the meantime...
- The Dead Case - Waking up in the morning sucks badly enough without adding "being dead" to the list... much less having to solve your own murder and tend to the business of every other restless soul causing havoc in your sleepy little town. This point-and-click adventure is low on any real scares, but earns high marks for managing to tell an engrossing story and pack it full of interesting characters, with the added bonus of placing an emphasis on terrorizing people to help accomplish your goals. Some slightly clunky navigation and a general lack of direction hampers it, but The Dead Case is still one of the best older mystery adventures out there.
- Hotel 626 - This horrifying escape game is only available after 6PM... or right now if you're super sneaky and change your computer's time to fool the site. This point-and-click puzzle adventure stars you (and your microphone and webcam if you're brave enough) after you awaken one night in a hotel and discover that something is very wrong, and it would be a very good idea if you left immediately. Despite being an advergame for Doritos of all things, Hotel 626 is an amazingly creepy and atmospheric experience that had me shut down my browser and refuse to continue for a while more than once. The game does require a "reservation" by giving it an e-mail address, since it e-mails you when the game is available to play, but if you're super sneaky like the rest of us, you'll use a non-personal, for spam and gaming purposes only address and sleep soundly. Or, uh, maybe not since this game is seriously freaky.
- Being One - Now that it's finished (... for now...), Psionic's creepy-cool sci-fi horror adventure game is a four-title series and chock full of scares and surprises. The story begins as you awake in a giant glass chamber full of green fluid (never a good sign), and are forced to escape the facility without knowing who you are and what's going on... or who the voice on the phone you find is... or what those noises in the shadows are. Each game is itself fairly short, but manages to create an impressively engrossing atmosphere, introducing new story elements along the way as you search for an exit and the truth. It you like a campy horror mystery, don't mind a jump scare or seven, and have a strong stomach for gore, you might just want to check this series out.
While we welcome any comments about this weekly feature here, we do ask that if you need any help with the individual games, please post your questions on that game's review page. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and rediscover some awesome!