Due to nostalgia reasons, retro consoles and ROMs are getting more popular again. If you’d love to try out the Nintendo 64, we’ve got a recommendation list of some of the best horror games for you.

Nintendo 64 happily sits among the best-known gaming consoles of all time and it’s not uncommon to find its die-hard fans even today, a few decades after its original release.

Even though console production came to a halt in 2002, you can still easily get a second-hand product in satisfactory condition, ready to plug into your old TV, allowing you to relive the past and once again play the games that stole the hearts of players across the world, including the often-mentioned Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – games that shaped the future of gaming industry.

The Rarity of Horror

N64 was a great choice for more casual, family-friendly gaming with great local co-op capabilities, but the availability of titles – especially more mature, horror-oriented ones – was rather limited. This was caused partially because of Nintendo’s refusal to switch from cartridges to discs; cartridges were comparatively more expensive to produce, driving up the costs and scaring the developers away.

There were also some hardware complications that made it quite difficult for developers to develop and port games, effectively reducing the number of companies that would consider developing for N64 worth the effort.

N64 wasn’t the first choice for those who wanted to play something scary, although there were still some great horrors available to play, and so today, we’ll take a closer look at them.

Here’s a list of some of the best horror games for Nintendo 64.

The Best Horror Games of all time
GameReleaseDeveloper
Dead Space 2008-10-20 EA Redwood Shores
Alien Isolation 2014-10-06 The Creative Assembly
Outlast 2013-09-04 Red Barrels
Left 4 Dead 2 2009-11-16 Valve
Amnesia Rebirth 2020-10-20 Frictional Games
Carrion 2020-07-23 Phobia Game Studio
Maid Of Sker 2020-07-28 Wales Interactive
Phasmophobia 2020-09-18 Kinetic Games
Resident Evil 3 2020-04-03 M-TWO
System Shock 2 1999-08-11 Irrational Games
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope 2020-10-30 Supermassive Games
The Last Of Us Part II (PS4) 2020-06-19 Naughty Dog
The Medium 2021-01-28 Bloober Team
Resident Evil 8: Village 2021-05-07 Capcom Development Division 1
Dying Light 2 2022-02-04 Techland Publishing

Resident Evil 2

Release date:1998-01-21
Genre:Action
Developer:Capcom Planning Room 2

Starting off with a bang, here’s the game that’s often considered not just one of the best horrors, but one of the best games ever made.

Resident Evil 2 was praised for a variety of reasons, including the atmosphere, audio, and overall gameplay. It’s a truly scary game that focuses on exploration and puzzle-solving with the addition of combat sequences. What makes the game unique is how the camera works; instead of following the player, it’s locked in place, giving you an impression of watching your character through CCTV cameras.

The view changes only after you leave the field of view of the camera, at which point it’s switched to another one. This creates unique opportunities for scary encounters – you may be running right into a monster, but you won’t be able to even notice it.

Key features
  • Top-tier horror experience with a demanding difficulty level
  • Focused on exploration, puzzle solving, and combat
  • Static camera system that adds an element of uncertainty
  • The so-called tank controls that can take a while to get used to

Shadow Man

Release date:1999-08-31
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Acclaim Studios Teesside

Although Shadow Man is not your usual horror game, it’s worth being mentioned on the list nonetheless, due to its creepy atmosphere and unsettling elements.

In Shadow Man, you’ll be playing the titular character as he’s tasked with preventing the apocalypse that’s about to come from the world of the dead. You’re the only one who can stop the catastrophe, and so you embark on a journey while exploring otherworldly environments full of traps and obstacles.

As opposed to typical horror games, here you’re not defenseless; in fact, it’s quite the opposite, which effectively makes the title less scary, as there’s no danger you can’t simply take face on. The game features fast-paced combat which is a nice addition, considering that most of the time you’ll be walking around and solving puzzles while trying to figure out how to get to the next zone.

Key features
  • Puts emphasis on exploration and 3D platforming elements, such as avoiding traps
  • Simple, fast-paced combat with scary creatures for an extra dose of adrenaline
  • Relatively high difficulty level
  • A haunting atmosphere that will accompany you throughout the game

Doom 64

Release date:1997-04-04
Genre:FPS
Developer:Midway Studios San Diego

To those who prefer the thrill of constant action, we can’t recommend Doom 64 enough, where your primary job is to eliminate hordes of evil creatures.

Doom 64 is very similar to the original from 1996, allowing players to dive right into the middle of the action, where maze-like levels filled with evil monsters and hidden secrets await you. There are several improvements over the original, such as better visuals and level geometry, but the core gameplay remained largely the same, allowing the owners of N64 to enjoy the classic Doom experience.

The game, similarly to its original counterpart, stands out due to its smooth and responsive controls combined with fast movement that encourages players to keep moving – and that’s important, as it will allow you to dodge enemy attacks. The gunplay is extremely satisfying as well – you can almost feel the power of the weapons you’re currently using to kill the enemies.

Key features
  • Fast-paced action with a demonic flavor
  • Focused on navigating through maze-like levels filled with deadly enemies
  • Responsive controls combined with smooth gunplay
  • Requires quick reflex to get the most out of the game

Nightmare Creatures

Release date:1997-09-30
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Kalisto Entertainment

Fans of constant action under time pressure may find Nightmare Creatures a refreshing experience.

In Nightmare Creatures you will be playing as a powerful warrior with access to useful spells and explosive gadgets. Your objective is to navigate through 3D environments filled with hostile creatures. Avoiding fights is not an option, there’s no stealth or silent takedowns.

In fact, you’re encouraged to actively seek out enemies and kill them in open fight as you explore the areas, due to the existence of an adrenaline bar; the adrenaline level keeps going down and can only be refilled by defeating monsters. Once empty, your health will start to drop down, and you don’t want to be caught off-guard with just a fraction of life left.

Key features
  • Dark environments inspired by gothic horror, filled with demonic creatures
  • Combat-heavy gameplay that encourages constant action
  • A certain degree of freedom in combat, thanks to the existence of secondary equipment
  • Time pressure, due to the existence of the adrenaline bar

Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness

Release date:1999-12-08
Genre:Hack and slash
Developer:Konami

Although the number of available N64 games was rather limited, there were some really good exclusives to try, including the famous Castlevania.

Castlevania is one of those games that would most likely ring a bell even if you’ve never played it. The game focuses on exploring 3D areas and solving environmental puzzles while avoiding traps and obstacles. You can run, jump, climb, and slide down the slopes. You can also use a variety of items to aid you in your adventure. The combat is also present – you’ll meet powerful bosses that will serve as the ultimate test of your abilities.

Legacy of Darkness is a remake version of the original Castlevania released earlier the same year, providing an enhanced experience through improved graphics, new enemies, and slight changes to certain levels.

Key features
  • An exceptional platforming experience with a relatively high difficulty level
  • Gameplay focused on exploration and solving puzzles
  • Satisfying combat with a basic lock-on system
  • Arena boss battles, where it’s important to find the right approach

Body Harvest

Release date:1998-09-30
Genre:Shooter
Developer:DMA Design

Jump into action and face the alien threat as you try to save the human race from extinction.

Body Harvest is first and foremost a third-person shooter with non-linear gameplay, giving players a certain degree of freedom when it comes to completing the tasks. Your main mission is to stop the deadly cycle that repeats itself every 25 years, as aliens return to Earth at regular intervals to perform the so-called harvesting of the human population.

As a genetically engineered soldier with a time travel device at his disposal, you’ll have to travel back in time to different periods and prevent the harvesting operations that have been occurring since 1916 in various parts of the Earth – that’s the only way to secure the existence of human civilization.

Key features
  • An alien-themed game
  • Action-oriented gameplay with shootings and explosions
  • Vehicles – drive and pilot a number of civilian and military vehicles, including cars, boats, and helicopters
  • A variety of unique scenarios to complete

Shadowgate 64: Trials of the Four Towers

Release date:1999-05-31
Genre:Puzzle
Developer:Infinite Ventures

If you’re looking for a more peaceful game that puts more emphasis on exploration and puzzles, this one may be worth trying.

For the final game on the list, we’ve got a sequel to the original Shadowgate. There are some quality-of-life additions, as well as graphical changes, but the gameplay remained largely the same.

As such, you’ll have to explore a variety of locations and solve environmental puzzles in order to find the way out and reach the next area. The game features a more peaceful but mysterious atmosphere, where fighting does not exist – it’s only you and the test of your intelligence and perceptive abilities.

Key features
  • A story-driven adventure with numerous dialogues and books to read
  • Gameplay revolving around exploration and puzzle-solving with no combat
  • First-person perspective experience
  • Mysterious atmosphere with a touch of fantasy

Conclusion

Finding great N64 horror games is not an easy task, as the console was primarily made with casual family-friendly gaming with optional local party co-op in mind. It was meant to be more like a party box; having such a policy in place significantly reduced the number of available titles meant for a more mature audience.

The technical complications also resulted in a lower number of available N64 games in general. However, you can still find some solid horror and horror-like options to choose from; hopefully, our list will help you make a satisfactory purchase when you’re shopping for a new N64 horror game.