We've had this date from the beginning. After rounding up the Top Ten Scariest Games Ever last year, it's high time that we took a closer look at the collections of pixels and polygons that haunted our darkest nightmares. With luck, there'll be plenty of familiar freaks on this creature feature, along with a couple you might've repressed...
Honourable Horrible mentions: Cherub (Doom 3), Abstract Daddy (Silent Hill 2), Alma (F.E.A.R.), pretty much everything from Shadow Hearts, Beheaded Kamikaze (Serious Sam), Crimson Head (Resident Evil), Parasite (Quake II), Slenderman (Slender), Wallmasters and Re-Dead (Zelda), Bubble Head Nurse (Silent Hill 2), Rumbler (System Shock), Simalacrum (Marathon: Durandal)
10: Witch [Left 4 Dead]
Hey, are you okay? Why are you crying? It's okay, come on, we've got to get out of here...
...whooooarrrrrgh! My organs! Oh God, what are you doing with my organs?!
9: Fiend [Quake]
Shamblers may be enormous, but their smaller brethren are much better equipped to bushwhack you. Best described as hellish blood-soaked walking chainsaws, they'll pounce on players with gleeful abandon. Before disembowelling them.
8: Licker [Resident Evil 2]
More fan service than anything, but the Licker still deserves its place here. Inhuman yet just human enough to be utterly uncanny, this wall-crawling horror still haunts many gamers' nightmares.
7: Necromorphs [Dead Space]
Cop-out? Maybe. But Dead Space has so many terrifying monsters that we just had to stick them all in here.
Push comes to shove, the classic Slasher and the gratuitously terrifying murderous babies from the sequel get my vote as scariest-in-series.
6: Sae Kurosawa [Project Zero 2]
There's only room for one psychically-projected tormented girl ghost on this list.
Sorry Alma, but it ain't you.
5: Bloodsucker [S.T.A.L.K.E.R.]
You can't kill what you can't see, but it can kill you. Easily.
4: Poison Headcrab [Half-Life 2]
I don't rightly know what's scarier about the Poison Headcrab: its disgusting slimy form, spine-tingling clicking chatter, debilitating neurotoxin or menacing zombie thralls.
What I do know, though, is that it turns a Sci-Fi shooter into sphincter-puckering terror every time it appears.
3: Cyborg Midwife [System Shock 2]
System Shock 2 has its fair share of horrifying monsters, but the Cyborg Midwife is something else. Where are her children? What did she do to them? When you hear her disturbing siren song, it's hard to summon up the will to move - let alone fight.
Amazingly, she looks even more terrifying without the fan-made texture pack.
2: The Gatherers [Amnesia]
No. NO! This can't be happening. Please, please, don't.
Sorry. I'd love to explain how Amnesia's antagonists instil true fear with their distance-dependent movement speeds, impeccable sound design and grotesque appearance, but I'm liable to start crying just thinking about them.
1: Pyramid Head [Silent Hill 2]
For the sake of full disclosure, the first draft of this top ten was entirely populated by Silent Hill monsters. Since they're designed to reflect the protagonists' deepest fears, desires and shame - with recognisable human forms twisted into primally disturbing shapes - they're almost all worthy of a mention. Abstract Daddy (aka Doorman) from Silent Hill 2 nearly made the final cut, but in the end, we had to go with the big guy.
Pyramid Head may have been overexposed since his original debut, but just cast your mind back to Silent Hill 2. Now remember the sound of rasping steel on stone and rust, and how it made you feel.
That's why he's number one.
Happy Halloween, folks! Stay tuned for our ghoulish competition (well, just a competition really), but until then, let us know which videogame monsters have terrified you over the years...