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1. The RedEye Tribe ('Starfox Adventures')
First, I want to preface this by saying that I don't get scared very easily. In fact, my greatest fears are bees and wasps, so that's saying something.
My backbone supports me even better while I'm on the edge of my seat when it comes to horror elements in video games. While I do appreciate many games categorized under the horror genre, I very rarely get genuinely terrified by any of them—as in, they don't have a lasting effect on me beyond the possible initial shock.
If I'm told beforehand that any given medium will contain horror-inducing themes and imagery, then I really have nothing to fear because I'm prepared for the experience. I'm expecting it, so it suddenly won't bear as much import (if any) for me as it likely would for someone else. But that's just me, and I'm in no way intending to take anything away from other people's reactions to things.
However, if we're talking about cleverly-placed suspenseful situations, psychologically thrilling atmosphere, or even the most basic concept of adding terrifying moments in video games not of the horror genre, then that's an entirely different story.
Take Starfox Adventures, for example. I've played through it more times than I'd like to admit, but I must tell you that the initial intimidation the first boss Galdon wears on that stinger of his loses its affect after a while. Suffice it to say, I got over him pretty quickly.
I never got over those parallel-universe Tyrannosauruses, though.
Oh, the RedEye Tribe. If anything is able to sway my heart into running a marathon, it's these guys. Their predatory stride, their frightening speed with which they chase you down upon acknowledging your presence, their powerful jaws with which to cut your journey short, and their thundering howl are all ingredients for a desperate situation.
If you want to fight back, you have to be swift and strategic. You can't just smack them around a bunch of times with Krystal's staff like you would those idiotic SharpClaw. They're too well-built, and not to mention too strong for that. You'll need to use your Quake ability twice on each of them found in the Walled City (and those are just the "small" ones, mind you), which means you have to: 1) figure out how best to lure them; 2) know when to unleash your attack; and 3) be very good about preserving the staff's energy so as not to waste too much time farming gems (especially since it takes the ones from Magic Plants a while to grow back, and independent ones don't re-spawn).
The ruler of the tribe, however... he makes quite the entrance. It's as if the entire world is perpetually crumbling into itself when he tries his itty bitty forelimbs at taking you out. Your job is to electrocute the beast by pressing volt generators in each corner of the claustrophobic hallway containing you both, and assault him with fuel barrels. Though as easy as that sounds, it certainly doesn't make the circumstance any less dire, and it does require that you time your actions well.
So yes, thematically and physically, the RedEye are quite petrifying. And they up the ante in an otherwise mediocre action-adventure game.
2. Pelagia ('Shadow of the Colossus')
"Hold on just a minute!" I make you proclaim artificially. "What about Basaran?"
No, I'm not going to talk about him here. He's infuriating, yes, but I find him to be otherwise pretty goofy in design and demeanour.
Rather, Pelagia is in an entirely different ballpark of tension, as far as I'm concerned. After encountering him for the first time, you spend the next eon trying to figure out his puzzle all while he relentlessly trails you with his thunder-shooting tusks. The part that horrifies me about this is when only a measly pillar separates the two of you, and you're too scared to move due to his phenomenal hearing (as he's blind).
Which brings me to some personal trivia: the one thing in video games that I consider mortifying is when you can actually see a boss or a regular enemy constantly chasing you. The cherry on top for me is when they manage to successfully corner and trap you. It's not the stealth, the jump scares, the sudden death, nor the creepy sounds monsters make—it's this. Pelagia doesn't even have to kill me; keeping me forever petrified with its presence is enough.
The scare factor is doubled once you stab Pelagia and fall into the water, because you can't see anything and have no idea where he could be. That is, until you swim to the closest island and turn around—oh wait, there he is, in your face and ready to strike you down. Forgive me, Mono.