10 Best SNES Horror Games for Spooktacular Fun

Are you a glutton for punishment? The best SNES horror games will send shivers up your spine as you undertake hellish adventures designed to make you scream.

While the horror genre is an underrepresented category on the Super Nintendo, there are a handful of excellent SNES horror games out there. These games range from mildly spooky to genuine terror-filled romps that’ll leave you with nightmares. In today’s article, we’ll be showcasing all the most horrific titles on Nintendo’s second home console, leaving you to pick your poison. 

Ready to get started? It’s your funeral…

10 Best SNES Horror Games

Starting at #10, let’s work our way down to the most terrifying SNES game of all.

10. Zombies Ate My Neighbors!

ZAMN - #10 Best SNES Horror Games
  • Genre: Run ‘n Gun
  • Developer: LucasArts
  • Release Year: 1993

At #10 on this list of best SNES horror games, we have Zombies Ate My Neighbors!

This is a particular gem from my childhood. I still remember spending hours watching my dad play this game and having no real idea what was going on (to be honest, I don’t think he had a much better grasp than I did). But none of that stopped it from being spooktacular fun for both of us.

Zombies At My Neighbors, or ZAMN for short, is probably best defined as a puzzle adventure title. In ZAMN, you play as either Zeke or Julie, who must navigate the maze-like levels to save your caricature neighbors from a whole host of classic movie monsters and villains. These villains include the likes of alien tentacles, axe-wielding dolls, mummies, and as the name suggests, reanimated undead. Jason Voorhees even makes an appearance!

Its colorful visuals and B-movie vibes might make it seem like a romp for the whole family, but it does incorporate some serious and challenging horror elements. Your weapons are limited, and without a decent knowledge of the levels, you can find yourself at a dead end with no resources to fight your way out with. The stress is further amplified when attempting to speedrun and/or rescue all your stranded friends in each map.

Think you can handle the challenge of this SNES horror game? Jump in and find out!


9. Super Metroid

Super Metroid
  • Genre: Action // Adventure
  • Developer: Nintendo // Intelligent Systems
  • Release Year: 1994

So popular that it coined its own subgenre of video games by forming a portmanteau with CastlevaniaMetroid doesn’t use horror as its focal point when it comes to its gameplay. But thanks to its claustrophobic underground environments, creepy music, and enemies like Ridley, Kraid, and Motherbrain, Super Metroid has horror garnished around the main course of its narrative mood.

For those who aren’t aware of one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises, Super Metroid sees badass galactic bounty hunter, Samus Aran, chasing the space pirate leader, Ridley, to Planet Zebes in search of a stolen infant.

Now, Super Metroid doesn’t go the route of ripping movie monsters straight from the silver screen and bringing them to the pixels of your console. But, the game does have its own method of building tension and fear, often employing them right before plunging you into a memorable boss encounter.

The primary source of horror in Super Metroid? Its music.

The audio really translates the feeling of isolation, hitting home the fact that Samus is on an unknown planet surrounded by dangerous creatures and a hostile environment.

Super Metroid isn’t a true horror title, but try playing it and feeling completely safe. It doesn’t happen.


8. Super Ghouls’ n’ Ghosts

Super Ghouls and Ghosts
  • Genre: Action // Platform
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Year: 1991

Known more for its punishing difficulty than anything else, Super Ghouls’ n’ Ghosts isn’t the most realistic horror experience you can find. But you will come up against all sorts of terrifying beasts, including demon fish, werewolves, bats, and — surprise, surprise — both ghouls and ghosts.

Super Ghouls’ n’ Ghosts recites the classic tale of a hero, Sir Arthur, who must travel to the Demon Realm to save Princess Prin Prin from evil forces.

The good news? Arthur can use different medieval-themed weapons to defend himself, including axes and his trusty lance. He can also find improved suits of armor as extra protection.

The series overall has become infamous for its gauntlet of challenging levels. Like the Super Mario Brothers games, you have a timer counting down, forcing you to push forward. This adds to the stressful atmosphere of having to dodge and/or defeat gargoyles and zombies inching towards you at every turn!

The game’s visuals won’t keep you up at night, but the fear of what awaits you in the next stage might.


7. Warlock

Warlock
  • Genre: Action // Platform
  • Developer: Realtime Associates
  • Release Year: 1995

Remember the film Warlock from the late 1980s? It was about the son of Satan, who journeyed from the 17th century to the present day in an effort to end the world. If you don’t remember, don’t sweat it — it wasn’t very popular.

But this apparent lack of appeal didn’t stop the now-defunct Acclaim Entertainment from adapting the movie into a 1995 video game. Warlock closely follows the film’s plot, meaning you’ll play as a druid who must stop the devil’s son from gathering the six runestones (useful for ending the world, it seems).

The plot might seem a bit over-the-top, even for a campy 80s horror movie of cataclysmic proportions. But if you can look past that, the game isn’t too offensive.

I mean, it’s not great, but it is okay. The gameplay is pretty standard platforming, with the player wielding an unlimited magic projectile and the ability to control a mystical ball that can attack enemies and collect items.

Overall, Warlock is a fun time if horror games are what you’re after. 


6. Demon’s Crest

Demon's Crest
  • Genre: Platform
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Year: 1994

Demon’s Crest, a kooky spinoff game, is the third title in its series, following Gargoyle’s Quest I and II. In this iteration, the story follows the demon Firebrand in his fight against rival evil being, Phalanx, for the Crest of Infinity.

Working within the same framework designed by Capcom in its mother series, Demon’s Crest is a platforming romp of epic proportions.

As such, Firebrand has a number of abilities and navigational options to help you on your journey. He can breathe fire, climb walls, and hover indefinitely. You can also find power-ups to improve your abilities and transform to explore different areas of the environment.

The game even facilitates the need to return to previous levels, enhancing immersion and extending gameplay.

Demon’s Crest lives in the shadow of its mainstay series, playing Luigi to GNG’s Mario, but it’s a deeper and more accessible game that definitely deserves a play.


5. DOOM

DOOM - #5 Best SNES Horror Games
  • Genre: FPS
  • Developer: id Software
  • Release Year: 1995

Although it falls more into the first-person shooter genre (since it basically gave birth to it), there’s no denying that there are real horror themes to DOOM. One glance at the overworld (underworld?) says it all, as you’re surrounded by ravaged bodies strewn across the floors, and traps litter every other room you step in.

DOOM doesn’t make any apologies for the gore that it delivers (the fact you can use a chainsaw to dismember aliens should tell you that). In fact, the design of its monsters like the Cacodemon and the Cyberdemon do their best to cause as much repulsion as possible. But beyond simply grossing you out, DOOM operates horror on another level with the sense of dread it makes you feel.

A common scenario? Picture this: you enter a new room and see a shiny pile of loot on the floor. The loot consists of Mega Armor, a BFG, and a keycard you need to progress in the level — an awesome prize pool. What do you do?

While you may be tempted to dash in and claim it all, be wary. The pile of loot may be an alluring cheese platter, but it’s resting on an invisible mouse trap! You’ll quickly learn not to trust such endearing images, lest you land in a room full of Barons of Hell ready to rip your head off! And that’s just a sampling of the hellish surprises in store.

It may not be the first title you think of when someone mentions the best SNES horror games, but DOOM can make even the most experienced player extra paranoid.


4. Musya

Musya
  • Genre: Platform
  • Developer: Jorudan
  • Release Year: 1992

Fully titled Musha: The Classic Japanese Tale of Horror, this 2D platformer sees you playing as the warrior Imoto who descends into the netherworld to save Shizuka, vanquishing demonic creatures as you journey to save the damsel in distress.

This Castlevania-esque game focuses less on a grandiose story like the Belmont clan versus the mighty Dracula. But it more than makes up for it with a ton of emphasis on innovative gameplay and stunning visuals, most notably seen in the enemies you face off against.

With its heavily Eastern-inspired world, you won’t encounter well-versed monsters like minotaurs or cyclops here. Instead, you’ll be stumbling upon creatures derived more from elements of Japanese folklore.

Honestly, I think that’s what sets Musya apart from the others. It revels in its chosen style, and the game gets a more distinct identity because of that.

One major caveat to its otherwise flawless execution? Imoto controls a bit awkwardly, and that can leave a sour taste in your mouth. But if you can look past this lack of precision, Musya is one of the best SNES horror games and well worth checking out.


3. Laplace No Ma (Laplace Demon)

Laplace No Ma
  • Genre: RPG // Survival // Horror
  • Developer: Vic Tokai
  • Release Year: 1995

Next on this list of best SNES horror games, we have a different type of game — one that’s quite hard to find due to its Japanese origins. Why was it a Japanese exclusive? Well, one look at its gameplay tells you everything you need to know.

In this eclectic RPG, you play as a detective looking to solve the murder of two young boys in Weathertop Mansion (set in Massachusetts). You’re also on the hunt for a girl who was with them but has gone missing. You must search the mansion for clues about the murder and the girl’s whereabouts, and find out who was behind the gruesome murders.

You could almost label this as a horror-themed Final Fantasy, as you travel the mansion environment with a party of allies who have different traits like “Detective” or “Journalist.” Each party member has different stats and clashes with any creatures you come across (spoiler!) features a similar battle system to that of FF.

Unfortunately, the original game was confined to specific Eastern shores. But with some internet digging, you can more than likely find a fan translation of this SNES lost gem.


2. Super Castlevania IV

Super Castlevania
  • Genre: Action // Platform
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Year: 1991

The Castlevania series did a lot to bring horror themes into the mainstream early in the life cycle of video games. And the original trilogy of Castlevania games did the Nintendo Entertainment System proud.

A reboot of sorts, Super Castlevania IV sees Transylvanian vampire hunter, Simon Belmont, on the hunt for Dracula. Using his signature whip as both a deadly weapon against the beasts he faces and as a tool of traversal, the player makes their way through 11 levels of a classic horror story of good vs. evil.

The boss fights are where you’ll find true homage to some of the best-known monsters from folklore. Among them are Frankenstein’s Monster, Medusa, Death, and of course, the chief bloodsucker, Dracula himself. They all stand in Simon’s way as he attempts to cleanse the land of evil once and for all. Do you dare stand with him?

If you’ve not played any of the classic Castlevania games before, you’ve got to check this one out.


1. Clock Tower

Clock Tower - #1 Best SNES Horror Games
  • Genre: Horror // Survival // Adventure
  • Developer: Human Entertainment
  • Release Year: 1995

The #1 best SNES horror game? Clock Tower.

A unique type of game that only saw a release in Japan (but has since been made available through fan translations), Clock Tower channels the element of creepiness to a level that isn’t seen among other games on the SNES.

Clock Tower tells the story of an orphan girl named Jennifer. The Burrows family has just adopted her and a few other orphan girls, and they’re settling into their new home. Everything is going well until a mysterious figure known as “Scissorman” kills one of the girls! Now it’s up to Jennifer to stop him from causing harm to her or any of the others.

This champion of horror is a point-and-click puzzle adventure, a genre that you wouldn’t expect in a game designed to cause fear and tension. But using this uncommon set of mechanics actually works in the game’s favor by slowing down the action to a point where a floorboard creak or a shadow moving past a window has much more impact on the player than if you were free to sprint around the mansion at will.

A great feature the game has is the “Panic Mode” that occurs whenever Scissorman attacks Jennifer. Depending on her health level, Jennifer can trip, fall over, or run out of breath, which can ultimately be her undoing if unable to escape the insane madman looking to give you much more than a bad haircut.

It’s a rare SNES game, meaning it’s not easy to get hold of a physical copy. But Clock Tower is widely regarded as the definitive horror experience on the system for a reason. 

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