7. Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow
Speaking of sequels, the Castlevania series makes another appearance on our list, this time with Dawn of Sorrow. The creative sequel to Aria of Sorrow is set in the more contemporary era rather than medieval, and continues both the platforming and RPG elements that made the initial games so great and also even brought along Aria of Sorrow’s tactical soul system. In Dawn of Sorrow, the Belmonts and Dracula’s legacy continue their war despite it being long after Dracula’s castle was sealed in a solar eclipse. With the Vampire lord gone and needing to bequeath his powers, you play as Soma Cruz, who is *spoiler alert* revealed to be Dracula’s reincarnation. Desperate to escape his fate as the embodiment of the lord of darkness, Soma ventures through a copy of Dracula’s castle in attempts to heed off the cult seeking to convert him.
6. Dead Space
A celebration of space horror where no one can hear you scream, Dead Space was a brilliant survival horror game written by acclaimed comic book writers Warren Ellis, Rick Remender, and Antony Johnson. The story is about a group of space miners who learn about the horrible situation of their stranded circumstances. An artifact called the Marker, which serves as a kind of alien Necronomicon. The Maker not only emits madness-inducing radiation but also raises the dead, as body horrors called Necromorphs. And just like Deadites from the Evil Dead, taking down a Necromorph is all about dismemberment, in this case, using repurposed mining tools.
5. Castlevania: Circle of The Moon
A GBA game that was revolutionary for its time in terms of graphics and screen-filling boss battles, Circle of The Moon was a highly lauded continuation of the Castlevania styled battle-platforming game. Set during 1830, the vampire Dracula has been resurrected by Camilla, and so vampire hunter Nathan Graves is tasked with stopping them with his family. In this Castlevania, the level-up system returns from Symphony of the Night, as odd drop-based card abilities and item character progressions allow for more dynamic character movements. Things like running, double jumping, and dashing all can be executed by items unlocked later in the game. Atop of this, this game is surprisingly difficult and loaded with in-game secrets. A groundbreaking addition to the series for its time.