With the launch of SEGA's gruesome action shooter Aliens vs. Predator just around the corner, now's the time to remember the games that make gamers' nerves shred the most. We did so huddled under our duvet with our torch very much on - we're wimps, obviously. But you don't have to read this top 10 that way. You might want to keep the lights on, though.
"It's quiet, too quiet." That immortal phrase is vocal shorthand for "things are about to get ugly", and so often it proves in Visceral's sci-fi horror. Atmospheric music, superb lighting, and an abandoned spaceship combine to form the video game equivalent of cult sci-fi horror flick Event Horizon. Gah.
A Big Sister screams, the screen shakes, and then your heart pounds. 2K Games' follow-up to Ken Levine's critically acclaimed BioShock does a wonderful job of making you cack your pants as you desperately prepare for the inevitable: in all likelihood your very own death.
AVP is most nerve-shredding when you're playing as a marine. The poor muscle-bound humans spend most of their time fumbling in dark corridors desperately fending off scores of fast-moving xenomorphs. As if that wasn't enough, Predators often stick their oars in - and they've got camouflage tech. Make sure to pack those flares!
Valve's co-op shooter's great when it ramps up the action to ridiculous levels, throwing hundreds of speedy Infected at you with all the subtlety of a bulldozer in a glass house. When it adds Special Infected, like the disgusting Boomer, to the mix, it's time to wave the white flag.
Video game thrillers are scarce. Perhaps that's why David Cage's sophisticated masterpiece affects us so deeply. One scene in particular, which sees you dicing with death as you speed down the WRONG side of a freeway, left us checking our trousers for stains. There's more where that came from.
The key to F.E.A.R.'s "fear factor" is Alma, a creepy little girl who pops up every now and again to scare the bejesus out of you. There's something about creepy little girls that sends shivers up the spine of even the bravest souls. Not for the faint of heart.
Silent Hill is a survival horror game. The description is apt: you spend the whole time surviving unspeakable horror. Dark, dank and dangerous, Silent Hill grabs you by the scruff of the neck, shakes you till you throw up, then headbutts you right between the eyes.
Monolith Productions' Condemned was inspired by eat-em-up flick The Silence of the Lambs and disturbing murder mystery Se7en. Fans of either of those films will know, then, that Condemned isn't a cuddly romcom of a video game. No siree.
Irrational Game's System Shock 2 is considered by some to be even better than BioShock. There can be no doubt that it's scarier. The sci-fi horror was set on a space ship overrun by all sorts of disturbing beasties, including the terrifying cyborg mid-wives, who murmur: "Babies need fresh meat". Yum.
When the Japanese do horror, they really do horror. In Project Zero, developed by Tecmo, lead character Miku's only weapon is the Camera Obscura, which can damage and capture spirits. Great, isn't it? You're up against countless horrors, and to survive you have to take pictures of them. Say cheese.