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Scariest Video Game Easter Eggs

Easter eggs come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors when it comes to video games. Sometimes they're cute nods towards fellow franchises; others are references to games that haven't even been released yet. They can be used to confuse or elate gamers—or simply scare them, as is the case with the following games. Each of these little secrets are among the spookiest in the medium, but luckily for you, there's no need to be taken by surprise—just check out the creepiest Easter eggs in video gaming right here and save yourself a surprise fright down the line.

The ghost of Mount Gordo in GTA V

Grand Theft Auto V isn't a scary game; however, given its immense scope and wide breadth of content, it's to be expected that there's at least some kind of spooky Easter egg lurking around the massive map of Los Santos. In this particular instance, it's a ghost of a dead wife.

If you arrive at Mount Gordo between the hours of 11PM and midnight, she'll be floating at the top of the mountain. Should you choose to approach her, she'll vanish, but not without dropping a little surprise. On the rocks directly below where she was hovering, she'll leave a message in blood that reads the word "Jock"—also known as Jock Cranley, her still-living husband. Is this a potential murder allegation? Only one thing is for certain: it's outrageously creepy.

Bioshock Infinite's dead Elizabeths

Very few things can make a scripted boat ride in a video game more unsettling than looking into the water and seeing your own corpse.

This happens near the beginning of Bioshock Infinite's Burial At Sea Part 2 DLC, wherein Elizabeth is taken on a boat ride after it's revealed to her that the other Elizabeth died at the end of part one, leaving her as the last copy of the original girl. So what better way to broadcast that this final copy is headed for a grisly fate as well? Have her corpse float alongside the player within the opening minutes of the final expansion, as a less-than-subtle foreshadowing Easter egg.

The spooky screensavers if you idle in Fatal Frame

Across the Fatal Frame games, there's nary a moment without spooks or shocks. But what if you choose not to progress? Surely, if you don't even touch your controller, the games can't hurt you.

Well, it seems the developers knew there'd be some scaredy cats unwilling to inch forward, so they included a little Easter egg only to be seen by those who idled for too long. If you stand around without pressing anything, some very, very spooky screensavers start cropping up on your screen. Bloody fingerprints and half of a pale, ghostly girl's grinning face will creep onto your monitor, intermingled with film grain effects—a simple, elegant way to not only achieve maximum spookiness, but also nudge you back into progressing through the game.

The thing in the water - Assassin's Creed II

When Nietzsche said "if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you," he probably wasn't referring to this Easter egg in Assassin's Creed II. If you head to the final Assassin Tomb, called "Visitazione's Secret", you can activate a series of levers and head to a part of the tomb with platforms near some water. If you peer out into the water, you'll activate a cutscene that features a large, octopus-like creature swimming by. Activate the lever near that spot again and you'll be in for another surprise when you gaze into the pool once more. Now, that Nietzsche line sounds even more terrifying.

The elevator ghost - Pokemon X/Y

While most of the Pokemon games feature lighthearted and fun content, you sometimes come across a few things that leave you feeling a little disturbed. The elevator ghost of Lumiose City is an example of such disturbing content. She appears on the 2nd floor of a building in Lumiose City and is triggered when you step off the elevator. The screen will flash for a second, and she'll come out from behind you, all creepy-looking with her dark dress and purple hair. The ghost will let out some pretty horrific noises and say that you're "not the one." We think this is a good thing, because she simply leaves. We shudder thinking of what she'd do if you were the one.

Spooky ambient audio - Original Xbox

While it's not from an actual game, the original Xbox's main menu hid some aural secrets that could be downright terrifying. If you left the console's main menu idle for a while and walked away, you'd probably come back to the sounds of demonic chanting, creepy whispers, horrific music, or other kinds of terrible noises. If you left this thing on all night, we wouldn't be surprised if the sounds fueled your nightmares and resulted in you screaming yourself awake.  Thanks, Xbox.

Joker's last joke in Batman: Arkham Knight

How does a game manage to one-up its own creep factor when the opening cutscene depicts a dead sociopathic clown being cremated to the melodious voice of Frank Sinatra? Turns out, the answer is simple: have the clown wake up.

Yep, in case you haven't had a chance to start a new game in Batman: Arkham Knight after clearing it the first time around, a little Easter egg awaits you in the game's opening cinematic. While everything looks normal and initially proceeds as expected, toward the end of the cutscene's burning ritual, the Clown Prince of Crime's eyes will burst open and he'll start guffawing hysterically—first in pain, then in immolation-smothered bliss. This acts as a friendly reminder that the Joker always, always gets the last laugh.

You can encounter the Alien early in Alien: Isolation

There's no two ways about it, Alien: Isolation is a straight-up festival of fear with creepy Easter eggs lurking around every corner. It must be pretty hard to surprise the player at all, right?

Wrong. Isolation subverts this tension-bombing issue entirely by not introducing the alien until chapter three. You play through the game's first two levels without ever seeing the big bad monster, while the game continues to slowly build the dramatic exposition preceding its arrival. Obviously the game is hyping you up for some grandiose reveal that you know is looming on the horizon, so what's to fear?

Well, for those of you who thought you might be temporarily safe, wrong again. You can meet the alien early, if you wait around at the wrong moment at the end of chapter two. During the final moments of that chapter, you're tasked with getting inside a station shuttle so as to escape an unseen menace. For most players, they'll get inside the shuttle and end the chapter without issue. However, if you're slow to figure out how to close the shuttle's doors once trapped inside, a particularly hungry xenomorph will make an early entrance and chomp your face off before its scripted arrival in the next chapter.

Half-Life 2's head-crab zombies beg for help

One would think that a game featuring living humans being slave-driven by brain-leeching crabs would probably max out the title's creepiness with its premise alone, but this is Valve we're talking about. It's a company built around defying expectations.

Here's the scoop: in the normal game, they shout some garbled nonsense at you while running at you head-on in a frenzied, manic, and extremely frightening manner. This alone spooked most players. But the real twist? If you play their garbled, nonsensical audio in reverse, it reveals what they were trying to say the whole time. Lines such as "Oh God" and "Help me" can be heard, leaving you with a fun little Easter egg of knowledge that those crab-zombie civilians you just gunned down were actually begging for assistance.

Gameboy Camera's "who are you running from" images

In 1998, Nintendo released a device called the Gameboy Camera, an attachable piece of hardware that allowed you to take real-world photographs with your Gameboy and even print them if you had an additional accessory. This was revolutionary stuff at the time, and for the duration of 1998 and a little beyond, it was even the world's smallest digital camera.

Most would agree the device sounds like a great piece of tech with limitless kid-friendly applications. However, the device came with some unexpected and genuinely haunting spooks for its audience. There was a "run" button on the device that would boot up a silly image if you clicked it, such as "You're now crossing the equator!" No big deal. But click on it again and you see a creepy face hushing you with its finger. It's so sudden, horrific and unexpected—the perfect nightmare fuel, courtesy of Nintendo.

Just Cause 2's smoke monster

Just Cause 2 is a large game with tons of locales to explore, though only one of them has been previously featured on television: if you fly off the beaten path, you can discover the island from Lost. And not just some of it—virtually the entire island has been recreated for your adventuring pleasure. Although there's little pleasure to be had when you realize you're not alone.

Fool around long enough on this hunk of land and you might just encounter its only other denizen, a paramilitary soldier shrouded in black fog that hunts you down relentlessly, following you literally anywhere you go on the island. What makes it even scarier is that it can't be killed, no matter how many rockets or explosives you throw its way. The fog soldier will just keep on coming.

Witcher 3's demonic statues follow you

Statues are creepy in and of themselves, but what happens when they start to follow you around? Well, two things: first, they get ten times creepier, and secondly, they become Doctor Who weeping angel references. This is by far the spookiest surprise in The Witcher 3, and coincidentally also a fun nod to an entirely different franchise.

To uncover this Easter egg for yourself, visit the little church and cemetery near Lindenvale. Pass by the freaky statues, roam about for a little, turn around, and bam! They've moved. Turn your back on them again and they'll creep up somewhere else. They'll keep messing with your mind as long as you stay in the area.

The dead toad with blood stains in Paper Mario

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is a cute game with a colorful, two-dimensional art style, starring everyone's favorite Italian plumber. Kid-friendly content is unanimously the name of the game—unless you live in Japan, that is. While this has been censored and replaced in the American version, the Japanese Thousand Year Door contains a secret, completely pointless back alley house in Rogueport wherein there's a chalk outline of a Toad and dried blood on the floor. That's right, there was a legitimate homicide in a Mario game. Easter egg or otherwise, this little piece of bonus content confirms that cold-blooded murder is a canonical occurrence in the Mushroom Kingdom.

Robbie the Rabbit caught you peeking - Silent Hill 4: The Room

Robbie the Rabbit is a staple of the Silent Hill series, appearing as an anthropomorphic bunny with a bunch of blood smeared around his face. Delightful, right? In Silent Hill 4: The Room, he appears as a little stuffed animal that sits on your neighbor's bed. If you look through the hole in your apartment wall to spy on her, he'll eventually turn his head and point at the peephole to expose you for the creep that you are. We don't know what's more frightening: the fact that this menacing doll is alive or your voyeurism.

Humans are extinct in Splatoon

If you thought that game about kid-octopi that playfully shoot ink at each other was all rainbows and unicorn mollusks, you're gravely mistaken. While on the surface, this game might appear to target the child demographic with its colorful aesthetic and cartoonish demeanor, the reality is that hidden deep beneath Splatoon's exterior lies a dark story detailing the imminent fall of humanity.

Yes, the game with theme song lyrics that repeat "you're a kid now, you're a squid now" for minutes on end has a detailed, eerily plausible prediction about where humanity fits into a world run by squid hybrids. As the old story goes, a race of small-skulled creatures (us) go extinct before 2030 (since the kid in the picture is still using a Wii U) thanks to rising water levels. Basically, Nintendo is hypothesizing that global warming kills us, and that this global catastrophe ushers in the "Mollusk Era," wherein sea life inherits the Earth and rips it from the control of our cold, dead, submerged and fossilized bodies. Yikes.