Don't just watch a creepy movie to get into the Halloween spirit. You can star in one — virtually speaking — with a handful of video games designed to fright and delight. Here's a sampling of hair-raising adventures best played with the lights dimmed. (Because of graphic violence/gore, three of these games are rated M for mature and are not suitable for players under 17.)
EA/Namco, for PC, due Oct. 31, $50; rated M; www.hellgatelondon.com
From the team that created the mega-popular Diablo franchise comes this four-years-in-the-making thriller. Played from an immersive first-person perspective, Hellgate is an action-heavy role-playing game that challenges players to save Britain's capital city from demonic attacks. To extend replayability, all levels, enemies and events are dynamically generated, so no two adventures play out the same way. Many customized options and robust online modes add to the fun.
Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition
Capcom, for Nintendo Wii, out now, $30; rated M; www.residentevil.com
One of the best "survival horror" games in recent memory has slashed its way onto the Wii. In Resident Evil 4, your secret agent is dispatched to a European village to retrieve the president's kidnapped daughter. Problem is, the townsfolk don't want you there — and you'll soon find out why. There are better graphics and new chapters, but the biggest improvement over the PS2 version is using the Wii's wireless and motion-sensing controllers for the protagonist and his weapons.
Clive Barker's Jericho
Codemasters, for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, due Oct. 23, $60; rated M; codemasters.com/jericho
This cinematic first-person action game is not for the squeamish. Disturbingly graphic imagery featuring satanic creatures and hellish environments will give horror fans chills and thrills — especially as it's in high-definition — as you and your squadmates take on increasingly tough demons using both traditional weapons and supernatural powers, including telekinesis and pyrokinesis. Travel through interdimensional rifts to get to the true source of evil.
Ben 10: Protector of Earth
D3 Publisher, for PS2, Wii, PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS, due Oct. 30, $30-$40; rated E10+; www.d3publisher.us
Based on the Emmy-winning Cartoon Network show, Ben 10 is about 10-year-old Ben Tennyson, whose Omnitrix watch lets him transform into alien creatures with unique powers. This comes in handy as Ben fights adversaries and solves environmental puzzles, each of which requires a specific form. For instance, XLR8 is the fastest alien of the bunch, so Ben can use him to zip through obstacles; Four Arms is best for picking up heavy items and tackling numerous enemies.
Dementium: The Ward
(Gamecock; for Nintendo DS; due out Oct. 30; $29.99; rated ?Mature?; www.gamecockmedia.com)
Now this is something you don?t see too often on the Nintendo DS: a ?Mature?-rated horror game. Such is the case with Dementium: The Ward, a first-person psychological thriller about a man who awakens in a strange hospital surrounded by grotesque ?inmates.? Though combat, puzzle-solving and exploration you must remain alive — and sane — long enough to solve the mysteries of the hospital and escape unharmed. Dementium features attractive 3-D environments and a flashlight controlled by moving the stylus pen on the Nintendo DS?s touch-screen.