Best Sound Effects: Dark Fall: Lost Souls
The emphasis on sound effects to enhance a frightening experience is one of the most important conventions of the horror genre, but perhaps one of the most underrated. While the impact is often subtle and difficult to gauge on its own, any door can give you chills when it swings open into the unknown with a slow, agonizing creak that dares you to step inside and see what lies in the darkness beyond. There are lots of doors in Dark Fall: Lost Souls. But it doesn’t end there, as series creator Jonathan Boakes understands full well what a key element sound is in building up an atmosphere of tension and dread.
Slowly exploring the darkened halls of the abandoned Dowerton train station and the labyrinthine corridors of the nearby hotel is an often unnerving experience: though rarely a genuine danger, horrors lurk in every shadow and restless ghosts wait in hiding until you’re distracted. However, it's the carefully planned soundscape that builds this tension: long before any visual shock comes the groan of the timeworn floor boards, the ominous whistle of the wind, the whispers – "Over here!" – murmured behind your back. These sinister noises are bound to raise the hair on the back of your neck, creating an almost unbearable suspense that needs a release. They may be as old as gothic fiction itself, but for its hauntingly effective use of these gimmicks, Dark Fall: Lost Souls deserves our Best Sound Effects award, and Jonathan Boakes the thanks of every horror buff for once again delivering a genuinely terrifying aural experience.
Runners-Up: Machinarium, Return to Mysterious Island 2
Readers’ Choice: Tales of Monkey Island
Sound is every bit as important in comedy as horror. Things may go bump in the night, but they to go sproing, splat, and whoosh in the daylight. At least, they do in the the world of Tales of Monkey Island, which managed to complete the reader poll audio trifecta. From resounding cannon fire to gurgling manatee juices to a sound-based jungle maze, the ambient effects never missed a (figurative or literal) beat.
Runners-Up: Machinarium, Runaway: A Twist of Fate
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