Reviewed By LessonNo5
The makers of the game make no secret of this, so I don't
really think it's important to advertise the fact
that this game is "based on a true story." I don't
know why this game seems to want to make that fact so well
known, there have been a bunch of games released that are
based on true stories. I mean, saying it right on the cover
doesn't make it any more believable. But if you were
wondering at all if it were true... Yes, it is based on
a true story. Anyway...
For those of you out there that are sick of action based,
run and shoot type horror games, you'll probably enjoy
this game. It's not the type of game where the most
important thing to find is ammo. It's obvious the
designers made every effort to make all aspects of this
game as scary as possible. The sound is brilliant. So much
so, that I think it could possibly be the best part of the
game. It does an amazing job of building the game atmosphere
with ambient noises. That right there is what the game is
all about. It's about slowly building the kind of
terror that makes you not want to open the next door.
Like I said, it’s not really about combat. Fatal
Frame does have an interesting combat system though.
It’s based around the enchanted camera that the heroine
carries. It can be upgraded with different types of film
you might find, but also with a point system that allows
you to customize it’s use. Also, when you enter camera
mode, the game becomes first-person perspective, so in some
ways it’s like a shooter. The camera plays a very
important part of the story so it’s multiple uses,
including that of a weapon, are more natural than you might
think. When I first picked up the game I was a little put
off by the camera bit, so I thought it was necessary to
note its importance.
The game’s story is good. It all starts with a mansion
in Japan in the eighties. A group of people goes into the
mansion to gather information in it for a book. By that
time, the mansion is already the stuff ghost stories are
made of, and the sudden disappearance of the group in the
mansion doesn’t help. The plot thickens when our heroine’s
brother goes in to find said group, and also disappears.
So, now about 50,000 people have disappeared in the mansion,
so of course our protagonist goes in as well, to find her
The game is broken up into chapters, which are called days.
For example the first part of the game is “Day 1:
The Strangling Ritual.” I thought it was a good way
of breaking up the story, since it allows for several different
twisted tales from the mansion to be played in the same
locations. The tales from this mansion are pretty twisted,
by the way. I won’t go into much detail, because uncovering
the happenings of the previous inhabitants is half the fun.
You don’t have to take my word for it though... There’s
proof enough in the strength of the story in the fact that
DreamWorks expressed interest in bringing it to the silver,
spit wad covered screen.
The main character in this game is Miku, a seemly defenseless
young lady. It seems these days that a lot of horror games
are featuring female protagonists. Resident Evil 2
and Nemesis had them. Even Silent Hill 3 switched
to a female character. Some people attribute this to the
sharp rise in female horror gamers, but Keisuke Kikuchi,
general producer of Fatal Frame and the soon-to-be
released Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly has this
to say about it. “We believe that, women more than
men, and children more than adults, are weaker in physical
strength and more emotionally sensitive. When a horror game
aims for sympathy with the main character, we believe it
is more fitting and scary to have a young, weak female character
overcoming the odds than a beefy male character fighting
his way through every obstacle.” Well, that’s
cool... But whatever happened to the believable male character?
Oh well... The full interview with Keisuke Kikuchi can be
found at IGN,
and he talks a bit about the upcoming release of the sequel
The point is that it doesn’t really matter in this
game. The main character is very easy to identify with,
and you quickly find yourself investing an emotional interest
in the game. I can easily recommend this game without fear
that horror gamers won’t enjoy it. If you’re
the type that likes spilling a lot of undead blood, though...
Well, you might want to skip it. The puzzles are good, though,
for the most part. They make sense and you don’t have
to backtrack through fifty rooms to get a key item to continue.
The graphics are really nice. They’re good and sharp
and the lighting effects with the flashlight Miku carries
are fantastic. The only problem I could really pick on is
the enemy design. They’re transparent (being ghosts)
and the effect still looks like it did back in the PSX days.
The enemies, by the way, are also based on logic. They're the angry spirits of the people that have disappeared within the mansion's walls. So you can pretty much count on not having a hundred ambiguous demons to slay. That doesn't mean they're any less terrifying though. This game just begs to be played in the dark. It's also a good one for playing with friends, because the action moves along quickly enough to make it interesting to just watch it, and the story has the power to draw in people who aren't even actively controlling the character.
Now for the bad news. The only reason I even took off half
a star for this game was because of the movement problems.
There are a lot of times during the game when you have to
be mighty quick with that camera, and the movement system
foils it. It's an unfortunate drawback to and otherwise
|There are a lot of tough shots in this game. Be
ready with the camera all the time. Also remember
that this game opens doors in real time, so unlike
resident evil, things can be waiting for you on the
|Miku, the main character, moves very slowly. She
has a slow walking pace and an only slightly faster
run. This can be a big problem when facing ghosts
than can warp. The key again is quick reflexes with
|Playstation 2 - 03/04/02
|XBox - 04/09/03
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Q1 2005 - PC/XB/PS2
TBA - RPG