30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2002
"Fatal Frame" is a game that definitely delivers. Although it does not have any particulary impressive premise (young girl with a camera investigates a haunted house) , it doesn't take long for you to really get into the game, and the scares start coming thick and fast.
The plot is fairly simple: main character Miku has come to the house to find her missing brother, so it's mostly a matter of making your way through the mansion, solving puzzles that will open doors, and trying to piece together the grim history of the house. But to do this, you have to be prepared to encounter a wide variety of ghostly apparitions, and it's here that the game really excels. The appearances of the ghosts are almost always a surprise, and it has to be said that they look and sound terrifying. After recovering from the shock, your next task is to quickly equip your camera and try and snap the ghost within the frame. This task can be very challenging, as more often that not the ghost will dart around, disappear completely and materialize behind you, or lunge at you unexpectedly and start throttling the life out of you! The idea of using a camera to fight is unusual and works well...by holding the ghost in constant view as it approaches, the camera will "charge up" and you can release a more powerful attack when you finally press the shutter-but are you brave enough to do that?. The best thing is that once you have completed Miku's first night, the ghostly appearances are far more randomised, and as you search the house once again (every chapter has new items and tasks appearing in places you have already explored), you will feel the tension as your camera suddenly lights up, and the controller throbs in your hands...oh no, another one! But, in a great additional aspect, the more ghosts you snap, the more points you score, which can be used to enhance the capabilities of the camera, so you have an element of levelling up which heightens and extends gameplay.
My only criticisms are that the game is quite short, and Miku is quite hard to control as you continually run in to bits of furniture, and she often rotates all over the place every time the camera angle changes. Plus, her "run" mode is no more than a gentle jog...no good for escaping evil ghosts! Still, I suppose it would have made the game even shorter were you able to dash through the mansion in no time at all...The graphics are great, the mansion looks suitably decrepit and sinister, and the secret behind the house's evil reputation (as it is slowly revealed) involves some truly sickening and creepy events...you have been warned!
Do yourself a favour and ONLY play this game after dark, with the lights off, you won't be sorry. It's easily as scary as "Silent Hill", in places more so, so I wholeheartedly recommend it.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2002
Folks theres only one work to describe this game... CREEPY CREEPY CREEPY I am an adult and this game freaked me out. Much scarier than Resident Evil and seriously challenges both Silent Hills as well. You play as a young girl who must find her missing brother in a haunted mansion. Her only weapon a frieken camera. Sounds lame right? WRONG!!! Its actually pretty damn cool. The way it works is you capture and kill ghosts by taking pictures of them with your camera. The more pictures you take and ghosts you catch, the more advanced and powerful the film in the camera gets. But the film isnt the only thing that gets stronger the Ghosts do too. And man these ghosts aint what you would call friendly in fact theyre mean... no brutal and theyre pretty damn determined to kill you. The game gets tough. The story gets better and better. Can you survive? I did manage to beat the game but frequently check under my bed and in my closet during the night as if I were five again. I give this game my highest recommendation!!! Praise to TECMO for producing such an awesome game
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2003
Surely, Fatal Frame (Project Zero here in PAL-region countries) is, without a doubt, the single greatest Horror game ever to grace the Playstation 2. Or any other console, for that matter. It's beautiful to watch, smooth to play, emotionally involving, and, most importantly of all, genuinely terrifying.
The plot concerns Miku, who has come to a haunted Japanese mansion house in order to search for her lost brother Mafuyu. From a family of psychic spirit-communicators, Miku is soon absorbed in unravelling what happened not only to her borther, but to a team of paranormal investigators, and to the original family. It's a beautifully grim tale of ritualistic suicide, demon-worshipping and powermongering, and I promise you, it's worth the ride.
The control system, like all horror adventures in this mold, will never be perfect, but FF goes a huge way towards redressing the balance by removing traditional weapons like guns and replacing them with a Camera. Yes, a camera. Your ammo is differnet exposure-speed film and you upgrade the tool with the amount of souls you manage to capture with it. Ghosts are already dead, and it's up to you to exorcise them. The fluidity of movement involved with a weapon of this nature is a huge relief from the slow aiming and reloading process so long associated with the pistols and semi-automatics from the Biohazard and Silent Hill games.
The graphics, too, deserve a special mention, becuase they're beautiful. The monochromatic minimalism and traditional Japanese design seem all the more upsetting for those of us not from that culture, and the ghosts themselves are a truly disturbing mix of traditional Shinto folklore and tortured, Francis-Bacon-esque faces.
The sound works on the same principle. All is silent until something upsetting tears through that silence and forces us to look. Droplet effects and various footstep sounds have also been used to create a magnificent aural atmosphere, the best I've ever witnessed. And I've played plenty.
My only complaint is the difficulty level. It takes a huge step up after the Second Night, and chances are you'll have wasted all of your stronger film on the earlier demons. Play it often and frugally, however, and you'll avoid this fate.
For atmosphere and sheer terror alone, Fatal Frame deserves the crown of Survival Horror. Happily, Tecmo have given us a beautiful and innovative game to go with that atmosphere. I can't recommend it highly enough.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2002
Don't let the "Teen" rating fool you! I expected this to be a "kiddie" game, but I found it to be every bit as creepy and disturbing as Silent Hill. The character's slow movements are annoying at first, but you actually WANT to go slowly so that you don't miss any clues or accidentally run head-long into a ghost (like you can avoid them!). This is a game where you have to pay attention to every little detail. If you see a distorted object, take a photo of it. Some are very well hidden!
The game is very different from anything else out there, since your "weapon" is an antique camera, not a gun. It sounds corny, but once you get into the game, the camera adds to the creepiness. When you take photos of a ghost, it often swooshes towards you, and the camera gives you a close-up of the ghost's face. Yikes! And the ghosts appear ANYWHERE, in front of you, then it de-materializes and reappears behind you ... and don't think you can get away by running to another room. They can go right through the walls! Many of the ghosts moan and scream about how they were tormented ... and once you get further into the story and understand what they're talking about, their words and facial expressions make it that much scarier.
The puzzles aren't very hard at all; most are fairly simple. Capturing the ghosts is more challenging than the puzzles, especially once you're further into the game.
There were only two minor things that bugged me ... the camera angle glitching when you go up and down a flight of stairs. Sometimes you're heading downstairs, and the camera changes, and you're suddenly going back upstairs. Not a big deal, unless you're running from a ghost! The second thing is that they didn't put enough power-ups in the game. If a ghost grabs you, it often takes a CHUNK of your power. Use those power-ups wisely and sparingly, and save often!
Due to some of the violent mini-movies in the game, I really feel like they should've rated this game "Mature" instead of "Teen". I don't want to give any game secrets away, but I'm 33 years old and this game TOTALLY creeped me out, especially once you get to the masks.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2002
If you liked Silent Hill 2, this game is definitely up your alley. Nearly everything in the game, from the grainy B-horror movie textures to the heartbeat in the controller, make this a Silent Hill clone. So...
If you are a fan of the genre, and are not more than happy to plug a box of shells into a zombie before it falls to the ground (only to knaw on your leg once it's there), then the combat system is a welcome change. Granted, a camera is not the weapon for those of us with missile launchers in our hearts, but it adds to the atmosphere of the game. Rather than watching your character from a third-person perspective dripping blood and limping all over the place, you get to meet your attacker face to face. And as they fade in and out of focus, it certainly increases the jump factor when one suddenly flies toward the screen.
That's another thing. Silent Hill, probably the most psychologically disturbing game out there, still had typical creatures to face. Wrap a different character model around Resident Evil's zombies (more intense of course), and that's it. When you see a monster in a room, you know what to do. Draw your weapon and stay out of its way. But in Fatal Frame, ghosts (more often than not) simply appear right in front, or behind, you. And then they phase out of focus and appear somewhere else.
The major flaws in the game are not overly destructive. The voice acting is horrid, but fans of RE shouldn't be too disappointed. Also, the characters move very slowly, though once you play for a while you get the feeling that this was done on purpose. No sense running into a ghost when you don't have to. And then there's the memory card space, 1800KB for one save. The reason, however, is that the last 24 photographs you take are saved, and you can protect certain shots that you want to keep.
All in all, it's an interesting game, much like Silent Hill 2. Whereas SH2 frightens you with the surreal setting, light sources, and disturbing story, Fatal Frame does it with sudden ghost appearances that make your heart skip a beat.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2004
I loved Silent Hill 2, I really did, but after an hour of playing that game, I grew weary of it and it became a manhunt where I deliberately seeked out monsters to kill. Fatal Frame, however, is the complete opposite, and often made me wish the ghost in the corner would stay where it's at. When the critics said this game was "scary as hell", my friend, they weren't exaggerating.
If you've played Silent Hill 2, then you might remember how unnerving it was to go through the abandoned apartment complex/hospital in that game and exploring the dark unknowns. Fatal Frame takes that concept and whirls it into an expedition that you will never forget. Armed with only an ancient camera, you must guide Miku Hinasaki through the haunted mansion where inhumane rituals and sickening murders occurred in the search for her brother Mafuyu. Ghosts and powerful entities are lurking in the shadows, and they won't hesitate to make your stay as uncomfortable as possible. Will you have the guts to help Miku reunite with Mafuyu, or will you run away and not look back? Pick up the controller and find out.
Graphics: The graphics are superb, 'nuff said. The ghosts are grotesque and eerie, and they are guaranteed to creep you out. The mansion is set up realistically, with a lot of attention to detail. The dark lighting and other various components really set the tension in the atmosphere. You'll feel as if you're really there with Miku -- whether that's a good thing or not, that's up to the player to decide.
Sound: There's not much actual music, but then you wouldn't expect a haunted mansion to be blasting the Blue Danube Waltz, now would you? ~_~ What is there, however, are various sounds that you should expect in a place like Hiumro; ghastly moaning, creepy children laughing, mysteriously snickers... all of which are mixed in and chimed at different times to create a terrifying atmosphere.
Controls: There are 8 different setups for a player to choose from, so it's hard to not find the right one that's fit for you. That aside, there's also the standard 3D control that any gamer should be familiar with, and there's the 2D-ish "Resident Evil" type of operation that fans of that series will recognize. Personally, I prefer Control G, where the camera mode is triggered by the R1 button. In game-wise, there are two different modes: camera and 3rd person. 3rd person is self-explanatory; left stick moves Miku, right stick moves her flashlight, etc. Camera mode is basically battle mode -- you enter this 1st person state when you trigger a fight with an apparition (or an apparition triggers a fight with you...). The camera mode controls might feel slightly arkward at first, since certain movements are reversed from 3rd person mode, but all it takes is one or two battles, and you'll master it in no time.
Storyline: The basic story is standard fare -- older brother goes missing, and younger sister must find him -- however, the true meat of the plot is as grotesque as the ghosts themselves. Loosely based on old urban legends revolving ancient Shinto rituals, the terror of Himuro Mansion are the vicious things that the old Family Master used to perform on various victims. I won't spoil them here, but trust me when I say that events behind the story are fairly "malicious". Proceed with caution.
Gameplay #1: Like all survival horror games, there are puzzles that require solving before a player could proceed to the next step. Understandably, if you're the more action-oriented player like myself, this factor might turn you off. Fortunately, the good news is that the puzzles found in Fatal Frame are quite easy to solve, and shouldn't take more than a minute to figure out. Also like the other games in the genre, the puzzles will require a player to seek out essential pieces to pierce it -- while this may have been a bit of a chore in games like Silent Hill or Resident Evil, the way the items are set in Fatal Frame actually makes it intriguing to find the components. Props to Tecmo for that.
Gameplay #2: Action-wise, the camera mode battles are as intense as they come. Some ghosts won't attack you, and will resort to effectively spooking you out instead, but there are plenty that WILL fight. The attacking ghosts are of almost no difficulty at first, but like their appearances, they get progressively angrier and harder each time. Some will fly towards you. Some will remain at one spot in one second, then teleport to your face in the next. In order to defeat them, you have two options: to snap multiply pictures that do decent damage until they are demolished, or bait them towards you for that golden shot and kill them in 2-3 snaps. The choice is yours, but either way, prepare for a ghastly battle like you've never experienced before.
Basically, Fatal Frame is a must have. If you've enjoyed games like Silent Hill, Resident Evil, or even the new Siren, then you will find yourself right at home with this game. If you like a good scare and can stand to be around ghosts, then you will love this. And if you're a ghostbuster in training, then Fatal Frame is perfect for you and the skills that you've acquired from training. Pick this (and its sequel) up, sit back, put on some Ray Parker Jr., and smile for the camera.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2002
this game is really for anyone that can handle being scared by ghosts that come out of nowhere and I warn parents don't buy this for kids under about 9 unless you want them sleeping in your bed every night because of nightmares. Anyway this game is not for those easily scared it is very scaryand should not be played in the middle of the night. The gameplay revolves around solving semi-complicated puzzles and taking pictures of ghosts usually when you see a ghost your controlly will vibrate violently like a very quickly beating heart, this is when you go into camera mode to capture its soul inside. but there are not a ton of "Battles" against the ghosts you usually just see them without warning and take there picture. The sounds are just as frightening as anything else you play to not really music but sounds that are kind of musically arranged, and whenever you get near a ghost or certain areas in the game you can hear moaning and strange sounds that WILL scare the hell out of you. This game is good and the graphics are good but the only thing I can find wrong is the facial expressions of fear are not done as good as the PS2 can handle. The storyline wont grab at first either but after an hour or so you will be roped in!
Its excellent for a rental and be sure to because it might be a little scary for you at first but it gets easier to handle. IF You like than by all means buy it! peace out (;
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2002
If you liked Silent Hill (1 or 2), then you should like this one.
Silent Hill was about flesh, blood, torture, straight-jackets,
insane asylums, piles of living flesh, with a strange Hannibal Lector
like sexual tone.
Fatal Frame is about a haunted houses, ghosts and ghouls,
dusty books and chests, spider webs, and white wisps of things that pass by
you in the night. Oh, and you can't forget the spine tingling SCREAMS that
echo throughout the mansion.
Do not play this game in the dark. Unless you want to be throughly
I don't know how many times I wanted to turn around and walk the other
way. Any sane person would so the same.
You actually care for the "well being" of the character like if it was yourself!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2002
Fatal Frame is a good game to buy if you're into survival horror games. The plot was okay, it kept me into the game until I beat it at least. What's really freaky is that it's based on a true story. To think, someone really had to go through that ritual. Well anyways onto the stuff you want to hear:
The main character's method for fighting off the ghosts (which is what you do throughout the whole game) is pretty lame, at least in the beginning. She takes their picture with an antique camera. It really gets annoying when they grab you and bring your health down. However, once you get the good film and advance the camera... well lets just say you could hear me say "Ha take that!"
There is also a glitch in the game, which was that the company didn't translate the Japanese characters into english numbers. A couple of times you had to open a door with Japanese characters on it. I didn't know what I was supposed to do and was stuck for a while. Just remember that the first character at the top is zero and the numbers go in order counter clock wise. That's the only one i know so far, hopefully there aren't any other major ones.
What I liked about this game was that it actually scares you. You'll get sucked into what you are doing in the game that anything will scare you (like loud crashes, moaning, or a shadow in the corner of your screen). The scenery and the music really sets the mood for a scary stroy. It's a good game to play in the dark when your friends are over or by yourself for that matter.
Whether it's the kind of game you would like to get yourself into only you know. I just hope that my review helped in your decision.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2002
I bought this game because I was extremely bored, and it sounded interesting enough. This is the type of game best played with the lights on. It uses the same technology as Silent Hill 2 to create the illusion of surround sound, and unlike the myriad weapons of Silent Hill and most other "ghost-huntin'" games, you are armed only with a camera. Sure, it has powers, but when an angry spectre is coming at you, screaming about "ropes", and he keeps DISAPPEARING, then attacks you... you start wondering why they didnt at least give you a crucifix to bludgeon him with. Long story short, one of the best ever. Yummy.