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Customer Review

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who ya gonna call? Miku-chan!, May 19, 2004
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This review is from: Fatal Frame (Video Game)
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.
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Location: New York, NY

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