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Fatal Frame Review


When it comes to horror video games, it’s either a hit or miss as nowadays most of the games involve guns and monsters. Fatal Frame takes a different approach as instead of a gun you have a camera and instead of monsters you fight ghosts. That camera is called the “Camera Obscura”. The Fatal Frame series consists of 4 games, a remake and a spin-off. Fatal Frames 1-3 are for the PS2, available in America and Japan, while the European version is called “Project Zero”.

In Fatal Frame, you play as a girl named Miku Hinasaki who goes to the supposedly haunted Himuro Mansion to search for her older brother, Mafuyu. Mafuyu has been missing for two weeks after visiting Himuro Mansion to look for his mentor, Junsei Takamine, who has also gone missing along with his assistant and editor while conducting research for a new novel.


As Miku explores deeper into the mansion, she eventually learns about the dark secrets behind the enormous mansion and about the malignant spirit of Kirie Himuro, who had kidnapped Mafuyu because of his strong resemblance to her former lover.


The game has different ending scenes depending on how you play it, as well as the choices you make. If you pay attention to the game it says that the game is based around the true story and legends surrounding Himuro Mansion in Japan. The mansion is rumored to be the death site of a Japanese family and several of its associates a few decades ago. When Makoto Shibata, the series producer, was interviewed he said, the game was based on two old Japanese urban legends and ghost stories.


The gameplay can be slow and frustrating at times, but what video game isn’t nowadays? The puzzles are hard at times and takes real concentration and a keen eye. Hell, some puzzles require some knowledge of Japanese, so knowing a bit helps. Overall, the gameplay is slow but it is worth it in the end. The endings of all the games give you this sense of happiness, joy and sadness but overall it leaves a smile on your face.


It wasn’t until the second game that the company started adding a song to the ending cut-scene, that makes you smile even more. Although the game has a lot of good things about it, it does have a few bad things which were fixed in the later games. If you wander around or wander too far, you will randomly get attacked. The enemies aren’t strong, but they waste your film(Which is kind of the “ammo” in this game). Most people would say “Just don’t get lost then!”. But there is a problem to that as the game gets so confusing at times, it’s almost impossible to not get lost, even if you have played the game 50 times before. The only way to effectively not get lost is to use a walkthrough, but that ruins the feel of this game. So, it’s a double-edged sword, unfortunately.


Just like most video games out there, the first title is rarely the best. But it’s what started the series. Fatal Frame has its ups and downs but all-in-all if you come across this series, buy it. This game is a fun horror game and also teaches you a little bit about Japanese culture and legends. I know it’s on my Must Buy list of games for sure.

Credit for the featured image goes to DeviantArtist PurpleRaveNinja

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