Review by WongFeiHung
"Scariest Game Ever? Maybe...."
When you think of scary games, what comes to mind? Resident evil? Silent Hill? Well, this would leave those two cowering in the corner like, well, a schoolgirl stuck in a haunted house with only a camera for protection. Which (suprise!) is what you get to play as in this game.
Survival horror has been done to death (no joke intended). However, Fatal Frame (or Project Zero as it's called in England) tries to add a new twist on the precedings, in the form of giving your character a camera to use as a weapon. The idea is that the camera can be used to capture the souls of the many ghosts that roam the house. It can also be used to see things that aren't there, and get clues on how to proceed further. While this makes a refreshing change from the usual array of guns found in similar games, sometimes it can be a bit frustrating as there is only a limited area in which the shot will register on the ghost. A nice feature is that you get points depending on the quality of the pictures you take, so there is an incentive to make good shots. Nice use is made of the vibration function on the pad, often replicating a heartbeat to crank up the tension (suprisingly effective too), or to signal the arrival of a ghost. Control of the character is good, except that sometimes they seem to get ''stuck'' on scenery.
The story is done very well, giving plenty of background both on the legends and the characters. The cinematics are very effectively used, and create a real sense of terror. A good comparison for some of them would be the movie ''Ring''. In fact, there have been many times when I've been playing this game and it's scared the bejesus out of me. It all revolves around a girl looking for her brother, who was in turn looking for someone else. She finds out what happened to the people who previously came to the mansion, and has to stop the same happening to her.
Similar to silent hill 2, in that the backgrounds are mostly dark, lit up by your torchlight. This also means that a lot of shadows can be cast across the backgrounds, which look very good.
Fatal Frame is a very quite game, and the main thing that you will notice about the sound is some of the things that the ghosts say, which are designed to unnerve you. And a very good job of they do to. It wont sound much here, but its suprising how much hearing ''the ropes! not the ropes!'' can creep you out. Tends to be used more to set the mood than anything, which is a good thing in my opinion.
BUY OR RENT?
Definitely buy. Deserves to sit on the shelves of any survival horror fans collection.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 09/11/02, Updated 09/11/02
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