Review by Bloodfulsword
"Welcome to the World of Haunting Ground"
I loved Haunting Ground. It was enjoyable, entertaining, and most of all, scary in some ways. The game is truly a magnificent piece of work that was done brilliantly! The setting is very peculiar as you play with a beautiful lady and a furry little companion named Fiona and Hewie. The goal of this game is to simply escape with your skin intact. The game's creepy setting, characters, storyline, and even the sounds create an eerie flavor to Haunting Ground!
Fiona, a gorgeous lady whom appears to have strange blotches of darkness covering her eyes, finds herself awaken inside a hell hole with the stench of raw meat fouling the dungeon. Slash!! The horrifying, ugly man slices his daily meat while Fiona rests in her cage on the damp floor. Suddenly, a dog wearing a coat of snow-flaked fur walks into the scene and releases the lady from the cage. The lady bends down and reaches for the dog's collar. A name tag is engraved with the words "Hewie". Having a grateful attitude of Hewie saving her, she slowly walks out of the tainted dungeon into the world of Haunting Ground. Come Hewie; let us show Fiona what we are capable of doing. As soon as Fiona makes that last step into Belli Castle, everything goes into a landslide down to a path of fear, hatred, and pursuit. This is when Fiona encounters the gruesome and unsympathetic Debilitas, the man that dwells deep in the dungeons of Belli Castle. The man comes closer to her.....and closer.....until it becomes dangerously close to fatality. Fiona has no choice-she must escape! However, the fear dwelling inside of her bursts throughout her fragile body, and her eyes drench in fear of the sight of the huge man. She falls to the floor into one of the corners near a wooden door. Debilitas crawls to her, but then a furry little friend barks at him with confidence. Hewie is here, and there is no stopping this gallant of a beast!
This is where the games begin.
(The reason the story was given a 7 out of 10 was because of the confusing storyline and the many plot holes included. The game is very well done, except that it seems like the game creators rushed through the plot of the game as a means of finishing it more quickly or as a hint of a sequel or pre-sequel of Haunting Ground. Despite this lack, Haunting Ground is one of my all time favorites!)
Game play: 10/10
The game play is truly unique as you are able to control Hewie with commands, as a typical dog does in reality. You can tell Hewie to sit, stay, follow Fiona, and give him praise if he sparks a good trait or attitude. "Good boy!" encourages the dog to continue its pleasant deeds. Hewie may also attack an antagonist that chases Fiona throughout the mysterious castle; that is his primary function. Hewie's thoughts and feelings of Fiona are determined by the treatment afflicted upon him by her. If you are nice to him, he will treat you with respect and gratitude in return. If you beat him senselessly, he may attack you or ignore your commands. That is why you must keep Hewie at a balanced level of stability by treating him kindly, such as petting him for his good deeds, or feeding him when he is injured by the villains. If you don't hurt Hewie in any way and just simply ignore him when he drives a villain away bleeding in agony, his affection level with you may decrease if you don't show your kindness to him!
The antagonists' goal is to chase Fiona around the castle, with some storyline included. You will discover the secret of why they're chasing this lady around Belli castle, but right now the only thought on your mind is to escape from their clutches while Hewie keeps them at bay. They have minds of their own, or some people like to get technical and call it artificial intelligence. Fiona can hide in many locations to stop the pursuit of a lethal villain, but if you hide in the same hiding spot for too long, the villains actually know that you are there. To keep the villains busy, Fiona can set traps to injure her pursuers. Debilitas and other chasing stalkers appear from time-to-time, roughly 1-4 minutes to restart their chase of Fiona.
Fiona enters "panic mode" whenever she is at her highest climax. This means that her fear drowns her into a frenzy of uncontrollable stumbling and tripping on the floor. The only way to survive a panic attack is to continue to run away and hopefully not drop to the floor. When you are on the floor, and Hewie is not there to save you, consider it a game over. In this mode, Fiona is mentally and physically unstable and she will attempt to run away. The occurrence of a panic attack is fairly often, as it is easy to alert her.
The booming sound of Fiona's boots, the suspenseful music whenever her stalkers chase her, the barking Hewie, the whiny sound of Hewie being injured, the loud screams Fiona makes in her panic mode, the theme song, the popping sound of Fiona's traps, and many other sounds echo inside your brain wanting more and more of the action. The sound of this game is mysterious and very intriguing with a little dark side to it.
The game must be replayed!!! There are different endings and secret passwords to obtain!! These secret passwords can be revealed by doing certain requirements; such has having a dog rank A. This means that you been nice to Hewie and you receive the best grade for it. I usually do not spoil the fun, so I will have to keep many of the challenges a secret for you to figure out. With these passwords you can unlock new items such as earrings, boots, necklaces, and many other very useful items. You can even get new clothes for Fiona and Hewie!! Change Fiona into a playful outfit, a silly outfit, an exotic outfit, and much more. Hewie cannot change clothes, but his breed can change to aggressive dogs or even silly dogs, similar to what Fiona can do. There are many discoveries to be discovered, so don't just stand there, get out of that computer chair and play this game!
To Buy, Or Not To Buy? Buy this game!!! This game must be played for it has unique features and super replay value!
Overall: 8.25/10. Haunting Ground is rated great by me. I consider a 1-5 rating average, below average, or poor. Anything higher than a 5 is what I consider above average, great, or excellent. 1 is poor and 10 is excellent based on my rating scale. This game is great! Literally!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/08/06, Updated 11/16/06
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