Review by big_midnight

Reviewed: 05/17/05

A lethal game of hide and seek with attitude!

Haunting Ground is the latest game from the Capcom team. It has a very similar structure to "Clock Tower 3" so if you liked that then this is for you!
Fiona wakes up from a car crash and she finds herself in a mysterious castle. Her memory is very much a haze, and she is left dazed and confused. Soon she finds out that she is not alone in the castle, and her life is at risk.

Graphics

Haunting Ground has some fantastic looking environments, the detail in the characters is excellent. However, in some areas of the game the textures tend to go a little bit blurry and dull looking. For most of the game everything looks fine but certain rooms and areas do let the graphics engine down slightly.

Sound

Is it just me, or is it that some of the sound effects in this game have been reused from other games?
The menu navigation sounds are almost identical to Clock Tower 3's. The voice acting is mostly great, but some characters sound better than others. Generally the sounds of the basic things such as footsteps are fantastic and sound realistic.

Game play

Fiona is a young and defenceless girl, for most of the game Hewie the dog is your bodyguard. You spend your time trying to escape a variety of enemies by hiding or fighting back. Hewie can bite and shove the enemies, whilst Fiona can give a small kick at the same time as Hewie's bites to give a good combination. Hiding creates good tension, as well as frustration. You can hide under beds, in cupboards, behind curtains etc...But it has those moments when you are thinking "Oh no please dont look under the couch!". This is what makes the game scary, the fact that you have to run and flee for your life is really exciting for horror fans!
Throughout the castle you have to solve puzzles to progress, I found most of the puzzles to be easy enough to figure out,, yet still great fun!
I found the game play quite hard at first. It is difficult to find your way around as the map is useless! Getting lost in the castle is a nightmare, particularly when the killers are pursuing you! So be prepared to do a lot of back tracking.

Length/Replay

For a survival horror game it is a great length! Multiple endings are available so you have to be prepared to repeat the game to get them. Also, depending on your overall ranking, costumes can be unlocked for Fiona, Hewie and even the enemies! It takes most people around 10 hours to finish on the first play through, but most people will be brave enough to replay and get all the cool bonus features like the movie gallery (movie gallery takes ages to complete).

Overall

Highly recomended to fans of the horror genre! newcomers should also give it a go if they like the sound of it!

+ Good, exciting game play features.
+ Environments look great.
+ An intense story and good character design.

- Puzzles can sometimes be fairly easy to complete.
- It can get frustrating when you are being chased and there is no way to get rid of the enemy.
- Graphics can sometimes go out of place, but nothing major is wrong with them.

I award Haunting Ground 9/10 for its great fright factor, intense story and fun (but frustrating) game play!

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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