Review by Deftallica
Reviewed: 12/16/02 | Updated: 12/16/02
Fatal Frame - A Photo Album of Terror
This is my first review here for GameFAQs... let's jump right in to it.
Graphics - 9/10 - The graphics in Fatal Frame are top notch. The environments are designed perfectly to create a truly grim and gloomy atmosphere. The majority of the lighting comes from the lead character's, Miku's, small flashlight. And from time to time a candle or lamp will be lit, despite the lack of living guests in the mansion. Taking photos is done in black and white with a nice grainy effect to give it a truly antique look.
Sound - 10/10 - This is where Fatal Frame truly shines. The sound is the best of nearly any Xbox game released to date. The simple sound of wood creaking as you slowly walk through the mansion is good enough to creep you out, even when no ghosts are present. The ghosts, as well, are done very well. Their screams relating to the unfortunate events leading to their deaths are shrieked and echo as the spectre attacks you.
Gameplay - 7/10 - The gameplay is the only aspect of Fatal Frame that is not as well polished as the rest of the game's elements. Clipping errors are nearly everywhere as you will often find yourself stuck in an area while running. This can be particularly frustrating when fleeing from a ghost. Loading rooms is handled well as the game pauses just slightly when Miku opens doors. However, this poses another problem -- during this time, ghosts can still attack you. Combating ghosts can also be fairly difficult, despite the upgradability of your camera. You'll really have to practice the art of photography before you can learn to get through some battles unscathed. You have to make all of your photos and medicine managment count right from the get-go, or later on in the game you will find yourself lacking the resources to continue.
Replayability - 7/10 - Fatal Frame has a decent amount of unlockable features, including an Xbox exclusive nightmare difficulty (as though Normal weren't challenging enough), new costumes, and a new ending. Also, by meeting certain requirements upon completion of the game, you can unlock additional Special Features that enhances your camera's ghost-busting capabilities. The game is fairly lengthy, though, so it is doubtful most players will want to complete the game so many times to unlock everything.
Story - 8/10 - Miku is a brave little girl. Entering a mansion with such a dark history in search of her brother. The actual in-game story is wall-pieced together by journal snippets, news clippings, and audio tapes scattered through the dark and dismal terrain.
Overall - 7/10 - Fatal Frame is a spectacular effort in the survival-horror genre, and will have you completely immersed in it's creepy environment. The games few gameplay flaws aren't severe enough to dampen the overall enjoyment of the game. But like any other game, I would recommend renting before purchasing.
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