Review by Termadoyle

Reviewed: 10/30/04

Fatal Frame puts up a really Stiff competition for its rivals

Well the "survival horror" genre is getting piled up by different developers and publishers but we all know that the kings of the hill are the Resident Evil And Silent Hill series. but once in a while an ambitious developer group starts putting together a game that could go as near as defying this fact. Fatal Frame -and in some countries called "Project Zero"- is one of these games which brings some welcomed innovation into the same old pack of blood thirsty zombies and unidentifiable killer "monster nurses". Here's the review:

now this game looks like any other survival horror game should. everything is in 3rd person view. as you should know, the whole game takes place inside a haunted mansion and the area surrounding it to some extent. The details are well crafted and the whole dark and creepy atmosphere will get to you the very moment you start the game. And as you should also know, your enemies are ghosts. really creepy ones too if I should say so myself. and they are animated like... well, like a GHOST! they're certainly gonna scare you even if they used the good ol' "BOO!". I know it's silly but they're so scary you wouldn't be surprised. The main character herself is also of a japanese origin and you can clearly notice the whole Anime feel of the character designs. the game also uses the fixed camera positions trick which is so common in the world of survival horror but sometimes , to drop in that super extra creepy feel, the camera will follow you in some areas as you move from behind or above. ghosts are everywhere and believe me, the in-game cutscenes are terrifying!
as a whole, the graphics are good and sharp. The people behind this game have faithfully succeeded in making the game's haunted mansion the creepiest place on earth.

In survival horror, sound quality has a very VERY important role of creating a horrific atmosphere. and let me tell you that Fatal Frame has SUPERBLY done this. it's ALL about atmosphere people. even Silence has its own horror and terror. you're gonna hear whispers, cryings, moans, screams, and SO MANY obscure and creepy stuff you wouldn't be able to sleep at night if you think of just one of them and replaying it in your mind. the only minor prob with the sounds part is the voice acting. it's not bad but I think "cheesy" is the best word to describe it. of coarse this doesn't take away ANY of the enjoyment at all.

Unlike the resident evils, this game's character is controlled in a 3d fashion. this means there's no turning to the direction you want and then start walking. you'll immediately start walking the direction that you're pointing your analog stick towards. and that's pretty swell and less frustrating than the old "turn then walk" thing used in the past. everything is quite set up very neatly on the XBOX controller. you won't have a problem with the controls. they're tight!

now THIS is where it gets interesting. if you've played survival horror games in the past, you'd know you always have to find a weapon of sorts to be able to fight off your foes. well this changes in Fatal Frame cause all you need to exorcise evil freaky ghosts who could kill you....... is a Camera! yup. you heard it right. you can kill the ghosts in the game by "taking their picture". the closer they get to you, the better are your chances of damaging them more. all you have to do is press the camera button on your controller and you'll go into a first person view through your magic camera. and that's where you'll be taking the pictures. you can also upgrade your camera by earning enough points and special inventory objects. these upgrades make the camera be stronger, reload faster and have a broader view. there are also certain powerups which include things like being able to slow the ghosts down or be able to see them with the naked eye for a few seconds. aside form the innovative part though, you've got nothing more than the old puzzle solving routines we've all seen and exploration. sometimes you wouldn't know what to do next or where to go next. and some of the puzzles can be a little frustrating but it's nothing worse than the rest of the survival horror bunch.

A bunch of people want to make a documentary about the "haunted Himuru Mansion" so they go there and they disappear. our protagonist's brother goes in there looking for them. he disappears too. so it's up to the sister to unveil the mystery of the mansion which was a proud center for gross rituals which involved killing and strangling people in the past and now it's deserted (or is it?). pretty crazy stuff. and interesting. the main character also has a sixth sense which helps you track ghosts down and show you clues about places to take pictures from to unravel hidden paths and doorways. pretty cool and disturbing.

Fatal Frame is a creepy game and it's not for the weak of the heart cause it's simply horrifying. I couldn't sleep for hours and hours whenever I thought of ANY scene from the game at nights. it's THAT good. so preferably don't play it alone and don't play it at night if you can't take it. it looks good. it's sounds just perfect. it controls good. it's story is top notch and it's the only survival horror available for the XBOX right now. so if you can take it and you're a fan of the genre run out and buy it. but if you think just sticking with one simple weapon like a camera would become boring after a while no matter HOW scary a game can be, give it a rent first and let the sheer terror begin!

Rating: 8

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