If you’re anything like millions of people all over the globe, you’ve never even heard of the Fatal Frame game series.

I’m about to change that.
Let me start this off by saying that – even as a child – I had nerves of steel. My family exposed me to every horror film of the 80’s and 90’s and as a result, scare tactics and jump-out-at-you tricks never work on me. Now that we’ve cleared that up, let me tell you about Fatal Frame.

I first played the second in the series, Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly. Daring gamer girl that I am, I would wait until my boyfriend at the time was out at his band’s gigs or fast asleep before shutting off the lights and playing this game in the middle of the night. Being a brave girl, I knew I could handle it…or I thought I could.
It turns out, the first thing to ever haunt my dreams was Fatal Frame II. Who would have guessed?

The sequence of games was created by Tecmo and they did a phenomenal job on this project as the Fatal Frame series (known as Project Zero in Europe) is one of the most well-received survival horror games to date!
It is based around an abandoned village in Japan where dark rituals of the Occult once took place. In each of the Fatal Frame games, the main character(s) are either twin siblings or a single entity whom lost someone close to them and they are all somehow – and unbeknownst to them – tied into the sinister events of the village in some way.

Armed only with what is known as the Camera Obscura, you must figure out a way to save your sibling (or partner) all the while capturing the – usually hostile – spirits within your camera.
Fight scenes are very different from common survival horror and often take you by surprise so you must be quick to react! There were several times that I jumped in my seat from fright. Anyone who is familiar with me, knows this is something to be duly noted. (Consider it done.)

Ammo is fairly ample as it is found all over the various, abandoned buildings you explore and is in the form of camera film. The higher the film grade, the easier you capture ghosts. There are some who are much more difficult to trap so you must keep your eye on your Heads Up Display and use the right film! Wasting the high grade on weak spirits is not recommended as it is harder to come by.

In Crimson Butterfly, the Spirit Stone Radio was introduced and makes for an even creepier game play (remember, I started with this one so I’m twice as lucky!). The radio is powered by crystals that drop from enemies you have defeated along the way. These are often haunting, melancholy messages and thoughts from the long dead. Listening to these in a dark room in the middle of the night is only suggested for those without a weak heart. Honestly.

On top of being the most terrifying game that most hard-core horror gamers have ever played, it also has several puzzles that you must solve to proceed into certain rooms, areas and to receive an important item.
Perhaps you don’t like puzzles; fear not! I promise it is nothing that you cannot handle with a bit of careful thought.

If you still doubt my fantastic ability to suggest a game that can make your blood run cold, I may offer you this piece of information: All of the Fatal Frame games continue to hold their value, priced at anywhere from $20(£12.61)-$90(£56.74) pre-owned. That may give you an indication of the immensity of epic horror that this chain of games exudes.
So, if you find yourself thinking about what that dusty, old Playstation 2 or XBOX is still good for, I highly suggest purchasing one of the following games and giving it a go!

Did I mentioned these games are based on a true story? I may have left that bit out. 😉

Fatal Frame: PS2 and XBOX

Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly: PS2, XBOX (Director’s Cut edition was later released in 2004) and released on Wii in June 2012

Fatal Frame III: PS2 only

Fatal Frame IV: Only available in Japan. It’s rumoured Western release has not been verified despite fan claims. Boo!

If you need further convincing, I urge you to take a look at this video.

Published by Mark Brassington

Father and Husband. Works in Corporate Banking. Loves Books, Comics, Cycling, Music, Games, going to the Gym and Writing.

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6 Comments

  1. Sounds like an intriguing game and one I’ll have to look into. Having a game based on a true story would be interesting. My old Xbox will live again!

  2. Good job girl , now I have to talk (write) what came in my mind after reading your thoughts about Project Zero a.k.a. Fatal Frame or FF (sorry Final Fight, Final Fantasy and Fatal Fury fans) .
    I am too all about horror , I started watching a lot of horror movies ever since I was 5.Y.O , I spent many nights listening to old people telling real horror stories, and that’s will explain why I will be playing as many scary video games as I can.
    The beginning for survival-horror was on PS1 , (RE1 then RE2,RE3,Dino Crisis 1 & 2 , Silent Hill, Clock Tower etc.) then I welcomed the sixth generation (DreamCast,PS2,Xbox&GameCube) and we all know how many games from that genre was released in this era (Fatal Frame, Siren, Obscure, Hunting Ground, Rule of Rose, Kuon ) to name few , with all that been said and done , now you know the whole sad story.
    The FF series really took a lot of good scary ideas from Korean & Japanese films combined them with great games like Silent Hill, RE: Code Veronica and Clock Tower. The result was a scary series that will send shivers to your spine over and over and yet you need answers , you need to understand, therefor; you will keep playing till the end.
    And yes Fatal Frame scared me ,the first one I played was Project Zero on Xbox, in fact the very first ghost I saw scared me, I almost jumped. The scariest thing is the atmosphere itself , you are alone , and I mean very alone and you start with an old camera !! where’s my gun or at least my knife ? ok just give me a steel pipe and I am good to go….bastards.
    At first I told myself, this game is not scary at all, it is just Pokemon Snap with Ghost ! I laughed for 2 minutes…then I realized I am inside Himuro Mansion, one of the scariest mansions in the modern history of Japan…and I am there… alone…oh wait…I see dead people.
    I finished the game after many silent screams, I couldn’t wait for the sequel I was sure Tecmo will make this into a franchise, I then beat FF II : Crimson Butterfly (the Japanese version because I couldn’t wait for the U.S release lol) then I finished FF III : The Tormented closing my record with this series and closing this chapter of horror on the console sixth generation and moved to J-RPG .
    I wish that Tecmo someday will consider re-releasing this amazing overlooked series (Fatal Frame : HD Collection) on this current generation.
    Good job , and thanks for taking us back to Himuro Mansion.

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