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Halloween Horror Game Thread From HELL - *OFFICIALLY HAUNTED by MY DEAD CAT!!*
Seen here with her spirit rising up, escaping this mortal coil.

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Passed away October 3rd. She was a rescued cat who was found abandoned in an apartment years ago, and may have been older than they estimated - she definitely wasn't a kitten, so not the popular at adoption type. So we were happy to give her a home. She loved people, did not care for other cats (so I uhh, hope she goes to People Heaven rather than Cat Heaven). Originally seemed to be anti-social, but ended up being quite the talker. She had a good long life.


Fatal Frame
Fatal Frame II Crimson Butterfly
Fatal Frame III The Tormented
Fatal Frame IV Mask of the Lunar Eclipse
Fatal Frame V Maiden of Black Water
Shin Megami Tensei Devil Summoner Raidou Kuzunoha vs The Soulless Army
Yo-Kai Watch 2 Psychic Specters
Countdown Vampires

I never played Fatal Frame before and I like to blitz through old series all at once these days, to see the changes over the years more distinctly, so I started that in early September. Right now I'm on IV, and I suspect I'm near the end. I'll probably post my thoughts about those after this. Am hoping V will go on sale, although I don't know if they will bother with a seasonal Wii U sale anymore - it is actually free to play for the first few chapters, so that'll buy me time.

Probably not gonna finish the RPG stuff, but it's things I wanted to check out.

Countdown Vampires is one of those games I remember reading about years ago that sounded weird and intriguing, although often described as bad. I kept forgetting the name, and finally got around to looking it up this time. From the Resident Evil rip-off era, it's apparently K2's first game, which is intriguing since they made my favorite Tenchu games (Wrath of Heaven).
I can understand the pain dood, our dog, Booboo, passed away this year too, but all power to you.
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Aww, sorry to hear that. :'( Thank you, and I hope the best for you too.

So then, I'll start getting into thoughts here.

Fatal Frame is called Project Zero in Japan, which seems like one of those times a filler name got carried over to the real thing - the localized title is way better, and I wonder if it has anything to do with why they used it for the Xbox port in Japan. For some reason the European releases still go with Project Zero though. Lame!

It came out in December 2001 on PS2 in Japan, a few months later in 2002 in the US. Although the series overall has relatively low/OK sales, this apparently sold pretty well in the US and Europe, which may have something to do with why an Xbox port came out a year later (although to be fair the system family hadn't quite been written off over there yet). They seemed to think its success had to do with stuff like Ring being popular, and I suspect that may be right.

They seemed to try to lean into this harder with the localization, as the title screen says "BASED ON A TRUE STORY", something not there originally - I imagine this is likely because of The Blair Witch Project. This is...something of a stretch, since this is inspired by creator/director Makoto Shibata's, errr, "dreams" and "seeing things", and loosely based on haunted house rumors/legends, especially ones on Himuro Mansion, which the game's location is named for...although none of those are exactly like the story used.

It's a fixed camera (ha) horror game as was the post Resident Evil trend still, although this was also Silent Hill inspired. Backgrounds are not pre-rendered. The big gimmick is that the enemies are ghosts, which can fly around and pass through walls, and your weapon is the Camera Obscura - it switches to first person, and you have to take pictures of the ghosts to do damage. If you can keep the view finder trained on a ghost long enough, a spirit circle fills up, and the amount of damage a shot does depends on how much of it is filled. If you wait until the ghost actually attacks you, the circle will turn red and you're able to do even more damage / knock back. It's also used to take pictures of passive ghosts and door unlock hints. I played the Xbox version, which improves the view finder so you have a much better spirit circle interface, which is more or less the version that carries over to the sequels.

You get points from taking pictures, which can be spent on upgrades. There's also camera powers like slow down and extra damage, which you have to collect orbs to use (which creates the old issue of simply stockpiling them and never using them until the end of the game just to be sure). There's also an ammo element since you have to collect film to use the camera - better film does more damage and possibly knock back, but that's the only real difference. Ghosts end up passing through walls and staying there a bit too often, which can get annoying, since you basically have to wait for them to come back into view.

Although it's all in the same location with unlockable doors, the game uses a chapter system that basically reactivates "used up" areas at times. So unlike Resident Evil, where there's more of a clear sense of exploration and backtracking, here it is a bit more obvious that you're being made to do errands in previous areas you've been dumped into again to suck up more time. Other games do this to some degree (Devil May Cry does it basically for "you can rest now" parts since it's an intense action game, Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon's missions are basically to keep you on track even if you put it down since it's a portable title, and Rule of Rose...well, does it for this game's reason, stretching things out). But since the game is only so long, it's not too much of a problem. It does start getting there towards the end, with a fetch quest or two, buuut not too bad.

It's very Early PS2 in a lot of regards, but it's good and manages to not wear out its welcome, and had me looking forward to the sequels. It has some poor English voice acting, which would be corrected in future titles, although it honestly worked well enough for the droning ghost voices. The Japanese mansion setting is also a nice change of pace from the Western-centric settings you usually got (Onimusha came out before, although that's more of an action game).

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