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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.

[Image: 8TqBXhv.jpg]

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.
[Image: bicv1h.png]
you've been staked.
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).
Fatal Frame II is a pretty strong contender for best in the series – as is often typical for PS2 sequels, the graphics have a fuller, more organic look to them. On top of that they’ve done some good work making the elements creepier and a bit less video game-y, especially with the viewfinder buzzing increasingly as it stays on a ghost and its movements (although I figure some people must’ve found that annoying, since it’s either gone or lessened in future titles). Damage now appears to be proximity based rather than “charged by staying on the ghost”, I…guess, the game doesn’t communicate this particularly well, although not knowing doesn’t matter much. They go back to the old way after this.

I once again played the Xbox version, which doesn’t have any obvious changes like the viewfinder from the first, but adds some post game stuff and an FPS mode, where you can play the entire game in first person (no, I didn’t use it).

Some quick things still present in this one I forgot to mention before:
-For better communicating where ghosts are, with you switching to first person so often, it’s heavily based on directional sound cues. Kind of neat, although uhh, not great for the deaf.
-There’s a filament that can appear in the lower right corner, which is to communicate when attacking or passive ghosts are near (not helpful for combat situations noted above though) or when there are these hidden ghosts you can photograph. These are basically just collectibles as I understand it, although I think they may unlock some of your post game shop options. I never cared for this though, kinda dumb busy work if you’re not getting them all (I’m surprised I never do get them all – they must be hid very annoyingly).
It’s probably worth noting those now, because basically, II is like a better version of I: although it has little to no obvious direct ties to the first, it’s basically another “visiting a place where a ritual went wrong in the distant past” story, where you find clues and information about it as you progress. The specifics feel a bit more creative and detailed this time around, but…yeah, it’s the same stuff, when you get down to it.

There are no longer hard chapter breaks, as you now just get a chapter title when you’re at certain points – you just go from place to place this time without that occasional teleport. Nice, and oddly, the first and last time this would be done.

There are a few general gameplay add-ons that would stick around after: The special camera lens powers are now charged like a super meter (with stocks) rather than being limited ammo based, which is a huge improvement (you don’t get to use them all the time still, but you’re not left with a reason to just sit on it the entire game). There’s now camera combos, which sound a bit silly – hit the ghost at the right moment, usually when they’re attacking, and it’s a, oh ho, “Fatal Frame”, which will allow you to keep hitting the ghost until they’re too far. It does add a nice extra layer of satisfaction to the camera combat.

Post game has another fun element added to the series – in the first, the clear file gives you extra options like unlockables, a mission mode, etc. You get all those back here, but this time, it’s a full shop where you can use unspent points to unlock stuff, and even buy film, items, etc, you can carry over into your next playthrough, which is very cool (some of these options are apparently added to the Xbox version).

Anyway, overall, it was good. It manages to not outlive its welcome once again – it does have an extra fetch quest towards the end to add like an extra hour of play time, but once again, no big deal. I figured this game was them really getting their stuff together and the next one would be even better.
Fatal Frame III is, to my surprise, the worst of the series. It somehow manages to triple down on everything bad about the previous game and what it adds is promising, but doesn’t work.

This one doesn’t have an Xbox port – it came out in 2005, same year the 360 premiered, and Microsoft dropped wide support for the first system ASAP (probably due to its manufacturing costs). The ports for the latter two took a year to come out each.
So the set up is a bit different, and intriguing: Rather than wandering into some old haunted manor or village, the main location is based in a dream, which you wake up from each day. During the day, you can explore the protagonists’ house and develop photos taken during the dream, which your assistant will investigate and report back to you on later. This is where the bulk of the document reading stuff ends up going, and also means there’s a lot more of it than before. Of course, sometimes you see spoopy ghosts in the house, ooo!

This starts a tradition of having three characters you control at story determined intervals, two women and one man. The points you gain are shared across characters, but they each of their own separate camera upgrades. There’s also a special power button separate from the camera stuff – one gets bullet time, the man gets, uhhh, coward crouch, since he starts out having to do stealth mode stuff (which fortunately doesn’t last long). The main character is an adult woman rather than a teenager this time, too.

So it all seems like a good set up – back to hard chapter breaks since you’re sleeping and waking, but potentially more variety with the characters and a new story set up. The dub is pretty good too (II had a good one as well, I forgot to note).

But here is the biggest, fattest problem of them all: You see something like 95% of the content the game has to offer about 1/3rd in, and the remainder is ALL FETCH QUESTS. Get four of THAT, get ANOTHER four of THIS, go get FOUR ghosts, go get the thing go get the things!!! And the game is like, THREE TIMES as long as the last one!!!!! It blows!!!!!!!

I might as well bullet point all the problems that add to this:
-The map design sucks. It could get confusing in the first two, what with the fixed camera angles and similar locales, but here it’s a big mess of a cramped Japanese mansion. There’s an in-game document saying it’s confusing, like they just kept adding additions, but like…yeah, thanks game. Thanks, acknowledging your map design is crap still means its crap.
-For all the reading you do, it’s more of the same shit: some old failed ritual, with somewhat different details, which you learn more about. Yawn. They DO actually tie things together with I and II, with actual awareness of the samey-ness but like…it’s still boring.
-The use of the filament can change between characters, which is confusing as it’s easy to forget. The man’s revolves around whether ghosts see you or not, which is worthless since his stealth gimmick stops being a thing after five minutes with him, and ghosts are easy to outrun anyway.
-The interaction with the house brings me back to the days of reading in a magazine about some mundane life elements being added to a game, and thinking “Oh boy this is it, video games are becoming more advanced!!”, but it’s just an excuse to pad out the time by having you run around an area to occasionally see some lame ghost here or there.
-This is also the hardest one, which isn’t a bad thing per se – but you are fighting the same damn ghosts over and over for too long, which is boring, and getting bored causes you to slip up, so you have to pay attention to these stupid boring fights that suck, making you even more bored and annoyed. This is also the first one I nearly ran out of film (ammo) in. 

Did I mention the map design sucks? With the chapter break format, you can end up with doors that are arbitrarily locked – it can restrict the sense of freedom, but I think that’s fine to prevent you from thinking you should explore a place this time that actually has nothing new in it (since you might expect it to after the break). But here there’s like…

Alright, let me give you the prime example. There’s two large particular areas you end up running around a lot, and there is one door that connects them directly, but is always locked. You think, OK, eventually I’ll get the key to that door, and it’ll help open up exploration. It remains locked, though. Is this to force you to re-route you towards places with new content? No, because this door being locked means you have to constantly backtrack between the same areas which are full of nothing. When does this door finally unlock? In the last chapter, with no indication that it even is unlocked, and with no specific reason. It just is now, well past the time when it would’ve been any use. Ugh. Argh. Auuuggh! AUUUUGHGGHGHGHHGHHGHGHHFHFHFHHHGHHGGHhghghdghd

I was so thoroughly aggravated by the experience that I nearly gave up on playing through them all – if this was the last I’d played without any more installments, I might’ve written the series off completely. But I finished it, and went to the next, and I’m glad I did.
Fatal Frame IV is, well, not technically called that, because it never left Japan – a European release was apparently planned at one point, but cancelled. It’s worth noting the timeline here also, that there was 1, then 2 was two years later, 3 was a year and a half later (seemingly on the same engine), and then this took another 3. It’s on the Nintendo Wii this time too with no other ports. I don’t doubt a number of factors may have been at play – Tecmo merged with Koei the following year, the Wii saw some of its “core game” third party support kind of drop off later in favor of the 360/PS3 or PSP, so by the time the dust was settling from that merger, I don’t doubt they figured it didn’t make any sense by then.

Fortunately, there is a full fan translation, which came out a little less than two years later. Pretty impressive.

There are a number of very interesting things about this one that caught my eye and got me curious even after my frustrations with 3: For one, being in a post-Resident Evil 4 world now, it’s an over the shoulder third person game, definitely a necessary change of pace. Development was also shared with Nintendo SPD and, verrrry interestingly, Grasshopper Manufacture. In fact, it’s co-directed by none other than Goichi Suda (alongside the usual director/series creator Makoto Shibata).

The setting is a bit different now, set on an island at a visitor center/hospital, with early 20th century Western influenced architecture rather than the usual Japanese mansions. An extremely welcome change, as that was getting a bit old (not to mention confusing, with the samey hallways – I was watching Phantom Quest Corp recently, and in the last episode the cast gets lost in a giant Japanese mansion that looks exactly the same in every room, and I was like, “Yep…”). Hospital stuff is pretty played out in horror games, but fortunately there is very little of the traditional setting and imagery here.

I forgot to mention that you have a flashlight in the last games, which should not be surprising, because it’s basically just kind of there – it’s not really a mechanic and nothing is so dark as to really need it. Not a big deal, since I mean it makes sense they’d have a flashlight in general, but it is amusing how the right stick controls it but there’s really no point in doing so (another in the long series of “Japanese Developers Never Doing Anything of Significance With the Right Analog” from that era).

But, in this game, it’s actually a factor. Although visibility is never an issue and everything in front of you is always lit by it, the filament that was for ghosts is now for detecting items, and will get stronger when one is nearby. Shine the flashlight on the right area, and an item will appear. It works pretty well, as it largely avoids annoying “hunt the pixel” (so to speak) type play while also providing a sense of mystery. Also, you have to hold a button to reach your hand out to grab an item. “Oh great, so this is the new sometimes get grabbed by a ghost hand and waggle” mechanic, I thought, and…well, yes, but fortunately that’s quite rare (I think it only happened like five times on my entire playthrough), and honestly this does it a good job of adding to the atmosphere.

There is also now an additional direction indicator for where ghosts are at the top of the viewfinder, so you no longer have to rely on sound alone, also a welcome change.

There is a lock on button now, which is quite notable, since in a time when Japanese developers believed (and, well, sometimes STILL believe) that Japanese people can’t aim and always have some lock on feature, the previous games of this series avoided that. Obviously being able to lock on makes nailing Fatal Frames a lot easier, and also means you’re only typically threatened by ghost mobs or more frequently disappearing ones. I am guessing this must be a compromise, because aiming/looking around is done with the Wiimote, and may have been a little annoying with the first person switcheroo stuff with the viewfinder. I’m fine with it, and there are still some fairly tough fights despite this, so it’s all good (and, after having my patience grinded into the dust by FF3, it was sort of nice to have a bit of relief).

This time, of the three characters, the man uses a flashlight. Quite a few devs went “OOO WIIMOTE JUST LIKE FLASHLIGHT!!”, so there is that, but also, apparently early concepts for the series involved using a flashlight until the camera came up, so it makes sense. The flashlight gameplay is very, very simple, but it basically serves its purpose – as a break from the typical camera action to give you something else to do. It works, for the most part.

The overall stage design and pacing is much better: You do get dumped into one of the three characters at certain points, but they pick up from where they left off last time, so there’s a stronger sense of exploration, and so the content/location reuse isn’t as conspicuous or annoying. The plot is a bit more interesting as well, since it refers to something more recent as well as the distant past.

It does start to get a bit “Yeah yeah, I get it” towards the end, as the plot details fill out as expected  - they do a better job of giving you new locations more consistently towards the end, but I do feel the game would probably benefit from being two or three hours shorter.

Still, it was quite well made and did feel like a step in the right direction. A shame we didn’t officially get this one over here, since I’d rank it as one of the best.

I have since finished V, which Suda was not involved with by then, going back to just Tecmo, although with support by Nintendo. In fact, Nintendo co-owns the Fatal Frame IP as of 2012 (that year an over the shoulder remake of Fatal Frame II came out on the Wii, although only in Japan and Europe - I guess they didn't have to do as much work to at least get it to Europe that time).

It is interesting to note that apparently Suda, describing Makoto Shibata as "a man who actually sees ghosts", did not want to work on IV and had to be persuaded into it, and apparently doesn't like doing horror games.
I played Resident Evil Revelations 2 during Halloween. Big Grin
Didn't finish tho, just cleared the first episode.

Having fun in Raid Mode as well.
Good! GOOD! That's the spirit!

Higher amount of trick or treaters this year in my neighborhood...this Halloween is much more haunted and evil than the last, oh yes...

Speaking of EVIL, it is worth backing up at this point and going over what I feel are the biggest problems the Fatal Frame series has:

-Content reuse: It becomes very obvious you’re being dragged up and down the same places doing slightly different things over and over. This is something apparent in I, better dealt with until the tip end of II, and is pretty much the whole game in III. IV manages to deal with it much better, but it seems the series never quits this chaptered format to force you into the same places.

I feel to some degree perhaps I’m not being fair, since these games are probably lower budget than, say, any given Resident Evil ever, but I still feel like something like Resident Evil 2’s “play through the game twice with a different character to see the whole story” was at least a more honest proposition than the bullshit fetch quests to pad  time in FF’s worst moments.

-Gameplay pacing: Also related to the above to some degree, the camera can be a very satisfying mechanic (nailing a ghost multiple times when it’s fully charged), but after a while it can feel like a QTE where you’re waiting for the ghost to do the thing so you can do decent damage. The games don’t have enough enemy variety to make up for this later on, and in general the way ghosts float around freely means simply throwing more of them at you can sometimes just be annoying depending on who they use. So they tend to start out exciting, then you’re sick of it by the end.

-As mentioned before, the stories usually boil down to “a ritual happened and the last time they fucked it up and died, oops!”, with the actual specifics just varying a bit, which you read about. It seems they must’ve had fun coming up with those specifics, but it’s not as intriguing as they seem to think, and by the end of the game you’re just left going, “YEAH, I GET IT, JEEZ”.

-Related to all the above, it usually feels like there’s just not enough variety throughout the game, setting and enemy and story wise. I guess you could call this the lack of a “twist” later on, but really, just straight up variety is what’s missing. Even the snowy Lost Planet throws you into a volcano halfway through the game.

The fact that I’m blitzing through the whole series may be a factor, also, but like…it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve done this, and they’re not exactly on a linear declining scale by my opinion, so…yeah.

Next, the final one!! OOooooooOOOOOO!!!
Fatal Frame V, so far the last in the series, came out in 2014 in Japan and 2015 overseas, and is so far the last in the series. On the Wii U, it’s the first true HD title.

It’s pretty good looking, with it apparent they had support on those aspects from elsewhere in the company – the characters all basically look like they’re from Dead or Alive 5. It is apparent they used the soft engine for showing slick and grimy skin, which is tied into the story and gameplay as there’s a water theme throughout. A character’s outfit sticks to her ass when she’s soaked, which is actually sort of impressive.

Also, there’s by far the largest human cast this series as ever had (although consider in previous titles there are only ever three or four people you ever actually see).

It ran into controversy, as you may well know, when it ended up having content removed, namely some sexxxxxy outfits being replaced…with some Nintendo themed costumes, which was pretty cheeky (and actually keeping with a IV tradition, where someone got a Luigi costume). When characters crawl under blocked passages, which happens more often, the camera isn’t as focused on their ass. Some people claim that jiggle was removed, but uhh, surely it was only reduced at most if at all, because the boobs go crazy in this game. There are even ghosts with ample cleavage that bounce in certain conditions, which surround you at the start of the game.

The tutorial involves you learning about the camera’s new multi-focus system, where circles appear to highlight weak spots, and certain ones can be locked onto (which shows their health bar and, cleverly, lets you hear their thoughts – it’s sort of a middle ground between IV and the rest of the series). Your first example is your partner/caretaker/boss, who is a woman with a stunningly enormous bosom, and the circles appear on her face, chest, and crotch.

There is a flashback scene which was altered where, in the original, a character who does AV model work is photographed in an extremely skimpy swimsuit. The edited version just has her in her normal outfit. The dialogue does seem to be the same though, which implies the character does not care for her work.

Yes, this one is considerably, noticeably hornier than the previous entries. It’s something you get used to and stop noticing after a while, but it is certainly there. The previous entries had maybe a little (you can look up a girl’s dress on a staircase in II, there are shower cutscenes in III), but this is all well over that, even after the edits. It is worth noting that there are apparently fans in Japan that thought it was a bit much.

I would rather it have not been edited at all of course, since for better or worse, I’d prefer to get the original if possible. It’s a matter of access – sometimes there are good reasons things might be altered (like the original creator completely disowning it or having been forced to add it), but it’s better to have access to everything at least for the sake of easy comparison. I will admit that all this comes off to me as the sort of usual “desperate third party Japanese game that believes it must crank up the horniness to move copies at all”, despite the Nintendo support.

Getting back to the gameplay, another aspect regarding the circle weak points (a big one for the head usually, and smaller ones) is you can create more with each photo you take, causing little bits to break off that float around. Once there are five (either from multiple ghosts or bits) within your viewfinder, you can do a stronger shot that blows all ghosts in range back. Fatal Frames are also still here and work as normal, but have the additional benefit of subsequent shots not costing any film. The absolute best you can get is combining all of those, although that’s rare.

So basically, you are given more strategies than just “wait for Fatal Frames”, which is cool…although it doesn’t communicate that well whether the other type is BETTER than Fatal Frames or not. I basically just used it when it seemed a ghost was taking too long, or on groups. I assume it might be the “coward mechanic” to some degree given the blowback it induces and the fact that you can hang back.

To be clear, this does give you more to do, and it does work in keeping the game fresh for a while…but as usual, it gets old towards the end, where they throw the same ghosts at you in different combinations and it gets irritating.

There is also a mechanic with water where the more wet you get, the more “vulnerable you are to ghosts”, which isn’t well communicated at all. You have an item that dries you off, which is fairly rare. You are often forced to wade through water or go through rain which soaks you immediately. I suppose this is meant to crank up tension, but for a while I didn’t notice the mechanic anymore, as it didn’t seem to matter…I only finally noticed it due to one ghost’s attack which seems to increase your wetness (lol) past the limit (lol), which sends you into a “tainted water” state where you lose health slowly and have to dry off. I did also eventually notice that spirit bits breaking off sometimes are purple, which if merged back with the ghost make them purple, and make them stronger. So you have to shoot the purple bits before they do. A bit more interesting, but again, not communicated well and ends up becoming inconsequential.

There are more outdoor areas this time – in fact that’s most of the game, which is another nice change of pace. There is an opening area pretty clearly based on the famed suicide forest, which seems almost like it might be an open world game, although most of it doesn’t go like that (which is fine, since it’s just a big map with ghosts and items here and there). They have really amped up the saturation in this one and done an almost silent era movie-type black corner filter, which makes for a very nice look, although since you have to look at the Wii U gamepad here and there it was a bit headache causing at first.

Oh right, that’s the big gimmick: The Wii U gamepad Is The Camera, so when you activate it, the screen doesn’t show the viewfinder, you have to either look down at the gamepad or bring it in front of your face first, then activate it. It suggests the latter, which I stuck to since it’s less discombobulating, if a bit annoying in some scenarios (catching passive ghosts, orienting yourself). In fact when it comes to orienting yourself, by the end I was often deactivating the viewfinder, with the gamepad still up to watch myself move on the screen, then turning it back on. Which is I suppose what you’re supposed to do??

The themes of the game are overall, well, pushing the limits a bit more – suicide is a pretty major subject, and you end up seeing quite a bit of it. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it, since its usage in other such things is often crass and poorly done, but there is a part towards the end that I think was very good (in a positive way), so I suppose it worked out.

Pacing wise, it’s better than some of the old ones. There is a house again, but you only appear in it at certain sections, and it’s used much more cleverly this time. But it also returns to dumping you back into different places when starting with characters – sometimes this is fine, other times they are blatantly making you redo sections and go through a ghost gauntlet to add 10 or 20 minutes here or there. It’s fine for a while, but gets more annoying towards the end, where I was going “Just end already!!” by then.

So I did like the main character and much of the supporting cast. But while the point of controversy at large is the edited bits, the even more controversial part for Fatal Frame fans is a particular aspect of the story – and it is an aspect that remained untouched, so it is for what it really is, not anything done to it. So uhhh, spoilers for Fatal Frame I, III, and V:

Spoiler Show
At the end of Fatal Frame, where main character Miku Hinasaki tries to find and rescue her brother Mafuyu from Himuro Mansion, and she does find him, but he sacrifices himself to ensure the gate to the netherworld remains closed.

In III, she is the assistant to main character Rei Kurosawa and one of the playable characters, who is distraught over her boyfriend’s recent death. The subtitle of the game is “The Tormented”, and indeed, they are both struggling to get over the deaths of their loved ones. But by the end, although they grieve, they learn to accept it and move forward (this is what is implied anyway).

In V, one of the playables is Miu Hinasaki, Miku’s daughter, by father unknown, to begin with anyway. This game takes place in 2006 apparently, and the original in the 80’s, so a fair bit of time has passed. Miku apparently went up to the mountain this game centers around, and Miu wants to find her, even though it’s been so long and the trail had gone cold a long time ago.

So now, a couple of things:
-It seems, despite the ending of III, Miku did not get over her brother’s death after all.
-She went up to this mountain where one of the themes is “Ghost Marriage”. Uh oh.
-When she comes back, she is still pretty young, because apparently, she didn’t age while she was in a ghost box. Well alright then. (Some people say she is actually dead and is “Bruce Willis”-ing it up, but I didn’t really see this suggested by the game)
-Miu is a “Shadowborn”, meaning she was born of kind of a virgin birth where someone’s “spirit” combined with Miku’s and created a baby. Uh oh!
-It turns out Miku got Ghost Married to Mafuyu. UH…OH.
-They do everything to make this clear short of outright saying “Miku had an incestuous baby with her brother and married him” – They acknowledge he is her brother, that he is her “beloved”, showing them getting Ghost Married…

So let me make this clear: Miku was actually so infatuated with her brother, the ending of III didn’t count and actually they conceived a baby through ghost stuff, maintaining precious anime girl character virginity, and got ghost married. To her brother. They had an incest baby with ghost stuff and got incest ghost married.

What the fuck?

WHAT the fuck??

WHAT the FUCK!!?!??!?!?

In case you didn’t read that spoiler, it contains variations of “what the fuck” in large letters. Yes, it is fucked up, and didn’t really need to be there at all, and pissed off quite a lot of fans and more or less ruined their favorite character. So to some degree, they offset what positive story stuff there was with its other (actual main) characters.

And yes, towards the end, as usual, the game manages to wear out its welcome, and ultimately the plot still mostly revolves around the usual “fill in the failed ritual stuff”.

After this, I will admit…I felt rather exhausted by the series ability to spoil all good will, and frankly, I’m not sure I’ll be too upset if this ends up being the last one. I mean…sure, if there’s another, I’ll probably play it, and I will root for them to make good games.

Oh, and there are some bonus chapters where you get to play as Ayane from Dead or Alive, where the flashlight comes back. It’s, sigh, stealth stuff, but fortunately if you don’t give a shit you can just run through the content in about two minutes each. Like really, two actual minutes. Yaaaay!!

So there you have it, all of Fatal Frame. An interesting, if fairly flawed series that doesn’t quite seem to be able to deal with its own weaknesses consistently enough. But it all did make for quite an engaging Halloween Horror marathon indeed.

…I’ll play the Spirit Camera 3DS spin off next year, okay???
I've only played the first three Fatal Frames. To this day, they remain the creepiest horror video games I've ever played. The second game is the best while the third was a bit disappointing (because of the reused areas from the first two games and the goddamn "noise" near the game's end).

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