Product Type: Tecmo Xbox games
Newest Review: ... she approches ever closer. Together again, day turns to night and a black and white filter engulfs the screen. Now lost, the two girls edge... more
... ....... ............I don't want to play anymore.
Fatal Frame 2 / Project Zero 2 - Crimson Butterfly (Xbox)
Member Name: AverageJoseph
Fatal Frame 2 / Project Zero 2 - Crimson Butterfly (Xbox)
Advantages: Surroundings, Plot, Enemies, Sounds, Camera & Album
Disadvantages: Lighting, Repetitive, Dialogue, Controls
Project Zero 2: Crimson Butterfly: Directors Cut (Origins)
A couple of years after playing the first of Tecmo's Fatal Frame series, I wandered into my local game store and found this grinning at me on the shelf. I had got fairly far into the first game, but seeing as I was still getting used to the original Xbox console, I was far busier playing the likes of Halo with friends and KOTOR alone.. Plus I was probably stuck on one of the games tough enemies or trivial minigames.. Anyway, this time around, 2 restored my interest enough to pay more attention and get an eyeful of one of the scariest games on the system. When gamers think of titles in the horror genre (for xbox & ps2), the top results are usually Resident Evil & Silent Hill. Although, unlike both of those games, there is significantly less physical gore. PZ2 plays on the nerves, making you question your eyesight, hearing and bravery as you attempt to tackle a fantastically creepy story. The first game's plot revolved around a young woman searching for her brother who had set out to explore an old mansion, encountering ghosts and monstrosities along the way. 2 sticks with the lost sibling idea, however this time, is far more menacing.
"Didn't we always promise each other... that we would always be together forever" (Plot)
The very first introductory video stars two young twin girls, Mio & Mayu taking a break in a secluded forest near a pleasant little stream. The pair reminisce about their location, (soon to be destroyed by the building of a dam) revealing that Mayu had an accident that left her leg weak due to the negligence of Mio. Suddenly, in the middle of a question, Mayu strolls off... drawn out deeper into the forest by a crimson butterfly... well actually is more lava orangey than crimson... Anyway Mio easily catches up to her limping sister, seeing troubling images as she approches ever closer. Together again, day turns to night and a black and white filter engulfs the screen. Now lost, the two girls edge their way towards a once lost village, blanketed in endless night. Things grow increasingly worrying as both girls witness spirits wandering around and find mysterious documents lying about one of the houses... along with the fabled 'Camera Obscura' - a device used to see and capture spirits on a different plane. Just in time too, as unsettling noises arise from the next room! After combatting and escaping several ghosts, Mio & Mayu find several diaries, newspaper clippings and tomes all divulging on one thing - 'The Crimson Sacrifice' Ritual. This is where the game gets seriously grim. Every so often, this ritual must be performed in the village to 'appease the Hellish Abyss'. To do so, twins must partake in a cruel ceremony, to keep the location safe from this 'Abyss' - by having one twin kill the other. The last attempt was a failure, as one twin simply ran away, abandoning her sister, who would suffer the same fate regardless. It appears that the previous sacrifice was insufficient and so the ghosts of the past, including Sae, the sacrificed twin, spilled out into the village and went on a murderous rampage. With Mayu showing signs of possession, you (Mio) must follow her exploits whilst attempting an escape.
Cameras, Herbal Medicine, Spirit Orbs & Miniskirts (Gameplay)
One thing that the PZ series has made trademark is the idea of having the main protagonists as young, naive girls. So instead of traversing the horror as a bulky bloke with a machine gun or 2x4, you float about like a little powder puff, raising your arms as you daintily jog away from moaning bloodthirsty demons. This lack of self preservation and pace makes every escape a close call, every fight even more one-sided. The games viewpoint is normally stable, with a clear shot of an area which you can navigate in 3rd person. This is one of the many reasons why playing can be a nail-biting affair because you often turn corners blind, unknowing to what lurks beyond. Thanks to this view style, the surrounds are of far greater detail as they aren't really intractable (so they have been illustrated, painted and look far better than anything computer generated - in 2003). To battle the ghosts, the game switches to first person mode as you ogle your opponents through the camera lens. Again, with this switch of view comes more suspense as now, ghosts can circle around behind you, pop in and out of walls and doorways, grabbing you by the ghoullies. To damage the spirits, you simply take photos - the better the photo, the more damage dealt, along with stronger film, spirit power and lenses. The majority of the game is endlessly searching dark rooms and creaking buildings for, Mayu, Safety and Answers. There is a bit of reading to do - albeit interesting & insightful, puzzles which require patience and more hunting down items - and of course ghost fights getting tougher with each reel. You can come across a couple of different items such as medicine for healing and new equipment (camera abilities to slow, stun and knock back spirits), but the majority of useful goods are orbs to power up the camera, which are essential to spend points gained from photos - which by the way are viewable in an album, which is nice.. or a traumatic memory.
Lightning Bolts & A Bloody Kimono (Ghosts & Environments)
Like the characters, ghosts and story, the locations are equally frightening. You're neither safe in or outdoors as there are likely to be creatures waiting for both. Outside there are chilling ideas used in many stories such as a well, which is heavily strapped down and closed, a misty graveyard, fogged bridges and underground passages. Indoors you've got dimly lit rooms adorned with traditional Japanese luxuries and clothing plus the odd blood spatter. Lightning often cracks into life when you pass by windows, lighting up rooms and its contents. The sounds are yet another positive (besides the voice acting which is rather generic) not always having a clear melody in the background, its usually whirling wind and cool air, but when things get serious you'll hear a heartbeat and the cries of anguish from the trapped souls. The silence makes it far more tense as you're expecting things to leap out and get you for long periods and as you settle down, contorted ghosts head your way and get the heart racing again. There are 25 different attacking ghosts you can come across, but unfortunately several look similar and are a bit uninspiring. Consequently, it is the ghosts who look most human that are the scariest, often with disfiguring scars and broken limbs - not that they are distracting them from tearing you apart. The ghosts 'Yae' & 'Sunken Woman' are some real terrors, one a little girl covered in blood, cackling away atop grotesque strewn corpses, the other bubbles up and floats innocently on the surface of a lake you must cross, inevitably getting closer and revealing her lifeless face upon attack.
The Lingering Scent (End)
This Xbox version features 4 endings, which is one more compared to the PS2 version, although not one I particularly care for. The 4 conclusions all vary in mood and offer real choices that people would consider. These endings can make for better longevity, but I think for most, 1 play through is enough as others must be done on harder difficulties, and its stressful enough on normal as save points are scarce. Its definitely a fright fest, but if you have no time for the spiritual side of horror than you could breeze through the game only picking up a couple of scares from the jumpy moments. Get engrossed in the story though and the game works its magic. If you had to kill your twin whilst being eyeballed by a village of evil ghosts, would you? or would you do what I'd do, LEG IT!
Summary: Terrifying game with a brilliant story, let down by bits & bobs
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