Frame, as a series, doesn't so much shock or horrify
as much as it gives you the creeps as it chills you
to the bone. There are some moments of sheer terror
but gentlemen should always keep in mind that the
majority of lead characters are girls, so screaming
or crapping your pants would be bad form.
Frame III: The Tormented explores more of the Japanese
style of horror in the vein of The Ring. There is
something more emotional in the Japanese horror genre
that gets into one's psyche like a virus. It's more
personal and psychological with an underlying occult
element that makes just about anything seem plausible.
Fatal Frame series has been consistent so far, although
Crimson Butterfly was a bit esoteric. The Tormented
attempts to wrap things up for the series offering
some opaque excuses that you may or may not buy. It
also leaves things open enough for another sequel.
And who can blame them? Milk that ghastly cash cow
until it bleeds evaporated milk - and then serve it
to the ghosts.
Kurosawa, (who cares about the last name anyway?)
is a photographer that had the supernatural misfortune
of photographing her deceased boyfriend when on assignment
to explore a haunted house. Rei is also disturbed
by vivid nightmares of tormented souls encircling
an ancient graveyard. It seems that her dreams are
inextricably linked with reality. You will pass through
two different dimensions, alternating between the
two throughout the game. You can't progress in one
world unless you accomplish your missions in the other.
No ice cream until you eat your carrots. How horrible.
most horror survival games there is a lot of exploring
and puzzle solving. The puzzles are basic and are
typically fetch-quests to find keys to open locked
doors. There is a lot of backtracking that slows the
overall pace down but nothing slows the game down
more than controlling your character. There are three
characters including Rei, Kei and the star of the
last game, Mika. These characters couldn't outrun
a beheaded turtle. You will end up taking some unnecessary
hits especially from off-screen ghosts simply because
you can't make quick, reflexive moves. Thankfully
you have your camera - more on that later.
only are the characters sluggish but the game is very
fussy about triggering events. You have to be standing
in the perfect spot to do things such as open a door
or pick up a key. Sometimes I left a room believing
it was a dead end only to have to go back through
the process of elimination. You have to get right
in front of the area in question and face it at the
exact perspective. It's not forgiving. You'll end
up moving around and around like a dog winding his
way down to the carpet to take a nap.
of the three characters will become playable in later
parts of the game. Kei is a man, in case you can't
tell with such a strange Japanese unisex name. He's
the strongest and can be used to move boxes and tiles.
Miku is the hot dame from the old game. I never tire
at looking at her legs. She's smaller and wiry which
allows her to get into hard-to-reach areas. She also
has spiritual powers which helps her to keep the ghosts
at bay. The best defense against the aggressive spirits
is the camera the Rei possesses. It captures their
souls and renders them powerless. You have to be fast
with this thing as you may only get a quick glimpse.
This is where some of the fright comes in because
if you fail to capture a spirit it will come back
to haunt you. The camera can be upgraded so you will
want to capture as many spirits as you can to earn
the points to purchase upgrades.
environments are perfect. They are dark and unusual.
It looks like centuries since a living being has set
foot in them yet they still reflect traces of lives.
Tormented lives, but lives nonetheless. Graphically
the game has been significantly upgraded. There is
more detail to the characters especially in facial
expressions which are guaranteed to chill you to the
core. You can literally read the pain and suffering
on the faces of the ghosts. The music works in tandem
with the visuals to foreshadow events and make terrifying
ones even more so. It also ebbs, yielding a sparse
ambience that lets your imagination run wild in between
live in a house that is 100 years old. It's big, old
and kind of creepy. It has a basement that no normal
person would ever want to spend half-an-hour in alone
in the dark. The way I can tell if this is a good
game or not would be to imagine playing it in my house,
alone, after midnight - and not even in the basement.
I can imagine it, but I won't be doing it. In that
case I guess that Fatal Frame III passes the test.