Retro Videogame: Fatal Frame II – Crimson butterfly

I know the game I’m looking back on, isn’t a “traditional retro” game.
But it certainly is a game from the past. Which I enjoyed. So if you like some survival J-horror games then you’ve stepped in to the right place.

Project zero or better known in the west as fatal frame, is a J-horror survival series game. Contrary to the image header, I haven’t played the Wii version. But the original X-box version which came out in 2004. The x-box version had some additional goodies thrown in, like a FPS mode, a shop at the end. In comparison to the PS2 version – which didn’t get the goodies I think. Now that’s out of the way, let’s begin.

For those of you that don’t or have never played the game. Here is a quick info for you. The fatal frame series isn’t your typical survival game, rather than having some gun or weapon(s) littered around the place. It uses something called a camera obscura. A camera that can see the unseen, and help you to beat nasty spiritual beings that are out to harm you. You do this by taking photos of them. There are several types of films, and each one do a certain degree of damage to the said beings. However to get max damage you have to really let them get close to you; this is called a fatal frame shot. However it can get tricky as they lunge at you, so be quick. Photos earn you points, which you can use to upgrade your camera. There are several iterations of the game – with the newest one being maiden of black water for the Wii U (I’ve played the trial version).

Fatal Frame shot!

Fatal Frame 2; crimson butterfly follows two twins named Mio and Mayu. They are at a childhood spot when Mayu wanders off to the fabled lost village. Mayu has a limp, this occurred due to a childhood accident. This village is said to be haunted – where the deceased villagers are reliving the event that brought them disaster over and over again. And anyone who goes there gets spirited away never to be seen or heard from again. The story mostly follows Mio – at times her sister joins you and then leaves you. As stated above she gets her hands on the camera and starts to use it, in hopes of solving the mystery of the damned village and saving her twin sister.

The twin shrine maidens: Mio and Mayu

I’ve said this at the beginning of the post, this is a J-horror survival game. It uses a lot, and I mean a lot of Japanese lores, mythos and dark Shinto rituals – which involves human sacrifice. The sacrifices of shrine maiden(s) seems to be a core theme in these games, as this was also part of a ritual in maiden of dark water, but I digress.

Crimson butterfly is truly one of the last great scary horror survival game. The atmosphere is eerie, creepy and down right scary when played with the lights off – yes I’m such a chicken, I played and completed the game with the lights on!!. The groans, moans made by the spirits – just brings the tension and scare factor a lot higher, as they move and disappear from view. So you have to to be sharp; if you want to get that fatal frame shot. The dilapidated village just adds to the atmosphere and tension to the game overall.

The down side I had with the game is that there were a lot of back tracking involved. However, to me it just added the tension and the enjoyment of the narrative. The game has several endings if I’m not mistaken. However I’ve only ever witnessed one of them. Too damn scared to re-play it again.

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