How many times has a game actually been horrifying? Not scary, not intense-not Resident Evil monsters jumping from off-camera at inopportune moments, and not Silent Hill running through a poorly-lit, blood-soaked wasteland-but actually horrifying?
I agree with Mike in finding that Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly is one of the scariest, most unsettling game experiences around but only when I wasn't being bored out of my mind by the game's busywork and glacial pace. I do share our horror maven's sadness at seeing such a promising title go astray, but I'm not quite as forgiving as he is.
I was primarily disappointed with Legacy of Kain: Defiance for reasons that Brad lights upon. For me, the game fatally stumbles where it fails to demonstrate any meaningful improvement over its prequels. Despite our general agreement about gameplay however, Brad does gloss over what I felt was a notable triumph—the game's compelling gothic landscape.
Game Description: Join anti-Umbrella search and pursuit team agent, Bruce MacGavin, as he encounters a new layer of Umbrella's insidious activities. In this all-new Resident Evil first-person action-shooter, you must search, sneak and use battle moves to regain control of a sea-jacked cruise ship lost in the Atlantic. And should you find yourself trapped amongst hordes of zombies and mutant beasts, your aim better be dead on or you're gone!
The series lack of imagination is one of the reasons that make Resident Evil: Dead Aim, the eighth title bearing the franchise moniker, such a delightful surprise. What separates Dead Aim from its predecessors is instantly obvious since it is first and foremost a lightgun game that employs the Namco Guncon 2 accessory for the full experience.
Game Description: Based on a true story, Fatal Frame, a horror adventure game, leaves its victims breathless as they become immersed in a world full of supernatural spirits and sheer terror. Guided by her sixth sense and armed only with an antique camera, Miku sets out to solve the mystery of her brother's sudden disappearance. As the story unfolds, she discovers gruesome details about the Himura mansion's troubled past. The property and surrounding area have a dark history involving grisly murders, an evil cult, and restless spirits.
This use of music and sound is perhaps the greatest strength of Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly, the sequel to Tecmo's underrated survival horror offering Fatal Frame. While Crimson Butterfly never wants for a gruesome or terrifying visual, it's the audio component of the game that makes it so creepy. As it stands, the game is a veritable primer on how to use sound to create atmosphere in a horror game.
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