Whether it’s books, films, or games horror is always my favourite. The sad thing is that the more I indulge my love of horror the harder it is to find anything that can truly scare me. In my long history of gaming there is one game that has reduced me to nervous wreck, one game that made get up turn on the lights and check that the house was locked up tight. It’s a game that has almost as many names as it had releases. Whether you know it as Project Zero II or Fatal Frame II it is one of the most unsettling horror games ever released and a great choice for any horror fan.
You may be forgiven for not knowing much about this series. Despite the success of the first two games in the series the third and fourth installments remained in Japan leaving us with a long wait before Project Zero V finally released on Wii U this month. The Project Zero games are a series of Japanese survival horrors from Tecmo that centre on the idea of the Camera Obscura, a camera that is able to see and capture spirits. In the second installment, Crimson Butterfly, the Amakura twins, Mio and Mayu, wander into the Lost Village of Minakami. Legends tell that the Lost Village was once the home of the ‘Crimson Sacrifice Ritual’. When the villagers failed to perform the ritual the entire village vanished never to be seen again. In the village Mio and Mayu become separated and Mio stumbles upon the famed Camera Obscura. Trapped alone in a mysterious village haunted by violent spirits Mio must find her sister and attempt to escape before she learns a little too much about the dark past of Minakami.
The game boasts an unusual combat system that force you to hold your nerve and time your attacks. The Camera Obscura is your weapon and you defeat the spirits by photographing them. The better focused the image and indeed the closer the shot the more damage you will deal. A good picture will also help to stun the spirit so waiting for the perfect moment and letting them get close may actually be the best way to keep them away.
The game was first released on 2003 on PlayStation 2 before getting released on the original Xbox in 2004. Since then the series was purchased by Nintendo becoming exclusive to their systems. While horror fans could choose to pick up the brand new Project Zero V my recommendation would be to pick up the Wii Edition of the second game . Released in 2012 this version of the game includes two new endings and thanks to Wii U backwards compatibility you won’t even need a Wii to play it. This game is certainly not one for the weak willed however and tops the charts in any “scariest games” lists. This is one of the scariest games of all time, if not the scariest, so turn off the lights, put on the surround sound and see how long you can last.