Absolute Horror Wiki
Advertisement
Fatal Frame Coverart.png

Fatal Frame, known in Japan as Zero and in Europe as Project Zero, is a survival horror video game developed by Tecmo for the PlayStation 2. The first installment in the Fatal Frame / Project Zero series, it released in 2001 in Japan and 2002 in North America and Europe. An enhanced port for the Xbox was released in 2002 in North America and 2003 in Japan and Europe. The game was published for both systems by Tecmo in Japan and North America. In Europe, the PlayStation 2 version was published by Wanadoo, and the Xbox version by Microsoft. It was re-released in North America on the PlayStation Network in 2013.

Set in the year 1986, the story follows siblings Miku and Mafuyu Hinasaki. When Mafuyu disappears while searching for a famous novelist in the haunted Himuro Mansion, his sister Miku goes to find him. During her exploration of the mansion, she discovers clues as to the fate of those who entered, must fight hostile ghosts, and discover the truth behind a dark ritual that took place there. The gameplay focuses on the siblings exploring the mansion, and fighting off hostile ghosts using a special camera.

Development began after the PlayStation 2 hardware was introduced to Tecmo, using the codename "Project Zero". The concept was created by Makoto Shibata based on his own spiritual experiences. Together with producer Keisuke Kikuchi, Shibata worked on creating the scariest gaming experience possible. Multiple aspects of its style and production were influenced by this development wish. Under its working title by then in 2001, it was eventually confirmed for release in Western territories a month after its Japanese release, where it was marketed as being based on a true story. The game received generally positive reviews, while the port drew praise for its improved visuals. As of 2015, four more games in the Fatal Frame series have been released.

Plot

The story, set in the year 1986, focuses on Miku and Mafuyu Hinasaki, siblings with the ability to see supernatural events. When Mafuyu disappears in the haunted Himuro Mansion searching for his tutor Junsei Takamine and his assistants, Miku goes to Himuro Mansion. As she explores the mansion, Miku discovers signs that Takamine's party were killed by the mansion's ghosts, and finds rope burns appearing on her wrists and ankles. Further exploration through the mansion turns up information on a dark ritual that took place within Himuro Mansion: a chosen shrine maiden was torn apart using ropes attached to her limbs and neck in the so-called "Strangling Ritual", then the ropes that killed her were used to seal the Hell Gate, a portal to the afterlife that keeps a dark force known as "the Malice" and the dead from escaping into the living world.

The last time the ritual was performed, the sacrifice was Kirie Himuro. Shortly before she took part in the ritual, she fell in love with a visitor to the mansion. Fearing that Kirie would not want to perform the ritual, the Master of the Himuro Mansion has the visitor killed and lies to Kirie, telling her that the visitor has left. However, she does find out the visitor's fate and as feared does not want to perform the ritual. This caused the ritual to fail and the Malice to leak out, killing everyone in Himuro Mansion and causing the ghosts to remain there and attack anyone who explored there. Mafuyu was captured by Kirie due to his resemblance to her lover. Miku finally reaches the chamber of the Hell Gate, where she confronts Kirie's corrupted spirit. With her spirit calmed using an artifact called the Holy Mirror, Kirie accepts her duty as the Rope Shrine Maiden, keeping the Malice at bay for eternity. The ending then diverges depending on the game's difficulty. In the "Normal Mode" ending, Mafuyu stays behind with Kirie to keep her spirit company while Miku escapes the mansion. In the "Hard Mode" ending, Kirie convinces Mafuyu to escape with his sister. In both endings, the spirits trapped in the mansion are freed, while Miku loses her sixth sense. A third ending, exclusive to the Xbox version, sees the spirits of Kirie's lover returning to her while Miku and Mafuyu escape. According to staff, the first ending is canon and leads into the events of the third game.

Advertisement