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PROJECT ZERO

Survival horror, with a camera?
 
Publisher: Wanadoo
Developer: Tecmo
Price: 39.99
Players: 1
Out: September
Web Site: http://www.tecmo.co.jp/product/zero/

60Hz mode: Yes
Widescreen: No
Surround Sound: No
 
This survival horror game doesn't have a zombie/demon in sight, instead the game you is full of ghosts. The ghosts in the game are spirits of people who have been subjected to terrible ritual abuse, torture, strangulation and hangings. They haunt the Himuro house, a derelict, creaking and dark home in the mould of the Amityville variety.
The plot is as follows, Mafayu, and investigating journalist, visits the notorious house to try and uncover the truth behind the secrets of it's past. Needless to say he enters the house but doesn't come out. After being missing for nine days Mafayu's sister Miku goes to search the mansion and find her sibling. The opening level is played in disturbing black and white. In this first level you play Mafayu, taking his last steps before his disappearance. The screen fades to white and you then take control of Miku standing in the same spot as her bother disappeared, only now in colour.
What makes this survival game stand out from the rest is the combat system. Your arsenal consists of one camera that boats supernatural powers. Each click of the shutter takes a proportion of power from the spirit, the closer the spirit is to the lens the more damage it takes. The camera is not only a weapon, it also gives you the ability to reveal hidden images in doors and walls, and remove talismanic powers from certain areas. Exploring the Himuro mansion is genuinely tense and disturbing. It's difficult to see clearly because there's not much light and Miku's torch only illuminates a small area of your surroundings. This leads to shadows and objects scattered around the room taking on strange shapes that could, out the corner of your eye, be mistaken for ghosts.
Enhancing the atmosphere are the sound effects, knocks, creaks, static, chanting and babies crying add to the tense environment. Strategically placed mirrors make you jump before you realize it's your own reflection. The ghosts come in both 2D and 3D forms, but all have a fuzzy, transparent quality, complete with eyeless faces. Some are children, others are headless or have dreadful wounds.
The games structure is compulsive and intriguing enough to give anyone who enjoys adventure based explore-'em-ups a good ten hours of play. There is a problem with collision detection in certain parts of the game. You could try to walk across a room only to be stopped by an invisible force. The game can also be slow-paced in parts.
 
The Verdict:
 
Graphics: 8
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 8
Lifespan: 7
Overall: 8/10

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