Fatal Frame, known in Japan as Zero (零～zero～) and in Europe as Project Zero, is a survival horror video game for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox consoles. It is the first game in the Fatal Frame series, and the only one to be rated T (teen) in North America.
The game revolves around the female protagonist, Miku Hinasaki, and progresses through four chapters (or "Nights"). As a result, players control her for most of the game except for the intro chapter, in which Mafuyu is a controllable character. The characters' strength is displayed in a life bar located in the lower left corner of the screen, and the game will end if the character's strength is drained completely. However, the character can find healing items throughout the progress of the game at different locations, which restore their strength to a certain extent. Plus, a special item called a Stone Mirror can be obtained by Miku in some parts of the game, which completely restores her strength automatically one time only if her strength bar is completely depleted. Miku and Mafuyu also have a flashlight to aid them in the exploration of the haunted mansion.
Miku's only weapon is the Camera Obscura, an antique camera passed down from her mother, which has the ability to damage and capture spirits. However, the camera also relies on "ammunition" - films, which prepare a certain amount of shots for the character. There are different types of films scattered throughout the mansion, and each type of film possesses a different strength. The camera also contains several special abilities, which must be unlocked using spirit points, which can be gained by capturing ghosts. These abilities, such as Paralyze and See, can aid Miku in fighting spirits that have different attacking patterns to the standard ghosts. During the game, Miku must explore the entire mansion and its grounds, and must obtain certain objects and solve puzzles in order to progress through sections of the game. During this time, Miku will encounter different types of spirits, either random or mandatory. Some spirits are friendly and will not attack Miku, but most are hostile. The chapters progress as Miku reaches a particular location, usually after completing a major segment of the chapter.
Game saving is done usually with the presence of a save point (which is a camera on a stand), an object that can be found in different parts of the mansion. The save point enables Miku and Mafuyu to save and restore film ammunition, as well as acting as an indicator for the presence of a nearby spirit. The game can also be saved at the end of each chapter. However, if a spirit is within range, the save point will be red which means the player cannot save until the spirit is defeated.
There are three possible endings to the game, the third of which is only available on the Xbox version of the game.
The game revolves around a girl named Miku Hinasaki, who in 1986, goes to the supposedly haunted Himuro Mansion to search for Mafuyu, her older brother. Mafuyu has been missing for almost one week, after visiting Himuro Mansion to look for his mentor, Junsei Takamine. He had also gone missing in the mansion, together with his assistant and editor, whilst conducting research for a new novel.
As Miku explores deeper into the mansion, she eventually learns about the dark secrets behind the enormous mansion and about the malignant spirit of Kirie, who had kidnapped Mafuyu because of his strong resemblance to her former lover, a young man who visited the mansion. Although Miku manages to rescue Mafuyu in the end of the game, Mafuyu tells her that he must stay at Kirie's side so that she will not be alone again. Afterwards, the underground cavern crumbles and Mafuyu disappears together with Kirie. After she escapes, Miku sees the entrapped spirits of the mansion being released and floating into the night air. There is an additional ending where Miku escapes with her brother who leaves Kirie behind in the cavern (although according to the events in Fatal Frame III, this is not considered canon). Either ending, Miku explains that after that day she stopped seeing things that normal people cannot see.
Fatal Frame has received mostly positive reviews, it is highly considered one of the scariest video games for the PS2[. ]
Truthfulness of the plot
Supposedly, the game is based around the true story and legends surrounding Himuro Mansion in Japan. The mansion is rumored to be the gruesome death site of a Japanese family and several of its associates a few decades ago. However, when asked, Makoto Shibata, the series producer, said the game was based on two old Japanese urban legends and ghost stories; he made no mention of the previous tales of the Himuro Mansion murders, which brings into question the factuality of this previous "basis" for the true story. It is also worth noting that the game was not explicitly advertised as being based on a true story in Japan, and that the "based on a true story" tag line was not used until Tecmo released the game outside of Japan.