Fatal Frame

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Developed by
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PlayStation 2
PlayStation 3
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Miku Hinasaki is young girl with a strange sixth sense. Her brother, Mafuyu, and his mentor, Junsei Takamine, went to investigate a mansion that once was inhabited by a powerful landowner who had absolute control over the area. Unfortunately, they never returned from their investigation. Miku enters the mansion, armed with only an antique camera given to her by her deceased mother, to try to find her brother.

While inside the mansion, Miku will encounter ghosts and other spiritual apparitions. In order to overcome these spirits and survive, she must use the magical camera to capture the ghosts on film, thereby trapping them forever. Ghosts range from invisible fragments hidden in scenery, to memories of the past that appear only for a moment before vanishing, to full body apparitions that will attempt to attack and kill Miku.

In order to defeat an aggressive ghost the Camera Obscura's shot must first be "charged" by keeping the ghost centered while it is visible. If Miku snaps a shot while the ghost is attacking or is vulnerable then she will drain even more energy from it, resulting in more spirit points being earned. Points can then be spent to improve her camera's attributes or give it special abilities, like slowing a ghost or pushing it away. The Camera Obscura can also reveal clues and dispel illusions, which Miku will need to utilize to solve puzzles within the mansion.

The Xbox "Director's Cut" rerelease contains eleven new ghosts (only one of which must be fought), new unlockable costumes, a new difficulty level, and an additional ending.


Fatal Frame PlayStation 2 Investigating the mansion.
Fatal Frame PlayStation 2 Finding a notebook.
Fatal Frame PlayStation 2 The moon glows ominously over...
Fatal Frame PlayStation 2 Pictures of stranger things get you more points.

Alternate Titles

  • "零~zero~" -- Japanese spelling
  • "Rei Zero" -- Japanese title
  • "Project Zero" -- PAL title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it isn't there. PlayStation 2 Terrence Bosky (5226)
Brilliant PlayStation 2 ProjectShadow (4)
Fun & Creepy! Xbox Jordan Owen (15)
The Best! PlayStation 2 Jen Despain (2)
Big Let Down PlayStation 2 Robert C (7)

Critic Reviews

Eurogamer.net (UK) PlayStation 2 Sep 10, 2002 9 out of 10 90
GameSpy Xbox Oct 31, 2002 88 out of 100 88
Game Over Online PlayStation 2 Apr 10, 2002 83 out of 100 83
The Video Game Critic PlayStation 2 Oct 14, 2002 B+ 83
Gaming Target PlayStation 2 Mar 12, 2002 8.2 out of 10 82
Eurogamer.net (UK) Xbox May 02, 2003 8 out of 10 80
GameSpy PlayStation 2 May 31, 2002 80 out of 100 80
VicioJuegos.com PlayStation 2 Oct 05, 2008 79 out of 100 79
GameSpot PlayStation 2 Mar 08, 2002 7.8 out of 10 78
Gamekult Xbox May 05, 2003 7 out of 10 70


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The tagline of the North American release of Fatal Frame is "Based on a True Story." In an interview, the producer of Zero, Makoto Shibata, explains the story that inspired the game:

In an area outside Tokyo, there lies a mansion in which it’s said seven people were murdered in a grisly manner. On the same property, there lie three detached residences that surround the mansion, all of which are rumored to have ties to the mansion’s troubled past. It’s said there is an underground network of tunnels that lay beneath the premises, but nobody knows who made these tunnels or what purpose they served.

Many inexplicable phenomenon have been reported occurring on the property. Bloody hand prints have been found splattered all over the walls. Spirits have been spotted on the premises… even in broad daylight. A narrow stairway leads to an attic where a spirit-sealed talisman is rumored to be locked away. Men have sought this talisman, only to be found later with their bodies broken and rope marks around their wrists. There’s a crumbling old statue of a woman in a kimono, but its head is missing. If you take a photo of a certain window, a young girl can be seen in the developed picture.

These incidents have provoked fear in the people of Tokyo, and many believe that those who live near this area will become cursed. The deaths of those seven people are unexplained to this day."

Considering how this tagline does not appear on any other region's release, and how the only mention of the story appears online after Fatal Frame's release, this story was likely fabricated by TECMO's marketing division.


The developer of Fatal Frame, Tecmo, was quickly sued by the movie company behind Ghostbusters, claiming that the idea of capturing ghosts in a camera infringed upon the concept of Ghostbusters. The case was later dropped.


There's a novelization of the game. It's told from the viewpoint of Mafuyu Hinasaki and it's storyline is a little bit different. Unfortunately, its only in Japanese. It is called Zero: The Novel, ISBN 4840220654, available on The Japanese Amazon website.

Version differences

The European and American versions of the game differ from the Japanese version. The main character, Miku's appearance and outfit have been changed to represent more Western people rather than Japanese.

Information also contributed by Daedolon, Donatello, j.jones and Lain Crowley

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Contributed to by Fred VT (26028), Corn Popper (69570) and JPaterson (9118)