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Haunting Ground (PlayStation 2)

71
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4.0
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Written by  :  コナン (77429)
Written on  :  Jan 04, 2006
Rating  :  2.14 Stars2.14 Stars2.14 Stars2.14 Stars2.14 Stars

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Summary

Beauty and the horror

The Good

Right from when you start the game, one thing should catch you eye... the graphics. It can be so good at times that it's hard to believe it's not pre-rendered and that the game you're playing is still but a PS2 game. You are Fiona Belli, a young girl stranded on a God forsaken place filled with grotesque and dreadful motives. Wrapped up in a blood-stained blanket (yup, that equals barely naked alright ;) and caged like an animal, makes it hard to form any reasonable thought.

As you progress throughout the game, you'll befriend Hewie, a white german shepherd that will lend you a paw on your journey to freedom. A musical excerpt that plays as a Hewie's theme is quite nice. So, as Fiona slips into something more comfortable and realises she's not alone, you'll start exploring and searching for some answers... while being pursued by the current foe. The idea is not to fight it but to outsmart it, and you'll be able to issue commands to Hewie as the friendship between the two of you grows more and more. Boss battles are tricky and do not rely on any sort of direct approach, you need to use environment to your own aid.

The Bad

Many have compared this game to Clock Tower 3 and I can clearly see why. The game gives you no means to fight enemies which are usually bosses themselves that hunt you down as you try to solve sub-puzzle of the current scenario, and you can just run and hide. Both games are made by Capcom (which is a good thing, actually), and both center their strengths in diversion from typical horror-survival genre into delivering more fear and less ability to overcome it. This game stops being scary after shortwhile as the enemies are not looking scary but rather plain idiotic. Debilitas and Daniella are the first and only enemies that are at least somehow fitting the atmosphere, but the rest is simply adding a whole new silly layer to the game.

The story starts with an intriguing premise but turns into a total crap as you unravel some secrets, and solid graphic won't fix that by itself. The soundtrack (which becomes available to listen after finishing the game), is quite irritating aside from but a few musical excerpts. It can irritatingly fit nicely at times, but most of the way it just doesn't feel well neither while exploring nor when on the run. Dunno if this works well, but having an enemy chasing you non-stop just to give you some hard time while you're trying to solve something can be just as bothersome as random battles in role-playing games.

The Bottom Line

Again, I went trusting Capcom blindly and got myself hurt. First time it was Clock Tower 3, now it's Demento. I love horror-survival genre, but this sort of deviation just isn't so interesting, and hard from being fun. The game is basically consisted of a lot of running... usually away to save yourself. So that way looking, it gives you same feeling as that of playing the pacman game.

It's typical haunted-house synopsis we've seen in lots of bad movies already, except this covers more ground as it is set in castle, not just a small mansion. There is a bright side in all this, though... all of the goodguys stay alive... and by that I mean Fiona, Howie and Debilitas. And all three are acting it quite right up to their role, both voice and motion-wise. This game is by far not a competitor to Resident Evil 4 and such Capcom titles, but it doesn't try to be action-packed, maybe more focusing on a psychological fear than the physical one, and as bad as I consider them, both this game and Clock Tower 3 have something attractive in the moments yet I wouldn't play/get any of them if I knew what awaits me.