Haunting Ground

aka: Demento
Moby ID: 18429
PlayStation 2 Specs
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Description official description

In Haunting Ground you play as Fiona Belli, a young girl who has lost her memory. She awakens in a basement of a strange castle, and soon learns that a car accident has taken away the lives of her parents. She is told that the has inherited the castle she found herself in. However, the castle inhabitants are, for various reasons, not very happy to see Fiona as the new owner. Soon she realizes that she must fight for her life, and the only creature she can trust is a dog called Hewey, who will be her faithful companion on her perilous adventure.

Haunting Ground is a horror game that centers around avoiding combat and escaping from your enemies. Fiona can fight, but usually she is too weak to defeat her foes in combat, so she will have to run away, hide, and use items as distraction until the enemy loses sight of her and she is able to continue exploring. The most important gameplay tool is your dog. You can issue commands to the dog, telling him to scout a room for you, warn you of upcoming enemies, defend you in battle, pick up items, etc. The dog will obey or disobey you depending on how you develop your relationship with him. If you are nice to the dog, pet him and give him food, he will follow your commands more efficiently.


  • デメント - Japanese spelling
  • 狂城丽影 - Chinese spelling (simplified)

Groups +



Credits (PlayStation 2 version)

259 People (243 developers, 16 thanks) · View all

Executive Producer
Draft Scenario
Lead Designer
Lead Programmer
Lead Background Designer
Background Designers
Lead Character Designer
Character Designers
Motion Designers
[ full credits ]



Average score: 71% (based on 25 ratings)


Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 19 ratings with 3 reviews)

Pushing your comfort zone.

The Good

  • Lots of detail in menu pages, interesting interface.
  • Logically built locations.
  • Breakable objects were an interesting addition.


  • Very good light sources for the PS2.
  • Texture mapping, cloth flapping is exceptional.
  • Atmosphere is nailed perfectly; the older furniture of the castle, the newer touches like a television set - all very realistic.
  • Character designs (faces, bodies) are well done.


  • No complaints, but no compliments. Not at all memorable. Except the dog sounds Japanese, funny how that works, isn't it?


  • I liked the blend of Japanese themes in a western/European setting.
  • I enjoyed the adult story, the creepy factor of it, but...
  • A lot of the cinematic sequences are well shot, which ads to the story.

The Bad

  • If you're willing to read the essay at the bottom, you'll find my main beef.
  • Some of the 'alchemy' components are the least believable part of this game, which is mainly grounded in reality.
  • The dog's AI is not as complex as it could be.
  • The 'fainting' aspect of the game still annoys me, if you want to make a compelling game with a vulnerable character - how about a person in a wheel-chair? Do something progressive instead of portraying a healthy female character in this way!
  • The 'rush', 'push', and 'kick' moves seem like wonderful tools, but knowing when and if you can use them to over-come obstacles is not at all straightforward. I wasted a lot of time trying to push over a bookcase because it was difficult to tell if I could do it or not.


  • Given the tone of the game some of the graphical feats like having Fiona's breasts jiggle and sway are a little out of place. I'm not arguing against realism, but it's a very exaggerated animation. Again, if she were a Clarice Starling or Lara Croft style character I'd get behind this, but she's more like friggin' Chi from Chobits.


  • I've got nothing to say, it made no impression on me either way.


  • This is really the gem of the game, it is written so much better than Resident Evil, and yet let down in places by poor localization by Capcom Europe staff. I don't mean they left a bunch of Engrish in there, I mean that the Japanese themes can and will be awkward to Western audiences. It just didn't feel right to me, I got the impression that this character is supposed to have great appeal and I'm to care for her, but she mainly just annoyed me with her ineptitude and ignorance.

The Bottom Line

There is a prevailing mindset to the vast majority of games released in the last 20 years (yes, the 90's are now 20 years ago, hard to believe), and when I started to play Haunting Ground I was suddenly put outside of that comfortable mindset.

The first feeling I had was emasculation, I felt very powerless and weak. This differs from feeling in awe of your enemies or obstacles as in Devil May Cry. In almost any other game you are given a character who is more capable than yourself, a wish fulfilment avatar that you will enjoy playing as because you admire them. My emasculation had nothing to do with being asked to play a female character, but rather how the character is portrayed in the opening and the first few hours of play - I do not think I have ever been asked to play as such a frail person. Let me give you an example of how disconcerting it was; there are segments in Resident Evil 2 where you play as Sherry Birkin, a 9 year old girl. Sherry is more of a competent character than Fiona, capable of shooting a 9mm handgun, and to my mind is much more realistic.

When I found out (through play) that enemies cause you to experience a state of panic, from which you can faint due to stress... I sat with a still controller for a few minutes debating whether I wanted to continue. Obviously I did, and the story was worth it, but one of the main reasons I play games (especially role playing or adventure) is for escapist fantasy - and that need was not being met here. That's not to say I need to play as a phallic-sword toting muscle-bound man-hulk to enjoy a game, but that I felt more engaged playing Ecco the Dolphin than I did this.

So if the mindset isn't wish fulfilment fantasy (and I don't believe that it would be for either gender) what is the allure of the game-play? From the way the opening is orchestrated with partial nudity and up-playing the weak and feminine nature of the protagonist (who has a body that doesn't match her personality at all, women who look like that in any society are much more self-confidant unless they suffer from mental abuse) - this is a game aimed at the male demographic with the allure being to protect and guide the beautiful, shy girl to safety.

From what I understand of Japanese romance (and sexuality), this character is fulfilling the ideal submissive role. While I understand the appeal of protecting a character, and have enjoyed doing so in other Japanese games like Ico and the segment with Emma in MGS:2, the payoff is much greater when you play as the character protecting someone instead of playing as a frail character. I think they wanted the player to develop a dependency on the male dog 'protector' figure, but I don't believe it came off quite right. If the player switched controls between Fiona and Howie for exploration and battle respectively I think I might have enjoyed it more.

Bottom Line: It's a very different game, it has a different mindset that sets it apart from other games presented in the 3rd person direct-control Isometric. The story is interesting, the characters are well thought out. I could do without some (okay, a lot) of the over-sexualizing and objectifying of Fiona; she's a weak character and it just seems wrong to do that - Lara Croft is also a very sexualized character, but it fits on Croft because she's a strong character who is confident in her sexuality. Fiona seems almost mentally deficient for her age, ignorant of sexuality (again the Japanese ideal at play), and completely helpless. I say give this game a chance if you are intrigued by the screenshots and the several reviews, try to get a good deal on it though.

PlayStation 2 · by Kyle Levesque (904) · 2011

One of the best survival games I've played.

The Good
The graphics are pretty nice in this game, so the whole entire idea of being in a creepy mansion works out pretty well. The beginning environment of the game is pretty awesome looking and designed well, so it all fits to the situation.

The enemies in the game, at least the first two were interesting characters and I liked all of the cut scenes including them and I always wanted to re watch them.

After beating the game you unlock some of the alternate costumes, which in all honesty doesn't make you want to play all the way through the game again, but it does make a nice touch if you really want to go through it a second time.

The game kept my interest and did get harder in the later stages in the game when the areas required you to search through more rooms and backtrack to others while having less and less places to hide, which provides an always welcome challenge.

Having Hewie along for the duration of the game is a nice feature because if by yourself you don't have a very high chance of defeating the current bad guy or running away to a safe spot. Although sometimes the AI could be rather slow and not respond when you absolutely need it.

The Bad
This game shouldn't really be counted as a "survival horror". Never once did it have me frightened, though sometimes when running from the enemy my heart did race a little bit. But never once did the game "scare" or "creep" me out at all. It should be more of an action/adventure.

Since you never really know what exactly you have to do you can run around for a long period of time trying to figure it out and when you finally do and have completed a small chunk of the game you could have a random encounter to come and mess it all up. Which could become rather tiresome and boring if you have to keep running back and forth across the entire castle trying to find a key or activate something.

The random encounters can also be rather annoying at times, they can be spaced far apart, or you could have a couple of them within a small lapse of time, sometimes being caught at the wrong time, such as when you're trying to complete the current task and you have to run away and hide then go all the way back and do it again.

The AI for Hewie could be troubling at times, because there is nothing worse than when your enemy is standing over you and you need him to rescue you before the dreaded game over screen and he just stands there and doesn't respond to any of your commands.

Having items isn't really all that helpful either, unless they're the rare ones that help you restore you stamina or reduce your panic. Items that are meant to "help" you don't work very effectively because they can be hard to aim up at the enemy or even extremely useless against them.

And finally the middle and later stages of the game just felt weird, and looked weird too. It didn't seem as fun anymore with the weird architecture and room designs.

The Bottom Line
The game does have some severe setbacks that can get quite annoying over time, but the game kept my interest almost all of the time. And not knowing when you could be attacked really helped with the experience, so that you always had to memorize where a hiding spot was or where you could have enough room to fight. Overall I would recommend this game to anyone that might be interested in it, even though most other people didn't think very highly of it.

PlayStation 2 · by Satsyrc (6) · 2008

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.

PlayStation 2 · by MAT (240793) · 2012


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Unicorn Lynx.

PlayStation 3 added by Alaka.

Additional contributors: Sciere, Alaka, DreinIX.

Game added July 16, 2005. Last modified November 19, 2023.