In lieu of the announcement of the new Fatal Frame on the Wii U, we felt it might be a good time to revisit the origins of the legendary horror franchise - the original Fatal Frame. The game that utilized the bizarre concept of taking pictures to defend yourself that has made a come back in recent games ala DreadOut, as one example.

Fatal Frame has an insidious reputation for being one of the scariest game series in all of horror history. It is very rare to find a top X scariest horror games of all time list without seeing its sequel, Crimson Butterfly, being scribbled in tears.

So, what is it that makes the original the bad great grandmother that it is? Much like SHODAN is the terrifying great grandmother to GladOS, Fatal Frame kicked off its legacy here in a haunted, Japanese manor full of expertly designed and horrifying tormented souls. To keep this spoiler free: you go there to find your missing brother and shennanigans happen, in essence.

The spirits are absolutely gorgeous in how hideously tormented they are. Every movement, sound and their aggressiveness is something to be admired. What's worse? The player is forced to get directly in their face with the Camera Obscura if they hope to survive.


Fatal Frame Gameplay Screenshot


Surviving isn't easy, either. Staying calm and letting the ghosts come to you is even harder. The incredible sound design of the wailing, tormented cries for help are a shining example of how important sound is to a horror game.

With a recent playthrough, even the hardcore here shed a whimper.

OK, many whimpers.

A few screams, fine! When a game as old as this one can still manage that when numerous other titles, even newer ones, have failed, earns it a permanent spot in the traumatized psyches of our staff.

In all seriousness, there is every reason in the world to go back and replay this classic, especially with Halloween season creeping up on us. Go back for some terror-nostalgia - you won't be dissapointed.


Fatal Frame

Our Score


  • What's Good

  • Visuals
  • Sound Design
  • Scare factor
  • Controls
  • Environment
  • Atmosphere
  • What's Bad

  • Difficulty can be a bit unfair at times
  • FMVs haven't aged well
Rate This Game

Amber E. Colyer




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