Earlier this year, Tecmo Koei announced the long-awaited next entry in its sleeper-hit franchise, Fatal Frame, entitled Project Zero: Nuregarasu no Miku (Fatal Frame: the Black-Haired Shrine Maiden). Shrine Maiden will be the fifth major entry in the series, which also includes a remake of the second game and a 3DS spin-off. Before Shrine Maiden hits store shelves later this year, let’s refresh our memories with a review of those six proceeding titles:
Fatal Frame (2001)
In search of his missing mentor Junsei Takamine, Mafuyu Hinasaki enters the long-condemned Himuro mansion, site of a mysterious ritual that Takamine was researching when he disappeared. Mafuyu quickly disappears himself, and it falls upon the shoulders of his younger sister Miku to venture into the decrepit mansion after him and unravel the mystery behind his and his mentor’s disappearances. She discovers that the mansion is haunted by the restless spirits of its former occupants, apparent victims of a ritual gone wrong, and that the only way to defeat them is exorcism via a special spiritually charged camera called the Camera Obscura. She also discovers that in the center of that darkness lies a young shrine maiden named Kyrie.
Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly (2003)
Appropriately, Fatal Frame Number Two is all about twins—namely the Amakura sisters Mio and Mayu as well as the Kurasawa sisters Yae and Sae. When Mio and Mayu were children, Mayu suffered an injury that has left her with a permanent limp. The cause of the injury? Mio’s reckless abandonment of her in the woods while playing. Though the two have remained close, the injury hangs between them like a heavy weight. The weight hangs especially low for Mio, who feels constant guilt for her sister’s condition and as a result has become very protective of her. When the two stumble upon the haunted All God’s Village and Mayu disappears, it’s up to Mio to battle her way through the village’s malevolent spirits and solve the mystery behind its curse, brought on by the defilement of an ancient ritual called the Crimson Sacrifice caused by Yae and Sae several years prior. A Japan-only remake of the game, called Fatal Frame II: Deep Crimson Butterfly, was released in 2012.
Fatal Frame III: The Tormented (2005)
A few years prior to the beginning of the game, photographer Rei Kurosawa lost her boyfriend Yuu in a car accident caused by her reckless driving. She has since lived with the guilty of causing Yuu’s death. One day, while working on assignment in the abandoned Kuze mansion, Rei is startled to discover Yuu in one of her photos from the shoot. She soon begins to have vivid dreams in which she is wandering the mansion and chased by the Tattooed Priestess, a malevolent entity covered in blue tattoos. Upon waking from these dreams, Rei discovered that she too is covered in blue tattoos—and that, as time goes on and the dreams continue, the tattoos are slowly beginning to take over her body. And she isn’t the only one: her assistant Miku (from the first game) as well as Kei Amakura (uncle to Mio and Mayu from the second game) is also experience the phenomena. They band together to solve the mystery of the mansion and tattoos before the dreams become a reality.
Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse (2007)
This fourth title (which sadly never saw release outside of Japan) starts off in the 70s, when serial killer Yo Haibara kidnaps sanitarium wards Ruka, Misaki, Madoka, Marie, and Tomoe. Fortunately, detective Choshiro Kirishima pursues the killers and rescues the five girls, but not before the they all lose their memories of exactly what happened during their time under Haibara’s thumb. Ten years later, when the girls are on the verge of adulthood, Marie and Tomoe die under odd circumstances, and Ruka, Misaki, and Madoka decide that it’s time to finally remember what exactly all those years ago. Together, with Dective Kirishima, the girls venture back to the island on which the sanitarium in which they were held when they were younger, unaware of the evil that they’ll find there.
Spirit Camera: the Cursed Memoir (2012)
This hum-ho 3DS spin-off features no true story but does include a story mode in which players use their 3DS as the Camera Obscura to capture spirits which have leaked over from a past reality in which the players’ real-life homes were the Old House. To seal the rift in time, players must battle through the ghosts “haunting” their real homes to find the Diary of Faces, a book that acts the gateway between the two times.