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Fatal Frame series is one of those rare good horror games for PS2 that focus on ghosts and exorcism. The game is based on the Japanese exorcism rituals and is rumored to have inspired by a scary urban legend surrounding the Himuro Mansion in Japan. The mansion is infamous for being in the news for mysterious murders.
In Fatal Frame, you control Miku Hinasaki, the female protagonist who explores the haunted mansion to find her lost brother. The game has multiple endings, but there are only two possible conclusions in the PS2 version compared to the Xbox version, which has a third ending. Players have access to the most unusual weapons including a strange camera called Camera Obscura, which is capable of trapping spirits.
There are different types of film rolls that act as ammo for the camera. Each filmroll has different strengths and can be found in different areas of the haunted mansion. Fatal Frame lets you explore the mansion to encounter different types of spirits, some dangerous, others hostile but harmless. There are certain elements that can scare the daylights out of you, so please do not explore the mansion if you cannot tolerate gory scenes. All in all, Fatal Frame is a must to add in your horror games collection.
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Silent Hill 2
Released exclusively for the PlayStation, Silent Hill revolutionized the survival horror genre with its scary sound effects, unusual camera perspectives and the escape factor where players are given the option to flee any difficult situation. Silent Hill 2 takes the franchise to a completely new level with a new story, multiple endings and scary monsters.
Played from a third person perspective, Silent Hill 2 can give you the creeps when played alone with your headphones on. The atmospheric sounds are enough to provide a spooky experience. During combat situations, the character’s health decreases, but does not show in the game screen. Instead recurrent vibrations of the PlayStation 2 controller signify his lower health. There is no initial mini-map option, instead, players have to collect maps and view them only when there’s enough light. Alternatively, they can use a flashlight, but make sure the batteries aren't empty.
The game stresses more on exploration, object-interaction and puzzle solving elements. Players may get perplexed with occasional riddles, but they can be solved if logic is applied in solving these puzzles. Some locations in Silent Hill 2 are too scary to enter, let alone explore. These include the prison morgue, slaughterhouses and bloodstained bathrooms. The sound effects further enhance the scary experience. You will hear occasional blood curdling murmurs and unidentifiable sounds. If there is one horror game that plays with your mind, it is Silent Hill 2.
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Based on an ancient Japanese ghost story called Kwaiden, Kuon provides a perfect scary atmosphere once you on your headphones and turn out the lights. The dark, spooky mansion of Kyoto makes a perfect horror movie-like setting for Kuon.
The difference between PS2 survival horror games like Silent Hill 2 and Kuon is the control scheme. The latter takes advantage of the analog stick to control the character. Running is completely de-emphasized as it drains the character’s health and attracts more monsters. You can meditate to restore health and perform melee and magical attacks on your enemies.
The magic weapons in Kuon is reminiscent of spell cards used in several J-RPGs. Kuon uses two main magic cards: Summon and Spell. Summon cards can trap or attack creatures while Spell cards involve ice and fire spells. Kuon did not receive positive reviews, may be due to its repetitive gameplay. But that doesn't make the game any less scarier than games like Fatal Frame. Yes, there are some creepy parts that will give you a good dose of chills and thrills.
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Clock Tower 3
The Clock Tower series of survival horror games does not lay much emphasis on combat. It focuses more on stealth, escapes, and puzzle. The game can give you those scary, panicky moments because the protagonist has minimum access to weapons and is quite weak compared to the monsters in the game. Running away and finding a hiding place are some of the best ways to avoid being prey to their evil intentions.
Clock Tower 3 drifts away from other Clock Tower games. The game offers several tense moments like the original game, but does not involve the point and click interface. The first game to be directed by the famous film director Kinji Fukasaku, Clock Tower 3 revolves around the scary adventures of Alyssa, a teenager nearing her 15th birthday. The objectives are to defeat different monsters called Subordinates by using stealth and tactics. The game has different weapons like Sacred Bow, Holy Water and items such as Sigil Stone, Invisibility Band that can help you dodge, become invisible and attack monsters at the right occasion.
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Resident Evil 4
RE4 is a great example of a survival zombie shooter. However, this game is different from other Resident Evil games as it focuses more on action than puzzle solving. You step into the shoes of Leon Kennedy on a rescue mission to save US President Ashley Graham’s daughter. The game takes advantage of context-sensitive controls, which means you interact with the environment, such as using objects to defend against enemies, jumping past obstacles etc.
The PS2 version includes additional goodies, such as unlockable weapons, special cut-scenes. costumes and mini games like the Mercenaries and Separate Ways. However, the graphics are much inferior to the GameCube version. Still, it is quite a treat to play Resident Evil 4 and enjoy the immersive gameplay.
- All screenshots courtesy of their respective game designers