Project Zero Review: The Mask of the Lunar Eclipse

By | May 9, 2023

That Project Zero: Lunar Eclipse Mask It’s a great opportunity for both series and genre devotees and young horror fans alike to get the industry back on a path that isn’t consumed by cheap imitators.

Japanese horror is that interstitial genre that has influenced Western pop culture to an inordinate degree. The introduction is inevitable, so that the reader perceives -even with a small sample- the cultural elements that can be aroused by the simple observation and study of video games. For the purposes of this brief review, we will be focusing on the Silent Hill and Fatal Frame/Project Zero series of games. In stark contrast to Silent Hill, for which Judeo-Christian elements were used in a “twisted” way to represent a hierarchy incomprehensible to the Japanese, but also the only form of salvation advocated by the monotheistic religions of the West, Fatal Frame/Project La Zero series always focused on Japanese folklore and the redefinition of the Japanese spirit and identity after the collective trauma and alienation suffered especially after World War II.

Very briefly and succinctly, Japanese “religion” (the term “religion” is problematic when referring to other cultures as being of Western origin, as it does not accurately capture or, worse, distorts the beliefs of those peoples) is an amalgamation of Shintoism, the traditional religion of the country, Buddhism and Christianity. Elements from all of the aforementioned religions are used in modern Japan since, as mentioned above, there is no single path of salvation for man. The writer reserves himself in the future for an extensive theological (and) analysis of Silent Hill and the Christianity he espouses based on Japanese temperament and experience and how this image is perceived by Western man (exchanges of cultural elements). As Suzuki, the author of Ring, rightly puts it: “In America and Europe, most horror movies tell the story of killing evil spirits. Japanese horror movies end with a hint that the spirit remains free. This is because the Japanese do not consider spirits just as hostile, but as beings that coexist with this world” (Kateigaho International Edition / Japan’s Art and Culture Magazine, 2005).

Project Zero: Mask of Lunar Eclipse is an adaptation of the main game in the series that was released exclusively for Nintendo Wii in July 2008 and is a prequel to the first Fatal Frame (Tecmo, 2001). The story is divided into chapters and in each of them we have at our disposal three different protagonists, Ruka Minazuki, one of the three girls rescued from a mysterious event that occurred ten years ago on the island of Rogetsu. Ruka will return to the island in search of the truth with the help of flashbacks. Misaki Asō is one of the girls who was held captive by Ruka and will participate in the story from her point of view. Finally, detective Chōshirō Kirishima, who was the one who saved the three girls several years ago, will also return to the same island. Camera Obscura could not be missing from the title, the camera with which the protagonists exorcise and/or capture ghosts, reveal secret compartments and capture everything that seems sinister.

Camera Obscura is updated in various ways with special lenses and additions such as faster shooting speed, film availability, multi-focus, special abilities like slow ghosting, and more. It is a very simple combat system, but very challenging since every time you face an element you must move quickly to be able to focus correctly and in the right direction. Depending on the attack you make through the photo, you will also receive the corresponding points that you can spend buying movies and health potions from the save point. If you are attacked and touched by a ghost, you will need to use both analog sticks until you free yourself as quickly as possible, as it will take your life. If the health bar reaches zero, the attempt will start from the most recent save point.

It should be emphasized at this point that this is a relatively easy game that presents challenges either in the form of puzzles or during confrontations. For the puzzles, it is enough to mention that they consist of several elements that must be arranged in some logical order or caught in various ways. What actually happens is that you visit previous environments to add to the narrative the new elements that you discover as you progress through the story. You’ll have to be very patient, as both the camera and the handling seem to be out of sync at times, making movement quite difficult; annoying but smoothed over time with familiarity. Another extremely difficult point is when you try to collect items. Unfortunately, the character will have to be in one place most of the time to do this, which can be frustrating and confusing.

In the technical part of the game there are no particular reference points, it is a complete transfer from a previous generation console with all that this entails without disappointing, since it is decent enough to transmit to the player all those elements that They contribute to the fantasy. insecurity of the concept. The jump scares, sound inconsistencies, and dramatic climaxes combined with the animation are sure to satisfy even those new to the game. Lore and history are revealed over time through brief information that characters gather from newspaper clippings, personal journals, and other sources without particularly tiring players who don’t like to read during games. The voiceovers, but also the screams of the metaphysical entities, are satisfying, and the choice between English and Japanese voices is of course available. Finally, the setting is, as in the previous titles of the series, the most appropriate; the sudden appearance of ghosts, the insufficient illumination of the areas and especially of the closed spaces, the design of the vile characters will keep you alert.

This is a great opportunity for both series and genre devotees and young horror fans alike to get the industry back on a path that isn’t consumed by cheap and opportunistic imitators. Let Project Zero: Mask of Lunar Eclipse start that effort.

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