Originally out only in Japan in 2008, we finally get a localized release in well updated hardware. What is one of my favorite horror franchises, lets see what nightmares lie in the distant and mysterious island. Ready your cameras and don’t blink, here’s everything we know so far about Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse.
What goes bump in the night?
Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse has a dark story and even darker origin. Taking place on the island of Rougetsu, the once popular tourist attraction was shattered by a mysterious and haunting illness. The eerie Moonlight Syndrome, a malady that effected the victims memories and sense of identity. Spread by touch and sight, it quickly infected the populace. In a last ditch effort to save themselves, a forbidden ritual dance was conducted, but it ultimately failed, and the island people fell to ruin and became spirits.
Years later five girls who had grown on the island but had since moved to the mainland, feels herself drawn to the haunted location. A lack of childhood memories compels them to return, to investigate. But the desolate grounds that they once called home are far from welcoming. You will play through a series of chapters as Ruka, the fifth girl. Looking into the past memories and present actions of previous four, digging to uncover the mystery of the island.
Fatal Frame is a survival horror game involving curses, creatures, and cameras. During a Nintendo Direct in 2022, the announcement for the re-release of the fourth game in the franchise was shown. The original game was released on the Nintendo Wii in 2008, but never saw a western release. Each of the games in the series follow a similar route and themes, a desolate location, mixed with some terrible curse or cult or tragedy. A young woman stranded and unable to leave, armed only with a camera that can see ghosts.
Canonically taking place before the events of the first Fatal Frame, Mask of the Lunar Eclipse was an almost re-imagining of the series in terms of game-play. In the first games there were fixed camera angles, this one switching to a third person POV instead. There is also a level of danger when collecting items in the game. Before, you could gather your resources without fear, but now you will have to avoid ghost hands waiting to grab you. Finally, for better or for worse, there is a dodge mechanic added to the controls.
While you couldn’t exactly fight in Fatal Frame, the camera was used to ward off spirits and cleanse haunted locations. However you had limited film, which meant your only means of protection had to be carefully rationed. Beyond the myriad of ghosts throughout the world, Fatal Frame also focused hard on puzzles, acquiring bits from one area to use them in others to progress further. Some of these puzzles involved exorcising a ghost in a special way, finding ‘weak points’ through the pictures.
What can we expect from Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse?
The biggest change, other than localization in terms of voice and subtitles, would be the controls. Originally on the Wii, the new games will support controller play and not be dependent on motion controls. However if the Nintendo Switch port has said motion controls is yet to be announced.
Ultimately, Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse is looking to be a HD Remastering with very little changing in the game overall. And with a game that is already pretty solid, sometimes changes don’t need to be made. Just bringing it to a new generation to scare is enough.
Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse is slated to release on March 9, 2023 for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Steam, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.