101 Greatest Gaming Moments, Day Two

66  Fatal Frame - Miku's first five minutes in Himuro Mansion
As effective as any over-the-counter cure for stubborn stools, this is poo-in-your-pants survival-horror at its most ghoulish, with every nook and cranny of the haunted Himuro Mansion possessed with an uncomfortable feeling of impending dread.

Ghosts with broken necks, gouged out eyes, limbs pulled from their sockets... it's a paranormal party for the violently murdered and, while encountering the mansion's delightful other-worldly entities is a heart-stopping experience, it's the subtle scare tactics used when exploring the claustrophobic corridors and shadowy rooms that really brings on the willies.

And nowhere in the game is this sense of trepidation more palpable than in the first five minutes of the hero's - an adolescent girl called Miku Hinasaki - quest inside the mansion. Indeed, when playing it for the first time we had to question our decision to play it alone and at night.

No sooner are you inside and a specter materialises behind you, immediately shuddering your nerves into overdrive. Scared. Next, a corridor with lengths of rope dangling ominously from over-head beams. More scared. Miku runs towards her own reflection in a full-length mirror. Creeped out and even more scared. A figure walks forlornly up a staircase. Actually really properly scared. And so on. You soon convince yourself that some nightmarish apparition is waiting to ambush you around every corner.

It's rare for a game to show off its smartest tricks during its opening scene, but  Fatal Frame sets out to scare the socks off your feet from the get-go and five minutes is all it takes for the chill to set in - from that moment on you're jumpier than Scooby-Doo in an abandoned amusement park.

1 comment

  • YourOldPalD - January 9, 2010 10:26 a.m.

    GLIAVEN! I'm the first to comment...woopidee doo. Who cares. Good article though. I agreed with a few, definetly the Marine patrol in Half Life, I did find myself reloading the first scene with soldiers, cause it was just so much fun :)

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