Haunting Ground is Capcom’s latest attempt at trying to scare us. Having pretty much written the book on survival-horror games (Resident Evil series), Capcom decided to take this one in a slightly different direction. First, the game is more exploration and puzzle solving rather then fighting and action. Since the castle is relatively large (over 130 rooms) and disturbingly strange, you can expect to see some rather odd rooms and locations. Secondly, there are weapons, but not in a traditional sense. Instead, you can find or create small devices with alchemic bases that will do varying amounts of damage upon throwing them at the bad guys. There’s even a cool little device that you throw on the ground and when someone steps on it, it will cause damage to them. But probably your most effective weapon is the dog, Hewie. Once you have befriended him he will respond to your commands to attack. Again, adding another layer of depth, you must be smart in your attacks, don’t have him attack from the front, rather have him sit and wait and then attack from rear. I must admit, there was some forward thinking done in this portion of the game.
The hiding has been done, the third-person perspective has been done, the dog as a sidekick has been done. Nicely though, it comes together in a tangible gaming experience that’s not too bad to control. More a mental survival horror game, then a physical one, the game does have some nice things to offer.
Yeah, it’s got that airbrushed skin thing going for it, and the castle sure is neat to look at, but there’s nothing really awesome here in terms of eye candy.
Really strong background and theme music. Debilitas has a good sounding voice as he moans and runs after you. But the rest of the voice acting just doesn’t fit the game really as well as it should.
Shaking the villains that chase you can be a bit tougher then you think. The screen begins to show the effects of your fatigue and fear if you get smacked around a bit. You stumble and become difficult to control much like the movies.
Survival horror games are going to really need a shot in the arm before they get a good concept score. My compliments to Capcom for pulling a couple of different ideas into one end product, but I’m still waiting for the next big head turner.
I need to play games like these, for me, I can’t get enough of horror games and I gobble them up as soon as I get them. This one is a worthy entry for the genre but still felt like it needed some of the elements drilled down a bit tighter. Still, it’s the only game that’s been in my PS2 since I got it. I try to play it alone in the dark, by myself, late at night, and I’ll be darned if I haven’t gotten scared more then once. For me, that speaks volumes.