Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse will be remastered exclusively for Wii in 2008

By Cass Marshall on February 9, 2023 at 9:00 am

It’s a stellar year for 2008 horror games making their way to modern audiences in 2023. Of course, there’s Dead Space Remake, but survival horror enthusiasts might also be interested in Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse. This game was once exclusive to Wii, but on March 9th a new version with updated graphics will be released on consoles and PC. Polygon has previewed the game’s opening chapters, and it still has plenty of scares in store for players who can overcome its frigid pace.

Mask of the Lunar Eclipse focuses on a mystery surrounding the fictional island of Rougetsu. Five girls were held captive there in their youth and all suffer from amnesia as adults. Two of those girls have now died of mysterious causes, so the three survivors decide to travel to the island together to investigate their past – and hopefully save their lives. Being a Fatal Frame game, this journey immediately goes awry and one of the girls is murdered by the vengeful spirits that haunt the island.

The player must explore the island of Rougetsu, switching between multiple character perspectives, armed with a flashlight and the series’ legendary camera obscura. The player must sneak and sneak through the island’s homes and a hospital converted into a hotel to uncover the mysteries of the title mask. As the name Fatal Frame would suggest, these ghosts are of the murderous variety, and the only way to see them and then stop them is to photograph them perfectly timed with the camera obscura. If you play well, you’ll earn points that you can exchange for upgrades and helpful items at save points.

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The controls of the original Wii game had the protagonist’s movement linked to the Nunchuk controller, while the Wii Remote controlled the player’s flashlight. These motion controls have been adapted for modern controllers, but the flashlight wanders around with its own joystick. The flashlight can also provide more than just light; it highlights important items to examine and grab.

The game is at its most tense when trying to take a picture of a ghost with the camera obscura, and even almost 15 years after the original release, I still winced when I faced a ghost. My original strategy of firing quick shots while panicking wasn’t particularly effective; Instead, I soon realized I had to stay calm and keep the ghost in frame or wait for an attack animation.

If anything, I wanted more of those moments. There are times when Mask of the Lunar Eclipse is still an effective horror game, such as when I find jerky, grainy footage of occult rituals taking place on the island, or when I whip out the camera obscura and spot a spooky ghost who sneaks around. However, I spent most of my time in the early chapters slowly trying to open doors only to find them locked, scanning rooms with my flashlight, lazily navigating long hallways, and reaching cautiously for objects. These slow, deliberate actions didn’t build the suspense; they just bore me.

During the preview, I experienced failed jump scares where the audio cue played before the actual on-screen action took place. The cutscene dialogue felt awkward and not consistent with the characters on screen. Add in some audio sync issues I experienced in preview and I was more irritated than immersed. The presentation isn’t bad though. The graphics have been improved over the Wii version of the game, and if you’re interested in the specific brand of survival horror rooted in Japanese culture that the Fatal Frame series has to offer, the fresh coat of paint helps a lot Rougetsu Island at a fascinating destination.

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Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse will be available on March 9th for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X.

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