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Haunting Ground

Platform(s): PlayStation 2
Genre: Action
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom

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'Haunting Ground' (PS2) Creeps its Way To Retail

by Rainier on May 10, 2005 @ 5:32 p.m. PDT

Haunting Ground cleverly lets the player feel Fiona’s state of mind as she explores the castle. Not knowing who they are and the plans they have in store for her when Fiona encounters its other inhabitants, she naturally becomes frightened and the control pad mimics the pounding of her heart. Fiona will also become much more difficult to control and will stumble and fall. To add to the experience, Fiona’s fear is also represented graphically with colour fading from the screen to be replaced by stark monochrome. By running away or hiding, Fiona’s heart rate and actions will return to normal and colour will be restored.

In Haunting Ground, players take on the role of Fiona Belli, an 18 year old girl who is the sole survivor of a tragic car accident that has claimed both her parents. When she regains consciousness following the accident, she finds herself locked up in an unfamiliar old castle, with no clear way out. As she makes her way through unsettling surroundings, she encounters an array of strange inhabitants and learns that she has become the heiress of the mysterious castle upon her parents’ death. Fiona also comes across Debilitas, a deformed and disturbed man who chases her relentlessly. Luckily, she meets a white shepherd dog named Hewie who has also been trapped in the castle. By saving him from the shackles that imprison him, an instant bond is formed.

Though Fiona is a physically weak character, she must use her wit and cunning to unravel the castle’s puzzles and figure out what is happening and why. Hewie will be a vital resource in surviving this ordeal as he has strengths where Fiona does not. As players develop trust and foster their relationship with Hewie, he will be much more willing to help Fiona progress through the game. He can use his heightened sense of smell to locate items, utilize his smaller size to access hard to reach areas and attack or distract enemies so Fiona can escape their clutches. The success of this partnership will be crucial if they both hope to stay alive.

Haunting Ground combines a compelling ambiance of terror and solitude with challenging puzzles and a unique gameplay approach.

Haunting Ground includes the following features:

  • Unique partnership dynamic – In order to succeed, players must foster the complex connection between Fiona and Hewie which evolves as the game progresses
  • Realistic canine model – Hewie was created using motion capture and studying a real dog to convey true behavior and movements in the game
    • Classic commands including attack, come, go, sit, stay and more
    • Hewie displays a variety of reactions to each command
    • The stronger the bond between Fiona and Hewie, the more likely he will be to obey her commands
  • Engrossing atmospheric effects - Extra touches heighten fearful situations:
    • Control pad mimics Fiona’s pounding heartbeat
    • Fiona becomes more difficult to control the more time is spent near an enemy
    • If Fiona is not able to escape a threatening scenario, the screen becomes grainy, changing to black and white and eventually sending her into panic mode
    • Only by evading the perils can everything return to normal
    • Music adapts to gameplay, changing relative to the enemies’ proximity and threat level to Fiona
    • Enemies can hear and will react to sounds in the game, so Fiona must be careful when treading near them
    • Likewise, Hewie can hear noises and alert Fiona to impending danger
  • Fully interactive environment - Players must cleverly hide behind objects to escape from enemies and utilize objects in the vicinity to solvepuzzles
  • Cinematics directed by Naoto Takenaka – In order to provide the right sense of fear and a haunting atmosphere, Takenaka, a Japanese film director and actor, has been enlisted to manage the in game cut scenes

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