Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly
|Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly|
North American cover art
|Release date(s)||PlayStation 2
JP November 27, 2003
NA December 10, 2003
EU April 30, 2004
Xbox (Director's Cut)
NA November 1, 2004
JP November 11, 2004
EU February 4, 2005
NA May 7, 2013
Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly, known in Europe as Project Zero II: Crimson Butterfly and in Japan as Zero ~Akai Chō~ (零 〜紅い蝶〜?, lit. "Zero ~Crimson Butterfly~"), is a 2003 Japanese survival horror video game developed and originally published by Tecmo. It is the second installment in the Fatal Frame series, and is widely considered to be among the scariest video games ever created.
Crimson Butterfly was originally released in 2003 for the PlayStation 2 and for the PlayStation 3 in 2013, and a "Director's Cut" version for the Xbox in 2004 included some additional features. A remake of the game, titled Project Zero 2: Wii Edition, was released for the Wii in 2012.
The gameplay in Fatal Frame II experienced some changes from its predecessor. For most of the game, the player controls the protagonist Mio Amakura as she searches the Lost Village for (and sometimes, with) her twin sister, Mayu. Shortly into the game, Mio will obtain a flashlight, which can be aimed in different directions, although the flashlight will not work in all areas.
Throughout the game, Mio will explore the village and its central buildings, finding various objects and solving puzzles in order to advance. The ghosts will often provide some backstory or hints to help Mio progress. Mio will encounter a variety of ghosts, each with different attack methods.
Mio's only weapon is the "Camera Obscura", an antique camera that has the ability to “take pictures of impossible things”. The Camera has two purposes within the game: both as a weapon and as a means of documentation.
The camera uses a Ghost Filament which is located in the bottom right corner of the screen when the camera viewfinder is closed, and on the top of the screen when the viewfinder is open. This indicator will glow red in the presence of a hostile ghost and glow blue when a benign ghost is nearby. The intensity of the glow in relation to the direction Mio is facing serves as a sign of both the spirit’s location and proximity to Mio.
During combat, when Mio is looking through the camera, her health bar is visible on the right side of the screen (it is also visible in the game's menu screen when paused). As with most games, if Mio's health runs out, the game will end; the player can replenish Mio’s health using different healing items scattered throughout the game, including ‘herbal medicine’ and ‘sacred water’. The ‘stone mirror’. another item found within this game, will revive Mio from death once (the player can only hold one at a time).
The camera uses different types of film as "ammunition", with the weakest type (Type-07) being unlimited. The strength of the film types increases with their number: Type-14, Type-61, and Type-90. The strongest film type, Type-Zero, debuted in this game and despite its strength, has the slowest loading time.
The player can upgrade the Camera's special functions and lenses using the ‘Spirit Orbs’ found throughout the game and the points earned from photographing ghosts. The points are based upon the difficulty of the shot and the level of film used; the stronger the film and the closer the spirit is to Mio, the more points the player will receive.
’Shutter Chances’ occur at different moments during combat, most commonly right before a spirit attacks Mio. When a ‘Shutter Chance’ occurs, the capture circle will glow. If the player upgrades their camera equipment, they can make ‘Shutter Chances’ easier to identify.
Outside of combat, the player has the opportunity to capture fleeting photographs of nonviolent spirits as they move through the environment. These photos will also yield points for the player, if they manage to capture them in time.
Setting and characters
Fatal Frame II is set in the (possibly fictional) Minakami (皆神?) region of Japan. While a dam is being planned for construction in a forest at this location in the game's present, the site is also home to Minakami Village (lit. "All God's Village"), a "[l]ost" settlement where the majority of the game takes place. The player learns that Minakami Village was host to the "Crimson Sacrifice Ritual", the failure of which caused the settlement to vanish—thus earning it the name "The Lost Village". In the game's present, there is an urban legend about the Lost Village, where people who become lost in the Minakami forest will become trapped forever in the village.
The protagonists of Fatal Frame II are Mio and Mayu Amakura, twin sisters who are visiting their favorite childhood playspot in Minakami before it is lost in the dam construction. The main antagonist is the vengeful spirit of Sae Kurosawa, the sole Twin Shrine Maiden sacrificed for the failed ritual. She yearns to reunite with her twin sister Yae, whom she mistakes Mio for, and uses Mayu to try and complete the ritual with her. Other characters include the spirit of Itsuki Tachibana, a young man who also mistakes Mio for Yae, but instead tries to help her and Mayu escape; and Seijiro Makabe, a folklorist who visited Minakami Village with a Camera Obscura prototype (the same camera Mio uses in the game) and his assistant, Ryozo Munakata. Makabe later became a temporary sacrifice for the Abyss, known as a Kusabi (楔?). Although Mio and Mayu's story takes place after Miku Hinasaki's, the events of Minakami Village occur before those of the Himuro mansion in the original game.
During the Amakura twins' visit to their favorite childhood playspot in the Minakami region, Mayu, who walks with a limp after a childhood accident, follows a mysterious red butterfly deep into the woods. Mio, concerned for her older sister, follows, and they soon discover a village at night. While it seems abandoned, the twins soon realize that the village contains the tortured souls of the dead, forever reliving the events that trapped them in this state.
Mayu soon falls under the village's spell and, beckoned by the crimson butterflies, is led deeper into the village. As Mio searches for her, she slowly learns of the Crimson Sacrifice Ritual, the failure of which caused the "Repentance", a disaster which shrouded the village in darkness. The village houses a system of tunnels underneath, where its deepest point home to the "Hellish Abyss", a deep hole that collects the souls of the dead. To keep the Abyss from unleashing the dead, a pair of twins born in the village are required to perform a ritual approximately every decade, in which the elder twin strangles the younger, after which the soul of the younger twin stays to guard the village as a crimson butterfly.
Before the Repentance actually occurred, Yae and Sae tried to escape their fate with Itsuki's help. During their escape, Sae was caught and brought back to the village, while Yae escaped and lost track of her sister. Ryozo Munakata (who was sent home by Makabe beforehand on a hunch) later found Yae crying where the village once stood, leading to the backstory for the first installment in the series. Meanwhile, the Minakami villagers desperately hanged Sae to try to satisfy the Hellish Abyss; the attempt failed, causing the Repentance to occur and the village to disappear. During the Repentance, Sae returned from the Hellish Abyss as a vengeful spirit and, along with Seijiro Makabe, made a Kusabi for the Abyss, slaughtered the priests and villagers.
Throughout the game, several ghosts refer to Mio as Yae and seem to expect her to perform the ritual with Mayu, who becomes possessed by Sae. Itsuki, however, tries to help her—believing the two to be the Kurosawa twins, he tries to aid their escape from the village again. Near the end of the game, when Mio finally reunites with Mayu, she discovers one of Makabe's documents, this one concerning the twin order. She learns that in Minakami Village, the twin born second is considered the elder, as the village believes that the "elder" lets the weaker, "younger" twin be born first. This completely reverses Mio's implied fate: instead of being sacrificed herself, she must strangle her "younger" twin sister, a fate which has driven many previous Remaining twins to madness and suicide.
When Mio and Mayu finally manage to open and use an escape route, the villagers' spirits take Mayu back to the Kurosawa house, where the Hellish Abyss awaits them below. Should the player choose to take the escape route alone, they will obtain the Lingering Scent ending, which leads to an automatic game over. If the player instead chooses to pursue Mayu, they have a chance to obtain the other endings. The "Crimson Butterfly" ending sees Mio and Mayu proceeding with the ritual, where Mayu becomes a crimson butterfly. The "Hellish Abyss" ending sees Mio rescuing Mayu from Sae, only to become permanently blinded from looking into the Hellish Abyss. The "Promise Ending", added to the Director's Cut version, sees Yae and Sae performing the ritual and freeing the villagers' spirits, thus sparing Mio and Mayu of the ritual.
Two new endings are included in the game's Wii Edition. The "Shadow Ritual" ending sees Mio unable to stop the Repentance in time, but chooses to stay with Mayu together in death over fleeing the village alone, In this ending a flashback of both twins is showed when they were young at a festival just before the last scenes of their corpse initially smiling with their hand joining meaning they are now happy in the afterlife. The "Frozen Butterfly" ending sees Mio refusing to proceed with the ritual, leading to Mayu—possessed by Sae—strangling Mio instead.
According to director Makoto Shibata, many players were too scared to finish Fatal Frame on the PlayStation 2—hence, the main reason the installment is called the scariest in the franchise. Shibata stated that, for the sequel, "We shifted our attention to making the storyline more interesting, to encourage such players to overcome the scariness in wanting to see the end of the story."
Crimson Butterfly was originally released in 2003 for the PlayStation 2. The original PS2 version of the game has been made available for download on the PlayStation 3. The PS3 version was removed from the online store shortly after release due to various technical issues with the emulator before it was fixed and re-released on July 30, 2013. The download is only available for players in North America.
Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly Director's Cut was released for the Xbox in 2004. The director's cut added in several updates, including a first-person play mode, a survival mode, a new ending, enhanced graphics, and a greater number of alternate costumes to unlock. In first-person mode, the player can play through the entire game from a first-person perspective. The Xbox version also has a "shop" feature where the player can trade points from pictures for healing items and film.
Project Zero 2: Wii Edition
|Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly|
|This section requires expansion. (September 2013)|
Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly has received positive reviews from critics. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Xbox version 84.52% and 84/100, and the PS2 version 82.41% and 81/100.
Fatal Frame II was ranked second in GameTrailers' "Top Ten Scariest Games" in 2006, and third in X-Play's "Top Ten Scariest Games of All Time". Game Informer alson ranked it number one on a similar list. Ars Technica published an article about the game in its 2011 Halloween Masterpieces series, while PSU.com in 2003 opined Fatal Frame II was the scariest video game ever made.
Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann described the game as "the scariest kind of experience in any medium; I haven’t seen a movie that comes close."
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- Sarkar, Samit (2 May 2013). "Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly launching May 7 on PSN, director discusses focus on story". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
According to Shibata, many Fatal Frame players were too scared to finish the game. The developers didn't make the sequel less scary as a result — in fact, it's regarded as the scariest entry in the Fatal Frame series, and one of the scariest games ever made. Instead, said Shibata, "We shifted our attention to making the storyline more interesting, to encourage such players to overcome the scariness in wanting to see the end of the story." Shibata added that the sequel's story was based on a "scary, magical and traumatic" dream he had after the conclusion of development on the original Fatal Frame. It made him think about the "never-ending loops of thoughts" that are characteristic of psychic horror: ghosts and spirits never appearing in the same location, or appearing in the same way. "The more times you play through it, the more different outcomes you'll feel every time as a result," said Shibata. "This is actually a reflection of what happened when I was trying to figure out the meanings behind the dream I had mentioned earlier on. This never-ending illusion is something which has been reflected in the game."
- 零 ～紅い蝶～. Dirty Cheater! (in Japanese). goo Burogu. January 27, 2008. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
- Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly Instruction Manual. 2003.
- "零〜紅い蝶〜・製品情報". Tecmo.co.jp. Retrieved 2013-04-12.
- Massimilla, Bethany (11 December 2003). "Fatal Frame II Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
Progressing through the buildings generally involves the mainstay of finding a key of some type, but the game does mix things up by including a few simple puzzles and presenting seals that may be removed by photographing certain locations with your camera. If your twin is with you, she'll also sometimes aid you by stopping in front of important rooms or giving you a verbal clue to indicate that something worth noting is nearby. The village's dark history is gradually revealed, both through grainy black and white film sequences and through the abundance of documents you'll find scattered as you proceed. There's also at least one genuinely "friendly" ghost in the game who believes you are someone he already knows, so he'll often give you hints for your objectives--if he's available. You gradually get a complete picture of the town's denizens through numerous diaries, memos, and notebooks as well as by grabbing choice photos--when the opportunities arise--by using the game's core feature: the camera obscura.
You find the camera soon after arriving in town, and the device serves a wide range of functions. It can be used to defeat hostile spirits, reveal clues, unseal doors held closed with spirit power, and catch hidden ghosts. It can even just take snapshots, if you'd like. You need film to take pictures, and, unlike in the first Fatal Frame, this iteration of the camera thankfully comes preloaded with a mysteriously inexhaustible supply of low-grade film. This allows you to hoard the more powerful film you obtain for combat, while letting you snap pictures of clues and the like to your heart's content. Otherwise, the camera handles just as it did in the previous game. So pressing the circle button causes you to enter first-person mode, and lining up things in the capture circle allows you to photograph hints, or it allows you to damage spirits. The capture circle glows green for hints and hidden spirits, and it glows red or orange when you've got a lock on hostile spirits. You can upgrade the abilities of the camera via lenses and other special items you acquire during gameplay. You'll spend something called "spirit points" to do this, which you'll earn through special photos and through battle.
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- "零 〜眞紅の蝶〜". Nintendo.co.jp. Nintendo. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
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- "Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly may be light on challenge, but it's still rich in great, dark atmosphere.". gamespot.com. Retrieved 2014-10-13.
- Tecmo (27 November 2003). "Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly". PlayStation 2. Tecmo. Scene: Green Diary 5 (in-game file).
Ryozo Munakata: Itsuki, I pray that you read this. I can't stay in this village any longer. I told Yae and Sae that I would come for them on the day of the ceremony. After they make it out of the village, I'll take care of them. Don't worry. When I get them out, I'll come back for you next.
- Tecmo (27 November 2003). "Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly". PlayStation 2. Tecmo. Scene: Introduction.
Mio: Mayu, about that time back then… […] Mayu! Where are you going?!
- "零〜紅い蝶〜・スタッフコラム・「ほんとうにあったはなし」". Tecmo.co.jp. Tecmo. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
- Dunham, Jeremy (19 November 2003). "Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly Review". IGN. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
- Tecmo (27 November 2003). "Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly". PlayStation 2. Tecmo. Level/area: Chapter One: The Lost Village.
Mio: I've heard about this place. A long time ago, there was a village here that disappeared during a festival. People who get lost in the woods are trapped by the village. Could this be that place?
- Tecmo (2003-11-27). "Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly". PlayStation 2. Tecmo. Scene: News Clipping (in-game file).
Geological Surveyor Missing With the start of construction for All God's Dam approaching, Masumi Makimura (26), a geological surveyor dispatched to the area, has gone missing. Mr. Makimura went to the area to investigate the site that would be submerged once the dam was built, but hasn't been heard from for five days.
- Tecmo (2003-11-27). "Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly". PlayStation 2. Tecmo.
Seijiro Makabe (flashback): So this is the Camera Obscura… It takes pictures of impossible things… […] What was that?! … I can't believe… So it's true… This thing is too dangerous…
- Tecmo (2003-11-27). "Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly". PlayStation 2. Tecmo.
- Tecmo (27 November 2003). "Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly". PlayStation 2. Tecmo. Scene: Folklorist's Note 4 (in-game file).
Seijiro Makabe: The Forbidden Ritual is also called the Crimson Sacrifice Ritual. Twins are used to help seal the gate to hell. There are two parts. The Visible Ceremony, which occurs periodically, and if it fails, a Hidden Ceremony is performed. If all the ceremonies fail, the gate to hell will open, the dead will pour out, and the skies will go dark. They call this disaster the "Repentance". The whereabouts of Munakata's friends, the twin boys Itsuki and Mutsuki, are unknown, which is a little troubling. If they are found, I might be able to ask them about the village.
- Tecmo (2003-11-27). "Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly". PlayStation 2. Tecmo. Scene: Folklorist's Note 1 (in-game file).
Seijiro Makabe: The Ceremony Master, Mr. Kurosawa, gave me a very warm welcome. The village has no "chief". The Ceremony Master presides over the village. I wonder if this village was founded by people who wanted to preserve their sacred rituals and festivals? Most notable among All God's folklore is the "gate to hell" legend that has been passed down for years. It is an archetypal tale of a gate or hole that marks the border to the world of the dead, also called Hades, the underworld, or the netherworld. It is a forbidden place that is feared and hated, but it is also worshipped as well. The idea of hell has been a core belief of humans since ancient times. This village supports the theory that the belief is universal. The Forbidden Ritual regarding this "gate to hell" that takes place here is something no one is allowed to see or speak of. This strict taboo is probably the result of a ceremony concerning the border with hell coming closer to the living world. Villagers lead a simple life. Deep in the mountains, they struggled to forage food for their daily meals. The village has little contact with the outside world. They continue to practice the ways of old frozen in time.
- Tecmo (2003-11-27). "Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly". PlayStation 2. Tecmo. Scene: Ceremony Master's Note 3 (in-game file).
Ryokan Kurosawa: When the twins were born, I was miserable knowing that they were doomed. They were raised freely, without pain or sadness. They say the pain of the ✻ never stops. The elder sister must kill the younger in the Crimson Sacrifice Ritual. It's a cruel horrible fate.
- Tecmo (2003-11-27). "Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly". PlayStation 2. Tecmo. Scene: Folklorist's Note 10 (in-game file).
Seijiro Makabe: Twin Shrine Maidens are sacrificed in the Crimson Sacrifice Ritual. Boys are sometimes used as well. In this case, they are called Altar Twins. The people of this region believe that twins were once a single being, which was split into two at birth. The ceremony is based on the belief that when the two bodies reunited as one, the Shrine Maiden will gain the power of a deity. The text says "the older sister must ✻✻ the younger and throw her into the ✻". The ✻✻ part must refer to the most horrible part of the ritual, probably some kind of "sacrifice".
- Tecmo (2003-11-27). "Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly". PlayStation 2. Tecmo. Scene: Bound Diary 1 (in-game file).
Itsuki Tachibana: If we perform the Crimson Sacrifice, then Yae and Sae will not need to go through with the ritual. But if our ritual fails, they will be the only ones left for the next sacrifice. I have to get Yae and Sae out of this village. The horror has to stop. There has to be another way. I cannot let Yae and Sae suffer like this...
- Tecmo (27 November 2003). "Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly". PlayStation 2. Tecmo.
Sae: [laughter] Go ahead! Everyone, die...
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- Tecmo (2003-11-27). "Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly". PlayStation 2. Tecmo. Scene: Folklorist's Note 12 (in-game file).
Seijiro Makabe: Twins play an important part in the ritual. In recent years, the government issued a decree that the first twin to come out is the eldest. Each region used to have its own rules until that decree was made. When I asked the Ceremony Master about the village's rules, he grinned and said that tradition is tradition. This village still practices the old way. The twin that is born second is considered the elder.
- Tecmo (2003-11-27). "Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly". PlayStation 2. Tecmo. Scene: Lingering Scent Ending.
Mio: I'm sorry... I can't keep our promise...
- Tecmo (2003-11-27). "Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly". PlayStation 2. Tecmo. Scene: Crimson Butterfly Ending.
Mayu: We can't be together forever...but, with this...we can become one. ... Kill me...
- Tecmo (2004-11-04). "Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly: Director's Cut". Xbox 360. Tecmo. Scene: Promise Ending.
Yae: Together forever... We can finally become one. I promise...
- Tecmo (29 June 2012). "Project Zero 2: Wii Edition". Wii. Tecmo. Scene: Shadow Ritual Ending.
Mio: This time…we fall together.
- Tecmo (29 June 2012). "Project Zero 2: Wii Edition". Wii. Tecmo. Scene: Frozen Butterfly Ending.
Mayu: I know you could never do that. No matter how much I want you to. I love that about you, Mio. If we won't truly be together... if we won't become one... then I don't mind if I'm in hell. As long as I'm with you. [...] / Mayu: Let us be together. Together forever. We will stay here. Just the two of us.
- Tecmo (28 July 2005). "Fatal Frame III: The Tormented". PlayStation 2. Tecmo. Scene: Letter from Kei 6 (in-game file).
Kei Amakura: In the dream I had the other day, I saw Mio deep in the Manor. It looked like she was after her missing sister Mayu. I guess it has weighed on me. When I wake, the pain and tattoo spread, just like the story says. If I don't hurry, I may also go missing, like the urban legend says.
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- Official website (PS2) (Japanese)
- Official website (Xbox) (Japanese)
- Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly at the PlayStation Store
- Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly at the Internet Movie Database