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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: XSEED Games
Developed By: Feel Plus
Genre: Survival Horror
Players: 1-2
Rated: M (Mature)
Release Date: October 13, 2009
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written by: Matthew Prunty

For the average gamer, playing a survival horror title usually intales guns, loads of ammunition and healing herbs. While these games are entertaining, something about always having the right weapon for battle takes the true essence of ďsurvival horrorĒ out of many games. Thankfully Feel Plus and XSEED Games have decided to team up to give us a survival horror experience, that is simply putÖ all about survival. The game is called JU-ON: The Grudge Ė Haunted House Simulator and in this game there are no weapons, only a flashlight as you trot through a cursed house full of cursed and damned ghouls. For those who have trotted through a haunted house in real life know that you donít have any weapons, usually just your eyes to see your way through. Capitalizing off the movies and there shear fact that people love to be scared, JU-ON: The Grudge has come into existence and is ready to put the fear back into gamingÖ or is it?

Like I have said before, there are no weapons of any kind within JU-ON: The Grudge. As you roam the halls and rooms of a haunted building, all thatís in your hand is a flashlight, which is there to help see your way through. While you find there is enough batteries scattered throughout the place for your flashlight to never die, there are several moments, where you will either stop and survey the area before proceeding, or go the wrong way, thus requiring you to go backwards. While the latter wonít happen too often, it can lead to your batteries draining down to nothing a lot quicker. Along the way, you will see all types of freaking things going on in front of you, along the walls; stuff that would have the weakest of people cry, or simply scare them stiff. These include bloody handprints along the walls, a hand reaching out of nowhere to grab you, even things suddenly appearing on screen and disappearing as your approach it.

Looking closely at the title of the game, JU-ON: The Grudge Ė Haunted House Simulator, you can see that this game isnít designed to have hordes of enemies within your path, thus requiring some sort of weapon or puzzle solving to avoid their wrath. Haunted Houses are designed to scare you, getting the blood pumping and thatís it. The same can be said for this title, and while thatís a good thing, it also leads to a less thrilling gaming experience for those look for depth. There are no puzzles, no combat, a linear path and a lot of cheap thrills, which will not sit well with your average Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Alone in the Dark fanatics. However, the experience itself is different and unique, which will set it appear from the latter.

The visual presentation of JU-ON: The Grudge is good and bad at the same time. The level design is very simplistic and limited in imagination, while at the same time offering up a since of desertion and paranoia. The special effects are not mind blowing, but suit the style of gameplay very well and at times help flesh out parts of the game. The character design; well in this case ghost and ghoul design, are very hideous, which adds to the fear element of the title. The camera is a little finicky and will take some getting used to. In regards to the audio, itís right on par with that from the movies. The music helps set the tone of particular scenes, while also being used to exert fear and reaction out of the player. The sound effects also lend themselves very well to each and every moment, offering up beastly growls, and screams whenever the chance presents itself.

When it comes to completing this game, you can clock your action in at around 2-3 hours. There are only five stages total within the game, which can take up to 20-30 minutes each, depending on your style of gameplay. This title is incredibly short and after beating it, there really isnít much left to experience outside of a lackluster multiplayer option. A second player can join in on the fun by trying to scare the first player through the use of ďpanic scenes.Ē Itís basically like the single-player experience, only this title the second player decides when to use what scare tactic. These tactics include having blood cover up the screen and random creature artworks magically appear on screen. If the second player does it right, he/she can create a since of fear, however it done wrong, the first player will only become irritated by your actions.

While I would to recommend this game to survival horror fanatics, there are one too many issues with the game that to keep it from becoming a memorable gaming experience. No combat, no weapons, 2-3 hoursí worth of gameplay and an iffy camera donít sound like Ďwin winí qualities to the average gamer. For what itís worth, the source material that was pulled upon for this title was rather good.


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