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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
34
Haunting Ground (PS2)
Price:£11.63+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


on 30 April 2005
This is a title that has been intriguing me ever since I first got wind of it, and now that I've got my hands on a copy I can safely say it lives up to the hype. Haunting Ground is a disturbing, gothic masterpiece with gorgeous visuals, unnerving use of sound/music and a deeply engaging plotline.
Like the Clock Tower games, Fiona Belli (the protagonist) spends much of the game completely unarmed, reliant on sheer wits and her cainine companion Hewie to defend her against the dangers lurking inside the castle. The relationship dynamic between the two characters is very life-like indeed, as Fiona can issue a number of important commands to Hewie in two different modes, Normal and Battle. If Hewie ignores her or misbehaves, Fiona can scold him in order to teach him discipline. The dog does not follow you unfalteringly from the moment you meet with him, his trust must be gained over time, through praise and careful training, which adds an extra challenge to gameplay.
The 'Panic Mode' feature is also interesting. As Fiona does not have a 'health meter' or HUD as such, one must determine her condition by examining her physical state such as stance, movement and even visibility. Her stamina can be restored over time by getting her safely out of harm's way or using certain restoration items. Some artifacts can even be refined in an alchemy laboratory to create new ways for Fiona to defend herself, such as concoctions that temporarily stun her foes so she can escape et cetera.
Not only are the puzzles in the game thought-provoking, but avoiding detection from enemies requires a large amount of stealth and stategy. Fiona can hide in closets/under beds/under tables until the coast is clear, or she can duck into the shadows and wait. If she IS detected, she can also use elements of her surrounding environment to cease her enemies' pursuit for a time (or she can simply order Hewie to attack the on-coming foe to buy her time to avoid danger).
This title has been a most refreshing change of pace from the various disappointing action-based survival horror games released of late, but it certainly isn't for those expecting a frenzied, gun-toting gore fest.
With it's beautiful graphics, innovative gameplay features, slick control system and multiple endings, Haunting Ground's suspenseful, sinister atmosphere and delicate moments of terror will satisfy many horror-hungry gamers. A must-have addition to anyone's collection.
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on 26 August 2016
Introduction
Haunting Ground (or Demento in Europe and Japan) is one my favorite survival horror games. Now let me tell you why. First of all, it's a very unique game. But, like most unique games, it isn't for everyone. Haunting Ground is a survival horror which was developed and publish by Capcom in 2005, for Sony's PlayStation 2. It's about an 18-year old girl named Fiona who wakes up in a strange castle and pairs up with a white German Shepherd to escape the castle.

Story
18-year old Fiona Belli awakes in a small dog cage after surviving a car accident. Dressed in only a blanket she sneaks out and makes her way towards a huge castle. Once inside, she's greeted by a creepy maid named Danielle who gives her Victorian-styled clothes to wear. Things just get weirder from then on. After being chased by the childish, albeit humongous groundskeeper who just wants to squeeze her a little (more like crush her to death), Fiona finds a white German Shepherd painfully tied to a tree. She sets him free and remembers his name from a collar she found earlier: Hewie. Fiona and Hewie team up to escape the castle and it's strange inhabitants. It seems that everyone except Debilitas once something...from inside of her. And they will stop at nothing to get it. It's up to the player to help Fiona and Hewie through the castle, escape the pursuers and survive. Along the way they meet a dangerous and mentally disabled groundskeeper, a creepy and unstable maid, a creepy hooded stalker and a mysterious old man who appears to be helping them, or is he? I give Haunting Ground's story a 9/10. It's very original and the story is very well developed throughout the game with plenty of cinematics and even a small plot twist that will make you want to escape the castle even more.

Music
The music in Haunting Ground/Demento was composed by Seiko Kobuchi from the Resident Evil series and she did an incredible job with it. Each pursuer possesses their own chase music and each stage of the game has different background music for when you're not being chased. Not only that, but everyone gets their own boss music. The background music is pretty creepy and will really keep you on edge, and the chase music really gives you a sense of danger. There's also a really heartwarming theme for Hewie. I give Haunting Ground's music a 9/10 for how well it blends in with the atmosphere and for how really well done it is.

Graphics
Haunting Ground's graphics are really good. The characters are really realistic and it's not even uncanny valley realistic like in Clock Tower 3. The characters are really well done and the backgrounds and areas are well textured and constructed. The design is fairly Gothic (then again, it is a castle) and pretty chilling at the same time. I give Haunting Ground's graphics a 10/10 because of how well done they are.

Gameplay
Haunting Ground's gameplay is very original. To start off, it's very similar to Clock Tower 3's gameplay. In case you've never played or even heard of Clock Tower 3, I'll tell you how it works. You and Hewie walk around the level looking for items and such to complete puzzle and work your way to the next area. All you have to do is find an item or two, do a little backtracking, get some keys and carry on. Simple right? Not really. While you're exploring, certain cinematics, actions you perform or simply after a certain amount of time passes, your pursuer will begin chasing you. While being chased you cannot examine objects or use items. All you can do is choose to either run and hide or fight. Fiona isn't very athletic so she's fairly weak and all she can do is kick and do some form of tackle. However, Hewie is a dog. Dogs have teeth. Using the right analog stick you can command Hewie to sit, search, come to you and, of course, attack. Hewie's main attacks consists of biting the enemy. He can also learn new moves like dodging. You can also charge his attack for extra power. However, the pursuers will not only attack Fiona but also attack Hewie. As Hewie gets hurt he becomes slow and feeble. You can replenish his health using certain food items. If Hewie gets hit too many times, he'll collapse temporarily. Or, if you're on Hard Mode, he'll die and you'll get a Game Over. Hewie also has an invisible friendship meter. You can make him like you more by praising him when he's good and feeding him treats. However, if you hit him or scold him too much, he'll like you less. The more Hewie likes you, the more he'll listen to you. If he doesn't like you, he'll just run around and ignore you and even attack you if you get him really angry. Now for Fiona. Fiona, unlike most video game characters, get scared. Like in Clock Tower 3, you have a Panic Meter, and if you're Panic Meter reaches max, you'll go into Panic Mode. There isn't actually a gauge for the Panic Meter in Haunting Ground. The Panic Meter is the screen. As Fiona gets scared, the colors begin to fade from the screen, the screen begins to pulse and Fiona begins to stumble a bit while running. While in Panic Mode, Fiona will move uncontrollably and will trip all of the place. You'll know when you reach Panic Mode because the screen goes negative for about a second and Fiona lets out a shrill scream. The screen turns almost completely black and white and it becomes a lot harder to control Fiona. Also, the only command you can give Hewie while in Panic Mode is "help" and you better hope you've been nice to him or he's not going to help you. Now here's the catch: While in Panic Mode, you can fall over. This is your weakest position. Once fallen, you can't get up until Panic Mode is over. The screen becomes nearly completely black and white and pulses. All you can do is mash buttons and try to crawl away as your pursuer comes in for the kill. Eventually though, Fiona will get up and Panic Mode will end. So how do you die? First of all, Fiona does have health of some sort, but her health doesn't actually run out. If Fiona gets hurt or if she runs for long periods of time, her stamina runs out and she becomes much slower and weaker. You can replenish your stamina by using certain items or by drinking water at the sinks scattered throughout the game. Anything that kills Fiona will be a one hit kill. No second chances. Your pursuers can attack Fiona and take away her stamina and cause her to panic. They can also use their "finishing moves" of sort which can kill you. Basically either you get hurt and panicked, or you die. For example: Debilitas, the game's first pursuer can either punch Fiona, or he can grab her and put her in a death grip which will kill her if she doesn't get out soon enough. It seems easy enough as long as you stay away, but your pursuers are pretty fast and Panic Mode makes you extremely vulnerable. If fallen while in Panic Mode, your pursuer can easily come in for the kill. Now onto hiding. If you don't want to fight, there's plenty of places in the game to hide. However, don't hide in the same place too many items or your pursuers will find you easier. There's also several traps in the game that can kill you, so be careful of that too. I give Haunting Ground's gameplay a 10/10 for how original and fun it is.

Replayability
Haunting Ground will only take you about 10 hours or less to beat the first time. But, it has A LOT of replayability. To start off, there's 4 different endings to get. Not only that, but there are 11 different play-types to get. What play-type you get depends on your statistics at the end of the game such as your play time, how many items you found, your dog level, your Panic Mode count etc. And, to top things off, both Fiona and Hewie have multiple costumes that can be unlocked which can boost their attack, stamina etc. Then there's also Hard Mode which can is unlocked after beating the game. In Hard Mode the pursuers are faster and stronger and Hewie can actually die, resulting in a Game Over. Also, there are more medallions and less items. Medallions can be used to create alchemical items and equipment to help help you through the game. I give Haunting Ground's replayability a 10/10 because it's one of the most replayable games I've ever played.

Overall
I suggest you try to rent Haunting Ground before you buy it. It's not for everyone, but if you like survival horror you should definitely check it out. It's not "Silent Hill scary", but it does keep you on edge. If ever given the chance to buy it, definitely do. It's a great game and is definitely underrated in my opinion. I give Haunting Ground a 10/10. It's a great survival horror game and whether you're a fan of the genre or not, you should really check it out.
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on 25 May 2013
I adore this game! I bought it as a one off, not expecting much, but I've become addicted to it. The use of background music is superb and I found myself relying mostly on audio cues to see if I was safe to move anywhere. I love most of the characters too, Daniella being my favourite being so beautiful yet unfeeling and sees herself as incomplete, and each of the stalkers chasing styles is different. Treat Hewie (your dog) well and train him up as fast as you can, you'll need his help and he'll need your love so be nice ok :D Once you've completed the game you'll get a secret room with art, music, cutscenes, a character gallery and alternate costumes for you and Hewie. Yeah you're pretty defenseless but I didn't find this a problem at all. The environments are lovely and there are traps littering the castle so beware.(As the title of my review says "Fortune favours the brave!) You'll find it pretty easy to outwit your first stalker Debilitas as he has the mind and intelligence of a child and will get clumsier and more frustrated if he can't find you (plus his footsteps are pretty loud). Daniella remembers where you tend to hide, will close doors to confuse/slow you down and can hide in closets to wait for you, or she'll wait outside the door for you to come out ion your own (plus the worst thing is she'll often double check a room so ignore coast clear signs unless you want to be stabbed by a large shard of glass). Riccardo is so creepy, seriously once you realise why he's chasing you you will not want to be hanging around! Plus he has a gun. A gun. He'll shoot your dog till you come out sometimes (the git) and in the worst ending, well just nope. Then there's Lorenzo, you won't know much about him near the beginning but he'll help you along...to begin with. Luckily he'll leave you alone for long periods of time to explore. This game definitely has replay value and even has hard mode for those who didn't feel hunted enough on a first playthrough. I love how the screen begins to saturate the more panicked Fiona feels and hidden or easily overlooked cutscenes or items can set her off. You'll even feel her heartbeat through the controller. There's no panic meter or stamina meter so you'll have to keep a close eye on her and Hewie to make sure you can withstand an encounter with a stalker (run and hide if you can't!) It's like a violent hide and seek game which I've fallen in love with. (If you want a bit of a preview Cry has done a Let's Play on youtube but don't spoil it for yourself okay? :D)
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on 6 February 2018
hidden horror gem wow!
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on 21 December 2017
son loved it
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on 2 April 2014
It's a good game but the manual and cover are printed in english and when I went to play the game all the text comes up in german so I don't understand what the clues say when I go to observe something in game. :-/
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on 26 April 2017
great
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on 5 February 2018
The game is just perfect. It was shipped very fast. It is important to know this is the PAL version and will not run on unmodded US playstations
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on 1 February 2015
Very good survival horror,great story a must for game collectors of this era of games
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on 26 November 2015
Bought for christmas
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