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Project Zero 2: Seven years old, but still terrifying

Tecmo's horror classic returns from the dead

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A small but significant part of us was hoping Tecmo would balls this remake up. That the process of transferring Project Zero 2 to the Wii, to new technology and an over-the-shoulder perspective, would erode the tension of the game. Maybe we'd actually be able to play it without whimpering like an injured dog, or waiting for the sun to rise in real life so we'll be safe from the terrors of the night. Well, we're sorry to report that Tecmo didn't balls it up: this is just as scary as it was first time around.

While a number of things have been changed for this Wii version, the key factors that make these games spooky have made it across intact. The atmosphere is as thickly mournful and oppressive as it was in the original Crimson Butterfly, and there are even a handful of new scares to keep you on your toes. Many of the frustrations of PS2-era survival horror games have been done away with as well, resulting in a slick ghost train that doesn't require servicing quite so often.

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CHICKEN? RUN

The biggest change, of course, is the new perspective, borrowed from the fourth Project Zero that sadly never boarded the localisation ferry to these shores. Not only does this viewpoint help an old game feel fresh, presenting familiar locations in a new light and greater depth, but as with Resident Evil 4 it also banishes tank controls from the series once and for all. We're not totally sure why an over-the-shoulder perspective makes the game seem scarier; perhaps it's the reduced field of vision or the feeling that something horrible is stalking behind you. But it works: the Wii edition is a more intimate horror than the original PS2 one, and by extension a more unsettling one.

The second biggest difference is the addition of a minimap, saving you from pausing and consulting the (fairly confusing) main one every thirty seconds. In fact, the game as a whole is much friendlier than before; helpful spirits or butterflies show up to guide you when you're in danger of getting lost, and there a host of smaller changes that add up to a significantly less fiddly experience.

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For one thing, the game is now slightly more forgiving in its distribution of supplies. Health items seem to appear more frequently, while there's a new, unlimited film type to ensure you never run out of 'ammo' during battle. The spectral critters themselves are just as tough to defeat, but the XP-like camera points appear to accrue faster, providing stat advantages earlier on. None of which unbalances the game; rather, it removes the rough edges of a moderately dated title, letting you focus on the deeply important business of being scared.

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