Thanks to the likes of Resident Evil and Alone in the Dark, back when the PlayStation was in full swing, the scare-em-up/survival horror type game has developed into a genre in its own right. Project Zero fits neatly into that genre and, although not centred on the stabbing/shooting/blowing up of zombies and genetic mutations, it's still dark, atmospheric, scary, and full of ghostly goings on. And it's set in a mansion on the outskirts of a small town (some things never change).
Armed not with a huge arsenal of explosive weaponry but with a dusty antique camera and a flashlight, protagonist Miku sets off to explore this spooky mansion following the mysterious disappearance of her brother. There she discovers gruesome details about his disappearance and the mansion's troubled past. Oh, and loads of ghosts.
Now you may think that a camera and a flashlight are not going to be the greatest assets to someone venturing into such a supernatural environment. But, then again, if days' worth of watching low-budget horror flicks have served us correctly, a stupidly big gun isn't going to be much help either. However, via some strange power or other, Miku's camera is able to capture the ghosts' souls and therefore destroy them. All she has to do is whip it out and snap them. And sharpish. The more centred a ghost is within the photograph, the greater the damage inflicted upon it - each photo taken earns points that improve the camera's capabilities, giving greater zoom power and faster wind-on between photos. As Miku progresses through the game, she is also able to pick up extra film, clues, objects and even herbal medicine (herbs, you say?).
Playing through Project Zero unravels a host of classic horror ingredients that go to make for a deeply terrifying atmosphere throughout. Dark, dusty rooms, creaky floorboards, cobwebs, and ghostly figures that you catch out of the corner of your eye, then disappear a second later. The fact that the violent aspect is missing makes the game more of a psychological horror that a graphic one, which, in a lot of cases, adds to the intensity.