Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly, known in Japan as Zero: Akai Chō (零～紅い蝶～) and in Europe as Project Zero II: Crimson Butterfly, is a survival horror video game developed by Tecmo. It is the second installment in the Fatal Frame series and is considered by some gaming magazines as one of the scariest video games ever created.
There has been a confirmation that a 2012 remake is set to be release on the Wii in Japan and Europe, but currently there is no confirmation for a US release.
Twin sisters Mio and Mayu Amakura are visiting the spot where they used to play as children. While they are there, Mayu finds and follows a mysterious red butterfly deep into the woods. Concerned for her twin, Mio follows, and the two girls are led to a village shrouded in fog. While it seems abandoned, the twins soon realize that the tortured souls of the dead roam, forever reliving the day of the failed ceremony that trapped them in this state.
Under the village there is a system of tunnels, and at its deepest point is a deep hole called the "Hellish Abyss", where the souls of the dead collect. In order to keep this hole sealed, a pair of twins born in the village is 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. The last pair of twins, Yae and Sae Kurosawa, tried to escape this fate, aided by Itsuki Tachibana, the remaining twin of a previous, unsuccessful ritual. During their escape attempt, Sae was caught and brought back to the village, where she was hanged in a desperate attempt to satisfy the Hellish Abyss. This failed, resulting in the Repentance and the disappearance of the village.
Throughout the game, several ghosts refer to Mio as Yae and seem to expect her to perform the ritual with Mayu, with the exception of Itsuki, whose ghost tries to help her and Mayu escape, believing the two to be the Kurosawa twins.
Fatal Frame II uses gameplay mechanics very similar to its predecessor, with some changes and updates. For most of the game, the player controls Mio Amakura, except for some short scenes where the player controls her older twin sister, Mayu. Mayu's scenes are unlike the regular game, however: they are viewed with a gray filter as she moves from one place to the next, giving the player clues as to where to go.
In normal gameplay, Mio's health is shown as a bar in the lower right corner, although only during combat and in Finder mode. If her or Mayu's health runs out, the game will end. Life can be replenished using different healing items scattered throughout the game.
Mio's only weapon is the "Camera Obscura", an antique camera with the ability to take pictures of ghosts and exorcise them. As "ammunition", the camera uses films of different quality. Type-07 film, the weakest type of film, is unlimited; but other types have to be collected throughout the game, the strongest ones being the rarest. The camera can be equipped with special functions and with special lenses, all of which grant some special ability useful in combat; these have to be found in-game, or are earned as a result of multiple playthroughs. Finally, the camera's Basic Functions and the special lenses can be upgraded using spirit orbs found in the game, and points earned from photographing ghosts.
Links to Dead or Alive
After the popular reception of its original release, a director's cut version of the game was released for the Xbox in 2004. The director's cut added in several updates to the gameplay, such as a first-person play mode, a survival mode, a new ending, enhanced graphics, and a greater number of alternate costumes to unlock for Mio and Mayu.
One set of costumes gave the twins Dead or Alive costumes, giving Mio Kasumi's trademark blue dress, and Mayu Ayane's trademark purple dress. The costume choices seem fitting, as Kasumi and Ayane are sisters just like the twins are.
These costume could only be unlocked by completing all the missions in Mission Mode. They were not available in the original release of the game.