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JU-ON: The Grudge - WII - Preview

E3 2009 PreviewE3 2008 GameZone Previews

The movie, The Grudge, was about a curse that manifested in tangible ways, then tracked and haunted the living. JU-ON: The Grudge carries that forward with a game that is the Wii’s first haunted house simulator and the game does take the simulation aspect quite seriously. The game’s graphics, at times, appear almost photo-realistic, but the game is very simple when it comes to the mechanics. That, though, will not interfere with the challenge presented by this 10-hour adventure.

It begins when a housewife is murdered in grisly fashion in Nerima, Japan. From that heinous crime, a grudge (or curse) is born and anyone who comes in contact with the curse is targeted. Erika Yamada is exposed to it when searching for her dog in an abandoned warehouse, thus putting the entire Yamada family in jeopardy. What this means is that the player will take on the role of each member of the family who each faces an individual challenge associated with the curse. It is only by overcoming all elements that the family can be free of the curse.

The gameplay is very simple: the Wii remote acts as a flashlight and using just that, you wander about (in first-person mode) searching for pieces to solve the individual pieces of the puzzle. Along the way, you will also have to find batteries for the flashlight. If it runs out of power, you die.

This is not a horror-adventure game. XSEED product manager Jimmy Soga likened it to more like a scary ride at a theme park. Yes, things will jump out at you, and there are plenty of chills and thrills that are brought home by 5.1 Dolby sound. The game also allows a second player to jump in, but it’s not cooperative mode. Instead, that second player can push any button on the controller to activate on-screen events meant to scare. You don’t fight, you are actually trying to run away from or avoid the evil creeping through the game’s environments. Not only will players have to deal with the haunted house setting, but other environments include an abandoned warehouse, a dimly-lit hospital and a fashion-design studio.

JU-ON: The Grudge is based on JU-ON, the Japanese inspiration for the horror film, and the original film director, Takashi Shimizu acted as a consultant on the game development.

The game demonstration was strictly visual, and in that regard, the game looked pretty good. And the sound did a nice job of adding texture to the terror elements of the game.

JU-ON: The Grudge is scheduled for an October release.

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