One of my guilty pleasures is watching ghost shows on TV. You know, the ones where ghost hunters go to haunted places to find proof of spirits via photos and video? Or the ones where celebrities or others recount their paranormal experiences? Yeah, I know those TV shows are pretty dumb and most of it probably isn’t real at all. But hey, we all have guilty pleasures and that one’s mine. Plus I just think ghosts are cool in general. Naturally, Ghostbusters is one of my all-time favorite movies. And one of the things I like most about Pac-Man are the ghost monsters: Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde. So when I found out that a Nintendo sales representative was going to be showing a new 3DS game about ghosts at a nearby GameStop, I decided to attend. So here’s a brief preview of Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir which was released on Friday, April 13th! Whooooo!
Now, keep in mind that this is just a preview of the game. I didn’t have enough play time to write a full review of it, so think of this as like one of the game previews I write when I go to E3 (speaking of which, I will be going to E3 again this year, yay!). So my opinions on Spirit Camera so far aren’t final. Spirit Camera fully utilizes the camera and AR functions of the 3DS to make an entire game. Even though Nintendo published Spirit Camera, it was developed by Tecmo Koei, makers of the Fatal Frame survivor horror series. So you can think of Spirit Camera as kind of a spin-off of that. Spirit Camera comes with a booklet that looks like an old scrapbook, and you use it in the game like the AR cards. So you’ll want to make sure to have the booklet with you at all times and not lose it, otherwise you won’t be able to play the game. I’m sure on Nintendo’s Web site somewhere; they have a place where you can print off the booklet if you lose it, though.
I tried Story Mode first, which is the main portion of the game. In the story you come across a special camera that can defeat evil spirits (the 3DS), and you find a cursed spirit diary (the aforementioned booklet). When you aim the camera at the diary, it starts breathing in and out and sucks you into a virtual world. Here on the 3DS screen you walk down a dark hallway, but then you hear a sound! Move the 3DS down to find a broken vase. But then you hear another sound! Turn around and you’ll see a spirit figure round the corner behind you! The game will automatically follow the spirit around the corner, but when you arrive, there’s nothing there. But when you turn back around, you’ll see a cute ghost lady right behind you and she asks for your help. This part of the game was a little hard to do at the GameStop where we were at, because the store was so brightly lit. I would imagine that headphones and a darker room would’ve made this portion of the game more immersive.
After that, the cute ghost lady whisks you back into the real world. But you can still hear her. When you turn the 3DS around, you can see her on the screen behind you. This part of the game was funny because since we were at a GameStop store, it looked like she was sitting on the demo table! I wanted to yell out, “Hey ghost lady, don’t sit on the table or the Nintendo sales rep will get mad at you!”
After talking for a while, the ghost lady hears a scary sound and asks you to turn to a page in the spirit diary. When you do and aim the 3DS at it, a spirit of a scary man pops out! This part of the game shows you how to attack spirits with the 3DS camera. Listen to the sounds and follow the arrows to find the ghost and line up the circles on screen. Before the ghost attacks you, the circle will turn red, letting you know that it’s time to snap a picture and damage the ghost. Do this a few times to defeat it. I wish I could’ve taken screen caps of this part of the game, because it was also pretty humorous. Since we were inside a GameStop, the enemy spirit looked less like a tormented soul and more like a ghost who couldn’t decide which video game to buy!
After that I tried the other game modes. One just lets you play with the 3DS camera. You can use the face recognition feature to take pictures of your friends, and have the game ‘spookify’ them. One picture made someone’s face look all lumpy, another made a face all caved in, and another picture made it look like half of someone’s face was covered in white ghostly ectoplasm! The other gameplay mode used the included spirit diary for mini-games, quizzes, and puzzles to test your powers of knowledge, memory, and observation.
And that’s all I played of Spirit Camera. I didn’t buy the game there because it was 40 bucks and I read that the Story Mode was only a few hours long. Plus I have a lot of other games I’m playing right now. But maybe I’ll cave in and buy it later since I like that gimmicky stuff and I think ghosts are cool. The game is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Blood and Violence. Most of the scary stuff was in the text only; the visuals in the game that I saw were fairly tame. I still wouldn’t let a young child play this, but older kids and teens who are accustomed to scary movies would probably be OK. I imagine Spirit Camera would be good fun at slumber parties and Halloween events.
In the comments section, let me know if you believe in ghosts and if you’ve seen one! Me personally, I think most of the ghost things you see on TV are probably not real, since it is TV after all. But there has to be some truth about ghosts and spirits since so many have claimed to see them throughout time. When I die and go to heaven I think I’ll ask God what the scoop is on ghosts. I can wait that long to find out. But in the meantime, I’ll just have fun watching those dumb ghost shows on TV!