Friday, July 30

Welcome to Hanuda

Japanese horror on your PS2 awaits in Forbidden: Siren.

With Asian horror and suspense films being all the rage these days, wouldn't you like to live through one?

Well, I sure as hell WOULDN'T, but in case YOU would, you could try to experience a visit to the mysterious village of Hanuda, a quaint little hamlet in rural Japan which just happens to have a history of sinister mysticism and bloody massacre. It's the setting of Siren, a survival-horror game for the Playstation 2. In it, you take the role of ten people caught in the middle of a cataclysmic event that has turned Hanuda into a place where shibito, or the walking dead, prowl to plague the living. All you have are your wits, the occasional weapon to fend away the shibito and the ability to sight-jack, a psychic ability that lets you see through the eyes of nearby undead.

Siren was released some time ago, and actually did not get very good reviews; an iffy dub with British accents for obviously Japanese characters diluted a bit of the suspense, along with frustrating trial-and-error gameplay. But I have to say that the premise of the game and some pretty excellent websites accompanying the game are worth seeing to feel the atmospheric suspense of an Asian horror film. The TV commerical for the game was actually pulled from the air in Japan after a lot of Japanese children were scared silly after seeing the chilling ad.

Luckily, you don't need to play the game (unless you want to) to dip your toes into the blood-red waters of Siren. You can sample the creepiness by visiting the game's excellent flash website at and going through a creepy point-and-click meeting with a few of the souls trapped in Hanuda. The voiceovers are in Japanese, but there are subtitles, which give it all a Ringu-ish feel. Just have a fast computer, a good web connection (cable or DSL is preferred) and have a scary good time...

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