Fatal Frame III: The Tormented
North American box art featuring protagonist Rei Kurosawa
Director(s)Makoto Shibata[1]
Producer(s)Hideyuki Saito
Keisuke Kikuchi[1]
Programmer(s)Kenishi Asami
Katsuyuki Okura
Jin Serizawa
Makoto Ishizuka
Yuichiro Watanabe[1]
Artist(s)Kiyotaka Sugiyama[1]
Writer(s)Makoto Shibata
Tsuyoshi Luchi[1]
Composer(s)Ayako Toyoda
Maki Saito[1]
SeriesFatal Frame
Platform(s)PlayStation 2
  • JP: July 28, 2005
  • NA: November 8, 2005
  • EU: February 24, 2006
Genre(s)Survival horror
Photography game

Fatal Frame III: The Tormented[a] is a Japanese survival horror video game developed and published by Tecmo in 2005 for the PlayStation 2. It is the third installment in the Fatal Frame series.[2] The story follows Rei Kurosawa, a freelance photographer who has been tasked with taking photos of an abandoned manor. After she spots an apparition of her fiancé she recently lost in a car crash, events quickly take a paranormal turn as she begins to explore the manor in her dreams and learns of its connection to those suffering from survivor's guilt.


Further information: Fatal Frame § Series gameplay

A typical battle in Fatal Frame III
A typical battle in Fatal Frame III

In Fatal Frame III, the player uses the vintage "Camera Obscura" to photograph and dispel ghosts. The player explores in third-person in either the Manor of Sleep or the real world. On the main screen is a "Ghost Filament", which indicates a ghost's presence; red signals a hostile ghost, while blue indicates a neutral ghost. At any point in the game, the player can enter first-person mode via the viewfinder, used for photographing ghosts. The Camera Obscura has a limited amount of film for ammunition, and the player must search areas thoroughly to obtain more. The player gains points through defeating ghosts or by taking pictures of neutral ghosts or seals. These points can be used to upgrade different aspects of the camera, such as range and sensitivity.[3][4]

Fatal Frame III's story is split into chapters called "Hours", which are further split into "day-and-night" sequences. While awake, Rei moves about her home, interacting with other characters and developing photographs taken from the Manor of Sleep.[5] While sleeping, Rei enters the Manor of Sleep in her dreams.[6] In certain Hours, the player controls either Miku or Kei, and their dreams include sections from previous games (e.g. the Himuro Mansion). Each character has different special abilities, making each of their playing styles unique. Rei can use the camera's flash to scare off some spirits, but can only use it a limited number of times. Miku has a special "Sacred Stone" charm that decreases the speed of spirits when used, and a "Double" ability that allows her to charge the camera up twice.[3] Kei, with his greater physical strength, can move bookshelves or jump from one roof of the Manor to another. However, since Kei's camera ability is much weaker than that of either Rei or Miku, the player must use his "Hide" ability to avoid spirits' detection.[3][7][8]


23-year-old freelance photographer Rei Kurosawa has been mourning the death of her fiancé, Yuu Asou, after a car accident caused by Rei's reckless driving.[9][10][11][12] About two months after his death, while on assignment for the derelict Kuze mansion, Rei discovers her image on one of the photos she had taken. Shortly after, she begins having recurring nightmares of an old Japanese manor house—the "Manor of Sleep" (眠りの家)—during a heavy snowfall, where she is touched by a tattooed ghost.[5][13] Upon waking, Rei notices a mysterious bruise on her body, where the ghost had touched her; this mark spreads each time she dreams about the Manor.[14]

As Rei continues to explore the Manor of Sleep, she begins to receive investigation notes from Kei Amakura, a close friend of Yuu who writes in his letters that he and his niece Mio both have similar symptoms.[15][16] Rei learns that her photography assistant, Miku Hinasaki,[17] is also under the same curse.[18] The lines between dream and reality blur when ghosts began appearing in Rei's house, and the bruise on her body continues to expand and form a snake-and-holly tattoo similar to the tattooed ghost who touched her.[19]

Rei learns through uncovering diaries and research that the dreams are caused by Reika Kuze, the last Tattooed Priestess tasked with the duty of containing others' emotional pain within the tattoos on her body. Although meant to rest for eternity, Reika had unintentionally released "the Rift", a form of darkness which destroyed the village, after her childhood lover Kaname was murdered in front of her eyes. Now corrupted and unable to rest, she haunts people with a strong attachment to dead loved ones. Within time, the tattoos Reika had cursed her victims with will completely cover their bodies and cause them to disappear, leaving behind black soot, although following the dead would eventually lead to death as well.[20] Because of Rei's attachment to Yuu; Miku's to her brother Mafuyu;[21] and Kei's strong connection to Mio, mourning for her sister Mayu, all three are trapped in the Manor of Sleep.

When Miku enters a coma,[22] Rei loses all hope of ending the curse until Kei suggests that by staking down Reika's body in the Chamber of Thorns, she can rest peacefully and no longer endanger them.[23] However, he becomes trapped in the chamber himself upon making a horrific discovery: Reika's body has already been pinned to the ground.[24] With only Rei remaining, she confronts Reika and exorcises her spirit.[25] Following the lyrics of a song in the ritual,[26] Rei puts the bodies of Reika and Kaname in a small boat and pushes it across an underground sea behind the stone ritual chamber - the Abyss of the Horizon, the passage to the spirit world. As the boat begins to vanish into the distance, other dead spirits begin to cross the sea, one of them being Yuu. The tattoo which now covers Rei's body transfers to Yuu, who insists that she must go on living and keep his memory alive.[27] Once Rei and Miku wake up, they resume their normal lives.

Two Endings appear in the game. The Normal Ending shows that Rei and Miku have survived, while Kei has been spirited away; Mio's fate is unknown (presumed spirited away by Reika as well).[28] The Photograph Ending is achieved by finishing an optional sidequest only available on the second playthrough of the game. This ending shows that both Kei and Mio survive as well, and that Mio is introduced to Rei and Miku after the game.[28] In both endings, both Rei and Miku resolve to live on, as their deceased loved ones would have wanted.[29][30]


Fatal Frame III was released for the PlayStation 3 as a PlayStation 2 Classic on October 1, 2013 in North America only.[31]


Fatal Frame III: The Tormented received "generally positive" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[32]


  1. ^ Known in Japan as Zero: Shisei no Koe (零〜刺青ノ聲〜, lit. "Zero: Voice of the Tattoo") and in Europe as Project Zero 3: The Tormented.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Fatal Frame III: The Tormented - Credits". allgame.com. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  2. ^ "Fatal Frame III: The Tormented Release Summary". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 28 November 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
  3. ^ a b c Fatal Frame III: The Tormented Instruction Manual. 2005. pp. 26–27, 31. "Why did I survive?" This thought has haunted Rei ever since that day... The day she lost her fiancé in a car accident - while she was at the wheel. One day, freelance photographer Rei Kurosawa receives an assignment to shoot pictures at an old Japanese manor. Rumor has it that the manor, situated deep in the mountains and miles from anywhere, is haunted. During her work that day, Rei sees something inexplicable: her fiancé. Yuu Asou. As far as she knows, he is dead. Setting off in pursuit of her dead lover, Rei finds herself wandering deeper and deeper into the ruins of the abandoned mansion. At the end of a crumbling passageway she turns a corner, and suddenly the scene around her changes. Snow is falling heavily, and reaching out ahead of her are rows and rows of countless gravestones. The scene bears no resemblance to the abandoned house where she has been taking pictures. "Where am I? What is this place...?" Afraid and confused, Rei begins her search for Yuu...
  4. ^ 零~刺青(シセイ)ノ聲~ 公式完全攻略本導魂之書. EnterBrain. 2005. pp. 1–254. ISBN 978-4757724983. 都市伝説、禁断の儀式、夜ごと悪夢に現れる悲しみをたたえた人々。そして、その悪夢に足を踏み入れた時から、主人公・黒澤怜の体には無数の刺青が。あの世界はいったいどこなのか、あの悪夢の屋敷では何が行なわれているのか。ジャーナリスト・麻生優雨の遺したノートにより、すべての謎がここに解き明かされる。
  5. ^ a b "零〜刺青の聲〜 セカイ 現実の家". Tecmo.co.jp. Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  6. ^ "零〜刺青の聲〜 セカイ 眠りの家". Tecmo.co.jp. Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  7. ^ "零〜刺青の聲〜 シュジンコウ". Tecmo.co.jp. Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  8. ^ "零〜刺青の聲〜 ノロイ". Tecmo.co.jp. Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  9. ^ "零〜刺青の聲〜 シュジンコウ 黒澤 怜". Tecmo.co.jp. Retrieved 2013-04-16.
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  11. ^ Tecmo (28 July 2005). Fatal Frame III: The Tormented (PlayStation 2). Tecmo. Scene: Rei's Notes: Yuu Asou (in-game file). He passed away two months ago in an accident caused by my careless driving.
  12. ^ "Fatal Frame III: The Tormented - Trailer (Fatal Frame III: The Tormented (VG)) - IMDb". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  13. ^ "零〜刺青の聲〜 イントロダクション". Tecmo.co.jp. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
  14. ^ Tecmo (2005-07-28). Fatal Frame III: The Tormented (PlayStation 2). Tecmo. Scene: Rei's Notes: The bruise appears (in-game file). I felt a sharp pain in my shoulders when I woke up. For a moment, I thought I could see some kind of bruise on my skin, but when I looked again there was nothing there. Was it just a dream?
  15. ^ "零〜刺青の聲〜 シュジンコウ 天倉 螢". Tecmo.co.jp. Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  16. ^ Tecmo (2005-07-28). Fatal Frame III: The Tormented (PlayStation 2). Tecmo. Scene: Letter from Kei 6 (in-game file). In the dream I had the other day, I saw Mio deep in the Manor. It looked like she was after her missing sister Mayu. I guess it has weighed on me. When I wake, the pain and tattoo spread, just like the story says. If I don't hurry, I may also go missing, like the urban legend says.
  17. ^ "零〜刺青の聲〜 シュジンコウ 雛咲 深紅". Tecmo.co.jp. Archived from the original on 2021-03-21. Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  18. ^ Tecmo (2005-07-28). Fatal Frame III: The Tormented (PlayStation 2). Tecmo. Miku: [singing quietly] Sleep, Priestess, lie in peace. Sleep, Priestess, lie in peace... [...] Rei: Miku... That song... / Miku: Oh, Rei... Good morning. That...song...? I...don't remember exactly where I heard it, but...I feel like I've been hearing it...in my dreams lately. I don't have any idea what the lyrics mean. Could it be some sort of dialect?
  19. ^ Tecmo (2005-07-28). Fatal Frame III: The Tormented (PlayStation 2). Tecmo. Scene: Rei's Notes: The bruise appears (in-game file). Every time I dream of the house, the snake-like tattoo gets bigger. The stabbing pain gets worse every day.
  20. ^ Tecmo (2005-07-28). Fatal Frame III: The Tormented (PlayStation 2). Tecmo. Miku: If you follow the dead in your dreams...you won't be able to come back...
  21. ^ Tecmo (2005-07-28). Fatal Frame III: The Tormented (PlayStation 2). Tecmo. Miku: Now I understand. These tattoos...are my punishment for living. For living on...for surviving...that day... Ever since I was a child I've been able to see things other people can't. My brother was the only one who understood me... That's how...I know...we're going to die.
  22. ^ Tecmo (2005-07-28). Fatal Frame III: The Tormented (PlayStation 2). Tecmo. Scene: Notes: Miku Hinasaki (in-game file). Miku has gone. Has she gone to the one she longs for, her brother? Is her decision...the right one?
  23. ^ Tecmo (2005-07-28). Fatal Frame III: The Tormented (PlayStation 2). Tecmo. Kei: This book was left inside an old shrine not far from the "Manor of Sleep". It seems to date from a time when the house was known as the "Kuze House" or the "Engraving Shrine". It's not easy to read much of it now, but it has something to do with a Ceremony of Commandment. This is a book written by a scholar of folklore named Akito Kashiwagi about the "Sleeping Priestess", but the same material appears in this book as well. Both of the books indicated that in the Ceremony of Commandment, or the Rite of the Stakes, by "impaling the priestess with the tattoo stake" you "subdue her for eternity". The "doors" could refer to the gates of hell. And now, for some reason, they have been opened. But if we can impale the priestess's limbs with the Tattoo Stakes then we may be able to put her to rest... I think the Tattoo Stakes are some sort of special stakes. They must be somewhere in the mansion.
  24. ^ Tecmo (2005-07-28). Fatal Frame III: The Tormented (PlayStation 2). Tecmo. Kei: Can't be...! It can't be!
  25. ^ Tecmo (28 July 2005). Fatal Frame III: The Tormented (PlayStation 2). Tecmo. Reika Kuze: [to Rei] Please... Let me sleep…
  26. ^ Tecmo (2005-07-28). Fatal Frame III: The Tormented (PlayStation 2). Tecmo. Scene: Kei's Research Notes (in-game file). I examined the lyrics of the third verse of "The Sleeping Priestess". It may be some kind of clue. Below are the possible meanings besides "impaling at the tattoo stake". Maybe the lyrics don't mean "to make sleep" but rather "to send off" the Priestess. These lyrics certainly fit with the "Funeral Song" Yuu was talking about. They practice an ancient spirit world religion over there. At the Kuze Family mountain, it's said there is a sacred area called the Sea of Endless Night. On a certain map is drawn a huge sea-like area behind the Manor. Maybe it represents the other world. Could that be where the priestess is "relinquished"?
  27. ^ Tecmo (2005-07-28). Fatal Frame III: The Tormented (PlayStation 2). Tecmo. Yuu: When you... When you die, then I will be gone forever. As long as you go on living, a part of me will live on. That's why...I need you to live.
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