Siren (video game)


Siren (video game)

Infobox VG
title = Siren


caption = North American cover
aspect ratio = 4:3
resolution=480i, 576i
developer = SCE Japan Studio
publisher = Sony Computer Entertainment
designer = Keiichirō Toyama, Naoko Satō
"BHZ" - Jun'ya Ōkura, Kōhei Nanri
series = "Siren"
released = vgrelease|JP=November 6 2003vgrelease|EU=March 12 2004vgrelease|AUS=March 12 2004vgrelease|NA=April 20 2004
genre = Survival horror, Stealth
modes = Single player
ratings = vgratings|CERO=15+vgratings|PEGI=16+vgratings|USK=16+vgratings|OFLCA=MA15+vgratings|OFLCZ=R16vgratings|ESRB=M
platforms = PlayStation 2
media = DVD-ROM
input = DualShock 2
nihongo|"Siren"|サイレン|Sairen, known as "Forbidden Siren" in Europe and Australia, is a stealth-based survival horror video game developed by Sony Computer Entertainment's Japan Studio for the PlayStation 2 in 2003. The game tells the story of several characters trapped in an old Japanese village over the course of three days.

"Siren" was succeeded by "Forbidden Siren 2" and "".

Plot

"Siren" is set in a remote, rural Japanese mountain village named "Hanuda" (nihongo|"Hanyūda"|羽生蛇村|Hanyūda-mura in the Japanese version), which is characterized as being very traditional and particularly xenophobic. Following a ritual ceremony near midnight, the village teeters wildly between time and space, with an infinite sea of blood-red water in place of the usual surrounding mountains. The crux of the story focuses on the efforts of Hisako Yao, the leader of a strange local religion, to resurrect or re-awaken a being known as Datatsushi through an occult ceremony. The siren of the title is the call of Datatsushi, summoning the residents of Hanuda to immerse themselves in the red water, thus creating an army of subordinates called nihongo|"shibito"|屍人|shibito|lit. "corpse people". The shibito then go about building a nest to house the corporal form of Datatsushi once it is summoned, as well as killing and converting any living humans left in Hanuda. The story is told through the perspectives of ten survivors, some of whom are natives of Hanuda, and is presented out of chronological order over the three days in which the mystery takes place.

Gameplay

The core of "Siren's" gameplay is in the eschewal of direct engagement with enemies. The player can walk silently, avoid the use of flashlights during night time scenarios, and crouch behind objects to elude detection. Certain mission objectives involve the use of items and the environment to create distractions that will displace shibito from their usual positions. The player can also shout at any time in order to call the attention of nearby shibito. Others require the player to escort and issue commands to a non-playable character. Depending on the scenario, the player either begins with a weapon, obtains one during the course of the stage, or lacks it throughout. While shibito can be defeated in combat, they cannot be killed and will reanimate after a period of time, briefly remaining in a suspicious state. Similarly, if a character is injured, he can recover after a period of time. Characters will lose stamina while running.

The game's defining feature is the characters' collective ability to 'sightjack', or see and hear from the perspectives of nearby shibito, humans and other creatures. The process is similar to tuning into a radio frequency, with the left analog stick serving as the dial. The clarity and location on the dial of each target depend on the distance from and orientation to the player, respectively. Once a signal is discovered, it can be assigned to one of the controller's four face buttons to easily switch between multiple signals. Via sightjacking, the player can discover a shibito's position, patrol route, locations and items of interest. However, the player is unable to move during this time and thus vulnerable.

When a shibito hears a suspicious sound, it will search in the general direction of the sound's origin. If a character enters the shibito's line of sight, it will actively pursue the character and shout to alert others nearby. Once the character has remained out of sight for a period of time, the shibito will give up and resume its usual habits.

The in-game map displays the surrounding area, though it does not show the player's current location, only the start and end points. Instead, the player has to distinguish where he is by noting certain landmarks on the map.

There are also several items scattered throughout each stage that give the player further insight into the story's background. Once obtained, these items, referred to as "archives," are placed into a catalog and can be viewed at any time during the game.

ynopsis

Characters

*

An inquisitive teenager who is fascinated by urban legends. Sixteen-year-old Kyoya travels to the Hanuda area in search of an unnamed village where a massacre occurred many years ago. His relationship with Miyako Kajiro forms the central storyline of the game - the two meet early on when Kyoya helps her escape from her sister's fiancé Jun, and Kyoya spends most of the game trying to escort Miyako out of Hanuda. Kyoya is the main character in the game, and the character who finally confronts Datatsushi in combat at the end of the game.

*

32-year-old Takeuchi is a professor in folklore and legends at a Tokyo university, and was born in Hanuda. He lost his parents as a child during the first attempt at the occult ceremony and the landslide that followed. He has returned to Hanuda, ostensibly to study local folklore, but searching for the truth behind what happened to his parents is his true goal. Takeuchi begins with his .38-caliber revolver as a starting weapon, which trades hands with several other characters by the end of the game.

*

Yoriko is a university student from Tokyo, and a pupil of Takeuchi's. She insists on accompanying him to Hanuda, and is caught up in the events that transpire. Yoriko is twenty-two years old, has a huge crush on Takeuchi, and is quite abrasive and hysterical at times. However, she has a good heart, and has a surprising reserve of courage when called upon to fight. In the true ending of the game, she is reunited with Takeuchi, having been separated from him, and breaks into the Takeuchi house, beats Takeuchi's undead parents with a baseball bat and pulls him away.

*

A priest in the local religion, Makino, who is twenty-seven years old and the twin brother of Shiro Miyata, with whom he has a frosty relationship as they were raised by different parents. Makino is killed by his brother late in the game's storyline. This is a matter of some confusion amongst players of the game, since Makino's death is never explicitly shown on-screen. In fact, before the scene in which his death takes place fades to black, Miyata has the gun to his own head, so the sound of the resulting shot gives the impression that he has committed suicide. Also, there are further levels playable as "Kei Makino" following this scene. In fact, Miyata takes Makino's place on these levels, dressed in Makino's robes.

*

The player is first introduced to twenty-seven-year-old Dr. Miyata when he awakens in the forest next to a shallow grave. Miyata was having a relationship with a nurse named Mina Onda and for reasons which are never fully explained in the game, he strangled and buried her in the woods. However, the ceremony reanimated her, and she clawed her way out of the grave. Late in the game, following a tense confrontation, Miyata kills his twin brother and takes his clothes, assuming his identity as Kei Makino. Eventually, Miyata gives his life to end the suffering of long dead corpses, the villagers who would not bend to the will of Datatsushi.

*

A weak and small twenty-one-year-old woman born in Hanuda, who has returned from Tokyo to visit her twin sister Mina. Caught up in the aftermath of the ceremony, Risa meets up with Shiro Miyata, and they head to the hospital to search for Mina. Later on, she is killed by Miyata while under the control of her shibito sister and transforms into a shibito herself.

*

While Mina is not a playable character and is never seen as a human, she plays a large part in the game. She is the identical twin sister of Risa Onda. By the time she is introduced into a level of the game, Mina has become a brain, who stalks the hallways of the hospital looking for Risa and Miyata, leading a platoon of kumo shibito to surround the clinic and prevent them escaping. The shovel she carries as a weapon is very likely to be the same one that Miyata used to bury her in the first place. Several levels in the game revolve around defeating or subduing Mina, and she is arguably the most powerful shibito in the game.

*

Hisako is the woman behind the legend of Yaobikuni, a nun granted immortality because she ate the flesh of a merman. Although she appears to be in her twenties, she is actually well over 1000 years old. When Datatsushi appeared in Hanuda in 684 AD during a great famine, Hisako was one of the villagers who ate his flesh as he lay dying. As a result, she was cursed by Datatsushi to live forever. Hisako initiates the ceremony that triggers the events of the game. Her advanced age has caused her to forget much of her real purpose, which explains her benevolent actions towards Kyoya in the early part of the game.

*

This fourteen-year-old is the latest in a line of special girls born to the Kajiro family whose sacrifice is needed to resurrect Datatsushi. Miyako is eventually sacrificed by Hisako Yao as part of the ceremony to awaken her god, but her spirit continues to assist Kyoya as he attempts to defeat Datatsushi. She is blind, and can only see by sightjacking.

*

A twenty-nine-year-old school teacher from the local elementary school, Takato was conducting an outing (star-gazing) with her pupil Harumi Yomoda when the earthquake hit. Takato lost her own child in a terrible accident several years ago, and she sees Harumi as a surrogate daughter that she must protect at all costs. Takato eventually gives her life to save Harumi, but is resurrected as a shibito. She later chases Harumi out of the Tabori settlement, and even attacks Takeuchi when he struggles with transformation. Even in death however, her protective instincts win out, and she saves Harumi once again from Eiji Nagoshi, the school principal turned shibito.

*

A local ten-year-old schoolgirl gifted with a form of ESP related to sightjacking. She was on a school outing to study star constellations when the earthquake hit, and becomes trapped in the school along with her teacher Reiko Takato. Eventually, Harumi escapes the netherworld and ends the game as Takeuchi began it: wandering alone and orphaned through the aftermath of a natural disaster. Because Harumi's bloodstream is never exposed to any of the red water during the game's story, she is the only character who can return from the netherworld to the real world. It is stated in the sequel that Harumi was found, stranded in Hanuda following the landslide.

*

Shimura is an old man of seventy years who has lived in Hanuda for his entire life. He lost his wife and son in the earthquake in 1976, and carries the pain of this loss, and his own failure to prevent the ceremony which caused it, even in his advanced years. A dedicated game hunter, Shimura carries a rifle with him at all times during the game. He knows much about the ceremony and his dislike of the local religion has made him a veritable hermit. He is quite gruff and cantankerous, but would go to any lengths to avoid becoming a monster. Faced with the endless red sea filled with shibito, and realising there is no way out of Hanuda, Shimura shoots himself to escape the horror of transforming into one of the undead. This is to no avail, however, and he later turns returns to life as a shibito

*

A former model and current B-list celebrity, who is in Hanuda filming a cable TV show called Occult Japan (Darkness Japan in the Japanese version). Twenty-eight-year-old Mihama is very vain and self-centered, and due to the fierce competition in her profession, will go to any lengths to preserve her youthful looks. She worries that the happenings in Hanuda will lead to grey hairs. Driven mad by the events, Mihama submerges herself in the red water, in a misguided bid to stay forever young.

*

A fourteen-year-old middle school student who has run away from home following an argument with her parents. Now, lost in the underworld of Hanuda, the disagreement is forgotten and Tomoko tries to find her way home to her family. Discovering that they are at the local church, having searched for her, Tomoko makes her way there (but not without difficulties). She finally reaches the church, but by then she has already become a shibito, and the sight of her rapping at the window with bloody tears running down her face terrifies her parents. They later join her as shibito, and the three take over the Tabori abandoned house to live "happily ever after" - going about their daily routines as the living dead in a hideous twist.

Development

Graphics

Rather than employ traditional facial animation methods with polygons, images of real human faces were captured from eight different angles and superimposed on the character models. This eerie effect is similar to projecting film onto the blank face of a mannequin, a technique long used to animate a severed head in Disney's Haunted Mansion attraction.

"Silent Hill" connection

The most notable aspect of "Siren"'s development is that it was co-conceived and directed by Keiichirō Toyama, who had previously directed the original "Silent Hill". Other former members of Team Silent, Naoko Satō and Isao Takahashi, also had critical roles in "Siren"'s creation. This connection is reflected in major aesthetic and gameplay features, including a remote countryside town with a mysterious history, a local cult seeking to summon a supreme deity through ritual ceremony, a gradual shift of the environment from normality to darkness and vice versa, a thick pervading fog, the use of an elementary school and a hospital as game environments, strategic considerations in running or using a flashlight, and the civil defense siren that is heard from time to time.

Reception

"Siren" received mixed or average review scores, with a metascore of 72/100. [cite web|url=http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/ps2/forbiddensiren?q=siren |title=Siren (ps2: 2004): Reviews |accessdate=2008-04-20 |publisher=Metacritic] The game was praised for its dark tone and unique gameplay compared to games like "Silent Hill" and "Resident Evil". However, some critics gave it a lower score for having overly complicated gameplay and mediocre English voice acting.Fact|date=May 2008

oundtrack

"Siren Original Soundtrack" is due for release in Japan on October 22, 2008.

Track list

# Orasho -Hōshin Goeika-
# Managawa Gogan Kōji Genba
# Ōaza Arato
# Hanyūda-mura Shōgakkō Oribe Bunkō I
# Janokubi Tani
# Karuwari I
# Gōjakudake
# Hirunotsuka
# Hanyūda-mura Shōgakkō Oribe Bunkō II
# Naretenaindakara Kō Iu Koto ni... Makino San wa
# Miyata Iin
# Eien no Inochi no Taneakashi Desu yo
# Tenshi Sama...?
# Karuwari II
# Eien no Hazama de Hajimari to Owari wa Hitotsu ni Naru...
# Ribiyatan...
# Tabori
# Omedetō Gozaimasu, Megumi ni Michita Kata yo
# Shibito no Su I
# Rakuen no Tobira ga Hirakareru
# Shibito no Su II
# Eien ni Ikiru 'te Koto wa, Eien ni Kurushimu Koto to Onaji da na...
# Rengoku no Honō... Ore no Inochi to Hikikae da...
# Shibito no Su III
# Suikyō no Tobira o Hirakerunda yo... Kō Yatte...
# Anata ga... Anata ga Mi o Nusunda no ne...
# Inferuno
# O Kā San...
# The Buster!
# Hōshin Goeika

Trivia

* The legend of the Yaobikuni is a real-life Japanese folk tale about a nun who ate the flesh of a merman and was cursed to live forever. [cite web|url=http://www.angelfire.com/droid/aye/chars/yaobikuni.html |title=Yaobikuni |accessdate=2008-04-20 |publisher=Angelfire] The name Yaobikuni literally translates as "Nun of Eight Hundred Years," and Yaobikuni characters can be found in other contemporary Japanese media, such as the manga series "Blade of the Immortal".

* The tsuchinoko is a mythical Japanese animal, and the Japanese government actually offers hefty rewards for the live capture of one. In the game, Tomoko spots a tsuchinoko entering a sewage pipe and finds a tsuchinoko reward poster. Also, Kyoya discovers a live tsuchinoko in the bathtub of the abandoned Tabori house. Miyata also finds papers dropped by Mihama regarding episode #8 of Occult Japan, which details the discovery of a tsuchinoko at the site of a mass-murder spree.

* Issues with some of the younger characters' ages prompted changes to their dates of birth in the game's American release. Miyako and Tomoko's ages changed from 14 to 17, and Kyoya's from 16 to 18.

* One of the trailers for the game was taken off Japanese television because of its alleged frightening nature. It depicts a young girl banging on a window and calling to her parents who, to their horror, discover that their daughter is a shibito.

Film adaptation

A Japanese film adaption of the video game, entitled "Forbidden Siren" and starring Yui Ichikawa, was released on February 9th 2006 to coincide with the release of second game in the series, "Forbidden Siren 2".

References

External links

* [http://www.jp.playstation.com/scej/title/siren/siren.html Official Japanese website]
* [http://www.us.playstation.com/Content/OGS/SCUS-97355/Site/ Official US website]
* [http://www.forbidden-siren.com/ Official European website]
* [http://www.occultland.com Occult Land Collection (hoax site)]
* [http://www.shibito.com Urban Folklore Society (hoax site)]


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