So to keep the Halloween spooky spirit alive, I figured it might be a good idea to enjoy a little video game ghost story expedition. And for that we're going to be looking at the lesser known From Software title known as Kuon. Released in 2004, the game had a number of hurdles to overcome to compare to other more well known survival horror games (such as it's historical theme, it's relatively short length, and it's very simplistic combat) and in the end it ended up not really doing that well in any markets. But that doesn't mean there isn't plenty here to enjoy; a tense atmosphere, incredibly sound work, and an enjoyable story should hopefully make it at least a joy to watch. You might be wondering though where the ghost story portion comes into it and that's because Kuon follows many of the similar themes for a classic form of Japanese ghost story known as Kaidan. These classic tales were usually fairly short and involved some moral while putting the characters in historical settings where ancient battles or tragedies had occurred leaving behind ghosts or demons.
For our particular story we will have two different viewpoints to progress through our tale with and we'll need to play through both to get the complete story. Taking place during the Heian period, the story revolves around a mansion brimming over with disease, death, and mystery. It'll be up to our two characters to fulfill their own individual tasks while figuring out the greater mystery surrounding the mansion. Thankfully they're both resourceful and properly equipped for danger as we'll be seeing, but will that truly save them from what lies deep within the walls? Well, let's get to the videos to find out.
Utsuki is a sheltered young lady that lives in the mountains near the mansion with her father, Doman, and her sickly sister, Kureha. She appears throughout the game as very timid and unsure regarding most events going on around her, but she seems very loyal to her family and feels it is her duty to make sure that her sister remains safe. But it's also become up to her, and her sister, to find out what has happened to their father who had gone into the mansion weeks before.
Sakuya is the only female student under head priest Doman's tutelage and has been instructed with a very important task. Recently, the Lord Fujiwara's home has come under some dire curse and Doman has entrusted the task of exorcising the mansion with Sakuya and a group of other priests. Sakuya appears in the game to be very courageous and knowledgeable regarding this task, but the demons present in the mansion might be more than she and her team of priests can deal with.
Kureha is the sister of Utsuki and is a sickly, frail young lady. She's apparently been afflicted with a dire illness since they were children and it's been up to her father and her older sister to take care of her. But she can't be left behind in the mountains while Utsuki goes to look for her father, so she joins up with her sister to check for her father and things seem to go badly quickly.
Doman is the head priest of the mansion, the father of Utsuki and the head mentor of Sakuya. While he only appears briefly for Sakuya, he seems to hold some major sway in the mansion's religious activities and as such holds some greater power in the region. But he has gone missing for a couple of weeks as the game start and as such things have gone from bad to worse in regards to the mansion. Will he make a return in time to save the situation and what were his plans for sending in both Utsuki, Kureha, and Sakuya?
Dochin, Dokai, Doryo are the three accompaning priests with Sakuya. One appears to be incredibly young and inexperienced; another is Sakuya's brother who seems to be rather soft spoken but is overall studious; and the final is an older priest who apparently takes a lot of notes (though we never actually see that). They seem to be there to assist Sakuya but for the most part they just immediately separate to do their own priestly activities.
Gaki is a hungry ghost that feels the want to feed on human flesh. They are pretty much our baseline cannon fodder enemy who wishes to rush at our heroines and consume their pale flesh. Thankfully their intelligence is pretty low and they are easily evaded, or killed.
Yamabito is a suffering spirit who ambles about moaning pain looking to victims to take away into the underworld. Taking it's name from the term 'mountain people', the Yamabito is fairly slow but more dangerous than a Gaki in regards to the damage it can do and the damage it requires to take down. Thankfully they aren't seen as much in the early portions of the game but they quickly can become more evident as the game progresses.
Mizuhiki is a rarely seen fish man monster that normally doesn't attack people but for some reason in the mansion is becoming quite aggressive. Using a combination of an AOE splash attack and using a long range poison spit attack, they can be a difficult hurdle to cross but they can be easily ignored and aren't really seen too often in the game.
Adamushi appears to be some mixture of half alive corpse and a cocoon encircling it, and while it gives the appearance of being nonthreatening it quickly becomes apparent that it's one of the more dangerous enemies in the game. Dealing out quite a dangerous amount of damage and normally taking quite a bit of damage to take down, the Adamushi are best dealt with from range and with the utmost caution.
Mashira are fairly dangerous, fairly fast, and fairly annoying monster monkeys that only appear in Sakuya's story. They can be fairly nasty to deal with on the narrow mountain paths and can actually manage to kill Sakuya in three hits if given the chance. Thankfully they only really appear on a total of two screens in the game, so they are a common enemy.