Haunting Ground, known in Japan as Demento (デメント), is a PlayStation 2 survival horror game.
It was developed and published by Capcom on April 21, 2005 in Japan, April 25, 2005 in North America and May 10, 2005 in Europe. In 2015, it was re-released on the Japanese PlayStation Store for PlayStation 3.
After Clock Tower 3, Capcom's studio developed Haunting Ground. While technically not an official Clock Tower game, it is still connected to the Clock Tower series as a "spin-off spiritual successor" since it was made with many of the team members who worked on Clock Tower 3. Haunting Ground also bears many similarities to the Clock Tower series such as stalkers, a panic system and hiding places. It has been rumored that Haunting Ground was originally developed as Clock Tower 4, and contains scrapped Resident Evil 4 assets.
Haunting Ground revolves around a teenage girl, Fiona Belli, who becomes trapped in a castle full of horrors and hostile residents who want her dead or impregnated. To escape and survive, she must use her canine companion Hewie. Along the way, Fiona discovers many truths, and the game delves into themes such as philosophy, psychology, alchemy, spirituality and religion.
Teenager Fiona Belli has just been involved in a car crash with her parents, but her memories of this accident are vague. When she awakens, she finds herself in a cage in a cellar. Noting that the cage that keeps her prisoner was left unlocked, she steps out but is startled by a fierce dog snarling and then running past her. Fiona exits the cellar and finds herself in a castle. Fiona meets Daniella, the castle's maid, who provides her with basic clothing but leaves before Fiona can ask any questions.
In a corridor, Fiona finds Debilitas, a large mentally disabled hunchbacked male "homunculus" (artificial man-made human) who believes Fiona is a doll for him to play with. He is hostile and chases Fiona around the castle until he is temporarily stopped by Riccardo Belli, the castle's keeper. Riccardo tells Fiona that her parents, Ugo and Ayla Belli, died in a car crash and that she is the heir to Belli Castle. Confused and disturbed, Fiona faints. Fiona later wakes up on a bed in the guestroom. She hears whimpering from outside and finds the dog from before, tied to a tree with a wire.
Fiona frees the dog and tells him to run away. However, after the dog protects Fiona from Debilitas, Fiona befriends him, a white German Shepherd named Hewie and valuable ally. She quickly begins searching for some answers and a way out of the castle she is in but the main entrance is locked and the castle perimeter is secured with walls.
As Fiona's predicament gets more disturbing, she learns that she is the carrier of the Azoth, which is what the castle's residents are after. She realizes that almost everyone and everything in the castle either wants to kill, rape, and possibly eat her body. She finds letters and memos given to her by a man named Lorenzo who wants to help her escape the castle. Fiona and Hewie are chased by Debilitas to the chapel. The way in which the player ultimately eliminates Debilitas influences the outcome of the endings; Fiona can either kill him, or spare his life by dropping a chandelier onto him.
Soon after Fiona has rid herself of Debilitas, Daniella reappears to serve Fiona dinner. Daniella becomes jealous that Fiona can smell, taste, and "experience pleasure and pain", and desires Fiona's Azoth to become "complete". This foreshadows her later intimation, immediately before her boss battle, that she cannot engage in sexual intercourse or have children as she is infertile. While Fiona is resting in one of the castle's rooms, Daniella bashes her head against a window until it shatters, then wields a large shard of broken glass and pursues her with it. At one point, when Fiona trips on stairs, Daniella notices a mirror on the wall and begins screaming at her reflection.
After an exploration of the Old Mansion, Daniella's end comes when Fiona and Hewie enter a stargazing room and face her in a boss fight. Daniella tells Fiona that Fiona's body is "filthy", licks her glass shard/iron poker, and cries blood. Fiona eventually indirectly kills Daniella by impaling her with a large shard of broken glass from the ceiling. Daniella smiles as she dies, happy that she has finally experienced pain and can die fulfilled, free from her boring and monotonous life and existence.
While exploring the castle, Riccardo chases Fiona with a flintlock pistol. Riccardo keeps his face hidden under a hood, though reveals his face and his plot to Fiona after cornering her in the forest. He has the same face as Fiona's father, Ugo, and reveals that they are clones and that he is the original. Riccardo murdered Ugo after attempting to kill him in the car crash as revenge for leaving the castle and marrying Ayla, Fiona's mother. He plans to use Fiona by means of her womb and use of her Azoth to help him be reborn so that he may live forever. Hewie rescues Fiona and assists in their escape from the tower in which Riccardo keeps Fiona imprisoned. During the battle with Riccardo on the top of the tower, Riccardo falls off, resulting in his death.
Fiona enters the House of Truth and meets Lorenzo, her alchemist grandfather who menaces her in several different forms. She first meets Lorenzo as an old, crippled man. He tells Fiona how Riccardo was always the "problem child", and that he created both Riccardo and Ugo in attempts to find a body with Azoth he could use. Ugo had the Azoth but left the castle to marry Ayla. Now that he knows Fiona is finally his, he can take the Azoth she inherited from Ugo. He rids himself of his wheelchair and crawls on the floor in order to chase Fiona.
After crushing the elder Lorenzo in a machine, Fiona encounters a resurrected, youthful Lorenzo; the Azoth, which he took from Riccardo's corpse using mouth-to-mouth, allows him mastery over his own aging process, as well as the ability to teleport. Fiona, with the help of Hewie, causes Lorenzo to fall into a pit of lava. Immediately after defeating young Lorenzo, the castle begins to shake and collapse, and Lorenzo returns a final time as a flaming skeleton. He chases Fiona, but finally dies as she and Hewie escape the castle.
- Ending A "Fortes Fortuna Juvat" (Latin for "Fortune helps the brave") - Fiona struggles to get the key into the lock. Hewie calms her fears and she manages to unlock the door. However, Hewie begins barking which catches Fiona's attention. From the double doors, Debilitas comes out with hedge clippers. In a tense and awkward moment, Fiona and Debilitas stare at each other. Debilitas then simply bows to Fiona, showing that he means no more harm to her, and possibly thanking her for sparing his life. With that, she and Hewie leave the castle. Debilitas looks at the overgrown trees in the garden and begins clipping them as he hums to himself. To get this ending, the player must defeat Debilitas using the chandelier. This does not kill Debilitas, but rather causes him to retreat and thus no longer pose a threat for Fiona during the remainder of the game. This is considered as the best ending.
- Ending B "Ignis Aurum Probat" (Latin for "Fire tests gold") - similar to Ending A, except that Debilitas does not appear. As Fiona is opening the castle gate, she stares at the castle for a few moments, before turning and following Hewie into the forest. To get this ending, the player must have Fiona kill Debilitas.
- Ending C "Dona Nobis Pacem" (Latin for "Grant us peace") - similar to Ending A, except that Debilitas does not appear. Lorenzo calls out to Fiona not to go and falls down the stairs, loathing the fact that she has left. To get this ending, the game must be completed once. Debilitas must be defeated with the chandelier. Fiona must visit Debilitas in his hut, where he will give her the "Smudged Key" that opens one of the locked bathroom stalls, which reveals a hidden cellar. In that cellar, Fiona finds the key to the castle's main gate.
- Ending D - "Tu Fui, Ego Eris" (Latin for "What you are, I was. What I am, you will be") - Fiona wakes up in a glass box where Riccardo taunts her, saying she belongs to him and that she will "give birth" to him again with her Azoth. She screams in her frustration. Fiona is likely raped or impregnated off-screen - even more disturbing because Riccardo could be viewed as Fiona's uncle. Later, in a castle bedroom, Riccardo tenderly strokes Fiona's head and her bulging stomach, as she is now heavily pregnant. As he walks away, she wakes, gives a faint smile, and issues a hollow laugh. To obtain this ending, Fiona must have a bad relationship with Hewie when she faints in the forest. Hewie does not save Fiona, either due to dying from Riccardo's gun attack or out of apathy due to Fiona mistreating him. This is likely non-canon as Fiona is outraged when she finds Hewie tied to a tree.
Fiona must be guided through Belli Castle, its grounds and outbuildings until she can find a way to escape. Fiona is accompanied by Hewie and the duo must work as a team to solve puzzles and outwit their pursuers by hiding or fighting back. There are also plenty of booby traps in the castle which will instantly kill Fiona if the player does not recognize them.
To increase immersion, there are no HUD elements. Instead, Fiona has a separate inventory. In this inventory, the player can use items, equip equipment, read collected files and notes, check a map, read comments from Fiona (and Hewie on Hard Mode), and change game settings.
Unlike many video game protagonists who have infinite energy, Fiona will become tired if she constantly runs and does actions like kicking, backstepping and shoving. The player can tell how tired Fiona is by watching her left arm. The more tired she is, the slower she runs and will begin to run with her hand closer to the side of her body. This can be dangerous in long chases. To restore energy, the player can wait and crouch, or use items like Recreatio and Camomile.
Fiona is not the only one who can become tired. Hewie and the stalkers can as well.
The castle's inhabitants wander around the castle off-screen. Stalkers are alerted by sound; if Fiona makes a lot of noise (footsteps, talking to Hewie too much, slamming doors), the likelier a stalker will appear. Some scripted events will trigger stalkers, however, there is also a hidden timer mechanic in which the game will try to make a stalker appear at least once every 30 minutes, no matter where Fiona is. This means the player make the most of their time when stalkers are not around to progress the game, unlock shortcuts and solve puzzles.
When a stalker is nearby, the game's background music has a tendency to silence. The player may hear footsteps or the stalker's voice. Hewie's behavior may also change and he may growl or stare in the direction the stalker is coming. The player is supposed to immediately find a hiding place in the next 10 seconds or so before the stalker enters the room.
If the stalker has found Fiona, they will chase and attack her. At this point, the player should run and find another hiding place and they may command Hewie to attack to buy time. Fiona can fight back to a degree with kicks, a backstepping and shove move, alchemy weapons, commanding Hewie to bite, or the whip/gun if the player has the alternate costumes. However, all of them merely stun the enemy momentarily so Fiona can escape. If evaded long enough (indicated by the background music returning to normal), the stalkers will cease for a while until the next encounter occurs.
It is possible to temporarily defeat stalkers by inflicting enough damage. If they are lying on the floor instead of crouching, Fiona can grab one free item from their unconscious body. Trying to grab another will only revive them. Fighting stalkers is only recommended for experienced players and only if the player has anti-panic equipment, as simply being around stalkers will raise panic.
Two enemies exist in addition to the castle's keepers, neither are dangerous to Fiona but can alert Fiona's pursuers to her location and cause panic. The first are small floating orbs of blue light known as Luminessants, which follow Fiona and emit a loud noise if they come into contact with her. The other enemy type are fetus-like disfigured homunculi, who let out a piercing yell.
Evading enemies and finding hiding spots is emphasized. Fiona can in wardrobes, under objects such as beds and tables, and sometimes in bushes. Many hiding spots are unmarked and are abstract. These includes hiding behind doors, behind pieces of the environment or objects, and essentially anything in a stalker's blind spot is fair game
However, if Fiona is found re-using hiding places, stalkers will begin to catch on and check hiding places they have found Fiona before. For example, if Fiona is caught hiding behind doors too many times, stalkers will check behind doors more.
In some cases, it is better to leave the hiding spot and slowly walk out of the room when the stalker is not near and if there is an exit nearby, as some stalkers will sometimes perform full searches on rooms.
The game's "the coast is clear" message is extremely unreliable and instead, experienced players always wait for the background music to return to normal.
Hewie joins Fiona early in the game, following different commands to perform actions like barking or growling when he detects a trap or threat. He can be commanded to stay, follow, attack, fetch and to shake hands.
In order to maintain a good relationship with her new companion, Fiona must issue commands to Hewie, praising or scolding him depending on whether or not he obeys. Praising or healing him when he becomes injured also maintains his interest. The player can also play fetch using the ball. Hewie will ignore Fiona's commands and wander off if not given enough attention, and if he is repeatedly mistreated he may even attack her, and lead to an ending where Fiona is sexually violated. It is up to the player to raise Hewie's obedience.
Hewie can be knocked unconscious from sustaining too many injuries but can be revived, however, in Hard Mode, he is slain after receiving the same level of injuries, causing the game to end.
Haunting Ground uses a panic system. Unlike previous Clock Tower games which display panic as a cursor color or as a meter, panic causes motion blur, desaturation of the environment and a freeze-frame effect, and the controller vibrates to Fiona's heartbeat.
When faced with certain scary events, such as if Fiona finds blood, hears a scream or sees insects, or during prolonged enemy attacks and chases, Fiona becomes fearful and will begin to trip on the floor, and the visual effects and vibration mentioned above occur.
If Fiona becomes too terrified, she will scream and enter panic mode and run. The music "Closed Mind" will play. The player is unable to stop Fiona running and must try to prevent her from running into walls and objects. Although Fiona can open doors in Panic Mode, she cannot close them or unlock them. If her relationship with Hewie is good enough, Fiona can call him and have him distract the stalker long enough for Panic Mode to end.
If Fiona bumps into a wall or an object, she may fall down and begin crawling on the floor. At this point, Fiona will die if attacked again, and there is usually a 50/50 chance that she will die. The player can also wiggle the analog sticks and repeatedly press buttons so that Fiona will get up faster, and call Hewie.
- See also: Haunting Ground Items
The Variatio Machina, found in the Refining Room, is an alchemy machine which lets Fiona forge and create items, using Medallions found throughout the game. These items can help reduce Fiona's panic and recover her stamina. The player can also forge attack items, such as Magnesia and Antimony Powder, which Fiona can drop on the floor or throw at the enemy to hurt them.
Dog's Best Friend
When the game is finished once, a mini-game is unlocked where the player can, instead of controlling Fiona, control Hewie in a number of areas and events from the game. As Hewie, the player must guide Fiona to the exit of the level as quickly as possible. The levels (mainly Belli Castle) have a set path; doors that could possibly be used for a shortcut are locked. Possible fights are: Debilitas in Chaos Forest; Daniella in Belli Castle; Riccardo in Belli Castle (while he is invisible); and Lorenzo in Chaos Forest.
Unlock Hard Mode and Secret Room:
- To unlock both Hard Mode and the Secret Room, beat the game once. Hard Mode is a harder difficulty where even a mere 2 or 3 hits can send Fiona into panic mode. It is also rumored that all Lavender in the game is absent, but this needs confirmation.
- Illegal in Some States: Finish the game with Ending A or B.
- Texas Cowgirl: Finish the game with Ending A.
- Fiona the Frog: Finish the game with Ending C.
- German Shepherd (Hewie): Finish the game.
- Stuffed Toy (Hewie): Finish the game on Hard Mode.
- Alternate enemy costumes: Play Hard Mode.
A full list of all unlockable costumes, how to get them, special abilities, and information about them can be found here.
Plate Key Unlockables:
- A number of items, including neck chokers and boots that gives Fiona special abilities can also be unlocked by imputing secret/cheat words into the Plate Key Machine to get a plate key for each, which then rewards the player with said item once used. Codes include:
- METH - Gives Fiona the Obsidian Choker when the player types "METH" instead of "EMETH" and places it into the first Golem they encounter; disintegrating it and dropping the necklace.
- MAGNUS - Inquisitor Earrings and Jade Choker (Unlocks the red box in the nursery)
- ADAMAS - Diamond Choker (Refining Room)
- ALCHYMIA - Alchemist Earrings (Refining Room)
- POWDER - Burst Shoes (Refining Room)
- MORGAN - Fairy Earrings (Refining Room)
- Main article: Demento Original Soundtrack
The Demento Original Soundtrack is the soundtrack of Haunting Ground. It was not released outside of Japan. It is composed by Seiko Kobuchi and Shinya Okada. The game also features the piano composition "Liebestraum III" by Franz Liszt; Lunatic Piano and Liebestraume Notturno III ~ Nostalgic.
Haunting Ground received poor sales due to little marketing, as well as the fact that Resident Evil 4 had been released around the same time. Physical copies of the game are usually rare and expensive. The game received mixed reviews and holds a 67 on Metacritic, but its Metacritic user score is 8.8 out of 10.
Despite the mixed reception, the game received a strong cult following, citing interesting puzzles, story, music, impressive AI for Hewie, decent graphics and art design, good facial animation and mocap, good voice acting, innovative panic system, and decent replay value.
Also notable is the lack of loading times and load screens, compared to previous survival horror games like Silent Hill and Resident Evil. The player can run from room to room, even into the outdoor areas, and not see a single load screen. The only load times in the game are on bootup and right before a cutscene, but the load times before cutscenes are very brief. While it may not seem like a big deal now, it was a step forward for video games for its time.
However, the game was criticized for:
- No option to disable subtitles (although at least it has subtitles for deaf gamers).
- Lack of widescreen compatibility on release. Many games by 2005 had widescreen support so there is no excuse. Fortunately, the game can be widescreen hacked in PCSX2, although there are some mood-breaking side effects in certain cutscenes.
- Some clipping issues. For example, if Fiona is knocked into a wall, her legs may go through the wall.
- Some players felt that Fiona's breast jiggle physics were ridiculous and unnecessary and wish they could be disabled in the options menu. They bounce almost every time Fiona stops walking or running. Some feel it adds a level of creepiness to the game's sexual themes, as a form of sexual horror and a commentary on voyeurism. For example, the main villain Lorenzo spies on Fiona while she changes clothes and the game portrays this in a creepy sense while hiding her nudity. The game's villains often objectify Fiona and her body, treating her like a piece of meat and their property. This may incite cognitive dissonance, guilt and discomfort to anyone who finds Fiona attractive. While the developers never explained why they added it, some fans give the developers the benefit of the doubt for this possibility.
- Despite being a slasher horror game, some blood and gore effects are undetailed and unrealistic. For example, if Fiona is cut by Daniella's shard of glass, her blood is bright red, and her clothes are unstained and she has no visible cuts or bruises. Fiona's blood also disappears on the floor, making it a lost opportunity for Fiona to have a "bleeding status" and for stalkers to track down Fiona by paths of her spilled blood, which could add immersion to the horror atmosphere with a vulnerable protagonist.
- The controls require the player to hold the X button to make Fiona run as Fiona walks by default, and there is plenty of running in the game, requiring the player to constantly hold the X button, which may be an annoyance. A better option would be to connect Fiona's walking speed to the analog stick; if the player slightly tilts it, Fiona walks, and if the player tilts it all the way, Fiona runs. A second option would be to have a setting which makes Fiona run by default, like the first three Silent Hill games.
- There are some blurry textures and models which are less noticeable if the game is played on a PS2 or PS3, but noticeable if played in HD on an emulator. Humorously, almost every single doorknob in the game is a hexagon or a cylinder.
HD remaster and emulation
There is currently no word of an HD remaster of Haunting Ground from Capcom, however, Capcom stated that they are planning more HD remasters. There are many fans of Haunting Ground who would love an HD remaster, possibly with improved running controls and upgraded textures. This has created a fan joke about Resident Evil 4 being ported to plenty of systems, while Haunting Ground is stuck on the PS2.
The only way to play Haunting Ground in HD is to use a PlayStation 2 emulator (PCSX2) and a widescreen patch However, in the Direct3D backends, there may be minor visual glitches such as missing panic effects, missing/broken shadows, fire from candles appearing behind walls, pixelated reflections, etc. In recent builds, switching to OpenGL fixes many of these issues (although there is less saturation, this can be increased by upping the contrast in Shadeboost to 55-60). Be aware that the OpenGL backend requires more PC power, so the player may need to lower the internal resolution. A "TX Offset" of 500 by 500 (in HW hacks) may also be used to fix blurry ghosting issues.
There also a few scenes with visual glitches which are fixed in software mode (backend does not matter):
- When Fiona wakes up sees Hewie through the window, the glass is glitched.
- When Daniella hits her head on the window and breaks it, the glass is glitched.
- When Daniella chases Fiona up the staircase and screams at her reflection, her reflection is glitched.
- When Fiona opens the glass in the bathroom, the reflection is glitched.
- When Daniella is about to die, the glass reflection under is glitched.
- When Riccardo turns invisible in the Water Tower, both for the first time and before his death, his invisibility is glitched.
Because of this, it is recommended for first-time players to play the game in OpenGL (software mode) until Riccardo dies, then switch to OpenGL (hardware).
There is a camera mod which makes the camera stay behind Fiona at all times. Unfortunately, there is no camera control or collision, and in some areas, it shows parts of the environment not meant to be seen. As such, it is only really recommended for those who have played the game at least once and are familiar with the environments and how to navigate the camera.
This is the code for the North American version in the PCSX2 emulator:
- Clock Tower director, Hifumi Kono, commented, "Haunting Ground's use of Hewie was quite unique, and I tend to enjoy games that take a chance to do something different."
- The reason why Hewie was added was because the developers were concerned that having a sole female protagonist would detract from the game's popularity and sales, and that by adding a dog companion, it would boost appeal. While many players enjoy the Fiona-Hewie dynamic, the reasons for Hewie's inclusion could be seen as appealing to sexism in the video game industry. The same could be said for Fiona's breast jiggle and sexualized alternate outfits.
- The game uses motion capture, even for Hewie.
- The exact setting of the game is unknown, but because of names like "Fiona", "Riccardo", "Lorenzo" and "Belli", it's possible to been located in Italy or Spain, also known for the fluent Latin language roots during the plot. It is also possible that it is set in England, due to the English accents.
- The word "Demento", the Japanese name of the game, is Latin for a deranged, mentally disturbed, or lunatic, a possible hint at the residents of the castle and the game style.
- It is unknown whose idea it was to the change to "Haunting Ground" outside Japan, as well as the reasoning behind it. "Haunting" implies the game is about ghosts when it really is not. It may refer to the idea that the castle "grounds" have been "haunted" by Aureolus clones for generations as a form of immortality.
- Haunting Ground severely punishes the player for making stupid and unwise decisions. For example, if Fiona kicks and abuses Hewie, he will begin attacking her. If Fiona kicks a homunculus, it will slap her. If Hewie growls and barks to warn Fiona of a booby trap and the player ignores Hewie, Fiona will die. If Fiona walks onto a moving rock grinder, the game assumes the possibility of her losing balance and falling, and she automatically becomes a meat pancake.
- The ending "Tu Fui, Ego Eris" shares the same name with a line spoken by Heather Mason after reading a story document in the Otherworld in Silent Hill 3. It also appears in another video game known as Virtue's Last Reward where it is a pivotal theme.
- Haunting Ground has many similarities with another PlayStation 2 exclusive game, Rule of Rose. Both protagonists are English female blonde orphans (Fiona, Jennifer) in their late teens and also have a demure personality. The protagonists rescue a dog (Hewie, Brown) that will help them during the rest of the game, which assists them by finding hidden objects, barking at enemies and also attacking the enemies.
- Although having dreams about video games are normal, many of the game's players (especially first time players) report having nightmares about being trapped in a castle, usually with Debilitas or Daniella chasing them, and trying to find a place to hide. This is similar to what post-traumatic stress disorder and trauma is like, and a side effect of playing a scary video game for hours about being trapped in a castle full of hostile killers which are unkillable (except in their boss fights). Unlike many horror games where the protagonist has lots of ammo and healing items, Fiona is rather disempowered which often triggers the player's fight-or-flight response, which may explain the high nightmare rate when it comes to Haunting Ground.
Resident Evil similarities
- Some of the castle architecture in Resident Evil 4 is very similar to those seen in Haunting Ground.
- Haunting Ground draft scenario writer, Noboru Sugimura, wrote the scenario draft for Biohazard / Resident Evil 4 Prototype which had a girl and a dog. He was also the scenario writer for many previous Biohazard / Resident Evil games.
- In Resident Evil 4, Leon Kennedy can free a white dog which resembles Hewie.
- The controls for Hewie are similar to the commands (and possibly a modified engine) of the Resident Evil: Outbreak series. For example, down is "come here/come on!", up is "go!", right is "good boy/thank you" and R3 is "stay/wait!".
- In Biohazard 4 / Resident Evil 4 Beta/Prototype (dubbed 3.5), there is a doll room with dolls and Mannequins, similar to the Mannequin room in the library and doll/child room in Haunting Ground.
- The beta Resident Evil 4 originally had supernatural elements such as hauntings and ghosts. The developers came to their senses and realized the Resident Evil series is about biological horror and viruses, not the paranormal, causing them to re-imagine the game and introduce the Las Plagas virus. Considering the rumors of Haunting Ground containing scrapped RE4 assets, it can be theorized that Haunting Ground is the result of desires to make a supernatural horror game, which may be why the game contains Luminessents, a soul trapped in a corpse, Lorenzo refusing to die, etc.
- The "Plate Key Machine" is a possible nod to the typewriter of the Resident Evil games.
- Riccardo's gun sound is similar to the Colt S.A.A. from Resident Evil 2. Fiona's Texas Cowgirl costume gun sound is also recycled from Resident Evil.
- The inventory click sounds are similar to the inventory sounds from the Resident Evil remake.
- In Resident Evil, the player uses herbs to heal and restore health. In Haunting Ground, the items Mundus, Torva and Sedetio appear very similar.
- Although more likely coincidental, Fiona's physical appearance resembles that of Jill Valentine in Resident Evil 5. Similarly, Lorenzo's old form bears some resemblance to Oswell E. Spencer from the same game.
Similarities with previous Clock Tower games
- In Ending A, Debilitas is seen clutching a giant pair of scissors to cut some leaves in the garden, which may be a reference to Scissorman from the previous Clock Tower games.
- "Belli" is similar to "Barrows"/"Burroughs" as a two syllable surname that begins with a B.
- The protagonists of Clock Tower tend to be orphaned female teenagers. In the novelization of Clock Tower, it is revealed that Jennifer Simpson's mother is actually a Barrows, and Jennifer is unaware of her occult family history, much like how Fiona is unaware of the Belli's history of occultism and alchemy. The same also applies to Alyssa Hamilton being unaware of her Rooder ancestry, and Alyssa Hale being unaware of the Maxwell ancestry.
- The game includes multiple endings, labeled alphabetically (A, B, C, D, etc).
- In Haunting Ground, Clock Tower: The First Fear as well as in Clock Tower 3, at least one hiding spot can be revealed by minor enemies of the protagonist. In Haunting Ground, Luminessants can reveal Fiona's hiding spot. In The First Fear, the parrot in the bedroom will tell Scissorman if Jennifer is hiding beneath the bed. In Clock Tower 3, if the purple butterflies are present in the room where Alyssa is hiding, they can reveal her hiding spot and maximize her panic.
- The basic idea of a stalker chasing the protagonist and hiding is one of the most important gameplay mechanics in the Clock Tower series.
- All the save points in Haunting Ground are clocks, a possible reference to the "clock" in the name of the series. At one point, Fiona can even use a sundial to save the game, as a sundial is essentially a clock.
Clock Tower: The First Fear
- Both the main characters of Clock Tower: The First Fear and Haunting Ground free an animal (Jennifer can free a crow, Fiona frees Hewie). This animal later comes back to help the character fend off one of their stalkers: the crows kill Mary Barrows by leading her off a ledge; Hewie saves Fiona from Debilitas and, later, Riccardo.
- The stamina system is quite similar in both games. Running and fighting off enemies decreases stamina, but crouching recovers it.
- In Clock Tower: The First Fear, perfume is used to help the protagonist when a dog smells the perfume. In Haunting Ground, a dog also smells perfume to help the protagonist.
- In Clock Tower: The First Fear, while being chased by Dan, Jennifer knocks a box of kerosene which catches fire on a candlestick. In Haunting Ground, while being chased by Lorenzo, Fiona uses a candlestick to cause an explosion.
- In both games, the protagonists can be attacked by bugs if they make a mistake in a puzzle: if Fiona examines the wrong equipment, Fiona will be ravaged and killed by cockroaches; in The First Fear, Jennifer will be attacked by a swarm of flies and cockroaches if she examines the meat locker without the insecticide.
- In the beginning of Haunting Ground, a crow or raven is on a branch, a possible reference to Clock Tower: The First Fear.
- Some rooms are loosely based on rooms from Clock Tower: The First Fear, such as a child's bedroom with dolls.
- The Door Spell from Clock Tower is in Latin. There are also Latin references in Haunting Ground such as the game endings and "Acta Est Fabula".
- In Ending D of Haunting Ground, Riccardo plans to be born again from Fiona's womb. In Jennifer's Clock Tower Adventure Novel, in a corruption of Ending B, both Dan and Bobby are reborn with Jennifer as their mother.
Clock Tower 3
- Lavender, a calming herb in this game, is carried over from Clock Tower 3, where Alyssa could use Lavender Water to calm herself down from getting panic.
- Both games feature moths that hinder the player's progress.
- Many sound effects are shared such as footsteps and menu options. The Weeping Stone item emits the same sound as the ghosts' laugh from Clock Tower 3.
- The protagonists are both teenage girls (Fiona, Alyssa Hamilton) who become orphaned during the game. The main antagonist is the protagonist's grandfather (Lorenzo, Dick Hamilton), who wants to capture her in order to live for all eternity with them -- however, in order to do so, he must first take something from inside of her body (Azoth, Rooder Heart). Initially, the protagonist thinks of him as a good person, but she discovers that it is only a front. The protagonist refuses the opportunity to live with him forever and defeats him in the end.
- Throughout the game, the female protagonist is aided by a male companion (Hewie, Dennis Owen); in one part of the game, he is captured by the enemy and is needed to be rescued by her.
- The protagonist's mother (Nancy Hamilton, Ayla Belli) is killed in a car crash, while their father (Philip Hamilton, Ugo) is killed by a sharp blade.
- Fiona and Alyssa have cowgirl and leather unlockable outfits.
- English website
- Japanese website
- Demento-pedia English translation
- YouTube playthrough of Haunting Ground in PCSX2, HD, with widescreen hacks