Siren (video game)

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Siren art box.jpg
Developer(s)SCE Japan Studio
Project Siren
Publisher(s)Sony Computer Entertainment
Director(s)Keiichiro Toyama
Producer(s)Takafumi Fujisawa
Artist(s)Isao Takahashi
Writer(s)Keiichirō Toyama
Naoko Satō
Composer(s)Hitomi Shimizu
Platform(s)PlayStation 2
  • JP: November 6, 2003
  • PAL: March 12, 2004
  • NA: April 20, 2004
Genre(s)Survival horror, stealth

Siren (サイレン, Sairen), known as Forbidden Siren in the PAL region, is a survival horror stealth game developed by SCE Japan Studio and Project Siren, and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 2 in 2003. The game's plot revolves around an interconnected cast of characters that possess a power which enables them to see and hear what a nearby character sees, it was followed by two sequel/remakes and a loose film adaption. On June 14, 2016 it was re-released for the PlayStation 4 which is part of the PS2 on PS4 library with added trophy support and at a higher resolution.


Siren is divided into stages, each taking place in one of ten areas in the village of Hanuda, and organized chronologically in a table called the "Link Navigator". In order to complete a stage, the player must accomplish a primary objective that usually involves reaching an exit point, subduing undead enemies called shibito, or finding an item. Objectives in different stages are interconnected via a butterfly effect, and a character's actions in one stage can trigger a secondary objective in another stage.

There are miscellaneous items scattered throughout each stage that give the player further insight into the plot's background. Once obtained, these items are archived in a catalog and can be viewed at any time during the game's duration; the game's player characters possess a psychic power known as "sightjacking", which enables them to see and hear what a nearby Shibito or human sees and hears, and thus pinpoint its position, as well as gain knowledge of their activities and of the position of obtainable items. The clarity of each target depends on the distance from the player character. Once a point of view is located, it can be assigned to one of certain buttons of the controller to easily switch between multiple points of view. However, the player character is unable to move during use of the ability and is thus vulnerable to attack.

The game encourages the player to avoid Shibito rather than fight them. Characters can walk silently, avoid the use of a flashlight, and crouch behind objects to elude detection. Certain mission objectives require the player character to use items and/or the environment to distract Shibito from their activity, in order for them to achieve a goal. Others require the player to escort a non-player character. Player characters can also shout at any time in order to get the attention of nearby Shibito. Within most stages, the player character can hide in certain places such as cupboards and lock doors to prevent Shibito from entering; when a Shibito hears a sound made by the player character, it will search in the direction from which they heard the sound. If a character is seen by a Shibito, the latter will pursue the character to kill them either with a melee or ranged weapon or by strangulation; the Shibito will also shout to alert other nearby Shibito. Once the character has remained out of the Shibito's sight for a period of time, the Shibito will give up and resume its usual habits. Weapons are available for the player throughout the game, ranging from melee weapons to firearms. While Shibito can be knocked out in combat, they cannot be killed and will reanimate after a short period of time. If a character is injured, they will eventually recover after a short period of time. Characters will also lose stamina during combat and while running, which will also naturally refill after a short amount of time.


Siren is set in a Japanese village named Hanuda (Hanyūda in the Japanese version). With strong religious beliefs important in the area, the locals like to keep to themselves and have sought to keep Hanuda isolated from the outside world.[1] Following the interruption of a ritual near Hanuda, and a subsequent earthquake, the village teeters between time and space, with an infinite sea of red water replacing the mountainous territory; the crux of the story focuses on the efforts of Hisako Yao, the leader of the local religion, to resurrect or re-awaken a god through a ceremony. The 'Siren' of the title is the god's call, summoning Hanuda's residents to immerse themselves in the red water, thus creating an army of subordinates called shibito (屍人, lit. "corpse people"). The shibito then go about building a nest to house the god's corporeal form once it is summoned, as well as killing and converting any remaining 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 plot takes place.[2]

Development and release[edit]

Rather than employ traditional facial animation methods with polygonal transformation, images of real human faces were captured from eight different angles and superimposed onto the character models, an effect similar to projecting film onto the blank face of a mannequin.[citation needed]

The game was re-released for the PlayStation 3 on the PlayStation Store.[3] On 14 June 2016 the game received a digital release for the PlayStation 4 in NA and PAL regions as an emulated and upscaled version of the PlayStation 2 original with added Trophy support.[4]


Aggregate score
Review scores
Game Informer6.25/10[9]
GamePro4.5/5 stars[10]
GameSpy4/5 stars[12]
OPM (US)3/5 stars[15]

The game received "average" reviews according to the review aggegration website Metacritic.[5] GameSpot's reviewer Bethany Massimilla concluded that although the game had a great story, and interesting characters, it was also tedious.[11] IGN's reviewer Jeremy Dunham praised the originality of the concept, the use of Sightjacking, the graphics and the storyline, but criticized the difficulty level and the trial and error nature of the gameplay.[14] GameSpy's Bryan Stratton followed other reviewers in praising the storyline and atmosphere, but criticizing the nature of the gameplay.[12] In Japan, Famitsu gave it a score of one nine, one seven, and two eights for a total of 32 out of 40.[8]


Forbidden Siren 2 is the second installment in the series and was released in February 2006; the game tells the story of several characters who become trapped on Yamijima, an island off the coast of mainland Japan. A film based on the second game was released concurrently.

Siren: Blood Curse is the third installment in the series and was released in July 2008; the game is a "reimagining" of the first game and it tells the story of an American camera crew's disappearance in a mountainous region in Japan.


On April 17, 2014, Sony announced a manga series titled Siren: Akai Umi no Yobigoe (Siren: The Call of the Red Sea) which was based on the first game; the manga was drawn by Wataru Kamio and ran from July 2014 to December 2015 in Home-sha's Shinmimibukuro Atmos magazine. The manga was scheduled to move to an online format in April 2016, but due to the author's health complications, the manga is currently on hiatus;[17] the game franchise's director Keiichirō Toyama and scenario writer Naoko Satō were supervising all aspects of the manga.[18][19]


  1. ^ Siren Instruction Booklet. Sony Computer Entertainment. 2003.
  2. ^ a b Reed, Kristan (March 24, 2004). "Forbidden Siren". Eurogamer. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  3. ^ "(PS3 version) Siren™ (PS2 Classic)". PlayStation Store.
  4. ^ "(PS4 version) SIREN". PlayStation Store.
  5. ^ a b "Siren for PlayStation 2 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  6. ^ Edge staff (March 2004). "Forbidden Siren". Edge (134): 99. Archived from the original on August 16, 2004. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  7. ^ EGM staff (June 2004). "Siren". Electronic Gaming Monthly (179). Archived from the original on May 28, 2004. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  8. ^ a b "サイレン". Famitsu. 778. November 13, 2003.
  9. ^ Mason, Lisa (May 2004). "Siren". Game Informer (133): 97. Archived from the original on September 15, 2008. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  10. ^ Pong Sifu (April 19, 2004). "Siren Review for PS2 on". GamePro. Archived from the original on February 9, 2005. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  11. ^ a b Massimilla, Bethany (April 26, 2004). "Siren Review". GameSpot. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  12. ^ a b Stratton, Bryan (April 16, 2004). "GameSpy: Siren". GameSpy. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  13. ^ Lafferty, Michael (April 12, 2004). "Siren - PS2 - Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on February 6, 2008. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  14. ^ a b Dunham, Jeremy (April 13, 2004). "Siren". IGN. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  15. ^ "Siren". Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine: 90. June 2004.
  16. ^ Porter, Alex (April 20, 2004). "Siren". Maxim. Archived from the original on May 5, 2004. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  17. ^ "SIREN: Call Of The Red Sea translation page". fftranslations. July 17, 2014. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  18. ^ Loveridge, Lynzee (April 17, 2014). "Sony's Japanese Horror Game Siren Gets Manga Series". Anime News Network. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
  19. ^ Corriea, Alexa Ray (April 17, 2014). "PlayStation horror series Siren is getting a manga adaptation". Polygon. Retrieved April 27, 2019.

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