Waifu Wednesday: Fiona Belli (Haunting Ground)

Waifu Wednesday

It’s almost that time of the year again – Halloween! – and what better way to celebrate it than by highlighting a particularly splendid protagonist of the horror genre? It’s not the first time we’ve mentioned Haunting Ground and its leading lady Fiona Belli, nor will it be the last.

Haunting Ground truly withstands the test of time as an iconic horror experience with how it effectively weaponises the sexualisation of its 18 year old heroine to make its players concerned and uncomfortable — plus it has a hidden friendship-raising stat for the adorable dog companion, which helps determine which ending you get.

Haunting Ground is a terrifying experience, thanks in part to how we come to appreciate and care about Fiona and her wellbeing. Here’s to one of the few characters out there who really defines the idea of “protect at all costs”.

Who is Fiona Belli?

Fiona Belli in Haunting Ground

Fiona Belli is the unfortunate victim and eventual survivor – as long as you play your cards right, please – of the forever traumatic events one can face and experience in Haunting Ground. She can end up suffering a fate far worse than getting bearhugged to death, and she is continuously tortured both mentally and emotionally. It goes without saying that her being physically unsafe is also a regular occurrence here, because no corner is truly a safe haven. For a horror video game, you would expect nothing less.

Where Haunting Ground takes this a step further is with how penetrative its villains’ desire (or perhaps need) to obsess over and control her is. Players will quickly learn to genuinely care about Fiona in order to actively steer her away from harm’s way and have her avoid an untimely demise. When there are those wanting the poor lass dead simply because she’s a woman, others who want her as a plaything, and others still who require her as an unwilling vessel, you’ll be fighting for her safety just as hard as Hewie the dog is.

Why we love Fiona Belli

Fiona Belli in Haunting Ground

Fiona is hunted down in the game by its numerous villains to make use of her body, beauty or entire being. Fiona never truly manages to catch a break unless players get its best ending where she’s finally out of the woods. So, for a character to be such a sympathetic victim as they are here, the game needs to give us plenty of reasons for its players to want to protect and save her. Haunting Ground never lets up, and always gives us reasons to care throughout the horrific journey.

Fiona, despite everything she goes through, is and remains a massive pacifist. Not only is she a protector of all animals, who even feels inclined to make a sad comment about using animal remains as rugs, she always feels guilty whenever she is forced to protect herself from her pursuers and when she resorts to killing them. To further showcase how Fiona is the only decent, good egg in the game – not counting animals here – allowing one of the villains to live and the mere act of saving Hewie in the first place are important parts of obtaining the best ending. You know what they say, kill them with kindness.

Why you will love Fiona Belli

Fiona Belli in Haunting Ground

Fiona suffers repeatedly in the game for things that are out of her control. She does not deserve any bit of what she experiences in the game, and luckily, Haunting Ground will make you a fellow supporter and protector of Fiona in no time. One of the very best attributes of Haunting Ground is how as an action horror game, it perfectly depicts how while Fiona has some physical weaknesses, she is strong mentally in terms of her sense of determination. This combination makes us feel inclined to keep her safe.

Fiona has a tendency to faint due to the gravity of the situations she finds herself in, as well as the poor state of her body and her deteriorating mental health as a result of concerning revelations. You’ll never stop being concerned for her every step of the way.

On the flip side, you’re rewarded by witnessing her ever-increasing display of sheer determination to see everything through alive, giving her character a satisfying sense of growth. You’ll also tend to rely on using her quick thinking to get her to safety, be it by placing her in the best hiding spots to avoid her pursuers, or with the endgame’s quick timed events that really exhibit her intelligence.

Furthermore, while Fiona is understandably timid, cautious and quiet throughout the majority of Haunting Ground, her growth can be brilliantly blindsiding. For example, she becomes much more assertive and confident by the end of it. Once she brings down its final antagonist, she really does call him a “bastard”. It’s a surprisingly delightful utterance to hear her say by the end of it all.

Haunting Ground is available for PlayStation 2, but be prepared to pay through the nose for it!

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Lilia Hellal
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