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Forbidden Siren - Differences between the Japanese, European, American, Chinese, and Korean Version
In this article, I will compare all versions of Forbidden Siren 1.
The game had many different editions - Japanese version, Chinese version, Korean version, American version, several European editions, as well as a re-release for PlayStation 4.
And each version has interesting differences that very few people know about.
Release date: 6th November 2003
1) In Japan, the game was released under the name "SIREN". This title was a subtle hint for Silent Hill fans. Because in Japanese, the names of these games are written almost the same. So all Japanese gamers could easily guess that "サイレン" is the spiritual successor of "サイレントヒル". But for Western gamers, this hint was hard to understand.
2) The cover for the game was drawn by an artist Shinsaku Fujita, who works in the style of dark expressionism. This artist also created covers for the Japanese editions of Stephen King's books and for the horror novel "Shiki" by Fuyumi Ono. The works of Stephen King and Fuyumi Ono had a great influence on Keiichiro Toyama - so for his own game he invited the artist who did the cover design for these books.
3) The village from the game was originally called "Hanyuda" (羽生蛇村). The kanji in this name carried an important meaning - "Village of the Winged Snake”. In Western releases, the name was slightly changed (it became "Hanuda”), and the meaning of the name was lost.
4) In the Japanese version, the control scheme is different from Western releases. The functions of the "O" and "X" buttons are swapped.
5) There is no censorship in the Japanese edition of the game (unlike the American version).
6) The "Shibito Language" was also slightly different in this version. Here, Japanese phrases were written in Romaji and then converted into the Shibito alphabet. Therefore, it was more difficult for the Japanese gamers to decipher this language.
7) All voice acting here is in Japanese. This is the best version of the voice acting (the dub in the English version is much worse).
8) When the game was released in Japan, additional stories "Strange Tales of Hanuda" were also published on the official Japanese website. They were an important part of the story and contained interesting details about the game's plot. But Sony forgot to translate these stories for the Western release - so for a long time they remained a Japanese exclusive (many years later, a fan translation of these stories appeared in 2013).
Release date: 6th December 2003
1) This version was released by Sony Computer Entertainment Taiwan and sold in Taiwan.
2) Here the game was completely voiced again - in Chinese language. As far as I can tell, the Chinese voice acting also turned out significantly better than the English one. Professional actors from Shanghai television were hired for dubbing.
3) The name of the game has been changed. In Chinese, it is called "SIREN: 死魂曲". The subtitle translates as "Song of Dead Souls".
4) This version has a slightly different title screen - with hieroglyphs that light up with blue fire.
Release date: 13th February 2004
1) The Korean version was also released under the name "Song of Dead Souls”. In Korean, the title is "Sahongog: Sailen" (사혼곡: 사이렌). And it also uses the logo from the Chinese version, with blue hieroglyphs on the cover and title screen.
2) In this version, the game cover has been changed. Instead of a painting from Shinsaku Fujita, here we see a dark 3D art of Miyako standing in the middle of blood-red water.
3) The game was re-dubbed again. In this version, all dialogues are in Korean.
4) Also, especially for the this release, Sony launched an official Korean website about "Siren”. There was information about the characters, translations of the "Strange Tales of Hanuda" stories, and a lot of cool flash animation. But now the site has been closed for a long time.
Release date: 12th March 2004
1) In Europe, the game was published under the name "Forbidden Siren".
2) The cover has been changed again. Apparently, the publishers were afraid that the original Japanese art would look too avant-garde for European gamers.
3) Different versions of dubbing were made for different European countries. There are FIVE versions of voice acting: English, French, German, Spanish and Italian.
4) In my opinion, the best voice acting of all European editions is in the French version.
5) It's important to note that each European version has only one language. If you buy the French version, then all the text and all the voice acting will be in French only. There will be no English language there.
6) When Forbidden Siren was released in Europe, Sony created a new Flash Game with backstories of the characters especially for Western gamers. This flash game was available on the official European website.
7) The European and American editions are slightly different. In the European version there was no censorship, but in the American version several scenes were censored.
8) As a bonus, the European editions of Forbidden Siren included postcards with images of Shibito monsters. But these postcards were issued very randomly. Some people might have had 2 different postcards with their game, while others might not have gotten a single one.
Release date: 20th April 2004
1) American gamers were unlucky - this version was censored. Two scenes that deal with the topic of suicide were partially cut (but despite this, the game still received a high age rating in America - "M, 17+”).
2) Also, for some reason, the ages of some characters have been changed. Kyoya Suda was made +2 years older, and the girls Miyako and Tomoko were made +3 years older.
3) The fonts in the archive files section have been slightly changed. Here, the font is larger than in the European version.
4) The texts of several archive files have also been changed. And some of the changes were really weird.
You can read more about censorship and other differences in the American version here:
Also, there you can also watch the comparison of censored scenes and original uncut scenes.
PlayStation 4 Version
Release date: 14th June 2016
In 2016, Forbidden Siren was re-released for PS4 on the PlayStation Store. This version also works on PS5. There are only two differences here:
1) The game runs in a higher resolution.
2) The developers have added a new achievements system ("trophies”).
You can see the full list of achievements in this article:
More about Forbidden Siren series
>> Forbidden Siren 2 <<
>> Siren: Blood Curse <<
>> Forbidden Siren Manga <<
>> Forbidden Siren Movie <<
Author of the article: SilentPyramid
Date of publication: 15.11.2023
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