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In Silent Hill, you assume the role of widower Harry Mason, who is trying to get away from the pain of his wife's loss by taking his daughter on a road trip. After a car accident on the outskirts of the resort town of Silent Hill, you regain consciousness to find that your daughter, who was previously asleep in the backseat, has left--or has been taken--from the scene. To find her, you must go into town and unlock the secrets that linger seven years after a tragic fire scarred the town.
The game features formidable monsters, perplexing puzzles, a realistic 3-D town, and, most of all, an acute sense of foreboding caused by Silent Hill's creative lighting and sound effects. The makers have included four different endings, based on performance throughout the game, so think, be quick on your feet, and hope for the best of all possible outcomes.
A downright creepy "survival horror" title, Silent Hill succeeds where most Resident Evil-inspired titles suck: keeping you hooked and instilling you with fear throughout the game. Players are cast as Harry Mason in his desperate search for his daughter, who mysteriously disappeared after their car crashed into a gully outside of a desolate resort town.
The 3-D environments in Silent Hill are bathed in fog or darkness, making its dismal setting all the more eerie; this also allows for some spectacular lighting effects when using a flashlight in the dark. Granted, there are some pretty coarse graphics being obscured here, but it's a fair trade-off, considering the game's short load times.
Silent Hill is played from a third-person perspective, viewed from both fixed and moving camera angles. As with similar games, the viewpoint can be awkward at times, especially during combat, which here is so clunky that you should try to avoid it whenever possible--something you should do anyway, as this isn't Tomb Raider.
Rather than resort to cheap scare tactics, Silent Hill features a gameplay twist that works very well with its limited visibility environments. Harry carries a radio with him that crackles with static whenever the game's nasties are near, and continues until they're no longer in the vicinity or have been killed off. (Enemies may require further whacking when they're down, as they like to play dead.) Additionally, the supported Dual-Shock controller pulsates in a heartbeatlike fashion whenever you're moderately or seriously injured. --Joe Hon
- Suspenseful story with bone-chilling gameplay
- Short load times
- Excellent lighting and fog effects
- Five possible endings add replay value
- Coarse graphics
- Clunky combat
Top Customer Reviews
I won't get into the plot as figuring it out is half the fun (and you WILL have to do some figuring. I'm pretty sure a lot was lost in the translation from Japanese because the story can be hard to follow at times).
In order for the game to be rewarding, though, it requires patience, along with nerves of steel and an iron stomach. The game starts out with a bang (or a bunch of dead, moaning, faceless knife weilding babies stabbing you to death within 3 minutes of play, I guess that counts as a bang, right?) This is misleading, though, as the game then calms down considerably for about the next 45 minutes of game time. Before we go on, though, two things: 1) The graphics are fairly blocky, but, for reasons that will become apparent, this doesn't matter. They're well textured, which is much more important. 2) The sound is PHENOMINAL. Always bear this in mind.
You wander the fog enshrouded town of Silent Hill searching for your daughter. Now, here's the great part about this game. It just seems so WRONG from the very beginning. The town is built right to scale and rendered in totality. You can, in theory, go anywhere. You even get a street map (complete with names like Koontz street and Bachman ave. Get it?) After a little exploration, though, you'll find something is amiss. The goal early on is to get to the local elementary school, and this seems easy enough with a street map, but there's one minor problem. The streets have this tendancy to just...end. All major roads leading to the school are just gone. Not there. They stop, and all you can see in the distance is the the fog. Add to this the "monsters" lurking the town. These basically consist of skinless dogs and large pink birdman things, who don't seem so terrifying, really. You get a radio that emits static when enemies draw near, but more on that later. This is all part of the game's attempt to unnerve you. Before you know it, you're across the chasm of the roads and now the REAL fun starts. Now, it's suddenly dark. Pitch black, in fact. You get a weak little flashlight with which to see (a pocket light, really) and THAT'S IT. Now, let's see. We're in a deserted town haunted by things that, while kind of weak and stupid looking, want to kill you. We could see just fine in the fog, but now it's dark. Right. So, we're off to the school, and now things get worse. The dogs are faster now (one constant in the game: The darker it gets, the more powerful and evil the enemies become), and now that you can't see them, it makes shooting at them much harder since they never stand still, really, and all you have to aim with is a weak cone of light that doesn't extend very far. Plus, as you'll soon happily discover after wasting 3 clips firing at the spot where a dog just was, ammo is limited! Yay! And the dogs have now been joined by the bird thingies, who ALSO want to kill you! DOUBLE yay!! So, we run now. Run all the way to the school, past the two(!) dogs guarding the entrance, through the door, and BAM! We're alive. Woohoo! Thank God! Now then...The school! Then it dawns on you: You're in a deserted ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. In the black-as-pitch darkness. With...wait for it...things that want to kill you! The knife-baby things, this time. Righty-o! Having fun yet? Oooh, it gets better. After some puzzles, you'll open the clocktower. By this point, it will be apparent that Silent Hill is home to some sick, sick people. I won't go into details, but trust me. So, as you mutter to yourself about the sick inhabitants of this town, you'll be climbing down the clocktower (yes, DOWN. It has a basement. Well...Sort of. You'll see.) It's here, HERE, that the game got to me. When you come back up the other side (bear with me here, it's hard to explain), you're back where you started, in the school courtyard. But not really. It's not the same...Then you go in the doors, and everything is...Aw, I'm not gonna kill it for you. Suffice to say that THIS is where the game goes from creepy to INSANELY CREEPY, and it just gets worse and worse and worse and WORSE as you go on. By the time you finish the school section and see daylight again, it's more of a relief than you can imagine. I was practically cheering my first time through. After that school, well-lit fog is a damned BLESSING!
Little did I know I had a hospital to look foreward to. And yes, as bad as you can possibly think it could be, it's worse. And when you're done with that...you're not even halfway to the end yet.
This game is all about the overhwelming sense of DREAD it will instill in you, making you almost not want to play it anymore. I've had friends hit the hospital section, take one look at their surroundings, and hand me the controller and leave the room. It's not that it's overly gross; it's not. It's just the prospect of having to subject yourself to the Silent Hill version of a freaking HOSPITAL that makes you almost cringe before you even start. And by the time you get there, you know just what the term "Silent Hill version of" means.
For those brave souls who wish to do it alone (which, by the by, I VERY, VERY HIGHLY reccomend your first time through), do it right. Play it in the dark, late at night, ALONE, with some good speakers set up. If you're new to it, start at the beginning, and enjoy the first part of the game. It's a slow starter, but once it gets going, the only reason it lets up is to allow you to contemplate exactly what else it's going to do to you.
Buy this game NOW if you haven't played it, and God help you.
Oh, and the second one is supposed to be twice as bad. I can't wait!
It also features some of the finest FMV sequences to grace the PS1, topping the work of Final Fantasy VIII. The in game graphics leave a lot to be desired though. This is another game I would like to see remade for GCN, however Konami has taken a very stubborn anti-GCN stance, the likelyhood that this will happen is slim.
As with most Survival Horror titles this game packs an awkward control style that is even more devistating to the overal game than the RE control because the camera moves as though it were stalking you, a cool effect that is hindered by the horrible control set up, a problem that was adjusted in the PS2/Xbox sequel "Restless Dreams". Aside from this complaint the game is brilliant and every horror fan should pick this title up. However, this game is NOT for kids, nor is it for the weak in stomach and faint of heart. It takes a strongh stomach and even stronger will power to get through this game. I don't care how strong you think you are this game will scare you.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Despite aged graphics and controls, Silent Hill still stands out as a masterpiece.Read more