Review by Ofisil

"Lovecraft's favorite game"

Silent Hill is an Action\Adventure developed by KCET. Welcome to Silent Hill, on of the few truly scary games, a game that started a unique franchise, with all its games having a great plot and atmosphere and unfortunately a bit weak gameplay. Know that this game is one of these situations where some people love it and some hate it. Read on to see in which group you belong…

Story: 8.5/10
Presentation: 8.2/10

Harry Mason, the protagonist of the game, is going for a short vacation with his small daughter to Silent Hill. On the way there he suddenly sees a small girl appearing in front of his jeep and tries to avoid her but crashes somewhere and looses his senses. He awakes after a long time, fortunately alive but his daughter is not in the car! So he gets out of the wrecked car and starts searching for her only to find that the town of SH is deserted and not only…

The story of Silent Hill is great, full of allegories and mystery, with every name, creature, item or certain event having a certain meaning. For example, (sorry for the spoiler), the street names of Silent Hill are the names, (or nicknames), of popular horror authors that usually deal with ghost town stories. The characters involved in the game and what makes them so great is the fact that we ain't dealing with special forces, busty assassins and things like that but with normal humans like the protagonist which just came in SH for a vacation and doesn't have a weird background or something. Finally the game only gives you enough detail so that you can just speculate about what's truly going on something that makes it even more mysterious. I won't say anything else in fear of ruining it.

Gameplay: 7/10
Replay Value: 4/10

The Silent Hill series where never heavily based in gameplay. SH is for those who like good atmosphere and a nice dark plot… it's not a bad as a game its just isn't something great. What you do in the game is wander around the empty, (not for long), streets of SH in order to find clues where to go next, clues that are not so obvious some times meaning that you have to think a bit. There are some puzzles, which are surprisingly good, something that the rest of the Silent Hill weren't good at. For example there is a poem written with blood about some birds flying and that poem shows you what keys you must push in a piano nearby! My only complain, (as an adventure game fan), is the fact that there aren't enough puzzles, not to mention that in the next games of the franchise the puzzles got less and less. Apart from the adventuring, in terms of action SH isn't something special BUT it is a true Survival Horror game unlike Resident Evil that in my opinion is an action game. Here ammo is truly scarce forcing you to avoid fighting and when you do fight you usually use a hammer or a steel pipe making you feel a vulnerable, human being and not a fully armed super-commando.

Take not though, that the game's true value lies in its story and overall presentation and horror atmosphere. As a game it isn't something to die for. Also SH is a short game, a bit easy after the first playthrough and with a small replay value. There are various available endings and some small unlockables but these only give 5-10 hours of additional fun.

Graphics: 7.8/10
Design: 9.2/10

I magazine here in my country described the graphics of Silent Hill with the disgusting title, “The world of Silent Hill is like a painting drawn with a loaf of bread and with puke as the color”… the same guy thought that Resident Evil 2 was the epitome of the Playstation graphic department… some guys!!! What is wrong with Silent Hill that makes some people hate it while others love it? I'll try to explain. First of all, SH is fully 3D, so forget about the good-looking pre-rendered background of the Resident Evil games. However the game looks good no matter how polygonal or pixilated it looks and that because of my favorite word when it comes to graphics… Atmosphere!!! Silent Hill is simply famous for its atmosphere and oozes with it in every second of the game.

The world of SH is a ghost town, very similar to the ones described by authors like Stephen King, empty of life with a strange, almost magic mist covering everything and strange stuff lying around like wheelchairs, strange symbols and various bloody scenes and when the night falls things get even worse due to the pitch-black darkness and the shadows cast by your wimpy pocket flashlight, which by the way enhances the atmosphere even more. As the plot thickens the world of SH becomes even more weird and spooky with hellish hospitals, dark and abandoned schools and a horrifying version of the “real” world! Something that I always loved in the Silent Hill series is this little graphic “trick”, with which they make something look strange and scary and that little trick is by hiding it! For example there are some corpses that “decorate” Silent Hill but it is almost impossible to see their faces, or you see the corpses in a very dark room behind a giant rotating fan and many more. The character design isn't so good but doesn't create any problems in fact the fact that the characters and the game in general isn't very polished when it comes to graphics that it creates a very unique look, something that in even more obvious in the wonderful cut scenes you'll see.

Sound: 8/10
Music: 7.5/10

The unique atmosphere of Silent Hill is greatly enhanced by its sound. First, a great way of making a game scary is by having no sound! Imagine this: you're inside a dark hospital where the only thing you hear is your own steps echoing and suddenly you hear a small child crying behind a door, you open it and you don't see anyone in the room… spooky! The music of Silent Hill has nothing in common with the typical videogame music. We have various, abstract, ambient tracks, very weird that make the game even more atmospheric. Finally the voice acting is notoriously for being a bit bad, BUT contrary to Resident Evil where the game is so bad that it gets good, (funny), in Silent Hill it adds to the overall atmosphere of the game because the characters talk in a strange way, with long pauses between sentences and make you feel as if you're watching a dream\nightmare.

Positives:
-Perfect horror atmosphere with a unique graphic style and sound
-Great plot
-A few great puzzles
-True survival horror gameplay with scarce ammo and weak weapons

Negatives:
-Not enough puzzles
-Not enough unlockables
-Not much of a replay value

Also Play:
Alone In The Dark (Series)(PC)
Bioshock (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Clock Tower (Series)(SNES, Playstation)
Resident Evil (Series)(Playstation, PS2, GC, PSP, PS3)
Silent Hill (Series)(PS2, PSP, PC)
System Shock 1 & 2 (PC)

Overall: 7.5/10

Forget about the score. The score shows how good SH is a game, but SH isn't just a game, it's a great mystifying experience, a dark tale with a great nightmarish atmosphere that all fans of horror literature and films, (and not only), should play at least once.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 09/24/09

Game Release: Silent Hill (EU, 08/01/99)


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