In Honor of Halloween, and the fact that I have been nearly 2 months since the last review I did, I decided to write about one of the scariest games of all time. Silent Hill.
When people think of horror video games, most think of Resident Evil or F.E.A.R now a days. Even some of the elder statesmen remember the original Alone in the Dark, but possibly the most quintessential horror game ever made was Silent Hill, as it made such a great impression on us all in some way. Starring as an ordinary man named Harry Mason in what becomes and extra-ordinary situation, trying to rescue his daughter Cheryl.
While the game looks dated now, at it's time it was one of the most atmospheric and graphic games to be released. When you first enter the town in it's misty glory, you have a sense of freedom in a condensed world. You feel like you are being watched on at every street corner, and anytime in a alleyway, hospital, school or church, you have to be on the lookout for anything and everything. The only dark spot in the game is not the setting in terms of graphics, but the enemies. They are all pink blobs, creepy pink blobs, but pink blobs none the less. I wanted slightly more variety in them to, which we get for bosses and enemies in Silent Hill 2.
Final Score- A-
The game has so many levels in it in terms of depth. It is not just a horror game, but it is also a strong psychological thinker, with themes ranging from Japanese folklore, sex, violence, despair, torture, and innocence of children. Throw in elements that have never been seen before, from the use of a radio to indicate an enemy presence, the lighting effects of a dying flashlight, the combat based on average household items and firearms, and to top it off, the moans, groans, and random sightings of the dark world of silent hill itself, all add to the atmosphere of the game.
Play control wise, the game is a standard fare, although you have to basically sacrifice light for weapons at times, which makes for some creepy moments in the game itself, until you attach it to a stick or to your chest. It is elements like this that are made the whole experience of the game even better. Plus the puzzles are strong and innovative, and the combat, while a bit wooden, real enough to perceive how a real person would fight in a situation like this. I don't expect someone to kick a lot of ass fluidly with a 2x4 when they are fighting pink midgets.
Konami did a excellent job at the controls and atmosphere for the game, and it still stands as a testament to the design it created, not even Silent Hill 2-4 were able to copy the originals fear, although they have came close to the original in terms of creepiness.
Final Score- A
The music and the sound effects of the game are excellent. Again, it adds to the creepiness of the game. The only downside is when people speak, (kind of like the movie now that I think about it. Anytime the movie was silent, it was better. When people spoke, it was worse.) The voice actors are the guys who you should blame for that basically.
Final Score- B+
There is a reason SIlent Hill is regarded as THE horror game by a lot of casual gamers. Resident Evil and Alone in The Dark are excellent survival horror games, but Silent Hill is not just a game, it can become an experience. Turn the lights down, turn the music up, play it at the dead of night and you will see what I mean. The game becomes the reality around you, stirring inner fears that you never would of thought you had in you. That is what playing Silent Hill is. It's not just a game, its a experience in psychological horror.
Final Score- A
Overall Score- A-