Silent Hill


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The fear of blood creates fear for the flesh.

One line that you see in the very beginning of the Playstation exclusive Survival-Horror opus, Silent Hill, and never again. Very soon, if you devote the time that this game needs, paying attention to every detail that the story entails, then you can bet on having nightmares. Not normal ones either. This game contains many a sequence of disturbing events. Dead bodies? Seen it in spades. Occult like symbols? Have 'em by the tons. Monsters that look like something from Clive Barker's nightmares? Plenty. These are some of the things that Silent Hill has in store for your dreams.

Oddly enough, Silent Hill's story is what sets it apart from the other entries in it's genre, not it's monsters or body count. Silent Hill was truly a breathe of fresh air, when it came to story. Instead of being a super cop, like in the Resident Evil series, you take the role of an average joe, in what seems to be an average town. Your daughter is missing, and you have to find her. Nothing too extravagant, barring an early twist. There are no huge suspension of disbelief issues at first. Once you continue into this small tourist town, like the fog, the problems start to roll in.

The graphics in Silent Hill are not going to wow anyone. Not even for their time. It's not really something that will make a lasting impression upon you. That isn't a complete write off of the graphics, because Team Silent did an awesome job with what they could, but the focus of the team was on atmosphere. Almost as if the team knew that their vision was not going to be able to be fully realized on the current hardware, so they made an effort to make the feelings that you get playing Silent Hill ones that are very contradictory. On the one hand, the visuals are disturbed, and you never want to see them again, but like a rubbernecker to a 41 car pileup, you can't stop looking. In particular, you tend to start picking up cues that this world isn't one that is completely genuine. Something begins to pull at the threads of the wool that the game has over your eyes. Little things like an inaccurate sign, or a wheelchair or ten out of place, add to the suspicion that Harry Mason is not in a genuine town.

An aspect of this game that adds to the overall atmosphere that is integral to Silent Hill is the sound. The sound in Silent Hill plays such an important role to the player, and no one really notices until after they're done playing it. The composer, Akira Yamaoka, has a way with music. The pieces that he composes for this game are very beautiful, unlike the surroundings that you're presented them in. It is this contradictory setting, the pieces becoming haunting reminders of the grim aura of Silent Hill. The sounds that you hear throughout the game, the crashes, bangs and assorted calls of hellish monsters that dog your every step, are top notch. They bring on a distinct feeling, namely uneasiness. The noises that the mumblers, who bear a passing resemblance to children, make are very unnatural, almost moaning. Distressing sounds. The sound is by far the best part of Silent Hill, and is very much worthy of high praise.

The controls of this game were easy enough to learn for Survival-Horror newbies and veterans alike, providing the balance of operations needed to keep the newbie on his toes and give the vet the tools needed to get by. A quickturn option, used by depressing L2 and R2, is very useful in a game of this nature. Not to mention, if you try to gun it through this game, you'll notice that it's pretty hard to continue without ammunition. Harry misses his target sometimes. You need to give this man, the average joe, some time to solidify his aim. An interesting change from the twitch reflex, hurried aiming from Resident Evil. Another interesting addition to the Survival-Horror genre is the use of melee weapons. They're done right! Not too terribly weak, not some end all be all weapon that makes fighting a breeze, they add a nice element to the combat. By making strides to make combat fresh, Team Silent circumvents the one pitfall of any Survival-Horror game. Repetitive gameplay. In Silent Hill, you often are forced to run around various areas, all of which are shown in real time, as opposed to the pre-rendered fare of other games. The viewpoint can be changed to first person for the sake of looking around, but usually you are forced to play through in the genre standard 3rd person perspective.

Something that takes away from the overall enjoyment of this game is the lack of story direction. The story is very good, I can't deny that, but when it takes you almost two hours to get the next piece in the puzzle, it tends to make the game drag on. Now, two hours may be a little bit of an exaggeration, but often, you have no idea where to go. The first section of the game, you're told that you need to go to the place where a certain huge twist just occurred. After that, nothing until you find another of your daughter's notes. Everything after that is exploration through the overlarge streets of Silent Hill.

The good things about Silent Hill by far outweigh the faults. This game changed the way that Survival-Horror was looked at by the genre's veterans and made fans of critics as well. The game has made a profound impact on many people, myself included. I recommend that everyone reading this give this game a shot. You'll never forget it.

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Other Platforms: None

Release Date: February 24, 1999

Publisher: Konami

Developer: Konami

Genre: Survival-Horror, Psychological thriller

ESRB Rating: M for Mature

Players: 1

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AIM: AMLogan216

E-Mail: logan_am@yahoo.com

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Ok, I'm not sure how to treat this forum..but I'll presume it's like the RCC at the Oratory.

I really liked this, man. One thing, though: I know in games like Silent Hill, sound is a big factor. It really helped make the RE series so good. When I review a game, I have a little checklist of things in my brain to mention. They are: story, graphics, sound, difficulty, gameplay (different modes, what view your character takes, and the like), and controls and I try to dedicate a paragraph to each, at the least. When you combine that with an intro and an outro, it really "pads" your piece.

Now, I'm not saying you have to write a book (and oftentimes, my reviews are quite short) but by dedicating a paragraph to each, it sort of lengthens it out, which helps, especially when you don't want to write a long piece.

Another quick thing:

Title: Silent Hill

Platform: Playstation

Other Platforms: None

Release Date: February 24, 1999

Publisher: Konami

Developer: Konami

Genre: Survival-Horror, Psychological thriller

ESRB Rating: M for Mature

Players: 1

Personally, I'd have included the title of the game in the first paragraph, and what platform you played it for in the first paragraph. Someting like:

When I picked up the Playstation 2's exclusive seminal horror game, Silent Hill...

Then I would have put

Other Platforms: None

Release Date: February 24, 1999

Publisher: Konami

Developer: Konami

Genre: Survival-Horror, Psychological thriller

ESRB Rating: M for Mature

Players: 1

the above at the bottom. I mean, they know the title when they click on the link, so it's irrelevant, right? Then, you've included what system it is for. By adding the "exlusive" part to the opening sentence, you no longer need the other platforms part, but it's probably a decent idea to keep it there, for those that don't read it really close.

Overall, this was pretty good, and I rather enjoyed the review. Keep them coming.

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Thank you.  I'm gonna add a section for sound as soon as I rewrite it, as an attempt at hosting the sounds for the enjoyment/horror of all failed miserably.  I really appreciate the time that you took to read my review.  Thanks again.

If you rewrite it, and expand upon what you have, I think you have a candidate for the mainpage. I guess Master Yoda could just cut and paste from here if (and I'm sure it will be) it is good enough. Then again, we'll have to see what he does with this section; I don't know how it works.

Edit: 05. Reviews and/or columns that shine, may be posted on the mainpage.

So I guess it's like being "spotlighted", which is good.

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You're right, DJ. This section is modeled very much after the RCC, where we can give each other feedback and pieces will indeed be spotlighted -- such as this one.

I rewrote this, and it turned out way better, please hold off on spotlighting this until you see the new one. I appreciate this a whole lot, but I think that you'll like the new one more. The new review, thanks again for reading this.

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