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The off-season's always dead in the lakeside resort town of Silent Hill but not this dead. It seems the entire town is deserted except for Harry Mason, a distraught motorist in search of his missing daughter, and Cybil Bennett, a beautiful police officer from a neighboring community dispatched to Silent Hill to discover why all communication from the sleepy resort town has ceased. Where has everyone gone?
Is the small, shadowy figure that constantly eludes Harry his daughter, Cheryl? If so, why does she run from him? Bracing himself against the winter chill, Harry sets off into the unnaturally thick fog to investigate.
When E3 attendees flocked to Konami's booth last summer for a first-hand look at the highly anticipated Metal Gear Solid, many were surprised to discover a game of equal promise tucked away in a corner of Konami's sprawling, fortresslike display. That game was Silent Hill, which was instantaneously proclaimed a "Resident Evil killer" by some and was mentioned in nearly every major video game magazine's "Best of Show" list.
Six months later, has received a 75 percent complete version of the game, and, while we feel it's a bit premature to proclaim Silent Hill the new king of survival horror, it definitely looks like it's going to be something special. Building upon the cinematic look and feel of the Resident Evil series, Konami has taken the genre a step further with Silent Hill by including real-time, 3D environments, which allow impressive camera movements while dramatically reducing disc access, one of Resident Evil's few but glaring shortcomings. The real-time environments also allow some extremely atmospheric (not to mention creepy) directional lighting effects, such as those seen in Tomb Raider II & III; most interior environments are lit solely by Harry's trusty flashlight, which creates plenty of shadows for all manner of creatures to spring from. While a bit overused, the effect is perfect for a horror game and really heightens the tension.
Aside from the 3D backgrounds, Silent Hill is a thinly disguised knock-off of Capcom's famed spine-tingler; you begin your quest armed with (bet you can't guess...) a gun and a knife. To save, you must find a guest ledger to record your progress. (Resident Evil used typewriters as an equally contrived save mechanism.) Silent Hill's controls are extremely similar, too; while the camera angles may change dramatically, pressing Up on the control pad always makes Harry walk forward, while Right and Left make him turn clockwise and counterclockwise, respectively.
Silent Hill's story and nightmarish imagery have been compared to such movies as Jacob's Ladder, Hellraiser and the more recent Dark City. Without divulging too much, there actually are two Silent Hills--one is the "real" Silent Hill Harry first entered after his car accident, while the other is a surreal shadow of the lakeside resort town, in which wood and peeling paint are replaced by corroded steel and dried blood. Populating this surreal dreamscape are small creatures resembling either skinless children or inside-out dwarfs (you decide which is more disturbing), flying demons, giant cockroaches and skinless dogs. As in Resident Evil, Silent Hill also is home to a handful of human survivors, including an elderly antique store proprietor and fortune teller, a hot-tempered physician, an attractive nurse and a mysterious young girl. Many of these characters provide you with useful information, while others are decidedly less helpful.
Like Resident Evil, Silent Hill requires the player to solve a number of puzzles in addition to disposing of enemies. As Harry wanders the treacherous streets of Silent Hill, he occasionally comes across pages from his daughter's sketch book. Written in a child's scrawl on these pages are such clues as "to school." Armed with such a clue, all you have to do is check your town map to find the location of the school and head in that direction. (Of course, there are a number of canyon-sized potholes blocking your path, but you wouldn't want them to make it too easy, would you?) Other puzzles involve playing a piano to retrieve a special item and unlocking the clock tower that serves as a doorway between the two parallel universes.
Advancing Silent Hill's movie-calibre story are some truly gorgeous prerendered cutscenes, which give you a whole new level of insight into the lives of the game's characters. While not quite on par with Metal Gear Solid's, Silent Hill's voice acting remains above average, preventing the game from descending into unintentional self-parody.
Given the continuing popularity of the survival horror genre and the tremendous success of Konami's most recent effort, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill could become a hit of "monstrous" proportions.
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Those of you who moaned endlessly about the length of Metal Gear Solid will no doubt have more to whine about with Silent Hill. You can work your way through the whole game in about it hours...but. like Konami's previous epic, those hours are filled with something special. Probably the most genuinely disturbing "survival horror" game around, the story plays on psychological nastiness both in terms of the events that take place and the graphical content. The game seems to go out of its way throughout to make you feel uncomfortable- the 3D engine shifts the camera into some bizarre positions, while at the same time only giving you a very limited field of view. It's claustrophobic, dark and disturbing. If it wasn't for the stiff voice acting and bad translation ("the end is neigh" anybody?}, this would be a classic example of a game mimicking a movie like Jacob's Ladder. There are a few niggles with the gameplay; the collision deteclion for picking up objects is dodgy in places...and the few genuine puzzles (there are only really four or five major ones) are all explained by fairly obvious clues located in pretty much the same location. That said though, it's an enjoyable experience and there's some replay value thanks to its multiple endings. You'll love the cool twist at the end too.
The first must-own PS game of 1999 is here. Silent Hill is an awesome horror adventure that no fan of the RE series should miss. It's not perfect--controls could be tighter, and the writing/voice acting is a little weak, but the disturbing, truly frightening gameplay experience more than makes up for these minor flaws. Great story, too. Be sure to play it with a Dual Shock (trust me), and if you've got kids, keep 'em far away.
Resident Evil is to Night of the Living Dead as Silent Hill is to Heilroiser. Talk about a creepy game! It starts off slow, but once you get an hour into it, things can get really tense (although you will run into long, drawn-out period s of uneventfulness). Speaking of RE, you can see the influences everywhere (and I mean everywhere) so if you're an RE fan. do not miss out on this one! By the way, do not let your children see this game.
Even more so than the Resident Evil games, this thing pushes all your fear buttons. Its dim visuals, discordant music, jarring sound effects and twisted story are disturbing on so many levels. It all makes for an experience that's as immersive and frightening as anything else on the consoles. You'll need to fiddle with options before the game becomes playable, and I had gripes with the camera and control throughout the game.
One of the surprise hits of E3 was without a doubt Silent Hill. Imagine Resident Evill with a fully 3D polygonal environment, some of the coolest lighting of any game you've ever seen and throw in a combination of out-and-out gothic horror with weird and disturbing visuals.
Although only two early scenes were on show in Atlanta, Silent Hill already looks to have enormous potential. By combining the dramatic camera angles of Resident Evil with a fully 3D environment the net result provides some thrilling movie-like sequences. As the hero runs down a dark alley the camera skims the ground in front of him looking up toward his face before swooping up into the corner of the room to provide a more open scene.
The game has a very disturbing story concerning a man who loses his young daughter in the town of Silent Hill as it slips between the "real" world and another more hellish domain. There's a lot of blood here...and some seriously nasty scenes with corpses and the scary-looking hell-spawn.
All of the story scenes are told with some of the most convincing CG cinema work we've ever seen--the expressions on the faces of the characters manage to convey emotion unlike anything you may have seen before.
The game has yet to be approved by SCEA, but as soon as we have any more information we'll bring you as much as we can.
The game is very dark throughout--and it makes use of some very effective lighting and fogging to provide a more convincing horror-movie environment.
It is surprising to me that more companies have not tried to feed off the success of the Resident Evil franchise. Without a doubt, this is one of the most successful franchises to date on the PlayStation. Up until now, Capcom has had a monopoly on the horror genre. Thanks to Konami and Silent Hill, things are about to change.
It is really not fair to call this game a Resident Evil rip-off because it is quite different. In fact, the only thing that is the same is the fact that you are in a small town and something very strange is happening. True, both are based on the fear factor, but Silent Hill focuses more on solving puzzles versus mindlessly slaughtering evil minions. To add a new wrinkle, your character, Harry Mason, is just a typical guy with no special skills. It is up to you to guide Harry through the town of Silent Hill, locate his missing daughter, and perhaps solve the mystery of what happened to the town. Turn down the lights and play this game in the dark, because this is one game that will make your skin crawl.
It takes a lot to scare me. I am one of those people who really enjoy horror movies. My only problem with them is that they are usually so cheesy that they are more laughable than frightening. There is nothing quite as exhilarating as a horror movie done right. I guess that holds true for video games as well. This game sets the mood of horror with the opening warning screen and never lets down. I have never had chills from a horror movie, let alone a game, until now.
Silent Hill starts off with a nice graphic intro that sets the scene. You are driving your jeep with your young daughter along a winding road. It is very dark and there are no other vehicles on the road. You see a light in your rearview mirror'a headlight from a rapidly approaching motorcycle. As the motorcycle passes you, you see that it is a female police officer speeding past and off into the distance. A few minutes later, you round a corner and see her bike crashed on the side of the road. You turn your head to try to see the officer, only to find a figure of some sort standing in the middle of the highway when you look back up at the road. Unable to stop in time, you slam on the brakes and crank the wheel. You skid out of control and everything goes black. You see visions of a strange woman, then you awaken in your crashed Jeep and your daughter is gone.
The game is played from a third person perspective as Harry Mason. Your objective is to find out what happened to your daughter. You will spend a majority of your time walking around, exploring for clues and solving puzzles. There is no shortage of strange creatures, ranging from mutant dogs to freak nurses looking to kill you. All the normal human beings you meet are equally as strange.
So how does the game play? Since it is a 3D environment, we all know what that means. Yep, you guessed it. Awkward controls. This is a common problem with 3D games, and it is no different here. You will find yourself bumping into walls, moving in a different direction than you expected, and just having some frustrating problems. This is particularly frustrating because the enemies can be quite destructive, so eluding them is usually a panic-stricken and hasty process. There is nothing worse than trying to run away from an enemy only to go off in some direction that you were not intending to go. The only reason I am mentioning this now is because it is one of the few problems with the game. I figure I will get the bad out of the way first and then talk about the good.
The only other complaint I had about the game was the lack of original enemies to come across. It seemed like areas were populated with the same enemy types. This meant that you were stuck facing off against the same enemies until you located a new area. Once you located the new area, you would get a new enemy and then you would be stuck against this enemy until you found a new level. This was a bit more minor, but I still found it to be a bit annoying.
Enough with the bad. On with the good. The first thing I found cool about this game was that the lead character is just a normal everyday guy. He is no ex-Marine or Navy Seal. He was never on a police force any place. He is just an average dad going on vacation with his daughter. Why this is important is because his character and personality show throughout the story. For one thing, he is not a very accurate shot with a gun. This means that you have to wait until the enemies get close before you can shoot them. Another thing is that you get the feeling he is truly scared throughout the adventure, yet it is most important for him to find his daughter. This gave me a great sense of identity with the character and really made the story more believable.
The second thing I really enjoyed about the game was the availability and placement of the resources. What I mean by this is that you will not be full up on ammo and health packs all the time. It usually works out that you will happen upon your next box of ammo right before or after you run out. You will find a first aid kit when you are near death. It is rare that you have a surplus of any items at any time. If you do find yourself with extra anything, you can rest assured it will be used soon. Along these same lines, the weapons were all very realistic and believable. You spend the first half of the game with a knife, pistol and piece of lead pipe. This is all you have to protect your ass with. This was just another element that kept the game entertaining.
Finally, the story keeps the game moving. I found myself getting sucked in and unable to turn the game off just because I could not wait to see what was coming next. Just when you think things could not possibly get more bizarre, they do. Just when you think things cannot get any more intense, they do. The whole atmosphere and story really reminded me of the movie Hellraiser. I just did not know what was going to happen next and I was constantly feeling like things could just not get any weirder.
The final item that needs mentioning about the game is that it contains a lot of puzzles, but I cannot really call this good or bad. Some of the puzzles were just plain simple; others took a little thinking and still others were impossible. There was one puzzle that forced me to look at a strategy guide (I hate cheating). Even after I read the solution and looked over the clues, I still do not understand how they came to the solution they did. That was pretty frustrating. Conversely, there were puzzles I solved that I did not even have to think about. I just solved them by accident. There were some puzzles that were middle-of-the-road. I may be missing the obvious on the one puzzle, but I still think you should be warned.
I was a little let down by the overall look of the game. The graphics were extremely pixelated and grainy. They were not so bad that I was unable to tell what objects were, but they were still below the standards of today's PSX games. There were quite a few items that blended in with the background that would have added to the overall creepy environment if they were more obvious. As it was, I really had to strain to see them. If I did not look closely, I migght not have seen them at all. They did do a good job of ussing environmental fog to set the mood.
The music in this game is absolutely incredible. I have never heard mood music that fit a game quite as well as this. Normally I do not even comment on the music, but it was such an important part of the overall environment of the game. I think that it was the music that gave me the shivers more than the game itself.
Silent Hill may not be the fastest-paced game in the world, but it is sure an addicting one. You will find yourself getting sucked into solving the mystery of your missing daughter as well as the mystery of the town. The developers should be commended on their great use of music to enhance the game. Aside from the grainy graphics, imprecise controls and somewhat strange puzzles, this game is pure horror fun.
If imitation is the si ncerest form of flattery, the developers of Resident Evil should be blushing after playing Konamis Silent Hill. But, hell, with so much time between new RE games, someone has to take up the gaming slack, right? And Silent Hill's bloody adventure is that game.
A Foggy Day in Silent Town
In Silent Hill, you've crashed your car and lost your daughter in a mysterious, deserted town infested with strange monsters. Playing as Harry Mason, you'll comb the streets and pick up clues to her whereabouts. The well-designed quest is difficult but intuitive, resulting in a challenging but gripping adventure.
The biggest difference between SH and RE is that Silent Hill lacks pre-rendered environments. The developers attempt to compensate with thick fog, pitch darkness, or weak lighting--but five feet of visibility just isn't enough. Fortunately, tight camera control lets you peek around corners or study a room from Harry's point of view, while SH's blood-filled battles and disgusting cadavers strewn everywhere set the mood stylishly--and will definitely freak you out.
One of SH's coolest features is its excellent Dual Shock support: The controller beats like a heart, thumping harder v/hen you're close to death, and its responsiveness keeps you in command. The screen display, however, is flat-lined: You have to access a menu to check your health bar, which can cost you your life if you aren't paying attention. Otherwise, you'll have a blast mowing down zombies with everything from a knife to a shotgun.
SHs voice acting doesn't approach RE's depth of craptitude, although each spoken line is separated by a strange dramatic pause that effectively undermines the tension and drama. Luckily, the conversations are fairly sparse. What's cool are the sound effects like the spine-curdling radio static that warns of incoming monsters and the heavy tread of your boots as you run for your life down a hall.
SHs scares are everywhere. The tension is high throughout the game and gets creepier as you delve deeper and face winged beasts, bald freaks, and devil dogs. The gothic story line and intuitive puzzles are also compelling, which makes SH a nice bridge for RE fens waiting for their next fix. Just a few flaws short of a masterpiece, Silent Hill is definitely worth a look from horror and adventure fens.
- Look for a health drink on the sill near the entrance to Queen Burger, south of Cafe 52.
- The map on the left marks the location of the three keys needed for this door. So thoughtful of them!
- Look for a house key outside the dog house on Levin Street and go inside for some much-needed ammo stockpiling.
- In the town, it's usually preferable to elude the monster than to stop and fight, though you'll have to kill some of them to proceed.
- To deal with the ghouls in the school, shoot them until they fall, then run up and kick them in the head (of course).
Fog: Mood/atmospheric effect or aggravating, blinding, pop-up-hiding annoyance? You make the call. Luckily, the graphics score big with a high gore factor while the creepy environments set just the right mood for this gothic horror adventure.
The shrill radio warning of incoming nasties and other terrifying sound effects keep you on edge throughout the game. The voice acting is better than the depths charted by Resident Evils, but those dramatic pauses are just plain silly.
A thumping heartbeat to signify low health - you can't get any cooler than that. Precise movement, analog support...it's all fun and games until you forget to check your health bar in the heat of batde and pay the price.. .in blood.
A shameless but slick Resident Evil clone, Silent Hill serves up scare after scare, delivering a challenging, nicely designed adventure game with engaging puzzles. If Resident Evil captivated you, you'll want some quality time with this thriller.
Silent Hil features gory monster-mashing and complex puzzle-solving-with more than a touch of mystery.
On its surface. Silent Hill looks like a Resident Evil wannabe with dark atmospheric graphics and shockingly gory sequences. Beyond the games violent exterior, however, is something more: a diinking-mans mystery.
The plot in a nutshell: You play as a character named Harry Mason, who, while driving with his daughter past a resort called Silent Hill, wrecks his car to avoid a woman standing in the road. When Harry comes to, he discovers that his daughter is missing, so he hikes to the fog-covered town to find her. But Silent Hill isn't your ordinary town--it's crawling with monsters, puzzles, and traps.
So far, the graphics in Silent Hill convey a creepy mood. The lighting effects are especially effective in this regard as you must search several dark buildings in the game with a flashlight But the flashlight has limited range and can even attract monsters, which forces you to use it carefully and sparingly.
The game uses a third-person view and no pre-rendered backgrounds, so there are no guessing games about whats waiting at the next screen. Plus, high-quality rendered cinemas are intercut into the action scenes to help flesh out the story events.
King Of The Hill
Providing a careful balance of gaming elements, Silent Hill promises to focus more on puzzle solving than kill-or-be-killed action. Sure, you can collect weapons--like a crowbar, a pistol, a shotgun, and more--but you won't last very long if you try to destroy everything in sight At times, you must conserve ammo, evading monsters rather than taking them head-on. If you imagine a combination of Resident-you-know-whats blood/action and Myst's puzzles, you'll get the idea:
Silent Hills a creepy new action/adventure game along the same horrific lines as Resident Evil and Parasite Eve. You play as Harry Mason, a seriously freaked-out dude who regains consciousness after an automobile accident and discovers his daughter is missing. The town you were traveling through when the accident occurred is not only packed with dense fog, but also contains disturbed demons, who'd like nothing better than to have your tasty self for dinner.
As you search for your daughter, you collect clues, solve puzzles, and use a variety of weapons--from a knife to a shotgun--to butcher and buckshot everything in your way. Silent Hill also features a unique camera you can use to peek around corners, numerous power-ups and items, plus a map mode that makes exploring the creepy town a little easier on the direction-impaired. If you're a Resident Evil fan who's looking for a spooky new adventure, Silent Hill is your bloody best bet for fun this February.