Written by  :  MasterMegid (902)
Written on  :  Oct 28, 2006
Platform  :  PlayStation
Rating  :  3.83 Stars3.83 Stars3.83 Stars3.83 Stars3.83 Stars

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"Dahlia Gillespie!"

The Good

After over five years, Horror games finally got their due. As the genre became more and more prevalent, a slew of the games hit the gaming world, one of the best of the early Japanese horror invasion, Silent Hill, was a little late, as it did not hit the PS ’till 1999, when the console was practically dead.

In Silent Hill, you are Harry Mason, a widower, and struggling writer, whom often takes vacations to the isolated Silent Hill, with his daughter. After a wreaking his car when he swerves to avoid someone in the road. And upon regaining consciousness, Harry cannot find his daughter. This leads him around the city, as he searches, the plot thickens as he learns the city is changing, and he meets others, including the strange Dahlia Gillespie.

Apparently the small village, like something from Lovecraft, is being devoured by an ancient evil. Will Harry be able to survive long enough to find his daughter, and get the hell out of Silent Hill?

Silent Hill, thankfully does not play like the more popular and crappier Resident Evil. It has some similarities, but there are many improvement as well. For instance, you are not stuck in a clichéd “scary” mansion the whole game. You can explore most of the town, of course there are barriers, and places you simply cannot go, but there are also optional places that can be entered.

The item management is also handled better. There is no limit to the items you can carry, and no annoying go and find a magic box and swap out items crap. Puzzles are often less obtuse, with a few exceptions, ahem, the piano puzzle. ( I guess Konami, expected us to be concert pianists.)

The combat is not a good a some other horror games, such as D2, or the more recent Call Of Cthulhu, but better than the clunky Resident Evil, and Parasite Eve. Either with melee or guns you take aim and fight the monsters that range from freaky to corny. And melee combat actually works unlike RE.

The Graphics are good for Playstation, but hardly good otherwise. The game makes use of full 3D, and not pre-rendered, as was the tradition during these days of horror games. Constant fog hides the view distance problems, which are thanks to the PS’ low RAM.

The Sound Department is more of a mixed bag. The music and sound effects are quite good, however the voice acting is atrocious, more on that later.

The Bad

Some obtuse puzzles can kill the fun of the game, and there are parts of the game in which you will do a lot of wandering, as it is not always clear what has to be done next.

The Graphics suffer from typical PS problems, this is only a minor flaw, but one none the less.

The voice acting is horrifying, but not in a good way. But it is not only the way the lines are read, but how they are written, is often howling bad. “Dahlia Gillespie”. And the whole “Gyromancy” thing, what the hell is this? The magic of sandwiches?

Finishing the game with the best ending takes very special requirements, and if you miss something you will not get the best ending, the only way to assure gaining this ending, is to either have a game guide, or by having already finished the game.

Also you unlock special weapons, but the catch is that they are not always where they are supposed to be when you start a New + game, WTF? They only appear about 75% of the time, you can likely imagine how pissed I was when the chainsaw I took the trouble to unlock was not available. You can also likely imagine the expletives I let fly upon this discovery. Why Konami?

The Bottom Line

Overall, Silent Hill is still one of the best horror games on the PS, and one of the best Japanese ones as well, despite it’s many flaws.