Description official descriptions
Harry Mason, an average man, is driving to the town of Silent Hill with his daughter. Upon approaching the town, a cop speeds by on a motorcycle. When Harry gets closer to town, he sees that same motorcycle sprawled in the middle of the road. Harry also spots a woman standing in the road, but due to the dense fog, he can't stop in time, so he swerves to avoid her, crashing into a railing, knocking him unconscious.
When Harry wakes up, his daughter, Cheryl, is missing. Sensing that she would head to the town to seek help, Harry sets out on a journey, not knowing what to expect from this eerie town, enshrouded with fog.
You play Harry Mason, a normal man, with no powers or training of any kind. You must search through the town of Silent Hill, looking for your daughter. You will come across many people, some friendly, some not. You must visit many different areas, such as the school, and the church.
Will Harry find his daughter and safely get out, or is there more to this town than a simple fog layer?
- サイレントヒル - Japanese spelling
- 寂静岭 - Simplified Chinese spelling
- Censored Japanese releases
- Console Generation Exclusives: PlayStation
- Gameplay feature: Chainsaws
- Gameplay feature: Interactive piano
- Gameplay feature: Multiple endings
- Games made into books
- Games made into comics
- Games made into movies
- HUDless games
- PlayStation Greatest Hits releases
- PlayStation Platinum Range releases
- Setting: Church / Monastery
- Silent Hill series
- Theme: Amusement park
- Theme: School
Credits (PlayStation version)
93 People (81 developers, 12 thanks) · View all
|Director of Marketing|
|Packaging and Manual||
|Game System Programmer|
|Graphic System Programmer|
|Character System Programmer|
|[ full credits ]|
Average score: 88% (based on 33 ratings)
Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 180 ratings with 15 reviews)
It's clear that Silent Hill is not a simple game. I'd say that this is one of the most scariest games in a long time. Game design is disturbing and the sound's unique, featuring a scary story deep enough to create spin offs, sequels and a lot of things (like comics, novels and many more).
Let's proceed step by step. Silent Hill was released as a Survival Horror Game, an alternative for Capcom's Resident Evil. Soon, the players realized that comparing this game with Resident Evil is a big mistake. We don't fight zombies and we're not facing a classic horror story. Silent Hill was conceived as an original game, and that's what it is. This game is the perfect one for those who love psychological horror, the kind of horror from movies like Jacob's ladder, more focused in the atmosphere than in concrete terrible frights. Something more ethereal.
Story is deeper than anyone could tell. Besides the main creepy story the game has many details and secondary stories (Lisa Garland's is my favourite one, a melancholic story in a world of darkness and terrible creatures that will give you a strange feeling, so sad). Everything's connected to Alessa's minds and fears, each creature has a reason to be there and to be like it is, all extracted from Alessa's pain and suffering: The fear of the dogs, the bullying suffered in the school or the creatures from the fairy tales that she used to read. Everything's about Alessa's world, the world that overcame the town of Silent Hill when Alessa suffered her terrible fate.
The main story is as deep as good and the player must take the time to explore all the town and to understand every part of the story, which is not a simple task. You don't have to go everywhere in the town to complete the game, but if you want to know what's happening you should. Even if you take a look at every location in the game many questions aren't answered, so, you'll read a lot of different interpretations of the same thing if you search for more information.
Talking about gameplay, the game works as Resident Evil and that's why it's a Survival Horror Game (that's why people compare it with Resident Evil, but the game has nothing to do with it). We carry different weapons that we aim to the creatures and shoot as well as many puzzles to progress with Harry's searching for his daughter. Of course the puzzles that we'll find are related with Alessa's mind, for example, there's one featuring characters from Alice in Wonderland, one of the tales that Alessa read. It looks like it's out of place, but when you understand the story you won't feel it. To sum up, different puzzles related with the main story and not just mysteries in a mansion without a concrete sense, you know.
When we start the game we'll pick a flashlight and a radio. The radio is necessary because it will make a strange noise when we're near a creature. About the flashlight, you'll need it to go on in the darkest areas of the game (which are a lot), the problem is that its light will attract the monsters around you. We'll find many maps in our quest, and Harry will take notes there about anything, like closed doors, broken doors, places that he had visited or puzzles. You need your flashlight to look at the map, so, as if we were there, if you want to avoid monsters you'll have to search for a room that has none of them, and then take a look at the map and see where you want to go, turn off your flashlight, get out of the room and go there (of course walking, unless you want to be noticed because of your footsteps while you're running). Of course you can kill every creature that you find, but ammo is limited.
Controls are simple too, the classic configuration for a Survival Horror Game, a button to aim and another to shoot, the button to examine and the one for running. You'll have also a status screen to heal you if you need it. There are two buttons, the L1 and R1 that are useless. If you press your running button and one of those they became more useful but it's an annoying way to move, or maybe that's just that we're not used to that.
The camera is different from Resident Evil, we don't have static cameras in the rooms, the camera will follow us in our adventure and what's more, it's part of that scary feeling and atmosphere in the game. Sometimes the camera won't show you what's further. This is a good example about using a camera properly if you want to make a scary game like this.
Graphics aren't special at all, but they're good. Light effects are the best thing about graphics,but the game's not the best out there because of its graphics. The design and the deep story are above all the other aspects of the game. There's something curious about graphics, they're not perfect but that helps with the atmosphere of the game, I mean, if you can't see clearly what you're shooting at it becomes more scary, you're shooting to something and you don't even know what it is.
The music and the FX deserve an entire review. Akira Yamaoka's work in all the games of the series is a before-and-after in videogames. There are some Silent Hill games which aren't as good as they should, but the music was always good, no matter the game. The first Silent Hill has an industrial style all over the game, the music of Yamaoka suits with the rusted world of Alessa where you can smell the oxide at any time. Yamaoka composed a noisy soundtrack for the game, with metallic sounds and strange noises that makes the atmosphere even more claustrophobic. Besides that compositions, Yamaoka included some melancholic tracks for concrete parts of the game, and when you listen to them in the middle of this world, when everything's just noise, they really work as I never thought in a Survival Horror game. Songs like "She", "Tears of..." or the main Silent Hill theme are masterpieces.
You can play the game many times because it has many different endings as well as unlockable weapons, like the Katana, the chainsaw or the Hyper Blaster. Our decisions during the game will influence the story in some ways, specially in the end.
To finish with, there's something that I really like about the game. You don't need to complete the game fast to get a good score at the end. The score depends on the items that you've taken, the good/poor aim that you had, the enemies killed and other things. Silent Hill is a game to be enjoyed little by little because of its depth. Put all your senses on the game and you'll love it.
The game has no important bad things to remark but there are some things that aren't perfect. There are some movements that are useless as I said, and the fact that you need to finish the game many times to unlock all the weapons available.
The camera as I said is another scary element that helps with the atmosphere of the game because it won't show us what's there many times. That's perfect for the atmosphere, but not for the gameplay because many times we will walk in the direction of the camera and we cannot see what's further, so, it's possible (in fact it happens a lot) that a creature appears and attacks Harry when you didn't notice it because the camera didn't show you. There's a button to center the view, but it doesn't work as we want sometimes.
Wait, did I say that the game has no remarkable bad things? I forgot about something. The voices are disastrous. The voice acting is boring, soporific and all the bad adjectives that you could imagine. It's not like they're talking when they do, it's like they're reading the script without any feeling and with a large pause between each sentence. Wake up Harry! Your daughter's on big troubles, I think that you should be more interested in what you say. I really love this game and I don't like talking about the bad things on it, so, I'd say that the voice acting is like that just because they're been consumed by the town itself and the darkness on it, and it helps the atmosphere of the game, but the fact is that the voice acting is intolerable.
Another bad thing that depends on how the player plays the game is that you may not want to explore the whole town, only focus in the main story and finish the game as soon as possible. If you do that you won't experience a shocking game and you'll feel like this is just a normal game and nothing unique, specially if you get the bad ending which is a bit frustrating (it's the bad ending, what were you waiting for?).
The Bottom Line
One of the scariest experiences in videogames history with a perfect design and story harmonized by an unforgettable music. There's nothing to reproach in the game (besides voice acting), maybe only the fact that it set very high standards and now it's difficult to make a game as good as this. The game defies the imagination, even Alessa's.
PlayStation · by NeoJ (398) · 2010
Silent Hill managed to accomplish what many other Playstation games failed to: create a lasting appeal. The story of Silent Hill is well conceived and executed, creating a truly chilling world to explore. The graphics, when assessed from the perspective of the time, are quite impressive. Plus, I'm not sure many of the gore-ridden images Silent Hill offers would help me sleep at night after seeing them in HD. The sound of the game, but musically and atmospherically, is what I found to be the strongest of all the strong points of the game. The sense of horror and adventure still provide legitimate thrills ten years after its release.
The only criticisms of this game that I have are the camera and voice acting. The camera adds to the chaos and insanity of the environment, and achieves that well in hallway scenarios; however, I found the camera to be a nuisance when roaming the outdoors, as it always repositioned itself poorly. The largest pitfall of this game, in my opinion, is the voice acting. The lines are delivered in a painful monotonous manner with awkward pauses and complete lack of emotion. I have a suspicion that this is only an issue with the translated version and that (given you can understand Japanese) the original version's language track is more natural.
The Bottom Line
Silent Hill is a survival horror game for the Playstation that often gets lumped into a category with Resident Evil. While sharing some similarities such as survivalism, isolating environments and shockingly graphic scenes, it is important to recognize Silent Hill on it's own merits. It tells the story of a man searching for his daughter in a small town with very strange goings-on. The inclusion of multiple endings helped to further establish the moral-choice phenomenon in modern gaming that adds loads of replay value to the title. If you have not played this classic title, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to the twisted world of Silent Hill.
PlayStation · by Jon Collins (11) · 2009
The atmosphere is undoubtedly my favourite part in Silent Hill. And to it there are three main contributors – the soundtrack (a horror piece in itself), the setting and the plot. The soundtrack is so eerily creepy that even standing still while listening to it can give me the creeps. The setting is wonderfully done, at all times conveying a feeling of loneliness and despair, with beautifully arranged camera angles – very cinematic indeed. The graphics, (even though they haven’t aged very well), still convey the message Silent Hill is trying to pass on, with the transitions between worlds very cleverly done. Finally, the plot is outstanding, making you gather bits of it throughout the game in order to fully comprehend what has come to pass – when I finally got it all, I was simply blown away.
The gameplay in Silent Hill is, sadly, its weakest point. The controls are incredibly sluggish, and moving Harry around is not only a challenge but also very annoying, to the point where running from enemies seems much more tempting than to simply try and face them. I hate trying to shoot an enemy and suddenly finding myself with my back to them, without knowing why. And of course, one cannot mention Silent Hill’s flaws without referencing the god-awful voice acting – it is no Resident Evil by any means (“NO, DON’T GO!”…ugh), but it still sounds incredibly cheesy, and it doesn’t look like the actors are even trying (particularly in Harry’s case).
The Bottom Line
This game was the first of its kind to truly tackle horror from the psychological perspective, and able to do it successfully. If you have the patience to deal with the cumbersome controls, it is a must-play of the horror genre, and would have been the best of the series if not for its immediate sequel, Silent Hill 2.
PlayStation · by Rik Hideto (467522) · 2014
|Opening sequence is brilliant||Donatello (453)||Sep 9th, 2013|
|1st person mode||Donatello (453)||Aug 11th, 2007|
1001 Video Games
The PS1 version of Silent Hill appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.
This game features a "blooper reel" that can be seen upon completion of the game.
The Pal release of Silent Hill is slightly censored, specifically it's missing the deformed child-like enemies that appear in the school and other places of the game. For this release they were replaced with the "Clawfinger" monsters (which only have a minor appearance late in the original game).
When Silent Hill was first announced, press releases indicated that there would be two playable characters with different scenarios, like Resident Evil 2, but the retail version was released with only one playable character: Harry. Apparently, Cybil was originally intended to be the other playable character, and another side of the story would be viewed from her perspective.
Cybil's scenario was never completed, but not all the clues were taken out of Harry's scenario. On the map it would seem most places marked out in dark pink are significant to you on your adventure, however there is a shop on Simmons St. that doesn't open. There is also a boat below Indian Runner that you cannot get to. The door of the diner next to Norman's Motel is only locked, not jammed. In the school Chemistry Equipment Room, there is Glucose and Distilled Water — these are among the ingredients needed to make bombs, but you are told you have no reason to take them.
On a side note, Cybil as a playable character would later appear in the Japan-only GameBoy Advance text-adventure remake of the game, Silent Hill Play Novel.
- Most of the street names in Silent Hill are names of sci-fi or horror authors: Finney - Jack Finney, author of "Time and Again" Bachman - Richard Bachman, Stephen King's pseudonym Bloch - Robert Bloch, author of "Psycho" Matheson - Richard Matheson, author of "I am Legend" Ellroy - Jack Ellroy, author of the "Black Dahlia" Bradbury - Ray Bradbury, author of "Something Wicked This Way Comes" Levin - Ira Levin, author of "Rosemary's Baby" Sanford - John Sanford, author of the "Prey' books Simmons - Dan Simmons, author of "Song of Kali" Sagan - Carl Sagan, author of "Contact" Crichton - Michael Crichton, author of "Sphere" Koontz - Dean Koontz, author of "Phantoms" Wilson - F. Paul Wilson, author of "Nightworld"
- Blood marking a garage door across from the church spells out "Redrum", a reference to Stephen King's "The Shining"
The teachers on the register in the school, Moore, Ronaldo, and Gordon are the three main members of the band "Sonic Youth", Kim Gordon, Lee Ronaldo, and Thurston Moore. Also, the school section ends with you picking up the "K. Gordon" key and going to her house!
Related Sites +
- MobyGames ID: 3564
- Wikipedia (en)
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Grant McLellan.
Game added April 4th, 2001. Last modified December 7th, 2023.